Thursday, December 29, 2011

Craft Site Medic Client Shoutout: Stonefield Soaps

Stonefield Soaps are pH balanced so they won't strip your natural oils. They are perfect for all skin types. We are pleased to offer a wide variety of pleasant fragrances. See for yourself, try a bar and realize the many benefits from using Stonefield Soaps!

Stonefield Soaps ~ Hand Crafted Soaps ~ Hand Crafted Goats Milk Soaps

Stonefield Soaps is also on Facebook

Craft Site Medic Client Shoutout: Naturally Inspired Gifts

Naturally Inspired Gifts was created with gift giving in mind. You will find unique gifts guaranteed to bring a twinkle, all within reach for gift givers.

Naturally Inspired Gifts - Unique baby gifts and children’s boutique - Naturally Inspired Gifts

Friday, December 16, 2011

Craft Site Medic Client Shoutout: Pure Integrity Soy Candles

Pure Integrity Soy Candles ~
Our exceptionally strong scented soy candles out-scent the best of scented candles handsdown! Over 70 phalate free fragrances in elegant frosted glass jars, tealights, melts and favors.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

New Client Shoutout: Primitives by Kimberly

Primitives by Kimberly - Affordable Primitive Country Decor & Gift Ideas


We carry a variety of affordable primitive country decor and gift ideas, but without compromising quality. Primitive dolls, baskets, signs, shelves, tin, smalls, seasonal, gifts, & crafts.

Also on Facebook



Primitive Country Decor - E11-13

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New Website: Country Primitives | Home Decor Accessories & Shops

Country craft mall and prim marketplace featuring handmade primitives, country crafts, home decor accents, scented candles, soaps, folk art, handcrafted furniture and so much more. Only the best country primitive home decor websites, prim shops, and country stores.

Country Primitives Home Decor Accessories & Shops

Friday, December 2, 2011

CSM Client Shoutout: Printable Crafts from Anni Arts

Anni Arts is the home of professional designer images for downloadable printable crafts. The exclusive illustrations and graphics are decorative and country-folksy, yet contemporary, versatile and stylish.

You can also find Anni Arts Printable Crafts on Facebook and Twitter.

Printable Crafts from Anni Arts

 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

CSM Shoutout: Floral Art School of Australia

The Floral Art School of Australia offers florist and floral design diploma courses. Create beautiful floral designs. Learn floristry, flower arranging for a career or hobby. Classes and correspondence home study courses.

Also on Facebook and Twitter

Craft Site Medic Client Shoutout: Portrait Quilts

Portrait Quilts - Memory Photo Quilts with up to 96 Photos! Personalized Memory Quilts, Picture Quilts and Photo Blankets make great gifts!

Snuggle up with your family tonight! portrait quilts makes amazingly beautiful photo quilts, photo pillows, quilted photo totebags and photo quilt squares.

Also on Facebook

Craft Site Medic Client Shoutout: The Mold Store

Craft Molds by Olde World Stone & Tile

Home business making concrete stone veneer, tile, bricks, pavers, and stepping stones for pennies each. Complete training material, supplies, and ongoing support provided.

Also on YouTube

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Craft Site Medic Client Shoutout!


Paper Tole Supply Center
Everything for Paper Tole! Kits, prints, tools, supplies, shadow box frames, books and DVDs! Learn to make beautiful gifts for people you love! Easy to follow and learn DVDs!  Also on Facebook and Twitter.




New Craft Site Medic Client Shoutout!


Cinnamon Scentsations by Pam

Cinnamon Scentsations are handmade solid cinnamon home decorations and ornaments. These solid cinnamon pieces have a wonderful cinnamon scent which will last indefinitely.  Also on Facebook.

New Craft Site Medic Client Shoutout!


Personalized Gifts from Mirror Spirit

Mirror with embedded image and 2 lines of personalized text, image and text are backlit to produce vivid and dramatic image day and night. Also on Twitter.


New Craft Site Medic Client Shoutout!


Nannie and B's Crafts

Nannie & B's Crafts offers primitive decor, plates & signs, teacher gifts & Christmas ornaments, as well as fall, Christmas and Americana. Over 3100 items. Also on Facebook.


New Craft Site Medic Client Shoutout!


My Darlin Dolls

Featuring primitive country raggedies, finished raggedy dolls, doll patterns, and so much more. A nice selection of handmade dolls and patterns. Also on Facebook & Twitter

New Craft Site Medic Client Shoutout!

American-Country | Handcrafted Furniture, Shelves & Furnishings

We make country primitive benches in 4 sizes and 3 finish choices in a variety of colors. We offer a wide selection of shelf styles, sizes, and finishes for your home. We have a retail store in Shipshewana, IN where we sell Caromal Colours paints and give workshops in decorative paint finishes.  Also on  Facebook  &  Twitter




Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New Client Shoutouts ...

The Craft Closet - Unique one of a kind handpainted glassware sets, serving pieces and bridal gifts. All glass sets are individually hand painted and wrapped in baskets with ribbon and cellophane, ready for giftgiving.

The Wishing Star is a children's boutique specializing in girls and boys clothing. We also carry a variety of children s accessories, gifts, and seasonal items.

Monday, October 10, 2011

SEO Hint: Is your website TITLE tag optimized?

Your web page TITLE tag is a critical item which can impact your search engine keyword position. If you look at the HTML code of your web page, the TITLE is in the upper <HEAD> section, and will look like this:
<TITLE>Page Title Here</TITLE>
 
Keyword position: Many search engines, such as Google, often use the text contained in the tag to determine your web site theme and important key terms. If there is a term you really desire great keyword position, it needs to appear in the TITLE tag.

Search engine listing: Many search engines use the TITLE tag in the linked text portion of your search engine listings. Thus potential customers see this text highlighted on the results page. Your TITLE must grab the reader's attention and entice them to click upon your listing.

Social media impact: Many webmasters use "plugins" which allow visitors to recommend a web page to their friends on social media. By simply clicking a button, your page can appear on the visitor's Facebook or Twitter wall or stream - even if you do not use that social media platform. The post will include a title for your website based upon your TITLE tag. Many surfers use a toolbar (such as with Google) which allow users to recommend a web page even if it does not have a social plugin installed on the page. Again, the TITLE provides the post headline.
 
Too many webmasters have never set up the TITLE tag which often are in the default state of "Home Page". Even if you were to be ranked #1 on Google for an important key term, how many shoppers will click on a link which simply says "Home Page" with no clue what the site is about. Or, someone recommends your web page to their 25,000 followers, and all they see is "Home Page". Lost opportunities!
 
Suggestion:

Use this tag and optimize it. Keep in mind the maximum length is about 63 characters. Normally it should include your actual business name, but REALLY needs to include your most important key phrase for the page. Hopefully, your targeted key phrase is one for which you do not face a ton of competition. Also, each page of your website should have a unique TITLE.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

CSM Client Shoutout: Crow Country Primitives

Crow Country Primitives offers a great selection of country curtains, valances, shower curtains, table runners, placemats, dish towel/cloth sets, eucalyptus pip berry wreaths and much more country primitive decor!

CSM Client Shoutout: Crazy About Scrapbook

Crazy About Scrapbook Keeping memories alive is their business. Crazy about scrapbook - home of Disney scrapbook supplies, other albums, papers, stickers and more. Win free scrapbook items.You can also visit them on Facebook.

CSM Client Shoutout: Rocky Knob Woodcrafts

Rocky Knob Woodcrafts specializes in custom carved wood signs. They have many wood, style, font and graphic options, as well as lots of sign ideas. Wholesale available. You can also visit them on Facebook.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Getting Started with Social Media for Small Business

Do you think almost all small businesses are advanced users of social media? Think again! Less than 10% of U.S. small biz currently have a social media presence of any kind, and a large number of those are relatively inactive. Despite all the hype about Facebook. Twitter, blogging and such, it absolutely is not too late to get in on the tremendous potential these platforms offer. Social media is still in it's infancy!


Social media networking helps you improve your current marketing by building your relationship with your customers, and allows them to share your content with their friends and contacts. Bottom line: It's word of mouth advertising via the internet. Engaging customers and prospects on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter lets you grow your business by building customer relationships and expanding your marketing reach.


We recently sent a "tweet" about our business to our 300+ followers. One of those people "retweeted" our message to her 2757 followers. Think about that ... with one message we were able to reach over 3000 potential customers.


When we post a message on our Facebook Fan page, it also appears on the "wall" of all our friends, PLUS Google can index that post for inclusion in their search engine. Wow!


The most important point to keep in mind with social media is this ... interaction is critical. If all you do is broadcast ads to "buy my stuff", you will be wasting your time. You must use social media to build a relationship with your followers. Listen. Respond. Interact.


Getting started ... First, keep it simple. When you start out with social media, expect there to be a learning curve as you figure out how things work. Take one thing at a time and master it before moving on to another platform. Research it online. Join a forum. Read books. Ask questions. Visit other users - check our Social Media Directory.


We always suggest starting out with using newsletters to stay in contact with your customers and prospects. Services such as Constant Contact are great for managing your mailing list and keeping you within legal guidelines for sending emails. They also can interface with social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.


A Facebook Fan page would be a second priority. To create one, younormally must fist have a regular personal Facebook page (profile). Once you do, you should see a link at the bottom of that page to create a Facebook Page. FB tries to make this a bit confusing. Your "profile" is your personal page, your "Page" is the business fan page.


Another very popular app is Twitter which is very easy and fast to set up. you can send out short messages in seconds. Keep track of your followers, send comments, retweet interesting posts, build relationships.


If you have not yet set up a Google profile, I would do so. Easy and free to do, it can help you with the rapidly increasing importance of Google +1 with almost no effort on your part.


Blogs are very popular in certain circles, but can be very time consuming to maintain.


We strongly suggest building your "followers" and "friends" from your current customer and prospect list. It does no good to have 1000's of followers if they are not interested in your posts, and vice-versa. This is NOT a numbers game.


Control your posts. Make them interesting ... are they something others want to read? Do not spam. Ten posts in ten minutes (or even an hour) is too much like SPAM!


Interact. Comment on others' posts. Retweet interesting tweets. Thank those who may retweet your tweets. DO NOT automate your responses. Thank people for following you or for commenting on your posts.


For more hints and tips, please follow us on Twitter and Facebook.


Other references:


Here is a good article from Social Rant on getting started with social media: http://janetaronica.com/2011/07/05/social-media-for-small-business/


Another great resource for getting started in social media from Constant contact: http://www.socialquickstarter.com/






 






 


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Twitter for Beginners - Set Up and Proper Use for Small Business





Twitter is a great way to get your feet wet using social networking. You can literally have a FREE account set up in minutes. However, using it wisely is a little more involved. This primer provides a quick guide to setting up an account, but really focuses upon using it wisely.
 
Setup

If you do not yet have a Twitter account, go to http://twitter.com/. You'll need to supply your real name, email, and a password. On the next screen you'll need to confirm the info plus supply an account name - 14 characters or less. We suggest you chose one reflective of your biz name or theme. Twitter will check its availability and you are ready to go! You should also add a small logo icon and short description for your account to your profile.


With Twitter, you can send messages (tweets) up to 140 characters in length. But before you send anything, you need someone to send them to (followers). Twitter will suggest people to follow or you can find them yourself. Try entering "Craft Site Medic" in the search box at the top of the page. You will see us listed with a "Follow" button next to the listing. This generates an email to us letting us know you are following us which allows us to follow you back. This will give you at least one follower who reads everyone of your tweets.

Following (Important)

The general consensus is the more people you follow, the more will follow you back. So the game is on to follow thousands of people so thousands will follow you. The problem ... you can't realistically follow that many people and they can't either. So your tweets go unread by the vast majority.

More than likely, your ideal follower would be an existing customer or person who visited your web site. Try emailing customers asking them to follow you on Twitter. Place a link on your web site asking people to follow you. Include your Twitter account in your emails. You can also do a little spying on your competitors ... if they have a Twitter account, you can view their followers. However, they probably have already gotten into ther numbers game and you'll see a lot of "junk".

Before following anyone, look at their profile. You can do this by clicking their account name one time. Look to see when their last tweet was made. If it was three months ago, they are inactive. Did they make ten tweets in ten minutes and each was a "buy my stuff" sales pitch? They will be too busy spamming to read your tweets. Control the quality of your follows and followers.

Tweeting (Very Important)

Social networking is about engaging people interested in you or your business. It is not about broadcasting a sales message. Your tweets must be interesting or informative or helpful. It is a two-way system.

Your Twitter page will display the most recent tweets made by those you follow. Look at the updates. Most will be sales pitches from Hawkers saying "buy my stuff". The term "unfollow" comes to mind.

Do you see back-to-back-to-back tweets from the same person. I've seen up to 14 posts from one person in a three minute time span - all sales pitches. These are referred to as "Tweet Flooders". I personally try not to send more than two tweets back-to-back, and try to limit tweets to no more than once per 30 minutes.

Some people actually tweet too much. I saw one account which had sent 35,000 tweets. I looked at the latest updates, and she was sending automated tweets every 5 minutes, 288 per day, seven days a week, and had been for months. Now there would be tweets to keep you on the edge of your seat. Classic spamming. How much you tweet is surely subjective, but be smart and avoid broadcasting. Again, social networking is a two-way operation.

Try to engage your followers when tweeting. Consider this post: "I'm trying to decide between several prints to order for my shop - please help me decide. http://www.myshop.com/prints/".

We cannot stress enough the importance of maintaining the QUALITY of your follows, followers, and tweets.

Utilities

There are a number of tools and apps which can help you with Twitter. All of these must be given permission to access your account.

For example, there are interfaces or desktop apps like Hootsuite which allow you to monitor incoming tweets in real time without refreshing you browser window, provide an audio alert when a favorite site posts or you are retweeted (thank the retweeter!). They also allow you to schedule future tweets if you will be away, they can communicate with your smart phone, and you can even work with your Facebook or LinkedIn accounts. Slick! Check it out!


HootSuite - Social Media Dashboard

Just Unfollow is a free service which tells you who you follow that are not following you back. Unless its Justin Bieber, why follow someone if they won't follow you back.

Twitoria is a free service that tells you if you are following inactive accounts ... those who have not made any tweets in a long time so you can unfollow them.

Twuffer is a free service which lets you schedule tweets in the future. Used properly, this really can be a time saver as long as you don't get into broadcast mode. You still would need to check your account for any comments or replies.

If you have additional comments or suggestions, please post them here. This is a two-way blog.

Thanks!


Bob J
Craft Site Medic
 
  

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Are You Ready? Facebook Now Impacting Search Engine Results

Just how important is Facebook and the number of "Likes" you have for your web pages to your online business success? It became critical this week ...



Bing has just introduced a new feature where what you see for search results can depend upon the opinion of your Facebook friends. To put it another way, when your potential customers conduct a Bing search, the results they see will be impacted by what pages their friends "Liked". If you are not actively promoting people "Liking" your pages, you lose.
 
The fine print: Users must be logged into Bing and Facebook, and will be seen only if a user has opted to share content with "everyone." Bing claims the system will add a "trust" factor to the search results, but will not necessarily impact the actual keyword position of a web site. However, if two sites had an almost identical setup (keywords, link popularity, text, etc.), you can rest assured the tie will go to the site with more "Likes." Bing also indicated the system will not only consider the opinion of just your "friends", but, in some circumstances, the entire Facebook community.

Many believe this is only the start of search engines integrating social media into the search results.

Moral of the story ... now is the time to improve your Facebook "IQ". Focus on building your number of Likes. Research articles and guides on the subject. Try using Bing for the research ... maybe you'll see what your friends Liked!

The obvious first steps are to get "Like" buttons on your web pages, and to ACTIVELY encourage visitors to like your page, especially your Facebook Fan page.

Info on adding a Like button to your web pages:

Facebook Guide

Webmonkey  Guide

  
Further reference concerning the Bing - FB Like system:

Social Times article

HuffingtonPost article

Washington Post article

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Looking for Quality Links with PageRank? "Spy" on your Competitors!

One factor impacting your Google search engine keyword position is the QUALITY of links TO your website. Google places tremendous importance on the quality or "authority" of the inbound link, and most experts believe PageRank (PR) is a measure of that authority. The short version: a few links from several high PageRank pages may do more to help your keyword position than hundreds of low value (PR) links.

So how can you quickly find high authority pages with which to seek link exchanges or ad placements?

Easy ... let you competitors help you.

First, make sure you have the free Google Toolbar installed on your browser. This is very easy and quick to install, and provides you with an extremely useful tool for building your online business.

Second,  visit the web site of one of  your competitors. Look at the toolbar's PageRank indicator to see how the competitor's page is rated. If it is a 3 or higher, you are in luck.

Third, click the  small "down arrow" nest to the PageRank indicator, and click on "Backward Links" in the drop down menu.

Voila! You will be shown a list of high authority links TO your competitor's web page. These most likely are prime candidates to visit and  seek out link placements. If the links are on this listing, Google has pre-approved them from a quality point of view. Virtually all the shown links should have a decent Google PageRank.

Depending upon the competitor's page and PageRank, you may see just a few links or you may see hundreds. Some links may be from the competitor's own web site (internal cross-linking), and those can be ignored. A few links may be off-topic and should be ignored.

Miscellaneous points:

It is the PageRank of the page where your link appears which is critical. A linking site may have a home page PR=5, but if you link appears on a PR=1 page, your pass-thru credit is for the 1.

Ideally, you should put a priority on seeking out links on pages with a PageRank equal to or (preferably) higher than your own. However, don't automatically dismiss link requests from low PageRank pages. Today's PR=1 may be tomorrow's PR=5.

There often is at least a one-point drop in PageRank pass-thru value, and it may take a month or longer for Google to update your inbound link log.

Have fun!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Twitter Auto-Follow? Why bother ...

I found something new today. You can get programs which will automatically "follow" anyone who "follows" you on Twitter. And there are companies which will guarantee you 1000 followers in 24 hours. My question is, why bother?




What you need are QUALITY followers ... those who will actually read you tweets or visit your website. They will be the ones who re-tweet some of your posts or visit your website to buy something. Without quality followers, you might just as well tweet yourself.

Twitter helps improve word-of-mouth-advertising, consumer trust, and is a great way to actively engage and interact with customers (or potential customers). The key words here are "engage" and "interact". After all, the is social media ...

I would suggest not worrying about the actual number of people following you, but instead worry about the number of people following you who are actually interested in what you do and offer.

Try this for a change ... whenever you recieve a like, actually visit the person's website, and, if you like the site, tweet with with a "thank you" and a comment saying you like their site or products. Include your website link in your post.  If you cannot find anything to compliment them on, why would you follow them?

The best way to attract and keep new followers is with quality tweets. If you offer a great new item, tweet about it. But do you really need to send ten different tweets in a row because the item is available in ten colors?

Bottom line ... treat your followers as friends, offer quality content, and pay attention to what they are tweeting about. Avoid the numbers game.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Additional Social Media Survey Comments

[this comment is from a client with quite a bit of experience and SUCCESS with social media - specifically Facebook]
 
Social media is very important to any business both local and online. I find Facebook to be the most important and have seen many sales come directly from my Facebook page. However you have to be willing to devote some time in builiding relationships with your fellow Facebookers. I spend about half an hour a day on working on Facebook interacting with people in my feed. 
 
 You can have a regular page with "friends" or a fan page with "fans" or both. I have both of them. Post your sales and new items and annoucements on your fan page and develop business contacts with your friends page.
 
 Getting new fans takes a while but after you get over that first few hundred it can grow quickly. There are many "Facebook Follows" out there if you search for them. What this means are that other people will follow you if you follow their page. This will help your fan base grow fast and get you more exposure . When someone follows you it will appear in their stream saying that they "liked" your page. That is your opportununity to get a few more fans because all of their friends will see it.
 
 Seek out pages of the kind of people who would be interested in your products or services and "like" their pages and leave a comment on one of their posts so that they know you were there. Many times they will like you back and you will gain a fan.
 
I find very little to be happening on Twitter and have stopped devoting much time to it. For awhile I worked at it the same as I did my Facebook pages but I really didn't see any results from it. Other people swear Twitter is the way to go but for me it is not.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Social Media Survey Results

Last month, we invited some clients to participate in a social media survey. We asked which platforms they currently used and their experiences with them. Some of the received comments are shown below.

Of the people who responded, Facebook Fan pages were the most popular platform by far (78%). Blog usage was second with 48%, followed by Twitter at 30%. Only a couple of respondents reported using Merchant Circle and YouTube, and no one mentioned LinkedIn . Only three people reported using Facebook, Twitter, AND a blog. Although difficult to be exact, it would appear that only about 30% of the overall craft/gift/prim decor online community is using social media in any form, but this percentage appears to be rapidly growing.

Our synopsis of the survey:

Time seems to be a major factor limiting participation.

No one reports being able to retire years earlier from the additional sales being generated by social media presence.

Most people view social media as a requirement to stay competitive and to prosper in the near future. It's seen as a inexpensive way gain additional exposure over the long term. 

We thank everyone who replied to the survey. We have compiled a list active social media pages which can be found on our new Social Media Directory. It's a great way to see how others are using S.M. in their business - please give everyone a visit!
 
Social Media Comments

FB - I have gotten orders and a following. Email: I get orders. MC: Few orders. Not really productive MySpace: Waste of time Twitter: Waste of time

The one thing that people might want to keep in mind is a solid truth- OUTFLOW = INFLOW.  They may think that they are not getting business from these things but the simple act of outflowing will bring in inflow of some kind eventually :-)

We run adds on Facebook for all three sites. They are pretty effective we find. You can really fine tune who you want to display the ads to so you really tend to get people who want your product.

Just started using Facebook for our business. Not really sure How to promote it yet. Have had a few clicks through, so people are slowly finding us.

I do get sales every once in a while on Twitter - but you have to really go after followers. I like Facebook a lot. I like my blog but I just don't have time to keep it up. I think FB is the best - but I can't seem to get new people to follow me there.

As far as money returns from the Facebook page, I don't think I have seen any. The blog is still to new to make a difference.

I set up a blog about a year and a half ago. Time restraints have limited my posts, but I have enjoyed blogging and have gained a few new customers through the blog.

I don't have a facebook account, but a crafting friend of mine swears by hers. She says it has really helped her draw in customers.

I starting using Facebook almost a year ago. I have gained over 900 fans and had several people purchase things from me that otherwise would not have known I existed.

I haven't seen any increases in business due to using Facebook, but in all honesty, I probably don't work it like I should...with daily updates, contests, etc.

I have considered using social media but I'm aprehensive because I'm worried that I may get more orders than I can handle. My business is already doing very well and I just a little afraid that it might generate more business than I can handle.

Using Twitter gets me extra views, but not sure if any of my sales were a result of Twitter. But it's free, so I figure it can't hurt.

Seems that unless you advertise on FB, you don't get many people finding you. I adverstised last year based on how much I could afford at the time but had to stop. It was getting to expensive. I did receive about 25 people who joined my FB but no $$$ has yet come from it.

Blog & FB: I'm not sure if it's helped or not.

[Blog and FB] both are bringing me orders from customers. I simply find many times I can't find things to post about. I'm not too social network adept at times.

We have gotten a little business off Facebook, but mostly it's just a vehicle for letting people know where we are going to have our carnie trailer.

We have used facebook for about a year now ... It does seem to encourage "action" from our followers when we send out our giveaway or new project info. This does not provide any $$ to us though. We would like to have more people "like" our page to encourage visits and to help more people remember us throughout the months. Seems like a more welcomed way to "remind". Better than email newsletters now. I would like to know if the ads on facebook are a good value before trying it. I would also like to know what other social media I might want to add.

===================================================

Monday, February 28, 2011

Promote Your Social Media Pages with a Custom Email Signature

A great way to promote your social media pages is to include a link to each in all of your email messages. I see many emails with a signature like this:

Visit my Facebook page at  <a href="http://www.artcraftmarketing.com">

This is fine, but becomes a little awkward if you wanted to include links to multiple platforms. I currently use Facebook and Twitter, I certainly wish to promote this blog as well as our newsletter. That would be a lot of junk at the end of my emails.

Wouldn't it be great to use small social media icons in your emails which link to your pages? Easier said than done. While Outlook Express allows for email signatures, it doesn't make it easy to create this type of custom signature.  I played with this and finally came up with the following signature I can automatically insert at the bottom of all emails:

In an actual email, you can click on any icon and be taken to that page. I could have used an icon for my webpage, but I prefer to use the url for it.

How to create a social media icon signature ...

Please note ... it REALLY helps if you have a bit of experience with HTML code. Also, my instructions are for Outlook Express users. I'm sure this can be done with other email programs, but I can't spend the next month trying to figure them all out.

1. Get the web addresses of your social media pages together in one place and VERIFY they actually work.

2. Get you social media icons together in one place. I opted to upload mine to my server. For a limited time, I will allow you to "pull" the graphics from my site, but you REALLY need to get your own. At some point, I'll change my icon locations and you'll be displaying blanks. No fun!

3. Copy and paste the following HTML code into a blank TXT formated (not RTF) Wordpad document.

<font face="Verdana" size="2">Thank you!</font>
<p>
YOURNAME<br>
<a href="http://www.YOURWEBADDRESS.com">
YOURSITENAME</a></font></p>
<p> 
<a href="YOURFACEBOOKURL">
<img border="0" src="http://www.artcraftmarketing.com/icons/facebook-32x32.png" width="32" height="32"></a>
 
<a href="YOURTWITTERURL">
<img border="0" src="http://www.artcraftmarketing.com/icons/twitter-32x32.png" width="32" height="32"></a>
 
<a href="YOURBLOGURL">
<img border="0" src="http://www.artcraftmarketing.com/icons/blogger-32x32.png" width="32" height="32"></a>

<a href="http://www.YOURNEWSLETTERURL">
<img border="0" src="http://www.artcraftmarketing.com/icons/newsletter-32.png" width="40" height="32">
</p>


4. Change the information in this code to reflect your name, site name, site url, and social media platform page urls. Delete any forms you do not have, such as the "newsletter".

5. Save the file as an HTML document (not .txt) somewhere on your computer (remember this location).

6. Go to Outlook Express, select "tools", select "options", select "signatures", and select "new". You should see a new entry appear like "Signature #1". Click on that entry once to highlight it.  Click the "rename" button  and rename the file to something convenient like "Social Media Signature". We are almost done. Now drop down to "Edit Signature" and click the "File" button. The "browse" window will become available. Browse to the location where you save the Wordpad file and click on the file. This should save the location to the Edit signature box for access. Click "apply". Done ... yeah!.

7. Try it out. Create a new blank email, click "insert", click "signature", select the signature name you previously assigned, and your custom icon-rich signature should be inserted into your message. Send this email to yourself, and click the icons  to make sure the links work.

8. You may need to fine tune the Wordpad document to get any bugs out which normally involve bad urls. Anytime I change the document, I save as a slightly different file name which requires revising the file name accessed in the  Outlook Express signature file. Otherwise, I could not get OE to insert the updated signature.

The email signature takes a little time and patience to setup and perfect, but it really is slick looking.

If you are a current Craft Site Medic client, I can help you get this set up if your will provide me with your information and urls.

Comments and suggestions are welcome.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Social Media Focus

I read an article the other day stating that social media activity (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, etc.) now "trump" the importance of  links when it comes to online business success. Yes, a good search engine keyword position is still critical in attracting customer to your website, but social media is fast becoming a dominate force. Plus, Google and Bing now factor social media activity in their keyword position algorithms. Thus Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other S.M. platforms  are becoming a "must" for any online small business.

We will be posting a series of articles with  hints, tips, and general discussions of how to make social media work for your small business. Every few days we'll cover a topic that can help you gain more follwers, covert followers to shoppers, and shoppers to buyers. We'll help you work more efficiently and more effectively.

Stay tuned ...