I am on a scavenger hunt but not just any old scavenger hunt. This scavenger hunt has been created by Danny Iny and his team at Firepole Marketing and is a 5 week contest with over 100 challenges to break entrepreneurs out of their shells and delve deep into the online marketing world. You can check out the particulars on their site at: http://www.firepolemarketing.com/2013/02/22/scavenger-hunt-begin
Some of the challenges include:
These are just the headings, there are a multitude of challenges within these topics and I do mean challenges. I have only just begun but the most rewarding part so far is meeting and seeing the progress of others and the benefits I have already experienced from the journey both personally and professionally.
There are many facets to building an online marketing strategy and each of us may have a small piece of the knowledge pie. I am so happy to be learning how all the pieces fit together to make me a more well rounded online business professional.
Thank you Firepole team!
P.S. this was one of my challenges - hee hee
I certainly hope everyone had a fabulous Valentine's day. I was busy but the flowers still came. Lucky me. Ok. chocolate too. Should be avoiding those but oh sooooooo good.
It is nice to be appreciated and loved. In return I made everyone Filet Mignon and Lobster tails with an appetizer of jumbo shrimp cocktail. Yummmmmy!
Surrounded by the people I love and loving the surroundings.
I know this is strange but all this leads me to some conversations I have had with some new clients of mine this week. I keep getting a recurring theme. I need a website made because the person I hired has not completed it and I have to run after them or they are simply gone. Without information to access what you have paid for your website is gone, or worse in shambles. Not the impression you were trying to make to potential and existing clients. So you have to spend the money again and start from scratch. Wow, bummer. Money, time and reputation all at risk because you did not have control of this very important piece of real estate. Your online business. No love there!
I really want to make this clear, it is important to have access to what is essentially your online storefront. It may not be with malice that a person has to go away or is somehow unable to fulfill the ongoing maintenance of your site but either way without the passwords and access, you're website is lost to you.
So 3 things to remember when your looking to get a website done:
1. Get your own domain name registered and provide the passwords to the person or company who will be working on it. You can always change those passwords after the job is done. GoDaddy, is a very well known provider and easy to use.
2. Get your own hosting account. Hostgator or bluehost, are my recommended hosting services. Again, you can provide your webmaster the passwords and change them when their services are no longer required. You always have control. You paid for it and you should have control of your business.
3. Wordpress is a free and easy website creator that you can easily add your own pictures, events and comments without having to rely on others. No coding needed.
There are some terrific free website providers out there if you are not in a financial position to spend any money (as you see, I am using Weebly, but really none of these things are expensive.) There are many more, but once you start making money, I highly recommend to upgrade weebly or move to Wordpress.org. No need for knowing code and you get total control of your site. I just want to say why control of your site is important. Your domain name is like your Street address and your hosting is what makes people see you online. Your website is your actual store or business online. No one else should have control of these things.
Just a little love from
Everybody has to start somewhere. I am sure we all agree that as business owners we have studied or done our homework on the craft we are offering our target market. The question is, how do we show our prospective and current clients that we are the best solution to their problem?
There are actually a number of ways to make that happen.
I want to first share a little story about a member of our Cornall Business Network Group who spoke about his business at one of our meetings. The presentation was to be about 10 min. but it actually lasted 1/2 hour and the engagement was truly amazing given the topic. His business is water, more specifically the filtration of water, both on the outskirsts of town where people are on a well systems or in the city for those who aren't happy with the city's handling of the water supply. I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of his knowledge and the engagement he got from his presentation. Who knew we all felt that passionately about water.
All to say, know your business and then share the knowledge.
1. Find out where your target market hangs out (on and off line) and answer questions. (facebook, community boards etc.)
2. Hang out on line where your fellow peeps are and answer questions, give advice, offer service. (linkedin)
3. Write an ebook
4. Make a video
5. Help local non profit organizations.
These are just a few things that you can do to make yourself known as an authority.
I must say that I left out blogging. It is the single most important way to create credibility. Give people the knowledge they need to succeed and you will succeed as well.
Think of the information you would like to know.
Let me know if this helps and if you have any questions just ask. You can't know unless you ask.
Many, many years ago I served a group called toastmasters when I worked as a waitress at the National Press Club in Ottawa, the nation's capital in Canada. I had no idea what the group was all about. Actually, I thought it strange that people would gather to toast, whatever that was. Since they met on a regular basis, I soon learned the purpose of the group and the seed was planted in my brain that one day I would like to join. I really did not believe I had much need for this type of coaching in my current position so I did not think of it again till last year when a colleague mentioned he was a member.
If ever I needed a reason to join it was now. I had started a business and like a dear caught in headlights had a fear of doing presentations, approaching potential clients, basically all things I needed to be doing to market my business. I thought about it for a few months and finally decided to take the plunge and join the group. I have absolutely no regrets.
They wasted no time in getting me up there front and center but in such a non threatening environment that half the battle was already won. I have since done 2 of my required 10 speeches and I survived, lol. I am not quite ready to run for office but every meeting requires active participation which builds on my confidence.
If you have never heard of Toastmasters International, they are the world leaders in communication and leadership development. They have been around since 1924 and their learning model is a workshop without a specific instructor but rather member guided with specific goals to be reached as you progress through a very specific set of guidelines. To learn more about the organization you can visit: http://www.toastmasters.org/MainMenuCategories/TheWhatWhyandHowofToastmasters.aspx
I have also found benefits that I had not expected, specifically content creation. As a virtual assistant and social media manager, it is important to write professional, value based content that engages people through a blog, newsletter or social media network. Having to create speeches to achieve toastmaster goals has already begun to help me gain confidence in writing content. There is a long way to go but practice makes perfect and with toastmasters helping to guide me, I have no doubt it will come sooner than later.
So if you want to improve your confidence, become a leader and be the best that you can be personally and professionally do yourself a favor in 2013 aned join a local chapter of toastmaster.
Leave a comment and share any toastmaster experiences you have had or if this is your first time hearing about it.
We make our own opportunities and I want to see you succeed in 2013.
Shari Larkin is an Online business strategist and social media manager helping entrepreneurs and small business owners utilize the internet as a tool to grow and administrate their businesses online. You can learn more at www.sharilarkin.weebly.com
Did you know that according to google, its local search index contains more than 50 million business pages worldwide, yet only 4 million have been claimed. Wow, if the world's largest search engine gives you a page for free you should really be taking advantage of it.
If you are a brick and mortar business with a listed address and phone number, most likely, a page awaits there for you. So have you claimed your page yet?
If your wondering why this is important for your business, you really need to get acquainted with how people are searching for businesses in this day and age. Yellow pages are all but obsolete unless it's the online version and "google me" is the norm. The mobile revolution solidifies this trend further especially for local businesses. 1/3 of all local searches are on mobile devices and there is strong evidence that the use of mobile devices will surpass the pc by 2014. Need I say more.
Your not too late though as the point above states, only 4 million pages have been claimed as of yet, so if you get on it today it will be too late for your competition.
Now I could show you how to do it and re invent the wheel but I think these folks show you how to make that happen in a very comprehensive and easy to follow way. So head on over to: http://www.jm-seo.org/serious-humor/google+local-seo.html
The symbol to the left is called a QR Code, but to me it is a powerful mobile marketing tool for any business but especially for local business. If you scan this code you will be directed to my facebook page (that you are free to like, lol). You can direct this code to your website, a coupon, a special offer, your contact information, a squeeze page and the list goes on.
The benefits of this is that people on the go can get your information whether you are open or closed, they can get your information without having to spend tons of time punching the information in, they can get an instant coupon which will entice them into your store right there and then. There are many, many fun and interesting ways to use this tool to market your business and I had posted a great article from the 60 Second Marketer on my facebook page a little while back. You can read it at: https://www.facebook.com/BZB.PA/posts/499701260050844
Here's how you can get started using this fantastic tool today
1. Create your qr code - You will need a code generator to do this. There are quite a few of them but I will keep this simple and send you to: http://qrcode.kaywa.com/ where I created the code above. It is very self explanatory to create. The difficult part is figuring out what you want people to do, ie contact you, get a coupon, like your facebook page etc. Do some thinking about this before you create your code.
2. Get a qr code reader - This is important so you can test out your code. You can get one right from the Kaywa page above. Again, super simple.
3. Let 'er rip - Put this code everywhere. Store signage, business cards, email signatures, website, facebook, twitter just to name a few.
So there you have it. You are now equiped to use mobile marketing to promote your business and all it took was some of your time. I would love to hear if you found this useful and especially how you used this great little tool.
If you're wondering where your clients are, you don't have to look too far. Turn on your computer and head to facebook, twitter, pinterest, youtube or linkedin to name but a few spots.
If you have not started to get on the Social Media bandwagon then I am sorry to say your competition is getting your sales dollars. If they are not using social media (highly doubtful), then now is the time to blow your competition away.
There are probably a few reasons why you haven't started using this revolutionary marketing tool:
1. You don't see an immediate return on investment
2. You don't have the time to invest
3. You think it won't work for your business
One thing is for sure, social media takes time to build engagement with your clients and potential clients and all their friends. You may not have a lot of time but with a good strategy you can incorporate it into your day with the many online tools available. Everybody needs what somebody else is selling. Helping people find you and building their trust and loyalty will give you a return on your investment.
If it's just not your forte like say accounting or administration, then consider hiring a professional social media manager to get you started. They will be able to create a strategy, gauge the ROI, launch campaigns, keep up to date with changes and manage the day to day engagement necessary to build your relationships.
Don't get left behind. Check out our services and get social today!