When I first met Julie Musial several years ago, she was a business coach and featured speaker at a Green Bay SCORE Chapter meeting. Not only did she provide excellent tips for keeping on track with a small business, Musial has practiced what she preached.
The owner of Musical Marketing (www.musialmarketing.com) has evolved from coaching to providing Internet marketing solutions for businesses. Her recently released book, "7 Steps to Selling Your Work Online," debuted on Amazon on May 28 in digital form and was No. 1 seller in three categories. The hard cover version came out in early June.
The transition came about after Musial spent about five years of intensive study in Internet technology to learn everything she could about a quickly changing field. She realized that businesses are making mistakes that hamper their success.
"When it comes to building an online presence and maintaining it, the biggest mistake I see entrepreneurs make is trying to cut expenses by hiring the wrong people or trying to do it themselves," Musial commented. "The second mistake I see is thinking that online marketing is a quick fix to their problems. Go into online marketing as if you were entering a marathon and not a sprint."
She suggests a long-term, consistent effort. The books features a seven-step program: Planning and Building Your Website, List Building, Creating Great Content, How to Blog the Right Way, Social Media Marketing, Video and Podcast Marketing, and How to Analyze and Optimize for Search Engines.
Of those steps, Musial says that the website and list building are most vital.
"Your website is the nucleus of your business regardless of what you're selling and should be designed to build your list. Once you have a list, you can more intimately interact with people," she explained.
All of the other platforms such as social media, blogging, podcasting and video should push customers to your website. The website is owned by the business, whereas social media platforms are not.
Success might not require all seven steps, but of podcasting, blogging and video, entrepreneurs should choose at least one of the three and do it regularly. Musial likes video because it connects a real person to the product or service and makes it easier to build customer trust. It is also an excellent tool for increasing search engine rank and purchase percentages.
Similar to video, podcasting, which is like an online radio channel that can be hosted right on your website, provides a platform for building credibility by showcasing expertise.
Regardless of type, the quality of content should drive customer action. But it shouldn't be considered the end all, and Musial says that online and traditional advertising will cause quicker business growth.
She said, "It's long-term versus short-term results. When you advertise, you will get results faster. Businesses may think they can just throw some free posts up on Facebook and people will come rushing in the door, but building your online presence organically takes a long time."
And, with changing technology, the strategies once used might have lost effectiveness. Musial says that's why she invests heavily into her own education and rebranded herself and business about four years ago. This book, her second, gives her a platform to share some of what she has learned.
"I provide training tools and support for entrepreneurs and business owners so they can vastly increase their profit," she says. "This will prepare them with the knowledge to make better decisions about what tools to buy online."
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