The Difference Between Spam and Marketing on Twitter

When we begin speaking in terms of marketing, invariably the question comes up, are my marketing efforts true marketing efforts or are some viewing them as spam?

Spam is about taking the choice away from someone and delivering them information about products and services without their permission. Spam comes in the way of unsolicited emails, junk mail and telemarketing. Spam leaves a bad taste in our mouths and for good reason. We have not asked to be inundated with the information that we find floods our inboxes these days.

Marketing when done responsibly can be fun and witty. Commercials that reach us emotionally are effective marketing tools. People who care about their audience take the time to consider their message and how it will reach others.

On Twitter we each have an option as to who we will follow. And one might suggest it is that choice that gives others the right to “spam”. Wrong. Spam is irresponsible and annoying. More will tune out than tune in.

Take time to consider your message and how it will connect with your followers. Are you sharing a valuable service, product or resource? Do you take the time to share on a personal level as well as sharing on a business level? Have you established a relationship with your followers? Is the information you are providing timely and appropriate?

If you can answer these questions with a yes answer then your message can effectively be considered marketing rather than spam. Your followers will welcome your post rather than turn away from it. Share your tweet with others and in turn respond in kind to their own messages and tweets. After all, marketing is all about the relationship and spam is about nothing more than the bottom line.

Membership Sites – How Do I Start?

Membership sites are a great way to create a mainly passive form of income. Once you have your membership site up and running, you just need to keep it updated with fresh content. Setting up a membership site can seem a little intimidating, however. Just take it a step at a time and you’ll soon be ready to launch your new site and get on with the business of making money.

The first step in creating a membership site is making sure you have an audience who is ready to join. Like all types of content sales, you need to find a target market hungry enough to want what you have and willing to realize they need to pay for it.

Search out your market as you would any type of content product. Start by choosing a topic that either you have experience in or have a strong interest in. Do some keyword research to be certain of your market. Use Google’s keyword tool to find out how many people are doing daily searches for your niche. Next, spend some time doing a little research to see how many other membership sites are already operating in your chosen field. Just because there is a little competition in your field, doesn’t mean you should pick another topic. Competition can be a good thing- it gives you a benchmark to work toward and beat! However, if there are a lot of heavy hitters in your market, you need to know you’re in for a challenge. Your best research can be done by joining a few membership sites and checking them out from the inside. Mind you, you still need to create your own content and fresh ideas, but you can see what is popular and what isn’t, which can help you choose topics and features in your own site.

As you look at different membership sites, take note of the special features they use. One of the most common features is the forum. A forum gives site members a dedicated space to discuss ideas, share information, ask for help and interact in a number of ways. Forums will also allow members to send private messages to one another. As the site administrator, you will set the rules for the forum, as well as interact with the members yourself. It’s usually a good idea to keep forum rules to a minimum, although you will want to notify members of the rules against spam. You will also likely want to set some ground rules regarding tone and etiquette. While a forum is only as good as its diversity, members should agree to a policy of mutual respect and avoidance of abusive remarks.

You can also use your membership site to sell additional products and resources to your members. Choose these resources wisely. Your members are already paying to participate in your site, so be careful not to push other products too heavily. Instead, consider setting up a resources section members can check out at their own leisure. Choose only high quality products that offer a good value to your members. You don’t want to violate their good will or trust or you will find yourself losing members.

These steps are obviously just the beginning of creating your membership site, but they are an important beginning. By starting out in the right way, you have a much better shot at ending up where you want to be- at the top of your market, making a great income from your membership site.

Use Keyword Generators Sparingly

Of course it is helpful to use a keyword generation tool to help you complete your keyword list. Not only will it help you round out your list with keywords and phrases you may not have thought of, but it also gives you ideas on what others may be searching around your topic.

Take the keyword “copywriting” as an example. A copywriter might think of obvious keywords to optimize for, like “copywriter” and “copywriting” but may not think to optimize for “copy writer” and “copy writing”. Believe it or not, people often search for products and services by using common misspellings and because they are misspelled so often, the search engines recognize them as actual searches. This requires creativity and know-how on your part.

So, for these reasons and more, keyword generators can be and are very useful tools. However, they are not meant to do your SEO work for you. In other words, they are there for guidance and word generation. They are not meant to serve as keyword managers nor do they have the ability to create entire SEO campaigns for your business.

Only you can create the best, most effective list of keywords for your website and it should be completely unique. Why? Because your business, although it may be one of many in its field, is one of a kind. Therefore, you should optimize it as such. After all, that is what sets you apart and will continue to set you apart as you gain new customers from well planned and effectively executed keyword optimization.

Marketer-Friendly Social Network Digg Now has Ads

If you’ve never used Digg, you might want to take a second (or even first) look at it: Not only is it marketer friendly, it now allows you to openly promote your own advertising content on its home page.

If you haven’t yet checked it out, relax: There are more marketers hiding this sort of guilty secret than they care to admit. (It’s called “overwhelm”). So first let’s take a look at exactly what Digg offers…

Think of finding a patch of really beautiful flowers, digging it up and transporting it to a communal garden or park, for everyone to enjoy. That’s basically Digg’s mandate with online content.

Then Digg users vote on it. If it gets enough vote, it’s transplanted to the front page.

Simple, eh?

This user-driven platform means even less dependence on keywords than formerly. The only “search algorithm” doesn’t even depend on a search: It is based strictly on reader votes. True social sharing at its most democratic.

Digg helps the process along by providing tools to make sharing and discussion easy. These tools include iPhone apps, Digg buttons and widget generators, as well as platforms such as Digg TV. It also provides page headers, designs, scripts, logo buttons and graphics. (The catch is, once you place your content on Digg’s pages, under the terms of use, you’re placing it into the public domain.)

Digg offers a number of options for marketers wishing to advertise. You can choose:

– A sponsored news article placed inline with organic content
– The Digg Dialogg Package, an sponsorship package “where leaders and luminaries” (from Al Gore to Trent Reznor) answer top questions from the Digg community
– Standard and rich media IAB roadblocks and placements on home page and articles
– The Super L Package, a “prominent roadblock experience” incorporating both your message and your brand on a header leaderboard and right rail. Includes rich media options
– The Slider Package, strictly rich media “politely engaging the Digg community” via an expanding teaser ad
– Digg Content Ads, which are meant to leverage popular, current content the community is already engaged with

Digg’s usage took a sharp rise from 10.9 million to almost 24 million between December 2009 till today’s time of writing, March 2010. That’s over double its population in less than 3 months – could the ads have something to do with it?

Quantcast.com shows its demographic as biased towards males (57%), in the 18-34 age range with a higher than average group reporting an income over $100k per annum. Interestingly, there’s also a higher than average percentile of African American, Asian and Hispanic users represented, even though the demographic itself is 73% Caucasian.

(Quantcast is a place you should always check, before deciding if a social network is aligned with your own target niche. It can tell you at a glance if it deserves more scrutiny).

Even if it does look like the perfect platform for your niche… as always, for the best results, make sure you actually have a presence on this social media platform, before attempting to advertise!

Needed Services You Can Offer

While working toward profitability in your Internet business, it can sometimes be beneficial to do services for others for a fast influx of cash. While creating an Internet business can be very lucrative, it can also take time before you see growth in your bank account. By adding a service, which can generate immediate cash, you eliminate the number one issue that plagues business startups — cash shortages. The trick is to pick the right type of service to offer, and not to forget your real motive in adding such a service.

The right type of service to add is something you already know how to do without having to get any type of training. It is also something that you need no new software or materials in order to get started. Ideally, you can market the service to your existing email list, and website visitors. This will eliminate the need to add more marketing efforts to your business. Also, the right service in no way competes with your own Internet business. You don’t want to build your competitors business, after all!

That brings us to the real motive for adding the service in the first place. The reason is to add cash to use in promoting your online business to the point of profitability. Making money from services is great, but ultimately you want to earn money from your main business. Therefore, try not to get too excited about the amount of money you can make by offering services. Trading hours for dollars is not sustainable over the long term, and it’s all too easy to get distracted by the quick cash if you don’t keep your eye on the prize.

So, after looking at these two factors what services can you offer. Take a look at these ideas and see if any of them match your skills.

Content Manager

As a content manager you will help create an editorial calendar, and either write, or assign writing to writers that your client has chosen. Then you may edit the content, and ensure that it gets posted where it needs to go through the entire content cycle. This is usually an hourly contract position. You can charge on average $30.00 per hour for these types of services.

Ghost Writer

As a ghostwriter, you will provide writing services to clients based on their title, keywords, and other criteria. Usually you can charge per word, or per page of writing. It is good to limit your offerings to those things outside your own niche, but topics you know enough about that little research is required to write. Prices range from $5 per page to more than $500 a page for a magazine quality article. More than likely, your services will be toward the lower end of the range with an average of $15.00 per page of writing.

Virtual Assistant Services

A virtual assistant provides secretarial type services from a distance for any type of business you can imagine. You can market to local businesses, and Internet businesses alike. If you are part of any type of online business community you can market this and any of the other services right there. Most people will be thrilled to have services from someone who has started and is establishing their online business. They will feel lucky to get to hire you.

Where to Find Outsourcing Talent on the Internet?

Beginning the search for a virtual assistant, freelance writer, graphic designer or IT specialist to outsource some of your daily work may seem like a daunting task, but it can be easier than you think. While the idea of having someone to pick up the slack may sound appealing, the thought of finding right professional may seem a bit overwhelming. The Internet provides a bevy of resources to help you in your search for a qualified professional for your outsourcing tasks, no matter what type of help you need.

There are several sites on the Internet dedicated to connecting businesses and freelance professionals for short-term and long-term projects. Most of them work on the same system, although you may find slight differences among them.

Freelance job boards are a good starting point when you are searching for a professional partner to team up with and get things done. Some of the more popular sites include http://www.elance.com, http://www.guru.com and http://www.rentacoder.com. It never costs a business a fee to post a project on these sites and you can begin collecting bids on your project immediately. As the business owner, you control the choices on these job boards. You post the work you need done along with some pertinent details about the specifics and the deadline for how long you will accept bids.

The interested freelancers then submit a proposal detailing their plan for your project, their bidding price and answers to any specific questions you ask. As the outsourcer, you peruse the proposals at your convenience until you find one that seems like a good fit. Then you simply offer the job to your chosen individual or firm, they accept your offer and you are off and running.

Freelance job sites like these can make your search for outsourced talent quick and easy so you can get on with the business of running your business.

Making money with mobile advertising

Due to the advent of the iPhone and other smart phones in combination with mobile Internet access the possibilities for making money are truly endless. Today, you can make money via mobile advertising, and you don’t even have to spend a bunch of money on app development. It can cost a lot less than you think to create a useful app, it can even be free. It really depends on what type of app you want to develop.

You can simply create an app that allows your blog readers to read your blog each time you have a new blog available or you can create a useful or fun specialized app. There are some online app builders which are free that allow you to monetize your app and create a new way for you to interact with your clients. Here are some systems and places that will help you create an app that you can monetize, both free and paid.

AppMakr.com — You can create your app free, and you can add on things such as notifications to alert your users of sales, updates to your blog, ability for sharing and more. There are monetization features and more available with AppMakr.com. You do not need to know any code, and in fact you don’t need to know anything at all. You use the online interface with your URL to create the app based off your feed or a keyword you choose. AppMakr.com has many features that will expand your reach, and add to the socializing and fun of your website, products and services.

Adking.com — They have their own BizApp creator. You can create a mobile website and a web app to use for your own site or to use with your clients. You can do this private label or semi private label. It’s up to you how you do it. As a business today, mobile apps are becoming a necessity due to the huge proliferation of Smartphones, especially the iPhone so you may as well join in the fray and get ahead of the game.

Rrent-acoder.com — You can hire a coder to create any type of app that you want. You simply need the idea about what you want the app to do so that the developer can create it. Make sure that you own all rights to the creation of the app by having a good contract with the programmer. If you can come up with a fun or useful application that is unique you’ll have it made.

Once you create the application depending on which method you use above you’ll need to monetize your creation with mobile advertising through an ad network. The first two, AppMakr.co and Adking.com have their own network that allows you to monetize your app easily. If you use a coder you’ll need to find and sign up with a mobile advertising network. You can use Google Ads, AdMob.com, and many others to monetize your iPhone application. It’s up to you how you choose to make money with mobile advertising.

Word of Mouth Marketing with Twitter

Word of mouth marketing is the most cost effective marketing available to any business. While it is also the most difficult to gauge or measure, there is no doubt, positive word of mouth marketing is more than effective.

The most challenging part of a marketing campaign that is strictly word of mouth is getting people to talk about your business. In the information age this is not nearly the mountain climbing issue it used to be. In fact, it’s quite easy these days. You just have to know the proper venues for doing so.

Well over one billion messages are sent in one day’s time on Twitter, and your business should be contributing its share. Twitter is an instant billboard – A split second public message putting your business in front of the masses to get them talking about you. Using Twitter effectively, efficiently, and regularly creates a direct relationship between you and your customers, and potential customers. You cannot afford to neglect this opportunity.

The first effort to make before fully launching a word or mouth campaign on Twitter is to familiarize yourself with how it works, the common vernacular used, and the etiquette within the Twitter community. Next you will begin to build a network suitable for marketing your business. Twitter has a search engine where you should plug in your business interests, and then you follow the people that show in the results. Soon you will be followed in return. Many are very surprised at how quickly a following is built.

Now you’re almost ready to Tweet. Realize that Twitter is about breaking news and good conversation. Adjust your promotions accordingly. Think about what you offer of value to those you want to become your customer, and brand yourself as strongly as you can. Your best choice is to tweet a blurb about full content you have on the web in another place by posting a link within a personable and interesting sentence about why the reader should visit your site.

You are becoming a part of a community. Everyone in that community is a potential customer. Use it to your advantage. Plan out a strategy, and then dedicate some time each day to interact and talk with your followers, and those whom you follow. This will give the personal Twitter Touch that people love about the community itself. This is social media, the key word being social. If you choose not to utilize this aspect of the campaign, you might as well not start the campaign at all. You wouldn’t think of neglecting customer service anywhere else, so be as diligent to your Twitter customers as you would be to the sales floor.

Finally, a word about gauging the success of your word of mouth Twitter campaign. Open a free account at Bit.ly and utilize it to your greatest advantage. With this service you can shorten URL’s to use in your tweets. This allows you to track how many people actually respond to your tweet by clicking on the link.

5 Reasons to Keep Personal & Professional Activities Separate

It’s very important to keep your personal and professional lives separate on your social media accounts. Keeping your personal and professional separate is necessary in order to be able to use social media to its best for your business. If you’ve not done so, it’s time to clean up your social media – create separate accounts, and migrate your friends to your private accounts and your business associates to your business accounts.

Believe it or not, your business associates will understand and appreciate that you want to keep things separate. It might be hard to ask people to migrate to your business accounts off your personal accounts but it’s a very important move to make for the sake of your business. Create the new accounts, then give them the link and the reason a few times, then “un-friend” or “un-follow” them.

Let’s go over the reasons why you should separate your personal and professional activities on your social media accounts:

1. Your Target Market – The rules of marketing say that everything you “say” or “do” should take your target audience into consideration. By separating your personal and professional activities it’ll be easier to do this.
2. Perception is Reality – Something Dr. Phil says often and it’s true, perception really is reality. In business only your customer’s perception matters. Even if you share something totally benign but your business associate takes it wrong, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with business you’ve wasted the tremendous opportunities that social media provides your business.
3. Business Associates aren’t Family – Of course you love your customers, and certain some clients and associates will cross over to the friend column and become true friends and even people you treat like family. But, this is rare. You and your family deserve to keep your personal business to yourselves.
4. Conflict of Interest – Sometimes there can be times where your personal life and some of your business activities conflict. A good example would be if you happen to be a vegan for diet and health reasons, but you are hired to create low-carb recipes that have meat in them. You have no inner struggle with doing this, but you like to post about being a vegan on your personal pages. Clients might not want to hire you because they may think you can’t cross over.
5. It Lives Forever – Even if you delete a post, a comment, or a picture from your social media accounts and try to scrub all social media of anything controversial it can still live out there forever in the form of a screen shot, or in a historic archive via Google.

For these five reasons, and I have no doubt you can’t think of more, you can see how important keeping your private life separate from your business life on social media. To use social media as a marketing channel for your business is an art that requires focus. If you are mixing accounts, it will be difficult to stay focused. Plus, you run the risk of offending — or worse, boring your target audience.

5 Tactics for Keeping Personal and Professional Social Media Separate

It’s important to keep your personal social media separate from your professional social media because you’ll be able to more easily adjust your posts, shares and interaction toward your target audience. You’ll also be super focused on the business at hand and not the next kitty-cat video that comes your way. Those things, while fun, are simply distractions for your business and unless you’re in the cat toy, food, paraphernalia business it’s cat videos are not relevant to your target audience.

Create Separate Accounts – By creating separate accounts you can better keep each part of your life separate. That isn’t to say occasionally you’ll have a cross over “friend” or “like” or follower, but your own activities will remain consistent.

Your business accounts are used to promote your business only. On your personal accounts its okay to have some cross over, but try to keep your business account completely business oriented. When you do share personal information it should be a small insight but nothing too earth shattering.

Actively Police Followers – While Twitter has enacted a rule whereby you need to follow a significant ratio of people who follow you, you can police your followers by paying attention to who is following you and block or otherwise separate yourself from the wrong people.

There are tools for Twitter and other social media that you can use to automatically clean up your follower list. If needed, hire a virtual assistant to help you get it all under control.

Watch What You Say – Even on your personal account if you don’t have your privacy settings set up correctly be very careful what you say in case it offends your target audience. Think twice about commenting on controversial items of news and current events, you are not anonymous anymore.

You absolutely have a right to your own opinion about any topic but, sometimes it’s best to keep them to yourself when they’re not a moral imperative or worth risking your entire business over. Unless, of course, your business is about that very topic or issue, then go right ahead.

Have a Plan – For your business social media accounts you need to develop a marketing plan with daily actions that are based on target audience research so that every post, share, “like”, comment and update is focused and has a purpose.

By creating a social media publishing calendar you’ll be able to use your product funnel to create all your blog posts, article marketing, commenting schedule, and promotion schedule easily. Once created, just follow the plan to see a large return on your investment.

Clean it Up – If you’ve made some social media mistakes in the past with mixing your personal and private life on your social media accounts it’s okay. You can essentially cover up past mistakes with targeted updates.

Delete what can be deleted, and then fill your accounts with new and fresh updates that are focused, targeted and have a reason and purpose. For instance, post updates to your social media account that is promoting a blog post that is about how to solve a problem for your target audience with a clear call to action to buy, sign up, or share.