Monday

Do You Have an Online Marketing Focus?

One of the things I learned over the years is that focus is an important element of any online marketing strategy.

But, what has focus to do with your online marketing strategy?

Plenty.

You must be aware of all the marketing courses, programs, ebooks, and numerous other learning tools that the heavy-hitter marketers send to your email box on a daily basis.

'Buy this now to make thousands selling your books' – 'invest in this new course to get the best marketing program to date' – 'get this ebook today and learn everything you need to know about making money.' The promotional emails go on and on.

If you’re like me, you’ve bought into a number of the new ‘flavor or the week’ marketing promotions. The goal for this year is to STOP. Don’t buy another product or service until you actually take advantage of (use) the ones you’ve already purchased.

You might be thinking that you don’t have the time to invest in the products you already bought and that new one being promoted looks simple . . . and it doesn’t cost that much.  

Again, STOP. This is most likely what you thought about the other marketing products you bought. Make this year a year of accountability. If you bought it or buy it, use it.

Okay, so you have your marketing direction. Go over the marketing strategies you bought and determine which are doable for you. This step is essential. If you take on a marketing strategy that you don’t have the skills to succeed at or is too time consuming, you’ll become discouraged and possibly waiver in your online marketing strides.

So, choose one or two strategies that you feel comfortable with. Maybe it’ll be using social networks more, maybe it’ll be posting regularly to your blog, maybe it’ll be guest blogging. Whatever it is start working at it today and be consistent.

A key element to this marketing focus is to stay with these specific one or two strategies. Work them until you feel very comfortable with them and you begin to see results. Don’t add any other strategies until the ones you’re currently working on are on autopilot, or close to it.

This is online marketing focus.

The main idea behind it is to keep from grasping at shiny objects and wasting money.

The next reason to use this strategy is to be focused. Focusing on one or two online strategies will enable you to stick with it and it gives you a clearer picture of what’s working for you.

Along with your one or two marketing strategies, add reviewing and tweaking your website to the mix. This action step should be done on a regular basis, maybe once a month or every other month. Make sure your website is current, focused, and has the needed elements to make it effective. This will help bring focused traffic to your site.

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Friday

Your Website Design – Text and Background Color Matter

What is an effective color combo for a website?

It always surprises me that I still see website using dark backgrounds and light text.

Marketers agree that black (very dark) text on a white (very light) background is the way to go. This has been the proven tested strategy for quite a while now, but again, I still see websites that have very dark backgrounds with light text.

Another ineffective color combination, according to MarketingExperiments.com, is a grey background with dark grey or black text. And, red is a negative color.

Your website, whether a small business, home business owner, or author, should be easy to read and easy on the eyes. Simple always works best.

If you have a dark background why not switch your theme to a lighter color. And, be sure to use dark text that's easily readable.



Wednesday

Freelance Writing - How to Use Online Job Boards to Earn Fast Cash

Guest post by Suzanne Lieurance

If you're one of those writers who never seems to find any assignments on the online job boards, you're probably being too picky OR you may just be looking at the wrong kinds of ads. Here's something to try that should help you land a job you can complete quickly to earn some fast cash.

Search for just one short assignment that pays at least $50 for something you would feel comfortable writing because you have the skills and knowledge to pull off the job. It doesn't have to be something you're passionate about writing. You just want a quick assignment. For example, if you're good at writing press releases or book or product reviews, or cover letters, or artist statements, look for ads for one of those assignments.

As soon as you see the ad, follow the application guidelines immediately.

If you get the assignment, do it right away and bill the client.

The point of this is to look for jobs that you can complete quickly and that are relatively easy so you can make some fast cash. But then you want to move on to another new client and another new project that you can complete quickly.

Skip over the ads that promise regular work - these are usually the ones that will gobble up your time for very little pay and you won't be able to do anything else. Also, skip over the ads for assignments that will take weeks to complete. You aren't looking for a regular client at this point or a long-term assignment. You just want a short, easy assignment that will give you some quick cash.

Get in the habit of scanning a variety of online job boards like this on a regular basis and you'll soon be making some quick cash every week!

Try it!

For more tips to help you build a freelance writing career, check out Suzanne Lieurance’s Working Writer’s Club. It’s the place to be if you want to create a writing career and/or get it in high gear.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6014243

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Friday

Book Marketing - To Niche or Not to Niche

I was recently asked about having a marketing niche. The writer wanted to know what a niche was and if it was important.

My reply:

A marketing niche is simply a specific topic you’re focusing on. One writer may write for children, another may write business content. Then there are also more specific niches: writing children’s picture books or writing specifically on business incentives in the business arena.

And, there are niches within niches. In the writing arena, you can be a children’s author, a romance author, a nonfiction writer, a biographer, a ghostwriter, or copywriter, among a number of other niches.

So, to say you’re a writer, while it may be true, it’s not specific enough. It doesn’t give the listener, reader, or viewer enough information about you and what you have to offer.

Having a specific niche is important so you can create the element of expertise in it. This doesn’t mean you can’t have more than one niche, but you do need to keep them separate and promote each separately.

For example, I’m the Article Writing Doctor, an online platform instructor, and a freelance writer. I'm a health, business, and marketing writer. And, I'm a children’s writer (and ghostwriter) of picture books and middle grade books. I wear many writing hats.

If I had one website for all these niches, it wouldn’t be focused.

Visitors wouldn't know what to think. And, when marketing who would I market to? You wouldn’t want to bring people looking for health information to a children’s book site or vice versa.

You can’t market to everyone; you need to decide exactly who you will focus your marketing efforts on. And, that audience needs to be brought to a site that focuses on that niche.

So, the answer to the title dilemma, YES you need to have a focused niche.

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Wednesday

The Path to Writing Success is Focus, Determination, Perserverance, and Positive Thinking

Focus, determination, and perseverance are essential to just about every aspect of your life. Each characteristic is unique and together create a synergy.

Focus is one’s ability to concentrate exclusively on a particular thing through effort or attention.

Determination is an unchanging intention to achieve a goal or desired end.

Perseverance takes determination a step beyond by using steady and ongoing actions over a long period of time to ensure its intention is accomplished. It continues on through ups and downs.

These elements combined with positive thinking and projection can be an unstoppable force.

I’m a huge fan of positive thinking and projection. I believe our mind has a great influence over our well being and the direction our life can take. Granted, it’s not always easy to harness that influence, but there is enough content out there, including The Secret, to at least strive to think positive and project.

For example, Jack Canfield and co-creator Mark Victor Hansen, of Chicken Soup for the Soul, were rejected 144 times from publishers. Finally, in 1993, their book was accepted. Since they were in debt and couldn’t afford a publicist, they did their own promotion. In 1995, they won the Abby Award and the Southern California Publicist Award.

In a teleconference I attended with Jack Canfield as the speaker, he said he and his co-author created vision boards of what they wanted. They even took a copy of the New York Times Best Selling Page, whited out the #1 spot, and replaced it with Chicken Soup for the Soul. They put copies of it everywhere, even in the toilet. They had focus, determination, perseverance, and they envisioned and projected success. The rest is history.

On a much smaller scale, my daughter and co-author of Day’s End Lullaby, Robyn, practices the philosophy of The Secret. For ten years she dreamed of being in the audience of the Oprah show. She actually got tickets twice, but for one reason or another she was unable to attend. It didn’t stop her though; she persevered and kept trying. She knew one day she’d accomplish her goal and she did.

So, what has this to do with you and me as writers? Plenty.

The elements for obtaining your goals are the same whether for business, marketing, pleasure, or writing. Just about every writer has heard the adage: it’s not necessarily the best writers who succeed, it’s the writers who persevere.

Be focused and determined on your writing goals. Have a ‘success’ mindset. This means to project success, along with taking all the necessary steps to becoming a successful and effective writer. And, don’t let rejection stop you – persevere.

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Saturday

Three myths about KDP Select by Maggie Ball

Three myths about KDP Select (and how you can capitalize on them)

Guest Post by Maggie Ball

Are you a self-publisher? In 2011, Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) started a program called “Kindle Select”. To enroll in it is easy. When you upload your book into KDP, you’ll be asked if you want to enroll. Tick yes, and you’re in. That’s all there is to it, but is that all? What does it mean? In a nutshell, enrolling in KDP Select means that, for the period of enrolment, you have to commit to making the digital format of your book available exclusively through KDP. You aren’t able to distribute your book digitally anywhere else, including on your website, blogs, etc. This means that it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to enroll in KDP Select if your book is with a traditional publisher, as they’ll want to sell it from their own site and other sites as well. The benefits of doing this are:

•    Your book will be available from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library for anyone who joins Amazon Prime.  Every time someone borrows it, you’ll get a share of at least $6 million throughout 2012
•    70% royalty for sales to customers in India instead of the standard 35%
•    Use of a Promotions Manager tool that allows you to schedule 5 free book days a year.

It seems like a simple trade off – exclusivity for benefits, but confusion and mis-information abounds.  Read on for the three biggest myths about KDP Select and what you can do to make sure that you utilise the benefits of this program to its full capabilities.

Myth one: KDP Select means you can’t sell your book on other sites.
When you enroll in KDP Select, you only have to commit to 90 days – roughly three months. After that you can put your book up anywhere. This means you can try it out, use it for a bit, and then opt out. But be careful.  When you sign up, there’s an auto-renewal box.  If you don’t tick off that, or diarise the renewal date, you’ll automatically be renewed and then you’ll have to wait another 90 days to opt-out. Also remember that you are free to sell print and audio copies of your book anywhere while you’re in KDP Select – it’s only for digital editions.

Myth two: If you put your book into KDP readers will come.

No promotions work without effort on the author’s part, and as more and more people become aware of KDP Select, the number of people participating in it will grow, which means more noise and more competition for attention. You’ll have to get the word out and promote your involvement as hard as you promote anything else to do with your book. Tell readers that your book is always free to borrow for Amazon Prime (you can see what Amazon gets out of it!). Tell your readers when there are free days and make sure you maximise those. Tweet and use appropriate hashtags (like @KindleBookPromos). Tell Kindle book blogs. There’s a great, all-in-one-place compendium of these sites at: http://authormarketingclub.com. Don’t just hope people will find out about it.

Myth three: KDP will cause you to lose sales.

Giving your book away doesn’t cause a loss of sales. It’s well known that giving your book away can dramatically increase readership awareness, potential reviews, and ultimately, sales (just ask Cory Doctorow). The more people who have heard of you, the more people will hear of you. That’s called “buzz”. It’s good.

So there are your three myth, busted.

Magdalena Ball runs The Compulsive Reader. She is the author of the poetry books Repulsion Thrust and Quark Soup, the novels Black Cow and Sleep Before Evening, a nonfiction book The Art of Assessment, and, in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Deeper Into the Pond, Blooming Red, Cherished Pulse, She Wore Emerald Then, and Imagining the Future. She also runs a radio show, The Compulsive Reader Talks. Find out more about Magdalena at http://www.magdalenaball.com.

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SEASON GREETINGS


It's hard to believe that this year is coming to a close. The years are really going by like a blur. I want to make sure I thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to visit with me.

Have a wonderful and healthy holiday season, and a healthy and prosperous New Year.

I look forward to offering you more helpful tips and resources to keep you moving forward on your writing and marketing journey right on through the new year.

Karen

Monday

7 Elements of an Effective Landing Page Designed to Increase Your Mailing List


The nitty-gritty of your landing page is to create an effective, engaging, and appealing page that is designed with focus and that will motivate the visitor to say YES to your opt-in or other call-to-action.

Getting traffic is great, but if that traffic doesn’t convert, doesn’t take action on your site, there’s really no point to it. Your opt-in landing page should convert visitors into subscribers.

Here are seven elements to an effective opt-in landing page.

1. A Specific Opt-in Landing Page

With attention spans dwindling and competition increasing, the main goal of your opt-in landing page is to get email addresses that will convert into sales.

You might be wondering why a separate opt-in landing page is a necessary step. The answer is: distraction.

Most visitors and readers today are scanners. There’s just too much information online for people to read everything. And, in addition to this, attention spans are shrinking.

If you bring a visitor to your blog for the purpose of having her sign-up for a newsletter, she may first glance over your interesting post and scan for more information. Maybe she’ll glance over all the gadget/widgets you have on your sidebars. This is distracting and dilutes focus.

When you drive traffic for the purpose of increasing your mailing list, your intent, your call-to-action, needs to be deliberate and clear, with NO distractions. 

This is the purpose of a specific opt-in landing page.

2. The Sign-up

According to a number of marketers, the most essential words on your site are something like GET ACCESS or other text prompting the visitor to take action (subscribe to your newsletter).

Getting subscribers onto your mailing list is the first and most important element of an effective website. It should be the purpose of your opt-in landing page.

The sign-up text is the building blocks of your empire. It is the link to developing a relationship with the visitors to your site.

3. Convey the Benefit

Simply having the sign-up wording in place isn’t enough. According to MarketingExperiments.com, you need to provide the visitor with a benefit. The benefit is the incentive to say YES to the sign-up step.

People are getting more and more gun-shy about opting into yet another newsletter or ezine. You need to give them something of value for their valuable address. Think of it as an exchange.

With the above in mind, you need to word your sign-up text to convey the benefit. You might use something like, “Get instant access to the powerful ebook, 10 Steps to Increase Your Website Traffic.”

This wording not only establishes the ‘benefit,’ it also gives a time element: “free instant access.”

You might also use wording such as, Get instant access to your complimentary gift, 10 Steps to Increase Your Website Traffic.

The landing page should also list what’s included in the free gift and the value of the newsletter. Using bullet points is recommended.

4. Your Ethical Bribe - The Free Gift

This is your ‘ethical bribe.’ Obviously, you will need to make the free gift relevant to your site and valuable to your target market. And, you want the visitor to know that your offer, your opt-in, is free. You don’t want him wondering about this – make it clear.

The reason for ‘sweetening the pot’ and making the offer as irresistible as possible is because you need to build your mailing list. You need that visitor to say YES. You need conversion.

To get that YES, you’re benefit and free gift need to be valuable.

So, how do you decide if your gift is valuable enough to grab that email address?

The answer to this question is easy: you know who your target market is.

Think about it . . . what does your target market want? What would you want?

If your site and product is about writing, guess what…your visitors would probably appreciate an e-book on that topic, maybe a ‘how to write guide.’ Or, if you’re into marketing…offer an e-book of marketing tips and guidance. If your site is about cooking, offer recipes or an instructional cooking e-book.

The idea is to establish yourself as an expert, someone your reader wants to learn from. They need to want what you’re offering, whether it’s for instructional value, information, entertainment, or other.

Now for a word of caution: make sure your new subscriber is able to get his free gift. Occasionally, you may come across a site that you’ve signed up to, specifically for the free gift, and then had trouble with the link or the download itself. This isn’t a good way to start a relationship. Most subscribers will get annoyed and unsubscribe to the site.

5. Clarity

Putting it all together, clarity rules. Your opt-in page should be an easy read and easy to understand. And, it should answer all potential questions.

In addition, the sign-up wording you use should be visible and near the top of the page. And, what you’re offering, including the benefits and freebie, needs to be clearly stated. Bullet points are a good way to give the visitor a quick look at all your offering.

If a visitor has to guess or search for what you’re offering, or wonders what you’re about, you’ve lost that subscriber.

6. Images

Images are an important element to a website and landing page. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, people are becoming more and more ‘visual.’ This means images are a needed component of your opt-in page. But, the image MUST be relevant to what you’re offering. The visitor needs to be able to quickly make the connection, otherwise it may be distracting.

Along with this, you need to keep your landing page simple, clear, and easy to navigate. This means don’t clutter it with too many images.

Having your picture, along with your logo, or other relevant image should be sufficient.

The purpose of having your picture on the landing page is that people connect with people. The feel reassured when they see an actual person – it helps foster trust.

7. The Mailing List

You might have heard that only 1% of first time visitors will buy a product.

The first reason for this is because first time visitors don’t know you, which means they don’t trust you. Why should they buy from you?

The second reason is that during an initial visit, your visitor may not have the time to spend browsing your site for information that will entice him to make the decision to purchase your book or product.

This is where your specific opt-in page and sign-up text comes in. It gives the visitor a quick and easy decision-making nudge. If conveys the benefits and highlights the valuable free gift the visitor will get for taking action. With everything in place, including a clear call-to-action, you’ve made the visitor’s sign-up decision even easier.

The mailing list is your connection and opportunity to develop an ongoing relationship with the subscriber. It’s this relationship that will convert your reader into a customer or client.

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Friday

Social Media Connections - To Endorse or Not to Endorse

What’s Your Marketing Integrity Philosophy


In one of my Linkedin groups, a member asked, “What does integrity mean to you?”

In our fasted paced, condensed internet world, where you really never know who you’re connecting with, integrity is an important issue.

Integrity to me means being honest and having 'high' moral standards in all aspects of life and business. It really boils down to the 'do unto others' biblical philosophy.

A commenter in the group mentioned that she doesn’t endorse people she doesn’t’ know, but wasn’t sure if this was appropriate, since others who don’t know her endorse her.

This issue just came up last week for me again. A new Linkedin connection who I don’t know messaged me that he recommended me in seven areas and asked if I would reciprocate in only two for him.

Two things went through my head: (1) it’s an awkward situation and (2) why would anyone recommend someone they don’t know.

I don't endorse people I don't know. To me it's unethical and would be doing my subscribers and connections a disservice if I did.

I, as nicely as I could, thanked him for the recommendations, but had to decline on the reciprocation. I explained why and he replied back that he understood.

This situation holds true for connecting with someone also. I always check the profile and related sites before accepting. Unfortunately, there are scammers and others out there who I prefer not being associated with, in part because of my values and in part as respect to those who I'm connected with.

I do this for all my social networks. I always check who I’m going to be connected with.

As a writer and/or marketer, with connections and subscribers of your own, being considered honest is a key relationship elements. If you want to create and build strong and long-lasting relationships, you need to take your ‘connections’ into account in all your online actions.

What’s your marketing integrity philosophy?

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Monday

9 Quick Tips for Being a Guest Blogger

If you’ve written a book, you know that marketing the book is more important and more difficult than actually writing it. And, an effective book and author platform marketing strategy is content marketing.

Or, if you're marketing your services or products, the same is true. You need to generate visibility and authority through content marketing.

This marketing strategy includes posting to your site on a regular basis, sharing on social media networks, submitting to article directories, and being a guest on quality blogging sites.

This guest blogging strategy is important whether you're a marketer, a writer, or an author.

As you may know, guest posting on a quality site in your niche does at least four things:

•    It affords you a wider audience and often this leads to clicks back to your site.
•    It allows you to cement your expert status - your authority.
•    It provides the host site with fresh content.
•    The host site will get additional traffic from your promotion efforts.

Keep in mind that quality content is what counts!

With your quality content in hand, the first step is to find a blog that gets good traffic and offers quality content. If you’re not sure about a site, you can go to http://alexa.com to check the site’s authority.

At this point, you have the content and you have a website that will accept it. Now, it’s on to the tips.

9 quick tips for being a guest on blogging sites:

1. Check the host blogging site’s guidelines carefully. And, be sure to know what type of content the site publishes, along with what’s already been done. You don’t want to offer to guest post about Google’s Penguin when it’s been done before.

2. Provide a brief bio with a link to your site or landing page (do not embed the link – provide the complete URL). If you don’t have a website set up yet, use your Twitter or Facebook URL.

3. Provide relevant tags for your host to use. A minimum of three tags should be included with your submission.

4. EDIT your content before sending it off.

5. Ask if the host would like you to send a relevant image for the post. A number of sites are requesting images accompany the posts to save time.

6. Thank the host for allowing you to be a guest blogger.

7. Once your post is published, promote it, promote it, promote. And, in you promotion, ask for visitors to leave a comment. Bringing traffic to the hosting site is nice, but getting comments is even better.

8. Stop by throughout the day to respond to any comments.

9. Stop by periodically for the next week to see if there are any other comments.

The most important tip is to be professional and courteous. These qualities go a long way in building relationships.

If you like this post, please SHARE IT.

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