Quick Tip: Where Should My Small Business Be Present Online?

I know that if you’re a small business owner, this question has been coming up a lot. Let me ask you a question, well actually a couple of them:

Have you ever looked for recommendations of a product online, for example, Twitter, Google, Facebook, Youtube?

If you at least said “yes” to one of these, then there’s the answer to your question. Don’t you think that if you’re doing it, your customers are too? Of course they are, they think, act, and buy just like you do. Most people research on Google before they buy a product these days.

Or they ask a friend on Twitter or Facebook what they think about the product if they’ve bought it already. Actually a lot of people buy stuff now because they’ve posted it on Facebook to begin with, they saw their post and went and bought it.

I know there’s to many different social networks to start with and you’re just probably wondering where to put all your energy and effort first without wasting any time.

It seems to difficult to maintain a presence on all of these while achieving the same success.

I want to help you focus on the ones that matter at the moment. Here are the most popular social networks that are widely recognized and used by the majority of your customers:

  • Youtube (570+ million users)
  • Twitter (200+ million users)
  • Facebook (750+ million users)
  • LinkedIn (100+ million users)

Are you on any of these yet? If you’re not yet and you have a small business, you’re missing a huge opportunity to grow your business.

 

Skills 2 Money: Building Your Email List

email-marketingI’ve learned to see the world a bit differently once I committed to building my list, now I look for different ways to generate leads. Like other entrepreneurs out there I’ve used the common way, by bringing together my list–pretty much everyone I know, connected with, done work for, etc…

There’s nothing wrong with this exercise, but of course if we could it a little bit more efficiently and productively you wouldn’t object, correct?

When you get the next gig, you’ll find yourself grabbing contact information of everyone rather than your partners and the client. Which isn’t a bad first step.

In a book I read a couple of years ago, I learned to always ask “why” in any situation. In this case, why would people would just want to give you their contact info? And once received, what to do with it?

Here are some of the more popular websites, freelancers, and businesses in general choose to share with their lists:

  • Free stuff (consultations, eBooks, giveaways)
  • Contests
  • Industry news
  • Tips and tricks
  • Webinars
  • Discounts

When you know what you’re going to give and who your real target market is, focus on ways to sell them the opportunity to sign up to your email list. If you own a website here’s a post by Derek Halpern that show the 7 key high converting places to add an email form.

It’s worthwhile to use every online and offline real estate available to you to share your presence. Here are my favorite:

  • Your blog or/and website
  • Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google plus
  • Forums, comments on posts
  • Youtube, Vimeo, Blip.tv
  • Meetups, speaking events, conferences

Email Marketing Software

It’s crucial to have an email service provider (referral link) that lets you embed your email form on your website to get more emails from visitors. Nowadays you see so many companies using email forms on their websites, it’s really nice to have these in place, because it takes all the technical work aside and lets you focus on the marketing part.

I like using mailchimp because it makes it easy and it’s free. If you want to customize it so it matches with your branding, you can do that too. They have great resources that I go over sometimes here.

Note: There are hundreds of email service providers, Aweber is another good company that many others use as well. I guess it’s about what your preference is.

If you have a Facebook page you’ll want to add an email box to it as well, this is little bit more advanced, but it’s worth hiring someone to do it, or learning how to if you’re serious about getting more emails. The benefits of having a box on Facebook is that people like to take the path of least resistance, and if they don’t have to visit your site to sign up, well you get the point right?

We’ve talked about conversion and testing a lot in the past few weeks, another thing we should focus on is optimizing each landing page you have email boxes. When you’re first starting out building that list should be the main marketing effort, and later you’ll want to make a landing page specifically to get more signups.

What is A Landing Page?

A landing page is basically, a single page, that’s unique, that is not your “home page” on your website. It has one goal, that is, to convert as many visitors into signups, that is why it’s so important to put a lot of effort into it and test to see what design, colors, copy writing and layout works best on your market.

If you make it clear on each page to visitors what they should receive for signing up, they’ll be happy and signup if that’s “exactly” what they were looking for. Another you’ll use later is Google Analytics to help you understand how good is your landing page, in terms of how many visitors you’re converting into sigups. It will be very useful to help your landing pages a lot better.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, I believe that email marketing is crucial to any business or person that’s trying to leverage the web. The results you get from applying these tips are exponential to your success.

Let know what you think. Share your a comment.

Image credit: shareatt1’s

What is the Easiest, Most Affordable Way to Launch a Blog With Your Own Domain?

setup-blogI think everyone has their own personal favorite way of launching a blog. Some people like to use this hosting company versus another, they use a domain company because that’s what they’ve been using since they starter.

You know what, to each their own, right?

So in this post I’m going to ask the readers what do they think is the best way for a beginner to launch their first small business blog without having to spend much, and without going the FREE way [I don’t recommend FREE].

For the majority of things done on the web you’re going to want to create a website of some sort. There’s more than one way to go here.

Say you’re just blogging, for example, you could start a site by going with a free hosting company such as WordPress.com, Tumblr.com, TypePad.com, or Blogger.com. Do you know why it’s not a good option to go free?

Here are some of the disadvantages of choosing a free hosting service:

  1. You can’t customize your site how you want to. For example, if you want to try to make money through your website with advertising you’re screwed, because they don’t allow that.
  2. It doesn’t look professional or easy to remember. If your website is http://www.abcd1234.com, in a blogger.com website it would look like this: http://www.abcd1234.blogspot.com, I’m sure you don’t want that.

The two disadvantages about going with a free hosting service are “the biggest mistakes business and new bloggers make” when they want to launch a blog.

And it’s also the reason why I recommend everyone go with a self-hosted website. You own it baby! You have all the control you want. For example, if you want to advertise go for it. If you want to make it look unique, you can too. It’s your own home, that’s the way I like to look at it.

Whether you’re going with a business blog, affiliate blog, niche, personal any sort of site you’re using I recommend using GoDaddy to register your domain and Hostgator to host the website.

I’ve been using both companies on all my sites and clients site for almost three years and they’ve always helped me out setup things and always offer great customer service when I have any problems figuring something out or it’s just a dumb question through live chat or phone.

Disclaimer: I do earn a commission if you choose to go with Hostgator and Godaddy. There are obviously other domain and hosting companies available, but again this is my recommendation based on my experience with the company since I started doing business online. If you do purchase through my affiliate link, thank you so much for your support!

I’ve embedded two videos below that walk you through the exact steps to setting up your website on godaddy and hostgator, which includes how to register and install a blog.

 

Have you launched your blog yet?

Tell us what you used? Share in the comments.

Hot Links Friday: Social Media, Customer Service and Other Stuff

 

Monday

Social Media Demographics: Who’s Using Which Sites?

Flowtown – Social Media Marketing Application

I’m a huge fan of infographics, I guess it’s because of I learn better when doing and seeing stuff. If you’re the same way you’ll appreciate this great resource. When it comes to doing research online I always try to find an infographic that’s very detailed.

I liked how this one broke down users by age, gender, income level and educational level, which if you’re a marketer those are useful facts to know about social media.

Take advantage of this and take notes if you have to.

Tuesday

Are Small Businesses Apathetic About Social Media?

Some businesses still have their arms closed and their ear clog or something. Maybe they’re just living under a rock or something. These businesses are saying that social media isn’t necessary even though research proves the opposite.

I think anyone that’s on the edge curb and aren’t sure about using social media should read this post.

Wednesday

8 Tips for Health Care & Pharmaceutical Companies on Facebook

Don’t pay attention to the “pharmaceutical” part of this post. I still think that the eight tips on social media are useful if applied in other businesses besides just healthcare companies.

Inside this post you’ll learn about information you should provide to your audience, questions that you should be asking consumers, and how often you should be posting on Facebook.

If you want to leverage social media on Facebook this post is for you.

Thursday

Who’s ignoring their customers?

After having a bad week with a couple of companies [Gap and Subway], I needed to find information that would make me better than them when it came to customer experience.

When I was at The Gap this week trying to exchange a pair of jean that were a gift, they would not exchange them and the lady even got really defensive. I understand there was a policy behind their returns and exchanges on Final Sale items but I feel I could’ve been treated better.

I ended up going to another Gap and they did exchange the jeans for another size. That’s all I wanted. Instead because of what that lady did, I replied to @Gap on Twitter but I didn’t receive any engagement from them, I guess it was of what I said. [@Gap your employees in Perrysburg, Ohio suck].

A simple sorry for the inconvenience would have been better than ignoring a loyal customer.

With Subway I had a similar experience. They served me burned meatball, must have been that it was 20 minutes until they closed on a Sunday. Instead of telling me the meatballs had been there all day long…long story short I posted a picture of the meatballs on Twitter, and I received zero engagement, Oh well…let’s see if they ever see a dime from me.

Lesson learned?? Don’t ignore your “loyal” customers!

Hope you enjoy this weeks links, if you have a favorite, or most useful to you tell me in the comments.

If you like the Hot Links Friday series I’d like to know, let me know if I can make it better. What should I write about or what type of information do you like most.