Archives for August 2013

Is LinkedIn a Waste of Time?

John Haydon of Inbound Zombie recently posted this question on Facebook.

Is LinkedIn a waste of time? - question

A lot of people are frustrated with the new-ish Endorsements feature. I know I personally have been endorsed for skills I didn’t even know I had!

So, I can understand their bewilderment when people who don’t really know them come along and endorse them for every skill they have listed. It’s like they’re trying to game the system or something.

Here’s the response I gave though.

Is LinkedIn a waste of time?

 LinkedIn can be a powerful part of your business strategy. [Read more…]

Missing Your E-mail

Gmail logo in "Missing Your Email" on https://alewebsocial.comDid you hear about recent changes?

Gmail is rolling out its latest inbox improvements, and Hotmail and Yahoo have plans to follow suit real soon. But what does that mean to you?

Unfortunately, what it means for many marketers is that their e-mail campaigns will be filtered into a new folder called “Promotions,” never actually hitting the Primary inbox.

Depending on who you listen to, this is either the end of the world for marketers or it isn’t.

I tend to be a bit more pragmatic about the whole thing.

People who actually wanted to read your marketing messages in the first place will probably take the time to do a few simple steps to reroute your messages where they want them.

Those who couldn’t care less what you had to share won’t go looking for your messages, but they probably weren’t really enthusiastic about what you had to offer in the first place.

So, this is simply a good opportunity to clean up your list and make it more targeted, at the same time as letting individuals who have signed up for one-too-many free offers start pruning their inboxes. A win-win, really!

For those who haven’t been upgraded to the new inbox format yet, you may want to send a “farewell” message letting them know where your notes are going, and how they can mark your messages to go directly to the inbox instead.

Groupon demonstrated this nicely in a mass mailing they send out in early August.

Heads Up: Fix Yo Groupon

To avoid missing the messages you want to see, drag one of the messages from the Promotions tab to the Primary tab, and then save the changes when prompted. Alternatively, if you want to avoid the whole silly thing, you can simply delete the Promotions folder and nothing will be routed there.

And if you need further help getting your e-mail campaigns seen and responded to, contact us!

Are You Networking in Your Pajamas?

How’s your LinkedIn?

How much of your time do you spend networking for business each week?

Hours can be spent away from the office, going to meetings, walking away with a handful of business cards and no real follow-up method in place.

What if it could be simpler, done at your own convenience, and through targeted conversations?

That’d probably be much more efficient for you, huh?

Greeting the dayBut what if you were unprepared to start those conversations? Maybe your hair hadn’t been brushed yet, you had morning breath, your forgot your business cards in yesterdays’ outfit, or you were still dressed in your sweat pants…

I often see people whose LinkedIn profiles aren’t “ready yet” trying to get started with LinkedIn, and it’s a bit painful to watch. Their profile pictures are either missing or inappropriate. Bios are incomplete.

It’s clear to those they connect with that they haven’t really considered how to present themselves on LinkedIn yet. And then they become discouraged when it’s not the Magic Bullet they keep hearing LinkedIn can be.

There are no magic bullets!

LinkedIn is a powerful social network for any business professional to be on. But you have to approach it with the same care and planning that you would going to a networking meeting in person.

Consider your 30-second elevator speech. That’s your bio.

The professional history isn’t a resume as much as it’s a showcase of your talent.

The groups help form points of common interest.

Is it time for you to learn how to use LinkedIn the right way? Contact us for a profile assessment today, and we’ll get you spruced up and ready for powerful networking in no time!

Getting Your Story Out There

Today’s guest post is from Jical Jial of Mosotomoss. He is a Creative Stager that helps entrepreneurs to stage their story. You can see more of his writing at Mosotomossblog.com.

Create the story you want pepol to seeCreate the story you want people to see and take ownership of what you want them to hear. It’s never too late to get your story out there. I know sometimes it can feel like a daunting task to do everything yourself. There are many steps you have to take to get your story out, but if you break those steps up, it doesn’t seem so daunting.

As a writer, you may think writing your book was the hard part. But I would say, marketing the book is the hard part. When you don’t have a team of creative people behind you coming up with ideas to market the book, it can be frustrating. Don’t wait until the book is finished to start working on the marketing. I’ve seen way too many authors finish a book and then ask, “what’s next?”

To market your story is to seduce your audience into wanting more of what you have to offer. Just like you build the suspense up in your book, you have to do the same thing with your marketing. You have to create anticipation in your audience. Writing a blog post or creating lively chats on Facebook are two great ways for you to build up the suspense.

Create rich dialog about certain situations in the book without giving away any of the book. Make what you’re posting relevant to your audience. All characters must go through something, and so does your audience. Now would be a great time to pull them in, not after you have written the book and when it’s about to be published.

Today’s publishers want to know how big your audience is. That often determines if you will be able to secure a traditional publishing contract. Without an audience, it’s hard to sell the book. Having an audience to sell to says a lot about you. It says you are interesting, and people want to hear what you have to say.

I am often asked whether an author should post excerpts of a new book on a blog. I would never recommend doing that. It’s always best to blog about characters or storylines without giving away anything. It’s really important as an author for you to be engaged with your audience. So find ways to start conversations about the book, rather than giving previews of it.

When it comes to your marketing plan, don’t just think about selling the book. Most authors never think about merchandising, for example, selling T-shirts with quotes on them that your character says, like “Who is John Galt?”  Promoting your merchandise is a great way for you to not only make extra money, but build a brand empire up at the same time as building your audience. 

You are an entrepreneur, believe it or not. Telling yourself you are just a writer won’t work. When you believe you are an entrepreneur, you act like an entrepreneur. There are many more ways of getting your story out there. The main way is to build the story up before it ever really gets finished or heads to the publisher. Generate a buzz about your book as early as possible. The more people you know, the more chances you have in selling them something they want to have.

The Power of Social Media is Community

As a business owner with clients all over the world who works out of a home office, there are plenty of times when my daily life can feel real isolated.

That’s one of the reasons I’ve come to appreciate social media so much. It’s allowed me to build connections, share projects, and develop friendships with people I might never otherwise have had the chance to get to know.

Yet, with one group of friends I met on Twitter in 2010, I co-authored a book called The Character-Based Leader.

Social media has also enabled me to stay in contact with audiences from past speaking engagements, as well as with clients.

Then, every once in a while, we share a need and it’s truly amazing to sit back and see the response we get.

Late Saturday evening, I launched my first crowdsourcing campaign to raise the funds necessary to publish and market my next book, entitled The Best is Yet to Come. Despite the hour, I sent the link out to my co-authors from the earlier book project, and about a dozen other friends on social media.

Less than 48 hours later, these friends are supporting me in reaching my goals so that I, in turn, can help others change their lives for the better.

I could never reach as many people by myself as this network of friends will reach. Yet, we’ve taken time to know and support one another over the years. That’s why I’m always telling my clients, if you want to harness the real power of social media, it’s got to be about the relationships. Marketing is secondary. Spend more time being authentically you, and sincerely trying to get to know those you connect with online.

It’s only when you generate enough social proof to show that you have something of value to offer that you can truly make the kind of difference you want to make.

Thank you to my friends who are supporting me in reaching my goals! May you each be as blessed to have friends such as these. Below are just a sampling of some of the posts being made, with more promised yet to come.

With a community that supports me like this, I can confidently say… The best is definitely yet to come.

Deb's_support

 

5 Unique Ways to Get Backlinks to Your Website

Today’s guest post is from Sarah Boisvert, who is an author who writes on a wide range of topics from small business to investing to high technology. She also covers social media and has written profiles of Bill Gates, Steve Wynn, and Chuck Hull.
Spider web image for 5 Unique Ways to Get Backlinks to Your Websites

Backlinks help readers find your website in the tangle of the Web! [Photo credit: Tina Phillips via FreeDigitalPhotos.com]

In this Internet age, websites are key to selling every product and service from books to videos and speaking engagements to webinars. But having a website is just the beginning. To get potential customers to find your specific website in the tangle of the Web requires having a high page rank for your keywords in search engines like Google.

Search algorithms increasingly rely upon backlinks to evaluate content strength. The logic goes that if a website is mentioned with a hyperlink to it on another website, then the content must be valuable to readers.

Knowing this, some webmasters went overboard creating links to hundreds of sites. Many of these backlinks also had no relationship to the subject matter or were connected to sites that bordered on spam.

Google responded to these tactics intended to “fool” the system, of course, and now includes relevance of subject matter in their algorithms. Consequently, backlinks of good quality are essential to driving more traffic to your website.

While it takes a little more effort now to get good backlinks, there are many unique ways to be sure your website stays within Google guidelines. Here are some tips to get you started.

Partner with Smaller Vendors

Large vendors like Amazon have established backlink programs for authors and product suppliers, but don’t ignore the smaller outlets. Get a list from your distributor of stores that carry your books and contact the manager or owner about backlinks. Organizations that hire you to speak are also a good source of backlinks. Of course, you’ll need to reciprocate and link back to these vendors on your website, but that is just good business for everyone.

Befriend Bloggers

Bloggers are always searching for new topics for blog posts. By searching for top bloggers in your subject area, you can build a list of potential websites for backlinks.

Perhaps they could include a book or podcast review, an interview before an upcoming book signing or speech, or a general interest story. This provides an opportunity for the blog to link to your website. As before, you need to be a good member of the online community and reciprocate. You can do something simple like create a page of News and Reviews with links and a brief description.

Twitter logo used in 5 Unique Ways to Get Backlinks to Your Website

Twitter is filled with media writers and bloggers [Image credit: Twitter]

Social Media

Twitter is a great social media platform for finding writers and bloggers who might be interested in reciprocal links. The Twitterverse is full of media types from national, local and international news agencies as well as bloggers covering everything you can imagine. Search for some keywords from your field and create lists of the writers you find.

There are rules of etiquette that accompany being a good member of the community. First, you’ll need to engage with the writers or bloggers, getting to know them in Cyberspace. Once you’ve established credibility and demonstrated that you’re not a spammer, you can ask for a backlink. Most Tweeters who “know” you are happy to comply.

Trade Associations and Other Organizations

Trade associations or other organizations are always happy to promote members. Often they will publish news about individual members or business and corporate members and include a backlink. This is true for every type of group from your local Chamber of Commerce to the national alumni association of your college alma mater. Get to know the membership director or IT specialist to see what kinds of backlinks they can provide.

Don’t Forget Fans or User Groups

It goes without saying that fans are always willing to help out since they are happy customers who want you to succeed. Reach out through your database or blog, but again, you don’t want to be a spammer! Limit the number of requests and, if possible, offer an incentive such as a small gift card or a promotional item.

Working on backlinks has an additional benefit beyond search engine optimization. You’ll be interacting more with the world, and it’s through being visible that good PR opportunities also arise. Following these five tips, you’ll be sure to increase sales of all your products and services through a variety of channels.