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On Track Tips | Small Business | Marketing | Branding | Social Media | SEO
40 minutes | Feb 3, 2015
Which is the Best Comment System for your Blog – Mark Traphagen
We did something completely different on this episode of Get on Track, Stay on Track. Instead of a single expert, I invited THREE esteemed and experienced digital marketing professionals, each with their unique area of expertise. > Mark Traphagen is the Senior Director of Online Marketing for Stone Temple Consulting, and THE go-to guy on all-things concerning SEO. > David Amerland is the best-selling author of seven books, most notably Google Semantic Search. > Donart Nummer – one of my closest friends – specializes in advertising and re-targeting. Q.1 What is the value of comments at all? Do bloggers even need a comment system? David Amerland kicked off the conversation by stating that several bloggers asked the same questions. Since social media offers many ways to interact with an audience, they wondered whether it was even worth it to ‘split a conversation’ using commenting systems. But he noted the following advantages of enabling comments: Comments can convince visitors that the page is active and interesting Comments can help increase the scope and breadth of the blog Comments add additional space for keywords and can help with search (SEO) Comments can help people find you However, David made it clear that the final decision rests with the blogger. Paraphrasing him, if you have the energy, willingness, time and quality of writing to create a conversational environment, a comment system will definitely help. But if you have a lot more traction on social media platforms than on your blog, perhaps it is okay NOT to have a comment system. Add-in comment systems include more functionality and utility that than a default system. Click To Tweet According to Mark Traphagen, while some blogs have their own ‘native’ comment system, others can be ‘added in’. Add-in comment systems include more functionality and utility that than a default system. Like David, Mark mentioned that having a comment system depends on the needs and requirements of the blogger. A comment system enables comments to become social and widespread, while also keeping track of discussions. In addition, an add-in system might give the moderator more levels of control Finally, Donart Nummer noted that a comment system that offers the best value in terms of semantic search, authorship and credibility as a blogger is imperative today. A native system might not be enough to provide that wonderful ‘SERP JUICE’ to rank high in searches. Moving on, I identified three ways of looking at comment systems: using it for SEO value, social signal value and semantic value. David agreed that ‘semantic search’ is almost like a bridge between SEO and social signals A comment system enables comments to become social and widespread.Click To Tweet Q.2 What are the advantages and disadvantages of the most popular commenting systems? Comment System 1: Google Plus This is a Java Script based comment system that is embedded into your blog, although the comments live IN Google Plus. David clarified that comments do get served from the blog, thereby “seamlessly fusing the website and Google Plus into one conversation”. I cited the Confluent Forms blog by David Kutcher as an example of the superior level of engagement possible due to this integration. Donart added that utilizing a Google Plus commenting system may help by sending social signals back to Google. This might have a positive impact on your SERP rankings since Google is now focused on redefining search based on semantic and/or social signaling. Mark, however, issued a warning that Google has only released this comment system as a native integration for its own Blogger platform. If you see a Google+ system on any other platform it is kind of a ‘hack,’ designed to pull comments from Google Plus into someone’s blog. To stay current on Google+ Comments, always refer to Google’s official page: G+ Comments FAQs One of the major drawbacks of Google Plus’s commenting system is that, until Google releases a native version, you do not have much control. Following are some downsides of this system: You will not receive any notification of new comments, which forces bloggers to manually go through the comments and respond. Your blog might be riddled with comment spam. Not everyone would WANT a G+ system because of a negative perception towards Google, in general. Bloggers might not want to be forced to incorporate something against their will. But David asserted that no comment system is perfect, and bloggers have to choose an appropriate one based on what is important to them and the purpose of their blog. Mark expects Google to release an all-encompassing system soon since this would give the biggest search engine company access to everyone’s data by tying into thousands of people’s blogs Comment System 2: Facebook The primary advantage of a Facebook comment system is its low barrier to entry. Almost every commenting system requires some kind of login or entry system. Since most people already have a FB login, this familiarity is a huge asset. The primary advantage of a Facebook comment system is its low barrier to entry.Click To Tweet BUT, our guests unanimously agreed that a Facebook system doesn’t offer any search benefits YET. According to David, tests, which were carried to study the search signals out of the world’s biggest social media platform, indicate that Google – either intentionally or because of FB’s opaque system – largely disregards them. That being said, you cannot discard FB completely because, again, a commenting system should satisfy YOUR needs. If you have a large FB audience or crowd, this commenting system makes sense. In David’s words, “There is NO prescription here. Each case is largely unique depending on your approach, style and audience” Another disadvantage of this commenting system is that your comments on a blog will be displayed on your Facebook stream. Although you can disable these settings, most people forget to take this step, and hence are hesitant to send out ‘signals (to a crowd) that they might not want to send’ Overall, if your real goal is to send social interaction and engagement back to your social network, then Google Plus and Facebook are good choices. Internet marketers, people who are already entrenched in either of these two networks and/or know how to leverage Google Ads generally use these networks. Each case is largely unique depending on your approach, style and audienceClick To Tweet Q3. Is there any specific SEO value by having comments on your stream and – in particular – do you get any SEO value from FB and Google+ commenting systems? Mark explained that a brand new patent from Google talks about social signals in various ways, in which, the word ‘Like’ has been mentioned for the first time. Past studies from one of Mark’s colleagues and another Digital Marketing expert, Eric Enge, confirm that LIKES from FB have almost NO EFFECT on Google’s search rankings. While studies show very high correlations between LIKES and SERP rankings, correlations are NOT causations. This, however, does not imply that Facebook Likes will never affect Google rankings. According to Mark, Google has made it clear that they look at the long-term effects of social signals. In other words, post-by-post signals don’t matter as much as consistently high quality content and positive social signals. So a site that receives a lot of Likes over a long period of time signals to Google that ‘you are trusted and engaging.’ This way, LIKES might have an indirect effect on rankings, but no direct correlations exist, as of now. Studies show very high correlations (but no causation) between LIKES and SERP rankings.Click To Tweet Commenting System 3: Disqus System The Disqus comment system allows links to other blogs, which can be controlled. You could either link back to your own blog or even help fellow ‘disqus’ers by sharing their links. Mark cautioned that since Google is devaluing ‘blogrolls’ or sites with listed links, this isn’t necessarily an advantage! Donart agreed and restated that Google is moving in a ‘semantic’ search oriented direction, meaning that, today, social signals are far more important than random link listings. David rounded off this discussion by emphasizing that removing any temptation to game the system is ALWAYS good. Q.4: What is the favorite comment system of each of our three experts? Mark chose Disqus because he was familiar with it, and the notifications functionality helped him keep track of his conversations. Donart seemed very confident that it would be advisable to go in the G+ direction. David concurred with Donart, stating that while he used to have Disqus, he has now implemented the G+ system because it saves him time. Most importantly, he has seen interaction and engagement go up after making this transition. All of them made it clear that these were just personal preferences, not recommendations. Removing any temptation to game the system is ALWAYS good.Click To Tweet Q.5 Are accordion-style comment systems that support multiple platforms, such as the popular Comments Evolve WP Plugin,a good idea? None of the experts seemed enthusiastic about such a multiple-platform commenting system. David stated that mixed environments can act as psychological barriers by easily confusing those who are ‘familiar with a single environment.’ While multiple commenting systems sound good in principle, it might take some ‘getting used to.’ Donart and Mark echoed David by adding it is not a good idea to have ‘virality’ broken into multiple commenting systems, for this will cause confusion. David Amerland’s Three Criteria for Choosing a Commenting System (Pulled from the Comments) In order of importance: Is it good for generating engagement? Is it easy to implement? Is it a big obstacle for your target audience? Boy, wouldn’t it be fun to talk to these guys forever?! Unfortunately, our 30-minutes were ending and we moved on to the Lightning Round. New engagement can help the original blog post resurface in search.Click To Tweet Lightning Round: Does having more comments necessarily equal better SEO value? DA: YES Do they have to be quality comments? DA: YES Follow or NO Follow all comments in your blog when using native WP? MT: Depends on how you want to manage your blog. Lots of blog owners are defaulting to No Follow, meaning Google doesn’t pass on authority or page rank. What if I engage in keyword-stuffing strategy in comments? DA: Your comments will most likely get deleted People are very SEO-savvy and will reverse engineer your strategy to negate your engagement levels. If the owner engages in such ‘spam traffic’ and devalues the engagement of comments on your blog, people will be unlikely to come back Will adding new comments do anything for refreshing your SERP ranking? MT: Not very sure, but if Google can treat the comments like part of the content on that page, they could refresh your indexing. DA: Yes, blog posts are coming back into vogue because people are starting new conversations in the comments. Such ‘new’ engagement can help the original blog post resurface in search, which is a valid strategy in terms of engagement and SEO. This is another reason to re-share evergreen content! Utilizing a G+ commenting system may help by sending social signals back to Google.Click To Tweet The post Which is the Best Comment System for your Blog – Mark Traphagen appeared first on On Track Tips - Get on Track, Stay on Track | one expert at a time.
31 minutes | Jan 31, 2015
Pin all the Things – Pinterest Marketing with Cynthia Sanchez
This week’s On Track Tips HOA (Hangouts On Air) guest is Cynthia Sanchez, from Oh So Pinteresting. Here’s our discussion about how a small business can profit from Pinterest. Should I Use Pinterest Marketing? On Track Tips: I want to start by addressing the critics because there are some who are rather critical of Pinterest as a marketing channel. They say Pinterest has a very limited appeal. Moreover, some Pinterest users resent the influence from marketers. One user said, Pinterest is for visual imagery – crafts, clothing, and design ideas. The marketing community is ruining this network with pins about “The top 10 things [about this and that].” I wish they would leave and go back to Twitter and Facebook. So Cynthia, tell us, what do you advise a business owner who is launching an internet product or whose business is built around social and content marketing? Cynthia Sanchez: I would definitely say there’s a place for them on Pinterest. The idea that Pinterest is just for topics like crafts and fashion is a big, big mistake. Pinterest is about people using it for their interests – if you have a business, hopefully it is a business somebody is interested in … something somebody wants to buy. We need to think about Pinterest in a different way, to get out of the fog, and think about how to position content in a way that will be appealing visually to Pinterest users. For some business types (accountants, for instance) that can be difficult, so you need to get creative. How can I be more Social on Pinterest? On Track Tips: The general consensus is that Pinterest has the least social layer of all the social networks, in terms of discussions and engagement. Well at least until recently with the inclusion of messaging. Even still, it’s not really a place to have discussions. It’s more of a post-and-run network. Beyond pinning other’s Pins and following Boards, how can we hope to get more social with Pinterest? Or should this even be the goal? Cynthia Sanchez: Getting social should not be your main objective. That is not the way Pinterest was established. You can try to force it into something else, if you want … but don’t be disappointed when you don’t get the results you seek. And yes, they have added messaging, and that can be one way to make it more social or you can also use Pin comments. But the network was designed to be a bookmarking platform first and foremost. Pinterest is about people using it for their interests – if you have a business, hopefully it is a business somebody is interested inClick To Tweet Why is Pinterest consistently the top referrer of the Social Networks? On Track Tips: Dustin Stout recently wrote, “I’m shocked, Pinterest is now my leading referrer!” This really surprised me because Dustin built his name on Google+, and that’s where his audience is. I have a theory about why this happened and I want to know if you agree with me, Cynthia. When you create a G+ post to share a blog article for example, you format the post, add a little commentary about the article you’re sharing, maybe ask a question, then throw in the link and some hashtags. Then the conversation starts to happen … but many times people say they never read the linked-to post. The are commenting on your post rather than the original article. On Pinterest, because the social layer doesn’t exist, you really have to click the button and go to the article, and have your discussion there in the blog comments. What do you think, is Pinterest – by nature – a stronger referrer? I like something you wrote: “Unlike networks such as Facebook and Twitter that are intended to connect people with other people, Pinterest is designed to connect people with the things that they are interested in online.” Cynthia Sanchez: I think that’s a great theory. With Pinterest you have to click through. And, as people share and re-share, the impact grows exponentially. Many business owners don’t even realize people are out there sharing about their companies on Pinterest. How do I Break out of the SoMe Echo Chamber? On Track Tips: Pinterest helps you break out of the echo chamber. Many users on Google+ spend most of their time in specifically curated circles. Only those people who have you in a tight circle are likely to see your post and respond. But the way Pinterest is designed, specifically with “Related Pins”, it is really easy to be found by people outside your usual group, community, or bubble. What are some things a small business owner should consider? Cynthia Sanchez: The Related Pin feature (you can turn it off, if you want) keeps track of where you go and what you Pin. It then presents related content suggestions, based on your actions. You tweak what is presented by voting thumbs up or down on those suggestions. As a business owner your hope is to get your posts to appear as related pins. So consider this when you are creating your boards. Pinterest search is another excellent tool, probably one of the best. It allows users to access your content over and over again. Pinterest has greater longevity than any other network. Related Pins and Pinterest Search help you break out of the echo chamber like no where else in Social MediaClick To Tweet What about hiring a VA or someone to manage your boards? On Track Tips: Many small business owners don’t have time to manage their own social media, how easy is it to have a VA (virtual assistant) manage your Pin Board, yet still maintain the voice of your brand? Cynthia Sanchez: Of course your VA will need some training on identifying the business voice and how to use Pinterest, but mishaps don’t happen as often on Pinterest as on other social networks. The reason is that there are not long-threaded discussions where the VA needs to be able to represent the brand in conversations like on Google+ or Facebook. They can more easily post according to your brand guidelines, and leave the communication part to the business owner. Moreover, the response time expectation is longer and more forgiving on Pinterest than elsewhere, so if you don’t get back to your comments right away, it is not the end of the world. Profile your audience with Pinterest. Who does your brand resonate with? On Track Tips: What are some ways that I can use Pinterest to profile my audience? How can I find out who is following and engaging with me there? Cynthia Sanchez: There are a number of ways. Look at your Follower number and click on it. That will show you everyone who is following you. Go look at their Boards to see what they are pinning. That will show you what your followers are interested in. You may find related topics of interest to them, or you may notice that certain types of Pins get numerous shares by them. You can get ideas for your next post – or maybe even your next product – by observing what piques the interest of your followers. You should definitely use Pinterest for research. What's the difference between a Pinterest personal and a business page?Click To Tweet What’s the difference between Personal and Business Pages? On Track Tips: What do I need to know about the difference between a personal account and a business account? Cynthia Sanchez: Pinterest policy mandates you must declare your account as “Business,” if you are using Pinterest for business purposes. You can even get your account suspended for not doing so. To convert a personal account to business, just go to business.pinterest.com and use the “Convert now” link. Once you complete the process, you will have access to analytics. You will also be able to participate in Promoted Pins (advertising on Pinterest). Otherwise, everything stays the same. You keep all your followers. To tell which account you have, just look at your profile name. Rich Pins, and why you need them! On Track Tips: What are some things I need to know about Rich Pins? Cynthia Sanchez: There are several kinds of Rich Pins. Article Pins, for instance, are a huge help for SEO value. Product Pins give you the advantage of having a sort of indirect email connection to people. If someone Pins your product and it goes on sale, they get an email notification. This is an extremely powerful tool for marketing especially for the Etsy types. Rich Pins allow you to share additional information, but you must go through an approval process to use them. There are plugins that can help if you are using WordPress and Shopify sites already have them built in. It takes a little extra work to set them up, but once it’s done, you never have to edit them. And the payoff never expires. Why would I Pin all the things? w/ Cynthia Sanchez @OSPInteresting & @OnTrackTips http://t.co/0rQdnVTkib pic.twitter.com/kgxSn5UmXG — Jason T. Wiser (@OnTrackTips) September 30, 2014 Firehose session On Track Tips: Are there third-party apps that can help with Pinterest? (personally we recommend Social Warfare Plugin). Cynthia Sanchez: Pinterest has been very guarded with their API (Application Programming Interface). There are a few select apps, but primarily for analytics and enterprise-level pursuits. On Track Tips: How can I arrange my Pin Boards? People generally click on the top list item first, so is there a way to sort my pins to bring an article back up to the top? Cynthia Sanchez: Yes. Just click and drag to move Boards, but you cannot arrange Pins inside the Board. Audience question: I’m not a visual person, I don’t have very good looking blog banners, and I can’t afford a graphic designer at this time. Should I even bother with Pinterest? Cynthia Sanchez: Use Canva.com. It makes it easy and inexpensive. Audience question: What is the perfect image size for Pins? Cynthia Sanchez: There is no perfect size. They just need to be big enough to show the detail of what you are promoting – and remember, things look differently on mobile. About Cynthia Sanchez: She began using Pinterest in 2011, and a year later she left her full-time profession as a radiation oncology nurse to focus on building Oh So Pinteresting and her business. Today, Cynthia is a leading authority on how to use Pinterest for business. She is a popular presenter at all the most popular social media conferences and summits, including Social Media Marketing World, Podcast Movement, and New Media Expo. The post Pin all the Things – Pinterest Marketing with Cynthia Sanchez appeared first on On Track Tips - Get on Track, Stay on Track | one expert at a time.
33 minutes | Jan 27, 2015
Instagram Strategies for Small Business Marketing – Sue B. Zimmerman
Take a photo. Upload it to Instagram. Then share your prize shot via Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr. It’s that simple. And – according to On Track Tips guest, Sue B. Zimmerman – it can also be a whole lot of (rewarding) fun! If you are in business and you have a pulse, you need to be on Instagram.Click To Tweet Sue B. Zimmerman (aka the #InstagramGal and the #InstagramExpert) is an authority on Instagram for business. Sue joined us in the On Track Tips studio to help get us up to speed on her favorite topic. Says Sue, “If you are in business and you have a pulse, you need to be on Instagram.” What Instagram IS NOT It’s not a replacement for Facebook (but it can be an excellent companion). It’s not a place for spammers, and it’s not difficult to get the hang of. Instagram people tend to be fun-loving and creative. They are visually inspired and can be extremely loyal. It takes a little more effort (because of the mobile-centered aspect) to respond to someone on Instagram – so those who do find and follow you are more likely to be there because your page persona resonates with them. Instagram is not a replacement for Facebook (but it can be an excellent companion) ...Click To Tweet By sharing to multiple platforms, you can bring people together from numerous sources. (Sue has six different Instagram accounts.) Instagram offers 20 filters and hundreds of different apps to make your posts stand out. Getting started with Instagram The first step is to define your market niche. What are you an expert at, and how are you different from everyone else who is doing that? Share your story in a compelling way, and provide value on every single post. Tips for Instagram success Optimize your bio … it is the first thing people see. Make sure it attracts your ideal follower. Use a photo of yourself on your bio (unless you are a brand). You have 150 characters to use in your description. Use them well. Use emojis to creatively and strategically help get your message across. Change up the URL in your bio to drive traffic wherever you choose. What are you an expert at, and how are you different from everyone else who is doing that?Click To Tweet Using hashtags with Instagram Hashtags are big on Instagram. You can use up to 30 on each post, but 8 to 11 is ideal. Make a list of your top 30 keywords (some uniquely you) and use them often. You can curate content with your hashtags. Sue says it is thrilling to see people are creating content within your branded content. Once you’ve chosen your niche and built your community, you can draw other with similar interests by the judicious use of hashtags. Moreover, you can always change your hashtags on a post whenever you would like. You can curate content with your hashtags on Instagram ...Click To Tweet Wrapping it up Everyone, no matter the topic can have fun and attract followers on Instagram. By communicating with those you meet and providing value to them, you can quickly build your own community. One thing to remember, though: You can’t be everywhere at once. Choose the social media platforms that best suit your business goals and dig in. Sue B. Zimmerman is living proof that social media can absolutely be worth the investment. Not only has Sue been the keynote speaker at some of the top social media conferences, she also teaches entrepreneurs, business execs, and marketing professionals how powerful Instagram for business can be. Sue is author of both the online Instagram course, Insta-Results, and the the #1 selling eBook: Instagram Basics for your Business. Sue has found Instagram to be the PERFECT tool to promote, not just her product line, but also for marketing her online services. That’s what really sets Sue apart. She’s not just selling concepts and ideas; she’s using Instagram strategies to prove results in her own small business. Sue B. Zimmerman KNOWS what she’s talking about. The post Instagram Strategies for Small Business Marketing – Sue B. Zimmerman appeared first on On Track Tips - Get on Track, Stay on Track | one expert at a time.
33 minutes | Jan 24, 2015
Launch Your First Internet Product Using Video – James Wedmore
“James Wedmore is a video marketing rockstar, superstar, guru, expert extraordinaire, YouTube genius.” That’s my homespun bio for the creator of Video Traffic Academy and a bevy of other products online. Wedmore’s official bio comes across as a bit more humble, but it shores up my claims. A graduate of one of the best film schools anywhere — Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts – Wedmore’s simple, but powerful, mission is to show business owners how to create and execute effective video marketing campaigns without spending a lot of time or money. He is often featured on big name websites, speaks at popular venues, and is a sought-after guest instructor. His YouTube Channel currently boasts over two million views. From Bartender to Online Marketer: The James Wedmore Story James Wedmore is the real deal. He knows his stuff and didn’t hold back on sharing his experience during this On Track Tips interview. The episode was sponsored by Repurpose.pro – your solution for efficient and effective content creation. Near the end of November 2007, James Wedmore was working as a bartender for wages and tips, when he made a bet with his father: “I can make more money teaching people to tend bar than I can by actually tending bar.” After that boast, his girlfriend split, he had to move back in with his parents, and he became very familiar with Subway’s sandwich offerings. It took six months of prep work, but he launched his first product and made his first sale on April 18, 2008. James Wedmore hasn’t stopped to look back since. Secrets to Outsourcing and Online Marketing Success Others wanted to know how he did it, so he launched another product to show them his techniques. That one generated over $400,000 in sales and kicked off a string of successful ventures. He won’t settle for mediocre work. For James Wedmore, good enough just isn’t good enough. Everything you do is going to have some sort of problem attached to it. Click To Tweet Here’s how the interview went: Q: Is “Sell it before you make it” a good strategy? A: As long as you have a good outline in place, then it is fine to conduct a live workshop that grows as you go. It’s like working with a personal trainer instead of reading a book. Your strategy can be to record the training, and then sell that on autopilot as a separate product. Q: Talk about some of the lessons you have learned along the way. A: A million little moments: I learned Dreamweaver in order to build my own websites – then I found out about WordPress. I learned Photoshop to create a simple digital product image (a bit of an overkill). Finally, I heard about outsourcing, hired a virtual assistant (VA) for peanuts, and grew from there. Everything you do is going to have some sort of problem attached to it. Remove yourself from the conveyor belt (process) to become the CEO and the visionary. The biggest catapulting difference for me was outsourcing. I even created a course about how to do it. Outsourcing saves time. It allows me to gain instant know-how and speed up the process. (See the On Track Tips interview of Rebecca Radice for more tips on outsourcing) The biggest catapulting difference for me was outsourcing.Click To Tweet Q: What can you outsource? A: Take time to draw process maps. Document the steps your work requires. That will allow anyone to follow your tracks. You can outsource anything you can draw out. It takes time to make process maps, but you will save time in the long run. Your goal is to make it easy for others to do the pieces of what you do. That allows you to step back, look at the big picture, and provide oversight. Q: How can one outsource more effectively? A: Write down everything you are doing, especially those tasks you don’t enjoy doing. Then take these steps: Go to onlinejobs.ph to find Filipino VA’s for cheap Start with a trial week and not many hours Beware of those who say they can do anything Look for hard work and the ability to hit deadlines Skills can be taught; seek character You can outsource anything you can draw out.Click To Tweet The Value of Listbuilding to Successful Product Launches Q: How can one take a small business further? What are the basics? Listbuilding is a primary essential. You must have a solid strategy to gather basic data on potential customers. You need people to sell to. Everything comes down to the sales funnel and a process or experience you take people through. Having a free guide or report is not a listbuilding strategy. The components of listbuilding are: A traffic source to direct visitors where you want them to go A squeeze page or landing page to collect their information A means of delivering whatever you have promised them. All I use YouTube for is building my list. Much of what I do begins and ends with listbuilding. The 2011 launch was accomplished via a very small list. To get traffic, I leveraged joint venture partners (JV’s) heavily – but leads were collected before responders went to the sales funnel. In that way, I was able to start growing a sizable mailing list. Having a free guide or report is not a listbuilding strategy.Click To Tweet Q: What is the best social media for internet marketing? Why aren’t you using HOA’s? A: Facebook advertising is my favorite. I suck at social media. Facebook advertising is a pay-to-play situation; I have given up on a fan page. My direction is towards quality productions. Google Hangouts are limited. I would rather do creative work than live work. I am not really a fan of talking heads WOMM and YouTube Ninja Tricks Q: What about word of mouth marketing … the referral engine? A: Real word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) is the most powerful means of getting referrals – but only when it has no agenda behind it. The way THAT happens is to be extraordinary. That is your strategy. That is why I am called a perfectionist. You get WOMM according to your level of execution, experience, and value. It is all about providing quality. WOMM is no accident. It is the result of hard, diligent work. Real word-of-mouth marketing is the most powerful means of getting referrals.Click To Tweet Q) Is there a central place to buy your products? How can one find them? A) I am intentionally not in-your-face. I don’t put “Buy NOW” buttons all over my blog. It is more important for me to build a relationship first. I discover what you want before I offer you something. Then, I hone in on helping you succeed. Q) What are three quick YouTube ninja tricks? A) You bet … here they are: Every single video you put on YouTube needs to be associated with just 1-2 keywords (the search terms people are looking for). Use these keywords in the title, description, and tags. 60% of searches are keyword-related. Use “How to” in front of your keywords to quadruple your traffic. Develop a channel with authority to outrank others. Get more subscribers, backlink to your YouTube channel from your blog and other sites. You want to get visitors, comments, and views … as many as you can. YouTube is a tortoise-wins-the-race sort of platform. Work patiently. It ain’t going anywhere anytime soon. YouTube makes Google money. Keep making videos. Find James Wedmore online at JamesWedmore.com or Circle James and strike up a conversation on Google+ The post Launch Your First Internet Product Using Video – James Wedmore appeared first on On Track Tips - Get on Track, Stay on Track | one expert at a time.
34 minutes | Jan 20, 2015
Scale Your Business Beyond Yourself – Rebekah Radice
With many On Track Tip subscribers tackling marketing, product development, and sales — while trying to build a natural social media presence on the side — a virtual assistant (VA) can be the answer to “How the heck can I possibly get everything done and still have a life?” But, wait! It also takes extra time and effort to train and supervise a VA, and you will need clear systems in place to put the extra help to good use. The key? Knowing how to scale your business in a way that’s simple, systematic, and manageable on a long-term basis. But how? Watch this On Track Tips interview. Hear Rebekah Radice describe how to scale your business beyond yourself. Things to consider when getting ready to scale your business … Are you willing to change? Rebekah once owned a brick-and-mortar mortgage company and managed over 100 employees. She realized, though, that her heart was turned towards marketing, not management. She made a tough decision and decided to get out of the mortgage industry and pursue an online business that could hold her interest. Seeing the type of help she needed had changed, she began to consider the idea of hiring virtual assistants to plug the gaps and augment her own talents. Lesson 1: No one person can do it all. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.Click To Tweet How to get started with delegation Rebekah’s first experience with a VA didn’t work well. She wanted one person to handle a wide variety of tasks, but quickly determined it would be best to chunk out the jobs and hire specific people for specific tasks. How to begin: List the various tasks your business requires Decide which you want to delegate Create a list of duties and outcomes for each Determine the skill set the right person (VA) would require Identify potential areas of conflict and determine how to avoid them To determine which tasks to delegate, take an honest look at your own abilities. Where do you not perform at “your highest and best”? Those are the things you should pass on to a VA. Then identify the two or three things that, when done, would “explode your business results” … if you could attend to them every day. Those are the things YOU should focus on. How much should you give away? Everything BUT those two or three things.Click To Tweet The myriad little tasks tend to serve as distractions and excuses. Let’s say you are in sales. The best use of your time is to call on your top five prospects. That can be a scary proposition, though. You are risking rejection. So you busy yourself with answering email, posting on social media — all those things that could easily be delegated — while the most valuable work goes undone. Lesson 2: Do what you do best. Delegate the rest.Click To Tweet How to Develop a System that Works for your Business More than likely, your system is already in place. To identify it, monitor everything you do for 3-5 days. Note every task and the steps involved. That will not only reveal your system, but it will help you identify areas where you can increase efficiency. Training is key – don’t just throw a document or idea at your virtual assistants and expect them to run with it. Take time to walk through each step in the process and be clear on expectations. You should also develop a plan for communications, set the accountability process, and make sure each team member knows what is expected, when it is expected, and how it should be delivered. It all boils down to this: Hire right and train right. From there, you need to have faith that you chose the right people and they can do the job well. Lesson 3: Identify tasks you can delegate. Find a suitable person for each job. Have faith in your ability to make the correct decision.Click To Tweet How do you know when it is time to scale beyond yourself When you get to the point where you are totally overwhelmed, you are juggling WAY too many things, and there are too many people tugging at you — you know it is time to scale your business beyond yourself. You are going to have to make an investment in your business, but you can start small. You can take baby steps. If fear is holding you back, you need to take a look at it. You need to be able to devote yourself entirely to the process; you need to be “all in.” There will be some tasks you can outsource at a low cost, but there will be other tasks where quality is an issue (copywriting and design, for instance), and you need to go with the best you can afford. To find the best VA’s, ask your friends for referrals. It is a lot easier to hire and trust someone if they are recommended by someone you trust. Lesson 4: Building your business will take a financial investment -- but it doesn't have to be a huge investment. Baby steps are absolutely fine.Click To Tweet It was great visiting with the magnificent Rebekah Radice. Want more? Check out the video and learn how to successfully scale your business beyond yourself. About Rebekah: She’s regarded as one of the top social media mavens anywhere, and she has worked with a wide range of clients — from Fortune 500 companies to small business owners. Rebekah Radice was listed as one of the Top 100 Social Media and Technology Leaders in 2014, by Inman News, and as one of the top 40 Social Media Professionals of 2013. Radice is a classic example of someone who’s turned her mistakes into lessons and now shares what she learned. Her in-depth knowledge and transparency left our audience demanding more, and her experience shows that yes, passion and persistence pay off … big time. The post Scale Your Business Beyond Yourself – Rebekah Radice appeared first on On Track Tips - Get on Track, Stay on Track | one expert at a time.
32 minutes | Jan 18, 2015
Killer Tactical Marketing with Ryan Hanley of Content Warfare
A Wiser – Hanley Slapdown? So earlier this week I’m cruising through my stream and come across this post by Ryan Hanley, titled Google Killed the Generalist. I opened it up, started reading, and I was like “Serious, Hanley! Are you kidding me?” He was talking smack about the generalists, and that got my feathers ruffled a little. It was a sweeping attack. It was haughty. It was condescending. “Are you a generalist?” Hanley asked. “That’s too bad. Actually, I should say, “I’m sorry … Google Killed the generalist.” I had to write a rebuttal. I couldn’t let this slide. You see, my company, Wiser Sites, is a bona fide generalist – a general contractor, a one-stop shop marketing agency. We hire specialists for our clients, but we are generalists … and we are proud of it! I put up a rebuttal post that sparked a discussion with over 75 thoughtful and inspired comments. Then, two more blog articles made reference to the debate, and others began picking up on the discussion. The conversation spilled over to Twitter, where Hanley wrote “Wiser about to get hangout slapped.” Let’s do this! The truth is, Ryan and I are good friends – but that doesn’t mean we can’t disagree. Ryan Hanley joined us this week to talk about killer tactical marketing … and to help us understand how to win the battle for attention online … one headline at a time. Why bother with Content Marketing? On Track Tips: Let’s take a minute and frame this conversation. What is “Content” and what is the goal of “Content Marketing”? Ryan Hanley: Content marketing is creating and sharing media in an effort to build an audience. I don’t believe the goal in content marketing should be to make sales. Sales come from human beings. Content attracts them to you. What you want to do with content marketing is get a group of people to like, trust, and believe in what you are doing. Once you have that group, you can activate them and generate revenue. But that is a completely different thing. Content marketing is focused solely on building an audience.Click To Tweet On Track Tips: There are a ton of marketing strategies: Social marketing, email marketing, direct marketing, paid traffic – must all of these include content marketing or is it possible that these marketing strategies can exist without content marketing? Ryan Hanley: Content marketing is only about getting people to believe in you. Separate messaging extracts revenue. The audience-building methodology is the only strategy that will take you through all the twists and turns of the times. Maybe Google will decide it doesn’t like the color yellow on webpages, and drops your yellow-themed site from search results. The only thing that can weather that is a group of people who follow and believe in you. If you don’t have them, you will have to pay for them. It’s all about audience building. Cautions about Content Marketing On Track Tips: Content marketing is a long play. What cautions do you give to small business owners who are thinking about embarking on the journey? Ryan Hanley: Don’t try to market to everybody. Content marketing works best when you talk with a specific group of people. To be successful as quickly as possible, concentrate on your expertise. Once you have established authority and built an audience, you can expand. Understand who you want to speak with first, then be the expert on one topic valuable to that audience.Click To Tweet Is Sensationalism fair play? On Track Tips: Two primary content marketing strategies are sensationalist headlines and answering a question. The first is link bait. Talk a little about these approaches to content marketing. Ryan Hanley: Link bait is only a bad thing if you get nothing of value when you click through. You have to give people a reason to click the link. There are millions of links created every day. A headline that attracts readers is not sensationalism if it provides valuable content. I am all for interesting, exciting headlines … as long as they deliver. My first content marketing campaign was a “100 questions about insurance in 100 days” video series. Answering questions can be one of the most effective ways for a small business to generate traffic, brand awareness, and new business. What about the critics? On Track Tips: The article that sparked this conversation, Google Killed the Generalist, brought you a lot of flack from those who said you were using sensationalism to get attention … that the article was of no real value. What do you say to those critics? Ryan Hanley: People bash on Seth Godin … and he is smarter than all of us combined. Everybody is going to jump on somebody. I wrote that article from my own strong opinions. If you don’t like that … tough. Everyone has preferences and opinions. For every negative comment, there were positive comments. I know what works in content marketing for small business. I have done it. If 20% of readers don’t hate what I write, I’m not doing a good job. As long as you are being transparent, authentic, and honest, your audience will stick with you and appreciate your work.Click To Tweet What do you do if you can’t write well? On Track Tips: If today’s marketing for business is dependent on a foundation of content marketing … what hope is there for the small business owner who can’t write? Ryan Hanley: Not all content needs to be written. You could do audio, video, or imagery. Another option is content curation or content re-purposing. Firehose Round Q. Do small business owners need to have a blog on their website? A. Yes Q. Does the blog have to be in your voice, or can you outsource it to content creators? A. Can, yes. Should, no. People will forgive lack of writing skills in exchange for your expertise. You can always hire an editor to help out. Ryan’s final say: Once you have established yourself on a topic, you can expand your work. At the beginning, to get traction, focus on one or two things. About Ryan Hanley: He’s the president of Hanley Media Labs, a content marketing consultancy helping companies “Grow their audience to grow their business.” He is the host of the weekly podcast series, “Content Warfare” and he’s publishing his first book, Content Warfare: How to find your audience, tell your story and win the battle for attention online, which he crowd-funded in just 21 days and raised over $10,000. Ryan Hanley understands Marketing and, more so, he understands Content Marketing. The post Killer Tactical Marketing with Ryan Hanley of Content Warfare appeared first on On Track Tips - Get on Track, Stay on Track | one expert at a time.
35 minutes | Jan 16, 2015
Is Your Marketing More Interesting Than … ? Jay Baer
Convince and Convert That’s what the sign says. Right in front of the sign is Jay Baer, pronouncing that your marketing HAS TO BE more interesting than your customer’s wife … Marketing today is hyper-competitive. On every social media feed, you will see a combination of professional and personal posts. That means messages from your family and friends show up in the stream alongside business-oriented content – both are clamoring for your attention. Consequently, it’s not necessarily about whether you can beat other businesses for customer attention – rather it’s a matter of being more interesting than the people they love. That is NOT an easy marketing challenge! On Track Tips: We hear people saying this all the time: “I’m a small business owner and I’m doing everything I can to manage my business. How do I find time for social media? I am following people like Jay Baer, Chris Brogan, and Pam Moore … but I’m still not seeing results from my efforts.” The On Track Tips answer to this is, “Stop trying to be Jay Baer and Chris Brogan and start being a resource to your customers.” Stop trying to be Jay Baer and Chris Brogan and start being a resource to your customers!Click To Tweet Does every business need a social presence? Jay, how should a small business go about creating a content and social media strategy? Jay Baer: The big problem is that people worry about how to do social media. Don’t worry about how to do social media – just worry about being social. Determine what you bring to the table that makes people want to give you money. Why do they do that? Is it price, service, superior products, availability, expertise … what is the reason? Whatever that is, find a way to double-down on that differentiator in social media. Social media is simply an amplification of what already makes you successful. Case studies show that all social media does for business is ensure the rich get richer. Good companies can do better – because of social media. And companies that don’t do good can fail faster – because of social media. Social media isn’t a unicorn – it’s just a horse. Don’t complicate it and overthink it. Ask yourself this: What one thing can you do every day that people will care about? Then … do that. On Track Tips: We hear this a lot: “Be social, be authentic, be genuine … “, there’s real pushback against simply sharing links in posts, you are expected to interact and engage. Many times, small businesses don’t feel they have time for all of that. There’s more ROI to be found in paid ads. Jay Baer: It is wise to pick your spots. People think I am everywhere, but we have a whole team at Convince and Convert working to put together the broad impact we now have. When it was just me, it wasn’t that way at all. I had a business to run. When a business owner says there is no time for social media, I definitely understand. Social media isn’t a unicorn – it’s just a horse. Don’t complicate it and overthink it. Click To Tweet On Track Tips: If you don’t have time for social – it’s not your forte anyway – and you can’t afford to hire a social media manager … should you just not do social? Jay Baer: If you are truly bad at it, you shouldn’t do it. Poorly done, social media simply leeches away your brand value. There is no law saying you HAVE to do social. Plenty of successful businesses have no social media presence. Is that a GOOD strategy? No. Eventually, your customer will want to interact with you on social. 62% of America is on Facebook. That’s where cable TV once was, and nobody said it was “going nowhere.” It is simple to get started: Choose your social media platform(s) according to where your customer are. Go where they go. Do the social media you like. If you don’t care for writing, but you love taking photographs … go build a following on Instagram. If you do it right, it will eventually work for business. If you like to write longer posts, engage, and merge blog-style writing with social, you should be on Google+. If you like short-form mobile immediacy, you should be on Twitter. Do what you love to do. Then, you will be good at it, and people will pay attention. What’s the point of social media, anyway? Total visitors is irrelevant. It is only when visitors do something of value that the traffic benefits you. Click To Tweet On Track Tips: We hear people say this all the time, “Avoid shiny objects.” What IS a “shiny object,” and how can I avoid it? Jay Baer: In a social media context, shiny objects can be new opportunities and new venues. It can be easy to want to jump on board with every new platform that comes out. I can make a case for creating content in ANY social media avenue, IF you are THAT kind of business. Shiny objects usually get adopted first by the young and the technologically savvy. If your business is focused on those demographics, then you probably SHOULD go after the shiny objects. If your target audience is different, you should probably wait for the platform to go mainstream – to be embraced by your customers – before you get involved. On Track Tips: You have said, “Content is fire and social media is gasoline.” You take that even further, saying, “If you are looking at website traffic as a major success metric, then you do not fundamentally understand the purpose of your website. You have to focus on behavior not eyeballs.” OK, so what does this mean and how do we make this shift? I don’t get too freaked out about whether the blog or the podcast are generating more clicks; it all works together. Click To Tweet Jay Baer: Unless you are selling ads, then traffic to your site has zero net present value. One could argue that visitors are an expense. It is only when visitors do something of value that the traffic benefits you. A large percentage of your traffic is on your website for 10 or fewer seconds. It has NO value for your business. You need to know how many stay awhile, subscribe to your mailing list, download an ebook – how may do ANYTHING that indicates an interest in a business transaction. You then look backwards to see where those people come from … and WHY do they come? What is getting THOSE PEOPLE to your website? You should be concerned with those who engage in behavior that matters. Your total number of visitors is irrelevant. Those who engage in behavior that leads to revenue – that’s the subset of your traffic you should be concerned with. Spend 95% of your analytics time looking at THEM. On Track Tips: Take a mom blogger who has hit a chord with readers and is getting thousands of visitors each day: How can she monetize that traffic? Jay Baer: In that situation, a three-pronged strategy would probably work best: Get sponsors who will pay for those eyeballs – maybe a title sponsor and a couple of secondary sponsors. Charge them monthly to be on every page of the site. Set up a direct monetization offer – maybe a $3.99 eBook that takes the core principles of what’s made the site successful and goes deeper into it. An indirect monetization method, maybe a gourmet email product that provides value and builds the mailing list. That can be used to drive sales of other products OR it can be sponsored as well. Jay Baer’s next book (foreword by Jason Wiser) On Track Tips: Do you have a resource that teaches people how to approach and obtain sponsors? Jay Baer: No, but that’s a great idea, and I should write the eBook. Thank you for that. You should be concerned with those who engage in behavior that matters.Click To Tweet Audience question: Have you seen any ROI from the Jay Today show? Jay Baer: I started the show in order to give myself more opportunities to create content – video is trending now, for instance. I do have sponsors for the show, so from that perspective, ROI is pretty great. The post-show effect is difficult to assess, but the Jay Today shows elicit a whole lot more conversation than anything else I do … much more. I always play the long game. I build platform assets and they always end up generating ROI. I don’t get too freaked out about whether the blog or the podcast are generating more clicks; it all works together. I try to think about things more holistically. Think about your business as a circle, not as a line. On Track Tips: I’ve heard you say you sometimes worry about putting too much content out there. Jay Baer: There are plenty of ways to consume the content I create. Right now, I feel like all those pools are getting full. There is a risk of overexposure. I don’t want people to get sick of seeing and hearing me. What’s cooking and how do you get people to consume it? On Track Tips: You wrote this: “People want certainty and people want a recipe. The problem is that if you think you need a recipe, no recipe can help you.” I love that. The 80/20 rule for curation versus creation is a recipe. Should I be mindful of recipes? Jay Baer: Recipes can be useful. They can give you a starting point. What you then need to do is TEST that for your own audience. Relevancy creates time. When your content is relevant to audience needs, time magically appears.Click To Tweet More Jay Baer: How do I get people to stop and read my content? Relevancy creates time. When your content is relevant to audience needs, time magically appears. You can’t outsource your voice. If someone has to call you in order to buy from you, you’re probably doing it wrong. Every time someone has to call you, it becomes less worth it. If you don’t have your pricing on your website, for example, you are passing up tons of opportunity. Remember: Convince and Convert. About Jay Baer: He’s a New York Times bestselling author of the wildly popular book Youtility, and he is a hype-free marketing consultant. Jay just may be the hottest name on the keynote circuit. He packages entire concepts into these wonderful and useful soundbytes. You can hear some of these great nuggets every day when you tune into his Jay Today videos or podcasts. He has advised more than 700 companies, since 1994, including 30 of the Fortune 500. The post Is Your Marketing More Interesting Than … ? Jay Baer appeared first on On Track Tips - Get on Track, Stay on Track | one expert at a time.
37 minutes | Jan 16, 2015
Branding Strategy, Omni-channel Marketing, and Showrooming – Dan Crask
This is part two of our Branding Strategy series. In part one we talked with Dustin Stout and learned about Design, graphics, and conveying a consistent message across multiple networks. This week, Dan Crask, co-owner of Brand Shepherd, stopped by the On Track Tips studio to talk about his favorite topic: Cross platform branding and how to maintain a consistent message at every consumer touch point. It’s something about you and your business that is always evident. Anyone and everyone can see it, and they make quick, telling judgments based on it. Your brand: Have you given it much thought lately? If not, take few minutes to do some reflection on branding. It could pay off big time. Brand Shepherd specializes in “omni-channel marketing,” says Dan Crask. He is proud to be a generalist. There is no shortage of great design talent available for hire, but without the right guidance, even the best design fails to persuade (Dan Crask).Click To Tweet The purpose of branding It’s critical for a business to tell the brand story persistently and persuasively. After all, your brand is your 24/7 personality. It’s your story. If you don’t have a story or a personality, why are you in business at all? The biggest mistake in branding Oftentimes, a business ends up getting too enmeshed with a specialist — someone who focuses on a specific part of the business (often, the website), and as a result puts all resources into just one specific piece of the marketing puzzle. This myopic approach prevents the translation of your message from concept to packaging. It diminishes the brand experience. You can't separate digital media from print media any more than you can your head from your shoulders.Click To Tweet What is omni-channel branding? Today’s marketer must be able to meet customers in a myriad of venues … radio, tv, print, internet ads, and social media. The visuals and voice must remain consistent across them all. You can’t separate digital media from print media any more than you can separate your head from your shoulders. Even though the experience is different offline (on-shelf packaging, business cards, and shipping boxes) and online (website, newsletters, social media ads) they are all touchpoints of the same brand, and each one presents an opportunity to reinforce your brand identity and voice. Branding tactics to consider: Get an honest assessment of where the brand REALLY is. Get opinions good and bad. Use interviews. Consider both online and offline branding. Look at your packaging, your displays, your business cards … be ruthless. It’s OK to talk with family and friends, but they are not professionals. This is one place in your business you cannot be cheap. Bottom line: Hire a professional branding consultant. Period. Use print in a smarter way. Print is not dead; it only got smarter. It doesn’t have to carry all the load any more, but it needs to remain an integral part of your marketing. Use it to compliment your online assets. Make sure your website is mobile responsive. It should conform to whichever screen encounters it. Make a list of everything you want to see on your branded touchpoints (logo, name, colors, slogan, motto, call to action, etc.) Make it consistent. Consider QR codes, apps, digital coupons and other offline / online bridges. Note, QR codes aren’t dead. They aren’t a huge bridge, but they’re definitely not dead. The primary rule of branding is to be consistent. That's the key.Click To Tweet Here’s some benefits of a responsive website Scalable – easy for developers to change Accommodates all screen sizes … phone to huge desktop monitor Allows you to meet your customers in the street. Google loves it and people love it Responsive sites provide an optimized experience no matter the size of the screen And, finally … What is show-rooming? Show-rooming is when people use local stores to view merchandise they plan on purchasing online. Show-rooming is not a threat ... it is an opportunity. Better branding can get items purchased NOW.Click To Tweet Your brand is your company persona. It is the way you are perceived in the marketplace. If you were running for president, you would want every vote to go in the same bucket. That is why you want to keep a consistent, effective, recognizable persona. You want potential clients and customers to take note of your business and begin to say, “Yeah, I’ve heard of that company. I hear they are the best.” For more info on this topic, talk with Dan Crask of Brand Shepherd. The post Branding Strategy, Omni-channel Marketing, and Showrooming – Dan Crask appeared first on On Track Tips - Get on Track, Stay on Track | one expert at a time.
33 minutes | Jan 12, 2015
How to Develop a Brand Strategy – Dustin Stout
Brand strategy with Dustin Stout He’s a Google+ scholar, blogger, and social media junkie. Don’t stop there, though … he’s a branding specialist, a seasoned actor … and he is absolutely passionate about creativity. Dustin Stout stopped by the On Track Tips studio to talk about branding … and left us with some tips well worth considering. Steps to developing a brand First consideration: What is your goal? What drives what you are doing? What is the core of your business ambition? How will you help people? Second consideration: How can you share that vision in an articulate manner that identifies you with the goal and gets the audience to see it? Always remember: Every brand is different. the perfect brand strategy is the one that fits you and your brand. And it all begins with story … with what is your story. You need to know three things: You must know who you are You must know your offer You must know the market You should aim to become the most valuable person in your niche.Click To Tweet How should graphics support branding? Dustin’s trump card is creativity, so visual representation is important to him (as it should be to you). Here are Dustin’s rules for visual branding: Always keep it simple Get to the root of the thing you are trying to communicate Know which colors will emotionally connect you with your audience Use two colors max (maybe three) in your logo and for brand identification It all begins with your colors. Colors are crucial. They affect us psychologically in ways that would amaze us. Imagine an artist painting bowl of fruit on a table. The artist must take away the clutter in order to allow the center piece to shine. If it isn’t necessary, remove it. Every brand is different. the perfect brand strategy is the one that fits you and your brand.Click To Tweet Trim the fat. Consider the Apple brand and logo. Look to Apple and Nike for two companies who GET the idea about being simple and consistent. Any distraction you allow will take away from the focus. TIP: Your logo must be recognizable in scales ranging from very small to very large. Remember to remember that your brand must be simple and consistent. Your brand should be recognized quickly. It usually isn’t a good idea to do it yourself and end up with an okay job. Find a designer who knows how to solidify a digital identity. You want the best job you can get. Use simplicity in the naming of your brand, as well. It displays confidence and makes it a whole lot easier to give out your email address. Audience question: When is it time to refresh your brand? Dustin’s answer: Listen to your audience. Are they having trouble with remembering you or finding you? Inside Dustin Stout is a place where social media and creativity collide.Click To Tweet How should you represent yourself in social media? Dustin’s key strategies to convey your brand message on social media: 1. Always have clear objectives 2. Put out stuff that matches what you are about 3. Be consistent, day in and out (the most important part of branding) You should aim to become the most valuable person in your niche. Dustin’s SEO plan: Create amazing content that delivers value and everything else will take care of itself! For more information, here are pertinent links: dustn.tv Dustin Stout on G+ Subscribe to the On Track Tips YouTube Channel If you need help with developing your brand strategy, get in touch with us at On Track Tips | Wiser Sites using the form below for a free consultation. Our Team of Designers and Marketing Specialists can help you develop a brand strategy to fit your business needs and budget. [contact-form-7] The post How to Develop a Brand Strategy – Dustin Stout appeared first on On Track Tips - Get on Track, Stay on Track | one expert at a time.
35 minutes | Jan 3, 2015
Profile or Page – Branding On Google Plus – Martin Shervington
Martin Shervington is a scholar. He has mastered law, psychology, and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). He even moved to San Francisco for six months to take a course in stand-up comedy. Shervington has done (and does) a BUNCH of stuff. Once he discovered Google+, though, Martin KNEW it was the place for him to dig in and focus. Jason Wiser interviewed Shervington for an On Track Tips Hangout on Air – and ended with the crowd demanding, “Bring Martin back! Bring Martin back!” The guy’s a superstar. Let’s get down to it. Which IS better? Should you focus on a personal profile for Google +, or would you be better off building a branded page for your business? Your Google+ profile can be your hub ... somewhere to keep all of your content linked to one place.Click To Tweet Martin Shervington’s short course: 5 reasons you need a Google+ profile Your profile is your digital identity. It is YOU. Pages are centered on business or brand identity. A profile is personal – people relate to people better than to brands. Only profiles were eligible for Google authorship – there may be search advantages still. You can add an entire circle to your profile, and all of those people will be notified. Many will follow you back. Pages won’t generate those notifications. Your Google+ profile can be your hub … somewhere to keep all your content linked to one place. You can post what you want, without having to worry about brand. You can be yourself on a Google+ profile, but you must be mindful of branding on a business page. You can be yourself on a Google+ profile, but you must be mindful of branding on a business page.Click To Tweet Martin Shervington’s other short course: 5 reasons you might need a G+ Page A page can have up to 50 managers, so you never have to (or should) give out the password to your personal profile. That means pages offer more flexibility. Pages offer insights and analytics not available with a profile. Analytics help you determine whether your strategy is working or not. Pages can be sold as part of a business. A Google+ page is an outreach station for your website. It creates value in its own right. There are several 3rd party apps that allow you to schedule posts for a page, but only two allow you to schedule for a profile. DoShare Chrome extension, and NOD3x Your local page is tied directly to Google Palces, Maps, and reviews. For local businesses, especially, that is a MUST! A Google+ page can be sold as part of a business. A Google+ page is an outreach station for your website. It creates value in its own right.Click To Tweet The bottom line to the question of whether you should ramp up a Google+ profile or a Google+ page is that there’s no easy answer. The question you need to ask yourself is, “Which is better for my business?” In the final analysis, helping you find accurate information and ask the right questions of yourself and your business is what On Track Tips is all about. The bottom line to the question of whether you should ramp up a Google+ profile or a Google+ page is that there's no easy answer. The question you need to ask yourself is, Which is better for my business?Click To Tweet Many people choose to do both: Maintain a personal profile AND a business page. And, for some, that is the correct solution. Hey, let’s face it … it really is all about YOU! A you-gotta-do-this TIP: Run a Google audit to find out where your properties are and how to get them working in unison. Determine how you can get the most effect out of your total assets. Consider repurposing content in different forms across your various channels. What about advertising on Google+? It’s a let-down for many brands and businesses. Google advertising (AdWords) does not yet extend to Google+. You can, however, link your AdWords ad to your Google+ page. That allows both the page and the ad to share +1’s. Why would you want to advertise in the first place? Word on the street is that engagement doesn’t sell; engagement is but the beginning of the relationship. Advertising allows you to keep showing up on other channels for your potential customer. But … that discussion is going to have to wait for the next episode with Martin Shervington. Also check: 10 Reasons to avoid Gplus.to for your Google plus vanity URL Google Plus TNG – Strategy for the Future The post Profile or Page – Branding On Google Plus – Martin Shervington appeared first on On Track Tips - Get on Track, Stay on Track | one expert at a time.
32 minutes | Dec 30, 2014
7 Strategies for Effective Time Management – Phyllis Khare
Time. It’s the one commodity that once spent you can never get back. You can’t just go to the store and “buy more time”. You can’t “make more time”, “find more time” or “save more time.” You have no idea how much time you have. Yet it is said that we all have the exact same amount of it. I saw my son the other day sitting in the lay-z-boy, with a long face and staring at the wall. And I said, “What cha doin?” He looked at me and said, “Oh! I’m bored, so I’m just killing some time.” Killing time? Are you kidding me? Sure, I look back and I think, man, I killed an awful lot of time when I was young. I’d give anything to resurrect that time and have it back. But I can’t. It’s gone. So what’s the best thing we can hope for with time? Anxiously stare at the clock waiting for time to run out? NO! We need to learn how to manage it. Leverage it, invest it. YOU are CEO of your life. YOU are 100% responsible for your choices and your actions.Click To Tweet Phyllis Khare speaks, teaches, and writes about social media and time managment with an authority few can claim. It was pure pleasure to interview the incomparable Ms. Khare in an On Track Tips Google Hangout on Air. In this power-packed 30 minutes, you will get the rudiments of a graduate course in time management. Time management the easy way … The first hurdle to getting your life back is realizing who is in control. It may not feel like it, and it may not look like it … but the reality is YOU are CEO of your life. YOU are 100% responsible for your choices and your actions. That’s right: YOU. You have no idea how much time you have. Yet it is said that we all have the exact same amount of it.Click To Tweet With that sometimes scary, but beautifully freeing, point in mind – here are seven strategies that can turn your life around: Relationship management: CRM = Crazy Relationship Management! (If you don’t get organized, you’ll be crazy.) Get a tool that works for you. Phyllis likes the Rapportive browser extension and the Contact Management capability native to LinkedIn. Many CRM (customer relationship management) tools are available; you should use the one that works best for YOU. Begin your thinking by determining how in-depth you need to get. Some need only maintain a list of names and emails. Others shoot to capture as much info as possible. From date of birth to number and ages of children to favorite vacation spot – the more know about your people, the better you can serve them. Moreover, unless you have CRM organized, you are going to miss opportunities you could have accepted. Outsourcing and Scaling: When you find yourself overloaded and behind in projects, look at your work to see which tasks you can let go of. Normally, there are numerous little jobs a VA (virtual assistant) could handle. It can be tough to let go, but it frees you up. The point is to get your life back. You really only need about nine tools to operate your business – calendar, social dashboard, online meeting, file management, CRM database, scheduling system, invoicing system, image creation system, and a social reporting tool. Again, find tools that work for you and stick with them. Multitasking: Don’t do it. If you use your calendar system appropriately, you don’t have to multitask. Some can handle it, but in general you need to focus on a task and complete it. At the end of the day you want to have something finished … not 10 projects uncompleted. If you look at your browser and there are more than 4 or 5 tabs live, you are multitasking. That can make you go into overwhelm. Complete. Close the tab. Move on. Scheduling your content: Scheduling is perfect for about 80% of what you do online, but there are times when you have to show up live. Tools of value include Hootsuite, Facebook scheduled posts, and Buffer. Generally, you should be creating your own content, not republishing from someone else. For Facebook, you will get the best result by using Facebook scheduled posts. Automation: Some things can be set up and automated – sending out scheduled blog posts from Hootsuite, for example. You must understand what is appropriate when you use auto-posts. Much of that depends on the client. Think about your business, where your clients are, and be careful with cross-posting. Always mix it up with live posting. Twitter has two functions. The fire hose of marketing and personal conversations/chats. Both are necessary. Planning your day: Google calendar is my second brain. I place tasks in time slots like I would an appointment. I don’t use a list. My calendar schedules me, and I can tell whether there is really time to do all I want to do. Things that constantly get bumped should be earmarked as tasks that need to be outsourced. Measure your time out. Put nothing in the all-day section. Block out personal time. Time tracking: It’s not only important to track hours worked on a project, but it’s important to know WHAT you DID during the hours charged. Tools like Toggl can keep track of all that for you. The one drawback is you need to turn time on and off for each project. It’s a really good feeling to be able to show clients exactly what you did and when you did it. If you are self-employed, make sure you are better off working for yourself than for a boss. Being on call around the clock is a prime way to get overwhelmed and miserable.Click To Tweet Remember: You’re the CEO of your life. You call the shots. You get to organize and take control of your schedule … so DO IT! Tip for job-seekers: Jason says multitasking is a liability not an asset. Don’t brag about it on your resume. Phyllis Khare is the author of two comprehensive books on social media marketing: ⇒ TimeBliss.ME ⇒ Social Media Marketing eLearning Kit for Dummies ⇒ Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies (co-author) Also, along with Andrea Vahl, Phyllis has created Social Media Manager School The above links are all affiliate links, just so you know. And thanks in advance for using them to support On Track Tips weekly program The post 7 Strategies for Effective Time Management – Phyllis Khare appeared first on On Track Tips - Get on Track, Stay on Track | one expert at a time.
29 minutes | Dec 27, 2014
9 Things You Need to Know About Mastermind Groups – Dov Gordon
The Mastermind Principle: There’s a lot to be gained when people come together. With focus and leadership, the members are unstoppable. Dov Gordon, a guy with plenty of mastermind experience spoke with On Track Tips and shared his list of 9 Mastermind Tips You Need to Know. The best mastermind groups offer structure – clear goals and responsibilities – and THAT makes all the difference.Click To Tweet What is a mastermind group? What’s the difference between joining a mastermind group and simply networking with others via social media? Dov says the best mastermind groups offer structure – clear goals and responsibilities – and THAT makes all the difference. One caution, though: If you are seeking accountability, you may not be ready for a mastermind. Serious groups generally don’t focus on hand-holding, rather they exist to foster growth. Should you join someone else’s mastermind or start your own? The steps to getting involved with a mastermind are: Think: what do you hope to gain from participation in a mastermind gathering? Search for currently active groups that have the same desires and give them a try. If you can’t find an appropriate group, start one. 9 pertinent points about starting a mastermind Be clear about the objective: WHY are you starting this group? Is it accountability, networking, education? Know who to invite: Each member must be open to the idea of sharing and helping. Know what to control and what not to control: Definitely control membership, who joins, and who stays. Don’t try to control deals between members; don’t insert yourself there. Know how to lead group conversations. Always be moving up. Always grow. Understand that you may have to let someone go. Member management is crucial. Apply the 80/20 rule: Give more than you get. Allow others to give in their own way. Remember, mastermind groups are a long-term strategy, not a quick fix. Don’t focus only on business, but also on caring for one another personally. Are mastermind groups worth the trouble? “I can’t imagine where I would be without my group,” says Dov. “It means everything to me.” The Mastermind Principle: There’s a lot to be gained when people come together. With focus and leadership, the members are unstoppable.Click To Tweet The post 9 Things You Need to Know About Mastermind Groups – Dov Gordon appeared first on On Track Tips - Get on Track, Stay on Track | one expert at a time.
31 minutes | Sep 30, 2014
Emotional SEO and Digital Intimacy – Yifat Cohen and Marc Gafni
Cross a philosopher with a social media maven and what do you get? Marc Gafni and Yifat Cohen, of course! Marc and Yifat met a while back at a MetaMind event. Marc said he was writing a book, and he invited Yifat to write a few chapters. Those few chapters have turned into a collaboration, with Marc and Yifat now writing the entire book together. This hangout is one of many in a series that will provide the contents for that work in progress. Here’s the gist of their interview with Jason Wiser, founder of On Track Tips. The Virtue of the Virtual World On Track Tips: What is Digital Intimacy? Marc Gafni: We are all digitally interconnected today – but we are used to thinking of the digital world as a violation of intimacy (for instance, someone you are trying to speak with keeps looking down to keep a text conversation with someone else going). We hear about the alienation imposed on us by the virtual world, but we hear very little about the virtue of the virtual world. But the virtual world is here to stay – like the automobile, it isn’t going away, even if there are accidents as a result – so the question becomes about how to insure the virtual world serves our intimacy instead of alienating us. How can you create an intimate corporate culture, for example, when your 50 employees only meet face-to-face a few times each year? We must also recognize the shadows of digital world (e.g. flaming, voyeurism, and such) that are violations of digital intimacy. Digital intimacy is a two-sided sword, offering enormous opportunity and the possibility of more connectivity – more love – and it also brings to bear the baser side of the human nature, which can create enormous pain. But the shocking thing is … nobody is talking about it. Digital intimacy is one of the most important conversations of our time, and it isn’t taking place. What Intimacy Is … and is Not On Track Tips: You say the conversation isn’t happening, but some say it is happening too much. Marketers constantly harp on the virtues of social tools for providing access to a more personal relationship with customers and potential customers. Marc Gafni: Intimacy is much more than being in the same room, it is about knowing how to use the realm you are in to create intimacy. How do you, for instance, create a selfie that isn’t a narcissistic expression, but is a frame for intimacy? How do you create community and depth, rather than alienation? People see each other all the time, but without creating initimacy. How to we put consciousness and intention into creating intimacy … that is the real question. The business side of Intimacy On Track Tips: How do we bring intimacy to business? Yifat Cohen: There is a movement towards automating everything and using 80/20 formulas to have the machines divide up the tasks. When that happens, though, when I am no longer involved in my business, there is no intimacy, no relationships, and no connection. If you aren’t using the technological tools to create relationships, then your business is NOT going to prosper. Right now, big business is moving towards more personal marketing – highlighting how brands can help you make emotional connections, thereby leading to an emotional connection between you and the brand. This is new. Before this, brands were based on status. We are moving more towards the feminine side The business/personal split On Track Tips: How do we keep our business lives and personal lives separate in this world: It seems as if both sides have merged together. Marc Gafni: The whole idea of a split between the business and the personal is, in some sense, a false split. John Mackey, founder of Whole Foods Market, champions a concept called “Unique self in business.” It describes how businesses can awaken to realize that the workplace is not devoid of personal lives. Business fails and becomes corrupt capitalism when it releases workers to a personal life only on their days off. A conscious business takes relationship seriously – but not just because relationship increases profit, but because people are valuable. Relationship and intimacy should be authentically in play on the job – not because it is good for business, but for its own sake. Because we are engaging with human beings who need relationship. Business is voluntary exchange between people. That’s what’s gorgeous about it. That’s what makes it sacred. It isn’t enforced or coerced; it is people choosing to engage voluntarily. Hold It! I Hate Social Media! On Track Tips: Yifat says, “Nobody reacts to you on Google until your voice comes out.” But, where do we draw the line? How intimate do we really need to be? What if I am not the type who LIKES to socialize? What if I don’t have the ability to socialize. Am I doomed to fail? Moreover, if I use relationship as a marketing technique, doesn’t that become manipulative? Yifat Cohen: That is the biggest thing. You remove manipulation. Once you are relating authentically with people, then you are not manipulating. You don’t have to fake it with millions of people. You can be authentic with ten or 20 and they will become your brand ambassadors. Look at Jesus – 12 people to help him, and we’ve got the whole of Christianity. There is a reason why you are doing the business you are doing. When you relate to like-minded people who connect with you, social media will no longer be a chore … but relationship building. The Feminine Side of Life On Track Tips: One problem is that a business owner can get so caught up in engaging on social media that he or she neglects engaging with customers. What can be done about that? Marc Gafni: Relationship-building online is the same as in person. There must be boundaries. Moreover, there is always a tendency to put your best face forward at first. It takes time to become authentic. A business should show up with a sense of integrity – there to serve customers. Be a mensch. Be decent. Don’t over-sell. Find your natural rhythm of authentic presence … but within appropriate boundaries. On Track Tips: Yifat said, “For me it feels like we are in a shift, going from the masculine to the feminine. We are now leaning away from pushing the sale and more towards images, engagement, conversation, and intimacy.” Is that what is happening? Yifat Cohen: Google dictates how we behave online. They rank us based on engagement, based on relationships … not based on numbers. That, to me, is the biggest indicator that we are shifting towards the feminine. Marc Gafni: All of us need to be able to access both the masculine and feminine qualities. To deploy both and move between them is essential. The new Jedi knight has a sword (masculine) and receives that which is needed for life. An entrepreneur needs to be feminine – receiving information – and, at the same time, powerfully masculine – creating action. Those qualities, when they are merged, form the new Hero, a new wholeness. We are realizing the goal of all ancient spiritual systems: the masculine and feminine, merging online … right now. How Important is This Conversation? On Track Tips: It is interesting that case studies show women make most of the purchasing decisions in the home. Pair that up with the shift towards the feminine. We have said relationship-building is an important issue. What’s next? What do we do with that? Marc Gafni: The entire future of consciousness begins on us being able to create new “We spaces.” The future of the environment, the economy, every major social issue … all depend on creating a global commons that bypasses narrow governments and creates a new vision of how governance happens and how consciousness evolves. That requires concerted action. It requires us to establish relationships online and move these important issues forward. We are talking about the future of the planet, the future of humankind. Yifat Cohen: I think the conversations happening online right now are going to change the world. The conversations we are having are bridging geographical and religious boundaries. As we change, the world changes. This is a ground level connection that will change the entire global society. Is the Digital Revolution Good or Bad? On Track Tips: All the time, we hear people complaining about how disconnected from reality we are becoming. If we remain on this current trajectory, will we eventually have to wage campaigns to get people to be less digitally engaged and more physically engaged? Marc Gafni: We don’t want the digital world to replace the physical world. Several moves are needed: First to bring intimacy to the digital. Next to retain the intimacy of face-to-face encounters. Then to have them work together to get rid of alienation, both online and offline. Yifat Cohen: Online encounters lead to physical encounters. Two people, who never knew one another before, can meet in a virtual hangout and fly thousands of miles to meet. The change is happening, but it is happening so gradually it doesn’t feel like it’s happening. On Track Tips: Marc has said, “We need to restore the intimacy to the digital. We have a responsibility for our digital world.” It is good to be in on this groundbreaking conversation. About our guests: Yifat Cohen, a.k.a. “The Google+ Go To Gal,” is THE expert on all aspects of Google+ … including HOA’s (Hangouts On Air). She is a coach, a mentor, and speaker who isn’t afraid to take a contrary stand and tell it like she sees it. Yifat “answers the questions that Google won’t.” Dr. Marc Gafni is a philosopher who heads the Center for Integral Wisdom, “a think tank … which is creating a body of work to evolve the source code of human existence.” Gafni is an author, an artist, and a guy who thinks … a lot. The post Emotional SEO and Digital Intimacy – Yifat Cohen
29 minutes | Sep 9, 2014
Google Plus TNG – Strategy for the Future – Yifat Cohen
The future’s so bright you gotta wear… Glass. Google Glass that is. Say hi to Yifat Cohen, an internationally renowned keynote speaker and Hangouts-on-Air (HOA) coach. She’s been featured on prominent sites — like Mashable, Rise to the Top, Entrepreneur on Fire, and Datanation. She’s excited about the future of Google and after this 30-minute chat, I can see why. “Google was only one of several companies approached by the US government to create an “Identity Ecosystem” known as NSTIC.” – Tweet This Does Google+ Freak You Out? There is a terrible misconception that Google+ is just another social space created to compete with other major networks like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. It is not. Google wants to know who you are. Google+ was created specifically to serve as a secure environment to facilitate authentic conversations in social circles. It’s purpose, as the spine of all Google products, is to learn who you are and how you interact, so it can then consolidate all your activities to help develop your digital identity. Google was only one of several companies approached by the US government to create an “Identity Ecosystem” known as NSTIC. The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) is a “U.S. government initiative announced in April 2011 to improve the privacy, security and convenience of sensitive online transactions through collaborative efforts with the private sector, advocacy groups, government agencies, and other organizations.” The intent is to help business owners and consumers have better trust when conducting business — a perfectly legitimate concern … yes? They do this by collecting data — by profiling us — according to the actions we take online. In fact, Google+ is the social layer that integrates all Google assets across the web, allowing them to discover the identity of users through their actions. Does Google want to know too much about you? It is not unusual to walk a fine line between convenience and privacy. Do you want to apply for that quick-pass that will allow you to walk quickly through airport security, or do you want to withhold personal information and stand in line? It is the same online: We sacrifice privacy in order to gain the convenience of universal sign-in, for instance. Truth be known, it is all but impossible to “get off the grid” entirely. “Does Google want to know too much about you? It is not unusual to walk a fine line between convenience and privacy. ” – Tweet This Nothing is private. But think of it this way — what happens to a society when things become more transparent? What if relationships become more real, and it is easier to trust others? When I know exactly who you are … when there are no more lies … you no longer scare me. And instead of being afraid that there is no privacy, we may be going into a better future instead of a scary future. Does Google already know too much about you? http://t.co/AbuC27JKqh @OnTrackTips #Google #Conspiracy pic.twitter.com/eYZrBPNlPr — Jason T. Wiser (@OnTrackTips) September 10, 2014 Google+: Where everybody knows your name Remember why you opened your business … why you are a baker, not a lawyer. Get back to your first love. Google+ gets you in touch with the people who are going to support you and go to bat for you. “Google makes online connections more human. You aren’t building “traffic,” you are building an audience.” – Tweet This How to do that? Find a conversation and engage. Share tips. Be helpful. When someone is looking for information on something related to your business — instead of finding an ad, the searcher will find a conversation. When you move beyond being profit-centric to people-centric, you don’t just build sales traffic; you build a loyal audience. Provide value, to transform followers into evangelists who spread the word for you. Then Google+ extends your reach, visibility and popularity organically. “People connect with business owners who show that they care about their audience just as much as they care about their own business.” – Tweet This Negative Reviews: Will they kill your business? Don’t freak out if someone says something bad about you. That’s life. If you get a bad review, do your best to solve it. But in real life, not everything’s going to be 5-Star reviews. That’s just the way it is, and the way it should be, right? Be yourself online. Stop striving for perfection. The more personal you are, the more you build real relationships, and the better your business will be. Don’t be afraid to claim your business listings online, in fact I say, claim them all. Whether you have claimed your listing or not, people can still leave reviews, ratings and comments. The thing is, if you claim your listing, you can then respond to the reviewer and address the situation. It’s called reputation management,and the only way to do this is to be verified as the owner of your listing. Be Human. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. And don’t be afraid to let people know you made them. Own up to them, look for a resolve, and move on. “Don’t be afraid to claim your local business listings online, in fact I say, claim them all.” – Tweet This Don’t worry! Google has your back Google is testing this concept: You are downtown and hungry. You walk into a kiosk and select the type of food you want. The restaurants bid on your business (AdWords style), and Google dispatches a taxi to come take you to the restaurant (no charge for the ride). Think of this: Google knows what you want before you even ask for it. They can read your email, check your calendar, pinpoint your location (GPS), and they know your search history. The former director of DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects), now an employee of Google, is even proposing everyone get tattooed with an identity badge that will allow them to access their own phone. Sounds like a little too much Big Brother in the mix for you? Look at the widespread acceptance of using a contact lens to monitor diabetes, says Yifat, “I predict this technology will get into our life through health and fitness … If we can stop being scared of it and start utilizing it, I think it will be a better world.” – Tweet This Shoppable Hangouts on Air … Coming right up! Shoppable HOAs are like sales pages with sales videos and links that allow you to sell or promote something right there in the Hangout. It’s a feature that can transform the power of Google Hangouts for the benefit of entrepreneurs. Shoppable HOAs transform regular Hangouts into a Shopping TV Channel, creating a social shopping experience that allows users to interact with brands in real-time. Businesses can sell products the same way they sell them on e-commerce sites now. However, instead of a static sales page, live HOAs offer an engaging experience that allows the audience to get closer to their favorite businesses. You can ask the audience, for instance, to vote on the product they want the price reduced by 20% on … the most demanded item gets the discount. You can also demonstrate features and benefits of products or service, while adding three clickable images and a direct link to a sales page. Modify offerings on the fly in real time, to make Shoppable HOAs a truly collaborative and customizable experience, or embed the HOA on websites and Event pages, offering discounts and special promotions to the most engaged audience members. “ These innovations are the first step towards See-Commerce, enabling brands and customers to connect as a community – face to face and in person. ” – Tweet This Links included in Shoppable HOA’s links also last long after the show is over, and cost nothing to leave posted. These innovations are the first step towards See-Commerce, enabling brands and customers to connect as a community – face to face and in person. The buyer sees the seller, hears the seller, asks the seller questions, and many buyers can all engage at once in this virtual shopping experience. Your own sales page … right there in the Hangout … and it’s FREE! Note: The few brands that have used Shoppable HOAs reported more brand recognition, social buzz and increased website traffic. You can find Yifat Cohen online. Just look for the “Google+ Go-To Gal.“ The post Google Plus TNG – Strategy for the Future – Yifat Cohen appeared first on On Track Tips - Get on Track, Stay on Track | one expert at a time.
28 minutes | Aug 27, 2014
Insane Twitter Marketing with Pam Moore the “Marketing Nut”
The goal for businesses, and the people within them, is not to do social but to be social. Even “being social” is often not enough. We must be socially relevant. (Pam Moore) This is an On Track Tips “Just the Facts” Summary of my interview with Pam Moore — Conducted August 23, 2014 with Google+ Hangouts on Air. “The goal for businesses is not to do social but to be social. Even “being social” is often not enough. We must be socially relevant – Pam Moore” – Tweet This The Art of Twitter for Business On Track Tips: I like that when you talk about Twitter you jump past the tools and go straight to the strategy of Twitter. Or as you say, “the Art of Twitter.” Tell us a little why it is so important to focus on strategy and not so much on the tips and tools. And what might be an example of a specific strategy a small business should be using? Pam Moore: That is one of the things all businesses — no matter the size — tend to struggle with. I don’t know why, but people tend to forget Marketing and Business 101 when they hop on Twitter or Facebook. They get all caught up and excited … and can spend years going nowhere. They have no idea about the basics, and their ROI (return on investment) comes back at about zero. So, I ask them: Who is your audience? What objectives does your audience have? What is your audience trying to achieve? How are you helping them achieve those goals? Then — nine times out of ten — they look at me and say, “Ah … good questions.” Watch “Insane Twitter Marketing with Pam Moore” on YouTube Strategy begins with your audience — understand who you are connecting with and what you want to achieve together … what is it they NEED from you? Don’t hop on Twitter and start talking about “Me, me, me.” Twitter Metrics: What About Conversions? On Track Tips: It is also important to set a metric that will allow you to know when you have SUCCEEDED at your goals — a certain conversion rate, for instance. Pam, you report that your own conversion rates are running 50-80 percent?!! That’s insane! How are you doing that? “Strategy begins with your audience — understand who you’re connecting with and what you want to achieve together – Pam Moore” – Tweet This Pam: We implemented some changes and began concentrating on our conversion funnel. It wasn’t that we changed our offers, but that we changed the way we developed content — I started “selling” a little more than I used to. We got our start by syndicating our content, but we began pulling it back in and decided to monetize it. We changed our business model a little bit. We quit trying to make everybody on the social planet happy. We are up to 83% on some of our landing forms. TimeStamps for Quick Viewing On Track Tips: Walk us through what a conversion goal might look like. Pam: For us, a first level conversion is that the visitor opts in for an email subscription. We have an integrated email marketing program. That’s how we get the ROI out of everything we’re doing. Our content lives on our blog and lives on all of our social platforms. The top-level goal is to get them into our email nurture series where we can foster a relationship with them. First conversion goal: Get them to opt-in to the mailing list Second conversion goal: Get them to stay We send out an email about twice per week. From there, conversions would focus on leads for our agency, for speaking engagements, for consulting … and those things that bring a good ROI. The goal for businesses is not to do social but to be social @PamMktgNut http://t.co/PheAGhkj8K @OnTrackTips #Twitter #SocialMedia — Jason T. Wiser (@OnTrackTips) September 1, 2014 Breaking Through the Noise on Twitter On Track Tips: How do you break through the noise on Twitter? Are people really there spending time and searching for content? Pam: People ARE there, and hashtags are a great way to reach them. Hashtags take a balance of art and science. Just be sure to use the hashtags your audience is looking for. Hashtags will improve the pickup of your content, if you use them correctly. Think about the human factor … “How can I relate to the human beings on Twitter?” If you have that mindset, it changes the whole game — how you approach it, how you look at it, and how your audience sees you. People are keen to brands and to people who are trying to push content just to be seen. To bust through the noise, quit trying to bust through the noise. Instead of trying to stand on a platform and shout to the world about what you are doing, make it a one-on-one conversation and relationship. [Pin this Quote Graphic] Which Social Media Platform is Best for Me? On Track Tips: How can an entrepreneur take care of business and still keep connected on all the social platforms. How important is it to just measure your bandwidth, pick your platform(s), and focus your energies there? Pam: To market on Twitter, you absolutely have to do that. You have to be committed and get on board. If you can get someone to understand Twitter, they can “get” social media. Twitter makes the social light come on. Here’s how to begin: Give Twitter some dedicated time Balance your efforts between content and learning the tools Hop on some Twitter Chats Build a plan and build your brand Know what value you are adding Don’t tweet noise “You don’t need an email address, you don’t need permission. Twitter gives you direct access to influencers — people you want to meet. – Pam Moore” – Tweet This Advantage of Using Twitter for Business On Track Tips: Pam, you have said, “You don’t need an email address, you don’t need permission. Twitter gives you direct access to influencers — people you want to meet.” Talk to us about that. Pam: Social media allows you to bypass the executive secretary. Twitter gives you access to anyone using the platform. You do not need their permission to send them a 140-character message. When you have a plan and know how to speak with them, Twitter becomes an easy platform for nurturing relationships with people you’ve never met. Are Twitter Chats Worthwhile? On Track Tips: Why do so many people use Twitter Chats? Pam: Twitter Chats are a great way to connect and build community. Participating in Tweet Chats can: Help you learn Twitter Diminish the noise via filtered tweets (using hashtags) Bring together like minds A great way to meet new people Provide encouragement from peers “Twitter is the most forgiving network in social media. It’s okay to make mistakes – Jason T. Wiser” – Tweet This On Track Tips: And would you agree that Twitter is the most forgiving network in social media. It’s okay to make mistakes. Pam: Absolutely agree. On Track Tips: One of the audience wants to know about your new podcast, Pam. Where can it be found? Pam: Our podcast — The Social Zoom Factor — is on iTunes and Stitcher. Ask Pam “The Marketing Nut” Moore Firehose Session: Q. What about auto-direct-messages? Are they dead? A: Don’t’ do it. The damage you will do with auto-DM is not worth it. Q: Do you pay attention to tools that tell you about Tweeting at certain times of the day, days of the week, and so on? A: It depends on your audience. Know them and their preferences. One thing, though, is that Mondays are for getting into work and Fridays are for getting into play. Schedule your content accordingly. It’s best not to Tweet a scientific research paper at 6 am Monday, you’d do a whole lot better with just a quote. Save the more in depth articles until people have had their coffee. “The way to “do” social is the way that works best for you, your business, and your audience. Don’t be afraid to break the rules” – Tweet This Q. What are your thoughts about tools like If-This-Then-That and chain posting strategy. For example, auto post from your blog, to Facebook, to Twitter? Seems if you’re going to automate, Twitter is an acceptable dumping ground. Thoughts? A: Some people swear by them. We don’t do that. We are about the human element. We do use tools to help with posting, but we don’t do triggered reactions. A big part of the value to social media is being there and being part of the organization. I’ve seen too many companies blast content like it’s coming from a fire hose, but they’re not there when people respond. You’re better off posting a couple of times each day … and being there … than you are to use a blasting technique. Q. Is it okay for some businesses to automate some things … if it’s for a suitable reason? say, small business owners that are low on bandwidth and still want to have a footprint in the stream? A. Absolutely. We use Buffer, for example, on days when we’re slammed. We will schedule posts we know our audience wants, so that we don’t let them down. That’s it, folks … So now you’re asking, “How can I engage with Pam Moore?” Well, just go online. She’s everywhere! Pam Moore Bio She’s was named one of Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencers. She’s been using social media for marketing ever since she and Al Gore invented the internet, and she’s one of the best in the industry. Pam is a popular keynote speaker and has appeared at conferences like Social Media World, British Council, and IBM Connect, to name but a few. She’s a consultant, a trainer, a best-selling author, a blogger, and of course, an entrepreneur. Pam’s the founder and CEO of Marketing Nutz, a full service digital marketing firm … and talk about a client list: Marketing Nutz manages accounts for Fortune 50 organizations like Sony, Chick-fil-A, Lowe’s, PlayStation, and Holiday Inn. The post Insane Twitter Marketing with Pam Moore the “Marketing Nut” appeared first on On Track Tips - Get on Track, Stay on Track | one expert at a time.
31 minutes | Aug 4, 2014
How to Launch a World Class Podcast – Kris Gilbertson
This lady knows her stuff. Kris Gilbertson literally wrote the book on podcasting. Her business is focused on teaching simple, inexpensive (or free) tools to create a podcast that will help boost traffic, leads, and sales. Here is a succinct look at the On Track Tips Hangouts on Air (HOA) interview with Kris: On Track Tips: I’ve heard you talk about the attention span of podcast listeners, and you gave a statistic I found amazing. Kris, why are internet marketers hailing podcasting as a powerful tool for finding customers? Kris Gilbertson: We have so much technology available today … it is an exciting time … but what we want most is content on demand. The average podcast listener will give you 90 seconds before they decide whether to stay or move on – and most will listen 30 minutes or more. People don’t stay on your blog nearly that long. When you combine audio with video (as with Hangouts On Air), you get live engagement – that is an epic connection. You get more time in front of your potential customers, and they get to know, like, and trust you that much quicker. Podcasting shortens your sales cycle and brings you high quality leads. On Track Tips: Podcasts have been around for a long time. Is it too late to get started? Isn’t the space oversaturated? Kris Gilbertson: That’s a myth. Today, it is all about content on the go. We all have a smartphone or a computer of some type … and that has made it easy for podcasting to get downloaded (one click of a button) and consumed. You no longer have to be a techie to understand or access podcasts. Now we are seeing devices that play through the speakers in your automobile. Podcasts have taken a place of trust through the radio. You become the expert, and you have a built-in audience. Moreover, there are over a billion podcast subscribers on iTunes, and they have over 800 million credit cards on file – that is TWICE the size of Amazon. This is a natural search distribution center – a natural joint venture partnership for you – where the minute you launch, your message goes GLOBAL, and you can attract listeners from all over the world … and more leads for your business. The magic happens because people want to consume content on demand. On Track Tips: Give us 3 specific ways that our listeners — small business owners, brick and morter, Mom and Pop — can use podcasting for business. Kris Gilbertson: Small business owners wear a lot of hats. If you want to drive more traffic into your local store, then you need great content and you need engagement with that content. Podcasting can help your small business in these three ways: By helping you rank on the first page of search engine results (SERP) for your keywords. You can re-purpose content you already have (blog posts, for instance) and turn it into an audio or simple video. That allows you to grab the attention span of additional consumers. Not everybody likes to read. When you launch a podcast, you can get featured in New and Noteworthy for eight weeks. If you are looking for press and for local coverage, that’s a big deal. Not only can more people find you, but you can send that out to your local news channels so they can see what you are doing. Question From the Audience: Can I use podcasting to promote fine arts? Kris Gilbertson: With podcasting, you can do audio OR video. That said, 80% of podcast listeners are still audio-only, but people will listen to your podcast, then come see your video presentation. For podcasting, tell your story and invite them to your other media. Business is all about story and engagement. Best advice is to start with what you have and keep it simple. You can always upgrade when you are ready. On Track Tips: What does it take to create and launch a podcast? What equipment do you need? You can launch a podcast on a shoestring budget, using your internal microphone on your computer. You can also use your iPhone, iPad, or buy a suitable headset for less than $30. If you want to upgrade, there are plenty of options to choose from. Three microphones I recommends are: The Heil PR40 is the mic I use – it’s a great microphone and gives you the look and feel of a professional setup, but it must be run through a mixer. The RODE microphone plugs in through your USB and doesn’t need a mixer. Another great unit is the Blue Yeti – a USB microphone for around $100. On Track Tips: Talk about the anatomy of a Podcast. Of course we don’t have the time to get into all the tips and tactics that you lay out in your podcast school, But what does the skeleton of a podcast look like? Kris Gilbertson: Here are the basics of getting started: The first thing is to get focused on who you want to attract – on who your hyperactive buyer is. That is who you want coming into your business, and that is going to build your tribe. Then create a theme around that ideal client. iTune visitors see your album cover before anything else, so you want to make sure your theme and title are going to grab that potential listener’s attention. You only have a FEW seconds to do that – but, then they GIVE you 90 seconds or more to decide whether your podcast is for them. Next, know your pain points for that client and make sure your content is benefit-driven – beginning with the title. Then, be sure to have an intro and an outro … welcome your listeners to the podcast, provide valuable information, then let them know where to go to leave a review and how to get more content from you. Upload your files to Libsyn.com (recommended host). On Track Tips: I have polled the On Track Tips community and they are predominantly Android and PC users. So, in terms of marketing your podcast, where will your audience come from? Do you try to bring your existing community over to iTunes, or do you try to target a new community? Kris Gilbertson: PC’s do have access to iTunes … there is an app for that. Also, most listeners are now streaming podcasts through their phone. You don’t have to be into iTunes. All you have to do is know how to get your lead in there. You can market through iTunes, Stitcher, or SoundCloud. Concerning feed and apps and all of that – really, all you need to know is there is a HUGE audience out there. You don’t have to know how it works. There is already an audience there looking for you; you just need to know how to tap into it. Question From the Audience: What are sponsors looking for when making a decision on sponsorship? Kris Gilbertson: Always begin with the results you want and reverse engineer the process. First, there is a difference between sponsors and advertisers: Sponsors will pay you for an idea that has yet to be produced. Advertisers, on the other hand, are looking for the number of downloads per episode. Build your audience, get your download numbers increasing … then look for sponsors and advertisers. Shoot for at least three shows per week to get more downloads and catch the eye of advertisers. They are looking for about 3,000 downloads per episode. If you have a package of deliverables – maybe a large mailing list, live events, and such – then you can sell a bigger idea for a package to sponsors. Bottom line: Get focused on your theme and who you want to attract, market that out … then bring sponsors and advertisers in. Question From the Audience: Is it worth going back and creating podcasts for old Hangouts On Air (HOA’s), or is it best to stick with current programs? Kris Gilbertson: I love repurposing content. The big thing is to remain consistent – getting content out regularly. With content that is already recorded, all you need to do is put an intro and outro on it and get it into the feed. I would weave old content in to what you are already talking about. Another idea is to chop old content up into smaller episodes to focus on one tip per podcast. You don’t need to deliver super-long podcasts. You can keep it short and simple – as long as you deliver great information. The idea is to drive traffic back to your hub … where you can get them signed up on your mailing list. Your subscriber list is your greatest asset as a marketer. Lightning round: Question: If I have had a podcast around for a while, and I missed New and Noteworthy, Should I cancel my Podcast and relaunch it? Kris: Relaunch and tweak with new content. Have a launch party and a blitz to fire up the enthusiasm. Question: Which stats are better, Libsyn or Blubrry? Kris: It doesn’t matter. All are similar. All you need is a reference point. Question: Are podcasts better than videos like HOA’s? Kris: Most people are still audio-only, but they can listen to your video without having to watch it. Don’t get caught up with one versus the other; use them together. Repurpose your HOA’s. Put your feed out there and it will automatically update. ### About Kris Gilbertson: She is the Founder of the LifeStyleAcademy.com and Hosts an iTunes Podcast by the same name. Her guests have included Mari Smith, Amy Porterfield, Mark Schaffer, and many other celebrities. She’s the author of Podcasting For Promotion and The Lifestyle Entrepreneur Book. She is the founder of Podcast School and creator of Expert Launch Blueprint. Kris coaches speaks, authors, and entrepreneurs about how to create a world-class podcast by partnering with iTunes. The post How to Launch a World Class Podcast – Kris Gilbertson appeared first on On Track Tips - Get on Track, Stay on Track | one expert at a time.
32 minutes | Jul 28, 2014
7 Business Strategies for Budding Entrepreneurs – Ande Lyons
From a boot-strapped consulting business, an $8 million venture-backed dot com business, and a food manufacturing business funded by angel money, to a highly interactive online business fueled by a charming personality and a strong sense of humor… in her words, “it’s been a wild and exciting journey.” With four businesses under her tiara, she knows what it’s like to lay awake at night wondering where the next sale is coming from, the best way to launch a product, and what resources to trust or use. Ande knows about business building, brilliant branding, sensational strategic analysis, and creative problem solving. She’s here to help you skip past the webinars and how-to books and you can talk directly to someone who’s been there, and done that! The post 7 Business Strategies for Budding Entrepreneurs – Ande Lyons appeared first on On Track Tips - Get on Track, Stay on Track | one expert at a time.
34 minutes | Jun 30, 2014
FaceBook Ads for G+ audience – Alex Houg
According to Mari Smith, “Alex is a Facebook ads legend. The end.” His client list includes companies like Red Bull, Nike, Golden State Warriors, Infusionsoft, MTV and many more. We are honored to have Alex as a guest because our mission here at On Track Tips is to help small business owners decide which online strategy is best for your company considering your resources, time and money. Facebook is not a very popular topic here on Google plus. Many Plus users have very strong opinions about why they dislike Facebook. Things like, it is a pay to play platform, it was the biggest bait and switch marketing scheme of a decade, and it is only for big business with big budgets, or it is only for Aunts, and Grandmas, and cat memes. People say things like, “I can’t use Facebook for business because the only people there are my friends and my family and I can’t market to either of them.” But what if there was a way that you could leverage Facebook ads to drive traffic to your Google plus audience? This includes bloggers whose topics are about Google plus and HOA producers. Would this interest you? Did you catch this typo? This is a split test to see if anyone is reading this far down. If you read this write “typo” in the comments. Speaking of HOA producers, one of the biggest topics is that it seems like we’ve hit a threshold on the viewers that will attend HOAs, and so the question is, how can we expand this audience? Is it possible that Facebook ads might be a option? And if you can use Facebook ads to drive traffic to Google plus Hangouts, just imagine the possibilities of how you can use these same strategies to drive traffic to your small business! This week Alex is going to reveal some basic ad strategies that work. Across the board, these work. We will discuss: ⇒ How you can use FB and HOAs together to improve your branding and your marketing ⇒ Dispel the myth that Facebook is only for big budgets and big business ⇒ What are some real steps we can take to turn insights into business decisions that work; that increase sales? The post FaceBook Ads for G+ audience – Alex Houg appeared first on On Track Tips - Get on Track, Stay on Track | one expert at a time.
29 minutes | May 5, 2014
Budget your Finances without being a Human Calculator – Stephanie Sims
This week we round out our Budget your Life series with Part 4 – Budget Your Finances WITHOUT being a Human Calculator with special guest Stephanie Sims .Stephanie refers to herself as a recovering investment banker who champions the small business owner. She understands business finance. She knows how business owners feel when they lay awake at night worrying about funding their startup or growing business, finding financial partners, and how to develop an exit strategy. This week, Stephanie is going to help us understand budgets for the small business owner and entrepreneur.We’ll be discussing 7 Ways to budget without being a human calculator.⇒ How to keep your business and personal spending separate⇒ Which questions you need to ask about spending and do the research⇒ How to detail an “average month”⇒ Use the envelope system⇒ Round up before purchasing⇒ Which rules you need to put in place, as the owner⇒ Control employee expenses with more rulesTackling a budget to grow your business, it isn’t easy, it’s no fun. But I tell you what is fun, profit! The post Budget your Finances without being a Human Calculator – Stephanie Sims appeared first on On Track Tips - Get on Track, Stay on Track | one expert at a time.
28 minutes | Apr 28, 2014
Budget your Fitness with the Power of Practice – Lisa Engles
This week we are getting back into our 4-part Budget your Life series. This is Part 3 and our topic is Budget your Fitness (Health) with special guest Lisa Engles. Lisa teaches people how to use the Power of Practice to create radical breakthroughs in their health, wealth and happiness. She is an entrepreneur and a teacher, trainer, a coach, and an author. We’re going to be taking a deep dive into the Power of Practice. Practice has been an integral part of Lisa’s life since she was 8 years old. She was a dedicated soccer player and loves to run. As a runner, she understood that mental training is just as important to performance as physical training. She started getting the results she wanted when she started practicing in a ‘certain way’. Budgeting for your health is about choices. You need to choose to value your health. And stop being over-committed, overworked, overwhelmed, and overweight. But this won’t happen overnight. Lisa will share 3 keys to making choices for a new way of being IN AND WITH your body. ⇒ Shifting from a ‘workout’ mentality to a ‘practice’ mentality ⇒ Creating a partnership with our body ⇒ Taking Responsibility and being proactive, not reactive One of Lisa’s favorite quotes is “It’s not about doing certain things. It’s about doing things in a certain way.” Join us for this discussion about the Power of Practice. The post Budget your Fitness with the Power of Practice – Lisa Engles appeared first on On Track Tips - Get on Track, Stay on Track | one expert at a time.
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