Effective Online Marketing How to grow your small business from Local to Global! By: Mark A Michael “Your Online Marketing Mentor” Mark@MarkAMichael.com Powered By COMF5 Visit me @ www.markamichael.com Overview: For many small business owners and professionals knowing where and how to get started in effectively marketing your business on the Internet is almost like learning a new language. The uncertainty alone is enough to stop many people from ever getting started. I wanted to provide you with this information as a way to help guide you through some of the initial stages of setting up your own online marketing system. I have been fortunate enough to have been introduced to a number of people who have coached and mentored me along my online journey and I wanted to be able to share with your some of the knowledge and skills that have been shared with me. 1. Your Blog 2. Your Email Marketing System 3. Your Social Media Platform 4. Local Area Directories 1. Chapter 1 – Your Blog Website: Some of the reasons I am so attracted to a Blog Website over some of the traditional static websites are that they are fairly easy, inexpensive and quick to setup, they are very flexible in what you can do with them and they can be highly effective in both your marketing and sales of your products and services. I was first introduced to the real power of a Word Press based Blog through one of the affiliate programs I had joined and once I began to use it I was amazed at all that I was able to do with it. And at that point I was still very new to anything about how to create and manage a website. So many of the tasks that needed to be done regularly have been made so easy that most anyone with only very limited training can maintain and update one of these websites. For those that are totally computer illiterate or just have no desire to handle these tasks, these websites are ideal. There are many companies out there that can help you design and create your website and get it all set up and hosted for very reasonable amounts, typically less than $500.00, plus hosting the site can be done for less than $10.00 per month. Once your website is operational you can find any number of ways to maintain the site so you only have a very limited number of tasks you personally need to accomplish. For those of you have already have a website in operation there are a couple of options for you to consider. First you have to decide how effective your original website is and how much traffic you have coming to the website. If you already have a website that is getting traffic and you are selling your products from then you may simply want to add a page to direct them to your new Blog site. Your web developer should be able to do that for you without incurring many cost. I find that it is much easier to create a totally separate custom Word Press based Blog site that you will use for all your marketing and sales of your Electronic Media products and leave your other website as it is for now. Once you have the new website operational and begin creating traffic to it and selling products you can then decide what to do with the original website. One suggestion is to have different hosting accounts for each of your websites so that you can create back links between the websites to help with your SEO later on. As my business has been developing I have had to make a number of different changes in how I am approaching people for the products and services I provide. I have been fortunate to have a Word Press website during this time because as the changes have come it was easy for me to make the changes to the website to reflect those changes. I did not have to hire a web developer to make all the changes for me and incur the time and expense that would have entailed. I was able to just take a couple hours one morning and make the modifications that I needed to make on my own. This is one of the real benefits of these websites; how flexible and easy to maintain they are. The more websites I have visited lately has really shown me how ineffective so many websites really are. Sadly, many people have spent hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on a website that looks great. The problem is many of them are rarely, if ever seen by a potential client. And many of those that do have regular traffic are not designed to effectively market and sell to that traffic. When I conduct a Web Presence Review for a client there are a number of key components I look for on their Website. 1. Overall Appearance and layout: One of the first things I notice when I visit a new Website for the first time is whether or not I can figure out what the main purpose is of the website. Is there a specific product or service being offered, is the website just about telling me about your business or are you going to be able to provide me some form of value if I stay on the site or when (IF) I come back for future visits. You want to be able to answer all three of these questions. You also NEED to be able to do this in a very small amount of space. When you go to a website there is a limited amount of space on the home page or other page you may be directing someone to. It does not may NEVER get past the initial screen view (what we call above the fold) that shows on your website. So to be effective you want to be able to answer the three questions above in before someone has to begin scrolling down the page. ● Your Header Graphics are critical for giving the person a good idea of who you are (or your Business) and what you are about. Typically you will have your logo and tag line included in your header along with a picture. ● One way to both give away something of value and to be able to capture your visitor's name and email address is through a lead capture form that is tied to your email marketing system. In your lead capture form you can make an offer in exchange for the person giving you permission to market to them in the future. This is one of the major aspects of your entire website. The person may never return to your website, so it is critical to be able to obtain their contact information so that you can stay in touch with them in the future. ● Another way of showing your visitor a look at who you are and what you can do for them and at the same creating more value for them is through a short video introducing yourself and your business. You may also want to share some tips, techniques or other information they will find of value. You may also have some of your blog posts available here for viewing as a way of sharing your message. ● A call to action is another critical function you want your website to address right away. This could be getting them to sign up for your newsletter, a special product offer or even to have them call you direct for more information. Once you have taken care of these important steps at the top of your web page you can use the rest of the page to provide more information and value to your visitors. I prefer a simple and easy to read website over one cluttered with too much information and too many advertisements. On most websites much of the content found in the sidebars will be standard throughout the website. I always want to have at least one lead capture form on every page in case they did not already sign up. You can also change up the sidebar information on specific pages if you desire, although you may need some assistance to learn how to do this the first time or two. Another valuable benefit of word Press Websites is that there is an extensive amount of information available online and off to help you learn how to create and manage your website. 2. Email Capture and Auto Responders: I want to state again that having a way to collect the information of the people who visit your website is your number one priority. As long as you can get this information it is going to allow you to continue putting your name and message in front of them, hopefully for years to come. There are many times we meet someone at a networking event or other event or they visit our website for the first time, however they are not yet at the stage of being willing to buy our goods or services. Without having an effective means to stay in touch with them over time we may never have the opportunity to reach them when they are ready for what we have to offer them. That is why having a Auto Responder tied to our lead capture form is so valuable to us. If you are like me and you do not already have an effective way to follow up with people, odds are you never will. An Auto Responder takes care of this valuable task for us. Once we have the visitors information they will immediately begin to receive emails from us that are already we have already written and scheduled to go out on whatever schedule we desire. These emails can be used for a variety of functions, from customer service after a product sale to sharing them valuable information that can be used to build rapport and trust with them prior to you offering them your products or service. Something that is critical to your success that once someone joins your list for the first time is to NOT bombard them with offers to buy something from you. Just make the first few emails about giving them information that they will find of value to them. As long as you are proving something of value they will more than likely stay on your email list, even after you do start sending them messages asking them to buy from you. I am on a number of different email newsletter and subscriptions and I personally do not open all of them all of the time, however there are many of them that I look forward to the content in them that I will open most of the time. That is really what you are looking for; you want people to regularly look at what you are sending them, because one day you are going to catch them when they are looking for something you have to offer and because you have already built up some rapport and trust with them through your regular messages, there is a great chance that when they are ready to buy, they will buy from you. Without having an effective system already in place you may never get that opportunity. 3. Call(s) to Action: Once you have a new visitor to your website it is now up to you to take control of their experience and guide them through a process to get them to take whatever the specific action(s) is of your website. Are you looking to capture their email, have them order a product or to have them call you? Whatever it is you are hoping to achieve from you website, if you do not get specific and clear of what you want your visitors to do once they come to your website, the odds are you are not going to get the results you would like. Here is an example I have seen that is very effective, even if it can be a bit annoying at times. I have visited websites and the first thing that happens when you arrive is that a pop up window appears that directs you to sign up for their email list. You only have two options, to join the list or to leave the website. That is a VERY clear Call to Action message. And it is delivered in such a way that you only have limited options on what to do. Not all your Call to Action message need to be that direct, however you need to get the point across in such a way that the majority of your visitors are going to take the desired action you want of them. For a first time visitor to your website, capturing an email address is your number one priority, period. Once you have their email address you now have a number of options on how you can best provide them information and services, so do whatever you have to in order to get the email address. Giving away a free E-Book, like this one is a great incentive for someone to give you their contact information. 4. Pictures: The old saying a “picture is worth a 1000 words” still applies to your website. Having a number of pictures and graphics can go a long way in helping to get your message across to someone about your business or about you personally, so take the opportunity to use pictures throughout your website. You do not want to go overboard and have a page filled with too many pictures as that will slow down the time it takes to load a page and some people may get impatient and leave, rather than waiting for a slow loading page. If you are looking to share a large number of pictures on a specific page, there are a number of different ways to do it and reduce the page load problem, including using thumbnails (small version of the picture), or there are also photo album software you can install to share multiple pictures. 5. Video(s) and/or Audio: Sharing your message in a video is still one of the best ways that you can use to have the greatest impact on someone, short of being there with them in person. Video allows you the opportunity to connect with them with sight, sound and more importantly with how you can connect with someone non-verbally. You are going to want to take advantage of using videos on a regular basis in a number of different ways in your Online Marketing. At a minimum you are going to want to have a series of three videos available in varying lengths. I recommend having a 30 second, a second one from 1-2 minutes and one from 3 to 5 minutes. The 30 second video is a very clear and precise introduction to who you are, what your business is and who your target market is and how you will add value to their lives. In the 1-2 minute video you can expand on this original message giving more details about why someone would want to do business with you and your company. At this stage it is all about creating value with your audience so that they are going to be willing to take some form of action with you. In the longer video you are going to be able to take the time to gain rapport with your audience by taking the time to continue expanding on what you shared in the shorter videos. You can also take the time to increase the value you can share with them. You may want to share a brief story demonstrating how you or your products can benefit them. You can use this time to educate them about what you do. It is about creating as much value as possible in a short amount of time. When you get to the point of recording these videos, take the time to prepare what your message is going to be and how you want it delivered. Rehearse it and get feedback on what you are sharing from others if possible. You are going to be using these videos in a number of ways that are going to be an important part of your entire online marketing system, so you do want to take the time to get theses videos completed in as professional manner as possible. With all the new technology that is available creating videos is easier and more inexpensive than ever. So creating a good quality video from inexpensive equipment, like a Flip Cam or even your phone is possible without having to incur the cost of a professional videographer. I am of the opinion that it is better to get started now and get some videos created and start using them in your marketing now with the intention of creating new ones done professionally in the future. That is another of the benefits of electronic media, it can easily be modified and updated as your message changes or as your budget increases. Quality and Excellence in what you do are very important and so is taking positive action and getting results now, rather than waiting on the perfection you'd like now that is not in your budget. My advise is to do the best quality you can now under your current budget and improve on it later if necessary. Here is some good news, you are going to be doing things your competition isn't so just that you have taken the time and effort to create these videos, even at what you know are a reduced quality of what is possible is still going to put you way ahead of those who are doing nothing and not taking advantage of using videos in their marketing efforts. There are so many different ways that you can use these videos in your marketing efforts. You can obviously use them all in various ways on your website. You can use them in emails. You can post them on You Tube and other video sharing sites. You will definitely want to use them with your Social Media activities. Get creative and see how many ways you can come up with to get these videos in as many places as possible both online and off. When creating these videos you want to make sure that you include a call to action, directing the viewers to your website or other lead capture page. You can do this in a number of ways and include as many as you can. Say the website name, have the website information edited into the video and include the link to your website when you post the video. If you have a large banner or other graphics with your website information on it, use that as a backdrop for your video, that way you can have your website information in front of them during the entire video. 6. Blog site or Static: Again for this program I am going to only be talking about using a Word Press or similar type Blog Website and not be discussing using a traditional static website. One of the keys to having a successful blog is having regular and current content. I am under the opinion that you want to have at least a minimum of 2 posts per week and not more than 7. I would prefer starting at 2 days and working up to more days than to start daily blogging and doing less over time, because you find you do not have the time. You want to take into account that you also may be having your email marketing campaign going on at the same time to many of your blog readers, so if you have emails going out on a Monday then you may want to make Monday's one of your non blogging days. I feel it is more important to keep a consistent schedule that your readers can anticipate than to try and put content out everyday and then not be able to deliver. You may have to experiment at first to find what works best for you and your readers. You may want to take polls and surveys to see what they want. In the end it will come down to what works best for you, so that you can stay consistent. One way to help yourself be able to deliver a quality message on a regular schedule is to have good amount of material already created and ready to go stored on your computer so that even if you have a busy week or are on vacation you can still keep your blogging on schedule. There are a number of other ways to insure a steady stream of new content to your website that will be discussed in depth at a later time. 7. Social Media Connections: There are a number of different ways to easily connect to your various Social Media accounts through your website. Visit a number of major websites and usually at the very top (or close to it) you will see a number of buttons you can click on to connect with their various Social Media accounts. Once they are connected to you through these accounts it is going to be easier for you to stay in contact with them even more each week. Someone may never come back to your website to read your daily blog, however that may see a link to your post on Twitter or Face Book and click on it there. That is where you will find the power in Social Media. It allows you to get the same message across to someone on a number of different platforms at one time, so someone can connect with you in the way that works for them. 8. Basic SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website on the search engines. This is largely done through the use of specific keywords throughout your website. Each search engine uses it own formula for ranking websites so I am only going to talk about some of the basics of SEO at this point. Some of the key areas you want to focus on in dealing with SEO are: • Your domain name: Anytime you can include your keywords into your domain name it is going to help your page rankings for instance lifecoach.com is going to be better than yourname.com although yournamelifecoach.com is a good alternative also. With this is mind it may be that you will want to get multiple domains that use you keywords and have a mini website created around those domains and have them forward the traffic to your main website. Having multiple websites specific to certain keywords is a strategy that you can employ as part of your overall SEO stategy. • The Title of your website: How you set up the title of your page is one of the most important uses of keywords on your entire website. When someone comes to your website the words in blue at the very top of your browser is your Title tag. When you set this up on your website you want to be as descriptive as possible and use your main keywords there. Your name, “life coach” specializing in “Spiritual Growth” located in Las Vegas would give visitors a good idea about what you do and also will cover a number of your main keywords in the process, while improving your overall SEO. • Backlinks: Back links from other websites are another key factor the search engines take into consideration when ranking your website. All back links are not the same however, so you want to be selective in some of the websites you have content associated with. Major websites are a great place to have links back to your website. This is why one of the reasons I recommend joining a number of social media websites, even if for the most part you never use them directly. When you set up your profiles you are going to be able to list your website information which will create a valuable back link from these websites. Also when you list your products on websites like Ebay-Amazon-Clickbank, again you will be creating links back to your website. For the most part having as many links back to your website as possible is going to help you out in the long run. Having links back to your website from any articles you publish online is an important factor also. • Meta Tags: Meta Tags are part of the HTML code your web developer uses in creating your website. The part that you need to be aware of and make sure of is what specific keywords you want to use to be found by the search engines. Some keywords are much easier to get a higher ranking on that others. Using the term “life coach” is going to be harder to get a high ranking on than “spiritualist instructor” for instance. However the term life coach is going to have a lot more people searching for it. And on the other hand a person who is specifically searching for a spiritualist instructor is more likely to visit your website over a traditional life coach. This is where focusing on niche marketing is important. Knowing what your main keywords are going to be ahead of time in designing your website is going to be an important factor in its success. • Current Content: Having current (new) content on your website is extremely important, which is why we are using a blog website over a traditional website in the first place. Adding new posts or other content on a regular basic is good for both your SEO , along with the added benefit of being able to give extra value to your website visitors and members. • Video: Many people prefer to watch a video clip over reading a long article and video content and the search engines rank pages higher with video content. Also using websites such as YouTube and other video sharing sites provide quality back links to your website. Imbedding your YouTube videos on your site serve both functions. Google now has separate searches just for videos, which is another way for people to find your website. • Images: You can also tag the images on your website with your keywords. The words (even though they are in the background and not seen) are then able to be read by the search engines. Google now has separate searches just for images, which is another way for people to find your website. • Location: I am seeing more and more that the way people are finding businesses on the internet is now through your business listing which is tied to the location of your business. I will be discussing this in detail later in the program. • Use and Placement of Keywords: How often and where you use your keywords throughout your web pages is another important factor in creating a successful SEO strategy. Search engines read your page from the top to the bottom of the page, so with this is mind you want to insure that you use your keywords in the first paragraph of your website. They also tend to place more value on the words starting a sentence. • Anchor Text: Anchor text are words that you may use on your website that have hyperlinks in them. For instance if you had a page on your website that is about “daily practices”; when describing daily practices in an article for instance you would create a hyperlink in the words “daily practices” that will direct the person to the other page on your website. These anchor text words are another way to improve your SEO. 9. Content: Hopefully by now you understand that almost everything we are going to be focused on when dealing with your website is about helping to add additional value to the people who come to your website. The more value you can create the greater likelihood that your visitors will take action on your website. It doesn't really matter what form of content you add on the website, but you do want to see how it can add, not distract from the value to your visitors. Like a cluttered house an overly busy looking website is also not attractive. On the other hand a nice picture with a inspiring caption can be a nice addition to your website. Informative articles and videos are another great way to add value to your site's content. 10. Products for Sale and other income generating ideas! Having your products and services available both on your website and in your various methods of marketing is what this whole process is all about. I have visited my share of websites and never even seen a product for sale or a service I can join and in my opinion that is a shame on that business owner. It doesn't matter what it is you do there are ways you can monetize your website and you should take all of these advantages to increase your profits. Even though I am not a big fan of viewing Google Ads on websites I visit there are cases when that may be the only good alternative to creating some form of revenue for the website. If you are against having products for sale on your website for some reason affiliate links that you can get income from by referring your traffic to other websites is another way to be able to sell other people products. Selling ad space on your website can be a profitable way to increase your income, typically this is going to work better once you have a larger amounts of traffic to your website. That wraps up my introduction to “Website Basics” and hopefully it gave you a number of ideas and things you want to take into account in creating your website. In the next section we will begin to discuss the importance of a quality shopping cart system and how that will benefit you in marketing and selling your products. Chapter 2 – Your Email Marketing System Without having a great system in place to be able to handle the new contacts you are going to make through your Online Marketing you are just going to waste a lot of your time and effort. One major difference with Online marketing that you have to take into consideration is that after you meet someone you do not have anything physical, like their business card to keep track of them or their contact information, so you need to be able to immediately have a way to get back to them. You really only have one chance to make sure this happens, so you don't want to risk not getting this valuable information the first time, because you may never get another chance. There are a number of key factors that you are going to want to take into account when you decide on which system you are going to choose. I have researched a number of the different systems and finally decided to use and represent COMF5. To me it is one of the most powerful systems on the market and it is very versatile in how you can use it. Here are just some of the reasons to use this system: • It is a complete email system in itself...I can send and receive all my emails from within the system, no more jumping between accounts. • I can create web sign up forms...I can use these forms on my Website and Facebook to collect email addresses of visitors to my sites, so that I can market to them in the future. • Emails can be sent as a Text or HTML email...this allows me to tailor my emails into different formats for greater versatility. • Powerful Video Email Capability...Share Video content right from your email. • Live Broadcast Capability...Live Video Streaming of your messages. This is another powerful feature to reach even large audiences in a format that they can get a full experience of. • Auto Responder messages on your schedule...Create message series that you can pre-schedule to follow up with your contacts. This is how you keep your name and message in front of people for years, until they are ready to make a buying decision! • And More...These are just a some of the tools that will improve your Online Marketing. Not every person who visits your website or you connect with through social Media is going to be ready now, if ever to purchase your products or services, however you want to be able to keep your name and message in front of them until they are ready to make a buying decision or know of someone who is. If they have been getting your emails for months, by now you have established some level of rapport and hopefully trust with them that when they are ready to buy, you are going to be their first choice. Here is a good example of how this can work for you. I am going to a computer repair company in this example. Joe Consumer recently met a Tom the “Computer Guy” at a recent networking event or saw his website and got onto Tom's email list and has been receiving regular emails, giving tips and tricks on how to keep your computers up to speed and running smoothly. Tom never was pushy in trying to sell his products or service, so he was mostly just providing some great value in the tips he was offering. Unfortunately disaster stuck Joe today as he dropped his laptop and he can't get it to boot up, and at just the wrong time as he has a busy week scheduled and not having his laptop is going to be a major problem. Now Joe is in a buying mode and just wants to get this problem solved right away, money is not an option today, getting the computer fixed is. So who do you think is going to be the first person he is going to call? The guy in the phone book or the person who has been helping him out the last few months via email? Especially when most people can get email right on their phones, Joe can just go right to one of the old emails to get Tom's Contact information. This is just one of the reasons to have this type of system in place and working for you, it produces results. Chapter 3 – Your Social Media Platform There are a number of ways to get started on this subject, however being it is an area that has many components to it I want to break it down into a number of key areas. • Your Blog • Social Websites • Local Area Directories What I am seeing more and more these days is that having a number of ratings, reviews, likes and comments is one of the best ways to really boost your visibility online. It can happen for a couple of reasons, the more people that view your website or other online content that you may have, there is a greater chance that they will forward it on to their friends, who may do the same. Also, it appears that the search engines are starting to give the ratings and reviews more attention in how they view your website. The term for this is Social Proof and it appears to be gaining more popularity in how your site can be found. Your Blog & Social Media Your blog is still going to be the main hub for all your social media although that may be changing as time goes on. A combination of Facebook and Mobile Media are starting to be another major factor in creating your Online Social Media Platform. As I've stated a number of times already, creating fresh content on a regular basis is still the key to creating an Online Presence and your website is going to be where someone can go to get all the content in one place. This is no different that a well known author that has a number of books and other products available, usually major bookstores may have most of the works there, but usually not all of them. So if you wanted to order the entire collection of that author's works you would most likely have to go direct to the author to get their entire catalog. Your blog is really no different. It is going to be the place that someone goes to get all of your material, including articles, videos and other media you have created, even if you only use it for marketing. It is a good idea to archive every thing you have in some way. When it comes to new content, more is definitely better. Getting your visitors to make comments on your blog posts is a good way to start creating a sense of community on your website. Also once you have a good number of people writing reviews and ratings and likes of your posts it encourages others to comment also. I recently visited a site and the current post for that day had a number of comments and likes, which to me adds credibility to the post. Sometimes you may have to get creative in getting people to take the time to make comments, although asking friends and family is a good way to get it started. Bribery helps too (I mean influence), be creative and have fun with it. Do not over look YouTube as another source when considering your social media. Although it may not technically be a social media website, it serves that function also. I would suggest having at least one video that is hosted on YouTube placed on your home page for a couple of reasons. First for good content for the page, second for the link back from YouTube and also for the traffic that can be generated back to your site from the viewers and comments they make. Integrated Social Media functions are pretty standard on most WordPress type blogs today. It is just a good way to share your new content with people on the other social media sites in case they are not a regular visitor to your site. You will find a number of plug ins for your website that can link your website to your other Social Media pages readily available. I also have buttons installed to be able to share my posts and/or like them directly from my website to Facebook. So after I finish each post,with just a push of a button my new post goes directly onto my Facebook page. A good thing I just heard (literally, I'm actually listening to another online marketer's video as I am typing this, now that is called current content) that really makes sense as far as the content you use in your Social Media is the old “80/20 rule” Give 80% content that is of value to the reader and only 20% that is asking for something from them (product offer). I can relate to what she is saying here in that if all we are doing in our posts on our Social Media sites is trying to sell people something, eventually people are not going to be willing to click on the links you send them or read your material. Social Media Websites There are numerous social Media sites all over the internet and more showing up all the time, so for this discussion I am only going to talk about three of the largest ones, FaceBook, LinkedIn and Twitter. What I found is that the only one I use on a consistent basis is FaceBook. I resisted joining any of them for some time, however once I got the feel of FaceBook I now would have a hard time, not being a member there, even if they were to start charging for it. I have been a big networking fan for some time now and have belonged to a number of different organizations and what I found is that I get to regularly interact with people from all the different groups in one place, all from the convenience of my computer. When I talk about taking your business from local to global, literally overnight, Facebook and other Social Media sites is how it you can make it happen. This is especially true for a business that does not require face to face interaction and can done over the phone and by a computer, such as with a Coach or Trainer. It is a great way to build rapport and establish trust over time until your “Friend” is ready to become a client, either direct or through purchasing your products. Facebook Besides your personal page you can also communicate with others through various niche groups as well as establishing your own Business Fan Page. There have been a number of changes going on with how the FaceBook Groups are now operating, there is still a lot of controversy over privacy issues and such still going on so for now I am going to stick to a discussion on the Fan Pages. At this stage Fan Pages are really the best option for advertising your business on Facebook. I feel EVERY business owner needs to have at least one, if not more. With recent changes it is becoming easier to create customizable fan pages that have the look, feel and functionality of a website. This includes graphics, video, lead capture and even more impressive, live video streaming. Just think, rather that trying to get 50 people to go to your website for a webinar, they can just stay on facebook and join you live on your fan page for a live training. There are a number of ways I can see using this to increase your exposure. For instance at 6:00 pm you post a new event for 6:30 pm to your lists (personal & fan page) along with a number of other friends re-posting the event to their list and in no time at you may have hundreds, if not thousand of new “Fans” on your page for a free training you are conducting. The only way someone could access the training is by becoming a “fan” of the page. So if you have it planned out you can start promoting at 6:00, start at 6:30 and be done by 7:00. What I like about this idea is that it is short notice so that if they are already online at facebook, it doesn't take a real big decision, on whether or not to go to the event. Yes, I'm online and have nothing planned, so let's check it out, if I don't like the training I just leave. The other things I like about Fan Pages, unlike the old groups is that they are more interactive. Anything that get's posted on the fan pages gets sent to the fan page member's personal page. This is how you can keep people updated in a way they see you messages regularly. Again, you want to remember the 80/20 rule from above and make sure that you are providing a lot more valuable content over posts pitching your products and services. The more trust you can establish through the giving of valuable content the greater chance people are going to be willing to take action on your offers. Another powerful feature of Facebook is that you are able to promote your events to all your friends and fans very easily. It doesn't matter if it is a online or offline event. From what I have observed using the event feature is a good way to get the message about your event out to a lot of people, however it is not always effective in actually getting people to show up for your live events, especially free events you may be promoting. It is just too easy for someone to say they are coming and then change their plans, as they do not have any real commitment to coming. I am seeing that it is better to promote your event and then have a call to action directing them to your Fan Page or Website to RSVP or to pay for the event there. Basically it is better to make the signup process slightly more difficult so that the people who RSVP are more likely to attend if they are willing to take those extra steps before they attend. In the long run it is better to have less people that you know are committed to attending than to expect 50 people and only 5 show up. I feel you will have more overall success using Facebook to promote a free event like an Tele-Seminar and then use the Tele-Seminar to promote your paid event. You are going to want to use a number of different marketing approaches at once for each event you are promoting. You just do not want to get to where you are expecting to post an event on Facebook and expect to fill your event from it. You will be able to use Facebook and your other Social Media sites to increase your attendance overall at your events. To me that is the attitude you need to have, is you are going to keep promoting your events as you have in the past and use the different online marketing strategies to help boost the attendance you get at these events. Over time your goal is going to be more about selling your online products and less on live events, as that is how you are going to be able to increase your marketplace. Don't get me wrong I am not saying that you necessarily want to quit doing live events, just that you can be more selective in how you do them in the future. Even though I am not a big fan of pay per click advertising, it is something that is available on Facebook that you may want to consider using on occasion, either as a way to promote specific upcoming events or as a way to test the effectiveness of your sales copy. This is where you want to take advantage of using your Fan Page, by using it as a way to generate interest on your products, without taking people away from Facebook to your website directly. What I am hearing is that people are willing to stay within the confines of Facebook, where they can still interact with their friends than they are willing to follow links to other websites. The key then is to be able to be able to establish good rapport and trust with your Facebook friends and Fans by providing them with more content without them having to leave Facebook to receive it. LinkedIn LinkedIn is a major Social Media site that is more geared towards Business Networking. Over time they have begun adding more Social Media aspects to your overall experience when on LinkedIn. Where I have found LinkedIn to be the most successful is through the use of the groups. You can join any number (50 at a time) niche specific groups on pretty much any topic you want. You can also create and manage your own groups as another way to create a following of people who share a specific interest as you or want to receive your information. What I have found effective is that when you start a discussion on LinkedIn in one of the groups you belong to you are able to add live links to them. The more links you can have leading back to either your website or other social Media connection the better off you are going to be. You can also set up your LinkedIn account to display your blog posts from your website directly onto your LinkedIn Profile as another way to be able to share your message with the people you are connected with there. One of the keys to using LinkedIn is to be active in a number of different discussions in the groups you belong to. The more active you become, the more people will see you and hear your message and have the opportunity to connect with you or visit your website. Twitter Twitter is a Social Media website that allows you to send out short (140 character) messages to the people who follow you, as well as onto a system wide feed. What I have seen as the main benefit of using Twitter is that it is a good way to generate a good sized following in a relatively short period of time. Once you have this following you can then use the messaging as a quick way to get a message out about anything that interests you, from a link to your website or other item of interest. You are able to set up a brief Bio on yourself in your profile that allows you to add links to your website also, providing a good back link to your website. I think the value of Twitter is to make the connections there and then take the contact off of Twitter. A good example of this is that after I began following a number of coaches a while back I got a follow up message from them offering me a free coaching session. So through those coaching sessions I received some great value by working with them for a short time and they got a great opportunity to speak directly with a potential new client. With the automatic reply functions that you can set up when someone starts following you can also offer them links to articles or E-books or any other way to introduce them to you and your services. Ping.fm and Friendfeed.com Ping.fm and Friendfeed.com are great productivity tools that allows you to be able to send out one message to all your Social Media accounts at one time. These are tools that will let you be able to simply manage all your accounts, without having to each one of them every time you have a new message to share. You will have some initial set up time in getting all your accounts set up originally, however after that it is a very simple process to send out your message. You are also able to enclose links in your messages, which is one of the main advantages to these services. Another feature of these sites is that they are helpful in that when you go into the add a more networks sections, they will give you a list of the other networks you can use through them, so you can view these other networks and even signup for them through the links that are provided there. If you were to just add one new network a day (or have your assistant do it for you) in no time at all you would be able to increase your reach through these various Social Media Accounts tremendously. In addition to that you will again be adding valuable back links to your website from each of the Social Media accounts you set up. That alone will be worth the extra effort of adding these other website accounts. This is by far a very short list of the available Social Media websites you can join, however just joining these that I have mentioned and having regular blog posts is going to go a long ways towards establishing a Online Presence that will create interest and drive new traffic to your business that you want to take advantage of. Local Area Directories Another area you may want to begin taking advantage of is having your business placed in a number of the various business directories that can be found online. Even though your overall goal is going to be about growing your business globally I am seeing that by being active on these directories is just another way to add expose to your business. It is also another way for you to improve the SEO for your website. I am seeing that by being on these directories and receiving comments, ratings, reviews and likes on these directories it appears the search engine is taking notice of them and ranking your website higher than a website without them. It also adds to your credibility when people see all these positive reviews about you. The real trick and where the work will come in is getting your friends, family and clients to take the time to either visit or join these networks so that can make make these reviews for you. Although a good way to influence them to do it is that it will also get them valuable exposure to their businesses if they have one. It helps if you can get people that you have also done business with to give you reviews, so that you can then review their products or services also. Again there are more of these directory services available than I am going to spend time on here. You will find that there are many of them that are free, and some you have to pay for. I would start by focusing on the free ones and then you can decide later on if you want to upgrade into the paid services that they provide. I would tend to stay away from the ones that you only have the option of a paid account. Your Online Marketing Strategy The strategy you use in marketing your business is going to vary based on what you do. I feel that most any business is going to do most of the same basic steps in setting up your system. Again, I think you can actually do more in marketing your business and going after referrals through your email marketing than you can generate through through most other methods, because with email marketing you now have time on your side, you are not just trying to meet someone and then turn around and sell them your product or service. Either converting your existing website to a blog site or establishing a second blog website is going to be a major factor in your marketing, because you can now keep adding new content, both to attract new prospect and also to help in being found on the search engines. As you begin to create new content you will be able to start spreading the word about you and your business to more people and expand your markets. You can begin creating an identity for yourself as an expert in your field by how you position yourself online. The best way to do this is to begin to expand your reach online by sharing valuable to content. You also want to start looking for ways to not only promote yourself online, but to start making money online. There are a number of different ways to do this even if you have what is traditionally just a local business. You can do this through creating informational products, like a E-book or Audio training program. You can also market and sell other people's products, which is called affiliate marketing. You can also sell other products either related or not to you primary business. You can also do something online totally unrelated to business that you enjoy, maybe its time to write that book or other thing you've been putting off for way too long. Get creative and have some fun with this, you never know where it will lead.
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