Online Marketing

The First Rule of Fight Club

iMarketing Tip: Know Your Customer
I’m a big movie buff and an even bigger music lover so it’s not unusual to hear me quote movies or song lyrics.

Case in point: The first rule of Fight Club: you do NOT talk about Fight Club.

We’re not going to talk about fighting or even discuss the merits of NOT talking about something… it simply popped into my head when I was sitting down to write this ezine.

The first rule of iMarketing: you MUST know your customer.

Know your customer. If there were a list of rules for doing business online, this would undoubtedly be at the top of the list.

When I used to work for a Brokerage House, one of the forms that we had to fill out for every client that opened a trading account was the KYC Form (Know Your Client). It contained the usual address information but then got into specifics about their trading preferences (on a scale from high risk to conservative), how long they had until retirement, other information about their household, etc. etc. The information was collected so that the Broker could make recommendations based on a unique understanding of each client’s goals and circumstances.

The same deep knowledge of your client (or target market or ideal customer depending on which particular guru you follow) is critical to your success in marketing your business.

I’ve seen it time and time again: a lot of businesses spend countless amounts of money and man-hours using the wrong marketing strategies or platforms or even words to reach their customers – both their potential customers and current customers.

There’s nothing worse than standing on the inside of a [...]

3 Tips To Make Your Site Mobile Friendly

Everywhere you look you see people using Smart Phones, iPhones and a variety of handheld devices to surf the web.  I’m sure there’s some fancy statistic I could look up that will tell me the percentage of browsing done by mobile device… and I’m sure as soon as I type it here, it will be outdated.  Suffice it to say, there’s a lot of mobile browsing going on.

Of course, devices like the iPhone and iPad and the Samsung Galaxy S3 make it easy to browse the web, no matter where you happen to be.  So chances are that your site has been visited recently by someone using a mobile device.  If you do any kind of e-mail marketing (publish a newsletter or send regular broadcasts to your followers) or even if you post links to your content on Twitter or Facebook, people will find your site on their phones.  I don’t know about you, but I have email delivered to my Blackberry and often click on the links in the emails to find out more information or view a special offer.  Chances are pretty good that mobile browsers have come knocking on your virtual door.

That’s why I want to cover a few simple ways to make your site mobile friendly.  I said simple — I’m not going to get too techie.  If you need help with any of these steps, just drop me a line in the comments or on Twitter.
Testing Your Site
First thing’s first: you need to check if your site is mobile friendly.  There’s an online validator that can test your site but I promised to keep these steps [...]

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    OptimizePress: An Easy Tool For Designing Attractive Salespages & Landing Pages

OptimizePress: An Easy Tool For Designing Attractive Salespages & Landing Pages

Designing an effective and attractive salespage or landing page got a whole lot easier with the introduction of OptimizePress.  If you haven’t heard the buzz, OptimizePress is a WordPress theme that gives online business owners with limited HTML coding and design skills the ability to create optimized squeeze pages, attractive salespages, launch campaigns, and member centers.

As an online business owner, or really anyone who has been online for any length of time, I’m sure you’ve seen your fair share of long form salesletters touting the benefits of the latest product or service.  You’ve definitely seen them, probably even read some of them, studied a handful to model your own salespages on, and maybe even bought from them.  The truly adventurous have probably even taken a stab at designing one of their own – with varying degrees of success and frustration!

It comes as no surprise that the long form salesletter is evolving.  Many marketers are beginning to use shorter pages or creating a video salesletter: a 20 or 30 minute autoplay video on a blank white page with a delayed buy button.  These pages are becoming increasingly common.  In part because of the effectiveness of video and audio.  In part because of the growing popularity of OptimizePress.
Why Do You Need Squeeze Pages and Salespages?
Anyone doing business online needs their website visitors to take a specific action when they land upon one’s website: in most cases, submit and email address or purchase a product.

Salespages and squeeze pages are designed to give your website visitors direction instruction as to what you are trying to get them to do. They’re set up to give your [...]

The Top 5 Link Building Techniques

Several of my clients focus on organic SEO, as opposed to PPC advertising.  There is no denying that link building is a vital part of SEO. All successful entrepreneurs on the internet have devoted a considerable amount of time and energy (and money too in some cases) for establishing a good link network.
Well-Proven Techniques For Effective Link Building
Here are 5 of the most popular and effective link building techniques:

 One of the quickest link building techniques is to submit your link to relevant online directories.  They might not allow links to internal pages on your website, but you can manage to get some good links to your home page from reputed directories.
You can also submit articles to relevant third-party web directories. This is perhaps one of the most effective link building techniques used today, because it not only gets you quality links, it even directs quality traffic to your website!
Online social networking sites, like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest have led to some of the newer link building techniques, by creating pages on such sites that link back to your main site.
You can request links from your business acquaintances and webmasters of reputed sites that are related to your product segment.  Another widely used method of gaining one-way links is by creating a useful online tool or a “resource page” for visitors which they can link to or use on their own website.
Issuing organized RSS feeds and bookmarking the content-rich pages of your websites are some other commonly used ways for building an elaborate link network. If you need help with this step, consider my social bookmarking service.

Using a [...]

Q&A: Online Payment Processing For Beginners

A few weeks ago, one of my clients emailed me to ask about online payment processing.  It’s a great topic so let’s go over the options.

As luck would have it, I am knowledgeable in this area :-)
Online Payment Processing
When it comes to accepting credit cards online, there are options to suit the new online business owner, a mid-sized business owner, and all the way up to mature business owners with established online businesses with hundreds of monthly transactions.

The easiest option to set up is PayPal and many new online business owners opt to use PayPal as their online payment processor of choice.  You can create payment buttons within PayPal and just paste the code into your pages and you’re good to go.

They take a small percentage of the fee as a processing fee but other than that, there are no other charges.

A potential downside is that people think they need to have a PayPal account open in order to pay you (they don’t in most cases they can just pay directly with a credit card without opening a PayPal account).  Another downside is that if someone pays by bank transfer or echeck – there could be a delay of up to three days before the funds are actually confirmed to be in your account.

I’ve been using PayPal for close to a decade and almost all of my clients offer PayPal as an online payment option: either as their only option or alongside a traditional merchant account.  PayPal integrates with many third-party services like 1ShoppingCart and Freshbooks, a popular time tracking and invoicing system.  If you’re just getting [...]

Get Ready, Set… Launch! A Checklist For Smooth Launches

It’s Tuesday… that means it must be product launch day somewhere (have you ever noticed how many products launch on a Tuesday???).  You’re probably already aware of the importance of a successful product launch but you may not have a smooth system for ensuring that you hit the ground running on launch day.

Since many readers found my Broadcast Checklist helpful, I thought I’d share my Product Launch Checklist.  Let me know if you have any questions.
Product Launch Checklist
In a crowded marketplace, an error free product launch is becoming increasingly important.  The launch of a new product can set the tone of how that product will be received as well as impact the perception your new and potential customers have of your business.  That’s why it’s important to hit the ground running on launch day so that you can capture the momentum generated by your pre-launch marketing efforts and keep the buzz going!  Not to mention… generate sales!

Ideally you should have a pre-launch marketing plan that is active and running at least two weeks before Launch Date.  We won’t go into pre-launch marketing in this post but will focus specifically on the things you need to do to ensure that everything works from a technical perspective.

So let’s get started.
Pre-Launch Checklist
Build Your Site / Salespage: The sooner the sales site is built, the better as far as I’m concerned as this is the most critical piece of an online launch.  In fact, you should have some form of your sales site running during your marketing campaign. You’ll need to build your website or salespage and include all the necessary graphics and [...]

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    Getting Things Done: A Checklist To Help Create Error Free Broadcasts

Getting Things Done: A Checklist To Help Create Error Free Broadcasts

I have been helping clients send out a lot of broadcasts lately.  So I thought I would share my broadcast checklist.  I will admit, I sometimes skip the checklist when I’m in a hurry but there are certain items I never skip (like the test broadcast).  Feel free to share any tips or “checks” to enhance the checklist.
Email Marketing & Broadcast Checklist

Spelling & Grammar Check: Sounds like a no-brainer, right?  After all, most word processing programs have spell check functionality built in.  Believe it or not, the spell check isn’t infallible.  It does get things wrong on occasion.  Read your broadcast before hitting send.  Simple.  If reading s-l-o-w-l-y isn’t your strong suit (I tend to glance at things quickly and read what I think should be there rather than what is there, especially when I get busy) have a second (or third) set of eyes on the broadcast before hitting send.  If spelling and grammar mistakes don’t bother you (and there are many well-known business coaches for whom this is the case) then skip this step.  For the rest of us, a good spell and grammar check is advisable… especially if you tend to write your broadcasts directly into the broadcast window.
Formatting Check: Is your spacing consistent? Are your fonts the right size and the same font-family? Are your images aligned correctly and displaying properly?  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received a broadcast where the spacing has been wonky or there have been issues with mismatched fonts. A well designed template can help you avoid formatting errors.
Content Check: I know you might think this is a repeat [...]

Think Outside The Box To Find Affiliates

Ah affiliates… the elusive goal of every online business owner because an active network of affiliates is a proven way to drive traffic to a website or salespage and increase sales. Think of how profitable some of your online efforts would be if you had a continuous flow of new visitors to your online business every day. With the right offer, sales or subscriptions (depending on what your goal is) could go through the roof!

A few of my clients have been looking for Joint Venture partners and affiliates for their various offerings so I’ve been doing a little research to see if there are creative and out-of-the-norm ways to increase affiliate partnerships. Here are three strategies you may not have considered in your quest for affiliates.
1. Surf Your Way To Affiliates
Have you ever stopped to read the salespage of one of your competitors in your niche? I’m sure you have, at one point or another, stopped to read their pages for copy and the strength of their offering as compared to your own. But have you ever bothered to take note of the testimonials that are featured on the page? It’s common practice for salespages to include testimonials to lend legitimacy to their products. If you’re lucky, the testimonial includes enough information about someone to help you track them down. Some testimonials include a website. Just visit their page and look for contact information and get in touch with them to see if they would be interested in your product or service. Yes it does take a bit of leg work but if you can find a few affiliates this way, [...]

The Circle of Champions

I’m sure that over the past year or so, you’ve likely received several emails from one Internet Guru or another telling you that the quickest way to find success online is with niche marketing. So what exactly is nice marketing?
What Is Niche Marketing
Niche Marketing refers to finding a segment of the overall market for a service or product. It’s essentially a spot you carve out for yourself in the Interwebs and establish yourself as an authority or expert. Some niches are very broad. But the best niches are laser-focused.

For example, a broad niche might be “weight loss.”  A laser-focused niched might be “weight loss with the raw vegan diet” and an even narrower niche topic could be “weight loss using green smoothies.” See how it works?

You then develop a solution to meet the needs of that segment and solve a problem or issue that faces them.
Learn More About Niche Marketing
I invite you to become an elite member of the Circle of Champions, an exclusive coaching league dedicated to championing the success of brilliant entrepreneurs.

One of my clients, Kathleen Aston, delivers unparalleled life coaching and business services for career women, change-seeking individuals and women entrepreneurs.  She formed the exclusive Circle of Champions to help entrepreneurs discover the top strategies, tools, and techniques you can leverage instantly to grow your business and increase your revenues.

This month, the Circle of Champions Coaching Call focuses on the topic of niche marketing with a session on Getting a Grip on the Ins, Outs and Fears of Niche Marketing: Un-Complicating the Complicated.

In the free one hour call, you’ll

Gain an understanding of [...]

What’s In A Name?

Juliet:
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)
iDeborah Asks: What’s In A Name?

I’ve never shared the story behind my given name.  Deborah was not my mother’s first choice and I think if she could have gone back and changed my name once we arrived in Canada, maybe she would have!  But that’s just not done… unless of course you’re a Celebrity.  Charlie Sheen didn’t hire me so my road to stardom will take a little bit longer.  I guess the name change will just have to wait (though I must admit, it has grown on me now).

The story of my name got me wondering if there was a story behind your own given name or if you had thought about creating a story behind your brand name or any of your Social Media names.  When I first started on Twitter, I went by @deborahcarraro which some people told me was way to long and complicated to spell.  So it made sense to change it to something a little shorty and catchy.  There’s a story behind why I chose @iDeborah as well.

iChat: What’s In A Name?

Is there a story behind your given name?
Have you ever come up with a story for your brand name or business name?
Feel like sharing? …

Let me know your story by posting a comment below.