Category Archives for Internet Marketing Training

Build a Winning Brand People Can Trust

Click here to read the original full article from ASI Central

People will buy from you if they trust you. And one excellent way to build trust with clients and prospects is to educate and entertain them through an informative, routinely updated blog. That’s just one of the many new-age marketing and sales strategies that Patrick Allmond shared at the ASI Show Dallas during his education session, “Your 24/7 Presence: Hot Digital & Mobile Branding Ideas.”

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The 10 Irrefutable Laws of “Owning Your Empire”

At Focus we are building the definitive manual for online marketing. It will incorporate offline elements, but will be mainly focused on helping the small business learn more about how to leverage the internet to bring business in the door. Unlike most “We just discovered the internet” internet marketing companies, we are building systems that focus on helping you build long-term value. To that end, we focus more on tribe and “movement” building. Why? Because these are the only things in the marketing world that have proven to consistently grow companies. If you can build a dream and then convince other people that your dream is the best path to take, then you have a winning business model.

We call it “Owning Your Empire”.

And we think you will like it. It will be a structured system to help you cut through the BS that you hear every day in the IM (internet marketing) world. You are being lied to consistently, and you deserve better.

To help you get started, here is our own original list of “The 10 Irrefutable Laws of Owning Your Empire”

  1. Create original content. That is what differentiates a thought leader.
  2. Always be building the tribe.
  3. Use automation and outsourcing ASAP to scale.
  4. There is no such thing as free marketing. Only marketing that costs time vs. cash.
  5. Sell solutions to pain and methods that bring happiness. Don’t sell tactics.
  6. Convert your knowledge to products and systems.
  7. The only good marketing is targeted marketing.
  8. Always think in terms of marketing campaigns. Few people buy on initial contact.
  9. Always measure. Always test.
  10. Don’t compete on price.

If you think these would be useful to your friends and your tribe, please use the social media sharing buttons and help us spread the word. We are on a mission to kill bad marketing. And we need your help.

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Five Things You Can Do Right Now To Increase Website Traffic

Getting More WordPress Traffic
Getting More WordPress Traffic

What is the best sign that you are making progress in the online marketing world? It should always be the number of conversions. And by conversion I am talking about two things: How many people signed up for your email list, and how many people checked out using your shopping cart.

But online marketing (like all marketing) is based on a funnel. You have to get A LOT of people into the top of the funnel to get anybody out of the bottom. The very top of your funnel comes from the number of website visitors. So one of the goals of any great online marketing program is to get as many people to your website as possible by any means necessary.

Take any (or all) of these actions now to immediately increase website traffic: .

  1. Create a new blog post. The search engines rank all organic content by two factors: Relevancy and Recency. Most people are great at the relevancy part, but it is really easy to become a slacker in the recency department. All things being equal, the business who as a website that changes (via blog posts) more often will always rank higher in the search engine. In addition to ranking higher their site will also be scanned more often by the search engines. You should be laying out an editorial calendar and publishing content your website no less than once a week. This is hard to do (look at my site) but extremely important. So as soon as you finish reading my blog post you should go post a new one of your own. Don’t come up with any excuses. Just do it.
  2. Comment on 5 other blogs. Your blog is only as popular as the number of links that are sent your way. The temporary one from social media are great, but you want those nice, long-term, juicy links that come from other content-based websites. One of the easiest ways to pay attention to what other bloggers in your industry are saying, and then offering a relevant comment in the comment area. The nice part about this is that most comment area have a place for you to list your site. Have you ever had WordPress comment spam? That is what happening. People are leaving WordPress comment spam by the thousands to get as many back links as possible. So go hunt down five blogs that you like right now and leave a useful comment. Then watch your traffic spike. Then come back here and thank me 🙂
  3. Join Triberr and build your tribe. Are there fellow bloggers that publish such great content that you know you are going to tweet it out? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a system that made that as easy as possible? Welcome to Triberr. This is a great service created by the infamous Dino Dogan that makes sharing content that you were going to share anyways as easy as possible. It is like having your own personal news syndication network. When you create content you have a guaranteed audience. How big is that audience? With the right tribe it could be in the millions. If you want to get started with Triberr drop me a comment here or on Twitter account @patrickallmond. I might have a tribe that would be a good fit for you. Whenever I use Triberr properly on my website I see my traffic skyrocket.
  4. Join, post and participate in a forum about your industry. This has three benefits. 1) You get to hang around your peers and learn/grow with them 2) If you ever have any content on your blog relevant to a conversation thread you can drop in a backlink to your site 3) Almost all forums allow you to have a customized post signature. With that post signature you can drop in a link back to your site. You’d be surprised how many clicks I get from all the forums that I have participated in over the years. They are great for long-term, high quality back links.
  5. Push your social media followers to your website. If you are a business then you should always be looking for ways to push visitors back to your website. As fun as it is to post pictures and share information, all of that social media participation does not put food on the table. Getting leads back your site, getting them the participate in your OWN platform, and getting them to buy is what makes it rain. You should be looking for a way to drop a link to good content on your site at least 1-2 times a day.

I’ll swear on a bag of beef jerky (and I love my beef jerky) that all of these tips work wonders and will increase website traffic. So what are you waiting for? Get moving and get that website traffic flowing

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Why You Should Not Be Doing Social Media

(Social Media… everyone’s a fan. Text-based blog posts are going to be more and more rare on AllAboutFocus.com and JustAskPatrick.com. So this is a treat. I don’t have time for text, and I express myself much better when I open my mouth and speak the words I mean. You can see my point in my tone, my volume and my body language. So you will see me expanding our video page more in the future. )

Anyways…

Here is a quick post with two simple questions you can use to measure your internet marketing efforts. They will not take long to answer. If you ever hire me to be your personal social media expert or you ever join one of my paid, industry-exclusive mastermind groups (let me know if you are interested) these two questions will be the yardstick that I use to measure how well you are doing.

  1. Do you have a website?

  2. Do you have an email list?

If you answer NO to either one of those questions then don’t even ask me about what you should be doing in social media. Don’t come talking to me about mobile marketing. And don’t start a discussion with me as to whether or not you should be blogging. If you don’t have both of those items answered with a YES the online marketing conversation stops before it even gets started. Those are the  the basics of any online or brick-and-mortar business. And you cannot give me any good reason why you don’t have both.

Fix it right now. Fix it with the links below. Fix it before you read another blog. Fix it before drinking any more coffee.

  1. Get a website right now.

    Get a website domain and hosting account. It will cost you less than $10 / month. Use Hostgator web hosting. Why? Because I said so. Web hosting is a commodity. There are 10000 places you can host a website. If you don’t know anything about hosting then take my advice – because I know plenty about hosting. I’ve hosted tons of places, and I’ve run my own hosting company. Hostgator Web Hosting works better than most out there, and they have a very common control panel that you will see at many other hosting companies. And I don’t care what your friends tell you – don’t host at GoDaddy. They are slow and there are other reasons that they are terrible.

    After you get your account use your new control panel to install WordPress. Why? Because I said so. If you don’t know the difference between all of the content management systems, use the one that I say is the easiest. WordPress is very common and you will have no trouble finding help on how to use it. If you get a Hostgator web hosting account with my links in this post I’ll even install WordPress for you for free. I am just that nice. Please just get the domain, hosting account and WordPress started today. Not tomorrow. Today.

  2. Get an email list right now.

    Visit Mailchimp email marketing right now. Sign up and use their free mailing list plan. You can stay at Mailchimp email marketing and email your customers as long as you want for free as long as your list stays below 2000 people. If you do what I say and click on the word Mailchimp someplace in this post you will have your own email list started before the sun goes down today.

That is all I have today. Please take these two steps above. They are the two important first steps you can take to stop all over your competition.

These great resources and more can be found on my brand new Patrick Recommends .

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Mr. pitchman from last night, and key metrics you need to measure

Last night I had a cleaning fluid Mr. pitchman hit me hard at the front door. Not literally hit me (I’d hit back), but came at me hard with his product pitch. For the line of work he was in he was great. It was like a little one-man informercial. His words were slick – he had rhymes for everything.  He could have easily come up with a rap for what he was doing.  He took out the product and had it sprayed on my window before I knew what had happened. He had answers for every objection. And he even had some guilt trips built-in every time I shook my head no.

The problem was with every word I was more and more annoyed. I said  “No thanks” … and then again…. and then “You can stop now”… and then “Save your time” …. and then “Have a good night”. And he kept on going. I am in the online marketing business, and a picture-perfect example of someone who hates to be sold to but loves to buy.

After he left I started thinking about why he kept going. Deep down inside he probably knew two of the many factors that he needed to close the deal:

How long he kept the door open (Time on your website)

I am sure Mr. Pitchman knows the longer he can keep me at the front door the greater the chance of his success. In the online world this is measured as how much time visitors spends on your site. The longer you can retain somebody on a single page or any number of pages affects the chances of them taking the action you want. If you don’t have analytics in place to measure the average page views per user then get that fixed ASAP. Google Analytics has this built-in, but most of my new clients don’t know about it or why they should measure it. This is also a great reason to create finely tuned niche pages and blog posts (like this one). When people come to your site and find what they want instantly the Trust factor has already started. There is no better way to begin a long, wonderful relationship than with Trust.

I have goals about time on-site for each visitor that I measure and rate. Anything over a minute is great. Anything over 2 minutes is awesome. And 5+ minutes is just amazing.

How much information he was able to share (Pages per visitor)

Mr. Pitchman had a great story for everything, and a great comeback for every objection. He had a plethora of great content. In the online world this is measured as the average number of pages per viewer. This lines up pretty closely with the time spent on your website. Every visitor will view at least one page. So that is a “gimme”. But you need to have great content and a great structure to get someone to click on that 2nd, 3rd and 4th page. This is another area where I have goals set up in Google Analytics that I measure. This is also where I learned something important about my traffic: I get two extremes with very little in the middle. I have a lot of one-pagers, and I have a lot of visitors that hit 5-10 pages of content. So I need convert those one-pages to two-pagers.

Start paying attention to these two factors in your analytics report today.

Humorous Follow-up : I tried to call my neighbor after the pitchman left to warn him of what was coming. People always hit my door first and then his door so I try to give him a heads-up. I could not get a hold of him, but my neighbor had the best solution of all: He didn’t open the door. I need to take a hint from my neighbor more often.

Dec 9, 2011 Update: I think I found a video on YouTube that my blog post below talks about. Watch the video. I am fairly certain this is the Mr. pitchman.

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No email list? You are at a marketing disadvantage

2011 marks the thirteenth year that Focus Consulting and Training has been in business. As I look back at all of the brilliant and less-than-brilliant moves I’ve made over the years, there is always one that sticks out.

I wish I had started my email marketing list on day one of my business in November of 1998.

The ability for you to capture one-time web visitors and stay in touch with them is relationship and marketing brilliance. When someone is initially shopping  they will visit several websites. On each of those websites the average user will stay less than 30 seconds. They will leave and never come back again. In a couple of minutes they will have forgotten all about the most recent sites they visited .

Your online presence needs to have a built-in way to capture and stay in touch with shoppers. And you need to take action TODAY to do this. A good long-term email strategy requires planning and multiple toolsets. But there are steps you can take today to get on the right track. If your competition is taking those steps and you are not, they have an advantage over you. When the prospect is shopping and comparing your two companies and the prospect signs up for your competition’s email list, your competition can immediately start building a long-term relationship with that prospect. As opposed to you who lost them after they left your website.

Check out the impact of email on this infographic from SmarterTools . Click on the graphic to see it full size. And then keep reading below to learn how you can get started today on your own for free:

 

If you are interested in more information about planning and building great email campaigns visit our Contact Page and let us know about any questions you may have.  We use Infusionsoft for our email campaigns because it is an amazing platform that can make your life easier and make your days go by stress-free.

What you can do today on your own to fix this disadvantage (This is the oversimplified version. Contact us if you need help setting this up):

  1. Design a 5+ page report on inside information that you would share with a hot prospect that you took to lunch. Get that report proofread and looking great. Make sure you include plenty of visuals . Ensure  your contact information and website is all over that report (in the header and footer). Save it in PDF format.
  2. Get a free Mailchimp email marketing account. Create a new empty email list in your account.
  3. Set up an “autoresponder” for that new list. This means when people subscribe to your list Mailchimp will automatically email that report.
  4. Use your new list to design a sign up form for the left or right side of your site.
  5. Add that Mailchimp form to your site. Offer that report that you designed for free. All the prospect has to do is fill out your form.

Even though this is oversimplified I hope you get the basic idea. You want to offer your brilliant report for free if they give you their contact information. I use this method and generate a continuous stream of new, free leads every day.

So what are you waiting for? While you have been reading this blog post it is likely new visitors have come to your website, shopped around, and then left. Don’t let that keep happening. Get your email marketing list started today. Trust me – you don’t want to regret it 13 years from now.

Take care my friend,

Patrick

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Search 101: How Google Works

Are you new to the whole Search Engine Optimization game? Does what Google does just baffle you? Does your web guy or search engine optimization company just talk over your head sometimes? Fear not – we found a great basic video for people just like you.

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Google Plus: What You Need To Know

(This is a follow-up to our post titled “12 Things About Google Plus In 30 Seconds“. If you have not read that blog post then you should read it first.)

Google Plus is barely on its three-week birthday – and people are still flocking to it like crazy. This week Google reported that Google Plus has skyrocketed past the 10M user mark since it was made available in the limited beta. This is quiet an impressive number consider most of the time it has been in invite only mode. I am still holding my breath to see the long-term impact the latest release from our friends at the big G. But Google Plus is definitely getting a great start out of the gate.

Here is quick summary of what we have learned since Google Plus was released:

What is a Google Plus circle?

It is a collection of friends that you can place special permissions on. The most important part of the circle concept is the ability to only broadcast to a subset of your friends. You should create your own circles as soon as you are allowed into Google Plus. And don’t put everybody in every circle. That defeats the point. Also – except in very rare cases don’t broadcast every update to every circle. Keep your message on target for each group just like you do in life.

Businesses are not welcome on Google Plus

At least not yet. Google is discouraging businesses from creating business profiles on Google Plus for the time being. They have plans to roll out a business platform. This is great news because it sounds like they are taking the time to plan a structured business platform. So far all of the major social networks have taken existed functionality (Facebook Fan Pages) and warped it into something that is barely usable for a business.

Until Google releases the business platfom on Google Plus please sit on your hands so you don’t try pitching your insurance company to me on Google Plus.

Google Plus Hangouts

The Hangout feature on Google Plus allows you to easily and quickly create a small group video chat within your browser environment. I’ve tried two Hangouts so far: The first one with a gentleman overseas did not fare very well ; The audio and video quality was abysmal and unusable. The 2nd one I tried with my daughter who is less than an hour away. The video quality was OK but still very choppy. The audio quality was great. And I love that we were able to share YouTube videos (P.S. If you have not done so watch the eHarmony Profile video with the lady/actress who loves cats. It will make you chuckle. Then make sure you watch the parody from the songify guys. This was my test video for Google Plus Hangouts)

Google Plus Sparks

Sparks are the Google Plus equivalent of Facebook Interests. A list of these can be found on the left side of your plus page, and appear to trigger a search for the topic in Google News when clicked. There is no user-generated content driving this section so far. And I don’t see a way to add your own Sparks to the master list yet. This looks like it could be a great area for me to keep coming back to for

This all the Google Plus news we have this week at Focus Consulting. Don’t forget to follow us on the Focus Consulting Facebook Fan Page, the company Twitter account and the Patrick Allmond Twitter account.

What have you learned about Google Plus that you like / dislike compared to the social networks that have been around for awhile? Be sure to share your comments and experience in the comment section below.

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Video: Are you missing free opportunities every month?

I was a speaker at the annual Langston University Business Networking conference in June 2011. My main focus for this presentation was the financial importance of having a website and how it can affect your revenue. When you have a good website there is more impact to your business that just increased income.

Watch the short presentation and then let me know what you think in the comments below. Don’t forget to subscribe to the YouTube channel.

Have a great day – Patrick

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Five Amazing Things About WordPress

I won’t bore you with about how we love WordPress at Focus. I won’t go on and on about how simple it is to install and train people on how to use WordPress. I’ll leave out the amazing statistics about how many sites it powers on the internet. You’ve read all that information before and your WordPress skills are above and beyond the average user. But after reading this post you will be even more of a WordPress wizard. I am going to share with you five of the many things that I tell my WordPress clients that amaze them every day.

Here are what the power WordPress users know that you need to know.

A WordPress plugin is not a widget, a widget is not a plugin

This is a concept that a lot of WordPress users misunderstand. I’ve even seen this with seasoned users that have used WordPress for several years.

A WordPress plugin is a small add-on program to WordPress than can dramatically enhance the functionality of WordPress. There are plugins for picture galleries, SEO, grammar checking, calendar management, etc. The list is quite long. Some of those plugins (not NOT all of them) generate output that is visible and useful to your end users. When this is the case you will see extra widgets in the Appearance -> Widget section of WordPress. But you will not always see it.

Plugins give the extra functionality. A widget is the visual display of that functionality. They are not synonymous.

Every WordPress page does not have to have the same layout

You can discover amazing functionality by just stopping and looking around. If you’d look on the right side of your pages during the edit process you would see a box that allows you to change the page template. You can use this to completely alter the look and feel of certain pages on your site.

WordPress comes with three page templates out of the box, but most people use only one: page.php. You can easily copy that page template and alter it so you can have different layouts depending on how you want a page to look. Example: On some pages we don’t want the styled header in the H1 tags to display. So we copy the default page layout, alter it, and put it back in the same folder. That new layout then becomes available in the drop down during page creation.

More information on page templates can be found at the WordPress Codex.

WordPress can automatically do work for you

WordPress has a built-in feature call “WP cron” which plugins use to force WordPress to run regularly scheduled tasks (hourly, daily, weekly, monthly) on your behalf. One of the best uses of this is to run daily backups of your site have them emailed to you (Gmail accounts are great for this. There is free storage just waiting for you). Another great use I have seen it used for is to schedule updates to your social media networks – specifically republishing old content to get extra exposure.

An excellent example of WordPress automatically doing work for you is the Tweet Old Post plugin.

You can hide WordPress pages from your readers

When composing a new page or post there is a magic widget in the upper, right hand corner called the Publishing widget. This widget has two purposes: It allows you to protect your content, and to schedule your content to be released on a specific date and time.

Take a look at the Visibility section of this widget. You are given three options:

  • Public – Everybody can read this content unrestricted
  • Private – Only you and other administrators can read this content
  • Password protected – In my opinion this is the best of the three because it combines features of the first two. You can use this to publish a page to be viewed by non-administrators, but the user has to have the password to view the content. This is a great option to use if you want to pass a blog post or new page by a trusted colleague for review before releasing it to the public to read. This is also a useful option if you want to create a specific page for each client to share links or content with just that client. This could definitely come in handy for a coaching program where you had unique, proprietary work going on for each client.

WordPress can run multiple blogs & sites at once

Welcome to the world of WordPress Networks (formerly known as WordPress MU). This is perfect if you run a company or other large organization and you want to give users/areas access to their own sub-section of WordPress. Or if you run  mommy blogger site and you want to give each mommy her own blogging area. This is typically done via subdomains i.e. patrick.allaboutfocustraining.com or accounting.allaboutfocustraining.com. In this situation each administrator can do whatever they want on their subsite without affecting the main site page or any of the other subsites. This includes switching the theme so it no longer matches the main site.

To learn more about WordPress networks and how to set up them up visit the WordPress Codex.

Please make sure you share this with as many of your WordPress friends as possible. If you have any other amazing things you’d like to share please put them in the comments below. If you’d like to get started with your own WordPress site today then use our special Hostgator link and ‘allaboutfocus‘ coupon to get dirt cheap hosting.

Bonus: Here is the WordPress Codex page on what all the fields mean when posting a new page or blog post.

 

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3 lies + 6 truths: Email marketing is alive and well

Have you seen the reports about the amazing wonders of text  message marketing ? The latest hype I’ve heard is that people open up 99% of text messages. That is the future. Email marketing (just like newspapers) are dead. There is no sense in building an email list any more. The world is mobile so that is the area you should be focusing on.

If you believe any of that then you are really being snowballed. Email marketing is alive and well. And if you are not taking advantage of this (almost) free method of reaching out to your clients then you are throwing leads and money out of the window.

The 3 lies of SMS Marketing/Mobile Marketing:

  1. People open 99% of text messages. What do you expect? Your phone is beeping at you and you have no choice but to acknowledge it. It blocks everything on your screen until you do. So messages are being acknowledged but not acted upon. It is similar to your doorbell ringing. 99% of the time when your doorbell is rung you answer. But you rarely buy from the salesman if there is one on your porch.
  2. The world has converted to mobile shopping. While mobile shopping is growing, it is still in the infant stage. Any great mobile experience takes a smartphone made in the past couple of years to be effective. And there are still plenty of mobile users with plain old flip phones. Don’t forget the old market out there that you cannot control.
  3. You must use QR codes. See the previous item. While QR codes are slick, they take a smart phone and the appropriate software application to use them. In addition you are requesting the consumer to take proactive involvement in your marketing. They are doing the work to get your message. Try them out for fun, but don’t bet too much money on them yet. If you do choose to experiment with them make sure that they offer the user a special deal or experience as a result of making them go through the effort of scanning your code. Put some sort of explanation next to the code as to the benefits of scanning. Experiment with the Microsoft alternative also to see which works better for you.

The 6 Truths of Email Marketing:

  1. Everybody (almost) has an email address. Are you 100% certain that everybody has a cell phone ? Or that they have a text messaging plan? Or that they want to pay every time you send a marketing message to them ?
  2. Every social network relies on email. If we are going social that means that we need email more, not less. The only way I find out that I have private messages on any social network is when they drop an email in my inbox.
  3. People are reading email on their phones. For the people who do have smart phones and a data plan they are likely also checking email on their phone. And they don’t have to pay extra for it. So give them the same rich experience that they are used to at their desktop.
  4. Emails are easy to forward and save. And it takes more time to read emails. If people are anything like me I sometimes save emails for years. I’m also very good about saving and organizing old emails. I delete all of my text messages immediately.
  5. You can give people more options in email. Since emails can be just about any length you have more options than you do with a short text message. You can style emails to make them more attractive . You can give people multiple links. And you have a better chance of putting a call to action or pleading your business case in an email.
  6. Email marketing is free. Head over Mailchimp.com. You can get a free account to start emailing up to 2000 of you current customers and leads. You can never use cost now as a reason to not start.

So get out there and start experimenting with email marketing. You can get a free account at Mailchimp today. If you really want to do amazing things with your email marketing check out what I use – Infusionsoft (I am a customer and affiliate). Either product is a winner – as you will be once you get rolling.

 

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