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Building Your Online Reputation: Which Channels to Use – Part 2

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Building Your Online Reputation: Which Channels to Use – Part 2


Yesterday, we’ve seen some channels that you can use online to get your business a good reputation. There are a few others that you can use as well. Of course, you will need to adapt these to the niche that your business is in and not all may apply to you, but you should try to use as many as possible as it will reinforce positive information about your company online.

 

  • Discussion Forums and Online Bulletin Boards

 

Forums related to your industry are a great way to make your products and business shine online, by showing your potential customers that you’re active in engaging them and also available to quickly answer any questions. But you should remember to follow all the rules specific to the forum that you’re using. Spamming online forums is definitely not the best way to build your reputation online and will probably accomplish the exact opposite. The best way to use forums is to advertise in the “Buy/Sell” section, participate in general discussion and have your company website in your forum profile and signature. This can also help you get useful backlinks for SEO purposes.

 

  • Review Sites

 

There are plenty of business review sites that are specific to certain industries. Here you won’t have much to do, as it’s your customers that will be leaving reviews on them after they’ve made a purchase from you. What you can do, however, is to add your business to some of these sites and keep checking them regularly to see if users have posted comments.

 

  • Blogs

 

Having your own blog can definitely be a good way to help promote your business online, but when it comes to establishing your reputation, you can do a lot by participating in other people’s blogs. Leave comments that include a link to your website on blogs that are related to your line of business. You can also become a guest blogger on another person’s blog. This will get you a link to your website at the bottom of the post and will establish you as a knowledgeable person in your niche.

 

  • Press Releases

 

Online press release sites are quite good if you want your business to get more recognition. You can write a press release and submit it to several free sites when you do something new, such as opening up a new location or launching a new product. Those who search for your company or products that you offer online will see the press release under “News” results in Google and will often be interesting in reading more. In many press release directories, you can also include a link back to your main site, which again will be very helpful as far as SEO is concerned.

 

These are the main methods that you can use to establish a good reputation online. Tomorrow we will go into more details on how you can more efficiently use some of these channels.

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More Tips to Build Your Authority Online

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More Tips to Build Your Authority Online


If you’re using social media to try to build your authority on the internet, you’re using one of the best tools available to accomplish this. But in order for this to bring you the results you expect, there are certain things you need to do in order to succeed. We’re now presenting you some more tips that you can use to reach your goals:

  • Ensure That Your Website Works and Works Well

Building authority means that you will get more traffic to your site and that you will get a lot more interaction with your visitors, such as getting comments on your blog posts. For this reason, you will need to make sure that your website is accessible at all times and doesn’t run into any type of problems. Using a shared web hosting account for a site that gets 50 visitors a day and a few comments on your blog may be fine. However, many webmasters have reported running into problems as soon as the traffic picked up, people started interacting with their site more and viewing more pages on it, as well as using interactive features such as comments and discussion forums on a site. Because of this, you need to start thinking of your options about what happens when you outgrow your shared hosting account. If you stay with the $5 a month “unlimited” hosting account you have now, you may soon realize that it wasn’t all that unlimited when your site keeps crashing all the time or your host takes you offline because you’re putting too much strain on their server. Consider getting a dedicated or VPS web hosting solution instead. It will cost a bit more, but you will also be making a lot more money from your website to compensate.

  • Make Sure That All Pages of Your Site Are Sociable

People love to share information that they found interesting, such as a blog post or article on your site. But this can also apply to pages that talk about products that you’re selling, such as sales pages. Include buttons for social media on all areas of your site, no matter what kind of content they carry. Enable comments on your blog posts and articles. Include social bookmarking options as well. And don’t forget email lists. While many people will be following you on Twitter or Facebook, this doesn’t mean that e-mail marketing is dead and doesn’t work anymore. Have an opt-in square where users can input their e-mail address and include a call to action as well. This works especially well for content pages. If a user is reading something and finds it interesting, they may be looking to get more from you later on. An opt-in link that offers access to more updates and information may work well for you.

There are a few other things that you can do to develop your online authority. Tomorrow we will take a closer look at what you can do to attract some followers and keep them interested.

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Getting the Best Deals Possible on Your Online Ads

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Getting the Best Deals Possible on Your Online Ads


Now that you know some ways that you can use to better manage your online advertising budget and keep from wasting money, here are some more methods that you can use to increase your savings even more.

  • Take advantage of coupons and vouchers

Many online ad platforms, such as Google Adwords, Facebook Ads and many other smaller ad networks offer discount codes and vouchers which give you a certain amount of advertising credit for free. In most cases, all that you would need to do is to register for the service and put in your payment information. Sometimes, you will need to deposit a small amount, such as $10 or $20 in your account and the value of the voucher will be then added to it. By taking advantage of these offers you are essentially getting free advertising that you would normally have to pay for. The offers and their value often change, so the best way for you to find available coupon codes would be to simply search for them on Google. Very often you will find the current ones posted on many sites, or instructions on how you can get them.

  • Use some of the smaller ad networks

While there are some popular ad networks such as Google Adwords, Bing and Facebook Ads, those who are interested in running pay per click or cost per impression ads will find that there are plenty of other networks out there that can provide you with good quality traffic at lower costs. Some of these could be specific to certain geographical areas or niches. To find them, you can simply do a search on Google, or visit some discussion forums related to online marketing. This will give you some additional insight from members about which companies they are using and whether they would recommend them based on the results that they got. However, be careful before spending too much money with a previously unknown company. It is better to try them out with smaller campaigns to see if the traffic is giving you the results that you were expecting and if you didn’t have any problems with their service.

  • Work out deals with other webmasters

Rather than going through an ad network, you can try working out deals with other webmasters that have sites which are related to your niche, but aren’t direct competitors. This may allow you to get some good advertising opportunities at a lower cost. It may not be so easy to achieve when you’re just starting out, but it’s definitely possible. To find these opportunities, all that you have to do is to network. Participate in online marketing discussions, as well as forums that are related to your niche. This will allow you to meet some other webmasters and you may be able to get some advertising opportunities, as well as any other services that your business might need in the future.

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More Online Marketing Mistakes You Shouldn’t Do: Part 2

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More Online Marketing Mistakes You Shouldn’t Do: Part 2


When it comes to online marketing, there are many mistakes that marketers and website owners should beware of and avoid as much as possible. Avoiding these mistakes will simply mean that you can take better advantage of all the opportunities that internet marketing has to offer you, in addition to giving you the potential to make more money from your online business, with less worries and potential problems down the road.

Here are some more of these mistakes that you would want to avoid as the owner of a business that has an online presence, no matter how big or how small:

  • Ignoring the feedback, comments and opinions from site visitors and past customers

The web has gotten to be an increasingly social place, where information is being shared not only by businesses, but also by the consumers themselves, who often give feedback and advice to others about where to shop online. Google Places, for example, allows people to leave a rating and comments regarding local businesses that are listed. Specialized websites that are built around a certain niche, for example, Trip Advisor for travel related services, have an extensive section of customer reviews and ratings of different businesses and services. And of course, let’s not forget discussion forums that are related to the niche where your business is operating in, where users frequently share advice about which businesses are the best ones and which ones should be best avoided.

All of these sites provide a very useful service to consumers, allowing them to get more information about the experiences of others before they do business with someone. If you own any kind of business, look up your name on Google to see if there are any ratings and reviews that were posted about it. This will give you the chance to see if any customers or site visitors have had problems with what you’re offering and in many cases you can give a response and invite anyone that had a problem to get in touch with you.

Regarding web forums and social media groups, it’s well worth it to register and take the time to participate a bit in them, even if there were no posts, positive or negative, about your business. Simply by being present on social sites that are related to your niche, you will increase the visibility of your business and have the potential to get some new customers, even if you don’t actively advertise on that specific website.

Also, if someone has had a problem that wasn’t resolved, it gives them the chance to contact you through the website to work something out rather than posting a negative review.

With all of these things considered, you should be aware that watching your online reputation is something very important. Since it doesn’t even take that much time to do, maybe an hour every 3 days, being on top of what is being said about your business in the online world is definitely something that you shouldn’t be skipping out on.

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Niche and Content Ideas for Info Products

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Niche and Content Ideas for Info Products


When you want to create an info product, one of the important things to think about is what exactly your product will be based on. This is the part where you will do your research on your niche and try to find one that will be right.

A good niche is one which has people interested in paying for a product that will solve a problem and answer their questions, but is specific enough to not be too saturated with other products. So for example, instead of a general product about “affiliate marketing”, you could create an info product about “Using Twitter for Affiliate Marketing”, etc.

Doing niche research will take a bit of time to complete, but it’s not a complicated task. You can use Google’s keyword tool to see search volumes and competition levels for specific keywords that are related to your niche. You can also read Yahoo Answers, blogs and discussion forums to find out the type of questions that people are asking the most often about your general niche and see if there’s a more specific, sub niche that you can exploit from that.

Also, doing niche research involves looking at the competition. Are there any other info products which target the specific niche that you are after? If so, what do they claim they offer and how much do these products cost? What can you do to make your product better than competitors and thus more appealing to buyers? These are all valid questions that you would need to ask yourself when you’re in the niche selection phase of product creation. Remember, a successful product will often be one that offers something more and actually stands out from the crowd, rather than simply being the same thing that has been done dozens of times, just under a different name.

Now that you have thought about and selected your specific niche, it is time to consider the content that you will put in your product. There are many different ways that you can deliver the content, such as in the format of an ebook, videos, interactive tutorials, audio guides, etc. Sure, some formats might be better in certain niches, but the actual content of your product is the most important part, regardless of how you will be delivering it to the buyer.

Obviously, when creating a product, having some solid knowledge and experience in the niche of your product will help out a lot. You will already have an idea of what you will want to include in your product and how you will structure the information contained in your future product. This is why it’s also recommended that you select a niche that you actually have an interest in, as it will make creating the content a lot easier and less time consuming for you. Tomorrow we will explore some further ideas on how you can put together a product that will be genuinely useful for your buyers and will have a higher chance of getting a positive reception.

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Establishing Your Blog as an Authority in Your Niche

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Establishing Your Blog as an Authority in Your Niche


If you want your blog to become popular, you may have heard that it would need to become an authority in its niche. Many bloggers and online marketers wonder how this could be accomplished. The steps to take are relatively straightforward, however they will take time to complete fully. Here’s what you can do to put your blog on the road to being a respected site in its niche:

  • Create Quality Content for Your Blog

There’s really no way around this one. Your blog, in order to be viewed as an authority and respected by both readers and search engines, must have something interesting for the readers in it. This means that the content must be original and likely to appeal to your audience. Don’t just repeat what others have said, especially if you post on topics such as news. If you post about something that’s been in the news lately, for example the controversy surrounding the SOPA act in the United States at the moment, users will want to read something original about it and not just a rewrite of what the major press outlets have said. Add information from different sources. Add your own opinion, as well as the opinions of others. Include graphics, images and videos when it becomes necessary.

  • Participate in Niche Communities

Discussion forums, other blogs, social media pages, etc. are all great places where you can get some exposure for your blog. Include a link to your blog in your profile. Include a link to your blog in your forum signature. Share your blog posts with others when others whenever possible. People who are already interested in your niche are more likely to visit your blog and follow it if they find the content to be useful and interesting to them.

  • Make References to Previous Blog Posts and Link to Other Posts as Well

Make references to other posts in your blog when appropriate. This will increase readership of your other blog pages with your visitors and can also have some very good benefits when it comes to search engine optimization. Readers are more likely to come back to your blog if they find that it provides a complete explanation of the topics covered by having links to posts that are related to the current one that they’re reading.

Linking to and referencing other blogs is also recommended. While it may seem counter productive to send traffic to other websites without making any direct profit from it, remember that this is a blog and not a landing page for a product that you’re selling. In the blogging community, it is frequent for bloggers to link, quote and reference contents on other blogs and websites. It all comes down to sharing. Other blog owners frequently look at where their traffic is coming from and they’re likely to check out your blog too. This will give you opportunities to have your content shared and possibly even get you links on blogs and related niche websites too.

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Online Reputation Management – Part 3

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Online Reputation Management – Part 3


Now that we have seen the importance of taking care of your online reputation and the way to respond to negative information, here are some more best practices to consider in order to make the job a lot easier for you and even prevent negative things about your business from being posted online in the first place.

  • Make your contact information easy to find

On your website, make your contact information such as your email address and phone number easy to locate. Avoid simply putting up a “contact us” form and give your customers various options to get in touch with you. While this may seem obvious, many online complaints about e-commerce sites are based around the fact that the contact information for a site operator is difficult to find on the site or is hidden somewhere in the terms and conditions.

  • Respond to inquiries rapidly

If you receive an email concerning a problem and you do not have time to look into the issue right away, inform the customer of this and let them know a realistic time frame regarding when you will be getting back to them. If you don’t understand what the specific problem is, ask them for more clarifications. Avoid using “scripted” emails or automatic responses, as these often give the message that you don’t care and do not want to provide personalized service. People will feel a lot more comfortable knowing that there is an actual human being that has read their message and is truly going to resolve the matter at hand.

  • Participate in industry forums

There are plenty of discussion forums online in various niches. Create an account on them and announce your presence to other members. That way, if someone is not satisfied of your customer service, they can contact you on the forum to resolve the issue, rather than making a public post about it. Furthermore, being present on online forums can give you the opportunity to interact with current and potential customers as well as business partners who might be posting questions related to your company.

  • Be present in social media sites

Even if you just create a simple page with your company description and your contact information, it can provide your customers with another avenue to contact you should something go wrong. It also provides you with a quick way to get in touch with customers who are not satisfied about something related to your business.

  • Delegate tasks if you don’t have time for them

If you run a larger business that gets many customers each day, it could be quite time consuming to keep checking on consumer advocacy sites, social networks and discussion forums regularly and respond to any posts. Therefore, you can assign this task to a worker who will be responsible for managing the customer service aspect of your online presence and who will forward any particular problems to you so that you can take action to resolve them.

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Online Reputation Management – Part 1

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Online Reputation Management – Part 1


The internet is known to be an excellent place for consumers to find out information about a company that they have done business with, or have the intention of doing so soon. This has given the rise to various websites, such as consumer advocacy sites, industry review websites, complaints boards and various discussion forums and social media groups.

Many of these sites have also become places for people who are dissatisfied with a certain company to voice their their displeasure and make it known to others. So, how do you, as a business owner, deal with this? Here is some useful advice:

  • First, conform to standards of good business practices and ethics

Whether you run a physical business, or one that is strictly online, you really need to have good relationships with your customers if you want to avoid complaints and negative information about your company appearing on various websites and blogs.

Make sure that your prices, policies and service terms are clearly indicated on your website. Provide good support and customer service and respond to inquiries in a timely manner. If someone is not happy with your company or its products, make sure that you take action and correct the situation, or at least make a genuine effort to negotiate a solution with the affected party.

Also be aware that your actions as a business can affect your corporate image very quickly. News spreads very fast in the online world. So obviously if your business is involved in things like disloyal competition, dumping toxic waste, selling weapons to dictators, well, be prepared for the fallout because the news will soon be on dozens of websites.

  • Monitor any information posted about your business regularly

This is not hard to do at all. Do a Google search for your business name, or the name of one of your products if applicable. Add the words “scam”, “ripoff”, “sucks”, “is evil”, well you get the idea,  to your name and see if you get any results. Browse social networks and see if there are any posts or discussions about your business. Check out YouTube. Search for your business or products on consumer advocacy sites like RipOffReport or ComplaintsBoard. Of course, you don’t have to do these things every single day if you don’t have the time for it, but depending on how big your business is and how many customers you have, you will need to do so regularly enough. Know that the more customers you have, the higher the probability that one of them could be unhappy, and that, even if you think you do everything well. By being aware of what is written online about your business, you will then be able to take the necessary actions to respond to it and prevent it from affecting your online reputation in a negative way.

Tomorrow we will take a look at what to do, and what not to do, if you find complaints or negative information about your business on various internet sites.

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Marketing For Local Businesses: Your Options – Media Buying Part 3

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Marketing For Local Businesses: Your Options – Media Buying Part 3


Now that you know about the kinds of ads that you can run when you buy media, let’s take a look at where you can actually place your ads. While there are plenty of places where you can place them, you will need to choose wisely so that you are able to get the maximum benefit from them. Many websites sell advertising space to cover their hosting costs and make a profit. You will often see “advertise here” or “your ad here” somewhere near the ads on the site. If you don’t, you can always contact the webmaster directly to see if you can place an ad for your business on their site.

  • Sites Often Visited By People from Your City

These could be the websites of local newspapers, TV stations, radio stations, etc. Basically any website where people that live in your city will visit. This will give you exposure to the local traffic that you want.

  • Sites Related to Your Niche

Obviously, you can’t advertise on the website of a business that offers the same thing than you. Would you ever see an ad promoting Honda cars on a Ford dealer’s website? Definitely not. But you can find websites of businesses that are related to your niche without being competitors. For example, if you run a moving company, then you could advertise on a site that people who are about to move will visit, such as real estate sites or websites that list rental properties.

  • Discussion Forums

Web forums that are related to your niche can be an excellent place to get traffic from. For example, if you sell mobile phones, placing your ad on a mobile phone discussion forum would be a great match. However, if you only do business locally, be sure to deal only with forums that have mostly local traffic, or at least that offer geo targeting for their ads, which will let you display your ads only to people who are from the area in which you do business.

Advertising Networks

When you look for places to place your ads, you will see that many websites are affiliated with an advertising distribution network such as Adbrite. The main reason is that managing advertising on a website can be quite time consuming for the webmaster, as he will have to manually put up the ads, collect payment for them, etc. This is why many websites instead sell advertising space to networks, who then resell them to advertisers.

This is also advantageous to you as an advertiser. By signing up for an advertising network, you will discover many other sites on which you can promote your business. All you would need to do is select the payment options, choose any settings such as geo targeting and then give them the ad copy you want to use. You can thus easily manage your media buying campaigns and keep track of things more efficiently.

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WHY Do People Fail In Online Business?

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WHY Do People Fail In Online Business?


They say most people who decide to build an online business end up failing. While there is no way to get the exact numbers, some estimate that over 75% of people who start an online business end up failing. Others put the numbers as high as 90%. If you are thinking of starting or expanding an online business, these numbers are not quite encouraging. They just might push you to think that there is no way to have success in the online world. Obviously, this is not true. Just like in any other business, there are some people who will do better than others.

Now the main question remains, WHY did these people actually fail. And did they really “fail” or simply gave up? Don’t believe for a second the “gurus” out there who tell you that people fail in IM because they didn’t know the “top secret success formula” that they are selling. This is simply a marketing tactic and nothing more. In the online world, there is no such thing as “lack of information”. In fact, there is plenty of information available out there, for free, to anyone that wants it. People can find free ebooks, guides, blog posts, videos, discussion forums, etc. where they can find all about online business methods, techniques and strategies. You just have to find the information and apply it.

But you have to ask yourself a question: are you an entrepreneur, or just someone looking for a quick buck. There are some differences between the two. The true entrepreneur will always look for ways to make their business achieve its goals and grow. He is willing to adapt to change and learn new ideas to make money. Someone thinking that internet marketing is about “making money fast from home” simply wants that: to make some money easily. The problem is, once they have made the money they needed this month to pay their bills or go shopping, they are happy. They stop. They don’t think of ways they can reinvest their profits to make even more money. What’s more, they don’t structure their business properly.

In the online world, diversifying your activities and having multiple backup plans available will make or break you. Bad things happen. Affiliate programs fold without paying members. Servers can crash. Products could lose their popularity, etc, etc. Someone who is actually building their online business understands that and will have multiple tools, strategies and income streams at their disposal so that they can continue operating no matter what happens. And if a project they are working on doesn’t give them the results they want, they ask themselves why. Then they apply the necessary corrections and try again, until they found something that actually works and let them achieve their goals with regards to the income they want to generate.

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