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.
You 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When 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!
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?
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
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.
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
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!
Traffic is something that is talked a lot about online, and with good reason as it is vital for all sites. That being said, people tend to focus heavily on “how many” and often overlook “where” your website visitors are coming from. I feel that this is a mistake, which is what I want to talk about in this post.
So Where Are My Website Visitors Coming From?
Many experienced website owners will agree that one of the most important pieces of information you should learn (and keep an eye on) is where your website visitors are coming from. If you can tell where your website traffic is coming from, you have a better overall understanding of your site as a whole.
Key information that you will want to learn about your site includes;
Where in the world your website visitors are coming from,
What websites are sending you traffic (known as referrers),
Which social media sites send you the most traffic,
Which keywords & keyphrases are sending you the most traffic,
Which type of device (desktop, mobile, tablet, etc) are people viewing your site with,
Which browsers (Chrome, Safari, Explorer, Firefox, etc.) are people viewing your site with,
This information will give you a MUCH greater picture of how your website is performing online, as well as allowing you to see key areas that you can improve upon.
By far the easiest and most effective way of learning this information is by setting up Google Analytics for your site. A vital tool for any site, it allows you to monitor all the above mentioned info, as well as statistics like; number of visitors, pageviews, bounce rate, average time spent on a page and much, much more!
Where In The World Are Your Website Visitors From?
This is by far my favourite piece of information to take a look at for a site. I find it amazing to learn just how far reaching a website can be, as you can often be blind to that when sat at a desk all day. Seeing that your site is getting lots of hits from other countries from all around the world can really inspire you to push on and create an even better site.
With Google Analytics, not only can use see your site traffic statistics from each individual country, but you can also view continental traffic, sub-continental region traffic and even traffic from individual cities!
So, why is this information important? Well, not only does it give you a more accurate representation of who your site visitors are but it allows you to tailor content to a more targeted audience.
For example, let’s say that you ran a sports blog. You may tend to write a lot of posts on Football as that is what interests you, but having checked your Analytics and found that the majority of your visitors were from India, you may want to focus more on sports that they like (i.e. Cricket).
Not only that but knowing where your visitors are from, you can work around national holidays and even work them into your site somehow. Why not run a promotion around Thanksgiving for your American readers, mention the Chinese New Year for your Asian readers (which is on a different date that our New Year) or get into the spirit of Bonfire night for UK readers. All that helps to reinforce your relationship with your global readers, not just the ones who you “think” are visiting your site.
Which Websites Are Sending You Traffic?
Take a look at your Analytics data to see which websites are sending you the most traffic. You may find a new site that has linked to you, written a review about you or mentioned you in a post.
A good thing to look out for is “how” these sites as a whole are sending traffic to you. Let’s say that you had 100 sites linking to you, but 99% of that traffic was coming from one single site. That would tell you that;
You need to get more links to try and diversify (as if that 1 link were to disappear, you’d lose out on a lot of traffic),
The site sending you so much traffic is clearly a great site to try and get mentioned more on.
This is a great way to look at improving your linking strategy. Find what is working and try to replicate that, and for what isn’t working try to concentrate on different methods.
Which Social Media Sites Send You The Most Traffic?
Social media should be a key part in your marketing strategy, but that doesn’t mean that you should be spending equal amounts of time on each. Doing that would eat up a LOT of time, which could be better spent doing other things, such as creating content.
Depending on your site, you may find that despite your best efforts your Twitter campaign just isn’t sending you any traffic, whereas Facebook is. If that’s the case, you may be better off spending more time on that instead.
Looking at it a different way, you may feel that you need to step up your efforts on the social sites that aren’t working so well. Maybe try marketing yourself in a different way and switching up your daily routine.
Which Keywords & Keyphrases Are Sending You The Most Traffic?
Finding out what your most popular keywords & keyphrases are can really help you. Not only will you see how people are finding you on the search engines, but it gives you a better idea of what you should be aiming for more of in the future.
For example, let’s say that you run a cooking blog. You may write on a whole host of different cooking recipes, but learn that the keywords/keyphrases that are sending you the most traffic are ones about baking. In that case, perhaps you should spend more time writing baking recipes as that is clearly what is bringing in the traffic.
Which Type Of Devices Are People Viewing Your Site With?
The internet is changing! More and more people are browsing the web on their smart phones or tablets whilst on the go. This means that it is VITAL that you site is responsive (mobile friendly) for people to access.
Checking your stats can help you see whether there is a problem with your site that you may not be aware of. You may notice that your mobile visitors have significantly dropped in the last month, which could indicate there is an issue that needs fixing. Alternatively, maybe you are only getting visitors from iPhone users, which may mean there is a problem for Android users getting on your site.
This information can be key if you can’t check your site manually. Personally, I use an Android phone, so it’s good to check that iPhone users can access my site.
Which Browsers Are People Viewing Your Site With?
If you are like me, you tend to use the same browser most of the time. There are lots of different browsers that people use, so it’s good to know that your site works across all of them. Now, whilst you should check them yourself (especially when making design changes to your site), looking at your Analytics data can help you out.
For much the same reasons as checking different devices, it just helps you to see if there are any problems occurring on your site. You may notice a significant drop in traffic for Internet Explorer users, which would probably indicate a problem. The faster you can spot the problem, the faster you can get it fixed.
Learning exactly where your visitors are coming from is extremely important for your site’s success. It gives you a much better understanding of who your overall audience is and, more importantly, areas that you can look to improve upon.
Always remember that a site is NEVER finished, it should always look to evolve and improve upon itself. Only then will you continue to move forward and keep growing your site.
I hope you enjoyed this post. If so, or if you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.
Today I would like to introduce you all to Bert, Bert is my new friend, he helped me change a pull light switch in my house.
You might be interested to know that I have never met or spoken to Bert but after his help, I would consider using his services if I lived in or around Watford or London.
So if I have never met or spoken to him how can he have helped me and why would I consider using his services? Let me explain…
For those of you who are unaware, I have this week moved back into my old house after renting it out for a couple of years to people who have been less than caring to the property. It was left in a sad and sorry state, the type of state that meant we couldn’t just move back in once the tenants had moved out.
I have spent the last fortnight working hard to get it back to an acceptable and habitable standard so that my better half and I could move back in. There are some big jobs to do over the next year or so but I have done enough for us to now live comfortably without worry. I left a few minor jobs to do once I was in and one of those jobs was to change the pull switch that controlled the bathroom light.
I fitted the original switch a few years ago but now it was broken and hanging loose. I thought this would be a simple five minute job so I popped off to the local B&Q to get a new switch and gathered all of the tools I would need. I spent 20 years in the building trade but I am not electrician and rarely touched electrics but I can manage straight swaps of electrical sockets etc.
So anyway I decided to take a quick look at the instructions and double check that I knew what I was doing and, let’s just say, I confused myself. The diagram made no sense to me so knowing that I had done it before I decided to turn the power off and start the work; I mean, I did it before so how hard can it be?
**(Time to point out that when you create diagrams or instructions of your products or services it is well worth remembering that many of your customers may be novices and beginners so you should make them as clear and understandable as possible to everyone and not just the experts!) I recommend reading Sell Results Not Specifications**
When I opened up the old switch I saw two red cables going into separate terminals. Now I am used to seeing a red and black cable being used with corresponding cables connecting to them via the terminals.
This light switch however wasn’t wired up like that so I was even more confused, I decided to get out my mobile phone and do a Google search using the phrase ‘how to fit a pull switch’ In the results on the first page was a YouTube video by Bert TV.
This was just what I needed, so I took a look.
The video is 4 minutes long and is in my opinion very professionally made. It is extremely useful and also quite funny. Bert has a great comical and lovable persona and it is helped with the well planned video with accompanying graphics. You can see for yourself below.
Bert, if that is his real name, has his own electrics company and he also has his own website which I think is brilliant because it does everything I believe a small business website should do. It has a lot of information about Bert and you get to know the man, his history, his skills, qualifications and how far he will travel to work. Bert worked at Buckingham Palace as well as on a Cruise ship and Honk Kong’s international airport. He certainly knows his stuff.
What is great about the videos that Bert has recorded for YouTube is that he has made them fun, useful and has also included an annotation box that appears during the film showing his phone number that you can call if you need any help.
Also what is important is that his video finishes with the details of his website so that people can go straight there for more details.
Now I am miles away from London so I doubt I will ever use his services but he is really doing something that all offline businesses should be doing and that is using free tools like YouTube to get new customers. Now we here at bizzebee know that 100 electricians cannot all rank their ‘how to fit pull switches’ videos on the front page of Google however you can use local SEO techniques to help you.
Google not only give different results to different people they are also monitoring where many people are and what they search for. Is it coincidence that after I looked at Bert’s London and Watford based electrician website that when I did a search for ‘local electricians’ I was shown results for London and Watford area?
I am currently writing this in Lincolnshire, miles away from Watford and yet I have a Watford/London result. Interesting, it could be that Google think I am in London but I have never worked in London for a long period of time. Before moving back to Lincolnshire I was below London living in Surrey on the Hampshire border so even then my local results should not have been for London.
As far as I am aware, Google should know from my IP address that I am at least 180 miles further up north!
To take advantage of this you can create a series of videos for your business whatever it may be and included local keywords like ‘Lincoln electrical’‘Boston Cup Cakes’ or ‘Gainsborough Carpenter and Joiner’ in your video titles or descriptions. Using local based keywords on your website will certainly benefit you when people search for businesses in your area.
Search engines like Google will pick up on them and if you have a YouTube channel that also uses the same localised keywords that links to your main website you have a greater chance of being chosen for their search results over people who simple have a website. If you were still unaware, Google own YouTube, using their video service can help you in their search results.
Remember, YouTube is free to use as are many of the other popular social media networks. In fact, YouTube is no longer considered as a social media network but a search engine in its own right. People use it to search for videos of anything and everything and I, like countless million other users, will use it to search for videos showing you how to do things.
My better half has used it many times when looking for information and tutorials when she wants to cook or bake something different. She is very creative and loves to bake and YouTube is an incredible source of information. You as a business are missing out if you do not use these free tools.
Have you ever seen a celebrity so many times that you think and feel that you know them? When that happens you generally trust them and all that they promote. You are likely to use the services and products they recommend. The same can happen when you use YouTube and create a lot of videos on a certain topic.
We have seen Bert and his electrics videos; I have seen plumbers doing the same with plumbing projects and other building trade based videos, after you have seen one or two great informative tutorials where would you go when you need new and different information on a new project? You would go to the people you already know. Wouldn’t you? I know I certainly do.
Having people coming to your videos week in and week out to see you bake cupcakes and muffins for example could easily have people coming to your shop and placing orders that you probably wouldn’t have got had you not made the tutorials.
On a final note, if you think making videos is a lot of work for one or two new clients let’s just stop and think about using YouTube alongside Facebook and Twitter which can have a lot of GEO specific followers. When you make a new video you simply share it so that your friends and followers can watch them, share them and comment. It makes sense to also share old videos now and then for new followers or to simply say ‘we are here still folks’
These tools are free and very powerful so if you are not using them for your offline business I need to ask… Why not?
Please share with us your thoughts, opinions and experiences about using YouTube and videos to get more custom to your offline business by commenting below.
Using YouTube To Generate Leads For Your Offline Business
If you intend to make money online one of the first things you should do is start to build an email list. If you have not yet heard the saying ‘the money is in the list’ then you have had your eyes and ears shut, it is probably the first thing all internet marketers will tell you.
When you have an email list of people who are seriously interested in your websites niche then you can promote to them similar products and generate money. The bigger the list the more earning potential you have. If your list is made up from highly targeted people who are interested in the same niche as your website then you again increase the chances of selling them relevant products. So it is important that you try and build an email list of people who are only interested in your niche. So how do you do that?
Creating an email list is a simple process really; you give away something of value in exchange for a person’s email address. The idea is simple; convincing the stranger to hand over the email address is the hardest part. To get your site visitor to hand over the details you need to give them something of real value. Here are five of the best freebies you can use to generate leads for your email list.
Free Reports/eBooks – For years people were giving away free reports & eBooks, at one point it seemed everyone was giving away a free report, they became pretty thin and useless. Many were re hashed material found in hundreds of other reports or simple off the shelf reports made from PLR content. PLR means Private Label Rights; you buy the content and can then re use it as your own or as you please.
Reports and eBooks can be written by outsourcing the work to writers on sites like Elance or Odesk.com for reasonable prices. Ideally you want to create the best eBook you can crammed full of useful information that makes it worth the lead handing over their email details. The bigger and the better is the way forward.
Free Video/ Video Series – This is an excellent give away, if you know something that people will find helpful like SEO then you can create a video or a series of videos that are very easy to make and then offer them as a freebie in exchange for email details.
Screencast video tutorials are made by using software like Camtasia, this is pretty expensive but there are free online software like ScreenCast-O-Matic.com that allows you to create 15 minutes of free video.
Normally 15 minutes is long enough for video tutorials, you could record a long one in two parts and use free software like Windows Movie Maker to stitch the two halves together to make a longer video if required or for the incredible price of $15 you can use the full version of ScreenCast-O-Matic that allows you to record longer videos and edit them in the editing suite.
Sales Page Templates/Themes -This is another popular freebie, if you have created a sales page that converts well like Zac Johnson did with his CPA sales pages you can give away the HTML template with images and headlines that can be easily edited with free HTML editing software like NVU.
If you haven’t been using any sales pages yourself you can always pay someone to create some based on other popular pages and give them away or even have a WordPress child Theme modified to your own specification and give that away for free in exchange for name and email details.
Sales pages, templates and Themes help the newbie to get started; do you think people would not give you their email details to take you up on that helpful offer?
5-7 Day eCourse/Online Course – This is similar to the video course and can in fact use video tutorials as part of the course. For this you offer a short trading course over a set period of 5 or 7 days and you send the new sign up an email with a new part of the course.
The email can contain the course material or you can set the course material on pages on your website and then each email will contain the link to the next part online allowing the new subscriber to study the next section.
There are for’s and against’s with both methods, I personally prefer to have the course online and send the new subscriber to the online pages, you can do so much more on a website page than you can within an email. It is more acceptable to put more content on your website than cramming it all into an email and you can add affiliate offers to the online page easier.
Competition – This one is a really good one but also a very tricky one to pull off, you create a competition like ‘Win a Free Website’ where people who want to try and win have to hand over their email details to enter.
The prize has to be chosen carefully, if you offer an iPad as a prize but your website is about healthy eating, it is very possible that your email list will have people on it who are not interested in your website content and only entered to try and win an iPad. These people will cost you money by being on your list and you will not make any money from them. So it is advised that you carefully pick a prize that is congruent with your website niche and content.
I know I don’t have to tell you but people like quality and value so the better the free product is the greater chance you have of getting people’s emails. Most websites hire a Custom Newsletters Service which is a free weekly series of tips, ideas and advice.
People have been known to sign up to newsletters with ease because they do not feel like they were bribed, it could be worth offering your free eBook or video series as a ‘Thank You’ for people signing up to your newsletter, this way it feels like a bonus and not a bribe, people like that.
Internet marketing has developed many ingenious techniques to manipulate people into handing over their names and email addresses and this has in turn created a lot of cynical people. With marketers promising the world then giving away poor quality freebies after they received the email, it can leave a sour taste in the sign ups mouth, but getting an email address by a non bribed sign up and giving them a quality thank you gift can have a very powerful effect on them. That is something I think you should consider while you are developing your free gift.
Please feel free to share, pin and tweet out the infographic below!
The internet really excites me and it should you, the reason it excites me is because it is full of so many great opportunities to make money from your own home.
There are so many different business models from drop shipping, affiliate marketing ecommerce sites right up to making money selling your own designed T-Shirts on CafePress, promoting your own music and even renting out websites.
Yes that is right, I did say renting out websites, a website is in many ways a virtual property. Like a bricks and mortar building in a street in a town, a website has a location. If you own a website that is similar to the best shop on the busiest street which in the cyber world means being at the top half of the first page of Google for a certain keyword, your website could be worth a lot to the right person.
Imagine that you owned a website that was at the top of the first page of Google for the keyword ‘professional plastic surgeons in Scotland’ (A random keyword I know, I couldn’t think of anything better) Someone somewhere in Scotland who was a professional plastic surgeon may not realise how much traffic that keyword was getting but when shown that they are missing out on potentially thousands of pounds worth of business, they then would see a value in paying you to add their details to your site and ‘rent’ the site and its location from you.
We have all heard of internet marketing and how people like Pat Flynn and John Chow regularly make thousands of dollars each month from blogging and recommending relevant products, with so many niches online now there are so many markets to choose from.
A keen gardener could set up a website and start selling his own eBooks from his site or even make his site a subscription based site similar to an off line magazine. Membership sites are incredible things and have made a lot of people very wealthy. People will pay to be a member of anything as long as you offer a service they need and believe is worth the value.
People will pay to access training videos for things like yoga or football, whatever ideas you come up with, the chances are there are people around the world who will happily pay for it. The world is changing; the internet has opened the world up for people who have never met to work with each other.
Twenty years ago the idea of someone like me having graphics, videos and articles created by people in countries like India and the Philippines was simply not thought of but now I can have a pick of thousands of great people around the world who are willing to do some work for me. I can also do work for others, I can write for clients around the world as long as I have an internet connection.
Teenagers today who are creative and motivated have every opportunity to travel the world funded by an online business and a small laptop or maybe even just a tablet. Cafepress.com is a website that has grown and now has several localised versions of itself like Cafepress.co.uk, Cafepress.au and many more. The great thing with the Cafepress is that they are an online printing company which allows people to upload their own designs and create a shop selling T-Shirts, Hoodies, baby clothing, notepads, mugs and the list goes on.
They have created several very successful home based businesses where young designers have been able to introduce their artwork to the world. There is no need for the designers to search out printers or buy the printing equipment themselves which would cost several thousands of pounds, they can create designs and add them to their CafePress shops, using marketing techniques they drive traffic to the shops and when a sale is made CafePress do the rest.
CafePress will print the items and they will send them to the customer on your behalf. They take out their costs for the manufacturing etc and then at the end of each month they pay you your share. You set the price of your merchandise so what you make on top of each item you design is down to you.
TuneCore.com is a similar set up to CafePress except they deal with digital music. You create the music, you pay an annual fee and they then distribute your music as digital MP3s to big sites like iTunes, Spotify & Amazon. You keep the rights to your music and you keep all 100% of the profits made.
With most people now having access to some great recording software or music software like Audacity, Sound Forge, Cake Walk and Reason, people can create and record quality music from the comfort of their home and share it with the world via sites like TuneCore.com. Again, music can be created via laptops and tablets anywhere in the world allowing the music lover to travel the globe and earn a living.
OK so it will not be as sophisticated as the equipment in big studios but laptops are far more sophisticated than the machines bands like altern8 and the Prodigy used to create legendary rave tunes back in the early 90s. There is no reason why someone cannot create a stunning album using just a laptop or a tablet these days. Electronic music pioneers like Kraftwerk would have dreamt of machines like those we have today.
I mentioned earlier the system known as drop shipping; this is another system that requires very little physical work. It is a form of affiliate marketing but you promote physical products usually based around the same niche. For example, a young skateboarder could create a website around skateboarding, filling it with videos and pictures of his friends skateboarding he could then have several pages selling skateboards, parts, DVDs and clothing which are from other people’s companies.
He himself would not need to touch the products himself, the order is processed either by the company or he forwards on the order once it has been taken and they send out the product. The companies will send out any money earned at the end of each month or whatever the agreed time frame is that they use. (Please note I say ‘he’ just for ease, I am not saying that there are not any female skaters out there who would be entrepreneurial and open up their own drop shipping site. I am sure there are plenty.)
Using free networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube it is very easy to find a potential worldwide following of people who love the niche you’re in. Music, skateboarding and graffiti for example have followers and lovers in virtually every country you can think of.
It is the same for gardening, opera and even knitting, there are people who love their hobbies and have access to the internet, if you can get your website address in front of these people and give them excellent content and service then you increase your chances of growing a successful business.
Stop and think what you can do online, if you are good at art you could design T-Shirts like the CafePress example or you could do website graphics for people around the world. If you are good at writing you could write website content for people, do product reviews, write eBooks & reports and even become a self-published author selling your books on Amazon Kindle store.
We might be facing hard times with a global economic recession and crisis but the Hilton hotel empire was built during the great depression when Grandpa Hilton went around buying up hotels cheap that were forced to close due to lack of business.
A recession is not bad for everyone and times are changing, many of the companies that are closing these days are closing because of the change in how we shop and buy. The internet has killed of some localised businesses and created a breeding ground for thousands of newer home based global trading businesses, businesses that you and I can quite easily create and profit from.
Running a website is no easy task, so it’s inevitable that we will make mistakes from time-to-time. Mistakes can even be a good thing if we learn from them, but to save you the hassle, I’ve put together a list of some common website mistakes to avoid to help you.
1. Unresponsive Website (Not Mobile Friendly)
You are making a BIG website mistake if your site is not “mobile friendly”. More and more people are connecting to the internet via their smart phones and tablets, which is why it is vital that your site is responsive across multiple devices. If it is not, you are simply limiting the number of people that can visit your site.
There are plenty of WordPress themes that you can install that are ‘mobile responsive’. Sites like StudioPress have a wide variety of responsive themes for all types of site that you can use. There really isn’t any excuse for people not being able to access your site on their mobile devices, so make sure that yours is good to go.
2. Bad Website Navigation
You can spend all the time in the world creating fantastic content for your site, but if no one can find it once they get there, then what is the point!
Bad website navigation stops people from finding all the great content on your site. Whether you have only a few pages or hundreds of posts, you want people (and search engines) to be able to find them easily. Only then will you get visitors staying on your site for longer, which helps to increase your pageviews.
Think about the menus and links that you display on your site. Are people able to find the different sections/categories of your site? Do you display a search box? Can people easily find your search box? Which are your most important pages/posts? These are the types of questions that you need to be asking yourself in order to improve your site navigation.
3. Not Building An Email List
An email list is a very powerful thing for a site to have, which is why you should be building one. You see, the people that signup to your site (whether it’s to an eCourse, newsletter, to receive offers, etc.) are your best customers. They are the ones who are interested in what you have to say on your site, allowing you to send them offers, promote products or just encourage them back to your site.
AWeber is the market leader for email marketing software where you can create and schedule a set of emails to be broadcast automatically once people subscribe. You can create signup boxes, newsletters, broadcasts and much more by using them, helping you to grow and manage your email list.
4. Not Posting Enough
Every website needs regular content published as that helps to drive traffic. People (and more importantly search engines) will see that the site is active, which will encourage them to come back again and read more.
If you don’t post enough, then your site can become stagnant. A lot depends on what your site is about, but you wouldn’t keep coming back to a site if nothing changed.
Make a list of all the things that you can write about and keep adding to it when you get inspiration. If you end up struggling for ideas, it may mean that your niche is too small, in which case you may need to broaden out a bit. I think a lot though comes down to getting into a regular routine. Try to update your site regularly (perhaps once or twice a week) and stick to it.
5. Posting Too Often
Some people go to the other extreme and post far too often. Like we said, regular content is good, but too much can be overwhelming for your readers. If you are publishing 4, 5 or even more posts a day, then you can’t expect visitors to keep up. Sites that post this frequently tend to be massive news sites with lots of writers and millions of visitors. That is certainly something to aim for, but you certainly can’t do that on your own.
You also have to consider the quality of what you are posting. Publishing 1 high quality post is MUCH better than lots of little mediocre posts. As the saying goes, “It’s quality not quantity!”
6. Doing Zero Social Media
Social media is a fantastic way to market your site, so it makes sense that you should be using it. Make sure that you have an active presence on all the major social networks (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.), particularly the ones that relate to your site.
Just having a page setup on each of these networks will help people to find you, but by engaging with your audience, it is such a great way to build a following for your site that you shouldn’t overlook.
7. Doing Zero SEO
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an often understood practice that seems to confuse and petrify people at the same time. It may sound complicated and unfathomable, but it’s really not too difficult when you get to know it.
SEO is simply a way of getting your website/content seen by search engines so that they can index it and present it to as many people as possible. Search engines, like Google, are by far your best bet to get traffic to your site, so it’s best to work with them.
By using On-Page & Off-Page SEO techniques, your content can rank highly on search engine result pages (SERPs). The higher you appear on the SERPs, the more traffic you will get.
Essentially, all it involves is making it clear what your posts are about. This is done by including keywords in your post/page titles, meta descriptions, sub-headings, alt-tags, etc. That way, when the search engines find your content, they have a better understanding of what it is about, allowing them to show it to people who are looking for that information.
If you are doing zero SEO for your site, you are essentially sticking your head in the sand. Spend some time learning about SEO and actively doing some for your site. It’s not as scary as you may think.
8. Not Interacting With Your Readers
If people spend the time leaving comments on your site, sending you emails or asking questions via your social media channels, you should make sure to respond to them. Not only is it good manners but it is also good for business. If people see that you are happy to interact with them and help, they will be much more likely to keep coming back for more. It also shows that your site is an active one, which again can encourage people to keep visiting your site.
Admittedly, this can become a problem if your site is very popular (can’t reply to everyone), but you should at least try to reply to as many as you can.
I have in the past made changes to my sites, only to find that they were not displaying correctly on another browser that I didn’t use regularly. Once you know about the problem, it’s usually very easy to fix, but you need to test it to find out.
Get into the habit of testing your website on Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera and Safari (the 5 most popular web browsers) whenever you make any changes to your site. That way, you can see whether there are any issues that need fixing.
10. Thinking That Your Website Is Finished (Biggest Website Mistake!)
This is probably one of the BIGGEST website mistakes on the list that many people fall victim too. The minute you think that your site is “finished”, you may as well pack up and do something else.
The internet is constantly evolving and there is always competition looking to overtake you. You should always be looking to update, reinvent, add new features/products/content, etc. to your site to keep it fresh. This is one of the things that I absolutely love about what I do, there is always something new to learn about and improve on your site that you should never find yourself standing still. Keep pushing yourself and striving to create a better site for your visitors. That is the best way to run your site.
What website mistakes have you made on your site and how did you go about fixing them? What other common website mistakes would you add to this list? Please let us know below by leaving a comment.
Google is a powerhouse in the online world – search engines, video sharing sites, maps, smart phone sat nav, SEO and today’s post is to talk to you a little bit about a lesser known feature that it has – which for an online, sorry ANY business owner is a little bit of dynamite for their communication weaponry with their clients and prospects.
Enter GOOGLE GROUPS – something that is really quite well hidden inside of Google’s dashboard but if you head on over to the “more” section in the top tool bar, followed by “even more” then you will find them. It’s almost like it’s a little secret they want to keep from you, and throughout this post you will end up seeing why (I hope)
Aside from the obvious “forum” set up that you can add to your website, much like we have done at Bizzebee here (yep, no expensive outlay for building a forum into your existing website, this is all free of charge courtesy of Google)
A Google group can also be a great place to actually start building up a free email / subscription list.
It wasn’t until VERY recently I became aware of this feature, but thanks to my BNI networking group I am a member of near my hometown, I came across the email facility, which then got my cogs ticking over.
When you join want to join a Google group, you are normally logged into your Google account, therefore notifications would be delivered to the email address that is associated with your Google account – as an example mine is [email protected] – however, you can request to join ANY Google group and associate it with any email address you like, any owner of a Google group and add people to the group by inviting them by email – once accepted that email address is associated with the group and your notifications for the group hit your inbox.
Here’s the great thing about this – YOU DON’T NEED TO PHYSICALLY GO TO THE GOOGLE GROUP TO RESPOND OR POST A QUESTION OR SEND AN EMAIL (perhaps an offer) TO THE GROUP MEMBERS.
Because each group has it’s own unique address that is set up when the group is created for example our one for Bizzebee is [email protected] as soon as you are a group member you can write an email out to that address (from your email client) and it will deliver to all the members in the group. Likewise when replying it will reach all group members too.
It has a really great capability because you don’t need to go looking for the group – when a conversation or forum question is asked you get the information direct into your inbox – so its really convenient for busy business people.
So imagine the capability of a large group – if you really are an extensive member of the Google community, and manage to successfully gain members (and there are various ways in which you can do this) you have a large network literally at your fingertips, which won’t take hours away from time with procrastination!
Some suggestions for any business owners out there on this one from me would be to communicate with all existing customers and explain you are introducing a really great new Forum that will allow customers to share experiences and communicate with you in a public format, and by accepting invitations to join will allow them to keep in touch with you about special offers and any important product information and updates.
I’ve recently added my family’s printing business whole existing client database to a group, and amended the settings so that when they reply to any messages we post out are only coming back to me directly. We are testing this out as a different form of email marketing to see if it has any different results to the normal kind of email marketing. (Incidentally each customer has been notified of the invitation and encouraged to join, by giving them a nice freebie with their next order if we see they are a part of this Google group)
Rather than explain here step by step the set up process, (which is pretty versatile and extremely straightforward) what I’ve done is create a short video that shows you the set up and how to utilize it from your email client inbox too. You can view that video over at our YouTube channel here.
I don’t believe that Google groups are at all a replacement for email marketing products such as Aweber, but for someone in a start up mode with little free cash around to spend, it could be a really great start up tool, as all you need to do is dedicate yourself some time and go out and graft to get the group’s numbers up!
Are you a member of any Google Groups?
The Bizzebee Colony group can be joined by clicking here
Well it is Saturday and it has come around fast again. I hope you all have had a good week. Apart from work it has been a quiet week for us really, both Matt and Clair are back from their travels and back at it full time.
Mizanur is has been enjoying the Eid ul Azha Festival over at his home of Chittagong and the rest of us, Sam John and myself Andi we have just been beavering away in the background. I have to be honest; I did go and help my uncle fit a set of French doors for a few hours. After leaving the building trade 2 over years ago I was reunited with muscles I had forgotten about and have been aching ever since but never mind. I am sure it has done me some good, well so they tell me.
So what have you been doing this week?
As always we have 10 great articles for you to read this week including the extra fun wildcard post at the end. So let’s get into it.
Our first article was put forward by Clair and comes from one of our favourite writers and bloggers Ramsay Taplin over at BlogTyrant.com. Today he is talking about VPN’s (Virtual Private Network) and why every blogger and internet marketer should be using one.
Simply put it, if you work on your laptop at a hotel, café or anywhere that offers free wifi the people sitting nearby can all access your private details, passwords and credit card details. Using a VPN can protect you and your information. Is it time you thought more about your online security?
Both myself and Matt put this post forward, it is good to see that we think alike on some things J This is a post written by Ali Luke over at another excellent blog DailyBlogTips.com owned by serial and successful blogger Daniel Scocco. In this post Ali gives us some inspiration to keep on blogging when times are getting tough.
Believe me blogging and writing can be hard and it can take some work. Occassionally you will feel a little deflated and down, it comes with the territory especially if you have not yet hit the success you were hoping for or planning.
Ali gives us 7 excellent reasons why to keep on at it. If you are struggling at the moment then pop over and take a read.
Here is an excellent post by Stephen Hill over at Tweetingz.co.uk. Blogging is about being social and sharing is a major part. When your content is good it will be shared but even if it doesn’t that doesn’t mean your content is poor, it could be read by people who has a huge social network of friends who are not interested in that very same topic.
For example, I come from a small town and my circle of friends consist mainly of people who were not really into the same music as me and who didn’t enjoy the kind of clubs I went to so whenever I hear a piece of music that I love but know my friends are not going to appreciate I probably won’t share it and that has nothing to do with the quality of the music or musician.
So if you are unsure whether your blog posts are under performing or performing perfectly then this article will help you clear up any confusion and might even advise you to do something that you were not yet doing.
This is an excellent post written by Nicolette Beard over at TopRankBlog. This is one of Matt’s favourite sites and we can see why. This post is about how eBooks are a great for Content Marketing.
There is an excellent SlideShare presentation of one of TopRanks very own eBooks and you will see that a successful eBook comes down to putting in a lot of work on the design, layout and content. Their eBook has had over 85,000 views. Now that has some serious potential to drive traffic to a website!
EBooks are powerful, there are so many ways to share them these days and they can be read on so many different machines so if you are wanting to use content marketing as part of your business then you really should consider creating an eBook or two for your business.
This is a great post from my blogging friend Ben Barden over at his QuickBlogTips.com site. Ben is great for giving productivity and time management advice and this is another fine example of one of his great posts.
What I love about Ben and his site is that as the name suggests, he gives Quick Blog Tips which means he is straight to the point and doesn’t fill his articles with fluff and filler. All of his posts though are full of great information and you do leave feeling like you have learned something.
Tip no 5 is a seriously good one, I used to be in the habit of checking stats a lot, it sapped me of a lot of time. I rarely do it now, I focus on creating content, it is more productive. J
Pop over and say hello to Ben and say Andi sent you.
Our blogging friend Erik Emanuelli owns a great site called NoPassiveIncome and here is a post he has published discussing 5 excellent link building tips.
If you are blogging then you must know by now that search engines work similar to political systems and that a backlink is a vote of confidence. The more backlinks you have from reputable sites can help to throw your website up the search results.
It is no longer about the amounts of links you have and more on the quality of the link and that can be similarised to having a celebrity endorse your product, service or site. The more recognised, reputable and trustworthy the person is seen the better the result and same goes with backlinks.
Pop over and read up on 5 great backlink methods that are working well this year.
They say that to be successful you need to study successful people and one of the best ways to get information about successful people and their habits is to visit the popular success.com website.
This is an excellent post about time management. Apparently the best way to manage your time is to do Event Management.
‘If you don’t know what’s important to you, you will do the things that aren’t’.
Who can identify with the statement above? I can, I was terrible for watching the same old TV over and over again. If you do not know what you want to do, you will certainly end up wasting time doing things that will not benefit you.
Another one of our favourite bloggers and marketers is Yaro Starak, here we have something a little different. It isn’t an article on his site but one of his newsletters that he has uploaded to his website and shared.
It is about mindset and asks the question, what would you do if you were earning $20,000 a month? For many people they do not see it as possible unless they won the lottery and they are generally surrounded by people who think the same. So if you want to walk through the door to wealth then you will need to see the door first and we suggest you read this great newsletter to help change your thinking habits.
This post was put forward by Sam and come from the BloggersMakeMoney.com site. Written by Wade Harman, this article discusses the art of creating an emotional response in people. Emotional marketing has been around for years. Copywriters get paid thousands and thousands of dollars to write enticing and exciting copy that drives desire and makes the reader respond by buying products.
Wade discusses ways to create emotional response with your social media updates using powerful words such as ‘How’ ‘Why’ and ‘When’. This is a very interesting read.
Rounding up this week’s list of important posts is this excellent infograph…
This is over on the excellent QuickSprout site by Neil Patel. If you do not know who Neil Patel is well he is one seriously successful and clued up person.
Here he has had created an infographic about what is required to make the ideal landing page. Neil is one of those guys who will know what makes a high converting landing page so please take a look at this if you intend to create some killer landing pages for your business.
I had to share this. It comes a week after I was stood discussing with a friend about using drones for business and how it was in its infancy. Then all of a sudden they seem to be everywhere!
In Australia a company is testing out delivering text books to students using little helicopters known as drones. This really is exciting and fun. Will the skies be filled with little drones delivering stuff all over the place? It would be great to see but the last thing we need is drones crashing into each other overhead when the skies are filled with them.
At the moment I believe it is illegal to use drones in the US unless you are a Government agency as one guy had his photographs taken away from him after using a drone to take them. The video below shows that fast food take away companies like Domino’s Pizzas could soon be using drones to delivery tasty pizza… aggagarr pizza, I love pizza! 🙂 Enjoy your weekend.
For any online business having a social media campaign and network is a must. They are great ways to interact with people and promote your products. Facebook and Google Plus both allow you to build pages dedicated to your business. The idea is that you promote your products and services via these pages and not your personal profiles which go against the networks terms and conditions.
The big problem is that Facebook pages have taken a slump that many have not been able to recover from. Facebook have pushed their ‘Promote a Post’ system where you pay them to show your post in the feeds of the pages fans, this is something that should have happened anyway. It seems that they lowered the reach of page posts so very few fans saw them in order to get people to use the new paid ‘Promote a Post’.
This crippled many pages who had small numbers of followers, when the reach has dropped and only 40-60 people out of say 900 are only seeing your posts then there really is not much point carrying on with the page. Google Plus has its own version of a page but it seems very few people are bothering with them.
Not many people are following Google Plus pages in my opinion, I could be wrong, maybe somewhere there are people who have pages with loads of followers but it seems Google Plus is more about people socialising than it is business. (Interestingly now called Boost Post)
Facebook Groups have been around for a while and were more popular than pages in some circles. Pages were the domain of teenagers creating fun pages that went viral and the craze of ‘liking’ pages was born. The more serious people like business people were using groups to network and communicate with similar like minded people.
When the Facebook pages were given an overhaul many businesses saw the potential in them and set about creating their business page. They then started to use Facebook’s own advertising system to drive traffic to them to get people to ‘Like’ their page. When someone liked a page, they would get the pages posts in their newsfeeds. When Facebook created their ‘Promote a Post’ system and started messing around with the reach of pages, pages soon lost their potential and appeal.
Many page owners had paid a lot of money using Facebook adverts to find fans so that they could now place their business posts directly into their newsfeeds. When this stopped and posts no longer landed in people’s newsfeeds pages became desolate places which forced many owners to simply abandon them. Many were pretty cheesed off at the fact that they had invested money with Facebook to get these fans only for Facebook to change the system and try and charge them for a second time.
For many this simply wouldn’t do yet they still saw great potential with Facebook so they decided to forget their pages and create Groups instead. Groups have been untouched and are not subjected to the reach problems associated with pages like having to pay for people to see your posts. With groups you have members and those members get notifications when a group member has posted in the group as well as if anyone had commented on your post.
Groups can be open or closed, an open group means that when someone posts in the group their friends will see it in their newsfeeds as well which can bring in new members if they are interested.
The communities on Google Plus are pretty similar; anyone can create a community and invite people to join. People who ask to join can be accepted or rejected so you decide who you have in your special group. You can give administration rights to anyone you choose so you do not need to do all of the admin work alone.
If your group or community is full of people worldwide and you get the occasional person posting spam posts you want them removed asap, if you as an admin are asleep in the UK when the post went live you could do with someone on the other side of the world who could administer swift deleting of the non wanted posts.
The great thing about groups and communities is that you have like minded people in them. Unlike pages that can be liked or followed by anyone with a simple click of a button, groups and communities can only be joined by people requesting to join or being invited.
People who do not have an interest in the group subject matter will not go through all of the trouble of joining whereas someone who is interested will. The people in the group have asked to be there, they are highly targeted people.
For example; if your group is about Content Creation, the people who join will be people who want to offer their services, look for people to hire or people who want to learn more. You will have a Mastermind group or a community of people that are looking for things that relate to that group. It is the same if your group is based on Social Media Tips, SEO Expert Advice or Internet Marketing.
Using the example of Content Creation, if you owned several websites and wanted to discuss ways to create content and was thinking of looking for people to outsource your content too you could create a group about Content Creation, invite a few friends, build up the group by accepting new people and then within a few short months you could be sitting on a good network of friends and people who can offer the services you want.
It is a win – win situation, I have seen this happen many times. People within groups have become friends and work has been passed onto each other. If your service is writing, social media manager, SEO or things like that, getting involved in a group can and will lead to paid work and new customers. I know this first hand.
As a group/community owner you do need to police the group regularly and with a firm hand. You will find people ask to join your group without the intention of really joining in. They see them as traffic sources and usually the MLM or Network Marketing fraternity are the worse.
They join as many groups and communities as they can and post bomb useless marketing style posts to try and tempt people to join their networks so that they can start making money and reduce their monthly costs.
It is quite sad how many people do this kind of stuff, they post nothing of value and desperately try to get new people into their downline any way they can and if it means ruining your group they will. So keep on top of it, delete useless spam posts otherwise your group will become flooded and the genuine good people will leave which is a real big shame because when done properly, a Facebook group or Google Plus community of like minded people can be a very valuable thing to be part of.
All there is left to say is that if you are not a member of at least one good Facebook Group or Google Plus community, you should go and join one or start one now. You will not regret it.