Using Your Website As A Marketing Tool

It took me about four years to decide it was time to create another product. This time, it wasn’t going to be about leadership or management, but about websites.

This is my first e-book, Using Your Website As A Marketing Tool, and it’s up there in the most prominent sales spot of this blog. The story behind this one starts in November 2006.

I’ve mentioned here and there that I am a member of an organization called the Professional Consultants Association of Central New York; I’m also on the board. What happened is that the Monday before our November meeting that year the president sent out a notice saying that our speaker had canceled at the last minute. He asked all the board members what we should do about the meeting on Friday. I don’t know what I was thinking about, but I volunteered to do a presentation on search engine optimization (SEO).

The funny thing is that I was already giving a presentation on Wednesday on hospital charge changes as it relates to coding that was going into effect on January 1st. So I already had one presentation that I’d been rehearsing for, and here I was volunteering for another one; I must’ve been out of my mind. Still, I was up for the challenge.

After the presentation I gave on that Wednesday, I came home and I sat at my desk trying to figure out exactly what I was going to talk about for my presentation on Friday. Late that evening, I came up with an idea that was going to put something together, and I went to bed around 4 AM, woke at 9 AM, and spent the next seven hours putting it together. I thought it was pretty good, and then did a little bit of rehearsing to get the time down, figuring that just because I was doing a last-minute presentation didn’t mean that I had the luxury of walking in and not being prepared. I do consider myself a professional after all.

The next morning I gave my presentation, and let’s just say that it went over very well. It was like I was bringing a whole new concept to these guys, and seeing as how at the time I was probably the youngest person in the room, I can understand that; isn’t that a shame? Anyway, afterwards I ended up having some of the members of the organization asking me if I would do some things with their websites. I thought that was pretty cool, and I realized there was another way I could generate some income. As you know I’m a big proponent of The Secret, where it says that you never know where an opportunity for success will come from, and I figured this might be one of those ways.

At that time I also decided it was time to create a new business website, so I came up with the name SEO Xcellence; actually, all those letters were initially linked together, but for some reason people couldn’t see the one word without seeing the word “sex”, even though I couldn’t see it. So it took me about a year but I finally made the change to what you see above (as of December 2014 the site has been shut down).

A year later I created this blog, and a few months in, with very little traffic and a whole lot of chutzpah, I decided to see if I could do a legitimate product launch. Truthfully, I had no real idea what I was doing, and the truth of the matter is that I didn’t have enough people following me on this blog or Twitter for that matter for it to have had a chance at success. Yet, I still gave it a shot.

I wrote the book, I sent it out to a few people I not only trusted, but figured might learn a couple of things about the topic. I got positive reviews from everyone, and luckily one guy really scrutinized it and saw some typos in it, and once I get those corrected I was ready to go. So I announced that the ebook was coming, and five days later I had the product launch.

In retrospect it was a moronic way for me to do it. You don’t do a product launch with only five days notice because there is no way you can build up enough enthusiasm in only five days. Also, you need followers, or at least some kind of big list of people you can send something out to, and I had neither. So on the day of the launch I sold two books, then didn’t sell another book for about a year and a half. Still, I have made some sales, and it’s a product that helps me advertise how I can help small to medium-size businesses with their websites and internet presence.

There’s the story of Using Your Website As A Marketing Tool. It will be interesting to see if the search engines think that the title indicates that this is a duplicate or triplicate post, since I’ve probably had at least two other posts with the same title on them; probably not. I made sure when I wrote this not to make it too complicated, so it’s not overly long. But it is about 56 pages worth of information, and if you’re new to the whole thing I think if you liked how I write explanations on this blog of things you will like that ebook.

And that’s that; one more product to go.
 

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Working Out; My Gym Update

Many people might not care, but I’m revisiting my health progress as it pertains to going to the gym. Part of this is a little bit of narcissism; part of this is accountability; and part of this is just sharing the realities of what working out is all about. It could help someone, entertain someone, or bore someone to death; this blog is called I’m Just Sharing after all.


by David Shankbone

It seems the last time I wrote about the health club at all was back in July; I can’t believe it’s been that long. I’m betting y’all thought I had given it up and gone back to the bad stuff. Well, there have been some changes, so let’s get to it. By the way, that’s not me; even I can’t lie that well. lol

I’m still going to the gym. I’m going 4 to 6 times a week still; it’s hard to believe. I find that I actually like going, mainly because of my MP3 player and all the songs I have on there. I really hadn’t had that much time to listen to all the songs I have on my computer, and the time I’m at the gym allows me to listen to many of them. Sometimes I go twice a day, once in the morning then again when my wife gets home. Sometimes our Friday night date night is spent at the gym; now that’s sad!

I finally lost some pounds, though not close to what I want to lose. I had talked about joining the health club and gaining 9 pounds; what the hey? Well, it wasn’t until I went on a metabolic eating plan that I started losing weight. I’ve lost about 15 pounds, which is fine except all it accounts for is losing the weight I gained and then a little bit more. But my doctor is happy with it and I’ll take what I can get.

The biggest change has been inches. Truthfully, I look at myself and still see the same guy. But last weekend I put on my suit for a funeral and was stunned at how nice it fit. When I got on the plane to fly to Ft. Lauderdale I was amazed at how much more room I had in the seat and with the seatbeat; that felt nice. Many people who haven’t seen me in awhile say they see a big difference; I’ll take that. The measurements don’t lie; I’ve lost at least 4 inches everywhere on my body except my neck and calves. There’s no exercise for the neck, and my calves were already rock hard and have remained so, only losing about an inch.

My glucose readings still fluctuate, depending on how well I’m following the metabolic plan. Sometimes I drop too low; that’s never good, but it’s my fault. A part of this plan, oddly enough, is making sure I eat enough food so my body has something to burn. When I was doing well I was only having one dessert a week. Well, I knew I wouldn’t be able to stick with that, but I’m not eating it every night or day, and that’s a big step forward, though the cravings are hard to overcome.

Anyway, that’s my tale. I now find that I miss those days when I can’t exercise; who’d have thought? And I like the loss of inches, even if it’s not fully translating into weight loss. My wife says it’s coming if I keep it up; we’ll see.


Link to iTREAD
 

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Mitchell Manager Training Program

When I first went into business for myself, I only had plans on working in leadership and management consulting and training. I figured that I needed products, and you’ve seen some of the early products I created. I started thinking that I needed a product that could be seen as a legitimate training program.

The Mitchell Manager Training Program (you notice that everything has been named “Mitchell” in it; I’m terrible at titles) came from a mixture of some seminars I’d done on leadership as well as taking parts of my book in integrating it into a full training program. The idea was to give tips to folks who were going to be new managers or leaders of some type, but to make it simple so that they could actually learn some of the tips and apply them to the job they had to do later on.

One of the problems I’ve seen with some training manuals is that those things are really difficult to understand without someone helping them learn all the concepts. This training program, which comes in around 130 pages, has five different sections with a mini test at the end of each one. The fourth section of the training program is actually more on stress and budget management than it is actual managing, something I’ve never seen in any other training manual for managers.

With this particular product, there really wasn’t much of a story behind it except I knew it was something I had to create. Of course, one of the problems I had with it is that I couldn’t really find anyone to test it on. So what I did was have a few people read it and give it a shot and asked them their opinion of it. It got a pretty good rating from people, but it wasn’t the type of thing that I felt really could lend itself all that well to testimonials, so I let it go. I think I sold only two of these over the course of all the years I’ve been marketing it, but that’s okay.

And thus I’ve introduced the Mitchell Manager Training Program to you, and it being Thanksgiving day, it’s also the shortest of my little advertisements. Hope y’all have enjoyed your turkey for the day, at least those of you in the United States who had turkey today. 🙂

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Keys To Leadership

My Keys To Leadership CDs is something I’ve written about before on this blog, so you can check that post out if you’d like. Of course, the back story is so much more fun. But I told that story on the other post; what more is there?

The day I did the first seminar, which led to the first CD, I was at a crossroads in the early part of my career. I wasn’t a happy guy. I was doing some sporadic subcontracting work with this other company that was leaving me very frustrated. The money was good, but the working relationship was not.

I’m all about communications. When I was a director, I made sure to keep the lines of communications open with those who worked for and with me. If something needed explaining, I made sure to do it right, especially if I needed it done a specific way. The owner of the company I was doing the work for wasn’t quite that type. She expected people to just know how she wanted things. That might have been fine for the people who worked for her where she lived, which was in the Baltimore, MD area, but I didn’t see her on a daily basis. I knew my work, but not how she wanted it presented all the time. Sometimes I’d give it to her and it’d be what she wanted, while other times I’d present it to her and she’d say that’s not what she wanted, without an explanation.

Still, it was bringing in money that I needed. But I wasn’t happy, and I knew I was going to have to make a decision at some point. That’s another reason I had set the seminars up, and even though I’d definitely picked the wrong time to do them (you’ll have to go to that other link to learn why), I figured it might tell me something about myself no matter what happened.

I gave the presentation that Wednesday night and it felt really good. And the topics I discussed made me realize that it was time to end that association, to drop that client for my mental health. So when I came home I wrote her, since she never answered her phone, and said I was done. And you know what? She never responded, never acknowledged, never asked me why… as if I didn’t exist. She could have cared less; I meant nothing to her except a body that might have had a few skills, and based on how she was treating me, I’d started to question that as well.

For the next two months I was floundering; that loss of money was big, and my mind wasn’t in a great place. Then I got my mind in a better place, not only after revisiting my own words when I was creating the sound files, but that’s when I started getting into motivational things. Within two weeks of starting that process I had both a short term project then a very long term project, and I was on my way.

And that’s the rest of the story. Anyway, this is am immediate download product; you can buy either one or both presentations, and on the site there’s also a sample clip, for those of you who’ve never heard any of the interviews I’ve done, so you can hear my voice as well. Here’s the product link to Keys To Leadership, which is also there to the left underneath my book.

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Let’s Talk About The Word “Expert”

The word “expert” is an ugly word, though it’s not supposed to be. It’s an ugly word because when people use the word in describing themselves other people don’t like it. Some people dislike it so much that they go way out of their way to be called anything except an expert. I know this because I’m one of those people. I’ve been thinking about the word a lot lately, even before I took a gander at Scott Stratton’s book Unmarketing, which I read in about 40 minutes and that seems to stun people. No matter, it is what it is.

I’m going to make an interesting disclosure here as part of the sidebar. I kind of Mets got online back in 2004 on Ryze. It was the precursor business website that also had a lot of personal things that people could interact about to both LinkedIn and Facebook. it was pretty neat, and I still have a page on that site, but it went obsolete fairly quickly because the owners of the site really didn’t care to put much maintenance and it, probably thinking it was fine just the way it is and not seeing the juggernauts that were coming. Anyway, I wasn’t a big fan of his. I thought that he showed a lot of meanness to a lot of people and that he projected an image of not having any patience in dealing with people who may not be as smart as he thought he was at the time.

Now the one thing I like to think I am is somewhat fair, and just because I might have a negative personal feeling against someone or something does not mean I can acknowledge when something they do is pretty good. And the book Unmarketing is a pretty good book; after all I never said he wasn’t a smart guy, just probably not as smart as he thinks he is. That’s why I’m linking to the book and if someone decides they want to read it anyone buy it from me who am I to turn down a little bit of money?

Anyway back to this topic of the word “expert”. Scott takes the word on in his book and it’s kind of interesting what he says. He starts off by saying that when people call themselves experts you really need to be careful of that because it’s hard for anybody to be an expert in a field that’s constantly changing. And since that’s pretty much every business, you really have to be up on your stuff if you’re going to call yourself an expert. At the same time, that doesn’t mean that you can’t claim to have expertise in something, and by de facto having expertise in the field does help to make you an expert in someone else’s eyes. He admits to cringing when people call him an expert, yet acknowledges that there are things he has done in his life that in the eyes of others and himself does justify the terminology here and there.

He makes a good point in his absolutely right. The truth of the matter is that there are a lot of people who are experts in their field. Being an expert does not mean you know everything there is to know, but it certainly means you know a heck of a lot about it. I don’t think there’s many people who would say that Stephen Hawking is not an expert on black holes, and yet even he wrote a different book 20 years later that disputed some of the things he had said was his original book, A Brief History of Time. See, true experts aren’t stagnant on something; they’re always evolving, always learning, and hopefully always open to the possibility that something they said the first time might not still be valid years later.

Back in February I wrote a post called Expert, Specialist, Professional Or Hack? In that post, I railed against the term because of a seminar I went to where one of the speakers had advocated herself as a social media expert, yet it turned out she knew a lot less about the subject and probably 50% of the people in the room. My mind said I didn’t want to be associated with something like that, so I have avoided the term like the plague. In thinking back on it though, I’m wondering if it’s fair to myself to dampen in some fashion the knowledge that I have attained over the years and some of the different fields I’m in. At the very least, if someone else is writing up marking materials that are promoting me for a speaking engagement or some other type of presentation, should I eschew the term or just roll with the punches?

This thought isn’t only for me. I’m betting most of you feel the same way I do about this term. Yet, if we look at some of the people we follow on other blogs, I’m betting we see some of them as experts, even if they would fight it if we called them that. Pat is obviously an expert on lavender; my friend Scott is obviously an expert on photography. Everyone else has expertise in something, whether they read about it in their blog or not. Do you find yourself running away from the term, or are you willing to embrace it when necessary, especially if it’s possible it just might be true?

Y’all have read here where I said I want to be rich and famous; a big deal if you will. Well, in this world you get to be a big deal in two ways. One, you do something spectacular that everyone sees, or two, you have expertise in something and are able to get people to notice and then pay you for. And since I don’t see myself winning Wimbledon anytime soon, I guess I’d better shoot for number two.

What are your thoughts? What will you own up to being an expert on?
 

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