3 Steps to Getting Started With LinkedIn

Step 1: Complete your LinkedIn profile 100%

The key to using LinkedIn, and the one thing that is often missed by your competitors, is setting up a good profile. It is important to set up a good profile that acts as a strong foundation for your presence on LinkedIn. Your profile needs to set you apart from other professionals in your field. Differentiate you from the other millions of users and encourage visitors to interact and connect with you

LinkedIn says that having a completed profile gives you a 40% greater chance of networking success.

Step 2: Build Your LinkedIn Network

LinkedIn provides varying degrees of connectedness. The site keeps track of people you know personally: 1st degree. Those who are friends with them: 2nd degree and taking this out further: 3rd degree. are those connected to your 2nd degree contacts. Business opportunity lies mainly within your second degree network but you need a first degree network to be able to reach those second degree connections.

a) Connect with your direct, first degree network by sending out invitations to all your contacts who themselves are on LinkedIn

b) Add previous colleagues and classmates to your network by using the LinkedIn resources

c) Browse the networks of your immediate network and invite those you find interesting to join your network

d) Use the advanced search option to search for people and see if you have any mutual contact in your network who can make an introduction for you.

e) Join groups to increase your visibility and people will ask to connect with you

It is vital that you build up a relationship with your network before attempting to market your business. Otherwise you will be considered unprofessional and a spammer.

Step 3: Market Your Business to your network

Start by helping others. Recommend others in your network. The more you recommend others the more favourable they will be to recommending you in return. Make your interactions personal. Create a call to action. One way to do this is to add a contact me link or a download to a free report on your profile: use your weblinks section to do this. In addition, use your summary to tell people who you are, who you help and how you can help them. Let them know how they can get in contact with you and provide a next step, a call to action if they want to find out more.

If you're a business professional and don't have a LinkedIn presence, you are missing valuable opportunities to attract more customers to your business

Shoestring Promotions For Your Home-Based Business –

Starting a home business can be a great way to become your own boss. Nothing replaces the feeling of working at your own pace and taking all the pivotal decisions on your own. But, if you want to make money out of your business and succeed in the long run, you need to promote it too. However you may not have the funds at your disposal to engage in a fancy promotional campaign. What should you do then? Fret not, because the solution to your problem is here.

Informing the world of your business does not necessarily have to be an expensive affair. You can get the recognition you crave for, on a shoestring budget as well! In case you are rubbing your eyes in disbelief, consider the following ideas.

• Create a website for a nominal fee. Nowadays even people selling peanuts are on the web, so why not you? A website can be your window to the world!

• If you don't want to have a website, at least use the internet for promoting your business. You can post info about your area of expertise on various classified sites and business directories. Some of them charge a nominal fee but there are free ones too!

• You can also get your website listed on various search engines and e-yellow pages.

• If you are not too keen on these above-mentioned online ideas, try some offline tricks. Pick up your phone and make ‘cold calls'. For this, you obviously need a list of contacts who could be interested in doing business with you. Be polite while you are calling people and don't try to make them listen to you forcefully. Keep your opening line interesting and make your offering or USP clear.

• You can also try direct mailing because this is a more focused medium than print ads. Simply send postcards with key information related to your business to the people on your list of contacts.

• Have an interesting business card which you can give out to people you meet.

Hope these tips work for you and put your home business on the fast track to success. Go get 'em!

Online Marketing – Back to Basics

get your word out back to basics

Recently I've heard from others how confused they are about the whole process of promoting their message to others on the internet.  There is so much information out there they don't know where to start or what is important.This set me thinking let's go back to basics and help with a step by step guide to marketing online.

Where to Start

Where to start! Many people start with social media. Social Media does play an important part in promoting your message to others, assessing opinions, the support out there, and the demand for your products and services. However, social media should not be where you stay. You need your own ‘platform' online. Your own ‘piece of real estate', as I like to call it, on the internet. Third party platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, You Tube, Pinterest, Instagram are all owned by other people who can at any time change their minds about how they will run them. Too many people have had their accounts shut down for something they have said or done. This can have devastating affects if they have been too reliant on them to ‘get their word out'.

Build a website

Where you should start is with your own website. Your ‘piece of real estate' that you control. You can decide what to write about and include on your own website without the danger of being shut down. Once you have your own website set up you can share your content such as blog posts, videos, audios, and more with social media platforms and offline to attract others to what you have to offer. When you meet with prospective clients online and offline you have a home online where you can send them to find out more about you. A place that you can set up how you like and not a design dictated by others.

Become Visible to Others

We shall be looking at how to set up your website in a later blog post but for now let's assume it is now up and running. The next step is becoming visible to others. There are so many websites out there the question now becomes how to become visible to others. How to attract people who may be interested in what you have to offer. This is when you have to decide who you want to attract. Who is your ‘target audience' as we marketers call it. Have you ever thought about who is your ideal prospect?  It's time to take action and work this out. In order to be visible online these days you need to be clear on who you are trying to attract. Then you can write and produce content that is directed at them and promote your message to those wanting to hear what you have to say.

In an upcoming blog post I shall be looking at how to find your target audience, your ideal prospect. People who are more likely to want to hear what you have to say or buy the products and services you have to offer them. In the meantime why not think about how you want your website to look.

Until next time

Look after yourself

Anne

I'm small business mentor and marketing strategist, Anne Elizabeth Perez and would love to connect with you. If you are new to the world of business ownership please check out my training on boost your visibilityand discover how to increase the size of your audience

How attractive is your website?

The internet has grown up. It's been more than 20 years since the first website was created by Tim Berners-Lee in 1991. There are now over a billion websites online!! The first site was text only and looked like this:

It can be seen at http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html. When it first came out the barebones website was designed to explain the World Wide Web to newcomers. It was considered amazing in those days. A website which looked like this today would not however get much attention.

Websites can be cold and uninviting unless you offer viewers treats and inspiring content. You have only a few seconds to attract people to stay. However, you can turn your website into a favourite stop on the internet by adding rich content that makes your site useful, interesting and fun to visit.

In some respects you can apply the human attraction characteristics to what makes attractive websites. The website should have a pleasing ―personality for example. It should be inviting and easy to interact with. You should be able to understand what it is saying.

It is frustrating to visit a website you know has good information and be unable to find it. It doesn‘t take long for people to abandon a site they can‘t manoeuvre through or around easily. Links should be well-placed and obvious. Did you know that the space a link occupies can affect your sales? Move a link from the bottom corner of a page to the top of the page (above the fold) where it‘s eye level and sales will rise.

Here are a few more tips to consider when creating your website.

  • Include high quality content
  • Keep instruction simple because viewers aren‘t going to read an instruction manual to learn how to click around the website
  • Make it easy for customers to find the important links like product listing or descriptions
  • Make sure the background and text colors mix well and that text is easily readable
  • Keep opt-in forms or subscriber boxes very basic
  • Writing should be grammatically correct and error free
  • Don‘t try to be cute because it annoys people who are just trying to find and buy what they need and want to get the job done as quickly as possible
  • Keep the website fairly simple and don‘t let it get too busy looking or too ―stuffed‖
  • Make sure all the links on the website work properly

If you want to “Get your word out” using a website make sure it is attractive and functional and place on the internet that visitors want to stop by.

I'm small business mentor and marketing strategist, Anne Elizabeth Perez and would love to connect with you. If you are new to the world of business ownership please check out my training on boost your visibilityand discover how to increase the size of your audience

Keep Your WordPress Site Secure

WordPress is one of the most popular website platforms on the Internet. However, because of the sheer number of WordPress members along with its ease of use WordPress is sometimes a target for hackers. Let's look at some ways to keep your WordPress site secure 

Keep Your WordPress Site Secure: Choose a Strong Password

 A strong password is a must for any account you have, including WordPress. Unfortunately, some people choose simple passwords or a general password they use for all of their accounts. It’s really important to create an original password that’s mixed with a variation of letters, symbols, and numbers. Hackers use password crack tools, and if you have a common password, it makes it easy for hackers to attack and compromise your website. WordPress can generate random 12 digit passwords for you which are harder to hack. These are useful. Just remember to write the password down. If you don't use a publicly accessed computer you can also tick the box ‘remember me' on the log in screen. 

Keep Your WordPress Site Secure: Back Up your WordPress Website

Have you ever written a report or something else in a computer document and forgotten to save it? Very frustrating when its lost. Likewise with  your WordPress website. You should  back up everything on your WordPress website regularly so you don't lose all your hard work. Although your website hosting company may help, it’s recommended to find a powerful backup plugin.

For example, Updraft Plus is a free tool provided by WordPress that backs up all of your data into your chosen destination, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, SFTP, FTP, and much more.

Keep Your WordPress Site Secure: Choose a Strong Web hosting Company

Choose a Strong Web hosting Company: There are a number of web hosting companies available, and it can be difficult to know which one to use. For that reason it’s important to do your research before deciding on a web hosting company as there are many companies that don’t utilize web security tools. Make sure you choose a web hosting company that not only offers security tools, but also monitors your website for threats.

I personally use two hosting companies: TSO Host and A2 Hosting

Keep Your WordPress Site Secure: Delete Plugins your don't use

Plugins add extra functionality to a website but can be a route for hackers into your website if not deleted when not in use or regularly updated. If you choose to deactivate a plugin its best practice to delete it completely.  If you don’t delete it as well you are leaving codes on your server. This is an open invitation for hackers to exploit your website. Always press the “Delete” key after you’ve deactivated unused plugins.

Keep Your WordPress Site Secure: Use a Secure Server Only

When you login to your WordPress account, make sure you are using a secured, wired Internet connection. If you a use a wireless Internet connection be certain that it has secure encoding and data encryption. Accessing your account from public places that offer free Wi-Fi makes your website vulnerable to hackers.