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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Four Ways to Start Marketing Your Product or Service with No Money

You have a great product and your services are in demand. You need to let people know that you have something they could use. Cashflow is always an issue for new entrepreneurs and business owners. Even if your business plan was successful and you were able to secure funds for your organization, you have to maximize every penny.

Marketing your product and services can be tricky but your passion and belief in it is the very first ingredient to success in this area. Without a passion that may sometimes annoy people, you will quickly be discouraged by people's lack of enthusiasm and give up. Giving up is not an option. I repeat, giving up is not an option. So here is what you do:

1. Networking in Real Life: Social media has made the world awesome, crazy, accessible, and smaller in many ways. However, we still crave human interaction and require it to feel safe in releasing money for something we may or may not love as much as you do. By associating with people in your field, going to free events that gather potential customers, and always having a business card, you can make very good connections that have long time benefits. People who like you will tell other people about you. You will run into those who just want to use you, but even they can be a great connector to those who would be interested in your product or service. Get out and talk to people and you will be amazed how often people will ask "What do you do?" There is your ticket to give a brief yet powerful overview of your product and service. I would suggest that you do not open conversations about what you do. This will quickly turn people off and give them the wrong impression. Smiling and being kind can be a great marketing tool to meet people and allow them to
become more intrigued with you as a person. 

2. Craigslist: We have all heard of the craigslist killer and other bad news associated with this super trafficked website, but have you heard that it is a huge marketing resource for you? Craigslist is chocked full of people looking for things and services, as well as selling products and services. Utilize both tools functions of the website. Click on the community link and see what is going on and places you can connect with people. Be strategic in everything you do, your business must grow and you must make it a part of you to be able to succeed.

3. Facebook, Twitter and Blogs: This is no myth. These huge social networking sites are beyond wonderful for marketing. I am not talking about spamming people's news feeds with your business or buying ad space. I am talking about how powerful it can be to meet people who need your product or service, without running ads. I personally have found many clients just by being active on my social networking sites and being myself. I do have professional profiles, but I have found that my private profiles where people get to really know me, are the ones that reap the most prospects. If you are not interested in blogging, or find it too time intensive (which it is!), then read others blogs and leave comments. Leave real comments that add value to the readers. Try not to be argumentative or critical as people will likely just delete your comment. However, chime in and offer valuable feedback. Bookmark a few of your favorite ones and return often to learn and possibly meet new prospects. Your link back to your own business website will also help you generate some traffic from other readers that read what you write.

4. Volunteer: You reap what you sow. Period. Find something you like or believe in and get involved. Don't waste time with self pity. People will not be as passionate about what you do as you are, and this can be discouraging. However, volunteering opens up an opportunity for you to get involved in someone else's passion. It is also a place for you to meet possible clients and build real relationships that can mean referrals! I am not stating that you should volunteer to just get clients. Volunteering is good for the soul. But I am pointing out an opportunity you may have overlooked. If you get involved in other people's business, they may be inspired to ask you about yours.  Another benefit of volunteering is the free education you can gain from listening to what people need, like, hate, dislike, or flat out must have. How can you make your potential clients' lives easier with with you are selling? Listening is a powerful tool and volunteering gives you access to many people with their distinct ideas.

These are just four of several ways you can jumpstart your marketing efforts without cash. Of course you can create flyers, postcards, and other written marketing materials, but using yourself is highly effective. Understanding people and how to connect with them is something we must learn from experience, no matter how many seminars or conferences we attend. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Years Web Marketing To-Do List

Getting started in 2013 with your web marketing plan is not the same as previous years. Now, even more than times past, we all must have a plan.

There are so many channels of marketing on the web for businesses to use that the sheer volume can be overwhelming, and result in no action -- which can be deadly.

First, decide what channels or tools you would like to use. There are dozens of social media and networking sites that have been effective for web marketing. But the results are completely dependent on the user and frequency.

With that said, a focus is a must. What sites have you found to be most effective for your competitors or allies? Maybe they will work for you, maybe not. Study them and get a feel for how to use them. Get comfortable with sites you want to use, maybe using them for personal use first before using them for business.

Next, write down the goals you hope to achieve with these sites. Facebook and twitter have become social media giants because of their vision for how they would be used. They have both used a systematic approach to the features, not overwhelming people with everything all at once. One major pitfall made with social marketing is using every tool the same way. Just like an allen wrench cannot be substituted for a hammer -- each site is designed in a unique way, with a unique purpose.

For example, Pinterest success depends on the popularity of the image in relation to interests. No matter how wonderful the message beneath, the image is the focus. People will also re-pin your pins based on the board they're on, and their descriptions. Instagram is also propelled by images, but more personal than interest-based. It is perfectly okay for people to post several pictures of themselves on Instagram (may be annoying) while this is not okay on Pinterest. So be sure to have a unique approach to each site.

Choose the sites you will use and focus on those. Do not attempt to use everything all at once. A good mix might include blogging, twitter, and Facebook. If doing these tasks yourself, these duties alone will keep you busy; outsourcing them can be a benefit as well. From personal experience, it is better to master the tools you are using and add more, than to start what you cannot finish. Persistence is the key, and flexibility to admit mistakes, and start again is essential.

Get Started! Even if adjustments must be made during the process, and mistakes are made, it is more beneficial to take action, instead of remaining in the planning stage. Procrastination is the enemy to our success. Let us conquer every obstacle in 2013 that has held us back in the past.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Google Adwords Express Review PLUS Give-A-Way

The Google machine has yet again produced a small business owner's resource that is both necessary and affordable. Google Adwords Express is an edited, more efficient version of Google Adwords. With this service, you can have an ad running quickly, edit it just as easily, and improve it without long delays. Google is also allowing people to try their service for free!

NOTE: This is my own experience with Google Adwords Express. This blog is not a paid advertisement in anyway, rather a review for prospective users of the service.  

Things you will need to get your ad running: 

  • Google Maps or Google Places listing
  • Google email 
  • Bank account or credit card for future payments
  • Some knowledge of keywords

I was contacted by Google about the service, and walked through every single step. The direct address to access the service is: I was directed to access it from 'Google Places' which is probably the best way to access it if you use other Google services.

There are three tabs once signed in, Dashboard, Google Adwords Express, and Offers. Clicking Google Adwords will display a message with the updated address (above). From this page, I can share an update on my Google Plus page, see the top search queries for my existing ads, and so much more. On the right sidebar, in the "improve your listing" section -- I see the option to "create a listing." If at anytime I am confused or left with no answer, I see my Google Customer ID at the top right hand corner of the screen to get me to an operator.

Sidebar: I was also informed that by utilizing paid Google services, customers can use their customer ID to get answers to other Google questions they may have unrelated to Adwords Express.

***If you sign in directly from their webpage: -- this is what you will see:

From the dashboard I am able to see my current ads performance, as well as manage my ads with a click of the mouse. As you choose your ad category, the headline, budget, and which contact information is to be displayed, the preview is on the right. 

Your minimum budget will be based on the category the ad is in. Writing any part of the ad in all caps will delay the ad from running, as this is against the rules and ads are approved before running. The character limits for each line of your ad really helps you get creative and narrow your target. You can also choose whether clicking the ad will take leads to your G+ page or your website. Other options on this page include, call monitoring, map preview, and the ability to deactivate or pause current ads. 

Overall, I like this much better than previous Adwords experiences; including Google and other major search engines. I can contact my representative and know that I will be called back. My ad is priority, and my time is valuable -- no verbose explanations or super long hold times either. Additionally, I like the ability to tweak my ad at will and use the dashboard suggestions in conjunction with Google Insights, to have the most targeted audience for my keywords

As a part of a new campaign for internet marketing professionals, named Google Engage, I have more than a couple of FREE $100 credits for new clients only. Please visit my website, and see which services best suit your needs. 

Do you use Google Adwords? Do you like it?


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