Archives For internet marketing

don't-let-your-web-designer-hold-you-hostage-blog

Every week, without exception, I run across someone who is being held hostage by their web designer. And this is what I mean by “being held hostage”.

Let’s say, for example, you become dissatisfied with your web designer. They are not returning your phone calls, not doing the work as quickly as you would like, or whatever the case may be. And you want someone else to take over the site.

Do you have access to all your usernames, passwords, and all your other online collateral so you can do this? Or do you have to go through your web designer?

Unfortunately, what usually happens is you have to go through your web designer, and they will not let you have your stuff. If that is the case, your only option is to start from scratch with a new web designer, which can cost more money and more time.

Be wary of any web designer who says, “Oh, I’ll take care of that for you” or “You own everything”. If you do not have access to usernames and passwords for everything, you do not truly own everything.

Here is how you can lay a solid foundation for your online marketing strategy and avoid being held hostage.

1. Register your domain name through GoDaddy. Create your own GoDaddy account. Do not use the web designer’s account.Go to my GoDaddy affiliate link at mikecolemanwebservices.com to set up an account with GoDaddy.

2. Set up a hosting account on GoDaddy. Same applies here. Create your own hosting account. Do not use the web designer’s hosting account. Go to my GoDaddy affiliate link at mikecolemanwebservices.com to set up an account with GoDaddy.

3. Use WordPress to create your site. You have much more flexibility and there are WordPress web designers everywhere.

4. Use Constant Contact or AWeber for your newsletter campaign. Click Here to go to my Constant Contact affiliate link and set up a trial account.

5. Set up your Facebook Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and any other social media profiles.

6. One other bit of information you will need is FTP info. FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and allows you to access your files online. You use FTP to upload or download files. If they refuse to give you this info, find someone else to do your website.

7. Your web designer should give you a sheet with the following information: usernames and passwords for everything (domain name, hosting, social media, WordPress, etc.) and FTP information.

Take responsibility for your business early in the process to avoid pain and heartache later. It doesn’t take that much time to be aware of what’s going on in your business.

There is no excuse for not doing the things I outlined above. You do not need to be a “techie”. You just have to be aware of what’s going on in your business and obtain all the information listed above.

And if you are unsure about what you should do, turn to a trusted advisor who can point you in the right direction before spending your hard-earned dollars. If you do steps 1 thru 7 above, you will never be held hostage again.

seo getting found online mike coleman blog

Getting found online is key to your success if you are depending on your website, social media, and other online collateral to help market your business. Unfortunately, when it comes to creating a web presence that is search engine friendly, it can seem like you are trying to hit a moving target.

But if you follow a few simple rules, you can hit your target and win the game of SEO. Here are seven for your consideration:

1.  Create great content on your website. Google is always looking for “relevant” content, and a lot of it, so when someone searches on a keyword phrase, your site is found to be more relevant than your competition. This will also decrease your bounce rate, which is another key factor in your ranking. Change your content periodically and have a blog on your website that you update on a regular basis.

2.  Create profiles on the main social media channels – Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest. Make sure you place your domain name in each of your profiles.

3.  Place short (less than one minute) how-to, instructional, or informational videos on YouTube and Vimeo. Place your URL as the first thing in your video description and write a good description using your keywords. Also, use your keywords in the title of your video.

4.  Use your keywords in your domain name and in the title of your blog posts.

5.  Optimize your images. Use image editing software, such as Photoshop Elements or Gimp, to decrease the size of your images. This will also decrease the load times of your web pages.
Make use of and populate the “ALT=” tag on your images.

6.  Promote your website, both online and offline, on all your materials – business cards, store signage, networking events, direct mail, your social media channels, etc. Something as simple as driving more people to your site can improve your SEO.

7.  Use Google Analytics and Google  Webmaster Tools to track your progress and monitor your results.

Doing the things listed above will not “guarantee” your success, but doing all of them will increase your chances of being on the first page of the major search engines when someone searches for your business.

There are many other elements to developing a good SEO strategy for your website, such as link-building, but the steps listed above are a great place to start.

Remember, it does take time to develop an SEO strategy, so don’t get discouraged if in a couple of months you are still not on the first page of Google or Bing. There are a lot of factors involved, and it takes consistent, ongoing effort to make it work.

mike coleman nashville online marketing

One of the big mistakes many people make with their email and social media is trying to say everything. Remember, less is more when it comes to email and social media marketing. Your emails and social media are not for telling people everything that you do. Thats what your website is for.

Consider offering one thing at a time and remained focused on one topic at a time when it comes to crafting your blog post, article, newsletter, or social media post. By doing this you accomplish a couple of things:

1. You make it easier for your audience to digest the information you are sharing with them.

2. It takes the pressure off you to write a lot of content. And one more thing about content. You don’t have to be “original” and have something profound to say every time, but you do need to be delivering content that is helpful and applicable to the audience you are trying to reach.

3. It’s much easier to track your results. Anything is your online marketing strategy, just like your offline marketing strategy, should be measurable. You want people who read your blog post, article, or social media post to take some type of physical action. That physical action could be a click, a download, a phone call to your business, signing up for your services, or any number of other things.

social-media

How do I find the time to implement a social media strategy? The short answer is have a plan and make a schedule. Like any other aspect of your marketing, it’s important that you know your audience and post content that is interesting to your audience so they want to comment, share, retweet, etc.

Have a plan and a schedule for what you will post on a daily basis. This saves you time trying to figure out what you are going to post. Here is an example and you are welcome to modify it to suit your needs:

Monday: Link to an article

Tuesday: Quote

Wednesday:  Tip of the week or a short recipe.

Thursday: Promotion

Friday: Link to a video

Saturday:  Comment on someone else’s post or retweet something. Join a group discussion and share your knowledge.

Sunday: Post a photo with a comment.

You can also use Hootsuite to schedule posts to go out at certain times of the day.

The goal is to strike a balance so you are not posting 10 times a day, but you are posting enough to be considered active. That means 3 – 4 times per week. Find what works for you. I have just given you a basic blueprint for planning and scheduling your social media interaction. You can tweak it to fit your needs. And you may not want to post every day. That’s okay, but you still need a schedule so you know what you are posting on any given day.

What is your social media posting strategy?

If you want to be successful in sales, stop being a salesperson and become a businessperson.

If you can convey to someone that you are not trying to sell them something, but instead you want to partner with them to increase revenue, increase market share, reduce expenses, increase their client base, or make their life easier in some way … then you have someone eager to work with you (or at least want to have a conversation). In other words, you want to partner with them to grow their business and make their life easier. It’s that simple. This approach (and shift in mindset) makes you a businessperson rather than a salesperson.

So, number one – you want to have the mindset of a businessperson (or partner) … not a salesperson.

And number two – you want to provide solutions. How do you know if there is a need and what solution you can provide? One way is online research. Visit their website or check out their LinkedIn profile. Find the key players in their organization. Prepare what you are going to say and then rehearse it a hundred times until you are comfortable with it.

Now you are ready for your first meeting or call. You’re going into the first meeting (or cold call) thinking of yourself as a business partner with solutions to help them grow their business and increase revenues.

Think about this scenario for a moment. If you walk into a business and you are trying to sell them on how great your product is, and you have to ask who is in charge of (fill in the blank), then you are viewed as a salesperson. And worst of all, you are viewed as a poorly prepared salesperson.

Now think about this scenario. You’ve done your research, you know the key players within the organization, you have established a need, and you have come up with a couple of solutions for them that will increase revenue. How do you think they will view you now? Now you are establishing your position as a leader who cares about their business and can offer a solution to a need that you have already identified. Now you are a valued ally, a trusted advocate, and a business partner.

Everything mentioned above also applies to your online marketing. You want to convey the message that you are a businessperson who knows your target market, knows the needs of your target market, and can provide solutions.

Review the Home page of your website. Is this the message visitors to your website are getting? Are they finding the information they need quickly or do they just see a nice graphic? Do they have to click on another link to find out your business philosophy, who you work with, what you do, and the solutions you provide?

I’m not saying you can’t have a nice graphic AND great content. But if I have the choice of having a shiny new graphic on my website or giving my visitors information that is pertinent to their business, I will choose giving them the information they want as quickly as possible.  This moves the sales process forward, and isn’t that really the purpose of your website?

If you approach selling your products or services as a businessperson, find the need, offer solutions, go into meetings fully prepared, and deliver value … then your career, business, and life will move to the next level and beyond.

When I tell people one of the services I offer in my business is copywriting, I get varied responses. Some people think I handle song copyrights. Others just have a puzzled look on their face.

Copywriting is writing copy (text) for the purpose of promoting a business or service. It is a fairly time consuming process that requires research, skill, and knowledge of the market that you are targeting. Copy can be written for a direct mail campaign, website, blog, social media post, press release, or for any other online (or offline) marketing piece.

So now that you know the definition and purpose of copywriting, it’s time for a few tips on how to write copy that gets the results you want while getting the attention of the search engines …

1) Create a great title (or headline) with your keywords used at the front of the title. In the case of email, write a compelling subject line to make sure your email gets opened and read.

2) Use your keywords throughout your content. Don’t overuse them. Keep the percentage of keywords you use in your copy to around 5%. Think about what your audience would be searching for if they wanted this product or service.

3) Write copy that matters to your target audience. This means you have to know who you are writing to in order to write effective copy.

4) Be clear on your objective before you start writing. Do you want the person reading your copy to purchase your product or service? Is there a particular action you want them to take? For example, sign up for your newsletter.

5) Educate your audience. Don’t just use your copy to sell something. Educate your audience on why this is the product or service they need.

6) Have a strong call to action. Be very specific on what you want them to do once they have read the copy.

The main thing to remember is to do your research before writing anything. It’s important to know who you are writing to and what their specific needs are before writing anything.

One of the most effective uses of social media involves becoming a good listener. This means monitoring your brand, monitoring your competition, and seeing what other people are posting about specific topics. But how do you do this effectively and still keep up with all your social media accounts?

Two great tools for doing this are TweetDeck (www.tweetdeck.com) and HootSuite (www.hootsuite.com). Both applications are easy to use, save you time, and serve the aforementioned purposes.

TweetDeck is a social media dashboard you can use to manage your Twitter and Facebook accounts. HootSuite does basically the same thing as TweetDeck. Try both and see which one best suits your needs. They are both easy to setup and use. But keep in mind, you will need to have a Twitter account already set up to use these tools.

Tweetdeck has the option of setting up customizable columns that allow you to monitor the tweets of specific people you are following. For example, two of the people I follow are Michael Hyatt and Seth Godin. So I go into TweetDeck, click on Add Column, then click on Tweets. This allows me to follow their tweets. In Michael Hyatt’s case, I typed in @MichaelHyatt to add the column. If you don’t know their Twitter handle (@MichaelHyatt), then you can just search on the name to find the person.

HootSuite allows you to monitor your brand, your competition, or a specific phrase. For example, if you want to see what people are saying about cold-calling or to learn more about cold calling, you sign into HootSuite, click on Add Stream. In the popup box that appears, click on the Keywords tab. Then enter “cold calling” and click on Add. Next, click on Create Stream. This will create a stream feed that will show you every mention of cold calling in other people’e tweets. You can do the same with a company name, person’s name, or anything else you can think of that people may be tweeting about.

So, as you can see, there are many possibilities for listening using TweetDeck. I have just barely scratched the surface in this short article. But keep an eye on my blog. I will be posting follow up blog posts to delve deeper into this subject.

Let me know how you are using these tools in your business. I welcome your comments and input on this topic.

I have heard this phrase many times – “the money is in the follow-up”. When you think about it, this is very true when it comes to connecting with your customer, building the relationship, and making the sale. As you know, it generally takes 7 – 10 touches for a sale to occur. So following up with everyone is key to your success if you want to increase your revenue.

And, ideally, you will follow up with everyone you meet within 24 hours. But, even if it’s a few days after the initial contact with the individual or business, you can still maintain that contact. It’s never too late to follow-up or reconnect with someone.

One other thing to keep in mind. Don’t get discouraged when it seems you are wasting your time or don’t get a response. Following up with someone is never a waste of time. You will either close the sale or deepen the relationship or find more ways you can help them accomplish whatever it is they are trying to accomplish. So make an extra effort to stay in touch.

Here are a seven tips and techniques for following up:

1. Send a thank you note after a meeting. A handwritten note is still the best way to follow up with someone if you have their snail mail contact information.

2. Connect with them via email. After a networking group meeting or meeting with someone for the first time, a short email can remind them of who you are, what you do, and give you the opportunity to ask how you can help them.

3. Connect with them on social media. Almost everyone is on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

4. Get them into your database or add them to your list. Your list is the most important asset in your business, and you must constantly be working on building your list. One way to do this is to offer them something of value for free in exchange for their email address. And they can subscribe to your newsletter. This allows you to keep that top of mind presence with them and puts part of your follow-up strategy on auto-pilot.

5. Phone call. Just picking up the phone and calling someone can be a great way to keep in touch. But don’t get long winded in your conversations, Just let them know you were thinking about them and want to see if there is a way you can help them. You may want to shoot them an email and schedule the call in advance.

6. Find a way to help them. No matter what you do, you are still in the service business.

7. Keep it brief. Keep all your correspondence as concise as possible.

Here is your homework for today. Think of three people you need to follow up with and either send them a letter or thank you note; call them; send an email; connect with them on social media; or think of a way you can help them.

Even though social media has been around for several years now, I still get people asking me why they should use social media. And a lot of people still see it as a waste of time. But nothing could be further from the truth.

There was a time when just having a website was enough to support your online marketing efforts, but that is no longer the case. It takes a combination of both online and offline marketing strategies to successfully market your business or services. And using social media is just another online marketing strategy you can use to build your brand, build your list, and grow your business.

Here are three reasons for using social media:

Your competition is using it. How many businesses do you know who have a Facebook Page? Having a presence on social media sites is no longer an option. If you don’t have an active social media presence, you can bet your competition is using it to get customers in your target market.

Your target market is using it. Almost everyone now relies on social tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to learn more about a company and to share information with their friends and peers. If you are not on these social sites, you are not being taken seriously by the businesses and people you are trying to reach.

It starts the conversation. All of these platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) are great for starting conversations. On Twitter, you can build a loyal legion of followers by posting original and interesting content. On Facebook, you can invite people to like your page and to post comments. On LinkedIn, you can join groups, ask questions, and join discussions to share your expertise and become known as the expert in your field.

And one of the biggest excuses I hear for not using social media is, “I can’t think of anything to post.”

If you can’t think of anything to post, then comment on a post or retweet something one of your followers tweeted. Once you start doing this, you will start thinking of new things you can post.

Social media is not the answer to all your marketing challenges, but it is an essential part of your overall marketing strategy. So, spend a few minutes every day to post something, connect with people, and join conversations.

Harry Chapman, a local TV personality, hosts a show at Belmont University on PBS called “The Insiders View” where he interviews music industry insiders on current trends in the music industry. Harry recently interviewed Ian Rogers, CEO of Topspin, discussing the effects of technology (and social media) on the music industry. Ian said, “You want to make the unaware – aware; make the aware – fans; and make fans – customers. Those are the people who become evangelists and say you gotta see this. It takes a long time and you can’t skip steps.”

It takes time to find the right connections on LinkedIn, get the right followers on Twitter, and to get the right people engaged on your Facebook Page. But this is not rocket science. It simply requires a little effort on your part. Here are a few steps you can take to implement what Ian Rogers summed up so well.

1. You want to make the unaware – aware. One way to do this is to be consistent and proactive in gaining followers, likes, and connections. Use the search feature of each of your social media tools to find the right people to connect with. For example, if you are a professional speaker and you are seeking gigs with local companies, you can start following companies in the industry in which you want to work using LinkedIn. After you log into your account, click on the Companies menu option. From here you can do a search by industry, company name, or keyword. Start following companies within your industry to find the movers and shakers within the company and send them a personalized invitation to join your network. You have now made them aware. (And you can do basically this same thing in Twitter and on Facebook by using the search feature on each of these platforms).

2. Make the aware – fans. Now that they are aware, it’s time to make them fans. The best way to do this is to consistently provide relevant and interesting content in your posts that your target audience will want to read and, most importantly, want to share.

3. Make fans – customers. Now that they are following you, reading and sharing your posts, you have the opportunity to get them into your pipeline, add them to your database, and convert them into customers. To do this, you will need a way to collect email addresses on all your social media using an email marketing program such as Constant Contact so you can engage them directly on a more personal level. You will also need a strong call to action (CTA), such as, “Click Here To Get Special Pricing On Our New App” or “Enter Your Email Address For A Free Copy of Our Newsletter” placed strategically on all your social media platforms. Facebook Tabs in the new timeline are an excellent place for these.

That is social media marketing in a nutshell.