Visible Strategy

Using the web to propell your business to visibility

Archive for the month “February, 2011”

Using the dashboard on webs


This is kind of part two to the most recent post: I mentioned that you can create a website for free and now I want to provide a few images of what that looks like.

You create and make changes to your website through using a dashboard. This allows you to choose templates, then to say how many pages you want, and what goes in each page. You can change anything the moment you create it, so just jump in!

Here is what the dashboard looks like:






Just push and play with the buttons… It is all very “intuitive”, which means that what you are looking to do should become obvious when you search a little. For instance, what if you don’t like your template? Just do to modify template, on the top toolbar …. See it? And choose something else, apply it. If you hate it, go back to choose something else. That simple.

Add pages, new pages. Modify the name on of your pages. It is all do-able in about 30 minutes. Call me if you have a problem! Well, no I guess you can’t do that, but you can put a question in the blog here. And I will address it next time. I will be doing some webinars on all this next month, so stay tuned for those.

You don’t have to be marketing minded to make yourself visible to people who need you!

Be visible!

Visionary thinker

So you need a website?

Yet another of my holistic friends – a friend with a non-marketey and non-businessey outlook on life, as you may expect – was mentioning that she had to get some sort of a website. That it was time, she supposed, to have something on the web that might reflect her two decade career in things wonderful related to helping people through counseling and the use, in her case, of helpful remedies from the natural world.

Okay! I say, enthusiastically, so this kind of thing is really, really easy to set up today. And you hardly need much of a budget. Things have evolved. As I heard myself explaining what she could do and what she might want to avoid – like spending big bucks on hosting if you are a tiny solopreneur, as self-employed folk are called. Just get something out there that reflects who you are. Your virtual store-front, in other words. So people who do not know you can find you. Can learn from you. Can be helped by you. Just do it. And then put that link on your business card.

This way of thinking is easy for me, since I have been moving about in the world of small business and the handy business card for years. And I have been, as you know, trying ever so gently, to bring my “I don’t have a website or any marketing plans” friends into the digital age. I am working on my next e-book, but until I can just offer that to you, you can read my blog, I mention.

So what to do and not do in a nutshell, as you are trying to learn some things yourself before you pay for anything.

Free websites

If you are truly just starting out, you can even have a free website to begin with that you can pay for later. A good site for that is webs.com that allows you to create all manner of things with a fantastically easy to use dashboard. (Dashboard – you go to the website, and click on visible icons for creating content, designing your website from a template, or uploading photos). And I hear more experienced people saying no, you don’t want a free site for this or that reason, but I counter with the idea that if you could rent a bixi bike before deciding on what bike to buy, would you not do that first if you could? Maybe you won’t like bicycling at all, or maybe you will be carried away with the magic of creating the route you want to take without following the bike paths….

When you get a website, you need to name it. Yourname.com is pretty great, if you can get it; barring that you may want a name that reflects what you are doing. My friend might want for professional reasons to use her name; she might also want to call her site something more creative like Aliceteachesemotionalhealth.com or something like that. It is up to you. You will find you need to create the name if you use webs.com. Don’t over worry about this part: with a free website, you can be creative to start, since the purpose is to get a feel for what you want. So Iamlearninghowtomakeawebsite.com would be just as good.

Don’t lose your site! By this I mean as soon as you have created a site, you need to put the location on your browser toolbar so you can find it easily, or on your desktop, since it will NOT show up with Mr.Google at first! So make sure you figure out the link and save it, your password and your username id ,that is normally your email, on a sticky note somewhere!

Hosting your website

You need a virtual barn door to pin your website to, virtually, and this is the hosting of it. Do not overpay for this! Sites other people recommend to me are Hostpapa, in Canada, where you spend money for hosting the site in a one shot spend at the beginning, or GoDaddy or Webs. You can get reasonably priced hosting for your site. Reasonably priced means less than about 11 per month. Do not pay more, unless you have big plans and an advisor. You don’t need to, that’s why.

I encourage you to have fun with this. After all, you are learning as you go, and developing, as I said, what is called the look and feel of what you want. And you are in the driver’s seat. You can try outrageous templates, if you like.

Create some text!

When you have what is called an intuitive dashboard, like on webs.com, you can just start entering text. Again, don’t worry much. You will be copying in texts you have perhaps already written about what you do and who you are. You are creating your own customized template, if you will, by starting to fill in the blanks. You will find it fun – I can say this because I have personally helped lots of people discover how to fool around out there. Like a neighbourhood training wheel specialist, just for fun. It is fun. In fact, if this is the first time you “see yourself” in a public web space, you have a whole new perspective on who you are. You can create the image and the persona that will be most appealing to your target market. You know how! You have been a consumer of websites long enough to know what you like and what you don’t like. Make something you like…

Save and publish!

Remember, don’t lose your site location, as I said. Until you are ready to do something called “optimize” your site, you may not find it through a search engine. That part is a whole ‘nother story. Meanwhile, you have something people can find when you send them there, though. And that is start enough for now.

Adding marketing engines to your website

This is also a different subject, but oh so fun as well. The idea I will leave you with is to be able to show your website and anything you want to tell people about what you are doing or offering by sending it to them email. Seriously! The concept is kind of like flying them your website… and is what the big guys do. When you receive an email that is a newsletter, for example, that is part of someone’s emarketing strategy to stay in touch with you. Start developing your ideas of what you could say and send to people. Not sales, just things they might like to know.

Get visible!

Until next time,

Visionary Thinker

 

 

 

 

 

Pricing and features – Constant Contact

I just checked with the Constant Contact website and got some help on pricing plans just to see. If your data base is less than 2,500, you would pay $30 for the email marketing per month with really great templates. If you added services like event marketing or survey to that, you pay a flat $10 extra each. The three together would then be $50.

Advantages are great templates ready to go, lovely formats.

Disadvantages: you are ahead of the game if you have a website that allows you to store video, for example. You can then send an email with the link to the video on your website. You have to upload an image to the spot where you want the video to play. They do not store video anywhere in the Constant Contact site.

If you want to do webinars, you must use a different provider, such as Go To Meeting.

This is a pretty reasonable cost – $50 for all these features, but it does not allow you the flexibility of video email or audio email. And you are still paying for a different service for your webinars.

Once your database is over 2,500, you are in a different league, and paying base $50 instead of base $30.

Learning to be visible means looking at the options!

Visionary Thinker

Discovering easy templates

So if you go looking for templates that you can use for your email on the web, you will discover a number of things.

There is an ad for easy email templates that will take you to constant contact. You can see how it works and do an online trial for 60 days. Then it costs as little as $15 a month.

The tabs across the top offer email marketing, event marketing, online surveys, social media and learning center. The interface looks easy to use. Click the see how it works button, or the try it free for 60 days.

Here is what one of the tabs offers:

This was event marketing.

At a minimum, your business needs something like this, even if you are sending from an email address that is gmail or hotmail. Even if you do not have a website, you can jazz up your emails. A professional template will offer you a sleek line that is tested and tried to attract attention, allow easy and quick scanning of information. There is much more to constant contact. Go and check it out if you like. I will take a look at the pricing plans another time.

If you are wondering how I inserted this screen shot – you need to do it via an image editor like Photoshop and insert it into the html. Your html blog post looks like this!

Be visible!

Visionary Thinker

The easiest tool to use

I have been meandering around the edges of how to get visible, what website to create, and what to put on it. I have several businesses, and several personas, to use the correct word for multiple email accounts. How appropriate, I thought to myself… because that is exactly how I feel, pretty often. Multiple personas. Those of you who know me from one context are less surprised than in the past about the other sides of what I do, and I am discovering that more and more of you have multiple personas, actually. No, this is not abnormal psych class, this is the reality today: many of us have multiple small businesses and hobbies and volunteer positions. We are all fragmented to some degree. Especially the women, it seems, but many of us just are.

So would you not like a tool that manages all of this in your communications? If you say no, I understand. If you say yes, then hopefully I have your attention.

Here’s a question: how many emails do you receive a day? Lots, I am sure. And how many of them do you delete? Do you just leave in a big inbox? File? The point I want to make is that we are bombarded with information, that we sometimes do keep, in our inboxes, and refer to with a “search” when we want or need something.

This is how business is gradually moving now. This is the principle behind doing a little marketing. You want to be in the right place at near enough the right time for your customer to find you. Their inbox is a pretty good starting place. You have become familiar to them, and they are not out there on the Internet looking. They are looking for you, and you have created a small link with them, as though you have passed them at the community centre.

You want to be in something called the sphere of consideration when they need something or are about to spend money to solve a problem.

If you have a hand-made crafted work of art business, you want to be present in their minds when they are thinking … present. Am I right? So how do you do that, today?

Stay tuned for easy ways to be more visible…

Visionary Thinker

A Website is not Enough

A short conversation going nowhere (you all know when you should have kept your mouth shut) with a local small retail business ended with me smiling and heading out the door with my teensy, weensy purchase, hoping I would remember not to go back anytime soon. Need to find another shoemaker, I thought. (No, this was not a shoemaker, but the analogy is pretty safe).

When I entered, the conversation was about (since I always ask) how slow business was. When I suggested that there were other ways of bringing in business than the voodoo doll, I was greeted with “They find me through the internet”. Good. Yes, they do.

The idea that one could do anything to increase business, increase sales or enjoy business more was a little foreign. We will just watch the door and see if our attention causes it to open more often. Okey dokey.

The internet has changed how we do just about everything. Learning how to put it to use is not that difficult. For many of us who have been in business for a long time, though, there is resistance to making big changes. We are used to how we have done business, successfully. But we are possibly still walking to the fair, being overtaken by the horse and carts on the way. I am merely suggesting that we ride along instead of walk. And no, you do not have to buy the equivalent of a horse and cart two hundred years ago. You just need to start learning about what to do.

Get visible, everyone!

Visionary Thinker

From my little office to your inbox

No matter what you are doing, whether your desk is already bringing you a six-figure income or not, you need to stay present in the minds of your consumers. Hold on a moment. This sounds like my advertising and consumer behavior texts of the 1980’s. Precisely. We have succeeded in reinventing the way people do business, communicate and create global change. The way people do business, yes. The need to stay in touch remains the same.

If your small business is not in front of your potential customers or even your customers on a regular basis, bye-bye business. There are too many businesses that will be out there and your share of mind and share of the pie will diminish. The internet has done many things, but two simple concepts we all need to learn are these: what was true a couple of years ago (my loyal customers will stay with me and people know how to find me through my website when they want to) are not necessarily true any more. Yes, your old faithfuls will still come to you. The new business, however, just may not.

So this is a little like an advertising primer. Early advertising in Canada was done by the catalogue companies. Eaton’s, actually, with its black and white drawings and descriptions of what you could buy through the mail, no matter where you lived. No one else much thought it necessary to advertise anything. Everyone knew where the general store was. People shopped in their neighbourhood, learned who did what by word of mouth.

We still use word of mouth today, only with a little help from the digital communications world. How would you like to learn how to put the power of communication behind your business to create momentum for growth?

Stay visible!

Visionary Thinker

Oh My Gosh We’re Going Digital!

I can’t believe I have to start a new blog, but there has been so much learning, enjoyable learning going on in front of this computer in my little gray neurons that I have to put it all somewhere. No, wait. Not quite right. There has been so much learning and a little angst going on in front of this computer that I want to share it. The learning, I mean. With less angst.

This blog is about creating the internet presence we all need to have if we are in business. Creating the internet presence and creating a branded email for our customers, clients and potential clients.

Branded email? Branded email means email that has some kind of visual punch. That is exactly what my new business venture is all about.

Why on earth would I be interested? Like my other passions, I am compelled to go in this direction. Go figure. I can explain it rationally through the long career in communications and advertising. It seems more than that.

Enough about me. This blog is for you! If you have a small business that chugs along, with ups and downs in terms of demand, this blog is for you. How would you like to have a steady stream of buyers, through every season? How would you like to fill those quiet days of the week, and increase the infamous bottom line?

If you already have a fantastic revenue stream and have a little extra time for something lucrative and fun, this blog is also for you. Because you can hop on the fastest growing segment (hear money opportunity) in business today: a small business that is needed by a very, very big population segment that eventually results in a passive revenue stream. If I have lost you by now, then this blog is definitely for you: we all have to go there sometime, and I am as usual here to help you along the way!

This blog is signed by Visionary Thinker, although my computer will always register Wellness Woman. When I figure out how to change that, I will let you know. That is precisely what this blog is all about. Yikes how do I do this or that with this new-fangled tool. Not so new-fangled, actually. But the evolution of what we can do, how we can communicate and stay in touch today is hallucinatingly fast!

Everybody get comfortable and then hang on for the ride!

Visionary Thinker

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