Ask the Readers: The Best of Free or May-as-Well-Be-Free

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There’s a lot of cool stuff out there you can get for free, mostly for free, or initially for free.

Training, tutorials, information, software, services – lots of it, much of it high quality, and for nothing but the cost of your email address.

Some of my absolute favorite free things are:

WP Landing Pages, a free plugin for wordpress that let’s you create landing pages on the quick-fast.

The GIMP, an open source image editing software, that does most of what Photoshop does – but totally for free.

There’s a difference between these two free softwares.

The Gimp is straight-up free. It’s built on the philiosophy of non-profit, open source code. The people who work on the GIMP and other systems like it do it for love, for passion, from a sense of the common good, or to earn an income on a donation basis. [Read more...]

Are You Making This Critical Mistake With Your Profile and Blog Images?

Eat PopcornIt’s funny how, once you become aware of something, it stands out everywhere.

For those of you who are old enough to remember going to the movies, they would flash subliminal messages to get patrons to buy more popcorn.

The message flashed so fast that no one noticed on a conscious level.

Subconsciously it worked so well, the practice was outlawed.

We humans take in a lot of information without the benefit of being conscious about it.

While reading posts on Firepole Marketing, I kept seeing subliminal visual messages of the wrong kind. I just couldn’t stand it any longer, so I wrote to Danny about a grievous error he was making.

Low and behold, an invitation to write guest post about this error – which many bloggers and marketers make – appeared in my inbox.

Tweet it! I see this subliminal messaging error all over the internet, all the time. One quick fix can skyrocket your engagement.

[Read more...]

CEI 030: Authenticity and Assignment Selling with Marcus Sheridan

Today on Connect, Engage, Inspire, Danny interviews his good friend Marcus Sheridan, or as you may know him: The Sales Lion. We talk about assignment selling and how authenticity is what’s really at the core of successful businesses.

In order for Marcus to prevent his swimming pool company from going under (excuse the pun!), he decided instead to embrace content marketing. After refocusing on engagement, his company has taken off.

Marcus unravels Assignment Selling and how it can benefit your business. He also shares with us, what he gets, that other entrepreneurs just don’t! Listen up =)

[Read more...]

5 Pinterest Strategies to Drive Traffic to Your Website

5 Pinterest Strategies Traffic WebsiteI have an admission: I joined Pinterest for fun.

I’m a 30-something professional woman, and I couldn’t resist its allure. Pinning recipes, crochet patterns, DIY beauty ideas, and quotes was too much fun to resist. And, of course, I pinned a few of my favorite blog posts from my own site.

And then something unexpected happened.

Tweet it! Pinterest became my biggest referral traffic source (after Google organic search results.)

So I took notice. I did more of what was working – creating more boards, pinning more content – and saw my traffic from Pinterest continue to increase.

I have a service-based business (holistic health coaching), which means I don’t sell physical products. (Some online marketers will tell you that Pinterest is only good for businesses who sell physical products.)

That’s when I realized that Pinterest has serious potential to drive traffic to your website - if you approach it in the right way.

The problem is that most people don’t.

[Read more...]

7 Proven Steps to Win Back 20+ Hours Every Month

7 Proven Steps to Win Back 20+ Hours Every MonthYou want to scale your business, but you can’t seem to find the time to make it happen.

Or maybe you are finding the time, but it’s at the expense of other things in your life.

Things like family, staying fit, hobbies, vacations, etc.

And you know that improved productivity could be the answer.

So you read post after post on the topic. Maybe you’ve even read a few books too.

You find dozens of time-saving tips and decide to try them out.

But a few days later, you are right back where you started.

Why Most Productivity Advice Doesn’t Work

If most productivity tips actually worked, there wouldn’t be a need for so many blogs and books on improving productivity. Here are the two reasons that most of these tips don’t work.

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Are You Making These 3 Embarrassing Copywriting Mistakes?

3 Copywriting Mistakes - Firepole MarketingYou probably fall into one of two camps:

If you’re in the first camp, you change the copy on your website a few times a month in an attempt to make it sound better. (Like I do!)

If you’re in the second camp, you haven’t updated your website copy in so long, it’s practically fossilized.

Whether you’re constantly fiddling with it or ignoring it altogether, the end result is the same . . .

Your copy is “just okay.”

But “just okay” isn’t good enough for you. You want to stand out. You want to sound like yourself. You want to grow a loyal following of people who get you and appreciate what you’re trying to do.

That’s why, for my Project ABC Update this month, I’m sharing three website copywriting mistakes I’m seeing many of my clients make.

I’m also going to tell you how to erase these mistakes. So if you recognize these stumbling blocks in your own writing, keep reading for easy solutions. [Read more...]

Small Business Planning: Why Start-Ups Can’t Tweet, Blog, Digg and Stumble All Day Long

All industries survive by dint of a mutual agreement that certain things matter.

The arrangement seems to go that if enough people start to say the same thing in unison, theories become facts and pretty soon gospel. In this regard, digital marketing is worse than most: after all, it’s our job description to broadcast information, so telling other people to do the same thing is really only fueling our own credibility.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that, for almost all but the largest businesses, this is a habit we need to curb.

A recent Forbes article commented, “despite their dedication and belief that social media is the Hail Mary of small business owners everywhere, more than 60% of small business owners say they haven’t seen any return on their investment from their engagement online. None.”

Here’s why…

[Read more...]

CEI 029: Writing Online With Jeff Goins

Today on Connect, Engage, Inspire, we sit down with Jeff Goins, a friend of Danny’s and an amazing writer. Jeff and his business focuses on writing, and helping other writers and communicators with their process.

We talk about how he got started, and why it’s so difficult to self-identify with being a Writer. We also talk about what it looks like to take yourself seriously as a writer and how to “turn pro” with your writing.

Writing isn’t all about the writing though– it’s linked to marketing, engagement and thinking outside of the box. Listen in to find out how you can make connections, write content and be a successful writer (or just to get incredibly inspired)!

[Read more...]

The Definitive Guide to Writing Blogger Roundup Queries

upset girlThere comes a time in every blogger’s week, when they open their inbox and groan.

It’s not because there are too many emails.

It’s not because there are spammy guest post pitches.

It’s not because of a pile of reader complaints.

It’s another roundup request.

You know what I’m talking about – a bright eyed new (or experienced!) blogger with a song in their heart and a gleam in their eye with dreams of massive traffic spikes running through their heads dashes off a heartfelt and flattering request to three dozen of their very favorite industry authorities and waits for the amazing, and link-juice rich, responses to come flooding back to them.

I can’t speak for all of us, but I think I might – these can be as annoying as heck.

It’s not that I don’t want to help – I do!

And it’s not that I don’t think these bloggers have the best of intentions – earnestly desiring to create value for their readers and build their businesses – I am sure that’s the case the vast majority of the time.

It’s not even that I’ve got a busy day, and this will take a half hour of it – I’ll always make the time to help someone out if I can – and it’s lovely to be considered an expert.

It’s that the requests are bad.

They’re terrible.

They’re vague and bereft of context.

Short and out of nowhere.

Void of almost any detail that would help me help them in a satisfactory way.

Enough is enough.

This is the ultimate, definitive reference for anyone who wants to do a round-up post of major bloggers.

Please, read this. Send it to your friends, your families, new bloggers you think might someday want to do a roundup post. Small children learning to type who might blog someday. Everyone.

The bloggers you approach will thank you.

And they’ll probably say yes. ;-) [Read more...]

What’s Your Business Plan for the Zombie Apocalypse?

What's Your Business Plan for the Zombie ApocalypseYou’ve barricaded the doors and windows, divvied up the emergency rations, and the secretary has even found a chainsaw in the supply cupboard. The undead are outside, beating at the doors and moaning incoherently as they try to find a way inside to feast on your glorious, entrepreneurial brain.

Will your business survive the zombie apocalypse? Not without a plan.

A disaster recovery plan is vital for any business

While the above scenario is pretty unlikely to happen, what if it did? Would you be prepared? What would happen if an earthquake destroyed your office? Or an arsonist set fire to your servers?

When Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in 2005, it not only claimed 1,800 lives, but also caused more than $600 million in damage to infrastructure and communications across the region. Without the ability to reach clients and continue business, many companies were forced to close their doors.

And that is very sad and very, very real.

Imagine you were a business in that area. Even if you and your family escaped with your lives, even if your home and office weren’t turned to rubble, without access to your files, could you keep running your business?

So take some time today to prepare a zombie apocalypse plan for your business. Here’s what you need to think about: [Read more...]