Social Media Turnkey Solutions

Here is where you will find discussions about Plug-N-Play solutions to your Internet Marketing objectives.

Stop Selling Me Please!!!

Target MarketAre you like so tired of being sold?  I am!!!  It seems every time I turn around, someone is trying to sell me something!  The energy and creativity that goes into “convincing” people to buy, buy, buy, buy… is exhaustive!  I wonder why businesses spend so much time, effort and money trying to sell someone to buy.

 
Think about the last time you decided you needed or wanted something.  Perhaps you were in the market to purchase a computer, or a mobile device or a new pair of shoes.  Once you made a decision that you “needed” or “wanted” to make that purchase, a mindset drove the process. 
 
When I am ready to make a purchase, the cost of such purchase will determine how much “research” and “fact finding” I might invest prior to making the purchase.  My higher cost purchases are usually accompanied by a slight level of anxiety, which undoubtedly comes from fear and or doubt on making the best decision. Small purchases are rarely contemplated long enough to analyze.
 
The one thing in common with both the high cost purchase and the incidental, low cost purchases, is that once the decision was made to make the purchase, no one really needed to sell me, convince me nor cajole me!  Evidence of facts was necessary in the high cost purchase, but evidence and facts are not “sales” pitches!
 
Growing the customer base of your business, or increasing sales, begins with understanding your target market.  Who is your target market?  Who needs or wants your product?  Who benefits from making the purchase?
 
Are you spending marketing dollars selling?  How well does your business communicate the benefits and features of the products you offer?  How much time does your business spend evaluating the target market for the products you offer?  Do you know the who, what where and how of your target market?  Are the male or female? How old are they?  Where does your target market live?  Where are they looking for their next purchase?  Are they looking in the weekly circular, the junk mail, Facebook, Google? 
 
While we help businesses develop and grow a true online presence, the first thing we coach business owners to review is the topic of target market.  Online marketing is advertising, whether it is a website, a Facebook mini website or a mobile site.  The design and message of those sites yield higher profits when the marketing message is actually targeted to a specific group of people.  It absolutely amazes me when I ask a business “Who is your target market?” and the answer I receive is “everyone”. 
 
The truth is you cannot aim, if you do not have a target.  How can you develop a marketing message, if you don’t truly know your target audience?  The absence of identifying a target market translates to your dollars and resources being wasted.  The lack of a target market translates to marketing without a plan in place.  Most would agree that you would not build a house without a blueprint.  I see so many ads that are selling (yelling), and so often I can’t even figure out what the business is actually offering.
 
A solid business plan requires the evaluation of identifying the target market.  Spend some time identifying your offer and relating it to your target audience.  Identify “Who”, “What”, “Where”, “How”:
 
“Who” benefits from what you are offering.
“What” does your target market need?
“Where” does your target market spend live or spend time?
“How” can your product benefit your target market? 
 
If you are not sure of some of the answers, engage your current audience.  Have some fun.  Ask and poll your existing audience.  Find out what they need or want, and design your message and offer to fill those needs.  The marketing message is then designed around the benefit. 
 
It is possible that target audiences may vary depending on product offering and benefits.  The more you clearly define the answers to these questions, the more effective the target message.
 
Next, develop a blueprinted campaign of delivering the message.  A one shot wonder will never serve your business and will just waste your time and money.  Based on your research, choose the best suited mediums to broadcast your message.  It may surprise many businesses to know that the internet is only part of the process.  It truly depends on where your target audience is looking.
 
Stop selling and start marketing.  Marketing begins with knowing your target audience.  Before you place another ad in the local paper, or create a Facebook ad or pay per click ad, evaluate your product, identify the benefits and speak to your target audience.  Aiming at the appropriate target market helps your business build “like”, “know” and “trust”, and that will lead to building brand, relationships and ultimately referrals.  Wishing you a prosperous and successful 2012   –Many Blessings

First Impressions of Google+

A real sneak peak to the features of Google+

Thanks to my mentor Mari Smith, I have been invited to participate in the Google+ Project beta.  I got access over the weekend, and for the most part, I have to say I think Google has created an excellent sharing and collaborating platform… something functional, sensible and very useful to anyone, whether for personal use or business.

So, just what is Google+?  First it is a project not a product and was termed that way in the effort to make Google more social.  The design of Google+ is to create a platform that more closely mirrors how people interact and share information.

A first look at what Google has created in my humble opinion of course, is brilliant!  A break down on the lingo is always first at hand.

Google+ is pronounced Google Plus.  While Google+ is still in beta testing, they are continuing to roll out the platform to additional users.  The first thing you will need to have access to Google+ is a Google account.  Once signed into your Google account, here is what you will see:  

Notice the grayish black tool bar.  Again, only if you are signed in to Google the toolbar will be displayed.  On the far left side of that tool bar, you will either see +Web or +YourName as you see above where it says +Christine.  Once Google has opened the invitation to you, you will see your name.

What can we do inside Google+… I think it’s pretty cool, but then again, I am a geek at heart, even if I am a social geek.  Some of the first features to look at are “Circles”, “Hangouts”, “Huddles” and more.

The first thing you will want to do with Google+ is set up your profile. 
I had my Google profile set up prior to using Google+ so I can’t be sure what first screen you will see.

Navigating the waters…

The top navigation bar provides access to the different features of Google+
 

Getting to your Profile…

Click on the Profile button from the top navigation and then click the “Edit Profile” blue button on the right.

Make sure to fill out as much information as possible, having a professional, informative profile for others to read is key in social media.  When finished, click on ‘Done Editing’ at the top of screen.

Google+ has some really cool features…

Let’s dive right in, and checkout the “Circles” feature.

Circles are where you add your contacts, i.e. friends, family, co-workers, alumni etc to a specific circle. From the top navigation bar, click on the last icon to access the Circles feature. Take a look below:

 

Let’s move on to the “Hangouts” Feature…

Okay SKYPE watch out, because I personally think this is a very cool feature for anyone to use.  So what is the Hangouts feature? 

It is a way to “hangout” with friends online in the same video chat room.  If you are familiar with online chat rooms, the concept is the same, but Google+ now adds video.

So if you are out surfing the internet, you can invite your friends to join you in an online hangout room.  I’m still learning all the details about the Hangouts feature, but from what I know, you can text chat, as well as even watch a YouTube video together! 

I had no good screen shots for Hangouts yet, as many of my friends are not on  Google+.  I will be adding more screen shots and how to’s as my Google+ network grows.

What I commend Google on this feature is the simplicity of use.  On first appearances, it looks very simple and intuitive to use—something I know my non-geeky friends and family will really appreciate.

The “Huddle” Feature….

Google+ Mobile App has some really great features.  The “Huddle” feature is part of the Google+ Mobile App.  It doesn’t get any better than this… I mean Google really did think about this project from a broad perspective, and if you use text messages to communicate with your friends and family, as well as it use it to coordinate events and outings, you are so going to love this…again SIMPLE to use feature.  Pictures do paint 1000 words…check it out:

So clearly, if you are trying to make plans with your friends and all of you have Google accounts and have a public profiles setup, once Google+ is rolled out, you can start a “Huddle”, which is literally a group text chat with friends through your mobile device.

The “Huddle” feature does not show on the desktop, rather, there is a link on the right sidebar menu “Get Google+ for your mobile device”.

 Some important notes about the Google+ Mobile App features are:

  • Full Application is available for the Android (2.1) and a Native app for  iPhone (iOS 4+) is coming soon.
  • A scaled down version of the Google+ Mobile App called “Web App” is available for Android (1.5+) or Apple  (iOS 3+) phones.
  • A limited version of the Google+ Mobile App is called the “Basic Web App” is available to Blackberry 6.0, Nokia/Symbian and Windows Mobile.
  • The feature chart below shows what features are available in each version of the application

I have a BlackBerry Storm2 – so I cannot speak first hand on the Android app.  The Android app seems to have all the features of the Google+ app (what a surprise).  Some other features of the app include “Nearby stream” which means you can see all the activity of people who have shared their activities that are nearby your current location.  You can Check in to places, make posts and instantly upload photos from your mobile device to a private photo album on Google+. 

What is “Sparks”

“Sparks” is the next feature I think is really great on Google+.  This feature allows you to search and save topics of interest, and save them by category (topic).  Sparks provides the latest web content on the topic searched.  Take a look at the screen shot:

In this example, I clicked on Sparks on the left sidebar menu, then typed in my topic and then hit the search button.  After reviewing the search results, I can choose to click on the Add Interest button to save this interest topic to my Sparks menu.

Now I can easily navigate to those topics of interest.  If I change my mind, I just hover by the topic until the x appears and click the x to delete.

I can also decide to share my findings.

The Share button appears below each item returned in my Sparks search.  Once I click on Share, I have the opportunity to make a comment about the content and then can even select what Circles I want to share this content.  Awesome!

These are just some of the high level features of Google+.  I really think Google has done an outstanding job and I can’t wait for more of my friends and colleagues to have access to this great project.  I will certainly keep you posted as I learn more!!!

Thanks for stopping by my blog, I hope this information was helpful.  My business is all about serving you! –Many Blessings
 

QR Codes – Cutting Edge Advertising Technology

You've seen them in store windows, on restaurant tables and a growing number of businesses are posting them all over their merchandise. 

And you will see a growing number of people with Smart Phones taking pictures of QR Codes every day. 

So what the heck are these QR Codes, and why do they look like a cross between a barcode and a maze to run a mouse through?!

Watch this and learn:

 

Here are just a few QR Code ideas you could use…
 

    * Put them on your business cards. It's an excellent conversation starter! Most will say they never heard of it, and ask you for details. Once they see the power of QR Codes they'll be asking YOU how to get started!

    * Give away or sell song downloads for your band! Single songs, or entire CDs!

    * Give away or sell your apps – example: iphone apps- user scans code and is taken toiTunes to purchase!

    * Print QR Codes on fliers or other material for your business or your offline clients. You're the EXPERT in their eyes – because you know something they don't – you know about QR Codes!

    * Coupons are an excellent way to offer both offline and online rewards and discounts. Make QR Codes with exclusive coupons or discounts!

    *  Make a QR Code to an online map to your business and customers will find you with ease. You can easily do this with Google maps!

We like keeping our readers and customers up to date with the latest and greatest tools and cutting edge technology so:

You can get this technology in the form of a WordPress Plugin here: WP QR Codes

Or if your site isn't WordPress based (it should be) then use our page here: Online QR Code Creator

Try out all 6 QR Code options!