Back in February, I began experimenting with Constant Contact to setup an email marketing campaign in order to establish and maintain communications with prospective and previous clients. The intent was to solve the problem of not remaining in communications with previous and prospective clients. In March, I published on behalf of the company the first actual newsletter to a mailing list of about 10 and now the list is almost double. The goal is to put out a newsletter at least once a month informing my viewers on issues relating to Internet Marketing, Social Media Management and branding tips, events coming up and company updates. My end goal is to be able to share with clients the benefits of using email marketing to stay in contact with customers, keep them engaged, and have them come back again and again. Long-term, I hope to be able to use the mailing list to announce via email new articles on my blog and article sites via RSS.
A few years ago, I had worked with Constant Contact and never really grasped the whole concept of how it would help me. That was before social media became the rage. Before, it was all about just the list and sending it out to people’s inbox. Now, there is complete integration with social media so that same email newsletter, survey or event invitation can be shared via Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. I am hoping that with this social media integration that many more people will see and read the newsletter and consider calling on me and the company to provide solutions for them in Internet Marketing, Social media management, branding and graphics.
Email marketing offers a one-two-punch which has shown attracts new customers. The first is by offering free items if they join your email list. This is accomplished through an auto-responder which thanks them for joining and rewards them with a link to download a free gift. After that, they continue to receive a series of scheduled emails. This series of emails enforces the power of impressions. It has been proven that a person will purchase something after having been shown an ad for it several times. The same goes with email marketing. If a recipient continues to be marketed to via email, there is an increased chance that they will be converted to a paying customer. It is this theory that I am pursuing and modifying to best suite the company model and vision.
Who we are (our personal brand) and the plan for our life starts even before we are aware of it. It is started by our parents and those around us. But at a point, that plan most often gets put aside and we seem to go astray and then wonder why. Most people feel that everything will evolve and things will just fall into place. Well, if we keep that philosophy going we all end up in a rat race that can come to a screeching halt at any moment in time and left to pick up the pieces. The problem is that we really never get to truly know our brand and figure out how to promote it and take advantage of who we are. Once we get in touch with who we are and what our plan is, the road become very clear. That plan and brand becomes who we are and the ability to share that system becomes easy.
I can attest to this personally as the plan I had for myself in college got put on the back shelf for many years. The plan was not accepted by those around me and I was forced into doing something that really wasn’t me. That choice caused me to loose a job not once, but twice. It was only after the second time that I was able to figure out the problem. That point came when I had Robert Donnelly as a professor in Internet Marketing and Entrepreneurship. He stressed how important a business plan is to having success in business and what makes us individually unique.
It took quite a while to actually understand his point. But, I finally figured out my own brand which then clarified my career plan. It took a while to analyze what I was good at and how to work the two together into a cohesive personal brand. That brand is what the company’s mission and vision is based. The company strives to be creative with new technologies while utilizing an analytical point of view. Our goal is to help clients understand how to use the newest technologies by analyzing their current situations and putting the new tools to use to solve those problems. Many times I have seen situations where I can see what the solution needs to be, but the solution has not yet been created.
Recently I had the opportunity to meet Robert Donnelly at the office supply store getting a preview copy of his newest book, Personal Brand Planning for Life. It is step by step approach to analyzing what your brand is and then how to market it and have it make money for you. The goal is to realize what is unique about you and develop a business system that will be there for you as opposed to the endless rat race that can leave us all in a bind at the wrong time.
Today it is critical to know your brand if you intend to make it in the workplace. There are many people vying for the same positions and products, but only those who know their brand and know how to differentiate it from the rest win. Getting the process right starts with getting right to the point of marketing the brand, rather than trying to discover it. In this marketplace, if you don’t already know your brand, you’re already behind and in the cold.
Tomorrow I will be attending a seminar at the Englewood Cliffs campus of Saint Peter’s College given by Professor Robert M. Donnelly. At this seminar, he will be introducing his new book and how important career planning and branding are in relations to marketing. Based on his previous book, Guidebook to Planning — A Common Sense Approach, he uses the same method of delivery of walking the reader through the process of marketing one’s brand and figuring out how to monetize the uniqueness of your brand.
Getting to the front page of Google has become the ultimate goal. Everyone seems to be offering articles, seminars or both. It has become such the topic that one might begin to think that there is some sort of dark magic that has to be tapped. The answers are really simple. The key is to follow some very basic steps which really continue to be overlooked by many.
The major key still remains; research your keywords and put them into your title and content. However, don’t spam your content with them. When it comes to the content of pages, don’t forget the following steps:
- Put your most relevant keywords or phrases into the title (within the title tags so they show up in the title bar of the browser)
- Include the keywords pertinent to a specific page at least three times. Just make sure that the keywords are UNIQUE for each page of your site. The entire site should not be using the same keywords throughout.
- Include your keywords in the ALT Tags or Image Descriptions of every image you embed into your website. Not using these is almost as bad as improperly used page titles.
The remaining keys to getting to front page of Google is to make sure that your site is referenced in other sites and services. Some of the key places to be included are:
- Business directories such as SuperPages.com. Google and company crawl these sites for legitimate businesses, so being here is key.
- Get your site linked to by other related businesses and return the favor for them. Reciprocation is always a good thing.
- Include links to your site and individual pages in social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
- Write articles and submit them to article directories and include a link to your site in the signature section of the article.
Remember, search engine optimization is basically two things:
- Doing your keyword research and including those keywords properly into your site.
- Having your site validated by other sites by links.
There is one mystery that I have been confused with over the last few years since LinkedIn came onto the scene. It’s not necessarily with LinkedIn, but with people’s approach to their personal profiles and that is why they don’t have a picture of themselves. Go on another social media site and they have their picture in multiple forms. LinkedIn could be considered a marketplace for professionals and their personal brands, but without a picture their personal branding is not complete.
Having a photo on LinkedIn completes the Personal Branding strategy on LinkedIn. People looking for people want that verification that that person is who they are and not just a scam. It’s bad enough that we worry about identity theft financially, but it’s just as important online to have your personal branding strategy complete and validated. Your LinkedIn profile is an extension of your personal brand and your picture is part of your brand. Not having your photo on your profile is doing your brand an injustice. Image is everything and if the image is not there, the recognition is not there. Just make sure that your photo is in good taste and looks professional.
Just a few short years ago, a little fledgeling video service called YouTube was introduced to us. It allowed its members to post videos enabling them to have their own voice using video and share just about anything taken with video to the world. Now fast forward a few years to 2012. YouTube is now part of the Internet giant, Google, and streams more video in one hour than one can imagine. So what does all this have to do with power?
YouTube’s search feature is the second most used to its parent Google. Therefore, Google favors any indexed content of YouTube. By creating a video and posting it, your are doing yourself a major favor in terms of search engine optimization. Since search engines use algorithms that look at popularity and authority, having content in the highest ranked sites says something about your own site when it is being referred by a high ranked site such as YouTube.
The saying used to be that pictures are worth a thousand words. Well, since video became popular almost 30 years ago, video could be considered worth millions of pictures. Sometimes a video says something more than just a still photo or a plain article. With a inexpensive video camera or smartphone, we can shoot video very easily and then post it to YouTube. Adding this video to YouTube’s database and then embedding it on your own site, literally enhances your visibility on Google. There are a few things that can be done in YouTube to enhance the SEO, but overall, just the fact the video is there and justifying your site with a back link helps your overall brand image.
So, consider adding video to your overall Internet Marketing strategy. It’s a great way to tell your story that no printed medium can. With some inexpensive and sometimes free tools, you can create a video that could get you celebrity status and seen by the public across the world.
Park Avenue Realty is a private real estate agency located in Wood-Ridge, New Jersey. When we began looking into the Internet presence of Park Avenue Realty, we found no web presence at all. The strategy became to establish a presence on the web by starting with an office website and then move to develop and incorporate other social media which would enhance the search rankings for the agency.
The challenge was to determine the goals of the agency, create a general marketing strategy and then create related strategies for the web. Since the web is constantly changing, these strategies are constantly changing, but the overall goal remains to establish a mix of different methods which work for the agency.
The website structure was built using WordPress with a custom designed theme and the Firestorm Real Estate plug-in. The site itself is relatively simple in nature. The intent is to highlight current properties on the market and provide a list of agent biographies. One the site, you’re able to search for properties by town and location and then the results are displayed both in a list and on a Google Map.
It is our ongoing goal to assist Park Avenue Realty and its associates with learning how to best utilize their website to attract visitors and utilize other Internet marketing methods to drive traffic to the web site.
Here at SAK Information Systems, we are always looking for new markets to enter related to Internet technologies and mobile communications. One of the areas that is now being explored is the free Asterisk based hybrid IP telephone system, FreePBX. Why are we considering this diversification and platform? All businesses require telephones, but not all have a telephone solution that presents a professional image.
With FreePBX, it is possible to scale a phone system from one desk phone to hundreds or thousands and have wireless mobile extensions. The feature list of this phone system is phenomenal as well. There are features included which some commercial name brand systems don’t even offer. So, why spend big money on a name brand system when a larger solution overall can be gotten from an Open Source solution which is virtually free (except for the hardware).
The nice thing about this phone solution is that FreePBX is great for home, home office, and businesses of all sizes. Today with businesses appearing in all sizes and more and more being home based, it is most crucial to present a powerful and legitimate image to customers and clients. This phone system can do it and for a very accommodating price tag. The hardware doesn’t have to be super new. In fact, it can be created from an old desktop computer or server. The only purchases that would need to be made are the the adapters to connect traditional phone lines and phones.
When it comes to phones in this system, there are choices. With an analog phone adapter, a traditional phone can be used with the system instead of the more complicated feature rich phones. Another great option is the ability to install softphone applications on your desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone. This softphone technology allows for the ability to have phone access just about anywhere you go.
So, keep checking back with us on where we stand with this new technology service.
Pinterest is one of the newest kids on the block when it comes to social media. Pinterest for visual business is at its core. It is basically a visual bulletin board to which you can post images and other visual objects to share. Like other social media sites, whether or not you need it for your business is the question. So when should Pinterest be added to the repertoire?
If your business relates to visual things such photography, jewelry, art or just about anything else that requires people to see in order to buy, it’s for you. Pinterest for visual business is as important as Facebook when it comes to a business to consumer model.
Pinterest can also be used internally as well. A collection of images can be collected as a story board for where the business goals need to be focused. Using pictures to demonstrate the strategy and end business goal will provide additional motivation and incentive to achieve whatever is necessary to get to that goal. Words on a business plan are nice, but pictures are worth more than worlds and numbers. If one can achieve the image, the goal has been reached.
To get a Pinterest account, one must first go to Pinterest and request an invitation. After receiving the invitation in email, accept the invitation and you’re ready to go to start sharing pictures and other things with the Pinterest community.
I had to recently go to the website of CBS New York for a recipe from Tony’s Table. In retrieving the document that I was seeking, it became apparent that CBS New York and CBS Local uses WordPress as its engine for content.
The reason I decided to write about this finding is to demonstrate that WordPress is used by large companies to publish their content along with the small independent businesses and bloggers. WordPress is a versatile solution that can handle any size site from the smallest to the largest. WordPress used to be solely a blogging platform, but has emerged as a very stable stand alone content management system. CBS uses WordPress in the manner that it was designed, a blogging platform, as it posts new news chronologically.
So, don’t be alarmed if you’ve never heard of it before. Like so many other stealth marketed products, it holds its weight and can certainly solve your news publishing needs, big or small.
For the last five or six years, I have been working with two of the most popular web Content Management Systems (CMS), Joomla and WordPress. Often I am asked which is better for a new website, Joomla vs. WordPress. So, I decided to elaborate on the strengths, weaknesses, and specialties on both.
Both have grown up in their own right over time with WordPress having the most changes to its core. However, when comparing them side by side for how they work with regards to content, they are still different. It all depends on your need; are you looking for a blog-type structure or a static content structure?
Joomla was always designed to be a web site engine able to host and manage thousands of articles sorted into categories. It’s core always supported the concept of static pages into categories and subcategories. Now, it has the ability to expand that concept to sub-sub-categories among other changes. So, if your concept is to build a site revolving around pages and pages of static articles not intended to be chronological like a blog, a Joomla based site is for you.
WordPress on the other hand was originally designed to be a blogging system and still today that is where it’s core lies. Although it has developed into more of a standard content management system, it still to me has limitations when it comes to static pages. If you’re looking for a very simple site with just a few static pages and maybe a blog incorporated, it’s a great solution given the amount of plug-ins or apps available on the market. But, if you’re looking for a killer blogging solution to share your thoughts with the world in a chronological format, WordPress is the best solution given its strengths in categorizing posts into unlimited categories.
Today, any site that enables the user to easily create and modify content is perfect. However, the system you choose depends on the type and method of publishing.
If you’re still confused I’d be more than happy to explain it further.