Get blog updates and free marketing tools and advice!

Turn Your Business Blog Into an Authority Source

authority source, image by Stuart Miles on freedigitalphotos.netOne of the reasons to maintain a business blog is to show yourself an authority in your niche. As an expert in your niche you will get a certain amount of respect, which leads to more traffic, better relationships and more sales. But, in order to become an expert you must start at the beginning. Here is how to turn your blog into an authority.

Blog Often and Regularly

You’re never going to be viewed as a niche authority if you blog once a month. Set up a viable blogging schedule and stick to it. Aim for at least twice a week. Blog about much focused topics, starting from a beginner’s perspective and working your way up over the next year to a more advanced perspective. Also, guest blog strategically on websites that market to your audience. Blogging often is the best way to get traffic to your website.

Write Articles

Write and distribute articles about your niche on topics your audience would be interested in. Find online and offline magazines in which to contribute as an expert in your niche. If you submit a compelling article, it’s likely your submissions will be used. Whether online or offline, this type of content helps establish you as an expert to the public.

Become a Resource

Let the local and national press know that you’re a resource they can call on when they need a quote about your niche. You can do this in a variety of ways, such as sending email to reporters when they write about your niche, making blog comments, and using a service like HARO (Help a Reporter Out). HARO is a way that you can sign up to be a source to qualified reporters on any topic you choose. There are free and paid opportunities.

Set up Consistent Profiles

No matter whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, or your blog, your profiles should be very consistent. You want to be very careful about contradicting who you are across accounts. Ensure that you essentially say the same thing on each social media account but in different ways based on the type of social media account. For instance, LinkedIn is more business and buttoned up, while Facebook is more social – more like an after-hours business event. Of course, be businesslike and professional on all accounts.

Send Out Press Releases

When you do something exciting in your business, whether it’s publishing a book, having a webinar, or conducting an interview for a radio show or podcast, send out a press release. Press releases are a good way to get online back links to your website but they’re also a good way to get in print

Conclusion

Turning your business blog into a niche authority is a great way to command respect, grow your audience and boost your sales. Use these simple tips to blog your way to business niche infamy.

 

 

 

 

Is Your Website User-Friendly?

user friendly website, image by Stuart Miles on freedigitalphotos.netHaving a user-friendly site is a big deal. The usability of your website makes a huge difference in the amount of traffic you get, if those readers decide to come back and how quickly people bounce away from your site.

If you took a look at your site right now, would you say it’s user-friendly? Is your menu easy to find and easy to read? Is all the content spaced out well enough that everything is readable? If you think some changes could be made, here are some tips on making your site user-friendly.

When it comes to navigation, simple is best. Your website navigation should follow 3 principles: simplicity, clarity and logic. This means it should be clear, easy to understand and follow and structured in a way that makes sense. Basically, make things as easy as possible for visitors to find their way around and you’re golden.

Make your contact info stand out. For business websites, it’s important for your contact information to be at the forefront. Nothing irks me more than when I’m trying to email a business and I can’t find any contact info. Don’t they want business? Make it easy for readers who what to get in touch with you. Also, showing off your contact info helps prove to consumers that you’re legit.

Make your site purty. As in make it attractive. I’m not saying to clutter up your site. Adding too much glitz will detract from your usability. But, you do want to fancy it up just a little. People are much more likely to spend more time on a site that is visually appealing. Choose complimentary colors, have a nice logo. Small things really make a difference here.

Keep an eye on load times. If your site takes too long to load, some visitors may turn and leave. Not all of them, but some will. Online viewers are impatient. They want their information fast. Make sure you have enough bandwidth to ensure fast loading times. Install a caching plugin that will help increase load speed or a compressing plugins that will compress your files and make your site faster.

Conclusion

Making sure your website is user-friendly can really help increase your traffic and your business. With these tips in mind, take a closer look at your site. Is it user-friendly? If not, some simple changes can make a huge difference.

 

How to Take Your Business to the Next Level

business tips, image by samuiblue on freedigitalphotos.netIt’s easy to become somewhat complacent about business. If you’re paying the bills and living a balanced life there may be no incentive to push it. Yet, the only way to know what’s possible is to set bigger goals and strive to grow your business. It’s time to look at how to take your business to the next level.

#1 Take Bigger Risks

You’ve learned a lot along the way. Even if you’ve only been in business for a year or less, chances are you’re much wiser than you were when you started. It’s time to take more risks. Not crazy or impulsive risks. We’re talking about calculated risks. Know what the risks are and what you stand to gain and then make a decision to forge ahead.

#2 Write More Content

If you blog, try to increase the frequency. If you send email messages, strive to send one a week. If you use social media, publish or share relevant content on a daily basis. In short, publish more content, be more noticeable and more accessible. Test and track your results. Chances are as you publish more content you’ll also notice an increase in traffic, SEO and sales or profits.

#3 Be More Relevant

What does your audience respond to the most? Use your analytics to figure out what your audience likes the best and provide more of that. You can use your data to help you find that sweet spot with your prospects.

#4 Host Webinars and Seminars

Teaching opportunities not only strengthen your credibility, authority and brand, they also provide tremendous marketing opportunities and an abundance of content. One webinar can produce books, reports, and email content and blog posts not to mention the product potential. Engage, teach, and publish – that’s how you take a business to the next level.

#5 Ask Questions

Do you really know what your audience wants and needs? Even if you’re on top of it now, the answer can and does change. Integrate communication into your marketing. Ask more questions. Ask your audience what they want to learn, how they want to learn and how you can help them succeed?

Conclusion

Pushing your limits and growing your business can be terrifying and rewarding. Plan, strategize, and follow through. Use your resources, talk with your audience, customers and prospects, and use the technology available to you to evaluate your results. It’s all in your power to decide how high you want to reach and how big you’d like to grow your business.

Can the Passion in Your Voice Affect Customer Motivation?

customer relations,If you want to create customer motivation, one of the first places you should look is yourself. The way you speak and communicate with your customers plays a large role in how they feel about your brand, product or service.

The Infomercial Example

One prime example of how excitement can play a role in getting people motivated is late-night infomercials. If you turn your TV on late at night and watch these infomercials, you’ll find that every single person you see appears to be jumping out of their skin with excitement.

Infomercials are produced by professionals who truly understand how to motivate a market. If you or your spokesperson is highly passionate, your customers will feel that motivation and get passionate as well.

Passion Doesn’t Have to Look a Certain Way

Passion doesn’t always have to look like a person talking quickly or loudly. It can also take a very calm and controlled demeanor. The words you use can convey how much you believe in something, without you having to wave your arms excitedly or talk loudly.

Felt Passion versus Expressed Passion

Have you ever seen someone speak as if they were passionate, but you thought they were just faking it? For example, if you went to a used car salesman, they might sound very excited about a car – but you just don’t feel it.

That’s probably because they’re trying to emulate what they think excitement looks like, without being truly excited.

The key to transferring passion is to first feel passionate yourself. You can’t just emulate passion; you have to actually feel it inside.

If you can muster up a burning passion as you speak, that’s what will motivate your customers.

Who You Are Can Be Intrinsically Motivating

Who you are, your past results and what you stand for can be intrinsically motivating, even if your voice isn’t. What do I mean? If can establish yourself as a leader in your industry, you raise your clout with others. Suddenly others will want to know what you have to say and will look to you for motivation.

Voice versus Technique

Voice tone and speaking technique are equally important. If you’ve ever attended a motivational seminar, you’ve seen techniques in action.

The speaker will have you jumping up and down, high fiving your neighbors and employ a whole host of other techniques to get you motivated.

Conclusion

Your voice is crucial, but so is understanding the mechanics of motivation. However, without passion in your voice, no technique will make a difference. Start with a fiery passion that comes from the inside, then add proof, results and techniques on top.

Keyword Research Tool Comparison Chart

research toolsKeywords are probably the most important element of SEO as they are what helps get your content indexed and found. Choosing the right keywords can boost your page views, traffic and even sales. Picking the wrong ones can mean not getting your content seen.

There are many tools online that can help you figure out the right keywords for your content. In fact, it can be hard to figure out which is best for you. Here is a simple comparison chart to help you pick the right keyword research tool for your business.

NOTE: Comparison chart was created based on available information and features are subject to change.

 

  Product NameWordTracker Product NameGoogle Keyword Planner Product NameMarket Samurai Product NameSEMRush Product NameKeyword Discovery Product NameUberSuggest
 

Cost

 

$27 to $99 Monthly Free — But must sign up for AdWords Account Free to $149.00 $69.95 to $499 Monthly (can order custom plans) $199.95 to $495 Monthly or $1895 to $4752 Yearly Free
Keyword Suggestions  Yes Yes, Limited Yes, Exceptional Yes, Exceptional Yes, Exceptional Yes
Export / Download Reporting  Yes Yes Yes Yes, Branded Reports Term reports, Lists, Industry Keywords You can copy and paste your selections
Local Focused Research Tools  Yes Yes, Limited Yes, Exceptional Yes, Exceptional Yes No
Search Competitors  Yes Yes, Limited Extensive Extensive Exceptional Yes
Results for images, recipes, videos, news, etc.  Yes No No No No Yes
Other Suggestions Yes Yes, related Yes, related Yes Yes, spelling mistakes, related No

 

How to Write a Case Study That Will Boost Your Business

online marketing, business marketing, case studies Case studies are an in-depth look at how a customer has benefited from using your product or service. It is a great way to help your business get extra press. Case studies can be featured as a blog post, a newsletter or even as a brochure or press release. To write a really effective case study, you can hire a freelance writer, or you can write it yourself. If you plan to go the DIY route, here are some tips on how to write a case study with business-boosting power.

Have a strong title. Like any written content, your title needs to capture your audience and give them an idea of what you’re about to share with them. Write a title that is intriguing, but gives your audience an idea of what’s in it for them.

Use real numbers. What is more compelling? Saying your product has helped increase your customer’s productivity or saying it has increased it by 80%? Having concrete numbers (even ballpark figures) really helps show how well your product or service is working for others.

Avoid pitchy jargon. This is a case study documenting a real customer experience. This is not the time to get all sales-y. Skip advertising jargon like “unique” or “market leading” for your case study.

Include quotes. To make your case study really compelling, you will want to include quotes from your customer. It gives a first-hand account from someone who has really benefitted from your business. It also gives readers something to relate to. Your case study can be written in first or third person.

Include contact information. This is especially important if you plan to distribute your case study to other mediums besides your website. Include your business name, email, phone number and any other important contact information.

Conclusion

Case studies give a first-hand account of someone who has used your business. It goes further than a simple testimonial does, and can really help boost your business. If you plan to write your own case study, use these tips to ensure yours is effective.

 

 

How to Make Your Content Scannable

online content, blog contentYou’ve just published the most eloquent blog post you have ever written. It’s researched, and perfectly crafted. But none of that matters unless you can get your audience to actually read it.

So how do you get them to read your content? By making it scannable of course! Scannable content is especially important for business content, where getting people to read what you have written can directly impact your sales. Here are 5 easy things you can do to make your content scannable and easy to read.

  1. Write in short paragraphs. Long blog paragraphs can be off-putting. There is just so much to read. Online readers (myself included) tend to digest information better when it’s delivered in shorter spurts. This allows them to get to the meat of the paragraph and move on.
  2. Use headings and subheadings. Another way allow reader to get to the main point of your post is to use headings. Headings and subheadings break up the content and tell readers what each section is about, and what they can expect to read.
  3. Use bullet points and numbers. This post contains a list with numbers. And to make it even easier to know what my 5 points are, the main point of each number is bolded. So if you really didn’t want to read this whole post, I’ve made it pretty easy for you to get the gist what you should do to make your content scannable.
  4. Use block quotes. Sectioning off important sentences immediately tell your audience what the main point of your blog post is. If you have a sentence that is catchy, and can capture readers’ attention, using a block quote can really bring attention to it as well.
  5. Add in some space. Add in some space. Do not feel compelled to take up every inch of white space on your screen. In fact, space gives readers the illusion that there really isn’t as much text as there really is, making them feel less overwhelmed when reading a long post.

Conclusion

Let’s face it. Online readers just don’t have the time to read every long post out there. But when you go through all the trouble to research and write a brilliant post, you want to get people to actually read it. By writing shorter paragraphs and using tools like headings, bullet points and block quotes to break up the content, you can make your content scannable and easy for your readers to take in.

Benefits of Outsourcing

hiring a writer, social media, hiring a freelancerLet’s face; there are some aspects of business that you just don’t want to do. For some it may be your blog and content writing, for others it can be your social media interaction. While it can be difficult to hand over the reins and allow someone else to take over, there are many benefits of outsourcing some of your business tasks to a freelancer.

Cost savings. It may not seem like hiring a freelancer will save you money, but it will in the long run. What else could you be doing if you hand over certain tasks? Maybe focus on other tasks that need to be done, perhaps some that are more important. Also, if you compare the costs of hiring an extra employee to handle these tasks compared to outsourcing, the clear winner is outsourcing. A regular employee requires hiring, training, a physical workspace, benefits, paid time off, etc.

Level the playing field. If you are a small business, chances are you can’t afford the same in-house support as your larger competitors. By outsourcing, you will be able to utilize the same technology and expertise, without having to hire an in-house employee.

Focus on your business. You only have so much time and attention. When you free yourself from the day-to-day tasks of business, it leaves you much more time to focus on the on core of your business. You will be able to devote your time to product creation, sales, or other aspects that will bring in more money.

Flexibility. When you outsource, you have the flexibility to bring in workers, or release them, whenever you see fit. For example, there may be certain times of the year when you need more work done compared to others. By using a freelancer, you can add on hours when needed and reduce them later when the busy period has ended.

Risk management. Using freelancers rather than hiring employees reduces your employee turnover risk. It can increase your continuity and help keep your business running all year round.

Conclusion

Small business owners always seem to have the most to do. Without the added help of extra employees, they are left to handle the day-to-day tasks on their own. By outsourcing some of your business tasks and freeing yourself up to work on more important things, you can actually save time and money.

YouTube-Not Just For Watching Funny Videos

social media marketing, visual marketingYouTube is the most used visual social network. It’s great for viewing biting babies, crazy pets or the latest music video. But it can also be a great tool for businesses. With YouTube owned by Google, it is a great way to help your business get seen. But as with all marketing methods, there is a right and a wrong way to go about using YouTube. Here are some ways to use YouTube effectively for your business.

  1. Create your own channel. This is often overlooked but is very important. Your own YouTube channel is where you can store all the videos you upload. You can organize your videos and highlight your business name. Having your own channel also allows people to subscribe and follow your channel.
  2. Fill your viewer’s needs. The videos you upload should fit some purpose. This can be in the form of a how-to video, product demo or even a product advertisement. The type of video you make will depend on the type of products you sell. In general, people like videos that are helpful and teach them something.
  3. Make your videos quick and engaging. You don’t need an expensive professional camera to make a decent video. Make sure the lighting is good and the camera isn’t shaking. Use a tripod if possible. It is important to keep the conversation in the video flowing so that it will be engaging. Also, do not make your videos too long. Videos that are overly long turn people off and keep them from viewing them in their entirety.
  4. SEO your videos. Yup, just like your website content, your YouTube videos can benefit from keywords. When you upload your videos, make sure you take advantage of the tags. Use tags that you think people will use when doing a search.
  5. Spread your videos. Once you have your videos up, you can share them in other places. Put them on your homepage on your website or blog, add them to your Facebook page or tweet about your videos. Videos make great additions to landing pages or welcome pages. And don’t forget to add tags and keywords!
  6. Advertise your business. This is the point of your YouTube channel isn’t it? Include your website address at the end of each video so viewers can find out more information if they need it.

Conclusion

YouTube is one of the largest social networks in the world. It successfully combines social sharing with interesting visuals – two things that are huge with consumers and online viewers now. Use these tips to successfully use YouTube to market your business to the visually inclined population.

Why You Need a Social Media Manager

blog manager, social media marketing,Do you find your business spending too much time working on social media? Or maybe you’re not spending enough time on it because you’re not really sure what you should be doing. Either way, a social media manager can help.

What is a social media manager? It is someone who will take over your social media marketing; following your marketing strategy if you have one, or coming up with an effective strategy for you if you don’t. Still not convinced? Here are just some reasons to hire a social media manager.

  • Awesome experience. A social media manager will bring experience with them. She will know what to do to build your online audience, or how to help you increase your presence and online influence.
  • Saves you time. This is perhaps the greatest benefit of hiring a social media manager. Handing over the reins to your social media campaign will free you up to do other things. You could have more time to work on content, product development, customer service, etc. Imagine what else you could get done if you didn’t have to worry about interacting as much online.
  • Gives you one voice. Having one person take care of all your social media profiles will give you a distinct voice across the board. Also, all your different channels will work toward one goal. Whether that is boosting traffic or increasing sales, your social media manager will have an idea of what to post and share to help you reach that goal.
  • Increases your traffic. An experience social media manager will be able to help you increase your SEO campaign, your followers and site traffic overall. She will be know what to post, how to engage and when to interact to drive even more traffic back to your site.
  • Creates and manages your accounts. Is your social media campaign as effective as it can be? If you’re not sure, a manager can help you set up accounts for the most effective platforms for your business, and manage them accordingly. He can also set up outside social media tools that can help you automate your posting and online presence for the most exposure.
  • Monitors social trends. Keeping up-to-date on what is hot and what others are sharing is a great way to stay relative. But with so many other things to do, it can be difficult to keep up. A social media manager can be your eyes and ears, looking out for new trends that can help your business.

Conclusion

A social media manager can be a great asset for any business. By hiring an expert to take care of your marketing, you will have that peace of mind that your social media strategy will be efficient, and it will give you more time to work on other things.

Want to learn more? Check out Vertical Linq for excellent social media management and blog management services.