My Favorite Tool of 2016 Have You Tried it Yet?

My Favorite Tool of 2016 Have You Tried it Yet?

As we round the end of the year, I usually start thinking back on the great things that occurred this year in my business. Sometimes these occurrences are worthy of a post. Well it’s been a couple years since I’ve been so compelled. Compelled enough to tell others about it.

Every once in a while a new tool emerges that you decide is the best tool in its class for solving a problem, saving you time/money, and or taking something complicated and making it really simple-even fun. This is quite a feat when accomplished so it doesn’t happen that often. Sure there are lots of tools out there to satisfy a wide range of activities for someone like me in the digital marketing business but most of them are average, even those which charge a small fortune to use. Eventually they all leave me in search of something better.

I am overwhelmed with joy, that someone has accomplished the most difficult challenge by creating the most unbelievable tool – I’m not even hesitant to say, ever. As you can imagine this has compelled me to write about it and share it with the world. Someone should tell Trump that he can’t make America great again because Canva already did.

Here is my Tri-fold Brochure Created with Canva and ready for print. Totally Amazing! Be sure to see the inside page by clicking to the next page at the bottom of the brochure.

final-resi

So if you were paying attention to that last bit, you already know the name of this company/product. Write it down, memorize it, burn it into your skin, whatever you have to do because this is the product that will pull you out of a rock and a hard place- when you need to create something amazing in minutes. For those who weren’t paying attention..it’s Canva. By visiting canva.com you can create professional, incredibly eye pleasing, marketing material. Canva has a knack for turning amateur designers into professionals. I even put together a resume using Canva. I can’t tell you what a brilliant concept it is to be able to move sections around easily, play with different backgrounds and fonts – it’s simply an amazing tool for creating resumes!

But wait, that’s not the best part. Did I mention that there is zero learning curve the first time you use this software? You’re probably thinking, “yah sure” but really it’s true. The interface is so simple, even a beginner will have an easy time putting together a masterpiece. It’s so simple – everything makes sense. There are no hidden buttons to search for. Or tricky keystrokes you must learn before using it. You don’t even have to read any instructions. It’s literally out of the box and drive. Your clients will be impressed. I’ve already tried it out on a few and after presenting this tri-fold brochure to my client, she had three words…”That is Awesome!” was exactly what she said and the only thing she said in an email sent last night.

I am certain a genius put this together and they deserve an award! I created a tri-fold brochure just yesterday and although I could have whipped that piece together in a matter of minutes with Canva–no joke, there are so many cool things you can do with the graphics they  provide, some free of charge (and some for $1.00) that I played around for hours creating the most incredible and artistic marketing pieces. Did I mention that I love this tool.

Try it, I dare you. Be careful, it sucks you in. I had a blast creating this last piece and I keep going back to it and trying different things. I think I’m addicted.

Hey Canva….Pat yourself on the back! How can I ever thank you. Hopefully this post sends some traffic your way because I can’t think of another site/brand/company that deserves it more. You have single handedly taken all the pain and frustration out of creating something fairly complicated and made it so simple even FUN to make. Canva has heavy lifted more than one of my projects in 2016 and will continue to for the next year as well.

P.S. I have no affiliation whatsoever with Canva. They did not ask me to rate their software nor do they even know that I am writing this. I was not paid any money from Canva. The truth is, if anyone deserves money, it’s Canva for creating an absolute masterpiece.

 

 

How To Drum Up Business on Twitter

How To Drum Up Business on Twitter

Selling products or services offline allows us an opportunity to get in front of our potential customers, who are in the research phase of the buying cycle. During that face to face or phone call, we have the opportunity to uncover their needs and can, in turn, sell to them based on those needs.

Online, however, you have to find a way to capture their attention without the opportunity of a phone call or face to face. In a business such as a storefront prospects come to you, but online, you must go to them. Maintaining visibility on the internet in as many places as possible is crucial today. Additionally providing these researchers with the information they need to make a buying decision on your website, is critical to your success.

More Creative Ways to Compete in the SERP’s

But how do we capture these researchers in that research phase, and then guide them safely to our camp? Well, the first and most obvious way is thru the use of keywords and ranking. However, gaining a visible spot in the SERPS, isn’t that easy.  If you’re in a competitive market try opting for less competitive keywords and instead try keywords a “researcher” might use.  Research searches are more question focused, such as “How do I..?” or “How to …”  This may provide less competitive keyword  options for you to rank for keywords related to your business.

How to Get Business on Twitter

You may not know that Twitter, just like google, is a search engine?  Thru the use of hashtags, Twitter has created it’s own internal content organization to help researchers easily find posts related to any chosen topic. If you are an avid tweeter you should consider adding at least one hashtag to your posts to begin an organization system whereby others, like yourself, can quickly pull up content you are looking for. Did you also know that you can browse any topics in real time, meaning you can actually watch conversations happen? Have you considered watching conversations related to your brand or your products and services?

Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re a mechanic in Phoenix and are trying to drum up new business. Using twitter as your prospecting tool, you type this into the search: #needmechanic. The image to the right includes the actual results from that search. Now, once you’ve garnered what appears to be an approachable list, you can choose from any number of ways to connect with them and present your offer. And by offer, I don’t mean telling them you’re a mechanic and would gladly fix their car for them. I mean slipping them a special discount offer and then of course following them, so that they can find you tomorrow when they eventually decide to take you up on your offer!

Get Amped!

Get Amped!

After developing and launching a new web architecture called AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) google, once again, gives the gift of ease for all WordPress users. To get Accelerated Mobile Pages on your site all you have to do is install the plugin. It’s really that simple. It’s much easier than implementing the structured data format or trying to make your overall site speed better by moving CSS and Javascript files between the header and footer, which can seriously jack up your site. With the strong emphasis placed on speed these days, I am sure many have attempted their own fixes and wound up with a dysfunctional website. Rest assured. This is one easy and error free update. Your mobile audience will like it most of all!

Better WP Security

Better WP Security

So far so good.  After having over 4 sites nowbetter-wp-security with this security plugin, I have had no intrusions, hijackings or site takedowns.  No issues but a ton of people trying.  This plugin is excellent at showing you just how often people try to hack into your site.  It will astonish you trust me but rest assurred Better WP Security is exactly what the name says.  It offers a very self explanatory user interface and upon installation will lead you thru the process of setting up the plugin properly by giving you options to change or not change according to your desires and your current hosting parameters.

By explaining each step and recommending what to change and why, the user has a good understanding of how intruders infiltrate sites.  In addition you will have the ability to lockout individuals attempting to login repeatedly using the wrong password and to add those people’s IP address to a list of  “lockouts” for further review or if you’d like you can completely ban them from your site.  For me it is simple-they get banned.  Since I am the only person with access to a number of sites, there should be no reason why someone would be trying to login other than for malicious reasons.

And as if all that wasn’t enough – This plugin will even do regular backups for you that you can have sent to your email address or stored on the server.  Brilliant!  On a scale of 1-10, I give this plugin a 10.  No problems, glitches, or cross plugin issues.  Better WP Security does everything it promises, with error free seam-less-ness.

P.S. You can set the security so that each time a user is locked out of your site an email is sent to you with their IP Address.  I recommend using this feature in the beginning.  It’s an eye opening experience about how important security is on your site. Later on you will probably just get sick of all the email you are receiving and turn that feature off.

FACEBOOK LAUNCHES A NEW MARKETING TOOL

FACEBOOK LAUNCHES A NEW MARKETING TOOL

Facebook IconFacebook has launched their best widget ever. Finally facebook has come out with something to support the company pages that allows you to place a box on your website. This box contains streaming content and a button that will allow people to become fans of your Facebook page right from your website.  Check out my side bar where I have placed it.   The best part of it is that the box installs easily without any hassle’s, even on a blog.  All I did was found the template page for the side posts and placed the very short code on that page.  First time it worked perfectly which seems rare when installing new code on a blog.  The widget also allows you to install it with or without streaming content or with or without the fan list.  The box does tend to be a bit large so unchecking one of the two features from the company page where you originate the code will help to make the box a bit smaller. 

This is a great new feature both for Facebook and for the Company pages because it allows companies to create a following and initiate interest in their Facebook page even when the user is not logged in or actually on Facebook at that moment.  This will undoubtedely arouse even more interest to join facebook and to get them involved in the company pages that were until now sort of a deserted island on Facebook.  It is nice to see Facebook offering some support for these very valuable and free means of company advertising.  It seems until recently not many even knew about this area of opportunity on there. To get the code: Go to your company page.  Directly underneath the profile picture or logo are several options. Click on “add a fan box” and facebook will automatically generate the code that you install onto your website or blog.  Installation on your site will vary depending on where you want it.  But all you have to do is paste the code on the page you want.  It is as simple as that.  Alter the code to change the box size or change the amount of fans it shows.  If you want the box smaller and you have a lot of fans, then changing the number of fans to show will help to make the box smaller as well.  Happy fan collecting!

TWITTER GOES KER-PLURK!

I don’t know about you but it seems like everytime I have something really great to post and I attempt to simply log in to Twitter I encounter problems.  Yes I am sure they are temporary, as we all know how fast Twitter is growing.  But I have found another similar site that seems to work great and interfaces with Twitter.  Plurk is a similar platform and operates much the same as Twitter.  It’s greatest feature is the how it automates the linking of facebook and twitter.  No plugins to download that sometimes work and sometimes don’t work.  So just plurk away and see your plurk posts on facebook and Twitter.  I love the world of automation.  It’s almost too easy.  Now what am I going to do with all this extra time?