Coincidence, Fate or Plain Dumb Luck?

So, a weird thing happened to me this week. On Monday morning, I noticed I had no hot water. When I went to go check on the hot water heater, I found it was leaking pretty badly. My landlord was on top of things and had someone come out to replace it the next day, though I am still working to get the closet all dried out and cleaned up.

This morning, I went to get a glass of water from my water cooler and noticed it was out of water. So, I put the new jug in only to hear a heavy dripping sound coming out the back of the cooler. Somehow, this stupid thing had also sprung a leak! Thank goodness I already had a lot of towels out from the other mess I was cleaning up earlier in the week.

So, within a few days of one another, both my hot water heater and my drinking water cooler had major leaks and got water everywhere. These are two completely different and unrelated pieces of equipment, though they perform similar functions (one making water hot, one making water cold) in my condo. What are the odds of this?

Can Luck Lead to Success?

It gets me thinking about things like luck, fate and coincidence. Sure, luck is sometimes involved in success. Happening to be at the right place at just the right time can be very beneficial. Whether or not you want to call that fate is more a matter of how you choose to look at things.

Ultimately, however, you have to go out and make your own opportunities in life and business. Just sitting back and waiting for things to happen is generally not going to get you very far.

Getting the Word Out

A lot of people think they can start a small business, set up a nice website and the business will just roll in naturally. This rarely happens unless you get the best word of mouth ever. You have to be proactive and get your name out there, whether it’s through digital marketing/SEO, social media, blogging, print advertising, billboards and so on. And yes, it helps to have really good word of mouth, too.

My point is don’t count on luck, fate or whatever cosmic forces you believe in to generate your business for you. And if you have a run of bad luck like I did this week, don’t let it get you down. Stay positive, get out there and make things happen for yourself!

Here to Help You Succeed

If you need help with your marketing campaign—especially when it comes to web content and blogging—NextGear Marketing is here for you. Contact us today for more information and to set up a no-obligation marketing consultation.

Be Willing to Adapt, Evolve and Try New Things

Last week, I was down at the Omni La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, CA. I was invited down there with a group of golfers to test out some new pieces of equipment. If you follow golf at all, you’ve probably already seen GolfBoards advertised. They have become reasonably popular in recent years. They are basically a single-rider motorized skateboard (with a handle) that will hold you and your clubs. They are fun to ride and I tried them out some time ago.

GolfBoards came along to break from golf tradition of walking or riding in a typical two-person golf cart. In addition to the GolfBoards, La Costa was also having some of us try out the newer Phat Scooters. These are basically two-wheeled motorcycles/mopeds that have a rack on back to strap your clubs onto. It’s a similar concept to the GolfBoard, but they are a bit easier to ride for people that may be older or less coordinated. At the same time, they are probably more dangerous because of the less stable two-wheeled design and heavier overall weight.

What’s the Point?

Anyway, the point of my story is that golf courses are starting to embrace these alternative modes of on-course transportation. It’s a way to generate some new business and revive interest in a sport that has struggled economically in recent years. Time will tell if these more “fun” rides will boost business, but at least they are trying something new in a sport that is generally stuck in its old ways.

This is a lesson that can be applied to any part of life. You should be willing to adapt, evolve and try new things. It’s what helps you grow, learn and keep a fresh perspective on things.

Applying the Same Philosophy to Marketing

This is also a very important marketing strategy to adopt. Just look at how the marketplace has changed in the past 10-20 years thanks to technology. Social media, smartphones/tablets and other innovations have completely changed the way a lot of consumers process information. This will only continue to evolve along with the trends and technology.

As a business owner, you must be willing to try new things and keep adapting the way you do business—as well as the ways you market your business. Stay on top of trends and try small-scale campaigns using different types of media and approaches. Eventually, you will be able to keep refining and maximizing your results. Odds are, by the time you perfect one strategy, a whole new marketing idea will come along and you will need to keep shifting your approach to keep up with the times. If you are proactive in embracing new ideas rather than reactive, you will see the difference.

The Time is Now

So, look at all the opportunities around you and start trying some new methods of generating business. They may not all work for you, but I guarantee some will work really well if you are committed and willing to adapt to ever-changing trends.

For a free marketing review, contact NextGear Marketing today. We’ll be happy to look at what you are currently doing and help you explore ideas about what you could be doing in the future.

6 Types of Hashtags You Can Use in Your Social Media Campaign

We all know social media is very powerful in today’s consumer marketplace. There are many strategies you can use to maximize your social media impact. One is how you implement hashtags to generate more followers, get more likes and, ultimately, draw more attention to your products or services.

There are many different types of hashtag strategies you can use on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. When it comes to Facebook and Twitter, you do want to be somewhat judicious and not load up your posts with a ton of hashtags. Select the most relevant to your message or goals and then include those. If people are making comments, you can maybe work in a few more with each response.

Instagram is a little different and you can go a bit more hashtag crazy. It’s usually best to put the hashtags at the end of the post (after your main comment) or sometimes you can put them as a comment underneath if you don’t want your main message to get lost.

Here are 6 of the most common hashtag types that you can utilize in your social media campaign:

1. Brand Hashtags

You should always be looking to build up your brand identity in all types of marketing, and social media is no exception. Your business name, key product names, slogans and other mantras are all good to use repeatedly in as many posts as you can to help boost your brand message.

2. Calls to Action

Hashtags that provoke an action are very effective. Start off a hashtag with an actual verb and people will feel more involved. #talkabout_____ #learnmoreabout_____ #get_____

3. Chat Hashtags

Chat-related hashtags are very popular when you have a recurring subject and you want to keep the conversation going over multiple posts. Using a chat hashtag will keep followers involved and they will start sharing the hashtag themselves to generate exponential response on a particular topic.

4. Content-Specific Hashtags

Hashtags relating to content in your posts are very helpful in terms of SEO and general “searchability” on social media. They give people a better chance of finding you if they are looking up information on certain products or topics. Content-specific hashtags are especially helpful when you have a regular blog that you link to on social media.

5. Geographic Hashtags

Geographic-based hashtags are often underrated when it comes to social media marketing, but they can do a lot for you if you have a locally focused business or want to target a specific region with your posts. Cities, counties, states, regions, town nicknames, etc. are all easy tags to include that will help you with your geographically targeted marketing efforts.

6. Trending Hashtags

Sometimes you can start the trend or join on a trend if it relates well to what you are posting. Some trending hashtags will stay hot for days or months. Others may only trend for a few minutes. Either way, if you can tap into some trending topics in a natural way, you can see some residual attention coming your way.

These are just a few of the hashtag approaches you can use in your social media campaign to increase your exposure and grow your business. To learn more about social media marketing and content marketing, follow the NextGear Marketing blog or contact us today for additional insight.

Time to Follow My Own Advice

I’ll admit I haven’t been as consistent with my blog posts lately as I should be. It’s been a busy summer. I’ve been on the road a lot. My work time is primarily focused on taking care of my clients’ needs. In addition, I’ve been spending and extra time strategizing and implementing ideas to grow my business.

However, it’s important to remember that a blog is a business-building tool. It increases website traffic. It creates more social media engagement opportunities. It ultimately converts more customers.

How Often Should You Run Blog Posts?

For my blog clients, I typically recommend posting once every other week at the very least. Most of my clients run a blog post every week. Some go the extra mile with two a week. The important thing is being consistent with whatever frequency you choose. Posting a blog randomly any time you think of a good topic or just doing it “when you have time” is not a good plan.

I definitely want to follow my own advice and start being more consistent with my regular blog posts like I used to be. Or, I need to consider outsourcing it to someone who does have more time than I do.

Outsourcing Your Blog

That’s why businesses turn to me and NextGear Marketing for my blogging services. They don’t have the manpower, time, focus or dedication to keep up with their own weekly blog posts. They hire a professional blogger who knows how to maximize SEO potential, integrate with social media and create more customer conversion opportunities. Outsourcing blog management is a more affordable, effective and efficient solution to a necessary marketing activity in today’s technology-driven marketplace.

Stay In Touch

As my own blog inconsistency shows, my clients always come first. I put their needs way above my own. Yet, stay tuned to this blog and I promise to be better at practicing what I am preaching. I will continue to share good ideas and strategies for blog management, web content, social media, print/direct mail and all forms of marketing.

For more information about business blogging services and other marketing help from NextGear Marketing, fill out this contact form or call (714) 348-0642 to speak with me directly.

The Top 8 Reasons to Hire NextGear Marketing to Manage Your Blog Content

I try not to get too salesy on this blog, but I am running a business and sometimes a little self-promotion is in order. If you have a business, you need a good website with a good blog. NextGear Marketing offers business blogging services that are affordable and effective. Let’s look at the top reasons why you should outsource your blog to us:

1. Affordability

Having a weekly blog written and managed by NextGear Marketing is a lot more affordable than you think. We offer different frequency plans to suit your budget and blogging needs. Call me at 714-348-0642 for current pricing.

2. Expertise

You could hire a part-timer or delegate the blog management to an existing staff member, but you are losing out on specialized expertise in the art of business blogging.

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Having a blog means better organic SEO potential. You will have new content added to your site regularly and the content will be optimized for search engines and social media appeal.

4. Better Customer Engagement

A blog is not only about SEO, it is about engaging the potential customers who do read it. You will gain more regular site visitors, social media followers and customer conversions with a professional business blog.

5. Personal Service

I oversee every client’s blog personally. If you ever have a question, concern, revision, idea or anything you need to discuss, you can call or email me at any time. I’m always happy to help and will customize the plan and service to meet your specific preferences.

6. Custom Work

Every blog post written is done fresh to minimize repetitive/plagiarized content. There is no copying and pasting here. This is another benefit that helps with your overall SEO appeal.

7. Behind-the-Scenes Benefits

There’s a lot more to a blog post that you do not see in the article itself. There are meta descriptions, titles, SEO tags, keywords, links and many other components that go into an good business blog. These will all be handled for you to make your blog as effective as possible.

8. Variety of Posts

At NextGear Marketing, we don’t just do one type of blog post. We write articles on a wide variety of subjects pertaining to your business. We’re talking about service/product features, employee profiles, industry news and events, general information topics and more. A well-rounded blog is a better blog.

These are just some of the best reasons to make NextGear Marketing your business blog provider. Contact us today through this link or call me personally at 714-348-0642 for more information about all the blogging, web content and general marketing services we can provide.

Declare Your Independence!

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July!

Many clients of mine are small, independently owned businesses. They are run by families and local entrepreneurs, and in many cases, they are up against large franchises when it comes to marketing.

You may not ever have the same kind of marketing budget as a large corporation, but if you are smart with your strategies you can get the most out of your advertising and compete for local market share in your community.

Market with an Independent Message

One sound method is to embrace your independence and use that to your advantage in marketing. Build marketing messages and an overall brand strategy around the fact that you are locally owned and operated. If it’s a family-run business, highlight that fact as often as possible. Position yourself against the big names rather than trying to keep up with them. When you declare your independence like this, you might be amazed at the results.

Local Support

When I am writing blogs or other personalized web content for my clients, I make sure to mention often when they are independently owned. Though some people will prefer to work with the the big brand names in town, many will prefer to support local businesses. Tap into what those people stand for—and more importantly, show what you stand for as an independent business—and it will be a strong marketing message.

If you do it right, promoting your independent spirit will really help position you as a local alternative to the bigger, faceless corporations.

A Personalized Approach

To learn more about personalizing your marketing and building a stronger brand message with your blog, web content and other advertising, contact NextGear Marketing today. Let me help you get the most out of your small business marketing plan!

Making Mountains Out of Molehills

We’ve all heard this saying: “Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.” It’s good advice (most of the time) to not overreact or blow things out of proportion.

I’m getting ready to embark on a vacation to the Lake Tahoe area along the California/Nevada border. It’s right in the middle of the Sierra Mountains and it is truly a beautiful place. So, you could say I have mountains on my mind right now and that’s the inspiration for this post.

The Problems with Overreaction

When it comes to marketing, it is very important not to overreact to negative occurrences or to build something up as bigger than it really is. However, you can eventually make mountains out of molehills in a marketing sense. I’ll explain that later, though. For now, let’s look at the problems with overreaction as it relates to managing a marketing campaign for your business.

First, there is the concern of overreacting when something bad happens (or nothing happens at all). You put out a good marketing campaign and work hard to put good strategies and materials in place. However, you get one negative response or no responses immediately. The worst thing you can do is panic. Remember, most marketing is a long-term process that takes time to build up and catch on.

If you overreact right away by pulling the plug on the campaign or changing to a radically different direction, you may never see the results you are looking for. Yes, it is important to study the data and responses that come in to see what is working and what is not. Then, you can fine-tune and adjust your marketing efforts over time to produce the best possible return on your investment.

Blowing Things Out of Proportion

Next, there is the hazard of blowing something out proportion. Let’s say you are just getting started on your social media campaign and building up your Facebook following. It will take some time and a lot of effort to get as many followers as you desire and to keep them engaged. However, a good Facebook campaign will not be all you need for a successful business. It is just one facet of your overall marketing plan. In other words, don’t invest all your time in just one direction. Today’s marketing is all about diversity and reaching potential customers from as many angles as possible. Put the work in to make your Facebook page great, but be careful not to overlook all your other marketing opportunities through various media. Good marketing takes both a “big picture” perspective and a “small picture” attention to detail to be effective.

How to Make Mountains Out of Molehills

Lastly, I mentioned that you can actually make a mountain out of molehills, and that ties in directly with my previous point. A good marketing campaign will incorporate many different media and a comprehensive strategy. If each component of your marketing plan is considered a “molehill,” you can eventually build them up together over time and you’ll end up with a “mountain” of a business. McDonald’s began with just one little burger shop and look where they are today.

This will give you all something to think about while I am away enjoying the mountains. If you have any questions about marketing or need help with your online or print marketing campaigns, contact NextGear Marketing today. We’re here to help you take your business to the next level.