Tag Archives: Marketing

Some People Achieve Their Goals

Some People Achieve Their Goals

These barriers to success are easy to overcome, but only when you know they’re there. Why do some people achieve their goals while others fail? I believe it’s because successful people manage to overcome five barriers that, in many cases, guarantee failure. Here are those barriers and how to overcome them:

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1. Uninspiring Goals

When most people set goals, they envision a “thing,” such as a particular amount of money, an object (like a new car), or a specific achievement (like writing a book). Unfortunately, these “things I’m gonna get or do” goals don’t appeal to the core of what motivates you, because they miss the point that what you’re actually seeking in life and work is the POSITIVE EMOTIONS that you believe those things will produce.

Fix: Rather than envisioning a “thing” as your goal, envision–with all the strength in your imagination–how you will feel when you achieve the goal. That way, you’ll be inspired to do whatever it takes (within legal and ethical bounds) to achieve that goal.

2. Fear of Failure

If you’re afraid of failing, you won’t take the necessary risks required to achieve your goal. For example, you won’t make that important phone call, because you’re afraid that you’ll be rebuffed. Or you won’t quit your dead-end job and start your own business because you’re afraid that you might end up without any money.

Fix: Decide–right now!–that failure, for you, is a strictly temporary condition. If things don’t go the way you’d like, it’s only a setback that, at most, delays your eventual success. In other words, accept the fact that you’ll sometimes fail, but treat that failure as an unavoidable (yet vital) component in your quest.

3. Fear of Success

In many ways, this fear is even more debilitating than the fear of failure. Suppose you achieved something spectacular, like enormous wealth. What if it didn’t make you happy? What then? What if you ended up losing all of it? What then? Would your friends start acting weird? Would your family be envious? Such thoughts (and they’re common) can cause even a highly motivated person to self-sabotage.

Fix: Decide that you’re going to be happy and grateful today and happy and grateful in the future, no matter what happens. Rather than focus on possible problems, envision how wonderful it would be to be able to help your friends and family achieve THEIR goals. (Hint: Watch the last season of the TV series Entourage!)

4. An Unrealistic Timetable

Most people vastly overestimate what they can do in a week and vastly underestimate what they can do in a year. Because of this, most people try to cram too many action items into the short term rather than spacing out activities over the long term. The inability to get all the short-term steps accomplished creates discouragement and the impression that the final goal is slipping away.

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Fix: As you list the activities and steps required to achieve a goal, schedule only the 20% of the activities that will produce 80% of your results. (I explain more about this in the post The Secret of Time Management.) Beyond that, set ambitious long-term timetables, but always leave some “wiggle room” when you plan short term.

5. Worrying About “Dry Spots”

It’s easy to get discouraged when you reach a point at which nothing you do seems to advance you toward your goal. For example, suppose you’re trying to master a certain skill. You make swift progress at first but then, after a while, it seems as if you’re not doing any better, or maybe a little worse. Some people use these “plateaus” or “dry spots” as an excuse to give up and therefore fail.

Fix: Whenever you reach a plateau or dry spot, it’s time to celebrate rather than give up. A plateau is almost always a sign that you’re on the brink of a major breakthrough, if you just have the patience to stick with it and trust that you’ll eventually achieve your goal.

 Will You Achieve Your Goals?

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Lincoln on Dealing with People

The Big Secret Of Dealing With People

There is only one way under high heaven to get anybody to do anything. Did you ever stop to think of that? Yes, just one way. And that is by making the other person want to do it. Remember, there is no other way. Of course, you can make someone want to give you his watch by sticking a revolver in his ribs. YOU can make your employees give you cooperation – until your back is turned – by threatening to fire them. You can make a child do what you want it to do by a whip or a threat. But these crude methods have sharply undesirable repercussions.The only way I can get you to do anything is by giving you what you want.

How Good Are You Dealing With People ?

Sigmund Freud said that everything you and I do springs from two motives: the sex urge and the desire to be great.

John Dewey, one of America’s most profound philosophers, phrased it a bit differently. Dr. Dewey said that the deepest urge in human nature is “the desire to be important.” Remember that phrase: “the desire to be important.” It is significant.  What do you want? Not many things, but the few that you do wish for, you crave with an insistence that will not be denied.

Some of the things most people want include:

1. Health and the preservation of life.

2. Food.

3. Sleep.

4. Money and the things money will buy.

5. Life in the hereafter.

6. Sexual gratification.

7. The well-being of our children.

8. A feeling of importance.

DEALING WITH PEOPLE IS PARAMOUNT

Almost all these wants are usually gratified-all except one. But there is one longing – almost as deep, almost as imperious, as the desire for food or sleep – which is seldom gratified. It is what Freud calls “the desire to be great.” It is what Dewey calls the “desire to be important.” Anthony Robbins calls it “significance”

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Lincoln once began a letter saying: “Everybody likes a compliment.”

William James said: “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” He didn’t speak, mind you, of the “wish” or the “desire” or the “longing” to be appreciated. He said the “craving” to be appreciated. Here is a gnawing and unfaltering human hunger, and the rare individual who honestly satisfies this heart hunger will hold people in the palm of his or her hand and “even the undertaker will be sorry when he dies.”

The desire for a feeling of importance is one of the chief distinguishing differences between mankind and the animals. To illustrate: When I was a farm boy out in Missouri, my father bred fine Duroc-Jersey hogs and . pedigreed white – faced cattle. We used to exhibit our hogs and white-faced cattle at the country fairs and livestock shows throughout the Middle West. We won first prizes by the score. My father pinned his blue ribbons on a sheet of white muslin,and when friends or visitors came to the house, he would get out the long sheet of muslin. He would hold one end and I would hold the other while he exhibited the blue ribbons.The hogs didn’t care about the ribbons they had won. But Father did. These prizes gave him a feeling of importance.If our ancestors hadn’t had this flaming urge for a feeling of importance, civilization would have been impossible. Without it, we should have been just about like animals. It was this desire for a feeling of importance that led an uneducated, poverty-stricken grocery clerk to study some law books he found in the bottom of a barrel of household plunder that he had bought for fifty cents. You have probably heard of this grocery clerk. His name was Abraham Lincoln.

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Dream BIG Dreams!

DREAM BIG DREAMS

I love the New Year as it provides us the space to reflect, assess and sketch the blueprints to make our New Year dreams come true.

As you do, I’d like to encourage you to dream bigger dreams and adopt the unstoppable achiever’s mindset.
To help you, let me tell you the story of a young boy starting out with a lot less than you have going for you right now.
You wouldn’t think this is the kind of upbringing, nurturing, training and development that would produce one of the most creative minds in history–winning 22 Oscars and 7 Emmy awards from 59 nominations (more than any individual in history) and being honored with the highest civilian award the United States government bestows—the Medal of Freedom.
I think these not only eliminate any excuses you might have, but it will inspire you to consider your own greater potential and go after your dreams.

Let’s call this young boy with the dreams Walter.

Walter was born in Chicago in 1901 to a large Irish immigrant family. His father struggled at work and took out his anger on his wife and children.
At only 8 years old, Walter went to work delivering letters. In any weather, early morning or late at night, he ran through the streets in his worn-out shoes, hurrying to deliver the mail on time. Any money Walter earned was then seized by his father.
At age 16 Walter attempted to enlist in the army to participate in the first World War. He was refused for being too young so he volunteered in the Red Cross and was sent overseas, where he worked as an ambulance driver.
Walter kept the troops in good spirits by decorating his ambulance with amusing drawings. Walter learned he liked to draw.
When Walter returned home from the war, he worked various jobs in creative fields. He worked as a night watchman, which particularly suited him because it gave him an opportunity to study and practice his art. Later, he got a job at a small studio working on an advertising campaign, where he was paid a meager $40 a month but soon unemployed.
Walter wanted to work for a newspaper as an editorial cartoonist but lacked the satire to do so.

Concept art of Mickey from early 1928; the ske...
Concept art of Mickey from early 1928; the sketches are the earliest known drawings of the character. From the collection of The Walt Disney Family Museum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Walter decided to start his own commercial art company, but it was short lived and ultimately failed to sustain. Still not deterred he decided to start yet another company, which this time was met with some success and he was soon hiring a vast number of his friends.
Unfortunately the profits were not enough to cover the high cost of salaries and he mismanaged the money straddling the business with loads of debt, ultimately ending in bankruptcy.
Even his success ended in failure. Certainly this should be a final lesson for him.
But not for Walter.
He recruited his brother to pool some more finances together and they started another business. They didn’t have enough money between them, so they brought on an investor named Mary.
Once again Walter found success and he rehired many of his friends back. One year later, Mary married a man named Charles, who came in and strong-armed Walter. He told Walter if he didn’t comply to budget restraints he would lose his funding for all his now successful productions and all his employees.
Walter refused to be controlled and was once again on his own.

The Walt Disney Studios, the headquarters of T...
The Walt Disney Studios, the headquarters of The Walt Disney Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By now you’ve got to be thinking, just hang it up Walter and get a job, entrepreneurship doesn’t seem to be in your cards, right?
Walter would refuse that thought as well. This time Walter decided he would start a Mickey Mouse sort of business. Literally. Walter drew, animated and became the voice of Mickey Mouse.
Walt founded the Walt Disney Company and went on to produce additional characters that have been loved and squeezed by hundreds of millions of children such as Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Alice in Wonderland, Popeye the Sailor, Pinocchio, Dumbo, Bambi and many more.
Walt’s achiever mindset doesn’t stop there, of course.


On a flight to Chicago in the late 40s he sketched ideas for an amusement park where he envisioned his employees spending time with their children.
Even Walt’s brother Roy thought it was a terrible idea and convinced the Board to disapprove of the funding to build it.
What does Walt do now?

 His own company won’t go along with building his dream?

Well, Walt has a ceaseless achievers mindset.
Walt went out on his own and raised the money by himself. Walt also inspired a dedicated team called Imagineers… something we all should aspire to be… and together they created and opened The Happiest Place on Earth on Sunday, July 17, 1955.
He built it on ground where only an orange grove existed before. Disneyland is now visited by more than 5 million people every year.

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The World is Yours

Okay, you create the happiest place on earth, that should be enough right?
Not for the achiever.
In early 1960 Walt conceives of Disney World and EPCOT, this time on top of where only alligators go—in the swamplands of Orlando, Florida.
You have to remember, in the 60s, where the Magical Kingdom resides today, there was nothing there, I mean nothing. The World of Disney, the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, known as EPCOT was imagined and built on a full-fledged swamp.
While Walt Disney’s life journey ended on December 15, 1966, when he was 65, the power of his achiever’s mindset lives on to this day.

 According to statistics, annual cash flow from Disney films (not including sales and rental of videos) exceeds more than $1 billion dollars. The Disney conglomerate includes amusement parks in California, Florida, Tokyo and Paris, 535 international Disney stores, hockey and baseball teams, a number of newspapers and magazines and a cable television network.


Annual turnover of the consortium is $21 billion and stock market capitalization is $42 billion.
Not bad for a poor Chicago kid from an immigrant family equipped with only one thing, but as you can see, the most important thing—the dream big dreams, achiever’s mindset.
As Walt said himself, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
That’s what I want to help you do, find the courage to pursue your dreams, your BIG dreams.
Share your big dream with us in comments below. Share this post with others to encourage them to dream big too.

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INTERNET MARKETINGPart 7

 

MORE INTERNET MARKETING

 

Internet marketing is a good way to grow any business. One of the biggest benefits of Internet marketing is the potential to attract customers from around the world. It is important to use effective strategies for Internet marketing, and you can learn them easily. What follows are ways to maximize the effectiveness of your Internet marketing strategy.

 

Provide a button that allows others to quickly and easily links back to your site. An advertising badge or a linking badge lets people know that it’s fairly easy to work with you or to link with you. This is something that’s mutually beneficial for you and anyone else out there with a website.

 

 

The most successful way to bring in sales is to use real time leads. Obtaining leads in real-time is useful, as it allows you to respond to interested customers immediately. With a real-time lead, you get a potential customer’s information the moment they inquire about your products.

 

If your company site isn’t often changed, you should add a blog. New content gets the attention of the search engines which will increase your ranking in their listings and lead to more traffic for your site. Writing a blog can allow you to consistently add fresh content.

 

Include excellent graphics on your website to showcase the products you are selling. This gives the customer peace of mind, as they get to see a detailed photograph of what they are ordering. Allow customers to post their own images of your products to show how they use them. Depending on the type of products you sell, you may also want to include “before and after” pictures.

 

INTERNET MARKETING E-MAILS

 

If you are using emails regularly then always strive to include useful links and information, instead of sending the same type of email over and over. A block of links that remain the same with every email your customers receive is easy to start ignoring. Just providing some variety in the links may help keep the reader’s attention.

 

 

If you are seeking additional web traffic, look to improve on optimizing your site for the search engines by having a unique and original content. Online retailers with common products should especially note this, as there is more competition in the search engine. Providing your own unique descriptions of products and using rich, descripyive adjectives will help your site stand out and be recognizable.

 

A small company that is internet based still needs a logo and slogan. Customers will remember you and your brand if you use marketing tools like this. Catchy slogans have a way of staying in the mind of consumers for long periods of time. When a potential customer is looking to purchase your product, your slogan may come to mind, and bring you a new sale.

 

Wealth can be a wonderful motivator, but keep your eyes focused squarely on the goals of your business to attain it. Aspiring to lofty goals is important for helping you to keep up the momentum to grow your business, and the advice shared here can help you attain those goals.

 

 

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20 TIPS TO INCREASE BLOG TRAFFIC

TIPS TO INCREASE BLOG TRAFFIC

 

 

#1 – Target Your Content to an Audience Likely to Share
When strategizing about who you’re writing for, consider that audience’s ability to help spread the word. Some readers will naturally be more or less active in evangelizing the work you do, but particular communities, topics, writing styles and content types regularly play better than others on the web. For example, great infographics that strike a chord (like this one), beautiful videos that tell a story (like this one) and remarkable collections of facts that challenge common assumptions (like this one) are all targeted at audiences likely to share (geeks with facial hair, those interested in weight loss and those with political thoughts about macroeconomics respectively).

 

If you can identify groups that have high concentrations of the blue and orange circles in the diagram above, you dramatically improve the chances of reaching larger audiences and growing your traffic numbers. Targeting blog content at less-share-likely groups may not be a terrible decision (particularly if that’s where you passion or your target audience lies), but it will decrease the propensity for your blog’s work to spread like wildfire across the web.

#2 – Participate in the Communities Where Your Audience Already Gathers
Advertisers on Madison Avenue have spent billions researching and determining where consumers with various characteristics gather and what they spend their time doing so they can better target their messages. They do it because reaching a group of 65+ year old women with commercials for extreme sports equipment is known to be a waste of money, while reaching an 18-30 year old male demographic that attends rock-climbing gyms is likely to have a much higher ROI.

Thankfully, you don’t need to spend a dime to figure out where a large portion of your audience can be found on the web. In fact, you probably already know a few blogs, forums, websites and social media communities where discussions and content are being posted on your topic (and if you don’t a Google search will take you much of the way). From that list, you can do some easy expansion using a web-based tool like DoubleClick’s Ad Planner:


 

Once you’ve determined the communities where your soon-to-be-readers gather, you can start participating. Create an account, read what others have written and don’t jump in the conversation until you’ve got a good feel for what’s appropriate and what’s not. I’ve written a post here about rules for comment marketing, and all of them apply. Be a good web citizen and you’ll be rewarded with traffic, trust and fans. Link-drop, spam or troll and you’ll get a quick boot, or worse, a reputation as a blogger no one wants to associate with.

#3 – Make Your Blog’s Content SEO-Friendly
Search engines are a massive opportunity for traffic, yet many bloggers ignore this channel for a variety of reasons that usually have more to do with fear and misunderstanding than true problems. As I’ve written before, “SEO, when done right, should never interfere with great writing.” In 2011, Google received over 3 billion daily searches from around the world, and that number is only growing:

 

Taking advantage of this massive traffic opportunity is of tremendous value to bloggers, who often find that much of the business side of blogging, from inquiries for advertising to guest posting opportunities to press and discovery by major media entities comes via search.

SEO for blogs is both simple and easy to set up, particularly if you’re using an SEO-friendly platform like WordPress, Drupal or Joomla. For more information on how to execute on great SEO for blogs, check out the following resources:

Blogger’s Guide to SEO (from SEOBook)
The Beginner’s Guide to SEO (from Moz)
WordPress Blog SEO Tutorial (from Yoast)
SEO for Travel Bloggers (but applicable to nearly any type of blog – from Moz)
Don’t let bad press or poor experiences with spammers (spam is not SEO) taint the amazing power and valuable contributions SEO can make to your blog’s traffic and overall success. 20% of the effort and tactics to make your content optimized for search engines will yield 80% of the value possible; embrace it and thousands of visitors seeking exactly what you’ve posted will be the reward.

#4 – Use Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to Share Your Posts & Find New Connections
Twitter just topped 465 million registered accounts. Facebook has over 850 million active users. Google+ has nearly 100 million. LinkedIn is over 130 million. Together, these networks are attracting vast amounts of time and interest from Internet users around the world, and those that participate on these services fit into the “content distributors” description above, meaning they’re likely to help spread the word about your blog.

Leveraging these networks to attract traffic requires patience, study, attention to changes by the social sites and consideration in what content to share and how to do it. My advice is to use the following process:

If you haven’t already, register a personal account and a brand account at each of the following – Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn (those links will take you directly to the registration pages for brand pages). For example, my friend Dharmesh has a personal account for Twitter and a brand account for OnStartups (one of his blog projects). He also maintains brand pages on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.
Fill out each of those profiles to the fullest possible extent – use photos, write compelling descriptions and make each one as useful and credible as possible. Research shows that profiles with more information have a significant correlation with more successful accounts (and there’s a lot of common sense here, too, given that spammy profiles frequently feature little to no profile work).
Connect with users on those sites with whom you already share a personal or professional relationships, and start following industry luminaries, influencers and connectors. Services like FollowerWonk and FindPeopleonPlus can be incredible for this:
Start sharing content – your own blog posts, those of peers in your industry who’ve impressed you and anything that you feel has a chance to go “viral” and earn sharing from others.
Interact with the community – use hash tags, searches and those you follow to find interesting conversations and content and jump in! Social networks are amazing environment for building a brand, familiarizing yourself with a topic and the people around it, and earning the trust of others through high quality, authentic participation and sharing
If you consistently employ a strategy of participation, share great stuff and make a positive, memorable impression on those who see your interactions on these sites, your followers and fans will grow and your ability to drive traffic back to your blog by sharing content will be tremendous. For many bloggers, social media is the single largest source of traffic, particularly in the early months after launch, when SEO is a less consistent driver.

#5 – Install Analytics and Pay Attention to the Results
At the very least, I’d recommend most bloggers install Google Analytics (which is free), and watch to see where visits originate, which sources drive quality traffic and what others might be saying about you and your content when they link over. If you want to get more advanced, check out this post on 18 Steps to Successful Metrics and Marketing.

Here’s a screenshot from the analytics of my wife’s travel blog, the Everywhereist:

 

As you can see, there’s all sorts of great insights to be gleaned by looking at where visits originate, analyzing how they were earned and trying to repeat the successes, focus on the high quality and high traffic sources and put less effort into marketing paths that may not be effective. In this example, it’s pretty clear that Facebook and Twitter are both excellent channels. StumbleUpon sends a lot of traffic, but they don’t stay very long (averaging only 36 seconds vs. the general average of 4 minutes!).

Employing analytics is critical to knowing where you’re succeeding, and where you have more opportunity. Don’t ignore it, or you’ll be doomed to never learn from mistakes or execute on potential.

#6 – Add Graphics, Photos and Illustrations (with link-back licensing)
If you’re someone who can produce graphics, take photos, illustrate or even just create funny doodles in MS Paint, you should leverage that talent on your blog. By uploading and hosting images (or using a third-party service like Flickr to embed your images with licensing requirements on that site), you create another traffic source for yourself via Image Search, and often massively improve the engagement and enjoyment of your visitors.

When using images, I highly recommend creating a way for others to use them on their own sites legally and with permission, but in such a way that benefits you as the content creator. For example, you could have a consistent notice under your images indicating that re-using is fine, but that those who do should link back to this post. You can also post that as a sidebar link, include it in your terms of use, or note it however you think will get the most adoption.

Some people will use your images without linking back, which sucks. However, you can find them by employing the Image Search function of “similar images,” shown below:

 

Clicking the “similar” link on any given image will show you other images that Google thinks look alike, which can often uncover new sources of traffic. Just reach out and ask if you can get a link, nicely. Much of the time, you’ll not only get your link, but make a valuable contact or new friend, too!

#7 – Conduct Keyword Research While Writing Your Posts
Not surprisingly, a big part of showing up in search engines is targeting the terms and phrases your audience are actually typing into a search engine. It’s hard to know what these words will be unless you do some research, and luckily, there’s a free tool from Google to help called the AdWords Keyword Tool.

Type some words at the top, hit search and AdWords will show you phrases that match the intent and/or terms you’ve employed. There’s lots to play around with here, but watch out in particular for the “match types” options I’ve highlighted below:

 

When you choose “exact match” AdWords will show you only the quantity of searches estimated for that precise phrase. If you use broad match, they’ll include any search phrases that use related/similar words in a pattern they think could have overlap with your keyword intent (which can get pretty darn broad). “Phrase match” will give you only those phrases that include the word or words in your search – still fairly wide-ranging, but between “exact” and “broad.”

When you’re writing a blog post, keyword research is best utilized for the title and headline of the post. For example, if I wanted to write a post here on Moz about how to generate good ideas for bloggers, I might craft something that uses the phrase “blog post ideas” or “blogging ideas” near the front of my title and headline, as in “Blog Post Ideas for When You’re Truly Stuck,” or “Blogging Ideas that Will Help You Clear Writer’s Block.”

Optimizing a post to target a specific keyword isn’t nearly as hard as it sounds. 80% of the value comes from merely using the phrase effectively in the title of the blog post, and writing high quality content about the subject. If you’re interested in more, read Perfecting Keyword Targeting and On-Page Optimization (a slightly older resource, but just as relevant today as when it was written).

#8 – Frequently Reference Your Own Posts and Those of Others
The web was not made for static, text-only content! Readers appreciate links, as do other bloggers, site owners and even search engines. When you reference your own material in-context and in a way that’s not manipulative (watch out for over-optimizing by linking to a category, post or page every time a phrase is used – this is almost certainly discounted by search engines and looks terrible to those who want to read your posts), you potentially draw visitors to your other content AND give search engines a nice signal about those previous posts.

Perhaps even more valuable is referencing the content of others. The biblical expression “give and ye shall receive,” perfectly applies on the web. Other site owners will often receive Google Alerts or look through their incoming referrers (as I showed above in tip #5) to see who’s talking about them and what they’re saying. Linking out is a direct line to earning links, social mentions, friendly emails and new relationships with those you reference. In its early days, this tactic was one of the best ways we earned recognition and traffic with the SEOmoz blog and the power continues to this day.

#9 – Participate in Social Sharing Communities Like Reddit + StumbleUpon
The major social networking sites aren’t alone in their power to send traffic to a blog. Social community sites like Reddit (which now receives more than 2 billion! with a “B”! views each month), StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Tumblr, Care2 (for nonprofits and causes), GoodReads (books), Ravelry (knitting), Newsvine (news/politics) and many, many more (Wikipedia maintains a decent, though not comprehensive list here).

Each of these sites have different rules, formats and ways of participating and sharing content. As with participation in blog or forum communities described above in tactic #2, you need to add value to these communities to see value back. Simply drive-by spamming or leaving your link won’t get you very far, and could even cause a backlash. Instead, learn the ropes, engage authentically and you’ll find that fans, links and traffic can develop.

These communities are also excellent sources of inspiration for posts on your blog. By observing what performs well and earns recognition, you can tailor your content to meet those guidelines and reap the rewards in visits and awareness. My top recommendation for most bloggers is to at least check whether there’s an appropriate subreddit in which you should be participating. Subreddits and their search function can help with that.

#10 – Guest Blog (and Accept the Guest Posts of Others)
When you’re first starting out, it can be tough to convince other bloggers to allow you to post on their sites OR have an audience large enough to inspire others to want to contribute to your site. This is when friends and professional connections are critical. When you don’t have a compelling marketing message, leverage your relationships – find the folks who know you, like you and trust you and ask those who have blog to let you take a shot at authoring something, then ask them to return the favor.

Guest blogging is a fantastic way to spread your brand to new folks who’ve never seen your work before, and it can be useful in earning early links and references back to your site, which will drive direct traffic and help your search rankings (diverse, external links are a key part of how search engines rank sites and pages). Several recommendations for those who engage in guest blogging:

Find sites that have a relevant audience – it sucks to pour your time into writing a post, only to see it fizzle because the readers weren’t interested. Spend a bit more time researching the posts that succeed on your target site, the makeup of the audience, what types of comments they leave and you’ll earn a much higher return with each post.
Don’t be discouraged if you ask and get a “no” or a “no response.” As your profile grows in your niche, you’ll have more opportunities, requests and an easier time getting a “yes,” so don’t take early rejections too hard and watch out – in many marketing practices, persistence pays, but pestering a blogger to write for them is not one of these (and may get your email address permanently banned from their inbox).
When pitching your guest post make it as easy as possible for the other party. When requesting to post, have a phenomenal piece of writing all set to publish that’s never been shared before and give them the ability to read it. These requests get far more “yes” replies than asking for the chance to write with no evidence of what you’ll contribute. At the very least, make an outline and write a title + snippet.
Likewise, when requesting a contribution, especially from someone with a significant industry profile, asking for a very specific piece of writing is much easier than getting them to write an entire piece from scratch of their own design. You should also present statistics that highlight the value of posting on your site – traffic data, social followers, RSS subscribers, etc. can all be very persuasive to a skeptical writer.
A great tool for frequent guest bloggers is Ann Smarty’s MyBlogGuest, which offers the ability to connect writers with those seeking guest contributions (and the reverse).

 

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ are also great places to find guest blogging opportunities. In particular, check out the profiles of those you’re connected with to see if they run blogs of their own that might be a good fit. Google’s Blog Search function and Google Reader’s Search are also solid tools for discovery.

#11 – Incorporate Great Design Into Your Site
The power of beautiful, usable, professional design can’t be overstated. When readers look at a blog, the first thing they judge is how it “feels” from a design and UX perspective. Sites that use default templates or have horrifying, 1990′s design will receive less trust, a lower time-on-page, fewer pages per visit and a lower likelihood of being shared. Those that feature stunning design that clearly indicates quality work will experience the reverse – and reap amazing benefits.
These threads – 1, 2, 3 and 4 – feature some remarkable blog designs for inspiration

If you’re looking for a designer to help upgrade the quality of your blog, there’s a few resources I recommend:

Dribbble – great for finding high quality professional designers
Forrst – another excellent design profile community
Behance – featuring galleries from a wide range of visual professionals
Sortfolio – an awesome tool to ID designers by region, skill and budget
99 Designs – a controversial site that provides designs on spec via contests (I have mixed feelings on this one, but many people find it useful, particularly for budget-conscious projects)
This is one area where budgeting a couple thousand dollars (if you can afford it) or even a few hundred (if you’re low on cash) can make a big difference in the traffic, sharing and viral-impact of every post you write.

#12 – Interact on Other Blogs’ Comments
As bloggers, we see a lot of comments. Many are spam, only a few add real value, and even fewer are truly fascinating and remarkable. If you can be in this final category consistently, in ways that make a blogger sit up and think “man, I wish that person commented here more often!” you can achieve great things for your own site’s visibility through participation in the comments of other blogs.

Combine the tools presented in #10 (particularly Google Reader/Blog Search) and #4 (especially FollowerWonk) for discovery. The feed subscriber counts in Google Reader can be particularly helpful for identifying good blogs for participation. Then apply the principles covered in this post on comment marketing.

 

Do be conscious of the name you use when commenting and the URL(s) you point back to. Consistency matters, particularly on naming, and linking to internal pages or using a name that’s clearly made for keyword-spamming rather than true conversation will kill your efforts before they begin.

#13 – Participate in Q+A Sites
Every day, thousands of people ask questions on the web. Popular services like Yahoo! Answers, Answers.com, Quora, StackExchange, Formspring and more serve those hungry for information whose web searches couldn’t track down the responses they needed.

The best strategy I’ve seen for engaging on Q+A sites isn’t to answer every question that comes along, but rather, to strategically provide high value to a Q+A community by engaging in those places where:

The question quality is high, and responses thus far have been thin
The question receives high visibility (either by ranking well for search queries, being featured on the site or getting social traffic/referrals). Most of the Q+A sites will show some stats around the traffic of a question
The question is something you can answer in a way that provides remarkable value to anyone who’s curious and drops by
I also find great value in answering a few questions in-depth by producing an actual blog post to tackle them, then linking back. This is also a way I personally find blog post topics – if people are interested in the answer on a Q+A site, chances are good that lots of folks would want to read it on my blog, too!

Just be authentic in your answer, particularly if you’re linking. If you’d like to see some examples, I answer a lot of questions at Quora, frequently include relevant links, but am rarely accused of spamming or link dropping because it’s clearly about providing relevant value, not just getting a link for SEO (links on most user-contributed sites are “nofollow” anyway, meaning they shouldn’t pass search-engine value). There’s a dangerous line to walk here, but if you do so with tact and candor, you can earn a great audience from your participation.

#14 – Enable Subscriptions via Feed + Email (and track them!)
If someone drops by your site, has a good experience and thinks “I should come back here and check this out again when they have more posts,” chances are pretty high (I’d estimate 90%+) that you’ll never see them again. That sucks! It shouldn’t be the case, but we have busy lives and the Internet’s filled with animated gifs of cats.

In order to pull back some of these would-be fans, I highly recommend creating an RSS feed using Feedburner and putting visible buttons on the sidebar, top or bottom of your blog posts encouraging those who enjoy your content to sign up (either via feed, or via email, both of which are popular options).

 

If you’re using WordPress, there’s some easy plugins for this, too.

Once you’ve set things up, visit every few weeks and check on your subscribers – are they clicking on posts? If so, which ones? Learning what plays well for those who subscribe to your content can help make you a better blogger, and earn more visits from RSS, too.

#15 – Attend and Host Events
Despite the immense power of the web to connect us all regardless of geography, in-person meetings are still remarkably useful for bloggers seeking to grow their traffic and influence. The people you meet and connect with in real-world settings are far more likely to naturally lead to discussions about your blog and ways you can help each other. This yields guest posts, links, tweets, shares, blogroll inclusion and general business development like nothing else.

 

I’m a big advocate of Lanyrd, an event directory service that connects with your social networks to see who among your contacts will be at which events in which geographies. This can be phenomenally useful for identifying which meetups, conferences or gatherings are worth attending (and who you can carpool with).

The founder of Lanyrd also contributed this great answer on Quora about other search engines/directories for events (which makes me like them even more).

#16 – Use Your Email Connections (and Signature) to Promote Your Blog
As a blogger, you’re likely to be sending a lot of email out to others who use the web and have the power to help spread your work. Make sure you’re not ignoring email as a channel, one-to-one though it may be. When given an opportunity in a conversation that’s relevant, feel free to bring up your blog, a specific post or a topic you’ve written about. I find myself using blogging as a way to scalably answer questions – if I receive the same question many times, I’ll try to make a blog post that answers it so I can simply link to that in the future.

 

I also like to use my email signature to promote the content I share online. If I was really sharp, I’d do link tracking using a service like Bit.ly so I could see how many clicks email footers really earn. I suspect it’s not high, but it’s also not 0.

#17 – Survey Your Readers
Web surveys are easy to run and often produce high engagement and great topics for conversation. If there’s a subject or discussion that’s particularly contested, or where you suspect showing the distribution of beliefs, usage or opinions can be revealing, check out a tool like SurveyMonkey (they have a small free version) or PollDaddy. Google Docs also offers a survey tool that’s totally free, but not yet great in my view.

#18 – Add Value to a Popular Conversation
Numerous niches in the blogosphere have a few “big sites” where key issues arise, get discussed and spawn conversations on other blogs and sites. Getting into the fray can be a great way to present your point-of-view, earn attention from those interested in the discussion and potentially get links and traffic from the industry leaders as part of the process.

You can see me trying this out with Fred Wilson’s AVC blog last year (an incredibly popular and well-respected blog in the VC world). Fred wrote a post about Marketing that I disagreed with strongly and publicly and a day later, he wrote a follow-up where he included a graphic I made AND a link to my post.

If you’re seeking sources to find these “popular conversations,” Alltop, Topsy, Techmeme (in the tech world) and their sister sites MediaGazer, Memeorandum and WeSmirch, as well as PopURLs can all be useful.

#19 – Aggregate the Best of Your Niche
Bloggers, publishers and site owners of every variety in the web world love and hate to be compared and ranked against one another. It incites endless intrigue, discussion, methodology arguments and competitive behavior – but, it’s amazing for earning attention. When a blogger publishes a list of “the best X” or “the top X” in their field, most everyone who’s ranked highly praises the list, shares it and links to it. Here’s an example from the world of marketing itself:

 

That’s a screenshot of the AdAge Power 150, a list that’s been maintained for years in the marketing world and receives an endless amount of discussion by those listed (and not listed). For example, why is SEOmoz’s Twitter score only a “13″ when we have so many more followers, interactions and retweets than many of those with higher scores? Who knows. But I know it’s good for AdAge.

Now, obviously, I would encourage anyone building something like this to be as transparent, accurate and authentic as possible. A high quality resource that lists a “best and brightest” in your niche – be they blogs, Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, individual posts, people, conferences or whatever else you can think to rank – is an excellent piece of content for earning traffic and becoming a known quantity in your field.

Oh, and once you do produce it – make sure to let those featured know they’ve been listed. Tweeting at them with a link is a good way to do this, but if you have email addresses, by all means, reach out. It can often be the start of a great relationship!

#20 – Connect Your Web Profiles and Content to Your Blog
Many of you likely have profiles on services like YouTube, Slideshare, Yahoo!, DeviantArt and dozens of other social and Web 1.0 sites. You might be uploading content to Flickr, to Facebook, to Picasa or even something more esoteric like Prezi. Whatever you’re producing on the web and wherever you’re doing it, tie it back to your blog.

Including your blog’s link on your actual profile pages is among the most obvious, but it’s also incredibly valuable. On any service where interaction takes place, those interested in who you are and what you have to share will follow those links, and if they lead back to your blog, they become opportunities for capturing a loyal visitor or earning a share (or both!). But don’t just do this with profiles – do it with content, too! If you’ve created a video for YouTube, make your blog’s URL appear at the start or end of the video. Include it in the description of the video and on the uploading profile’s page. If you’re sharing photos on any of the dozens of photo services, use a watermark or even just some text with your domain name so interested users can find you.

If you’re having trouble finding and updating all those old profiles (or figuring out where you might want to create/share some new ones), KnowEm is a great tool for discovering your own profiles (by searching for your name or pseudonyms you’ve used) and claiming profiles on sites you may not yet have participated in.

I’d also strongly recommend leveraging Google’s relatively new protocol for rel=author. AJ Kohn wrote a great post on how to set it up here, and Yoast has another good one on building it into WordPress sites. The benefit for bloggers who do build large enough audiences to gain Google’s trust is earning your profile photo next to all the content you author – a powerful markup advantage that likely drives extra clicks from the search results and creates great, memorable branding, too.

#21 – Uncover the Links of Your Fellow Bloggers (and Nab ‘em!)
If other blogs in your niche have earned references from sites around the web, there’s a decent chance that they’ll link to you as well. Conducting competitive link research can also show you what content from your competition has performed well and the strategies they may be using to market their work. To uncover these links, you’ll need to use some tools.

OpenSiteExplorer is my favorite, but I’m biased (it’s made by Moz). However, it is free to use – if you create a registered account here, you can get unlimited use of the tool showing up to 1,000 links per page or site in perpetuity.

 

There are other good tools for link research as well, including Blekko, Majestic, Ahrefs and, I’ve heard that in the near-future, SearchMetrics.

Finding a link is great, but it’s through the exhaustive research of looking through dozens or hundreds that you can identify patterns and strategies. You’re also likely to find a lot of guest blogging opportunities and other chances for outreach. If you maintain a great persona and brand in your niche, your ability to earn these will rise dramatically.

Bonus #22 – Be Consistent and Don’t Give Up
If there’s one piece of advice I wish I could share with every blogger, it’s this:

 

The above image comes from Everywhereist’s analytics. Geraldine could have given up 18 months into her daily blogging. After all, she was putting in 3-5 hours each day writing content, taking photos, visiting sites, coming up with topics, trying to guest blog and grow her Twitter followers and never doing any SEO (don’t ask, it’s a running joke between us). And then, almost two years after her blog began, and more than 500 posts in, things finally got going. She got some nice guest blogging gigs, had some posts of hers go “hot” in the social sphere, earned mentions on some bigger sites, then got really big press from Time’s Best Blogs of 2011.

I’d guess there’s hundreds of new bloggers on the web each day who have all the opportunity Geraldine had, but after months (maybe only weeks) of slogging away, they give up.

When I started the SEOmoz blog in 2004, I had some advantages (mostly a good deal of marketing and SEO knowledge), but it was nearly 2 years before the blog could be called anything like a success. Earning traffic isn’t rocket science, but it does take time, perseverance and consistency. Don’t give up. Stick to your schedule. Remember that everyone has a few posts that suck, and it’s only by writing and publishing those sucky posts that you get into the habit necessary to eventually transform your blog into something remarkable.

INTERNET MARKETING III

Marketing Is A Numbers Game

The first thing you need to know about marketing  is it’s a numbers game. You’d be surprised how many people really don’t know what I mean by that. Let’s look at your local car dealer for a good example: Your local auto dealer sends out thousands of mailers, flyers, and coupons not to mention television and radio advertisements to attract customers to their lot. All of these methods are marketing, and all of these techniques have funding allotted to them. The first thing the marketing director knows is that not every flyer will bring in a customer. They realize that not every commercial will cause someone to jump in their car and race down to the dealership to buy another car, whether they need it or not. They know only a percentage of people will ever receive their advertisements, and only a percentage of those people will read or pay attention to the coupons or commercials, and only a percentage of those people will ever go to their dealership and buy a new car. Does this discourage them? No. They do a weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly marketing blitz and realize that they will reap a percentage of what they sow. So it always amazes me when Internet Marketers barely try to market their product and get discouraged when only a trickle, or no traffic, comes their way. It’s a numbers game. This means you have to do the NUMBERS! You have to advertise (marketing) your product or opportunity in every single fashion you can possibly think of both on and off the Internet in order to bring in customers/associates in ratio to the amount of advertising you produce.

Make sense? It is the same thing whether we are talking about cars or groceries or pizza pies or…well I think you get the picture. It’s remarkable how many people become despondent and quit because they placed ten ads on a free classified site, and nobody got into their business. They throw their hands up and claim; “I knew it wouldn’t work” after they post their opportunity an additional three times on Facebook and nothing happens.

Online Pizza Marketing

Marketing PizzaCan you imagine how many flyers your local supermarket sends out on a weekly basis to people who have no intention on shopping there? Do they throw their hands up and claim; “What’s the use, they won’t buy anything”. No! They flood the mailboxes and airwaves across the city/town and take what they can get. That’s effective MARKETING, and it’s exactly what YOU need to do when advertising online. Flood the internet with your opportunity (and no, I don’t mean spam, there are many ways to do it without going there) and a percentage of the traffic you generate will either buy or get in business with you. It’s that simple! No need to complicate it. No need to get all caught up in the “but what if they don’t join” or “what if I advertise and no one buys?”

If that’s the case, you need MORE MARKETING!

Work harder! Think of more and effective ways to get your opportunity or product in front of the masses until you get the results you are looking for! If you practice this, your momentum will be such that customers and associates will be running to catch up with you! Remember, no one wants to get on a train that isn’t going anywhere, they only want to get on board when you’re moving SO GET MOVING AND KEEP MOVING! This leads to yet another problem I see far too often in Internet Marketing people not getting the results they want because they have not put in the time and effort to do so, and then they become desperate to market their opportunities (through spam methods etc.). This is a near epidemic in social media sites such as Facebook. Nobody likes desperation. Moreover, people can smell it! If you give the slightest hint of being desperate (desperate for new customers, desperate to recruit, desperate to make money etc.) no one will follow you. No one will join you, even if the opportunity you are promoting is amazing ! You MUST give off an aura of expertise and confidence, even when you’re not confident, and don’t know what the heck you’re doing! This is critical! Nothing will kill your business and your spirits quicker than desperation! How do you deliver such a presence? You focus on your “why”, listen to motivational material, read positive affirmation books, and WORK, WORK, WORK! See how it all ties together? When your mind starts to slip back into; “I guess my job isn’t that bad” remember this formula. Make it a habit to improve yourself daily and you will begin to see the results you are looking for.

Never forget success in Marketing is all about numbers, numbers, NUMBERS

Marketing is about numbers

PS

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