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Archive for Making Marketing Work

Twitter BirdTwitter is a micro-blogging site that has grown into one of the most popular social media sites available. To communicate with your followers you send short messages called tweets. These tweets can be used to build your business by building relationships.

With close to a billion active users, Twitter is a powerful force in the online marketing world. But, as with any marketing tool or method you do need to use it properly. Below are twelve things you can do to increase your following and beef-up your business.

1. Interesting and Complete Profile – Unfortunately you are only allowed 140 characters to sum up who you are in your profile so it has to be better than good. If you are tweeting for your business be sure to use your real name. Do not use cutesy or clever pun names. You need to be straightforward and let people know who you are. Use a “casual professional” photo of yourself. You don’t need to look like a stuffed shirt but you don’t want to look like you’re ready for a night on the town either. List your professional skills and/or accomplishments in your bio and ad your link.

2. Timing – There are good times to tweet and bad so do some testing and find the best times to tweet. Finding the best tweet times is not easy but there are tools to help you. Tweriod analyzes your tweets and your followers’ tweets to give you the best times. TweetWhen will let you know the days and times when you get the most retweets.

3. Repeats are Good – A lot of people would say to always post new and interesting information but if you repeat your popular posts periodically, it will help you get more followers. Just search for your name and see which posts got the most replies and retweets. Repost those tweets a few times but not too close together.

4. Follow Autofollow – Some Twitter experts encourage the use of Autofollow. This is an automated service that allows Twitter users to automatically follow people who have followed them. Look for people who follow a lot of people but have the same amount of followers. This could be an indication of Autofollow. If you follow that person, they will automatically follow you back. But be wary of spam followers. They will be following thousands of people but will not have the same amount of followers like a person using Autofollow. Read More→

tackleAlthough Facebook started out as a place for people to meet and share personal thoughts and opinions, it has gained major status as a way to promote your business. With a billion monthly users, Facebook is the most popular social media site. When used properly for your business, the effect could be quite substantial.

The idea is to get as many people to “Like” your posts and follow your pages as possible. But in doing so, remember the old adage – Quality, Not Quantity! You want your numbers to consist of targeted and responsive followers.

Below are ten mistakes many people make when engaging in Facebook’s vast social network. Some people may not even realize they are floundering so go over each fumble carefully to ensure that you are not part of the losing team.

1. Incomplete profile and Business Information – Not filling in all your information suggests that you have something to hide. Be sure to fill out every aspect of the information forms. Be forthcoming and give out all pertinent information.

2. Wrong Profile Pic – When you are trying to build a business on Facebook you don’t want to use inappropriate pictures for your profile. Don’t use a picture of your pet cat or your family get-togethers. Use a photo of yourself looking straight ahead. Do not wear sunglasses or avert your eyes in any way. Do not overdo on make-up or look like you are going to a party. Always smile and just be yourself. A picture can be worth a thousand words.

3. Too Much Posting – You probably have read that you should post regularly to your page, but by the same token, posting too much can have as many adverse results as not posting enough.

4. Lengthy Posts – Bite-sized posts are much more likely to get read and responded to than long, flowing text. Facebook research shows that if your post has over 100 but fewer than  250 characters, it will have a 60% better chance of getting a response. So try to keep your posts between 100-250 characters for optimum response.

5. Mobile Unfriendly – Mobile marketing is making a big splash in the internet world and you need to be prepared. You need to be aware of the size of your posts and images in that they will fit and be readable on mobile devices. Keep your photos about 600 pixels wide by 400 pixels high and your text should be no more than 100 characters long. Read More→

Nov
10

Social Media Equals Holiday Sales

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iStock_000021708110XSmallThe holidays are again upon us. We hardly have time to recover from the holiday season and it is here again! Marketing during this time can be challenging but yet very rewarding. Utilizing your social media for your holiday marketing is not only cost effective but extremely important. Social media has evolved and is more relevant to your holiday marketing than ever.

Last year consumers spent billions online shopping for the holidays and your company needs to become a part of that spending. Below are some techniques and strategies to help you elevate your social media marketing for the holiday season and increase your sales for this critical time of year.

1. Holiday Spirit – Use holiday images, icons and other graphics to show your followers, fans and friends that you are in the holiday spirit and ready to give. Make your social media pages and posts “feel” warm and fuzzy. Make your pages a place people want to visit again and again to get that warm feeling the holiday season brings.

2. Pay It Forward – Make it a point to offer a portion of the sales to charity. Give the customer his or her choice to what charity you will donate to from their proceeds. Helping others is a crucial part of the holidays so make sure you are right there doing as much as you can.

3. Holiday Events – Events are an important part of marketing any time of year but can be even more vital during the holidays. Who doesn’t love a great contest or giveaway? Using the holiday theme can make them even more fun and satisfying. Hold a “Funniest Christmas Story” contest or “Most Outrageous Halloween Costume” event. Throw a holiday party and give away prizes, gifts and discounts. Use your imagination and creativity and do something totally unique!

4. Holiday Countdown – Count down the days until each holiday while giving daily prizes, incentives and special offers. Provide a different sale special each day. Give prizes each day. We have all heard of the 12 Days of Christmas marketing campaign but take it a step further with each holiday throughout the season.

5. Holiday Help – Take this time to post content to help get your followers through the stressful holiday season. Offer ideas on how to save money, gift ideas, cooking tips, stress reducers and more. Let your followers know you care and want to help make their holidays a little easier. Read More→

wwwWriting relevant and helpful website and/or blog content is one of the most effective ways to market your online business. Some of the older traditional marketing methods do not produce the same results they used to so more advanced and effective methods need to be utilized.

Writing optimized content is beneficial to your business in many ways. It can provide quality backlinks to your site and thus bringing you more targeted traffic. It can help build your reputation which in turn will build trust and respect among your potential customers. Content marketing can also substantially elevate your search engine rankings.

Below are ten ideas you should utilize in your content writing to help increase the chances of higher search engine rankings.

1. Relevant Content – Be sure to actually write relevant and beneficial content. The more valuable your information, the more results you will see. Search engines can see through transparent attempts to mask a keyword dense sales pitch with false content. Read your article and honestly judge whether the information is actually helpful to others. Is the content information that you would find useful? Does your article explain things effectively? Does the information pertain to the subject at hand?

2. Yes Keywords, but Watch the Density – Have you ever read an article that was so loaded with keywords that it sounded ridiculously redundant? Keywords are important but just sprinkle them in so they sound natural. The first paragraph or two is the best place to disperse your keywords. After that, you want to use other less repetitive words so as not to overstuff your content.

3. Quality Not Quantity – You, of course, want to get your content read by as many people as possible but submitting to every article directory you can find is not the effective way. Find a few quality article directories and blogs to which you can submit your content. By mass submitting you can even run the risk of getting penalized for too many links too quickly. Choose a smaller amount of relevant power sites to submit to and your content and links will be given more importance which will, in turn, increase the chances of higher rankings. Read More→

letterBuilding an online business is certainly not easy, especially when you are on a very limited budget. It has been my experience that numerous entrepreneurs and home-based business owners overlook some very effective and free advertising opportunities.

Some examples of these result producing techniques are:

1. Welcome Letter for Subscribers – I subscribe to tons of groups and ezines and am sometimes disappointed when I get a default welcome letter. Welcoming a subscriber or group member is one of the most potentially effective tactics for your business.  Personalize the welcome by introducing yourself and letting the person know about your website and what you offer and how that will benefit them. This is a crucial moment in that you can start connecting and forming that relationship with your reader before they even get your ezine or mailing.

* Inform them of any exclusive specials you have.

* Tell them your advertising rates and add a testimonial or two.

* Invite them to your site to utilize the free resources.

* Let them know your email and that they can contact you anytime with questions, comments, etc.

* Use some of the space for add swapping with other publishers.

* Highlight any of your best products or affiliate products you may be marketing.

2. Goodbye Letter – When you lose a reader or subscriber, you have one last chance to get them to purchase a product or service from you. Utilize it to the fullest. Thank them for being a subscriber and encourage them to re-sub at any time. Be sure to ask them why they have left so you are able to make any possible improvements. Read More→

groupAs many of us have probably experienced, social media marketing can be a very powerful tool in building our business. Although some say the popularity of Facebook is declining, it is still one of the most popular social media sites and, if used effectively, can do a lot for your business.

One beneficial feature of Facebook you can utilize to build your business is the ability to create your own Facebook networking group.

To create your own group simply go to your homepage and look to the left for the Groups section. Then click the Create Group button and a window will appear for you to name your group, add members and choose your privacy settings. Once you have done that, click Create.

Once your group is created, you will be taken to your group. To set everything up, click the little flower icon at the top right and then Edit Group Settings. There you will put in your group description, tags, group email, images, etc. And you’re done! So now what?

What do you do once you have your group? Below are some tips to help you manage your group effectively.

1. Naming Your Group – The name of your group is very important so be sure to spend some time on this decision. Use relevant keywords and be sure to make it clear what the group is about. For example: if you are starting a group for home business owners to learn how to build their business do not call the group something like Kathy’s Home Group or Networking with Kathy. Give it a targeted name with power such as Home Business Success Group or Network of Home Business Owners.

2. Fill All Fields Correctly – You do not want your group to appear as if you just threw it together in a few minutes. Be sure to fill out everything in the group’s profile and be sure not to have any grammatical or spelling errors. Read More→

websitesIf your website is your place of business you must build it for your customers’ needs as opposed to your own. Many people make the mistake of filling their website with useless graphics or meaningless text. Ask yourself this question, “Is this helping my customer in any way?”

When building your website, there are many small and overlooked mistakes you could be making. The list below covers some of the more common blunders that can easily be fixed.

1. No Consistency or Uniformity – Your website should remain uniform throughout. Do not make each page a different color or design. This will only succeed in confusing your customers and more than likely cause them to go elsewhere. Design your website to flow easily and consistently.

2. Confusing Navigation – Having a uniform design is one major step to user-friendly navigation but you must also use simplicity and cleanliness. Do not clutter up your pages with ads, graphics or flash. Keep your pages, clean, sleek and easy to follow. I have been to some sites that had dozens of banners lining up both sides of their pages. This is not only annoying but will cause you to lose most of your visitors quite quickly!

3. Ineffective Color Choices – Something seemingly irrelevant as color can have a lot to do with your site’s success or failure. Research the psychology of color and make wise choices for your business website. When choosing your color scheme, consider your target market, the message you want to send out and the color’s emotional effect on your visitors.

4. Click to Enter Site – Have you clicked on a link anxiously wanting to see what a site has to offer and then you see a page that says, “Click to Enter Our Site”? I have seen this numerous times and frankly it always baffles me why someone would do this. You have just seconds to capture a person’s attention so why would you put a meaningless message and extra click for them to deal with? Read More→

wwwWhen getting started with a new online business one of the first things you need to do is choose a domain name. This step is much more important than you might realize. An appropriate and effective domain could decide your website’s fate.

Unfortunately many people will be so involved in the design and set-up of the website they will overlook the importance of selecting the proper domain name. Your domain name will be your website’s identity and it will also be the doorway for people to purchase your products and/or services.

The following checklist will guide you and help you keep in mind some of the things you need to consider when choosing your domain.

1. Keep It Short and Simple – Keeping your domain name short, simple and easy to remember will make it easier for people to get to your site. You want a domain that is easy to spell and type. Don’t use big fancy words or commonly misspelled words such as believe, amateur or collectible. You can find lists of the most commonly misspelled words and if they are in your domain, consider using a thesaurus to find an alternative.

2. Use Your Name – In my opinion, it is a good choice to use your name in your domain. This will be a binding agent for your website your business and you. If your last name is long and hard to spell, consider using your first name. This way if people do not remember your entire URL, they will be likely to remember your name and can still find you. I have had many people who did not remember my specific URL search for me by using my name.

3. Don’t Try to Be Cute and Clever – Cutesy and fun work with some things but it is not appropriate for your domain. Don’t use puns or a “clever” play on words. For example: Flickr.

Using this trendy name probably sounded like a good idea at the time but they finally had to purchase the correct spelling domain flicker.com Doing this will just make your domain hard to remember and/or it will more than likely get typed incorrectly and you lose the traffic.

4. Hyphens and Numbers – There are actually a couple of advantages to using hyphens but in my opinion, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. Hyphens actually make it easier for the search engines to distinguish your keywords. Hyphens could also make it possible for you to get the domain you want if the regular version is already taken. But, hyphens will more than likely cause you to lose traffic because people will not always realize your url contains hyphens.

If your domain is beautiful-jewelry.com and you tell people to check out your site, Beautiful Jewelry, you will lose traffic. It is easy to lose the hyphen when spreading the word about your site. And it will make it more complicated for people to remember. It’s the same with numbers. BeautifulJewelry1.com will be much less remembered and found then BeautifulJewelry.com Read More→

blogAs with social networking sites, blogging started out as a way to share your thoughts, opinions and feelings. Starting in the late 1990’s blogging has now evolved into an essential part of online marketing. If your business does not yet have a blog, it is time to get started.

Tools such as WordPress give everyone an opportunity to start a blog fairly easily. Once you start your blog, you will need followers to make your blog active and effective. Building a large and loyal following will take time, commitment and work but the results will absolutely be worth the effort.

Below are some strategies and tips you can utilize to begin building your blog’s traffic.

1. Use the Search Engines – Be friendly to the search engines. Optimize your keywords, link those keywords to other blog posts and utilize search engine plugins. Each post needs a keyword rich meta description as well. Another easy tip you can follow is to use hyphens instead of underscores in your urls. The search engines read hyphens as a space but not underscores. Using post titles in your urls is another way to get more positive attention from the search engines.

2. Get Readers from Other Blogs – Consider the blogging world a big party. By standing in the corner and not participating in conversations or talking to other people, you will end up alone. The same holds true to blogging. You need to get out amongst the crowd. Participate in conversations and attract people’s attention. Get them interested in you so they will come to your party (blog).

3. Bring Your Blog to Life – Be passionate in your posts. Let your personality shine through. Give your content life and energy. Do not overdo with personal posts. Don’t complain about a messy house or the kids giving you problems. You are there to provide helpful content for your readers, not whine. Keep it professional but let your readers get to know you. Show your readers you really care about them and your blog.

4. Hold Contests – Be creative in ways to make commenting on your blog fun. Have a ‘Secret Word” contest. Pick your word and let your readers know that whoever uses that word the most in their comments wins a prize. Hold a referral contest. So many referrals to your blog wins a prize. Let your readers post their contests as well. Cross promote each other and get more followers for all. Read More→

About saleten years ago I wrote an article called “15 Ways to Advertise for Free.” At that time the advertising methods detailed in the article were very popular and quite effective. But because of the ever-changing internet and evolving technology, I thought it would be interesting to revisit these strategies and see how they have changed over the years and if they still produce results.

1. Message Boards – Message boards were a great way to network and make connections. Web-based message boards date as far back as the early nineties. Today, however, we have evolved into more advanced versions of message boards such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. A few message boards may still be around and could be mildly effective but they most certainly have seen a huge decline. Social media sites have taken over as the new internet forums.

2. eMail Discussion Groups – eMail discussion groups are another method of networking and connecting but it is done through email rather than a website. People subscribe to a group and participate in the discussions and offer advice, information and help. Such groups have evolved but are still very active and effective for internet business owners.

3. Ad Swaps – Ad swaps used to be one of my favorite marketing techniques. I would contact fellow ezine publishers and arrange to do an ad swap with them. This would very often lead to a lasting association. It is how I met many of my online business associates who also became friends. Although ad swapping can still be very effective, unfortunately it seems to have fallen in popularity.

4. Link Exchange – When exchanging links first became popular back in the nineties, everyone threw up a link directory and exchanged links with every site possible. Now, this is a very bad idea as irrelevant links can cause more harm to your ranking than good. It is now better to have a few quality relevant backlinks to your site rather than linking to every kind of site available. The search engines will actually penalize you for having too many unrelated links posted on your site. You also want to provide helpful links for your visitors so be selective in your linking choices. Read More→

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