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Who Should Be Your Next ‘Go To’ Employee?

“So I have a website –now what?” That is the question I often get when a client is asking why the website they either made themselves or ‘had a friend’ design isn’t getting any results. And I mean it –ANY RESULTS. So many small business owners are not getting the point. A website is only one piece of the online marketing puzzle but its potential to help your business is the secret to solving that puzzle. Your website is not the place to CHEAP OUT.
INTERNETS: ON/OFFphoto © 2005 mikael altemark | more info (via: Wylio)

Many entrepreneurial business people consider a website an afterthought and as not really that important to the success of their company. They are quickly being proven wrong. Inbound marketing which starts with having a website, is the most affordable method of marketing your business and is most likely to get you the best results. Using a pull strategy in Inbound, a.k.a. Online Marketing, you interact with people through many social media networks, then pull them into your online business realm via a website or social media platform specific to your business.

What a website isn’t

It should not be a static online brochure, a website that after you’ve given people your web address they can pull it up and… what? Gawk at it? Exclaim of its beauty? See all the ‘stuff’ you’re trying to sell? It should DO more than that.

So what should a website do for a business?

Kirt is beaming with new careerphoto © 2011 www.lancashire.gov.uk | more info (via: Wylio)

Every smart or lucky business has a ‘go to’ employee. Someone that takes on every challenge, is your best advocate, is the warehouse of much of your companys’ knowledge. That ‘go to’ employee, in this case, is your website and it’s vital that you prepare it for the challenge it is about to face. It will provide a foundation that you can use to venture into the social media network. This foundation should have SEO capabilities for every single thing that you publish. It should have reporting capabilities both short term and long term. It should nurture your leads or in other words help you convince consumers to buy or at least engage with your business. It should allow you to work the way you want to –either on a day-to-day basis or with scheduling far into the future. It should allow you and your business to grow.

What are the other pieces of this Internet puzzle?

“Build it and they will come” strategy may work for big brands like Disney, but if you have a small business, how are people going to find you? You need to chart out ‘how’ that is going to happen. Where are your potential customers now –online or off? What would make them visit you online –and keep them coming back? What would entice them into buying your offering?

Social Media sites

Sure, there is Facebook and it is not to be overlooked. But more specifically, there are social media sites that let you, as a small business owner, narrow your efforts to get closer to your niche. If you’re selling craft or gift items, then Esty.com may allow you the larger, targeted audience your business needs to sell successfully. For service companies, like automotive service or beauty salons, I like Yelp! Yelp! Is a review site for professional services offered in your area. Let your customers do the talking for you. That is far more powerful than tooting your own horn. For the travel industry, Trip Advisor is fast becoming the most respected of online travel sources because of the use of customer reviews.

Don’t forget email

internet explorerphoto © 2010 Sean MacEntee | more info (via: Wylio)

It’s not really glamorous, but small business owners should not forget email. Email offers a one-to-one relationship with your client and is of high value in the world of marketing, do not under-estimate its power. Plus, it’s affordable. Have you been collecting business cards for years and just use them to draw for a free dinner? It’s time to up the ante. Keep collecting those cards, but then start an email campaign that first gets them to ‘approve’ of you sending them these email messages from time to time. This would be called the ‘opt-in’. Then provides them periodic updates and offers to keep them interested and directly relating to your business over a period of time. Include links to your website that provides even more incentives and more info. An extra reason for keeping a solid email list is that it is an actual business asset. Think of it as an investment into your businesses future. –One more thing about email. Do you have your website address and social media handles at the bottom of your email signature? No? Do it today! It is a vital part of branding your business and should not be overlooked.

Integrate it!

With today’s popular mantra of “online marketing is where marketing is at”, one thing that seems to get overlooked, and is critical, is the integration of ALL your marketing efforts. On –AND Off line. Integration helps you get every bang for every buck. TV Advertising? Add in your web page. If you are planning on having a booth at a local farm market, be sure you have a brochure or business card that has your website on it –and maybe even add in how people may find extra value by looking your business up online.

Better yet, design a campaign that integrates some of the traditional advertising that you have done in the past and uses the website as a critical piece that drives excitement. Maybe it’s a TV campaign for a free prize that takes entries via your Facebook page, thus resulting in a large audience that ‘likes’ your site.

There are so many options and some, frankly, work better than others. Give us a call today, we’ll help you hone in on the audience you need and plan a strategy that will pull them to your business.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their conversion rates by adding proven online marketing techniques to their marketing mix.

In addition to building great dynamic websites, we do this by integrating inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and by utilizing digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

Computer Tips and Tricks for Cool Social Media Moves

During a recent ‘work session’ with a client, an important discovery was made. Many people do not use their computers as efficiently as they could. Really.

Today’s blog may be a bit passé for some of you and you’re welcome to join us back on another day. Thanks for stopping by (you’re still allowed to peak –just in case there may be a tip that you don’t already know). BUT for the group that feels like they’re ‘quickly getting nowhere’ when they work on the computer, welcome! Let’s get into some tips that may help you out of that rut. After all, it’s hard to stay in the social media game when you’re working twice as hard as everyone else just to keep up. These are important ergonomic techniques, the science that helps reduce RSI (repetitive stress injuries) like carpal tunnel syndrome. Use them to more easily build a better blog or engage with your community.

It’s all about the shortcut keys

Simply hold down your Control key (Command key for the Mac) and the corresponding letter to perform these often repeated functions.

keyboard

CTRL+z –undo

CTRL+x –cut

CTRL+c –copy

CTRL+v –paste

CTRL+b –bold

CTRL+y –redo

CTRL+a –select all

CTRL+s –save

CTRL+p –print

CTRL+t –new tab in browser

Notice that the MOST repeated shortcuts are all placed at the easiest to reach place on your keyboard and line up all in a row: z,x,c,v,b.

Simple mouse tricksMouse

  • Shift key and mouse click. Many text editors and programs allow you to highlight all or portions of text using the Shift key and the mouse. For example, place the cursor at the beginning of a paragraph, hold down the Shift key and click at the end of the paragraph to highlight the full paragraph.
  • In Internet Explorer or Firefox you can hold the CTRL key down on your keyboard and move your scroll wheel to adjust the text size you want to view.
  • Hold the CTRL key down when clicking your mouse on a link and it will open in a new tab in Internet Explorer 7.

Embrace the power of the right-click mouse

There are many actions that can be made easier with a right-click mouse. When you’re stumped try, just try, clicking with your right mouse button. Viola, all is revealed! You will usually have an option presented to you that will show you what you were looking for but didn’t know how to find quite often. You can do this on the desktop, in a program, in a browser –anywhere. Below are a few more things you can try:

  • While in a browser pressing and holding Ctrl while clicking on any link will open that link in a new tab.
  • You can right click on an image on the internet and choose to save the picture.
  • You can right click on any file to copy it. Then right click in another folder in the blank space and choose paste.
  • Customize the toolbars. You can adjust your toolbars to your liking. Right click on any toolbar, and select ‘Customize’. While this dialogue is up, you can move buttons around on your toolbars by click-and-drag to the new location. The window that pops up when you do this is a holding area for unused icons. You can drag any item from it onto your toolbars to have it made available, and you can drag any icon from your toolbars onto this box to hide that icon completely. Some toolbar items, such as the Location bar, will expand to take up all available space. You can fit the Menu Bar, Personal Toolbar, Location bar, Back and Forward buttons, etc, all to one single row if you really want to maximize web pages’ viewable area.

What is a scroll wheel on a mouse?

A scroll wheel is a small wheel located between the left and right mouse buttons. This allows you to smoothly scroll up and down a page instead of clicking at least 100 times.

Hope these little tips helped. If not for you, then maybe for that boss or co-worker that seems to ask these questions all the time. Let me know what worked best for you or add a few of your own. I firmly believe “Knowledge is not power, shared knowledge is power” -unknown.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their conversion rates by adding proven online marketing techniques to their marketing mix.

We do this by integrating inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and by utilizing digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you.

First Steps to Successful Marketing on Facebook

Today, there are more than 500 million active users, 50% of these users log in daily. Every average user has 130 friends. People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook.

With those kinds of statistics Facebook is a natural for B2C businesses trying to build a loyal following: businesses like restaurants, hotels, sporting establishments, services and so forth.Social Media

Best of all: It’s free and easy.

Start your Facebook Personal Page

First step: you will need to establish your own personal page. The personal info you provide for this page is also your registration with Facebook for your business page, so you will only need to enter it one time. Often this is where someone worries about their privacy; don’t worry, you will (and should) adjust your privacy settings under your personal profile and restrict it so you limit who can view your personal page.  After that, you’re clear to create a business page.

Start a Facebook Business Page

Check out my free e-Book for step-by-step tips on starting your Facebook Business Page including screen examples of the Facebook personal page, business page and group page steps.

Start a Facebook Group

There is little to adjust for privacy on the business page; it’s open to all (except for age restrictions) and allows minimal control over how people interact with your page. If that lack of control bothers you, then maybe a facebook group is for you. It allows complete control of content, but is more effort for you to maintain.

Promote, promote promote!

All set up? Now, focus on promoting your business. Make frequent posts that are brief, upbeat and entice people to visit your business; or at least think about it more favorably. Understand your audience by developing your Online Persona. This helps you write posts that get attention and appeal to your fans.

Learn the power of reposting. This is one simple technique that is often overlooked. Ask a few of your most loyal customers (or friends and family) to repost your page or group on their walls by clicking the share feature. This starts a fan wave that exposes people to your business to whom  you do not have access.

Finally, use the new ‘Tell Your Fans’ feature that allows you to upload your contacts from your email or CRM program. This will allow the exposure of your site to grow.

Next issue? What would you like to hear more about?

First Steps to Successful Inbound Marketing

So, you’ve watched Socialnomics with Eric Qualman and now you ‘get it’.

Haven’t seen it yet? Here it is again.

Now, you’re ready to begin the first steps to successful Inbound Marketing. Because traditional marketing will never be the same. It will no longer get you ‘there’. If you want to move your business forward, then you will need to focus on what you’re doing online. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Own Your Own Website
There is nothing more important than owning your own website. It’s your basecamp. The place that all your social media efforts revolve around. The place where all your communications should originate from -and end up at.

Location, location, location!
Now more than ever location matters. Whether it’s a busy street corner or a hard to find hole in the wall, getting your spot on the map right is vital. My recommendation is first things, first. Can people find you? If you’re a restaurant, hotel or auto repair shop, then start by registering your address and details on Google Places. This will literally, put you on the map.

Google Places http://www.google.com/help/places/index.html

Get Found
Make it easy for others to find your website (you do have a website, right?) by adding it to these most popular search engines, as listed below. Yes, all of them. This will allow the search engines to find you without waiting for them to ‘crawl’ your site. Being proactive on this is a good thing.Socialnomics

Google – http://www.google.com/addurl/?continue=/addurl
Bing- http://www.bing.com/webmaster/SubmitSitePage.aspx
Yahoo! Local – http://listings.local.yahoo.com/
Yelp! http://www.yelp.com/business?country=US

Consider these:
__Craigslist- http://yourcity.craigslist.org/
__Here is a link where you can submit your site to MANY places:
http://www.locallytype.com/pages/submit.htm

Next steps
For all businesses, the top things that you need to do is establish a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and start a blog. For hospitality businesses, include TripAdvisor in that equation. Put it at the top of the list.
I’ll cover those in future articles. Stay tuned!