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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

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.

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?

Next Step: Create A Vibrant Community Of Like-minded People

You are now well into creating/improving your online presence. You are in the groove using the right internet tools for all the right reasons – your reasons. You have begun to use the internet to promote your subject matter expertise. All is well on the homefront – now what?

Next Step: Create A Vibrant Community Of Like-minded People who share in your collective hopes and dreams for the future.

Make an appointment to discuss how to do this. We would love to share our step by step system with you. Then, use what you will, add what you know, experiment with what you think might work and have fun! And whatever you do, ignore the urge to automate the accumulation of mass numbers of followers, connections and friends – just for the sake of having big numbers and looking important.

Instead, look beyond those “numbers”, the mechanics of “how-to” use the tools, and see the people. Realize that behind your marketing plan and their 140 characters there is a real person that may become your greatest friend, mentor, strategic partner, vendor, employee or customer. And then treat them with utmost respect and care.

IempowerU Online Entrepreneur will show you how to create a community of raving fansFrom Neanderthal man and the campfire to smart phones and tweets, we crave the need to celebrate our lives with others. So take the time now to do that with all the folks who showed up in your tweet stream and on your walls.

  • Who are they?
  • What do they do?
  • What do they think about….?
  • How do they feel about….?
  • How can you make their lives better?

Ask yourself these questions… and then ask them! More importantly, listen to them when they give you their answers. Shelf your agenda and hear them – heart to heart. And then respond the same way.

Make your online presence one that leads with authenticity, transparency and true depth – one that serves the people who stop by to learn what you are all about. You have captured their attention and interest – now don’t disappoint!

Onward and upward!

Using The Internet To Promote Your Subject Matter Expertise

As I stated in a previous post, the first thing you should expect, and aim for with internet marketing is to use the internet to promote/build your subject matter expertise.

You know and your immediate circle of family, friends and customers may know that you are a subject matter expert. But is that enough to sustain your rock star business?

If not, we can definitely help you with that! By participating in Power Teams, we can get you rock star status in a very short period of time.

How to strengthen your subject matter expertise at IempowerU Online EntrepreneurTo the right is an example of what we do every day. This is a page listing the top people on twitter for the keyword “international business”. They earn their rank by the quality of their content and level of active engagement with their social media communities, specifically twitter.

Becky DeStigter, in 1st position with a score of 100% is my community site – Entrepreneur Community Online’s 1st Follower(watch the video on this page). She has been in this position now for several years years. The highlighted names are past or current members of ECO Power Teams, all of them used the power teams to get started.

Their diligence and consistency in creating/maintaining/improving their online presence is very clear from this list. And don’t think for one minute that their expertise stops at this list. It extends out into a growing presence online. And that presence is translating directly to their bottom line. When you become the “go-to” person in your industry, people go to you and pay you handsomely for that expertise.

How do you get this for yourself – how do you build/strengthen/promote your own subject matter expertise online? As we have been discussing in all of my previous blog posts:

  • you have to develop an overall online strategy
  • part of which will be to develop a social media marketing strategy

Then, if it fits within your strategies, I recommend that you become a member of an ECO Power Team. One purpose of the power team is to show you how to do this as you go. Don’t hesitate to make an appointment so that we can discuss your questions.

Are You Succeeding In Creating Or Improving A GREAT Online Presence?

IempowerU Online Entrepreneur Discusses Tracking your ROI With Google Analytics

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How do you know?  How do you know if all this frenetic activity and completed “to-do” lists are giving you the return on your investment?  First of all, don’t discount anecdotal clues such as reader comments in your blogs, or full engagement in your social media platforms.  These are the first signs of success.

For statistical clues, though, you will need to add on some tracking tools.  I will not be recommending any of these tools for you in this post. Instead, use these steps to develop a strategy to research/select your own.

Last week we recommended beginning with a website, or a blog, or a blog website.  The following recommendations are for selecting tools that will measure statistics on these.

SEO at IempowerU Online EntrepreneurStep #1: Educate yourself on this topic before you select any tools

Start with terminology. Read this wikipedia explanation of the entire topic and of commonly used terms. Get 2nd or 3rd opinions by surfing the web. Before you get crazy about tracking:

  • learn what words to use
  • learn what is being done or tracked
  • determine which of these things will be important to you and your strategy

Select the right tools based on this research:

  • learn how to use them
  • learn how to review the results in the manner the tools creator intended
  • aka: read the directions!

I don’t believe one size fits all – you may want to track different things than I do, so why should we all settle for the same old tool?

On the other hand, don’t become a crazy tool junky either. Stay up to date on new tools/features coming onto the market, but do just pick something, use it and get back to your core business tasks.

I am a proponent of using free tools, especially in the beginning. I want to see how something works first, before I buy it. Get a 30 day free trial on a product that can be upgraded as your needs become more complex.

Step #2: Don’t become obsessed by your site stats.

Don’t look at them every day, every hour or every 10  minutes. Pick a day of the week or month to review your site stats – only.

Remember, this is one of the tools of your business, not the only one. You have so many more important things to do each day than obsess over your site stats.

Sign up for weekly tips that will take you step by step through this process.  If you have reviewed your strategy, done the research and want to brainstorm about specific tools, make an appointment with me and let’s get started!

Next month: What Will Social Media Do For Your Business?

What Tools Do You Use To Create Your Best Online Presence?

tools to work on your online presence at IempowerU Online EntrepreneurYou know why, you know who you and your customer are, you are ready to start creating/improving your online presence. But, where do you start? Do you do a website or a blog? Do you jump into social media? Which one? Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, what about You Tube, or Pinterest? What the heck is Stumbleupon or Digg? Do you use Etsy, or Ebay, or Craigslist? Do you post your events on Meetup or Eventbrite or on your blog or website? There is so much to do, so many places to be, and… this is just your marketing… at this rate, when will you ever have time to do the actual sales and then work? EEEk! Help!

No problem. As with every other aspect of your business, develop and then implement your strategy.

If you are just joining us, please review all of my blogs, in order. All of these blogs help you prepare your strategy to develop YOUR big picture. This big 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 listed in each blog post
• 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!

Remember my motto: Attempt, fail, improve – if you wait around until your plan and theory feels perfect, you will have missed many if not all of your opportunities for success.

The following 2 tools are where I think you should start to create/improve your online presence.

Click on the title for a wikipedia definition. Keep in mind that the wikipedia content is submitted by the reader, adjusted, verified when required and presented. These definitions evolve as the users use, learn and participate  Attempt, fail and improve.

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.

Eleven 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.

You 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.

At IempowerU Online Entrepreneur, we will host, teach you how to set up, use and maintain your blog website, so contact us when you are ready!

create multiple streams of income with IempowerU Online Entrepreneur

What Will You Do With Your Blog Website?
Depends on your answers to Why You Want An Online Presence, Who Are You and Who Is Your Customer – read all blog posts in order.

Use your blog website to establish your subject matter expertise online. We will cover specifics of this in future blog posts.

You can sell your products and services directly from your blog website.

Also known as ECommerce
Much more on this in future blog posts so stayed tuned.

Take an in-depth look at yourself and how you are doing business.   Sign up for weekly tips that will take you step by step through this process. Or schedule an appointment for one on one instruction, if you want to get through this project yesterday. Start today or start tomorrow, but, either way you have to get through this step to create this picture of why you are, right now, at this moment. Don’t worry about making it all perfect – just get it written down.

Then we can start to select the best tools to create, improve and implement an online business strategy from these answers.

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