SEO and Market Research Help Drive Local Businesses

Published June 9, 2017 in Business , SEO - 0 Comments

Marketing a business is growing a business. To make more money in your business, you should have a steady stream of prospects. You must be able to service those prospects (sales) and convert them into paying customers. That all starts with a glowing online reputation and making sure you are ranking for local terms.

How do you ever get local SEO and marketing if it doesn’t make money? I was asked that question a few times in a recent conference. Here is the complete answer.

ROI and Marketing

Your return on investment (ROI) is a must in your marketing programs. You should be able to turn your marketing programs into positive cash flow for your business.

For example, an investment of $1,000 dollars has to come back into the business in the form of paying customers. This means the cost of the job and the cost of marketing must also be covered. So a business that makes 40% margins will need to make $2,500 to recoup its marketing costs.

That is why direct response marketing is a perfect place to begin your SEO and advertising efforts.

Marketing Average Spends

To justify marketing budgets, you have to understand the short- and long-term value of a customer. You will need to keep customers for the long haul if you want to boost your profitability.

The normal break-even point for businesses is a 12-month period. Each customer should start bringing profit into your business within 12 months after you’ve made the investment to acquire that customer.

Acquisition Cost of Marketing

In this article, David Skok discusses the relationship between product, market, and team. According to him, failure to get product/market fit right is likely the number one cause of startup failure. He further goes on to say that the most important metric or focal point should be on the cost to acquire customers (CAC).

The CAC metric, the real profitability of a startup brand, can predict if a product, brand, or startup can make it. CAC is a percentage based on your sales and the price of your product. You cannot use the same raw cost as other businesses but should focus on the percentage itself. The “cost” to gain a customer on a $9 dollar e-book is going to be less than the cost to gain a customer on a $4k diamond necklace.

That is what separates the “big” businesses and the mid-sized businesses.

If you’re a small business with one to three employees, finding the smaller scale of this model — aside from defining roles and training others — should be your priority. This will be the difference between staying small and becoming either a highly profitable small business or a medium-sized business.

You have to focus on being effective. CAC becomes the only number that matters. Driving your business forward based on that allocation of capital will drive your business to growth.

So what do you take away from this?

  • You have to know your market and define it.
  • You have to, more than anything else, have positive CAC in your business.

Start Your Marketing With Research

The first step in marketing your brand or service is to understand your market. While this may sound boring, it will definitely help you find cost-effective methods and systematic ways to always have your brand in front of buying customers. Research is where you drive your business and become a forward thinker instead of the normal “wait until they call” method that so many have grown accustomed to.

To illustrate market research, let’s look at a fairly obvious field of work: construction. As a construction business owner, you may wonder, “Why should I do research? I am in the building business, not the research business.”

Market research for the construction business would look something like this:

  • Step 1: Determine what you’re looking for. What is the current market for commercial construction in “State/City” and who are the current players?
  • Step 2: Plan how you’ll find it. Lay out the plan necessary to answer the questions from step one.
  • Step 3: Put the plan to work. Assign the task to different members of your group or carve out time in your calendar to make sure they are completed and recorded.
  • Step 4: Create a report. Once you have the data, you need to lay it out in a way that can be kept for future reference.
  • Step 5: Incorporate the findings into your business. Start bidding for and accepting jobs based on your strengths and the targets and opportunities you found.

Using SWOT in Market Research

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. You want your strengths and opportunities to overcome your threats and weaknesses.

Strengths

Your strength as a new business is availability. You don’t have as many customers so you are not as full as other contractors.

Weaknesses

Being new, credibility is your weakness. You don’t have major influencers recommending you.

Opportunities

  • You can call other recommended contractors and sub work from them.
  • You can start a Google PPC campaign that showcases what makes you different from other contractors. An ad that says “Call us now and we will be at your house in less than three hours” can work wonders. (Remember to have the resources allocated to justify your claim.)
  • You can start building a recommendation or center of influence market by hosting small “DIY” seminars at the local hardware store. You can begin to give talks and presentations at the local Chamber of Commerce.

Threats

  • Your real threat is that you don’t make enough money to survive and thrive.
  • You will have to focus on low-hanging fruit and understand being busy is not as important as making money.
  • You have to determine what market or segment you can penetrate to become the #1 recommendation.

Using AIDA in Market Research

AIDA stands for attention, interest, desire, and action. You classify each phase in the buying decision to live in one of these moments. To understand AIDA, let’s relate it to advertising.

Attention

You must first gain the attention of your customer. You can do this by crafting a great headline and placing it in their path through internet advertising or the Yellow Pages.

Interest

You have to gain customer interest with the headline and sub-headline. This is where you talk about the benefit of using your service. They may sound cheesy but great headlines work.

Something like “Great Rates and Fast Service” or “Your Money Back” can be simple but effective, while “The Choice for Automotive Repair in [insert your county here]” will target your customers in wider mediums.

Desire

You have to understand what your customer is looking for. Is their desire price driven or is it top quality service at affordable rates?

Action

How does the customer take action? Do they call you or should they visit your website? Whatever action you have them taking, you’ll want to allocate resources to that avenue of customer service.

Added Step: Conviction

Your audience is hit a lot with various interactions from advertisements. This makes them less trusting of ads. You have to build credibility into every offer. This is why online reputation and reviews are so important.

Marketing to Your Audience

Now that you have the groundwork for your marketing laid out, you should understand the following:

  • You know what your CAC calculations have to be. Regardless of the amount of money it cost, profitability is all that matters.
  • You know what customers you have to focus on gaining to meet your CAC.
  • You know your strengths to present to these customers.
  • You know how your game plan walks the customer through the attention, interest, desire, or action cycle.

It’s now time to craft your marketing to match what you discovered. Below we lay out some of the best marketing tactics and strategies to grow your business and create a positive ROI.

Online Reviews and Reputation Management

Before you launch any marketing or advertising campaign, you’ll need to focus on driving your reputation and reviews up. You need to have credibility. Your marketing will fall short when a customer finds a lot of bad reviews for you.

Here’s how to get online reviews without pissing people off:

Make Writing the Review as Simple as Possible

Make your website the central hub to leave reviews. You can then take the positive reviews and ask customers to post them on Google Plus or Facebook. Send them the direct links with suggestive phrasing on what to say. Many times that is all it takes to gain 10-15 glowing reviews.

Be Present on Multiple Review Sites

Everyone has their preferred site. It may be where the customer found you in the first place. Yelp, Angie’s List, Google Local, Yahoo Local, Trustlink, and many more are places to start.

Be Candid

Don’t be shy. Asking for a review is part of business these days and most people don’t think about it unless you ask. Say something as simple as, “Your opinion matters to us, so I would really appreciate it if you could leave a note about your experience on a few of these sites. It helps keep my cost down on marketing. Thanks!”

Tread the Incentives Very Carefully

Show appreciation but don’t encourage reviews with incentives. Anyone that reviews your business should get a 10% off discount coupon but leave it at that. That keeps your business ethical.

Consider Your Demographics

Younger customers will make a selfie about the experience. If you’re working with a less social media savvy customer base, they will need more prompting and hand holding.

Turn Reviewers Into Brand Ambassadors

Think about ways to further leverage the relationships of positive reviewers. Think about having an appreciation luncheon and snagging some video from it to put on your site. Nothing says great customer service as sincere video clips showcasing it.

Don’t Ignore the Negative

Ostriches make terrible business owners. You shouldn’t stick your head in the sand either. Listen to the complaint and make it better than right. Always go the extra mile. This is not a place to make your case but understand and show how you are willing to please the customer.

Website and Online Marketing

Online Marketing Starts With Your Customers

Before making a website, creating a profile, or launching any campaigns, you should understand who your customers are (demographic and emotional Data). You should also know the major pain points your business solves.

Understand the Path You Want to Lead Customers

Do you want to buy traffic and direct them to your homepage or a landing page, or are you going to have them go through your Facebook page? Are those different designs ready to capture and show the pain points for that targeted group of customers?

Website and Brand Creation

Designing a website is different from making a website. If you don’t know the pivotal moments and where you want your customers interacting with you at those moments, then you’re not ready for a website.

To understand your brand’s mission online, you should first understand the key differences between online and offline.

Word of Mouth vs. Trust

Online is not extremely different than offline. You just have to understand that online trust isn’t that easy to gain. If your content is too promotional, people will see you as a “salesy” company. This won’t do well for your brand. You want to provide clear, valuable information about services, brands, and other key points that the customer would normally talk to a salesperson about.

What would you want a customer to know? Reviews, free information, credibility sources, and how your customers find you build trust online.

Appliance stores like Yale Appliances have done this and turned it into profits. They took the exact process that a customer would go through with some of their sales people and made it online. The owner has written over 1,400 posts on their website in a little less than 10 years. The site now drives a large part of their revenue and is increasing in every facet.

Listen Before Talking vs. Listen Before Writing

When you’re talking to a customer on the showroom or on the phone, you can answer the next statement based on the questions you ask them. This is not the case when you are writing the information. You have to answer all questions and make it easy for customers to understand the path to get there.

Since you’re not able to give and take as you would in person, your website design becomes the path the customer has to go through to get the answers to their questions. The design of your website should lead customers through the journey that best answers their questions.

If your website is just a placeholder to call you, you’re not increasing the research that can be done on your company.

81% of consumers research online before purchasing. That is a staggering statistic. If you want to be sought after by customers then you have to make your website educational. Put marketing aside and just have a conversation.

We have been successful at taking our customers’ catalogs and then just recording phone calls where we ask them about various products in the catalog. We then turn that into content for the website with side by side comparisons provided by brands. This is great review content that can help educate potential customers on site.

You Interact With Customers vs. Your Website or Social Page Interacts With Customers

With the same give and take as before, you have to realize that your website becomes the face of your brand online. You focus on evergreen content and its creation cannot be spoken of in ROI.

If three customers a month pull up one piece of content that you wrote a year ago, then did that content bring in 36 customers a year? What is that piece of content worth by itself?

The idea of content marketing is great. The problem is that it has to work in tandem with other great content and a great website. This starts as you create the website.

You Can Adapt Based on Customer Reactions vs. You Have to Mold Your Content Before Putting it Up

The beginning of your homepage and website should start with the design that your customers walk through. If you understand how customers interact with your business already, then you know exactly how it would lay out in a store. You should do the same online.

I have seen a lot of people spend a lot of money on sites that didn’t improve the customer experience. Make sure you understand the customer and their experience before you start on your website.

Understanding the Critical Points to Online Marketing

Don’t accept oversimplified answers to strategic marketing. You will want to start testing but that is not where you begin. You look at that process through every step and understand why things happen. This leads you to a CAC model that you can duplicate and scale.

You wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint. That is the same as your marketing infrastructure. Start with the blueprint and develop your marketing based on your plan. You can track everything online and make the numbers work for your business’ profit and avoid any poor investments.

The Secret Sauce = Online Marketing + Timing

Picture this: The moment your ad as a plumber comes across the computer screen as they realize the hot water heater is dumping gallons of water into their basement.

Another picture: The moment your ad (online tool store) comes across the screen and they are shopping for Father’s Day gifts.

These are just some examples that show you the power of online marketing. Online is the only place that you can make sure the person you’re marketing to is genuinely interested in your product or service. Also, you cannot get timing in any other form of marketing.

Timing comes down to keywords. You find keywords that your brand should show for. You show the ad only to people on that search term. That results in a conversion.

Now you just have to figure out the right piece of content to show each grouping of keywords.

This process takes a great deal of detail and measurement. Everything is well thought out and deliberate to analyze the best converting moments in your customer’s timeline of interaction with your company.

To get the right audience online you will want to have marketing segmentation. That is what we will cover in the next post.

Image Credits

In-post Images: Screenshots by author taken June 2017.

What is Freshness Factor in Business?

Published June 7, 2017 in Business , Market Your Business - 0 Comments

The “freshness” factor in business is that search engines (Google) prefer “fresh” (newly updated) web pages and content over stale already read content. That is why when you first add content to your site – such as a new blog post – the page might sit high in the rankings for a while. But eventually it may sink to a more realistic ranking.

In this “freshness factor” that allows your pages to get those higher rankings, even if the ranking is temporary. Thus updating your pages frequently can help push them to the top of the rankings. That is one of the primary reasons why you hear people talking about how “Google loves blogs”. Google doesn’t love blogs, Google loves regularly updated sites.

What is a C-class IP and why should I care?

A computer’s IP address is it’s address on the Internet. A C-Class block of IPs are ones which are next to each other. Links from the same IP have very limited value. Links from the same C Class IP block have a little more value but still not much. Links from different C-Class IPs are worth the most.

Not really important as it once was, especially when it comes to sites hosted on huge shared server clusters like those at Host Gator/The Planet, Blue Host and others. The shortage of available IP address is driving this.

What is LSI?

LSI is short for latent semantic indexing. This refers to different words that have the same or similar meanings (or words that are related). For example “housebreaking a dog” and “housetraining a puppy” are two entirely different  phrases, but they mean about the same thing.

The reason this is important is because Google analyzes webpages using LSI to help it return the most relevant results to the user. For example, a page that has the keyword “housebreaking a dog” but NO other similar words (like housetraining, paper training, potty training, puppy, dogs, puppies, etc.) probably really isn’t about housebreaking. End result: Google wont rank it as high as a web page that does include a lot of relevant, related terms.

What does this mean to you? When you create a web page around a keyword, be sure to also include the keyword’s synonyms and other related words.

What is an XML Sitemap?

This is a listing of all the pages on a website, along with important information about those pages (such as when they were last updated, how important they are to the site, etc.) The reason to create a sitemap is so that the search engines can easily find and crawl all your webpages.

This is really only important if you have a large and complex site that won’t be crawled easily. Also avoid automating this on WordPress autoblogs since sitemap generation is a processor hog and can get you kicked off of shared hosting.

What is robots.txt for?

Search engine robots (bots) look at this file to see if they should crawl and index pages on your site, certain file types or even the entire site. An absence of this file gives them the green light to crawl and index your site. If you don’t want search engine bots to crawl your site, then create a robots.txt file in your root directory that includes this bit of code:

Disallow: /

You can also create a Meta tag that keeps the search engines from indexing your site:

Important: Only “well behaved” bots read robots.txt so don’t use it to “protect” content on your site just to keep Google from indexing stuff. Most importantly be aware that malicious bots will look for pages you’re asking not to be indexed and go to them with priority to see why.

The Problem With Time Management For Small Business Owners

Published June 5, 2017 in Business , Time Management - 0 Comments

When you are a small business the definition of work can mean multiple things. You have so much to do and so very little time to do it. You have to oversee multiple projects and report to and manage multiple task all at the same time.

Task Masters

Small Business Owners often feel like the more task they can juggle then the more successful they become.

The reality is though that the more time they can spend not juggling task then the more successful they can become but only if they spend that time wisely.

The Time Gap

When you are spending a budget you know you have to be wise and make good decisions. Obviously with the amount of time management and debt/investing books out there most everyone understands this same subject matter applies to time.

The difference is that we begin budgeting time without ever looking at the infinite amount of possibilities.

Money is budgeted based on how much you have.

Time often is budgeted in this same manner.

They are different. Here is why.

You time value is different. If you want to make more money then you have to spend your time on things that make you more money. That is why the highest paid salesperson normally is the person that has the most amount of time in front of qualified prospects. That is easy to understand why.

Look at that same idea in the sense of business owners. Would it then be that the most profitable business owner is the one who has the company that is in front of the most engaged audience?

Absolutely.

An engaged audience results in more qualified prospects and more leads for salespeople. That means the overall structure of the company and flourish and multiply.

The the time a business owner needs to spend or budget for needs to be one of planning and strategically positioning themselves in their customers minds.

Not as a task master.

Not as a janitor.

Not installing or selling.

Strategically finding ways to engage and obtain more audience.

That is what we do. We find ways to engage your audience and find them. We look for the cost acquisition of your customers and find profitable ways to gain them online.

This is why small businesses work with us and it’s real simple.

When you are a marketing department of less than 4 people. You just don’t have that type of time to even budget. Not if you want to keep the current amount of work up.

You have to find the ways to keep up the current business that is paying everyone’s salaries and keeping the doors open. You have a business. You have to run that business.

Then that becomes the moment when the small business realizes that in order to break through to the next level they are going to have to recruit some help. They realize content marketing has the results that they want. Many of them begin a blog or start trying to find “quick” ways to content market.

They miss the mark though and here is why.

They blog about the wrong things and even then they share them with the wrong people.

They are not good, yet, at writing to their audience about their “thing” that they do. They don’t know the Content Tilt that they have. They don’t understand how to grow as an influencer and become an authority on the subject.

They just get the content and marketing. Two words meshed together. The gap between them is why they need us.

Content Marketing For Dummies

Published June 2, 2017 in Content marketing , SEO - 0 Comments

Rank Your Website – WHY Content Marketing for Dummies

First let me express that I do not think any of us are truly dumb. We may be uneducated. Just because we do not understand the words that people are using doesn’t mean any of us are dummies.

Content Marketing the Term

The fact remains that most of the people that would or have benefited from content marketing rarely know what it means. They know all the usual sayings like “Content is King.” They also read some of the information thrown around by many of the SEO gurus and their colleagues and competition.

I feel like in order to appreciate Content Marketing and everything that it can do for your business you need the simple knowledge of exactly what it is and the results it can bring. More than that is that you have to understand Why it brings those results, Why the results will never be penalized, Why you can and should do it, and Why the day to day process can be included as a ritual in your business.

Content Marketing – What It Is

When you are hearing the term of Content Marketing then you realize that to some form you are marketing content. That one I will give us all for figuring out. It is called Content Marketing because you actually take pieces of content and contact various places that you can submit the content in order to actually gain the post on their site.

This already sound like a lot of work?

Content Marketing – What it does

The difference of content marketing to what you normally think of when you think in terms of marketing as a small business owner, freelancer, or solopreneur is the difference in inbound and outbound.

Outbound Marketing – Cold Calling, Email Blast, and Door to Door

When you are making outbound marketing calls then you are doing a form of marketing. This is an aggressive style of marketing and comes with results for sure. Email blast, where you buy a list or rent a list and email out to customers is another form of this outbound marketing.

Inbound Marketing – Content Marketing, Nurture Campaigns, Recycle Campaigns

I remember when I first heard some of the “campaigns” talk at a seminar. I wanted nothing to do with it. I come from a telemarketing background and I know that if you give me a few weeks and a phone I will have some sales.

The reality is that the inbound campaigns are really extremely wonderful for long term customers.

When you are taking the information that a customer wants and leaving a breadcrumb trail of information for them to follow then they start to really embrace your brand. They trust you as the source of the information that they are consuming. This early adoption is key for many lasting brands and can be for yours as well.

Buyers Personas – Content Marketing Demystified

Now think of your various customer and where they started in the process of understanding the problem that your brand solves.

The reality is that each customer started from a similar place. They found the problem that they have.

For example let’s introduce Dorothy. Now Dorothy has a closet full of red shoes and right next to that closet is her bathroom. The shower seems to be filling up and not draining when she takes a shower. Her toilets are not flushing on the first time often.

Now all of us are thinking back through our last experience with a plumber.

Buyers Persona – The Problem Fix

How did we know a plumber is the fix? A plumber is the person that works on pipes and sewers for most our houses. There are those of us that are DIY by nature and would knock this out ourselves.

Realize that the distinguishing difference here is that Dorothy hasn’t become frustrated enough with her problem to do anything about it. She may however search for easy fixes and find that she should buy some Drain O to first try and solve the problem easily for herself.

This is when our prospects identify themselves. We want to rank for that search term because it has the most searches. This however is the beginning of the buying process.

The Pivotal Moment – Start Here

This buying process will continue on until finally Dorothy’s red shoes are soaked one morning after a longer than usual shower. Then she is going to call a plumber. She may google and whoever shows up first will get the business. She may shop around and call a few for a quote.

That is until she finds out the new house she bought a couple of years ago has a septic system and now she has a whole new set of problems. Problems she knows nothing about. Now she is back to reading online about homeowners with septic systems and maintenance that she will need to perform.

As you think through the buying process like this you can identify content pieces that would fit each moment in the prospects buying cycle.

This is the buyer’s persona for one potential client. You should do this for each variation of your customers.

Now each step becomes another piece of content.

Content Marketing for Your Business

Each step of this life cycle or buying process will have distinguished keywords. They are distinguished because only people in that stage will be looking at those keywords. There will also be keywords that may fit every one of the moments in the buying cycle.

When thinking through the next piece of content you will need, you simply need to look through the keywords you want to own that you do not have content for and are closest to the pivotal purchase moment in that cycle of the buying process.

You build out content and as you build each piece you write like you are talking to “Dorothy” in your future customers shoes. Walk them through exactly where they are at and exactly what they should do.

The Build-Out Process – Hard Labor Ahead

The content build out process doesn’t have to be as intensive as it seems from the top view. Take a few hours and build out your buyer’s process cycles on a white board. Sit down in front of this and make notes of each of the moments starting at the pivotal point working out to the moment they figured out they had the problem.

Start With the Pivotal Moment

That pivotal moment when they are reaching for the phone and going to find someone to solve this problem and solve it today. Those are the easy customers to get. They want a price and are making a decision. You do find some shoppers here as well but not near as many as other portions of the cycle.

Take the keywords that someone in this position would type into google and do it.

Keyword Research with Ease

Copy all the variations that pop up in google for these words. Also look at what type of content pops up for each keyword and make a note of it. Sometimes they will be all top # list post and others will be detailed headline catching post. Others will have the dreaded “Definitive Guides” in them.

Now take out the google keyword tool or Longtail Pro and find all the long tail versions of these keywords you can. Sort them by title first.

Group all the keywords into groupings that make sense with one another. Feel free to copy one into more than one grouping.

Now You Have Your Targets

Let’s take a moment and realize that now you have your target groupings for keywords. This is a big accomplishment and I know it took you all day on a Saturday like it did me the first time.

Now you want to make your content but make it is in the smartest way possible.

Create a Big Piece of Content

When you begin this may seem difficult. There are a lot of theories to go into here and I will save you the brain numbing debates that are out there. Here are a few things to make sure you have a note of as you are building this piece of content.

Competitiveness tells you the size needed

You can look at how competitive a keyword is in order to understand exactly how in depth your piece of content has to be. If you are trying to own the keyword “Online Shopping” then get ready to absolutely have to create an encyclopedia a few times over.

Most keywords need a 30 page guide or less. Many times you can get by with a cheat sheet (25 things you have to know in order to X) style of content.

Headlines, Sub Headlines, Design

The headline of your content and sub headlines are absolutely critical to in your content making. This where I start. I make the headline for a few pieces that are in my keyword groupings. This normally gets the creative juices flowing.

The design is critical as well. Make sure your information looks and feels like a wonderful piece of content that is written by an expert for the person reading it.

Realize that you first read anything solely based on the design and headlines. You then scan through the sub headlines and this tells you whether or not you are going to read the fill.

Brainstorming Made Easy

When you are in front of a blank screen it is often the hardest thing in the word to start those first words. Here is some helpful starting places. Make the headline first. Come up with a catchy headline and then google it and read. This content will get your brain working on your piece and get your creative side rolling.

Once you start it is easy to finish? Sometimes it is harder to write an entire 10k word epic eBook because of the starts and stops. Do the same thing as you did with the headlines.

Make each title for every section then make the sub headlines. Then you can come back and write in the supporting sentences and have perfect structure every time.

Work Is Not Done Yet – But Your Close

Now you have your huge Guide ready for service. The next pivotal point for you is to make sure it ranks, right?

You can skip the discussions about whether to hide it behind a form or not and just hide some and make some available. Easiest that way. I always make three to four nice pieces of content and hide them behind a form when I start a business. Then I make a strategy guide and don’t hide it.

Take Out a New Hat – Amplify and Promote

Now you take each of the sub headlines and create a blog post surround the target keywords. You can just go over the information you detailed out for the sub headline for each post. Your normal 30 page guide can give you 30 really good blog post. 16-20 very easy for sure using this method.

These small critical slices will introduce one of the topics inside the guide and explain that one portion and then reference the guide for the complete information.

You Are Creating Your Breadcrumb Trail

You are now starting to see the breadcrumb trail start to happen. Now when you attack your next guide then you will reference the guide you just wrote leading your customers from one stage to the next in your buying process.

Did Someone Say Rankings?

I left off a very critical point about these blog post. You have these slices to post on your site. You also want to take some of them and pitch to people in your industry as well as writers and journalist.

Think about it. You have a complete guide to show them, you have a blog post to reference back to as the link, and you have the outline of content you are looking to publish and submit ready for you.

Time to Stalk Some Authority Writers

Every time I go after writers and journalist I always feel like I am on an episode of National Geographic and someone is talking about how the writers are in their natural habitat as we are watching them.

I will normally start by retweeting a few things that the writer has published on twitter. Then I will look at their linked in and add some of their writings into my buffer to share on all my social media. I make sure and add their hashtags etc… so they see it.

I will then go through and quote or reference their work in my previous blog post. I will then send that quoted piece to them via a social media channel.

As I have read a lot of their information and have identified them as the “victim” of my next pitch, I then set in. For avid Twitter users you can normally time it based off what they are tweeting.

I find their personal website and then submit a contact form. Sometimes I am lucky and find an email. Either way there are a few rules you want to follow.

Rules for Submissions

I normally only submit the Headline and a few sub headlines for my pitch. This ensures that I can enter the appropriate links for the writer that accepts or gives me the opportunity to post for them.

I will send them the head line often like the picture above. In nice picture format. This often grabs a bit more attention. Then I break out the sub headlines below it with the general idea of the piece.

What this process looks like

The Twitter back and forth:

Then hopefully it leads to the email back:

The High You Feel Is Unreal

I love the television shows such as House, Sherlock, and Elementary. I love puzzles. So when I get emails back like that I know I am fixing to prepare an epic piece of content. I am also super excited as I am one step to accomplishing my goal for a huge win in my content marketing campaign.

I am going to grow that relationship and have multiple post from that source if there is anyway possible.

Must Ask Questions:

  1. One thing for sure I am going to do is ask what format the writer wants it in.
  2. Make sure and link to the Writers other articles
  3. Ask if they want you to add the pictures
  4. Let them know you are going to promote the article

Publish Day Is Here – The Giddy Feeling

When that post goes live, man, there is no better feeling in the world! You feel so accomplished seeing your link on such a huge website. You know you can do anything.

The work isn’t over though as you have one final thing to do.

Budget Advertising and Promote Like Crazy

The same way you would do your own site. You want fire up google PPC, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, and add that article in your social media marketing drip campaigns. Email it out to your list of customers to read. Grow the views on that article piece in any and every way possible.

I have spent well into 4 figures promoting a post like this. Obviously you have to have the budget for this type of spend. Hopefully you targeted a great author that will get you a few thousand readers regardless but you want this to become one of his top articles all time.

This will foster a long term relationship where they look forward to the next post from you as they know their viewership will increase every time you are writing something as you are going to promote it.

Now Some Shortcuts and Other Great Tactics

Realize that you guide is another piece of content that you can absolutely gain links to without this process.

  • Use tools like buzzsumo and buzzstream to find sites you can email
  • Email about a particular piece of content and show them your guide asking for a link
  • Submit guest post to these sources
  • Create list to email every time you have a guest post

The possibilities are endless. There are all kind of campaigns you can put together for these various link earning campaigns.

Why We Are Submitting All This Content

Remember when Dorothy was looking up the plumber. When you have authority and relative backlinks to your content then you will rank higher in search engines like Google. When you rank higher then more people find your brand and start their relationship with you online.

The traffic that comes from the links and write ups are a great bonus as well. This traffic can also become future clients as your author and your self have similar relevant subjects.

This is really not new

This is really the old school way of prospecting and what media agencies did to create buzz for years. The difference is the sophistication that all the various tools can help you with now. These contacts are found online now and not in one guys Rolodex. That is the reason you can perform all the task we talked about exactly as we would.

Your Customers Will Love It

Realize that your customers will love the process as well. They will become educated on their own time and on their own terms. As you build on each piece of content you are creating an even bigger marketing funnel for your customers to find and become attracted to you.

This entire process will become second nature to you as it has to me. The exhilaration will make you want to get that next piece published and that next link obtained. It can really become almost like a drug and an article in a major publication is your fix.

Creating Endless Buzz

When you are faced with building a business from scratch many of us know that there are enough challenges on our plate day to day. The stress is enough to make us stay up at night. I wanted to write this for you. You can create an endless buzz of traffic that will lead you into another level of business.

Once you can grow your business in a grass roots style then you can create processes to repeat your customer experience over and over. This process driven business can driven from content marketing, marketing automation, and great processes on fulfillment.

Grow your business and its influence every week by repeating the promotion portion of this process.

Top 3 Reasons Your Online Business Needs To Use Online Fax Software

Published May 23, 2017 in Uncategorized - 0 Comments
fax machine

As a result of e-mailing and cloud sharing, it can be easy to view faxing as being highly outdated and no longer necessary in today’s business climate. While it is true that traditional faxing with paper is certainly obsolete, the same cannot be said of electronic faxing.

On the contrary, electronic faxing with online software is one of the most secure and convenient ways of sending important documents, and it is for this reason that an abundance of businesses use online fax software today.

If you’re not yet convinced that investing in fax software is something your online business needs to do right now, here are the top three reasons why it does need to do so:

1. You Can Send Documents With Real Signatures

The first benefit to using online fax software is how you can send a handmade document with an actual signature within seconds, in contrast to the days or potentially even weeks that it would take you to send that same document via snail mail.

You may believe that you still need a fax machine in order to accomplish this, but don’t forget that electronic faxing is done entirely online. You can simply scan the document into your laptop or take a photo of it with your phone and just like that you’ll be able to anyone anywhere in the world through the internet.

2. It’s the Only Way to Send Documents to Certain Companies

Another reason why your online business needs to use online fax software is because there are certain companies and businesses that will only use online faxing or fax machines to share sensitive or important documents. Examples include but are not limited to educational centers, hospitals and medical clinics, and government institutions.

To work with such businesses, you have two choices: you can either use an outdated expensive fax machine that requires routine maintenance and upkeep, or you can simply send faxes via the internet, which is far cheaper and friendlier to the environment.

3. It’s More Secure Than Traditional Fax or Emailing

Finally, any documents you send through online faxing will always be far more secured in comparison to print faxing or emailing. It’s more secure than emailing because it cannot be stolen by any hackers, and it’s also more securing than print faxing because there isn’t anyone who can walk by and physically take a hard copy of the fax.

Using Online Fax Software

Now that you have learned some of the primary benefits to using online fax software, the only thing left for you to is find one that works for you. If you want to be able to send handmade documents with real signatures, to work with any companies or institutions who explicitly require faxing, and if you want to guarantee that any sensitive documents or send or receive are properly secured, then there’s no question that an online faxing service will be a very wise investment for your business.

 

Top 5 Best Types Of Blinds And Shades For Your Business Office

Published May 14, 2017 in Uncategorized - 0 Comments

When it comes to adding window coverings to your business office, you always have a wide variety of different options to choose from.

Blinds and shades are a superior window covering choice than curtains because you get to more efficiently control how much outside sunlight you bring into your office. Furthermore, the look of your blinds can also add to the overall look of your office.

Here are the top five best types of blinds and shades for your business office:

Cellular Shades

 Cellular shades are also called honeycomb shades and are an excellent choice for any office or home. They are available in a wide variety of colors and fabrics, with some fabrics filtering through more light and others designed to darken your room. Some cellular shades are even designed to provide your room with insulate and allow you to save on energy costs.

Mini Blinds

 Mini blinds are perhaps the most inexpensive option on this list, if cost is a factor for you. They work especially best for windows that are narrow, and are usually available in vinyl or aluminum materials. Mini blinds are also one of the most maintenance free kinds of window coverings as well and require minimal attention.

Panel Tracks

 If you have any particularly large windows in your office, then panel tracks will be your best option. These are vertical window coverings that are big enough to be room dividers if they have to. They are also available in booth light or darker colors of fabrics, with the lighter colors filtering out sunlight and the darker colors being more effective at blocking that light from your room.

Roman Shades

 Roman shades are one of the most versatile kinds of window shades out there because they can work with virtually any size of window and look appealing in any kind of room. A roman shade is simply a panel of fabric that is divided into folds. Polyester shades will offer your business space the most stylish look, while others will come installed with foam backing to insulate your room.

Vertical Blinds

 Vertical blinds are noted for their rotating slats that allow you to fully control how much light you want to enter your office space. This is also a desirable feature to have if privacy is a primary concern for you. Vertical blinds usually work best for larger sized windows over smaller ones, and are most commonly available in aluminum, fabric, faux wood, and vinyl materials.

Two different styles of vertical blinds are also available: the split draw vertical blinds will open up in the center part of the window, whereas the one way draw blinds will instead stack to the side.

Choosing Blinds For Your Business Office

 Any one of these blinds or shades will be a good choice for almost any style of office. Make your choice based on your personal preference and what you think will enhance your office’s look.

Three Strategies to Improve the Performance of Your Affiliate Site Empire

Published April 18, 2017 in Small Business Advertising - 0 Comments

Once you get a taste of passive income through building affiliate sites, it’s difficult to avoid the temptation of building more and more in pursuit of an affiliate empire.

After all, once you’ve learned the tools of the trade and unlock profitable niches, why wouldn’t you want new sites to reap more revenue?

Bear in mind, however, that building a successful series of affiliate sites doesn’t necessarily mean you can sacrifice quality for the sake of quantity. Similarly, the bigger your empire becomes, the more likely you are to spread yourself thin and ultimately burn out.

Remember: affiliate sites represent businesses.

Between savvier users who are skeptical of affiliate advertising to Google’s crackdown on spammy content, those looking to make money online via affiliate sites need to be incredibly careful in regard to how to run their respective businesses.

Whether you’re facing a slump or fear that you may be on the verge of burnout, consider the following strategies as solid starting points to improving the performance of your affiliate sites.

Step Up Your Project Management

If you’re running multiple sites, chances are you’re juggling a variety of relationships to help keep your sites afloat. From content creators to link-building partners, there’s plenty to keep track of that could potentially get lost in translation if your communication and project management aren’t up to snuff.

Consider, for example, the following steps you can take to keep better track of your work such as…

  • Using project management tools such as Trello, Basecamp and Asana to track the project and performance of your affiliate teams
  • Employing strategies such as the ripple project management model to ensure accountability on behalf of your team
  • Help determine action items and milestones on a regular basis (for example, how many new pieces of content per week or link-building outreach emails per month are realistic for you)

Supercharge Your Content

As noted, Google’s content crackdowns are no joke; likewise, affiliate sites should consider shaking up their content strategies if their traffic has grown stagnant.

For example, if you’ve been relying on short-term, 300-word blog posts, perhaps develop some long-form pillar posts (between 3,000 and 5,000 words) that are rich with information and keywords. Such posts have massive SEO and link-building potential if written well.

Similarly, it also pays to have proper writers on deck who understand the in’s and out’s of your niche. Ideally, your writers have a pulse on your industry and can, therefore, create topical content which readers actually want. The more relevant your content, the more likely you are to snag links and social shares.

If you’re currently sitting on a bunch of old blog posts, also consider revising your old content for SEO purposes or including new opt-in opportunities to ensure that you’re making the most of each and every piece on-site.

Embrace the New World of Networking

Finally, consider the importance of social networking when it comes to affiliate sites. Private Facebook groups can be a potential goldmine once you’ve ironed out your niche and position yourself as an influencer within relevant Facebook groups.

Strive to target small groups with your site and content over time, as they’ll be more likely to engage with your content once they see you and your site as a familiar face.

Given the million moving pieces of any given affiliate empire, it’s important to understand the essential steps to keeping your sites fresh.

Whether you’re facing stiff competition or self-doubt on your own behalf, focusing on these three areas will help keep your sites up and running for the long haul.

6 Creative Ways To Make Money Online From Home

Published April 17, 2017 in Small Business Advertising - 0 Comments

If you’ve done any research on how to make money online from home so far, you’ve no doubt read about how you can make a living as a freelancer, a blogger/website owner, an affiliate marketer, or a combination of those things.

Are these each excellent ways you can make money online? Absolutely, but there are many more little known ways for how you can earn decent cash from online as well. Here are six creative ways to make money online from home:

1. Sell Your Stuff

Most of us have plenty of old stuff lying around in our homes that we hardly use anymore. But rather than throw those items away, why not sell them online instead? Sort through the items that you no longer use but that would be worth something to someone else, and then sell them through websites such as eBay or Craigslist.

Some people are even able to make a full living at this by scouring Goodwill stores for cheap items and then selling them for a higher price online.

2. Build Mobile Apps

You’d be surprised by how much money an even mildly successful mobile app you build could generate for you. You can gain income through apps you create and sell on iTunes and/or the Android app store through selling the app itself, in-app upgrades, and advertisements.

3. Become An Associate At Amazon

One of the best ways to work as an affiliate marketer is with Amazon at Amazon Associates. Here, you can include affiliate links to Amazon products on your blog, website, or social media pages and earn a commission on each sale that was made through the link.

4. Become An Online Tutor

As long as you have the proper education and are proficient in a particular subject, you can become an online tutor for students who are struggling in that subject. There are a variety of different tutoring websites you can apply to, and with most of them you’ll earn money by the hour and be paid at the end of each week.

5. Write Kindle Books

Writing either non-fiction or fiction eBooks and then selling them through Amazon Kindle is not just a great way to make money online, it’s a great way to earn passive income as well. Your chances of success through Kindle will always be higher if you publish books in a profitable niche and establish yourself as a reputable author with a reliable fan base.

6. Sell Your Photos, Videos, or Music

Many websites will allow you to license your photos, videos, and or music and then pay you a royalty each time you make a sale. The higher quality your media is, the more sales you will make.

Conclusion

Making an entire living online from home is something that millions of people do already, so there’s no reason why you can’t as well if it’s truly what you want to do. You may end up deciding to use a combination of the above methods, such as selling Kindle books while also running a blog to earn additional money as an Amazon affiliate.

4 Traffic Tips for Affiliate Marketers Stuck on a Shoestring Budget

Published April 5, 2017 in Small Business Advertising - 0 Comments

The dream of passive income via affiliate marketing often is just a dream for those who aren’t willing to put in the legwork.

However, with enough dedication and know-how, it is possible to create a strong stream of revenue from your site.

That being said, it often becomes difficult for affiliate sites to truly take themselves to the next level without spending some money on paid channels (think: Facebook ads, for example). This often becomes the make-or-break moment for affiliate marketers who must decide whether they’re going to take the plunge or remain satisfied with tepid traffic.

Thankfully, splashing cash isn’t the only way grow your affiliate site.

Whether you’re being squeezed by new small business regulations and taxes or you simply run your affiliate empire on the side, there are strategies that can help you boost your site’s traffic without spending much more than your time.

Focus on More Long-Tail Keywords

Running a niche blog that succeeds today often requires you to get pretty specific in terms of topics and keywords; however, there’s a chance that you’re missing out on potential traffic by not focusing on more long-tail keywords.

Although targeting queries that only get a few dozen searches per month may not seem like a solid strategy, consider that those hyper-targeted users have a specific intent and are therefore more likely to seek out your site if you’re creating relevant content for them. Spend some time in Google’s Keyword Research tool to see what long-tail keywords you may be missing out on and start there.

Republish Your Content

There are tons of avenues to publish your content beyond your site’s blog that won’t hit you with a search penalty. For example, you can re-purpose your content on platforms such as LinkedIn and Medium to get in front of new eyes.

However, private Facebook groups may very well represent one of the greatest growth hacks for affiliate marketers today. By republishing your blog content in niche groups without links, as to avoid being potentially hidden by Facebook’s algorithm, you get in touch with your audience directly without seeming like a spammer. This ultimately brings traffic back to your site and helps build your authority within your niche.

Consider a Link-Building Campaign

If you think that you can truly outdo your competition without building links, you’re going to find yourself sorely disappointed as your site remains stagnant in the SERPs. You simply can not rank without quality link building. The solution? Iron out some time on a daily basis to focus on link-building beyond social media.

Whether through strategic commenting or sending a few email pitches per day, the small steps you take to sew the seeds of new links now can pay big returns in the long-term.

Smarten Up Your Social Game

Despite popular belief, there is a time and place for social media for affiliate marketers. While social shouldn’t be a total time-sink, you should strive to have a relevant presence for your audience members to engage with you. By taking the time to tweet, retweet and respond to relevant content and influences within your niche, you show that you represent a human running a business and not just a money-hungry bot.

Don’t let your tight budget keep your affiliate site down. By harnessing the power of free traffic and spending your time wisely, you can grow your site while still keeping yourself out of the red.

What’s the Ideal Timing for Your Next Email Campaign?

Published March 14, 2017 in Email Marketing - 0 Comments
What’s the Ideal Timing for Your Next Email Campaign?

If you have an email campaign or just a single blast that you want to get out, you may be wondering the best time to send it.

With anything in business or digital marketing, timing is essential if you want to maximize effectiveness and reach as many people as possible. If you’re sitting there with your finger hovering over the send button, wondering whether or not the timing is right, below are some considerations to keep in mind.

Avoid Mondays or the Weekends

First and foremost, the day of the week you send your email is important. Try to avoid sending any important marketing emails on Mondays because it’s usually the most hectic day for most people are your content may get overlooked. Most people are getting back into the office, going through loads of emails, and they might have other things on their mind.

When people are flooded with emails, they’re more likely to delete yours.

The weekends are obvious because people are certainly focused on other things, but you might want to skip Fridays as well because people often leave the office early on these days. At the same time, if you do want to choose between either the beginning or the end of the week, the end might be better because there’s less competition in recipients’ inboxes.

Go For Tuesdays

According to the tips above, you have a few days in the middle of the week to choose from. The best day to send emails, according to data?

Tuesdays.

People are still in active mode for the week, but they’re not as slammed as they are on Mondays.

Actionable Emails

If you’re sending an email that you want a response to, or you want it to elicit a certain action, it’s best to try and send it at the time of day when the recipient is likely to be getting less new emails.

Good times include very early mornings or late evening. If you send it during the prime business day hours, they may be too busy to take the action you’re striving for.

Later in the evening tends to work well because people often check their email before bed, but there’s also, as mentioned, less competition.

As far as early mornings, people similarly tend to check their email as soon as they wake up before they even get to the office.

Sending early morning and late night emails can be particularly effective if your audience is tech-savvy and likely to be constantly connected to their mobile device. Just be careful here. If you’re sending emails that are targeting mobile users, your content and layout need to be completely optimized so they can easily see everything on their smartphone and also take the appropriate action if that’s your goal.

Timing your emails can be as important as the content you include, so following the tips above can help you gain more visibility, and hopefully a better effect from your next campaign or email blast.

 

 

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