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Small Business Lead Generating Sales Funnel

Small business lead generating is a big deal over here in our marketing world! We are really good at helping you fill your sales funnel, but if these leads never follow through to a conversion and a sale then it is a wasted effort.

While working with  small business clients, we often hear that they have gotten “no leads”. Huh, that is weird since I see leads coming across the email, in blog comments and as requests for info on Social Media. I think what they are saying is that they have gotten no “sales” or new clients. This can happen because of a breakdown between leads and sales.

Today we are going to look at all the pieces that go in making a successful lead to sales transaction.

What is a sales funnel?

A sales funnel (also known as the sales pipeline) is the term for the process by which we add A LOT of leads into the top of the funnel and sales come out of the bottom, losing some along the way. The parts of the sales funnel can be called a lot of different things including prospects, suspects, and customers; leads, visitors and pre-qualifications.

We are going to look at some of the normal sales-funnelly things, but then we are going to talk specifically about where your process may be failing your conversions. It can be VERY easy to get caught up in the labeling and not look a the practical aspects of going from propects to sales.

The Practical Sales Funnel

Leads – Opportunity

Leads can look like many things. They can be a message sent through Facebook asking about your services, an email info request, a response back to your email newsletter, basically any time someone talks to you about the goods or services that you sell. THE FIRST THING you should do after getting one of these messages is to add this person to your database, CRM (customer relationship management software), or spreadsheet of prospects. Make sure to note what kind of service or product they were interested in.

This is the first step of your sales funnel and just consists of collecting their contact information so that you can communicate with them on an ongoing basis.

Sales Call – Connection

The first time that you contact this prospect (whether it be by email or phone), your goal should be to set an appointment. An appointment for a formal phone call or in-person meeting where you can talk over your offerings at a time that is convenient and when the prospect will be receptive to listening to you.

I think that this should be over the phone as you have not pre-qualified this person enough to know if they are a good fit. Can they afford your product or service? Are they ready to buy within the next 30 days? Have they researched any of your competitors?

These are all vital things to know and you are just wasting time meeting with someone who is not ready, willing and able to buy your product or service.

Follow Up – Timing

I am going to tell you something that you may find shocking. Most prospects do not buy right away, gasp. Honestly, I have asked some of our clients how many times they followed up on a sales lead and they say that they never followed up because the person did not buy after the first contact. This is what we in the business call BURNING LEADS. The prospect raised their hand and said they were interested, but probably did not have enough information to take out their credit card and buy.

You should follow up a phone call with an immediate personal note or email, thanking them for their time. You should then reach out with offers of additional info at least two or three times more over the next couple of weeks (put it in your calendar). After that, make sure they are on your newsletter list so they receive ongoing communications from you, which could remind them why they called you in the first place!

If you are a typical small business owner, you are probably a TERRIBLE salesperson. If this is the case (as it is with me) you are going to need to hire someone to follow up for you. You can pay this person a fixed rate or “spiff” them an amount for each appointment they set for you. DO NOT skimp on this, a good salesman can make you more money than you ever imagined possible!

Conversion – Obstacles

Okay, you have a lead and they want to buy BUT they have not pulled the trigger (ie paid you yet). This is the most frustrating part of the sales process and one you need to look at very closely because it is probably your fault that the sale is not moving forward!

First off, make sure it is VERY easy for your prospect to pay. Just this week we had a lady call and say she had been waiting for us to send her a link for payment. Now I KNOW that we sent that link over a week or so ago, BUT what matters is that we re-send it to her right away while she is paying attention to us.

Another great example about how a process can fall apart is one of my bookkeeping clients. She takes her prospects, sends them to her salesperson to follow up, gets them excited about her services, they say they want to buy and then…NOTHING. In my opinion, the sale is falling apart because she expects them to gather their receipts, bank statements and other financial documents together themselves. To me it feels like, if they could do all that themselves, what would they need her for?!?!?! We suggested that she make a part of her services a two hour, holding-your-hand and getting your documents together startup meeting. This way, she will get the client on board AND she will be losing less of them due to the fact that they are terrible at accounting tasks.

Sale – Persistence

Overall, sales takes persistence and can be absolutely, soul-killingly hard if you are not geared to enjoying being a salesperson. BUT, if you make it a game to see how many people you can move down your small business lead generating sales funnel, removing speed bumps along the way, you WILL make more sales. This in turn will make it much more likely that you will want to do it again and and again! www.marketingartfully.com

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Emerging Experts ™ presents Creating and Communicating a Visionary Brand, a three-session workshop to transform your passion, your power, and your message.

Join branding/spiritual business expert Ellen Melko Moore and social media specialist Amber Irwin as we help you create a brand that speaks for itself and a social media structure that allows everyone to talk about you.

Whether you’re just starting a new venture, or considering a renovation/revolution for an existing or established business, this uplifting yet extremely practical series will set you on fire with the knowledge and tools to burn brighter, stronger, and truer than you have ever dared before.

You are about to Become Visionary.

Dates: June 8th, July 13th, and August 10th

Time: 8:30-11am 

What Is a Visionary Brand? 

By its purest definition, a visionary brand is a brand that inspires people to act.  It inspires devotion and communication in its audience, clients, or consumers.  Its customers speak and act and advertise for the brand, spreading the word because they love associating with its power, possibility, heart, or “sexiness.” In some way, large or small, those who participate feel transformed, and they want to share that transformation with others.

If you are part of the “tribe” interacting with a visionary brand, you want to talk about it, to share it, to debate its merits or flaws with others who care about it. You take pleasure in introducing it to the uninitiated.

A visionary brand can be big or small, profit or nonprofit, can be a large corporation or a single person.  Some famous examples of visionary brands that have changed our lives might be Facebook, Starbucks, Tom’s Shoes, Oprah Winfrey, Netflix, and The Susan G. Komen Foundation.

How Does a Brand Become Visionary?

Big brands and big names can inspire us.  But it’s also important to look at the inspiring people and companies all around us.  If you think about it, you can probably identify several visionary brands in your own circle, your own neighborhood.   

 It might be a painting company who donates a free paint job to a neighbor facing foreclosure, a bakery who celebrates Wednesdays with free éclairs, or a friend who rallies a community to serve a returning injured veteran.

It may be an artist whose paintings take our breath away, a computer store whose top priority truly is the customer, or a garage band who collaborates with a tattoo artist to clean up the local skate park.

Whether large or small, traditional or totally unprecedented, commercial or compassionate, an emerging visionary brand compels us to look, to notice, to talk, and to act.  And most importantly, to spend our money!

 And you can bet your boots that with a good strategy of playfulness and perseverance, that brand won’t be a beginner for long.

Build a Killer Brand and Give it a Voice.

So, a visionary brand inspires action, and that inspiration begins with you. 

Are you inspired by your own idea, your own business, your own way of showing up in the world? Are you so excited that you can’t stop talking about what you are doing, learning, selling, experiencing?

 Or is it perhaps time to open the doors of your mind and soul and let some fresh air down the corridor?

Our three part workshop focuses on the three essential ingredients of the visionary brand: the Creators, the Participants, and the Collaborative Process (otherwise known as the brand, the customers, and the sales relationship!)

In each session we will devote equal attention to BOTH the visionary spirit of our brands AND the powerful tools of technology that allow us to share that spirit in unprecedented ways.

Ellen will lead us as we create, pitch, and examine the Inspirational Ingredients of all who play in the sandbox of our brand.   Amber will guide us through the exciting (but often intimidating) waters of Facebook, Twitter, Twello, and Hoot Suite.

Between sessions, we will support and inspire each other in small groups using our new-found social media skills (gaining first-hand experience with innovative email, free conference calls, YouTube, and Blog Talk Radio!)

Our Vision for You.  And our Promise.

 

No matter where you begin, whether as a first-time entrepreneur or a seasoned veteran, by the end of session 3 you will take home:

*a recipe and road map for your own visionary brand, including new pathways for money to come to you

*a support team who believes in your dream

*a tribe that loves to talk about you

*a working knowledge of the most important components of social media and a system for using them powerfully

*a rejuvenated sense of your life’s purpose and a renewed enthusiasm for getting out of bed, even on Mondays

You could pay thousands of dollars and spend hundreds of hours for this coaching and training.  Like many of your friends may be doing.  Just think how jealous they’re going to be when you say you did it in two months for $147! That’s okay, though.  Next time they’ll know where to go to Become Visionary.

http://www.eventbrite.com/event/1597505181

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Are You Using The Power of Video to Promote Your Brand

Why is Video for Business so Powerful?

The business climate today is all about how to make your marketing message heard above all the “noise” of competing marketing messaging in an age where we are all faced with “information overload” to the nth degree. Business owners are always looking for ways to maintain a competitive advantage and to be able to connect with their customers and potential customers in an effort to create a personal connection.

With the increased usage of the latest technologies, if also becomes a challenge for the business owner to figure out how to use all the technology that is available to increase brand exposure and deepen relationships with customers and potential customers.

Online video is the future, the latest trend, and continues to rise in popularity. Key indicators point to corporations embracing online video as an essential marketing tool. In a 2008 Interactive Marketing study, Forrester Research predicted a compound annual growth rate of 72% through the year 2012 – the most robust of all interactive investments. Online video is expected to grow significantly more than search engine marketing, display ads, and email marketing.

When you see an interesting video on the Internet, you tend to post the link on Twitter, Facebook, or share it by emailing it to friends. They pass it on to their friends and the effect multiplies spreading your message quickly, resulting in massive exposure. This is called viral marketing and carries tremendous power via brand exposure at very little cost. Using video helps others connect with your brand because it now has a face that others can identify with and adds that personal touch that is so important in establishing, maintaining, and enhancing relationships.

Online video is going to increase in popularity according to a study by eMarketer that reported 152 million people were watching online video in 2008. By 2012 that number, according to the study, is expected to soar to 190 million.

Video adds a new dimension to the written word. If one uses videos of themselves speaking their message, they are able to use humor, physical expression, and eye-contact adding a totally new layer of personalization. If one chooses to use an animated video, the element of entertainment is added and with a musical background, adds an emotional effect as music brings out emotions in people.

Using video turns a static website into a dynamic, interactive destination. Video requires the viewer to use more of their senses making your message more memorable.

You can use video to demonstrate a product that will educate your customers, show your product or service in action, save time and money on customer service by being proactive, train clients remotely saving time and money on travel expenses, and expand your target market beyond your local geographical area

Businesses who use video to promote their brand are giving a human face to their corporate website. You can include a short video welcoming visitors to your website, introduce yourself and other members of your company, or record a customer testimonial to show your value to others.

Using videos encourages engagement with your brand and in this day where relationships carry so much weight this is a very important aspect of video marketing. If you regularly provide valuable video content, you will be encouraging repeat visits to your website.

Even though the use of video is increasing and studies indicate it will continue to increase, there are still many industries that don’t use video as a common practice. If your competitors don’t yet use video, you’ll be able to set yourself apart by using video on your website.

In this age where people want instant gratification and easily accessible information, videos provide an easy method of relaying information to others. At the click of a button, you can promote your brand, advertise a special, make an announcement, sell your service, etc. rather than requiring your target market to read text.

When compared to traditional methods of promoting products like text ads, banner ads, and printed promotions, videos are more cost effective and provide a much more valuable and memorable experience for the end-user.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5838810

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Using YouTube Videos to Increase SEO and Brand Awareness

YouTube videos can be an excellent tool for entrepreneurs and marketers when launching an online campaign. Upon setting up a YouTube channel, use the steps following to increase brand awareness online. It’s also possible to gain an advantage in terms of increasing brand visibility using this method. YouTube videos are a helpful way to share with online communities and search engine users alike.

1 – Choose a Video Topic

There are many options in choosing a topic for video marketing on YouTube. Consider if focusing on new or innovative ways of using products as a possible topic. Or demonstrate your expertise as an entrepreneur to gain credibility and a following. You can also get a lot of mileage out of testimonials. The topic and how you choose to display it in video, you are only limited by your imagination.

As an online marketer, you will want to begin thinking of a series of videos that will continually bring viewers back to your website time and again. Over time, your brand will develop through this medium.

2 – Video Recording

Once you have selected the topic and format of your video, you can plan out some scenes, your dialogue and then start recording. What technology you choose to do this is not as important as the information you convey. Some online marketers have recorded effective videos on their mobile phones, in contrast to others who have used high definition video recorders.

Keep your videos direct, focused and below 2 minutes for the best results. Once you have recorded everything, use a photo editing software to clean it up.

3 – SEO Video Tactics

Once the video is ready for viewing by a broader audience, upload it to your YouTube video channel. Optimize it for SEO by including the best keywords into the title, metadata and feeds. Be sure that a link of your website is displayed prominently to encourage plenty of organic traffic. By doing this, you will generate back linking and encourage others to share the video on their websites and blogs.

4 – Earn More Video Views

In addition to creating new YouTube videos, entrepreneurs should be on the look out for complimentary videos shared by other online marketers. Post your own video feed or link in response to their videos to generate more views of your video in the comments section. You can also try promoting your videos on social networking sites like Facebook and twitter, which attract millions of viewers daily. Ask that friends share your video links with their networks for even more traffic.

While video marketing is somewhat more challenging than other forms of marketing, it’s also a lot of fun and can reach a much larger audience. As an entrepreneur, you have much to gain by using video marketing to improve your brand’s visibility and influence online.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6142081

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How to get “Likes” on Facebook

Are you finding it difficult to get people to like you on your Facebook page?
There’s a way you can increase your following quickly . . . if you do it the right way. Yes, there is a right way to get people to like you and it is very much the same as making friends. This right way is where so many people go wrong because they treat it differently than they do when they make a friend in the “real world.”

Guess what? The Internet is the “real world” because it consists of the same people. Are you treating them differently? 

Get Likes on Facebook: Give People a Reason to “Like” You
People aren’t just going to randomly “like” your page.

First, you need to know who your ideal market is, you can do this by knowing their interests, likes, professional where they live and more. Introduce yourself. The best way to do that is to “like” them first and tell them you look forward to connecting with them or to seeing more from them.

Also, compliments go a long way. Show them you are paying attention to what they have to say and it is a two-way street.

Interact with the people who have “liked” the same page. An excellent way to say, “Hey, notice me” is to pay attention to the comments on the posts of the page you have liked and “like” their comment. This will show up in their notifications and it’s a way of introducing yourself to people outside of “pages.” It’s a way to expand your exposure to your target market.

It’s Not All About You (Hard to believe huh?)
The best way to get likes on Facebook is to realize that it is not all about you and what you can do for them or what you have done. It’s about giving to others first and helping others succeed. If you do that, people will have no option but to stop an notice you, and like your page!

Others that share the same niche are not necessarily your competition. In fact they may actually be your future business partners, cross promotion opportunities, or collaboration partners. The key here is to identify some excellent people, teams, or businesses that stand out to you and you truly believe are doing an excellent job. Remember everybody has a different niche or specialty.

Interact with these people, promote their relevant products or services. Promote them without any expectation of anything in return. Do it because you are establishing relationships with other people you respect in your area of expertise. You’re providing value to your readers and you’ll give yourself the opportunity to learn from other experts.

Get Likes on Facebook by Being Likable
A way to get likes on Facebook is to be yourself. People will sense it if you’re not being yourself and they’ll probably run in the opposite direction as fast as they possibly can. Be authentic and creative. Show your personality.

Allow for people to actually get to know YOU, not your business necessarily. People want to do business with people they know, like, and trust. If you are not well liked, it doesn’t matter if you have the best deal in the world. People will hide when they see you coming to avoid you and they’ll find what you offer from someone they like.

Ask yourself, “Would you do business with someone that introduced themself with a sales pitch? Facebook is NOT a place to sell, it truly is a place to build relationships and find people all over the world! Your reputation is created by the way you present yourself. You can present yourself as likable or as that person who keeps trying to sell something to somebody blatantly. Remember what goes up on Facebook represent who you are as a person, so if there are inappropriate pictures on your personal page, people can find them and may not want to do business with you or like your page. Regardless if you own your own business or work for a fortune 500 company, your reputation is all you have.

You will be amazed at how you’ll get likes on Facebook because of your personality and the way you present yourself. And if you can master that, you will then be able to introduce your business.

What’s your experience? Do you get likes on Facebook?

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7 Habits of Highly Effective Video Marketing

This article I found at http://onemarketmedia.com/blog/2010/08/7-habits-of-highly-effective-video-marketing/ Great information!

7 Habits of Highly Effective Video MarketingVideo is now on every marketer’s to do list. Why? Because web video and rich media engages, persuades and motivates like no other marketing tool. In deference to Mr. Covey I present seven ideas that if done well will help make your next video successful:

1. Tell a good story.
Sure it sounds simple, even trite, but good storytelling is just as important to video marketing and advertising as it is to film making. Stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. They make us think. They make us feel. If told well, they inspire us.

At the heart of any good story is an emotional appeal – it may be subtle or it may be dramatic, but without that emotional connection, the story is quickly forgotten.

A good story has some or all of the following attributes:
Good stories don’t appeal to everyone
– your story should be targeted to the people that you are most interested in communicating with. (These are also the people most likely to socialize your story) if you try to appeal to everyone, you might end up appealing to no one. (B2N)
Good stories resonate
– they are familiar and strike a chord with the audience because they can relate to the story being told. Have you tested your video idea with selected members of  your target  audience before you start production? If not, why not?
Good stories are credible – the story teller, the content and the outcome of the story have to work together and all have to be believable, trusted – your audience can see through the lies (the hype and the exaggeration).
Good stories are usually simple – they can be grand tales or ripping yarns but in the end the best stories have a simple outcome and a simple message. Keep the razzle to a minimum and forget the dazzle.

The goal should always be to create engaging presentations that tell a good story. What’s your story?

2. Show them, don’t tell them.
A video of someone using your product and extolling it’s virtues is far more powerful (and credible) than animated text or a series of photos.  Educators and trainers have long known that the true benefit of video is that it generates much higher retention rates because it engages more than one of the senses at the same time. Retention rates can triple when what you hear is being reinforced by what you see. That doesn’t mean a talking head is necessarily more engaging than an audio podcast or a brochure ‐ you still have to present compelling content that engages your audience.
The ability to show your customers how your product works, how it solves their problems and how it is used by others is where video marketing is unsurpassed as a vehicle to engage and persuade your audience. A page by page walk-through of your software interface may be helpful – but it doesn’t demonstrate to prospects the benefits of your product or how it fits into their processes or business cycles. It’s not about you or your product or service – it’s about how your product or service can help solve your customers problem. Show your customers exactly how your product or service  solves their problem! (this is especially important in the early stages of the buying cycle.)
Video, animation and interactive flash programming can build compelling visual examples of exactly how your products work and why they solve your customers’ problems.
• Testimonials are more compelling when you see and hear a customer talk about their experience with your product.
• Case studies are more engaging when you can actually see how a customer integrates your product in to their process and how your product measurably improves your customer’s bottom line.
• Product demos are far more powerful when you illustrate (i.e. using video or  information graphics ) exactly how your patented process works and benefits your customers.
The power of video and rich media is in its ability to demonstrate the tangible benefits that a product or service can offer.

3. Choose your words very carefully.
There are many important components that go into creating an effective video: Using the right equipment, the proper location, 0n-screen presenters, motion graphics, and music are all critical components to the creation of engaging communications tools. None of these however, are more important than the script (either a formal script or at least speaking points that summarize what should be mentioned in the video.)

Some things to consider when developing a script or on-screen talking points outline:
•Do you understand the key issues affecting your industry?
•What are the top three messages that you have to communicate?
• Are you clearly outlining the benefits that will best resonate with your target audience?
•Are you speaking your customer’s language?

The script is the ‘what’ in the video development process. Everything else is the ‘how’. Far too many corporate videos simply focus on the ‘how’. It is critical that the video development company you engage has expertise in marketing writing and positioning. Style won’t count for much if your message doesn’t resonate with your audience. Deciding on the right thing to say is always more important than how that information is ultimately presented.

Unscripted doesn’t mean unstructured.‘ Spontaneous’,  unscripted videos are becoming more commonplace on the internet as this type of presentation provides a natural tone and authenticity that resonates well with viewers. This doesn’t mean a lot of effort and planning doesn’t go into what questions are asked, how people on-camera respond and how the final product is edited. Even if a formal script is not developed, the business objective, structure and desired outcome of the video should all be considered and coordinated during the pre‐ and post‐production stages. You should never start a video project without knowing EXACTLY what you want the video to communicate.

4. Build‐in Interaction (and ultimately, conversion).
The more interaction you can build into the experience the more engaged the viewer is with your brand. Interest, engagement and interaction should be the goals of web-based video . “Click here to…” is a good start. What do you want the viewer to do when they have finished watching your web video? How deep do you want to take your viewer in
an interactive presentation? Here is a short list of options to include when building your online presentations:
•Click here to find out more about this service
• Click here to read a white paper on this topic
• Click here to watch a related presentation
• Fill out a quick survey to discover if you are qualified for this promotion
• Take a quick poll to see how you stack up in the market
• Click here to have a technical expert answer your questions
• Please help us improve our communications by rating this presentation
• Sign up now for our weekly industry update
Conversion is the goal. Whatever your conversion mechanism is you want your customers and prospects to take the next step.

5. Chose the right format, structure  and style of video.
Abraham Maslow’s quote, ‘If the only tool you have is a hammer – every problem looks like a nail’ applies well to video marketing. The number of web marketing service providers is growing. Many of these specialize in one specific format: ”business animation and information graphics” or ”only photo–based flash presentations.” Some proclaim that their presentation time limit (2 minutes, 3 minutes, 4 minutes, etc.) is “the right one for the web” or that “their platform is the only way to be truly effective”. Of course none of them are necessarily right… or wrong. Every business problem is unique and there is a multitude of rich media tools and methods to solve your important communications problems. Consider alternative approaches and formats before committing.

The term ‘corporate video’ made sense ten years ago when most corporate videos were the same. Today there are  many different ways (here are 42 examples) you can use video to promote your brand.

6. Consider the only perspective that matters: Your Customer’s.
It’s not about you or your product. There are lots of  companies just like yours and frankly, it’s getting tougher to tell them apart. Posting canned videos of your executives or beauty shots of your facilities to your website won’t move the dial. And unless you are Apple or Victoria’s Secret no one is really that interested in your product. They are only interested in the comfort, status, utility or pleasure that your product conveys. These are the things that you need to be promoting. Like any purpose-built marketing material, your web video  should be developed with a single goal in mind: How do I communicate my companies understanding of, and solutions to, my customers’ problems.

7. Define business objectives (and outcomes) first.
As the use of web‐based video grows in popularity it’s important to remember that video marketing is a means to end, not an end in itself. There are far too many marketing articles that discuss how to get video up on your website without ever mentioning why.
Indeed, a well produced video is one of the most persuasive marketing tools available and building interactive presentations is a great way to engage your audience. But putting an unprepared executive in front of a camera, re-purposing old corporate presentations or having some guys from the mail-room put together a ‘viral’ video won’t bear fruit. Worse yet, bad video is even harder to ignore than bad print material.
Consider the following when planning to implement video on your website:
• At what stage of the buying cycle are you targeting your prospects? I.e. Product presentations (that highlight benefits – the customer’s perspective) are more appropriate during the consideration phase. Product demos (that highlight features – your perspective) are more helpful during the comparison phase.
• Who is your audience? If your answer is “…well, everyone really” you’re probably wasting your money. The vast majority of YouTube viewers are not your audience. There is a considerable difference between ‘views’ and ‘targeted views.’ Creating one broadly focused web video might add value but you should also consider breaking your web video into discreet pieces that speak to specific audiences. Successful marketing always starts with targeting.
• What are the measurable business outcomes? How do you measure success? You should be able to quantify the business value by measuring click‐thru’s, registrations, time spent watching the presentation or some other objective business metric.

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16 Tips for Successful Online Video Marketing

This was a great article I came across and wanted to share with you . . .

social media toolsThere’s no doubt that online video marketing is on the rise.  Numerous studies and statistics prove that video works.  In fact, Forrester Research found that videos were 50 times more likely to receive an organic first page ranking than traditional text pages.  That’s a pretty impressive stat!

Online video marketing is attractive to many businesses today for numerous reasons.  Making videos and posting them online is fairly inexpensive.  Plus, online videos stay online forever.  If you spend the money to record once, your video could still be getting views a year from now.

In addition, social media sites and video go hand in hand and most sites encourage video posting and sharing. The viral video opportunities are endless when you use the right strategies to create and post your videos online.

If you’re new to video, or have been thinking about flipping on your camera for the first time, here are some tips and strategies to get you going.

Six Quick Tips to Optimize Your Videos

Once you record your video, follow these tips to make sure it reaches your core audience and gets the views it deserves.

#1: Make your title count

Just like a headline to a blog post, video titles can pull powerful traffic.  There are two main reasons why the title is so important.  One, a great title can instantly grab a viewer’s attention.  Two, when you use the appropriate keywords in your title, you are more likely to show up on search engines when people are searching for your topic.  And remember Google owns YouTube, so there’s a story connection between video and searching.

#2: Provide excellent content

Take some time to think about your ideal viewer.  What do you know that they’ll find valuable?  What can you teach them?  “How-to” videos are extremely successful because not only do they offer great value to your viewer, but also you’re able to showcase your knowledge and skill, thus positioning yourself as an expert.  This is key as you continue to grow your brand.

Also, no matter how good your content is, it won’t matter if your video is too long and you lose your viewer’s attention.  Try to keep them short.

In late 2009, ComScore reported that the average video was 3.8 minutes in length.

#3: Include your URL in your video

When you edit your video, take advantage of the different editing features.  One easy feature is to add a text box to your video.  This is where you can display your website address and it’s a great way to get exposure.

Here’s a screen shot of Mari Smith’s YouTube channel.  Notice how she used a text box in her video to display key information, including her website URL at the end of her video.  Smart move!

#4: Take advantage of video’s branding opportunities

For branding purposes, have your company logo displayed prominently somewhere on the screen.  You can do this at all times, or during key times in your video.

In the image below, notice how the company logo is displayed in the upper-left corner.  You can display your logo throughout your video or only at key times.

#5: Always provide an HTML link

When you post on YouTube, you have the option to write a short description of your video.  Always start with the link you want to drive your viewers to so you don’t miss this key opportunity.

Here’s a snapshot of the description boxes from one of my YouTube videos.  Notice the placement of my website URL (it’s the first thing you want to put in the box!) and the keywords I used in my title as well as the description.

#6: Go beyond YouTube

Most people post their videos on YouTube.  In addition to this, make sure to always embed your video on your own website.  This will increase the amount of time people spend on your website and help grow a captive audience.

Also, Google’s algorithms consider how many times a video is viewed, and embedded video views you receive get added to the ‘views’ tally on YouTube.  This is important for showing up in Google search results!

How to Supercharge Your Videos

To make sure your video stands out above all the clutter on the web, here are a few strategies that will give your videos an extra boost.

  1. Create a Campaign: To get noticed, think beyond stand-alone videos.  For greater reach and exposure, create a series of content-rich videos that you publish regularly.  Not only will this create a great synergy around your content, but it will also allow you to build upon your brand identity as each video is released.
  2. Always Include a Call to Action: Never miss the opportunity to ask your viewers to take some type of action at the end of your video.  You can ask them to sign up for your newsletter, go to a specific website, leave a comment about your video or visit your blog.  If your video is good, you’ll likely have their full attention; make sure to take advantage of it!
  3. Don’t Make a Sales Pitch: There is a lot of sales clutter on the web and you want to make sure you come out above this.  There is nothing wrong with selling your products or services, but use your video to define a problem, discuss solutions and support others—when you combine the three, your video will attract the right following.

Basic Keyword Strategies

There’s no shortage of information online for keyword strategies.  Here are some of the basics you will want to pay attention to as you create your videos:

  • To optimize your YouTube videos, make sure to use keywords in your videos’ titles, descriptions, and tags.
  • Use your website’s text pages as a kind of “map” for Google. To help the search engines figure out what your videos are about, embed videos into text pages on your site that are relevant to your video.
  • Target specific search phrases, not just search words.  For example, instead of using “cupcakes” as a keyword for an organic bakery, use “cupcakes with organic frosting” for a better chance of showing up on the front of search results.

Ten Ideas to Spark Your Video Creativity

#1: Educate

Tell people about your product or services.  Give the details on features and benefits.  Tell them everything they’ll receive once they make the purchase.

#2: Answer questions

What do you get asked most about your product or services?  Most of us can think of a list of at least 5 to 10 questions we get asked often.  Make short 2- to 3-minute videos clips where you state the question and then the answer.  These are easy to make and extremely valuable to your prospects.

#3: Do a product review

 Find a product or service that would be of interest to your niche and your audience and do a review on its benefits and features.

#4: Grow your list

If you have a business, you need a list of potential clients.  Make a video to encourage your prospects to give you their name and email in exchange for something you will give them.  You can give away an ebook, an article (tips, strategies and how-tos are always popular), a tutorial video, a free consultation, a type of assessment, etc.  Figure out what your prospects would find most valuable and create a giveaway around that. (Here’s a hint:  give away your best stuff.  Don’t hold back.)

#5: Talk about your case studies and results

Make a video about the results you were able to achieve while working with a client or talk about a case study and show what you did for them and how you can do the same for the viewer.  You can also show a case study of someone who did not follow your guidance or use the method you teach and failed. Another similar idea is to read testimonials from your most satisfied customers while weaving in key examples.

#6: Tell a story

People can relate to you when you tell a compelling story.  Weave a lesson into your story as a takeaway.  You can also tell about an event from your past that has shaped who you are or how you do business today.

#7: Debunk myths

Talk about the top three myths in your industry and give real examples to show why they are truly myths.

#8: Take your viewers behind the scenes

Take your viewers outside of your office and show yourself in your “natural surroundings.”  If appropriate, introduce your family and show things that are meaningful to you.  Tie in some of your business secrets—how you organize your business, what type of setup you use to get things done, etc.  Pull back the curtains and give tips on how you do business.

#9: Ask questions and answer them

Ask your viewers some key questions that will spark conversation about their wants and needs as they relate to your niche.  Personally answer the question yourself and then ask your viewers to leave their answers below in the comments section.  This will start discussion.

#10: Additional video opportunities

There is so much you can do with video.  Besides filming yourself, you can also do screen captures (ScreenFlow for Macs and Camtasia for PCs are great options), slideshows, and use Keynote or PowerPoint slides to tell your story.

Here’s a short video to show you how ScreenFlow works:

One more piece of advice:  Don’t try to be perfect! I can guarantee that you will not like your first take of any video you record.  And it is of course fine to redo it a few times.  But don’t let multiple video takes slow you down.  Make a promise to yourself that you will do your best, and then move on.  With each video you publish, your confidence will increase and you will get better with time.

Here’s my challenge to you. If you are new at video, make the commitment that you will record a video in the next 24 hours.  Just dive in and try it!  The longer you wait, the faster your competition will claim their video space and run with it.

Give it a try and report back to let us know about your successes.

What’s been your experience with video? Share your video making tips and experiences in the comment box below.

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Social Media Marketing – Social Media REAL Results

Social media marketing like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube is a

tricky beast. It can be time consuming and if done wrong, super spammy.

That having been said, social media can produce REAL results for your small business!

We do social media marketing for small business owners and oftentimes during

the sales process they ask us what kind of results they can expect

from our efforts.

 I THINK that they are asking what kind of SALES can they expect to receive

within a couple of days of starting, but that is just conjecture on my part!

Social media marketing is not a direct line kind of thing. It is more like grabbing

a tigers tail and hoping that he is going where you want to go!

 I read the best post the other day about why Facebook marketing does not work,

it is worth a read for sure. The nice thing about this article is that it

comes from an agency who has really deep pocket clients who have made the mistakes that our

small biz marketing peeps cannot afford to make.

Social Media Marketing Results and Goals

I was talking to a client the other day and he was VERY focused on growing his database so that he

could send them marketing messages. With that in mind he had developed a series of four different

 autoresponders with GREAT content. The problem was his front-end pitching of it. Basically by reading

what he was saying, you could tell immediately that his goal was to get you in his database which

would turn anyone off. With social media marketing (actually with all marketing) we have to know

that there are humans at the other end of line. Our goals for using social media have to be REALLY clear so

that we know what we are trying to accomplish with our efforts. Here are a couple of goals that

you could have in social media:

To Get Them Into Your Database

Social media marketing results

If you are talking  A LOT with someone on social media,

 check out their information. Often they will have their email or phone number on there,

add them to your database. Additionally, you can have a

 great teaser and a link that you can post judiciously that will allow people to opt into your

database but don’t be a spammer about it! Here is a link

to one of my clients FREE ebooks about “How To Buy USA Real Estate” that could be a good carrot!

The photo shows how you can add it to your Facebook

 profile without looking like a spammer.

To Sign Up People To Work With You

Social Media Marketing Results

One of my favorite online MLM marketers is Kirsten McKay Smith

 of Passion Parties. She REALLY knows how to engage her clients, team members and

prospects on Facebook. THIS Is the kind of thing that can happen when you are out there.

She had a prospect who she “friended” on Facebook. Now that could have gone nowhere as

 many of our leads do BUT through communicating on the Facebook, Kirsten stayed in touch and

when her prospect was ready was there to sign her up immediately. Kirsten is also an author

of the What It Takes To Make A Million Dollars In Direct Sales books, unsurprisingly, this same thing works for sales of her

books. In fact, I saw on there the other day someone asking about when her forth volume was set to come out!

 Gotta think that will lead to some sales.

To Stay In Front Of Prospects Without Spamming Them

Social media marketing social media real results

The picture is a lead that I got yesterday from a prospect. The content basically

said that she had met me at a talk that I gave over a year ago and had implemented some of the

 suggestions that I gave and had great results for her company. NOW, she is at another company

and is interested in finding out about the services that I offer. YAY! So how did this happen? Was it because

I set up a Facebook profile a year ago, ignored it and then magically someone wanted to buy something?

Nope! This is the process that this prospect went through:

  • She attended a class that I gave
  • I put her into my database AND asked her to be my Facebook friend
  • She did not need my product or service right then BUT we saw each other on the Facebook, I liked some of her stuff off and on, generally she
  • still knew I was out there in the business
  • She sent me a message through Facebook asking about my services

Now, will she turn into a client, maybe. BUT the whole point is to fill up your pipeline with people

who are curious about what you do and make sure

to pay attention to them. Have to say that having them as Facebook friends is a super easy way to do that!

– – – –

I do not know if you know this or not, but we have a Small Business Marketing and Social Media membership site

will all kinds of great information about how to actually DO some of the things that we talk about over here!

In fact, I am going to be adding so me new videos TODAY

that cover how to do these kinds of posts that get results for your social media efforts!!!

Found on http://www.Marketingartfully.com

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New Hootsuite Merge with White Paper

A news update with features, case studies, tips and a social media white paper
HootSuite has gathered up a variety of tools and tips which will help your social media campaigns
We see social media in action from organizing political revolutions to hobby meet-ups along with businesses which are embracing the social web in creative ways to outreach to brand fans.Well, the industrious owls at HootSuite HQ enjoy seeing the remarkable things people do with our beloved social media dashboard, so we’ve gathered up research and tips to help you along. Plus, we’ve made a few noteworthy additions to the dashboard which we think you’ll enjoy.

Useful White PaperWhite Paper with HootSuite

Whether you use social media tools for business or personal purposes, the rapid rise of these communication tactics is a fascinating topic. With this quick emergence though comes challenging questions about how social fits into business settings.

For this reason, we’ve partnered with Useful Social Media to produce a white paper examining the role of social media for enterprise businesses. This report – titled The State of Corporate Social Media 2011 – includes a foreword written by HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes, and identifies evolving trends and tactics in the corporate space.

Even non-business-minded users will enjoy seeing the difference between how businesses in Europe and North America use social media. So head on over to Useful Social Media to download your free copy and tell us what you think via @HootBusiness.

Download the White Paper

Filed Under Win

The New York Public Library is the largest public library on Twitter and a star in movies like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Sex and the City. We were pleased to create a case study exploring how @NYPL used HootSuite to efficiency serve their audience. They even won an award for their unique Tweeting efforts – Congrats!

Read the NYPL Case Study in media library, or download it from Slideshare to share with your friends and colleagues. Next up: A case study showing how a transit authority raised awareness and improved emergency service using HootSuite.

#HootTips about Re-Tweets and Lists

We launched a series of short how-to articles starting with ReTweets and Lists.
Hoot Tip from HootSuite
Learn how to choose your Re-Tweet style on-the-fly from each Tweet. See a quick lesson on how to create and manage Twitter lists in the HootSuite dashboard.

We call these handy nuggets #HootTips – Tweet your #HootTip (and follow the tag) and you may earn a #HootKit full of limited-edition Owly swag for sharing your wisdom.

‘Berry New Updates

HootSuite for BlackBerry HootSuite for BlackBerry is now even more loaded up with networks with LinkedIn, Foursquare, Facebook (Profiles and Pages), and of course Twitter. Schedule updates, “check-in,” manage lists and track stats on your ‘berry. Performance updates make posting even breezier.

Get started by downloading HootSuite BlackBerry and remember to do a hard reset after install – and it’s free!

Updated Facebook Pages

Going along with Facebook’s recent updates, we’ve also added more functionality to Facebook Pages:

Delete a Comment from HootSuitePost as your Facebook Page: Post comments as your brand rather than from your personal profile – particularly handy to retain brand consistency for premium users with multiple team members posting on your profile

Delete Facebook Page comments: Quickly remove inappropriate comments from your Facebook Pages without having to leave the HootSuite dashboard – great for getting ahead of potential problems and unsavoury remarks

Up Next

We’re heading to SXSW for panels and meet-ups. Keep an eye on the HootSuite blog for more information about our SXSW plans, but before we head to Austin, we have another (big) release planned. We’ll be sure to let you know.

HootSuite is a Trademark of HootSuite Media, Inc. More: HootSuite Online Media Kit.
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Video Marketing – Top 7 Benefits

Have you been holding off including videos in your marketing mix?

If you want to generate more visitors to your web site don’t just rely on written content. Not all people like to read content online. Many are attracted by learning visually. This is why video marketing is so powerful. You now see Google video ads, video newsletters, video sales letters and so on.

Top 7 benefits of video marketing

1. Attract a large audience

Video enables you to capture people who like to watch rather than read. This extends the reach of your content because you can appeal to visual learners.

2. Engages the senses

If a picture is worth a 1000 words, then video does even more because you can create live movies with sound. This engages more senses than written text which only uses one medium.

3. Access at any time

You can view videos with all kinds of devices these days eg ipods, cell phones, laptops, etc. allowing you to access video content anywhere at any time.

4. Achieve top rankings in the search engines

Google recently introduced Universal Search. This means videos now appear in the search results pages. For example if you Google “Mustang” you’ll see video listings of mustang cars on the first page of Google.

5. Become known as an expert in your field

If you consistently create high quality video content that your visitors want and need you will soon become recognized as the expert in your niche.

6. Repurpose content

Convert your written content to video by talking about it in a video clip or creating a slide show then upload it to video sharing sites like YouTube. The beauty of this method is that you don’t have to create fresh content and there’s no need to worry about duplicate written content.

7. Easy to create and publish

All you need is a video camera (or just use a digital camera), windows movie maker software (already on all windows’ computers) and a YouTube account.

Now you have no excuse for not creating your first video then marketing it on YouTube and other video sharing sites. It will take some time to get it right the first time, but with practice you’ll soon be generating more traffic to your web site.

http://www.drostdesigns.com/video-marketing-top-7-benefits/

I can help you with creating videos also, if you do not have a good camera. I do 4 videos for $125, email me if  you are interested yourmarketingvoice@yahoo.com