Two hands connecting two puzzle pieces together

5 Ways to Make a Genuine Connection with Your Virtual Community

You’re a good person. I’m a good person.

But how do we know that about one another?

How can you build trust across the virtual divide that separates us?

If you can’t reliably connect with the prospects you want to reach, you don’t have much hope of building a profitable online business.

Over the years when I’ve met readers for the first time, they’ve said, “I feel like I know you!”

That reaction happens because somehow my work through my online business and this website has connected with them.

Genuine connection in the virtual environment takes time. It’s not simple or easy.

But it’s a worthy goal.

Here’s how to make community connection happen …

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How to Stand Out from the Crowd with an Unforgettable Personal Brand

How to Stand Out from the Crowd with an Unforgettable Personal Brand

Oprah Winfrey has a stand out brand.

If I say her name, you get an instant image in your mind of Oprah: her physical appearance, her personality, her TV shows, her movie roles, her magazine.

As these thoughts flow through your mind, consider that they have been carefully crafted by Oprah’s marketing team over many years to create a consistent brand image of her in your mind.

After all, what is a brand but a harmonious series of images, thoughts, and beliefs about a person, business or product?

We often talk about creating a strong, consistent brand for your business or product.

What if the “product” you’re selling is you? Can you stand out with a personal brand that’s as strong as Oprah’s?

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Perfectly aligned pencils of the same size with one red long pencil that stands out from the rest, representing how persuasive copy helps you stand out

5 Copywriting Tricks for Turning Blah Text into Persuasive Copy

Feeling overwhelmed when writing your content?

You’re not alone.

Learning to write persuasive copy can be frustrating. Everyone has more tips, more advice, more copywriting rules.

Write tight. Use attention-grabbing headlines. Add features and benefits. Don’t forget the hook. Check your grammar rules and punctuation. No jargon. No adverbs. No … whatever.

Trying to remember the advice makes your head spin. Following the rules sucks the energy out of your content (and out of you, too).

But writing persuasive copy doesn’t need to be such an exhausting, grueling and tortuous process. It can be relatively simple.

The five most critical copywriting rules follow.

Concentrate on these five basic rules only, and you’ll find yourself writing pretty persuasive copy. You’ll turn so-so text into seductive content, and win more business.

Related: Use These 3 Magic Words So You Can Instantly Write Sales Copy That Builds Your Revenue

Sound good?

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Design Its Not Just Wrapping Paper

Design: It’s Not Just Wrapping Paper

I’ve been invited to a birthday party, and I want to get a fabulous gift for the person who we’ll be celebrating. What’s the best way to choose something they’ll like? I can’t start picking out wrapping paper colors or writing the message on the gift tag quite yet.

Think about the recipient

I like to think about what their hobbies are. How do they spend their free time? What’s their daily life like? When I focus on them, it’s easier to find a gift they’ll enjoy.

Once I’ve purchased a gift, it’s time to wrap it. I can’t wrap the gift until I’ve thought about who it’s for, and I’ve purchased it, right?

I have to know who I’m giving it to, and what I’m going to give before I look for a box and pick out the wrapping paper.

That’s the way it is with design, too.

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A small glass container filled with coins and has a small plant growing in it

Good Design: How Much is it Worth?

brand strategy involves deciding how much to invest in your website

Hashim Warren, of sent me a great question recently. Hashim is setting up his new site, and is wondering about the return on his design investment.

“I’m starting a new project and I don’t know how much time, focus, and money to spend on design right out of the gate.”

There’s no single answer that will work for everyone, but I can give Hashim (and you) some guidelines that will help your decision process.

Are they just not into it?

The first place to start is with your target market. How important are aesthetics for the group you’re trying to reach?

Because let’s be honest here: not everyone is going to register great graphics the same way. If your target market is only looking for great content, you should focus on getting that right first. Create a blog, site, newsletter or magazine with compelling writing, and worry about design later.

If it’s important to your target market, it should be important to you

Many target markets are very responsive to design.

If your service or product is targeting people who have high standards for how things look, or who are used to dealing with companies who invest in good design, you should spend time on this aspect of your business so that you will be seen as a viable competitor.

Design gives new businesses an edge

Coming out of the gate with a brand-new company that has a polished brand presence can give you the upper hand.

Marketing materials that appear professional and coordinated give the impression that your company is larger than it might be, and more established. It’s a great to way to not appear like you’ve only been in business a short time.

Of course, you can’t just throw money at a designer and hope their work does the trick. Ask good questions and you’ll get a better outcome.

Design can help clarify and unclear message

When I acquire a new client, we have a meeting to get to know one another. I ask a lot of questions: about their market; their long-term plans; their products or services.

Oftentimes these meetings help my new client to clarify their thinking about what they’re offering, and who they are offering it to. This is design thinking in action. Design thinking is a process that can shed new light on your business because of the way it approaches the problems to be solved.

Design thinking involves:

  • Defining your problem
  • Researching and gathering information
  • Generating a variety of solutions
  • Choosing and testing solutions

This process can clarify your business, and sometimes I think it’s the most valuable part of what I offer. It’s more than a pretty logo or a nice brochure. The process of examining your issues, researching them and thinking about them from all angles often uncovers unique solutions that go way beyond aesthetics.

Now you’re wondering:

“Hashim asked how much time, focus and money to spend on design. Are you going to answer his question?”

Well, the answer is going to be different for each of you. Understanding your responses to the points above will help you know how much time and focus to spend on design.

How much money to spend on it will depend on your budget, obviously. Costs vary widely, and thankfully there are ways to keep them down if you do some of the work yourself. (That’s why you’re here, right? You want to understand it better so you can do some of it yourself?)

Weigh the information above, and if you discover your target market responds to good design, you want to appear established and you think the design process will help you clarify your thinking, invest the time, focus and money on good design.

Thanks for your question, Hashim. Are you a small business person with a question about design or marketing? Let me know in the comments, or contact me, and I’ll answer your question here.