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The Guide to Creating a Magnetic Company

October 5th, 2011 by Coach John

Welcome to the day's New Media Coaching session, if you want to be notified the next time we add one of our proven business building new media lessons sign up for email alerts or subscribe to our RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

Ninja business coach Matt Burkinshaw of Synergy Business Coaching joined me on a teleconference call to share his breakthrough business development strategies with our tribe. Those in attendance walked away with proven ideas they could immediately put to use in their business. If you couldn’t join the call live, the seminar audio transcript is below for online listening or to download to your iPod.

Herbert Spencer said, “The great aim of education is not knowledge but action…” Put this knowledge to immediate use.  I dare you…

Listen Now:

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The Little Known Truth About Blog Success

August 26th, 2011 by Coach John

A few days ago my client, Briely Burris decided to pull the trigger and begin actively using the blog that is part of the website package my company built for her.  Briley understood how blogging could set her apart from competitors but wasn’t sure how to begin. The smart business owner she is, Briley realized she had some good ideas but was not yet a seasoned blogger and reached out to me for a bit of guidance.

I recognized that if she had questions about making blogging work for her business, you too might have the same uncertainty. Instead of holding the information hostage, I decided to share a recorded transcript of our chat. Listen here or download the seminar to your iPod.  My client’s wish is your gain. You can send greeting cards, flowers or gifts directly to Briley but I think she prefers cash.

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10 Lessons for Attracting New Customers

February 18th, 2011 by Coach John

Finding success in attracting new customers to your business is much like approaching a multiple choice exam.  We are not born with the right answers but we can certainly rule out the wrong ones.  During this months Q & A conference call my guest Donna Maria Coles Johnson founder of Indie Business Media and I addressed challenges faced by many in our tribe as they struggle to build systems that can deliver a predictable stream of customers and clients. Consider these your Ten Leadership Lessons in business growth and development for the month. 

On the call we cover:

  • The one proven way to make social media work for your business
  • 3 guaranteed ways to overcome buyer resistance on your website
  • The myth about using Twitter and Facebook for business
  • How to build influence and authority that leads to new business
  • The secret to building website traffic
  • How to use virtual assistants to free up time to do all of this marketing stuff

Listen to the call

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Timeless Time Saving Tips for Busy People Pt. 1

February 9th, 2011 by Coach John

Boy I would be a rich man if I had a dime for every client I shared a knock out Shaolin Kung Fu-style body blow marketing tactic with who then responded with, “but I just don’t have time to do that.” If this sounds like you then read on.

I have to confess that I have been one of the biggest offenders here and while I am still a work in progress, I have managed to return at least 20 hours per week back to my calendar.  I am so close to this topic that I decided to dedicate a series to covering simple yet powerful ways to save time … time that can be reinvested back into your Shaolin marketing system to get that phone a ringin’.

Email is Guess What?  … Mail

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Do you stand at your mailbox every day and wait for the mail truck to arrive, then immediately respond to every piece of mail that falls out? If you answered yes then I am really worried about you.  Seriously, chances are you would say no to this question and let’s be honest; none of the people sending you mail is going to die because you didn’t respond in 5 minutes to their note.  In fact, your tribesmen who still send analogue mail expect a delay.

Well, your digital contacts can be taught to expect a reasonable delay in email response too and by training this expectation, you can reclaim hours back to your calendar each day. The average person emails upwards of 50 messages each day and receives about 120. Even at 1 minute per message that’s 3 hours worth of nonsense. Managing all these communications as they come in is time consuming and diverts attention away from critical tasks.

Managing the Flood

One option for managing this flood is adopting an e-mail checking schedule. For example, read your messages and respond to them no more than two times per day.  Use your email software’s vacation auto response message to let contact’s know that you only check mail twice daily and for “emergency only” needs to call directly.  I use a Google voice number that routes to my cell phone, so if I see Google Voice in the caller ID I know it is a client emergency. Oh, by all means turn off that annoying Blackberry, iPhone email ringtone.

Bottom line adopting this system might not cut the amount of email you receive but it will prevent the email from diverting your attention during the day so you can remain focused on getting more business or watching Star Wars, whichever activity floats your boat. I opt for the former.

How Do You Tame the Beast?

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The One Thing The PR Pros Don’t Even Know

February 2nd, 2011 by Coach John

Intuitively, professional marketers know that media coverage or public relations is at the heart and soul of a good lead generation plan. These powerful information channels can convince hundreds of people that you are doing a good job and that you are the professional they need.
The time-honored approach to public relations (a fancy way of saying old) has one huge downside – it can be very difficult to get reputable journalists to cover you. Don’t start feeling dispirited – you have an alternative and one that is off the radar of most PR firms. In today’s world, traditional media are subjected to pressure and serious competition from the community of citizen journalist bloggers.

Today’s bloggers rival the influence once wielded by old school news sources and with some good Jujitsu you can turn their weight to your advantage.

Better PR = Blog Involvement?

Blogs can do as good job as conventional media in terms of lifting your company’s profile. In fact, blog PR can be more efficient, since you will be delivering your message straight to a highly targeted audience that is already interested in what you have to say.

This sounds good in theory but what are the practical opportunities connected to blog PR? You can win a spot to write as a guest blogger and showcase your expertise. A blogger may also be interested in publishing reviews of your products or services. These opportunities seem quite ordinary but the truth is that they can lead to some serious awareness building, not to mention Google-friendly links back to your site.

The advantage of working with bloggers is that they may be much easier to approach and more willing to play nice.

Blog communities will provide you with additional PR and marketing opportunities that traditional media lack. Because blogs are updated frequently with keyword rich text content that Google loves, a blog post can both increase your credibility and improve the positioning of your website in search engine results. In addition good bloggers are connected to networks of linked blogger communities that can carry your message at click-speed across the web.

Vitamins for Making Friends – Getting to Know Bloggers

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You will have to familiarize yourself with your target blogger’s writing style and areas of interest before you establish a contact and make your pitch. Perform a simple search to discover blogs that discuss topics that compliment your expertise. Subscribe to their RSS feed and regularly browse their pages and explore the content. Is it what you are looking for?

Prepare a list of popular and well-written blogs that provide complimentary content. A time saving tip is to have your Virtual Assistant (VA), compile this list for you.

What comes next? You will have to make your presence known. Get involved. Submit comments to the blog posts that you enjoy reading. Your comments should be engaging, intelligent and add value to the conversation. Being a valuable member of the community is the best way to get yourself noticed.

Once bloggers know who you are, you can try contacting them. Send an email expressing your interest in the blog. You can also suggest story ideas, offer relevant video content, breaking news leads, even promote them in your social networks. In short…help them out.

Blog coverage is an industrial strength opportunity that many PR firms tied to the good ole’ days don’t know or are uncomfortable pushing. You are smarter than that; so don’t let those stuck in the past bias you. Blogs are interactive, targeted and popular. Neglecting this chance would be a missed opportunity indeed.

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The Cant-Fail Tip for Attracting Customers

February 2nd, 2011 by Coach John

Bloggers are fast becoming one of the most influential media communities around. Bloggers provide eyewitness accounts of news, offer expert advice, opinions and intriguing points of view.

If you own a business you most certainly want to publicize it. Traditional media channels while still effective have lost some of their new car shine and guest blogging, writing for other publisher’s blogs, just might be the fresh idea you have been craving.

Being a guest blogger is a wonderful opportunity to attract new customers. How does it work? What do you need to do if you wish to become a guest writer for a niche blog?

Why Bother Guest Blogging?

Guest blogging is certainly far from the simplest promotional method. It requires creativity, commitment and some writing chops. Why bother going through all of this?

Guest blogging is a great compliment to your other marketing tactics. A well-managed blog within a specific niche will have a loyal audience of readers laser-focused on the specific theme that the blog covers. If you connect with the right blog community, you will reach an audience that is likely to pay attention to your message.

Guest blogging does a great job of helping you with search engine optimization (SEO) or in simple terms, getting Google to find you. Guest bloggers are usually given the chance to include at least one link to their site which will pass the host blog’s authority onto your website. Links coming from quality blogs will affect your website’s positioning in search results.

Being a guest blogger also helps build your credibility. Your company will be seen as more trustworthy if you are invited to write for a popular and reputable blog.

Further, the blogger who has given you the chance to contribute may also be interested in providing content for your blog or website. What could be better than borrowing a bit of juice from the experience of someone whose expertise compliments yours?

Finding The Right Match: You Can’t Buy Love on Ebay

A blog needs to meet certain requirements in order to be an effective partner-community. Discovering the right blogs for this purpose is the first important step.

Before doing anything else, you need to consider the blog’s PageRank.  PageRank is a numeric value that Google assigns to websites, in simple words – it acts as a measure of quality and authority. Look for blogs that have a PageRank of three or higher.

Blog traffic is the second important factor to explore. A blog needs to have a stable body of visitors for your guest blogging effort to be truly beneficial. You should also pay attention to the manner in which readers get involved (or refrain from doing so). Readers that provide comments and useful input are the best audience, an audience that is active and willing to shape the content itself.

Remember to always look for niche blogs. Their authors should preferably discuss topics that compliment, not compete with your area of professional expertise.

Landing Partners: A Little B-Harmony

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Now that you know how you can benefit from guest blogging, you need to adopt a practical and efficient way to contact bloggers open to your contribution. The first step is to join a few guest blogging directories. These catalogs of sorts can make your task much simpler and will save you from wasting time on people who have no interest in content-related partnerships. My Blog Guest and  Blogger Link Up are good places to turn up opportunities.

Google Alerts is another useful tool.  The service returns keyword search results to your inbox as a daily digest or as the content is published. Try setting up a couple of alerts for the keyword phrases ‘submit guest post’ or ‘become a contributor.’ In essence, your new digital assistant will comb the web for content related to real guest blogging opportunities.

This process could be lengthy. It could take days or weeks to find good prospects. Get your virtual assistant to monitor your Google Alerts and directories for you.  Weekly reports will provide you with summarized information about the progress made.

Successful marketing sometimes requires serious input before seeing results. Guest blogging is an innovative and fresh way to market your company, products and services. I am now giving you permission to get out there and be successful. “Show me a really great triumph that is not the reward of persistence.” – Mardin

Share Your Guest Blogging Exerpiences…Drum Roll Please

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The Secret to Borrowing Trust and Credibility

February 1st, 2011 by Coach John

Would-be clients are usually skeptical when browsing the websites of companies to hire and to be successful you have to put some heart and soul into influencing opinons. Sounds easy and simple enough; yet, building trust in the client-company relationship takes time and serious effort.

Trust lies at the foundation of attracting customers online and getting them to inquire. What businesses do people trust? Some believe news reports. Others rely on recommendations. Knowing how to use these sources to your advantage will help you win influence with cagey clients.

Favorable Media Coverage

I cringe at making this statement but its true, people trust the media. They rely on newspaper reports, television coverage and websites to get reliable information and make decisions. Some media have managed to build their reputation as authorities in their spheres.

Getting your company, products or services mentioned in media articles and broadcasts will alter the manner in which potential clients perceive you. A single feature or a report will make your company seem special.

Establishing contact with the media is a doable task as long as you provide them with useful and newsworthy information, journalists are more likely to mention and sometimes cover your company. Think for a minute about all of stories you have read where some expert is cited.  Why can’t the next mention be you?

Create a list of all the media outlets that cover your specialty and that your target customers are interested in. Check their website staff listings to find out which journalists covering the niche you are operating in. Send these journalists press releases with compelling subject lines and story angles that marry what you do to hot topics in the news. For example, June through August are prime wedding months so a financial planner might pitch a story about saving money on honeymoon expenses. Do you get where I am going with this?

Remember to keep press releases more informational than promotional. Journalists don’t care about your business and all you need is the mention; so being informative will increase your chance of success.

Everyone Trusts a Friend

When looking for a service, many people are likely to seek recommendations from their friends, relatives, business associates and others like themselves. First-hand experience is often the best form of promotion.

How can you get clients to recommend you? Certainly by doing an exceptional job but these “accidental” referrals are only the tip of the iceberg. To really blow the doors off, you must employ a systematic approach to getting referrals.

Testimonials strategically added to your web page’s copy are another form of referral marketing that is always on and singing your praises 24/7.  Even if we don’t know the person, we tend to trust the opinions of those like us.

Professional Recognition

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Professional awards serve as a form of social proof that your business is uniquely special. People trust the experts in a given field. If these experts decide you are a reliable professional, potential clients will be more willing to give your services a try.

Add fuel to this fire by making mention of any award or a distinction received. Striving for professional recognition is another way to make prospective clients trust you. After all, you have received the recognition of the principal experts in your field. You must have done something right to deserve it.

The Power of Social Media

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Social media have become a determining factor in today’s society. A company that is influential in active social networks will be easier to find, recognize and certainly be more trustworthy.

What does it take to build trust in the ecosystem of a social network? Build influence through active participation and the provision of useful content, for starters. Further, you need to be willing to interact with people, to answer their questions and to promote them above yourself.  The old saying is true, “you will get what you want if you just help enough other people get what they want.”

Learn the culture on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and other popular social networks. Each one has its advantages and will give you the chance to appeal to a certain group of people. Which networks you choose will depend on your goals and available time.

Trust is central to all personal and professional connections. If there are six degrees of separation between any two people, the same holds true for credibility between you and your next customer.

Follow this guide and you will quickly learn how to borrow the trust of those your prospective customers follow and win them over. Make sure that all of these credibility indicators are presented on your website and in your marketing materials. Showing that you are reliable and trustworthy is the single best way to make your business the only choice for customers you are looking to reach.

How do you build trust? We are listening…

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The Attraction Strategy to Use Now!

January 5th, 2011 by Coach John

Giving away high value, free content is at the core of a successful prospect attraction strategy and hosting introductory seminars as a component will send the performance of your strategy into the stratosphere.  Consider an intro seminar to be a bite sized chunk of your full service offering that you use to build awareness, grow your mailing list, in short to engage a group of prospects in a longer term communication to establish yourself as the go-to resource.

Anatomy of an intro seminar

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If you offer accounting services your intro seminar might consist of an hour long discussion of proven ways to survive an audit, a problem people with a sizable enough net worth (your target) are more likely to face and information they would find truly valuable. Once you settle on a good intro topic, its time to promote and host your seminar.

The nuts and bolts…

There are a number of ways to do this but the methods I recommend are using either a teleconference service (Free Conference Pro or Free Conference) or a web conference service like DimDim or Goto Meeting. With these services you can host free or low cost meetings from 20 to literally hundreds of seats. Even with a topic and virtual location nailed you still need an audience to make this work, right?

This is where I say “told ya so” to the people who looked at me cross eyed when I told them a year ago to do everything possible to build a strong mailing list and develop relationships with market influencers through social media.  The relationship building process is not simple but investment in building your web networks pays dividends when you need support promoting your event.

About ten days out start sending free seminar announcements to your mailing list.  At the same time enlist your influential partners on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin to announce your event to their respective followings. If you are new to online networking and don’t yet have a list, consider a joint venture arrangement with someone who has a good sized list.  In return for tapping your JV partner’s list and promotional support you could offer a % of any deal closed or some other value proposition. Trust me this is not the time to think cheap. A good JV partner with a connection to a strong following is worth their weight in gold. Any money you fork over will be a lot less expensive an more effective than a full page ad in any major media publication.

Bonus prize!

All of the free seminar tools I mentioned offer call recording capability that will almost instantly render an mp3 file of your seminar.  Look at this mp3 file as a gold nugget offering you a free information product that you can use as an incentive to grow your mailing list, a credibility building giveaway for new prospects or a tool for your referral alliance partners to give to their clients and promote your business in the process.

The intro seminar is a little-known, yet incredible tool that is Tylenol for your “I need more customers” pain.  Okay, lets get it started!

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How to Overcome Buyer Resistance

May 25th, 2010 by Coach John

Fear is the most powerful motivator in the animal kingdom and make no mistake your prospective clients are in a decision-making jungle when selecting among the many providers in your market. Your ability to overcome buyer resistance will have an immediate and positive impact on your website sales.

Before we dive into a discussion of a few tools to overcome buyer’s remorse let me say that you must first be confident in the quality of your service and the way you deliver that service to have the confidence to put these tactics into motion. Consider the following as you build or revamp your website copy:

  1. Guarantee:  Offer a no questions asked money back guarantee or a make-right deal for your customers.
  2. Free trial:  Let prospective customers try your service before they buy.
    Bite sized chunks:  Similar to the free trial offer you provide prospects with a free piece of your offering. For example if you run a paid employment site offer prospective employers 5 free resume searches.
  3. 24 hour customer service: Knowing that there will always be someone a phone call, email or forum post away from solving their post purchase problem goes a long way toward comforting the resistant buyer.
  4. Referrals:  People look to others to help them make decisions, so get ahead of the process by building a referral system that proactively introduces your company to the friends of your clients and business partners.

Fear of wasting money on a bad decision overrides the interest generated by your stated benefits.  To bring prospective customers around you must be prepared to overcome their resistance.

How do you overcome the resistance?

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Hacking Books for Business Success

April 21st, 2010 by Coach John

“Success leaves clues and reading is one of the
best means to absorbing such clues…”

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Anthony Robbins

Beyond the hail of ooohs I would have never guessed this little pixel book would become one of my greatest business development tools.  That’s right my Kindle helps me win new client relationships and it can do the same for you.

Because I have instant, downloadable access to some half a million book titles, newspapers and magazines I am able to efficiently consume information about my focus expertise increasing my value to clients and inspiring trust that our web development team will get the job done.

More than smart

In addition to making me smarter (okay, stop laughing) the device allows me to easily highlight and notate text and because my notes are in digital format I can easily export them to create book summaries that I offer to prospective clients increasing my attractiveness.

Instant audio book…

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If sharable, digital notes weren’t enough the Kindle can turn just about any book it stores into an audio book with a digitized voice that reads the book aloud. Plug this guy into your car stereo and turn dead driving time into new insight. Some publishers have disabled the audio feature but I have a feeling that the groundswell from users will get publishers to see the light.

If the knowledge you share with prospects is your chief trust-building asset (hint: it should be), then the Kindle is the new killer business app! iPad’s work pretty good too but they are so freakin’ big.

Bonus…the eBook Wars

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