Business

How To Write A Quality Article

  • January 8 , 2014

How To Write A Quality Article

People hear that they can make money from blogging, well they hear that they can make great money and so they decide that they will give it a go, after all, you can create a website for as little as $60 a year. When you consider the costs of many business start ups that is a great price.quality a1

The big problem is when people start to fill their sites with content. They do not know where to start; they write a few sentences and hope that will do. At the beginning it will be hard when you are trying to find your feet. Your first posts will likely be short and not great, overtime they will develop, you will evolve into your own writing style and your posts will be better in many ways.

That is if you care, many people do not care and some do not know that they should care. Your site visitors and readers are important; you should care what you give them, if they do not like your articles and posts then they will not come back and traffic is important for your site. Returning readers is what you want, when someone returns that means they like what you do and they want to read more new stuff. This gives you a reason to carry on and can really keep your motivation at a high.

So, how do you write the perfect article?

Firstly you need a topic idea; one of the best ways to get ideas is to keep reading other people’s blog posts. You will find plenty of good ones and you will learn some new stuff. When you find some articles that you enjoyed reading and learned from then bookmark them and write down the titles in a note pad with a few bullet points and facts that you think are really important. You can also Get Educated Online from the comfort of your home, so you can have the right pointers and facts to work on this, it is easy and  fast.

Another great way to find post ideas is to carry around a notepad and jot down notes when you are watching television, chatting to friends or going for a simple walk into town. You will be surprised at what ideas you can get from everyday moments that can be turned into a relevant blog post.

Once you have a list of ideas and post titles take a piece of paper for each one and start to flesh it out with bullet points and ideas that you want to include in the post. When the ideas start to flow look for possible videos on YouTube that could be included as part of your post, also do a Google search for other articles for more information.

Now you have an idea of what to write about it is time to open up MS or whichever programme you use and start typing. It is advised to write in one of these programmes and not directly into your blog, you can edit and play with your post as much as you like and depending what plugin you use when you copy and paste the article you can keep much of the formatting from Word that you cannot get when using the blogging editor directly.

Once you start writing, keep writing and allow the words to flow, don’t stop to edit sentences, just keep writing while the words are flowing. You can edit and re write parts as you read the post after writing.

A good post can be re read and re written several times as an ongoing process, the idea is to make your posts as perfect as possible for your site visitors. Occasionally grammatical errors and spelling mistakes will pop up in a post now and then but the idea is to eliminate as many mistakes as humanly possible so that they are only ‘now and then’.

You need to respect your readers and site visitors and they will not appreciate sloppily written articles crammed full of errors and mistakes. You will also have many readers from different backgrounds and countries who will have different levels of reading skills and understanding of language so your posts need to be understandable by most people.

You should write your posts as if you were writing for a child or a new beginner. Not everyone will understand deep technical language, avoid adding big complicated words to sound clever, trust me it will have a negative effect on your blog readers.

Unless you are blogging about quantum physics or biology then you cannot avoid using words that are big and complicated but then your readers would expect that and need to know the proper terminology if they are learning from you.

If you are planning to incorporate any pictures with your post it is a good idea to put in picture markers as you write. As an example, you know that you want to include a picture of a people walking through a shopping centre, when you get to the area of the post you want to place the image add the markers…

[Picture 1: People Walking Through Shopping Centre]

Quality article

Similar markers can be placed for any videos you want to add to the post. I would add the information similar to that of the picture marker and if I had the embed code I would add that in brackets underneath so I have the code and I knew exactly where to put it when I come to add the post to my blog.

A post needs to be helpful, useful, educational and factual but that doesn’t mean your post should be devoid of personality. Far from it, your posts need to have personality and they need to feel as if they are written by you and not a robot. Adding thought and opinion is good as long as you do not go overboard and become insulting or controversial. Some controversy is good but it can be dangerous if done wrong.

Ideally you should write as if you were talking to a friend of a friend, imagine you were at a friend’s house warming party, there will be people who you know and you will meet people for the first time, people that your friend knows really well but you don’t.

During the party you talk to these people but you wouldn’t talk to them the same way as you would your close friend. The slang and obscenities would be kept to a minimum until you knew them better but you would also be friendly. That is exactly how you should write.

Of all of the writing tips I would recommend it would be to be yourself, add your personality and write as if you were talking to a friend and make sure the people who have read your posts leave knowing something they didn’t know before.

Welcome To The Hive – Official Launch!

  • January 6 , 2014

The-Hive-Launch

It has been a long time coming, but today is the day that we finally launch the official Bizzebee membership areaThe Hive.  I can’t quite express just how excited I and all the rest of the Bizzebee team are to launch today.  We are all eager to see what you think of it.

What Is The Hive

Here on the Bizzebee blog we strive to provide you with great free content for you to use and learn from. That can only go so far though, which is why we wanted to create a separate area for members who want to learn even more from us.

In ‘The Hive’, members will gain access to; tutorial videos, audio files, whiteboard presentations, eBooks, vidcasts and more that we have put together for you.  These will cover subjects, such as;

  • WordPress tutorials,
  • Social media tips,
  • SEO,
  • Blogging,
  • Content creation,
  • Business tips,
  • Web Design,

…and much, much more!

This Is Only The Beginning!

We are all very proud to launch this membership area, but as far as we are concerned this is only the beginning!  We will be adding more content to The Hive every month; we are planning on doing some exclusive Google hangouts for our members, one-on-one consultations, podcasts and more.

Our overall aim is to help you get your business up and running online and teach you how to grow it.  There is an awful lot to learn along the way, but we are here to help you.

So register today for your Hive membership, or try us out for FREE for 30 days!

Recharging The Blogging Batteries & Planning For The Future

  • December 23 , 2013

Recharging-The-Blogging-Batteries

As I write this post, it’s only a few days until Christmas.  I love this time of year as it’s great to be able to spend some quality time with the family.  Christmas is also a good time of the year to recharge the blogging batteries, so to speak, and plan on what you will get up to in the following year.

Tis The Season To Be Refreshed

This year seems to have flown by and I seem to have done quite a bit.  It’s certainly been a busy year work wise, what with helping to setup Bizzebee and The Hive, running my own sites and setting up lots of client websites as well.   I have learnt so much within the last 12 months, it’s been great!

If I’m honest though, I am really looking forward to taking some time off over Christmas and New Year to recharge the batteries.  The last few weeks have been pretty manic, so it will be good to spend some time away from the laptop for a bit.

Whether you are self-employed or not, it is very important to set aside some time for yourself away from the pressures of work.  It is easy to get bogged down and stressed about business related issues, but too much of that can be bad for your health.  Of course, that is easier said than done.  As a business owner myself, I know just how difficult it can be to switch off at times.  There is always something else to be done or task to be completed – it’s never ending.

Now, I’m not a very religious person, but I really love Christmas as it’s great to be able to spend time with the family.  There really is no better way (in my view) of forgetting about work than getting together with your loved ones and having a great time.

A Break Helps Refocus The Mind

Taking a break isn’t just about recharging the batteries though; it can help you to refocus on what you need to do in the future.  Being active every day at work is great, but it is easy to become short-sighted on the little tasks that need doing.  Being able to take some time out can help you to re-evaluate everything and see things in a different, much broader perspective.

Cliché as it may be, New Year’s resolutions are a great way to do this by setting new goals for the upcoming year.  This could be things like;

  • Taking your business/career in a new direction,
  • Learning a new skill that you can use,
  • Perhaps ditching something that you were doing that wasn’t working,

For any other blog/website owners reading this, you may want to include things such as;

  • Launching a new product,
  • Looking at new/different ways to increase traffic/revenue.
  • Expanding your site by adding something new (e.g. a forum, membership area, newsletter, etc.)
  • Reaching out and expanding your networking connections,

Whatever your goals may be, try setting them AFTER you have taken a break to reflect on everything.   It really can help you to make better decisions on where to go in the future when you do this.

Is It OK To Take A Break From My Blog?

Before I “wrap up” this post, I just wanted to touch on a question that often comes up when talking about this subject.  Often people think that you mustn’t, under any circumstance, leave your site for too long otherwise everyone will leave for good.  Bloggers and website owners can be a little too obsessed with this and feel like they must work on it constantly.

Regular content is vital, don’t get me wrong, but that doesn’t mean you need to be chained to your desk 24/7.  You can take a break from your site whenever you want, just be sure to let your viewers know.  I think most people are focused on Christmas anyway at this time of year, so I wouldn’t stress about it too much at the moment.

If you are concerned though, you could always write some posts in advance and schedule them to be published whilst you are away.  That way, you get to have a break doing whatever you want and your site still gets content.

Personally, I don’t see the harm in missing a week or two (in the context of a year that is, not just taking a break whenever you want).  Like I say, just remember to tell your viewers, via a post or newsletter, that you’ll be away for a bit and they will understand.

Merry Christmas!

So enjoy your blogging break.  Recharge those batteries and plan out what to do for next year, so that when you come back you are ready and raring to go!

From me (Matt) and all of the rest of the Bizzebee team, we want to wish you a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

MerryChristmasLogoVector-no-bar

headlines that work

Killer Headlines You Can Use For Your Blog Posts

  • December 20 , 2013

killer headlines

Having a great headline is essential for any post throughout your content marketing strategy. It’s the title that makes the reader decide to click through to read more, to open that email or post instead of opting for the many others. Magazine publishers spend millions of dollars trying to perfect their content strategy and the headline will be a big part in that.

Next time you are at a magazine stand try and see which magazines your eyes are drawn too (careful, try not to drift up to the top….) and then check out some of the headlines on the front cover. They will have on the front cover titles of articles that are included in that edition.

It is these headlines that will essentially make you decide if you are going to buy it or not. Was it intriguing enough? Did it leave you wanting to know the answer?

People say you should not judge a book by its cover – but essentially people do, whether we like it or not. It’s the same with magazines for the first time buyer. You see the magazine company hopes you will become a new regular reader obviously. But its winning you over from all the other competing magazines that matters the most. Once they have converted you the hard part is done…..

So How Do They Do It?

Well, like with any successful blog post or actually any successful content marketing strategy online or offline they use great, captivating titles; or headlines.

Lets take some examples. If you were a Gardener and just discovered a great way to double the size of your tomatoes, which headline would captivate you the most?

  • How To Grow Bigger Tomatoes
  • How I Doubled The Size of My Tomatoes With One Simple Trick!

Sure in some ways both are fairly captivating, but in my view and hopefully most of yours the 2nd headline seems more appealing.

It gives the reader an understanding of what they are going to get from the article. The first one is a little vague and does not really say too much. The next headline draws people in and also gives a promise that by reading the article you will learn something simple that you can apply with your own tomato growth!

Here is a presentation from We Are Visual showing you 12 killer headlines you are free to use and adapt in your own content marketing strategies:

The best thing about these titles is they are already proven – these are taken from some of the top magazines around the world. The publishing houses spend millions of dollars on advertising and making sure they get the best hook from their audience.

They are all everygreen and you can apply them to virtually any niche.

For some more ideas on specifically blog posts – check out Matt’s post: 15 Blog Post Ideas When You Are Stuck For Blog Post Ideas

3 Ways To Help You Remember Those Million Dollar Ideas

  • December 16 , 2013

The brain is an incredible machine, while you are busy doing stuff it is quietly whirring away mulling over all of the information you have been feeding it such as your wants and desires and then without warning while you are right in the middle of something it throws an idea right into your mind’s eye.

You can see it clear as day and it knocks you back, ‘oooh that is a good idea’ you think to yourself, ‘I gotta remember that’ and then you carry on doing what you were doing. Here lies the problem, you do not remember it because you get busy doing other things and these flashes of genius inspiration are fleeting and hey go as quickly as they come unless you take 5 minutes to seriously think about them. If you do not take note of them they become buried under the other thousands of thoughts you have that day.

While you are busy working you probably do not have much spare time to get thinking about the idea deeply and all that it entails so it is important that you take note of these ideas as they come. Believe it or not these ideas are often the big multi-million dollar winners that can change your life forever.

Many of the most successful people listen out for these ideas, they take note of them and then they think about them until they grow and evolve into a plan of action which when followed creates projects and businesses that changes their lives for the better.

1 The Traditional Note Book And Pen

This is the oldest and one of the easiest ways of taking note of the things you need to remember. Successful people of the past wouldn’t leave the house without a note pad and pen. Way before smart phones or laptops were invented people like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and millions more would always carry a pocket size notepad around with them wherever they went so they could take notes of any flashes of inspiration they received from deep within their sub consciousnesses.

Ideally you need a small notebook that fits nicely into a pocket but I personally find it hard to write well in small notebooks however they are not for doing full articles or stories but more for general ideas and brainstorming so small is good. When I worked and lived in Surrey I occasionally had to catch a train when visiting family in Lincolnshire so I had a medium sized notepad which I kept in my bag and I would get it out and do brainstorming sessions. I could rest on my bag or on a table if there was a table seat available.

notebook brainstorming

The image above shows a brainstorming session I had from ideas I had previously written down when they flashed across my mind.

2 Using A Dictaphone

I have one of these and I spent quite a few days using it when I was thinking up content for a book I was writing. The great thing about using a Dictaphone was that I could hold it with one hand and talk while I carried on doing other work. It was ideal for the job I was doing at the time; if you needed both hands then it could be a bit more difficult unless you can stand/hang it close to where you are working. I would simply talk through my ideas and it would record them as an audio file that I could upload to my computer.

Dictaphones are great if you are writing a fictional book especially if you want to create the story and pay someone to do the actual writing. While sitting in a quiet room or somewhere where you will not be disturbed like a wood or sand dunes where you can relax and simply allow your mind to see the story happening speak it out loud in detail. Say everything that you are imagining and record it as audio files which you can then pop into a shareable folder like DropBox or Google Drive or email to your ghost writer.

These days you do not need to buy a Dictaphone if you own a smartphone as these usually come with a voice recorder so you can easily create short notes about any ideas you have by simply hitting record and speaking into your phones mouth piece. If you intend to write a fictional book then a Dictaphone is probably better than a smartphone as it will have more space for longer recordings.

Having a Dictaphone close to hand is great when those flashes of inspiration and ideas just pop right into your head, you pull it out of your pocket, hit record and say what the idea was. Now you have it saved ready to work on later.

Some Dictaphones come with software which should convert the audio into text so you can simply edit the information in a text file however my experience is that it really isn’t that reliable. For it to work properly you need to set the software to your voice and it doesn’t convert words well if there was a lot of background noise. Personally I would simply playback the ideas as a recording and type or write them up to work through.

3 Send Yourself A Text

I like this one, it saves carrying a notebook and pen around and let’s be honest, pens/pencils are very easy to lose and if you do lose them then you have no way of writing down your ideas. Sending yourself a text can quickly and easily create a note of any ideas you may have. Smartphones also allow you to create notes and some come with software like Evernote or MS Word for creating documents of ideas but I find that it is often easier to open up the text editor, write out a message and simply send it to myself.

When I return home and go to my office I open up my text message folder and there are my ideas ready for me to write down in a proper ideas book that I have and I can start to brainstorm these ideas and watch them grow.

text message

Because I have my phone with me all the time I should never forget any ideas I have, if I do forget I have no real excuse, it is my own fault for not making note of them with the technology and tools I have with me each and every day .

So there you go, 3 simple ways to make a record of any ideas that you may have that flash into your mind when you are busy. Remember these fleeting ideas we get are the ones that can turn people into big successes so to not take note of them could be financial suicide. I am sure you do not want that do you?

Compile, Publish & Profit. The Easier Way To Make Money Online

  • December 13 , 2013

Compile, Publish & Profit. The Easier Way To Make Money Online
I am sure many of you have heard of the world famous Chicken Soup For The Soul series of books by Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield, I wouldn’t be surprised if you many of you have read it. The books are collections of inspiring stories that have sold over 100 million copies worldwide and now has around 200 titles in the series.

What I like about this story is that the book itself is a collection of other people stories and not a book that had to be ‘thought about’ in the traditional sense. The information was there in front of the writers, they did not have to go the rough the character or story development that fiction writers normally need to do or the incredible amount of creative writing that a fiction writer would do.

chicken soup
Yes they needed an outline on how they wanted the book and they had to write the book, they couldn’t just copy and paste vast chunks of stuff from papers, they needed to write it out in their own way (I believe it was written by ghost-writer!) but most of the work is done for them.

Another excellent and popular book is the Darwin Awards, a collection of strange deaths and accidents by stupid people, things that could have been avoided and would have been avoid by normal sane people but those who clearly were short of a few sandwiches of a full picnic did some extraordinary things to create their own demise.

The book gets its name from Charles Darwin’s theory that a species gets stronger as the weaker genes die out. The people in the book are the weaker part to humanity and when you read it you can see why. Here is one such example…

(15 July 1999, Tennessee) Seven firefighters from the Sequoyah Volunteer Fire Department, located in rural Hamilton County north of Chattanooga, decided to impress their Chief by surreptitiously setting fire to a house, then heroically extinguishing the blaze. The men apparently hatched the plan in order to help Daniel, a former firefighter, return to duty.

Unfortunately, Daniel’s career plans were irreversibly snuffed when he became trapped while pouring gasoline inside the house. Surrounded by smoke and flames, he was unable to escape, and died inside the burning house on June 26.

His six accomplices are facing 87 years in prison for conspiracy, arson, and burglary. – www.DarwinAwards.com

What struck me is how successful these two books and many others are and how many similar sites online are popular, sites that are full of other peoples stuff whether it is inspiring stories, quotes, public domain books or even pictures.

There is a huge business here using other people’s stuff, probably one of the fastest ways to make money online is to become a collector and editor of other people’s stories or work. Much of this can be niche specific, for example, if you love graffiti art, you could create a book or series of books full of photos documenting different countries or cities on your travels.

OK so you need a camera to take the pictures but this is the digital age, a picture can be taken and shared there and then. The artwork itself is the main interest to others and that is already done for you. You are not writing or painting for several hours are you?

There are websites where people share their own graffiti pictures, saving the site owners a lot of work, they focus on the maintenance and running of the site. There are also sites where people upload their own written stories again leaving the site owners to focus on running the site.

There are so many different ways that you can create books, eBooks or websites using other people’s content or stories. You might need to send out the odd email asking for permission to use things if they have not be sent to you by willing people but I tend to work on a rule of thumb, if something has been published in a newspaper and it is factual then you are good to go.

You might need to send a courtesy email to make sure it is ok to use someone’s name but generally you cannot copyright fact and if you wanted to write a book about serial killers you would not need to ask permission to use the facts or details as they are well documented in all of the press and in now part of the history of society.

Books on true crime have always been best sellers; again the reason is that the information is there in front of you to take and re package in your own way. It is factual and cannot be copyrighted by anyone. Even writing book about celebrities can be lucrative, look at how many unofficial books are out, if they stick to the facts of what is already known then they are usually safe.

If however you started writing about possible affairs with no true facts then you are touching upon slanders ground and then you can be liable. Simply stick to the facts.

Compiling information for your website has never been easier, we have the internet crammed full of great stories that we can search for, we search from our smart phones, we can copy and paste information into word documents ready to edit and re write.

We can access the internet with our phones and tablets and can do research while sat on the train or bus, we can book mark websites to go back to when we are ready. We have T.V. that can be recorded onto hard drive, paused live or rewound, if you missed shows you can re watch them online with things like the BBC iPlayer and then if that isn’t enough there is the good old newspaper.

An old fashioned pen and paper can be handy to have on you to write down reminders of where you saw stories so you can go back to them later or ideas that you have had for your website.

With the book The Chicken Soup For The Soul, money was made by selling the book, there is still opportunities to sell books, but things have changed these days, you can still sell physical books but there is a big slant to eBooks with the growing popularity of the Amazon Kindle and similar devices. I even have a Kindle app on my phone allowing me to read eBooks and PDFs anywhere anytime.

EBooks can still be sold for a regular price even though many are being sold cheaper than physical books and to be honest it makes sense, physical books need to be made and distributed, eBooks do not and they also allow many people the freedom to become author and publisher without the need of the big publishing companies.

If you decide that eBooks are not for you and wanted to focus on a website instead, money can be generated by selling advertising space, growing an email list and promoting products that might be of interest to the people who regularly visit your site. It is possible that you could create a club and charge for a subscription creating an online membership site. People love being part of a network of like-minded people and they well pay to be part of what they love.

If people will pay to buy magazines about model railways or hairdressing each month then why won’t they pay for a similar online magazine? The main thing that I wanted to get across today that is very possible to create a business and generate huge profits from using other people’s work and stories while making it that little bit easier for you, it has worked beautifully for Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and many others so why cannot it work for you?

bizzebee manifesto title

The BizzeBee Manifesto!

  • December 6 , 2013

The BizzeBee Manifesto!

The post is going to be very short – well, in terms of word quantity but not in terms of word power and quality! It’s time to present The BizzeBee Manifesto! This is a collection of thoughts, quotes, sayings and statements that we all live by here on BizzeBee. Feel free to distribute this, print it off, hang it in your rooms, offices, bathroom doors – where ever!

We do ask that if you share it on your site please credit us with a link back here. There is an auto-embed code generator at the bottom!

BizzeBee Manifesto

You can download a PDF copy of the manifesto here (right-click, save as): DOWNLOAD MANIFESTO!

If you like it and do decide to print it off, send us the pictures of it hanging with pride. Post your pictures over to our Facebook page. We would love to hear from you.

Dual Admin For Your Facebook Page | Bizzebee

Dual Admin Control For Your Facebook Page

  • December 3 , 2013

Hello Bee’s, today’s post is something I’ve written about before in a few different places, but nothing I have shared before with our Bee colony. It’s a very important Social Media tip and I thought I should probably share it in this post.

So this week I’ve been really busy with my own Clair Trebes Online projects, working on a complete social media set up for a Golf Club in Essex, UK near where I live. Part of this set up is to create a Facebook page (it’s not finished yet!!!) for them, and this tip is in relation to Facebook Pages.

Dual Admin For Your Facebook Page | Bizzebee

Dual Admin For Your Facebook Page

Having a Facebook page is great for business – first and foremost its FREE … AND it has unlimited capability on numbers (unlike the 5000 friend limit on personal profiles) so you can potentially reach thousands (if not millions! – dream big remember) of ‘fans’.

Because of this capability and the power this can bring to your business, we are all working hard to make our pages ‘user friendly’ with content, helpful information, running promotions & generally connecting people, and any of us who are working smart with our pages knows that it takes work to keep these pages current, up to date and relevant.

 It is because of this I want to talk through a few points to protect your ‘Page’

 None of us are using our fan pages (well I hope you aren’t!) to spam or scam people as has previously happened in the past with some people, we are all operating within the Facebook guidelines and using our pages for GOOD business. Sometimes however people can take out a grudge, and decide to report you to Facebook. If this happens Facebook can and (and WILL) close down your PERSONAL account.

To be honest this is not the end of the world, as you can always start up a new personal account, but the main problem with this is YOU WILL LOSE YOUR PAGE & ACCESS TO IT.

Granted the page will still exist within Facebook for some time, but you will only be able to post on the wall as a ‘fan’ – which means the posts will NOT appear in the newsfeed of the people who LIKE the page. You have lost all your admin rights!

Having at least 2 page admins is a good idea – to avoid the above situation happening. I recommend you get a family member or a close friend as a page admin. As long as they are active members of facebook – interacting with their friends, posting photos etc  – exactly what you would expect a personal profile to do!

People continue to set up fake profiles and pages within Facebook – which is against the Facebook guidelines. These pages / profiles that were spamming pages were being reported to Facebook, thus causing them to investigate these complaints further. And what do you think when they see that the page admins have no interaction on their personal pages?! Exactly ….. they think ‘this is a fake account’

Having dual admin access is a precautionary step you should all take incase you end up in the situation where facebook revoke access to your profile and close it down!  This was you do not lose access to the page you have worked so hard on, because through the other admin business can resume (and they can re-add you as a page admin in your new profile)

When adding someone to your Facebook page as an admin, there are 2 things you need to consider.

No1 – your personal profile needs to be friends with the person you are adding (so you can’t add a stranger as page admin)

No2 – you need to set them up with “manager” access.

 Rather than me give you a step by step rundown of doing this, I’ve made you a video to show you how quick and easy this is to do.

 So how do you add another profile to your page as admin?

I hope that helped!!!

Clair 🙂

Using Facebook to Grow Your Business For FREE [Example]

  • December 2 , 2013

As we are all about small offline businesses using social media to grow I thought I would use a local business Lincoln Yurts as an example who are using Facebook pretty well to get their message across.

Lincoln Yurts Cover ImageYou may recall that my last article covered how and why people should use YouTube to grow their business and get leads for their offline businesses, if not then you can read that article here.

Using YouTube To Generate Leads For Your Offline Business

Facebook like YouTube is free to use but unlike YouTube it can be geo specific which means that if someone uses a local business and likes their Facebook page other local connections will see and this has a powerful visual equivalent to ‘word of mouth’.

Every business should have a Facebook page especially now that Facebook have relaxed their rules about running competitions. Before you had to use specific Facebook approved aps to run a competition or sweepstake on their network but now you can simply run one however you please. You might have seen a lot of pages doing the ‘share &  win…’ style competitions where you are asked to share a photo or post to enter the competition. Some ask you to like their page to have a chance to win a prize.

like and share photo

These are great because they can create a buzz, an excitement and have your product seen by many more people than just a typical photo post. If you have something that you can give away then why not run a Facebook competition? Remember they are free to do. I shall keep coming back to this a lot, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram are FREE and used well they can be very powerful.

 Lincoln Yurts Win A Holiday

In this example you will see that local company Lincoln Yurts ran a competition where they gave away a free holiday consisting of a 2 night mid-week stay in one of their Yurts.  The image above shows that people were liking the photos and sharing them.

The owners of Lincoln Yurts were posting new and different photos showing what they had to offer so people were not seeing the same old picture but instead they were seeing more of what  they would get if they won and this was great for ‘wetting people’s appetites’.

They had the camp site already set up with Yurts so for them giving away a couple of nights stay away for free is not going to cost them a lot of outlay. Far from it, those two free nights they gave away helped to grow their business and put their name and business in front of new people.

Every time someone clicked like of the Lincoln Yurts page or shared any of the Lincoln yurts photos their friends would see their activities in their own newsfeeds.  Imagine that you had seen one of your friends had won a competition, you would probably take a quick look at the Facebook page or website that had ran the competition.

Lincoln Yurts Win A Holiday Winner Showing the winner is also a very powerful thing to do, in fact it is the best way to inform people who the winner is. Recently one excellent Facebook competition run by an online holiday company failed to do this and instead opted to email the winner which left a lot of confusion and a bad end to a really good competition.

This is viral marketing at its best, if any of the friends got curious and clicked through to the Lincoln Yurts page they now know that they exist and may be interested in booking a night or two there, generating more revenue from a simple free to use online social network.

The other great thing about Facebook is that unlike paid adverts in papers or magazines you can answer people’s questions and have conversations with people in real time. The examples below show people asking if there were any Yurts available on a set night, what the nearest train station was and how far from Lincoln were they. As you can see Lincoln Yurts were able to answer and have a conversation with people as well as direct them to their own website.

 Lincoln Yurts ChatsWhen people see an advert in a paper and become interested they need to either switch the computer on to send an email or make a phone call which is fine but it means people either decide to do it later and then forget or get up and go fetch the phone which isn’t hard but we people are lazy, that simple task of getting up to fetch the phone can often result in people thinking to themselves, ‘I cannot be bothered to get up, I am too comfy’

With Facebook, when someone is relaxing on the sofa scrolling through their newsfeeds and they see something that interests them they can send a message or place a comment there and then. They may not get an answer straight away but they know that when they do they will be notified of any reply and can go and see it straight away. Never in the world of advertising has it been so easy to interact with potential clients, let alone do it for free!

Lincoln Yurts News and Fun Updates The other great thing I have noticed with Lincoln Yurts is that they share photos of fun things, their newest additions and new developments. These keep people informed while reminding them that they are still there. This kind of reminder is what multibillion dollar earning companies like Coca Cola do every day. Do we need to be told who Coca Cola and McDonalds are?

 coca cola mcdonalds

Virtually everyone in the western world knows about them but if they do not keep making TV adverts to remind us of their products we could soon forget about them. Just like them we smaller businesses need to keep gently reminding people that we are still in business and that we are improving and growing. Why wouldn’t you? Especially when the systems we can use are free, we can do the posts before or after the working day or maybe both.

Whatever your business is you could take several photos during a working day and then while sitting down to relax in front of a bit of television in the evening you could post a couple of photos with some information and monitor any questions they may generate. It really isn’t hard work but the rewards can be incredible. I am sure that the owners of Lincoln Yurts would say that their use of Facebook has benefitted them greatly, they may not yet be able to measure it but I am sure their business has grown by using the free social media platform and interacting with people.

If you are not yet using Facebook then maybe now is the time to get started? Do you agree? Please leave your thoughts and comments below in the comments section.

Oh and for the record, I have never been to Lincoln Yurts or know the people who own Lincoln Yurts and I have not been financially rewarded for this post, I simply wanted to use them as an example of using Facebook to grow your business for free – Andi Leeman

The Dangers Of Using Solo Ads & List Swaps

  • November 29 , 2013

Traffic is the lifeblood of any online business, traffic = people, they are the footfall of the cyber high street and you want as much as you can to visit your website and join your email lists.

solo ad1

But you don’t just want any traffic you want plenty of good traffic, you want what we called highly targeted traffic, this is people who are looking for the exact same stuff you have on your website and selling.

It makes sense really, you wouldn’t want to build a website and email list about cooking meat and butchery and have your site visited by vegetarians, you know they will not sign up for your newsletters or buy your products.

There are plenty of different ways to generate traffic to your site, from SEO to paid advertising. The one I want to discuss with you should in theory be a great one and that is the method called solo ads.

A solo ad is where you pay someone who has an established list to send out an email with your details in it. It could be an advert or a written email recommending your site, product or newsletter. Prices vary from person to person and normally you pay with a guaranteed click rate. The bigger list owners can charge more especially if their list is a good quality list.

You would buy a solo ad from someone who is in the same market as you so for the example above with the butchery website you would look for someone who was also in the meat industry, but someone who was in a slightly different yet complimentary sub niche like BBQ lovers and specialists. Sometimes list owners will not offer solo ads to someone in the exact same niche to prevent losing subscribers.

Again it makes sense, a person can subscribe to a newsletter for BBQ techniques and equipment as well as list about how to cook and prepare meat but if they subscribed to two newsletters about BBQ techniques and equipment the day may come when they decide that they do not need both and chose one over the other. Email list owners do not want to risk that so they may not sell you a solo ad if you are in direct competition.

A list swap is like a solo ad but you do it for free because you also send an email to your list recommending the other persons site, product or newsletter. You would do a list swap of same numbers, for example, if you already had a list of 200 people you would do a swap with a list owner who also had 200 people. Sometimes bigger list owners will do a swap and send an email to only 200 people on their list but usually it is like for like.

List swaps and solo ads can be arranged by joining sites like ListSwapper.com, WarriorForum.com & MyPrivateSwap.com

solo 2

Now this sounds really good but you do have to be very careful, like all industries there can be some very unscrupulous people about. Some people will knowingly sell you a solo ad or do a list swap with you using a really rubbish list. In the past some people have built up huge lists very fast by using companies like AdFly which, in all honesty, dupes people into signing up.

AdFly places ads between a link and its destination, when someone clicks the link and expects to see a video but a big ‘Click Here’ button or ‘sign up’ form appears they often do what they are told thinking it is part of getting to the video or page. It usually isn’t.

These lists are often full of people from the Asian continent who are not interested in your offers, the reason many come from certain parts of the world over others is that it is a lot cheaper to advertise there so building a big list very fast is also very cheap.

It is also very fair to say that some nationalities are less cynical than the Western world and may not understand the art of Copywriting and also have far worse living conditions then the rest of us so when they are sent an email offering them life changing riches or products they are more willing to click the links and sign up. When they see your offers, they are very unlikely to buy, some countries do not use PayPal or issue credit/ debit cards like ours, many cannot even afford the product so the decision is made for them whether they wanted to buy or not. In truth, these lists are useless.

So I think you know where I am going with this, dodgy marketers will sell you a solo ad for say $60 to a list of people who may click and sign up for your newsletter or promotion but will hardly buy. In the long run this will cost you more than your initial purchase price as you will increase your monthly costs with Aweber or whichever autoresponder company you use.

There is also ‘List abuse’, it sounds harsh but that is what it is called and it is seriously frowned upon in the industry but it still happens, normally in the make money niche but there could be others in different niches who do it. List abuse is where someone who wants to build a good quality list fast and cheaply will create a list using the same method as mentioned above, they will then go to the list swapping sites and offer to do a list swap.

They know that their list is crap, this is often referred to as the extreme list, but they offer it up anyway and when they do a list swap with someone who has spent a lot of time and money cultivating a list they then take people away from that list to join their ‘new list’ that they are building via a different opt-in form.

While they are now building a new clean list the other list owner is now having his list polluted with people who really are not interested in his products or are not likely to ever buy. The practice is really disliked but it can happen so you should be very careful who you do your swaps with.

The problem is how do you tell? Some list swap sites will have feedback and reviews but these can be unreliable, after a swap, a list owner may get 200 new sign ups, write a positive review but not realise for a few weeks or months that all of his new leads are rubbish.

The reason they build a big list cheaply is that it gives them the edge, if you are just starting out and have only a list of 50 you are restricted to who you can swap with and what you can charge for sending out a solo ad, it can take time to get up to big list using normal list building methods. If you build a dodgy extreme list quickly you can be in and out with a new clean list or a few extra dollars fairly quickly.

The other thing to be aware of is how many solo ads and swaps has a list owner done, a list owner might have a few thousand subscribers on his list but if he send out a recommendation to other peoples products, newsletters or offers every day or week and nothing else useful they can soon destroy their list. People will get fed up of the adverts and simply stop clicking through and many will just not open the emails. Doing a list swap or paying for a solo ad is a very daunting thing, it is recommended that you do your research and go in with your eyes open!

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