October 26

How to Get Free Press for your Software

press release

Have you heard of “any press is good press”?
It will make people aware of your product regardless if it’s any good when it times for them to buy.

Build credibility, get exposure, and more traffic to your website.  Forget about generating back links through bots and blog commenting.  It is much more effective doing it the following ways.

One of my first startup projects had its first sale from an article on a different website. How did I know? I had referral clicks recorded in my google analytics.  A press release is an announcement of an event, product, service, or discovery which is issued publicly.  It is important to have something unique or an angle to what you have to offer in a press release.

Here are some different tactics to get you free publicity:

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July 16

Present Yourself Book Review

Present Yourself cover

Authors: Kit Seeborg, Andrea Meyer

This is a book mostly about the web service Slide Share, partly about marketing yourself or business, and a bit about making slides. You can summarize it as “make slides to get leads for your business”. The book includes several case-studies but lacks specific metrics. Some sources for proof would be great, although that’s a rarity in non-scientific books.  I can recommend this to marketers and entrepreneurs however you would want to delegate slideshare tasks to a social media evangelist.

The beginning provides a good foundation of presentations and starts about defining visual data. This is key because communication is important to share your idea and mind-mapping is very essential.

The second chapter is entirely how to use Slideshare.net including how to setup your account, customizing your profile, and the features available. It is a manual or guidebook for the Slide Share service at this point. On page 33, the note on figure 2-19 displaying analytics, states it shows “actionable data”, however that is false because it’s not really actionable. You can only view it and not perform any actions with it. References could be made linking other parts of the book to show the benefits of each feature. There’s nothing contrasting why you should upload a YouTube video versus a slideshow.

Chapter 3 is better because it explains public speaking and how to use Slideshare for events. It is a more practical approach describing how to share your presentation online to reach a wider audience integrating it with social media. It also differentiates the type of events and presentations you could make.

Chapter 4 is mainly about marketing by story-telling and research to get the best content. It suggests to curate your content to stand out from the competition which is the same as doing a metasearch and compiling the content you like. Two more tools are mentioned here (Scoop.it and Pintrest) to spread the word about your slideshow.

Reading Chapter 5, on page 92, there is no reference to the provided quote from Inside View so it is difficult to believe that claim. The chapter describes how to add call-to-actions to every slideshow and how to track leads with the PRO account. This is also the chapter the has tips on making more compelling slides.

Chapter 6 on research doesn’t provide enough details to be helpful any differently than a search engine can do. It actually suggests another software tool Zipcast.

The remainder of the book reiterates more of the previous concepts but in a different manner. It focuses more about organizations instead of the individual.

I’ve heard about Slideshare before and uploaded one slideshow months ago expecting to get leads, but it barely got any views so your results may vary.

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May 15

AB Split Testing scripts for websites

split-testing

There are several big name services for split testing website and they are all services which you have to pay a monthly fee.  Would you want a script you could install on your websites that can give you metrics just for 2 pages?

This script I designed work using javascript and php.  You can have two versions of an index.php file such as index1.php and index2.php.  One of the two files is randomly rendered upon visit, a timer starts, and any time the visitor clicks a link, button, or exits the page, an entry is recorded.  This entry includes amount of time the user has been on the page and which link or button was clicked.

You can even choose to show the same page version to returning visitors which is done by a cookie.  The results page shows you two columns per day or per cumulative time with the following:

  • Click through rate
  • Total visits
  • Amount of links clicked
  • Average visit duration
  • Amount of new visitors
  • Amount of returning visitors
  • Amount of bounces


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January 15

Contacting Entrepreneurs for Marketing Advice

What comes to your mind when you think of marketing?  Spending money to advertise? During my education of marketing I can tell you that you can leverage the cost with time.  If you have more free time you can get free or very cheap marketing.

I do spend wisely and pay up when I recognize value even if it’s to educate myself.  Although a recent investment frustrated me beyond my normal threshold of average human frustration. I’ve paid an entrepreneur handsomely (over a thousand dollars) only to receive 30% practical advice and 70% suppositional stuff (praise, bragging, demos).  This guy sold me with his tactical copywriting and supremely positive attitude but left me hanging in the end or literally not responding to my questions.  Also he proposed critiquing my progress yet has not done so. (Comment if I should reveal this entrepreneur’s identity or if it’s a bad idea).

Your alternative method is to take the time to seek out people you want to learn more instead of following an ad or promo.  It’s the better route for those who have more time on their hands.  I actually hired a virtual assistant to seek out entrepreneurs for me to compiled a list, so it’s in between the two routes.  Boy am I glad at the results because it wasn’t my first virtual assistant, but definitely one who followed my instructions and communicated frequently.  (Two key things to establish with virtual assistants).

The other prospective assistant didn’t pass my qualification question.  I politely informed her that her answer was not applicable by pointing out a source of what I expected.  She refuted that her answer was more than appropriately enough because my the source (wikipedia) is inaccurate.  This is coming from a person who’s online resume states years of “assistant” experience including web HTML/CSS, yet her resume was published online on a free ad-filled domain with unformatted text spanning from edge-to-edge of the browser window.  Not to get off-topic but please do qualify any virtual assistants you might hire.

I wasn’t expecting to get responses from every entrepreneur and that’s normal, but I learned a tactic that increased my response rate to 30%.  The quickest responses were very pleasant and from wealthy entrepreneurs.  I became interested in 47hats.com because of Bob Walsh’s book on Micro-ISVs and involvement in The Micropreneur Academy.  Not only that but he has an awesome live chat tool called Snap Engage.  I took up Bob’s consultation offer and he fired away answering all my questions.

I showed him my online service to get his opinion.  First he questions the integrity, where I am the matchmaker of producer to most-fitting user.  He also  critiqued the design and the content as well.  All sound advice.  Even by reading many books, there are somethings you psychologically can’t harness on your own work.  That’s why I recommend getting consulting or at least an opinion from expert leaders.  Just remember, initially you want to offer value first otherwise you may not get a response.

December 13

Necessary Strategic Sales Objectives You Need To Know

When thinking about commerce the World Can Be Flat such as the book by Thomas Friedman.  However in sales I recommend starting to reach out for prospects locally than reach further out.  I say this because it’s likely you believe “word of mouth” is the best type of marketing.   It’s is the social proof that people follow.

Newspapers and media are the second most powerful driver of commerce at the local level.  Even though tactics work to makes sales by numbers, you as the producer will want to focus on strategy.  This is long-term thinking but if you are the “sell-and-bail” type forget about strategy.  The majority of people also think in the present for that quick and easy satisfaction.  Remember that you create rapport and loyalty with strategy which increases your customer retention. Continue reading

December 3

Why Education-Based Marketing Sells

Why use education-based marketing sells is because today just about anyone can research a product before buying it.

In the old days you had to trust the salesman because they knew most about the product and there was no access to internet.  The only resource you had is knowing someone who already bought what you wanted.

Years ago I’ve actually thought that marketing was lame and useless because whenever you had the desire to find something just search for it (google it).  A great product (or service) should sell itself, right?  But what if nobody hears about it? And how is your target audience going to find it in a massively competitive market?   So marketing is actually crucial.

Many people go about marketing the wrong way and that’s why 80% of new businesses fail.  The ones that cold call and direct mail asking people directly to buy their product/service have the lowest conversion rate and put us (consumers) in a defensive and resistant mindset even though we may benefit from what they actually have to offer.  These are tactics used by sales people only to achieve a short-term goal (buy the product).  However, at any given time  only 3% of potential buyers are buying right now.

A strategy is much more important for success, because your line of communication is more effective in reaching your target buyers.  It involves the 7% of people open to the idea of buying and possibly the 30% of people not thinking about it.  Imagine the your services is present, set up and marketed ideally (let’s take the example of Improv training in this scenario).  The 30% of people who are interested but not thinking about it, become interested because they heard about your service from a satisfied friend or saw an ad in business magazine to become a better presenter.

They decide to research your service to find a fantastic up-to-date website with students’ testimonials cheering about how they laughed more in one class than they have all week at their stressful [insert occupation here] job.  Not ready to buy they decide to sign-up for your newsletters which you send out descriptively stating anecdotes how your student Daniel Tosh moved to LA and got a TV job after taking your course.  Another letter explains how Harry became the office manager after improving his speaking skills in your class.

However, that 30% crowd is still unconvinced they should enroll yet, so you put up some video clips of class doing the Sensei game where everyone breaks up in laughter.   Okay, now that crowd wants to buy because they saw that video during their half-hour lunch break, but they don’t have time to drive to the stage and pay because of their busy schedule. Neither do they know if the class is full, but scrolling down the website, they notice a big “register” and pay button.  So they pay online and are thrilled to experience the benefits which await them.

In the end you’ve achieved success by tripling your 3% of “buy now” people to 9% or even greater.

November 19

Why You Shouldn’t Write About Your Own Product

After taking copywriting courses. I realized the true potential of marketing through copywriting. I was kind of against it because I believed it was fake and full of lies (sometimes it is). There’s even a popular book called “Marketers are Liars” by Seth Godin.

Like the 80/20 principle, the sell of a product consists of 80% marketing and 20% is the product. Think about it, when was the last time you purchased a non-necessity item, without reading about it first? I remember strictly reading the technical specifications of products and ignoring all other text during a purchase. However these were non-necessary products which didn’t satisfy the basic human desires.

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August 21

How to set up a subscriber list for newsletters using Mail Chimp

mail chimp

In this tutorial I’m going to show you how you can use Mail Chimp to mange your potential clients or fans for newsletters and marketing.  I chose Mail Chimp because it has a free limited service with “branding” but you can customize forms to make it invisible. (Click to enlarge screenshots.)  Since your subscribers will be a major portion of your traffic and leads, it is essential you establish reliable communication with them.

After you create your account and log in you’ll see the dashboard with three options.  (The address you use for your new account will appear in all email correspondence to your subscribers.)

1) Set your account defaults through the menu “Account > My Defaults”

My Defaults | MailChimp

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