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Today as I was planning my day a thought crossed my mind.

Most people think of Google, Yahoo and Bing as the big dogs, and the place to be seen on the web.  Optimize for those search engines, and you’ll have all the traffic you can handle.  Well that’s only 1/3 right.  Google is the big dog of the search engine world, but you have to factor in Facebook and YouTube into optimization plans, they’re the other most used/searched sites.  This explains why social marketing, and video marketing are so important to maximize your SEO efforts.

Your website needs to be visible to your target market.  Plan to be where the visitors are surfing.  Facebook and YouTube aren’t just for the 20 somethings.  Seems like everyone is joining the social global conversation.  With the smart phone revolution it’s only a matter of time before mobile phone marketing becomes another segment of your marketing mix.

You can’t just set it and forget your social marketing.  Facebook purges information quickly.  YouTube has an equally short shelf life.  People don’t have 15 minutes of fame anymore – now they have a minute and a half video clip. (Anyone remember the Golden Voice guy…Ted Williams?)

Has our attention span gotten shorter?  I’m sorry – what did you say – I forgot what we were talking about.

So thoughts of FREE advice went though my head.

Yesterday I posted a tweet about the one-eyed website designer.  This thought stemmed from a recent email exchange.  A family member asked me to evaluate his  website.  Hey we’re an Italian family so you don’t blow off a family request…so I took a look as the site.

The site was average, lacking HTML keywords, and stuffed with slick graphic elements.  Funny thing about the website – big promise -  he was an SEO expert.  He claimed he would put together websites for his clients that “reached the first page of Google.”  Why would he want a second opinion from a fellow marketer like me?

Because he wasn’t a website designer, nor an SEO expert.  He was a business person who purchase a franchise in a box, and really didn’t know what he was doing.

I’m all for new business opportunities, but you should probably know something about the industry you’re planning to join.  Especially if you’re going to call yourself an “expert.”  That’s a title bestowed upon you, not something you put on yourself.  Heck you’re not Napoleon, you can’t crown yourself emperor.  When you get a gut reaction your adviser is full of BS…run for the hills.

As my grandfather said – free advice is worth the money you’ve paid for it.

Have a good week and market well-
Christine

P.S. – Keep those comments coming, and as I said before if you have a project you want me to evaluate please contact me. I’m evaluating a few new social marketing products and services to launch soon.

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Quote of the day from Thoreau

February 13th, 2011 | Posted by Christine in Motivational Thoughts - (0 Comments)

You cannot dream yourself into a character: you must hammer and forge yourself into one.
Henry D. Thoreau

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Inspirational Thought – February 2nd

February 2nd, 2011 | Posted by Christine in Motivational Thoughts - (0 Comments)

A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.
Francis Bacon

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Strange statement, huh?  Shouldn’t I tell you to be the #1.  Look at any of your favorite companies.  They are always telling everyone how amazing they are.  Entrepreneurs rarely lack confidence, and telling them to be less than #1 must sting.  They expect to be the top dog in everything they do.  Well I’m here to offer a different perspective.  A perspective which takes some of the color out of your rose colored glasses.  Success happens when entrepreneurs strive to be #5.

Here’s a fact in business – unless you’ve created something totally original, you’re starting off #2…or worse.  The more established and mature the market is – the lower down the list you start.  So in the grand scheme of things, by default, new companies are the last dog in the dogsled team.  I don’t have to tell you the view is terrible!  What is a confirmed alpha dog supposed to do?

First – relax & accept you’re not going to be #1 the first day you open the doors.  I would endeavor to say – you may never be #1.  Still being #5 is good enough when you can watch your business grow, and dominate your marketplace.

Second – Don’t take on the world.  The worst mistake is to be everything to everyone.  Be that master of one or two things – when you have a devoted customer base add something new.  Keep your eye on the prize (your customer), and cherish  them at all costs.

Third – Be better than your closest competitor.  The leader in your marketplace, or industry, isn’t your rival.  Your business does not have enough anything to take them on head-to-head.  They can sit back, and outlast any offensive move you make.  Your sole focus should be on the competition which offers similar products and services.  By default they might have the same geographic area, the same number of customers, or a similar product.  This is the person you’re going head-to-head with.  Once you’ve smoked them, time to plan on taking on the next business that’s in your way.

Last – Listen to your prospects, and get feedback from your customers.  Find out what services they expect, how you are better than the competition, and what you need to improve.  Don’t be so headstrong not to listen to constructive criticism.

Now let’s examine how a business creates a plan to become the best #5 in your marketplace?  First job is get to know everything about your competitors, and create a competitive intelligence information plan.

  1. Create a chart of the closest 5 competitors in your marketplace, and develop a SWOT analysis for each direct competitor.
  2. Be diligent about capturing your customer’s personal information:  name, address, phone and email.  This is your diamond mine.
  3. Competitive intelligence: subscribe to the local business news, PR, watch websites, subscribe to their newsletter, etc.
  4. Enlist the help of an “impartial observer”

I hope my strategic brain dump is helpful.  Still if you’re confused, or want an impartial marketing plan, consider working with a company (such as mine).  Our job is to act as an impartial observer who can help you develop your #5 plan.

Here’s to being the best # 5 you can be.

Christine

As always – Tell your friends about my business site – sign up for the RSS feed – join and like my page on Facebook – contact me about reprinting this article – follow my tweets on Twitter @ladyinredonline.  I also encourage you to add your comments (good, bad or indifferent – tell me what you’re thinking)

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Inspirational thought – January 27th

January 27th, 2011 | Posted by Christine in Motivational Thoughts - (0 Comments)

Japanese Proverb – Vision without action is a daydream – Action without vision is a nightmare.  I want to add – Business without a plan is a recipe for failure.

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Bailey’s Blog – Are you a SP?

January 21st, 2011 | Posted by Christine in SMB Marketing Blog - (0 Comments)

Want to know what makes successful internet entrepreneurs…well, successful?  Without paraphrasing or stealing other writers thunder I’ve come to realize a few things.

Successful people (SP’s) know what they want to accomplish.  Not a new concept, Dr. Stephen Covey talked about this idea in “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”  Yet most people don’t know how to accomplish a mission.  For example, they might say “I want to earn a million dollars!”   Really how is that going to happen…wishing, magic, lottery, or the money tree in your back yard?

SP’s know today we are interconnected.  SP’s know they must protect their time, but also participate as a “value add” person within the society at large.  SP’s don’t waste time and energy on the latest business fad.  Smart entrepreneurs are not people who follow the crowd.  They are also experts at delegating tasks.

Last, SP’s are really good at saying NO to activities that won’t add value to their life.

Which got me thinking about my life.  I realized I wasn’t acting like a SP.

My past motto – “live by the seat of my pants type of gal” (thank you Pretty Woman).   I love that creative crazy energy, but frankly it was so exhausting.  I was drawn to “start-up” companies.

Then I picked customers who rarely had a goal, game plan, and cash flow was always in flux.  Plus, the owners were usually terrible at delegating and sharing information.  It was a recipe for disaster, and I suffered some miserable failures.

So my new year’s resolutions was FOCUS.   Each and every day I know what I want to accomplish.  My other goal is protect my time and energy.

Last I realized that hoping is not a mission statement, and doing to the same as everyone else is not a strategy.

Successful people developed an approach which serves as a road map for everyone to follow.  They have a major network of people, and they stay in touch with them.  Successful people prepare thoroughly, and focus attention on profitable business activities.

Last thought for today…What do you want to accomplish and is your plan in place?

As always please add a comment, friend my fan page on Facebook (the box is on my page), follow me on twitter, but lets become SP’s together.

Christine & Bailey

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Is Facebook going under? I think not!

January 15th, 2011 | Posted by Christine in SMB Marketing Blog - (0 Comments)

The web has been the place to be seen lately. Take the case of Ted Williams a/k/a “the man with the golden voice”, or the story about the 13th sign of the zodiac. This week the web was all a twitter about the demise of Facebook. Even my mother, a dedicated technophobe, asked about it. Mark Twain once said – “the rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated.” Hmmm, was Mark the original social marketer?

All these stories this week are examples of social marketing in hyper drive. I find it funny how something can catch fire, and go viral on the web, even if the information is unsubstantiated. How can a business owner take two of this week’s social marketing skills to use them in a marketing plan?

#1 – Use social media to share your message. Ted Williams is example of using video marketing. The amateur video was taken from a smart phone and posted on YouTube. The man who had the idea was a reporter, so he knows something about the power of the visual media. Most business owners don’t realize how easy it is to use video, audio and content marketing. The SM lesson – put together a relevant video that shows you & your business, link it back to your site. YouTube is a great place to share your video message.

#2 – Encourage followers to become your sales & marketing team – The rumors of the Facebook demise was a hoax, yet it went into the stratosphere quickly via reposts, tweets and email. People wanted to be the first to share the news. A smaller example of viral internet marketing is posting something a customer might want to share about your business. The SM take away – Use the web to post coupons on social media sites, share special promotions to your email list, or tweets with “insider” deals (like airlines).

This week’s most important point about social marketing…stay in front of your customer as often as you can. A business of any size will benefit from adding a social marketing to their existing website. I promise I’m still going to write a post about using a Social Marketing Virtual Assistant – just thought these two examples were more timely and relevant today.

As always sharing is caring, so share my post with friends.

Christine
Your Social Marketing Queen

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Meet Beagle Bailey & Putnam

January 10th, 2011 | Posted by Christine in SMB Marketing Blog - (0 Comments)

Howdee everyone my name is Bailey

My Dog Bailey

Well my full name is Chestnutland Pearl Bailey, and I have a kitty friend named Putnam.  We watch Mom work on the computer all day.

I look so cute and innocent, but I’m keeping my ears open.

Love Beagle Bailey ☺

P.S. – Here’s a picture of my friend Putnam

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This weekend between watching football games, and shoveling snow, I updated my website(s).  Something occurred to me “hey updating websites feels like being on a diet.”  Diets feel tedious, and even monotonous, but it is also necessary for a healthy body.  My past NYR went the same way every year.  I start off strong, and have great results, but something happens.  After seeing some results I take my eye off the target. Then I step on the scale and nothing, or worse, weight gain.  YUCK!

The reason I saw this NYR analogy.  About a year ago I launched my first website.  I was a house on fire and I promoted the crap out of it.  I drove traffic to the website – my traffic rank was awesome.  Then I started to work on some other projects.  I wasn’t promoting and watching the website like I did in the beginning.  You can guess what happened – my traffic went away, and my hard work was gone.

Often people pay a website designer to put together a website, or do it themselves.  It’s expensive and time consuming, and they figure “glad that’s finally done…I’ll just check that off my to-do list.”  So it occurred to me…What happened to me with my past NYR could explain why a business owner doesn’t have a strong SEO or social marketing plan.   No time, no money, and a million other excuses.  Unfortunately a website will die of boredom and lack of visitors.

So let’s fix the problem with four “C” plan.

Content – face it, people like to be in the know.  You can add different types of content – video, audio, written, and social.  There are so many ways to keep your website interesting. You can add a little or a lot but you must remain…

Consistent – New content on a daily basis is ideal.  Weekly is a minimum requirement.  When a business owner doesn’t have time to add the content, hiring a social marketing assistant is a good alternative.

Comment – Give your audience a voice.  People love to voice an opinion, and the internet is a perfect place.  Frankly the internet is the best market research think tank available.  Use it to your advantage.

Competitive Intelligence -  This is an idea.  You can watch your competition in real time.  Using social marketing to watch your competition allows you time to mix and match your marketing strategy.

So I’ve changed my resolution this year.  I’ve decided to be consistent in achieving my small daily goals.  What is your internet marketing resolution?

I say raise a glass to 2011 social marketing.  Consider social marketing your “New Year’s Resolution.”  Visit me online at (http://www.ladyinredmarketing.com) and subscribe to my email list.  Join my Facebook fan page (Lady In Red Marketing), and get social today.  Keep this moving forward – retweet – give me feedback – but get off the sidelines and get social!

Paint the Town Red with Lady In Red Marketing!

Christine

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Bailey’s Blog – MILK

January 5th, 2011 | Posted by Christine in SMB Marketing Blog - (0 Comments)

I’m changing the formula for writing on the web -  forget AIDA I want you to think of MILK.

When you are creating your social marketing plan you need to stop, look and listen to your prospects/customers.  Think about who will be reading your blog.  What information and message do you want your writing to impress on the web public.

Here’s a big change for social marketing writers – if you have a background in direct marketing, scrap it.   Most copy writers know that AIDA formula – I propose for social marketing you need to think of the MILK formula.

M- stands for medium – Are you sharing your message through blog posts, video message, podcasts, opt-in newsletters, Facebook events?  Where does your customer live, work or look on line.

I – stands for iPhone – Think of the future.  So many people are accessing information via mobile technology make sure that you’re visible to the mobile public as well as your traditional blog readers.

L – stands for Length – Keep your message short and to the point.  Don’t write War and Peace emails/blogs.

K – stands for Keep it going – Encourage your readers to share your information. Make sure you have ways for people to share your message through every type of social media.

Next blog I’ll cover why a social media assistant is a key component to your marketing team.

Social marketing is a dog-eat-dog world…

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