Customer Testimonials Are Gold

testimonials

Courtesy of Stuart Miles via freedigitalphotos.net

Most markets are seeing increasing competition. Provided you are ensuring your customers are completely satisfied and may even be grateful for the service they have received, they may very well be the best possible “sales people” you might have.

Among the most powerful ways to gain an immediate boost in sales is to include online marketing testimonials in your marketing strategy. Testimonials from customers work so well because they provide the two things that spur sales: credibility and trust. Continue reading

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Use Social Media Test Marketing For Your New Product Launch

shopping online

shopping online image courtesy of marin via freedigitalphotos.net

How do you know that your new online business will grab the attention of your target market and turn a profit? You can never know for sure until you give it a try, but it is still important to test your idea before investing a lot of money and energy. Testing periods can help you tweak your overall idea so that it fits the needs of your target market better, and you may come up with creative ways to make your products or services accessible and useful to a wider array of consumers. Continue reading

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The Social Media Bandwagon

social media bandwagonAlmost everyone is aware of the growing number of social media that allow you to stay in touch with your friends and spread the word on matters and events that are important to you. That goes from Presidents of countries to stay-at-home moms and includes their young teenagers as they move around on their social whirl. Companies now see that this is an ideal way to communicate with their customers and prospects. Everyone wishes to make the most of this new dimension in their lives. Continue reading

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Exciting Social Media

twitter baby on the way

If you’ve not been aware of the viral growth of social media such as Facebook and Twitter, then this was the week to change all that.  It started with the news that the Pope now has a Twitter account @Pontifex and even though he has not tweeted he has more than half a million Twitter followers. Continue reading

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Social Media Recruitment

twitter

It you need any confirmation that social media are where it is happening then the headline that Obama tweet sets record should convince you.  Social media provide an opportunity for any business activity also.  What may have worked in the past may no longer be the most effective way of working in this social media world. Continue reading

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Keeping In Touch

It used to be easy to stay in touch with your friends when the telephone system was less automatic.  Calls were put through on a switchboard when a human being physically connected  two telephone lines.   If you lived in a small village, the telephone switchboard lady could probably tell you whether your friend was at home or not.  Continue reading

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12 Things to Take Care Of When Blogging About Your Business

This article is contributed by Gagan Deep.

A business blog can gain new eyeballs to your business, and build great loyalty among your existing customers. It can also boost brand awareness, and help build a customer community. However, all this is possible only when business blogging is done correctly. Continue reading

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How to Use Giveaways to Grow Your Blog

This article is contributed by Heather Green.

Giveaways are a great way to generate excitement around your blog and to drive more traffic to it. Everyone loves getting something for free, and giveaways are fun and exciting. You can leverage this enthusiasm to create awareness about your blog, pick up some additional traffic, and grow your subscribers. Continue reading

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Latest Gmail Phishing Very Tough To Spot – Watch Out

If Phishing is a new term to you then please read this post. Wikipedia will tell you that “phishing is the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.” Often it may look like a message from your bank, or it could be Paypal or eBay. The phisher does not know whether you really have an account, but tries everyone in the hope that some may fall from it.

Here is one of the best phishing exploits I have seen. I have now twice received a message apparently from Google within the past three days that read as follows:

phishing Gmail message

When you click on the link, then you see the familiar Google Gmail Welcome page. 

Phishing Gmail Welcome Page

Except that this is not the regular Google page.  If you look up at the address field, you will find the URL is on the domain, Phishing website .

Checking WhoIs for this page you will find that the administrative contact is the following person.

Phishing Administrative Contact

Undoubtedly if I had keyed in my Gmail username and password, that gentleman would have had access to my Gmail account and could do whatever he wished with it.  Needless to say I immediately changed the password, in case he had already been there.

This is a particularly difficult one to spot, so it is important to be extra vigilant.  Google has some good information about Messages asking for personal information.  It also provides more detailed information about Suspicious results and strange behavior: Phishing attacks in other words.

You can forward such phishing Gmail messages to phishing@google.com and can send the Phishing URL to the Google Phishing team using their Phishing Report.  Google also provides a link to Stopbadware.org, where you can learn more about malware that can infect your computer.

Some phishing attacks are not too difficult to spot, often including spelling mistakes and somewhat curious links.  This particular current Gmail phishing incident is highly professional and the only clue is that URL address when you click on the apparent Google link. 

Please spread the word rapidly.  If you are on Twitter, then please ReTweet the message below.

Pl.RT: Important Alert: Latest Gmail phishing exploit is very tough to spot: http://su.pr/5SFqGS : pass it on.

Undoubtedly many people will be taken in.

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A URL Shortener For Maximum RTs (ReTweets)

If terms like URL shortener or RT are unclear to you, then you may be missing the next major trend in social media.  The last major trend which is still active is Twitter where, as Collective Thoughts suggested you can create your own Social Bites – (which are) Like Sound Bites But Different

We are all used to “Sound Bites” – a short few seconds of words which are normally taken out of context to create sensational headlines. Few people realise that speech writers have for years worked on developing speeches to include a couple of perfect “sound bites” for use by others. Of course while some social media is audio based we are much more likely to rely on humble text to create a “social bite”.

What Is A Social Bite? – A social bite is a short piece of text to describe an article, post or idea which is easy to understand and easy to distribute through viral networks. A social bite must still carry the post’s message and goal but in a way that quickly impacts with users. The Perfect Social Bite has two parts, the hook and the line.

The hook are the words within the message – the thing to grab attention. This is doubly important as the hook will have no context once it has left the site. For example a hook is unlikely to reference the site so must be compelling, so that someone would visit the page without knowing where they were going.  The line is simply the url, sometimes this will be the page url but more likely to conserve space a url shortening service would be used. This compounds the need for a good hook as the only other potential reference to the site will be hidden.

Done well, social bites can be very effective, so the Twitter stream now seems to have more social bites than mere status messages as in  ( … off to feed the dog. :) )

If you are unaware of ReTweeting, then this is the next big buzz item in the Twitter world.

A ReTweet is based upon the word Tweet.  Tweet is slang used in Twitter that means whatever message you post up on Twitter is considered a Tweet.  Hence a ReTweet is a Tweet that is re-copied that begins with either a RT or ReTweet.

Techchrunch wrote a post on how ReTweets are viewed as a proxy for Authority in the Twitter world.  This means that the more Retweets you gain from other Twitter users based on the article you have written or have found and submitted to the Twitter world, will prove that you are an Authoritative expert in Twitter.

Your tweeting efforts therefore should be focused on creating social bites that will receive the maximum retreats.  That is where the choice of URL shortening can be important..  Lee Odden did a fine survey and review of URL shorteners and covered the following URL shorteners:

  • cli.gs
  • budurl.com
  • tinyurl.com
  • zi.ma
  • bit.ly
  • twurl.nl (aka tweetburner)
  • is.gd
  • snipurl.com (aka Snurl Snipr Sn.im)
  • poprl.com
  • ad.vu (aka adjix)
  • tr.im

He found that cli.gs was the most used and certainly it has many fine features including powerful analytics.  One of its most useful features is that it can be used in a plugin by Joe Dolson (WP to Twitter) that automatically creates a tweet when a WordPress post is published.

One URL shortener that was not included was that created by Digg.  It has received some adverse reactions since it puts the original post within an iFrame that is part of the Digg online presence.

Another one that is just now in beta might appear to be similar in ‘framing’ the original post.  However I go along with Pallab in saying that su.pr from StumbleUpon is Awesome.

Like Digg, su.pr also frames the contents of the target webpage and displays floating toolbars which is what make su.pr so awesome. The sidebar automatically highlights other popular content from your website(s) and encourages the reader to further explore. Not only that, su.pr also provides the option to retweet your message, and share the link on Facebook. Other options include the standard thumbs up and thumbs down buttons and option to stumble through the URL submitter’s favourites.

That ReTweet (RT) option is highly visible in the top right corner and should maximize the chances of getting even more RTs.  If you want to see what it looks like just check out the URL in the following social bite.

Pl. RT – “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” is very customer-centric : http://su.pr/1vH8BI  #customerservice

StumbleUpon is one of the more effective social media in bringing website visitor traffic, so this URL shortener should be a most useful complement.

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