About Dan Davenport

Dan Davenport has been a member since April 16th 2013, and has created 165 posts from scratch.

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This Author's Website is http://smallofficecommunicator.net/

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Quality Content – Essential for Marketing Success

quality contentFlash back to the days when the internet didn’t exist and communication was mainly done through the written or spoken word. In those days, and that wasn’t so long ago, all successful marketers and salespeople knew that the quality and value of their words was the key to their success. Today, when online content dominates print content, many of the world’s top SEO and web marketing experts still say that “Content is King.” And to which I add, “Quality Content is Queen!”

Why? How is it that even after decades, no matter the medium, content is still the crux of good marketing?

Content Builds Customer Loyalty

Businesses aren’t built on first-time visitors. I learned this in my early days as a Technical Representative for Minolta… we couldn’t support the company just selling each customer a camera. We needed them to become involved in photography and buy – and use – additional lenses and accessories. And companies like the Wall Street Journal don’t make most of their money from people picking up their newspapers for the first time.

They make money from people who’ve read quality content and then decide it’s so good that they either want to purchase again, or better, subscribe. If businesses had to get a new customer every time in order to get paid, they’d all have gone under by now. One of the adages entrepreneurs know is that it costs five times more to acquire new customers than it does to keep existing customers.

Yet many businesses use models that rely on getting new customers rather than repeat sales to existing customers. And in their online communications, instead of focusing on repeat visitors, they focus on optimizing for search engines so they get more new customers.

At the end of the day, however, the really famous and successful websites, blogs, and businesses like Huffington Post or TechCrunch, ultimately still get most of their traffic from repeat visitors. Yes, search engines love them – but their businesses would be a fraction of what they are today if they didn’t have quality content.

Quality Content Impacts Search Engine Results

For many years search engines have worked towards making their search results offer better and better results. They want people who search on their engines to find the best content possible in relation to what they’re looking for (that’s where their repeat business comes from).

As search engines get smarter, marketers who focus primarily on marketing tactics rather than actual content find their visitor counts falling off over time.

Search engines have proven this repeatedly by continually downgrading the importance of low-quality links and upgrading the importance of usage statistics and other metrics (like how long visitors actually stay on a page) to actually measure the content value of a website.

If you build your website around great content while having a decent understanding of basic SEO, your site should flourish. If you put all your attention on SEO and don’t pay much attention to your content, you’ll always be trying to stay barely one step ahead of the search engines.

Great Quality Content Can Sell High Ticket Items

A low quality content website might be able to sell $0.20 clicks via AdSense. But a high quality website can sell high value coaching DVD sets by the hundreds.

Having great quality content allows you to build a relationship with your readers. That relationship allows you to sell many different types of products. From high end items to recurring memberships to one on one coaching, it all starts from having high quality content that your readers find valuable.

In the long run, a successful business can only be built on content that helps people engaged. Content that just fills the page and doesn’t provide value for readers is likely to get downgraded more and more as time passes… quality content is what wins.


Top 10 Common Public Domain Mistakes

Public Domain MistakesPublic domain is a fantastic way to generate content, but it’s not without its potential perils. There are all kinds of mistakes you can make with public domain content that you might not be aware of. Some of these mistakes may result on a slap on the wrist, while others could end up costing you tens of thousands of dollars.

Here are 10 most common public domain mistakes.

Mistake #1: Not Checking the Copyright

Just because something “should” be in the public domain theoretically doesn’t mean it actually is. Perhaps the copyright was renewed. Perhaps you got the dates wrong. Perhaps the work you’re using falls under a strange legal loophole that you weren’t aware of.

Getting sued for copyright infringement isn’t fun. Not only are you looking at huge settlements and fines; you’re also looking at huge legal bills. Protect yourself by checking the copyright.

Mistake #2: Checking Yourself

Trying to check whether or not a book is in the public domain is quite a complex process. While it’s possible to do it yourself, it’s likely to take an enormous amount of time. You’re also apt to make mistakes, since you’re not actually trained in doing that research.

Hire an attorney to do it for you. In the unlikely event that they make a mistake and you get sued, you’ll be able to counter-sue your attorney, who’ll be able to pay you out of their malpractice or liability insurance. In short, you really protect yourself by hiring a lawyer. Here again, as I mentioned in the previous post, when I want to make sure something is clear for me to use, I still use BZRights. I’ve been using them for more than 20 years. And longevity, to me, is always one of the best recommendations as to the quality of someone’s work.

Mistake #3: Publishing as a Sole Proprietor

If you publish your public domain work under your own name, as a sole proprietor or under a “Doing Business As,” you risk a personal lawsuit. A lawsuit could take you for every penny you own.

If you publish under an LLC, an S-Corp or a C-Corp, you’re protected. If you get sued, you’re protected by your corporate veil and can only be sued for the money you have in your corporation, rather than what’s in your personal bank accounts.

Mistake #4: Not Copyrighting Derivative Works

If you take a copyrighted work and make changes to it, that’s now your work. You own the copyrights! Put your name on it and put your own copyright on it. Don’t let other people think its public domain anymore.

What makes a derivative work? Adding explanations. Changing the texts. Taking old English and turning it into modern day English. Anything that changes the old text is considered derivative works.

Public Domain WarningMistake #5: Thinking No © Means No Copyright

Just because a website doesn’t have the copyright symbol there doesn’t mean it’s not copyrighted. In fact, works are copyrighted by default unless otherwise specified. If a work is published in the last 50 years, which absolutely means any content published for the web, it’s safe to assume it’s copyrighted.

Mistake #6: Using Copyrighted Images

Bloggers and website owners have historically been a little lax around their copyright policies. People would often use other people’s copyrighted images, thinking that the likelihood of them getting caught using a copyrighted image was slim.

That’s changed now.

Image searching tools have gotten more and more sophisticated. Google Images makes a free image search tool that allows copyright holders to find anyone using their photo. More complex photo recognition algorithms can allow people to search specific industries for derivative works of their images.

In short, use public domain photos or paid stock photos. It doesn’t pay to use copyrighted images without permission.

Mistake #7: Confusing Creative Commons with Public Domain

While creative commons licensing can be very similar to public domain, it has some key differences. Some CC works can be used freely with no attribution, just like public domain works. Others require attribution, or are meant only for non-profit or educational use. Make sure you check the exact license before using these images.

Mistake #8: Low Perceived Value

One thing you have to manage with publishing public domain works is perceived value. Will people see your content as valuable, since they can just get it themselves for free?

If you’re bringing your own public domain works to market by sourcing your own content (E.g. finding old books and having them transcribed) rather than finding it online, you don’t have to worry about this. But if you’re republishing something that a lot of people have seen already, it can be a real concern.

Make sure you add value to whatever you’re doing, so people can see you really created something worthwhile.

Mistake #9: Saying “Not My Copyright”

One of the most common mistakes people make is the assumption that they can use something just by saying it’s not their copyright. For example, if you hop on YouTube you’ll quickly find thousands of videos from people saying “I don’t claim any copyright on this.”

The truth is, if you use someone’s copyrighted work, you’re breaking the law, whether or not you claim to own the copyright. Using just a small portion or putting a disclaimer doesn’t change this fact.

Mistake #10: Only Looking on the Internet

Public Domain LibraryIt’s true that the internet has a lot of public domain resources. However, much of the real gold you’ll find is actually offline. Online public domain works have been used by thousands. If you look offline however, you may just find the only copy to a rare book that people would gladly pay for.


Public Domain Can Enhance Your Business

not public domainAs you look for content to use in promoting your business on your blog, website, or emails, you’ve probably heard the term public domain. If you haven’t, or aren’t quite sure what it is and how you can use it to benefit your business, this should help. (This is the first of a series of posts on how you can use Public Domain works to help promote your business.) Simply put, public domain works are images, sounds, texts, videos or anything else that no longer has copyright protection which means that anyone can freely use them for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial. Public Domain (PD) works can be used on their own, or freely altered and turned into a derivative work with no need to attribute (credit) the original creator.

Public domain works become available in a number of different ways:

  • Many are published with no copyright in the first place. For example, most governments, including the US government, publish their materials with no copyright to begin with. In other words, photos by the US Army or NASA are born copyright free – in essence, we paid for them with our taxes.
  • The copyright can expire. Different countries have different laws governing when copyrights expire. Generally, it’s around 50 to 70 or more years from when the last creator passes away.
  • Some intellectual properties can’t be copyrighted at all and are considered public domain the moment they’re created. For example, mathematical formulas can’t be copyrighted. A list of ingredients in a recipe also can’t be copyrighted, though the accompanying text and methods can be.

Public Domain Materials to Grow Your Business

use public domainPublic domain materials can be used as a key source of content or as a supplement to your own content. For example, many businesses work by republishing public domain works or derivatives of public domain works. For example, a re-write of a Shakespeare work is a derivative of a public domain work.

Similarly, you can do the same for your business. Let’s say you run an origami store. Why not go out and find a bunch of public domain origami photos and use them on your website, with your own explanations?

Public domain audios and music are great places to look for source materials for new music. For example, remixing Mozart’s best works into your own musical pieces, or using it as background music – but you do have to look out for Performance Rights – though the music is in the Public Domain, the performance may very well have performance right restrictions. You may need to get permissions there. One of my favorite companies that I have used quite successfully in the past for checking and acquiring clearance is BZRights.

Public domain works are frequently used as supporting or background items. For example, copyright free clip-art or government images are often used to help illustrate presentations, or as background images.

One great thing about public domain works is that you can both sell them and give them away. So you can use them to create subscription premiums for your newsletters, as well as build on them to create entire digital products that you sell.

Finding Public Domain that Works for Your Business

finding public domainFinding public domain works can be a little bit of a treasure hunt. How you do your search depends in large part on how you plan on using the PD work.

If you plan on using the public domain work as supporting material, you can find a lot of what you need through Google searches and through public domain database searches. Just head over to a public domain archive (I’m updating a list of PD resources that I’ll make available at a later date) and perform a search.

You can also try using search parameters to find public domain works. For example:

  • In image search, type in “Origami Public Domain”
  • Use site:.gov to find government sites with what you’re looking for. For example, “site:.gov rocket shuttle” (leave out the quotes)

If you plan on using a public domain work as a primary piece of content that you’re selling or giving away, you may want to dig a bit deeper to make sure the work is fully clear. BZRighs has the resources to help you ensure you’re clear. If you want to come up with unique content that you can sell and impress visitors, it pays to go above and beyond and make sure.

Public domain hunters often try to find their own pieces of public domain content, instead of looking for them online. Go to old bookstores, both online and offline and buy physical copies of old books that are outside copyright. If you find one that really shines, have it transcribed. Believe it or not, you can get a whole book typed up very reasonably on freelance sites like Elance.

Alternatively, you can find a piece of public domain content online and really rework it to make it shine and give it your own style, layout, and images. If you’re charging for content though, avoid just packaging easily accessible public domain works and selling it, as that can really come back to bite you.

There are many ways to find public domain works, both online and offline. The percentage of the public domain that’s easily accessible online is tiny compared to all the copyright free works out there. Don’t be afraid to do a bit of digging – it can be very good for your business.


Brick and Mortar Marketing – Get Your Customers to Open Your Emails

Email-Graphic_01Our email marketing campaigns, using a mailing service like AWeber, start with getting names and emails, but that’s really only the beginning. The real challenge – and what makes email great for brick and mortar marketing – is getting recipients opening, reading, and taking action on our email messages. Otherwise, it’s just wasted time. Let’s look at 5 ways to help make sure we get our customers’ eyes actually on our email messages.

Is The ‘From’ Line really you

Send a test message to yourself to see what your recipients see. If the ‘from’ line doesn’t clearly state who you are, your recipient is much less likely to open the message. In fact, emails from ambiguous senders are probably getting relegated to a spam folder. The ‘from’ line should be the name of your company and not an email address. It needs to be as instantly recognizable as your business (in other words, the list the customers signed up for).

Does the Subject Line attract your readers’ curiosity?

Most often, it’s the subject line that gets readers to either open or ignore messages. The subject line needs to capture the readers’ attention quickly. They’re likely to give it only a few short seconds of their time at most, so it needs to be so compelling your readers MUST open the email.

And messages also need to deliver on what the subject line promises. If we say in the subject line that we’ve got some secrets to share with them, the email had better deliver some secrets. If it doesn’t do this, our customers will quickly start tuning out messages – no matter how compelling the subject lines.

Is the content exciting?

If people aren’t consistently opening our emails, we may need a content upgrade. When we offer good, valuable content that truly helps our customer, they’ll be eagerly awaiting each email. If each email is a sales pitch or just plain boring, they’ll quit opening after a few. By all means, we need to walk a few miles in our customers’ shoes – what would you like to gain from the messages? It also helps to mix up your email messages. Don’t only offer promotions, but also give helpful tips, multimedia content, or other things people can use. One helpful ratio I’ve seen suggested is about 80% valuable content to 20% promotion.

Too Little or Too Much?

Frequency also factors into whether or not people will open your emails. It’s hard to strike a perfect balance. If you send too many emails, people will get sick of you. If you don’t send enough, they’ll forget they signed up for your list. As a general guideline, most people recommend sending two to three messages per week maximum, but it depends on the nature of your email list. There’s also the time of day to think about. Certain times have higher open rates – your email service should have numbers that tell this story.

Are you Testing?

It can be tough to figure out just how to make your email messages more productive… that’s why testing is essential. Each of the last three topics can easily be tested. Experiment with different subject lines, message frequencies, types of content, and other factors, you’ll start to discover exactly what your readers want. Even different types of pictures in the emails may make a difference. Testing gives you a realistic idea of what your subscribers like and don’t like. You can build – and bank – on that!

I took a more in depth look at email practices, and you can get my book, Solving the Email Puzzle in Today’s Integrated Marketing World, here. On the information page, I relate some stories from my earlier days working in a retail camera store and later at Minolta, and how email would have made an immense difference in the marketing I was doing at the time. I was basically doing brick and mortar marketing marketing one to one as I educated my retail photo customers and later, traveled around sharing photographic information with photographers around the country. With email, I could have been sharing that information not just one to one, but one to many. Read about it here. And don’t miss the special coupon code, 2016welcome. Enter that on the check-out page for a $10.00 discount… but I can’t keep that up for too long, so get it quick.


Brick and Mortar Marketing – Profit from Pinterest

Pinterest_Logo is a unique social media environment based on pictures. It’s successful because, as the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Pinterest can be used in brick and mortar marketing as well as online businesses to gain exposure and communicate directly with customers.

What to Pin?

When Pinterest first came out, it was really only used by companies specializing in visual products, like clothing retailers or interior designers. However, today businesses in all kinds of markets have found ways to use the site effectively… just mix in a little of your own creativity.

Show off Your Products

The most obvious way to use Pinterest is to show customers the products you offer. When you launch a new product line, feature it on its own board. Create boards for similar products or products that go well together. Another good idea for using the site effectively is to show your products in action. Take snapshots of people using your products or show creative ways they can be used.

A Tour of Your Store

You can other create boards that showcase your store. This is an especially good idea for stores that have a unique layout or offer a slightly different shopping experience. Another idea is to show the inside workings of your store. Customers love to see how products are made and delivered, and your board can give them a sneak peek inside your operations.

Creative Ideas for Using Pinterest

Beyond these simple ideas, there are lots of ways to get creative. You don’t have to only feature your own goods and services. Pin images related to your business. Social media websites thrive on customer engagement and there are lots of ways you can use Pinterest to get your customers actively involved. Have them send in their own pictures featuring your products and make boards for those. You can hold a contest and give the best photographer a discount or free giveaway – tie it in with your referral program.

Events and Videos

Pinterest can be used to showcase your offline events and videos. Your boards can show customers all of the things you do beyond selling the products they love. Whenever you have an event, make a point of taking pictures for its board. The videos themselves also work wonderfully as Pinterest content.

How You Profit from Pinterest

The key to using Pinterest effectively is to have a plan. What is your desired outcome? This should direct all of your activities using the site. Pinterest can help you get noticed by more people, give your customers a stronger connection to your brand, and engage them to build a long-term relationship.

Integrate Everything

How do you get people to your boards? The key is to interconnect everything you do with Pinterest. Install ‘Pin it’ buttons (like those below this post) on your website pages so that customers can instantly share with their friends. Promote your Pinterest boards on your site, your blog, Facebook, Twitter, and your offline store. As I’ve always said, “Make it easy for people to do what you want them to do.”



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