Super cool Camtasia/Powerpoint trick for creating an animated intro clip

Today I came aross a super cool Camtasia/PowerPoint trick for creating an animated “Intro” clip. This is a helpful trick to know whether you do video creation for yourself, or use Powerpoint to create presentations for clients. I’ve always found the flashier tricks are the ones that really stand out and impress, so take a look at this video:

If you’re interested in learning lots more tricks like this, Lon and Michelle  have a great variety of courses, along with a Digital Access Pass to their site www.LearnCamtasia.com, which will give you a strong background if you’re wanting to offer video marketing services to your clients, or just want to learn how to improve your Powerpoint presentations!

The Basics of writing articles for online marketing

Writing articles is a great way to increase your visibility on the web. Article directories (places you can submit your article, and have it picked up for syndication or reprint) used to rank very well in the search engines, and still carry some weight. And posting your own articles there means that you increase the number of places you can be found on the web, as well as increasing the number of incoming links to your website through your resource box. Additionally, having lots of content (in the form of articles as well as videos, audios and more), is a great way to significantly increase your presence on social media sites.

Want to take advantage of the power of article marketing, but aren’t sure how to write web-friendly articles? Here are some great resources on how to write good articles that can be used in your newsletter, on your blog and can be submitted to article directories:

5 Basics to Article Writing

Writing Persuasive Articles

Feature Article Writing – Uncover 4 Incredible Feature Article Writing Tips

Article Writing Solutions – Discover 4 Effective Secrets to Multiply the Number of Your Articles

Free teleclass: Crafting your online marketing strategy into an easy-to-delegate system!

Announcing our next free teleclass on Tuesday, August 10th at 3pm Eastern

If you’re like many solo business owners, you’ve probably dipped your toe into the world of online marketing & social media. As you may have found, though, if you don’t have a strategic plan for social media, it can be time-consuming, and not always produce the results you’re looking for.

And there are so many different pieces to online marketing, you may find yourself jumping from one “latest and greatest” tool or fad to another, with no plan, and no results to show for it.

Wouldn’t you love to be shown an easy way to decide on a complete online marketing & social media strategy, set up the tools and systems to get it done quickly and efficiently (instead of spending all day on it!), and even have the entire system to give to a social media manager, virtual assistant (or even your teenager) so this marketing plan can work for you, while you have time to work on your own genius ideas?!

Join us on this free teleseminar on Tuesday, August 10th at 3pm Eastern to learn

  • A simple way to create a social media strategy that can be easily communicated to your assistant
  • 3 handy tools to run (almost) all your social media marketing
  • Guidelines for things your assistant should not do when managing your social networks
  • 5 Tips on finding the right person to help, and the important things to communicate to them
  • And one easy-to-follow system to streamline all the pieces into a recurring Online Marketing calendar, so you & your assistant always know what’s coming up, and what’s expected (an easy way to avoid the stress and hassle of marketing tasks falling through the cracks!)

As a bonus, you’ll receive a copy of our Social Media Strategy File to use for yourself, and a sample Marketing Calendar to ensure you see just how easy this can be to put into place.

So whether you’re a successful solo professional that has decided there’s not enough time in the day to do it all yourself and need to outsource, or are just getting started and want a system to follow yourself, this call is for you!

Register Your FREE Seat on this Teleseminar NOW!
Tuesday, August 10th at 3pm EST

Name
Email

Can’t make the call live? No worries! Be sure to register, and we’ll send you a copy of the recording.

A spring cleaning challenge for your marketing – part 2

Last Friday, I gave you step one of my 2 part Spring Cleaning Challenge for your online marketing. If you didn’t see it, check out Part 1 here:

Hopefully, you’ve taken the time to go through and do that. Not only is it just good practice to look through your site every so often, it may remind you of things you started, but didn’t finish, or ideas you had that are primed for execution now!

Item 2:

Go, right now, and take a look at the analytics or stats for your website and blog. And if you don’t have some sort of analytics set up, we need to fix that.   Pronto!    Please!!

Look closely at what your highest sources of traffic are.  Can you do more with them? For example, if you are getting a high number of visitors from Twitter, maybe you could spend some more time there, and phase out another site that isn’t even showing on your traffic sources right now.

Or, if you’re getting a lot of traffic from a few articles you submitted months ago, maybe now is the time to put a specific article marketing strategy into place, and generate lots more traffic through the regular submission of fresh articles.

Or maybe, you’re getting traffic from a collection of websites and blogs of people you know, work with, or that are affiliates of yours. This is a great one, because it’s quick and easy to deepen the relationship, and generate more traffic from the same sites. You can do this through regularly commenting on their blogs, starting conversations with them in social media, becoming a guest contributor to their blog (you already know their audience is interested in your content!), or simply asking them! A quick email is a great ice-breaker. All you need to say is that you’ve noticed a lot of traffic coming through from their site, and you wanted to thank them for it. You can offer to guest post for them, or suggest that there may be the potential for a Joint Venture between the two of you. And if they’re affiliates of yours already, just ask them what they would like in order to promote you better, and earn more commissions.

Finally, once you know where the highest sources of traffic are, take a good hard look at where you’re spending your time. If you spend hours every week writing articles, but don’t see article directories as a major traffic source, maybe that time would be better spent somewhere else.  This isn’t about creating more tasks for you to do (because almost all of them will probably offer some value to you), it’s about knowing where the biggest return on your time investment is, and focusing your efforts there.

Have you been struggling with figuring out your analytics, creating a
system to automate some of your marketing tasks, or any other  Marketing
Tech headache? Got a question and wish you could just pick the brain of
someone that works with blogs, social media and shopping carts all day
long? Join our next Marketing Tech Q & A call! For only $17, you get
access to our hour-long Q & A call where you can ask all those questions
that have been bubbling around in your brain!
Check it out at www.marketinggeeksinc.com/marketing-tech-qa

Have you been struggling with figuring out your analytics, creating a system to automate some of your marketing tasks, or any other  Marketing Tech headache? Got a question and wish you could just pick the brain of someone that works with blogs, social media and shopping carts all day long? Join our next Marketing Tech Q & A call! For only $17, you get access to our hour-long Q & A call where you can ask all those questions that have been bubbling around in your brain!

A spring cleaning challenge for your marketing – part 1

This is it, only mine is white!

This is it, only mine is white!

This past weekend, I got super excited when I happened to find the absolutely perfect kitchen “island cart” at one of my favorite stores. My kitchen is on the smaller side, and we don’t have a ton of cabinet space, so I’ve been looking for “just the right” piece of furniture for my kitchen for a long time. So when I found one that was just perfect, you know I snatched it up and raced home with it! I then spent a good portion of my weekend (which was rainy and cold, by the way – spring has left Michigan for the moment!) completely reorganizing my kitchen.

While I didn’t see this particular episode as spring cleaning (it was more excitement!), I think that spring still gets a lot of us in a mood to clean things up and refresh our surroundings.

And if now is a good time to get rid of old winter clothes that no longer fit, it’s also a great time to freshen up your website, your online presence and your marketing.

Just like clothes in your closet, there are probably tasks in your marketing plan that no longer fit and serve your business. And at the same time, there might be a buried treasure hiding under all the junk – something you’ve forgotten about or didn’t know you had in the first place!

You may be spending lots of time on a social networking site that no longer has the audience you’re wanting to connect with. Or maybe your business has evolved, and you’re still getting traffic to your website, but have never checked to see where it’s coming from. And if you don’t know where you’re getting interested visitors from, how in the world can you go out and get more?

So here is a little Spring Cleaning Challenge for you:

Item 1:

Go through your website carefully, and make sure it’s up to date. While things like copyrights, email addresses and phone numbers may seem obvious (and please get at least those right!), look at things like

  • Is your pricing current?
  • Do you have events listed that are way old?
  • For those events that are over, do you have recordings? If so, are they available? If not, now’s a great time to make those available for download – either free or paid. Look, we just created a fresh new freebie or product!
  • Do your newsletter/autoresponder signups and website contact forms work?
  • Is your bio current? Check your website, as well as your social media profiles, article directory sites, and anywhere else you have yourself listed.

On Monday, I’ll give you part 2. But over the weekend, take a look at your website and get that current!

Permalinks – Getting them right can get you more traffic

Today’s tip is on Permalinks – Getting them right can get you more traffic. Now, what are permlinks, you might ask?

Permalinks are the way WordPress displays the url for your posts and pages.

Here are some examples of different formats that WordPress offers:

Default - http://marketinggeeksinc.com/?p=123
Day & Name – http://marketinggeeksinc.com/2010/01/10/sample-post/
Numeric – http://marketinggeeksinc.com/archives/123

Or, you can use a Custom structure – http://www.marketinggeeksinc.com/how-to-set-up-wordpress-permalinks

In my opinion, the last one is the best format to have your permalinks in for 3 reasons:

1. It’s friendly on the eyes and easier for other people to link back to you
2. It usually keeps them shorter than some of the other WordPress permalink options (day & name can get really long)
3. It’s best for SEO – it uses keywords in your url, and keeps those keywords as close to the beginning of the link as possible, which can be a factor for SEO as well

So if you’re starting from scratch (or don’t have many incoming links), you’ll definitely want to check your Permalink settings. But what do you do if you already have an established blog? You can’t just go in and change them and leave it at that, because any incoming links you already have will stop working.

To get around this problem, you will first need to install the Redirection plugin.  Once it’s installed, go to Manage –> Redirection –> Options, and make sure both that URL Monitoring boxes are set to “Modified posts”. Now you can change those permalinks to SEO-friendly permalinks without having to worry about the search engine consequences. Now you’ll want to change your Permalink structure. Go to Settings –> Permalinks. Select the Custom structure, and enter /%postname%/


One last thing you can do to your permalinks to increase your WordPress SEO is install the SEO Slugs plugin. This will automatically remove stop words (words like and, to, from, if, etc.) from your slugs once you save a post, so you won’t get those ugly long URL’s when you do a sentence style post title. It also helps keep your most important keywords (which should be in your title) towards the front. And since they give you no SEO benefit anyway, you might as well take them out and give that SEO priority to your good keywords!

4 Easy Ways to Integrate List Building Into Your Current Online Marketing

how to build a list with social mediaIf you’ve spent much time marketing anything online, you’ve probably heard the mantra “The money is in the list”. And that’s usually true, especially if you’re consciously building a list of targeted subscribers – people who want and need the types of services or products you provide.

One thing clients often say is “How can I be sure my list is targeted? I can’t control who signs up!”

So before we get into the ways to integrate your list building efforts, here are a few tips to ensure that all those new signups are really targeted to what you offer:

- First and foremost, do you have a freebie? If not, you should! That is, by far, the easiest way to get people to actually sign up. Most people do NOT want any more emails in their inbox than absolutely necessary, and generally won’t sign up to get a newsletter if there’s not anything else in it for them. So create a freebie that hits a nerve for them, and makes them “gotta have it”. You can get ideas from questions that clients ask you over and over again, or by polling clients or even your network on Facebook and Twitter to find out what their burning questions are.

-Use language that excludes people that aren’t right for you. So if you’re a coach for single parents, mention single parents in your freebie title. As an example, my freebie is “11 Easy & Effective Steps to Creating a Search Engine and Social Media Friendly Business Blog“. If someone stumbles across my website, but doesn’t have a business blog, or they don’t care about search engine and social media traffic, that freebie won’t speak to them. They won’t care about that info, and so they won’t signup. This ensures that the people that sign up want the kind of expert advice that you’re providing.

Take a good hard look at your current freebie or newsletter signup. Is it speaking right to your ideal clients? Is it compelling – something that will help them solve a problem they’re currently having?

You may decide it’s time to change things up a bit, and now’s the time to do it!

Once you’re confident that what you’re offering speaks right to your ideal client, here are the 4 Easy Ways to Integrate List Building Into Your Current Online Marketing:

1. Your Website or Blog – this may seem basic, but do you have your freebie and signup displayed prominently on your site? All to often I see clients wondering why nobody is signing up for their list, but when I check out their site, it’s very hard to find their signup. It’s at the bottom of the page, or on one page but not another. You want to display your freebie & signup consistently on every page, as close to the top as you can get it. Ask a friend or family member to sign up for your newsletter, and you’ll get a much more honest picture of how easy-to-spot and compelling your offer is. If the text blends into the rest of the page, or the page is too busy, you might consider having an ebook cover designed – this gives more pizzazz to your offer, and also increases the perceived value.

2. Your Resource Box on Article Directories – are you using article marketing for your business? If so, do you mention your freebie (with a link to sign up) in your Resource Box? Why not? That is a great place to encourage signups. They’ve read your article and hopefully have found it of value, but they’re not on your site! If they leave now, they won’t have any idea that you offer a great freebie related to that exact topic!

3. Your Social Media Profiles – if you’re active on social media, you probably have your website listed. Hopefully, you have a well crafted business description that speaks to your ideal client, and tells them exactly how you can help them. But did you know that you can actually provide a way for them to sign up right from within Facebook? You can use the Profile HTML app or the Static FBML app to display html code right on the sidebar of your personal profile or on your Fan Page.

On Twitter you can have a custom Twitter background created that gives visitors more info about you, and directs them where to go to sign up for your freebie.

On your YouTube videos, add the signup link to the description box, or use the annotation feature to add the web address right onto the video itself.

If you’re already using social media regularly, then let it work double-time and help you with your list building efforts!

4. Your Offline Marketing Materials – just because list building is thought of as an online tool, there’s no reason you can’t promote your freebie on all your offline marketing materials as well! Create a short, compelling description of your freebie, and add that to your business cards, postcards, invoices, proposals, or any other offline correspondance. This will give you leverage to build your list with people that may not be as active online, but are still a good fit for you.

GetSocial for more social media sharing

Now, we’ve already added social bookmarking links to your posts in Step 4, but today we’re gong to add in another plugin, GetSocial which will utilize a few other social media sharing methods.

The GetSocial plugin does the job of 3 plugins I used to use -

  • adds the TweetMeMe retweet button (which encourages people to retweet your blog post)
  • adds the Facebook share button (which makes it easy for people to share your post to their Facebook wall)
  • adds a Google Buzz button (so users of Google Buzz can easily “buzz” your post)
  • plus it adds a StumbleUpon button (to encourage visitors to stumble your post)

And it does it all in one simple, floating GetSocial box.

To install the GetSocial plugin, just visit your Plugins menu, do a search for “GetSocial”, and click Install. From there, just go to Settings –> GetSocial to add your Twitter username. If you find that you don’t like where the button is located on your site, you can also control positioning from this screen as well.

Now that your site is set up for maximum Search Engine-findability and Social Media-sharability, it’s up to you to create great content that your visitors and the search engines will love! If content creation is something you really struggle with, feel free to check out my Social Media Content Creation Kit.

Deepen connections by greeting visitors by the site they came from!

Have you ever wished you could create a personalized message for readers that came from a certain site? For example, if a reader clicked through from Facebook, would you really like to suggest that they check out your fan page? Now you can! WP Greet Box is a WordPress plugin that can identify the site a new visitor is coming FROM, and display a custom message! It’s pretty easy to setup, and offers many different social networking and social bookmarking sites, so the ones you and your target market are active on should be on there. There’s a quick walk-through video below on setting up and using WP Greet Box

The nice thing is that there are default greetings built in, so you don’t have to come up with something clever to say for each site that you’d like to use. But, the even nicer thing is that if you DO want to personalize the greeting, you have that ability too.

One final note – it’s pretty easy to setup and get going with, but make sure you add in your profile link to all the social networking sites you choose to use – that way they can click through and connect directly with you there, too! Oh, and feel free to deactivate any that you aren’t familiar with. Just places less load on your site, and keeps things cleaner and neater in the backend. If you’d like additional documentation on using more advanced features, check out the WP Greet Box tutorial here.

Get better SEO by tagging your photos and videos

In coaching my clients (and in my Social Media Content Creation Kit) I encourage taking advantage of the power of already-created content, like YouTube videos, articles, etc.

I also have many clients and readers that would much rather record a video (or create a photo montage) than sit down and write up an article for their blog – the power of video is amazing, and this is a great way to market yourself online. But there is a downside!

Videos and photos give you absolutely no SEO benefit. It’s kind of like creating a project for school, only to find out you didn’t earn any credit for it!

The reason is that search engine spiders cannot watch a video or see a photo – if there’s no text on the post, they have NO idea what the post is about. And so they have no reason to index it. Search engines are all about providing good content in their search results and in their eyes, you don’t have any content on that post.

So how do you earn SEO credit from your videos and photos?

By making sure you appropriately tag them, as well as your blog posts.

People new to blogging are often confused by tags, so here is a quick explanation – tags are simply keywords! You can tag your post, you can tag your images, you can tag your videos on YouTube and other videos sites, etc. So how do you make tags your new best friend for better SEO?

  • Take advantage of the “Post Tags” field in your WordPress blog to add keywords that will tell the search engines what the post is about
  • Make sure you have “alt tags” for all your photos. In WordPress, this is really easy to do! While you’re Inserting a photo, add some keywords or a description of the post to the “Caption” field and voila! You’ve tagged your photo and given the search engine a better idea of what the post is about (note: describing the photo itself is not very search engine helpful – do you really want the search engines to think your post is about a “business woman drinking coffee”, or something like that? No! So use keywords from your post – what the picture symbolizes for the post)
  • If you upload your videos to YouTube (or other video sites) and embed from there, then take advantage of YouTube’s tag feature. It will help for search engine friendliness on their site. But on your own site, you will also want to add a quick sentence describing what the video is about, and why someone should watch it. One - because search engines can’t watch the video for themselves. And two - because the video won’t come through in your RSS feed or in someone’s email, and you want to encourage them to come back to your site and actually watch the video.

This doesn’t mean that you have to give up video blogging since you have to write anyway. One simple sentence is enough to at least give the search engines info on what the post is about so they can index it. And there really is power in video. So just be sure to take that extra step of tagging your photos, videos and posts, and you should start to see improved SEO in no time!