You Don’t Need a Website – Just Facebook, NOT!!!

web-vs-fbI recently read an article online (so you know it had to be true) that said, “You don’t need a website, only Facebook and LinkedIn.”  The article went on to say with all the changes to SEO and the cost of creating a website, why not put all your marketing eggs in the Facebook and LinkedIn basket.   After reading the article, my response, “Are You Freaking Kidding Me?!?”

 

While Facebook and LinkedIn are important marketing channels, why you would even consider putting all your marketing efforts into channels that you don’t control?  Case in point, January, 2014, Facebook announced that many posts by pages will no longer show up in the news feed of individuals, even though they have liked the page.   And this is not the first time they have made changes that negatively affect business marketing and it won’t be the last.

 

As business owners, we tend to look at Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and the other social media sites as marketing opportunities.  But except for LinkedIn, all the other social channels were created and continue to focus on individual, social relationships, not business and marketing.  We are the ones that diligently try to use them to create marketing opportunities.

 

I will agree that with all the changes Google has made over the last few years, it can be frustrating for a website owner to keep up with the factors that affect the ranking of their website.  And while many of the tricks and techniques that once worked, no longer do, Google still emphasizes one thing every website owner can control – content.  Correction, quality content.  And this is the one factor that will never change.  Google’s mission has always been to create the best search results anywhere.  Quality content will always fulfill that mission.

 

Back to the article I read, the bottom line was that the author was ultimately trying to sell their Facebook and LinkedIn system.  I am certainly not opposed to programs that teach you how to maximize your Facebook and LinkedIn efforts (like my Ninja Marketing Dojo).  But a balanced approach is a must.  Having a website and blog, plus identifying  and utilizing the social media channels where your audience hangs out should comprise your online marketing plan.

 

If your Facebook page has thousands of likes, with a Post Reach well above 50% and Engagement numbers that closely parallel your likes, then take the gamble and ignore the need for a website.  Otherwise, you’re playing Russian Roulette with a bullet in the chamber.  There’s a pretty good chance, the results will be disastrous.

Gary Wagnon is the chief Ninja Marketing Officer for 800biz Ninja Marketing Solutions and the creator of the Ninja Marketing Dojo. The Dojo teaches business owners and marketers online strategies that increase traffic to their site, improve search engine rankings and converts browsers into buyers.

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You Like Me, You Really Like Me – Facebook Likes

Facebook LikesYou Like Me, You Really Like Me. Now for those of you Jim Carey fans correcting me that the quote is “You Love Me…”, the original quote was by Sally Fields at the 1985 Academy Awards. And the sentiment has made a comeback today in social media.

How many times (a day) do you see someone saying “Like my page?” “Like us on Facebook”. Likes are the new currency of the web. It’s the measuring stick for social media effectiveness. Or is it?

Like the Tot board at a telethon, you watch the “Facebook Likes” milestones click away. 30 likes and you get “Insights”. 100 Likes. 500 Likes. 1000 Likes. You celebrate each one as if it meant more money in your pocket. The advertising mentality says “more exposure equals more sales”. But your friends that liked your page only thought they were doing you a favor.

When evaluating the importance of Facebook Likes in your social media analytics, consider these 5 Facebook metrics first.

1. Post Reach – This is the measure of how many people actually saw your posts. Remember, with Edgerank, just because someone likes your page does not mean they will see your posts.

2. Fan Demographics – What is the makeup of your fans compared to all of Facebook. Are you creating posts that appeal to your audience? Is your audience your target demographic? If not, focus on reaching that group.

3. People Reached – Not only is it important to understand your fan base, but it’s also important to compare the demographics of the people who saw your posts.

4. Posts Performance – Each post is listed by type and includes the reach of the post as well as the engagement. Monitoring the most popular posts for engagement and create more content like that.

5. When Are Your Fans Online - Knowing what day and times your fans are online will determine when you should be posting.

Remember, likes don’t equal engagement. If you are not creating engaging content, it doesn’t matter if you have 20 or 20,000 likes. It’s still like putting a billboard up in the desert – it may look great but no one will see it. When you content is engaging, the actions of your fans will be screaming, “we like you, we really like you.”

Gary Wagnon is the chief Ninja Marketing Officer for 800biz Ninja Marketing Solutions and the creator of the Ninja Marketing Dojo.  The Dojo teaches business owners and marketers online strategies that increase traffic to their site, improve search engine rankings and converts browsers into buyers.

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Ninja Marketing Tips for Creating Your 2013 Plan

At the beginning of each year many businesses spend some time thinking about their goals for the coming year. And while setting goals is an important exercise, the implementation steps are equally critical. The goal is the benchmark we establish to measure our success. One major reason that goals or New Year’s resolutions are so quickly forgotten is the lack of steps to reach the goal.

Before creating your marketing blueprint, you first need to understand some basic rules of online marketing.   Below are four rules to consider.

Basic Rules of Internet Marketing

JumpOffCliff2Look Before You Leap – The latest and greatest social media site may not be for you.  Just because everyone is talking about it doesn’t mean it’s for you.  Before taking the plunge, decide how you will use it and how it fits into your plan.  Can you devote the time and attention to another social channel?  What existing channel will you remove?

 

Attention Overload Doesn’t Apply To Search – We are bombarded with information but when someone is searching for you, they still need to find you.  And once they do, the more information you provide, the better your chances of being considered.  I hear people say, “I just want a 2 or 3 page website because nobody reads more than that.”  But if you are researching an upcoming buying decision, will a couple of pages suffice?  Not likely.  The more information available, the more likely that site will have a greater impact on your decision.

Content is King – The trend that started a few years back has continued to steamroll.  Forget fancy tricks and focus on creating content of value.  Not everyone will read everything you create nor will everyone be looking for the same thing when they visit your site.  Your goal is to have the solution to your visitors problem or dilemma readily available.  In a face to face selling situation, you’re going to point out every advantage doing business with you affords.  Your website/online channels should be as thorough.

 It’s Not The Yellow Pages –  You’re website and online presence is not a “set and forget” program, like a Yellow Page ad.  It should be dynamic content, updated frequently to reflect the changing landscape of your business.  I’m amazed (not really) at the people that study their Google Analytics and wonder why their traffic isn’t better.  Could it be because you aren’t giving your visitors any reason to come back to your site?  Once they’ve seen what you have and realize nothing has changed, it’s on to the site that has fresh, current information.

So before you create that grandiose plan, first visit your website and make sure all that traffic you are planning on driving to your site will actual take the action you want them to take.

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing.  The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

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12 Online Ninja Marketing Tools for 12/12/12

Hope you have plans to celebrate the monumental day, 12-12-12.  Never again in my lifetime (I’m not planning on living to be 147 years old) will we see the same day/month/year.  So let’s celebrate!  I’m celebrating by releasing this blog at 12:12, 12-12-12.

Okay so it’s not that big a deal, compared to the world ending in another 9 days.  But for those of you that aren’t Mayan and plan on being around in 2013, here are 12 must have Ninja Marketing tools  for your online marketing plan.

1.  Website – To say this is a given is an understatement.  Unless your business is the only one in your industry and customers/clients are begging you for your services/products, then you must have a web site.  Even people that encounter your marketing efforts like printed brochures or meet you while networking will go check out your website as due diligence before making a decision whether or not to use your services.  Your website should reflect your business appearance.  If your website looks cheap and unprofessional, your business value will be diminished.

2. Blog – The cornerstone of every online marketing plan should be your blog.  If your website is the anchor, your blog is continuing education for your customers/clients.  When asked, most small business owners would say that customer acquisition is one of their main goals.  They think of that process as selling, advertising or marketing their product or service but the real function is education.  Educating your customers why your business is different from your competition.  Through your blog, you are providing your customers with valuable information that enhances your position as the expert in the industry.

3. Social Media Presence – With the average time spent on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest topping the 400 minute per month range, doesn’t it make sense to be where your customers are.  Do you need to be on every social media site?  Maybe, if your clients are there.  But more importantly, pick the one where the majority are and start building relationships.  Engage, interact and enjoy.

4. Google + – I can hear you now saying, “Didn’t you just say to pick one social media site?  Now your saying use Google +.  What Gives?”  True, I did say pick one and start building relationships.  G+ isn’t it.  But G+ IS about search engine optimization (SEO) and getting more visibility for your blog and website.  If Google owns the lion’s share of search and they have a social media network, doesn’t it stand to reason that they will use popular content from G+ as a ranking factor?

5.  Google + Local – Formerly called Google Places, the map listing in Google is a prominent fixture on page 1 of most local search terms.  If your business isn’t there, you are missing a huge opportunity to be seen.  Traditional SEO methods don’t work on the Google + Local page, but there are some Ninja Marketing tricks to improve your ranking.

6. Email List – Believe it or not, email is not dead.  Despite the tremendous amounts of unsolicited messages, email still is an effective method of communication.  Building an email list provides another avenue to touch your customers.  But the same rules apply with email as with social media, provide more value and less selling.   Ask yourself this question – Would the recipient say “Thanks for the great info” after reading your email?

7. Editorial Calendar – Perhaps the biggest drawback to blogging and social media is time.  The process is time consuming.  And that’s true if you are winging it.  If you sit down to write or post and don’t have a clue what you are going to say, you’ll find you’ve wasted an hour and nothing has happened.  The answer is an editorial calendar.  Plan your content the same way you schedule your monthly activities.  That way you know what you need to say and the process is quick and painless.

8. Google Alerts – Hand in hand with the editorial calendar are the next couple of tools.  Google Alerts is an excellent source of timely material collected from blogs and news sites across the web.  Google Alerts email daily or weekly a list of articles based on a specified keywords.  The alerts can be shared to your social media sites in whole or spin them with your take on why this information is important to your clients/customers

9.  Google Reader – Another tremendous source of material are blogs from thought leaders in your industry.  Google Reader aggregates all your blog subscriptions into one place making it easy to peruse and select only the articles that are pertinent.

10. Nutshell Mail – This emailed report is another aggregator of information, this time from your social media accounts.  Activity such as mentions, likes, updates from Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are sent to your inbox.  This makes it easy to monitor without having to go to each site.

11. Hootsuite – One of my favorite tools is Hootsuite.  All my social media accounts are on one screen.  Hootsuite gathers updates from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google + into one screen monitored in real time.  There are apps for Google Chrome and Firefox that make sharing of articles easy across all your social media channels in one step.  And with their scheduling feature, if you read 4 articles today that you want to share, you can space them out over the several days.

12. Feedburner – The ultimate goal of your blog should be capturing subscribers that want to receive your blog every time you post.  With Feedburner, individuals can do just that.  They can subscribe either by RSS feeds or by email.  Feedburner manages the subscriptions and delivers the content automatically.

There you have it.  12 Ninja Marketing Tools to make 2013 a banner year – assuming the Mayans were wrong.

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing.  The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

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Ninja Marketing Tips — How Dare You Leave a Negative Review

How dare you leave a negative customer reviewBusiness owners never make mistakes.  Customer service is always stellar and the employees are the best in the whole world.  Yep, and I have some beach front property here in Arizona for sale!

Businesses, for the most part, diligently work to provide the best customer service experience possible. Notice I said “for the most part”. Some days, no matter how good your intentions are, customers may have a less than pleasant experience. Maybe you just got off the phone with a supplier telling you the shipment you were promised for an urgent job today won’t be in for another week. Maybe half your staff called in sick so you’re stuck answering the phones, scheduling appointments, ordering supplies, and keeping the jobs running. So when a customer calls with their “frivolous” complaint, you sound less than sympathetic.

Today’s customers are empowered by the Internet. A satisfied customer will tell a few people about their positive interaction with your business. An unhappy customer, on the other hand, will tell everybody they know, plus they will Facebook it, tweet it, post a video on YouTube and find every reviews site they can to tell the world your business sucks. How you handle that negative review is critical to your reputation, both online and off.

The first step in the process is establishing a company policy for negative reviews. Will you answer them or ignore them? (I always recommend answering them.) Who is responsible for monitoring review sites? Who’s responsible for responding to customer reviews, good or bad?

Here are five steps you can take to help negate the impact of the poor review:

1. Keep an Online Vigil – You have no chance of turning a negative situation into a positive if you don’t know it’s there. If someone posts a bad review on your Facebook page and you don’t see it for a month, it’s too late. Use monitoring tools like Google alerts, Nutshell Mail or Social Mention.

2. Engage Brain Before Opening Mouth – Remember, your customer is emotional. They feel they’ve been wronged or cheated so it’s up to you to soothe those emotions.  The last thing you want is to respond with emotion. That’s a guaranteed grease fire waiting to happen.

3. Just The Facts M’aam - Read their review carefully, looking for the facts hidden behind the emotions. Who did they deal with? What are the specifics of their complaint? Talk to your employee that dealt with the customer. Remember, they will be responding with emotion as well so don’t make it an inquisition.  Step outside your owner/manager body and try to see the situation from the customers perspective.

4. Carefully Craft Your Response – Be apologetic and sincere in your answer. Defending your company’s actions will only fuel their arguments. Have someone else read over your response to make sure the tone is what it should be.  Does it sound condescending or sincere?  Does it sound like you’re calling them an idiot?

If possible, offer them a discount or some other concessions. Offer to discuss their issues off line and give them phone number where they can reach you (or someone in authority) easily. The last thing you want is for them to call and they get put on hold, get shuffled around the office or leave a message and don’t get a prompt callback.

5. Overshadow The Negatives – Negative reviews are inevitable.  And negative reviews don’t hurt if you have enough positive reviews to offset it. In fact a negative review when mixed in with several positive reviews shows that your reviews are genuine.  Be proactive and encourage your good customers to write reviews in places like Google + Local, Facebook, Yelp and some of the other local customer review sites.  Then when a prospective customer looks at the reviews, they will see that one negative among the dozens of positive reviews as a flake,   ”You know you can’t please everyone”.

Ultimately, there’s going to be that one customer that you just can’t satisfy (or shut up). Remember though, this conversation is not taking place behind closed doors. There are hundreds, potentially thousands, of prospective customers watching. And those are the ones you’re after. When they see you trying your best to correct a bad experience, they feel reassured that, if they do business with you, you will bring the same level of customer satisfaction to them.

How do you handle those irate customer reviews?

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing.  The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

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The Marketing Magic Bullet

“Anthony Sullivan here with the Marketing Magic Bullet. This amazing product is guaranteed to make you number one on Google and Bing, get you 5000 Facebook likes, 10,000 Twitter followers, make your YouTube videos go viral and literally blow up your blog with traffic, all for the amazing low price just $19.95+ shipping and handling.”

Okay, so maybe this sounds a little far-fetched, but I would be willing to bet if you saw this ad on late-night TV you would be digging for your credit card in a heartbeat. As business owners we are desperately searching for a one-stop solution to our online marketing dilemma. We long for those days when we turned our advertising over to a yellow page, tv, radio or newspaper rep and forgot about it.

Today’s marketing landscape is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in the fact that the cost can be very minimal or even free. The curse is the time and effort that it requires. Business owners are now required to learn a new set of skills.  Skills like marketing, copyrighting, videography and public relations, to name just a few.

During a recent workshop I was conducting, many of the questions the participants asked revolved around how to quickly reach a large number of people. It’s a common theme, whether it’s a workshop on e-mail marketing, social media or blogging. Participants come with the hope that they will learn some secret formula that will let them e-mail 5000 new potential customers or build a huge Facebook or Twitter following that will instantly buy their stuff. Instant gratification, instant payoff.

If you want the magic bullet, the secret formula to online marketing success, here are some suggestions.

  1. Trade your salesman’s hat for a teacher’s – Become an educator.  Teach your customers about your product or service, what makes you different and how your product/service can solve their problem.
  2. Be a giver rather than a taker – Provide your existing and prospective customers with valuable information they will thank you for.
  3. Share the wealth – If you would like to double your followers, give your existing contacts an incentive and a reason to share your information. Let’s face it, the average consumer isn’t thinking about you. While they could easily share your content, it never crosses their mind. Why don’t you ask them to? Why not give them a good reason to share?

So at least for now, until I can strike a deal with a good pitch man, the Magic Marketing Bullet isn’t on the market. You’re going to have to put in the effort yourself to create good content and build solid relationships and engagements if you want a successful online marketing presence.

Does anyone have Anthony Sullivan’s phone number?

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing.  The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

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What Would Beethoven Think – Traditional vs. Today’s Marketing

Last week, my wife and I attended a concert by TransSiberian Orchestra of their CD Beethoven’s Last Night.  Besides the incredible theatrics and pyrotechnics, the music was phenomenal.  But what really got me think was, “What would Beethoven think if he heard his music performed today by a rock band?”  I would have to think he would be amazed  as well as pleased to hear how it has survived for 200 years.

That started me thinking about how the online marketing channels have changed and evolved.  Our marketing message is the same, developing customer trust and brand recognition.   But the presentation and the delivery of the message has changed.  Old school thinking is to have an elaborate presentation (tv commercial, print advertisement or radio spot) and blast your message out.  Today, interruption marketing (traditional advertising) is not nearly as effective as permission marketing using social media.  Why should your prospect trust your ad, when within a matter of minutes, they can have dozens of friend recommendations for what you offer.

To bring this back to my TSO concert experience, would I be writing this article had it been a traditional chamber orchestra performing the same music.  Not likely.  Not because the message of the music was any less extraordinary.  The difference is in the delivery of the message.  Being an old rock and roller, I associate with driving beat of the drums and bass guitar, the roller coaster of emotions from the melody and the soul piercing vocal performance.  There’s a good chance I would have slept through a chamber orchestra.

Know your audience and choose the message and channel that’s right for them.  In old school marketing, advertisers didn’t run tv commercials for laundry detergent on ESPN.  Their audience isn’t tuned in to that channel.  If you audience is B2C (business to consumer), LinkedIn may not be the place to connect with them.  On the other hand, if your target audience is executives and CEO’s, Facebook may be a waste of your time.   While it seems like a no brainer to be where your audience/customer/clients are, oftentimes, business owners get caught up in the hype about a specific social media channel, then wonder why it didn’t produce any results.

Target your message to the channel your audience is on.  If you do it well, you will be a rock star in your industry and the standing ovation you get will be the ringing of your cash register.

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing.  The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

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Ninja Marketing in 2012 – 5 Trends To Watch

2011 is all but a memory. Over the past 12 months we have seen changes to Facebook (of course you can say that about any 12 month period), major changes to Google’s search algorithm (again no big surprise), the growth of mobile computing and Google making a big splash in social media. For online marketing, the inevitable change is both frustrating and exciting. What will 2012 hold in store?

1.  Social search will increase as social media site become even more interactive - Social search is one of the pieces of the online holy Grail, the billions of dollars up for grabs. Google already controls the search portion of the equation while Facebook dominates the social side.  Google + hopes to make a dent in that domination.

2.  Google + will play a larger part in search rankings -  The abuse of external linking has long been a concern of Google. Starting with Google’s Panda update, paid link exchanges and low content quality sites began to feel the sting. But with the launch of Google plus and the +1 button, Google now has a viable link popularity component for their algorithm. Look for active Google + sites to rank well in 2012.

3.  The effect of video on search engine results will continue to grow - YouTube continues to be the second largest search engine on the web. Improved technologies allow the content of YouTube videos to be indexed by Google, making them fertile ground for keywords and search engine optimization.

4.  Expanded customer interaction on Facebook - As more and more time is spent on Facebook, the growth of customer interaction will continue to climb. Look for e-commerce to become more prominent as companies search for alternative ways to connect with their customers.

5.  Activity versus engagement - Through the majority of 2011, activity was the norm in social media.  Posting to a business page with regularity constituted activity for most businesses. But with the October Facebook change, posting frequently is not enough to land on the news feed of fans. Today it requires engagement – posting content that fans will like, comment on or share. It requires much more thought to generate content that fans can easily interact with.

One prediction that’s an absolute certainty to come true, 2012 will see even more changes to the social media and online marketing landscape that we saw in 2011.

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing. The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

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Google Plus — Another Flop in the Waiting?

Google Plus, the latest attempt from the Big G, to break into social media, has begun.  By invitation only at the current time, Google Plus is the buzz all over the tech and social media sites.  But will it be another flop (any one remember Google Wave)?

The structure of Google Plus revolves around circles.  As you connect with friends, you assign them to a circle.  The process is as easy as dragging them to the circle where you want to assign them.  You can then filter your updates and your news streams to the specific stream, helping to cut through the clutter that’s so prominent, especially on Twitter.

The signup is ultra easy if you already have a Google profile.  Simply sign up with your gmail or Google profile email and your in.  If you don’t have either, it’s just takes a few minutes to complete.  One confusing step, when you first sign up it asks if you want to connect your Picasa photos.  The choices are Yes and Quit Google + Setup.   If you don’t have a Picasa account, it won’t matter.  If you have a Picasa account and link it, the folders there will not be visible in Google + unless you share each folder.

As with all other social media sites, completing your profile should be your first priority.  You can add videos, links and even photos.

Other cool new features in Google + are Hangouts, Group Chat and Sparks.  Hangouts uses Google voice and video plugin.  You can create a group video or audio chat from within Google +.  It does require you download and install the Google voice application.  Once installed, you can Hangout with an entire circle, share YouTube videos

Group chat allows you to talk to members of your circles in a text chat format, much like Facebook’s chat function.  It’s a quick way to send a message while they are online and much faster than email.

Sparks is another Google Plus feature.  Sparks finds stuff you are interested in and delivers them to your Google Plus page.  It searches news feeds and blogs to find the most relevant content (in Google’s estimation.)  By entering the keywords in the search box, a stream is created for that term and is updated daily.

Google Plus also has an app for Androids.  Pictures and videos shot from an Android phone can automatically update to your private album making it easier to edit and share them.  One feature of the mobile app is group huddle.  No need to make numerous phone calls to confirm dinner plans for the evening.  A group huddle can pull all parties together in a simple chat.

Whether Google Plus will be another monumental flop, or a homerun, remains to be seen.  For my money, I’m betting Google Plus takes it’s place along side Facebook as a player in social media.  What do you think?

Gary Wagnon is the master Ninja for 800biz Online Marketing Solutions. Using a combination of action-centered web site design and the latest search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, combined with efficient and effective use of social media, 800biz creates an online presence that helps it’s clients stand out above the competitors and drive more traffic through the door.

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10 Surefire Tips to Make Your Competition Smile

How would you like to be on your competitor’s Christmas card list? Well if you do these really well you might even get a gift basket from them.

So here is a list of 10 things that will make your competition not only smile but be genuinely happy you’re out there.

1. Not having a web site – Let’s face it, if you don’t have a website, no one’s going to find you, so you’re not much threat to the competition. Since 75% of all purchase decisions start online, your competitor will love you for not being there.

2. Not claiming your Google places page – An unclaimed Google places page or maps page is like having a Yellow Pages with no phone number or address. But the big difference is, you’re leaving the details open for anyone else to edit. And with the new Google layout showing the listings on the map so prominently, your competition will probably be sending you birthday cards and thank you notes for all the customers you’re missing.

3. Having a “Me To” website – You have a website like everyone else with a couple pages that give a basic outline of what you do. After all, everyone knows what your business does, right? But you competitor’s site explains in great detail what they do. A prospect visits your site and doesn’t see what they’re looking for, but they find it on your competitors site, you make your competition happy once more.

4. It’s all about me – Your website extols the virtues of how great your business is. Your fantastic customer service, your low prices, your quality product, blah, blah, blah. Your competitor, on the other hand, has figured out it’s not about them; it’s about the prospect. The prospect does not care how wonderful your service is, how great your product is or anything else about you. They only care about whether you can either fix their problem or remedy their pain. Whoever does this best, wins.

5. Web site has no call to action – You go to all the effort to drive traffic to your website only to educate your prospect, then watch them go to your competitor and purchase. Businesses get so concerned about not being pushy that they don’t even create any call the action on their website. Your competitor’s site not only educates the prospect, but makes it easy for them to act, whether via online order or phone call.

6. I don’t do social media – Of the 251 million people in the US on the Internet, 203 million of them are on Facebook. What are the chances some of them are your prospects? Your competitor, on the other hand, is out there building relationships with not only your prospects, but probably even your customers.

7. I have a high school/college kid doing my social media – While it’s true that teenagers are all over Facebook, and can post photos, tag people, like, share, and do all the other things that you don’t understand, social media for business it is COMPLETELY different. You wouldn’t even consider hiring an advertising or marketing person based on the fact that they sold their Xbox on Craig’s list so they could buy the new PS3? Your competitor hired a professional to create a social media plan that they religiously follow.

8. Having an incomplete social media profile – Have you ever noticed at a seminar or tradeshow they give you nametags? Is that just because they had money left over in the budget? No. It’s so you can network and build relationships with the people that are there. So having an incomplete profile on social media sites is like not only having no name tag but wearing a paper bag over your head. There’s not going to be a lot of interaction and you’re certainly not going to build any relationships.

9. Social media is a great selling opportunity – After all, you have a captive audience of Likers/Followers/Connections, why not fire away with your sales message? You’re probably one of those that go to a family reunion, pass out business cards and make your sales pitch to everyone there. Your competitor is giving valuable information, tips and helpful hints to her Likers/Followers/Connections. Her connections are growing and you wonder why yours are.

10. Social media takes too much time besides I don’t care who had Cheerios for breakfast. – Who has time to wade through the dribble on Facebook or Twitter? You have a business to run, marketing to do, and customers to keep happy. Meanwhile, your competitor has discovered a set of tools that let him/her not only schedule and manage their social media, but also monitor what’s being said about them online. They are developing relationships and handling customer service issues in real time before they become a problem.

Do a couple of these things and you stay on your competitors Christmas card list. Do several of them and there’s a chance you will get invited to the Christmas party…as an employee.

Gary Wagnon is the master Ninja traffic generator for 800biz Online Marketing Solutions. Using a combination of action-centered web site design and the latest search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, combined with efficient and effective use of social media, 800biz creates an online presence that helps it’s clients stand out above the competitors and drive more traffic through the door.

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