The purpose of leveraging content online is to attract, engage and convert. Simple! So, in this information society tools and technology can greatly improve the effectiveness, and efficiency, of blogging and internet marketing.
If you’re reading this you are thinking about, or already are, producing content online with the purpose of sharing your passion and/or expertise with a view to generate revenue in some capacity. Right?
For that, congratulations! (Or, ‘Hazah’ as we would say in England!)
When I started my own business helping others improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their sales and marketing I was confident in my ability to market to my audience, manage the sales process and ultimately sell my services. What I overlooked was that a large part of my business was being done online, and this was a fairly new concept to me. As it is to most of us!
When we’re blogging, internet marketing, leveraging content marketing, or what ever it may be, we are in the business of:
- Raising awareness of our work
- Driving traffic to our site
- Engaging and retaining visitors/prospects
- Converting those visitors into revenue (whether as customers or through affiliate/partner programs)
This poses a challenge. Your content is undoubtedly great and your desire to improve your results is unquestionable (otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this). Where the challenge comes, is the effectiveness of being able to market, manage and sell.
Technology and tools are a great source for enabling you to get to where you want to be faster! Here is a list of tools that can be implemented with out much fuss and are either free or affordable.
(Full disclosure – I am not an affiliate for any of the solutions listed below. I just like what they do!)
Must Have Tools For Blogging and Internet Marketing
- A RSS Feed creator – Use something like FeedBurner to generate a simple RSS feed that can be used for content syndication, search in readers (e.g. Feedly) AND retaining visitors. If your blogging, you want to get your content in as many places as possible and this will help.
- Appealing social connect buttons – If you’re happy for visitors to leave your site to connect with you on social channels I recommend using something like Subscribe and Connect (a WordPress plugin) OR if you want to keep visitors on your site (which is optimal for bloggers) use individual social website plugin buttons. We know social media is integral in internet marketing, doing it effectively can help boost results.
- Social sharing – Personally, I use both TweetDeck, ShareThis and Buffer. If your using social media to attract, engage and convert then it’s important to both share to multiple sites easily, track interesting conversations/people and systematically post at optimal times. The three of these can enable you to do this effectively in less time. Another social platform to look at is HootSuite.
- A URL creator – It’s likely your content will be distributed across the world wide web, using a URL creator will both enable effective trackbacks and analytics. Tools like Bit.ly, Ow.ly and Pretty Link are great for this.
- List Building, Email Marketing and Lead Nurturing – One of the most effective ways to engage and nurture an audience until the point of revenue generation is through email. Offering a particularly informative piece of content through download is still one of the most overlooked activities. Use tools like AWeber, MailChimp or iContact. They are all affordable (if not free) and offer the most integration opportunities with other technology.
- A Landing Page creator – If you have anything to sell, a product or a service to promote, grab either LeadPages (this is Ms. Ileane’s aff. link) or OptimizePress (which also has membership site capabilities). These are affordable at approximately $100+ and can make a big difference to conversions.
- A graphics creator – For banner ads and anything else unique you may choose to create your own graphics to save money. Inkscape and G.I.M.P (The GNU Image Manipulation Program) work well and are free. Ms. Ileane is a fan of PicMonkey which is another free online tool. You can watch her PicMonkey Tutorial to see how easy it is to use.
- An e-book cover creator – If you’re creating content across multiple platforms or online products to sell you will want 3D images that ‘pop’. An affordable service is MyECoverCreator.
- Contact Management – Email list building is one thing. Managing your prospects, network, customers and vendors is another. Contactually is a great solution for maintaining information and keeping in touch with people. It has a host of built in tools and features that are simply awesome! IF you want to go one step further and manage things in more depth grab a CRM system like Salesforce.com, Zoho or Highrise
- Payment Collection and Gateways – To take your online activity from a hobby to a business you will want to get paid, no? PayPal is the obvious choice, although you may also want to implement (or check out) AuthNet.
The list could go on. I want to stop here as it would be interesting to hear what you would add to the list. Add a comment below to start the discussion.
Thanks for reading and happy blogging!
If you would like more information on effective sales and marketing you can grab the free resources on Michael’s website
PICMONKEY TUTORIAL VIDEO TRANSCRIPT
Hey everybody it’s Ileane from Basic Blog Tips.
In this video I want to talk to you about images and an application you can use with Google Chrome called PicMonkey.
PicMonkey is a neat little application that lets you touch up photos and make collages and do all kinds editing or adding text to your videos. Just go right over to The Chrome Store and upload it and it will be an application on your browser but stay tuned because I’m also gonna show you how to integrate it with Google Drive.
Once you install the application you’ll find it on your desktop when you open up a blank tab. Now, it’s a free application but you can also pay to get the upgrades and the upgrades give you some additional functionality. But we’re just gonna take a look at the free version. So here you would just click to open or drag a photo right there. Now when you open up the image, of course you’ll have all your basic functions just like you would with any other editing software. You can crop or you can rotate. But I wanted to show you a couple of tricks that I use. I like to use this section called frames.
This is one of my favorites, its simple edge. But what I do is I normally will get rid of the extra edge there. Then I’ll turn the thickness to match the image. So in this case I’m going to make it white. But you notice you have the eyedropper tool there, so you really can pick any color you want from within the image but I’m going to keep it white. And what I like here is you can add a caption which makes the border at the bottom of the image bigger. Then you can go into the text tool and pick your text and they have lots of free fonts here. You’ll notice anytime you see this little crown, that means that its one of the paid tools. So you’ll have to pay for those. But lets just use one of the free ones.
So you select the font then you pick add text then you can also change the color. Ok this time lets use a nice purple color. And then you can align the text how you want, center it. I choose this “Lets give them something to talk about”. I know, I know, I gotta work on my singing.
But there’s few other options here you can check out. You can add some type of uh, emoticons. There’s just all kinds of things, you could spend all day just looking through all the things that you can do with images. Then when you’re all done of course you just save your image and it gives you a choice of the quality that you want to save it at and it lets you know what your dimensions are and the size of the file that you’re gonna be saving. So if you, they use the 007 thing here – and if you want Roger, Pierce or Sean quality of your images. Of course if you pick Sean you’re gonna get a much higher quality image.
But let me do as promised and show you how to integrate PicMonkey with Google Drive. So now lets just close this out. Now over in Google Drive I’ve already uploaded that same image. And I have to give a shout out to the Google Gooru, he’s the one who taught me this little tip here. When you just choose the item that you want to open, in this case your gonna do image, go over here to more and then “open with”.
In this case we’re gonna choose PicMonkey. Now when you make all of your edits to your image, and you save it – let’s just do something with colors here, change the temperature- its going to save the image that you have in drive. So you don’t have to download it to your computer, it will be in google drive. Lets go back over to google drive and take a look. See there’s that alteration that I made of the color. This will also come in handy because you’re not altering your original|image, you still have that on your computer. But you’re altering the one.
Maybe you want to use this in a presentation, you’re making SlideShare presentations or you can use it for Google Docs, whatever you want to do its in the cloud and you still have your original intact saved on your computer. So in order to connect any applications with Goggle Drive you would just go over here to “open with” and at the bottom it says “connect more apps”. Then you will go through the apps that are available for connection with Google drive and, you know, just look for PicMonkey.
But of course there’s a bunch of other ones here that you can check out. One last option is you just download this image directly from drive back onto your computer. You might want to change the name or save it in a different folder. So there you go guys, check out the PicMonkey app for Google Chrome. And have some fun. You can use those images for Pinterest, of course, and Facebook posting, and Google + likes images as well. So get started with PicMonkey. Thanks for joining me today and while you’re on YouTube subscribe to my channel, connect with me on my blog, which is basicblogtips.com, and you can also follow my podcast and that’s the Ms. Ileane Speaks podcast. I’ll talk to you soon. Thanks so much for joining me and have a great day.