Top 5 Tools for Social Marketing

top social marketing tools It seems that social marketing is quickly replacing, or at best, supplementing traditional marketing approaches these days.  I make use of quite a few social marketing angles, but realized I typically stick to 5 tools on a regular basis.

Before you even think that social marketing is the silver bullet in your marketing arsenal, you must first have something “sociable” (not the crackers, although they are yummy) to spread…like a virus, but in a good way.  If you don’t then chances are that social marketing won’t work for you.

So here they are, my top 5 social marketing tools for almost every post I make to the blog:

1) Windows Live Writer- The absolute best blog posting application, surprisingly from Microsoft.  This client allows me to not only post to WordPress blogs, but it will also ping to my super super list of ping servers.  Windows live writer allows you to add/edit/adjust images (which will automatically ftp them the your server) and make use of a ton of third-party pluggins such as suggested images, embed media and other cool things.

2) Pingoat – One of my go-to sites to ping servers that I may have not added to my Windows Live Writer config.  I kind of make it a habit of that when I post something to immediately go over to Pingoat and submit my site.

3) StumbleUpon – I actually use this site to “stumble upon” some cool websites.  It is nice to build up a network of “friends” and let them know about your latest post.  I’ve seen great results with StumbleUpon and they seem to be less “cliquey” than Digg.

4) Feedburner – A great site to manage your rss feeds and makes it easier for other to consume them.  If you don’t think that rss feeds are important, then well, you can go ask Google why they thought it was important enough to incorporate Adsense with it.

5) Twitter – Some think of Twitter as just a place to talk about where you are hanging out, but realistically you have to think of it as a tool to announce socially what you are up to!  Made a change to your website? Wanted to review a new product?  Just a few things to think about for using Twitter as a social marketing tool.

Now, of course you may have a few more items (as do I) but I figured a top 5 post would look better than a top 6 or top 9 social marketing tools post. Seriously, these are the main tools that I use regularly.

Halloween Costumes coupons for 2011

FINALLY!  I’ve Found the Super Mario Bros, Mario Adult Costume!

Mario Bros.Mario Adult Costume We were surprised that he could stay on TV, and now this is just downright shocking. That’s right, Super Mario Brothers a costume out in all his white trash glory, so get into the minivan and go kick some doors down. While Mario is a short, pudgy Italian plumber who lives in the Mushroom Kingdom, he’s larger than life as questionably the most famous character in video game history. Make history this Halloween and step up to this very cool Super Mario Brothers Mario costume – let the games begin. Go with a buddy dressed as Luigi for twice the fun!

Can you imagine the faces on the people are the party when Mario and Luigi Shows up?  I think it is a a pretty cool costume.  Also, I have a coupon code for this item…use this: 20% Off a single Item in the Cart from SpiritHalloween.com! Use Promotional Code: SPAFF20 (Expires 10/26/11)

Ok, so you got be roped into the coupon websites.   Why? Well, I’ve gotta look for a cool toddler Halloween costume for my son.  I was thinking about a Yoshi costume, toddler size of course. Check out this one:

Mario Bros. Yoshi Child Costume

I thought it was pretty cool, but I know you are probably look for more than Super Mario Bros and Yohsi Toddler Halloween Costumes, so here is my list of places for you to pick up some cool Halloween costumes:

Ok, there you have it, your complete coupon codes for the Halloween Costumes.

coupon and rebates websites exposed

Just last month my wife had mentioned to me that she had just spent a certain amount of money for a shirt online, but was angry because her girlfriend had told her that she had coupon code to use for the website, which would have saved my wife 20% on the purchase. I thought to myself, oh cool! “Where did she get a coupon code?”, I asked. She told me that there is a cool website that posts coupons codes to all sorts of products.

Since my job is to know about online marketing, the first thing that came to mind was “HEY! Coupons and rebate codes? Sounds like some kind of affiliate program!” She then showed me the site and then low-and-behold, the links on the coupon code and rebates sites where for stores and products that had actually promoted in the past from Commission Junction and Linksynergy! Clicking on the store links from the rebate and coupon code website revealed the all-too-familiar cj.com and linksynergy “hop links.”

Immediately I felt that my wife and her friend had been tricked by a shady affiliate marketer. I searched around for more coupon and rebate websites and found pleny more. Most are community and forum based.  ALL with affiliate links. I even went over to cj.com and searched a few links and found that almost all of my affiliated vendors had coupon codes that you could pass out.  I never really knew what to do with those things, but thanks to my wife, my mind has been opened and I’ve been exploring new ideas in affiliate marketing.

If you’re not too familiar with affiliate marketing, briefly explained it is like this:

Many commercial companies (Target, Walmart, Eddie Bauer and others) reach out to online marketing and promotion companies to drum up business. Websites such as Commission Junction, Linksynergy and others act as an intermediary for affiliate marketers and commercial companies.

The premise is this: The big company says “If you promote our products, we will give you a percentage of the sale.”  All the affiliate marketer has to do is use the provided promotional items provided by the affiliate intermediary, tied in with their assigned affiliate id. The promotional items can be anything from text ads, email campaigns, banners, and YES, coupon, rebate and promotional codes.

The next step is for the savvy online marketing dude to start a website that says “HEY! I’ve got coupon codes for the stuff you are looking for!” When in actuality, the codes are simply promotional incentives provided by the company in the first place. Some people may think they are getting a deal by discovery a super kept online promotional code and rebate website when really it is there for anyone to use. Like many people, the fact that there is a coupon code will really entice you to purchase items you may not have purchased in the first place.

So the natural flow is this:

  1. Big Company provides the Affiliate Marketing Person with awesome, hard to find coupon and rebate codes
  2. Affiliate Marketing Person tells his users of the new code
  3. User goes wild, uses the promotional code and purchases the product
  4. Big company gets a sale, affiliate gets a percentage of the sale users feels like they made a good decision :)

So there you have it, in a nutshell, coupon and rebates websites exposed. I’m not saying they are scams….coupons are good! But don’t think you have to buy something just because you have a coupon or promotional code! :)

Domain Registrar Hijacking

Just today I received a letter in my mailbox from a company called Domain Listing Service claiming that one of my domains is set to expire and that I need to renew it before it is too late.  Tell me something I don’t already know.

But what bothered me most about this piece of literature was that it included and order form that basically stated that to ensure listing by March that I needed to remit payment before the end of February.  Interesting.  I’ve never heard of this company, so why would I want to send them a check for $65 to renew one of my domain names when I know I purchased the domain name from the same place I usually purchase domains names from for only 11 dollars for the year.

I have been buying and selling domain names for over ten years and seeing a letter like this was quite suspect.  I certainly know better than to drop everything, panic and pay some other company to host my domain listing.  However there are many other people who will receive a letter such as this and feel that they have no choice!  In fact, one of my client’s who actually purchased their domain name from Go Daddy received a letter like this one, but from another company…asking $120 to renew the domain name.  What a total rip-off.

So to ensure that you are not getting ‘jacked, remember the following things:

  • Keep all of your paperwork when purchasing domains
  • Remember the duration of your domain registrations
  • Discard any domain renewal offers that come to your regular snail-mail unless you registered a domain from a company that only has mail-in registries (chances are this won’t happen)
  • You are under NO obligation to renew your domain name through any other company other than the place you purchased it from.

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Useful Domain Registration Links:

USA Control of the Internet is No More?

I know this is a bit of old news, but some of my readers aren’t aware of how the Internet and domain names are maintained.  The Internet Gets a Global Upgrade is a great article that summaries and explains what went down last September when the contract between ICANN and the U.S. Government expired.

What the world can expect: Web addresses in any language! I can only imagine the issues global DNS services will encounter, but, like with all things I’m sure it will all be ironed out…eventually.

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