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The Book Sales Marketing Catch-22

So here is the thing about the online book sales industry, specifically ebooks. If you are unknown author with no reputation, you really need to advertise in order to overcome one serious disadvantage.

  • Nobody knows who you are.
  • Nobody has read your books.
  • Nobody has reviewed your books.
  • Nobody is buying your books.

Now you might think "Wait, that is 4 things!"

Except it isn't. This is a Catch-22 situation. That makes it a singular problem.

Authors who self-publish are stuck with the current system. They post ebooks on Amazon Kindle (and/or Kobo), and then nobody reads your books unless they buy them, and nobody buys your books until they read a review, and nobody reviews your books unless they already read it. It is the old 3-way catch 22.

To make matters worse, nobody knows who you are so they are really taking a chance at wasting their money when they buy your book. And even if a random person does take that chance, there is no guarantee they will post a review.

So how do you get out of this situation you are in?

#1. Paperback Publishing

It would help if you were actually published by a conventional publisher. Having physical books to sell certainly would help. You could do book signings at local bookstores. If your books later become more successful you could travel to various English speaking countries and do book signings overseas. If you became really successful (like George R. R. Martin or J. K. Rowling) you could even end up doing book signings in non-English countries because your books have been translated into other languages.

But lets not get ahead of ourselves here. Getting a conventional publisher to even sit up and take notice of you is a difficult task by itself. So for the remainder lets assume you are happy with online publishing instead.

#2. Self-Marketing

You really need to advertise and market your work. For many writers this means they are self-marketing, which is often poorly done and it will feel very defeatist if they spend a lot of time marketing themselves but don't get any actual sales. eg. Lets say they only promoted themselves on Facebook and Twitter, didn't really know what they were doing, and ultimately just wasted their time on social media.

If you do decide to do Self-Marketing, you should really track the number of hours spent doing this and calculate a "wage to yourself". eg. $15 per hour, to give yourself an idea of how much time you are spending by giving that time a monetary value.

#3. Hire Someone Else

You should seriously consider hiring someone else to do your marketing for you. eg. designSEO.ca. This saves you time personally which is better spent writing or spending time with your family, and it allows you to know that your marketing is being done by a professional. Now this doesn't mean you should cease self-marketing, by all means you can and should continue to self-market if you have extra time to do so.

All of this ultimately means you should decide what kind of budget you want to spend on advertising. See below.

#4. Annual Marketing Budget

Your annual marketing budget should be tied to your sales, but since you have zero sales during the first year you have to make a gamble. All advertising is effectively gambling. So what is a good amount to start with?

Well, lets answer this question by asking yourself: "How much money would I hope to make in my first year of advertising my work?"

If your answer was $2000, you should probably set a budget of $666.66. For the sake of even numbers we shall say $660. Roughly one third of your hopeful payout during the next year.

$660 should be more than enough to get 22 good quality links on various websites, at a rate of $30 per link. For best results the links should be accompanied by honest book reviews (hopefully also positive book reviews). You really should not be paying for a book review / advertising that is anything less than 4 stars out of 5.

Notice also that this method of budgeting scales based upon your income in the future. If you are making $200,000 per year, you could in theory spend $66,660 on advertising the following year... but by then you probably don't need to. You could spend perhaps $20,000 to to $50,000 per year on advertising and be quite content with your results. You might eventually cease advertising entirely, relying entirely upon the fact that you now have some name recognition.

#5. Judging your Results

If you manage to make anywhere from $650 to $2000 (or more) then your marketing campaign was technically a success. You might have only roughly broke even if you got less than $660, but the marketing campaign is technically working. The 2nd year you might make $1300 or more and the 3rd year you might make $1950 or more. So while that isn't the amount you hoped for, it is still technically progress as you build name recognition online.

If you made $200 to $650 then clearly the advertising is working, but not as effectively as you might have thought. You need to retune your advertising to make it more effective. This doesn't mean you should stop completely, it simply means you need to figure out what is turning away customers. Is your book cover depressing? Is your plot boring? Something is wrong and you need to rethink and retune.

If you made less than $200, something is definitely wrong. Rethink everything. Take a hard look at everything, ask other people what they think you might be doing wrong, and take their advice seriously.

#6. Evaluate your Marketing Strategy vs Success

Even if you are succeeding in your goals, you should also pause to reevaluate what is working and what is not once per year. You may have learned new ways to market more effectively and then implement them. If you have hired someone else to do your marketing for you, then this is a good time to sit down with them and have a friendly chat about the best ways to make improvements.





Notes

Book sales are not the only industry that can benefit from this style of budget marketing. For example, if you were a professional painter and making $30,000 per year, you might consider spending $3000 per year on marketing your work.

The difference is that a painter wouldn't be spending that $3000 on online marketing, they would instead be spending it on gallery shows. Having an one week gallery show might cost $600 to $1000, so depending on what they are doing they might be having 3 to 5 shows per year based on that budget.

The more gallery shows the artist has, the more famous they become - assuming their paintings are good - and consequently the more sales they get, and the higher prices they can command. The beauty of gallery shows is that buyers go there, look at art, can see the physical art piece, and if they really like it then they purchase it. Some art collectors will even purchase art pieces as investments, knowing that if an artist is more famous that they can resell the art piece later on for a hefty profit.

The names of the artists below aren't particularly famous, but their paintings are still priced at $8,300 and $12,000. So even lesser known artists can command some serious prices.

Duane Nickerson's painting for $8300.

Jennifer Walton's painting for $12,000.

Michael Snow's poster - Not for sale. I included this for fun because Michael Snow is actually very famous. His works are usually in museums. This is just a poster however.


Canadian Organized Crime Vs Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation

This is actually an older post from 2014 which was published on a different source. A source that is no more, as the website it was published on has been deleted.

I am therefore reposting it here.

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation

Did you know that amongst the many activities run by organized crime, one of them is running spam and scam operations?

That means if you get spam from a local source and it looks fishy then it probably is the mafia that is running the scam. eg. If you receive a fake email from the Bank of Montreal asking you to login in to your Bank of Montreal account via a third party website, that website is probably owned directly or indirectly by a member of the Montreal Mafia.

In other words the Rizzuto family. Or people working for them.

Those scammy emails that are pretending to be from something else, often a bank or other financial institution, are what is known as “phishing attacks”. They are phishing for your private banking information in an effort to get into your bank account and then steal your money.

It is that simple. Fake website that looks like it belongs to a bank. Fake email pretending to be from the bank asking you to login. You go to the website, they record your data, within 5 minutes your bank account is cleaned out and all your money has been wired to an off-shore account.

Now there are a variety of other scams out there. You are probably already familiar with the cheque scams, the Nigerian Prince scams, the lottery winnings scams, and so forth.

They all have a different angle. Your bank information, your credit card info, possibly even after your passwords for different social media websites because sometimes people use the same passwords for their bank accounts.

Right: Canada Anti-Spam Legislation meeting in Toronto 2014

The good news however is that the Canadian government is now starting to fight back.

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) will go into effect on July 1st 2014 and will result in 35 federal investigators going after Canada’s biggest spam offenders, toppling over the biggest spammers in Canada like dominoes and slapping the big offenders with fines of up to $10 million.

However when it comes to phishing attacks run by the Montreal Mafia I am worried CASL will come up short. After all, its the mafia. How are they going to catch a gang of thugs which have been running illegal operations for decades and rarely ever get caught by the police?

Case in point the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) years ago tried to collect on taxes owed by Vito Rizzuto, the godfather of the Montreal Mafia. Instead of receiving money CRA somehow mysteriously wrote the crime boss a cheque giving him more money – an incident which has since been reported by employees at CRA as highly suspicious as to how the crime boss managed to rob the Canada Revenue Agency of thousands of dollars.

Thus if the Canada Revenue Agency cannot catch these crooks, what makes the CRTC (the government regulator which will be in charge of enforcing CASL) think they can catch them?

Sheer gall?

I don’t think they will. I would LOVE it if these crooks were caught (and so would Canadian banks), but I don’t think it is going to happen.

Earlier this morning I went to a meeting in Toronto organized by Vigorate Digital to talk about the new anti-spam laws. Vigorate Digital does email marketing in Toronto and is therefore one of those squeaky clean companies which wants to go on being squeaky clean by upholding the new laws.

Right: I went to the meeting with my colleague Robert Campbell, who works in online marketing.

During the meeting I was handed the microphone and I asked several questions, basically whether political parties would be exempt from the new laws (which they unfortunately are, and I think they should not be because I feel they should still be forced to use an “opt in” / consent system), and I asked how would these new laws be enforced?

And the speaker explained how the CRTC will dedicate 35 federal investigators to finding the biggest spammers, going after them financially with fines of up to $10 million, and so forth.

Which to me means that the mafia run phishing operations will be unaffected because they can simply drop out of sight, use off shore bank accounts, refuse to pay the fines, and so forth.

The CRTC would need to prove an electronic paper trail going back to the mafia in order to actually catch them and convict them of breaking Canada’s spam laws – let alone convicting them of fraud, theft, etc.

And on the rare case, recover money defrauded from people’s bank accounts due to large scale spam operations.

Conclusions

I think CASL is a step in the right direction in cutting back on spam, phishing attacks, scams, and so forth – but I think the CRTC will want their investigators to be carrying firearms if they are going up against crooks like the Rizzuto family.

Deleted 3 old blogs today...

January 2nd 2019.

So today we deleted 3 old blogs that we haven't updated in years.

Several reasons.

1. We no longer used the blogs in question for advertising (or anything else).

2. We had already cannibalized the blogs in question for their content and repurposed that content elsewhere.

3. It is 2019 and we felt like cleaning house, throwing out old blogs / old stuff.

Blogging is valuable as a method of advertising and building an audience. However if you rarely update a blog or have quite a few (we manage about 200 different blogs) then it just sits there, unused and unappreciated.

Eventually after a blog collects dust long enough the best thing you can do is cannibalize the content, use the content elsewhere in a blog of a similar topic, and then delete the blog which is no longer of any use.

And now here we are...

Writing a blog post about deleting 3 other blogs.

A new year is a good time to do something new. Start fresh.

In our case, it is a matter of fixing old things that need fixing.

Make Do and Mend was a motto promoted during WWII in Britain, promoting the idea that people should not buy new things and should ration their supplies by focusing on repairing things.

As a concept, it isn't something people do these days in our modern capitalist consumerism society. I should know, I work in the marketing industry. Consumerism is what I promote.

However from a business perspective saving money is also of value.

Say for example you have old signage outside your store. Something which needs some repairs and a lick of paint.

Does it make sense to replace the signage entirely, just tossing out the old signage?

Or does it make more sense to repair the old sign, repaint it, and thus it can serve its purpose once more with renewed vigor?

A wise businessman (or businesswoman) would choose the 2nd option. Repair, repaint and reuse.

You know the old adage for recycling?

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Except the Reuse part is kind of useless if you don't also Repair.

In blogging terms we use the word Cannibalize*. We take the old content, copy/paste it to a different location, and delete the old website that is no longer used. There is more to it than that however. First you want to set up a redirect code so that visitors to the old website are automatically redirected to the new website.

* Cannibalize is an ugly word, but it is the word used. Basically it just means we are reusing the old content elsewhere.

After a suitable amount of time has gone by and visitors to the old website are rare, the old site is then deleted.

During the process of copy/pasting the old content, you may also decide the content needs to be updated. This could be done immediately, or it can be delayed until a better time. eg. Delayed until you have time available to do the needed updates. Updating the content (repairing it?) doesn't always have to be done right away.

But if you are in a mood to repair / fix things, like we are right now, then now is as good a time as any.

So why not? Just get it done now.

Just do it now. Get it over with.

Doesn't have to be a big fix either. Sometimes a bandaid solution works just as well and is a more efficient use of your time.




9 Ways to Promote your YouTube Channel

#1. Make Lots of Content

Stop trying to "hack the system" with 1 video you are hoping will go viral. It won't work. Instead, make lots of different videos and see which ones become popular.

There are lots of websites claiming that there are "hidden tricks" to promote your video, but none of those hidden tricks will work if your video is horrible and nobody likes it. The solution is to make lots of videos, see which ones are popular, and then improve upon the videos that are successful.

Great Videos = More Free Promotion from viewers.

So called "youtube hacks" are actually just little known features that everyone can use, and often do use, so they're not really hacks at all. They're just common knowledge and some people don't always use them. That is not a hack. That is just a person who doesn't follow common sense.

#2. Follow an Upload Schedule

Another thing to be doing is to be making 4 videos per month (or more) and be uploading 1 video per week. Fulfilling that minimum shows that you are more serious about video production and YouTube's algorithms treats you as such.

Thus if you are already following tip #1 above and making lots of content, releasing your videos once per week (eg. every Saturday morning) then following #2 is done easily by scheduling your videos to become available 9 AM every Saturday.

This is known as the "1x4 Schedule". One video for 4 weeks, every month.

If you were somehow producing lots of videos you could just do videos every day (and have no life), but one video per week is easier to do as it allows you to still have a job, a life, a love life, etc.

Regular Frequency = Important.

 #3. Stop thinking about making videos, and just make videos.

If you have the time and a basic idea, just make a video.

Don't overthink it. Just make it and see what happens.

Procrastination is the death of ideas that never get made.

#4. Keep the Intro Short but Sweet

Don't bore people with the first 8 seconds of your video. That is when people are most likely to click pause and stop watching.

You don't need a long intro with music on every video. Leave that at the end. The very start of the video should be kept short but awesome.

Also if possible, don't even include music in the intro. That just annoys people. Just show a logo for 1 second or less and go straight into the awesome content.

#5. Make Playlists

People are more likely to subscribe if you have playlists. So organize all your videos into playlists so that there are different themes.

#6. Promote on Social Media

  1. Pinterest
  2. Twitter
  3. Facebook

Don't bother with anything else. Those are the Big Three.

If you want to go a step further use reddit and subreddits too. Instagram is okay, but not the greatest for promoting youtube videos as Instagram has its own video upload service.

#7. Create a website / blog

Promote your videos and written pieces on a website / blog, where you can embed your videos and gain more subscribers to both your blog and your channel.

#8. Use Titles that are easy to search for

Choose a title that makes it easy for people to find your video a 2nd time, so they can watch it again, is easy to remember, and sounds awesome. Avoid generic sounding titles.

#9. Translate your most popular videos

 Okay, so this is a tip to do when you've already hit the jackpot with a popular viral video.

Take the time and create translations of your best video(s) into other languages so that they can be more easily promoted to people who speak various popular languages. eg. Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, Chinese. Depending on the topic you may want to add specific languages you feel are important.

It is possible to add subtitles to all your videos, but this is time consuming and really only worth it when you have a video that is already super popular.

#10. Invest in better equipment, editing software, and better filmography skills

Having better camera equipment, software that allows you to make better videos, and learning how to do different filmography tasks allows you to create a broader range of things in your videos.

eg. Time lapse videos are great for showing a long task which would be boring to watch the whole thing slowly, but is more enjoyable when it is sped up to an almost comical speed.

$10 Guest Posts? Not worth our time.

Since February we have had a client asking us to post a sponsored article they wrote for $10 USD.

Every week she would email us, nagging us, to post the article. Every week since February and it is now July.

Except nobody who works at designSEO.ca wants to post the article.

I don't think we will be posting it after all.

The $10 USD just isn't worth the time and effort to do it. None of our staff wants to post it because we have other clients paying $30 USD or more. The time it takes to post it means whomever does the work is getting paid less than minimum wage for their time and effort, and when they have to choose between clients who pay more and her offer of $10, they are obviously going to choose the clients who pay more.

I am only posting this blog post because I just had to copy paste it and it takes me less than minute. Plus it allows me to vent about a client who is frankly a cheapskate and doesn't want to pay our usual rate of $30 USD.

Which is an industry standard rate for advertising. Anything less than $30 USD is cheap and the person doing the work is being underpaid.

So we are literally turning down money because it is literally not enough money to be worth our time.

Imported Old Blog Content

Today I imported some old blog content from a different blog I have decided to get rid of.

The blog in question had 16 posts pertaining to business advice, organization skills, SEO, and similar topics.

Exporting an old blog and importing it to a new blog (or a more popular blog) is a good way to build content or expand content.

It saves you time on writing content too, as you've already written it, it is done, and you probably only need to make a few editing changes after importing the old content.

Some blogs just don't become popular. In the case of that blog, I think it was a bad title which was forced on me by a client at the time. Years later there is no point keeping it or adding to it, so it makes more sense to just "cannibalize" the old blog content and add it to an existing blog which contains similar or identical topics.

In this case SEO Toronto already has posts about marketing advice, business advice and so forth so it is a good match.

Redirecting the Old Blog

Furthermore you don't need to lose any lost traffic from the old blog. Instead you redirect any visitors to the old blog to the new one.

In the case of blogspot, all you need to do is locate <head> tag in the HTML and copy/paste the following text in there:

<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0;URL='http://www.yoursite.com/'" />

You then replace "http://www.yoursite.com/" with your website address, save it, and in the future your old blog will redirect to the new website every time a visitor goes there.

In my case I decided to redirect visitors specifically to the Business Advice section. That way visitors to the old blog are most likely to end up in the section they were looking for.

Is it fair to visitors to suddenly be redirected to a new blog? Not precisely. But they will find way more useful things on this website anyway, and a lot more of it. So it has pros and cons.

Internet Shaming and Reputation Management

The video below is about an Internet Shaming incident involving Jennifer Connell - who has since changed her name and her identity because no amount of internet reputation management is going to fix her problem.



What happened to Jennifer Connell is fascinating and horrible.

Her wrist was injured while attending her nephew's birthday party and he gave he an exuberant hug, which caused her to fall and hurt her wrist.

Unfortunately in the state she lived in, homeowners liability insurance wouldn't cover her injury unless she sued her nephew in court - which she did, for the sum of $127,000 to cover medical costs, lost wages and lawyer fees. So she had no choice but to sue her nephew.

So she didn't do anything wrong. It is the law in New York State which is weird, requiring that this actually goes to court and that the nephew has to be the defendant named in the court case.

Unfortunately the media got a hold of the story and didn't understand the circumstances. All they saw was a woman from New York who was suing her nephew for $127,000 he didn't have. They completely missed the most important part, that the costs would be born by the insurance company and that the law in New York State required that people file a lawsuit in order to get a settlement.

I suspect the insurance company leaked the case to the media on purpose and misled the reporters on why precisely the aunt was suing the nephew. This way when Jennifer Connell later lost her case, largely due to losing in the court of public opinion, the insurance company didn't have to pay out on what normally would have been a cut and dry case.

So how bad is the situation for Jennifer Connell that she ended up having to change her name?

Well lets check the top 10 Google rankings.

Why Jennifer Connell's case against her nephew was a lost cause ...
https://www.today.com/.../nothing-personal-why-jennifer-connell-sued-her-nephew-w...

If you sensed something off about the story of the woman who sued ...
https://qz.com/.../if-you-sensed-something-off-about-the-story-of-the-woman-who-su...

Jennifer Connell says she had to sue nephew before insurance would ...
www.dailymail.co.uk/.../Jury-rejects-New-York-aunt-s-127-000-bid-sue-nephew-brea...

Jennifer Connell: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know | Heavy.com
https://heavy.com/.../jennifer-connell-aunt-suing-nephew-sean-tarala-birthday-party-i...

Jennifer Connell: Aunt who tried to sue 12-year-old nephew says she ...
www.independent.co.uk › News › World › Americas

Top 25 Jennifer Connell profiles | LinkedIn
https://ca.linkedin.com/pub/dir/Jennifer/Connell

100+ Jennifer Connell profiles | LinkedIn
https://www.linkedin.com/pub/dir/Jennifer/Connell

Jennifer Connell - IMDb
www.imdb.com/name/nm7821374/

Jennifer Connell Profiles | Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/public/Jennifer-Connell

Jennifer Connell Design: Home
https://www.jenniferconnelldesign.com/

So the top 5 posts are all news media sites about Jennifer Connell's legal case against her nephew. Followed by two pages of LinkedIn with people with identical names. Someone on IMDb with an identical name, a list of people with the same name on Facebook, and an interior designer from New Jersey with the same name.

Also for statistics purposes, there was 19.9 million results for Jennifer Connell (no quotations).

With quotations, 34,800 results.

So good news and bad news.

The good news is that Jennifer Connell is a popular name. Lots of people out there with the same name.

The bad news is that so many of the top 100 posts (I checked more than just the first page) is news media articles about Jennifer Connell's legal case.

So did Jennifer Connell make the right decision in changing her name, her hair and her identity? Maybe. It was probably the easiest solution.

What she really needs is to sue every newspaper involved for a retraction and to remove the articles in question. But that would be super expensive.

Could Internet Reputation Management fix Jennifer Connell's Problem?

Potentially, but it would be expensive.

The best solution would be to boost the ambiguous pages to the top, so the pages of people with the same name on LinkedIn, Facebook, etc get boosted up while the news media posts get pushed down.

Furthermore there would need to be an effort to get the truth out there. The YouTube video by the New York Times is an effort in the right direction.

So how much would it cost to fix this problem?

Well, $3,000 would be a good push in the right direction. That would enough to make 120 quality posts about Jennifer Connell which tells the truth about what happened to her.

You do the 120 posts, wait a few months and then check how many of those 120 posts are now in the top 100 Google results. If 70 of the top 100 are now positive or ambiguous results, that is a measurable increase to solving the problem.

If 80 of the top 100 are positive, even better.

At present 61 of the top 100 is ambiguous, but the negative ones still dominate the top 10.

So then you repeat the process. Until at least 90% of the top 100 posts are either positive or ambiguous. After that I wouldn't really worry about the other 10%, because then the point has been made. There are other people named Jennifer Connell, and for that one special person - she doesn't deserve the infamy she received from being Internet Shamed by a mob of people who didn't understand the case.

So for reputation management purposes, your goal is to flood the top 100 with positive pages, with links promoting the best performing of those to push them into the top 10.

Since we already have a 61% ambiguous result in the top 100, your goal during the first round of Reputation Management is to see how much of a difference you can make and then measure the result.

So after 3 months, you check again and it is now 78% positive. It has gone up 17 points. With any luck another round and it might be in the 90 to 95% positive range.

So Jennifer Connell's internet reputation is not impossible to fix.

It might cost $6,000 or more to fix, but it is doable.

Or she could spend that money on changing her name and getting plastic surgery so that nobody recognizes her. Really depends on what her priorities are.

Jennifer Connell has since dyed her hair and changed her name.
At present she has changed her name and dyed her hair. Is that enough? Quite possibly.

And maybe she doesn't miss using her own name. Now she gets to pretend that she is in Witness Protection.

After all, whats in a name?

But for those people who want to keep their own name and want the reputation cleaned up, that is what Reputation Management services are for.

Speaking for those of us who like our names, it is good to know that it is possible to fix one's reputation online - even if they are the subject of an Internet Shaming scandal. That to me suggests that no matter how infamous a person is, it is still possible to keep your name, have your cake, and eat it too.

Good night and remember to control your media presence online.

Good luck!


Why Female Models help advertise to both Men and Women

When constructing an advertising campaign, at some point you may need to promote your business using images displaying a model who is shown using your product or providing the service.

At which point you need to decide something.

Should the model be male or female?


Take the image above as an example.

The logo looks like it possibly male, but the model in the image is female. The business in question is a Toronto business which is offering archery lessons, to both men and women. (See http://www.cardiotrek.ca/p/archery-lessons.html to learn more.)

So why would this image work for advertising to both men and women?

#1. The women identify with the female model, seeing this as a potential version of themselves - and how awesome they could potentially be.

#2. Heterosexual men seeing the image see the woman as a potential mate, and imagine themselves meeting a woman while doing archery with a similar appearance. So lonely men are essentially motivated by feelings of love/lust. The image in this case isn't even remotely sexual either, as the woman's back is turned and you cannot even see her face. The "Male Gaze" leaves the men left to their imagination as to what she looks like.

More notes...

#3. Even married heterosexual men would find the image attractive, and be thinking "Gee, my wife and I should get into archery. That looks pretty awesome!"

#4. The image itself is not complicated. Just the image of the woman, the logo, and the website address is in a distinctive yet easy to read font.

#5. There is only the visual call to action... It is saying - without words - "This is awesome. You should do this." So the viewer is left with the suggestion to go to that website and learn more.

The one thing missing from the image is the words "archery lessons Toronto" or something like that, which means that when using the image they need to be writing that in text somewhere on the websites they are using to promote it.

And because the website name is in the image, including a link to the website is not really a necessity. The goal might simply be to build word of mouth. Having links for SEO purposes are not always a necessity.


Facebook dumps reach and what this means for your Social Media Strategy

Facebook recently announced a big change in how Facebook works.

They have gotten rid of something known as "reach" which tracks how many people view a particular post.

So for example lets say you sell kitty litter and on your Facebook business page you regularly post photos of cats and kittens in an effort to get more people to see your product.

Every time you go back and view an old posting, you will see a statistic beneath it showing how many people have viewed your posting, along with the Likes, Reactions and so forth.

This is probably connected to the fact that "reach" has been declining on Facebook in recent years anyway. The average user's number of daily posts is also down, from 4.5 posts per day in June 2016 down to 1.3 in April 2017. The downward trend has become a big thing since August 2016.

So people are posting on Facebook less often than years ago, and Facebook has become "flooded" with brands competing for reach.

Meanwhile some people are doing a "Facebook Purge" in an effort to limit the amount of time they waste on Facebook.

And some people, like two people I went to university with, are going one step further and deleting their Facebook accounts entirely. Their reasoning? They have a baby and don't have the extra time to be wasting time on Facebook when they should be spending that time with their baby.

So could that explain Facebook's decline in recent years in daily posts? People are getting older, having kids and just have less time to waste on Facebook? Maybe so. Maybe so.

Another Big Change

Facebook is de-emphasizing business pages / advertising and putting more emphasis on the posts of friends and family.

"But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other. […] Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. […] you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups. […] you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media." - Mark Zuckerberg.

So people will end up seeing less of your kitty litter / cat photos, and also less of business pages and advertising in general.

But how will Facebook make money off of this?

Well, now your business page posts won't show up in people's feeds for free any more. Instead people will have to PAY if they want to promote a post and get additional clicks / attention.

Which means reach isn't so much gone as they are changing the focus to people paying for clicks.

Which means more profit for Facebook in the long run. More people paying for advertising, no more free advertising.

And for regular Facebook users, it means (or should mean) less looking at advertising.

Coupled with Facebook's continual growth in popularity, this means they should expect more income in the future as there are more and more people to advertise to via Facebook - if you are willing to pay for it.



Special Note

Facebook doesn't even make most of their money off of advertising. That is really a side gig for them. Facebook's real revenue stream is from selling off personal data to advertisers can use to create more sophisticated advertising campaigns. That is where the real money is.

This is why when you sign up for Facebook your email account later sees a rise in spam. People are buying your personal data, learn about your interests, and then send you spam on topics they think you might buy.

So what does this all mean for Advertisers?

Making a Facebook page for your business now is basically useless unless you are also willing to spend money advertising your Facebook page.

Facebook has effectively killed "organic reach" on their website. The only way you will reach potential customers with your posts is if you pay for it.

That means your Social Media Strategy needs to have advertising money behind it, otherwise you are just wasting your time.

Money + Advertising = Reaching Potential Customers

No Money + Posting for Free = Zero Customers


This is a win-win for Facebook.

It allows them to appear to crack down on businesses so that people who enjoy Facebook will be able to enjoy it for seeing their friends and family more.

And it allows them to increase their advertising revenue by forcing businesses to pay up instead of trying to get free advertising.

Happy New Year! List of Past Posts on SEO Toronto

Toronto SEO Archive

2017

Some Guest Bloggers are Morons and they Annoy Me
Idiot Guest Post Blogger knows nothing about Fishi...
Reviewing a Google Adwords Campaign that has come ...
Designer Hourly Rates Versus Package Rates
Cheapskate Advertisers offering Discount Subscript...
Common Social Media Marketing Mistakes
Why the Kingsway Theatre Manager is a Social Marke...
The Online Gambling Industry and Advertising
Guest Posts Do Not Equal Free Links, + How much to...
Never Annoy a SEO Expert
Running a Business, Not a Charity
Guest Posts, Free Links and Why it is Bad for your...
2016

Festive and Holiday SEO vs PPC SEM
Search Engine Algorithms
Offline / Online Synergy Marketing
Marketing for Clients
The Difference between Amateurs and Professionals
2015

10 More Things People say to Graphic Designers
10 Things People Say to Graphic Designers
Trolling Business Competitors / Brand Jamming
Nothing is Free in the World of Advertising
Copyright Infringement and Website Design
2014

People who want free SEO and don't want to pay for...
Clueless SEO Clients from H E Double Hockey Sticks...
Who cares if you have a high Clickthru Rate if nob...
The Problem with Revenue Per Sale (RPS) Affiliate ...
Social Media Experts = Funny
Amusing SEM Images
PPC Competitors, Costs and Conversion Tracking
2013

Protecting your Online Reputation
Why it is useless to link to Facebook or Twitter o...
Local SEO + Peak Internet Hours
Reputation Clean Up via SEO
How to Build a Successful Blog or Website
BadBoyReport.com sued for $40M because they stole ...
A Guide to Link Buying in Toronto
The Three Rules of Marketing
2012

How to Avoid Link Spam and Getting Banned
Why Spamming Comments on Other Blogs doesn't Work
Affiliate Programs = Waste of Time
Online Marketing Methods
Researching Keywords for SEO
Organizing your Website to be Search Engine Friend...
Branded Content is King
The Benefits of Search Engine Marketing
Common Search Engine Marketing Terms
Confessions of a Designer
What is VVM? Viral Video Marketing
The Changing Responsibilities of SEO
5 Hot SEO Tips
How to Promote your Business via SEO
Maximizing the Toronto Poet, how to get the most o...
2011

How to give Feedback to a Website Designer
Top 10 Tips for Ranking your local business in Tor...
How to create a Google Analytics Account
How to setup a Facebook Business Page
SEO Test Results from RankBuilder
artificialintelligenceseo.com = SCAM!
Writing Good Copy, Why Good Content Drives SEO
The Importance of Google Plus on your Website
New Canadian rules for Domain Name Disputes
5 SEO Mistakes That Make You Look Like an Amateur
5 Reasons why you should Twitter for your Business
Link Building & SEO Tips
Hiring a SEO Consultant
Facts and Functions of SEO
Quality Link Building Tips For SEO
How to boost visitors to your site
The Need To Use Search Engine Marketing
E-commerce and the SEO Checklist
Changing SEO Responsibilities
Big Business Blogging, The Toronto Way
Toronto Search Engine Optimization
What about Link Building Services
Content and Search Engine Optimization
Onsite Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization Basics
Link Building
Toronto Website Design + SEO
Patrick the DIY SEO Vs Vanessa the SEO Expert
Google Ranking Factors
How to Optimize your Blog Post
5 Business Tips for the Tech Savvy
6 Tips for getting Startup Funds
Five Workplace Email Tips
The Future of Facebook & Online Marketing
Online Vs Offline Synergy Tips
The Importance of Trust in a Business Relationship...
Business Vs Conscience
What is Search Engine Optimization?
10 Business Tips Everyone Should Know
Looking for Free SEO advice?
2010

Marketing Tactics for the Holiday Season
What happens when you Google google?
When it comes to SEO... Think Local!
Definition of SEM
Definition of SEO
SEO / Search Engine Optimization in Toronto














Some Guest Bloggers are Morons and they Annoy Me

I have written about this before.

In fact it is basically a pet peeve for me when someone contacts me asking to do a guest post on one of my 200+ websites, but they want to do it for free and they don't want to pay anything for posting advertising on my website.

They also don't want to pay anything for my time and effort in posting it for them, which includes formatting it, adding images, editing content for quality (spelling, grammar, making sure it is family friendly, etc).

So like this morning I got an email from a "Stella Evans" - probably not even her real name, insisting that I should give her a free guest post because:

I am already investing lots of money in Content Research and Promoting in Social Media Platform.

It's going to bring traffic to your website too.

Let me know if you are still interested.

Thanks,
-Stella

To which I responded:
Hey Stella!

My website is already SUPER popular. Anything you can offer me social media wise is a drop in the bucket compared to what I already have.

Google tracks incoming and outgoing links - and reciprocal links (which is frowned upon). Incoming links boosts the Google ranking a tiny bit, outgoing links lowers it. However reciprocal links damages it more so.

Unless you are paying for the link, it is not worth my time or the damage to my Google ranking. The number of links you can promise is not worth the damage of the outgoing link unless you are willing to pay for it.

Worse, social media links are rel=nofollow. That means they are useless for boosting Google rankings. Twitter, Facebook, etc all useless. Might get a tiny trickle of people the day of any postings, but it immediately dwindles because so few people click on those things. It would be meaningless compared to the 1000 to 2000 visitors my website gets every day.

And then I ranted for a bit...

Before saying the following:
If you are going to do link building - especially when trying to link build on popular websites - the smart money says you need to pay for it.

Do you honestly think you are the first person to contact me asking for a free link? I get these requests every day. Multiple requests per day. Right now I have 5 other people in my email queue asking for links, but the big difference is that 3 of them are offering money.

Why should I spend time talking to you when other people are paying me for my time?

And now I am posting it here.

Because this is what happens when I get annoyed about something SEO related. I rant, I post it on here, and all my effort ranting has at least been useful and educational.

Worse, less than three hours later there was another two people asking for a guest post on my website. Not sure yet if they are willing to pay. One of the first questions I always ask these people is:

"How much are you offering per guest post?"

Because if they are not paying then they are just wasting my time.

Like this girl who emailed me at 12:53 PM today:
I’m Lori, a new reader of your site, awesome articles and blog section by the way.
On my blog [company name removed].org I write about showers and bathroom related topics.

I’m writing to you because I’d love to contribute a guest post on [name of website removed]

I've been brainstorming some ideas and guest post titled something like these would be a good fit for your site:

- Why is it recommended to use massage shower after workout?
- Reasons Why You Need to Take Cold Showers More Often
- Immune System Benefits of an Infrared Sauna
 

Do you agree? How about I write one of these for you?

Here are some of our previous guest posts:

[list of three website links removed]

Best regards,

Lori L
 Or this girl who emailed me at 1:15 PM today:
Hey there,

My name is Rachel and I am the outreach manager at [name of company removed].

I wanted to see if you would be interested in adding a paid sponsored post to your blog that we would provide.

If this is something you might be interested in let me know and I'd be happy to give you more details.

Thank you,
Rachel W
So which of these two emails do you think I will pay more attention to? It is obviously Rachel. Right in the first email she said the magic words:

"paid sponsored post"

Right away, Rachel has the respect. And today I am feeling generous. I am going to let her know that $30 is the minimum fee. She might have been willing to go higher, but frankly I like her style. Rachel is awesome.

And working with her will make me a happy blogger and SEO expert.


Update at 1:39 PM

Stella Evans just sent me the following:

$5 I can provide a publishing fee.

Which is only one sixth of what my MINIMUM fee is.

Remember how I always ask "How much are you offering per guest post?" ...?

Well I ask that because sometimes people offer $40 to $100 per post. Really depends on what they are advertising I find. So I find it is handy to wave some bait there and see how much they offer.

$5?

$5 is less than half the minimum hourly wage in Ontario. Less than half! Meanwhile my hourly wage for SEO work is $40 per hour. I am not cheap, but I am well worth it.

Basically I am literally swimming in offers from guest bloggers and the fact that some of them like Stella Evans just don't seem to "get it" annoys me. Why should I waste any time on cheapskate morons not willing to pay money for a service when other people are contacting me every day asking for the same thing, but are willing to pay for it???

Communication and Listening Skills in the Workplace

By Kristy Davis

I recently went to a business meeting in Woodbridge. However the client told me the meeting was in Vaughan, which is confusing because the two places may be pretty close to one another but that is like saying PEI is pretty close to New Brunswick.

To clarify, the Confederation Bridge spanning from PEI to New Brunswick is 12.9 km long. The distance from Woodbridge town center to Vaughan town center is 17.4 km. It may only take 24 minutes to drive from Vaughan to Woodbridge in a car, but that doesn't mean they are as close as some people might think.

Fortunately I looked up the address prior to leaving and used the GPS navigation on my phone, otherwise I might have ended up in the wrong city trying to find an address that did not exist in Woodbridge.

Thus you start to realize how important communication skills are during business dealings. Or listening skills for that matter. What if I had heard them wrong and they had actually meant to meet in Bridgetown (the capitol of the Barbados, not even near Toronto) or Severn Bridge (north of Barrie).

It reminds me of that one scene from 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade' when Indy yells at Elsa "Are you crazy? Don't go in between them!" and she yells back "Go between them? Are you crazy?!"


So yes, I went to my meeting in Vaughan and during the meeting I determined the business client was getting pretty old and I believe they need a hearing aid. I then recommended them an audiologist who is in Woodbridge/Vaughan (I know, I know - they are two separate places!) that I found using a Google search and checking Yelp reviews. I don't think he took me seriously enough however - don't tell anyone but I also think the client was going senile. Hard to tell if he was going deaf or senile or both.

Senility and deafness just seem to go hand in hand when it comes to senior citizens. I think my father is going this way. If he doesn't hear something, he doesn't know about it. And even if he does hear it, he often forgets about it or is confused by what I am talking about. Sometimes I worry he is just pretending to be able to hear people talking so that we don't know how bad his hearing problems are, and then we interpret his lack of comprehension due to senility when it reality it is that he is only catches bits and pieces of the conversation and isn't hearing the whole conversation in a manner that he can understand it. Or maybe he is going both deaf and senile. It is very difficult to say.

I have a friend who tutors sports and one of the things he recently encountered was a teenage student who did not listen. The student didn't have a hearing disability, he just refused to listen to the instructions being given to him. My friend however was having difficulty teaching the student because they could not tell whether the student was being deliberately stubborn and refusing to listen (as some teenagers like to do) or if the student had a learning disability that caused them to ignore instructions when given a list of things to do.

My conclusions are that regardless of the task you need people to be able to understand what you are talking about, and this hinges on you both communicating in an adequate manner and the person receiving the information has to be able to hear and understand it. First being able to hear something and then being able to comprehend it.


SEO is like Counting Cards in Poker


What SEO Experts actually do.

The last one "What I really do" is pretty accurate.

If you are one for metaphors, the one I like to use is comparing SEO to counting cards in Poker. During a poker game it is basically considered cheating to be counting cards.

However I should also note that all the professional poker players are counting cards. All of them. So it isn't really cheating, it is something lots of people do in order to calculate their odds of winning.

It is what makes them the pros compared to the common rabble who cannot do the math in their head.

So that last image with the charts and the keywords, that is pretty accurate. Half of my job is basically figuring out what keywords are the mathematically best ones to use, how I should be using them, how the competitors are using them (including what they are doing right/wrong), and then using my knowledge of the numbers to help the client achieve better results in Google search rankings by emphasizing the keywords that will benefit the client the most.

Another good metaphor is the game CLUE.

Now if you've ever played Clue, there are a number of ways to deduce the answers in the game.

#1. By asking for the weapon, the room, the suspect and seeing which cards other people show you.

That is the normal way to play, as explained in the rulebook.

However if you are a smart cookie, you should be keeping track of several other things.

#2. Every time someone says pass, you should be noting that the person does NOT having any of those 3 cards. You can do this even when it is not your turn.

#3. When someone shows a card to someone else, you make a note of it that the person showing had 1 of the 3 cards which was called.

#4. If the person showing previously passed on specific cards and just showed a card when 1 or 2 of those cards was just called, you should be able to narrow down which card they just showed to 1 or 2 cards.

#5. Keep an eye out for cards that people always pass on. That is a strong indicator it might be the murder weapon, the room or the murderer.

#6. Some players (like my sister) will sometimes call their own cards near the start of the game just to confuse other players. Don't be fooled by this.

And so forth. I have more ways to deduce who has what.

Basically multiple levels of deduction is another way of looking at SEO in order to achieve better results.

It also helps if you are like me and have over 200 websites at your disposal with which to produce results.



Idiot Guest Post Blogger knows nothing about Fishing or Hunting annoys SEO Expert

By C. M. - September 19th 2017.

Okay, so on a daily basis I get requests from self-styled "freelance writers" who want to do a guest post on one of my 100+ blogs. (Yes, I have a lot of blogs - some of them are very popular too.)

Most of the time I delete such emails because they are a waste of time (they just want free advertising and are too cheap to pay for it). Sometimes when there is a chance they will actually buy advertising (actually pay for it), then I shall respond.

Sometimes, on rare occasions, I might even respond because they are proposing a topic I find to be interesting. My curiousity gets the better of me because I am truly interested to see what they have to say about a particular topic.

Six days ago a "freelance writer" contacted me asking to do a guest post on one of my blogs that is about a variety of "outdoorsy topics", including fishing, hunting, gardening, foraging, camping, DIY projects, off grid living, alternative energy, etc. The name of the website is Project Gridless.

So this writer contacts me and says he can write about the following topics:

1. Hunting and Fishing
2. Spotting Scopes
3. Shooting and Outdoor niche
I didn't really want to read the dribble he would be possibly be spewing about hunting, shooting or scopes - so I gave him some limited options of writing about fishing or a different outdoors topic.

So he chose the fishing option.

Today he got back to me with a horribly written article (containing a link to a website that sells rifle scopes, so it was obviously just advertising).

Now as someone who has shot rifles, including rifles with scopes, I was really disgusted by the vomit level quality of his writing. So annoyed I wrote the following response:


Hey Eric!
The post you sent is useless. The article basically only pretends to be a fishing article, but is just an article about rifle scopes.

Whoever wrote that article should be fired. It is not even well written and whomever wrote it evidently knows diddly squat about both fishing and rifle scopes. Whomever wrote it clearly had never adjusted the sight on a rifle scope before, and it showed in the writing that they knew nothing about the topic and were just spewing garbage. If you wrote that yourself, you should be ashamed to call yourself a freelance writer. It is pure vomit.

If you recall on Sept. 19th I recommended writing a fishing post on the following topics:

"fly fishing, fishing for trout, bass, or any kind of freshwater fish found in the Great Lakes"
I counted and while you did use the words fish or fishing 13 times, the article is much more about hunting with a rifle scope and contains the words hunt or hunting 14 times.
You mentioned fly fishing 0 times.
Trout 0 times.
Bass 0 times.
Great Lakes 0 times.
When you first wrote me back on September 19th you expressed an interest in writing about the following three topics:


1. Hunting and Fishing
2. Spotting Scopes
3. Shooting and Outdoor niche


Those topics suggested that you perhaps had some knowledge in those areas. Surveying the topics I determined we were only interested in topics about fishing or "general outdoors". That basically means hunting, scopes, and "shooting" is off limits for a topic.

However judging by the vomit you sent me, whoever wrote it knows sweet-****-all about both rifle scopes and fishing, and has no business writing about topics they are ignorant of.

If you want me to post an article about fishing, write an article about actual fishing - and it had better be a knowledgeable and well written article. No more vomit.


And after sending that email I was still so annoyed I felt this deserved an angry blog post.

My official opinion of "freelance writers" is that the vast majority of them are ignorant morons.

And "guest posts", as you may have already have guessed, are a complete waste of time unless the writer is willing to pay $$$ for the advertising privilege.

Sometimes in the past I have also written up an email response to these daily requests to do guest posts. Something like the following:

Dear Advertiser

Thank you for contacting me. I get at least a hundred of these "guest post" request emails per month. They are actually really annoying. So here is the thing: I have bills to pay and little free time to deal with annoying cheapskates. Unless you are willing to pay $$$ for the privilege of advertising on one or more of my websites then I ask that you don't waste my time. Any requests to get a "free guest post" will be deleted / marked as spam. I have no time for annoying people who cannot read instructions and don't understand that when running a business TIME = MONEY. Stop wasting my time unless you have money to pay for your advertising.

Call it a pet peeve if you want, but consider the following.

The average life expectancy of a Canadian is currently 82.14 years.

82.14 years x 364.25 days per year x 24 hours = 718,067.88 hours of life expectancy.

Since I am currently 38.5 years old, I have already used up 336,567 hours of my life expectancy. So I have already used up almost half of my allotment of hours, assuming that I don't die sooner somehow?

Why should I waste any hours of my remaining time answering emails from moronic cheapskates?

Have a nice day!

PS. I am contacting the company the moron Eric works for and am going to tell them to fire him. They should not be wasting their money on halfwits.

Reviewing a Google Adwords Campaign that has come to an end

Sept. 4th 2017.

Today I put an end to the longest running PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising campaign I have ever done.

It start in November 2013.

And ended September 4th 2017.

The campaign was a deliberately slow one - the focus was on quality clicks, not quantity.

The budget, $289.98 spread over almost 4 years. (Approx. 3.833 years.)

1307 clicks, averaging 22.1866 cents per click.

So it was a slow campaign, heavy on quality - with a strong focus on keeping the price of individual clicks low.

And it supported a thriving business, while simultaneously competing with a number of competitors who were trying to get a quantity of lesser quality clicks.

Annually, between the PPC and an active SEO campaign, the combined advertising brought in hundreds of clients per year.

Because it was a seasonal business the campaign was sometimes paused during winter, but as Spring approached the campaign would be resume and clients would start flooding in pre-ordering for Spring and Summer.

While the number of clicks did vary per year, on average the campaign had 341 clicks per year.

With overall number of clients per year somewhere in the 300 to 400 range.

So how much of that was clients who arrived via PPC and how many arrived via SEO?

Truth is, we don't know.

But since designSEO.ca did both the PPC and SEO advertising for the client, they were very happy with the results either way.

Basically what we did was stack the deck.

#1. We had a quality based PPC campaign that brought in potential clients who were far more likely to actually buy the service provided.

#2. We had an aggressive SEO campaign that put the client's websites at the top of the Google search results in multiple keyword categories.

#3. "We stacked the deck and cheated" - we bought a domain name that was very useful to the client and made it the #1 most useful website in Toronto for the type of people who would be purchasing the client's services. Ergo, build an useful website and the people will come.

Bonus - designSEO.ca now makes advertising profits off of the website we made, because we own the website, not the client, and their competitors now have to bid to advertise on our website.

The campaign has ended because the client has decided to retire / take a break from that business to focus on their family and a new baby. We wish them well!

Designer Hourly Rates Versus Package Rates

Years ago I used to be a freelance website designer and at the time I charged an hourly rate of $20. However since many clients would want a "package rate" I would need to quote a specific price for a job based on a time estimate of how much time I thought it would take to do the job, assuming they didn't ask for any changes which added up to extra time.

So for example if I thought a project might take 30, 40 or 50 hours I would quote them $600, $800 or $1000 respectively - bearing in mind that if a project goes overtime, I don't get paid anything extra. So if I quote 30 hours to complete a task and it takes 40 or 50, I don't get paid anything extra because it was my fault for not quoting a more accurate price.

So when a client then asks for a "discount rate" or $300 or $400 for a $600 job, think about how much I get paid per hour if the job goes overtime?

At $400 for 40 hours I am suddenly getting $10/hour, which is less than minimum wage in Ontario.

At $400 for 50 hours I am now getting $8/hour, which is ridiculous. I got paid that much when doing heavy labour in a welding shop 20 years ago. This shows you how much minimum wage has improved in the last 20 years.

At $300 for 40 hours I am now getting an awful $7.50/hour.

At $300 for 50 hours I would be getting a pathetic $6/hour.

So when a client asks for a discount rate, the proper response is:

"That is the discount rate."

Also I later jacked up my hourly rate to $25, then $30, and eventually to $35/hour - which is my current rate for doing website design.

Also I now explain to clients when they ask for a website design that we agree to the design of the website in advance and any "changes" they want to the website after it is completed is billed separately. I am not doing endless edits for people who cannot make up their mind about what shade of blue they want for their website.

"Oh, I don't like that new blue. Can you make it more like a sky blue, but like greyer?"

Yes. Yes, I can. But I am not changing it again unless you are paying me for my time.

Cheapskate Advertisers offering Discount Subscriptions

Meetup.com is a valuable place to advertise.
By C.M - June 2nd 2017.

Earlier today I received an email from a person wanting to become a sponsor for a Meetup group I manage.

However she wasn't offering money (the standard fee is $30 to sponsor a meetup group - some groups charge more), instead she was offering:

  • A discount on subscriptions for a publication she was selling - to meetup members - which means zero of that money goes towards the meetup group.
  • A monthly contribution to the meetup group based on the percentage of meetup members who sign up - which for a club with 2,427 members, which means at least 24 people would have to sign up to her publication just for the club to receive a 1% contribution.

Plus there would be no way for me to determine how many people signed up and I would have to take her word that she was telling the truth that only 23 people signed up and therefore that did not warrant her paying a single cent.

So the only way money goes into the club's coffers is IF people sign up for her publication and only IF she is honest about the number of people signing up and only IF she actually pays up as agreed upon.

As opposed to paying the $30 standard fee for 1 year of sponsorship.

So here was my response:

Hello Natalie!

The $30 is a standard advertising/administration fee - money paying for the meetup groups annual fee + paying for my time used to implement the sponsorship advertising by adding:

  • Link and image to the sponsors section.
  • Sending members a notice of a new sponsor.
  • Changing the layout template for events so that every new event mentions the sponsor at the bottom.

Your sponsorship will last one year for the fee discussed. After which you will be expected to renew the fee at a cost of $30.

Whether or not you get subscriptions, how you track subscriptions, how you report subscriptions, etc is all beyond my knowledge or control. I will have no idea of how many subscriptions you may or may not receive. There is no way for me to track the fidelity of such transactions and their reporting thereof. Therefore it makes logical sense that we take a hands off approach to that method and instead use a method that works: The standard fee.

Personal Note

As a parent, my time is precious to me. I do not give it away. Anyone who has children will understand this.

As such the standard fee is non-negotiable, because as a parent I don't waste my time with people unwilling to pay for service. If the service is worth money then it deserves to be paid, and any form of for-profit-advertising thus falls into category.

Have a nice day!

 It irks and annoys me that I have to even explain this.

Advertising = Money.

People should not be giving away advertising to another person unless that person falls into one of the following categories:

  1. You really love their product/service and you are being a Maven*. (A Maven is a person who freely promotes a product/service they already know and like. eg. I love Chocolate Milk and I enjoy promoting chocolate milk as a milk product.)
  2. The product or service or organization you are promoting is for a non-profit charity or proverbial good cause. eg. The TakeYourShot program for Princess Margaret Cancer Research.
  3. You are promoting the business / organization of a friend or family member. eg. Check out my friend's new compostable clothing / fashion line by visiting her Facebook page Havah Designs.
  4. Political Cause or Politician. I honestly cannot think of any politician I would endorse, so I will skip giving an example for this one.
Anything else, they should be paying you. Especially if you are going to be doing any of the following:

  • Using your time -which is valuable!
  • Using your money for their benefit. Because money = time = valuable.
  • Using any resources which cost money. Because resources = money = time = valuable.

I was listening to CBC Radio two days ago while the wife and I were out driving / shopping (we got a new air conditioner) and on the radio they were talking about how Ontario recently raised the minimum wage to $15 per hour - which will gradually phased in. It was a call in show, so people in Ontario were phoning in and talking about how the minimum wage increase would effect them.

At present the minimum wage is $11.40. The new minimum wage will become $14 per hour on January 1, 2018, and $15 per hour on January 1, 2019, followed by annual increases matching the rate of inflation.

One woman who works minimum wage part time 20 hours per week will be going from $228 per week to $280 per week, and eventually $300 per week. However for her the biggest change for her will be how she monetizes her time.

For example if she goes to Tim Hortons and buys $5 worth of coffee and food, at present that is almost an hour worth of work for her. If we do the math it is 26 minutes of her time spent away on coffee and food that she could make herself at home.

However with a $15 per hour minimum wage, suddenly that $5 is 20 minutes of her time instead. Suddenly having the option to buy coffee/food and let someone else do the work seems more reasonable.

Speaking for myself, I value my time to a higher standard. $30 per hour is the MINIMUM that I will work for. On a regular basis I am working for $40 per hour, $60 per hour or even $100 per hour - because I have a job which allows me to do so.

Because I am providing a valuable service and people are willing to pay $40 to $100 per hour for the services I provide.

Having that higher wage also affords me more free time - which is still valuable to me - which I can spend as I see fit with family, with friends, exercising, making artwork, writing, or even blogging about why time is valuable.

Which brings me back to the point I made to Natalie up above. I am a parent. I would rather spend an hour with my son than spend an hour doing work for free for some person who just wants free advertising and is apparently too cheap to pay for it.

And if you just spent an half hour reading this blog post and you have kids, you should by now realize the same thing. Your time is precious. Spend it wisely on the people and activities you love. Anybody else should have to pay for your time.

Common Social Media Marketing Mistakes

An unfortunate consequence of people trying to do Social Media Marketing and being clueless of what they should be doing and not doing means they end up wasting a lot of time on mistakes.

1. Don’t Jump Into Social Media Marketing Without A Plan!

Most companies might have experienced this and you could be one of them. The story goes like this: you decide to join the social network, make your profiles, load it with info, put great stuff out there to attract attention and then disappear. Within weeks of your ‘super’ launch your page is converted into a barren land with followers wondering what they are doing there and some people seeking answers and getting no replies. Your company's social media presence soon becomes a big flop.

So the first step is to actually have a social media marketing plan.

The plan should be such that it should build on your presence and not let it dwindle. Any plan would need:
  • Time investment
  • Strategy and goals
  • Team for interaction

2. Spamming

Another mistake people make is to throw links on the internet on all the social networks. Why post irrelevant links? Spam never works.

What you need to do instead is build relevant content and have meaningful links. Don't post fake stuff either. Everything you post should actually be USEFUL. Posting free tips for example is a great way to make useful content.

eg. 10 Tips on What NOT to do when doing Social Media Marketing.

3. Multiple Profiles On Social Sites

This is another trend where a company has more than one profiles on sites like Facebook and Twitter – all of which link to the main website. For one thing, it is just plain wasteful to spread out your resources and efforts like that! Put your efforts in one direction and get people, real people, to your company.

Another common problem connected to having multiple profiles is people who connect with other people who are just looking for numbers - they have zero intention in becoming a customer and are essentially fake followers, and instead their primary goal is to get you to follow their company too, just for the sake of ego building numbers. However, there’s no point building loads of fake followers who really aren’t interested in your work and are simply connecting to build ‘following’. Having more numbers doesn't actually attract customers through popularity. That is a false perception.

Thus having multiple profiles in the effort to get more followers also doesn't work. It is just a waste of time.

4. Very Little Interaction

In many cases, profiles have updates but no participation in conversation. Lack of conversation with your clients and followers decreases value of your social presence and you don’t build on valuable relationships.

What you should be doing:

Post comments, questions, ask for feedback, have polls (formal or informal), answer questions from potential clients, turn your online presence into a way to find out more about your customers and what they want.

5. No Real Followers

This is a big mistake – keeping an active page with lot of info but no real followers. This means you don’t really have virtual support and weakens the basis of your social existence. To avoid this, it’s important to build a slow and steady network of real people.

Some companies arguably don't even need Social Media and thus don't need a Twitter or Facebook account. They only want them for the sake of ego, but once they have them they neglect to use them - or if they do use them, they are trying to sell something that most people only need 1 time and there is no point in following a company that sells 1 time use widgets.

6. Bookmarking Randomly

Social bookmarking is important and useful. But if you are bookmarking all sites with back-links to your website, with no real relevance (or useful content), then it’s not going to work well for your business. You will just be wasting your time.

Lets say for example you use the website StumbleUpon to bookmark things you like, but you are bookmarking parts of your website which are essentially useless and boring. There is no point bookmarking those pages because other people are never going to bookmark those pages either.

Instead what you should be doing is only bookmarking the pages that are interesting, fascinating and have the potential to go viral. Topics that are useful, fantastic and so forth.

In theory you could also bookmark big sales, as people could end up sharing / bookmarking those pages so share the sale with their friends.

7. Automated Posting of Links

Another mistake is automated posting of back-links to your website. Of course, automation eases the load on your manual efforts, but a structure is needed and randomness doesn’t pay. You only look like just – another – spamming site!

Spamming doesn't work and can even get your site banned / red-flagged by Google. It doesn't matter whether a human posts the spam or it is a computer doing it, it still doesn't work / looks suspicious enough for Google to give you a red flag.

8. Less Visibility due to Low Activity

This is an interlinked factor where you seem media shy! There are various profiles that are extremely careful in a bid to be less aggressive and hence, end up going unnoticed. It’s important to be active and visible.

What you should instead be doing is posting regularly. Daily or Weekly works best.

9. Not Spending Wisely

Social media marketing is an affordable platform which is its greatest charm. Yet, not spending wisely in the bargain is what should not happen. You may spend too much on social media ads but nothing on hiring an SEO/SMO company to do your SMO work. Isn't that a bad choice? Why not make a balance and use your money wisely.

It makes way more sense to hire someone who actually knows what they are doing to garner the best results.

10. Your Target Customers

The most important is to know your target audience. Aiming in the dark may seem like you are working very hard, but in the end, results will suffer!

Thus knowing your target, knowing how to best "hit your target", and learning from your failed attempts to gain customers from your target audience.

BONUS TIP

Never use social media in a disgraceful / greedy way with respect to comment on social issues / tragedy.

eg. Using a recent school shooting or deaths to try and sell your line of widgets.

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Get started by emailing contactus@designseo.ca.
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