Category Archives: Marketing

SMM Strategy, Phase II

Last Monday I posted about my first social media marketing goal. I had said that I was going to have a sticky post for 10 days before the event. Well, give me a few days before that, as in 6 more days. It just didn’t make sense not to advertise this as soon as possible. So, starting tomorrow, there will be a sticky post through the first workshop date, then I’ll slightly modify it and leave it up through the second one. The first date is July 22nd, the second August 19th.

What’s been the next stage of marketing this event? First, I finally created my version of the advertising & registration page and put it on my other site. In the last post I was sending you to Renée’s calendar page, and I decided that I wanted to create a marketing and sales page that looked more like our flyer and finally put a biography of sorts online so people who didn’t know who I really was could learn something about me, and of course Renée as well. Oh yeah, the image you see here is on the flyer, as the title of the presentation is “Make A Splash With Social Media Marketing”. 🙂

Second, Renée has sent out the first notifications to her email list. I’m waiting until later tonight to send out my first blast, but this time I’m going to be a bit more circumspect in who I send the notices to. I’ve decided that it’s not worth it to me to send the notice out to people who I don’t know, even if I have their email addresses. My thought is that if I send it to people who don’t know me that well that they not only won’t necessarily be happy, but they won’t forward it to others who might find the topic interesting. I could be wrong on that front, but so be it. If I didn’t learn anything from the last workshop I tried to market, then I need to get out of the game.

Third, you know the Twitter “blast” is coming. Actually, it’s not going to be all that much of a blast, but this week will have 3 different posts, of a sort. Yesterday I put out the new link to register for the event. Today is this post, which also has the link to the post. Tomorrow is the sticky post; 3 notifications in a row with a slightly different message talking about the same thing.

Fourth, I’ve put it out on Facebook. I first put it into my FB business page as a link. Then I added an event mentioning the workshop, but only for July 22nd. I’ll create a new one for the August presentation; I actually think I could create it now for August, but I think it’s way too early to do. I already have one person saying she’s coming to the event, and 3 saying they won’t be able to make it. Hey, it’s on a Thursday, and it’s not right in the city, which means participants living in Syracuse will have to drive at least 40 minutes. Still, and not because I’m putting it on, but I think this event is so worth it, which is why I’m taking part in it.

Fifth, I’ll start mentioning it more often on LinkedIn. I don’t have a place to advertise it a lot, but it will get mentioned enough times to that the message will get out, such that no one should have the opportunity to say “I didn’t know you were doing that.” Nope, not buying it.

That’s where things are going at the present time. I don’t know if there will be another update on this bad boy or not, at least until it’s over. Then again, I probably need to have at least one more beforehand, the last push for success. So, I make no promises either way. By the way, if you see my wife today, wish her a happy birthday; just don’t tell her I told you.
 

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Zac Johnson’s Six Figure Affiliate Blogging – A Review

Back in May, I decided to download the free ebook by Zac Johnson called Six Figure Affiliate Blogging. I’ve been following Zac’s blog for almost 2 years and have enjoyed checking out his posts. I figured that it can’t hurt following a guy who has almost 14,000 subscribers, and I might even learn something some day. So, when I saw that he had an ebook, and that it was free, well, I figured I’d have to be an idiot not to download it. So, now I’m going to review the book for you.

It’s actually two books in one. The first 2/3rds of the book are Zac’s ideas on how one could possibly make money in blogging. The last 1/3rd of the book are interviews he conducted with some of the top earning bloggers out there, such as John Chow & Jeremy Shoemaker. It’s actually pretty neat reading, but of course that part won’t make you any money. However, I always find it intriguing seeing how other people got started in the business and achieved success, which is why I run interviews on two of my blogs.

Back to this book. You start off with a little history of Zac, and let’s just say he’s learned how to make money online. Then there’s a brief tutorial on what affiliate marketing is, what blogging is, selecting niches, hosting, etc. If you have any knowledge of this sort of thing already, as I did, you’re probably going to skim it and move on.

Something big that he talks about is branding, and one of his recommendations is paying someone to create a unique blog for you. It’s an interesting concept, something I can’t totally say I agree or disagree with overall, but I will say that having a unique design might pull in those people who first visit your site and entertain them for a short while. Long term I’m not so sure, but I guess it’s the idea of making a good first impression.

Then we have the concept of getting traffic to one’s blog, and of course he shares a lot of ideas there as well. I knew all of the ideas, but I have to admit that I haven’t put them all into place, so this is an area where some folks might gain something positive from reading it.

After that, and before the interviews, he gives you a lot of different types of ideas on how to make money on your blog, and he gives examples of what he and some other people have done in the past. There’s a lot here for novices, and even if you’ve been doing it for awhile if you’re not making a lot of money you might find something here. Of course Zac subscribes to the idea of creating email lists and using autoresponders, and indeed signing up for this ebook will put you on a mailing list and you’ll start getting some stuff for awhile. Still, it’s a free ebook, so one really can’t complain about it.

Had I written this review in May, I could have qualified for a contest he was running, but I decided to write it now so that it wouldn’t look like I was doing it just to enter a contest. If you’re new to the game, and you want to find out what it’s all about, this is an easy recommendation. If you’re someone who’s looking for ideas to kick start stuff, it’s worth reading as well. And even if you’re more experienced, if you’re not making lots of money with affiliate marketing, and trust me I’m not, then it’s worth reading to see if you can pick up a thing or two to use. I’m going to have to interview him one of these days, if he’s up to it.

Wimbledon-Record Breakers Video








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Frank Kern’s Core Influence – The Beginning

My friend Kelvin swears by this guy named Frank Kern, who’s one of the top internet marketers in the world. I have to admit that I don’t know as much about him as I probably should. Anyway, Kelvin’s been trying to get me to look at this guy’s stuff for awhile now, and I’ve kind of poo-poo’d it off, not because I thought it was a sham or anything, but because time is not always my friend.

Anyway, I decided to finally follow him up on one of the links he provided where I could check out a short free video. It’s a link like this one, and let me get through this post before you think about clicking on it.

I clicked on the link and it took me to a 90 second video with Frank standing in front of water with waves splashing on the beach asking me to opt-in to this site so they can provide me with a link to a video. He also says I’ll have to do the double opt-in, as they’re going to send me an email so I can fully confirm.

That part is done, and now there’s a second page that comes up. Truthfully, as I write this, that’s where I am. There’s a short 2 1/2 minute video I’m supposed to watch first, then the main Core Influence video, which I guess is pretty long. Kelvin says it’s a great start and fully endorses it, so I figure I’ll go ahead and give it a shot. For full disclosure, by the time you read this I should have finished the video, as it’s the long holiday weekend here in the United States, and y’all know I write some of these ahead of time.

This means that at some future point I may have something more to say about it all. Now, about that link I gave you before. It turns out that there’s a Core Influence 2, and to get to see that you have to have at least 3 people click that link and decide they want to opt-in to see the original Core Influence video. Now, I’m not sure yet whether I’ll even want to see the second video, but you know, both videos are free, and it’s only the second video you have to do a little bit of work to see. So, if any of you are predisposed to click on that first link, all I’ll say is I’ve provided the conduit, and I’m good to go.

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Twitter Marketing; Do You Have A Plan?

I just finished reading the book below, Twitter Marketing, and found that I had some things I wanted to talk about as it concerns using Twitter as a marketing tool as opposed to just a conversation piece. This isn’t a book review as much as it is a look at the ethics and possibilities of using Twitter to market oneself and their business.

The book pointed out some very interesting things, some I knew, some I didn’t. One, it seems that the majority of people using Twitter are between 35 and 44. that’s somewhat surprising because I’d have thought more young people would be using the technology because my mindset has always been that it’s younger people who are drawn to it. What I hadn’t taken into account is that this is the age group that was really the first group that grew up with the technology as close to the technology of today. In my very early 20’s, we had Space Invaders and Asteroids, which were relatively simple (I was my college’s Asteroids champ in 1980), and only 5 years later there was this more interactive game of the guy who dressed like a knight and had his adventures (Dragon’s Lair), and my mind couldn’t deal with it, yet the younger kids took to it like walking.

The second thing I knew was that, overall, less than 10% of everyone who signs up for Twitter could be considered an active user. What I didn’t know was that around 37% of those who are considered active users are actually bot accounts, which means that no actual person is ever tweeting a single thing. I’ve always wondered about that one, and now we have a figure.

The third thing I knew, but didn’t have any figures for, was just how fast bad customer service might bring you down, and some of the lingering effects. The writer, Hollis Thomases, pointed out the big Motrin fiasco, which I’d heard about but never knew what it was, and a potential Crocs episode that was nipped in the bud, but had the CEO so rattled by this weird attempt at extortion that he went to his blog, then to Twitter, to state his case before this woman, who apparently ended up with great fear that something bad could happen to her, followed through on a threat that was unwarranted.

All that said, it brings back these interesting questions about marketing on Twitter; is it ethical, and just how does one decide to do it.

On the first one, I believe it is ethical to market on Twitter, as long as it’s done properly. I don’t know a single person who enjoys immediately receiving an automated private message about buying something or signing up for something once you’ve decided to follow someone. Even the messages offering me something for free irk me because I don’t trust them. I immediately stop following those people, figuring I haven’t invested anything in them, and they really haven’t invested anything in getting to know me first.

But what about other marketing? If I have all my blog posts immediately go to Twitter, that’s marketing, and I believe it’s ethical, but is it? I think so because I’m really advertising my opinions and rarely advertising a product. I’m looking for readers for my blog; if money ends up coming in some fashion later on, I won’t be depressed by that.

The how of this question is a different matter. The only other marketing I ever do, which is rare, is when I announce my office hours. It’s rare that I do it because I’ve only ever had one person take me up on it, which tells me it’s probably a major waste of time, but I still pop it out there from time to time.

But other marketing? Truthfully, even though I see how some people do it, I can’t figure out if it really works for them or not. Yeah, they might get clicks, but are they irritating people? For instance, if you see a headline that looks intriguing enough to click the link, and you’re taken to one of those pages where you have to put in your name and email address to get any information about it, how do you feel? Or if the topic looks like you’re going to get information, and instead it takes you to a product; how do you feel?

I guess overall I don’t have a problem with marketing if two things occur. One, I know it’s a marketing message instead of a set up. Two, if that’s not the only thing a person’s doing with Twitter. Because when all is said and done, at least in my mind, they call it “social media” for a reason. It might not be everyone’s primary motivation, but they should at least try. Am I wrong?

By the way, not a bad book; check it out.

Twitter Marketing

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Marketing Or Advertising Your Business

Yesterday I gave a presentation on the above topic to a consultant’s group I belong to, The Professional Consultant’s Association of Central New York. I’m also on the board, write the monthly newsletter, and I’m the webmaster of their website.

Anyway, it was interesting talking to these folks, most of whom are older than I am (scary since I’m 50), and though I got through it all, it seems they all got hung up initially on social media and just what its purpose was. One guy kept asking the question “did you get any business out of it”, to which I could answer to each one “yes”. He didn’t ask if I got a lot of business out of it, but he was missing the point.

The idea of doing things online isn’t always to immediately get a return on your investment (ROI). Yeah, that would be pleasurable, but the truth is that unless you’re already well known, or fill a need that the market has nowhere else to turn to, it will take some time before you really start making money. Sometimes it takes years, but I digress.

The basic thing about marketing a small business as opposed to a large business is that you probably don’t have a budget set for advertising. Oh yeah, let’s get the definitions of the two terms out of the way, just to be clear. Marketing is planning for how you want others to learn about your business and products. Advertising is money spent on producing materials to help you market your business and products.

Small businesses usually start out doing the same thing because it’s the only thing we know. We buy a lot of business cards, which isn’t so bad except often we haven’t fully defined ourselves before we buy the first batch. We either buy or make brochures, which means we spend a lot of money buying supplies or paying someone else to design and copy these suckers. We buy a lot of paper and envelopes to attack things that way. And we try to make endless calls (well, those who have the mettle to do it; I don’t) trying to talk to people who won’t return phone calls. It’s a tough life sometimes.

What we all eventually find out is that, through some kind of networking, we finally have a chance to make some money and do some business with others. It can be a long struggle for some of us, whereas others find success pretty quickly. There is no one way that it happens for everyone.

It’s the same with marketing online. We have read some of the stories of marketers who seemed to hit the ground running into success with internet marketing, and that’s good for those folks. But that’s not the norm. Even Darren Rowse didn’t make money initially, and it probably took him a couple of years to really ramp up his empire, so to speak. And here’s the next part; almost none of these guys continued making money the way they started out making money.

Don’t believe me? Joel Comm started out making money through Adsense; he’s moved on from there. So has Darren Rowse, who actually makes his money through many other services rather than just blogging. Lynn Terry and David Risley make most of their money in other ways than blogging, and John Chow has always said he makes more money from other sources than just blogging. Everyone has to be ready to diversify in some fashion to keep making money; you can only prime this particular pump so many times before the effect wears off. Think about 10 big name internet marketers from 6 years ago, then think of how many of them you still see on a regular basis, unless you’ve stayed on their mailing list forever. If you need to, check out Gurudaq, which I wrote about back in October 2008.

Enough of that. I figure that some might be interested in my outline for the presentation, and at the risk of someone stealing it, well, I really don’t care this time around, although it seems some of my content has been stolen by a site calling itself Lua Cheia (they stole an entire article from my business blog; I wrote them and they said it’s a version of Digg & Stumble Upon, only I got no attribution; here’s the link to it if you want to see it, but I’m not making it an active link: http://luacheia.soup.io/post/44468305/When-Protecting-Your-Reputation-Isn-t-Worth). Anyway, here’s the outline; enjoy, and do NOT ask me where I got the statistics from, as I just took the first stat I found on each of these from wherever I could find it.

Traditional Marketing Ideas

1. Mail
     A. Letters
     B. Flyers
     C. Postcards

2. Printed Materials
     A. Flyers
     B. Brochures
     C. Business Cards

3. Networking
     A. Join Groups
     B. Get On Committees
     C. Work on getting people to know you

4. Hire someone to market you
     A. Agency
     B. Sales people

5. Phone calls

6. Media
     A. Magazines/Newspaper
     B. Radio
     C. Television

New Ways Of Marketing

1. Email

2. Websites

3. Blogs

4. Social Networking

5. Speaking/presenting

Costs of Advertising

1. Printed materials can cost a lot of money

2. Cost of postage

3. Costs of joining groups

4. Costs of labor in hiring others

5. Websites can be expensive to create, but are easy to change

6. Blogs are inexpensive to create and maintain, but still need to “advertise” in another way

7. Social media is free, but can be time consuming

8. Email is free, but some people don’t respond well to it

Effectiveness/ROI

1. Mailings only convert at an average of around 1%, and only if you submit in high volume

2. Business cards only convert at an average of around 2%, but once again, volume drives the figures

3. Websites have a 2.5% conversion rate, based on high traffic

4. Blogs can help conversion rates go up by 3% if you have a niche market

5. Email converts at less than 1% for people you don’t know, around 25% for people you do know

6. Phone calls convert around 2 to 3% for product based companies, less for service based companies

7. Speaking engagements convert around 1% initially, but can increase to 5% over time for some

8. Networking converts at around 1% short term, but can increase to 5% over time for some

9. Advertising on media depends on product & location; products always do better than services

10.No figures on social networking yet, but people have gotten business from it

What Personally Affects How / What We Do

1. Comfort level

2. Finances
     A. What can we afford to spend on stuff
     B. How much in need are we of making money “now”

3. Control

4. Knowing our market too well / too little

5. Trying too hard / giving up

Big Question – What do you do in marketing/advertising & how does it work for you? Are you missing ways that might be beneficial to you long term?

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