Category Archives for Marketing

Blogging with Integrity

Build an online business you can be proud of...

There is a movement to "Blog with Integrity," which is a basic standard bloggers should follow.

Be Honest

If you aren't earning a million dollars yet, don't tell people that you are. It's okay to admit that you're learning to and struggling. If you have a food blog and didn't try a particular recipe, don't say you did. The best way to ensure that your audience trusts you is to be trustworthy and honest about everything you say.

Don't Plagiarize

Some people still don't understand what plagiarism is. If you aren't sure and don't assume that you know, please read more about what plagiarism is. It's simply not okay to use other people's work without asking, crediting, and paying for the privilege. That includes photographs, artwork, blog posts, articles on the news, and so forth. When you write something or have it written, run it through a plagiarism checker like Copyscape or Grammarly.

Don't Spam Anyone

Many blogs are often sent automatically to email subscribers. Be sure to use a double opt-in form for newsletter subscribers and explain that they will receive blog updates. Monitor the comments on your blog for spam to help protect your visitors from those who would harm them.

Disclose Financial Relationships

If you have been paid to provide a particular review, or you will receive income if your readers click through to buy something from a particular review, it is important that you disclose it openly. There is nothing wrong with earning money on your blog, and there is no reason to hide it. Disclose everything and be transparent.

Be Willing to Admit Mistakes

It happens. You try out a product or service and love it, but maybe you didn't dig deep enough and did not realize they had terrible customer service or were unscrupulous in other ways. It's okay to come out and say so later and admit that you made a mistake. The more open you are about your imperfections, the more people will trust you.

Be Respectful

Even if you are calling out another blogger or business owner about something you disagree with, it is important to do so in a professional, respectful manner. There is never a reason to be nasty or rude to anyone. If someone makes a comment you do not like on your blog, remember - people are watching to see how you will react. Keep it respectful even when others don't.

Allow Contrary Comments and Feedback

Receiving criticism is hard. It can hurt very badly and for some of us, even make us cry. But, it's important to allow disagreements and contrary opinions on your comment streams. Delete spam, but let other people have their views; it won't take away from yours.

Take Responsibility

If you've recommended a product that turned out to be a dud, and the owners of the product will not stand up and do what's right, it's up to you to do something to make it better. Take responsibility for your words, too. If you said something wrong, or that was taken wrong, step back and admit your part in any problems. Whether your blog is written by you only, or a ghost writer or you have rewritten PLR on the blog, it's your responsibility to fact check, check for plagiarism and ensure the truth of all the content you distribute.

Even if you don't want to sign the pledge, there is something to be said about blogging with integrity. The main point being that you will feel good about your business, you'll be proud to tell people what you do, and you'll feel good about every penny you earn and every piece of content that you put out into the world.

How to Market to Those with Short Attention Spans 

How to Market to Those with Short Attention Spans 

They say that the attention span of the public, when it comes to grabbing their attention, is only eight seconds. The problem with short attention spans and content marketing is that usually, it takes more than eight seconds for the user to click through to the content and start reading. But, there are ways to fight back and conquer marketing to people with short attention spans – which is nearly everyone.

If you only have eight seconds, that means you have to greatly shorten whatever it is that you are doing to market to your audience, or you need to do something new every eight seconds to grab their attention again. That’s why some public speakers can speak for over an hour and keep the audience’s attention while others put everyone to sleep after the first eight seconds. Which type of marketer are you?

Boil It All Down

* What are your objectives? – What is the overarching thing that your business needs to accomplish? You can include an objective from each sector of your business.

* What are your goals? – Describe in concrete terms what the above means in terms of measurable results.

* What are your strategies? – Describe for each of the goals, in one or two points, what will be done to meet the objectives.

* How will you measure results? – Describe, using the goals, how you’ll measure those results. What tools will be used, and when will it be done?

Try to answer each question in only one or two sentences. The idea is to keep it short, succinct and to the point. If you can’t keep it to the point now, it will be hard for you to do so when you’re creating your marketing campaign.

Things to Remember

* You can focus on one objective at a time.

* You can focus on one goal at a time.

* You can choose one strategy at a time.

You can make a list of each and create a series of advertisements that all fit together to answer the first list of objectives and goals that you created, all in seven- or eight-second increments. But, start with just one. Get one completed, launched, and measured before moving on to the next. In this way, you can ensure that you are on the right track and gauge how you’re keeping the attention of your audience by the metrics you are choosing to measure, which are based on your clear and specific goals.

Once you have everything spelled out, it will be a lot easier to follow and succeed in marketing to people with short attention spans. You’re going to find that using this method will help market to all sorts of people, whether they have short attention spans or not. It’s probably better to assume that 99.9 percent of your audience has a short attention span and work from there.

How to Make Your Email Messages More Memorable

How to Make Your Email Messages More Memorable

To create memorable email marketing messages, it’s important to focus on your audience while also aiming to promote your products and/or services in a way that appeals to them. You want them to remember you after they close the email, especially if they choose not to click through to answer your call to action. How to create those memorable messages is as easy as following these eight tips.

1. Never Forget the Welcome Email – Every new series and every new sign-up to your autoresponder should receive a welcome message or a message that explains the coming series. This will let your audience know that they succeeded in signing up, or that a new series is starting on a list they have been a member of for some time. It’s a nice thing to do that will excite your audience and make them feel as if you are thinking of their needs.

2. Always Tell Your Audience What to Expect – It’s important to explain to your audience about what to expect. This can be within your welcome message, or it can be in a message following the welcome message. Explain to them that they’ll get a new message every week or every two weeks or every day – whatever you’ve decided – and how important it is that they read the messages. It’s a good time as well to invite them to offer feedback to you about the messages and information you’re sharing with them.

3. Explain to Your Audience Who You Are – They want to know who you are and why you are the one to share knowledge with them. What makes you special? Don’t brag, but do tell them why you are the one who can help them with their problems. Share awards you’ve won, publications you’re created, and certification and education you’ve completed. Include life experience that got you to where you are now and how that experience can help them.

4. Use Simple, Direct Language – Avoid using lots of big words when expressing deep thoughts or hard to understand concepts. Choosing the simplest language will make your message more memorable and understandable to your audience. Using words that are too complicated and too big will bore them to death, even if your audience is full of geniuses. Be direct and to the point and avoid being long-winded, and you’ll get better responses.

5. One Idea at a Time – Each email message should encompass one idea at a time so as not to confuse the audience about what you want them to do. Having more than one or two CTAs can also confuse your audience and leave them wondering what to do. You want each message to stand on its own in such a way that there is no doubt about what you expect your audience to do.

6. Create a Good Catchword or Phrase – When you think of different known brands and commercials, they come up with super simple catchwords and phrases that you can’t forget. A really memorable one is “Life’s messy, clean it up!” That’s so simple, yet most of us know this came from the company Bissell™. If you can create something like this and use it as your sign off, they’ll remember your brand better.

7. Timing Is Everything – Each audience is different, so at first, you’ll need to test different times to send the messages to your audience. Each autoresponder service has some stats that they will share with you which you can use as an initial guideline about when to send messages. But, you should use A/B testing to ensure that you are sending messages at the right time.

8. Create Heartfelt Messages – Depending on your audience, sometimes sending really heartfelt messages that help you get closer to your audience will make them feel closer to you and more attached to you. Be careful not to overshare and make people uncomfortable, but sharing your journey of homeless to successful six-figure online business is perfectly acceptable.

Creating memorable email messages can take some testing and tweaking, but trying one or all of the tips in this list can help bring you a lot closer to making all your email marketing messages more memorable.

What Is Multi-Channel Marketing?

Put simply, multi-channel marketing is getting the message out about your products and services through many different methods. The goal of multi-channel marketing is to get the information into the hands of as many of your audience as possible. How many channels you use will depend on the ways in which you sell your products as well as where your audience is located.

The different ways you can market and sell products today include:

* Retail
* Web paged
* Social media
* Mobile commerce
* Call centers
* Catalogs (online and off)
* And more…

The benefits of multi-channel marketing are many, the main one being that your audience can interact with and buy from you in numerous ways depending on where they are when they choose to buy. In order to take advantage of the many ways to sell something, it’s important that you inform your consumer through many different ways, as well as sell to them in many different ways.

Getting the message to your audience requires a multi-pronged effort using various marketing channels.

You may want to use a combination of:

* Mobile advertising
* Website advertising
* Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)
* Content marketing (SEM)
* Newsletter ads
* Social Media ads
* Email marketing
* TV ads
* Print ads
* And more…

For example, the process might look like this:

A lead sees a PPC advertisement on Facebook regarding a free webinar that you’re having in the next seven days regarding a topic they’re interested in. They click through and sign up for the free webinar. This triggers your email marketing software to send them pre-formatted and created information on a periodic basis, as well as signs them up to come to the free webinar.

Via email they learn about all the different products you offer, and are reminded to attend the webinar. At the webinar they listen to the information you promised and are given a link to buy the promotional items you mention in the webinar. They click through to buy, and are then prompted to give more information such as their snail mail address, email address or whatever other information you’d like to be able to contact them through. Each step pushes/pulls your lead, then customer, through your product funnel - one thing leading to the next.

But, you have other entry points too, not just the Facebook advertisement. You keep your blog populated with regular and informative articles and information about your niche in which the calls to action point to your products and/or services and, of course, prompts them to sign up for your email newsletter. In addition, perhaps you guest blog post regularly too. The link within your bio at the end of the blog posts points your audience to more information.

Each thing works with the other and independently as well, thus forming many different channels that all lead to the same or variations of the information you want your audience to know about.

Social Media Consultant

​An in-demand job or work-at-home career, the social media consultant might be known under different names such as social media specialist, social media manager, and others. However, typically consultants will tell a business what they need to do rather than perform the tasks themselves. A social media consultant might also have a staff that works with them to do the tasks that need to be done.

Skills a Social Media Consultant Needs

* Good organization skills – If you work for several clients, you’ll need a system in place to help you keep everything organized. Consider using a system like Basecamp to help you keep each client as well as contractors organized.

* Excellent communicators – The ability to communicate with a wide variety of people from your clients who may not speak “social media” to contractors that you hire to do the work, will be necessary to make everything run smoothly.

* Understanding of social media technology – It's imperative to stay on the cutting edge of social media technology in terms of social media itself, as well as the apps that make it easier to use. Plus, understanding the intricacies of each network helps, too.

* Knowledge of online marketing – While a general knowledge of marketing is essential to success as a social media consultant, having a particular understanding of social media marketing will get you far.

* Experience in creating or having created SEO content – Content makes the internet go round, and it’s no different for social media marketing. In fact, a good social media consultant understands that website content is crucial to social media marketing.

* Superior leadership skills – A consultant typically does not perform much of the work themselves. Instead they design, organize, systemize and lead others to do the work necessary to run social media campaigns.

* A good understanding of marketing metrics
– There are many tools that need to be used in order to test whether or not the strategy you’re using is working. You will need to be able to prove to your clients that what you want to do is working.

* Cross-channel marketing knowledge – Social media marketing is about using many different channels to get the message out about a business. Learning about different channels, including new ones, will keep you on the cutting edge of social media marketing.

How to Get Started as a Social Media Consultant

If you have some or all of these skills, you can get started by setting up a website to promote your new business. Set a good example of how good your business knowledge is by being an example of what a social media marketing consultant does. Perform social media marketing consulting with your own business first.

* Set up a website
– If you can’t do it yourself, have a professional set up one for you. Your website is your calling card and a demonstration of how good you are at the job you want to do for others.

* Set up your social media accounts – Once again, your social media accounts are necessary to demonstrate to everyone how great you are at social media consultations. If your accounts and information aren’t top-notch, they won’t realize how much they need you.

* Create awesome social media content – The content you create is essential to your social media presence. Create, or have created, content for your social media accounts that get you noticed by the people you want to hire you.

* Develop great images that go with content
– Locate or have created images that go with the social media content that will enhance your message. Today, people are very visual and will be more likely to contact you for business if your message is clear.

* Find an internship or education – You’ll need experience, and sometimes you might have to do some free work or low-cost work to make a name for yourself. Contact local non-profits that you want to help with their social media campaigns.

* Gather testimonials from satisfied people – As you work with people as an intern, volunteer or for low fees, collect testimonials to add to your website so that you can attract the high value clients you need to make this business work.

If you set up your systems and everything in such a way as to demonstrate your knowledge, skills and understanding of social media marketing and what a social media consultant can do for someone, you will be in high demand.

Writing for Pay

Earning a living working from home is a great way to be able to work around your children’s schedules or to simply leave the rat race early. Writing has always been a good way to work from home to earn money. But today, there are more ways than ever to start a business writing for pay.

The type of writing you do depends on your interests. You can:

* Start a Money-Making Blog – Choose a niche and blog about it until you get a large enough audience, then start promoting advertisements and affiliate products on the blog. This method might take a while but it can be quite lucrative.

* Write Online Content for Website Owners
– Many website owners hire ghostwriters to write online content for them. Usually the writing is around 500 to 1500 words long about a particular niche. The pay can be low depending on your niche, but a smart writer can make a good hourly rate.

* Write and Publish Books – Writing books hasn’t changed for many years but publishing has. If you write a book, you can easily self-publish online today using Kindle Direct Publishing. All that’s left is marketing your work.

* Create Manuals and Other Technical Information – Technical writers are in high demand; you can be charged with writing how to information to use software, apps, and more. If you’re good at taking technical information and making it understandable to normal people, you can charge good rates.

* Start a Private Label Rights Website – Private label rights or PLR means that other people can use the written information as their own if they make certain changes to it to make it their own. You can write about a particular niche, and then let many people buy the same work over and over again for a low rate. Volume sales makes up for the low price.

* Become a Copywriter – This is a specific type of writing that involves understanding how to write to sell something. Copywriters write sales page information, advertisements, tag lines, mission statements and content designed to sell.

* Write Press Releases
– Often costing hundreds of dollars per press release, a press release writer needs to understand how to write information in a particular format that hooks the news organization and the reader in enough to learn the story behind the information.

* Resume | Social Media Profile | PR – People are looking for jobs and they need help perfecting resumes, social media profiles like LinkedIn profiles, and writing PR to promote their business.

The niches are truly endless. Not only can you do any and all of the above - when you write for pay you can also choose the audience for whom you want to write. Choosing your audience is a really important when you want to write for others. It can inform your topic as well as how much money you can make doing it. Writing for pay can be very lucrative and is a great way to make money working from home.

How to Stay Educated in Your Niche

​Nothing ever stays the same. If you think about how fast technology has changed our environment over the last 20 years, you’ll realize how imperative it is to stay educated in your niche. While your niche can remain your forte for years to come, what it looks like today will barely resemble what it will look like in just a few years. Think about it; no one is producing VHS tapes anymore, but no one has stopped watching movies. Our tools change not our passions.

Attend Industry Events

Whether online or offline, it’s important to surround yourself with people who are in your industry and your audience. The more you can learn from others, the more you’ll be able to stay ahead of the learning curve regarding your niche. By surrounding yourself with movers and shakers, you won’t be caught off guard when people want WordPress websites instead of HTML static sites. Instead you’ll see what’s coming around the bend.

Follow the Right People

On one hand you want to follow your audience so you know what they’re up to, but you should also follow your competition and the leaders in your niche. Even if you’re a leader yourself, being involved with other leaders can help you stay ahead of the learning curve because you’ll be able to keep your ear to the ground. Try spreading out your associations because people tend to get caught up in a clique without realizing it.

Get Certified

Whether accredited or unaccredited, certification can often impress your audience. Research the accrediting authority to ensure that whoever is doing the accrediting is well known and respected in your niche before taking part. Also know whether that matters to your audience. When it comes to certain software, the software developers themselves may offer certification and if they do, that’s an important certification to pursue.

Perform Regular Keyword Research

Even if you’re not a writer, or a search engine optimization (SEO) expert, conducting regular keyword research can expose you to new industry terms and information that you might not otherwise be exposed to. Consider at least a yearly if not quarterly study of the keywords that are popular within your niche to stay ahead of your competition.

Read Books

Even if your specialty is highly technical, you can read a lot of books in your area to stay educated. Check out free books on Kindle to help you find important books being written today about your niche. Even historical books can help you understand your niche better in terms of where it’s going and where it’s been.

Take a Course

Many colleges and universities offer courses online today that you may not have seen in the past. A really good college that is low priced, accredited and non-profit is Southern New Hampshire University. In many cases the tuition is lower than local universities and colleges.

Link to Southern New Hampshire University -

Teach Others What You Know

Sometimes the best way to stay ahead and educated on your niche is to teach. When you teach something you tend to study harder. It will force you to know what is going on within the industry in a more organized and productive manner. Teaching also solidifies the information within your mind better. That’s why history professors seem to remember everything. It’s not that they have photographic memories; they just tell the stories repeatedly and it finally sticks.

Track Industry Trends

Using Google Alerts and searching the internet, you can stay up to date on industry trends. You can also find trade publications, magazines, and newsletters that will help you understand what is happening in your niche. For instance, in the USA there is Small Business Majority which is a group that can help members understand how tax laws, health care laws, and other issues affect how they do business.

Link to Small Business Majority -

Continuing education, whether formal or informal, is the key that will keep you ahead of the rest. As long as you stay educated in your niche, you will have a long career and successful business working with the people you love and doing what you love.

Why Your Business May Need a New Website

Many business owners build a website and then kind of forget about it. The website is nothing more than a brochure that people view online after seeing the URL on a business card or in a commercial. It is unfortunate, because websites can work for you, bringing in business leads 24/7 if they are designed correctly.

If you didn’t know that, it’s likely you probably need a new website. If you’re still not sure whether or not you need a new website, consider the following.

* Your Website Is Dull
- Go to your website and look at it as if you’re a member of your target audience. How do you feel when you see it? If you’re unimpressed and bored, your audience is too. A website should be designed with the audience in mind. If it’s not, the audience will not be impressed.

* Your Target Market Has Changed
– Over years of doing business, sometimes the focus of the business changes to a new target audience - whether due to a better understanding of target markets or due to a real change in products and services. If your business has experienced this kind of change, it is important to consider a new website design.

* Your Website Content Lacks Proper Focus – While not requiring a total remake in design, if your content isn’t focused on your audience and written with them in mind, then you’ll need a complete overhaul of the content on your site.

* New Technology Is Available – Is your shopping cart, newsletter, blogging or content management system outdated? If it’s been a few years since you updated the technology you use then it is likely time to consider updating it.

* Your Search Engine Ranking Is Dropping – Old technology isn’t good at keeping up with new search engine technology. Plus, if your website looks outdated to visitors who do find it, they’ll just click away.

* Your Website Is Not Mobile – More people are using mobile technology to access websites than ever before. In fact, mobile technology is outselling personal computers. If your audience member clicks through to your site and cannot read it, they won’t be back.

* Your Site Is Not Interactive Enough – A new website with all the interactive bells and whistles and interactivity is expected today. The ability to make comments, share on social media, and engage with the audience is very important. If your website lacks that ability, it’s imperative that you update your website today.

* You Want to Ramp Up Your Design
– You simply are ready for a refreshed website with a new outlook that better captures your audience’s attention in a way that makes it easy to deliver the message you want them to know.

Sometimes you just need a new website because you want one, but other times you need a new website design because yours is old-fashioned and no longer serves your audience.

Analyzing Your Competition’s Social Media Efforts

​One the best ways to give your own business a boost is to check out your competition. Your competition, even if your business is more popular, can give you a lot of insight to your audience and how you can improve to make your business even more profitable. One way to do that is to analyze your competition’s social media efforts. Here's how.

* Follow Them on All Social Media Accounts – See how they are using each social media account to give information to their audience and how they get more followers. Does it appear that they are using automation software?

* Sign Up for Their Email List – Email lists are a really good way to check out your competition and see how they’re using their email in conjunction with social media to market their products and services.

* Read Their Blog Often
– Set up their blog on RSS feed so that you can keep track of the type of information they’re disseminating to their audience. Do they ask their audience to share blog posts? Do they make it easy to share?

* What Do They Share Using Social Media? – What does their goal seem to be using social media? Do they try to lead you back to their email list, blog, other social media accounts, or something else?

* How Do They Get People to Like or Follow Them? – Did they incentivize their audience to like or follow them on multiple social media accounts? If so, are they giving new or the same information on each account?

* How Often Do They Send Out Updates?
– Track how often your competition sends out updates.

* Track What Time Your Competition Sends Updates – What time is the most common time that your competition sends out updates?

* What Is the Reaction of the Audience?
– Is the audience engaging with your competition based on their updates?

As you ask these questions, you will need to keep track of the answers. Some good ways to do so are to:

* Create a Spreadsheet – Enter the information you collect into a spreadsheet in order to keep track of the questions you have about how each of your competition uses social media.

* Use Evernote – This is a great way to keep track of different things that you would like to try that your competition is doing. Make a note of it, and then put it into practice on your own.

* Write a Report – Taking each of your competition separately, write a report with the information so that you can easily look at it for future reference.

Tracking what your competition is doing, as well as how your audience responds to the competition, will help you know what to do more of in your own social media marketing efforts.

Nine Tools to Help You Leverage the Power of Instagram

Instagram has developed some preferred and native tools, and keeps getting better. So before you use one of these tools, make sure you check what’s available through Instagram and see what they recommend themselves. If you still don’t see what you like, try these.

This platform offers scheduling, monitoring, curation, and so much more for many different types of social platforms, including Instagram. Hootsuite is one of the most popular social sharing platforms. It lets you automate a lot of your work, as well as get it all on one dashboard so that you can engage with your audience too.

You can visually add, plan, and schedule your Instagram posts using your PC with this software. It will auto publish individual images too. No more having to push it out on your phone later. You can just schedule and be done with it.

The premium plan offers a dedicated manager to work with you, as well as widgets, content management, and so much more. It uses visual marketing and works well, although the price is higher than others.

If you want to make smart choices with social media marketing, you need data. You’ll be able to get more insights and make better decisions. Manage your conversations with your audience and plan and schedule your content on your dashboard easily. 

Repost for Instagram

This app works on either Android or Apple smartphones and can be downloaded through your app store (either App Store or Google Play). This app lets you repost other people’s content while giving them the proper credit. 

Social Insight

Create and schedule posts from your computer, manage your followers, monitor engagement, increase follower growth, and more. You can interact with your followers from the dashboard. Easy to use and learn.

Want an easy way to put words over your photos before you share them on social media? Download this app for either iOS or Android applications. It will make your text overlays look professional and amazing.

This graphics software is cloud-based and lets you set up branding and upload fonts, images, and more for your business. Then you can automatically resize any image to the right size for Instagram and other platforms.

This software will help you get more click-throughs and helps end the problem with the fact that your only link is in your profile. You can use this software to help make your photos link to the content you want them to see.

Try out these tools to find out if they help you get more from Instagram. Marketing on Instagram will help you reach more of your audience, especially if your product is visual in nature. But you can always figure out ways to make all sorts of products stand out using video. 

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