CEI 035: Design Elements Every Online Entrepreneur Should Know

designing websitesToday Megan interviews Christina Gunn, Firepole’s own design lead, on the design elements that you must be aware of when building a website.

Design is a big term that covers a lot of territory. In the context of our conversation today, Tweet it! design is the perfect marriage of something working better because it looks better.

Listen up for details on how a good design effects your website visitors, how to plan out your first website, and what to pay attention to on your website – even if you don’t have the budget for a graphic designer!

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Why the Clickbait Era Will Die (and What Will Replace It)

Photo credit: Karen Roe

Isn’t it nice?

You just published your latest blog post, podcast episode, or YouTube video.

For the moment, it’s another job well done. Thoughts of overnight success swirl in your head as it’s time to tell the world again, “Hey, look! I made this from scratch!”

This is what’s known as clickbait – creating content whose main purpose is to encourage people to click back to your website.

But creating all that content is stressful, time intensive, and often exhausting.

There has to be another way to market your brand without constantly conjuring clever headlines and running on the new content treadmill, right?

You bet your sweet booty there is!

That better way is called curating.

I believe we should curate our entire existence, and then choose which parts to remix and share. That’s because our marketing is stronger when it’s not limited to curating only “content.”

It’s time to learn Experience Curating … and let the world market you for a change.

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Don’t Be An Expert – Do This Instead

say it loud... world is mine!“Be an expert.”

How many times have you received this advice, and how many times have you advised people to do this?

Come on, admit it: you have, haven’t you?

I have received this professional advice from pretty much every expert, ninja, guru, and maven I know.

Tweet it! When I am invited to speak somewhere, people want to know my expertise. When I tell them I am not an expert, their jaws drop. Their expressions remind me of my businessman father’s when I told him I want to study literature and be an artist.

They are shocked; they want to help me. They feel more sorry for me when they find out I am a certified filmmaker from New York University and a master’s degree holder from Columbia University.

“Really?” some ask in disbelief.

I don’t blame them.

We are so entrenched in this be-an-expert business that we fail to realize that what we think of as our USP (unique selling proposition) is the common denominator between us and our competitors.
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5 Unusual Ways to Leverage Your Audience – Even if It’s Small

5 Unusual Ways to Leverage Your Audience“The money is in the list” has become a mantra in the online marketing circles. And though I think the statement is crippled, there’s truth to it.

But it’s overshadowing the other ways you can leverage your list.

Tweet it! Even if you don’t have thousands of subscribers, you can still get tremendous value from them . All you need to do is get a little creative.

Not all of these ideas will fit in with what you do. But if even one of them works well, the results can be impressive.

1. Create Something They Get By Sharing It

When people are already on your list, you shouldn’t ask them to join your list (again) to get a freebie (or “giveaway,” “opt-in bribe,” etc.). Instead, you should ask for something else.

Sharing a link to the freebie’s landing page (where new people can get it by joining your list) in social media is one of the best, easy things you can ask for.
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20 Ways Social Media Can Destroy You

Social Media FailureSocial media is considered to be one of the most important functions on the internet. It allows web surfers to share and discuss information that they deem valuable. With almost 400 million people logging into their social media accounts daily, it is a resource that should be impossible to ignore.

Never in the internet’s short yet explosive history has there been anything as exciting, and as potentially useful when it comes to marketing and brand recognition, as social media.

In fact, it is the most provocative tool to hit marketing since the television first premiered and began sprouting in consumer living rooms. Any business or person who truly cares about their brand and wants it to grow will partake in social media.

One of the things that makes social media even more exciting than television (and radio for that matter) is that people will have a much harder time zoning out your marketing as they do with other commercial platforms.

When consumers watch television, they use those five to seven minutes of commercials for bathroom breaks, food runs, or they fade out completely (not to mention those who get angry and fling their slippers across the room).

With radio, the simple spinning of the dial or push of a button jumps from one station that is going into a marketing set to a station that is still jamming.

Even a website can be prone to the zone. Remember banner ads? (Most people do not even see them anymore.) Social media is straight marketing entertainment for one and all… no zoning required.

However, as fast as social media can propel a business, it can also destroy it almost overnight.
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CEI 033: Danny Iny on Leading a Team

Today on Connect, Engage, Inspire, the tables are turned – Danny is in the hotseat, getting interviewed by Megan! We talk about organizing his time, his day and all of the steps he’s taken to improve entrepreneurial productivity.

How does Danny get so much done?

Well we’re not sure, but he definitely doesn’t spend much time looking into different tools and technology that aid with productivity. He pretty much sticks to waking up and buckling down. But he does shares some in depth insights that can help you and your business’ time management and productivity. Listen up!

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Referrals, Strategic Alliances & Other Schemes – Why Asking the Right Question Matters!

Group of business people working together in the office.In August, I will have been a practising attorney for twenty years, and for the last seven of those years I have been a business coach as well.

One of the things I’ve discovered in all that time is that clients almost never ask the questions they should be asking.

Instead, and I guess not surprisingly, they ask what they know about. Which of course leaves us as service professionals giving answers that aren’t necessarily the best fit for our client, or doing lots of digging trying to figure out the what the real question might be.

Digging has become a habit for me.

The Wrong Question Refrain

One day, I was reading an email from a highly respected marketer where he was answering a question from one of his readers. And as I was reading, I began to wonder – given the reader’s situation  – why in the world she was asking THAT question.

Now, this marketer is really good and he answered her question thoroughly. But all I could think was – wrong question, great answer, wrong question, wrong question, wrong question, great answer, wrong question . . . It was playing a sad refrain in my head like a bad medley that gets stuck and won’t go away.

The question was (and I’m paraphrasing here): how to affordably use paid referral/affiliate marketing strategies to promote and sell a new product and still be profitable. The business was in the start-up stage with a lot of high upfront costs for both start-up and product production. The reader asked a very intelligent question based on what she knew.
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The Great Online Marketing Scavenger Hunt 2014 Winners

Gold cup with crest and laurelIt has been an extremely exciting 3 weeks while the Great Online Marketing Scavenger Hunt has been running. Hundreds of participants led by a crew of exceptionally keen high-scorers have, combined, completed thousands of activities to expand their reach and ability online.

It’s been a great game.

From getting their first guest posts to making new friends and new professional connections, learning new skills, trying new technologies and getting new ideas – I’m pretty confident that everyone who has participated has seen some benefit from having done so.

There have been hundreds of Tweets with the #FPMScavHunt hashtag, dozens of great comments on the blog, a couple of pins and more creativity and cleverness than I know what do do with.

Of course, no games are without their ups and downs. And while we had far more ups than we had downs this time around, I know I learned a good lesson about how to arrange and give credit for bonus points! Next year – a tie-breaker scenario will be planned for WELL in advance. ;-)

Overall though – the technology worked and the new self-scoring worked MUCH better than the peer monitoring of last year. I think next year’s hunt will be even better. [Read more...]

Is It Spring Yet? A Still Snowy Best of the Web

Best of the WebNow that the days are longer and it’s almost officially spring – isn’t there supposed to be less snow on the ground? Oh well – maybe next month. ;-)

Snow or not, the interesting work of the web goes on.  As business owners the hustle never ends.

At Firepole, things are going great. We’re getting ready to open the doors of the Audience Business Masterclass again in April and our team is working hard to make everything perfect.

But there’s always time to be reading and learning online – and not shortage of fascinating articles, videos and graphics to keep us stimulated.

So without further ado, here’s the Best of the Web!
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Revive Your Goals with CPR (Cultivating Positive Relationships)

Revive Your Goals with CPR (Cultivating Positive Relationships)Robert Steven Kaplan, Baker Foundation Professor at Harvard Business School, speaks of the importance of giving something of yourself, confiding something, when building relationships.

I’ll confide something right of the bat: I don’t care much for cutesy, gimmicky titles, which over-promise and under-deliver.

So permit me to explain what CPR is in the context of reaching your business goals and to make clear that I am not implying your goals are languishing on life-support.

CPR refers to Cultivating Positive Relationships, and it is the single biggest reason for the professional successes I’ve had. I’ll go so far to say, in fact, that I have fed my family on the strength of my ability to build relationships. I have attained executive leadership positions where the other applicants were at least as qualified, and I have enjoyed success in those roles because of CPR.

And for those writers/bloggers out there, I can tell you my own literary endeavors have effervesced exponentially because of CPR as well. Yes, you need to have good work, but that is only the beginning if you want to get published and get known.

I don’t think your goals are at death’s door. You are smart; you do good work. But whether it’s your small business, the book you’ve written or are writing, or whatever your goal, if things have not taken off the way you know they can, then CPR can breathe new life, give  a jolt, and help your dreams take wing.
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