Your Twitter Business Card

Business cards have long been a favorite low-cost marketing tool. We learn early on to utilize our business cards to both share our information and to gather information of prospects by writing it on the back of the card. We leave our cards with tips in a restaurant or at the register after paying our check.

Business cards have just gotten cheaper, free even. You can now have a business card for Twitter that you can share with your followers. twtBizcard is a Twitter application that allows you to send your business card via an @ reply and by use of a hashtag (#).

When welcoming new followers you can share with them your twtBizCard or share it while thanking someone for a reply or retweet of one of your Twitter posts.

Sharing from the twtBizCard website:

“Say goodbye to business cards as you know it!
Send a Twitter Business Card!

To send a Twitter Business Card, simply add #twtbizcard to a @reply!”

Your new Twitter business card will include your Twitter name, how many people you follow, how many follow you, how many tweets you have made, your Twitter bio and your website url. You also have the option of including other pertinent information such as your business name, address, phone numbers and email address. For the cost of a donation of your choice, you can even brand your Twitter profile page with your business card.

How does this all work?

Again from the twtBizCard website:

“To send a #twtBizCard to someone is very simple. All you need to do is to send a @reply with the #twtbizcard hashtag.

If this is the first time @twtapps receives a #twtbizcard, we will send him/her a @reply telling how to retrieve it.

To access their #twtbizcards, they need to go to “My twtbizcard” (link on the top/right of the page).

From that point on, every time @twtapps receives a tweet with the #twtbizcard hashtag, he/she will know that the sender’s BizCard is @ their “My twtbizcard” page.”

How many times have you been in a introduction situation and asked for a business card only to find the person you are talking to has forgotten theirs? Or maybe you forgot your own. In this world of social media and networking we are having meetings that are taking place via Twitter. You never again will find yourself in a meeting without your business cards. Simply add the #twtbizcard hashtag to your @reply of a tweet and you are ready to go.

A few tips for using your Twitter business card:

Make sure you proofread your business cards before sharing them. If you are sharing your email address or phone number you want to ensure you have provided the right information.

Don’t be afraid to share your new business cards. Someone will invariably ask you for more information. Be prepared to give it to them.

Providing this tool to potential clients will make you standout among the crowd. One Twitter we follow thousands and they follow thousands. Making use of a Twitter business card will set you apart from the multitudes of others who don’t as yet.

So what are you waiting for? Visit twtBizCard and get started sharing your Twitter business cards today.

Mobile Optimization is Essential

One email marketing technique that will never go out of style is mobile optimization. In fact, mobile optimization is becoming more important than ever as the proliferation of mobile devices outpaces personal computers. In fact according to Litmus, mobile users account for more than 43% of email engagement. Mobile engagement is here now, it’s not something we should be watching out for in the future. It’s here now. If that doesn’t get you moving toward mobile optimization, nothing will.

Most email list providers offer mobile friendly templates, and responsive templates. So, there isn’t really any excuse for not making it a point to always use mobile friendly templates, and mobile friendly responsive design when given the chance. Design your emails and websites for mobile first, then it will naturally look great on a bigger screen too, or use responsive design that detects which size of screen the user is using and delivers a design that is appropriate.

By providing a good experience for all your users, regardless of what device they’re using to access your information you will increase your transaction rates. You’ll get more opens, more click throughs, and more purchases if you make mobile optimization an imperative. Imagine 43 percent of your customers trying to click through to your sales page via a mobile device and then not being able to read it. Will they go home and do it later? No. They won’t. So, you’ve missed out on sales due to your lack of mobile optimization. In fact, one study suggests that up to 75 percent of email recipients in the USA simply delete emails that aren’t optimized for mobile.

This means that not only should your emails be optimized for mobile but all your online real estate should be optimized for mobile. You want every aspect of your user’s experience to be optimized for mobile from the emails, to the landing pages, to the websites, to the shopping cart. You only get one shot to impress customers and potential customers before they delete you. This fact makes it an imperative to deliver information to your readers that is optimized for mobile at all times. From email to the final transaction, everything needs to be optimized for mobile.

Check with your web designer and your email list provider to find out how you can make all your online real estate optimized for mobile. If you use WordPress for your websites it should be as simple as switching templates to one that is responsive over one that is not. If you use any number of email list services from Aweber to MailChimp they offer email templates that are optimized for mobile as well as responsive. Simply start choosing responsive or mobile optimized over anything else from now on.

Don’t forget to use your own mobile device to try out the experience to ensure that the user experience is top notch. Testing is an important part of marketing. You can test by trying it out yourself, and by sending out surveys to your audience asking them directly what they think. Customers appreciate being asked and will respond well to your efforts to improve their experience.

Common Mistakes In Upselling

Upselling is the sole purpose of making you more money after having already sold a product. With the right tools and training, anyone can learn how to upsell and make a decent profit. However, there some common mistakes that sales people make when trying to upsell a product and all of them mean a loss in revenue for your business if not addressed and corrected.

So what are the common mistakes?

Being To Pushy – This is definitely a turn off to a potential customer. All too often the salesperson is so eager to make the sale that they get way to ahead of themselves and push the customer into a corner. This can make the customer feel almost attacked or pressured to buy the product. You don’t want this to be the outcome of your sales tactic. You want the customer to be at ease when they are being pitched to and more importantly, receptive.

Offering the Wrong Type of Upsell – When offering an upsell to a customer it is important that the upsell is something that is in relation to the sale you just made on the bigger ticket item. This can be in the instance of person who just bought a digital camera, offering a memory card will fit perfectly in with the initial sale and is something they will need. You want them to want to have this service and be aware of all the reasons they need it. You don’t want to upsell something that has no relation to the product at all, it has to relate in some fashion.

Not Being Persistent – Yes there is a way to upsell and be persistent without being pushy. It all relies on the information you are relaying. It needs to be convincing and something the customer believes. If you go out and just start spouting off some sales pitch, it could seem unconvincing and forced. You want to have conviction in your speech so the customer believes what you are saying and ultimately wants the product.

All of the above mistakes can be avoided if the salesperson is properly trained. They need to practice their upselling techniques on someone before they are let loose on the public to ensure they have what it takes to be a proper sales person.

How StumbleUpon Community Groups Can Help You Succeed

When you join StumbleUpon, make no mistake: You’re joining a community. You stumble other users’ sites, recommend sites, images or videos you like and make a strong effort to keep your Stumbling focused.

Why, then, do so many people miss the opportunity to take their StumbleUpon experience to the next logical step by making themselves part of a StumbleUpon Community Group?

The first thing you can do is make the StumbleUpon forum part of your routine. If the official StumbleUpon blog is the first place you’ll find news, the forum is the first place you’ll find answers to StumbleUpon questions, or solutions for problems…. or be able to submit a question yourself. (Naturally, they do encourage you to search the FAQ or Help section before asking your Question, but it’s a comfort when you can’t find an answer – perhaps for something to do with the brand new iPad app – to be able to ask it straight away in the forum.)

The “Get Satisfaction” Forum is also broken into well-organized segments within its front page, to help you easily find answers in your category. No fumbling around through confusing layer after layer of forum posts.

The segments are:

– Frequently Asked Questions

– Ideas Under Consideration

– Common Problems

– Recent Praise

There’s also a button beside each query that says either “Solved” or “Needs Solution”, as well as showing how many answers have been received. At the bottom of each segment, there are instant status tabs: “Common”, “Solved”, “Being Worked On” and other similar status indicators. The community greets new members, and lists its products and services, including toolbar versions for different browsers that are now available.

StumbleUpon Community Rules

Of course, like any online community, it has its rules. They’re the basic, common-sense ones about no spamming, flaming or publishing private content without permission. No personal insults or profanity. (Perhaps the most interesting rule in posting to the forum is “No off-topic or useless posting”: Off-topic I can see – but what is their definition of “useless”?)

Sign Up Required

The only minor annoyance is having to specifically sign up for the Forum – but that’s easily done in a few seconds. Your welcome email also gives you the standard option to have new replies to your posts emailed to you… and one more useful feature.

It also allows you to check a box that authorizes Get Satisfaction to send you a daily email about anyone new who has added you as a contact. This allows you to thank them, stumble their sites or just check out their profile.

You can add products and companies you like or are interested in under a specific “Add Product or Company” tab. And your Dashboard is also where you can register your App, if you’re a developer.

Your Settings page is also a valuable promotional tool. You can customize it with a thumbnail, use your real name or nickname, make it geographically relevant by adding your location, and provide your Twitter ID, Flickr ID and blog or website URL.

Go check out the StumbleUpon forum today at: http://getsatisfaction.com/stumbleupon

How to Start Outsourcing

Your business is booming and the need to hire more people to effectively run it is starting to become apparent. You need to free up time and resources but how do you go about doing that in today’s economy?

The answer is outsourcing. Many companies are going this route and finding it fits their monetary needs as well as their company’s management needs. If you are thinking about outsourcing, you first need to come up with a solid plan.

Planning

Your first plan of attack in outsourcing is to figure out what it is you want outsourced. Is your customer service taking up too much of your time? Do you have a technical support area you would like someone else to handle? Need graphics created or articles written? When contacting a service provider you need to have a specific plan already in place of what it is you would like them to take care.

Many business owners will draw up a proposal outlining the scope of work and the time in which they expect the work to be completed. This will give the service provider an idea of what they need to fulfill. Informing the service provider in detail of how you want them to handle your project will allow them to fully understand the scope of what needs to be done and what is expected of them.

One mistake made by many business owners who outsource is the expected turn-around from their facility to an outsourced facility. Many have the idea the transition will happen over night, but, in reality, this is not the case. When outsourcing things such as customer service, companies will most likely have to continue doing the work for a little while in order to get the new assistant trained correctly. This can take some time, as training needs to be in place to make the transition as smooth as possible. If you plan ahead however, you can easily create draft-type emails for your most common requests that your assistant can easily customize for each individual request.

Just as the time rewards will not happen overnight, perfection will also not happen overnight. The new person on your team will need to learn your operations and adapt to your company’s way of doing things. You’ll also want to keep an eye on how things are going and communicate frequently with your contractors to ensure they are doing things correctly.

Payment

Payment is another issue to work out before hand. You’ll need to make sure that both parties are clear on not only what amount of money will be involved, but also when and how it will be paid. This information should be communicated before any work begins and agreed upon by both the outsourcer and the assistant.

Developing a way to track what contractors have done is crucial. Most service providers will have a way to do this already in place, but it’s important to know how it will be done. For instance, those being paid an hourly rate usually keep a timesheet of some sort. Others may a flat fee for the tasks they will complete.

Maintaining a good relationship with the service provider is key. Constant communication in the form of timesheets, emails and telephone calls will keep the process running smoothly. If you don’t have that line of communication, you can run the risk of damaging your company’s reputation with workers who don’t know enough about your business to properly represent you.

Would you like fries with that?

If you’ve ever been to a fast food restaurant, you’ve been asked the following, “Would you like fries with that?” Why? Because even hamburger and milkshake makers know how important it is to follow-up and follow through on a sale.

The same goes for internet marketing. Backend sales strategies, when applied correctly, are effective ways to increase your revenue and gain customer loyalty. But you won’t be asking your customers if they want fries with their ebook. Instead, you’ll be asking them if they’d like a report on the same topic that explores some of the issues the ebook does not.

As simple as it sounds, and as deeply woven into pop culture as it has become, the question, “Would you like fries with that,” is as strategic as a multi-million dollar advertising campaign. Backend sales strategies aren’t about how much money you put into them, they are about knowing who your customer is and understanding what they want, what they need and how you can exceed their expectations… oh, and keep them coming back for more.

Don’t let the customer simply place their order, drive through and never look back. Hit them with the soft sell by asking a question, or showcasing similar products to what they have already purchased. Because in the end, they may not even know what they really need. Sometimes, when you offer them the fries, they’ll ask for the milkshake too.

Direct Mail Lists: The Proper Way to Research and Purchase a List

When planning your direct mail campaign, one of the most important factors to plan for is your list. Similar to email marketing, your offer will be of more value if the people on your list are targeted members of your audience. Why waste time and money mailing to people who aren’t interested in what you do?

Both your list and the offer rank equally high in importance while the direct mail piece itself ranks lower. Some people mistakenly believe a fancy mailing piece will be all that’s necessary to get it opened and make sales. Wrong! If that fancy piece promoting your scrapbooking site is mailed to someone who doesn’t give a hoot about scrapbooking, they will not call unless it’s to say, “Take me off your list.”

With over 30,000 mailing lists available in the US alone, how on earth do you decide which list is right for your direct mail campaign? These lists are compiled and housed at direct mail list suppliers. Some of these list suppliers offer additional services, such as list management, creative design, printing and mailing services.

There are two types of lists – compiled and response – and it’s important to understand the difference between the two because which type of list you choose will determine the success of your direct mail campaign.

A compiled list is a huge database of names, addresses and phone numbers compiled from various public records, such as telephone books, mortgage records or tax rolls. These lists total several thousand names and are often the most inexpensive simply because it’s not a targeted list.

Many business owners only see the dollar signs and will choose a broad, compiled list for their direct marketing campaign but this works only for a few types of companies. For instance, a doctor or attorney who’s opening an office in a local area might purchase a compiled list in order to alert the community members of their grand opening and new location. This may prove successful because most people visit a doctor or attorney at some point in their lives and knowing someone is close by can be a unique selling point.

A response list – also known as a managed list – is more targeted because those names are added only after the person has responded to another offer, such as a magazine subscription, membership clubs, warranty cards or catalogs. So if you order a golf magazine subscription, the magazine publisher compiles a list of subscribers and then sells that list to a mailing list supplier who in turn sells it to a direct mail marketer.

Using a response list is best for those who are trying to reach a certain niche. For instance, if you’re promoting your scrapbooking website, you want to purchase a managed list with scrapbooking magazine subscribers.

No matter what type of list you purchase, ask your list supplier about the costs of niching the list down to your exact target market, using criteria such as age, gender, zip codes and household income. The more people you can reach who fit all your criteria, the better chance of getting responses from your direct mail campaigns.

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!

Are You Missing Passive Income Opportunities Right Under Your Nose?

When it comes to passive income opportunities, you’ve already got your plan in place. You’re a new marketer, so you’re go with the most inexpensive option for your product – a digital eBook. You plan to pay Clickbank’s $50 one-time publisher’s fee, and place your product there. Clickbank provides your affiliate program management, as well as your payment processor, so you don’t have to manage either. And you’ve covered the last base by learning how to legally, effectively cloak your hoplink.

Let’s run over your checklist…

Domain name
Minisite
Sales Page
Affiliate banner ads and code

You’ve even paid for a professionally designed header and some graphics. And you’ve already started to publicize your new eBook on social networks and forums.

In fact, you’re all set, and ready to go!

Or Are You?

There is one more question you need to ask yourself:

Have I made the most of every opportunity to squeeze more passive income out of my subject?

Until you’ve considered every option, you’re leaving money behind that could be pouring into your bank account! You could easily upsell at check-out point by offering your eBook as a physical product. Companies like Kunaki can produce your CD or DVD on an “as-ordered” basis, shipped directly to the customer. Your base cost, at time of writing, is $1.75 per CD!

If your actual cost (including shipping) is $1.75, and you offer the CD version at checkout for $10.00 (including shipping), you could maximize your passive income from that one sale point by a profit of $8.25 per CD! (Kunaki can create videos and DVD’s too.)

There’s no good reason to leave unmined sources of income behind at every sale. Find out all the details at Kunaki – and decide if creating a physical upsell product is a viable idea for you.

Money Making Review Websites — Five Profitable Niches

It is important to choose your audience before choosing products for your product review website. It is also important to have a targeted keyword rich domain name so that you can rank high in the search engine rankings. And, as with any website you need a lot of keyword rich content and search engine optimized (SEO) pages in your site. But, if you’re not sure yet what types of products you’d like to promote, here are five profitable niches.

Organic & Natural — Today organic and natural products are in high demand. From clothing, to beauty products, to food and everything in between there are organic and natural products to promote. In fact, each of these ideas can be a micro niche in and of themselves. Such as natural and organic baby products, organic cotton clothing, vitamins, or organic beauty products. Ensure that your products are actually organic or natural depending on your niche.

Diet & Health — We all know that the diet industry is a 40 billion dollar per year industry, and climbing every year. There is no reason you can’t get in on this deal by reviewing health and diet related products. You can personally review each diet for a period of time and then document your results or lack of results. Soliciting other people’s reviews and assistance for this type of product review website can make it all the more effective. Each of these ideas can also be broken down to micro niche sites, such as delivery diet food reviews, exercise equipment reviews, or even more specific such as, indoor exercise equipment.

Technology Products — From computers, to online services, to everything in between technology product reviews will bring in money if done right. Focusing on a specific niche such as PC’s or Macs, or peripherals, or software will make your site more effective. Your technology related product review site can become the go-to site for anyone looking for technology within your target products. Ensure that you choose a well defined niche, and that you know what you’re talking about when writing the technical reviews.

Local Referral Service — Starting a local website or blog that includes local referrals and reviews of restaurants and other local businesses can be a very profitable product review site. You can set up different categories, or you can stick to review of local restaurants, pubs and eateries only. Once your site gets busy, local people will want to put up a review, and you can sell advertising, or offer a coupon service.

Regardless of which niche you choose, you should be super focused on one specific niche. Provide accurate and full product reviews, allow for site visitor interaction, and keep the site updated as much as possible. One of the biggest reason many product review sites fail is the lack of commitment to the product review website.

If you commit, and take the time necessary to make an attractive, accurate and up-to-date product review website, you can make money. Ensure that your information is unique, keyword rich, with continually updated content and it will happen but it will not be millions of riches in your pocket over night while you sleep. YES, you will eventually make money while you sleep for something you did months ago, but you will have to work toward that happening.