Archive for 'sem'

Zing Social Media Overview Seminar Review

Yesterday (April 23, 2008), we hosted a very small group to discuss “10 Ways to Increase Sales from Social Media” at Zing’s offices in Louisville. For those that didn’t get the opportunity to attend, here’s a summarization of what all was discussed.

We started off the discussion with a quick round robin to see who all used various social media sites in some of the different categories. Included in the mix were sites such as LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, Scribd, HubPages, Squidoo, EzineArticles, and WordPress (blogs). Our small group had mixed reactions to the sites mentioned whether they had heard of them or not. A lot of the sites were unheard of before our chat today so it’s fair to say that those sites aren’t being utilized yet by all of our attendees.

We had interesting debates throughout, but one thing stuck out to me that is both encouraging and puzzling all at once–a lot of people are very unaware of what is out there from a new media, web 2.0, on-line social aspect, but they realize it’s becoming more of a necessity for businesses to get involved. It’s no longer a novelty or kids’ playground anymore. Once you see large corporations investing major dollars on internet marketing and new media interests, the rules of the game change quickly. Usually new technologies in business follow a progression like this:

  1. Younger generations test out something because it has that “cool” factor and it’s new
  2. Solo entrepreneurs start to dabble thinking it might give them an edge and allow them to compete with larger competitors
  3. Small and medium businesses begin to realize that the solo entrepreneurs are onto something and begin to jump into the pool
  4. Finally, corporations see this wave of activity and understand the technology has matured enough to begin to invest substantial resources

Once the corporations are involved, it’s no longer a phenomenon or cool technology–it’s a full fledged strategy and set of tactics to make money. They may not have it mastered when they first enter the fray, but it won’t take them long to figure out how to capitalize.

So why is all of this happening so fast these days that some companies feel as though they’re getting left behind unless they act soon? Today’s consumer is tuned out to traditional advertising and media so it’s forcing the marketplace to become more creative in their approach, and that’s where social media comes into play. Believe it or not, there are still quite a few business executives out there that are reluctant to enter the social media space, and their reasonings vary greatly. Some of it is a generation gap, and some of it is a mindset that isn’t quite as “inclusive” by nature as a lot of us that are more comfortable with social media and sharing our lives publicly. I’m personally old enough to understand the apprehension from the “traditionalists” yet young enough to get the fascination with so many avenues for self expression.

All of that being said, there is no magic bullet where social media is concerned, but there are business applications for just about every sect of social media that need to be understood before making a decision to implement a strategy for one’s company. My recommendations for social media success, from a business perspective, to the group today were:

  1. Commit to a social media strategy or don’t bother
  2. Be yourself (hiding behind a pseudo-name isn’t going to win you points over the long haul)
  3. Transparency rules because people can sense a phony very quickly
  4. Be consistent
  5. Understand the time involvement–this isn’t like traditional advertising where you pay for a block of time or space and the returns are predictable. It may take a year for a social media strategy to begin to pay dividends, but those dividends could be huge. Can you afford to a) wait that long? or b) miss out on a great opportunity by passing on social media?
  6. Don’t try to sell–as mentioned above, people are tuned out to traditional advertising methods so showing up on a social media site trying to pitch your product or service isn’t going to be well received. It’s just like walking into a party where you know a couple of people–you wouldn’t barge into the middle of a group you didn’t know and immediately start trying to sell them something would you? I’d hope not. If you would, please skip my parties. 😉
  7. Follow the golden rule–give to receive and remember, it’s not about you first.
  8. Add value–become a resource or educate somehow if at all possible. Eventually people will notice and take action accordingly.

Finally, I’d summarize the overall message I was trying to convey to the group today as it’s all about an inclusive vs. an exclusive mindset. Traditional ways and methodologies versus new age and progressive strategies. We’ve gone from a business model of doing things FOR our clients to doing things WITH our clients. The firms which view things in that legacy view of “for” instead of “with” might find things a little rocky one day as we travel further down the path.

The rules of marketing have definitely changed, but have you changed with them? Either way, I’d like to hear your take.

How to Get More Website Visitors

If you’ve read much about Zing and some of the work we do, it goes without saying that we’re a marketing firm.  What we’re going to touch upon today is three of the better ways to increase website visitors.  Two of them are ways that you can begin immediately, and the other takes a little time to reap the benefits.

Search engine marketing (SEM) and an e-mail signature can be implemented within the next five minutes whereas organic search engine optimization takes a little while and is more of a drawn out process.   Let’s talk about each briefly.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Organic search engine optimization is a process of elevating a website within the search rankings of the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN by determining which keywords are searched for most then “optimizing” sections of a website for those keywords to attract more qualified visitors.  Part of the optimization process includes link building (external sites that link to your site), content generation and improvements (mixing in targeted keywords in an intelligent fashion within online content), developing a sitemap for your site, and focusing meta tag data on a solid mixture of profitable keywords.  A reputable search optimization firm will openly share their practices with you so be leery of those that refuse to do that along with those that guarantee top rankings—search engines are dynamic by nature so it’s nearly impossible for an external source to promise a certain ranking unless that source is the search engine itself (no search engine provides SEO).   

Online Advertising (SEM)

Search engine marketing (SEM) is frequently referred to as pay-per-click (PPC), and many organizations utilize paid ads on search engines to attract the type of traffic to their websites to fuel business growth.  Pay-per-click ads are generally the ads (sponsored listings) you see on the right side and sometimes at the very top of search results pages (SERPs).

E-mail Signature

An e-mail signature at the bottom of every piece of e-mail you generate or reply to can boost traffic to your site with little to no management on your behalf.  People are naturally curious, and you never know which piece of e-mail generated may become “viral” and spread through people forwarding it and having their friends forward it.  It’s a simple addition to your marketing efforts that can pay tremendous dividends.  Try not to abuse it by being long winded—keep your e-mail signature short and sweet for easy consumption. 

There you have three ways to draw more visitors to your website.  Do you utilize each in your current marketing mix?

Rich Schefren's New Beginnings Home Study Course

Many of you know I purchased Rich Schefren’s Business Acceleration Program back in December of last year, and that entitled me to attend the live seminar for free, but other responsibilities have prevented that from happening. The live event is going on RIGHT NOW. While I’m sad I couldn’t make it, Rich is offering a pretty nice deal on the home study version of the course. If you’re interested in that, he’s offering it at half price until Friday at midnight (ET). A special link to get you to the product is below:

http://schefren.infusionsoft.com/go/L08/rogerbau/

I really wish I could have attended this event, but I’m slated to be in Arizona next week for Infusion training to become a certified consultant which is pretty exciting. Only so many conferences can make it onto the docket in a given year, ya know?

If you end up purchasing Rich’s home study course, come on back and let us know what you think of it. If it’s anything like any of his other material, it’s sure to please.

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I don’t normally try to sell people things from the blog, but Alex is the real deal and this is worth a gander if you’re serious about utilizing teleseminars to improve your business (like I am).

Maximizing Success–Day 1 Report

Thanks to Debbie Allen‘s “shameless promotion” on my radio show last Thursday, I’ve had the privilege to attend her “Maximizing Success” seminar in Sedona, Arizona this weekend. The seminar runs three days (Friday-Sunday, November 9-11), but I’m leaving after Saturday’s session to return home to attend to some loose business ends.

First off, Arizona, as a whole, is beautiful! I had a trip out here slated to happen next year, but I guess the law of attraction is working its magic already. Those that know me fairly well know that I intend to live out here someday down the road. That or have a winter home in Scottsdale.

Anyway, here’s a recap of the first day of the seminar and some of the topics covered.

The seminar kicked off Friday morning with Dave Dee talking about “how to keep your phone ringing off the hook with hot leads.” The main crux of his story centered on a client (beautiful single mother named Alexis) that made $117k on one teleseminar call and how those in attendance could do the same. He talked about marrying offline and online marketing and how many of the top online marketers are also doing a lot offline even though they don’t tend to talk too much about that aspect. E-mail marketing is still effective although not as effective as it used to be–the key is to inject some of your own personality into the message.

Next up in the seminar was Joel Christopher who talked about “how to triple your online list and increase your profits in 99 days or less.” Joel is a super nice guy, and you could pick this up immediately during his presentation. A lot of SEO was touched upon throughout his presentation, and that made me feel validated that what we’re doing at SMB Consulting is high quality. Most of the recognized “gurus” preach many of the same things we’re doing.

My rhetorical question to myself after Joel and Dave’s presentations was “why am I not up there telling people how to do many of these same things?” So look for some of that in upcoming weeks–it’s time to get out there and kick some knowledge around.

Next up was Bill Walsh, not the deceased former football coach, and he really had a high quality presentation. Bill is a genuinely good guy who ended up buying us dinner later in the evening, but I digress. He imparted that we must have belief in our vision when nobody else does–how true! He also talked about the importance of having high quality materials for marketing (including suggesting visiting http://pkgraphics.com). “Always map out tomorrow, today” was one of Bill’s quotes and part of what he deems the “daily method of operation” or your DMO. Some other things Bill talked about (and I’m purposely being as brief as possible) included social networking, SEO, media relations, marketing plans, magazine ads (visit http://mediabids.com), and ask for the REM slots when trying to find low budget television and radio advertising spots.

Bill also talked about investing in your mind with daily positive content; starting a mastermind group (something I’m planning to do upon returning from Sedona); read books; attend workshops (if for no other reason, like minded people will be there). Also–surround yourself with successful people; always strive to provide 10X the value; perception is projection; auto-pay your favorite charity.

To wrap up the day, 14 time (something crazy like that) bestselling author Barbara DeAngelis spoke to the group. This was one of the most powerful speeches of the day, and it really seemed to move a lot of people within the group including me.

Admitted pigheaded stance pre-speech: I had to remind myself to open my mind because I was prejudging Barbara based on her “Men Are from Mars, Women are from Venus” work with Dr. Gray because their relationship didn’t workout so it always seemed rather hypocritical even though that’s a dumb and narrow view on things. The advice and how to apply it matters more than the source, and I got over my stupidity very quickly into her talk.

Barbara is a dynamic speaker that has a message that will truly impact you if your mind is open and in the right place. She talked about how “the time is now,” and we’re seizing it. Many of the group has been experiencing what she calls “divine discomfort” where you know you’re supposed to be doing more, but you’re not quite sure what it is. Or maybe you have internally realized what it is you’re supposed to be doing, but breaking free to accomplish it is messing with you. We need to surrender control and let go–we’ll figure it out as we go. “You’re being prepared for greatness” Barbara told the group, and I’ve felt like this has been happening to me personally for about six-eight months now. Something internally is going on that I cannot explain, but I feel as though my life finally has purpose and I’m on a path to something tremendous. Barbara also said something I’ve found myself saying lately in that sometimes “we need to get out of our own way.” Amen!

This has been one very interesting day in beautiful Sedona. I am not sure what will come of me upon returning home, but I don’t believe I’ll be 100% the same. This has already been an incredibly enlightening experience. I can’t wait to see what Day 2 brings!

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