Using iStadia to Make Money: Networking and Marketing Your Business
iStadia is a Business Tool
How does it work?
Quality and quantity in networking
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So what are the steps?
1. Set your goals
2. Update your Proﬁle
3. Make sure that you are listed in the directory
4. Set up your Signature
5. Post content. Regularly
6. Comment on other peopleʼs content.
7. Actively engage with other members and build your network*
8. Lead a Club*
9. Advertise your events
10. Sell via the Marketplace
11. Get (or post) a new Job!
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Where do I go to get help?
More about Memberships
Individuals - Premium and Premium Plus
Companies - Corporate Membership
iStadia is a Business Tool
Does the title surprise you? Well, it shouldnʼt. Weʼve created the site to help sport & exercise businesses and professionals make win more business and ultimately make more money. Money isnʼt and shouldnʼt be a dirty word. We all, with the exception of a lucky few, have to work. If you are a sport & exercise professional, the chances are that you love what you do, but the reality still is that you have to make money doing it. Think about what making more money might mean for you. It might secure the future of your business. It might mean that you can give up the day job. It might mean that you go on holiday this year when otherwise you might not. Or it might mean expanding into a new ofﬁce; bringing more staff on board; or creating new capital to invest. Whatever your reasons for being in business (yes, thatʼs what you are if you are ʻonlyʼ selfemployed), we want to help you to make more money using iStadia. You see, iStadia isnʼt a ʻsocial networkingʼ website, but about professional networking and marketing. We hope that you meet nice people along the way, but thatʼs not why we set it up. So hereʼs what you do. Step by step. You donʼt have to do every step, but the more you do, the more likely you are to see results. Results such as: • More views to your proﬁle and website • Greater credibility and trust - a stronger ʻbrandʼ • A more productive network of contacts • More opportunities to explore • More qualiﬁed leads to exploit • Ultimately, more sales (but we canʼt go to sales meetings for you!) Donʼt expect instant results. It can take a good few months but keep at it and you will see the beneﬁts. How does it work? Ultimately, by taking part in, and sharing with, the community on iStadia you will create bridges with other members of the community and members of the public. What can you share? Share opinions, advice, knowledge and opportunities (after all, you will know about opportunities that you are either not interested in or equipped to exploit). Sharing starts by creating content. This is your way of reaching out. Why is content - or high quality content - so important? Quality content - People view it, search engines crawl it - builds trust in your ability to meet their needs - makes you a credible source of knowledge of advice - creates the ﬁrst steps to building new business relationships
This is what online marketing is all about. Why Network? Youʼve heard of the six degrees of separation, havenʼt you? The chances are that you know someone that knows someone that can help you achieve your business goals. If they donʼt, theyʼll know someone who knows someone who can! The more new - and genuine - connections that you make, the closer you are bringing the resources, tools and people that you need to make your business a success to you. Quality and quantity in networking Many people consider real relationships to take place ofﬂine - in the “real” world. Weʼd tend to agree that the ultimate aim is to build ofﬂine relationships and business, although we are actively working with and for people that we predominantly deal with online. Genuine relationships, however, wherever they take place, require time and effort. Having a huge network gives you a large audience to put your ideas, services or products in front of, but having a smaller network gives you a great deal more in terms of really putting it to work. BNI International, the highly successful breakfast networking organization, has the motto “Givers Gain”. Thatʼs not a bad starting point.
So what are the steps?
Note: Unsurprisingly, and unapologetically, some of the more ʻvalue addingʼ steps require at least Premium Membership. These are marked with an *. Thereʼs more about membership levels at the end. Link Register: http://www.istadia.com/register.php Beneﬁts: http://www.istadia.com/membership_beneﬁts.php Upgrade: http://www.istadia.com/upgrade.php 1. Set your goals You may already have set your business goals and even prepared a formal business plan, but if not, how do you evaluate any marketing activity and the value that it might add to your business? So if you havenʼt done so, think hard about what you want to achieve with your business. Think about how your online presence will ﬁt into that. What do you want to convey? To whom? What is special about what you have to offer? What can you offer them that will bring them closer to buying from you? If you donʼt ask yourself these kinds of questions, and know what you want to achieve, then your marketing activity, whether on iStadia or elsewhere, is likely to be unfocused and at best “hit or miss”. 2. Update your Proﬁle a) Identify your target market Hopefully this is really obvious to you, but often people say to us “Iʼm not sure iStadia hits my target market”. Letʼs bust that myth right now. Your content - and the keywords (next step) that it contains, will deﬁne the people that your content reaches - whether your proﬁle or other content (later). In other words, we provide a platform that lets you reach your target market.
If youʼre not in sport or exercise in some way, Iʼd recommend using other sites, but other than that iStadia does not limit the type of person that you can reach. This is because vast majority of our visitors come from search engines, where they ﬁnd your content. Thatʼs whatʼs so important about content. It really is the engine that drives the internet. Sure, you may have something to sell to your fellow professionals, but you most certainly donʼt have to for iStadia to work for you. b) Choose the keywords for which you want to be found - by your target market. This is a really important step, and not to be skipped. Think about what people might actually search for, not clever or fancy terms that people donʼt know. There are some great articles on iStadia that havenʼt been read much because the titles were too ambiguous - clever even. On the web you have to give people signposts (see the next point). For example: “Sports Marketing” is a generic and very competitive search term. It attracts 9,900 searches a month on Google, but the competition for rankings means that your chances of getting onto page 1, and getting a share of those searches, is slim. “Sports Marketing London”, however, gets somewhere in the region of 600 searches a month, but advertiser competition is low and you can be conﬁdent that if you are a sports marketing company in London the searcher is looking for you, and not general information about the ﬁeld. Likewise, when I was working as a sport psychologist I changed my keyword strategy from focusing on “sport psychology” to “sport psychologist”. I got fewer hits, but more enquiries... Link Google keyword research tool: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal b) Put the keywords into your title*, proﬁle text, and tags. Think of this as the golden thread that tells search engines that your proﬁle (and the same is true of blogs, articles and news) is a relevant page to show someone searching for those keywords. You also have a proﬁle summary*. This is like an elevator pitch and should scream “click me” (metaphorically, that is) as it will appear on searched for you on search engines. Links Edit Proﬁle Title: http://www.istadia.com/memberproﬁlepageedit.php Edit Tags: http://www.istadia.com/memberproﬁleedit.php#tagsbox
Proﬁle Settings Tips: • Staying with the example of the sports marketing consultant in London, you might simply make your title “MyCo Sport Marketing, London”. • Donʼt ʻstuffʼ your tags box with keywords that might dilute the relevance of your page.
c) Write your proﬁle copy It is really hard to overemphasize the importance of your proﬁle. Used well, it may be more important to your business than your own website. Of course, this depends on how big your business and web budget is. You can get a free website, or throw one up on the cheap, but what are the chances that it is really doing anything for your business? Does anyone that doesnʼt already know you ever see it? Does it create leads? iStadia has been designed so that once you have signed up to your Premium or Premium Plus membership, you have access to a suite of tools that are there to make you more visible. Once visible most important thing about your proﬁle copy is that it states clearly to visitors that you have something to offer. Proﬁle Copy Tips: • Write for people ﬁrst. Yes, you need to get your keywords in for search engines, but your copy has got to read well to the human eye. • Focus on the beneﬁts of what you are selling - what can you do for the visitor? Whatʼs their pain, and how can you take it away? People donʼt want to see your qualiﬁcations ﬁrst. You might be (rightly) proud of your certiﬁcation or accreditation, and some clients might want the comfort of knowing that you have credentials, but these are irrelevant unless you can convince someone that you have something they need. Focus ﬁrst on the target customer and their needs - not yours! • You can embed links in your proﬁle. If you want visitors to ultimately proceed to your own website, use this! Donʼt just stick in a link like “http://www.myco.com” or “click here”. Neither is doing much for you. Again, the link should use your keywords, or a variation on them, as ʻanchor textʼ. To do this highlight the text, then click on the link
Edit Proﬁle: http://www.istadia.com/memberproﬁleedit.php
3. Make sure that you are listed in the directory Not everyone wants to be listed in our professional directory, that is searchable by the public, but if you are reading this you probably should be. Getting listed is very simple. Simply check the box here: http://www.istadia.com/memberpersonalinfo.php#ﬁnder 4. Set up your Signature Your signature is added to any posts that you make, anywhere on the site. It gives people a chance to see what you do and search engines a relevant link to your own site or proﬁle. Think of your signature as a trail of breadcrumbs leading back to where you want visitors to go. Whether that is your proﬁle or your own site, include it. An example of a good signature: Joe Bloggs Myco Sports Marketing, London, United Kingdom +44 207 123 4567 Why is this good? It gives basic information - what you do and how to ﬁnd out more. For search engines, you are using your keywords as the link. Thereʼs little point in putting the link on ʻMycoʼ. If your brand is good enough that people will search for it, your site will already rank well for it as it is in the URL and, presumably, prominent in your website title and content. Should I include an email? If you donʼt mind spam. Many people advise never to put your email address on a web page. As a Premium Plus member a visitor can send you an email from your proﬁle without logging in.
5. Post content. Regularly This isnʼt nearly as difﬁcult as you might think. Think little and often. Why? Because very piece of content you post brings people closer to you. You should have articles, case studies, or company news at your ﬁngertips. If not, why not? Articles in particular bring potential customers closer to a buying decision. You are building a bridge between the customer and a sale. Thatʼs not to say that the work is ﬁnished, but they help. Sharing your news - new contracts, new products or services, industry news - all help too. But the principle of little and often means that you donʼt have to post a new article every couple of weeks, or blog every few days. It means doing what you realistically can. That might be replying to a forum post, or commenting on a blog (see later). Blogs can be
anything from a few lines to several hundred words - they key test being do they ʻadd valueʼ in some way? We would recommend maintaining some kind of presence at least weekly. Itʼs just like popping in and saying hello now and again.
Article Marketing is a Key Strategy Article Marketing is a highly effective way of establishing credibility, trust and reputation. It can also deliver high levels of focused web trafﬁc. The key is in the writing. To be effective, articles should a) Deﬁne a problem b) Make a compelling case to ﬁx that problem - pick the wound a little c) Present a solution and a call to action (e.g. visit your website/proﬁle) Content, whether an article or blog, should not be a thinly disguised advert, but should be worth reading. Tip: Premium and Premium Plus members can add an excerpt to each article. This is just long enough to ﬁt nicely under the link to your article on search engines and should be written to make your article attractive to potential visitors.
So, thatʼs news and articles covered. Blogging is easy. You can just share what comes into your head that day. You can respond to events in the real world. You could build a regular bank of hints and tips, and release them as short blog posts over a period of time. Simple. Just be consistent with your goals. Even easier is to post in forums and clubs. You can ask a question, or post a comment and invite debate. Nothing to it.
Bogging Tips: Choose keywords that represent your content. Ensure that these are included in your title, text and tags - that ʻgolden threadʼ again. You can embed pictures (from the web) and movies (e.g. from YouTube) in content. Ensure that images have a description and title (same text is OK) - again using the keywords that you have used in your title, text and tags (if appropriate). Premium and Premium Plus members get to create a unique title and description for their blog ʻhomeʼ. Again, this is important for visibility and search engine optimization. Blog ʻCategoriesʼ further enhance the visibility of your posts. Create categories based on key terms. For example, if you blog on sports marketing you might have categories for sports branding, sports sponsorship and sports marketing. Blog posts can be put into multiple categories. For a good example of using categories, check out http:// www.istadia.com/blog/danpeterson.
Ensure that your proﬁle is set up to display your latest content, thus feeding views to your content and ensuring that it gets crawled more often by search engines. Links Edit proﬁle settings: http://www.istadia.com/memberproﬁlepageedit.php We also recommend that you share your content. You can email an individual article or blog to a friend or colleague - the icon is just under the its title. However, if you really want to put your article in front of more people, you should share it on the web. You can do this on both social networking and social bookmarking sites.
Twitter, Facebook, Social Median, Stumbleupon, Friendfeed, Diigo, Ballhype (for sports) and Digg are good examples of sites that can put your article in front of more sets of eyes. You donʼt have to sign up to them all, just focus on a few to start with and branch out from there. Once you have signed up, these take little time at all. On the page of every article and blog post you will also see ʻShare it: which opens up a menu of sites for you to share the post on. You can also subscribe to your own and othersʼ RSS feeds (the little icon to the right of your article/blog/news) on sites such as bloglines, or add it to mybloglog to increase links. You only need to do this once. ʼ
Links Social Marker helps you manage your bookmarking in one place: http:// www.socialmarker.com (you still need to create accounts with the sites). 6. Comment on other peopleʼs content. This is not only a quick and easy way of maintaining your presence on iStadia, but it helps you build new relationships with the poster and other commenters. Iʼve posted some basic advice on commenting, but there is loads more that is more detailed out there on the web. My blog post (http://www.istadia.com/blog/robrobson/ 421) has a good link if you are interested.
7. Actively engage with other members and build your network* The technology behind iStadia is designed, ultimately, to facilitate person to person interaction. If you have a shared interest with someone, if you ﬁnd something they have written interesting, or if you have a request to make of them, let them know! Building a network makes you more visible to more people on iStadia, as members can see their networkʼs network. Of course, there is always a balance to be struck here, and genuine connections require maintenance.
Networking Tip: It is better to contact someone with a speciﬁc comment, question or invitation than a general “please connect”. They are more likely to respond positively. Remember that people like to help!
8. Lead a Club* This is potentially one of the most powerful tools in your box, but can be the hardest work too. However, by leading a club of your choice, you can position yourself as a leader in your own market or community, attracting people who share your interest to engage with you (and each other). Whether it is a local club (for example a country or state), a topicbased club (e.g. Sports Marketing), a shared aim (e.g. Get Fit), or a community of practice (e.g. Sport Psychologists Support Network), a club can add real value (and the home page gives you another free add). Clubs Tip: You can create a private club (you control who joins, also closed to search engines) or a public club (open to all members and search engines). Private clubs can be used as a way of managing a virtual team, committee or even customer group. Our most active club is a private club, used by a sport psychologist to support supervisees undergoing their professional training.
9. Advertise your events If you run seminars, workshops, conferences or training courses, ensure that you post them as events on iStadia! Once youʼve signed up, itʼs a free advert. Use it! All of the previous advice about content apply to posting events. However, you may want to consider running seminars as a marketing tool in their own right. A powerful way to do thin might be to write an article with a link to an event that you are running. The article might get the visitor interested in coming, and when you wow them at your seminar, you have them warmed up nicely as a potential customer... Events Tip: If you charge for your events - such as training courses or public workshops - then you may wish to consider selling them on iStadiaʼs marketplace. Talk to us (email@example.com) if you are interested in selling your events.
10. Sell via the Marketplace
iStadia’s MarketPlace is not just a shop where you can buy products and services but another opportunity to expand your business, organisation, practice or consultancy to a global as well as a local niche customer base. The MarketPlace is a great place to either sell and/or promote what you do and a MarketPlace listing can help you sell: • Workshops/courses • Book • CD or DVD • Article or intelligence report • Journal • Psychometric testing • Software • Any other product for the sport or exercise market Products and services can either be sold directly through the Marketplace or if it is a more complex product or service, e.g. performance analysis software or piece of gym equipment where it’s important to see or try before buying, then the MarketPlace can be used to generate enquiries and increase product awareness (particularly useful if a long sales cycle is involved). Don’t forget a MarketPlace listing as another piece of linked content for search engines to index. 11. Get (or post) a new Job! Whether you are looking for people to grow your business or find a more lucrative role, iStadia Jobs can get you more money either by expanding your business with the right people or help you find your next career move. With the introduction of alerts, you will be informed when a job with your ‘interest’ Tag* comes up so you will never lose another opportunity. If you need additional help finding the right people, talk to us at iStadia as we have people with recruitment experience who can help you with such things as writing job ads and the use of appropriate psychometric testing. * Interest Tags and alerts are only available to paying members.
Where do I go to get help?
The ﬁrst port of call is the How to Use iStadia Club. If you post a request for help in there, everyone who joins has the beneﬁt of being able to see the response, and it might answer questions that other people have but are not asking. On that note, donʼt be afraid to ask. Link http://www.istadia.com/club.php?cid=6
More about Memberships
Individuals - Premium and Premium Plus This is about making money. Why wouldnʼt you have some ʻskin in the gameʼ? If you are still not convinced, the ﬁrst month is free to give you a chance to try it out (with no obligation to continue). If you sign up for a monthly subscription, you can stop at any time. Letʼs say you give it 6 months. Thatʼs a £50 experiment. Letʼs be honest. Youʼll have spent a lot more on a lot less at some point in your life! Thatʼs not a lot of money, but we all have to be careful not to waste money. So, why not put it into context by asking yourself: • What is the average value of a new sale? • What is your normal cost of sale? • What is the value that you would put on a new lead? • How much money have you allocated to marketing your services? • What kind of a return do you expect from your marketing budget? • How much time and effort are you currently putting into marketing? The main differences between Premium and Premium Plus memberships are: • Higher and more detailed listings in our directory for Premium Plus • Your own contact form so that you can be contacted by visitors who are not logged in • Even better ﬁnancial beneﬁts - discounts on products, training course, and job posts Companies - Corporate Membership Corporate Membership provides all of the beneﬁts of Premium Plus membership for 5 individuals (as standard), as well as providing a corporate proﬁle. All individuals are linked via the corporate proﬁle which can create signiﬁcant ʻpullʼ of visitors - to the proﬁle or company website. Corporate members also have a listing on a dedicated corporates page. Hereʼs the links again: Register: http://www.istadia.com/register.php Individual Beneﬁts: http://www.istadia.com/membership-beneﬁts.php Corporate Beneﬁts: http://www.istadia.com/internet-marketing-sports-business.php Upgrade: http://www.istadia.com/upgrade.php So now you have a number of tools in your business development toolkit. Go forth and prosper! Rob Robson & Keith Irving, iStadia.com