Category Archives: Business

A MLM Rant

I’m tired of seeing them; the sneaky messages that never tell you what you might be getting yourself into, the ones that promise the world. Yes, I’m talking about MLM schemes, and they’re all over the place. These things waste my time and yours as well. And you’re not going to make all that much money from it.

I’ve written before about watching out for scams far and wide. Just last week I wrote about an email/internet scam that got sneakier the further I got into it.

What caused my rant? What do I recommend? What’s my opinion on it all? You know I did a video about it, right? Take a look, then let me know your thoughts:


 

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10 Years Ago

Yes, another video post for you, but of course I get to do a brief setup for it.

I was watching a video by Lynn Terry of Clicknewz.com on her video channel which she titled What Would You Say. She was asked a question as to what advice she’d give her past self about 10 years ago. I thought that was an intriguing question, and I liked how she answered it so much that I decided to address it myself, and thought it would be neat doing it by video.

In the video, I give one personal tip and one business tip, which actually ends up being more than one business tip and that’s the reason you should watch it. One other thing that’s new in the video is that I’m wearing a white shirt that I didn’t even know I had. I don’t have a lot of white shirts. I have one dress white shirt for emergencies, a white t-shirt with a picture of my grandfather on my dad’s side of the family, and a Syracuse University white shirt that I don’t even think they put out anymore (I actually have two of these t-shirts), as I haven’t seen anyone locally supporting the team wearing white. That’s what happens when your team is called The Orange. lol

It’s a relatively short video of around 6 minutes, and this time I recorded it without so much density so it uploaded much faster, which didn’t depress me at all. It looks fine on this side; I hope it looks fine where you are as well. Here we go!

 

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Social Media & The Concept Of ROI

I belong to a consultant’s group where monthly we have a presentation on something that most consultant’s probably need to know for their business.

A few months ago I was the presenter, and I gave a shortened presentation of the one I did back in 2010 on social media, which was a 5 hour presentation. I had to strip it down to 50 minutes, which wasn’t all that hard since I concentrated only on certain things for these folks, most of whom are older than me.

It’s that “older than me” part that makes it interesting because I always get the same question from the same guy: “Have you gotten any business from it?” When I say I have the next question is “what’s your ROI?”

That, for the uninitiated, stands for “return on investment”, and for many businesses it’s a critical question that has to be addressed. For instance, if you spent $25,000 on a print campaign that involved paying someone to create flyers, going to the printers, mailing everything out, and it resulted in an overall loss or a profit of less than $5,000, you’d probably have to say that your ROI was pretty bad.

When it comes to social media, evaluating ROI is much different. If you’re going to base everything on costs, they could end up being minimal or costly; it’s up to you. For instance, you could start a campaign of Twitter posts and if you do it yourself there is no cost, assuming you’ve already got everything else in place if you’re sending traffic somewhere. The same goes for Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, or anywhere else, even if you own a brick and mortar business.

Or is it cost free? See, with social media, even if you do it all yourself there’s an inherent cost; it’s just how you decide to evaluate it. The cost is in time and what your time is worth.

Let’s look at this in two ways. One, do you count the time if it’s outside of 40 hours, which is the American standard for working hours? Some might, since many of us (yeah, even me) work more than 40 hours if we own our own businesses. Some might not if they stick with traditional times and consider anything else as free time.

For someone like me, based on which business I’m doing at the time, I get paid anywhere between $50 and $250 an hour; yeah, I’m like that. Anyway, this means that if I’m putting in a 10-hour day and 2 hours of that happens to be writing my blog posts, which you might not think about like this but at least 4 of them I consider as business related in some fashion, then it’s costing anywhere from $12.50 to $62.50 each time I write a blog post (I average 10 to 15 minutes per post most of the time). If we look at one of my business blogs, where I try to write a post every 3 days, that averages out to around 120 posts a year, and if I use the lower figure it means it costs me about $1,500 a year of an investment towards writing that blog; that’s not counting responding to comments (I don’t have a lot yet so y’all need to go check it out).

Since posting a link to these social media platforms takes almost no time whatsoever, this pretty much means that I need to generate at least $1,500 a year from that business to break even. Of course I just started that blog in August, but already I’ve made that much, though it wasn’t from blogging, but it doesn’t matter. The thing is that as a marketing campaign, one isn’t always sure where they’re getting their business from, but even if it was related to the blog I could still say that, based on time, I’ve about tripled my initial investment.

Here comes the next stage though. What if you want to pay someone else to handle certain social media aspects of your business? For instance, say you hired someone like me to write your blog posts for you. I’m not saying this is necessarily my fee, but say it costs you $400 a month for a certain number of blog posts, and those posts automatically go out to Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook (although I know Facebook just shut down one program and I’m not sure if there are others still working right now)? The approximate cost to your business is $4,800 a year; do you have the kind of business to overcome that amount of outlay? Is there the possibility that your business will generate that kind of money online, or will it come from offline sources?

That’s just it; you don’t know. Do you consider it offline if someone found you on Google and called you up, as opposed to contacting you via email? I don’t, and we all know that more content on one’s site helps them gain more prominence on the search engines. If you’re someone like a Marcus Sheridan, whose business is swimming pools, how many sales would he have to make because someone called him because they found him on Google to have made back all of his money if he paid someone to write his posts (which he doesn’t)? For that matter what’s his ROI now from blogging and obtaining business? I’m thinking it’s probably pretty good.

Every person has to evaluate for themselves whether they think they’re getting out of social media what they’re putting into it. However, you can’t make an evaluation if you don’t try. So, what are you waiting for?
 

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Know Your Audience Part II

Back in September 2009 I wrote a post titled Be Sure You Know Your Audience Before You State Your Case. In that post, I talked about a guy that some people know quite well who went on kind of a wrong turn when commenting on something he should have known better about, then decided to write about it on his blog, seemingly with the thought that his readers would immediately take his side. Of course it didn’t happen because he’d forgotten an old adage; make yourself look like you’re superior to others in some fashion and they won’t like it.


by Jon Collier via Flickr

Round two comes with this brilliant post by a guy named Adam Justice on his eponymous named blog (kind of ironic based on the post) titled Viral Virus: Ocean Marketing Is Sunk. This is the tale of not one, but two people who seemed to have it all going on, ready to break through to big riches, only to sabotage themselves and their businesses because they had an inflated sense of self and deflated sense of fairness and common sense to others.

I hope you go read the article, but I’ll give you the quick down and dirty. On the first a guy wrote the company about something he didn’t receive to ask when it would show up and the owner of the company went off on him in an email, basically telling him he was nothing and that he was too important and knew too many other important people for this guy to be bothering him.

The guy goes to a tech reporter who does a follow up, the guy responds in kind and believes he’s in the right on how he responded, and all heck breaks loose, the company tumbles, and instead of acts of contrition he continues inserting foot in mouth.

On the second, a woman happens across a website that she realizes has been stealing her content, recipes. She contacts the woman to point it out, and says that she’s not upset but believes a donation to a college program would be a nice thing to do. The woman instead chews her out for bad writing, says everything on the internet is open for everyone to take as theirs, and says the woman should pay her for editing the content and making her recipes look better.

Of course that gets out, journalists and the like go after her, and her business folds within 2 weeks. Even with that she takes to the web and issues a condescending apology, opening herself up to more derision as well.

UCLA Bruins Women's Gymnastics - 1888
Parker Knight
via Compfight

Both of these instances prove that sometimes people get a false sense of how important they are. Just because you’ve finally made it, or are on the verge of making it, doesn’t mean you get the right to treat others badly, especially in today’s world of social media, where anything can go viral in an instant if the right person puts the word out. The first guy actually knew he was in trouble when he wrote to the tech writer and asked him to stop the flood, which of course was impossible once the word got out.

I’m a small guy when it comes to business and social media, yet last April I got my bit of mess on when I had a major league affiliate complaint against Finish Line, who basically decided not to pay me a commission then closed my account for low sales on the same day. I posted the email here, the guy threatened me, I dared him to do something about it, and got it to Twitter where it not only got retweeted often, but a different representative of Finish Line contacted me.

Of course it never got resolved because I’m not a big enough guy to warrant any courtesy, but if I’d touched a real nerve with more people who knows right? I thought about taking it to the media but decided it wasn’t worth it; maybe I was wrong, but that one’s on me.

Here’s the thing. All of us have the right to rant. We also have the right to have a bad customer service experience, even if someone else is the customer. What we don’t get to do is put someone else down while building ourselves up, especially when we’re in the wrong.

That these two people couldn’t see that they were wrong smacks of elitism, and sends the wrong message about perception, which I wrote about last week. I write often that I want to be big, but not so I can try to bully others when I’m wrong, or potentially wrong. That’s the wrong reason to want anything; doesn’t anyone remember the lessons of Lord of the Rings?

If you want to ruin your career and any chance of making real money in life, learn the wrong lessons from people like this. I hope you learn the right lesson and condemn folks like this instead.
 

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Blog Posts, Comments, Business, Rankings…

I found this quite intriguing, enough for me to decide to write on the topic. I got inspiration for this post from not one, but two blog posts. The first one was from Marcus Sheridan on a post titled 10,862 Comments Later, I Realize Blog Comments are NOT a Business Model. This post led me to the second post by John Falchetto, titled The Right Traffic And What The 4hour Workweek Post Taught Me About Blogging.

John started with the premise that out of all the blog posts he’d been writing, he was getting lots of comments but none of it turned into business. At the same time, he felt that people reading some of his posts were missing some of the points he was trying to make, and of course that took away from the effectiveness of them, in his mind, and thus the possibility of getting the kind of traffic he was hoping for.

Marcus took this a bit further, and added a conversation he got to have with John.

First, he owned up to how many comments his blog has gotten in a very short period of time; puts me to shame. Second, he owned up to the fact that he hasn’t sold a single product geared to his main business from this blog, even with all those comments.

Third, after his conversation with John, he started to wonder if maybe there were things he could do with his blog that John was starting to do, that being to make sure to write a post a day, sometimes more than one, and increase the prominence of the blog, at the possible exclusion of comments, to potentially generate more income. Of course I’ve kind of simplified the thoughts of both posts, so it’d be a good idea to go read each one of them.

I commented on Marcus’ post, but not on John’s, mainly because John asked a question I wasn’t sure I could answer in a short comment: ‘Which lessons has your blog taught you?‘.

Good question, eh? Well, let’s take a look at it if I may, based on not only the question, but their two posts and the title of this post as well. Numbers please!

Tech Cocktail Week: Mixer & Startup Showcase | 7.11.14
Tech Cocktail via Compfight

1. I used to have a pretty tight blogging schedule for this blog; I still do, but not necessarily by design. I had a yearly goal of 300 posts a year, plain and simple. That meant 25 posts a month on average, and I was able to do it. At some point, though, I decided that it shouldn’t only be about the numbers of posts; I wanted more comments.

So I slowed down the number of posts somewhat, and I started getting more comments. I still don’t come close to the number Marcus or many other people get, but it did increase.

Yet, do you know when the biggest period of growth this blog ever had was? That week last November when I had two blog posts a day, the first one being a regular post and the evening one advertising one of my products.

The overall traffic for this blog shot up drastically, even if comments dropped significantly. Both my Alexa rank and Google Analytics said my numbers increased. And do you know when I had the most traffic to my business site?

The week after when I did the same thing on my business blog that I did on this blog. Very few comments but a drastic rise in visits.

This does seem to prove one thing; the more posts one has, the more traffic one gets. I know someone is going to say “I don’t write that many posts and look at my numbers.” I’ll just point to my latest business blog as an example; I added it to my SEO site in August and without many comments traffic has risen 65% in less than 90 days; wow!

2. With traffic comes higher rankings… of sorts. My Alexa ranking for my SEO site has gone from 2.78 million the day I started the blog on that site to 483,000 and change on Thursday.

That’s not bad for less than 90 days, and that’s just with a post every 3 days. And without all that many comments; it does say something for having more activity. It doesn’t address where the blog would be if I were posting daily, but for now the traffic stats are undeniable.

3. Well, we do have to come down to business, don’t we? Comments don’t equal business; both Marcus and John are correct on that. We all still want comments, but John’s now increasing the number of posts regardless of the number of comments, and Marcus is thinking about it.

Me… I’m not sure. Well, I am sure, but I’m not sure what I can do about it. I’ve always said I didn’t expect this blog to make me a lot of money, but I did hope that it, in combination with other things I was doing, would at least generate more business interest than it has. However, my SEO blog has yet to generate any business interest either, but I figure it’s still kind of early.

I might be able to get a boost after a live presentation I’m a part of next week at a conference called the BizBuzz Social Media Conference here in the Syracuse area, where I’m talking about business blogging; at least it’s part of the overall strategy. But a stat I will report based on a little case study is that out of 36 keyword phrases I came up with before starting the blog I’ve increased in the number I’m found by from 13 to 23, and the rankings are higher as well for all but 2 of them. So, the potential for business there has increased, even if it hasn’t happened yet.

Anyway, those are the lessons blogging has taught me regarding these things. Now, I have my own questions. Do you believe writing more blog posts would help your blog improve its rankings? Do you believe you’d be capable of increasing the number of blog posts you write, even if it were just as an experiment? And finally, what do you want from your blog, or blogs?

Man, I love when people make me think! 🙂
 

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