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Constant Contact wants to help you succeed! We’re celebrating our professional service programs on the Constant Contact Community this month and you have a chance to try one of the services for free! Learn more.
Let’s talk about lead funnels. What the heck is a lead funnel? What is a lead magnet? What is a sale cycle? Truth be told these are all just marketing jargon that we toss around that may sound a little funny to the average business person. However, let me tell you the magic is in the funnel and in this blog post I plan to break it all down for you and show you exactly the path that a person will take from prospect to lead and converted into your next customers. And not just any customer but a raving fans tell their friends about it and post on Yelp customer.
So let's start with the basics. First and foremost a lead funnel is basically just a path that someone takes from prospect to sold. I have included here my lead funnel road map to break it down in a more visual way.
Lead path worksheet from Stellar Media Marketing
So what is a lead magnet? This is a question that I see a lot. Basically a lead magnet is something that you give for free in exchange for your prospect’s contact information, thereby turning a prospect into a lead. Lead magnets are incredibly effective when utilized correctly and when targeting the right type of prospect.
A lead magnet helps you to better segment your email marketing lists so that you can personalize your email messages, thereby increasing your open rates, your click-through rates and of course your conversions. As far as I'm concerned your email list is pure gold. But only if you build it right! So let's break down a couple of ideas when it comes to lead magnets AKA free offers.
Before you even start to build your lead magnet you need to make sure that you are building the right lead magnet. But how do you know? Well, you start with asking yourself who is your ideal client? What do they need help with?
The easiest way to find out what your ideal client needs and how you can help serve them in that need is to simply ask. Jump on to Facebook or shoot out an email and ask them “what are you struggling with in your business right now” This will open the doors for your current customers, prospects, current subscribers, and social media followers to give you the information you need to build the right lead magnet to meet their needs.
Another fantastic way to figure out what type of lead magnet you should build is to jump into some Facebook groups where your ideal client hangs out. You're not in those groups to pitch or sell. No no! you are there to listen. Go in and scan the feed to see what people are struggling with. What are they asking about? Is there some kind of theme that seems to keep popping up. If you see something that you know the answer to pop up time and time again than that my friend is the next topic for your next lead magnet.
Once you have the idea for your lead magnet or offer, it's time to figure out what format fits best for delivering your message. Below are just some of the examples of what you can create and turn into lead magnets:
Email Course Series
Video Course Series
Live Webinars and Recorded Trainings
Step by Step Instructions
I have found that a lot of the time I already have the content created in my content library that is perfect for repurposing into a lead magnet. For example I have a ton of webinars I've done over the years. I also have a ton of live broadcast that I have done, as well as video trainings. It would be very easy for me to create a video lead magnet or mini-course that addresses the needs of my ideal client using this content. So the first place to look for your next lead magnet is with the content you already have. Do you have something in your content Arsenal right now that addresses the questions that are being asked in the Facebook groups or being answered by your question you posed? There you go! However, if you don't have a current library of content at least you have a jumping off point and you know what you need in order to address the concerns of your ideal client.
Here is just a word to the wise, keep it simple. Or in the famous words of many a marketing professor back in my college days KISS Keep It Simple Stupid. In other words don't, overthink this. The checklist and one page guides tend to do far better than the white papers. Of course this is very much dependent on your ideal client.
Once you have a lead magnet created, the next step is creating a landing page. Otherwise known as a one-page website. This is where you will capture your lead’s contact information and this is also where you will showcase your lead magnet and the benefits it will bring to the people who sign up.
Once you have obtained your lead’s contact information they should then go into your email marketing service account where they will be segmented into a specific list having to do with the topic that you are presenting. You want to make sure that you're always segmenting your contacts and leads so that in the future, when you are sharing information, you can share it to the right people, at the right time and your conversion rate will be much higher because of the personalization that you're going to give in your content delivery.
Once your lead gets into your email system you'll immediately send them your lead magnet that they signed up for. This is typically where most marketers stop, but not you. No, you are going to take it a couple steps further and that is going to be the difference in your success. A couple of days after the initial email you should have a follow-up email to request that your lead connect with you in other ways and see what questions they may have about the lead magnet they download.
About a week after that send one more email asking them if they wouldn't mind filling out a very short survey so that you can learn more about them and make sure that you deliver customized and timely content that benefits them the most. This is a great way of learning more about the people on your email marketing list. Following that, you can throw them into your regular correspondence and continue to nurture your lead with value-added content that is customized and personalized to them. At the end of the day they will learn how to know, like and trust you, thereby making it a cakewalk to sell to them and increase in your conversion rate. Cha-ching!
If all this sounds a little confusing, or if you want to learn how to build this exact system and then some I want to invite you to come and join me for my free 5 day email marketing bootcamp where I will teach you how to create this very process. This very strategy. This very lead funnel. over the course of the five days you will be given a daily assignment and access to a daily live webinar (which will also be recorded so you can access it at your convenience).
As far as I'm concerned your success is my success so I will be available to not only help you with in my private Facebook group but I will also have several opportunities the following week after the boot camp to join live Q&A sessions and pop on with me so that we can walk through any concerns or questions that you have after the boot camp. No marketer left behind! Click here to sign up for the free boot camp which starts February 20th but feel free to join us anytime during the boot camp.
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So you are now ready to start broadcasting on Periscope! Excited? Check! Got all the equipment? Check! Know what you are going to talk about? Well….
Sometimes the hardest part of the live broadcast journey to having content to share. Especially if you plan to scope more than once per week. So I am going to bring you not only some general ideas to get your creative juices flowing but also actual ideas and inspirations you can jump into today so you don’t have to wait to scope.
Let’s start with some things you can work on that pertain to your business or target interest:
Do you have a blog? You can repurpose your blog content as discussion topics for your broadcast. I have re-used many of the topics of my blog to create very valuable, entertaining and popular broadcast on Periscope.
Are you an expert in your field? Considering give a tip of the day or news in your industry broadcast. One of my more popular scopes this past month was called “Annoying Social Media News” where I talked about 3 updates in the social media world that I didn’t really care for. My most popular scope to date was “How to make it as a social media manager” I had over 200 live Periscope viewers on at one time and over 1500 people tuned in over the app and the web. Don’t be afraid to showcase your expertise and be seen as a thought leader. Even if you are giving it all away, remember, it is only up for 24 hours.
Do you have a class, a webinar or an e-course you are about to launch? Consider doing a series of broadcast leading up to your event to get people interested and excited!
Do top X scope topics. Like “The top 8 tips for working from home” or “The top 5 yoga moves for pregnant women”. People love lists and they love when they know how many tips they are going to get. This also works with blog titles by the way.
Okay now that I have given you some really fun ways to showcase your special skills and come off as the expert in your field let's talk about other scope topics you can consider. Here is a list of 44 questions and topics you can use for your next scope:
Why do you Periscope?
Who is your hero?
What have you read that angered you?
What is something you are very passionate about?
What are 5 things you wish to learn this year?
Share your favorite picture from this week.
What is your biggest challenge right now?
Where can people find you online? Share where people can follow you.
What is something you are putting off doing today?
Who are your 5 favorite periscope follows and why?
How do you stay productive?
Thank someone publicly on your scope
What have you read that inspired you?
If I wrote a book it would be about _________
Create a reply to a scope you watched today
What's on your to do list today?
What did you get done from you to do list yesterday?
My love affair with ________
What do you do when you are not online?
What are 5 blessings from today?
Share the best thing that happened to you last year.
How do you use Twitter?
What are you reading right now?
What is your favorite tool and how do you use it?
Name 5 people you want to meet
If I could do anything right now I would ________________
Review your favorite blog to read
What is the biggest issue you are dealing with today?
What is something you do everyday?
What is your biggest challenge this month?
My favorite thing about _______________
# point checklist to a better _______________
Share a day in your life.
What is your bad habit?
Scope a thank you to your top 5 watchers
The pros and cons of ____________________
The art of ______________
What is your favorite tool(s) or resource(s)?
Write a letter to your future self
What are 5 things you are thankful for today?
The 10 commandments of ___________________
Share a mistake you made recently
What is your favorite youtube video?
I wish I had the answer to _______________
Feel free to follow me on Periscope and see what I have going on. My Periscope username is @Stellar247 or you can check out my broadcast schedule and see when I go live at www.clubstellar.com/broadcast
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Periscope is a force to be reckoned with! Launched in March 2015, Periscope already has over 10 million accounts opened. If you are one of the 10 million you may be wondering, “How do I get more followers?” or “How can I gain more hearts?” In my last blog post I talked to you about how you can get more comfortable in front of the camera. This month I am going to show you how to get more Periscope followers and more hearts by doing these 6 things: 1. Have a topic If you want people to watch you, you need to have something interesting to say. The most popular scopers on Periscope are those who have some kind of theme or topic to discuss when they go live. You do not have to be teaching either. As long as you are entertaining, educational, or interesting you should do great. The scopes that tend to fall to the fail side tend to be those that are completely random with no topic or theme whatsoever. That is not to say you can’t do a spontaneous scope and have it be a success. What I am telling you is to avoid the “I am bored, so I thought I would broadcast” scopes. People do not really want to be bored with you and with 10 million other accounts to contend with, it is best to bring it every time.
2. Scope regularly Each scope only last for 24 hours then it is gone. If someone comes to your account and notices you do not have any live replays to watch they may never know how awesome you are and how entertaining your scopes are. This is one of the many arguments for scoping everyday. Full disclosure: I do not scope everyday. I personally do not have time to do that. However, when I did scope everyday I was building my fan base and my heart count in record time. If you can find the time to scope every day (it really only takes 5 minutes to do a scope) more power to you. The more you scope, the more attention you will draw. The more people will see your value and the more followers you will get. Honestly, if your goal is more followers and more hearts you really should challenge yourself to scope everyday for a month. You will be amazed at what happens! Need some scope inspiration? Check back next month when I post my list of scope topics and inspiration for you to try out for yourself! 3. Promote your upcoming scopes via other social networks and email If you have a BIG topic you will be talking about or something you think would be of high value to your connections you may consider promoting your scope before you go live. Every Time I have pre-promoted a scope I have a record number of people who come and watch live. In fact I have done two scopes this summer covering “how to make it as a social media manager” and had over 200 people in the room live watching and hearting me up. I promoted these scopes via Facebook events, Facebook posts, Email blast to my subscribers, Tweets and twitter, post on Instagram and various other places. I only started promoting a couple of days before I went live but it was such a success I had to do the event twice because of the demand. A little pre-promotion goes a long way. 4. Promote and share your replay links (You have 24 hours) Don’t think that after you are done with your live scope you should stop promoting it. Keep in mind that you have 24 hours to share out the replay to your online connections. You can grab the link on your personalized Periscope page by going to www.Periscope.tv/YOURusername Tweet it out, post about it on Facebook and let your subscribers know that your last post was so good they simply can’t miss the reply. 5. Participate in promote your scopes, pass the casts, scope challenges etc. There are many opportunities to participate in activities that are built to help get yourself out there. One of the easiest and most popular is promote your scope. Many big names on Periscope host promote your scope several times per week as well as scoping groups. When you do a promote your scope you simply go into a live broadcast where they are hosting one and you tell people what you scope about. Look for other scopers that are interesting to you and follow them. I have personally gained a ton of targeted followers doing promote your scope. I am also a BIG fan of pass the cast style promotion. Many periscope groups like Perigirls, BopoTribe, PeriDudes and even Pass the Talent do pass the cast. This is when you sign up with that group to participate and get into a lineup. The group will help promote your pass the cast and when it goes live everyone in the lineup takes turns telling about themselves and what they scope about. OR in the case of pass the talent, they pass the mic so to speak and share their talent. This is an awesome way to get a HUGE amount of new viewers which usually translates to hearts and followers. 6. Engage with others. One of the uber cool leadership ladies over at Perigirls shared this awesome tip with me and I think it is spot on (Thanks @WebEvie). It is all about engagement. Just like with any other social network you have to actually be social. Be sure you are going into other scopes and commenting, hearting and participating. Find people you enjoy watching and subscribe to them. Let people get to know you, by getting to know them. If you apply these 6 principles to your scope strategy, in less than a month, you will see a dramatic growth in your followers and hearts not to mention more people will show up and watch you live and participate in your scopes. As always, practice makes perfect.
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Have you heard about Periscope? It has been around longer than your kids were out of school for the summer and yet already it is up to 300 million users (100 million came on in the first 10 days they were live)! Periscope is just one of the big players in the live broadcasting apps and tools that social media users are adopting in droves. With all of these great new live broadcasting tools more and more people are trying to get over their fear of of being live on camera without a delay or chance to edit video. In this blog post I will talk to you about the 5 tips for getting comfortable on camera and looking your best. 1. Lighting really does make a difference. My suggestion is to jump on your phone’s camera (Did I mention Periscope is only available on mobile devices) and experiment with the right place to position yourself and your camera phone for the best lighting. I personally prefer natural light so I set my camera up in front of a large window that gets tons of sunlight. This decreases shadows and makes my face come in nice and clear to viewers. Others have taken taken lighting to the next level by purchasing lighting kits. I would suggest the natural lighting direction first. Then, if you are going to get serious about video, invest in that lighting kit. 2. Camera angle can make or break you. This is another one of those times you need to break out your camera phone and start experimenting with camera positions. Having a camera pointing up towards your face is not going to do you any favors. The best position is slightly higher than your eye level. This way the camera is looking down on you. Say goodbye to unsightly shadows and double chins. If the kids can get great selfies from this technique, you can achieve a great shot in your live broadcast doing the same. 3. Stabilizers will make you look better and your audience less seasick. When you are live broadcasting from your mobile device and holding your device at the same time you cause a little shaking to the playback. This can make your audience feel a little queasy and can keep you out of the best lighting and best angle. The solution is to invest in a phone holder like the Square Jellyfish (see my links below) and a tri-pod. You do not have to spend a ton of money here but it can make a world of difference to have a stable camera. 4. Invest in a YoPo lense. I can’t say enough about this little lense. It is less than $20 on Amazon and you can clip it on to any camera on any device you are using for your broadcast. It will make it so that your face is not so close to the screen (I can see your pores close) to widening the screen and making you look like your fabulous self...Just not so close. Check out my link below for a full list of scope gear including this yopo lense and where you can pick one up for yourself. I SWEAR by mine. 5. Practice makes perfect. Listen I get it. Being on camera is scary. But here is a not so secret, you will get better the more you do it. You will be more comfortable and confident, you will grow your following, your nerves will ease and everything will run smoother. Don’t believe me? You should check out some of the first videos I ever did about 8 years ago. YIKES! I said “Um” so many times and I can’t even start to tell you how many takes I had to do just so I could be comfortable posting a 2 minute video! I have talked to so many people who were initially scared to take the plunge and get on Periscope. Visit them a month later and they are way more confident and happy they got started. This I promise you, it gets easier and you will keep looking better and better! As promised here is the link to the scopegear I mentioned in this post, along with some other great options for those of you who are serious about live broadcasting: scopegear.perigirls.com Stay tuned because I will soon be discussion more tips for being successful on Periscope or any of the other live broadcasting tools you want to explore.
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When you work from home and are going at it alone there are many things I have learned that will help you find more success. Here are some of the things that have helped me over my 5 years of being a solopreneur. Have a dedicated work space: Having a dedicated workspace is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Step away from the dining room table or the comfy living room couch. You need a serious place to work that is dedicated to you and your business. Take this very seriously. You will immediately feel the difference it makes in your productivity and work when you create a designated space. If you are tight on space you can pick up a very affordable fold down desk at IKEA that literally takes up ZERO space. If you have more room to play with I highly recommend you set up an office in a room with a door. This helps you set boundaries (see tip number 4) and gives you a quiet place to work. Get out and network As a solo business person you can sometimes get a little lonely. This is only one of the important reasons why you need to get out and network. Join a networking group or attend a couple of local events. Bring your business cards and make connections. All the hard work I put in networking when I started my business is now paying me back in dividends! Just don’t forget that the fortune is in the follow up! Get out and socialize with like minded and positive people Similar to networking, you need to get out and meet with like minded friends and connections. Bounce ideas off of each other or just enjoy a break. One of my good friends is a business coach so she always gives great perspective when I get together with her. This is especially helpful when you are feeling uninspired or blocked. Getting out and socializing with friends and like minded people will get those creative juices flowing once again...And who knows, maybe you will help inspire someone else in return. Set boundaries When you are a business there are all kinds of boundaries people like to break. It is important that you start setting boundaries early on in your business. The first is the boundary of your workspace and time. This is especially important when you work from home. Your family and housemates need to know what your work hours are and you need to be able to dedicate yourself to your work during that time. Also you need to set boundaries with your time and worth. Friends, family, connections and total strangers will come to you trying to get you to do work for free or for the price of a cup of coffee. You need to remember your knowledge and time is worth something and you need to figure out a way to let people know that you do not work for free. Have a creative outlet or hobby Sometimes we get stuck. We lose inspiration or we get stressed out from dealing with difficult people all day. When this happens, one of the best solutions is to jump into a fun hobby. It is especially helpful when your hobby is a creative outlet. This allows your mind work on something creative that does not have to do with your work. This can help inspire your business ideas to take on new and fruitful directions. This can also help alleviate stress. Take breaks Entrepreneurs tend to be a little obsessive...For good reason. We need to be all in almost all the time to get past the hardest couple of years in business. However, even the most dedicated entrepreneur needs to take breaks. Stand up and stretch, go eat lunch away from your computer, or get out of your house for a power walk. You will burn out very quickly if you do not take breaks to refuel. Stop the distractions Unless you are using it for business, get off of Facebook when you should be working! But it’s not just social networks that can suck the attention and time away from an entrepreneur. Constant phone calls and interruptions can also cause distraction. Be sure to set those boundaries and create work hours where you will not take calls so you can really focus. Outsource I learned this lesson about 4 years ago. I hired an assistant and opened my quechedule WAY up to focus on the things that bring me the most joy and pay me the most money. Within two months my business doubled. Now I am in my 5th year of business and about to hire a VA. I often outsource jobs that I don’t care to work on or I am not the expert at. Blogging (for clients), creating images and admin tasks are just some of the task I hand off my plate so I can focus on what I do best. Want more great tips for entrepreneurs as well as social media? Follow me on Periscope as I chat about the above topics and so much more. My username is @stellar247 You can learn more at www.clubstellar.com/broadcast
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Email Marketing has an ROI of 4,300%! In fact, companies view email marketing as a better Return on Investment than social media, content marketing, PPC, and more. However, only 4% of marketers rate their email marketing efforts as “excellent”. It is also worth noting that Email Marketing converts 40 times more than Facebook! Yet so many marketers are committing some serious email marketing crimes! Understanding the CAN SPAM Act - Only for the USA "Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003" You can be fined up to $300 per email if convicted It is a federal law You are still responsible even if you hire someone else to handle your email for you. You must have a unsubscribe button or link in your email. Tell people they can just reply to you to ask to be removed is not cutting it. You must have a mailing address in your email - It can be a PO Box Address If they unsubscribe you must remove them within 10 business days. You may NOT email them again! Common email-marketing rookie mistakes: Mistake: Assuming People Actually Want To Hear From You Just because you know someone does not automatically give you a right to add them to your email marketing list. Many times when people are building out their email list they automatically add friends, clients and colleagues without permission from those people. Do not make the mistake of assuming these people want to be on your marketing emails. When in doubt ALWAYS ask permission first. The best thing to do is send out individual emails to those people you work with or know who you think might be interested in your newsletter or emails and ask if it would be okay to add them to your subscription list. You can even sent along a link so they can sign up for themselves. It is also important that you know that it's different if someone sends one email directly to you, with a sales pitch. But when that same person crosses the line and "blasts" his sales pitch to an entire list of people, it quickly becomes spam. Remember we do not want to build a list full of people who really do not care about us, our business, or what we have to say. Why waste your time marketing to people who are not your ideal client? The reason I have over 30% open rates and over 18% click through rates is because I have built my list the right way. Full of poeple who want to get my messages and who are highly enageed with my brand. These people also tend to convert much better than the people you might add without asking or people on a list you purchased. When it’s okay by law to add someone: (for CAN SPAM USA only) they were a recent customer (past 2 years, no longer) They dropped their card in a fishbowl that was labeled as Join our list They asked verbally they filled out a subscription form on your website or other online source (they opted in online) What NOT to do: Just because the law says it is okay does not mean you should… Buy lists Add people who are connected to you via social media: This particular one annoys me to no end. I have heard people give the advice that you should export your LinkedIn Connections and use them in your email marketing. Please do not do this. Not only will you upset many people, it will make your brand look spammy. Is that what you want? Add old customers who have not done business with you or heard from you in years. Dump your email address book of contacts onto your marketing list. Mistake: Writing Like A Used Car Salesman Avoid using words like “BUY NOW!!!” and “LIMITED TIME OFFER!!!” in your email marketing. This style of marketing is better left out of email correspondence. It trigers spam filters and can easily annoy your readership. Spam filters are constantly out on the hunt for words and phrases like these so you need to tread carefully and be creative with your marketing messages. Avoid excessive exclamation points (!!!!) and try to not use CAPS in every word since that is considered yelling in email etiquette and the spam filters will likely flag you for it. Mistake: Ignoring Campaign Reports A while back met a woman who hired an outside company to do her email marketing. She asked me if I thought email was a good use of her marketing dollars and I replied “What are your reports saying?” The woman had no idea because she had never taken the time to ask the company who was doing her emailing for the campaign reports to see if they were even being read or if people were clicking on the links inside the emails. How would she ever know if her marketing dollars were being spent in the rght place if she didn’t even check to see if it was working? This is a small example as to why you should be looking at all of your email campaign reports to see how effective they are. Campaign reports will tell you if your emails are being opened, if the email addresses you are mailing them to are even working and if your template design is encouraging people to click on links. All these pieces of data will help you improve on your email style and maximize results. Always check the statistics and the data to see if what you are doing is worth your money, your time and your effort. Mistake: Not Having Permission One of the biggest mistakes that companies and organizations make is utilizing the “fish bowl” give away incorrectly. I have seen it done in many different industries and I am sure you have too. The fish bowl with a little sign like “Drop your business card and you can win a free lunch”. It does not matter what they are giving away or what they can win, 9 times out of 10 they will be using your contact information in their email marketing and this is wrong! If you plan on using the contact information from the business cards in your fish bowl you MUST state on your sign that they will be added to your email list. Subscribers need to KNOW they are subscribing otherwise you are assuming and thus breaking the law. Quick Fix: Just put on your sign “Sign up for our monthly newsletter and have a chance to win a free lunch” This way you have stated that they will be added to the list and you are in the clear. Never assume that just because someone gives you their business card that they want to be added to your email marketing. It does not matter if they dropped a card into your fishbowl or you got their card at a networking function, unless you state that is what you will be doing....Don’t do it! Not to scare you or anything but I am kind of sick of people saying “What’s the worst that can happen, it’s just email” Well here you go… A quick list of lawsuits that came about because the company disobeyed the CAN SPAM Act: (Click the lawsuit to learn more) Lawsuit: Kodak Imaging Network, $32,000 Lawsuit: YesMail, $50,000 Lawsuit: Jumpstart, $900,000 Lawsuit: Optin Global, $475,000 Lawsuit: ValueClick, $2.9 million Lawsuit: Balsam v. Trancos, Inc., $87,000 Inet Ventures Pty Ltd., $15.15 million ATM Global Systems, Inc., $442,900 (2008) Sili Neutraceuticals, LLC, $2.5 million So what say you? What horrible email mistakes have you seen in your inbox lately? P.S. In doubt about the email you are about to send? Does it pass the The Email Checklist from Seth Godin?
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I can’t tell you how many people ask me how I can keep up with all my online social networking sites, and I wonder why everyone thinks it so time consuming. The hardest part about social networking is getting started. You simply can not just set up an account invite everyone you can and then leave it alone. It takes some nurturing and attention to be successful. However, it does not have to drain every minute of every day from your schedule. So here are my tips on how to be successful at online social networking without letting it swallow up your life! 1. Have a purpose- think about who you are trying to reach and why It is important that before you go forward with social media for your business that you consider who you are trying to reach. Next think about what that demographic’s biggest challenges are. Now figure out how you can help solve their problems or help overcome their challenges. This will help direct you to the next step: choosing the right sites and branding yourself for that specific consumer group. 2. Only use the sites that will serve you and your purpose the best. Limit yourself to no more then 4 accounts (unless you have all the time in the world to dedicate to this thing). For me its: Email Marketing: A perfect place to share in depth news, tips and advice as well as announce news and company activities. Be consistant and set expectations with your subscribers. Email is probably the most important thing I do in my business. The ROI is always there! Facebook: I like using a fan page on Facebook because it is so easy to engage fans not to mention it is so large! There are so many types of people out there and many of them actually like to talk to you on your fan page. Twitter– very easy interface. I can even send in updates from my Android. Great way to get news clips and announcements out to the public at large, plus it helps with my search engine standings. LinkedIn: a great site to network with professionals in any industry. A warning would be to keep it professional because many companies look on LinkedIn when they are thinking about hiring someone so you don’t want to be posting a whole bunch of non professional content. I am on more then these sites (but then again, my job is to be online all the time) but I focus most of my energies on these 4 sites. 3. Make your account the best it can be! So what do you do once you have chosen your select few? Set up a complete account. Include professional pictures (use all these accounts for business purposes- you can have separate accounts for your personal stuff like family photos and such), company information that is key word rich, your expertise, and plenty of good content that is helpful for your audience and your business. Whenever possible link all your accounts together and to your website. Also be sure to brand these networks whenever possible to reflect the image of your company. 4. Make new friends and keep the old… Now you are set up and ready to roll! Where do you find contacts? First invite your collogues and contacts you already have to join you online. Most people are on at least one social networking site already so you should capture quite a few people you already know this way. Now join a couple of online groups that pertain to your purpose and start inviting the other members to be your “friend” or “link” to you. Also look at sending out an invitation via email and be sure to put your social links on your website so they are easy to find. 5. Social Networking = Building relationships! Remember social networking does not work if you are not actively being social and building relationships. If you don’t make an effort to help others and build those relationships then this thing won’t work for you. Keep the social in social media. 6. Make time. Now that you are all set up and have some good connections the hard part is really over. Now you need to set aside a little time each day that you can use to visit each of your sites, post new and relevant content and follow up on some messages. I recommend scheduling an hour per day to do this kind of maintenance work. If you are a blogger it will take a little more time because typically you need time to read some news articles or relevant material and it takes time to write so you will want more time scheduled if you plan on blogging. (Although you don’t need to post more then one blog a week unless you want to).
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The other day I was chatting with my dad about Google. I am in the middle of co-authoring a book with my father and I figured the easiest way for us to work on the same document at the same time would be to put it into Google Drive. However, my dad expressed to me his frustration of having to log in and out of his various Google accounts in order to get to the document. He wanted the access to be with his personal gmail account but he uses his HOA president gmail account more. Being the good daughter I am, I decided to show him how he (and you) can easily and very quickly manage several gmail/google accounts without having to constantly be logging in or out.
This is very helpful if you are like my dad and have several personal accounts that you use for different reasons, you help manage the google accounts for other people, or you have a couple of business accounts.
Learn even more on my Facebook page where I offten post short tutorials like this. Facebook.com/stellar247
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Don’t let writer's block stop you from producing quality content for your marketing this year. You don’t have to be a professional writer to have quality content to share on your social media networks or to have a blog. The first thing you need to do is figure out what you want to talk about. Start with a list of all the topics you would like to cover in various content pieces. You do not have to go into detail just write a list of topics. Now think about the FAQ you get from clients and customers. Sometimes the easiest FAQs are the best content ideas to start with. Brainstorm different ways you can use these ideas in terms of the type of content you want to create. Video Podcast blog etc. Keep this list on your desktop or somewhere handy so when new ideas pop into your head or new questions from a client is asked you can jot it down. The worlds easiest way to create tons of sharable content: Another easy content idea is the top ____ series. Basically it is a list of your top tips for a subject. You will want to title it the top *blank* ways to *Blank* For example. I want to write about the top ways to create great content but I don’t know how many I will be able to get down so that is where the blank comes from. Once I have completed my list of suggestions I will have number. If I write about 5 ways to get great content then I would title my content “The top 5 ways to get great content”. If I create 20 great ways to get create content then I may consider making it a series of blogs or videos to keep things short and simple. I can then share one tip from my blog/video each day on my Facebook page with a “learn more at” call to action. In essence I have created a great deal of sharable content from one piece of hosted content (blog, video, email, etc). Another great way to create a ton of sharable content is to consider doing an ABC article. Like the ABC’s of a given topic. Like the top blank article this will create a great deal of sharable content from one piece of work. Example: The ABC’s of a great Facebook Page: A: Authenticity - being authentic is very important in social media especially if you are conducting business online. “All things being equal people do business with and refer business to those they know, like, and trust.” ~ Kevin Knebl. When we are authentic we are aiding in the building of know like trust relationships. B: Branding - The way you brand yourself on your Facebook page is just as important as the way you brand yourself on your website. Take the time to make sure you have a strong consistent brand. Your imagery is spot on, your about section reflects your brand exactly how you want it and your content is supporting your brand. ETC... Staying in the know If you want to be someone who creates great content you have to be someone who loves to read. Staying up on your industries news and trends from various outlets will help you not only stay in the know but inspire you to create great content from what you learn. Also getting involved in online communities and groups will help generate new ideas based on the questions folks ask, the discussions you participate in and the topics that are presented in those groups. Places to get content ideas: Social Networks Groups in your niche What's’ hot? What are people talking about today? Google Alerts & Google News Follow niche topics search for specific topics and resources Read More with the help of apps and website that bring it all to you LinkedIn Today Alltop.com Zite.com Digg/StumbleUpon/HackerNews Stay in the know subscribe to blogs and sites in your niche Listen to more podcast in your niche Where there is a question there is an opportunity Quora.com Just ask your audience Change up your content: Interviews Guest content creators Consider your FAQ Write about it Do a screencast or video how to to answer questions or demonstrate products Pick your own brain and do some top 5 or top 10 list Create a content calendar and/or a list for ideas Take advantage of those spurts of creativity and when the mood hits create, create, create. Then you can use your content calendar to spread out postings and content over the course of several weeks. “Search is a complicated and evolving art and science, so rather than focusing on specific algorithmic tweaks, we encourage you to focus on delivering the best possible experience for users.” – Google Read more at http://www.jeffbullas.com/2012/10/26/23-hints-for-creating-content-that-google-loves-infographic/#rlFRiLlvSeLivYFe.99 So you have a list of topics but you just don’t know what to write? It might be time to hire a professional to do the work for you. Contractors can range from very inexpensive to over the top and it all depends on what you are trying to accomplish. If all you want is a few decently written blogs think small budget, but if you want content that will be sold or is at the forefront of your marketing (your website’s copy or a whitepaper you will be giving out to all your visitors) then you best be ready to spend a little more on that. Here are a couple of places you can go to find contractors for any budget: www.odesk.com www.elance.com www.writeraccess.com www.fiverr.com Hiring an author contractor can come with some risk. You want to make sure that the content is relevant, that it covers the topics you had assigned and that is was not copied or plagiarized. Here are some tools to helps check for duplicate copy. Be sure to let contractors know you will be using a checking tool to be sure they are writing original content. www.copyscape.com smallseotools.com/plagiarism-checker www.duplichecker.com If you are at a roadblock and need content for your blog but you don’t have the budget to pay consider a guest blogging solution. Guest blogging is a fantastic way to introduce your site to a larger audience as well as create a new perspective in your sphere. Be sure to find guest bloggers that are not SPAMMING nor competitive with your brand. Set the rules before you accept them as a guest blogger. A great place to find guest bloggers: http://www.bloggerlinkup.com
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What if I told you there is a place online where you can have access to the answers to your questions, where you can find out what your customers needs and wants are,where you can find guest bloggers and get advice from top influencers. A place where you can make connections and a place where you know about breaking news before all the major news sources do. What if I told you it was a one stop shop and oh yeah, it's free. Would you be interested? Guess what, that places really does exist and it's called Twitter. I get asked all the time from non twitter users "what's the point of twitter?" And "how can I use twitter for myself?" Well friends, here is a list of the top reasons I believe twitter rocks and how you can use it. Active and real time listening Get breaking news Share breaking news Be apart of a revolution Be seen as an expert Learn what your customers want Provide better customer service Foster on and offline relationships Connect with folks you would typically not have access to Get answers. Ask your followers or tweet to @answers Stay up to date with traffic, your favorite team, local news and weather alerts, celebrity gossip or basically everything you want to know Get great customer service Give great customer service Branding, marketing, pr Get connected and find what you need/want Speakers Guest bloggers People to interview Quotes Reviews Advice Find great content to read and share Learn from thought leaders and/or be a thought leader Be entertained See what’s trending with #hashtags Research Now that you have some inspiration on why you need to be on Twitter or how you can use it, here are a couple if terms and common vocabulary you may find on Twitter. DM (Direct Message): Private message can only be sent to people who are following you unless you have set your account up to allow anyone to send you a DM. #FF (Follow Friday): Community-designated day to recommend Twitter users who are worth following. Following: Follow other people and companies you’re interested in, their tweets will be posted in your incoming timeline on your twitter home page. Follower: Conversely, people who are choosing for your updates to show up on their public timeline are your followers. Hashtag (#): used to help categorize tweets, product launches, conferences/events ReTweet (RT): Way of forwarding a tweet from a Twitter user you're following, giving credit where it's due. Just add RT and the original post’s user and context. Search: Look for tweets about your company brands and products, partners and mentions of key terms in your sector. You may find them interesting, follow them. Only public profiles appear on the public timeline. Trending Topics: Features the currently most-mentioned topics Tweet: To update your Twitter status or a status message. @Username: How other Twitter users can identify you and is attached to every update you send. Limited to 20 characters. Now you know why you are on there. You know the basic lingo. Now let's talk strategy. Here are some initial steps you can take to find more success on Twitter: Set a Plan: Are you going to use it for customer service purposes, promotions and coupons, behind the scenes, or a little bit of everything? Customize: Be sure you set up your account to have a great headshot or logo and a header that helps strengthen your branding. Use keywords in your bio (you are allowed up to 160 characters in your bio) and consider a special Twitter landing page when people visit your website from Twitter. Tweet Regularly: Posting links to interesting blogs, videos, photos also make for great tweets. Short on time but still want to be active? Try using a 3rd party app to schedule and help manage your Twitter account. I recommend Bufferapp.com or Hootsuite.com. Follow: Don’t just wait around for others to follow you. Follow people you may know or who you find interesting. Engage: To truly be successful in any social networking platform you must learn to engage your followers. This means you should RT others, thank your followers when they tweet out your message, participate in #FF and overall join the conversation. Go Public: making your Twitter account public will allow your tweets to be included in the public timeline. This way, more people can view your tweets and choose to follow you without having to approve every request. Publicize: Be sure to add your twitter link to your website, blog, Facebook page and email signature. This way it will be easy for people to find you who you already connect with. You can also use services like Twellow.com to list your profile as well as look for interesting people to follow. Go to https://twitter.com/about/resources/buttons to access some great buttons for your website and blog! Want to learn more? Check out my upcoming webinars and classes at http://clubstellar.com/socialmediaclasses/
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Whether you are using your Facebook profile for personal branding and engagement, a Facebook group for outreach and crowd sourcing ideas, or you are using a Facebook business page for marketing, you may want to ask yourself: “Am I a Facebook Sinner?” Here is a list of the top 10 Facebook sins you might be committing and how to remedy them.
Forgetting to complete your profile
I see this one all the time. It is an especially bad offense when talking about a Facebook business page. It is extremely important that you fully complete your Facebook page. Fill in all the information in the about section, add your website address and a way for fans to contact you if needed. Consider using keywords in your descriptions so you can be found in the Facebook search (which is getting to be more and more dynamic every day). Don’t forget to upload a cover image that reflects your brand and a icon image. This is Facebook marketing 101 and you don’t want to looking like a Facebook sinner by missing these important steps to success!
Being over promotional
This particular one is becoming more and more important for you to remedy. Facebook has been making some pretty swift moves towards devaluing overly promotional post in the newsfeed. In fact a study done by Social@Ogilvy analyzed the pages of 106 country-level brand pages it has administrator access to and found that the average organic reach of page posts had declined from 12.05% in October 2013 to 6.15% in February 2014. This number continues to take a hit as Facebook has recently announced that it will take further steps to lower the reach of post with promotional copy.
I also should point out that no one likes to be sold to. In fact, almost every time I teach a social media class I ask “Who likes being sold to?” In the past 7 years that I have been teach social media I have only had one person raise their hand, and not surprising, they were a car salesman. Your content needs to be there to help build trust with your followers. Help them see what you and your company are all about. Be a thought leader and bring some value to the table. When your fans and connections are ready to buy be the one they think of. Not because you annoyed them with spammy promotional crap, but because you are seen as the expert in the field and because you brought value to them over the long haul. I am not saying you can’t sell on Facebook. Fact being, they have a fantastic ad platform that is pretty dang affordable too. I would highly recommend that you add Facebook ads as a line item to your 2015 Marketing budget.
Now, when I ask the question “Who likes to buy things?” almost everyone raises their hands. Be the one they run to not run away from!
Buying fans (the wrong way)
I know we all want fans on our Facebook page. Most people do not have the patience to build out a page the right way, nor do they want to allocate a decent budget to build it the right way. Now days it seems that the real Facebook sinners have no patience at all and jump right into buying their fans. I’m sure you have seen the ads, the spammers, the pop ups all promising you 10,000 fans for $100. But let me just say this is not only a big fat waste of money but it is one of the worst things that you can do to your Facebook page efforts. Those fans that you are promised are from like farms located in other countries. First of all, those people may be “real” but they are not really your target audience and thus they are not your real customers. They will not engage with your page and your real fans will never see your post because you have killed off your reach with the negative pull of fake followers.
Let me break it down for you in this image…
Moral of the story: Don’t buy your fans. If you want to build a fan base faster you can dedicate some funds to advertising or create a value proposition that would make people WANT to become your fans.
Being rude or Starting fights
I see this one more on the profile and group side of Facebook. Facebook sinners will start some battle about why this that and the other are bad. Pointing fingers and bashing people in their wake. Listen, you are allowed to have an opinion, however, Facebook is no place to try and ram it down other people’s throats. Whether you are a part of a heated discussion about breastfeeding in your mommy Facebook group, or you are telling your “friends” they are idiots for not voting a certain way. These behaviors only make you look bad and in the end will hurt your reputation. Sadly I have even seen lifelong friendships ruined because of this Facebook sin. And let’s face it, Facebook business page admins have committed this sin as well. If someone complains on your page or leaves a nasty comment, do not be baited into an argument. Either respond humbly or “hide” the offending comment from the feed.
Being afraid of commitment
Building an engaged following takes time and commitment. Not unlike real world relationships, those on Facebook need time to grow. Don’t expect your page to “blow up” overnight or your potential customers to flock to your page in droves. It just doesn’t work that way. Social media is not about hyper speed growth. Just like any other relationships on any other platform or in any other medium time is needed to grow those know, like, trust relationships. Commit yourself to create great content, interact with your followers and friends, and by all means do not compare yourself to big brands who spend thousands of dollars and have been around Facebook for some years. You will not have the same draw as Apple, as Starbucks or as Red Bull.
Ignoring your fans/friends
If your fans are commenting on your post or leaving comments on your page you need to be responding. And none of this cut and paste form response for everyone. Give your fans the same respect you would expect. Take the time to respond, answer questions and thank them for stopping by.
Forgetting to measure for success
There are two really big reasons why brands fail on social media. 1. They don’t set goals or they don’t set the right kind of goals. 2. They don’t measure for success.
You can’t just jump on Facebook and think the magic will just happen and sales will come zooming in and your web traffic is going to go sky high. Blindly going into Facebook making those kind of assumptions without a goal, a strategy and something to measure your success on is only going to lead to frustration. Here are some goals to consider:
Web Traffic - We want to see more web traffic from Facebook. Easy to measure with Google analytics and easy to implement a plan with properly placed links, great content and web traffic drivers on the Facebook page.
Website conversions - another easy thing to track and measure against. Using Google analytics you can set up “goals” to track all kinds of conversions. From email sign ups and ebook downloads to actually ecommerce purchases.
These are just two of the easiest and most effective ways to track your progress and measure for success!
Over tagging to get engagement (are you my friend?)
I literally rolled my eyes when I re-read that header. I can’t stand when people do this. Posting an image that is obviously being used to sell something and tagging everyone you know or don’t know in order to get engagement. This is just poor marketing. In fact, it is flat out spammy and shows you as a spammer and an amateur. It’s one thing to tag some friends you think might be interested in for sale or an event they may enjoy, but to tag hundreds of random people and influencers is just a big fat Facebook sin.
Posting on Facebook as if it is Twitter
This is another one of those am ateur mistakes I see all to offten on Facebook. People post as if they are on Twitter.
Typically this happens because that person is scheduling their post or simply posting via a 3rd party app like bufferapp or hootsuite (both tools are great but be careful how you use them). Its okay to use these 3rd party tools to help automate some of the process, just don’t put the same exact content in for every site you use. Remember each social network is unique and has its own language and style.
Using irrelevant Hashtags or simply using them in the wrong way
First off, it is totally acceptable to use hashtags on Facebook. They work great for getting engagement, being found in the search (new search features rolling out as we speak!) and just for fun. But there is a wrong way to use them on Facebook too. First don’t go putting a ton of hashtags in your post. 1-3 is probably more than enough to get your point across. Second, don’t use them if you don’t know how. I will sometimes see people using them wrong in such obvious ways:
#Throw back thursday or #throw #back #thursday should be #throwbackthursday or #tbt
#social media or #social #media should be #socialmedia
There are no spaces in a hashtag.
When it comes to Facebook it is best to have fun, be creative, give value and commit. Avoid these Facebook sins and you will be well on your way to Facebook heaven!
What Facebook mistakes and sins did I miss? Comment below.
Want to take a deeper look into these sins? Consider signing up for the “Social Media Sins” webinar series interest list. This web series will be launching in early 2015 and will cover sins and cures from all the major social networks as well as email marketing. Click here to sign up for the interest list.
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Have you ever had an unusually good experience with a companies services or products? Perhaps the staff was extra friendly and helpful or maybe they had amazing follow up and support. That is what I call WOW customer service. And that wow factor is what you need to get people talking about you and your business. Here is a little secret about WOW customer service: It does not take much to give the wow.
The first thing you need to consider is your staff. 1). are you treating your staff right. Do you respect them and take care of their needs as employees. The way an employee feels about their business reflects in the work they do and how they treat your customers. 2). are you training your staff on the concept of the golden rule. That is right, the good old fashion idea of treating others the way you want to be treated. Once you have taken initiative in these two steps you can take it even further by encouraging your employees to go above and beyond. Treating each customer and client they (or you if you are a solopreneur) have with respect and giving them all you got will really help your business explode!
When customers experience wow service they want to tell the world. In today’s hyperspeed heavily connected world, consumers are turning to Twitter, Facebook and the like to express their love for your brand and service. You do not even have to be active yourself to benefit from social media when your customers are experiencing wow service.
One of my favorite examples of WOW customer service that I personally experience comes from a trip to L’occotane. I went into a L’occotane store to purchase a bottle of hand soap. (The stuff is amazing by the way). It was a very small purchase in a store where most people walk out with over $100 worth of merchandise. However, that did not stop the clerk from treating me like royalty. The sales clerk sprayed a lovely sent (the same as my soap by the way) on the tissue paper he wrapped my product in before placing it in a little brown shopping bag. He then gave me several samples he thought I would enjoy and explained the benefits of each one. Then after I paid he did not just hand me my bad and a receipt but instead walked around the counter and handed the bag to me thanking me for coming in. I was floored! I have never spent $20 and received such fantastic customer service. I immediately tweeted about my experience:
@Stellar247 Wonderful to hear! We'll be sure to share this feedback with the Park Meadows Mall team.
— L'OCCITANE (@LOCCITANE) October 25, 2013
I have been praising the company ever since and I am sure my word of mouth not to mention the numerous times I have spoken about them in one of my social media classes or my podcast hasn’t hurt them too much!
Southwest Airlines is not new to having people sing their praise. I personally make it a point to fly Southwest whenever I can simply because I have never had a bad experience...well except once.
I was traveling to Kansas City for a wedding I was in and some mean weather blew through causing our plane to be redirected to Oklahoma. After several hours hanging out in the Oklahoma airport (hey at least we got to get off the plane!) we got back on our plane and made it back to Kansas City (5 hours late). I knew it wasn't the airlines fault since they can’t control the weather let alone an outbreak of tornadoes and flash flooding along our route. Because I knew they did their best with what they were handed, I made no attempt to get anything out of the airline. Instead I went about my trip.
A week later I received a wonderful email from a Customer Service Manager at Southwest apologizing for the inconvenience I went through on my trip. They ended up giving me 4 vouchers for future flights! I didn't ask for it but they gave it anyway, and I have been singing their praises ever since! It was one of those things that probably cost them quite a lot since they decided to give vouchers to all those who were on the flight, but in the end it paid back in good press, great vibes, and repeat business for years after.
Southwest Airlines continues to be eons above their competition. From offer great customer service with a smile, not to mention free bags on your flight, to singing flight attendants who make your trip fun. This airline just gets it.
Great job to the singing @SouthwestAir flight attendant in my flight! Who else does that?!?!
— Michael McMahon (@mmcmahon_) July 3, 2014
So how do you build a wow experience into your business and customer service model? Here are a couple of my steps to WOW success:
Get your wow factor on! - You need to make sure your customer service is better than anyone else. It doesn't really take much to do this. It can be employees who go the extra mile, it could be providing an experience that is just a little bit out of the ordinary. I can tell you from experience not only as a customer but aslo as a business owner that one of the most important things you need to do is to follow through. Do what you say you are going to do and maybe a little bit more. There is a saying you may have heard in business “Under promise and over deliver.” I am more on the side of Promise and overdeliver. Take the under out of it. Always strive to do your best and always strive to give your best. Customers will notice. They will also forgive you when you fall a lot easier if they know you are working for them and not just in business for you. Finally follow up and follow through. When you do give that wow experience be sure you are following up with your customers. Continue to wow them!
Step 2: Listen & monitor online
Use one or all of the following tools to monitor your brand. See what people are saying about you and your customer service experience. Improve on those things that need improvement and continue those wow experiences that are hitting home.
Step 3: Respond & interact
When you do find that people are talking about you respond. Say thank you. Come again. We are sorry you feel that way, we hope you will give us another chance to exceed your expectations. Not everything you repsond to will be positive but when you nail that WOW experience down you will see more and more mentions online that you can simply say “thank you” to.
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List your current position with a detailed description of what you do and what sets you apart from other people in your field. Be sure to use keywords to help people find your profile better in the search. Wondering what your keywords should be? Ask yourself this "If someone was searching for someone like you, what would they type into the search field?" List at least 2 past job positions . Showing your job history is important in establishing your expertise. People want to know that you have experience in your field. Be sure to again leave well written descriptions of your background and what set you apart from your competition. Fill in your Education, Certifications and Awards . This goes back to showing your expertise. Letting people know that you are well versed in what you do. A well written, keyword rich profile summary. This summary should include information about what you do, who you are and why you are the best of the best. Use keywords so you will be better found in the search engines. This is also a great place to add skills and specialties that you excel in. Remember it is sometimes the little things that not only set you apart but get you hired. A professional and clear profile photo. Do not for a second think you can get away with no photo or a bad vacation photo from 3 years ago. It is important that you make a great first impression and when it comes to LinkedIn your profile photo is your very first impression. A professional looking head shot is best and also keep in mind that if you are on other social networks or have photos on your website to keep it consistent and use the same photo across the board. Get those recommendations. Some say you need a minimum of 3 I say shoot for the stars and get as many as you can. Don’t be afraid to ask clients, colleagues and bosses for a recommendation. This is the single best way to get new business and set yourself apart. You know you are the best of the best, but when other people say it for you it is 10x more powerful! Connect your blog, website and Facebook page as well as your twitter page if you have one. Make sure you have all your links there and a clear way for people to find out more about you. Join Groups and be active. Don’t just join groups but also share great content in those group forums. Engage in conversation, answer questions and show the people in those groups that you are the expert that you already know you are. Soon you will find that more people want to be connected with you, want to meet you and possibly even do business with you. Remember the more active you are the more people will notice you.
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