Category Archives: Online Marketing Tips

Squidoo MiniSites – An Alternative to Hosted WordPress Sites

squidoo Squidoo MiniSites   An Alternative to Hosted WordPress SitesAre you looking for a way to create simple web pages to get started with income producing sites online? An alternative to going the ‘hosted WordPress site with your own domain’ route is to set up a completely free website on a third party platform. The very best choice for this is Squidoo. This free site is the brainchild of author, entrepreneur, and public speaker Seth Godin. In 2006 he and his team launched this site as a way for anyone with access to a computer and an Internet connection to be able to easily create their own websites at no cost.

Squidoo continues to be one of my favorite marketing strategies. This is where you can create a ‘lens’, which is a web page on a specific topic. This topic could be your local business, a course or eBook you have created, or a product available on Amazon you wish to recommend and earn money from. While I tend to set up my lenses strictly to promote my articles, my own products, courses, and books, and niche sites I create on a variety of topics, you can certainly do this to get the word out about a local business or to set up a site quickly based on your stamp and coin collecting hobbies you mentioned in your email to me. Anyone can become a ‘lensmaster’ on Squidoo, and this will give you a much better idea of how you want to proceed in the future.

Let us know when you set up a Squidoo lens so I can take a look. I recently set up a lens on baby monitors to recommend the one I believe is the best on the market. You can take a look at what I did at

One of my students, Tatiana, has an idea for a business on helping parents to teach their own children to swim. She wanted to know how to find out if this would be a profitable niche. My recommendation here is to create several lenses on Squidoo to see which keyword phrases are most appealing to your target audience. Keywords are the words people type into Google when they are searching for more information on a topic, and your target audience would be parents who have decided that their child needs to learn to swim. Your goal is to find out if enough parents want to teach their own children to make your business venture worthwhile, or if they would prefer to have someone else teach them. By setting up lenses with keyword phrases such as ‘teach your child to swim’ or ‘swimming lessons by parents’ you will be able to do your research at no cost. A Squidoo lens is made up of many modules, so be sure to add the module called ‘Guestbook Comments’ where parents will be able to share their thought with you.

I recently created a beginner’s course on how to get started with Squidoo with Geoff Hoff. This training is called ‘Squidoo Minisites‘ and takes you completely through the process of setting up your first lenses and recommending affiliate products of various kinds on your lenses. During the first few weeks of release, many people have already begun to make great process as a result of this training.

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Podcast: Joe Vitale

DSCN5983 300x225 Podcast: Joe VitaleJoe Vitale is the author of ‘way too many books to mention’ and is the person who inspired me to start writing books as a part of my life experience and my business. I’ve known Joe for several years now and can tell you he is quite a unique individual. He had wanted to become an author since he was sixteen years old, and went through a process to decide how he wanted his life to unfold. One of his first articles, about a magic trick, was published by the time he was seventeen.

I asked him where he received his motivation. He says that his family was not supportive of his goals, and that he had to reach inward to self motivate. Taking action on his goals set him apart from many others, and this is still true to this day. Joe was one of the people tapped for the popular movie, The Secret, and reminds us that the word ‘ACTION’ is inside of the phrase Law of AttrACTION. Moving forward, taking action, and practicing is the key to changing your life in major ways.

We discuss public speaking, and Joe shares the story of his friend, actor Lou Ferrigno, and how he overcame many things in his life in order to become a motivational speaker. Joe did not set out to become a public speaker, and says that he was terrified when he first got up in front of a group of people, even though it was just a few people. He kept on doing it (one of the crucial keys to success in any area of our lives) and has gone on to speak in front of groups around the world. He was even on The Larry King Show, a program that was televised to tens of millions of people around the world.

I then asked Joe about his early life, when he lived in Ohio and worked for the railroad. He said that he knew he wanted to change his life, so he decided to read the classic self-help books, including The Magic of Believing. He learned that if he could visualize it and believe it, then he could achieve it. He held on to this premise as he worked his way through those next several years. Joe says that it took a long time and much struggle because we did not have access to the resources that are available in this day and age. He is now able to move seamlessly through life as an author, copywriter, musician, and more. Joe goes into great detail as to the steps he takes in order to achieve all of his goals.

We also talk about the power of storytelling, and how this can be leveraged into your business and your life. Weaving a tale is an excellent way to communicate our message to others. Joe shared a magical story in one of my books, The Inner Game of Internet Marketing. He and I have also contributed to two other books. You can take a look at all of Joe’s many, many books and see which one is best for you to begin with. I would recommend reading Hypnotic Writing first.

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How Long Should Your eBook Be?

This is a guest post from my friend and colleague Jim Edwards.

How long does an ebook need to be to be considered a “real book”?

-by Jim Edwards

image001 248x300 How Long Should Your eBook Be?It used to be that a “real book” (especially a business book) had some very definite characteristics that made it real. It should contain at least 200 pages, start with a story, contain at least 12 chapters, and have at least one third party story per chapter. The title should be short (no more than 4 words) and should create a “brand,” etc. I think all these rules about what made a “real book” were as much about making it harder to get published as they were about creating books worth reading.

Now, with the digital revolution and the spread of ebooks, anyone can claim the title of“author” – and the floodgates have certainly opened with a tsunami of new ebooks of varying quality. The majority of new authors now completely bypass “traditional” publishing and go straight to digital with ebooks. They are “real authors” publishing “real ebooks” and making “real money” as a result. A mistake many would-be authors make, however, is thinking that “page count” (number of pages in their ebook) determines whether they’ve written a “real book” or not.  This new ebook age has turned that evaluation criterion on its ear. Page count now has very little to do with what actually makes an ebook a R.E.A.L. B.O.O.K.

(R) Relevant

image0031 266x300 How Long Should Your eBook Be?Relevant means your ebook is current and timely, as well as applicable to the readers’ wants and desires. Relevant ebooks cut to the chase and give readers exactly what they need and want with no extra fluff.

(E) Enlightening

“Enlighten” is defined as “to give intellectual or spiritual light to; instruct; impart knowledge.” Real books enlighten the reader and give them new knowledge, insight, and ideas they can use, especially in non-fiction ebooks.

(A) Actionable

Real books give the reader specific actionable steps they can implement immediately to make a difference in their life or business. Ideas readers can take image0051 How Long Should Your eBook Be?action on instantly separate the real books from the fluff, regardless of page length!

(L) Legitimate

Many authors try to pass off theory and conjecture as fact. Real books give legitimate information, tested and proven in the real world, which the reader can trust to deliver results.

(B) (O)Better Off

This one rates pretty simple. Real books leave the reader better off for having read the book than not. Again, book length and leaving a reader better off don’t necessarily coincide. “Long enough” to impart the information necessary to leave the reader better off is a much better measuring stick.

image0071 How Long Should Your eBook Be?(O) Organized

Many books ramble. Many books also lack any real organization beyond chapter headings. A real book is well organized and leads the reader from where they are to where they want to be as quickly, neatly and in as organized a fashion as possible – irrespective of length.

(K) Kindle

Real books are “published” by a legitimate source. Having your book listed on Amazon rates as “published” in the minds of the majority of people who buy ebooks (and regular books too, for that matter). Fulfill all the criteria listed above, then publish your ebook on Kindle, and YOU will have a “real book” in the image009 How Long Should Your eBook Be?eyes of just about everyone else in the world (including yourself)!

By the way, if you’d like to see the entire process for creating “real books” and ebooks laid out in step-by-step detail, including Amazon Kindle, check out


Jim Edwards

Selling online since 1997, Jim is an Internet Marketing Expert, Author, Elite Mentor and Coach.

He specializes in helping individual entrepreneurs, small business owners and authors to understand how to use technology to build your online business.

Jim is the author of dozens of ebooks, hundreds of webinars, over 1,000 blog posts and articles.

His flagship ebook “How To Write and Publish Your Own eBook… in as little as 7 Days” – newly revised and updated with V2.0 – has been helping book and ebook authors create their own best-selling ebooks since 2001! Get more information about Jim and how he can help you get more readers, make more sales, and skyrocket your credibility here => How To Write and Publish Your Own eBook…in as little as 7 Days.


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Podcast: Jay Boyer – Kindle Publishing

jay boyer Podcast: Jay Boyer   Kindle PublishingJay Boyer, Kindle Publishing expert and online marketer, is one of my favorite new people online. He lives in a small town in Illinois (he describes it as a ‘cow town’) with his wife and children and has only been involved with the online marketing world for about three years. I first connected with him through Jason Fladlien and Dennis Becker when I was searching for information on using the Kindle Select program to market my books.

Jay worked as a carpenter and cabinet maker for eighteen years before coming online, and even built the house he lives in with his family. When he saw that this business was not going to be what he hoped, and his clientele dried up, he typed ‘making money online’ into Google and began his online marketing career. He connected with people who helped him achieve his goals. One of them was John Rhodes, and they are now partners.

I asked Jay to explain his business model, and he says he considers himself to be an information product creator. He also writes book for Kindle, including ones he has written with his eight-year-old son. He focuses on Amazon and Kindle publishing at this time, and has been extremely successful in this area. He is doing what he loves, and I agree with him completely that entrepreneurs must embrace this philosophy and do what they love and do best for maximum productivity.

I love Jay’s course called Kindle Select Secrets. The idea of using Kindle Select to publish is a unique one, and requires a slightly different strategy than simply publishing paperback books. Jay shares his advice and recommendations with us here, and the course takes you from start to finish with the process. Having people borrow your book and download it on your free download days makes it possible for you to implement strategies that are extremely effective, including being able to achieve bestseller status. It sure has made a difference in my bottom line. We sell more than 90% of our books using Amazon, so this training is an important one.

Also, we discuss a strategy I first implemented when I spoke in Toronto recently, and Jay gives his thoughts on how anyone can do this. I know you will enjoy this podcast interview with Jay Boyer, Kindle publishing expert and online marketer.

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Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Face Your Fears

DSCN2288 300x225 Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Face Your FearsThis past weekend I had an adventure. The experience took me far outside of my comfort zone, and made me face some of my fears. It was frightening and exhilarating, all at the same time. Allow me to share some more details of exactly what happened.

This year more people than I expected are coming to southern California to spend Thanksgiving week with us. That is a blessing, but these people need a place to sleep while they are here visiting. There was one night where we just had too many people and someone was going to have to go to a hotel. I decided that would be me.

At the last minute I decided that I would call a friend and see if I could stay at her place. Her home is in a beautiful location and it’s at one of the highest points in Santa Barbara. I call it ‘the top of the world’ because that’s what it feels like when I am up there. She told me to come on up and spend the night, so I packed a bag and took off for my adventure.

What I didn’t count on was a huge rainstorm coming through right at the time I was about to head up the mountain. I love rain, but this was a downpour that was going to be with us for a couple of days. As I made my way up the narrow road and looked out over the city below, I realized that my fear of heights was beginning to get to me. Right then I could have turned around and gone back into town. It would have been simple to book a hotel close by and get inside before the rain storm got even worse. I could have done many things, but I just kept driving.

I have found that facing my fears and doing things anyway is the best choice for me in the long run. I’ve applied this principle to both my personal life and business. I was afraid to quit my job and come online because I thought I wouldn’t earn enough money; I now earn seven times as much as I used to. I was afraid to speak in front of people; now I’m an international speaker. I was afraid to move from the city I had lived in for so many years because I wouldn’t know anyone; I now have homes in two different cities, travel extensively, and enjoy making new friends.

But this was different. It always seems different when you are facing your fear head on, alone on a dark, winding road heading straight up to the highest part of the city, with the lights of the city growing further and further away, and the rain coming down in sheets so you can’t see ten feet in front of you and the wipers can’t possibly help you see the road.

Yes, I was alone and afraid. But part of me knew that this experience would help me to grow and expand as I faced my fears and kept on moving.DSCN2291 300x225 Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Face Your Fears

It’s only about five miles from where I started to where my friend lives, but it seems more like fifty. I finally came to the last turnoff and made my way down her street. It was pitch dark and the rain kept me from seeing the house, but suddenly out of nowhere I saw her mailbox with the street number on it in shiny letters. I turned into the driveway slowly and carefully, and right then I was aware that I could not feel the car beneath me!

Her driveway is one of those that goes straight down from the street level onto the property. I don’t care for these on a clear day, but now it was simply terrifying. I inched down the slope at what seemed like one mile an hour. Finally, I stopped the car and got out. As I walked up to the door I wondered why no one was waiting outside to greet me, but that was just not possible under these conditions. She had left the door unlocked for me, so I went inside.

I proceeded to have a wonderful time at her house. The only sounds are those of the wildlife in the area, and I had forgotten how beautiful that can be. All night I listened to the rain falling, the coyotes howling, and an owl or two singing in the distance. We had a nice visit, catching up on many things that have been going on in each of our lives, and sipping hot Jasmine tea with lemon. In the morning she fixed breakfast as I gazed out the window to see the view from ‘the top of the world’. I knew that I would have to back out of the driveway when I left, but now I wasn’t afraid anymore.

DSCN2304 300x225 Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Face Your FearsMy life is richer for having these experiences. As I move through each situation and come out alright on the other side, I know that I am growing and learning more about who I am and what is important to me. I’m then able to face even bigger challenges in my life and enjoy my life in a very different and more enjoyable way.

What are you doing to take yourself out of your comfort zone and face your fears?

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Podcast: Donna Gunter on Authority Marketing for Introverts

donna gunter Podcast: Donna Gunter on Authority Marketing for IntrovertsDonna Gunter is the voice for the introverted business owners secret weapon – Authority Marketing. She lives in a very small town in Texas, and is able to run her online empire from home. She had previously been involved in the non-profit sector and in higher education, and in 1996 she made the conscious decision to change her life. She became more interested in coaching and enrolled in a Virtual Assistant training program. At the same time, her marriage was not working and she decided to file for divorce, sell the house, and move fifteen hundred miles from New England back to a rural east Texas town of less than eight thousand people.

She had no clients in Texas, and relied on her online connections to build her new business. The local people did not understand what she was doing, and equated it to being a secretary who would earn less than six dollars an hour. Donna began by working out of her mother’s garage, and even worked as a substitute teacher until that no longer made financial sense for her because she was now earning per hour what that job was paying per day. Within six months she had a full coaching practice and was on her way to true success.

Donna started giving teleclasses for her target market, and found this to be an excellent way to reach out to the world from her small town. She developed a unique style of marketing that allowed her to use content marketing to build her business. Instead of attending live events all over the country, she stayed home and provided great value for her prospects and clients through content marketing. Instead of having to convince someone to work with her, she let her online content do the talking for her. This is brilliant, don’t you agree?

Donna now calls this ‘Authority Marketing‘ and has syndicated her content everywhere on the Internet. This can be a huge advantage to introverts working online. She teaches her clients how to do research, share their information and knowledge, and then putting it altogether in a written format. Writing conversationally is the key to successful authority marketing. She has also embraced screen shares and Powerpoint for video marketing and is having some great results in this area in terms of converting prospects to visitors. Another great benefit of what Donna is doing is that she is able to relax and be herself whether she is working or having personal time. Congruency in our daily life is an excellent goal.

Over the years, Donna has realized that she has a natural skill in marketing. She incorporated this skill into what she was working to achieve online, allowing her to grow exponentially. Now she is publishing a magazine, Authority Magazine, which is available through iTunes. She advises new online entrepreneurs to find people who will be supportive of what you are doing, never listen to the naysayers, and stay strong to your values and principles.

I know you’ll love finding out more about what Donna is doing in her online business. She has hundreds of pieces of content in her membership site, where I have been a member for almost two years. Visit Donna’s site at Online Biz University to download your free eBook on how to turbo charge your online marketing.

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Podcast: Kelly McCausey, Solopreneur and Podcaster

kelly mccausey Podcast: Kelly McCausey, Solopreneur and PodcasterKelly McCausey, solopreneur and online business woman, is the person who got me started with podcasting one year ago. I hardly knew her at that time, and now I consider her to be a very good friend. She has been podcasting for more than eight years, and we discuss her strategy on this during this call.

Sometimes Kelly does her podcast alone, what I consider to be a ‘fireside chat’, and others are with guests. I asked her if she makes an outline or a bulleted list when she starts talking, and she goes into great detail on how she plans out each podcast. We also talk about recommending products and courses during a podcast, and we both agree that it is completely appropriate to let people know what is available on the topic you are speaking about. We also discuss how to choose guests, what people are looking for with your podcast, and how to get started. I ask her advice on what I’m doing with my podcast and she shares her insights on how I can be more successful with this.

Another topic we discuss is the social site called ‘Slide Share’, and how it can benefit you as an online entrepreneur. This is just one of the resources Kelly shares. She also has a new book out called Solopreneurs Are Smarter that I highly recommend.

Kelly is always looking for people she refers to as ‘smart solopreneurs’ to be guests for her upcoming podcasts, so if you or someone you know would be a good fit be sure to connect with her.

Be sure to take a look at Kelly’s Podcasting Course so you can get started right away. She offers coaching as well, and you will find her to be a wise and gentle mentor who will help you to stretch as you achieve your goals.

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In Search of the Perfect Banana

banana 300x168 In Search of the Perfect BananaOnline marketing tips come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and this story is one that can help you to increase your bottom line.

My online empire has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years, resulting in some major life changes. I now live in two different cities and travel outside of California (sometimes internationally) about once a month as I speak on my topics to entrepreneurs around the world. This means that it takes a small army of people to support and assist me in a variety of ways, including scheduling of flights, connections to hotels and event venues, hotel accommodations, technical support, customer service, email management, and more.

A couple of years ago I realized that I needed someone to shop for me. Before I leave on a trip I need certain foods ready and available to me, and upon my return I have other dietary needs. For example, when I fly I like to have a Subway sandwich to take with me on the flight. I’m busy packing, so it makes sense for someone else to pick up the sandwich for me. When I get home I am extremely tired, and like to have some plain yogurt and a banana before I jump into bed to catch up on my sleep.

The search for the perfect banana has been an interesting one. The first assistant I had was able to help me with a variety of tasks leading up to my departure each time, but upon my arrival back home the only thing I could count on was having some yogurt in the refrigerator.

In the beginning she would purchase three or four bananas for me, none of which was to my liking. They were either too green or too ripe. The green ones upset my stomach and banana2 167x300 In Search of the Perfect Bananathe over ripe ones are just not very tasty. After a few months of ongoing discussion about what the perfect banana would look like for me, I realized that I had the wrong person for this job. It wasn’t only the banana issue that led me to this conclusion; she just did not seem to care about following my instructions in the same way each time I was going out of town.

Outsourcing tasks is never an easy decision, but it should be fairly simple. I decided to find someone else to take over all of the duties my first assistant had been doing, but my goal was to find someone who could understand exactly what it was that I wanted.

This made me pause to reflect on what I was asking someone else to do. Was I being too picky? I pay my assistants fifteen dollars an hour plus mileage, so it seemed like a worthwhile position for someone looking to work ten to fifteen hours each week in my local community. Perhaps I was in search of a ‘perfect’ banana that did not actually exist.

I went back to doing my own shopping and headed to the produce section of two supermarkets in my neighborhood. Before I did this I stopped in to the Baskin Robbins ice cream store near my house. I asked them how they always had several bananas on hand that were just right for making banana splits. They explained the process to me in a way that completely made sense. This helped me to understand that the secret to obtaining bananas that were at the right level of ripeness was in buying them on the correct day. For example, if I needed a perfectly ripe banana on Friday, then it needed to be purchased on Wednesday.

The next week I hired a new assistant. We discussed everything I would need for her to do for me, including going to the post office, the dry cleaners, Subway, and the grocery store. I even had a ‘perfect’ banana ready to show her when she arrived for the interview. She smiled and nodded when I explained what it was that I was looking for in a banana, and I felt that she would never let me down.

It’s been almost a year now, and each time I eat my banana after being away I think about how much time and effort went into bringing it from wherever it was grown to my kitchen.

The point of this story is to make you aware of what you need in order to run your online business most efficiently. It takes a village to keep one person going, and the sooner you find the people who can support you in a variety of ways the better off you will be.

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Podcast: Stephanie Chandler Authority Publishing

connie stephaniechandler 300x214 Podcast: Stephanie Chandler Authority PublishingStephanie Chandler, Authority Publishing CEO and author, is someone I have been following for about three years now. We recently had the opportunity to meet in person while we were both participating in the Global eBook Awards, hosted by Dan Poynter, in Santa Barbara. Stephanie received the honor of having one of her books, Own Your Niche: Hype-Free Internet Marketing Tactics to Establish Authority in Your Field and Promote Your Service-Based Business, be named as Best Business Book of the Year – 2012 at this event.

Stephanie describes herself as being a ‘Silicon Valley refugee’, where she worked for over ten years as in software sales, technical support, and technical training.  In 2003 she left this fast paced lifestyle and opened a bookstore in Sacramento, California. She soon realized that in order to be successful she would need to leverage the power of the Internet to get the visibility and credibility she needed.

Soon she was writing and self-publishing books on small business marketing, as well as helping aspiring entrepreneurs to make the transition away from the corporate world. Publishing house John Wiley & Sons published her next book, From Entrepreneur to Infopreneur: Make Money with books, E-Books and Information Products in 2006, and this was the impetus for her next career move. She now had an agent, and was starting to speak around the country and consult with authors and business owners. In 2007 she sold the bookstore and the next year she founded Authority Publishing, her publishing company. They are involved with book publishing and social media marketing.

I asked Stephanie to talk about her publishing company. They are a paid service and custom publishers, only working with authors of non-fiction books. As soon as the manuscript is completed they handle everything, including the editing, cover design, interior layout, eBook formatting, and distribution. The focus is on working with business professionals who do not have the time to do everything that is needed in order to produce a professional looking book that will represent them well in the marketplace. She has a team of twelve dedicated people who help her with this. This gives her the time for what she loves, including sales, marketing, and blogging.

We also discussed the marketing piece of publishing, and Stephanie shared her frustrations with going to a ‘traditional’ publisher. You are paid very little, and they call the shots when it comes to your writing. They even pulled one of the chapters out of her book because they wanted to limit the word count. As an author you must take control of the marketing, and marketing online is her recommendation. She encourages authors to get involved with interviews, Internet radio shows, and blogging in order to get your name and message out to the world. This can also be done from the comfort of your own home. She also utilizes a site called Smashwords, an eBook distribution service, and this is something you will want to know more about as an author.

Stephanie balances speaking in person with virtual events, and feels that this is a skill you want to develop. We discuss how and why to build a local following while you are building your business, and how to do this most effectively right in your own backyard. Be sure to check out Stephanie’s books to learn more about what she is doing and to connect with her further.

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