by Kathleen Lyons | Feb 20, 2015 | Blog, Five on Friday
Boob Job Tourism ad banned in the UK
In Travel news, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority has banned a poster promoting breast enlargement surgery trips to Malaysia. They ruled that the Medical Tourism Association went a bit too far in promoting the procedure by displaying the posters in ladies’ rooms on motorways and in shopping centers. The Authority doesn’t want the serious surgical intervention to be depicted as a risk-free holiday lark….basking in the sun, booze, boob job…?
Photo by Enzo Cositori
Funny though this may seem, it does emphasize the fact that Medical Tourism is becoming a big niche for both travel companies and medical entrepreneurs. Indeed, the New York Times this week reported that medical tourism companies are already working with clinics in Cuba to offer economical surgeries and other medical treatments as soon as travel rules are liberalized.
Speed up your site’s loading time: optimizing images
The Internet is flooded with a stream of competing small businesses fervently marketing their messages, so how can your site stand out?
One way is to ensure that your all-important photos, screenshots and other images are optimized to load quickly while engaging the viewer’s interest. Slow-loading pages will not only prompt users to bail from your site, they can also affect your search ranking.
Elegant Themes has some good ideas on how to optimize your images, both before and after they’re uploaded to your WordPress site. Judicious use of graphics tools such as Photoshop and GIMP can significantly reduce the loading time of an image, without noticably compromising quality. And for images that are already in your Media Library, I like plugins like Smush.it, which let you batch-process the job of optimizing images throughout your whole WordPress site.
Helpful Pin of the Week
I focused on building my Work Tools Board this week, and found some interesting articles on content marketing, crowdfunding and, my favorite: “What goes into a Media Kit?”.
Marketing in general, and PR activities in particular, can be daunting for entrepreneurs: you envision a steep learning curve and major time suck to get yourself and your product out there. But as Maya Elious capably explains, an effective Media Kit can be created using a series of simple steps. Value add!
Is it a good idea to rely on a writing group to critique your work?
Apparently not, as Michael Neff opines in this eye-opening piece at The Writer’s Edge. He goes on to explore some other clichés and caveats about the exploitation of authors and the pitfalls of listening to amateur advice. Novelists may find a group helpful if they abide by a set of rules and judge others’ work according to a limited set of criteria. Other types of writers, not so much. While touting the value of professional reviewers like himself, Neff makes some thought-provoking points.
As most of the world knows, Boston and New England have been slogging through the coldest, snowiest winter in living memory. Cabin-feverish Bostonians have had to come up with inventive ways of dealing with the catastrophe: drones over Harvard, pairing snowglobe photos with the prose and poetry of Samuel Beckett…and becoming YouTube stars with their penchant for jumping out of windows in their skivvies. Marty Walsh, Boston’s new Nanny Mayor, does have a point when he admonishes the pranksters about the (obvious) inherent dangers of snowbank diving from third-floor verandas. Verandas are decks, in case you didn’t grow up around here.
photo courtesy of indierockranger
by Kathleen Lyons | Feb 13, 2015 | Blog, Five on Friday
Merrimack Media‘s 2015 Outstanding Writer contest is a great opportunity for neophytes and other unpublished authors. First-place winner receives a complete book development package; other prizes are also awesome. Rules include:
- Only previously unpublished manuscripts by previously unpublished authors are eligible
- Authors may submit no more than one (1) manuscript for consideration.
- You must be 18 years old to enter.
Deadline for submission is Friday, 20 March 2015. Entry fee: $20.
Share, share, share:
Mark Traphagan of Stone Temple Consulting offers sage advice on the power of multiple social media sharing strategies in this MarketingLand post. Tweet, repeat is his mantra.
Londoners can now host travelers legally:
According to Travelmole, Londoners can now legally join the ‘sharing economy’ by taking part in booming peer-to-peer accommodation services, such as AirB&B. Will this turn of events lead to an overall mitigation of hotel prices? In some cities, including New York, apartment seekers complain that rental housing stock is shrinking due to speculators’ penchant for converting apartments to short-term rentals for AirB&B customers – this might become a problem in London, which is notoriously short of affordable rental housing.
Pump up your Social Presence with Pinterest:
My constant nagging voice in clients’ ears: “Get on Pinterest, use Pinterest, keep working your Pinterest boards”….I know it can get old, but Pinterest is such a powerful marketing tool for entrepreneurs that I’m just going to keep harping on about it.
Now social media expert Rebecca Radice is touting the benefits of integrating Pinterest into your marketing plan. Among many points and tips in her article, she points out that Pinterest is now the fourth biggest driver of traffic on the Internet. Told ya.
Google Mobile-Friendly Test Tool
OK, so everyone needs to be re-evaluating their website(s) to ensure that they are ‘responsive’, i.e. generally able to be viewed successfully on many types of devices: phones, tablets, laptops, TV’s, smart watches…eek. It’s become almost impossible for a small business owner with a modest tech budget to keep their web presence optimized for every kind of browser and gadget.
At FastNet Media, we’re working to upgrade clients’ sites using a simple, clean, responsive format that works across most platforms. We’re steadily testing, formulating new site plans, and installing fresh new WordPress themes and plugins for our clients. We have found Google’s Mobile Friendly Test Tool valuable for highlighting deficiencies in current site designs, helping clients continue to build their customer base and generate sales through digital marketing.
Contact us for a free consultation on designing a digital marketing plan for your small business.
by Kathleen Lyons | Jun 4, 2014 | Blog
Short of hiring a full-time PR/social media staffer to flog your brand online, how can you make your voice heard above the cacaphony of keywords, catch phrases and ‘greatest company ever’ verbiage? Traditional marketing/PR strategies and techniques don’t mesh with today’s lightning-fast world; ‘relationship marketing’ and ‘social selling’ are the new touchstones.
Here are 10 tips I have found useful for my small business clients; by no means are they a comprehensive list, but they offer a starting point for shaping your PR and Social Media marketing strategy.
- Own your name: If at all possible, buy the domain name ‘www.yourname.com’ or ‘yourname.me’, and forward the domain to the URL of your business. Some contacts who’ve heard you speak or read an article may not remember the business name and will search for you on Google. Unfortunately I have a common name, and it took me 2 years of constant watching to obtain “KathleenLyons.com”. But I own it now!
- Ensure that you are ‘findable’ in online directories and on the major social media platforms. Submitting your site to dmoz.com is still a good idea, but creating a Google+ account is now the #1 must-do activity to increase your visibility. Here’s how to set up your Google+ account. The next important step is to link your Google+ account to your web content using “rel=author” and “rel=publisher”.
- Choose the Social Media vehicles that will be most productive for your business : LinkedIn is a great outlet for those engaged in business-to-business sales; Pinterest is visually-oriented and can increase sales for artists, craftspeople and travel consultants.
- Set up a posting schedule for your chosen Social Media outlets; then make posting a priority each week. Cross-pollinate by auto-linking your media posts to your other accounts.
- Make sure each blog post you write has a ‘share’ feature that enables readers to immediately disseminate your information. Also solicit comments from readers whenever possible.
- Monitor activity about your brand, using Google Alerts, Google Analytics or other professional monitoring applications. If you find you’ve been featured or mentioned on TV, radio, a blog or other media outlet, post about it in your Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other accounts.
- Have a Media Kit available on your website. When you receive a press inquiry, direct the journalist or press aide to your Media Kit for company background information, your resume, professional headshot and other publicity photos.
- Build your own media contact list, then work it. Local radio and TV stations and newspapers who’ve moved online are a good bet for your news release email list, as are paid PR distribution services. If your budget is tight, free online PR services offer a low-risk way to get started issuing news releases; I’ve seen them help with SEO for many small business operators.
“The old is new again”: you might find that showing up at editorial desks to personally deliver a news release can benefit your business. Since the usual delivery mode is now email, newsrooms don’t get much walk-in traffic. A personal connection may resonate with office personnel, who will remember your face and friendly conversational tone next time you drop by.
- Learn the art of writing an effective news release – it’s no longer only the domain of PR professionals. And, when sending out a news release via email, don’t even think about attaching it as a PDF. Journalists and editors won’t be opening your attachments anytime soon….just include the news release in the body of your email. Another no-no: calling to ask if Oprah got your email.
- Create an ebook, PDF report, or other digital product, then send out a news release to publicize it: New York real estate genius Barbara Corcoran has some great advice about this tactic.
by Kathleen Lyons | May 10, 2014 | Blog
Congratulations to dynamic Travel Agent Theresa Veneto Mullen, who has launched her newest venture: Enchanted Waterways, exclusively booking river and small-ship cruises.
Whether you’re a first-time cruiser or a veteran of the blue-water ocean cruise scene, you’ll benefit from Enchanted Waterways’ laser focus on the very best river cruise companies, itineraries, and special deals. “Your River Cruise Concierge” offers full travel services, from flight planning and pre- and post-cruise hotel stays, to special events and excursions for your family or group. Theresa can help affinity groups such as knitters and wine-lovers build exciting itineraries customized for their members.
The river cruise industry has experienced phenomenal growth over the past few years: new river cruise lines and state-of-the-art cruise vessels, new destinations, itineraries, inclusions and pre-and-post options. But each river cruise line is distinct in subtle ways that without detailed research may leave you with a river cruise experience that does not meet your expectations.
As your River Cruise Concierge, I take the guesswork out of your travel planning. Get the service you deserve and create a hassle-free and memorable river cruise experience for yourself, your family or your group!
Theresa Veneto Mullen
It can be daunting to navigate the ever-expanding range of river cruise options. By enlisting the expertise of this woman-owned boutique travel service, you’ll get personalized cruise planning advice for the same or lower cost than booking it yourself. And since Enchanted Waterways is independent, you won’t be ‘steered’ toward a particular cruise company if it’s not right for you.
Contact Theresa Veneto Mullen at Enchanted Waterways.
by Kathleen Lyons | Apr 30, 2013 | Blog
Online Marketing, Content Marketing …as a small business owner, you’re faced with a boggling array of must-do tips from the chattering-guru community. The media ‘tools’ you must acquire, implement and measure are limitless, to the point where you long wistfully for the simpler days of the Yellow Pages (if you can remember that far back).
Where should you focus your online marketing efforts? How to navigate all the learning curves, then stuff marketing into an already full daily agenda?
by Kathleen Lyons | Aug 10, 2012 | Blog
If you haven’t just crawled out from under a rock, you’ve heard at least a bit about Pinterest. Groan! yet another ‘must-do’ in the ever-increasing volume of Marketing Musts! But no, Pinterest is something unique and, some would say, dangerous. How can an application that lets you ‘borrow’ the images of others be good for business? Countless opinions, arguments and tutorials have sprung up netwide to extol and dispute the value of Pinterest to the small business entrepreneur. But the numbers don’t lie: there are now over 10 million users with a higher volume of activity than Twitter.
Here are 5 good resources to investigate before taking the Pinterest Plunge:
1. Entrepreneur Magazine’s Pinning with a Purpose: good advice on profiling your markets before investing precious time in Pinterest development.
2. Todd Wasserman’s 5 Interesting Pinterest Campaigns: Some good examples of Pinterest branding and P.R. by large corporations; also lists top 10 most-followed Pinterest users.
3. HubSpot’s Ten Commandments of Using Pinterest for Business Cute infographic ‘Commandments’ help organize your thoughts when adding Pinterest to you marketing plan. They also offer a free ‘Pinterest for Business’ e-book. We can all be grateful to HubSpot for generously sharing so much free information!
4. Jeremy Cabalona’s Pinterest Image Optimization is a handy graphical tool for maximizing the marketing impact of your Pinterest account. So much can be done with images, tags, hashtags, pricing, oh my.
5. Pinterest itself has a Business area that’s a roundup of Pinterest marketing strategies, full of advice, examples and infographics….definitely worth following.
Now that Pinterest accounts are free to all without the pesky Invite process, there’s no reason not to set up an account for your business! Contact us for a free initial consultation on how you can leverage Pinterest to move your business forward.