Archives for October 2013

Online Marketing Tips for the Entrepreneur

If you’re an entrepreneur using the Internet to make a living there are always new ideas, new changes and new information to learn. Online marketing changes fast and changes often and sometimes it’s hard to keep up. With that in mind we put together a list of some excellent online marketing tips that every entrepreneur can use to build client lists, attract visitors to their websites and increase profits. Enjoy.

Tip 1:Take good care of your website. Here’s the thing; there are literally millions of websites online and, if you have any hope of attracting visitors, keeping them on your site and converting them into customers, your website better be attractive, have excellent content and be extremely easy to navigate. If it is you will be among the 10% of websites that actually follow these three rules.

The fact is, if you haven’t updated your website in at least the last 2 years the new technologies that have come about have basically rendered it obsolete. If you want it to be a lean, mean, money making machine, updating it and keeping it full of fresh content is the only way to go. If you don’t, you might as well not have a website at all because people are much too busy today to deal with a website that isn’t top-notch.

Tip 2: Stop using “megaphone” or “shotgun” marketing. These two catchwords basically mean the same thing; shouting out your advertising to people and interrupting them with either print, yellow page, directory or untargeted banner advertising. Cold calling and “email blasts” fall into this category as well. The simple fact is that today’s consumer doesn’t want to be interrupted by your marketing, they want to be in control of the information they receive if they are searching for a new product or service.

Tip 3: Start using “magnet” marketing. The opposite of “megaphone” marketing is magnet marketing and, like the name implies, it attracts people to your products or services and puts them in control. It also helps you to earn their trust and build an affinity for your brand. Magnet marketing includes content marketing like blogs, white papers and so forth, search engine optimization, marketing on social media websites like Facebook and pay-per-click advertising. One excellent advantage to magnet marketing is that, in general, it’s less expensive. Research shows that the cost per lead is 62% lower with magnet marketing then with megaphone marketing, which is obviously a huge savings.

Tip 4: Content marketing is the way of the future. As we mentioned in Tip 3, one type of “magnet” marketing is content marketing. Content marketing offers you a platform to engage directly with customers and visitors to your website through search engines, blogs and social media websites. “Content” is simply the information that you give on your various online sites and can include valuable info (like this blog, for example), entertaining information and even “how to” videos. You can put together a free e-Book or a “white paper” as well, content that will greatly increase the affinity that your visitors have for your brand and also increase the chance that they will actually make a purchase.

The simple fact today is that people aren’t going to choose to do business with your company just because you have the product that they are looking for or even the best price. What they want to know is that you stand behind your product, have specialized knowledge that will help them and will continue to help them even after they make their purchase. Excellent content can help you to do that as well as make you the “expert” in your particular field.

 Tip 5: Use Responsive Design for your website. As amazing as it might seem, mobile devices like smart phones and tablets have actually surpassed desktop and laptop computers as the most common access point to the web. Is your website built on a “responsive design” platform? If not, you should definitely have it updated. Responsive design platforms will adapt your website to all of the different sizes of tablets and smartphones, making them easier to navigate and showing your content in the best possible way.

Tip 6: Don’t forget to brand yourself. Social media giant LinkedIn (now the second largest social media website on the web) has made “personal online branding” the norm. The fact is, if someone wants to know about you all they need to do is “Google” your name to find out, well, all sorts of interesting information. Building a personal online brand is a great way to give them information about yourself that you yourself have created. It will come in handy when selling, building business partnerships and even finding a “job”. (Not that we recommend you get a real job or anything crazy like that.) Since there is no way to actually keep people from finding out about you online, better to embrace the fact that they can and take charge of your online image yourself.

We hope you enjoyed today’s blog and that the Tips and advice were valuable and insightful. If you want a great example of “content marketing”, it is Blogs like this one. We’ve given you, our dear readers, some valuable and insightful information and in exchange we expect that some of you will become our customers and purchase our services. You can do the same exact thing on your own websites and, before long, people will love you just as much as they love us. (You do love us, yes? Good.)

Colocation Hosting: What is it and do I need it?

It may sound like a mouthful, but colocation hosting is a phrase you’ll probably hear more often in the coming years. It’s essentially a place for storing all of your bulky hardware, servers and networking equipment, off-site in a secure facility.

It’s a great solution for mid-size companies, and those who don’t have the space to store an ever-growing supply of servers and IT equipment.

It takes away the hassle of having to pay to run everything on site, and what’s more, colocation hosting is purpose-built, meaning your equipment will be safely protected, backed-up and stored in specially designed cabinets.


What’s the benefits of using colocation storage?

Everything is kept off-site, which means that should anything go wrong in your office, you’ll still be able to access all of your information off-site.

It’s also more secure, with CCTV, manned security and other systems in place to keep the building and your data safe. Plus, some hosts offer fire protection and temperature controls to ensure your systems aren’t destroyed by any changes in the climate.


Surely there’s downsides too?

Investing in a colocation host doesn’t mean that your network and servers can simply be forgotten about. It’s simply a secure place to store everything off-site and as such, if you need to upgrade, maintain or repair any of your equipment it comes down to you to do so.

That said, if you have a devoted IT team then this shouldn’t be a problem – it simply means that they will have to travel to the colocation site should they need to amend anything.


How do I get colocation hosting?

You should be mindful to choose a company that has centres situated within easy access to your company’s location, simply because it makes it easier to maintain your hardware.

There are a number of costs associated with colocation hosting too, so depending on what you need this is something you’ll need to weigh up. Costs will usually cover rental of the floor space, power fees and a fee for how much data you use. Additional costs such as the maintenance of the firewall and backup costs will also need to be considered too.

Entrepreneur Tips on Using LinkedIn from the Pros

Social media powerhouse LinkedIn is an excellent way to make connections and introductions that can help you in your job search and in your career. It’s also changing as of the last two or three years and becoming a powerful platform that can actually supercharge any type of content marketing that you might be doing, even if you don’t happen to be a LinkedIn Influencer.

Today’s blog has several tips and some great advice that successful entrepreneurs have shared with us (and that were now sharing with you). If you want to use LinkedIn to get lots more eyes in front of your content, keep on reading. Enjoy.

LinkedIn Tip #1: Start or Join Discussions. If you’re writing articles for content marketing, every time that you post one you should also begin a conversation about the same topic in any LinkedIn groups that you’re associated with. If you want to go further than just simply linking to an article, post a topic of discussion or asking a question will help you even more.

LinkedIn Tip #2: Get your Employees on the content-sharing bandwagon. One of the keys to an effective strategy on LinkedIn is to get your employees on board with sharing your content and one of the best ways to do that is simply to email them and ask for their help. The fact is, most of them are staring at their computer screens (as well as their smart phone and tablet screens) all day and all night and checking their email constantly. If you can write an excellent Subject Line that has a simple yet powerful call to action, the likelihood of it being shared between professionals is high.

LinkedIn Tip #3: Don’t forget to use LinkedIn’s Product pages and Service pages. On every LinkedIn company page on their site you’ll find two things that can amplify your business content; product pages and service pages. These pages allow you to give more details about the products and services that your offering, as well as spotlighting customer product recommendations and adding powerful images to make your products and services stand out from the crowd. Even better, since you’ll be able to see the number of impressions that these service pages and product pages receive (thanks to LinkedIn building it into their system) you’ll be able to see exactly which of your services are the most popular and how many people are actually searching for your company online.

LinkedIn Tip #4: Use Groups to promote your Brand. This is one of the best ways on LinkedIn to promote yourself. By joining groups you can greatly expand your reach and share your experience and expertise at the same time. Under the target keyword “writer” for example there are over 740 groups and one of them even has 13,000 members! By joining several groups at the same time you’ll strengthen your brand, boost your expertise and network yourself in a big way.

LinkedIn Tip #5: Create your own LinkedIn Page. If you don’t have your own LinkedIn page yet, he definitely need to put one together as it can greatly increase the amount of people who will have their eyes on your company and also can help you to put together content for some of your other social media platforms at the same time.

LinkedIn Tip #6: Remembered to Update your Status. What many people often forget is that LinkedIn, just like Facebook, Twitter and Google+, is a social network that you can leverage to share your content with people all over the world. Because of the fact that LinkedIn is connected with a lot more “groups” your status update on the site will have more traction than some of the other social media sites.

LinkedIn, amazingly, is now the Number 2 social media website in the world, still a good bit behind Facebook but just slightly ahead of Twitter. As with all social media websites it’s going through changes and morphing into something completely different from where it started. For entrepreneurs and content marketers looking to increase their readership and spread their content far and wide, it’s quickly become the “go to” social media website on the web today.


TOMS- Creating Magic with Shoes

Today’s blog article is a little bit different than the usual. We’re going to be looking at a company that, surprisingly, puts charity before profits and puts people ahead of their bottom line.

That company is TOMS and, while they may appear to be just another “trendy” footwear company like so many on the market today, TOMS recently gave away their 10 million pair of shoes to a needy child. In fact, for every single pair of shoes that they sell, TOMS gives a second pair to a child who doesn’t have shoes. Considering that they’ve already given away 10 million pairs of shoes, you would think that they been in business for ages but in fact they’ve been selling shoes for just under 7 years.

Blake Mycoskie, founder of the TOM’S brand, got the idea to start the company after competing in “The Amazing Race”, the reality TV show, in 2002. It was on a return trip in 2006 that he saw a group of eight workers in the country giving out used shoes to children who had none and were running around the streets barefoot.

Mycoskie was taken aback by the fact that there were so many children running around shoeless, and also by the fact that there were selfless people who were there in the country giving away used shoes to help them. As he puts it, when he saw the joy that these children (and their families) got when they received their shoes, he realized that he wanted to do his part to help.

Starting on that trip he brought back 250 pairs of “alpargata”, a traditional and simple Argentinian shoe. Back home in California he sold all 250 pairs on the boardwalk close to his Venice home. He then went back to Argentina with the profits that he made selling shoes and was able to have enough shoes made to bring back more to sell as well as give a pair to all of the children that he had met on his first trip.

The name TOMS is actually short for “tomorrow’s shoes”, a name that was going to be used until Mycoskie realized that it was too long to fit on the small tag that they were going to attach to every pair of shoes that they sold.

Since those first 250 pairs were sold TOMS has become one of the most popular shoe brands in the United States. As amazing as it is that they’ve done this in just 7 years, there are some other facts about this highly successful and philanthropic company that are even more amazing.

For example, TOMS has absolutely no advertising budget. All of their advertising has been through word-of-mouth and profiles in magazines like Vogue and newspapers like the LA Times.

TOMS has no outside investors, something that founder Mycoskie says allows them to stay focused on their mission and keep their long-term vision intact, something that’s very rare in business today.

Many of the shoes that TOMS gives away are even higher quality than the shoes that they sell in the store. They recently released a boot for children to wear during the cold winters in Argentina as well as an athletic shoe that they’re giving to needy children in the United States.

When someone who has received a donated pair of TOMS shoes grows out of them, they get a replacement pair.

More than 60 countries around the world now sell all TOMS shoes. One of the goals of the company has is to create jobs in the countries where they are donating their shoes and, by the end of 2015, they expect that roughly a third of the shoes they give away will be made in the same country where they are being donated.

Incredibly, one of the newest goals for this 36-year-old philanthropist from Texas is, within the next two years, to give away 10 million more pairs of shoes as well as the secret to his “1 for 1”  business plan.

If you’re an entrepreneur we can’t think of  a better example to follow in your business practices, your mission and your goals, than TOMS.

We hope you enjoyed this blog today and that it’s inspired you as an entrepreneur, and as a person, to go out and do your best in business as well as for your fellow man.

Tips to Get your Social Media marketing on the right Track

Social media is the new darling of the online marketing world and, if you’re keen on tapping into the people, and the power, of social media, you’re going to need a plan. It’s a lot more than just “liking” someone on Facebook or sending out a “tweet” once in a while. The fact is, with social media you can’t just “wing it” because people absolutely love their social media websites and they can easily spot an imposter or poser.

Attracting and, more importantly, engaging people with social media, and then converting them into customers of course, means carefully mapping out an effective strategy. The tips below will help you to do just that. Enjoy.

  • What is your social media goal? Depending on the business or industry that you’re in, you’ll want to use social media to either gain exposure for your brand, interact directly with customers and, occasionally, promote your products and/or services. In order to do that you are going to have to not only identify what the goals of your business are but also understand your customer’s goals as well, and figure out how your social media strategy can help you to connect the two. One of the best ways to do this is simply to look at social media as a way to solve your customer’s problems, and then do that.
  • Should I handle my social media or hire someone to handle it for me? This is a very important question as, once you’ve gotten your social media started, you’ll need to keep it going, update it and respond to comments and questions on a regular and continual basis. If it’s just you, the best thing to do is to start small so that you don’t get overwhelmed. If you have someone on staff that you can delegate your social media tasks to you should do that and, if your business is big enough, hiring a social media marketing expert or firm would probably be a good idea.
  • Do I need to have a presence on all of the popular social media sites? Most social media experts would say that no, you definitely don’t want to try and have a presence on every social site, even just all the “big” ones. In fact, it probably would be better to simply focus on one social media site until you feel comfortable and know exactly where you’re going with it and what it’s doing for your business. Which site depends on many factors of course and so, if you need to, you may wish to dip into several (but only your toes!) to find out which one is the right one for you.
  • Which sites are best for a small business? Twitter, the micro-blogging website, is an excellent social media site for small businesses and, even better, it’s one of the easiest to learn and to use. It basically consists of sending out “tweets” on your Twitter site and, since there is a 140 character limit, you can easily handle sending out one, two or even a handful of tweets to your customer base per day. Google+ can boost your website’s SEO, Facebook is excellent for business-to-consumer retailers and, if you’re looking to reach out to people in your industry with influence, LinkedIn and Slideshare are both excellent. If you’re selling products that are attractive or colorful, Pinterest would also be a good choice.
  • What schedule should I have for posting new content? The answer to this question depends on the type of social media marketing that you are actually doing. If you are sending out “tweets” on Twitter you can actually send several per day with minimal effort. If, on the other hand, you have a “blog”, you would probably only want to post new content once, or maybe twice, a week. The fact is, people visit their favorite social media sites throughout the day and the more you are able to post the better chance that they will see your content when they’re on the site.
  • Is social media a good place to provide customer service? That depends on which social site you are using. With sites like Facebook Twitter and Google+, responding to customer inquiries and questions is quite easy and also instantaneous. It’s also a good way to handle customer complaints before negative reviews are posted on your site.

These are some great tips to get you started with your social media marketing and content. Keep in mind that social media marketing isn’t like direct, traditional marketing. You’re not going to be doing a lot of “selling” per se on social media but, instead, be building up a base of fans and customers who are interested in what you have to say and, occasionally, will also purchase what you’re selling. Stay on social media long enough and you become the “expert” that people seek out when they need help in your particular field. If you can do that, your social media efforts will definitely pay off, and continue to do so well into the future.