Tag Archives: marketing

Easier Online Selling With Selz and PayPal

Easy Online Selling: Selz and PayPal

Looking for easy online selling? I wrote about Selz last year.

Selz intrigued me because I’ve been selling digital products online for a decade and a half, and I’m always looking for easier ways to do it. The faster and simpler you can make the sales process for your customers, the happier they are. And of course, the easier you can make it for yourself, the more business you can do.

Although I enjoyed Selz, I felt there should be a PayPal option, because customers ask for it. Now there is. Selz has developed a new PayPal app:

Selz’s PayPal Unlimited app makes it simpler for creatives and entrepreneurs to take their sales to the next level by offering the option of buying with PayPal within Selz platform.

It doesn’t get any easier than this…

Anyone who’s been selling online for a while knows that integrating a PayPal buying option into your shopping cart isn’t aways easy. So when I saw that Selz was offering PayPal I winced, and thought: “OK, brace yourself. This will be painful.”

I was thrilled to discover it’s painless. Not a worry in the world. You just turn PayPal on in your Settings, and you’re done. And it’s inexpensive.

You can use Selz for marketing, too

You’ve got a mailing list. You want subscribers. Selz can help:

Here is my theory on why the Selz widget led to more subscribers than the standard opt-in box. The sheer size difference of the Selz widget compared to the standard opt-in box, along with the use of the cover image of the ebook in the widget, makes it stand out.

Selz makes it easy to offer free downloads, and the widget stands out on any webpage, or in your blog’s sidebar.

If you’re dipping your toes into online selling, give Selz a try. Not only is it easy for you to implement, your customers will love it too.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Guest Blogging Slam: Bye, Bye Easy Links

Blogging Services from Angela Booth

If you’ve been using guest blogging for SEO and links, the freezing winds of Google are blowing your way. Matt Cutts’ web spam team is looking at businesses which use others’ blogs to get easy links.

Search Engine Land reported on a tweet from Matt Cutts, “Today we took action on a large blog network.”  The article says:

The belief is that Google specifically went after MyBlogGuest.com. If you Google their name, it no longer shows up in the search results.

Ouch.

Does this mean that guest blogging is DEAD?

No, no, no… As I said in an article on guest blogging on my Fab Freelance Writing Blog:

Google’s warned people against guest blogging, when it’s done to scale – that is, if a company gets a thousand pieces of crap a month written solely for the links. When it’s done with quality content, and not solely as a link-getting activity, Google has nothing against the practice, as Matt Cutts noted:

“Added: It seems like most people are getting the spirit of what I was trying to say, but I’ll add a bit more context… And there are absolutely some fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there. I changed the title of this post to make it more clear that I’m talking about guest blogging for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.”

So if you’re creating genuinely useful, quality content, and offer that content to others, you can use guest blogging for promotion.

It’s all about your intent…

Think about your intentions with guest blogging. Do you want to post on a blog which is read by your target audience because it’s a good marketing strategy? Go right ahead.

Or do you want some easy SEO link juice? If you do, beware. Anything which is done to scale will come back and bite you.

FWIW, I’m still guest blogging, and I’m blogging for my clients too. It’s worthwhile, esepcially if you want to build your search profile as an authority in an area. And of course, to get traffic. :-)

It’ll be interesting to see how this Google slam works out over the next few weeks.

Online Press Release Tips: 5 Ways to Get Value for Money

Online Press Release Tips: 5 Ways to Get Value for Money

A decade ago, you could write an online press release, post it to a PR website, and get great results. You needed to use appropriate keywords, but your little press release was great value for the time you invested. In 2014, Google’s severe on press releases written purely for SEO – no more free traffic for junk releases.

This doesn’t mean that press releases are worthless, far from it. They’re an essential tool. If you use them correctly, not only will they enhance your marketing campaigns, they’ll also help you to get customers. Consider this: if major companies continue to use press releases, why don’t you?

Let’s look at how you can get real value from the online press releases you create. (Note to self: write more press releases for my own business…)

1. Focus on Your Entire Marketing Campaign, Rather Than a Single Press Release.

You’re launching a new product. You’re running online and offline advertising, you’re using social media to get the word out, you’re blogging – you’re even running a Pinterest contest.

Whether you’re doing a big launch, or a mini one, online press releases fit right in. Be aware however, that press releases aren’t advertising. They’re factual, and are written in the third person.

You’re free to use any angle you like: straight news, or human interest. If you’re looking for media attention, a human interest story may be the way to go. Do customers use your products in unusual ways? What good works have you done lately? Years ago I wrote a press release for a company which helped a lady who ran a shelter for abused pets; it was a lovely story, and got press.

2. Quid Pro Quo: Give and Get.

An online press release is targeted directly to your audience. You’ll reach potential customers who’ve never heard of you. So, make it easy for them to stay in touch. Offer readers a freebie in exchange for their email address.

And of course, use the email addresses you collect. Many small businesses never bother using their customer lists; this is a huge waste of resources.

3. Pitch Your Story to Bloggers in a Sentence or Two.

Bloggers can extend your reach by hundreds of thousands, even millions. Ideally, you’ll have reached out to bloggers long before you launch your campaign.

Pitch your story to bloggers, but keep it short.Greg Kumparak, mobile editor, TechCrunch says:

“Know how to make your pitch in a sentence or two — if you can’t wrap up your own product in a concise and interesting way, we probably won’t be able to either.”

Add a link to your online press release to your pitches.

4. Post Your Press Releases to Your Website.

Press releases are the gift that keeps on giving. Post them to your website, into a “Press” area. Anyone who wants to learn more about you will appreciate your releases. Over time, your press releases will show the evolution of your business; they build your credibility with people who’ve never heard of you.

5. Keep Your Releases Short: Add Support Materials for More Info.

Keep your press releases short: a maximum of 400 words for the meat of the release. Get your point across with your story: aim for an emotional connection. Use a conversational tone. If your eyes glaze over when you’re reading, rewrite – “don’t be boring” applies to press releases too.

Most press release distribution websites allow you to add media to your releases. Take advantage of this. Add documents, images, and videos ( if you have them). Offer the press release as a PDF download.

Online press releases are a wonderful addition to any marketing campaign, yet few small businesses use them. Major companies use them as a matter of course. Try these tips; you’ll be pleased with the results.

Need help with your online press releases? Contact Angela.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Best Advice Ever: Ratio Thinking Gets Results

Best Advice Ever: Ratio Thinking Gets Results

Are you getting the results you want? We all want results. When we don’t get them, we tend to think we’re doing something wrong. It seldom occurs to use that we’re not doing something enough.

This was brought home to me by one of my writing students, Chip. His current job was on a short-term contract, so he needed to increase his writing income quickly. We chatted, and mapped out a plan. He decided that he’d contact companies directly, as well as marketing his writing services online.

“A couple of people were interested,” he told me a week later. “But times are tough. No one wants to hire a writer.”

We chatted for a while. We discussed companies’ communications needs in today’s marketplace, and he agreed that maybe he hadn’t put himself in front of companies which truly needed him. He agreed to contact more companies.

If something isn’t working, it’s tempting to change your strategy, rather than thinking that you need to do more of the same. As Leo Widrich, co-founder of Buffer, reports in his article on the pitch deck Buffer used to raise $500,000 as a startup:

One of the most important elements, that we had to learn during our fundraising process was the concept of “Ratio thinking”. Jim Rohn, the famous motivational speaker, probably explained it best: “If you do something often enough, you’ll get a ratio of results. Anyone can create this ratio.”

Take Action to Make Ratio Thinking Work for You

“Ratio thinking” makes the law of numbers work for you. If you do something often enough, not only will you get better at doing whatever it is, but you’ll get results. No results? Change what you’re doing. Once you’re getting results, do more of whatever it is that gets the most useful result. Planning can only take you so far; action counts.

As Leo points out in his article, it all comes down to persistence. If you put your offering in front of 100 people, and you get one buyer, then you should get ten buyers if you put your offering in front of a thousand people.

Persistence isn’t easy. Doubts creep in. What if you’re wasting your time? What if it doesn’t work? What if you need to do something different?

Persist in the face of your doubts. Tennis great Bjorn Borg said:

“My greatest point is my persistence. I never give up in a match. However down I am, I fight until the last ball. My list of matches shows that I have turned a great many so-called irretrievable defeats into victories.”

What happened with Chip? He persisted. And his persistence was rewarded. He’s well on the way to building a stable of quality clients. He’s committed to making ratio thinking part of other areas of his life too. He knows it gets results.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Creative Marketing on a Budget: 3 Tips You Can Use Today

Creative Marketing on a Budget: 3 Tips You Can Use Today

Looking for creative marketing on a budget ideas? There’s never been a better time for do-it-yourself marketing. Social media helps you to tell your story (see tip 3, to choose your story). You can make even contact with reporters at a click, so don’t worry that you’re without a marketing budget. You can more than compensate.

Let’s look at three tips you can use today.

1. Leverage Social Networking Sites Like Pinterest.

Used well, social media wins attention. Blood, sweat, and tears: How we got from 0 to 500K downloads on a budget reports:

We launched a week before demo day and were able to generate a good media buzz (I’ll get more specific later) by piggybacking Pinterest and reach a go-to market that was highly relevant for us at the time.

If you’ve got images to tell your story, Pinterest is for you. In Pinterest Traffic: 3 FAST Tricks You Can Use Today, I suggested:

If you’re used to doing outreach for links, you know how to approach people. Firstly, create some boards, with great images. Pay attention to your pin’s descriptions, and add hashtags. Treat optimizing your boards and pins just as you would any other search engine optimization (SEO) project.

You may start out without an audience, but Pinterest is immensely social, so consider who on Pinterest is attracting your audience, and get in touch with them. Be aware that it’s quid pro quo – do unto others, if you expect them to help you.

Tip: check out my Pinterest program; although it’s nominally for writers, it’s powerful for all small business people.

2. Reach Out: Get Press Any Way You Can.

What would a story in the New York Times do for you? Or a story in your local paper, or a magazine, or on a high-traffic website your audience visits?

10 Ways to Market Your Small Business on a Shoestring Budget reports:

Subscribe to Help a Reporter Out www.helpareporter.com. You can respond to reporters’ queries that are looking for story ideas and resources. Some are small media opportunities, but others are major media outlets that use this service too.

Reporters are in the story business. Reporters desperately want and need great stories. (More on your story in a moment.) Create an elevator pitch for your business, product or service, and ensure it’s newsworthy.

Which brings us to…

3. You’re a Story: Choose “Rags to Riches”, or Anything Memorable.

Remember Colonel Sanders’ secret recipe? McDonald’s special sauce? Did Victor Kiam really like Remington shavers so much that he bought the company?

All three companies leveraged wonderful stories. The truth or otherwise of the stories doesn’t matter. What counts is that your story is memorable. Back in the day, when I was a baby novelist, Jacqueline Susann was a best-selling author. She maintained that she wrote each draft of a novel on different colored paper. Since her books were regarded as trashy, the idea was, trash or not, she worked hard. Maybe Ms Susann really did use different colors for her drafts. Whatever, it was a great story.

The founders of Apple and Google started their companies in a garage. As a marketing trope, rags to riches never gets old.

What’s your story? Your story doesn’t need to be related directly to whatever you’re promoting. The Taco Bell chihuahua didn’t have much to do with fast food. If you’ve got a photogenic pet, like Grumpy Cat, you’ve got it made. Leverage your cutie in your marketing materials.

So there you have it. Think about how you can use these “creative marketing on a budget” ideas to get attention for you next promotion. Start by finding something that’s memorable, then leverage social media and get attention. Marketing in 2014 has less to do with your budget than your creativity.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

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Pinterest Traffic: 3 FAST Tricks You Can Use Today

Pinterest Traffic: 3 FAST Tricks You Can Use Today

Want some Pinterest traffic? Some of my clients still don’t believe that they can get useful traffic from Pinterest. While it’s true that Pinterest won’t send you masses of traffic when your account is new, the traffic you do get pays off. It’s engaged, and responsive – conversion rates for Pinterest are 50 per cent higher than for other sources.

Let’s look at some FAST tricks which will increase your Pinterest traffic quickly.

By the way, we’ve just released a new program which helps you to make the most of Pinterest – Pinterest for Writers: Creative Strategies To Increase Your Writing Income FAST. It’s aimed at writers, but the information works for any small business.

1. Find and Reach Out to Influencers in Your Niche.

If you’re used to doing outreach for links, you know how to approach people. Firstly, create some boards, with great images. Pay attention to your pin’s descriptions, and add hashtags. Treat optimizing your boards and pins just as you would any other search engine optimization (SEO) project.

Then, reach out to other pinners in your niche – pinners who are targeting an audience which is similar to yours. Make a list of these pinners, and follow their boards. Comment on their pins, and repin them. Contact your targets, asking them to pin one of your pins. At this stage, don’t be greedy. Ask for a single pin, but don’t stop there. Aim to form a relationship. Pinterest is a social media network… get social.

Mention your pinning colleagues in pins you post. “Mentioning” on Pinterest is just like mentioning on Twitter. Make sure you’re following at least one of their boards, then use the “@” symbol, and the pinner’s user name. They’ll be notified of your mention.

You’ll find other Pinterest tips and tricks here.

2. Create Attention-Grabbing, Share-Worthy Images.

Images are at the heart of Pinterest. Here’s an excellent post on how to create share-worthy images. It gives some great advice:

Social media expert Kim Garst matches audience expectations with useful tips by regularly posting images with social media advice and tagging them with #biztip.

Her community shares these problem-solving tips like wildfire, which results in an exceptionally high organic engagement rate on Facebook.

Initially, working with images will feel clumsy and unnatural. Have fun with it; do your best. You may not be a designer, but you have innate creativity. You don’t need a Photoshop subscription. I use Picmonkey and Canva more often than I use Photoshop.

3. Share Your Pinterest Presence: Let Everyone Know You’re on Pinterest.

It’s easy to forget this – I do! Let people know you’re on Pinterest. Add Pinterest widgets to your website, and promote your boards and pins on other social media.

Did you know that you can embed pins? Embed your boards and pins onto your website and blog. The more people who know you’re on Pinterest, the more people will find your boards, and the more followers you’ll get. More followers means more Pinterest traffic, and as we’ve said, Pinterest traffic converts.

So, there you have it: three FAST and easy tricks you can use today to get Pinterest traffic.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Book Marketing: 5 Easy Ways to Blog Your Book

book marketing

You’ve written a book. Now it’s time for some simple book marketing magic. Why not blog your book? Not only is blogging a free promotional method, it’s also a way of building your readership for your next book.

I started my first blog a decade and a half ago, and have always used blogs for book marketing. Indeed, looking back, I’ve rarely bothered with other promotional methods. To me, blogs are instant publishing. I love the idea that I can type something, and within minutes, potentially millions of people could read my words.

Blogs’ are the lazy person’s book marketing. My thrill comes from writing. Once a book’s done, I tend to lose interest. Blogging’s writing, so it keeps me interested in a book.

Hate Writing? Book Marketing With Blogs Isn’t for You

You can create video and audio blog posts if you hate writing, but those options involve writing too, so if you’re all written-out once you’ve completed your book, blogging isn’t the right promotional method for you.

Assuming however that while writing may not be the joy of your life, you don’t actively hate it, let’s look at five easy ways to blog your book.

1. Start Early. Blog While You’re Writing Your Book.

Don’t wait until your book’s done before you create a blog. You’re missing out on creating interest before your book’s publication. Build your mailing list now. (More on your mailing list shortly.)

Tell your readers about your upcoming book; as much as you’re comfortable revealing.

2. Blog for Your Readers: What Do They Care About?

You want to market your book. However, droning on and on about your book won’t win you much of a readership. Moreover, you’re using energy which needs to go into your book.

You’re blogging for your book’s audience. Who are they? What do they care about? Think about your ideal reader, and write for him, or her.

Let’s say you’re writing a romance novel. Romance readers come from all walks of life. You’ve got a million and one things you could blog about, from the area in which your book is set, to recipes. Blog about your interests. Review others’ books in the same genre, or any book you find fascinating. Make it plain you’re a romance novelist, and share your book’s publication date.

The author of the Historical Fiction Research blog shares fascinating historical snippets with readers.

Jane Austen’s World is a wonderful blog about all things Jane. I became aware of the blog via the blog’s Pinterest boards. With 173 boards, over 62,000 pins, and over 48,000 followers, the blog and Pinterest work brilliantly together.

pinterest

Take a tip from Jane Austen’s World; if you don’t already have a Pinterest account, create one. Then pin, pin, pin… and pin some more.

3. Consider WIIFM – “What’s in It for Me?”

Millions of blog posts are published each day. Blogging’s fine, as a hobby. However, you’re using a blog for book marketing, so you need to be aware not only of your book’s potential readers, but also what might turn them into book buyers.

Consider what’s in it for them. “WIIFM” – what’s in it for me? is a copywriter’s acronym; people read what they read for a reason. Give them a reason. Think about what appeals to your readers.

You can take cues from other authors’ blogs, but don’t fall into the “me too” trap. Be authentic. Write what your perceive your readers care about, as long as you care about it too.

Consider popular books such as the “50 Shades” trilogy. The trilogy’s made millions for its author. It started out as fan fiction for the Twilight books, and was hugely popular. Twilight fans wanted more, and EL James gave it to them.

I can’t speak to either the 50 Shades or Twilight series, since I haven’t read them. However, the WIIFM aspect intrigues me. Probably unconsciously, both Stephenie Meyer and EL James tapped into a deep and profitable vein in public consciousness.

4. Create a Mailing List: It’s the Reason You Blog.

Someone comes to your blog, reads a post, and clicks away. With so much content online, the chance that he or she will return are slim. You can increase the likelihood that someone will return to your blog by creating a mailing list. Your mailing list is key to building your readership. Make creating a list a priority.

5. Forget “Musts.” Do What You Like. It’s Your Book, and Your Blog.

Few things infuriate me more than editors, or literary agents, or anyone else, telling an author how to blog. It’s your blog; do what you like. Over the years, I’ve had many people telling me how I should blog. I’ve thanked them kindly, and gone my own way.

Up until 2005, selling anything on a blog was frowned on. Anyone bringing crass commercialism into blogging was not only a horrible blogger, their morals were suspect too.

Eventually, I got a wry chuckle out of the “you can’t do that!” anti-commercialism crowd. After 2005, they gave in, and jumped into making money from their blogs. Mind you, I was tempted to ask them what had happened to their “pure blogging” stance, but I resisted the temptation.

Be you. It’s your book, and your blog. There are no rules. Moreover, just because something works today, doesn’t mean it will work tomorrow. Please understand, I’m not talking about fundamentals like book marketing and blogging, they work. I’m talking about tricks and strategies which come and go.

Amazon’s KDP Select is an example. It works for many authors, but not as the tsunami of cash it once was, for some authors. “Free” works today, as it always will. But don’t base your book marketing on one trick, like “free” and expect it to work forever. Write the best book you can. Use KDP Select, or Google Play, or whatever, AND build a real blog. Put your heart into your blog, as you put it into your book, and book marketing via blogging will work for you.

Want to write and sell ebooks?

8 hour ebooks

 

This 2nd Edition of our bestselling ebook program is completely revised and updated with new material – more insights and fresh strategies so that you can start writing and selling ebooks FAST.

, and on Twitter: @angee

Get Out Of Your Content Marketing Rut 3 Ways

Get Out Of Your Content Marketing Rut 3 Ways

Are you in a content marketing rut? You create and post a set number of items to your website, your mailing list and social media accounts regularly. You’re proud of yourself, as you should be: consistency counts, and your content assets will grow.

You get traffic reliably, but you’re not seeing the jumps in traffic you’d like, not even when you post stellar content. You’re falling into a content marketing rut, and don’t know how to get out of it.

Try one or two of these three ways.

1. Try a new format.

Content comes in many formats. If you’re producing text content, with the occasional slide deck, why not turn some of that text content into audio, or video? Jing is free, and easy to use. You can post your videos to YouTube, and find a completely new audience.

Other formats to consider:

  • Q and A: you get a stream of customer service and other questions each week. Why not develop some question and answer content from great questions people ask? If one or two people have asked a question, hundreds of others may want answers too.
  • Tutorials: I love foodie blogs. I’m in awe of some of the wonderful content they produce. Food p0rn, indeed. Grab some ideas for tutorials from food or other blogs which use the tutorial format.
  • Micro content: you don’t always have to produce content which takes hours to create. Post a link, or a quote, or a fun piece of information.
  • Quizzes. Why not create a quiz each month? I love quizzes, and search for them in magazines. Your quiz doesn’t need to be confined to topics about your industry. Consider a seasonal quiz, or a trivia quiz.

2. Take it on the road: offer your content to new venues.

Please don’t wince. I know that Matt Cutts has taken a big stick to guest posting. But he’s not talking about genuine ghost blogging. He’s talking about link-hunting.

Find a couple of websites on which you’d like to see your content. Don’t worry about the links. Think about branding, and relationship building.

If any of your clients have a blog, offer them some great content which would appeal to their audience.

3. Experiment. Then create a case study.

Create an experiment – any kind of experiment you like. Set the parameters of your experiment. Then conduct it. Keep regular notes. Everyone loves case studies. You think you know what the results will be, but you may be surprised.

Announce your experiment, and its parameters. Tell readers how the experiment’s going, as it progresses. Ask readers to help, if possible. When the experiment’s over, announce your results.

It’s easy to fall into a content marketing rut. Challenge yourself to get out of it by with new content formats, and new venues.

Want more content marketing ideas? Create better content faster

, and on Twitter: @angee

 From here on out, a marketing plan that consists of (and even more importantly, relies on) “rank well in Google” is a bullshit plan. Because Google doesn’t care about you, or your website or your business. They care about theirs.

From:

GOOGLE PROPAGANDA, SEO AND WHY MARKETERS NEED TO WAKE UP

Want a great search engine ranking? The best way to get it is to forget about it. Build your business. Market your business. Let Google do what it does, while you do what you do.