What Can Dog the Bounty Hunter Teach Local Businesses?

Ever seen Dog the Bounty Hunter? He’s a Harley-looking dude in Hawaii who goes around rounding up the bad guys. But he doesn’t just round them up, he takes them down with style. Duane “Dog” Chapman and his family have turned their little bounty hunter enterprise into a full blown reality TV sensation. Since 2005 Dog has also turned up as a guest star on other popular shows as well.

Alright, enough with the show prep. What has that got to do with your local business? Well let me answer that with a question. If you live in Hawaii and need a bounty hunter who are you going to call? I’ll answer that for you, you’re going to call Dog the Bounty Hunter because he is the expert.How did he become the expert? He did it by allowing you to see what he does for a living – but more importantly he shows you how he does it.

There’s a roofer in Maryland who has achieved the same “expert” status in his community. He didn’t have a TV show though. He, like you, has YouTube. He films himself everytime he gets on a roof to make his initial inspection. He films the roof while talking about the problems he sees and the solutions required.

He’s created so many films that he’s featured prominently when you search for his local keywords. That ability to prove yourself by allowing others to see your expert knowledge creates a level of trust, appreciation and credibility. Not only that, but he uses the video when he talks to the client and proves to them he understands their problems and necessary solutions.

Become the Dog of  your community. Plan your work and turn it into a marketing and teaching moment. You’ll revel in the appreciation your local community shows and accomplish your marketing activities while you’re getting your work done.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The Structure of Social Media for Small Business

Structuring your social media platform as a business gives you an opportunity not available to a consultant or sole proprietorship. While I spend a good deal of the time branding my own image, a company has the option of allowing it’s “employee faces” to brand themselves as employees or to make the “employee faces” anonymous giving all the credit to the company.

Does your company website make sense?

So you’ve got a website and you’re proud of it. In fact, many of you were probably excited to tell people once it was up and going.  I’ve got some questions for you. What is it for? What does it do? How do people find it? How do people use it? Do you know the answers to any of these questions?

Community Building Extras

I decided to go to BlogWorldExpo this year. I have had this impression that it’s just enormous with tons of vendor booths and people wandering this way and that. I just imagine being somewhat lost in this sea of people.

And then I was looking at the sessions “grid” and there seem to be 10 different ones going on every hour. Holy Moly! I better bring a friend. Honestly, can you really make friends at something so huge?

And then. . . I got a card in the mail. I got a handwritten card from one of the organizers. I can’t even get my friends and family to send handwritten Christmas cards. I immediately took a picture of it, uploaded it to Instagram and thanked them the for the card using the BlogWorldExpo hash tag.

Guess what? They replied and said they looked forward to seeing me. Hmmm. . . What a simple gesture that made me feel so welcome. I certainly wasn’t expecting a handwritten letter from this “giant” event.
<h2>Examples of Community Building Extras</h2>
Sending physical notes is hard if you don’t have your audience’s addresses. But don’t let that stop you. I have learned time and time again that even the small gesture of welcoming people to your audience is appreciated. At FreeWeeklyMastermind.com we welcome each person as they press the “join” button and have gotten many emails of appreciation because of it. Small isn’t bad.

When teleseminar coach Cyndi Dawson speaks she brings something special for those of her community members who happen to be at the event. And at the NAMS event in Atlanta I know Lynn Terry holds a dinner for her elite community members. Those are great community building gestures.

From the big business side of the world, Choice Hotels (the Comfort Inn / Sleep Inn folks) have little gift bags at the front desk for their frequent stay card holders. I believe the last one I got had an apple and a bottle of water in it. Simple, but most appreciated.

So what kinds of things can you do for your audience that will set you apart?

  • Open up a teleseminar line once/month for your community to call, chat or ask questions.
  • Take pictures with your fans in person. Upload and tag them on Facebook.
  • Friend your community members on other networks and initiate conversations.
  • Write an ebook and give your audience pre-publication access in exchange for comments and feedback. If you get their name and address in that process, send a real thank you note.
  • Send out TweetUp notices when you travel and invite your community members to come out and meet you. Do that in your own city too.
  • When you create products, give long-term community members an extra 10% affiliate commission

Got some other ideas of ways to reward your community? To praise your community? To serve your community? Share them with us.

Dan R Morris

Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 1.00.38 AM
Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 1.01.02 AM
Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 1.00.51 AM

 

Are You An Advanced Level Blogger (1)

What level of expertise would you say you have achieved in your blogging career, and how do you measure that for yourself? If you’re not a beginner, are you an advanced level blogger? And what would you have to know to consider yourself an expert?

I’ve put together this list of activities that I’d consider to be evidence of an “advanced blogger”. I’ll add the caveat that there are highly successful bloggers who don’t do all these things. Choosing which activities to do from day to day is a sign you know your business well; knowing which activities fit is the “advanced” part. It’s not important as a professional blogger that you know how to do everything, but familiarity is good insurance against poor consultants and bad advice.

So let’s start with the first thing you do as a blogger:

Website Creation
Can you get a website up and going, whether WordPress, Joomla, HTML or otherwise? Do the terms nameservers, hosting and 301 redirects leave you at ease or cringing? Can you upload a site via your cPanel File Manager or by using a utility like FileZilla? Do you know what to change, if you upload using Fantastico,  to secure it from hackers and malware? Are you familiar with the process of adding a subdomain or redirecting a different domain name to your site? Finally, have you customized your .htaccess file to protect your site the way you want, not the default?

Writing Code
Oooh. . . code is scary isn’t it? With utilities like Windows LiveWriter you don’t really have to know any code, but it sure is handy to know how to do a handful of things – and perhaps how to fix some easy, common problems. For some bloggers who outsource coding, knowing how to do it isn’t important. But knowing how gives you great insight into what things should cost  so you never have to accept a high bid.

First of all, are you able to make your posts look like you envision them? I would consider bold, ordered bullets, h1 tags, tables and images to be beginner stuff, do you agree? Can you do the hard stuff like changing the global font in your site? Are there things like centering photos, creating Johnson Boxes and eschewing photos that you just can’t do? How about customizing WordPress themes or knowing when you should hardcode a plug-in instead of uploading it? Do you know how to add hard coded “hooks”, change the header or modify links in the sidebar?

If you’ve doneall these things, you’re on your way to expert status for sure.

Money
Are you making money from lots of different sources like speeches, Adsense, affiliate income, membership site dues, Kindle books, mobile apps, in-text ads, coupon prints and even physical products?

Do you understand your site’s money map? From your AdSense account you probably know which ad in your sidebar or on your post pages generate the most income. But do you know which kinds of ads (Adsense, affiliate, or even email opt-ins) in those positions make the most money? Are you A/B testing ads using an adserver or Google Website Optimizer? If someone asked to advertise on your site, do you know what each position is worth in the private marketplace?

With AdSense have you optimized your campaign testing ad sizes, locations and font colors? Have you been to an “AdSense in the City” event to have Google look over your campaign? And do you have the necessary channels set-up to really understand which ads are making you money? Do you know which pages on your site are optimized for “commercial keywords” and which are not? And have you tested whether internal ads make more sense on non-commercial pages than pay-per-click ads?

Have you attracted the attention of Sponsors or better yet gone after the ones you really want? Have you put together a long term contract with a Sponsor that benefits you, them and your audience? Are you finding others requesting Sponsored Posts or advertising opportunities from you? For that matter, do you have a Media Kit easily accessible to those searching?

Are you monetizing everything? For instance did you make sure to change the “powered by Thesis” language in your blog footer into your affiliate link? Are you doing the same thing with your emails where it says “Powered by Feedblitz”? Are you using redirects for your affiliate links in case the affiliate changes something or you get a better offer? Are you using a plug-in like Alinks that automatically turn your main keywords into in-text affiliate links automatically (even in blog comments)?

Part 2
I would consider all these things to be the assets of an “advanced blogging” mind, but that’s not it. In Part 2 we will be discussing “Advanced Level” SEO concepts, how great bloggers are contacting their audiences, and how they’re thinking through their content strategy. And in the final chapter we’ll explore the tasks necessary to becoming an expert in your field, advanced steps to traffic generation and how to use tracking tools to make big moves.

Dan R Morris

Are You An Advanced Level Blogger (2)

There’s a huge difference between a blogging hobbyist and a professional. While some bloggers seem to have defied the odds and have stuck to WordPress.com, TypePad or Blogger, the rest of us have taken on the challenge of a self-hosted, totally controlled site. But even some beginners start that way. So how do you know when you’ve broken free of the “beginner mold” and are truly advanced?

In the first of this 3-part series, I offered up some of the more advanced knowledge activities associated with website creation, writing code and monetizing a site. In this episode, let’s discuss SEO, audience contact and content strategy.

SEO
Organic traffic is one of the best converting sources when you’re optimized for the correct keywords. No matter your niche, there are people out there looking for exactly what you’re offering. The key is to place yourself directly in their way when they’re searching for it.

The focus is choosing the right keywords. Are you using Google AdWords to test your messaging to determine which keywords convert for you best? Have you tried analyzing written survey responses to look for common phrases used by your audience? Are you using a great keyword tool to find keywords that have a good amount of search volume, but little competition? And did you know that Google’s Keyword Tool is not what you’ve been told.

SEO is different for each search engine, beyond titles and tags and placement, are you doing what’s necessary to get your videos ranked on YouTube, podcasts ranked in iTunes, and your boards ranked on Pinterest? Are you using Google’s Contextual Targeting Tool to determine which related keywords to get ranked for, bolstering your main keywords?

For keywords that are bringing you the most relevant traffic, are you optimized for more than one page in the search results? Have you dominated those keywords by getting YouTube videos, slideshare presentations and podcasts into the search results as well? Have you written guest blog posts that are optimized for your best keywords? Only when you dominate the top 10 for your best keywords are you assured great traffic.

Email and RSS
Are you giving your audience a reason to join your email list? Have you tested different opt-in forms and opt-in incentives? And once you found the perfect ebook or language that inspires your audience to sign-up, have you tested the location and color and font till you found a winner?

Are you using an autoresponder or managed RSS system to contact your community, instead of relying on RSS alone? Are you able to segment your lists by their desires and send them targeted messages? Does your system give you the option to send mass email blasts as well? Have you built in automation rules that unsubscribe members from one list as they add themselves to another?

Are you looking in the “Campaigns” section of Google Analytics for your Feedburner stats? Are you actively following your open rate to determine what kinds of subject lines your audience pays attention to? Are you following up with those that opened your first email with another one of value? And are you resending your messages with changed subject lines to those that didn’t open the first one?

Are these decisions you’ve consciously made?

Content
Have you mapped out the steps that your audience needs to follow to attain their goals and are you leading them from step to step? Does your content also teach them the process and lead them to what you’re offering next? Does your audience know what your next blog post is going to be about before you write it? Do you know what you’re going to be talking about three months from now and are you already starting to plant the seed of that topic’s importance?

With a marketing plan in hand, are you writing the content now that you’re going to need when life gets really busy (like during the holidays)? Have you started creating the images necessary to create great Pinterest boards when the time comes? And have you determined if your audience would occasionally prefer a podcast or a video or just images?

Are you repurposing your content into ebooks, videos, downloadable printables? Are you then loading up your ebooks to Amazon, Google Reader and Kindle to reach a wider audience? Are you turning your great content into powerpoint presentations and putting it on Slideshare? How about repurposing your images for Pinterest, Flickr, Tumblr, Stumbleupon and Infographics?

Are you recording and transcribing interviews, podcasts and videos and turning them into blog posts, emails and other written assets? Have you turned your content into a real book that can be found on Amazon? Are you turning your blog photos into videos with Animoto?

The question is . . . is your content on purpose?

3 Part Series
I would consider all these things to be the assets of an “advanced blogging” mind, but that’s not it. There are still a few parts of a professional blogging outfit that we haven’t discussed. In our final chapter, we’ll talk about becoming the expert in your niche, how to use tracking tools effectively and driving traffic from many different sources.

Go back to Part 1 of Are you an “Advanced Level” blogger?

Dan R Morris

Are You An Advanced Level Blogger (3)

advanced-level-blogger-3Tracking

Tracking is what separates the hobbyist from the professional. With Google Analytics alone you can know where your traffic comes from, which keywords consistently bring traffic, where that traffic goes and you can know which buttons on your site your traffic doesn’t care about. Imagine that!

And that’s just Google Analytics. There are many great ways to track what’s working and what isn’t in your business.

As far as tracking goes, are you using trackable urls in your emails, pamphlets and .pdf’s to help determine their effectiveness? Are you tracking origin sources, such as keywords, which are creating sales? Did you know that you can use the Google Analytics Goals feature to see exactly how people get to specific pages on your site? And you can see what happens when they leave.

Are you tracking your email open rate and sending a second email to all the people who didn’t open it the first time? Are you able to watch your site rise in the rankings for your intended keywords? And did you know Google provides evidence of their tracking efforts to tell you which keywords directly support your main ones?

Are you putting filters in your analytics services so they don’t track when you’re looking at your own site? When you change something on your site, are you flagging that date in Analytics so you when something you changed actually worked? Did you know you could track pretty much everything including phone numbers, contact forms and even how the on-site activity of your first time visitors is different than your regulars? Knowledge is golden.

Expert Status

Click-and-Clack became auto repair experts through a syndicated radio program that pretty much ran on Saturday afternoons across America. Think of an industry, can you name that industry’s experts? Or even just one?

Seth Godin became a blogging expert  with a book. Lance Armstrong became an expert with a race. My folks became experts on front porches because you’re hard pressed to search for any front porch related keyword and not find them. And Dr. Phil became an expert because he was a guest on someone else’s show.

What are you doing to prove to the world that you’re an expert? Have you interviewed the other experts in your field? Are you proactively looking for guest blogging opportunities in your niche? Do you have a podcast, a mastermind group, or a syndicated column? Are you providing weekly information to your local news or run a forum known in your niche?

Check the “topics” in Klout and the “lists” in Twitter. Both might seem hokey, but if you look at the experts in your industry, their lists and topics reflect accurately what they’re known for. If you’re a landscaper and you seem to be mainly listed on Fantasy Football lists, perhaps you’re not sharing your knowledge as much as you should be in your quest to become an industry expert.

Traffic

Traffic is the holy grail isn’t it? The key to massive traffic is leveraging lots of small sources of traffic to build up to large sources of traffic. Do you dominate lots of small keywords in your niche? Going after small keywords means less work dominating them. And once you’re on the first page of the search results you start getting comments, forum posts, and social media mentions. All good stuff.

Are you also writing the posts necessary to support and bolster your efforts with bigger traffic numbers? Have you completed a keyword theme map and are you working the plan? There’s nothing like thinking about your traffic generation plan ahead of time and putting it on paper. Have you completed and executed a marketing calendar complete with a hashtag schedule, editorial and holiday calendar?

Once you’ve determined which keywords are working for you, have you started dominating other properties with those keywords? Have you created YouTube videos, uploaded images, created Sllideshare presentations, joined forums, and started writing guest posts to drive traffic?

Google traffic is great but it can fluctuate. Make sure you’re looking for other “non-Google “sources to maximize your traffic. And if you’re doing keywords make sure you’re concentrating on both evergreen keywords and seasonal ones. Meet your audience where they are searching and they will find you.

3 Part Series

I would consider all these things to be the assets of an “advanced blogging” mind, but that’s not it. In all three parts, we’ve discussed some of the activities that should be considered once you’ve moved past “hobby” and into a professional role.

Click here to read on in Part 1 of Are you an “Advanced Level” blogger?
Click here to read on in Part 2 of Are you an “Advanced Level” blogger?

Dan R Morris

How to prove your ideas will work

Got an idea you want to try, but you’re just not sure? How about an e-book you want to write? (or read why you shouldn’t write an ebook) How about trying to figure out what product or video to make or sell? Or even something simple like which photo to use on a post.

1. How to pick a photo for your blog post

So you make the green bean casserole, get the camera out, put the red linen underneath it, wait for the perfect sunlight. and shoot 26 pictures in 3 minutes. (It would have taken you 13 seconds, but that one crunchy onion didn’t look right). So which one do you use now? The landscape one? The portrait one? The one with the glistening green bean?

With Pinterest, you don’t really have to choose. Well it’s best that you slap one of the images on there temporarily while you figure it out. Take the rest of the images and load them up to Pinterest. Edit the link to go to your one post and see which one gets the most repins. Then replace the image in your post with the winner.

2. How to prove your video idea before filming it

There’s more video being uploaded to YouTube every hour than there is video in the Smithsonian. Which means if you have a good idea for a video, someone else probably already made one. Scour YouTube for something similar and look at the “likes”. Then right below the “likes” there’s a stat button. See if it caught on right away or if it took a while. Somewhere in the middle is validation that you have a good idea.

3. Presell a book, video, product. . . doesn’t matter

Before you even write the book, create the printable, schedule the webinar or build the class, pre-sell it! Ever see the option to buy a “Lord of the Rings DVD” before it even comes out? Yeah, that works. Not only can you gauge interest but you get paid to create the product.

4. Sell someone else’s

Got an idea for a product? Find someone else’s product and start selling that. Whether it’s an affiliate through clickbank or through Amazon, it doesn’t matter. If you can find evidence that your audience is buying someone else’s product from you, then wait no longer. Make it and replace the product in the exact sales funnel you had created for the first one.

5. Create your FAQ Page

Want to make sure you’re putting the right questions on your FAQ page? Well first of all scour all your emails for the topic and find out what people have been asking you to date. Then go to WikiAnswers.com and YahooAnswers.com and see what questions the general public is asking the general public. Scours those for themes and you’ll have the best FAQ page on the block.

prove-your-idea

6. People who bought this also bought. . .

Amazon has a pretty stout recommendation engine. Based on all the things people buy, Amazon is able to tell you what you might want to buy since you’re buying that. For example if your buying a Raw Foods Diet book, Amazon will suggest you might also like a Zyliss vegetable slicer. So look at all the things you promote and see what Amazon says people will also buy. Steal that knowledge and start recommending the related products as well.

If they’re going to give us the information, we might as well use it.

Dan R Morris is the founder of LettersFromDan.com, a website dedicated to improving your revenue stream from online efforts. Dan is an infomercial producer, niche website owner, product developer, author and Mastermind leader. Dan actively encourages marketers to take that extra step so that “Hope” doesn’t become the marketing plan.

Purposefully Attending Live Events

So the topic that I seem to be talking about most this week is events. No matter what niche you’re in, there are only three kinds of events:

1. The kind you attend
2. The kind you organize
3. The kind you sponsor

That’s it.

Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 11.54.59 AM

The question I’ve been discussing is are they worthwhile?

Attendees:

To start, if you do not know how your customers will benefit by you going, don’t go. For instance if a good portion of the event is about vlogging, but you don’t see any time in your immediate future to start a vlogging venture for them, don’t go for that reason. That kind of information can be attained when you actually do need it.

That doesn’t mean don’t go. Just think strategically. How can going benefit you now?

Then look for joint venture opportunities. Are there people in attendance that you’d love to work with and form some sort of collaborative project? Can you think of a project that would pay for your attendance?

Finally think about asset production. Can you do testimonial videos? Can you get your photo made with others in your industry? Can you interview someone while you’re there for inclusion in a product?

If you can justify the cost with one of those three, everything else is icing on the cake. But the filter should be. . . how is this going to benefit my audience?

Organizers:

Live Events should never be the ultimate final “product”. They should be an entry point into your business for some of your audience and a learning/networking opportunity for others.

Ultimately, a live event is a showcase of what you have to offer your market. A good portion of your live event content should be a preview of what’s to come. Speaking still of podcasting, if you offer a podcasting session, let it be the place people can sign up for your podcasting series coming up in the next month. (If people chose the session already, then they must be interested) .

The next live event should not only be planned but flyers ready and in hand. Customer acquisition is a huge time and money expense, with people already there – don’t lose the momentum. Offer a great deal and a giveaway drawing to those that registered for the next event (live or not). And that doesn’t have to be the next live event – just make sure you’re “snowballing” your audience into the next thing each chance you get.

Continually think “this is an entry point” and plan around that paradigm.

Sponsors:

What a great opportunity to become “human” in your marketplace. First and foremost be available to answer every question that’s asked of you. If you can, record every question and answer and offer it to your community as a podcast after. But if you can’t make sure to take notes while answering so you can turn them into blog posts and FAQ’s.

Which brings me to the role of Sponsors at events. Your first question should be “What will I have 6 months after the event has completed?” What long term value does the organizer give me? AND more importantly what can I create for myself?

Think about all the testimonial videos you can do with attendees who use your products and services, think about the product shots with users, the interviews for YouTube. . . Think about getting feedback on book covers and project ideas. . . Think about tagging new friends on Facebook. . . videos you’ll need 6 months from now. . . and challenges you can initiate with attendees that will last 30 – 90 days.

Sponsoring may get your name on the Marquee, but it’s the value you personally make by being there that will determine the long term success or failure. Just because the organizer promises value, doesn’t mean you don’t have a responsibility to create your own as well.

Sponsoring should be your entry point to accomplishing 60 other things. Not the end game for $600.

**************************

Dan R Morris

This post was originally posted on SavvyBlogging.net

Should Community Building Start with RSS or Email?

So should you offer an RSS Service to your readers? Collect Email? Collect Phone? Or spend your time pushing “likes”, “pins” and “follows”? Well. . .

Our job is to make our audiences smarter, better, happier. We create and distribute information and entertainment. But our ability to provide value to our readers is hampered by our ability to reach them.

Thus one of our primary goals is to collect contact information of those interested in our solutions, so that we can provide this value over and over and over.

Bad Behavior has blocked 2501 access attempts in the last 7 days.