Inbox overload? Here’s a way to deal with it for good!

I know I have often suffered with inbox overload. Have you? Whether it’s your own inbox, or your managing email for your client, there’s no sense in wasting tons of time working through the same types of emails over and over again.

I found this great video from Derek Halpern from Social Triggers on a way to deal with it once and quit wasting so much time. Take a watch!

Secrets to his system? Inventory the types of email you regularly get. Here’s Derek’s list:

1. Email from newsletters you subscribe to and like to receive
2. Email that needs a response from you
3. Email that needs a response, but not necessarily from you
4. Email that doesn’t need a response at all
5. Emails from people that added you to their mailing list without your permission

Yours may look a little different, especially if you’re managing someone else’s inbox.

To deal with the only two sections that really matter (#2 & #3), go through those again. Look for common threads. Then, type up generic responses so you can do the work once, then rely on your email service going forward. I prefer Gmail, so I’d set these up as Canned Responses. Your email service (hopefully!) has a similar function. If you’re using Outlook, check out Topalt.com’s service.

Instead of trying to “brute force” your way through tasks like email management, spend a couple hours, design an operating procedure for dealing with most of your emails. Put it in place, and voila! You’ve saved yourself HOURS in 2014!

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!

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.

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!

Ready to ramp up those Resolutions again? Check out the Post Resolution Hangover Remedy

It’s a one-of-a-kind event … yet couldn’t be more timely!

Whether you admit it or not, the word resolution goes hand in hand with the start of a new year.  Whether you make your resolutions in the form of business goals and priorities, or actual resolutions …. By mid to late January, you’re likely tired of forcing yourself to follow-through on what you set out just a few weeks ago.

In comes Terri Z at Solo-E, a virtual learning resource for solo entrepreneurs, with the Post Resolution Hangover Giveaway. This isn’t your typical giveaway…each item is a true gift, not available anywhere else for free! The value of each item is the price at which it sells today. How cool is that?! And I’m so honored to be a part of the giveaway!

The gifts include ebooks, audios, home-study packages and more, on topics including: 101 Ways to Attract Clients, 7 Things You Must Do to Get More Clients, The Facebook Fan Page Intensive, The Online Video Playbook, 5 Psychological Triggers to Turn Prospects Into Clients, Abundance in Business, The Finding Time Quick-Start Guide, and my very own, brand new Social Media Content Creation Kit!

Solo-E has partnered with me and 19 other solo-entrepreneur experts to offer these incredible resources for online based business owners.  For 12 days only – January 25 to February 5, you can download all these gifts at absolutely no cost (and no strings). That’s right…you don’t even have to give up your email address!

There’s an incredible group of Experts participating in the Post Resolution Hangover Giveaway, including:

Alicia Forest, Ann Ronan, Loren Fogelman, Tracey Lawton, Allison Babb, Tina Forsyth, Rebecca Zwar, Christine Gallagher, Lou Bortone, Heather Dominic, Laurie Weiss, Laurie Mandato, Zahra Efan, Hazel Palache, Laura West, Eva Gregory, Alicia Smith, Michele PW, Nina East and Paula Eder

Take a few minutes to see what all the fuss is about, and cure your Resolution Hangover! You’ll get access to fantastic resources that you can download and review at your convenience.  Visit http://www.solo-e.com/PostHolidayHangoverRemedy

How to add snazzy social media icons to your site

Do you have your social media profiles on your website? Hopefully so, because just like offering a freebie or free-taste on your website, it’s a great way to encourage readers to connect with you in a casual, non-salesy way. This lets them get to know you and your expertise without any pressure to immediately become a client. And it helps you build that KLT (Know, Like and Trust) factor that is so important online.

So today’s post is going to show you how to add those snazzy Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn buttons you’ve seen around, to make it easy for readers to find your social media presences, and connect with you there too!

To start with, you need to find some icons you like! Now a word of warning – just because you find an image online doesn’t necessarily mean you can grab it and use it on your site – things like that can get you in trouble! So you want to start with a source that you know offers the right to reuse on your website. My particular favorite is www.iconspedia.com, or you can visit www.twitter.com/goodies to generate the html code AND link and save yourself one step. You can also do a search on Google for free social networking icons.

Once you find icons you like, go ahead and download to your computer.

The next step is to generate html code for the image, as well as the link to your profile. If you’re not familiar with writing html code, the easiest way to do this is to go into your Edit Post screen on WordPress, and Upload the image.

upload

Once you have the icon in your post, select it by clicking on it, then use the Insert Link button to add a link to your profile – should like something like this  http://www.facebook.com/rebeccazwar?ref=profile or this http://www.twitter.com/rebeccazwar

Now, all you need to do is switch to the HTML tab, and copy ALL the html code you see!

It should look like this:

The very last step is to go into Appearances –> Widgets, and drag a new Text Widget onto your sidebar. You can name it something like “Connect With Me”, then you just paste your html code into the box, click Save, and VOILA! You can check out your new icons!

Making sense of your Google Analytics

Knowing what people are looking at on your site, and what sites and keywords are bringing them to you is very important in being able to improve and increase your traffic. But how do you spy on your visitors? Install an Analytics service like Google Analytics. Having some sort of tracking and analytics system on your blog makes it easy to…

  • see what posts are most popular, so you can write more on the same topic
  • see where a lot of your traffic comes from, so you can focus more time there (for example, you may find you get lots more traffic from Facebook than from Twitter, so you would know that your time is better spent interacting and posting on Facebook since more people click through to visit your site)
  • see what keywords are bringing people to your site. You can then focus more on the good keywords that are showing a lot of interest, and you might even get ideas for keywords you hadn’t thought of!

Here’s a quick video on installing Analytics on your WordPress blog, and what some of the different terms that you’ll see mean.

Can you connect email and social media marketing?

connect-emailWhile social media is a buzzword, most businesses are still using email marketing for a large portion of their online audience, and it is still quite effective. But can you combine the two? While “old school” email marketing is 1-to-many and “new school” social media marketing is 1-to-1, the two can actually work together very well.

The best way to approach this is as an opportunity for you to learn more about your customers and for them to learn more about you and your brand.

Here are several great tips for doing so, from Jason Baer, at Connect and Convert:

1. Collect Profile Data in Subscription Forms

Offer your email subscribers the option of including their Twitter name on your subscription form. Something like:

“We care about our customers. Can we follow you on Twitter?” Please provide your Twitter name, and we’ll follow you ASAP. (We’re at @companyname, by the way)

2. Promote Social Media Outposts in Welcome Messages

When you send your welcome message after initial subscription (you ARE sending welcome messages, aren’t you?), include links to your various social media outposts. Carefully track which links get clicked, as it will give you an indication of which are most popular among your customers.

3. Social Media-Only Offers

If you really want to get a handle on which social media venues your customers prefer, and in what intensity, create an email that includes links to special offers or promotion codes that are shown only on your social media profile pages. Something like: “We’ve got incredible offers available on items we think you’d love. For details and promotion codes, visit us online on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter”

Turn your Gmail account into a Social Media Managing Monster

If you’d like to be more active on your social media sites daily, but find that opening a multitude of windows and programs just gets overwhelming and so you miss out, check out these great add-on’s and widgets that can help you do more and be a social media monster, all from within your Gmail inbox.

1. Twitter is one of the most active social media sites, and it can be easy to spend lots of time there during the day. But if you run one of the many (great!) Twitter clients like TweetDeck or Twhirl, you might notice that it’s distracting, as well as possibly slowing down your computer a bit. For quick updates, try installing the Twitter Gadget for Gmail. While it may not have all the functionality of other Twitter clients, it lets you reply, retweet, or post an update quickly, and get back to business, all without leaving your email inbox.

2. Sharing Content – Looking for some content to share quickly through your Twitter Gadget? Try installing the Delicious Gadget. Essentially, you see a list of current links you’ve bookmarked, which make for easy reference for your social media efforts or to send via email.  Or, for Firefox users, you can install Google Reader as a sidebar in your Firefox window. Then, you can quickly grab a link to an article to share on Twitter, or you can share through Google, and again spread valuable content quickly without getting distracted by a new window.

3. is the definitely one of the most popular social networking sites, and I imagine many Gmail users have a account in Facebook. The Facebook Gadget for Gmail will allow you to see your friend requests, friend updates, photo updates and more within the comfort of your Gmail inbox

4. FriendFeed is a social networking aggregator that combines data from various social networking sites into a single place, allowing you to keep an eye on everyone you follow without having to visit individual sites. If you are a Friendfeed user, you can easily view your update streams in the Gmail sidebar with the Friendfeed Gadget.

4. Want more? – There are even gadgets for Digg and Flickr.

These widgets and gadgets are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to increasing your productivity within Gmail. If you’re looking for more, beyond just social networking and social media, check out these great resources:

14 Add-On’s that make Gmail more awesomely productive

How to make Gmail your ultimate productivity center

Don’t have the time or know-how to get these set up on your Gmail account? This is a great task for a social media virtual assistant to work on for you!

It’s time to decide on your social media “flow”

So what does that mean, exactly? I coach my clients to sit down and really think out how they want their blog content to “flow” out into the social media world – where does it start, where does it go next, how are all the sites connected, etc.

One big reason is that as social media evolves, and as you start to join (and sometimes abandon) more sites (linking up your blog to everything, just like you should), you may find that items are double posting in some spots. Or worse, not posting at all on others.

As an example, when I post content onto my blog, I use www.twitterfeed.com to send it automatically to Twitter. From there, the TweetSync app on Facebook picks it up and posts it onto my Facebook profile. I haven’t done a single thing except hit “Publish” on my blog, and it’s now on my main social media presences immediately.

There are many advantages to taking a few minutes to sit down and examine your current “flow”, and figure out ways to streamline, improve or reduce volume in different spots:

  • You may have forgotten that you linked a site to your blog way back when – for example, most people on Facebook start off by adding their blog feed to the “Notes” section in order to have it post automatically. However, if they then join Twitter and set up some automation for their tweets to hit their Facebook profile, then they could have double posting issues.
  • You may have unlinked something because you were using another service, but then stopped using that site or service, and forgot to hook things back up
  • Finally, and this is a big one for social media time management, you may not realize how inefficient your current set up is. If you find yourself hitting “Publish” then visiting several other sites to post the link to your new blog post, there are certainly ways to save yourself those few minutes

So how do you get started?

Sometimes, the best way is to write a new blog post (heck, it can be a simple “Tip of the Day” thing, nothing too in depth), and without doing anything else, watch over the next few hours to see how it “flow’s” onto your social media profiles.

On Facebook and Twitter (and some other services), you will usually see a note in small text on where the post came from:

twitter

fb

This should give you a pretty good idea of what services you have hooked up. (Something posting, and you just can’t find it? Check which applications you have installed on Facebook, and take a look at Settings –>Connections on your Twitter account to see which services you’ve allowed access, and revoke access to any unnecessary ones)

Then, think about where you spend the most time, and where you would like to start with content (including tweets and status updates not from your blog that you would still like on multiple sites).

So if you want to start at Twitter, use a service like Twitterfeed.com to feed your blog onto Twitter, then connect an app like TweetSync (2/10 update: now called Yakket) to pull those tweets onto Facebook.

If you’d rather spend your time on Facebook, but would still like to regularly update Twitter, then use the Facebook Notes feature to pull new blog posts onto your profile, and use an app like Social Tweet to tweet right from within Facebook.

If you just want to publish and go, and don’t necessarily visit Twitter or Facebook regularly, you could use a service like Ping.fm. All you have to do is grab the link from your new blog post, post it on ping.fm, and get on with your day.

I’m not here to tell you what flow to use, so much as encouraging you to find what works best for you, then set up your social media profiles to work with you. Because at the end of the day, tools are only effective if they do what you want!