Category Archives: traffic

Cheap And Simple Ways For Small Businesses To Do Video

Video’s a really effective way to market. No, really – people spent twice as much time on sites with video, video attracts almost triple the monthly visitors, and that’s just the start.

And with video apps like Vine and the new addition of video to Instagram, you don’t even need cameras, equipment or a budget to start recording video for your business.

Here’s a run-down of all the ways you can do video on a tight budget – and their pros and cons so you can decide what’s best for you.

Quick, Creative Video Shoots

You can create some awesome, impactful video with just a smartphone and 6 to 15 seconds. Two video apps make it super simple to get your message across and make your business memorable. And they’re easy to share since they’re owned by Twitter and Facebook respectively.

Vine

Vine is Twitter’s video sharing app – and is the most creatively restrictive.

Vine limits you to capturing 6 seconds of video, which means you’ll need to plan your message carefully. But 6 seconds is plenty of time to make a memorable impact, demonstrated by the brands below.

Toyota experiments with 6-second stop-motion:


And a local newspaper shares a wild moment from a concert in town:


Video for Instagram

Instagram came to fame as a smartphone photo sharing app to take and edit photos on the fly. In June, Instagram announced new video features.

Instagram lets you record up to 15 seconds of video, with the ability to go back and delete clips to re-take them if you don’t like how they turned out.

Another win for Instagram video? Cinema mode, which features video stabilization – no more shaky camera while you’re filming with a phone in your hand.

Brands are already experimenting with Instagram’s video feature:

Like Lululemon, who found a fun way to show off their yoga gear:

Or Burberry, who took their followers backstage with sights and sounds from their fashion show:

Other Video Solutions

Vine and Instagram share the benefit of quick, easy video that’s super shareable – no fancy equipment required. But what if you need more than 15 seconds to tell you story?

YouTube and Vimeo are two free sites that can host your video and help share it with a wider audience.

YouTube

YouTube is the most popular video sharing site by far, with over 1 billion monthly users and 100 hours of video uploaded every minute.

Best for: Video blogs, product demonstrations, or any video you want a chance to go viral.

Vimeo

Vimeo is a much smaller community of filmmakers and video producers. The site sees 14 million monthly users and 16,000 videos uploaded each day. On the plus side, it means your video has a better chance of getting found and seen.

But Vimeo is more focused on creative, artistic videos – the site was founded by a group of filmmakers who wanted to give other artists a creative online outlet. A lot depends on your video’s quality.

Best for: Creative, cinematic video. In a business’s case, this likely means creative video ads that will spark an interest in others to check out your service. The more creative you can get, the better.

The drawback to these solutions? They’re not quite as simple as point-and-shoot-with-a-smartphone. You’ll at least need to invest in a camera to get the quality results you’re looking for (and that people will want to watch).

What’s the best video solution for your business? Quick and quirky Vine or Instagram creations? Or more traditional online video formats? Share your video tips in the comments!

Facebook Hashtags: Are They Worth Your Time?

Facebook users added hashtags to their posts #ironically. That is, until two weeks ago, when Facebook officially added support for hashtags.

Now hashtags on Facebook are clickable and organize conversations across the social network.

But does it mean anything for your business now that hashtags on Facebook mean something? Or are they just more noise to filter out?

Facebook Brands: Meet Hashtags

Hashtags are for categorizing conversations and they originated on Twitter. Other social networks – like Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest – similarly use hashtags to group together similar content and make it easier for other people to find.

Facebook’s hashtag feature works the same way, pulling up a list of related conversation when users click a hashtag in a post:

Hashtags are also searchable through Facebook’s Graph Search, which mixes publicly shared posts with posts shared from friends in your network.

Does Your Page Need Hashtags?

The official word from Facebook is don’t count on hashtags to replace or overhaul your current Facebook strategy.

Much like Graph Search has the potential to give your business page a bit of an edge in getting discovered by new fans, hashtags may unearth your page’s content to users who wouldn’t otherwise see it.

A post that got buried in a fan’s news feed could get exposed again with appropriate hashtags. But you probably won’t gain a ton of new followers from it.

In my official opinion? Use hashtags if you want to, but they’re not vital to your Facebook strategy.

If you do choose to hashtag your Facebook posts, here are a few tips to make them more worthwhile:

Don’t overwhelm people with hashtags.

You’ve probably seen this on Instagram – people who caption their photos with every conceivable related hashtag. And it’s total gibberish: #pretty #sunset #gorgeous #summer #relaxing #weekend #colors #colorful #beauty #natural… Limit your hashtag use to one or two relevant ones at the end of your post. Facebook marketing is still all about the content.

Use relevant hashtags.

You have a much better chance of your post getting found if you use hashtags related to your industry or post’s topic. If you’re talking about a local event, you might want to include the town’s name in a hashtag.

Don’t use hashtags for the sake of using hashtags.

If a hashtag makes sense in your post, use it. Don’t add a hashtag for the sake of adding a hashtag. And don’t feel pressured to use a hashtag in every post you publish, either.

What’s your take on Facebook’s newly functional hashtags? #Win or #fail? Share your opinion in the comments!

Warrior Special Offers Forum’s Price Increase – Not So Special Anymore

At least for newbies I think so.
After hearing so much about the Warrior Forum’s WSO as a easy place to start, and starting to focus on putting some info products together I decided to test things out, and bascially what might have worked a few months ago may not today, if you want the full scoop read on.
If you are here, I assume that you are already familar with the Warrior forum and contemplating putting your WSO up. It’s certainly seductive if you have a product in the IM space, as it’s much less overhead to get an offer up than other online than say google or facebook.
Wanting my first WSO to be a success, the first thing I did was study the guides out there.    The guide are pretty clear that timing is critical on the Forum to get the best amount of traffic without being bumped off by competing projects.  The guide recommended the top 2  times to be Thu@noon, followed by Sat@7am

Try 1:   Thu@ noon

The guides say the acceptance of these WSO offers can sometimes be finicky, as well the Warrior Forum has some strict requirements (special hoops) in creating the landing pages if you want to use video or formatting.
So before commiting the time for creating the whole product without any evidence that it would be accepted, I jumped through the hoops, and created a sales page and sales video and submitted the WSO thread for review.
Within 12 hours I was pleased to see the thread was approved,  I clicked over to the paypal saw the price was $20, I figured pretty easy at a $7 product to at least break even.
Before I could put it up for sale I had to finish the course, and get a separate business paypal hooked up a new business account, plus some product delivery scripts.  This should have taken a week, but then  basically all hell broke loose in my businesses, and the WSO project had to be put on a backburner for 30 days.
Staying up all night to finish the course and a real sales video, I went to pay for the thread and found that ….the approved thread was gone..apparently it expired and was deleted.  Quite the bummer.
Anyway I resubmittted the thread for approval and waited again, and in 10 hours it was approved for the 2nd time. But at that point it was in the deadzone.

Try 2:  Thu@noon.

Another 1 weeks clicked by, I had gotten some feedback on the course to make it better and this time with everything ready, I hit the WSO payment link and found that the WSO price was now $40 not $20. Hmm that’s going to make it harder to make money on a $7 product needing 6 sales.  Anyway I was commited to seeing it through, paid the $40, saw the thread on the WSO forum, and waited anxiously to see what happened.
Over the next 8 hours I got 5 sales which at $6.50 = $32.50, had the WSO run $20 that would have been a profit of 12. if you didn’t consider product costs and hosting + paypal $60/mo.   but the WSO now cost $40, so it was a loss of $7.  The competition was fierce, within less than 6-8 hours it was on page3 and all sales stopped.
However that wasn’t such a horrible thing, despite intial testing I found that 3 people that were getting paypal errors, that I had to follow up with each on to get the download.  Had I had dozens of sales let alone 100 it could have caused quite a headache.
I did get 2 new non-sale optins and some backlink love so that counts for something.

Try 3: Sat@6am

This was the 2nd most recommended time. 2 weeks later I tried it, this time “bumping” the thread which also ran $40.
I updated  sales pitch to be much shorter and using a video sales letter rather than the module1 from the course.
I got 1 sale, and within 12 hours I have been bumped off the front page.  So a loss of $34 for this go, and loss of $41 total (not including all the other costs).
I don’t know if the sales video is to blame or just the quality of the traffic.

Troubleshooting

Lots of things didn’t go to plan.
I have no doubt that people make money off WSO,  and if a person has a good connection to the Warrior Forum (a variation on having a list) with some JV’s it’s still possible to make 2-10K money.
I didn’t promote to my list as I was curious how well Warrior Forum is as a fresh traffic source, as I’ve heard “so much about it” and wanted to get an objective view of it.  Let’s look at it from a traffic source perspective:
I spent $80 on traffic, per Warrior Forum 609 views of the page (not sure how many unique) making it  about .13 an impression. In the range of cold traffic.Looking at other competing offers I saw similar view metrics, so I don’t think that it’s purely my product.
5 sales totally = ~.9% conversion rate, also on the low end of cold traffic. I think I could have done better with cold traffic actually with less competition from the rest of the site.
From the friends +family reviews I have the product is good, but the feedback is what I have is probably not the right fit for the WSO,  I had expected more interest and to feed that into testimonials and review copies. Instead I got mostly silence, not even that many questions.
Per youtube about 65 views of the sales video, so only 10% of the people hitting the page are interested enough to watch. I’ve seen much higher numbers from direct traffic.  Looking at competing pages I saw often comparible or worse sales letters so again I don’t think its’ that.
But it doesn’t scale well, about 5 views for every active hour, even bumping every day, I don’t think it’s enough traffic enough to really count on.
Which unfortunately makes WSO about the same or worse as other cold traffic sources.  Not that it’s supposed to be a primary income stream.

Conclusion

Basically I think like much of the training in the IM world, that what worked..maybe even as little as 3 months ago, no longer does at least to the same rules, and this isn’t good for breaking in.
A couple small changes can make the difference from profit to non-profit, and that’s the case here.
Raisign the price from $20 to $40 makes the number of sales needed from 3-4 to 6 to break even.
The guides I read suggested that posting would get you a couple days of visibility, I only saw a 6-14 hours. ..significant difference, and you are optimizing for hitting a 1/4 to 1/2 a day rather than several days.
Given even with the price hike I didn’t get much time on the first 2 pages, I can only imagine how short a time would have been before the price hike…the second in the last couple years. Maybe it’s just gotten super competitive for new WSO and rebumps?
Had I had 2 days of visibility and cost of only $20 it would have been profitable.
One option is charging more, if I had charged $17 with the same number of sales I would have made “made” $5, but the tradition is most things are $7 on the WSO forum, if you are starting out with no testimonials or feedback, I guess you have to start out giving things 100% for free, and plan on doing many bumps or rereleases…a long haul, given there’s not much steady traffic there.
Anyway, as much as I would have loved to make a profit, this was primarily a guinea pig getting me familiar to the process of creating content (as needed for some training on services I’m releasing) and making sure some things like the cart work.
From the friends +family reviews I have the product is good, but what I have is probably not the right fit for the WSO,  I had expected more interest and to feed that into testimonials and review copies. Instead I got mostly silence.
Next I will be trying with some utilities/tools and see how that fares. My theory is that tools require less social proof than courses as tools can be demoed with less effort.

Google is Dying…

Strange statement to make but I’ve seen a few trends so thought I would report on it.

Here’s a great article to start “Why Google won’t survive Facebook

I know several top teir IM gurus that have in the last couple years sold all their SEO sites, given up on Adsense, and some are making $6k-10K/day without google and even without facebook.

Why? because SEO is dying and things are moving over to the social graph.

A social graph is fancy way of saying, a place where people know and like each other hang out. People have relationships to other people, and other things (interests, products), this can be described by a system of nodes and links, like:

(Troy)—knows–>(you)

or better yet

(Troy)—likes–>(you)
(Troy)—dislike–>(canned spinach)

If you imagine this web, tugging on one ripples through the rest.  Do it correctly the social graph carries the message farther.

The trends on why this has come to be is interesting, and I don’t think it’s going away. Which is important if your business is based off the internet.

Google is screwed

As the internet became the new gold mine and search the road to riches, everybody is trying to game it. I know a few in the SEO game, people with 10K+ sites they run for the purpose of backlinking, and even non-IM upto 300 primary sites to target different terms, with content factories, outputting heavily spun content.  Meaning these single people have the same pull online of a small city.

The game of “king of the hill of backlinks” will never end, as there is always someone hungrier, and a way to automate better . Every year the tools get more sophisticated, so we are seeing an arms race, between google, and people marketers using SEO as well as marketers between themselves.

It can’t easily be fixed, as the substrate of the internet technology that was never meant for this sort of problem.

The SCALE of this gamed content is a beyond a tsunami. As well there is another tsunami of just more normal people getting connected to the net and capturing their thoughts, via text,photos, video, positions 24/7…like my former roomate who would continue to talk even if noone was listening, without ever reaching a point, I shudder to think what would happen if she ever gets a smarthphone.

To make matters “worse” with syndication tools everybody has a megaphone and their voice echos on many different sites, that has to be sorted out by search engines.

To make matters worse both tsunami’s are growing exponentially. Google can’t keep up.

Also Google is a for profit business.

Google wants quality results else they lose you the reader and the advertiser, but that is both expensive and intractable, so they either cut ends or don’t do it.

For awhile they had human reviewers cultivate what’s relevant (thus the many google slaps), but they can’t scale those people as fast as the content is coming in. As far as I know they’ve let most of them go as they are too expensive, and there is simply too much content, and even the humans could be gamed (cloaking or just posting at “off” hours).

To cut down on the noise…they started generating their own content, and guess who they favor in the search engines?

To increase profits and sidestep the game, they show special search results at the top…with their affiliate links. Which they said they wouldn’t do, but did they have a choice?

Both indexing pages (trying to understand the contents), rank against all the other pages, for all the other terms, and finding the right one during search are very expensive operations. While I have no doubt that they have some super genius people with some algorithm to stop spam, cure cancer etc, they can’t afford to actually run these. As it is google has to negotiate with cities to get enough power for the massive data centers, and watch carefully how much power + heat these algorithms run so they don’t burn up.

This is why social graphs are winning, they are cheaper and more explicit to what users actually want…to find friends, friends of friends and what their friends like.  If we are introduced to a mystery person, and find they are good friends with 2 pigs and 1 bad wolf, we have a good idea of what the mystery person might be into.

It’s cheaper, much of the overhead on indexing, and search goes away, as these relationships are already described by the graph data rather than having to be discovered in the noise.

As the graph represents real people (typically) with real reputations/identities to protect, it’s less likely to change and be gamed.

The “place where people hang” out is where people live. People don’t hang out at grocery stores, it’s not fun. I use google but I don’t have a relationship with it like my friends.

Is your business prepared for a world without google?

This is not to say that google isn’t massive and a viable business, and this change will happen tomorrow.  Still, if you are in this for the long term. Are you prepared for a business without google?

FTC updates rules for bloggers and social media

If you are using your blog or twitter or other social media to sell or promote stuff you should read the new update, where the FTC addresses the many questions since the new vague regulations last December. Read that here:

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/adv/bus71.shtm

If you’re not aware, The FTC is the United States Federal Trade Commission and they are basically responsible for protecting consumers from predatory or deceptive marketing tactics.  e.g. smoking is safe and healthy! is a lie and as much as the tobacco industry might  like to say that to sell more, they can’t and it’s the FTC among others who try to keep things clean.

The FTC have been in existence for much longer than the internet, 1914 to be exact.   The underlying law hasn’t changed much in intent: Protect Consumers.     The rise of the internet new forms of marketing and distribution (e.g. blogging and twitter) have arisen and the regulations have had to be updated as there hasn’t been anything quite like them before. e.g. what can you say in a tweet of 140 characters?

Last year that updated the regulations to cover flogs (fake blogs), with fake testimonials, and also for normal popular bloggers that were getting free products, cash or other compensation for doing a review of a product.  If you have kids you can imagine how you learn to trust a fellow mom or dad to give objective advise, if they were a Schill, you should be aware that their motive for telling you about a product might be tainted with their desire to make money from it.

The problem for marketers/affiliates was that they FTC were pretty vague about what they actually wanted, and what the consquences were.  This lack of information allowed all sorts of hype and myths to arise.    This was so intimidating that many major courses chose to lauch early to bypass the regulation, and after the passing many pro bloggers adopted either a wait and see attitude to let other less cautions people get sued by the FTC first, or went hogwild with disclaimers bigger than the core message they were trying to deliver.

FTC they listened and compiled the common questions an answered them in that new post, that is a much saner picture, They aren’t a Big Brother watching every blog, if you get something wrong they aren’t going to take your first born, and will take problems case by case.

So if you are selling or promoting anything on the internet, please read it for your own protection. It’s a single page.  Read it here.

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/adv/bus71.shtm