Twitter Demystified

Twitter VAHave you “tweeted” lately? Do you like knowing what people think and aren’t afraid to ask? Both of these questions have to do with Twitter www.twitter.com, the social media phenomenon. Here’s a whirlwind tour of Twitter, for those who’ve been wondering.

Twitter, in a few words, is a “microblogging” community that tracks the frequent (sometimes constant) updates its members around the globe are posting. These members are able to “follow” each other and know instantly when someone they’re following writes a “tweet”. It’s much more immediate than other Web 2.0 sites like FaceBook, with small, 140-character snapshots updating someone’s status.

What does that have to do with business? Think of Twitter, and other social networking sites, as vast pools of members who share information, ask questions and otherwise communicate quickly.  The idea of sharing who you are and what your business does should be enough to have you signing up.

Twitter’s also a great way to survey thousands of people at once, by posting a question and watching for replies. Here’s a survey example wrapped in a status update, “Attending VA marketing forum 2pm CST. What svcs RU using VAs for?” Anyone who is following your tweets, or who searches for “VA”, will see your post and can reply. That brings up another great use for Twitter.

The search functions built into Twitter let you look for what others are saying about topics related to your business. There are actually three separate ways to look. TweetVolume www.tweetvolume.com lets you search for up to five words or phrases at once and ranks them by volume. Summize www.search.twitter.com lets you find all postings with related keywords and TweetScan www.tweetscan.com searches Twitter and similar sites for specified content and will even send updates by email.

There may be questions posted that you can answer, or conversations you can lend your expertise to. That’s the best way to build your reputation on Twitter. Nobody likes a hard sell-build relationships and watch for ways to meet people’s needs.

In his blog on community and social media, Chris Brogan gives 50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business http://www.chrisbrogan.com/50-ideas-on-using-twitter-for-business/. Follow his instructions for getting started, then experiment with several of his ideas this week. A word of warning: Twitter can quickly become addictive, if you let it. Set a schedule for posting, searching and following Twitter activity, just as you would any other market research tool.

We don’t have to chase every new phenomenon to be successful on the Internet. We should, however, learn what’s good and put those to work for our companies. Twitter, used in the right context, could turn out to be one of the best for you.

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4 Quick Ways to Make Money Selling Online

Champion Assistants services for online salesI have often been asked: “What is the quickest way to make money selling online?”

This is such a hard question to answer because it depends on each person’s ability, financial back up and knowledge.  What I can do here is list some of the ways that do make money fairly quickly once it is up and running.   What a solopreneur would need to do is look at how long it would take them to get a particular business opportunity making money.

INTERNET MARKETING

  • Selling products online from your own blog site or website
  • Selling affiliate products (other people’s products for commission)
  • Promoting a service that you are going to run, like a consultancy business

With products you may choose to buy them or make your own.  There are so many choices in this field.  It is important to choose something that you like doing so that you can keep your motivation up because as a solopreneur you are it.  You have to keep yourself motivated.

SELLING ON EBAY

Some people selling on Ebay are making thousands of dollars a week.  There is a system that works and it would probably be a good idea to buy into that or research how these people are doing so well when others are making nothing.

PROVIDE WRITING SERVICES

Many people write for a living.  With the popularity of the internet there are thousands, if not millions of people who do not have either the ability or time to write for the internet, but really need to.  Very good money can be made from writing for the internet if you make it a full-time job.  There are writing sites like Elance, Guru and others where a writer can earn money.

SELL PHOTOS ONLINE TO PHOTO WEBSITES

Because of the growth in promoting online, site owners are always looking for Public Domain Photos.  What you do here is take photos and upload them to the photo sites and they pay you a commission on each photo that is downloaded by a buyer on the site.  This is quite a good way to get passive income coming in because once it is set up you can just leave it there.  For example, a site that uses these photos is http://www.isistockphoto.com

12 Reasons You NEED a Blog Now!

Champion Assistants Blog ServicesOne thing that I can truly say here is that there is nothing on the internet that will do your business more good than having a quality blog site.  If you do not have a blog site it should be your number one priority, even before you do a website for your company.

Google recognizes the strength of a blog site and these sites help you get high ranking in Google’s view.

For an easy blog site you can set one up in WordPress.com and initially it will do all you could ask for.  There are so many benefits of having a blog site that I almost don’t know where to start so I am going to list many of them for you:

1.           It is cheap way to promote your business, products and services – you can set these sites up and run them for free

2.           You can send people to this site from anywhere else on the web, especially the social sites where you be connecting with people interested in your business

3.           You can add up-to-date information

4.           By adding to the site each day or at least 3 times a week you will have customers coming back for more information

5.           You can give opinions on anything in your industry

6.           You can interact with people as they make comments on your site

7.           You can survey people to find out what they want

8.           You can link this site to any other site or promotion that you have

9.           It is more friendly than a website

10.        You can link to other compatible sites and this is good for getting Google rankings

11.        You can set up categories so that clients can easily find what they are looking for

12.        You can add graphics to make it more interesting or use photos of business events

Be aware of the fact that if you want to sell on your site you would need to upgrade it to a paid site.  You still need to keep your postings short and to the point to keep people’s interest.

9 Tips for Navigating Web 2.0 Social Networking Sites

web2.0Web 2.0 is the terminology that is given to this social phenomenon on the internet, in particular Facebook, Twitter, UTube, My Space and it applies to many more social sites.  Everyone seems to have their favorites for various reasons.

One thing is for sure though, is the fact that any serious internet marketer needs to learn the skills to use these social sites to their best advantage.  When you first go on these sites you may think that they are a waste of time because you will see a lot of comments like: “Had a chicken salad for dinner”.

When you are going onto these sites for business purposes the approach needs to be quite different and the way you use the sites needs to be quick and efficient.  You do not have time to spend an hour on these sites just for interest sake.   It is a matter of getting in, networking your business and getting out and moving on to the next one.  The idea of social marketing for business is to create a broad presence around the internet sites.  As you learn the skills you will be able to link one to the other which will save time as well.

9 Tips to help you move around these sites are:facebook

  • Keep your comments relative to your business
  • Keep your comments positive
  • Look for friends that could be potential clients
  • Look for groups that could help grow your business
  • Have basic comments in word and copy and paste when adding friends or confirming friendships – have several as these sites like variety
  • Be on the sites consistently – 10 to 20 mins a day
  • Have a system so that you don’t waste time
  • Don’t go joining 10 sites then only work one – join one and make it work then go on to another
  • Make sure your profile is complete on each site

The Benefits of Giving

gift_givingAny successful business owner will tell you that hands down the #1 way to bring in prospective customers is through marketing. What they might not tell you is what that marketing includes. Oh sure, the standard media announcements, articles, sales pages and what not. But what else? What made them stand out from the crowd? The answer, surprising or not, is in the freebie.

What is a freebie? In general a freebie is something for nothing. A freebie in a marketing sense is a little something that entices prospective customers to buy. But freebies aren’t just for prospective customers. Wouldn’t you love to get something for nothing? Especially if it comes from someone you have done business with before? After all, if you purchased from them don’t you trust them? (Bad experiences aside for a moment)

Customers new and old want to feel special and wanted and the holidays are a great time for this. Think of the possibilities. With so many holidays so close together your only option is to either close up and hide or reach out and share. There are many ways to reach out, but the simplest and most meaningful is with an incentive.

There are many ways to share an incentive with your customers just as there are many different types of incentives to choose from. Incentives such as seasonal sales, special item promotions, special seasonal rates and more are simple to implement and will mean the world to you customers. The key to an effective incentive is communication. Did you stay touch with your customers before, during and after their purchases? If you did, great! Send them a holiday card with your incentive mentioned. If you didn’t, well what can we say about lost opportunities?

Making your customers feel special doesn’t have to cost you money. In fact, it should make you money. One of the simplest things you as a business owner can do to reach out to your customer base is to send them a seasonal newsletter. Include links to new products or a special discount only those receiving that letter can get. Also, include something of value to them. Since we’re talking newsletters, that something of value will likely be information. Whatever it is you specialize in, whatever it was that drew those individuals to you in the first place can and should be built on. Share with them something new that will help them this season. The results might surprise you.

There are so many ways to connect with people over the holidays. Don’t let another opportunity pass you by.

5 Essential Questions To Help You Find Your Niche

Finding your niche is one of the hardest and most rewarding aspects of marketing. Your niche is the group of individuals that are interested in your products or services. This group is who you will target your marketing plans and future products to. Knowing your niche will save you time and money in almost every aspect of your business. From research and development to marketing and sales, your niche drives your business and can be a constant source of ideas for more products/services down the road. Before you can market to your niche, you first have to find it. Here are five basic questions to help you isolate your niche market.

1.What problem does your product/service solve? Knowing the answer to this question will help you find the individuals who will benefit most from your product.

2.Who has the problem that your product solves? If you are selling insoles, for example, think about all the people who complain about their feet – athletes, cashiers & salespeople, waitstaff, elderly, overweight, and so on.  Think about all the people who could benefit from your product.  Solve the pain of your target market and they will be your loyal fans (and customers!).

3.How old are the individuals who have this problem? This will help you isolate your Niche from everyone else. If you know how old the crowd is your trying to reach, you will know some of what they are interested in, what they do, how they travel, how the communicate.

4.Do the individuals in your niche share any traits? Are they sky divers, scuba divers, race car drivers…? The more you know about your niche the more targeted you can make your marketing efforts. Individuals with shared interested have common media sources. Magazines, blogs, websites, etc.

5.What makes your product different than your competitors? Use the answer as your marketing angle. This is the one fact (or multiple facts) that sets you apart from the rest.

Just as you didn’t copy your product from something already available, you don’t want to copy your marketing plan from everyone else. Be unique, be memorable and always be honest. For help putting a marketing plan together or for implementing a current marketing plan, contact Champion Assistants at 425.605.0205.

Best,

Kristi

5 Basic Elements of Targeted Marketing

tragetThere are many styles of marketing, but only one that truly works in all applications. That one style is known as Targeted Marketing. Targeted Marketing uses information and planning to reach the right people at the right time. Below are the five basic elements to effectively and efficiently utilize this style of marketing.

1. Know Your Audience: Just like you know your products or services, you likely know who will benefit from them the most and why. What problem does your particular product solve? Are there any other problems that that same product solves? Who has these problems? Bingo, you have found your target. Now you must learn about your target market. What are there habits? Where do they shop? What media sources do they use frequently? Why do they hang out? What do they like and dislike? Knowing your audience in this way will help you to focus your marketing efforts toward them in an efficient manner. If you were trying to reach an 80 year old man you wouldn’t post an ad in Vogue would you?

2. Optimize Your Efforts: For every company this element will vary slightly, but the general emphasis here is to make sure the tools and information you have available to your clients are working for you. If you have a website, make sure the content is updated on a regular basis, the metadata is accurate and accessible including keywords and a site map. The same goes for brochures and other informational leaflets. The information needs to be accurate and honest and the appearance needs to be clean. No one likes looking at something that hurts the eyes. If there are too many bells and whistles or too many vibrant colors you are going to lose your audience. Simple is usually best!

3. Be The expert: Develop the ‘Know, Like, Trust’ effect by becoming an expert in your market. Write articles, have free information available, be honest and upfront. If you have the opportunity to share something that you know and enrich someone else’s business/life they will become a source of referrals down the road.

4. Plan Your Attack Strategy: Whit the information you now have you should be able to formulate your marketing plans. Know what you are willing to spend and where you want to spend that money. Figure out if your going to use mail marketing vs. email marketing and know where you are going to get your mailing lists from. (It is always best to use a source you can trust) Know what keywords are best for finding your information online. Figure out where you need to be so that your customers will find you instead of you having to hunt for them.

5. Befriend the media: The media is a huge source of referrals and are more than happy to learn about new inventions, new techniques, new anything. Use the media to your advantage by sharing information. Think of this as an extension of both elements 3 and 4. You are more of an expert in the public mind if the media mentions you or your business. Press releases, on air spots, and other media events should be a part of your attack strategy.

These five elements take planning and effort to be successful. Just as you wouldn’t leave the house without your keys, you don’t want to start your marketing with only one element in place. Figuring out who your marketing needs to reach, where to find them and how best to reach them makes a huge difference in any marketing plan.