Are you a Master at what you do? Does it matter?

When trying to build their business, a lot of entrepreneurs blame the fact that they aren’t successful on just needing to get better at what they do.

I think people get this from their years in the workforce. When you got a performance review, your boss would usually talk about ways to improve performance, and a lot of times it involved getting a certification, learning a new skill or software, cross-training in another department, etc.

You know what, though? If you are a business professional and have some level of expertise, you know more than a lot of people out there! There is someone who would love to know what you know, and in that way, you offer value to them.

Now, I’m not saying that additional training isn’t important. But I think a lot of entrepreneurs use the excuse of wanting to get more training/skill/knowledge/another certification as a way to avoid taking that next big step, stepping up, and really marketing their business and seeing the success they deserve.

“Marketing is more important than mastery”.
-Ali Brown

Marketing is THAT important. And if you’ve been holding back until you get that next level of education, I challenge you to STOP! It might take a major shift in the way you’re currently thinking about your business, but think about it this way: it doesn’t matter how much you know, if nobody knows about you, you’ll be out of business before you know it.

How can you best showcase the expertise you already have?

A quick, easy and low-cost way to get started showcasing that expertise is online marketing. You could write a series of articles on a topic that a lot of people have questions on, or a How-To series. Share little mini-tips regularly on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Use some of this content, and create short videos that you put on YouTube. Fill your blog with all of these different pieces, and you might just be amazed at your own expertise!

Not only does this increase your visibility and get you out of your own head, it helps you get more clients through the Know Like and Trust factor. People will see your expertise, they’ll get to know you, and they begin to trust you. And that is an awesome way to start a new client relationship.

If you’re ready to embrace your current expertise and start marketing yourself online, there are lots of articles here on my blog, and online, to get you started. Or contact me for your own 20 minute strategy session to learn more about how a VA can help you with a complete online marketing strategy.

Important questions to ask before a website design/redesign

If you’ve ever gone through the process of designing a website, you probably realized part way through that there were lots of things you had never even thought about when you were planning for your site! And if you never have designed a website, and have been thinking that you need to do that soon, getting a head start on planning will only make the entire process easier and less stressful for you.

I’ve designed quite a few blog sites since I started my business, oh way back when  :), and in the process I’ve developed  a list of important questions to ask the client, or at least have them think about as they’re giving me notes for the new site, or their site redesign.

At the beginning of the year, a lot of people start thinking about their goals for their business, and the things they’d like to get accomplished that year, and often times, a new website or a website redesign end up on that list. But unfortunately, the process can get overwhelming and so the project gets put off.

But I can’t just let you sit around with a bad site, or worse, no site at all! So today, I’ve decided that it might be helpful to share those questions with you.

If you’re even thinking about redesigning your website or getting a new one done, check out the Web Design Questions pdf here. And if you have any questions about the web design/redesign process, comment here or email us at info@marketinggeeksintl.com!

Using Blogging to Build Your Online Presence

About a year and a half ago, I was part of the Summer Speakers Series, and spoke on Blogging for Business. In the spirit of the season, I decided to give away the audio to share with everyone, in case you missed it! Here’s what we covered…

With all the other online marketing buzzwords floating around, it’s easy to forget about blogging, or to write it off for the next new thing. Don’t! This presentation shows you why you need a blog now more than ever.

Using Blogging to Build Your Online Presence will cover:

  • Why blog?
  • Blogging platforms
  • Ways to take advantage of multiple streams of content to save time and write less
  • Creating a blog that is a strong base for all your other social networking and social media activities
  • Promoting your blog

You’ll walk away with a complete understanding of how to best set up your blog. As a bonus you’ll also receive the Blogger’s Rolodex, a complete list of resources and tools to take full advantage of the marketing power a blog can bring to your business, and Blogging 101 and Beyond, a complete guide to using the WordPress Dashboard.

Listen now…

[audio:http://www.marketinggeeksinc.com/audios/Blogging-to-build-online-presence.mp3]

And as promised, here are the two documents promised!

Blogging Rolodex

WordPress 101

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!

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.

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

What comes first, the Twittering, or the Following?

Here’s a Twitter Tip video I created after I heard the same question over and over from clients, and then saw it posted by @unmarketing on Twitter. It’s something I see a lot of people new to Twitter struggle with, so here are some ideas to start you off strong on Twitter!

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What do you think? Do you follow brand-new Twitterers if they don’t have any updates at all? I’d love to hear feedback from other active Twitter-folk.

And of course, connect with me on Twitter!

follow-RebeccaZwar-on-twitter