Elance Meetup – February 2012

Whether you are new or familiar with Elance, you know that it gives you the opportunity to build relationships with fellow contractors and clients in all corners of the globe. But have you ever wanted to extend that even more and meet others on the platform face-to-face? Maybe you want to get the scoop on the best clients or share best practices or just have the chance to unite and have a good time with other online professionals like yourself. 

Achieve Success in The Human Cloud with Elance

Elance, the world’s leading online employment platform, is ramping up its activities and looking for new ways to provide skilled professionals with the opportunity to network and build relationships in The Human Cloud. Through our virtual workplace, we connect online professionals to businesses and clients around the world, offering contractors the opportunity to work on an array of different projects that span a multitude of job categories. We provide you with the best tools so you can achieve success with independent work online.

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4 Tips For Working at Home Successfully

Working from home seems like a luxurious dream job: no commute, no suits or dress codes, and absolute flexibility with your daily schedule. Stop right there. Did you realize that working from home successfully requires a lot more effort than it may appear? Absolutely. But, you can pursue this career path with a few key tips for business survival.

Diversify, Diversify, Diversify

A successful work-from-home business must constantly evolve to survive in the long run. For example, you may sell handmade dolls to local businesses. What happens if those businesses are fully stocked with inventory? Your business must have a plan B, C, and D (and preferably more) to sustain low sales periods. Begin diversifying by not only selling to local businesses, but selling to individual residents in the area. You can also research community art gatherings, such as jewelry and farmer’s markets. Swap meets are another outlet to consider for more visibility in the marketplace.

Diversification also applies to work-from-home entrepreneurs that use blogging and freelance writing as an income source. It is unlikely that a business will survive by writing or blogging for one specific website: write for a number of different websites on various topics that interest you. Passion for a subject will automatically flow through the words to the reader, allowing you to become a successful writer from home.


Every successful work-from-home entrepreneur has a network of colleagues: vendors, customers, and competitors. Strike up conversations with everyone you interact with; friendships will blossom and possible earnings can be obtained. For example, you may run low on battery inventory for a homemade product and your vendor states that they cannot get the batteries to you for several days. If you have an established networking colleague at the vendor’s business, it may be possible to call in a favor for this particular dilemma. Many times, a friend made through networking can speed your order through to keep you competitive in the marketplace.

Networking also works for the freelance writer. Writing opportunities emerge on various websites, but not everyone will be eligible. However, if a colleague sees this opportunity and you do not, he or she can notify you in time to apply for the position. Many successful freelance writers find work through forums and blogs as they become friends with many different people around the world.

Product Quality

Regardless of the product being sold, from handmade garments to the written word, the final quality of the product must be as close to perfect as possible. Handmade items should be free of defects; you should visually inspect each item for any loose parts. If the item is to be shipped, invest in sturdy cardboard boxes and bubble wrap to ensure that the item reaches the customer intact. You can show your professionalism by adding a packing list with detailed descriptions of the item or items. Quality, not price, will keep customers returning for more sales in the future.

As for the written word, quality is also key; do not plagiarize any text, whether it is online or in print. Writers pride themselves on their creativity and uniqueness. It is quite possible to fail in a work-from-home business if any work is plagiarized. Customers will not trust another written piece from you.

Research and Education

If you have any qualms about a product’s construction, such as building a printed circuit board item, you should always research the issue before releasing it to the customer. Education is key in a successful home business; you should be sure about your product and its abilities. Do not release any products that you believe to be malfunctioning just to fill an order; it can easily damage your business in the future.

There Are No Expert Marketers

Markets, as we all know, change constantly.  And just as markets change constantly, the way to appeal to those markets changes constantly as well.  Just imagine the seller of horse-drawn buggies moving into the car market without adjusting his sales pitch.  Expert marketers are not born; they are reborn over and over again.

A real marketer not only knows his market, but knows the trends in that market that will lead to the introduction of new markets.  A good marketer will constantly be studying changes and trends, not only in the industry that he specializes in but in other related industries as well.  Just look at our poor buggy salesman.  Whatever product is being marketed today could evolve into something completely different, or even disappear off the consumer screen altogether.  A good marketer will be able to anticipate this and move into the new direction as, or even before, his products are losing popularity or becoming obsolete. 

Social trends change all the time, and the marketing industry must constantly be attuned to them or lose customer support.  Examine the sad case of Kodak, one of the oldest and most respected companies in the film industry.  No one questioned that they had the best processing systems and materials, and they did an expert job at marketing that concept. Remember “never settle for less than Kodak paper for your precious memories”? But the quality of their photos was irrelevant once digital cameras were invented and no one needed photos anymore.  They may have had a superb marketing campaign for photos, but not recognizing the new social trend rendered their genius marketing useless.

And this is why marketers cannot afford to be experts in marketing, but need to strive to be experts in social trends, testing methods, market shifts, new product development, etc.  Most of us probably would have a hard time citing any technological innovation of our youth that is still hot today.  Imaging cameras in photography, cassette players and 8 track tapes in music, bulky desk top computers in information processing, dial phone in communications, the list goes on and on of these dinosaurs that have disappeared from modern life.  Any marketer who follows only his industry, instead of keeping track of the changes, trends and innovations in that industry is headed for failure. Instead he has to continually reinvent himself as an expert in each new development.

People change, products change and consequently markets change. Marketers have to change with them. 


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1 Huge Mistake Many New Small Online Businesses Are Making

When a business takes to the information super highway, they often tend to forget that offline advertising can be just as, if not more effective. There are so many marketing options online, including: search engine optimisation, pay-per-click and social media marketing, that it can blinker businesses into not putting their marketing budget towards anything else. The best solution is a combined approach that uses one to compliment the other.  

The Problems with Online Advertising

I’m not trying to say that internet marketing isn’t a good idea. It just needs to be done as part of a unified marketing campaign.

For example, every business should have a website, no exceptions, because it is something everyone now looks for as a source of further information; but without something offline directing people to find that information online, no one is going to know it exists. Unless of course you spend a ton of money on search engine optimisation and paid online advertising, but even then it relies on people actively searching for what you’re offering.

The shifting landscape of search engines will also put a spanner in the works of anything other than a cutting edge SEO campaign, so even if you get to the top of search results, you may not stay there without a lot of on-going work.

If you have a solid offline campaign too, then people will know your web address and will probably put that in and go straight there.

Offline Advertising Options

So what should you think about if you have a nice website all set up and I have now convinced you that you need to do some offline advertising too? You might want to consider some or all of the following:

  • Business cards
  • Coupons and flyers
  • Magazine and newspaper adverts
  • PVC banners
  • Radio or TV advert

Obviously your options when it comes to offline advertising are limited by your budget, but if you have enough you may want to employ an advertising agency that can produce a considered and unified campaign that will direct people to your website.

If you’re on a budget, start with a simple but focused approach that limits your campaign material to a targeted market that you can be pretty sure will be interested in your website. E.g. discount coupons for students, roadside PVC banners for motorists, business cards for business services.

You know your business better than anyone, so get your thinking cap on and come up with some creative materials that can do the offline legwork that will make your online campaign a success.

Where do you advertise at the moment? 


Hilton Farnsworth is a marketing executive. He has had great success with pull up banners and exhibition displays in shopping centres for new websites recently. 


Improve Customer Services with Viral Social CRM

Social networking programs make use of viral advertising or viral marketing. Viral processes make use of customer messages to expose products and services through social networks, thereby increasing sales. This was pioneered by Hotmail, which is a web-based e-mail service. Companies placed tags at the bottom of each email message, which effectively served to advertise or make their products known to readers.


Innovative Tools for Marketing


The resources used for viral marketing are generally free. This helps companies to attract more attention and simultaneously allows for a seamless passage for the message. Viral marketing provides an innovative concept by placing the initiative of sales into the hands of the readers. The tags are transmitted without outright rejection because the e-mails come from friends, colleagues, or acquaintances. It also makes them more appealing to consumers.


Advantages of Viral Marketing for Improving Customer Services


Several advantages can be associated with viral marketing campaigns. On one hand, the campaign may be replicated without any outside help, such as from sales teams. This makes it unique, self-driven, and drastically reduces advertisement expenses. On the other hand, viral marketing makes use of modern techniques, such as the Internet, social media, and networking.


An increasing number of people are turning to social media to research and discuss companies, offer suggestions, lodge complaints, and provide helpful comments. By making effective use of viral marketing techniques, businesses can effectively stimulate positive reputations. Because customers make full use of the resources available on the Internet, businesses would be wise to exploit the same resources for promoting viral marketing to improve customer services.


Why are Viral Marketing Techniques so Effective?


Viral marketing has the ability to captivate the attention of customers. Attracting the attention of a customer is the prime requisite for all businesses, which search for new ways to attract the attention of customers. Adding a touch of humor, requesting opinions, and asking questions are some of the ways in which viral advertising captures the attention of customers. A number of brands present themselves as easily recognized logos, thereby encouraging customers to remember their brands. Viral marketing uses the word-of-mouth techniques to understand the interests and needs of the consumer.


Viral marketing with memetics


Viral marketing techniques appeal to the emotions of customers. This is explained by the use of memetics, which are integrated with the advertisements. Memes are pieces of cultural information that are assumed to exist within the minds of individuals. The cultural makeup of an individual is masterminded by these memes, just as the physical makeup is masterminded by the genes of the individual.


It was found that individuals respond to these memes or pieces of information, and that their behavior is manifested accordingly. Marketers stimulate different types of behavior in their customers by the use of information embedded in plain text, graphics, or pictures. The use of such scientific methods makes viral marketing an innovative and effective technique for customer services by predicting the reactions of customers to certain products.


Jacob Jackson works for one of the leading developers of online CRM – WebCRM. He also blogs a lot about this topic at the official WebCRM Blog


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