Dec 19, 2013

5 Reasons to use Email Marketing

use email marketing to grow your business

A great deal of individual entrepreneurs and small business owners use the two big social websites to promote their business online. Why? Because setting up an account and using it to promote the business is free, to a certain extent. Another important online marketing service that business owners can use to stay in touch with their customers regularly is Email Marketing. Is it free? Yes, it is.  

Most of the email marketing services are free to use, up to a certain extent to learn and understand the guidelines.


5 reasons why you should use email marketing to grow your business


1. Good Investment

This is a very cost-effective marketing service to promote businesses.  According to this 2013 survey66% of sales promoters claim that e-mail provides an ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ ROI, with 8% of companies accomplishing more than 50 percent of their revenue through this sales channel. 


2. Easy to use

You don't need to be an expert in designing. Offers, advertisements, or just an article with an image can be made quickly and easily using the available tools and templates.

3. Good Relationship Building 

Make your prospects and customers feel special and cared. Compared to Social Media, building a one on one relationship is effortless in email marketing. You can tailor the messages to suit individual prospects and customers to boost sales. You can ask your existing customers to share the offers with their friends.You can schedule birthday cards, anniversary cards etc to your prospects and customers. There are several methods to build a personal relationship using email marketing.

4. Easy to Track

Though Social Media enables you to reach a larger audience, it is difficult to know whether your messages are read or action taken. You can easily track your email campaigns. You can get to know whether the messages are opened, links clicked or action taken by your prospects and customers.

5. Save Your Time

You can schedule a series of messages to save your time when you know that you are going to be occupied for the rest of the week. Time sensitive messages like offers can be scheduled to reach a large number of people in diverse locations spread across various time zones.

I have given below some of the email marketing services. Give them a try and find out the one that would work best for your business.

Image courtesy - Stuart Miles, digitalart, nirots | freedigitalphotos.net

Dec 12, 2013

3 Reasons to Say No To Social Media Marketing



Say NO to Social Media Marketing if

1. You don't have a website for your business
2. You don't have a good logo for your business
3. You don't have a business card


Build a Website for your Business

A website is a virtual home for your business. The one place where people can find the information and facts about your business is the website. Having a website, in fact, would reduce the amount of time you spend on the internet promoting your business. When you have a website for your business, you give the people an opportunity to know you as well as your company. So if you don't have a website for your business, build one. Until then don't spend your valuable time on the internet to publicize your business.

Here are a few websites of different niche, that I have given below. Take a look at them. You can get some ideas to build a website for your business.

Carpenter - Barcelar's Woodworks
Kids classes - Gymboree Classes for Kids
Gym for tiny tots - The Little Gym
Photographer - Generations Photography
Network Marketer - Health Coach, Author, Speaker

Ok. Now that you know the reasons to have a website for your Business. The next important step is to design a good logo for your business.

Get a good logo for your Business

A good logo represent your Business. A good logo tell the story of your business. A good logo is not just a visual art but represent the nature and theme of your business. A good logo should have a memorable style and design. A good logo is an identity for your business. Get the help of a graphic artist or a logo designer to design the logo for your business.

Here are some of the sample logo designs for you to get inspired. More designs here.

Logo Design Sample1
Logo Design Sample2
Logo Design Sample3
Logo Design Sample4

Have a business card

You would wonder why should you have a business card, when you are going to promote your business online. A business card will give immediate access to you, when some one is not online but want to connect with you. A business card not only will have your contact details such as phone number and email address, but also your website address. You can also include your social media account details. Business card is a must for your real world networking strategy, which in turn could help you in your Online Marketing. Having your QR code in your business card will connect potential clients to your website and social media page. Your business card will come in handy in a chance encounter with other business persons. 

Here are a few sample business card designs

Business Card Sample1

Business Card Sample2


If you have a website, a logo for your business and business card, then lets talk about promoting your business online.

Dec 5, 2013

Time Management of a Virtual Assistant

Time Management of Virtual Assistant


Prioritize:

Start the day with a TO-DO list that has the list of tasks and the amount of time to spend on the tasks. Having this list save myself from overworking. Living in India and serving clients from the other part of the globe gives me an edge over other virtual assistants who live in the same country. For example, I start my day by doing those tasks that has to be completed before my clients wake up. Because many of them assign tasks to me that has be taken up by them the very next morning when they wake up.A few of my clients prefer to share their posts in their social media accounts in THEIR time zone manually, instead of using any scheduling applications. In that case, I spend the end of the my day posting messages from their social media accounts which is the time of day-break for them.

Shared Time: 

I don't promise more than 2hrs a day for a client when I submit my proposal. And I stick to it by paying attention only to that client's tasks. By specifying the amount of time that I would spare for their work everyday, my clients would know how much of completed work can they expect from me on any given day.

Build Career: 

Just like any other virtual assistant, I find myself with very little work on some days. I make use of the free time to build my career. So what should virtual assistants do to build their career?  I write blogs, develop new skills and network with other freelancers. I also, send seasonal ecards, to those clients who are on the verge of forgetting my service, to remind my availability.

All work and no play makes Virtual Assistant a dull person! So, take time off for yourself, your family and for your friends.

Dec 4, 2013

How to watermark your images using picmonkey.com

Watermarking images

This is quite easy. Just follow these steps and you will have your picture watermarked in few minutes. I am not a very creative person, but I tried my hand to do some creative work. haha. So, please bear with me, if the images are not very attractive.
Step1: Got to http://www.picmonkey.com and click on  and select the image from your computer. I selected quite an ordinary photo from my iPhone. The one that you are seeing below is "before the watermark". Its just a mushroom, that I photographed using my +AppleiPhone from my backyard after the rains overnight. Just played with the +repix app to apply some flares.

Step 2:  This is the basic Edit Screen.Click of text "Tt".



Step 3: When you click on "Add Text" button, you will see a text box on the image. Also, the Text editor to choose the blend mode, color of the text etc.

Type the word you want to appear on the image.I typed my name UMA MAHI. Select the desired "Blend Mode". I chose "Overlay" . Adjust the "Fade" bar to get your desired level of fade effect on the text. You can use the "Size" bar to adjust the size of your text. If you want to change the place of the text on your photo, then place your mouse over the text. You will see a four headed arrow cursor. Click and drag the text to place it anywhere you want on the image. This is how the watermarked image look like.

Some more sample watermarked images of mine that I did in picmonkey.com

Original image sample 1

Watermarked image sample 1

Original image sample 2

Watermarked image sample 2

Original image sample 3

Watermarked image sample 3


But before actually learning to watermark your images or photographs, you have to know why should you watermark your images.

Do you want to watermark a bunch of photos? Then here are the detailed step by step instructions.

I have given below some of the watermarked images. Take a look at them and get inspired.
        
This beautiful image was watermarked using a design application called "Photoshop" version 7 by Sarah

A hidden watermarked image below - photo credit: J.P.Robertson via photopin cc

If you found this post useful then please share it with your social media friends.

If you want to share your watermarked images, then please feel free to share it in the comments. Thanks for your time. 

Nov 24, 2013

How to change the permalink of your blog posts in blogger

I learned that even permalinks helps the search engines to bring the blog posts up in the search results. I found most of my old blog post's title has to be changed to get more viewers or clicks.

How to change the permalink of your old blog posts

1. Open your blog post in the edit window
2. Click on "Revert to draft" at the right side

3. Click on "Custom Permalink" under the sub heading "Links" in the "Post Settings" at the right side of your dashboad.



4. Type your desired permalink and click on done. There should be a hyphen between the words in your permalink. For example - please refer the above image. The permalink I have given is "social-media-marketing-ides-for-beginners"

How to give a custom permalink to your new blog post. The title of this blog I have given is "How to change the permalink of your blog posts in blogger"

1. The Automatic Permalink that blogger chose was this 
'http://bloominfotech.blogspot.com/2013/11/how-to-change-permalink-of-your-blog.html"
2. I clicked on "Custom Permalink" and changed it to 
"how-to-change-permalink-of-your-old-blog-posts-in-blogger"


3.Clicked on "Done". Saved and Published.

Nov 22, 2013

5 Easy Steps to Publicize your Business in Facebook

Facebook is being used by small, medium and big businesses  to grow their clientele. Either you are a small business owner, individual entrepreneur or a big business owner and if you are looking up to social websites to build your clientele, then you must consider leveraging Facebook.

Here are the 5 easy steps for you


Step1: Build a Fan Page for your Business

Having a Fan Page is like having a virtual business place. Don't worry if you don't have any technical knowledge, because building a Fan Page is very easy. For the beginners, you can use all the contents from your website or your blog to build the Business Page. Click here to start building a Fan Page for your business.

If you need some previews of some of the Fan Pages, before building your own, then please click here.

Step2: Keep your Fan Page active

Find out the news and business updates of your profession. Post them in your Fan Page. Post the business activities of your peer group and show your support.

Step 3: "Like"  and Get "Like"d  

Search for the potential clients using the "keywords" of your profession. For example, if you are a carpenter, your potential clients would be "realtors", "builders" , "building contractors", "apartment owners" etc. "Like" their Business Pages to get the updates of their business activities in your news feed. So that it would be easy for you to respond to their posts and messages that are relevant to your business.Search for the experts and business people of your profession and "Like" their Fan Page. Share their posts and business announcements in your Fan Page to show your support. This would reflect in their Fan Page and eventually earn a "Like" from them.

Step4: Become a member of the local Business group

Search for the Fan Pages of your local business/commerce groups that would be benefited from your product/and or services. Become a member and keep connected with them to get the updates of the group's activities. And keep them informed about your Business activities.

Step5: Engage your Fans

Respond to your Fan's queries immediately. Giveaways and quiz are the most interesting activities to keep your Fans engaged.

Do you want to add another step, that you think I have failed to mention here? Please post in the comment. I promise you, I shall add it along with your Fan Page link. Thanks for your time.

Sep 24, 2013

Put Your Business on the Internet



Bill Gates rightly said that any business that is not listed in the Virtual World will soon be out of business. If you are a small business owner and an independent entrepreneur, then you should put your business online.Why? Because small to big companies are making profits from their online marketing efforts.

If you are new to the Internet world and need help on Internet Marketing your business, then please write to uma.mahi@gmail.com

Aug 1, 2013

How to download free iPhone Apps without giving credit card info

If you want to download a free app without giving your credit card information, then please follow these steps

1. Do not log in using your current apple id.
2. Click on the free app, that you want to download, in the ITunes window
For example - I chose to downloand iBooks app.I will share the screen shots for easy reference.

2. Click on create an apple id when the below "Sign In" window appears on your screen

3.Click on "Continue" in the next "Welcome to the ITunes Store" screen
4. Scroll down and agree to the Terms and Conditions in the next screen
5. Enter the information in the fields and click on "Continue"
6. And here is the screen that would make you happy
Select the "None" button, if it is not selected by default.Fill up all the required fields and click on "Create Apple ID"
7. Its almost over. Now complete this email verification by clicking on "Verify Now" in the email that you have received in your Inbox


8. Log in with the email id and password that you have created, in the next screen. Click on the button "Return to ITunes" and launch the application.
9. Click on "Start Shopping" and enjoy downloading all the free apps that you want for your iPhone.


I hope this helped you. If there is any other way to download a free app without giving the credit card information, then please post them as comments, here for others.


Jul 8, 2013

How to add new Testimonial to the Testimonial Page in Wordpress?


I have written this post to those Virtual Assistants who are just like me, who are not an expert in wordpress and also not a web designer.

If you are an expert in Wordpress and well versed with the widgets and plugins of Wordpress, then please go back to Wordpress help to read more on the Testimonials Widget plugin.

How to add Testimonials in the "Testimonials" page of a website?

1.Go to the dashboard. Click on the "Testimonial" Page. If you find a short code like this - [ws_table id="1"], then the Page is using a Websimon Table plugin of wordpress.
2. To find out the Websimon Table for your Testimonial Page, then please refer the below screen shot
Go to Tools and click on "Websimon Tables"

3. The "Websimon Tables" will show list of the tables that are used in the website. Find out the "Testimonials" table. Click on "Edit Table Content" , add another row to add the image and the testimonial. Click on "Save Table Content"


I hope this helped you. If this didn't help you, then please consult with your web designer.

Read more on the plugin here.

Do you use any other table plugin of wordpress? Would you recommend any other table plugin for beginners?

 

Jan 24, 2013

Social Media Marketing Ideas for the Beginners

Did you hear some one saying about marketing their business on Facebook? Did your hear the music system shop owner instructing his sales person to send an email to the person who has replied to his sales Tweet in Twitter? Did you see the toy shop owner's toy pics in the Pinterest?  Haven't you joined the bandwagon yet? Stop procrastinating.

Get it done NOW. The sooner you take the plunge the better. Because forbes says, in 2013, it is expected that 21.1 percent of new users will emerge in Asia-Pacific (including China, India and Indonesia),  23.3 percent in the Middle East and Africa and 12.6 percent in Latin America. So, its time you take some serious and honest action on marketing your business online.

Last week I met one of my friend's referral who is planning to launch his affiliate marketing website. I was happy that he was interested to get an idea on publicizing his business in the social media websites even before the launch of his Business. Here are the internet marketing ideas I suggested him to do and I suggest you to do too.


Get Social
Make it easier to find your Business online - get Social. Create an account for your Business in the four major social networking websites that are used by the global audience.
  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. LinkedIn
  4. Pinterest  
Have a Blog
Having a blog along with your website is another great option to keep your clients and customers up to date with your Business activities and developments. The are different platforms that are available to choose to write your blog. You can use your blog posts to drive traffic to your website.

Make connections
Great! Now you have your business accounts in the Social Media websites. Its time for you to connect with your existing customers. How will you find your existing customers? Its easy to find them, from the names or email ids from your customer database. Use their name and/or email ids, to find them in Facebook and LinkedIn. You can use their name as handle (@yourcustomername) to find them in Twitter. Find them and connect with them. Learn how to build followers in Twitter to get new clients.

Share information
Excellent! Now you have your social media accounts, you are connected with your existing as well as new customers and you have a place to share information online. The information that you are going to share should keep your audience coming back to your account everyday. Share information on new developments in your field of business such as news articles, Press Releases, Videos, interviews, government announcements, business events etc.

Be Consistent
Consistency is the key in Social Media Marketing. Make it a point to keep your Social Media accounts updated every day. Keep posting interesting contents and engage your audience. Listen to them and interact with them every day. You may not get your posts and questions answered or responded. You don't have to lose hope. You will learn to find out the type of posts and questions, that keep your audience engaged, in the due course. Research shows that Facebook marketing start showing results after 6 months of consistent effort.

Get Insights on your marketing plans
Analyze your marketing plans. How will you get insights on your marketing plan? Facebook has an option called "Insights" in the Page admin panel. "Insights" show you the posts, the number of audience the post has reached, number of persons who have shared your post etc. By studying this, you will learn the best practices to get more audience. Similarly LinkedIn has "Page Insights", Twitter has "Twitter Counter" and Pinterest has "PinReach", to study the performance of your posts and shares.

Change your marketing plans
Update your marketing plans. Social media websites keep building and changing themselves to meet the requirement of their own audience. This could demand you to change your marketing plans that were successful earlier. So be ready for the changes in the sites and change your marketing plans accordingly.

I hope these ideas will help you to start building your business online in this New Year. Please feel free to write to me, if you need any help.

Connect with me in Facebook to get information on Social Media Marketing trends and analysis.

Uma Mahi
uma.mahi@gmail.com
Virtual Assistant from Chennai, India.


photo credit: Cathy Browne via photopin cc