Posts Tagged ‘advice’
Friday, March 7th, 2014
Thursday, March 6th, 2014
Image courtesy of Maru Philippe/Flickr.
If you use social media marketing at your business, you are completely aware of how much time it can take. While you can’t get away with spending no time at all on social media, you can do some things to streamline the process and be more productive.
This checklist will help you get things done and advance your Internet marketing tactics without getting sucked into the social media time warp we’re all too familiar with.
1 – Check for Messages from Others
The first thing you should do every day is check for messages from others. If people are contacting you through social media with questions about your business or products or just to provide feedback, you need to respond in a timely manner.
If you aren’t able to help a person through social media, refer him to your customer support line or provide a customer support email address he can use to contact you. The idea is to make sure your market knows you are listening and responding.
2 – See What is Being Said about Your Business and Respond
One of the most valuable things you can use social media for is listening to what your market is saying about your business and industry. You can follow influential people, participate in pages, groups and communities and search for your business on social media sites to find out what people are saying.
Understand what is being said and use the information to make your business better and enhance your Internet marketing plans. When it’s necessary, you can respond to these posts by providing information or thanking someone for mentioning you.
3 – Share Your Own Content
On a daily basis, you should be sharing links to your own content. Posting links to your blog, website, product pages and other online content will help you promote your business, drive traffic to your website and encourage people to respond to your calls to action.
Your content can help you increase sales, build your email marketing list and accomplish so many other things, and sharing it on social media is the first step to using it to reach these goals.
4 – Interact with Others
But, you shouldn’t overly self promote on social media. Interact with others by commenting on their posts and even sharing their content. This is a great way to build relationships and show your market that you are interested in providing helpful information, even if it comes from other businesses at times.
Interacting with others is also a good way to spark some engagement, since when you converse with others, they will be more likely to reach out to you and interact with your posts.
5 – Schedule Posts as Needed
Social media scheduling tools can be used effectively as long as you don’t rely on them. You shouldn’t use them to schedule posts and then never log in to your accounts. Your social media marketing success relies on human interaction. But, you can use these tools to schedule posts for times when you will be out of the office, over weekends or after office hours.
Social media marketing does take time if you want to do it successfully, but this checklist can help you use it productively and effectively.
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Wednesday, March 5th, 2014
Image courtesy of patrisyu/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
As more and more people access the Internet from their smartphones using search engines, businesses need to make sure their sites are optimised for mobile use. To be successful, your mobile site should be user friendly and optimised, so that search engines can rank it and your market can find it.
There is a lot that goes into mobile SEO, but here are a few tips to help you start earning higher rankings.
Do Mobile-Specific Keyword Research
Your market may use different search terms when they use their smartphones. For example, they may be doing local searches or they may use shorter phrases. As you brainstorm keywords and do research, keep this in mind and make sure the words you decide to target are words a mobile audience would use.
Use Less Rich Content
Rich content like photos and videos don’t really help with SEO efforts because search engines can’t read their content. Another problem with these is that they often take more time to load, which can make your mobile site more clunky and less user friendly. If you do use rich content, use it sparingly and be sure to use content in conjunction with it to help your pages rank.
Don’t Condense, Just Reorganise
It can be tempting to remove content from mobile versions of your site, but this gives you fewer opportunities to use keywords to rank your site. Instead of getting rid of keyword-rich content, try reorganising it so it’s more readable on a small screen.
Grouping your content into smaller sections and using a navigation menu that organises everything so that it is more readable is a good way to make your site better for mobile users. A page full of content on a tiny screen can be overwhelming to visitors, so break the text up and organise it so it’s more user friendly.
Don’t Use an App to Replace a Mobile Site
Mobile apps have their benefits, and may have a place in your Internet marketing strategy, but they shouldn’t replace your mobile site. Search engines can’t read and index content in apps, so you are missing out on potential rankings if you rely on this content. Use mobile apps in addition to, not in place of, a mobile site.
Prioritise the User Experience
With all the optimisation strategies you implement, don’t forget to prioritise your users’ experience. Your site should be easy to read and navigate. Google encourages businesses to create user-friendly mobile sites and actually provides a list of common mistakes made on mobile sites. You can use the list to make sure your site is free of errors that could drive visitors away.
Mobile SEO is an important part of a successful Internet marketing strategy. Your site should be easy for people to use on their tablet or smartphone and should be fully optimised so search engines can read and index it, making it easier for your market to find.
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Wednesday, March 5th, 2014
Google Plus is an up-and-coming social media network that can help you reach your market and even achieve higher search rankings. But, to get these benefits you have to take advantage of some of the site’s features.
Once your profile is complete and as you start to share content and build a following, use these features to make sure you are fully leveraging your account.
One of the biggest things that sets Google Plus apart from many other social networks is how easy it makes it to share content with select groups of people. On Google Plus, you can organise the people you connect with into different circles and then share your content publicly, with all of your followers or just with select circles.
This feature makes it very easy to target your content to the right people. You can easily share different kinds of content with different groups of people to see better social media marketing results.
Like Twitter, Google Plus uses hashtags, which make it easier for your posts to be found. When you use relevant hashtags, people searching for information or browsing through posts with that hashtag will find your posts more easily.
Google Plus takes this concept a step further by automatically adding related hashtags to your posts. These are added to the top of a post and are blue. Those that you add manually are grey. You can easily delete related hashtags by hovering over them and clicking the “X.” When a user hovers over one hashtag, the others from a post will appear below it.
As a Google Plus user, you can create and join public and private communities so you can contribute to group discussions and connect with people with common interests. You can post status updates, images and links to these communities and invite others to join.
This is another way you can target specific groups of people. For example, if you run an electronics store, you might join communities about smartphones, laptops or technology and business where you can connect with potential customers.
When you create your own community, you can create an online hub where your customers or fans can connect with each other and your business to discuss specific topics and share relevant content. This is a great way to spark some engagement and interaction between your customers and your business.
Real Time Events Photos
Google Plus events are a little different than events features on other social networks. The feature has basic elements, like the ability to set a date, time and place for an event and invite people to it, but it offers much more than that.
When you create an event, people will be able to upload photos to the event page, even in real time, so that everyone can see them. This is a great way for attendees to participate and engage during and even after an event, and makes it much easier to share images. Instead of having to track down all the pictures by talking to attendees or going to several different websites, all the photos will be right there on your event page.
Take full advantage of your Google Plus page by sharing relevant content, building a following and taking advantage of these, and the other great features, on the site.
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Monday, March 3rd, 2014
Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
In many ways, your website is the online face of your business. It’s where your customers, potential customers and other members of your market go to find more information, and in some cases, buy a product. But, getting leads from your website takes some strategic planning and might even require a few changes to your site.
Make it Easy to Respond to your Call to Action
Your call to action should be loud and clear on your homepage. If people come to your website and aren’t asked to do anything, they won’t. For example, if your goal is to sell one of your products, use copy that encourages people to buy it and include a button that links to the product page.
This same strategy applies to all kinds of goals, whether you are trying to build your email list, sell products or get more social media followers. Whatever you want your site visitors to do, make it easy.
Use Lead Generation forms on Every Page
Every page of your website should include a lead generation or sales form. Put it in a very visible place, like near the top or on a side bar where your visitors will see it right away. Including it on every page makes it more likely that people will fill it out and ensures that people will see it, no matter what page they enter your site from.
Illustrate a Benefit
People need a reason to buy your product or give you their contact information. Very clearly illustrating the benefits you can offer is a great way to get more leads. Use sales copy that tells people why they should buy your product and use content and your site’s design to tell people why your services are the best available.
Testimonials are a powerful way of persuading potential customers. They let your market hear from people who are influential or who they identify with, which makes them more likely to respond to your calls to action. You can use written testimonials on your site or make them a little more interesting by creating videos.
Use a Purposeful Design
Use design elements, like contrasting colours, white space, arrows, boxes and graphics to make your site more attractive and make your calls to action and other important information stand out.
You can also use your site’s design and navigation to lead your visitors through your pages and convert them into sales leads. Think carefully about the information you include on each page and where your links are, and place them in areas that will help you get more leads.
Make it Easy to Contact You
Finally, make it very easy for your visitors to find your contact information. The last thing you want is for would-be customers to leave your site because they can’t figure out how to contact you with a question or to make a purchase. You can simply list your contact information in a central place on your website or use a contact form, or both.
When you are strategic about your site’s design, layout and content, you can convert more of your site visitors into leads. Start by assessing your website and using these tips to find ways you can make it a more powerful sales tool.
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Friday, February 28th, 2014
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Internet marketing is a broad term that covers several different marketing channels. The channels, or means that you use to reach your market, are very important to your success.
A good Internet marketing strategy will leverage multiple channels that best help your business connect with your market so you can promote your brand and build your customer base. With so many channels and tactics out there, here are a few that are becoming increasingly important and that you should keep an eye on and consider using.
The first channel we think of when we think of Internet marketing is websites. If a business doesn’t have a website in today’s world, it will quickly become obsolete.
Start with your own site and make sure it is a place where you can tell your audience who you are and what you can do for your customers. Also be sure it is fully optimised so it will earn high search rankings. Many businesses use other channels to drive their market to their website, where they make a sale.
Using other websites, especially news sites, is a great way to build links to your site, raise awareness about your business and drive traffic to your site.
Blogging is another extremely common channel and for good reason, it’s a great way to reach a lot of people.
Blogging is an easy way to keep your audience up to date, provide value and create content that will attract people to your site. If you aren’t already blogging, now is the time to start.
Guest blogging, sponsored posts and blog coverage on others’ blogs can also help you promote your business. Link building, more traffic, the chance to reach a new audience and increased awareness are just a few benefits you can get when you use others’ blogs.
Search engine optimisation is a very valuable form of Internet marketing that can help you get more organic traffic to your site and make it easier for people to find you online. Organic traffic is valuable because in many cases, it consists of people who are already looking for your business or products, so they are potential customers.
Social media is a powerful way to connect with your market, give your customers a way to interact with your business online and promote your content, products and business. The social media sites you use will depend on your business and market.
Email marketing can help you deliver marketing messages and tactics to niche groups of people, including current customers, potential customers and blog readers. The key to success with email marketing is to craft strategic messages and calls to action.
Both traditional online ads and pay-per-click ads can be very effective. Consider your options and be sure you place ads on websites where your target market will see them.
Mobile Internet use is on the rise and smartphone apps are a powerful Internet marketing tool. If you can offer some kind of value through an app, consider designing one for your business.
There are several different Internet marketing channels and you’ll likely need to use a combination of them to promote your business and reach your markets. Choose the ones that will best match your needs and bring the biggest benefits, and then add them to your plans strategically so you will see the best results.
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Thursday, February 27th, 2014
Image courtesy of Nicolas Nova/Flickr.
Blogging is one of the most basic and most important things you can do for your website. Unfortunately, many businesses forgo blogging because they don’t think they have the time for it or they don’t fully understand all the benefits they can get when they do it.
If you’ve been neglecting your company blog, or haven’t started one yet, here are just a few of the many reasons why you should use it to its fullest potential.
Fresh Content Leads to Higher Search Rankings
You probably already know that updating your site frequently with new content will help your search engine optimisation efforts. Search engines continually crawl sites to find and rank new content, and when you constantly update your site, you can rank higher for specific search terms.
Using a blog is a great way to have an easy way to update your website. Blogging about your business, industry news, new products, how-to topics and other subjects your market will be interested in will also help you drive traffic to your site.
Keep Your Market Informed
Blogging is a powerful way to keep your market informed. It is a channel of communication you can use to update your audience about business news and tell your customers about new products and features.
When you use your blog in conjunction with social media sites, this approach becomes even more useful. Post detailed information, pictures and infographics on your blog, and then share the post through social media, making it more visible to your market.
Own Your Story
When other people blog about your business, or news sites cover a product or event, you don’t have complete control over your story. The blogger or reporter will write about you from their perspective. Of course, this kind of coverage is excellent public relations and can help you raise awareness and drive traffic to your website.
However, when you post to your blog you have complete control over your story. You can include the information you want your market to know and use the style, tone and messaging that will be most beneficial to your business.
Have Complete Control over the Platform
Social media sites are always changing. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other sites are always adding and taking away features that change the way you can use them. In fact, some social media sites disappear altogether, taking part of your social media marketing strategy, and maybe even part of your market, with them.
When you rely more strongly on your own blog, and not an outside platform, you have complete control over it. You can add and remove features whenever you want and you know it will always be there. You can also use your own blog however you want. Having your own blog where your market can get information and interact with your business is important and should be a major part of your Internet marketing plan.
Blogging has so many benefits and these are just a few of the reasons you can’t afford to pass on a company blog. If you haven’t used a blog as part of your Internet marketing plan, start today. You’ll see higher search rankings, more traffic and have control over your own messaging.
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Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
To be successful at Internet marketing, you need to understand your market. When you do, you can create a plan and use tools that will help you reach potential customers and make your business grow.
Of course, it’s important that you do some in-depth research, but here are four things you need to know about your market that will help you create a strategic Internet marketing plan.
Who You are Targeting
First, you need to know who your target market is. Understanding basic demographic information like gender, age, level of education and even profession can help you understand who your strategies and tactics need to be geared toward.
Start by making a list of things that describes your customers and target market and then back up that information, and add to it, with research. Designing your plan based on who you are targeting will help you be much more successful.
Where they Hang Out Online
Once you know who your market is, you can find out where they hang out online. Make a list of websites, blogs and social media sites your target market uses. Some of this information you can deduce, simply by understanding who is attracted to different sites, but some of it will require some research.
Internet marketing requires you to use websites, blogs and social media to reach your market. Of course, you need to attract people to your own sites, but you will also need to reach out to find your market. Knowing what sites your market frequents will make it much easier to find potential customers.
What Needs they Have
Then, identify what kinds of needs your market has and discover how you can fill them. For example, if you run a craft shop, your market could be looking for affordable ways to be creative or ideas for do-it-yourself projects. This need defines something you can give your market and use to attract people to your store.
Your content, social media posts and other Internet marketing strategies should work to fill those needs. As you do this, you will build an online audience and attract people to your business.
What Motivates Them
When you discover what motivates your market, you will know how you can persuade people to respond to your calls to action. Find out what makes the people you are targeting tick, what they want and what kinds of messages resonates with them.
You can start creating messaging that you think will appeal to your market by analysing everything you know about it. Then, test some of the messages, content and tactics and measure your results. In many cases, you will need to revise your approach to find out what works for your business and market.
The more you know about your market, the more successful your Internet marketing efforts will be. When you know who you are targeting, where they are online, what they need and what motivates them, you can use that information to create effective plans, content and other marketing tactics.
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Monday, February 24th, 2014
Image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
When you use social media accounts, your market follows you with certain expectations. People follow you and connect with you because they are looking for specific information, benefits or perks, and when you can deliver those, your accounts will be much more successful.
Social media marketing can be a powerful part of any Internet marketing plan, and when you use it to convey strategic messaging and meet your market’s needs, you can see big results.
One of the biggest reasons people follow your business on social media is to get timely updates. They want to know about new products, events, promotions and what is going on at your business. Be sure to keep your market updated by posting company news and information that appeals to your followers.
Another thing social media followers are looking for is special perks. By following your business, they want to be in on “inside information” and qualify for things like discounts, freebies and giveaways. Find ways you can include these kinds of perks in your Internet marketing plans to promote your business, make sales and drive traffic to your website, so both your followers and your business benefit.
A Line of Communication
Your followers expect your social media pages to be a line of communication with your business. They expect to be able to contact your business through your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other pages. At the very least, they expect to be able to find contact information for your business on your social media pages.
Meet this need by monitoring your accounts and by making it easy for people to find your phone number, address and an email address.
To be Heard
Along with a line of communication, your followers expect your social media accounts to be a place where they can be heard by your business. They want to be able to voice concerns, give feedback, ask questions and even get some form of customer support.
The level to which you fulfil this is up to you. You may not be able to provide complete customer support through social media, but maybe your social media manager can ask customers who reach out to call your customer support number. Or, you may be able to answer some general questions through social media, depending on your business and what you offer your customers.
Engagement with other Followers
Some social media followers are looking for an online community where they can talk about your business or industry with others who are also interested. They want to connect with other customers, finding common ground, talking about your business and discussing your products.
Foster this kind of community by providing interesting content and even reaching out to users to start conversations. Ask questions and encourage discussion to create an online community that helps you build your business.
When you set up and maintain social media accounts, your followers have expectations. If you are able to meet those expectations and leverage the power of social media, your business will grow and benefit in so many ways.
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Saturday, February 22nd, 2014
Image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
High-quality content is beneficial to your business in numerous ways, including its ability to help you get high search engine rankings. For some time now, Google has emphasised the importance of creating and publishing quality content. Now, Bing has taken this a step further by stating that content with typos and mistakes won’t rank as high as other content.
In a blog post, Duane Forrester, senior product manager at Bing, explains that the search engine is judged by the quality of results it shows users, so it will be looking specifically at the quality of content published on websites. He says that lower quality content, with errors, won’t rank as well as high-quality, error-free content.
High Quality Leads to Better Rankings
There’s no question that high-quality content will rank better in search results, from both Google and Bing. When your audience enters keywords that describe your business or what you do, you want your website to appear at the top of search engine results pages, and publishing high-quality content is the first step to achieving this.
How does high-quality content impact rankings? According to both Google and Bing, their algorithms identify strong, relevant content and rank it higher than other content. The best content also gets more social shares and traffic, which can help you boost your rankings.
What You Need for High-Quality Content
So, how do you go about creating the best content? There are a few things all good content has in common, and when you keep them in mind as you develop your Internet marketing plans and create content, you’ll see better search rankings and build a stronger brand reputation.
First, each piece of content you produce should help you reach some goal. Don’t just create content for the sake of creating content. In most cases, your goal should be to benefit your market in some way. You can do this by providing information, offering entertainment, providing a solution to a problem or teaching your market something.
Copy that is free of typos, grammatical errors and other mistakes is also essential. Proofread your content carefully and make sure it is something you want to use to represent your brand.
You need to give your market a reason to pay attention to your content by adding value to it. Provide people with information they need, are looking for or will benefit from.
Your content needs to match the needs and desires of your market and audience. Irrelevant content doesn’t rank very well, and it certainly won’t help you promote your business because it won’t help you appeal to your market and persuade people to take action.
High-quality content is produced with a market and purpose in mind and is well written and professional. As you publish this kind of content and create a strategic search engine optimisation plan, you will see better rankings. As an added benefit, top-quality content will also build your brand and help you create a positive reputation among your markets.
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Image courtesy of [ Mooi ]/Flickr.
Facebook has announced
that advertisers can now more easily target their markets through Facebook ads. The announcement is good news for businesses that use this form of Internet marketing, because it just got a lot easier to make ads more effective.
When you create a Facebook ad, you can now target your market based on general categories: location, demographics, interests and behaviours. These categories may seem broad, but they allow you to target people based on recent events like engagements, where they live and even what kind of education they have received.
But, even with this update, it’s still important that businesses understand how to create a successful Facebook ad. The features Facebook provides will help you reach your market, but you still need to create ads that inspire your audience to take action.
An Attention Grabber
First, Facebook users are practically flooded with posts, photos, content and yes, ads, on the social network. If you want your ads to work, you need to grab your market’s attention.
The way you do this will depend on your brand and products, but using attractive pictures, entertaining ads and readable text and making your ads different than your competitors’ can help them stand out. You will likely have to do some testing to find out what kinds of ads your market notices and responds to.
The best ads, on Facebook and other sites, have influential content. You need to know what inspires your audience, what they are looking for, what needs they have and what they are interested in. When you know this, you can create influential content.
The images, taglines and copy you use all need to influence people in ways that inspire them to want to learn more about your company, make them more aware of your brand or encourage them to respond to your calls to action.
A Call to Action
Every one of your ads needs to include a clear call to action. This is absolutely essential, and is what makes your ads worthwhile and what will bring you results. Some common calls to action include:
- Buy a Product
- Visit a Website
- “Like” a Page
- Read a Blog
- Visit a Store
- Fill Out a Lead Form
Of course, these are just a few of the most common calls to action, and yours could be very different depending on your business and goals.
People are busy and when they are browsing Facebook, they don’t always want to stop looking at their friends’ pictures or posting a status update to respond to your ad. You need to provide an incentive.
The incentive you use could be tangible, like a free sample or a discount, or it could be something more abstract. For example, you could tell your market that if they “like” your page on Facebook, they will be the first to hear about your new product launch.
Facebook is always adding new features that make it easier for businesses to use the site and target their markets. When you include these elements in your ads, they will be much more successful and you will be able to reach your current and potential customers.
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