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I Would Have Written a Shorter Blog Post, but I Didn’t Have the Time.

Does this sound familiar to you? Originally the phrase has been attributed to Blaise Pascal in the form, “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time”. Do you think that the world would have known about Malala if she had not blogged about her ideas and communicated them online?

It is a fact that if you want to be successful online, you will have to learn to write. Writing is not only about blogging. Most digital products have text. Even videos have some sort of script. Presentations, slideshares, webinars, emails, autoresponders, press releases and most forms of squeeze or sales pages, are essentially text.

Each of these forms of communication has a different, somewhat specialized form of writing, but learning to blog on a consistent basis can help all of the other forms. You will often see that some of the best writers in a particular niche are also quite prolific.

That is not just coincidence.  It takes time, effort, and consistent practice to become a good writer, and extraordinary effort to become a great one.

You don’t have to have a fancy vocabulary, or perfect spelling, (always use a spell checker), but you do have to learn to communicate your ideas in a clear, if not persuasive manner. It is necessary to empathize enough with your reader, prospect, or customer to hold their attention, and help them to learn something they did not know before.

Blogging in particular requires good communication skill, but it is more than that. You have to have something to say that is interesting to the reader, and if possible, informative, educational, and even entertaining.

This is a tall order, without a doubt, but the good news is that blogging is an acquired skill. Especially in terms of efficiency, an online entrepreneur has many hats on this head, so no one can afford to spend excessive amounts of time dedicated to blogging.

I have to say that a new social network called MarketHive has taught me a great deal about blogging and blog promotion.

For most entrepreneurs, it is not easy to generate traffic to a blog, especially a new one without resorting to paid traffic methods. At MarketHive there is a rapidly growing base of friendly entrepreneurs that view content, comment, and quickly engage with your blog posts.

I find the number of views is quite remarkable considering the size of the network. Sometimes is not only size of the network that matters is it the level of engagement.

One final note: It really is true that practice makes perfect. With the right attitude, practice and using the right tools, anyone can learn to publish a blog post in about 30 minutes like this one.

For additional information on this topic visit Neil Patel’s Quick Sprout Blog and the following links:

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Sales Funnels – are they really the Difference Between Success and Failure ?

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What is this thing called a sales funnel, and why is everyone going crazy over it?
There is always talk on the Internet about sales funnels, but who really understands what a sales funnel is and how to correctly implement one?

Well, perhaps there is a considerable amount of confusion about sales funnels because it is one of the distinguishing factors that separates the successful marketer / business person from the unsuccessful one.

Have you ever bought something online or over the telephone from a TV advertisement? The kind of funnel that most of these TV ad-men design more closely resembles a black hole. The realize that they probably have one shot and one shot only to sell to a customer calling on an 800 number.

After you have made one purchase, you will usually be given a chance to double the order, for only the (inflated) cost of shipping and handling. Then one product after another will be offered in an attempt to squeeze every last dollar out of the call.
This is distasteful to the consumer, but this kind of sales funnel is common in that industry. You really do feel like sucker if you let yourself get caught in their “black hole”, and buy product after product.

Just ask any typical business person, what do you do with the people who do not buy your products or services?  Most would say, well, nothing.  Well, you probably have what is called a leaky sales funnel.  This is not so easy to set up for a brick and mortar type of business, but every online business should pay attention to their sales funnel. There almost always is a significant impact on your bottom line.

Everyone knows that taking care of customers is a priority.  If any business is to survive, it is a well-established fact that you have to take good care of your customers.

Say what you will about the Internet Marketing Industry, one thing that good Internet Marketing Professionals have going for them is that they understand very well that it is not only the quality of the product you promote, but the specific design of your sales funnel that can often make the difference between a mediocre success and big success. To rephrase, a well-designed sales funnel could be the difference between losing money, merely breaking even, and making a significant profit.

Let’s try to clear up some basic confusion about sales funnels using the above graphic.

Most businesses think that everyone in America, or everyone in their hometown of business is a prospect. In reality, until someone walks into your store, they are only a potential prospect. In the case of online business, until someone signs up for your email newletter, free product download, webinar, or other offer, there are no prospects, only potential prospects.

Everyone outside of your sales funnel is the audience you are trying to reach.  This nearly limitless pool contains all of the potential prospects for your business. They have not walked into your store. They have not signed up to be contacted by you in any way. You don’t know who they are, although you might have some idea where they hang out.  They are only potential prospects because you have no way of contacting them, until they take the first step into your sales funnel.

Once they walk into your store, or provide their email address, then they actually qualify as a prospect.  Now you can contact them and work with them to help them become a customer.

Everyone wants to do more than just survive. If you want to thrive, you need to find a way to quickly determine who is ready, willing, and able to buy right now.  That should be the first step.  I have to give Steve Rosenbaum credit for identifying this as such an important step.  He also talks extensively about leak-proof sales funnels.  This is a guy who really knows the sales process, both online and offline.

As you can see from the graphic above you can see there is a step-by-step process until a prospect becomes a customer. Also, there should be a clear method to allow customers to become what I would call loyal customers, by making repeat purchases. As shown by the arrow on the right side of the funnel, they should easily be able to become repeat customers.

It may be because the product is renewable, or relies on a subscription model, or they simply like your product or service enough to purchase additional products or services from you.

There is obviously a great deal more to discuss about funnels, but I think the fundamentals discussed here are important enough to warrant this kind of post.

10 Reasons Why Video Can Help Your Small Business Marketing

CC BY by Bob Massa

If you haven’t yet considered adding video to your marketing strategy, it might be time to start.  Video rental may no longer be a viable business, but video is having a huge impact on Internet advertising. From all the benefits of video accorsing to small business research, it seems the number one reason video is not considered as a small business promotion tactic is cost.

Well, you may find video producers that charge thousands of dollars for a full-blown five minute custom on-site video, but is all that production really necessary?  If you could get high-quality videos at a small fraction of that cost, it might be something you should consider, for the following reasons;

1) Everyone likes video.  Chances are visitors to your site may not read your posts from start to finish, but it is likely they will watch an entire one-minute video.

2) Video builds trust.  Instead of producing a feature-based video on how great all of the benefits of your products or services are, consider a review-type video that displays one of the 5-star reviews your company has received.  This type of video will definitely rank on Google in a search for your company name.  It may also rank on a more general local search, depending on the competitiveness of your local niche.

3) Video is universal.  Video can be used in ways you may not have considered.  You can not only add video to your website and your YouTube channel, you can add it as a link in your email, on your Facebook page, on LinkedIn, as well as on various other social media sites.

4)  Video is highly searchable. Look at all the Google searchers that return video results on desktop as well as mobile searches. The numbers are staggering!

5) Video is highly sharable.  Video views on Facebook alone number over 4 billion per day.  That is more than half of the world population viewing videos on a daily basis!  Source: PCWorld

6) Video gives you the “wow” factor.  When prospects see your videos, they automatically assume your business is a successful and substantial one.  No one would spend the time and effort to produce a video for a company that was barely getting by. It is not just a status factor, video is something that earns customer respect.

7) Video can be used to inspire and educate, not only to entertain.  If you feel strongly about your small business, you can let people know about it.  It can be a simple belief in small, or family owned business, or something motivational.  Your video doesn’t have to go viral, it just has to have a clear message that resonates with your customers.

8) Videos set you apart from your competition.  If video marketing is not that popular in your niche, it will allow you to rise above your competition.  If no one in your local market is doing video, you will have a big advantage over your competitors.

9)  Video allows for greater interaction. People love to comment on videos. You can get multiple reviews from a single video, and multiply the benefit of a single citation.

10) Video stimulates the “buy” trigger.  Everyone loves to save time.  If you get your message across in one minute, you have done an effective job of stimulating the “buy” trigger in the mind of your prospect.

Visit Goldfinch Digital Marketing  for your free in-depth consultation on how video and social media can help your local business.

 

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Why is Gmail best for Entrepreneurs?

Exquisite-gmail red

Exquisite-gmail red (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CC BY-NC by aston : .

 

It might seem unnecessary to write a post about the benefits of Gmail.  Doesn’t everyone have a gmail account already?  I just thought it might be useful to review how I use gmail and make some suggestions for those already using it to be more productive as an entrepreneur.

One of the most helpful things gmail does, (which is a fairly recent development), is to sort your incoming emails into three different tabs, a primary one, a social tab, and a promotions tab.  (Actually sorting is also done for spam into it’s own separate folder. By the way, the spam checker in gmail is probably the most robust in the industry).
 
I reserve my primary tab only for the newsletters that I think are important, or communication from people from whom I have purchased products in the past. If you have given out your gmail address in order to download some free information, I don’t keep this type of email in my primary folder unless I find it extremely worthwhile.

Anything else I move into the promotions tab.  If you have ever purchased anything from JVZoo or the Warrior forum, it is certain that you will receive a fair amount of promotional email from both of them.  For me, all that belongs in the promotional tab. I reserve my primary tab only for the relatively important stuff.  All you have to do is drag an email to the promotional tab, and say yes.  All email from that address will now automatically be sent to your promotions tab.

I don’t have much going on in my social tab, since I have turned off email notifications from any of my social media accounts.  I have a completely separate address for my LinkedIn account, since even the weekly email on that account can be considerable. I suggest you do the same for your LinkedIn account. In addition, I have a separate email for any direct business communication from my website and other sources.

Although I use gmail for my primary email service, I also use Hotmail and Yahoo for my additional email addresses.  If you have an email address from your local cable Internet provider, or another source for your Internet service, I would not use that particular email address if you think you may be receiving a substantial amount of email using that address.  The spam filters are much less effective than other accounts.

That’s a quick overview of how I use my email accounts.  I also use Chrome for most of my browsing, since I like the number of extensions Chrome offers.  I have used Mozilla Firefox in the past, but I switched to Chrome.  It is always good to have an alternative browser installed on your computer in case one crashes, and doesn’t want to restart. You can use the other to download and install the latest version of the other browser in order to get to work again.

Good luck in all your endeavors!

For a complete and free consultation for your local business, visit

Goldfinch Digital Marketing

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Will the real Steven Colbert please stand up?

I do not normally comment on entertainment or personalities, but I think Steven Colbert deserves at least a brief mention.  Also, I may be partial because he lives in Montclair, NJ only a mile or two from where I live, and I have bumped into him at a local ice cream shop.

Is he the ultra-conservative, ultra patriotic pundit he portrayed on The Colbert Report?  Certainly not, conservative, yes, but not the borderline fanatic persona he portrayed on his previous show.

He is mainstream now, and will have to tone it back a notch not to displease the CBS network monitors.  I think his cutting edge sarcasm, incisive wit, and engaging sense of the humor of the absurd will survive intact, and will provide viewers with some of most provocative interviews of any one on TV.

Good Luck to Steven Colbert on his latest gig at Late Night, and may the conservative force be with you, may you not offend your Catholic Mother too much, and may you have a long and distinguished career, in keeping with your many predecessors.

Stephen Colbert in New York City at Border's s...

Stephen Colbert in New York City at Border’s signing copies for his book I Am America (And So Can You!) The photographer dedicates this portrait of Stephen Colbert to Wikipedia editor Pete Forsyth of Portland, Oregon, who has improved Wikipedia in immeasurable ways. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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