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How Internet Marketing Was Changed With The Book, “Who Moved My Cheese?”

Why I Read It

This short 90 page book was given to me by a friend after I related to her the story of my youngest daughter who had a complete meltdown any time she was faced with a change that she was unprepared for.  Despite my attempts to explain to her that this was just how life went sometimes- you’re thrown lots of curve balls and have to do your best to work through them., she never seemed to be able to handle it well.

Then I thought about how many business owners and marketers I talk to who have the same problem in their business. How can the lessons in this book apply?

What It’s About

To summarize; Who Moved My Cheese? tells the story of two mice (Sniff and Scurry) and two “little people” (Hem and Haw) trapped in a maze. Cheese is a metaphor for whatever you want in your life. For the mice, it’s cheese. For the “little people,” it could be success, happiness, or financial security.

One day, the foursome finds cheese in Cheese Station C. Everyone likes the cheese and  returns day-after-day to eat it.  The little people become comfortable and plan that the cheese will always be there. The mice on the other hand, are always wearing their sneakers around their necks, ready to move on at a moments notice.

Then one  day, the cheese is gone.

The mice weren’t completely surprised ,they noticed the supply had been dwindling. The little people however were astonished and frozen in fear.

Without giving it too much thought, the mice went looking for new cheese in the maze. They didn’t try to hold on to a past that no longer existed.

The little people were different. They had come to view Cheese Station C as their home. They bragged about it. They felt it was theirs. They were outraged, shocked, scared, and befuddled when the cheese disappeared. In their comfort, they didn’t notice the cheese supply had been dwindling, nor that it had become old and smelly. They had become complacent.

Hem and Haw felt the situation was unfair. It was their cheese, and now it was gone. Hem and Haw remained in Cheese Station C hoping the cheese would return and wondering where it had gone.

One day, Haw decided that waiting for the cheese to return wasn’t working. (Definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result) He was getting weaker the longer he remained, and figured staying and starving can’t be any better than moving on into the maze looking for new cheese. Haw was afraid of the unknown, that he wouldn’t find new cheese, but he felt that he didn’t really have a choice.

On his cheese-seeking quest, Haw started to learn a few things and recorded them on the wall of the maze in the hopes that his friend Hem would follow him and see his notes as encouragement.

Hem was hemmed in by his old ideas. He may have starved, the story never tells of his fate.

What I Learned from Reading It

Turns out this little book caused quite a stir when it was initially published. Critics  said it was  basic common sense that any child could understand. Others said it was suggesting that all change is good and we are mindlessly conforming.

Now you might be wondering why I am including this in a blog about internet marketing. Perhaps Haw’s tips will help shed some  light.

  1. Change Happens. (it’s inevitable)
  2. Anticipate Change. (for the reason, see #1)
  3. Monitor Change. (so you know how you are progressing)
  4. Adapt to Change Quickly. (so you don’t starve)
  5. Change. (don’t just talk about it!)
  6. Enjoy Change. (you might as well enjoy the ride!)
  7. Be read to change again and again. (see #1)

How I Put It Into Practice

1- In both my personal and professional life (and really, there is not much of a line there) I have learned that stuff happens- no matter how much you research or plan, there will always be unexpected curve balls.

2-Accepting the fact that stuff happens makes it easier to prepare for the inevitable changes. So in both personal and work, have a plan B (& C, D, E & F).

3-Because you know that things will change, keep a sharp eye out. Don’t assume anything will stay the same in your industry. Keeping in tune with the market and your customers will give you the clues you need to tell when change is about it happen.

4-When change does happen, don’t wait to react to it. Don’t be scared to take action because, oh my, what if it is the wrong thing to do? The reality is that many of us use this as an excuse to hide from change. A wise friend once told me, “If it’s crap, and you are holding on to crap, it’s still crap.”

5- There comes a point when thinking and planning need to cease, and action needs to happen. Set a goal, deadline and just do it.

6-Change is scary, yes. But with the right learning mindset, change can be fun and exciting. Change is how we learn.

7- It is all a cycle of some kind. There is no end, only another beginning.

Check it out on Amazon if you want to read it yourself. Or if you have already read it, post a comment on what you thought of it.

Are you in the middle of change with your business now? Not sure how to tread the new waters? Let us know how we can help.

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Social Media Strategy — As Easy As 1, 2, 3 and 4

We would share some quick tips on get more results from your social media work with less effort. The key to this is to use social media to build relationships with your audience.

Your relationship building strategy using social media strategy should have 4 goals:

1. To get people to KNOW you
2. People learn more about you and begin to LIKE you
3. The like turns into TRUST
4. It is easier to move them to the BUY stage

Here’s my “cheat sheet” for moving from one area to the next. We go into this in great detail as we develop your social media marketing strategy.

1st Goal – To Get People to Know You

Marketing studies have shown that people need to see things 7 times before it starts to register. Our brains are bombarded with info at every moment. The more you hear something repeated the more likely the information is to “stick”.

This means you must be on multiple sites . Reach out to people (in your target market and others with the same general target market)- become their friend on Facebook, their follower on Twitter, Their Connection on LinkedIn, etc.

1. “Like” or comment on what they say on Facebook, Re-tweet their tweets on Twitter, Comment on their blogs

2. Post tips and information that adds value to their life and/or business. Facebook Fan Page is an excellent way to do this (more on that later)

2nd Goal – People Get to Like You

As you start to share good information and tips you will see that people start to respond to you and “like” your ideas. They start to re-tweet your tweets and share your Facebook updates.

The more you interact with them and/or recommend them to others the more they will like you. This all leads to the third goal.

3rd Goal – People start to trust you

At this point you see people starting to tag you, have conversations with you, quote your ideas, suggest you to their friends. You are starting to really show your integrity – your authentic self. Now we are getting somewhere because as people start to trust you they then want to start working with you directly, they want to buy from you.

Now it is easier to move your relationship off-line or onto your website. You now have pre-qualified, pre-sold customers lining up for the 4th goal!

4th Goal – They buy from you!

Getting to the trust level takes time — but you can get there more quickly if you are giving your prospects the information they want. If you want more shortcuts, request more information about how we  can develop and run your social media marketing campaigns for your business.

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If you build a website, will they come?

Business Website Usability

Sadly, many local businesses feel that they do not need a website since people need to come in to their business to buy. While they may not need the typical cart or buy now buttons of an online business, they still need a website. These businesses need to be taught about the importance of having a website…but a good website!

Many local businesses finally decide they need a website, but without knowing exactly what to do, they create a bad site! The website is full of technical jargon and figures. They forget about designing the website for the average consumer and providing that person with valuable information.

Fortunately our post today explains in more detail what a local business website needs. If you are working with a local business or are a local business, then his information can help you create a website that helps build business now and in the future.

Local Internet Marketing is about two things:

  1. Driving Traffic
  2. Conversion

When referencing conversion and Local Internet Marketing, a local business is referring to their website. Website Usability discusses achieving the desirable call to action.

Website Usability in a Nutshell

Web usability means designing an online website for your users and visitors instead of for yourself or your client. A website that addresses user expectations will increase the number of visitors who take the intended call to action, or otherwise accomplish the goals set out for the website. Good usability is critical to your site’s success.

We are mostly focusing on business-to-business websites for local businesses. Business-to-business websites face usability challenges far beyond those of regular B2C (business-to-consumer) sites. The products are more complex, in fact, they are often services, the customers and audience are more diverse, and the buying process has many more steps and complications.

Many B2B sites are stuck in 1995. For example, they often highlight internally focused design, fail to answer the customers’ questions and simply are a digital version of their brochure. Thus, they fail to achieve a call to action, and in most cases the user leaves and never comes back without any lead information.

Such websites haven’t realized that the Web has reversed the company-customer relationship. Most online interactions are demand-driven: you either give people what they want, or watch as they abandon your site for your competition.

Considering that there is immensely more money at stake for B2B than for business-to-consumer (B2C), it’s astounding that B2B sites offer a much worse user experience.

Push button vs local business buying

One of the biggest differences between ecommerce stores, or online retailers and local business would be that most local retailers don’t see themselves engaged in e-commerce. Perhaps this is because the typical B2B product can’t be purchased through a simple Add to cart button.

The lack of an Add to cart button doesn’t mean that B2B businesses should ignore their websites or make them digital brochures. The site should still support the many other stages of the buying process — including the post-sales, which are crucial to customers’ long-term brand loyalty.

The website represents the company to prospects. Users don’t save brochures because they assume they can find equivalent information on the Web. Most people say that when they were thinking of doing business with a company, their first action was to check out its website. So, a site that improperly communicates the credibility of a vendor and its products can seriously hurt incoming website leads.

With proper tools in place to measure activity, the numbers are simply astounding and how subtle improvements drastically improve conversion, those website visitors who beg to give you their email and contact information.

User impeding Design

Local business web sites often prevent users from getting the information they need to research solutions. Sometimes this is deliberate, as when sites hide the good stuff behind registration barriers. Sometimes it is with confusing navigation that prevents users from finding information, or when the information they do find is written in such a marketing language that purchasers and influencers simply get confused.

Many sites use website segmentation, unfortunately, these segments often don’t match the way customers think of themselves, and thus require them to peek through multiple site areas to find the right one.

Another common local business tactic is to require users to register or complete lead-generation forms. We typically call this an opt-in. Users are sometimes reluctant to do this. I like this approach and has worked well. In most cases, though I recommend moving more information outside the opt-in barrier so it’s available to users during their initial research.

You must establish a certain level of credibility before people are willing to give out their contact information.Offering an instant download of a video or report is an easy was to capture their email address, and people are much more likely to provide just their email address rather than their contact information. Business people are too busy these days to have time for sales calls. This is education sales.

If you sell highly technical products to a highly specialized audience, you can’t assume that all users understand the key considerations that distinguish the product or service from the competition. If you can properly capture how people think about their problem, you’re half way to selling them.

The most user-impeding element of most local business web sites is a complete lack of pricing information. From a study done by Nielsen, when they asked users to prioritize which of 28 types of B2B site information mattered most to them, prices scored the highest by far. This was 29% higher than product availability, which ranked second.

Sites have many excuses for not wanting to display prices, but they are just that: excuses. Users expect to get a basic understanding of products and services during their initial research, and they can’t do that without some idea of what it’s going to cost. Even if your company can’t list exact prices, there are several ways to indicate price level, which is really all people need initially.

The average local business website user experience is not very supportive of customers. As a result, the websites fail to provide business value because they ultimately turn prospects away rather than turning them into leads.

Guidelines

Here are some very basic, high level guidelines that you should follow for any local business website. It’s best to have fresh eyes on a site to ensure each of these guidelines is met. They are pretty simple, let’s take a look.

  • Clear and Simple Navigation. We know that navigation should be easy, with clear navigation in the top or the left side of the side. It’s like you driving my car, you know where the steering wheel it and the brakes, but you might fumble with the less important controls like the radio. Your navigation is like the steering wheel. I cover this next.
  • Clear and Simple Content. Consider the education level of your audience. Consider culture. Consider objectives and motivations. Use your audience profile extensively here. Write for you audience, not your client.
  • Brand Support. This is accomplished through imagery and repetition. Find a unique way to mention the business in content. Have a memorable, solid logo prominently displayed in appropriate places on the site. Get the logo out there.
  • Visitor Feedback and Support. Using Web 2.0 channels, forms, contact information of whatever other tools you chose, the site is a doorway to the business. Make sure visitors can easily communicate through various methods, not just one form.
  • Measuring and Testing Conversion. Google Analytics and Website Optimizer. Refer to the website video in the ’setting up your agency’ module under Online Properties.
  • Testing Design Usability. Get feedback from users. Do they recognize the major CTA on the site? The fallback CTA? Are they just confused? List perhaps 10 questions for new users to accomplish, such as ‘find this’ or ‘if you are in the market for a widget, does this website help answer your questions?’

Website Navigation

Website navigation is the function of providing the user with the easiest and most logical information on how to get around the website and what can they do.

A good navigation system should answer three questions

  1. Where am I?
  2. Where have I been?
  3. Where can I go?

There are a variety of ways to answer these questions, and there are several methodologies on the thought process for this. There really isn’t a cookie cutter process, but following these key points will unequivocally help you implement the desired navigation system.

  1. Consistency. The navigation system should be in the same place on every page and have the same format. Visitors will get confused and frustrated if links appear and disappear unpredictably. Don’t veer too much from top or left navigation.
  2. Use appropriate text inside links. This is a critical component in search engine optimization. Don’t make the website visitors guess where a link is going to take them. Make it plain and simple.
  3. Blue Underline links. Some designers don’t like underlined text links inside page content – although visitors expect to be able to click on underlined text.
  4. Always include text links. You can create some great looking menus using JavaScript but never rely completely on a dynamic menu system. I personally recommend staying away from these good looking JavaScript menu systems all around. Every page should have basic text links that link to all major sections of the site.
  5. Add a text-based site map. All sites should have a text based sitemap in addition to text links. Every page should contain a text link to the site map. Lost visitors will use it to find their way, while search engines spiders will have reliable access to all your pages.
  6. Include a home page link inside your main navigation system. Visitors may have entered your site through an internal page. Having a homepage link on your top or left navigation in the same spot on all pages will help users find their way, and they’ll possibly want to head for the home page.
  7. Site logo links to home page. Your website should include the logo somewhere at the top of every page – generally in the top, left-hand corner. Visitors expect this logo to be a link to your site’s home page. They’ll often go there before looking for the home link in the navigation system.
  8. Include a site search box. A robust site search feature helps visitors quickly locate the information they want. Make the search box prominent and be sure that it searches all of your site – and only your site. Google has a great tool for this and be sure to include your company blog in the search.
  9. Breadcrumb trail at the top of the page is nice to help users navigate back up the website hierarchy (e.g., Home > Solutions > Customer Relationship Management).

You may attract visitors with an eye-catching design, but content is what keeps them at the site and encourages them to return. Content is also the best way to boost your site in search engine rankings.

Contact us to get a free website analysis and see if they will come to your site.

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How to Attract Your Ideal Customers

Simply stated your “target market” is another way of saying your “ideal customer”. Why is it important to define your market?

– By defining specifically who would best benefit from your services you can better use your marketing dollars

– You can increase your conversion ratio – converting leads to buying customers

– You can put extra cash in your pocket

I am betting that the last one got your attention. Now, how do you define your target market? Well with our internet marketing strategy plan we spend almost an hour helping you defining your markets because it can get quite in depth. For the sake of space and time here I will give you a quick overview.

To define your target market you should write down every aspect about your customer that you know. Are they a certain age, gender, religion, race, where do they live, what type of work do they do, etc. I have used the example of the business owner who sells anti-aging cream.

Well obviously anyone with skin would be a potential client. However, if you know that only 1 in 50 men actually buy anti-aging cream and you also know that 1 in 10 women buy the same product then it is much smarter to focus on women.

Now take it a step further. Back to our 1 in 10 women that purchase – what if that broke down to 80% of those buying being over the age of 30 and only 20% being under the age of 30. Now you know you will have greater results if you market to women over the age of 30. You could go on and on – where do they live, do they have a particular income level, are they married, do they have kids?

I know some of you are thinking that you don’t want to lose any of those other sales. You will not lose them. They will still come in and buy. You are just trying to segment the market to determine where your marketing time and effort are better served.

Another example, our company, Team Internet Marketing, LLC, focuses on helping  business owners grow their businesses and make more money. Our personal desire is to eradicate financial distress in all entrepreneur’s lives. However, we understand that we cannot be everything to all people so we focus on entrepreneur’s who own their business and have owned it for at least two years. These entrepreneur’s also share other characteristics. They are usually internet educated and understand the importance of investing in their marketing ,plus they are actively searching for ways to expand their business.

So who is your target market? IMPORTANT – write it down!

If you want more help with this, I would recommend contacting us to get a free website evaluation. Hope to connect with you soon.

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Do I Need An Email List?

Collecting email information from clients and prospects is not easy, but vital for the success of your business.

People ask what are the best ways to build an email list. Let me provide a few tips:

  •  Ask your customers if you can email them
  •  Place a sign-up location on your website
  •  Make sure to have a guest book at your reception area or hostess desk
  •  Offer an incentive to provide email and texts
  •  Always ask everyone you talk to if they would like to receive your email updates

According to Direct Marketing Association, the rate of opens for emails has increased in the first quarter of 2011. The average open rate is 23.3%, which is up 5.6 % from the same quarter in 2010. The association states the number one reason for the better open rate with email is content. Companies are using email to educate clients and prospects on their products and services. The second reason for the increase in emails is automation. It is easy to set up a series of emails that will automatically go out when a customer or prospect does something.

We all spend hours sifting through our own emails. I am pretty sure some of you are asking: why should I bother my clients and potential clients with an email about email? One of your ongoing email goals should be to provide valuable information. Well written, high content emails help build your relationship with your email community. It will also keep you top of mind. And, it is defensive vis-a-vis your competitors, who are most likely already emailing the same person.

When setting up your email system it is important to have the best software to house your list. A few of the software programs Team Internet Marketing recommends include:

  •   MailChimp
  •   Constant Contact
  •   1ShoppingCart
  •   aWeber
  •   Infusionsoft

Determine what you need from your software and make sure the product you choose can support your business’s needs.

One of the questions we often hear is: how many people do you need to have on your list to start mailing? Our answer is one. Your list will grow if you invest a little time to make sure that you start to capture more people for your list.

Look at your business and map out what your clients and prospects would like to hear from your business.  Then… give it to them!  😉

If you need some help. Give us a call. We love to help you grow your business.

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How often do you update your business Facebook page?

How often do you realistically update your own businesses fan page and more importantly… Do you even have one??

The number one thing you MUST do to be successful at social media marketing is to be consistent in your updates. Most business owners are very gung-ho and ready to add to their already busy schedule daily updating of their new fan page.

…Well, typically, that may last a few weeks but will start diminishing rapidly until you have a stagnant page that does nothing to help spread the word of your brand or build a loyal base of fans that are ready buy and support your product or service. Not because they are not good at updating.. but because they just cant find the time every single day to make the post and it falls to the way side..

The number one reasons business owners fail at social media is TIME.. or lack of it.

What is it worth to YOU to pay someone…

Who is a Expert in your industry
Who is a Expert at positively engaging online
Who is a Expert at creating loyal fans who will cling to every word you say
Who will shorten your sales cycle by educating leads about your brand

and most importantly (drum roll please…)

Who will take the load off of your busy shoulders and the dread of knowing you have a daily task waiting for you when you get on the computer every single day to update your Facebook account.

What would YOU pay for this to be on total automatic pilot?

Check out our plans and pricing(new). The basic package is a great starting point and will create a strong foundation to grow on for the future at a insanely low fee!!

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Inbound Marketing Analysis: Study Shows Inbound Marketing Could Have Saved the Dinosaurs


What Dinosaurs, Borders and the Traditional Marketing and Sales Models Have In Common

We recently learned that Borders has sold off the last of its inventory and assets and essentially is no more. I’m sure you can find lots of analysts who will give lots of reasons why they failed. But it really comes down to three simple lessons we could have learned from the dinosaurs.

  1. Climate change. For the dinosaurs, a major change in their environment resulted in food scarcity, extreme temperatures and made life in general more difficult. What was the climate change for Borders (and 99.9% of businesses today)? Economic climate. What is now being touted as the “New Economy” is more like a global market correction. Or as I like to think of it, an evolved economy. This does not mean it’s the end – but it is a new beginning. One to which Borders (and the dinosaurs) were unable (or unwilling) to adapt. Change is constant. Get used to it or become extinct. Rather than adjust to the changes, Borders essentially ignored them, like a dinosaur.
  2. Poor pack leadership. Now in the case of the dinosaurs, many of them traveled in herds or packs – safety in numbers. If you have ever watched the Discovery channel, I’m sure you have come across those shows that talk about the “alphas,” the pack leaders. It’s the alphas’ job to lead the pack safely through whatever obstacles may come their way. In the case of Borders, it was the job of management alphas to see the changes coming and come up with solutions and adjustments. They didn’t, so they led their pack to extinction.
  3. Changing food sources. The Internet has changed the way people buy. Unfortunately, many businesses have not changed the way they sell. Businesses today are like the meat-eating dinosaurs whose food sources changed millions of years ago. Migration patterns changed, and their prey could not be found in the same places as before. Why did those migrations patterns change? Because climate change meant that the prey’s food, the vegetation, couldn’t grow in the same places as before. When plant eaters couldn’t get food in the same places, they moved their packs. Businesses that don’t move with their customers will become extinct, just like the meat-eating dinosaurs that didn’t move with their prey.

None of this is probably a revelation. In fact, it’s a concept you can learn from high school economics.

Ok, so how could the dinosaurs (in theory of course) have saved themselves from extinction? And what does that have to do with inbound marketing and business today?

Who said that the dinosaurs are extinct anyway?

In truth, they are not. Some survived, rebounded and even flourished. How? They changed – dramatically in some cases. Did it happen overnight? Only if you consider 150 million years to be overnight.

My point? Change is hard, scary and usually uncomfortable. For businesses today, inbound marketing and sales is the catalyst for change that will help businesses to survive, and in many cases flourish. So whether Facebook or Google is king, the next Twitter emerges, or the NASDAQ drops 100 more points,  your business can evolve. Like the dinosaurs you can see today.

We Live For Change

You can lessen the hard and scary part of change, ask Team Internet Marketing how we can help. We live for change.

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Welcome To Team Internet Marketing

 

The Founding of Team Internet Marketing powered by:

Infinite Possibilities Marketing, LLC and Braineo Web Solutions

 

I formed the Infinite Possibilities Marketing brand to pursue my personal passion for life beyond the norm. I believe that performance is to operate past or push beyond the established bounds. As individuals, as families, and as societies we can achieve performance beyond our established boundaries; without performance there is no growth.

Infinite Possibilities is the name I ascribe to the challenges and passions that I have had in my life, because if you only look outside the box you will always find infinite possibilities to your problems. Whether it was a spiritual quest, or pushing beyond the physical limits, Infinite Possibilities Marketing is where my past meets my present and where the future launches.

Robert and Craig formed Braineo Web Solutions to help companies generate revenue, connect with customers and promote their businesses. But, all too often, these technologies are underutilized and overlooked by small and medium companies.

 That’s because most companies simply don’t have the time and the resources to search out, evaluate and implement all of the technology options available to them. After all, they have a business to run. Unfortunately, this means that many companies end up with websites that don’t work the way they want them to, are frustrating to manage, and difficult or costly to upgrade. It doesn’t have to be that way. So we  formed Team Internet Marketing, LLC to take the best of our collective experience to help business utilize technology to grow and prosper.
Team Internet Marketing makes it easy, affordable and convenient for small and medium companies to implement ideas, technologies and solutions to successfully market their businesses and their brands. We recommend the best web technology to help you achieve your business goals. Then we offer guidance to help you implement it, using your own resources, or with services that we provide.
We have one goal: to help you grow your business and your brand.
Our success, and yours, depends on it.

Our primary business focus is consulting — we provide consulting to companies looking for innovative solutions to problems everyone faces at one point or another. There’s a heavy high-tech flavor to what we do, we help people build web presence, and local search marketing, SEO, branding, social media marketing, and high performance automated marketing systems, eCommerce, and even develop new technology like IPhone apps or 2d barcodes.

We have a vast network of resources with creative ways to make our services affordable to almost anyone. We have a very strong management team of highly experienced professionals and executives and a list of clients that we’ve helped along the way to their success.

Whether you are a one person shop or a publicly traded company, we can help you.

Contact Us for more information.

 

 

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