I was recently intereviewed by Michael Sjostedt from the Quitter to Winner Blog about how to use LinkedIn effectively. Take a look at the his interview blog post and check out the comments from Michael Yoder too (great additions).
Covered topics include:
- Why should you use LinkedIn?
- What are the top things you should do when you join?
- What are some of things you should do and not do to generate sales on LinkedIn?
- How can you use LinkedIn to promote your company?
- and more!
Google Analytics can provide you with the information you need to better connect with your audience. The data is easy to collect, the question is: Are you using it?
How many people visited your site last month?
What page was the most visited?
How long did the average person spend on your website ?
How many pages did your visitors look?
What page were your site visitors on when they left your site?
What type of browser or what screen resolution are your visitors using?
What sites referred the most visitors to your website?
and MUCH MUCH MORE!
We will be showing you over the coming weeks how to get the most out of Google Analytics. First though, an introduction for those of us that may not be familiar with Google Analytics.
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics is the enterprise-class web analytics solution that gives you rich insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness. Powerful, flexible and easy-to-use features now let you see and analyze your traffic data in an entirely new way. With Google Analytics, you're more prepared to write better-targeted ads, strengthen your marketing initiatives and create higher converting websites. (http://www.google.com/analytics)
Click on this image for a guided tour.
What are you passionate about?
You have strengths and passions; hopefully ones that relate to your business. Unfortunately
Business partnerships can provide you with the magic wand you have always dreamed of. Imagine being able to focus on your strengths and passions while someone else handled the things you would rather put off until later. A good partner will complement you and your business. Their passions and skills should complement yours.
A good business partnership will allow you to increase your profits by being more focused and increase your happiness quotient by greatly reducing your stress and frustration. Good business partnerships create true WIN-WIN-WIN situations where you, your partner and your client(s) all benefit from the partnership.
Imagine being able to provide additional services to your clients, spend less time on drudgery, spend more time on your passions and make more money in the process. Business partnerships can provide you and your clients with true benefits.
Need an example of an effective partnership? Imagine that your business focuses on marketing or public relations and that your clients regularly approach you to handle their website needs. Although you love writing marketing copy and enjoy promotions your technical skills are not considered "geeky." A partnership with MMJ Technology where we provide the website framework for your clients while you focus on providing your amazing marketing copy and promotional services would allow you to spend more time with your clients, less time struggling with technical issues and provide your clients with a superior solution. Truly a WIN-WIN-WIN scenario.
Let's face it - we have websites to help us make more money. If your website does not increase your revenue or lower your expenses, such as customer service, then there is not much need for you to keep it. At the same time, every organization needs a website in order to be seen as credible. Imagine your impression if you were looking to buy a product or work with an organization and you found out they did not have a website; chances are you would not be buying that product or working with that organization.
If you are still with me then you will likely agree that marketing is a key function of your website. In order for your marketing to be effective it needs to be timely and relevant to your audience. In order for your content to be timely and relevant you need to be adding and updating your website content on a regular basis. Enter a Content Management System (CMS).
Marketing your organization online is a process which rewards the swift and penalizes the idle. If your organization can not afford to have a skilled marketing professional and website developer on staff, then your website needs to be configured on a CMS.
A CMS allows you to easily add content to your website, modify existing content and provide your audience with timely and relevant information that causes them to connect with you and your organization - without having to pay a developer $150+/hour every time you want to make a change to your website. A CMS allows you to maintain your website without needing to know how to program in HTML, Java, Flash or the like. Virtually anyone who can create an email can add and maintain content on a CMS based website.
Most business owners and managers have no idea how to make changes or additions to their website. This means that most websites remain static and do not do a good job at marketing your organization. If your organization is not doing an effective job of marketing online then you are not converting your audience into customers. When you do not convert your audience to customers you are wasting your investment in your website.
There are several CMS systems available to organizations. Some CMS systems cost as much as $10,000 or more, other CMS systems are available as open-source and are absolutely free (i.e. Joomla! and Wordpress). Regardless of the CMS platform you choose you will likely need to invest some of your marketing dollars with a skilled web design firm to get your website setup and configured properly (this initial design, setup and configuration is generally no more expensive, and often less expensive, than paying a web developer to create a new site for you). The value of a CMS platform is ease of ongoing use and search engine optimization. Additionally, most CMS platforms have a plethora of plug-in modules that you can use to perform virtually any function needed. Using these plugins almost always saves you money as you are not paying for a developer to program new functionality for your website.
A CMS allows you to create additional web pages, modify existing website content, easily integrate photos and video, add new products, services and specials to your website - things that are always changing and are often not added to your website due to cost concerns. A CMS also allows you to create custom landing pages that pertain to specific marketing efforts and greatly increase your ability to convert your site visitors to customers.
So, finally - the five reasons you should be using a CMS for your website:
- You can easily add, edit and maintain your content
- You can quickly and inexpensively add functionality through plugin modules
- You can increase your search engine rankings (regular and more searchable content)
- You save money
- You connect with your audience more effectively and make more money
You can have a static, boring website that is generally a waste of your time and money or you can have a dynamic and remarkable website that allows you to connect with your audience. Which would you rather have?
Want to find out how a CMS can benefit your organization? Contact us today at 616.457.0300 or by email.
"I already have a Facebook page."
I have heard this phrase a number of times over the last few weeks. It seems that many business people believe that since they have a personal Facebook page they did not need a business Facebook page. THINK AGAIN!
If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know that I DO NOT recommend maintaining a separate business and personal social media persona. Given that, I do believe that you should have a specific business or organization profile when possible.
Facebook has two different types of pages:
- Personal pages are for us as individuals.
- Facebook Fan pages are for businesses and organizations. The key difference is that people "Friend" you on your personal Facebook page, they "Like" your Facebook Fan page.
Why is it important to have a Facebook Fan page for your business or organization?
- People are more likely to "Like" a Facebook Fan page than to request to be a "Friend"
- When people who “Like” your page interact with you on Facebook, this activity shows up in the their friend's Facebook news feeds (the stuff on the Facebook wall).
- The more fans your Facebook Fan page has the more often your posts are displayed to others. Remember that each of your posts appear on your Fan's Facebook Walls; this means you get more "eyeball traffic" for your posts.
- Adding a "Like" button to your business or organization's website provides another means of connecting with your Facebook Fan's friends and increases the reach of your marketing message.
- Your Fan Page is public, which means it is visible to search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo (among others). Personal pages are hidden behind logins and not indexed by the search engines.
- A Facebook Fan page provides you with a wonderful venue to communicate with your fans. Listen to them. Prompt them. Answer their questions and more!
Bottom line: A Facebook page for your business or organization creates more awareness and increases your exposure.
Do you have a Facebook page for your business or organization? It is time! Click here to get started.
Mashable held their Summit Conference this week and one of the discussions revolved around those urban legends of web content that we need to stop believing.
Which of these Urban Legends of Web Content do you cling to?
People will watch my branded content
People will be patient with my content
People will find my content
The internet is a level playing field
We have no idea why things go viral
Experience is more important than documenting
We need to build our own community/tools
Keep things professional
Traditional media is irrelevant to the web
People will create good content for me
Our next series of blog posts will deal with each of these "urban legends." Take a moment and tell me your thoughts and leave a comment.
Talk to us via Twitter @mmjtech or on Facebook
Using the right social media tools will help you engage with more potential clients in less time.
Spending less time on social media means you have more time to spend on your business.
Using social media as a marketing tool and managing your time effectively is key to ensuring that your online marketing strategy succeeds long term.
So, what tools can help you manage your social media marketing time more effectively?
NetVibes - a web based RSS reader or news aggregator that makes it simple to keep up on the latest blog posts, news and articles from your favorite websites without requiring you to go to each website to see what is new. A popular alternative to Netvibes is Google Reader.
Hootsuite - a web based (also available as a desktop client) tool that allows you to read and post to your Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and other social media accounts. Hootsuite allows you to stay up to speed on what is going on with your connections, easily search for key topics and post or schedule posts to your favorite social media platforms. A popular alternative to Hootsuite is Tweetdeck.
Bit.ly - the standard in url shortening. Bit.ly sidebar, a simple tool you can load to your bookmarks toolbar in your browser, makes it simple to shorten the urls that you share with your readers. Bit.ly also offers users the ability to track the links they share and determine how many people have clicked on your links. There are a number of popular alternatives to Bit.ly including Hootsuite's ow.ly and Google's goo.gl url shortening tools.Stock Photo Exchange - one of the most extensive free photo sites online. There are a number of paid alternatives such as iStock Photo that may work a bit better, although none of the FREE alternatives are as easy or as extensive as Stock Photo Exchange.
Google Alerts - a web based tool that allows you to monitor various search terms, such as your business name, and track when and where you are mentioned online. Knowing where you are mentioned is crucial in being able to address your customers and prospects. A popular alternative to Google Alerts is Yahoo Alerts.
For more information about how to effectively engage with your target market make sure to check out these articles.
These are my top tools for social media success. Leave a comment and tell me what your favorite social media marketing tools are.
Facebook announced, rather quietly, that they are no longer allowing organizations with Fan Pages to use customized Facebook Welcome Pages (unless you have 10,000+ fans and spend money on Facebook ads). Thousands of businesses and non-profit organizations have been using customized Facebook Welcome Pages to display branded information to new visitors to their Facebook Fan pages. Without any fanfare, Facebook made this announcement in their developers forum, see below:
If your organization was not using a customized Facebook Welcome page this may not seem like a big deal. It is an important reminder of the dangers of trusting your branding to a website you do not control. In particular, many small businesses have used Facebook Fan pages and custom Facebook Welcome pages as a significant part of their online branding identity. Each of these businesses now needs to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new plan, all because Facebook made a change.
What can you learn from this change on Facebook's part? Simple. . .
- Trust your branding and marketing to your own website.
- Use your website as the hub of your marketing efforts and use social media, including Facebook, YouTube, Linkedin, Twitter, etc. as parts of your marketing wheel.
When your marketing strategy revolves around your website you maintain the control of your brand. When you base your marketing strategy on a platform you do not control you are at risk.
How do you feel about this change on Facebook?
Facebook is scaling back on the word "Fan" and ramping up usage of "Like" on brand pages. According to a confidential e-mail sent to ad agencies, the social media site will change the "Become A Fan" button to read "Like" within the next few weeks.
People are more comfortable saying they "like" something rather than claiming they are a "fan." This change on Facebook could mean a large increase in traffic to your Facebook page. How are you going to capture that traffic and turn them into possible customers?
If you have not done so already, it is time to Pimp Your Facebook Page (click for step by step directions). Seriously, now is the time to make your Facebook page shine - do it today!
We would be happy to help you too . . . contact us and we will amaze you.
Call us 616-457-0300
Imagine walking into your favorite local grocery store, sliding your iPad into the shopping cart and having a map of the store appear showing you the most efficient route to take through the store to shop for your items. Not likely you say? Just wait . . . and likely not much more than 24 months.
The iPad, as with many of Apple's past innovations is going to change the way we live life.
Let's take a glimpse into the future . . .
Through out the week, you use your iPad to make a list of the things you needed from the grocery store. You used to keep a notepad on the refrigerator. Today it is much simpler to simply add them to your iGroceryCart app on your iPad. As you sleep tonight, your iPad will communicate with your refrigerator, your pantry and your kitchen cabinets to determine what items you used this week. Yes, your pantry and kitchen cabinets keep track of what you put in them and take out of them (thanks to the new printable RFID tags that are used as labels on everything you buy).
Today, while at work, you decide that fettucine alfredo sounds delightful for dinner. You check your iPantry app and see that you have everything you need - if you want to make things from scratch. Cooking from scratch is great, although tonight your daughter has piano lessons after work and you are not going to have time to cook dinner from scratch tonight; you need some Alfredo sauce. You simply tap on the ingredient list and your iPad Pantry app connects to your iRecipe app and automatically adds Alfredo sauce (pre-made) to your iGroceryCart app. Tonight on the way to piano lessons you plan to swing by the grocery store. Five minutes and you will be ready for a quick and tasty dinner when you get home.
After work you pull in the parking lot of your favorite grocery store. As you walk into the store your iPad, which is in your handbag, automatically receives the stores specials. You grab a shopping cart and put your iPad into the cart's iPad cradle. Almost immediately, your shopping list from your iGroceryCart app is compared to the store layout and specials. Your iPad asks if you want just Alfredo sauce or if you want to shop for everything on your list. Being in a bit of a rush you choose to just grab the Alfredo sauce and some pasta and run. Your iPad lights up with an optimized shopping route through the store and you are on your way.
Your iPad directs you down the aisles like a seasoned logistics expert and as you approach the pasta and sauce section your iPad notifies you that the store has a new premium house brand of Alfredo sauce - and it is on sale. You stop the cart in front of the Alfredo sauces just inches away from the new premium house brand and select it, thank you for the recommendation, and place it in your cart. The grocery cart, which is equipped with a RFID reader automatically records your selection as you place it in the cart. Your iPad directs you to the pasta and, based upon your goal to lose weight (which you entered into you iGoals app last week) recommends a low carb pasta and provides recommendations from other consumers with a picture of the package to make it easier for you to find on the shelf, although your iPad tells you how far you are from the exact spot on the shelf where the pasta is located.
You grab the low carb pasta, place it in the cart and your iPad records your selection via RFID and directs you on the best route to the cashier's area. Your iPad notifies you of various specials and store promotions that correspond to your shopping list as you go through the store although it manages to avoid being an interruption.
As you approach the cashiers area, your iPad prompts you to find out if you want to use self service checkout. You choose to do so and your iPad directs you to the lane with the shortest line (your iPad determines which line would be best by comparing the items in the carts of each person in line and estimating how long it will take them to check out and bag their items.) Self checkout is easier than it used to be. You walk your cart up to the self serve checkout and push the cart through two upright panels. The self service checkout automatically reads the RFID tags on each of the items in your cart and your iPad prompts you for your payment preference. You chose to use your debit card, as a credit purchase (a default from the last time you were shopping at the grocery store) and your iPad and the checkout scanner complete your purchase and payment without any additional interaction on your part.
You walk out to your car, your groceries already bagged as you placed them in the bags conveniently when you were shopping. From entry to exit you were in the store for 5 minutes and 32 seconds. You get to your vehicle, toss the bags in your back seat and pick up your daughter early.
Back to the present . . . What do you think?