Meet Our Guest: Social Media Strategist and Realist, Greg Watson

If there’s one thing that has stood out in the world of online business in the past few years, it’s been the focus on social media.

There’s no doubt that social media has an impact on the lives of many and has become the way many people receive and send information online. In this day and age, it just doesn’t make sense for any online business to ignore social media.

But you’ve got to be careful. Social media can be a powerful online tool for businesses, but one always has to be mindful of time, resources and response.

And that’s exactly what our guest blogger, Greg Watson, is going to help us do. We are lucky to have him here for a series of 11 posts and he’s going to deliver us plenty of advice to ensure we make the most of the opportunity social media offers us.

Without further ado, I’ll just let Greg introduce himself…

Hi, I’m Greg Watson. I’ve been getting my feet wet, often drenched, in social media for business since about 2007. I’ve managed social media for my own businesses, advised countless other businesses and continue to learn and grow as social networks evolve over time.

I mention the evolution of social media because what you find today, may not be what you find tomorrow. While everyone always thinks of social giant Facebook and longtime player LinkedIn, most of the big networks we talk about today are only a few years old. That makes social media a very new business tool, so there is plenty to learn and plenty of exploration to do. I hope to help you with that learning and exploration with my guest post series here.

A few stats to get us started:

Social Media Stats* According to a 2011 Q3 report by Nielsen, more than 80% of Americans use at least one social network. That is a staggering number and one that should really get our attention as business owners.

* In a Comscore report from the end of 2011, they stated that Facebook accounts for 1 in every 7 minutes spent online. Remember, as mentioned earlier, social media is becoming the way people receive and send information. It’s their go-to place.

* Social Skinny.com reports that 91% of social marketers increased website traffic through social activity. That’s what we all want, right? More eyeballs on our web pages is always a good thing.

* While it was a relatively small sample of 1000 Facebook users, these results from Lab42.com are very interesting. In their survey, they found that 50% of Facebook fans prefer brand pages to company websites, which leads us to an obvious question. Do you have a Facebook page and if you do, are you leveraging your Facebook page effectively?

What we’ll be talking about in this series:

Examining Social MediaWhile I have mentioned some pretty impressive stats, we have to mix it with a dose of reality. Many people are flocking to social media, but our businesses are not social media. That’s where I see a lot of people making big mistakes. They put so much focus into social media, they forget that they are actually trying to run a business.

Social media is a great lead generator and can help us form closer connections to our existing audiences, but all that is worthless if we neglect everything else we need to be doing. That’s why I will always be mindful of that when I share my thoughts in this series. I will show you how to use your time wisely and how to streamline things, wherever possible.

Some of the topics we’ll be covering in the coming posts include:

  • Understanding the big social networks and deciding where you should be
  • Managing your time effectively
  • Growing your following and establishing yourself as a valuable resource
  • Tools to streamline your marketing, without looking like a robot

…and a bunch of other stuff. We’ll even talk about some unexpected benefits of social media marketing, so hold onto your hats, we’ve got a lot to cover.

Jimmy D. Brown’s “Membership to Go” PLR Reviewed

I haven’t written a product review in a while — mostly because I was a little conflicted about all of the “business-in- a-box” products that promised quick and easy wealth. It has been my experience that there is nothing quick and easy about an internet business.

It takes quite a bit of effort and there is a fairly steep learning curve. But every now and then someone offers a product that I believe represents true value.

In this case, Jimmy D. Brown has repackaged some of his recent reports into a fixed-term membership site, based on the model he created in “Membernaire.”  With a fixed-term membership site, you offer a certain number of lessons for a set term.  People who sign on know exactly how long the membership will continue and what they will get with each lesson.

He offers bonuses at key points to get subscribers to stick past the “typical” fourth month when people usually cancel open-ended memberships.

He is offering Membership To Go as a complete 12-month FTM site with private label rights, so you can save time and money in getting your own membership site off the ground.

Here’s a little of what you get:

The first lesson is a step-by-step overview of the process to use to make affiliate sales. And in typical “Jimmy D. Brown” style, he makes it more enticing by showing how you can earn that first commission in just 7 days.

This process map of the Membership to Go First lesson, outlines the steps to your first commission.The information presented in the first issue is so useful to beginning affiliate marketers; you’ll want to have it at your fingertips every time you plan a new campaign.

To make it even more useful, I have created a process map that puts the steps described in the first report on 3 pages that you can laminate, keep near your computer and use over and over again as you plan all of your affiliate campaigns.”

Grab your copy of “Membership to Go” here.

Issue #2 takes the process a step further by adding more advanced techniques to help affiliate marketers create a successful, long-term business. Here he places great emphasis on the value of building a list, and shows how to do it in an era when people are reluctant to part with their email addresses.

Other issues introduce the reader to other aspects of internet marketing. He shows readers how to apply this new knowledge as a marketing consultant in your local community or as a product producer — giving buyers a number of ways to benefit.

Essentially, this package represents the best of Jimmy D. Brown’s creativity and wisdom. Of course, you won’t be able to mention his name in your promotions, but you will know that you are promoting a quality product.

The bonus report that comes as issue #13 is worth the price of the entire package in my opinion. Here Jimmy explains how to include up sells to increase your profit on each product you sell.

One of the greatest benefits of his products is the excellent way he not only tells you what to do, but explains why. For example, he talks about the opportunity involved in making your “customers an upgrade offer while they’re already in the buying mood.”

He takes it a step further by providing an example of a product he offered where 90 percent of the people who bought the product took advantage of the upgrade as well. He then goes on to describe ways to create up sells that are tightly related to the initial product offer — which is vital to getting people to take you up on your offer.

Pro: No one is better at providing step-by-step lessons with highly relevant examples and other valuable information to help you make money or boost your profits.

Your customers will love this product. And you can use the information he includes to provide the material in different formats with added tools, to make this package even more valuable.

Con: I had already bought some of these reports individually, so initially, I questioned the value of this package.

But that turned out to be a plus, because Jimmy shows you how to practice what he preaches; how to re-purpose information in entirely new formats to make even more money from those “small reports” you created initially.

This product is really a “no-brainer”.  You get, 13 great lessons, with a sales page and other promotional tools all ready to go.

Marcia Ming

P.S. Don’t forget that I have created a 3-page process map for that vital first lesson as my gift for anyone who buys this package through me. I also have a couple of other surprises I plan to add so click here to buy Membership to Go. You won’t be sorry.

Internet Marketing: A Personal Note about the “Wild, Wild West” Atmosphere

After my long hiatus, I’m back and determined to bring even more value to the readers of this blog. A friend has encouraged me to share some of my negative experiences and the lessons learned in my five years online

Shadowy photo of a gunslinger depicts “anything goes” atmosphere of internet marketing

The Internet is a little like the “Wild, Wild West,” of America’s past where anything goes. It’s an exhilarating ride but one where you can lose big if you don’t know what you are doing.

Some internet marketers share just enough of the bad stuff to get your attention. Once they have it, they go into selling mode to get you to buy whatever they are selling. No one really tells you the whole story, so you can flounder doing just enough right for your website or internet business to gain traction. But not enough to make any real money…

So many people have lost jobs and are burning through their savings in an effort to build online businesses or to restore their professional lives. The last thing anyone in that position should do is listen to anyone who promises that their product will make it possible for you to earn big money fast or easy working just a few hours a day or week.

There is nothing easy or fast about building an Internet business. Any one who is honest will tell you that there is a steep learning curve. And just when you think you have it all figured out, things change. In short, there is a lot you have to do right to succeed.

Benefits of using the Internet to Market Your Products and Services

With what I’ve just told you, you may be wondering: Why bother? But before you give up on internet marketing, you should consider all of the great benefits it holds for your business.

  • This is the first time in history that you and other small business owners have been able to reach prospects anywhere in the world by publishing a website.
  • The internet offers many marketing opportunities that are free or low-cost, making it possible for you to expand your business in ways you couldn’t have considered before.
  • During the Web 2.0 phase of the World Wide Web, a lot of great resources were created – amazing resources that help you get your message out, at a fraction of the cost of offline advertising vehicles.
  • Using some of these new resources, you can measure the return on your time and money – your return on investment or “ROI” – as business leaders say.

That’s a lot of reasons to wade into the Internet’s scary waters. But it helps to have a guide who’ll share the full story – the good and the bad. That’s exactly what I plan to do.

My photo - Marcia Ming

Marcia Ming

For those of you who don’t know me, I am a former business reporter and a highly trained observer. As a marketing coach, I’ve worked with small business owners directly. I also ran a non-profit program that provided small business loans to start-up and home based businesses. My passion is helping people achieve their small business dreams.

So I hope to achieve that dream with this blog and my small business coaching program. I’ll tell you more about both in future blog posts. I am planning even more insider information to those who join my list. You’ll want to sign up to get my newsletter, special offers, and timely reports I am planning for my savvy insiders.

So sign up now so you won’t miss anything I share.  This month, I’ll share lots of information about membership sites – why you might want to create one and how to do it. I also will review some of the scripts, plugins and software available to run your membership site. And for joining my list, I am giving away a special report with the traffic strategies expected to be most effective for the balance of 2012.

Marcia Ming

Google Knows a Thing or Two about Savvy Marketing! What is ph1r5t

It started with a comment on my blog; just the letters – ph1r5t?

I didn’t have a clue and my first inclination was that the spam filters should have caught the comment. But then I noticed the source Google.com. That raised my curiosity a tad, and I wondered if this was their way of getting my attention.

Google comment regarding pht r5t

I typed ph1r5t into the Google search box and it took me to an actual search results page:

 Screen capture of the Google search results page for ph1r5t

I am not a gamer or developer and I still don’t know what those letters mean.  However, a glance up and I spotted the word new just above a new menu item – Play.

I had to know more so I clicked the Play tab to find Google introducing a brand new feature, PLAY. I clicked the Learn More button to reveal this promo. I am a very big movie buff, so now I was all in. That made me wonder if the ph1r5t was really a ploy by someone at Google to call attention to this new PLAY feature. If so, wouldn’t that be a really clever way to get my attention and anyone who happens to see the blog comment? What if Google planted a similar comment on thousands of blogs?

Hunger Games -- One of the alternating screen shots on the Learn More page for Google Play

 Here’s a link so that you can watch the videos about PLAY yourself.

I’m always on the lookout for savvy marketing and I think that this could be a great example. But there is still a MYSTERY! Was this a savvy marketing ploy by Google or just one of my site visitors trying to promote his webpage. Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

I’m just glad I didn’t hit the erase button before investigating. Thanks Google for providing me with a very clever example of savvy marketing.

How to Sell to Women – Virtual conference shines a light on what makes women buy

The copy writing courses I’ve taken all stress how important it is for the writer to get into the conversation taking place in the prospect’s head. Well if you’re selling to a woman, it’s also critical to understand what’s going on in her heart.

It’s not news that women are more emotional. We learned that in John Gray’s now classic tome “Men are from Mars; Women are From Venus.”

How to sell to women - woman shopperAs it turns out, understanding all of those emotions may be the key to selling to women, according to Lisa Sasevich, host of a 3-day virtual conference, “How to Sell to Women.”

Women need to know that you care about them before they will even think of buying what you’re selling, she and some of her master teachers said. They want you to be authentic – you have to be real. And don’t even think of lying or trying to pull something over on them. They’ll see it coming from miles away.

Those are just a few of the ideas picked up from her expert panel of men and women who have made millions selling to women.

Two of the male superstars are best-selling author and speaker Brian Tracy and Jeff Walker, who turned internet marketing upside down with his Product Launch Formula. Both agreed that it is extremely important to honor women clients and treat them with respect.

A lot of women have issues around selling and MONEY, which can get in the way when they are buying or selling, according to Ali Brown, a consultant who coaches women to success. Brown has mentored a number of the women on the panel including Sasevich.  You’d do well to understand those issues before you try to sell to women, Brown says, adding that these issues are something a lot of men just don’t get.

Understanding the buying power of women

If you’re wondering why men should care about how to sell to women; the answer lies in the enormous influence women have on buying decisions in the marketplace today.

  • Roughly 85 percent of all buying decisions are made by women
  • Women open 70 percent of all new businesses
  • Women spend 80 percent of BOTH combined household incomes
  • Women spend $5 trillion annually (and that’s only in the U.S.), and they
  • Buy more online products and services than men

Women buy emotionally, but they need to be able to rationalize it logically, says Pamela Bruner, a Business Coach who helps women entrepreneurs address some of the emotional issues that can block their success in business.

Women also sell more emotionally, Bruner said. That gives women an edge in selling but it can also lead to conflict; the emotions and the rational mind have to be in alignment.

What doesn’t work with women?

Hard-selling and hyped up tactics rarely work with women. It’s an issue of how to sell without being “salesey.” It may be more important to inspire women to say yes rather than persuading them to buy, she said.

Not being authentic with women can cost you the sale, Bruner says. Sometimes you may not even realize you are being inauthentic. As a business coach, she often encourages her women clients to raise their prices. But if those clients are conflicted about charging what the coach suggests and what she believes she should charge, her female prospect is likely to sense that discrepancy.

You cannot overcome an objection you agree with, Bruner says. There is no sense in trying to sell a woman a product she can’t afford or believes she doesn’t need. In cases like this, you should just quit, she said. Women have a strong BS meter you are never going to be able to avoid.

There still may be time to learn more about selling to women. And it’s certainly a topic all marketers with women clients should consider.

What do you think? Do you find it necessary to alter your selling strategies when your prospect is a woman? Leave a comment below.

Where to Find Quality Content Ideas for your Small Business Website or Blog?

In previous posts, I’ve talked about why content is so important to draw traffic to your small business website or blog. It’s just not enough to write about your products and services. You need to provide your prospects and customers with information that will warm them up, get them to trust you and gently lead them to buy.

Clipboard with website content ideasHowever, most small business owners wear a lot of hats. You’re a buyer or sometimes even a manufacturer. You’re trying to get sales, keep books, market your business and plan strategically for the future. Where do you find time to brainstorm and write content ideas for your website?

You could hire a writer to do it for you, but that can get expensive. Or you can take a page out of my book, and peruse some of the Private Label Rights (PLR) article sites for information you can turn into content for your small business website.

What if your business is moving families to their new home or apartment? EasyPLR.com offers a set of PLR articles called “Moving on the Cheap,” for only $9.50. You could take that article pack, rewrite them to suit your customer base and have enough ideas for your website, email newsletter and even a physical newsletter you use to motivate sales.

Realtors could take advantage of the site’s “Home Buyer’s Guide for only $10, while retailers might benefit from an article collection on Wine tasting and Wine purchasing. These are just some of the article titles available for less than $20.

You may be wondering just what are private label rights content sites.  They are a little like your grocery store which sells its own store products on the shelf right next to name brands. These PLR providers hire writers to create articles, or special reports and other content which they sell in small quantities – 150 in the case of EasyPLR.com to blogs and websites for them to use as content. There is no reason you couldn’t solve your content needs in the same way.

There are a number of companies on the internet providing PLR content. You’re bound to find something to meet your needs by googling PLR and your business niche. The big challenge is finding providers that provide good quality consistently.

Fortunately for you, a number of work-at-home Moms write or offer PLR on the Net. Some of my favorites include EasyPLR.com, DIYPLR.com, YummyPLR.com and PLR.me.  I also receive a collection of newsletter PLR content from PLRNewsletters.com. Shhh! My secret is out. Now my clients will know where I get some of the ideas I use for their websites.

Well, I wanted to let you know about this now because Nicole Dean is offering a 50 percent discount to anyone who buys PLR from her EasyPLR site this month. Just use the coupon code:  LIFEISGOOD.

Some of these article packs are very limited, so GO NOW to grab your copy before they are all gone. Here’s that link again.

EasyPLR.com

You should know that Ming Communications, owner of Savvy Marketing Secrets.com,  has an affiliate relationship with some of the websites mentioned in this blog post.