Free Marketing: Other Social Media Sites

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Social media marketing is the easiest type of Free Marketing. This has taken on increased importance in the wake of the Panda and Penguin upgrades to the Google search engine algorithm. Google now gives more weight to websites that have the most social approval signals, ranking them higher.

Like Search Engine Optimization, social media marketing can take a while to gain traction because it takes time to build a following of social media contacts, interact with them, bring them to your pages, then get them to give you social approval signals.

The best approach is to focus on multiple social media outlets, not just one or two, partly because the popularity of social media sites changes and what is the most popular one today may not be as popular tomorrow. Also, your prospective customers are also using multiple sites, so if focusing only on a few could mean you are missing a large segment of potential customers.

What are the most Important Social Media Sites?

Excluding Facebook and Twitter, the most important social media platforms that you need to be involved in today are:

  1. YouTube – Video is the format of choice for web users today. Thanks to 3G and 4G networks and WiFi, nearly everyone has access to streaming video on their smart phones and tablets. YouTube, which is owned by Google, is the biggest and most significant distributor of video.
  1. LinkedIn – This site focuses more on business networking rather than social networking. But LinkedIn continues to be an important platform for reaching corporate and commercial customers.
  1. Pinterest – Currently, Pinterest is one of the most popular social preference platforms. It allows members post links to things they like. If that includes one of your links, you can expect a ton of traffic to your landing pages.
  1. Google+ – Google+ tries to combine all the best features of the other social media sites – such as email, social sharing, social preference – with killer apps like free video conferencing to make it the premier social media site on the web.

Social Comment Sites

Thanks to the spread of mobile media, social comment sites are growing in popularity. These include such apps as foursquare, Urban Spoon, Yelp and many others. Social comment sites let users post comments, reviews, images, ratings and other opinions on businesses they visit or any topic they like directly from their mobile devices.

This can have serious consequences, especially for the brick and mortar business owner, because if customers post negative comments it can not only hurt your reputation but also can continue to linger on the web for a long time. On the other hand, positive comments can help drive more foot traffic to your business.

For the web-based marketer, social comment sites’ benefits lie primarily with social approval signals they can provide. Positive reviews of your web pages can help boost your web page ranking on Google. You also should quote positive reviews on your own web pages, social media accounts, or even in advertising and marketing materials.

The Value of Social Approval

Social approval signals can help your marketing efforts go “viral”, which refers to techniques that use social networks and other web tools to produce explosive awareness in brand or product awareness.

Like viral infections or computer viruses — which spread from computer to computer exponentially – social approval signals such as Facebook “Likes”, Tweets, Google Plus “+1’s” and others can spread the word of your brand or products quickly.

Internet users now have the ability to share and spread viral messages they enjoy faster and with more people than ever before with literally the push of a button. One person can promote your posting to hundreds or even thousands of social media contacts, who can then pass it on to tens of thousands or even millions more.

Google+

Google+ takes the best features of the internet’s most successful sites – including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even YouTube – and puts them all in one place. That makes them easier to coordinate on your Google+ brand page.

Google+ allows you to create individual Circles for friends, family, acquaintances, employees, vendors, or any category you want. You also can create sub-categories within these Circles to make it easier to communicate effectively with specific groups.

Hangouts is Google+’s free web-based chat program that lets you interact with other users in real time using text, video, or audio feeds that are connected directly to your Google+ home page.

Hangouts can be used for many purposes, such as providing live video one-on-one video customer service, answering customers’ questions, or showcasing your products’ best uses. You also can use it to host webinars, record them and then make them available online as squeeze page giveaways.

Hangouts also offers a feature called On Air, which allows you to link your Hangout to your YouTube channel, where it can be broadcast and recorded, providing access to your videos to an unlimited number of viewers via YouTube. Viewers can even submit live questions and comments via text.

4 Ways to Attract New Website Visitors

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Right now, people have more unrestricted access to information, entertainment and other content than in any other time in history. While that is great for people looking to be informed, educated or entertained, it can present a challenge for online marketers seeking to capture the biggest possible audience.

That’s because there’s simply more competition for your target audience than ever before. So if the content you are using to attract visitors to your pages isn’t interesting, cutting edge and exciting, you are going to have a difficult time getting people to visit or stay on your pages once they land there.

  1. Would You Be Interested In Your Content?

A good starting point in determining whether the content you are providing is vital and engaging for your target audience is to consider whether you would be interested in your pages if you were an outside visitor looking for content within your niche.

Why would you be drawn to your web pages? What are you offering your visitors that they can’t get anywhere else? How are you communicating to your core audience that the content you offer is unique, entertaining and engaging?

Think about these questions and then identify the areas where you are failing to live up to your own standards. Those are the areas you should then focus on repairing.

  1. Be Controversial … But Not TOO Controversial!

If you want to attract eyeballs, you need to have something to say. Choose topics within your niche that are “hot button” issues. Visitors arrive on your pages with their own opinions, but if you have something relevant and insightful to say about a current event or a controversial issue within your niche, they are going to want to hear it.

Yet you should temper your words so that you don’t go too far, otherwise you risk turning your visitors off. Stay away from extreme views or radical arguments. You can and should take a stand based on your beliefs, experience and knowledge, but avoid giving the impression that you are close-minded or fanatical.

Visitors to your pages want to feel as if they are engaging in a conversation, not listening to a diatribe or monologue. Invite others to share their thoughts and let them know you value what they have to say. That way they will be more likely to return to your pages later.

  1. Sex Sells

There’s no way around it: Sex sells. It’s simply the way we are hard-wired as humans. We are attracted to anything that turns us on or stimulates our sexual curiosity.

Obviously, this is something that successful marketers have known about since the beginning of time – or at least the beginning of advertising. If you want to attract more visitors to your pages, look for ways to ratchet up the sex appeal – even if your subject matter doesn’t ordinarily lend itself to being sexualized.

Sexy images are also always a huge draw, especially when they are used tastefully. Consider what your core audience wants, then give it to them.

  1. Mimic the Most Popular Sites in Your Niche

With Internet marketing, there’s usually no reason to reinvent the wheel. Conduct a little research to determine what the most successful marketers in your niche are doing, then steal their best ideas and make them your own.

Obviously, you don’t want to plagiarize or do anything unethical. But you can discover the most successful themes and topics and put your own spin on them in order to capture more visitors. Observe market forces to recognize what the public wants, then provide them with it.

One of the biggest benefits of the Internet is its global scale and universal timeliness. Whatever niche you are working in, there are certain to be hundreds – if not thousands – of other people competing for the same audience you are targeting.

By giving your visitors content that you would find interesting, focusing on hot button issues that fans of your niche have strong opinions about, injecting sex appeal whenever and wherever possible, and stealing the best ideas from the most successful marketers in your niche, you can choose topics that draw more visitors to your website.

3 Steps to Creating High-Converting Headlines

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Headlines is one of the most important part of any marketing document, be it an email, a sales letter, squeeze page or paid advertisement. That’s because the headline is your first and only opportunity to capture the attention of the prospective customer.

If your headline fails to make an instant, immediate impression upon your reader, they will stop reading further and probably are lost to you forever.

The best headlines – those that grasp your page visitor by the lapels, shake them up and refuse to let go – share three common traits. If you ensure that your headlines always includes these three qualities, you can attract a greater number of prospects to spend more time with your copy and enhance your chances of converting them into a long-term customer, which is the ultimate objective of any marketing document.

Clarity Is King

The first and most important quality of any great headline is that it can be immediately understood by anybody who is reading it. The more clarity a headline has, the more appealing it will be to page visitors.

If your headline is in any way ambiguous, confusing, or doesn’t provide a clear and concise message that can be grasped instantly, it is going to turn readers away in droves. Clear, easy to understand headlines should be as specific as possible.

Remember, the people who are landing on your pages or seeing your ads are looking for solutions and answers. The last thing they want to do is to spend more time trying to figure out what is meant by an ambiguous or uncertain headline. Be as clear as you possibly can.

Headlines Have Two Parts

The most effective headlines have two parts: The headline itself and the sub-headline, also known as the “sub-head”. One way to think of it is like this: The headline is the bait that gets the prospect in the door and the sub-head is what you use to hook them in so they will keep reading.

A clear and concise headline is critical, but by itself it usually is not enough to fully engage the reader. It needs help – in the form of a great, informative sub-head that boosts the clarity the reader gets from the headline.

The sub-head acts to reaffirm the reason why your reader has landed on your page or looked at your ad in the first place. It should set the stage for the story your content is about to tell them.

The Best Headlines Include Numbers

There is a whole body of research that proves that people using the Internet are astronomically more likely to click through on a headline that includes a number than one that simply includes words. This has something to do with the way our minds are wired.

Numbers express certainty. They subconsciously tell the reader that the message expressed in the headline is based on substance and fact, so people seeking solutions or answers online are naturally more attracted to headlines that include numbers than they are to just words.

The numbers you put in your headlines can include all kinds of figures, including percentages, the amount of things on lists, time measurements, and so on:

“3-Day Free Trial for All New Subscribers”

“Top 5 Ways to Shed Weight Fast”

“Increase Sales by 30% in 30 Days Using This One Weird Trick”

Generally, the number will be in the main headline rather than the sub-head. But the information in the sub-head should support whatever number you include in the headline.

These three qualities are so widely used that headlines that don’t include them are often perceived as jarring or off-putting – and usually fail to convert. Successful marketers understand what works and what doesn’t, so they gravitate toward the tried and true in order to maximize their results.

If you keep your headlines clear and to the point, include sub-headlines that support the primary point of the main headline, and include numbers to give your headline substance and authority, you can exponentially increase your conversion rates regardless of what type of marketing document you are using.

Why it’s Important to Make Your Website Look Great on Tablets and Phones!

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Many Internet marketers make the mistake of thinking that once their website is up and running, their biggest job is finished. Actually, it’s just beginning. To understand why, answer this question: How do you usually access the Internet?

If you are like most people these days, you answered, “Through my smart phone” or “From my tablet.” Because of near universal WiFi and the affordability of mobile access devices, most web users today are accessing their favorite sites and pages from their portable mobile devices rather than their laptops or desktop computers.

That means that the website you have just finished creating is essentially obsolete – at least if it’s not mobile optimized.

Critical Content Presented Concisely

Unlike PC users, mobile users don’t want to download your entire web page. It’s too much information, both for the user and for the devices themselves. Instead, they are looking for key information that they can access quickly, without having to click around to a lot of different pages.

Have you ever tried to click on a button on a smart phone? It’s difficult, if not downright impossible!

That means your website needs to have a simpler, streamlined version that mobile users can be diverted to. In other words, your content needs to be mobile-optimized.

People Are Attached to Their Mobile Devices … Literally!

Today, most people won’t leave home without their smart phone and they are using their mobile devices way more than they are using PCs and laptops – especially when it comes to searching for the products and services they want while on the go.

If your business has only a regular website, you are essentially shutting the door on the majority of customers using the Internet today.

Because mobile devices have small screens, run slower than PCs, and have teensy-tiny keypads, the mobile version of your web page needs to account for these disadvantages. Mobile optimized pages have to be easy to read, provide critical content up top and be easy to navigate without the use of the keyboard.

Advantages of Mobile Optimization

When your content is mobile optimized, you not only have access to a much larger pool of prospective customers, but you also have improved tracking thanks to built-in technologies of most mobile web page generating software.

Getting the information you need to understand how page visitors behave once they reach your mobile-optimized web pages can help you make improvements to make your pages even more effective and give you the results you want.

Email Marketing Etiquette to Get Your Mails Delivered and Read

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Email marketing can be a very effective way of bringing new customers into your sales funnel. But due to the widespread use of viruses and malware, most people are cautious about opening an email that comes from a source they don’t recognize, that is strangely written, or appears to have come from a non-English speaker.
You can reassure your prospective customers that the emails you send are safe and reliable by following a few simple email marketing etiquette rules:

1. Don’t Sensationalize the Headline

The default setting for Yahoo, AOL, Gmail, and the other popular email providers is to show who the sender is and the headline. In some instances, the first few words of the email text itself will appear on the user’s email queue.

That makes the headline the first important element of your email. If it is overly exaggerated, makes extraordinary claims, or is otherwise sensational, there’s a better chance that the email will either be sent directly to the “Spam” folder or deleted by the user without being read.

The objective is to get the reader to open the email, so your headline has to give them a reason to do so. You want to capture their imagination and engage their interest, but not go over the top. Avoid using exclamation points – especially multiple exclamation points – as well as ALL CAPS and crazy colors because this will most likely tag your email as spam.

2. Use the Person’s Name, If Known

The greeting is the first thing the reader will see when they open your email. If you know the user’s name (because you either know them personally, they are already on your list, or their name was included on an email list you have purchased) use your autoresponder to insert their first name in the greeting, such as “Dear Paul” or “Dear Sandra.”

Email tends to be less formal than traditional letter-writing, so in most cases using the person’s first name is perfectly acceptable. Using the person’s last name can often seem off-putting, such as “Dear Mr. Stewart” or “Dear Ms. Simpson.” Exceptions would include formal titles such as “Doctor,” “Professor,” or a military title.

3. Get to the Point

Because emails are less formalized than traditional letter-writing, and because people get so many emails every day, the person receiving your email probably isn’t going to give it much attention. That’s why it is critically important that you get to the point of your email right away, starting with the very first sentence.

In email writing, you have to give the reader a reason to keep reading. Don’t waste time by beating around the bush or trying to build up to your point slowly. You have only a few moments to maintain the reader’s attention, so make the most of it.

4. Signing Off

Another difference between traditional letter writing and emails is the sign-off. You don’t have to include a formal “Sincerely” or “Gratefully yours.”

Simply ending with your name is perfectly acceptable. Or, if you prefer, you can use an informal phrase such as “Chat with you soon” or “Cheers.”

Following these general email etiquette protocols will increase the chances that the person receiving your email will open it and read it. Make sure the content of your email pushes the person to the action that you want them to perform, such as clicking on a link included in the body of your email.

Hello and Welcome!

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Well this is my very first post on this blog. I will try to post valuable information mostly about internet marketing and online business.

My best

//Roger