Friday

Online Marketing - Keep Your Audience Engaged with Needed Programs

How to Create Programs Your Audience Will Clamor For

Guest Post by Sharyn Abbott

My first program was a presentation I created for my entrepreneur group. I took the concepts I had developed to increase my travel business during the Gulf War from thirty thousand in sales to one hundred eighty thousand a month in three years.

Many people kept asking me how I achieved the success so consistently. I explained my process to several people before I decided to create an outline and then a workshop explaining each of the steps I had used. The program was so well received I was asked to deliver it to many other entrepreneurial groups.

Within a couple of years I realized many of my clients were very interested in improving their sales skills. I had been very fortunate when working at a Fortune 500 firm to have experienced every major sales training program available. I put my own personal spin on converting the corporate style training into an entrepreneurial approach which included more relationship building and personality recognition techniques. The response to the training program was overwhelming.

From that point on, every two years I would create a new program by listening to what my client's needs were. When websites became more relevant, I created a program which made it easy for anyone to create their own website. When social media became a dominant force among entrepreneurs I created workshops, teleseminars, webinars and video training materials to break down the mysteries of what to do and how to do it well.

The key however was I have never stopped learning! I still listen to one teleseminar or webinar every week. I attend live trainings all over the country when successful icons produce events.

You can be sure, if you've struggled with a concept, so have your clients. When you make it easier for them to learn how to participate in a concept, they will appreciate the ability to skip over the hundreds of pages of information and untold hours searching for the "right" way to accomplish their goals.

When you become a resource for your database, their loyalty is unquestioned. Your clients will begin to expect answers from you and their trust factor increases with each and every program you produce.

At first I followed the outline format: first step, second step, etc. It was easier for me to test the accuracy and effectiveness of the training. I produced Power Point presentations and audio programs so my clients could watch or listen, whichever was more convenient for them.

When I became more familiar with video production I found by breaking down any concept into five to ten minute vignettes, my client's learning curve was reduced drastically and I had an enormous reduction in clarification inquiries. I even tested the material with five or six clients who were novices to obtain feedback as to the ease of understanding the material. Each program I create is available in training manuals, audio and video formats. Whichever method appeals to my clients, they have a choice.

The great thing about generating video produced material is if you're not comfortable appearing on camera, you're off the hook! Since all computers have recording devices as standard equipment, you are able to produce quality material with very little effort.

Regardless of your topic or message, you can outline a list of helpful material you believe your clients will benefit from with quality training. The challenge is most people are used to experts selling and not providing great content. So if you provide great content, you'll stand out in the crowd in no time at all.

You might not want to be recognized for your training capacity, but even the biggest names in the self-help and motivational industries are producing new content every year. It's how they keep the attention of their followers. You won't be able to keep the buzz going about your message without generating new content consistently.

So, take a step back to when you were just starting out and remember how it was for you to be searching for the right information. To me it seems like I had to wade through volumes of information to discover the 10% of what was actually helpful.

Now, you can make it easier for your clients to get to the core value of your topic!

Get your free book on how to write your book in 1 hour a day in 4 to 6 weeks. Go to http://www.authortrainingprograms.com by Sharyn Abbott.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Sharyn_Abbott 

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MORE ON ONLINE MARKETING

Email Marketing – 8 Must-Have Elements in Your Subscriber Welcome
Using Anchor Text in Your Posts
The Author Website – Keep it Simple and to the Point




Monday

SEO and Marketing - Basic Tips and Definitions

In its simplest form, promotion is a tool or strategy under the marketing umbrella. The marketing umbrella covers the creation or manufacturing of a product or service, R&D, distribution, and any other elements needed to get a product from creation to the consumer. Promotion creates visibility.

Utilizing online promotion means you will be using the internet, search engines, and SEO. SEO is the process of getting the search engines to find, categorize, and rank your content. You obviously want a high ranking so when a searcher (potential customer) types in a search term (keyword) your site may be one of those on that first SERP.

Marketing and especially SEO can be confusing and seem like a daunting task to undertake, but once you understand the basics it becomes less intimidating.

SEO and Marketing Definitions - A Few of the Basics

1. SEO – search engine optimization: “the process of creating and adjusting website content with the goal of improving search engine rankings.” (according to Compendium.com)

2. SERP – search engine results page – the page results from a search query.

3. Keyword – “any word or phrase a searcher might use to describe or identify a desired resource on the Internet.” When using keyword in your title, it’s important to use the keyword in the beginning of the title. Rather than use “How-to-Guide for SEO,” opt for “SEO: A How-to-Guide.” (according to Compendium.com)

4. Organic Traffic or Marketing – free strategies, such as Twitter, blogging, article marketing, etc.

5. Paid Traffic or Marketing – utilizing paid/sponsored ads, such as Google adwords, etc.

6. Ranking – your position (how high up) on the SERP, the higher the better. In other words, you want to be on the first SERP, or at least within the first few pages.

7. Anchor text – linking to other websites and/or pages directly from text within your content. This strategy should be used to bring the reader to your products, to other related articles you’ve written, to another site that has useful information pertinent to your post, and/or to link to a site you’re mentioning.

Providing readily accessible information and links through anchor text will give your readers more “bang-for-the-buck.” It will give the reader a broader reading experience, and she will definitely appreciate it – this builds a relationship . . . and trust.

Using anchor text links will also help search engines, such as Google and Bing, relate your content to other relevant content, and create a target for searchers to hit.

8. Shareability - While keywords are essential for SEO, having high-quality content that readers will share is what's now super-important for search ranking. Search ranking is your content's authority and useability in the results of a search query.

One last note about SEO, keep your keywords simple and concise. And, often it’s of greater benefit to use long-tail keywords. These keywords may not get as many search hits, but they do get a much more targeted audience; this leaves you with less competition.

An example of a keyword might be, “allergy relief.” Allergy relief is a very generic and heavily used keyword. In order to make it more specific and hone in on a narrower audience/searcher, you might use, “allergy air cleaners,” or maybe, “remedies for allergies,” or, “allergy sinus medications.” You want to narrow the playing field.

There are free tools to test out and analyze keywords; here are three of them you might try: 
http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com/
http://www.keyworddiscovery.com/search.html
http://www.wordstream.com/keywords/

Revised from a Reprint from 2010.

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MORE ON ONLINE MARKETING

Building a Profitable Information Product Business
4 Tips to an Effective Subscriber Opt-in Email Box
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Wednesday

Be a Better Writer by Writing More

Do you write everyday? Do you make sure you get some writing time in each week, if not daily?

If you answered yes to these questions, you should have noticed an improvement in your writing, and possibly an improvement in the speed at which you are able to write. But, that’s not all. You will also find it easier to think of topics to write about.

This is especially true if you do article marketing or ghostwrite articles for other writers, blogs, or businesses. The more articles you write, the better you’ll get at it. The more writing of any type you do, the better you’ll get, just like the adage, ‘practice makes perfect.’

But, what does it mean to get better at writing?

Structure

One aspect of writing improvement is the ability to create a well structured article or story. It should begin with an interesting or hooking introduction. The beginning lets the reader know what the piece will be about. And, it should move smoothly into the middle. You might think of the beginning as the appetizer to a meal.

The middle is the content substance. You let the reader know what the story will be about in the beginning, the middle follows through and embellishes on the topic. The middle is the meat and potatoes of the story or article, and it should move smoothly into the ending, or conclusion.

The ending wraps things up. It should wrap up any loose ends and tie the piece up into a nice package. It needs to leave the reader satisfied. You can think of the ending as the dessert. 

The more you write, the easier it becomes to create content that is well structured and smooth.

Focus

Another aspect writers strive for in their writing is clarity. Along with a well structure piece, you need it to be clear, easily understood. It needs to have focus.

Think of your story as having a road map. You need to get from point A to point C (beginning, middle, and end) with as little deviation as possible. Your reader is following you down the road and you don’t want to lose him.

If you give your reader any reason to pause or divert his attention from the main point of your story, you’ll lose him. People have a short attention span today; they want the information as quickly as possible and with as little effort as possible.

If you write non-fiction and your topic is about health, don’t go off on a tangent about today’s political climate, unless it’s in regard to the stress it adds to your everyday life, and thus the harmful effects it has on your health.

The more you write, the easier it becomes to create content that is focused and lean.

The Writing Time Issue

There are a number of writers who give themselves daily writing quotas. Some may choose thirty minutes a day, others 500 to 1000 words per day. There are also those writers who feel too pressured having to fulfill a daily writing quota, so they choose to create weekly quotas, or just set time aside for writing.

One problem just about every writer faces is time. Even if you work from home, by the time you read and respond to your emails, keep up with your blogs, do your social networking, and keep up your family and household duties, the day can just slip away. That’s why it’s so important to have some kind of weekly writing plan or schedule in place and do your best to stick to it.

Bottom line, if you’re a writer it’s important to write regularly, if not every day, as often as you can. As with any craft, the more you practice or work at it, the better you’ll get.

Reprint from 2010.

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MORE ON WRITING

Are You Sure Your Query is Ready?
Freelance Writing – Giving Basic Writing Advice
7 Steps to Freelance Writing Success Through Positive Thinking



Monday

Book Marketing - The Foundation

Every author has thought it, said it, and heard it: promotion is the roll-up-your-sleeves, and dig-in part of writing. It’s the much more difficult and time consuming aspect of writing that every author needs to become involved with . . . if he wants to sell his books.

To actually sell a book, you need to have a quality product. This is the bare-bottom, first rung of book promotion . . . the foundation.

The Foundation - Create a Quality Product

The very first step in book promotion is to create a quality product. Hopefully, you noticed I said create a quality product, not just a good story. What this means is that all aspects of your book need to be top notch.

A. The Story

To start at the very beginning, the first factor to be dealt with is to be sure your story has all the essential elements. According to Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, there are five major elements of a story: characters, setting, plot, point of view, and theme.

All the elements of a story should complement each other, should move each other forward, draw the reader in, and end with a satisfying conclusion. They should work together to create a story that will be remembered.

Suppose your story is action packed and plot driven, but it lacks believable and sympathetic characters, it will fall short. The same holds true if you have a believable and sympathetic character, but the story lacks movement. Again, it will be lacking. As with all things in life balance is necessary, the same holds true when writing a story.

Here are four articles that will help you in this area:

Fiction Writing for Young Children – 10 Rules
Writing Fiction: Character Believability and Conflict
Being a Writer - Learn the Craft of Writing
How to Write a Story with Suzanne Lieurance

B. Join a Critique Group

Yes, this is part of creating a quality story. Even experienced authors depend on the unique perspective and extra eyes that each critique member provides. They will help find: grammatical errors, holes in your story, unclear sentences and paragraphs, overuse of particular words, and weak verbs, among other elements.

They will also provide guidance and suggestions.

C. Editing

Yes, again, this is a necessary step to take to ensure your manuscript is in the best shape possible before it becomes a book. Look for an experienced and qualified editor to help tweak your manuscript. But, before you send it off to be edited, self-edit it first. There are a number of articles out there in cyberspace on self-editing. Take the time and read a few, then go over your manuscript.

If you need help self-editing your manuscript, check out:
Editing Books Like a Pro - Self-editing Tips for Books and Articles

D. Cover and Design
This step is more relevant to those who decide to self-publish, or use a Print-on-Demand (POD). The cover is the first impression a reader will usually have of your book, next is the interior design. These aspects are just as important as the story itself. I’m sure you’re familiar with the expression that you only get one shot at making a good first impression. Well, you can relate that to your book cover.

Don’t skimp on time, effort, or money when coming up with your book’s cover and design.

Tip: If you are writing a children’s book, do not do your own illustrations unless you’re a professional illustrator.


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MORE ON BOOK MARKETING

Do You Really Need an Author Website?
Creating Images – Simple and Quick
Ebooks are a Must



Friday

Your Website Images - Be Careful What You Delete

If you're like me, you upload images as needed for your posts, like the one to the left here.

Once uploaded, those images sit in your Blogger Images Files. If you use WordPress, it's the same thing - you upload the images and they're saved in your Media File.

This is all great. You have the images saved on site to be used again if needed, as part of your online marketing strategy.

BUT . . .

Yesterday, I decided to tweak my Google+ account. I edited my work information, changed the header (more on that below) and I deleted some of the albums cluttering up the Photos File.

Would seem like a good thing, right?

Not so much. What happens is as you upload images to your Blogger site, they're saved in your Google+ account in Photos. Google creates a name for the album it creates of your site's images.

This is where haste makes waste comes a knockin' on the door. I knew some of the albums were connected to my Blogger sites, but it wasn't a thought in my head, as I deleted the album for this site.

SO . . .

The BAD thing that happens when you delete images or an entire album related to your Blogger site is those images are no longer available for your site. Where you added an image (that you just deleted) to a post a year ago or yesterday it's no longer there. It's GONE.

The images you thoughtfully added to your posts from your Blogger Images File are GONE. In their place are grey circles.

BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO DELETE YOUR IMAGES, BE SURE YOU HAVEN'T USED THEM IN YOUR POSTS!

Now, when you see a post with a grey circle in place of an image, you'll know why.

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MORE ONLINE MARKETING TIPS

Book Marketing and Your Website Design – Text and Background Color Matters
Book Marketing Overwhelm
Commenting on Blogs Still Works



Wednesday

Freelance Writing – How to Avoid Underestimating Price and Time (7 tips)

Being a freelance writer has its challenges. One in particular is knowing what to charge for each particular job. Another challenge is realizing that each job is different, even if it seems similar to something you’ve already done.

Underestimating the Project Time (which means you’ve underestimated the quote)

One freelance writing trap that is easy to fall into is not accounting for more work than anticipated. Unless you work with only a couple of clients and know their work very well, this is an easy trap to fall into. I recently took on a job editing an academic paper that was to be submitted to a health journal. I’ve done academic papers before and expected the work would be something familiar to me. Surprise, surprise.

The project took me a week to complete and I quoted a price thinking it would take about a day, maybe a day and a half.

Even if you request a sample before giving a quote, this may not be enough. It may not give you a clear indication of what the entire manuscript is like.

The solution: Always leave yourself freelance writing ‘room to move.’

Here are seven ‘room to move’ tips:

1. Request to read the entire manuscript before giving a quote. The reason I say the entire manuscript is because if you ask for 10 pages, as an example, you will have no idea what the rest of the paper deals with. In the project I took on, it was the mid-section that was problematic.

While reading the full manuscript may be a bit time consuming, it’s worth it to know what to expect and avoid the freelance writing ‘underestimating trap.’

2. If you’re editing an article or paper that will be submitted to a journal or magazine, request a copy of the journal/magazine the paper is to be submitted to or you might ask for copies of recent accepted articles. This will give you lots and lots of information on how to edit the paper properly.

3. Give a quote that allows you ‘room to move.’ This doesn’t mean overcharging the client, it means having enough common sense to know it could very well take you longer than expected.

If you tend to underestimate a project, double the price you’re thinking of quoting.

4. If you’ll need to read and adhere to a specific journal’s guidelines, take that into account. It will take time to thoroughly read the guidelines.

5. Know that ‘one price’ doesn’t fit all. Every job will be different when dealing with different clients. Don’t assume similar projects will be similar. Don’t assume they will all take the same time to complete.

6. Give yourself enough time to complete a project. Usually, a two-week turnaround is sufficient, as long as it’s not a rush job. The two-week window will help alleviate any feelings of pressure or stress. You will need to determine what window you’ll feel comfortable with and the client is agreeable to.

7. Know when to decline a project. If you’re not sure how long a project will take or it seems like more work than you have the time for, it’s okay to decline. Don’t feel like you have to take every job that comes along. If you know another freelancer who works in that genre, let the client know and pass it along.

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MORE ON FREELANCE WRITING

7 Steps to Freelance Writing Success Through Positive Thinking
The Fastest Way to Build a Freelance Writing Business and Start Making at Least $100 a Day
Writing for Money – Breaking Into Freelance Writing

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Karen Cioffi, the Article Writing Doctor

Monday

4 Basic Website Questions Every Landing Page Must Answer and Answer Quickly

The internet is teeming with information on everything you can possibly think of. This includes information on your business platform. But, with all this information available, there are still many who aren’t aware of the basics, the dos and don’ts of an online platform.

I recently came across a website on ‘article submissions.’ Finding it on Twitter and being interested, I clicked on the link and it brought me to a site with articles on unrelated topics. There wasn’t an About page, or any information on what the site was about. And, there wasn’t a Contact or Services page. This marketer/business owner was leading people back to his site, apparently for the purpose of selling something, but the site was completely ineffective. It was one of the most puzzling sites I’ve ever seen.

So, the question to ask is: If someone lands on your website, by accident, through a search, or through a social link, is it effective? Is it ‘visitor/customer optimized?’

To answer these questions, you first need to know the fundamentals of a business website. And, a business website could be an author’s site, a home business site, or a small business site. The basics are the same for all websites that are trying to sell something.

To guide you in the right direction to creating a ‘visitor optimized’ website, let’s go over the very basics.

Online marketing 101 is to create a website that works, a website that converts visitors into clients/customer or a subscriber. This is the foundation of your online empire. And, an effective website needs to answer these four basic questions:

1. Who are you?
2. What are you offering?
3. Why is what you’re offering worthy of the visitor’s time, money, or email address?
4. Is the path to what you’re offering, the path to the YES, simple? (The YES is the potential customer’s positive action, whether it’s opting into your mailing list or buying what you’re offering, or other call-to-action)

Let’s go over each element:

1. Who You Are
Make sure your website has an About Me page. In addition, your landing page should make it clear who you are. Don’t let the visitor have to hunt you down – don’t let her have to search through your site, just to find some information on you.

Tip: Keep the About Me content conversational, like you’re talking to a friend.

2. What You Have to Offer

Your landing page needs to quickly convey what you have to offer. To do this, you can use an image with content or a video. Video is highly effective – it is proven to increase conversion.

Tip: Keep the ‘key’ information above the fold. This means it must be visible upon landing on the page. The visitor shouldn’t have to scroll down the page to find it.

3. Why What You’re Offering is Worthy of the Visitor’s Time/Money/Email
Let the visitor know the value of what you have to offer. And, if possible, make it seem exclusive. Figure out a way to make the visitor think he can’t get what you’re offering anywhere else.

Tip: The visitor must perceive the value of your offer as higher than its cost.

4. Is the Path to What You’re Offering (the Path to the YES) Simple?

Marketers use the acronym KISS (Keep it Simple Silly) to emphasis the importance of simplicity. Your website should be easy to navigate, focused and clear, have a simple design, and it should have an easy path to saying YES.

Tip: To keep it simple, have only one or two steps to opt-in or to take some other call-to-action.

To further cement the ‘tell it all and tell it quickly’ website strategy, MarketingExperiments.com explains that you have only seven seconds to do what’s needed. That’s the length of time you have to grab the visitor, let him know who you are and what you have to offer.

Ready, set, go!

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Learn the tips, tricks, and strategies to the four core elements of inbound marketing: optimizing your website, blogging smart, email marketing, and social media marketing.

It's 4-week interactive, in-depth, and priced right.

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MORE ON ONLINE MARKETING

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The Author Website – Keep it Simple and to the Point



3 Steps to Making Money Even If You Don’t Have Your Own Product or Service (it's pretty easy)

You don’t have to be a professional writer. You don’t have come up with creative ideas for products or services. And, you can still earn money online.

It may seem impossible, but it is absolutely doable. Now, while you don’t need to create your own products or services, there is work involved. Remember, there are no get-rich schemes that work – you don’t get something for nothing. This is a ‘real’ strategy and it's called affiliate marketing.

So, let’s get into it.

Step 1: Create a ClickBank account.

1. Go to http://clickbank.com and open an account. Look for the sign-up clickable link on the top of the site.
2. Search their database and find a product you’re interested in.
3. Check the ‘grav’ of that product. It’ll be in the Stats section. Usually, the higher the number the better. The number based on the number of affiliates who have made sales.
4. Check out the seller’s sales page (having an audio or video on it helps conversion).
5. Choose a product and become an affiliate of it.

Step 2: Create a website specifically for the affiliate product.

1. Get a domain name from services like Bluehost or GoDaddy. Try to create one with a product related keyword. The keyword in the title is an effective online marketing element.
2. Get a website. You can use a free one, but it may be worth it to get a hosted site. It affords more security and you can get the domain for free.
3. Gather all the promotional material the seller offers. This will be through the seller’s link on Clickbank.
4. Create the landing page for the product using the seller’s promotional content (that’s all you’ll need – you don’t need to create pages or optimize the site).
5. Keep it simple, but make it effective. If you want, you can get a website header made through fiverr.com.

Step 3: Write product related articles.

1. Write articles related to the product. As an example, say you’re affiliate product is a vacuum cleaner, you can write about house cleaning, vacuuming a car, allergies, and so on. Write about anything that’s related to vacuuming.

This isn’t that difficult. As a ghostwriter, I wrote hundreds of allergy articles for a client.

2. Become a member of EzineArticles.com. As you complete an article, publish it on EzineArticles – it’s one of the top article directories, which means it gets tons of traffic.

Tip: You will have a resource box (where your tag/bio goes) to fill out, be sure to include a call-to-action and link leading back to your affiliate website.

Remember, you don’t have to be a professional writer to do this. You will though need to edit your articles before publishing them, to check for grammatical errors and clarity. And, whatever the topic is, be sure to include keywords in the title and a couple in the content.

There you have it - three simple steps to making money through online marketing, even if you don’t have a product or service to sell.

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MORE ON ONLINE MARKETING

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Article Marketing – Blog Posting Optimization
Landing Pages for Better Conversion




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