Archive for July, 2011
Have you made the link to your website click worthy in the search engine results? Not sure? Quick, search for your website in Google.
See that text that comes up below the underlined link? That’s called your “meta description” and it’s prime real estate for making your website clickable!
For example, here’s what comes up when you search for my website “Alexandria Therapeutic Massage.”
Now compare the above example to this one.
Which one do you think is more compelling? Which one would you click on? I’m pretty sure you would agree that most people would click on the first link.
Why your meta description is important
The meta description is often thought of as just another boring step in a search engine optimization checklist but it’s actually incredibly important! It helps searchers decide if they’re going to click on your site or pass it over for the next result.
Take a look at the second result again. Notice how the description makes no sense? If you don’t put a meta description in SEO part of your website, Google will pull random words from the page or website.
You’d be surprised how many sites have gibberish (like the second example) in their meta description! This is because the owner of this website did not put a meta description for search engine optimization. You need a description that gives searchers (your potential clients) the information they’re looking for and compels them to click on your link and not someone else’s.
How to improve your meta description for your target audience
In order to improve your site’s meta description, write two sentences that describe the main benefit you offer your target audience. When crafting your meta description, you can show some personality but don’t get too creative. You want to make sure that your description is crystal clear to someone who has never heard of your business.
To change your website’s meta description, you’ll have to go into the code. If you are not sure how to do that, send the info to your web designer to add it for you. Or if you use WordPress, I recommend the All in One SEO plugin. It makes SEO easy as pie.
Still not sure how to make your meta description click worthy or how to change it in your website. I will be covering these topics and so much more in my new video-based online course coming soon. Want to be the first to know more about this course?
Sign up below and you will be the first to get the details (even if you are already a subscribe, you’ll want to subscribe here as well — subscribers on this list will be the very first to know when the new training is announced).
Unfortunately, attention is a scarce resource. There are so many things competing for your audience’s attention. So, to be successful, there’s no choice but to make your ideas stand out.
The book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip and Dan Heath aims to solve that problem. In the authors’ own words:
We wanted to take apart sticky ideas – both natural and created – and figure out what made them stick.
As someone who is dealing with communicating marketing ideas, this book really caught my eye. Let’s see what it has to offer.
Inside Made to Stick
The book consists of eight parts: Introduction, Chapters 1 to 6, and Epilogue. The six chapters deal with the six principles of creating sticky ideas: Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, and Stories (the acronym is SUCCESs).
Introduction: What Sticks
First, of course, we need to define what is meant with “stick”. In this book, “stick” means “your ideas are understood and remembered, and have a lasting impact – they change your audience’s opinions or behavior”.
The premise of the book is that we can learn to create sticky ideas. The premise is inspired by the result of a research in 1999 that tried to classify hundreds of ads. Based on the research, 89 percent of the award-winning ads could be classified into six basic categories while only 2 percent of the less successful ads can be classified. The lesson is clear though surprising: Highly creative ads are more predictable than uncreative ones.
Chapter 1: Simple
The first principle to make sticky idea is to be simple. “Simple” means finding the core of the idea. It requires forced prioritization in which we should weed out ideas that are important but aren’t the most important. In addition, the main idea should also be compact. The less the amount of information in it, the stickier it will be. Great examples here are proverbs. Proverbs are both core and compact, and that’s why they have such lasting impact.
Chapter 2: Unexpected
This chapter focuses on two questions: How do I get people’s attention? And, How do I keep it? The answer to the first question is surprise because surprise gets our attention. The answer to the second question is interest because interest keeps our attention.
To create surprise, your idea should be unexpected. It should break a pattern in your audience’s guessing machines. Be sure, however, that the pattern you target relates to your core message. Otherwise the surprise won’t help you get your message across.
To create interest, you should ask your audience to follow a journey which ending is unpredictable. This is continuous unexpectedness. Make them curious by opening gaps in their knowledge which they need to close.
Chapter 3: Concrete
Abstraction makes it harder to understand an idea and to remember it. Concreteness helps us avoid these problems. How do we say that something is concrete? We say that something is concrete when we can examine it with our senses. For instance, “massage will help you be able to bend over so you can tie your shoes” is concrete while “relaxes muscles” is abstract. Sticky ideas are full of concrete words and images.
Chapter 4: Credible
Your audience must believe in your ideas if you want the ideas to be sticky. That’s why credibility is important. There are two ways to achieve credibility:
External credibility – An authority (an expert) or an anti-authority (someone who has first-hand experience) supports the idea.
Internal credibility – The idea has convincing details, accessible statistics, or testable credentials.
Chapter 5: Emotional
While believing in your idea is good, it’s not enough to get people to act. They should also care about your idea. For that, your ideas should have emotional value. There are three ways to create emotional value:
1. Use the power of association. Form an association between something they don’t yet care about and something they do care about.
2. Appeal to self-interest. Appeal to things that matter to them. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is helpful here to help you identify what matter to them.
3. Appeal to identity. Understand how people make decisions based on their identity and make your idea appeal to it.
Chapter 6: Stories
People love stories. We grew up listening to stories. Stories are useful to get people to act. The power of stories is twofold: it provides simulation (which tells people how to act) and inspiration (which gives people energy to act).
Research shows that when we listen to a story, we don’t just visualize it; we simulate it. That’s why story is powerful to give people a sense of how to act.
The good news is you don’t have to invent stories to have powerful stories to tell. You can just spot stories that suit your core message.
Epilogue: What Sticks
Spotting sticky ideas is just as effective as creating them. In fact, a good spotter will always trump a great creator because the world has more sticky ideas than what one person could ever produce.
For an idea to be sticky, first of all it should be simple. After that, it should make the audience:
- Pay attention (by making the idea unexpected)
- Understand and remember it (by making the idea concrete)
- Agree / believe (by making the idea credible)
- Care (by making the idea emotional)
- Be able to act on it (by making a story)
Made to Stick is a powerful book for those who need to communicate their ideas. As massage therapists, we definitely want to communicate our message of massage to our target audience. I really find the principles in the book useful. You may want to get yourself a copy of the book so you can better understand the principles of SUCCESs with the examples the authors give throughout the book. Of course, applying the principles takes practice and diligence, but this is the best book I know so far on making winning ideas.
Check it out and post your thoughts below.
Susan and Shane Epperly of TigerLily Studios in Austin, Texas are fairly new to private practice. As a way to increase their client base and promote their massage business, they have used online social buying sites on two different occasions. Susan’s experience was quoted in Laura Allen’s article, “Successful Promotions without Breaking the Bank” (click on the link, article can be found on page 23).
As a result of that article, Susan field a lot of questions from many massage therapists just like you who wondered about promoting your massage business with a daily deal such as Groupon or Living Social? I’m sure you have questions about how it works? How much will it cost me? Will these customers return or are they just in it for the “deal”?
As a result, she has turned her experience into an audio book entitled, “Using Online Social Buying Platforms to Promote Your Business: A Massage Therapist’s Success Story from the Trenches.” I had an opportunity to site down and to Susan about her experience as well as her new audio book. Find out what she had to say in the video…
If you’re considering jumping onto the “daily deal” bandwagon, and you’re fed up with the hype, the disinformation, and the rumors, then check out this piece. You can buy your copy of this audio book here.
Special! Special! Special! Monday Only!
Have you used any of the online social buying sites? What has been your experience? Please share in the comments.
Wow, we are half way though 2011. As many of you know it was my birthday a few days ago. Since it falls in the middle of the year, I use it as a good time to review my goals to see if I’m on track or if I need to change/revise anything. Blogging has always been a great way for me to draw in new therapists interested in my classes, so I thought I would take a look at the top 10 posts of the first half of the year (not counting the Event Marketing blog posts – i.e. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day Promotions – those always get a lot of hits).
10. Book of the Month Challenge (now newly updated with all my most recent reads)
9. How to Get More Traffic for Your Video Marketing
8. How to Create a Friend’s List on Facebook
7. Web Colors and Their Meaning
6. 5 Simple Ways to Make Your Website More Effective
5. How to Link Your Facebook Page to Your Profile
4. Be the Client
3. Learn How to Teach Couples Massage
2. Transcript of Q&A for Feng Shui Expert
and the #1 most popular post so far of 2011 is
Did you favorite post make the list? What other post do you think should have been listed? Share you choice(s) in the comments.
The other day I sent out an email newsletter regarding my Birthday Sale*abration. I received lots of emails wishing me “Happy Birthday” (thank you to all of you), as well as this one from Allissa,
So, can you either unsubscribe me or start using an email service like Mail Chimp (free) or Constant Contact ($20ish/month), etc?
Today’s email came through with roughly 490 people in the CC line. That’s not cool. It’s also not CAN-SPAM compliant.
And there’s really great info in here, but it gets lost in the less-than-stellar format.”
My initial reaction was, “Ouch! I didn’t send the email with “cc”, I put everything in “bcc”…” but then I went and checked… Yikes! I’m usually so careful about making sure all of the addresses are in the “bcc” line. I owe you all an apology. Can I blame it on being in a hurry to start my birthday celebrations? or maybe it is just that I’m one year older?
After thinking about it for a little while, I had to admit that she had a point. I write about being professional here on my blog, but yet, I wasn’t being totally ethical in my business practices.
I signed up for Aweber over a year ago – that’s how I put the neat little form on the right hand side of my blog for you to sign up for my newsletter. But that is as far as I went. I never took the time to learn the Aweber system for sending out newsletters. I continued to send them out via Gmail, even though it took me longer and I outgrew the number of people I could send emails to in one day (Gmail only allows you to send 500 emails per day).
So thank you Allissa! Because of you….
- I sat down and learned how to use Aweber. It has been on my list of things to do, but never took the time to learn how to do it…until now.
- Using Aweber is sooooooo much easier than the way I was doing it.
- And probably most importantly, I am now CAN-SPAM compliant
What are you neglecting? Is it a project you have been wanted to start (or finish)? A software package you’ve been wanting to learn because you heard it would make your life easier? Start (or move) your website?
Consider this your calling out message! Take the time today to sit down and learn it or do it! You just might be pleasantly surprised at how much easier your life is after you have.
Hot Stone massage has been around for centuries. You can find a variety of different types of hot stone massage to learn — everything from LaStone, Hot Rocks to my own version HotStone massage. Providing hot stone massage to your clients has many benefits for both you and your client.
Benefits for the Therapist:
-Muscles are pretreated with the heated stones to allow the therapist to more easily perform deep tissue manipulations.
-This is a premium service that clients are willing to pay extra for so you can work smarter not harder.
Benefits for Your Client:
-Promotes deep muscle and tissue relaxation to help get rid of back pain
-Relieves pain associated with Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, and MS
-Helps to improve circulation for those who may suffer from circulatory problems.
-Calms the psyche to relieve stress, anxiety, depression
Today is my birthday and I’m celebrating by having a sale*abration. Starting today (until July 13), when you purchase one of my on-line courses, you will get the 2nd one of equal or less value for 50% off.
If you need CEs for recertification, now is the time!
Check out the course selection here. Once you have made your selection, purchase it as normal. You will then receive an email from me (or you can send me one) asking you which course you would like to receive at 50% discount with the link to pay for that CE course.