Shelley Lowery: Increase Sales by Building Credibility

Shelley touched on some points on domain authority and building credibility on the web like I discussed not too long ago 🙂 Check out her blog for some great biz tips.

Shelley Lowery / 15 mins ago

The Internet has opened a whole New World of information and opportunity for all of us. However, it has also created a breeding ground for scam artists. For this reason, many Internet users are very reluctant to share their personal information and order products online.

As an Internet entrepreneur, it is your personal responsibility to ensure that your visitors feel very comfortable with you and your website. In order to gain your visitor’s trust and confidence, you must build your credibility.

Domain Name

In order to establish credibility, you must be willing to invest in your own domain name and professional web hosting. Websites hosted on free servers are not taken seriously and will suffer a serious loss of business. Your visitors may feel that if you don’t have your own domain, you may not be a credible company. They’ll simply take their business elsewhere.

Contact Information

Provide your visitors with your complete contact information. This information should include your “real” postal address and not a Post Office box number. A business that hides behind a PO box loses credibility. It’s perfectly acceptable to use a PO box as long as you also include your postal address.

Create a page to add to your website called “about” and include all of the following:

• A personal or professional biography
• A photograph of yourself
• A complete description of you and/or your company
• Your website and/or company objectives
• Your name, address, phone number and email address

It is very important that you include an “about” page, especially if you’re selling a product or service. You must do everything in your power to put your visitor’s mind at ease.

Privacy Statement

Internet users are becoming more and more concerned with their privacy. Create a page on your website called “privacy” and let your visitors know exactly how you will be using the information you collect.

This page should include all of the following:

•How do you plan on using their information?
•Is their information sold or shared with a third party?
• Why do you collect their email address and how will it be used?
• Why do you track their IP address?
• Let your visitors know that you’re not responsible for the privacy issues of any outside websites you may be linking to.
• Why do you use order forms and what do you do with the information acquired?
•Do you run contests and what do you do with the information?
•Do you have a discussion forum or message board? Let your visitors know that any information that is disclosed in these areas becomes public information and they should exercise caution.
• Do you have security measures in place to protect the loss, misuse and alteration of the information under your control? If so, let your visitors know.
• Let your visitors know how they can opt out of your mailing lists.
• Provide your visitors with your contact information, should they have any questions in regard to your privacy statement.

Testimonials

Another great way to build your credibility is to display your customer testimonials. Include your customer’s name, email address and web address with each unsolicited testimonial to increase believability.

Money Back Guarantee

To further increase your credibility, you must completely remove your potential customer’s risk. Provide them with a solid, no risk, money back guarantee. This will put their mind at ease by building their confidence in you and your product.
In addition, you must honor ALL refund requests in a timely manner with complete professionalism.

No matter what you’re selling or how great your product is, you will receive refund requests. It’s just a part of doing business. Don’t take it personally or try to argue the point with your customers, simply give them a refund. You may be surprised to learn that the customers who ask for a refund may purchase other products from you in the future.

Feedback

Many times, potential customers will have questions in regard to your products and services. Create a page on your website called “feedback” and place a form on this page to enable your visitors to contact you. It is very important that you
answer these questions as quickly as possible. Your personal response to your potential customers can literally determine whether or not you’re going to make a sale.

A feedback form will also enable you to gather testimonials and receive suggestions to assist you in improving your website, products or services.

Secure Server

If you’re processing your customer’s orders online, you must place your order form on a secure server. This will protect your customer’s personal information, while at the same time, provides your customers with added confidence in placing an
order with you. In addition, make sure you let your visitors know that their information will be processed on a secure server.

By taking the time to build your credibility with your visitors, you will increase your Internet sales considerably.

Copyright © Shelley Lowery

About the Author:

Shelley Lowery is the author of the acclaimed web design course, Web Design Mastery. http://www.webdesignmastery.com And, Ebook Starter – Give Your Ebooks the look and feel of a REAL book. http://www.ebookstarter.com Visit Web-Source.net to sign up for a complimentary subscription to Etips and receive a copy of the acclaimed ebook, “Killer Internet Marketing Strategies.” http://www.web-source.net

Source: Increase Sales by Building Credibility

UBS: Apple & Wall Street Don’t Lose Sight of Steve’s Vision

As Apple gets pressured to make deal, an analyst reminds them of Steve Jobs’ words
UBS reminds Apple and Wall Street of Steve Jobs’ words: “Companies forget what it means to make great products.”
Analyst Steven Milunovich thinks Apple should keep its focus on the customer and not on making a big acquisition like Netflix or Disney to please shareholders.
The firm reiterates its buy rating and $165 price target for Apple, representing 8 percent upside from Monday’s close. UBS analyst Steven Milunovich used the words of its founder Steve Jobs to remind the company…

via UBS reminds Apple and Wall Street of Steve Jobs’ words: ‘Companies forget what it means to make great products…’ — MacDailyNews

3 Simple and Easy Ways To Improve Your Media Pitch

Every business benefits from media coverage — it all starts with a pitch. 

When sent to the right people, a media pitch is a great way get a company press coverage. There are a lot of factors you have to get just right for a successful pitch well-delivered. Make your email stand out by simplifying it, doing your research, and making your story newsworthy. Once you organize a targeted list of media contacts, draft an email that’s easy-to-read with a conversational tone. Avoid industry jargon and complex vocabulary at all costs. Only use an email template as the backbone of the pitch. Remember, each and every email should be personalized to its intended media contact.

There’s an art to pitching. After spending a few years at public relations and marketing companies, here are a few ways I learned to bring email pitches to life:

  1. Do your research.

Do some stalking before you send them an email. Pitch smarter, not harder. Instead of blasting tons of journalists with cold emails, find a way to make their job easier by fitting your pitch into their editorial calendars. For example, if it’s Christmas time and you’re trying to sell a story about toys in the subject line relate it to an article they have posted the year before which had toys in it. Usually, around this time they write about Christmas wishlists or the hottest toys of the season.

Do some digging. First, figure out every outlet they contribute to. Glance over their articles, do they write about similar products or companies you’re pitching? Next, figure out what they are talking about on social media. Journalists have never been easier to follow. Use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to get a feel for what they are like and how to best communicate with them. Don’t be shy to comment on their posts either, building a relationship with target journalists helps your company down the road!

2. Make it newsworthy.

Journalists are always looking for the next great story.

Although companies may go through a couple of big changes and partnerships a year, they don’t always correlate with trends and current events. See what’s currently trending and tie the pitch into it. This will help bring it some positive attention. I use Google Trends and trending items on Twitter and Facebook to help me come up with some ideas.

Google Trends:

googletrends
Sneak peek Google’s insights. Track big events and discussions with Google Trends.

 What’s trending on Facebook:

FacebookTrending
Scroll down to see what’s trending on the sidebar section labeled “Trending.”

What’s trending on Twitter:

Twitter Trends
My favorite way to catch up on all things trending!

3. Keep the email short and sweet!

The subject line should be juicy and the receiver should be able to get the gist of your pitch by reading it. In the body of the email always remember less is more. Sorry to break it to you, but journalists don’t read pitches word for word. They have become masters of skimming. Only about 1-2 sentences will actually by absorbed and if they’re not interested in those couple of lines, it’s on to the next. Writing less text gives them more time to soak in what you’re presenting. Limit your pitch to 3 short paragraphs ranging from 2 to 3 sentences each.

In the first paragraph, give them a reason why they should care about your story. Give them some insider information and make them want to be involved in what’s going on.

Make a connection. The next paragraph should show them you’ve done your homework. Refer to previous articles they have written and highlight topics they are passionate about. Also, tell the journalist why you’ve specifically chosen them to break the story. Feel free to bring up titles of previous articles they’ve written.

The last couple of sentences should be a call to action. Tell the journalist what to do with the information. If they contribute to a couple outlets, indicate which outlet you would like to see the story breaking on. If you’re interested in all their platforms say that so. You can also use the last paragraph to suggest an interview, invite them to tour the facilities or give them a time and date to a press conference.

Tip: If you’re launching a product, offer to send them a sample! They love getting stuff and it’s so much easier for them to review it when they have actual experience with the product. If it’s a new menu item, have them stop by for a comped meal. Add this in the last paragraph (it’s a call to action). Score.

Once your email has been created, attach a full press kit for their convenience. I use Canva.com to make eye-catching kits that are simple are enjoyable for others to view. Also, make sure to include several high-resolution photos they can use in articles. Provide a press release if you have one too. The more information they have, the better! After you proofread, as you would with anything else, have another set of eyes review the pitch. I like to ask those proofreading my pitches to relay a couple of points they drew from the email. Do they understand the point you’re trying to get across? Is it newsworthy? If they were the journalist, would they understand the call to action?

Then, proofread it again.

Any little mistake can totally throw away your credibility. I highly recommend installing the Grammarly extension on Chrome for this. It has saved my life about a million times. It’s a 100% free grammar checker that not only reviews spelling errors but sentence structure and punctuation too.

And WHATEVER you do, make sure their names are correct! Even outlets spell the names of their own journalists incorrectly. Cross check their names via social media, Google and Cision.com (if you have access to it).

Tip: If you’re working on a spreadsheet, use the highlighter in black to fill cells after you email contacts. That way you don’t accidentally email the same person twice or worse… call them another name with a different email pitch.

Wow, I even had a mini-panic attack just writing that!

Have any tips or tricks that you’ve learned from pitching to media contacts? Share it in the comments below 🙂

Happy pitching,

Script3transp

How to Attract Sponsors Online (Step-By-Step)

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”
― Aristotle

Building your site’s domain authority (DA) can take months, even years. Once you gradually start to grow your site’s street cred. on the web, you’ll see followers subscribing and soon enough the sponsorship/partnership emails will come pouring in. Remember to take baby steps and whatever you do don’t get ahead of yourself. Try not to accept the smaller stuff and hold off for the larger partnerships, it will make your site a lot more valuable to companies if you don’t work with just anyone.

As a partnership coordinator, I usually won’t email those with sites or blogs which link to more than 45 pages (also called outbound links). In other words, try not to have tons of links everywhere. Keep it simple. Many bloggers shoot themselves in the foot by adding buddies lists, archive lists or tons of clickable sidebar buttons to their sidebars. Seriously, you’ll be surprised how fast outbound links will add up. Be patient and hold off false excitement from less-important sponsorships or partnerships and wait for the real deal. Wait for the business-changing emails that come around every once in a blue moon. Being picky with those you work with will make your site that much more valuable and opens much larger opportunities down the road. Great things come out of patience.

Let’s move on to the fun part of DA ranking– getting those “knocks on the door.”

Here’s a list of items you’re going to need to get the ball rolling:
A Computer
Social Media Profiles (ready-to-go)
A Timer
An Excel or Google Docs Spreadsheet
A large coffee

Forums are one of the first places I go for leads when I am looking to sponsor someone. Yeah, you heard right… forums. You know, those ancient beasts once top of the food chain on the web before the dawn of Reddit? I would have never guessed how valuable they would become to me as a partnership coordinator. So if you want to be noticed, these little online rooms are the place to be seen. I also look for blogs which allow guest posts too.

Let’s begin. Open up a new spreadsheet and title it “Forums To Contribute To.” As you go you can add on whatever columns pop in your head, but for now let’s just add the following sections: the forum’s name, URL, URL of posts, your posts’ date and a notes section. When you’re deciding where to post, there are a couple of factors you will want to take into account to help you get the most out of every effort. Look to comment on or post about a topic that has relevance, timeliness and lots of activity. Make sure that whatever you choose to discuss has to do with things your site can be associated with, this also gives you a little more credibility on the forum itself.

To get you started, here are some great places to find forums, posts and topics:
http://www.findaforum.net/
http://boardreader.com/
http://www.thebiggestboards.com/

You can also search Google by hitting the ‘Discussions’ tab on the results page and changing the search settings under ‘Search Tools’ from ‘All Discussions’ to ‘Forums.’

When you post on a forum most likely you will have to sign-up and log in as a new member. When you’re creating an account look for spots to link your website to the user profile. Also, see if there’s a signature option available. A lot of forums have caught on and banned outside links. If this is the case, I would suggest finding yourself a new site to contribute to. Afterall, the whole point is to gain recognition for your site isn’t it? Also, it’s not smart to go onto a forum and overly promote yourself, it’s annoying and you will be quickly removed from the discussion. Sometimes, you’ll even get blocked by the administrator. Really think about a question or comment you want to post. Ask yourself, “Will this contribute to the conversation?” Give honest, helpful answers and reference facts you throw their way. This is why forums are yet another place patience goes a long way.

After you organize your plan of attack and finally post, copy the URL to help you find it again in the future. Paste this under the ‘URL of Posts’ column. Don’t forget to add the date it was posted under ‘Post Date” too. You’ll want to keep tabs on these items every now and then. Plus, it helps you keep track of your progress. Visit this column every so often and respond to reactions or a contribute to a new discussion that may have developed based upon it.

When my well is dry I turn to Facebook and Instagram for new leads. Social media is another great way to get your site noticed by companies. Make yourself a business page on Facebook and double-check the category it’s labeled under to make it easier for those targeting a niche. Type your URL in the bottom-right section titled ‘About’ to guide them there. Your email should also be included in here to help those interested contact you right away. As a sponsor, nothing is worse than wasting several hours hunting down an email address. If it’s a particularly busy day, I won’t bother searching their business name or email. I rather pass on to the next person to be honest. I can’t stress enough how readily available your contact info and URL needs to be.

Same thing goes for Instagram, your email and URL should be in your bio. Across the board, I look mainly at the follower count on social. If the person I’m looking into doesn’t have a lot of followers and there’s not much engagement there, I will automatically assume their website reflects this. So remember to build your following, post regularly and engage your audience before you turn to these places for exposure.

Once your social platforms are up-to-speed and ready to go, join or ask to be invited to several private and public Facebook groups which associate with your site’s niche. These little groups are awesome online communities where people not only develop friendships but also find life-long fans. I’ve even seen partners of mine pass on exclusive sponsorship opportunities to others in their group.

You should get used to setting time aside every day to publicize your site on the internet. Get your handy-dandy timer out and set it to an hour and a half for the first couple of weeks and then to 45 minutes after you get the hang of it. Don’t stop until you hear the ring! It’s harder than ever to set out and achieve a task on modern technology, especially with the constant *pings* of notifications begging to distract you. This is where the large cup of coffee I suggested comes into play 😉

IT’S OKAY TO GO FOR WHAT YOU WANT. Need a product for your next project? Have a certain company in mind you’d do anything to associate your brand with? It’s forevernot too brazen to email them and ask for what you’re looking for. In fact, it makes the lives of marketing managers sooo much easier! We will love you for-ev-er.  If you’re confident in the exposure you can offer them, ask to speak with their marketing manager.

When you approach a marketing manager give them all the information you will think they’ll need to research how valuable you can be to them without sounding overzealous or arrogant. Enter the conversation with a can-do mentality and be confident in your worth!

Have you ever thought of a dream company you’d like to associate your website with? What would you ask them for?

Good luck, 

Script3transp

Build Web Street Cred. with Domain & Page Authority.

There are tons of theories out there about how to increase Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA). After working with these two on a daily basis for almost a year, I’ve learned it’s all about backlinks and content. There’s no need to complicate it.

Similar to when a former boss recommends you for a position, websites can recommend your site to Google by linking to you somewhere on their site. The more websites that recommend you, the more credible your website becomes. Although Google is the only one who knows your site’s true value, third parties like Moz use a ranking system to estimate its strength.  A site’s ranking is mostly determined by a number of websites that link to you.  Based on your score,  the site can go up or down in rank.  As long as you keep your number of external links (also called backlinks) high your DA is sure to rise.

The best type of external link includes anchor text rather than a clickable image. It helps even more when those keywords relate to your site. I call this doubling up on a website recommendation. Moz reads these hyperlinked words like a new career opportunity reads an endorsement of a specific skill. And of course, keywords (or skills) also affect SEO in a positive way! Case in point, take full advantage every time a site mentions you.

There are a lot of ways to receive these recommendations, the way that gives you the most ‘brownie points’ with Google are through articles by credible sources. My dream external links have a lot of rich text with words I associate my client with. Another way is by becoming an affiliate partner or sponsor of a page. HINT AHEAD! This is how you get companies and businesses to offer you awesome sponsorship opportunities.

As a marketing partnership coordinator, whose main objective is to collaborate with those who have large followings, a HUGE thing I take into consideration is the domain authority of a person’s website. In my book, good DA ranking is anything more than 45, but companies looking for quick partnerships will go even as low as 30. If you meet these numbers companies seeking out your site for recommendations will offer you tons of cool products, fun projects and top-notch sponsorships. People could literally quit their day jobs for the type of opportunities that can come from this.

Is your DA not quite where you want it? Start adding some new, quality content to your site. Make sure they are original ideas. The more unique your content is, the better. Google eats up original content. They prefer to guide users to sites with original thoughts as a way to build credibility on the world wide web. Also, contact pages similar to yours and ask for a shout-out. You could also accomplish this via forums and blogs with guest posts.

PA is the less successful sibling of DA. It’s great to use for determining ad placements… and that’s about it. You can use it to charge an advertiser more for an appearance on a page with a higher ranking. You could also use it to keep tabs on your sites and see which of your pages is most successful.

Sometimes determining the DA of a subdomain gets tricky. In this case, it’s best to use the PA of your site’s homepage to determine its credibility. Subdomains are any site with URLs like example.wordpress.com or Eample2.Tumblr.com. FYI having your own domain and building authority on it gives you way more credibility with Google and makes more sense than a subdomain.

Stay tuned for my next post on how to get sponsors to find you once you have a good DA rank. I’ll be pointing out some forum search engines and giving some tips on approaching companies. Get email updates on my posts, scroll down to my footer and hit follow!

Happy Friday,

Chelsea Suzanne

First Blog Post

Hi there, my name is Chelsea! I’m a 25-year-old online graduate student living in Miami working two jobs and taking on fun side gigs. Most know me as the Marketing Manager of Planet Stone Inc. and Marketing Partnership Coordinator of USB Memory Direct. They are both multi-million dollar companies that I love representing and flaunting around events and the internet to build SEO and brand awareness. I also love all things Star Wars, Harry Potter, Disney and tennis.

So, for my first EVER post on here, I’m going to be laying an ugly truth on you. Marketing is not my dream job, actually, it’s nobody’s dream job really. It’s kind of like a wand in Harry Potter, it chooses you. More accurately, it’s like Ron Weasley’s first wand when it breaks. As in it never does what it’s supposed to do and most of the time backfires on you. Yet for the rare occasions when it does work, Ron looks at it with pride and stubbornly keeps using it for another chance at a 1% success rate.

Chances are if you came across this blog you’re a stubborn wizard too or you’re looking to get into the field. Either way, I’ve got some day-one ground rules for you:

  1. Get mind-numbingly used to rejection. This goes for any marketing position out there. Get used to the idea of putting yourself on the front lines at the mercy of a stranger on the other side of the table.
  2. Brush-up on those notes you took in that one psychology course required in college. It’s 95% mind games and 5% apologizing constantly. Um, HELLO?! Why aren’t psychology courses the main curriculum for a marketing degree? Wake up professors, every time you get annoyed at a marketer I hope you remember it’s all your fault you didn’t teach us how to make it enjoyable for others. If you could take a few CIA interrogation psychology courses that would also help you tremendously *wink*.
  3. Get organized. Labels, post-it notes, and agendas are your new (and now only) best friends. Sometimes you will be commuting with more people than you know what to do with and people slip through the cracks all the time. For example, on an average week I communicate with more than 150 people. Ever used the Gmail color-coded labels before? I use about five to six labels per conversation. So yah… you get the idea.
  4. Practice positivity. Just like you have to exercise more when you land an office job to promote physical health, you also have to practice more positive thoughts to promote mental health. No, marketing jobs won’t make you looney. I’m just bringing it up because it took me awhile to learn not to put my health on the back burner for work. When you clock out, take a second to clock out mentally too. Don’t bring the stress vibes home and if you do, find a way you can release them like a good cardio sesh.
  5. Make friends in the workplace. Marketing employees and managers are a dime a dozen. Making ties with those you work with only helps your chances of sticking around. Just don’t force it, no one likes the new guy who tries too hard. Share a thought out-loud or email them a question about payday dates or nearby restaurant suggestions. Sometimes around lunch, I’ll ask if anyone is in the mood for the place I’m going to eat at. I’ve made a great group of friends at work this way!

I can guess what you’re thinking already, “so then why do you it?”

Before I answer this here’s a little more insight about me: I’m aggressively competitive, annoyingly motivated, strictly results driven and I am constantly striving to be better than I was the day before. In other words, I enjoy self-torture.

So to answer your question, it’s what I’m made to do :). Like I said, I didn’t find it– it found me and I fought it for years before I learned to embrace it. I’m still learning so much and I just started graduate school in international marketing at Boston University.

Stay tuned for some fun posts about the new things I’m learning, events I’m planning and the fun projects I’m working on.

Try to keep up!