May 18, 2015
by otoole

New Social Media Society Opens its Doors, June 1

I’m waiting to sort out the details on becoming a founding member of the new “Social Media Society,” which officially opens to the public, June 1, 2015.

Here’s the email I received when I joined:

[SocialMediaMarketingSociety] Barbara, welcome to the Founder’s List!

Date: 04/12/2015 (12:54:46 PM CDT)
From: Michael Stelzner: Social Media Examiner
To: Barbara

Hey Barbara,

Thanks for adding your name to our Founder’s List.

I’m excited to reveal a comprehensive training video for you.

Are you looking for a better response to your social media updates?  Want to increase the chances you’ll move people to action?

{linked video}

Faithfully yours!

Michael Stelzner

Founder, Social Media Examiner


13025 Danielson Street
Poway CA 92064


May 4, 2015
by otoole

How to Continue to Sell Your Services After You Retire

Selling information online has been around since the beginning days of the internet. Now it is easier than ever to sell information products from your website even after you’re no longer in business.

Sell stuff from your website while you sleep.

Sell stuff from your website while you sleep.

How a Counselor Makes Money Selling Information from Her Website

One of my clients, a licensed practicing counselor (LPC), is retiring in the next couple of years. Because of what she sells through her website, she will continue making money even when she “takes down her shingle,” so to speak.

What is she selling?

She sells information.  The information is packaged in the form of a PDF guide, two MS Word doc articles and a 30-minute MP3 recording of a live workshop done several years prior, all on the topic of “boundaries,” which is the number one topic of discussion with her clients who have relationship struggles.

When my client retires, will there still be people searching for the kind of information, help and guidance she provides? Absolutely!

So, how does this work?

When someone lands on her website, they see what she has for sale. As I said, the information is packaged as an informative training entitled, “Boundaries.” Sales copy and graphics are also provided to entice the viewer to buy. If they choose to purchase, they can do so with a credit card. One click later they have paid and await their digital download.

They don’t wait long – just a few seconds – and they are directed to a page that contains the information they just purchased.

You probably have bought information online before and recognize what I have described.

Boundaries: The Key to Mature Relationships"

“Boundaries: The Key to Mature Relationships”

The point is that in one month, my client may sell 10 – 15 copies of her information package. At $20 per sale, that gives her a bump in income that requires no extra work and no additional time investment on her part.

Now, here’s the really interesting thing. These sales happen with no additional advertising or marketing on her part. These sales are generated through her regular physician’s referral network she has had in place for the last 15 years. If, at any time, she decides to advertise this training material, she could easily increase the amount of sales she makes per month.

Another interesting point: my client could easily create multiple information packages and sell them in like fashion. She could quickly scale the amount of dollars she makes monthly by adding more information products to her site.

So, let’s recap by way of a short checklist of how you could continue selling your services after you retire:

  1. identify information you already have in your business that can be packaged for sale as desirable information
  2. brand the package with a title (like the “Boundaries” example) and professional graphics, then group it with additional like information that makes it hard for a buyer to resist ( add a checklist, an article or two, or a special report )
  3. acquire a professionally written sales letter to sell the product from a page on your website
  4. set up a payment and product delivery
  5. start selling the information from your website and watch your bank account grow
  6. rinse and repeat

It is easier than ever to sell information products from your website. After you retire, you can still have a nice income, perhaps even greater than before you retired, from the sale of products you’ve written or recorded through your years in business.

Why wait until you retire? If you could use an extra revenue stream now, do it now!

Permission to Reprint:

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Reprinted from the blog of Barbara O”Toole,,  featuring opinion, speculation, strategy, and creativity in the realm of online marketing.

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


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 (

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.,

Download the free report here:

 Websites and Web Hosting Demystified


Permission to Reprint:

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Reprinted from the blog of Barbara O”Toole,,  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



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,,  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,,  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:

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,,  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:

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


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,,  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.