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Is Your Business Pinteresting?

unnamedIt’s one of the biggest names in online marketing right now. No, it’s not Twitter or even Facebook. It’s Pinterest. It may not have as many users as the social media biggies yet, but make no mistake; Pinterest is gaining users and making waves in the social world.

What exactly is Pinterest? It is your virtual pinboard. You can use it to bookmark, or “pin,” webpages you like and share them with others. Like Twitter, you can amass followers and share your pins with them.

Pinterest works best for businesses that are visually appealing. Products and websites that look good tend to get pinned and re-pinned the most. If this sounds like your business, you can use Pinterest to drive people to your website and gain customers. Here are some tips to make sure your business is Pinteresting.

  1. Use vibrant images. Think about it, what would you rather click on? An eye-catching image or a plain text? When people pin things, an image is shown on their pinboard. Make it easy for people to pin your page but adding images that are viewable.
  2. Add a “Pin It” button to your website. Make it easy for people to pin your business; go ahead and add the button right there on your site. You can also add a follow button next to your other social sharing buttons.
  3. Create boards. Find out what your customers are interested in and create boards that will fit. Add lots of images, not only of your products but also of things that will fit your customer’s interests.
  4. Categorize your pin boards under relevant topics. If you place your pins, you will increase your chances of other people seeing them, and the more followers you will get.
  5. Create Pinterest-specific content. This tip is especially good if you also have followers on Facebook and Twitter. Creating new content just for Pinterest will give your viewers a reason to follow you on another channel.
  6. Be involved in the community. If you want people to follow you, you need to be just as involved in the community yourself. Follow others, like their sites and re-pin content. Just like other social sites, the more active you are the more followers you will get.

Conclusion

More and more people are joining Pinterest and sharing their favorite things. Take advantage of this move to visual based marketing, and optimize your business website for Pinterest.

Want more Pinterest tips? Grab your free report “7 Steps to Get Massive Traffic Using Pinterest” on my freebie page.

 

 

Advantages to Creating an Editorial Calendar

blogging helpAs you develop a content strategy, it’s important to start thinking of yourself as a publisher. Publishers have everything planned out in advance based on the yearly cycle as well as their product cycle. They know in advance exactly what type of content they need to create and produce for the month of February and why. If you think more like a publisher, you’re going to be much more successful in your content strategy implementation.

Ability to Create a Theme

By creating an editorial calendar, you can develop an overall theme for the year or the quarter based on the products and/or services that you’re promoting, as well as the time of year. Planning it all in advance makes it easier to be prepared and come up with the ideas, content, and images that you want to use to promote.

Makes It Simpler to Find Your Voice

By planning out your marketing year in advance, it means you’ll also be planning your product creation. If you provide services, you’ll already know in advance which services you’ll be focused on. This will make it so much easier to know what kind of content to create and in what tone you need it to be, because you’ll understand in advance when you need it, and what it’s for. When you have a plan, finding your voice comes a lot easier.

Makes It Easier to Diversify Content

If you know in advance what the topic of your content needs to be, it’ll be easier to create different forms of content for your needs. You can plan in advance to create blog posts, vlogs, videos, reports, and more, based off a particular subject or theme designed to market a particular product or service. By not doing it “on the fly,” your content will be more cohesive and diversified.

Keeps the Content Ideas Flowing

By making an editorial calendar, you actually create a situation where you make it easier to keep content ideas flowing. Some people think planning makes content boring, but the truth is, planning makes content effective, appropriate and enjoyable for your target audience. It gives you time to create appropriate titles and outlines, to ensure that you get the message out that you want out.

Enables You to Create Quality Content

By planning your content in advance, you have more time to make the content true quality content that speaks to your audience. Whether you’ll be writing it and editing yourself, or hiring others to do it for you, it’s important to plan in advance what type of content will be needed in order to produce the highest quality content that you can.

Keeps Your Website on Topic

It’s easy to get off topic sometimes if you haven’t planned your content in advance. By writing down what content you’ll be creating before you create it, you’ll have time to nix ideas that go off topic, or move them to the right time and place. If you try to produce content at the last moment, you may end up with irrelevant content that has no purpose.

Acts as a Map to Help You Reach Your Goals

Your editorial calendar is just like GPS or a map. You can look at it in one glance and see where you’ll be in the future, and you can look more deeply into it and find out what you’re supposed to be doing right now. You won’t go into each day without a clue of where you’ve been or where you’re going.

Helps Increase Collaboration

Having a publication calendar that you make visible to the public can also help increase collaboration. If you allow for guest writers and bloggers, they can look at your publication calendar and it will be easier for them to decide what to write about within your guidelines. In addition, it will help your outsourcers and people who work with you understand the direction you’re taking the business.

Attracts More Visitors

Having a set calendar will make your content appear more regularly, thus increasing the rate of visitors to your website. Your audience will learn to expect certain content from you at certain times and will appreciate knowing when, what and where to go to see it and view it.

Sets Expectations and Deadlines

Even if you are just setting deadlines for yourself, it’s important to do so. If you have no expectations of yourself or others it will be difficult to build a truly profitable business. For instance, if you are building a furniture business, but you cannot ever tell anyone when the furniture will be finished, you won’t ever be able to sell anything. Set expectations and deadlines for yourself and anyone you outsource to; this will help you meet your goals.

Conclusion

Finally, by having a publication calendar you’ll ultimately have a more organized and planned business that will make more money in the long run. Content that is distributed and marketed according to your editorial and/or publication calendar will see a lot more success than content that is haphazardly put out without any notion of a goal or a plan.

 

Get More Out of Your Social Media Marketing

online marketing, social mediaSocial media marketing is an effective means of getting the word out about your products or services. But, many times it’s clear that a small business is not doing all that it can do when it comes to using social media as a marketing tool. You might think social media marketing ends at sharing a few posts each day, but nothing could be further from the truth. Here is how to get even more out of your social media marketing.

Create Consistent and Complete Profiles

No matter which social media you’ve determined is important to use for your niche, it’s imperative that you create consistent and complete social media profiles. Include a professional headshot, and keep the text of your profiles very similar in nature ensuring that one doesn’t contradict the other. You want visitors to one to realize who you are immediately without having to guess.

Host Live Events

With services like Google Hangouts you can host live events such as a round table that is open to the public (open air) to watch, while your group discusses a hot topic within your niche. Another way to have a “live” event is to host a Twitter party, or a Facebook party where everyone is allowed to post links to their own business or blogs for a specific amount of time. One way to do this is ask everyone to write a blog post about a specific topic and link to it within 24 hours, share and use a specific hashtag to promote the event.

Congratulate People

If you notice anyone having a special day on any of your social media accounts, be sure to congratulate them and wish them well. It’s a good chance to make a connection with someone whom you’re friends with or connected with that you don’t necessarily know well.

While a lot of people may be doing the same thing, people still like to be noticed for their achievements, accomplishments and special days. If you know their address, it’s a good idea to also drop a card in the mail to make it even more special.

Use More Images

People who use social media prefer sharing and engaging with images over text. You should always include text with the images, though (for the sake of keywords), but creating images and memes using software like Pixlr.com is simple, fun and easy. You can do something as simple as a quote on a nice peaceful background and see a huge difference in the amount of engagement from your connections.

Use Social Media to Survey Your Audience

A great way to use social media to help get more engagement is to use it as a way to survey your audience to find out what they really need and want. But, don’t give them too many choices. It should be more like when you get your child ready for school – give them two choices: this or that? Give your audience a choice between two different videos you can create or webinars that you will host. Then, ask them to vote or decide.

Capture Influencers’ Attention

This can be tricky, but you want to find a way to call out influencers within your niche. If you can get a popular “guru” or authority within your niche to like, share, and connect with you, it’s possible to quickly expand your audience. There are many different ways to do this, but one is to comment on their posts intelligently and share with your audience what the influencer is doing.

Conclusion

Finally, to get more out of social media marketing it’s important to be truly engaged. Don’t put everything on automatic. Make intelligent and purposeful comments, share freely, and you’ll get more out of your social media marketing than ever before.

 

Finding a Writer on a Bidding Site?

freelancer site, hiring a writerOne of the most common places people go to outsource work are freelance websites like eLance or oDesk.

But should you?

These places have thousands of freelancers ready and waiting to do exactly the kinds of projects you’re looking to outsource. That said however, there are some major benefits and some major drawbacks to using eLance and/or oDesk.

Here are some of the main pros and cons of using a bidding site.

Con: Most True A Players Aren’t On There

You won’t find the world’s best writers or the world’s best programmers on these sites.

Instead, you’ll tend to get people who’re at the beginning of their careers or are doing projects as their side job. You may also find a lot of outsourcers from developing countries.

If you’re looking to hire the best, these sites may not be the best place to look.

Pro: Escrow & Security Systems

These sites all have feedback systems so you can figure out which freelancers have a strong reputation.

They also all have escrow systems, which allow you to protect your money from fraud.

Con: Lower Commitment to Professionalism

If you’re dealing with someone you met from a business networking event, you may very well (correctly) expect a certain level of professional conduct.

On the other hand, on freelancer websites it’s not uncommon for freelancers to be late on projects, to miss milestones or to take a long time to get back to you.

Pro: Easy to Use Systems

If you had to go out into the world to find freelancers without these kinds of boards, you’d probably have to do quite a lot of work.

Perhaps you’d meet them in person. Perhaps you’d do it through your network. Perhaps you’d do it through websites you find on Google.

Whatever the case is, you’ll simply have to put in a lot more work. With freelancer marketplaces, they’re all in one place.

Con: Communication Gaps

Freelancer websites don’t allow you to trade phone numbers, Skype contacts or any other means of contact. They want to make sure freelancers don’t make private payment agreements offline.

As a result, it can sometimes be quite difficult to co-ordinate complex projects on these kinds of sites.

Note that eLance does have their own video / voice chat system on their system now.

Pro: Inexpensive

Hiring a freelancer on eLance or oDesk is usually quite affordable. The primary reason is competition.

In order to win a job on these sites, freelancers have to bid against other freelancers. Therefore, they try to put in the most competitive bid they possibly can.

Conclusion

These are some of the main pros and cons to using freelancer marketplaces. If you’re willing to put in more work and want to hire the best, you’re better off seeking them out on your own. On the other hand, if you want ease and affordability, then a bidding site can be a great resource.

How To Create a Winning Marketing Plan

winning plan, successful business marketingHaving a specific marketing plan can mean the difference between your business making it or breaking it. A clear plan will help you zone in on your ideal customer and focus your marketing efforts, making you more productive and increasing your profits. But how do you create a marketing plan that actually gets results? Here are 3 steps to creating a winning marketing plan.

  1. Identify your ideal customer. There are millions of consumers out there, but only a portion of them may be interested in your product or service. Because of this, you will have much better results if you spending time identifying your target customer. Come up with as much detail as you can: your customer’s age, gender, race, income, marital status, children, how they shop, where they shop, anything and everything that can help you identify who they are and what they are looking for in a product or service.
  2. List your competitors. Besides determining your customers, you should also identify your direct competitors. Understanding who your main competition is and how they do their business can help you determine your position in the marketplace. Pay attention to pricing, marketing tactics and anything else that sets your competition apart and makes them shine in your industry.
  3. Determine your brand position. Your brand and what it means to customers is what can set you apart from your competition. Write down a statement about how you will meet your customers’ needs and how you will beat the completion. Think of what makes you better than the rest and stand out from the crowd. Make it simple, and focus on your target customer’s needs.

Conclusion

A marketing plan is essential to the success of your small business. By figuring out your ideal customer, determining your main competition and then establishing your branding position, you can hone your marketing strategy to help give your business a push closer to success.

Marketing vs Advertising – Is There a Difference?

advertising, online marketingMarketing and advertising seemingly go hand and hand. But make no mistake; they are not the same thing. Think not too far back, when companies advertised all the time. Shoppers were engulfed in messages of “buy this!” and “buy that!” Not very subtle. Today, companies are leaning more toward marketing than advertising.

So what exactly is the difference? Advertising is more akin to shouting out “buy now!” to customers, without a care as to what those customers really want. Sure this works sometimes, but marketing in becoming the more effective method.

Marketing involves more subtle cues. It uses channels like social media, blogging and articles. It gets the customers engaged by offering information and advice, essentially for free.

Why is this effective? People want to feel as like the businesses they use value them as a customer. They are not likely to return to a company that just takes their money and runs, with no customer service or connection whatsoever.

Customers like it when you are engaging and responsive. This interaction is the difference between marketing and advertising.

Marketing is about knowing your customers, and honestly wanting to know what they want. It is taking the time to find out what they like and don’t like about your business, and working to change the ones that your customer base does not like.

Conclusion

Straight advertising is become more and more nonexistent. Today, customers are looking for more. They want to be a company they can trust. Be that company and you will gain their business. Market, rather than advertise, and you will gain more customers that will stick with you for the long run.

Do You Have an Effective Landing Page?

landing pageIf your website is in the business of selling products or services, then a landing page is a must. It will help draw in customers and increase your sales conversion rating. Here are five must see tips on how to write an effective landing page.

  1. Have goals. But no more than one obvious goal per page. You want each page to sell something specific. Having more than one on each page may confuse your customers and turn them off to your site.
  2. Get testimonials. Ask your current customers for reviews, or offer a discount or free product in exchange for a positive review. Testimonials are a great way to get new customers to trust you and your business.
  3. Incorporate keywords. What good is a killer landing page is no one can find it? Place keywords and phrases into your landing page copy. Do some basic keyword research to find out what your target audience is searching for.
  4. Write your copy. Your content for your landing page should be dynamic. It needs to offer a solution to a real problem that your potential customers have. Make sure the content is genuine and helpful, and offers legitimate information. Avoid adding in too much sales jargon, you want to be sales-y without sounding so.
  5. Have a call-to-action. Your landing page should create the need to buy your product, sign up for your newsletter, enter your contest, sign up for a service, whatever it is you want your visitors to do. You can do this be directly telling your visitors to do the given action.

Conclusion

A landing page can increase your website visitors and raise your sales conversion rate. But in order to achieve this, your landing page needs to be effective. Have a specific goal for each page, get real customer reviews, use keywords and write great marketing copy and your landing page will help your business grow.