Tuesday, June 29, 2010

“How to Use Video for Business Promotion”

If you have a business and a website, then you've likely considered video marketing. Once you're convinced of the power of marketing, the next step is to decide how to use videos to promote your business. Here are just a few examples: 55

1.Testimonials – Ask your customers or clients to give you quick 1-minute videos of their feedback. You can also interview them about your business for a more structured testimonial.

2.Product Demos – One of the biggest drawbacks to buying online is that you can't actually test the product. Bypass that objection and demonstrate your product on video to help increase sales.

3.Case Studies – If you're involved in some kind of before-and-after (website design, fitness, SEO, etc.) case studies are an excellent way to demonstrate your expertise. Seeing an example helps the potential customer understand exactly what impact your service or product can have on their business.

4.Product Reviews – Video brings an added element to product reviews, particularly if you're reviewing a physical product. But hearing you talk about a book or piece of software is effective too.

5.Education – Use video to educate your market on the use of your products. Lead them towards the sale by answering their most frequently asked questions and objections.

6.Entertainment – People love to be entertained! If you can entertain in your video and combine that with a call to action, you'll have a winning combination.

7.Webinars – If you provide webinars or other video presentations to your market, capture them via video and offer a replay to generate leads or even sell as a product.

8.Commercial – Done correctly (meaning compelling with a clear call to action), commercials for your product or service can be very effective.

9.Business Overview – One of the first things many people look for is who they are buying from and what they stand for. Let your potential customers learn about you and your business through a business overview.

As you can see from the list above, there are many ways to use video to promote your business. Just creating video is not the only step to effective marketing. You must craft a video that responds to the wants and needs of your market. They are looking for solutions to problems and questions. It's your job to figure out how to use a video to solve issues, answer questions, provide the right solutions and lead them to the next step.

Additional Resources:

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"AdWords Campaign Experiments: Introduction "

Google's testing a new Adwords tools called "Adwords Campaign Experiments, aka ACE. It allows you to test and measure changes in your bids and keywords and how they will impact performance of your campaigns. Watch the video and learn what it is and how to use it.

Do you use Adwords? What has been your experience? Like it? Hate it?

Monday, June 21, 2010

“Save on Startup Costs with Your Online Business”

Starting a business takes determination and preparation. Oh, and it alsotwinbutterflies takes money. How much money you need depends on the type of business you want to start. For an online business, you can make that dream come true and save some green in the process. It really doesn’t have to cost you much to get started.

What is the first thing that people ask about with a business? Usually it’s “What will it cost me in the beginning?” With an online business you are already ahead of the game because you avoid many of the costs that come with owning a traditional brick-and-mortar company. You’re virtual.

Even so, there will be some costs that you have to shoulder. If your capital is limited, you can still get things going. It may take some legwork and time but it is absolutely doable.

Here are the 3 main costs associated with starting an online business.

Domain Name Purchases – In order to have a presence online, you’ll need a website address or URL. There are specials all the time for domain name purchases, but you can get your domain name for less than $10 a year in most cases. Be careful not to get sucked into buying all the extras most domain name registrars try to get you to purchase when you purchase a domain. Stick to only purchasing the domain name. And make sure you own the domain, not the hosting company. You don’t want to be held hostage should you decide to move down the road, or even lose your precious name.

Hosting – In order for your website to actually show up on the Internet you’ll need to purchase hosting for your domains. You can purchase this as low as $7.95 a month and there are thousands of hosting sites to choose from. One of my absolute favs and where I host all my sites is HostGator. They offer unlimited domain hosting for a set yearly or monthly price, and it’s very inexpensive. If you’ll be setting up multiple sites you can’t go wrong here.

Website Design – If you aren’t proficient in web design or HTML, you’ll need someone to set your website up for you. There are a few different options for getting this done:

• Hire a Designer: This is the most expensive way to get things done.

• Site Builder: You can build your site yourself with programs like SiteBuildIt. Learn how and save money by doing it yourself.

• Included with Hosting: Look for deals with your hosting company. For instance, when you purchase a ReliableWebs.com hosting package you can get a WordPress blog (using the WP platform as your main site is very common due to its ease of use and flexibility) installed on your domain for free. Any customization is up to you, but it’s a start that doesn’t cost anything extra.

A complete Shopping Cart System can be found here.

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Here are some tips for purchasing additional items you’ll need to run your business online.

1. Negotiate – All you can do is ask for what you want. When it comes to buying computers and other office equipment, there is some room for haggling. Find the best payment plans you can to help you to offset the cost. This goes for telephone services, answering services and high-speed Internet rates too.

2. Shop around - Buying computers online at sites like Dell.com allows you to add the features you need and pay the price you want to pay. Printers don’t cost as much as they used to. If you need a fax machine and a printer, look for deals on all-in-one equipment so you can save money.

3. Buy in bulk – When you need paper, printer ink and other office supplies, buy as much as you can when a deal comes along. Even if it takes you an entire year to use the paper, you know that you will use it so it doesn’t matter.

4. Ask for advice from others – For example, you’ll need hosting for your website. While there are dozens of web hosting companies out there, both paid and free everyone’s needs differ. What are your needs? If you know other online entrepreneurs, ask who they use. Keep in mind that high price doesn’t necessarily equate with good quality, just like low price doesn’t always mean poor quality.

5. Use what you already have for now – The best thing about an online business is that it is operated from your computer. Most people already have one of those. It may not be the top of the line model, but if it has high speed Internet access and a word processing program, you can get started. 

There are costs that you can avoid by starting an online business versus an offline one, but you still have to spend some money. The above five tips will help you to whittle down the costs you do have even more. This allows you to get your new enterprise up and running as soon as possible. And, don’t forget all these costs can be written off on your income taxes so don’t forget to keep records.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Top 20 Free Android Apps

A few weeks ago I purchased my first SmartPhone, the Google Droid. Did I need a new phone? No, but I had been hearing so  much about how awesome the Droid was and after popping into Verizon to listen to the sales speech, I was instantly in love. I had to have it. My boyfriend didn’t seem to think so, but that’s another story.

Now don’t get me wrong there are a few things that need improvement like text messaging. The ability to forward and select multiple contacts from within the “to” field is not available. If you don't know exactly the names of everyone you want to forward the message to, it's annoying. As hard as that is to believe. I had to download a third party app called “HandCent” that fixed that problem. I’m still trying to get use to the message “threading” which I’m not a fan of, but maybe with time. If anyone knows how to unthread them, please let me know.

Like a kid in a candy store there are so many apps and so little time. I think the apps are the best part of the whole phone. I love Google, so a phone powered by Google is right up my alley. There are apps for everything you can possibly think of. Being able to share things with Facebook or Twitter immediately is another plus. Here’s a nice list of the top 20 free apps http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2356306,00.asp

The GPS on the phone is absolutely amazing. Getting turn by turn directions as I drive and not needing to purchase a GPS separately is the bomb. On the negative side the battery is not as strong as I wish it was, but I did find a secondary OEM battery that I have my eye on at Amazon.

Image via Wikipedia

Graph showing smartphone marketshare for 2009

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"The Truth About Twitter's Promoted Tweets"

Since Twitter's launch in 2007, it has seen huge growth and has become one of the dominant players when it comes to social media. If you're trying to establish an online presence, and have no idea what Twitter is - or aren't using it in some way to promote your brand - you haven't been paying attention. Shame on you. twitter-128

“Twittering” has become a national phenomenon with its use trailing slightly behind Facebook’s. Recently Twitter shared some interesting statistics at "Chirp", the Twitter developer conference.

- 105,779,710 Registered Users of Twitter
- Approximately 55 million Tweets being sent daily
- 180 Million unique visitors monthly
- Signing up 300,000 new users daily
- Twitter’s search engine getting 600 million searches daily

For more stats, see http://tinyurl.com/2b8749v . Another Report, "Twitter Usage in America: 2010" by Edison Research, who presented three years of tracking date from national telephone surveys, found Twitter's awareness has exploded from 5% of Americans in 2008 to 87% in 2010. Another stat shows that 51% of active Twitter users follow companies, products or brands on social networks. For the complete report see: http://edisonresearch.com/twitter_usage_2010.php

Having said that, the problem all along has been how to take all of this growth and turn Twitter into a service that generates revenue. It has always been free to use, but like any company, Twitter's objective is to make money. Enter "Promoted Tweets", Twitter's new advertising program. It's very similar to Google Adwords. Advertisers bid on keywords and when a search is done on Twitter, triggering one of those keywords, an ad will be shown at the top of the results page - at least in phase one of the rollout. Only one promoted Tweet will be shown on the search results page.

In phase two of the roll out, the plan is to incorporate the ads into users Twitter streams, of course only when they're relevant. Eventually, the ads will be syndicated via third party apps too. This is important considering a huge amount of Twitter users access the service using various types of software.

The ads are clearly marked as such, and at the bottom they say "promoted by advertisers name", as well as being highlighted in yellow.

So what's the plan for pricing? For now, advertisers will bid on keywords based on CPM's (cost per thousand impressions), viewers who will see the ad. Twitter plans on using something called "Resonance Score" to help determine how well the ads are being received by viewers. This score includes factors such as number of clicks the ad receives, how many times it is “retweeted”, number of people who reply to it, and how many people decide to follow you as a result of seeing the ad. A low resonance score will result in the ad being removed.

Twitter's pricing model will eventually use the "Resonance Score" in some way down the road, but they first need to collect the data so they can "better understand the value of promoted Tweets".

Before you get too excited, understand that the initial launch of Promoted Tweets  is limited to a handful of customers. The Initial test group includes customers such as: Starbucks, Bravo, Virgin America, Best Buy, Sony Pictures. These are big companies with very deep pockets.

Advertising to Twitter users is not a new concept. There are other third party advertising programs already in place, such as http://www.SponsoredTweets.com and http://paymetweets.com/, among others, who have been selling ads in Twitter streams for a long time. How will Twitter's new ad program affect them? Twitter recently announced they will not allow third parties to inject ads into timelines. A bold move on Twitter's part, and putting them in a good position to be the dominant player when it comes to Twitter ads. For more see: http://tinyurl.com/2b3wpp6

Everyone will be holding their breath to see how Twitter users respond to this new advertising program. Some feel it's an invasion of their privacy, and other loyal users fear Twitter has sold out to "Commercialism". Whatever your feelings, ads are coming to Twitter - and who can fault a company for trying to earn a profit.

Twitter is a valuable tool when it comes to promoting your brand and/or products online.  Those who understand that won't mind a few ads, those who don't - well, they can just take their ball and go home <grin>.

Friday, June 4, 2010

"How to Use Twitter for Business"

A simple basic video that will show you how to use Twitter for business.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"Is Google becoming like Microsoft?"

Is Google becoming the next Microsoft? Listen in to what Matt Cutts has to say.