Category Archives: SEO

Is Free Really Free?

These days, everyone talks about free content. “Give it away!” they say, but does this really work?

Well, yes and no.

As with anything, there has to be a strategy.

I listened to an author friend of mine telling me about her morning run through her neighborhood. She noticed a number of garage sale signs . One of the signs had a sign beneath it that read: We have free stuff! As she ran, she passed that house and noticed they put all their free stuff in the “Free zone” and already, even at that early hour, hoards of people were migrating there. She passed the other garage sales which were doing OK, but not great. Clearly the one with the free stuff pulled more people, but did it actually sell more paid merchandise? Yes. She checked in with the sale after her run to find most of the good stuff gone. The homeowner said the free stuff went fast, but it wasn’t junk stuff, it was actually good enough to make the garage sale shopper feel like they got a real deal.

If it’s junk and it’s free, it doesn’t really matter.  What’s the lesson here? Free stuff can help you sell more of the paid merchandise, but you have to be careful, because some people just want freebies and that’s fine. But they are not your customers.

Here are some tips to help you maximize the use of free:

  1. Why free? The first question you should ask yourself is why are you doing this? If you aren’t sure, then free might not be right for you. Free content should be offered to help further your message, build a list, and get new people into your marketing funnel. If your model isn’t set up this way, maybe it should be. If you aren’t interested in this kind of a marketing model, then free probably isn’t your thing.
  2. Define how free can help: Figure out why you want to give free stuff. Getting clear about your model will help determine if a free product is even worth your time. If it is, then you need to figure out how it will help you. As an example, while Secrets of the Marriage Mouse was in the final editing, I wrote a companion workbook.  It’s nearly 200 pages of content and I give it away free at my live events when someone purchases Secrets of the Marriage Mouse.  Great value; you bet!  This pushes my book sales to around 82% of my audience.  Those are great numbers any way you look at them.  Why would I do this?  To build trust.  Trust and caring are important. Our free stuff builds our mailing list, yes, but it also builds trust.
  3. Make sure it’s really free: A lot of people have content that is purported to be free when it’s not really free. What I mean is that you get a sliver of it, not even a piece really worth mentioning, but the stuff you want is something you have to pay for. If you want to do free, make it free. Find something of value and give it to your customers.
  4. Make it something your end user wants: Make sure the free is something people want. If it isn’t you a) won’t bring in the right crowd of people (you’ll end up just getting the freebie hunters, and b) you won’t build your mailing list as fast. Virtually any electronic product is easy to create and deliver.
  5. Take names: You should never give free away without asking for an email address. I see people do this all the time; they have a ton of free stuff but never collect emails. If that’s the case, the freebies you are offering may be of great value to your end user but they won’t matter to your marketing. Get emails. You get something (their email) and give them something (the free stuff).
  6. Make it easy to get: Don’t make free difficult. What I mean is make it easy to get your free stuff. If people have to jump through hoops, they won’t do it and the free stuff won’t matter. Put your free stuff on your home page, or at least have a link to it. They sign up for your newsletter and they get your free stuff.  This is a pretty common tactic these days.  But when ask for their email, make it easy. A simple click or two is all it should take. Then, don’t ask for too much information. Ask for what you truly need.
  7. Call to action: Make sure that your free stuff has a call to action. You are collecting names and email addresses and building your list, that’s great. But what do you really want people to do? Define what you want them to do, and then include your call to action in the free stuff. Let’s face it, it’s a good piece – designed to help your reader – but it must also help you. It’s ok to promote your book on the last page, or encourage folks to do a consult with you if that’s what you offer. You can also offer specials and change these periodically in the giveaway.
  8. Follow up! The best kind of free stuff is, as I like to call it, the gift that keeps giving. Auto responders are a great system but often underutilized when it comes to marketing. If you are collecting names and then never contacting your prospects again, what’s the point? People need to be reminded, and reminded again. Now, you can also funnel folks into your newsletter as I mentioned earlier.
  9. Define what your market wants and then give it to them. No one knows your market like you do.

The real key here is that free stuff can work well for you in so many ways, but free stuff without a goal is just free. Great to get free stuff, right? But then how is all of this hard work going to pay off for you?  I can tell how and when my free offer works to increase my market and to increase my sales.

Marcia Reece, the inventor of Sidewalk Chalk, is the #1 Bestselling author of Secrets of the Marriage Mouse and The Ultimate Online Media Directory. She serves as the founder of Aspen Support Group. Her latest book is available on her website at www.marciareece.com or on Amazon.com

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Filed under authors, branding, business development, guerrilla marketing, marketing, prospecting, relationships, sales stategies, SEO, Working from Heart

Social Media is a Waste of TIME!! NO, Its Not!!!!

Are there benefits to social media?

How are those benefits measured?

What are the big mistakes we make?

why? Why? WHY? do this crap at all?

Social media has changed the way businesses communicate with consumers; and the way we communicate with each other. Mobile devices are used far more for social media than for actual phone calls.

Potential clients find all the information they need with just the click of a mouse. Creating a social media presence for you and your business allows you to connect with consumers in a more personal way than ever before. You can meet them on their terms and in the location they feel most comfortable spending time.

It’s not going to go away; it’s only going to evolve.

What’s been your best experience with Social Media? And what has been your worst?

How do you see social media in the next 10 years?

The A-Team and Social Media for Business and Brainstorming. I hope each of you will comment on this and share with your groups. Let’s find out what everyone else is struggling as well as where everyone is having their successes. I know we can learn from both areas.

My biggest area I work on is social media etiquette. I have made several mistakes in this area and have vowed to read more, learn more, and interact more with those who do it right. I struggle to remember to attach tags and use categories.  I even have a yellow post it note check list by my computer to help me.

It’s hard to always remember to use my keywords for SEO.

“Grandma of 5 in Colorado” feeling a bit like a dinosaur but determined to learn!!!

Marcia Reece is the #1 Bestselling author of Secrets of the Marriage Mouse and The Ultimate Online Media Directory. She serves as the founder of Aspen Support Group. Her latest book is available on her website at www.marciareece.com or on Amazon.com.

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Filed under branding, relationships, SEO, Social Media Marketing

Can you create business value with social media?

Everything you do online not only leaves a footprint but it’s also your 24/7 resume. If the footprint you’re leaving looks unprofessional and half-finished, it might not bode well for your online reputation and sales. Here are some quick tips on how to look good online:

 Social Networks: it’s not about quantity but quality. There are numerous social networking sites, be on as many as you can keep current.  Get off the ones you don’t actively participate in and stay “social” with by making at least weekly solid contributions.  

Sign up for Google alerts: who’s saying what about you? If you don’t know you should. This is (usually) a good thing. You want to know where reviews appear so you can a) link to them and b) thank the person who reviewed you or mentioned you on their blog or web site. 

Get a blog: in order to get on blogs, you must have a blog but it’s more than just having one, it’s about keeping it updated. 
Participate: In order to reap the benefits of the online world you must participate. This goes back to the social networking site and your blog.

  • Participate
  • Communicate
  • Listen.

Three online rules that will never steer you wrong.
Don’t get greedy: lead with the benefits, not the dollar signs. What I mean by this is that if you’re going online to make a quick buck, get out. You might make a few dollars but success will be short lived.

Network: it goes without saying that networking (especially online) is important.

  • Network
  • Lend a helping hand
  • Show people how you can help them

 Web site: don’t just get one, get a good one. You’d never think to show up for a car race with a scooter. Don’t even try to go online with anything less than a professional web site. While I know it’s tempting to do it yourself, most folks always end up regretting it. “My web site is fine.” They’ll say till you ask them how well it’s selling for them. If the answer is: “it’s not” then you need a new site. Show up online with a site that reflects your expertise, creativity, and message. This is one race you can’t afford to lose.


You will know your online presence is strong when a growing number of people have an interest in your topic or genre keep finding you in the places where they spend time online.  

Having a web presence means your articles, posts, and comments appear on prominent sites  catering to your subject matter. It means your name keeps popping up on active discussion forums related to your topic. 
Best of all, you know your presence is growing and having your desired impact when your email newsletter is forwarded to your following’s friends. 

Thank you to everyone who forwards these posts on to your friends. Hearing from you helps me know which marketing direction is most helpful to you.  I value your involvement, your input, and your community. Much appreciated.

Marcia Reece is the #1 Bestselling author of Secrets of the Marriage Mouse and The Ultimate Online Media Directory. She serves as the founder of Aspen Support Group. Her latest book is available on her website at www.marciareece.com or on Amazon.com.

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Sharing is Caring

Some people give up because they look at how far they have to go, instead of how far they have come. This sentiment describes my journey to try to become proficient on social media.

Just about the time I want to give up because of frustration, I look at how much I have learned and keep on keeping on.

Today I had the privilege to learn from Keith Renninston. He is gracious, giving, sharing, and caring…What more could any of us ask?

Keith has a broad reaching body of work. He was struggling as to how to build the entire body into “his brand”. We brainstormed several different approaches and I saw his light bulb come on.

What a joyous day! We came together each needing something that comes more naturally to the other. Our sharing atmosphere brought good progress for each of us.

That’s how I like life best. Thank you, Keith.

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