Fighting Spam

No mincing words here; spam sucks.  Yet, despite the fact that Internet users know what it is and share the sentiment, spam still succeeds.

Consider these numbers.  Over 80% of email sent is spam.  Yes, 80%.  This translates into loss of productivity which 2007 estimates put at $71 billion annually for U.S. businesses, an average of $712 per employee.  In today’s economy that is huge.

Of course, it doesn’t stop there.  We then have the nefarious phishing emails.  I like to consider myself smarter than the average bear.  I wouldn’t give money to someone that I didn’t know whether or not they were a Nigerian king or not.  Yet, 3.6 million people lost money in 2007 to the tune of $3.2 billion. 

What makes it worse is that they’re getting smarter.  Some estimates put the influx of new viruses at 1,000 a day, nasty devils meant to log your keystrokes, use your computer for their evil deeds, or just to be plain and dirty mean.  That’s why I have to admire a company in Austin, Texas started by Ryan Pitylak. Something has to be done.  Ryan helps businesses fight spam.  Spam costs businesses money which in turn, costs you and me money.

For us everyday joes, it behooves us to stay on top of the industry.  Subscribe to IT blogs such as Tech Republic and keep up.  Know who the enemy is and learn how to avoid trouble.  It’s refreshing to see sites like FireFox and WordPress.org taking the lead with software that blocks malware.  However, you as a Internet user must educate yourself.  Do yourself a favor and join the fight against spam.

Monday Marketing Meeting — Marketing Your Art Video

You’ve selected the perfect set of images.  Your music enhances the viewer’s experience.  What’s next?  When you create your art video portfolio, you also need to consider how you will market it.

As I posted before, if just for storage and playback issues, YouTube is the way to go.  A site like YouTube gives you additional opportunities to market yourself.  There is the site itself.  The traffic from a site with a 9 page rank is pretty hard to beat.  You Tube also offers sponsored videos for you to target your audience.  Like Google Adwords, you can set your spending limit.  You are charged for clicks rather than impressions.

If advertising is no in the budget, consider the on-page factors that you can use to improve your video’s visibility.  Take care when giving your video a title.  Your keywords for your niche should be in that title as well as in your description.  Adding tags that are appropriate for your art will also help your search engine optimization.  You can view traffic number for your video, so you can get a good handle on how effective your keywords are. Finally, if all of this sounds like to much of a hassle, you can always look into professional video production. Having a professional bio video produced sends a winning marketing message to prospective clients that you’re serious about your art.

  • The Most Important Thing

YouTube will provide you with code to enter it in your blog or website.  Do not use the provided code — that is if you want valid code.  YouTube uses an embed tag which is not valid XHTML.  As I’ve written before, valid code makes your site more search engine friendly.  This should be your goal.

Instead, I found a great tool for creating this valid XHTML.  Simply enter your YouTube URL and the valid code is created for you.  It’s a easy extra step that pays off.

In the world of 2009 marketing, video is the way to go.  With a sharp video and valid code, you have yourself a winning marketing tool.

Grow Your Business During Tough Economic Times

Let’s face it.  The economy is impacting all of us in one way or another.  It’s probably affecting your spending or driving habits.  It’s undoubtedly affecting your art business.  All of which leaves you wondering how to grow your online business during these tough economic times.

  • Keep a good attitude.

As hard as it is, your attitude needs to stay on a positive keel.  How you view your future will propel you forward–or not.  Rather than giving up, think of it as a challenge and an opportunity to try new things.

  • Make your business more visible.

Market yourself.  Keep your blog current with fresh posts.  People are still buying.  What you want to do is make your business the obvious choice.

  • Consider a financial investment.

Not a large investment, but a merchant cash advance can be used to buy ads on Google Adwords or other pay per click source.  Facebook now runs ads too.  The advantage with  Facebook is that you can target a demographic group.  You probably have a good idea of where your sales are coming from.  Use that information to further target ads to your preferred audience.

Above all remember that we will survive.  The economy has bounced back from worse challenges.  Ride the wave to a positive turnaround.