Social Media Marketing – How to Use Free Online Tools For Site Promotion

Discussing, promoting and sharing information are some of the advantages in social media marketing. It includes social networking, social bookmarks, forums, wikis, and blogs. Facebook, MySpace, Plaxo and LinkedIn are few examples of websites used for social media marketing.

Small and big businesses are now using social sites as tools to spread brand awareness and discuss their products and services. The best part of these applications is that they are free of charge. It is a great advantage for small business operating on a low marketing budget.

Social media requires long term commitment and consistency. Business owners should also have done research on selecting the appropriate social applications in line with their company’s mission and goal. Here are some popular and successful social media tools for small business.

  • Create a Blog The sites that receive the most traffic are blogs. A blog is like a journal that is written by an individual and is regularly updated. Your company can use or create blogs to share multimedia, news and information about your business. Through the use of blogs, a small business can develop a specific image or personality and educate people about their products and services or the industry in general.
  • Use Twitter Twitter is a micro blogging and social networking service that allows users to read and send messages to the public. By using Twitter, you can promote your products and broaden brand awareness. Twitter is a fast-growing online community and its popularity is still on a rising trend.
  • Facebook Fan Page Most people are now using Facebook. Facebook is the most well-known social networking site in the world today. It is not only known for personal profiles but also for business profiles. This social media tool allows you to share your company’s videos, photos, event posts and concise wall posts. By replying to the fan’s questions on your wall post, your customer service will be enhanced.
  • Use LinkedIn LinkedIn launched in May 2003. It is a business-oriented social networking site and is usually used for professional networking. You can post your resumé and receive approval or recommendations from fellow employees, clients and business partners. This is also an efficient way of hiring competent employees and recognizing business opportunities. Users can make connections and interact through LinkedIn Polls, LinkedIn Groups and LinkedIn Answers.

Social media is now a fascinating tool in the world of business today and is modernized to meet the consumer’s demand. It is highly recommended to do research on the effective tools in social media to promote your company’s services, products and brands to your target market.

Affiliate Marketing – An Online Business That Is Recession Proof

Are you looking for an on-line business that is recession proof? Would you like to start a business that no matter what the economy is can still provide a substantial income that would allow you to maintain a quality lifestyle for you and your family? Well look no more, that business is called Affiliate Marketing.

Picture this scenario: You visit a huge warehouse stocked with thousands of sale items. Let’s say you decide you want to sell some of these items but you don’t want to purchase them upfront (in case they don’t do well); you don’t want to stock inventory of the items in order to bypass the shipping; and you really don’t want to keep track of the orders. Basically, you just want to know when the item sells and that you’ve made a profit.

The bad news is, if you went to a physical warehouse and told the owner that this is the way you want to do business, you’d be shown the door. The good news is, as an Affiliate Marketer, you could run your on-line business exactly this way. The warehouse would be your websites or blogs which is where your visitors would come. The links on your site page will take the visitor to the on-line merchant who has the inventory of products you are promoting. If it is a material product that requires shipping, that is handled by the merchant. You will become a member of an Affiliate Network that will handle promotions, tracking orders and making deposits into your on-line money account! The best part is, your business would be a 24/7 operation, which means you could be making money while you sleep.

No matter what the state of the economy is, people will always make purchases on the internet. It ranges from impulsive buying to purchasing items of necessity, to buying gifts for others or buying information to help improve the quality of life.

Is this an easy business to start, not in the sense that you don’t have to invest the time required to set up your sites, your networking accounts and tools to help generate traffic to your sites. But there is a plethora of free information on the internet about Affiliate Marketing. Do your research and get the knowledge, the tools and develop the skills that will ensure your success.

Here’s to Great Success!

Marketing Under Pressure – A Look at How the Current Economic Climate is Impacting the Way We Market

As recession begins to bite hard, ‘spending’ is the watchword of the moment. While the government introduces financial initiatives designed to encourage higher spending, people and businesses are looking for ways to cut their budgets. Despite the recent reduction in VAT and government appeals to banks to increase lending, businesses can’t ignore the lower revenue figures as customers retreat in large numbers.

In times of financial uncertainty, a review of business operations will highlight those functions deemed non-essential or over-resourced. Historically marketing is usually among the first to be culled. It is not a well understood discipline and invariably its implementation is lacking. By and large, it is seen more as a cost centre than a revenue generator, working to bring new sales leads to the business. Properly conceived, planned and implemented marketing strategies can raise an organisation’s profile in the marketplace, in turn strengthening brand awareness and loyalty, all of which eventually leads to more customers and ultimately more revenue.

That said, here are a few words of warning. Cutting your marketing budget without thought to the business impact can be devastating. Experienced marketers know this but are under pressure to reduce spending nevertheless, and never more so than now. Conversely, there are those organisations that hold marketing up as one of the tenets of business success in all weather. These are the companies that believe if you throw enough money at marketing, eventually more customers will come and the coffers will start to fill. But without a plan behind the intent, this approach is simply a waste of money and potentially fatal to the business. There is another way.

It is accepted wisdom that marketing is essential to a prosperous business. But is it possible to maintain marketing effectiveness on an ever-decreasing budget? To answer this question, we first need to understand three things: what exactly is marketing these days, why is it so important anyway and how is it changing?


To the uninitiated, marketing is a synonym for a wide range of disciplines and activities that somehow fall into the same bucket: advertising, public relations, exhibitions, promotions. It’s true that marketing covers all of these and many others, but what actually is it?

Marketing is essentially project management in disguise and has already been functioning well through outsourcing for a significant period of time. The proliferation of marketing activity, widening supplier resources and the increasingly short term view of the role of the marketing director have all combined to create the right environment for outsourcing marketing from the strategic through the bottom line operational level.

As recently as ten years ago, certain businesses did not need to market themselves as we understand it today. Businesses such as estate agents, housing developers and banks simply opened their doors and customers would come to them, ready to buy. These businesses saw marketing as a way to rise above the competition, but there was still essentially plenty of business for all of them. However, as markets have fractured and changed, the competition has become ever more fierce and new business models are continuously being developed. On top of that, in the current economic climate it is these traditional pillars of the economy that are suffering the most.

In light of these circumstances, marketing has taken on a new importance. It has become paramount not just to business success but also to business survival. Brand presence in itself is no longer enough. It is continuous brand strengthening and communication through robust marketing strategies that forms the foundation.

Ultimately though, marketing is about understanding your customers and your market. What have you got to sell, who are you trying to sell it to, and what is the best way reach them? In addressing these issues, the successful marketing programme will cover market research, define the most appropriate channels to market and the most effective media to reach the right audience, and articulate why the market should buy from them. This last point is the cornerstone to success marketing, otherwise known as the ‘Unique Selling Proposition’

Having outlined what marketing is and why it’s so important, surely it would be simple enough to work out a plan and execute it. Unfortunately for marketers everywhere, this is easier said than done. Why? Because marketing is undergoing radical change.


Since the dawn of the Internet age, online marketing has unfolded at an alarming rate. At no time is this more true than today. With the advent of the so-called ‘Web 2.0’ over the last few years, social networking has seen a proliferation of new tools and online media have opened up new and diffuse channels to market. Marketing today is in many ways unrecognisable from the discipline it was, even ten short years ago.

This change has brought increasing complexity to strategic marketing and planning. Internal marketing departments are being spread more thinly, relying increasingly on a growing list of supporting agencies each dedicated to a particular marketing activity. It has also meant that marketing managers and executives have taken on more of project management role as they supervise and coordinate an abundance of outsourced activities. Similarly, the marketing director’s role has become fundamentally project-based. Marketing directors are often tasked with a series of strategic restructures as the business continually morphs to adapt to its market. This has imbued the role with a short-term outlook, such that today it is unusual for a marketing director to stay with an organisation for more than two years before moving on.

In finding a solution to the challenge of achieving effective marketing on a strict budget, it is worth noting that the prevalent marketing agency landscape developed out of necessity, not through careful planning. Outsourcing on a piecemeal basis is not a cost effective formula. It has been technology driven, not marketing driven. And there are a few fundamental issues with this approach. Firstly marketing executives do not ordinarily make good project managers. They lack the advanced skills required to integrate and synchronise a myriad online and offline activities into a single, mutually supportive workflow.

Outsourcing marketing functions is not a new concept. In fact it is a tried and tested way to quickly reduce costs by moving core functions outside of the organisation. It was first widely applied to customer service through call centres. However sales and marketing departments quickly discovered that if you outsource on a purely tactical basis, it can backfire on your business. It is important to build in strategic processes and controls to maintain service quality. The challenge for marketing is how to achieve quality control across such a diverse and disparate range of activities. One answer could be to combine outsource partners with a project management team. Another approach is to integrate these functions and elevate the outsourcing relationship to a more strategic level. To identify the best approach, we need to understand ‘marketing integration’ and how this can create cost efficiencies.


While today every business considers having an online presence as a necessity, tomorrow it will be blogs, giveaway content in the form of PDF reports and email newsletters, online communities and social networking that will become essential to every marketing strategy, programme and campaign and not just the domain of the forward-thinkers.

These new ways of communicating with the market are moving seemingly further and further away from the real world. Aside from keeping up with developments, marketers are faced with the challenge of integrating online and offline channels so that they support and reinforce, rather than contradict each other.

On top of this, technology has levelled the playing field. Now anyone can try their hand at marketing. Publishing a newspaper or magazine is possible with a software programme and a broadband connection. Achieving professional quality media is now accessible to the man on the street. Similarly online marketing is open to everyone. However, the ability to market does not guarantee marketing success. Despite ease of online communication, the availability of tools for fast analysis of market data and the speed of digital delivery, superior marketing implementation can only be ensured when it is backed by a consistent business strategy and coordinated marketing programme. More importantly, integrating traditional offline marketing with the many disparate forms of tactical online activities in a strategic way will be essential to success.


As marketing agencies continue to proliferate and shift towards more and more specialised niches, it begins to make sense to consolidate the mainstream functions within an integrated framework. Logically, however, this would suggest higher internalised costs. To avoid these costs, without compromising effectiveness, suggests moving the mainstream function outside the organisation.

However, this makes little sense if executed at the tactical level. What is needed is a restructuring of the traditional outsourcing model so that the lines of communication are at board level. Strategic public relations and public affairs consultancies have worked this way for many years. The timing and conditions are now right for marketing to adopt this approach: to move from a tactical project management style to a higher-level strategic partnership with their outsourcers.

Put simply, modern outsourced marketing takes the accepted concept of interim management and retained agencies to a higher level. In an outsourced arrangement, highly skilled marketing consultants and managers liaise with specialist agencies to an agreed strategy and budget, in a well-constructed operating process to deliver on planned objectives and targets. By taking an holistic view from a brand perspective, outsourced marketing has the potential to lift the bar on performance and programme integration in a way that traditional marketing management finds hard to achieve within modern cost structures. Key to achieving this is integration of the internal marketing function at the strategic level of the business.

Outsourcing marketing execution is the traditional view taken by organisations when attempting to strip out costs, but within today’s marketing landscape this can only come at the expense of marketing effectiveness. Modern outsourcing should aim for strategic consistency across internal marketing functions. This has the additional benefit of placing overall responsibility and planning at an organisational level rather than with ultimately one departmental representative, the marketing director.

As a contractual arrangement, strategic outsourcing establishes common operating practices and reportage, which work in accordance with KPI measurements and agreed ROI indices. From a marketing perspective the strategic outsource model has the organisational intelligence necessary to achieve a balance mix of online activity and offline in an integrated manner.


As a means of replacing high cost, high turnover internal function with a strategy partnership that communicates at board level, the outsourced marketing model has much offer. It is equally suited to growing companies that have yet to develop a marketing department as those that are downsizing. For those marketers working under the conditions accompanying a merger or acquisition situation, or companies and brands stripped of resource through administration, outsourced marketing also presents an attractive option.

If you decide that outsourced marketing is for you, you’ll want to ensure that you engage an outsourcer that agrees to a planning process that involves clear ROI and KPI objectives. Ideally this will be presented in the form of a marketing dashboard to allow a continuous evaluation performance on the fly. You should also be careful to select an outsource partner that can offer a complementary mix of senior consultants with skills that span all media and marketing channels. Naturally it is also critical that this experience covers both online and offline environments. Finally, it is important to assess whether your outsourcing partner can offer flexibility in its fee structure. For example, can it package a tailored launch service for an all-on cost but also provide supplementary services on a ‘top-up’ basis as and when required?

Cost savings are readily achievable with a fully outsourced marketing function, provided consultation is observed at board level. Since services are rendered on a ‘time block’ basis, it is easy to adjust the marketing resources ‘tap’ to whatever level suits the budget. Provided the partnership is structured correctly, marketing results should not be adversely affected. In fact, the enhanced planning and creative development process that comes through an outsourced arrangement can lead to improved marketing effectiveness and sales performance that proves to be as valuable as lower marketing costs.

Marketing Outsources is the UK’s first specialist organisation, which offers both in company management with external creative and production services to provide full executive resources and a planned programme of activity. Implemented at a substantially lower cost yet with an improved performance, making the most of technology and better planning and faster working.

With Marketing Outsources you get a topflight director just when you need the strategy and creative direction with board level input to overall company growth, backed with experienced marketing managers.

Marketing Outsources can deliver and implement your marketing strategy through a group of expert and experienced suppliers, embracing the benefits of new technology, whilst balancing online and offline spending to optimum effect.

Zero Cost Methods To Boost Your Business Marketing And Cut Your Costs Using Your Website

I Offer These Ideas As A Business Website Owner Who Uses Them

Think of this article as a letter from a friend who maintains a website for his own business, and wants to share with you some time/cost-saving methods he employs – at zero cost – to get more value from his website.

The Following Tools/Methods Can Make Using Your Site Easier/Less Expensive

In considering the resources featured here, you should keep in mind the fact that your ability to use them on your website may be determined to some extent by the type of web hosting package/functions you have purchased from your host. For those whose web hosting packages do not permit the easy use of these tools, I describe the very useful alternative of Remotely Hosted CGI Scripts and Resources towards the end of this article.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that I provide descriptions of the resources featured in this article for your information only. I cannot guarantee they will meet your requirements in any way.

There are many other scripts that do similar work available on the net. I have only described these ones because they are the ones I use – or have used.

If you choose to download and use them on your website, you will be doing so at your own risk. I have however used them all at least once, and currently use most of them/have done so for over 2 years – which is why I can recommend them.

1. Automated Website Membership Subscription Management

Resource: Membership Manager LITE

Source: []

Membership is a feature that allows visitors to your website become members by completing a simple registration web form. Registered visitors will subsequently be able log in to restricted areas of your website using login details they would have specificed when signing up. You can even have two or more levels of membership(for instance Free/Basic and Paid/Premium).

Using this feature, you can enable your website provide member specific content like special offers, articles, email newsletters, and other interactive content. Offering membership on your website will definitely set it apart from many others which do not.

One nifty CGI script I have found quite useful to easily and securely offer membership on my websites is called Membership Manager. This programs uses HTACESS browser based login authentication(regarded as the most secure form of password protection on the Internet) to protect your restricted members-only directories from unauthorised access.

Membership Manager, comes in two variants – LITE(Free) and PRO.

A. It allows the owner to use a control panel to administer user accounts of members (who will also be on their automated newsletter mailing list).

B. The members have login ID and Password of their choice automatically used in creating a website membership account for them when they signup.

C. Paid Subscription Management is possible. If someone has paid for one year access, you can setup a 1 year member account access to a password restricted members area on your website where some premium content may be accessed.

D. Also, the system at the expiration of the 1 year subscription period, automatically disables the appropriate member’s account – and notifies the member and the owner.

E. In the PRO version, members can automatically retrieve lost passwords using a link provided on the site.

You can download the 30kb zipped folder containing the LITE version of the script from [] and follow the very useful installation instructions provided in the accompanying “Setup Instructions” HTML file.

2. Dynamic Website Contact Forms

Resource: All Purpose Form Handler

Source: http://www.BigNoseBird.Com

This is an amazingly flexible/customisable script that allows a user to quickly implement HTML based forms on different parts of a website. It is configured by information you provide in the form itself, giving the user a unique advantage of making the script handle data submitted in the web forms in a variety of ways without changing knowing ANY Perl programming or having to change the code/script.

The following can be done in any combination using forms that call the SAME script:

A. Web form completed by the user submits an e-mail to a specified person(s) – say the website owner – and CC to say other employees(e.g. marketing manager), or even another email address used by the owner.

B. The EXACT text of the title that appears in the subject line of the email the script sends to the site owner, can be specified in the code for the web form. This makes it very easy for you to know which contact form on your website was used to send you EACH message you receive.

C. The script sends the data submitted via the web form to a file for easy import into a database program. You, the owner will be able to locate the file(s) on your server in the cgi-bin.

D. The script automatically sends a response to the person who submitted the form. The content of the response can be varied for each web form. This is made possible by creating a text file(given a unique filename extension) to contain your message whose name you then place in the form code, so it is used by the script.

E. The order in which the data submitted via the web form appears in the email received by the website owner can be specified in the code for EACH web form.

F. The completion of required fields can be enforced by specifying such fields in the code for individual forms.

G. To increase user-friendliness, code for each form can be modified to call a unique “Thank you” or an “Oops!” page after the form is submitted.

How I Use It: I have found this script extremely useful in determining quite accurately what people who visit my website are interested in. For instance, on my website, I created a separate contact form(all outwardly similar) for EACH of the different services I offer, providing links to each web form from the body of text/web copy where the service is described. This way, I am able to quickly establish, from the title of the email sent by the script, exactly which service the enquirer was considering when s/he decided to contact me.

3. Tell-A-Friend Automated Website Referral Form

Resource:’s Birdcast Site Recommendation Script

Source: http://www.BigNoseBird.Com

This is a very simple, yet powerful script that you can use to help promote your site. Easy to install, and to customize. It has a number of very useful features including the following:

1. Name/Email Address fields that can be duplicated for an unlimited number of target recipients per recommended page.

2. A multi line text entry area for the user to send a personal note with the e-mail.

3. Automatic page recognition (i.e. the script inserts the full url of the page being recommended in the e-mail that is sent).

4. Automatic Return to sending page (i.e. the script returns the user to the recommended page when upon successful submission of the form’s contents.

4. Domain validation. An editable line of code in the script allows the website owner specify whether this feature is enabled or disabled on installation. You would enable it to prevent it being used from any other website/domain other than yours i.e. protection against off-site abuse (Also available in the all purpose form handler script described above).

5. E-mail address and page capture log. Once the script is in use, you will be able to periodically check a log file of date/time, calling page and e-mail information automatically generated and updated by the script on your server. This can be quite useful if you want to know who is referring what page on your site and to whom.

4. Form For File Upload From Web page To Server

Resource: Upload Lite


This script works via a file upload form to allow anyone upload files to a folder on the website server. When this happens, the owner of the site automatically gets an “Upload Notification” email with a download link(s) which can be clicked to instantly download the file(s). The website visitor, who uploaded the document is in turn taken to an upload success confirmation page that you can customise. For instance, on my website the confirmation page displays a “Thank You – Your submission has been accepted” message.

Possible uses: The owner can invite job applicants to upload their applications and resumes using this form. A magazine publisher could have contributors/writers send in their write-ups(in various possible electronic formats(.pdf, .doc, .rtf etc) from any location in the world so long as Internet PCs are available.

How I Use It: On my Excel Heaven Custom Workbook Automation Mini-site, an upload form is provided to enable clients upload workbooks they want me to automate for them using Excel Visual Basic.

5. File Mailing (Alternative to direct downloading)

Resource: MailFile

Original Source:

Latest Version Available At:

MailFile lets you require visitors to submit their name and email address in order to retrieve a file(s) from your site. It is a CGI script that works via a form which allows visitors to choose(by clicking checkboxes) specific documents from your site to be sent to the email address they specify in the email address field of the form.

When the form is submitted, the visitor is taken to a “File(s) sent!” page while the selected file(s) is sent to the visitor via the email address s/he provided. Apart from the fact that this method prevents third-party linking of your files, you also get to use the retained names/email addresses to build a mailing list with which you can follow up visitors for possible sales.

The script can also be useful when you want to give your busy visitors a time saving alternative to downloading.

Corporate visitors to your site, whose mails are stored on the company mail servers will find this particularly useful.

Here’s why. Assume a busy executive – with only 5 minutes left to attend an important meeting – discovers your site’s offering of five interesting PDF reports totaling 13 MB in size.

S/he can easily choose to use the MailFile web form’s checkboxes to select the files and click the “Send File(s) To Me” button. All the selected files will be delivered to his/her mail box on the company’s servers, and s/he would be able to return to view them without going back online at a later time or date.

There is no limit to the number of files that can be sent using this form. Additional checkboxes only need to be added to the form, and the appropriate filenames included in the form code.

Similar Resource: File Mailer


Related Resource: Attachment Mailer

6. Get Your Target Audience Discussing On Your Site – Discussion Boards/WebLogs

You can install a discussion board(where people can register and discuss various topics in “discussion forums”) on your website. You can also use it to provide first level user support/problem solving services to customers.

For instance an IT/Telecoms company can invite customers to post questions or requests for help regarding problems they have with specific products/services supplied or supported. Answers will then be provided by the appropriate personnel online saving time/cost of going out – until it becomes absolutely necessary to visit the client physically to resolve the problem.

Some web hosts offer a discussion board as part of their hosting package. Most of the popular ones are however FREE to download/install, (being open source), two good examples being: PHPBB at and YaBB(Yet another Bulletin Board) at . I have successfully installed and used phpbb in the past, and found it quite user-friendly.

Web Logs: My website host offers an easy-to-install phpbb board in my control panel, which I intend to install on my website in future. I however do not currently use a discussion board on my website, due to my decision earlier this year to discontinue its use, in line with a modified strategy. In its stead, what I use is a web log. I like to think of a Web LOG as a dynamic website which functions as an online diary allowing the owner make postings on any subject of interest, which her visitors can in turn read, and post comments on/responses to.

My personal web log facility is provided as part of my website hosting package. In hunting for a web host, you might look out for a similar feature, if you consider it relevant to your purpose. You can however get a more or less equally functional but FREE blog to use at

7. Automated Business Marketing CDROM Promos

CDROM promos are a one-time expense, and they cost a fraction of what a decent newspaper advert does, while offering more targeted impact to the “right” prospect for a longer period. They are less expensive and you can mass produce them. I personally recommend the use of auto-run business marketing CD ROMs as an offline complement to other business marketing efforts/resources.

You can get excellent software for creating auto run business marketing CDROM presentations from a variety of sources on the net. One that I have used, and can heartily recommend that you try is CRE:8 MULTIMEDIA. This software enables you to create very impressive auto-run business marketing CDROM presentations quickly and easily. It has a very user-friendly visual interface, and easy-to-understand HELP documentation that enables users begin producing professional looking presentations in minutes. You can download a FREE 21 day trial from

8. Article Syndication

Article syndication is an excellent way to attract new visitors to your website, while at the same time boosting your credibility as an authority in your area(s) of expertise.

One place you can post your articles and be reasonably sure(if they offer useful real-world relevant information and are well written) of widespread syndication is

Other options you can pursue of course exist, such as visiting and manually posting articles to different websites offering related content to yours or using automated article submission services – some of which are FREE.

You can also contact publishers of e-zines and online newsletters, who deal with target audiences similar to yours, offering your FREE articles for publication in their media or on their websites, in exchange for exposure.

9. Website RSS Feeds

RSS, stands for “Really Simple Syndication” or “Rich Site Summary”. It is an XML standard that is used by content owners(e.g. newsletter/website publishers) to distribute content to their target audience. Many companies today have RSS feeds that announce latest content updates made to their websites.

Visitors to your site can use either the content aggregator built into their My Yahoo! Page, or other RSS news reader software to retrieve and read the feeds.

Important Notes About CGI/Perl Scripts

Some of the tools I have described in this article are third party CGI/Perl scripts(files with .cgi and .pl filename extensions), which you may need to clear with your web host before using on their servers. The installation of these scripts requires some basic familiarity with server types, setting of file permissions(via CHMOD’ING), Perl scripting among others.

CGI Scripts Installation : Usually, to run CGI/Perl scripts, all you need is any executable folder ( cgi-bin ). Some of the scripts can even run in any folder. I suggest however, for ease of management, that you use a cgi-bin.

CGI Scripts Configuration : All the scripts require you to configure them before uploading to your server, though some have additional settings that will have to be specified AFTER uploading usually via a control/admin interface or panel. You can re-configure, re-upload and overwrite the scripts as may be necessary.

Typically you would open the script in a text editor(I use notepad, and sometimes wordpad, when text wrapping is a problem in the former). If an edit facility is provided in your web host’s control panel/file manager interface, you can also use this to make /save changes you want online post-installation. This latter option makes it unnecessary to re-upload the modified script.

CGI Scripts Upload: If your host has provided you a file manager interface in your control panel, you will be able to use that to upload the scripts. Alternatively there are a good number of nifty FTP – File Transfer Protocol – tools like CuteFTP(, and SmartFTP (

These FTP clients work in “auto” mode by default, making it unnecessary for you to have to set them to upload your scripts in ASCII mode, and your images or pre-complied programs in Binary mode. I suggest you refrain from changing their default settings except you know what you are doing.

Keep in mind however that whatever manner of upload you employ, you will still need to set file permissions(via CHMOD’ING) for the scripts and the files/folders they will be located in or working with.

Find Someone To Do It – If Necessary

Even if you cannot spare the time to learn to do it yourself, you can easily find someone appropriately skilled to do it for you. Also, your website host should be willing to provide you any information you may be required to verify/obtain in order to successfully install the scripts.

Can’t Run CGI/Perl Scripts On Your Site? Here’s An Alternative That Works!

Remotely hosted CGI scripts/resources(some of which are FREE) are available for those who may find they cannot use some of the tools described here directly on their websites. One very good service, that I used for over a year prior to purchasing a complete hosting package, is offered by Black Fire Networks at

Not only do they provide you access to free, customisable, remotely hosted scripts, but they actually do so with ZERO advertising. So, if you have designed you website, but lack access to a cgi-bin via your web hosting package, this service might just be for you. Among other things, you will be able to make your website dynamic, so it has a more professional”feel” to it, without spending any additional money.

Summary – Use A Combination Of Methods On Your New Or Existing Website

The best part of all the tools, features and strategies/methods described here is that you can have them integrated – at ZERO cost – into an existing site or added to a new site from the start. Either way, you get to maximise the potential value you expect from the website.

To get the best results in today’s marketing, one will often need to use a combination of methods. Using your business website in conjunction with a well thought out marketing strategy, facilitated in implementation by custom, value adding automation/features will increase your chances of marketing success, while ensuring you do not spend more than you need to.

This article’s recommendations can be summarised in form of the points outlined below.

a. Ensure “action-inducing”/”response-generating” web copy is written on your website, to effectively communicate the unique benefits you offer.

b. Develop and implement a web marketing strategy to ensure you maximize returns on your investment, by (i) making more of the right kinds of people visit your site (ii) seamlessly integrating your offline and online marketing efforts in such a way that they complement one another.

c. Make it easy to implement your web strategy for the long term, by incorporating zero/low cost automation tools on your website, and adopting value-adding features/methods. Examples include email marketing, article syndication, and information product publishing(ebooks etc).

Do the above, by adopting a suitable mix of the specific tools, methods and strategies featured in this article, and you should be able to clearly achieve one or more of the following: INCREASED sales and/or REDUCED expenses on marketing/advertising – which in turn will help you record reasonably stable or INCREASING profits.

5 Real Estate Marketing Options

Selling a house usually comes, as a result of a combination of curb appeal, location, pricing, marketing, negotiations, and a few other factors. This article will concentrate briefly, on some of the options, in terns of how houses might be marketed, why one might be better than another (in certain circumstances), cost factors, effectiveness, and usage. There is no such thing as only one way to market and sell a house. Years ago, real estate agents were heavily dependent upon newspaper advertising, and that’s where most prospective buyers looked for information. In today’s information – driven, digital society, much more data is readily available, and while there is still a place for newspaper advertising, it is not the premier way, most of the time. Let’s review 5 marketing options.

1. Direct verbal: This includes face – to – face, telephone calls, contacting a Realtor’s personal contacts, etc. The advantages include cost, and the ability to effectively communicate, articulate the home’s strengths and possibilities, and motivate individuals, to take a look. The disadvantage is, it’s time – consuming, and somewhat limiting!

2. Direct marketing: Some of these include using postcards, flyers, door hangers, for – sale signs, Open House signs, etc. Mailings have become somewhat costly, especially when you consider the relatively low transaction rate, but is often a good supplement, and a positive way to get the message out.

3. Print media: Print media includes newspapers, magazines, weekly circulars, and direct – to – home marketing pieces. These approaches may be somewhat expensive, and surveys indicate most of today’s buyers pay less and less attention to these, than in the past!

4. Digital (websites): When we ask attendees at Open Houses, how they heard about it, the predominant response is from some website. Many use MLS, Trulia, Zillow,, or a larger agency’s own site. When listings are placed on Multiple Listing Service, many other Websites pick up the information, and include it on their sites, as well. There is a cost to this approach, but is probably the most bang – for – the – buck, in terms of marketing real estate, today!

5. Social Media: Social Media includes things like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. The advantage is low or no cost, but there is still quite a bit of uncertainty, as to their effectiveness as a marketing tool, to sell a particular house.

The bottom line is, a real estate agent must know, understand, and use the best marketing tools available, to sell a particular house. Dependent on type, price, niche, location, etc, the options often vary.

Network Marketing – Cross-border Recruiting Tactics For the Avantgarde

Network marketing is perhaps, in my estimation, the best way I know of that can make you money both online and off long-term. Getting rich quick is just a pipe dream. Anybody that promises you overnight wealth (especially for doing nothing) is a big fat liar! That said, what I do like about multi-level marketing is the long-term residual income potential that CAN be realized if you PERSIST and keep on recruiting and helping your team grow with the business. In this article I want to share a couple of useful tips I have picked up along the way. I’m hoping that these little handy insider tips (I wouldn’t call them secrets!) can help motivate existing network marketers into taking that leap into the stratosphere – like I did; and to those still searching for a home-based business opportunity, well, maybe this can help you decide?

Let’s face it, there are markets out there that are tough to crack. The reasons can be anywhere from widespread skepticism in all things MLM; or just a prevailing lack of hunger to come out of the gutter. I don’t know. But people build barriers around themselves sometimes — as a safety mechanism. My first port of call – if I were to advise you on this, is to take a close look at your geographical location and to gauge its receptiveness to this opportunity. There are, of course, a myriad of ways you can do this, but my absolute favorite is running classified ads in local newspapers. Believe me when I tell you, I have recruited THOUSANDS of new affiliates off the newspapers. Online prospecting doesn’t even come close! And this is coming from a man with 10 years experience in online marketing, and yet I still prospect the old fashioned way. Old is gold as they say. And if you’re not making any headway, consider looking abroad. Yes! You heard that right. Find newspapers abroad, write to them with a sample of your ad and ask for a quote. It really is that easy. Thanks to the Internet!

Most MLM programs provide you other offline promotional tools like calling cards, flyers, postcards, business cards and so forth. If you want to do the rounds prospecting offline (and online), there’s usually everything you need in your program’s back office. And here’s another pointer: stay in touch with the people you recruit into the business. Again, many programs will give a form of Contact Manager facility with which to reach your entire downline through their built-in genealogy communication system. I use this at least once every single week to disseminate information and to assist and keep my downline motivated. Blogs are great; forums are great; but I’ve found creating mini eBooks (5 to 10 pages long) on PDF to be extremely effective… because you can isolate the information under different topics / headlines to help them focus on a particular project or idea you have in mind for growing their business; and eBooks are so easy to pass on. You can go viral very quickly with this strategy. I simply love it!

Any online network marketing business can grow exponentially with a little determination, persistence and tenacity. You can’t go wrong if you really want it to happen and especially when you think outside the box and do your best to help others on your team succeed with the program. Just allow yourself to drift into your creative zone without fear of failure or retribution. I’m sure you will, eventually, find what works for you, and when you duplicate that through your downline organization, your entire team stands to benefit… and your bottom line, of course.

Twitter Marketing Your Business to Increase Sales – The Right Way

You’ve hear it before-adjust your message to your audience. It’s a trite saying, but what does it mean and how do you do it? Furthermore, if you have that part down pat and are not adjusting your marketing to capture your target audience’s eyes and ears you have missed the boat entirely.

There’s nothing worse than giving a talk to a group of ten-year-olds that was written for the scientific community. In effect, that is exactly what you are doing if you fail to target your message to your audience. The result of your speech falls on cement and the bottom line-you wasted a ton of time and energy, both yours and your audience’s to boot. While adjusting your message is vital to the success of any business, without adjusting your marketing as well your business will flounder and fail.

First, sit down and figure out who your target audience is. Where do they hang out? Do they still search the Yellow Pages or are they adept at using the online search engines? Do they get their news from the newspaper or TV, or do they get their news online? Do they read digital information products or in-hand books and magazines? What about Twitter, Facebook and the like? Once you have this information you will better understand the makeup of your target market. This will enable you to create a marketing campaign that will result in increased recognition and sales.

Now that you know where they hang out the next step is to use the mediums they prefer to market to them in a way that is compelling and clearly demonstrates how to take advantage of your product or service. Just knowing where to find them is a help but using these mediums incorrectly can be just as damaging as not using them at all-maybe even more so.

If you don’t know where to start, begin by following your competition around. Look at what they are using to market their businesses and how they present their case. This will tell you much about what works and what doesn’t. Try to glean from their advertising tidbits to help you better create your marketing message.

One such online medium that is gaining popularity among the 20 plus crowd is Twitter. Stacy DeBroff, founder and CEO of Mom Central puts it this way, “Social media offers new opportunities to activate…brand enthusiasm.” So, if your audience hangs out on Twitter, then you too should be twittering. However, don’t just post inane messages and thus waste your time and theirs. Don’t just shout your message out, you could ultimately damage your reputation and repel your target audience all together.

Begin by listening to what your target audience is saying about your company or industry. Listen carefully and they will tell you what they want and need. Then gear your marketing message towards fulfilling those gaps. You may find that just offering direction or advice will cause them to sit up and take notice of you so that they are prepared to listen when you tell them how to fill their needs. My advice to you, be truthful, timely and most importantly, fun.

Once you have their trust you may be surprised how quickly they help you spread the word with what is known as re-tweets. Now you have a whole new set of avid fans who will take your message even further than you could dream of doing by yourself. Remember, it’s all about creating a ‘buzz’.

Use your knowledge to enlighten your audience and then offer an easily accessible solution. Be direct and clear as to how to obtain the help you are offering. Don’t take them down a path to your product or service. Rather, tell them exactly where to go to obtain it, not more information about it. Yes, you may also want to include a link to more information, but for those who don’t need it, don’t waste their time-you risk losing them along the way.

Successful Marketing Tips For A Paintball Field

‘Build it and they will come’ is a phrase made popular by the Kevin Costner movie ‘Field of Dreams’. While this phrase is actually speaking of a baseball diamond built in the middle of a remote corn field, for some reason many new small businesses seem to think it applies to them. Too often the excitement for their new venture clouds their viewpoint into thinking the business they’re about to open will be so novel that all they will have to do is open the doors and they will be flooded with new customers. While this situation can happen, it is extremely rare and even more so for a business that appeals to such a limited demographic like a paintball field. The reality of the matter is if you don’t have a meticulous marketing plan set to start at least 8-10 weeks before opening day, you are already planning to fail.

The unfortunate statistic for small businesses is an 80% failure rate in the first 18 months. Forbes magazine will tell you the main reason for this is because they run out of money. While this is the reason they end up closing their doors, the reason behind this is simply from a lack of planning. Many new paintball field entrepreneurs get so caught up in the layout and construction of their business, they either completely forget about marketing or it’s an afterthought at best. Most of the time, the reason new start-up businesses run out of money is because they didn’t start their marketing efforts early enough or misfired their marketing altogether. The bottom line is they weren’t able to generate enough business to keep their operation running. Not starting your marketing efforts early enough will ensure your first few months of business will be slow and stressful. Misguided marketing is even worse as it wastes valuable time and limited start-up money to produce nothing.

Even though paintball may be one of the field owner entrepreneur’s favorite past times, it takes an adult to step out of oneself and realize not everyone has the same interest. In fact, paintball caters to a very small demographic making marketing to a broad spectrum audience useless. Because of this, it’s smart to avoid costly television commercials, radio and newspaper ads designed to ‘keep your field’s name in everyone’s mind’. This type of media should only be used to boost hype for specific events and not to provide the ‘regular exposure’ most sales reps will try to sell you. Since the game of paintball tends to only attract certain types of people, your most cost effective form of advertising is to target these specific groups. This is called niche marketing and if done correctly, can be very effective. The first task is to make a list of all the different niche groups who play paintball at commercial fields. Then target specific campaigns and promotions to only these groups.

Ages of players who participate in paintball is 8-40+, however it is recommended players be at least 18 years old. This is because the sting of being hit is often too intense for younger players. While it will take a little forethought, targeting youth for marketing your paintball field to could be a venture that pays off in the long run. Considering most fields cater to high school and above, youth players are a large demographic that tend to be left out in the commercial world. When making your initial equipment purchase, consider buying .50 caliber paintballs, guns and gear. These are a smaller size ball and do not hurt when they hit you compared to the larger, standard .68 caliber paintballs. This is a big decision because .50 caliber gear is limited on the types of guns available. It will be too costly to buy both .50 cal and .68 cal markers and balls for your field so you will have to decide on one and stick with it. While .50 caliber size gear is fairly limited on the types of markers available they are actually more cost effective than .68 caliber. Offering .50 caliber paintball will also allow you to market ‘pain-free’ paintball to the younger audience and cater to a market that’s virtually untouched.

Paintball is not gender specific however mostly played by males. It is not a sedentary game and it is much more fun for people who are more athletic and can move around quickly. Target specific marketing campaigns to facilities and programs geared toward youth, males and athletics. To do this, make contacts with groups like the local YMCA, athletic centers and even gyms. Meet with owners and/or planning managers to promote your field with informational fliers, special events and/or certain days or games you’ve scheduled just for their group. Most cities and towns have numerous health clubs. Consider setting up a one day paintball war for rival gyms to battle each other for a local title. This can also be done for high school sports teams during the end of their season or in between seasons. Many high school coaches like to keep their team together during down times with activities that are fun, challenging and different from the sport they normally play. It’s a good idea to market your field to these leaders and help them schedule an event that will help their team bond.

It’s quite common for certain groups to use outside activities for bonding exercises to bring a team closer together. Many corporate companies take their employees on white water rafting adventures, ropes courses and even paintball for this valuable experiences. Marketing your paintball field to every corporate company with more than 10 employees is a great idea for this purpose. Target every corporate company of this size within a 120 mile radius, set up a certain day on your field you will hold the event and/or offer them a special corporate rate. Take time to try and meet with HR executives or managers who may be interested and set up an event. Another good niche group to market your paintball field to is police and military personnel. Active duty soldiers/officers may want to rent your field for certain simulation tactical exercises. Inactive personnel often still love the adrenaline and strategy of a good battle and have the potential for being very good repeat customers. Offer these groups military and law enforcement discounts as well as group rates and/or special field times.

Don’t waste your time, energy and money trying to get every tax payer in your zip code to play at your field. The list goes on for specific niche groups to market to and the more creative you get with your promotions the better. Take your time thinking of more groups to communicate with and try to constantly come up with new ideas to get and keep them interested in playing at your field. Keep simple stats on which events/marketing campaigns and niche groups were the most successful so you know which ones to keep doing and which ones to go back to the drawing board on. Once you have a steady flow of new players coming, focus on internal marketing strategies to keep them coming back. For example, frequent player discounts, free tank refills or ammo after a certain number of games they’ve paid for, etc. Set up your paintball field from the beginning so it can be manipulated to host different events and competitions for different niche groups to play there and many players will call your field their home.

Offline Businesses – The Most Effective Online Marketing Uses Direct Marketing Strategies

Direct marketing in the offline world has grown to huge proportions, becoming a very professional industry in which the biggest players are immensely successful. And these same direct marketing strategies and techniques are the hallmark of the most successful Internet marketing businesses, etc. In fact, every direct marketing professional should consider Internet marketing as a career or at least a sideline for additional income streams.

Direct mail pieces in the offline business world become email blasts online – and with more and more email programs now HTML capable, can be just as glossy and heavily designed as their offline counterpart. And just as direct marketers buy targeted leads or use location-based mail drops, Internet marketing pros rent email lists, buy solo ads and buy leads.

Direct marketing techniques also include classified ads and TV infomercials – online there are a number of classified-ad sites, some international and many based on certain locals. And video sharing sites are perfect for displaying TV-style commercials, infomercials, product demonstrations, etc.

And the ‘golden lists’ or the big Direct Mail houses, those lists of targeted leads that buy from them regularly, are no different than the customer lists online. Just as direct marketers have a pre-written series of e-mails and offers that go out to their previous customers on a regular basis, so too do online marketers who use pre-written autoresponder series to follow up with each purchaser.

If you own and/or operate an offline business in direct marketing, learn all you can about the strategies, tools and techniques being used by successful Internet marketing pros and use that knowledge to increase bottom line profits considerably. While some online regulations, like the anti-spam laws, make parts a little trickier in compliance, it’s more than made up for by the low cost of email blasts, the lack of lead time required for printing, and the free video hosting the video sharing sites provide. Start by putting every commercial and infomercial in your current library online at sites like YouTube, Viddler and Daily Motion and you’re already well on your way.

And if you’re currently working in the direct marketing industry with no equity in the company that employs you, consider starting a part-time job in online marketing and building it into your own full-time Internet marketing or affiliate marketing business. You have the skills so start investigating this low-startup-costs online industry for your own future today!

Techniques of Cluster Marketing

If you turn on your “Go Back In Time” machine, you’ll find that Cluster Marketing has been around for a long  time.  Little has changed over the centuries since the business world stumbled upon the concept.  In its simplest definition Cluster Marketing means, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” In other words, “don’t spend all of your marketing budget on one media or in one geographical area.”

Conventional Marketing Strategies

The New York 5th Ave. advertising power houses have lead the way in America with their big dollar advertising campaigns which only the corporate giants can afford.  Before they design an advertising campaign they first design a marketing plan.  They identify their target market by geography, age, sex, social economic values, hobbies, house size, shoe size, shirt size, etc.  Some market strategies can use as many as a hundred or more parameters to define their target market.  Sounds excessive doesn’t it?  Not really when you consider that mega dollars in potential sales are at stake.  Many advertising firms and marketing executives have lost their jobs when a marketing strategy and advertising plan has failed.

The conventional strategy has been to use various advertising media such as TV commercials, newspaper ads, direct mail advertising, radio commercials, etc.  All of these methods require a lot of money up front to produce and distribute.  Their focus has been on getting the buyer to look in the direction of the product and create a need in the potential customer to buy their product.  Cluster marketing strategies are used to define which media will be used to advertise the product and where the product will be sold.

Let’s look at an example where advertisements are created for the newspaper and direct mail advertising.  These are two of the oldest methods still in use.  They both use printed media and are the easiest conventional advertising methods to produce.  In a small town, using both methods might be excessive because statistics have shown that in most small towns the majority of people subscribe to the local newspaper and newspaper ads are cheaper to produce than direct mail advertising.  In larger cities, however, both methods would be needed to cover the whole city since the number of subscribers to the local newspaper are substantially less as to the size of the population.  In this example, the parameter of the number of newspaper subscribers is also used in the marketing plan.

Cluster marketing strategies analyze the target market using diverse combinations of geography, population densities, and personal parameters to develop geographic areas of interest.  In marketing, these areas are referred to as clusters or groups of interest.  The clusters are identified so that either single or multiple target markets are used for the advertising plan.  Clusters (geographic areas) that have the same target market potential can be geographically close or hundreds of miles apart.  With today’s mass communications the distance doesn’t matter to the modern marketing executive’s plans.

Internet Cluster Market Strategies

The growth of the Internet has lead to the development of a whole new dynamic in cluster marketing strategy.  The Internet has consolidated many parameters. As an example, age groups have been reduced to children, young adults, adults, and senior adults. Previously, these categories were treated with greater detail. Language is no longer a dominant value and buying habits are now measured down to the individual instead of age groups.  The search engines now create massive databases of the sites people visit and which ones they buy from.

Conventional marketing strategies develop “one way” links from the advertisement to the location where the product can be purchased whereas Internet marketing strategies develop “one way” and “multiple” links to where you can find all of the sites where the products are sold.  It also develops additional links to extensive content that describes everything we really didn’t care to know about the products.  That content also presents us with additional links to more content and numerous locations where the products can be found.

Marketing executives are also having a great time spending less money on advertising by offering affiliate programs where web site owners advertise the product for free in hopes of gaining a commission when the product is sold. Large numbers of affiliates means a lot of free advertising.

All of these aspects are increasing the dynamics of Cluster Marketing on the Internet.  Demographic and sales data is accumulated in large databases and sold to marketing executives and advertisers for large dollar figures.  These databases, plus very sophisticated analysis programs, provide many clusters of potential marketing areas.

What About the Internet Entrepreneur

While the big money marketing executives are slaving away over their big databases and their numerous marketing clusters the Internet entrepreneur is grinning like a “fox in the hen house” and making some big dollars without the fancy marketing cluster strategies.  The Internet has made it possible for the entrepreneur to simplify the cluster marketing theory into a very simplistic model.

Let’s look at some basic facts:

  1. Geographic clusters have been consolidated into one Internet on-line world. The Internet is the world and a very large number of people use it every day.
  2. Search engines have cataloged the online world and continue to update that catalog every minute.  Free tools are now available to Internet entrepreneurs to analyze that data on their laptops without having to pay for the use of that data.
  3. Cluster demographics have been replaced by “keywords” and “long tail keywords.”
  4. Age demographics have been consolidated to children, adults, and seniors.  Yes, even children are making big money with their creative web sites.
  5. The corporate marketing executive is being replaced by young Internet savvy marketeers and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) content managers.  These fresh young minds are raking in the dollars, even in a down economy.
  6. “One way links” are being replaced with “multi-way links” in web sales pages and clustered articles.
  7. Article Directories and Social Network sites are providing massive amounts of FREE authoritative links to product sites that conventional marketing executives just can’t understand. These executives will soon be a relic in our modern Internet civilization.
  8. Cluster marketing on the Internet is no longer about geographic boundaries.  The Internet entrepreneur has learned that on the Internet today you cluster methods and sites like EzineArticles, YouTube, FaceBook, Squidoo, HubPages, Twitter, Slideshare, etc., not demographic clusters. Also, countries still retain their own language identity, but the Internet has broken down most of that barrier in Internet marketing. The web logs of every Internet site are full of sources from all over the world giving testimony to the fact that the Internet is now a world marketing cluster unto itself.

While the big corporations have been branching out to the Internet for several years, Internet cluster marketing strategies have made it possible for the individual in our society to earn more on the Internet than some of those big corporations.

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