October 20, 2014
by otoole

When Pulling the Plug on Your Facebook Page is a Good Thing

I was shocked to see this post by Erika Napolatano today.

The idea that a huge brand like Copyblogger would pull the plug on its Facebook fanpage seemed, well, euthanas-ian to me.

“Is that even allowed?” I thought to myself.

“I mean, ” I continued, “Aren’t we all supposed to be trying our darnedest to BUILD our Facebook pages? Grow them into gigantic mountains of smiles and goodwill?”

But, no, it seems Copyblogger subscribes to some kind of Marketing 101 deal where they actually LISTEN to their audiences.

Here is a quote from Erika:

“While sometimes, as William Faulkner said, you must kill all your darlings, a brand’s first responsibility is to know what’s useful to its audience.

We all might love Facebook for a wide variety of reasons, but that means jack if our audiences don’t interact with us on Facebook.

It’s not our job to tell our audience where we live. It’s to grow communities where they live.”

This will definitely be a trend carrying on into 2015.

Read the full post here:

Why Copyblogger Is Killing Its Facebook Page – Copyblogger.

October 14, 2014
by otoole

Websites & Web Hosting Services Demystified

unlockIn this last quarter of 2014, it may have struck you that you never set up that blog you need. You may have realized that your website needs a makeover, specifically because it’s not really working for you.

The following makes it easy for you to accomplish the blog or website you’ve put off till now.

Keep Web Hosting Simple

There are two components that make up a website:

1. domain name (www.yourwebsitename.com)

2. web hosting (this is what “hosts” number one above out on the ethernet, making it accessible to the world)

You may have heard others advise you that you should purchase a domain name at one provider and your web hosting service at another provider. They probably make valid observations for making this recommendation. These observations may be referred to as the “cons.”

Here’s one of the “pros” to purchasing your domain and website together in one swoop – do it once and it’s done! Take care of it all at one place and there is less to remember, fewer passwords to take care of, and only one place to enter credit card information. Sound good?

Good. Go with me now to BlueVoda Web Services where you can register your domain name and secure the hosting for your soon-to-come website all in one transaction.

You’ll be able to check availability of domain names right there and place your order after making your selection.

Yes, BlueVoda (BV) offers cPanel site management and it also provides you with free drag ‘n drop software for creating and editing HTML files.

Register Your Domain Name

When you sign up for your website domain name, you’ll be asked to fill in three sets of contact information:

  1. contact information for the registered owner
  2. contact information for the administrator of the domain
  3. contact information for the technical support of the domain

The contact data typically includes:

  • Full name
  • Mailing Address
  • Country
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Fax

If you are purchasing for yourself, you will use the same information in all three data sets. Although, you may want to list a close relative or colleague for the administrative contact, should something happen to you and you need a backup.

If you are purchasing on behalf of someone else, such as a client or customer, always enter their name as the owner. However, I typically use my own email address in place of my client’s so they are not pestered and tempted by scam-type offers.

A “.com” domain is still the most widely preferred among search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing professionals, with “.net” as a second choice.

In the short 6-page free report  I’ve published on this topic, I also tell how to set up a download from your website and how to set up an email account through your domain, i.e., barb@yourwebsitename.com.

Download the free report here:

 Websites and Web Hosting Demystified


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Reprinted from the blog of Barbara O”Toole, http://barbaraotoole.com/,  featuring opinion, speculation, strategy, and creativity in the realm of marketing.

If you like what you read, please pass it along to your friends, clients and colleagues.


October 7, 2014
by otoole

21 Digital Marketing Trends 2015

I missed this article about marketing trends when it first published in May, 2014, on TopRank Online Marketing’s blog, and found it by a happy accident this morning.

The article highlights begin with Ann Handley (Chief Content Officer, Marketing Profs) telling us that “all marketers are writers,”  moves on to Jason Miller(Content Marketer with LinkedIn) stating that “coding will become a necessity for digital marketers,” and includes Tom Webster(Edison Research) offering his top prediction for 2015 ” is the rise and eventual preeminence of mobile data.”

There are 18 other marketing trends and predictions offered as well, including Brian Clark of Copyblogger and Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner.

Pam Didner, Marketing Strategist with Intel Corporation, sees marketers “going back to basics,” by getting back in touch with their target audiences to focus on what’s working, resulting in a smarter use of marketing resources.

The “End-to-End Customer Journey” Emerges

John Jansch, founder of Duct Tape Marketing, envisions more emphasis on strategy and an “end to end customer journey.” Like wise, Connie Bensen, (Content Strategy for Dell) says there will be a need for an “end-to-end” content solution.

Lee Odden, CEO for TopRank Online Marketing, who authored the article and edited these marketing trends, states that “marketing is everybody’s job.” He believes companies will start to treat social media, content creation, and search optimization as generalized skills that exist across an organization instead of tactical specialties.

Read the full article here. This is one to bookmark:

21 Digital Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2015.

September 30, 2014
by otoole

Push “Send” & Grow Your Business Before the Holidays

5-Yr+ Email Customers Can’t Be Wrong!

If you know me, you already know I am passionate about using email marketing in my business.

I was reflecting the other day on how 90% of my email marketing customers have been with me 5+ years! That still floors me!

Its great, of course, but it plays up the question in my mind, “Why aren’t more small businesses using it?”

The answer I keep coming back to is that they just don’t realize how powerful it is.

In other words, I haven’t done a very good job of educating my audience, have I?

To make up for it, I’m going to share a great resource with you. Normally, I probably wouldn’t promote a million-dollar software-technology company, as they are capable, of promoting themselves.

But in this case, I make an exception. This material is super, and worth the time, if you are at all interested in gathering more information on the benefits of using email in your promotional efforts.

This guide comes from Brian Clark and the folks at Copyblogger and here’s a little of what you can expect:

Email Marketing: How to Push Send and Grow Your Business

  • Five Ways to Make Your Email Marketing Work Better
  • How to Get More Subscribers for Your Email List
  • How to Keep Your Email Marketing from Dying
  • Know The Best Time to Send Email ?
  • Seven Email Publishers Making Money From Email

I’ll add a sense or urgency here by reminding you that the holiday season is just around the corner. Getting started with your email marketing NOW ensures you’ll hit your stride in time for the seasonal rush.

Millions, no, billions of dollars will be unleashed over the Thanksgiving holiday and Cyber Monday, which looks like it will be a Cyber Week, this year.  Check out these comments from this post in ClickZ, Marketing News and Expert Advice, September 23,2014:

“Thanksgiving Day, which has continued to grow into a major shopping day independent of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, will fall in late November again this year (November 27). This means there will be fewer days between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day to promote sales. Many retailers will attempt to combat this shortened season by launching holiday promotions early. As we saw last year, many will promote Black Friday sales for the entire month of November and Cyber Monday will be extended into a Cyber Week.”   full article

Emailwerks for Small Business

September 22, 2014
by otoole

5 Ways Publishing a Kindle Book Helps Your Business

Publishing on KindleBeing an Amazon Kindle author can be a huge help in promoting your business.  Publishing on any platform can help your business, but I focus on Kindle primarily because it is the most affordable platform, yielding the best results. Check out the following ways in which it can get you more visibility and clients:

 1) The Instant Expert Effect

Most people are impressed with published authors.  When you publish a book, it’s as though you’re speaking at the front of a room, all eyes and ears tuned to you. People give you their undivided attention. It doesn’t matter if they’re listening to you speak or reading what you’ve written.

It goes back to the Mark Twain quote about how he always believed what he read in a newspaper. It may also have something to do with our years of experience reading schoolbooks. If it’s in print, we tend to believe it.

2) Get Leads and New Clients

With a book in the Kindle store, you have the opportunity to get “found” by people who would never find you otherwise.  They might find you through a “related title: suggestion,” or by a keyword search on your topic. If you have a compelling title and if you price your book to sell as an “impulse buy,” they’re likely to buy.

And that’s when it gets interesting, provided you did your job well to turn your book into a lead generation device.  This means that in addition to your book content, you offer the reader reasons to go to your website for more information. You can offer a free assessment, an audio download, a video series, a short report – the options are only as limited as your brainstorming power. You can even offer add-on events to go with your Kindle book, i.e., a webinar, a teleseminar, or even a whole series of webinars or teleseminars.

Once your readers visit your site, you can capture their name and email address, follow up with them, and turn them into your customers.

3) Press Release Grist for the SEO Mill

If you’re trying to gain attention in the press or push yourself up in the Google search engine results, you probably already know that press releases can be very helpful. The drawback is that you can have trouble coming up with newsworthy items to write about yourself. Enter the Kindle.

Whether you publish a new Kindle book, or the topic of your book is in the news, you’ve got a ready-made news hook at your fingertips.  That’s a great reason for issuing a press release.

4) Get More Links and Get Found on Google 

If you’re trying to bring traffic to your website through Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you may have noticed that Amazon is almost always on the first page. The strength of its reach coupled with its incoming links make it a natural SEO powerhouse.

Now, through Kindle, you can harness some of that power for yourself! Publishing a Kindle book with a good title and a good description, improve chances that people will find it on Google. And getting found on Google is the key to getting leads. In this case, the leads may arrive in a roundabout way, via your Kindle book.  But those leads are likely to be very targeted and will make excellent prospects.

5) Unlimited Number of Books

One of the coolest things about publishing  on Kindle is that there’s no maximum number of books you are allowed to publish. Instead, you can write and publish books on any number of keywords (and subjects), which increase your chances of being found by your target market for even more terms.  And as your sales increase, so do your royalty checks!

You add “Author of…” after your name, and people take notice. They don’t need to know it took you only a few hours and was less painful than a visit to the dentist.

Feel free to email me with any questions you have about how I can help you add “the author of…” to your business cards!



Twitter: @barbaraotoole

Facebook: http://facebook.com/Barb.OToole1


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Reprinted from the blog of Barbara O”Toole, http://barbaraotoole.com/,  featuring opinion, speculation, strategy, and creativity in the realm of marketing.

If you like what you read, please pass it along to your friends, clients and colleagues.


August 14, 2014
by otoole

Lead Gen, Generate, Generating: Where’s the Breakdown in Your Lead Generation?

Remember when you learned about conjugating verbs in English class?

It was a process we had to go through to learn the next thing. It led to diagramming sentences and all the other ways teachers devised to break down our language mastery into meaningful bite-sized pieces.

How to Conjugate

If You Don’t Know How to Conjugate ~ Weird Al Yankovich, ‘Word Crimes” Video – You Tube 2014

It reminds me of another break-down I see all the time in lead generation efforts.

Here is the first example and we’ll call it the Bad Example:

1. The business generates leads.

2. The business blows through those leads, converts a few into sales, then wonders how to keep generating more leads.

3. The generated leads (from step 1) that don’t buy, well, they fall through the cracks. They might get pitched to again, but not now, and probably not later.

Generate, Capture, Nurture into Sales

Here is the responsible, educated way to handle leads. We’ll call it the Good Example:

1. The business generates leads. (accomplished through a plan – maybe SEO or advertising or both)

2.  The business captures those leads. (accomplished with a simple email opt-in form with a highly desirable carrot-like download dangled for the lead)

3. The business nurtures the leads. (accomplished by emailing out valuable information, timely tips, and plenty of carrots)

The bad example is an easy model to accept apparently. It allows companies to remain in constant lead generation turmoil and chaos, which is, after all, where a lot of folks are comfortable. Oh, and it does require the least amount of change, with hardly any budget needed. Except for more flyers, new business cards, and coupons, lots of coupons.

The good example is more hands-on. It requires the addition of three items:

  • email opt-in form added to one’s website (and optionally – to social platforms)
  • desirable downloadable report or special whitepaper offered in exchange for email address
  • ongoing email marketing service

Three Steps to “Good” Example of Lead Generation

Let’s dissect what’s needed to implement a leads capture and nurture program a little more closely. These are the three items needed for good lead generation management as reported above. Since we’re going to rely on our email marketing service provider to help us get the opt-in form working, we’ve listed “sign up for an ongoing email service provider” as step 1:

Step 1. Sign Up for an Ongoing Email Marketing Service Provider

There are many email marketing services out there and all are competent, all have their own quirky challenges, as with any kind of online software service offering.

Without going into a full-blown sales pitch for the service I use, I can tell you that it is a great one for visual/spatial intuitive learners, like myself.  There are only three modules, so at a glance you can see whether you need to go to “Audience, Campaigns, or Response,” and it’s intuitive from there.

Additional help is available through specially made videos and an online helpdesk.

The service, EmailWerks, offers unlimited image, document, and email archive storage included at no extra charge, along with onscreen image editing, including the ability to add text to your images. Can you anticipate viral quote images?

Step 2. Set Up Your Email Opt-in Form

Your typical email opt-in form is provided at no additional cost by the email marketing company you choose to deliver your monthly email service.

Your opt-in form can be easily incorporated into any website, regardless of the web platform used – WordPress, HTML5, etc.

Even if your company were not yet ready to begin a regular email campaign, there are ways to add a sign-up form to any website, storing the information in a spreadsheet until it is needed.

Step 3. Find a Desirable Downloadable Report or Whitepaper

The hallmark of any opt-in form is the “what’s-in-it-for-me” report, whitepaper, or free training “give-a-way” delivered to the lead when they hand over their email address.

There is an art to selecting a desirable give-a-way for your ideal lead and it is something that you will probably want to test, implement, and then be ready to test again at the first sign of a change in opt-in percentages.

Putting a give-a-way in place is simple when you know your target audience.

But you needn’t expect yourself to prepare it. You can hire someone to write a white paper for you on a particular subject, you can find a give-away that is already offered at no-cost online, or you can use a private label rights report as an incentive.

Class dismissed.

Now go out there and start capturing and nurturing!


Permission to Reprint:

You may reprint this article in your print or electronic newsletter. But please include the following paragraph:

Reprinted from the blog of Barbara O”Toole, http://barbaraotoole.com/,  featuring opinion, speculation, strategy, and creativity in the realm of marketing.

If you like what you read, please pass it along to your friends, clients and colleagues.


August 14, 2014
by otoole

Reports of Email Marketing’s Death Greatly Exaggerated

Marketo Email Marketing Infographic

It’s a report headline we read nearly once a month, “Email Marketing is Dead.”

Yet I notice someone forgot to tell my credit card companies. And my veterinarian. And our plumber. And the list goes on with a SELECT FEW of other small business owners in the area.

Not all small business owners have caught on to using email as part of their marketing, however.

Here’s a select few of my email marketing (EmailWerks) customers in the DFW area and the length of time they’ve been using this “best-kept-secret” of internet marketing.

EmailWerks customers:

  • Carol A Henry, LPC  -  4 years
  • Gro Lawn – 6 years
  • Thrive Public Relations – 7 years
  • Nancy Campbell Talent Agency – 6 years
  • Thoughts, Words, Images PR – 4 years
  • City of Euless – 7 years
  • Vetro Art Glass – 7 years

When GroLawn owner, Aaron Shehan, first spoke with me about using EmailWerks, he told me I didn’t have to do much to sell him on the idea of email marketing. Now, that’s something I love to hear!

He said that whenever he sent out a group email, he invariably got replies back. Aaron knew the power of using email. It is a powerful trigger. It can remind your reader of what he’s “been meaning to talk to you about…”

I know I appreciate reminders these days! It’s safe to assume my potential customers do as well, right?


Permission to Reprint:

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Reprinted from the blog of Barbara O”Toole, http://barbaraotoole.com/,  featuring opinion, speculation, strategy, and creativity in the realm of marketing.

If you like what you read, please pass it along to your friends, clients and colleagues.








July 2, 2014
by otoole

Are You Missing Out on One-Click Online Sales?

Make Online Sales Tomorrow by Leveraging Content You Already Have Today

You may not realize that you already have everything needed to start offering your own information products as early as tomorrow.

Online technologies make it super-simple for you to make online sales from your website, your Facebook page, your blog, or just about any other internet platform available to you.

One-Click Buying

My husband is an artist. About a year ago he agreed to allow me to revamp his website to include one-click art buying for those patrons who find his artwork online and want to make an impulsive purchase.

The website revision has paid off for him.

For example, two weeks ago, a doctor in California found his website (through Facebook), then found the perfect painting and purchased it online.

What a nice surprise to wake up to so much extra cash in his PayPal account! His website’s order screen shows contact info for buyers so it made it simple for Ken to follow up to make shipping arrangements with his new patron.

Packaged “Information” Sells in One Click

One of my other website clients is a local relationship counselor. A few years ago, I helped her electronically package a recording of a live workshop and other supporting documentation, hired a copywriter to make a sales letter,  and put it up on her website to capture online sales.

Now, it is very easy for her new clients to purchase and download the electronic package from her website. Not only do they get to consume an additional 60+ minutes of material from Carol, including a guided visualization process, she has added another revenue stream to her business – online sales.

What “information” do you already have that could be packaged electronically and put up for sale behind a buy button?

Think about the following, you may already have:informative articles or blog posts

  • frequently asked questions and answers specific to your industry
  • audio recordings of workshops, trainings, or interviews
  • instructional videos of shortcut how-to’s or top tips

I hope this gives you pause to reflect and consider what untapped potential for sales resides within your business.

For a “potential revenue stream” audit, please schedule here: http://otoolemarketing.com

I’ll help you determine what you have already that you can package and sell online.


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Reprinted from the blog of Barbara O”Toole, http://barbaraotoole.com/,  featuring opinion, speculation, strategy, and creativity in the realm of marketing.

If you like what you read, please pass it along to your friends, clients and colleagues.


Free Kindle Reading Apps

June 16, 2014
by otoole

Amazon’s Top Marketing Strategy Every Business Can Use

by Barbara O’Toole

If you’ve explored the Amazon “Kindle” frontier, you know that it becomes denser each day. It was not too long ago that Amazon announced sales of Ebooks had overtaken sales of physical books.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why this has happened. Ebooks are much less expensive, take up no room on your bookshelf, don’t have to be “packed up” when you move, and they can be shared with friends and loved ones at the click of a button.

Amazon’s “Kindle” Marketing Strategy

Probably THE SINGLE biggest reason for the success of Amazon’s ebooks sales is contained in one phrase – the Kindle app.

By providing a free Kindle app for every type of device – PC, MAC, tablet, and smartphone, Amazon has made it super-easy for folks WHO DON’T EVEN OWN a Kindle to buy, read, and share Kindle ebooks. “Buy” is the operative word there.

Let me say that again.

People who DO NOT OWN Kindle devices can buy, read, and share Kindle ebooks.

And for extra icing on my Kindle App Cake, all of my Kindle apps sync together. So anything I download on my default download device (which happens to be my Android smartphone), I can access on my PC or my Android tablet. Did I mention these devices sync wherever I go?

In Forbes Magazine in April of 2014, the author surmised this about Amazon’s marketing strategy:

“Amazon sells several models of Kindle e-reader and Kindle Fire tablets aimed at capturing the fast growing market for mobile devices. We estimate that the sales of Kindle devices stood at roughly 20 million in 2013, bringing about $3.9 billion in revenues. However, the overall value of Kindle franchise extends beyond hardware sales and appears to be a strategic pursuit by Amazon to promote and sell digital content.” full article

Facilitating Repeat Customers and Referrals

Allowing their fans to deploy the Kindle app accomplishes two things for Amazon:

1. Keeps their customers coming back. As a customer, once I have a process for reading and enjoying books, am I likely to invest time and effort in learning another process? No. I’m going to keep doing what Amazon has trained me to do.

2. Makes it easy for their customers to share their books in real time. As a customer, now that I have a portable bookcase full of Kindle books with me wherever I go, I can easily take out my phone, open the Kindle app and pop one of those books open to show my friends and colleagues.

Free Kindle Reading Apps

Apply to Your Business

How can you apply this “free app” strategy to your business?

Put yourself in your customer’s place. Would you appreciate it if someone made it easy for you to place an order?

Make it Easy to Re-Order

Do you routinely send out email reminders for recurring appointments, refills and renewals? Do you routinely send out email offers to upsell your customers?

Depending upon your sales and ordering process, perhaps an app would make it push-button easy for your customers to re-order.

Make it Easy to Refer Others

It’s true that with the advent of online social media sharing sites in the last few years, your customers already have many ways to refer their friends to your business. That is, if they remember to do so!

What if you made it super-simple for your customers to share your products and services with others – and gave them rewards for doing so?

As more and more options and opportunities flood the marketplace, it will be the astute business that takes care of its customers and looks for ways to keep making it easy to do business.

Update from a recent Amazon press release I found in researching for this article:

“Amazon introduced Flow to the Amazon app for iPhone. Flow offers customers a convenient way to search for products they need to restock in their home without typing, scanning a barcode or taking a photo — simply move your phone over packaged goods you need to restock and the Amazon app recognizes the products and saves them in your search history, where they can be added to the shopping cart or saved for later.”

Related Articles:

5 Ways Amazon Has Changed How Everyone Thinks About Customer Service


Barbara O’Toole is a published author and founder/owner of Emailwerks and Irish Lion Media.


EmailWerks provides a professional marketing email interface for advertising, marketing, and PR-savvy businesses who recognize the value and steadfastness of email in the marketplace. Powered by EMMA, a world-class email messaging platform, EmailWerks is owned and operated by O’Toole Marketing since 2006.


Irish Lion Media provides digital publishing services for e-properties such as books, magazines and business applications.
Permission to Reprint:

You may reprint this article in your print or electronic newsletter. But please include the following paragraph:

Reprinted from the blog of Barbara O”Toole, http://barbaraotoole.com/,  featuring opinion, speculation, strategy, and creativity in the realm of marketing.

If you like what you read, please pass it along to your friends, clients and colleagues.




May 18, 2014
by otoole

How to Do Your Marketing for the Rest of 2014 in a Weekend

If you’re the chief salesperson for your business, and you’re responsible for follow up and fulfillment of those sales, and then, you’re expected to do a little something they call “marketing” as you go, I can understand why you’re overwhelmed!

You’re doing a lot. And if you’re a sole proprietor, you’re wearing even MORE hats than sales, marketing, and customer service. You’re also performing accounting duties and, well, the list continues according to your particular business.

So let me tell you how you can make the marketing piece oh-so-much simpler.

Step # 1 – Sign up for an Email Newsletter Service

There are many services out there. I’m obviously going to tell you to signup for the one I think is the best – EmailWerks. It’s the easiest to use, and by that I mean that you don’t have to re-learn it every time you log in. It’s also visually oriented, so if you’re a visual learner/thinker, it’s perfect for you. There are many other great features but the point is, sign up for an email service.

Don’t worry. I’m not going to suggest you write a newsletter, so don’t sweat that.

Step # 2 – Get a Calendar

Sit down with a Girl Scout calendar or a freebie you got in the mail.  Which annual holidays and events are significant to your business, if any? For example, do you always have a “school’s out” or “summer vacation” type of special?

Or, have you always wanted to have a summer special, but by the time you got around to it, summer was halfway over?

Write one thing, per month, that you could feature or offer a “special” around. Highlight the standard recognized holidays, such as, Memorial Day, July 4th, to jump start the ideas if you need help. For the recognized holidays, it will make sense to make your offer before the actual holiday.

Step # 3 – Schedule Your Emails from Now ‘Til The End of the Year

Now that you’ve scoped the holidays and you have an idea of the special offers you want to make throughout the rest of the year, you’re almost finished. This is what to do next:

  • log in to your email account
  • type up your first month’s message with your special offer
  • add your call to action (what you want people to do when they read your offer) and a photo
  • include a link – to your website, your special offer webpage, or your email address
  • save, add a subject line, and schedule it

(in EmailWerks, you can specify a heads-up email sent out to you when the scheduled emails start rolling out!)

Now, type up your next message. This one should offer something of value – perhaps some tips or strategies specific to your industry that your customers will appreciate knowing. Perhaps you’ll send answers to a couple of FAQs that have come up a lot. You may want to send out a link to a helpful online resource.

Proceed doing the same for the remaining months of this year. If you’re doing a bi-monthly broadcast, you’ll plan accordingly.

What a relief you’ll feel knowing that marketing is getting done for you business while you’re taking care of other duties!

For an online walk-through of EmailWerks, visit http://emailwerks.com, or send an email to barb@emailwerks.com and we’ll set up a time to answer your questions and give you a “virtual tour” of the program.