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IempowerU Online Entrepreneur Asks: What Content Style Is Better – Text, Audio, Video?

IempowerU Online Entrepreneur asks what content style is best: text, audio, videoIempowerU Online Entrepreneur Asks: What Content Style Is Better – Text, Audio, Video?

The better question to ask is, “what will my site visitor expect?”

If you are a musician promoting a new single or album, they will expect to be able to hear that music. Providing a text version of the words would allow them to sing along with their now favorite song. Viewing a video of you performing the music would probably seal the deal.

If you are a dance teacher, promoting a new class, they will expect to see a schedule, class description, price and sign up details. If they saw a video of students who had taken that same class, they would know 2 things at once. They would know if they liked the music, and could gauge if they “fit in” to the style and group. If they heard or read testimonials from excited students, that would probably seal the deal.

If you are a teacher, coach or consultant of any kind, your readers would probably like to read about you first. Reading testimonials from satisfied students, or clients would be a great first step. Low cost podcasts would be a way for them to judge your presentation style. And posting a lowcost webinar would probably seal the deal.

Great! This sounds fantastic! Time consuming, expensive and what comes first the chicken or the egg? Do you need all 3 presentation styles before you can go live with the website?

No.

IempowerU Online Entrepreneur discusses how to get things donePick the content delivery style that your visitor will most expect. Chances are you already have that material available. You know – the song/album recording and words, the class schedule, the testimonials from satisfied customers.

Then, create the other styles as you go. Use every opportunity that presents itself to add to your content library. Post it. Don’t worry about perfection – attempt, fail, improve, post it.

And most of all, enjoy the process – that will come through in every content piece you produce. Onward and upward!

Iempoweru Online Entrepreneur Reviews Customer Expectations Of Your Website

IempowerU Online Entrepreneur Reviews Customer Expectations Of Website Form And FunctionIempoweru Online Entrepreneur Reviews Customer Expectations Of Your Website Form And Function. Two weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about whether substance is more important than style when it comes to building and maintaining your website/blog.

My conclusion is that a “stylish” site makes the visitor feel at ease, so that they will take the time to view your “substance”. The “style” must also be a match with the subject matter.

For example, an attorney might not be taken seriously if her website looked more like it belonged to an exotic dancer. Or vice versa. The site visitor has an expectation of what they will encounter before they even arrive. This expectation includes “style” and “substance” – form and function.

When that expectation has been met, vistors return often and begin to know and like the author/owner of the site. They begin to believe in the subject matter expertise being conveyed. It is reinforced by that site owner taking the time to do things “right” – to layout their information in the ways that we have all come to expect it to be laid out.

IempowerU Online Entrepreneur Discusses Sales Process ExpectationsPart of the expectation will be that at some time along the way, that site owner will ask the visitor to buy something. But, before anyone parts with their hard earned money for a product or a service, they should expect certain steps to be taken by the seller. And no matter how “stylish” or how “substantive” that site appears to be, if those steps are not included, most visitors will not complete the transaction.

These steps usually include but are not limited to:

  • being directed to a shopping cart or a sales page, usually too long, littered with all the reasons why they should buy
  • listing options to buy the free, good, better, best service
  • being able to scroll down to the bottom to get to the price and point

The click to buy, usually goes directly to a payment gateway where it is expected to see:

  • “https:” in the url for that page signifying that it is a secured page/site
  • requests for name, address and phone number
  • requests for shipping address if different
  • requests for quantities, unique choice options- like size or color and maybe a special notes section
  • requests for credit card information to include the infamous “security code” on the back
  • info/details on how and when to expect delivery of both physical and/or digital products and services

Also expected is to have to verify some type of “terms of service” or legal acceptance as well as to get several opportunities to opt out, before the final “submit” button is pushed.

IempowerU Online Entrepreneur discusses developing customer trust in an online transactionsAnd after that button is pushed, expect a thank you email and/or a receipt email immediately.

If it is a digital product, expect to see a download button in one of those emails.

And if it is a physcial product, expect to see tracking numbers and regular status updates until receipt of the product.

And all of those expectations lead to trust with that site owner and wanting to come back for more of their goodies.

Onward and upward!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Is Substance Or Style More Important For Your Website & Online Presence?

IempowerU Online Entrepreneur asks what is more important substance or styleIempowerU Online Entrepreneur asks if you prefer style over substanceCouple weeks ago, I asked my twitter chat community #IempowerU which they thought was more important: substance or style. I posed this question because it is one I have struggled with over the years. Initially, I thought it was more important to have substance. When I click on a link to view a site, I want to learn something that I didn’t know before. I want to leave that site with a brain full of new things to think about and consider. And I wanted to provide that same kind of site to viewers of my content. What it looked like was secondary.

Until the last year or so.

Now, I think that style, or at the very least, the “look” of the site is equally important, especially for the new viewer to my subject matter expertise.

Learn how to build your subject matter expertise at IempowerU Online EntrepreneurThe internet has been around for awhile now, the new has worn off to the extent that we all now know what to expect. We know what we have seen on other sites and expect the next one to look and behave accordingly. When it doesn’t, we are not as trusting as we could have been. Matter of fact, this very thing can lead to a site visitor questioning our subject matter expertise – the substance. If that were to happen, they may not even stick around long enough to read that content.

I don’t think that this means we all have to be “early adopters” feverishly combing the ‘net for the latest greatest tool, toy or trend to add to our online presence. Rather, I think it’s important to be aware of the most current trends in both design and functionality. Then, most importantly, pick the ones that appeal to you and your target market and discard the rest.

Entrepreneur Community OnlineIn 2011, I built the first rendition of my community site in dark blue, burgundy, with white letters, because those are my favorite colors. I was pleased with the colors, they made me feel good. Fortunately, several members of the community encouraged me privately to lighten things up a bit. After conceding on these points, I ran across an article on the latest color fashion trends for community sites – it was “in” to have a web design that was light, bright and minimalistic.

On the other hand, several weeks later, I built a website for a personal trainer. With my newfound knowledge of what was “in”, I considered building it to be light and bright and airy. But, my client said NO. He wanted it black, blue and “racy”. I went looking to see what other personal training sites looked like – and they followed the style that he wanted. He felt like his customers would not take him seriously if they didn’t show up to a site that looked like it was supposed to.

In both cases there were functional elements that had to be adjusted, despite what might be “in” or not. My client wanted his content links to align with his color scheme. The link color he selected did not contrast enough with the text to alert the viewer. So, we broke from this to provide his viewers with a better experience.

Learn how to have a mobile friendly site at Iempoweru Online EntrepreneurIn my 1st community site, I wanted to add plugin features that were not compatible with other main elements to the site. Eventually, I had to abandon those whistles and bells in favor of maintaining the integrity of the site. I am eternally grateful to those original community members for sticking around through all those learning curves!

Because the internet evolves so quickly, functionality changes may not be a “nice thing” to adjust – but will be critical to maintaining your existing online presence at the same level. Such is the case with making sure that your site is “mobile friendly”. If you want to know more about this, please sign up for the Weekly Tips. I tell you what and why this is important, as well as how to check and then make sure that your site is “mobile friendly”.

Images courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We Are Launching The New Weekly Tips… Monday, June 15!

I am very excited to start offering Weekly Tips to all my favorite, longterm clients as well as any new ones that want to join us. We officially start on Monday, June 15, so stay tuned!

Let me tell you all about it!

Find more customers and make more money with help from IempowerU Online EntrepreneurEach Monday-Friday, I am going to share a new tip with you – and it will be a LOT more than a 140 character blip on the screen. It is going to be a something that you really need to know, shared by 4 bite size emails, on why you need it, what it’s all about, and most importantly how you do it. Or, if you are too busy, how I can do it for you! I will include combinations of action steps, checklists, reports and videos. These tips will be about what you need to know to be able to use the internet to help you find more customers to make more money in your businesses.

What exactly do I mean by that last sentence?

1st:

At IempowerU Online Entrepreneur we help you save time so you can make more moneyThe technology of promoting your business online evolves so rapidly. Recently there have been developments that I wanted to share with my client community. I know it will help them improve their entire online experience. But, they are busy, I am busy, how can I reach them quickly? I want to let them know of the updates, revisions, changes. But, I also want them to know how to do it… so that they are on the cutting edge no matter how busy they are running their businesses!

They needed to know yesterday and they only have a minute to spare today… so it has to be quick, fast and only what they need to know to keep rolling along. And as always, it has to deliver ROI, or it’s not worth them taking that minute today to do it!

2nd:

So, then I was thinking, maybe there are others out there that would benefit from these Weekly Tips too. And then this idea got bigger, more organized and had to be spit shined! My natural “builder” tendencies made me want to rush right out and build. But, then, as I caution all my clients, a little bit of planning now, relieves a lot of stress later.

3rd – and most important to all of us!

As part of my own regular quarterly review and business planning, I was sitting at the table thinking, just what is it that I do for my clients. Online and social media marketing strategy and implementation that includes website blog building, community site building, content writing, keywords, seo, social media postings and engagement, lead generation, marketing to sales conversion. Sure I do all those things and for me they are VERY exciting – I love doing them. But, my clients only want to know enough to…. or listen long enough to…. And I notice when I get off on an excited tangent on the different ways we could do this or that, their eyes glaze over. So, what is the bottom line service I provide for them… possibly for you?

Eureka! Get those lightbulb idea moments at IempowerU Online EntrepreneurEureka! it hit me right between the eyes! I help them learn what they need to know to find more customers & make more money from their websites and online presence! And I save them time and money doing it. Throw in some accountability and team work and presto! That is what I do.

As important is what I do NOT do. I don’t believe in promoting get “rich quick schemes” or brow beating people with endless emails of junk. When I contact people I want both of us to get something very meaningful from that contact.

So, if this sounds like something you need and want, sign up for the Weekly Tips – because the internet keeps evolving with or without us. And those customers have to go somewhere to get served… might as well be to you!

Light Bulb Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Create Your Social Media Biography – Overview

Learn how to create a strong social media bio at IempowerU Online Entrepreneur

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Overview:

If you have done everything in the order we suggest(review the last 4 posts), you have:

  • Prioritized what you want your social media marketing to do for you
  • Listed the required timeframe next to each of those tasks
  • Selected the tools that are most appropriate to you and your business
  • Chosen the username that will work for the short and long run

It is now time to create your social media biography.  Regardless if you are writing a personal or a business biography, this is how you will introduce yourself or your products/services to the world.  It explains:

  • who you are
  • your skills
  • your experience
  • your motivations & passions
  • your plan

It is your story.  Please check out the articles posted by Jerry Brown for pointers on writing a story that gets read.

And this is the most important point to be made – write a biography that others will want to read.  This is not a dry resume in an application for a job that will be filed when you get hired.  This is your story.

At IempowerU Online Entrepreneur we do social medial marketing rightBecause the allowable characters will differ between social media platforms, write the total complete biography first and save it to a file you can access quickly. Then take the major elements from this one to create all of the others, adjusting for length and focus. Doing it this way will help ensure that your story/message stays consistent between platforms. I would also recommend that you keep the same avatar for each platform. You can always change them periodically for a little variety.

This may become boring to you, but, this consistency will create a level of trust with the people who follow, friend or connect with you. This trust means that they will begin to rely on and turn to you for a specific subject matter expertise.

DO NOT:

  • Get bogged down in perfection… write it down, perfect as you get time
  • My motto: attempt, fail, improve.

DO:

  • Get started right away… you need this biography written to get started
  • Adjust it as you get time and more comfortable with it
  • Adjust it as you see how others respond to it

Stay tuned for specific actions steps for writing your social media biography.

Selecting Your Social Media Username – Overview

Learn from IempowerU Online Entrepreneur how to select a usernameSelecting your social media username will be one of the most important things that you do, when starting your social media marketing. This name has the potential to become your brand, not just locally, but nationally and globally. If done correctly, you will be using this name to create a following or a community of strategic partners, experts, mentors, prospects and customers around your subject matter expertise. Selecting this username is the first step in a very time consuming process. Let’s make the most of this step and that time now, by considering all of the ramifications of this process.

Such as:

  • In addition to being a name used to tweet with, could it also be part of the url that you select for your blog or website?
  • Could it be turned into your business name?

When looked at from these angles, you realize that there is much more that goes into the selection of this name than you originally thought. Because of this, we ask you to select it with care.

Start Here – What Stage Of Business Are You In Today?

IempowerU Online Entrepreneur talks about the idea stage of your businessIdea Stage:

We believe that you can and should use a social media platform to test the waters, shape and mold that idea into something that people will want to buy. Exception would be if your idea is in the process of being protected with patents, trademarks or copyrights. This may limit what you say and how you proceed – so check with your legal counsel before you start.

No matter what, it is our recommendation that if you are in the idea stage, you should create a personal social media platform first – selecting your own name, or a version of your name that is still available. Example: when selecting my first username, I tried to get my name @LindaMHughes but it was not available. So I researched different versions of my name, including initials of my middle name and maiden name – lindambhughes and that was available.

We make this recommendation because at the idea stage, you just don’t know how things are going to be adjusted or changed… or abandoned.

As it solidifies into a bonafide startup/business, you can then create your business social media platform. And if you change or abandon this idea, it won’t matter from a social media perspective. You will still be able to stand tall and proud on the personal platform that you have created.

IempowerU Online Entrepreneur talks about the idea stage of your businessStartup Stage:

Entrepreneurs tend to be a very fluid, flexible group of people. They may start with an idea/structure today that evolves rapidly. This evolution may actually change the entire scope of their project. A name created today may end up being invalid and actually a liability by the end of the year. Changing your username, brand and the community that goes with this is very expensive both from a time and money perspective. To avoid having to change, use the solution recommended for the idea stage.

IempowerU Online Entrepreneur works with small businessesExisting Business:

When your idea evolves into a startup and when your startup evolves into a business, then you are ready to create the business social media presence. If you are entering this discussion with a fully evolved business and customer base, we recommend that you create a social media presence for the business. Later, when you know how to do this and can manage the time required, you can fall back and build your personal social media presence.

We recommend that you either use the business name, or the name of your flagship product or service for a social media username.

Click Here For Step By Step Instructions On Selecting Your Perfect Social Media Username.

What Tools Do You Use In Your Social Media Marketing?

work on your online presence at IempowerU Online EntrepreneurWe listed many of these tools in the Online Marketing & Implementation Series, although there will never be a complete list. This list has already grown since we created that list, because using the internet is a constantly evolving process.

By the time we finish creating this post, there will be new things to add and existing things will have changed or are on their way out.

That is what causes the most excitement and anxiety all at the same time. So, what do you do? If those of us that do it for a living can barely keep up, how are you supposed to? Stay tuned, keep your eyes open, pay attention. And don’t use this as an excuse to do nothing at all.

As you sit back and review the action steps that go with this post, you will start to see a pretty clear picture taking shape.

This picture will lead you into selecting the tools that will work the best for you, your time and your customers needs. You do NOT have to use them all. Pick the ones that:

  • you think will work for you after doing the actions steps
  • learn how to use them properly to accomplish the desired outcome
  • give them a fair amount of time to get the desired results
  • discard the ones that don’t give those desired results
  • keep the ones that do give you results
  • adjust your master plan or the strategy you are now designing
  • keep going!

Click on the titles listed below for a definition of each tool. I chose wikipedia as the source of this definition. Keep in mind that wikipedia is a great example of what we discussed earlier. The content is submitted by the reader, adjusted, verified when required and presented. These definitions evolve as the users use, learn and participate.

Ten cents worth of opnion at IempowerU Online Entrepreneur**When I think it is important, I will add my ten cents worth.

Website

A website is your brick and mortar store in cyberspace. Once you get the pages/content set up, you rarely update or add new pages – they are referred to as “static” pages. These can be used as online business cards, brochures, photo albums and catalogs. You can set up a store to sell products from a website.

Ten cents worth of opnion at IempowerU Online EntrepreneurStrictly speaking, a traditional website is not as hot for social media marketing as a blog website. Eight years ago, when I started learning how to do all of this, there were not as many options as there are today. Now, there are many diy platforms where you can learn how to set up a website. This will require time, effort and patience – do-able if you really want to. The most important ingredient if you diy, is an open mind. If you think you can you can… conversely, if you think you can’t…

Blog

Blogs are like the marketing department for your cyberstore. They can be apart of your website or they can stand alone. I would bet that 85% of all “websites” today are actually blog websites set up on Blog Platforms.  A Blog platform allows you to build static pages on the site that can look, feel and be used as your website static pages.   Then, on the same site, you can write blog posts. The blog post is an informal way to write an article that your reader can respond to by way of commenting.

Ten cents worth of opnion at IempowerU Online EntrepreneurIempowerU Online Entrepreneur is an example of a website built on a blogging platform. We are strong advocates of blog websites – for so many reasons. The most important one is that it is a reasonably priced, easier way for a beginner to build a site and get started in promoting their businesses online.

Ten cents worth of opnion at IempowerU Online EntrepreneurYou can also sell products and services from a blog with a dedicated url and host.  Selling is usually against terms of service of the free blogsite platforms.

Social Media

It is no longer a question of “does it work”, but, “why aren’t you doing it?” That being said, do it for the right reasons – and that will be determined as we build your online and social media strategy. When you determine which of these elements will be right for you, we will then develop/implement and track your social media strategy.

Facebook

Google+

These are social media profiles. Profiles are online equivalents to the living room of your home. They are inviting, friendly, personal places to hang out in with friends, family and selected business associates. When considering these profiles, ask yourself if you would invite that person into your home to discuss your business. If not, then there will be other options. These profiles are not the most intimate rooms in your house – so behave accordingly.

Linkedin

This is a social profile that is the online waiting room of your cyber business office. You would invite your business associates to this waiting room.  And you control whether you ever want to invite them to go to your office from the waiting room. You also might not want to invite your grandma to this place.

Ten cents worth of opnion at IempowerU Online EntrepreneurFor those of you that are coming here from other countries, you will have your own social profiles. In this case, please share this information with us, and our thanks in advance.

Digg

Stumbleupon

These are 2 of over 100 sites referred to as social bookmarking sites. They behave in a similar fashion to bookmarking that you are familiar with – you like a site, you bookmark it so that you can come back to it. But, what if you want to share a site with another person and you don’t have your computer? You can if you have created an account with a social bookmarking site. You just enter your account, share and move on.

Ten cents worth of opnion at IempowerU Online EntrepreneurBookmarking sites are the cyber library in your home or office. They store information just like a library would. They all have rules of behavior and get a little put out if you don’t abide by the rules – so beware. As I have experimented with all of these platforms, I have been kicked off my fair share of the bookmarking sites. With the exception of the 2 I listed above, I personally think that most of them are much adieu about nothing. And yes, that applies specifically to Reddit.

Tumblr

Tumblr is a micro-blogging site with some features of a profile and some of a bookmarking site. It’s another way to post your own blog, or to write directly on theirs.

Pinterest

Twitter
These 2 are combinations of a social profile and a social bookmark. They allow you to connect with people(profile) and information(bookmarks). Twitter is words conveyed at 140 characters at a time. Pinterest is for pictures and infographics pinned to a board- each one worth a 1000 words.

Instagram

Great for those who are using photos and videos to promote their businesses.
Whew!  So many choices! How do you decide which ones to use? Don’t worry, we will review all of the listed tools to make the best choices for you, your objectives and your time.

YouTube

Vimeo

Either of these will be great for you if you have or plan on having videos of content that relate to your business. Each of these movie social networking sites have things that make them great. We will review each with you and help you decide which one is the better one for you. We will also use them to accelerate your online marketing techniques.

Article Marketing

This option will be great for those of you that have already written a lot of content on your subject matter expertise.

It is also a great option if you plan on writing an abundance of content.

Webinar Marketing

This option is for those of you that enjoy presenting your content to groups of people. It is also a great way to teach your material on a global scale. Lot of options here: you can tape a live presentation and air it online. Or you can conduct the presentation live online.

Etsy

This is a global online marketplace for hand made products.  Great for certain types of products, strategy is key.  You will generate sales from this account. More importantly, we will show you how to use it to accelerate the results of many of your online marketing techniques.

Craigslist

The global yard sale – you can find anything anywhere for any price – way more accessible than ebay.  Which means you can sell anything anywhere for any price using Craigslist.  However, there are some things that will sell better than others. There are rules of behavior that you will need to learn, including how to protect your safety – physically and intellectually. So strategy is key.  More importantly, we will use it to accelerate the results of many of your online marketing techniques.

Meetup

Eventbrite

If you host regular events, these 2 sites are a MUST. If this is the case, we will show you how to get set up with them, teach you a few of the nuances that make your efforts count. And then we will use your accounts to accelerate the results of many of your online marketing techniques.

Ten cents worth of opnion at IempowerU Online EntrepreneurThere are also numerous “consumer reporting” sites that operate like social profiles and allow users to critique, review or rate small businesses. These tend to be very industry specific and predominantly business to consumer. We will discuss these with you on a case by case basis.

This is not a complete list, as more sites are coming online every day. These are the biggies and the ones that we use in our system. If you have heard of one not listed, or want us to research one, please contact us.

Social Media – It’s Only A Set Of Tools To Enhance Relationship Building Not Replace It!

IempowerU Online Entrepreneur asks you to list what social media marketing you have in place nowEvery day I get info on the newest, latest, greatest super innovative technology that is designed to make our business internet relationship building lives easier. There is a new social media tool available almost every day that will help us all become more organized, make better connections faster and bring us more meaningful relationships. All we have to do is sign up, sign on, osmose how to use it, and then let the technology work its magic. And if we are just too busy to do it for ourselves, we can outsource it!

But, the only magic we keep creating for ourselves is that we find better, faster ways for more of our machines to talk to each other. And if we outsource it, that means we have now interjected a third set of machines into this mix, so our relationships will develop more efficiently and be the richer for it. And while our machines are having this fantastic relationship better, faster and without us… we keep searching…

Hmmm. That is because all of these apps, programs, softwares etc are TOOLS. They are tools to enable us to do what we want better, faster, cheaper. But they are still just tools. We still have to decide what “it” is that we want, when we want it, how we want it and why. And then we have to personally engage in this process – get our hands dirty mucking about with other human beings. You know – engaging in that messy process of meshing with anothers moods, emotions, motives, differences, ideals, values and perspectives!

IempowerU Online Entrepreneur shares that social media is a tool to creating a successful businessWho:

A carpenter uses a hammer as one of his/her tools.

What:

The carpenter must first decide what they are doing – why do they even need a hammer. Are they building an addition, nailing on a roof, installing drywall or finishing a door?

When:

Is the project ready for the carpenter to use his hammer? Would a carpenter use his hammer to frame exterior walls on an addition before the foundation was poured?

How:

How will he use his hammer? Does he have the proper skills, understanding for the techniques involved in using that hammer over the other one? Does he understand the risks between them?

Why:

Why should he use this hammer over that one? It seems like that finish nailer is so much faster than using the framing axe – but which will give the results needed for that task?

And finally, the carpenter and his work have to please someone or he won’t be hired back. That means he has to put his nail in the wall at the same time he is developing a relationship of trust with his boss, co-workers or client.

Uh oh! Here we go with that relationship building thing again… Isn’t there an iphone app that can do that while I pound this nail in the wall?