Monday, June 29, 2009
Both differing domain names and differing url extentions should be tested. The domain name you use should be very relevant to what you are advertising. If you advertise a wide range of products or services, it may be worthwhile to set up several domains, each with a relevant domain name to a specific product and use these in your advertisements.
You should also be testing different url extentions. For example if Ten Golden Rules has an ad group set up to advertise SEO Consulting, rather than just including the top level domain (www.TenGoldenRules.com) as the display url, variations should be tested, such as (www.TenGoldenRules.com/SEO-consulting).
Friday, June 26, 2009
Yesterday, Mitch Joel's blog featured a video from Clay Shirky speaking at the TED conference on the phenomena of social media being used by everyday citizens for political purposes - often scooping or even eliminating the need for the media. Shirky cites recent efforts by social media users to validate results in countries experiencing voting conflict.
Our CEO, Jay Berkowitz, recently did a presentation which included this topic - refering to it as the opportunity to"disintermediate" - or cut out the middle man. Jay cites current online services that disintermediate, including companies using Twitter for customer service, and websites like HARO (Help A Reporter Out) which connects reporters with sources.
The process to disintermediate was a keystone of the overall design of the internet when the "www" was first formed. And the ability to do it via social media has been around since the beginning, too (consider forums, chat rooms, etc).
Today's social media interfaces provide a rich/multi-media approach to the same opportunity. It has taken the kind of widespread adoption of these tools prevalent today for this to become noticed by the world. With these mainstream tools that have unlimited global reach, small voices can now get the attention they desire.
The "middle man" better be looking behind him. He's rapidly becoming obsolete.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
- Do Not Use Slang: Teens are smarter than you think. They know the ads are coming from corporations, and more importantly, adults. When an adult uses slang, it’s almost as “uncool” as when their parents attempt to use slang. Therefore the ad, and the brand its associated with, becomes instantly “uncool”.
- Avoid Cliches: Teens are obsessed with defining themselves, and they like to see themselves as individuals. When they encounter a cliche ad, they feel generalized, and they see their individuality as being threatened or questioned. This can frighten or offend them, and in turn makes them less receptive to the ad’s message.
- Do Not Over-commercialize Fads: Many things that are “cool” to the teen world are only “cool” because they go against convention and aren’t associated with mass media. By making a fad commercially mainstream, it quickly loses its “cool” factor among those who pioneered it.
- Interactivity is Key: Teens have relatively short attention spans, but they love wasting time. Building a small Flash game or “Create Your Own” system for your website will hold teens’ attention and keep them on your website longer. This extended exposure better anchors your brand in their minds & associates it with entertainment.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
It is so big, that a movie based on the social network is in advanced talks with Columbia Pictures with director David Fincher, who directed popular movies, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Fight Club and The Game. The movie will tell the story of Facebook creator, Mark Zuckerberg as he created the social network from his Harvard dormroom to the popular network it is today.
I'm sure that this will be a highly anticipated film, as many Facebook users can relate to many things Facebook features such as poking, wall messages and 'liking' people's status messages. And of course, we all are probably wondering when a Twitter movie will be in the works!
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
According to the Associated Press, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is reviewing practices to monitor these bloggers and the gifts they receive. The FTC is in talks to developed new guidelines to go after bloggers for any false claims or failure to disclose any conflicts of interest.
"If you walk into a department store, you know the (sales) clerk is a clerk," said Rich Cleland, assistant director in the FTC's division of advertising practices. "Online, if you think that somebody is providing you with independent advice and ... they have an economic motive for what they're saying, that's information a consumer should know."
These mandatory disclosures could change how reviews are perceived because users may never know that bloggers are being compensated for their posts.
- Relevance to your site
- Neighborhood it builds
- Backlinks to that site
Relevance - What keywords are you targeting? Are those keywords on the page you are requesting a backlink from? These are the questions you should be asking in order to build a quality link. The more relevant the page is to your site, the more a link from it will be worth to you.
Neighborhood - What other sites is the page linking to? Ideally, other links on the page from which you are requesting a link would be to sites exactly like yours. This will help put you in the right neighborhood as far as Google is concerned. If a page links to sites that resemble your site, Google will consider these sites to be related to yours and that is a good thing. If a page links to your site and a bunch of porn and gambling sites, Google will consider your site to be related to porn and gambling, which can have a dire effect on your results.
Backlinks to the page - How powerful is a page that you are looking for a link from? A page that has no backlinks is not near as powerful as a page that has hundreds of backlinks. If a page that has hundreds of backlinks links to your site, the power of those hundreds of links is also shared with you.
These are just a few basic things that should be observed when building links. More will be shared in later posts. Keep reading!
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Consider this - people searching local businesses are likely to be in a buying mindset. If a person searches for driving directions to your location, they're likely to be planning a visit soon. Online marketers know that many consumers "search online, but buy offline". Now, we can prove it.
The statistics it provides are rather basic and simple to understand:
- Top search queries people used to find your listing.
- How many people viewed the search engines' results pages where your listing appeared.
- How many people clicked through to view your Maps listing.
- How many people clicked through to get driving directions to your location.
- Zip codes of the searchers who requested driving directions to your location.
- How many people clicked through to your Web site.
But, YOU can't get any of this info unless you claim and enhance your Local Business Listing in Google.
By claiming your Local Business Listing, you also gain the advantage of assuring you can control the information displayed about your business (see example), rather than leaving that up to someone else. There is even a feature to offer a coupon built into the listing. And for search phrases that include geographic modifiers, you can appear at the top of the SERPs.
Google's step by step "wizard" and instructional video will allow you to claim and enhance your Local Business Listing and Google Maps listing - and get started today.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Tweetdeck is a free desktop application that enables you to see all of the tweets of Twitter users you follow, replies to you and direct messages. That's the basic way of using it. But if you want to monitor specific keywords, a user or hashtags, you can track that too. Using Tweetdeck is a great way to monitor your brand, as well as your competitors. I think its really easy to use, and you can even send updates to your Facebook account as well.
Another desktop Twitter app that is also popular is Seesmic Desktop, which has similar features as Tweetdeck, but Seesmic Desktop allows you to manage more than one Twitter account, if you do have a personal Twitter account and a business or brand name Twitter account. It also allows you to organize your Twitter followers in groups and by Search query. Seesmic Desktop is also free to download and use.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Google recently released a new beta version of iGoogle for iPhones and Android powered phones such as the G1. Available in 38 languages, the new version supports tabs and third-party gadgets in an attempt to make mobile iGoogle faster and easier for users.
Some of the new features include the ability to rearrange your gadgets and the ability to keep your favorite gadgets open for the next time you visit. For feed-based gadgets, in-line display of articles is now available so you can read article summaries without leaving the page.
One of the drawbacks of the new mobile iGoogle is that it does not yet support flash.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
I recently heard about Facebook announcing that they will soon be allowing users to register usernames and custom URLs for profiles. This will come into effect on June 13th at 12:00 AM EST. This means you will be able to register Facebook.com/username for your profile.
I think this is a great idea, especially for SEO purposes, but for personal profiles it may pose privacy issues and the fact that people with common names such as mine, will be competing with trying to be the one and only (for example) Facebook.com/JaneDoe. There is also the idea that competing brands will take other brand names just to keep it out of their hands, which would eventually lead to complaints for Facebook to deal with.
So there are definitely pros and cons, but it really isn't that much different from Twitter or MySpace, which already offer custom vanity URLs.
What do you think? Like this or dislike? Will you be waiting at your computer on June 13 so you can make sure no one else can get your name?
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
One of my favorite blogs (for personal entertainment) posted recently about a "re-tweet" of one of his comments that ended up completely unintentionally creating quite a stir in the British government - garnering international press coverage and causing embarrassing public apologies.
His post was funny and timely. In fact, it was hilarious. In other words, it was good. With all the "Twits" pleading with each other for "re-tweets", it just goes to show you that quality and relevance is still what counts.
Monday, June 8, 2009
The usefulness of this tool comes about when someone is looking for several bits of information around a specific topic or item. Let's say for example we want to compare three different car models based on price, seating capacity, and features. Rather than researching several websites to find all of the pertinent information, we can "Square It" and create a spreadsheet that lists the three car models in the first column (each having its own row), the prices of each in another column, the seating capacity in a third column, and the features in a fourth column. This data will be collected from Google using multiple sources.
Having all of this information on a single screen should greatly reduce the time it takes us to compare different items. Give it a try.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
"Sell the sizzle, not the steak!"
How many times have you heard this advice, and what does that even mean? It means that your prospects need to be absolutely salivating at what you are showing and telling them. You've got to make them ravenously hungry for what you have to offer - drooling at the sight, sound and smell of that irresistible sizzle.
If they're sold on the sizzle, they'll gladly pay for the steak dinner!
Now, the suggestions I'm about to make to you are for email marketing with an autoresponder, my method of choice for building an online income. The one that I use and recommend is TrafficWave and you can try it FREE for 30 days: http://www.trafficwave.net/members/rustyshelton
But whether or not you use email marketing, direct mail, print ads or even telephone scripts, these four basic steps will improve the quality of your sales message. In time, you will build on them and become better and better at this. It's not 'hard' or 'easy'. Like throwing and catching a baseball, you're either used to doing it or not used to doing it. Once you get used to it, you'll be just fine.
STEP ONE: Have and use a clean and uncluttered work space with no distractions (such as the television, ringing phones, etc.). You need a clear mind as well. Both of these are crucial, as you are going to have to THINK. You need to loosen up, relax and get your mind ready before beginning.
First of all, only write when you are at your best. For me, that's first thing in the morning before the sun comes up. Whenever that time of day is for you, that's when you should compose your sales message - but never right after a meal or after a few drinks. You'll be sluggish.
Have a Positive Mental Attitude at all times while writing. YOU must believe in the benefits of your products and service or your prospects never will. Your attitudes and beliefs come across in your writing. Did you know that? If it helps, play some soft but inspirational music such 'Chariots of Fire', 'The Rocky Theme' or even soundtracks from superhero movies like 'Spiderman'. Maybe some gentle classical guitar or light piano classics would be best for you - whatever puts you in the mood to dream and to have that critical Positive Mental Attitude. For some, this is easily accomplished by playing a little computer game or something first to just lighten up and loosen up. For others, a walk around the block or 20 minutes on the exercise bike does the trick.
Do whatever works the best for you - just do it. Now you can start thinking...
So now that you are mentally centered and ready, you can take a proven and time-tested approach to crafting your piece with plenty of 'sizzle'. The first thing you do is take a sheet of clean white paper and draw a line down the middle. One side of that line list every single feature of your product or service. On the other side, list every single benefit. Features and benefits are two different things. By the way, this might be a good time to mention that you should scribble down ideas whenever and wherever they spring to mind. I have shoe boxes full of post-it notes and other scraps of paper with headlines, key sentences, key phrases and such that just came to me at one time or another. When something like that comes to you, write it down! The famous song writer and entertainer, Willie Nelson, once said "I've forgotten more great songs than I ever remembered to write down."
The next phase is similar. Get another sheet of paper and divide it into two columns. In one column, write down every imaginable problem that you think your prospects might be facing. In the other column, come up with every solution that your product or service provides.
Now grab a third sheet and make those familiar two columns. On one side, list every objection that you think any prospect might have to buying your product or service. On the other side, list the answer to every one of those objections.
By doing this, you have accomplished two things. You have thoroughly educated yourself about what you are selling and why and you have also taken the first step in writing convincing copy that 'sizzles' because you understand and believe in what you're saying.
Remember, at this point you are simply producing stream-of-consciousness words and phrases that have feeling behind them. Don't worry about anything else right now.
STEP TWO: Now that you know your product (very important!), you need to know who your prospects are. In the advertising business, they are called your 'target audience'. The fact is, whatever you have to sell will only appeal to a portion of the marketplace. You must tailor your message for those most likely to have a problem solved by what you have to offer.
Think of it another way. What motivated you to buy, use and promote the item in the first place? What was going through your mind when you signed up for the program, bought the product, downloaded the software or whatever it is that you are writing about? What impressed you about it or otherwise convinced you to buy? This is vitally important because your target audience is a whole bunch of people just like you!
In short, don't write sales copy for a general audience. Write it for the target audience. As an example, what I use, teach about and promote are marketing tools, money-making programs and the strategies and overall philosophy behind them. Because the vast majority of Internet Marketers are new to the business, I tailor everything towards them. I don't market to the veterans of this industry. I have a target audience - it's the 'newbies'.
You may choose to specialize in marketing to a different audience such as college students, retirees, church-goers, military people, single moms or what have you. The KEY is to go back to Step One in order to get inside their heads, identify their problems and write copy that explains who your product solves those problems.
And when writing to any particular demographic or category of people, let your words flow from the heart and don't tell any lies. Always be sincere! If Step One is done properly, you'll never have to lie.
STEP THREE: OK, here are some sales letter basics that are equally applicable to website design, phone scripts, newspaper ads or just about anything else. Make sure to review this checklist as you start organizing your thoughts into an actual sales piece that 'sizzles'...
1) The headline is everything! The primary benefit to the reader MUST be contained in the headline. If you can't answer the question 'What's in it for me?' in the headline, then you've already lost them. Ideally, your headline must accomplish a second goal. It needs to force your prospects to stop and think about it. It must be what is known as an 'interrupter'.
2) The first paragraph, or whatever ad copy that immediately follows the headline, must be just as strong as the headline. A good tactic is to simply restate the headline in different words. If you got them with the headline, you must hold them with the first paragraph. Be bold in what you say and always appeal to emotions, specifically the emotions of your target audience.
3) From there on, keep the reader's attention with action-oriented copy that uses lots of picture-painting verbs like 'Create your own business' and 'Discover these age-reversing secrets'. Paint mental pictures that are exciting and emotional and you will keep the reader's attention..
4) Keep the copy flowing with simple, short sentences. Never use big words. Use sub-headers and white space to break it up so that your message isn't one long block of copy.
5) Keep the ad clean and professional looking. Avoid fancy borders, cute cartoons, rainbows and other visual clutter. Keep it clean and direct - and make certain that your grammar and spelling are correct! If your piece looks like an amateur created it, nobody will buy your offer.
6) Have a strong close with a Call to Action. People like being told what to do. Tell them to 'sign-up today' and offer a bonus if they do it now. In fact, some kind of a 'bonus' or 'free gift' is just about mandatory these days. think and be creative!
7) Always, always, always include a p.s. People have way too much competing for their attention as it is and many will simply skip to the p.s. to get the 'summary' of what they didn't feel like reading all the way through. So what you do with the p.s. is basically restate the headline and remind them of any bonus or free gift that you are including.
STEP FOUR: Whenever possible, tell a story - especially about yourself. Remember that you are painting mental pictures with words and your keyboard is the paintbrush. People are more likely to buy from someone they 'feel' that that they know.
Your entire sales letter can be a single, gripping story that merely serves to rivet the reader's attention until and including the brief sales blurb at the end. Do NOT underestimate the power of a personal story!
Alright, so let's review...
~ You want to become as familiar with your product as possible - i.e. an expert.
~ Put the biggest benefit up front and get the prospect agreeing with you early in the ad by saying something like, "You and I both know what it's like to face a bill collector' or 'I know you've believed the lies too many times to ever be fooled again'.
~ Tell your prospect how your product solves their problem, tell them how to buy it and then tell them what to do after that.
~ Educate your prospect and answer their questions in your sales copy.
~ Use words that trigger emotional responses and paint mental pictures of the prospect's problem being solved and keeps reinforcing it.
~ Be professional and keep it both visually clean and easy to read.
That's it. These basics are all that you need to know in order to start writing sales pieces that actually convert and get the results that you desire. Keep at it, keep learning, never doubt yourself and keep getting better. Very soon, everything you write will SIZZLE - I guarantee it!
Friday, June 5, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Isn't that obvious? Of course it is. But what isn't so obvious to most people starting out in this business is that nothing is free. Even if your methods don't require money, such as surfing Traffic Exchanges (TE's for short), they require your time - and your time is worth something.
In the United States, the government says that your time is worth a 'minimum wage'. So it could be said that if the work you are doing online to establish and grow your business isn't paying you at least that much an hour, then you'd be better off applying for the minimum wage job. Now that isn't entirely accurate since the hardest and least rewarding part of your new Internet Marketing career is in the first year. If you can stick with it that long, it gets a lot better after that, trust me.
So anyway, if free (as in it costs no money) quality traffic is what you're after, then the first thing that you need to do is join Affiliate Funnel (AF) and actually use the programs and tools that are available there:
There are a wealth of resources at AF and quite a few of them require only an investment of your time in order to make use of them. But remember, when using time-intensive methods to generate free traffic, it is critical that you hold onto your dreams - every day, and at all times. Easy to say, not so easy to do.
Having a dream can change your life, but only if you hold onto it and keep it in mind as you work. It's the only way. If you are going to surf the TE's or read Safelist messages for credits, then that dream of freedom and financial independence needs to be at the forefront of your mind if you wish to succeed. What I'm trying to say is that getting free traffic to your site is a hell of a lot of work!
My suggestion is to do a little meditation to center yourself everyday before you start working and just keep those pictures in your mind - the images of your dream life. I'm not talking about living in the future, mind you (that's bad), I'm just saying that you have to stay focused. Why am I telling you this? Because that's what I had to do, especially during my first six months - the time period during which 19 out of 20 will give up and quit.
In closing, I'd like to share a quote from one of my mentors, Mr. Jon Olson: In my years of working with traffic exchanges, I have seen a lot of trends come and go, but something has remained the same. That same desire and dream that each surfer has when they start a session of surfing. They dream of a more fulfilling life. A chance to sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labor. The dream of working for yourself. It's very empowering. Surfing a traffic exchange has never been glorious and at times it can be downright boring. However, the people that make up this industry all have a few things in common: desire, passion, vision and 'the dream'.
In short, if your goal is free traffic, then my suggestion is to join AF and keep your dreams alive. Do those two things and DON'T QUIT... and you'll be just fine.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Facebook – It’s definitely a step up to MySpace, another popular social networking site. With Facebook you can connect with people you know already, and even people you may have lost touch with. Personally, I find it useful in keeping touch with friends who live all over the place, and without Facebook, I probably wouldn’t be able to connect with people I lost touch with. If you’re concerned about privacy, there are many ways to hide and limit people from seeing information you don’t want them to see.
Twitter – This site has gotten increasingly popular over the course of the year, mainly because more celebrities and news media outlets have been using it. I’ve found twitter to be useful in getting breaking news before the news outlets even get it, interesting information I wouldn’t know about if I wasn’t following certain Twitter users, keeping in touch with friends, and even meeting new ones. If you're new to Twitter, read The Beginner's Guide to Using Twitter for 10 steps on how to effectively use it.
LinkedIn – This site can be compared to your online resume, with a feature to network with other LinkedIn members online. At this website, you’re required to be more professional, but it could help you if you’re looking for a job or trying to find business connections.
The best thing about these sites are that they are all free, and you really can’t lose with them, except spending lots of time on them!
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Here is my reply...
Obviously, TE's do work. I admit, though, that they are sloooooooow. So patience is important. In fact, it's VITAL to this business in general because most people give up and quit way too soon. All of this takes longer than everybody thinks it does or should. Anyway, I'm upgraded in 6 or 7 TE's (I lose count) and I use them heavily.
I also have four hosted FFA pages with mailers that send out daily emails. One is at TrafficWave, one is at Monster-Traffic, one is at FFA Storm and one is at FFA Blaze.
I like Viral URL too and I like to keep at least 500 credits there at all times. The Free Traffic Bar is good. I also blog regularly and submit my posts to blog carnivals. I Tweet my posts as well. BTW, blog posts do (eventually) pick up search engine traffic. To that end, I use SpinSuccess to drive search engine traffic to my blog also.
Once a month, I buy the 50,000 Guaranteed Visitor package from TrafficWave for the main affiliate page, which seems to convert the best. That package comes with extra promotional goodies that they throw in as a bonus. To me, it's worth the cost.
I comment on other people's blogs and in forums and I just generally try to get as many back-links to my blog as possible out there. I also market with Pyrabang, Affiliate Funnel and other things through which I can send mailings and post links. Naturally, I mail to my list as well. Oh, and I also leave GDI business cards everywhere. You see, anyone who signs up for GDI, I send to my blog where they will be exposed to TrafficWave as well - and visa versa. I cross-promote, as most who join one will often join the other one too. That's what my '30-Day Success System' is all about.
And I've got some other permanent links and hosted pages out there too that, to be quite honest, I've forgotten about. About the only things I don't do very often are safelists and classifieds, although I am looking at some nationwide newspaper classifieds soon. It's just hard to be everywhere and do everything. I think it's best to find a few methods of advertising that work for you and then get better and better at doing those - and you have to be relentless! Another thing I like to do is find blogger.com profiles with the same interests as mine and become a 'follower'. It's kind of a sucker-fish strategy, but my face & link to my blog are on a LOT of other people's blogs out there!
As you know, that slideshow is up on YouTube now but since you are on my team I can send you the original PowerPoint to use anyway you see fit. Replace my picture and name with yours, change the wording - do whatever you want! The really great thing about the TrafficWave matrix is that we really aren't 'competing' against each other. Our efforts help each other as you will learn once you have your sign-ups and so on.
All told, I devote as much time as humanely possible to the laborious task of my promotions everyday (I'm also a full-time student!) and I spend about $300.00 a month on my program fees, advertising and advertising services - some months even more. One of my long term projects for '09/'10 is a viral ebook that will grow our matrix as well.
But all said and done, the single most important thing is to just stick with it and never, never quit.
Monday, June 1, 2009
Of the 18-24 year olds who do use Twitter, only 29% follow companies. The necessity to get this important demographic more involved in Twitter is obvious, as it is a huge opportunity. One way to get these young adults more involved would be to incorporate more applications into Twitter. A survey recently showed that 89% of social network users have installed apps on their profiles. Time to roll out the apps, Twitter.