- Business and Employment
Brainstorming Some Ideas To Help You With Your Business
Trying to Improve Your Online Presence?
There are so many of us who are working our various business projects at any given time during the week - actually, for some of us, it's our full-time occupation. But, regardless of whether we're doing it for fun or we're seriously earning our livings at it, there is always something new to learn!
I know that I have learned (and continue to learn) from tons of different people. I've bought numerous books and courses and programs dealing with many aspects of the field (as have a lot of folks!).
Some programs have been great, and some have been downright crummy and sleazy.
There have been times when I've seriously thought that the only people who were making money online were the people selling the tools (remember the Gold Rush of the 1800's, when the people who made the most money were those who supplied the miners with their gear?).
Don't Give Up! A lot of people give up WAY too soon...
I truly believe that a lot of people give up before they have given their internet marketing campaigns enough time to gain any momentum. I've jumped ship on a number of venturs myself.
Fortunately, I'm now in it to stay, thanks to FINALLY having seen enough success to convince me to stay the course and continue improving my websites and remaining true to my own vision and mission.
It's my hope that, through these articles, I can offer some words of encouragement, point out some good products and services over at my blog that I use myself, and also show some concrete examples of what I feel has worked for me and others (as well as some things I feel have NOT worked).
Thank you so much for tuning in! And please, stay tuned as I continue to add to this series.
(Rainbow Photo from Clipart.com)
Your Starting Point- What's the Carrot at the End of the Stick?
What is the Ultimate Goal?
What's Your Carrot?
Typically, the ultimate goal of any online campaign is increased sales. Typically. I mean, really... Why else are you marketing stuff online? Certainly not to admire your product or service on your own computer screen. When I found that photo of the carrot at the end of the stick (see accompanying photo), I laughed, because it seems like we're all chasing one type of carrot or another! I think the image should be of a bunch of dollars at the end of the stick. :)
Sure, sometimes we build websites or blogs or Squidoo pages merely to "vent" or help someone else who might be going through something you have gone through - and those are absolutely amazing pages to read. And they are usually very moving. I've read a bunch of 'em here at Squidoo - some of which have broken my heart, and which have undoubtedly been therapeutic for the writer.
Typically, Business Campaigns are for Selling Stuff
But, as a GENERAL rule, people build websites to sell stuff. Or, creating brand recognition or a customer base - but ultimately, these result in sales.
So, if you are part of this population - the part that wants to sell stuff - this information is for you.
Today's Savvy Promoters Use Web 2.0
"Ok," you say, "..I've HEARD of this...
"Ok," you say, "...But what on earth does Web 2.0 have to do with my marketing efforts?"
I have asked myself that very same question in the past, before I began learning how to use places like Wix or Weebly (or even Hubpages) in my internet marketing efforts - or that Hubpages was in fact, a Web 2.0 platform! It's interactive, it's social, it's fun - it keeps people's attention.
Actually, I had so much to learn (uh...I still do!), I wasn't even sure I CARED about knowing what Web 2.0 was. But, inadvertently, I was using it the minute I began my first campaign at another platform about making resumes!
Simply put, "Web 2.0" refers to platforms/applications that encourage user interactivity/information sharing (Wikipedia - To read the Easy-to-Understand Explanation of Web 2.0 on Wikipedia, Click Here. Basically, it means platforms with "user generated content." If you've seen "Hubpages," "Tumblr," and places like that, you're looking at Web 2.0. Remember, however, that these platforms are owned by someone else, so save your work in the event that the websites disappear!
The CONTENT Behind Your Project
HIGH QUALITY, ORIGINAL CONTENT Is King
No matter what your business campaign is intended to accomplish, it has to contain high quality content before anything else happens.
You've probably heard it before: Content is King (please see photo for proof =>). For example, you can't just go out and throw a bunch of money on ads and hope to get tons of sales if your ads are merely bringing your potential customer to a page of useless and outdated junk or the newest hair-brained "best piece of sliced bread" or "silver bullet" that doesn't exist.
Similarly, you would not want to spend your time writing an article for distribution only to have the content demolished by some cheapo "story spinner" that destroys your credibility in one fell swoop (what the heck is a "fell swoop" anyway? I've heard that term for years and love it - but I'd be lying if I told you I knew what it meant).
Anyway, if you do not believe me about how a badly "spun" article can hurt you, please indulge me and have a quick look-see at the following horrendous example of content on the web... Allow me to preface this by saying, "Some sites will publish just about anything..."
One of the WORST Examples I've Ever Seen Online
I mean no offense to the author...It's the way it was done that's so awful
Ok, so in prefacing this example, let me tell you how I found it. I happen to be an affiliate for a safety, slip-resistant shoe program - which I felt tied in nicely with my Kids Clothes website. So, I began to research my competition, and when I found this article, I just about fell over at how badly it was written.
In fact, I was so amazed at this, that I actually sent the example along to the folks at an article distribution service> that I use.
Here is the article - Please read it (if you can), and then tell me if you do not agree that this puts the kibosh on the credibility of the writer... One Person's "Article" about "Slip Resistant Work Shoes"
I feel a little bad for the guy who submitted this article, because I honestly cannot imagine that he truly understands what happened to his original story, which may have actually been relevant.
So, CONTENT - QUALITY, ORIGINAL CONTENT is so important, that without it, your business won't have a let to stand on. So, before you begin marketing, make sure your content is good.
Ok. Let's move on.
Again... I don't mention that poorly "spun" article to insult anyone...Just keep an eye on quality!
And... If You're Going to Follow Someone Considered a Leader...
At least be sure the leader is respected and credible
Surely you've heard it. "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
Somehow, somewhere, you would think that people would stop buying "junk bonds." That is, you'd think people who really want to work from home would want to do it ethically and with integrity. Nonetheless, my own email accounts get no less than 50 spammy emails every day. (update: December 2014 - I learned to install some plugins that help decrease those emails.)
Having said that, I've done a bit of writing about this on my personal website - you can see it at my self development blog.
You can see who I have learned from (and who I avoid and the reasons why).
But it's also a real labor of love for me - I write about food, inspiration and other cools stuff too! :)
What about Twitter? Part 1
Why Would Anyone Want to Read Your Tweets?
A lot of people use Twitter nowadays. Heck, even I use Twitter (sometimes) - and up 'til recently I was a "Web 2.0 Outcast."
What I have to say about Twitter comes to me experientially - that is, from my own experiences and not from some guidebook I've read. These are my own observations. I hope they add some value to your own experiences.
First - A Twitter Account
First of all, you'll need a Twitter account to fully participate in this particular activity. If you haven't done so already, simply go to www.twitter.com and sign up for a free account. You'll need to do that before you can begin posting "Tweets" - those no-more-than-140-character little blips of info.
Avoid Making EVERY Tweet an Advertisement
This is where careful internet marketing planning comes in handy. Please resist the temptation to have EVERY single "Tweet" be an advertisement for your stuff. Try to pepper your contributions with non-commercial stuff.
For example, reply to someone else's Tweet that has interested you, or send off a link to a cute photo you found on Flickr, or share the news that your teenager just got an "A" on a test (not that anyone really cares, but it shows that you aren't completely commercial. Wait... No, I really DO care that your teenager just got an "A." I didn't really mean no one cares...)
What About "Followers?"
I have personally NOT used any software that helps me "gain Followers." I have no idea if they have any value - but I have to say that I tend to do things a little bit the old-fashioned way. That is, I search for people who are involved in things I'm interested in myself, and then I "Follow" them. Slowly but surely, I have built up some followers.
The "Background" on Your Twitter Page
The accompanying photo shows my page... Note the blue sky and lilac bush. I set that as my background, taken from a photo in my own front yard. I love visiting other people's Twitter pages to see what they have come up with. There are a lot of creative people out there! I think that using a photo or other background that means something personally to you is a good idea.
Just a gut feeling. Again, I'm no Twitter expert - but I know what I like. :)
Twitter and Your Internet Marketing Campaign - Part 2
Just a few more points on this...
Ah... What to "Tweet" About?
I send out "Tweets" on a variety of things. I often begin my day with a general "Good morning" message. I might mention something going on in my garden, or mention that a potential buyer came and looked at our house... that type of stuff. Then I might send out a message that says something like, "Was honored by so-and-so for my essay on travel! Thank you all!"
Again... Avoid the Temptation to Tweet Nothing but Advertisements...
The thing is, I avoid (or try to avoid!) going overboard on self-promotion. There's one guy that I "follow" who, for the last 2 weeks has talked about nothing more than something called a "floating form" that he's using as a lead generation tool on his blog. Because he never Tweets anything else, I hardly even notice him now - and I'll probably "Un-Follow" him at some point.
I am, by nature, a person who wants to deal with people - not just ads. It's more fun for me!
Some Examples of Tweets
Here are a few examples of tweets - just so you can see how I spread out my advertising tweets versus my "human interest" tweets (again, not too many people appear all that interested in them, but it's just the way I am). These are not necessarily REAL tweets... just examples.
I'll put the tweets in italics...
Very quiet and peaceful day ... Sunny, light breeze. Just lovely.
@sensiblecharity And I thank you. We could all use blessings !
about 19 hours ago via web in reply to sensiblecharity
Great visit w/ friend fm Fish & Wildlife Dept training center this. He's getting great oral histories of former Randolph Mtn Club staff.
about 19 hours ago via web
@sensiblecharity Happy to help you pray... Homelessness could happen to anyone. I'll RT as well...
about 20 hours ago via web in reply to sensiblecharity
Hopefully, you can get a feel for what I've been saying... Only once in a while will I mention something I'm promoting. Sometimes I do put a few more in - but I truly do try to keep it all "real" and "human."
Hopefully these Suggestions were Helpful...
Thanks for reading my lens about business and marketing ideas.
If I come up with anything else that "Sticks Out" I'll add it!
Look, no one's perfect. I've had some badly designed Internet Marketing Campaigns too... I'm a relative "newbie" when it comes to this stuff, with only a few years under my belt. But I love the process of learning - and I love learning from others.
If you have seen something that you feel is just plain bad, why not tell us about it (being kind to the originator, of course) - and just let us know what you think we could all learn so that we can all improve our efforts. Thanks!