How Not To Promote Your Business On The Internet

December 6, 2008

If you want to promote your business on the Internet, do it right. If you make some of these mistakes when you try to promote your business, you could do it more harm than good.

1. Using keyword stuffed names in blog comments and on social networking sites, is a foolish way to promote your business. Folk can’t have a serious conversation with someone called “WoodenFurniture” or “ColonMadness”(yes I really saw that name on Twitter). And building any sort of relationship would be out of the question.

2. Talking persistently on Twitter about how you’ve got almost 2000 followers. Nothing makes folk hit the unfollow button quicker. Folk in social networks want friends who are going to join in the conversation, not count them like sheep.

3. Ripping people off.
I was promoting an affiliate product on this blog and the seller offered one of my readers the product for free, if she bought an additional product from her. That was really scammy, as it meant I wouldn’t get any commission for promoting her product. I complained, giving her the opportunity to put things right. But instead she ignored me and wrote a lengthy, drivelling blog post about how she deserves to make money.

If one person calls you a scamming bitch, some folk might think that person has a grudge against you and give you the benefit of the doubt. But do it more than once, maybe someone will write about it and link to other articles or videos that have called you out. And no matter how much you try to promote your business, it won’t do you much good, if you’re known as a scammer.

4. Bombarding webmasters with requests to link to your articles.
Get to know folk before you ask them to do stuff for you. I have one guy who does this to me. I’ve never had a conversation with him, beyond his requests to “give his articles the exposure they deserve”. The only exposure his articles get from me now, is to the spam folder, with the rest of the crap I get.

5. Asking favours from folk you haven’t even tried to get to know.
I get asked some pretty huge favours, often from complete strangers. Why should folk bother to spend hours doing something for you, when you’ve not even taken the trouble to get to know them? Spelling my name right would be a huge start.

6. Making sycophantic comments on blogs that get more traffic than yours.
Being friendly is one thing but there’s a distinctive line between a genuine compliment and false flattery. And folk will see through you, even if they pretend not to.

7. Leaving spam comments all over the Internet.
You should know that most folk have Askimet installed to pick up spam. And most bloggers will delete things like “great post - I really like your site”, aside from those who are desperate for comments.

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Will Google Kick These Tossers Where It Hurts?

December 4, 2008

If you’ve ever had your content scraped by some spammy “made for Google Adsense” blog, you’ll know how annoying it can be. Trouble is, these content scrapers never have any contact details on their blog.

And I’ve ignored them up until now - but I was really pissed off when I discovered that - 47 Brilliant Marketing Resources For Bloggers” had been scraped. It took about thirty hours to write and he’d taken the whole lot.

So, I decided to kick the tosser where it hurts. Google now have a comment section beneath each entry, so I left a comment to say that it was stolen content. And as the idiot is breaching Google Adsense terms of services, I reported him.

To do this, you just click on the ads by Google sign on an ad on the offending page, then click where it says, “Send Google Your Thoughts On The Ad Or Site You Just Saw.” Then click, report a violation.

I did this over a week ago and his ads are still there, so I don’t know if Google actually take any notice of these reports. I hope they will continue to focus on clearing the Internet of spam and ban these tossers from Google Adsense, rather than continuing to rake in the extra ad revenue they make from this crap.

On a brighter note, I’m now getting more search traffic from Google and other search engines than social network traffic. This either means Google loves me, or the social networking sites think I suck. As I’ve mentioned before, search engine traffic brings more paying customers than social networking traffic.

And if you don’t get much traffic from search engines, you really need to get SEO School. There’s more expensive and complicated products out there. But SEO School is easy to follow and it does what it says on the tin.

Do you get much traffic from the search engines? Have you got over the “SEO will ruin my content mindset” yet, or are you still struggling?

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We’re All Responsible For The Walmart Tragedy

November 29, 2008

Whenever a tragedy occurs, there’s always plenty of people looking for someone to blame. And the case of the Walmart assistant, who was trampled to death by Black Friday sales shoppers, was no exception.

Hundreds of message board users pointed the finger at the 200 shoppers involved, Walmart, the Government and anyone else they could think to blame. But the truth is, we are all responsible for the Walmart assistant’s tragic death.

People who flock to the type of sales that Walmart run are motivated by two powerful emotions - the first is usually greed, they want something as cheap as possible. And the second is fear - if they don’t get through those doors fast enough, they’ll lose that half price tv they’ve had their eye on.

And I know that like me, many of you hate shopping but that doesn’t let us off the hook. If you have a business, you’re selling something. And if you’re doing a decent enough job of it - you’re appealing to people’s emotions to buy. And the strongest and easiest emotions to appeal to are fear and greed.

Some folk would call this manipulation and others would call it persuasion. But either way - you’re doing it. If you’re not, you’re probably not making much cash.

Ok, so maybe you’re not selling “stuff” - you might be selling products or services to improve people’s lives in some way. But does that really let you off the hook? The woman down the street selling trashy fashion jewellery might think she’s improving people’s lives too.

So lets think about the Walmart tragedy again. What do you think could be done to stop something like that happening in the future? Do you think it would be easier if folk stopped looking for someone to blame and accepted that we are all responsible? Or do you think we’re not responsible at all?

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Does FREE Still Make Sales?

November 25, 2008

Does offering free stuff still help to make sales? At one time “FREE” was a great buzzword but there’s so much free stuff available now, I have to wonder whether folk value things that are free.

According to James Chartrand, too much free stuff is given away online and people should be charging for it. He makes a good point; if we give away too many free things, we need to rely on advertisers to pay for it. And I certainly wouldn’t like to be dependent on ad sales in this economy.

When Is Free Good And When Does It Suck?

Three for the price of two, or buy one get the second half price seems to make sales. And useful content that makes the reader want to own a book version works well. Leo of Zen Habits attracted a swarm of buyers when he brought out the Zen Handbook - a collection of his best blogposts.

Giving away free chapters of an ebook can also increase sales, if the book is good. As do the free reports that act as a salesletter for another product.

Free Ebooks Work Better If They’re Viral

Free ebooks vary. I’ve downloaded some that would probably be ok to read in print, but small print and hundreds of pages don’t work well in ebook format. And free ebooks that contain affiliate links can work well if the reader has a compelling reason to pass them on to others.

Giving heaps of free stuff away with the product you’re selling seems to be popular, despite some of the ridiculous claims. If you’ve bought a $97 information product before, you’ll know that the free bonuses worth $2999, are often worthless crap. But those bonuses still help to make sales.

Naomi Dunford pulled off the bonus offer better, because she understood her audience. So she didn’t bundle a pile of worthless junk with her Online Business School and tell folk it was worth $10,000. Instead, she offered products by folk who are known for producing quality materials, including Men With Pens, Michael Martine, and Havi Brooks.

This was a smart move, as she knew her readers would realise they were getting great value, as those people wouldn’t put their names on crap.

What About Free Services?

Some folk do well by offering free services and some don’t. I guess it depends upon how many customers you can convert to a paid service and if you can get some good testimonials, if you’ve just started trading. In an interview with Barbara Swafford, Tom Volkar explained that running a free community teleconference was beneficial to his Authentic Business Discovery course.

But Davina Haisell of Crimson Compass, gave free life coaching sessions to a friend and didn’t find it useful. She felt that the friend didn’t value the service because it was free. And Brad Shorr of Word Sell Inc had to persuade a couple of clients to change their ways because they were giving away services they could charge for.

Personally, I like getting free stuff when it has some value but not when it’s worthless junk. And giving away free stuff can be worthwhile if it brings you newsletter subscribers, buyers, or some great testimonials. But it’s certainly easy to go overboard and give too much away for free.

What do you think? When is FREE good and when does it not work? Do you take advantage of free stuff as a consumer, or do you find that free stuff holds little value to you? Have you used free stuff to make sales before? How did it work out?

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