Are You Prepared For Your Digital Marketer’s Questions?

I want to let you in on a secret. Most business owners don’t know much about marketing online successfully. They don’t know how to measure success, how to convert visitors, or any of that. They may be amazing at their core business, but digital success eludes them. It’s not surprising. Digital marketing is a very complicated topic. It can be a full time job for one person or even an entire team just to keep track of one business’ digital presence. Most business owners don’t have the time or the inclination to put in that much effort away from their core business.That’s why digital strategists like myself are reaching out to business owners to help them transition to a digital business. Why is this important? People are turning online more than ever to do business.Online sales are growing massively, and physical retail stores are starting to tank in response. So, it’s obvious that generating online sales can no longer be an afterthought. The question is, what to do about it?Consulting with digital marketersDigital marketing is really only one facet of a comprehensive digital strategy, so finding someone that understands the overall business goals is key. Any marketing consultant worth his or her salt is going to ask pointed questions about your business. The answers may be uncomfortable, but finding those pain points is crucial in finding ways to start selling online.Maybe you can’t afford a digital strategist but you really want to start digital marketing. You need to weed out the pros from the amateurs so look for big picture questions like these to help out with this qualifying process.”How would your rate your digital presence on a scale of 1 to 10?”This lets me know several things. If I get a low number, that usually means that my client knows they need help. If it’s high, in most cases, that means I have to demonstrate why their current strategies might not be working anymore even if they did in the past. Sites that rely heavily on SEO strategies are a case in point. All Google has to do is change their algorithm and, poof, no more conversions.Another question is “What is your web strategy?”If I get an answer like “I have a website and a Facebook page,” and I look at them and they haven’t been updated in a few months, that’s a big red flag. Even a static web page requires updates every so often to let people and search engines know you’re still around. Would you pay attention to a friend who never said anything new in several months? Probably not.Here’s a good one: “How do you convert visitors to sales?”Our goal is to turn websites into customer acquisition engines. Customers want to interact with a company digitally, and that means more than a simple email address. Businesses must find ways to collect lead data as soon as a new visitor hits the site, and point them down their digital sales funnels to a sale. If your site isn’t doing this, you’ll be left behind by companies that do have a cohesive web strategy.This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re a business owner, ask yourself these questions. If you don’t like the answers, start doing your research, find a consultant, and get ready to be a mighty force in the digital arena as a real competitor.

Setting Up A Online Business In 8 Quick And Easy Steps

Starting an internet or online business has become the goal of thousands of new entrepreneurs all over the globe. One of the initial problems being that many individuals just can’t seem to find that one formula to set up an online business with any proven success. This can often lead to frustration, and even failure for many of these individuals in reaching even the beginning stages needed to be achieved when seeking any measure of internet marketing success.If you are one of the thousands of would be successful online business owners wanting to know how to set up your online business in 8 quick and easy steps, then this article will lay them out for you in an easy to follow recipe.The following are 8 steps to set up your online business:1. Select a niche market and become a specialist in it. This first step is easier than you may think,  you can make it as simple or complicated as you want it to be and still do it correctly. Simply pick an interesting subject or market that you are either already familiar with, or have a great interest in getting to know, use this subject as your starting point to do the needed research to find out whether there is an on going market, demand or need for the niche that you want to use. This will help ensure there is some profitability in the niche of your choice. Then you find out everything you possibly can about that niche market.2. Create or select your product.You can either create your own product or service if you do not already have one to market, or promote online, or you can take the simpler route and promote one of the virtually thousands of products or services offered by the online affiliate marketing services such as “ClickBank” or “Pay Dot Com”. just to mention a few.3. Pick a interesting name for your business.You need to pick out a name for your internet marketing business that is not only interesting but incorporate exactly what your business is about. It should be a name easy to leave an impression. Some of the best online business names are short, easy to spell, and easy for your customer to remember. It is important for you to register you business name with one of the online domain name registries, such as “Go Daddy.Com”,  “Domain Orb.Com” or the many that can be found simply by doing a web search by typing in “register domain name”.4. Find good web hosting When searching for a good web hosting provider it is important that you look at the “uptime guarantee” that should be provided by each hosting service that you examine. You will also want to check out the actual hosting platform that the hosting service will use to store your internet business. Last but not least you want to make sure that the hosting service that you choose is secure. What kind of data back up and security systems do the have enabled to protect your online business should there be an unexpected technical failure of their servers? You want a web hosting service that can guarantee that your online business can be recovered quickly with minimum time and data loss if a problem should arise. You can start by doing a web search for “web hosting services” at any search engine.5. Create a good looking website of high quality. This step is one that intimidates many prospective online business owners. It should not! There have been major advancements made in the website construction field in recent years. The truth of the matter is that you can either pay a professional to design and build your website or you can use the simpler cheaper method of using one of the thousands of website templates available for a small fee from website template services online.   Which ever you choose you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to get a great looking web site constructed in a small amount of time.6. Develop or build a subscribers list. You will need to develop a list of prospective customers for your product or service. This can be done by using specialized methods and techniques used to “capture” your website visitors vital information such as name and email address. The reason for this is to create a good, solid, trusting business relationship with your customers as well as keep them informed and up to date on all of your new website info and new product or service promotions.7. Set up payment gateways.Should you have or choose to sell your own product or service you will need to have a way to collect customer payments. You can easily do this by using one or more of the many payment gateways or processors available for this purpose. Some of the most popular and widely used payment processors are “PayPal”, “ClickBank” and “2CheckOut”. If you choose to promote an affiliate product or service this step will not be needed.8.Delivering your product or service.Selling tangible or digital  products online will call for you to set up a way for your customers to get their purchased goods. When you sell tangible products you should contact courier services within your community as well as make use of your local post office to find out which service will be the best for your product delivery. You will also need to make shipping costs available for your customers to review. For you and your customers added protection see if the shipping service that you are using has some type of shipment or delivery tracking system as part of their service. Digital delivery is a lot less work in that you can easily set up your products for download to your customers computer hard drive with tools provided by your web host provider or the affiliate marketers service.I hope that the 8 steps provided above have provided you with basic information that will help you set up your online business. There is definitely much more detailed information that can be found to help you with this very important IM task. However, this will at least point you in the right direction for setting up your internet marketing business successfully.

Personal Finance Technology Trends For 2012

Hello and here’s wishing all of you the best of health, wealth, peace of mind and success with your financial goals in 2012.I thought I’d start the year off with some trends; especially in technology, that might help you better meet your personal financial goals, because there are a host of personal finance services and applications, or apps as they’re called, that are going to change the way we Americans invest, bank, track our finances, shop, get coupons and so on.Some of these apps use the web, but increasingly, many are available on mobile devices because more than a third of all American adults now carry “smartphones” with amazing amounts of display using processors that are as powerful as the ones in your laptop.In fact, if you’re like many of my clients who’ve been holding out against the invasion of technology you might want to reconsider your decision in 2012. This might just be the year to allow the benefits of these innovations to help you gain better control over your finances.Maybe now’s just the time to stop using a pen to write checks, paper to track your expenses, and scissors to clip coupons, to let technology streamline this process for you a little, and in so doing, to add to your savings and bottom line. Because, let’s face it, your best coupon deals or hotel and airfare discounts no longer come as inserts or advertisements in your newspaper but go to those who use the Internet.So here are a few ideas for you to reflect on and consider opening yourself up to, and while I encourage you to listen to these with an open mind, adopt only those that you are 100% comfortable with, knowing full well that you could always revert to paper and pen if this turns out to not be your cup of tea, so here are some new ways to think:1. Think “Mobile Money” How does that sound? Well, here’s the lowdown. With technology where it’s at today, you can now wave your smartphone in front of an intelligent device to make all sorts of payments, and this trend appears to be really catching on because it helps retailers, mass transit operators and others sell more while cutting down costs. With mobile money, your smartphone is securely linked to your bank or credit card account and saves you the hassle of carrying a card, swiping it, getting a bill, signing it, and so on: and it saves the seller money too. Moreover, I suspect merchants and service providers, such as Google Wallet, are going to make this more attractive by offering promotions and discounts to folks that adopt this mobile payment technology, much like they offered incentives in the early days of the Internet.2. Think: Person to Person Payments. Remember how, when you’re at a restaurant with friends and it’s time to split the bill, you either ask for separate bills or fumble for cash to pay your share of the bill. Well, how about just clicking your smartphones against each other and you’re done? Companies like American Express, Mastercard, Visa and PayPal now offer a host of services that let you easily transfer money between friends using verified bank or credit card accounts. This makes sending money across the street, neighborhood or country faster, easier and less expensive, and remember, you are ALWAYS the bearer of any expense your bank or credit card company incurs in all the transactions you make, so if this technology reduces costs, chances are, some of these savings will flow through to you too.3. Think: Money Management. There are new web sites that have also turned into apps on your smart phone, such as which I mentioned a few weeks ago in my interview with Terry Savage, and Pageonce which help you manage bills, payments, subscriptions, coupons and more; for free! So you never have to worry about a missed payment, late fees, trips to the post office, stamps, missed deals where you could’ve used a coupon to save big, and so on. What’s more, many of these services genuinely have an environmentally friendly agenda and want to help replace paper clutter with electronic account statements. Other, more specialized sites such as help customers manage their debt: credit card payments, mortgages, car loans, and automatically give you tips on when to refinance or make extra payments to reduce your overall interest expenses, and so on. Others like are designed to simplify investing and finally there is, whose CEO I interviewed about a year ago which was the first site like this out of the gate. And it’s a good site to bring all of your financial accounts together. So, with an open mind, check them out and sign up for the ones that make sense to you. And remember, you can always opt out if you don’t like ‘em.Now, before I go further, I want to stress that I am not recommending these specific sites or validating what they offer but merely citing examples of technology advances in personal finance that are worth exploring further.4. Think: Personalized Deals. We all heard about the promise of personalization, and while this has happened to some extent with the Internet, it hadn’t quite panned out in the personal finance space, until now. In fact, to understand personalization, consider trying this experiment. Take your laptop over to a friend’s house and type in the same search phrase: say, “top 10 deals in Miami” in or any other search engine: your friend on his computer and you on your laptop using your friend’s Internet connection while sitting right next to him, I am almost 100% certain that your search results will differ because search engines personalize search results to your browsing history. The good news is that with smartphones and location-based services, stores can now know when you walk into them, what your purchase history and profiles is, and entice you with special offers just for you: personalized discounts and on the spot deals to customers willing to opt into these programs. And frankly, for the most part, you have little personal information to lose that you haven’t already lost by simply using the Internet, Facebook, email, search engines or smartphones at home!I know it sounds a little scary: like an Orwellian universe, but it’s not as bad as all that. YOU have the right to opt in or opt out of any of these services.5. And Finally, Think: Social commerce. The Internet spawns strange terms like this one, but what the heck! Apps now let you borrow or even legally take money from individuals across the world: who might want to give you a loan where they believe in you more than a bank, help you out in a crisis, lend you money to do up a kitchen or bathroom, or simply invest in a brilliant idea: private individuals reaching out to each other and opening their wallets in what’s called social commerce without borders. Check out sites like or if you have an idea you think others may want to fund. It’s actually pretty cool to think that banks will no longer control what you can and cannot do, financially. I love the free markets.But don’t think large banks and corporations aren’t watching all of this very closely and actively stepping in where they sense success: so in 2012 you will likely see a lot more happening in the space of personal finance technology… and as we kick off the new year, I urge you to try and “get with it” if you like, and explore ways of saving time and money by using technology to your advantage.