10 Pinterest Best Practices

In order to make the best of Pinterest and truly take advantage of the tremendous way it can boost your business, it is important to understand the basics. In truth, Pinterest is like most forms of marketing, and as such there are some best practices to consider.

1. Create Interesting Content — We know that content is still king, and it doesn’t matter what type of content you deal with, if your content is not interesting people won’t care. Make your content interesting. As you consider pins think about what your target audience wants to see.
2. Curate Relevant Content — As a business owner that markets on the Internet, you likely already understand that content curation is the key to a lot of traffic but make sure the content you’re curating is relevant to your target audience.
3. Know Your Target Market — That brings us to the target audience. If you don’t know who your audience is, it will be difficult to engage in any sort of marketing efforts at all, including pinning. Get to know your target audience intimately. You should know their demographics by heart, as well as their fears, desires and needs.
4. Engage Your Market — Your customers are there, but it’s your job to be exciting enough to get their interest and engage them in the conversation. Because, even when you’re dealing with images, what is social media if not an ongoing conversation?
5. Influence Your Market — You know that you have the power to persuade your market to act in the way that you want them to, but most people don’t realize just how powerful their influence is on their followers and fail to follow through. To be able to truly influence your market, do what you say you will, and be above reproach. You must elicit trust from those you wish to influence, and you can use Pinterest to do that by being honest, open, and transparent.
6. Interact with Others — Like with any other social media it’s imperative that you interact on Pinterest. If you are using too much automation it can backfire. People will trust you more if they feel like a real person is answering them.
7. Create a Call to Action — You know that you’re not going to make the sale if you don’t ask for it. If your Pinterest boards do not have a call to action, you’re wasting your time. If you want someone to re-pin your pin, you need to ask for it. A call to action is important on your pins, boards, and on your blog. Ask people to pin your stuff!
8. Share Other People’s Content — If you share other people’s boards and pins, you’ll be loved for it. In addition, if you only share your more “in your face” product sales pitches people may become numb to your suggestions to buy, but if you mix it up with sharing other people’s pins, your own pins, with boards that make sense to your audience you’ll get more Pinterest love.
9. Track Your Images — As with any marketing campaign it’s important to always track everything. Now that Pinterest has taken notice and offers web analytics that allows you to track images you’re able to see how each photo you pin is re-pinned or viewed. This is very useful information for businesses that are using Pinterest for marketing.
10. Measure The Results — If you can track it, you can measure it. As with any marketing efforts measuring and analyzing results is paramount for success. You can do more of what works, and less of what is not working so that you don’t waste your time.

By always focusing on these 10 best Pinterest practices you can make the most of your Pinterest marketing efforts for whatever niche you are engaged in.

The Importance of Keeping Your Affiliates Happy

When managing your own affiliate program, keeping your affiliates happy is the key to your success. If your affiliates feel valued and know they will be rewarded for the work they put in, they will continue to work harder and help you grow your business.

This isn’t an industry “secret” or highly sensitive information, just merely an aspect of a successful affiliate program that tends to get overlooked. In fact, motivation and encouragement are the keys to success for almost any business. Employees want to be recognized for their accomplishments. So go employees, so go affiliates. Think about this, if the success of a business is dependent upon the success of its employees then those employees will need to feel valued. If your program is directly dependent upon the success of your affiliates, then why not make sure you are doing everything in your power to motivate and encourage your affiliate marketers as well as reward them for their work?

Everyone wants to feel valued. You will want to nurture your relationship with your affiliate marketers in a way that is mutually beneficial for you both. In other words, if they know they will be rewarded with high commissions for reaching certain goals, they are more likely to work harder toward those goals. And when they achieve higher sales, your business makes more money. It’s a win-win situation all the way around. Not to mention a great way to maximize your profit earning potential.

Be careful not to let your strongest affiliates go unnoticed either. While you are busy encouraging your entire team, it is important to focus your energy on maintaining the affiliates who constantly deliver. They are the ones that know what they are doing as is evidenced by their sales results. These are the affiliate marketers you want to hang on to. You can do so by naming them super-affiliates, offering bonuses for each milestone they reach and including their name and goals met in your affiliate newsletter. This will not only make them feel good, but will encourage your other affiliate marketers to strive for the same recognition and personal best.

And that takes us to the other end of the spectrum. You must also pay special attention to those affiliate marketers who sign up but fail to produce any results. Maybe they forgot about you, or maybe they simply aren’t working hard enough if they are working at all. In that case, you will want to send them a friendly reminder that they are in fact an affiliate of yours and oh, by the way, you are running a special promotion this week for the affiliate who receives the most clicks. Incentives and contests are a great way to motivate the duds and keep the momentum of your program going.

Affiliate marketing can be a great way to make money for everyone involved, but in order for you to run a successful affiliate marketing program and earn a profit by doing so, your affiliate marketers must be successful themselves. Motivation will play a major role in the success of your affiliate marketers, of your program and ultimately, your business. If you value them, they will work for you.

Tips for Optimizing Your Video Content for the Search Engines

Video is an interactive and useful form of content for your website visitors. We each learn differently and adding this visual element holds a very strong appeal for many target audiences. Additionally, it’s also a way for you to brand your business and connect with your audience. Unfortunately, while many website owners are skilled at creating valuable video content, they forget to optimize this content for the search engines. This is a mistake as search engine spiders can index video content, if you know how to show them the way.

#1 Video Tagging

Most video-sharing sites allow you to create “tags.” Tags are simply keywords that describe video contents. This tagging makes it easier for people to find your content and it makes your content easier for spiders to index. Make sure to use all the tags you can.

#2 Video Titles

Give your video a title. Titles serve two purposes, like an attention grabbing headline they capture the attention of your prospect and when you use keywords, they can enhance your search engine rankings.

#3 Categorize your videos

Video sharing sites typically require you to place your video in a specific category. The more specific you can categorize your video, the better.

#4 Create a relevant file name.

If you are hosting a video on your own site, of course still take the time to title and tag your videos and take your SEO one-step further by creating a relevant file name for your video with keywords.

#5 Only publish one video per web page.

Experts recommend only publishing one video per webpage with a simple text title and description. Optimize the page where you publish your video for both video search engines and content search engines by using meta tags for the content of the page. They also recommend creating separate video site maps, which can be submitted to video and content search engines alike.

#6 Use keyword optimized anchor text if you link to the video from other pages of your Web site.

#7 Consider Using YouTube Suggest to Generate Keywords

At this point you’re probably familiar with many of the content keyword tools, however for video optimizing, many experts recommend using YouTube’s Suggest tool. Because Google owns YouTube, it works much like the Google Suggest tool. Per the YouTube Blog, “A query suggestions option is now available for search. To opt in, click the “advanced” link next to the search button, then choose “Display query suggestions as I type” from the search settings. As you type in your search terms a menu will appear with suggested results to choose from to help you more quickly find the videos you’re looking for. On the search results page you’ll also get an additional list of recommended searches by clicking on any of the terms listed next to the new “Also try” menu.

Video content is interactive content and therefore highly regarded by visitors. When it’s informative and entertaining it can be one of the most valuable forms of content on a website. Optimizing it for the search engines just makes sense. Utilize these seven steps to make sure your video content is indexed by the search engines.

Putting Transactional Emails to Use

One email marketing tactic that will never go out of style is to put your transactional emails to use. For instance the email password resets, thank you letters, welcome letters and so forth. These automated letters have space for marketing messages especially if the recipient has to click through to another page. What’s more, transactional emails have a higher deliverability rate and are more likely to be opened. Therefore, it’s important to make the most of transactional emails.

A transactional email has something the rest of email marketing messages don’t have: expectation. The customer is expecting to receive the email. It might be an acknowledgement that they signed up for a newsletter, or a receipt for their purchase, but the customer is expecting to receive it. Therefore, they are going to open it. Therefore the customer who is expecting an email message that they are going to open becomes a captive audience. When you have a captive audience it’s imperative to take advantage of the situation to extend relevant offers and / or seek customer feedback. It’s a chance to truly engage with the customer that you cannot pass up.

Ensure that the primary content of the transactional email relates to the transaction in question, is delivered immediately, and only includes extra information that is completely relevant to the transactional email such as a value added offer. For instance, let’s say your customer purchased your eBook and you also have a discussion group for the eBook. In the thank you note for purchasing you can also invite them to your group.

Transactional emails give you an opportunity to engage further with your customer than any other type of email. You’ll be asking them to click here, to sign up for this, or to do some sort of action related to their initial transaction by adding other activities to the transactional email you take advantage of the pre-existing expectation that they’ll be required to do some action. They’re prepared for it, and will likely follow other instructions at this time.

A good use of transactional emails is to include:

Get Answers — It’s a great time to ask the consumer a question. For instance, if your customer has downloaded your free eBook, send a thank you for downloading message that includes a survey so you can determine why they downloaded the eBook.

Get a Testimonial — If you have happy customers, your transactional email is a great place to solicit testimonials. Include a link to a testimonial area of your website or a link to your LinkedIn.com profile and ask for a recommendation. Provide a discount or something relevant for their testimonial.

Get Affiliates — People who have purchased from you are excellent candidates for your affiliate program. Your thank you for purchasing message should include a link to your affiliate program. You’ll get a better quality of affiliates from people who have bought your products and used your services than when you just let anyone become an affiliate.

Remember that there are many transactional emails that have nothing to do with purchasing anything. Your newsletter double opt in procedure is a transactional email and no purchase was made. Then there are also order confirmations, thank you letters for something the customer did, and so forth. Each of these is an opportunity for you as a business owner to further engage with the recipient in a meaningful way.

Online Contest Apps to Build your Lists and Create Buzz

When you’ve decided on a contest to help build your list and create buzz in your business, it is helpful to know about different apps that can help you make it a breeze. Today, with cloud based computing, and easy Internet access it’s simple to find and use applications that make online contests simple for the most technically challenged.

Blazon Social — This is an online suite that gives a business tools to perform professional looking and professional acting online contests. You can do anything from photo contests to video contests to essay contests. It’s up to you. You can also create a free account in order to see if you like it.

Wizehive — This contest manager allows you to run photo contests, video contests and essay contests just like the others. You can also integrate with social media, collect leads and more. The set up makes it easy for your entrant and for voters too. The pricing is based on a per day price, and they also have a pro account with additional services including handling your email and branding. Can get a little pricy, but if you have the right target audience you can also make money from your contests by charging an entry fee.

Strutta — Use this application to run promotional contests, that also can be photos, videos, audio or text via your social media accounts. You can also, where legal run sweepstakes contests. They offer an abundance of cool apps for your Facebook page such as a custom welcome page, a media gallery and even a coupon generator. Voting is simple, and collecting a lot of leads is professional. The pricing starts at $99.00 a month and they do have a free trial option.

cub.io — This online platform lets you create contests fast, you can sign up free without a credit card to try it out. It offers awesome features like incentivized sharing, free templates, even ready to go layouts for contests. You can, of course use your custom URL for your contests as well as see all your analytics easily.

ContestFactory — Huge clients use this online application to create fabulous contests that get results. They’re a full service company so this is for a serious company that wants a lot of leads. They handle all the legal stuff, and even help you get prizes for your contest via sponsorships. If you want to run contests for others they have a white label option so that you can use their system to do what they do for others.

shoutlet — This online cloud based system enables you to conduct contests that aren’t just on social media like Facebook. It also allows for all analytics, lets you collaborate with others, and so much more that I don’t have room to list. Pricing is not listed, and you must request a demo to find out more.

Don’t let this list become a block or daunting thing. This is just a few of the literally hundreds of online contest promotion tools you can use. You can also use your normal website, along with Youtube.com, and your own Facebook page to conduct a perfectly legitimate and prosperous online contest to build your email list and create a lot of buzz for your business. The important thing is to get started today.

Creating Pinterest Worthy Calls to Action

One of the biggest mistakes business owners often make in their marketing efforts is to forget the most important aspect of marketing: The Call to Action. You only have a few sections to get the viewers attention whether it’s on a website, a brochure, or Pinterest. If you look around on Pinterest you’ll quickly see that one reason some business owners are not getting the results they desire is because they forgot a fundamental aspect of marketing! The Call to Action!

Granted, it’s a little more difficult creating a call to action on Pinterest because of the image centricity. But, now that you’re reading this, I’m sure you are having an “aha moment” regarding the obvious. A call to action is paramount to get anyone to do what you most desire them to do. You’ve got to tell people what to do. On Pinterest what you’re going to most likely be asking for is for them to re-pin your pins and boards, but you can ask them to do other things too.

Let’s take a look at what makes a Pinterest Worthy Call to Action:

Be Direct — You don’t want anyone looking at your pins to be confused about what to do. You want them at a glance to understand what to do and what will happen if they do what you ask. For example, if you’re going to donate money to a cause for each re-pin, say so.
Know your Target Audience — If you don’t know your target inside and out, you can’t choose pins very well, or create boards that interest them. Study your target and know them so you can know how best to phrase or show a call to action.
Be Succinct — You have a word limit, use it well. Really think about each and every word that you use so that it looks good while garnering the desired action. Remember, you can use images to get your message across too. On Pinterest, images always win.

Notice anything? The Pinterest call to action is almost the same thing that makes any call to action worthy! A big mistake business owners often make is acting like Pinterest is so different that marketing rules don’t matter anymore. Nothing could be further from the truth. Marketing rules matter. You can’t expect to make the sale if you don’t ask for the close.

By always remembering to tell your followers what you want them to do, you’ll get a higher return on your time investment. Tell them to re-pin you and why. With the advent of business accounts for Pinterest there is probably a lot more coming down the road that will make Pinterest even more useful for business marketing. Since studies are showing that people are spending more time on Pinterest than Facebook, this is a very valuable marketing tool that cannot be overlooked. It would be a shame to forget to include your call to action on such an important social media channel.

Oh, and while you’re learning to use a call to action on your boards, don’t forget to announce on your other social media accounts that your brand is now on Pinterest. That will get you off and running fast if you already have a following elsewhere.

Awesome Tools to Monitor and Manage Your online Reputation

Understanding what types of tools are out there to help you monitor and manage your online reputation is the first step to taking control of your online presence. If you’ve never concerned yourself in the past about how you’re perceived across the Internet those days are over. Take control using these tools.


You’re probably not surprised that Google would be the first suggestion when it comes to managing your online reputation. Every person who has a Google account has a Google Dashboard. On that Google Dashboard you can see Data Tools. If you click on the options for Me on the Web you will find some astonishing information about yourself.

Within Google’s Me on the Web you can also set up an alert to be informed each time someone mentions your name, email address, or other keywords that you choose. This is a great way to be informed immediately when a discussion is taking place about you, your brand or your products and services.

If you have more than one Google account it’s important to check out all the information in all accounts that Google has compiled about you. Correct what is wrong, and hide what you don’t want visible to the public.

Social Media

There are paid and free tools you can use to manage your social online reputation. Paid tools like Naymz can help you understand how much influence you have across social media accounts and help you establish your brand as well as help you earn influence to increase your online reputation.

But, you can also use social media free to search for information about yourself, your product and your brand. Some social media accounts let you set up alerts too. A paid option to monitor when someone mentions you is called mention.net. You might like to check that out for easier results than doing it all yourself.

It’s important to do searches on all social media accounts to find out what’s being said about your business. If you have the option don’t forget to turn off personalized results. You want to know what other people are seeing and those search results could be very different when search engines personalize results geographically and otherwise. Using a service like Tweetbleep can really help too.

One final tool that has to be mentioned is HubSpot’s Marketing Grader. This can help you understand how you are doing as an online presence and a brand with your marketing efforts. Simply go to the website and sign up for Marketing Grader. You’ll get a report that is useful from the start to let you know how you’re doing in various areas like blogging, social media, seo, lead generation and more. They’ll give you a grade out of a 100 possible points and ideas to improve.

The larger the Internet gets, the smaller our world becomes. It’s imperative today to monitor and manage your online reputation using whatever tools you can to ensure that prospects and consumers get a true picture of your offerings. By ignoring your online reputation you might find out that the results you expect from all the hard work you do online are less than expected.

5 Ways to Earn Recurring Revenue

Earning recurring revenue is the best way to keep your business afloat even during down times like vacation and illness. Recurring revenue is money that you will earn week after week or month after month without that much daily upkeep. You can add many levels of recurring income to your business model even as a service provider. Here are some ideas you can start right now to set up a few recurring revenue streams.

Technical Support — Look at the services you provide and choose the ones that must be done on a regular basis. For instance, if you’re a technically inclined Virtual Assistant who works with their clients on keeping their websites updated you can offer a monthly recurring package of updates. You would put the client on auto-pay, or auto-billing which can easily be accomplished with billing software such as Freshbooks.com, and then you would automatically do the updates as needed for their sites on a mutually agreed upon schedule.

Teach Others — Most people are an expert at something. If you are making money working from home as any type of service provider, you can help others do the same. Create an ecourse, and either put it in a members only website or have it delivered by members only email subscription sign up. The good thing about this is the work is done once, and other than occasional updates to the information, this recurring income idea will be on auto-pilot just like the eCourses.

Write an eBook — Don’t just write the eBook, sell it. Today it’s very simple to put a book for sale on Kindle via Amazon.com. Even if you only sell your book for .99 cents you can make quite a nice recurring revenue stream. You can write books about your own business, your own life, or even a fictional novel if you want to. There are writers who could not get published in a traditional manner earning six figures via Amazon Kindle. Why not you. Imagine making recurring revenue years down the road from work you did today.

Create a service club — Many big name sites do it, like Amazon, Costco and others. For a small membership price you are first in line for service, or you get other special items if you choose to use them. The trick here is that the specials do not roll over and the client must act by a certain date each month. For instance, if you’re a graphic designer you could offer 1 banner, 1 button, and 1 other graphic each month for a price you feel is fair. The member is set up on auto pay or recurring billing the first of each month. The members are entitled to use their credits on a first come, first serve basis with a 48 hour notice. If they choose not to use their credits one month, it does not roll over. Believe it or not people will pay for the privilege of being first.

Long Contracts — Another idea for recurring income is to give discounts for longer contracts. Instead of just working week to week or month to month give your new clients (and old) the option to sign a yearlong contract for a discount. Make the terms of the contract explicit that if they leave the contract early they will need to pay the discounted fee difference. For instance, if you give a 50 dollar per month discount due to the client signing a yearlong contract, then they cancel after seven months, to end the contract they will need to pay $350.00 to end the contract early. Ensure that all your payments for these contracts are received before you start any work agreed upon.

Different Avenues of Self-publishing

Today, due to the advent of digital technology and print on demand technology you have many avenues available to you if you decide to get into self-publishing. Self-publishing takes some self motivation, drive and initiative, but it’s not a difficult process. You simply need to make the choice that you’re going to self-publish, and then take a look at the different ways to do so. You may choose one or more end products and a multitude of projects to get you there.

End Products

PDF eBooks — Many are aware of PDF eBooks, otherwise known as digital publishing. Perhaps you already have an eBook, eReport or two in your offerings. Maybe you didn’t think that you were self-publishing when you offered your eBook or eReport for sale or for free to customers, but you most certainly were.

Kindle eBooks — Not really a new avenue any longer, self-publishing your book to Kindle is a relatively simple process. If you don’t have a lot of pictures, graphs and charts in your book, then Kindle eBooks can be an additional avenue to self-publishing. Simply format your book according to Kindle’s instructions (or outsource it!) and you’re published within minutes.

Print Books — There are a variety of services such as createspace.com, or lulu.com that help you offer your books for print. The service is called Print on Demand, (POD) which means that nothing is printed until someone makes an order for your book. This is a fabulous way to get involved with print books since the initial layout is minimal with no requirement to purchase a number of books to get started.

You can turn any of the following into any of the above:

Info Products — Do you already create information products? As long as they’re original you can move them from PDF to Kindle and POD easily. With some formatting and editing, a proper cover, and you’re on your way to publishing your information products.

How to Books — If you’ve already put your toe into the waters of information products, writing a “How To Book” isn’t really much different. You may need to get more specific, and spell it all out in the book from A to Z, and make a longer book than a typical information product which focuses on one micro topic at a time, but you can easily do that and move toward publishing your first “how to” book in about a month.

Novels — Everyone, they say, has a story in inside waiting to burst out of them. Maybe you do too. Maybe you’re tired of information products and would like to try your hand at novel writing. You can do that if you want to. It’s much the same process. Research, outline, write, proof & edit. Create a fabulous cover. Publish. Market.

Case Studies — An excellent way to get into self-publishing is the case study. You can create a compilation of case studies based on your information products and work. Simply create a questionnaire, invite participants, and let everyone else do the writing for you. Your job will be to collect the stories, proof, edit, compile and string together the case studies to be published in a cohesive manner and create a professional cover, publish and market the book.

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.