Archives for January 2010

5 Things you should do to enhance your Facebook Fan Page NOW

npfbIt’s easy to start a Facebook Fan Page, post a few things, get a few fans and then run out of steam. I wonder how many Fan pages are languishing in Facebook hell with only one fan and a few blog updates, or even worse, all automated updates and no interaction?

Here are 5 things you can do right now to help your Fan Page along:

1) Hook it up to your twitter account – this means that when you add things to your FB page, they will be automatically tweeted out – you can do this at www.facebook.com/twitter

We’re not suggesting that you automate EVERYTHING to go out on Twitter – after all they’re two very different beasts. Choose carefully what you allow to go out on twitter direct from Facebook – your twitter followers will be pretty annoyed if every link you send them goes via your FB fan page, especially if they’re not Facebook members! Don’t automatically tick every box and post everything to your twitter profile, but maybe status updates and new photos is a good start.

2) Invite all your contacts to become fans. You can do this in 2 ways. Firstly by clicking on the ‘suggest to friends’ button on the page – top left. Secondly with the ‘Share’ button on the page, bottom left. The first allows you to choose friends to invite to become a fan. The second posts details of the page to your profile.

3) Become a fan of your own page by clicking on the ‘become a fan’ button! I’m always surprised by people who come to us for Facebook management and aren’t fans of their own page!

4) Once you have 25 fans, go to www.facebook.com/username and choose a ‘vanity url’ for your page. It makes it easier to remember and linking to it is easier

5) Put a ‘become a fan’ widget on your website. Details of how to do this, and other ways to promote the page are here http://www.facebook.com/facebook-widgets/

There are many more things you can do to enhance your Facebook Fan Page, and we’ll be posting about them in the future. Be sure to subscribe to this blog (Feedburner subscription, top right) to be sure you don’t miss out!

And if you need Facebook fan page ongoing management, check out our Facebook Management Service.

Are you offering an online service or not?

exclamation markTwo things have happened today to make me wonder whether some people really ‘get’ the whole online thing.

First, my UK passport needs renewing. So off I go to the relevant website to renew it. There’s a nice link to renew my passport online, so I click it. But on reading I realise that I can’t actually renew my passport online. What I can do, is fill in an online form, that will then trigger a proceudre. This procedure seems to be to POST me the form I’ve filled in, along with a list of things I then need to POST back. So, not a ‘renew your passport online’ service at all then? And to make it worse, to receive the renewal form to a UK address takes up to a week! I may as well just walk into a post office and pick up a form myself!

Secondly, I have to register with an agency here in France, because I’m not far from having my baby now. So, I duly go to their website to register, fill in my details and find out that the passcode they have given me doesn’t work. I check it a few times, get locked out for ten minutes for trying more than 3 times, and am invited to ‘request a new password’. So I do. I click on the ‘request a new password’ link, fill in all my details again, and click on the submit button….. and get a nice page thanking me for requesting a new passcode, which will be POSTED to my home address and should arrive in 7-10 days.

Is it me?

Both of these things are meant to save me time and make my life more efficient, but they’ve actually just extended the time I have to spend sorting them out. They’ve pretended to be online services, but really they’re not. In both cases things would have been quicker had I gone to the relevant offices and sorted things out, rather than trying to do it online.

These aren’t the only instances I’ve come across recently of online entities making it difficult to do business with them. There was the website that only offered a postal address, no phone number or customer support email. And the online advertising company who wanted me to fax an order form, refusing to accept a scanned copy. And probably a myriad of others if I think about it properly.

Remember, if you’re offering an online sevrice, make things easy for your customer, not harder – or you could end up in someone’s blog for all the wrong reasons!
Creative Commons License photo credit: Patrick Hoesly

Two new articles – Internet Marketing Myths & Brand Trashing Online

A big thanks to Mad.co.uk for featuring two of our recent articles on their website. And an even bigger thanks to Emily Cagle of Emily Cagle PR, who has been doing some great PR work for us, and is responsible for bringing us to Mad’s attention. If you’re looking for online PR, then drop her a line and see if she can help you too!

Below is a synopsis of each article, with a link so you can read the full thing if you want to!

It’s every business’s worst internet nightmare: you head over to Google, tap in your company name to see how your web presence is coming along, and there in prominent position is something far from positive about your brand. Deserved or not, this entry could be damaging your business with every passing second. Nikki Pilkington, founder of NikkiPilkington.com explains more.

It’s very common for a business’s first foray into internet marketing to be a low cost DIY job, but this approach carries risks explains Nikki Pilkington, owner/founder of NikkiPilkington.com.

Here are ten of the most common misconceptions about internet marketing, and what you need to know to ensure you don’t fall foul of a DIY disaster.

Be sure to track offline as well as online…

Old Bakelit phoneI’m always telling clients to track their marketing, and obviously it’s easy to do that online with the help of google Analytics or a real time webstats tool such as Clicky Analytics – knowing where your traffic is coming from, what it’s doing once it gets to your site and whether or not your efforts are working is a huge step in the right direction towards NOT wasting your efforts online.

But what about offline? Do you ask someone where they heard about you when they call? Are you tracking which efforts are producing calls and sales? If your website is focused on ‘getting the call’ and you’re not asking the people who call you where they found you, how do you know whether it’s an offline promotion or an online one?

Remember that not everyone will drop you an email / buy online straight away – some people will go away and think about it, maybe make a note of your number. others will just call because for them it’s easier.

Every time someone new contacts you on the telephone, or walks through your doors, you should be asking them how they found you, where they heard of you, what made them choose you – only then will you ahve a full and rounded picture of what you are doing, what works and what doesn’t.

Are YOU asking the right questions?


Creative Commons License photo credit: aussiegall

How do I get more targeted traffic to my blog?

A question I’m asked a lot, and one of the things that may help is something I covered in my blog over on Birds on the Blog today – Make your blog posts answer questions for more targeted traffic.

Feel free to nip over there and add your blog to the comments so I can help you out too!

Young Driver training & lessons – New client introduction

ydWe’re not ashamed to say that we didn’t even know this service existed until Ross of Young Driver training came to us for some Internet Marketing help, but we’re certainly glad we found out!

Young Driver help to teach underage kids how to drive a car, in a safe environment. So teenagers and kids as young as 11 and over 1.5m tall can climb into a car without a driving license, and legally learn to drive.

Now I don’t know about you, but it took me a LOOONNGG time to pass my driving test, and something like this would have been great to prepare me before being let out on the big scary road!

They offer gift vouchers that make ideal birthday gifts, and aim to open ten venues across the UK.

We think it’s a fab idea and hope you’ll join us in supporting and promoting Young Driver and their teenage driving courses in the UK:

Questions to ask yourself when writing an article

time to stop dreaming, tomorrow there is work. :)We’re doing quite a lot of Article Marketing for clients at the moment, which we love, but it’s clear that when clients come to us they’re not sure what they want to achieve.

So we’ve developed a set of questions to help us to write the best articles for our clients, and I thought these might help some of you out there writing your own articles.

What is the aim of the article?

It’s important to know what you want to achieve with your article. Is it aimed at promoting one of your services? A general overview of your industry? Setting you out as an expert? Encouraging newsletter signups? People want articles for all sorts of reasons. The important thing in article marketing is to realise that an article needs to be educational and informative, not purely self promotional, but know what end result you want rom it helps you to form the structure in the first place.

What essential information must be included in the article?

It’s probable that you have something you REALLY want to say. It may be about some legislation, it might be about some recent research, maybe even just some stats you’ve foud – remember to include it by writing it down, and expanding from there.

What information/perspective should be excluded from the article?

If there’s info out there that you DON’T want in the article, or a perspective you DON’T want to address, then it’s worth making a note of it. This relates more to articles you’re getting other people to write, but it’s a good question to think about.

What are the key ‘terms’ or phrases that you would like included in the article?

If you’re writing articles to help get good backlinks or help SEO, then it’s worth doing a little bit of keyphrase research before starting. Which phrases do you need to include – and which ones do you want to exclude?

What action would you now like the reader to take?

When the reader has finished reading your article, what do you want them to do now? What’s the ‘call to action’? Do you want them to click to a certain page on your site, download a demo, sign up for your newsletter, pick up the phone, send you an email, find out more infor about you – what? Deciding on this can help you to close your article with a strong call to action and ensure you’re more likely to get the result you want.

Are there any good resources that you would like the writer to use when creating this document?

If you want to refer to stats or surveys, other websites or resources, make a note of them so you (or we) remember to include links to them. Quoting stats but not linking to the original source leaves you open to people not believing you, as well as making your article less powerful overall.

What is the TITLE of the article?

Once all the above steps are taken, choosing the title should be pretty easy. In some cases you’ll have decided the title ahead of time, but either way, it’s a pretty important part of the process 😉

Hopefully the above questions that we ask our article marketing clients will help you to get started on your article – if you’re still stuck, there’s always our Article Writing special offer until the end of January!
Creative Commons License photo credit: MagdaMontemor

Deleting comments that say 'nice post' or 'I agree'

zippingmmouthFollowing on from a post I made over at the Birds on The Blog site, on whether or not to delete negative or argumentative comments from your blogs, I’ve had quite a few emails from people saying that it’s not the negative comments that bother them, it’s the ones that say nothing.

You know the ones:

“Nice blog”

“I agree”

“You’re right”

On the face of it they’re innocuous comments, don’t really upset the apple cart, and show that people are reading your blog (allegedly, although not always).

On the other hand, they add no value, they don’t create debate, and a lot of times they’re there purely so that the commenter can get their link on your blog.

So what do you do?

Well, in the past I’ve been pretty relaxed about them and let most of them thorugh. Unless they’re blatant linkback attempts, like the ones that have “SEO training expert” as the name rather than a real person’s name, or they’ve got optimised links in the comment box, then I’ve let them through. I’m still of a mind that if they look like real comments and that people have left them to let me know they were here, then the comments should go through – they don’t cause any hassles for me, and it’s no big deal.

But if they’re clearly from a bot, done just to get the link back to a site, or I get duplicate comments on multiple blogs saying the same thing from the same person then I’ll be deleting them. This may mean that some genuine comments get missed out on, which is a shame, but I hope people understand.

I want comments that tell me something – you don’t have to agree with me, in fact it’s kind of fun when you don’t! You don’t have to suck up to me, you’re welcome to talk about your own business and experience when replying to my comments (in a lot of cases I ask you to!). I love finding out whether you’ve put my advice to work, and whether it works for you. And if it doesn’t, I welcome those comments too as maybe I can find out why. I love it when you tell me what’s going on in your own businesses, and refer me to your own blogs. I love it when you tell me I’m wrong, and tell me why. It’s all part of the debate, and part of the world of blogging. And it’s fun!

“Yeah, me too” – that’s not fun, now is it?

I’d be interested to know whether you have a ‘comments policy’ on your blog, and how you implement it – feel free to tell me (with a link to your blog of course!) in the comments below!

List your green / ethical / holistic website at Solar Powered Directory

Thanks to Dan at eco friendly hosting company Light Being Creations for helping us to point our clients to the Solar Powered Directory.

The guiding principle for the Solar Powered Directory is to only list businesses, NGO’s, charities and organisations that show a dedication to making this world a better place through ethical & sustainable business practices, care for the environment and valuing people.

As well as accepting business listings, the directory accepts personal sites and articles, and offers you the chance to create your own META tags in order to help your listings.

It’s new, so we can’t judge just yet, but it’s free and only takes 2 minutes – why not submit your site now?

If you know of any other ‘green’ directories, please let us know in the comments below.

So who else do you write blogs for? Err, we can't tell you…

?It’s one of the questions I dread the most, and I always giggle nervously when it gets asked.

“So who else do you write blogs for?”

See, we ‘ghostwrite’ blogs for loads of different industries – just thinking off the top of my head of the blog posts I’ve written today, they’ve been for:

  • a women’s coaching website
  • a cosmetic surgeon
  • a company providing workwear
  • a video production company
  • a telemarketing company
  • a website selling children’s clothes
  • a car rental website
  • a business networking website

to name but a few.

We take the time to understand their business, we write about their products and services, comment on items in the news, keep their blog up to date and help them to generate visitors and leads.

We even have a special offer on blogging for January.

But I still struggle every time someone asks me to show them the blogs we write for others. Because a part of the blogging service is that as far as anyone knows, it’s YOUR blog, and it’s produced by you, in the same way that a ghostwritten book is often not actually written by the person named as the author.

Now to my mind, there’s nothing wrong with having your blog written by someone else, as long as they understand your business, your service, and the things your potential clients want to read. It saves you time, makes sure your blog is regularly updated and ensures that you get all the good bits of having a blog (readers, comments, good search engine positions etc) and hopefully none of the bad (down time, lack of focus, ages spent thinking up titles etc).

But I can completely understand why our blogging clients don’t want others to know that we’re writing their blog for them, and so I’ll continue to protect their anonymity.

Potential clients can of course read our own blog, but my tone when writing for myself is very informal and often quite blunt, which isn’t always the case for client blogs that I write!

So it’s a conundrum I’ll continue to puzzle over – which is a shame because I do really love doing the blogging side of my job, writing short posts that generate response and comments, pointing towards great services and products or just ‘chewing the fat’ over 300 words or so.

I’d welcome any ideas as to how to get over this hurdle, and also look forward to the ‘why you shouldn’t get someone else to write your blog’ comments I’ll no doubt generate with this post 🙂
Creative Commons License photo credit: Stéfan

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