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seo-analyticsWhat analytics tool is best for you? Is that the question on your mind? Analytics are a must as it is the best means to gather and analyze your web content’s data. With analytics, you can glean the requisite information on the popularity of your website. It’s best to use free analytics tools, in the beginning to compile and measure your website performance. I have listed the top TEN free web analytics tools here. Feel free to add any other tools, which you have used:

Google Analytics: The reining King of all Analytics Tools! One of the most powerful, flexible tools, which comes with easy-to-use features to let you see and analyze your traffic data in an entirely new way. Custom reporting is definitely a tool to reckon with. With Google Analytics, you're more prepared to write better-targeted ads, strengthen your marketing initiatives and create higher converting websites.

Yahoo! Web Analytics: This enterprise-level, robust web-based third-party solution, is an alternative to Google’s Analytics. Yahoo! has integrated its acquisition of IndexTools, a leading provider of web analytics software, with its own systems to provide a free full featured enterprise analytics solution which also now provides insight into the demographics and category interests of your website visitors. Powerful and flexible dashboards, segmentation tools, and campaign management features make it faster and easier for online marketers and website designers to learn about and align with each audience.

Snoop: This Java Script tool can be downloaded for Mac and PC. Its features include:

  • Real-time Notification: A dedicated asynchronous (non-polling) connection is maintained with Reinvigorate. You'll know the instant someone makes a comment on your blog, posts in your forum, purchases an item, gets referred from another site, etc.
  • Audible Events: Each event triggers a unique sound. If you're caught up in your work, or in another room, you don't have to worry about missing events.
  • Name Tag Integration: Snoop features automatic integration with Name Tags so you'll know exactly who your visitors are.
  • Piwik: This is an open source and is built with PHP and MySQL. To use it, you have to install it on your own server. At the end of the five minute installation process you will be given a JavaScript tag. Simply copy and paste this tag on websites you wish to track (or use an existing Plugin to do it automatically for you). The Plugins system opens up possibilities for you to create your own custom extensions. Try the online demo!

Blog Tracker: If you want to track visitors to your blog, this is the best tool for you. It is an invisible tracker that will count your blog visits and other blog statistics. This product is completely free! You can even try an online live demo. All you need to do is register for an account and insert a small piece of code into your blog so we will start gathering statistics for your blog. Then you will be able to analyze and monitor all the visits to your blog in real-time!

Woopra: This is an information rich, easy to use, real-time Web tracking and analysis application. By signing up for a Woopra account, you will be able to add websites and download the Woopra client. The Woopra Installation Guide page contains comprehensive help and information.

FireStats: This is a free web statistics system, which is available free of cost for commercial usage. For more information, you can look at the Live Demo.

GoingUp: Apart from graphing keyword positions over time, GoingUp combines statistical information including visitors, referring URLs and even search engine traffic. You can even set custom tracking events to see sales, downloads and subscribes!

Clicky: Its slick interface will work with any website, including AJAX or Flash based sites. The AJAX-based interface is fully customizable and is user friendly. To use Clicky, you need to sign-up to the service and insert two lines of HTML code to your blog or website template, as simple as that. About half an hour after that, you can access your Clicky account again and start viewing analytics data flowing in.

JAWStats: JAWStats is a free, open-source website statistics and analytics package. It runs in conjunction with AWStats and produces clear and informative charts, graphs and tables about your website visitors. Try the online demo.

Here’s to measured online success!

conversion-formYou don’t have to spend a fortune to increase sales or leads for your website. There are a number of free and easier techniques you can use for increased website conversion. Consider the case of any service based website. You are probably hoping that your website alone will be enough to help generate leads for your business.

It is hard to quote a price for many services without gathering more information from your client. Then, what do you do? How do you get your visitors to leave their contact details so you can contact them by e-mail or telephone?

Ideally, you want your visitors to check your website and fill out a [conversion] form with their contact details so you can get in touch with them to further discuss how your services will help them. Keep in mind, no one wants to fill out a long form! A short, discrete conversion form will help convert your visitors to leads. Images on the form also make a difference to the number of leads.

The Ideal Form for Your Website

  • Outline the metrics of your marketing campaign before you develop a form for your website.
  • Depending on the needs of your website, you might require a short or medium form
  • Most often, the form has to be short, professional and attractive so it can entice the visitor to fill the required details
  • Reduce the number of fields in your form and ensure that the visitor is not going to fill in unnecessary details
  • Your form should be placed higher on the page so it is clearly visible without the need to scroll
  • Remove the main navigation from the page if possible
  • Guarantee privacy to anyone who uses the form. You can do this by placing a link to your site’s Privacy Policy in the form itself
  • Visitor will feel added trust in your site and form of he/she finds a customer testimonial in the form area as well
  • Some freebies in exchange for the visitors contact details are a good enticement
  • For added lead generation and return visitors, add the collected emails to your future email marketing campaigns

Apart from all this, it is important to change the form on your website from time to time. While you change the form, review the changes to the number of leads. If you are annoying your visitors with little or no content and long forms to fill, you may be discouraging repeat visits.

email-1There are a plethora of reasons to send out an eMail Newsletter. Here are just a few:

  • Announce changes at your business (new product, employee, services!)
  • Broadcast a sale or special promotion
  • Link to a downloadable coupon
  • Showcase informative and educational news pertinent to your business or industry and how it impacts your clientele!
  • Link to new content or features on your website
  • Remind them of upcoming events
  • Announce a new product
  • Link to a free PDF download
  • Share your blogs with them
  • Announce a grand opening
  • Publicize your new website presence
  • Make known your latest projects or newsworthy items (toot your own horn!)

Sign up for eMail Marketing for FREE for 60 days, and we'll put a FREE "Subscribe" form on your website to start gathering your visitors email addresses!

joomla internet marketing

  1. Foundation of the site is key. Ensure you have it built to current W3C standards utilizing such technologies as HTML, CSS and PHP
  2. Include meta-tags and keywords relative to content
  3. Body text and headings should support and reiterate keywords
  4. List your business for free on Google Maps
  5. Create a Google AdWords campaign
  6. Add a conversion form to your site
  7. Analyze your web traffic and adjust accordingly
  8. Use Google Analytics to check visitor trending such as, keyword usage and adjust accordingly
  9. Create a traffic funnel for how you want clients to navigate through your site
  10. Increase your external links to your site
  11. Periodically check for non-functioning or broken internal and external links
  12. Increase hits back to your site by doing regular email/eNewsletter marketing campaigns
  13. Add a "bookmark this page" to your site so customers can easily come back
  14. Add an "email this page to a friend" link to your site
  15. Don't use flash on your site
  16. Don't use frames on your site
  17. Don't use tables on your site
  18. Don't belong to a weblink or link ring. They don't work
  19. Regularly check your standing in popular search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) using keywords potential clients would be using
  20. Be sure your site loads quickly with graphics optimized for the web
  21. Keep content fresh as search engines seek out pages that are frequently updated and receive hits
  22. Be sure all links internal and external are all working
  23. Your website address should be printed on all business and marketing items
  24. Advertise your site in the many free online classifieds to increase traffic
  25. List your site with the hundreds of search engines out there - many are free
  26. Use text instead of images to tell of important links or information
  27. Purchase your domain name for long periods of time. Search engines see that as a stable, notable site.
  28. Submit a Sitemap (not sitemap) to search engines so they know of additional content

Finding you don't have the funds to purchase Photoshop? Maybe you've tried to learn it, but just can't invest the time required to learn the intricacies of the program. Whatever the case, we have scoured the net in search of the best free web-based image editors. These are great alternatives to Photoshop because they are easy to use and available online, for free!

Pixlr: This online photo editor is equipped with layers, history, custom brushes and other features. The GUI resembles Photoshop. You can use the express version if you just want to focus on basic features like resize, crop etc.

Sumo: Sumo Paint is a powerful web-based graphics editor with a variety of different editing tools. It can be used as a paint program and photo editing program. With Sumo Paint, you can save your artwork on your computer but also on Sumo account in the web. This allows you to open your images from any computer. All you need is a network connection. Here is a list of some of Sumo Paint's awesome features:

  • Shapes Tool
  • Layers With Blending Modes
  • Awesome Brushes
  • The Ink Brush Tool
  • Filters Sumo
  • Gradient Tool
  • Gravity
  • Shape Trails
  • Zooming
  • Symmetry Tool
  • Color Picker
  • Swatches
  • Smudge Tool
  • Custom Shape Tool

Splashup:This is a powerful editing tool and photo manager. With the features professionals use and novices want, it's easy to use, works in real-time and allows you to edit many images at once. Splashup runs in all browsers, integrates seamlessly with top photo-sharing sites (It is integrated with Flickr, Facebook, Picasa, and more), supports layers and even has its own file format so you can save your work in progress.

Aviary: From basic image retouching to complex effects, Phoenix Image Editor from Aviary delivers the key features of a desktop image editor with the simplicity and accessibility of a web-based application.

pixer.us allows you to edit your photos online using your browser. You can upload your photo using the "load image" form. In a few seconds, the image will be displayed on screen and you can start to work on it. After you're done fixing your photo, you need to click on the "Save" button to download it using your preferred file format. All modifications are done in a non-destructive way. This means that your image will always retain its original quality.

What is permission marketing?
To simply put it, it’s the opposite of interruptive marketing. Pretty much as the name implies permission marketing is the freedom of delivering expected, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them. In this form of marketing, potential customer gives you permission to market to them. This means that they actually want you to market to them and introduce them to new products. Permission marketing opens the doors to a whole new relationship for you and your client. When you get a customer's permission to market to them you are building a massive trust with that customer that will turn into loyalty and more sales for you

How to implement permission marketing?
How do you get customers to come ask you for more information about your product or business? The kind of marketing I’m talking about can be given many names. Call it relationship marketing, permission marketing or one of about 20 other names, in his kind of "dating" marketing. It's about conversations, participation and relationships. Even better, you can do it with as many people as you like and no one gets mad at you.

How to get the first date
If you're getting a project / business/ a new product off the ground, the last thing you can afford to do is splurge on marketing on one ad, one mailing, one huge sign for your storefront, or even one Web site. Especially now, when most everyone has built amazing anti-advertising walls up to keep the noise away. Instead, put your time and resources into attracting customers by creating a demand for your brand.

How to get permission?
You can use lots of techniques to make it worthwhile for people to give you permission to talk to them. Use contests and games because they work. Create promotions in which the game itself involves information about your product. People search for ads and read them because they need to find missing pieces of information to get the prizes they want.

The Net is the ultimate tool for permission marketing. But the idea itself is more about mind-set than about medium. I never use any shampoo but Dove. That's because every three months, the company sends me a catalog loaded with different shampoos for different hair type, how one is different from the other, conditioners and hair spa treatments, and analysis of what type of hair needs what combination of care, treatment and product . Dove educates me. It talks to me in a language I understand. It has permission to send this catalog to me. It has permission to follow up with other mailings. In return, I learn a lot about its products. So I buy Dove products more often, I use more shampoo and conditioner - and the company makes a lot more money off of me than Garnier ever will. The most clichéd way to do permission marketing is to give away something valuable. Swap it for an email address and permission to send stuff. As clichéd as it is, it works wonders, so don't shy out of it.

Subscriptions are an unconcealed act of permission. That's why home delivery newspaper readers are so valuable, and why magazine subscribers are worth more than newsstand ones.

RSS and email and other techniques mean you don't have to worry about stamps or ad network buying every time you have something new to say.
Respond to customer e-mail inquiries promptly. Always remember the networking rule, bad news travels much faster than good on the Internet.


What They Are, Why You Should Be Using Them, and How to Use Them Effectively
social media buzz
The buzz around social media has been growing to a near crescendo. People are blogging, connecting with friends on Facebook, posting updates to Twitter, and getting LinkedIn. Is your business or organization still on the social media sideline, looking to get into the game but unsure of how to proceed, or are you wondering if the business value is there?

In this guide, we will outline 35 of the most important things you need to know about social media networks: what they are, why you’d want to use them, and how to use them effectively. With this information in hand, you’ll have the right ammunition to start building your social media presence.


Part One: What Are the Social Media Networks?

To begin, let’s take a look at some of the most popular social media networks and tools, with a quick primer on what’s good and not-so-good about each of them.

1. Facebook
Facebook is, by numbers alone, the most popular social networking site today, with more than 350 million registered users. It’s a site that lets people share updates, photos, videos, articles, and more with “Friends,” who they have to approve to be in their network. Businesses and organizations can create “Fan Pages,” which other Facebook users can become fans of, just like they do sports teams, musicians, and celebrities.

What’s good about it?

  • The user base is huge, and that means many of your customers and constituents are already there.
  • It’s easy to use.
  • Multimedia content can be integrated with your profile.
  • You can separate your personal and professional use.

What’s not so good about it?

  • You have limited ability to customize your Fan Page.
  • Fan Pages do not have email alerts; you will have to check to see if there is any activity.
  • It’s a closed environment — only Facebook users can become fans or friends of your business or organization.

2. Twitter

Twitter is a social networking service that allows users to communicate with their “Followers.” It’s open to anyone, so you can follow or be followed by people you know and people you don’t. Users choose a “handle” that is their user name preceded by the @ symbol, and communicate via short messages and updates (called “Tweets”) that have a maximum length of 140 characters. Tweets can be very easily “Retweeted” (RT) and shared with the simple click of a button.

What’s good about it?

  • The “Timeline” (or the Twitter feed) is public, which can help to give your business or organization greater exposure in web search results.
  • The site is more open than Facebook, so it’s easier to build a community of potential customers you don’t personally know.
  • Fans can “follow you” without you having to reciprocate.
  • There is a quick way to share links to content.
  • Users are very vocal, so if they are happy with your business or organization, they’ll say so.

What’s not so good about it?

  • The site is text only — pictures and video are shared through secondary links.
  • It’s challenging to say something of significance in only 140 characters.
  • Lots of “noise.” With so many identical-looking Tweets, it’s hard to make a single one stand out in the crowd.
  • Spammers are increasingly targeting the service.
  • Users are very vocal, so if they have a problem with something, they’ll say so.

3. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the more “professional” social network of the Big Three. It lets users create what amounts to an online resume and connect with other peers — be it friends, colleagues, or other business associates — through online networking. Businesses and organizations can also set up profiles on the site; many businesses use it to recruit (and check references) for new hires.

What’s good about it?

  • The “six-degrees” nature of the site allows you to reach out to people through already existing connections.
  • Profiles are straightforward and connections can be easily made.
  • Not a lot of “noise” and clutter.
  • Allows for Question and Answer inquiries with a professional slant.

What’s not so good about it?

  • It’s the smallest of the Big Three social networks, though its population is growing.
  • It’s a more stodgy environment, which doesn’t convey fun.
  • Job seekers are more active on the site than those already employed.
  • People use the site for purely professional purposes, so marketing messages are not always welcome.

4. Pinterest

Now more popular than twitter, Pinterest is a virtual pin board with an 80% female audience primarily ages 25-44.

What’s good about it?

  • Pinterest continues to grow each day
  • If your demographic is women, this is your social network
  • Pinterest users tend to have more disposable income than on other networks
  • Useful for travel, food, photography, real estate and visual based industries

What’s not so good about it?

  • If you don't have captivating photos on your pages, your content will most likely not be shared
  • If your target demographic is men, this probably isn't the social network for you

5. Blogs

A blog, by definition, is simply a content publishing tool that displays your posts in cronological order, with the most recent on top and earlier ones below. Your content can be whatever you wish: opinions, education, news, product reviews, etc.

What’s good about them?

  • They provide an easy way to manage articles and content.
  • Each new post adds a new web page and increases your web presence — and helps your search engine optimization.
  • Blogs can serve as an archive for your newsletter content.

What’s not so good about them?

  • Blogs must be updated somewhat regularly to derive value.
  • They take more time than Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, etc. to keep current.
  • Templates through free services can be limiting.
  • Employing an advanced design requires some knowledge of HTML and CSS.
  • Blogs hosted at other sites (Wordpress, Blogger, etc) will actually drive traffic AWAY from your site - not good for SEO.


Part Two: Why Are Social Media Networks Worth Using?

Alright, now you know the basics about which social media networks are which, and what’s notable about them. Here are some quick reasons why you should dip your foot into the social media waters comfortably.

6. They’re free. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and MySpace all offer free accounts. You can even blog for free with services like Wordpress.com and Google’s Blogger.com. Some — like LinkedIn — do offer paid accounts with more features that are targeted at more advanced users, but for the purposes of getting started, there’s no upfront cost for most of the social networking sites.

7. They’re popular. Facebook alone has more than 350 million users. To put that in perspective: That’s more than the population of the entire United States. Chances are good that many of your customers or the people you want to reach are on at least one of the social media networks.

8. They’re not just for college kids. One major stereotype associated with many forms of social media: They’re only for young folks. This is not true at all. In fact, comScore reported that usage of Facebook by users 18–24 actually went down each month during the third quarter of 2009. According to Facebook, its fastest growing demographic is users over the age of 35. And, the Pew Internet & American Life Project says the median age of a Twitter user is 31. That same Pew survey says 40 is the median age of LinkedIn users.

9. They allow you to be personal and professional. On Facebook, you can have two identities: one for you and one for your business or organization. Facebook offers an option known as “Fan Pages,” which are different from the standard “Friend” connections, and allows you to message just to “Fans,” keeping any personal information about you separate and contained to your profile.

10. They can tell a lot about you. Profiles on these sites can help boost awareness about your business as they can contain pertinent information about your products and services. Think of them as dynamic yellow pages for the digital age. Much of your activity and profiles on social media sites can be made “public,” meaning they can be indexed by search engines — one more way to make sure your business comes up as the answer when someone is searching for a solution to their problem.

11. They extend you, your brand, and your relationship with your customers. The goal of marketing is to stay in front of your customers and to remain top of mind with them. You use email marketing to reach their inboxes, and now you can use social media to extend that reach into other interactive areas of the web where your customers gather. People who use social media look for other like-minded folks and businesses. Make sure they find you by having a presence on the appropriate networks for your business.

12. They’re two-way communications channels. Twitter and Facebook in particular are great vehicles for having a “conversation” (albeit a public one) with your customers. You can see what they’re saying about you and respond, and vice versa.

Using tools like Twitter Search, you can quickly see any mentions of your business, organization, product, or service. Taking Twitter Search a step further, you can look up key terms related to your business and find out what people are saying about them. With Twitter, you don’t have to be following someone or connected to them to respond. So if you see something relevant come up in the search results, you can easily (and quickly) respond by mentioning the person’s handle (i.e., his or her username preceded by the @ symbol) in your Tweet.

On Facebook, particularly if you have a Fan Page, make sure to log in to the service often to check for comments and posts. Unlike with a standard Facebook account, there’s no option for receiving email alerts every time something new is posted to your Fan Page. You have to log in and check for new posts.

13. They’re everywhere. You don’t have to be at your computer to post to any of the major social media networks. For instance, you can post to your Twitter feed via a simple text message. If you have a Smartphone like an iPhone, Blackberry, or Windows Mobile device, there are applications that let you update your social networking sites on the road.

You can go beyond text too: Your mobile phone’s camera can be used to capture images and video, which can be uploaded to your blog and social media accounts, giving customers a richer (and real-time) media experience. Many of the popular blog platforms also allow posting from a mobile device.

14. They can be intertwined. Social media sites are not silos of information. You can easily share content between networks. Your Twitter post can also feed your Facebook page and LinkedIn account. Likewise, your blog posts can be automatically fed to Facebook every time you post one. But, make sure not to overwhelm one account with updates from the other. If you have a blog, make sure your posts include links to the services you use — this helps expose your post to a wider audience and helps to increase your presence when people search for you on a search engine.

Providing network links to your other social media accounts when your post increases online visibility.


Part Three: How Can You Use Social Media Effectively?

More good news is that most social media services are easy to use and don’t require a lot of Web savvy. If you can build a high quality newsletter, you should have no trouble getting around social media networks and blogging platforms.

As you make your first forays into social media, here are some tips to keep in mind on how to use the services intelligently.

15. Have a reason for being there. Don’t just get on the social media bandwagon because everyone else is doing it. Identify a reason for being there first: Is it to more fully engage with customers? Is it to identify and respond to customer service issues? Is it to promote your business and any sales/specials you may be offering? Is it to share your expertise? Is it to give your business or organization more of a public persona? Perhaps it’s a combination of these. Whatever your reasons for getting involved in social media, develop a strategy and stick to it.

16. Set goals for success. As with any business-related undertaking, you want to have key goals to measure success. Your goal could be something simple like garnering a certain number of fans or followers. Or you could use analytics tools (here’s one example: Mashable to more accurately measure how social media is impacting your business. Mashable is the world’s largest blog largely focused on social media news.

17. Choose the site(s) that work best for you. As a small business owner or the manager of a nonprofit, you don’t have the time or the resources to be everywhere. If you’re not the writer type or you own a business where educational material aimed at the customer is scant, a blog might not be of much use to you, for example. Create the social media presence that works best for your business or organization. Need some help figuring out what that would be? Ask your customers what sites they’re already using, and then join them there.

18. Start small. If you’re new to social media, you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. Pick one site and put a stake in the ground. Once you’re comfortable there, you can build your presence or expand to other sites.

19. Make your presence known. Don’t just sit around and wait for people to find you on social media sites. In your email campaigns, announce that you have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or other accounts, and explain to customers why they’d want to join your networks (for example, “You’ll be the first to find out about upcoming sales or events”). If you start a blog, use some content from it in your newsletter and provide a link. And, put a link to your Facebook page and Twitter feed in your regular email signature.

20. Have a separate personal and professional account. Unless your name is your brand, it’s a good idea to have separate accounts for personal and business use. This keeps your personal, non-business thoughts and opinions separate from your business persona.

21. Stay involved. Once you get your profiles set up and Fan Page(s) created, you’re done, right? Not so fast. Successful social media users are consistently (some constantly) involved in their networks. Make sure you’re offering fresh content and responding to those who talk to or about you.

22. Keep your expectations in check. Your Follower, Fan, and Friend counts will not skyrocket the second you sign up. Take the time to cultivate relationships with people and organically grow your social media circle. (It’s much like growing your email marketing lists.)

23. Involve your friends and family. There’s nothing wrong with telling people you already know to join your Fan Page or to follow you on Twitter. After all, there’s strength in numbers. Would you join a club if no one else belonged to it? If potential customers see that you’re already popular, they’ll want to join in the fun, if only to see what they’re missing. And, your friends and family can help spread the word too, which will help you grow your Fan base and Followers list organically.

24. Keep up with your industry. It’s important to know what others in your industry are doing and saying on social media sites. Become their Friends on Facebook, follow their Twitter feeds, and read their blogs. Just don’t feel compelled to say “me too” and do something just because similar businesses are doing it. Staying consistent with your brand and staying true to your social media strategy will allow you to maintain a unique social media presence.

25. Reuse your great content. When you add one or more social media networks or a blog to your marketing mix, you do not necessarily have to come up with exclusive content for each network. Reuse articles from your newsletters to prime the social media pump. In turn, your blog’s content can be used to feed your email newsletter and social network channels.

26. Answer questions. When you interact with customers and members, do they tend to ask the same questions repeatedly? Why not share those questions — and the answers — on your social media page? You can also use the site(s) as a forum, and ask people to ask their most common questions about your business or organization.

27. Do more than make sales pitches. Like the content in your email newsletters, it’s important to provide your audience with useful information, not just a constant stream of direct sales pitches. Customers who read your blog, follow you on Twitter, and are fans of your Facebook page are not connecting with you for a 24/7 sales pitch. Yes, they would love to get an exclusive deal, but they don’t want you to sell, sell, sell all the time. Use your knowledge and expertise to educate customers via email, a blog, and through social networks, not just to promote your products or services.

28. Show some personality. Social media networks are a chance for you to loosen up in the eyes of your customers and members. Is the local team playing a big game? Why not post a message of support? Did your staff recently celebrate a holiday? Why not share photos? Don’t fake it, though. Social media users can tell if something is less than genuine.

29. Adhere to the “Teacher, Preacher, Boss” rule. Everyone’s heard a story of someone getting fired for an inappropriate post made on a social network. Always err on the side of discretion. In other words, don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your teacher, your preacher, or your boss to see. You wouldn’t want to offend customers and steer them away from your business or organization.

30. Make it exclusive. A great way to add to your social media presence is to offer exclusive benefits for those in your networks. For example, you can share a special code that’s good for a discount if the customer tells the cashier or uses it on your website. Or post a special Facebook-only sale. You can also host a special event just for those who follow you on Twitter (called a “Tweet-up”). Anything that makes your network the place to be.

31. Look out for the competition. One surefire way to see if a given social network is right for reaching your customers is to see what the competition is doing. Seek them out to find what types of things they are doing with their social media presence.

32. Share and share alike. One of the greatest reasons to get on a social media network is to share information. Make sure you’re encouraging your Fans, Friends, and Followers to repost or re-Tweet your content. Likewise, if you see something that you think would be worth sharing with your audience — an article, video, photo, or quote — repost it on your Facebook or Twitter page. This applies to positive customer feedback too. Don’t be afraid to repost great things a customer has said. Just make sure to also say “thank you” publicly.

33. Make it a part of your email marketing campaign. You can very easily add an email signup box to many of the social media sites, which will give your Fans, Friends, and Followers the chance to get even more involved with your business or organization. Post links to your newsletter content on your social media networks, which will expand the reach of your content and perhaps even encourage others to join your mailing list. You can further involve your audience by including selected comments in a future issue of your newsletter.

34. Budget your time. At the beginning, most social networks seem like a drain on time with little return. While it’s possible to waste a tremendous amount of time on one or more of these sites, being smart and sticking to your goals will prevent you from getting lost in the social media weeds.

35. Have a thick skin. Be prepared to take some criticism of your business, organization, product, or service when participating in social media. How well you respond to those not-always-positive things says a lot about your business.

Don’t ignore complaints — respond in a friendly manner asking how you can help rectify the problem, or better yet, fix the situation and let people know publicly. If you nurture complaints the proper way, and respond quickly, your fans (i.e.: your best customers) will start to defend you.

By reading this guide, you already have some inclination that social networking can help your marketing effort. Go ahead and sign up for a couple social networking accounts. Play around to see what kind of connections can be made, and how easy it is to share multiple forms of content and interact with customers and prospects.

Social media should go hand-in-hand with email marketing when it comes to your marketing strategy. Today’s consumers want to be part of a conversation with the people and organizations they do business with, and traditional one-way marketing does not offer chances for this sought-after two-way communication.

Opening up your business or organization to social media and sharing content, personality, and more will create a tighter bond with your customers and members, and ensure your business or organization stays top of mind with them when your products or service is needed.

With the advent of social media, it is widely debated that email marketing is redundant and business are choosing Twitter and Facebook for client communication. It is true that social media has taken the online business world by storm. However, email marketing is still an effective means to communicate with clients, giving you a chance to get into an individual’s personal space online, their email inbox.

To further highlight the power of email marketing, you can read the statistics listed below:

  • Epsilon "Branding Survey" (Feb 2009) found that 50% are more likely to buy products from companies who send them email, whether their purchases are online or at a place of business.
  • The same survey revealed that 67% of subscribers purchased products offline as a direct result of receiving an email from a retail company and 40% experienced positive impact on their likelihood to make a future purchase a company upon receiving an email.
  • Close to 84% of respondents said that they like receiving email from companies with whom they register. Even if they don't always read the message, it's good to know the information or offer will be there when they are ready to make a purchase. This response rate is up significantly from 69% in the 2005 study.
  • The Email Experience Council statistics reveal that over 49% of people who are happy with their recent purchase from your company will open future e-mails seven times faster than those who have not made a purchase in over three months.
  • According to the research firm Hurwitz & Associates, 46% of small businesses use email marketing; and 36% plan to start using it in the next 12 months. For more details, refer to the screenshot below:

Marketing, all thanks to the Internet, has become measurable. Intelligent implementation of email marketing has led to an inexpensive, immediate, and interactive means to correspond with customers. At only around $15 per month, email marketing is an affordable option, which saves on paper, printing costs and postage. Email marketing is not restricted by any geographical boundary too. With the ability to reach a global audience, you can offer them a wider variety of options or products than in a one-time visit on your site. However, you need to ensure that you provide quality information to your emailing list.

Find 6 Simple Tips to Increase Your Email Marketing Customer Base and Ideas for Email Marketing Campaigns.

How to Respond to an RFP

Responding to an RFP need not be a daunting task! You can use the step-by-step process, which follows (with examples), to help you respond to RFPs you receive from businesses wanting your design services.

Your RFP response should include a cover letter, company and product overview, and benefits of your working with your company. To begin with, you need to find answers to fundamental questions, to find out all that you need before you respond to an RFP. Answering the five “W’s” (Who, What, Why, When, Where) and one “H” (How) from the client’s perspective and your own perspective helps.

Who – requires your service and your introduction? It helps to break the introduction in to two well-planned parts. Include all the details about your prospective client in the first paragraph. Ensure that you summarize their needs and go ahead to tell them who you are. Don’t unnecessarily boast about your skills and abilities. Give your client an unbiased account of your skills.


Excerpts from my RFP response:
Studio1c is a design firm founded in 2007 has expanded to include 9 other contractors; including designers, and website developers.
Studio1c’s mission is to create custom high-quality designs that cater to each clients’ unique requirements. Our experienced team provides print design, marketing, ongoing SEO, website development and hosting, maintenance and much more. Please visit our website, www.studio1c.com to see examples of our work.

What – does the company expect out of you and what you can do to help them?
Why – do they want your services and why they should choose you?

Excerpts from my RFP response:
Our unique integration of form, function and design puts us in a great position for this type of work. We are so confident that you’ll love the end result, that we guarantee our work!
We’d be pleased to refine this proposal if it does not adequately reflect your needs or goals for you.

You need to discuss your proposed services, while you answer the questions, “What” and “Why”. Address all the client requirements and your abilities to deal with them. Elaborate on your skills and experience to help the client place his/her trust in you. It helps to outline your strengths and distinctions, relate them to the scope of services to be provided for the clients’ project.

When – does the company expect you to complete the project and when you can start?

Excerpts from my RFP response:
NEWLY DEVELOPED (CMS) CONTENT MANAGED SITE: I will select a CMS Joomla template that best addresses the design and functions you would like for your website. Second, we optimize all existing graphics into the proper placement in the template.

Where – is the company based at and your location?

How – much would it cost them, how much time and effort would you need to invest, and how do they pay you?
State your professional fees in the RFP response. Don’t sound too vague in quoting hourly and per-project rate. Make it as clear as possible, include fixed and variable pricing, so a client who requires hourly or per project rate receives a definitive idea of the budget.

Excerpts from my RFP response:
Studio1c will require payment of 50% of the project budget upon written agreement of compliance with proposal (email reply or retainer payment is acceptable); 50% upon completion of the approved work.

Most importantly, you need to customize the proposal and personalize it to the client. Don’t forget to thank the client for the opportunity to submit response. Ensure that you tell them why you would be the best choice and provide all the details they would require to contact you.

Sometimes the reach of a website can become limited to your acquaintances, local buyers and existing customers. Enewsletters or Email Marketing is the most popular choice adopted today as a channel for business building by marketers.

Email marketing is probably one of the best ways to stay in touch with and grow your current and future customers. Periodic emails - with reports, events, or instructions reminds your customers of your existence, new products/services/offers launched, and of the ways that you might be able to work together.

Enewsletters are a direct form of personal marketing, Personal marketing makes it easier to sell, by building relationships nurtured on awareness, value and trust. Because your customers have requested your eNewsletter, it doesn’t serve as the kind of frustrating interruption that message ads, and unwanted phone calls present.

A 2007 study shows that email marketing is considered the #2 most effective traffic driver after paid search.

eNewsletters are considered the most cost-effective tools available to the small business owner. The beauty of utilizing the Internet to distribute your information is often people will forward your information to others who have similar interest.

Content is king - for many, the greatest challenge will be the development of content. Studio 1c can help you build a successful email advertising strategy to increase your subscriber base, publish your e-mail, and drive more customers to your site.

We'll setup, configure and design email templates so that you can publish your email newsletters. We'll also help you avoid the spam box and email filters!

You'll get automated tools to track the effectiveness of your campaign and generate reports on how many people are opening your emails and taking action.

Sign up for eMail Marketing for FREE for 60 days, and we'll put a FREE "Subscribe" form on your website to start gathering your visitors email addresses!

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