Many clients come to me with the same dilemma. Either they have started their own online business, or are interested in starting a business and do not how to take it from a good idea to it’s highest potential. So, I have compiled a list complete with links to other posts I have written that go into more detail on specific topics. [Read more...]
I can’t remember where I heard this the first time but the message was something like this: If you are having a problem with someone or something, take 100% responsibility for it because if you do, you can change it.
This came to mind recently during a conversation with a friend who was troubled about not getting paid for work that he had done and was upset [Read more...]
I have a friend who started a service business and I created her website. When we were finishing up, she told me emphatically that she was not going to blog or be on any Social Media platforms. Of course I gave her my spiel about all of my reasons why this was a terrible idea in terms of her business being found on the Internet, but she was adamant that she was not going to do any of that.
Instead, my friend said that she felt like their business was going to come mostly from referral and marketing calls and that her goal for the website was to [Read more...]
One of the things I love about websites is that they can help you make money. Even blogs that did not start out as businesses can use their sites to make money. But if you have a business, it is even more important to use it as more than a pretty advertisement and actually put it to work. Here I offer you three ways to make money from your website and would like to hear from you about additional methods you employ to make money from your site.
Sell your Services
If you have a blog or a website then I am presuming you have some expertise in your topic.
One of the most common challenges I face as a web designer is the task of helping my clients create a site that targets the messaging to their ideal client’s needs while setting themselves apart from other businesses in their industry who provide the same services.
Most of the time, the companies I work with want to tell the visitors all about themselves and why they are great. I understand the urge. You probably do have the best products, in the best location, with the best service. The problem is that customers see this type of content as [Read more...]
This is for those of you that are struggling to find your way. Maybe you are stagnant in your job and looking for a new one. Maybe you have branched out on your own and are trying to get established. Maybe you started a company and are waiting for your customers to find you. Maybe you are totally clueless about what to do next. How do you show up and get on the radar?
I know of a woman in her late forties who has worked as a professional in the same firm for twenty years and watched her field dry up in the recession. Many of her co-workers lost their jobs but she hung on to hers despite her salary [Read more...]
I have written about how to use IFTTT (If Then Then That) to automate pesky time consuming tasks before, but it is time to roll it out again in case you missed the magnitude of this little program’s brilliance and the myriad of ways it can help you streamline some of the work you do. IFTTT is a robust service that lets you create simple actions in the form of “if this then that”.
You can set it up and identify a first action called the trigger and then you specify what reaction should occur as a result of the trigger. The triggers and reactions [Read more...]
After putting on WordCamp in March, we were very busy here at New Tricks. We had to play a little catch up after the conference, and then a lot of people decided the time was right to have their new websites designed by the end of April.
The New Tricks team can handle working on multiple projects simultaneously because projects typically come in at different times and, therefore, are in different stages as we work on them.
When I am working on sites, I like to block out a group of hours and work on one project at a time. Normally, with a couple of projects at the same design stage, my mind is like a highway with a couple of cars on it, and the traffic moves along well. But, once there are more than a few projects, [Read more...]
Before you can start planning an email campaign, you need to clearly define your audience. Once you get a good idea who you are writing to, it will be easier to decide what you want to send to them and how often they want to hear from you. This is similar to the process you should go through to determine the content for your blog.
What are some words that describe the people you are writing to? The more specific you can be in understanding your niche, the better you will be in targeting your content to their particular needs. [Read more...]
The goal for a lot of small business websites is to build relationships just like you would if people came to your shop or met you at a chamber of commerce meeting.
In real life, we build business relationships by going where our potential clients or customers are or inviting them to visit us, being personal and approachable, listening to what they say they need and showing them that we get them, and share some helpful information with them.
It may not happen all at once, but if we continue to keep in touch, we build a trusting relationship that leads to making a sale or signing up a new client.
We want to do the same thing online. Presenting an attractive website that puts our best foot forward, we show our visitors that we understand their issues and give them some information about the issues in a way that the feel like they can trust us enough to do business with us. [Read more...]
This week, find a buddy or two to check out your site. Sometimes we are so close to our own work we have difficulty seeing what might make it work better. Be ready to take notes so you remember what was said. This feedback ought to give you some food for thought and possibly be what you need to improve your site results.
Here are a few things to look for:
1. Is it clear what you do and, if applicable, where you do it?
2. It is clear who would use your services and why?
3. Do you describe your services in an understandable manner and language?
4. Do you provide enough information for a visitor to [Read more...]
If you are looking to get your business off the ground, start a Meetup to find people that are interested in your services. Meetup not only allows you to post a meeting, you can also post 15 relevant topic areas so that people may find your Meetup. You can design a workshop or seminar and use the Meetup as a vehicle for people to get to know you and sign up for your other services.
Meetup charges the organizers a fee when they start a meetup and they can run up to 3 Meetup Groups at any one time under their plan.
Their 3 different fee plans are: [Read more...]
Sometimes people don’t get started with a Social Media plan for their businesses because it seems so overwhelming. I found this Infographic that breaks down some specific steps you can take to develop an online presence for your business. I wrote down my take on the information in the Infographic, which does not take the place of a well conceived social media plan designed to meet your business goals.
Please don’t get overwhelmed by this to do list, because you do not have to do all of these things at the same time. But trust me, many of you spend more time on your personal Facebook sharing than these items would take in a week!
Keep Up to Date: For 30 minutes per day, use your favorite methods- Twitter, Facebook, Pinterst or Blogs you follow, to find interesting information relevant to your business. Keep track of it using apps such as Evernote or BufferApp so you can find it again to use for research for your posts and to share it with your followers. The content you find can help you craft blog posts and that same information can be reformatted to be used in many ways such as creating videos or social media updates.
Blog Posts: Writing blog posts is one of the most crucial parts of a successful social media plan. Write one to two blog posts per week on your website. Create them on topics that people will search for to find your business. Use relevant keyword phrases in the title and content of your posts. Share these posts on Twitter, Facebook Page, LinkedIn and Google +.
Facebook Page: Update your page status daily with what is going on. You can ask questions of your community or answer them. Add one or two interesting [Read more...]
When you are putting on a paid seminar for your business, there is a process to go through so that your prospects will be able to hear about your offer, find out more about it, sign up, pay for it, and then have their contact information go to a MailChimp list so they can receive updates about the event.
Here is how you do it.
Landing Sales Pages
Create a sales landing page on your website. This is a page that only contains information about the offer without distractions such as sidebars. You will write compelling copy, describing why someone would want to take your seminar and offer testimonials and guarantees (example: http://newtricks.me/wordpress-with-the-big-dogs/ ). There are many online tutorials which will give you tips for this type of writing such as this post from Copyblogger. I created my landing page using a premium WordPress plugin, Premise, made by the folks at Copyblogger. The cost $165, but it gives your WordPress site a lot of added functionality. It even includes online copywriting help.
Your words will lead them down the page where there will be a signup form. We suggest using Gravity Forms, a super easy to use, premium WordPress plugin. You will want to link your form to Paypal and to MailChimp which means you will need the developers license at $199. The form you create then can be linked to your Paypal account so that when people register, they can fill out the form and pay all in one step. Then, if you have the developer’s license for Gravity forms, you can also have their form information automatically funneled into one of your MailChimp lists. This allows you to keep track of your attendees and also send them out updates about the event. I always let people know on my sign up form that they will also be added to my newsletter. When someone fills out the form and pays, they will receive a notification that they signed up and a receipt from Paypal confirming payment.
Let People Know About Your Offer
It is best to get the word out about your event in several ways. I suggest that you create an enticing e-mail to send to your list with a link to your Sales Landing page. It does not have to be very detailed. Provide enough information to have them click to the link if they are interested in finding out more. You should also let your followers on Twitter and Facebook know and ask them to share the information. Be sure to include a short-link to your Sales Landing page.
It seems like a lot at first, but once you get the hang of it, you will use this method time and again for workshops and webinars and information products.
I heard from one of my clients recently that she really liked working with grownups. Yes, I am a grownup but I happen to think that being a grownup is not necessarily age related. The behaviors that make a huge difference to our clients are simple, but they are the cornerstone of having a busy and lucrative business.
1. Be clear about your deliverables and manage your clients’ expectations.
2. Do what you say you will do or call and give an update.
3. Return e-mails and business calls within 24 hours.
4. If you have a task to do, get it done and put the next step back in your client’s court.
5. Remember you are the expert. Don’t just blindly do what your client asks for. Make sure they know the ramifications of their actions and possible preferable alternatives.
What a difference these five little rules make. That is all.
There are a lot of people who could care less about what others, outside of their immediate circles, know or think about them. Some of these people haven’t given it a thought and don’t need to; others have high privacy needs or for some specific reason, specifically choose to keep a low profile.
But if you want to get hired, be promoted, change careers, write books, sell books, consult in your field, teach, speak, start a business or grow a business, you may want to read on. It will behoove you to care about how people see you and, therefore, you will need to put yourself, your ideas and your voice out in the world for people who are looking for your message, in your particular voice, to find.
Today the web gives us an unprecedented opportunity to get our message out and to show people who we are and what we can do in a way a resume on Monster.com can never do. We have not always had this magic power available to us and there is no assurance that we have it in the future. But today, if you have some talent and ability and put it out there, you can find and reach the people who are eager for your message. Of course, [Read more...]
You know how sometimes it’s the small things that make the world a nicer place?
I have the very good fortune of having a husband who brings me my coffee, in bed, every morning. He also does the dishes and loves to run out to the grocery store, among many other wonderful qualities. And Carol Sue, our newest New Tricks team member, is not just fabulous at her job but has made herself thoroughly indispensable by making me a green drink in the morning and bringing me hot tea made with ginger and lemon in the afternoon.
The effect of these small kindnesses led me to ponder several other simple things we can do that can make a huge difference in the quality of our relationships, both personal and work.
1. Pay attention to others and act, without them having to ask. I have watched the effect on a person when someone noticed they were uncomfortable and brought them a different chair, without them having to ask. Not a big deal? Yes it is. People definitely notice and note that level of attention.
2. If you are going to end up doing something anyway, don’t make a fuss about it. Why make a big deal and make everyone uncomfortable with your “start-up” noises. Whining, complaining and grousing is downright irritating. You will get way more mileage with a cheerful, can-do attitude.
3. Say what you’ll do and do what you say. Be a person that can be counted on and if you can’t get it done, communicate the update as soon as you know if it’s not going to work the way you said it would. Avoiding that communication only makes it worse.
4. Lose the helpless routine and Google it. Sometimes we don’t even know what to ask for in a Google search but most of the time the answer is right there at our finger tips. Try and figure it out first, before you say, “I don’t know how”.
5. Give people the benefit of the doubt and look at a situation as it might be occurring for them. Keep in mind that we all have different points of view and not everyone is out to screw you, or be a thorn in your side. In fact, if you habitually have that frame of mind, it might be a case of “You Spot it, You Got it”.
All for now.
With gratitude for the small things,
Are you tired of the rigmarole of setting up meetings with a group? This week I threw up my hands and asked another member of a committee I am on (hats off to Marna Friedman), to try to find a meeting time that we could all agree on. Within minutes Marna had set some times and sent out a meeting request to the five people in this group using a free app called Meeting Wizard. I chose the ones that worked for me out of a simple list and hit reply.
MeetingWizard…a great way to plan meetings and other events!
1. You invite participants providing a number of optional dates/times.
2. Participants respond to invitations by indicating when they are available.
3. You confirm the meeting or event after reviewing responses.
Give it a try. It is one of the simplest systems I have seen.
There are other apps, such as Tungle. Tungle’s user interface is pretty and it has a connection right into your Google calendar. However, when I tried using it, my group had difficulties trying to figure it out which made more work for me.
Sometimes basic goodness is all you need.
I have been working hard on getting out my Easy Peasy Email Newsletter Course, which will be released on August 20th. It is daunting how much work is involved in creating a good online product. But I am driven to do this since it is the number one thing people ask me for after designing their websites.
Along these same lines, in a recent post Seth Godin, who wrote the book Permission Marketing, said that wanting something to “go viral” is hot at the moment, but the number of views something gets is not the measurement that really matters. What matters most is getting people to want to hear from you tomorrow.
Seth coined the term, Permission Marketing. When asked “How do I get permission in the first place?”, Seth suggests that you should create content that spreads and as it spreads, don’t try to make a sale, merely work to earn the privilege of a follow up- the opportunity to reconnect over time through e-mail.
During this Pre-launch period, I have been doing some free webinars on using email newsletters to engage with your customers and prospects. I hope you can join me for the last one this Thursday night at 8PM. Please sign up on my website.
And, if you have been thinking your business could benefit by incorporating an email newsletter, please check out the Pre-launch specials for purchasing the Easy Peasy Email Newsletter Online Course before August 20th.