How Much Money Should You Make? How to Sell Online…

Have something to sell? No? You may not think so, but I’d bet good money that you already do, or have the skills to easily create things that could sell well online. Quite frankly, when it comes to selling online, you are 100% limited by your own ideas of what your limitations are. Too vague? Maybe this will explain further.

You do not have to own a jewelry store, pawn shop, or music store to have a product that is high demand and high profile that will sell well online. Regularly, regular people are creating their own businesses by doing exactly what they like to do, what they are good at, and what is easily done in their own homes.    

  • Art – Custom paintings, creative furniture covers, frames, the list is actually endless in the art department.
  • Handbags and Purses – There is actually a fairly large market for handcrafted bags and purses.
  • Bath and Beauty – There are hundreds of thousands of people making a nice living by creating eco-friendly, and homemade bath and beauty products.
  • Candles – Candles of all sizes and styles are always in demand. Most especially candles that are created for weddings or religious ceremonies.
  • Ceramics and Pottery – This can entail many things, but a good potter will know exactly what products people can use the most and create them accordingly.
  • Clothing – Handmade clothing and used clothing have a big market online with many different venues. E-bay does not have a monopoly on secure online open seller sites.
  • Crochet – You may not have thought all of those hours you spend crocheting that blanket for the co-worker with a new baby was worth much, but blankets crocheted larger for a bed size for instance, regularly sell for several hundred dollars online.
  • Edibles – No one says you will be able to make a living cooking dinner for people and selling it online, though some do. But if you have skills in the kitchen, be aware that a few dozen decorated sugar cookies can rack in over a hundred dollars.
  • Furniture – Have carpentry skills? You don’t have to build and ship custom couches to make money. Try building light weight veggie boxes or trinket boxes online. You would be shocked how much custom designed items like this can go for. And the shipping won’t kill your wallet either.
  • Glass – Do you have skills at blowing glass? What about etching it? There is a huge market for these items in holiday, wedding, and religious ceremonies for this.
  • Holidays – Any holiday, all year long. If you have a special skill with creating Halloween costumes, or a knack for making nice Christmas ornaments, you have what it takes to sell online.
  • Music – You don’t have to be rock band quality. If you have a guitar and a nice voice, sell your skills online to create jingles, videos or other audio products for the many businesses that are desperately hunting them daily.
  • Pets – Like making dog sweaters? Seriously, browse some pet clothing shops online. Outrageous prices. If you can do better, you have a lot of money waiting on you as you read this.
  • Plants – Seed sharing is not only an incredible idea for producing great new strains of fruits and vegetables, but it is also a lucrative business to do so. Got some incredible moss covering some of your property? You can sell small chunks of it online for ten bucks a piece all day long.
  • Vintage – Vintage items of any kind are always top sellers. If you inherited some clothing from a great- great anything, don’t turn it over to the second-hand donation box just yet. Even they may not know what to do with it. But a vintage shopper online will.
  • Weddings – Have skills with creating invitations? Knack for decorating? Sell your skills, or your wedding products online. You may have a bit of competition, but nothing a little targeted marketing may not cure.
  • Woodworking – If you have woodworking skills and are not selling those in the creating of custom frames, plaques and the thousands of other quick finish job options online, you are missing out.

So that’s a great place to start. Now that you’ve had a moment to think on it, maybe you just need to know how to begin.

  • Selling Online

Product sales online are divided into three categories.

  1. Selling physical products
  2. Selling downloadable products
  3. Selling services

Note: Even if you’re not taking money digitally your still selling so make sure your brand and pitch are in line with the consumer need.

  • Equipment

So the first thing you need of course is a computer and an internet connection. Be sure you have a reliable connection. Losing the internet for a couple of days mid-sale can cause you to end up with bad feedback or reviews that can be highly detrimental to your online business.

Tip: Setup a backup plan, who has wifi in your area and maybe a valuable tool like coffee?

  • Funding

You will need to have a credit or debit card to do many of the functions online. Although having a checking account is nice, not many businesses will accommodate automatic checking, instead, use your bank ATM card as your debit or credit source.

Tip: If you can’t afford a charge back or lack of funds availability get a corporate card because credit is far more forgiving then bank accounts when it comes to fraud. If your credit is in the recent tank like so many others ask your bank about secured cards that start at as little as $300. Credit cards are much more safer then bank accounts when it comes to internet transactions. (This tip thanks to Doug @ Suffolk County National Bank)

  • Email

You will need an email account. For business purposes, try to find an email server that will allow you to get your company name in the email address. Yet one more way to put your company name into cyberspace for recognition. Google, Hotmail and Yahoo all provide free email accounts that are commonly compatible with many other sites and services online.

If you grab a domain you like run a generic, sales@ info@ and use a POP setup, in the early portion of your business you don’t need to be spending money on exchange services and avoid any tech that tries to tell you otherwise.

  • Domain and Web Hosting

If you want to be easily found, and easily remembered, you will need to get your own domain name and find a web host with good solid service. Always try to get a .com if at all possible. Of course you or a hired web designer will still need to build the site, but never settle for a free option on another sites server alone.

SEOTrick: Avoid your name, you not famous or important (yet) take a look at your product or what your customer is searching for, run that through the AdWords keyword tool and buy a domain that fits that.

No one says you shouldn’t have an Ebay store, but you should also have your own. The Ebay store should actually be used to direct customers to your real store front, the one you own the domain and pay the host for.

  • Exercise the Options

Do not limit yourself to your website and an extra Ebay store on the side. Although you should be careful not to overextend yourself, there are so many other options available that it’s hard to imagine an online store owner that does not network themselves and their product. Check out these sites to build an extra store front. One more place on the net with your product, and one more place on the net with your name on it. Don’t let someone tell you that you should pay for this or that service because they have great online storefront options, use these free options.

  1. http://www.etsy.com/
  2. http://www.artfire.com/
  3. http://www.ebay.com/

This isn’t the stopping point. Check out the unique ideas these online product sellers are marketing themselves.

  1. Valentine’s Day Services
  2. Business Logo Embroidery Service
  3. Cancer Research
  4. Music Services

Take note of those sites. Register with them, offer a lower cost product you have, and with each product you send out, send a business card with your real website address on it. Offer them a discount for shopping directly through your store. Do what you have to do to network your business, but never, ever, just pop a store up and wait. There is no quicker way to fail and to let frustration cause you to give up.

  • Merchant Services

Get your account set up with a merchant service that will allow you to accept credit card payments. You can do this several ways, but Paypal does offer great merchant services at about the best price you are likely to find.

Authorize.net is arguably the largest and easiest plug and play merchant account offering integrated web systems and virtual terminals.

  • Promote Your Site

If you have utilized all the tips here you have definitively gotten a great start on advertising, networking and promoting your site. Go the extra mile, build a blog that provides helpful information on your products, find some affordable SEO services such as those who will help you release great PR’s for reduced cost. Remember those micro sell sites you exercised your options on? Check thoroughly through those for some quick and incredibly affordable marketing and advertising options as well.

They may not shoot your store to the top all by themselves, but with your own efforts and theirs combined you will have definitely begun to make your mark as an online seller.

Good Luck!

Sources:

About Basil Puglisi

@BasilPuglisi is a Content Contributor and the Chairman of the Board for Digital Ethos. Basil C. Puglisi is also the Digital Marketing Manager for PMG Interactive. As the Digital Marketing Manager he provides oversight and support to Digital Campaigns, from Website Development to Search and Social Reach.

Social Brand Visibility: Brightkite

Brightkite is a location based social network that allows its users to “check in” at places by using text messages on mobile phone that have downloaded the free app.

 

Users can see who is frequenting a certain establishments, and where their friends are at the moment. Sending a text connects the user to his group of friends and they can all join in the conversation.

Brightkite has been around since 2007. It has been founded by 3 guys Brady Becker, Martin May and Alan Seideman who founded the SMS service Loopnote. In 2009 Brightkite was bought by the mobile social network Limbo.

Once a user comments on a place or posts pictures to show where he is, other can start a conversation with him. Privacy control allows user to decide who will see their post. The service has the possibility to connect with Facebook and Twitter, and share photos on Flickr. All is unlimited and free

The Wall is a presentation of real time updates from a place, user or keyword.

One of the more recent advertising plans was with JCPenny where they offered a $10 Off coupon for checking in and sharing the location with friends (Dec 2010).

Other services similar to Brightkite are Facebook Places, Foursquare, Google Latitude, and Gowalla.

In 2009 the company employed 35 people and had 2 million active users.

Sources:

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About Basil Puglisi

@BasilPuglisi is a Content Contributor and the Chairman of the Board for Digital Ethos. Basil C. Puglisi is also the Digital Marketing Manager for PMG Interactive. As the Digital Marketing Manager he provides oversight and support to Digital Campaigns, from Website Development to Search and Social Reach.

Blogger VS WordPress

Since both of these blog services have their pros and cons, let’s just cut to the chase and investigate what those are.

Why Blogger?

  • Blogger’s dashboard doesn’t look overwhelming. Although for a shiny new internet user, it would likely still be cause for concern, even a novice can pick up on its formatting, configuration and customization options.  Things have changed since Blogger first set out, their updated custom design and template features are an incredible tool for those with little experience in this area.
  • Blogger has built in stats that will help you track your traffic. You may also add any third party tracking scripts for monitoring.
  • If you want to create a private blog with only designated access, Blogger has no restrictions on the number of allowed users per blog.
  • As far as Bloggers commenting system. It comes with captcha and spam filtering options, but no ability to edit comments.
  • For an individual that is new to online business and indeed even new to being online, Blogger is a great place to set up your first shop and learn the ropes.

Blogger Cons

  • This may be a perfect blog option for personal users more than business. As although there are tagging features to help increase traffic to your site, there is little else besides the power of your own words to drive viewers to you.
  • You may only import blogs from other Blogspot user pages.
  • Blogger has no gallery options for users who need to upload multiple photos.
  • There is no available contact form.
  • The simple fact is that although you may tweak Blogger to look like most any other available, for the business owner looking for a busy blog server to hawk their wares, it just doesn’t have those all important bells-and-whistles.
  • You will likely need to invest a bit more marketing funds into Blogger than WordPress.

WordPress

  • One of the main trade-offs that become glaringly obvious is the overwhelming number of folks that use WordPress. This could have a good effect, or an entirely negative one, depending on your writing, aesthetic and marketing strengths.
  • WordPress will import from Type·Pad, Israblog, Live·JournaI, MovabIe·Type, Vox.com, Posterous, Yahoo! 360, Blogger, Blogli, or another WordPress blog.
  • While Blogger supports one gig of image storage, WordPress supports three gigs. They also have optional paid upgrades for more image storage if needed.
  • WordPress offers comment editing and Akismet spam protection.
  • WordPress is highly functional for affiliate marketers, business owners, niche writers, online storefronts, and the many endless options in online businesses blogging. Its SEO features and options will allow a person who targets the proper keywords and information to quickly raise their blog to the top of, at least, WordPresses website relatively quickly.
  • Although WordPress does a bit of marketing for their users with their own high rankings and blog system, it may also take the more ‘novice’ user a bit of time to fully understand, and therefore fully utilize properly its many options and functions.

WordPress Flaws

  • WordPress can  be quite overwhelming. A person new to the internet will most likely be highly intimidated by some of its more technical features. Those who have a working knowledge on the World Wide Web may have a bit better luck, but if they want their blog to succeed, and in a relatively quick manner, they will need to do quite a bit of studying, and picking and choosing the right plug-ins for their sites needs.
  • WordPress is a web designers nightmare. Want a custom theme? First thing you will need to do is get your WordPress, off of WordPress. WordPress free blog accounts do not allow users to create their own custom themes, but do provide thousands of options to choose from. Even once you have your press on its own domain, the ‘average’ web designer, meaning one who is adept at managing their own site, will find WordPress to be a bit cranky when it comes to creating templates.
  • If you want to remain on WordPress’s server, you will find it pretty costly and for this reason it is not optional for a lot of small struggling businesses, or even larger ones in the struggling economy.

With WordPress most of your investment will be in the time you spend learning how to utilize its many helpful tools and features correctly. It is a good rule of thumb, however, to keep up with trends in blog services and aspects of what each has to offer. Dependant on your course of business and your plan for the path to success, there may be better options, free or paid, that can help you target your specific niche visitors.

Sources:

About Basil Puglisi

@BasilPuglisi is a Content Contributor and the Chairman of the Board for Digital Ethos. Basil C. Puglisi is also the Digital Marketing Manager for PMG Interactive. As the Digital Marketing Manager he provides oversight and support to Digital Campaigns, from Website Development to Search and Social Reach.

Social Brand Visibility: Plurk

Plurk, launched in 2008, is a communication medium that is meant to be a connection and balance between blogs and social networks and between instant messaging and e mails. 

Plurk is a free social network that allows users to send updates, through short messages (up to 140 characters) or links. All the updates are placed in the home page in a chronological order. Users can respond and each such response opens a conversation thread.

It offers a way to share the things users do, the way they feel and what interest them at the moment. Users can post pictures and embed videos. They are asked to attach ‘qualifiers’, or tags to their posts: love, like, hate etc. to each message, which makes the post in the third person. Plurk can be used as an alternative to chat as well.

Considered a rival to Twitter and other micro blogging services, it offers the site in over 20 languages.

Signing up and using Plurk takes a very short time, and is extremely intuitive. The User Interface is very pretty, and you can’t appreciate how great it is compared to other services until start adding more than ten active friends and see how easily you can absorb all their activity. Those who complains about Twitter’s lack of threading is surely going to enjoy the threading on Plurk.

You can look at any Plurk and immediately see how many replies it has gotten. You can see all these replies and add your own (threaded chronologically) simply by clicking on the number at the end of the thread. You can also click the Plurk page link, which takes you to the full conversation page for that message and allows you to add your reply.

Compared with the overall internet population, the site’s audience tends to be Asian and Plurk is very popular in Taiwan where it ranks 26 in site traffic.

On March 20, 2010, The Chinese police investigated an Internet threat posted on plurk.com that called for the assassination of the President of Republic of China. It was found to come out of Taiwan.

Plurk.com is visited more frequently by females; their age range is 18-24 and they are mostly college educated.

Sources:

About Basil Puglisi

@BasilPuglisi is a Content Contributor and the Chairman of the Board for Digital Ethos. Basil C. Puglisi is also the Digital Marketing Manager for PMG Interactive. As the Digital Marketing Manager he provides oversight and support to Digital Campaigns, from Website Development to Search and Social Reach.

QWiki: Full Media Search Engine with Results You Actually Need

Is it the sum of all human knowledge? Tidily gathered in one place and put in the hands of every individual on earth, the internet has brought us unparalleled research capabilities, unforeseen technologies, and untold fortunes. However, there is no doubt that there are issues with the current systems.

That said, Jan 24, 2011 marked the day that the term “Google It” started to fade away! On Oct 1, 2010 I mentioned qwiki as one of the major future technologies of the future and now just 24hrs after they have gone live I add to my thoughts.

Notoriously, as expansive as it is, it has for the most part remained a one way street. We bash some letters into a search engine, and patiently await a relative return. Google, Yahoo, Bing, and others have had great purpose, but also been an incredible source of confusion for some users who may not be incredibly aware of its algorithms and nuances.

The Solution?

Facebook Co-Founder, Eduardo Saverin launched a new search engine known as Qwiki that provides what is referred to as a ‘rich media narrative’ format. In the spirit of Wikipedia, a user can add to the knowledge available on any topic. This engine provides a combination of photos, audio and video clips that relate to the queried topic.  Opened for public testing on Monday, January 24, 2011, the game has just begun.

Qwiki says their goal is to bring science fiction film to life by enabling computers to collect data on the behalf of their human counterparts. Not exactly mind reading, but not the passive system utilized so widely now. Qwiki wants to make the internet a two-way street.

So far, reviews say they are doing just that. Instead of providing one-shot information, it provides more help when even deciding on a better topic of interest.

Using Qwiki

This is a straight-forward interface. Users land on the home page, input their topic and Qwiki will load and begin to play automatically. No more robotic sounding readers. Qwiki’s voice-over has almost completely removed the non-human, monotone Robbie the Robot voice, and replaced it with a surprisingly pleasant female voice that includes highs and lows in the appropriate places.  If you never thought an artificial voice could sound soothing, Qwiki may change that for you.

Resources? I would have imagined loading all of this media would have caused a bit longer load time. On a 64bit dual core processor +6000, it took no longer to load the search bar than Google blank page, it took .03 seconds longer to load the rest.

After your initial search plays, Qwiki offers you more options below and the topics seem to be highly relevant after many searches.

What Now?

I don’t see how Qwiki can help but change the way that internet searches currently work. The results are entertaining and at some point someone needs to jump on a research group that can dig into the details about learning curves and get Qwiki right now to the users who may be able to better retain information because of it. It is hard not to focus when you have a calming voice reading the text as it scrolls below gripping slideshows and photo galleries.

Sources:

About Basil Puglisi

@BasilPuglisi is a Content Contributor and the Chairman of the Board for Digital Ethos. Basil C. Puglisi is also the Digital Marketing Manager for PMG Interactive. As the Digital Marketing Manager he provides oversight and support to Digital Campaigns, from Website Development to Search and Social Reach.

Personal & Professional: Social Network at Home

If you’re a business owner, sometimes we forget that in the world of branding and marketing that Social Media is still about being personal. The person you are when you leave work is just as important to your customers as the professional.

There are many ways to extend your network and show the person behind the professional. One example of this is to share your experiences, and while we have taken to the 140 character world of micro blogging let’s not forget that sometimes more is, well more.

In this case I have attached a review of a restaurant in East Hampton that my wife and I recently visited. I had walked in and found at the end of my business meeting that he had missed a few basic structural needs for the SEO of his website, after thirty minutes he was well on his way to correcting the problem and my wife and I had the opportunitiy to be his guest just a few nights later.

In this case I took the time to share our experience and post it to TripAdvisor, Google Places, Yelp and more, after all, I felt this relationship and experience was worth more than 140 Characters.

(also note the added value of the link “restaurant”, this provides a SEO reference or backlink for his website)

Rugosa offers a contemporary dining experience with a service that almost matches the exquisite tastes its kitchen provides.

Let me start off by saying I am completely biased, or am I? After all, is it not a personal touch that we all want from a night out?

Bill Mammes had my wife (Natalia) and I as his guests this past Friday (Jan 21, 2011), it was an experience that I did not expect. The atmosphere is both elegant and comfortable, a combination that is tricky at best to accomplish.

We used OpenTable.com to set our reservation; it was simple and user friendly. The Open Table platform uses a web version and offers mobile applications. When visiting www.RugosaResturant.com, you will find it integrates fairly nice with the restaurant website as well.

While Yvette (Spouse & co-owner) provided a warm smile and courteous introduction, she was quickly matched by the young server Jon, whose enthusiasm and professionalism instantly uplifted our end of the week winter mood.

Jon is a student of wine (or Oenologist) and while he seems to favor Italian reds, he bolsters a wonderful respect for the Long Island whites. His enthusiasm could easily overtake an unsuspecting guest.  My wife and I found him to be a wonderful part of our night out.

Chef Mammes not only didn’t disappoint, he surprised us at the start. While I started with the Autumn Salad, I found myself quickly stealing from my wife’s plate. Jon had recommended the Duck Cannelloni (Duck Confit, Trumpet Royale Mushrooms and Sautéed Spinach with Star Anise Jus) which in itself brought new meaning to “appetizer”. While I would like to tell you that the Autumn Salad was good as well, the truth is that it’s Butternut Squash, Apples and more was really just a backdrop to the Duck Cannelloni.

The main course was exquisite; I went with the 14oz Painted Hills Rib-Eye with Bulgur Wheat, Spinach in a Red Wine Sauce. My wife (Natalia) bested me once more with the Lightly Smoked Salmon, Cauliflower, Fingerling Potato and Cucumber Horseradish Sauce. As you might have guessed, I found myself once again with poor table manners reaching onto her plate.

As the evening continued on, we enjoyed live music (which was appropriate) and I surrendered to Jon’s wisdom, as by now he had earned our trust. Natalia went with the Petit Basque which is a Sheep Milk Cheese from Pyrenees Honey Glee, Red Wine Poached Prune with whole Wheat Raisin Bread, and while she enjoyed it, I finally found my treat that would leave an impression. I had the chance to finish my night with the Bruleed Lime Meringue, a fresh lemon curd with cream and mixed fresh berries on top.

Rugosa was a wonderful experience and while I’d like to say that I recommend it, I dare not be so bold, but hope you will find this review worthy of a visit so that you may follow with your own review. I can say this, we left so refreshed that while it was a late departure, we quickly made our way to the East Hampton Theaters for Black Swan, but that’s another great experience for another time.

NEVER FORGET THAT YOU HAVE A NAME AND LIFE BEHIND WHAT YOU DO! CONSUMERS KNOW THIS TOO!

Sources:

About Basil Puglisi

@BasilPuglisi is a Content Contributor and the Chairman of the Board for Digital Ethos. Basil C. Puglisi is also the Digital Marketing Manager for PMG Interactive. As the Digital Marketing Manager he provides oversight and support to Digital Campaigns, from Website Development to Search and Social Reach.

What is About.me All About?

About.me was founded by Tony Conrad, Ryan Freitas and Tim Young in December 2009, after they were looking for a way to create one place where their profiles can be posted and which has the ability to guide visitors to a more comprehensive information about them. A place that will serve as their ‘splash page’ for personal and professional use.

They seem to have touched a nerve. With seed money of only $425,000, they formed About.me.

During a short beta period that began in September 2010 and ended with the launch in December 2010, about 400,000 people signed up for the service. About.me was bought 4 days  after the launch by AOL for an undisclosed amount.

So what is About.me all about?

About.me provides a place for a user to have a professional looking calling card. The site’s advanced technologies enable users to upload a picture of their choosing that becomes the background for the page. Templates allow users to write a short profile, and ink their page on the site to other social network sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube, Facebook and personal blogs. Users can also post links to other sites they have on the internet and with the registration an e mails service is provided through the site. One place where users can create one concise profile, and visitors can find immediately everything they want them to know. 

Unlike other social media sites like MySpace and Facebook which started with the same concept, but evolved to be something else, about.me is all about you – the user. They leave the sharing and the conversations to other sites. When clicking on the link to Facebook for example a window opens with your pictures from the site. Another click will send your visitors to the site itself.

What is also interesting about them is what is going on in the background. There, machines and logarithms are crunching numbers and come up with information that might be very interesting to you: a dashboard with stats on visitors, where they came from, social media reach and how much time the visitors have spent on the page.

Being such a young company, it saw a surge of 316% in the past 3 months. Just last week they saw an additional surge of 62%. About.me is already ranked 1,907 in the United States, and the biggest numbers of users are in Canada, USA, Azerbaijan, South Africa and Israel.

About.me prides itself for being easy to use while having a high quality design. Looking at people’s pages on the site proves how far we have evolved from having to turn to expert designers for our personal space on the internet. It is very appealing and artistic.

A similar service exists in the form of Flavors.me, which has a paid service on top of having a free, limited, version. Many of the features of Falvors.me are available only through the paid plan while about.me is completely free. Falvors.me also makes you pay for the stats.

Analysis shows that the average users are in the range of 18-24, have no children and browse the site from work. It appeals more to higher income, higher educated crowd.

video added 2/14/2011

Sources:

About Basil Puglisi

@BasilPuglisi is a Content Contributor and the Chairman of the Board for Digital Ethos. Basil C. Puglisi is also the Digital Marketing Manager for PMG Interactive. As the Digital Marketing Manager he provides oversight and support to Digital Campaigns, from Website Development to Search and Social Reach.

Internet Marketing: Watch out, get educated and be an informed consumer!

University of San Francisco is offering Certificates, and Master Certificates in Internet Marketing, but beware of the rookies trying to sell you, or teach you about what they themselves barely seem to know.

If you find the advertisement on Facebook it seems to lead you to the website usanfranonline.com, however it opens up like any other early year 2000 capture website. It looks to convince you that they are the source for internet marketing, however the website and brand presentation fail on the most basic level. Once you spend a few minutes looking around and realize that nothing is interactive (with exception to the video) you start to get the feeling you landed on an infomercial (and you kinda did).

The video featuring Joe Laratro is the hardest thing I have ever had to watch, here is a individual that is mildly known for being an internet marketing source dragging through one of the worst video pitches . What’s so bad about it? Well in case you didn’t fall asleep yourself, let’s look at how it failed.

  • Video Length: 3:30 Seconds

Well if you can keep them that long, then great.  Unfortunately for most an initial pitch might want to meet the industry standard of 60 seconds.

  • Background: Blurry fake back drop, of what one can assume is San Francisco

Video Media is Social Media, how about a real shot of the San Fran Campus, perhaps a real scene which helps deliver the real feel to what’s going on. This next one really hammers home our point.

  • Message: Speech? Joe is reading off a teleprompt at best! What is worse he is doing a bad job of it, his eyes and facial expressions make me want to cry for him. Let’s try genuine, you know the most important part of Social Media and Internet Marketing back in 2009 till now!

Does Joe Laratro not know enough about what you’re talking about to have real pitch to the camera? If this doesn’t come second nature to him, then he shouldn’t be doing this!

If you are going to do this, let’s get a video shot in documentary style and have him talk to the side angle as if you where addressing someone in the room.

Summary:

While I am sure that Joe Laratro knows something about internet marketing, it’s a lot like watching a newspaper try to launch their first website, cumbersome at best. In this case, it is possible that their program could teach you something, and it better if it’s endorsed by USF. When you visit their main website, it at the very least shows signs of branding and web development that are only few years outdated (i.e. they have social bookmarks at the very bottom of the site, but nothing that allows you to see and interact with what they are doing with the most basic tools in twitter or facebook.

It’s great that someone in academia is trying to get into the digital world of internet marketing, just wish they had learned how to do it for themselves before trying to teach others.

Consumer and Business Lesson:

Do your homework, don’t take anything at face value, while the website may seem impressive even if it does show signs of Social Media and modern internet marketing, dig deeper and find out how they are using it so you are at least prequalifying them before tossing your money away.

In the end this is about protecting your brand, seeing the big picture and looking beyond the fact that the tool works. SEO doesn’t sell anything, SEO or Social Media create exposure which will lead to websites and calls. You have to make sure during execution that the brand image is consistent and shows value to meet a need.

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Sidenote: While this may seem personal, I have never met Joe Laratro or attended any of his meetings. I was drawn to this publically available media based on two concerns.

First, There are many people who have jumped out of the woodworks claiming to be SEO or Social Media experts and business owners should be aware of the most basic tools to determine if someone is credible.

Second, I spent years in student affairs and hold a Bachelors and Masters from Accredited Universities. I  have also studied online with Capella University and Walden University for Doctoral Level classes. I believe in online learning as a tool and when you toss together a program as vague and questionable as USF has here it makes all future programs and online degrees look bad.

***Note my upcoming book will look at this in detail***

About Basil Puglisi

@BasilPuglisi is a Content Contributor and the Chairman of the Board for Digital Ethos. Basil C. Puglisi is also the Digital Marketing Manager for PMG Interactive. As the Digital Marketing Manager he provides oversight and support to Digital Campaigns, from Website Development to Search and Social Reach.

Latest Trends in Branding or Rebranding of Companies

The latest trends in branding or rebranding of companies are developed of necessity. To be successful at rebranding all elements must be consistent and the effect on all stakeholders must be taken into account. Rebranding should be done in a way that it doesn’t alienate current customers but does attract new customers and opens up new markets for the brand.

 

 

Rebrand to Counteract Negative Publicity

When tobacco became a product with many negative connotations, the tobacco giant Phillip Morris rebranded to Altria. At the time this happened, the company also owned over eighty percent of the Kraft Corporation. Changing the name gave the company a chance to show people that the company was involved in more than tobacco. This helped counteract the negative publicity that smoking tobacco was bringing to the industry.

Successful Rebranding

Rebranding requires that the various processes in the marketing campaign make sense. Everything should flow comfortably into the new brand image so that current customers will feel comfortable. When done properly rebranding will make potential customers take a second look while comforting current customers that their favorite items will still be available.

Successful rebranding should

  • Provide opportunities to communicate the brand shift in the business model
  • Allow the migration of your brand into new markets and new audiences
  • Help shed a negative image and disguise negative business events 
  • Allow the company’s mission to be updated bringing new vision to the team involved

Successful rebranding encompasses much more than changing a logo; there should be significance to the changes and this should be communicated to the stakeholders. They should be able to see the purpose behind the change so they will be receptive to it.

Branded Brands

The trend in branding today points to Branded Brands. To make this simple say you are taking a United Airways flight, while on the flight you will be offered Starbucks Coffee, cookies from Mrs. Fields and a Friendly Skies Meal complete with toy from MickeyD’s. This also affects the airlines popularity since the people receive brands they are comfortable with and enjoy.

Brands that Support a Good Cause

Cause marketing is also a growing trend in branding. This trend identifies a brand with a humanitarian cause. This approach has been very successful for many brands such as GAP. Most people feel good about their purchase if part of the cost is going for a good cause and this way of thinking doesn’t seem to be hampered by the recession.

The latest trends in branding or rebranding of companies are out of the box. A lot of creative thinking and marketing techniques are required to be successful in today’ tough economy.

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About Basil Puglisi

@BasilPuglisi is a Content Contributor and the Chairman of the Board for Digital Ethos. Basil C. Puglisi is also the Digital Marketing Manager for PMG Interactive. As the Digital Marketing Manager he provides oversight and support to Digital Campaigns, from Website Development to Search and Social Reach.

Social Brand Visibility: Klout

Klout measures the impact a brand or a person has on the social media network. It is a social media analytics company.

Launched in 2008, they currently have more than 250,000 users and more than 300 API partners. Its founder and CEO, John Frankel, says his company is “well positioned to capitalize on the distinct need for a new layer of intelligence for the social web. Klout is a service that makes sense of what it means to be and to become influential.” It uses over 35 variables on Facebook and Twitter to measure true reach, amplification probability and network score.

True Reach – measures the size of your engaged audience. It does not take into account spam and inactive accounts. They answer a few questions; are your tweets interesting enough to build an audience? How far has your content been spread? Are people adding you to their lists?

How many people did you have to follow to build your count of followers?

Amplification Probability – The likelihood that your content will be acted upon. How diverse is the group you’re in touch with? How likely are you to be retweeted? Do a lot of people retweet you or are they the same followers? Are you tweeting too much or too little? And are the tweets effective in generating new followers?

Network influence – How influential you’ve become? How influential are the people who follow you? How influential are the people who list you? How influential are those who retweet you?

Klout identifies influencers and provides tools for influencers to monitor their influence.  According to their research the three most retweeted users in the world are: Justin Bieber, I Confess That (a Spanish language) and Raise Your Hands (another Spanish tweeter).

The company got $8.5 million in funding a few days ago, a sign that investors believe in the future of this company.

Sources:

About Basil Puglisi

@BasilPuglisi is a Content Contributor and the Chairman of the Board for Digital Ethos. Basil C. Puglisi is also the Digital Marketing Manager for PMG Interactive. As the Digital Marketing Manager he provides oversight and support to Digital Campaigns, from Website Development to Search and Social Reach.

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