I have recently started a new business with two friends called Tundra Apps. As you can probably guess from the title, we develop apps for mobile devices. Specifically, for the Android market. We released our first app, Concrete Calculator, at the end of February and have had very good success with it. The app is designed to assist individuals in calculating how much pre-mix concrete they need for specific projects, such as pouring a new driveway or sidewalk. It will even help calculate the number of patio blocks you need based on your dimensions.
Our second app, TundraVersions, was released shortly afterwards and is a simple unit conversion app available for free on the Android market. If you visit our website, you can get details on each app along with pictures and demo videos.
Now, you’re probably wondering “what on EARTH does this have to do with my business?” I can answer that question, and it is essentially the subject of this entire post. But I wanted to give you some background first.
My friend initially came to me with the idea of starting an app business back in late November of last year. We decided to do some analysis to see how feasible it would be. When we decided we wanted to move forward with the business, we decided to bring another friend of ours aboard. All three of us are programmers by trade. However, given the time it takes me to run my primary business, carry on a family life, ATTEMPT to keep my blogs up-to-date, and hold down a job there was just no way I would be able to dedicate the amount of time required to help develop apps.
Instead, I offered my services in another area of the business: marketing. And here’s where things will start to make sense for you. You see, the other two partners are extremely good developers. However, they simply don’t know enough about marketing online. However, I have several years worth of experience in this area. So I have been the individual responsible for marketing our website, our business, and our apps.
So what have I been doing? Exactly what I have been writing about since I started this blog. I’ve used the following techniques to promote our site and apps:
I think you get the picture. Everything I have discussed in the blog for use with your home business isn’t ONLY for a network marketing or affiliate business. It even expands beyond a home business. These topics I have discussed can be used for ANY business. And In just our 2 1/2 months, I have used these techniques to improve our Alexa ranking significantly. Using these techniques, I have been able to get our first app, Concrete Calculator, listed as either the 1st or 2nd app shown in the marketplace when searching for concrete calculator. And even through there are hundreds of unit conversion apps, TundraVersions is one of the top ones listed.
It is why I feel confident about promoting our next apps. Because I know the tricks to promotion on the web, and I have passed these tips along to you. Hopefully you have gained as much out of the tips as I have. And if you happen to have an Android phone, take a look at the apps we have available. Or in the true true network marketing spirit, pass the info along to someone you know.]]>
So what are they and how do you use a QR Code for your business? Quite simply, a QR Code is a 2D barcode. If you have a mobile device with a barcode scanner/reader, you simply scan the image. But these codes are far more powerful than traditional barcodes. Because of the 2D image, they can store more information that a standard barcode. For instance, you can use a QR code to link to a website, scan in contact information, or in this case send the user directly to an app on the Android market.
You can see the possibilities here. Go ahead and scan the image if you have an Android mobile device. You will immediately be taken to an app called TundraVersions on the Android market. This creates curiosity for people wondering where the code is going to take them. Thus, you drive traffic to your website or market.
Likewise, you can use QR codes on Facebook. Need a unique way to try and drive traffic to your blog or online store? Post a new article, then get a QR Code that points to your website. Send out emails with a code as your signature. Whatever you can think of to generate interest and get people to scan your image.
Now, exactly how do you go about creating one of these QR Codes? That’s easy. There are several websites on the web which will create codes for you. Kaywa will create codes to take your users to a website, display text to them (maybe you want to show a promo code), or scan a phone nbr. ZXing will allow you to create codes for URLs, contact info, calendar events, email addresses, and more. Create one to link to your social media site. I think you’re getting the idea here. The old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words” could not be more appropriate here.
So take some time to spice up your advertising, marketing, and promotion. Start using QR Codes. Not only do they create curiosity and drive traffic, but they can be fun and they make you look like you are on the cutting edge.
To Your Success.]]>
The method to writing a press release is similar to writing an eZine article. Use Google Adwords to find the keywords you should go after. Write up a title containing one or more of those adwords. Write a summary containing 2-4 sentences and use those keywords again. Then write your release. Again, using those keywords throughout your text.
How To Do It
The process is not difficult at all, and the rewards greatly outweigh the costs. Some press release sites will allow you enter tags, or keywords, to link with your article. As long as you remember the general rules for writing, you can compose an informative press release.
Remember to focus in on the basics: Who, what, where, when, how, and why. Make sure you cover all these aspects within your release in order to give the reader as much information as possible. Tell them who you are, what your release is about, where they can get additional information, etc.
Most of these sites also a paid subscription to their services. The benefits can range anywhere from allowing multiple links in your release, inserting images, a further reaching audience, or a combination of these.
Finding a Site
The next step is choosing a decent site for your press releases. I found a great list of the top 20 free press release sites. This would be a very good place to begin your research and analysis. Personally, I use Free Press Release for mine. The process is very straightforward and easy to use. And a high Alexia ranking translates into its popularity with others. In fact, after just one day following my first press release I had received over 170 hits to my site.
So suffice to say, writing and submitting a press release can be very valuable to growing your business and receiving more hits on your website.
To Your Success]]>
There are several methods to get customers. Advertising, social media promotion, and referrals just to name a few. Of course, you also need to provide a good service or offer products people want and need. But that is just the start.
You can be the world’s greatest marketer and constantly obtain new customers. But if you are not providing goods and services people want or need, they either won’t buy from you or they won’t come back again. Your goal here is to make people happy and give them what they need. Because the best source of promotion is word-of-mouth…referrals. I’ve said time and time again, people buy from people they know, like, and trust. Therefore, if a customer is very happy with your goods and services, they are more likely to tell friends and family about them. And because they already have a relationship with these people, they are more likely to buy from you.
It all boils down to customer service and helping people. Given two companies, each selling the same products, people will gravitate towards the company where they get the best service. There is something else to consider here as well: Karma. To see what I mean, have a look at this quote from Brian Tracy:
“The more credit you give away, the more will come back to you. The more you help others, the more they will want to help you”.
Helping others. This is what it is really about. If you have a genuine interest in helping people, it will show through. People will not only notice this, but they will appreciate it. And the more they appreciate it, the greater the odds they will tell others about you.
In a nutshell…
Getting customers is the easy part. Helping those customers, treating them with respect, and getting them what they want and need is how you keep them. It is also how how you build up a reputation and acquire more leads via referrals from these customers. So keep the Golden Rule in mind: “Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You”. Not only will your business be better for it, but you will as well.]]>
I aim to continue to provide useful pieces of information to help you with your home business. But I guess that’s the beauty of having a home business in the first place…the ability to take time off for yourself when you need to.
So, I hope you all have a great holiday season and you’ll be seeing more come January.]]>
The Ant and The Grasshopper ~ Aesop
An Ant was spending a frosty winter’s day drying grain he had collected during the summertime. A Grasshopper, dying of hunger, passed by and earnestly begged for a little food. The Ant inquired of him, “Why did you not stock up on food during the summer?” He replied, “I had no time. I passed my days singing.” The Ant then said in derision, “If you are foolish enough to sing all summer, you’ll dance supperless to bed in winter.”
So what does this story have to do with your home business? It is simply a lesson on being prepared. If the economy suddenly turns south, are you prepared for it? Do you need to start planning ahead now to protect yourself? The answer to that question is, undeniable, YES. To get some insight into what we are facing, I would recommend watching this 10min video to get an overview, and to opt-in to watch the full 90-min video. But time is of the essence, as the videos will be coming down at midnight on Sunday, Dec 19th (TODAY).
A quick economics lesson, along with a few charts will help illustrate this point. There has been something very scary going on in the U.S the last couple of years, and that is the government’s action of printing money. Not to mention the issue of the government spending much more money than they take in. Now, if your business was spending more money than it was taking in, you would soon go out of business. However, the federal government can delay this action simply because they can print more money to pay for their debts.
In fact, with all the bailouts, social programs, and pork recently, the U.S. has printed more money in the past 24-months than in the first 200yrs of existence. As more money is added to the economy, the actual value of the money decreases. And as the value of the dollar decreases, it now costs more dollars to pay for items. This chart shows the amount of money in the system. Notice the point where we went vertical…right along with the first bailout.
This is known as inflation, and it is already starting to rear its ugly head. For instance, the price of cotton has increased 100% in the last year. Grain, oil, metals…all increased last year. And if people are paying more for groceries, heat, and gas they may be less likely to spend money on your products. You need to prepare yourself and your business for this.
Take a look at these next two charts. They show the price of gold and silver over the past 30yrs. Notice how the price of both metals increase right along with the increase in the money supply?
Another interesting point to make is the fact that the U.S. Dollar has been the world’s reserve currency for the last several years. However, as the value of the dollar continues to decrease, this run may very well be coming to an end. You see, the dollar used to be backed by gold. However, in 1971, President Nixon took us off the gold standard, turning the dollar into a fiat currency overnight. And history shows us, a fiat currency has NEVER been able to survive. What happens if the dollar is no longer the world’s reserve currency? Or if it fails entirely? The value of the dollar will go down even further, and prices will continue to rise. You may think this could never happen in the U.S., but it already is.
Remember the story of the Ant and the Grasshopper? Wouldn’t you rather prepare for winter by storing grain versus having no grain? If it is a mild winter, well…then you are still no worse off. But if it is a bad winter, you are prepared. This is the time you need to consider a purchase of gold and silver to protect your assets. Don’t wait around like the Grasshopper. Prepare now before it is too late.
Again, arm yourself with information and knowledge. Don’t just take my word for it. Watch this video to see for yourself the 7 stages of currency, where we are now, and what the future is going to bring.]]>
What kind of spam?
Generally, I have noticed a few methods of spamming in the comments sections of my various posts. One basic method is to simply insert a generic comment, but then to include some type of link for the posters own personal gain. Initially, I would go through these comments by hand and remove all links. But thanks to my great readers, and the overall popularity gain, I just couldn’t keep up with all the comments anymore.
Another method I have noticed is for a single individual to post multiple comments in multiple posts. Why would they do this? Because they are allowed to enter a website with their info. Therefore, they will post multiple generic comments, some having absolutely NOTHING to do with the subject of the post, just so their website can be displayed.
What can you do about it?
As I said, I needed to implement an anti-spam filter into my blog to help deal with these types of comments. This actually helps weed out the legit comments, the people I want to help, from those who are posting junk to help themselves. I understand why they are doing it, but spammers are going about it the wrong way. I’ve stated before, if you want to promote your website you need to do it the right way. And that is to post good comments with useful information that people want and need. This I have no problem with.
The anti spam filter I ended up implementing is called Akismet. If you have a WordPress blog, it’s a simple plugin install. You will also need to sign up on their website to get an API key in order to use the software. What this does is to review comments for links and generic content. It also keeps a database of “repeat offenders”, so if those users post a comment, it will automatically be spammed out.
The software actually learns the more it is used. Which brings up one of the issues with it. And it is something I just discovered myself, thus the reason for this post. While the software does learn on itself, it is still just a program. And it is not always accurate.
How accurate is accurate?
I had noticed the number of comments on my blog had gone from over 150/day to 0. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. At first, I had just assumed the first couple of days were a fluke. But after a week of having not one comment, I had to assume something was up. What Akismet will do is to automatically flag comments as spam and drop those comments into your spam folder. This I did not know.
As such, I am now going through the spammed comments looking for valid comments. Akismet calls these, “Ham” or “False Flags”. What you can do is to declare comments as “not spam”. They will then be moved into your comments section for approval. So if you have posted a comment recently and have not seen it shown up, this is why. And I apologize. It will take some time to go through the rest of these comments, but I am hoping it won’t take too long to get caught up.
So keep this in mind if you end up using this software for your own anti spam filter. It doesn’t just get rid of the comments…you will still need to go through them and decide if they are spam or not. What I am hoping is that the software is smart enough to learn when certain comments are not spam, and will begin to spam out less comments as a whole. If not, I’ll be forced to look for something else.]]>
Some may go the route of paid advertising, but I can tell you from experience, this doesn’t always give you the results you are looking for. Especially when you are first starting out. The best bet is to look for ways to promote your blog for free, or to capture the interest of the search engines.
Right now, this is the most efficient way of blog marketing. What you want is for your blog or article to go “viral”. Meaning, it is shared among countless numbers of people via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. As people share your information, others will hopefully share it with their lists as well. The secret here is to create articles which are both informative and useful to many people.
YouTube is the 3rd most popular website on the internet right now. If you are not using videos to promote your blog, you are behind others. Not only does is allow people to associate your blog with a person, but the search engines love videos.
Going hand-in-hand with videos, when people visit your blog you want them to feel as if they know you. Posting a video greeting will help accomplish this. Give an overview of what your blog is about. People are more willing to watch a video than to read text. And if you are putting out enough videos, you will soon become something of an “internet celebrity”.
Search engines take notice of how often you post to your blog. If you only post once or twice a month, it’s going to affect your SEO ranking. So try to post a minimum of twice/week. Three times is possible. Daily would be best, though not always possible. Even I run out of ideas to blog about. And don’t forget about the people leaving comments on your site. Interact with them. Make your blog a place where people can not only get vital information, but also where they can socialize with others sharing their same interests.
Waste Not, Want Not
Try not to go overboard on the size of your blog posts. As I said earlier, people will spend more time watching a video than reading text. But if you are only using text, keep the post to around 500-600 words. Anything more and the reader may lose interest. If you tend to have longer articles, break them up with subheadings so your readers can easily scan your article for useful information which pertains specifically to them.]]>
The correct way to post comments is to add value. Stay on topic with the blog post or forum content. Reply to the comments of others. Essentially, you want to engage in conversation and provide good content and helpful information. The same as if you were writing a blog yourself. Think of it as a mini post.
Now, the wrong way to post comments would involve simply promoting your own website. Or posting a comment which is generic, completely off topic, or does not provide helpful information to others. You see, if you are only there to promote yourself or your website, people will see right through it. That, and your comment or forum post will probably be edited or completely deleted.
So don’t waste your time or the time of others. Simply post comments which are helpful to the writer and other readers. You will be a better person for it and you will help to brand yourself as a helpful person.]]>
This issue of job security is a concern of many people. Companies are cutting back their work force in an attempt to stay in the black. Then there is the issue of outsourcing overseas. Suffice to say, there are many reasons why you may lose your job.
So the next question you have to ask yourself is, do you want that possibility hanging over your head the entire time you are employed? Always wondering when the next layoff will be, and if you will be affected? You probably feel as though you do not control part of your life.
If you think about it, there are 24hrs in a day. And you spend 8 of those hours (or more) working. That’s 33% of your time, every day. What would happen if you did lose your job due to it being outsourced? Do you have enough money stashed away to last you until you found another job? Would you even be ABLE to find another job in an acceptable amount of time?
The answer is to look at creating multiple streams of income. The concept is similar to investing in the stock market. The rule of thumb is to diversify your portfolio so you spread out your money over several stocks, rather than having ALL of your money in just one stock. Why? Because if that one stock were to decrease in value significantly, you stand to lose a lot of money.
The same principle holds true here. If you only have one source of income and you lose it, you could be in some serious trouble. However, if you have MULTIPLE sources of income, you stand a much better chance of weathering the storm.
I’ll give you another reason for getting involved with a home business to gain more job security. If you start a home business, are you going to lay yourself off? Of course not. You are working for yourself. So job security is built right in. The only risk would be if the company you join goes out of business. Which is why it becomes VITAL to do your research and make sure the company you are looking at is stable and positioned to continue growing.]]>