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Social Media Isn’t for Cowards

It's easy to share your about yourself or your opinions when you are hanging out with a close group of friends.  Even if they disagree with you, odds are the conversation will be fairly respectful (maybe a few friendly digs) but you will get your point across and no one will be bleeding. Sharing on social media Isn't for cowards. To do so in the Social Media channels can potentially be a risk.  You don't know who will see it, or how they will respond to it. It doesn't even have to be an opinion - Social Media is filled with misunderstood ad campaigns that simply pissed someone or some group off and a fire storm ensued. Do it anyway. I don't mean go out there and intentionally start pissing people off, or to get into a massive political debate, like we saw in the last presidential election.  But I do mean to share your truth - share a post that is all YOU. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of massage therapists, accountants, life coaches, etc who all share the same thing.   The differentiator  in your business is you.  No one does exactly what you do in the way you do it.  More importantly, no one gets the same exact joy by doing what you do.... share that.   Share the experience of doing business with you so you will stand out from the hundreds of others. I have a lot of competition in my industry - and I don't mind it.  It keeps me sharp and quite frankly honest to myself, to my clients and to my community.  I share what I do, how I do it and why I do it, [...]

Add a Facebook “Like” button to your Web Site

By adding a like button to your web site, you allow Facebook users to share your content on their Facebook Wall. Like buttons outside of Facebook work the same as they do within Facebook.  When a user clicks the like button, the link to the "liked" page appears on their wall.   The idea, of course, is to encourage Facebook users to share more outside content with the Facebook Community. It works for you, as it gives you the opportunity to get more viral hits from the Facebook community. Goto Facebook's Social Plug in's page and select "Like Button":  http://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/like Enter in the URL of the page you want the button to appear on:  I used http://www.newward.com/articles/ to put a Like button on this blog. You can customize the appearance settings,  I made the button narrower at 300 px. You can also change the word "Like" to "Recommend" Click on get code I used the iFrame Code and plugged it into the sidebar of the blog (see upper right) You can have your web developer add the button to static web pages, or any where on your web site. And Boom!  Instant Like Button :) Give it a try.  Let me know how you make out.... any place else you'd put a "Like" button?

Group Your Facebook Friends

Facebook allows you to have up to 5,000 friends.  That is a lot of people to keep track of and engage.  To make you life easier, group friends into categories or lists that are manageable. Go to your profile page, click on your friends list and then select “New List”.  (* Note – I have problems with this in IE7, it locks up –  use Firefox)  Type in a name for your list and hit enter.  Then go through your list of friends and add them to this new list.  Do this as many times as you feel necessary. I have a list for “Social” friends, Clients, my daughter and her friends, my Rotary people, among others. When you go to your home page, you can click the drop down on the right hand side and view the river for only those people on a particular list.  The additional benefit is that you can set specific privacy settings for lists.  My daughter and her friends do not need to see all my networking, so I limit what items they see in my activity river.    Give it a try!  Leave me a comment and let me know how you make out.

How to Use LinkedIn to Expand Your Reach

Image via CrunchBase As a member of LinkedIn you have the opportunity to connect with business associates, post a “resume”, solicit testimonials from clients and co-workers and position yourself as an expert by answering questions posted by other users.  I covered these basic topics in Getting the Most of Your LinkedIn Profile.  Take a look through one of your connection’s list.  Is there anyone there that you believe can benefit your business?  Better yet, is there anyone there who’s business your services or product can benefit?  Ask your connection for an introduction.  Once that introduction is forwarded, you have the opportunity to directly connect with that prospect and communicate one on one.  Think about LinkedIn as a virtual networking mixer.  People are gathered around with the purpose of making real connections; they interact, shake hands, ask questions and get answers.  Those that you connect with best are added to your list of contacts to follow up with at a later date.  LinkedIn has recently added some social networking applications to increase the connectivity of its members.   My favorite so far is the Wordpress application.  This allows me to put my blog posts on my LinkedIn Profile.  This gives my connections the opportunity to see what I write about and am an expert on.  It also drives more traffic to my web site.  I installed the events application as well, giving my connections the opportunity to see where I am holding a seminar or what events I am attending in case they’d like to join in the fun.   Other applications allow you to create a virtual workspace, share presentations, see who’s traveling where, add polls and keep track of the buzz about your company.   LinkedIn had to [...]

What is Crowdsourcing?

According to Wikipedia: Crowdsourcing is a neologism (a word not yet accepted by the mainstream) for the act of taking a task traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people, in the form of an open call. Wikipedia itself is an excellent example of crowdsourcing.  Wikipedia enlists the help of a large group of people to share the task of writing and expanding the online information source.  Other examples of crowdsourcing are iStockphoto and plethera of web sites where you can purchase stock photographs from many photographers at a significantly lower price then hiring a photographer yourself. Who's into crowdsourcing? Getty Images recently paid $50 million for iStockphoto, a Web site where more than 23,000 amateur photographers upload and distribute their stock photographs. Hipster clothing company Threadless.com prints and sells t-shirts designed by people on its Web site. Linden Lab's 3-D virtual world, Second Life, allows people to create and retain the intellectual property rights on new businesses, brands, and personalities. Business Week 9/25/08 Croudsouring is an excellent method of generating new, innovative ideas within an organization or industry that otherwise seems "locked" in the box.  It is also a very effective method for fund raising.  A large group of people giving small donations may be a more viable growth strategy for not-for-profits  then focusing on a single donor with large pockets.  Best of all, geography no longer factors into the equation.  The Internet has removed the borders from the talent that can be tapped. Web 2.0 has created a proliferation of web sites that offer the consumer the ability to be vested in product design, generate ideas or provide the actual product.  Croudsourcing at it's best?  See Crowdsourcing, [...]

The Importance of Overdelivering

As an online merchant, your customers cannot see your face. They cannot hear your voice when you are recommending your products, and they cannot see the emotions on your face when you are telling your customers what benefits they can derive out of your products. The Internet is a level playing field for every Internet marketer and merchant out there. The sheer connectivity means that you can reach every individual in the world. You are not limited by geographic constraints and anyone can be your customer or client. This is precisely why you should overdeliver. When every competitor of yours has access to everyone in the market, your only way of winning the battle is to overdeliver, again and again. When you overdeliver, you present yourself as a person with the customer’s interest at heart. You become a trusted friend and not a greed-driven marketer out looking for their money. Overdelivering is simply your only way to differentiate yourself from your competitors. You can start overdelivering by providing superb support for your customers. How many times have you been turned away with rude answers when asking about a certain product you purchased? Compare that with the number of times you have been provided very good service, as if you're being helped by a personal friend. The ratio is just off balance, proving how scarce good customer support is. By providing excellent support to your customers and answering to their every needs patiently, you will gain customers that are fiercely loyal to you because they know you have their best interest at heart. When you provide excellent customer support, you're already ahead of most of your competitors. Take it a step further and think: in what [...]

How Not For Profits Can Succeed Online – Part 1

I recently participated on a panel for the Tech Valley Not For Profit Council on how to effectively use Web 2.0 in Not For Profit marketing efforts.  By the time I and the 2 other panalists were finished, the majority of the attendees' heads were spinning with all the information they just received.  It takes a while to absorb something that is so vastly different from what you are used to... so I figured that putting it in plain English might be of some help. Not For Profit companies have to Create awareness for their product / service Obtain donors and supporters for their cause Reach the people they want to help With marketing having to take place on 3 fronts simultaneously, how does a Not for Profit succeed online? First and foremost - you have to tell your story.  As I have stated a hundred times, the most successful business owners are the ones who are passionate about what they are doing.   So passionate that they never get sick of talking about their business, their goals, the successes and the lessons learned along the way.  The majority of people who are involved in a Not For Profit, are there because they believe in the cause and are passionate about what they are doing.   The problem is, they get so caught up in the "daily must-do's" that they forget to share their passion and the real reason they are part of the organization.  The stories Not For Profits have to share have the potential to be the most compelling of all.  Most Not For Profits exist to serve a segment of the population who are suffering from disease, environment or a particular set of circumstances.  [...]

How to maximize profits from your mailing list

Everyone talks about how to get people on your mailing list - but what do you do with them once they are there? Common practice is to get a big list going then break it down into smaller pieces. Set up an autoresponder to send out a newsletter to keep in touch with your customers or prospects. Create a second list with follow up messages in your autoresponder for an "up-sell" product of yours or an affiliate product. Create a landing page within your web site for that product with a new sign up box that will place interested people on your new list. When sending out your newsletter, offer free information (a small e-course, free report, etc) on that product, supply the link to your new landing page. This will place a group of people on your new list.  The first message people receive is the download link for the report or day 1 of the mini-course.  If you are using a mini course, make sure you send out follow ups within a reasonable time frame - no greater then every 4 days. Rinse and repeat. Keep doing this for each market segment you are trying to niche out.  The result will be a higher buy rate since only the people who want that product (or product group) will sign up.  Segment 1 may be interested in weight loss products, segment 2 may be interested in organic facial cleansers - some may be interested in both.  By breaking your big list down into smaller lists, you are creating your own market niches - which is always easier to sell to, leveraging your time and increasing your income.

7 Ways to Drive Laser-Targeted Traffic

An affiliate marketer may have all the things needed for him to be able to succeed in a business such as affiliate marketing.  He may have the necessary drive, diligence and perseverance to be able to understand how the system works.  He may have all the tools necessary in maintaining the business, including a really unique and interesting website which could earn him a fortune if only the whole world could see it.  However, all these would prove useless if he does not know how to drive traffic to his website.  His business would sink into oblivion together with all the sales, fortune and dreams that he might have realized if he only knew how to do this particular task. Getting people who matter to see one’s website is a difficult undertaking if he tries to consider the fact that there are rivals everywhere waiting to pin him down.  The immensity of the internet as well as the affiliate marketing world has given birth to the fierce competition between affiliate marketers, each of whom has his own great product to offer.  With all the websites piling on top of each other, how would one be able to stand out?  The seven best ways to drive laser-targeted traffic to one’s own website would help those who are bent on sticking it out with this business wherever it is bound to take them. The first step in driving traffic to one’s website is by relying on search engines and what they can do for the affiliate marketer concerned.  Because they are popular for driving free targeted traffic, they should not be ignored by all means.  Having top search engine rankings is vital in building popularity links, and [...]

Back to Basics Keyword Density

Keyword density is an indicator of the number of times the selected keyword appears in the web page. But mind you, keywords shouldn’t be over used, but should be just sufficient enough to appear at important places.   If you repeat your keywords with every other word on every line, then your site will probably be rejected as an artificial site or spam site.   Keyword density is always expressed as a percentage of the total word content on a given web page.   Suppose you have 100 words on your webpage (not including HMTL code used for writing the web page), and you use a certain keyword for five times in the content. The keyword density on that page is got by simply dividing the total number of keywords, by the total number of words that appear on your web page. So here it is 5 divided by 100 = .05. Because keyword density is a percentage of the total word count on the page, multiply the above by 100, that is 0.05 x 100 = 5%   The accepted standard for a keyword density is between 4% and 6%, to get recognized by the search engines and you should never exceed it.   Remember, that this rule applies to every page on your site. It also applies to not just to one keyword but also a set of keywords that relates to a different product or service. The keyword density should always be between 3% and 5%.   Simple steps to check the density: Copy and paste the content from an individual web page into a word-processing software program like Word or Word Perfect. Go to the ‘Edit’ menu and click ‘Select All’. [...]