I Can’t Help You
I have several facets of my business that keeps me running all day, but the one thing that gets me up and moving each day is I know I will help business owners, and those thinking about starting their business, through the use of presentations, workshops and one-on-one assistance and training. Over time I’ve found my help only goes so far. After that it is up to the individual to make things happen. I can’t help you if you are not willing to do the work. I know how to get you and/or your business to where it needs to be, but I can’t do the work for you.
My company has been blessed in that almost every business we’ve worked with has flourished in one way or another. The best phone call I received was when a client told me to stop marketing their business. We had brought in so much business they were overflowing and had run out of room in their restaurant. We nailed it, and we do it over and over again. We also show others how, but they first have to trust us.
Becoming a millionaire takes lots of time and all of your energy, but it is a great ride. I remember a sign that read “Entrepreneurship is living a few years like most people won’t, so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t. How do you choose to live your life?
Live life to the fullest! If sitting on the couch at night watching television is what you want to do, then I can’t help you. I can’t help you get off the couch and motivated to live your life like most people won’t. Heck, I can’t even help you get ready to spend the rest of your life like most people can’t because you’d rather watch an NCIS rerun or the newest The Voice show. Don’t get me wrong, we all need downtime, but if I’ve just described your life, I can’t help you. Pick it up and start living life to the fullest! Go after what you want.
My intention in life is provide enough knowledge and experience to help others succeed, but I cannot convince you to help yourself. Many people have taken my advice and become very successful. Others have returned home to their couch and remote control. That’s not living life to its fullest because anyone can go home and sit on their couch with the remote every night. If you want more out of like you have to go get it. So do you want help in your current or next venture? Are you ready to be creative, work long hours and fight the good fights to become successful? Then I can help you.
Constant Contact is a good example of a company that is willing to help you succeed. All you have to do is suit up and show up. They have more information on how to make money with their product than any business I’ve worked with, but you have to seek the information and guidance. It is all there for the taking but you have to put the remote down for a few hours and get off the couch. Constant Contact will show you the rest. They know how to help you grow your business. All you have to do is ask.
My company does a lot of helping others. Once each month we do a social media presentation for SCORE, and every two months we do a social media presentation for Catholic Charities, the Small Business Administration’s Boots to Business program and during our “Marketing Yourself Through Social Media” workshop we teach transitioning military people how to use social media to market themselves. We offer many opportunities for business owners who are ready to “turn off the television” and do what most people won’t so they can spend the rest of their life like most people can’t.
It’s all up to you. We’re here to help you go and grow, but you have to make the effort. My company and I do presentations all over the United States either in person or a webinar and we’re available to do the same for you. You are also cordially invited to take part in those events.
Not a Constant Contact customer yet? Fall Special, 30% off for your first 3 months of Constant Contact. Click Here: Get Me Started. Use coupon code – 2016SAVE. Coupon Code expires 9/30.
... View more
What Is a Call to Action and Why Do I Need One
This is how Wikipedia defines a call to action in marketing:
…a call to action (CTA) is an instruction to the audience to provoke an immediate response, usually using an imperative verb such as "call now", "find out more" or "visit a store today".
A call to action is important. Whenever I meet with a group of people or one of my clients I always stress the importance of using calls to action. It does not matter what social media platform you are on; Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Email Marketing, YouTube, etc. always have a call to action in your marketing piece. It can be in the middle or at the end, but always tell the audience what you want them to do. You will elicit more responses from your audience when you’ve presented at call to action.
I get frustrated when I read a well written marketing piece only to finish up with a bland, nothing more to do, ending. I feel like there should have been something more, but there wasn’t. The writer did not tell me what to do next so I go on with my life. Keep your audience engaged. Ask them to do something, even if it feels strange to ask.
If it seems strange that you should ask the reader to do something, you’re not alone. Most of us don’t like “asking,” but it’s how you get the sale or the follow on engagement. Be bold and do a call to action! To be a successful marketer you need to think like your audience, not like the business person you are. Put yourself in their shoes. They are more than likely thinking “that was great, now what?” Telling the reader what you want them to do is not a hard task, but be clear about what you want your audience to do. Here are a few examples of calls to action:
Send us an email
Set up an appointment
Leave a comment
Sign up now
Join our mailing list
You’ve spent time creating the article or marketing piece, now it’s time to get your readers to MOVE. Decide BEFORE you write the piece what you want your readers to do. Have them do something, even if it’s no more than “come back tomorrow.”
Please leave a comment below and let us know what you thought about our article. Have you tried Email Marketing? If not, let's give it a try. Constant Contact offers a 60-Day Practice Account for you to "learn the ropes."
... View more
You hear people use the word “Reach” more and more when they are talking about Social Media Marketing, but what does “reach” really mean? As a business owner reach is the first step to making a sale. You have to reach people to be able to market to them. If you are not “reaching” people, you cannot show off your product or services.
Facebook defines Post Reach as:
Post reach is the number of people who have seen your post. Your post counts as reaching someone when it's shown in News Feed. Figures are for the first 365 days after a post was created and include people viewing your post on desktop and mobile.
Reach, for the most part, means the same with every social media platform. Keep in mind reach does not mean activity. Reach only means you have gotten in front of someone; you’ve made your content available for consumption. It does not mean anyone has actually consumed your content.
Reach is similar to a newspaper being delivered. The newspaper has “reached” its destination, your doorstep, but the recipient, you, still have not looked at it. The more doorsteps the newspaper is delivered to, the better chance you have that people will read it. So we want to “reach” as many people as we can.
This is what happens when your content reaches people. Some may look at it right away, some may put it away for later and others may throw it away and never look at it again. When it comes to email marketing, reach = the number of emails delivered. In other words the number of emails sent to addresses that did not bounce. The email has to reach the recipient to be counted as reach. Reach is just the first step. Now that we’ve reached people, we want them to take some kind of an action, but we have to tell them what we want them to do. This is called a “Call to Action,” but that discussion is for another day.
Facebook is the easiest example to use to explain reach. Let’s take a look at a Facebook Company page; in Facebook language it’s called a “Page” or “Pages.” For our discussion we’ll call it a company page.
To find out the reach of a particular post we have to go to our company page Insights (aka analytics). Insights are located toward the top of your company page under the search block.
When you select Insights you will be taken to an overview screen. At the bottom of the overview screen you will see the last 5 posts you’ve made and analytic information about those posts.
One of the pieces of information you will see is reach, but the overview only shows reach for the last 5 posts. There is a way to see the reach of all your posts, not just the last 5. Keep in mind the first Insights screen you come to is an overview screen. To drill down to more granularity you will have to make another selection. You’d think you need to go to the “Reach” page,
but “Reach” will not tell you how far a single post reached, it only shows the number of people all your posts were served to.
…but you need to know exactly how many people you reached with each post. The reason you want to know your reach is to determine what is reaching people and what isn’t. It’s called the fruits of your labor. You want to find out what types of content reach the most readers so you can continue feeding the most popular content to them.
You also want to determine what content doesn’t work so you can stop wasting time developing content that doesn’t reach people. The first step is reach, then you have to decide what your call to action is.
For now let’s take a look at how to read Post Reach analytics. To do this go back to the column on the far right side of your screen and select “Posts”.
This selection gives you access to what I believe is the “honey-hole” of Facebook analytics. From this screen you will find analytics about when your fans are online, how each post is performing, top posts from pages you routinely watch and best of all, the reach of each post you’ve ever posted.
The first analytics you will see when you select posts from the left menu is what we affectionately call “the whale.” The whale is extremely important. It tells you the day and time most of your fans are online so you can make an educated decision about what days and times to post, but the whale is not what we’re here for.
We’re here to look at post reach, so scroll down below the whale and you will see an area heading of “All Posts Published.” This is right where you want to be to research your post reach (the number of people who have seen your post). Not only will you get information on reach, but you also see the title of your post and engagement. Let’s take a look at a typical “All Posts Published” area.
When you first arrive in this area you will find posts arranged chronologically with the last post first. This arrangement allows you to see how the most recent posts are performing. Keep in mind as the posts age, your reach will grow. Your reach will grow significantly for about the first 3-4 days, then start dropping off.
In our example the last post reached 136 people, the next post reached 261, then 239, then…WHOA!! The next post reached an amazing 496 people, then 372, then the last post in our example reached over 1,000 people. These numbers show a fairly consistent performance with small to medium sized business who are active with social media. A larger business should see many times more people reached than this.
I know we are talking about reach, but I also want you to look at engagement for a minute. You can quickly scan down the page and see which posts engaged the most people. The interesting thing is the post reaching 498 people had more engagement than the post that reached 1,000 people. Remember what I said. You first have to reach people, then engaged them with a call to action. Let’s keep moving.
Now that you have reviewed the most recent posts you need to drill down to a more granular level. To be efficient with post creation you need to know which posts perform the best and which perform the worst. This is done by reordering the reach column. To reorder the reach column, roll your cursor over the word reach. When you see the word “Reach” turn blue, click on it and it will reorder the entire column from best reach to worst reach.
This gives you the ability to find out exactly which posts had the greatest reach. As you follow your analytics over time you’ll begin to realize what we’ve been talking about with respect to reach and engagement. Reach does not necessarily mean engagement.
Now that you’ve reordered reach with the greatest reach first, try reordering it again. To reorder the column, roll your cursor over the word reach again. When you see the word “Reach” turn blue, click on it and it will reorder the entire column.
The post with the lowest reach will become the first entry followed by the post with the second lowest reach and so on. This gives you the ability to find out exactly which posts are NOT performing as compared to the posts that are performing.
Using this information you will start seeing post trends so you can put together a story of your readers. This tried and true process allows you to see into the minds of your readers and find out what your readers like and what they like the most. How’s that for immediate and accurate market research? The goal is to attain the greatest reach possible. After you’ve identified content the drives the greatest reach, start working on calls to action to engage your readers (Engagement).
The Reach analytic tells you how many people receive your content. It does not mean they are reading or engaging with your content. To find out who is engaging with your posts watch the column “Engagement.” It will tell you what action, if any, readers took after reading your posts. You can reorder the engagement column the same way you reordered the reach column to find out the level of engagement you fans have with each post.
Use analytics whenever you can. Your time is an unrenewable resource. Get the most out of your time and above all go forth and be prosperous.
Not using email marketing yet? Try Constant Contact free for 60 Days. Click on: Free Constant Contact Link
... View more
For a lot of people “What is Email Marketing and How Do I Get Started” is a perplexing question and one that needs to be answered. In case you’ve missed it email marketing should be an integral part of marketing your business. Have you seen or read about how much money people are making using email marketing? Email marketing is a fairly simple platform to use and gets a great response rate.
Through our work over the last 9 years we have made more money for our clients with email marketing than any other medium. In addition to doing buffet style email marketing for our clients I also teach email marketing to business owners who cannot afford my services.
As for a definition for email marketing, that was not so easy. I looked at Wikipedia, Webster’s and a few other resources and could not find one. I’m not sure why I can’t find a definition for email marketing so here’s my definition:
Email marketing uses email as the medium to showcase a business, a business’ logo and the business owner’s knowledge about their industry. Email marketing gives the business owner a platform to offer an opportunity for the reader to connect to the sender’s social media platforms, i.e., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. Email marketing also give the business owner tools to created or curated content and videos. Through this process the business owner can collect email addresses too.
In essence email marketing allows a business owner to reach out to readers in a professional manner, sharing interesting and relevant content with their readers. When email marketing is done correctly the business grows. We have seen more and more businesses grow through the use of email marketing than with any other marketing platforms.
When you use a company like Constant Contact not only will you get top-notch templates and the option of a website matched email template, but also the ability to know what people are reading and reacting to within your email. It would take me several hours to explain all the benefits of email marketing, but there is a way to “test drive” email marketing and I’ll tell you how in a few minutes. If you want to research email marketing a many other social media topics you can go to Constant Contact’s blog, help articles or videos.
So how do you get your email marketing kicked off and get into this awesome marketing space? It is fairly simple. First you’ll need an email marketing system. Make sure you use an email marketing system rather than a plain email system like Gmail or MSOutlook. Email marketing systems give you access to business building tools that you don’t have with Gmail, MSOutlook, etc. These platforms were not made for email marketing campaigns, therefore they are limited in their ability to do successful email marketing. As you can imagine, I am biased toward Constant Contact. In all fairness I know more about Constant Contact than anything else. Besides, I took all the training and exams to become a local expert, so here it goes.
You can start email marketing in three easy steps. I can explain them to you but instead let me show you a slide from one of my presentations. This is a Constant Contact originated slide and it sums up how to start email marketing in three easy steps.
By far the hardest step I’ve found for Constant Contact users is step #2. For some reason pushing the send button is difficult for most people. Maybe we should call it the money button and see if it helps motivate people to make money.
The 3 Simple Steps to Getting Started with Email Marketing are 1. Get your list, 2. Create and send your first campaign (don’t worry too much about this one, Constant Contact’s customer service can help you with this) then 3. Watch and see the reaction you get from your first email campaign and do more of what works. The biggest thing that you want to do is hit the money (send) button. After that button is engaged, incredible things will start happening.
Hopefully this article gives you a better idea of what email marketing is and how to get started. Do you want in on a deal? Constant Contact is offering 30% their products for 3 months when if you sign up before 3/31/16. That’s 30% off your first three months of Constant Contact, but only if you use this link, START MY CONSTANT CONTACT TODAY with this code: 30MARCH. Welcome to the world of email marketing. Not ready to go full steam ahead, but want to try email marketing? Test drive email marketing for 60 DAYS FOR FREE, just click on START MY TEST DRIVE and you’re ready to go. Give it a try!
... View more
I was asked to simplify the social media marketing into as few steps as possible. W hat I've come up with is 5 basic steps to be successful with social media marketing.
5 Steps to Successful Social Media Marketing
Post interesting and relevant content on your social sites. Within just a few days of posting you will start getting feedback from your readers about the posts you’ve made. This feedback tells you whether the content you’re providing is interesting and relevant to your readers.
Build relationships through sharing. Post about what you know, why you like what you do, how you help people with your product or service, and what you can do for them.
Interact with your readers. Interacting with your readers will show them how much you care. Even saying hello in the morning goes a long way to building a relationship.
Always, Always include a Call to Action with all your marketing. Something as easy as “Call us for more information” or “Go to our website” could be what gets the sale. Make it clear what you want your readers to do.
Your Social Media Marketing does not stop with posting to your social sites. Repurpose and reuse content on other mediums as well. To be truly successful integrate Email Marketing into your yearly marketing strategy and watch as your business grows.
These 5 actions will cause you to be known as an expert. You know more about your product or service than your readers and that’s why they keep coming back to you. You are the expert! Share!
... View more
As I prepare strategic plans for 2016 I must take some time to reflect on 2015. Reflection gives me time to see where we’ve been, not only as a company, but what’s been happening in the “real” world. In the last year we have moved quite a bit forward. We may not have come as far forward as we had hoped, but I can see how far we’ve come as a nation and with the economy. One major item I’ve noticed is we are changing how we do business. It’s an incredible shift and one I’m glad happened during my watch. Those who are reading this also took part in shaping the past and will have an impact on the future, but what is that future? Can it get any better than this?
When I dated my wife I used to make silly statements about whether our relationship could get any better. She always told me it would, and it has. If you knew me, you’d know she had great optimism, but after 13+ years I am here to say she was right; it does get better and better. The same thing has happened within the business world, it has and will continue to get better starting with 2016.
This year started a little shaky, but it got better footing as we moved through the year especially for businesses. Many businesses flourished during 2015 and I expect to see even more flourish in 2016. To flourish in the new year, and in some instances just to survive, business owners will have to find ways to provide their products and services more efficiently.
In 2015 the amount of consumers using smart phone applications increased dramatically. Consumers are looking for ways to make their time more efficient so they are turning to applications (apps) to do that.There is a smart phone app for just about everything, and consumers are using them like crazy. You will see the apps market increase quite a bit in early 2016. Toward the middle and latter part of 2016 they will level off with developers finding their niche markets within which they will become the experts.
As for social media marketing in 2016; social media platforms will slow down with vertical growth and become more horizontal in nature. Social media startup companies came and went in 2015, and I expect the same thing for 2016. Very few social media companies will survive over the long term. Expect to see functionality beyond belief with the Big 5 (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Email Marketing and WordPress). Social media site owners understand that today’s consumers expect to get what we want, when we want it and at a price near what they want to spend. As business people we have to figure out how to get it to them easily, efficiently and still maintain cost effectiveness.
We will also see social media site owners try to figure out what to do with the data they’ve been collecting, who to serve it to, and in what format. I see struggles in that arena right now. Social media site owners will be more involved than ever in balancing user privacy with government laws with providing great consumer data to the public. This data has some key elements that include purchasing and surfing habits.
Social media managers will have to become more and more agile at knowing how to connect companies with consumers through social media. We will see some social media managers come and go but the social media managers that take time to test and research consumer motives for purchasing and/or surfing for their company’s products or services will be the most successful. They will be able to spot trends and use those trends to their advantage.
As companies become more social media savvy in 2016, they will start bringing their social media marketing in-house. By bringing it in-house the company allows the manager to embellish company spirit, goals and mission.
Most startup social media platforms will not survive in 2016 because they won’t be able to compete with the behemoth social media platforms already in existence. We will, however see smaller companies take on much needed niche social media marketing. You will see these companies go vertical with their marketing in areas like dentistry, veterinary and legal. A vertical focus allows the company to become an expert marketer of the vertical market rather than having a broad-based marketing approach. Although niche marketing focuses on one particular vertical, niche marketers run the risk of a vertical collapse within social media marketing. We’ve been a part of a few vertical collapses.
All in all I see 2016 as a banner year for small and medium-size businesses. Although 2016 will be a good year for new business ventures, the early part of 2016 will be the best season to start a new business. As the year ages the nation’s focus will be toward the elections and some things seem to get frozen in time until after a new president is elected.
The economy is getting better. It can and will be better in 2016. How much, we don’t know, but I do know we are feeling more comfortable about doing business again in the United States. There will be a record number of opportunities for businesses over the next 2 to 4 years and we want you to play a major part in this resurgence of American growth.
Those of us at Affordable Social Media, Inc. I wish you and yours the very best of luck in the coming years. If you ever feel like giving up remember, entrepreneurs do things other won’t for a few years so they can spend the rest of their life like others can’t. Go forth and be prosperous.
Affordable Social Media, Inc.
... View more
This is your business. Burning the midnight oil doesn’t seem too hard. You do it night after night because it’s your passion. Then you hit the wall and it feels like you are stuck in quick sand and sinking. That’s really not what’s happening, but it feels like it. So what do you do?
The life of an entrepreneur is grueling at times. Entrepreneurs come and go as they please, work when they want, attend every family event and so on and so on, but most people don’t see the quiet life of an entrepreneur. It is the life that only an entrepreneur knows about. It is that time between 5p, when the doors close, and 8a the next day when the doors open again. Between 5p and 8a is when the entrepreneur keeps the business running; does paperwork, sets up email marketing, prepares for the next day, writes proposals, answers email, etc. The normal person would quit after several weeks or months, but this is when you see the real entrepreneur come out. You will see them kick it up a notch, but you have to be careful.
T he life of an entrepreneur does not come without a cost. No one can survive this grueling pace indefinitely; working late nights, sometimes into the next morning, getting three or four hours sleep then starting all over again the next morning just to “git ‘er done,” but this is what entrepreneurs do. It jazzes them….to a point. That point is like hitting a brick wall.
If the entrepreneur does not take time off to rest and relax, they won’t be able to stop the brick wall from happening. They can’t prevent it and it is really hard to get through. The brick wall is that thing that pops up in front of the entrepreneur causing him or her doubt if they should or even could keep going.
Darn it!! DON’T QUIT! I’m not talking about being so far under water you may not recover or your business is in foreclosure (if you are facing these issues get help and get help quickly). I’m talking about the entrepreneur who is successfully building a business, and “doing it all.” This comment is for you…DON’T QUIT!
You feel like you can’t move forward. That’s because you hit the brick wall. You can’t go forward, but you can back off, slow down or move laterally for a while. At least until you get a better perspective on your business. The brick wall is there for a reason. When you hit it, you need to reassess what you’re doing, and take a break before you go at it again. The brick wall is my worst nightmare, but I’ve learned how to overcome it.
The worst thing you can do when you hit the brick wall is quit. Quitting is the single strongest feeling, but now is when you need to keep moving. I can always tell when someone hits a brick wall. The sometimes become depressed and don’t want to do anything except sleep. Sleeping because of hitting the brick wall, can be detrimental to the entrepreneur, so slow down and back off for a while.
Now is not the time to travel with full your throttle right now. It’s ok to let off the throttle a little bit and slow down. Enjoy the scenery. Take some time to talk to family and reconnect with friends. I don’t mean totally walk away from your business, I mean share some of your valuable business building time with family and friends. Call a family member you haven’t talked to in a while or take an old friend out to lunch. Sometimes when we back off we enjoy life more. I know many people whose business grew more when they backed off than when they were working 12-14 hour days.
Slowing down is important, but you also have to back off when you slow down. What I mean is backing off is nothing more than lightening your workload. Instead of accomplishing 6 tasks in an hour, back off and do 3 tasks in an hour. Backing off is de-intensifying your tasks. Do some of the fun things you’ve been wanting to do at work, but haven’t made time to do. Is something bothering you about how the programs work on your desktop? Take some time to figure out what the problem is and fix it. What about doing a podcast or video introducing yourself or your company? These are things that you can do to still be productive and take care of yourself. We don’t want to hear of anyone going out of business so we need to stay healthy and take time to slow down and back off.
The reason for the slow down and backing off is to take a break, relook at your efforts, get comfortable where you are and maybe do some strategizing. It’s incredible how much you can do when your head is clear. Sometimes entrepreneurs get so wrapped up in building their business that they don’t realize they’ve hit a wall and have stopped moving forward. Too many businesses hit the brick wall, don’t realize it, then it becomes a train wreck.
You are in business to succeed. Take time for yourself and your family. Your business will be there when you get back to it, but when you return to your business you will be refreshed. When you slow down and back off the brick wall slowly melts away. Write down several things you’d like to do but haven’t had the time. When you hit a brick wall, pull out your list and do something you’ve been wanting to do.
... View more
I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of online chatter about Constant Contact’s recent OneCon 2015 Conference. OneCon 2015 is a yearly conference that Constant Contact holds for their business partners. I was one of the lucky people to be invited to the conference and thoroughly enjoyed myself and learned way more than I ever thought I would in that short period of time.
Gail Goodman, CEO of Constant Contact has it “going on.” She is a very approachable, down to earth leader who is constantly upgrading products. I met with her and several of her leaders during the conference and soon realized she knows how to pick leaders too. After spending several days at the Constant Contact conference I believe the company is being run by some of the most intelligent people in the country.
As most conferences go there was a lot of craziness going on. There were new cool tools and some awesome upgrades to Constant Contact’s arsenal of small business owner tools. Each upgrade has given the small business owner (SBO) more power and greater reach with their marketing efforts than ever before. Constant Contact recently started working with Facebook ads to help the small business in the confusing landscape of PPC marketing. Way to GO CC!
I tried to get around to see all the products, but I simply ran out of time. I was thoroughly impressed with the products I did get to see and the presenters were top notch and very knowledgeable. There were also some well-known vendors at the conference including Lead Pages and Wordstream.
The tough part for me at any conference was finding time to do everything; attend the shows, learn about new products, or collaborate (remember last month’s article “Be a Collaboration Sensation”?). Of course I did all the above and then some. Of the many products I was shown, there are several I believe are the most powerful to the SBO or marketing in general. .
Automating Your Email Marketing: At one time auto responders were very seldom used when it came to marketing a business, but Constant Contact sees the need and has heeded the call. First off, auto responders allow you to familiarize your audience with your company and start building a relationship without having to initially make physical contact. You can also familiarize the reader with your product and/or service without having to do anything more than upload a person’s email address. Constant Contact has taken their little used auto responder and turned it into a superstar for the SBO. Here’s one idea of how to use an auto responder.
Each email list you have in your Constant Contact account can now have its own auto responder series attached to it. For the SBO that means that email addresses put into a prospect list can now receive a different set of emails than people added to a new client list. This allows the SBO to set up one list for their website sign-ups, one list for their Facebook, one list for the bottom of their email, etc. and each list has a different message for its recipients.
Sign-Up Tools: This is a fantastic tool that Constant Contact keeps making better and better. Sign-Up Tools is Constant Contact’s way of helping you get people to sign up for your email lists. This is a very powerful tool that can automate a portion of your sign-ups. Here’s how it works.
You can create separate sign up forms within Constant Contact. There can be a different form on different sites (website, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, personal email). The beauty of separate sign up forms is you can link the sign up form to the auto responder series you set up for your website, or the series you set up for your Facebook or the bottom of your email. You can use this tool to monitor the effectiveness of your campaigns based upon new sign ups. With little guidance, this functionality can easily fits into the SBO’s overall marketing strategy. Constant Contact made a huge stride with the sign-up form function.
You will also notice in the right column of the Sign-Up Tools menu there is a Facebook Sign-Up Form and Text to sign-up function. Facebook Sign-Up Form will add a newsletter sign-up form to your Facebook Page. It’s easy and takes less than a minute to set up. Text to sign-up allows the SBO to offer the ability to sign up for an email list via a text. It’s an awesome feature.
New Features - Email Marketing- Social Sharing: Constant Contact rolled out 2 incredible email marketing features; Social Sharing and Best Time to Send. Social Sharing gives the user the ability to share their email with their social media network. It is very easy to use and is the ultimate in repurposing content. Why not share your newsletter with your social network? Don’t forget to add the “Join My Mailing List” button.
“Next Best Time” to send is a good guide if you are not sure when is the best time for you to reach your audience. This information is based upon empirical data over a broad spectrum of businesses in your genre so occasionally validate this function against your other marketing analytics. As you progress with learning email marketing you will find, through your own analysis, the best time to reach your audience.
The craziness at this conference was all the great knowledge connecting with old friends, building collaborative relationships and learning how to better serve small businesses everywhere. OneCon 2015 was an awesome experience. If you like this article please share it an leave a comment. In the meantime…..
Go forth and be prosperous!
Mike Bitter, Founder and CEO
Affordable Social Media, Inc.
... View more
The most beneficial thing I’ve found as a small business owner is collaboration; collaborating with other businesses. Last year I spoke in front of over 700 small businesses so I have a pretty good idea of what works. I’ve found a lot of small business owners don’t understand the power and importance of collaborating with other business owners. There is an unbelievable amount of power to be harnessed through working with others.
I’m not suggesting a business owner start collaborating with every business owner they come in contact with, but pick and choose those with whom you find similar interests, you feel will further your business or further you as a person. The main goal when deciding whether or not to develop a relationship is finding common ground that you can use to develop that relationship. Not only will you be on the lookout of people with which to collaborate, but others are also looking for people to collaborate with. They are looking for someone like you to build a relationship.
We don’t always know why a person was put in front of us, but don’t push anyone away unless you feel you don’t’ have similar interests, your relationship will not further your business or the relationship won’t further you as a person. Don’t confuse what I am saying with your personal life. I am speaking strictly about your business life. If you choose to apply what I’m saying to your personal life, do so with extreme prejudice.
When you find people with whom you want to collaborate based upon what I said earlier, start building the relationship and strive toward making your relationship beneficial to both parties. This will encourage a long term relationship. I always try to give more than I receive, and sometimes my giving is through other relationships that will benefit the relationship I am nurturing.
So what is a collaboration sensation? It is when you’ve turned a relationship into a venture and it becomes mutually profitable for both people. One mutually beneficial relationship in particular is one I have with one of my recent Constant Contact students. I’ll call him Tom.
I like helping people and Tom was no exception. He’s attended some of my email marketing seminars and learned as much as he could. I knew he was just starting his business so when he asked me to come to his office to help him with his email marketing I found a spot on my calendar and squeezed him in. At first I didn’t think we had much in common, but I wanted to help. It is the pay-it-forward principle.
Tom and I enjoyed each other’s company and I found out, amongst other things, that he was an electrician. At the time I didn’t think much of it. About 6 weeks after we met I became a part owner of a martial arts school in Omaha. One thing I noticed in the martial arts school is two of the lights did not work and it bothered me. The next time I met with Tom I asked him if he knew how to fix that particular type of light. Of course he did and offered to fix them for only the price of parts. What a collaboration sensation! Tom not only saved me money on the parts to fix the light because of his contractor’s discount, but he fixed the lights without charging me for labor. I saved hundreds of dollars with Tom’s help that I can now use to market and advertise my business. This relationship became one of my many collaboration sensations.
Since then Tom fixed another electrical issue and will be adding additional light switches at the martial arts school for nothing more than the cost of parts. Then again, I showed him how to market his business using a powerful email marketing too.
Tom turned out to be an awesome friend. Always consider the reason for collaborating with other business owners. The saying “what goes around comes around” does work and is most prevalent in the business world.
I wish you much luck collaborating with others. You will find it makes your life much easier and you will grow your business faster than you can imagine.
... View more
Social media is an ever changing medium. I’m not sure if you’d call it a metamorphosis (morphing), maturation, or growth. One thing I do know is social media is changing and will continue to change. Social media is a child and is still growing and finding it’s balance in society. For many, many years marketing remained the same until social media changed the marketing landscape. For over 50 years marketing was based on radio, television, print, fliers, and just about any way you can imagine to market a business, other than using the Internet. Even though the Internet had been a viable channel for marketing for many years, the vehicles to market a product on the internet were not as abundant as they are today. During the “dot com” about the only way anyone made money on the Internet was by having a website. Then by happenstance social media was created on a college campus and here we are today. There are a few things we’ve learned about social media over the years. At the top of our list is to always, always remember the “social” part of social media. It’s about building and maintain relationships. As you know social trends change over time. They have a tendency to morph into something else, very similar to starting a relationship with a new friend. Social media is fluid in as much as it changes fairly regularly. The mechanics for social media are in place and rarely change. It’s the processes behind the mechanics that change. When the processes change, outcomes change. For instance let’s take a look at Facebook. For the first few years of Facebook’s infancy Facebook allowed any posts made on a business page to go to every person who liked that page . Since the advent of Facebook going public they have throttled that back to between 6 and 10% of the people who like your page will receive your post in their news feed. Isn’t this crazy? I said no way, then we tested the theory and found it was spot on. During our testing we found several ways around this restriction, but we’ll save that for a later date. Let’s get down to business. So what does all this mean to a small business owner? It means confusion. As social media changes, how do business owners keep up with those changes and run their business? There are two actions a business owner can take. They can find seminars and workshops to attend or find someone who works with social media on a regular basis. More than likely this will be a company and you will have to pay for their services. For the business owners who can take time to keep up with social media changes there are any number of seminars and/or workshops in your area. Many presentations, seminars, and workshops are offered at little or no cost. SCORE and the SBA are great sources of business information. Constant Contact also offers quite a few social media marketing seminars and webinars. Go to Constant Contact Seminars to get more information. If you don’t have time to attend a seminar you may have time to attend a webinar right from you own desk. The point is to stay current on the changing face of social media. If you are a business that uses social media 3 or 4 times a week to market your business you will more than likely pick up on the changes as they happen with the social media platform you use the most. The most radical changes right now are with Facebook. LinkedIn and Twitter have made quite a few changes over the last 2 years to enhance the user’s experience. Facebook is manipulating the way you see data and how to access people on Facebook. LinkedIn and Twitter have not done anything like, yet. Although video marketing is changing YouTube has not changed their landscape as much as Facebook. Once again Google has done a fantastic job of putting together a usable application. They have consistently kept the same tools for owners to market their business through YouTube. We have personally found YouTube to be a great source of information and a great way to market your business. Out of all the changes on the social media scene, the most consistent has been email marketing If you keep up with any Internet Marketers you will see notice one thing in particular, their main mode of communication is email marketing. My company has had a lot of success marketing through social media. We’ve also found we can close 2 to 3 times more deals for our clients through email than we do through any other social media. No matter what your social media consists of, take a careful look at using email marketing as part of your marketing strategy. We have built more solid businesses through email marketing than with any other marketing medium. Haven’t tried email marketing yet? Constant Contact’s is offering a Free 60 day trial. Try email marketing for free and see if it fits your marketing strategy. Cheers, Mike Bitter
... View more
Do Facebook Analytics matter? Yes they do matter. Over the years I’ve spent more and more time understanding analytics and their relevance to marketing. I've found if you are a marketer and not using analytics, you are flying in the dark. Without using analytics you won’t know if you are presenting interesting and relevant content to your audience or just posting without any reaction whatsoever. Your time is an unrenewable resource and you need to know the effect your work has on your audience. If you do not know if you are presenting interesting and relevant content to your audience you will be less likely to convert people to customers or donors. The value in analytics comes with your ability to analyze the facts. It is one thing to see analytics, it’s another to actually interpret what they mean. Let’s take a look at a Facebook Business Page and you’ll see what I mean. First let’s get to Facebook analytics. Remember, before you can access Facebook analytics you have to have at least 30 Likes on your page. This incentivizes growing your following. Reaching 30 Likes should be as easy as asking people on your personal timeline to Like your Business Page. You’ll know when you’ve reached 30 people first by looking at your Like numbers, but you will also be acces to your analytics (Insights) at the top of your Business Page. Insights are your analytics. Upon opening Insights there will be another set of options; Overview, Likes, Reach, Visits, Posts, Videos and People. In this article we’ll focus on the tab marked “Posts.” At your leisure I suggest taking time to familiarize yourself with the rest of the tabs. Posts will tell you, amongst other things, how many of your followers are online on any given day, and how many of your followers are online at any given hour of the day. As a marketer this is important so you can market your product or service when most people are available. This is what we affectionately call “the Whale.” This tells us what time of the day your followers are are online. It does not tell us who’s online, just when the greatest concentration of people are online. The time of day is just below the Whale, along the bottom. At the top is how many followers are online on any given day. Using the graph above you will notice followers start coming online about 9am and top out 12 hours later at 9 pm. The most followers are online between 8 and 9 pm although the distribution is fairly steady starting at 9 am. The boxes above the Whale are the days of the week and show the number of followers that go online on any given day. Looking at the analytics the best day of the week to market is Tuesday (5,032 followers online) with the best time from 7-9 pm. This is not hard and fast, but something to be aware of and test, test, test, to find out the best times to post. This brings us to your post analytics. Scroll down below the Whale for post analytics. Analytics for published posts is the most valuable part of Facebook analytics. Of course they’re all important to a degree, but post analytics tell you how well your posts were received by your audience. Here’s how this works. Facebook will show you every post you’ve made along with the associated analytics; Reach and Engagement. Reach is how many people received your post. Engagement is how many people took action (clicked on something, Liked your post or Shared your post). I start by looking at Reach. You can easily scan through your Reach numbers to see which post had the greatest reach. Aha! Now you know which posts are most likely to get to their intended recipients. You can also order each area from highest number of people reached to lowest number of people reached. The beauty of this is you can tell which posts had the greatest reach and which posts had the least reach. To order posts click on the word “Reach” and the numbers will reorder from highest to lowest. Click again and they will reorder from lowest to highest. This is a quick way to discover the fruits of your labor. A post with a large reach indicates interesting and relevant content. A topic with a small or zero reach indicates the content missed the mark and you should consider refraining from presenting that certain type of information. At this point it is a waste of time. In the future you may want to try a similar post and see if it gets a similar response but for now focus on the posts with the greatest reach. Engagement shows the reaction your audience had to your posts. It shows what, if anything, your audience did with your posts. It shows 3 things; Likes, Comments and Shares; the action taken by your audience. This is a true gauge of post value. It is one thing for your audience to see your posts (Reach), but it is something totally different when they take action (Engagement). You will find the numbers not as big in the Engagement column as they are in the Reach column because there is less people reacting to your posts than are seeing your posts. A well-received post will have high Reach numbers with lots of Engagement (post clicks, Likes, Comments and Shares). Do Facebook analytics matter? Yes they do. Facebook analytics tell you how well you are doing with your Facebook posts and if you are delivering interesting and relevant content to your audience. As you become familiar with analytics you will start spotting trends and have a better understanding of your audience and how best to serve them. After you’ve mastered analytics you can fine tune your work to reach the greatest number of people and cause the biggest reaction. Good luck and be prosperous. Mike.
... View more
Many people want to know how I became successful. I tell them that I can sum my success up in one word; strong relationships. From the time I started my business in the mid-2000s, I watched successful businesses grow while I was looking for the secret to their success, then I could apply it to my business. As I watched businesses flourish my excitement grew. As a new entrepreneur I knew I was missing something and I had to find out what it was so I started watching the owners who built successful businesses. While I was watching successful businesses flourish, I also noticed a lot of businesses fading away. I took note of the “faders’ ” business practices too, but the majority of my time was spent watching success rather than failure. Anyone can fail, but I found the common denominator for success was the relationship the owners created with their customers. To state it differently, their success was not based upon one-time sales. When you build your business upon relationships, customers return again and again. I also saw a huge referral engine taking shape. Customers’ neighbors became customers, other companies became customers and so on and so on. This relationship creates an income stream. Wow!! That was what I was looking for; an income stream. When you have an income stream you can focus on building your business rather than constantly looking for ways to sell the same product or service over and over. You have time to be creative with your business. Income streams are based upon relationships. Once I realized thi s principle I knew I had to start building relationships if I was to stay in business. Relationships don’t just happen, you have to work on them, care for them, and nourish them. The payoff? A strong relationship between you and a person, company or organization breeds longevity. They keep coming back because they trust you. Not only are you building an income stream but you get to meet some pretty neat people, many of which will be influential in your career. Take time with the people who talk to you, they may be an angel for your business. Having realized relationships as an essential ingredient to building successful businesses, I started building relationships. The people with whom you build a relationship become your advocates. Your advocates tell others about you while at the same time they are actually pre-qualifying prospects. Make sure you spend time building quality relationships as you meet people. If you don’t have time for them at the moment, set a future date and time to meet them or coffee or lunch. You never know which relationship will help you build your next income stream. The only way I know to build a strong relationship is by communicating. An occasional phone call, an email every now and maybe send them a copy of your latest newsletter. Find the medium that works best for you and use it to perpetuate the relationship you have with your prospect or client. I like using email to maintain some of my relationships. I especially like using an email marketing system to communicate with my clients. An Email Marketing System like Constant Contact allows me to send what appears to be a personalized email to numerous clients or prospects all at once. Personalized means each email has each client or prospect’s name in the salutation. This personalization goes a long way to building, maintain, and solidify relationships. If you have not done so yet, give email marketing a try. You can try Constant Contact for free for 60 days or get signed up today for as little at $20/month. Constant Contact was a huge part in building my success. They helped my communicate with people I’d met a networking events, seminars, workshops, etc. If you want to be successful in business, build meaningful relationships. Go forward and be prosperous. Mike.
... View more
Penny54, You are very welcome. There are so many tools that I use on a daily basis so I'm starting to roll them out here so others can use them as well. Thank you for reading my post. Have a great day. Mike.
... View more
Cool Tools: Jing by Techsmith Free download: https://www.techsmith.com/jing.html Have you ever needed to capture a small part of your computer screen and didn’t have a way to do it? What about that elusive client logo that only exists on their website and you need it for a presentation? What do you do? I’ve found an answer. It’s in the form of an online tool called Jing. Jing comes from the TechSmith family of online tools. If you’re not familiar with TechSmith you may be familiar with some of their tools like Camtasia (my favorite), Snagit, Coach’s Eye, or Screencast. Their products are outstanding. Jing is a bit different than the other tools. Jing is missing something that is common to the rest of TechSmith’s army of tools; a price tag. Below is more information about Jing and my personal “how-to” video to get you started with Jing. If you’ve ever seen a yellow half sun at the top of someone’s PC screen, you’ve found someone who uses Jing. Jing is a free tool that does great captures. You can capture, then copy or save an image of anything you see on your computer screen. It allows you to do a small screen capture rather than having to capture the entire screen (PrtSc). Jing is a great way to do a quick screen capture of logos, pictures, or smaller pieces of information that you may want to post as a graphic or save it for later. Jing is one of the easiest tools I’ve found to perform screen captures. After you capture part of your computer screen with Jing, you have the option of copying it, so you can paste it directly into a document or Power Point slide, or save it for later to use in email marketing, event notifications, etc. Jing files can easily be imported into Constant Contact for use with one their many tools. After you’ve downloaded and installed Jing you’ll see your yellow sunshine at the top of your screen. To use Jing roll your mouse over the top of the half sun. Several “rays” of sunshine will show themselves with circles at the end of the “rays.” The circles are your menus. The far left circle with the plus sign is image “capture,” the middle circle is “history” and the far right circle is “more” (Feedback, Preferences, Help and Logout). Jing also makes it easy to create 5 minute or less screen capture videos. This length is a perfect amount of time to record a successful how-to video. Jing’s videos are saved as .swf (Shock Wave) files so you’ll have to make sure you have a video player that will play .swf files or use a conversion tool like Camtasia to convert it to an mp4 file. It’s very easy to use. I’ve never had to get help, but just in case you might need to get to the next level, Jing offers free step by step tutorials . If you’ve ever needed to do a screen capture, this is an easy, simple way to do it. Below is my how-to video to walk you through Jing. It’s a little over 6 minutes long (it’s not a Jing video, it’s Camtasia). Enjoy. See it on YouTube too. How to use Jing (v) Go forth and be prosperous! Mike Bitter, Founder and CEO Affordable Social Media, Inc. firstname.lastname@example.org
... View more
I’ve heard people talk about entrepreneurs and the way of life they see them living. They talk about how wonderful it is. Entrepreneurs seem to have free time to drop by their house in the middle of the day, spend time with their family, attend all their children’s events and so on. Then I’ve also seen people attempt to become entrepreneurs. Some are successful, but most fail. On the outside what “others” see looks like a wonderful life. What they don’t see are the countless hours entrepreneurs spend working to achieve their dreams. Entrepreneurs have a secret. What they do does not seem like work to them. It is what they enjoy doing. Entrepreneurs don’t know how to give up. Every year I see startups or people trying to “make a buck” being their own boss, being an entrepreneur. Because they are chasing money, most don’t make it past the first 18 months or so. Maybe the money doesn’t come as quickly as they thought so they give up. Most give up right before their business takes off or that big contract comes through. Being an entrepreneur is not about what you do as much as why you do it. Entrepreneurs view the world differently. I learned this from my grandfather and watched as what he told me played out in my father’s business. I’ll never forget the hours I spent with my grandfather. I would design something and he’d tell me to make a pattern so I could make several of the products I had designed. He taught me the principle of mass production. At eight years old this was a concept I hadn’t been exposed to yet. Another very important lesson he taught me was how to turn free wood, free nails, old scraps of cloth, etc., into a money making venture. From my father I learned what it meant to work, and work, and work to build a thriving business. My father also taught me about patience and how things come to those who wait. Waiting is the hardest thing to do as an entrepreneur because we want it yesterday. Above all, being an entrepreneur is about chasing your dreams and never stopping. I’ve found as soon as you stop chasing your dreams you don’t progress any further. In other words you become stagnant. Stagnant is a word you will not find in an entrepreneur’s vocabulary. They don’t have time to chit chat or spend much time talking about things because they’re too busy making their dreams come true. Now you are probably wondering what are some characteristics of an entrepreneur so I’ve put together the following list. I know it is not all inclusive, but these are some of the high level things I’ve seen entrepreneurs do. So how do you know if you’re an entrepreneur? Ask yourself these simple questions: 1. Are you flush with excitement in the morning and can’t wait to start work? 2. Do you find yourself getting out of bed in the morning and doing an hour or so of work before your family or significant other wakes up? 3. Are you unable to sleep because you have a burning idea and can’t wait to get started on it? 4. Do you find yourself impatiently waiting for your family to go to sleep so you can sneak away to your office and work for an hour or so before you go to bed or you get up in the middle of the night to work on the newest project you’ve recently thought about? 5. Are there never enough hours in the day to get everything done? 6. Do you find yourself talking to your family or significant other about the next greatest idea and they look at you like you’re crazy….or have they seen enough of your ideas to know you are fully capable of bringing them to fruition? 7. Do you sometimes feel like no one understands you or they don’t know how to support you when you embark on something that’s never been done before? If you can answer yes to at least four of these questions, you ARE an entrepreneur. What most people don’t understand about entrepreneurs is that we are driven and we don’t work normal hours. Our workday starts at midnight and ends at 11:59 pm. Drive and determination move entrepreneurs to success. You will rarely see them working because they are out making life better for others. One final thought. If you have a family like mine that supports all your hair brained ideas or allows you to spend hours working on something instead of helping them around the house, you are blessed. If your father, mother, sister, brother, or significant other allows you to chase your dreams, thank them. They too are making a sacrifice for you. Go forth and be prosperous.
... View more
Cool Tools: Google’s Todoist
There are so many cool tools to use with email and social media marketing that one could get lost in the fray of which one to use. As with most people I am listening to station WII-FM (what’s in it for me?). I want to know that if I spend several weeks or a month learning a new platform or piece of software that it will, in the end, save me time, make my business money or give me the ability to be more efficient during my day to day routine.
The most recent find that is making my work life more efficient is Google’s Todoist. It is a to-do list combining 13 platforms into one list of things to do. When my publisher told me about this I was apprehensive and needed some time to think about it. Remember, I am looking for time savings or ways to make my time more efficient. After downloading the app and putting it to the test, I’m sold. Here’s why it is my pick.
I average 100-200 emails each day. On top of that, I receive about the same about of SPAM each day. This drops my efficiency rating into the low category. Having a tool to manage my email as a task is awesome for anything I need to research before I answer the email or just wait for a more opportune time to answer those emails.
Todoist allows me to set an email as a task. I can identify the email in my Todoist as a task and put it in suspense for a later time. The beauty of this is as I am reading through my emails, I can identify my tasks for a time when I can appropriately “answer the mail.”
The really neat thing about this tool is you can use it in Gmail, Outlook, Windows, use it to identify a website task and on and on. You can use it on your android, iPhone, iPad, etc., etc., etc.
Google has hit a home run with this application. If you are like me and have multiple things going on at once this tool is for you. So far I’ve only used it for Chrome and Outlook. I found it easily integrates with these platforms and I can access that same to do list on my android phone.
If you are an entrepreneur with more tasks than you have hands or bandwidth for, Todost is a great tool to help you be more efficient, make more money and save time. You no longer have to sift through all your emails several times to find that one email that you should’ve answered yesterday.
Don’t forget to leave feedback. Tell us one or two cool things you learned about Todoist or why you chose not to use it. We want to know. Click on the logo below for a Cool Video about Todoist.
Go forth and be prosperous!
... View more
One of the questions I get asked on a regular basis is how to read an opt-out, and what exactly does and opt-out mean? Opt-outs definitely have a meaning with email marketing. Opt-outs are an indicator of your program, not the health of your business, and definitely not sheer death. It may feel that way, but you’ll live through opt-outs if you plan for them. The main thing to remember about an opt-out is someone has decided to remove themselves from one of your email lists. They are gone. If you are using Constant Contact you cannot add someone back into your system (legal requirement that Constant Contact takes care of for you) that has opted-out. Constant Contact’s handling of opt-outs is one of the biggest reasons I like using Constant Contact; they keep me legal. Don’t lose hope. There is a way to “get them back.” Although Constant Contact prevents you from adding back the email address from someone who’s opt’d-out, that person can reenter their email address and get back on your list. The reason I wanted to explain a little bit about opt-outs is because I’ve repeatedly seen opt-outs cause a negative emotional response from the owner of the mailing list. There seems to be confusion and sometimes hurt because someone chose to opt-out of their list. To alleviate some of the confusion, let’s break down an opt-out. An opt-out is when someone decides they no longer want to receive your emails. There are several reasons for an opt-out. As a business owner you should be aware of what they are so you can be prepared to take action if you need to. The reasons for an opt-out are: The list is new or is a transferred list. People on the list may not remember who you are or why they signed up for your mailing list. This is ok. You want to have a “clean” list; a list of people who want what you have and remember you. An aging list may start having less and less activity. As a business owner the following 3 reasons are the most important to monitor because they are indicators of the overall quality of your email marketing program. We’re assuming you have a clean list and have emailed to that list at least one time within the last 6 months. Sending too many emails Content is no longer interesting Content is no longer relevant Don’t get upset at your opt-outs, figure out what happened and fix it. If you send an email and there is an unusually high opt-out rate, you need to reread your email and see if there is something about the email (subject, content, placement, day of week, number of previous emails, etc.) that caused your opt-out numbers to jump. In the following example there were 14 opt-outs out of 2378 email addresses. That may seem like a lot, but it is .6% of the overall number of people who were sent this email. That’s les than one percent! Not bad, but we still want to see if there's a reason for the opt-outs. For this particular list we learned the owner of this list had not sent regular emails and the list had aged. Our summation was the content may no longer be relevant for those 14 people who more than likely may have a new role or changed companies. The main thing we use opt-outs for is as an indicator we are sending too many emails. Too many emails will kill your list probably quicker than anything else. You can and will have opt-outs. To compensate for opt-outs, continually build your list. I’ve watched as some companies think all they have to do is bring in several thousand email addresses and they’re done with their list. What they don’t understand is as people lose interest with your emails and they opt-out, you have to keep attracting others to build your list. Not everyone will stay on your list and not everyone will go. Get used to it, but don’t give up. As an email marketer you have to keep growing your list, or at least maintaining your list at a predetermined level. As people exit your email list, you have to bring on new people who’ve been recently excited about your product or service. They are your best advertisement. The takeaways: Use opt-outs as an indicator that something may need to be fixed or tweaked with your email marketing program. Keep building your list. Be innovative. Look for new and exciting ways to attract people to your email list. Build your email list to compensate for the opt-outs. If you don’t compensate for the opt-outs your list will dwindle and your program will become less and less effective. Constant Contact has a lot of information about how to build your list, read your analytics, etc. Take some time and go through their Knowledge Base or watch one of their many instructional videos. Above all be comfortable and confident in your email marketing program. We wish you well. If you are not a Constant Contact user you can test drive the Constant Contact Marketing Toolkit free for 60 Days. Click here Tell Me More about the 60 Day Free Trial for more information. Cheers, Mike.
... View more
If you have an active Constant Contact account, you have access to Free Market Research. Can you believe it? If you don’t have a Constant Contact account, at least sign up for their 60 FREE Trial. Here’s my story….I am an Accredited Local Expert (ALE) with Constant Contact and understand its capabilities, and am about to share one of them with you. With an active Constant Contact account that costs as little as $20 per month, you have the ability to do your own marketing research. You can research your market without having to pay someone to do it for you. Who knows your market better than you? Constant Contact offers multiple products and with each product you have the ability to do market research. You just need to know how, and that's what I'm going to show you. First off a little bit about Constant Contact. Within Constant Contact's email marketing system you have the ability to add hyperlinks to your stories. This is a great way to link your reader from an introductory paragraph or sentence to the bigger part of the information that you introduced in your email. Constant Contact keeps track of each click. More clicks, interest is high. Less clicks, lower interest. This is your market research. These analytics tell you what your readers like to read. Wallah!! It's free marketing research, albeit you are paying for Constant Contact's services to be able to use this capability. I am familiar with a lot of email marketing systems and Constant Contact is about the lowest priced marketing toolkit that I have ever seen. It's value as a marketing tool is worth way more than they charge each month. Now let's take this marketing research and put it into a strategy. Let’s say you are tasked with writing your monthly newsletter. The first thing you need to do is decide what to put into your newsletter. Our research has shown the best way to be effective with the email marketing is by publishing three somewhat unrelated articles (either created or curated) into your email. Each article will tell a story about the person who reads the email. The first thing Constant Contact will tell you is how many people received your email. Then Constant Contact will go on to tell you how many people opened your email. Don't be surprised if the number of people who open your email is a small number compared to the number of people in your email database. Instead look at your Open Rates that are delineated by percentages. Although it does not look like a lot of people opened your email, the Open Rates are a better representation. The average open rate for email is about 16% to 20%. That means if you have 100 people on your mailing list chances are somewhere between 16 and 20 people will actually open your email. That doesn’t seem like a lot when you look at 100 people in your database. Let’s look at this a bit differently. You now have the attention of 16 to 20 people. These are people who are interested in your product or service. It's like pre-qualifying your prospects. But here’s the catch. What are you going to give those 16 to 20 people in your newsletter to keep them interested and coming back? Here is where the 3 stories come in. Once again, find 3 somewhat different stories, or articles, about what you think those readers will want to find out about. For instance if you are a travel agent, one of your articles may be about taking a cruise, another article may be about taking a European vacation and the final article may be about going to Disneyland. The three stories you publish in email should target or give information about different products or services that you offer. Remember what I said earlier about how Constant Contact keeps track of clicks on the web link that is in your story? Here’s how we put that to work for us. Our travel agent has three stories about three different types of travel that they offer when they put the article about each one of those types of vacations in the email as 3 separate stories, the agent will add a link to more information chances are that additional information is can be on his website so when people click on it it actually takes under their website you have this capability within Constant Contact. Each story is a different type of vacation, so out of those 16 to 20 people the travel agent can find out what types of vacations each one of those people like. As long as they click on one of the links. This is the free market research that you get with as part of your Constant Contact toolkit. Every time somebody clicks on that link in your email Constant Contact will also let you know who they are. Not only does Constant Contact tell you how many people clicked on that link and who those people are, but Constant Contact will also build a separate mailing list for you so you can market directly to the people who chose a particular type of vacation. But I’ll see if I can clarify this a little bit. After the travel agent sends out his email he finds that 12 people clicked on the link for more information about a cruise, 5 people clicked on the link to find out more about a European vacation, and 3 people clicked on the link to get more information about Disneyland. Now the travel agent has three specific groups of people, the agent has three separate lists, and now they can market to each group of people based on the information that Constant Contact gave you about the email that you sent out. All you did was prequalify people for a product or service in this in this case it was both; a probably and a service. Marketing research is an extremely important part of Constant Contact that you need to know about when you using the product. The numbers are there for your consumption. Constant Contact is a great product and I hope if you haven't tried it yet you at least go to Constant Contact and sign up for a free 60 day trial. It doesn't cost you anything to get your trial started and Constant Contact won’t ask you for any payment information, Just your name and your email address. Cheers, Mike.
... View more
What a wonderful time of the year. The temperature is colder than normal. Music is playing. People are gifting. It is all in the spirit of the season. There’s something else that should be in the back of your mind. This is a great time to plan for next year. What will you do with and in your business in 2015? Have you started building your 2015 marketing strategy? If not, you’re not alone. In the next few minutes I'll walk you through an easy-to-get-started marketing strategy builder. Let's get started at the start with Strategy. Strategy If you want your 2015 marketing to be successful, you need to listen up. This is the time of year you should pull out your 2015 calendar and start jotting down notes. Here’s how it works. As you get time over the next few weeks, take your calendar (I use a blank Microsoft Outlook calendar) and jot down all the holidays for 2015. This will give you an idea of the types of campaigns you will need to run if your business is holiday driven (B2C). If your business is not holiday driven (B2 , then you’ll want to use holidays as a way to connect with your prospects. The next thing is adding all the events you can remember for 2015. For instance will you be attending a conference, going on vacation or making a business trip? Document it on your calendar. Document anything you feel will impact day to day operations. Your 2015 Strategic Plan is almost complete. The next part of your Strategic Plan is your campaigns. This is the where you’ll look closer at upcoming holidays and see how your campaigns fit into those holidays. Even if your campaigns do not fit in and around the holidays, find ways to use holidays to your benefit. Make holidays an event with your business. People like events. Social Media is event driven. Capitalize on those opportunities. When marketing near the holidays make sure to add your business hours so people know when they can and cannot get in touch with you. Holidays are also a good time to wish everyone a happy holiday. Extend it to their families too. After you have identified your holiday campaigns look for slow times during the year that you’ll need to step up your marketing. The intent of this process is to manage a consistent work load throughout the year. Application Now that you have all your campaigns identified for the year it will be much easier to put your strategy into action for the upcoming year. You’ll need to answer questions like: When will your campaign start? Is your campaign a social media only campaign or will you add an email campaign too? What is your offer (what do you want to attract)? Build campaigns at least 2 months in advance. This allows time for you to make any corrections before the campaign is launched. Schedule your campaign posts in advance. Your campaigns will launch as planned. This gives you time to work on your business and prepare for the door to start swinging. May you and yours have a joyous and happy holiday season, Mike Bitter, Founder and CEO Affordable Social Media, Inc. email@example.com
... View more
Marketing during the holidays changes. Those changes will happen differently if the business is a Business to Consumer (B2C) or Business to Business (B2 . Most B2B businesses have holiday breaks or times during the holidays when work slows down and people take their holiday breaks from work. It becomes a bit harder to get in touch with people and to do much prospecting. B2B businesses will do best by spending their marketing effort building relationships rather than directly marketing. As a B2B use this time of year to wish your clients and prospects happy holidays. Send a greeting card or two through email. Although marketing slows down, don’t forget to market your business when you send the greeting card. Here’s what I mean. Let’s take Thanksgiving or Christmas as an example Build your greeting card, and brand it for you and your company. Branding does not have to be obvious or distasteful, but consider the little things that your client or prospects can identify with. Include what day(s) you will be closed and when you will open again after the holidays. You want your prospects and clients to know this information. Did you include the important stuff like your phone number. Always, always have a call to action; call us for an appointment, send us an email, drop by, etc. Now let’s talk a little bit about B2C. B2C (Business to Consumer) is a different world than the B2B world. It is much more social and is more closely tied to us on a more personal level; our clothes, toys, food, togetherness. Keep in mind, 20%-40% of yearly sales are usually done November-January. If you are a B2C, this is your time to rock. How much of that 20%-40% will you make with your business? Below are a few marketing tips to use when doing email marketing during the holidays: Include a person’s name and the company name in the “From” line They will more than likely have an email address with the business name at the end. This helps to identify the person to the company Think of catchy “Subject” lines. They don’t have to make sense, just make them catchy. Don’t use lost leaders (telling people one thing and delivering something different). Stay focused with your marketing. Don’t overwhelm readers with a “lot.” Dazzle readers with a little and give them a link to the “lot.” Be sure the little bit you share is good. Use something popular and is selling well. What does B2B and B2C marketing have in common? Both types need a basic strategy to get the biggest bang for their buck. A few minutes building a marketing strategy allows you to maximize your marketing efforts. BUILD A STRATEGY before you start marketing. More next month. From my family and I we wish that your holiday celebrations be safe, happy and joyous, Mike Biter
... View more
Social Media Simplified In the next few minutes I’m going to do my best to explain the basics of Social Media Marketing to try and make it simple to understand. I own Affordable Social Media, Inc. in Omaha, Nebraska. We are a 7+ year old company. In those 7+ years, we’ve worked with just about every kind of business. As you can imagine, as a business owner I’m constantly looking for easier and better ways to market my business. My intent with my articles is to share that knowledge and experience with you. Social Media Marketing is made up of 4 things; the message (content), the sender, the vehicle that will transport and deliver the message (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blog or email marketing), and the receiver (propspect or client). If all these elements are aligned properly the prospect is qualified and converted into a new customer. The sender and receiver are self explanatory so I’ll spend time talking about the message and vehicle to transport your message. The internet is your superhighway. You have a message that needs to get to a receiver, but you have to choose which vehicle to transport and deliver your message. Your message has to be relevant and interesting to your audience or they won’t read it. Relevance can be determined by your audeience’s reaction to your message. Your audience may like nostalgia, football or other topics that you’ll need to determine to be successful. Your job as the sender is to get that message to them. Even if the message does not have anything to do with your business, your intent is to provide relevant and interesting information to keep your audience’s eyes on your sites. When you provide relevent and interesting content, your readers will keep coming back and will share your content with others. Now that you have an idea of what kind of content you’ll need, its time to choose a vehicle or vehicles to transport your message. The vehicle you choose is as important as your message. Use the vehicles (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blog or email marketing) you are most familiar with using. The process is to create the message, decide on which vehicle to use to get your message onto the internet superhighway, put your message into that vehicle (make a post) and send it on its way (hit the enter button). Before you know it people whom you never thought you’d reach will be contacting you for your product or at the very least, more information. Phone calls and inquiries become your opportunity to pitch your product or service to the person on the other end. Take care of your prospects and custiomers and they will keep coming back. Your business success depends on the strenght of the relationships you build along the way. Post relevant and interesting content and your audience will grow. Above all, be social. Mike.
... View more
In my last post I posed the question asking “which is more important, your product or prospects?” For some this may be a dumbfounding question, but one that needs addressing to be sure your priorities are what they should be. For me the answer is clear. Prospects are more important than the product. If you don’t have prospects, you can’t sell anything because there won’t be anyone to buy your product. How do you prospect with social media? The first thing you need to do is get people interested in your social site (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.). You will attract certain types of people depending on the content you post. Decide what types of people you want to attract then post content they find relevant and interesting. This will keep them coming back and makes it easy to slip in an ad or two whenever you want. Interesting and Relevant. When I explain the theory of interesting and relevant content I use the analogy of BMW car sales person. Just so everyone knows I love BMWs and that’s why I talk about them so much. For the BMW car sales person to attract people who like BMWs he or she will have to make posts about BMWs. For the sales person to be successful with Social Media Marketing, they will post content that is interesting and relevant to people interested in BMWs. If the BMW car sales person posted about Chevys, Fords and Dodges, they would attract buyers who like Chevys, Fords and Dodges. Content attracts like-minded people. So how do you know what type of people your posts are attracting? There are numerous ways to get people’s interest, but are you specifically attracting people who are interested in your product? Your Social Media Analytics will tell you if your content is attracting the right people. Here’s how. After you’ve posted 2 or 3 times each week for 2-3 weeks review your social site’s analytics. Your site’s analytics will tell you what types of people you are attracting. After reviewing your analytics decide if you are attracting the types of people you targeted to purchase your product. What do you look for in the analytics? The first area to look at with your analytics is the number of “Hits” or Reads you have with each post. Decide what types of information people are most likely to read because that information is what gets people to your site. If you don’t have prospects (readers) on your site, you don’t have anyone who will buy your product(s) or use your service(s). The next analytic is Engagement. People are more likely to buy when they are engaged. You may have lots of hits, but little engagement. If your other posts are getting engagement, then you have an engaging audience and one you can work with. If you do not have an engaging audience, you need to do something about it. Change content, get more radical and attention getting. Find out what your audience likes, then feed them interesting and relevant content. Knocks on the door get people’s attention. Engagement Drives Sales. Keep your readers entertained with 3-4 great, information-packed posts for every 1 marketing post. It’s like Paige Cahill, Regional Business Development for Constant Contact always says, “If you sell, sell, sell, you’ll fail, fail, fail.” Remember to use content that is relevant and interesting to your readers. Contact us directly for more information. Above all, be social. Mike Bitter, Founder and CEO Affordable Social Media, Inc. Mike@ASMOmaha.com
... View more
Product or Prospect?
As you may or may not know I do quite a few presentations each year. Before I start my presentations I like to find out if attendees’, which are largely business owners and entrepreneurs, priorities are in the right place when it comes to Social Media Marketing.
There is one question that will normally give me the answers I need. The question I ask is “which is more important, prospects or a product?” Sometimes I get a deafening silence. Many business owners are so focused on their product they forget about prospects and prospecting. Business owners need to realize prospects and prospecting are the lifeblood of any company.
It does not matter if you have the best product in the world if you don’t have prospects. Social Media Marketing is based upon prospecting. It is not built around a product, and this is where many businesses go wrong in their thinking. Prospecting is part of the equation, but we cannot lose sight of building relationships with prospects. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
From a business sense, selling a product makes money but relationships build income streams. If a person wants to only sell products they don’t have to build relationships. But if that same person wants an income stream over a long period of time they need to build their relationships.
Income streams create security in a person’s life. When you have an income stream versus income based on individual sales, you can take vacations with your family, you can get sick without having to worry about money, and you can afford some of the finer things in life.
Prospects or products? Social Media Marketing is about building an audience of Followers (Twitter), or people who like you want to Connect (LinkedIn) with you, Like you (Facebook) or tweet about you. After you build your social media audience you can start presenting products to groups of people that you’ve built a relationship with. When you present to several hundred or several thousand people through Social Media, you will sell more products (making money) and build better relationships (income streams).
If you have a product that does not sell, you first have to decide if your product fits the demographics of your followers. If it doesn’t, start building relationships with people whom you feel are more appropriately suited for your product, or try offering a different product to your social network. Social Media Marketing and income streams are all about building relationships.
Above all, be social.
Mike Bitter, Founder and CEO
Affordable Social Media, Inc.
... View more
In Social Media Marketing, groups of information are electronically tied together. Knowing how these groups are tied together is a key to making a business successful on the Internet. Internet success can be done using any social media platform if you know about the keys success. Whenever I teach a Social Media Marketing class I ask business owners to write down 5 words that their customer would use to find them on the Internet. Sometimes I get blank stares. If I see too many blank stares I explain that we are looking for 5 keywords that a lead, prospect or customer would use to find them on the Internet. These are not necessarily the same 5 words that a business owner would use to find their business. Do you have your 5 keywords yet? Remember, we are looking for 5 keywords that people would use if they were looking for you on Google. It is sometimes hard for business owners to think from the outside in because they spend so much time on the “inside.” They get so knowledgeable about their business that sometimes it's hard for them to think like a prospect or a customer. If you have not done so yet, take pen and paper and write down 5 keywords that your customer uses to find you. And then I'm going to tell you what to do with those 5 keywords. The Internet is made up of bits of information that are connected electronically. The electronic connection is made by a technological process that involves crawlers. A crawler’s day and night are spent finding consistent uses of bits of information, then cataloguing the information’s whereabouts and make them available as most relevant to that particular search criteria. When keywords are being used over and over again crawlers notice the persistence and move the content ranking, based upon the keywords up in the Google rankings. The crawler also connects those keywords back to other groups of information similar in nature. So how does all this tie into Social Media Marketing? One of the main objectives in Social Media Marketing is to get noticed by as many people as possible. Isn’t that what every business owner wants? The more people that see your business the more opportunity you have to convert people from prospects into leads and leads into customers. Let’s put all this together Whenever you make a blog post, Facebook post, tweet, email marketing piece or a YouTube video description, mention at least 2 or 3 of your keywords. Each time you post or if you decide to write a series of articles use the same keywords throughout your series. This will attract the Internet's (crawler’s) attention and get you noticed quicker than anything else I am currently aware of. So the 1st step is to develop your 5 keywords. The 2nd step is to use those keywords consistently and persistently in your postings. The Internet crawlers will notice that you are using certain keywords persistently from your social media sites and they will start noticing you. As your postings get noticed, they will bubble to the top of the Google rankings. Get going and get noticed!
... View more
Automating your email marketing is easy to do. You start by creating a series of messages, and then schedule them in your autoresponder. When a customer makes a purchase or signs up for one of your mailing lists the series of automated messages (autoresponders) you created for that list will be delivered at the time you designate. That’s all there is to it. Autoresponders can consist of newsletters, invitations, coupons, promotional offerings, and more. An automated email marketing system provides everything you need to design, send, and monitor your email marketing campaigns. Create vibrant, attractive messages with any of our ready-to-go HTML templates or design your own. Don't forget about building your mailing list. Building your amiling list is as easy as creating a sign-up form with our web form generator, settng up our Facebook application, QR Code generator or one of many, many other ways. You also want to measure your campaigns performance. Robust reporting tools measure the effectiveness of your emails with analytics on who opens, reads, and responds to your campaigns. By knowing your campaign's analytics you will become a much more effective email communicator. Autoresponders are the holy grail for email marketing. Create your automated emails, enter them into the autoresponder, schedule them and wallah! Your automated email responds whether you are working or not.
... View more
When reading through your LinkedIn profile ask yourself these 5 questions: Is my profile picture a reflection of what I want to portray to your audience? Does my Profile Summary speak to me or my audience? Your profile should speak to your audience in a way that compels them to take action. Are all dates, locations and connections correct? LinkedIn will connect you with people who have shared common life experiences….based upon your profile information. Did I use 3-5 keywords in my Profile Summary that my audience uses to find me? LinkedIn will connect you with people who are looking for you, your company and/or your product or services; make it easy for them. Is grammar and spelling correct? When you can say yes to all 5 questions, your internet visibility will increase tremendously. As your internet visibility increases, so does the number of people to whom you can market.
... View more