Sunday, September 26, 2010

Put Your Email Marketing On Auto-Pilot

This post has been reposted by Gary Gray aka garydotgray from articles by Jim Edwards.

Put Your Email Marketing On Auto-Pilot: "
One of the most important aspects of marketing (besides consistency) is having a flow and a rhythm to your promotions. We as human beings operate as “pattern recognition” creatures, meaning we respond and react to “patterns” in both the positive and negative. As small business owners, we need to find patterns that make it easy for us to market our businesses effectively, while still leaving time to actually operate the business itself.

Email autoresponders, specifically “sequential” email autoresponders, allow you to automate your online marketing while also creating an effective flow and rhythm to your promotions.

Email autoresponders create an automatic follow-up sequence of email messages that go out to recipients at intervals you determine. That means you can put together a series of emails for customers or prospective customers, and then deliver those messages to them at intervals you choose. Most sequential autoresponders also allow you to “broadcast” to your entire database whenever you have important news, updates, or specials to share.

To understand the effectiveness of sequential email autoresponders for a local business, let me share a quick story with you…

A friend of mine has a small seafood restaurant as a client in Georgia. The restaurant recently put their website online, which included a simple offer for email updates for anyone interested enough to sign up. The restaurant then contacted some of their friends and past customers and asked if they’d like to join the email notification list. With only 60 people in their database, they made a simple 2-for-1 offer through their email newsletter on a Wednesday afternoon (managed by their autoresponder) and got 30 coupon redemptions in about 72 hours.

In other words, they got 30 couples and families to come into their restaurant with very little advertising expense.

Moral of the story: even with a small list, a local business can leverage the power of email marketing and the automation of sequential autoresponders to make money and communicate better with current and prospective customers.

Local businesses can implement autoresponder marketing quickly in one or more of three ways:

  1. new customer follow-up
  2. email newsletters
  3. tips and resources

The key is to only send valuable information to your customers and prospects that they want, need, and expect. Never send email to anyone without their permission.

So that begs the question: How do you get customer or prospective customer emails? Answer: ASK, but ask intelligently.

Have a reason for them to sign up to your list that they can understand and appreciate immediately.

Do you intend to offer them online-only specials, coupons, tips or updates?

Take some time to really think this through before you start asking for emails because a self-serving, compelling reason to give you their email address is the key to success.

As for specific services you can use to set up a sequential email autoresponder, you can find many of them online.

“Constant Contact”, which caters to the small business market, offers most, if not all, the features you could ever need in an autoresponder at very reasonable prices.

No matter which service provider you choose, make sure they offer the ability to set up multiple lists or sequences, as well as the ability to broadcast subscribers in your database.

Very few online tools offer more bang for your marketing buck than a good, solid email marketing strategy built around autoresponder marketing. With some careful planning and a sound strategy, even the most basic campaigns carry benefits far in excess of the time, energy and effort necessary to implement them.


For more Small Business Marketing tips from the

Real world of Digital Marketing, log on to

Small Business Marketing Weekly” at


Quickly Increase Your Small Business Website Sales

This post has been reposted by Gary Gray aka garydotgray from articles by Jim Edwards.

Quickly Increase Your Small Business Website Sales: "
- By Jim Edwards

Most small business websites represent the online equivalent of a printed, tri-fold brochure. Everyone copies everyone else in their industry. They all say the same things, display similar pictures, and convey the same message. In fact, you could easily take the company name off most sites and interchange with others and nobody would notice. Most small business owners treat their website as an extension of offline advertising or worse, a marketing after-thought.

But with the Web’s importance in local marketing growing on a daily basis, this lazy attitude toward your company website means online marketing suicide!

If your small business website needs a boost, or you plan to put up a website for your business soon, the following tips increase your chances of success dramatically.

Use Effective Headlines

Imagine a newspaper with no headlines. It can’t work! Just like a newspaper, every page on your website or small business blog needs a headline. Headlines tell your visitors the topic of the page and quickly help them determine their interest level. The most effective headlines often center around specific offers, not general statements. My experience shows you only get 3-9 seconds to capture people’s attention before they click off your site and a good headline stacks the odds in your favor.

Make a Clear “Call To Action”

Most rookie sales people (and veterans too) fear asking for the sale. They beat around the bush with customers to avoid rejection. This same fear permeates most small business websites. You must tell peoplespecifically what you want them to do on your site: click here to make a reservation; click here to contact us; pick up the phone and call this number; get in your car and come into the store. Don’t make people guess and make it very clear what, when, and how you want them to do it.

Sell The Benefits

A famous drill salesman once said “People don’t buy the drill, they buy the holes!” He meant that people don’t buy the product or service, they buy a desired result. Yet, most small business websites talk only in terms of their company or product features. People don’t care about your company as much as they care about their own needs.

Talk in terms of how you fulfill those specific needs. Devote a large part of your sales message to the results people should expect and the benefits, tangible or otherwise, of dealing with you.

Make Specific Offers

Why do you think grocery stores run so many coupon ads?

Because those ads make specific offers that drive people into the store. They’re the equivalent of testing different bait on your fishhook to see what you can pull into the boat.

Most businesses don’t make specific offers of any kind. They assume people know what they offer (because they offer what everyone else offers) and customers will just “know” to contact them.

Special offers drive people to action. No matter what type of business you operate, get in the habit of making specific, unique offers. Most people default to offering a discount, but why not offer extra value instead?

Ask yourself:

  • “How could I add massive REAL value to our customers without it costing us a ton of time, energy or effort?”

  • “How can we get them MORE of what they already want?”

Make it so they don’t have to think (“no-brainer”) and it feels like a real deal.

Just these simple steps can massively increase sales on your small business website sales with very little effort.

For more Small Business Marketing tips from the

The Real World of Digital Marketing, log on to

Small Business Marketing Weekly

Google Instant Search for Marketing

This post has been reposted by Gary Gray aka garydotgray from articles by Jim Edwards.

Google Instant Search for Marketing: "
Google recently introduced their “Instant Search” feature which starts to populate search results the instant you start typing into the search box. At the same time, Google suggests alternate search terms as you type to help narrow your search without forcing you to enter entire search phrases.

The main idea behind this new feature is to save users a few seconds on each search and cut down on misspellings for search terms, business names or product names. Users may not notice much difference in their overall experience, however, for small businesses and online entrepreneurs, this new search method carries a few interesting ramifications.

Since Google clearly ranks as the “900 lb. Gorilla” of the online marketing world, acting as de facto gateway to the Web for millions, any change to their system makes businesses nervous. Many have expressed concern that this latest change will force users of Google’s AdWords program, the search giant’s lucrative pay-per-click marketing arm, to pay for more expensive keywords.

They reason that since the most popular search terms appear in the search box first, and that most people will opt to accept Google suggestions, those most popular searches will carry the highest click prices. In other words, businesses that depend on Google to show their ads fear that Google will force them to pay more money by recommending more expensive keyword searches.

I disagree.

The suggested search term feature actually appeared on Google quite a while ago, and all that’s really changed is Google starts to display the actual search results AS you type. With the old 2-step process, Google made suggestions as you typed and then you clicked the search button to see the search results. Instant Search just creates a FAST way to see the results for different search variations without forcing you to click the button each time to see those results.

This process makes it simple to see the results, change your mind, and not wait for the results each time you change the phrase. My experience shows that most people always start with a broad search and then narrow it by including more descriptive terms (often called “long-tail” keywords) to better find what they want. This new process won’t change that. In fact, it will give people more chances to refine their searches on-the-fly by providing Google more details of what they want.

Instead of posing a threat, I believe this new Instant Search feature creates an opportunity for any business to perform high-speed market research to look for possible opportunities and trouble spots. The following four steps will help any small business use Google’s new feature for instant results.

1. Go to Google and search for your business as if you were a consumer.

2. Make a note of the keyword suggestions Google offers as you type.

3. See if those suggestions give you any ideas for your own marketing (since they should represent the most popular phrases).

4. Note which competitors show up and where you appear in relation to them.

These 4 simple steps make a great barometer for taking a read on your local market, fast. Who appears consistently? Who shows up hit-and-miss or every once in a while? Who shows up in Google Maps? If your competitors show up and you don’t, you’ve got some work to do!

Bottom line: as a small business, use Google’s new Instant Search to quickly get the big picture when it comes to your business, industry, and local competition.

7 Pillars of Marketing a Local Business Online

This post has been reposted by Gary Gray aka garydotgray from articles by Jim Edwards.

7 Pillars of Marketing a Local Business Online: "
When I first started writing for The Virginia Gazette in 1998, the Web was a giant mystery. Almost 13 years later, it’s still a mystery for most! With the emergence of Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, Google, Linkedin, and a host of other sites, getting started with online marketing seems more daunting than ever. Yet, as consumers flock to the Web daily to research local products and services, visibility for your business via the Internet literally spells success or failure. Bottom line: online marketing is NOT optional anymore and you need every one of these 7 pillars to succeed, especially in a local market.

Pillar #1: A Website You Control

You must operate with your own website which enables you to make basic changes to it yourself, preferably right through your web browser. Waiting for a “webmaster” to update text and pictures does not qualify as a smart use of your time or money. WordPress, an open-source (free) publishing platform, makes an excellent choice for managing and organizing virtually any size website.

Pillar #2: Google Maps

Google now stands alone as the “900 lb. Gorilla” of the online search world. However, most don’t realize that “Google Maps” is the most basic component of local online marketing with Google. Get all the details at This tool is one of the fastest ways to get found in Google and, best of all… it’s free!

Pillar #3: Basic SEO

SEO stands for “search engine optimization” – which means making your website relevant when someone searches for your business name or terms related to what you sell. Building all the content, information, and text on your site around a central theme is the #1 thing you can do to increase your chances of ranking well in Google and other search engines.

Pillar #4: Make Value-Added Offers

Most people don’t make offers on their websites. Their web pages look like everyone else’s and say basically the same things. You must make offers on your site that spur people to action. Offer a discount or faster service. Give an incentive to come in today. Most importantly: make your offers big, bold and obvious on your site while giving people a reason to do business with you right now!

Pillar #5: Drive Traffic

You won’t make a dime with your website if the right people don’t see it. The fastest way to drive traffic is to buy it, specifically with the Google AdWords pay-per-click program. Pay-per-click means you only pay when someone clicks your “sponsored” ad on the search engine listings, and Google’s AdWords is the largest pay-per-click advertising network. However, make sure you set up a “geo-targeted” campaign when starting out so only people in your local area see your ads (instead of wasting time and money showing your ads to people who could never patronize your local business).

Pillar #6: Local List Building

Building up a local following you communicate with using online tools rates one of the smartest and most cost-effective things every local business can do. Whether through email, text, Twitter or Facebook (or some new tool), communicating with a targeted group and providing value-added information and offers can bring huge rewards. One coupon with the right offer to the right audience can turn a ho-hum Thursday into a blockbuster sales day.

Pillar #7: Consistent Follow-Up

The biggest online marketing mistake I see people make is NOT following up with prospects and customers. Use email and other communication tools to keep in contact with your prospects and customers and give them reasons to do business with you (by making offers) while providing useful information they want. As a wise man once said, “The fortune is always made in the repeat business.”

Small Business Marketing Weekly” will expand on each of these “7 Pillars of Marketing Local Business Online” in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Better Twitter

A Better Twitter: "

Twitter news! For all my LILN readers

This post has been reposted from the Twitter blog by Gary Gray aka garydotgray
Twitter is the best way to discover what’s new in your world. From football to film to philanthropy, people are using Twitter to discover what’s new about what they find interesting.

Twitter has always been about getting a lot in a little. The constraint of 140 characters drives conciseness and lets you quickly discover and share what's happening. Yet, we've learned something since starting Twitter—life doesn't always fit into 140 characters or less.

Today, we’re introducing a new, re-engineered that provides an easier, faster, and richer experience.

On the site, you’ll see the familiar timeline, yet underneath each Tweet is a handful of information, deeper context and even embedded media. Simply click on an individual Tweet and a details pane slides out on the right and reveals this content.

You can find out more about the enhancements on this information page. Here are some highlights:
  • New design. The site has a cleaner timeline and a rich details pane that instantly adds more impact to individual Tweets while still maintaining the simplicity of the timeline. And, experience infinite scroll -- you no longer have to click “more” to view additional Tweets.
  • Media. Now, it’s easy to see embedded photos and videos directly on Twitter, thanks to partnerships with DailyBooth, DeviantART, Etsy, Flickr, Justin.TV, Kickstarter, Kiva, Photozou, Plixi, Twitgoo, TwitPic, TwitVid, USTREAM, Vimeo, yfrog, and YouTube.
  • Related content. When you click a Tweet, the details pane shows additional information related to the author or subject. Depending on the Tweet’s content, you may see: replies, other Tweets by that user, a map of where a geotagged Tweet was sent from, and more.
  • Mini profiles. Click a username to see a mini profile without navigating from the page, which provides quick access to account information, including bio and recent Tweets.
These changes will roll out as a preview over the next several weeks starting with a very small percentage of registered accounts tonight. During the preview, you'll be able to switch back and forth so you have time to grow accustomed to the way things work. Eventually, everyone will have the updated version of We are incredibly proud of the work the Twitter web team has accomplished. We hope you are too!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Earl's visit - before and after

Earl's visit - before and after: "

Reposted from A Sparrow's Home 

Thanks for your kind concern and prayers regarding Earl! We came through without much damage - high winds, heavy rain and one tree down in our yard. Fortunately we didn't lose power although some parts of the Island did.

Nova Scotia, our neighbouring province, felt Earl's force quite a bit more than the Island. Some people are still without power there.

Here's a little video to show you the day before the storm - a lovely day at Pamure Island beach - and then Pt Prim on the day of the storm.

(Please pause the music in the sidebar to enjoy the sound effects of the storm)

Kathleen, my dil, headed over to Nova Scotia for some of Earl's wave action. She joined Rinda's girl Katherine, and her husband Andrew both avid surfers.

Doesn't that look like fun?!!

The storm certainly cleared the humidity and high temperatures of last week . The sun is streaming through my kitchen windows and the forecast temperature for this afternoon is a lovely 22C (74F).

Hope you're all enjoying this Labour day holiday!

Friday, April 16, 2010

FREE WATCH NOW!!! Live stream marketing seminar


Short, simple and to the point.

@keithwellman is streaming his Gateway To Wealth event LIVE for FREE! I am watching it right NOW at Join me? #G2W

Grab a seat now here



Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shooting Flip Video or Digital Photos? Get yourself in the shot with XShot!

Welcome Everyone

Phil Montaro has posted the following review post on his "The Anywhere Office" site.

If you want to do video (dosen't everyone?) and you are a crew of one, then this gadget is all you need to support you and you cam of choice.

Check it out...Thanks Phil!

Smiles :o)


Shooting Flip Video or Digital Photos? Get yourself in the shot with XShot!: "
Recently while using my Flip camera to shoot some video for this blog I came across a problem. I was shooting the post about “working outside your office” so I wanted to move around and decided to hold the camera so I could be mobile and not be stuck with the static shot I would get from using my tripod (like I normally do). There were two issues with this approach:

  1. My arms are only so long so I couldn’t hold the camera out far enough to get much of me and the background in the shot
  2. The camera shook a lot so the video jumped around a bit

As I always do when looking for the solution to a problem I searched Google and found a solution – the XShot 2.0 camera extender. This amazing device is only 9″ in length and weighs 5 ozs. when closed but folds out (like an antennae) to 37″ long and can hold a camera up to 1.25 lbs. It includes a standard tripod mount on the end that swivels up to 180 degrees so you can attach your point and shoot digital camera or your pocket camcorder (like the Flip video), simply extend it and get yourself and others in the shot! I was jonesing on trying it out so I contacted XShot and they were kind enough to send me one so I could give it a try and review it for you.

Watch this video below where I do a quick demo of how it works:

Ever since I’ve had a digital camera I’ve always done the single-arm stretch to take photos of myself and others without having to ask someone else to take the picture. These have been some of the best (and fun) photos I’ve taken – but the problem was always how close the camera was and you could only get 2 people in the shot. Not anymore thanks to the XShot! It’s solid, extremely light, and at full extension can get several people in the shot as well as the background. The swiveling camera mount on the end allows you to reach high spots in crowds and concerts, take photos from fun angles and in other places difficult to reach. I’m looking forward to trying some of these situations out and will post more photos and videos to the blog when I do.

The XShot makes it easy to take pictures and videos on the go to post on your blog or social networks and it’s great if you want to do video interviews at trade shows or other events where setting up a tripod is difficult. Best of all it fits in your pocket or camera bag so it’s a prefect tool for your Anywhere Office! It’s a great tool not only for travelers and photographers but also for bloggers, people involved in social media and entrepreneurs. It sells for $25 and along with my Joby Gorillapod and my Flip Video Camera will now be a permanent part of my mobile video setup.

For more info visit the XShot’s website. Check out their Gallery and Video pages to see some great examples of all the different creative ways people have used it – including video while skiing and paragliding!

I love a creative solution to a problem and XShot has certainly come up with one. Post a comment below and let me know what you think . . .


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

You’re Not Worth Anything Right Now

You’re Not Worth Anything Right Now: "


Image by Great Beyond

“I’m worth far more than that!”, you might be thinking. But are you really?

This is a tough topic for me to write about. I’ve gone on record before saying how great things were in early 2009. A year ago, I was writing marketing plans for startup companies to take before million-dollar investors and getting paid $1,500 a pop for them. I was getting projects to the tune of $600-$700 every couple weeks. Money was flowing, my pen was flying (well, the cursor on my computer screen anyway – who uses a pen anymore?) and life was good.

And you know what? When I think of being Location Independent again, that’s what I think about – and I bet you do too…

It’s the dream life of many an aspiring entrepreneur: you set your own hours, work in your pajamas (or your boxers on a hot day) and collect plenty to live on and even buy some pretty things. You’re happy, your clients are happy and the work keeps you busy and generally in a great mood.

The big problem is so many aspiring entrepreneurs think they’ll be able to start right there, right at that point.

You want to storm into you boss, yell “I QUIT!”, photocopy your butts on the way out and be done with the office life forever. Then you pick up some steaks for dinner on the way home and you arrive to an inbox that is jam-packed with high-quality, agreeable clients who want to pay top-dollar for your services.

Yeah, that doesn’t really work that way.

You have to struggle, you have to claw. You have to – *shudder* – network. You have to kiss up to clients to get good feedback and half-decent testimonials that you can give to your next prospect. You have to take low-paying gigs just to get off the ground and you may have to hang around that office a little longer and laugh at your boss’s jokes.

Think of starting a business like losing weight – one pound at a time. You don’t start a diet and look fantastic the next day. Unfortunately, when it comes to lifestyle design & location independence, this can be the expectation.

In my case, I might as well be starting out all over again after four years of grinding it out. As a freelancer, just about all of my work was done through other marketing firms, meaning I have no access to past clients, the testimonials are for the firm, not me, and the clients’ names and credentials all belong to the firm.

As far as the world is concerned, I didn’t do a thing for four years but the firms I worked for sure have cranked out some quality work, apparently. I’m a nobody. I might as well have spent the last two years living in my parents’ basement alone because there’s no evidence that I even existed professionally. Lesson learned.

So I’m in the same boat all you other aspiring LIPs are in but the good news is that we have plenty of opportunity, we just need to go out & snag it. Here’s what we’re going to do about it:

We’re creating a killer portfolio…

It can be mock-ups or little jobs that you’ve done already. Doesn’t matter. You need to have something to prove your worth. Make up a bunch of companies if you really have to. Good, small clients see the talent through the lackluster credentials and will be willing to take a chance on you.

We’re starting a blog

Ah yes, the ultimate “me too” advice. Everybody tells you to start a blog. They’re right. A blog gives you a venue to showcase your talent. It gives you the psychological advantage of knowing you’re working on something, at least.

It also gives you the chance to network without having to attend 7:00am Chamber of Commerce breakfasts where everybody is trying to sell to everybody else and nothing gets done for 2 hours (been there, done that ).

I didn’t wake up one morning and decide to start writing for the blog here at Location Independent Professionals. I built up a reputation and relationship with Lea (on Twitter, in fact) and used my own blog to establish some credibility. You can network with tons of people who might come across your blog and opportunities will start opening up because of this.

We’re hopping on a job board like Elance or Guru...

A big “thank you” goes to Sarah (my fellow blogger here) for emailing this suggestion. Ironically, I had already started using Elance before she emailed me but it’s still a great idea.

For bigger, more established professionals however, Elance looks awful. People see Elance as a place where bidders undercut each other for cheap, lousy work. Certainly that happens, but you know what? I’ve been undercut in the “big professional” world too. I’ve seen cheap, lousy work there too. Elance is full of big-time opportunities and so are other job boards.

The secret, in the beginning at least, is to take the smaller jobs first. For a writer, that may mean writing 35 content articles on horses (been there, too). Take the ones you hate but kick some major butt at them. Build up that profile, get that great feedback and the big dogs will be willing to listen to your bid on their monster project later on.

Most importantly, take whatever you can get. Check your standards at the door. While I wouldn’t advise you do anything you are morally against, in the beginning you do need to grab anything that comes your way. It may feel demeaning, but everybody has to pay their dues a little bit. It’ll be worth it in the long run.

The biggest point is that you prove your experience. You are only worth what your client perceives you to be worth. If they don’t think you’re worth $5 an hour, you’re not worth $5 an hour. Work your tail off and build up some experience. Then when you demand what you are worth, people will take notice.

Related posts:

  1. Potential LIP Businesses: Virtual Assistants

  2. Potential LIP Business: Freelance Writer


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Welcome Guardian Readers!

Welcome Guardian Readers!: "

If you’ve come here from our recent feature in The Guardian Travel section, then welcome to our site and our community!

If you’re new to the concept of Location Independence, it’s about being able to live & work from anywhere you choose – which usually means you can and need to be able to:

  1. Earn an income online via a business and/or passive streams of income

  2. Travel the world at the same time, or simply work from home or the coffee shop down the road

  3. Navigate your way around the ever-changing technology & social media “scene”

We’ve got a lot of resources to help you – and our #1 mission is to enable anybody who wants to, to become location independent. Here are a few you might like to check out:

  1. The (original) blog for Location Independent Professionals

  2. Our new blog for Location Independent Parents (or aspiring ones!)

  3. Our Location Independent eBook which shares our story & a practical roadmap for how to get started and become location independent yourself

  4. The recently-launched Location Independent TV site with episodes & clips from our life on the road.

To see all the sites & resources in our network, click on the drop-down box up in the right-hand corner of our site. And if you’ve any questions, drop us a line on Twitter or on Facebook.

No related posts.


Friday, January 1, 2010

10 Best Habits for Great Content

10 Best Habits for Great Content: "The New Year provides a great opportunity to reset writing habits that will allow you to build better content and a stronger website. Becoming a better writer does include writing better content, but other traits and habits are equally important for providing great content on a consistent basis.
10 Tips for Content Writing Habits

1. Be Accountable [...]"