Home › Monthly Archives › March 2012

Embed Tweets!

Twitter now allows users to capture embed codes for their favorite tweets. This means that rather than taking screen shots of tweets and uploading images to our blogs and websites, we can embed tweets so that users can interact directly from our site. Of the new introductions, I believe this feature will have the most impact on sharing your content. What’s so great about that? Let me show you!

Overview

Embedded tweets allow you to take a tweet or a conversation and post it on your website or in a blog post. This feature allows you to share your Twitter conversation with a more extensive audience. The most significant aspect is the embedded tweets have interactive features. From an embedded tweet, a visitor to your website or a blog post reader can:

      1. View the Twitter profile of the tweet author.
      2. View the Twitter profile of the tweet recipient
      3. View tweet replies by clicking the tweet date.
      4. Reply to the tweet and join the conversation.
      5. Retweet and Share the conversation.
      6. Follow the tweet author.
      7. Mark the tweet as a favorite.

All of this happens right on your website. For most functions, Twitter adds a pop-up window so your visitor never leaves your site. It’s like having a little Twitter conversation launching platform installed on your website.

Embedded tweets are prominent on the page because they include graphic elements, so they pull the eyes of your visitors toward the twitter box.  If you embed a reply, Twitter posts not only the reply, but also the original tweet, giving you a conversation view. This puts the specific tweet you might want to share in context so it make more sense.

Tweets with photos from pic.twitter.com and videos from YouTube appear with the media visible. If the tweet includes a media source from another provider, your visitors can click through the tweet to display the image or video.

Approach 1: You can now add Customer Comments and Testimonials to Your Website or Blog

 This is an actual embedded Tweet—You can see all the Buttons and Links work!

The ability to include tweets from satisfied customers will give you spontaneous testimonials to display on your website or blog giving credibility to your brand. Before embeddable tweets, you could use the Twitter widget to add a list of customer testimonials to your website. Now with the embeddable tweets, you can highlight and share a single tweet without creating an entire list.

When prospective customers browse your website, they are looking for reasons you are better or different from someone else offering the same services or products. Actual tweets about your business or service make the website come alive and could generate more leads and conversions.

Approach 2: Prolong a Twitter Conversation in your Blog Post

For bloggers often a Twitter conversation becomes the insight for a particular blog post. You can embed part of a conversation into your blog post and reach more people than the original Twitter conversation.

Think about choosing a Tweet that includes a question. Each person who reads your post can join in the Twitter conversation directly from your blog. It’s a great way to develop your network and invite people who missed the original conversation on Twitter to join in.

Just to avoid the obvious reply…it even captures your typos like “imput”, oh well…

Approach 3: An automatic Call to Action

In our previous articles, we have discussed the importance of making sure you have a Call to Action.  You may or may not know how to create ads or Calls To Action (CTA) tabs for generating leads. You can now have the option of using an embedded Tweet instead and achieve the same result. You might create an embedded tweet to offer a free report or eBook on a topic in exchange for their contact information to build your email list. Not only can you grow your email list, but the prospect walks away with information and is likely to return to your site for more instruction, information, or additional resources.

Moreover, the customer is likely to spend more time at the website or blog when there is an embedded Twitter widget. This means that any ads, deals, announcements and other website content will get more exposure.

Approach 4: Event Round-up comments

Many conferences and trade shows today have a Twitter screen display that shows the comments and conversations going on among attendees. People often write enthusiastic tweets during events. You can capture their excitement by embedding those tweets.  So you just left a trade show and heard excellent feedback on your brand or product(s).

You can capture selected comments and share them on the event website, a daily wrap-up blog post, or event wrap-up post using embedded tweets. This will help you both get more followers and encourage them to share your summary posts on the event. Maybe you’ll even find some new prospects out of this?

If you are a larger company and host Twitter meetups, or Tweetups as they’re commonly called, you can capture tweets made during your event and share them on your website or in a blog post about your event.

Approach 5: A mini-guest blogger – Add views and thoughts from Others to Your Blog Posts

Many bloggers invite Guest Bloggers to post articles on their blog.  In turn they include opinions and quotes from those guests and often other people in their blog posts. Take that practice a step further and now you can embed tweets from other people into your blog posts.

 

Using your blog as the platform, the embedded tweets allow your readers to connect with new people on Twitter and jump into the Twitter conversation.

Approach 6: If you provide Training Classes, Webinars or Speaking Engagements- Share Audience Questions, Answers and Comments

Most live events broadcast live streams as well in order it involve excess capacity.  Typically, Twitter is used to solicit questions and comments.  Some of the most unprompted compliments about your business products and services occur during these conference sessions or webinars. You can capture these tweets and embed them into your blogs to demonstrate what people enjoyed about past conference gatherings.

When speaking at an event, audience members often share the highlights of your talk on Twitter along with their compliments of your talk. You can share these tweets on your website speaker page as testimonials of your presentation success.

Approach 7: Add a Tweet to Your Email Signature

In your business email signature, you have a small space to make a big impact. You can now embed a tweet in your email signature. How cool is that? Say you get some great feedback from a Twitter follower; Why not embed a tweet of that glowing customer comment to help you seal the deal with a potential customer? You can display that tweet in your email signature for the day or week. Add a tweet about an upcoming event or special.  Change it up as often as you’d like. Fun and easy.

In summary, Twitter has been a very powerful, real time communication, media filtering, and news filtering tool. Now Twitter is a portable power tool. Specially selected and embedded tweets will help to keep visitors at the website for a while. News can be shared easily when there are multiple websites. Finally, visitors can still get the benefits of Twitter without full immersion or having to go back and forth between the website and Twitter.

You can read more about embedding tweets in your website here.  But below is a quick overview:

WordPress Tweet Embed Plugin

WordPress is widely used by beginner and intermediate web developers, so it seems fitting to start with a plugin for your WordPress site. The WordPress Tweet Embed Plugin is the easiest model to embed a tweet. If you can copy and paste, you can use this method. Download and install the plugin as you do any WordPress plugin. When you see a tweet you want to embed, click on the link to open the full article. Copy the URL from the address bar of the web browser and take it to your WordPress dashboard.

Open your New Post page in the Visual tab where you would normally write your post and paste the URL on a separate line from other text. Then you can format it –Center, left, etc…

Click Save Draft and Preview how it will look in your post.

Direct HTML

You create an embedded tweet by inserting special HTML code into your website, blog post, email signature or anyplace that accepts HTML code.

Note: Before you get the HTML code, make sure you know where you are going to insert your embedded tweet and know how to insert HTML in that tool.

To get the HTML code to create an embedded tweet:

  1. Locate a tweet on Twitter.com that you want to embed. Hover your mouse over the tweet and click the Open option.

2.  Click Details.

 

3.  Click Embed this Tweet.

Twitter displays the Embed this Tweet window.

4.  Choose the alignment option for your tweet (left, right or center).

Twitter adjusts the HTML code for the alignment option you choose.

5.  Click inside the HTML code box to highlight the code. Note as above I choose “Center.”

Copy the HTML code (CTRL+C or Command+C) and paste it into your website, blog or other destination. Copy the code and paste it into your HTML tab, to the position where you want the tweet to show up. Click Preview to see it displayed in your article.

Once you experiment with options, you will see it’s very easy to do! Give it a try and be proud of yourself for tinkering with code and get your content shared through another avenue. Let us know how it worked out for you!

Precisely.

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Great Copy in Six Steps

Six Steps to Professional Copy1. Study the product you are writing about.

Unless you are convinced about the benefits of the product yourself you are not likely to be able to sell it convincingly. It is always easier if you are writing to sell your own product, but if you are selling an affiliate product make sure you do your homework and have as much information about it as possible.  Then test it yourself to give your copywriting that personal touch.

2. Is Feature, Function, Benefit selling dead?

This model was invented when companies actually had technological advantages back in the 70’s.  If you worked for companies like IBM or Xerox, most of what you sold the customer couldn’t get anywhere else.  So you better believe we sold features!

  • Feature:         50 separate memory channels
  • Function:        If you are a lawyer, you could store 50 different standard parts of a will
  • Benefit:          You will spend less time producing the standardized parts of legal documents and increase your profit.

Today, with few exceptions, technical advantage is measured in months and you can get it almost everywhere.  The FFB form of selling is fundamentally manipulative and a “needs” model.  It, by design, takes the customer down a path toward the logical conclusion that they need to buy what you’re selling.  It tends to be one-sided, setting in opposition the salesperson against the prospect.  Information wasn’t that available back then, you had to work much harder to do your homework than the few clicks required today.  So, do your customers have a need? ─ It is still a valid model. Do they have a want? ─ You need to adjust it a bit.  Be careful that you don’t apply any model to every product…technology versus information or consumables…those buyers have different motives.  Remember that often emotions and feelings play a decisive role in purchasing ─ the impulse buyer.  Bottom-line, focus on the benefits!

The main question your customers will want answered is “what will this product do for me?” They will be more concerned with how they will benefit from the product than what it actually does (the feature).  Will it make them richer, smarter, prettier, more respected, thinner, or happier? When you are looking for benefits it is often useful to make a list of your product’s features and then determine the benefits of each of those features. Here is an example using internet marketing as a product:

  • Product:         Information marketing
  • Feature:          Working at home
  • Benefits:         Flexibility of working hours; ability to spend more time with children

To sell the concept of working online you would not simply state that you can work at home, you would need to emphasize the benefits of doing this. As you can see with this simple example, each feature can have a number of benefits.

So, you want to always focus on the benefits, but also tell YOUR STORY!  The story that, if understood, will connect you with your customers.  The thing or things you can say nobody else can.  That which is truly unique about you. ( I found this product because….it changed my life how….I am now doing this….my background was…I have kids, dogs, turtles….you get the idea.)

Story gets people’s attention and causes them to stick around long enough to consume your message. If how you tell your story connects with what’s important to your market and you connect with enough of the right people, sales increase.  Do everything else right, but sound like everyone else, and nothing happens.

3. Do it often

Sitting down to write when you are out of practice is never easy and your copy is unlikely to flow easily. Writing something every day, no matter what it is, will really improve your copywriting skills.

If you do not have any writing to do for your business, you could write something in a journal about your experiences that day or week. This could be used later as inspiration for articles or blog posts.

4. Edit your writing with energy

Each word or phrase you write must have a purpose, and enhance your odds of generating a sale. Be honest with yourself when you are editing your copy. If any of it does not motivate the reader to buy or read on (story) then it is unnecessary and you should delete it. Words and phrases that do not encourage sales will weaken the impact of your copy, making it less effective.

5. Add credibility and incentive

Although great copy is essential for generating sales, your customers might need a little extra something to convince them to buy from you. Your story and expertise may add value.  They may be more easily persuaded by the opinion of someone who has already purchased; the offer of something for free, or the possibility of getting their money back if they are not satisfied with your product.

Some potential elements to add to your copy are:

  • Evidence that you are expert-links to articles
  • Only use high quality and true testimonials
  • Detailed case studies explaining exactly how your product will benefit them or has benefit others like them
  • Offer free bonus material such as an e-book
  • Offer a money back guarantee

6. Imagine and visualize your intended customer

Sales copy must feel personal and give the impression that you are actually talking with your audience.  Don’t yell at them, don’t focus on what you think, but concentrate on them.  It often helps to imagine your target customer and write as if you are chatting to them or writing a letter to them. The more detailed you are about your target customer, the more convincing your copy will be, so don’t be afraid to be very specific about who they are.

Ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • How old are they?
  • Are they employed?
  • What do they do?
  • Are they male or female?
  • How much time do they have online?
  • What is their income?
  • What is their intelligence level?
  • What do they do in their spare time?
  • Do they have children? How old?
  • Do they own a house?
  • Do they have a garden?

The list of possible questions goes is extensive and there may be questions that are more relevant to the particular product you are selling. Spend some time getting to know your audience; the importance of this should not be underestimated. It is always easier to target a demographic that you are actually a part of. A mom is usually more convinced by writers who actually have children themselves.  A business person is more influenced by another business person.  A golfer wants advice from a fellow golfer.

Until next time, think about and document who your target market is. Write a description of who your typical customer is or would be.  Now get started!

Precisely.

Jerry Duling is a Marketing and Business Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Social Media advisor. Jerry shows businesses how to use Social Media to build their brand, generate leads and close sales. Jerry also provides individual resources for the Internet Entrepreneur. Connect with

 

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Get Started With Podcasting

Initiating a new business venture these days can be quite a test and challenge.  Even if you are familiar with the typical internet marketing techniques, in order to grow, you have to come up with ways to have your business promoted to the largest audience possible.

One of the best ways to do so online would be through podcasting. Podcasting is a relatively new concept, but it can provide incredible results for your business. It is easy to do and one of the most trendy advertisement tools. If you are thinking about podcasting, there are several benefits to your business, providing you utilize the technology to your advantage.

Podcasting is like blog posting. The only difference is that you have to bring your writing to life by spinning it into audio material which your online audience can listen to for essential details on certain products and services that you’re offering.  It is simply the communication of information through audio. Rather than reading an ad or watch a video, your target audience will listen to you promote your business. This can be an advantage because normally people cannot be bothered to read every piece of information that they may stumble upon. People are generally looking for precise information and if your editorial or advertisement is not attention getting or eye catching, you may just be passed over. This is where your podcast will come in.

Your voice can be a valuable and effective marketing tool. You can decide which words to accentuate and which tone of voice to use. Additionally, your audience is hearing you – the voice of your business. At this instant, you are associated with your announcement which makes you more valuable. Podcasting also allows you to get your message across by telling your audience exactly what you want them to hear, there is much less room for interpretation. You can specifically emphasize your main points and moreover make more than one podcast that will target different users.

As mentioned earlier, it is easy to do and you just have to learn the basics. To help you, here are some steps that will teach you how to get started with podcasting:

Plan and Write

As a start, make a blog post or an article about your business. See to it that you have a good introduction as that is the most crucial part when it comes to convincing your audience to go on.

Make it brief and understandable in an entertaining way, yet full of content about what you’ve got to offer.

Voicing Out

Once done with the planning and writing part, that calls for the recording.

As a suggestion, match your voice tone to your writing style. Condition your voice and it would be a plus if you try to emulate an outgoing popular radio personality as this will surely give a good impact to your audience. Practice a few times to assure you are comfortable.

When you’re done with the recording, the last step would be publishing it on the commercial site where you want your podcast to be heard. Of course, some of your audience would rather download the file rather listening to it online.

That said, have your podcast in different formats for various handheld devices considering that not all your audience are iPod or iPhone users.

If you are in a service-based company, you can create recommendation clips for users to download on your website. Most people won’t be bothered to read, but will willingly listen to an audio clip. More often than not, people will understand material better if it is spoken by another, rather than reading something themselves which may contain technical jargon and can be confusing. Furthermore, by using a podcast to share valuable information, you are proving your expertise in the field which will encouraging listeners to hear your tips.

Remember that Podcasts are available in RSS (Real Simple Syndication) which means that your intended listener would not have to wait for you to upload the clip; they could listen to it real-time as it is occurring. Your listeners will also be able to sign up for the feed so that any new clips that are added by you are immediately available.

Even though podcasting is relatively new technology, it provides for an abundance of possibilities. You can record a variety of messages, including industry advice, service announcements, or special opportunities and upload them to your personal website for instant access. Think of podcasting as broadcasting over the radio – you are reachable every day, but better yet…you are also available at the listener’s discretion.

Podcasting is really easy, but an effective way to have your business advertised online. If you can follow those guidelines, then you should be good to go for podcasting.

Precisely.

Jerry Duling is a Marketing and Business Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Social Media advisor. Jerry shows businesses how to use Social Media to build their brand, generate leads and close sales. Jerry also provides individual resources for the Internet Entrepreneur. Connect with

 

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Top 7 Myths about Info-Product Creation Debunked

Concerning a recent post, I received some calls; got some questions; and was offered some mythology.   Here is my effort to demystify the mythos.

Info-products like e-books, e-reports, video tutorials, webinars and others are now being sold in a wide range of subjects to all types of people all over the world. And thanks to advancements in home computing and the readily available Internet, the average person can now sell info-products right from the comfort of home with no capital and no expensive tools or equipment (except the computer of course). However, there are still many negative myths surrounding this lucrative business option. Here are the top seven myths from our recent discussions about info-product creation; followed by the top reasons why they have no basis in reality

1.    Info-Product Creation Takes Too Much Time

How long will it take you to write a book, film a video or conduct a webinar? If you get started now, you are already on your way to being almost finished. If you can present valuable information in a structured manner and you can do it using various mediums, you have the potential to be very successful.

2.    You Need Money To Make Info-Products

Nope, not true. You can use many free, open-source tools readily available online. With WordPress you can make a website, With Audacity you can record a podcast, with a webcam you can record a video, and those are just a few examples. Use your imagination and tools anyone can use for no cost and you can turn a profit with zero capital. What other type of business allows you to do that?

3.    Nobody Buys Info-Products

Again, this is hogwash. People all over the world are spending billions of dollars on info-products. E-books, webinars and entire info-product creation programs are often sold online to hungry audiences with a deep-rooted problem they want to solve.

4.    Info-Products Are Too Cheap To Turn A Profit

The beauty of info-products is that it is all about perceived value. You can find info-products available for as little as $1 all the way up to a $1000 or more. As long as the customer feels as though they have received value from your product, you will have done your job and earned your money.

5.    You Have To Be A Writer To Make Info-Products

Who says? You don’t have to be Hemingway to craft an informative article. Just explain the information as though you were teaching someone in person. How would you explain the information to maximize absorption? What examples would you use? Put all of this into a Word Processor, use the spell and grammar checker if you are known to make mistakes and have someone read it over when the info-product creation process is finished. Anyone can make info-products. Anyone at all.

6.    It’s Too Hard To Market Info-Products

If you have a profile on Facebook or Twitter or, even better, both, you are already halfway there. Simply send a shout-out via post or Tweet about your info-product and tell everyone you know. There are also various Internet Marketing strategies you can use to target your audience for maximum exposure and profit. If you know your audience and you can pinpoint where to find your audience, and you have done everything to maximize conversion rates, you will make a killing indeed.

7.    The Info-Product Market Is Saturated

Wrong again. There are so many markets out there and so many niche-markets that anyone can find a hungry market that also has money. It only takes the proper market research. This is done via keyword research to find out what people are searching for, as well as competitor research to find out what info-products are selling at the moment. Soon you will come up with an info-product creation program that is looked for, in high-demand and that brings plenty of profit.

If you would like a FREE resource to peak your interest get this free eBook, Profiting from Information Products. To learn all you need to know about info-product creation, including how to go from concept to creation to marketing and success, visit Precisely Profit With Information Products.

Precisely.

Jerry Duling is a Marketing and Business Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Social Media advisor. Jerry shows businesses how to use Social Media to build their brand, generate leads and close sales. Jerry also provides individual resources for the Internet Entrepreneur. Connect with

 

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Promote your Star into Mediocre Sales Manager

I was having breakfast with a long time business acquaintance yesterday, and as usual our conversation covered a variety of current issues.  During our specific conversation about sales process, we interesting arrived at an all too common and vital situation that he was currently faced with. I have done it; I bet we’ve all done it. We promoted our best sales person, to sales manager. I can recite case after case where the results were below expectations for everyone involved. We are often disappointed in the lack of results, and the sales managers are confused and frustrated with the lack of achievement of their sales team.

A variation on this theme usually produces even more anguish. A good salesperson, without any real management experience, is hired from outside the company to fill a sales manager position. When these decisions go bad, the injured feelings, negative attitudes and difficult situations which result can be ugly and long lasting.

Not that this is always the case. Many a sales executive rose through the ranks in just this fashion, contributing exceptionally at every stage. But, these cases are generally the exception, not the rule.

The tenet is that few good salespeople make good sales managers.

Why is that?

Think about the distinctive blend of strengths and aptitudes that often mark the character of an extraordinary salesperson. Outstanding salespeople often have very high standards for themselves and everyone around them. They are purpose driven and their energy for outcome is soaring. They are extremely focused on the customer, often to the determent of their relationships with their colleagues. It’s not unusual for your star salesperson to frustrate and aggravate the associates in the operational side of the business, with an abrupt and demanding attitude. Ultimately, they think, I’m extending myself to take care of “our” customers, why shouldn’t I expect everyone else to do so also?

Once they become sales managers, they expect all of their salespeople to be just as purpose driven, dedicated, and achievement oriented as they were. Unfortunately the reality is that most of their salespeople don’t share the same degree of ambition and perfectionism that they had. If they did, they would have been promoted to sales manager.

That means that the sales manager often is frustrated with the performance and attitudes of his team members.  The sales manager has greater expectations than they do, and struggles to interpret those differences properly.  Thus, the sales manager is confused as to how to change them.

The outstanding salesperson is often an independent character and flourishes in a climate where they can make their own decisions, determine their own call patterns, and spend time by themselves.

Unfortunately, they lose almost all of that independence when promoted to sales manager. Now they are expected to work a consistent, well defined work week, to spend a certain number of hours in the office, and to perform certain administrative functions. The freedom to make their own decisions, to determine their own days, is no more. Accordingly, they often struggle with how to adjust to this new work environment and still be productive.

Whereas before they were clearly and independently responsible for their individual results, now they must achieve results through other people. Time and again, they default to a view of the new job wherein they become the “super salesperson,” taking over accounts, assignment and sales calls from his less talented team members. This creates dissatisfaction on both sides.

The outstanding salesperson has the ability and tendency to see every situation positively and optimistically, overlooking all the obstacles and focused on the potential in every account. That is an essential element to the sales personality. Without it, they couldn’t last out all the rejection and frustration inherit in the sales job.

That personality strength that serves them well as a salesperson is, on the other hand, a major obstacle to his success as a sales manager. The hiring process is typically a disappointment and maddening. When it comes to hiring a new salesperson, they find themselves viewing every candidate through those same optimistic eyes.

This is a conscientious decision for management and timing is critical. For the highly successful salesperson, career goals and their attainment are often more clear after a few years of consistent success.  Most importantly, are you teachable and have you matured to a point that you truly have a heart to develop others.

Precisely.

Jerry Duling is a Marketing and Business Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Social Media advisor. Jerry shows businesses how to use Social Media to build their brand, generate leads and close sales. Jerry also provides individual resources for the Internet Entrepreneur. Connect with

 

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Initial Considerations for Information Marketing

Readers and consumers are seeking increasingly more content on the Internet–and turning to Cyberspace whenever they need information on anything at all. That’s why information marketing offers such an interesting business opportunity.

If you have expertise or explicit information to share and the ability produce products to sell on the Internet–including books and e-books–you can become an Internet marketer. Or, even if you have already written a book or plan to write a book and want to develop a business around that book, an information marketing business may be what you want to establish.

Information marketing is simply “the process of selling information”, and that sounds simple enough, right? But how exactly does that work in an internet-based business?

If you are just starting off, let’s figure out what kind of information we’re talking about. Typically, it’s information that serves to educate and, hopefully solve a problem that a potential customer is having.

For example –

  • Teaching a busy executive how to lose weight.
  • Sharing a successful remedy to a common ailment.
  • Training a single mom how to make supplemental income.
  • Helping a new pet owner with training.

The information is typically delivered electronically (in a digital format) by way of eBooks, membership sites, audio and video downloads. It’s a multi-billion-dollar industry, several times over, and has produced more than a few millionaires.  Why is information marketing appealing?

It meets some fundamental business criteria.  Entrepreneurs are drawn to the low barriers to entry, high profit margins, hands-off management, and quick time-to-market. An information marketer can dream up a product one day and release it overnight, seeing a return on their investment almost immediately.

So, this sounds pretty simple; and it is straightforward to become an information marketer, doing it successfully is another matter. Countless would-be millionaires dive into the market, buy into the idea of making millions online overnight. Sadly, they buy into programs hyped up with empty promises or make some rookie mistakes that they might never make without the grand expectations.

Here are a couple of the common pitfalls that information marketers can fall into.

A double-edged sword: Side One-Aiming for Perfection

When the Wright brothers took their first historic flight on December 17, 1903, they weren’t demanding perfection. Their goal wasn’t to offer great cocktail service, wireless Internet, or even a top rated movie aboard their flying machine. They just wanted the darned thing to stay up in the air for a few seconds!

And a few seconds – twelve, to be precise – was all they got. And they became famous for it.

Now imagine if they had been anxious about the extras – and no, I don’t mean cocktail service or comfortable seats. But if they had wanted a crash-free landing, a three-hour (or three-minute!) flight, and a trendy rig – they’d probably have never gone out to that sand dune in Kitty Hawk in the first place. They’d still be in the hangar, tinkering with the wheels or wing flaps.

What Orville and Wilbur knew – and what information marketers would do well to take note of – is that perfection is overrated. Its allure is deceiving.  In fact, it doesn’t exist. So waiting for your product to be “perfect” before you release it means you have a excellent chance of either never releasing it at all, or delaying so long that someone else beats you to the punch and pinches your market out from under you.

Are you hesitant to release a product that is less than perfect? Well, remember Vista?  Microsoft – and pretty much every other software company – does it all the time!  And if “good enough” is good enough for billionaire Bill Gates, it’s good enough for you.

Having said that, there is a fine balance between releasing something that’s not ready and releasing something that’s valuable but a little rough around the edges. Above all, I implore you not to do what so many information product marketers do. Don’t put out products where there is really no substance, just sales copy. I’m sure you’ve seen them; the guy who sends you a pitch for what seems to be a great info product. You buy it, and what do you get? Another PITCH for their NEXT product!  That is just silly and irresponsible. Talk about a prescription for how to lose credibility with your list!

I suggest you actually deliver real value every time you produce a product. Maybe give them more than they expect.   Give people what you told them you would and they will come back for more.

This is where having a handful of beta testers can be very helpful. Send out your product to a group of people for their feedback, and see what they think.  Ask them:

  • Would you sell this product?
  • What’s missing?
  • If you could change one thing, what would it be?
  • Can you use this product to create more value in your business or life right now?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, what would you rate this product?

If you get extraordinarily positive feedback and your marks are all in the 6-plus range, press forward. If you’re getting comments like, “I couldn’t really understand what you meant,” or, “I’m not sure how to use this,” or, “I would rethink your introduction,” then you’re short of your goal. Take another look at what you have, make the requested changes or suggestions, and try again.

My suggestion: The info products that you produce should not only tell people WHAT to do, but HOW to do it. By telling people how to do something, your information products will already be in the top 3% of all the products in your area. Why? Because people don’t generally do that. Make sure you don’t fall into the same trap.

Remember, you don’t have to make it across the Atlantic in one piece; you just have to make it around the block.

A double-edged sword: Side TwoDon’t create a “Me Too” Product

Quickly – what is the most popular business on the Internet? You guessed it – it’s how to make money online! It looks as if that everyone who has purchased a course on making money online is suddenly credible enough to teach this subject a week later!  Don’t fall for the fascination of easy money – because it’s only a perception. In reality your chances of having a successful online business are much greater when you distinguish yourself from the pack.

There are an abundance of lesser, untapped markets to “get rich” in.  Every day you can find people making money on websites teaching things like cure for biting your nails, bunny breading, costumes for dogs, making home videos, and a score of other odd topics.

Do a little soul searching and discover things you know a lot about and are passionate about. Chances are there is a group of people who would be willing to pay you to learn what you already know on those topics.  And those are the business opportunities you should pursue online…

When you come across other information marketers making big bucks from an eBook on “How to get Facebook Fans” it is really tempting to say, “I could write an eBook on ‘How to get Facebook Fans’, too! And then I could make the big bucks!”

It sounds good – but it doesn’t necessarily work that way. In fact, if you create and release a “me too” product that is nothing more than an imitation of a more successful product already on the market, don’t be surprised if the world doesn’t rush to your door.

“But hold on!” you might be saying. “Dunkin’ Donuts opens up across the street from Starbucks, and they both do well!”

Yeah, they do. That’s because it’s NOT a “me-too.” Each has its own spin on the product. Dunkin’ is where you go for quick brew and a 99-cent donut. You head across the street to Starbucks if you want a gourmet breakfast sandwich and a Wi-Fi connection while you prepare for your client meeting. There are distinct needs; and distinct products.

To apply that metaphor online– It’s okay to come up with a product that’s similar to a competitor’s, but you need to put your own twist on it, adding value over what your competitor is offering.

Here are some ideas that you can use to create a “me-too” product that stands on its own:

  • Make it faster or quicker. Check out your competitor’s product. If it promises a Thinner Waist in Thirty Days, offer a Thinner Waist in Two Weeks.
  • Make it easier or simpler. Does the original product offer ten steps to more traffic? Then offer three steps instead.
  • Make it bigger. Competitor sells 25 marketing ideas? Then you need 50.
  • Deliver it differently. (Visual, auditory, or written). If there’s an eBook on the subject, create the videos and audios, or vice-versa. Not all people learn the same, so cover the parts of the market your competition is missing. Or, cover all the delivery methods.
  • Make it less expensive. When Jeff Walker released his six-figure launch e-course, a smart marketer released “The Poor Man’s Launch Course” for a fraction of the cost.
  • Make it more expensive. It may sound counter-intuitive, but it works! Some customers want “the best” and will go for the more expensive option automatically. If you can back your higher price tag with greater value, you will pull people looking for the most excellent solution.

There’s really no excuse for creating a copycat product. If you are passionate about something similar that is available, put your individual stamp on the product instead, and you’ll find that you can reach the buyers your competitors are missing.

For your own good, and the good of your audience, your objective should not just be to profit from marketing information products – although that is a decent incentive! It should also be to deliver concrete, useful information that brings real value to your audience, even when you create a simple product like a report or booklet. Giving your customers more than their money’s worth isn’t just the right thing to do, but it builds good will and encourages customers to come back for more of the first-class value you’ve built a reputation for delivering.

Precisely.

Jerry Duling is a Marketing and Business Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Social Media advisor. Jerry shows businesses how to use Social Media to build their brand, generate leads and close sales. Jerry also provides individual resources for the Internet Entrepreneur. Connect with

 

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Ten Timeline 4 Biz Talking Points

Timeline for Facebook Brand Pages is officially here, and will be rolled out for all Facebook Brand Pages by March 30th 2012. As a result, many marketers are wondering how to incorporate all the new features and functionality into their campaigns. While it certainly does take some getting used to, this will allow you to get more visually creative and tell the stories of your brand history a bit more effectively.

This modification has actually forced you to use your brand’s Facebook timeline to tell the story of your brand. There is some wisdom…real marketing is also about effectual storytelling and not necessarily only about promotional-loaded, traffic capturing, and hard selling.  Review the changes below and strategize how to use your brand to connect with your fans.

Begin working on your pages now.  You have the option to preview, tweak, and publish their new design immediately, but you have until March 30th before the changes are officially seen!

1. Default Landing Tabs are Gone

Facebook has removed the ability to create a default landing tab, a favored feature for many savvy brands.  You can still put a fan gate on applications and content, but not on the cover image.

Up until now the default landing Page was one of the primary ways to control the first (branded) impression a user encountered. Given that there are no more tab Pages, there is no way to set one as a default. This will significantly change user first impression when they visit a brand’s Page. So everyone who lands on your page sees the same thing, fan and non-fan alike.

2. Cover Photo

Cover Photos are a great way to welcome the community to your page and announce campaigns.  Without the Landing Pages, you can now use your Cover Photo and Pinned (see below) stories to drive users to your application pages.  (It is also still possible to link directly to application pages from posts, ads and out of Facebook.)  The Cover photos are 850 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall. If you upload an image that’s smaller than these dimensions, it will get stretched to this larger size. The image you upload must be at least 399 pixels wide.  So you should start right away on designing an image that captures the nature of your brand and causes an instant desire to like your page.

Cover photos are fantastic ways to engage your fans. Since there’s no longer an option to fix a default landing tab for your brand page, your brand’s cover photo will be the first piece of content your potential fans will see. You should make your cover photo a talking point.

You will likely need to rethink your strategy and Facebook ads for brands will become more important, as ads will be one of the major ways brands on Facebook can control a user’s experience. Setting up an advertising campaign for a Facebook promotion or creating a new application will be the only way to guide new and clicking users directly to that application since landing on this Page cannot be achieved by default.

Make a note: a call to action is against Facebook’s terms and conditions, so this technique is risky, and not advisable.  The cover photo can be up to 850px by 315px but may NOT contain the following:

  • Calls to action, such as, “Download it Here”, “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”.
  • You cannot point to or reference user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features.
  • Pricing or purchasing information, such as, “Two Day Sale Only”, “Get 30% off” or “Download it at our website”.
  • Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section.

The possibilities are endless. Think outside of the box and make use of this valuable feature.

3.  About Section

The about section has always been a part of your Facebook page, but now it’s more notably featured at the top of your timeline. It’s important that you update this section of your timeline.  There are two versions of the about section.

  • Local businesses: If your timeline is associated with a physical location, then it this lists the subcategory, address, telephone number and hours of operation.
  • No physical location: If your timeline features a brand without a single physical location, then the section lets you add a description of up to 255 characters. It’s essential to be extremely clear and concise.  You want to provide first time visitors a clear understanding of what your timeline is all about.

4. “Pin” your favorite post to the top or “Feature” it

Pinning is one major new feature that marketers will love.  It is the ability to “pin” certain posts to the top of the Timeline. This is great! As an admin you can control what goes at the top of your page.  Be sure to pin something at least once a week.  You’ll see a small orange flag on pinned posts. Click the pencil icon in the upper-right corner of your Page’s post. Then select “Pin to Top.

Featured Starred Content is also offered. This will extend the content or image across your entire page width wise; making it more prominent.

Hover over a story and click on the star (star icon) to make it wider, or on the pencil (pencil icon) to pin it to the top of your Page, hide or delete it entirely.

 

 

You can pin only one item at a time, and the pinned item then exists in two locations; as the top item on the Timeline itself, as well as within its chronological place. A post that is pinned to the top of a Page will remain there for 7 days. After that, it will return to the date it was posted on the Page’s timeline. Posts from people who like a Page are not eligible to be pinned posts. Page administrators can only pin posts created by the Page.

You can unpin the post automatically when a new item gets pinned, or again if the item has been pinned seven days.  Once the post is unpinned, the post returns in the chronology of Timeline posts, there is no visual history that it was pinned in the past.

Since you can no longer create a default landing Page, pinning items to the top of the Timeline will become every marketer’s go-to strategy for stressing new and interesting content. You should consider designing posts specifically to be pinned, whether it is a well-designed call-to-action, a declaration about brand value, images, or a message calling for the user to click one of the tab panels under the cover photo. After the Facebook Cover Photo, this is the next best way to reach out to potential fans.

Don’t forget to use the Star to widen a post: Hover over a story and click on the star to make it wider. This is great to highlight your best pictures.

5. Recent Posts by Others

Timeline now provides a section at the top right that exhibits a list of recent postings from fans.  You should leave this visible to show activity and engagement across your timeline.

In the event that you find it confusing or consuming, you can turn it off and hide the box. You can do this in the same area where you control page and post visibility on the permissions page. To get there click the manage button>> then select edit page>> followed by manage permissions.  You can uncheck

 in the area labeled “post visibility”.

6. Fan Page Messages

Now people can contact you privately using messages. Notifications about new messages will appear right in your administration panel. This allows for more profound consumer interaction, and will also enable Page managers to take extended customer inquiries off the Timeline and into a private message. This is grand for being able to handle a side discussion, particularly one that you don’t want show to all fans, such as an unhappy customer service issue.  It also will prevent clutter to your Timeline with multiply customer or lengthy inquiries.

When you’ve published your new format, make sure you announce this new feature to fans.  It is turned on by default, but if you want to turn this off, go to ’Manage’ >> ‘Edit Page’ >> ‘Manage Permissions,’ and uncheck the ‘Messages’ box.

7. Photos, Likes, and Apps at Top of Page

Photos, likes and apps are now at the top of your Page. The “Photos” app will be required on the left, but you can change the order of everything else so people see what is most important. You can select any three to put on the right: Likes, Videos, Events, Map and a Page’s custom apps, etc.   You can show a maximum number of 12 apps, so again make sure to put your most important ones first.

This is a big win for page owners who want to highlight custom apps.  Put your key apps or content here.  ALSO, update your App icons and names to describe the app’s purpose.  Simply click the drop-down icon to the right of the tiles, click the ‘+’ button to import your custom apps, and then hover over them and click the pencil to move them around.  This is where your old fan gate or landing page application will now live, making it obsolete as a way of converting new visitors into fans because it won’t be the first thing that’s seen when you land on a timeline. So, you can put a real fan gate on your other applications and content. Encourage users to LIKE your timeline before they can access the sought apps or content. We highly recommend this.

This is likely the most pressing update for page owners. As these are the first tabs users will see, they will predictably be the first to be interacted with, or completely ignored if not optimized for the new experience.
 You will want to exchange which tabs are visible  “above the fold,” according to current company objectives or recent project popularity.

In order to move your apps around, first click the down arrow.  Then, click the pencil icon.Then select the app that you would like to swap positions with. As mentioned, you cannot change the position of the Photos app.

You can change the photo that appears for the app and you can rename the app to give a call to action.  To change your app photo, again follow the same procedure above.  Scroll down to the Edit Setting selection and from there you can add a custom tab image.

Or, you can select the Mange tab and select Edit Page.  Select Aps and pick the appropriate app for change.  Either way you will get to this screen and select Change.

 

The custom tab image is 111 pixels by 74 pixels.

8. Add Milestones

Let’s tell your story.  One of the most interesting aspects of timeline for brands is the ability to go back and add past events related to the history of your organization.  Similar to your personal profile, including these past events helps create a concise story-line for your brand.

Since you are challenged with using the timeline interface, you should use it to the fullest. Merely go to where you would normally post an update to begin posting past milestones.

If you have not already posted a milestone about when your organization was founded, you will have to do that initially.  After you do that, then you can create other milestones.

9.  New Administrator Panel

Keep track of your Page activity from the admin panel. You can reply when people write on your Page timeline, and view your latest insights.

Notifications, Messages, New Likes, Insights and Page Tips are easily accessible.  The Manage and Build Audience tabs also provide flexibility. You can visit your activity log to review all your posts and activity.

 

In addition, during the month of March, new admin controls will be released. This will let you set different permissions for each page admin.

10.  Other Opportunities

Facebook Offers-Certain businesses, brands and organizations can share discounts with their customers by posting an offer on their Facebook Page. Offers are like coupons and don’t cost anything to create. When someone claims an offer, they’ll receive an email that they can show at the Page’s physical location to get the discount.  Only a few companies have access to Facebook Offers currently, but it will be rolled out soon. According to Facebook’s Offer Help section, they “expect to make Offers available more broadly soon.

The offer is sent through the news feeds of your fans, and thus much more visible. There are easy ways to share the Offer, both through the post itself and then when the Offer is claimed. Fans get the Offer by clicking the Get Offer link, see the terms and then click the blue Claim Offer button.  Since Facebook has everyone’s email address, they have the ability to email your Offer to the specific person who claimed it. Although the page does not have access to those emails through which the Offer was claimed, in any case the word is spread about your Offer.  We will just wait and see when these are rolled out in the main.  Then other opportunities and concerns may appear.

Advertising changes- The ads will be bigger. Make sure your fans see your stories using the Reach Generator. This “always on” packaged solution makes it easy for you to regularly reach and engage 75% of your fans with meaningful content from your Page. You focus on creating engaging content on your newly designed Page, while we ensure that your fans see the stories you are telling.

  • Reach Generator is trouble-free and simple to use.
  • You post good, relevant content on your Page, and Facebook will automatically distribute it to your fans.
  • Facebook guarantees you will reach a majority of your fans and see grand results.

Use Premium on Facebook to drive awareness for events and activities. Premium on Facebook is designed to deliver your stories to new connections and will be shown on the right side of the home page.  It will also appear in the news feed, in mobile streams and when someone logs out of Facebook. For example, use Premium on Facebook for a product launch, movie premiere or sales event.

Where can I learn more about how to use the new Pages?

There are multiple places to learn more about Pages:

  • Tour key features with Facebook’s product experts in the Pages Learning Video
  • Learn about new features; download the Pages Overview Guide from here.
  • New to Pages? Learn how to get started, check out Facebook’s full Pages Product Guide by downloading it here.
  • Specific questions, visit Facebook’s Help Center

The new Fan Page Timeline will surely shake things up for social media marketers who pursue making an impact on Facebook. Notwithstanding, there is one thing that is certain: The manner in which content is shared and viewed within a Fan Page Timeline is extremely important. Owners that constantly create attractive and engaging updates and share important milestones will remain at the forefront of visitor’s attention. Create and alternate new apps for maximum engagement, pin pertinent and timely content, and update your status with user-friendly conversations and discussions.

Precisely.

Jerry Duling is a Marketing and Business Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Social Media advisor. Jerry shows businesses how to use Social Media to build their brand, generate leads and close sales. Jerry also provides individual resources for the Internet Entrepreneur. Connect with

 

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