Social Media Marketing – Facebook, Twiter, Digg

Getting your company or personal website to rank on the three major search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN) is the quickest and most effective way to boost your sales and grow your business. Many search engine optimization (SEO) companies charge an arm-and-a-leg for ranking services, when you can do much of the work yourself for a fraction of the cost.

Marketing your business online is easier, and more importantly cheaper, than you probably realize. By using free web marketing tools and capitalizing on free social mediums you can easily drive traffic to your website and interact with your customers for no cost and very little time. Online social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube require nothing more than a valid email account and password, and give your business free access to millions of potential customers. Social bookmarking sites such as Digg and StumbleUpon are a couple more free resources that will spread your product or message like wildfire.

Social media, also known as Web 2.0, is no longer for the kids. Don’t be fooled by the flashy profiles and young founders; networking online has become the driving force behind many marketing campaigns. Social marketing is still a new strategy for many major companies, but with literally hundreds-of-millions of users from all demographics, these free platforms provide great potential. According to a recent article on Forbes.com, social media outlets allow CEO’s and companies to interact with their customers daily in a highly productive way. Starbucks, for example, uses Twitter to get direct feedback from customers and update them on new products.

The majority of Web 2.0 users are between the ages of 18-34, and while MySpace still attracts the younger crowd, Facebook, Squidoo, and even LinkedIn are great for reaching the buying public in an innovative way. The best part about these free networks is that they come with built-in blog, photo, and email applications. These are the tools that make conveying your message and redirecting traffic to your site easier then ever.

There are two simple things to remember when setting up a social networking account: use keywords in your profile name, and use a catchy profile picture. Your profile picture is the first thing that customers will see when browsing the internet or considering your online ‘friendship.’ Your profile picture can be your logo, but in some cases it is preferable to set up an account as the company CEO, rather than as the business itself. If you are a photographer, for example, it is well worth your time to set up a Flickr profile with examples of your best work. By setting up a free account as an individual, you can blog about your work on upcoming projects, post pictures of your business convention, and interact on a more personal level. While statistics show that a certain amount of trust is already given to a social network ‘friend,’ that trust only enhances when the interaction is with an individual instead of a business.

Setting up a social profile, whether it be on Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter involves finding the “Sign Up” tab (or “Join” tab) usually located on the right-hand-side near the “Sign In” tab. You will be prompted to enter your email address and new password. I would suggest using your company email or setting up a free Gmail account using your business name.

When creating a profile on YouTube and Twitter, you will be instantly asked for a username. You basically have two options here: use your company name or use an optimized keyword name. Use free online tools such as Wordtracker and Google Keywords to research what names will attract more traffic. If your business name is already optimized, then you have the best of both worlds. Keep in mind that this will be how a customer finds you on these social platforms. When a user searches for new ‘friends,’ they will enter a keyword to find profiles. For example, if a MySpace user is searching for an Arizona Cardinal’s fan, they will type in the keyword Arizona Cardinals. If you happen to have a business selling Cardinal’s apparel, using this keyword is highly productive for you.

Use the free online tool CheckUserNames.com to simultaneously check multiple social networks for user name availability. From this site you can test your keyword optimized profile name, and sign up for many accounts quickly and easily.

When it’s time to fill in your personal information, don’t be too professional. Have some fun with it while conveying your company’s message. In order to update your personal information on MySpace, you’ll have to go to “Edit Profile” under the “Profile” tab near the top of your screen. From this page you will be able to change the look of your profile and add to your “About Me” section.

After creating your account, you will have to check your email to authenticate your profile. This is why you must use a valid email address. Follow the setup steps as prompted, and within a matter of minutes you have created your first social marketing site. Of course, it’s definitely not advised that you simply come out and post your product all over the network. That is a great way to get blocked and rejected by every user on every platform. MySpace comes equipped with a “Spam” tab to use when you send an unwanted or commercial email. If too many of your recipients mark your email as “Spam,” you run the great risk of being banned from MySpace.

Once your profiles are created and customized, it’s time to get down to work. Remember, you can have an account in every social network and can optimize each one to drive traffic back to your site. The more free profiles that you have, the more opportunity you give yourself to organically rank higher on search engine report pages (SERPS). By organically, I simply mean to rank on the top three search engines without paying for it through Pay-Per-Click strategies or paid advertising.

Each Web 2.0 platform thrives under different strategies. MySpace is a great platform for “shock-and-awe.” Search engine guru’s still typically stay away from this free medium. However, if you’re targeting a younger crowd, have a band or gaming product, this is the perfect free resource. Tools such as Pyzam will help you build your site with flair. To market your profile, use some of your email marketing skills to reach “friends.” Use a lot of art, photos and videos to convey your message. MySpace is an extremely visual medium, and you can use this to your advantage. Use banners that redirect traffic to your site. Embed links in every picture, video, and piece of artwork on your profile that will lead traffic back to your website.

In order to find your market customer, follow the “Friends” tab to “Find Friends,” where you can search by age, gender, location, and even interests. Find your customer and let them know who you are without sounding like a used car salesman. Build your profile with multiple links back to your website.

Advertising on MySpace is just as easy as setting up a profile, and, though it may take a little cash, it will drive traffic to your site. Facebook advertising is built to allow you complete control of who is seeing your ad. You create it, select exactly who will see it, how much money you are willing to spend, and an advertising timeframe. Be smart about how you word your ad, what photos or logo you use, and the money you are willing to spend. Check your numbers frequently, keeping in mind that weekends will show different results than weekdays.

After you have secured “friends” on these social networks, it couldn’t be easier to tell them anything and everything you want. For example, let’s say you have a new product coming out, or a discounted special. By simply posting a bulletin on MySpace, writing a blog, or posting a note on Facebook, you can reach all of your customers at once. Every time you update your website in any way, you should let your customers know. This is a great way to keep things interactive and personal between you and your Web 2.0 “friends.” By attaching or embedding a link back to your website, and a few bookmarking options, you are taking your social marketing to the next level.

Social mediums such as MySpace and Facebook have an amazing way of spreading photos, videos, gossip, and most of all, questioners and personality tests. By using a simple SEO strategy known as link baiting, you can drive traffic to your site. Create a simple questioner about almost anything from a users favorite things to what they had for lunch, and send it to your friends or post it on your profile. Entice your “friends” to fill out the questioner and send it to their friends, and the cycle will continue throughout the network. It may seem like a small process, but creating a small quiz or questioner will end up reaching for more people than you might imagine.

Twitter is a social network that you truly must be a part of. It’s unique in the way that it allows you to consistently update your status without being too obnoxious. The whole purpose of Twitter is to literally let your “friends” know what you’re doing in every second of every day. Use Twitter to inform customers of upcoming events, specials, and newly posted articles and blogs. Let customers know how you’re feeling about popular news, or a company event. Don’t be too professional, but send relaxed and informational messages to your “friends” on a constant basis. Embed links back to your site, or to a recent blog that you posted.

YouTube is another free social venue that is quickly becoming the SEO guru’s dream, and while it may take a bit more technical knowledge, it can be your greatest free marketing tool. Filming a short video, or throwing together a quick slideshow with music, and adding a link directing people to your site, is all the work you need to do. It rarely even matters what the video is about, as long as it’s entertaining and under about three minutes. You can simply use your Windows MovieMaker to edit the video, add music, a title and credits. Be sure to include a reference to your website.

How-To videos are, and will continue to be, in demand and creating one that is short and informational will do wonders for your website. Do a little research on Google Trends or Yahoo Buzz to find out what the hot topics are, and talk about them. If you’re a gamble, make a controversial video (or blog). If you can get people interested and talking, you will definitely get them to your site. This will also persuade people to bookmark your video (or blog) to share the controversy with others.

The key to YouTube marketing is filling your video description with keywords and links to your website. The only way that your video will be found is through the description that you give it. Be specific to either what your video is about, or what your business is about, without sounding too much like that used car salesman. Make your description as long as you need to, as long as the link to your website is within the first few lines. These will be the first words that a viewer will see in your description. By using optimized keywords, when users search for YouTube videos via Google or YouTube itself, your video will be at the top of the list. Don’t be afraid to comment on your own video, or have a friend or employee comment to get the ball rolling.

Post the videos you make on other video sharing sites such as MySpace and Meta Tube, and before you know it your video will rank on Google alongside your Facebook page and company website. If you have built your social profiles and video descriptions with smart links to redirect traffic, you should notice your numbers going up.

Another free Web 2.0 marketing tool is social bookmarking. Creating a profile on sites such as Digg and StumbleUpon is similar to creating your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Bookmarking sites are used to spread the word about interesting blogs, articles, and websites. For example, on Digg a user will post a story that he found interesting about Obama’s stimulus package. He will “shout” it out to all of his friends, where they’ll “Digg” the article and pass it to their friends. The more Digg users that see this link, the more readers this Obama article gets. The New York Times uses Digg as its number three resource to drive traffic back to its website. If you can harness the power of social bookmarking sites like Digg, you will drastically improve your traffic. This is why it is crucial that anytime you post a blog on Myspace, a video on YouTube, or an article on your personal or company website, you must add some bookmarking options for your readers.

Adding bookmarking options to your blogs involves one simple step. It’s an embed code that you will place directly into your work. Check out AddThis.com to get the code and customize your bookmarking options. SocialMarker.com is another great free resource for creating accounts on many different bookmarking platforms and easily accessing those accounts. This is a platform that will actually take you from site to site, allowing you to open an account or add your blog one by one.

An SEO strategy that has been implemented by many marketing companies is to combine RSS feeds with social bookmarking. (An RSS feed is a way of syndicating your content throughout the internet to anyone who is subscribed to receive it). Your employees should all be subscribing to your RSS feeds already. Anytime you post a new blog or article, they should be automatically notified. Their step is to choose one of the many free bookmarking sites, post your blog on that site, and thus spread the word to their Web 2.0 “friends.” If each of your employees bookmarks your blog, it will appear to the search engines that you must have something relevant and important to say. Your next step is to bookmark your bookmarking profile. This will only add more relevance to your blogs and articles.

Something to consider when doing social marketing is your online reputation, and the reputation of other users. By using the free online tool Trackur.com, you can monitor yourself as well as others across many social mediums. While this product is not entirely free, it can come in handy when you need to know the atmosphere of your online network. Tweetbeep.com is a great free resource that allows you to track who is talking about you on Twitter, what they are saying, and how often they are saying it. Lastly, by using Google Alerts and setting it up manage your online reputation as well as monitoring your competitors reputation, you can stay completely informed at all times. These are great tools for staying on top of what is new in your industry, what people in your industry are talking about, what they are saying about you, and how well your social marketing strategy is going.

Social marketing is free, easy, and incredibly useful if you know how to take advantage of it. While it’s still a new medium, and SEO guru’s are still learning how to capitalize on it, by using these simple steps you can drive traffic to where you want it absolutely free. Take some time to do your research on keywords and effective social strategies by simply Googling social network marketing. Use the sites like MySpace, Facebook, Squidoo, and LinkedIn to get your product known. Make the most of social bookmarking sites, exploit the opportunities your own employees can offer you through their online profiles and bookmarking pages. By converging many different aspects of social media, and implementing social strategies, you will no doubt watch your sales go up. It may take a little longer to see your website rank higher on Google or Yahoo, but in time this completely free online SEO technique will work towards your advantage.

The Marketing Technique Of Free Tips And How To Use It

Are you giving out free reports to your customers and clients? What kind of results are you getting from it? If you’re someone who isn’t tracking their sales and profits, then you won’t know what works and what doesn’t, and you’ll spend a lot of your time wasting money on techniques that aren’t even working for you.

Free tips can help you to gain more new customers in a hurry. This is similar to the free report method that I wrote about in a different article of mind. I believe that all business owners can use the free tips, and it’s something that you should put into action starting today.

Like I said, it doesn’t matter what business you’re in – you’ll make more money with the free tips method. Sure some businesses will probably do better if they ran free sample, free consultation, or free analysis of some sort, but the free tips method will definitely help you to bring in more sales and prospects for you.

Never delude yourself from thinking that you can’t use this technique to boost your business. If you’re a marketing consultant, you could offer free tips. If you’re a barber shop owner, offer some tips on how to keep their clean and in top shape. If you’re a pizza shop owner, you probably will better mailing out coupons instead of offering free tips, but I mentioned above that not all businesses will be able to use the free tips method.

If you’re someone who sells information products, the free tips method is your best friend. All you have to do is run an ad, offer a free report, mail out the free report along with your sales letter, and collect payment. It’s as simple as that. But to make it work, your ad has to be good enough to attract a lot of visitors to your 1-800 number or your website.

This is a strategy that will be here for the long term. I know for a fact that it still works well now, and that it will continue to work well for the near future. So be sure to get on this train to ride the beam of light into profitability. Don’t believe me? Simply give it a chance for yourself, and you’ll see how profitable these techniques really are.

Free tips can be a great way to gain new customers. All you need is a strong plan, a good product, and a good list to mail to. And if you’re doing lead generation advertising, more than likely the list that you have is up to date. So all that’s left to do now is to convert these leads into customers.

Be sure to use these tips to make as much money as possible in your business today. I’m confident that they will work for you, because they’re currently working for me as we speak. So put these tips into action right away – they are that powerful, and they won’t let you down.

Good luck with using these tips to make the most money in your business as possible.

12 Month Marketing Calendar – Your Turn-By-Turn Navigation System To Business Success

As every smart business owner knows, marketing your business should be a CONSTANT effort. It’s something you need to continuously doing in order to keep your pipeline full of interested and qualified prospects.

However, for many, life simply gets in the way, obstacles arise, and all the good intentions seem to fade. As a result, you come to your senses one day and realize your pipeline’s dry as a bone and you’re struggling just to survive.

One way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to create a detailed day-by-day calendar of marketing tasks and activities to be completed over the next 12 months.

Creating this calendar acts very much like the GPS turn-by-turn navigation system in your new car. You tell it where to go (writing out your goals) and as you move along the journey (going through the year) the system tells you where to turn (the marketing activities to complete) in order to arrive safely at your final destination.

In order to help you create a magical marketing calendar, here are 7 key steps to keep in mind:

1. Plan out the entire 12 months in advance.

By laying out the full 12 months ahead of time, you lay out the entire year’s journey ahead of you. This is what gives you the turn-by-turn direction needed to achieve the goals you’ve laid out for your business.

2. Plan a ‘campaign’ every month.

As you plan the full 12 months, it’s important to create an ‘activity’ or ‘campaign’ for each and every month of the year. This does a couple of things for you.

First, it gets you in the marketing mindset. Doing something each and every month forces you to think about marketing more consistently and it should encourage you to study and learn good marketing principles.

Second, it helps develop name recognition with your target market. While small businesses should NEVER waste money on branding type marketing, developing some name recognition as a side benefit of good direct response marketing is a good thing. Being consistent with your marketing helps make this happen.

3. Pick a theme for each campaign.

One of the biggest sins of marketing is being boring. With as much advertising as your prospects are subjected to, it’s important to be interesting and picking a theme for each month’s campaign helps generate interest.

To create an interesting theme use current events in the local or national media, holidays, movies, or anything else that you can create a character or story around.

4. Target your efforts at prospects, customers, and partners.

To create a pipeline that’s always full, you need to tap as many resources as possible. It’s impossible to rely on just one method to create a steady stream of interested, qualified prospects and by directing your activities at generating new business via prospects, your existing customers, and joint venture partners, your chance of filling your pipeline increase substantially.

5. Be flexible.

Now, even though your plan is for a full 12 months, there may be obstacles or detours in the road the cause you to adjust your course. Be flexible enough with your plan to accommodate these changes. Doing so will ensure you the ability to make the necessary adjustments that will allow you to reach your destination.

6. Schedule periodic checkups.

A big key to success with your plan is the ability to check your progress and make changes as needed. To make sure these periodic check ups occur, schedule appointments in order to make sure they happen.

7. Stick to your plan!

This is quite possible the BIGGEST key to success with your 12 month marketing calendar. After going through the time and effort required to create your calendar, it would be a shame to not put it to use.

So, as soon as you finish creating your step-by-step marketing roadmap, make the resolution to STICK TO IT! Don’t allow life’s ups and downs deter you from carrying out your plan.

If you know where you want to take your business in the next year, the only way to ensure your safe arrival at the final destination is to clearly map out your path. Creating this 12 month magical marketing calendar will give you the direction you need to achieve some phenomenal results.