The Buzz You Need to Know About Google + **


By Hector Cisneros

There is a lot of hype on the Internet, and every product launch brings its advocates and critics. The launch of Google+ is no exception, (read as "Google Plus").  I am a huge advocate of social media and online networking. When a giant internet player like Google says, they are launching a social media platform, my ears perk up, and I pay attention.  This article provides a quick synopsis of what Google+ brings to the table.  It will show what is different about Google+ verses the current leader Face Book.  It will also give you an overview of some of the cool features that only Google+ provides.

The Battle of Social Media Giants

First, Google+ is new, and new services from a giant internet player like Google are always news and always require some level of attention.  Google is a powerful rival of Face Book, and this new entry will be a direct competitor to Face Book and the other social network contenders.  Face Book is currently more than three times the size of it’s next competitor.  In my opinion, competition is healthy for any industry.  Google+ has the real potential to compete in the social network arena.  Google is one of the world’s largest corporations, and they change the rules of any sand box they chose to play in.
Facebook Notifications Management (Mark as Spam!)Image by @superamit via Flickr 
Don’t get me wrong, I like using Facebook, LinkedIn and  Twitter.  I joined these social media networks early on when they were at the beginning stages of widespread distribution.  I wanted to see if they could rival the face-to-face networking I had been engaged in for many years.

On the other hand, it has been my experience that when companies mature and reach high profitability, they stumble.  They enter a period of naive thinking that lends itself to a culture of arrogance, and the belief that they can do no wrong.  Facebook has been  implementing many changes to their network over the last six months without consulting their subscribers. These changes have angered a lot of it members.

Social networkImage via WikipediaHaving said this, Facebook is still on top.  Any current disillusionment that has surfaced  hasn’t slowed the rush of people who continue to join Face Book in record numbers. In fact, I recently read that they had reached the 750 million-subscriber mark this year.  That’s up about 250 million subscribers in about a year and a half (depending on whose numbers you believe).  I am only bringing this up because member disillusionment may be the kink in Facebook's armor.  This discontent may give Google+ the chance to make inroads into social networks market place.  Something that Google has not been able to do in the past.

Why Google+?


Whether Facebook is showing weakness or not, here are several reasons why Google+ will make inroads this time around, (even if it’s only taking market share from other networks).  First, they have made Google+ very easy to join and use.  If you are a Gmail subscriber, it’s a matter of a few clicks and filling in your basic profile info.  You are not required to fill out your complete profile. This process only takes a few minutes to complete, (especially if you are cutting and pasting from Facebook).

Gmail Subscribers Welcome


If you’re a Gmail subscriber, some of your contacts will automatically be imported for you, and you don’t have to have any technical knowledge of CVS files or data exporting.  Some of names in your contact list will automatically show up and begin the process of creating your circles of influence.  You will simply drag and drop people from your list into predefined circles or create circles of your own.

Circles, Circles Everywhere


Speaking of circles, one of the coolest features of Google+ is their circles grouping feature.  It seems much more intuitive and easier to use than the one provided currently by Face Books.  This interface allows you to organize your contacts into groups that appear as circles, literally.  There are a few predetermine groups, but you can customize them all you want and people can belong to as many different circles as you desire.

Google+Image by Magnet 4 Marketing dot Net via FlickrCircles also allow you to filter your news feed  (called the stream in Google+) so that your circle selection becomes your stream feed control. In other words, the circle you select can determine whose post your watching. It can limit your view of which posts  are streamed into view.  Changing your view is easy and intuitive. Some of the clean simplicity that Google+ demonstrates is by design.  Some of its clean and uncluttered look is because Google+ is new, and it is unencumbered with all the trappings that come with a mature social media site.  Either way, I appreciate the clean, easy to use, and fun interface Google+ has to offer.

Do you like to Hangout?

I'm doing the family Google+ Hangout from work...Image by colmmcsky via FlickrSpeaking of other fun features, Google+ has two worth mentioning.  The first is Hangouts.  Google+ provides a video Chat room for groups of people.  You can video chat, share You Tube videos, invite others and have a real online video conversation with several people. This is a face to face conversation. You need a video camera and microphone attached to your computer to use this service effectively. I believe this will be a standard feature on most if not all computers. Most laptops and tables computers come with this as a standard item so that the user can engage in video chat. This is a cool feature which I am sure it will get lots of use.  I believe the maximum number of people that a Hangout session will hold is probably limited by your screen size and the speed of your internet connection.  I believe between six to nine people will probably work well.  After that, it will probably seem crowded.  I suggest you check this feature out and start thinking of all the cool ways you could use this service.

Did You Say You Wanted Acclaimed Games?

Another feature I genuinely like is the games Google+ includes.  Unlike the games used with Facebook, Google+ has a game's menu built in.  The variety of games they offer is extensive.  It includes 18 games such as Anger Bird,  Bejeweled Blitz, CityVille, Diamond Dash, Dragons of Atlantic, Crime City, Sudoku Puzzles, City of Wonder and Zynga Poker just to name a few.  All of these games are designed to be shared socially.  Even Angry Birds, let you share your score so you can play against your friends.

So there you have it, a quick overview of the buzz surrounding Google+ and how it compares to Facebook.  Google+ is still extremely new, and it currently does not offer the number of subscribers, features and maturity that Face Book or LinkedIn offers. Having said that, Google+ is extremely user friendly, easy to navigate and provides several new, innovative features such as Circles, Hangouts and the integrated games provide a high cool factor for most users.  Add to this all the other Google applications and properties you have access to, (Google is prodigious), and you have the beginnings of a social media contender.  It may not be a Facebook or LinkedIn killer yet, but its innovative approach and connections to Google’s vast library of applications and internet properties will help it to receive rapid adoption and meteoric growth. If you would like to see a video about this subject click here.

If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century", fill out the form below.  

That’s my opinion, what’s yours?



Hector Cisneros is the director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web To Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, a writer, an entrepreneur for more than 30 years, a veteran of BNI for 19 years and was a BNI director for over five years. He is still an active BNI member and follows its philosophy of "Givers Gain." He is the owner of several businesses in Jacksonville, Florida. He actively coaches business owners in the fine art of online advertising, business networking and word-of-mouth marketing. He is president of Website Know How, Inc., a holding company for his business ventures that include: online advertising, word-of-mouth marketing, real estate holdings, non-profit training/support, book publishing, health and wellness product sales and adventure sports. Hector's new book, "60 Seconds to Success," teaches business owners how to get the most from word of mouth marketing by using great 60-second introductions. To learn more about Hector Cisneros, social media, online marketing or word-of-mouth marketing, visit the Networker's Apprentice workshop or his book's website: http://www.60SecondsToSuccess.com.  

A Movie in Every Mailbox

Courtesy of www.instantvmail.com
By Carl Weiss

Want to get your message to the masses? Looking for a cost effective way to create leads and sales?  Why not try sending a video via email? While you can’t actually embed videos in every email, you can attach them to online newsletters such as Constant Contact.

With billions of videos being watched online monthly, it seems logical that businesses will want to maximize the marketing potential of video in such areas as email, newsletters, blogs and social networks.  What’s even better is the fact that a number of popular platforms are adding ways for their users to put a  movie in every emailbox. 

Google Goes Viral

Gmail recently unleashed a feature that allows users to preview YouTube videos right from their inbox. Sweet! Now all those YouTube links that your friends keep bombarding you with can be reviewed without ever having to go to YouTube.

When is Email Freemail?

Recently a number of video email purveyors have sprung up to help feed the public’s voracious appetite for online video.  Some of these sites are even free to use, such as Eyejot.com and howdywire.com.  This makes composing and delivering video emails a snap.  Designed to work with your computer’s webcam, you can compose, shoot and send emails in a matter of seconds.  If you want to send a more polished video, Eyejot makes uploading a polished video as simple as point and click.

A Bright Future for Email Marketing?
Courtesy of  www.dreamstime.com

While the uses of video email are only going to grow during the coming years, the rules for using this medium as a marketing tool are still the same as with traditional email.  Spammers beware.  Therefore, the secret to getting your video message across without ruffling any feathers is to use 4 parts infotainment per one part sales pitch.

Accomplishing this task via video is not at all difficult, provided that you throw in a bit of production value.  One of the simplest ways to create production value without breaking the bank is by creating microcasts of 1-2 minutes that provide helpful tips.  A dollop of humor wouldn’t hurt either.  Something along the lines of Tim Allen’s ToolTime shtick comes to mind.  Better still would be to use a buxom blonde to provide the tips.  You get the picture.

There are hundreds of ways to get your message across using video email marketing. Not every production will work for you, but you can bet that given a little trial and error you will be able to come up with a number of ways to employ video to create a loyal following online.

Where Google Leads Others Will Follow

You can also bet your boots that the folks at Microsoft are looking for a way to incorporate Silverlight into MSN and Hotmail.   I’d also wager that Yahoo has got to have something in the works as well. All I can say is that in time there will be a plethora of multimedia friendly email services along with a host of apps that will make embedding video as easy as ABC.

So why wait? The most important word of advice that I can give any online marketer is to embrace this cost effective advantage before the competition beats you to the finish line. 

If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century", fill out the form below.  



Since 1995, Carl Weiss has been helping clients succeed online.  He owns and operates several online marketing businesses, including Working the Web to Win and Jacksonville Video Production.  http://jacksonville-video-production.com He also co-hosts the weekly radio show, "Working the Web to Win," every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern on BlogTalkRadio.com.

Top 10 Reasons to Blog (Part 1)

Courtesy of www.liftcommunication.com
By Carl Weiss

Like it or not, if you own a website, you are forced to compete for exposure online.  With 242 million websites already in existence and nearly 130,000 new sites coming online every day, is it any wonder that being found is getting harder and harder to accomplish?  Well, the good news is that while it may take a little sweat equity to put your web presence in the winner’s circle, the task can be accomplished in short order if you blog just once per week. Here are the top ten reasons to blog: .

1.  Blogs generate an audienceLife is the ultimate reality show.  As anyone who has ever watched HGTV knows, people love to watch other people work.  It doesn’t take Hollywood to turn your business into must-see-online-TV.  In fact it doesn’t take video at all (although it helps).  The easiest way to generate an audience online is to document the drama that every business person goes through on a daily basis.  The simplest way to accomplish this is via blog. Think of blogging like a diary that enables you to document the everyday trials and triumphs of running a business.  Done properly, this is compelling stuff that readers will want to follow and pass along to friends and family.

2.   Blogs engage readersThe most important thing to keep in mind before creating a blog is that readers crave drama.  If you want to keep readers on the edge of their seats, you need to first identify the elements in your business that either solve a problem, create suspense, or make readers laugh.  The best way to do this is to carry a notepad and pen around with you.  Somewhere during the course of doing business you will stumble upon an idea or scene that can engage your audience.  The problem is that if you don’t make not of it (and shoot a few photos with your smartphone), it will be a case of in one ear and out the other.  By taking notes you will be surprised at how much drama occurs in your business.  Then it’s simply a matter of sitting down and detailing the episode for your readers.

3.  Blogs are a great place to use mixed mediaSpeaking of smartphones, I can’t emphasize enough the value of photos and video in bringing your business home to readers.  By spicing up an otherwise lackluster blog post with a few photos, or a quick video blog, not only will you find your audience more interested in you and your business, but it also serves to improve search engine optimization (SEO) as well. 

4.  Blogs create backlinks  For many years the major search engines have put a premium on how many sites link to your site.  Not so long ago this concept actually caused a great deal of conflict, since it spawned backlink factories that turned out backlinks like linked sausages.  You’ll know you have come across someone who has worked with these firms if their backlinks are in Farsi or Chinese.  The good news is that the search engines cracked down on these bad boys big time.  The bad news is that most search engines still rate a portion of your worth on backlinks.  Is that’s what’s bothering you, Bunky?


Other than spending hour upon hour of identifying and emailing firms in your industry begging for backlinks, or spending thousands of dollars on software that does virtually the same thing, what if there was an easier way?  In fact, what if you could develop backlinks every week as part of your normal website update procedure? 

How do you do this? By always making certain that you include links to your sites at end of each and every blog.  Better still, sign up for article posting sites that will offer your reposted blog to other online businesses looking for content.

5.  Blogs are free advertisingBeing a business consultant, I am always pitted against financial reality when it comes to helping a business grow online.   Most small businesses are on tight budgets. If money is tight, then one of the best reasons to use blogging week in and week out is due to the fact that it doesn’t cost you a penny to employ.  Provided that you are prepared to take as little as an hour out of your busy schedule to create a weekly blog, this could be one of the best investments your business can make.

If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century", fill out the form below.  



Since 1995, Carl Weiss has been helping clients succeed online.  He owns and operates several online marketing businesses, including Working the Web to Win and Jacksonville Video Production. He also co-hosts the weekly radio show. "Working the Web to Win,"  every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern on BlogTalkRadio.com

Hector the Connectors Social Media Marketing Predictions for 2012 & Beyound


By Hector Cisneros
Courtesy of www.hotpotatosocialmedia.com

2011 is gone, and 2012 has rolled in without missing a beat. The social media industry is growing in leaps and bounds. I often hear business people say social networking is like the Wild, Wild West! So answer this question for me.  Would it be valuable if you knew the future social media trends for 2012? How wonderful would it be to know what trends are in store for the coming year? Could you adequately prepare for this rapidly changing industry? In this article, I provide my 2012 predictions for the evolving trends in the social-networking industry. It's always gratifying when my predictions come true. My predictions are not based on any kind of special powers. They are based on my industry research, what I read and what I see happening every day in my work. My accuracy rate in the social media industry has been about 97%.  However, even when I’m wrong it's only because my timeline ended up being longer than I thought it was going to be. I have a knack for spotting social media trends. And this article lists four powerful trends unfolding right now. You can profit from what I say or ignore me, the choice is yours. Either way these trends will unfold as the year progresses.  So read on and heed my advice. Prepare your social media marketing campaigns to take advantage these trends for 2012 and beyond.

Prediction #1)  Social Media Networks and Marketing Will Continue to Grow an Alarming Rate

Relative size & growth of Facebook vs Open Soc...Image by davemc500hats via FlickrLast year, Facebook grew from around 600 million to 800 million users depending on whose numbers you believe. Twitter and LinkedIn also both showed growth and added many new features, (not to mention that they both acquired several new partners and internet assets).  Add to this, Google started Google+, and Microsoft is said to be in the works of building their own social network. The adoption rate of small business will lead the way, but expenditures by large corporations will exceed that of both small and medium-size businesses. My first advice to you is: create and implement “an employee social media use policy” to control business hour usage. Second, create a social media marketing plan to reach and engage this enormous market. Combining both engagement and pay per click campaigns work best.

Prediction #2)  One of the Largest Players in the Social Media Arena Will Make a “Misstep” in 2012.

I believe that one of the top four Social Media Network companies will make a costly mistake causing them to lose significant market share. Right now several of the larger social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all share one crucial flaw. They try to make it almost impossible to communicate with them. Take Facebook, for instance. They do not list any contact information other than a Facebook page. Sure they have lots of help pages. Yes, Facebook has a blog, lots of YouTube videos, but provides no phone number where you can call and talk to a human being. They do have a Facebook page you can enter suggestions on, but that’s it. What happens when you get a strange message from Facebook, or you’re having trouble with your account? You post a message and never get a reply! Twitter and LinkedIn are not much better. They don’t list a contact phone number or address either. However, I have found that they do reply to your email and posted messages, although it sometimes takes as long as seven days to get a reply. 

The Big MistakeImage by williamhartz via FlickrIn my opinion, of the top three social media companies, LinkedIn provides the best service. Google is new in this game.  It’s not as easy to lump them in with the rest of the social media giants yet. However, I can tell you that Google has a notoriously poor customer service reputation. It’s been my experience with Google that the quality of service you receive depends on the person you get on the phone. The good news is that you can get someone on the phone! Google does list contact numbers. My advice to any business is easy: be ready to make changes to your social media campaign if need be. Furthermore, if you’re using any of the top four social media services, make a backup of your data. This is in case you decide to make “the switch” and ditch one of these players.

Prediction #3)  Google+ Will Become One of the Top Three in the Social Network Arena by the end of 2012

I know I’m going out on a limb here, but I believe this is inevitable. Google’s share size and current customer base will allow Google+ to grow at a much faster pace than other social media sites. The exact number of Gmail users is not public, but we do know that it is huge! I have read estimates ranging from about 190 million to 250 million accounts. Furthermore, Google owns so many internet properties, that they can easily integrate the use of these properties into their social network. This adds value to their social network. Add to this, the fact that Google owns Google Search, Google AdWords, YouTube, Blogger and Picasa. Are you starting to get the picture? Google is gigantic. Google controls the lion’s share of Internet traffic and advertising dollars.

English: Google+ wordmarkImage via Wikipedia
Google has also been able to produce a social-networking product that is easy to use, search engine friendly and innovative. These qualities’ have made them the internet leader they are today. I am not sure that they can keep this frantic pace forever, but for 2012, it’s a done deal. My advice to you is to review where you are spending your advertising money and see if it makes sense using any of the Google properties. If you're an individual, and have been waiting on the sideline with Google+, stop what you’re doing and take the 10 minutes to set up a Gmail and Google+ account. If you already have a Gmail account, this will only take you about 5 minutes. The bonus here is you can also set up a Google+ Brand page without a lot of fuss.

Prediction #4)  More Businesses Bill Start using Blogging and Article Marketing to Build Trust

You may be asking the question: "What does blogging and article writing have to do with social networks?" The answer is straightforward. Both blogging and article writing create a following, and they both encourage fan interaction.  These followers will leave comments on the blog/article sites and interact directly with the authors. Now that I have established that blogging and article marketing is social in nature, let’s discuss building trust.

There are many ways to build trust with people. Here are just a few ways that a business can build trust; receiving word of mouth and written testimonials, consistently providing a good product or service, providing written guarantees and making it easy for your customers to communicate with you.

BloggerImage by kuribo via FlickrToday, writing articles is creating a new powerhouse for trust building. Any business that receives expert status from writing about their industry niche will garner instant credibility.  According to the website “numberof.net," the number of bloggers in 2007 was around 23 million.  The same source predicted that, by 2012, U.S. bloggers would reach 35 million.  Guess what, this year's articles in Technorati and Blogpulse both listed worldwide blogs to be around 164 million by the end of 2011, almost five times the original predictions given in 2007. I guess the adoption rate for blogging has far exceeded what was once looked upon as a strange new type of website forum.

We live in a society where the published word has high value. This is truer today than ever. Savvy businesses are taking to blogging and article marketing as an exciting new way to distinguish them from their competitors. What?You say you can’t write? Ghost writers are a cost-effective alternative. They are readily available and well worth looking into. My advice to you is straightforward, create and use a blog for marketing. Your blog articles can also be used in article marketing by submitting them to article databases. They can also be integrated into your website. Your blog post can easily become part of your website “current content strategy." If done well, blogging will build your reputation as the go to expert in your particular business field. As an extra bonus, you will be able to engage prospects and clients in a way that builds trust, a commodity that is vastly absent in today’s business climate.

In this article, I discussed four powerful trends emerging in the social media industry.  In the past, I
have kept my predictions secret, and used them as part of my own marketing strategy. This year, however, I decided to make my predictions public. My accuracy over the last five years has always been exceptionally high. I have sometimes missed the mark on the timeline, but I have rarely been wrong at predicting what will eventually take place. These four social media predictions should make sense to you. My predictions are based on my reasoning, research and experience, not some mystical power. My work leads me to believe that these trends will continue to grow at unprecedented rates. I have always had an uncanny ability to spot trends before, but anyone willing to look can spot these trends if they take the time to look. By heeding my predictions and adjusting your social media strategies, you will engage and garner more customers this year. Take the time to develop and put in place all the necessary elements needed to implement your social media strategy. By doing this, you will profit from social media like you never have before.

That’s my opinion; I look forward to hearing yours.

If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century", fill out the form below.  





Hector Cisneros is the director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web To Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, a writer, an entrepreneur for more than 30 years, a veteran of BNI for 19 years and was a BNI director for over five years. He is still an active BNI member and follows its philosophy of "Givers Gain." He is the owner of several businesses in Jacksonville, Florida. He actively coaches business owners in the fine art of online advertising, business networking and word-of-mouth marketing. He is president of Website Know How, Inc., a holding company for his business ventures that include: online advertising, word-of-mouth marketing, real estate holdings, non-profit training/support, book publishing, health and wellness product sales and adventure sports. Hector's new book, "60 Seconds to Success," teaches business owners how to get the most from word of mouth marketing by using great 60-second introductions. To learn more about Hector Cisneros, social media, online marketing or word-of-mouth marketing, visit the Networker's Apprentice workshop or his book's website: http://www.60SecondsToSuccess.com.  

What's the Best Social Media Site for a Small Business?

Courtesy of www.lostintechnology.com
by Hector Cisneros

A common question I get is: "What's the best social media site for me to be on?"  Alternatively, they will ask: "What social media site will bring me the most internet business?"  My answer to these questions may surprise you, but here it is:  There is no such thing as "what is the best" social media site for a small business. A small business should create a presence on as many platforms as they have time for.

You Need to be Everywhere if Possible

I tell people they need a presence on all the top platforms. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Google+, etc. More if they have time to set them up. These connections will all provide backlinks and traffic to their website, which most businesses already have.

Goals, USP's, ICD's and more
Unique's???Unique's??? (Photo credit: sporkwrapper)

However, using a social media site as a marketing platform is a different matter. This requires some planning, some analysts, a predetermined budget (either money or time) and the understanding of what their USP is (a unique selling proposition) and who their ICD is (Ideal Customer Demographic). On top of this, they should set goals. Goals should be SMART in nature and of one of three types; goals for network development, goals for positive interaction and goals for closed business.

In the Beginning You Need This!

In the beginning, it is easier to setup and achieve network development goals (i.e. grow your following). Having a decent size following will help you with achieving positive interactions (buzz, viral messages spread ...) And be able to close more business. It's much easier to get a response from a marketing message when you send a message to 1000 or 5000 people than it is if you send your message to 124 followers, regardless of whether it's  an email, tweet or Facebook post. 

The rule of ten follows here. Ten in a hundred suspects will have an interest, and one of the ten interested prospects may purchase.  Therefore, it's better to start with 1,000 prospects who will yield 100 interest prospects which, in turn, will yield 10 possible customers, than to start with 100 potential suspects and possibly only get one customer.

Instant Gratification

If a business wants instance gratification, it should invest in PPC, (pay per click) on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and other sites. This type of marketing will produce more click to your landing page right away. Of course this assumes you have a compelling message, a decent offer and a strong call to action. If not, the clicks on your site may bounce faster than a tennis ball at Wimbledon. Even with Pay Per Cllick, planning, testing, measuring and adjusting are part of a winning formula.

Ready, Aim, Shoot!

Archery World CupArchery World Cup (Photo credit: IntelGuy)  People who are successful today start by creating a marketing plan first. They make sure it is measurable, testable and executable, all within their budget. Most small businesses can afford to pay for consulting help if they don't know where to start. A marketing consultation can usually create a plan for about $500. This is a terrific deal if the consultant is not selling you, the service, and they have provided you a plan that can be bid out.

People on a Shoestring Can do it, Too

For a person with no budget but have time on their hands, need to plan even more! I suggest they create a schedule and stick to it. They should also invest in some tools that will let them create a message post conveniently (tablets, smart phones, etc.).  I also recommend they use aggregation software (like HootSuite or Tweet Deck) which will allow them to post to multiple platforms simultaneously plus schedule their post on future dates. If they do these three things, they will be able to create a social media campaign on a shoestring budget.

So there you have it, my answer to what is the best social media site for business. Businesses that Social Media Marketing by first creating a plan do much better than businesses that use the, "shoot, ready aim approach." They set realistic smart goals, purchase the tools needed to make sure they can be efficient and effective, and they carry out their plan. They make sure to test, measure and adjust their plan as needed, and they work within their budget.  The best way to be successful in any kind of marketing program is to plan, test, refine and execute, doing so always insure your money is
approach
well spent.

That’s my opinion, I want to know yours. 

If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century", fill out the form below. 





Hector Cisneros is the director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web To Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, a writer, an entrepreneur for more than 30 years, a veteran of BNI for 19 years and was a BNI director for over five years. He is still an active BNI member and follows its philosophy of "Givers Gain." He is the owner of several businesses in Jacksonville, Florida. He actively coaches business owners in the fine art of online advertising, business networking and word-of-mouth marketing. He is president of Website Know How, Inc., a holding company for his business ventures that include: online advertising, word-of-mouth marketing, real estate holdings, non-profit training/support, book publishing, health and wellness product sales and adventure sports. Hector's new book, "60 Seconds to Success," teaches business owners how to get the most from word of mouth marketing by using great 60-second introductions. To learn more about Hector Cisneros, social media, online marketing or word-of-mouth marketing, visit the Networker's Apprentice workshop  or his book's website: http://www.60SecondsToSuccess.com.

The Devil's in the Etails

By Carl Weiss

Courtesy of www.opencolleges.edu.au
With the price of gasoline rapidly approaching $4 per gallon, more and more people are electing to save gas and let their fingers do the shopping via online etailers.  With vendors such as eBay, PayPal and Amazon greasing the skids of online commerce, getting started with etailing couldn’t be easier.  The hard part is how do you promote your products in such a way that doesn’t break the bank?  While pay-per-click can be effective, organic results cost way less if you can generate them. For my money, one of the best secret weapons to producing organic results is online video.

Lights, Camera, Online Action

With the proliferation of tablets and mobile devices, video can mean the difference between browsing and buying.  When buying online, video can both show and tell a prospect about product features and benefits.  It can demonstrate, it can illuminate. The problem is that precious few etailers are using video to help them promote and sell.  What's worse is the fact that adding videos to your existing catalog couldn’t be easier.  Whether you use a video camera or a smartphone, creating a 30-second clip for every item in your catalog could be the best way to convert a browser to a buyer.

As for production value, while outrageous videos can draw a crowd on YouTube (think stupid pet tricks), this isn’t the best practice when trying to sell something to someone online.  Online customers want to be reassured that they are dealing with someone who is both reputable and knowledgeable.  Keep your videos simple and to the point and you will generate far more sales than by trying to be cute or funny.  Besides, there is a better way to generate a crowd.
Properly optimized online video can generate Page One Google results.  In a process known as Video Optimization, a video can be optimized just as you would a website.  Since the googlebots can’t see the contents of your video, you need to describe it in both the title and body text.  Then you need to complete the remainder of the video information in its entirety.  This means designating tags (think keywords) and your location (geo-targeting). While every one of your videos won't make it to Page One, if you produce enough of them the results could be substantial.

What’s even better about utilizing online video is that while you only need to shoot it once, you will be able to employ it in a number of different ways.  Besides embedding them on your website, you can also embed them on your blog, link them to your social networks and even include them in your printed ads and literature by simply including a QR code that you can generate online for free.

The Cutting Room Floor

That doesn't mean that you should short sheet quality in any way.  Nothing is less likely to make someone want to buy something from you than a video that is shaky, poorly lit, or has terrible audio.  Conversaly, no one is expecting Steven Spielberg either. By keeping your production values simple but focused, it is a snap to create decent video in one or two takes.  If you need to invest in illumination, you can get a decent studio light with stand for around $50.  Provided that you aren't standing outside during rush hour or in a windstorm, you shouldn't need anything more than the microphone in your smartphone. 

You needn't worry about having to be picture perfect either, since editing video is now easier than ever. When it comes to amending your clips, either use the editor on YouTube, or the one built into every computer.  They are sufficient to get the job done. For a more polished look, there are a number of low-cost editing solutions such as Pinnacle Studio that retail for about a hundred dollars.

Any way you look at it, when it comes to expanding your existing business’ reach or starting a virtual business from scratch, when it comes to online business success, the devil’s in the etails.

If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century", fill out the form below. 





Carl Weiss is President of Working the Web to Win. Since 1995, he has been helping businesses generate exposure and results online.  To see samples of his online videos, go to Jacksonville Video Productions.  

How Freeware Can Cost You BIG


by Carl Weiss
Courtesy of www.quickenloans.com



Especially in today’s economy, most people are searching for deals.  Whether it is a buy-one-get-one at the grocery store, or an online coupon that offers fifty percent or more off your next restaurant visit, most people are only too happy to snap up a bargain for something they would normally purchase.  When it comes to acquiring software for the home computer, this rule is even more prevalent.  Why pay for the cow, when they’re giving the milk away for free, right?  In the case of recognized vendors, such as Filezilla or Linux, not to mention CNet and Tucows, these sites either own the software they distribute freely, or else the vet any vendors promoted on their sites.  Unfortunately, when it comes to freeware, there are a number of purveyors who are not offering their software out of the goodness of their hearts.

If a Deal Seems Too Good to be True, it Probably is

Case in point: Last November, an FBI investigation led to the arrest of six cybercriminals in Estonia.  The six were implicated in a worldwide criminal enterprise that resulted in the infection of more than 570,000 computers.  In this particular case, the group’s online advertising scam took advantage of vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows operating system to install malicious software on the victim's computers. The software also turned off antivirus updates and changed the way in which the hacked computers reconciled website addresses.  Victim’s computers were then reprogrammed to use rogue DNS servers owned by the attackers which redirected the affected computers to fraudulent websites controlled by the group. The victims were not only scammed out of some $14 million, but their very access to the Internet was virtually hijacked by the group.

More frightening: online scams like this happen to millions of unsuspecting consumers every day.  Whether the intent is to deliver malware, spyware or some form of virus, the very nature of the web allows mischief to spread far and wide with relative ease.

Only recently, Consumer Reports stated, “Malicious software infections cost consumers $2.3 billion in 2011.”  It also pointed out the fact that one third of households surveyed had experienced a malicious software infection in the past year.  Even more ominous is the fact that in the US alone, 1.3 million PCs were replaced in 2011 due to malware.

Does WWW stand for "Wild, Wild West"?
Courtesy of www.thewildwildwestbook.com

Why are criminals and other online miscreants able to inflict such damage to so many people with relative ease?  The culprits most were cited as aiding and abetting the underworld can’t be found on a “Most Wanted” poster.  That’s because they aren’t people.  The real accomplices in cybercrime are poor virus protection and freeware.  When you bear in mind that the Internet is in a sense as free and unfettered as the Wild, Wild West ever was, it should come as no surprise that criminal elements have been quick to capitalize on this electronic frontier town.  The problem with the web is that unlike Dodge City, there is no sheriff in town other than the antivirus software on your machine.  This same software can easily be circumvented with one Trojan horse planted inside your computer via freeware.  Once your computer has been breached, there is no electronic posse that is going to pursue the outlaws who have infected your machine.

So, the first step to taking a bite out of cybercrime is to understand just how prevalent it is.  What most people don’t realize is the fact that the total amount of money lost in cybercrime in 2011 ($338 billion) dwarfs that of that of the profits of illicit drugs ($288 billion).  More shocking still is the fact that in the past year alone, more than 431 million adults were victims of cybercrime.  While the number of violent crimes in the US declined 6.4 percent in 2011 according to the FBI, cybercrime has risen dramatically.

According to Mashable.com, “Five years ago there were only 92,000 strains of malware cataloged worldwide. This figure rose to 14 million by 2008 and 60 million by 2010.”

Their report goes onto say that you can purchase bank details for accounts for $80 to $700. You can hire someone to design and publish a fake online store for between $30 and $300. A credit card-cloning machine costs $200 to $1,000, and an actual fake ATM, which steals valuable credentials from anyone who uses it, can be bought for a mere $3,500.  The cybercrime industry acts just like any legitimate one, developing providers who cater to buyers needs and strive to build market share.

More frightening still is that so many consumers make these crimes so easy to commit.  Even though most web surfers are familiar with such threats as computer viruses and malware, more than forty percent of those surveyed by Consumer Report admitted to not having an up to date antivirus program.  And an even higher percentage admitted to employing weak passwords.  Add to this the fact that cybercrime has now gone mobile where there is even less security and you have to ask yourself why isn't everyone up in arms over the situation?

It Boils Down to This:

1.      Cybercriminals are organized and motivated to engage in cybercrime because it is easy to get away with and hard to prosecute.
2.      Consumers who routinely triple lock their doors and have burglar alarms on their cars for the most part leave their computers and cellphones unlocked, or with the key under the doormat.
3.      While organizations like the FBI occasionally get involved in high profile cases such as the Estonian Connection, policing the internet at the local level is for the most part left to local law enforcement, many of whom have little or no facilities to deal with this growing menace.

Far from free, that gift horse could well turn around and bite you. In short, since it has been left to consumers to defend themselves from phishing, password cracking, Trojan horse hacking, all but invisible cybercriminals, my advice is to think twice before accepting most freeware.  And for God’s sake, get some decent antivirus software.  Unless you like buying a new computer every year.

If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century", fill out the form below. 




Carl Weiss is president of Working the Web to Win, a company dedicated to keeping clients stay on the cutting edge of online technology.  Carl is cohost of the weekly "Working the Web to Win" radio show that is broadcast live every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern on BlogTalkRadio.com.