New Book: "Launch- How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition"

July 13th, 2011

A few weeks ago, I wrote a 3-part Tip of the Week on Social Media. In Social Media Part 2: How Marketers are Using Social Media, I mentioned the Social Media Marketing Industry Report 2011 conducted by the Social Media Examiner.

The founder of Social Media Examiner, Michael A. Stelzner, has just written a book entitled "Launch- How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition." I'm about a third of the way through the book and I can't recommend it highly enough.

Rather than tell you what other websites have done to become successful, he takes you step-by-step through the launch and subsequent success of his own website. Michael launched Social Media Examiner as a guide to social media for small businesses. It was already a very crowded field and his company was starting from scratch. While he did have a reputation for writing  "white papers" (an authoritative guide or report), his company was virtually unknown in the social media industry.

The site was launched on October 12, 2009. Within the first 12 months of launching, Social Media Examiner went from zero subscribers to over 40,000 email subscribers, received 450,000 monthly page views, and acquired 20,000 Facebook fans. It became one of the world's top 25 business blogs, according to Advertising Age and Technorati, and was considered one of the top two social media blogs. It also earned more than a million dollars during that first year.

What I have been finding so valuable about the book is that he really gives you detailed instructions on how to approach your online business and exactly which steps he took to create the website's success.

  • Chapter 1 introduces you to his principles and what he believes is wrong with most marketing
  • Chapters 2 and 3 teach you how to put systems in place for your online business
  • Chapters 4 and 5 teach you how to find, recruit, and work with outside experts
  • Chapters 6, 7, and 8 teach you how to create engaging content
  • Finally, Chapter 9 shows you ways to employ marketing techniques without being aggressive

Karl and I feel that our job is help guide you to making your website more profitable and introduce new valuable thoughts and concepts as they appear in the ever changing World Wide Web.  This book is one of those items of value and you can download the first chapter for free.

If you do get the book (and you should), email us and let us know what you thought of it and how it helped your online business.

I receive nothing by endorsing this book- no commission, no free books, nothing at all except a good feeling knowing that I've shared something with you that I found extremely valuable.
Take care and best success,


Rick

NOTE: This post was originally distributed within the IOP Insider Tip of the Week newsletter. Subscribe by using the form at the upper-right of this page.
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See: IncreaseOnlineProfits.com for more information on Online Marketing as well as usability/accessibility, copywriting, persuasive writing, and much more...

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Easy Ways to Make Your Website More Mobile Friendly

July 11th, 2011

Have you looked at your website on a smartphone lately? Does your site download quickly? Have you tried to navigate it using your cellphone? Is it easy to fill in an online form?

Used to be that we just had to worry about these kinds of things for our visitors using their personal desktop or laptop computers. Now, it's a whole nother world.

But before you start thinking that you might have to pay thousands of dollars for a redesign, there are some simple fixes you can do to make your website more smartphone friendly.


Some Simple Fixes

  • Phone number- mouse over your phone number on your computer. If you can highlight one number at a time, your phone number is "text." If the whole number highlights, it's probably an image. You want to use text phone numbers, so that cell phone users can just click or touch the number to dial it. If it's an image they're going to have to write down or try to remember the phone number
  • Flash- if your website uses flash, all the smartphone user is going to see is a big, empty box. At this point, cell phones are not able to handle complex technologies like Flash
  • Text- make sure the text is large enough to be viewed comfortably on a mobile device
  • Page width- most mobile phones open web pages at a default view of 980 pixels wide. If your web pages are wider than that, you force users to scroll from side to side
  • Information- the less information you require your visitor to input, the better. Typing on a cellphone is still not as easy as on a full size keyboard
  • Menu buttons- make sure they're easy to find and use


Beyond Simple Fixes

Beyond these fixes, you might want to consider creating a specially designated mobile version of your current website with its own URL. A mobile friendly design has its own guidelines that need to be considered including:

  • Offering specifically targeted information. Mobile users are not usually shoppers or browsers, they want useful information quickly
  • Organizing content so the amount of scrolling is reduced
  • Minimizing the number of clicks
  • Organizing the site vertically, not horizontally as on a desktop computer
  • Reducing the number of internal links
  • Limiting the number of graphics
  • Placing the navigation lower on the page so uses don't have to toggle down to view the page


There are also online tools that can help you create a mobile version of your website:


If you haven't already started thinking about making your website mobile friendly, the time is now.  Smartphone users are here to stay and their numbers are growing.

Rick

NOTE: This post was originally distributed within the IOP Insider Tip of the Week newsletter. Subscribe by using the form at the upper-right of this page.
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See: IncreaseOnlineProfits.com for more information on Online Marketing as well as usability/accessibility, copywriting, persuasive writing, and much more...

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Google Wants Your Website to Load Quickly

July 1st, 2011

In April of last year, Google announced that it would be taking site speed into account when determining your search rankings. According to the post, "site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests."

The site speed will be determined relative to other websites and of course, Google is not giving out any information as to how it will arrive at these figures.

Their reasoning  is that users are happier when a site loads quickly. Users are also more likely to spend more time on a faster loading site.

Based on my own experience, I can certainly confirm that I will definitely leave a slow loading site, even if the information might be valuable to me. I'd rather find another website with the same information than wait for the web pages to load. Don't you feel the same way?

Google is in the business of returning relevant results for our search inquiries. If they return results that either don't match our search terms or return sites that take forever to load, we might consider using one of their competitors like Yahoo! or Bing. And if we do that, Google loses advertising revenue.

Free Tools

In this particular instance, Google, to their credit, is not just leaving us standing there empty-handed. They have suggested the following free tools that we can use to evaluate the speed of our sites. These tools also offer suggestions for improvement:


Google has also provided a list of other tools as well as articles at code.google.com/speed

I know it may seem like one more thing to deal with, but it does create a better experience for our users. And if that keeps them on our website longer and/or coming back more often, we all win, don't we?

Rick

NOTE: This post was originally distributed within the IOP Insider Tip of the Week newsletter. Subscribe by using the form at the upper-right of this page.
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See: IncreaseOnlineProfits.com for more information on Online Marketing as well as usability/accessibility, copywriting, persuasive writing, and much more...

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The Actual Purpose of Your Homepage

June 28th, 2011

What do you think is the purpose of your homepage?  Is it just to introduce your company, let visitors know what you do, make a sale, sign them up, all of the preceding or something else?

Unless your homepage is actually just a landing page or a sales letter page urging that a specific action be taken, without links to any other content, I'd like to suggest one additional and primary purpose of your homepage:

To get people off the homepage.


What I mean by this is that your homepage should make your visitor aware that there is additional important information or options for them to consider and direct them deeper into your website.

People visiting your website are coming for their own specific reasons. Unless your homepage lets them know that more targeted content that matches these reasons can be found inside your website, they'll leave. And, if they do leave, both of you lose.


Too Much Clutter

Too many homepages have cluttered designs and competing links making it next to impossible for your visitor to find the information that they're seeking. If everything on your homepage is emphasized, then nothing will be important.

Elements that contribute to a cluttered look are unnecessary animation or video, large or too many  graphical images, dense text, garish background colors, patterned backgrounds, hard-to-read fonts and headlines, to name a few.


Guidelines for Homepage Usability

Jakob Nielsen (who I've mentioned before because he's considered the one of the world's leading usability experts), created a list of 113 Design Guidelines for Homepage Usability in 2001 for ensuring homepage usability. If you read through the list, you'll see that the guidelines still hold up pretty well 9 years later. Good usability stands the test of time. It's definitely worth the read.

It's also worth testing the design of your own homepage. It's really very simple. Get a few outside people that do not know your company and have never visited your website. Instruct them to go to your homepage. Give them about 30 seconds to view your homepage (the average most 1st time visitors will stay on a homepage). Then have them answer the following questions:

  1. What does our company do?
  2. What can users do at our website?
  3. What is the purpose of the site?


Hopefully you'll hear the answers you were hoping for, maybe not.

Rick

NOTE: This post was originally distributed within the IOP Insider Tip of the Week newsletter. Subscribe by using the form at the upper-right of this page.
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See: IncreaseOnlineProfits.com for more information on Online Marketing as well as usability/accessibility, copywriting, persuasive writing, and much more...

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Mobile Websites or Mobile Apps- Comparing Apples to Oranges

June 23rd, 2011

As more and more people use their smartphones rather than their laptops and desktops to connect online, a question your company might be facing is- "Do we create a mobile website or a mobile app?" It's a debate that rages on.

My belief is that you're really comparing apples to oranges. Mobile websites and mobile apps serve two different functions. The real choice is dependent on your end goal.
If you want to offer your content to the widest audience possible then a mobile optimized version of your website makes the most sense. If you're planning to offer an interactive game, access the user's current location or camera functions, or you want to allow your users offline access to content, then a mobile app makes more sense.

Let's look at the definition of each first:

Definitions

Mobile website- a version of your regular website that is optimized for the small screens of smartphones and other mobile devices.

Mobile app- a software application that runs on smartphones and other mobile devices.

Mobile Website

While your current website can be viewed on a mobile device, it probably doesn't create the best user experience. Screen size on a desktop or laptop is typically 1024 pixels and wider, whereas the screen size on a typical mobile device is about 120 pixels in width.

This means that interactions with your website can be more difficult for the user because fewer visible options are available. It also mean that regular websites with a lot of graphics will download much more slowly. Inputting information is also much more difficult for users. A mobile version of your website is is designed with the mobile user in mind,

In an earlier tip of the week, "How to Make Your Website Mobile Friendly", there are several suggestions along with links to companies that will help you create a mobile version of your site.

The advantages of a mobile version of your website are:

  • Better user experience- interactions with your website are easier for the user improving their experience
  • Faster download speed- because your site is optimized for mobile standards, users won't have to wait as long for pages to download
  • Greater accessibility- as more people use mobile devices, your website becomes accessible from anywhere, at any time without the need for a desktop or laptop computer
  • Lower bounce rate- fewer visitors will leave a mobile optimized site than they will a regular site viewed from a mobile device
  • Scanned QR codes- when scanned with a smartphone, QR codes can direct users to your mobile landing pages
  • Lower cost-  once you design it, it will run on all platforms because your site is web-based and not reliant on the operating system of the specific smartphone
  • Instant updates- any changes you make on your mobile website are immediately available to all users

Mobile Applications

If interactive connectivity is important to you then perhaps, a mobile app is the way to go. Some advantages of  mobile apps are:

  • Access to device capabilities- a mobile app allows you to access the user's current location, camera, video, "shake" capability and other functions
  • Easy customer use- since the app sits right on the customer's phone, it's easy accessible
  • More control- you can control the way text and images are displayed
  • More advertising potential- easily push coupons and advertisements
  • Greater branding and loyalty- since the customer downloaded and installed the app, he's more likely to use it
  • No need for Internet access- Internet access through a wi-fi or 3G/4G network may not be required for customer to use your app

Some disadvantages of mobile apps are:

  • Possible rejection- depending on your content, some app stores may reject your application
  • Revenue sharing- no need to share your revenue with the app store
  • Higher cost- a specific application needs to be created for each mobile device platform- iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows, etc.

In October of 2010, emarketer.com released results of a poll conducted by Keynote Systems for Adobe which showed that for a variety of functions, mobile users prefer browsers over apps.  Here are the results:

Preference for Using a Mobile Browser vs. App for Select Shopping Tasks, Aug. 2010

Preference for Using a Mobile Browser vs. App for Accessing Select Types of Media/Entertainment Content, Aug. 2010a

Conclusion

As I said above, the question really isn't whether a mobile site or a mobile application has more or fewer advantages over the other, it's really about what your company's needs are. It really depends on your end goal.


Rick

NOTE: This post was originally distributed within the IOP Insider Tip of the Week newsletter. Subscribe by using the form at the upper-right of this page.
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See: IncreaseOnlineProfits.com for more information on Online Marketing as well as usability/accessibility, copywriting, persuasive writing, and much more...

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The Most Important Business Question You Must Answer

June 20th, 2011

This 5 word question can be the key to increasing your response rates, lifting your sales and re-charging your creative thinking. Here it is:

"What are we really selling?"

You're not selling bird feeders. You're really selling the joy that comes from seeing the beautiful colors and hearing the beautiful songs of the birds that are attracted to the yard.

You're not selling gym memberships (that's exercise and time commitment). You're really selling health and a sexy body.

A chiropractor isn't selling spinal adjustments. He or she is really selling pain relief.


Simple to Ask, Difficult to Answer

While the question, "What are we really selling?" is simple enough, it can be quite difficult to answer. It takes time, sometimes a long time to really figure it out and there are probably many correct answers.

Sit down with your staff and try to come up with as long of a list as possible. Test ads around the different ideas and see which ones resonate the best with your audience.

It might even lead you to discovering a completely different use for your product or service.


Post-it® Notes and Refrigerators

No one set out to invent Post-it® Notes. In fact, Spencer Silver, who was working in the lab at 3M in 1970, was actually trying to create a stronger adhesive. But what he came up with was super weak, not super strong.

Four years later, another 3M scientist remembered Silver's adhesive and used it to coat the markers in his church choir hymnal because they kept falling out. The adhesive kept the markers in place without damaging the pages. In 1980, Post-it® Notes were born.

Back in the 1950's most refrigerators were square, white and long-lasting. So, how do you sell more refrigerators when everyone had one?

Someone came up with the idea of selling refrigerators as "decor," producing them in decorator colors and different styles. Consequently, when people remodeled their kitchens, they now wanted refrigerators that matched.


Answering the Question is Key

To me, how well we the answer the question, "What are we really selling?" becomes the key to our business success. It can change our entire approach to marketing, packaging and selling our products and services.

Rick

NOTE: This post was originally distributed within the IOP Insider Tip of the Week newsletter. Subscribe by using the form at the upper-right of this page.
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See: IncreaseOnlineProfits.com for more information on Online Marketing as well as usability/accessibility, copywriting, persuasive writing, and much more...

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How to Increase Employee Productivity in 5 Minutes

June 16th, 2011

I read an article in the Inside Influence Report, entitled "A Great Recipe for Employee Productivity...in Five Easy Minutes." (link not available)

If you have employees, you know that some of the traditional ways to motivate them to work harder or to be more conscientious are to offer more pay or rewards such as vacations, gifts, or profit-sharing.

According to the article, Adam Grant, a scholar in the field of organizational behavior, set out to test his theory that employees sometimes don't live up to their potential because "they've lost track of the significance and meaningfulness of their own jobs."

He believed that reminding workers of the importance of what they do, would increase their productivity and cause them to be more motivated.

Using the employees in the call center of a fund raising organization, he divided them  into 3 groups:

  1. Personal Benefit- these employees read stories from other employees describing what they perceived were the personal benefits of the job including financial benefits as well as development of their own skills and knowledge
  2. Task Significance- these callers read stories from the beneficiaries of the organization who described how the scholarships they had received had a positive impact on their lives
  3. Control- this group didn't read any stories

The callers were told not to discuss or share the stories they had read with each other.

Mr. Grant then set out to compare the number of pledges earned as well as the amount of money donated between these 3 groups of callers both one week prior to the study and one month after.

Here's what they found:

  1. Personal Benefit and Control- results were almost exactly the same before and after in terms of pledges earned and money donated
  2. Task Significance- these callers earned more than twice the number of weekly pledges (from an average of 9 to average of 23) and more than twice the amount of money donated (from a weekly average of $1,288 to an average of $3,130). The difference came about primarily because these employees were now making more calls per hour than they were prior to reading the beneficiaries' stories

The "moral" of the study is that you can motivate employees by reminding them of the importance of their job to others as well as to themselves.

I've always believed that people work for more than just pay. I believed that they also wanted a pat on the back, a "job well done" compliment. I still think that's extremely important, but now I also realize it's equally important that they understand the significance of their jobs and the impact it has on the lives of their customers.

Rick

NOTE: This post was originally distributed within the IOP Insider Tip of the Week newsletter. Subscribe by using the form at the upper-right of this page.
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See: IncreaseOnlineProfits.com for more information on Online Marketing as well as usability/accessibility, copywriting, persuasive writing, and much more...

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Does the Freemium Model Make Sense for Your Business?

June 10th, 2011

"Freemium" refers to a business model in which you offer a basic version of your product or service for free, hopefully attracting a lot of users, and then offer a paid upgrade to a more advanced version. The hope is that once the "free" users sample what you're offering, they'll be more willing to pay for advanced features.

In deciding whether or not your company should offer a freemium, Freemium.org says there are 3 criteria that must be met:

  1. The free product has to be a quality product that people want- It has to have inherent value because it's what drives the business
  2. The free product must be able to be duplicated digitally- since only a small percentage of the free users typically upgrade, you want your costs of production and distribution to be as low as possible. Online distribution helps reduce these costs
  3. Your product or service must have a large reach- since only a small percentage will upgrade, you must attract a large number of users for the model to make sense

According to an article on Gigaom.com, companies that have been successful using the freemium model include Skype, Pandora, Dropbox, Evernote, Automattic and MailChimp.

While researching the freemium model for a project that Karl and I are working on, I found that some people think it's great, some feel that it only works well with certain types of products, and some feel it doesn't even deserve to be considered a business model.

However, there are 2 things that they almost all agree on:

  1. Freemium models work best with Saas businesses (software as a service), where you have a basic or lite version and then an upgrade to the full version, once they've become addicted to your software and can't live without it
  2. Only a small percentage of people (1%-4% on average) will actually pay, which is fine if you're talking about a huge number of people, and not so fine if you're not

The freemium model has actually been around for years in the form of free trials, free samples, even free admissions to events (with the hope of selling you something once you're inside).

Does giving something away for free make sense for your business? It's certainly worth considering.

Rick

NOTE: This post was originally distributed within the IOP Insider Tip of the Week newsletter. Subscribe by using the form at the upper-right of this page.
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See: IncreaseOnlineProfits.com for more information on Online Marketing as well as usability/accessibility, copywriting, persuasive writing, and much more...

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10 Tips Guaranteed to Increase Your ROI

May 30th, 2011

This morning I watched a webinar on The ROI of Conversion Optimization. It was hosted by SiteTuners, a company specializing in landing page optimization, and SeeWhy, a company that focuses on converting abandoned shopping carts into revenue.

I got a lot out of it and I'd like to share my notes with you along with some of my own thoughts::

5 Quick Tips to Increase ROI on Landing Pages

1. Make your call-to-action clear- don't clutter your landing page with unnecessary information. The tendency is to pile it on because we feel this might be our only chance with this potential customer. However, too much information can confuse him as to what you want him to do.

2. Ask for less information- I'm sure you've heard this one before. In your visitor's mind, he's weighing his need and the value of your information to him versus the hassle and time cost of filling out your form. I'm not necessarily suggesting this but think about it- how much information do you really need from your visitor for him to download an ebook or white paper? The answer is none, you can give just give him the download link. The point is to get only the information you really need to qualify the lead.

3. Cut down your text- people don't read online, they scan. Do you read paragraph text? If not, why expect that others would?

4. Keep your promises- match your landing page to your ad or keyword search term. Customers need to know that they've landed on the right page. Don't have an ad for a specific camera model and then link it to a landing page showing your entire camera inventory.

5. Make your trust visible- keep your website up to the latest quality standards (sort of like dressing for success). Use trust symbols- "We ship via UPS," "BBBOnline," "Verisign," "as seen on... (media mentions)," show your other client's logos in the B2B setting, etc. Use social proof such as reviews and testimonials- it makes your prospective customer think that if a lot of people like him are having good outcomes with your company, then it's OK to use that as a shortcut to his decision making. Keep these above the fold or scroll line.

5 Quick Tips to Recover Abandoned Sales

1. Address why they abandoned using real time email and social media messages- the #1 reason is usually price, #2 is timing, and the #3 reason for abandonment is specific to your website. Re-marketing campaigns need to be designed to address the causes of abandonment.

2. Follow up immediately- literally follow up as soon as they abandon. Send the 1st message within 1 minute-1 hour. This is to remind them that they've left the cart or form. Send the 2nd message 23 hours later. This is to reassure them of their choice before abandonment. Send a 3rd message 6 days and 23 hours later offering them a promotion of sorts (discussed below in tip #5). Of recovered carts, more than 1/2 buy within the 1st few hours and 2/3 have completed their purchase within 48 hours.

3. Get up close and personal- your message should include a visual connection to your website and details of the product abandoned. Show the same page they were on at your website. Don't distract them with other information. Address them by name, an image of the item in the cart, product descriptions, a link back to the product detail page, a link back to the cart, add social proof and personalize it very specifically.

4. Make them feel special- in your message, use a 1-800 number, an "email us" link, "try before you buy," "100% satisfaction guaranteed." Recovered shopping carts are as much as 55% larger than a straight purchase because of the brand, trust badges and timing.

5. Sweeten the deal- add a 10% discount in the 23 hour message and a 20% discount on the 6 day, 23 hour message. 10%, 20%, and 30% discounts are the most popular. Free shipping is also a popular promotion followed by free shipping with a minimum order

You always have to look at everything from your prospective customer's point of view. Just remember the type of things that turn you off or on to a website when you're the customer.

Rick

NOTE: This post was originally distributed within the IOP Insider Tip of the Week newsletter. Subscribe by using the form at the upper-right of this page. Click here for the IOP Insider Tip of the Week Archives.

See: IncreaseOnlineProfits.com for more information on Online Marketing as well as usability/accessibility, copywriting, persuasive writing, and much more...

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Getting Covered by the Influential Bloggers

May 26th, 2011

I came across this article on tips to getting coverage on influential blogs in my inbox. It's from Subhub.com, a membership software company.

The tips were short and to the point. Having an influential blogger cover your website/product/service is extremely valuable.

When Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida decided to launch the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (which included rides, shops and restaurants), they reached out to the 7 most influential Harry Potter bloggers and offered them a sneak peak during a secret webcast. Afterward, those 7 bloggers reached out to their subscribers, who also blogged and forwarded it to their subscribers, and eventually the mainstream media picked it up. At a price of thousand of dollars rather than millions of dollars, it was estimated that the news eventually reached over 350 million people worldwide.

I've decided that rather than paraphrase their tips, I would just share the article with you in its entirety:

Coverage on the most influential blogs for your niche can change your fortunes overnight.

One positive post on the likes of Techcrunch or Mashable can drive tens of thousands of people to your site.

But reaching these bloggers is not easy . . . unless you know how to do it.

Here are 12 top tips to help you get coverage:

Tip #1 - Don't Approach the Traffic Leaders, Approach the Thought Leaders

This was a top tip from Tim Ferriss, the author of the bestselling book The 4-Hour Work Week. Most people want to get talked about on the blogs with the highest traffic so they approach them directly. Trouble is there are hundreds or thousands of people trying the same thing. These top bloggers rarely respond to these unsolicited emails.

However the top bloggers regularly read other blogs to source their stories. The blogs they follow are usually listed on their site under Blogroll. The blogs are usually run by industry thought leaders or 'authorities', but they may not be as well known or have very high traffic. If you target your story to getting published on the blogs where the uber bloggers do their research you are much more likely to get coverage.

Tip #2 - Face-to-Face Contact is the Least Crowded Channel

Email, social media and Twitter has broken down the barriers between ordinary people and the 'elite'. Nothing stops me from sending a tweet to President Obama or Oprah or Stephen Fry. But will they read them. Of course not. These people get a tsunami of information and requests everyday, which rushes past their eyes like a fast flowing river.

Ironically the proliferation of all these direct communication channels has made contact much, much harder.

But, one of the upshots of social media is that face-to-face contact has become an under-utilized channel. If you can find out which events the bloggers you want to meet are attending, there is good chance you will get the opportunity to speak with them. Preferably pick small events where they are attendees, not speakers.

Tip #3 - Talk to the People Associated With the Leading Blogs, Not to the Lead Guy or Girl

The top blogs tend to be led by an individual, but run by a team. Spend time identifying the team members and build a relationship with them. They may be full-time employees, guest writers or even service providers, such as the website designer. These people are part of the inner circle who can cut through the noise to get you introduced.

Tip #4 - Prepare a Story Which is Relevant to their Audience

Most big bloggers don't care about your product, service or website. Get over it.

They want to give their readers valuable, relevant and preferably exclusive information.

If your pitch is just a description of your product, you are unlikely to get much of their time.

If your pitch is about changes in the market, emerging trends, interesting research, a case study with numbers or industry gossip you stand a much better chance of being listened to.

Tip #5 - Prepare an FAQ

Assuming you get to speak with the main man and you have had a good chat about the story you prepared, then what? They may ask you about your product or service, but probably not, so you should have something ready to give them which provides background information, some interesting facts and the answers to the most frequently asked questions.

This should be provided in a format which can be easily cut and pasted to create a good story.

Tip #6 - Position Yourself as Part of a Big Trend

The lead bloggers like reporting on big trends, so position yourself as being part of a big trend to grab their attention.

For example, when I talk to industry bloggers about SubHub (we provide a platform for publishing paid content), I always start with a discussion about the way the newspaper and magazine industries are in freefall. Bloggers love this conversation because they see themselves as being part of the evolution of publishing.

Tip #7 - Ask for an Interview

Asking one of the top bloggers for an interview probably won't work. They are inundated with requests.

However, asking to interview one of the tier two bloggers, as per Tip #1, is likely to get a positive response. It's always very flattering to be asked.

There are two reasons to do this. First it helps build a relationship with the blogger. Second when you publish the interview on your site, the blogger will probably write about it and add a link from their site. Again, this will increase the chance of other bloggers following the link to find your site.

Tip #8 - Leave Comments or be Active in their Forum

The best bloggers actively read and respond to comments made about their posts and on their forum. Become an active and valuable contributor and you are likely to get spotted. Always leave constructive and helpful comments.

The best bloggers are very good internet marketers. They keep a close eye on who is linking to their site and driving traffic to their content. If you regularly provide good quality links to their posts they will eventually find your site and thank you for your support. You'll reap what you sow!

Tip #10 - Nominate Them for an Award (and Tell Them About it!)

If you spot an award that a blogger could compete for, nominate them and then drop them an email to let them know. To ensure you are spotted run a campaign via Twitter and Facebook to get votes for them. It's a bit of a creepy thing to do, but who cares if it gets you noticed.

Tip #11 - Offer to Write Some Articles for Free

Most of the top blogs have regular guest writers.

Once you have broken the ice and started to build a relationship with the blogger, offer to write for their site for free. This will greatly strengthen the relationship

Tip #12 - Send Free Stuff

If you are launching a book, product or service, send one to the main bloggers for free.

Even if it's not something that they want or need, it is a natural human reaction to feel indebted and, at the very least, to contact you to say thank you.

Conclusion

Being mentioned on a top blog can have a greater and longer term impact on your success than being on TV or radio.

A mention on a blog is there forever; it will be linked to by other sites, re-reported and indexed by the search engines.

It is so important that it should be a key strategy in your marketing plan and you should devote time every week to building these key relationships.

Once you have broken into the inner circle of bloggers for your niche, you will be amazed at the traffic and spin-off benefits that result.

Rick

NOTE: This post was originally distributed within the IOP Insider Tip of the Week newsletter. Subscribe by using the form at the upper-right of this page. Click here for the IOP Insider Tip of the Week Archives.

See: IncreaseOnlineProfits.com for more information on Online Marketing as well as usability/accessibility, copywriting, persuasive writing, and much more...

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