The Algorithm Circle Of Love – How To Improve Your Google Ranking NOW!

How to improve the Google search ranking for your ideas or business~

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I’ve broken down into brief snippets a blog post by: Jane and Scot Noel ** about what is needed for your web site to rank higher in the “Google machine” (that’s what I like to call it!). This is a very important post and one well-worth reading! I’ve summarized all the important points at the bottom, so if you are busy and just want to get there, you can… BUT, I truly believe it will be worth it to read the guest post, then see what I have to say…

mysteryTo the business owner with a website, what happens in a Google search is a mystery.  Why doesn’t your site show up when you do a search?  What’s the magic formula for getting to the top of Google?  It feels like there must be a simple secret that no one’s talking about?  Right?

Breaking Your Site Down, by the Numbers

secretYou bet it is! When trying to get your website noticed in Google, there is a formula, it’s a well kept secret, and there’s nothing simple about it.

Instead of the word “formula,” let’s say “algorithm.”  An algorithm is a set of rules or a process followed in a problem solving operation.  In this case, the algorithm belongs to Google, and the problem is how to evaluate websites and use them in answering online searches.

Of course the process is entirely automated, performed by computer programs that constantly evaluate and re-evaluate your website along with everyone else’s.  It goes on all day long, every day.  And the kind of things the Google algorithm looks for include your website’s age, the information it contains, and inbound links.

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The parts that are underlined, bolded and colored red are the main points that I will touch on at the bottom. I would like to propose an idea that can help boost your ranking, increase your traffic, and give you more sales! I’m going to make it easy and fun…

1. How Old is Your Domain Name?young

Just as adults are given more respect than children, older domain names (www.mycompany.com) get points just for being old.  They’ve been around the block.  They haven’t gone out of business.  If two websites are equal in every other way, but one is older, the “mature” website will get preference in a Google search.

2. How Informative is Your Website?

contentMany people don’t want a lot of words cluttering up their website.  That’s all well and good, but then they shouldn’t expect great success in the world of online search.  Searches are not popularity contests that go to the prettiest webpage.

From Google’s point of view, their search engine is answering someone’s question.  Therefore if you are looking for a “Custom Home Builder in Pittsburgh,” for example, the site that presents only pretty pictures of custom homes takes a back seat to the one that is informative about the process of acquiring a custom home, and also happens to mention that they are in Pittsburgh.

How much content do you need?  There is no set number of pages or words, but if you want to show up above your competition, you’d better check them out.  If they have 15 pages of professionally written, informative content, averaging 200-300 words per page, and you have 2 pages, 50 words each, that you wrote yourself – well, you just lost that match.

[Here’s the kicker ——->>>>>>] Google favors well-produced content, and the algorithm reads through the content to find keywords, keyword phrases, and their synonyms.  It considers whether the page is “keyword stuffed,” or if the language flows naturally and is informative on its subject.

imagesS22MMREVAs best we know, the algorithm analyzes whether the keywords are used in headlines, links, bullet points, key sentences, etc.  Point by point, the Google algorithm breaks down your content by the numbers and compares it against all the sites competing against you.

By now you may be getting the idea that the only magic formula here is hard work and finding a good writer.  But even content is only a part of what the algorithm is looking for.

3. Who are Your Friends and Neighbors?

wallflowerIf your website is shy, just hanging out there on its own, it may get about the same attention from Google as the wallflower at a High School dance.  The Google algorithm counts every other website that links to yours.

Then it starts figuring out who your friends and neighbors are.

If a respected and authoritative site links to your website, that’s great!  An example might be the New York Times with an online article about your business that provides a link to your website.  There would be a lot of respect (and search value) given to your site for having such a link.

But if your website hangs out with the wrong crowd, where links were purchased by the hundreds from some fake business directories overseas just to make your site look important, then you’re going to be in trouble.

linkingFor most of us, the truth is somewhere in between.  You should certainly have links coming to your site from your own social media pages, including the likes of Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and others, depending on what is appropriate in your line of work. You may also have incoming links from your local Chamber of Commerce, trade association, municipal website, a local business directory, etc.

Over time, bloggers and other site owners will find your website and link to it just because they see it offers something useful to their audience. What they find of interest may be an article, case study, a specific product or service, or even some basic information of value to their audience.

Of course, if you want to affect Google’s opinion of your site by acquiring great links and cutting away possible bad ones, you’ll need some professional help.  That process is generally called Link Building, and it can be as complex and time consuming as any good marketing effort.

4. When Websites Shut the Door, or Send Wrong Signals

homeWhen the Google bots come to your website and say, “Hey, nice to meet you, we’re here to help the algorithm learn about your website, can we come in?” does your website slam the door and say “Go away!” If your website is hostile to the process, even great content and good links won’t help you.  We’ve even seen sites engineered (not deliberately we suspect) to appear as a blank page to the Google bots and algorithm.

All websites are not born equal.

Some menu driven systems, coding styles, and basic web development technologies simply don’t work well with Google. They may result in a fine looking, compelling design that customers love, but fewer clients will find you if Google hits a brick wall when it tries to analyze your website.

In general, your web developer needs to create search-friendly site architecture.  At a minimum, this can include such things as CSS style navigation, internal anchor links, image alt-tags, text on the page (not embedded in images or in code like JavaScript), and individually crafted meta-code for each page (including Page Titles, Keyword Tags, and Page Descriptions).

blackSending the wrong signals can be equally problematic.  There are still many developers who attempt “black hat” ways of attracting search engine attention.  These can include invisible text, keyword stuffing, duplicate websites, and much more.  Every day, Google finds ways to shut out such practices, and if your website is caught trying to scheme its way to success, it could take a long time to recover its credibility, if ever!

5. It’s Not the Same Everywhere

Naturally, when you type something into Google and see a page of search results, you assume that everyone who typed in the same thing got the same list of results.  Not so.

you-are-hereYour website is also evaluated for where and to whom it should appear.  At a minimum, Google knows approximately where the person doing the search is located.  If the searcher uses any of Google’s products, from Gmail to Google Docs, or Google+ to YouTube, then Google learns about the search patterns and online habits of the individual doing the search.

And  it modifies its search results accordingly.SEO

No, the results list is not drastically different for everyone at every computer, but the results do shift and the variances do make a difference.  While your Yard Equipment website may show up #1 for “lawn mower parts” locally, it may have no national presence at all.  Or if you use Google+, the search results may give preference to your website when you do a search, but no one else will see that spectacular result.

Obviously, what you see when you search is only part of the answer.  But Google does provide some free and effective tools to give you a sense of how your website is doing online, overall.  Have your webmaster sign up for and install Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools.

6. This is Not your Grandfather’s Google

Zeus-blog-post-keep-calm-follow-the-rulesAnother common misconception about Google is that whatever the rules are, they are THE rules – kind of like the formula for Coke is the formula for Coke.

Not quite.  The engineers at Google are always hard at work adjusting the algorithm, trying to improve search results overall.

Minor tweaks happen all the time, and major updates get cute names like Penguin and Panda (although perhaps they should be named after hurricanes instead).  These changes can and do affect traffic to your site all the time.

Why the changes?  Two primary reasons.  The first is that Google would like to improve search results and make them more relevant and personally useful to everyone who uses a Google search.  The second is to deal with websites that are built with black hat techniques (cheaters) and block them or devalue them in a search.

Unfortunately, no one can say exactly what effect any particular change will have.  Google’s intentions are clear, but the system is far too complex for anyone, even Google, to know the full effects of an algorithm adjustment until it happens.

If adverse consequences happen to too many valid websites, Google may adjust their adjustment.  If the results are beneficial, Google betterwill look for ways to improve them even further.

The bottom line is that if your website was search optimized 3 years ago, even if the techniques used were completely valid then, they are at least partially out of date today.  And what is being done today will need looked at again, sooner rather than later.

7. Summary

So now you know.  Secret formulas called algorithms check out your website and make judgments about where it should show up in a search.

images89EK6GO7These algorithms look at and weigh hundreds of factors, but a few of the major ones are:  the age of your domain, the content of your site, and the number and character of other sites linking to yours. Over time, the algorithms change, sometimes to your benefit, sometimes not.  Keeping up with it all has spawned entire industries, including Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Link Building.

These general concepts apply not only to Google, but to other search engines like Bing, Yahoo, Ask, and others.  For each one, their algorithms represent proprietary formulas (somewhat like the differences between the formulas for Coke and Pepsi).

While we hope this article is instructive, you should keep in mind that it represents an over-simplification.  Nevertheless, it should give you hope that you can take steps to make the Google algorithm look more kindly on your website.  Certainly, your competitors are out there trying…

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So… here we go.

I don’t know if this would be called, “adding my two-cents”… maybe it is. However, I have an idea that I would like to build on with your help based on what I learned in the above article. Keep reading 🙂

imagesEP3K5V1D#1: The Age Of Your Domain – Unfortunately for this one, I have no control over how old your web site domain is. Hopefully, it’s been around a while! If not, get your domain registered NOW. My preference is GoDaddy with whom I purchased my domain for 2 years for under $20 bucks- pretty good deal. Just be sure to Google: GoDaddy promo codes and use one! They will save you money. Once you have your domain, just forward it with masking to your home web site.

expert#2: How Much Content Is Written On Your Web Site – There should be some good, valuable, written content on your site. I hold to a good saying that goes like this, “Write what you know best and link to the rest.” Fortunately for everybody there’s no hard and fast rules when it comes to content. You can hire out for just a few dollars and have someone else write it, or you can do it yourself (to know how to hire out, just ask me HERE and I can tell you how to do this if you are on a very limited budget). Just make sure that you have good, quality content. As mentioned in Part 3 of my marketing series, hit the library and assign yourself a book report. Make yourself an expert on what you know and offer that information up on your site.

heartcircle#3: Link Building – This is where we are going to have some fun! I have a proposal for all my readers. What would you say to creating an “Algorithm Circle Of Love”? I would like to grab a hold of ten of you that are socially plugged in and do some link building based off of part 3 written above! Who’s with me? Let’s write some content for each other and boost our Google page ranking! I’ll post info about you on my top three sites:

          • Facebook
          • LinkedIn
          • My blog (here) and my web site

What are your thoughts on that? Think we can do it? I do!

a-update#4: Optimizing The Pages On Your Web Site – I know that this one was a hard one for me. I was so anxious to get my web site developed and published that I didn’t “baby” the page titles, keyword tags, and page descriptions like I needed to. Neglecting this baby will result in “starving” that search ranking in Google. So, as a tip and trick for y’all, get on your laptop (get off the internet and concentrate) and create a page in Notepad; write out all your keywords and tags. Then, on the next line write up a page title for each page and make sure that it’s good and contains awesome, relevant keywords. Then, write out a brief description for each page; again, incorporating your awesome, relevant keywords.

Once you have that information, login to your account settings for where your web site is being hosted at. Just copy and paste all of your wonderful information into those boxes. Get every single one for each page completely filled out the best that you can. This will help you get found so much better on all the big search platforms!

a-master#5: Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools and Alerts – I did briefly talk about these things in my blog post titled, “Getting Traffic, Growing Your Business – How To Go Viral TODAY!“. So, if you haven’t been utilizing these invaluable tools, make it a point to get going as soon as you can. If you’re super busy, like me, and the rest of the world, don’t be afraid to set an alarm on your phone. Make a date with yourself to devote just one hour to getting these tools implemented for your business.

a-fresh#6: Evergreen “Fresh”! – If it’s been some time since you’ve gone over the information on your web site, whether it’s information we can’t see: like keywords, tags, and page descriptions in your web hosting account settings, now is the time to just run over there and check it out. Be sure to update your information on a regular bases. As shown by the article, Google’s algorithms are continually changing, so be on top of this one!

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Well, that’s it for today folks. Drop me a comment if you are interested in my proposed Algorithm Circle, or contact me HERE. Hope to hear from you!

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**Jane and Scot Noel are the owners of CME Websites {Code Media Essentials}, a web development company.  Since 1999, CME’s reputation for developing search engine friendly websites has attracted a variety of industrial, consumer, and professional web clients.

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Pushy, Sleazy Used-Car Salesman = Entrepreneur? Marketing Part 3 of 4

To start, we’ll recap Part 1 and Part 2 of this series in the briefest way possible.

Part 1 was learning about the need for ultra-wisdom and distinctive creativity. Part 2 was about how to utilize the heroes in your field to get that wisdom and instructions on how to cultivate that creativity.

2But, as great as those posts were… I have some bad news. It is with great sadness that I must tell everyone something. Here it is:

I am not all-knowing when it comes to being able to directly guide every single one of my reader’s businesses.

There. I said it.

Sad, huh?

The good news on what I can do is draw skeletons. Yes- I can draw skeletons. For you.

3Isn’t that great? I bet you were about to throw yourself off the roof of wherever you’re at, weren’t ya? Well, come on down and let’s talk a bit- back to skeletons. Yes, I can draw a one of those for you. When it comes to your particular business, I can lay out the bare bones of ‘how to’ or provide general outlines; however, to generate the muscles (wisdom) and cartilage (creativity) on that skeleton, you have to be the creator for that (and you are the single-most best person!).

4For example, just like a generic book on job interviews won’t tell you exactly what you need to say to become the next president of Ford Motor Company; it is simply a guide to give you a broad set of ideas/suggestions. It is you that has to draw relevant information (your own personal experience that nobody else has) into the best of those. You have to be the one to “knit together” the specifics and customize it to tailor-fit to your situation. Does that make sense? You design your own answers to fit your goals for whatever field you are in.

6Now, there may be a book about how to become president of one of the largest automobile industries in the free world, but I think you get my meaning because… you guys are all smarty-pantses in your own right. After all, you’re here, right?

In all my posts, after I have given you the skeleton, you must become the grand designer. You must utilize the tools of wise advice and pluck the creative super-fruit – I know you can do it and I’m going to show you how.

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You know your audience. That’s your job – as a marketer.” Dave Kerpen, Likeable Social MediaLikeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook (& Other Social Networks)

This post will be about focusing on your customers, or in other words, your audience, or in other words, who’s looking at you, or in other words who’s talking about you, or in other words is there even a “who” out there for you on social media.

This post will re-direct from you, your brand, and your business to the ones, “out there”. (Part 4 will be along the same lines, but about how to implement various methods through your blog, web site, and non-Internet media.)

[This] …is not about broadcasting your message and getting the largest reach and frequency – it’s about tapping into the conversation, listening, engaging, and empowering. The loudest, biggest spenders don’t win anymore. The smartest, most flexible listeners do.” Dave Kerpen, Likeable Social Media

This is what we’re bringin’ at ya today! I’m super stoked to talk about the following three projects:

  1. Getting the recommendation – knowing why this is central to growing your business and learning how to implement the indispensable tools to make it happen.
  2. Transparency – Tips and tricks to exposing more of your personality so that others are more inclined to “watch you”. It’s about getting up close and personal, and giving your audience what they really want (and they’ll tell their friends, too!).
  3. Networking – Bringing necessary value and essential promotion to the heroes in your field in order for you to gain critical feedback (this is essential for you, and not meant to grow a client base).

8I’m bringing a new angle of information in this post and I’m confident this will absolutely benefit you and your growing business. It may seem like a lot to take in at first, but trust me, if you carefully integrate these techniques into your marketing plan, the payoff will be priceless. Why? Because, in essence you can only go as far as the people who, 1) support your business by buying whatever it is you are selling, and 2) people who have marched on to greatness before you; those who can guide and steer you on the path to success. And, that is what the four posts I am publishing really revolve around- establishing, growing and satisfying your client base and helping, promoting and serving your professional heroes. I’m going to help you in these two areas by providing a wealth of key methods that are tried and true.

9And to know what that is, I continually ask this question: what do I need to do next to grow my business? Once I find out what that is through watching, reading, studying and asking others, then I work at how I should do it. Once I know how, then I adapt it, perfect it, hone it, and become an expert at it. It is only until all that is complete that I can share it with you.

 

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Section 1 – Getting The Recommendation

9aTo start, I want to ask a simple question: how many of you have ever encountered a slick-haired, plaid-suited, cheesy smile, used-car salesman? To be honest, every car salesman I’ve ever met was dressed well enough, but haven’t you ever had this mental picture when that particular occupation comes up? It’s easy to visualize how they chase you around the car lot, and they just won’t leave you alone; they’re pushy, brazen and they play on the fact that you just don’t have the nerve to tell them to buzz off.

9bHave you ever felt that way as an entrepreneur over social media? I know I have. I’m constantly pushing my products around on Pinterest, eBay, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. And, it’s like you know that in order to be a good salesman, you’re going to have to bear with the “no’s” before you can get the “yes!”, so you just keep pushing plugging along.

9cNo one really wants to think of himself/herself as that guy. And, I get that at times it pays to be assertive. However in this day and age of technology when a person doesn’t want to deal with you, they simply turn you off, delete your message, unfollow you, or at worst- block you.

With that in mind, today we’re going to talk about the latest and greatest ways for growing your audience, increasing your social presence, and generating a better influence across the three biggest social media platforms – through the means of engaging others and how to best do that (basically by being the opposite of this ——->>>>>> 9e

The central focus will be putting yourself in your audiences shoes. Not to worry, it’s going to be easy- it will be through: transparency, what you say and how you say it, capitalizing on the power of the “like”, and working through groups (public ones and private ones) all on the three biggest social platforms you use on a daily basis (or should be using every day).

The skeleton, if you will, is the body of your audience. How will you make it dance?

#1) FACEBOOK – GET ‘LIKED’

9fThe best and most effective way to engage your audience/prospective clients is through your Facebook business page.

Why this is important: Companies and professionals who are worthy of people clicking their [business page’s] Like button will, in the short term, build trust and, in the long term, win the new Web in their respective categories.” – Dave Kerpen, Likeable Social Media.

The more your page is ‘Liked’, commented on, and shared the more it pushes your page up the in the new feed algorithm. This means that it will stay at the top longer in your friend’s news feeds getting more exposure/views- this is the goal. To read more on Facebook’s edgeranking, click HERE.

The benefits to that is whoever ‘Likes’ your page will be kept updated with your posts, links, pictures, updates, contests, promotions, giveaways for as long as that page is ‘Liked’, which means indefinitely.  As long as you don’t pull out the cheesy salesman card and tick your friends off, they’ll keep your page ‘Liked’ forever- w00t! There are a whole smackle of perks to being ‘Liked’, just check this page out HERE.

9gHow to do it: this is where the old adage rings true about thinking before you speak. This is crucial because the language you use can determine your edgeranking. It is uber-important that you know how to do this just right.


Dave Kerpen, in his book, likeable social media, gives a great example of how to ask engaging questions in a very particular way so that people are best inclined to “Like” your page. It goes like this, and I’ll summarize briefly- Company A posts an ad on their business page with a photo of their new product and a comment to go with it along the lines of, “Check out our new running shoes on our website and buy them now!” Company A is using old-hat, nearly obsolete traditional marketing to get this message out to their fans.

Now listen to the way Company B phrases the same type of method: “Click ‘Like’ if you’re excited about the weekend! Anybody going running?”

9iKind of getting you thinking, doesn’t it? Which one are you most likely to resonate with? I mean, who doesn’t like the weekend? The best part is that with enough ‘Likes’, your post will stay near or at the top of the news feed, get the most views, and on top that, possible “shares” from your friends (here’s that frisky little asset called the rate of exponential growth!). So, think about the language you will use in how you share your posts. Phrase your post with questions that can always be answered with a resounding, “Yes!”

I. More ways to get the ‘Like’:

Since were are looking through the lens of best serving your audience, and you’re putting yourself in their shoes, think about what it is that you would want to see on social media. Obviously, in most cases, there’s a “payoff”. What do you get when you ‘Like’ someone else’s page? Think about it. If it’s a particular brand of clothing, you ‘Like’ the page so that you will know about discounts, coupons, new items or general company news. You get something.

You need to do the same!

Along with implementing portion A (just above) by asking questions others will want to answer, or ‘Like’, think about posting a link, a picture, or video with valuable content that links to:

  • a special promotion you are doing, or
  • a contest you are running,
  • giveaways (“freebies”),
  • fun facts (meme’s are so popular right now) and trivia,
  • recipes, or “how to” educational tidbits (nothing lengthy)

Just put out there things you would, ‘Like’ and use your super-creativity to ask the right question that makes it easy for people to say ‘Yes!’ to. Or, in other words, phrase the question in a way that makes it ABSURD for people to say ‘no’ to.

II.) Make it easy-peasy

1)      Did you know that you can ‘Like’ pages through your phone? Read, “HOW TO: Like A Facebook Page Via Text Message

2)      Put a ‘Like’ button on all your web site pages and blog.

3)      Invite all of your friends at once to like your page with one click of the button.

4)      At the end of it all, have a giveaway for the 1,000th person! For ideas click HERE.

III. Using the self-serve ad platform FOR FREE!

Here is a Facebook “page” that breaks it all down. Just a great “go-to” place: Click HERE.

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#2) Using Twitter

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#3) Your LinkedIn Account

9jWhy this is important – LinkedIn is only as effective as your contact list is. Your effort to reach out to as many appropriate people as possible to grow your connections is the path to success in growing your own profile and your own business. The key word, however, is “appropriate”. …this means constantly growing your network in a targeted way.”  – Eric Butow & Kathleen Taylor, How to Succeed in Business Using LinkedIn

A)     Personally inviting a contact – click HERE for the best way,

B)      Requesting recommendations – click HERE also,

C)     Creating a group (1st step is creating a logo – ask me for help, I’ll create it for free) (2nd step is to not allow your contacts to display the logo), click HERE for a great tutorial.

Gaining their recommendation takes you further than any traditional marketing method out there in this day and age ever could.

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SECTION 2 – TRANSPARENCY

Now that we’ve canvassed the “big three” social platforms, let’s talk about being transparent.

9kNowadays, transparency is the “it” thing on social media (should have always been, but you know that there are always dishonest people out there, unfortunately. But, that’s not YOU!). You just have to be… you; and, likeable at that (remember cardinal rule #1, don’t be a jerk?).

Facebook and social networks are ushering in a new era marked by increased transparency and the most empowered consumer of all time. There is no doubt that this shift creates massive opportunities for the organizations that are most able to adapt their thinking and strategies to successfully implement plans via social media.” Dave Kerpen, Likeable Social Media

9lDon’t you want to know more about companies you support? Isn’t it nice to actually see the owner’s face? Aren’t celebrities who open up about their lives more “watched” (Ashton Kutcher)?  For the longest time, as a business owner, I was always given the impression that it was better to appear more “corporate” and that as an owner, standing behind that façade would make you appear more as a “magnate” therefore attracting customers. Once again, this is old-hat, obsolete traditional marketing tactics.

9mThis is how it is now- the more social media seems to unveil about a person the more it makes them seem… approachable? Relatable? I’m learning that that is what people really want. Even with people who are virtually untouchable- as long as they engage their fans and relate to them on a personal level, their following goes up. It is truly what people want and I’ll keep saying that.

9nOpening up and getting personal might be a little painful. But, think of it as a band aid- just rip it off and deal with the pain. This is not to say that I don’t realize exposing more of your personal life might make some uncomfortable, but don’t not do it. Remember, you can let more people know “you” without selling the whole kit-n-kaboodle; as the level of revealing is entirely up to you- you can use discretion (no hard and fast rules). Just don’t forget that as a company, people actually “buy” you first, they have to almost “know you” before they do business with you (not always, but generally).

Here are some ideas:

9o1. Share an embarrassing story –And, just to get the party started, I’ll go first. One day, in fifth grade, during the Pledge of Allegiance I decided to stand next to the teacher’s desk while we did. For some unknown reason (that I still to this day cannot figure out), I thought it would be a brilliant and hilarious idea to pull back my teacher’s chair while he stood up unbeknownst to him (my teacher was a big, burly man who weighed close to three-hundred pounds and he had a mustache). When the pledge was over, he went to sit down in a chair… that wasn’t there. He came crashing down so fast and so hard I swear the ground shook. For a split second imagine pure homicidal rage combined with manly embarrassment. It got REAL. He stood up, face redder than anything I’d ever seen and screamed out, “WHO DID THAT?!” Funny he would ask considering I was standing right next to him. Within a split second, every finger in the room was pointing at me. I was promptly asked to leave in the loudest voice I’ve ever heard. It went like this:

GET. OUT!!!!!!

Yup. The most humiliating story of my life… that is, up until the time me and my best friend were driving along one night when I decided to turn into a gas station. Like I said, it was at night, visibility was low, and I’m pretty sure there were other things going on that I won’t mention here, when I inadvertently drove over a big mountain of a hill next to the entryway. It was a landscaped sort of hill, but pretty big, and we might have even jumped it. Both our heads hit the roof. After the impact, we simply drove up to the pump like nothing happened, much to the amazement of other gas pumpers.

2. Steal jokes.

9pEverybody has a particular taste when it comes to humor. Don’t be ashamed of your taste! Look up jokes, find ones that are good… share away!

Taglines, clever sayings, and euphemisms are good, too. Google search is your friend.

3. Post a “what not to do” story.

9qThis one may take a bit of time. You’ll have to pay attention and be keen to what’s going around you. Not everyone can remember on the spot the last time they tried something and failed. I don’t know, maybe you failed at something yesterday, but it wasn’t very impactful. Keep track of what’s going on news-wise, television-wise and trending-wise that you might like to implement in your own life. If it doesn’t work, share it! As an example, on Pinterest there are some great ‘what not to do’ stories, or how they’re dubbed as ‘Pinterest FAILS’. Some are funny, some raise awareness, you get the gist. When it happens to you, keep track of it in your trusty notepad so that you can remember to share.

3. Share one of your dreams/goals.

9rRemember that guy from Pretty Woman who at the very beginning yelled out, “What’s your dream? Everybody’s got a dream!” I guess we don’t know if he was homeless or not, but don’t be like that guy. Don’t wander around screaming, k?

9sBut do think about sharing your dreams and your goals in ways that people can relate to. Ask whether or not someone from your audience has the same goal. If they do, help them out. Band together. Solve problems. Forge a friendship. Bring value. Above all things and most of all- do something to work on that goal.

9tEnd result: make your dream/goal a reality no matter how big, no matter how crazy, just do something to work towards it!

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SECTION 3 – NETWORKING

9uCreating groups on Facebook and LinkedIn are probably going to be the best ways for you to plug-in to the “wisdom” channel broadcast by your favorite heroes. This portion of the series will take you a little time, but that is OK- this is about quality, not quantity.

9vThese are the places where you can “test drive” your ideas, see what works and what doesn’t, and generally get some much cherished business advice, accountability, motivation and inspiration. These groups should be invaluable to you, as they can and will be a well-spring of knowledge, and a fountain of “keeping you honest”- this includes accountability, precious feedback, and constructive criticism which are imperative to your business growth.

9wWhen I did my own study on the subject of networking, everything I found was strictly limited to growing your client list in order to make sales. I found this information to be flawed and a tad insulting. Yes, you are to build relationships with your audience/fans/potential customers, but you “network” with other professionals for guidance, for encouragement, for educational purposes. Why? Because no one was born into this world with a full knowledge-base of how to run a business; everyone should have a group of mentors, go-to people, and guides for help. And since we will never truly “know it all” (even after a top college education), it’s foolish to suggest that we can ever stop learning at some point. I realize that sounds negative… But, it shouldn’t. Think of it this way: there’s joy to be found in the journey of learning and growing. I don’t know about you, but I thoroughly enjoy expanding my brain pan. Don’t you like to learn? Here’s another tad of truth: there is joy in the journey of learning. Hey, that almost rhymes! And, often times you learn best from those who have walked before you. 9x

So again, keep in mind that your groups are not to find clients- they are to network with other professionals who can bring value to your life and/or your business and vice versa. When you help promote them, they can help promote you. The end result of networking is to gain wisdom on what it takes to create a following, what it takes to foster relational growth with clients, what it takes to keep your clients, etc. etc.

For Facebook:

9yWhen you create a group on Facebook (how to do that is HERE), your goal is to create an open group with people you actually know in real life, or if not in real life, at the very least, have had substantial online contact with via email, Skype, telephone, text, etc.

Create the group as an “open” group, but keep it small. You will want to have it “open” in order for it to be able to be viewed publicly- the idea being that others can see and possibly glean some information even though the group will be exclusive. If, in the future, anyone asks to join they should meet the criteria, i.e., personal relationship.

  1. Start by asking five real people in your life and incorporate the willing ones (maybe even the unwilling ones) into your group.
  2. Try your very best to use discretion when it comes to whom you allow in. Your “inner circle” should have the following similar traits/goals that you do:

9zi.      Like-minded goals when it comes to business growth, marketing, online presence, customer service, etc.

ii.      Are positive, supportive, encouraging, motivated, ambitious, and creative.

iii.      Are helpful, knowledgeable, offer some value (no matter how small), and WILL engage in the group.

Once you have that established…

Wonder on over to LinkedIn and create a “private” group (how to do that is HERE).

The difference here is that it is OK to create a group of people you may not actually know in real life. BUT, you should have at least some contact. You will want to find some top professionals in your field and that can be done like this:

9aaAssign yourself little “book” reports using one of each of these mediums:

I.            Magazine

II.            Book

III.            Blog article

Write a brief summary of at least five people in your field, that have already trod the path you are on.  These people resonate with you. Ask and answer these three questions:

  1. How are our goals and paths similar in life?
  2. What has happened in their business life that I wish would happen in mine?
  3. What value do I bring to the table?

9bbThis little number should challenge you and cause you to really dig deep. Upon completion, you will use what you wrote to personally invite the people you have studied to join your private group. Remember this: there has to be value in it for them. Think about what that will be and use your creative super-power to accomplish it.

The goal is to remember is that each group should profit all involved (not monetarily, but educationally, economically, and promotionally)!

~~~~~~~

In closing:

Guerrilla Marketing, 4th editionTake heart that every change can represent money in your life if you learn about it and do something about it.” – Jay Conrad Levinson, Guerrilla Marketing

Let’s continue to learn, grow, expand and help others! Hope you found this post helpful!

Till next time,

Joy

The Mouth That Paints A Thousand Words – Marketing Series, Part 2 of 4

1Before we begin Part 2, I thought it would be prudent to clarify some things. I need to know, are you an FPI? Are you a business owner socially plugged-in fully across the board? FPI’s have the following:

          • A completed website
          • A business blog

You are fully plugged-in on:

          • Facebook – you have a business page and even created your own business group
          • LinkedIn – same here

You have a following (no matter how small) here:

  • Pinterest – you’re an admin of your own community “group”
  • Twitter
  • Tumblr
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google+
  • Disqus
  • Digg

2I’m making the dangerous assumption that all of my readers have these things in place. As much as I like to live dangerously (it’s my middle name), making assumptions usually don’t work out to the good.

If you aren’t FPI’d, get there! All of these sites are free to join, take minutes to complete and they are crucial in this day and age of social media. Did you know that 93% of marketers use social media for business? [fastcompany.com – 10 surprising social media statistics]

NINETY-THREE PERCENT!

Remember the part about truth that I mentioned in Part 1 of this blog series? Mmmm, yeah. I just read something pretty cool that backs up most of what I was trying to get at throughout that post. It looks like this:

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I’m totally serious when I say that I just read this tonight in an amazing book I’ll talk about –see below about “stealing like an artist” (not the dreaming book) — and considering how I posted Part 1 yesterday, I think it’s all pretty neat!

4As a quick recap to my last post we went over the importance of superior wisdom and distinctively-awesome creativity and how you need both. Wisdom from other been-there done-that professionals in your field, and the cultivation, planting and growing of some “creativity super-fruit”.

The reason I wanted to lay the groundwork for these two qualities first is because you won’t go anywhere without them. Why?

Because——>>>>>> how will you ever market your business without above-average wisdom or without being distinctively creative?

Success in the new era of business is driven by your ability to stand out and be truly remarkable. That requires an ability to tap into creativity, break the mold, introduce disruptive change, and dislodge the status quo.”
– Josh Linkner, Disciplined Dreaming

You have to do this.

You CAN do this.

5So to continue our recap of Part 1, find your inner nerd! Step 1: go to your library (you won’t regret it, other professionals heroes say the same), step 2: keep a notebook on you at all times, and step 3: do something boring that frees your mind. For example, keep your notepad handy while you do dishes, stare into space, make mind movies, or like I said before, drive your car in silence (don’t crash while jotting down notes!).

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Now back to pic above about the library and the notebook- That pic above contains a page from a neat little book that I came across by  Austin Kleon called, “Steal Like An Artist”.

Steal Like an ArtistAnd, when I say “little” I mean little, like… 6” x 6” x 1.5”! But don’t let the size fool you, I found it to be pretty comprehensive and creatively constructed. The tagline is: “10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative”.

From Part 1, I wrote tips for creativity. I’ll quickly list them here-

    • Curiosity – ask ridiculous business growth questions about your field
    • Brainstorming – Business exposure, humorous pitches, your “hook”
    • Make something awesome – make a business logo using markers as an example?
    • Free time – Busyness murders creativity

I was a little stunned (and delighted) to see that the ideas I wrote about nicely complimented part of the “10 things” Mr. Kleon included in his book (remember that little thing called, truth?) as he also talks about those things.

However the one thing that I didn’t have that he introduces in the book is about writing not what you know, but what you like. I’ll share a pic that I saw months and months ago, but has stayed with me because it resonated so deeply. Edited to add that I couldn’t find the pic [INSERT BIG UNHAPPY FACE HERE].

6It was about creating your perfect life scenario within your mind before falling asleep. Seriously though, who hasn’t done this? It’s writing the story of your business life in a way that others want to read or you want to read.

Whenever you’re at a loss for what move to make next, just ask yourself, “What would make a better story?”

“The manifesto is this: Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use – do the work you want to see done.” – Austin Kleon

How do you do this?

Snapshot_20140305_2

Number one: getting off your laptop for a bit.

Number two: create a “digital free” zone in your office (tip from the book).

7Make the space you need to actually utilize pencils, markers, paper, and other office supplies to CREATE. If a commercial was going to be run on TV featuring your business, how would it look? What about a print ad in one of those over-sized magazines like the Detroit Hour? I would like to see one of my readers physically draw something out and send it to me!

I’ll give you an example from my own personal life: I often have trouble nurturing creativity when it comes to my commercial photography portfolios. I’ve traveled down the Internet road of “inspiration” (looking at other examples of commercial stock) and I always come away empty.

I have to ask myself,

‘What is the story that I would like to read about my life as a photographer?’

What can I do to get that ball rolling?

Remember this pic? 8

I become so overwhelmed and discouraged because it’s simply too much. So, I created a scrapbook. I put in that scrapbook idea’s for images I want to see. Or, when I write, I put those ideas down for what I would actually use for my own articles. Keeping these idea’s in a folder on my hard drive just-doesn’t-work. I’m “physically” writing the story that I want to see in my portfolios.

8On a related side-note, this makes me think of a good photographer friend of mine who, a long time ago was sad at the fact that film is becoming obsolete. She said that there was just “something” about being able to touch and feel the photographs (of course, I was chiding her a bit because I was super-duper excited to enter the digital age of photography where there were no more developed pictures of closed eyelids, messed up hair, wrong expression, out-of-focus faces and so much more. No more time or money wasted! Woo-hoo!).

9But,

…now that it’s been some time and I’ve grown in my study of the creative process, I understand what she was saying. I realize now that she was… well… a real artist. She’s an amazing photographer and I’m often jealous because she’s just a hands-on type person. I realize that in order for us to foster that type of growth, we have to simply step back from the computer and get our hands dirty.

9aWhen we do this, things happen, seeds get planted. After that, they get watered. Then, what grows from that can turn into a beautiful plant that produces choice fruit. It simply can’t be done any other way. It’s unfortunately that it took so long for this to sink in with me so please learn from my failure!

So back to my photography “scrapbook”- once I had the story that has been produced by my own desires and my own creativity, I now interact with the hero-photographers in my field. With this, I go even deeper (superior wisdom from others part) by:

  • Learning from them (not necessarily about their work but learning about them),
  • Gaining an understanding of how they think,
  • Studying their creative methods by receiving access,
  • It becomes an invaluable development of a small inner circle of heroes who assist you not only by inspiration, but portfolio growth based on your own creativity.

Are you getting the picture here?  And, this doesn’t just have to be about photography; it can be about the business of fashion & clothing (which I love, so I’m using that as an example), it can be about construction, accounting, baking, sail boats, auto parts, whatever business you are running.

9bThis is about YOUR business.

This is about marketing that business.

This is what you need FIRST before you get on that road.

Once you know the story of your business and what you want to see, hear, read and live regarding it, and once you have an inner circle of other hero-professionals (how to get them was in Part 1), you are now equipped to head on out and begin the process of spreading your ideas/products to the ends of the earth.

With a full understanding of having wisdom and creativity, we need to put that to use with all of the marketing methods out there. Which are these:

  • email newsletters,
  • direct mailing of promotional cards,
  • advertising online or yellow pages,
  • referrals,
  • hired salespeople, and
  • word of mouth

Throughout the next few posts, I’ll touch on the top five methods listed above, but for now I’m going to start with the last one on the list. I suppose because it peeks my interest in this technological age.

9cI’ve been doing the “Internet thing” for so long, I feel like I’ve lost touch with actual people! And, to be honest I didn’t know a whole lot about word of mouth (WOM) marketing up until recently.

untitled3When you think of “word of mouth” don’t you think of people actually talking to one another? I know I do. But, that’s not necessarily what it means anymore. It used to, but now with technology, everyone talks through the digitally written word now soaring through cyberspace. Our words come from our keystrokes and powerful keystrokes at that.

Andy Sernovitz’s book, Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking was the reason I wrote Part 1 of this series. Basically, in order to even have something out there that others will be inclined to share is going to require wisdom and creativity. You have to learn what works and what doesn’t. For the former, you need to do that creatively. Then, you can move on to studying and implementing the WOM techniques.

WOM marketing is dead in its tracks if it’s not share-worthy or buzzworthy. People have got to want to talk about it for it to work. People talk about things they are crazy about (think rabid Apple fans), they tell their friends, their family, their co-workers. Well, maybe not entirely “crazy” over things; but maybe information that challenges them, information that’s controversial, debatable even.

9dBottom line: opinions. Everyone has one (you know the saying which I won’t repeat). And, one of my passions is modest, yet stylish clothing. I have many girls in my family and I will tell you that it’s extremely difficult nowadays to buy clothing that isn’t low-cut, tight-fitting or revealing. I don’t want them dressing like nuns either, but when all the shorts you can see for sale at the local mall are so short your butt cheeks hang out, there’s something wrong there. And frankly, I’m quite sick of seeing it. It only perpetuates this idea that girls are only valuable and accepted by their peer groups, society and the culture at large by revealing their bodies. This is what they’re worth?! This is how they see their own worth?

9eC’mon. The girls in my life must know (because I tell them frequently) their worth is not in how they dress, or undress their bodies. How they appear on the outside is not “who they are” on the inside. When you cultivate and nurture a girl’s heart and she knows that true beauty lies there and not on the outside, she will respect herself and will respect others. That’s the truth.

imagesLQGDALXSYou may not know it, but that paragraph I just wrote containing my opinion (declared as truth) would be considered “controversial” in certain circles. There’s ALWAYS an angle to everything under the sun that has an opposite viewpoint (or opinion). There will always be an opposing view, no matter what.

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This is an example of what you will use to your advantage.

People won’t talk about you if you don’t give them something to say. Anything that catches attention is a topic. Anything that catches attention and then gets talked about is a fantastic topic.” –Andy Sernovitz

9fThis is one of the lenses you will look through regarding WOM marketing. A little caution flag first- you can’t be a jerk about things… EVER. Cardinal rule number one when it comes to business is this: you must be likeable. You ARE a business person after all, right? People are your business. Businesses rely on people. Your reputation is such that people should want to do business with you. They must want to share to others what you’re all about. These people who will share and talk about you are the ones who will help propel that little statement we mentioned earlier, “spreading your ideas and products to the ends of the earth”.

9gCardinal rule #2 is making sure you are surrounded by enthusiastic, life-loving people. Network with others who are POSTIVE POSITIVE POSITIVE. Encouragers, motivators, you know the people. Think right now about five people you know personally in real life who are in your life that exude these traits. And, that’s not to say you want people that are so “sunny” they’re oblivious to the need of constructive criticism when it’s needed, either.

Let’s recap:

  • Don’t’ be jerk (offer superior customer service no matter what and no matter to who), and
  • Find your five supporting people in your real life RIGHT NOW. Start an online group with them and only them (since you talk to them in real life, you’ll be able to sustain your online life together easier, i.e., the virtual relationship won’t fizzle out).

Sit tight, I’ll explain more regarding the second rule below… But first,

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Gaining Wisdom

Step #1: Find three professionals heroes in your field. Get their email addresses.

Step #2: In your email you are:

  • First going to explain to them how much their expertise has helped you in the area of _____________  (be specific). Then,
  • you will state that you are going to promote their work through all of your social media platforms (which you will),
  • by a very short interview through email simply asking three questions that you will also blog about thus giving them more exposure:

(if you would like to have a basic outline email I will share it with you for free, just contact me privately through the contact page and I’ll help you out)

    •  You need to find out what they’ve learned specifically about word of mouth marketing and how it worked for them,
    • how it affects their business and/or online presence
    • What advice they would give on how to grow your business based on this marketing method.

untitledStep #3: Broadcast through your blog the interview and how you will implement into your business what has worked for them. This step has a two-fold benefit: promoting your heroes, and at the same time keeping track of your own marketing growth through your blog (it would be like a digital notebook, logging your progress). Be sure to email your heroes upon completion so they will know about it.

9hStep #4: Hire a freelancer through oDesk.com or eLance.com to promote your blog and bring more exposure. Post a simple job posting that you are hiring for a “forum poster”. This virtual assistant can help you in efficiency like this: by outsourcing the work of promotion, you then have the ability and time to hone your craft of WOM marketing for your business. The beauty of it is, your VA will work faster and often times better at promoting your work by receiving much needed traffic than you can! (For a free step-by-step walk-through on how to do this, just hit me up through my contact page, I ❤ my VA’s! I am now better equipped and educated on how to delegate tasks through outsourcing thanks to in Tim Ferriss’s book, The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated) – If you missed my blog post on that, click HERE.)

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Being Distinctively Creative:

What you’ve learned from your heroes will now need to be put into practice.

789d75ca297492a3708f54aa10a32314Option #1: You can then make a diagram of the techniques you have learned. These are easy to read and if done well, are a big hit on Pinterest. By attaching a link to your website or blog through the picture of the diagram, viewers can find you. If it’s done well, is distinctive, eye-catching and easy to follow, it will get shared. Why is this important? Remember how we talked about the rate of exponential growth? It all starts with one pin, 2-3 other pinners pin it, then 2-3 of their friends re-pin it, on and on it goes.

For example, I created a chart (you can find it HERE) based on my inexperience and fear when it comes to horses. I knew I wasn’t alone when it came to this based on reading comment after comment on forums, Facebook and people I knew in real life. So, I charted out four of the simplest things I had done around horses that helped alleviate my fear around them give me confidence. I knew and believed that if it helped me, it could help others.

horseThrough that project, an idea was born to incorporate the steps I outlined into a method that can be transferred into a possible eBook or video directed at children somewhere down the road. I know so many girls and boys that love horses, but because of their size, are often afraid of them. By walking out the methods I charted, they can overcome that fear. I’m excited to get working on that project.

I then posted that chart on Pinterest and on Facebook (which included information about my web site) and I got some positive responses! I then looked at other charts and diagrams done by others regarding business, graphic design, navigating certain web sites, charts on how to write, how to plan weddings, anything I could find. Some were really creative and fun to look at. Some had been pinned many times over, equaling lots of viewers (if you have a moment, be sure to check out my, “Small Business Board” by clicking HERE – lots of great tips!).

Don’t forget to ask! Be sure to place in the description of the pin, “Please re-pin. Thank you!”

Goal: More exposure for your company, more talkers, more shares.

imagesW9MTE9INOption #2:  Designing and giving away some sort of device that has your logo on it. You can give this to potential customers or your current customers. Think some type of keychain device, a handheld gaming device small enough to fit in your pocket, a tote bag, one of those mugs with a teabag holder designed right into the side of the mug, something a person can USE…

But, this option has the potential to go way beyond what it sounds like. I know you can “creatively” think of something (you may have something in mind right now) that you know your audience would want. Think about the following questions/suggestions:

  • What would you like to receive from a company that would be cool enough to show your friends and colleagues?
  • How can you work to develop this gift into something people would eagerly anticipate receiving (look up the Microsoft MVP program!)?
  • Ask your real life friends on Facebook and LinkedIn about it (this is where your inner five real life circle of friends come in that we talked about earlier). Make a simple poll asking what it is they would want to get as a giveaway.
  • Go a step further: put all of their names in a drawing and then after two weeks, mail the best idea to the winner.
  • Don’t let this fade, find out every few months what works, keep it fresh and let it grow naturally.

Still stumped? Google search it. Search under, “most popular gadget” or “coolest giveaway product”. Get inspired. The trick is to be in a constant mode of positivity. Don’t ever say to yourself, ‘I can’t do this’, or ‘this will never work’…

Or, maybe you have an idea, but don’t know how to get it developed. There’s a solution to that to. Check out two of these sites:

ThomasNet.com

Shapeways

MAKE IT WORK!

Goal: More exposure for your company, more talkers, more shares.

Option #3: Co-partnering with a charity. This is my favorite and near to my heart. I have two that I’m passionate about, actually.

From a word of mouth perspective, charities are especially powerful because they come with their own built-in network of talkers. When you connect with any nonprofit, from a national organization to a single, small youth group, everyone in that group has a reason to talk about you. They are organized, involved, and have ready-to-go communication channels.” –Andy Sernovitz

For me, it’s the only way I can help the orphan and the persecuted and I love it! I love being a part of it.

vom

ivoHolding an online charity auction through eBay where 100% of the proceeds go to them is on my agenda in the coming months. It’s something I enjoy even though it will cost me something. But, that’s okay! You have to think about the things you WILL give away, it’s the natural by-product of good business. Just give something. Again, don’t limit yourself- give information, give products, give your time. It will require a little integration on your part, but trust me in the process of give-and-take, reaping and sowing, it does come back to you. Sometimes in ways you don’t expect, but it always does.

Two-fold goal: Helping others, exposure for your company, more talkers, more shares.

untitledOption #4 (at this point, why not do them all): Hold a video contest. YouTube is so accessible and there are some people out there that will do just about anything to be discovered (disclaimer: DO NOT INCORPORATE, ENGAGE, OR PROMOTE ANYTHING DANGEROUS). Hold it locally. Tell your friends, post about it on some local message boards, create a flyer at the library, tell Facebook.

untitled2Think about something (utilize your creativity here) regarding your field that people could do that was super crazy and worth talking about held in the form of a contest. Have those people submit their videos to you, create a mash up of it all into one whole video and then launch that video with a winner at the end (winner gets recognition, or a gift, your choice).

Some ideas could be a contest for a company mascot, best impersonation contest, best practical joke, a short comedic play about brain surgery/accounting, re-enacting your most embarrassing moment, eating contest, the ideas are endless. Just get thinking!

This one will need something original, so don’t be a copycat.

4000478-515030-decorative-elements-border-and-page-rulesWell, that’s it for today everyone. I think there’s a lot here to keep you on track for now. Till next time… Stay tuned for Part 3 coming soon!

–Joy

Check One-Two, Check One-Two – How To Turn On The Marketing Amplifier, Part 1 of 4

1I live in Michigan and it happens to be very cold right now. One day, while I was driving down the snow covered road, I imagined myself in Alaska- my fur lined hood even adding some authenticity to my imagination. On occasion my dad bewails the fact that he’s not “one for the cold” as do many other people in my life, including my friends on Facebook who also post about their daily winter woes. But, as I drove down the road that day imagining myself in Alaska, the thought struck me that I really don’t mind the cold. Was it because I just happened to be cozy warm in my fur-lined hooded jacket?  Well, that was part of it. The other part is that I seldom go out unprepared for the cold. I’m not cold when I’m outside because I dress in appropriate clothing for sub-zero weather. This includes snow pants, sub-zero insulated winter boots, knee-length coat (from the 1970’s, but it’s the warmest jacket I’ve ever owned), hat, scarf and gloves. Now, here are the inevitable questions2:

Do I look like a freak? Heck, yeah! But, I’m WARM (even walking through Walmart).

Should I care what others think? Other people’s opinions on my attire are irrelevant (especially in Walmart), who cares! I’m prepared.

Can I fail somehow and get cold? I doubt it. I’m equipped to succeed and I’ve overcome the elements.

The point? Preparation applies to things other than just life; it applies to many areas of business too!

The sole purpose of this blog is to equip you with the knowledge and give you the tools you will need to grow your business. This post is about one of the many facets out there working to propel your ideas and products out into the social world. It’s called, marketing.

4All right, I just heard that groan all way through my computer screen.

Please don’t die a little on the inside. I know, I know there are topics and articles, and blog posts, and books written about the subject of marketing ad-nauseum. But, don’t shake me off yet; let me revive you from the marketing death you are dying right now.5

I’m going to start by saying that I hate to use the term, “revolutionary” because it’s been ridden harder than the 30 year old pony at my friend’s farm, but it is appropriate for this post. We’re talking about being the ones who are “cutting the edge”. When it comes to “cutting edge”, have you ever cut the edge? I believe it is integral in our pursuit to capture the power of influence and the amplification of our ideas and products.imagesCAK05ULF

In this post, you’re going to learn the two integral ingredients that are needed to formulate any business marketing plan. Actually, they are the foundation of that plan, clear and simple. Nothing can really be built upon that base layer unless you have these two important concepts weaved throughout to hold it up.

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How To Amplify Your Business

7You and I may groan at the thought of reading one.more.thing about the subject of marketing, but that doesn’t discount its importance. Obviously, it’s important or there wouldn’t be so much data on it. And, you’re still reading because you believe I have a different angle on it, and I do. I want to reiterate the fact that I’m here to help others succeed- that’s the truth! This post isn’t merely to “discuss” various business issues; it’s to solve real problems, accomplish goals and put NEW tools in your arsenal. You will benefit from the information I’m providing to you because I am passionate about building others up and building their brands. I think you believe that too, otherwise you wouldn’t be here.

Let’s begin with a simple statement on the concept of marketing, being:

The communication of your ideas, information and/or products to the ends of the earth.untitled

Sounds simple enough, right? Well, it’s converting that concept into a formulated implementation of steps that is not so simplistic (or, “the how”). You can read guide books, perform step-by-step online or offline tuts, create a company profile on every social site, write blog post after blog post, network at group after group, etc. etc. You can do all these things, but unfortunately it will only get you so far. You’re going to need two vital ingredients as your base foundation to get further that many sources of information neglect to tell you. And, they are these:

#1: Acquiring the right wisdom. And, that’s not just a term meaning, “knowledge”. It goes beyond that. I’m talking about, the thinking of thoughts that are above everybody else. It’s having the right wisdom and proper guidance that leads to outsmarting everyone else. This is something you can learn from others.

#2: Utilizing the right creative methods. You have to be creatively unique and distinct in your business. You MUST stand apart. This is something you cannot learn from others.

Reading guide books, articles and taking courses on how to market your business down to the most infinitesimal detail (i.e., communicating your ideas/products to the ends of the earth) through:

  • email newsletters,
  • direct mailing of promotional cards,
  • advertising online or yellow pages,
  • referrals,
  • hired salespeople, and
  • word of mouth

…can absolutely be profitable (and we will get to the latest and greatest methods of these later). But, what they aren’t going to tell you is how to outsmart everyone else, or how to remove the rock that stifles the waters of creativity or order to let those juices flow freely.

But I will.

imagesCAEXY5ILIt’s a bold statement, I know. On a side note, it makes me think about this movie I watched a couple days ago. You’ve probably seen it, it’s called, “The Social Network” (I’m a little behind in the movie scene, forgive me). You know the one about the guy that created Facebook? Well, we all know it wasn’t just ONE guy that did it, it was a collective work, but that’s beside the point. What I realized was that the small group of guys that launched this business, originally dubbed, “TheFacebook.com” had #1 and #2 qualities listed above: #1) they had superior wisdom (Harvard education, anyone?), and #2) they utilized the right creative methods (which ones? It’s debatable, but again, not the point).

imagesCABVLHIIWhat they created by using wisdom and creativity was something addictive. They weren’t the FIRST social networking platform, just like Candy Crush isn’t the first gaming app ever created, but it works. There is massive marketing power going on there, from ads, to word of mouth, that leads to everyone and I mean, EVERYONE being a part of it.6

For those who want to actually succeed in business online or not, wisdom and creativity is crucial. You have to be able to cultivate this wisdom and creativity so that people (your consumers, potential or otherwise) want need to be a part of your business.  How do you CREATE something people are addicted to? How do you “create” anything when the internet is FLOODED with noise, when it’s flooded with people, when it’s flooded with information, or when it’s just plain flooded? When things are flooded there are those who aren’t prepared to survive the elements, let alone prosper and grow by obtaining superior wisdom and distinctive creativity.

3So, who are you? Are you prepared for the elements? And, if not, are you ready to be?

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Obtaining wisdom

imagesCAAO3D0QThis is the area where you can’t work alone.  Unfortunately I’m not going to be able to tackle all of the steps I want to regarding this in a single post, but I know one thing: you can’t obtain a full dose of superior wisdom alone. A part of all that is involved with this is a close, small army of professionals in your field willing to help you and you willing to help them. Of course you can gain wisdom from other inanimate objects such as books, articles, and posts; but, nothing beats flesh-n-blood people who have done battle and lived to tell about it. They will tell you what it takes and you need that information.

imagesCAPBXTSFIn a basic sense, a lot of business networking is simply a dance- it takes two to tango. It’s co-partnering. And, it usually starts out by you initiating contact with them asking if you can help them. This is a string out of that base, foundational thread you are weaving: you really do have to give to get and it shouldn’t be anything less.

See, marketing isn’t a one-size-fits-all blueprint. You wouldn’t ask a fashion industry expert how to market the latest iPhone app for accounting, would you? Different products, different audiences, different practices, different nuances, etc. means you have to know how to find professionals in your field and you have to know how to help promote them. Because of the wonderful gift of technology that social media is in itself, this is relatively easy.

imagesCAS0D8EWThe first step is going to seem like a stretch, but it’s absolutely essential. You’re going to need to get off the internet for approximately a day or two each week and go to the library. Listen, I know you can get everything you need as far as information martini’s go from a few keystrokes at the local bar called, Google search. But, this is important. In fact, I’m going to implement some goals on this post and I’d like to see some responses. I think, in order to be great, and from reading success story after success story, people rarely get great on their own. I think the “revolutionary” thing to do in my own life, is to simply have a small group of like-minded individuals gather together every so often and literally PUSH EACH OTHER onward. You know, set goals, meet them, grow, things like that. And, not just *any* type of goals- really, big goals. Big, big goals.

Did I mention, big goals?

At the library, you need to start looking at some magazines in your niche field. Trust me, it’s going to feel good to sit down and realize bringing an Uzi to work isn’t the answer relax. Just decompress and read some interesting articles. Take notes about who wrote the article, who it’s about, think about all the things you might want to know about them and how they came to be what they are.

imagesCANGWZ04Answer the following questions in your note pad (because every good business person has a note pad and a long yellow stick called a pencil!):

        • How can I help this person promote their brand? (For example, what person in my circle of influence would benefit from the knowledge this person gives, would my own following as a whole be interested in this information- how so?)
        • How can I find out what this particular person may be working on now that is new to them?
        • What is important to them?
        • Would this person be interested in an interview over email? What questions would you ask them?
        • How does what they do impact your business?

The goal is to gather some names of people in your field that can possibly answer the above questions and people that you might like to promote first and then network with later. Gather the same with some books written by people in your field. Check these books out and take them home with you. Then jot down the author’s website or blog and again, go over questions listed above.

8You have to think. Personally, I can’t think much when I’m in front of the computer. There’s TOO MUCH INFORMATION AND NOISE being slammed into my eyeballs! This is why I carry a notepad everywhere I go. It’s not big, it fits in my purse and it goes where I go because I never know when a really great thought is going to take shape in my brain. For me, they seem to come when I’m just about to fall asleep (which I still get up and write down) or when I’m in the car (not having the radio on is *great* for the formulation of ideas). And, if I don’t jot it down it’s lost forever, plain and simple.

Many people, sad to say, will probably not do what I’m saying here, which is go the library, gather info on other professionals in your field (the internet DOES NOT COUNT) and keep a note pad for when thoughts and questions arise. It won’t work any other way!

We need other people.

Don’t believe me? Well, you will… eventually. The truth is funny that way.

I’ll post more on wisdom in Parts 2, 3 and 4. There’s so much to say, that time isn’t permitting me right now.

(…and, if you’re wondering how gaining wisdom from other professionals has to do with marketing, hang in there!)

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What happens when you don’t shake things up?

9I’m not a hundred percent sure in every situation- but I do know this: when you don’t shake the ketchup bottle before you squeeze some out, this clear, runny juice dribbles all over your food. Yuck!

In order for creativity to take place, we need to shake things up a bit. I think that really good creative thoughts transformed into actions “shake things up” on the business scene. Remember “The Social Network” movie reference above? Those guys were definitely squeezing ketchup, no clear juice there!

To create something people want to be a part of, there has to be certain details floating within that are inescapable, like;a

  • Not your grandmother’s “cool”, but way cool
  • It’s unique, distinctive, and offers something so fresh, it’s still green
  • It’s stunningly addictive

Have you ever asked yourself what needs to happen in order for your online business to go viral? Would you agree that there has to be at least the three things listed above going on? If so, you’re in category A.

imagesCAGGY90UOr, would you say that it’s not necessarily those three, but these three?:

          • An already established following of over 1,000 fans and followers (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Instagram)
          • Hundreds (not necessarily thousands) of visitors to your business blog on a daily (not weekly) basis?
          • An interactive web site that allows visitors to stay and play

You are in category B, if you think it’s the bottom three.

imagesCAL8HPCNIn my humble opinion, I think it’s the top three (I’m in category A). When things ignite, they IGNITE! It doesn’t take long for the rate of exponential growth to take place (if you don’t know what “the rate of exponential growth” is, check it out by Google searching whether or not you should choose to be paid via a penny that doubles every day for 30 days or a flat 1 million dollars. Think about this scenario first, make what you feel is the best choice, then search) and before you know it, you’ve gone viral.

The difference in the two categories is whether or not you have an established base of fans with a so-so social presence or an outstandingly cool, unique, and terrifyingly addictive “product” in its infancy with little following (keyword being infancy, since anything with those qualities doesn’t have a small following for long).

After some thought, why not both categories? Why not have category A morph into category B? In all sincerity, that’s all I really want, don’t you? I suppose I could aim high and set the goal to become the next Mark Zuckerberg… but I saw the movie, remember? Yeah, yeah, I know that movies aren’t always true to life, but WOW! They painted him on a character canvas made of…  [……] Well, you can fill in the blank.

imagesCAU3OVJRIn any event, you’re going to have to get creative in ways that can’t be taught. You are going to have to develop something that makes people talk. You need to ask yourself this: what can you DO that’s buzzworthy? imagesCAPTOE5I(Don’t do this >>>>>>>>>>>>

Here are things to keep in mind about creativity (keywords underlined):

          • Curiosity isn’t just for children. Start asking the most ridiculously business growth type questions possible. Seek to find the answers and don’t let fear stop you.
          • Nor is brainstorming just for children or dreamlining (see more about this particular skill HERE). Get a sheet of paper and go for it. You remember how to do this from school, right?imagesCAHR8N9R
            • Concentrate on exposure (think about the approximate number of viewers one television ad might receive and what could that mean for your business if you had that exposure)
            • What’s funny or witty – for example: there is a billboard advertisement on the side of an expressway by my house picturing a half-naked, overweight man next to two simple lines…

Half-off Bob = Bad

Half-off carpet = Good

**If you can make me smile, there’s a really good chance you’ll get my business.

          • Short and sweet with a hook – What you promote has to be clever and easy for others to remember. More than that, it has to be “shareable” and worth it.
          • Knowing the difference between doing something that someone else taught you to do with flair and doing something with flair that is devastatingly awesome YOU made up.
          • Cultivating free time (remember the library scenario above?). If busyness isn’t the number 1 stifler of creativity, then I don’t know what is.

imagesCA8NN2NTI believe every one of us can be creative in our own way. After all, God gave us imaginations for a reason. He gave us dreams, he gave us the ability to think up positive outcomes that we would desire for our lives. What do you desire to have happen for your business, your company?

bBottom line: you can read every book on the planet, but they aren’t going to think it all up for you- some of that’s your job. And, this is where I need to bring up the notebook. It’s for your brain, not the Alzheimer’s inflicted lovebirds out there (no disrespect to you Nicolas Spark).

You need this for the golden nuggets of superior wisdom you are acquiring from professionals that will help you out-think 95% of the population along with capturing the creatively juicy ideas flowing out of your brain.

imagesCAMJZ08AAs far as juice goes, just make sure it’s not the clear kind.

Getting Traffic, Growing Your Business – How To Go Viral TODAY!

untitledMaybe I’m the slow kid in class, but the idea of going “viral” just came to me. It was a real light bulb moment, if you will, and I couldn’t NOT post about it. Sadly, there’s sooooo many different things to keep in mind when it comes to marketing and advertising your business and as an entrepreneur it’s hard to keep it all straight.

Not only that, there are umpteen-million different sites and blog posts chronicling each and every possible way to gain traffic and what you need to do to be successful on the internet; how does one wade through it all?imagesLL7D0PIB

To be truthful, I’ve come to this conclusion- through trial and error. Maybe years of trial and error. I know it has been this way for me (and many others). But, it hasn’t been a bad thing because it laid the foundation of where I am NOW. I’m at a place where I have finally constructed a good system that has worked for me. And, I can’t wait to share that with you!

untitled2Throughout the years I have gleaned this, picked out that, plugged this in, rejected that. I’ve learned what works, and what doesn’t. And, that is what the majority of this post is going to be about. It has been on my mind for a very long time (even though I’m just learning about going viral).

The sad thing about technology is that it changes so fast! I can grab a book that looks to be quite new, open up the copyright page, see that it was printed in 2008 (not that long ago, if you think about it), start reading and immediately know (and become disappointed) that the content is outdated.

Another sad thing I notice is all of the swimming a person has to do through all of the SAME information, or nearly duplicate content to find some answers. For example, I can do a Google search on SEO How To’s, and the first page pulls up multiple pages all pretty much saying theimagesPXJSBNCZ same thing. Obviously, the perfect one I’m looking for explains it in the simplest language possible (I’m slow at times, remember?) and sometimes that can take several click-throughs to find what I’m looking for.

…just to let you know, I STILL haven’t found it. But, rest assured when I do, I’ll probably post about it in simple ENGLISH!

untitled3Is it time to come down? Off the soapbox?

All right, if I have to. Must keep chatter at a minimum today…

So, let’s dig in. This post is going to tell you in the straightest way possible what I’ve learned when it comes to having an online business. Most importantly, these are the non-negotiables; the sites that you absolutely cannot get away with not being affiliated with if you want to work online and create an automated income so you can be the globe-trotter you want to be.

Before I being, please note, this post is going to be spotlighting the sites I use. You may not use them, have radical opinions about that, and that is OK. But for me, these sites are what have worked best for me.teacher

Let’s just put it in a bullet-point list, shall we?

Since the old adage can still be seen around the scene: “Content is king.” You need to be publishing it. Content that is. And not only do you need to produce it, it needs to be “share-worthy”. So, in order to do this (which by the way you can either write it yourself or hire someone else to do it for cheap), you have to have the following, or what I call, “the bare bones”:

  • A website

    • In this day and age, you just can’t get away with not having a web site. It’s a no-brainer. I’ve tried many “build your own site” platforms and Wix.com is my favorite. It’s where I keep my clothing store found HERE. And the hiring page I have for clothing models found HERE. There are so many others, time (and my fingers) would fail to list them all, so I’ve just listed what works best for me.
  • Blog

    • I put off having a blog for the longest time. I even toyed with the idea of blogging straight from my clothing web site, but decided against it. So, here I am at WordPress… my second blog with them and I wouldn’t go anywhere else. Maybe I’ll start a third one… ehhhhh, nevermind.
  • Squidoo

    • Reviews are mixed on this one. Some love Squidoo, some don’t. Many question, ‘why write lenses, labor to drive traffic to them when you can just do the same with a blog and keep all profits yourself vs. splitting it with Squidoo’ (and trust me, there ARE perks to writing lenses on Squidoo)). Sure, you can measure up the pros and the cons all day long, but for me, I thought two little words on why I have both- can’t hurt.
    • (Psst… it doesn’t hurt at all, if you catch my meaning)

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imagesRIQ5MEF7Now unless you run your business in a cave, you have to know that virtually every person on the planet agrees that social media is crucial to business success. So, if you don’t have an account with the following, sign up now:

          • Facebook
          • LinkedIn
          • Twitter
          • Pinterest
            • “Pinning” is the latest and greatest thing that can be a great launching pad for your website, blog posts and Squidoo lenses. Just make sure you use high-quality, eye-grabbing pictures. Many will click through based on the picture alone.

commAs far as social media goes, traffic is a very big part of having an online business. I mean, if no one is seeing you, what good does it do for you? The object of being involved in a social community is just that- community. The good news is a simple Google search has a plethora of articles on how to increase web site and blog traffic so I won’t list them here. Maybe I’ll write my own How To one day!

Even if you don’t use these news sites, sign up for them anyway! I’ll tell you why in a minute:

  • Delicious
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Digg
  • Tumblr
  • Yahoo! Buzz

imagesZ5LDAC28The reason you want to be registered on these sights is to share links to the GREAT content you are producing (whether written by you or someone else you hired). Submitting your content via your bare bones links will get you views to your web site, blog and lenses.

#1 IMPORTANT>>>>>>>>> I don’t know how other blogging sites work, but here at WordPress when you customize the settings for the appearance of your blog, you can pick and choose which “sharing” buttons you want to put at the bottom of your blog posts. As you will see on the bottom of this post, most of what is on the above bulleted list has its own share button.

Why?

#2 IMPORTANT>>>>>>> When I publish my blog post, I then scroll to the bottom of the page and right-mouse click on each share button one at a time and select the option, “Open in New Tab”. Once I’ve shared my post on each site, I don’t close the tab when I’m done sharing. This way I can keep track of which site I’ve shared my blog post on.

images543G31EBWhen all the tabs are up and I’ve seen each and every news site I’ve submitted my blog post to, I then close them all down. If I don’t do that, I get confused and can’t remember what I’ve submitted and what I haven’t!

By going through and sharing my post via one share button at a time, to me, it’s a nice, systematic way to make sure my latest post gets to the most popular news sites.

The buzz on going “viral”:

  • Google WebMaster

    • Utilize the tools here for SEO, XML Site maps, authenticating your site, and more. Although it appears I’m not the brightest bulb in the box when it comes to this, apparently SEO by Yoast is the most popular guru around that you may want to check out. There are many step-by-step articles that can help you.
  • ViralContentBuzz

    • You can do a Google search on “How To Go Viral”. There are plenty of pages that explain how. These two sites here (the one above and below) are supposedly the best when it comes to social media exchange (you share content, others share YOUR content, an exchange, get it?)
  • Outsourcing Promoters

    • You can hire virtual assistants to do all this for cheap so you don’t have to! Have them post and promote your blog and site to various niche forums and message boards, it’s almost too easy…

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viralSince I’m learning about going viral today, this portion is a work-in-progress sort of. But, I can share with you my favorite top five sites and ‘how to’ pages that I came across:

32 Ways To Make Your Blog Post Go Viral (I got the best information from the comments section, actually)

Make Your Blog Post Go Viral  – In 60 Minutes or Less

How to Make Your Content Go Viral

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So, there you have it. The literal bare bones of what is needed when it comes to running an online business. As a quick recap, you need a web site, a blog, accounts on all the major social media sites, and accounts on all the major news sites so you can easily submit links to them about your content.

Once you’ve accomplished that, are you done?

Of course not!

You thought you were getting off easy, now didn’t ya?

imagesCGD2GWIRListen- it’s not enough to just establish these things- that is why I called it the “bare bones” of what’s needed. Now you need to give birth to and grow relationships with others in your field. Find your audience, find other experts, join groups, make a group, it goes on and on (maybe I’ll post on these topics too one day).

Don’t get overwhelmed though. It may sound overwhelming, but it’s not… if you can get all these accounts up and running- I’m telling you for real, that’s the most overwhelming part. And, once the bare bones are done, and you can keep track of all the user names, emails and passwords, now you get to go on to the FUN part- growth! Growth that comes from making connections, promoting others then having them promote you back, seeing the traffic, engaging and promoting others, and then…

Maybe going viral?

This is where the excitement is!

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Till next time,

–Joy

How to Put Your Income On Auto-Pilot For Real & Experience High-End World Travel

Image

This article is a follow-up to my previous blog post titled, “The Blueprint To Traveling The World & Escaping The Rat Race Now“.

So, if you haven’t spoiled your eyeballs with the decadent pleasure of reading it, please do it so this post can make a whole lot more sense to you.

untitled4

(Not to sound bossy or anything. )

So, I’ll start with a question for you- have you ever read a book that was beyond your comprehension? That’s probably a dumb question, of course you have. Who hasn’t? Kind of reminds me of my futile attempts at understanding XML site maps and the implementation thereof (it’s just not happening in case you’re wondering). I might as well be reading the latest Physician’s Desk Reference for pleasure (no, thanks). imagesWH9IX4DZ

As much as I want to generate traffic to this blog, my neuron-synapsis’ will thank me later.

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To follow up from Part 1 of this post, am I saying that “The 4-Hour Workweek” is beyond ordinary comprehension? No. But, there are some terms that I’ve never heard before. Let me clarify that that’s not to say that I’m the end-all, be-all of the highest literary standard of understanding; what I mean is that if “Geographic Arbitrage” is common language, I must be living in a cave!

I have to admit that I looked up the dictionary term for this. Although, I was unsuccessful finding the exact phrasing, I was successful at finding a blog by a person who actually does this (geographic arbitraging that is, not looking up words in the dictionary. Well, maybe he does- but that’s beside the point).

To get a better understanding of it, I’m going to let him explain here-

As I write this article, I’m sitting outside a small coffee shop in the city of Kanchanaburi, Thailand. What a cool place. I’m just a few miles from the Bridge Over the River Kwai. My room for the night costs 200 baht ($7), and the excellent kaafe yen (iced coffee) I’m now enjoying comes in at a whopping $1.50. Take that, Starbucks. Dinner tonight, including beer, will come to $3. So that’s…$11.50 for today.  And Thailand is actually one of the more expensive countries in South East Asia. So, I’m earning money, while living in a less expensive foreign country. Welcome to the world of geographic arbitrage. Dictionary.com  defines “geographic arbitrage” as: “the practice of high-paid professionals moving to less-expensive areas.”

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always wanted to travel the world. I did a bit of travelling during and after college, but always seemed to…”

Read more at the link at the bottom of my post~

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images0Y4TG2JZObviously, this type of lifestyle is for those who have that classic touch of wanderlust. People that live on the edge, people that are comfortable taking certain risks, things like that.

Does that description sound a bit extreme?

Consider the truth- it IS a risk to leave everything you’ve ever known by uprooting and moving half-way across the globe. Can it be done? That’s not the question (of course it can be done). What the question really boils down to is this: do you have the guts?

When people want to be millionaires they have this vision of what life would be like- fancy cars, a big house, lots of employees, saucy cocktail parties, big, blue swimming pools, a boat (all paid off, too- no bills), prestige, influence, celebrity friends. I know that I have.

Have.

I have had visions of those, but those aren’t the visions of what being a millionaire is all about for me anymore.  To be totally honest, who wants a big house with more THINGS that collect dust, and only work to separate those you love by the vastness of it all. How about nosey neighbors, lawn care ordinances, and the umpteen billion perks of keeping up a home, and a big one to boot!

What about a fancy car? Yes, please!untitled2

But how will I fit all the lovely, beautiful gaggle of children I have and adore? Oh. You’re single and don’t have that problem? OK- well, you’ve got me there. Go for it.

In continuing the vision, lots of employees? Who wants to manage that?

What about saucy cocktail parties? Why? Most of the people that are there probably only want to be there because of your money. I’m sure many millionaires prefer a close dinner party with some of their closest and trusted friends.

imagesWCVQY5VNA big swimming pool? Hate those.

Ahhhh, you got me. Can’t hate a big swimming pool no matter how hard I try. Look, the point of all this is that people DO have certain visions when it comes to all of the luxuries that money can afford.

But think about this: really deep down, people truly just want to spend more time with the people they love, reduce their bills (and their workload at the same time), chase their hobbies, be able to afford to go out from time to time and travel, travel, travel and then travel some more. Whether that’s to a simple place like Cedar Pointe, or all the way to the Cayman Islands people want to have fun with the other special people in their lives. And, they don’t want to have to work like dogs to do it.

People have swallowed an unfortunate lie that they have to be a millionaire to do all these things.  Well, you don’t have to be. And for the first time in my life (and I’m 38 years old), my eyes have seen a new perspective on what it means to live an exciting way of life that doesn’t involve signing people up under me in a pyramid scheme, working 80 hours a week, or joining Amway. And, isn’t that why you’re here?

To escape the 9-5, live anywhere, and join the new rich?

The only catch to this is that you have to be a little daring. You have to be willing to take some risk. You have to go out to the nearest gun shop, buy an oozi and mow down that domineering tyrant called, FEAR.untitled5

images8Q5DBQZJFirst on the list is getting an income and putting it on auto-pilot. This is under the section called, “Off-Loading the Rest and a Taste of Geoarbitrage”. This is the crucial key: learning to delegate personal assistants remotely (that techno speak for, “people who live inside your computer”) in order to be able to give orders or assignments for other people to do for you. That’s part of the automation process; automating job functions so you don’t have to.

Stay with me on this.

To quote Tim,

It’s time to learn how to be the boss. It isn’t time-consuming. It’s low-cost and it’s low-risk. Whether or not you “need” someone at this point is immaterial. It is an exercise. It is also the litmus test for entrepreneurship…”

Why?

Becoming a member of the new rich is not just about working smarter. It’s about building a system to replace yourself.”


So, what is it that you need to pursue in order to make an income? In the book, it’s titled, “Finding the Muse”. And, it goes like this:

Our goal is simple: to create an automated vehicle for generating cash without consuming time. That’s it. I will call this vehicle a “muse” whenever possible to separate it from the ambiguous term, “business”, which can refer to a lemonade stand or a Fortune 10 oil conglomerate- our objective is more limited and thus requires a more precise label.

So first things first: cash flow and time. With these two currencies, all other things are possible. Without them, nothing is possible.”

The question now is what is your product? What is your business? Everyone I know has a talent. Do you make something?untitled3

Is it information? What have you learned in life (click HERE to read about making a profit by sharing what you know) that others would pay for and benefit from?

Maybe you are a good salesperson and have a knack for selling other people’s products.

imagesV95H24MOWhat if you don’t want to make something?

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Well, don’t worry. “The 4-Hour Workweek” has you covered in all these areas, even in the area of refusing to make something (you lazy dirtbag).

Learn and implement detailed information to cover every imaginable base like:

–How to develop a product (including sharing the names of manufacturers who can help) versus investing in an already manufactured product, including how to confirm sufficient market size

–He brainstorms with you on what benefit this product should be to your customer,

–What the cost should be

–The time-frame of manufacture (how long it takes to make), and

–What you need to do to develop a full online FAQ.

imagesN33YLINAFrom reselling an already established product to licensing or creating a product, it’s all in here. You’ll have so much fat to chew on your teeth may fall out! You won’t know what to do from information overload; from selecting your market to brainstorming your product to micro-testing it to rolling it out and automating it you may have to take a “summer vacation” like you did when you were in school! Only difference is, it may become a permanent summer vacation.dreamstimefree_112399

So, you get all this information. You have everything developed. Now what?

Are you ready for geographic arbitrage? But wait, you say, I’m not making millions right yet!

Listen, you don’t have to make millions.

Huh?

Continue to stay with me, OK?

Once you have a product that sells, it’s time to design a self-correcting business architecture that runs itself.”

untitled6Try this on for size:

While most entrepreneurs dive into their ventures with a zealous passion for their product or service, few start out with a clear idea of what kind of company they want to build. But McDonnell did. From the outset, he wanted Applegate Farms, his Bridgewater, N.J., organic and natural meat company, to be the kind of business that could grow and thrive on its own steam, not on the power of his own adrenaline and charisma. And so he made a radical decision: Even in the company’s infancy, he chose to limit his physical presence at headquarters to one day a week. He’s continued to do this for 17 years now, and it seems to be working. Applegate has been profitable from the beginning. Revenue has been going up 30% a year. Productivity, measured by weekly sales per employee, goes up every year. Labor cost per pound of goods sold goes down every year. McDonnell figures that Applegate’s 120 products, which can be found in such high-end grocery stores as Whole Foods, Wegmans, Wild Oats, and Trader Joe’s, now provide 1.5 million servings a week.

All because he avoids going into the office? Well, yes. “I’m a…”

Follow along to the bottom to get the link to read more. Trust me, you’ll want to!

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Here’s the golden nugget: If you have developed a product…gold

(which you can develop, or have someone else manufacture, or maybe it’s no product at all- it can be information, or affiliate partners, consulting services, marketing strategies that you’ve developed, whatever. The key is this: the possibilities are ENDLESS, remember that!)

…based on the guidelines Tim walks you through in ch. 9-10, it will plug into the detailed structural chart he has constructed hand-in-glove.

Where is he in the structured diagram chart?

I am not a tollbooth through which anything needs to pass. I am more like a police officer on the side of the road who can step in if need be, and I use detailed reports from outsourcers to endure the cogs are moving as intended. I check reports from fulfillment each Monday and monthly reports from the first of each month. The latter reports include orders received from the call center, which I can compare to the call center bills to gauge profit. Otherwise, I just check bank accounts online on the first and fifteenth of each month to look for odd deductions. If I find something, one email will fix it, and if not…

…it’s back to kendo, painting, hiking, or whatever I happen to be doing at the time.”

In the end, you’re going to be automating something. And once that happens, you will be ready for liberation; the liberation that involves freeing you from the 9-5 so you can live anywhere.

Once again, isn’t that why you’re here?

The new rich are defined by a more elusive power than simple cash- unrestricted mobility.”

…Tens of thousands of people, most of them less capable than you, leave their jobs every day. It’s neither uncommon nor fatal.”

doorJob changes are natural and the book teaches you how simple that transaction can be. If you simply cannot quit your job because of fear or other obligations, why not travel the path that leads around the world by working remotely?

Think it can’t be done?


 Just wait till you read the step-by-step plan including example scripts of how to do it (pg. 206). Man, I wish I had this information while I was still employed. This is the section from the first blog touting the statement, “How blue-chip escape artists travel the world without quitting their jobs”. It’s unbelievable, but absolutely brilliant.

imagesOUUCJEN5If you really want to take the plunge, but can’t get past the what-if’s such as:

          • The permanency of quitting (burning that bridge),
          • Not being able to pay the bills,
          • Health insurance and retirement accounts, or
          • Ruining your resume

Don’t worry, the book tackles those subjects too (which are more like job-quitting myths) with remedies in the form of tools and tricks that include plenty of links and articles (all free). So, are you ready for a mobile lifestyle, yet?

The Birth of Mini-Retirements and the Death of Vacations

True freedom is much more than having enough income and time to do what you want. It is quite possible- actually the rule rather than the exception- to have financial and time freedom but still be caught in the throes of the rat race. Once cannot be free from the stresses of a speed- and size-obsessed culture until you are free from the materialistic addictions, time-famine mind-set, and comparative impulses that created it in the first place.”

roadThis is where the term, “millionaire” needs to hit the road! Get.that.stupid.word.out.of.your.head.

I don’t want to be a millionaire. I want the lifestyle that having millions of dollars gives- and, that’s a huge difference. What IS money? It just buys you things and takes you places. The key here is that you don’t need a boat load of it in order to live the lavish lifestyle of your dreams!

And, there’s so much information on the ins-and-outs of travel that it takes up about an 1/8 of the book. It includes next-to-nothing airfare rates, places to stay that are free (yes, you read that right FREE), transportation, high-end luxury monthly rental apartments (some for $300-something a MONTH) and more. You can do this on a modest (or large, whatever you prefer. Maybe you want to work 5 hours a week??), automated income.

Anyhow, I was blown away and constantly came to this reverberating thought, “can this really be true?”


Turns out, it is. People really do this. And, these people aren’t hard to find.

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Almost forgot! Don’t forget to check out these links from the sections I wrote about above:

Using Geographic Arbitrage to Live the Lifestyle of your Dreams

Remote Control CEO

Till next time,

–Joy

9 Tips to Becoming a Jedi Master of Persuasion – Scientifically Proven to Drastically Improve Sales and Influence

chairCome on in.

Shut the door behind you and walk carefully to my beautiful, soft and plush chaise lounge. Lie down on that gorgeous ox blood velvet.

Cross your legs if you want to.

Now that you’re relaxed, concentrate on the ticking of the metronome that beats in time to the rhythmic sound of my voice. You’re getting sleepy.

Soon, you will do everything that I tell you to do…

pendulum3… 2… 1… zzzzzzzzzz…

Is this what comes to your mind when you think of someone who might have the power of persuasion over you? The kind of nightmare where honesty and integrity somehow watch from the sidelines as a dark and sinister snake oil salesman takes your sweet little ol’ grandmammie for everything she’s got?

Why is that?

I know that is what I have always tended to think- like there must be some sort of voo-doo involved when it comes to influencing people. Does Tony Robbins come to mind? I’ve always wondered about that guy (just kidding, Tony).

It turns out there’s really no “magic” about it; but, more like actual science. Studies upon studies have been performed proving that certain persuasive techniques are and can be valid, but should only to be used in ethical ways.

Ethical, you say?

Yes, ethical. Why? Because when these tools are used in dishonest ways or by artificially importing the principals of social influence into situations in which they don’t naturally exist- any short-term gains will almost invariably be following by long-term losses. Or, in other words- IT’S NOT WORTH IT. All dishonesty is uncovered eventually and the results can be disastrous for you, your reputation, your finances, or worse. So, just don’t do it, okay?good

Besides, why do something dumb and wrong, when you can just as easily do what’s right and help other people?  Not only that, some of the studies that I’m going to post about are not only scientifically rigorous, but also fun! I like fun. But, I had to bring up the ethics warning for a reason. That reason being: people can be influenced. And, there are some really nasty people out there. People who will take advantage of other people and that’s NOT what I am about, nor would I ever DREAM of promoting dishonest or disgusting behavior. This post is about utilizing persuasion tools that benefit both parties- tips and tricks that grow a business AND help other people.

I want this post to be fun. And, I think it’s going to be! Learning all that I did made me involuntarily do a few things; some of them being, but not limited to, my eyes popping out with near disbelief (in some cases), I said, “Hm” (a lot), and believe it or not, I even chortled a few times.


There are 50 scientifically proven ways to be more persuasive documented in Noah Goldstein’s, Steve Martin’s and Robert Cialdini’s awesomely crafted and compiled book that shows us detailed studies uncovering a series of hidden rules for moving people in your direction (and beyond!).

I can’t reveal all fifty of them as much as I would like, however I can share with you my very own top ten. I was blown away by all of them and I wish I could talk about each one, but time does not allow it. For now, it will just be a few. And, I promise you’ll like them.

The first one, I don’t plan on personally using, but it’s so… out there, I couldn’t not post it and thought it deserved first prize. So, without further ado, here are my favorite top 10 tips to becoming a Jedi Master of persuasion:

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1.   To become more persuasive with any audience you may be standing in front of, first slip them 1,3,7-trimethylxanthin, a perfectly legal drug.

Sounds crazy, right? Well, it’s not. It’s true. And… I’m going to save explaining this one in detail or last (just to keep you reading). Stay with me till the end and I’ll explain.

gas2

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2.   How a simple question can significantly increase support for you and your ideas.

a-surveyLet’s say you’re thinking about doing a charity run for our favorite nonprofit organization, but you don’t want to sign up unless you are fairly certain you’ll get a lot of donations. Asking family, friends, coworkers whether they think they’ll donate will not only give you an idea of their initial support for your undertaking, but will also increase the likelihood they will donate should you decide to join the run.

To rephrase it another way, let’s say you are a small business owner and you want to know how likely any particular people would be willing to purchase from your store. You might ask them through whatever medium, i.e., phone, email, in person FIRST how likely they would be to purchase something from our shop. If they say that, yes, they would be inclined to do so; it increases the likelihood that they will purchase something from you in the future.

For more information on this particular research click HERE.

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3.   Discovering THE ONE WORD that you can start using today to increase your persuasiveness by more than fifty percent.

machineBehavioral scientist Ellen Langer and her colleagues decided to put the persuasive power of this word to the test. In one study, Langer arranged for a stranger to approach someone waiting in line to use a photocopier and simply ask, “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?” Faced with this direct request to cut ahead in the line, 60 percent of the people were willing to agree to allow the stranger to go ahead of them. However when the stranger made the request with a reason (“May I use the Xerox machine, _____________ I’m in a rush?”), almost everyone (94%) complied. This kind of boost may not seem very surprising. After all, providing a solid reason for the request justifies the asking to jump ahead. Where the study gets more interesting is when the experiment goes on with the stranger using this word along with an excuse that is completely meaningless. Guess what? It generated nearly the same elevated levels of compliance!

What’s the word? Because.

The word gets its persuasive power from the continually reinforced association over the course of our lives between because and the good rationales that typically follow.

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4.   Life is like a box of… crayons?

crayonsResearchers Elizabeth Miller and Barbara Kahn noticed an aspect of crayons and countless other products, and sought to better understand how kinds of differences in product names influence consumer preferences. Ambiguous names, such as ‘millennium orange’ (versus green, blue, red or plain ol’ orange) prompt consumers to try to discover, in the absence of any meaningful information, what the makers of the product were trying to convey with that name. This also leads consumers to think about the positive aspects the company is trying to highlight with the name.

Names that fall into the unexpected descriptive category or the ambiguous category create a sense of mystery and intrigue that leads potential customers to consider the positive aspects of your goods and services.

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5.   Avoid driving your cross-cultural influence into the ditch.

globeIt’s weird to think of myself as a woman of international influence, but as an online business owner who works worldwide there are situations in other countries that I’m just plain ignorant about. There’s two terms that I learned through this book and they’re “individualistic” and “collectivistic”. In an experiment by Petia Petrova, students who were native to the United States were the former and students who were Asian international were the latter.

What this means is that when asking an American for a favor, you are likely to be more successful if you point out that it fits with what that person has done before. But when asking a favor of people from more collectivistic countries, the research suggests that you will be more successful if you point out that it fits with what that person’s peer group has done before.

When it comes to advertising, in the U.S., it is a better practice to appeal to a person’s “individuality” and what makes them stand out. Whereas, in collectivistic countries, advertising should appeal to the reader’s sense of responsibility to the group- i.e., “There’s a more exhilarating way to provide for your family.”).

Of course, this all depends on what type of business you run. For me, as a clothing proprietor, I’m not sure how clothing can benefit a whole family, however it has got me thinking about what I can enhance when I market my items and what I may need to change in my advertising strategies to better suit my international audiences. And, that my friends, is something I never thought about before!

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6.   The one small step that can help your influence take one giant leap.

footIn cases in which a business can’t secure even a small initial product purchase, this commitment- and-consistency-based strategy is called, “the foot-in-the-door”. For example, potential clients who are reluctant to use your service may be more include to do so if they’re first asked to take a small step, such as agreeing to an initial ten-minute appointment. Similarly, a marketing research department is more likely to get people to answer a large number of survey questions by first asking them if they’d be will to answer a brief survey.

As one astute sales expert advises, “The general idea is to pave the way for a full-line distribution by starting with a small order… Look at it this way- when a person has signed an order for your merchandise, even though the profit is so small it hardly compensates for the time and effort of making the call, he or she is no longer a prospect- he or she is a customer.”

This one gave me all sorts of ideas. The basis of this is reaching out to just land something small. Then you grow from that. I know that the mainstream thought process is to shoot big- not necessarily. You want to build relationships. Sometimes those take some time. But, the point, is to get out there, start with SOMETHING (no matter how small) and grow from there.

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7.   How offering a “free gift” with a client’s purchase can actually hurt your business.

sadWhen you offer up a gift and actually write out the numerical value of $0.00- it’s not really a message you want to send to prospective customers about the worth of your products. The gift is free; hence, it must not have any value. Of course, as a business owner the gift if not free to you, but it’s how it can be perceived by your audience. And, if it’s worth $0.00, you might be inadvertently driving business away.

So, no longer should your message read, “Receive a free security program.” Instead, it should become, “Receive a $250 security program at no cost to you.”

Personally, I can think of a better rephrasing, but I think you get the idea. Who knew that people actually view a free gift as something of no value?

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8.   Offering your customers too many options can make them frustrated.

angrySheen Iyengar and Mark Lepper examined whether the damaging effect of offering too much by setting up a display at an upscale supermarket in which passersby could sample a variety of jams that were all made by a single manufacturer. Throughout the course of the study, the researchers varied the number of flavors of the jams offered, so that either six or twenty-four flavors were featured at the display at any given time. The results demonstrated a clear and astonishing difference between the two conditions: Only 3 percent of those who approached the extensive-choice display actually purchased any jam. Contrast that with the 30 percent who bought jams when they approached the limited-choice display. When so many choices are made available, consumers often find the decision-making process frustrating, perhaps due to the burden of having to differentiate so many options from one another in a attempt to make the best decision.

A worthwhile exercise would be to review the extent of your product portfolio and ask yourself the following question: where we have customers who may not be clear about their requirements, might the number of choices we offer be causing them to seek other and potentially few alternatives elsewhere?

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9.   Give to others. Not just once, but twice. And never twice at the in the same moment.

giveThis tip is in reference to wait staff- which I’m not currently, but I used to be and boy, golly do I wish I had known this! I’m sure it can be used in principal with anything, but I’m flummoxed at the moment for how it can help me now. I thought it was interesting nonetheless. If you can think of how it relates to business, please feel free to share! I’d love to know because it would make me happy.

One study in a restaurant demonstrates that there are three major factors that help make a gift or favor more persuasive and as a result are more likely to be reciprocated. The first is significance. Giving diners two candies compared to one had the effect of increasing tips from 3.3% to over 14% because two seemed significant, however tips increased to 23% when diners were given candy in a particular way. How it worked was the waiter gave one piece of candy to each person at the table. They then turned away from the table, signaling that they were leaving. However, before exiting the area completely, they turned back toward the diners at the table, reached into a pocket, and placed a second piece of candy on the table for each diner. Through this gesture, it was almost as if they were saying, “…oh, for you nice people, here is an extra candy each.” From 3.3% to 23%!

What can you do to make your appreciation known that is more significant and more thoughtful?

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9.   All right. Here we are. Are you dying to know what that “perfectly legal drug” is? Have you guessed it?

gasIt’s caffeine. You were probably thinking you needed to go into stealth mode with some sort of noxious gas and secretly pump it into the conference room, weren’t you (guilty, here). The object being any presentations you make should be made to people who are most alert and never right after lunch. But even if you can’t choose the time of day to get before some people to market your new product or slam-dunk that deal, having coffee or caffeinated tea on hand should make your audience more receptive to your message (being aware though, that it takes around 40 minutes to take full effect). Of course, as research suggests, this strategy is likely to be effective only if your arguments are genuine, thoughtful, and well-reasoned. If they aren’t, caffeine is likely to have no effect or, worse still, there’s possibility that caffeinated audiences will be more resistant to your poorly reasoned arguments that a noncaffeinated audience.

So, there you have it. Those were my favorite. The great news is that there is SO MUCH MORE than what I’ve listed here- there’s FIFTY scientifically proven ways to be persuasive! Fifty! All backed by research and scientific studies done. You’ll be amazed at even how some types of marketing can actually backfire and influence people to do the opposite of what they’re trying to convey (for example, at the Petrified Forest National Park their posted signs actually increased theft of the petrified wood in the forest)!

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I can’t recommend this book,Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive enough. It has put more tools in my marketing arsenal than I ever dreamed possible. It has helped me reconstruct certain phrases that I thought were increasing traffic when in all reality, was probably driving it away. Truly, it’s been invaluable and I’ve been implementing these strategies from the get-go. There’s even a section is the very back that details actual case studies and feedback from people who have done these techniques in real life (mediation firms, anyone?). I was intrigued and motivated- I wished the book wouldn’t end. It’s an easy read and funny, to boot!

–Joy