If you have a business and a website, then you've likely considered video marketing. Once you're convinced of the power of marketing, the next step is to decide how to use videos to promote your business. Here are just a few examples:

1. Testimonials – Ask your customers or clients to give you quick 1-minute videos of their feedback. You can also interview them about your business for a more structured testimonial.

2. Product Demos – One of the biggest drawbacks to buying online is that you can't actually test the product. Bypass that objection and demonstrate your product on video to help increase sales.

3. Case Studies – If you're involved in some kind of before-and-after (website design, fitness, SEO, etc.) case studies are an excellent way to demonstrate your expertise. Seeing an example helps the potential customer understand exactly what impact your service or product can have on their business.

4. Product Reviews – Video brings an added element to product reviews, particularly if you're reviewing a physical product. But hearing you talk about a book or piece of software is effective too.

5. Education – Use video to educate your market on the use of your products. Lead them towards the sale by answering their most frequently asked questions and objections.

6. Entertainment – People love to be entertained! If you can entertain in your video and combine that with a call to action, you'll have a winning combination.

7. Webinars – If you provide webinars or other video presentations to your market, capture them via video and offer a replay to generate leads or even sell as a product.

8. Commercial – Done correctly (meaning compelling with a clear call to action), commercials for your product or service can be very effective.

9. Business Overview – One of the first things many people look for is who they are buying from and what they stand for. Let your potential customers learn about you and your business through a business overview.

As you can see from the list above, there are many ways to use video to promote your business. Just creating video is not the only step to effective marketing. You must craft a video that responds to the wants and needs of your market. They are looking for solutions to problems and questions. It's your job to figure out how to use a video to solve issues, answer questions, provide the right solutions and lead them to the next step.

You've heard that using video to market your business can bring incredible results. But do the benefits outweigh the effort it takes to put your video online? In a word, Yes! Shooting a video, editing and formatting it, uploading it to the internet with the right title and description takes a bit of time. But the payoff for video marketing can be tremendous. Here are seven real benefits of marketing with video:

1. Personal Connection – Especially for internet based businesses, the personal connection with your potential market is a huge selling factor. With video, your audience can truly get to know you, eye-to-eye. They get to see that you are indeed a real, live person. They start building a deeper relationship with you and feel as if they actually have met you.

2. Social proof – There's an old proverb: “Believe nothing of what you hear, and only half of what you see.” On the internet it's so easy to be a fake and a fraud. People are skeptical about claims they read online, and rightfully so. But video puts a face to your words and makes you more believable and trustworthy.

3. Traffic – People are watching 2 BILLION videos per day on YouTube alone! That's a whole lot of traffic you're missing if you're not marketing yourself with video. It's free and easy to add your video to a large number of the video sites available online.

4. Emotional Influence – The classic horror movie is a great example of how the audio has an emotional effect on us. The creepy music comes in, immediately cluing you in that something bad is about to happen. Now, imagine combining that audio with powerful video cues to influence the emotions of the listener and create a much more compelling message than with just text alone.

5. Portability – Maybe even more so then articles and ebooks, video is portable. iPhones, Smartphones, iPads and all kinds of other devices allow video to be seen on the go. You can also allow people to download video easily so they can view it over and over again.

6. Demonstrations – Reviews, case studies and examples are great ways to sell products and services. It's the reason why infomercials make millions of dollars. Now there's no need for you to be as annoying as the Sham-Wow guy to make money with video; you just need to create videos that show and tell your potential customers why your product will be helpful for them.

7. Engagement – There are many reports available online to show that video boosts response and conversion rates. When someone is watching a video, you have their full attention – eyes and ears. Unlike with the written word, they're not likely skip ahead or gloss over important information. Most people will watch a video from beginning to end, allowing you to clearly create a message and call to action that engages your audience.

Overall, video is an effective marketing strategy that is only growing in popularity. Since video is here to stay, it's time to check out the options and see how quick and easy video marketing can be.

How productive can you be if you suddenly lose all your data from the past five years when your cocker spaniel knocks your laptop onto the floor and it shatters? Or if a power surge or lightning strike takes out your computer?

I've been horrified by the number of solo entrepreneurs who treat their kids' school photos with more respect and care than they treat their business data. If the rash of natural disasters including earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes has taught us anything, it should have taught us that bad things happen to good people, and you need to be prepared for the worst. Here's the minimum you need to keep your business and your data safe:
On-site Automatic Backup
An external hard drive for your computer, with a regularly scheduled automatic backup is critical. Do not rely on your memory to back up your computer every day. The best ones will run an automatic scan that will save anything that has been updated or changed since the last scan. Set this to scan on a weekly or daily basis, or more frequently if you deal in high volumes of information every hour. Mac users, you're in luck. The Apple Time Machine will automatically update the backup hard drive with the latest version of your files, every hour of every day.
Off-site Automatic Backup and Recovery Service
Having an external backup is great if your computer suddenly dies, but what if your house is flooded, or you're robbed? You'll need an off-site backup to get you up and running quickly. There are many services available, including online storage sites like Dropbox.com and Trueshare.com. But if you want a full-service, hands-off backup provider, check out LogMeIn.com, iBackup.com, Carbonite.com, and Mozy.com
Now, all these off-site backup programs have a recovery service. Otherwise, what good would they be, right? You'll want to ask about the recovery services that each provide before you decide. Some just download your data to you, while others will overnight you data CDs. Ask also about storage limits and the number of computers covered. Services are available for as little as $54.95 per year – a pittance if you should ever need it. Just think of it as an insurance policy for your business; you pay and pay and pay until you need it, and then you thank the Lord you were able to pay for this service.
Password management
It may seem funny to include password management in this category, but that's probably because you've never lost the file that included all your passwords, or accidentally shredded the piece of paper where you were writing them all down. Use a password manager like RoboForm.com, KeePass.info, or 1Password.com. Not only will these services keep track of all your passwords, they'll also help generate unique passwords for greater safety. Check the password management systems mentioned for prices. Some are free while others are reasonably priced.
No one likes to think about computer crashes, natural disasters, or other business-threatening events. But the truth is that computers crash, laptops fall out of cars, and coffee spills happen. The only true disaster is the one you're not prepared for. 

No business operates in a vacuum, and you can't be productive or relevant if you don't know what's going on in the world around you. That's why it's critical that you keep up on the latest news that can affect you and your industry. But how to keep track of the thousands of news sites? Well, you're in the right place. Instead of reading hundreds of newspapers, blogs, and other information sources, you can have the news delivered right to you and keep track of it all. Here are five ways to keep on top of all the news that's fit to print:

Set Google Alerts
By now, you already know that Google pretty much controls the world in front of you on your computer. Tell them what you want to know about, and they'll deliver the latest on the topic right to your email box. Set an alert for your competitor's name to find out what he or she is up to. Or monitor a keyword for your niche. And of course you'll want to keep tabs on your own name! You can set the number of alerts as well as the delivery frequence, and all this is for free! Find out more at Alerts.Google.com
Alltop Page
Alltop stands for “All the top stories.” The site, founded by former Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki, allows you to choose from hundreds of news sources to create your own custom “newspaper.” Check out what other people are reading, too, for free. Find out more at My.Alltop.com.
How many bookmarked pages do you have on your web browser? How many of those sites do you actually get back to ever again? Fight the bookmark bulge by turning to this great system. You use a special “read later” bookmark to keep track of information you want to save for later. Then log in on your iPhone, computer, or iPad and check it out when you have a minute. This is all for free. Find out more at Instapaper.com
Google Reader
Track all those great blogs in Google Reader. See when they're updated, get the content delivered right to you, and consolidate all the updates in a single spot, for free. Easy-peasy! Find out more at Google.com/reader
Their mission; “All you care about. Now.” Sounds good to me! Create numerous dashboards so you can flip through and see what's going on, according to project or interest. Type in a topic get a dashboard for you, including news, videos, Tweets, conversations, and images, which you can then customize. You could have one for sports scores, one for finance, one for your competition, one for your Beanie Baby obsession. Whatever you want, all for free! Find out more at Netvibes.com
One word of advice: Be careful not to become an information junkie. It's great to spend time reading blogs, newspapers, and the like, but set a limit on your intake of information. You can go into info overload, and reading can become a distraction and procrastination technique, particularly if you are the type who likes to research and research and research some more before taking action. Instead, give yourself 30 minutes, once or twice a day, to read headlines and catch up on any big developments. Then stop and get back to work. That's where the money is – in action, not in information acquisition.


Steno pads. Spiral notebooks. Legal pads. The back of an envelope. A cocktail napkin. Receipts. The corner of a newspaper. If you're like most entrepreneurs, you've got ideas striking you every hour of the day and night, and you grab the nearest writing implement and snippet of paper to scrawl a few words on. But how often do those pieces of paper make it into something more permanent?

With today's variety of note-taking and idea-gathering software, there's no excuse for stealing your kids' crayons anymore. Take a look at these multimedia opportunities for storing your thoughts, ideas, photos, blog posts, and more… and best yet, they're all free!
Collect, sort, tag, and annotate a variety of notes and other information. Log in online or access it via your iPhone. Store your web clips, text clips, videos, audios, and more in a single file. You can even snap a photo with your mobile phone and save it. Oh yeah, you can share it with others! Find out more at Evernote.com
This is Microsoft's version of a note book that lets you capture text, images, video, and audio notes and take and edit notes with other people in other locations. View and edit your notes from virtually any computer with an Internet connection or your Windows phone. Available with Microsoft Office. Find out more at Office.Microsoft.com/en-us/onenote/
This is a free, online notebook based on wiki. You can create pages, keep them in your Personal Notebook or create a Group Notebook to share with friends. Store up to 2GB online. Add photos, comments, and more. Springnote for the iPhone is also available. Find out more at Springnote.com
If you're the visual type, you might want to take a look at this note book. Billed as “the easiest way to blog,” it's a fun way to create your own virtual bulletin board with pictures, photos, quotes, audio, video, and more. You can set your privacy level and collaborators, creating a bulletin board just for yourself, or one to share with a team or the public. There's also a free iPhone app. Find out more at Tumblr.com
After perusing these sites, you've probably come up with a dozen or more ideas that you quickly jotted down on a scrap of paper somewhere. Don't waste them – choose a note-taking solution and get your thoughts and goals down safely and permanently. You can't act on your ideas if you don't remember where you put those notes!


Sending email attachments has certainly evolved from the days when anything over a few megabytes clogged up the phone line and was rejected by AOL and Earthlink. But even with the advent of high-speed internet, sending large files can still bog down your email service. Add to that the concerns over security and you may be in the market for a safe file transfer solution.

In the past, the solution was to use an FTP (file transfer protocol) site, or burn the files to a CD or DVD and transfer them manually. FTP sites could be expensive and cumbersome, and transferring manually was not very efficient. Now, you have plenty of possibilities for sharing files safely and easily.
When selecting a file transfer service, there are some criteria to consider first:
  • Do I want a free service, or do I mind paying? Free services may be more limited in size of files, storage, or number of users.
  • How secure a service do I need?
  • How large are the files I'm sharing?
  • Am I sharing with the same people over and over, or am I constantly sending files to new people?
  • How easy is it to download and upload the files?
  • How dependable is the service?
  • Will the site store my files? If so, how much storage space will I have, and how long will they store them?
Once you've answered the questions above, take a look at the following file sharing options:
Free service, with upgrades available for inviting new members, usage, or for a fee. You can install software on your computer, which allows you to access files from any Internet browser. The files are stored safely off site. It also synchs your files across computers.
Send large files as quickly and easily as sending an email. No software to install. Free service offers sending of files up to 100MB. Keep in mind this is with no online storage. Monthly plans start at $9.95 for an individual, with a 2GB maximum file size.
For $18 per month, transfer up to 300MB per month, and store up to 10GB of data. Your recipient doesn't need to have any special software, though you do need to download and install the software on your computer. Plans available for up to 2.5GB of transferred data per month.
Upload, access, and share files via a web browser, desktop application, or mobile device for $6 per month for 3GB, and $15 per month for 10GB. Team plans available.
If security isn't a primary concern, check this out. With no software or attachments, and no file size limits or number of files, this system is a great solution if you're sending many files to a lot of different recipients. The free plan offers unlimited file sends and sizes, with a three-day window for downloads. Plans are available for up to 90GB of storage, with a 14-day download period for $69.95/month.
Google Docs
Upload to Google Docs any file up to 250 MB, for free, with 1GB of free storage of files saved as non-Google Docs. You'll have 1 GB of free storage for files you don't convert into one of the Google Docs formats (i.e. Google documents, spreadsheets, and presentations). You also may have additional storage available for $0.25 per GB per year. Find out more at Docs.Google.com
You simply don't have to email documents back and forth any longer. Start using one of these remote access systems and easily bounce the written word around to your clients and partners in a flash.