Author Archives: Blakely

Plant a Seed and Watch Your Business Grow

Do you have all the business you could possibly want or need? If you’re like me, you’re still growing your business. Marketing is an ongoing item on my agenda, and I’m always looking for new ways to market my services. Where do you begin the process of attracting more business? How do you get the ball rolling in the direction you want your business to be heading? Well, it’s really simple. Start planting seeds! If you can start your garden growing this spring, why not start your business growing too?

You can start by telling everyone what you do, including those people in your life you see every day. Talk to your hairdresser, dentist, financial advisor, or babysitter. You just never know who they might know who may want or need your products or services. Leave business cards with those people, so they can hand them out to others who may be interested in contacting you. That old saying that includes the line “the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker” may just ring true after all.

Plant seeds everywhere you go. Typical ways to market your business are fine, but the best way is by simply using word-of-mouth. “Who do you know…” can be a very powerful statement when you are talking to others about what you do or what you sell. Let your presence be known. Be creative! I have a Team 100 list of the top professionals I know. When someone either in my professional circle or my personal circle is looking for a particular service, I’m able to refer them to someone I know and trust. All of the professionals on my list are able to refer me to those they know as well. It’s a win/win situation. My name is on their list, their name is on mine, so the seed has been planted, and keeps growing.

These are just a couple of great ideas to help you get started in growing your business (if you want more business that is!). Taking some small action every day is better than doing nothing at all. Following a simple action plan consistently will most likely lead to several great opportunities down the road. Who knows? If you put in the effort, you just may find new business knocking on your door instead of the other way around.

Spring into action…and watch your business grow by leaps and bounds!

Affordable search engine optimization explained

How do you define affordable search engine optimization ?

Search engine optimization that is cheap can certainly not be defined as affordable search engine optimization as such low cost services that are provided are either not 100% effective or do not cover all the aspects of SEO.

According to me an affordable seo service is one which not only fits your budget but also covers all the aspects of seo that are required to be done on your website to improve its search engine ranking.

So how do you decide which search engine optimization service is best for you.

I. Go for a company that has been there for a long time. Go for a company that is reliable. You can do this by checking the Company details :

a) How long their domain has been registered – The older the better.
b) Does the company provide email id and telephone numbers – A company that just offers you a contact/feedback form is not good enough. Email can be hidden for spam purposes but some details have to be provided.
c) Check history – Has the company ever indulged itself into BlackHat Seo – Avoid such companies.

II. Check to see what all things are covered in your package.

a) See thoroughly what all is covered in your Seo package. Shortlist sites and do a comparison.
b) Time period – How much time will it take for the SEO to be done.
c) Testimonials – It is best to read and check what other people are telling about the Seo company rather than reading the claims and guarantee webpage of the search engine optimization company. Moreover if there is any company that boasts itself by saying they can provide a top ranking then avoid it , no company can guarantee you rankings. Read ‘beware of fake seo’ article here.

Advertising your services or products on the Internet

For example, if your site made $5,000 in profits and there were 2,500 hits, each visitor would be theoretically worth 50 cents. Another advantage is the simplicity of the pay-per-click process. You can now purchase software that will rate the popularity of keywords and phrases by giving words a number rating based on real search engine activity. Search engines generally list sites that contain quality content rather than scintillating graphics. It requires a bid for a “per-click” basis, which translates to your company paying the bid amount every time the search engine directs a visitor to your site. The consumer is an invaluable resource. You just bid and you’re up and running.

Next, we come to the issue of link popularity. They also offer suggestions for key words after you enter a description of your site. The only fallacy with this concept is the more popular the keyword is, the greater the search engine position you will need to obtain. As with all marketing campaigns, there are advantages and disadvantages. You can compute this value by dividing the profit you make on your website over a given period of time by the total number of visitors for that same time period. Once you have this list in hand, you are ready for the next step: evaluation. Pay-Per-Click is a simple type of paid advertising that most search engines, including some of the largest ones, now offer.

And since you are a business owner and not the consumer, your best bet is to go directly to the source. Popularity is the easiest to evaluate because it is an objective quality. The higher the number this software assigns to a given keyword, the more traffic you can logically expect to be directed to your site. Therefore, you are aiming at a figure less than 50 cents per click. In evaluating the effectiveness of keywords, bear in mind three elements: popularity, specificity, and motivation. A higher bid than yours will lower your position on search engine results. It doesn’t demand any specific technical knowledge, though the more you know about search engines and keywords, the easier – and more effective – the process will be.

You can immerse yourself in all the technical information available online to figure out how to optimize your web pages to achieve higher rankings. Of the popular search engines that offer pay-per-click, one called Overture provides an online tool that will give you the data on how often particular keywords are entered into their search engine. The more popular your keyword is, the more likely the chances are that it will be typed into a search engine which will then bring up your URL. The key (pun intended) to success is to learn everything you can about search engine keyword research. Software such as WordTracker will even suggest variations of your words and phrases. However, the search engines must be able to read the text, meaning that the text must be in HTML and not graphic format. If they are not chosen with great precision, no matter how aggressive your marketing campaign may be, the right people may never get the chance to find out about it.

The aim of evaluation is to narrow down your list to a small number of words and phrases that will direct the highest number of quality visitors to your website. The figure of 50 cents per visitor is the point at which your business breaks even. There are several ways to go about attracting traffic to your website; Pay-Per-Click is one of the options you can choose from, along with developing an SEO, or search engine optimization campaign. Obviously, some keywords are much more effective than others are, but they will not cost you anything except time to set-up your account in your pay-per-click bid. Another essential element of pay-per-click advertising is that you constantly monitor your bid. The idea of optimizing your pages for high search engine rankings is to attract targeted customers to your site who will be more than likely to make a purchase. Each title bar on every single page of your site should contain the most important keywords and phrases taken from the page itself.

If you are down at the bottom of the search results, the consumer will probably never scroll down to find you. Avoid repeating keywords more than once in the title bars, and make sure that identical words are not next to each other. If you do not find code that reads like this, ask your webmaster to put them in. It is very important that you bear in mind that the results of the top search engines providing pay-per-click advertising, which are Overture and Adwords Select, usually appear on other popular search engines. If you want to achieve a high ranking on search engines, this text is essential. But in order for visitors to reach their destination – your website – you need to provide them with specific and effective signs that will direct them right to your site. The keyword “automobile body shops” would rank lower on the popularity scale than “automobile companies,” but it would nevertheless serve you much better.

Both pay-per-click and SEO are targeted to get your website placed as close to the top of search engine results as possible. I know this sounds like something out of science fiction, but it is really just simple code. The more specific your keyword is, the greater the likelihood is that the consumer who is ready to purchase your goods or services will find you. Or you can look at a few simple items on your pages, make some small adjustments, and most likely see improved rankings quite rapidly. Find the exactly right words or phrases, and presto! Hoards of traffic will be pulling up to your front door. Instead of getting a slew of people interested in everything from buying a car to changing their oil filters, you will get only those consumers with trashed front ends or crumpled fenders being directed to your site. However, you company specializes in bodywork only.

3 Steps to Your Ultimate Marketing Message

Have you created a core marketing message to use throughout all of your marketing efforts?

I’m not talking about some catchy slogan or play on words using the name of your business or the service you provide. It’s not some meaningless phrase like “we do it right” or “quality service you can trust.” Anybody in business can say those things and they’re really basic expectations anyway.

A core marketing message clearly and concisely communicates what you’re out to do and for who. It speaks to your ideal target market and gets them to respond and seek more information.

So many small business owners and professional service providers never take the time to create this for their own business. Most are creating a new message with every new “marketing campaign.” They’re constantly trying new ideas. And each new idea becomes a new chance to try and come up with that home run message that gets the phone ringing off the hook like never before.

What you need is an ultimate core marketing message that communicates directly and powerfully to your clients and prospective clients what it is they’ll get from your services.

Here are three steps to creating your own ultimate core marketing message:

1. Who do you want to help? Be as clear as you can on who your target market is. Take some time and define with as much clarity as possible who your ideal clients are. If it’s not obvious who your message is directed to, why would you expect anyone to get it?

2. What is the primary problem, issue, or challenge you would like to help someone in that target audience solve? This is really at the heart of your core marketing message. Most people are consumed with their own problems and looking for solutions to address them. So when you can clearly articulate a problem your client is dealing with, they’ll listen because you may be able to provide a solution.

3. What is the ultimate outcome or result that you’d like to help your target market produce in solving their problem, issue, or challenge? People what to know what it is they’ll get from knowing or working with you. When you’re prepared to demonstrate that you’re focused on delivering an outcome they’d be interested in, they will pay attention and want to know more.

That’s it. Now take your answers and boil it down to one or two clear sentences that you can deliver enthusiastically and passionately. Communicate it in everything you do from a marketing perspective, both verbally and in writing.

Forget the catchy slogans. Create and start using your ultimate marketing message right now.

The Elevator Pitch: First Contact

Entrepreneurs with businesses in early start-up differ on what they believe to be the most important element, although many professionals will argue that creating a solid business plan should definitely be the first step. A well-crafted business plan lays out all the details and strategies, includes projections for revenue and spending, and will be reviewed in detail by bankers and venture capitalists. But in fact, the most important document that should be created even before the business plan is the “elevator pitch.”

The fact is, most people will not read a business plan unless they have been motivated to do so beforehand. The elevator pitch is that motivating factor. It’s the hook that gets them into the room. It’s the catchy jingle that gets people to pay attention to the ad. It’s the best parts of the business plan, without the boring details. The elevator pitch is the place for the excitement, not the place to include all the technology, buzzwords and explanations.

An elevator pitch should be able to be condensed into a single-page presentation, short enough to be memorized, or read easily within a few minutes—that’s how it got its name, it’s a pitch that’s short enough to be presented during the course of an elevator ride. The elevator pitch condenses your business concept into something that can be presented in about a minute or two—essentially, the parts that matter, the very “essence” of the business.

The elevator pitch skips the hard-core financials, and gets straight to the heart of what it is about the business that really gets you excited. That’s what this pitch is about—you don’t need the proof of concept here yet, that comes in the full-length business plan. The elevator pitch is the commercial that gets people interested.

The elevator pitch should be inspirational and creative, hitting the high points of your business concept, and should accomplish the following:
• Hit the high points of what it is you hope to do
• Summarize the problem/solution aspect of your concept
• Describe the business model—how is it going to make money?
• Create excitement on the part of the reader/listener
• Describe the profit potential without having to bring out charts and graphs
• Tell why you/your company are well positioned to accomplish your goal
• End with a call to action

The first couple sentences are the most critical, and should present your core concept. If you can’t tell what it is you want to do in two sentences or less, then you need to simplify your concept. There will be plenty of time to get into all the details later, once you’ve captured your audience’s interest.

Arm Your New Distributors for Success

“Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them.”

– William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act III, Scene i (58-90)

Hamlet may not have been talking about network marketing, but his words do apply. Almost every network marketer has experienced the “slings and arrows” of the naysayers, those often well-meaning friends and relatives that stand in the way of our making an “outrageous fortune!” Experienced network marketers, clothed in the armor of past success, are less vulnerable to outside influences. The new distributor, however, is vulnerable, and that “sea of troubles” can act as a barrier to reaching their true potential.

What did the knights of old do to prevent an injury? That’s right – they armed themselves. Their armor was heavy and cumbersome, and they needed a squire to help them prepare for battle. Well, the same is true for your new distributors. While the armor they must use is less cumbersome than that of the knights, you must help them arm themselves for success. In other words, you must be their squire.

What do I mean by “arming for success?”

When a new distributor joins your network marketing organization, they are moving into an environment that demands strong armor. There are a lot of “slings and arrows” that can hurt their chances for success and create a sea of troubles — of doubt, disbelief, even failure.

As Rich Dad, Poor Dad author Robert T. Kiyosaki points out, most people in this world are afraid to experience success. They are held back by negative thinking, and consequently suffer the pain of mediocrity. Because they have not been armed for success, and are more focused on security and survival, they subject themselves to a life of servitude and poverty and being someone else’s employee.

Arm your new distributors from negative thinking and potential disaster. How? By understanding why so many people are negative about network marketing and the prospects of the success it can bring.

Let’s face it. There are a lot of people out there that do not want you to become successful. When you are successful, you point out the lack of success in their lives. When you take away any excuses they’ve been hanging onto and you force them to look at their lives as they really are, it makes them very uncomfortable. You’ve heard of the expression “Misery loves company.” Well, it’s true.

Doug Firebaugh, network marketing guru, calls it the “Unspoken Understanding,” which is simply the silent agreement that most people have with each other, namely “don’t mention my mediocre life, and I won’t mention yours.” Your success and the success of your new distributors, just points out the naysayers’ mediocrity.

Leaders help others. If you are going to be successful in network marketing, you must arm your new distributors against people who will try to convince them their business won’t work. Show your downline you want them to be successful. Encourage them. Show them how the most successful network marketers have achieved their success, and teach them to model those attitudes, habits, and actions.

Tips for Mom Entrepreneurs: How to Stay Connected to Your Network

As a working mom, you may already feel overwhelmed, juggling dual responsibilities of work and family. When it comes to networking – yet another task – you may feel that “the time I’ve spent at networking has never really paid off.”

Creating a personal and professional network is essential for your work + life success. That’s why working moms need to approach networking with a different paradigm, explained below as a three-part process.

Relationship Building
Networking isn’t just about collecting business cards from people you think may help you. It’s about planting seeds and nurturing long-term relationships that mature over time.

As a mom, you may understand this process well because it calls upon the same nurturing skills you already use with your family.

Empowering Actions
How many times have you attended networking events and seen others jabber on about themselves and frantically hand out dozens, if not hundreds, of their cards? This frenetic approach only makes them look weak. As a working mom, draw on that “Mommy” authority to engage in empowering, networking actions.

They include:
* Give – Adopt a giving attitude. When you meet someone ask, “How can I help you?” Always think, “Who could I connect them with to help them meet their goals?” It’s a natural principle: The more you help others, the more others will help you.

* Ask – Be bold. Always think, “you never know what will happen” and “it’s worth a try.” If you meet a new contact and find you have an instant connection, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

* Follow up – Getting introduced to the “right” people is important, but it’s what you do after the introduction that really counts. If you’ve felt a connection with a new contact, phone, email or send a thank-you note within one or two days. Then, keep in touch periodically, even if just to say, “Hi, it’s been awhile…”

Efficient Use of Time
You may be thinking, “I’d like to stay connected with people, but I just don’t have the time.” Here are three ways to efficiently find time to network:

* Lunch Hours – I’ve historically used my lunch hour, a coveted ME time, to run errands, walk a mile or two or get my hair or nails done. Yet, many associations and groups schedule networking meetings during this time. So, I began to add networking lunches. It’s a great way to preserve early-morning and evening family hours by substituting networking lunches for breakfast meetings or evening mixers!

* “Coffee/lunch over the phone” – My business partner, Jo Della Penna, introduced me to the idea of networking by scheduling “coffee over the phone”. What a great idea! This is a more efficient way to meet. Plus, neither party has to invest in driving time. When you want to spend time with a colleague, try a relaxing “lunch over the phone” by scheduling a lunch appointment, packing a lunch that day and calling at the appointed time.

* Schedule in advance – Earmark your calendar to remind yourself to re-connect with a contact periodically. If you meet a new contact today, schedule the follow up call for two days later and plan a “check-in” email within 60 days.

Remember, the key to networking is building a relationship over time. By using the steps above you should succeed at establishing good relationships that empower you and your business, and yet, don’t use hours and hours of your time.

Affiliate Marketing – The Basics

Imagine that you could earn commissions on a popular brand-name product just by placing a link on your website or in your email. That, my friends, is “Affiliate Marketing”!

OK… So it’s not quite that simple, but it doesn’t have to be much more complicated either.

Let’s start with a few definitions. An advertiser, or merchant, is the company who is selling a product. An affiliate, sometimes referred to as a publisher or partner, is another person or company who assists in the promotion of the product and earns a commission for doing so. (That could be you!) In between is the account management service that partners the advertisers with the affiliates and keeps track of the sales and commissions.

If you want to become an affiliate, you first need to choose either a product you want to sell, or an account management service. You will end up with both, but the choice of one will determine the choice for the other. If you choose the product first, the advertiser will direct you to the account management service that they already work with. If you choose the account management service first, they will provide you with a list of merchants that they do business with.

To see if your favorite product or company offers an affiliate program, go to their website and check the menu bar or the bottom of the screen. Look around for the word “affiliate”. Click on that link, read about their program and requirements, and fill out their application. Some companies require specific types of websites to place their links on. They will email you all you need to know to get started.

If you don’t know what specific product you would like to promote, or if you want to promote several, I recommend browsing the participating merchants on the account management service’s website.

Try to stick to products or ideas that you are familiar with and passionate about. It will be much easier to market to your visitors if you can add value to the link you want them to click on. Personal recommendations or stories will get way better results than just a banner or solo text link. Give them a reason to “click here”.

Welcome to the world of Affiliate Marketing! Good luck with your new venture!

Training the New Network Marketing Distributor

In Step 1, we talked about “Laying Down a Track to Run On.” Here, in Step 2, we’ll discuss “Being A Good Sponsor.” While many of the people you recruit into your organization may have had previous experience in network marketing, many will be first timers. Similarly, if you’ve been successful in recruiting people who were involved in other network marketing organizations, you got them because they were disenchanted with their current company. In other words, they weren’t as successful as they would have liked to be.

Wouldn’t that indicate to you that they don’t know the best way to do things? Well, that’s where you come in – helping them lay that track for others to run on. Again, when new distributors know what works, they can proceed with confidence, and confidence is the handmaiden of success. Remember, people are not duplicable, but systems are.

Step 2 — Being a Good Sponsor

Being a good sponsor means showing your new distributors “The Rules:”

Rule No. 1: Treat it Like a Business.
In order to be successful, your new distributors must truly want success, be coachable, and follow through on their commitments. In other words, they need to treat this business like a business.

Rule No. 2: Keep it simple.
If they can follow a simple procedure (see Part 1), they will use the same system with their contacts. If they can see that what you did was simple, they will believe they can do it, too. If you had to really work on them, more or less “bullying” them into the business, your new distributors will not want to duplicate what you did and will not take any action.

Rule No. 3: Determine Their Reasons.
If you know what your new distributor wants from this venture, that is, why they want to succeed, you can understand how to get them over the rough spots and keep them on the road to success. Remember, most people will be tempted to quit with the first setback because they were never clear on what they wanted to achieve in the first place. If their “why” is strong enough, the “how” will be easier to get across.

Rule No. 4: Establish Objectives.
Set specific sponsoring and financial objectives for the first 30, 60, and 90 days. People always perform better when they have specific goals in mind.

Rule No. 5: Introduce Your Upline
Introduce new distributors to their upline, those leaders who are building a successful business and who are earning the type of income they’d like to earn. That way, if you’re not available to help them, they will have names and telephone numbers of others (you should give them at least 3) who they can contact for support. Further, by meeting others who are earning the type of income they’d like to earn, the system becomes more realistic and attainable.

Rule No. 6: Where’s the Tools?
Make sure they know how to get the tools they will need to share the business with others., such as tapes/CDs, brochures, business cards, etc. Every business needs information to disseminate with prospects. This one is no exception. Remember, people are not duplicable, but systems are.

Rule No. 7: Make a Prospect List.
Although everyone who makes a list doesn’t necessarily become a top earner, every top earner has a list. Typically, they’ll start with their Warm Market, because that’s the people they know.

At this point, your new distributor should be ready to go. They have their “reason why” clearly in mind, specific objectives for the next 90 days, their upline’s contact information for plenty of support, the tools to get started, and a list of people to contact.

Having said that, remember Rule No. 8: Let Them Move at Their Own Pace.
Sponsoring a distributor is a process, not a single event. If they don’t want to move as fast as you do, that’s OK.

Adventures in Xtreme Marketing and Networking

There are some things in life that are sure to happen. Yesterday was March 21, the Spring Equinox. On this day of the year there is a strange phenomenon that occurs. It is the same every year, on this day you can stand an egg on it’s end for several hours. Every year for many years, I have been able to count on this as I have amazed people by doing it. It never fails, and it doesn’t really work any other time of the year. In fact, later in the day, the egg will fall over after standing for several hours.

It also never fails that a networking or marketing opportunity can present itself when least expected.

On one Saturday, as I drove through downtown Atlanta on my way home from a morning networking function, I passed a downtown hotel that had a line of people around it a city block long. There must have been over five hundred people in line, all dressed in business attire. So I immediately looked for a parking space and rolled out onto the sidewalk to find out what was happening.

It so happened that a very popular television reality show that was on every week called The A——— was holding auditions in Atlanta. I did not spell out the name because I am not sure about trademark issues.

When I found this out, I went deep into my pocket and pulled out my AtlantaEvent.com pocket billboards (small flyers with info on them). I walked around the corner to the front of the line and began handing out cards to everyone in line. Rather than taking time to network with everyone, I said to them, “This is the number one business site in Atlanta, be sure to check it out.”

Halfway down the block, I was accosted by a very large gentleman who advised me that I was not allowed to hand out flyers to the people in line. He was there working with the show (he had a special badge). Now if you consider the types of things that the participants of this show are expected to do, I should in reality be on the next show! But here he was telling me I could not do it.

So being the extreme networker that I am, I went to the back of the line and began to work my way to the front. Each time the hotel security came by I would stop and act like I was waiting in line. As soon as they walked away, I resumed my process.

Now wait a minute. Was what I was doing illegal? NO. I was doing exactly what the people in line were doing, I was handing out my card to people standing in line? Does the hotel own the sidewalk around it? NO. The sidewalks are owned by the city. Was what I was doing risky? Yes, although there was no illegal activity, I could have been physically removed from the area and detained against my will until they decided to let me leave.

Was it worth the risk? YES. The people in that line were my target market. More than 500 people who want to be successful in business and I have just the tool to help them, AtlantaEvent.com.

So what is the point of this article?

The point is that sometimes it is worth taking a risk to achieve our goals. To be safe in all that I do would have deprived me of an opportunity to reach hundreds of prospects and people who can benefit from using the web site.

Are you taking risks in your business to achieve your goals? Do you find yourself doing the safe things? I want to leave you with a quote that I have read and heard frequently recently. I wish I knew who said it so I can reference them, but here it is anyway.

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.

Take some risks and watch your business take off!