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Canada's new anti spam laws

WARNING: spammers will be subject to Canada's new anti spam laws-click here for details

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Choosing the right program

Join Share Results!

You've probably heard it a hundred times by now - if you want to make alot of money with an online business you have to offer your own product or service. Well, make that a hundred and one times...


It's true. Although affiliate programs are a great way to add additional streams of income, the best money maker is still a unique product or service that you con rol. That way you earn all of the money instead of only 10% - 40%.

Working at Home- It's Just Easier That Way

By Bill Schnarr

We've all been stretched to our limits at one time or another, whether our jobs take us to the factory, the office, and even those who work at home. Todays working parents are under more pressure than ever to work longer, earn more money, and provide a stable environment for their children. At the same time, those same activities that are supposed to be enjoyable spending time with family, taking the kids to soccer practice, and remembering to phone Aunt Martha on her birthday can easily become part of a hectic, stressful work week that leaves you exhausted and desperate for a break.

With all the stress and hassle of today's modern life, it's no wonder that more and more people are turning to alternative sources to generate income and ease the burden of day to day living. For many of those people, working at home on their computers for a few hours a week has become that stress relieving second income. And these people are beginning to see that a home based business can be an alternative to a soul-sucking job that leaves you exhausted and praying for the weekend.

There are a lot of good reasons why you should consider a home based business if you are searching for a way to improve the quality of your life. For example, working at home provides you with the ability to schedule your work around the important things that come up in everyday life, as opposed to waiting for a day off to take the kids to the dentist or missing a birthday dinner because you were stuck in traffic.

In fact, missing anything because of traffic would be a thing of the past, unless you count the line ups at the supermarket or the Doctor's office. And heres a little tip: there are no line ups at the supermarket when everyone is at work. It would just be you and a couple little old ladies in a foot race for the two bored cashiers waiting to serve you. Take my advice - a good hip check goes a long way to eliminating the competition, if you catch my drift.

But there are some really important things to consider if you are going to look for a way to work at home andmake money on a home based business. For one thing, something like an internet based business can lead to all kinds of goodies. Things like residual incomes and streaming money. Royalties! Yes, your home based internet business will make money for you even while you're sleeping in or spending the weekend on a romantic getaway with your significant other. Does your job at the toothpaste factory pay you to sleep? (Don't answer that!)

Working at home on computer can afford you other luxuries as well. You may not have realized this, but an internet based business can be accessed and maintained from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a reliable internet connection and access to your email accounts. That means that you can spend an hour or two on your computer in the morning taking care of loose ends while your family prepares for a day at the beach in Mexico!

You can work from your time share condo in Florida, your parent's house in Wisconsin, or even that little two bedroom tree house in the Amazon Rain Forest you've always dreamed about providing you can convince the local monkeys to provide you with some form of internet service.

 The opportunity for additional income and freedom from the grind of daily living is sitting in your living room. Working at home is a trend being picked up by men and women every day; professionals, college students, and retirees are all working from home on computers and making money to improve their lives

If your still considering it, no worries. Hopefully this article will give you something to think about next time your stuck in traffic, sucking on petrol fumes and wishing that monkeys were serving you Pina Coladas in your little grass hut out in the middle of nowhere.

About The Author

Bill Schnarr is a single parent and freelance writer who works from his home in Calgary, Alberta. As well as writing about the various ways to start a home business and having dozens of online and print publishing credits, you can also look for him in the latest "Chicken Soup for the Single Parents Soul" which was published in February 2005.

Here are six tips to help you choose a winning business idea:
1. Start with what you know.
If you have experience in a particular area, either through your work or hobbies, then the best place to start is thinking how you can turn that
2. Don't waste time trying to find a brand new idea.
At the height of the dot com era there was a race to be the first to launch a new product or to service a particular market. Although many of the first launched services received alot of recognition for their
innovation, they ultimately failed because they were breaking new ground and didn't know how to succeed. Many of the second and subsequent businesses in those markets succeeded because they saw the mistakes that were made and capitalized on fixing them.
When thinking of a new business idea don't assume you have to find something that isn't currently being done. A better strategy for most new entrepreneurs is to find something that is being done but that needs improvement.
3. Find a business area that needs improvement.


Think about the products and services you use or that you've heard other people talk about. Are there any that could be improved on? Is there anything they're not offering that would be of value? Consider starting a business that fills a need that isn't being met by the current providers.
4. Focus on a niche.
Select a specific market to which you can offer unique products or services. You can't be everything to everyone, and trying to offer a giant selection of goods to a huge and generalized market is the route to frustration, disappointment, and failure.


As a small business, focus on a promising niche market and work hard to offer them the products and services they need. If you do this well you'll become known as an expert in this area and you'll be able to generate new business from your reputation alone.
5. Be careful of 'hot' industries that are already overcrowded.
Although you have to be the first person into a market, you have to be careful of markets that are already over crowded.


One of thekeys to success in business is differentiating yourself from your competitors. If your customers can't see value in doing business with you over someone else you'll never be able to attract the business you need to succeed. If there are already so many businesses doing what you're considering that you can't figure out how to make yourself stand out then choose another business idea.
6. Think about what works online.
There are some products and services that work well online, and others that don't.
Consider the following rules when choosing your business idea:
a. The product or service offered can't be readily available offline
or there must be an advantage to ordering from you such as price, bundling with other products, etc.
b . It has to appeal to the masses- the Internet is a global medium.
That said, there are local opportunities but you need to explore them carefully.
c . It must be easily shipped around the world.
d. You can't charge for something if it's already availableonline for free.
Before you decide what business you'd like to start, be sure to research it carefully. Knowing upfront how big the market is, who your competitors are and what your competitors are offering will help you avoid costly mistakes.
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Guerilla marketing---

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What is Guerrilla Marketing?

Guerrilla marketing is a way of advertising when you have an almost non-existent budget. Instead of thinking of your business as a smaller version of a big one, you have to realise the situation you're in, and behave accordingly to maximise your profits while minimising your marketing costs. Essentially, you're going to try to do anything to get publicity.


Don't worry, I'm not talking about telemarketing of the nasty call centre variety here. It's B2B (business-to-business) telemarketing you want to be doing -- basically, phoning up local businesses and making yourself known. You'll be surprised at just how effective this can be, since businesses tend to appreciate the effort you've made to contact them and offer your services far more than a customer does if a business phones them at home.

Direct Mail.

It shouldn't be too difficult to get hold of a mailing list that covers your whole area -- ask your local post office if you're unsure, as they'll often be able to help with bulk mail campaigns. Alternatively, if you don't even want to pay for delivery, you could hire a few local teenagers to go round putting your letters in people's mailboxes. This will work best if you keep your message to one small page or even just a business card, so that people will keep it if they're interested and call you in their own time.

Outdoor Leafleting.

Another effective guerrilla marketing technique, at least for some kinds of business, is to hang around outside giving out leaflets to passers-by. This gives you an opportunity to 'meet and greet' people, and lets you do some free targeted advertising by choosing your location carefully. If you do odd jobs in people's houses, for example, you could stand outside the DIY store, handing out leaflets that say 'Why Do It Yourself? I'll assemble and install everything you buy today for only $50!' If you custom build and sell your own computers, you could stand outside a big-box computer store with this leaflet: 'Get your computer tailor-made, for half the price of [big store]'. You get the idea.

Free Gifts.

You'd be surprised just how effective it can be to stand around handing out free gifts. If you do something that relates to children, then hand out balloons to them in the mall. You'll make some kids' days, and your name and perhaps website address will be written there on the balloon for all to see. Free pens are a very effective thing to give away if you provide a more serious business service -- people are always short of pens, so they'll keep your pen in their bag and be reminded of your business each time they use it. Even better, the cost of getting thousands of balloons or pens printed with whatever you want is almost nil.

Attack the Competitor.

Nasty as it might sound, hardcore guerrilla marketers regard their competitor as their sworn enemy, and will do anything to bring them down so that they can replace them in the marketplace. A little disturbingly, this can be quite simple to do -- fake a few letters complaining about a business to a local newspaper, and you might find that they follow through and do a feature on it without even checking the story out.

In the end, with guerrilla marketing, there are endless ideas -- it's all about being inventive, and having the guts (and the patience) to try them out. When you get your first customer without buying a single media ad, it'll all be worth it.
Marketing is absolutely every bit of contact any part of your business has with any segment of the public. Guerrillas view marketing as a circle that begins with your ideas for generating revenue and continues on with the goal of amassing a large number of repeat and referral customers. The three keys words in that paragraph are EVERY, REPEAT, and REFERRAL. If your marketing is not a circle, it's a straight line that leads directly into Chapters 7, 11, or 13 in the bankruptcy courts.


Online Affiliate Program

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13 reasons to try internet marketing

The 13 Hidden Treasures of Internet Marketing




Yes, terrific tax breaks. When you operate a home based business you can write off the costs for:
The area in your home you use for the business
Office supplies (including your computer)
Related tools (hosting fees, journals, magazines, cable TV),
Job expenses
Travel expenses
Meals and entertainment
Your phone
Legal and professional services
And much, much more.
Talk to an accountant to get a complete list of all the tax breaks you may qualify for.
Most businesses cost AT LEAST $5,000 to get started. That's the VERY low end. You can actually start making money on the internet by joining an affiliate program for free and marketing with free ads. Even if you're getting your own site up it can be done for only a few hundred dollars.
Once you're up and running you can build your business on a budget of a hundred dollars a month or less. I'm including operating expenses like hosting fees, merchant accounts, etc. The less money you spend, the more time it will take, but you don't have that choice in most businesses. You usually have to have a lot of cash or you can't get started.
Since your costs are low you keep more of the money you make from sales. If you sell a product delivered online (like e-books)you don't have to pay for shipping either.
. You probably already know this, but don't take it for granted. Online you can submit free ads, do ad swaps with your ezine, use pay per click search engines, etc. Check out how much advertising costs offline. Just to mail 1,000 letters costs $340.00! Instead you can e-mail your offer to 100,000 people for free.
There are a ton of folks with great products you can sell through affiliate programs. Go to www.cj.com for ideas if you don't know what you want to sell. You can make a great living just from marketing for other people in your spare time.
You build your business as fast or slow as you like. You can work all day or 2 hours at night after you put your kids to sleep. Work one day a week or seven. It's ALL up to you.
Remember job security? It doesn't exist in the world of being an employee. If it takes you 3 or even 5 years to build your business from part time to full time at home, you're still ahead of millions of people depending on a paycheck for all 40 to 60 years they have to be an employee.
...Oh yeah, that. Your site works for you while you sleep. So does your advertising, the articles you write, and your ezine. Consider every little thing you do to market to be a new round the clock employee you just hired for free. These employees will stay out on the web working for you forever. The BIG SECRET is that the older your online business gets, the less work it takes to make more money.
If you're an employee you are a cog in the company machine. The company keeps most of the money your labor produces. As you build your company online you keep ALL the money your labor produces. Since you're the owner instead of the employee, the bigger your business grows the fatter YOUR wallet gets!
Plenty of other folks have been n this game for awhile. They created the blueprints so you don't have to. If you learn how to do it from people who are already making a killing it's simple. You do what they've done and you will get the same results.


You can subscribe to ezines full of free tips. You can buy information on how to build your business for as little as $14.97. Obviously, the more expensive the information is the more valuable it is and it will help you to build faster, but you can find plenty of great support that's cheap too.
Online marketers are usually nice people who like to help each other. It's a great bunch of people to be dealing with. If you want support along your journey it's only an e-mail away.
Do you know of any other business with all of these benefits? Network marketing is the closest and it still isn't even close to being this beneficial...unless you use internet marketing to build it.


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List building

Build An Opt-In List With Eager Subscribers 
By Ivan Kelly
Eager subscribers reflect the eagerness and quality of service that you offer. There are a number of proven strategies which allow you the opportunity to convey to your prospects that you are a desirable person to do business with and even to recommend to their friends
Make your promotional materials interesting and fun. Try to use a little creativity but not too artsy. Build around what your product or service is about. For example, if you are selling car parts, put some pictures of what is new in the auto parts world, a new wing door possibly that can fit any car and make it look like a Lamborghini.
Try to research what people are looking for, this way you stay one step ahead of them all the time and you will be their bearer of new tidings. They will be eager to receive what you are sending them because they know you always have fresh and new things to share with them.
Write quality articles that can be very informational but light at the same time. If your subscribers enjoy your articles, they will go to your site to read some more by clicking the links that you will be putting in your newsletter. You can provide articles that connect to many people. Be diverse in your articles: Put something humorous, then put something informational, then put something that has both.
Are you wary about doing this because you don't like writing? No problem, there are many professional and experienced article writers that can do the job for you for minimal fees. They know what they are doing and can provide the need that you have for your newsletters. The money that you pay for your articles is going to be met by the many sign-ups and the potential profit from the sales that you will get.
Create and send an E-book to your customers about anything that is related to your business or site. Use your knowledge and expertise in the field you have chosen to help other people who are similarly interested. Offer this e-book for free. You can write about anything informational and helpful to your subscribers. For example, you can do manuals and guides in so many things. This e-book could be used as a reference for many people.


Share this e-book with everyone, even other sites; just make sure that they don't change the links in the e-book that will lead people to your site. If you want, you can always get some people to write it for you just like your articles. Your investment once again will be covered by the great marketing this will generate.
Add e-coupons in your newsletters that will help them avail to special discounts. Put a control number in your e-coupon so that they can only be used once. When people get discounts that can be found in your newsletters, they will be eager to receive your newsletter in anticipation of what you are promoting next.
If your subscribers can get benefits from your newsletters, they will be very eager to receive them. Just don't flood your mailing list with mails so that you don't annoy your subscribers.
When using e-mail as the media of your marketing and advertisements, you eliminate the need for high costs. Email is free and if you can manage to make your own promotional advertisements you can also save a bundle there. With an opt-in subscribers list, you are pretty sure that what you are sending out is received, viewed and read by the subscribers and not simply being deleted. They have signed up for service and have consented to receiving it.
This means that there are constant reminders to your subscribers about all your products, new products and services as well as any promotions and special deals you are having. There is also the chance that they can be forwarded to other potential customers as they tell their friends and families about you and your site.
Of course you should be also aware that a subscriber may unsubscribe when they feel that they are not getting what they want or expected. Make sure that they are satisfied with your opt-in marketing strategies and keep them excited in receiving your newsletters and catalogs. Here are some tips that can help you build a list of eager subscribers.
Every online business provides great service to generate satisfaction among their customers. As each and every customer receives satisfaction over their products or the services they get, there is a great chance that they will become a return customer and buy again. Better yet, they will recommend you to other people that could generate more business for you and your site.
As more traffic is driven to your site, you can entice many of them to subscribe to your mailing list or opt-in list. This is a list wherein website visitors agree to be sent promotional materials such as newsletters, catalogs and such that could keep them updated about your site or the niche of your site. These promotional materials are sent via e-mail to the members of the list in different time intervals.

Whenever someone new visits your website, your #1 goal is to get them on your email list. That way you have a method of keeping them up-to-date on your latest offerings, so when they're ready to hire you or buy your product, you're right there in their inbox. And having a way for them to join your list that is both simple and effective will dramatically increase both your list numbers and your sales. Here are the three biggest mistakes I see regularly on business websites:

1. Not having a way to capture your visitors.
Most people don't bite on the first pass, and once they click away, it's unlikely they'll be back. Don't lose them by not having a way for them to sign up for your list.
2. The opt-in box is buried.
If your visitor can't find the form to sign up, then how can they? TIP: Testing shows that the upper right-hand corner of your webpage is still the best spot for your opt-in box.
3. The sign-up form says something unenticing like "click here for mailing list" - ugh!
So, here are 5 proven ways that you can instantly increase your opt-in rates:
1. Give your visitor only one choice.
Some of you may have heard of a 1-banana or a single action website, which is exactly that. You're giving your visitor only one option - sign up for your list via your free ezine, special report, checklist, ebook, etc. They get their freebie in exchange for giving you their email address. One of my clients recently implemented this idea for her coaching business, which was a big leap of faith for her. I just got a joyful email from her saying that she's noticed a substantial increase in her opt-ins since! It works, so don't be afraid to try it. And by the way, a testimonial or two on your 1-banana website doesn't hurt either.
2. Write enticing copy.
Remember that people tend to skim what they read online, so make sure you have an attention-getting headline and some additional brief copy describing the benefits your visitor will receive by signing up for your list. As always, make sure it answers the most prominent question in your visitor's mind, "what's in it for me?"
3. Have only two form fields:
First Name and Primary Email If you capture someone's name along with their email address, you can easily personalize any future correspondence with them, which is proven to increase open and response rates. In other words, if you address something to someone individually, they feel more connected and are more likely to respond well to your mailings. If you ask for a Primary Email address, many people will give it to you, as opposed to a back-up email address that they hardly ever check. And You'll get higher quality email addresses simply by asking them to give you their primary one, which means you'll have less bounce-backs and your emails will actually get through to the people who asked to receive them. Only having these two form fields makes it a snap for someone to sign up, and you want to make it as simple as possible for your visitor to do so.
4. Have a clear submit button.
Like having a 1-banana website, you want to make it very clear what it is that you want your visitor to do. Have your submit button say something like, "subscribe" or "sign me up now" or "send me the ecourse" (that's what mine says).
5. Share your privacy policy.
Share your privacy policy on the same page, and keep it simple. Something like, "We will never share your email address, period." will work wonders for alleviating your visitors' fears of getting lots of spam. Follow these 5 easy-to-implement strategies and you will dramatically increase the number of websites visitors who sign up for your list!
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Canadian alternative similiar to twitter

SPNbabble is a micro-blogging platform similar to Twitter but more vertical in that it was created primarily for webmasters and site owners. The site has many of the same features as Twitter and Twitter users should find it easy to use. We hope that SPNbabble will serve as a useful medium for an interchange of ideas and tips related to any and all webmaster related topics.

SPNbabble, SiteProNews and Jayde Online

SPNbabble, as the name suggests, is an outgrowth of SiteProNews and runs under a SiteProNews sub-domain. Like SiteProNews, SPNbabble is a site in the Jayde Online Network. Jayde Online was founded in 1993 and incorporated in early 1998.

The company has been Internet focused from its creation and primarily involved in the publication of email newsletters and the development of niche and general search engines. The Jayde network of web sites includes ExactSeek.com, SiteProNews.com, GoArticles.com and Blog-Search.com among other high profile web sites. Jayde Online is also the founder of the ISEDN.org (Internet Search Engine Directory Network) which currently boasts a membership of over 200 search engines and web directories and serves over 150 Million ad impressions each month. Jayde Online is located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and has offices in San Jose, California.


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Outsourcing-freelancing-virtual assistants

VAClassroom Internet Marketing Certification Program

Personal outsourcing isn’t quite the hot topic that it was two years ago. With virtual assistant firms available left and right, could-be assistants have become less of a unique work accessory and much more of a sustainable, ubiquitous business addition.

What was once a quirky but useful tool for the digital age has become standard — nowadays it’s rare to find a small design firm without a personal outsourcing strategy.

But while personal outsourcing has become popular, it’s certainly not a process that’s loaded with security and simplicity. Virtual assistants are notorious for packing up at random and leaving employers with projects in a state of limbo.

While thousands turn to personal outsourcing as a way of simplifying their workday, many find it achieves the exact opposite.

Managing your online assistant(s) doesn’t need to be a painful exercise, particularly with the right staffing strategy on your side. Apply these eight tips and you’ll see a noticeable increase in how efficient, effective, and worthwhile your outsourcing endeavors are, no matter how small or large your team is.

1. Never Rely on Just One Service Provider

For most people, one full-time outsourced employee is enough to complete basic tasks and manage extra work. Regardless, it’s important to keep a backup planned, especially if your work is subject to deadlines and urgent "complete by" dates.

Online assistants are known for disappearing at the worst possible times, particularly when they’re contacted through a semi-anonymous contract bidding website. So keep a backup provider ready, whether through a loose email connection or by switching through providers for different tasks and projects.

By splitting your workload across multiple assistants, you’ll end up less exposed to fallout from failed projects and mystery disappearances.

2. Increase the Duties of Your Assistants Gradually

Three years ago, 43 Folders carried an excellentarticle on the psychological barriers surrounding personal outsourcing. Not surprisingly, one of the most common objections to outsourcing basic tasks is the trust factor — people are largely skeptical that a low-cost employee can manage their workload effectively.

The obvious solution to this is rarely taken, largely because people are opposed to outsourcing entirely out of fear. Guide your assistants into the position slowly by gradually increasing the importance of submitted tasks and you’ll end up with a small stable of effective, trustworthy remote employees.

For example, you could start with simple tasks such as booking an appointment, searching for a hotel, or tracking down a piece of software.

Assign the same job to multiple employees and you’ll gain an understanding of who among them are proficient enough for the position — and who aren’t.

With just a week of testing and a small budget, you can put together a team of assistants that are stress-tested and capable of taking on the work you need completed.

3. Sort Your Tasks by Importance

It’s tempting to send your assistants a hundred-item list of tasks to complete, asking them to report back at the end of the month for the next chapter in a project. While this strategy can work well on long-term employees and experienced providers, it’s unlikely to mesh well with new hires.

Mistakes become more apparent without direction, and when communication is cut down, it’s much harder to eliminate errors and refine the type of work you need completed.

Work on a day-by-day basis with new employees, offering new tasks and providing feedback after they’re completed.

By cutting your major projects into smaller action-related groups, you’ll be able to focus on efficiency and eliminate mistakes before they become a liability. Start by requesting a daily progress report from assistants, and expand the reporting period as mistakes are ironed out.

4. Be Specific and Detailed with the Tasks You Assign

Ask an assistant to rent a car in New York and you could end up with a two-seat compact car conveniently located fifty miles away in New Jersey. Of course, that’s no use to you — what you wanted was a family van available for pickup from the airport.

The damage is obviously greater when applied to offline tasks, but online projects can easily go just wrong when essential details are overlooked.

Instead of asking your assistants to complete a task, ask to have a task completed according to a detailed set of instructions. Offer unspecific instructions and you’ll be met with work that’s equally inaccurate.

It may seem like an anti-productivity move at first, but offering more detailed instructions will lead to more accurate and effective output from your assistants and outsourced staff.

5. Separate Emails for Outsourced Tasks

Using your regular email address to manage staff will lead to disaster. With just a few remote assistants, messages will quickly pile up and make it near impossible to read correspondence from other contacts, let alone respond to them.

Collaborating on work requires a surprising amount of back-and-forth communication, giving you a good reason to separate outsourcing-related emails from other email.

We recommend communicating with assistants via email; the vast majority of collaboration suites out there are too bloated and ineffective to work for small, one-off tasks.

Set up a secondary email address or have your current email account automatically sort messages from assistants into a new folder or label; not only will this lead to a better ability to focus on important tasks without distraction, but you’ll also be able to automate task recording and build a separate history of communications with your staff.

6. Shop Around and Be Patient

Post an advertisement on any leading assistant website and you’ll be inundated with applications, most of which just aren’t very good. From spelling mistakes to nonsensical sentences, it’s far from uncommon to find that your first attempts at personal outsourcing are met with a questionable set of replies.

Resist the temptation to pack in the towel and stick at it — finding good assistants takes time.

Allow for at least a month when searching for a long-term online assistant, just as you would when hiring offline staff.

Cutting the process short may lead to short-term productivity gains and a quick search, but it’ll inevitably result in long-term losses due to missed opportunities and rash choices.

Spend the first few weeks trialing several different assistants and you’ll end up with a high quality hire — someone who is likely to generate long-term results and reduce your outsourcing stresses.

7. Be Nice and Professional

The employer/virtual assistant relationship is similar to the client/freelancer relationship. Whether you opt for a long-term hire or simply choose to outsource to assistants on a per-project basis, remember that you’re working on the other side of the transaction this time.

In essence, be the type of client that you like working with — your assistants will appreciate it, especially if they work with other people too.

If you plan on working with an assistant for an extended period, go out of your way to keep work efficient for them too. The goal of personal outsourcing is to increase your efficiency, and as unusual as it may sound, the greatest way to increase your efficiency is to ensure that your staff are able to work efficiently too.

Put the hours in and work out a strategy with your assistant(s); it’ll save you time and increase the amount of work they can complete for you.

8. Use Productivity Tools and Resources to Help You

Have you experimented with personal outsourcing? Before you take the plunge and hire your own online assistant, use these resources and productivity tools to ensure you go about it the right way.

Freelance Jobs

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Branding yourself

Branding. What Do You Know, Joe? By Lainie L

While strolling along the aisles of the national marketplace, I pretend to be astounded by the myriad of products and brand choices presented to me, all fighting for my attention. I notice that attracts me visually, jingle plays mercilessly in my head and the color theme of seems to remind me of a vacation I took many years ago. So why do I select instead of or What stimulates and motivates the act of making a purchase? From indecision to the knowing smile on my face, becomes my choice and can be the beginning of a loyal relationship with that brand or product. (Every marketers dream!) Defining reasons behind these brand preferences can be a complex task, nonetheless it is certain the common thread will always be the experiential process, often referred to as the brand experienceHowever, this article is not intended to address the customers experience, it was vital to illustrate how buying decisions are based on these interactions or relationshipsRelationships? Yes, relationships. You see, everything we experience in the world is into ourselves. That relationship, how one thing fits into a singular perception is really the key to branding.

There are really two sides to this relationship. The person having the relationship, and that to whom the relationship is formed. From the human perspective it's simple to define a relationship based on complex qualities of another person, like personality, core values, style, heritage, commonalities, likes, dislikes, etc. The more you have in common, the stronger relationships you have. That's why you have strong bonds with some of your friends over the bonds or friendships you have with others. Now if we look at this from the perspective of the business owner, brand manager and / or head of marketing, your task is really to create a human connection with a person (your target audience) with your brand. But since your brand isn't a person, you must add dimension to your brand, giving it depth to which your customer can have a meaningful relationship with. That's the complex nature of a relationship you need to create for your brand with your customer. However, a brand is NOT a person and if you think of a piece of cardboard, an inanimate object, one will have a difficult time having a relationship with that. In other words, focusing on the nature of the relationship with the intent of creating brand loyalty won't do you a hill of good unless you are clear and focused about what and who your brand is.

This article is written to help you, the business owner, create and define a winning brand and provide the steps to define just what you do and who you are in order to allow your customers have a relationship with your brand. As we address the relationship between the brand and its audience, being clear and concise about these brand must knows are at the foundation of your success.

1. Know your Personality. Simply stated, different personality characteristics appeal to different audiences. On a subconscious level, people connect with brands that have likable personality traits, traits they can identify with a lot of times, traits that they aspire to be. The first step in uncovering a strong brand is defining your brand personality, which leads to increasing the overall brand engagement (and attachment,) in much the same way as people relate and bind to other people. Simply put, much of the work in the area of brand personality is based on translated theories of human personality and using similar measures of personality attributes and factors. For example, your customer may identify to a product for its characteristics, for its functional, social, emotional dimensions, it's human like- traits. he says, vehicles exude Christian family-oriented values I identify with while exudes pretension and further shows off athletic and competitive qualities that recognize in myself So think of this, if the category symbolizes who you are, then you will be tempted to buy a brand that has the same aspirations. Likewise, consumer would tend to buy a Porsche rather than a family car, if he feels it symbolizes who he is. An association is systematically set up in the consumer's mind. In this sense, every brand needs to be as unique as each of its consumer. However, your personality MUST BE AUTHENTIC. As humans, we do have an inner sense about these things. Be warned, we DO reject brands that lack authenticity and those whose personality characteristics are not consistent.

2. Know what you do well. Based upon these criteria, the objective now is to maintain and promote the brand's uniqueness. Figure out what you do well and push it. Whatever qualities your product, brand possess, spotlight it, strengthen it, grow it. It will be the factor for differentiation and consequently will offer you the opportunity to carve a niche. To be credible in the eyes of your audience, your argumentation of sale may emphasize your know-how, your level of technology if it;s a strong asset, the passion that electrifies your work, the lovemessage or the care for the environment that carries assertively your product, therefore your brandThe marketing message should transpire and respect its promise.

3. Know why you do what you do. But wait! There's more. Knowing what you do well is not all of it, the next step requires digging deep into motivation, drive and look at purpose square in the eye. It lies somewhere behind the motivation to make moneyand reveals the core purpose for doing what you do. It's pretty liberating, and the basis for creating what's commonly referred to as the brand promise In essence, your core motivations that drive your business benefit your customers in some way by fulfilling a need. Many businesses overlook this step and think the only strategy necessary is the Art of seduction, separating your customer from their cash and overlook branding is really the Art of Creating relationships between people. Delivering the brand promise based on your businesses passion or motivation and fulfilling your customers needs IS the basis for such a relationship. Armed with this knowledge, you are as step closer to facing the marketplace.

4. Know you Competitors Know your market, know your competition, whether they actually exist or not. To do this, simply take a look around you, your market, your business category and your specific vertical. Are their other players orbiting your stage? Chances are, you have a lot more competitors than you think. To determine if they are really a competitor, evaluate if they have similar offerings, similar products or similar services. For example, a dance studio may believe he competes exclusively with other dance studios. But if his potential modern dance students think of the local swing dance instruction as offered by the local nightclub, the dance studio owner must evaluate the way Night club that offers their Lindy-Hop classes prior to the evening entertainment. The wanna-be Dancers with the Stars you want as a new customer may just choose spending their dance dollar elsewhere. In other words, that local nightclub IS considered a competitor, even though they sit in a totally different market segment. It would be in your best interest to learn more about what makes them successful and what about their offerings entices your potential audience. If you can mange to see things from your audience's perspective, you may just learn a lot. See if you can identify how your competitors satisfy their brand promise. Look at their marketing materials and promotional tools to try to get a sense of what you are missing. You may not be offering the night club atmosphere, but you can satisfy the promise of fun and provide the vehicle to allow your audience to dream of their feet dancing in beat with their famous counter-part.

5. Know your Target. Knowing your target really means know the people you would like to sell to. Imagine yourself throwing a dinner party in your home for each and everyone of your customers. You know who they are, welcome them as a friend into your home and have a connection with each person. But that's impossible, you say! Well we know that, that's why we said, imagine In order to define those people (not demographics or metrics) you will need to segment the market as much as possible using 'psychographics' as your guide. This includes defining your audience through: * Lifestyle: conservative, exciting, trendy, economical * Social class: lower, middle, upper * Opinion: easily led or opinionated * Activities and interests: sports, physical fitness, shopping, books * Attitudes and beliefs: environmentalist, security conscious. It's recommended that you do some research to find out just how they purchase. For example, uncover their buying habits, defining preference traits like seasonal, local, volume and promotional decisions. With all this information uncovered, you should have a picture emerging of your 'ideal' customer (or who you want it to be). Follow these five steps and you will have focused brand, which knows itself and knows its audience. In your quest to uncover your brand, be inquisitive, harass and tickle. Get into it and get clear. In the end you will have an authentic brand that will rise above the rest, be noticed by the right people and establish a relationship between your brand and your customer. Brand recognition is literally your brand, company or product, imprinted into the consciousness of your audience. Powerful process, keep it authentic!

About the Author: Jungle 8 Source: www.isnare.com Permanent Link: http://www.isnare.com/?aid=208663&ca=Marketing Are You Branding Yourself? Are you placing your email address and URL onall correspondence? Many people forget to add this to important mailings and even their business cards. Today, most people prefer to email messages than make phone calls, so it is very important to have your email address on all letters, invoices and business cards. Make sure your URL (web address) is on everything that you send out. Keep "branding" your business.Keep that URL out where it can be seen. It's not enough to have your phone number and fax number on your business cards or letterheads. Add your email address and URL if you have one. It's important also to have a signature on all emails that go out. There is a cool free "signature writing"service at: http://www.TheDiscountPrinter.com/freeads.htm check it out. Don't be left behind. Promote and brand your business every chance you get. It's the professional thing to do. Some say it takes up to nine times for people to see yourname before they will do business with you. If that istrue, then it's very important to have your name and email address out there. Try to encourage email exchanges. The more emails you have going back and forth, the more credibility you will building your potential clien't head. Offer something free. Make people email you for information.This way you are opening the door to email correspondence without spamming. Your goal should be to have the person email you first asking for information or just a simple question. Once the ball starts rolling, your various email exchanges can easily turn into sales. It's important to have a pop account or an account that reflects your company or website. Using generic @aol.com or @hotmail.com really puts a damperon your look and makes you appear unprofessional. Plus, when you email a person with your own private "branded" email address, you are actually advertising your company just by the mere action of sending a message. Joe@bikeseller.com sounds better than joe@aol.comOr Mary@thegiftstore.com is much better than mary@hotmail.com.Isn't it? Brand yourself. Brand your business. Do it today.

About the Author Tom Falco is moderator of "The Swap-O-Rama" List where you can swap anything from ezine ads to hotel rooms and more!

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Tips on using traffic exchanges


For those of you new to internet marketing who need an introduction to the Traffic Exchange world here a brief introduction

A Traffic Exchange allows you to join for FREE, register your site, and earn credits by viewing other sites. You can then use those credits to receive traffic from the exchange to your site. People must view your site for a minimum number of seconds before passing on to the next site

Here are 10 Top Tips to make Traffic Exchanges work for you
1) Spread Your Surfing Across Lots Of Exchanges
Many Traffic Exchanges have fairly small active memberships. This means the number of people who are actually surfing, at any one time, is limited. Even the larger exchanges may not have more than 100 people surfing in any one day. In addition most of the hits to the exchange are accounted for by a small number of determined, committed surfers i.e. a few people are surfing alot of sites

The way Traffic Exchange scripts work means, that people who surf, are shown sites which have credits remaining in their traffic account. So if you earn alot of credits on any one exchange the chances are your site will be shown repeatedly to the same people over and over

In order to combat these problems you should surf for a small number of credits only, on each exchange you visit. By surfing like this on many different exchanges you will pick up hits from all the small number of people who are "stuck" on one exchange or other.

By surfing for a small number of credits on a large number of exchanges you are likely to get far more unique hits, and, just as important, you will be "hitting" a large number of interested business opportunity seekers spread across many exchanges

By "unique", we mean that only one person has seen your site in a 24hr period

2) Surf Sets Of Exchanges At Once

One of the easiest ways to click up a really large number of credits and therefore generate a large number of hits, is to surf multiple traffic exchanges at once. If you use a tabbed browser you can surf each different traffic exchange in a different tab or window. This will work best if you have a reasonable amount of memory (RAM) on your computer and a broadband or fast internet connection

My own recommendation is to surf 7 exchanges at once in different windows or tabs. It is best to do this for no longer than 20-30min so as not to earn too many credits on any one exchange

3) Use Maxthon browser 

 Maxthon browser is an extremely good surfing browser, which enables you to have many "tabs" or separate windows open, but with only one main browser window open. This is a very clever browser which is far better than Explorer, and includes lots of extra features such as RSS Feeds and most important of all anti virus protection

Maxthon enables you to disable websites downloading software by default. This means that every time someone tries to download something as part of a web page - an all too frequent method for bad sites to get viruses/spyware onto your computer - an alert box will deploy giving you the chance to say "no actually I don't want your silly software thank you very much!!"

4) Use Splash Pages

Splash pages are simply quick loading web pages, which are generally the size of a normal web window i.e. no scrolling down is required. There is normally a link which can be clicked to open the main target site in a new window

The best way to use splash pages is to combine them with a name/email lead capture box, so that you have the chance to follow up on leads later

Many splash pages are poorly designed or badly worded and therefore fail to achieve their full potential. You should remember that the "ad copy" in a page is the most important element. Poor "ad copy" will reduce the effectiveness of a splash page to virtually zero

You should also be careful with images, as images will always draw the eye away from your "ad copy". So its important that any images underline the message you are trying to put across on the page. An image should "say" in summary what the words are saying in the "ad copy". If the image is suggesting something different to the message, then its likely people will see the image - even remember the image - but have no idea whatsoever what the page was actually about!!

Avoid using the "STOP" sign in splash pages. Some people take up most of the space in the window by displaying some kind of "stop surfing" message. However this means someone then has to scroll down the page to see what the message of the page is. It is absolutely essential that people can "get your message" in no more than 5 seconds. You can do this by a great proven headline

5) Concentrate On Lead Capture Pages

The biggest mistake people make with Traffic Exchanges is signing up for some affiliate scheme, and then clicking for credits for the affiliate URL. This is a recipe for disaster!! People will rarely if ever respond to an affiliate URL or sales page - this is in part because they are concentrating on earning credits

However if the main purpose of your page is to collect names and emails then you can add these people into your autoresponder automatically and send them a series of email messages over the next few weeks. You will be surprised how many more people will respond to emails, than just visiting your site "blind"

6) Surf For Banner Impressions

One of the things you will notice about all Traffic Exchanges is that they have a banner displayed somewhere in the surf frame. When someone clicks on this banner - no credits are earned - and the page opens up in a new window. So when people visit your site, as a result of seeing your banner, they are of much greater value to you. This is because they are actually interested in visiting your site. They are not earning any credits and so there is no timer. These people are many times more likely to join your program or buy your product, than people who view your site while surfing.

7) Use A Rotator

A rotator is a single URL which rotates the different sites you have added to it. So if you had 10 sites in a rotator, then every time your rotator URL is "called" then a different one of those 10 sites would display. This has the advantage on a Traffic Exchange that if repeat hits were sent to the same person, they would actually get a different site

8) Track Your Advertising

Its very important in any advertising to monitor your responses. Its much easier to do this with a Lead Capture page, than with any other page. You can simply add a piece of code into the HTML FORM code, so that when someone enters their name/email, an extra variable will be sent to you, to show which page or site they were on when the form was filled in. At its simplest this could be done by changing the subject line of the CGI email that is used when the details of the web form are transferred into an email. In case you are unsure about all this, CGI Email, is a program hosted on your web server, which turns the contents of a web form into an email and sends it to you

9) Concentrate On Exchanges With A Longer Count Down

It is simple common sense that the longer your webpage has to be seen by other surfers the greater the chance that your page will convert to sales or sign-ups. If a Traffic Exchange has a very short counter then it could be that your page wont display at all - especially if someone has a slow dial-up connection

Traffic Exchanges with longer count downs also perform much better for banners i.e. you will often get a much better click through rate - the number of times a banner is clicked per thousand impressions. As banners provide you with the best possible traffic from start pages, its worth spending more time on exchanges with longer timers

10) Compare The Alexa Rankings Of Exchanges

One useful shorthand guide to how good a Traffic Exchange is can be achieved by looking at its Alexa Ranking. Obviously if a Traffic Exchange is not in the top 200,000 out of all sites then its probably best left alone

If you follow these strategies you will have an excellent method of getting the very best from the time you spend surfing traffic exchanges


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Why Your Marketing Plan Should Include A Blog
By: Gregg Hall
Blogging is a great way for a business to effectively market their product or service without spending a lot of money. There are many benefits of business blogging. Businesses that keep up with a blog can introduce their products or services to consumers and can better communicate their customers.
In addition, businesses that blog can understand what their customers want and serve them better.
A blog, sometimes called Weblog, is defined as a web page that serves as a journal or diary for individuals.
Most blog writers update their blog on a regular basis and writers often share what most interests them. Individuals are not the only ones that have found blogging beneficial. Businesses have learned that this new way to communicate is a good marketing tool for their products and services. 
Every company should consider have a regular blog for their businesses. Larger businesses may opt to hire a several special writers with certain areas of expertise to update their blog. A smaller company may have one writer that can effectively write about their product. The idea of blogging for any size business is to get the word out to readers. A reader who frequents a certain blog is more likely to share the blog with others. Also, blogging is a great marketing tool because it allows consumers to be better informed. 
When a business chooses to blog, it allows them to introduce their product or service to consumers. Keywords and search engines help consumers quickly find the blog they are looking for with ease. For example, if a company specializes in making handmade jewelry and keeps a blog that is on a search engine, then that search engine would list their blog on a search. Blogging allows customers to research the product they are looking for with ease. 
Companies that keep a regular can also use their blog to communicate with their readers and customers. There are many features that a blog site can offer that will allow a reader to enter comments and contact the writer. Companies that encourage their readers to leave comments can take the comments and improve their services and products. In addition, companies can email their customers back and let them know that they are interested in what they have to say. In addition, a company that uses blogging to market their service or product should always rely on an experienced writer to update the blog. Business blogs should be polished and easy to read.
Another good reason why businesses and companies should include a blog in their marketing plan is because a blog provides a unique way to understand what customers want. Companies that are in tuned with their customer's needs and wishes can better serve them. Keeping an updated blog will initiate more customer communication that can help a company know right away how to improve. Blogs provide good public relations and are generally much cheaper to maintain than a regular web site. Also, a business that keeps a blog can reach out to other complimenting companies and link those blog sites together. This will help build readership and customers.
When setting up a blog for business purposes it is important to look for a blog-hosting site that can offer the right kind of features. Most businesses will use a site that can offer them more search engines and options to add links and URLs on their page. Free blog sites may not have the capabilities to offer as many features as the ones that charge a monthly fee. The search engine option is very important for a company that keeps a blog. This will ensure that readers can easily locate the company's blog page. Also, a company setting up a blog should always keep the links and contact information within the blog current. A customer will not want to continue using a blog page that is full of broken links or outdated contact information. If a company relies on their customers to read the blog, then those customers will always rely on the company to make their blog experience a positive one. 
Blogging can be a great marketing tool for any size business. It is important for businesses to realize that blogs are not a passing fad, but a unique way to interact with customers and gain recognition in a particular field.  
Blogging is a great way for a business to effectively market their product or service without spending a lot of money. There are many benefits of business blogging. Businesses that keep up with a blog can introduce their products or services to consumers and can better communicate their customers. 
Gregg Hall is a business consultant and author for many online and offline businesses and lives in Navarre Florida. See more articles on blogging and internet marketing at http://www.theinternetmarketingsecrets.com
Internet marketers are always on the lookout for a new advertising vehicle. The blog has caught their eye and is rapidly becoming one of the 21st century's online advertising wonders
Should you use blogging to promote your internet business? Like anything else, the final answer will depend on a lot of things, but here are 5 reasons why you may want to use blogging as an internet marketing tool.

1. It's simple
Even people without websites are selling things on the internet. The most common system is to set up a blog, a simple thing to do, on a subject with which you are familiar. Then, you join one or more affiliate programs for products or services related to the subject of your blog. Finally, you place your affiliate links on your blog and regularly add content to the site. If you have chosen a subject with which you are familiar and enjoy, this can actually be fun, and many people are making a nice income online just from this tactic alone.

2. It's real.
Remember that part about creating a blog on a subject you were familiar with and enjoyed? That's one of the keys to a successful blog. Others with the same interests will come by your blog over and over again to see what you have added. With all the advertising on the internet, they are used to some advertising being around. With so many non-blog sites, however, it seems like many of today's magazines...tons of advertising and little content of value. A well-run blog can provide lots of content and make money for the blogger with just a few ads.

By the way, rather than add more and more advertising to their blogs, many who are blogging for business just create new blogs. This allows them to keep content fresh and of high quality while simultaneously giving them the opportunity to show more ads.

3. It's free.
As my high school Latin teacher used to say, "You can't beat that with a stick!" Most sites which allow bloggers to set up shop do not charge. Many have an impressive array of tools, templates, and features. In fact, many sites such as myspace.com and directmatches.com include a free blog as a part of their services. This actually serves to attract customers to their services. There are paid blog sites, and it may be of value to use one of these sites if you are serious about blogging for business.

4. It builds respectability.
Once again, writing about familiar subjects and demonstrating your genuine interest in the topic creates an aura of respectability to your blog. Additionally, you may begin to become recognized as an "expert" on the subject and may get regular return visitors. Placing an advertisement on your blog can be seen more as advice than advertising. A really good blog, by the way, may even begin to generate advertising revenue on its own.

5. It increases market share.
You cannot compete with Ford or General Motors. However, if you are providing valid, valuable information on your chosen topic and updating your blog regularly, there is a good chance that you will begin to build a loyal following. One common result of this is that somebody who visited your blog and liked it refers it to someone else.

There are many means of increasing your blog's value and reach. Most of these are pretty much the same as what you would do to increase the popularity or search engine rank of any other website. However, with blogs, simply providing well presented, regularly updated, valuable content will probably do more than anything else to enhance your blog's standing.

Find a topic you know about and enjoy, sign up for a free blog, find affiliate programs related to your blog (or simply link to your own business), provide valuable content, update regularly, and stick with it.

While you can see the value of blogging to enhance your internet marketing efforts, your blog may wind up being the only internet business you ever really need.


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