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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

20 Twitter Tips

Do you own a small business? Are you having a hard time understanding Twitter?

As a small business owner and social media user going on two years now, I can honestly say that initially I did not really see the point or power of Twitter at all.

However, after sticking it out passed the learning curve, picking up a couple of followers, and following really intelligent people, thanks to Twitter, I get to make connections and learn something new every day. In fact, at this point I feel like Twitter is a tool that all small business owners should use as part of their overall efforts to build a distributed social media footprint.

Nevertheless, if you are like many in the small business community who have tried Twitter without success, then you might be fond of saying, “I just don’t get it.”
For numerous small business owners (including myself at one point in time) who are new to Twitter, and social media in general, there appears to be a common misconception that as soon as you sign up customers are going to fall from the sky in droves and you will immediately be inundated with more business than you can handle.

Small Business Twitter Frustration
Amongst the business people that I discuss Twitter with there appear to be two types of discouraged small venture owners who give up on Twitter at rapid rate.

Frustrated business owner number one feels like Twitter is analogous to entering a large cocktail party or hotel lobby where she doesn’t know a single soul. Yet, conversations are happening all around her and rather than trying to ease into the discussion, she gives up without talking to anybody because the sheer numbers are overwhelming.

Disgruntled Twitter quitter number two
is the complete opposite of number one. He will get on Twitter, see all of the conversations going on, and assume it is the customer “candy store.” This leads to the sending out of many spammy messages, which spew forth details about his great products and prices. He will typically stop using Twitter when to his surprise nobody follows him back and he doesn’t receive one @ reply.

Twitter Tips to Help Small Business Owners
Recently, a friend asked me to help him with that “Twitter thing” because he wants more customers for his niche jewelry business.

After our very long discussion and Twitter run through, I thought that perhaps there might be other business owners out there who are beginners on Twitter and could use some help. Here are the 20 tips that I passed on to my friend:

1.Twitter is first and foremost a place to connect, learn, and listen.

2.Define your goals if you have any (e.g. business promotion, socializing, etc).

3.If you’re confused about where to begin on Twitter, but are interested in learning, take a look at the previously done Twitip post that highlights key people for beginners to follow.

4.Twitter allows you to interact with individuals who you might not normally come into contact with. If you want to interact with a celebrity or a person with a huge following then send a simple @ message or comment on something they are doing. If you get a response you can then take it from there.

5.Don’t be offended if folks don’t follow you back. It’s not personal. (Even if it is, it doesn’t really matter.)

6.Use a photo of yourself or your business logo in you profile.

7.If you’re interested in connecting with someone you might want to try ReTweeting some of their messages before you introduce yourself.

8.It’s probably going to take a good 3 to 6 months to get a following.

9.Find out who the influencers are in your industry and see if they are on Twitter. If they are, follow them.

10.Always follow Jeff Pulver’s rule of giving 95% of the time and asking only 5% of the time.

11.Utilize a Twitter photo-sharing site like TwitPic or Yfrog to share cool photos from your typical business day, or while plying your craft, so that people get to know you. It helps to build social trust.

12.Use Twitter Search with keywords to find information and conversations that are relevant to your business. It’s also a good way to find out if anyone is talking about you or your company.

13.If you are not part of a particular conversation that concerns your area of business, but you would like to participate, approach with caution.

14.If you are sending DM’s to your followers with something related to your business, make sure to use your social capital wisely. Overwhelming folks with DM’s can result in a rapid loss of followers

15.Don’t Tweet anything that you would not want to see on the front page of a newspaper or wildly famous website.

16.Do interact and connect and don’t hesitate to @ message folks who have 10x or 100x the number of followers you have.

17.Employ sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, and Reddit to find, and share amongst your followers, interesting stories from your particular area of business.

18.Create connections don’t spam. You most likely would not just walk into a crowded venue where you don’t know anyone and say, “Hi my name is Bob and I replace window screens and have great prices.” This method does not work very well on Twitter. (Should be a given but you still see it every day!)

19.Twitter is only one area online where you can begin to build a distributed social media footprint for your business. Do NOT rely solely on Twitter as your social media business promotion tool.

20.It takes a long time to build up a following and develop trust, but it only takes one Tweet to alienate every one of your followers.

To be sure, on a daily basis we are all trying to figure how best to utilize Twitter effectively as a small business tool. Certainly, this is not a be all end all list, so your thoughts and input on how small business can better tap into Twitter are appreciated.

Greensboro Online Marketing

Monday, August 10, 2009

5 Internet Marketing Mistakes

5 Internet Marketing Mistakes That Cripple Profits
by Janet Attard

How successful are your online pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns? What about your email marketing efforts? Are you getting traffic to your website, but not getting as many new orders as you had hoped for? If so, you could be making one of these common mistakes.

Your ads and your website don't speak the customer's language. Are you selling pocketbooks when your customers want to buy handbags? The term you and others in your company use to describe your product or service may not be the term customers use. To find out which search terms are most popular, use one of the many keyword search tools available such as Google's external keyword tool, Wordtracker, or Spyfu. Once you know what keywords your customers use, be sure to incorporate them into your ads, your title tags and the text on your web pages.

Your online ads send customers to your homepage, not specific products. Customers who shop on the web usually aren't looking for one-stop-shopping for a wide range of products. At least not initially. When they search the web, they usually search for something very specific, such as "antique brass faucets." If you send that customer to a home page depicting 50 different styles of faucets and the antique brass faucets don't happen to be at the top of the page, they'll hit the back button and go to another site. Make your PPC money go further by sending searchers to a page that exactly matches what they searched for. You'll see your advertising conversion rates–and your profits improve.

Your phone number isn't easily visible on your web pages. Yes, you want people to serve themselves by making their purchases online without any assistance from you or your staff. But if you don't make it easy for customers to find your phone number and call in their orders, you're losing money! Depending on what you sell and to whom, you could be losing one-third of your sales or more if customers can't easily find your phone number and get a live person on the phone.

You don't have a lead capture tool on your product pages. Not every visitor to your website is ready to make a purchase today. If you don't capture their contact information and stay in touch with them, they may forget about you by the time they are ready to make the buying decision. Be sure you have a mailing list signup or other way to capture contact information on every page on your website. Remember, the web visitor who found the page to order fluffy slippers may never see your home page.

You're selling one product to one customer at a time. The most expensive sale you'll ever make is the first sale to a new customer. The cost of your ads to get a new customer - combined with your cost of goods and other expenses -- can eat up most or all of your profit on that first sale. The real profit – as experienced online marketers and mail order marketers know –comes from getting that new customer to buy additional products at the time of sale and/or in the future. If you don't have additional products to sell yourself, consider selling products produced by other companies. You can either become a reseller or sign up as an affiliate for many types of goods and services.

Copyright 2009 Attard Communications, Inc.

About the author
Janet Attard is the founder of the award-winning Business Know-How small business web site and information resource.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

SEO or Not ?

Main advantages of SEO.

Research shows that some researchers never click on the sponsored listings and others don't realize that these links are paid for. Approximately 80% of clicks are on natural listings and 20% on paid listings.

A principal benefit of SEO is its cost-effectiveness as there is no payment to the search engine for being placed within it. This is very important for the 'search head', high volume low intent searches which are expensive in paid search.

The cost of SEO is relatively fixed, independent of click volume. After initial optimization costs, the cost per click reduces whilst paid search is essentially a variable cost.

Thus there are no media costs although resources are necessary for analysis of key phrases and to complete optimization on the website pages.

Together with paid-search it offers a very targeted audience, visitors referred by SEO will only visit your site if they are seeking specific information on your products or related content.

Disadvantages of SEO.

The major challenge of SEO is that there are billions of pages in the search engine indexes and your position in the SERPS is dependent on a constantly changing algorithm which is not published. Therefore, making your pages visible can require specialist knowledge, constant monitoring and the the ability to respond.

Consequently, the biggest disadvantage of SEO is lack of control. You are at the mercy of the algorithm.

There are other possible issues. Sometimes competitors or affiliates may use less ethical black hat techniques, thereby putting you at a big disadvantage.

Also, in very competitive sectors, it can be hard to get listed in the top few results for competitive phrases and this is when expensive pay-per-click may have to be used.

Because of this lack of visibility it can be hard to make a sound business case for SEO, although it is strikingly obvious of the benefits to most companies of the number one position on Google.

It is quite impossible to predict positions and click volumes from SEO, because future changes to the algorithm are unknown. Likewise you cannot monitor or predict competitor activity.

So, for a given investment it is impossible to predict the level of return for your dollar, pound or euro or to estimate the likely return compared to paid-search or other, more traditional methods of advertising, where more accurate estimates are possible.

This is not to say that estimates of long-term returns from SEO cannot be made. Always bear in mind that SEO is a long-term strategy and that a long-term cost/benefit analysis is needed.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Web Marketing

The web is quickly becoming the primary "yellow pages" for all consumer and business-to-business product and service needs. In this new age of marketing your internet presence must leverage the power of the web or you may be quickly overtaken if not eliminated by your competition.

By tuning the selling propositions, copywriting, marketing strategies, and web tactics such as SEO, social marketing, and list building strategies we help brick and mortar businesses improve the effectiveness and visibility of their businesses thus increasing revenues.

The time is now to become an early-adopter of these new web marketing strategies. As small businesses realize the power and necessity of employing these tactics there will soon be an explosion of brick and mortar businesses employing them.

In the very near future late-adopters my find it necessary to overcome significant hurdles to be competitive with there early-adopter counterparts. It will become more and more difficult to get search engine visibility and compete with early-adopters that have built large prospect and customer lists and numerous links to their sites.

You must act NOW if you don’t want to risk being left behind. By moving quickly you have the opportunity to get a huge jump on your competition and dominate your marketplace.

To learn more contact me, and don’t wait, do it NOW.



Visit Internet Marketing Plans for more information.