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Archive for October, 2010

Oct
28

I Follow My Own Twitter Rules

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There is so much Twitter advice out there and there’s so much contradiction that I’ve decided to follow my own Twitter rules.  I figure… my rules are as good as the next guy’s and I’m basing my rules on experience…my experience.

However,  I must say, there are some rules I follow without question.   You know… the Twitter big guys’ rules.  No sense in putting myself in an “You’re out of here” position.

So… if you’re interested in “My Twitter Rules” of conduct and etiquette… read on.

2000 Rule

A.  There’s no sense in bucking the “2000 Rule” because Twitter is not going to budge.  They put the rule into place as a type of spam filter.  The original 2008 rule was:  I could have as many “Followers” as I wanted… but I was limited to “Following” only 2000 Tweeters.  Period.

Since then… I can “Follow” more than 2000 folks if my “Followers” exceed 2000.  I’ve found it wise to keep my “Follow” list in unison with my list of “Followers” to allow me to override the general 2000 rule when I get there.  Therefore, I have adopted the 2000 rule.

Re-Tweets

A.  When someone I don’t recognize retweets me… I immediately check out their profile, stats and read a few posts.  If there are no glaring reasons why I should not follow them back… I promptly click the “Follow” button.   I figure, if they were kind enough to RT me, they should be on my “Follow” list.

There have been times when I have retweeted individuals frequently, only to find out that they are not “Following” me.  In that case… I have no problem clicking on the “Unfollow” button for that individual.

B.  I love to retweet good content.  I want my followers to have the best.  However, after I’ve retweeted someone’s various tweets ten times or so… and don’t get the same consideration… I stop.  Oh…it’s lovely to get a “Thanks For The RT”… but along with that… it would be nice they reciprocated now and again.

Following Others

At one time… I followed every Tom, Dick and Harriet.  Anyone who followed me got an automatic “Follow” click.  In addition to that… I was adding to my “Follow” list on #FF and finding followers by other means.  I soon found out that my “Follow” list was growing much faster than my “Following.”  I wanted to keep my list numbers a little closer together.

When I took a closer look at the folks I was following… I was surprise at the number of folks I was following that I had nothing in common with.  So, I put in place a few rules for myself.

A. I’m sent an e-mail every time someone follows me.  I now look at each profile, read a few posts and make my call.  One thing I do is… look to see how close the “Follow” and “Following” list are.

Generally, I don’t follow those who have tons of “Followers” and “Follow” very few people.  (Example:  300 to 20,000) Unless you’re Seth Godin (who doesn’t follow anyone,) or someone of that caliber… I just don’t click on the “Follow” button.  I prefer a more “rounded” sort of folk.

B. I look for people who’s content is helpful to me personally or to my business goals.  I follow people in my niche.  I follow folks who are clever and entertaining.  I follow folks in all categories who offer good content.

I enjoy a little “chitter chatter”…  after all… Twitter is a social site.  But, 20 posts in a row on how cute your dog or boyfriend is, or what you are eating for dinner,  or what movie you’re watching, or where you are shopping at the moment etc. etc. etc. doesn’t motivate me to want to follow you.  Neither does 100 quotes in a row from the “great” and the “un-great.”

C.  I love to look at the #FF recommendations from folks I trust.  I click on many of their suggestions… look at profiles and add to my “Follow” list.  I find high quality content this way.

UnFollow

A.  Since my “Follow” list was growing so fast… I looked at the list of folks that I was following but were not following me and eliminated a few.  In fact… I eliminated a lot… in order to leave room for folks I have something in common with… like you!

I use a great unfollow Twitter tool. It gives me a list of those folks who I am following but are not following me back.  (That’s how I found those folks that I had retweeted a thousands times that weren’t following me.   Perhaps.. I’m not their type… and that’s okay… “click” they’re gone… no more retweets from me.)

B.  I unfollow those who are crude or are demeaning to others.  (Actually, I had to unfollowed very few of this sort.  Most folks are wonderful and don’t fall in this category.)

Follow Me

Now… I hope my Twitter rules haven’t scared you off.   If you believe I’m a good fit for you by all mean… follow me.  I try and pass on the very best content to help you personally or your business.

If you’re one of my followers… just give me a little “shout out” and let me know you’re there.  I love meeting folks from all over the world… and would love to support you in your personal or business endeavors.   After all… isn’t that what “Twitter” is all about?

Marketing and Promotion

Til Later,

Kathryn Griffiths

P.S.  So those are my Twitter rules… and they work for me.

Technorati Tags: twitter, twitter etiquette, twitter rules

Categories : Internet Basics
Comments (13)

Offering an online thank you is as important as thanking someone in person.  You should take every opportunity to thank folks who opt-in to your list, purchase a product from you, attended an event or, has retweeted your post on twitter.

When you create a new opt-in form in your Autoresponder, you generally have a chance to add a custom “Thank You Page” rather than allowing your Autoreponder company to send their standard thank you.  As your first step in building a relationship with your new friend, take advantage of this excellent opportunity.  (I use Aweber… which has a custom “Thank You” option.)

Now, I’m sure there are many ways to skin this cat, but I’m sharing a few tips I’ve found to be successful in creating a “Thank You Page”

Who Are You?

Providing your name is important.  However, putting a photo on your “Thank You Page” is just as important.  It allows your party to see who you are immediately.  When they receive your first e-mail, they are more apt to open the e-mail if they have a visual picture of who you are.  (At least you have a better chance.)

Thank Them

Now’s the time to thank them for their opt-in.  Remember, they just gave you their name and e-mail address.  First thing… let them know you appreciate it.

What Is The Offer

Remind them what they are receiving from you.  We all have so much going on… a little reminder helps.

Confirmation E-Mail

Whether to have a “double” or a “single opt-in” is constantly being debated.  (It’s a subject for another day.)  I have chosen the “double opt-in” option.

Let your new friend know they will be receiving a confirmation e-mail from you… and how it may appear in their in-box.

Your first e-mail will appear in one of two ways.  Your name or your e-mail address will appear first in the title bar.  You have no control over this the first time around.  It depends upon your customers system of receiving their first e-mail and their “spam” arrangements.  Therefore, it’s wise to have them watch for either your name or e-mail address.

How Will They Receive Your Product?

Let them know exactly how they will be receiving the product or information you have offered them.

Some folks give their new list member the download link in a new e-mail.  Others will have the member join a membership site where the information is located. (I feel irritated when I expect a link in my e-mail and find I have to join a membership site and haven’t been informed.)  Let them know right up front what to expect.  No tricks!

Reassurance

Reassure them that their name and e-mail address is safe with you.  It also let’s them know you are not a “spammer” and they should expect quality information from you.  (They feel they have recourse if you don’t keep your word.)

Where Did That E-mail Go?

As hard as you may try…. for what every reason, your first e-mail may end up in the “Spam Box.”  Warn your friend of this fact so they will be on the look out.  (A lot will depend upon the title of your e-mail… but we’ll discuss that later.)

Details Are Important

Every online marketer has their own method of disseminating products or information.  Be very clear about what your new friend can expect from you.

If you have addition tips to offer… please share them in the comment box.  I’d love to hear from you.

Marketing And Promotion

Til later,

Kathryn Griffiths

P.S.  Each Autoresponder company has their own method of sending a customized
“Thank You Page,”  Find out how it works and use it to your benefit.

Your Turn: Do you have any advice you would like to share? What tips would you like to add? Please comment below.

Technorati Tags: aweber, online thank you, thank you page

Categories : Marketing
Comments (6)

How important are graphics in your online business?  Are they distracting or are they an asset?

Well that all depends upon how they are used and to what degree.  There seems to be a trend toward less graphics and more simplification.  But… remember… a picture is worth a thousand words if used appropriately.

1.  Web Site Design: Graphics can be used to enhance your web or blog site.  However, be careful not to over do it to the point your visitors are distracted by the design.

The most important graphic on your site is a photo of yourself.  I’m surprised how many blogs are missing this important promotional element.  Don’t deny your readers the opportunity to bond and build a personal relationship with you by not seeing what you look like.

2.  Opt-in pages: This past year, we’ve seen a change in the appearance of opt-in pages. They’ve gone from sporting fancy graphic banner headers to a plain format that just includes text, a “red” arrow and perhaps a photo.  Testing shows that opt-in pages that are simple to convert better.   In other words… get to the point with no fan fare.

Simple or not… I’m a firm believer in placing your photo on your opt-in page.  When a reader can see your face and read your name, it begins the relationship process and starts an element of trust.  When you use a photo, readers will remember you better when your messages hits their e-mail box.

3.  Sales Pages: Sales pages have also become more simplified.  You don’t see heavy graphic banners at the top of the page as much as you did a couple of years ago.  Sales letters have become more text oriented.

However, you must consider your niche.  Do a little homework and testing in your particular niche to determine whether a simple graphic header appeals to your market over the plain text sales page.

The use of a book cover or CD cover facsimile at the bottom of your sales page may be just the final touch you need to entice them to “Click Here.”

4.  Reports and E-books: Here’s where a few graphics may be helpful to spice up your report or ebook.  Using a replica of a book cover, or CD case on the cover page will enhance your report or e-book.   Also… a photo of yourself is important.  The more frequent folks can see your face, the more they will identify with you.  Don’t miss out on this important promotion opportunity.

5.  Graphic Design Services: Inexpensive graphic designers can be found on the Warrior Forum. Sites like Elance, or RentA Coder offer graphic services.

I’m a graphic designer, and do my own design work.  It can be a bit time consuming and I’ve thought about handing it off to someone else.  However, I found a great product that I’m going to be frequently using for my e-book and CD cover facsimiles.   Using the templates that are available, I put together a book cover in 8 minutes.   I am truly amazed.


This first example is original art work I created.  My design was flat and I ran it through Ecover Creator 3D and it formed this magazine looking cover.  Amazing!  It would have taken me an hour or so to create the same magazine look.  I can take my same original art work and make a CD cover design  Slick!


This cover is using an Ecover Creator 3D template from one of the several themes available.  Many design options are accessible within each theme.  Wow… a great book cover in 8 minutes.

I’m so thrilled with Ecover Creator 3D, I had to pass this information along to you.  For the price of just one book graphic design from a designer… I can create hundreds of book covers from now on with out designing it myself, or hiring someone else to do it.

Book cover graphics are a part of an online business.  No sense in avoiding the opportunity to use them when it is as easy as this.

Successful Marketing and Promotion!

Til Later,

Kathryn Griffiths

Click on the book cover images above and see where they take you!

Ideas anyone?

Technorati Tags: ebook covers, graphic designer, graphics, internet graphics

Categories : Promotion
Comments (5)

Online Branding, using social media,  is now a necessary part of building a successful online and off line  business.   It’s a necessary step in getting folks to know you, trust you and buy from you.

“Branding is all about signaling a power-packed and consistent message to your target audience.”  Melanie Keissell

As Melanie suggests, building a strong personal brand includes: reputation, trust, attention and action.

Internet Branding Hits Home

Yesterday, I pick up my teenage grandson from a friend’s house and gave him a lift home.  I ask him what fun things he had done over week-end.

“Oh the usual, we played a few video games,  fooled around on Facebook, took the four-wheelers out and drove around.”

He’s a typical technology driven teen, which includes an ipod mic in his ear, fingers that fly across his cell phone keypad, and visiting with friends on Facebook.

And, whether he’s aware of it or not… he… like me… is building an “Online Brand” by using social media.

Having easy access to a cell phone and a computer is awesome but along with this compelling technology comes responsibility… no matter who you are or your age.

Feathers On The Wind

How he builds his “Personal Brand” now, will impact his life later.   How he draws attention to himself now, shapes his reputation and creates or reduces trust.  His “Online Branding” will either strengthen or limit his future opportunities and actions.

Once posted on the Internet, either by computer or phone… photos and words are like feathers scattered on the wind from a broken pillow.  You simply cannot get them back!

It’s important for teens to realize that a poor “Personal Internet Brand” can prevent them from attending a particular school, becoming elected to an office, being recruited into the armed services… or a sport.  It may decrease or the eliminate the chances of getting a desired job.

I read that over 50% of all employers are now looking at Facebook and other social media formats, reviewing prospective employees, before deciding on who to hire.  That statistic will only increase.  Old, as well as current posts and photos may be the deciding factor whether one is hired or not.

I recently read about a young lady…  who was fired on her first day… before she even reached the parking lot.  She “Tweeted” a negative comment about her new employer on her way to work.   Word travels fast and is permanent.

Law enforcement is also using social media to track suspected criminals, viewing their habits, and locations.   Forget privacy laws…. there is no such thing when it comes to social media.

How Will I Advise My Grand Son And My Other Grands About “Online Branding?”

1. Never, never, post inappropriate photos of yourself, loved ones, or friends online by way of phone, or computer.   (Trusting a “friend” not to pass along a phone photo is like asking snow not to melt.)

2. Never post photos of any kind that the subject of the photo is not aware of.  You may open yourself up to a law-suit if you do… even in the future.

3. Never make negative or humiliating comments about friends, family, coworkers and  employers.  (For some reason, unfavorable talk always comes back to bite you in the fanny.)

4. Don’t post videos of fights or unbecoming behavior on YouTube.  In fact… don’t participate in fights or unbecoming behavior… you never know who may be filming you.  (Good reason to say away from risky parties )

5. Be selective about the friends you accept or invite.  It’s alright not to accept every invitation you receive.  (Every Tom, Dick and Harry will not always have your best interest in mind.  Don’t be afraid to “unfollow” someone who does not have the same values you do.)

6. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  And if that doesn’t work…  Don’t post words or photos that you don’t want your dad and mom or your nana to see. lol

7. Bottom line! Remember… the minute you get on the web or on you phone… you are building a “Internet Brand” that will live long into your future.  (Your “professional future” will come quicker than you think.)

“What Advice Would I Give My Kids With Respect To Teaching About “Internet Branding.”

1. Be smart… not every technology out there needs to be provide for your kids.  Use good judgement.  It’s okay to say “No.”  (Don’t be intimidated by whining, rolling eyes, sighs, guilt trips or the like.  As a kid… I tried that kind of intimidation and so did you.  Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.)  This is the time to stand firm.

2. Talk with the kids and let them know what is appropriate and what you expect.

3. Put “Privacy Settings” in place… but don’t count on them.  You are the best “Privacy Setting.”

4. Monitor their phones and computer use. You’re a parent first and then a friend.  (Refer to number one.)

5. Above all… remind them that they are building an “Online Brand” that will extend way into the future.

6. You’ll have to repeat the above frequently…. because nearly every child thinks they are an exception to the rule… invincible… and will never get old and “out of touch.”   (Remember?)

7.  Bottom Line! I know you’re aware of all this… but… all of our voices are better than one.  Besides…”I’m your mom!”  lol

And… as a Internet marketer… a mom and nana…  all this advice applies to me too.  Never to old to take advice… especially my own.

Online Marketing and Promotion!

Til Later,

Kathryn Griffiths

P.S.  Did I miss anything?  If you have additional “Internet Branding” advice… leave comments.  We need to support each other in this area!

Did I leave anything out?

Technorati Tags: branding, business branding, online branding, personal brand, social media

Categories : Promotion
Comments (6)

Should you set up a WordPress blog using WordPress.Com or the WordPress.Org format for your online or offline business?

Let’s put a few of the facts into place and you decide which platform is best for for your needs.

WordPress.Com is very much like the other well know blogging formats, such as Blogger, and Type Pad.  They are all blogging platforms that are owned by blog companies.  Blogger is a free blog platform that is owned by Google.  Type Pad is owned by Six Apart Ldt., and users are charged a yearly fee to use the system.

WordPress.com is a free format that owned and operated by Automattic, which is the team that discovered and developed WordPress in the beginning.  WordPress is initially free, but there is an extra charge for some upgrades and advanced features.

WordPress.Org is a blog platform that was built by Automattic but you own it.

Common Features of WordPress.Com and .Org

1.  Both platforms are based on the same basic software.  The look is the same and they have many of the same features.

WordPress.Com Advantages

1.  It’s free and very easy to set up.  Everything is taken care of, spam, backup, security etc.   You don’t even pay for hosting from a separate company.  In other words, it’s all encompassing.

2.  One of the best features is that fact that no one can get into your account by hacking it because of the security that’s in place.

3.  Your posts are backed up automatically so there is no need to purchase an extra back up system in case something goes wrong.

This system is superior if your want a carefree blog that requires very little of your attention to maintain and operate.

WordPress.Com Cons

1.   There are  hundreds of free themes are available for you to choose from.  However, you cannot run a custom theme.

2.  The code is set.  You cannot change any of the code behind your blog.   In other words, you cannot customize any of the code to make your site look or operate differently.

3.  You cannot customize your site by using additional plugins above and beyond those that are already set into the platform.

4.  WordPress is owned by Automattic.  Which means there are a set of definite standards and agreements you must abide by.  Any violation of these agreements may cause your site to be shut down.  Such is the case with Blogger and Type Pad.

WordPress.Org Advantages

1.  It’s free. It is a very basic shell of WordPress… which allows you the freedom to customize your blog for your particular needs and look.

2.  You may put on any theme you like.  There are hundreds of themes to chose from.  Many are free.   Pro Themes range in cost from fifty dollars to several hundred… depending upon the theme features.

3.  You may upload any plugin that is available.  There are thousands of plugins so you can customize your site to your exact needs and desires.

4.  You have complete control of the code behind your blog.  (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been behind the scenes changing a few things around… and I’m not a tech. wizard.)

5.  Biggest plus!  You own the site and have full control!   Another company does not set rules and regulations.  You can never be shut down by not conforming to the company’s policies.

WordPress.Org Cons

1.  You will need purchase the services of a good web host.  The cost will run from about seven dollars to twelve dollars per month.  Made sure your chose a large reliable host that can handle a high volume of traffic.

(I highly recommend Hostgator or BlueHost. They are both large companies and their customer service is excellent.  (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called customer service and had them handle a problem kindly and efficiently.  Those folks are smart)

2.  It requires more technical knowledge to set up and run.  (Once you get the swing of things… it’s a breeze.)

3.  You are responsible for stopping spam.  (There is a wonderful free plug in that handles this for you.)

4.  You have to handle your own backup.   (There is a plugin that will back up your wp blog system.  However, I recommend Mozy which backs up all of your computer files along with your WordPress blog.)  I once lost 4 years worth of artwork because I didn’t have a good backup system in place… but that a story for another time.

Which Do I Suggest?

I think it’s obvious which I prefer.  I use WordPress.Org because I have a business and want full control.

1.  As my blog grows and evolves, I want to be able to make the changes and upgrades necessary without limitations.  With the availability of plugins… that option is always open to me.

2.  I enjoy the flexibility of choosing and changing themes as I wish.

3.  Yes, there are a few costs involved… but the expenses are far below the real value.  I find the cost minimal.  All businesses have operating expenses.

4.  Setting up a WordPress.Org site is not has hard as one may think.  If you need assistance, here are many folks out there willing to help… including me.

5.  Again… because my blog is an vital part of my business, I want full control.  I don’t care to be at the effect of a company who has the option to shut down my blog… for what ever reason.

There you go… Of course you can choose which once suits your needs the best.  Which ever you choose… I have to say the WordPress is the finest blog and website platform out there.

Til Later,

Kathryn Griffiths

P.S.  If you need assistance setting up a WordPress Blog… just let me know.  I’d be glad to help!   Go to the bottom of my About page for my e-mail address.

Technorati Tags: blog, blog format, blog platform, blogging, WordPress

Categories : WordPress
Comments (11)

If PT Barnum were here today, I wonder what persuasive online strategy he would use to promote his circus, “The Greatest Show On Earth.”  Whatever he would come up with… you can bet it would be bold.

Barnum was one of the greatest promoters the world has ever seen.  His marketing and promotion strategies are still studied  by marketers today.

Barnum Was “Bold”

He used promotion methods that set him apart from his competitors.   Barnum use an old marketing strategy called… ” A Circus Barker.”  That’s the guy who stands and shouts out the benefits of purchasing a ticket to see the circus.  His job was to  “Call The People To Action.”  He had to  persuade folks to purchase a ticket and go through the door… then it was up to the performers to deliver.

Years ago, I traveled with a craft wholesale company to trade conventions.  We had our own “Circus Barker.”  It was the father of my boss, who was quite a large man full of energy and vinegar.  He stood right in the middle of the jam-packed isle, with a funny tall hat on, and called the crowd to action.  His job was to persuaded buyers to step inside our booth to see what we had to offer.  Once in the booth, it was up to the sales force to make the sale.

He was very successful.  Our booth was always over flowing with craft buyers.

What Was His Secret?

Before I tell you how he got them into the booth… I’ll tell you what he didn’t do.

He didn’t suggest.   “You might want to step into our booth to see the new products we just brought in from China.

He didn’t ask.  “Will you please step into our booth and take a look at the the new Halloween and Christmas stickers we are featuring this season.

Now… Exactly What Did He Do?

First, he first drew attention to himself by getting out there in the isle, wearing a funny hat and got the crowds attention.  No sitting in a chair in the booth hoping someone would walk in…  like so many of our competitors.

And more importantly… He “told” the buyers what to do.

“Place your Christmas ornament order now because we’re not going to take any more orders after this convention.”  (Which was the truth because we had to get our numbers in to our China factories.)

“Go into our booth right now and place your Christmas ornament order.  They’re the most unique ornaments you’ve ever seen and they are going to sell like hot cakes for you.”   (And he was right… the ornaments were unique, clever, and the price was right.)

What Can You Do?

In online marketing…we can’t wear a funny hat and stand out in the middle of the isle and be a “Circus Barker.”   However, you can “bark” your message on all the social media sites.  You can “bark” your message to your list.   You can “bark” your message to Google by using powerful keywords.  You can “bark” your message when you write articles.

When you have their attention…  you must bold in your “Call To Action” when directing folks to your opt-pages, sales pages and blogs.  “Tell“, (not ask or suggest), your prospective customer exactly what you want them to do.  And, be “Bold” about it.

Til Later,

Kathryn Griffiths

P.S.  Go immediately and purchase the most fantastic WordPress Plugin ever built.  It will make your WordPress life a piece of cake.  Do it now before the price goes up… and… let me tell you… it will.  This guy doesn’t mess around!

Technorati Tags: Marketing, P T Barnum, Promotion, promotion strategy

Categories : Promotion
Comments (5)