StacyKinney.com http://stacykinney.com Rock Your Business Online Tue, 23 Aug 2011 13:20:02 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 Beware the Dark Side of Social Media http://stacykinney.com/beware-the-dark-side-of-social-media/ http://stacykinney.com/beware-the-dark-side-of-social-media/#comments Tue, 23 Aug 2011 13:20:02 +0000 stacykinney http://stacykinney.com/?p=2848

social mediaBeware the Dark Side of Social Media

I have written many articles about using social media as a marketing tool. I think it is an awesome way to connect with customers and people you otherwise would have access to in day to day life. Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook have the power to shoot your marketing message around the world within a day or two.

But in the excitement of engaging social media marketing tactics to increase online visibility for our businesses, we have forgotten that like all things there is a dark side to social media. Instead of skyrocketing your business to prosperity, you could end up shooting yourself in the foot if you are not careful.

Social Media and Online Privacy

Online privacy is becoming more and more of an issue these days as businesses wake up to the reality that their customers are online. They are also figuring out that they can get a lot of information about a person simply by doing a quick search using Google or Bing. An excerpt from an article on the Huffington Post spells this out fairly clearly:

-Start Quote-

Andy Beal, the owner of Trackur, told the Pittsburg Post-Gazette that many companies–among them, credit lenders and debt collectors–are now using social media monitoring services to “match online profiles with real world identities.”

The online Lending Club, for instance, scans loan applicants’ social networking profiles in addition to performing the usual credit and income checks. What this means, the Post-Gazette reports, is that creditors are realizing how social media profiles can provide unique insights that a traditional credit history cannot. (Continue Reading Lenders Mine Facebook, Twitter for Info on Borrowers)

-End Quote-

There have been numerous reports of people losing their jobs because of statements made on their Facebook and Twitter accounts. In addition to that, college students are finding that future employers don’t really like seeing pictures of them drunk and mooning the camera.

As a business owner, it is important that you remain fully aware of the fact that what you put online can be seen by everyone including your prospects. If you don’t want it seen on the 6 o’clock news then you probably should put it on a Facebook status update.

Social Media and Reputation Management

I’ve written about reputation management before but I can’t emphasize enough the importance of always keeping an eye on what people are saying about you and your brand. While social media can help you spread your sales message far and wide, your enemies can also use it to damage your reputation beyond repair. But oftentimes it isn’t your competitors who are kicking your brand to the curb, it’s your customers.

In 2010, Southwest Airline took a direct hit to their already troubled reputation when they threw actor and director Kevin Smith off their plane for supposedly being too fat to fly. Unlike the average person, Smith has over 1 million people following him on Twitter and he wasted no time in telling everyone “he knew” about how the airline treated him.

The lesson to take away here is that the internet provides customers with a forum to voice their grievances and they know it. You should always be offering good customer service but it is equally important to correct mistakes quickly. And for heaven sakes, use services that allow you to monitor your reputation online so that you are not sideswiped by a poor review.

Hackers, Spammers, and Crazy People

As much as we would love to say it isn’t so, there are people in the world who would throw you under the bus in a heartbeat if it meant they could get ahead in life. There are also a lot of mentally disturbed individuals in the world who are just functional enough to avoid the padded white room. Both of these types of people have access to the internet.

Hackers and spammers are perhaps the easiest to avoid or deal with. It is the manipulators and the unhinged that you have to be careful of. Unfortunately, these people can appear normal when you first meet them. It isn’t until you let your guard down or insult them in some way that their true personality comes to the fore.

The New Year is barely two months old and already the New York Post has an article about a young woman who hit her cousin with a car because a gentleman she liked accepted the cousin’s friend request but not hers. But you don’t have to look very hard to find other examples of this type of behavior.

To keep yourself safe, you must be aware of those you are allowing in your network. Before collaborating with other business owners or working with customers, do a search online and see what comes up. This doesn’t mean you should automatically distrust anyone who doesn’t have a profile or automatically trust everyone who does. It means that you must stay on your toes and pay attention to what is happening around you online.

For the most part, social media marketing is safe and can help you build the profitable business that you want. However, you must also be aware that there are disadvantages to putting yourself online. For more tips on making effective use of social media, please visit my archives.

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Facebook Pages and Facebook Groups http://stacykinney.com/facebook-pages-and-facebook-groups/ http://stacykinney.com/facebook-pages-and-facebook-groups/#comments Mon, 15 Aug 2011 12:21:51 +0000 stacykinney http://stacykinney.com/?p=3748

Facebook Pages and Groups

Facebook is unique in that it offers numerous ways to gather together and interact with people in your social network. In this webinar I talk about Facebook pages and groups, how to set them up, and how to use them to market your business effectively.

About Facebook

  • At last count, Facebook had 600 million users. If it were a country, it would rank as the third most populated country on the planet and outranked only by China and India.
  • Even well known public figures such as President Obama and Queen Elizabeth II (the queen of England) use the social site to reach out to their respective communities.
  • Users spend 700 billion minutes per month and each person is connected to approximately 80 other pages, events, and groups on the site.
  • Over 2.5 million websites have integrated their site with Facebook. More and more are using Facebook as a forum for comments for their articles.
  • About 250 million users access Facebook through their mobile phone and the trend is only increasing.

What Are Facebook Pages

  • Facebook pages are like mini websites on Facebook. It is a page about a specific person, organization or even product where fans can get updated information as well as participate in conversation with each other about the topic of the fan page.
  • Facebook pages can be created by any one on any topic. Even Facebook has a fan page about their fan pages
  • People who Like the page (become a fan) can post commentary about the subject. This is a great way to get people engaged with your business.

Benefits of Facebook Pages

  • Facebook pages lend themselves to a variety of promotional opportunities such as offering coupons, running contests, and getting users involved in social concerns.
  • When people comment on your Facebook page, their comments show up in their streams and reach the people they are connected to.
  • People who like your page are already “warm” to you. They are an audience ready to hear what you have to say unlike a “cold” prospect.
  • Facebook pages have a number of applications that can be used to add functionality as well as integrate with other marketing tools such as blogs and mailing lists like MailChimp.
  • Onsite analytics shows you how well your marketing with Facebook pages it doing.
  • Vanity URLs for branding.
  • Shows up in the search engines
  • Reputation Management

How to Setup Facebook Pages

  1. To create Facebook pages, you must have an account on the site. There must be an administrator.
  2. Go to the front page of Facebook and click on “Create a Page for a celebrity, band or business.”
  3. There will be several options. For businesses, select “Company, Organization, or Institution”
  4. Either select the industry your company is in or select generic “Company” from the drop down box. Enter company name and agree to terms and conditions. Click “Get Started”.
  5. Sign into your Facebook account or Sign up for an account.
  6. You are done. Were you expecting more steps?

Customizing Your Facebook Page

  • Like the personal account pages, you can customize your page to make it attractive to your target market.
  • To add your company logo and information, click on the “Edit Info” located underneath the title of your page. This will take you to the hub of editing activity for your page.
  • If you are a local business, add your address so that you can be found on Facebook Places.
  • Enter as much information about your company as you can. Make your descriptions engaging but tell the visitors what you do.
  • Add a picture of either you or a recognizable symbol associated with your brand. Use the new masthead to get creative wit your brand logo.
  • You can obtain a vanity URL (http://facebook.com/yourpagename) when you get 25 or more people that Like your page.

Facebook Page Apps

You can add a variety of apps to extend the functionality of your Facebook pages.

To get to the apps, click on “Edit Info” and then “Apps”. At the bottom, click “Browse More Applications” to see the full catalog.

Useful apps: (*Some of these may have an associated cost)

  • MailChimp or Constant-Contact list building apps
  • Video App allows you to upload videos from your computer to your page
  • YouTube App allows you to put YouTube Videos on your page
  • Events for listing meetups, seminars, or webinars on your page
  • Networked Blogs for adding your company (or personal) blog
  • Twitter for Pages to connect your business Twitter account to your Facebook page
  • Badges for encouraging fans to place a badge identifying them as a fan on their page
  • Fan Offer for providing exclusive coupons or discounts to people who Like your page
  • Welcome Page for creating a customized landing page whenever someone visits it
  • Contact Me to provide an easy way for fans to contact you outside of Facebook

Interesting Uses of Facebook Pages

Fan pages can be used for a myriad of other things beside promoting your business.

  • As a help center where people can get support for your product or service
  • Promote a specific product
  • To aggregate information/news about a specific topic (example: Japan Earthquake)
  • Encourage activism around social issues
  • Provide access to exclusive training/information
  • Sweepstakes/giveaways
  • Discussion forum
  • Place to aggregate topical user generated content

Marketing Your Facebook Page

Marketing your fan page is really just like marketing other web properties or profiles you own.

  • Offer special benefits to people who Like the page (coupons or exclusive access to info)
  • Promote on your other social profiles
  • Integrate the Facebook widget onto your blog/website which shows latest updates
  • Encourage users to share with their network
  • Encourage user generated content. Example: if you sell cosmetics encourage fans to submit tips or links to video tutorials using the cosmetics
  • Include a link at the bottom of regular emails and Include info in emails sent to your lists
  • Talk about it on your YouTube videos
  • Host giveaway/sweepstakes where entry requires them to Like your page
  • Include a link to the page in your forum signatures
  • Include a link to your page in the author bio section of ezine articles
  • SEO your page with relevant keywords for search engine marketing
  • Use Facebook Advertising to bring attention to your page
  • Comment on other pages as your Facebook fan page to raise visibility
  • Partner with other business to get on their Featured Liked Pages list (located in left sidebar)

About Facebook Groups

  • Facebook groups provides a place where people can gather to talk about a subject.
  • Facebook pages are open to the public. Facebook groups can be made private where only members see what’s been posted.
  • The groups options allows you to send mass mailings to the people who are a part of the group. Group members can do the same.
  • When someone posts to the group, everyone in the group is notified. With Facebook pages, people have to check in to view updates.
  • This feature also has group chat where members can talk to each other in real time.
  • Groups can also be indexed by search engines but only if they are public.
  • Unfortunately, apps cannot be used on Facebook groups

Uses for Facebook Groups

  • Facebook groups lends itself to exclusivity. This is great for people in the information marketing business where buyers can be given access to useful supplemental information and one on one help.
  • Groups can be used in place of the standard mailing list.
  • This feature is also great for group collaboration on a specific projects.
  • Posts to the groups will be seen in member streams. However, if the group is private only the member will see it.
  • Posts can be further targeted to members by language or country.

Creating a Facebook Group

  1. Login to Facebook
  2. In the left hand column click on Create Group
  3. Enter group name
  4. Add members
  5. Select privacy option
  6. Click Create
  7. It takes two seconds and your group is created.
  8. Clicking on “Edit Settings” will allow you to set up notifications of group activity, group chat messages, and whether or not to allow the group to show up in your home navigation.
  9. To edit the group’s information, upload a profile picture, and adjust privacy settings, click “Edit Group”.

Visit the Social Media Video Library for more blogging and social media training. Contact me for a free 1 hour consultation on how to use Facebook pages and other social media tools to your advantage.

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Use Your Blog to Rope Passionate Prospects Into Your Sales Funnel http://stacykinney.com/blog-prospects-into-your-sales-funnel/ http://stacykinney.com/blog-prospects-into-your-sales-funnel/#comments Thu, 04 Aug 2011 14:25:28 +0000 stacykinney http://stacykinney.com/?p=3642

Your Biggest Challenge will Be Attracting Prospects to Your Sales Funnel

In a previous article, Make More Money by Creating an Effective Sales Funnel for Your Business, I wrote about how developing a sales funnel can make it easier to capture sales. The purpose of the article was to make you think about whether or not your sales process is optimized for making you money. After all, I’m pretty sure you didn’t go into business for yourself just for the fun of it but to generate a real income.
sales funnel
One of the most important and also most challenging aspects of the sales process is attracting people to your business. In fact, client attraction is the first part of the sales funnel. Without a steady stream of interested prospects, it is doubtful that you will be able to build the profitable business you want. Selling is a numbers game. The more prospects you talk to the higher the probability someone will make it to the end of the sales funnel.

Use a Blog to Feed the Top of Your Sales Funnel with Passionate Prospects

A blog is an effective way to grab the attention of your prospects and lead them through your sales funnel. First, it provides a space where people can get to know you and your company. It is difficult to know who to trust on the internet. Naturally, customers are going to be hesitant about giving their money to a person they’ve never met face to face. A blog will go a long way towards demonstrating that you are a real person who cares about them.

And speaking of demonstrations, a blog will also give potential customers a taste of the value you have to offer them. People love working with experts and a blog is the perfect platform for showing prospects you have the knowledge and experience they are looking for which will encourage them to take the first step in your sales funnel.

Other reasons why starting a blog is a great idea:

* A blog provides a central place for your leads to gather from all of your marketing efforts.

* It is easy to capture leads for your sales funnel from search engines by implementing SEO/SEM techniques which redirect traffic from Google, Yahoo, and Bing to your blog.

* You can then send that traffic to targeted sales pages designed to lead prospect through the sales funnel to the cash register ring.

* If they are not ready to buy, you can still capture their contact information with a mailing list.

Tips for Using the Blog to Get Customers to Go Where You Want in Your Sales Funnel

* Write informative articles packed with keywords designed to draw targeted traffic to your blog and down your sales funnel. Keywords are the words and phrases people in your target market are using to find information on a topic that is important to them. For example, someone looking for information about blogging may type in “how to start a blog” or “blogging tips”. There are a number of keyword research tools on the market that will help you with this including Aaron Wall’s SEO Keyword Tool.

* Direct your readers by ending each article with a call to action to take the next step in your sales funnel. After they finish reading your awesome article, your visitor may be left thinking, “Now what?” Don’t leave them hanging. Point them to the next step in your sales funnel whether that is signing up for your mailing list, buying a product, or contacting you. Without this prompt, your reader may wander off without ever looking at what you have to offer.

* Have individual sales pages for your products on your website that describes what you are selling and why they should hand over their hard earned money to buy it. Make sure you include relevant keywords so you can get traffic from the search engines and into your sales funnel. Additionally, you will be able to refer to these pages in your social media marketing campaign.

* Integrate a mailing list sign up form so you can capture the contact information of your prospects. Put it in a conspicuous place, like the sidebar, where readers can see it. Even better, there are plugins you can use that will allow you to put a mailing list sign up form at the end of every article on your site. Talk about in your face.

* Encourage your readers to subscribe to your RSS so they can get continuous updates. Make sure your social media profiles links are in an obvious place so they can connect with you on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

* Make sure you have advertisements for your products in obvious places on your site. This includes putting graphics in your sidebar and even in the articles themselves. Be careful not to clog your site with too many ads that it overpowers your content. Strive for balance.

* Lastly, don’t forget to have a personality. People connect to people, not companies. Be personable. Get involved in the communities of other blogs. The more people see you hanging out in their neck of the internet, the more comfortable they will be with you and the greater the chance they will enter your sales funnel and become a loyal customer.

Are you still not sure how a blog can inspire people to take a trip down your sales funnel? Give me a call. I’ll be happy to spend an hour with you talking about the many ways you can build your brand, get it in front of your prospects, and make more money with a blog. Also, don’t forget to sign up for your free copy of my social media checklist that will take you by the hand and walk you through what you need to do each day to build your fan base and fill your sales funnel.

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Prospecting on Facebook: Using Targeted Facebook Groups to Find Clients http://stacykinney.com/using-targeted-facebook-groups-to-find-clients/ http://stacykinney.com/using-targeted-facebook-groups-to-find-clients/#comments Thu, 21 Jul 2011 14:11:58 +0000 stacykinney http://stacykinney.com/?p=3842

Facebook Groups Can Connect You with Unlimited Prospects

Facebook is all about connecting. Therefore, successfully marketing your business on the social network means you need to be…well…social. Interacting with the people who you have befriended on the site is a good start. However, if you really want to start raking in the prospects then joining Facebook groups can get you in front of people starving for the knowledge, products, and services you offer.

Facebook provides an app called Advanced Search Beta 2.2 which makes it so easy to find groups on the site that fit the demographics of your target audience. Here is how to install the app on your profile and how to find groups to join on the site.

Installing Facebook Groups App

Step One
Facebook Groups 1
Step Two
Facebook Groups 2
Step Three
Facebook Groups 3
Step Four
Facebook Groups 4
Step Five
Facebook Groups 5
Step Six
Facebook Groups 6

Tips for Successfully Using Facebook Groups

* Join with the purpose of providing value to the group. This means sharing high quality information and interacting with the other members as people. Don’t spam the group with your sales message. Not only are you likely to get kicked out of the group, you will be seen as a spammer and your reputation will suffer. Just like a computer, put good stuff and get good stuff out.

* Get involved with members off site. You can increase your visibility within your target market by continuing the conversation with the members of the group outside of Facebook. Go to their blogs and comment on their articles, participate in offline meetings, or become a follower of theirs on Twitter. The more the group members see you around the more trusted you will become and the more likely they will be with making a purchase or recommending you to someone they know.

* Judiciously share links to your content. There will be times when it is appropriate to share your content. Do so only if it applies to the topic under discussion. Don’t just throw out links to your sales page. Instead point to articles or videos on your site that add to the conversation. You could even create content that answers a question or provides a different view on a subject under debate. The thing to remember here is that your content should be relevant to the group.

Facebook groups provide an excellent opportunity to network with more people on the social networking site and extend the reach of your business. For more tips on how to use social media marketing, like Facebook groups, to generate customers for your business contact me for a free consultation.

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Finding Content and Ideas For Your Blog http://stacykinney.com/finding-content-and-ideas-for-your-blog/ http://stacykinney.com/finding-content-and-ideas-for-your-blog/#comments Tue, 19 Jul 2011 13:22:19 +0000 stacykinney http://stacykinney.com/?p=3856

Content is King

  • People use the internet for several reasons:
    • –To find information
    • –To disseminate information
    • –For entertainment
    • –To make money
    • –For community
  • To attract prospects to your blog, it should be filled with content that fulfills their needs
  • Good content also attracts attention from others in your industry
  • Content written write will be linked to which will improve your standing in the search engines
  • Well written content is shared on social media sites attracting followers and extending the reach of your brand

Getting Content for Your Blog

  • Content includes:
    • –Articles
    • –Video (YouTube, Homemade)
    • –Audio (Podcasting)
    • –Graphics (infographics)
  • In this webinar we are focused on written content – Articles
  • You can get articles from a number of places:
    • –Write them yourself
    • –From article directories like Ezinearticles or ArticleBase
    • –Freelance writers
    • –Guest Bloggers
    • –Private Label Content
    • –Republish content from other websites with permission

Writing Your Own Articles

  • Benefits of writing your own articles:
    • –They are yours to do with as you please
    • –People appreciate hearing your thoughts in your own words
    • –Free. Only cost an investment of time
  • However, it is time consuming especially if you have no previous experience
  • Should have a good grasp of grammar and spelling otherwise you could come off sounding unprofessional or uneducated even if you have a college degree
  • Steps involved in writing your own articles:
    • –Brainstorm article topics
    • –Keyword research
    • –Write attention grabbing headlines
    • –Writing the article
    • –Article SEO

Where to Get Article Ideas

  • Ideas abound. You just need to keep your eyes open
  • Where to find inspiration:
    • –Your life experience
    • –What your target market is asking for
    • –Reader submitted questions
    • –Blog comments
    • –Other blogs and news sites
    • –Current events
    • –Social media sites (trending topics on Twitter etc)
  • It is a good idea to keep an idea file so that you always have something to write about

Keyword Research

  • When people search for information on a topic they enter words and phrases into the search engines related to what they are looking for. These words and phrases are known as keywords.
  • Incorporating the keywords used by your target audience will increase the likelihood that your audience will find your content in the search engines.
  • Keyword research involves brainstorming the types of keywords your target market is using to find the information you are writing about.
  • Tools to assist in finding relevant keywords:
    • –Aaron Wall’s SEO Keyword Tool
    • –WordTracker
    • –Google Keyword Tool
  • What makes a good keyword or phrase:
    • –Multi-Word; at least 2,3 or more. Single keywords are notoriously difficult to rank for.
    • –The more specific the keyword the more targeted the traffic
    • –If you are selling a product or service use “buy” words like “purchase cell phone”

Developing Compelling Headlines

  • The first interaction people have with your content is through the headline. Your headline will attract or repel them.
  • Good headlines tap into emotions and needs and conveys the benefits of reading the article
    • –Lose 10 pounds in time for the wedding
    • –The #1 tip for generating massive website traffic
    • –Make more money with these simple steps
  • Types of headlines that get attention:
    • ―   Direct (Trim 20% of your mortgage payments)
    • ―   Instructional (How to buy a home with no down payment)
    • ―   Question (Do you have the millionaire gene?)
    • ―   Command (Use this tool to get to the top of Google)
    • ―   Testimonial (I get my social media tips from StacyKinney.com says Kate Middleton)
  • It takes awhile before you’ll get the hang of writing good headlines. Experiment.

Tips for Article Writing

  • Determine the purpose of the article
    • –To sell
    • –To disseminate information
    • –To persuade
  • Write a headline but don’t be afraid to change it
  • Start with an outline of ideas you want to convey. This will make writing the article easier and faster.
  • Break up ideas into short paragraphs to fight reader fatigue
  • Vary the types of article templates you use. Ex – Lists, Question and Answer, Tutorial (How to)
    • –You can find article templates on the Ezinearticles blog @ http://blog.ezinearticles.com/
  • End the article with a call to action

Article SEO

  • Include your main keyword in the title of your article
  • Include the keywords in article headers; use appropriate header tags (H1, H2, H3)
  • Keywords in the title and header tags are given more weight by search engine robots.
  • Keyword should appear in the first and last sentence of article if possible
  • Keyword density should be between 2-5%. Anything more than 7% will be considered keyword spamming by the search engines
  • A good article length is 400 words. Gives enough space to provide good information but not too much to give everything away.
  • Include links to other related content
  • Include keyword in image descriptions

Using Articles from Directories

  • Article directories are great places to get ready made content for your website.
  • Your blog should primarily consist of original content but these articles can fill in for when you are short on time or ideas
  • Rules for using content from article directories:
    • –You must use the content in its entirety. You cannot make changes to it
    • –The author’s bio must be posted as well
  • Tips for using article directory content:
    • –Check the links to make sure they don’t take visitors to a crazy place
    • –Add your own call to action to the end of the article
    • –Content should be inline with the topic of your blog

Guest Bloggers

  • Content from other experts in your industry is a great way to increase the value of your website as well as extend the reach of your brand
  • Identify experts that can provide relevant information that compliments the topic of your blog. Ex. Real estate agents can have a mortgage expert post on the topic of home loans
  • Be professional when you approach people to contribute to your blog. Remember, they are doing you a favor for free.
  • Be a good host and promote your guest author

Using PLR Articles

  • Private Label Rights articles is content written by freelance writers who then sell reprint rights
  • PLR content is very cheap (about $1 per article). The writer makes money by selling the same articles over and over again to other people
  • Licenses on PLR generally states that you can use the content however you want except you cannot resell or redistribute
  • It is best to rewrite the content so that it is at least 50% unique to avoid the duplicate content label from the search engines.
  • If you want to submit to article directories, content must be rewritten completely.
  • Make sure the article is optimized for your keywords
  • Don’t forget to include your call to action at the end
  • Always source your articles and writers to be certain you are not getting stolen content

Legalities of Using Content

  • It is not okay to take content from other people’s website and use it on your website without their permission.
  • If you reprint someone’s article (and it didn’t come from an article directory) without their permission you could be setting yourself up for a lawsuit
  • Content is copyrighted the moment it is created and subject to copyright laws regarding usage.
  • You can use other people’s content under the fair use clause. You can reprint a small portion of the article and then link back to the source.
  • Another option is to summarize the article  and link back to the source.
  • Most people will let you use their content if you ask them.
  • Free images for your articles can be found on public domain image sources like publicdomainpictures.net and photos8.com

For more information on generating content on your blog as well as marketing online and using social media effectively, visit the Social Media Video Library.

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4 Quick Tips for Using a Blog to Build Your Email Marketing List http://stacykinney.com/4-quick-tips-to-build-email-marketin-list/ http://stacykinney.com/4-quick-tips-to-build-email-marketin-list/#comments Thu, 14 Jul 2011 13:04:32 +0000 stacykinney http://stacykinney.com/?p=3658

Now is the Time to Start Building Your Email Marketing List

Of all the tools in your internet marketing toolbox, blogs are the most versatile. They can be used in a number of ways to help you make money in your business including community building, search engine marketing, and social media marketing. In fact, I would say that your blog should be “Home Base” and all of your other marketing campaigns should funnel to it.

Among other things, your blog can help you fill your email marketing list with the names of prospects hungry for your products or services.

The Email Marketing List is Where the Money is At

People who sign up for an email marketing list are basically raising their hand as potential customers who are interested in what you are selling. They are aware that you exist and they like what you have to say so much that they basically open the door for you to contact them on a regular basis.
Email Marketing List
This direct contact provides an opportunity for you to send them marketing materials designed to get them to make a purchase from you or through your affiliate link. If you haven’t started building your email list then I highly recommend you get on top of it as soon as you finish reading this article.

4 Simple Methods of Email Marketing List Building

* Place a call to action to sign up for list at the end of your articles – When people make it to the end of your article they are often looking for the next step. You risk losing the prospect and the sale if you fail to take control and direct them as to what you want them to do next. Place a note at the end of your articles to sign up for your email marketing list. To make things even easier, you can place the actual sign up form at the end of the article.

* Put a sign up form in an obvious place – Most people put the form in the sidebar. With so many things crying out for your prospects attention, it is probably a good idea to draw attention to it in multiple ways. This includes putting a banner ad in the header and/or footer directing the reader to the sign up form for the email marketing list as well as placing the actual sign up form at the end of your articles.

* Offer something for free in exchange for signing up for the email marketing list – Very few people will just give you their email address. You have to bribe them for it. Give away a useful tool such as an EBook packed with useful tips or access to exclusive training in exchange for their contact information.

* Use MailChimp or Feedburner Email signup for sending blog posts – Encourage people to sign up for email notification of new blog posts. Both MailChimp and Feedburner offer this feature which allows you to build a list of people subscribed to your blog.

Bonus tip: Use peel down or pop up – While annoying, using a peel down or pop up to direct your reader’s attention to your email marketing list is effective. However, do your best to maintain the user-friendliness of your blog. Otherwise people will be scared away.

Now just because your prospects are signed up to your email marketing list doesn’t mean you can start spamming them. Like anything else, you must build a relationship of trust with your prospects by providing high quality information they find useful. The quickest way to get people to unsubscribe to your email marketing list is to spam them with useless junk.

Need more internet marketing tips for building an email marketing list? Then contact me for a free consultation. I will show you some effective internet marketing tools you can use to build a profitable business. Are you on Twitter or Facebook? Then learn how to build an impressive following by downloading my social media marketing checklist for free using the sign up form in the sidebar. For more tips on building an email marketing list sign up for my RSS feed.

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Increase Exposure With Social Bookmarking and Website Directories http://stacykinney.com/increase-exposure-with-social-bookmarking-and-website-directories/ http://stacykinney.com/increase-exposure-with-social-bookmarking-and-website-directories/#comments Mon, 11 Jul 2011 19:13:47 +0000 stacykinney http://stacykinney.com/?p=3741

Internet Marketing Tools: Social Bookmarking and Web Directories

There are numerous internet marketing tools you can use to generates links to your blog and extend the reach of your brand. Social bookmarking and web directories are two passive ways you can increase your web presence.

What is Social Bookmarking

  • The first bookmarking website, itList was started in 1996. It allowed members to save links to web pages and make them private or public.
  • Bookmarking sites quickly advanced to allowing members to tag, categorize, and share their links with others.
  • Since then, bookmarking has gone social and has become popular internet marketing tools. Members contribute links they find to the community and have the ability to comment on the links, vote to promote the ones they like, and engage the other members of the site.
  • Some social bookmarking sites are considered social news sites as members contribute links to articles about a specific topic category (i.e. technology)

Different Internet Marketing Tools: Social Bookmarking vs. Social News Sites

  • Social bookmarking sites allows you to save links to website to any web page on the internet. You can connect with other members of the site, categorize your links, and vote on and leave comments about links that you like.
  • Social news sites have all of these things. However, typically, they focus on news in specific topic categories. For example, Digg is a technology news related site. This means articles on the newest releases from Apple are going to be popular rather than a list to tips on how to use a piece of technology.
  • Both types, though, are great places to market your business.

Benefits of Using Social Bookmarking Sites as Internet Marketing Tools

  • Social bookmarking is an excellent way to extend the reach of your brand because it allows you to widely distribute your content.
  • These internet marketing tools are great for building backlinks to your website which is important for increasing your rank in the search engine result pages for keywords.
  • Content that makes the front page of a popular social bookmarking site can generate thousands of hits
  • Bookmarking sites are a great place to find articles and information about a particular topic.
  • In addition to being great internet marketing tools, they are an excellent source of inspiration for articles.
  • By becoming an active part of the community you can also raise your personal profile, influence the community, and be thought of as a leader which will attract customers to you.

Social Bookmarking Strategies

  • The simplest way to use social bookmarking sites as internet marketing tools is to bookmark links to the content on your website.
  • When you bookmark individual pages, the site will create a page for it in the directory. This accomplishes two things. First you will receive a link back to your site which can help boost search engine rankings. Second, search engines love social bookmarking sites and will index that page quickly. Therefore, increasing the chances that someone will find when they do a search on the topic.
  • Another way to use social bookmarking is to participate in the community. The goal is to submit quality content that gets votes and develop a following of readers.
  • By becoming a contributing and active member,  you will build an influential profile which can make it easier to get your content to the popular (or front) page of the site and drive traffic to your business.

Tips for Making It Work

  • Your headline is everything. This is the only thing that people will see on the site. Sometimes there is space for a description of the link. However 90% of the time, users will only read the title and make a decision as to whether or not they will click through to your article.
  • Make the headline catchy and attention getting. Copyblogger.com is a great resource for learning how to write awesome titles.
  • Put your links in the right category. People who are interested in a specific topic will click on that topic to see what is listed.
  • Use appropriate keyword tags.
  • Try to use keywords in your article titles as well. People also use the search functions on the site to look for information.
  • Submit to sites that are geared towards people in your target audience. Submitting content of interest to them will make it easier to attract them.
  • Try to create content that your readers want to share.
  • As an added note, try to write content that speaks to the site’s demographics. If the people on a particular social news site likes Apple products, then your post should have something to do with Apple.

Dos and Don’ts

  • Do fill out your profile in full so people know you are legit and not a spammer.
  • Don’t submit only your stuff. These internet marketing tools work best by when you submit content from other places.
  • Do submit to more than one site. The more sites you submit content to, the more dispersed your brand will be. There are literally hundreds of sites out there and internet marketing tools that will help you submit to many of them.
  • Do encourage friends to vote for your stuff. Try to get them to vote as soon as the article hits the site. Timing influences whether it will become popular on the site.
  • Don’t form voting parties but do strategically ally with other people to vote for or submit content. Social bookmarking sites abhor voting parties because it is disruptive. However, if you are discreet about it, you can partner with a few people to vote or bookmark your content in exchange for the same consideration. The operative word here is discreet.
  • Do ask your readers to submit your content to social bookmarking sites. Integrate buttons within your content to make it easy to do so.
  • Do interact with the other members and vote on their content. It is a social site, first and foremost. Engaging others will inspire them to return the favor.
  • Don’t spam. Social news sites especially do not play around. They will ban you.

Helpful Internet Marketing Tools

  • Ping.fm – Allows you to automatically submit links to your content to up to 30 social services.
  • OnlyWire.com – Another service that will let you submit your content to multiple sites. (About 20-25 sites available).
  • For WordPress Users, Sexy Bookmarks is a great plugin that will integrate the buttons of over 60 social sites for your users to bookmark your content.
  • Another good WordPress plugin is Digg Digg which will integrate social buttons as well as counters for up to 20 social sites on your blog.
  • Add To Any is an internet marketing tools that can be used on any blog or website and allows visitors to submit content to over 20 sites.

Popular Bookmarking Sites

  • Digg.com
  • StumbleUpon
  • Delicious
  • Reddit
  • Yahoo Buzz
  • Tweetmeme
  • Mixx
  • Fark
  • Slashdot
  • Friend Feed
  • Clipmarks
  • Diigo
  • Propeller

Web Directories are Great Internet Marketing Tools Too

  • Web directories are websites that categorize other sites by topic. The most well known web directory is DMOZ which Google (and many other directory sites) use to power its own directory.
  • There are two types of directories: Those that accept all websites (web directories) and those that only accept blogs (blog directories).
  • The popularity of social media has given rise to a third type of directory that integrates social elements alongside the basic website categorization. Examples of this is BlogCatalog and Socialrific.
  • There are also several directories that only categorize social profiles such as Twellow and WeFollow.
  • Directories allow both free and paid submissions to their sites. Paid directories tend to be better quality but not always.

Why Submit to Directories?

  • The majority of the benefits to using directories as internet marketing tools indirect.
  • The primary benefit is increasing the number of links to your website which will help increase your search engine ranking position.
  • Submitting to directories with social elements is also a good way to get noticed and find readers who will visit your site.
  • People search social media directories, like Twellow, to find other people to network with who have the same interests as them.
  • Some popular directories, like BlogCatalog, have pages that show up in search engines which can benefit you by indirectly funneling traffic to your site. Also, the more people see your profile around the internet the more comfortable they are doing business with you.

Tips for Success

  • Craft a description for your website that tells people what your site is about but also contains keywords.
  • Many directories allow you to submit keywords that are associated with your site. Come up with at least ten that are relevant to the topics you write about.
  • Make sure you select the most appropriate category for your blog or website.
  • Submit to multiple directories. Five a week is a good start.
  • Submit to a mix of directories: website, blog, and social.
  • Take part in the community when submitting to social directories. Post in the forums, follow other members. Your goal is to build a community.

List of Popular Directories

  • Open Directory Project (DMOZ) – http://www.dmoz.com
  • BlogCatalog – http://www.blogcatalog.com
  • WeFollow – http://www.wefollow.com
  • Twellow – http://www.twellow.com
  • Yahoo! Directory – http://dir.yahoo.com
  • Search Sight – http://www.searchsight.com
  • Turnpike Directory – http://www.turnpike.net/directory
  • Best of the Web – http://www.botw.com
  • Bloggeries – http://www.bloggeries.com
  • Blogged – http://www.blogged.com
  • Bloggapedia – http://www.bloggapedia.com/

Visit the Social Media Video Library for more blogging, info on internet marketing tools, and social media training. Contact me for a free 1 hour consultation on how to use the numerous internet marketing tools to your advantage.

 

internet marketing tools

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Cut Your Blogging Time in Half with a Web Content Strategy http://stacykinney.com/cut-your-blogging-time-with-web-content-strategy/ http://stacykinney.com/cut-your-blogging-time-with-web-content-strategy/#comments Thu, 07 Jul 2011 12:12:16 +0000 stacykinney http://stacykinney.com/?p=3648

A Web Content Strategy Can Save Your Sanity

Even though social media marketing is getting most of the spotlight these days, blogging is still an effective way to reach out to your customers and sell them on your business. But unlike tweeting and posting status updates, blogging can consume a lot of time thinking of article ideas, writing the articles, posting them to your site, and then finding people to read them. Developing a web content strategy, however, can save you time, money, and sanity.

What is a Web Content Strategy?

A web content strategy is basically a fancy way of saying you should write out a schedule of articles you want to post to your blog. Developing a plan for your article writing is an excellent way to capitalize on your blog and your reader’s attention.
Web Content Strategy
* You will be able to plan the topics you want to tackle for times when the articles will provide the most value to your readers. For instance, writing an article about saving money shopping during the holidays.

* You will avoid writer’s block because you will have a list of topics on hand to write about. If you write the articles in advance, you can create a pool of articles to pull from for when you can’t think of anything to write about.

* Posting on a regular schedule makes it easier to build a following who will know when to expect your articles to come out. Additionally, you’ll avoid falling victim to the aimless rambling that trap many bloggers.

* It’ll be easier to break up complex topics into a web series that keeps readers coming to your blog to read the next segment.

* You can create theme days where you’ll post specific types of articles. For example, you could post articles about social media marketing every Monday.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of developing a web content strategy is the fact that you can take a day or two to write all of your articles and set them up to be automatically posted on specified days. Then you’ll be able to devote your free time to working on other tasks that make you money. A content development plan also makes it easier to outsource your writing to a professional if you just don’t want to be bothered.

Tips for Developing Your Web Content Strategy

At minimum, you should produce your content schedule on a quarterly basis (every three months). Some bloggers develop theirs every six months and others, usually pro blogs, will plan out an entire year of content. This doesn’t mean you have to sit down and bang out a year’s worth of articles in one sitting. Just having a spreadsheet of dates and article topics will work.

To determine the number of articles you need to brainstorm ideas for, multiply the number of days you plan on blogging each week by the number of weeks in the time frame of your schedule. For example, you would need 24 articles to cover three months of posts if you blogged two times per week.

Your blog writing schedule should have a mix of short and comprehensive articles. Generally, short articles are for giving quick, actionable tips to your readers while longer articles will allow you to delve deeper into a specific topic. Too many short posts will make your blog seem shallow while too many long posts will make your blog a drag to read.

When brainstorming topics for your blog look at your industry through the eyes of the people in your target market. What do they want to know about your niche? For instance, real estate agents looking to attract home buyers will want to blog about buying a home in today’s crazy economy or how to avoid buying a money pit. To be an effective marketing tool, your blog should meet the needs of your readers.

Your web content strategy can be as simple as writing down titles and dates in a notebook or you can use an electronic to-do list to schedule when you will write your articles. Don’t think, however, that because you have a web content strategy that you can’t deviate from it. You can still be spontaneous or rearrange things at a later date especially if notable things happen in your industry that your readers should know about.

The important thing is to make sure you are producing content your readers want. As long as you are giving them quality content, your readers will pay attention. For more tips on blogging for success, take a stroll through my archives. Or better yet, contact me for a free consultation on how to take advantage of the internet marketing tools available today to develop of web content strategy that will help you build the profitable business you deserve.

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Watch Out! Facebook Scams are Alive and Thriving http://stacykinney.com/facebook-scams-alive-thriving/ http://stacykinney.com/facebook-scams-alive-thriving/#comments Tue, 05 Jul 2011 18:19:41 +0000 stacykinney http://stacykinney.com/?p=3525

Facebook Scams Becoming as Popular as Social Network

Like everything else in the world, people have found a way to scam others using Facebook. It’s one of those things that if it sounds too good to be true then it is. With Facebook, people are trying to make (or rather steal) money by crating fake pages that promise one thing but deliver nothing but a scam. The important thing is not to fall for it.
Facebook Scams
Every year, millions of people are scammed across the internet – with or without Facebook. They give their credit numbers thinking that they’ll be getting something really great in return. All they end up getting are empty promises or dangerous computer viruses. Either way, there are people benefiting from the ignorance or carelessness of others using Facebook scams and other unsavory methods.

Being able to spot these Facebook scams will save you a lot of time, aggravation, and money. You can avoid many of the Facebook scams and dangers simply by thinking twice before clicking on any of the ads or links found on the site – even if it’s from one of your good friends telling you to check out a YouTube video. As technology gets more and more advanced, so do the hackers!

Facebook Scams Depend on You to Click Before You Think

Before you click on a link, check on where it really takes you. Hover your cursor over the link. The address will display in the bottom left corner of your web browser. Many scam artists use phishing sites to get information from you that they use to steal your identity and your money. Looking closely at the web address will tell you where you really are. If it says Facebook followed by a decimal point and then other words or symbols, such as facebook.123abc.com then it’s a phishing site and you should avoid visiting the site or close your browser if you already clicked the link.

Too many people fall for these Facebook scams. It doesn’t matter who you are, you can still find yourself as a victim and often without even knowing it. While Facebook is usually one step ahead of the scams, they’re still out there. Ads, links, videos, even those random people who want to be your friend can all lead you into a scam.

Silence Perpetuates Facebook Scams

Facebook scams thrive on silence. The more you notice suspicious things and say nothing, the more these scams continue. Scams can ruin people’s lives, or at the very least, destroy their hard drive. It you see something that doesn’t look right let your friends know. Stay on top of what the current Facebook scams are by reading internet scam sites so that you have the knowledge you need to prevent yourself from becoming victimized.

So, what happens if you think your Facebook account was hacked into? Immediately change your password and report the problem to Facebook. Don’t let the scammers win by staying silent, otherwise the vicious cycle of Facebook scams continue.

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Should You Auto Follow on Twitter? http://stacykinney.com/auto-follow-on-twitter/ http://stacykinney.com/auto-follow-on-twitter/#comments Thu, 30 Jun 2011 12:54:15 +0000 stacykinney http://stacykinney.com/?p=3652

Is Auto Follow a Good Way to Build a Twitter Following?

In just under five years Twitter has become one of the top social media destinations for content consumers and producers alike. As a blogger and business owner you really cannot afford to not have a presence on there. In fact, every business should have a Facebook and a Twitter profile at minimum if you want to connect with your customers and become an integral part of their life.

However, many people find that staying on top of their social media marketing can consume a lot of time and effort. There are a number of  Twitter tools that can help you automate some or all of the tasks involved in building and maintaining a Twitter following. One of the things I’m noticing on the social media site, though, is that many business owners are using the Twitter follow tools to auto follow everyone who follows them.

Auto Follow on Twitter

Click to Follow Me on Twitter

I started thinking about this the other day. Is this really a good idea?

 

Reasons to Auto Follow

The main reason cited for auto following on Twitter was that it seemed like an easy way to build a following on Twitter. That’s sort of true. One piece of advice I often give people is to find your target market on Twitter and engage them by following their streams.

Suffice it to say, other businesses are targeting you as potential customers or collaborators. So they follow you in order to start building a relationship and they tend to stick around when you follow them back. If you have ten people adding you to their follow list every day, auto following them back can potentially net you up to 300 new followers per month.

Auto follow on Twitter is also convenient. I get about 100 new followers a day. With two kids, a husband, and a full time business I don’t always have time to go through and manually follow everyone back (Follow me on Twitter). It’s even worse for big brands and celebrities who get, literally, hundreds of people following them on a daily basis. So I can see the appeal of having a Twitter tool that tasks care of this task for you.

Reason to Not Auto Follow

But for all the convenience offered by Twitter follow tools, there are a couple of distinct disadvantages to auto following on Twitter.

- You will be targeted by spammers: Spammers love accounts that auto follow because it allows them to build their numbers quickly. They know that people are impressed by accounts that have large followings (a form of social proof). So they get lists of accounts on Twitter that automatically follows everyone and then they follow everyone on that list. Even worse, many of them will wait a few days and then unfollow you!

- Your account will be rendered useless: Being targeted by spammers brings me to the second problem with auto follow. Your Twitter stream will be filled with spam and other meaningless junk; not to mention the tons of auto direct messages you are likely to receive. Tools like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite can help you separate the wheat from the chuff. But that can be even more of a pain because then you have to manually look at each follower to decide where they should go or if you should unfollow them altogether.

So should you auto follow or not? There is no right or wrong answer. It really depends on what your goals are. If you just want to build a following then auto follow may be a good way to do it. If you want to build meaningful relationships on Twitter, though, then you will need to vet your followers either in the beginning when they first follow you or at the end when you are deciding whether or not to listen to their chatter.

What do you think? Do you auto follow on Twitter? Why or why not?

Speaking of Twitter, did you know I have a social media checklist you can download that will help streamline your social media marketing? You can download it for free. More information is located in the sidebar.

For one on one help with your internet marketing, contact me for a free one hour consultation where I will show you a few tools that will get your name in front of hungry customers just waiting to buy. You will never need to auto follow again.

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