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Three Easy Lessons to Take Your Online Marketing to the Next Level

I just spent the last week in two very different, but parallel universes. After helping researchers in a federal government agency work on getting their science understood and used in the marketplace, I tapped the wisdom of a conference full of online marketing gurus.

The common thread? These experiences reinforced several lessons that will help you succeed in attracting the right kinds of clients. Here are ideas and resources to help you take action:

Lesson 1: Be yourself when you market. This is particularly true if you offer a really complex or academic service (like the scientists I mentioned) where it's natural to cite lots of references and sources. Instead of getting caught up in stiff or unnatural language that stands between you and the audience you're trying to connect with, just be yourself. I see a lot of people struggle with this when it comes to writing "copy" for their website, an e-newsletter or sales letter.

In the wise words of my new friend, Fred Gleeck (online marketing genius and co-host of this past weekend's Subscription Website Publishers Association Conference http://www.swepa.org), "Just write the truth. The truth as you see and feel it. People will then feel more comfortable about the copy you write. They may not be able to put their finger on it, but it will be more believable and it will increase sales. Forget the hype and "slightly" untruthful copy. Adopt a writing style that makes sure that what you say and what is ACTUALLY true are in complete harmony." To tap more of Fred's wisdom, visit him at http://www.fredgleeck.com

Lesson 2: If you don't have one, start an e-newsletter TODAY! The key to successful online marketing comes down to one thing: a basic, opt-in e-newsletter. Why? Because you're invited to "touch" your readers regularly with small samples of your thinking. In turn, you invite them to check out more resources on your website. It becomes easy for them to spread the word about you. It's a way to get new contacts from your offline networking into your online marketing system.

A really good e-newsletter, written in your natural voice (see Lesson 1) is the engine that drives your marketing machine. Don't let excuses like "my website's not ready" and "we don't have our editorial calendar planned out" stop you. The point is to start connecting with your target audience at least monthly to build the relationship. My favorite resource for how-to is Debbie Weil at www.wordbiz.com. Debbie will get you up and running in no time.

Lesson 3: Nobody cares about you...and here's what to do about it. According to PR expert Paul Hartunian (http://www.prprofits.com), nobody cares if you've just released the greatest new service, gotten promoted, hired new staff or spoken at another conference. What they do care about is how you can rock their world. If you start your marketing message with, "We are pleased to announce...," you're dead in the water.

What you need to do is: 1) use a basic template to write press releases that work (Paul has 'em); 2) torture the media by telling them what problems you solve, but not how you solve them (they'll have to call you to find out); 3) develop a simple 3-page media kit for quick follow up (your 1-page press release, a 1-page "so what?" bio, and a 1-page FAQ sheet). The other hot thing that the press likes these days is online media rooms. This is a dedicated place on your website where they can, in one or two easy downloads, check you out and get what they need to write a story about you. An easy way to do this is via the Media Room product at www.dvcotechnology.com.

The 3 easy steps to improve your online marketing efforts?

Step 1: Be yourself when you market.

Step 2: Start an e-newsletter (monthly, at a minimum).

Step 3: Remember that nobody cares about you (only how you can rock their world).

(c) 2004 TurningPointe Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved.

Marketing educator, Kelly O'Brien, is creator of the "Create a TurningPointe!" Marketing Bootcamp. To learn more about this step-by-step program, and to sign up for FREE how-to articles and 20-page marketing guide, visit http://www.turningpointemarketing.com

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