Thursday, February 25, 2010

What is Stopping You?

Most of us dream of being independently wealthy - we want to be able to take care of our family in style, enjoy the finer things in life. For some it seems like a dream that is unobtainable – one that we put aside as we go to our 9 – 5 job and live pay check to pay check.

It doesn’t have to be that way – we live in America one of the few places on earth where we have the freedom to make choices to see our dreams come to fruition!

There is nothing more satisfying than blazing your own path – being responsible for your future, and what it holds. Seeing your idea’s come to life, if you are passionate about what you do, it will fall into place with the proper tools.

What does it take? It takes an idea and/or skill, a lot of hard work, a burning desire, stick-to-itiveness and innovation. It is not for the timid or the lazy, and it is certainly not for those that want a handout.

However, there are some pitfalls you need to watch out for and these are major dream killers.

4 things that can stop you before you get started…

  1. Picking a Business- There are so many, do you want to become a super affiliate, do you have a service you want to offer, or would you like to sell an amazing product? Perhaps you have a lot of ideas. What do you do? How do you decide?
  2. You are overwhelmed -You have decided on a direction – you know what you want to do. You just don’t know how to get started. Half of the things you read don’t make sense, the other half seemed to be filled with fluff and hype. Where do you turn and who do you trust to give you sound advice?
  3. Procrastination- You should get started – you have everything planned out in your mind - but it never quite happens. You know what you should or could do – but you don’t do it. You never quite find the right time. After all your favorite TV show is on, your X-Box is calling you. There are always other projects in the way – and people to take care of.
  4. Tech Hell – You are as smart as the other guy – so why is it you feel so inept when it comes to the language of the internet? Putting the technical side of things together is driving you insane! Domain names, Host, FTP, Dream Weaver, Front Page, flash, opt-in pages, landing pages, blogs, MySQL, php, shopping carts, web 2.0 and more….

All these situations have simple solutions – and if you honestly sit down and think about it – you could come up with many.

Follow your passion when it comes to starting your own business do what excites you.

Perhaps you want to produce your own product – you are an expert at something that others want to know about – start a blog, corner the niche market – then write an e-book.

On the other hand, perhaps you don’t want to create a product yourself – become an affiliate and promote other products and make a tidy little sum. The possibilities are endless – but the key is finding something that excites and motivates you.

Carve out a few hours in your day to work on this project – you don’t have to dedicate your whole life to it, if that is not what you want to do.

It does take dedication – but you have to get started sometime. Get your spouse in on the vision you have with this new business. Enlist your families help in achieving your goals.

There is nothing that quite compares to taking an idea building a concept and seeing it come to life. Recruiting your support system to help you is very rewarding – and is important in the whole scheme of things.

Tech hell is a reality as some point for most of us – everyone has to start somewhere. Find a mentor someone you trust that will freely give information. Do research – make sure the person you are trusting is a professional – get referrals and remember you do not need to pay for everything. – Be willing to invest in things that are genuine and will take you to the next level in your business.

Do not be so stingy you will not spend money on your business, alternatively you do not want to spend money on thing you do not need.

Find the proper fit when finding professionals to work with – people who you feel comfortable with, who will answer your questions willingly and with a smile.

If someone you come in contact with makes you feel foolish for asking a question – then do not work with them and please do not hire them.

Follow you instincts!

Keep an open mind when listening to professional opinions, but remember the old saying “Keep an open mind – but not so open you brain falls out”.

You do not need to be an expert at everything. I have been in this business a long time and I will never know all there is to know.

No-one is an expert at everything – and you are no exception!

For expert advice or a helping hand – give me a call. I love helping my clients bring things to life!!

Pamela Jacob Artista Design

Providing Practical Solutions & Valuable Results

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Is Your Website Doing the Trick?

Some of you may have read this before in my Newsletter but remember repetition is never bad policy if it reminds one of things they need to watch out for! If you website is not bringing you what you need – make sure you have gone through this check-list. Each step will make a difference.

Is your web pulling in the clients and revenues you need?

10 Secrets to Building a Profitable Website.

1. Research - check out your competition.

Who are your competitors?

You will want to go online and do a search for your product or service. Look at the companies on the first two pages of Google.

That is your target. Those are the companies that you want to beat in search engine ranking.

Take a look at their website. Notice the copy. What meta data are they using? Analyze their website. Are they successful? What are they not doing right?

Look for the holes. You are going to meet the needs of their customers (that they are not fulfilling) so they become YOUR customers.

2. The Image of your Website Must Reflect who you want to Attract.

Websites should always be designed with your target audience in mind, not just your own personal preferences. Understanding the products/services/information your target audience is searching for is paramount to designing and maintaining an effective web site.

Knowing the type of design elements, colors and look that will attract your perfect customer and keep them there is of utmost importance.

3. Keep a consistent look and feel

Make sure your website is consistent from page to page, same font, color scheme, basic layout and navigation. This will make your business look professional and pulled together.

When visitors come to your site you want them to have a good experience and you need to have a great image. 4. Build Consistency in your Branding Identity.

Your website should have your distinctive logo and look like your business cards, letterhead, and any other marketing material you have. If you are serious about your business you want the public to get to know who you are just by glancing at your logo or seeing anything with your business name on it.

Smart business people realize that a powerful image attracts new customers and distinguishes their business from the competition. What is branding? To create a distinct and memorable identity, through the consistent use of company logos, corporate colors, typography and any other visual elements that have been decided on.

5. Build a Website that can Grow with your Business.

Many businesses think that once they build their website it will stay the same forever.

As your business evolves and changes so will your website. It is important to keep this in mind when you are initially designing your website.

Make sure that the design of your website will allow for future links – future growth. Don’t design your site so that you have to start from scratch just to restructure or add a few pages.

6. Make sure your navigation is clear and concise

The people that visit your website should be able to find what they want easily. As a general rule they should not have to click more than 3 times to get to where they want to go. Try to make it 2 clicks if possible.

Be sure and develop a site map for your website, this will allow an on-line user to quickly locate the information they want.

Remember if a visitor to your website becomes overwhelmed and cannot find what they want quickly they will leave and go to your competitor.

7. Optimization your Website Properly

Your website should be quick to load into any browser. It is a fact that visitors to a website will quickly lose interest if your pages don’t load quickly.

The type of animations, movies, and graphics used and the compression of these items make the difference between success and failure.

Always make sure your first page loads fast and consider what type of access your target audience has to the internet. Build your website to the lowest common denominator. If you do want video or larger animations on your site make sure your visitor can download the plug-ins needed to view these items and warn them that it will take time for them to load.

Note of interest: Google is now ranking websites that load fast, higher than those that do not.

8. Set Your Website up for Marketing.

From the very beginning a business should be cultivating a good data base of people that are interested in their products or services. Don’t make the mistake of not putting a sign-up on your site.

Offer a free newsletter, article or anything that is valuable to your customer.

Collecting this information will allow you to keep in touch with people who are interested in your product or service but are not ready to buy at this time.

Make sure you let potential customers know of your privacy policy – keep the information you gather for your marketing only.

9. Internet Marketing through Search Engines

Meta tags are much less important than placing Keywords in the content of you website copy. Algorithms change constantly so it is important to know what each individual search engine is looking for. A great resource to use is it will evaluate your website and determine if your website is search engine friendly and best of all it is free.

Once all your key words are in place and you have your site optimized you are ready to submit your site to search engines.

10. Keep your website fresh.

Make sure you have a section on your website that is updated on a regular basis. People will not come back to your website more than once if it stays the same week after week.

Draw interest with a blog, message board, articles or an events page.

Within the next few weeks I will be unveiling my new website and it is completely different from my current one. I will be announcing it and I hope you will check it out.

Contact me for solutions to your online business needs!

Pamela Jacob – Artista Design

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Do You Really Know How to Market Your Business?

There are so many people that just throw around the word marketing and really do not have a full grasp of what the word really means. Think about it – ask yourself, how do you define marketing? I read a book called “Mind Capture” by Tony Rubleski –in his book Tony states “Marketing is the oxygen of every successful business”. He is exactly right – I don’t care how great you product, service, or anything else is, if you do not market your business, then nobody will know about it – and if nobody know about your business do you really think you will be successful?


OK so let’s define what marketing is in a nutshell:

  • Becoming known in your marketplace by building a memorable image or brand.
  • Getting the customer to remember you even when they don’t need your goods or services.
    • When the time comes and they need what you have to offer you are the first one that pops into there mind.
  • Giving great customer service - even when the customer is "difficult".
  • Continually updating your knowledge on the latest innovative social media sites.
  • Deciding what would benefit your business and what is a waste of time.
  • Networking with people you can trust (the best of the best).

But how do you do that?

A memorable image – genuine and honest belief in your product and/or service(s) and letting the world know what you have to offer.


Becoming an expert in your industry

Defining what makes you unique in your industry.

I can honestly tell you that it can be as simple as real customer service. The word customer service is thrown around so loosely – but I am talking about really caring about your customers, making sure that what they are getting is really something that they need. Being there when something goes wrong and making sure that you are on top of everything in a timely manner.

I am old enough to remember when someone gave you their word it was as good as gold – and you could trust what they told you was the truth.

That is a rare commodity in this day and age.

Professional image – success always draws people to what you have to offer.

You must look successful in every aspect of your business from your business cards down to your website, blog, ads and everything you are projecting out on the internet, as well as print.

Make sure the graphics are all branded (look alike) from the colors, logos, verbiage, feel to the way things are presented. Create an emotional association (such as the feeling of success, happiness, or relief) that a customer forms with the product, service, or company.

Surround yourself with the best to be the best.

Whoever you incorporate in your inner circle must hold the same values as you do – and all employees and even affiliates must uphold your high standard – one bad seed can be the down fall of your business especially in the viral world of the internet.

Know you customer, what does you perfect customer/client look like?

Do not tell me everyone – because that is not true. You must know who you are trying to attract – what does you perfect customer look like, what type of income do they have, what do they find valuable, where do they live and what do they read…

Who is it that you can help? How can you solve a problem or make someone’s life more enjoyable.

The more you know the faster you can put together a marketing plan that will lead to success.

Don’t be afraid to do a little traditional marketing along with all the internet marketing, social media, and above all else network!

Give away things of values, pearls of wisdom and help people – don’t give away the house of course, but I have found the more I give - the more comes back to me.

If you doubt my words try it you will be amazed!!

For help with a personalized marketing plan contact me Pamela Jacob - Artista Design

Providing Practical Solutions & Valuable Results

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Flash Web Sites are Beautiful – But - Are They For You?

I often have people asking me can you do a flash site for my business ? They love the flow, modern look and elegance that can be obtained.

I will ask them "are you sure?" You will pay much more to develop the website and it may not be profitable.

They don’t always want to listen to that – but I owe them the truth! I could say oh yes (because I would make a lot more money) that is exactly what you need. But that is not what 99% of online businesses need.

As a young designer, I thought the only type of website to have was a flash site – in total! I loved the look and the artistic feel. I loved the animation, and movement of all the elements on a page. Their just wasn’t anything I didn’t like about flash.

Then – I came down to the real world – and realized it wasn’t just the dazzling effects in a website that caused it to be successful, in fact just as important as having a cutting edge website (or more important) was having a website that a search engine could index (list). A website that could be marketed with keywords and a website where search engine spiders could come through and pick out all the information they needed to get the word out about your website.

This cost-free marketing is invaluable and if you can not really Search Engine Optimize, then how will you get listed? Pay per click – or banner ads – all options but not the best options when it comes to marketing on a small budget.

When you have a totally flash website – you are on your own. Figure it out, how are you going to reach a broad audience? TV ads, bill boards, magazine spreads, and internet marketing – sound expensive because it is. You can have flash element – that is great, but the flash site its self only works if you have a big marketing budget like Coke or Pepsi.

Another disadvantage, surveys show that people don’t always click on paid ads as often as they do the more organic listings.

Most of us are not rolling in dough – most of us are small businesses that need to just get out there and do our own marketing, on a shoe string – We as business owners realize we do need to invest in our business, we also need the advantage of having a website that can be marketed through all means possible – especially search engines.

Another disadvantage is when you have a flash site developed it is complex you will be dealing with action scripting – there are different versions of this programming language – what happens if you web developer disappears or decides to charge you – an arm and a leg? I will tell you – it will not be easy to just pick up the phone and call your local web developer because action scripting is a highly specialized programming language – and it will cost you a pretty penny if you can find someone who can actually go in and re-code what needs to be done.

but I have been doing websites before Macromedia had even put flash on the market. So for me it was such fun eye candy and as an artist I was drawn to the really spectacular images and movement.

But before you get talked into spending that extra money on a “beautiful Splash page”, or full flash site, think about it – realize that in the long run you may run into trouble and if you cannot get your website out in front of a lot of hungry clients – what is the purpose of building one at all??

Well there it, my opinion based on a decade of working in the industry.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call (801-910-4825), or drop me a note!

Pamela Jacob – Artista Design

Providing Practical Solutions & Valuable Results