Monthly Archives: March 2006

Networking Etiquette

Just yesterday I was reading through my messages on a networking board that I am affiliated with when I came across a message from someone who was requesting to network with me and I had no earthly idea who they were. It seems that this is getting to be the norm.

Maybe I am not quite ‘with it’ but I just don’t understand how anyone could believe that I would want to reveal my friends and family email addresses and names to someone who hasn’t even taken the time to pop me a short line of introduction. And even with that done, is that really enough? I think not.

I liken this tactic to walking into a place of business you have never been to before and asking to speak with the owner. Yeah, that is all fine and dandy. But, what is out of place is that the next thing they do. I liken it to saying to the owner, Hi I am so and so and I would love for you to simply hand over to me all your friend’s and relatives, business associates, and supplier’s contact information. Nothing much really, I just want their names, phone numbers, email addresses, and business URLs. Do you get my drift? What do you supposed the owner would do? What would YOU do?

So how DO you make this transition when in a networking situation? Is online Networking any different than face-to-face networking? One huge difference is the face-to-face kind done in a local civic group or Chamber setting is a much longer process. It can take years to get to know the other members and you have to participate and join committees before you see any real benefit from the investment you make with your membership dues. Once that connection is made you can share your contacts one-by-one on an as needed basis. Whereas in online networking it is just the opposite. You can easily see the flaw in thinking that my initial response is going to be to say SURE! Let’s Network!

The first step in making a networking connection is to simply introduce yourself. Post comments to the boards or threads often and get comfortable with the group. Let them get comfortable with you too. Then invite those that you have a common ground or connection with over for an ongoing communication via email and personal messages.

One good way to find out if you have anything in common is to visit their homepage and read their ENTIRE page. Follow their links. Read their guest book entries and look at the list of networks they are affiliated with. Maybe even visit some of those networks as well. When you take the time to do this you can easily see if they might be someone you would enjoy having as a friend or business associate.

Then simply send them an email or private message and let them know by stating some of the things you have garnered from their posted information. Connect with them. Make a new friend. Then when you ask them to network with you they will be more likely to respond in a positive manner.

Whether done online or off there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. Take your smile with you when you go and be open to sharing your thoughts and ideas. Remember, networking is relationship building.

Ginger Marks
DocUmeant
http://www.docUmeant.net

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How To Increase Web Site Traffic

If you are looking for a way to generate income from yor web traffic here is a terrific article I ran across at Avacado Consulting. I hope you benefit from her sage advice as I have.

Remember Biana’s three principles of turning your web site into a cash cow? Here are the three principles:

  • Your web site must be easy to navigate, understand and use.
  • Your web site must discuss what you do AND how what you do will benefit your customers.
  • Your web site must have a newsletter that helps you keep in touch with your visitors and customers.

However, a web site that has all of the features listed above is not all that’s needed to get leads and customers for your business. To get the most out of your web site, you need to ensure that the site generates targeted web site traffic.

So how do you increase Internet traffic to your web site? Here are three proven, time-tested methods for generating targeted web site traffic:

  • Optimize Your Web Site for Search Engines. Search engine optimization is the process of modifying web page content and meta-information to improve the search engine ranking of the page. Meta-information includes HTML tags (title, heading, emphasized text, keyword and description meta-tags), as well as the internal (links between pages on the same site) and external (links between pages on different sites) link structure of a web site.

    Using good keywords to optimize your web site for search engines helps you bring targeted traffic to your web site.

  • Create a Business Blog. A business blog is an excellent tool to toot your own horn, let the world know about your new products, and tell your target customers why they should do business with you, rather than your competitor.

    Blog posts that are keyword-rich help you bring targeted traffic from search engines, and blog posts that are educational and interesting to read help you build relationships with people who read your blog. Strive to make your blog posts optimized and educational – that way you get the search engines and your readers interested in what you have to say.

  • Write Articles. Writing articles on your subject of expertise is an excellent way to get better known throughout your online community and to let target clients know about your expertise.

    Syndicating (allowing other web sites to reprint) your articles also helps you build traffic to your web site. So how can giving the proverbial farm away help you build traffic? The terms of use of your article state that reprinting in any form is allowed only if the site that uses the article includes a resource box. A resource box is a block of text that appears after the article. It typically consists of 2-4 sentences that include your bio and a link back to your business web site.

    The article’s resource box is your chance to get the reader to visit your web site and thus generate additional traffic. This is why it is extremely important to make your resource box as effective as possible. The resource box must include a strong call to action (and a free bonus gift doesn’t hurt either).

Targeted web site traffic translates into leads and clients for your business. Start using the traffic generating methods outlined above and watch your traffic soar.

About the author: Biana Babinsky is the online business expert who has helped many business owners attract more web site customers, bring in more online publicity and increase the bottom line. Visit http://avocadoconsulting.com/free_newsletter.html to subscribe to her newsletter full of marketing tips and ideas and join her online business coaching program at http://www.MarketingSalad.com.

Step by Step Search Engine Optimization Special Report

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Are You A Landmine Or A Goldmine?

Recently I was in the midst of transferring my business domain to a new server and when it came time to discuss payment I was told I could use one of two ways. I could either pay with a check, which meant spending the time writing it out, locating an envelope and making a run to the post-office, or I could simply send payment through an online payment service.

All that sounded fine to me and I was ready to pay for the service online when unexpectedly the young man informed me, “If you pay with the online service they take a portion off the top so I don’t know, I think it would be better for you to pay by check.

Now I don’t know about you but for me I immediately started seeing red flags and skyrockets going off all around me. What was I doing? What was I thinking? Do I really want to do business with this company? I had been thinking of all of my clients that I could refer to them, but in the blink of an eye all that changed.

How many times have you automatically made a similar mistake? Do you invest all of your time and energy building your business and then when you begin to sense success you undermine that success with one wrong move? Maybe you have been building your “baby” and are seeing a modicum of success and know it is time to hire or designate someone to do some of the routine tasks, but once they are hired you impede them in completing the jobs you hired them for.

What can you do to prevent yourself from being your business’ own worst enemy? Think about what you specifically desire from your company. Do you want to have a mom and pop business that is totally hands on forever? If so maybe what you are doing is enough. By the same token, if you hope to create a successful business you have to grasp a couple of fundamental rules to learn to stay out of your own way.

One of the things that you need to do is, be aware. Listen to what you say and how you say it when speaking to others. Sometimes we as business owners tend to have so much on our minds that we don’t take the time to effectively listen when others speak to us. When we do “listen” our minds are moving at such a fast pace that we find ourselves thinking about how to respond instead of truly listening to what the other person is conveying. Worse yet, perhaps you suffer from the habit of expecting others to be mind readers. I recall an employment ad I read in a local newspaper it essentially said, if you are a mind reader this is the job for you. Stop and really listen next time. Really listen to what is being said.

Another landmine that we often lay in our path to success is ego. What I am intimating is that when you start to think more of yourself than others do you run the unavoidable risk of becoming overbearing and forceful. As a consumer given the option would you prefer to deal with someone that knows their business and shows a genuine interest in you and your needs or would you seek someone who is disrespectful of you and constantly letting you know how superior they are. When the person I am dealing with begins to act like a know-it-all or comes off crass and rude I tend to look elsewhere for the services I need. Most certainly you should display your professional competence but be careful about the presentation.

These are some of the pitfalls we fall prey to in the course of our business lives. When you learn to avoid them you will begin to witness the floodgates of success open wide. Not only will your business reap the rewards but your relationships will too.

© Copyright 2005 Ginger Marks

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WIN Women of Achievement! — "Inquiring Minds Want to Know"

Having recently been honored with the Women of Achievent award I have been asked to divulge my story. I hope you find this information not only informative but inspirational.

1. Where were you born?

Lansing, Michigan

2. Where do you live?

Clearwater, Florida

3. Growing up who inspired you?

My mommy

4. How did you hear about Ryze and WIN? How long have you been a Ryze member?

A good friend who doesn’t participate told me about Ryze back in September 2005 in an email. While searching through the available networks I just got lucky one day and found WIN.

5. Tell us more about your businesses as a Copy Editor, Web designer. You wear many hats, anything else?

I am also a published writer and currently have a column on ArticlesOn.com I enjoy helping people and making them smile that is my reason for doing what I do. I am copy editor for Ladies First Magazine and Luxe Studios Design Company. I own DocUmeant, http://www.documeant.net and have operated that business for the past seven years offering VA assistance specializing in document preparation and design.

6. What does it take to be a successful businesswoman?

Never give up! Accept the no’s as a fact of life and keep focused on your goal.

7. What one thing do you know for sure? (This is an Oprah thing)

Jesus loves me this I know! (And so does my mommy ;0 )

The question has been posed, ‘Just who is Ginger Marks?’
I could write a book in answer to this question but since we all have lives to live I will keep it as brief as possible. For now I must leave out a great deal of inspiring detail. Perhaps a book IS in my future, you never know.

I grew up in Lansing, Michigan in a Christian home. I am the second of five children, all surviving and my parents have managed to stay married and very much in love over the years recently celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.

I ran away from home at 16, all the way to Laredo, Texas, where I lived for three years. When I returned to Michigan I finished high school at a local school for drop-outs and then went on to take a course in Keypunch operating.

While a keypunch operator in Lansing I met and married ‘Mr. Wrong’. I know you all will understand that statement. After three years, while he was incarcerated, yet again, for drunk and disorderly conduct I packed my bags and hitch-hiked to Tampa, Florida. My best friend’s parents lived just north of there and she had recently moved home so they allowed me to stay in their home a couple of months while I got settled.

After one year I was able to divorce during which time I became a live-in secretary for an advertising agency. It was while employed there that I received a phone call from an old friend of the owners and after speaking to him on the phone I knew this was the man I would eventually marry.

Five years later, we became not only husband and wife but business partners. The company we started was Alpha-Omega Hair Transplant Clinic. We were the first hair transplant clinic in this part of Florida and enjoyed great success and respect in the industry.

In the summer of 1998 Billy Graham announced his intention to host a crusade in Tampa, Florida. Being that we were semi-retired I committed my time and energy in the training needed to participate in the program and headed up three churches choir programs for the Adult and Children choirs.

The day after the final training for the children choir director trainer’s and after 23 years of marriage my husband committed suicide. I was left without a job and home. I stayed with my eldest Godson’s mother until I was able to purchase a condo in a nearby area. While I filed Chapter 13 on myself, our business and my late husband, our business partner sued me for the patient files, most of which were not his patients.

There were two things that kept me going during this time. First was the knowledge that if I followed suit the devastation that I was feeling would be doubled for my family and his, and second was a children’s choir song entitled, ‘God Has A Plan For My Life!’

After settling down in Oldsmar, Florida I began attending a nearby church and answered their call for pianist. There is an interesting story about this but due to our limitation I will forgo the details, for now. Nearly a year after my husbands death I requested prayer to find a suitable mate and one week later met my current husband, Philip Marks.

We have been married now for five-years and I assisted him with the eldercare of his mother before she passed away in the fall of 2005.

Philip has supported me in my ventures which include not only my current vocation as writer, web designer and editor but in my education, training and career as a Financial Advisor, from which I am now retired.

If I was to offer a piece of advice it would be to hold on tight to your beliefs no matter what the travail. Keep on keeping on and ‘NEVER, NEVER, NO NEVER GIVE UP!’

Ginger Marks
Isn’t It Time Your Ryze Page Reflected YOU?
http://www.DocUmeant.net

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