Tag Archive: online marketing

Planning a Publicity Campaign with Bang

Planning a Publicity Campaign with Bang

Famous is as famous does and the famous get known through publicity. Yes, that’s right, fame doesn’t discover you, you create it through strategic campaigning. What’s more, the techniques for increasing your exposure are not as difficult to attain as you might think. A great publicity campaign starts with courage, then planning, and lastly, it succeeds through persistence. If you’re not sure why you should seek fame, consider fortune because the two go hand in hand.

Fame will bring your business into the forefront of your target audience faster than any advertising campaign can hope to do. It solidifies you as an expert and creates a deep, abiding confidence in the consumer. It makes you a shining star with infinite possibilities. So what are the steps you ask? Well paste a gold star to your forehead and let’s get started.

1. Press Releases:
Increase awareness through a press release. Yes, I know, press releases have become quite the popular little tool around cyberspace with releases being blasted hither and there, but are they working? Probably not. Blasting your press release will bring blasted little results. Instead, thoughtfully put together a very dynamic one-page press release and target publications that would be most interested in you and your business. Don’t drone out the details; make that press release sing your praises. Then send it to a real live editor and follow up with a phone call. In other words, let the press release be the invitation to your follow up phone call. Begin making connections with the media. Be polite, be excited, and be patient.

2. Create A Press Kit:
A Press kit is basically an exaggerated press release turned into a package. It’s more complex, tells more about you and your company, and is all pulled together into a nice neat folder. Of all the questions I receive, first is, what is a press kit? Simply, it is a folder of information about you or your business. It should contain:

A. An Introduction Letter
B. One or Two Press Releases
C. A Fact Sheet
(This contains the facts about you or your business.)
D. Bio Sheet
(Which is a biography of you and your accomplishments.)
E. Copies of Published Articles
F. Company Literature
G. A Business Card

Send your press kit when an editor, publisher, or producer wants to know more about you.

3. Newsletters Offline.
Don’t forget that a whole world exists offline. Locate newsletters or smaller print publications offline and submit articles. This can be a very dynamic way to increase your exposure as well as add to your press kit. You can locate newsletters in your subject area by visiting the local university library reference section. Ask for a directory of trade newsletters and do your research. Once you have been published, it’s easier to step up to the larger publications. Fame starts small and then snowballs onto itself.

4. Speak Up!
Yep, that’s right. Start giving speeches on your area of expertise. Start locally at civic clubs and local educational programs. Then find the local talk radio shows and make your case to the producer. It’s surprising how many talk radio shows are actively looking for new speakers. Once you have achieved Talk Radio, the opportunities will start coming to you.

5. Publicity Pitches:
Put together several dynamic article ideas. Just the ideas, not the actual article. This is called a Publicity Pitch. Take those ideas and then pitch them to editors of targeted publications. This can work very well as it saves Editors time and puts the outline right into their hands. As a past Editor I know how well this works. Editors love ideas, especially ideas that are completely outlined and correct for their readership. This means don’t send pet article ideas to cooking magazines. Send pet articles ideas to pet publications. Seems like a no brainer, huh? But you’d be amazed at what editors see that don’t apply to their own publication.

Fame comes from planning and persistence. It has its rejections, but if you can learn not to take it personally, it will eventually work. Remember, once you start, keep going. Once you stop, you have to start all over.

Small Business Low Cost Marketing Tips & Techniques

Small Business Low Cost Marketing Tips & Techniques

Do you need to get more clients?  Are you trying to get your first client?  Is your marketing budget equivalent to the cost of a Happy Meal?   The following tips and techniques are not by any means hidden secrets, but they are some of the most overlooked ways to market a small business today.

1.  Know your target audience.

As silly as it sounds, many small business owners kick off a marketing campaign without regard to whom they want to target.  If you send out a coupon for NASCAR tickets to the first 1,000 people in the phone book, some will undoubtedly be thrilled and will do what’s necessary to earn the tickets  (akin to dropping 1,000 mailers from an airplane — some will hit the target).  But just imagine the response rate if you sent out the same 1,000 NASCAR ticket coupons to only those people who attended a NASCAR event in the last year.   You’ve gone from wildly shooting to steadily aiming your campaign, thus increasing your response rate and decreasing your cost per customer.

2.  Publish an e-zine (or newsletter).

Publishing an e-zine or print newsletter (even as short as a page) is a great way to keep in touch with your customers and clients.  You can produce one online using a program such as Constant Contact for little to no money and can even set your e-zines up in advance using easy-to-understand templates.

3.  Have a website and keep it updated.

All businesses, no matter your size or field, need a website these days.  You can get a domain name for as little as $2.95/year and, using templates, have a basic design done in a few hours.  Once your customers, clients, and potential customers and clients have visited your website, they will find fresh, quality content in the form of new e-zines, articles, blog posts and tips.  This will keep them, and the search engine spiders, coming back for more.

4.  Opportunity is calling.

While not usually viewed as a marketing technique, answering the phone and follow-up is critical in this day and age of limited valuable time and impersonal service.  Have you ever called someone only to not get a call-back or sent an email and waited days for a response? More clients and prospects become lost revenue these days due to inadequate, or non-existent follow-up.   If you receive a phone call from a prospective client or from an existing client, call him back as soon as possible or, better yet, immediately!

5.  Get involved online.

Find out where your target audience hangs out and participate in those online discussion groups and forums.  Yahoo Groups is a great place to find a wide variety of discussion groups.  Several business owners also belong to Ryze — an online networking forum. By consistently offering your help to others, you will position yourself as an expert that others will turn to when the time is right for them.

6.  Get involved offline.

Getting involved with local organizations can help to build your reputation as a “doer”, a “go getter” or just a really dependable individual (all things which will help your business). Just remember that you are representing your business in everything you do and act accordingly.

7.  Word of Mouth/Referrals.

We’ve all heard the saying that a happy customer tells somewhere between 1 and 3 people about her experience while an unhappy customer tells up to 12 people about hers.  Keep your customers happy,   ask for feedback as to what you could do better, and once you know they’re happy, then ask for a referral.  People generally are willing to help those they like.

8.  Use postcards.

Whether you are an online-only business, a brick & mortar establishment or a hybrid, you can effectively use postcards to market your business.  Postcards are easy to do, inexpensive to mail and have a high readership.  Many people associate postcards with personal notes from friends and family and don’t even think before they turn it over to read the message.   With this method, you have already gotten into the hands of many people that wouldn’t take the time to open junk mail.

9.  Have others do it for you or with you.

Never underestimate the power of cooperation and reciprocal agreements.  Is there a vendor that has a related, but not directly competitive, target audience to yours?  If so, form a strategic alliance where you recommend his products/services and he recommends yours.  For example, a movie theater and a restaurant could share customer information and play off each other for promotions.

While many of the above tips and techniques will arouse the “DUH” response, it’s constantly surprising to me how many businesses – small and large – overlook these basic items in their day-to-day marketing and operations.

 

Understanding How To Avoid Stop Words

Understanding How To Avoid Stop Words
To understand how to avoid stop words, you first have to understand what stop words are. Search engines have words or phrases that are considered ‘stop words’. When a spider or crawler encounters one of these stop words, they will immediately leave your website and any information they gathered from it will not be saved in their database. This means that your website will not be indexed. If your website is already indexed in a searched engine, the crawler will come back to see if there are updates — and if it finds stop words when it does this, then your site could get banned from the search engine. You will not be allowed to remove the words and re-submit: it’s too late.

Different search engines have different lists, but some are nearly universal – usually words that refer to sites with graphic sexual content, or other ‘adult’ material. We can’t really put a list here, or you’d never find this page! You should be able to tell what they are for the most part, but remember, pornographic web sites will often get indexed as well. The norm for search engines is that they will attempt to avoid content that is illegal. When they encounter adult oriented sites, they will generally only ban sites that contain especially vulgar or illegal materials. The problem being that many of these sorts of sites will use “gateway” pages that have no content other than “click here to enter.” These sites are less likely to be caught with the stop word censors.

These aren’t the only stop words, however. Some search engines create different lists of stop words for each different kind of website. What does this mean? Well, the algorithms which rank the pages determine how many times on a page a keyword is listed. Keep in mind that there are people trying to keyword stuff their pages to improve their ranking. If a word is not relevant to your site, don’t list it in your key words. This is one easy way to avoid losing your index privileges. There is no reason to try to lure people into your site on key words that don’t apply as they will not stick around long enough to provide you with revenue anyway.

Now you might be asking what keyword stuffing is. Keyword stuffing is when someone uses the same keywords over and over again in the meta tags and the content of the web page. If you’re searching the web and you come across a website that seems to be ranked far too highly, then keyword stuffing is usually to blame. The search engines work hard to stop people from using these kinds of tactics, and usually de-list sites that they find to be using them. That’s why some sites can be listed near the top for a while, before one day seemingly disappearing altogether.

Some sites, however, get ejected for repeated keywords, even though these sites aren’t trying to keyword stuff. This is where keyword analysis comes into play. To avoid repeating the same word or phrase too many times, you need to analyze your pages before you submit them – you wouldn’t want your efforts at finding good keywords to go to waste.

Although search engine optimization is a long-term effort, the processes and rules change frequently, without any warning. There are, however, tools available that will help you to stay on top of what’s going on in SEO. Many tools can be tried out at no cost, letting you try before you buy. There are so many to choose from that you can’t just start downloading them – you will want to read the information on each tool before you make a decision.

By using these tools before you submit your pages to any search engines, you will fully understand “stop words” and how to avoid them! You need to keep in mind, though, that different search engines have different stop word lists, so words that don’t matter to one search engine can stop your site from being listed on another.

There are also some words that aren’t included in searches, such as ‘and’, ‘of’, ‘the’, and other small words. You should keep these words out of your meta tags, as they’re just a waste of space.

You need a Raise – Get an Assistant

You need a Raise – Get an Assistant.

You need a Raise - Get an Assistant.You need a Raise – Get an Assistant. Are you so busy taking care of the urgent that you never get to the important? Do you consider the thought of getting some help but then think “I can’t afford it” or “No one can do it as well as I can”?

If so, you’ve got a lot in common with most other small business owners.

Owning your own business is a great achievement and requires you to wear a lot of hats: owner, marketer, finance manager, widget maker/service provider, etc. Wearing all these hats eventually leads to a state of burnout or overwhelm and the love, the passion for what made you start your own business in the first place drowns in all the details.

If you want to grow your business AND maintain your sanity, there are two things you need to accept:

1. It’s not just okay to delegate, it’s essential to your survival.

2. A virtual assistant or online business manager (whichever description you prefer) is an investment in your business – not just an expense.

Consider the following scenario:

You own a small business as a marketing guru who makes $150/hour. Your website crashes and you spend the next five hours calling your webmaster, testing different links, doing what you can to get it back up and running. The five hours that you just spent fixing your website COST you $750. You need a Raise – Get an Assistant.

If you had a virtual assistant whom you pay $50 an hour and she solved the problem in four hours (she would be 100% focused on this task and has likely encountered similar issues with other clients), the cost would be $200.

The word “cost” is based on a simple premise. If you are fixing your website, you are not making money. You could otherwise be engaged in billable tasks or you could have completed the new client proposal that brings you a $10,000 client – neither of which is possible if you are fixing the website.

Make sense?

Over the next week, keep a time log and track everything you do. Then sit down and make a list of all those tasks that you either shouldn’t be doing (not worth your time given the sacrifice) or hate doing. Here are a few things that immediately come to mind: You need a Raise – Get an Assistant.

* Maintaining your website * Bookkeeping – both invoicing clients and paying bills, providing accountant with data, reconciling bank statements, preparing your expense reports, etc. * Submitting articles to article sites * Creating and distributing prospect letters * Maintaining your mailing lists – online and offline * Reminding you about birthdays, arranging for cards and gifts to be sent * Spending hours on the phone with any type of support vendor (Microsoft and Comcast pop into my head here) * Handling all your travel arrangements – business and personal * Scheduling meetings, conference calls, etc. * Providing you with website and sales reports * Designing presentations for client meetings (e.g., formatting in PowerPoint) * Ordering office supplies, promotional items * Placing advertising – online and offline * Managing client mailings – promotional, holiday, sales, etc. * The list goes on.  You need a Raise – Get an Assistant.. .

Each person’s list will be unique to him. You may love the clarity of mind you get stuffing envelopes but run at the thought of reconciling your checking account.

And don’t stop at the above. What are those personal things that you’re doing that you could contract out so you can focus on growing your business? A teenager would be great for any of the following:

* Grocery shopping * Housekeeping * Laundry assistance * Mowing the lawn

Don’t think you can afford an assistant?

The first thing to remember is that virtual assistants charge you only for the time they are ACTUALLY WORKING on YOUR projects and you will most likely not need someone full time. You need a Raise – Get an Assistant.

You would pay a traditional employee a salary, sick time, vacation time, holiday time, provide a desk and office space, pay for training, pay payroll taxes, provide software and equipment and do all this for someone who likely considers what you are offering as a J O B that he needs to go to every day.

With a virtual assistant, you are paying an independent contractor who owns her own business and charges only for time she works on your projects, has her own office and equipment, pays her own taxes, is already trained in multiple software applications and who loves what she does.

Virtual assistants are self-motivated and focused on getting things done FOR YOU. This will greatly free up your time to focus on marketing your business, attending to your larger clients and generally growing your business. You need a Raise – Get an Assistant.

Given the above can you afford NOT to hire an assistant?

The key is to start at a level where you feel comfortable: both financially and delegation-wise. Anything that you can give to someone else will give you more time to do what you do best and grow your business!

Are you ready to get started? You need a Raise – Get an Assistant.

11 Ways to Earn More, Work Less, and Enjoy Your Summer

11 Ways to Earn More, Work Less, and Enjoy Your Summer

you start looking forward to summer as soon as the calendar flips to a new year. Take advantage of summer’s slower pace and people’s more casual attitudes and plan to not only take time off but to make some money while you do!

1. Commit to your vacation time.

If you haven’t already scheduled a break for this summer, stop reading this right now and do so! Even if you don’t have plans to go away or if your budget is tight, I strongly encourage you to put at least a long weekend break into your calendar now – and then make sure you do anything you want for those few days – EXCEPT work. You’ll come back to your business refreshed and recharged. You know you will and you know you need it.

2. Have a summer sale.

Are there some products or programs in your funnel that you could offer a summer discount on? I’d be willing to bet there’s at least one. Kick off the summer season by offering your prospects a special deal on one or more of your offerings.

3. Make a special offer to your current clients and customers.

Summer’s a great time to give your current clients and customers a special deal. For example, if they’ve already purchased something from you at the first level of your funnel, offer them a special deal for investing in an additional offering of yours, maybe at the next higher-priced level of your funnel.

So, if they’ve already spent $50 on one of your products, offer them a $50 discount towards another of your offerings.

4. Trim your expenses.

Are there some business-related expenses that could be put on hold for the next few months, without a negative impact to your bottom line? There are probably at least two or three things that you could eliminate for the summer, and you may find out that you can eliminate them completely come the fall.

For example, I’ve stopped my monthly subscription to the screen-sharing software I use because I know I won’t be using it for at least the next three months. That’s $150 in savings for my business!

5. Create summer hours.

Start later in the day, take a mid-day break for a few hours, or end your day earlier. Take one day a week off. Work half days. Take four-day weekends. It’s your choice, but by creating summer hours, you’re not only giving yourself some time to enjoy the fleeting days of warmer weather, but you’ll also find that you’ll be much more likely to focus only on your priorities, which means you’ll actually move ahead much faster!

6. Repeat a previously profitable product.

Do you have a product that when you first launched it, it sold really well? Maybe it just needs some new life and a new promotion. Don’t re-invent the wheel and simply repeat what’s already worked for you in the past.

7. Republish your best articles in your newsletter.

For the summer, consider giving some of your best articles (the ones people commented on, or were reprinted most often) an encore presentation in your ezine. If you’ve been publishing for awhile, your readers most likely will appreciate the reminder the articles will bring, while it will be new content to your newer subscribers.

8. Declutter your office.

I simply can’t think when my office falls into chaos, and I’m always amazed by how much better I feel and how much more productive I immediately become once I get rid of the clutter.

Summer is a great time to declutter and reorganize. Enlist a friend to help, or hire a professional organizer to really get you geared up for the summer (and the fall!).

9. Declutter your mind.

When you started your business, did you write down your vision for it? If you haven’t, or if you haven’t visited your vision in awhile if you have, the next few months are perfect for reflection, dreaming, and planning what you want the rest of your year to look like.

I’ll be dreaming up mine on the dock at the lake. Where will you be dreaming up yours?

10. Plan some fun stuff.

Even if you don’t have plans to travel this summer, you can still plan some really fun things to do near your home. Having something to look forward to will help you enjoy some time away from your desk while the sun is shining.

Believe me, I know how hard that can be. I love what I do, too. But one main reason we work for ourselves is so we can enjoy our lives, right?