How Pinterest Adds Value to Various Industries

Almost any industry can benefit from adding Pinterest to their social media marketing mix. It doesn’t matter if you have a business that is local, national or international you can use Pinterest to engage your audience, get more traffic to your website or into your store, and ultimately to boost sales.

Here are some ideas of how to use Pinterest in various niche industries:

Real Estate — Pinterest is a no brainer when it comes to real estate. Any agent already knows that a picture is worth a thousand words. But pictures with links to more information in specific categories is even better. You can create many different categories of boards, such as a board providing links to tips for new homeowners, or a board showing pins with each member of your office, and more. I’m sure you can develop many ideas from here.

Travel — Using Pinterest to promote your travel business, or even your travel blog can do wonders for your business. Imagine the various boards you can create and all the pins that can go on each board. A quick brainstorm might be: Board with the category “Warm places” that you promote during cold weather. Each pin can be a different tropical paradise that links to a special you’re having for that location. Another board might be travel tips for the lone traveler. Only your imagination can stop you now.

Service Based Business — Yes, service based businesses can use Pinterest too. Pinterest is an excellent way to develop leads both local and multinational service businesses — from virtual assistants to bookkeepers. First, create a business account for Pinterest, then create different boards in all the categories you provide services. Create a compelling image with a few words that will compel users to click through to find out more. Link to all the solutions you provide your clients.

Marketers — Obviously, Pinterest is a boon for marketers because managing your clients’ Pinterest accounts can actually be a new avenue of money making via social media. You can offer to set up Pinterest accounts for other business owners, as well as keep them updated with relevant content. What could be better than that? Start with your local area with your ideas and move on from there.

Direct Sales — If you sell a product of any sort, you can market your wares on Pinterest. Do be sure to check the terms of service for your particular company, but essentially you can create a board for each category of product that your company promotes. Also think outside of the box for your boards to fit in with your niche. If you have sell makeup, for instance, you can give makeup tips. One board can be all about eye makeup, another can be about curing particular skin problems. I’m sure you get the idea.

Bloggers — Almost any type of blogger can use Pinterest to increase readership. It works especially well for blogging that involves some sort of visual element like arts, crafts, cooking, fitness, etc… Create boards for each category of your blog, and always include a top notch graphic as well as a “pin it” button on your blog. You can use the button yourself to place it with the appropriate link on the right boards in your Pinterest account.

Make Money Coming & Going With Events

Events are a great way to add new revenue streams to your business model. If you have anything to promote, or teach to your audience events are the best way to do it. Your event can be either online or offline. Both types of events have the potential to boost your income exponentially. What type of event you choose to have depends a lot on your budget and your audience.

Webinars are given online using technology that allows the host, along with other speakers to give presentations online to other people who access the event from their own location. A service like GoToWebinar.com, or Adobe Connect are good choices for your webinar. You can sell tickets or give the event free and still earn money.

Live events are usually given at a location such as a hotel with rooms that offer a podium, presentation technology for sharing visuals, as well as comfortable places for the attendees to sit and usually food is offered too. These types of events cost more money to host but you can also give these events free or charge for them.

To make money with your event, whether online or offline, you need a product and/ or service to promote, or the event can be the product. However, it’s usually more productive to have several ways to earn money from your event.

Sell an eReport — Create an eReport about a topic that has the potential to carry over to an event. Usually a “how to” works very well and can translate into a webinar, a book, a service and personal coaching. The more products and services you can offer from one idea the better.

Charge a Fee — Make the event a direct money maker by charging a fee for the event. There is no reason you have to give away your time for free. If you give the event free there is a possibility that people will sign up and not even show up. By charging you are setting the tone and expectations for your event.

Promote a Book — Turn the information that you created in the eReport into either a physical book, an eBook, or both. People who attend your event will enjoy buying it after they’ve heard you speak at your event. If you have a physical book, and a live event it’s a great opportunity to have a book signing for sales after the event is over.

Offer a Service — If you’re teaching people “how to” do anything, you can also offer to do it for them. A lot of people enjoy learning how to do something but then would rather hire someone to just go ahead and do it for them. Why not teach them, but offer to do it for them too, as an extra way to boost revenue.

Get them On Your List — Always take every opportunity to get interested parties on your email list. This is the best way, even today with social media, to market to your audience. Once someone expresses interest and gives you permission to contact them, take it seriously and give your audience what they want.

Finally, repackage the event by recording the event. Then you can sell the recording of the event to people who didn’t come to it. You can break it down into single talks if you had other guests speaking. The income opportunities are truly endless with events.

Automate Your Review Website

Having a product review website can be very a profitable home business. But, don’t let anyone kid you, having a product review website or blog is not a make money over night with no work scheme. Reviewing products is work, as is creating the blog or website to house your reviews. Your website needs to have the right elements such as the ability to assign ratings to a product, the ability to insert your affiliate link so that you can make a profit and even the ability to collect emails so you can build a list.

But fortunately, it can be made simpler if you have the right theme and then add in applications, plugins and other software that helps to automate your product review website. This process is made simpler if you use an easy website builder such as self-hosted WordPress to build your product review website along with useful themes and plugins.

WPReviewSite,

MyReviewPlugin

WPReviewEngine

ReviewAzon

ProductReviewWordPressTheme

21 Best StumbleUpon Tips

So you’re getting started with StumbleUpon, and you’d like to make the most of your Stumbling experience. Good for you, for being concerned with starting off on the right foot. There are definitely things that you can do to increase your chances of becoming popular through stumbling. Let’s take a look at 21 of the best all-time tips:

1. Remember that your mission is to be yourself. So only stumble sites that you are genuinely interested in.

2. If your website or blog is all about photography, make your photos big enough to stun people with their detail, contrast and fascinating subject matter. Don’t worry about bandwidth.

3. If your website or blog is all about photography or art, keep the background colors neutral – let the images speak loudly for themselves.

4. If your website or blog is about information, make sure the visuals don’t distract. Focus on your headlines and first paragraphs instead.

5. Use the Related Posts plug-in to provide readers with more valuable content – from you.

6. Make sure you submit your own site pages, or new ones from others you’ve discovered, with accurate tags.

7. Send your own pages, via StumbleUpon, to your friends.

8. Submit your best work (i.e., specific pages, perhaps not highlighted on your site but buried deep within) to StumbleUpon

9. Don’t submit your own stuff daily – that’s a sure-fire way to send up a red flag and possibly get your site banned.

10. Be selective about who you add: Quantity is not better than quality.

11. Don’t befriend someone and then ignore them. Remember, all relationships need to be nurtured!

12. Thank people who compliment you or stumble your sites. Everyone appreciates courtesy.

13. Don’t neglect your other social marketing – but why not do it via StumbleUpon (it’s one-click easy!)

14. When checking out another Stumbler’s profile, pay attention to your Similarity Meter (located in the right-hand sidebar)

15. Use your “info” toolbar button to see site reviews – and leave your own

16. Subscribe to people who you are really compatible with via content – click the green “Subscribe” button in the upper right corner or send them a message

17. Create a StumbleUpon group and stumble each other’s best links.

18. Stumble people who stumble you – if you find their content valuable, give it a thumbs up (but don’t be indiscriminate!)

19. Review StumbleUpon profiles of those whose sites you’re interested in

20. Stumblers love dynamic photos. Occasionally include one (relevant to your blog subject, of course) – even if normally you focus only on text information.

21. Don’t forget to add a StumbleUpon button to your blog or website!

Finally remember that most of all, StumbleUpon is all about entertainment. Keep your heavy-duty business report for your LinkedIn contacts… and let StumbleUpon help you develop your “lighter” side. It’s a bit of an art form to learn to mix business with personal in a way that feels natural to both you and your reader – but letting that spark of personality shine through is ultimately your biggest social networking advantage.

Happy Stumbling!

Social media time suckers: How to avoid them

There was a time when the telephone was the big time waster. Friends, children, parents, clients would call and interrupt you 50 times a day and you could never get any work done due to having to talk on the telephone. Now, the great time sucker is social media. Your mobile device is buzzing or beeping with activity 24/7 and there is no escape from the constant updates, invites to play games, or join this cause or that cause. It never ends.

Create a plan — Plan out how you will use social media to the letter. Plan each day, each update, and what you’ll do with your time. No one can find the treasure at the end of the rainbow without a map, and nothing is magic about Internet Marketing. Plan for success, and you will experience success.

Automate — Updating your social network about new posts, articles and information can be automated without any ill effects. This one act will save you hours each day. (assuming you’re blogging and creating content like you should) Smart automation is imperative to being able to get everything done that needs to be done.

Schedule — Many of us, who work from home, really hate schedules. We don’t want to feel like we have a job so we really fight against this whole schedule idea but the fact is, if you have a schedule for your social media, as well as the way you’re going to run the rest of your business, you’ll do better and you’ll be more successful. The great thing about working from home is that, when needed, you can adjust the schedule, but having the schedule and you stick to it for the most part, you’ll do well.

Participate — Automation is great but there are some things you should not outsource and that is your participation in the social media conversations within your niche. Spend a little time each work day participating in social media and it will pay off. Participating means having back and forth conversations with others. Answer questions on LinkedIn, via Twitter, and Facebook and in forums freely giving information without automatically going for the sale. You’ll be surprised to start receiving emails begging you to work with them.

Separate Business from Personal — Your Facebook Pages, Your Twitter, and your personal life should be separate. It’s okay to play games on Facebook on your off time on your personal account, but if you find yourself playing farm town for four hours during a time you were supposed to be developing a product, you’re letting it suck your time. Turn it off.

Social media, if used correctly is an invaluable source of business, but it can be a time waster if you don’t know how to avoid the issues that suck the time right out of your day. At first, you’ll feel strange and unnatural learning to avoid time suckers, but it will also be an empowering experience that will help you grow your business using social media well. After all, you must use social media, this is where your clients are, so you gotta be there!

Searching by Stumbling – Goodbye Google

They tell you that the “top 3” results in Google search are usually authority websites… but the last couple of years, there’s been an annoying trend. You end up wading through the first 3 pages – not the first 3 entries. And out of those 30 results, you’re lucky if you find 3 that are of any value: Indeed, that actually address the issue you’re searching about!

Meanwhile, the time you invested in loading in sites that turned out to be filler for ads, or sketchily padded with poorly-written, unoriginal content – those dreaded “fake blogs” spawned by the more hardened niche bloggers – is time you’ll never get back. (Whatever happened to Google’s promises about “high quality content really being king”?)

People have learned to artificially manipulate the search engines for their own financial gain; and while you would like to be one of the ones gaining financially, you don’t want to do it that way!

If you’re at the point of frustration with irrelevant, spammy Google Search results, join StumbleUpon. In its own words, it’s “a free tool that discovers websites based on your interests, learns what you like and brings you more.”

6 Offenses that Get the Thumbs Down

“More” is the operative word: I joined StumbleUpon by design, and started using it as my exclusive search engine by accident. Why? Because the content it serves up on a sparkly platter is tailored to my exact preferences. Oh, occasionally, I get one that is spammy or suspect – but there’s a certain primitive satisfaction in quickly giving the offender the “thumbs down”, so I will never see his site again. A few thumbs down from like-minded people, and the would-be spammer disappears from Stumble history. Forever.

And the more you stumble and thumbs up-or-down, the more refined the results StumbleUpon serves you.

So what are the things that will make people quickly give a site a “thumbs down”?

1. Popups. StumbleUpon is not the place for them. Nothing can make people hit the “thumbs down” button faster.

2. Sites that take too long to load. Who needs to wait, when you can stumble onto the next one?

3. A lot of advertising. Thumbs down, down, down.

4. Pages that don’t have a strong identity, especially if they have dull or no headlines – a common mistake of people who focus all their design on a home page and neglect interior pages. A page of solid text opinion and nothing else tells you zip about the site owner: It can feel like someone trying to kiss you before they’ve been properly introduced.

5. Wolves in sheep’s clothing. Websites that have tagged themselves (or been tagged) wrongly, so that the content doesn’t match the tags

6. Anything that flashes, whirls, or bursts out into loud music or shouting voices. (Some things never change.)

Even with the occasional dud, I still find I uncover relevant, interesting sites per topic of my choice much more quickly – and with much better results – than if I continue to search with Google.

And even if I do allow myself to “waste time” surfing… it’s way more fun with StumbleUpon’s focused results!

How to Self-Publishing Print Books Without a Traditional Publisher

Self-publishing is an excellent way to break into becoming a book author. Your book can become your calling card and garner you more respect, expert status, and business than almost any other method. But, a lot of people get side tracked when trying to self-publish and get ahead of themselves. Let’s go through the steps to get you to the finish line without losing too much sleep.

Write Your Book — Yes, this is the very first step to self-publishing. In fact, if you don’t have a book written yet, you’re probably making one of the first mistakes of self-publishing. Not writing. You’re not a writer until you write a book. There is nothing to publish until you write a book. So, get to writing. If you need to know more about the process of writing, that is what you should research at this point. Once you have something to publish, then it’s time to research publishing. Until then. Write.

Proof & Edit The Book — Once you’ve written the book, after you’ve gone through your own editing process, and you think the book is finished, it’s important to let someone else proof your book. There are professionals who will proof and edit the book for you. You can hire someone to do a variety of levels of proofing and editing duties from grammar, to sentence structure and word usage, to making the book more interesting, to ensuring the formatting is done properly. It’s up to you how far you want an editor to go. But at least have someone edit for grammar and errors even if you just ask a few trusted friends to do this for you.

Create a Telling Title — A title is an important component of marketing your book. If the title doesn’t explain the book very well, the people it’s meant for, might not read it. Ask for advice for the title from those whom you’ve allowed to read the book, and from editors. Take a day and brainstorm various titles and ask people what the title says to them. Then choose a title, and move forward.

Get a Professional Cover Designed — If you’re not a graphic designer, please don’t try to design the cover yourself. This is where you should spend money to ensure an excellent cover is designed in the formats that you’ll need as you go through the publishing and marketing process. There are designers at all price points, ask people for recommendations. If you already have a following you could even make it a contest. If not, seek out portfolios and choose someone whose work you admire, within your price range.

Copyright Right — Adding copyright legal language is legally enough to copyright your work. However, it’s best to submit your work to the copyright office to ensure iron clad legal protection on your work. You can find out more about copyrighting by visiting Copyright.gov. It’s not difficult, so don’t let this scare you.

Buy an ISBN Number — It’s important that you purchase an ISBN. This number will be a unique number that identifies your title. If you use a self-publishing company they may give you one of theirs but ultimately it’s better to have your own. The problem is that you have to buy them in groups of 10. To get an ISBN you can go to https://www.myidentifiers.com. As of today, you can get ten ISBNs for $250.00. If you plan to publish in multiple formats you may need many numbers per book.

Choose a Printer — There are many ways to have your manuscript printed toady on line. But, now that you’ve got a book, it’s okay to choose a printer! The POD printers today are createspace.com, lulu.com, lightningsource.com, and others. Research the various options to decide what you want to do. Some of these services offer add on services such as editing, formatting, cover art, and ISBNs so ensure that you use the service you’re most comfortable with.

Market your Book — That’s right, after you finish writing and publishing the book, your work is not over. Now you need to market your book via every method you can such as online via blogs, youtube, blogtalkradio interviews as well as offline via book signings, talks, readings, newspapers, magazines, and more. Leave no stone unturned. If there as a place you can be that your target audience will see you, be there.

The big secret of traditional publishing that they don’t want you to know is that the marketing part is the hardest part of publishing. And guess what, unless you’re already super famous, they don’t market you very much. They expect you to do that for yourself. So, you’re not at a disadvantage by self-publishing in the least. If you’ve followed the steps above, created a product you’re proud to promote, get out there and promote it.

1 Penny Clicks – How To Advertise on Google Adwords for Just One Penny Per Click!

Let’s use Google Adwords Site Targeting display/content networks but with a twist…

This pay per click technique is not actually new or some kind of “secret”, but rather a very rarely exploited tactic that only very few Adwords users are actively using to get some of the cheapest clicks possible.  Clicks like these…

AdWordsPennyClicksPic
(Click on the image to enlarge.)

That’s 287 clicks for a total amount of $2,87 from one campaign and 6,697 clicks for a total amount of $67,67 from another. (I started off paying $0.02 per click on the second campaign which explains why the figures average out at just over one cent per click.)

Now for the steps involved…

First, You’ll need to make some image banners. Stick to proven direct-response marketing tactics and make them look like billboards or classified ads. There’s no reason for any fancy “artwork”.

All of my banners look something like this:

200x200

Ugly but effective!

My ugly but effective banner!

Here are the basic 9 formats of the images ads you need to create:

  • 300 x 50 – Mobile leaderboard (This one is optional and depends on if you plan to have your ad displayed on mobile devices. I usually don’t.)
  • 468 x 60 – Banner
  • 728 x 90 – Leaderboard
  • 250 x 250 – Square
  • 200 x 200 – Small square
  • 336 x 280 – Large rectangle
  • 300 x 250 – Inline rectangle
  • 120 x 600 – Skyscraper
  • 160 x 600 – Wide skyscraper

Note: all banner ads must have a max file size of 50k. Google will not accept large files above 50k.

It’s vitally important to this technique that you create ads in ALL of these sizes and not just some of them. Got it? Good.

Next, I will I assume that you already have an Adwords account. If not, then go to Adwords.com to create your account. Once you’re done come back to this part to create the campaign.

Next, Create a new Google Adwords campaign by clicking on the green button labelled “New Campaign” in your AdWords account. Select “Display Network Only” from the drop-down menu that will appear.

That step should bring you to the Campaign Settings page where you can select the options and features for that campaign.

It contains quite a few options, so I’ve included a screenshot below showing you the exact options and selections that I use when setting up my penny clicks campaigns.

Feel free to create your own campaign names but you can simply duplicating the options I’ve used when setting up your first campaign.

(Click on the image below to enlarge.)

CampaignMgmtSettings
Campaign Management Settings

Once you’ve saved your settings, you will be able to create your first “Ad Group”. Be sure you create an “image ad” instead of the usual “text ad” campaign.

Then it’s time to get busy with keywords. Lots of keywords!

Import as many relevant keywords as you can into the new ad group. The more keywords you can add the better. I recommend at least 1,200 keywords per ad group. Preferably 2,000 (which, I think, is the maximum allowed per ad group).

So where do you get these keywords? Well, you have a couple of options…

First, you can use the free Google Keyword Tool for this but it’s going to be pretty labor intensive and you’ll have to sift through a lot of unrelated junk keywords as you deepen your searches.

Nevertheless, this is how you would go about mining the keywords you need using this method…

  • Go to Google Keyword Tool
  • Type the website name (URL) of the offer you are promoting into the field where it says “website“and hit search.
  • Now order the results by the highest search volumes and copy all the keywords results and paste it in a text file
  • Now, starting with the highest searched keyword, copy and paste the first keyword into the search box, delete the website name (URL) and hit search again.
  • Now repeat this with the next highest searched keyword and copy all of those keywords and paste it in the text file again.
  • Repeat this process until you have at least 1000-1500 relevant keywords on your list.

That’s the hard way though.

The process of collecting thousands of keywords used to be a lot simpler and quicker using a tool called the the “Best WonderWheel Scraper” but it’s been discontinued for more than a year! (Dangnabit!)

I recently found this tool however which is cheaper, faster and even more effective at uncovering thousands of LSI and highly-targeted keywords from Google. (In fact, it’s the reason that I took the time to see if this penny clicks tactic was still working.)

Since the majority of people that were using this method stopped because it became too much work after the WonderWheel Scraper stopped working, it’s fair to say that the time saved will more than pay for this nifty gadget after running just one profitable AdWords campaign. Click, click, click – profit – it’s a no-brainer.

Next up, set your max bid at $0.01. (You could also set it to two or three cents per click if you’re having trouble getting clicks and impressions in certain niches, but the highest I’ve ever needed to bid using this tactic was around $0.02)

You can experiment with raising these bids to slightly higher amounts later, if you want to.

Once you’ve saved the campaign don’t be alarmed if most of the keywords are marked as inactive for search because the bids are so low.

Because with this Adwords technique, that doesn’t matter because it’s the Adwords CONTENT network that will deliver your banners and which will end up sending you lots and lots of dirt cheap traffic!

By now you should have all the 9 banner ad formats. Click on “Browse” and find the first banner ad to upload.

Name it after the format of the banner. For example if I upload a 300 x 250 banner I will usually name it: 300×250 or something like that.

Now you need to enter both the display and destination URL:

CampaignPic
Campaign Banner Upload

Keep adding new Ad Groups, until you have 6-10,000 keywords.

Add all the banner sizes; our goal is to get the banners shown as many times as possible on slightly related sites.

Once your campaign is running, all you need to do is monitor the performance and the clicks. I usually start every campaign on a $5 a day budget and I’d recommend that you do the same. That way you can easy ramp up the successful campaigns and scale back any unsuccessful campaigns (not all campaigns are successful, but it’s not hard to find ones that are).

Rinse and repeat once you’ve done this and you can keep doing this for all you sites and all your keywords! One penny clicks – in the bag!

PS – When you try this technique, I’d be curious to hear about your own results. Feel free to drop me a comment below or an email with yours.

Why Every Offline Business Needs a Website

Have you ever searched for a specific local business online, only to find listings on other people’s sites? It’s hard to believe, but there are still quite a few brick and mortar businesses that haven’t created their own website yet. Without a website, businesses have no presence online. But it’s not just about keeping up with all the other local businesses. There are huge profit and customer relationship benefits as well.

Consistent visibility

Even though local businesses are offline, their customers are online. By only being visible when customers walk down the street or drive by, these businesses are invisible the rest of the time. However, people spend a huge amount of time online, whether it is on their computer, smart phone, laptop or tablet. They search for information online, not by driving down the street.

Communicating with Customers Regularly

A website gives the business owner a venue for collecting email addresses, which in turn is a vehicle for communication. Most people still check their email regularly. Instead of spending money on print advertising, it’s much cheaper to send customers special offers and discounts via email. At the same time, email can be used to build a relationship with customers by offering other tips and advice.

Build Your Online Brand Awareness

Your website is completely under your control, so businesses can use it to create and promote their brand image. Everything from the design of the site to the content and interaction that occurs there builds the image that you want the world to see. You can use it as a kind of dynamic billboard which the whole world can see and interact with.

Demonstrate Social Proof

People make purchasing decisions based on recommendations more than any other factor. By including testimonials from customers, businesses can offer the proof that prospective buyers need. Ratings and reviews are another way to help people make purchasing decisions, though they are more difficult to control.

Go Global

As a local business, you have a very limited prospect and customer base. However, once a business goes online, the potential for more sales is only limited by the logistics of shipping. And international delivery rates are cheaper than ever, so that’s not an excuse! In fact, some websites, like Etsy, have made it feasible for even the smallest individual business owner to give the whole world access to their products.

While it’s certainly possible to survive purely as a local business, the potential to grow and prosper is far greater when you have a website also. It’s just a matter of being visible to customers and prospects in the place they spend much of their time, while opening up your business to a whole new market.

Lead Generating Optimization Tips for Your Website

In spite of all the social media out there, your website is still the number one way of generating leads. But, to generate leads on a regular basis you must start thinking of your website as a lead generating money magnet and not just a brochure about your business. To generate leads on a regular basis you need to bring in targeted traffic, develop an extraordinary landing page, offer visitors something of value, and then follow up.

Bring in Targeted Traffic

The only way to bring in targeted traffic is to do the research necessary to understand who your audience is, and how they choose to purchase. Use many different means to get more people to your website such as social media, blog posts, video, contests, pay per click advertising and more. Ensure that your efforts are focused on your target audience addressing their pain points and showing how you might solve them.

Develop an Extraordinary Landing Page

You can bring in all the traffic you want to but if your landing pages are not effective and made with the audience in mind from where they are coming, you will probably lose more of them than you need to. Create more than one landing page to your website that is directly focused on the portion of the audience that clicked in a certain place to visit your site. For instance, the link to the landing page on a guest blog post on ABC blog should be just for people visiting from ABC blog.

Offer Something of Value

You’ve heard about giving away free things before but you must do it in a much more focused fashion than you might image. You don’t want to give away just anything for free. You want to choose something that only your target audience would want. After all, if you’re giving away a free iPad, you will get thousands of visitors and sign ups, but you might have zero who are really your target audience and the entire campaign will be a wasted expense.

Run Retargeting Advertisements

If you have site visitors who don’t sign up for your email list, you need to do something else to attract them, such as paying for retargeting advertising. This means that you can run an advertisement on Facebook, for instance, that will only show up to people who have previously visited your website. This is a very effective and powerful way to bring people back to your website so that you have a second chance.

Finally, the most important part of getting more leads is to follow up. When you do get a lead, you want to make the lead pay off. Following up is the only way to turn the lead into a money generator. It costs time and money to capture that lead, don’t waste the effort on getting the leads if you’re not going to have a plan in place to convert those leads into money makers.