7 Things To Consider When Starting An Email List

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If you’re thinking of starting an email list for your business but you don’t know where to begin or how to grow it, then don’t worry. You have definitely come to the right place. With many important things to consider before you get started, it’s important you’re doing everything you can to grow your list in an organic and safe way. Whilst it may seem impossible at first, there are lots of ways to build the email list you need to grow your business. With that in mind, here are 7 things to consider when starting your email list: 

- Where Will You Build Your List?

One of the first things you need to consider when it comes to building an email list is how where you’re going to be building it. With different pieces of software available to use, you need to be sure you’re picking the best possible choice for your business. Although it may come down to cost, it is worth looking at the various different features each piece of software offers. For a guide to choosing an email list building software, you can visit this site here. 

- How Will You Attract Email Sign-Ups?

Once you know where you’re going to build your list, you need to consider how you’re going to attract sign-ups. Although there are millions of ways you can build your list, streamlining your processes will make sure your efforts are much more successful.

Whether you’re throwing competitions, sharing unique offers or offering valuable freebies, you need to be sure people have a reason to sign up to your list. For tips and tricks when it comes to growing your email list, you can visit this site here. 

- What Will You Use Your Email List For?

Now that you have started building your list, you can think about what it is going to be used for. Whether you’re sending a monthly newsletter or sharing weekly deals on your products, putting together a strategy could be incredibly beneficial for your business. 

- Will You Have An Email Schedule?

If you know you’re going to send out regular emails, you might want to consider putting together an email schedule. Although it may be hard to stick to at first, having a schedule will help give your subscribers a sense of contingency and professionalism. Whilst you may miss one every now and again, a schedule is the best way to ensure you stick to sending emails out. 

Having an audience and not using it is one of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to an email list, so having a schedule will definitely help prevent this. 

- How Will You Create Content For Your Email Strategy?

Once you have put together a schedule and goals for your email list, you need to think about how you’re going to be creating content for your emails. Whether you hire an experienced content writer or you write from the heart, you need to be sure your emails encourage sales, engagement, and interaction. If your email list has been created to support a community, you might also want to consider sharing content from your community members. 

- How Will You Ensure Safety?

One of the most important things to consider when it comes to starting your email list is how you’re going to ensure both safety and compliance. With various rules and legislation surrounding data protection, you need to be sure you are doing all you can to abide by the rules. From giving subscribers the chance to unsubscribe to offering subscribers a choice when it comes to the information they receive, the more research you do the better. If you want to learn about online privacy, you can visit this site here. 

- How Will You Measure Results?

Finally, you need to think about how you’re going to measure results. Although there are different ways to collect data surrounding your open rates and click-throughs, you need to decide whether or not these are the metrics you want to measure. For some, brand recognition and engagement might be even more important. 

If you’re struggling when it comes to measuring your results, you might want to consider speaking to someone who has experience in this area. Not only will they be able to offer you advice but they will also be able to point you in the right direction when it comes to finding the results you’re looking for. 

Are you starting an email list for your brand? What do you need to consider beforehand? Let me know your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below. 

Optimizing Your Social Media with Promo Models

By: Tori Lutz

Learning the ins and outs of social media marketing is an unavoidable part of running a modern brand. With nearly half of the global population using social networks every month, the social media user base has become one of the most lucrative and researchable demographics the business world has ever seen.

Given the over-saturation of brands on social platforms, vying for user attention at every turn, how is a digitally adept business supposed to stand out and be heard? In this article, we’ll talk about an often-overlooked facet of social marketing: promotional models.

Promo Models: What and Why

 You may know promotional talent primarily from smiling and waving at the crowd from floats, or trade show models greeting attendees and getting them to view a particular booth. However, promo models can be the perfect fit for social media, due to several reasons.

First, social media is, as the name implies, primarily social. Its function is to connect people to other people. While there are many design and photography enthusiasts on Instagram, a majority of the site’s usage is seeing what other people in your network are doing, wearing, or thinking. This is why Instagram posts get 30% greater engagement when they include faces. 

Second, humans rely most heavily on sight, which makes the visual appeal of promo models in a visual medium such as Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest well suited to the task. So how do you best use promotional talent in your social media strategy? 

Single Posts and Ad Campaigns

The most common and direct way to integrate promo models on social media is via a photo or video shoot that can be used for posts and ad campaigns.

 Since your brand’s social media presence falls into two main categories: advertisements and your page itself, it makes sense to include promo models in both. The next time you consider posting about a product or service or creating an advertisement, make sure it contains a relatable human element in the form of promotional talent.

The most impactful way to go about this is fortunately also the most cost-effective method. Hire your promo models for a day or two of shoots, and acquire a bunch of content that you can tailor to various campaigns, audiences, and messages. 

Then, spread out that media over the course of a long ad campaign or regular, weekly posts on your page. This both saves you money by only needing to hire technicians, camera crew, venues, and promo talent for one or two days, but also works better as a marketing strategy. Users recognize patterns and enjoy consistency, so a longer campaign featuring the same promo models will draw more attention than sporadic, unrelated banner ads.

 Influencers

 Influencers are a category of promo models that already have a large social media fanbase. These social media giants will cost you much more to hire than a traditional promo model would, but the payoff can also be much more rewarding.

Influencer marketing relies on the celebrity endorsement principle in which a recommendation or endorsement by a respected or admired individual causes people to trust and use that brand more frequently.

Sure, influencers may not be as globally famous as real celebrities, but they often enjoy closer relationships with their followers than famous athletes or actors would. This means that, if you can afford it, a post by an influencer supporting your product can lead to a massive increase in both exposure and sales. 

Brand Ambassadors

Brand ambassadors are the little sibling to influencers. Brand ambassador marketing is somewhat more of a two-way street; both the brand ambassador and the company itself benefit more, making this a much more affordable option for most companies.

Ambassador programs typically involve the supplying of products or services to the ambassador in exchange for them handing out samples, being active on social media about the company, and being vocal to their own personal networks. This is an excellent way to reach people in the non-digital world, who may otherwise never find your brand.

Promo models make great brand ambassadors as well, given their innate charm and dynamism. Most agencies that hire out traditional promo models are also good for brand ambassador hiring, as they tend to have a large database of qualified individuals and their requisite social media stats.

In Summary 

While social media savviness is an inescapable aspect of the modern marketing landscape, it doesn’t have to be boring or impersonal. In fact, adding some excitement and a charismatic human element to your social media presence is a surefire way to get more engagement. 

Promo models can fit into your brand’s social media in a multitude of ways. A single hefty photoshoot with promotional talent can go a long way, providing engaging and more relatable content for a long-term ad campaign or simply for page posts. Influencers can make a huge impact in increasing brand following, and brand ambassadorships are a cost-effective way to reach more people both on and off social media. 

We hope this gave you something new and useful to apply to your social media strategy. For more insightful and unique ways to optimize your marketing, check out the other articles on our blog.

Extra Energy To The Proceedings: Making Over Your Marketing

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When you are knee-deep in promoting your business, there comes a moment when you start to realize just how much of a massive task it is, not just for the sake of your product, but for your business as an entire entity. Marketing is one of those things that can consume any company if they don't use the right methods. And for many businesses out there, it proves to be one of the more difficult aspects to get right while also figuring out how to make a marketing strategy more innovative while improving what you've already got. How can you do this?

Tweak Your Content 

Your content is one of the crucial components, not just because it's what helps build the bridge between you and the customer, but it's also the tricks that you can implement to ensure that it catches a wider audience. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is one of those elements that, if you haven't looked at it already, you should find ways to show you are managing your SEO appropriately. Because it is such an evolving aspect of marketing, it's always worth having someone on the team dedicated to continuing going over the content and making it relevant, but also compliant with SEO so you climb up the search engine rankings. But that's not to say you should cover your content in spammy links and other aspects that debase the contact.

Learn To Automate 

Marketing isn't just about the components you have a direct hand in creating, but it’s also those that you automate. After all, you are a busy business owner and this means you've got to find the right methods to ensure the business continually operates without you having a direct hand in it. Automating emails and social media posts can be done with various tools, so you can schedule your posts ahead of time, and your content trickles out regularly, keeping everybody in your customer base in the loop, while also providing that perception that the business is operating 24/7.

Communicating With Customers Directly

We can tend to forget about the more realistic components of promotion. Regardless of how the business operates, it's important to speak to customers in a direct, human manner. While promoting your business is fantastic if you have all the online components in place, you have to find ways to continually engage the customer beyond the computer screen. It's always worth participating in something like a local community event. As well as this, think about trade shows and any event around the can show off your product in a good light. It's a very simple way to connect with a customer, while also finding ways to promote your ethics and brand in a far more substantial manner.

Marketing is widely open to interpretation. And if you feel that your business is certainly lacking in many ways, making it over and reinvigorating your promotion, but also adding a little bit of extra energy to the proceedings can help your business go further, but also make you realize where you are falling down.

Sneaky Ways to Build Brand Awareness on a Budget

Do you think your brand isn’t as well-known as it could be? Maybe you just know that you need to make some changes, but you aren’t sure how to go about it. Either way, you can find out whatever you need to know, right here.

Referral Programs

Users will usually be more than happy to spread the word of your product or even your service if they are getting additional perks. Consider starting a loyalty program or even think about chatting with your customers about what they’d like to see your company offer. This will help you to get more sales and it will also help you to build your overall brand loyalty.

Impressive Guest Content

Another fantastic way for you to get your brand known would be for you to deliver very valuable and great-looking content. Guest posting is a powerful way for you to get your name known in the industry and it will also help you to stand out more too. If you aren’t sure how to create guest content or anything else of the sort then you might want to look into a digital publishing platform as this could help you to get the customization you need.

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Infographics

Infographics are very bright and colorful. They also remain to be the best way for you to display interesting marketing material or even statistics too. Infographics are known for being content powerhouses and they’re great if you want to get a much bigger market reach too.

Local Partnerships

Another great brand strategy that you can be sure to take advantage of is local partnerships. This is very important if you have a brick and mortar store, as it gives you the publicity you need to really take things to that next level. You can easily partner with local businesses or you can sponsor local sports teams too. This will give your brand a strong connection with the local community and it can also help you to build a lot of awareness too.

Car Wraps

Car-wraps are a tried-and-true strategy. They are essentially customized designs that cover your entire car and they attract a huge amount of attention. This is a fantastic way for you to make sure that everyone becomes familiar with your brand and it is also a very affordable way for you to market your company. This strategy is best if you have a car that you use for work-related purposes, rather than for personal use.

Freebies

Who doesn’t love a freebie? Put your brand on frisbees, pens, or anything else of the sort. When you do this, you can then hand them out to your customers as gifts. The more useful your items are, the better as this will stop them from being put to the back of the drawer or even put in the bin. You also need to remember that the more your items are used, the more likely they are to draw publicity to your brand too so keep that in mind.

It's 2019: Go Digital Or Go Home

Digital innovation is a natural growth process. You can count on the fingers of one hand the companies that have not yet embraced digital technologies in your neighborhood. However, while businesses rely on digital solutions as part of their day-to-day activities, digitalization continues to be perceived as a tool rather than a strategic goal. 

There is no denying that digital technology can not only save time and money in the long term, but it also facilitates interactions at different steps of business processes. However, failure to consider digitalization as a whole makes it difficult for companies to quantify the benefits of innovative solutions and interactive tools.

For small and medium-sized businesses, the need to digitalize processes can cast a threatening shadow over the financial growth. Indeed, enhancing your digital solutions comes at a high cost, which can be a handicap when you’re working with a limited budget. However, when digitalization becomes part of your business strategy, you can not only monitor the direct impact of your investment but also build a company that works better and harder for its customers and employees. Consequently, large-scaled digital investments are more likely to drive a rapid and significant positive ROI, as opposed to segmented and isolated digital enhancements. 

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FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS

Ultimately, today’s customers rely on the digital world to establish the first touchpoint with their trusted companies. They are not only digitally-savvy, but they are also willing to take shortcuts to get in touch with a business. With the digital universe at their fingertips, users operate cross-channels and devices in an effort to speed up their interactions. Ideally, they don’t want to waste time along the process and have no patience for companies that can’t keep up with their use of digital technology. 

Where do I click to buy? 

Cashless payments are nothing new. The rise of ecommerce businesses encourages more and more online payments. However, brick and mortar shops still have to make cashless transactions a priority. Indeed, small boutiques, craft fairs, and even food markets struggle to move away from a cash-only policy. Card payments are an integral part of your customers’ daily lives.

Additionally, more and more customers choose to manage all their transactions through their phones, relying on mobile payments such as Apple Pay or even Paypal when shops provide the option. In a day and age where most people are more likely to carry a smartphone than a wallet, it is foolish not to adapt to your customers’ preferences. 

Don’t slow down customer service

Your customers tend to turn to social media when they want to engage in a direct conversation with a brand. From responding to your posts to asking for help with a transaction issue, social media is the new customer service platform. However, if you’re going to make the most of your presence on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you want to figure out how to extract meaningful data to guide your online activities.

Vanity metrics, for instance, are a marketing obsession that fails to drive any valuable strategy. Indeed, you can use social media insights to identify customers’ issues and engagement. Online reactions and mentions can help you to identify problematic products or target groups, for instance, and to refocus your efforts. 

Keep the interaction intuitive

Videos are one of the most engaging media formats. But, if you are going to make the most of a vlog, you need to enhance the interactive features. Videos allow your brand to build a direct connection with the audience. Maintaining the relationship is crucial to immerse potential customers into a branded environment of your creation. Therefore, clickable links in the video and branching patterns can preserve the interaction. If at any point, a user has to leave the video to find out more about your products or your brand, the positive effect is likely to disappear. 

FOR YOUR TEAM

Your team works in a high-paced environment. It makes no doubt that the implementation of digital solutions in the workplace is designed to support the hectic challenges of a typical workday. Therefore, the digitalization process needs to maximize productivity by offering your employees a reliable and supportive network of technologies. The purpose is to allow everybody to move smoothly through their day-to-day tasks by eliminating friction, inaccuracy, and delays. 

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Free your database from slow processes

Your database is at the core of your business processes. Enabling not only rapid but constant access is a priority to manage your operations, in terms of online transaction processing, data warehousing, database workloads. However, when the development technology you rely on is over 30 years old, as it is the case for Oracle Forms, it’s time to consider replacement options.

If you are still debating how to proceed between safe Oracle Forms migration and total modernization, for instance, you might need to consider the impact on your team. Indeed, an automated migration platform could modernize your solution and integrate with most modern tech your company needs. On the other hand, moving away from forms means the costly conversion of applications and screens. 

Collaborate in real time

Your team needs to work collaboratively on a variety of projects. However, the most common collaboration tool used in companies remains the email message, which is costing valuable time to your employees. Instead, you need to consider tools that let you set deadlines, manage tasks, and maintain cross-team communication in one place. Cooperative interfaces, such as Slack or Asana, favorize a quick and smooth organization while embracing real-time comments. 

Click to invoice in real-time

Your customers want to click to pay. Similarly, your accounting team doesn’t want to waste precious time designing bills and keeping the team informed. Online invoicing is not a novelty, yet small businesses have been slow to adopt digital financial features. Ultimately, the processes of billing, managing your CRM data, following-up unpaid invoices, and checking your stocks don’t need to be separated. Keeping all financial information in one place gives back control to your team. 

The process of digitalization is wrongly criticized as a costly investment. However, for SMEs, digitalizing business operations and building actionable strategies for your team and customers can not only save you time and money in the long term but also gives you a competitive edge in a busy market. At a time when you can’t afford to miss an opportunity, digital technology can free up your teams to focus on what they do best. 

How To Promote Your Blog Correctly

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There are a plethora of blogs on the internet. From business advice, to lifestyle gurus offering their own take on situations, to film critic sites, and the written opinions of those who play music for a living. And if someone enjoys writing, odds are they have a blog somewhere out there.

Promoting your blog correctly can be a tough job to achieve well. It requires time, dedication and the willingness to use the best methods, and then to try them again if things do not stick. Success can come all at once or not at all for a year. However, there are measures you can take to ensure that your blog gains the best growth that it can, evergreen measures that will never cease in their tireless wisdom.

As someone hoping to launch their blog a little further into the mainstream, you may consider this to be a worthwhile goal. You would be right in thinking that, but you need to know how to begin, and how to begin effectively. In the following words, we’ll help you get there:

Connect With Other Bloggers

Blogs and bloggers are not isolated parties stuck on their own desert island. They want to connect. It is in the very nature of writing and sharing said posts with the internet. As a blogger, supporting and engaging with the posts of others can help you gain the insight you needed, and also avoid the bad practices that you might see.

Additionally, you might connect with bloggers through collaborative posts, through a meeting of minds and sharing audiences, through working on projects together or being a part of the same blogging network that you may also run. When you connect in this manner, you make plenty of difference in the long run, and may even share audiences.

Keep Your Posts Available

It’s important to encourage as much organic traffic to your blog as possible. This is where techniques such as hands free SEO can come into play. From using SEO services to increase your search ranking listings, to becoming a host for affiliated posts that have SEO practices carefully applied to said content, keeping posts available and easily findable can not only help you ensure your blog is seen, it can earn you money in the process. This is the dream for many bloggers, and provided you have a good platform it’s not as hard to pull off as you might imagine.

Think Of Other Mediums

Many bloggers might see themselves in a competition with those who provide content elsewhere, such as the ever growing popularity of YouTubers. But why fight them when you can also join them and diversify your content offering? Having both a YouTube channel and blog working in tandem can help give your posts more visibility on either side. With modern phone cameras and easy editing suites available, posting this sort of worthwhile content is easier than ever.

With this advice, we hope your can promote your blog correctly, but also successfully.

This article contains affiliate links.

Ensuring That Your Business Keeps Growing

Business Growth

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Creating a successful business is tough, but it’s even harder to maintain success. Many companies reach a peak before suddenly declining, but this doesn’t have to be the fate of your business. It’s possible to climb to the top of your industry and stay there. It just requires continuous growth. And we’re talking about more than continuously hiring new people or expanding your company’s headquarters. After all, nothing can physically expand endlessly; we live in a finite world. We’re talking about a growth of ideas. We’re talking about your company progressing forwards. So, here’s how to ensure that your business keeps growing.

Do your research.

One of the best ways to ensure that your business keeps growing is to do your research. It’s as simple as that. The marketplace keeps changing, so you have to pay attention to those changes. Otherwise, you’ll fall behind. Your competitors are all doing their research, so if you want to beat your rivals, then you have to do the same. Success is driven by knowledge. If you know more than your competitors with regards to your target market, then you’ll be able to offer the best products and services to them.

Filling a gap in the market is all about knowing what’s missing from your particular industry. By researching your potential and existing customers thoroughly, you’ll be able to find solutions for their problems. Talk to people. Ask consumers what’s wrong with your company and the marketplace at large. In turn, you’ll be able to spot problems that your competitors have yet to solve. That’s how you’ll find an opportunity to stand out from the crowd and attract new customers. You need to keep searching for your next USP if you want to ensure that your business keeps growing.

Work on the design of the office.

The design of your office has a massive effect on the mood of your workers. If you want to increase productivity, then you should improve the appearance of your company’s workplace. That’ll serve to maintain the steady and continuous growth of your business. After all, you rely on your members of staff to work hard and keep delivering a high-quality standard of service. You can’t reach an optimal level of operations if your team is uninspired.

Painting the walls white could allow light to brighten up the office. Some plants and flowers could give the space a vibrant aesthetic. You should also keep the place comfortable. Ergonomic chairs and keyboards will benefit your workers. You might also want to learn more about heat cables to help de-ice your building’s roof and gutters during the winter months. It’s important to keep your workplace in good shape. Keeping it well-designed and comfortable will keep your employees happy. They’ll work productively, and this will ensure that your business keeps growing.

Get help from your clients.

Another smart way to ensure that your business keeps growing is to get help from your clients. In order to expand, you need to attract potential customers in your target market, and people are always more willing to listen to the word of other happy customers. Of course, you might have happy clients, but they might not necessarily be spreading the word.

Nobody thinks to spread the word about every good consumer experience they have. You have to give clients an incentive. Maybe a referral scheme could help. If you give discounts and other gifts to customers for referring your company to a friend, then they’ll be more inclined to start telling people about your brand.

This article contains affiliate links.

The Importance Of Visual Communication In Business

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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

In today's competitive business climate, it can seem almost impossible to stand out from the crowd. But someone's got to grab the attention of those customers and get them to part with their cash, so why can't it be you and your business? It may as well be.

To cut through the clutter and get people to stand up and pay attention to you and your company, you need to be using visual communication. 

Effective visual communication is more than just a photograph with a catchy headline, a video with graphics, or an impressive convention display. Visual communications can become a powerful tool in meeting your sales and marketing objectives, whether that's communicating to customers about how your product or service works or how it may integrate with their existing business environment. A functional diagram or chart can help to depict processes and eliminate customer confusion. Visual communications examples include demonstrating products or services, illustrating product integrations, highlight features, and benefits, and explaining a buying process. 

Internally, teams can create visual process charting techniques, decision mapping diagrams, or organization charts that communicate responsibilities and collaboration potential for groups. Examples of internal visual communications include organization charts, new product development roadmaps, business process documentation, lead generation process, managing inbound marketing campaigns, and production workflows. While these are all important, there are more reasons you need to be visually communicating to your customers to make your business a success:

To Get Attention 

Visuals get people to stop in their tracks, and they are more likely to look at your content if there are pictures and colors rather than a load of text. People stay on the page longer when there are more photos because they want to see what photo will come next. More so, the video will grab their attention. According to a study from HubSpot, 78% of people watch online videos every week, and 55% view online videos every day, and by 2020, online videos will make up more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic. These stats are pretty impressive. And if you're not on board with video yet for your business, then now is the time you need to start. 

Video is the future, and while you might have been busy making sure you're on the first page of Google, you might have missed the fact that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. People use Youtube a lot for online tutorials or educational style videos as one of the biggest things that people search is "how-to," so if this is something you can capitalize on in your business, then you really should be making the most of it and getting a slice of the action.

If you add visual communication in the form of video to your website, you will increase your search rankings massively on Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Having video will also make your website fifty times more likely to appear on the first page of search results.

As well as these figures, 40% of consumers have also said that seeing a video on a website increases the chance that they will purchase a product on their mobile, whereas website visitors are 64% more likely to buy after watching a video on a website. But if you can't manage videos right now, anything with a visual component will get you more clicks, and more clicks equal more revenue. 

To Make Your Business Look Good

Your visuals represent your business, so it's essential to pick visual content that conveys the brand image you want. Nearly half of consumers consider a website's design to be the top criterion for discerning the credibility of a company; people are drawn to web content that's more visually appealing because it seems like higher quality. 

It's Easier For Customers

Because we have more information to digest today than ever before, people always look for tools to help increase processing efficiency. In other words, since there is so much content vying for our attention and time, we have to find ways to digest it faster than ever before. We respond to visual content better, and it's estimated that 90% of the information that travels to the brain is visual, and we process these visuals 60,000 times faster than we process text.

You Can Share It On Social Media

Most people today like to use social media sites and with a vast audience on each platform, scrolling through and looking for engaging content, visual content is essential for your business.

This article contains affiliate links.

6 Ways to Make a Better 1st Impression on Your Website

By: Rosana Beechum

By: Rosana Beechum

Perhaps one of the most important lessons in life you learned early on was when your mother told you that “first impressions matter” so be on your best behaviour. You have carried this with you throughout your life and have always striven to do such things as dressing appropriately for important meetings with new clients or keeping your office neat and well-organised.

Power players know how important that first impression is and there is even a science behind ‘why’ they matter as much as they do, according to Psychology Today. So, how does this translate to your website? How can you make a better first impression online? The following tips should get you started on the right foot, and isn’t that what a first impression really is? Putting the best foot forward? Let’s take a look.

1. Dress to Kill

Yes, it’s an overused cliché but one that is more important than you think! Here, we are not talking about the clothes you are wearing because you could obviously be in your pajamas and no one would be the wiser. It is a website, after all, and unless you have a live video feed from your office, what you are wearing doesn’t make a difference. Here, it is important to develop a visually attractive website that will immediately grab attention. A professional web development company will help you design a site that is perfect for your industry and this is why it’s better to let the ‘tailor’ dress you, your website that is! Make sure it fits.

2. Every Visitor Matters

Another way to make a great first impression is to let each, and every, visitor know that they are important to you. It is especially important when they’ve signed up for your newsletter or have signed up to download an informative e-book, which by the way also makes a great first impression! Once you have that all-important email address, follow up immediately with a thank you for signing up email. The Sendinblue website has several ideas for how this is done. Show your visitors that they are appreciated and that you will make every effort to keep the ‘relationship’ alive.

3. Work from a Position of Authority

Today’s customers are altogether disenchanted with the level of incompetence in almost every industry across the board. They are tired of ordering defective or inferior products and even more frustrated with the lack of customer service. In reference to that downloadable e-book mentioned above, it shows that you care about keeping them informed. It shows that you are giving them, free of charge, invaluable knowledge so that they are well informed prior to making a purchase. Once you establish yourself as an authority in your industry, they will immediately form an impression that you are to be trusted.

4. Build on the Trust Factor

After so many bad experiences with businesses, a consumer is less likely to trust the next company that comes along. It is imperative that you build on the trust factor, according to Fortune magazine, and you can do this in a number of ways on your website. A well-populated FAQ section helps as does that welcoming email and the e-book you’ve given freely. You may also wish to set up a chatbot so that they can communicate with a customer service rep to ask any questions they may have or simply get a feel for your company’s personality. Consumers today want to identify with companies they do business with, so make sure to work on developing a high level of trust.

5. Videos Attract

A growing number of consumers are more interested in watching a short video presentation than reading that e-book you’ve published. It is now being suggested that you offer at least one professionally shot video on your landing page. Whether it’s an introduction to your company or a brief presentation of products and services you offer, that video will make a remarkably good first impression because, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. How much more do you think moving pictures, videos, are worth?

6. Testimonials and Reviews

You will never know how important customer reviews and testimonials can prove to be. Since trust is such a huge concern in today’s market, one effective way to gain a customer’s trust is to show them a sample of satisfied customers you’ve worked with. Post those testimonials in a prominent location so that they are immediately visible. Talk to your web developer as to how they should be highlighted, but make sure to include them. What better first impression can you make than to show you are well-respected by those you have served in the past?

To borrow yet another old cliché, remember that people do judge a book by its cover and that is exactly what your website is – a cover. It’s the front of a business you are operating under that website and so you do want to make a good first impression. If there is any key takeaway here today it would be to never minimise the importance of making a good first impression. It’s the only one you’ll ever have, so make the most of it.

This article contains affiliate links.

Keeping It Professional: Marketing Advice

Marketing Advice

When marketing your business, keeping it professional is a must. Here are some ideas and suggestions.

Professional invoices

With an effective invoice design, you can reaffirm your professional identity, which will help lead to more business, customer referrals, and such like. However, there is a reason why a lot of people in the US are not using professional invoice designs and this is because they do not have the money to spare on design and print companies. Such businesses usually charge huge sums of money for their services and this makes it impossible for some people to capitalize on the advantages of expert invoice design. Well, until now. All you need to do is look online and you can download templates free of charge.

Letterhead design

Letterhead design is something that most businesses will need to think about at some part. After all, it looks much more professional to have a personalized business letterhead as opposed to using a Word template or something similar. Keeping that in mind, continue reading to discover how to create the perfect letterhead for your business.

Firstly, when designing a letterhead it is advisable to keep it simple. This is not like other branding platforms where you are going to include as much information as possible about your business. Rather, a letterhead is all about creating a professional and trusted air about your business. This is why a minimalistic and simple approach is always advised. Additionally, you need to ensure that your business letterhead is an apt representation of your brand. It should include the same colors as your logo, your website, and all other elements of your corporate image, for example.

What information are you going to include on the letterhead? You will need the basics, from the address of your company to your VAT number. Don’t overload the letterhead with unnecessary content. Finally, color is something that you need to give a lot of consideration too. If you offer legal services, finance services, or something similar, you will probably want to avoid a letterhead that looks like a rainbow. Instead, you should choose professional colors that evoke confidence and are in line with your company’s brand image. 

Sign off your emails

Another area where you need to enhance professionalism when it comes to your marketing efforts is when it comes to email marketing. This is especially important if you are dealing with vital clients or potential clients. You want to give off a good impression. Email signature management software can assist with this, including consistency throughout your email marketing campaign.

Follow the three suggestions above and make your campaign much more professional when marketing your business.

This article contains affiliate links.

Four Steps To Sustainable Business Growth

Photo Credit:  Unsplash

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Business can be brutal and despite entrepreneurialism being on the rise - with record numbers of new start-ups launching over the past few years - the evidence shows that few of them make it past the hurdle of their first year. From cash flow issues to simply not understanding the market well enough, there are multiple reasons why a fledgling business can fail, and you want to ensure that your company doesn’t become one of the statistics.

In order to make it, it's important to have a business growth strategy in place - both to set a clear direction for where you are heading, but also to inform your daily operations in pursuit of this ultimate goal. Difficult as it can be to raise your head above the parapet of business as usual, the avalanche of invoicing, marketing, and general admin you have to handle - if you make time to focus on growth in a systematic way, then you’ll be repaid many times over.

Create Your Value Proposition

When the aim is to sustain long-term, steady growth increases, it becomes imperative to understand exactly what your business DNA is. What problem do you solve in the world? What are your vision and values? How do you add to the lives of your customers? What represents your unique point of difference and how are you credible and relevant to the wider environment? These are the big questions you need to be asking in order to keep your business on the right trajectory.

There are different factors that each business will compete on - from price, to being the thought leader in a certain area. Having this self-knowledge about your company is imperative, because each and every decision you make should be referred back to this central proposition. If it doesn’t make sense for you to do something, then don’t do it. Too many business leaders mistake rapid, scattergun extensions for true growth, which is always more organic and congruent with a brand’s identity.

Know Your Customers Inside Out

Understand who your customer is and what they want may sound simple, but there are countless examples out there of start-ups that failed to adequately answer this question, and had a very short lifespan as a result. Consistent consumer research is the only way to really keep on top of what is certainly a moveable feast - so get into the habit of continually soliciting feedback, whether it's through web-based surveys, face-to-face at trade events or using social listening to understand the discussion. Keep one finger on the pulse of wider macroeconomic trends and learn to interpret data into actionable insights about your audience.

Upskill Your Staff

Growth means one thing - more resource. And the resource that you have in your people is the most important one. Helping staff to upskill so that they can develop and grow alongside your business is absolutely key to success. Invest in extra training so that your team can handle the challenges of upscaling the business.

If you need to recruit, employee referrals are also a great way to do it - if you’ve built a company with a strong sense of identity and mission that treats its staff well then it shouldn’t be hard to convince those staff to spread the word. Loyalty works both ways and can really pay dividends when it comes time to upscale your operations.

Set Clear Goals

Changes you make to your business need to be measurable. Setting achievable development goals with clear KPIs and measurable outcomes is the only way to be sure that you’re making meaningful progress in the right areas. Set out in advance what key indicators are the most important influences on your business growth, and invest the most time and money on those areas. Make smaller, iterative changes over time and measure the outcomes, so that you can see progress and what’s working and not very clearly.

This article contains affiliate links.

10 Copywriting Tips to Drive More Leads to Your Business

Copywriting tips

By: Diana Nadim

In case you haven’t already grasped the power of copywriting, now it is time that we clear your doubts. Investing your time, energy, and (when needed) money in your copy has a direct impact on the number of leads.

The reason why marketers are turning to content marketing is that it costs 62% less than traditional marketing tactics but it generates 3x more leads.

However, if you want to see results, you need to master copywriting. Creating content without any effort won’t do the trick. With the following ten essential tips, you’ll be able to write copy that generates leads.

1. Create persuasive headlines and subject lines

The first impression always matters the most. According to Copyblogger.com, on average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. Not to mention that 47% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line

Just think about it. If you don’t catch your audience’s interest with the first thing they see, how will you get them to read the rest? If the initial copy is bad, you won’t even get a chance to persuade them to take action.

Writing good headline copy or a subject line will do half of the job. What can help in this process is:

·      using power words (new, free, now, act, action, exciting, etc.)

·      being direct

·      creating a sense of urgency

·      evoking their interest

·      using questions (e.g. Are you ready for this amazing offer?)

·      being concise

2. Think about who you are writing for

How can you create effective copy if you don’t know who is your target audience?

Consider what type of people mostly use or could use your products. Think about their age, gender, employment, interests, pressure points, and so on.

It is helpful if you create a customer persona and modify your copy based on that. This can affect the vocabulary you use, the information you decide to include, and your writing style.

3. Listen to your audience

There is more to copywriting than choosing the right writing style. What you write about also plays a crucial role. If you feel like you can’t reach your audience, there is a way to change that.

The solution is to listen to what they have to say.

Read through reviews, testimonials, and comments your previous customers have left and you’ll get all the scoop.

You’ll find out what they like and what they dislike which will provide you guidelines on what you should write about.

4. Get personal

No, this doesn’t mean that you need to open your heart to the users. It means that you should add some emotion and personalize the copy.

Generic content is outdated. People don’t respond to plain, emotionless copy. Whether you are writing an email or website content, you need to personalize it.

Even though you need to stay professional, you should still show them that there is someone behind that brand logo.

For example, in the “About” section on your website, include some fun story or an anecdote that happened at the beginning of your journey.

Or, when you are sending out emails, make sure that you personalize them. 

5. Focus on readability

Readers want copy that will be enticing to follow. Using complicated words, jargon, or long sentences will avert their attention.

Engage readers with a conversational tone and structured text. This means that you should use headings, subheadings, bullets, and short paragraphs.

Before you publish any copy, run it through a readability test tool. There is a general rule that you should aim for a score of 60 or higher.

6. Invest in your writing

Whether you are writing an email, a blog post, or creating a web page, your copy needs to be high-quality.

What falls under high-quality copy is well-written, informative, entertaining, proofread, and edited content.

If you are not a talented writer, admit that to yourself. There are always online services such as Trust My Paper that offer the help of professional writers. You can always learn a trick or two from these writing experts.

For editing and proofreading, you can use free apps like Hemingway Editor and Grammarly.

7. Put the customers in the center of attention

Instead of “we” try to use “you.”

What does this mean?

Well, it means that the focus of your copy should be the customer, not your business.

For example:

·      Don’t: We have a sale.

·      Do: You are about to save a whole lot of money on this sale.

The whole point of this strategy is to emphasize the benefits that your customers will have when using your services.

You need to show them that their happiness is your primary interest.

8. Become a storyteller

A story makes everything more memorable. I don’t know about you, but whenever I see “Let me tell you a story” this simple sentence instantly catches my attention.

There is something about stories that make each information stick to our brain much easier. If the users remember you, there is a higher possibility that they will become a returning customer and recommend your services.

Add a story about your employees, about your business, or even imaginary stories about your products.

9. Be authentic

While using other people’s ideas for inspiration is okay, it is not okay if you copy them.

You need to provide real value with your copy by making it original.

Even though it is hard to stand out in this competitive business world, each of us has something special that makes us one of a kind. The same applies to the business.

Think about what separates you from others. Let your creativity go wild and create copy that will depict your business’ personality.

10. Use images

Humans are visual beings. If something is pleasant to the eye, people will instantly be more attracted to it.

Keep this in mind when you write your copy and enhance it with some images. You can add them to your web page, posts, or emails. It works well with any type of copy.

By using corresponding images, you’ll emphasize all the important points.

Be careful about what type of images you add. They all need to be relevant and high-resolution if you want them to have the desired effect.

Over to you

Most people think that writing copy comes naturally. In reality, it is a skill that needs perfecting just like any other. The more work you put into it, the better will results be.

Embracing these techniques and strategies can improve bring you success. Once you master copywriting with the help of these tips, you’ll see how much power it has.

95 Simple Ways to Generate Massive Amounts of Website Traffic

I've put this comprehensive article together to help you cut through the marketing hype and crap that's all over the social media and the internet.

Don't have a lot of money to spend on marketing your new business or blog or to scale your existing one? Don't fret! There are numerous ways you can market your small business or blog free. Check out our top 95 list of things you can start doing to market your small business or blog today.

Social Media

As business owners and bloggers, we've all heard it time and again, but I can't emphasize how important it is for you to promote your brand or blog content on social media. Here’s a short overview.

Learn how to build a profitable business this year by clicking below!

Twitter.com

1). Use your Twitter bio as a way to collect email addresses or as a marketing funnel. Use Bitly.com as a way to track clicks.

2). Post to Twitter between 10-15 times per day (including likes and retweets). Add between one and three hashtags to each post.

3). Follow at least 10 people in your niche per day. Retweet their tweets or links to their articles. This is a great way to build relationships with influencers and other important people in your niche.

4). Join Twitter chats or host a Twitter chat. You can find relevant Twitter chats by conducting a simple Google search.

Facebook.com

5). Make sure your profile is filled out properly. Share your page with your friends and family to increase page likes. Make sure your page has a header that’s relevant to whatever you’re promoting at that time.

6). Post new content between one and three times per day. Don't use hashtags. Make sure your content isn’t too salesy or promotional because your posts won’t make it to the newsfeed.

7). Like at least five other pages in your niche every day. Leave comments to show your interest.  

 

8). Join Facebook.com groups to generate traffic back to your website. I’ve joined five, and those five have been great to send traffic back to my blog posts, build relationships with other influencers, and network overall.

Pinterest.com

9). Sign up for a business account. Fill your bio out completely with the right keywords (because your bio is searchable). Add a link to your profile.

10). Create at least 10 boards (with the first being only dedicated to your content or products). Make sure each board is optimized for the right keywords. (Think of Pinterest as a visual search engine).

11). Add between five and 10 pins to each board. Make sure each pin contains a description with a link to your website or another website. Check each link you repin to make sure it doesn’t lead to a spam site. (Be sure to curate 70 percent content from other profiles and the web, and 30 percent is yours). Don't use hashtags.

12). Follow influencers in your niche. Repin the pins that you think your audience will find valuable. Remember, you’re pinning for your followers, not you.

13). Join group boards to reach more audiences. You can find relevant groups to join on PinGroupie.com. Limit yourself to ten.

Instagram.com

Instagram is a little tricky because you only have one space to add a link.

14). To begin, make sure your bio is optimized with the right keywords.

15). Add a link to your landing page or whatever product or program you're trying to promote. (Don't include a link to your homepage).

16). Add a photo to your profile. If you're a brand, add a logo.

17). Add between one and five photos per day to your account. Make sure the theme is consistent with the rest of your brand. Pick a color scheme that fits with the rest of your brand. Add a watermark to all of your images.

(If you visit Instagram.com/Femfounder, you’ll notice that the theme we’re using now is a two-tone background with text overlay. 

As soon as you see one of our posts, you’ll know that it belongs to one of these accounts. Branding is key to building a successful following on Instagram.com).

18). Make sure to add up to 30 hashtags per post. You can also add up to 2,200 characters in each caption.  

19). Try to follow 50 profiles in your niche each day. Like and comment on other profiles as well.

20). You can also host a contest on any of these platforms.

Stumbleupon.com

21). Add your pages to Stumbleupon.com.

22). For every one of your own pages you submit to Stumbleupon, make sure to submit 10 other pages so your account isn't marked as spam. (When I first started out, I submitted 10 of my own pages and was penalized and my account was marked as spam).

23). Follow at least three people per day.

24). Like, comment, and stumble at least three pages per day. The more you stumble, the more views and traffic your blog or website will get.

In case you’re wondering, we will explore Facebook.com LIVE, SnapChat.com and Periscope.com in depth in upcoming blog posts. Stay tuned for those upcoming posts later this month.

Blogging

25). In today's oversaturated market, blogging is one of the most effective ways to reach wider audiences and build a loyal following. Not only does it help with your search engine rankings, it also helps you build authority in your niche. Longer blog posts of 2,000 words or more usually do better (so writing one lengthy post vs. three short posts every week will be better for your overall search engine rankings).

Note – According to NeilPatel.com, most blog posts that go viral are between 3,000 and 10,000 words (which I didn't know until I started blogging seriously a few months ago). You’ll start to notice that most of my blog posts will now exceed 3,000 words.

26). The best posts are round ups, how-to articles, lists, interviews, case studies, and other articles with short sections or bullet points, which make it easier for your visitors to read.

27). Make sure each blog post is optimized with the proper keyword phrases. Add the right keywords to the blog post title, description, H1 and H2 tags, and URL. You'll also want to make sure any image alt tags contain that right keyword or keyword phrase, too.

28). Develop your brand voice and be consistent with every blog post. Don't be afraid to show your true colors. Keep in mind that controversy is fine; just don't be offensive and rude.

29). Make sure that your website or blog content is shareable. Use a program such as Sumome.com to add shareable social media icons to your website or blog (it's free for the basic package).

30). Turn your blog posts into slideshows and upload to Slideshare.net. This is a great way to send traffic back to your website or blog.

31). Interview other influencers and experts on your blog and have them share it with their audiences. Although it might be difficult getting the top influencers in your industry to agree to an interview, start by approaching mid-tier influencers. Even though they might not have the largest followings, they could still send a significant amount of traffic to your website.

32). Although it hasn’t been that effective for me, comment on other blogs so influencers get used to seeing your name and website. This seems to have worked well for other bloggers.

33). Add video content and tutorials to your website or blog.

34). Use customers as case studies or testimonials for your website or blog. This helps increase your social proof and helps build trust.

35). Offer a free training on your website.

36). Post your blog posts to sites such as Medium.com to increase your traffic.

Publicity

37). I know I've covered publicity in many articles in the past, but I think it's important to review it again. Pick out 20-25 outlets you'd like to see coverage in, and research those editors' names.

38). Put those names into a spreadsheet of a Google document for easy reference.

39). Draft personalized pitches for each outlet you pitch. Be sure to spell the editor's name correctly. (The blanket approach doesn’t work because editors can tell when they are mass pitched).

40). Limit your pitch to 500 words or less. Make sure it's interesting and newsworthy. (You can learn what’s considered newsworthy and how to write a compelling pitch here).

41). Email your pitches and follow up a few days if you haven't heard back. You can follow up one more time after that before pitching a new angle to a new editor.

42). Pitch to write for a trade magazine. Since trade magazines are always looking for contributors, they are generally easier to get into than national consumer magazines.

Influencer and Social Media Star Marketing

43). Similar to traditional publicity, influencer marketing can be very impactful to your blog or business. Start by researching the top 20 influencers in your niche. (Use Buzzsumo.com to find out who the major players in your industry are).

44). Draft short yet personalized pitches with the correct spelling of the influencer's name.

45). Limit this pitch to 200-300 words. It should be a short intro with what you're pitching. Make sure whatever you pitch – whether it’s a product or article idea - will fit with the influencer's content.

46). Email your pitch and again, if you haven't heard back after a few days, you can follow up one to two times. If you haven't heard back after the second follow up, move down the list.

47). Thought leadership should be a part of every publicity campaign. Pitch yourself for article opportunities on national websites and blogs that generate a lot of traffic (use SimilarWeb.com to find out how much traffic a website or blog gets).

Celebrity Endorsements

48). Celebrity endorsements can be an effective way to market your business, but the process can be difficult to navigate.

To get started, subscribe to a database such WhoRepresents.com or Imdbpro.com to find the right celebrity handler. (You’ll want to start with the publicist, stylist, makeup artist, or some interior decorator).

49). Pick out the celebrity's publicist, makeup artist, interior designer, or fashion stylist, and send a short email intro about who you are, what you offer, products you'd like to send, pricing, and images. You don’t have to be clever here; less is more.

50). Limit this email to 200-300 words.

51). If you hear back, ask where you should send the product (this is considered a gift so you’ll want to make sure to incorporate gift samples into your budget). Make sure it's wrapped beautifully. Be sure to include a short note, business cards, and other marketing materials.  

52). If you don't hear back (which you probably won't most of the time), you can follow up two times before moving onto the next person.

Note - You can send unsolicited gifts to celebrity handlers, but many times, they don't make it through to the celeb. The best course of action would be to contact the right handler to make arrangements to send gifts.

Your Website and List Building

53). Make sure to have opt-in boxes in three different places on your website or blog to collect email addresses. Opt-in boxes should be in your header, sidebar, footer, and in every blog post.

54). If you're a blogger, offer content upgrades on all of your posts to collect email addresses. Add three to each post.

55). If you're going to send out emails, send them out at the same time every week so your subscribers are used to seeing them. (If you’re just starting out, sending out emails once a week is generally enough).

56). Make sure your emails are short and engaging, not just promotional or your subscribers will unsubscribe from your list.

Podcasting

57). Start a podcast and add it to your website or blog. This is a great way to build relationships with influencers in your niche.

58). Research relevant podcasts and pitch yourself as an expert for an interview.

59). Treat a podcast as any other radio interview. Make sure you have your talking points down.

60).  Share your podcast(s) on all of your social media channels.

 

Other Things You Can Do to Start Driving Traffic to Your Website or Blog

61). Ask influencers if they would be interested in contributing content to your website or blog. You might get many “no” answers in the beginning but don’t let that discourage you from building your blog. It’s happens to all of us.

62). Answer questions on a website like Quora.com or Yahoo Answers to position yourself as an expert and leave a link to your website. (I’ve tried this but haven’t seen much of a return yet. It does seem to work for other bloggers and business owners though).

63). Use long-tail keywords when you write blog content. Use Google's Auto-Suggest and Keyword Planner tools to find out the best keywords for your niche.

64). Create targeted landing pages for each one of your products so you can start building an email list that you can eventually sell to.

65). Post your content to Google + because it's a great way to help rank higher on Google.com for certain keywords.

66). Join communities and share your content. BizSugar.com, Inbound.org, and HackerNews.com are some of the communities that generate the most amount of traffic.

67). Make sure to add internal links to your other articles on your blog so readers can click through if their interested in learning more about something. This helps readers stay on your website or blog longer, too.

68). Make sure your website is mobile friendly because more and more people surf the web on their tablets and smartphones.

69). Add quizzes to your blog as a way to increase engagement. Qzzr.com is free.

70). Recycle old content and use it for social media marketing or create a free email course.

71). Publish an e-book on Amazon and your website to position yourself as an expert and to increase your credibility.

72). Add your blog to websites like AllTop.com and Flipboard.com to get more traffic.

73). Offer testimonials to others you've worked with in the past. The person you write the testimonial for will usually post your headshot and URL to their website.

74). Make sure your site is optimized for speed and the URL structures are clean. (This is very important if you have an online store with lots of large images).

75). Post your blog posts to LinkedIn.com.

76). Add graphics or images to your blog posts.

77). Learn how to use Google Analytics to optimize your website and increase page views.

78). Make a media kit available on your website or blog. If you need help figuring out what to include, check out our blog post on how to create a media kit here.

79). Attend relevant networking events in your niche. You can also host a meet up.

79) Join Reddit.com (and other social media bookmarking sites). Be active. Just don't promote yourself too much or you’ll be classified as a spammer.

80). Join or create your own mastermind group.

81). It's often overlooked, so be sure to include your website in your email signature.

82). Make sure to include call to actions on all blog posts and website pages.

83). Make sure your website or blog is easy to navigate and has an aesthetically pleasing design.

84). Make sure your blog post headlines are engaging and interesting. The shorter and more concise your blog titles are, the better.

85). Make sure your About Us and product pages are optimized with the right keyword phrases.

86). Remove all of the unnecessary clutter from your website or blog. Less is more these days.

87). Sign up for ViralContentBuzz.com to get others to share your content. You earn credits by sharing other experts’ content. It’s a great way to share quality content while having yours shared as well.

88). Draft a press release (learn how to here) and send it over the free wire services such as PR.com and PRLog.com. This is a good way to build backlinks to your website or blog.

89). Automate your social media posts with something like Buffer.com or HootSuite.com.

90). Respond to all blog comments to show your readers you listen to what they have to say.

91). Update old blog posts with new content (statistics, trends, and images) to get new traffic. Be sure to post on your social media accounts again.

92). Although I have yet to do my first, I always hear how great webinars can be to drive traffic to a blog or website. You can use Google Hangouts free to set it up.

93). Post your videos to YouTube.com and Vimeo.com. (This isn’t something I’ve done yet but I’ve heard from other influencers that video marketing can be one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to a website or blog).

94). Make sure to proofread everything you publish.

95). Join Tumblr.com to reach more audiences. (Although I haven’t explored much of Tumblr.com just yet, I’ve heard from social media experts that it can be a great way for fashion, beauty, and lifestyle brands to build their followings. We will explore Tumblr.com in depth later this fall.)

Keep in mind that it takes time to build a loyal and engaged following especially when you’re first starting out. If you're looking to skyrocket your website or blog traffic overnight, then you'll need to look into paid advertising and sponsorship strategies (which generally costs a few dollars per click on Google and less than a dollar per click on Facebook.com, Pinterest.com, and Instagram.com).

What are some of the tactics you've used to grow your website or blog traffic? What tactics have been the most helpful to grow your business? What tactics have fallen short?  What did I leave out in this post and what topics would you like to see covered in future blog posts? Describe your thoughts in the comments below.

Want more free marketing and PR tips? Check out our free newsletter to get bundles of tips delivered to your inbox weekly. Sign up below.

EASY WAYS TO INCREASE SALES ON YOUR WEBSITE

Don't struggle to get traffic, email subscribers, and sales any longer if you're an e-commerce business with these insider tips.

Here are 31 EASY WAYS TO INCREASE SALES ON YOUR WEBSITE.

Let us know your comments below. 

Watch this video to learn how to increase your online sales this holiday season once and for all! 

Small Businesses: How to Manage Your Reputation Online

With the increasing need for analytics consulting and reputation management, I started to offer both areas as services at Creative Development Agency, and now more than half of my clients rely on that data to make marketing decisions for their businesses. 

Since I've launched Femfounder.co, I've focused the majority of the content on publicity, social media, and branding because that's where most of our readers need help. But today, I'm going to change things up a bit by talking about reputation and reputation management. 

When I studied PR and marketing at New York University, I took a course solely dedicated to reputation management, and after the first session, I was hooked. It was truly fascinating. However, all of the information that I learned in that course and that was published online and in books was solely for corporations. There was nothing for small businesses or bloggers (this was back in 2011). 

During my last semester, I spent the entire time researching and writing about reputation and reputation management for small businesses, creative entrepreneurs, and bloggers. And my final dissertation was over one hundred pages long of in-depth research, including interviews, surveys, and actionable tips that you can use in your own business or blog (which is now under contract to be turned into a book. Keep an eye out for that book - it will be released in early 2018.)

And now I'm going to share what I learned but first, let's start with what reputation is and why reputation management is critical to the growth of your small business. 

Reputation is the series of thoughts, images, and perceptions that others hold about your brand, small business, or blog. 

Reputation management is the attempt to shape the public perception of a company, brand, or person both online and offline. Not only is reputation management necessary to grow your business both online and offline, it's critical to sustain it. 

Consider this - if an angry customer leaves a negative review on Yelp.com or tells her friends about a bad experience she had with your business, then that negative attention will spread to other potential customers. 

According to a Nielson study, 66 percent of consumers said they trust online reviews when making online purchases. Additionally, consumers will tell an average of 16 people about a negative experience vs. 9 people will tell about a positive experience. 

Now, I think you see how important reputation management is to your business or blog.  

Reputation Management Tips

When you launch your small business, brand, or blog, consider developing a reputation management with these tips.

1). Search Engine Rankings

The first page of search results for your business, brand, or blog name is usually the most important on whether a user will buy from you. Those top search results need to expand beyond your website pages. Social media and review sites should be a part of those top 10 search results. 

2). Research

New companies and bloggers need to start online reputation building and management before launching publicly. You should make sure there's no negative reputation associated with the business, brand, or blog name you're thinking about using. 

3). Dealing with Negative Reviews or Comments

If your brand happens to get negative reviews or customer comments, it's not the end of the world. Search engines algorithms are always changing so it's possible to mitigate reputational harm. You'll have to publish content on higher ranking and authoritative sites to push negative reviews or customer comments off the first page of search results. 

4). Your Personal Name and Business/Blog Name

If you're a small business, you'll want to manage the reputation of both your name and your business/brand/blog name. In most cases, prospective customers research your name and your business/blog name to see if anything negative pops up. So you'll want to create a fully-optimized bio page on your website, as well as get media coverage, blog posts, or issue press releases about you and your blog to rank high in the search results for both your name and business name.

5). Social Media Strategy

You'll want to make sure you have a robust social media strategy in place. Post high-quality content frequently. Make sure you're on Twitter.comFacebook.comPinterest.comInstagram.com, and LinkedIn.com

6). Existing Customer for Reviews/Testimonials

Encourage your existing customers to leave a positive comment on a relevant review website or provide a testimonial that you can use your own website or blog. This will help increase your business/brand/blog's street credibility and social proof.   

7). Blogging

If you don't have a company blog, get one! A blog is a great way to increase your search engine rankings, website traffic, and your overall expertise and authority. A blog can also give you a forum to discuss any misconceptions or address any issues customers have with your business. 

8). Regular Monitoring and Management

Regular reputation monitoring and management are critical to the success of your business/brand/blog. Search Google, Yahoo, and Bing for both your name and your business name to make sure there's no negative commentary. But if you happen to find a negative review or comment, don't panic. See what the problem is and determine how to fix it. If it's a negative review on Yelp.com or some other review website, respond and apologize to the person for the bad experience they had and offer to fix it. Whatever you do, don't argue because you can come across as rude or unprofessional. 

Have you had issues with your reputation online? If so, what was the problem and how did you resolve it? Describe your experience in the section below. 

TOP FOUR MARKETING SKILLS ALL ENTREPRENEURS MUST HAVE TO COMPETE

When it comes to being a successful brand or business today, it's critical you have basic online marketing skills. But with so many tools and platforms available, how do you know what skills will be most helpful? Here are the four top skills you should have to make your business a success.

1). Facebook Advertising - Having a branded Facebook.com page is no longer enough. If you'd like to generate interest, traffic, and even sales to your website, you should know how to create an ad, refine your target audience, and how to run split tests to determine which ad generates the best response.

As someone who uses Facebook.com advertising regularly for my own businesses as well as my clients' businesses, I can tell which ad/offer will perform the best after about 200 clicks (or $150.00 ad spend). This is a great marketing tactic for brands that are on a low budget.

2). Social Media Marketing - If you don't understand social media marketing and don't have a strategy in place for your brand or business, then it's going to be difficult for you to build your name. Instagram.com, Pinterest.com, and Facebook.com accounts are must-haves for any visual business. Not only are they free to join, they're great ways to connect with prospective and existing customers, approach influencers, and increase search engine visibility.

3). Email Marketing - Although many marketing experts say email marketing is "dead", it's not. This strategy is an effective and low-cost way to generate additional revenue.

Running new promotions or product announcements is also a great way to stay in touch with your customers. You might also want to consider adding a "top tips" or editorial-like section to your emails. Check out the BobbiBrownCosmetics.com and Gilt.com email newsletters for ideas. Also, make sure your emails are optimized for smartphone and tablets.

4). Video - Video marketing has become a huge part of the digital space today. Brands such as Gucci.com and Chanel.com have mastered video marketing and you should too.

However, if you're a startup, then your brand most likely doesn't have the resources to allocate to commercial video production. Luckily, Instagram.com StoriesSnapChat.com and Periscope.com allow you to create real videos from your smartphone. These platforms are perfect for behind-the-scenes runway shows and photo shoots.

 

7 Publicity (PR) Myths Busted

PR Myths Busted

Whenever I tell someone that I work as a publicist, they instantly think that I throw fabulous New York Fashion Week ("NYFW") events, am on a first-name basis with countless celebrities, and constantly rub elbows with people in high society. While television shows like “Sex and the City” and “The City” show the glamorous side of the fashion industry, the day-to-day life of a publicist is like any other challenging career - working long hours to come up with the best solutions to help my clients meet their objectives.

Sure, I’ve attended my share of high-profile events for some of today’s most creative fashion brands, but I’ve also spent many sleepless nights organizing those same events and sweating all of the details to make sure the backstage production is seamless, the press and photographers are there to get red carpet photos, and everything else goes off without a hitch. Truth be told, while these events seem glamorous and fun to outsiders, they are actually quite exhausting and stressful for publicists.

Now that you know the truth about my so-called glamorous profession, I’m going to debunk seven other myths that you probably have when it comes to publicity and how the field works in general.  

PR Myth 1 - Publicity is all about planning parties and hobnobbing with high society and celebrities.

While planning NYFW events and launch parties are high-profile events, they don't take place 365 days a year. In fact, special events, product launches, runway shows, and movie screenings are only a small fraction of what a PR person does. More common areas involve general media relations, social media management, and influencer marketing. The image of Samantha Jones sipping on a Cosmopolitan six nights a week, meeting a different dashing man each night isn't realistic in the slightest.

Myth 2 - A press release is all you need to get media coverage.

Maybe this was true in 1950's, but not in the 21st century. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs use the same press release to pitch 1,000 journalists and expect to generate significant media coverage. It's not that easy.

If you want to get media coverage, then you need to come up with a strategic plan outlining your objectives, audiences, messages, and timeline for doing so. You also need to figure out who the right media contacts are for your client, what each editor covers, how they like to be pitched, and then give them something they can use. That's a tall order for the entrepreneur with zero publicity experience.  

Myth 3 - Publicity automatically equals sales.

No, it DOES NOT!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard entrepreneurs say that once they get featured in a magazine, an avalanche of sales will inevitably follow. That's a gross oversimplification of how publicity usually works. Sure, if the stars align, publicity can lead to stronger sales - but publicity should never be used in place of sales.

More than anything else, publicity generates brand awareness. In turn, the heightened awareness makes it easier to approach retailers because they are already familiar with your brand name and your product or service. Steady publicity is the best way to transform cold sales leads back into warm ones.

Myth 4 - All press is good press!

There are some people or news stories that are so repugnant or controversial that no brand should seek to associate with them - and I'm not talking about politics. Bad press can cause so much damage to your brand that it can’t survive.

Myth 5 - Journalists expect to be wined and dined.

Today, journalists are just too busy to take an hour out of their hectic days to meet you just so you can go on about your wonderful product or service. Like you, journalists have stressful jobs, deadlines, personal lives, and a finite amount of time to deal with it all. A simple, short, and concise pitch is the way to capture a journalist’s heart.

Myth 6 - Publicity and advertising are the same.

No, no, a thousand times no! Confusing these two concepts is one of my biggest professional pet peeves. Publicity and advertising are very different.

With publicity, there’s no guarantee you will get media coverage. You can’t control when or where your messages will be published. With advertising, you can control the message, placement, and timing. However, advertising comes with a big cost that most small businesses simply can’t afford. That's just one of the reasons why publicity is usually the better option.

Myth 7 - Publicity isn’t measurable.

Not only is publicity is measurable, it's crucial to figure out how to do it if you want to be able to evaluate the effectiveness of your media campaign.  However, it's very tough to do without the right tools.

One of the most traditional (and inaccurate) ways to measure publicity is to use the equivalent advertising value. But as we know, publicity and advertising are not the same - publicity is much more valuable because you're essentially getting a third-party endorsement from the media.  Smart publicity professionals can use social media and Google Analytics as one of their tools to determine public perception towards your brand and the impact of a given media campaign.

What are some of the biggest myths you've heard about publicity?

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