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It’s is not necessary for me to reiterate the importance of building an audience. Every marketer will tell you that money is in the list. I have been looking for a no holds bar, absolutely free newsletter service that allows me to add unlimited number of subscribers and unlimited emails. But all charge fees and for someone who is starting out, it will be a tough call and I have not found one review of a free newsletter. The good news is, after much effort and research I found the perfect newsletter. There is no limit on the subscribers and there is no cost associated with the service.
Every time I searched for a free email marketing newsletter, I ended up with Mail chimp. They do offer free service up to 2000 subscribers. After which they will start charging and they don’t allow affiliate links in the emails send out, which is a dig draw back. I was disappointed. I continued my search for a email newsletter that provided absolutly free email marketing service.
Found the free newsletter service at last!!
The free newsletter service is benchmark email. Their free service sounds too good to be true. But it really is free and they provide the entire feature that is available in the paid version. They do have a paid version. You might ask me what the catch is. There really is no catch except that there is double opt-in required, and you cannot upload your own list. In the newsletters they will include a mandatory signature from benchmark with a link back to their website. They hope to spread the word though the emails send by us. But that is a small price to pay for a huge benefit, considering the fact that all the other market leaders in newsletter services charge a good amount of dollar that a newbie cannot afford. They have beautiful email templates that you can load and make your emails look very professional.
A feature that benchmark lacks is that you cannot set auto responder emails based on the weekday. For example if you want a specific email in auto responder to go out only on Friday, it is not possible. This is not available in their paid version as well. Mind you it’s only for auto responder emails.
All in all, I truly believe benchmark is providing an amazing service. It is hidden from the world because bloggers don’t want to promote the free service. If you use the paid service, the affiliate, that is the blogger, will get a commission. So in effect no one talks about this free service. I guess that is the reason it is not famous as other newsletter service.
Now that you know about this, go signup.
Aweber do get promoted a lot and is in the forefront of email marketing. Mind you they charge a cool 19 dollars from the second month.
This is my journey of publishing the first podcast in apple itunes and mywebsite. I have documented the entire experience in this blog post. So this is going to be a little lengthy.
When I started blogging, I really did not have a specific niche to target. All I wanted to do was get more people to know that I have created a blog. There was a plan to create videos in youtube, but the cost of a camera and video editing deterred me from creating an youtube channel. This is definitely in the pipe line and I will explore this opportunity in the future. Having eliminated video, the focus turned to audio. What better way to publish than the ever famous apple itunes. Moreover I have never heard of a blogger cum podcaster from India. The excitement of doing something first got me pumped up.
Creating good audio files requires investment in a good condenser or dynamic microphone. Samson CO1U USB condenser microphone was recommended by many for its crisp and clear audio quality. However there was a huge problem. There was no ecommerce site selling this product in India. After numerous attempts I almost gave up. There was one ecommerce store but the pricing seemed to be a little too high. My search turned to local music stores. One shop in brigade road Bangalore confirmed they can get the item to me if I place an order. The guy over there made a couple of phone calls and confirmed that there was podcasting pack that comes in a suitcase with shock mount but the microphone alone was not available. He pegged the price for podcasting pak at INR 12,000.00. I hate waiting for products. Not wanting to wait Click Here to Continue Reading
In the process of creating value out there for everyone, I have created Podcast in the niche MBA admissions with a top ranked business school. A special thanks to ISB admission committee members Ram Kamesh and Hima Bindu.
The podcast will be published in Apple itunes soon. I am getting the technicalities sorted out.
Topics discussed in the podcast.
1) What score is a good GMAT score to apply to ISB?
2) If GMAT is only part of the criteria, why is it that majority of the students have high GMAT score?
3) There is a rumour going the rounds that, Indian B schools don’t even look at applications of students with a score of less than 700. True or false?
4) How quality candidates are filtered from the thousands of applications? What is the criteria for the rejection of candidates in the first stage.
5) Allotment of seats in the three admission rounds.
6) Recently ISB introduced video essays. What made ISB inculcate this change?
7) What does ISB look for in the video essay?
8) How important is the quality of the video?
9) What is your advice to students who fall into Indian IT male bracket. (The answer is really nice, you have to listen to this one)
10) How does ISB help students in financing the education other than student loans and personal savings.
11) What is the X factor that you look for in a potential student? And how do you identify the X factor.
12) How did ISB manage to get into the top of FT ranking in such a short span? What made ISB stand out.
13) Why should a student apply to ISB? What differentiates ISB from the rest of the schools.
14) One secret and exclusive tip to students who are listening to this podcast
These are some of the topics that we covered in the discussion. If you have more questions or clarifications required, please input your questions in the comments section and if necessary, we might end up doing one more about this topic.
Subscribe to my newsletter for more fun stuff.
Last and foremost, if you liked the interview, please give me a facebook like. I need it very badly!!
Until Next time, have a nice one.
Update: My itunes channel is up and running. To view click on the below link.
This is my first podcast and I am really excited to hit the publish button. Once the technicalities are sorted, I will write a complete and detailed post about my podcasting experience.
Items in the podcast
My cool intro
My target niche
UPDATE: APPLE itunes link
HTC one V review- the real deal
A couple of weeks back I got the HTC one V with the latest android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). Many of my friends have been asking me about the review and that is the reason for this blog post.
The phone has a unibody design with solid build quality. This is one place that HTC scores over Samsung. Almost all the Samsung smartphones have plastic covers build into its base.
The 5MP camera is absolutely brilliant. It gives better quality picture than the other 8 MP cameras available in the market. Here are a couple of pictures that I took with this phone. Judge for yourself.
The video camera is brilliant and far surpasses the quality of a 5MP camera.
The battery life of the HTC one V can comfortably last for one day. I listened to music for about four hours at a stretch and only 15% of the battery was drained. Unless you are draining the battery for a tech review, it can comfortably last for a day.
With only 3.7 inches, the size of the phone is very compact. It fits snugly into my jeans pocket.
I did not face any issues in browsing the internet. I use the chrome app to browse and it did not throw me any glitches. The plan I have taken is a 2G plan. 3G drains the battery very badly.
This is one aspect of the phone that I absolutely hate Click here to continue reading
For those of you who might be living in a cave, SEO stands for Search engine optimisation (Another word for SEO is Google optimisation, because that is all what people care for).
Ok, here is the deal. You might be interested to know why I don’t give a damn about SEO. The reason is there are other profitable methods to grow my business other than SEO. There is myth that business can survive only if they get to the top of Google. Businesses and blog owners don’t give a shi** about Bing or yahoo ranking. People want only Google. Google Google everywhere, not one has a clue about what Google is doing with their algorithm.
Last year alone Google made close to 500 changes to their algorithm. If you are to base your business model on one company, that changes its ranking method on an average of 2 per day, God help you. After the panda and penguin updates our grandpa of search is lining up rat and mosquito updates to make life even more difficult for you. Bang, after escaping panda and penguin, mosquito update hit you hard and your business go down the drain. No more visitors and you run aground. Shut shop and go home. (I made that up about rat and mosquito updates but am pretty sure there will be other fancy animal names given to these “amazingly advanced-technologically marvellous updates”). Does it mean that you have to stop doing SEO completely. Absolutely not. You should be doing SEO for your blogs but be careful not to overly rely on search engines for your traffic. Diversify as much as you can to minimize the risk involved.
I personally have been guilty of SEO craze before I found the loop hole and figured out my mistake. Once you identify your mistake, realise it and move on. If I am to grow my business model on an entity which keeps changing its product every half a day, I am at a very precarious position. Before the penguin update it was easy to rank thin affiliate websites with five to ten pages of content. If you had based your business model on this it would have been real difficult for you to recover. Given the time and the effort one needs to input for SEO, it is not a profitable method to grow your business. It is a classic example of leaving all your eggs in one basket. Diversification is the key to online success. Same applies to traffic sources. Diversify your traffic sources as much as you can to stay on top.
So the next question comes, how and what is the best method to grow your business. The answer is social media and visibility. You need to build relationships for any business to grow. It is the relationship that will give you loyal fan following and more business. Social media has become so important that Google analytics have a separate section on social media to analyse the traffic and conversions. It gives you the ability to interact with customers no matter where they are. You will be more inclined to take up the services of a firm that is recommended by your friend on facebook rather than the same product you find in google search. Business is all about building brand and relationships. With SEO alone you will have visibility but the relationship factor still lacks.
I do run a couple of niche website experiments, just to challenge myself to see if I can get to the top of google and experiment with various traffic methods. But this is not my primary source of income. I diversify a lot to make sure that I have multiple sources of income and that if one dries up, another is ready to replace.
Optimize press hacks- the real review
Optimize press is best suited to create high converting squeeze page, sales page or membership sites with no knowledge of coding. It has a tonne of pre build squeeze pages that you can customize to great level to achieve good conversion rates. It is difficult to decide whether to buy a product when you always find glowing reviews.
But in this review I honestly do not have any negative opinions about optimize press. I can customize every aspect of the page, add videos, pictures, links, testimonials, customize buttons, call to action colour, integrate newsletter and many more and the output is much much better than a standard wordpress theme. Many of my websites use this theme and have given me good returns over a long period of time. At 97 dollars it is one of the costliest product I have invested digitally. But this is a onetime investment and I can use it on unlimited domains and ensures that I would not require another software to create great looking websites. Their support is awesome and I highly recommend these guys. It is primarily used to create squeeze pages, sales pages and membership sites. There is also a blog feature that can be activated to receive search engine traffic. This is a wordpress theme. Once activated optimize will replace your existing theme.
I checked out many reviews about this product online and all had glowing reviews which gave me a feeling as if everyone is trying to sell me optimize press and no one is interested in giving a true review. If you analyse carefully you will realize that many of the review title ends with scams. For example, the title would say “optimize press scam”. This is just a strategy to catch of the eye balls of the reader and get him to click on the affiliate link. If you read the review you will find that there is no scam and the product is good enough. After all a person interested in buying the product is interested to know if it is a scam or not. Yet another technique that I found out was, bloggers using optimize press discount coupon. Let me tell you upfront, there is no discount coupon for optimize press. You have to pay the full price of 97 US dollars if you are to buy the product.