Category Archives for "Video"

Apr 29

How to Get Sales Using Instagram & Pinterest [WEBINAR EXCERPT]

By Janice Deleon

Watch this webinar excerpt to see how one tiny brand sells out of their inventory in less than 24 hours. Every. Day.  You can get the full webinar FREE here.

Get Webinar FREE with SMOC Membership

Video Transcript

Maria Peagler: Let’s sum up what it takes to sell on Instagram. The easiest thing for you to do is just post to your website or your blog or wherever it is on social media and just say, “Hey, on the blog today here’s what I’m doing. On Facebook today, here’s what I’m doing.” Just remind people, “Hey, there’s something new going on here. Here’s where you can find this.” Something that’s not quite as easy but it’s still pretty easy is something called micro content. This is what I do. I do a lot of info graphics but those are really too big to post on Instagram.

I do a very small version with one fact on it and I do a shortened link that people can remember to type in their URL in their browser. Because you cannot link to anything on Instagram on your post unless it is in your profile. That’s the only thing you can do, so I do it this way. Then, finally it’s more involved but do like Fox and Fawn and give people an EZ Button. They came up with a really really smart way for people to buy directly from them on Instagram by having their credit card on file and just saying, “Ring me up.” I just think it’s genius. They are doing really well.

The key to getting Instagram sales is having a clear photo. Here’s Elise’s journal photos and she’s got details about when and where to buy. They sell out within a day. Be very detailed in your description. Fox and Fawn in their profile gave you everything that you needed to know. They don’t put holds on items, no returns. Call their telephone number to purchase, where they are. They’re very detailed in their descriptions. Things sell out within an hour. This sweatshirt sold within an hour. Give people an easy way to do it. Theirs was a comment with, “Ring me up.” That is Instagram.

Now we’re going to move on to Pinterest which works completely differently. Pinterest works on both the mobile and desktop so there are no limitations there. The one thing that you really need to understand is Pinterest drives traffic and it drives a lot of it. If you are looking to get traffic to your website, Pinterest will do it for you. It is the number one driver of traffic of any social network. More than Twitter, more than YouTube, certainly more than Instagram. It is a huge driver of traffic to your website.

There are a couple things that you need to do on Pinterest. One is to have a really good image. Again, it doesn’t need to be professional but there are some things that you can do to get a really good image that gets a lot of likes, re-pins and traffic. Here’s what it is. You are actually going to get this template that you can use or give to your graphic designer. This is one of the goodies you’re going to get.

The original blog post appears here.

Apr 16

Small Business vs Big Business — Vlog, Transcript and Infographic

By Janice Deleon

This is the video version of the original blog post titled Small Business Tactics You Can Use to Compete Against Big Box Competitors, along with the infographic and video transcript (they follow the video):


Small Business Tactics vs. Big Box Competitors Infographic

beat big box competitors infographic


Video Transcript

Maria Peagler: Hi. This is Maria Peagler with and this is the audio and video version of the blog post “Small Business Tactics You Can Use to Compete Against Big Box Competitors.”

I got a call recently from a woman who owned a floral shop business and she was quite upset because she was noticing that big box floral shops, big national online and 800-telephone number competitors were running online ads, Google Pay-Per-Click ads to make it look like they were local to her town. What would happen is somebody would search in Google for floral delivery in her city and their ad, her competitor’s ad, is the first thing that would show up.

Now her business was the first thing that showed up in the organic results that are unpaid but she said the way that this competitor was structuring their ad, they were making it look like they were a local business and she was quite upset because she was losing a great deal of business to them.

What we did was come up with a strategy that she was able to use to not only stave off those competitors but won over some of the people who were buying from her competition. That’s what this audio and video is going to be all about…how small business owners can use tactics that only small businesses can use, ways that they compete and ways that big box brands can’t.

We’ll be going over about four different things that small businesses can do to go up against big box competitors, and the number one thing that you want to do is not try to win customers on price. You are never going to beat the Walmarts, the Targets, the Amazons, and the Home Depots of the world on price. I’m here on the Walmart website and you can look, smart rollbacks, they’re constantly talking about how low their prices are. You are never going to be able to beat those big box retailers and big box competitors on price.

Secondly, you don’t really want to do that because what happens is the shoppers that you end up gaining by being a low price leader are people who are going after price only. They are loyal only to price. They’re not loyal to you. They’re not loyal to your company. They want the lowest price and they will go to whoever has it. Those aren’t customers that you want because they’re rarely satisfied, they’re not loyal to you, and they complain a lot. Those are not the customers that you want. You’ll lose a little bit but you ultimately win in the long run because you leave those headache customers to somebody else.

The second thing that you want to do is offer specialized products big brands can’t do. In the blog post, I talk about a situation that I had last year where a family friend was in a terrible accident and was recovering in the hospital, and I wanted to send some flowers but the hospital that she was in was over an hour away and I wasn’t sure if she could get flowers in the unit in the hospital that she was in, I didn’t know who delivered.

I called the hospital and they said, “Yes, she can receive flowers and here’s a florist that we recommend.” I went to their website and it was called Peachtree Petals and what was very cool was on their website they have a page dedicated to delivering to Atlanta hospitals. They tell you what kind of arrangements they do and they list all the hospitals that they deliver to so I knew that I was in the right place ordering from these people because this is what they specialize in.

This is something that 1-800-FLOWERS can’t do. They don’t know these hospitals. They don’t know their policies. They’re setting themselves apart by offering not only hospital flower delivery but even same-day service. If you place your order within, right now I’m recording this at 4:00. If I place this order within 45 minutes, I get same-day delivery to that hospital. There is no way a national competitor could do that. They’re offering something that the big brands just can’t do.

Here’s another business that offers something that big box retailers can’t do. It’s a local bakery about an hour from me called Mama Bakes Safe Cakes. Now that seems like an odd name unless you have someone in your family who suffers from food allergies and then you know exactly what they do. This is a bakery that specializes in allergen-free baked goods and that’s a really, really big deal for people who have life-threatening food allergies. If your child or if you have a family member who is allergic to nuts, soy, dairy, eggs, any of those things, most of those things are in any bakery, even like Publix.

Publix is a local grocery store chain here in the Southeast and they have the absolute best bakery ever but a child died recently after eating a cookie that Publix employees assured this mother had not been baked anywhere near a nut. This is a really, really big deal and it’s expensive to make goods like this because you have to use specialty ingredients but parents are willing to pay it because they can give their child something that they don’t ever have to worry about them having a reaction to.

You see that in the reviews that they have which are just incredible. There’s a review on here from a nursing mother who was excited because she is getting lactation cookies and she can eat things that don’t pass on allergens to her nursing baby who has all kinds of food allergies. Mama Bakes Safe Cakes is doing something that Kroger, Publix, Walmart, Target, none of those brands can compete with this. They cannot offer allergen-free baked goods and so this bakery is doing something really smart in offering something that you can’t find at a local big box store. Just cannot find it. That’s another way that you can win against big business is to offer a specialized product or service that they simply cannot do.

The third thing that you can do to win against big brands is to show the people behind your business and let them get to know your customers because after all, who’s the face of Home Depot? Well, nobody. There’s nobody that you think of as being the face of a big brand but small businesses get to show their staff, show the owners, and they get to know you.

The example that I share on this blog post is a local restaurant to my town called the Woodbridge Inn. This is a restaurant that’s been passed down from father to son. The son is Hans Rueffert who competed in the Food Network Star reality competition and has fought a fierce battle with cancer. He shares his story and has a post on here on Facebook about they always have gluten free options at their restaurants. What he says in this post is, “You better believe that the guy with no stomach is extremely sensitive to customers’ dietary special requests.”

Not only are they doing something that any chain restaurant is not going to be able to do but he’s sharing his story, and letting us know a little bit about him. He did something really awesome recently that also goes to show how you can create a connection as a small business with your customers. My husband and I were eating there for dinner one night, and he brought out his brand new five-month-old baby Heidi and walked to every table and introduced her and talked to us.

We talked about the food, we talked about family and we just connected over a great meal. Here is a Facebook post where he says, “Baby Heidi is ready for lunch. How about you?” He’s got a picture of Heidi and today’s blue plate special, and this is what small town America is all about, when you go to a local restaurant and they know your favorite dish and they serve it to you before you even have a chance to order.

That actually happened to me and my husband at this Mexican restaurant that we went to all the time. They knew what we wanted. We ordered the same thing all the time and so they just brought it over to us. That’s something that a big business simply cannot do.

Then lastly, and #4, you want to participate in local events. That shows support for your community and when you support your community, they’re going to support you. I’ve got examples from two of the small businesses that I talk about in this post. Peachtree Petals, on their Facebook page, shows a photo of their designers and the beautiful arrangements they created for the High Museum of Art’s event called “Art in Bloom.” It’s got a beautiful picture here of their staff. It gives them their names, and it shows them really out in the community.

Here on the Facebook page for Mama Bakes Safe Cakes is a thank you from a runner who was delighted to get an allergen-free cupcake after she finished a local road race. Again, that’s not something that a big business is going to do. If you’re a small business and you’re feeling squeezed by the big guys, don’t worry, you’ve got this. You can beat the big box competitors. You can download an infographic that I’ve got here on this post and I’ll have a link to it in the video, in the audio, on how you can beat big box competitors.

I’ve also got related resources here. We have an infographic called “The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Local Business.” We have a webinar, a members-only webinar “Social Medial for Local Business” that talks even more about what local businesses can do that big brands simply can’t. There are a lot of things local businesses can do that big box retailers cannot do.

Then lastly is our Search Engine Optimization class. That’s what my client who’s a florist is really, really interested in in figuring out how she could combat these ads that the big box florist was doing to make them look local.

This is Maria Peagler with in “How Small Brands Can Beat Big Box Competitors,” the audio and video version.

The original blog post & infographic appear here.

small business featured image
Apr 14

Small Business Tactics You Can Use to Compete Against Big Box Competitors

By Maria Peagler

Small Business Tactics You Can Use to Compete Against Big Box Competitors

small business featured image

I got a call from a floral shop owner in a small town, and she was scared . . .

One of the HUGE online floral brands was running Google ads that made them “appear” to be local.

They had a big budget, an ad agency . . .

And they were taking away her business.

What could she do?

We developed a strategy in her personal coaching sessions with me (included with her membership), she took classes here at to learn search engine optimization and tactics only local businesses can use.  She developed a unique strategy based on her shop and her location, enabling her to compete against those bigger brands and take away THEIR business.

How? That’s what this post is all about —

1. Don’t Try to Win Shoppers on Price

If you’re s small brand who is competing against an online retailer or big box store, the price battle is one you’ll lose.

Ultimately, however, you’ll come out the winner.


Because shoppers who buy based on the lowest price are NEVER loyal: they go with whomever has the lowest price at the time. They’re also demanding, difficult to please, and rarely satisfied.

Let someone else have those clients — you don’t need the headache.

So first, realize you won’t win over everyone, nor do you want to.


2. Offer Specialized Products the Big Brands Can’t

Every floral shop offers wedding and funeral bouquets. But what don’t they offer?

  • Floral arrangements based on the colors of local high school and college teams
  • Themed arrangements for the local festival and celebrations
  • Participation in local cultural events
  • Specialized same-day delivery to local hospitals

Last year a family friend was in a horrific accident and recovering in an Atlanta hospital.  I wanted to send a special floral bouquet, but because I’m over an hour away, I didn’t know which florists specialized in delivering to that hospital or even if she could receive flowers.

I made one phone call to the hospital, and found out that yes, this patient could receive flowers, and they even recommended a local florist who specialized in same-day deliveries:  Peachtree Petals.

small business compete big box peachtree petals

Peachtree Petals has a dedicated page on their website telling you which local hospitals they deliver to. They even have a same-day count-down timer to let you know how long you have to place an order.

They offered a dedicated website page for local hospital floral deliveries, reassuring me that they did deliver to the hospital I needed, and could do so within the SAME day.

Later in this post I’ll share related resources you can use for powerful tactics available only to local businesses.

Here’s another incredible small business: a local Alpharetta, Georgia bakery called Mama Bakes Safe Cakes.  While that may sound like an odd name, any mother whose child has food allergies can immediately identify with what this unique bakery has to offer: allergen-free baked goods.

small business big box competitors mama bakes safe cakes alpharetta ga

You can find cupcakes in any grocery store, Wal-Mart and Target across the country.  What you can’t find is a bakery that can assure you that their baked goods were prepared in an allergen-free environment and are safe for your child to eat.

Specialized bakeries can charge prices for one cupcake that would buy six cupcakes at a grocery store, because it’s challenging to find bakeries that specialize in allergen-free products.  Peace-of-mind for parents comes with a higher price tag they are more than happy to pay.

Score one for the little guys!

3. Show the People Behind Your Small Business

Who’s the face of Home Depot, Starbucks, or Target?

No one.

Here’s where small businesses can win BIG: let your customers get to know the people behind your business.

The secret to capturing the hearts of your customers is your PEOPLE. They are the ones who greet us as we come through the door, who ask us how our families are doing, who know what we want for dinner before we even order.  All of these special touches make your store feel like HOME when we walk through the door.

No big box retailer can come close to that.

The Woodbridge Inn is a small restaurant in Jasper, Georgia, located in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. Owner Hans Rueffert is carrying on the tradition his father Joe started in running the business:

woodbridge inn small business compete against big retailers

Hans competed in the Food Network Star reality competition, does local cooking shows, and has fought a fierce battle with stomach cancer.  Locals know Hans, his family, and his story because he freely shares them:

hans rueffert gluten free woodbridge inn small business

One evening this winter my husband and I were enjoying dinner at the the Woodbridge Inn when Hans came out with his new baby Heidi, and introduced her to every single table. We talked food, family, and connected over a great meal prepared by great people:

baby heidi woodbridge inn small business jasper ga




4. Participate in Local Events

Peachtree Petal’s Facebook page shows their talented designers participating in at the High Museum of Art’s “Art in Bloom” event.  No online retailer can show this kind of local support!

small business compete big box

Peachtree Petals participates in local cultural events. You get to know the people behind the brand.

On Mama Bakes Safe Cake’s Facebook page is a “thank you” from a runner delighted to be greeted with allergen-free cupcakes after finishing a local road race:

mama bakes safe cakes local participation small business


Ultimately, big box retailers don’t know your town’s people, their stories, nor will they win their loyalties with low prices.  Connection, incredible service, and specialized products will set your small business apart and allow it to thrive, even when you hear the FEE-FI-FO-FUM of giant big-box retailers approaching.

No worries. You’ve got this.

Small Business vs Big Business Checklist

Use this handy checklist as your guide to offering a specialized experience no big brand retailer can match:

beat big box competitors infographic

Share this Image On Your Site

Related Resources

The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Local Business

Social Media for Local Business Webinar

Search Engine Optimization 101 Class


Apr 06

65 Social Media Marketing Resources from 1st Quarter of 2015

By Janice Deleon


Every week here at we give you a list of our most recent resources with our Weekly Top 5: your lessons, infographics, webinars, and articles. We’ve gathered all those resources from 1st quarter of the year into one GINORMOUS list for you, making it uber-easy to find what you need to grow your business using social media marketing.


Social Media Strategy

  1. 1:1 Coaching Each Month for Members  *
  2. 4 Easy Ways to Make Money with Social Media Marketing
  3. Be More Efficient in 2015 by Identifying Your Top 20%
  4. CHEAT SHEET: 4 Social Media Engagement Hacks *
  5. Emailing Leads from a Trade Show – is that SPAM? *
  6. How to Crowdfund Your Business
  7. How to Get More Traffic to Your Website Using Social Media
  8. How to Repurpose Your Content  *
  9. How to Run a Profitable Flash Sale *
  10. Member Question Re: Dark Social Media *
  11. My Favorite 15+ Books for Small Business Owners 
  12. Need More Traffic to Your Website? Think Again! 
  13. New Private Mastermind Group for Members    *
  14. NEW! Social Media Strategy Template & Spreadsheet *
  15. One-on-One Coaching for Members     *
  16. SMOC is #1 on Alltop with This Article  *
  17. Social Media Certification for Each Class *
  18. Social Media Hacks You Can Use for More Engagement on ANY Network
  19. Social Media Strategy Template *
  20. Social Media Strategy Template & Spreadsheet *
  21. Start 2015 with an Updated Social Media Action Plan
  22. SWIPE FILE: How to WOW Potential Customers with Testimonials *
  23. The Oscars Use of Hashtags in 2015
  24. The State of Social Media for Small Business [CLASSIC]
  25. The Ultimate Guide to Hashtags
  26. This Surprising Social Network Outperforms All Others
  27. Use Your Website Assets in Your Online Marketing *
  28. VIDEO – How to Find Your Target Market *
  29. What’s the #1 Thing You Wished You Understood Better About Marketing?
  30. Why Your Social Media Marketing Isn’t Generating Revenue
  31. Best Books for Small Business Owners [INFOGRAPHIC]
  32. Content Generation Infographic  *
  33. Vote for Your Favorite Version of Our Classic Infographic *



  1. 64 Tactics to Use on Facebook in 2015
  2. Brand New for 2015: Facebook Marketing [INFOGRAPHIC]
  3. Facebook Changes Post Scheduling Options   *
  4. Great Example of a Simple Business Video *
  5. How to Do Business-to-Business Networking on Facebook *
  6. How to Find a Facebook Post in a Group *
  7. How to Transition Friends to Your Facebook Business Page *
  8. How to Use a Facebook Ad to Market Vacation Rentals *
  9. How to Use Hashtags on Your Hangtags *
  10. NEW CLASS! Facebook Advertising on a Budget  *
  11. New Facebook Advertising Lessons in Facebook 103  *
  12. New Facebook Private Group for Members *
  13. The One Simple Step that Increases Facebook Reach Exponentially!  *
  14. Website Images Won’t Appear on Facebook Post Links *
  15. What Gets the Highest Engagement on Facebook in 2015?
  16. What’s the Proper Recognition for a Facebook Like? *


  1. [WEBINAR EXCERPT] 3 Must-Have Google Analytics Reports for Small Business *
  2. Can Mobile Users Find Your Business? Webinar, Slide Deck, Audio & Infographic *
  3. Can Mobile Users Find Your Website [WEBINAR EXCERPT] *
  4. Can Mobile Users Find Your Website? Webinar Replay & Resources *
  5. How to Automate Your Social Media Marketing: [Webinar EXCERPT] *
  6. How to Protect Your Business from Hackers: [Webinar Excerpt] *
  7. How to Protect Your Business from Hackers: Webinar Replay *
  8. THURSDAY: How to Protect Your Business from Hackers – Webinar, Slide Deck, Audio & Infographic


  1. Your Post Repinned Over 100 Times on Pinterest? 


  1. [INTERVIEW] How an Entrepreneur Gets Over 70% of Her Business from Twitter

Google Plus

  1. 3 Must-Have Google Analytics Reports for Small Business
  2. Google Analytics Made Simple: Live Webinar + Recording + MP3 Audio + Infographic *


  1. LinkedIn Fixes Their BIG Mistake of 2014


  1. Help! I Have Multiple YouTube Channels and Don’t Know How to Fix It! *


  1. Do Local Directories Help a Local Business’ SEO? *

* Indicates Members-Only Content

Apr 03

7 Secrets to Find Anything Using Google Search: Video + Infographics + Transcript

By Janice Deleon

7 Secrets to Find Anything Using Google Search Youtube video, Infographic and transcript are below the video:



google search secrets



Maria Peagler: This is the audio and video version of the blog post titled “Seven Secrets to Finding Anything with a Google Search.” This is Maria Peagler with If you’re listening to the audio version of this, you can also find the blog post and the video version of the blog.

If you are like me, you use Google search daily, sometimes multiple times a day. In this brief video and audio I am going to show you how to get more out of every Google search you do by telling it exactly what you do and don’t want. Using an online search, whether you use Google or Bing or Yahoo! Or an anonymous search engine like DuckDuckGo, is one of the best ways that you can find solutions for your business, to find Google resources and tools. I will tell you that I am so specific in my online searches that I can find resources that nobody else knows about. That’s what I’m going to show and tell you how to do today.

I’m going to share with you seven tactics. The first one is how to search for an exact phrase. Let’s say that you’re searching for Social Media Online Classes. You want to look for classes on social media that are online and you want exactly that phrase in that order. To do that you’re going to type that phrase in quotes, so “social media online classes.” Press enter. What will happen is Google will show you, or any search engine will show you results using that exact phrase in that order. That’s important. You won’t see online classes and social media. You won’t see online social media classes, social media courses. It’s just going to be results that have those words together in that order: social media online classes.

You can see here the first two results that are not ads, actually the first one, two, three, four, five results are for, not surprisingly. Now I am doing this search in what’s called incognito mode in Google, which means that I am not signed into Google. It doesn’t know who I am so it’s not showing these results to me because I own Social Media Online Classes. It doesn’t know me from anybody. That’s the first type of search you can do is in quotes.

Now let’s say that you’re just starting out and you want to do a broad search of the same phrase, but you want to see what’s out there and those words don’t have to appear together or in that order. What you’re going to use then instead of quotes are brackets. It will be [social media online classes]. You’re going to press enter. Again you’re going to see results that include those words but not necessarily together, and not necessarily in that same order. The results that you get here are very different. Yes, is first, but there’s also something called DIY Genius, Online Marketing Institute, Boot Camp Digital, and and more. You’re seeing a wider variety of results because you’re telling Google or whatever search engine I just want to see these words on that page somewhere.

Let’s take a look at searching within a specific website. This is one of my favorite search tactics, and I use it a lot. For example, what I’m going to do here is I’d like to search Twitter to see what journalists use it. Now I don’t want to see people ranting about the journalist they don’t like. I only want to see real journalists. What I’m going to do is say site and in quotes put journalist. When I press enter, what it’s going to show me is tweets about a journalist hashtag, people who have journalist in their Twitter account name, or it’s in their bio, or it could be a tweet about a journalist. It’s only results from Twitter. You can do this for any social network. You can do it for Facebook, LinkedIn. You can even do it for Instagram and Pinterest, visual social networks. You can do it for sites that aren’t a social network. You could search Forbes. You could search Etsy. You could search Amazon. You can search any site for something specific, and using this site perimeter will return only results from that website. This is my favorite tactic for getting results that I trust from a source I know.

The next search tactic that I like to do is to … let’s see. I’m going to search for something called engagement hacks. I just typed engagement hacks, that’s it. It’s showing me three results. It’s showing me some images. What I really want to see is only the most recent results. What I want to do is go to the toolbar here in Google and I’m going to click on search tools. There’s a little drop down that says anytime. I want to see results only from the past month. Here what it shows me are things that occurred six days ago. I’m doing this in March so it’s only showing me results from March. This is important if you need to find something that is relatively recent, or if you know it was in a specific time frame. You can specify anytime, the past hour, the past 24 hours, week, month, year, or a custom range. It really, really allows you to get very granular with your search.

The other thing that you can do with these search tools is change your location. Because I’m doing it in incognito mode right now it’s not showing me any localized results, but if you’re signed in to Google it’s going to show you results for your area first. Most of the time you want that, but sometimes you don’t, so you can change your city by also using those search tools.

The last several ones are some of my favorite strategies, and I use these a lot. Let’s say that I want to search for a Facebook marketing infographic. The first thing it’s going to show me are several images, but then it’s going to show me a whole lot of different results from different websites. The thing is, I don’t know who to trust on these. If it’s a visual, I want to see it. You can click on this Google toolbar and click on images, and it’s going to show you only images. You would think it would do this anyway if you’re asking for an infographic, but it doesn’t. You can get only images by clicking on that image qualifier in the toolbar. I will tell you, I use this even when I’m not looking for something graphic, because these days everybody is a publisher online. There’s a lot of people publishing content and a lot of it is junk. One of the real ways that you can tell what quality articles are from the rest, even if they rank highly in Google search, is the quality of their images. If I’m looking for something, a research article, or if I’m trying to learn something, I will click on images and see who really put a lot of time and thought into the image that went with their article. Nine times out of ten, it leads me to something that’s very high quality.

Another one of my favorite searches is the related search, because this allows you to find something that’s similar to something that you already know about. I’ll give you an example. You all know I do a lot of infographics, and I’ve been looking at different tools for branching out and doing different kinds of infographics. I was trying out a tool called Piktochart. It’s an online tool that you can use to create infographics. I tried it out and it was great but it wasn’t really what I needed.

What I did was a related search. I typed in Google related: If you type in related: and then the name of the website or the name of the article or whatever it is that you’re trying to find, Google will show you results that are most closely related to that. It’s showing me where you can create infographics easily, an article on five tools for creating your own infographics, ten free tools for creating infographics. I’m seeing a lot of other things that allow me to create my own infographics.

I will tell you that I use this related search perimeter a lot, and here’s why. Some of the best resources you will find online are some of the ones that are buried. You would think that if something’s really good it’s going to appear on the first page of search results, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes some of the best resources and the best people I have found to work with come from a related search. This is one of my favorite buried treasure searches.

Then I’ve got two more searches. One is a bonus that’s not on the infographic, and I’m going to leave that until last. Another one that you can do is to look for videos. I’m going to type in Hootsuite how to. I want to learn how to use Hootsuite. It’s showing me an add from Hootsuite, and then there’s this help guide from Hootsuite, but frankly, I don’t want a guide from Hootsuite because I don’t find that they’re very helpful. I want to find a video. If I go to videos, here in the search bar I can click on it and it’s going to show me the videos that are available on YouTube. Now it’s showing me my own video first. That’s because I knew that this video would show up first in this search, but sometimes the videos that show as the most popular are not necessarily the highest quality. It’s a helpful search but it’s frankly not one of my favorites because the search perimeter looking at videos is helpful, but it’s not always the most relevant results. One of the things I really do like is you can click right from the search results to watch the video, and it also tells you how long the video is.

Lastly, this is one of my favorite things. If you want to do a search but you want to disqualify some of the results, you can tell any search engine where you don’t want it to search for. Let me give you an example. I was doing a search for something Pinterest-related. I wanted to see … I can’t even remember what it was now. I think it was Pinterest images, but I didn’t want the search results from Pinterest itself, because what it was showing me was stuff that was just not related at all. I’m searching for Pinterest images and then space, dash, It’s actually that dash, it’s the minus sign, tells the search engine don’t search

If I go to the web here, it’s going to show me different things about creating Pinterest images, but not things that I would find on the Pinterest social network. It’s about Pinterest but it’s not on Pinterest. There are a lot of times that you’re going to want to use this to qualify the results and do them on a more narrow basis. That’s my bonus tip, how to disqualify a site, or say you don’t want search results from that particular website. Use that minus sign in front of the name of the website. This is Maria Peagler with on the seven secrets you can use to find anything on Google search, and you can find the audio, the video, and the article on our blog at

google search secrets
Mar 31

7 Secrets to Find Anything Using Google Search

By Maria Peagler

7 Secrets to Find Anything Using Google Search audio version.

How often do you use Google search?

Daily? Multiple times a day?

For small business owners, searching Google is an important tactic for competitive research, finding the best tools, and solutions for problems.

But, getting the results you can actually use is tricky.  Fortunately, today I’m showing you my seven secrets for finding ANYTHING using a Google search.  These are the tactics I use most often to refine the results Google displays when I’m searching.

Here’s the one-page infographic, with each tactic explained in more detail below:

google search secrets


Share this Image On Your Site

Let’s get started —

1. Search for an Exact Phrase

Google search is smart, but it’s not human-brain smart, so you need to be able to tell it exactly what you’re looking for.  For example, if want to find social media online classes, and type that in the Google search field, it will return anything using those words in any order (and sometimes the results don’t use every one of those words).  You often get content that’s only remotely related to what you truly need.

Instead, when you need to see only those results using an exact phrase, surround the phrase in quotes, like this:

how to do an exact phrase google search

Then, Google will return ONLY those results using those words together in that exact order.

2. Search for a Phrase in Any Order

Sometimes you just want to do a general search and see what’s out there. It’s not important in what order the words appear, but you do want all of them to be included in the results.  Then you surround your search phrase in brackets:

how to do a bracketed search query

Google will return a much broader variety of results than the search done in quotes.  I use this search when I’m early in my research and want to see the breadth of content available on my topic.  It’s important that all those terms appear in the results, but not necessarily in that order.

3. Search within a Specific Website

This is one of my favorite Google search tactics.

When I’m looking for results that appear on a certain website only, I can limit my search using the site: parameter, as shown below:

how to search for results within a specific website

This is the search I do most often, as Google search is far smarter than any search option a website offers for its own content.  I use it to search for content with social networks, on a specific website like or, and Google returns only those results from that website only.

Notice I included the word “journalist” in quotes.  That way Google shows me only results on Twitter using the word journalist. It doesn’t matter where it appears: it could be it a tweet, in the twitter account name or bio, but journalist will appear somewhere on Twitter to be included in those Google search results.

4. Limit Your Search Results to Only Those within the Last Year

Every time Google returns search results, it offers a toolbar allowing you to refine your results.  If you select Search Tools>>Any Time, you can then select from a specific time frame.  It could be within the last 24 hours, the last week, month, or year, or you can specify a custom date range.

This is really important when I’m search for only the latest results, as what worked online two years ago doesn’t necessarily work today.

how to refine a google search by date

5. Search for Images

I extremely selective about who I trust with content online.  These days, everyone’s a publisher, but not necessarily a quality one.  One of the big differentiating factors that separates the high-quality content from the rest is their images.

So I LOVE using Google Image search.  It allows me to separate the quality results from the dregs that appear in my search results.

It’s easy to do: just do a regular Google search, then when Google returns the results, click on Images.

how to do a google image search

You immediately see which images are high-quality, and which are, frankly, crap.

Other times, you truly need an image: a checklist, an infographic, or a blueprint.  And only an image will do.

Google Image search is the trick!

6. Find Something Similar to

Quite often I find that Google will return results that are close, but not exactly what I need.  So, here’s my all-time favorite search tactic.  Use the related: search parameter.  It will find those results that are the most similar to what you’ve specified.

For example, I tried out Piktochart, an online application for creating infographics.  While it was great, it wasn’t exactly what I needed, and I wasn’t able to find what exactly what I wanted.  So, I used this Google search:

how to do a google related: search

I then saw all the related tools and resources I could use for creating infographics that might better serve my needs.  I have found little-known resources on the web using this tactic.  Sometimes it’s not necessarily the best-known resources that serve your need, but using this search parameter, you can find those that best fit you & your business.

7. Search for a Video

Just as you can search Google for an image, you can also search for a video to show you exactly how to do something.  What Google returns are the most popular YouTube videos for your search topic.  I do have one caveat for this search: the most popular videos are not always the best.  I don’t use this search tactic a lot, because frankly the results are not always quality videos.

But, it’s a place to start.

To find results in videos only, do a normal Google search, then click on Videos, as shown below:

how to search for videos on Google

Google returns videos that address the topic you’re looking for.  It’s a place to start find the solution to whatever problem you have, right now.


An important note: these tactics will work in ANY search engine, not just Google.  They work on Bing, Yahoo, Duck Duck Go, you name it.  So bookmark this page, download the infographic and share it.  You just became an online search ninja for your business.

google analytics 3 must-have reports
Mar 24

Google Analytics Made Simple [Webinar Excerpt]

By Janice Deleon

Watch this excerpt from this month’s members-only webinar to learn the three must-have Google Analytics reports for small business. Infographic and transcript are below the video:

Google Analytics Made Simple Learn the three must-have Google Analytics reports for small business
Members-Only Content
Webinar replay, slide deck, mp3 audio & checklist



google analytics 3 must-have reports



Maria Peagler: What are your three must have Google Analytics reports for small business? Hi, I’m Maria Peagler, founder of and I’m going to show you the three most important Google Analytics Reports you need to have for your small business. The first one is website traffic. It tells you how much traffic you’re getting, where you’re getting that traffic from and how long they’re staying on your website.

This is your website traffic report. It tells you how many visitors you’re getting, where they’re coming from, and more importantly, whether or not they like what they’re seeing on your website.

The second most important report is your top five pages and I call these your money pages. Here’s your top five pages report. It tells you the top five most popular pages on your website. What you need to take a look at is how long people are staying on those pages and whether or not they’re leaving after they come and visit that page only, because that tells you whether or not they like what they’re seeing on your website.

The third most important report is your bounce rate. Bounce rates tells you how many people leave your website after seeing only one page. The one thing to remember about a bounce rate is that a high bounce rate is bad, so you want to take a look at your Google Analytics and see which of your pages has the highest bounce rate and you want to fix that. You want to make sure that you can lower the bounce rate on that page and get people staying longer and coming back to your website.

If you like to get more information about Google Analytics for your small business, check out

hacks for more engagement across any platorm
Mar 17

Engagement Hacks to Use on Any Social Network

By Maria Peagler

hacks for more engagement across any platorm


“I need more engagement!”

Sound familiar?

Today I’m coming to the rescue with four no-fail hacks you can use on ANY social network to increase your engagement.

Let’s get started —

1. Use Video to Get Higher Engagement on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter

In 2015, video has the highest reach of any post type on Facebook. To be clear, that’s video uploaded to Facebook, not linked to from YouTube. Reach is the gateway to higher engagement, so you’re guaranteed to increase both using video.

Video is still unique on Instagram and Twitter: we’re used to images on Instagram and text-only tweets, so video is unique and attention-grabbing.  Use it and you’ll see your engagement skyrocket. On Jimmy Fallon’s Instagram page, he has only one video, but it gets more engagement than any of his photos:

video gets more engagement

The sole video on Jimmy Fallon’s Instagram page has more Likes & Comments than his photos



2. Use Visual Content to Get 180% More Engagement

visual storytelling maria peagler

In my interview with Visual Storytelling co-author Ekaterina Walter, she says “posts with visuals drive up to 180% more engagement than those without.”

Daniel Pink, in his book A Whole New Mind, discusses the importance of design in business, and visual content is a major part of that.

Simply put, text-only content is “old school.”  You need to engage your audience with compelling visuals to initiate a conversation and a reaction.

If you’re not a designer, don’t worry, you don’t need to be.  Check out my resources for doing it easily yourself:

Create a DIY Stock Photo Library

Use Canva to Repurpose One Photo into an Entire Library [VIDEO TUTORIAL]

3. Use Micro-Content to Engage Short Attention Spans

Yes, the human attention span is now less than that of a goldfish.

Don’t fight it.

Instead, repurpose your content into smaller pieces, called micro-content.

Here’s an example: for 2014, we gathered all of the resources we published (in addition to our classes) and created one long resource post that included over 100 links:

100 marketing resources from 2014

While that list is highly actionable, I knew that not everyone who read the post would get through the entire thing. So I was determined to get more mileage out of it than just one blog post.

I repurposed that list into an infographic, allowing me to post the list on Pinterest in a visual way. Instead of listing every resource, I pulled out several and highlighted them in this infographic:

100 marketing resources infographic

100 marketing resources from 2014

Repurposing the text-only list allows me to share it on visual social networks like Pinterest

That long list of links would never have made it onto Pinterest, but the infographic turned those resources into highly shareable and engaging content perfect for this visual social network.

Finally, I took one resource from that list and created micro-content to share on Instagram and Twitter:

micro content created for instagram

I took one tactic from the list of 100 and created a small visual for it

Creating micro-content from that list engaged part of my audience who would never have read that long list of resources. I repurposed that content into different forms, eliciting more engagement from my followers.

4. Share Other People’s Content

This is a tactic often referred to as a best practice in relationship marketing, but it also pays off in terms of engagement.

Last week, the most shared post on the Facebook page wasn’t my own content. It was an article I shared from Entrepreneur on what makes someone “likeable” —

share others content for higher engagement

This post got more organic reach, likes, and shares than any other post on my page last week. The cute photo Entrepreneur used also made it highly “shareable” and reinforces #2 on this list — visual content.

Engagement Hacks Checklist

Use this handy checklist as your guide to getting higher engagement no matter which social network you use:

engagement hacks checklist

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Which Hack Will You Use?

None of these hacks are difficult: you don’t need to be a coder, graphic designer, or videographer to do them. Each of them is within reach of small business owners who want more engagement from their audience.

Pick the hack that seems most natural to you or that will appeal to your audience the most and start there.

Your engagement thank you for it.

Feb 24

Can Mobile Users Find Your Business? [Webinar Excerpt]

By Maria Peagler

The growth of smartphone and tablet users is big news for small business: can those users find you online? If not, you’re missing out on new customers, because they’re going to your competition to buy.

Watch this excerpt from this month’s members-only webinar on getting more mobile business.  Get the webinar for FREE when you become a member of through the end of February only!

We’re going to take a look at three things that are very important for a small business owner to be aware of and to be preparing for if you have not already. I am going to be showing you some statistics. I am not usually a numbers person but I’m going to be showing you some statistics that go along with all this that make the case for being ready for mobile.

The three things that we’re going to look at are mobile traffic, which is are you getting mobile traffic to your business, are you getting it to your website, and if so, how much? That’s an important question, because if you’re getting any more than 25% of your business from mobile you really need to have a plan for accommodating those mobile customers. We’re going to talk about what I need to do to have your website mobile ready, and finally, how to be able to take payments from mobile buyers. We’re going to take a look at all three, and as always I will be showing you the most simple, elegant ways to do all these. Not complicated, not hugely expensive, but what’s the best way for a small business to approach these.

The first thing you need to know is am I getting mobile traffic. If you are a brick and mortar location you can simply ask people how they found out about you, and did they do it from their smartphone or did they do it from home on their desktop or laptop. You also want to be taking a look at your website and how much traffic your website is getting from mobile customers. There’s actually a pretty simple way of doing this.

But before we take a look at that I want to show you the case for getting mobile traffic and the trend that’s happening in mobile. These are statistics from from our Google Analytics account. This shows us how much of our traffic to our website is coming from desktop vs mobile vs tablet. Now starting in 2012 almost 90% of our traffic was desktop, this big blue circle here. Only 5% was coming from mobile and only 5% was coming from a tablet.

Now in 2013 that desktop traffic dropped by almost 10%. We’re now down to 81%. Mobile more than doubled from 5% to 11 and tablet had a smaller increase from 5 to 8%. Now last year we saw a significant drop in desktop traffic, and again, mobile traffic increased now to 16% and tablet is staying steady at about 8%. I’m predicting that we’ll see more of this as we go through 2015. I think you’ll see desktop drop down to probably around in the 60%, and in 2016 we’ll probably be looking at a half and half scenario.

That’s a really, really important thing to know, is how many of your website visitors and in-store traffic visitors are coming for their mobile phones. Now that was a global figure that I was showing you before. These trends are globally. Just here in the United States it’s actually even more so. Desktop has dropped from 75 to 71% and almost 20% mobile traffic. That’s a significant increase in mobile visitors. You really need to make your business mobile-friendly.

How do you know how much traffic you’re getting from mobile visitors? You want to use Google Analytics, and I’m going to show you how to do that right now. Try that again.

Feb 05

How to Protect Your Small Business from Hackers [WEBINAR EXCERPT]

By Maria Peagler

Seems like everyday on the news you hear of another business that’s been hacked, with its client’s data compromised or confidential content leaked.  How can you protect your small business?

Watch this excerpt of last month’s members-only webinar:  How to Protect Your Small Business from Hackers.  Transcript is below the webinar:


Now what do Target, Sony, and Home Depot all have in common? They have all been targets of hackers. Most people think that hacking is something that just happens to being businesses, but actually that’s not the case. You can be hacked whether you are a business, whether you are an individual. Hackers are an equal opportunity, and they will come after you whether you have a large business, a small business, or even if you’re an individual. Today what we’re going to do is to talk about how to identify the true credible threats to your business. Not everything that you read about that could potentially ever happen but the 20% of those threats that are most likely to happen to your business and how you can prevent them from destroying your business.

The first thing that you want to do is identify what is the weakest link in my business that would allow hackers access to our computers, our website, to our data. For the majority of businesses the weakest link is our people. It goes without saying we have seen the enemy and it is us. We are our own worst enemy when it comes to security for our business for several different reasons. One is security is boring. It’s not revenue; it’s not sales; it’s not marketing; it’s not all the things that stay top of mind; it’s not a sexy topic; and it’s also something that people just don’t want to think about. It is cumbersome to secure your business. It makes things more challenging because there’s more layers to go through so it’s not quite as easy to get things done, and it makes things more difficult.

If it’s not easy, a lot of people just don’t want to do it, but it’s worth it. Securing your business is worth it, and I am going to share some examples with you of colleagues, of vendors that I know of who have been hacked who have lost a ton of data, and what happened in those situations.

Now there’s three different areas that hackers are most likely to target. The first is your email, the second is your computer, and the third is your website. We’re going to be taking a look at each one of those targets and how you can prevent a hacker from accessing any of these for your business. If you have any questions as we go through the webinar, please feel free to type them in the chat window and I will get to them at the end of the webinar. I do that so that we can keep things brief for people who need to keep it to 30 minutes, but I will stay as long as you have questions.

First let’s talk about email. This is a real scenario that happened to one of my colleagues. He had an email account that got hacked and somehow the hacker was able to access, through his email, his PayPal account. The hacker took money from my colleague’s PayPal account and told him he would give it back to him once he got a meeting with him. He basically held his email and his PayPal account for ransom. This is a real threat and email is the most likely place that a hacker is going to access your business. This is the most important layer of security that you can have.

The best way to protect your email is with a secure password. By a secure password I mean something like this. This is a very secure password. It’s not a word that you will find in the dictionary. It uses letters, both lower case and upper case, numbers, and special characters. Even though this sounds like something that you would never in a million years be able to remember on your own, I am going to recommend a piece of software that I actually use called Last Pass. It is a password protection program that generates secure passwords and remembers them for you. I literally don’t know the passwords to any of my apps. I don’t know the password for my email, for my WordPress site, for PayPal, for Amazon – none of it. Last Pass knows it and it protects it for me. This is a program that I have used for several years now. I highly recommend it. They have a free version and a paid version. They were recently voted by members and readers over at Life Hacker as the top password protection program available. If you’re using a password protection program – Last Pass is what generated this password for me – you don’t really have to worry about that.

You also want to make sure that as far as your username you’re not using anything like admin and that you’re not giving your email credentials to anyone else, anybody in your business, people who work for you, colleagues, vendors, developers. They do not get access to that. If anybody needs access to my accounts I share it through Last Pass, which has the ability to share passwords with people without them seeing it, so they get access to an account and you can see who’s accessed it.

The second way that you can protect your email is do not open attachments from unfamiliar senders. This is the number one way that hackers get access to your email and then eventually your computer, is they’ll send you an email. They make it look like it’s from someone you know. It has an attachment. You open it and it’s malware. It’s a virus that then will attack your hard drive. You don’t want to open attachments unless you know the person who’s sending it. I also recommend using an email provider that has really good spam protection. The best one out there is Gmail. I use Gmail and I just don’t ever have to worry about spam at all. I highly recommend using an email provider that’s going to protect you from spam email, because that’s where most of these are going to come from.

Now ransomware is a kind of a virus. What happens with it is a hacker will get access to your computer and it will freeze your hard drive and not give you access to it until you pay a ransom. Then once you do, you get your hard drive back. This is a real thing that’s happening. I have links here to two articles and I’m going to share one of these articles with you that is just excellent. It’s from the New York Times by Alina Simone. The article is “How My Mom Got Hacked.” I read this article and the summary of it is, this reporter’s mother was a stay-at-home mom, does not have a business. She just had basically photos on her computer and opened an attachment from someone she didn’t know. They made it look like they knew her. Ransomware, which is a virus, took over her computer and she saw a screen that said, “Your files are encrypted. To get the key to decrypt the files you have to pay $500. If you fail to pay within a week the price will go up to $1,000,” and after that all of the files on her computer would be lost.

Well long story short, this woman did pay the money. She got her files back but ultimately you don’t want it to get to that point. If it did you could use antivirus software to get this virus off of your computer, but this is a real thing that’s happening, so you want to protect yourself from this, mostly just by being very careful about the attachments that you open. That’s exactly how this mom got hacked.

Jan 13

How to Automate Your Social Media Marketing [WEBINAR EXCERPT]

By Maria Peagler

Here’s a sneak peek at December’s bonus webinar on How to Automate Your Social Media Marketing, which is one of the most-frequently asked questions I get at Here’s how to do it correctly without losing the personal touch and “secret sauce” your brand is known for. Transcript is below the video:



Maria Peagler: The most important conversation that we’re going to have is what can you automate, what should you automate, and what should you not automate. Let’s take a look at what you can automate first. Now this is a big list but this is actually what I am automating as of December 2014. I automate a lot of backend administrative and content tasks that simply don’t require my hands on. They can be done by someone else.

Now one of the easiest ways to automate this is to delegate it. If you have a colleague, if you have a team member or a virtual assistant, these are things that you can give to them. What I’m going to show you is how to even automate that process in delegating things. The number one thing that I’m going to show you how to do is how to automate your social media posting, but there are other things like sharing files with colleagues. Anything that is a recurring process that you do over and over again, even if it’s just once a month, you can automate. We create a content library here with a very simple automation process that we’re not directly involved in whatsoever. I’ll show you how we do that.

Creating a blog post, now this is not something that I recommend that you do on a regular basis but for certain instances creating a blog post automatically makes a lot of sense. I have clients, our social media service clients, who are on the road 50 weeks a year. They do not have time, nor do their team, to write a blog post. We have come up with some really innovative and exclusive ways that you are not going to see anywhere else for how to automatically create content for your blog. Again, I’ll be showing you that.

You can automatically shorten URLs for new content. You can get reminders via text message. In fact, I got an automatic reminder today of this bonus webinar on my phone. One of my favorite things to do is to dictate my to do list into my phone and it’s saved to Evernote. I have my contacts added automatically to email marketing lists so that I don’t have to do that and neither does my VA. I have actually tasked my virtual assistant with becoming an expert in this process because the more things that we can take off of her plate the more productive things that she can do, which means that frees up my time.

If you ever survey people on what they want from you, you can save their responses automatically to a spreadsheet. If you use any kind of project management tool you can create new projects. I do this as well and I’m going to show you how I do that. Every time I get a new Twitter follower I save the follower’s name, bio, and follower count into a spreadsheet. That shows me who my followers are, who has the most followers, and what they do. I can send tasks automatically to a virtual assistant and I can add content using a few keystrokes, and that’s actually one of my favorites, because anything that you type over and over again you can actually assign that to a few keystrokes and it creates a nice shortcut for you.

Now the apps that I use for automation are a lot. I don’t want you to feel like this is an overwhelming list. I’m going to explain each one of these briefly and tell you what they do. Then I’ll be giving you a little bit of a tour of each and how I use them. Hootsuite and Sprout Social are both social media posting automation tools that allow you to post to one social network and have it go to others as well. You can also schedule posts with those, but these two tools take a little bit of a different approach. Buffer is also an app that people use for that, TweetDeck, there’s a whole bunch of them out there.

Evernote is a note taking tool and for more than that. I did a blog post last week of some of my favorite productivity tools and I explained why I like Evernote in there. I’m not going to have time today to go through and demo everything but if you have not tried Evernote I highly recommend it.
I use WordPress to automate a lot of stuff I do; Dropbox, which is a file sharing application. Text Expander is one of my favorite apps, and it is a browser-based app. You download it onto your computer and it will type in things that you have to type often every day, like your email signature, a link that you have to do a lot, any kind of repetitive content. For customer support we use this a lot because some of our responses are the same over and over again. I’m going to show you how I use that. is a great URL shortener. Then all these social networks: Vimeo, which is for video; YouTube; Facebook; Twitter; LinkedIn; and Instagram. You can automate posting to all of these.

Now that does not mean that I recommend that you always post via automation. What I recommend is that you decide which is going to be your main social network and write your posts for that, and then you can automate some of the others. For example, my main social network is Facebook, and then I automate the posts the others. Pinvolve is an app that I use solely to post to Pinterest [inaudible 00:06:24]. Ifttt stands for If Then Then That. It is an automation app; that’s all it does. If there is a task that you do online it’s very likely that ifttt can automate it. If not, then another automation called Zapier can automate it for you. I will be demonstrating both of those.

Then the last one I use is Trello, which is a project management tool. I can automate projects for those. That’s a little bit about the type of task that you can automate and what my favorite apps are for automation. Now what are some of the things that you should not automate? Not that you can’t automate but what you shouldn’t automate. Because you can set up a process for almost anything. You should not automate your secret sauce, and that’s your personal touch. Social media listening: posting on social media isn’t going to do you any good if you don’t respond to people if they have a question. You need to make sure that you are in social media every day responding to people. Engagement: when people are liking and commenting and sharing you need to thank them for that and encourage them to do that. Customer support: absolutely not. That is one of the most important things you will ever do. The same thing with content creation. Your content is your secret sauce and you want to make sure that you do not outsource or automate your content creation to somebody who doesn’t know your brand.

Also anything that needs a critical analysis like social media measurement. You need to be able to analyze your analytics when it comes to social media traffic, financials, and you need to be the one doing that. You don’t ever want to automate that or outsource it. Again, content creation: that’s something that takes a critical eye, and you don’t want to automate that. Now that we’ve looked at what you can automate, let’s look at how you can automate some of these things.


my favorite business books
Jan 06

My Favorite 15+ Books for Small Business Owners

By Maria Peagler

my favorite business books

What’s the one thing profitable business owners have in common?

They’re lifelong learners.

After all, if you generate profits in your business year after year, you need to stay up-to-date on your industry, how business practices change, and how to stay current.

As an author, I’m a voracious reader, not only of fiction, but non-fiction business books. Today I’m sharing with you those business books that helped the bottom line of my business.

415-zyGlFSL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_1.  Less Doing More Living

Author: Ari Miesel

This book was one of my favorites of 2014. Written by a Ari Miesel, a business owner who has a debilitating disease and is the father of twins, who found a way to automate much of his business. I’m usually not a big fan of automation tactics, as they remove any personal touch your clients need from you. But Ari developed an online productivity system to automate much of the behind-the-scenes, freeing you up for the customer touchpoint tasks. I was able to save hundreds of hours and literally thousands of dollars by using his methods.  He has perfected the art of automating his business and his life so he can focus on the priorities needing most of his attention.

Favorite Highlight

“According to the 80/20 rule, I should be focusing on only the things that only I can do, like creating original content for the blog.  Everything else should be handled by someone else.”

41Qn40zaexL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_2.  The Checklist Manifesto

Author:  Atul Gawande

One of my favorite business books of all time.  I’ve recommended this book often and cannot emphasize enough how the process of creating a checklist helps me to document lengthy and complex processes and train my staff how to do them as well. Gwande shares examples of critical professions relying on checklists to avoid loss of life, such as architects, engineers and World Health Organization surgeons.

Favorite Highlight

“But finding a good idea is apparently not that hard.  Finding an entrepreneur who can execute a good idea is another matter entirely.  One needs a person who can take an idea from proposal to reality, work the long hours, build a team, handle the pressures and setbacks, manage technical and people problems alike, and stick with the effort for years on end without getting distracted or going insane.  Such people are rare and extremely hard to spot.”

download3.  Anything You Want

Author: Derek Sivers

A slim, yet invaluable book from Derek Sivers on his journey from being a music lover who coded a simple program to founder of CD Baby, selling it for over 21 million dollars.  What I love about this book is Derek’s candid story of ups and downs in his journey, and his advice on enjoying your own and not getting swallowed by sharks.  Derek has done multiple TED talks and is generous with his time, answering questions via email from readers on his website.  I asked him a question for my son about going into the music business, and we was kind and open with his advice.

Favorite Highlights

“Never forget absolutely everything you do is for your customers.  Make every decision – even decisions about whether to expand the business, raise money, or promote someone – according to what’s best for your customers.”

“It’s counterintuitive, but the best way to grow your business is to focus entirely on your existing customers: just thrill them, and they’ll tell everyone.”

51HtHc4sTvL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_4.  12 Week Year

Author: Brian Moran

I almost didn’t include this book in this year-end list because the author, Brian Moran, was decidedly curt when I reached out to him about an issue on his website.  However, I have gotten such tremendous results using this method I would be remiss in not mentioning it. Brian’s method recommends intense focus on a few goals over a 12-week period, even scoring yourself on your efforts and results.  I’ve been using his method for an entire year, and I can report I’ve gotten better results working with his method on my own than in hiring “experts” to tackle the same problem.

Favorite Highlight

“In 12 week planning, you identify the top one to three things that will have the greatest impact, and pursue those with intensity.”

515vWYjaFzL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_5.  The First 20 Hours

Author:  Josh Kaufman

A similar book to the 12 Week Year, but Josh Kaufman’s (The Personal MBA) focus is on mastering a skill in a short period of time – 20 hours to be exact.  What I loved about this book is similar to what Tim Ferriss does in his 4 Hour Chef: Josh recommends breaking down the skill set you need to learn and identifying the critical elements you need to master.

Favorite Highlight

“What feels like the long way is the shortest way. Zero-practice shortcuts don’t exist. No practice, no skill acquisition. It’s as simple as that.”

41Jl9XR0HqL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_6.  4 Hour Chef

Author: Tim Ferriss

As a gourmet cook, I didn’t read Tim Ferriss’ book to learn how to master cooking. Instead, I read it to learn how to “hack” learning, which is what Tim is REALLY teaching in this book, using cooking as the vehicle.  Tim figured out the key to quick learning early on working for Berlitz — the foreign language company — and applied those same tactics to other learning disciplines.  He distills the quick-learning principles to acronyms easy to remember like CAFE and DSSS, and these tactics help me learn quickly in an industry that changes daily.

Favorite Highlight

“The lowest volume, the lowest frequency, the fewest changes that get us our desired results is what I label minimum effective dose (MED). It’s a broad concept that applies to almost any field.”

41O9Zptxu7L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_7.  168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think

Author: Laura Vanderkam

I interviewed Laura Vanderkahm on the blog here after reading her book about time management. I hesitate to call it a time management book, because I’ve decidedly eschewed those in favor of smarter approaches to life and how I choose to spend my time.  Laura’s book is an eye-opener into how much time we all REALLY have, how we spend it, and how there truly is enough time in the day to do everything you need and want.

Favorite Highlight

“Once you know what you want to do in the next year, you can break this down into what you want to do in the next month (120 – 240 hours) or week (24 – 26 hours). On Sunday nights, or before the start of your workweek, sit down and list the actionable tasks you need to do to advance you toward these goals. Then, this is the key part: schedule them in, knowing exactly how long they will take.”

download (1)8.  Delivering Happiness

Author: Tony Hsei

Tony claims this book is all about how Zappos delivers an over-the-top customer service experience.  I view it as the bible for anyone who wants to turn a boring business into a global brand that never competes on price. The shoe business was about as exciting as watching paint dry, until Tony turned it upside down with fun, great teamwork and amazing customer service.  A must read.

Favorite Highlight

“I realized that, whatever the vision was for any business, there was always a bigger vision that could make the table bigger. When Southwest Airlines first started, they didn’t see their target market as just limited to existing air travelers, which was what all other airlines did. Instead, they imaged their service as something that could potentially serve all the people who traveled by Greyhound bus or train, and they designed their business around that.”

51gn6AuFkNL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_9.  The Lean Startup

Author: Eric Ries

If you’ve heard the terms minimum viable product, pivot and lean, then you’ll understand the impact Eric Ries has had on the startup industry over the past five years.  Eric tells the story of how his failing tech business learned to stop guessing at what customers wanted and actually interacted with them and making tiny improvements along the way.

Favorite Highlight

“Success is not delivering a feature; success is learning how to solve the customer’s problem.”

10. Mastering Evernote

Author: Brandon Collins

I finally got on the Evernote bandwagon in 2012 and this small Kindle book helped me figure out how to customize my experience in Evernote.  As great a product as Evernote is, I never found it intuitive to use, which is why it took me so long to adopt it into my business toolkit.  This book finally got me using it like a pro.

Favorite Tip

Add most-used notes to the the shortcut bar so you don’t have to search for them repeatedly.

download (2)11.  Moonwalking with Einstein

Author: Joshua Foer


Not a business book per se, but a fascinating read at how regular people can develop super-memories. I’ve been able to pump up my own memory with these techniques, and help my son do so for college exams.  Not a how-to book, but a telling of one reporter’s story of covering the world memory championships, to challenging a participant to coach him in memory techniques, to winning the championship the next year. Truly a fun book to read.

Favorite Highlight

“The more we pack our lives with memories, the slower time seems to fly.”

51GWfhjxetL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_12.  The Stupidly Simple Way to Backup

Author: Christian O. Schilling

An inexpensive Amazon Kindle book that has a smart strategy for backing up your life and business (and what you don’t need to backup): personal photos, application purchases, etc.  I’ve been days away from a book deadline when my home was struck by lightning, killing all the electronic equipment in the house.  My backup saved me!

Favorite Highlight

“I save all my application serial codes within my password application. If I ever need to install an application again, I just download it from the web and look up my password in 1Password (or LastPass).”

download (3)13. The Power of Visual Storytelling

Authors: Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio

2014 was the year of the image in marketing, and has forever raised the bar for our expectations of visual communication online. It’s no longer enough to have great content: it needs stunning visuals to accompany it, and Ekaterina Walter’s book talks about this phenomenon, how it has impacted business, and her favorite tools for creating images (even if you’re not a photographer or graphic designer).  Listen to my interview with Ekaterina here, then see case studies of small brands using visual storytelling here.

Favorite Highlight

 “. . . usage of visuals has resulted in a social media era that rewards creativity.”

download (4)14. Thinkertoys

Author: Michael Michalko

Michael is a genius at structuring creative exercises that get you thinking beyond the everyday. I’ve used his techniques to develop formats for my infographics, identify new features for my products and far more.

Favorite Technique

Lotus Blossom Diagramming

download (5)15.  The Ultimate Sales Machine

Author: Chet Holmes

Chet breaks down the sales process for people who don’t think they’re salespeople.  My favorite parts of his process are “pig-headed persistence,” identify your six to do’s everyday, and discovering the common characteristics among your perfect customers.

Favorite Highlight

“The key to being productive is to stick to the six most important things you need get done that day. “

illust-ebook16. Virtual Freedom

Author Chris Ducker

Chris owns a VA placement service, and often exaggerates what a VA can do in this book.  However, I appreciated much of his management and bonus strategies for VAs and have used them myself.

Favorite Highlight

“Request a list of the VA’s personal recommendations for your business. This could include potential products, ways to better serve your customers, or any tools or training that would help your VA do her job better.”

I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of my favorite books for small business owners.  What are your favorites? Add to this list in the comments below!

100 social media resources 2014 post
Dec 16

100+ Social Media Marketing Resources from 2014

By Admin Tester

100 social media resources 2014 post

Every week here at we give you a list of our most recent resources with our Weekly Top 5: your lessons, infographics, webinars, and articles. For the first time ever, we’ve gathered all those resources from this year into one GINORMOUS list for you, making it uber-easy to find what you need to grow your business using social media marketing.


Social Media Strategy

  1. My Social Media Presentations, Templates and Videos
  2. First 100 Days of 2013 Challenge: Creating a Social Media Action Plan
  3. Marketing Infographics on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Social Media Strategy & More
  4. The Ultimate Guide to Productivity Tools for Small Business
  5. How to Automate Your Social Media Marketing: Webinar, Slide Deck, Audio & Infographic*
  6. Content Generation Infographic
  7. How to Give Thanks to Your Audience Using Social Media
  8. Where is Your Most Profitable Network Hiding?
  9. Social Media Engagement Swipe File
  10. How a Local Business Uses Social Media as Their ONLY Marketing
  11. How to Avoid Freebie Seekers in the Sharing Economy
  12. 7 Surprising Secrets I Learned from Beauty Vloggers
  13. What Millennials Need to Know About Social Media for Business
  14. Which Tool is Best for Scheduling Social Media Posts for Multiple Clients?*
  15. How to Write a Press Release That Doesn’t Get Ignored*
  16. How to Find Your Most Profitable Marketing
  17. How to Use Hashtags Across Social Networks*
  18. What You Need to Know BEFORE You Do Social Media Marketing in Europe
  19. How to Go on Vacation without Abandoning Your Business
  20. What’s New in Social Media: 3rd Quarter Round-Up
  21. How We Wecome You at SMOC (or How to Onboard Your Clients)
  22. Beyond Strategy: How’s Your Social Media Execution?
  23. Why Your Social Media Marketing Isn’t Generating Revenue
  24. How to Rebrand Yourself and Launch a New Career
  25. The One Thing You Should Do on Social Media Every Day
  26. Online Training for Different Learning Styles: Social Media Training
  27. The Learn Startup Approach to Education in America: Minimum Viable Education
  28. New Cheat Sheets in Your Swipe File
  29. Learn How to Build Your Own Stock Photo Library Using Your iPhone
  30. Most Popular Articles from the First Half of 2014
  31. Our Top Presentations — Get ‘Em Here!
  32. This Surprising Social Network Outperforms All Others*
  33. Want Us to Do Your Social Media?  We Do That!
  34. The State of Social Media for Small Business
  35. Great Hashtag Contest by YesToCarrots
  36. The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Local Business
  37. How Can I Rebrand My Business?*
  38. What’s a Good Click-Through Percentage?*
  39. Small Business Websites Live or Die by These Reviews*
  40. How to Get Your Business in Front of 10,000 Visitors Every Month*
  41. Advice on Starting a Local Social Media Marketing Business**
  42. Unified Social Media Strategy: Content+Website+Social+SEO+Email
  43. Help! How Do I Market a Painful Business (Literally!)?*
  44. Redesigned Social Media Strategy Class: 2014 Edition
  45. Download Your Online Marketing Multi-Tool Bonus
  46. Have You Updated Your Marketing Strategy Yet?
  47. How to Use Infographics to Increase Your Search Engine Rank*
  48. Online Marketing Multi-Tool*
  49. Never Again Be at a Loss for Your Next Blog Post*
  50. Create Your Own Branded Images*
  51. Your First Online Store: Webinar, Audio, Slide Deck & Infographic
  52. 2014′s Best Social Media Marketing Infographics
  53. New Cheat Sheets in Your Swipe File
  54. What to Look for in Online Social Media Training
  55. How to Write a Blog Post in 10 Minutes Flat
  56. Press Release Template*
  57. How to Allow Visitors to Submit Blog Posts & Images to your Blog*
  58. How a #1 Local Business Monetizes Social Media Marketing
  59. Most Effective Way to Pitch a Guest Post to Top Bloggers*


  1. Facebook Marketing Infographic
  2. How to Reach More of Your Facebook Fans and Get Higher Engagement
  3. How Facebook Just Made Your Life Easier*
  4. How Often Should I Post to Facebook in 2014?*
  5. How to Get Double Duty from Every Facebook Post*
  6. What Facebook ISN’T Telling You About Its Latest Business Page Redesign
  7. HUGE Facebook News: Google Search Now Links to FB Posts Using Hashtags
  8. How to EASILY Increase Your Facebook Post Reach*
  9. How to Create a Facebook Timeline with a Clickable Button*
  10. New Timeline Design Goes LIVE this Week — Are You Ready?*
  11. Facebook 2014 Changes — What You Need to Know*
  12. Website Images Won’t Appear on Facebook Post Links*
  13. How to Find Which Apps You Have Installed on Facebook*
  14. Facebook Like Box *
  15. How to Boost a Post, Create an Ad Using FB Ad Manager*
  16. The Most Successful Small Business Advertiser on FB*
  17. Facebook’s Changes to Business Page Timelines & NewsFeeds*
  18. How to Stay on Top of Facebook’s Latest Changes*
  19. Facebook Changes 2014 Checklist *
  20. Five New Videos in Facebook 101*
  21. How Can I Ensure My Facebook Posts Are Seen by the Public?*
  22. How Do I Ask My FB Friends to Like My Page?*
  23. New Videos in Facebook 101*
  24. Contests & Fundraising on Facebook*
  25. Facebook Doesn’t Offer a Category for My Business?  What to Do?*
  26. Facebook 103 is Entirely New for 2014*
  27. How to Generate 1,200% ROI on a $50 Facebook Ad
  28. Easy Facebook Ads on a Budget
  29. Facebook Primer for Small Business*
  30.  Facebook Marketing Infographic*
  31. SMOC Forum Focus-Facebook


  1. How to Do a Blog Tour*
  2. How you can use Visual Content to Make your Marketing “Sticky” with your Audience
  3. Three Brands and How they use Visual Content in their Marketing
  4. Social Media Manager Learning Track
  5. Your First Online Store
  6. How to Find Your Target Market*
  7. Visual Storytelling: Video Case Studies
  8. Free Hootsuite How-To Video*
  9. How to Get More Sales from Your Website 1
  10. How to Create a Stock Photo Library
  11. How to Get More Sales from Your Website 2
  12. How to Get More Sales from Your Website 3
  13. Outsourcing Your Social Media Marketing*
  14. How to Brand & Watermark Your Images*
  15. How to Outsource Your Social Media*
  16. Social Media for Local Business*
  17. Content Marketing Made Simple*
  18. Member Website & Social Media Critique*
  19. Easy Facebook Ads on a Budget *
  20. 1:1 Coaching with Maria for SMOC Members*
  21. How to Get More Sales from Your Website 4


  1. What’s the Perfect Size for a Pinterest Pin?*
  2. Pinterest 101 – Updated to Newest User Interface Design*
  3. Profitable Pinterest Marketing
  4. Pinterest Contest Swipe File*
  5. How to Make a Pinterest Pin Go Viral Even before Your Website Launches*


  1. How a Brand Differentiates Themselves on Twitter
  2. How to Differentiate Your Brand on Twitter in Just 10 Seconds*
  3. The Difference Between Twitter’s Retweet Button and @RT*
  4. Twitter Image Size Cheat Sheet*

Google Plus

  1. Should I Use a Google+ Business or Personal Account for My Marketing?*
  2. Google+ Circles Impact on SEO*
  3. Should You Use Google+ for Business, Personal, or Both?*


  1. LinkedIn Sales Checklist Infographic: 5 Ways to Rock Your Profile & Generate Leads
  2. LinkedIn Master Tactic: Search a Colleague’s Contact List*
  3. LinkedIn Quietly Removes Activity Feed from Profiles*


  1. Instagram Marketing Infographic
  2. How to Make Photos from Followers are Visible on Instagram*
  3. Instagram 101 Debuts This Month!*


  1. How to Customize Your YouTube Channel with a Welcome Trailer*
  2. Multiple Businesses Need Multiple YouTube Channels?*


  1. WordPress 101 is all new for 2014*
  2. In Between Jobs & Learning WordPress?*


  1. How to Identify Your Most Profitable Keywords for SEO*
  2. SMOC Forum Focus-SEO


  1. Slideshare 101 is All New in Our “Chunked” 10-Minute-a-Day Format!*

* Indicates Members-Only Content

Dec 12

How to Develop a Blog Tour [WEBINAR EXCERPT]

By Maria Peagler

Here’s a sneak peek at November’s bonus webinar on How to Develop a Blog Tour, which is how I went from unknown to Amazon’s Top 10 for my self-published book. A blog tour is an excellent publicity tactic no matter what your business — it’s definitely not just for authors.

Transcript is below the video:




So first of all, what is a Blog Tour?

Well, a blog tour is a publicity tour you see celebrities do this for movies you see authors do it for books they go on a book tour and they go to a lot of different bookstores and sign books and do readings.

Celebrities do this when they have a movie coming out it seems like they make the rounds of all the talk shows and they do it over a fixed period of time so basically, a blog tour is a publicity tour but the difference is it’s all online, and that provides some distinct advantages that I’m going to share with you in just a moment and, the third thing that identifies a blog tour is its done over a fixed period of time and that’s important and that’s one a thing that has people saying “I see you everywhere “is because you’re not just showing up randomly you’re doing this over a fixed window of times so that it seems like your target audience is constantly seeing your message over a short time period.

So, let’s take a look at each of this moving pieces on how they work together in doing a blog tour .

First of all, what I’m going to be sharing with you is how I promoted this book it’s called “ColorMastery 10 principles for creating stunning quilts” and this is a self-publish book I’ve written 8 books only 2 of them have been self-publish but I was unknown in the quilting field and selling a book on color is difficult and no one really wanted to publish this so, I did it myself ,and it was a very expensive book to publish it cost $25,000 to have 3 copies printed and to have it produced and my timing was really not good.

Now, when I’m going to that in just a moment but what I’m going to share with you is how I did a blog tour to launch this product and how you can do the same.

Now, my goal for ColorMastery was to sell out of 3,000 copies in 1 year that was a reasonable goal and in fact, it was pretty ambitious because the average self-publish author sells about a hundred books that seems like that’s hard to believe but it’s true they sell a hundred books the average commercially publish author sells a thousand books so, I was actually being very ambitious in wanting to sell out in a year so here’s what I did.

I develop a publicity tour and the great thing about this publicity tour was I was able to target my audience so I identified who my readers would be and there quilters `because it’s a quilting book and so I identified the top quilting blogs that I thought would make good targets for my audience and, I ended up appearing on those blogs and sharing my content with people who would be in my target audience so I appeared over quilting blogs.

It was all online and the beauty of doing this online is first of all forever publicity it’s not like and ad where you pay for and then it’s gone.

The blog tour that I did is still online.

It is still generating publicity for me and literally I had a woman called this week to see if she could get a hundred copies of ColorMastery she can’t unfortunately because it’s out of print but that blog tour is still working for me and it will work do the same for you as well and involves no travel which is such a beautiful part of this blog tour because most publicity tours are notorious money losers, when an author goes on a book tour they never recoup that money.

It’s the kind of thing where bookstores will order a ton of books to make a big splash and then the once they don’t sell they return to the publisher. If travels is expensive and it’s a lot easier if you don’t have to schedule all of that and then the third thing that makes all online attractive is it’s affordable you don’t have a lot of cost involve other than your time or somebody that you hire to help you develop a blog tour there’s not a lot of travel accommodations there’s not a lot of things that you have to spend for to do a blog tour.

The third thing is that a blog tour is over a fixed period of time and the reason that this is important is because you can do publicity all year long but when it’s spread out it doesn’t have as much of an impact so, I did my blog tour over 10 days it was over 2 business weeks, 5 days the first week 5 days the second week and so it had a very large impact over a short period of time now,I could have done the same thing and done a blog tour over 10 months and done 1 guest post a month but it would not nearly of have the significant impact that my blog tour did by doing it over such a short period of time, and I literally had after my blog tour other quilt designers say”I see you everywhere” and it was funny because I wasn’t everywhere I was just everywhere they were.

Now, I had done a good job in identifying my audience and so my readers and my colleagues were seeing me in a lot of places because it’s a small community and so, they were seeing me in all the right places so remember my goal it was to sell out in 1 year. So, what was my result?

Well, I went from unknown in my field of quilting to Amazon’s top 10 after that blog tour .So, In 2 weeks, I went from unknown to Amazon’s top 10 for the quilting category and that is not for a kindle book ,no e-book here this was for a paperback with 200 photos and illustrations.

For color it was very expensive and I sold out in half the time.I sold out in 6 months and I went on to sell 80 times the industry average for a self-publish author.

Remember they sell a hundred books well,I sold 8000 over 2 printings. So, what I’m going to do is show you how that you can develop your blog tour no matter what kind of brand you have whether you have a product whether you have a service I just want to assure you that no matter what kind of business you have a blog tour will work for you.