Social Media Buzz

So you’re trying to grow your business and you keep hearing about Social Media and how you ought to be using it. But how? And how much time will it take? And what kind of results will you get?

Like most things in life, you get out of it what you put into it.  But let’s back up and talk about what Social Media is.  Essentially, Social Media is all about networking but doing it online instead of face to face. With that simple definition, you can see how things like blogs and forums can be classified as Social Media. But there is a classification of web site that is dedicated to this online networking amongst which we find sites such as: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and even CraigsList.

Over the next several blogs we’ll take a look at these four and how you can use them for your business. Let’s start with one of my current favorites, Facebook. With Facebook you can build and maintain your brand. One easy way to do that is to create a Facebook Page for your business.  You can invite customers and potential customers to interact with you on your page. If you have any kind of event, you can invite others to the event all right through Facebook. Just like you have a physical brand with a sign or a logo, you can foster that brand through your own page on Facebook.

One of the major goals of any online campaign is to drive people to your web site. Once there, no matter what reason they clicked through to your site, you have the opportunity to connect them with a service or product that meets their needs. Since we’ve begun helping our customers with social media marketing, we’ve also “practiced what we preached” and are seeing a large increase in traffic to our site which translates to more business for us. Through Facebook you can send more people to your web site, reaching an audience that might not have know of you without Facebook. And this is true even for people that are right in your area.

One of the most exciting and amazing things is how you can connect and reconnect with others on the Internet. I might want to meet your accountant, for example, but not know that she is YOUR accountant.  We could know each other for a long time and that would never come up. But on the Internet I can click on your friends and see who they are and either ask you for the introduction or just connect with them directly. To some that sounds a bit scary. But it’s not. Its how social networking works.

So get started at Facebook. Looking for someone to connect with? I’ll be your friend. Look me up at


3 Internet Marketing Research Tips

Frequently we have startup businesses ask us to design their web site. After we ask them a series of carefully designed questions about their target market and goals, they often ask us to hold off while they do some more market research. But market research is expensive and time consuming, right?
Wrong. Here are three simple Internet Market Research Tips that you can use to learn more about your target market and what the competition is up to:

  1. Search in Google for your top two to five key phrases and look at the top five sites in each phrase. Look at the colors, the links, the images and the content. Compare this to your colors, links images and content. Often you will find something you should add or tweak as a result. Repeat this step with and
  2. Find backlinks to your top three competitors (in Google, type in link:<> and press enter). You can see who is linking to your competitor’s sites and possibly determine why. This will help you determine whether you should pursue similar links. If you have an existing site, use the Google Webmaster Tools at to get more complete results.
  3. Getting a high rank in the search engines is only one piece of the puzzle. Next you want to look at the text that goes with a high ranking. For example, a search for best web design finds the site at or near the top. The text beneath the link says “Best Web Gallery is a showcase gallery that features all the best design Flash and CSS websites on the web”. This text isn’t visible on the page but it is in the Description MetaTag. So the text that you put in your meta-tag will help searchers determine whether they will click on your link or not. Check out your competition’s wording and make sure that description tag is GOOD.

If you want to get to grow your business, take time to research what the competition is up to. It doesn’t cost anything more than some of your time. And if you take the time, you can uncover nuggets of information that will help you grow and prosper.


Finding Nuggets on The Web

No, this is not about the Denver Nuggets (though they’re looking good this year). One of the nicest things about following blogs and social media is the way in which you can find useful nuggets of information. Starting out my year I have been catching up on some tweets (not using Twitter yet? – you should check it out) and some blogs and I came across these useful nuggets just today:

  • A friend sent me a link to 56 of the best tips for growing a small business on a budget. I thought “56”? I don’t have time for 56! But I opened the list and scanned down it and number 12 caught my eye. Basically he says you can either increase number of clients, increase average sale price or increase number of purchases per client. And most people spend all their time on the first which often has the smallest impact on your bottom line. So look at how you can increase the average sale price or increase the number of purchases per client.
  • I’ve been following Joan Stewart, the Publicity Hound, for quite awhile now. Joan is the queen of helping people get noticed by the media. Again, not everything that comes from her pen or keyboard relates directly to me but I do get great ideas on how I can help my clients get noticed. As an Internet marketing firm, we promote our clients on the Internet and Joan Stewart excels at using tools like Twitter and Facebook to get the word out to targeted audiences such as actual reporters. One recent post was about Lynn Terry who wrote a report on how to sell information products without a web site. We of course don’t recommend that – we can build the site for you – but it was thought provoking anyway.

So is surfing the net a mindless endeavor or a business-building activity? I say it’s great for business if you do it with a purpose.


Pay Per Click vs. Organic Search

If you are contemplating boosting traffic to your web site and therefore sales in your business, the first question you need to ask yourself is whether you should use organic search or pay per click.

First let’s define the terms. Pay Per Click (PPC) is an advertising campaign where you pay the search engine (such as Google – their PPC is called AdWords) to show your ads when people search for key words. Organic Search is where you either do the work or pay a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) company to get you ranked high in Google’s non-paid listings.

There are THREE key differences between PPC and Organic Search:

  1. In a PPC Campaign, you can create a campaign and be getting results quite literally within minutes. At Google it can be as simple as creating an account (1 – 2 minutes), creating a campaign (and giving your credit card information) in 2 – 3 minutes and then monitoring as you start to get click thrus to your web site. An organic campaign, on the other hand, takes more preparation as you make changes to pages throughout your web site and the results take longer as well. Depending on the site and the content, results can take as long as several weeks.
  2. One of the reasons an SEO campaign takes more work is because you don’t have control over which page the search engine will link to so you have to make sure all of your pages are both optimized and linked in such a way that people can get to the page they want even if they click a search engine link that takes them to a page you didn’t intend them to go to. With a PPC campaign, you get to tell the search engine EXACTLY what page to link to so you can just focus on that one page and focus on the marketing content of that page.
  3. The third key difference is that, according to SEOmoz, people searching on the Internet are 8.5 times more likely to click on an organic search listing than on a paid ad.

Some of the trade-offs then are between SEO which over the long term is likely to have a bigger pay off vs. a paid search campaign which can have an immediate impact on your bottom line and having a very focused ad in paid search vs. needing to continually focus on the whole web site in organic search.


Understanding Social Media

Social Media: What is it?

One of the biggest “buzzes” in the internet right now is Social Media. But what is this phenomenon known as social media? It’s simple really.

When the Internet was in its infancy, web pages were pretty much static. That is, they didn’t change. The code on the page was hard coded and everyone who came to visit saw the same thing. The media of the day decried that the Internet would just drive us each into our own worlds, drive us away from each other.

Then people began to see how databases could be harnessed to provide live data and even to interact with each other. Larger businesses began to provide database connectivity to share information with their customers and visitors. People found this to be very useful and started to get more “into” it.

Then the Internet left its infancy. I would say it is still in its adolescence but at this time it is changing and growing in all kinds of unexpected ways. The naysayers often say a new technology is going to drive us away from each other but there is a deep need in every human to connect with others.

Social Media web sites provide this kind of connection. MySpace was the first social oriented web site to grab the attention of pretty much the whole Internet. While it still is an important site that is used by a wide variety of people, it is viewed by many to be the site where garage bands and their groupies meet. This, by the way is inaccurate as the average age of users in the mid 30’s.

A site that has really captured the attention of people young and old is Facebook. Facebook started as a way for college students to connect and get to know one another but rapidly moved from college to high school to anyone over the age of 13. It is now used by people all over to engage in both fun and business. This election season there were all kinds of groups created by people who favor one candidate over another, one issue over another or one cause over another.

I even spent the better part of an hour this afternoon catching up with an old friend who created a Facebook account and happened to be on Facebook at the same time I was – yes there is a chat feature on Facebook that lets people communicate in real time. I’ve also connected with an old flame from college – just to touch base mind you, and reconnected with some high school friends.

But Facebook is more than a social network. It is also a way to find partners, employees, work and customers. As a technology professional, I belong to a couple of networks through Facebook that are specifically for technology and entrepreneurs. One of the nicest parts about the web is that we aren’t limited by geography. I can connect with people in Asia, Europe, California, across town or just down the street.

Another very useful social networking site is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is designed for business. Business people sign up for an account and can connect with other business people. The LinkedIn concept is based on the premise that if I have, for example, 30 contacts in my network and each of my contacts also has around 30 people in their network, I suddenly have access to 900 people and that is just within one degree or one contact away. Move out two or three more degrees and you find yourself with 1000s of people within your network and it only takes an invitation or introduction to find the person you want to contact.

As social media has grown up, Facebook has morphed into an application that lets you do business, have fun, or get involved. And LinkedIn has grown into an application that lets you connect with classmates from long ago (or right now) and get involved in affinity groups not having anything to do with business.

Businesses and individuals alike should look into how they can leverage social media networks to improve their business or expand their prospects.


Leverage Your Web Site

Tough times got you worried? Is the recession sending you into a depression? I’ve been asked quite a bit lately about how what EduCyber does can help a company through tough times.

This is undoubtedly one of the unique times when smart business owners will position their web site to capture market share and solidify their position so that when the recovery takes off, they’re in a position to benefit. So what can you do? First take a good hard look at  your web site. What is working? Do you have a strong call to action on each page? Have you updated it lately? Does it look fresh?

Take some time to go through your site yourself. If you’ve had your site for a year or more, there will undoubtedly be pages that you haven’t looked at in awhile. Make sure that any old data is removed and that you have current information about your products and services.

Then you are ready to start. Search rules. Get your site ranked for your key words now and keep them there. Doing that will pay benefits far into the future. If you carefully define the key words that you wish target, you might find that it is not as difficult as you might believe to get ranked.

Visit Google’s webmaster tools to learn how to do it yourself or contact EduCyber if you’d like assistance to start your new year at the top of the search engines. In fact you can come to our seminar on December 11th to learn how to “Start your (search) engines”.


Beginner’s Guide to SEO

I’ve been surprised lately about the widely different ideas that customers bring to the table about what SEO is. Search Engine Optimization is, in a nutshell getting your site optimized for the search engines.

One of the first things I ask clients is where they’ve used the key words they think they’re targeting on their site. And I’m often met with a long blank stare. Oh, yeah. If you want to be ranked for a key word or key phrase, you have to use that key phrase on your site. Upon reflection it is obvious but not quite so obvious that you need to actually use the key phrases in the content of your site.

Once you’ve made sure you’ve included key phrases in the content, you can also make sure that you’ve included alt text for each image on your site. Yes, each and every image should have alt text and the alt text is a ripe opportunity to use your key phrases.

Another easy step is to use the key phrases in the title tag of the site. I explained this in a previous post on Title Tags for Web Sites but it is often overlooked. Don’t use tags like Welcome or About Us. Instead use titles that help both visitors and search engines understand what your site is about.

???? ??? ????Hyperlink key phrases to other pages. One of the things that search engines really like is to see what text is used to hyperlink to other pages. Instead of linking Click Here to the page with more content, use More information on how to sell books on Amazon (if you help people sell books on Amazon) or Handle your dental needs in one visit (if you are a Dental office offering Oral Sedation Dentistry).

SEO isn’t as difficult as some might make it seem but it does take time and it does take staying abreast of the latest trends and techniques. If you’re not sure how to proceed, call EduCyber at 303-268-2245 for assistance.


Three Concerns about E-Newsletters

OK, I just posted five reasons you SHOULD have an e-newsletter, now let’s look at three things you need to take into account as you start writing your e-newsletters:

  1. Junk Email filters. There is a lot of email out there. And a lot of that email is automatically generated junk that you don’t want to read. The unfortunate point is that a good email newsletter site like or Constant is also an automatically generated email that can caught in a filter. We use Aweber and we get a spam assassin score BEFORE we send so we know how likely it is to get filtered out.
  2. Information Overload. How many emails do YOU get every day? I get over a hundred, not including the junk that gets filtered out. Even then I’ve got an overload of information and should probably unsubscribe from half a dozen newsletters. But they’re really good when I take the time to read them. So remember that your reader is likely overloaded and that leads to the next concern:
  3. Competition for Attention. Like I said, I get over 100 emails a day. So your e-newsletter is competing for my attention with every other item in my inbox. And of course I’m likely distracted by who’s IM’ing me or what the latest tweet from Twitter is as well. One key issue to deal with here is to make sure your subject line leaps off the screen in a way the engages the reader from the start.

These concerns aren’t insurmountable but you should be aware of them so that you can prepare to make your newsletter stand head and shoulders above the rest.икони


Five Reasons to Use an Email Newsletter

Putting a newsletter into email is easy.  Reaching people that want to be reached by you is so easy it feels thrilling! Really it does! Give it a try. Here are five reasons you should try it if you aren’t already:

  1. Low cost distribution: Sending out a hard copy newsletter can cost anywhere from $0.42 to $10.00 depending on how much work and postage you put into it. An email can be sent for nothing or next to nothing.
  2. Less focus on formatting: Instead of having to make the content fit the available space, you can just focus on writing good content.
  3. Ease of distribution: You don’t have to spend time folding and stuffing envelopes nor do you have to lick stamps and take it to the post office. Simply click send when it looks right and off it goes.
  4. Easy to post to your web site: Once you’ve taken the time to write good content, you should always post it on your web site so the Search Engines can index your content. In the same way you should always archive your newsletters on your site to keep that good content available.
  5. Easy to link your newsletter to your web site. For most folks, getting people to visit their web site is their goal. If someone visits the web site, they are more likely to make a purchase so why not put the first three paragraphs of your nine paragraph article in the newsletter with a Continue Reading link that goes to your web site?

So get off your backside and start writing. And start getting permission from people to send them your newsletter.


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