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Archive for May 2011

Dress Up Your Facebook Pages

If you’re ready to take the plunge into Facebook Marketing, here are several sights that can help you dress up your Facebook pages, DIY style.

The most affordable is pagemodo.com. Free for a single page, premium plans starting at $6.25 a month. Choose from 18 different templates.

The northsocial.com service lets you create and launch a wide variety of promotions including group coupons and sweepstakes. Subscriptions start at $19.99 per month with no term commitment.

Looking for lots of design options? Shortstack.com offers more than 40 design templates. Shortstack is free for unlimited pages with up to 100 fans. Premium versions start at $9 per month.

 

If You Don’t Do It…It Doesn’t Exist

When you think of a new idea, it can be viewed by those around you as absurd, unusual, impossible, or just silly. Hey! Wait a minute. What gives them the right to judge something that doesn’t yet exist?

It is unlikely that anybody else will buy into or sanction the cost of something that they don’t understand. You really have no choice but to act upon the idea yourself. Until you have acted upon and perhaps even implemented the idea… it doesn’t exist. You might have to beg, borrow or steal (poetically speaking) to carry out your idea. Good! Do it! If it were easy – everybody would be doing it already.

When Orson Wells started the Citizen Kane movie, he couldn’t find any backers. He was able to beg, borrow and cajole others into helping him build sets and shooting screen tests until they formed about one third of the movie.

Now IT EXISTED!

Backers could finally see what they were getting into. It became easier for them to envision what the end result would be. Orson was finally able to obtain the proper backing and finish one of the best films of our times.

Don’t be afraid to explore and act upon your ideas. Until somebody acts upon the idea… it doesn’t exist. It may as well exist for you!

 

It’s Time To Link Up With LinkedIn

NOTE: This article was written by Brandon Ely at Sitepoint.com. I pasted the content from their newsletter here, because I couldn’t locate the article on their website.

Why It’s Time to Link Up with LinkedIn

If you thought you could get away with your companyís social media strategy consisting of just Facebook and Twitter, think again! After a successful IPO (initial public offering) last week on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), LinkedIn has raised over $340 Million in capital. The already fast-growing social network for professionals and executives now has the resources it needs to speed up growth and invest in the features and infrastructure needed to sustain that growth. So what does that mean for us regular businesspeople?

It means if you’re not using LinkedIn yet, you need to start now.

What Is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn started as an online resume of sorts, but has grown into a full-featured social network for businesspeople. It still functions much like an online resume, where potential clients and employers can learn about companies and individuals they may be working with (and vice versa), but it also has advanced features such as Groups, Answers (a question and answer platform), and Jobs.

Your profile on LinkedIn is similar to your profile or company page on Facebook – it has a stream of updates, biographical information, and you can even add applications that can give it additional functionality.

So how can you use LinkedIn to promote yourself and your business to potential clients?

Fully Complete Your Profile

LinkedIn has a great utility for helping you complete your profile that gives you a progress bar with a 100% scale. To complete your profile, you need to have a photo, executive summary, three recent positions, and get three recommendations from colleagues. While getting a 100% score on your profile is great, go the extra mile on your profile with these tips:

Profile Photo

Upload a professional headshot, or at the very least have someone take a photo of you in your typical work attire, whether that’s a suit or dress-casual. This isn’t Facebook, don’t add photos of yourself at the beach or chilling out on the couch.

Use All Three Website Links

LinkedIn allows you to link up to three websites. They give several options for “type” such as “Company”, “Website”, and “Blog” but you want to choose “Other” for all of your links because that’s the only option that lets you create your own link text.

Edit Your Professional Headline

When you add employment or work history, LinkedIn will suggest your headline to be “Your Job Title at Your Company”. That may work for some people, but we want to further refine our headline. Use this space to best describe your expertise and experience in one line. For instance, my headline reads “E-Commerce and Online Marketing Author, Blogger & Speaker”.

Complete a Company Profile

Last November, Alyssa Gregory wrote an excellent blog post outlining how to set up a company profile on LinkedIn. She walks through the process step-by-step in detail. Bottom line, setup a company profile just as you would your personal profile – as complete and detailed as possible.

Link Your Blog’s RSS Feed

The LinkedIn WordPress App can add your most recent blog posts for your company or personal blog right into your profile. This gives you the ability to both show yourself as a thought leader on LinkedIn and create an additional traffic source for your blog.

Ask For Recommendations

Most people get one or two recommendations when they first start using LinkedIn, and never add any more. It used to be awkward to ask for recommendations, because many of our clients and colleagues didn’t use the service. To get a recommendation from a client, we’d first have to persuade them to join the service. Now, far more people are on the service and it’s much more likely that your client or colleague has an account.

I have made it a habit to send a request for recommendation every time I speak at a conference or event, and at the end of some very successful projects with clients. It’s best to send the request soon after, while the excitement is still high. You’d be surprised how many of your clients will write glowing recommendations, and these are out in front of every prospect that finds you on LinkedIn or searches for you on Google.

Get Started Now!

If you’ve never used LinkedIn, or you have just neglected your profile, now is the time to give it a chance. Log in and get your profile up to date, because there are sure to be a rush of new members with all the recent publicity of the IPO.

 

Social Media Revolution

Here’s a short video that gives some enlightening numbers on the Social Media Revolution.

How To Get Your Website Found

In getting your new website found, three things must exist first. You need compelling content on a regular basis. Your on-page optimization for every page needs to be solid. You need to be popular. Popularity can come through off-page optimization, or it can be purchased outright through Pay Per Click advertising.

Compelling Content

Content needs to be written for your prospects and customers. It should written in the everyday language and tone that your customers use. If your content is purely marketing related and doesn’t provide usable information — it’s not good content. In my article “How many pages does my website need?”, you can see that every web page needs to stand on it’s own two feet.

Break your long pages into multiple short pages. If you are offering a number of services to your clients, don’t rely on just a single page that simply lists all the services. Ideally each service should have it’s own page. Answer the questions on that individual page that you’d tell your client in a face to face meeting. If you stick with a single, long page listing all your services… the Search engines won’t be able to determine what that page is really about and neither will your customers.

Writing regular entries in your blog is another way to produce fresh content on a regular basis. Many of my blog entries are on topics that are beneficial to my clients. I post links to these entries on my Social Media pages like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as well.

On-Page Optimization

This aspect of Search Engine Optimization covers the elements of the page that can be seen by either the site visitor or the programmer who built the page. What counts? In a nutshell, page titles, heading tags, meta descriptions, in page links, customer readability, keyword density, keyword appearance in the body of the text, CSS and HTML markup validity, speed of page load, image names, etc.

What’s the process? Every site is constructed just a little bit differently, but the process is about the same. It may involve coming up with additional content for some pages. Breaking some long pages into multiple stand alone pages. Then we go through and adjust page titles, headings, in-page links to other pages in your site, and make sure each page has a good meta description. More advanced strategies would also involve changing page names and image names to get more usable keywords into your site.

Since we’re talking about on-page elements, we’ll want to ensure that Google Analytics is installed on every single page. Analytics enables us to measure the traffic coming to your site. We can see how many visitors, from where, how long they’re staying, which pages are viewed the most, and a lot more information than you or I will ever make use of! But, it’s there for the taking. Either you or I should be monitoring this data on a regular on-going basis.

Popularity

Popularity can arrive in the form of Off-Page Optimization. Each website that links to yours, other than your own, that are trusted and relevant indicate a vote of trust in the eyes of the Search Engines. The more votes of trust you have, the more popular you become . These links can appear on other sites, blogs, social media links, press releases, article marketing, and directories (either free or paid).

You can simply start using Twitter and Face book and try to build yourself as an authority in your field, gaining user trust and links in the process. You could schedule press releases every six weeks for the next year. We could get some industry specific articles written and do some article marketing. We could hire someone to visit blogs and leave comments. We could submit the site to any number of free and paid directories like business.com, yelp, superpages, yahoo, hot frog, and hundreds of others.

You could be as hands-on or as hands-off as you desire. We could hire someone to research and ghost all of this, or none of this, or somewhere in between.

Popularity can be arrived at overnight through Pay Per Click advertising (PPC). OK. The truth is, you won’t become popular overnight, but at least your site will have page one visibility because of the PPC.  You could control your click budget and start in the city or the state of your choice to get some traction and exposure. Or, you could start off with a National campaign.

Many clients will start with Pay Per Click while addressing the on and off page optimization activities for their sites. As the site gets found more on an organic basis, the Pay Per Click can be paused or dialed back to more of a maintenance level.

What’s it all cost?

Every site and every business is unique to some degree. We need to discuss your specific goals. Then we can pin down a closer set of numbers, but for budgetary purposes:

On-Page Optimization:

Keyword Search – Plan on two – eight hours minimum.

Apply optimization elements to one page, approximately one hour per page.

Analytics – One hour to setup and install. Monthly monitoring and reporting of Analytics data, starts at $99.00 per month.

Popularity:

Press Releases start at $350.00 each.

Article Marketing starts at $200.00 each.

Link Building campaigns start at $500.00 per month.

Social Media ghosting starts at $200.00 per month.

Pay Per Click setup starts at $695.00. Monthly monitoring starts at $99.00 per month.

Keyword click cost: industry and location specific.

** Prices shown above are rough estimates and current as of April 2011

 

Asking For Support Is Not A Sign Of Weakness

In business and in life, we feel really good when someone asks for our help. It makes us feel pleased that we have something of value to offer someone else. We are honored that they thought of enough of us to ask for assistance or an opinion.

It’s interesting that that shoe doesn’t always fit the other foot. So few people ask for what they want or need.

It is important to realize that asking someone else for support is not a sign of weakness but really an indication of:

  • A strong self-esteem
  • A committment to the goal rather than the ego
  • A Willingness to learn from others
  • The wisdom to be inclusive rather than exclusive
  • The willingness to let things happen easily rather than reinventing the wheel each time
  • An understanding of the power of interdependance rather than independance

Asking for support is an important part of networking. Asking is not a sign of weakness; on the contrary, it is a sign of strength, courage, and wisdom.

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