Monday, January 21, 2013

E-Businesses for the Underprivileged

E-businesses might be a great fit for the underprivileged, displaced workers or just entrepreneurs without much startup capital.

Economic development and community resilience were among the issues identified for Saturday's National Day of Service with an additional emphasis placed on helping veterans and their families.

Starting an e-business represents a potential opportunity for anyone with an Internet connection and a small amount to invest in initial setup.

Potential e-businesses can be setup in a variety of areas including:

  • e-commerce
  • online auctions
  • affiliate marketing
  • travel
  • real estate
  • service businesses and more

To learn more about the opportunities offered with low investment and only limited technical knowledge see these resources:

Affiliate Links

Live Q&A with Successful E-Business Owner Carl Trent Thursday, January 31st, 6PM ET

Affiliate Masters Course to Start Your New Online Business

Success Stories from People Just Like You

Learn more about e-business opportunities by joining one of the upcoming e-business events on Facebook. Sign up today.

SBI! Case Studies

Saturday, January 19, 2013

When Pigs Fly: Don't Wait On Starting Your E-Business

You may have heard the expression, when pigs fly. It's used as a description of a day that will never come. Now, if you're worried it also describes the day you'll finally get that e-business started, this post is for you! You see, there's plenty of hard work ahead, but getting started is the hardest part.

So what's holding you back from starting your business? Is it the fear of failure? The lack of time either with family responsibilities or with that other job you hold down to make ends meet? No matter what reasons you have for delaying launch of your online venture, it's important to set them aside and get started now. Here are some resources to consider:

Affliate Links

Launch Your E-Business Today!

Start an Affiliate E-Business!

See How E-Businesses Help Real People!

Starting any business is a challenge, and taking that business from idea to execution is the hardest part of the game. Now, if you're a bit overwhelmed when trying to get started, we've put together a collection of videos to help.

  • Come to a decision that changes your life! In this video, inspirational speaker Jim Rohn talks about the moments we all have that finally make us resolve to make a change.

  • Decide on a course and take action! David Siteman Garland of The Rise to the Top talks about getting overwhelmed with too much information. There's certainly a time for learning but also a time to just forget about all the possible directions and get started.

  • Learn more about building your audience! Blogger Allison Irish of Ramblings of a WAHM explains unique visitors vs. pageviews, the importance of both for your online business and how to increase each.

  • Get massive traffic now! The key to remember with most e-businesses is that driving traffic is the key to success. Here Jody Jelas gives you some of her extra tricks to drive massive traffic to your Website.

  • Become a marketing genius! Finally, Ti Roberts, the SEO Rebel, talks about the magic of online marketing. There are many techniques you can use after launching your online business to take your success to the next level.

    There are many things to consider when creating an online business and much to learn. With the proper resources, you too can learn to make your business a success.

    SBI! Case Studies
  • Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    The Right Approach Makes Your E-Business a Success

    Whether you are starting a campaign to market your e-books, creating an e-commerce site to sell other products, or building a Website to promote your offline business, the solution is the same.

    The key to success when launching an e-business is to choose a product or service to fit your niche customers' needs and then to determine a marketing plan for reaching them.

    Give the people what they want. First, figure out what products or services you would like to sell or what skills you possess that might be marketable. Are you a tax expert or graphic artist? Are you an author or a self-help guru with advice to share? Use your favorite search engine to see what other similar products or services are out there. What search terms bring up products and services similar to yours?

    Choose the right Website platform. Once you decide on your business, you'll want to pick the right platform for your Website. Pick one with good reliable hosting and a set of easy to use tools that will allow you to do regular updates without the need for a Web designer. Choose a Web platform optimized for search engines. This means one that will make it easy to locate your Website online with the keywords customers would most likely use when searching for a business like yours.

    Market using social media. You're probably familiar with Twitter and Facebook, but there are other social media sites to consider too. Think about social networking sites like Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest and social bookmarking sites like Digg, Reddit, Delicious, and StumbleUpon. Pick the ones that work best for you. Create profiles for your business and then make connections and share links relevant to the market you are trying to reach.

    Add video and other content to the mix. Video content, whether on sites like YouTube and Blip.tv or actually embedded on your Website, can attract traffic and build value. Shoot these videos with a simple Flip camera or just your smartphone and be sure to share useful information with your audience. You can also create other kinds of content like articles relevant to your product or service. Post them on a blog or other content site like Tumblr. Then link back to your Website to bring in more traffic relevant to your business.

    You don't necessarily need any programming experience to get started, just a good understanding of your product or service. Many platforms offer simple tools to help you get your Web business up and running. Why not get started today?
    SBI! Case Studies

    Saturday, November 24, 2012

    Content: Biggest Product of the Digital Economy

    Forget highly suspicious claims of digital drugs making kids "high" off audio tracks. The fact is content may prove to be one of the most important products of the new digital economy.

    In Internet marketing circles you'll hear plenty about "content marketing" these days. These are just buzz words for blog articles, videos, podcasts, and similar online content that attracts visitors who may eventually be converted to customers.

    The variety of platforms on which to publish and distribute content or offer it for free or paid download in the new digital economy are nearly endless. Blogs, social media networks, YouTube and other video upload sites, Blog Talk Radio, audio sites like SoundCloud, simple Website building communities like Squidoo, sites that offer free or paid download of e-books and other content files--these are all possibilities.

    Setting aside for the moment amateur essayists, video makers, musicians, and the like, many people who upload content do so for business reasons.

    Either they are attempting to boost their brand online, attract traffic which will convert to revenue in the form of orders of online products or services, create awareness of a brick and mortar business in order to drive offline customer activity, or drive traffic to affiliate links or pay per click advertising.

    The importance of content as a tool for online business marketing has given birth to a new industry of content creators as outlined in this Small Business Trends post from Amie Marse.

    But let's get back to the story of digital drugs, MP3 tracks that can be downloaded for $16.00 or less off the Internet and supposedly induce a mind altering experience. (Color me skeptical.)

    These may be the most extreme examples of content clearly making the jump from mere marketing material to product. Of course, the digital economy has a long history of downloadable content for sale from music to reports and white papers to more questionable "business" products, e-books and more.

    But with monetized content it seems we are talking about much more. What is premium content worth on the Web, whether a marketer pays superstar content creators (bloggers etc.) for it, or whether those superstar creators with high followings and a strong personal brand monetize that content themselves?

    For businesses of the future, content will not be simply a means to an end, but an end in and of itself. Popular content will be worth its weight in gold.

    Friday, November 23, 2012

    Digital PR: How to Create Competition on Facebook

    There are thousands of businesses on Facebook and they are all competing for the same thing: engagement from users. Therefore a digital PR campaign that gives users an incentive to ‘like’ a Facebook page will give a business an edge in a highly competitive market. Once a member of the public has ‘liked’ a page, it is then up to the business to keep the fan interested and invested in the business.

    Below are the key steps you need to follow to ensure your digital PR competition creates a positive impact:

    Goals: Create clear marketing goals. What is it that you want to achieve by hosting this competition? It sounds obvious, but by having clear goals you will be able to judge the success of your competition at every stage.

    Understand your audience: Understanding your audience will help you not only to construct an effective competition tailored to their needs, but will also help you to keep them engaged on your page once the competition has ended.

    Plan and create: Once you understand what your audience wants, you can plan what type of competition you are going to construct. Making the prize attention grabbing is always successful in ensuring ‘likes’. This doesn’t mean it has to be expensive – just something that stands out.

    Spread the word: Push the word out about your competition. Notifying relevant bloggers and online influencers about the competition will boost the reach of the digital PR campaign.

    Consistency: Be sure to follow through. Update the Facebook page frequently otherwise people will think you are inactive. Ensure that the way you communicate on your Facebook page is compliant with your brand personality.

    Length: Try to avoid allowing your competition to run for too long. Page fans will lose interest if the competition lasts too long. If it needs to be a long competition, then why not look at breaking it up into stages? Perhaps you could have a finalist selected at every stage and then an overall winner at the end of the competition. Be sure to publicize the winner through your social media channels and any other appropriate outlets.

    Engage: Send out fun and interesting content. Use imagery and links to entice your fans to visit frequently. Give them a page worth coming back to once the competition has ended.

    Guest Post: PHA Media is a London PR agency setup in 2005 by former newspaper and magazine editor Phil Hall. They are an award winning firm offering a full range of PR and publicity services across traditional and digital PR.

    Tuesday, October 30, 2012

    Creating Your Own Content for Your Blog

    When writing a blog post, constructing a PowerPoint, or taking advantage of any found media, the web is often the first place to go for content. Although this can be helpful when working with few resources, often the materials you find are either out of date, or have been greatly overused. Also, even though there is a vast amount of media out there, you may never find what you’re looking for. One of the best ways to get various media without any of these difficulties is to create your own content. Why? I’ll elaborate…

  • Overuse—Although there are thousands upon thousands of pictures, videos, and other forms of media on the internet, there are usually a few that have become overused. Although they are often popular, the reader may assume that your blog is the same as the last thousand blogs they saw that used that particular content. When the reader sees something that they haven’t seen before, however, their eyes will light up knowing that there is most likely new information there, too.
  • Customization—As stated before, the internet is a gargantuan compilation of various types of media. However, despite its size, you can’t always find exactly what you want. On the other hand, when properly equipped with simple Photoshop skills and a camera, you can create almost anything your imagination can devise.
  • Copyright safety—When you find media on the internet, you must make sure you cite it accordingly. You must make certain that the name of the Website or the creator of the media is somewhere in your post to avoid copyright infringement. While including an attribution or citation draws traffic to the media originators’ sites—which is helpful for them—it tends to create more work for you, the blogger, and it’s easy to make stupid mistakes such as forgetting to include the information entirely. When you create your own content, you can be relatively safe from copyright infringement.
  • So, as you can see, creating your own content can have its advantages. Original content can make your blog unique; you can easily customize it, and will keep the blood-sucking lawyers off your back. Let me restate, however, that these guidelines are not written in stone, and it can be beneficial in some situations to use found content from the internet.

    Guest Post: Thanks to the youngest blogger in the household Noah Hessinger for this insightful post (and cool photo just in time for Halloween) on why using unique content in your posts is always a good idea and why the most unique content is usually yours. Watch for Noah's new gaming Website coming soon.

    Saturday, October 20, 2012

    Using Video To Engage Community

    Recently, a friend of mine, small business coach Stephanie Ward, posted this great pitch for getting all her readers and clients involved in making more video for their Websites and online communities. There are a couple of reasons to do this. Video is helpful for Search Engine Optimization, social engagement, and mobile engagement.

    Here's a video I created earlier this year to help build engagement for a business intelligence and analytics community sponsored by SAS, a leader in business analytics and business intelligence software.

    A couple of notes about making video here that you should keep in mind:

  • Be yourself. In the post linked to above, Stephanie suggests that practice will make you more comfortable in front of the camera. I'd add that making video doesn't require tightly scripted preparation. I generally use a short typed script as a guide but don't put much pressure on myself to stick to it. Be natural.
  • Silliness is OK. I know! I know! You've probably heard the advice about avoiding humor because some of your audience might not find your attempts funny or, worse yet, might be offended by your efforts. I'd refer you to point one. I tend to be a kind of silly guy at times, so trying to do video too seriously can feel a tad unnatural. Whatever makes you feel comfortable (and seems appropriate for your audience) can work just fine for your video, even if it ends up being a bit goofy.
  • Think visually. Though a simple video of you speaking directly to your audience can be quite effective, it doesn't hurt to think a bit further in terms of visual variety. Change backdrops. Think of ways to illustrate your points visually. Use different angles, long shots, closeups, and cutaways (perhaps of graphics and other related images) to add interest.
  • Add value. Simple improvements in your video can add dramatically to its value. If you know someone experienced in graphic animation, ask them to design a title sequence and see if you can find royalty free music online. You'll be surprised at the improvements these elements will make to your video.
  • Are you using video on your blog or in your social media content? Why or why not? Leave your comment below.