Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"The Art of Networking Online"

Yes, that's right I said "art." Learning to network online is an art form in itself. If you learn the ropes and do it correctly, you'll get the word out on your Net business and "win friends and influence people" all at the same time. 072409_1128[00]  

Don't get me wrong -- it's not easy, and it will involve donating some of your time and energy to help others. You'll be contributing your knowledge and experience, which in the long run will make you "shine" and come out looking like an expert in your field.

There are three main tools you'll need to incorporate into your daily life in order to become an "online networking warrior." Here they are:

E-Mail: E-mail is an important part of your life as an online entrepreneur. You should be answering all of your email within 24 to 48 hours to show you're actually reading it and taking care of business. Nothing will turn people off faster then your not responding to their emails in a timely fashion. Stay on  top of it. No matter what the requests are take the time to answer each and everyone even if it's just to say "thank you."

Next, you should be subscribed to as many ezines/blogs as possible that
cater to your field of expertise. By doing so you'll be keeping "your ear to the ground," and will always be aware of any new trends or competitors in your field. I subscribe to hundreds. Do they take time to read? Yes. Is it time well spent? Absolutely. Many times I hear about new products/services before anyone else in my field, which gives me a competitive edge.

Another way of utilizing email is to reach out and touch someone. No, I'm not talking about sending Spam here. Maybe you've just read a great article online, why not drop the author a note telling him or her how much you enjoyed it. It's always nice to receive a friendly email with a sincere compliment. Who knows, that one email could turn that person into an alliance down the road who may be willing to do you a favor. He may even visit your website through your email signature and eventually become a client. Never miss an opportunity to "make friends" online and increase your networking circle.

Another tactic I often use comes into play when I see an article or a mention of a website where I know the site owner. I'll send him the link so he can take a look with a short note stating "Hey, did you know you're mentioned here?" You'd be surprised at the number of people who didn't know their article was being run or that their website was being discussed and they really will appreciate the "heads up" from you. Again, never miss an opportunity to do something nice and get your name out there.

Message Boards/ Blogs: If you've been working the Web for any length of time you know what a message board (aka forum) is, and where the best ones can be found. Commenting on blog posts is another great tactic you should be incorporting. Again, make it a habit to post to a few every day with a good sig line. You'd be amazed at the number of powerful people you can meet through a boards and blogs. Make sure you share information, resources, and answer others' questions when you can.

Before long you'll be known as a helpful reliable resource who knows what they're talking about. If you do a search you'll find thousands of boards on which to post.

You'll find a nice list here

As you can see networking online means getting involved and getting your name out there every chance you get. Don't be afraid to participate. By utilizing these three networking tools it won't be long before others turn to you for advice and guidance, and who knows, you too may wind up becoming one of the "Internet Elite."

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Monday, May 17, 2010

"Is a Sales Page Duplicate Content?"

Matt Cutts answers the question "Is a Sales Page Duplicate Conent?" You may be surprised at what he says.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"Google's Local Business Center: A Major Update & A New Name - ‘Places’"

If you have a brick and mortar store, and rely on walk-in traffic for your survival, you may be wondering what the Internet can do for yourgoogle business. Believe it or not, a lot - and you don't even need a website.

In the "old days", the bulk of businesses relied on the Yellow Pages to get the phone ringing. The majority of marketing dollars were spent getting listed in this ten pound paperweight. With the popularity of the Net, less people let "their fingers do the walking” when they need something, and more are letting their mouse do the talking.

Online search has gone mainstream when it comes to searching for local businesses. Google states that 73% of searches are done for local content. Another study by BIA/Kelsey and Constat report that 97% of consumers use online resources when doing research for products/services in their local area. See http://www.kelseygroup.com/press/pr100310.asp

Google has always understood the power of local search, and years ago launched its Local Business Center where any business can get a listing for free. Recently, they've done a major overhaul and have re-launched with a new name of "Google Places", showcasing a host of new features. http://google.com/places . The name change was done to tie in with Google's Place Pages which were launched over a year ago and include over 50 million places worldwide. http://tinyurl.com/yc56vx9

If you want customers to be able to find you, and haven't listed your offline store here yet, you need to get with the program. You are missing out on the opportunity to reach millions of Google users, including Google Map users, Google's 800 Voice Directory Search and even Google Earth. And all of this exposure won't cost you a dime. It's totally free.

Now that I have your attention, let's go over the steps for inclusion. As with all things Google, you'll need  to sign into Google Places with your Google Account.  Up to 100 single locations can be added but, if  you have more than ten to list you'll need to use their "Bulk Upload Tool".

There is a verification process that must be done to prove you're the owner of the business being listed. The choice is yours, it's by phone or mail. Once this is done, your listing goes live.

Now in case you're thinking all that's included in a listing is an address and phone number, hold onto your hat. Here are some of the listing options.

1) Show the geographic area you service.

2) Photos- Upload your own, up to ten images per listing, in JPG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, BMP. A professional photo shoot can also be requested for your business.

3) Place Page Posts- You can post real time updates here, up to 160 characters, announcing special sales, events, and new products.  One post appears at a time.

4) Custom QR Codes: For use with smart phones to take users to your mobile website.

5) Advertise: They do have a "Tags Program" in select cities for $25.00 a month where your business will be highlighted on Google.com and Google Maps.

6) List your operating hours. Biz description and even reviews.

7) Post Videos: Up to five videos can be posted, but you'll need to publish them to YouTube first, then include the url's on your Place Page.

8) Payment Types Taken

9) Coupons: Create online coupons to give people incentive to visit your site. There's a separate "coupon tab" that appears on your listing page.

10) Privacy: If you work from home and have no storefront you can choose to make your address private in your listing.

At this point you should be realizing how important being listed in Google Places is to your business. If you'd like to see what your listing looks like to a searcher, log into Google Places and click on "see your listing on Google Maps".

Now remember ,search results are based on relevance and "geographic distance",  so you can't buy your way to the top of the list as with pay-per-click advertising. As previously mentioned, the "tags program", if available in your area, can be utilized for having your business how up highlighted for  $25.00 a month.

If you're interested in paying for your links to show up on the Google Maps search results page, if related to the search terms and location searched, that can be done using Google's Adwords program with what's called "Local Targeted Ads". http://google.com/adwords

By the way, Google also includes a "Reporting Dashboard" that will tell you how people find you, and what keywords they used to search. It's powerful stuff that can also be used in your local search engine optimization work.

Do yourself a favour - if you're not listed with “Google Places”, do it today. It's targeted, free traffic.  Now where else can you say that when it comes to marketing on the Internet.  People are looking for your business online and with Google Places you can make it easier for them to find you.  Website or not - it simply doesn't matter - but getting people in the door does, and Google is there to help.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

"All You Need to Know About YouTube's Promoted Videos"

By Merle http://merlesworld.com/

Way back in 2006, Google purchased YouTube.com for an alleged reported figure of 1.65 billion dollars. And, like with everything Google does, they've added their own special "Google Touches" over the last several years,weeds turning it into one of the most popular video destination websites online today.  
Need proof? According to Comscore.com's December 2009 "Videos Viewed Report", YouTube was ranked as the top U.S. video site serving up 13.2 billion of the total 33.2 billion videos that were viewed online in the U.S. for that month alone. That's a lot of people watching mega videos.  For more stats see http://tinyurl.com/y8jbnqh

Furthermore, according to Google, YouTube has twenty hours of new video uploaded every minute and 420 million unique visitors per month. Watching online videos and sharing them with others has become an Internet obsession. People really love watching videos. Remember the old song "Video Killed the Radio Star"? In today's marketplace, it should be called "Video Killed the Television Set".

What if I told you there's a way to harness that huge audience in your online marketing campaign? Now you can with YouTube's new advertising program called "Promoted Videos". YouTube and its other site, Google Adwords, have partnered together in this latest ad serving project. When promoting your videos on YouTube, they'll also be shown across Google's Content Network, aka sites running Google Adsense on them.
The purpose of "Promoted Videos" is to help your videos stand out from the millions of others on the site. At the time of this writing, they're available in the U.S., Australia ,Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.   youtube (4)

The first step is to sign up at http://ads.youtube.com/, or if you're already a user of Google Adwords you can access "Promoted Videos" from your control panel. 
http://www.google.com/ads/youtube/ .

You must have a YouTube and an Adwords account which will be linked together as the video ads are served up by Adwords. To find them in Adwords, log into your account, select the "Ads Tab", then the "Display Ad Builder" and finally select "Video" from the category menu and you'll see "promoted videos". Once your accounts are linked, you can manage your Promoted Videos campaign from the Adwords Console, or YouTube directly.

So where do Promoted Videos appear? By default, they run on YouTube's site and those sites that run Google Adsense ads. On YouTube, the video ads are shown below and to the right of search results pages and on some of YouTube's Watch pages in the "related video section", if related to the content of the page. Watch pages are like the home page of a video that displays all of its public information.

Advertisers can opt in or out of the "Content Network",which gives some control over where the video ads may be shown. The videos are clearly marked as "promoted videos", but it seems Youtube has moved back and forth between labeling them "promoted or sponsored videos".

Like other forms of pay-per-click advertising, it's an auction like setting where advertisers bid on selected keywords, set a maximum cost per click and a daily budget to spend. The Promoted Videos program uses the "Adwords Discounter" to help keep costs down. No matter your maximum cost per click, advertisers only pay one cent more than the other video ads shown on the same page. When selecting keywords make sure to choose the ones you would want to appear when a search is done on a particular subject. YouTube's Insight is helpful when choosing keywords. For more on this, see http://searchenginewatch.com/3640113

The videos created can include a clickable link to any site you choose. On sites running Adsense ads who haven't elected to block YouTube's Promoted Videos from within their competitive ad filter, the videos appear as a thumbnail with three lines of text. Adsense content partners must also be running ad formats in one of these sizes for video ads to appear. They are: 300X230, 336X280, 728X90, 250X250, 200X200. They must also be opted in to show text and image ads on their sites.

The Promoted Videos are different from Adsense video ads. Promoted Videos will always take the viewer to YouTube's  site to be played, where as Adsense video ads are played right on the website it's being viewed on.
When creating videos make sure they're fun and entertaining. Something people really enjoy to watch and will want to pass on to their friends and family. The sharing of popular videos on social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, will help it to go viral. Generally speaking, funny always translates well.  The less it looks like a commercial, the better the odds of people liking and sharing it.

If you've been wanting to try your hand at video marketing and reach millions of potential customers, Google's Promoted Videos  may be for you. For further information see:

Promoted Videos Help Center

Promoted Videos Optimization Guide

YouTube Ad Keyword Tool

Show & Tell with YouTube-Showcases the best examples of
marketing on YouTube- http://www.youtube.com/user/YTShowandTell

Saturday, May 1, 2010

“10 Easy Ways to Increase Sales”

©Terri Seymour of http://www.SeymourProducts.com

One of the most common questions asked by internet business owners is “How can I increase sales?”  Many articles, ebooks and reports have been written on this subject and trying to absorb that information just tends to make us more confused than ever!  Below are some easy,merle_dollar innovative ideas to increase sales that anybody can implement into their online marketing strategies.


1.     Offer “Freebies” on your site for your visitors.  Free reports, ebooks, services, support, ezine, etc. can be great ways to increase your customer’s trust in you, thus bringing you more sales.  Another way to offer something free it to offer a free bonus with every order. 

2.     Add a community message board to your website.  Encourage your visitors to be a part of this community.  This will also help increase trust and sales.  Offer help, advice, support etc. via your community.

3.     Use “bundling” to enable your customers to save money by ordering more!  This marketing tactic has done wonders for many businesses and it can for you as well.  I offer ebook bundles or kits and they have increased my sales immensely. For example:  I sell ebooks for one dollar each but by bundling 35 together for just $15.00, I not only help my customers, I help my business increase sales as well.  Make up a separate sales page for your “bundles” and offer a variety of bundle specials as well.  Remember, helping your customers, helps you as well.

4.     Participate in autoresponder ad swaps.  If you send out autoresponder messages fine other online businesses who do the same and contact them with an offer of an ad swap.  You will place their ad on your messages, if they do the same for you.  This can be a great way to get more exposure for your business.  Find businesses that complement yours. For example:  if you sell jewelry find business owners who sell clothing as this would help your business not compete with it.

5.     Post a tip board on your site.  Change the tips daily or weekly to keep people coming back for more.  Make sure the tips are helpful and contain useful information and/or resources. 

6.     Follow-up with customers and potential customers to make sure their experience was satisfying or to offer your help and assistance when needed.  When a person emails me with questions about selling ebooks, I answer promptly and then in a few days I send a follow-up.  I ask them if they have received my reply and if there is anything else I can do for them.  This simple task takes about two minutes, yet brings in a lot of sales.  It shows the customer you care about providing a good experience for them and are willing to help them if they need it.

7.      Create a survey for your site and encourage your visitors to participate.  Give them something in return such as a free gift or discount on their first order.  Surveys can help you determine if something needs to be changed on your site or in the way you conduct your marketing.  This information could be invaluable to your business!  Do a search for “create free survey forms” and you should find lots of services that will help you do this.

8.     Keep your website fresh and update it regularly.  If you never add anything new people will stop coming.  Add new articles, new sales, new contests, new freebies, new information, etc. 

9.     Always tell your customers thank you and let them know they are appreciated.  Never treat them as if they are a bother or a waste of time.  Even if a potential customer does not buy from you, they might tell someone about their experience and that person could come and order from you.  Unfortunately, these days, many businesses forget that it is the customers that keep them alive!

10.   Write a report or ebook and offer it to people and let them know they can give it to their visitors and subscribers.  Webmasters are always looking for good resources to offer their visitors, why not make it yours.  Think of the possibilities – you give it to 5 people, they each give it to 5 more people and so on and so on.  The free exposure you get is limitless!

There are limitless ways to build your business online and increase sales.  Many are free so don’t be afraid to try new things and contact other business owners for joint ventures, ad swaps, etc.  This article is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, so start today and get more sales for you and your business!


Terri Seymour (also known as “The eBook Lady”) has over ten years online experience and has helped many people start their own business.  Visit her site at http://www.seymourproducts.com  for resources, $1 resell ebooks & software, free tutorials, affiliate programs, free ezine and free business ebook with Master Resell Rights. http://www.seymourproducts.com/free.shtml

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