Are You Ready to Outsource?

Business is booming and you have more work than you can handle. You really aren’t ready to bring on an in-house employee, but what can you do to keep up with everything? It is time to consider outsourcing some of that work to a freelancer.

Outsourcing is becoming an increasingly popular way for small businesses and solo-preneurs to increase productivity while keeping costs under control.

The best place to begin outsourcing is with a task that you don’t do well or one you don’t particularly enjoy doing. When you are struggling with a project due to lack of skills or lack of interest, it is bound to slow you down and take more time than it needs to from your hectic schedule. By outsourcing that task, you eliminate the time drain and the frustration. You are freed up to work on tasks that are in your expertise, which adds to your bottom line.

Not up on the latest technical skills involved in building a profitable web site? Hire a top-notch web designer and turn the project over to him. A quality partner will spend time understanding what you need as well as what you want in your site design. By carefully looking at your target market, your products and services, your desired outcomes and your budget, you will work together to develop a plan. Once all the necessary information is gathered, your new virtual partner will complete your project while you devote your time to other things.

Outsourcing can be used for a wide variety of office tasks. From accounting and payroll to content production to graphics and websites, outsourcing can help you add an extra pair of hands to your small business – which translates to extra hours in your work week. Try outsourcing some of your business processes today and find the extra time, expertise and money you need to drive up your profits.

Market Segmentation Never Goes Out of Style

Email marketing is a very important part of your overall online marketing strategy. When it comes to email marketing, one of the most important things you can do to improve response rates is to segment your list. If you don’t segment yet, keep reading to discover how and why you should be segmenting your email marketing lists.

You have to remember that while your over all target audience shares certain characteristics they’re not really all the same people. Your customers will have similarities but they need to be segmented based on differences and actions. When you can segment your customers and potential customers better your email marketing content will become more relevant to them and you will improve your results because people like feeling important and as if each email is sent just for them.

The first step to segmenting your email list is to create buyer personas. You can start with the simple fact that some of your email list subscribers are already customers and some aren’t. Make that your first important segmentation. No one wants to get emails over and over again to buy something they already own. Those who have not purchased yet don’t need to get emails asking them how they enjoyed the service or product that they’ve not bought. After that, you can come up with other ways to segment your audience such as who clicked through, who opened, who responded — or not. Testing out various ways to segment your list is an important part of finding out what works best for your situation.

By keeping in mind that your email list consists of people who are at different points in your product funnel you will be able to create more relevant and impactful email marketing messages. You will know for instance, that you are speaking to someone who has purchased product A and now you want them to purchase product B. Your email to them will be completely different than your email to the segment who has not purchased A but instead purchased B.

Segmentation will automatically give your list subscribers a better overall feeling about you. Sending targeted, relevant email to your list subscribers gets easier when you’ve segmented them in strategic ways. All your copy will be much more relevant and focused when you know exactly who the people on a particular list. You know they have or have not made a purchase, and you know they have or have not taken various actions based on previous emails. Most importantly, when the customer or potential customer reads the email they will feel as if it’s more relevant and their estimation of you will go up. Their trust of you will go up each time they receive a targeted, relevant email.

Research shows that market segmentation within email lists is an important component that improves return on investment exponentially. You’ll experience higher open rates, more clicks, higher transaction rates, and more involvement with your market when you learn how to segment so that you can send more relevant and focused email marketing messages to them. What’s more, if you start segmenting, you’ll be ahead of the game since most email marketers don’t bother. Ads – Have You Tried Them?

Social networks have tripled their users in the last year alone – and part of that may be attributed to their monetization with paid advertising. Since this is the latest internet development tsunami to hit our shores, it’s worth your while to take a look at social media you don’t usually bother with.

One such social network is, a social bookmarking service. But exactly what is a social bookmarking service? Well, instead of saving your bookmarks locally, just on your computer, it means you can save them online instead and share them. This means you can also see other users’ bookmarks, in addition to the ones ranked as “most popular” by across a broad category range.

A further advantage of saving your bookmarks online means you can access your collection from any computer, as long as it has an internet connection. also provides Search tools, so you can organize your collection. But if the word “organizing” makes you break into a cold sweat, relax. Just make sure you “tag” your bookmarks, and they will organize themselves into your connection.

Okay, so we’ve established what can provide in the way of social networking: But what does that have to do with advertising?

Partnered with Yahoo

The first thing you might want to know is that serves up ads – but it’s partnered with Yahoo (as well as with Flickr), and uses Yahoo search. And in 2007, started running contextual ads on its Yahoo search page. (Yahoo also offers, on’ ad page, a link to the Right Media Exchange, a digital advertising marketplace; plus you can also monetize your own site by displaying relevant, matched Yahoo text ads, via the Yahoo! Publisher Network.

One feature of which many people see as a benefit: You don’t have to spend hours interacting to participate in this particular online community. What you do have to do is make sure your bookmarks contain highly relevant keywords to your target market. That’s it. Oh, and make sure they’re really useful, helpful, interesting bookmarks.

API Advantages

Another feature that makes particularly attractive is its API, which allows API users to add, edit, query and read bookmarks. Its script allows you to easily marry with any app.

One good thing about Yahoo! AdChoices: It does the best job over all social media of reassuring the end user. It provides a very clear explanation of who placed the ad, how it works, and how to easily opt out. It invites the reader to “learn more” about the ads and their process, and allows them to “explore browser controls and plug-in tools to help set and maintain your privacy choices.” is not for everyone, when it comes to advertising. It has those who loathe it and those who are wildly enthusiastic. But no matter which side you’re hovering on, is just another social media advertising venue to consider, when bringing your business into 2010 and beyond.

When Linking Eclipses Content

All business bloggers have a more than healthy interest in who is linking to their blog posts. And when you’re not one of the blogosphere megastars and you are struggling to lure targeted, valuable traffic to your site, it’s easy to put the destination before the journey.

While it’s perfectly fine to use logical strategies to encourage quality posters, encouraging shouldn’t become the be-all and the end all of your blog posting focus.

Here are 5 tips to help you increase your links without even trying – while turning your attention elsewhere.

1. It’s about your reader. Listen to what they’re saying, and blog about (answer) asked and un-answered questions

2. Think of yourself at a party, and do your best to chat – and entertain. Very often if something is truly entertaining, people will make time to engage where they normally wouldn’t. After all, if some guy came up to you at a party and proceeded to lecture you about the importance of Search Bots, totally ignoring your statement about never using the net and doing everything on your mobile, you’d probably think he was a self-important, clueless bore.

3. Create a Date. If your posts of necessity are always fact-filled and dry, create an official day when you’ll blog about anything and everything. “Whining Wednesday” (save all your griping for that day)… or “Weekly Wall-Off”, where you leave your regular weighty subject of cellular technology and discuss the chicken you saved, named Eleanor, who turned out to be a capon. (You might be surprise at the relevant people – your regular but silent readers – who actually comment on this seeming frivolity!)

4. Add a Link. You’ve been told that this is absolutely verboten: That you should on no account ever encourage people to click away from your blog… but the truth is, back when I was starting out, one of the most traffic-generating, page-rank-improving posts I ever made was one where I pointed my readers to a really handy and unique resource! That generated buzz, got passed around – and the megastar I sent them to graciously commented, leaving his link on my blog.

5. Interview an Expert. This can be a related professional in your niche, it doesn’t have to be Oprah: And hook them in by only asking a single question – it’s a blog post, so this keeps it short. But make it a doozy; one your readers will really be keen to discuss – and link to.

In each of these 5 techniques, you’re focusing on your subject, your competition, your life or your readers. Pull one of these randomly out of a hat, whenever you find yourself fretting about the resounding cavern of silence that is your blog comment section – and have some fun, seeing what generates relevant or even “famous” links.

LinkedIn – Is It A Good Link Building Strategy?

One of the most refreshing things about social networking site, LinkedIn, is the way you don’t have to pretend you’re not trying to generate links. Part of the reason lies in the demographic, according to Quantcast:

– 35-50 plus age group
– No children
– $60k income, with the majority being over $100k
– Asian
– Male

This group tends to be professional, focused, and with little time for platitudes or nonsense. But if that’s the market you want to reach, setting out on the right foot by following these 7 basic tips help increase your link SEO chances straight away…

1. Make sure you have a memorable “Public Profile” URL (customize it, if you have to!)

2. Don’t neglect your home page. Unlike some, it’s not static: It’s a shortcut to “what’s hot” in your field – and who.

3. Keep your status updated – don’t just “set and forget”. Unlike other social media sites, it’s the perfect place to showcase new creds

4. Be sure to use the “Index” option, so that Google (and other search engines) can quickly serve you up on a platter.

5. Break the ice: Instead of answering – ask. Give others a chance to show their expertise (be grateful – but don’t be deferential).

6. Get links by simply asking for recommendations (providing, of course, you’re asking other members who have bought your products, used your services or served with you on non-profit projects).

7. Remember that on LinkedIn, relationships matter, even more usual when it comes to social sites. Don’t be flakey – be consistent. Thank people who help, help people who ask – and be generous with your time and attention.

The pay off in valuable links and traffic is definitely worth it.

Three reasons to add services to your Internet business

One of the top reasons online startups fail is a lack of cash. There is no reason for that to happen in the realm of online businesses. If you are smart enough to build a business, you’re smart enough to keep things afloat until you start earning a real living at the business. Many people do extra things while supporting a start up business such as waitressing, babysitting, house cleaning and other such activities. This is called “bootstrapping it.” There is no reason why you need to get that dirty though, but you can add services to your online business in order to make the cash you need.

Three reasons for adding services to your Internet business are:

1. You need cash — This is the number one reason to offer services to others while you work on your Internet business. You need cash, so you offer a service. If you know how to do graphic design, writing, accounting, tech support, whatever type of service you know how to do, you can offer it as a service. Services are the fastest way to get cash on the Internet, therefore if you want cash fast, find a service that you can offer and you’ll start earning money that you can use for your business.

2. You’ve been asked — If anyone has ever asked you if you offer a service, you have a choice to make. Do the service for the fast cash, or don’t do it. But, if you do it, you’ll just make your business that much more successful in the long run because helping others succeed is wonderful motivation for yourself. Plus, believe it or not, you learn so much working with others that is valuable in your own business as well.

3. You’re an expert — As an online business expert you have a lot to offer. You can offer consulting services to other people who wish to either start a new business online, or expand their current bricks and mortar business to the Internet world. You’re already doing it, so there is no reason why you can’t offer your expertise to others for a fee. You already have an online presence, why not use it to make quick money right now while you wait for the hard work to pay off down the line?

By leveraging your skills to provide services to others, you can create cash now, that you can use for living expenses, or put right back into your business, creating a situation where your Internet business starts succeeding even faster than it did before you had more money to invest in your business. All businesses need money to survive, including an Internet business. The fastest way to earn that money is via a service.

One word of caution — The money can be very good when offering a service, but the work can be draining, and you might suffer from burn out. Therefore, do not be turned from your main business idea by the thrill of seeing money appear in your PayPal account, because trading hours for dollars is limited because time is limited. Keep your focus on the goal. Providing services to support your business can pay off in more than one way.

The #1 mistake to avoid with keywords

The difference between a good website and a great one is the proper use and execution of effective SEO techniques, in particular the implementation of keywords. Keywords are the very heart of the Internet and are what keeps it alive and well. Without them, your website… and your entire online business… are sure to die.

I am about to share with you the #1 mistake most people make when approaching keywords: They take a quick fix approach.

It’s that simple. Too often, people spend less than 20 minutes developing their list of keywords and move on. This is the most common and most detrimental mistake you can make! In fact, developing your list is the most critical part of your keyword SEO efforts. This quick list should only be the very beginning of your work. What follows should be extensive research into the popularity of these keywords, how realistic they are to top, and what other related terms might work for you as well.

Now, this is not to diminish the importance of that original keyword list that you develop. However, while some of those keywords will in fact be critical keywords, some may not work at all. That is why you will need to employ a keyword research tool (like Google, WordTracker, etc.) in order to truly understand how these words may or may not be right for you.

If you are a large business with multiple locations and already have an established brand, you may be successful going after more broad keywords. But if you are small, start-up, then you will have to focus your efforts on a niche. Anything in between takes careful planning and a strong balance of both broad and specific keyword phrase combinations to truly target your audience.

The Customer is Always Right

Yes, it’s a hard pill to swallow, but the old saying, “the customer is always right” has remained the golden rule of business since the beginning of time. Or at least soon thereafter.

You see, there are those who sell for the sake of making the sale. They sell for the enjoyment they get out of “winning” a new customer, take their money, and are on to the next. Then, there are those who understand the importance of showing that customer just how much they appreciate their patronage. This approach takes into consideration the opportunity to turn a one-time customer into guaranteed, reliable income by establishing a strong relationship built on quality, trust and delivery.

Who has the better approach? The salesman focused on the sale? Or the marketer focused on the customer? If you answered B, you are on the right track.

Of course the sale is important. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about – making the sale. But with the customer-focused approach, you position yourself to gain repeat business from a happy customer… and that is more valuable than any upfront dollar amount.

Instead, focus on repeating that dollar amount time and time again by employing backend sales strategies that encourage your customers to buy more and buy often without ever making them feel exploited. Your customers need to feel as though they are making the decisions with you leading the way, rather than you forcing your products down their throats. That is why backend sales are so important for the future success of your business. Even if you never gain another new customer, making sure your current ones are happy is the most important part.

Why you should hire someone to help with your virtual event

If you have a lot of great information and content that you’d like to turn into a virtual event, but you’ve never had a virtual event before it is a good idea to hire someone who is an expert. Usually an expert will already have access to the technology you need, plus a lot of experience in pulling off flawless virtual events. By hiring someone to help with you virtual event, you will save time and money, not to mention your sanity.

A virtual event coordinator, planner, consultant or manager may do some or all of the following:

Offer Technology Support — Some virtual event coordinators will already have the venue/technology set up already. You’ll simply schedule the time, provide the content, and show up for the event knowing you have an experienced facilitator to help you if anything goes wrong.

Coordinate the Speakers / Presenters — A virtual events coordinator might ensure that all the speakers and presenters know what to do and where to be and how to use the technology.

Coordinate Contractors — A virtual event coordinator may also coordinate other contractors or even have at their disposal contractors who can help with any type of services you might need.

Prepare Sales Pages — The virtual events coordinator can prepare sales pages for your event via your contractors (or theirs) depending on if they offer full service or not.

Create Information Products — The virtual events coordinator can recommend information products, and even manage the creation of them given the right situation.

Work with Affiliates — Your virtual events manager or coordinator can also work with your affiliates to help promote the event.

Coordinate Registrations and Payments — Given the right technology your virtual events coordinator can also coordinate, setup technology, or otherwise make sure that registrations and payments happen seamlessly for your virtual event.

Email Marketing — A virtual events coordinator might handle or outsource or manage your contractors to do the email marketing for your virtual event.

Social Media Marketing — Your virtual events coordinator can also set up automation and help you with your social media marketing via Facebook, LinkedIn, and other venues.

Administrative Support — In addition to the above, many virtual events coordinators will handle administrative issues revolving around the virtual event.

Hiring a virtual events specialist can go far in helping you have a successful and profitable virtual event. You might decide to do it yourself the second time you have a virtual event but contracting with an expert for your first event can be a very good idea, especially if you’re overwhelmed.

A virtual events coordinator can keep you on track before, during, and after your event — so that you are successful the first time. Virtual events have a lot of factors that need to be taken care of, most importantly the technology. Having an expert on board can alleviate a lot of technology related stress. Additionally, having a virtual event service provider to keep you on track during the event can keep your event running smoothly.