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Topic: video

WordPress.TV

WordPress is the software that this blog runs on.  It is free, although you need a web host to run it.

While I tell people all the time that they can do 90% of what they want in wordpress themselves, many people still have trouble.

The good news is WordPress just launched WordPress.TV which has tutorials.

This kind of public video is increasingly important for you to make complex sales.  For example, look at WordPress Wishlist.  I would have not bought the software had they not had the video tutorials on the right side  I bought it because I was confident it would solve my problem after watching every video.

I like the software so much, I launched a whole new website dedicated to helping people build membership sites with the same low-cost membership website software tools I use.

Are Videos on the Web Effective

Shama Hyder has a really great article on her blog – Are Videos on the web effective.

It is still early in the adoption of video, but with things like Amazon s3 for video hosting, things are becoming easier.

Litmos Training System

Litmos is a training system that for many of you will be a warm, happy relief.  It is funny that no one has done a good job of this in the past, considering how many people are out there trying to build training and learning programs. I have used Moodle and other options to build training systems, and they just have too many options and take forever to customize and make your own.

Here are the key reasons I really like Litmos, and the things I would like to see them add as well.

  1. I love simplicity.  You will be building a course in minutes.
  2. I love low cost of entry.  Because they are charging $3 per user, you know how much it will cost whether you are doing small audience or large.
  3. They charge per ACTIVE user.  So having users in there that never log in do not cost you anything.
  4. Litmus has a great, easy interface.
  5. Litmus has the option to host big video files (small $ amount more per month)
  6. Nice assessments.
  7. Incredible support and involvement – they have been emailing me to ask how I like it, what I would like to see added, etc.  They have even made a couple of changes based on my recommendations.

My Litmos Wishlist

Of course, there is a fine line between simple and having everything I would like to see.  Here is my wish list for things that would take it from good to perfect (for me.)

  1. API to log in from another location.  Right now user management has to be done from the Litmos system and users must log in there.  I find it hard to build a community of users if they have a bunch of different logins.
  2. Messages – It would be great if they built in a message board or at least messaging on each learning module.  Currently it is a one way street.  I think something as simple as leaving comments on modules would work – and it can be turned on or off based on the module setting.
  3. Audio Uploads – I know this will be there soon, but currently you can upload Powerpoint, Flash, Video but not an audio as a module.  They did say it will be there soon.  You can currently upload audio as a resource, but not as a module in the course.
  4. Ability to sell my course directly via Litmos – It would be wonderful if they would let me set the price of my course and sell it within their catalog.  Then I could create couses and promote them, and they would get $3 from each person that takes the course, and I would get the difference on what I am charging.  That would save a huge amount of work for me.

Long ago I accepted the fact that one application is not going to appear and integrate everything that I could ever want.  Instead, if you find a tool that is simple and takes minimal effort to add users into, then you have a winner.  Litmos is a winner, and I am confident that it will continue to get better.

Viral Marketing

The generic globe logo used when Firefox is co... The trick with viral marketing is to not only create something that goes viral, but to have a goal and outcome for it as well.

A good example of this was when I signed up for a simple piece of software that would monitor the blogs I like so that I could comment faster on the good posts.  I do not remember how I first found out about it, but it got me on the guys list.  Later I joined a broader system that was a monthly fee.

No, this is not a huge viral marketing example like Hotmail was.  Instead, it is interesting because it was fairly viral and it was targeted to his audience.  He knew exactly what his audience would be interested in and he wanted to grow his list of people that were likely to buy his other products.

Not a trick – it was good marketing.  A good give-away that generated a list of people willing to pay for more down the road.

Too often, something goes viral and people refer to it as viral marketing.  Unless it has a marketing goal it is just a popular thing.

Here are some examples of Viral marketing goals.

  1. Email List Development – This is probably the big one.  It is easy to integrate and you can get a lot of value in the future from your list.
  2. Up sell – of course, if you up sell too hard you are probably not going to go viral.  Unless you are Frank Kerns and very obvious about it.
  3. Branding – If your video just went viral, you are probably not getting emails or anything.  Hopefully it is strengthening your brand and getting people to go do a search on you.
  4. Traffic – Your viral marketing item may have all kinds of links back to your site for case studies, instructions, a forum for users, etc.  It depends on your product.
  5. RSS Subscribers or Twitter Followers – If your viral item is interesting, you can encourage other people to follow your twitter or rss to find out about updates and new items.

Viral marketing Ideas

So what things can go viral?  Here is a list of the common ones.  Before you assume you know exactly what everyone wants, go look at sites that list these kinds of things and see what is popular.  Youtube for video and download.com for software.

  1. Free Software
  2. FireFox Toolbar
  3. Funny or (highly) informative video
  4. PDF Download – Report or Case Study
  5. Blog Theme or Widget
  6. Friend option in web service (Like LinkedIn, Plaxo)
  7. Audio Recording
  8. Deal too good to be true (For real, not just telling them that)

OK, I am sure there are more but this give you a good idea.  Remember, Viral marketing is not about getting the most video views.  It is about having a goal and a target and giving those people something they have to spread to their friends.

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Free Video – Why Blog?

- Watch a free video on why to blog -

I do presentations all the time about social media and blogging.

In fact, next week I will be talking to a bunch of CEO’s about why they need blogs for their organizations.

Since I only have 30 minutes, I am breaking it down into answering the 7 questions I get most frequently, and inviting them to follow up with me after (hopefully in the paid, consulting kinda way.)

Since I have been trying to improve my video skills of late, I did a shorter version of the presentation.  If you are on the fence about blogging, watch this presentation.  It should answer your questions and be realistic.

7-blogging.gif

Offline Activity that Drives Website Traffic

Because online marketing is newer than other forms of marketing, it is easy to think of them as two different worlds.  However, if you think of business being about relationships and providing value, that barrier breaks down right away.

The question is not whether online will work for you.  The very legitimate question is, Do you have the time and inclination to use online tools to extend what you are doing?

I do not do direct mail.  I don’t want to, and while I may be losing out on some clients, I do not care because I do not believe in direct mail as an effective marketing tool in most cases.

For many business owners, they have a website, but they do not believe in internet marketing.  That is fine as well.  It is your choice, and it is less about whether it works or not, and more about your inclination to try to do it right.

Something that is often lost is that online extends off-line.  Here are some ideas on how to use your real-world marketing and online marketing to form a great marketing alliance.

  1. Speech Teaser – When you give a speech, mention the limited time but let the audience know where to go on your website to find a video of 5 more secret tips.  Ideally it is after they sign up for the newsletter.
  2. Direct Mail – Go to the website and sign in to get your secret discount code – or to see if you have won a prize.
  3. Brochure – Expand your paper brochure with a website address that has video of your product, service, etc.
  4. Business Card – Don’t just list your main website.  List your blog or other resources.  Use the back of your business card to add value.
  5. Networking – When you have a chance to meet people and work with people, use sites like LinkedIn to connect and leave testimonials and endorsements.
  6. Cold Calling – When you call someone and they are interested in your offer, get their email and send them a link or two to video or resources that will interest them but not be too sales oriented.
  7. Print – Always have ways to get more information by visiting the website.  I recently saw a whole proposal done as a public blog to demonstrate the companies commitment to social media.
  8. Advertising – No matter what your advertising, they should be able to explore the topic more by going online.

If you are doing all of these things, you could say that you are doing Internet marketing, you could say you are doing traditional marketing, or you could just say you are a damn fine marketer.

Floating Window – Increase Email List Signup

I use and love aWeber for my email system.

I could hand build a great pop up window with aWeber, but it was going to be a lot of work, so I kept putting it off.

Then I tried Floating Window.  It more than doubled my sign up rate, it integrates with my aWeber account and it really is as simple as they show in this video.

There was one thing that I did not like.  I could not have it only pop up once per visit.  So to solve that, I added it only to the front page, but not the sub pages, that still use a simpleraWeber form.

If you want to save time, impress people with a great pop-up email offer and get more people to opt into your email list, I recommend Floating Window.

Online Marketing? What is a business owner to do?

Are you a business owner trying to figure out this online marketing thing?

First, online marketing does NOT mean putting up a website.  Sure, there are marketing elements in the website, but just having a website does not mean you are doing online marketing.

Think of your website as a brochure you just printed up.  What good is it doing you if it sits in your office?

A huge number of businesses out there right now believe they are doing Internet marketing because they have a website.  These are the same people that are saying that the Internet does not work.

What I see are certain “Camps” of Internet marketing – and the small business owner does not fit smoothly into any of them.

Camp DIY

Most things in life could be done by anyone – if they have enough time and resources.  The Internet is no different.  You can build websites, modify design, set up a blog, write articles, split test your email messages, build your list, use social bookmarking every day, contribute to Squidoo, HubPages and Gather, join online communities and answer questions on LinkedIn and Yahoo Answers.

That would be a good place to start but would not REALLY be full marketing, simply higher visibility.

Camp Information Products

This group of people hone great skills and sell eBooks, videos, webinars, etc.  The problem here is that a non-information product company will rarely take the time needed to develop these skills.  It is not their main source of revenue.  That is too bad since this group has a great deal to teach.

Most of the members I see in this camp are solo-preneurs.

Camp Big Business

Just like TV, if you have a big budget you can plaster your ads all over the Internet.  AdWords, Ads, Paid Reviews, etc.  Plus this group has full time writers and SEO Experts.  The small business will dabble with these things but then give up, because they rarely pay off quickly and tend to dent the budget.

Camp Technology

The thing that makes me cringe the most is camp technology.  You go to an Internet Expert that knows how to code things and fall in love with all kinds of custom technology.  You spend a fortune only to find out later that people like things super simple and do not care about all the bells and whistles.

So what is a small business person that wants results going to do?

Here is your plan:

You purchase hosting where you can get great open source tools like Bluehost or OutstandaHosting.com.

You buy templates that you like for your website and blog.

You pay a consultant to set up the look and feel to match your branding.

You purchase an account at aWeber and set up a reason for people to sign up.

You hire a Virtual Buzz Assistant to write regularly, promote your website via advocacy and use social tools to create more visibility.  You set a fixed budget so you know what to expect.

You experiment with AdWords with multiple keywords and multiple pages.

You contribute as much as you can, and outsource the rest.

Why is this a good plan?

This is a good plan because it is low cost, has a long term view and is an investment in your web visibility.  It helps you hone your message and makes sure your blog and website do not sit dormant and lose the traffic they were getting.

Sure, you are spending money on various tools and help, but all of it is low risk, fixed, and an acceptable risk for reward.

Are you a Bullet Point on a To Do List?

The idea that you can contact someone and they will drop everything they are doing to talk to you, write about you or even promote you it not a very realistic goal.

Lets try it.  – Stop reading and promote me to all your friends and family for the next 30 minutes – go ahead – just start calling and emailing….

I will wait….

See, you kept reading instead, didn’t you?

Yet when we start promoting and creating buzz, that is exactly what we hope for.  I sent you an email, why haven’t you blogged about me yet?

The best you can hope for is often to get on someone’s to do list.

That is not as bad as it sounds – we all want repeat exposure, and if someone keeps rewriting your name on the to do list and moving it forward each day or two, it is better than an advertisement.

Here are some tips to stay on someone’s to do list until they finally act.

  • Make your request easily actionable (Something they need to do)
  • Repeated contacts, but not too frequently.
  • Make the person feel appreciated – SuTree made me an expert.
  • Have a clear benefit stated.
  • Make your request difficult to decline. 
  • Assume you are on the to do list of a busy person.  It is not a NO until they say no.
  • Follow up after a yes. 

My to do list is always full of technologies to check out, books to review, etc.  I say yes, but the people that keep communicating with me rise to the top while others may never get addressed and may fall off the list eventually.  If you think about the dynamic of the to do list, you will change the way you interact with people.

Home Improvement Buzz

We just started helping a new client with a great new website:  Showroom 411

I do not write about every client here, because I try to keep this blog relevant to buzz marketing.  However, showroom 411 has a very relevant story that could be an inspiration to you.

Rick Maselli is a builder.  Not terribly web-savvy and not a marketer.

Years ago, he improved his project outcomes by using links on the web to help clients pick out the fixtures and materials they wanted.  This grew into an access database, and now has launched a very comprehensive online community around DIY Home Improvement.  It brings together home improvement people, products with public reviews and contractors that are there to help if needed.

My question to you is this:  How many companies are out there sitting on all kinds of great information and simply do not know they can leverage that for buzz, visibility or to launch a whole new company?

Showroom 411 includes:

Take a look and think – do you have another company in the making?

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