7 Ways to Create the Online Reputation You Want

Whether you have your own business or not, managing your online reputation is imperative in today’s highly Internet savvy world. The things you said on social media will haunt you for the rest of your life if you’re not careful. Something you said innocently as a teenager might still be out there and come up if an employer searches for you. Thankfully, you can manage your online reputation if you know what to do.

Blogging What You Want People to Know

Practicing daily blogging is a good way to keep your name and brand in front of readers and on top of search engine results. A blog post doesn’t have to be long, or in-depth to be effective. You simply need to know why you are writing it, to whom you’re writing it in order to be sure that you choose topics related to your niche of importance to your audience.

Use Article Marketing to Educate Your Market

Article marketing isn’t dead, it’s just changing. It’s still an important way to get the word out about your brand. It’s a good way to educate your market about the need for your products and services in general. For instance, if you sell a specific moisturizer you might write articles about caring for the skin, and what types of ingredients are good and bad for the skin. Let your bio at the bottom of the articles lead them to your product.

Use Social Media Strategically

Be careful on social media. Use it strategically. If you’re on Facebook sharing away with your friends and relatives be sure to check and double check your privacy settings. You don’t want something innocent there to corrupt your business message. Keep business and your private life as separate as possible. In other words, don’t over share. Share enough, but keep it simple. You don’t have to share pictures of yourself at your high school reunion drinking Jager shots with business associates.

SEO Gets You Found

Search engine optimization is more important than ever. You may wonder what it has to do with your online reputation but if no one can find you, you’re not going to have a reputation at all. Keep up to date on new rules as they become available. Each search engine tells you in no uncertain terms how to optimize your pages for best results. Follow what they say and you’ll get better results. You can also use a service like HubSpot’s Marketing Grader to find out how well you’re doing.

Google Alerts for Monitoring

Use Google Alerts to set up a notification to your inbox any time your name, brand, product or any keyword you want is mentioned on the Internet. This is a great way to monitor your business buzz as well as stay ahead of the game when it comes to new products and services. Google Alerts is a great way to keep informed on any topic you choose.

Bury Don’t Erase

When you find information about yourself you’d rather people not have, it’s important to seek to bury the information rather than erase it. It can be very difficult to erase information, especially if it’s true. Even slanderous information can be very expensive to get rid of and won’t always work. The best course of action is to bury the information with great search results, if the information you don’t want people to see is on page four, it’s going to be almost nonexistent anyway.

Be Transparent

This advice might seem counter to the advice above. However, if you ever do something wrong and learn from it in your business, it’s best to be open about it. Write a blog post about what you learned, write a book about it, and you can turn what could have been truly business killing news into something positive. But, remember that being transparent about your business has nothing to do with your personal life. Keep personal and business as separate as possible.

What is Membership Marketing?

You’re an internet marketer, so of course you already market your business. You probably even think you have all of your bases covered. But you don’t. There is another untapped resource out there that can increase your sales and is guaranteed to convert one-time buyers into loyal customers.

So what is it?

Membership marketing. Membership marketing allows you to offer exclusive deals, offers and products to your customers while allowing them to take advantage of membership benefits. It’s a win-win situation for all involved!

It’s the same idea as frequent flyer miles, book store rewards clubs programs or coffee shop clubs. Customers become “members”, often for a small fee, in order to reap the rewards associated with the program. They win because they think they are getting a deal and the business wins because they are securing revenue.

In a nutshell, membership marketing is like job security. You are securing your customer base for a pre-determined amount of time and in return, they are pledging their loyalty via “membership” to your site. And if you are smart, you will secure them again and again… and again!

We’ve all heard about customer acquisition. But what about customer retention? Sure you are familiar with the term, but what does it really mean? How do you “retain” your customers without forcing your products down their throats? Is there really a way to ensure they will continue to do business with you even after their initial purchase? The short answer is, yes! The key is to make them feel like they are a part of something. Assure them that they are receiving quality care, special attention and most of all… that they are saving money.

Everyone likes to save money. Even you! So let your customers know that as exclusive “members” they will benefit from discounted rates, free materials and special offers on some of your most in-demand products and best kept industry secrets.

So how do you implement membership marketing into your already flourishing business? Create a membership site! There are multiple software programs available to help you do this. You will just have to spend some time researching the right program for you and your industry. It also depends on how deep you want to delve into your membership marketing program. However, no matter how in-depth, the process should be relatively easy and once you get started, will become easy to maintain.

By creating a membership site and implementing key membership marketing principles, you can and will see results. However, it is important to remember that while membership sites can prove to be extremely beneficial, they do take some work. You will have to create, manage and maintain your membership site in order to make it beneficial to both your customers and to your business.

Offer benefits that are exclusively available to members in order to make membership attractive. Coordinate and deliver regular, reliable material in large quantities. Send and receive constant communication with your members. And always be sure to meet contractual requirements you set with your members for their protection and yours.

How To Stay Focused On Work: 6 Simple Tips

For most of us, staying focused while working is pretty difficult, even at the best of times. In today’s workplace, it’s even harder than ever — with so much information coming at us constantly, and easy access to the internet, staying focused on tasks can seem like asking the impossible.

Fortunately, there are ways to make things easier. Some of them are obvious, others less so. Either way, if you try and put the following suggestions into practice, you should find staying focused easier and be able to get more done.

Remove Distractions From Your Computer: If you have lots of games on your computer, or lots of photos and videos, get rid of them. This removes the temptation to “take a quick break” and entertain yourself for a few minutes — which often leads to hours! Another way to control distraction is to close the programs that you aren’t using for the task at hand. This reduces the likelihood that you’ll distract yourself with other tasks of less importance.

Make Lists: One simple way of staying focused is to start your day by making a list of things you have to do. This helps you to keep track of tasks and reminds you that spending too much time doing other things could result in you not finishing all the tasks on the list.

It’s also helpful to update the list as the day goes on. Cross off the tasks you’ve completed, and add new tasks which come up during the day. This can help you to keep on top of your work.

Keep Drinks At Your Workspace: One of the most common ways of distracting ourselves when we should be working is by going for a coffee or snack break. By keeping a bottle of water by your desk, or a flask of coffee, you can avoid the temptation to get up from the desk when you should really be working.

It’s also possible to use coffee and snack breaks to your advantage, though. After a long and productive session of work, moving away from your workspace for a few minutes to refresh helps you maintain focus on the rest of the tasks ahead.

Get A Good Desk And Chair: If you aren’t sitting comfortably, then the chances are you’re not going to be able to stay focused. Not only that, but your health could be at risk. Make sure you get a good chair and a desk at the right height for you. Your back should be straight, not slouched, while you sit at your desk.

Music: If you like listening to music while you work, make sure you pick the tunes that don’t get you over-excited. If you’re listening to music that just makes you want to get up and dance or sing along, then you’re not going to be able to stay focused very easily. Pick music that you enjoy having in the background. Save the rest for your free time!

Start The Working Day Right: When you get to your desk at the start of the working day, don’t make your first task checking the news on the internet, or looking for updates on your favorite blogs. Once you get in the mood for entertainment like that, it’s hard to return to a working mindset.

Keeping your personal and professional life separate on Facebook

Pretty much everyone has a Facebook page. There are over 845 million users on Facebook. Naturally, with that large of an audience it’s important that your business be there. Marketing your business via Facebook is a great way to get new business as well as create free word of mouth marketing.

In addition, it’s easy to create Facebook advertisements, and more on Facebook. But, there are some serious roadblocks with social media that can cause problems for any business owner. You innocently click “like” on someone’s picture, article, or meme and before you know it someone you do business with us offended and fires you.

Dr. Phil says that perception is reality, so it doesn’t really matter if you’re within your rights to have your own opinions when it comes to social media. Of course, you do! However, so do your potential clients. There are some best practices for using social media when it comes to business. One of those best practices is to keep your business and personal life separate.

The way to keep your business and personal life separate is to:

Create separate accounts — Choose very carefully when business associates or acquaintances want to follow or friend you on your social media. It’s perfectly within your right to turn someone down to be your friend. Creating separate accounts can solve a lot of issues.

Think twice before doing — On social media where people can follow you without your permission, it’s important to consider the ramifications of the things that you choose to share. If you want to be controversial, think about it first.

Use privacy settings — On social media where you can set privacy features, and even block people; ensure that you take advantage of the technology. No one will know they are blocked or that your account is even there in most cases, if you set your privacy settings right. Don’t underestimate the power of keeping private things private.

Understand the technology – When you set up any social media accounts be sure to understand how it all works. For instance, consider the chain of events that occur when you “like” something. Who sees your “like”? Do you care who sees your “like”? Is it really private?

What will your Grandmother think? – A good test to see if something is appropriate to post, including pictures, memes, and thoughts — is to know whether you would want your Grandmother to see it or not. If the answer is no, don’t post it.

Stay focused on your audience – When using social media to promote your business stay focused on what your target audience wants to see from you. It’s okay to promote your business on private networks occasionally so that your family and friends know what you’re up to, but don’t share private matters unless necessary on your business social networks.

Your personal life is none of your clients’ business. It’s likely that they don’t want to know much about your private life either, especially super private information that covers the three topics that you should not discuss in mixed company: Religion, Politics and Money. Keep that in mind going forward and keep your personal and private lives separate on social media as much as possible.

How You Can Use Pinterest to Promote Your Business

Pinterest may have started out as a place for women to share product images, but its meteoric rise as a social network makes it a great place for businesses too. Think of it as a place to share ideas in a visual way and be creative about how you can profit from that. Users on Pinterest love to share and repin images from a whole range of categories. As with any social network you just need to find a balance between self-promotion, social networking, and making money.

Here are just a few ways you can use Pinterest both for profit and promotion.

Promote Your Blog

If you have an image on your blog, it’s pinnable. For that reason alone, you should always add an image on each of your blog posts along with a “Pin it” button under each. Aside from that, readers are drawn to images and an interesting one encourages them to go on and read your article.

When you or a reader pins your image to Pinterest, it creates a direct link back to your blog. This not only adds to your link-building efforts, it can bring a whole new type of traffic to your site. Create themed boards on Pinterest that are based on the categories on your website, and make sure that you always pin your own blog post images to those boards.

Involve Your Customers

Having Pinterest boards is a new way to engage your customers online. Not only can they pin their favorite images to your boards, but they can comment on them and share them with their friends and followers. When people enjoy interacting with your website, they’ll come back more often. This not only builds your relationship with website visitors, but it gives you far greater opportunities to showcase your products and services.

Inspire Your Customers

Often people only see your products in one way and for one purpose. Pinterest boards give you the chance to inspire different ways to use your products through visuals. For example, if you sell wedding favors, you can show pictures of them at the table settings of customers’ weddings. That’s far more inspiring than a simple product image in your store.

Show That You’re a Real Person

It’s always difficult to make a personal connection with people online vs. face-to-face. By including both business boards and personal boards in your Pinterest account, prospects and customers get to see some of your own interests. They start to see the real person behind the business persona. Even if you are representing a large company, remember that customers are eager to know the real people behind the corporate face. If you’re a small business or entrepreneur, this is even more critical.

Add Affiliate Links

You may not realize it, but you can also insert your own affiliate links on your pins. It’s a whole new way of doing affiliate marketing. You can create boards that are just product oriented and earn cash when people click those links and buy something. Just go into the “edit” button for a specific pin and replace the direct link to the product with your affiliate link.

Pinterest isn’t going anywhere any time soon and it is incredibly active. Make the most of it as a place to engage your customers and prospects. At the same time, it presents a new opportunity to earn income online from a completely different source.

Successful Business Model — Recurring Revenue

If you’re a service provider you probably wonder how you can earn some income without trading hours for dollars. Well, the best way to do that is to add some kind of recurring income to your business model. Recurring revenue is the key to taking your business to the next level and ensuring your survival during times when you can’t work. The great thing is, the work you do today toward making recurring revenue a goal, is going to pay off for years to come.

In order to add a recurring revenue model make a list of all the things you now do for your clients that are regular and recurring. Brainstorm ways in which you can offer a monthly deal to your clients where you automatically do said tasks without them reminding you, and set them up on auto-pay or auto-billing via Freshbooks.com and PayPal. The beauty of this is you create a recurring revenue stream from things you already do, but maybe don’t do often enough or only do when the client thinks of telling you. This way it keeps tasks up to date and likely won’t take as long.

One idea behind recurring revenue is to do less work for more money. Trading hours for dollars can only make so much money because there are only so many hours in the day. So the next recurring revenue model you can add to your business involves your expertise. If you’re an expert in something, and if you do something every day for others you can classify yourself as an expert. As an expert there are various recurring income ideas that can be borne of your expertise such as:

eBooks — Write an eBook and sell it in a variety of ways from your own sales page, to selling it on Amazon via Kindle.

eCourses — Rewrite the eBook to be delivered in short bursts via an eCourse. You can make it a three month, six month, or any length you want and bill your members monthly to keep getting the new course.

Membership Sites — Turn your eCourses and eBooks and other lessons and tutorials into a membership website. It can include a message board, and other opportunities for paying members. If you could attract just 100 paying members and only charged $19.95 per month (and many membership sites are more than that) you can make almost $2000 a month just from this one website.

Group Coaching — Offer group coaching calls to your membership as an “up-sell”. For instance if regular membership is $19.95, offer the group coaching calls for an upgrade at $49.95 a month. Have the group coaching call via a system like Adobe Connect or even Skype.

Affiliate Sales — Make all this work automatically by allowing members only to become affiliates of your membership site and other individual products. People like exclusivity. You can encourage sales via the membership site and give them the tools to be successful creating their own recurring revenue model.

No matter what your normal business is, you can create any of the above, or all of the above, as a recurring business revenue model. Start today creating your recurring revenue model and soon enough you’ll not have to rely only on trading hours for dollars.

How to Hold a Conversation in Church

I have a question for anyone who has ever been to s Sunday church service: What happens on Sunday mornings?

The preacher preaches from his pulpit. Everyone sits and listens (or pretends to listen). They’re a captive audience, held by guilt, duty, pressure from a spouse, guilt over the kids or even – occasionally – real interest in the sermon.

So they stay.

Too many people give in to the temptation to mirror those Sunday sermons. They climb up on a soapbox, and Expound.

Unless the soapbox is a particularly off-the-wall one, the usual result is much the same as Sunday service. Everybody shuffles out, without saying a word…

…or else they click away and close in the first couple of sentences. After all, your blog ain’t church. They don’t need to stay. There’s no guilt or duty holding them on your browser page; no spouse to look over their shoulder and condemn the action. (In fact, any shoulder-peeping spouses are more likely to say: “Good. Now we can talk!”)

Why is it, then, that so many bloggers sound off like a preacher; either dully, or with faint condemnation?

That’s not what gets your posts comments – and links!

“Invite and Incite”

Before you can lay down the law to people, you need to provide proof you have the right to do it. That’s number one question to ask yourself, when tempted to wax forth on why most marketers fail, or why clear skin is not reserved just for the young. It should be like holding a conversation with your buddy.

Conversations give room for answers and interaction. On a blog, you have to do this by:

– Asking questions (especially ending with one)
– Making sure those questions invite and incite an answer

To do this, you need to keep the focus of your question specific – “What do you think?” is just not gonna cut it:. The average blog reader hastily decides a question of that magnitude is going to take too long to answer… and clicks away.

Give your reader an incentive to answer. Make the question personal. Leave your topic open for debate by presenting two sides of the same coin. When you do that, human nature has readers evaluating which position they agree with. They’ve engaged with your post – and that’s a huge step in the right direction.

Most of all, however, care about your post. Care about what you’re asking. Don’t be afraid to let them see the real you; the one with the doubts (that doesn’t mean pouring your heart out about your lousy marriage, by the way!)

After all, when you care, your readers are more likely to care, too.

And that’s the real secret of inciting valuable, relevant, topic-related links.

Accelerate Your List Building with Online Contests

Contests and freebies can boost your email subscriber list exponentially. However, whether or not those subscribers add value to your list or not depends on how targeted your prize is. If you’re giving away something like a free iPad you’ll get all kinds of entries who may not even care about your product or service, especially if the only requirement to possibly win is to sign up. Let’s be frank, they’re going to simply unsubscribe when the contest is over.

So, for example, if you are teaching lessons on how to use a certain graphic design software, a good prize may be to give away the software to one lucky winner, along with free classes. But, if your target audience needs baby supplies, the prize of an iPad, for example, might not be as effective. Sure, people will sign up in droves, but are they really interested in your solutions? If you really want to accelerate your list building with online contests, think strategically when planning the type of contest that you conduct.

It’s important to not only accelerate your email list building with contests, but to also accelerate your entire contest strategy by being certain about the market you plan to target. Contests generate leads, drive traffic (both online and offline), increase brand awareness, make customers and potential customers happy, create good will, and even help you develop insight into your customers that you may not have had before via user generated content.

It’s clear that online contests can boost your email list building opportunities many times over. But it is also clear that the efforts must be targeted to your specific niche audience. It’s important to study your target audience and know everything you can about their needs, fears, desires, wants, and to then create products and services that fill those needs and solve those problems. By having good products and services you’ll have read made prizes that your target audience really wants to compete to obtain.

You can then have many different types of contests such as having customers make short videos about them using your products or services, or people who want to try them to make a video about why they should be chosen to win them for free. Let others comment on the videos and vote on them, the one with the most votes wins. Then, promote the winner in a big way. Someone who wins very publically something of value like this is likely to give you a good review on the products and services and later purchase further products and services from you.

By having a good email list, full of targeted, interested potential buyers, you can basically give yourself a raise anytime you want by carefully promoting your products and services to the list members. They have signed up to receive the information you have, and they want the information. Ensure that every email you send has a purpose, and a call to action. Do not leave readers wondering what to do next. Ask them to read your blog, ask them to buy your product, ask them to make suggestions on future products. Use the list well, and grow it well with targeted subscribers and it will serve you well for years to come.

Tips For A Newbie Direct Mail Marketer

Many online business owners think they don’t need to do any other marketing than writing on their blog, occasional article marketing and checking in at their social media sites. After all, this famous saying says it all, right?

“If you build it, they will come.”

That only works in the movies.

Online marketing is fabulous and relatively easy to do from the comfort of your own home, but there should also be a mix of offline marketing to help create brand awareness and to simply tell people that you have an online business.

Here are some simple, common sense tips for getting started with a direct mail campaign. As always, if you feel like this venture is over your head, please contact a professional who can guide you through the process.

1. Ask questions at the Post Office. The very last thing you need is to find that your mailing is too big and requires extra postage. This is a sure way to bust your budget and deflate your enthusiasm for direct mail.

Prior to starting the creative process, ask for the different package sizes and postal rates. The sizes probably won’t change in the future but the rates certainly can so pay attention to the news or simply ask what the current postage is as you draw closer to mailing your campaign.

2. Use proper grammar and punctuation. Sure, I probably sound like your 3rd grade teacher right now but unless your target is teens who text, everyone else will surely notice misspelled words or a lack of punctuation. The key is to be professional and to make a good impression with your audience.

Using spell check is certainly a good way to find spelling errors but always ask a friend or employee to double check the grammar. Do you use complete sentences? Is the message clear?

3. Include a strong call to action. You know how SEO experts tell you to avoid linking to phrases like “Click Here” because it’s boring and doesn’t give any SEO value to your link? The same is true for your direct mail calls to action.

Always include a call to action and TELL people what they should do next. Adding some flair and creativity to that copy will be sure to grab people’s attention. Never assume that someone will take action after reading your mailing. Compel them to take action by telling them exactly what to do next.

4. Create a follow up plan. Great – you sent out a direct mailing – now what? Instead of just sitting back and waiting for phone calls or orders to come in, be proactive and do some telemarketing with these same prospects a few days after the mailing is expected to arrive.

You can do this yourself, delegate to your sales people, or hire a telemarketing firm. The key is to remind people about your offer in the mailing and encourage them to take action.

Whether you spend $1,000 or $100,000 on a direct mail campaign, the end result is the same: you want to see a large return on your investment. Plan carefully and hire experts when needed to improve your chances of direct mail success.

Upselling Tools

A classic upselling phrase is “Would you like fries with that?” it almost always works and that’s a simple and effective upsell. Upselling, however, does not have to start when the customer is in your store whether it is online or at a location. Upselling can begin well before they get to your place of business through different means.

The first key to upselling is planting the idea of making purchases at your store before the customer even gets there. This can be done through a number of means and we will go over a few of them and show you how they can greatly impact your business. It’s all about getting them thinking about your products and getting them into your store.

The Newsletter

This is a powerful tool, which is especially successful if people can choose to receive it from you. When people ask for your newsletter, this means they are already comfortable with making a purchase from you and want to be kept informed about upcoming deals and sales. Through this one tool, you can impact your sales greatly.

Using the newsletter, customers can be told about a new special or deal well before it starts, allowing them to prepare to make the purchase. This also cuts out some competition because the customer can already plan on buying from you. Putting combo deals together in the newsletter can generate even more sales.


Whether you advertise online, on TV or using billboards it’s all about getting the customer into the store or online to purchase from you. Suggesting multiple related items at one time puts the thought into their head that they need all of the items because it all works better together. Creating ads, which are easy for the customer to remember you by, is the important part.

Simple Phrases

These are some simple phrases, which make upselling plans work really well despite being very simple and to the point:

1) I’ve got something great you have to see.
2) Let’s go over here and look at this product to go with your other product.
3) Ok. Now let me show you the things you’ll need to make sure you can properly take care of your new product.

The key to this is that these are all statements, not questions. If you offer something as a question the customer has the freedom so flat out say no but, if you word each upsell as a statement, the sale is more likely to happen. Never decide not to show the customer something just because they did not bring it up first. Most of the time the customer does not know what they want and that is the job of the salesperson or the website to help steer them to the products they don’t know they need.

Using simple language and letting the customer know about your products before they even get to your store is where the upsell begins. It ends when they make those multiple purchases. This all happens because of the plan you used to get them to part with their cash in exchange for your products.