Using Images in Your Content Marketing is a Sure Way to Boost Engagement

Images are similar to colors in that they can evoke emotions and even actions.

In an interesting article on eight types of images, at CopyBlogger, the author explains how each type has its own psychological influences.(1)

Before the types listed in the article are divulged, it’s important to know why images are so important.

According to Web Marketing Group, “Ninety percent of information that comes to the brain is visual.” And, “forty percent of people will respond better to visual information than plain text.”(2)

The first type of image mentioned is stock photos.

I’ve used BigstockPhoto for years now. When I first started using their service, you could buy an individual image. Now, you need to buy bundles of credits that you apply toward the images you want. I think they average $2-$3 dollars and image.

Services like this are very useful because sometimes you just can’t find an image or are unable to create the image you want.

Second on the list is screenshots.

I use screenshots in my posts here and there. I use them when needed. They’re a great way to enhance your text and aide in visualization for better understanding. They are also very effective for showing ‘social proof.’

This type of image is quick and easy to create. You simply use your ‘screen capture’ button or a tool like Snipping Tool.

Third up is ‘graphs and charts.’

I’ll admit I don’t use this type of image as much as I should. I think it’s more time consuming to create a graph than it is to create your own image or get one from a service.

But, they are a great way to demonstrate important facts and statistics.

Fourth on the list is personal photos.

It would be a sure bet that everyone online at least has a headshot or other personal image on their website and social media networks. The ‘it’s me’ image creates the perception of knowing the individual, at least somewhat. It creates a connection.

Then there are the personal images that convey what you’re talking about. Maybe you went to a sports event and it was crowded. What better way to show how crowded it was than to show a picture.

This is also a good way to create a more personal connection. The reader or visitor will feel like they know you.

On to the fifth on the list which is still frames.

This type of image can come from TV shows or movies. The benefit of still frames is the viewer will already have an emotional history with it.

I’ll date myself here, but I love old reruns of Columbo. It was a detective series with actor Peter Falk. If I see an image Columbo, I immediately think: clever, cunning, funny, wise, and so on.

I haven’t used this format yet, but I will look into it. My main concern is copyright issues.

Sixth up is infographics.

The infographic is very popular. It’s an image stuffed with useful statistics on a particular topic.

I haven’t created one of these yet. I think the reason is I prefer properly formatted text. While you can get some quick tidbits of information from infographics, I find it’s more time consuming to have to search for what you’re looking for. This is especially true when its stuffed with lots of content.

But, according to heavy-hitters, infographics is a ‘heavy-hitter content marketing tool.

Now, on to the seventh, custom images.

This is my primary source of images for the past couple of years. I use LogoCreator  to make just about all my images, including meme quotes.

For two examples of a meme quote, you can go to:

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What I like about custom images is you can create the perfect match to your post. Even if you need to use a bought image as part of it, you can make it just the way you want.

Finally, number eight on the list, comics.

Everyone loves to laugh. And, 'making comics’ is a great marketing tool. I use a type of comics in the animations I create, but I don’t think it’s quite the same thing.

So, there you have 8 types of images and what they can do for your blog posts.

The CopyBlogger piece gives great links to resources, so be sure to check it out:

NOTE: When using images from sources, in other words, image you didn’t create yourself or buy with explicit permission to use as you like, be very careful of copyright issues.

Please read the article below on what can happen if you mistakenly use a copyrighted image with permission. Better safe than sorry.

When Blogging Use Images Carefully – They May Be Copyrighted






Tools to Help You Monitor Your Social Media Network Efforts

If you’re including social media marketing in your business plan, and you absolutely should be, you need to take some time to find out what type of results (ROI) you’re getting. has a post with 19 FREE social media analytical tools that will help you keep an eye on things.

I’ll admit I don’t go waist-deep into analytics, but I do monitor my websites and social media efforts. I’d be foolish not to.

To jump in or to take-your-testing up a notch, below are some of the tools listed.

Buffer: The first on their list is their own tool which has great features, including “the major engagement stats for every update you post.” It cover the biggies too: Twitter, LinkedIn, GooglePlus, and Facebook.

FollowerWonk: This is the second on the list. It offers details on your Twitter activity. What’s interesting is that if you input a Twitter user other than yourself, it will give you information on that user – they’re followers and followings.

Google Analytics: Sixth on the Buffer list is Google. While this analytical tool is usually used for website traffic, you can get very useful data on “how many visits your site receives from each of the major social networks.

You might say Google Analytics pulls double-duty – it’s a website and social media activity analytics tool.

SUMALL: This is seventh on the list. Like Buffer it offers monitoring of all the major networks and lots of others. What I like about Sumall is it doesn’t interfere with your social media accounts. While it can see everything your do on them, it will not post to your accounts or make any changes.

Keyhole: Number 12 on the list, Keyhole is about hashtag analytics. Want to know which hashtags are working, and how well? This analytic tool will tell you.

Klout: This is number 13. This particular tool analyzes all your social networks and gives you a score on your overall engagement or results. I think though that you need to post to your social networks directly through their site. I may be wrong, but when I visited it did seem that way.

Another tool I recently found is This tool shows you the Twitter users who followed you and then unfollowed you.

This is great information. Who follows you just to get the follow back and then unfollows, so it appears like the user has a lot more followers than those he’s following. It's something I certainly want to know.


A Bit of Caution

While you do need to keep tabs on your online marketing strategies, including social media, be careful what permissions you’re giving these services.

The ONE major problem that I find with some of these services is if you signup and allow them to gather information from your social media networks, you are also allowing them to update your profile, monitor your posts, and actually post for you.

Here’s an example of one (read the “This application will be able to”)

To me, this is a NO-NO.

While I don’t mind these services being able to see my followers, my posts, my profile, and so on, I don’t want them to have permission to make any unrequested changes to my account. The wording on these Permission notices seems a bit vague.

The questions or red flags that first pop up are:

  • Why would a service need to update my profile or post tweets for me? 
  •  And, if I give permission, what type of changes and posts would they do?

Maybe I’m old school, but I don’t want a business having control of making random changes to my social media accounts without my explicit okay for each particular change. That’s just crazy to relinquish that kind of control.

Summing it Up

While you do have to monitor your social network activity, be careful which service you use. There are a number of free ones that don’t demand excessive permissions.

TIP: You can also use the services that require privileges, but then remove them from your access list after you’re done.

Read what you’re signing up for.

For the full list of analytical tools, visit the Buffer post at:
19 Free Social Media Analytical Tools


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How Social Media Marketing Helps a Storefront Business

Guest post by Matthew Yeoman

We’ve all had that experience of being on a social media profile for a brand we like, looking at their content, and then having the urge to get up and head to their store. I usually get this thought when I’m looking at food or sneakers.

My example, and the examples that you can think of in your head, are the first pieces of proof that social media marketing can truly bring people through the door of your storefront. The following article will look deeper into:

● Statistics behind social media leading to in-store purchases
● What any retailer can do to bridge the digital gap

With this knowledge you’ll be better able to understand why your business should be using social media marketing, and how you can create deeper connections between it and your storefront.

Social media and in store purchase statistics

Even with Amazon, iTunes, eBay, and a million other online stores, we are still making 94% of our purchases in actual stores.(1) Finding out how many of your customers follow you online by urging your cashiers to ask each customer if they’re following you can be pretty tedious!

Stores have been doing tests lately to see what sort of results their social media marketing has been getting. The easiest is running a free digital coupon promotion on one of your social platforms and seeing how many people use it.

Promoted tweets, organic tweets, and storefront sales increases

Most brands do the bulk of their Twitter marketing using organic tweets. When Datalogix compared those who saw tweets from a brand, versus a control group of people who didn’t, there was an 8% rise in sales amongst those who saw a single organic tweet. For a more active brand, when users saw 5 or more tweets over a week there was a rise of 24% in sales amongst them.

Connecting your social media and in store activity

There are ways that you can setup your store, through displays and signage, that will help you see an increase in activity on your social media accounts.

A retail store which is over a century old, but still learning new tricks, is Nordstrom. They have taken a look at their most popular content on Pinterest and given these items special signage in their stores. (2) This simple act has helped them:

● Identify product with visual appeal, both online and inside their stores
● Make it easy for online fans to locate the products in the store via signage
● Have greater direct interaction between the items in their stores and their Pinterest account

Taking the time to identify the products which are the most popular online, by tracking your interactions, and then singling these products out in stores can help product really fly off shelves. The more connections you try to make between social media and the real world the more results you’ll see.

Using events as an in-store purchasing opportunity

Brands have been using special in-store events, like sales and other promotions, to get people in the doors from TV and radio for decades. With social media you can do even more to push not only the in-store promotion, but your social media accounts themselves.
A simple hashtag, which you create specifically for your event, can connect the content you create to promote your event. Twitter and Instagram are the most hashtag-friendly social platforms.

Once you are using your hashtag actively in your online marketing, you need to start planning for the day/weekend/week of your event. Having signs printed up which use the hashtag on them, and which encourage those taking part to use the hashtag, will be one more way to connect your social media and in-store events.

The goal of any social media marketing campaign should be to build a dialogue between your brand and your customers. Your first step in this success is creating dialogue on social media. Your next step is bridging the gap between the digital and real worlds by way of in-store use of your social hashtags and information you gain from social media.

You need to stop thinking of your social media marketing as this separate thing - you need to bring it right inside your stores to really make an impact with it.


Matthew is the writer over on the Social Media News blog. You can find him there every Friday with the latest updates in the social world, or you can visit the @Devumi Twitter account for your daily news fix!



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Make the Most of Business Opportunities Without Getting Overwhelmed

Today, everyone is pressed for time. There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. You may be trying to squeeze writing and marketing time in while working full time and taking care of a family. You may be trying to s-t-r-e-c-h time to get as much done as possible.

You may be trying to do it all.

Well, before you take on too much and finally break the ‘camel’s back,’ take a step back and take a deep breath.

While you do need to keep moving forward, to keep broadening your reach, you need to do it wisely.

Here are four tips to help you along your writing and marketing journey:

1. Have a plan.

No matter what your goals in life, you need to have a plan in place to reach those goals. Writing and marketing are no exception.

List two or three yearly major goals and create a detailed plan. Include the action steps you’ll need to take to reach those goals.

Be explicit, as if your action steps are car directions to a place you’ve never been. Turn left onto Route 127; make a right at the second red light; drive 10 miles then turn left onto the Belt Parkway.

You get the idea. Know where you’re heading and know what tools you’ll need to get there.

Having a plan helps you be in control. It helps you know what you should and shouldn’t do.

2. Don't overbook yourself - it's really not worth it.

Overbooking is a common modern day dilemma, but it just adds too much pressure and stress to your life. This isn't healthy or productive. And, it’s why this in #2 in this article.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “constant stress puts your health at risk [. . .] If your mind and body are constantly on edge because of excessive stress in your life, you may face serious health problems. That's because of your body's "fight-or-flight reaction" — its natural alarm system — is constantly on.” (1)

While this fight-or-flight reaction is needed in dangerous situations, it needs to be in a paused state until needed. So, don’t overbook yourself – it’s really not worth it.

Well, maybe that should be rephrased a bit. Don't overbook yourself unless an unexpected and immediate opportunity 'comes a knockin' on your door that would be foolish to pass up. And, even then, see if you can reschedule it if you're already swamped.

If rescheduling is not an option, take a close look at your schedule or workload. Maybe you can move ‘this’ there, and ‘that’ over to another day. In other words, prioritize.

If that doesn’t work, hey, health is better than wealth (or in this case visibility and authority) any day.

3. Never pass up an opportunity.

This kind of goes with number two in that the opportunity isn’t planned, but, immediate action isn’t usually needed. It’s about the kind of opportunities that happen to present themselves and that you have to take the initiative to respond to.

As an example, I got an exceptional webinar opportunity because I responded to a query in a newsletter I subscribe to. I proposed a webinar for the company's summer business webinar series and it was accepted.

Had I ever done anything that big before? NO. Was I out of my comfort zone? YES. Was I able to pull it off? YES.

Take that step forward . . . raise your hand . . . it's how you'll get noticed, build your authority, and increase your mailing list.

In this situation, you can usually plan ahead, unless it’s a spur of the moment thing. But, again, take a look at your workload and see how you can fit it in without overburdening yourself.

Never let opportunity knock without at least answering the door. Whether you can let it in or not is another story.

4. Make opportunities happen.

Making opportunities happen should be a part of your writing and marketing plan.

To put it simply, this means to find a need and fill it. If you’re in the writing arena, this doesn’t mean submitting writing queries, that’s a normal part of the writing arena. This has to do with possible guest posts on high-quality sites. Move past your comfort zone and get moving.

You might also take something you’re exceptionally good at within your niche and make the most of it. Try to find businesses or individuals that might need your talent and query them. This might seem like ‘cold calling,’ and it may be, but it can work. It can lead to a money-making project, a joint venture, or a quality connection. It also has the potential to boost your visibility and subscriber list.

An example for authors: Suppose you’re an expert in author school visits. You might query sites that offer e-classes to authors and ask if they’d be interested in having you offer a class on school visits. You might also contact small publishers and ask if you’re services might be needed for their authors, as a way of helping them market their books.

An example for content writers: Suppose you’re great at creating e/books. Contact business owners in your social networks or locally and see if they’d like to boost their authority with a book. Be well prepared with why they need one and the process that will be involved.

An example for solopreneurs: Suppose you’re an online marketing instructor for small and home businesses. Query e-learning sites if they’d like to sponsor a workshop or e-class. Or, you may contact businesses directly about how you can help them bring their business more visibility, traffic, authority, and conversion. Again, be well prepared.

Put on your thinking cap. Make opportunities happen.

Reminder: Don’t just ask if they need your services; explain what the benefit to the company will be. Write good sales copy and let them know what you can do for them.
Making the most of opportunities, while not overburdening or over-stressing yourself, is an excellent way to move onward and upward.




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Growing Your Twitter Following and Maintenance

In a recent post at The Social Ms, it explained that the heavy-hitter social influencers use a particular strategy to get the right followers and lots and lots of followers.

The Strategy

It’s the “follow-unfollow” strategy and it’s in two parts.

1. What this simply means is you follow heavy-hitters in the hope they’ll follow back. But, there’s another strategy to this, you become visible to that heavy-hitter. Following her may motivate her to take a peek at your profile.

2. Numbers matter, so the more followers you have the better. On the assumption that if you follow someone within your industry, they’ll follow back, following others is a good idea.


As you’re building your Twitter followers, keep in mind that Twitter has a Follow/Unfollow ratio cutoff. When the number of those you’re following get to a certain point above those who are following you, Twitter caps you off.

You either have to get more followers or you have to unfollow some if you want to add others.

TIP: I use It’s a Twitter tool that you allow to access your Twitter account. It shows you all those who you’re following but aren’t following you back. You simply ‘unfollow’ them as part of your maintenance.

Even if you don’t reach your limit, it’s a good idea to unfollow users who unfollow you.

You can also use this tool to find and unfollow inactive followers and ‘fake’ profile followers.

A Little Wrench in the Works

While I agree this is a great strategy, I don’t think heavy-hitters are going to follow me back.

If I follow an ‘influencer,’ I do it to make the initial connection and to be on his Twitter list. This is to ensure I have a higher probability of receiving his tweets. I honestly don’t expect Jay Baer or HubSpot or Harvard Business Review to follow me back.

Another strategy to use is to follow ‘regular people’ in your industry who are providing valuable tweets. Follow Twitter users who are adding to the conversation.

I’ve also read to follow those who Favorite and Retweet your tweets.

This is a good idea, but if you’re like me, it can be time consuming. I don’t just follow users even if they follow me first. I’m very picky about who I follow.

This means I have to check out the user’s profile to determine if they are:

  • ‘G’ rated
  • If they are in my industry / niche (or closely related to my niche)
  • If they have a focused platform and it’s quickly identifiable
  • If they tweet regularly
  • If they provide valuable information

Within one 12 hour period, I got 32 Favorites and 4 Retweets. I just don’t have the time to check each user’s profile to decide if I want to follow them, if we’re not already connected.

Breaking Down What I Look For

I mentioned I check a profile for five particular elements. Here’s a bit more information on that.

1. Is the user’s platform ‘G’ rated?

This is obviously a personal preference. Along with inbound marketing and writing, I have other online interests and businesses, a couple of them warrant that I have a ‘G’ rated platform.

It’s gotten to the point where I’ve had to ‘mute’ a few of my followers because of the images they post with their tweets.

Again, this is personal preference.

2. Is the user in my industry?

I could easily have tripled the number of followers if I followed anyone.

What’s the point of following someone who tweets about the best wines or latest fashions? My platform is marketing. I provide information that will help my followers move forward with their marketing efforts. It’s not a good idea to dilute your platform.

Along with this, followers outside my niche won’t be providing helpful information to me or my followers.

3. Does the user have a focused platform?

This should be a no-brainer, but I see so many user profiles that are vague. He’s a social media marketer or inbound marketing, maybe. He’s also a skater. He likes cars. And, his tweets are all over the place.

This is not to say there’s anything wrong with this, but for me it’s just not focused. I need to make a quick decision if I’m going to follow someone back. I’ll go so far as to check the first few tweets. At that point, if I’m not sure what the user’s platform is, I don’t follow back.

I’ve searched profiles that say they’re marketers, but the majority of their tweets are on sports. Again, there’s nothing wrong with this, I’m just looking for users who are more focused on marketing. People who add to the conversation, to my industry’s  conversation.

4. Does the user tweet regularly?

I’ve had users follow me who have ONE tweet. Others haven’t tweeted for months.

What’s the point of being on Twitter? I’m sure there’s one, but I don’t get it.

I don’t follow these users back.

5. Does the user provide valuable information?

This is kind of related to number 3 above. If the user has tweets on this, that, and the other thing, I pass.

While everyone may tweet about something unrelated to their niche here and there, it shouldn’t be on a regular basis. If I scroll down a user’s list of tweets and can’t find a focus, I pass. If I scroll down a user’s profile and there are 10 to 20 consecutive tweets thanking others for ‘following,’ retweeting, favoriting, and so on. I pass.

TIP: I retweet other’s useful tweets in-between my ‘thank you’ tweets. This way I show the appreciation I have for those who Favorite or Retweet my tweets and still offer valuable information in-between.

Please note that these are simply my personal preferences. There are other strategies that are just as effective or suit the user better.

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The Apple Watch and Content Marketing

Apple ‘officially’ launched its new product, the Apple Watch.

While Apple isn’t the first to create and market a wearable computer, it is the company that is expected to take the market to a new level.

The first to create and market a ‘computer’ watch was Google with its Android Wear technology. The site explains that the ‘watch’ “organizes your information, suggests what you need, and shows it to you before you even ask. Get messages from your friends, meeting notifications, and weather updates at a glance.” (1) It can also connect to your Android phone, has navigation and so much more. It also responds to texts, instant messages, and emails by voice.

Okay, I’ve gotten off track. But, it is an amazing technology, one though that I probably wouldn’t get.

Back to the Apple Watch.

According to Nieman Labs, “It’s not unreasonable to imagine a potential 90 million Apple Watches on wrists globally by the end of 2016.” (2)

So, what does this mean for those in the content arena?

It simply means it’s another avenue for marketing, but one with possibly an even less text allowance than a tweet. And, it’s another important reason to make sure you have a responsive website.

In the article, “What’s the right kind of content for your wrist?” the author explains that for publishers this is still in the testing phase.

It’s not known what type of information content can be used, what users will feel comfortable with. They may want a very condensed summary of your news, or they may want the full article. Testing and feedback will determine which it is.

In the meantime, it’s suggested to repurpose content into more digestible formats. Once the wearable platform is more established, you revamp your content strategy if need be.

Drawbacks to this new technology

I mentioned I wouldn’t be getting this wearable technology. Below are 3 reasons why I'll pass.

1. Health

The first reason is health. New research finds that these new wearable devices aren’t good for your health.

According to CloudTweaks:

Doctors and scientists have claimed devices such as internet-connected glasses, smart watches and health monitoring gadgets all increase the body’s exposure to radio waves – adding significant amounts of harmful rays to people who are already accustomed to having phones, tablets and laptops in close proximity. (3)

Is the need to have something more readily available than your iPhone on your body, worth the risk? Even if the risk is a possibility or minimal, is it worth it?

Rather than have another type of digital device that’s in your bag or on your desk at least some part of the day, the ‘watch’ is on you constantly for a number of hours.

2. Security

Issues arise on both sides of the coin for business, in both privacy and security.

According to

Linking this [wearables] to corporate usage also might pose a risk. It may pose a privacy data risk but it also might be an entry point for an attacker to get into your organisation because you have to pair this device with your device via Bluetooth. There might be security implications. (4)

There is also the employee privacy issue. Will your company be able to monitor your every move? Even your bathroom time? Ah, the implications. says (5):

Wearable technologies enable capture and collection of amazingly detailed information about an individual’s life, including their lifestyle choices, personal health, location, movement and daily routines. Without the right privacy controls, such data could end up being used in ways never imagined or intended. And without the right security controls, data gathered by such devices could enable identity theft, stalking, fraud and other crimes.   

3. Downtime

While it’s important to be connected for work and business, where is the line drawn? Along with the physical health dangers, what about your mental health?

Is it healthy to be wired non-stop for 8 to 12 hours a day? For some it may be 10 to 16 consecutive hours.

I don’t think so. Just my opinion.



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Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly? Better Be Sure

If you haven’t updated your website theme yet, you should do it today.

Why, you ask?

In an article over at Boost Blog Traffic (BBT), it noted that in January of 2014, “mobile Internet usage exceeded desktop usage for the first time in history.”

And, that was a year ago!

Here are a couple of other statistics from BBT:

  • 65% of emails get opened first on a mobile device.
  • 76% of Facebook’s monthly active users are on mobile.
  • 78% of Twitter’s active users are on mobile.

Along the statistic above, has some other significant statistics that further cements the absolute need to be mobile friendly:

  • 80% of Internet searches are done with SmartPhones
  • 48% of Internet searches start on search engines

Why does this all matter?

Simple. Visibility, traffic, and sales.

Keep in mind that the purpose of marketing online is to build an audience, build a mailing list, help others, and in the process sell what you’re offering.

The only way to do this is through content marketing and inbound marketing. In other words, by bringing traffic to your website.

So, if you haven’t taken the time to check if your site is mobile friendly, it’s time to do it now.

Steps to a Mobile-Friendly Website

1. The first step is to make sure you’re using a mobile friendly website theme.

This means your website (theme) needs to have a responsive design.

According to Google developers, “mobile devices are often constrained by display size and require a different approach to how content is laid out on screen.” This is why a ‘responsive’ design is needed.

This type of design responds to the size of the digital device being used. The Google developers note that “the layout changes based on the size and capabilities of the device. For example, on a phone, users would see content shown in a single column view; a tablet might show the same content in two columns.”

And, now there's the newest digital device, wearables. These devices, such as the Apple Watch, have even smaller screens.

Technology! It’s amazing.

To see if your website if mobile friendly, go here:
Mobile-Friendly Tester

If you’re coming up short, check out this site for more tips:

Simplest way to get mobile-friendly

Probably the simplest and quickest way to get your site up to code is to get a responsive design theme, if you don’t have one already.

If you’re not sure if you have that type of theme, for a quick check, visit your site on your desktop and on your mobile devices. If your site comes up size appropriate on each of your digital devices, you’re good to go.

You want to ensure that if one of those 'mobile searchers' happens upon your website he will have a clear and appropriately sized view. This way he’ll be able to click on your links and take advantage of what you’re offering.

TIP: Boost Blog Traffic has great information on an easy way to discover how many mobile readers your have. It’s worth the read. Go to: Mobile Traffic




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What is Social Proof? Is it Important?

Before social media networking, social proof came in the form of reviews, testimonials, recommendations, referrals, word-of-mouth, and so on.

Now, it’s all about social proof.

But what exactly is this new strategy?

According to TechCrunch, “Put simply, it’s the positive influence created when someone finds out that others are doing something.  It’s also known as "informational social influence.”

Wikipedia describes social proof as “a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.”

Pro-copywriter and marketer Colin Martin also weighs in on this subject. In a webinar I attended, he said, “The influence of your friends, family, and co-workers has greater effect on your buying decisions than the best advertising [. . .] People give more credence to ideas that are started by multiple sources.”

Why is It Important?

For one thing, social proof is recognition (acknowledgment) that other people and businesses value you, your business, and/or your services. It shows you have influence.

As an example of this phenomenon, marketing research shows that book reviews sell more books.

People perceive you and your brand as having authority based on what others are saying about you. This perception motivates consumer behavior. In other words, if Joe sees that Tom, Jessica, Amanda, and lots of others bought your program or software or product, he’ll be motivated to buy it himself.

It’s very similar to how search ranking works. The more people who visit your site and share your content, the more valuable the search engines will perceive you to be.

So, these numbers matter significantly. The higher your numbers the better your search engine ranking, traffic, authority, and conversion

It’s important to note that having social proof from influential people carries an even heavier weight.

In the realm of social media networking, this proof is more quantifiable than before. Now, we’re talking about hundreds and thousands weighing in on your influence through social networks.

Social Proof and Numbers

How many Twitter followers do you have? How many Tweets, Favorites, and Retweets do you average? Are you on any ‘social proof’ lists?

What about Google+ and Facebook? What about LinkedIn? What about YouTube?

How many blog post and social networks shares do you get? What about comments.

How many email subscribers do you have?

Again, these numbers matter. The higher the numbers the more influence you will be perceived as having.

How to Get Social Proof

There are a number of ways to garner the proof you need. Here are eight simple ways to get started:

  • Guest blogging on influential sites
  • Getting comments on your social media posts and your blog posts
  • Provide case studies on your website and social media
  • Provide case studies on how you helped clients move forward
  • Be active on social media and promote engagement (activity)
  • Show you're numbers (number of followers, number of shares, etc.)
  • Show the good stuff (show any 'good' comments you get on your social media channels, show any 'good' lists your included in)
  • Show off your LinkedIn recommendations
  • Show actual testimonials and recommendations

Keep in mind that video testimonials are more powerful than any other kind of testimonial from clients. The reason is the visitor to your site can actually see a person. She’ll know it’s not a fake. This absolutely matters.

You can also create banners for your website’s home page showing your numbers. Add it to your header or your sidebar.

Colin Martin recommends:

  • Use content share buttons that display the number of shares
  • Use the WordPress Rotating Testimonial Widget for your website sidebar
  • Use the WordPress Facebook Comments Plugin
  • Get some YouTube testimonials up

There are other tools and strategies to use to get your social proof out there, but these should get you going in the right direction.

Here are a Couple of Examples of Social Proof

This shows my Top Skill on LinkedIn:

Here are a few Lists I was recently added to on Twitter:

Here's a Twitter Mention:

Here are a few Twitter Favorites of one of my blog posts:

Here I'm on the 1st SERP:

This is ALL social proof.

Do you have other strategies you use to get and display social proof?


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It's 4-week interactive, in-depth, and priced right e-class through WOW! Women on Writing.

Check it out today. Just CLICK HERE for details.


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3 List Building Strategies for Success in Today’s Market

You've heard it over and over, what worked before isn’t working now.

I attended a webinar by online marketer Clay Collins. It was about the newer strategies for successful list building. They've been around for a while now, but many haven't taken that step forward and gotten on board.

As with most marketing strategies, once they become overused they become old and tired. What used to work becomes less and less effective. This is what is currently  happening within the marketing arena and it could affect your business.

As an example, you might have been adding a bit of text at the end of each post suggesting the reader get more valuable information by opting into your mailing list. Or, you have your opt-in very visible spot on your website with “Subscribe Today,” or similar wording.

Well, these strategies are all overused and as mentioned above, becoming less effective.

Have you noticed less people willing to give you their email address? I certainly have.

According to marketing research, this is happening across the board. Readers and visitors are becoming savvier. They know exactly why you want their email address - to sell them products or services. So, you better darn well have something of REAL value to give them if you expect a YES response.

Keep in mind that just about everyone online is offering something and they all want that visitor as a subscriber. To get visitors on a mailing list, the FREEBIE is offered.

You and I and a million other people offer free reports, free ebooks, free podcasts, free videos, and even free coaching sessions. The freebie has become so prevalent that it too is losing its appeal. This prevalence has made the freebie less valuable.

In addition to this, there are just so many marketers bombarding everyone’s email with ‘pie in the sky’ promises. Promises that you can make $5,000 a week, or even in a day; promises that if you give him $197 he’ll give you the step-by-step method of creating your own million dollar business. Or, if you join his program or membership site, you will become an expert and make money, just like him.

The emails are unrelenting and everyone is overwhelmed by them. So, can you blame the visitor for being leery?

In recent months, I’ve seen a drop in subscribers to my list. And, my email inbox is so cluttered I have to delete mail I would like to read, but there just isn’t enough time.

In fact, a number of people are now using ‘spam’ emails, or emails they use just for subscribing to get freebies. Or, they sign-up and after they receive the freebie, they unsubscribe. This has happened to me also.

While this may seem like a bit of doom and gloom, there are newer strategies you can put in place to move forward and continue to build your list with quality subscribers.

The single most important strategy to keep your list building moving forward is using the major platforms.
You may be reluctant to jump on the ‘major platform’ bandwagon, but if you don’t, you can kiss your list building away.

Let’s look at the three heavy hitters:

1. YouTube

The most effective conversion marketing tool around now is video. If you haven’t learned how to create a simple video (and it can be simple), you need to invest the time and do so then get it up on YouTube.

If you’re intimidated by video, you might start with You create a slide show with a PowerPoint document. It plays like a video and is simple to create. You can check out one I did at:

Content Marketing – Optimize Your Blogger Blog Posts

The drawback to Slideshare is the lack of audio. While you can add music to it, there is no talking. This lessens the personal effect for the visitor.

2. iTunes

Another major player is iTunes, which is the world’s number one music store. Creating a podcast an uploading it onto iTunes is a great marketing strategy.

I’m working on getting podcasts on iTunes. I have them on my sites as a welcome and introduction, and will hopefully get some up on iTunes in the near future.

If you’d like to get an idea of how to create a podcast and how to upload it onto iTunes, you can check out this three-part video:

3. Amazon

And, then there’s Amazon. Not much needs to be said about Amazon, aside from you need to write an ebook and get it on Kindle. Or, you might write a book and self-publish it with CreateSpace (also from Amazon).

Whether you sell the book or use it as a promotional tool, you should have a link to your opt-in in the back. If appropriate, say you’re writing a marketing book, you can have it in relevant spots throughout the book.

I have ebooks on Kindle and a book through CreateSpace, with more to come.

Depending on your niche, decide which platform will work best for you. A better bet is to use both.

To be in the game today, you need to be on at least one of these platforms, preferably on all three to be an effective marketer and to get your business ‘out there.’


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3 Super-Tips That Will Help Ensure Your Emails Get Delivered and Opened

Email marketing is a powerful high conversion tool. It’s one of the elements of inbound marketing and brings your content and offerings right to your ‘signed-up’ audience.

What makes this marketing strategy so powerful is that you’re communicating with people who willing gave you their email addresses in order to receive YOUR information.

But, even though you have those email addresses, you want to make sure the recipients actually receive (and open) your emails.

So, here are three email deliverability tips.

Tip Number 1 – Use a paid email service for your email marketing.

Back in April of 2014, a new Yahoo email strategy went into place: emails to subscriber lists, sent through the ‘free’ email service, would not be delivered.

This made everyone taking advantage of email marketing and who was not already using their ‘paid website service’s email,’ switch their email “from” to a paid website service.

Okay, that may sound a bit confusing, so let me explain.

Ever since I started email marketing I used a free Yahoo email account. Then all of a sudden there was NO guarantee that the emails I sent to my list would be delivered. So, I quickly started using a ‘paid website’ email for my subscriber list: This is now the email I use for my email marketing.

“If you are using free email services like Yahoo and Gmail, change your “From Address” on your subscriber email lists to a paid service, use a domain that you control, one that’s connected to your website.” (1)

Tip Number 2 – Monitor your email list for ‘no shows.’

If you have a list, no doubt you have an email marketing service provider, such as GetResponse, that allows you to monitor and analyze how your list is doing. Take note of your bounce rate and those email addresses that don’t bother to open your emails.

Business to Community says, “The beginning of the year offers the perfect opportunity to review your database, and remove any subscribers that haven’t opened or clicked your emails (we typically recommend six to nine months). Review and remove, so you can focus on that core group of engaged subscribers.” (2)

Tips Number 3 – Deliver value with effective titles.

This tip kind of goes along with number 2. Your open rate will definitely increase if you’re providing:

  • Content your list wants to receive
  • Content that will help your subscribers move forward
  • The occasional valuable offer and freebie
  • A title that will make the subscriber want to open your email

I monitor what’s happening with my emails – open rate, click rate, bounce rate, and so on. I’ve found that in my niche, the emails about social media marketing, interesting blogging tips, and helpful writing emails tend to get more opens than others.

Here are five titles that had good open rates:

If you’re not currently analyzing your email list statistics, you should start today. Clean out the weeds and take note of what’s working.

High conversion tool – a marketing strategy that effectively turns visitors into subscribers, potential clients into paying clients, leads into customers. You get the idea.


1. Warning – Email Marketing and Free Email Services

2. Three Key Email Deliverability Trends


An Analysis of Twitter Favorites

Taking a close look at Favorites, three information science specialists conducted a survey of 606 participants to determine the reasons behind Twitter Favorites.

The study consisted of two questions:

1. The first questions wanted to know why the user Favorited a Tweet.
2. The second question asked for “a specific explanation for the last tweet the user had favorited.”

Based on the results, the responses were categorized into two main categories (reasons) for Favoriting.

1. Favoriting as a Response / Reaction

In this category, there are five subcategories:

a. The Tweet was informative (relevant to the person’s industry)
b. The Tweet was from special people (e.g., family member)
c. The user liked the Tweet (possibly a great quote)
d. The user relates to the Tweet personally (a shared opinion)
e. The user found the Tweet emotional (possibly a hot news topic)

2. Favoriting for a Purpose / As a Function

This Category has four subcategories:

a. The user wants to bookmark the Tweet (possibly for future use)
b. The user wants to acknowledge the Tweet in a nonverbal form of approval
c. The user wants to enter a competition or to get a giveaway
d. The user felt the Favorite was less important or more important than a Retweet

The majority of reasons for Favoriting a Tweet fell into Category 1: As a response.

Within that category, Liking (c) was the most popular reason. There were 206 responses in this subcategory.

Twitter describes ‘Liking’ as one of the primary uses of Favoriting. But, the researchers believe it may be associated with Facebook’s “Like” button. Delving deeper into this area, they determined that there are differences though. “Many responses described the user’s intensity of liking” Examples used: “If I really like them,” “When I like them a lot,” and “When I love them.”

So, it seems that there’s a deeper level of Like when a user Favorites a Tweet.

What was also very interesting in the study was that some users have a feeling of privacy when using the Favorite rather than the Retweet.

The reason is that Favorites are not ‘passed’ on – they’re not Retweeted. They’re not shared in the user’s Twitter feed.

According to the study's abstract:

“Favoriting provides a more private form of approval, in that many of our survey participants noted that it was less public, and sometimes more meaningful form of acknowledgement or approval. Retweeting and favoriting could be considered a choice between using mass communication and interpersonal forms of nonverbal communication.”

On the flip side of this reasoning, there is a public list at the top of your profile of your Favorites.

Which is Better - The Retweet or the Favorite?

In regard to the Tweet author, which is better? Is it better to have your Tweet favorited or retweeted?

Well, since social media is all about visibility and connections, I would think having your tweet retweeted is better than having it favorited. The reason is simple: more visibility.

I usually retweet. If there is a tweet I find valuable or interesting, I share it. I like doing this because it accomplishes three important things:

1. I share valuable information with my followers.
2. I help another user get his/her tweet visible.
3. I make a connection with that user.

If I think a tweet is exceptional, I’ll favorite it also. Or, if I don’t have time and want to be able to go back to that Tweet, I’ll favorite it.

I also favorite and retweet tweets that I’m mentioned in.

It’s interesting, to me anyway, that I get lots and lots and lots more favorites than retweets. To be honest, I’d prefer it the other way around (I think).

It makes you wonder, based on this study, whether those who favorite my tweets don’t think they're valuable enough to share with their followers or whether it’s a higher form of acknowledgment.

Wish I knew.

A Bit More About Favorites

Since the study found that only 2/3 of the participants (65.1%) knew of the Favoriting feature and only 73.5% of those who knew actually favorited a Tweet, I’ll go over how you can find and use this feature.

Favoriting is shown as a STAR on the bottom of each Tweet. The Arrows going up and down are for Retweeting.

The Tweets you Favorite can be seen at the top of your Profile. Anyone can click on your Favorites and see a list of the Tweets you Favorited.

To use the Favorite , simply click on the STAR at the bottom of a Tweet you like. That’s it.

If you want to Retweet, click on the Arrows. You’ll be brought to another box. Click on the Retweet option.

I’m not sure why Twitter created an extra step for retweets and not favorites. I’m wondering if that’s why I get lots more favorites. Hmmmm.

I hope you found this post interesting. If you did, please share it.

And, if you have the time, I’d love to know whether you tend to retweet or favorite.





Want to get your business moving forward?

Inbound Marketing Secrets in Just 4-weeks is an e-class that will give you an in-depth look at the four core elements of inbound marketing: optimizing your website, blogging smart, email marketing, and social media marketing. It also includes a Bonus Lesson!

It's interactive and priced right. Check it out today. Just CLICK HERE for details.


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Email Live Feed – Can it Get Any Better for Marketing and Any Scarier for Privacy?

GetResponse just launched a new email marketing tool, Global View.

With this tool, you can see when your subscriber opens your email AND where. Talk about big brother.

If GetResponse has this feature, you can be sure the other email marketing services either have it already or will be getting it soon.

The Pros

This is great for the marketer.

You can instantly track who’s opening and clicking your emails with a real-time live feed. And, you can see who’s sharing that email with their network channels.

This allows you to fine-tune your marketing.

The tool also offers geolocation. This means you can track where the subscriber opens your email. And, it offers a global map view or a ‘zoom’ view that lets you see the street he’s on. Crazy.

You’ll be able to see if your subscriber is opening up your email at home, in the car, at work, at the doctor’s office, at the gym, while shopping.

Again, this can be useful information for marketers. It provides lifestyle information.

One practical use of this type of information is suppose most of your subscribers open your emails at work. You can create focused related content making a stronger connection with them.

But, is it crossing the line? Is this an invasion of privacy?

The Cons

I subscribe to a number of websites / companies and individuals. While I appreciate the information they provide, I don’t want them to know I’m at the gym, at the library, or food shopping when I look at their emails.

What’s next? Will tools be able to track you within a specific building? Say your home. Will they be able to know if you’re in the kitchen, the living room, the bathroom . . .

I know this type of tracking is nothing new. But, I am concerned that now if you give your email to a marketer, whether a business, an author, or other, you give them lots more.

Think about it.

Do you really know the people / companies you’re giving your email address to. Or, do you know all those within those companies who may have access to your email address and more.

Now, they’ll have the ability to know where you live, where and when you go shopping, where you get gas, what restaurants your go to, when and where you visit the bank, and every other place you visit . . . all in real-time. Again, crazy.

Companies and their employees will know when you’re home and when you’re not, depending on when and where you open their email.

Call me overly-cautious, but from a subscriber's perspective I don’t like it.

What do you think about this?


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Social Media Marketing - The Event of the Year

The Social Media World 2015 event is taking place March 25th to March 27th. And, it is the event of the year.

For most of us, it’s really not feasible to drop everything and go to San Diego (although, it’d be great if you could). I know I'd love to.

So, to make sure you don’t miss out on anything. To make sure you have an opportunity to partake of this important marketing event, Social Media Examiner is providing VIRTUAL TICKETS!

Yes, you can attend without leaving the comfort of your home or office.

Okay, maybe you’re wondering why this is such a special annual event.

It’s because social media is one of the most powerful inbound marketing tools there is. It does everything from generating visibility to increasing your quality inbound links, to boosting your conversions.

Did you know that LinkedIn and Pinterest are a tie for second place in user growth? Did you know that Facebook hasn't grown, but its user engagement has increased. Do you know why this matters?

Visibility, traffic, readership, authority, rankings, conversions, ...

Social media marketing is a must and it’s important to know how to do it effectively.

I don’t usually endorse events, but I know the importance of this one.

And, the virtual ticket is a fraction of the cost of a regular ticket. And, you’ll still get all the great information. You get FULL ACCESS to every session through video recordings.

There’ll be over 100 recordings of everything that goes on. Pretty cool, right?

Those recordings are yours to watch anytime, anywhere.

Why invest in a virtual ticket?

Ah, let me count the ways . . .

1. You can soak in the experience and insights from the world’s leading social media marketer – at your own pace. 

2. It’s cost-effective. No plane fare or other traveling expenses.

3. It’s a great savings compared to the cost of the in-person ticket.

4. The moment you sign up, you have access to an exclusive LinkedIn networking group of other virtual attendees. You’ll have the opportunity to help others and ask questions.

5. You’ll be able to watch the video sessions over and over and over.

6. You’ll also get dowloadable PDF files of slides and audio MP3 files.

7. This event can help you take your business to the next level.

What to do.

Check out this year's Social Media event. Get more information and sign up today.

Let me know  if you sign up - I'll include my Inbound Marketing Secrets eCourse (it's a $97 value).

***Please note, the course does not include one-on-one instruction. I will however check the assignments. Also, proof of the Social Media Marketing World 2015 Virtual Ticket purchase is required.