Category Archives: actions

Why Article Marketing is Great for Generating Leads

article-marketingLong before the internet rose to its position of importance in marketing, the use of article marketing was considered a useful promotion tool in print media.  Today, the availability of online venues such as websites, ezines and newsletters via email have created an even greater need for well-written articles on a variety of topics.  As a result, article marketing has become a more powerful tool than ever before.

Article marketing is the practice of providing well-written content for distribution to websites and epublishers in exchange for a blurb about the author’s business and contact information.  These “bios” usually include a link to the business owner’s website.

When a business owner offers content for publication, it is equivalent to getting free ad space on countless websites worldwide.  The opportunity for exposure to the right market is significant, while the cost is virtually nil, making it a highly efficient means of business communication.

Unlike using email campaigns for lead generation, which net about a one percent response rate, article marketing targets a willing audience.  Readers either voluntarily visited the website on which the article is published, or have opted in to receive the newsletter or ezine.  This audience is inherently more open to the information contained in the article, and therefore more likely to follow the link to the author’s website to learn more.

Publishers who pick up the articles already have an audience of potential buyers in place.  Readers are interested in the content of the articles, suggesting they may be in the market to purchase products or services related to that content.  By comparison, the cost to purchase a list of such well-qualified leads would be formidable.  Providing an article costs no more than the investment of the time required to write it.

Business owners can further increase the conversion rate by including a link to a particular piece of information in the author’s bio.  Rather than linking to the home page, authors can include a link to an article on their own site that elaborates on the article topic.  Readers will be more likely to seek out additional specific information.

Conversion rates can be improved further by publishing an email address that readers can use to subscribe to the author’s newsletter or website.  Making the desired action as easy as possible increases the reader’s likelihood of doing so.  An auto-response can then be sent to new signa links to specific features of the author’s website.

Providing content to publishers in related fields can be a highly cost-effective means of increasing website traffic, generating qualified leads, and improving both brand awareness and ultimately, sales.

julianne-wish-avatar15Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, homeschooling mom, business owner, professional writer, blogger, nature photographer and legislative advocate. She is the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of The Wish Place. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.

Are Parties Necessary for Direct Sales Success?

the wish place logoPeople who are considering a home based business in direct sales begin to think about companies that use party plans as a means to generate income.  Party plans encourage prospective customers to host a party in order to earn free or discounted products.  Are parties necessary if you want to work in direct sales?

Not all direct sales companies require their associates to conduct parties.  In fact, some direct sales companies don’t require parties at all.  You may want to look further into companies offering a different plan for marketing if you are not comfortable talking to crowds of people.

Melaleuca, Avon, and World Book, among others, do not require a party plan.  So, are they necessary for success?  Obviously, the answer is no.  Even people that are associated with party plan companies can succeed by using other marketing plans.  It happens every day, you just have to do some research and determine what the other options are.

Direct sales success really depends more on you than on the method of marketing the product to potential customers.  If you don’t believe in the company and the product, it doesn’t matter what you do – you won’t be able to make your home business a success.  Here are some ideas to help you succeed whether you’re using a party plan or not:

1. Familiarize yourself with the business manual you received in your start-up kit.  Make a list of questions you have and then contact your upline sponsor as soon as you can.  Understanding what is expected of you, what you can and cannot do to market the product, and how the company will pay you will make all the difference in how you conduct your business.

2. Follow the instructions given to you during training.  Most likely you will be told to make a list of everyone you know. This will be your master list, the first people you will contact about your new business.  If you don’t complete this task, you’re not going to do the rest.  Swallow your pride and ask for your money back.  This company is not for you.

3. Begin networking with other business owners.  Join the local Chamber of Commerce and get plugged into regular meetings.  You must promote your business if it is to grow, and networking with other business people is a great way to let others know about your company.

4. Schedule specific times during the week to work on the various aspects of your business. If you’re at home, make sure to let friends and family members know that you do not want to be interrupted during your “work” hours.

5. Tell everyone about your business. Don’t assume that they already know about it or that they’re not interested.  You might be surprised to find that more people are interested than you think.

These five points show that you do not have to be involved in home parties in order to succeed in direct sales.  Your success is ultimately up to you, and depends on how serious you are about treating your business as a business.  If you want to see your business grow, you have to act in ways that will cause growth to happen.

julianne-wish-avatar15Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, homeschooling mom, business owner, professional writer, blogger, nature photographer and legislative advocate. She is the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of The Wish Place. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.

Marketing Dos and Don’ts

dos and dontsWhat is worse than not marketing your website?  It is getting bad backlash from doing the wrong thing.  At least if you aren’t marketing you still have the opportunity to do so.  When you are getting a bad rap, people may avoid you like the plague.  Here are some marketing do’s and don’ts to keep in mind as you go forward from this point.

DOs

1.  Keep the name of your website short and to the point.  When it comes to reading something on the Internet, shorter is better.  People lose interest quickly and a long name will not be catchy enough to stay on their minds for very long.  This is a business that you want to keep going for a long time.  Choose your words carefully.

2.  Use your signature line in forums and on emails.  The signature line is not just for your name anymore.  Include the name of your business, a brief description of what it is about, and the website link to find your main business page.  Be sure to check with the forum administrators to find out what you can and can’t do as far as trying to get free advertising.

3.  Do advertise offline to the local community.  The local community is another sphere of influence that will help the word spread about your business.  If money is an issue, advertise in church directories, newsletters, advertising books for special events, and the word of mouth method.  Talking to people in the beauty shop, barber shop, church, and the Rotary Club meeting can earn you hundreds more visitors to the site.

4.  Learn all that you can about search engine optimization.  The idea is to be ranked somewhere on the first page of search results for as many search engines as you can.  Most people only look on the first page because they assume correctly that they are the best places to find the information needed.

DON’Ts

1.  If you ignore the rules of posting information about your business on forums, they will boot you out.  This type of blatant solicitation is prohibited on most forums.  They let you use your signature line but adhere to the rules of what you can say.

2.  Adding a lot of extra frills to your website page will not make it more attractive to the search engines.  People who visit may like the bells and whistles but they won’t find you to admire them if you are consistently placed low in the page rankings.

3. Take a long time to respond to customer service issues.  When customers send you email about a broken product or have a question, answer promptly.  If you do not they will tell everyone that they know about your rotten service.  That type of word of mouth marketing you can do without.

Marketing strategies will either help or hurt you.  It takes time to see what works best so try as many as you can.  Remember that the object is to attract customers, not anger them.

julianne-wish-avatar15Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, homeschooling mom, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of The Wish Place. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.

Getting Over the Christmas Giving Blues?

christmas piggy bankTake the Christmas Budget Challenge.

Written by Bernie Wiemers Copyright 2005 http://www.my-wealth-plan.com

With Christmas just around the corner, our focus is slowly starting to shift from our work commitments to Christmas and with it comes the annual Christmas spending spree. Unfortunately many families don’t set a Christmas budget and they rely on their credit cards to get them through the festive season.

Shortly after Christmas these same families will also develop symptoms of the “Christmas Giving Blues” which can include an upset stomach, lack of sleep and anxiety.

You know that feeling. You spend up big, charge it on the card, and then spend the next couple of months worrying about how you are going to pay off your Christmas debts while vowing never to let this happen to you again.

Unfortunately, this is a reality for a lot of families every Christmas and they just don’t seem to be able to break out of the cycle.

This year, give yourself and your family a Christmas gift and take the “Christmas Budget Challenge” and enjoy your Christmas without the suffering the Christmas Blues.

There are two parts to the Christmas Budget Challenge:

1. Put in place a strategy that will help you survive Christmas with as little pain as possible.

2. Put in place a strategy that will give you a plan to enjoy your next Christmas. This plan will also run itself without you even thinking about it.

Let’s start by putting in place a plan that will hopefully make this Christmas a little easier on your hip pocket:

1. Have a look at your finances and set an upper limit that you can afford for your Christmas spending. Allocate a certain amount to Gifts and a certain amount to other Christmas expenses. This is the start of your Christmas budget.

2. Leave the credit card at home and pay for Christmas with money wherever possible.

3. Keep track of all your Christmas spending. A good way of doing this is by carrying a small notebook and pencil and writing your purchases in it.

Gift Buying

4. Call your relatives and agree that Gifts will only be purchased for the children

5. Take your Christmas Gift budget that was allocated in step 1 and divide it by the number of gifts you need to buy. This number will be the maximum you can spend on each gift.

Christmas Food Shopping

6. Take your Christmas Dinner budget and make a shopping list.

7. When you are doing your shopping use a calculator to make sure you stay within your Christmas budget.

8. Save money by looking for the cheaper priced goods on the top and bottom shelves. Try not to buy items that are on shelves at eye level, these are usually the higher priced items.

9. Try not to buy items that are located in the displays at the end of the shopping aisles, these items are usually more expensive than the items located in the aisles.

10. Compare prices of similar items and buy the cheaper item.

11. Remember that Christmas is only one day a year. You don’t have to spend a weeks worth of grocery money on one day.

12. Ask each relative to provide a food dish, drinks or dessert.

As soon as Christmas is over and the pain is fresh in your mind. You need to take action and put in place the second part of the “Christmas Budget Challenge”. This next step will ensure that you have enough money for next Christmas

1. Add up all your Christmas expenses including gifts, food and any other costs.

2. Take the total of your Christmas expenses and divide it by the total amount of pays until next Christmas.

3. Open high interest bank account with the following attributes:
– No minimum starting balance
– Interest is accrued daily and billed monthly
– Interest rate on this bank account must be higher than the inflation rate.
– No bank charges

ING Direct and Citibank have an online banking account that may be suitable for your Christmas Budget account.

4. Organize an automatic bank transfer from your bank account to your Christmas Budget account. This transfer will be on each payday for the amount you worked out in step 2. It is important that this is automated because most people will not stick to this plan if it is a manual process.

5. When next Christmas comes around withdraw your money and repeat the process again.

You can get a free excel “Christmas Budget Challenge” spreadsheet from http://www.my-wealth-plan.com/christmasbudget.zip. Use this spreadsheet as a template for your Christmas Budget,

This plan is very simple and surprisingly effective and you will be able to enjoy your next Christmas without the suffering the Christmas Giving Blues.

julianne-wish-avatar15Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, homeschooling mom, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of The Wish Place. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.

Tips for Creating an Effective Facebook Profile

facebook find usIf you’re thinking of sharing your business via Facebook, creating an effective profile is important. It’s easy to go into Facebook and set up a profile that doesn’t do much to reflect what you’re about. So here are some tips for Facebook beginners.

1. Be careful

It’s wise to exercise care when you set up your business profile. You may or may not already be on Facebook to socialize, but it’s a good idea to keep your business Facebook page separate. It’s also a good idea to limit who reads your status updates so that your personal news does not conflict with your professional news.

You can use Facebook’s privacy settings to control who sees your updates. And remember, privacy settings aren’t perfect; some cross-over is possible, so take care what you post. Some things you don’t need to share!

2. Your name

Most business people suggest using your real, full name in your profile – another good reason to pay attention to privacy settings. But you’re a business, so you want your name out there. Using your real name makes it a lot easier for people to get hold of you.

3. Your avatar

You will need to choose an avatar. Some successful business people suggest using a professional picture of yourself, but it’s entirely possible to get a good photo with your home camera. Let your “look” reflect the mood of your business (you don’t want to be pictured in overalls, for example, if your business is a professional marketer; but overalls would be an excellent look for a gardening business). If you have some photo software on your computer, you can adjust the background and so forth to construct a good avatar.

You can also use your business logo as your avatar. Various sources disagree as to which is the most effective from a business perspective, so ultimately it’s up to you and what you’re comfortable with. Consider your avatar’s look and colors, and see if it makes an effective avatar or not.

4. Think like a client

If you were a prospective client of your business, what would you like to see on a profile? Be thorough and truthful, but keep your prospects in mind. There are some things your clients don’t need to know, and other things they should know – remember, this is a business profile. Include those aspects of yourself that coincide with your business intent.

Something else to consider are online resources such as free printed guides and tutorials.

julianne-wish-avatar15Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, homeschooling mom, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of The Wish Place. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.

Promoting Your Business on Facebook

facebook likeFacebook is an increasingly popular social networking site that you can use to promote your business. If you choose to set up a professional page on Facebook, you might consider some of these tips to promote your business.

1. Making connections

Presumably, your business has an online presence elsewhere – a website, blog, or some such. On your site, it’s a good idea to set up a link to your Facebook page and vice versa. That way, visitors to your site can click on the link to your Facebook page, and Facebook friends can click over to your website. Giving clients and prospects the option of finding you on Facebook gives your business a personal touch. Facebook is known as a familiar network where people can interact one on one.

Another key to making connections is to offer your clients the ability to share your information. You can provide the ability to use Buzz, Twitter, or another social platform to share your information quickly and easily.

2. Content

It’s a good idea to have a plan as to what you are going to say on your Facebook page. This is your page’s content – the information you present to your clients and prospects. Make it interesting, relevant and fresh so that people will stay when they visit and return for more content.

3. Interaction

It’s up to you as to how much interaction you want between yourself and your clients; but regardless, it’s a good idea to be consistent. If you want a lot of interaction, you’ll need to have interactive applications on your page (apps). These include things like contests, games, and special offers. Consider creating apps for your page, and your information has the potential to “go viral” and reach many people quickly.

4. Freebies

Interactive or not, business professionals generally agree that giving away freebies is a great way to promote your business. If you give away a few high-quality freebies, then your fans will be likely to purchase your higher-quality items or products you’re selling.

5. Advertise

You can use key words from Facebook users’ profiles to give your advertisements a specific target. You can post ads to your particular demographic. This can save you time and effort, and really get your message across to your target audience or market.

6. Individuality is “in”

It used to be that conformity was the key to success in the business world – you had to wear the right suit, act the right way, say the right things, and so forth. These days, however, unique individuality is in. You can use your own individual approach to sell your business. So don’t hesitate to capitalize on what makes you, you!

julianne-wish-avatar15Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, homeschooling mom, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of The Wish Place. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.

Get Ready the Smart Way for Your Thanksgiving Trip

thanksgiving travelIn a very short time Americans will be off in masses for family gatherings for the Thanksgiving holiday. While staying home is the best advice the reality is that this holiday is the most heavily traveled in the country. Regardless of the delays, exhaustion and memories of arguemetns from last year, we’re all heading out to do it again.

You can get ready and be less stressed than last year with a few easy Thanksgiving travel tips.

Pack light. Carry one soft side bag. The one thing to count on at this time of year is long lines. Set your mind that delays will happen. If you pack light you can move around more easily while waiting for that late bus, train or plane.

Take a special book, magazine or DVD movie for those delay times. If you have something special to do while waiting the time goes much smoother. Pack low-sugar snacks and drinks. Travelers don’t need a sugar rush while waiting or in cramped quarters.

Flying
Arrive at the airport two hours prior to scheduled flight departure time, both on the outbound and inbound trips. This is once you get into the terminal. Build in extra time to park your car. Remember, lots and parking resources will be filled so making a reservation at an off site parking facility will help. Most of them take holiday reservations with a deposit.

Stay Informed. Stay in touch with real-time flight status on the airline’s web before heading to the airport. If you have an e-ticket use the kiosks and skip ticket counter lines. Most airlines have these now so use them. Consider full-service curbside check-in if you have ski, snowboard, golf or sporting equipment.

Expect to stand in long lines. Expect planes to be jammed. On board stowage space will be critically limited so again, take only one small soft side bag to slip under the seat. If you are taking a gift leave it unwrapped. Most security checkpoints will now require you to unwrap wrapped gifts. Better yet, mail it on ahead a few days before your plane flight.

Driving
If you are hitting the road in your car and driving, make sure its in good working order. Check you oil, water, washer fluid and tire pressure. Make sure you pack emergency supplies in case you get stranded. Take fresh containers of drinking water. If you are in colder areas take blankets and warm jackets, tire chains and de-icer.

Plan your trip so you do not return on Sunday. It’s not recommended to drive on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. It is the worst, most traffic-heavy day of the year. Try leaving Saturday or staying through Monday.

Take games. Better yet, if your vehicle or laptop has a DVD player, take movies. There’s no shame in a quiet, fight-free ride on the way home.

See you on the road!

julianne headshotJulianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, homeschooling mom, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of The Wish Place. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.