Today’s Protalk tip is brought to you by Jo-Anne Peck of Historic Shed.

I’ve spent most of my career as a Historic Preservation Consultant serving a niche market for government agencies and engineering firms meeting state and federal regulations. Marketing was minimal though, with most contracts obtained through established contacts or in response to formal Requests for Proposals. However, things changed dramatically in the marketing department for us a few years ago when my husband and I decided to branch out and start a custom shed manufacturing business.

The idea to build custom sheds came from one of our consulting jobs. We had been hired to work on a highway improvement project that ran through the middle of a National Historic Landmark District. The project required that 64 historic homes be moved out of the way of the highway and rehabilitated. Built mostly in the 1910s, few of the houses had sheds or garages on the property. People loved the rehabilitated homes with their high ceilings, beadboard walls and built-in cabinets, but the one complaint that we heard was that they had no place to store their lawn equipment. Knowing that the local historic preservation board would not allow any of the standard pre-manufactured sheds within the historic district, we realized that there was an untapped niche market in our area. We also knew that we were perfectly skilled to fill that market for historic homeowners with my preservation design experience and my husband’s contracting background.

So far, it has been an interesting experiment, and one that has been more fulfilling than expected. However, there has been a big learning curve. Many of our early plans and assumptions have had to adjust as we’ve learned more about our customers’ needs and the realities of building and transporting shop-built structures. The biggest hurdle though has been to let everyone know that a previously unavailable product now exists. Luckily, with our previous consulting business, we know which historic neighborhoods to market to, and have many people who already respect our knowledge. The trick has been to learn how to market in a way that speaks to them.

Here are a few basic things we have learned about marketing a custom product to a niche market:

  • Be clear about what added features or functions you are offering. Figure out how to explain this value to your customer in a straightforward way. It may be obvious to you how what you are offering is better than the norm, but to the customer who is not intimately aware of your business, it needs to be clearly stated.
  • Speak the language of your niche customer. Know the terms that appeal to them and show that you are not an outsider.
  • Do not try to be all things to all people. Focus your product/ service message and target your advertising. That is the point of finding a niche.
  • Be open to tangential markets that may also be interested in your product or services, but be careful not to get sidetracked (for us, it has been artists looking for attractive backyard studios, regardless of the age and style of home they own). Also, notice potential submarkets within your niche and consider tailoring your services or products to meet their needs (for example, there is a growing group of urban chicken farmers within the historic districts in our area, making custom chicken coops a potential product for us to offer).
  • Avoid the ‘lowest price” marketing mentality. As the adage goes, you can compete on price, quality or service, but never more than two at a time. When you serve a niche market, quality and service are the basis of your business.
  • Avoid sales and discounts. Sales devalue the product and make existing customers feel taken advantage of. Price things fair for both you and the customer. If you feel the need to have an incentive, try offering a bonus product, an upgrade, or a follow-up service.
  • Find a way to display yourself differently from the other guys. Make your product packaging, ads and website stand out and reflect your higher standards.
  • Ask for referrals. Once you find an ideal customer that fits your niche, there is a good chance that they know someone else with similar interests or needs.
  • Find complementary companies that also serve your market and see if you can team up. It may be as simple as allowing your brochures to be placed on their sales counter or adding links on each other’s websites. Or consider offering a combination package where both your services/ products are purchased together for cross marketing. For example, we could team up with a pond designer to offer a potting shed and custom pond package.
  • Find non-profits that serve your niche markets. Buy ads and sponsorships in their newsletters and event fliers when the opportunity arises. It reaches your market directly while reflecting positively on your company. Sometimes there is bonus PR. And often it is very reasonably priced.
  • Offer to write articles and blog posts for niche related websites and publications. It establishes you as an expert in customer’s minds.
  • Reevaluate periodically to make sure you are being clear with your message. We learned this lesson through our Facebook page. We thought we were doing great with our Facebook marketing, entertaining our growing pool of fans with photos of our sheds, along with historic images of other outbuildings, getting lots of Likes and Comments. Then we had a comment from someone who wrote, “I wish someone still built like this” under a photo of one of our sheds, thinking that it was a well-kept old shed. We now note “built by Historic Shed” under all photos of our work.

If you liked this post, stop by Historic Shed’s page and give it a like on Facebook.

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by Miriam on Dec 5, 2012

Today’s ProTalk tip is brought to you by Ish Laos, founder of Webstuffguy.

If you were to go see a doctor, how strange would it be if the doctor just handed you a bunch of prescriptions before he/she even gave you an examination?  Yet that is what often happens when we try to make our website search engine optimization (SEO) friendly. The key to success is to first diagnose where your website is falling short, or lacking. Fortunately for us, there are some wonderful free tools out there to help us do just that.  Wait… Did I mention they were FREE?

What I want to do is share with you some of my favorite tools that I use whenever I want to evaluate a client’s website.  While researching your own website, it is important to know who your toughest competitor is as well.  That is, which competitor of yours is ranked higher in Google searches.  Go ahead, do a test.  Go to Google and enter in the keywords that your prospects are most likely to enter in order to find your website.

**Please note:  If you have an active Google account, it is important that you sign out of Google before running any search results.  Google is biased, and if you are logged in, it will pull up your website way ahead of where it would normally be to the unsuspecting client.  So make sure you are signed out.

So how bad is it? Or how good is it?  If you are at the very top, then congratulations!  You can now stop reading this.  For everyone else, let’s carry on!

Now that you know who your competition is, let’s move onto my top 5 free SEO tools to help you diagnose your website.

Tool #1 - Open Site Explorer by SEOMOZ

What it is:  To put it short, it’s a backlink investigation tool.  Your site’s backlinks play a vital role in your site’s ability to rank well in search engines.  Backlinking is like a popularity contest.  Picture the days back in high school.  If the star quarterback went around telling everyone that you are the coolest kid in school, how would that raise your popularity amongst your peers?  Now what if the most unpopular kid in high school said you were the coolest?  How much would that do for you then?

It’s the same thing with websites. Think of a monster website that receives thousands of hits per day.  If they were to backlink to you, that is, if they were to leave a link to your website on their own website, Google would consider you very relevant.  This in return will catapult you into search engine relevancy.   The idea is to have as many reputable websites backlink to yours.  Got it?

How it helps: See who is linking to your website, and how it’s helping you.  More importantly, put in your top competitor’s website instead and see who links to them.

How to use it:  Find out who links to your competitors website.  After all, there is a reason why they rank so high.  It may be because of the link juice they are getting from other big time sites.  Find out who those sites are, and why they are linking to your competitor.  Get in on that link juice.  Figure out how they could link to you as well.  Be creative, give them something in return, or figure out a reason for them to backlink to you.  Keep it fun. 

Tool #2 - Google Adwords Keyword Tool 

What it is:  When attracting potential prospects, it’s important to speak their language.  What keywords are your prospects entering into Google in order to find your company?  If your website is not optimized  with the correct keyword phrases, you could be missing out on potential customers.

How it helps: This keyword tool will help you understand what keywords your prospects are typing in, in order to find a business like yours.  Use this tool to get the right keywords and put them directly into the content of your website, preferably on your homepage.  This way Google has a better understanding of what you sell/offer and in return will hopefully pull up your website the next time those keywords are entered by a prospect.

How to use it:   Once you select a querying method, the tool allows you to break down the results using a variety of filters, match types and keyword term inclusion/exclusion lists.  Familiarize yourself with this panel.  I promise it will come in handy.  For more information on the Keyword Tool, click

Tool #3 - Rank Checker

What it is:  One of my favorite tools!  Find out where your site ranks for certain keyword searches.  You decide which keywords to use, then see how your site does alongside your competitors.  Rank checker will not only give you Google results, but Yahoo and Bing as well!

How it helps:   When armed with this knowledge, you know where you stand, and where you need to improve.  You also see where your competitors stand.

How to use it:   Put in the keywords that would be used in Google to find you, then put in your actual website address.

Tool #4 - Meta Tag Analyzer

What it is:  This tool will give you a meta tag analysis of your website.  It grades your website on things such as overall visibility, title tags, meta description tags, meta keywords, etc…

Titles and Meta Tags are special HTML tags that are inserted into your web page and are often not directly visible to your visitors.  Since this is the same material that is displayed in your search results, it is very important that your title and meta tags are search engine friendly.

How it helps:   When Titles and Meta Tags are used properly, you will have much more control over what is displayed in search results.  Not only that, but these are tags that Google spiders search for when indexing your site.

How to use it:   Get this information and show it to your website designer.  Your designer should be able to show you your current Meta tags, and should be able to easily place the suggested ones.

Tool #5 - Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide

What it is:  Have you ever wondered what Google themselves have to say about Search Engine Optimization?  Not many people know that they have actually released a handy publication to guide you in the right direction.  They don’t exactly make it easy for you to find it either.  Perhaps it’s because they make most of their money from Google Adwords, and would much rather you pay to get ranked instead of growing your site organically.  But that’s just a theory.  Anyhow, I’ve located it here for you!

How it helps: While this is NOT a diagnosis tool for your website, I feel that every website owner should have their hands on this manual.  You will definitely come away with learning something new.  This pdf. file has lots of friendly images to make learning easier.  Discover what Google considers to be ethical SEO practices so you can stay away from the non-ethical approaches.  Unethical SEO practices could have bad consequences, such as being banned from Google Search results indefinitely.

How to use it:   Download this pdf file, print it, READ IT! LEARN FROM IT!  It’s a must have for any website owner who’s conscience of their search rankings.

If you liked this post, stop by Webstuffguy’s page and give it a like on Facebook.

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by admin on Nov 30, 2012

Today’s ProTalk tip is brought to you by Tina Harvey of True Identity Concepts.

Admittedly, the thought of another social networking or blogger platform that offers a means to share information or photos seems all too familiar.  Adding pictures and content to yet another site and adjusting to the learning curve can be a daunting task. Nevertheless, as a fellow business owner/entrepreneur and Hometalk Professional, our ability to network and stay connected through a variety of forums wins out.

In the interior design profession, the capacity to combine the emotional aspects of business into beautiful spaces for our clients must be accomplished through effective communication and strong visual presentation skills. One such forums that is quite useful to those in the creative field looking to broadcast their expertise and visually communicate their services is – a twist on tumbler minus the “e”.

Let me take a minute to grab your attention. Yes, it is another blog site; but, it is one that hosts nearly 79.8M blogs, 35.1B posts, and ranks top 15 in the United States. If you are not tumbling (pun intended), then you are missing a valuable resource for posting a wide assortment of content for your business.

Speaking of visuals – set-up and customization of your theme can be as easy as selecting a free or purchased theme with the option of changing the colors, adding html code, or developing your own.  In addition, like many of our smart phones and iphone apps, icons make posting easy to select on the main dashboard (figure 1) with seven optional styles to chose from including text, photos, quotes, links, chat, audio, and video; and if you are on the road – there app for Tumblr gives your business the capabilities of posting from anywhere on the road (figure 2).  So if you have a Smartphone and find a great picture to post from a jobsite, there is easy access to your blog features.

Quick Tips for Rolling on Tumblr:

  • Take a look at the top themes and then customize your theme to fit your business.
  • Yes, you can connect your postings with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and easily reference your RSS feed through editing and customization tabs
  • Download the Bookmarklet for ease of sharing on Tumblr with content found during web searches or linking back to your website and/or Hometalk blog
  • Check out the email and phone-in posting features that provide additional avenues for posting newsletters and audio content
  • Drafts and Queue features do exist should you post directly through Tumblr.  But know that Tumblr is available as an application that shares on other Social Media Management sites (e.g. Hootsuite).

While you are rolling around on Tumblr at your home, office, or on the road, be sure to give us a follow at True Identity Concepts, add us to your RSS feed (figure 3), and/or Facebook and Twitter.

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by admin on Nov 15, 2012

Today’s ProTalk tip is brought to you by Brian Campbell of Basswood Artisan Carpentry, a regular contributor to Fine Homebuilding, the Journal of Light Construction, Old House Journal and other trade magazines.

Basswood Artisan Carpentry

Outliers is the Malcolm Gladwell best selling book about success. The most popular finding expounded on by Gladwell in Outliers is the “10,000 hour rule.” To become the class of the field it takes about a decade dedicated to your craft, which is generally the number of years it takes to amass 10,000 hours of devoted practice. Now not everyone who spends ten years doing something becomes a master at it. I think you have to have both an aptitude for greatness and a passion for it.

Gladwell explains some of the odd twists of fate that can determine success as much as aptitude and hard work, but that is beyond the scope of this exploration. In any case, most of us on ProTalk have probably been dedicated to our business for a decade or two and are experts at what we do. In a jaded moment, I recall the professionals I know that are among the best in their business and their discovery that photos of their hard work was showing up on other contractors websites.

Perhaps that is one metric of how good you are in the internet age, are you being copied or are others wishing to pass off your work as their own. Some of you are now thinking, as your minds wander, about watermarks, but I have decided that this is not worth worrying about. When asked what the most important lesson in Outliers is, Gladwell replied, “What we do as a community, as a society, for each other, matters as much as what we do for ourselves.”

I have come to be recognized as an expert in my field by participating in contractor forums online and as a result of posts about my work I was invited to write for some trade publications. I am at the stage in my career where I want others to know how I do what I do. In essence, I have no trade secrets. I still work for customers (architects, builders, and homeowners), but my passion now is sharing my accumulated knowledge and experience with other professionals. Don’t worry though, I won’t tell you how to run your business, I don’t actually know that much about business, what I know is carpentry. You may not be a carpenter or builder, so today, I won’t tell you too much about my trade either. What I will do is explain how I share my expertise.

Most commonly, if we take photos of our work, it is the obligatory “before” and “after” shots. And while this is good for your portfolio, it leaves the intervening time between “before” and “after” a mystery. I have found this period during the actual work to be the most important to document. Why? Experts are sought after by the kind of customers you probably want to work for, those who want to hire the best. There are other reasons though:

  • This is where mastery of your craft is expressed.
  • You will learn more about how to improve your own work in the process (from thinking it trough and from feedback) and you will become even more accomplished.
  • This is how you can become regarded as an expert, of course, by educating others in your field.
  • There are few apprenticeship programs or trade schools remaining, so help fill that void.
  • You will become the “go to” person that others ask for advice, giving you high standing in your trade.
  • Your reach goes beyond the job you are on and extends to hundreds of other projects (and you can’t be 100 places at once).
  • The professionalism of your field is elevated (I like to think that carpentry and carpenters are given more respect because of the work I have done and shared about).
  • It feels good to give back. You owe much of  what you know to others who took the time to teach you (we stand on the shoulders of giants).

So what ways can you share your expertise?

  • Obviously in local trade group chapters
  • Online forums for your trade
  • DIY forums
  • Start a Blog and see if anyone follows you
  • Post on Hometalk, answer questions
  • Post about your Process on FB and answer questions there
  • Write for trade publications and see if you can get published
  • Teach clinics at trade shows
  • Offer to teach classes for DIY folks locally, if they get in over their heads, they will call you
  • Offer consulting (Robert Cameron does this as well). I have worked with DIY homeowners finishing a basement or remodeling a kitchen by the hour. Once they have the hang of it I disappear and return to teach the next task. (You can charge more for consulting than your standard rate and work less hours—they still get a deal).

Tips for telling your story:

  • Take lots of pictures, most of them will be worthless
  • Photos should show action, when possible, include hands doing the work in close ups
  • Include people (other workers or yourself) doing something in the photos. No “still lifes.”
  • Get and use a tripod. There are tripod adapters for mounting your smart phone on tripods.
  • Use the timer and get in your own shots some of the time, whether you are working alone or with someone.
  • Take some shots from ladders or roof tops, etc. that look like aerial photography.
  • Get other interesting perspective shots from unique vantage points.
  • Shoot some video for YouTube.
  • Take some time lapse photography that can show the project go together over the span of a week or month, etc., from a single vantage point (Paul Hamtil did a post on this)
  • Get and use a photo editor so you can add arrows and annotation to some of your pictures.
  • See if you can get shots of things that will surprise people and get them wondering how you did that (like the arched pocket door or the curved crown molding or curved back vanity drawer I posted, of the cove molding milled with only a table saw in Old House Journal).
  • The writing can start with explaining your process and posting photos on a professional forum. Many of my articles started as “how-to” project threads on
  • You may be able to get several “tips” published (as I did) before you write any feature length articles. Do you have a unique solution to a common problem? How do you work smarter, not harder? (see the Racatac scooter I use for “low work.”
  • What are the “best practices” in your field? What short cuts do you see others take and why is that bad?
  • You can also see if you can get a writer/editor to do a story about your work, rather than you writing it. You still get published, just not as the author. My first Journal of Light Construction piece was about me rather than by me. This can give you even more credibility since you are obviously not self-promoting it also gives the editor another by line and they like that. They may still pay you for the story and photos.
  • If you can get published, the editors can help you immensely with writing, just don’t let them distort your work beyond recognition (assert yourself there).
  • Post some funny things that happen at work.
  • Don’t be afraid to explain what went wrong and how you fixed it. These are among the most helpful details.
  • Keep a list of your ideas that others might be interested in.

If you liked this post, stop by Brian Campbell’s page and give it a like on Facebook.

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by admin on Nov 8, 2012

Today’s ProTalk tip is brought to you by Ed Cholfin of AK Complete Home Renovations:

 As a business owner, you get no shortage of solicitations: Join this! Sign up for that! We’ll send you leads! We’ll save you money! It’s ironic really since small business owners have the most hats to wear, the least amount of time to spend and perhaps the most information to single-handedly sort through. There is no single measure to learn which of these groups are worth joining, paying for, signing up for and who will really help you generate leads.

The low investment amount, time flexibility and large audience are just a few reasons small business owners have turned to social media as a method to spread their message. Our own dear was one of these up-and-coming social sharing sites vying for our time not that long ago. And now, it’s a faithful friend and daily visitor for the AK team! We knew Hometalk was different than the rest when we were introduced to Miriam. When we heard about the site’s commitment to the Atlanta metro area, when we saw the marketing efforts on our own TVs and radios and saw the comments grown on our posts – we knew Hometalk was going to be a site that would be very worthy of our limited time!

Once we were sold on the effectiveness of website, we quickly began to identify some ways to maximize our time on Hometalk and get the most out of our experience. Only because we like this site so much, are we willing to share our Hometalk secrets with you!

  1. Post Great Pictures – Duh. No fuzzies. But it’s critical to recognize how Hometalk displays the pictures. The first you upload is the biggest, the next two only show portions of the image. So: Best overall image goes to the top. Next two pictures should not be close-ups.  Even if you’re posting a question, include a picture! If you write about it – show it! Professional pictures make a HUGE difference.


  1. Answer Questions – Duh. Do your daily duty and check out the questions page. Your responses will up your “street cred” on the site and get you more likes, a higher ranking, more followers and more!
  2. Post In The Day. Post In The Night. – When is your target audience using Hometalk? Find out!
  3. Follow The Trends – What are people talking about on Hometalk today? Check out their FB page, what has the most comments? Do you have a project or a tip that can add to and enhance that idea? POST IT! Don’t duplicate others post, don’t beat a dead horse, but there’s no harm in jumping on a powerful bandwagon now and then!
  4. Go For Facebook – Hometalk adds 7+ posts to their Hometalk Facebook each day. If your post is lucky enough to be chosen for this high honor, you will see dramatic results. Follow their Facebook page, see what they are posting. When you brainstorm posts, keep this goal in the back of your mind. Getting your business name in front of 482,000 people is very, very nice.


  1. Comment On Your Own Post – This seems silly, but it’s one of our greatest lessons learned! When someone comments on your post, respond to them. Your own comments, as well as theirs, up your posts popularity ranking! We’re not trying to be tricky here, but we think it’s just an incentive to do what you should be doing anyway.

If you liked this post, stop by AK Complete Home Renovation’s page and give it a like on Facebook.

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by admin on Oct 25, 2012

Today’s ProTalk tip is brought to you by J.B. Bartkowiak  of Building Moxie:

If you are in business these days, then you likely have a website.  And with a website, one of the first goals must then be getting that website found… by people … and more specifically, by people that you’d want to have find it.  Three simple ways to have your website found (and just chucking these out):   Tell people about your website (and of course, give them the address); Advertise your website; Do your best to have your website … found through search engine search results.

One way to guarantee that your site is found in search engine search results, and furthermore – in relevant search results, is having your site linked to from other related (and established) websites. Really!  Relevant = relevant to your customers (read: any person you serve) & Related = related to, well … what’s relevant to you. (Ha!) This is the cornerstone of an internet marketing strategy typically called “inbound marketing” and it utilizes (primarily) something known as “keywords.”  Easy Preazy! Right?

There are in fact many ways that you can come to find yourself linked to from other sites.  You may set up and use social profiles on social networking platforms (read: Tell people about it).  You can spring for paid promotional links (read:  Advertise your website).  You can (or is that “may”?) even be lucky enough to have the “press” pick you up – linking to you naturally and organically (read:  This is usually a function of the work called “PR”).

All gold, for sure . . . but maybe a little too passive (or aggressive, ha!) for your taste … and in at least two of the three of these, you have limited or zero control over the keywords that are used.

Enter — Guest Blog Posting and here are three reasons to do it.  Guest Blogging provides an opportunity to tell other (usually established, well-spoken) people about your site. Guest Blogging is a very subtle way in which (and dependent on the size of the “outlet” you pick) you can advertise, yes – advertise your site.  Guest Blogging is a great way to built inbound . . . Wait! … keyword-laden inbound links into your site.  And if I haven’t said it already, it’s these inbound search-engine-lovin’ juicy links that you want for your site… always.

And that’s it.

“Oh, but I am not a writer.”  Well, you don’t have to be.   When you submit to sites, typically your submission will receive at least an editorial once-over.  “But I can’t think of anything to write about.”  Easy… write about yourself, your business, or your customers … and in fact a combination of all three typically works best.  “But what about this whole … keyword thing?  Search Engine Optimizing?”  Don’t worry, no one really understands everything there is to know about that anyway.  It’s … MAGIC!


I’ll try. Let’s say an internet user types in a phrase that is relevant for … me – “Home Improvement. ” With that, tiny little gnomes are set in motion and go scurrying about.  They’re checking file cabinets, you see, and they are trying to make … connections.

“Home Improvement” … ” hmmm? “  …. *Collectively scratching their gnome-heads*  … “Let’s see.  Well – We can find this site called Building Moxie in our Home + Improvement file . . . oh and 100,000 times it’s appeared.”  (Sorry, do dream jb.) Check! … “And on some other high rating and related sites” Check!  . . . “Hmmm…. Let’s serve it up, and heck, let’s put it right near the top.”

It’s all kinda like that “Spongebob Square Pants” episode; do you know the one?  Squilliam Returns >> here.  You don’t know it?  Anyway, moving on…

It may not always be appropriate to stuff a guest submission with links.  That’s not to say linking to valuable or relevant articles you already have wouldn’t work.  Just don’t go hog-wild and link for the sake of linking.  Instead, save your big bang for the Byline.

Your byline should in essence look something like the one I would use here:

-  JB Bartkowiak is blogger-in-chief @, a site dedicated to Pro & DIY Home Improvement as well as all things Home, Home, ‘Hood.

Notice of course that I didn’t link out from my domain name. Instead I used a selected keyword phrase for that purpose – “Pro & DIY Home Improvement”.   Note too that the link did not appear at the end of the sentence … all important.

And really, that’s it.

I mean – All publishers (even when they do not pay for content) understand the value expert-submitted content can provide.  For this, they are willing to provide you with all forms of credit you desire, including linking to your website.  At the same time, and the way things are with Social these days, they will typically also promote you, champion you in fact . . . because guess what – you are now part of their own site.  Win Win … Win . . . Win?  As a courtesy is it often wise to provide reciprocal back-linking to the then published article.

“But I am scared… But But…”  HaWell.

If you liked this post, stop by Building Moxie’s page and give it a like on Facebook.

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by admin on Oct 18, 2012

Today’s ProTalk tip is brought to you by Eric Triplett of The Pond Digger:

5. Show off your videos in your monthly eblasts – Some of your biggest fans watch for your monthly email contact. Prompt them with some written content and inspire them to watch your latest video.

4. Embed ALL of your videos on your website and in your online store – Create videos that will help you promote your landing pages, products and services.

3. Use your videos at your design consultations – Using your videos during consultations with your clients is a great way to promote additional views of your videos. After the consultation the client will show your videos to family and friends to explain the service you are providing for them!

2. Post your videos on social networks, like Hometalk, Facebook, and Twitter – If you’re doing what you’re suppose to be doing on your SOCIAL NETWORKING you are undoubtedly acquiring a nice group of fans. Post your videos on all of your social networks. Two friends will tell two friends, and those two friends will tell two friends while you sit back watch your video views grow!


1. Provide Great Informational Content – When you shoot video teaching people “HOW TO” do something, you’re guaranteed to get tens of thousands of views for years to come. Youtube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world, and people are searching for videos on how to do things. How to cook, How to exercise, How to play guitar, How to do this and How to do that!

A person will typically watch a “HOW TO” video repeatedly to make sure they learn every nuance of what it is you are teaching. A couple years ago Santa Claus brought my son a Rubik’s Cube for Christmas. We found a “How To Solve the Rubik’s Cube” video on Youtube and watched that video over and over and OVER again until we conquered that cube! My son, Taylor could to spin that cube to completion in under 30 seconds by the time we finished our How To Video Lesson. I highly recommend that experience to everyone breathing! 24,377,759 views!

The credibility your company will gain from your efforts on Youtube is absolutely priceless. Best of luck to you and your business, now get to work!

If you liked this post, stop by Eric Triplett’s page and give him a like on Facebook.

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by admin on Oct 10, 2012

Today’s ProTalk tip is brought to you by Stacy Garcia (Garcia Cabinetmakers):

I tweet for my business as @cabinetmakers and have found Twitter to be a great place for contractors to share. I concentrate my tweets on Wednesdays by joining the Twitter Chat #kbtribechat, an hour-long session I organize, where kitchen and bath professionals share on different topics.

There is a different topic every week. Often group members host on their area of expertise. We talk all things construction, design, tech, marketing, and materials…staying current with what is happening in our industry. The chat blog is for more information.

I have found this to be a great way to make my time on Twitter count. We have fun, network and always learn something from each other. I invite ProTalk members to join our Twitter discussions – Wednesdays from 2-3pm eastern time.

Transitional Style Kitchen by Garcia Cabinetmakers

If you liked this post, stop by Stacy Garcia’s page and give her a like on Facebook.

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by admin on Oct 4, 2012

Today’s ProTalk tip is brought to you by Becky Sue Becker (Designs by BSB):

We as business owners have a tough time deciding which social media sites to invest in.  Not only do we want to invest in what’s popular, we obviously have the task of understanding the dynamics and how to make it work for each of our business models.   It’s great to have resources like Protalk (powered by Hometalk) to get quick feedback from others on what works.

Kitchen by Designs by BSB

But what about our clients?  How are they choosing?  More importantly, how can we influence their choice?  Most professionals include logos, hyperlinks, and the like on their websites, business cards and even in their email signatures.   Suppose a client clicks on your Twitter link and reads some of your tweets – great!  …For the moment.  Afterwards, they may never come back because they do not understand the dynamics of that site.

My solution to this dilemma is straightforward: you can view it directly by visiting ). Here you will see I created a chart of all the social arenas that my company is involved with.   Having an logo or badge at the left with a built in hyperlink to my profile page, and to the right a (brief as possible) description of each.  The goal here is to educate and entice people to other avenues of social media that they simply have not had the time or direction to check out.   I did not attempt to write the descriptions, I simply visited each of the sites and took copy of the “about us” section that I believed best highlighted what they are all about – pertinent to my desired clientele.

The end result is that you are (hopefully, yet again) the go-to person, the source for information for your clients!

If you liked this post, stop by Becky Sue’s page and give her a like on Facebook.

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by Miriam on Sep 27, 2012

Today’s ProTalk tip is brought to you by Jennifer Zuri (Aquascape, Inc.):

One of the top Facebook questions I hear from small business owners is, “How do I increase the number of my Facebook fans?” You spend a few bucks to incorporate Facebook ads to help grow your audience on Facebook, but there are creative ways increase fans without having to part with hard-earned money.

First and foremost, you need to post content that provides value to your fans. You’re an expert in your field and sharing your knowledge with existing and potential customers is a service you can easily provide. Sharing links to educational articles on your website or posting photos of a project you completed are great ways to share your passion for the work you do. But beyond that, you can implement a few easy tips to gain greater exposure on Facebook and increase your fans.

Start off by taking time to review your existing marketing materials. They probably have your phone number, email address, and website listed. But what about your Facebook page? Have you included a link to your fan page in your traditional marketing materials? Here’s a quick list of 10 places where you could include the link to your Facebook page:

  1. Website. If possible, put the link to your Facebook page and other social accounts near the top of your website. If it’s at the bottom of your site, people might not see it if they don’t scroll down the page. Also, if you have an account on Yelp, Merchant Circle, Hometalk, etc, be sure to include your Facebook link in your account listing.
  2. Business Card. You can either include the url of your Facebook page on your business card, or add a QR code that links directly to your fan page.
  3. Print Advertising. You wouldn’t think to omit your phone number from a print ad, so why would you eliminate the url to your Facebook page?
  4. Job Estimate. When you provide print estimates, include your Facebook information on the estimate. Potential customers can visit your page to see photos of your work and to read what other customers are saying about you.
  5. Sales Receipt. If you have a brick and mortar store, you can optimize your Facebook exposure by including your fan page address on the receipt.
  6. Brochures. If you participate in home shows and hand out marketing materials, you want to be sure to include your Facebook information on everything you’re handing out.
  7. Signage. Got a roadside sign in front of your shop? Be sure to include “Find Us on Facebook” on it!
  8. Your Vehicle. Yes, your vehicle! I’ve seen some pretty impressive truck wraps that include a “Find Us on Facebook” blurb. One contractor I know was at a stoplight and the woman in the car next to him rolled down her window, pointed to her smartphone and yelled, “I’m looking at you on Facebook!”
  9. Company Shirts. If you’ve got a crew working for you and they’re required to wear a company shirt with logo, why not include your Facebook info, as well?
  10. Direct Mail. Any direct mail pieces you send out should also include the link to your Facebook page, in addition to your website. And if you don’t have a website, it becomes even more imperative that you’re promoting your fan page.


You can probably think of even more ways to promote your page and increase the number of fans you have on Facebook. I’ve even seen “Find Us on Facebook” signs on the inside of bathroom stalls! By making people aware that you’re active on Facebook, you’ll naturally increase your number of fans.

 If you liked this post, stop by Jennifer’s page and give her a like on Facebook.

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by admin on Sep 20, 2012