Understanding Keywords

In order to effectively apply short or long tail keywords and phrases to your website, you must first understand what they are and how they work.

Let’s first review how search engines rank your site. In case you aren’t aware of how this process works, we’ll make it simple for the purposes of this article. Search engines (like Google, Yahoo, Bing, and DogPile) will rank websites within categories and subcategories. So, take the example of the category of “cars”. Every site, which is in the millions, that relates to cars is going to be ranked within the list of search results that would appear for someone searching for “cars”. But let’s be realistic here, no one is going to search for something as generic as “cars”. They will most likely be searching for more specific keywords, like “car dealerships”, “car parts” or “buying and selling cars”. These would be considered “short” keyword phrases.

When optimizing your site, (commonly known as the process of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO) you must perform extensive keyword research in order to formulate a list of the most attainable, easy to rank and effective keywords to apply to your site. And by apply, that means including these keywords on both the front and back end of your website. From page titles, meta tags and HTML coding to page content, navigation and important linking campaigns, keywords are the very foundation and heart and soul of your website.

The more specific the keyword phrase is, the less difficult it is to rank highly with the search engines. The higher you are ranked, the better chance you have of your website being viewed by a potential customer, or better known as the person performing the search. But get too specific, and you run the risk of never being found. Let’s face it, you may show up as the first search result for “car dealerships in Miami, Florida that sell Hondas to women”, but you will most likely never be found. Why? Because no one is going to search for that exact keyword phrase, or at least, it is highly unlikely that they will.

While this very specific keyword phrase would be considered a long tail keyword, it would not be an effective one to apply to your site. But alter it just slightly, and you might just have some luck. For example, “car dealerships in Miami, Florida that sell Hondas”, although shorter, is still considered a long tail keyword phrase and is clearly very specific. This is a long tail that is much more likely to be searched and may actually materialize into a sale for you.

The key to understanding keywords is to have a strategy and manage it well. What that strategy is should be up to you and specific to your business, but how a keyword strategy actually works is always the same. You must select both short and long tail keywords, apply them to your site and maintain your SEO efforts on a regular basis to ensure your rankings are constantly improving.

21 Must Do’s For Your Next Networking Event

It’s time for your yearly networking event and you’re getting nervous about being in a room filled with people you don’t know. What do you say? When should you pitch your speech? Should you shake their hand first or wait for them to offer their hand?

First, take a breath. Relax and know that many are just as nervous as you are. Remember you are first a person and then a business owner. If you keep in mind that this mixer is an opportunity to get to know people instead of getting your next sale then you will be much better off.

Try and balance speaking with listening and above all stay focused on your goal, which is to connect with people who can help you move your business forward. Keep these 21 tips handy for your next event.

Be interested in the conversation – you will be bombarded by a number of people who will introduce themselves to you, hand you business cards and pitch their products – take time to concentrate on the conversation, don’t let your eyes glaze over with boredom.

Smile – sometimes when nervous people forget to smile.

Maintain eye contact – with the noise level in the room, the drinks and other activities it is important to maintain eye contact.

Ask about them & their niche – people love to talk about themselves and they love talking about their business or product even more. Write yourself little notes if it is a person you want to remember.

Be assertive – this is no time to be shy. Fake it if you have to but stand your ground and show that you believe in yourself and your business.

Speak up – nervousness causes our voices to squeak or soften – be sure you speak up when conversing with your peers.

Be selective when choosing whom to talk to – there are going to be a lot of people from a lot of different backgrounds, if your business is baking you don’t want to spend your time with someone who is an IT expert.

Know your intent before going – what is your purpose? Connect. Follow Up. Develop Partnerships.

Concentrate on quality contacts not quantity – the purpose of the networking event is to connect with businesses that compliment yours so that you can build each other up not about how many business cards you can collect.

Exchange business cards – upon introducing yourself, give your contact information.

Follow up immediately – immediately after write those thank you notes. Mention the event, remind them who you are and what you talked about and set up a follow up meeting.

How can you build their fan base & community? – Ask them what you can do for them to build their community – this helps you identify what services to offer them or what referrals, if any, you can give them.

What skill can you teach them? – This goes with asking them about their niche and how you can help them grow their fan base – identify a skill you have, it could be speaking, interviewing for a podcast or allowing them to guest blog.

Don’t be pushy – relax, don’t push your product or service. I know it is a networking event but believe me, people at these events want connections to grow their business not more products. You can say your 30-second pitch but only after they ask for more information after your introduction.

Introduce your brand & key product – in a concise sentence introduce yourself and your brand highlighting your key product

How can your product meet their needs? – They’ve told you about their niche and what they need to move forward now write down a note about how your product will meet their need. (Preferably on the back of their business card) This is not the time to throw your pitch at them.

Shake hands – shake hands at the same time you are introducing yourself. This gets it out of the way and is also an icebreaker.

Tweet a shout out – Just had a great conversation with someone? Tweet about it. Mention their business and how excited you are about getting to know them.

Connect with at least 5 people – You’ll meet way more people than you can possibly get back to. Concentrate on connecting with just 5 people that you know can be a potential partner. These will be the ones you follow-up with for future meetings.

Show confidence – You can be all tied up inside but show confidence on the outside. Practicing your questions before hand and really knowing who your ideal partner or client is will help.

Be human – This is self-explanatory right? Remember you are dealing with humans not numbers and sales.

A networking event’s purpose is to connect you with potential business partners and mentors not to get you sales. Stays focused on your goals and use the 21 tips above to reap many rewarding partnerships.

Advertising on Social Media to Reach Women

You are one of the online entrepreneurs whose niche members are mostly women in the 17-34 age range. There are many other highly unique factors about this group, but although everyone will tell you it’s too broad and generic a metric to matter, gender is an important piece of your marketing puzzle – especially when it comes to psychometrics (measuring how people think and perceive).

You’ve heard, here and there, that one has to copywrite differently to reach women. Well, the same goes with advertising. That’s why social media should be one of the first venues you think about, if the female gender makes up the majority of your subscribers or target market.

Social media is the perfect vehicle for communicating with this particular demographic. Women are the largest demographic on social media generally – especially on Facebook. To a majority of women, even business communication is relationship-driven at the core. If a female subscriber or viewer trusts you, they’re more likely to listen – and buy. And one way to build trust is to concentrate on that personal, one-on-one, real-time connection provided by social media platforms.

Of course, the problem is that you can’t really write long letters to each one – there just isn’t the time, and you’d end up working for free! But you can immediately connect on an emotional level by answering their tweets on Twitter, interacting with them on forums and hanging out with them on social networks. And you don’t have to spend hours at it either (though that is easy enough to do!) Just a little interaction a day… and then, once you’ve established the connection (or built your cleverly optimized Facebook Page) you can let your social media advertising take over some of that time load.

It’s particularly important to think sympathetically, in order to engage your female readers with your social network ads. If you can make them identify, feel or laugh… and if you can entertain and amuse them enough to click on your ad… you’ll have, in one go, vaulted past the multitude of slick, high-powered ads produced by professionals who have forgotten that important “relationship and connection” factor.

One tip to help you write your social media ads: Men are more likely to be attract to left-brain “logic” words relating to statistics, measurements and of course the competitive macho factor. While lots of women are also quite capable of being macho and competitive, results seem to indicate that they prefer more intuitive communication, in words that relate to “feeling”. A man is more likely to perk up his ears at: “Does your car impress your friends?”: A woman is more likely to respond on an empathetic level to: “Do you feel tired?”

Connect strongly enough, and if you’re also hoping to brand yourself, your event or your business, you’ll easily succeed. (A case in point: Canada’s Lilith Fair, started by musician Sarah McLachlan and friends, and once regarded as a quirky chick thing. It’s now acknowledged as a major cultural annual event, and most women on Canadian Facebook who see Lilith Fair’s plain ad know instantly what it’s about, just from the word “Lilith” alone.)

Of course, everyone is unique – but statistics do seem to side with the “relationship/intuitive/feeling” approach, when it comes to women. The real moral is: Be sensitive to your readers’ preferred communication styles and your social media ads will help your business grow much more rapidly.

Marketing Your Business Blog via Social Networks

If you have a business blog but aren’t using social network marketing to promote it, you are losing out on literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of potential readers and customers.

Social network marketing is becoming, if it’s not already, the number one way businesses are marketing today. This is because the potential to reach people all over the world is on the Internet through social networking.

In order to make social networking work for your business blog, obviously you need to be a member of the major social networks. However, more is required. You must be active on the social networks. You simply can’t just belong but not interact with other members and expect to build your business that way.

The whole idea of social networking is not simply to drive more traffic to your blogs and sites, it is to build relationships with potential new readers, subscribers and customers. It is then through those relationships that your new contacts will come to know and trust you. Therefore, they will be more apt to purchase from you as well.

So, how do you go about making social networking work for your business? One way is to add, follow or friend people in your target market or niche. Then, begin building relationships with them first. Yes, let them know about your blog, but don’t be all about expecting them to go read it without first knowing why they should. This is where the relationship comes in. Once your subscribers know they can trust you and that you’re not just out to sell them something, but you genuinely want to help them, they will be interested in what you have to say and what you have to sell or your services.

Social networking can be tricky too. You may have a tendency to want to build up your number of friends and followers, but if they are not part of your target market or niche, then they are just a bunch of people. If you don’t have to offer what you’re followers need and want, then all your efforts are a waste of time.

As mentioned earlier, social networking takes time and effort. If you don’t personally have the time to devote to really make social networking work for you, hire a virtual assistant or social network manager to do it for you. It won’t do you any good to belong to social networks if you never have the time to spend building relationships with your potential new readers.

The hottest social networks right now are Twitter, Facebook, Digg, De.lic.ious and Stumble Upon. Of course there are numerous other social networks you can join as well, but these are recommended to get started. Trust me; you will be plenty busy trying to keep up with these five.

Once you start building relationships through social networking, then you can begin promoting your products and services to your audience. But remember, helping your readers, finding ways to benefit them is what’s going to keep them coming back to your site for more! Don’t let your relationship become all about only selling to them.

Do You Have a Mailing List for Blog?

The best kept secret to a successful blog is the mailing list. This is a list of people who have subscribed or registered to receive emails from you in the form of a newsletter or promotional emails.

When you set up your business blog, you should have a form on the front page for readers to subscribe to your mailing list. There are many form plug-ins to choose from for different types of blog platforms.

Your list is built one person, one email at a time. Even if you only have one subscriber to your newsletter, begin sending information to them that will benefit them, and that they will most likely respond to. You never want to send email to your readers simply for the sake of sending them something.

The purpose of the email is to keep in touch with your readers so they will continue to return to your site. Therefore, be sure you offer them something of value in your newsletter or promotion. You should also offer your readers something for free for signing up to your newsletter on your blog. Do you have a service you could offer an hour of for free or half an hour? Or how about a product you sell? If you can offer your readers a small token of appreciation, they will return the favor by subscribing to your email list.

There are several email management programs to choose from on the web so finding one that suits your needs won’t be difficult at all. They range from a simple email management program for up to 100 subscribers, to a full blown ecommerce system that supports everything from your email lists to a shopping cart and so on. Of course these come with a monthly fee, so if you’re just starting out with your business blog, you may not need a full ecommerce system yet.

If you already have a business blog established but don’t utilize an email management system, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to reach more people and retain the readers you already have. Don’t wait one minute longer! Boost your business instantly by setting up an email management program now.

Getting Your Info Product Launched

While you can launch an information product with pizzazz on your own, if you are totally lost and know you’ve got something good to sell, you can create a frenzy about your new info product by following strategies other people have used successfully. There are also companies or consultants who specialize in launching products so that’s another avenue to consider. These consultants and companies have done it all before and know what the best ways are to launch your product, website, get you into affiliate marketing, blogging, and everything else you need to launch your site.

Whether you decide to go it alone or use the help of a product launcher—take the time to do your own research and be as creative as possible. A product launcher may give you ideas on how to be creative that you hadn’t thought of but the final marketing decisions are yours. Since your name is on this information product, you must be proud of the marketing plans.

There are many ways to get you and your product noticed, before it’s even launched, so see what others are doing and start creating some industry buzz for yourself. Use social media, host a teleseminar, or visit forums and start chatting about your project. Create a pre-order landing page so you can gather possible customer email addresses prior to the actual launch.

While you’re going through this process it’s also a good time to look at what your competitors are doing in this area. Take the time to do your research and see how many ways you can find your competitor on the Internet through searching. Take notes and strategize ways to get your info product recognized. If your competitor wrote a press release about their product, you should write one too and search for places to post and announce your product. If nothing else you’ll find inspiration for things to add to your idea box.

5 Ways to Build the Reputation You Want Online

Building the reputation you want online is something that you will need to work on daily for the life of your business. Building your reputation all starts and ends with content. It’s important that you understand that building content that showcases your business and yourself in the light that you want is an important and ongoing imperative if you want to be noticed and stay in the forefront of your niche.

There are five basic ways to build your online reputation.

1. Build your Online Reputation Through Blogging

Not only can you and should you blog on your own website you can blog on other people’s websites too. Become a regular guest contributor on blogs that can help you spread your message. Ideally, you want to blog on your own website at least 20 times a month, and then maybe once a week elsewhere. You could choose four places and blog for them monthly and meet that quota for yourself. Blog about your niche often and you’ll become a thought leader.

2. Build Your Online Reputation With Social Media

Today, social media is at the top when it comes to building an online reputation. You want to be active on social media in terms of posting new things to share, but also in commenting, answering questions and posting relevant facts for your readers. Use social media to drive traffic back to your website by posting a blurb and a link to every blog post or article you post on your website. In addition, make sure your profiles are consistent across all social media accounts.

3. Build Your Reputation Via Search Engine Optimization

This may seem strange to you but search engine optimization really covers just about everything when it comes to building your online reputation. It covers blogging, article marketing, social media and ensuring that you’re doing it all in a way that will attract the audience you want to attract. Read everything you can about search engine optimization. Use a service like HubSpot’s Marketing Grader to see how you’re doing and to improve.

4. Never Forget Your Email List & Lead Generation

Email marketing is not dead. In fact it’s more important than ever. It’s still one of the leading ways to speak directly to your audience with their permission. Practice generating leads via social media, your website and blog always. Always build your list. This is going to be one of your most valuable ways to build your online reputation in a direct way.

5. Today Mobile Marketing is Imperative for Online Reputation Building

Most people access the net today with their mobile devices. If your online real estate isn’t viewable via mobile devices it’s time to change this fact. You’re leaving out in the cold a large majority of your audience if you don’t have websites optimized for mobile. Today this is not hard with the advent of mobile friendly WordPress themes. You should not have two sites, all your sites should work with any type of browser or size of screen.

Twelve Ways to Market Your Virtual Event

Even before you’ve chosen a topic, guest speakers, JV partners, and the technology you will use for your virtual event, you know that you’re going to have to market it. You can do a lot of marketing and planning simultaneously, these are listed in no particular order, but if you implement all of these marketing ideas for your virtual event you’re sure to have a winning, successful and profitable event. Try to start marketing 45 to 90 days prior to the event, rolling out different methods as you create the content.

1. Sales Page — Creating an attractive and effective sales page with the right keywords, and right information that gets people to sign up is an important aspect of promoting any product. With a physical product you can practice and tweak and work on it, but with an event, there is a time limit so you must use best practices for sales pages and not reinvent the wheel at this time.

2. Previews — Once you have some of your content developed for your virtual event you can give sneak peeks to potential attendees. This can be on a sales page, in an email, via YouTube or all channels because it will help get the word out. It can be a video, an audio, an eReport, interviews of the speakers or anything that promotes the virtual event.

3. Sponsors — When you sell a sponsorship make it a requirement that they also promote the event to their lists. If you are charging for the event, offer them an affiliate link, which gives them the opportunity to earn back some of their sponsorship fee. Make it simple for them to announce their sponsorship by providing graphics, badges, and copy to share with their list members.

4. JV Partners — Any partners that you have should help promote your event too. Give them an affiliate link if you’re changing and they’ll be even more motivated. In addition, like with the sponsors make it simple by giving them the tools to promote.

5. Guest Speakers — Part of the duty of a guest speaker should be to cross promote their appearance to their audience. They will be promoted to your audience so it’s only fair that they are required to promote your event that they will be at. You could include this information into a contract and you can make it simple by having content written, and a plan of action regarding marketing via email, social media and other avenues.

6. Audience Members — When someone signs up to come to your virtual event offer them an affiliate link, a badge and other avenues to market the event to the people they know who might need the information you’ll be providing at the virtual event. Your best promoters will often be your participants.

7. Article Marketing — Start article marketing immediately. You can’t sell anything in these types of articles but you can build your traffic and your list. Article marketing can also establish you as an expert if the articles are well written and relevant.

8. Vlogs — A vlog is a video blog, you can make them using your web camera, a flip camera or a video camera. They don’t have to be long, in fact it is better if they are short so that your viewer will stay interested. You can even ask clients to do vlogs bragging about you to garner even more interest.

9. Blogs — Blog on your own blog, guest blog, do a blog tour, and have contests that others can do in order to get the word out about your virtual event.

10. Social Media — Tweet, Facebook, LinkedIn, and any other social media including forums that you’re a part, are places that you should definitely talk about your virtual event. Keeping people informed in all channels is imperative to the success of your virtual event.

11. Press Release — Even though you’re having a virtual event you should absolutely send out a press release announcing the event and sharing the story of your guests.

12. Email Newsletters — Last but not least use your email list to its full advantage and send out information early to those who have already entrusted you with their information. Give them a sneak peek, and make them feel special by giving a discount.

Grow your business with recurring revenue

The best type of business to start is one with recurring revenue that can build each month. In some circles this is called residual income. The important factor is that starting today to build recurring revenue can have a huge impact on your business success tomorrow. You’re probably familiar with the flashy sales pages that show the work at home person enjoying a life full of big houses, fast cars, and exotic vacations around the world. While all that is nice, we all know that just having a reliable income in which to support your family is the real goal. But, with recurring income you really never know what can happen.

The following are recurring income ideas that almost any business owner can add to their business model.

eCourse Sales

eBook Sales

Online Tutorials

Membership Sites

Affiliate Marketing

If you notice, all of the above require that you create products in addition to whatever other work you are doing. Whether you perform technical support, write content, perform virtual assistant tasks, graphic design or something else entirely, it doesn’t matter, you can create information products that can be turned into streams of recurring income. You are an expert in what you do, there is no reason you can’t teach other people how to do what you do.

It is also possible to outsource the creation of the eBooks, eCourses, Tutorials, and even the entire set up of membership sites and affiliate program if you are not sure whether you can do it or not. Take on some extra work to help you pay someone to do these things for you so that you can create an enduring and growing recurring revenue stream to sustain your business for years to come.

Recurring revenue streams such as these are not “one off” sales like trading hours for dollars is. The work, money and time you invest today will pay off down the road. In fact, creating recurring revenue streams is a sure way to create a snowball effect in your business. Don’t be frightened that you’re an “idea” person instead of a writer, you can hire a writer. Don’t worry that you do administrative tasks but aren’t very technical, anything you need done can be outsourced if you don’t want to or can’t take the time to learn it yourself.

One of the best ways to start is to create an email membership eCourse. You can set up the entire membership without being done with the eCourse. Set it up to be as long as you want it to be, six months, eight months or a yearlong eCourse where you deliver new material to your members each month. All you need is an outline to keep you on track and members who are relying on you to get the information to them.

Once you have completed an entire year long membership eCourse on any topic you can compile that and rework it a little bit to become an eBook that you sell outright either through your own sales page or via Amazon’s Kindle or Barnes & Noble’s Nook. Once you’ve accomplished these two things, you can “rinse and repeat” and when you have enough eCourses and eBooks you can then start a membership site to house all of it and attract an entirely new audience. As you can see the sky is truly the limit on creating recurring revenue for your business.

Make Money With Product Review Websites

Product review sites are hot property. It’s true, there is real money to be made by creating your very own niche product review website or blog. Just look at sites like Yelp!, Angie’s List, Epinions, and more. Product review sites sell products and make money both for the site owner (publisher) and for the product owner (vendor). But, with so many product review sites already available how can you create a money making product review website?

It all starts with what you know and who you know. Choose a niche that resonates with your own life. If you’re a mother, choose a mommy niche because you’re likely already an expert. You can promote products that moms who are like you will want, use and enjoy. If you’re a breastfeeding mom you can create a niche site devoted to all things breastfeeding. You can review breast pumps, nursing shirts and bras, creams, lotions and even vitamins. As long as the products are related to breast feeding you’ll attract the right audience.

Your niche is not as important as the fact that it’s focused, comprehensive and frank. You can’t beat around the bush, or lie to people about a product. If they buy it, they’ll return it, in which case you won’t get the cash for the product review anyway. If they don’t return it, they still won’t come back to your product review site for information on which products to buy. You’ll have lost the reader’s trust and nothing is as important as your reader’s trust.

Create a product review website that is super focused on one niche catering to people ready to buy. Choose a domain name that has search terms in it, create content containing those search terms, and load it with products that have descriptions containing search terms that your target market is looking for. Don’t try to be ironic with domain names and headlines. A review site is not a newspaper, use keywords spelled correctly that promote products that your target audience needs.

Which brings me to the next issue regarding your website, the platform or software that you build it with. I’ll just say it straight out, use self-hosted WordPress to build your website. It’s a free open source platform that can be modified in so many ways using free and custom themes as well as plugins, and widgets that you can create a very unique website for each niche product review site that you want to build. It’s also very easy to understand and the WordPress community are among the kindest and most helpful of all the website and blogging technologies there are. If you don’t want to understand it, there are many service providers to help you at reasonable fees.