Today, we interview Jeannie Ruesch, author of the historical romantic suspense Willoughby Family series, and also a marketing professional of twenty years, with proven success in helping turn companies perceived as local businesses into attention-grabbing global brands. Let’s welcome Jeannie Ruesch!
Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Jeannie. It’s a pleasure to have you here! For those who might not know you, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Thanks for having me! I’m thrilled to be a part of the Nelio community. I’m a marketing professional of twenty years, with proven success in helping companies build their brands and customer communities, and I’m also the author of a bestselling historical romantic suspense series. Those dual passions have helped me see the crossovers between fiction writing and marketing, and my website is dedicated to sharing those findings and helping marketers and small business owners acting as marketers find their storytelling path with the right focus and the right technologies that will get them there.
I’m also a contributing member of the Forbes Communications Council, and currently work in marketing for an amazing global technology company called Xero that provides a financial platform for small businesses.
Jeannie, regarding your company, what are the biggest challenges that you face with your customers.
One of my challenges as a writer is finding the time to stay organized and focused (which is why the Nelio Content Calendar has helped me so much) so I can keep the flow of content out to readers. Getting those readers to the site is always the biggest challenge, as well as finding the right way to build a solid mailing list.
As you know, at Nelio we specialize in WordPress and we often write about it on our blog. Your business uses WordPress in your site. Could you tell us why you chose WordPress among the different CMSs available in the market?
In my previous business, I designed hundreds of websites –and yes, many before WordPress was a thing. WordPress empowers the client to manage their updates on their own, which was freeing for them and for me. My love was always in the setup, design and creation, not the maintenance, and I wanted my clients to have the power to keep their websites up to date without needing to pay me to do it. WordPress is easy to use, so with a little training, I could empower them and I loved that.
It’s the only CMS I use now, and I use it on my own sites –truly, because of the plugin and theme community that extends what it can do. Plugins like Nelio Content give you true flexibility to build a site exactly to what you want and need, and only that. There are so many options out there, that you can find exactly what fits your goals and your budget. The WordPress plugin community is always updating and innovating, and that means I can focus on what I love to do: write.
Many of our readers are plugin developers like us. One of the problems we all have is reaching our target audience, as the plugin marketplace is huge. What process do you follow to find the plugins you’re looking for? Any recommendations on how to help developers reach potential customers?
Google is my first stop and it usually helps me define my search. I go to search before I hit the WordPress plugin site, because I’m looking for a solution and I find more answers that way. I also need to see that solution in action. I’ll start by searching keywords around anything that relates to a pain point that I want to try and fix with a plugin.
As for recommendations, make sure your website SEO is highly tuned to what you do and the problems you solve. Aim to be on the first or second page of search, but not just for your basic SEO keywords. Have blog posts addressing where pain points present as brick walls, so your customers see your solution as part of the journey. Your customers are on a journey where they are the hero, so focus on their steps along that path, not just your features and benefits. But don’t forget those either: I’m a very visual person and I need to see how a plugin looks, feels and works. Be sure to answer those questions on your website.
Once I’ve found a plugin I want to try, I check a lot of things to see how responsive the company is. I’ll start with twitter and facebook and not just the main company account. I look up searches in twitter to see if the company or employees respond, I search for employees on twitter to see how they interact. If there are Facebook ads, responses to questions are a must before I’ll spend time or money. A company needs to show its desire to connect with me as a human to keep working with a plugin, much less recommend it.
Speaking of how to reach your target audience… You’d probably agree with us that, first and foremost, you must offer a product or service that deals with a pain your customers have. So, let’s help our readers here: what problem(s) do you have right now with WordPress? Is there anything you’d like someone to improve (or even create from scratch)?
Yes, please! I’m still actively seeking out a solution to getting my Evernote notes (without Evernote formatting and with images) into WordPress easier. Evernote is another of those must-have apps in my daily life, but I would love to spend less time moving my posts over.
So if anyone has a solution for this that is actually live and works without an exorbitant monthly cost, I’m all fingers ready to click. In fact, please come and tell me about your plugin on twitter. Need a beta tester? I’m right here.
In Nelio we aim to help our customers succeed with their marketing goals. To do so, we offer two services: Nelio A/B Testing and Nelio Content. You’re currently using our Nelio Content plugin in your own website, but that’s only one part of the equation. How does our plugin help you? What other marketing actions do you take to increase the effectiveness of your campaigns?
Nelio Content helps me stay on track, see what my content flow looks like and gives me the ability to automatically keep promoting that content through social messages far beyond the day I published the content. It keeps me honest. 🙂 If you’re writing evergreen content, you should and can share it months later. Nelio Content helps me do that and saves me a lot of time in the process.
Getting people to the site is just one step of the journey. No one buys in to what you’re offering in one visit or one article, so you should build out the journey that illustrates the story every step of the way for your customers. I work with an email marketing program and an automation tool to build out customer journeys based on what brings someone to my site –it’s a huge advantage if you plan ahead. It’s a lot of setup work, but spending the time upfront gives you so much more information about your visitors that you can work with, so it’s worth it. Just remember to capture the details somewhere, so you know what you’ve done and when that focus changes, you remember what to change with it.
You learn more from failure than from success. There’s plenty we might be doing wrong with our marketing campaigns and it’s quite common to carry out marketing actions that are less effective than what we’d expect. Could you share one of your worst experiences on this subject with us?
Failure is a part of marketing and I agree 100%, it’s how we learn. I think the worst thing you can do with your marketing campaigns is to push them out in the world and leave them alone. I’ve had campaigns pushed out with large dollar amounts behind them and then never touched again –it’s such a waste of resources. Any marketing campaign comes with assumptions, some of which will fail. Your job as the marketer is to test those assumptions. If you don’t have a strong analytics engine to show you the results at every turning point along the way, you’re losing the opportunity to refine, build or change what you started with into something more effective.
I think companies tend to pull the plug on activities too soon, as well. If a campaign doesn’t perform immediately, they’ll drop it and change tactics. Instead, you should give the campaign time to gather actionable information to further tailor your assumptions: did your audience take the intended actions at the first CTA? If not, make changes there and tweak until you get the response you want. Then keep moving down the chain of actions until you’re seeing uplifts. Consider your campaigns a diamond in the rough when it launches… and then use your data to give it the TLC to polish it into something that truly shines.
Finally, did we miss something you’d like to point out? Any final words of advice?
I was thrilled to see the unscheduled draft ability pop into Nelio Content Calendar –it’s a must when using the calendar to build out ideas. So thanks for adding that in –I love that you listen to customers.
One thing I would love to see in Nelio Content: right now, with creating a schedule of social messages, often times I’ll have one day in a week that is stacked full with social posts and the rest of the week has none. I’d love to see the ability to set maximums per day –especially if you’re like me and you try to post content on the same days each week for consistency.
If we could be able to set limits on certain types of messages each day (such as No more than X messages on twitter in one day, so message moves to next day) or an integration with buffer which does build based on set schedule options, that would be great.
Wow! Thanks, Jeannie, for answering our questions and your great contribution. And thank you all for following us and reading these interviews. Stay tuned for the next one!
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