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Pinterest, Why should you bother with it?

Posted by Linda Chambers on Thu, Jul 14, 2016 @ 11:54 AM

Here are some recent facts about Pinterest:

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Women like a clean apearance to thier home, they will either pester their man to get it done or will look to hire someone because the husband does not have the time to look or do the cleaning themselves.

The higher the income of the family the more likely they will hire out home maintenance to a professional.

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This is why you need a blog, either a stand alone, as part of your website, or posts you make on other sites, like blogs with organizations. Blogging brings viewers.

You need a place to lead followers to, not just to a website page.

So if you are a house or roof washing contractor, a window washer or landscaper, Pinterest would be a great media to use. Set up your business page with at least 10 boards, the space that takes up most peoples screen with two full lines of boards.

Select Board names that are clear, concise and will either appeal to a wide audience or gives specific information about a service with good visuals. Use good key words in the post with a link leading the viewer to a blog or website page about what they are seeing, a landing page to fill out for a quote, or to videos and testimonials, they get good results.

Example: House Washing or any service you provide (one board per type), Home Exteriors or Beautiful Homes, B & A Photos, Certifications & Organizations, Videos or Our Work in Action, Blog Posts or From our Blog, Testimonials or Our Customers, Cleaning Tips, along with some fun boards as well like, Quotes, Fun Facts, Places I have been, Home Design, Home Projects, Cool Hacks, a hobby, sports team, or other topic you personally like.

The fun boards can bring you in like minded people that can then see what you do. People looking already for the services you provide can get more information and additional ways to contact you.

You need to be sure when you make a photo to use for your pin that you have named it with a relevent name, do not leave it as 0715161, but something like Lawrenceville30046housewash71516. This gives you added SEO for the city, the zip code the service type as well as the qualifier of the date taken.

Here are our Pinterest stats just from the last week and averages per month..

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Now yes it can be hard sometimes to figure out how many new customers or sales came from these viewers and vists but by asking people how they found us, I can say that Pinterest brings people to the website which hosts our blog and in turn is a large contributing factor in our over all social media presence. You can see the difference between the days I may not have added pins, the days of the week I am not at work to post. The more you engage the more that engagement will bring you new viewers which in turn gives you the chance to get them into your sales funnel.

Find Boards from posters you like and follow them, then their followers can find you as well. 

I hope to see more of you on Pinterest with filled out content.

 

Tags: Pinterest, Blogging, content marketing, Social Media

Start your own Blog with Word Press

Posted by Linda Chambers on Thu, May 01, 2014 @ 08:00 AM

Now I do not use Word Press since our Blog is part of a soft ware platform that is integrated with our CRM, Hubspot and Salesforce. But our business as a B2B, is totally different than yours, as a B2C service business. And Word Press is the #1 blogging platform out there for a very good reason; easy and inexpensive for the individual and small business person. So I am going to show you the steps you need to take to get your business started with blogging. 

1) Open your WordPress account. This is very easy and doesn't have to cost you a thing. Go to  http://www.wordpress.com and click on “Get Started”.  Next fill in an email address, choose a username and password. If you are like us we have a main e-mail we just use when setting up on line accounts which is totally different than the ones we put out to the general public that is linked to our web site. One reason is it would be less likely for hackers to find and try to use this e-mail than the public ones. So you might think about doing this first and use it for all future new accounts for your business. Your username will never be seen or shared with your blog but I still would choose a general one dedicated to the business and not to a person. And choose a password that is not the same as others you use and can be easily changed every 30-90 days with out having to think too much about it. 012014Blog is an idea that you can change the first of each month. So if you know what month it is you know your password.

2) Choose your blog domain address. WordPress will let you know if the one you picked has already been taken and will show you options for similar ones that are available. Make sure the name is relevant to what you want to blog about not just because it is available.

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If you choose to go the free blog route your blog address will look like this http://www.yourblogname.wordpress.com. You can also pay WordPress to host your blog then your address would be just be the name of your blogs website: www.yourblogname.com. I won't post pricing here because it can easily change and they have specials at different times with third party affiliates so check what the going rate is now and look around the web for offers.

3) Choose your Blogs Title, the tagline, which is a brief description of your blog, and if possible the goal of what you plan to bring to your readers. This can be very important because you want to catch and hook new readers to want to first read at least one post and hopefully then click to follow all your future postings. And this is where blogging starts making you new and loyal customers.

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4) Choose and customize a theme for your blog. Your blog will follow a template depending on what content you will mainly be presenting. There are free ones and ones you can pay for, but all can be changed so if you start with one you can switch later. Also just because you choose a theme that is heavily photos and videos does not mean you can not write some blogs which are mainly text or visa versa. 

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5) Now you are ready to start the real work by posting to your blog.

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Each post starts with a format tool to choose the content for that post. If you don't know what you want yours to look like use the "Inspire Me" link or do a search in WordPress for other blogs that have a similar theme. Don't try to copy one, just see what you like and what you think your readers will like.

Make sure you fill out the public profile that generates the "About the Author" section that will be listed with each post. Here be sure to list your main web site your business name number and other important info that will draw you prospects.

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Each post can be tagged and placed in a category of your choosing and is a great way to keep your posts organized and makes your contents searchable to others looking for the type of things you are sharing. 

6) Your Home Page. This is the place you check your latest blog posts and the blogs you have chosen to follow. Here you also can view stats, how many visitors you have had and see any comments readers have left you about a post. It helps to know when you readers are viewing so you learn the best time to post to be the most engaged with your readers.

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7) The Dashboard. This contains a lot of information but once you know what each section is for it is easier to understand. You can choose what you want to see on your dashboard with screen options, to make it more effective for you to see what you want to know in a glance.

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  • Home: Shows you everything from the home page, blogs, posts, comments and stats. You can use omnisearch to find a page, comment or image.

  • Store: If you want to add a store for $99 a year you can create and mange not just a product but a service or package or special. I believe you can even switch items off and on to be seen for imited time and not have to delete and recreate them.

  • Posts: This area is where you see all posts viewed by tag or category.

  • Media; Where all your images and videos are stored and are linked from to the different posts. A single image can be used in multiple posts.

  • Links: This section show all of the links that you blog posts link back to.

  • Pages: Lists pages you have created like the About Me or ones you have made for each type of service you provide.

  • Comments: Allows you to search, filter or delete comments left. Some times it is better to comment your self to a negative comment rather then delete it entirely.

  • Feedback: Is a section where info you have asked from your readers shows up, you can create and view polls, see your blog rating and reader feedback.

  • Appearance: This is where you can customize the look of your blog such as colors, fonts, header, background color or image, etc.

  • Users: Is where you can add new users that you want to have access to adding and changing your blog, your profile and settings.

  • Tools: Is where you can create buttons and share content from the web on to your blog and link to verify your blog with Google, Bing, Pinterest, Twitter etc.

  • Settings: The last section where you can ask to me emailed when someone comments, your email preferences and all the options for writing your blog. 

While it will take a little time to first set up a blog in WordPress, once it is running it is super easy to manage and will gain you a lot of free SEO and hopefully new and engaged customers. So think about staring a blog soon.

Tags: Blog, Social Media, SEO, WordPress

How to use Pinterest for your business.

Posted by Linda Chambers on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 @ 10:49 AM

There are many articles, webinars and e-book kits out right now on how to use Pinterest to market and sell, but most are not for service business owners like pressure washers, they are for the retail business owners. In other words how to interest people in buying a product not a service.

So I will go over some basic information and tips on how you can use this fastest moving new social media to your benefit.

10 basic things to know about Pinterest and how it works.

1. You must be invited by a current Pinterest member to start a page. So if you do not already know someone you can't just go and start a page because you want to. So I am offering any Soap Warehouse patron a free in. Just call me with your e-mail and I will send you an invite, that simple, 1-800-762-7911. But for most of you just ask your wife she is probably already on it. Over 80% of Pinterest users are women, but don't let that bother you since women are the most likely the person who will call for pressure washing or at least put their husband up to calling.

2. Create your page in your business name, not your name. This separates you automatically to the viewer or visitor as a business and not just some guy that does this type of work on the side. For instance as of this printing there are only 5 "People" that have the words "Roof Cleaning" as part of their name. But only be that specific if one line of work is all you do. If not make separate boards for each type of work instead. And congratulations to AccuWash for being one of these five.

3. Once you post a new board it will be the first board seen on your page. Right now there is NO way to change this, so pre planning is key to how your page will be seen by new viewers. You can take the time to move an entire board back to the first position but it would take alot of work. You can not just repin a whole board like you can a single pin (discribed later). You will have to make a new board first and it can not have the same name as a board you already have. So if you want to use that same name you first have to go and change the currents boards name and then create the new board with the name you want.

4. You can change the titles of the boards that come standard with Pinterest and you many want to change all or at least some of them before you start adding new ones. Most computer screens will see the first 10 boards you post so best if you can keep everything you want to show case under or equal to that number. Or at least your business boards under that number. Have some fun boards also above the fold to hold and bring those new people to your listing. If all they see is boring business items they may click right back off you.

5. Once you pin to a board it also will keep shifting back or down as new items are added and there is nothing you can do about that either, other than repining, which I will discuss later on. And be sure once you have pinned something to open it back up by using the edit button and adding a link. This way you can direct people to where you found this item, to a page on your web site or to a landing page with a special offer or opportunity. Links can be vital.

6. As you pin to your boards it is also being pinned to the general main Pinterest page showing the most recent activity. So posting frequently keeps you in front of new people every time you post, who can then subscribe to one or more of your boards. Fun posts will draw them in and only having good content will keep them or have them follow one or all of your boards.

7. Make the most of the description section to exactly match what you are showing. That way the search will work the best for you.  For example if you list pressure washing or power washing in your description and then do a search for that you will get results with all the words, pressure and washing, which will give someone looking also a lot of laundry washing items as well. Adding more descriptions will shorten the list but may not help if the searcher does not think to use it. For example 'Roof cleaning' gives a good number of results. Switching it to 'cleaning roof' gives you the same results, Pinterest does not care what order they appear in the description just that the words do appear unless quotes are placed around them "Cleaning roof" then will only give one result while "roof cleaning" gives you back all those others. Add the word "pressure" and it will help by making more of the results of where you want to be. Also add the word "No" and it drops the number down to just a handful.

8. Make boards not just pins using key words. I could not believe that no one right now has a board named "Roof Cleaning" but AccuWash. The more interesting you make the pin post names the more likely it will be looked at. But don't be like Wnc Roof Cleaning, that is the name of their page but NONE of the 30 boards on that page have anything to do with the business. They are all fun boards. What a wasted opportuinty. The page has had some acitvity but no where can these visitors see who and what Wnc Roof Cleaning is!

9. Make Fun boards only about things you really care about and like, things that you think prospective customers care about and like as well. Do you have a passion for certain food, sport, activity. Or just make a board with a broad topic, places I have been, want to see, Bucket list items. These are the boards that will get people looking, liking and following you. Then maybe a few of them are in your area and will try your services. You can not expect to have all business boards and generate any type of traffic. And you want to only show things you really are interested in. Having a board on nails (the ones on your fingers) would not be a good choice but one on 30 minute or less meals or on grilling out could be.

10. Now I will mention the moving or repinning an item from low down on a board to place it back at the top. You will have to go first to the board the pin is now. Click to edit the board, then click to edit the pin you want to move. You can now repin this pin to the top of that board or add it to any other board. But if you do not want two of the same thing on one board you will then have to delete that pin that will still be in the lower position. This is also an easy way to run a promotion. Just change the offer and repin the photo and new offer to the top of the board you want. You might have a board just for Specials that can be always be first on your page.

I am not saying that Pinterest will bring you a ton of new business like a local Facebook or Google ad can from people who never knew you. But I am saying that having a Pinterest page will make you look like a more rounded and real person that others will want to do business with. And once you are a member of Pinterest, be sure to connect to as many of your current customers as possible. This way you can always be around them and noticed when they are on the site so they can easily think of you and refer you to their friends. And that is the best way to earn new business and it will almost be for free.

Tags: marketing, Social Media, referral, Pineterest

How to monitor your Social Media Footprint in 10 minutes a day.

Posted by Linda Chambers on Wed, Sep 07, 2011 @ 12:53 PM

This is for everyone that says "they do not have the time" to put into Social Media to have it work for them. Now granted this 10 minutes is only after you have done the initial set up work and yes that does take a little time, but you can spend 10-15 minutes once a day for a first week or two to be set up to follow all these short steps. I will give you the list then show you where to go to set each one up.

2 minutes: Check Twitter to listen about your company and products.
1.5 minutes: Scan Google Alerts for your company name, products or executives names.
1 minutes: Check Facebook stats at your Companies Page
3 minutes: Look for questions and answer at least one a day
2.5 minutes: Use Google Reeder to check other sites like Flicker, Digg and others.

Total 10 minutes a day.

Now the longer you spend at some, like with Q&A's, that will be to your advantage. You may have days where you find more than one or two questions that would be good for you to answer so realistically you may spend 20-30 minutes on these five items on some days. Or you may only do 4 for the 5 like I do most of the time.

1. Checking Twitter. Well first you have to have a Twitter account. And that is easy and free by going to www.twitter.com. Once you are set up you can then use one of two tools; TweetDeck or Twitter Search.

For TweetDeck you must go to their web site www.tweekdeck.com and sign up, it's free and then set up your scan board. I like this because once it is turned on at the beginning of the day every time a new item is posted to any of the categories you have it set to show, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. the posts will flash up in the top right corner of your screen and ping you. If you are at your computer you can glance up to see if it is a post you would like to comment on. Remember sites like Facebook are about relationships not selling so just making comments keeps you relevant to your FB friends.

Now Twitter Search is much easier and you can use it as much or as little as you want each day. Just go to the Home Page and up in the search bar put in your companies name. Be sure to place quotation marks around it or you will get posts that contain all the words themselves not just in the order of your business name. For example Joe's Pressure Washing will return "Joe's" "pressure" "washing" and "pressure washing" instead of the "Joe's Pressure Washing" that you want. Or you can go to the advanced search and enter it there before saving. You might also want to chose some that are close, that your customers might enter instead and incorrectly, like "Joe's Power Washing" "Joe's Power Wash" and remember capitalization does not matter. You can also list product names if your business has them, like ours does. After each search you can click at the top on the "Save this Search" button if you where happy with the results. Once it is saved when you come back each day. Look just above the posts and click on the "Searches" tab. A scrolled down menu will appear with all the searches you have saved.  Click on which ever one you want to check at that time. You can also keep up to date with temporary items and delete them once they are over.

2. Scan Google Alerts. This is very similar to the Twitter searches we just discussed.  You go to www.google.com/alerts to set them up. You list what you want to know about that is coming out on the web and then set it as to how often to send the results to your email account. I have it set for as it happens but I have over 10 alerts, and I might check it a few times during the day. You may only have a few you will need to set for, so once a day or even once a week may be fine. But remember the longer you wait the longer your response time will be to react to anything negative. You will need to have your business name as well as your own name. For those I would set it for all results. But for topics you might want to set it for Only the best results like I do for "restaurant fire", "power washing", "pressure washing", "graffiti removal" and again do not forget the quote marks. You can also set it for whole phrases as well like "fleet truck washing". You can also use a special email account just for these alerts so you do not clutter up your regular account or have your email filters set so that any email coming from Google Alerts goes into a separate folder so it is easy to open and scan them. This is what I do. I also have alerts set for topic phrases to gather information for my blogs.

3. Check Facebook Stats. Go to your company page on Facebook. On the top right hand under the bar, click on the Edit page button, when this comes up on the left side there is a list and near the bottom of the list is a bar graph called Insights. This will give you a lot of valuable information about who is coming and using your site. It can tell you how many daily, weekly and monthly users are using your site. It also shows what posts got interactions. Enabling you to go back to the post and continue the conversation.

4. Search for questions to answer. You need to put your self out there as an authority in your business or just to interact. For this you can use sites like Ask.com at http://www.ask.com/answers/ and click on the Ask People tab, at Facebook Questions http://www.facebook.com/questions/ see what your friends are asking and answer or ask your own question with poll options. With Yahoo answers you can get out into the www audience not just the people you know and this can bring even more people to you. This is the one I use the most. Go to http://answers.yahoo.com/ and set your account up. and then to browse categories. Most of you will find questions to answer in the Home and Garden section. Found one asking about paint colors, if bleach hurts vinyl siding, what size pressure washer to buy to start up in the business and how much should an average pressure washing job cost. All these and more would have been great for many of you to answer. You make your comments and then you are able to link to web pages to back up your answers. You can link to your own website but do not use it all the time or as the sole link. Anyone can click on your avatar with the answer and find your information that you set up when you joined and this is where you need to list your web site and company information. Also if you have good answers, the person that asked the questions chooses the best answer, then you get a better ranking and more people will listen to what you have to say. You can also create a network and gain fans.

5. Google Reader found at https://www.google.com/reader/ this is good if you already have a Google e-mail account or want to get one just to have your Google alerts sent to it and to use the reader. You can link your web site , your competitors sites, Youtube, Flicker any site you want to visit to check on what is new.

Tags: marketing, Business, business plan, Social Media

New Markets via Social Media Inbounding.

Posted by Linda Chambers on Fri, Apr 08, 2011 @ 10:54 AM

Finding new ways to market your business with out breaking the bank is one goal almost every small business owner wants to find. 

During this month I plan to give you some suggestions, links to resources and hard facts to try and help you reach this goal.

Social Media is the new way to reach old and potentially new customers. Inbound Marketing is the future of small business. Outbound marketing may become all but extinct in the next 10 years. It is necessary to have more than a web site these days and to try and find customers via direct mail, e-mail and other media campaigns. Customers are tuning out and avoiding traditional methods business use to use to sell their products and services. New prospects want to find you when they need you, not you find them and interupt their day. They want real value and information even before they are willing to contact you about a service you could provide for them.

As we know most web surfers will make a decision to stay on your site in less than 3 seconds and many web analyst’s are saying that it has moved down now to less than 2 seconds.

So how can you make your web site be the one a service surfer will find and then stop and take a look at?

I will give you a list of 5 key elements here and then elaborate a little for you under the list.

  1. Quality information above the fold and on the left 1/3 of the web page.
  2. An obvious offer and call to action.
  3. Examples of how to solve their problems (the reason they have searched)
  4. Include visuals (especially video)
  5. Ways to continue to be educated or engage if they want too.

With #1, it must be immediately clear to the viewer that they have found a site that matched their search no mater what it was; example seeing a house being washed for house washing, a painter painting a room for a paint company, etc.

Your business name that corresponds with the work you do: Bill’s Pressure Washing and House Cleaning. You can even use multiple names and have multiple sites if your work is strongly divided, such as All Kitchen Hood Cleaning and Bill’s Pressure Washing. You can still use one phone, just have two separate numbers that are forwarded to a single phone, most phones now will let you know where the number was forwarded from so you will know how to answer the call.

Or you may need to have multiple landing pages added to your web site, designed toward each part of work that you cover. It no longer smart to have just one main page of your web site listing everything you do. You must have that plus a page for your deck cleaning and repair, roof washing and gutter cleaning, house washing, concrete cleaning, Christmas light decorating... any job you do can have its own page which in turn can all link back to one contact entry page.

And with so many new searchers using their phones, iPads and other smaller screen devices you will need to revise your pages to give those viewers information in the way they will see it, only the left top 1/3 of the page.

Ok on to point #2. Now that your surfer has stopped you need to grab them with an offer and call to action. Do you offer same day free estimates? Free gutter cleaning with new roof cleaning? 20 sq ft free concrete cleaning with each 100 ft cleaned?

What ever the offer is, make it stand out, be clear and then have an obvious button to click on for them to take action with. I could write a complete blog just about how to do this, and I will, but for now just know this is what needs to happen to get the contact.

Point #3, to be able to give examples of how you can solve their problem, you first need to know what that problem is! This is where creating pages within your web site with Meta tags and key words to specific words and long tail phrases people to search are become very important. You want some one that searches for “lowest priced house washing in Fulton county” to find your page on house washing, not to be taken to someone else’s page or even to your web site to a page about deck washing or roof cleaning, even though you may do all three, that surfer will have clicked off your site before you can blink. I will expand on this in a future blog post.

#4 - visuals. Visuals are becoming more and more important to surfers; they don’t want to have to read everything they want to know, they want to see it. Pictures tell the story many times much easier and faster than words can. The brain can process pictures over 10 times faster than when reading information that the picture is showing. For example:

C  Documents and Settings Dan Kidd My Documents My Pictures RustRemoverPhotos Before (Small) resized 600C  Documents and Settings Dan Kidd My Documents My Pictures RustRemoverPhotos After (Small) resized 600

These Before and After photos of removing rust from a concrete patio is understood much faster than reading the statements. “We can clean your concrete patio, walk way or drive way from rust, dirt, oil, and tire marks.” or “We can remove rust caused by patio furniture, so on and so forth.” Not that you should not still make the statement, but understand that people scan information, especially text and photos catch the eye. Videos are even better. You can improve the time spent on your site tremendously, sometimes by more than 20% with video. For example if your average page view is currently 6 seconds and you add even one 1 minute video, when it is watched you have increased your view time over 10%. Have multiple videos available that are shorter like 20-30 seconds and you will increase the number of videos a single person will be willing to watch and you can reach view rates of 20-40% higher than your starting 6% rate. Be sure to state near the video how long each one is to increase the chance of even the first view. People will not click on videos they feel are too evolved or will abandon one once it starts if it is moving too slowly or does not start to answer their problem or question.

Lastly give your surfer the option to learn more and engage with you in the future. Offer them newsletters, future discounts if they leave you their email, links to other information they may want to learn about, etc. These are opportunities to be able to contact these people in the future even if they did not click over and fill out your free estimate or contact form. They may just be price shopping and would like the opportunity to try you later if you sent them a discount offer and would be willing to just leave you their email address but not their name, so don’t require it.

I know this has been a little long but I hope you will come back and view the follow up posts that we will have. To be sure you are included, you can join our e-mail list, at the top right of this page, and you will receive newsletters or you can go and like our Facebook page's or subcribe to this blog and you will know when new posts are added. You can even follow us on Twitter. All buttons are at the top of this blog page. Thanks for reading.

Tags: marketing, Inbound Marketing, Social Media

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