Moose Needs a Favor.

This is my dog, Moose.

Moose’s friends at The Dog Spot, his very favorite doggie day care facility in Boulder, have been hit hard by the Boulder floods. The owners of The Dog Spot (you may remember them from my recent blog post about how to run an extraordinary small business) are in trouble — they lost everything in the floods last week. Ben and Shannon escaped from their house by trekking perilously through waist-high flood waters, and now they have nothing but the clothes on their backs and their beloved pets. The business survived, but they’re now facing a massive rebuilding effort, and the herculean task of replacing all their possessions.

I started this online campaign to try to raise some money to help them, and it would mean the world to me if you would take a look and consider donating. Every little bit helps — even $5 would help them offset their living expenses and rebuilding costs while they’re trying to get back on their feet.

I normally don’t ask you for donations, but this is a very special situation, and these are extraordinary people. Thanks in advance for your support.

Moose says “Woof. Thank you. Woof.”

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What Are Sales Pages?

With our webinar about writing compelling web copy just around the corner, (register for Creating High-Impact, No-Hype Sales Pages that Get Results here) I wanted to answer some questions about sales pages that have come up in the last few days.

I’ll explain a bit more about what sales pages are, why they’re useful, and why it’s important for small business owners to know how to write them well. We’ll also talk about some basic pitfalls to avoid, when you’re writing web copy that sells.

What Exactly Is a Sales Page?

A sales page is simply a web page used to sell a product or service. Your job as the creator of a sales page is to give the reader all the information they might need in order to make a purchase. The content on a sales page has to be informative, interesting AND persuasive, which can make them very challenging to do them well.

Some pages are simple and short, others are fancy and complicated – some may even include video or audio elements.

How Can I Use Sales Pages?

You can use sales pages on your website any time you want to sell one of your products or services. That includes things like coaching packages, conferences, online classes and programs, or physical products. If you can sell it, you need a sales page on your website to HELP you sell it.

What Is an Example of a Sales Page?

One of my all-time favorite sales pages is one that was created by coach and author Pamela Slim of Escape from Cubicle Nation. The sales page for her year-long mastermind program, Power Boost Marketing, is classy, professional, totally comprehensive, and very persuasive. Pam puts a lot of time and effort into creating compelling sales pages for her products and programs, and her attention to detail is one of the reasons she is so successful.

What Are Some Things to Avoid, When I’m Creating a Sales Page for My Products or Services?

We’ve all seen sales pages that ramble on and on, and never seem to get to the point. These are the pages that sound like a bad television commercial — “But wait! There’s MORE!”

You need to avoid sleazy, hard-sell sales tactics in your online pages, but you also want to make sure you’re giving people the information they need in order to make a purchase. You don’t want to leave your reader with a lot of unanswered questions, either! Finding a happy balance between overselling and underselling is one of the greatest challenges of writing effective sales pages.

Do I Need to Be an Advanced Internet Marketer to Create and Use a Sales Page?

Absolutely not. Advanced markerters CAN use them, but so can beginners. If you want to sell more or your products and services, it’s a good idea to learn how to create more effective sales pages.

If you want to learn how to write compelling sales pages that really convert, check out the online class I’m teaching with copywriter Kathryn Aragon, Creating High-Impact, No-Hype Sales Pages that Get Results. The class is on Tuesday, September 10th, 2013 at 1 PM Eastern time.

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Get Ready for Pinfluence Academy!

Are you ready to be a Pinterest Powerhouse?! Join us for Pinfluence Academy!

Learn to use Pinterest to create an avalanche of referral traffic, mailing list sign-ups, and online sales for your business.

Pinfluence Academy is a four-week online course, beginning May 20th, with content-rich learning modules that give you all the best Pinterest marketing knowledge, PLUS a full hour of live Q&A with me.

This comprehensive Pinterest marketing course includes video and text content as well as worksheets, checklists and other bonus goodies. Learn at your own pace and on your own schedule.

Whether you are a seasoned Pinterest user or brand new to the tool, you’ll learn to drive traffic and sales to your business.

Here’s how the program launch will work –

  • Student enrollment opens at 9:00 AM Eastern time on Wednesday, May 15th, 2013.
  • Class is limited to the first 100 registrants, so sign up early!
  • The course begins on May 20th.
  • You can sign up here — I have extended the registration deadline though Tuesday, May 21st.

Can’t wait to see you in The Pinfluence Academy!

Questions? Leave ’em here in the comments, and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

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Steve Martin’s Advice for Online Marketers

As an online marketing coach, I know the kinds of questions I usually get from people when they’re trying to build an online business. My prospects and clients want to know how to get more traffic, more conversions, more press coverage, and more sales.

They want search engine optimization tricks, the latest flashy widget for WordPress, and everything I can teach them about using Pinterest to market their businesses.

But lately, I haven’t had many questions about content. It seems like building quality blog or website content is sort of an afterthought for a lot of people. And that’s a shame.

When we’re figuring out our social media strategy, I want to make sure we’re putting our initial focus where it really needs to be — which is on creating incredible content that our audience will absolutely love.

Are you creating super-useful, compelling content on your website or blog? If not, please drop everything you’re doing and just focus on that.

Comedian Steve Martin, in his brilliant memoir Born Standing Up, is often asked about the secret to his incredible success. He advises people:

“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

Being great (in the world of content marketing) means creating useful content that gets passed around, commented on, and linked to by other bloggers.

Your content could be a great video series. It could a fantastic how-to blog. It could also be an audio podcast.

“Be so great they can’t ignore you” is the core of what I teach my clients about online marketing. And creating content that is so good people just can’t ignore it is the first step you should take if you are just starting out, or if you’re not getting the results you want with your online efforts.

Here are some examples of great content that I’ve seen recently:

Moment Junkie – a fantastic daily photo blog of emotional and beautiful wedding moments

The Art of Non-Conformity – a blog by entrepreneur and author Chris Guillebeau that encourages readers to live their best lives (and think outside the box)

Today’s Letters – a beautiful personal blog written by a married couple in Louisville, Kentucky

I read each of these blogs every single day. That’s right – every day. And it’s the great content that keeps me coming back, day after day. I wouldn’t be a megafan of each of these sites if the content wasn’t so good I couldn’t ignore it.

It’s springtime — the time for renewal and growth — which makes now a perfect time to revisit your website, and commit to creating incredible content. Make sure to make it so good that no one in your target audience could possibly ignore it.

Your assignment this week: Take a look at what you’re creating online. How is your content (truthfully)? If it’s not great, can you make it better? Can you put a temporary moratorium on your Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest activity while you publish some outstanding new blog posts? Can you carve out time every week to create a valuable podcast for your audience? Let us know your thoughts (and your plan of action) in the comments.

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Give Your Blog a Boost – 7 Rules for Becoming a Blogging Superhero

FREE Teleseminar – Give Your Blog a Boost!

This call has already taken place, but you can get an instant replay of it by signing up below!

I’m Beth Hayden, a blogging and social media coach, and I see bloggers every day who are frustrated with their blogs. These folks have been blogging for a while, but they’re not really getting any traction. They’re not seeing much traffic, they’re stuck on something technical, or they’re overwhelmed with trying to keep up with all the options for trying to integrate their blog with social media tools like Facebook and Twitter.

Are YOU frustrated with your blog? Are you ready to put on your red cape and become a blogging superhero? Then this is the call for you!

Here’s what you’ll get from this FREE call:

  • My best tips for building a large audience – fast – including the one technique few bloggers are doing, but all of them SHOULD be
  • How to integrate your blog with Facebook and Twitter quickly and easily, so you can save yourself a lot of extra work AND leverage your social media presence and get your friends and followers reading your blog posts
  • What you need to know about SEO (search engine optimization), and how to get started with optimizing your pages for the search engines
  • How using email marketing techniques can help your blog and give your site a BIG boost
  • How to ask a blog designer the right questions right from the beginning – so you can get design help without spending a fortune
  • How to set up systems for working with your blog that making publishing easy and fun
  • How to write TONS of content without killing yourself – we’ll discuss the best ways to write quick and easy blogs posts and how to integrate writing into the rest of your online (and offline!) life.

This call has already taken place, but you can get an instant replay of it by signing up below!

REGISTER HERE:

Name
Email

Know someone who’d like to give their blog a boost? Please retweet, Like or email this page so they can join us! Thanks so much!

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Fantastic New Tool for Writers

Have you ever had a hard time writing a blog post? Do you find yourself distracted by everything else that’s open on your desktop, or pulled away from your writing by that dreaded “You have new mail” symbol in Apple Mail or Outlook? It happens to me ALL the time.

That’s why I am so delighted to discover OmmWriter,  a super-simple application for writing that essentially cuts out all the noise on your computer and lets you focus 100% on getting your thoughts on the page. It also comes with a soothing soundtrack (they give you several choices) or you can write in silence if you like.

You can download a version for free, or pay a little and get the beefed-up version. There’s a great little video on their home page that lets you see how simple and lovely this tool is.

I’m going to be recommending this to all my blogging clients now!

Happy New Year from Blogging with Beth! And happy writing!

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Colorado Women’s Blogging Group Meeting

Are you a woman blogger in Colorado? Are you looking for community, tech advice, and some fun time with other Blogging Buddies on a Coffee Breakwomen bloggers?

Please join us next Tuesday night for a gathering of chick bloggers!  I’ve started a group of Colorado Woman Bloggers, and we’ll holding an event next week!

Next Tuesday, August 31st, at 6:30 PM at Boulder Digital Arts (1600 Range Street, Boulder) I’ll be hosting a meeting of our Colorado women’s blogging group. I’ll be doing a presentation called “What Bloggers Need to Know About SEO (Search Engine Optimization)”.

As part of this group meeting, we’ll also be going around the room and talking about our blog – what we blog about, what domain we use, and what our blogging goals are for the next year.

If you’d like to attend, please email me at beth@bloggingwithbeth.com!

And if you’d like to be on our mailing list for events like this in the future, please sign up here.

Please pass these event details on to your blogging friends – use the links below to share using email, Twitter and Facebook.

Hope to see you there!

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Would You Like to Become an Author?

Want to build an author platform of loyal, hungry fans, so that you can *really* sell your book proposal when you’re going for that big book deal? Or do you want to promote a book you’ve already written?

If you fit either of these and you live in or near the Boulder, Colorado area – You’ll want to attend my FREE mini-workshop in Boulder this Saturday morning.  The presentation is called “Using a Blog to Build Your Platform” and  it’s part of the Boulder Writers Meetup Group. The Meetup leader, Lori Rohik Pfeiffer, has very kindly invited me to come in and speak with her group, and I’m delighted to oblige. Here’s a quickie description:

“Literary agents and publishers are telling authors they need a platform in order to get published – but how do you build one?  Beth Hayden will discuss how to use blogging (and social media) to build your platform so you have an excellent marketing base when you’re ready to send out those book proposals! Come with your blogging and social media questions!”

We’ll be meeting at the Paradise Bakery Cafe (back room), 1207 Pearl Street, Boulder, at 9:30 AM on Saturday, May 22nd.

If you’re interested in attending, please RSVP using the Meetup event page (you’ll need to sign up for a free Meetup account, if you don’t already have one). Hope to see you there!

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How Closing My Laptop Made Me A Better (and More Popular) Blogger

Practically everything I know about participating in communities online – everything that I do myself and that I teach to clients – was something I actually discovered as a member of a 400-person local community that is based in my current city of Boulder, Colorado.  It pays to invest in other kinds of communities – not just blogs – if you want to build your fan club.

Want to know what I learned that is relevant in the blogging world?  Here are a few highlights:

  1. Don’t talk ONLY about yourself, your products or services, or your accomplishments. Answer questions; provide praise, host get-togethers without ulterior motives. Just be around. Meet people and participate in communities (whether online or offline) because you genuinely like people, not because you want to talk about yourself and promote your own stuff.
  2. Give stuff away for free. I still give advice away for free on a regular basis when people have questions I can answer over email. When you practice this give-away stuff on a regular basis, it establishes you not only as an expert, but as generous person.  That’s ALWAYS a good thing.
  3. Show up on a regular basis. Don’t show your face once a year and expect everyone to remember you. Participate, meet lots of people, make REGULAR contact with the people that you’ve met, and what do you know? All of the sudden, when you walk into a party, everyone’s cheering for you like Norm in that old sitcom Cheers bar. And you WANT fans like that.
  4. Treat the members of your community like real people – because they ARE real people. Don’t over-promote yourself, act like a used car salesman, or use people. Follow the Golden Rule as much as possible.

The community I’m part of (that has taught me all these amazing lessons) is a Boulder-based women’s group called Boulder Media Women. The group, which members like to call BMW, is a networking group for professional women who work with words and images. BMW members include writers, editors, photographers, journalists, filmmakers, graphic artists, web designers, TV producers, screenwriters, publishers, agents, PR specialists, and others who work in the media business.

Right now, the Boulder Media Women group has more than 400 members, many of whom actively participate in a very lively Yahoo! email group as well as weekly happy hour gatherings and monthly potluck dinners.

I started my blogging business three years ago by taking the knowledge I had gathered about blogs, community and writing – and declared myself an expert. I did this because I ran my own (personal) blog at the time, and many of my friends and colleagues had started asking questions about blogging and Internet marketing.  They wanted to know if I would teach a class, so I summoned up ALL of my courage (every last ounce) and taught a very small (3-person) class to a couple of friends.

After that first class, I starting holding regular classes on blogging, social media, building traffic on websites, and Internet book promotion techniques. I advertised my classes on a regular basis to the Boulder Media Women email list, and the members – much to my continual surprise – showed up for the classes. I got to meet more and more women face to face. I found out what their needs were and expanded my teaching skills accordingly.   Many of the members wrote glowing testimonials about me and my classes to the BMW list.

But at the same time, I made sure to chime in (regularly and LOUDLY) whenever someone had a question about blogging, Facebook, Linkedin, or Internet marketing.  I gave advice, answered questions, provided resources, and generally tried to become a real resource to people in my area of expertise.  The Boulder Media Women Community rewarded me handsomely for this, and I am forever in their debt.

After three years of being an entrepreneur, I now have a very successful business, a whole file full of testimonials (many from my first clients, who are BMW members). And I still go to potlucks and happy hours, answer questions when I can, listen to people’s needs, and generally get to know these amazing women. I have a reputation for being “The Blogging Guru” in the group, and I thank my lucky stars every night for the continued support and well-wishes and praise that I receive on this local Yahoo! List.  I genuinely like these women, and I will forever be grateful to them for teaching me some incredibly valuable lessons.

I thank Boulder Media Women on a regular basis for continually teaching, encouraging, and supporting me in my journey as an entrepreneur – and I’m particularly grateful for them teaching me everything I know about how to be a productive and community-minded member of the blogging community!

Lesson to be learned here? You don’t need to spend all of your time on the computer in order to develop a fabulous community, both online and offline.  Get out of the house and join a networking group in your area of interest!  Boulder Media Women was a good fit for me, and it has taught me SO much, and you can find a group that will suit your interests by asking your friends and contacts for suggestions AND utilizing resources like Meetup.com.   Shut off that laptop and get out into the real world – you’ll be astounded at what you learn and the people you meet!  And then of course, blog about it. :)

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Free “Blogging for Your Business” Class in Colorado

If you’re in Colorado and you’d like a really good overview of blogging, you may want to check out the FREE class I’m giving this week! The class is called “Blogging for your Business”, and it’s on Wednesday, April 14th at 6:00 PM at the Westminster College Hill Library.

We’re going to cover:

  • The reasons why blogging is a great marketing technique for your business
  • Some quick blogging terminology (and why it’s important to know what a permalink is and what RSS stands for)
  • Best practices and recommendations for getting started
  • Beginning tips on how to build traffic for your blog

…and anything else I can fit into a hour and a half class! We’ll try to wrap up around 7:30 PM.  To register (I recommend you register in advance so I have enough handouts) – call the Library registration line at 303-658-2603. The College Hill Library is at 3705 West 112th Avenue, Westminster,  80031 (right next to the Front Range Community College Campus).

The library has free wifi access, so you can follow along with my examples as I’m teaching.  But you don’t HAVE to bring a laptop – you can just sit back, enjoy the presentation, and bring home all the handouts!

And the class is FREE! :)

Email me if you have questions!

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