In a private Facebook group, I noticed a lot of people were looking for a tech person to work with. So, I introduced myself. Upon returning to check on the status, I saw a post at the very top of the wall from a guy who also introduced himself as a coder. Now, I'm not that naive to think I am the only geek in a group. There are probably many people better at tech than me in any group. What gave me pause was, why this guy's introduction got so many responses when mine hardly went noticed. A horrifying thought flashed through my mind. It couldn't be true. Did he get more attention because he's… a man? Maybe you have experienced something similar. Something that made you stop to wonder if you didn't win the bid, secure that client or get that exposure because you are a woman. Then, you look around and it looks like all the top dogs are men. Of course it depends on the industry you are in but I'm here to tell you, even in seemingly male-centric arenas, there are plenty of women quietly making serious coin. Sometimes, we aren't seeing the ladies because women simply aren't vocal about their successes. And, when we toot our own horn, we often express it in an entirely different manner. For us, being able to support our families and being there when the kids get off the bus mean a whole lot more than 'crushing it' or making a million dollars in 24 hours. I'm not saying women don't strive for that. I'd love to make that kind of money any day. It's just, our goals are often more immediate and realistic. That is why it's always refreshing to hear stories about real women and how they broke through the barriers. If you need a little inspiration from authentic women just like you, head on over to SoloMasterminds. They are bragging on three ladies who turned their wildest dreams into reality while juggling homework, laundry, whiny children, soccer practices and meal plans. As for that little incident I told you about earlier, after giving it more thought, I decided it had nothing to do with gender nor discrimination of any kind. There were plenty of logical and probably more accurate explanations like the timing of our posts and how quickly my post got buried under a flurry of activity. What I learned that week - focus on being awesome instead of speculating about something that may not be true because when working for yourself, there is no glass ceiling. Especially with an Internet business. Don't take my word for it. Check out the three case studies and let those women tell you their story. --- BIO --- Lynette Chandler helps small businesses leverage technology in their marketing. She is also the resident tech expert at SoloMasterminds and credits it for helping to turn her business around. Lynette would love to connect with you in this special community and invites you to come check it out.
You’ve got your Google Places listing all set up and you know it’s steering some traffic your way. You are grateful for the free marketing but how can you get more out of this powerful tool? For starters, consider some statistics regarding local searches:
What’s also notable is that recent changes to Google's algorithms mean that local listings are appearing above the organic search listings. The space for local listings has increased as well. What this means for you is that your rank 4 is now lost before the scroll but your local listing will be right at the top.
To get the most out of your local listing you will need to ensure it is within those top 7 results that appear. To do this you need to make sure that you have a score of 100%, or you will not be listed in the top seven results. To help you get more from your local listing, here are some tips to improve your ranking results:
Get that 100% score – You need to make sure that every field within your local listing is filled in. There are over 20 different fields to fill in and not a lot of businesses bother populate all of the fields. Take the time to fill in every field. Doing so is a simple way to place your business above the competition. Don’t follow other businesses mistake of not utilizing this free marketing tool to its fullest potential.
Include keywords – Product and service keywords should be included within your listing. When filling in the description, don’t go overboard with keywords but at least be sure to mention what you offer and the suburbs where your target audience lives.
Ask your clients to review you – Prompt your customers to write reviews for you on Google. Provide them with a link and offer them a little bonus for doing so, such as a coupon or a free item.
Get listed in the phone book – Google will verify all listings over time and being listed on Google gives credibility to phonebook listings as well. Phone book listings are win-win.
Get listed on the web – Make sure that your business is listed on all of the listing sites that the major search engines offer. Use www.getlisted.org to see what search engines you are not taking advantage of.
These tips should prove helpful in getting more out of your listing venture. Utilizing these tips will help generate more local traffic and inevitably increase your revenue.
If you have started up your own business or find yourself to be a busy professional it can be an incredibly hectic task ensuring you get to all of your meetings on time, plan sales calls, plan your day and ensure you meet your workload every day. It is important to have a full and productive day to ensure that you accomplish as much work as you can in a day and remain productive and profitable. Making sure your priorities that need to be met first are on the top of your list is important, however it is all too easy to get bogged down with the unimportant work that takes a lot of your time.
When you are busy, under pressure of deadlines and trying to accomplish as much as you can it becomes increasingly harder each and every day to keep on top of your calendar. Proper scheduling means that you will be able to get to every meeting and appointment, see those clients, complete your paperwork and have time to spare. When planning your day you need to categorize your workload by priority to ensure the most important tasks are met and you are only putting off those tasks that can or should be put off.
Proper scheduling should be logical and well thought out. If you have a day of appointments then it’s critical that you plan it logistically to avoid you backtracking on yourself when driving from appointment to appointment. Not only does this waste your time, it’s also costs you money in fuel, never mind the havoc that it can wreak in terms of time that could have been spent more productively.
When planning your day out on your calendar or day planner, you should be sure to include important notes and reminders. Things to include are names, paperwork that you need to bring and props that are needed. By preparing a mini checklist next to every meeting you have will ensure you never forget an essential component of your sales call, proposal or briefing.
If you are one of those busy types who is more concerned with getting the job done than doing the administration then consider hiring a virtual assistant to do all of your scheduling and calendar keeping. The VA would work remotely and your main contact with him or her would be through email, telephone, VoIP and SMS. An effective Virtual Assistant can even plan out the best route for you to follow which could even be sent to your GPS or SmartPhone to aid you on those days where you have to drive to every appointment.
It is very beneficial to use a Virtual Assistant if you would like to use your time more wisely for those things that will improve the business or generate more revenue.
Although you may love running your company, there are tasks that may get under your skin a little. If you are trying to run several projects at the same time, life can get complicated. Hiring a project manager can take some of the stress off you and help to make your life easier.
The project manager takes on the responsibility for a given project. He is in charge from beginning to end, reporting to you. He determines what needs doing, delegates as necessary, makes sure the client is happy and ensures that once the project is over all documents and payments are in order.
A project manager can liaise between you and the rest of a team. You would get a report, and you would be consulted for the important details. The project manager could deal with the rest. This includes making sure there is a schedule of duties, making sure everyone gets paid, and assigning different tasks to different team members.
A project manager is also the intermediary between you and your customers. You could do the work you want to do while leaving the project manager in charge of the communications side of things. This could involve tasks such as determining the scope and duties in any given project, invoicing, and problem solving and customer support. If the project manager doesn’t handle all of this personally, he is responsible for making sure the duties are delegated to other team members.
If you think you could use the services of a project manager, find one that fits the requirements of your business. With the advent of modern technology, your project manager doesn’t have to be onsite. He can communicate with you, your clients and your team members over the internet. You can work with someone from anywhere in the world.
If you love your business but don’t like some of the nitty gritty of it, consider hiring a project manager to handle your project or events. He can be a buffer between your work and the minor details that threaten to smother it. If you enjoy tech work, for example, but don’t enjoy working with people, your project manager can make sure you can do the tech work you enjoy and he can deal with the people aspect of it. A project manager can make your life easier by taking some of the responsibility for a project off your shoulders.
Advice For Running A Collaborative Blog
A collaborative blog is a great way to run an informed and diverse blog. The combination of different writers, each with unique writing styles and world-views, creates a well-rounded blog that appeals to a larger audience. Many of the most well-known blogs use collaborative efforts to produce the excellent content that attracts their readers. Some of the most famous include the Huffington Post and Gizmodo. It is through the collaborative efforts of their multiple writers that they became such popular blogs. Collaboration gives them the ability to always stay on top of the latest happenings and cover a diverse range of interlinked topics.
However, running a collaborative blog can be quite a challenge. If you don’t have a clear focus and provide guidance for the writers, then your original goal-orientated blog will end up unfocused and won’t hold anybody’s attention.
Before the blog has gone live you and your team will need to discuss the general theme and layout of the blog you want to run. Topics may include the basic features of each blog post, whether or not the posts will contain pictures, audio or video and how long the posts should generally be. Once you and your team have a rough idea of what you want to do, then you can start to build consistency into your blog. In essence, you will want to put together an editorial brief.
It’s important that each of the team members know what their individual responsibilities are. Everyone should be on the same page about who is writing what. Have clear guidelines regarding things such as how many articles a week is expected of each writer and what word length should be. Can they do breaking news stories or will they have to stick to a pre-planned list of topics? Having the work split efficiently across you team members will result in a more streamlined blog. More importantly, your writers won’t be stepping on each other’s toes and everyone will have a blog they can take pride in.
Schedules & Storyboards
It is a good idea to set up a schedule of when you regularly want content updated and at what times throughout the day to best reach your audience. However, make sure that you do not forget to create a storyboard. A storyboard covers everything from your goals for the blog in the future to the basic layout.
Staying extremely well organized is key to your collaborative blog succeeding. Every team-member needs to be able to take pride in their work, ensuring that the blog is maintained, updated and current.
Blog posts are a great way to establish yourself as an authority in your field, and an even better way to get your name out in the world, at least the digital world. There are many components to writing a great blog post. The very first thing that people will see, once they get to your blog, is the title. It needs to be catchy and compelling. The next obvious step is content. Content will make or break a blog post. It has to be informative, easy to read and enjoyable. It also has to give something to the reader that they can take away and ponder.
There are many different types of blog posts, such as top ten lists, news, rants, instructional and informative posts, but these are only a snippet of the different types of posts that you could write about. Because there is a plethora of styles and formats that you can write in this article won’t be a specific guide for making the most successful top ten list or creating a well utilized how to, what this will be are some general guidelines and ideas for you to consider when writing a post that you can apply to what you have and enhance its quality for the reader.
Your title is the first thing noted by your audience; it is also what gets logged in a search engine and determines whether someone reads your post from their newsreader. You title needs to be engaging and wants to lure prospective viewers to your post to view your content. The use of positive and powerful adjectives works in making a title sound more impressive.
Originality counts. Try and tackle an issue, a question or a topic that hasn’t received a great deal attention in the past. This can do wonders for your blog. Remember to be fresh and to speak your mind – don’t be afraid to break the mold.
A good image will help to animate your post. Make sure it is relevant to your content or even better create a one of photograph or picture especially for the post. This will add more originality to your post and provide your readers with insight into what you are trying to say.
Keep these tips in mind and you should start producing more and more winning content for your blog.
Writing your own posts is a great endeavor and you will feel satisfied after getting a few posts together. It is important to be consistent and timely with your blogs. An average of 2-3 or more per week is advisable. Because it does take a good deal of time to write well researched and informative blogs that your audience will enjoy, and especially if you just want to use your blog as tool for internet marketing, then you should consider hiring a Virtual Assistant to ghost write your content at great rates and customized to your specifications. They can do the job in quick time and give you the time to do greater things, like business development or even spend time with your family and friends.
You have been building your business and until now have maintained excellent customer service. You know that customer service is vital to your success and you always strive to give the best experience you and your business can to every customer. Over time your dedication has paid off and now that you are expanding you have a bigger customer base than ever with a high level of repeat business but you and you’re small team are finding it difficult to continue supplying that great customer service that is at the heart of your business and ultimately helped your expansion.
You could hire new staff but the recruitment process is long and tedious and can prove to be costly if you hire the wrong person. Not only is the recruitment process often a chore, but once you hire someone full time, you might be required to provide them with further benefits such as insurance, paid time off and sick days. However, your need for customer service is imminent because without a great team providing the service your customers have grown to expect you are likely to start losing those very customers.
Instead of all the bother of going through a recruitment process, have you considered hiring a team of Virtual Assistants? If you don’t know what a Virtual Assistant is then keep reading. Just like a personal assistant they can perform a plethora of tasks, from great customer service to accurate data management. Actually Virtual Assistants are often versed in many skills and their versatility is remarkable. But unlike that of a personal assistant they don’t go to work, in fact they don’t leave their houses. A Virtual Assistant works from home in an office set up, they will have all the equipment they need to do any number of tasks from the comfort of their home office. They are flexible with working hours and with your business requirements. Virtual Assistants have often come from similar career roles such as that of personal assistants, secretaries, receptionists, admin workers, marketers and customer service reps.
Why would a VA be a great way to get the customer service you need and in the time frame you want it? For starters they are already versed in the tasks you need from them, so there is no training what so ever other than business policies. You can hire a single VA or even a team of Virtual Assistants to help meet your business needs and you can negotiate pay scales and bonuses and even choose to hire them per hour or for a set time to complete the current project.
The best part of hiring a VA is the time, from initial contact to starting on a project, could be less than an hour. What a great way to meet your business needs as they occur and with someone incredibly professional as well. You can’t go wrong with choosing a dedicated and experienced Virtual Assistant.
For most marketers the holy grail of any marketing campaign is getting excellent results for free. Generally speaking, when it comes to free marketing, what comes to mind is blog comments, reviews and forums. These are all great, but it is important not to overlook Google Places. The only cost in utilizing this is time. However, it takes so little time that it’s just plain free.
At Google Places you submit all of your business’ details, such as website, phone number and physical address, and your business gets placed on Google Maps. What this means is that on localized searches your business will be placed in the search results as an item on Google Maps. Your geo tag on the maps will also be visible when people are generically searching around on Google Maps in their spare time as well.
We want to help you get the most out of your business so we have put together a simple guide on how to get your business on Google maps.
Start by going to google.com/places and sign in with your Google account. If you don’t have a Google account then you will be asked to create one. It doesn’t require much information and should only take a few minutes to complete.
Once you have logged in, click on “link business” and from there you will be taken to the next page where you will select your country and put in your phone number. What Google will do is check to see if anybody has listed your business already. A customer or fan may have already done this so don’t be concerned if it has been added already. You will be given the option to edit it according to your needs.
The next page you are presented with is where you will fill in the details specific to your business, such as market location, service areas, hours of operations, payment options and other miscellaneous information. You will also be given the opportunity to add photos or upload video to your Google Places.
Once you have submitted your listing you are offered the opportunity to preview it. Afterwards, you will be given options for verifying your credentials.
Once verification is complete, your listing will go live and you will be searchable on Google Places and Google Maps.
This is a simple guide on Google Places free marketing. The best thing about using Google Places is that it provides you with free, local traffic to your business. As a marketer this is definitely not an opportunity that you want to miss.
Do you want to steer more dedicated traffic to your site and inspire backlinks and comments as well? Forum posting is an excellent way to generate targeted traffic to your website from incredibly specialized communities.
Forum posting can help the conscientious participant gain recognition as an expert in his or her niche. Maintaining a reliable level of activity in several forums is an excellent way to attract attention. The more familiar forum members subjected to another participant’s contributions, the more likely they will be to check out that person’s website or business.
There is a three stage process one must get through in order to get off to a great start with forum posting.
Research – Research is crucial in order to target the right communities. Spend some time going through Google and finding the best forums in your niche. It’s important to find forums that give you the sense that you have something to offer. If you’re niche is horses then a scuba-diving forum may not be an appropriate place to start posting!
Signups – You will need to register for all of the forums you have selected. It’s vitally important to fully fill out the profile for each forum. Keep in mind that forums are communities, not anonymous sites, so a full profile provides you with extra credibility. Design a nice signature that has a link to your website. This will give your readers an idea of who you are and what you do.
Posting & Answering – Take the time to write posts that engage the other members of the community. If your goal is to be seen as an expert in your field, then you need to answer as many open questions as possible, making sure your answers are correct. It is important to make sure you follow up with your posts as people reply to them or as your answers generate new questions. Being an active participant in the community is a vital part of attracting traffic to your website.
All of this can take a tremendous amount of time, especially if you are busy running your website already. You can consider hiring a Virtual Assistant to take over your forum presence. A Virtual Assistant can make posts on your behalf in the forums you have selected. A good Virtual Assistant can even set up your profiles and do all of the necessary researches to make sure that you’re being represented in the best forums. In essence a Virtual Assistant will become your eye, ears and overall presence in a forum, helping you to generate new leads and revenue.