50 things you could do today to promote your website…

… or 50 Shades of Yay!

If you can manage to put down Mr Grey, and drag your mind back to your business ;) let’s take control of your website.

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twitter logo map 09 (Photo credit: The Next Web)

For any small business owner it’s easy to feel shackled to your website, chained to Google, and to tie yourself in knots worrying about how to bring in the traffic.

My 50 Shades of Yay will give you release from all of that frustration, allowing you to fulfill your potential and giving life to your website.

50 Shades of Yay!

50 Shades of Yay is an ebook split into 5 different areas of promotion. This blog post aims to give you a sense of each section, but you’ll need to download the ebook to get the full 50 (don’t worry, it’s free).

Yay! 1 -SEO

1: Check your page titles

Your page titles are the words that appear at the top of the browser window. For example on the front page of my website, mine says ‘Social Media Marketing Support – NikkiPilkington.com – Internet Marketing Expert UK’. Titles are one of the most important aspects of SEO, as they tell Google where to put you. Change yours to describe what you do, not just to say ‘MyCompany.com’. Make each page’s title different. You should be able to do this in your Content Management System.

2: Work on your META descriptions

Although general theory says that the description tag isn’t used in determining where a website is placed in a search engine, it is still an important part of SEO. Your description is the thing that will make people click through to your site – if it’s dull, people won’t click. Again, every page should have a different description tag, and you should be able to do this through your CMS.

Want the other 8 Yays in this section? Download the free ebook now and please share with other people!

Yay! 2 – Blogging

1: Sort out your tags and categories

Tags are like keywords for your blog – you should add 4 or 5 to each blog post. Let’s say you wrote a blog post about children needing sunblock in the summer – your tags could be: children, kids, summer, sun care, skincare.

Categories are there to help you and your readers, so use them. They’re different to tags in that they can be more generic, and relate to areas of interest, topics, rather than specific posts. So, a telemarketing blog may use categories such as these: telemarketing, telesales, appointment setting, business development, lead generation. All related to telemarketing, but in different areas.

Tags and categories help search engines and readers – use them!

2: Write an editorial calendar

If you’re rubbish at blogging, the best thing you can do is put together an editorial calendar. This is a document that plans your blog posts for the next month, 3 months, however long you want. It not only makes you think about what you’re going to write, it gives you a sense of resposibility to then write it :) WordPress has a great plugin called Editorial Calendar  that allows you to look at each month at a glance and enter topic ideas for the future. Or just make your own in Word and stick it above your desk!

Want the other 8 Yays in this section? Download the ebook now and why not mention this blog post in your next blog?

Yay! 3 – Twitter

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

1: Ask for the business

We’re so bombarded with people telling us that we shouldn’t use Twitter to sell, and social media is about being social, that we’re scared to put a foot wrong.  I’m not saying those statements are wrong – anyone who has known me for any length of time knows I’m a great believer in the ‘Social’ in social media.  However, most of us are there to build our businesses – we’re not just in it for a laugh. So I’ll be interested to see how many of you take up my next challenge – which is to ask for the business.  Not from your followers, but from people they know.  In the true spirit of networking, ask your followers if there’s anyone they could refer you to:

–       Who do you know who needs xxxx, I’d love an introduction

–       If anyone says they’re struggling with xxxx pass them my way, I may be able to help

–       Do you know someone looking for xxxx, please introduce me to them

No hard sell, no desperate please, just straightforward networking. If you see others posting this kind of thing, think about who you’ve seen or know who has been saying they have that particular problem recently, and introduce them.  I get a lot of my suppliers from Twitter, but I also post Tweets looking for suppliers that get no response – one of those could be one that may bring you business.  So go on, ask for the business – I dare you ;)

2: Track your results

As in anything, it’s nice to see how well you’re doing on Twitter. There are many tools out there to measure Twitter impact, both free and paid. Twittercounter www.Twittercounter.com will track the amount of followers you have, predict how many you’ll have in X days and allow you to see how many Tweets you’re sending a day. Tweetstatswww.Tweetstats.com – this is an amazing free application that will graph your Tweet stats for you.  Tweetreachwww.Tweetreach.com – will tell you how many people your Tweets reached, counting reTweets – well worth playing with.  SocialMentionwww.socialmention.com – allows you to track mentions of your name in various social media and is very addictive! There are many paid Social Media tracking systems out there – of these, in my opinion, Sprout Social is the best – www.sproutsocial.com. Pricing starts at $39 per month.

Want the other 8 Yays in this section? Download the ebook now – then please pay it forward by Tweeting about this post.

Yay 4! – Facebook

1: Update your description

I see many Facebook Business Pages not using their description effectively. The ‘about’ description is the text that will appear when someone shares your page on their profile – use it to fully describe your page so people will know what it’s about. Change it regularly and track what works best.

2: Highlight a post

Once you have written a post on your Facebook page, if you hover next to your name and click the star, this ‘highlights’ the post. What this means is that the post is made double width and thus gets more attention from visitors to your page. I’ve used this to good effect to promote my 30 Day Challenge books, so it’s well worth doing for important posts.

Want the other 8 Yays in this section?  Download the ebook now – please consider posting this to your Facebook wall and share the love 🙂

Yay 5 – Extras

1: Pinterest – rename your boards

When you first start with Pinterest, it’s tempting to give your boards funky and funny names – but that’s going to do you no good in search. Look at your boards and give them names that mean something and are likely to show up in a search. As an example, my board called So True is never going to turn up in a search (which doesn’t matter because it’s only quotations and funnies) but my board named Business Blogging Beginner To Pro, and the one called Facebook for Business, does show up. Don’t just give your boards generic names such as ‘blogging’ and ‘telemarketing’ – think this through as an SEO exercise and use your keyphrases where you can.

2: Forums – change your signature

Often when you sign up to a forum such as UK Business Labs, you’re entitled to use a signature file with links. You set it up, include a bit of HTML to create a signature, and Bob’s yer uncle, your signature is set in stone, to be appended to any post you make. If you’re like most people your signature will stay as it is for months, maybe even years, with no change. But if you regularly change your forum signature you not only create interest within the forum itself, you’ll be developing varied links into your site (which Google loves).

Want the other 8 Yays in this section? Download the ebook now and consider sharing this post on Pinterest, in forums, LinkedIn etc.

Bonus Yay!

1: This post – share it on your networks ;)

Yes, that benefits me, of course. However it also benefits you. Why? Well, for one, your networks will appreciate the share and probably remember you for it, making them more likely to recommend your content in future. Secondly, if you tell me that you’ve shared it, *I’M* more likely to promote your content and share your Tweets etc in future.

So, go ahead, Tweet, Facebook, LinkedIn, Stumble, Digg, Pin, Blog and more – and if you’d like to offer ebook as a free download on your own website please drop me a line on nikkipilk@gmail.com

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Want to create more hype about your product or service?

Toy sampling megaphoneIt’s 2010 and a great way to create hype and recognition of your product or service this year is to involve the blogosphere.

We’ve worked with quite a few clients in 2009 who gave away free samples of their products or services in return for reviews, generating backlinks, great articles, traffic and in turn buyers for very little outlay.

Good blog reviews on sites with lots of traffic in your niche market can create great buzz, great traffic and obviously sales.

So why not try it this year?

If you have a product or service that you could give away, even to as few as 10 good bloggers, in return for reviews, you could generate more interest in your company, and hopefully more money!

It’s as simple as approaching bloggers in your market, and asking them if they’d accept your freebie in return for a review.

Some points:

  • DON’T demand a positive review – be confident in your product or service
  • DON’T only choose blogs with lots of comments – ask about the number of readers or subscribers too
  • DO ensure you give your bloggers some guidelines, telling them where you want them to link to and the tone of review you’re looking for, as well as the number of words you’ll need
  • DON’T demand to see the blog before it’s written – although feel free to ask for changes in grammar and spelling afterwards.
  • DO remember to thank your bloggers and comment on their blogs afterwards

It does take up a little time, it isn’t always easy to get people to agree to do this, and some would say it’s a little controversial, but it works, and it works well.

We’ve seen book authors sell more books, skin care specialists make more sales from their online shops, speakers gain more bookings, and a baby product retailer increase sales by 75% from 15 reviews!

Give it a go, let me know how you get on, and of course if you don’t want to do this yourself, drop me a line to nikkipilk@gmail.com to find out more about  how we can help you for as little as £15 per review!
Creative Commons License photo credit: altemark

I'm looking for 'ladies that blog' please! (UK only, sorry!)

giveI have a client wanting to give away some skincare and other freebies to UK ladies who will agree to blog truthfully about them afterwards. You don’t have to say they were great, don’t have to pretend they changed your life, just agree to blog your experience and post a link to his online shop.

If this is something you’re interested in, please drop me a line to nikkipilk@gmail.com letting me know:

  • the address of your blog
  • your approximate traffic (low traffic blogs won’t be turned down, it just helps with tracking / stats)
  • your postal address (this will not be stored, and only used to send you the samples)

I help quite a few clients to get their products blogged about, so if you have a product you’d like to see talked about in the blogosphere, please feel free to drop me a line to find out more!

EDITED TO ADD: Please drop me a line to do this, rather than contact me on Twitter, Facebook etc – although I will be checking those places, the info I need for this is as above, so best sent privately by email!

Creative Commons License photo credit: ginnerobot

OK, so WHY should I give stuff away for free?

Woman's Hands with RoseA message that I’m constantly trying to get across to my clients is the power and value gained by “giving stuff away”. With a business that uses the Internet, it’s important to establish yourself online and giving stuff away is one of the quickest and most effective ways to do this. You don’t have to give up your valuable patents to share your knowledge with potential clients and lay the groundwork for turning freebies into paying customers.

Demonstrating Expertise
How does someone know that you can do what YOU say you can do? Demonstrate it. Make a Video Clip or write an article demonstrating just how much knowledge and expertise you have in your field. It can’t fail to impress and when you impress, you make an impression – leave a good impression and they’ll remember you, which means they’ll come to you when they need your help.

Establishing Credibility
Getting someone to buy something from you online is tough. How do they know who you are and how can they trust you? People buy from people, and the Internet causes a bit of a problem with that sales philosophy. So, extend your personality into cyberspace by giving away your knowledge and advice. Establishing credibility online is about convincing people that you can be trusted. The more they can find you efficiently demonstrating expertise, the more credibility you’ll establish and that means people will buy from you.

It Ain’t As Easy As It Looks
So you write an article about how to turn your blue widgets into red widgets, or you demonstrate your own skill with a YouTube clip. People are impressed by your skill and knowledge. But once they have a go at it, they quickly realise that it takes skill and knowledge to do it like you do it. So they give you a call…

Everything you give away will include your branding. Imagine it’s basically an advertisement for your brand, product or services. But instead of just distracting them – the intention of most ads, the freebie is actually useful to them – helping them see you as helpful and making you the first point of call when they need your expertise, product or service.

Linkable You
If you put something out there that’s genuinely useful, people will link to it. Links can help with search engine rankings as well as provide all valuable traffic.

Referable You
When people like something, they’ll refer other people to you – which means you get free marketing.

It’s been my personal experience that every time I give stuff away for free, I end up getting dozens and dozens (if not more) of leads from it.

But won’t people steal your ideas and run away with your fortune? No. Ideas are ten-a-penny. It’s the delivery that counts.

But won’t people just be able to do stuff themselves without your help? Well, if it was that easy in the first place, they wouldn’t need you anyway.

Zig Ziglar once said ‘You can have anything you want in life, if you’ll help enough people to get what they want’. Give it away and it’ll come back to you.

Tell me in the comments below what YOU give away for free and how it’s helped you to bring in leads and sales.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Stephen K. Will

Of course I charge for what I do – I run a business!

Mad about the BanPeople’s reactions to my job / business frequently amuse me, but none more so than the responses to various promotional links I place in the places I network online.

As some of you know, yesterday I wrote a list of “10 Things You can Post on Your Facebook Fan Page” – and at the end of it is a promo for a special offer we’re running on setting up Facebook Business / Fan pages.

Last night I posted a status update on Facebook mentioning this, and received the following response from someone:

“Wow, you CHARGE for something as simple as that? Its easy to do for FREE”

Anyone who has read my articles, posts and comments over the past 10+ years will know that I have ALWAYS said that you don’t have to hire someone like me to do your SEO, set up your Facebook fan pages, write your articles, do your blogging etc etc etc – you can do it yourself, and in fact I provide a whole host of articles aimed at helping you to do these things yourself, the aforementioned 10 Things You can Post on Your Facebook Fan Page included.

Recent articles and freebies I’ve published on the site include:

The list goes on, but one thing all of these have in common is that I tell you you CAN do this yourself – if you want to and if you have the time.

OK, so a lot of the articles I write and the freebies I give DO have a link or promo for one of my services, but this is always the afterthought – the main aim of the article is to tell you that this stuff isn’t that difficult to learn – *I* learned how to do it, so you can too!

However, like anyone, I have to make a living. I give out free advice, help people out for free and even take on work on a pay by results basis on occasion, but at the end of the day I have a family to feed and a shopping habit to fund, so I charge for my expertise and time.

So to have someone (and it happens a lot) come clod hopping over my posts with ‘And you charge for that? But it’s easy to do for free!’ really really gets my goat.

Yes, I charge for my services. I charge for my time. And I charge for my knowledge. It’s up to my readers and contacts to decide whether or not they want to take the free advice I give and do the work themselves, or pay me and my colleagues to do it for them.

As for the person complaining about me charging for something “so simple”? Well, he’s a business coach. I’m thinking of posting “Wow, you tell people how to run their business? And you CHARGE for that? How far into the course does the ‘post unprofessional comments on other people’s posts’ module kick in?”


Creative Commons License photo credit: Jan Tik

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