Apparently The Mayans Had Us All Terrified For Nothing

5 Marketing Basics You Need for Success

So here you are at the end of another ho-hum year. Last year about this time, you threw up your hands and yelled, “Thank goodness the world’s ending in December 2012 and I don’t have to figure out how to sell my products or services in 2013″!

Now you’re scrambling.

Hey, we all are. The Internet is more congested than a Wal-Mart during a Black Friday sale. All of your keywords rank in the top 10 most-searched words on Google (a sure sign of stiff competition).

There’s going to be 35 percent more self-published books hitting Amazon in the coming year.

With all of that competition, what can you do to set yourself apart?

Truth is, unless you have a line on the winning Powerball numbers, you had better have a plan.

People actually do succeed on the Internet. They sell shoes and shirts, software, services, and books. They have the right tools. Without those, you’re going to have a hard time building anything. No audience, no network, no social media following and no sales.

What tools do you need? There are all sorts of specialized tools, but let’s start with a basic checklist

• A fully functional and engaging website: A professional website is to sales what oxygen is to a human being. Without it, you’re dead. Count on this – no website or bad web site = poor sales or no sales. ‘Nuff said?

• A solid PR foundation: Getting your message out there needs to be your top priority. You need to BE the news. And once you have publicity, you need to put it to work for you by sharing it on your website and through social media.

• Getting a handle on social media: You can’t just go out there in the Twittersphere and play the “Follow Friday” game. (If you don’t know what Follow Friday is, you really need to take a crash course on social media.) Don’t make the mistake of posting only BUY MY BOOK/PRODUCT/SERVICE NOW to your social media following. I assure you, they will not be following for long.

• Update your content or lose your audience: Blog. Then blog again. Then, just when you think you’ve blogged enough – you guessed it, blog some more. Keeping your content fresh and unique gives people a reason to keep coming back. If they don’t buy your product or service today, maybe they will next month. But they won’t if you don’t give them a reason to come back.

• Understand the meaning of the word ‘entertain': The Internet used to be a place to read about things. Not anymore. Now, it’s where you go to WATCH things. If your site doesn’t have video, you’re going to lose potential customers. Are you a lawyer, doctor or financial genius? Introduce yourself with video. Are you an author? What’s going to entertain and excite people — the cover of your book or a cinematic book trailer? I’m talking about a real trailer. Not sure what that is? Go to YouTube and watch a trailer for whatever movies are in theaters now.

You don’t have to spend a fortune to compete. By putting the right set of tools in your toolbox, you can put yourself in the best position to succeed. Whatever you do, don’t spend your time OR your money without a toolbox – you’re not going to like the results if you do.

About Joe Thomas

Joe Thomas is the founder and owner of Left Brain Digital (, a web development company. He’s an award-winning web designer/developer with more than 18 years of experience in print and web design and development. Thomas’ work became a major influence in graphic and web design in the “Y2K” era of the Internet’s dot-com explosion.

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