Category Archives: Personal

Is Stanford Who’s Who For Real?

Here’s the short answer: YES THEY ARE FOR REAL. I even recommend them for my blog followers.

Not only are they for real (I am a member of their online network along with thousands of others), I have used their benefits in many ways. Overall, I have made back my investment many times over.

Let me tell you what I like about them:

  1. They have a group discount network for making online purchases of computers, travel, electronics, major chain stores, flowers and much, much more. I’ve saved hundreds already. I think I saved over $100 on a purchase from Rosetta Stone language training software.
  2. I have met many people through their network which is a lot like LinkedIn in many ways. And you don’t have these awful restrictions like LinkedIn does. I am able to directly reach out to people to let them know how I can help them or to ask questions about the market they are in.
  3. It’s a bit like an online club more than a social network. I feel that I have even made good friends (often times better than people I have met through Facebook).
  4. I did receive their wall plaque and I am waiting for my directory (published once a year) which will make a great coffee table book.
  5. Finally, I like what they are doing and where they are going. I hope that they enjoy greater success than LinkedIn if they keep it up.

Is Stanford Who’s Who right for you? I think so if you are an entrepreneur and interested in self-promotion…even more so for people in different professions who are looking for some recognition for their years and experience in their field. Is that you? If so, go to StanfordWhosWho.com and get signed up and see for yourself. I get to referral fee or money in return, so please don’t feel that my motivation for this is to put money in my pocket.

I have NOT met anyone who disliked Stanford Who’s Who after trying it and I’ve met hundreds who have liked it.

What Can I Do For You?

To All Prospective Clients,

I say pretty much the same thing to my new potential clients, so if you are thinking about being one or we have talked and you would like to know more formally what I can do for you, here is what I recommend to all of my clients…

  1. Get a Blog (Either Replace Your Current Site or Add One Prominently)I know it sounds completely insane to tell people that they should move away from their current website. Many people have invested hundreds or thousands of dollars on their current website and financially it doesn’t sound like a very smooth move to move away from their existing site.Well, let me mention what a well-known Google employee has said about WordPress: Google’s Matt Cutts Praises WordPress.

    Besides, beautifully-designed WordPress blogs are FREE; yup, they are FREE. Take a look here and here for some nice designs for you for free.

    It’s inevitable that blogs and the internet will replace most forms of tried and true advertising except for billboards but that may change as well. Forget newspaper ads since newspapers are dying. Television and radio advertising are getting cheaper and cheaper as the internet (Google AdWords) cuts into their business. The future is on the internet no matter what it is, so you had better get with what that Google spokeperson says about WordPress and switch!

  2. Google AdWords (Paid Search) Versus Google SEO (Unpaid Search)I don’t necessarily believe that people should use Google AdWords as their primary advertising medium. You can get better results for free if you have the time to do it right.That being said, if you don’t have the time and you need results overnight, then you CAN achieve results quickly with Google AdWords. It’s designed to make you money overnight. It’s best if you give it several days to see how your advertising is really doing and to give yourself time to tweak and augment whatever you pay for with whatever tools are available for unpaid search, but you can get results so much faster with Google AdWords and that’s a fact.

    I can do both for you. I don’t really care to take a website that is not a WordPress blog and try to make the most out of it in terms of SEO (which I could do, mind you) but I really prefer to work with WordPress.

  3. How Do We Get Started?I like to meet in person if possible and take it from there.As far as a social media campaign that does not work in conjunction with Google AdWords, I set up the “Mesh Marketer Social Media Plan” for you which takes eight hours. If you use my web hosting, I can provide hosting for $199 per year (which is less expensive and higher-quality than anywhere you can find). I will set up your blog, connect up your Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms so that if you publish on your blog once, it will appear multiple times on Facebook, Twitter, etc. which will save you a lot of time (i.e., money) and headache.

    If you have a Google AdWords campaign that you want me to work on, I’d love to see your Google AdWords campaign if possible before we get started so that I can tell you if I can do better. I might not be able to and I will tell you if that is the case.

    The work I do typically falls into three stages for Google AdWords:

    Stage 1—Establishing a New Campaign or Putting Out The Fires in Your Current Campaign
    (1 to 3 Weeks)

    If you already have a campaign, you probably do not have an optimized campaign and it may be due to low quality scores. With my biggest Google AdWords campaign, I saved them about $25,000 a year by gutting certain keywords that have too much competition in exchange for keywords that people actually use. That seems pretty simple and obvious, but it’s not. How do you know if it’s too broad or general? You don’t until you find out.

    Stage 2—Establishing Stability
    (2 to 4 Weeks)

    If you watch the results of a Google AdWords campaign, it’s almost like watching the weather. You expect the weather to stay consistent, but it never does. You watch the temperature variation and you realize that it’s just the climate and it’s not that it’s actually too hot or too cold.

    The same goes for Google AdWords campaigns. The results look different from day to day but how the results look is always a correlate to what your keywords and ads are in that particular advertising climate. If you have many competitors, your advertising will simply cost more. If you have a regular (static and rarely updated) website versus a WordPress blog, your costs will be higher because your “relevancy” according to Google will be lower.

    Stage 3—Getting Creative and Watching For Tsunamis
    (Indefinite)

    By “Getting Creative” I mean that marketing is a creative endeavor and you always must think outside the box if you expect to get ahead of your competitors, stay relevant and keep costs down.

    By “Watching for Tsunamis” I mean that you have to be ready for the next “Google Slap” which can happen at any time. Many Google AdWords professionals lost a lot of money because they weren’t ready for the first “Google Slap” and you really need to be ready for the next one. If you don’t have a trained pro who can spot the next “Google Slap” then you will certainly lose a lot of money fast and you won’t know what hit you.

  4. When Can We Start?Right away. I’m a can-do person and I think we can always start right away. That’s just how I am. I’m never so overwhelmed that I can’t start immediately and I’m never desperate for work; it’s just a matter of planning my work so that I can include you. I typically spend 2-4 hours per week on each client’s campaigns. At the beginning, it’s typically more in Stage 1 and then it gets to about 4 hours a week in Stage 2 and then 2 hours a week in Stage 3. Much of this depends on how quickly you want to move and how much there is for me to do, but we can typically start just as soon as you are ready.

If you have any more questions or you need clarification, just drop me a line!

Facebook Premium/Gold/Beta is FAKE

fb4And don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise!

After a “friend” on Facebook shared with me a link to a group on Facebook called Facebook Premium Account, she told me that it was in Beta and that Facebook was going to start charging for their regular service and that they were giving out these accounts and that when Facebook started charging that my account would be free. I’m sure this person had the best of intentions in mind to save me from paying in the future for Facebook and to show me a thing or two about Facebook I didn’t know, but this was simply absurd.

I looked at the category for this group and it was listed under “Just for Fun – Facebook Classics” … So? What? That isn’t a clue? I then looked at the admin for the group and it was some guy named Gene Sy. I looked up Gene Sy’s profile and he sure didn’t look like the kind of guy who would be granting free passes for a company that’s probably worth a billion dollars if it were sold tomorrow; he didn’t even look like the kind of guy who would be administering a beta program. So? What? Am I the only one who sees these things?

She countered with the argument that there are so many people who were signed up. OK. So? Just because a hundred people jump off a bridge, then I should do the same thing? No. I’m not smarter than anyone else, I just notice these things that she didn’t. She really wanted to believe she had told me the truth. She started arguing and… Well, let’s just say that she’s no friend because friends are the kind of people who are willing to consider that they are wrong and they admit it when they might be or are. I’m wrong about things on a regular basis. I thought I had just brought home cucumbers and they were zucchini squash but I was wrong. And I’ve been wrong about several other things this week already. So? What? Am I the only who admits these things?

So here’s what I did after the friend had unfriended me. I wrote to Facebook at their intellectual property infringement address. Here’s what they wrote back:

Hi Joseph,

Thanks for providing this information. Please provide a link to this group or the message you received and I will look into this further.

Thanks for contacting Facebook,

Kieran
User Operations
Facebook

I wrote back and told Kieran that there are so many of these groups that all (he? she? what kind of name is kieran?) you would have to do is search for “Facebook Premium” and you’ll get over 40 hits. Most are the fake groups.

I’ll update you on this scam as I can.

Your comments are most welcome and if you have problems posting, please write to me by my first name at my domain name. Thanks!

Here’s what one of those group logo looks like. They didn’t even bother to get the right font!

UPDATE: IT’S FAKE ACCORDING TO FACEBOOK

Here’s the email I got from them after asking for absolute confirmation:

Hi Joseph,

The message you received is false and can be safely disregarded. I apologize for any confusion this has caused. If you have any further questions, please visit our Help Center at the following address:

http://www.facebook.com/help.php

Thanks for contacting Facebook,

Kieran
User Operations
Facebook

On Hiring a Consultant To Improve SEO and other stuff to get more traffic/sales

One of my best friends sells an ebook on the Internet. Several years ago he was making a very tidy sum of money (over $200,000 profit each year) from selling one ebook at XXXXXXXXXXXX.com and this was after having paid 50% in advertising to Google (I really despise Google because of the way he has been ripped off by them), so he was actually making more than $400,000 per year for several years in a row. Despite this, he was doing VERY well.

And then some interesting things started happening. His advertising from Google skyrocketed and he was losing money. He was paying more than he was earning in sales! He found out about the famous “Google Slap” and hired people to help him fix the problem. I started to help him in this area because I was already helping him out part-time on his website and had really learned the in’s and out’s of intermarketing, SEO, keywords, Google marketing campaigns, etc. from my friend.

Google has lots of free training on the internet to teach you all the things that they expect from you and so my friend wasn’t really following those things and so he started doing that more rigorously. But that didn’t always help.

Google had a number of other “slaps” for people who used their advertising for this reason and that reason; this was their way of getting their paid subscribers of their advertising to optimize their sites to help Google maintain better results but the truth is that it simply gave Google tighter control over how much money to charge.

So, I learned about this as well and started to do research into what it would take to really help my friend. I learned a lot. I learned that there were several different methods you could use that would be FREE and that would give you higher SEO rankings! This included things like getting a blog, using a newsletter, opting-in subscribers, leveraging your expertise as a subject-matter expert on Yahoo! answers and other sites of that ilk, using affiliates, using Digg, Facebook, using tons of split-testing on your site, embedding lots of video as “value-added content” according to Google’s ideals and allowing your real-world results become your coach. I had developed a ten-point plan and training based on this which I started using with various clients.

I found that basically people don’t want to do these things. My friend didn’t do them. Even many of the clients I spoke to didn’t want to take the time to do these things.

Right now, I am the one doing these things for my clients. It’s not that they are lazy, they just don’t want to have to wear yet another hat in their business.

My friend is just now starting to do these things, but he has got to the point where he is only making a couple hundred dollars a week. He is not doing well financially and that is putting it very mildly.

In the past year, my friend has paid consultants (who could not offer guarantees) about $5,000 each to “rework” his website and optimize for SEO, blah blah blah. One of them had done a really nice job of upgrading the look of the website quite nicely, but they also put in a ton of “black hat” PHP files which Google will now shut down many sites if they are using it. He now has to pay someone who knows PHP really well to remove it by hand. He paid someone recently to rework his site and the guy really did a botch job; again, another $5,000.

My advice to people is to only hire someone who will guarantee their work in writing or someone who comes highly recommended at least a month after they have shown their work to produce the desired result. Everything else is a gamble and the fact that consultants will never (with only rare exception) guarantee their work is proof that this is true. In addition, my advice is to learn the free methods to boost “organic” Google search results AND USE THEM.

This means that when you type your keywords into Google search that you appear near the top or at the top because you are doing a better job with using a blog, using a newsletter, opting-in users, leveraging your expertise as a subject-matter expert on Yahoo! answers and other sites of that ilk, using affiliates, using Digg, Facebook, using tons of split-testing on your site, embedding lots of video as “added value content” according to Google’s ideals and allowing your real-world results become your coach. As far as I am concerned, there is no other game in town than that if you expect to continue to expand as a business on the internet.

Learning more about these things is a natural part of developing yourself as a business on the internet. This is also true about anyone who becomes a photographer and ends up learning how to become an expert on getting their work published in newspapers, licensed for textbooks, sold as postcards, etc. They also learn all of the technical in’s and out’s of their camera. They also learn about printing processes so much to the point where they can teach groups of other photographers about how they had completely optimized cotton press sheets for thermal inkjet printing (which is what my wife and I learned at a Lompoc Photographers Guild meeting earlier this month).

There are really two ways to do this: either learn it and do it yourself or learn it and hire someone to do the dirty work. However, if you are like my friend and you expect to get away with not learning it and also paying someone else to do it, then you will have neither grown as a professional or grown your business. My friend still pays someone to make minor changes to his website instead of taking a Dreamweaver class and learning how to do it himself; I think this is an absolute waste of money and isn’t very wise as a business owner. It’s like paying someone to only put your calls on hold when more than one call comes in or paying someone to sharpen your pencil when the lead breaks. I’m not saying that it isn’t smarter at times to pay someone else to do what you are not good at, but it also works in reverse where you can open yourself up to being charged to death for things that you should have been doing yourself all along.

My Favorite Online Game

Maybe it’s not much of a game with points, death or bikinis, but this is my favorite online game. Why is it?

An awesome soundtrack and a very fun dune buggy sim with a loop and an open air ramp, half pipe, ramps, a giant moose, an impossibly deep hole, a ghost church and…did I say it has an awesome soundtrack? Sometimes I just shut off the sound effects and play the music while I zip around.

Enter the GEEP: http://www.gorillaz.com/geep/

Is Social Media Fool’s Gold Or A Pot Of Gold?

To all of you marketing types who want to make a buck off of me so that I can be an affiliate and maybe do what you are doing: You’re spammers and you should be treated as such.

To all of you marketing types who really want people to think that their business will make a fortune from social media marketing: You’re not being truthful and you should be treated that way.

Let me just put this as bluntly as possible:
Social media isn’t going to make you rich.

I’m grateful for a job where I get to work with social media all day. It puts food on the table and a roof over my head for me and my family; but we still need a second income for the time being. I tell you that the only people who are getting rich off of social media are the people who are getting uninformed people to be an affiliate for them to sell their Twitter services; the people who are doing it for them are not getting rich and are not making enough for one person to put food on the table and pay their rent (and car payment, health insurance, etc.).

With that being said, my employers have no illusions that they are going to make a ton of money from what I am doing for them, either. What they are already doing is what pays their bills; they already have word-of-mouth advertising and social media makes it easier for anyone to share that word-of-mouth.

I am very clear that social media is not a singular pathway for success. The same rules of the internet and marketing apply to internet marketing. I do believe it’s possible to use the internet to make a ton of money and I’ve seen it done, but it requires much more than just social media. If you expect to be successful or even wildly successful over the internet, then you need the following two things:

1. A believable message/product/service that people want.
2. A believable message that causes people to act or buy your product/service.

Let’s look at the first one. Your message needs to be believable. I don’t believe I can make a boatload of money by distributing your Twitter service. I’m the only person I know that actually makes money just from Twitter and all you other people are scamming people into believing they can do it without any work behind it or that your affiliate money will make them more than $10 a day.

Your message/product/service has to be what people want. They don’t want your message if it’s just hype. They don’t want a crappy product. They don’t want to spend money on a service that doesn’t deliver. If it isn’t what you say it is, then stop telling people about it.

Regarding price, if it’s too good to be true because the price is too low or has an unbelievably high price, well then that is a believability issue. The question, “Is it worth it?” depends on how believable the offer is.

Now let’s look at the second one.

No one will take action for you politically or as an activist or spread the word if your message isn’t believable or if it’s ineffective in getting them to sign a petition or call their Congressional Representative or donate money. The same goes for selling widgets or widget cleaning service. If the message is ineffective, forget it. You really need to think about what they find appealing and not what you find appealing.

You need to stop thinking about your reasons about why they would spend their money, donate, call someone, spread the word, retweet your message, sign up for webhosting, etc.

Where does social media fit into this?

Well, you need to start with the basics by winding the clock back a couple years pre-Twitter. Let’s start with your website and/or blog (a blog IS really necessary for social media to work effectively and efficiently). Is it professional-looking? Does it scream SALES!! (That’s the kiss of death, isn’t it?!) Is it easy to naviagate? Are the words spelled correctly? Is it SEO-optimized? Do you have RSS? Without all these things, forget about using social media to leverage your website/blog; leverage is a good word here because once people jump from Twitter to your link, they need to believe what they see and want what you have to offer.

And now let’s go back before you needed a website to do business in the light of social media. Let’s start look at your product. Is it something that can be communicated without video or audio? How many people are you reaching and how can they find you? What kind of offline advertising do you have and are you going to throw away a heap of money using Google advertising? (If so, you’re nuts!)

How effective is your advertising anyway? Are you getting new customers? Are your customers quickly aware of new lines of product or improvements or your latest good deeds that your company has done?

Now let’s look at social media again and look at what it takes in addition to these things but keeping one thing in mind:

Social Media IS Word-of-Mouth Advertising

Are friends adding themselves to your Facebook, Twitter, etc.? Is your fan page on Facebook getting fans? That’s a sign that your product or service is getting good referrals.

Are your articles or posts or videos getting linked? That’s a sign that your content or advertising has value. In case you didn’t know Google is not treating websites well if they don’t have “value” in their eyes which they mean to translate into the fact that Google users find value in it.

Are you getting more RSS followers? In other words, are people subscribing to you? Do they want to know when you utter something profound?

Are you getting people to opt-in to a mailing list? This is really important and even more so if you have not been getting them to opt-in but have been collecting addresses; you don’t know it but you are setting yourself up for failure without getting those addresses opted-in.

Summary

If you have covered all these things, then your social media plan will help your business grow in presence on the internet and people will be giving you plenty of free word-of-mouth advertising. Will that make you a pot of gold? No. Will that help you to make you the pot of gold that you were already making? Absolutely. Using social media is expansion and it’s not expensive. You’d be a fool not to use it, but you’d be a bigger fool if you thought that social media alone will get you a pot of gold.

Graphic Creative Commons Attribution: Pot o’ Gold by pCka