Tag Archives: inbound marketing

A Story About Inbound Marketing

A Story About Inbound Marketing

Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs

Inbound Marketing:

Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs is a comprehensive guide to increasing online visibility and engagement. Written by top marketing and startup bloggers, these books contain the latest information about customer behavior and preferred digital experiences. From the latest insights on lead nurturing and visual marketing to advice on producing remarkable content by building tools, readers will gain the information they need to transform their marketing online.

With outbound marketing methods becoming less effective, the time to embrace inbound marketing is now. Cold calling, e-mail blasts, and direct mail are turning consumers off to an ever-greater extent, so consumers are increasingly doing research online to choose companies and products that meet their needs. Inbound Marketing recognizes these behavioral changes as opportunities, and explains how marketers can make the most of this shift online. This not only addresses turning strangers into website visitors, but explains how best to convert those visitors to leads, and to nurture those leads to the point of becoming delighted customers.

Gain the insight that can increase marketing value with topics like:

  • Inbound marketing – strategy, reputation, and tracking progress
  • Visibility – getting found, and why content matters
  • Converting customers – turning prospects into leads and leads into customers
  • Better decisions – picking people, agencies, and campaigns

These books also contains essential tools and resources that help build an effective marketing strategy, and tips for organizations of all sizes looking to build a reputation. When consumer behaviors change, marketing must change with them.Remember, Inbound Marketing is  attracting, engaging, and delighting customers online.

Inbound Marketing: is a comprehensive way to increasing online visibility and engagement. Written by top marketing and startup bloggers, provide information about customer behavior and preferred digital experiences. From the latest insights on lead nurturing and visual marketing to advice on producing remarkable content by building tools, readers will gain the information they need to transform their marketing online.

Gain the insight that can increase marketing value with topics like:

  • Inbound marketing – strategy, reputation, and tracking progress
  • Visibility – getting found, and why content matters
  • Converting customers – turning prospects into leads and leads into customers
  • Better decisions – picking people, agencies, and campaigns

There is reading material that contains essential tools and resources that help build an effective marketing strategy, and tips for organizations of all sizes looking to build a reputation. When consumer behaviors change, marketing must change with them. Inbound Marketing

With outbound marketing methods becoming less effective, the time to embrace inbound marketing is now. Cold calling, e-mail blasts, and direct mail are turning consumers off to an ever-greater extent, so consumers are increasingly doing research online to choose companies and products that meet their needs. Inbound Marketing recognizes these behavioral changes as opportunities allowing marketers can make the most of this shift online. This not only addresses turning strangers into website visitors, but explains how best to convert those visitors to leads, and to nurture those leads to the point of becoming delighted customers.

Gain the insight that can increase marketing value with topics like:

  • Inbound marketing – strategy, reputation, and tracking progress
  • Visibility – getting found, and why content matters
  • Converting customers – turning prospects into leads and leads into customers
  • Better decisions – picking people, agencies, and campaigns

There are essential tools and resources that help build an effective marketing strategy, and tips for organizations of all sizes looking to build a reputation. When consumer behaviors change, marketing must change with them. With Inbound Marketing, you learn about attracting, engaging, and delighting customers online.

Chuck Reynols
Contributer.

 

 

Inbound vs. Outbound: Why is inbound marketing better than outbound marketing?

As CEO of a digital marketing agency and inbound marketing convert, I’m always talking about the differences between inbound marketing vs. outbound marketing, or, more to the point, “Why inbound marketing is better than outbound marketing?” In case you can’t tell from the header graphic, I’m more partial to the complexities of inbound marketing than the simplicity of outbound marketing. But seriously, I’m pretty sure people keep asking this question because the same answer seems to be given no matter whose blog you read. It’s as if someone (Hubspot and Pardot) wrote a canned answer and it’s being regurgitated without real life experiences and insights into the actual evolution of inbound marketing.

The canned answer usually goes something like this:

Why try to buy customers with traditional “outbound marketing” when consumers aren’t even paying attention?

  • 45% of direct mail never gets opened, 200 million people are on the national Do Not Call Registry
  • 85% of people fast forward through commercials
  • 84% of 25­–35 year-olds are likely to click off a website with excessive advertising
  • You have a better chance of surviving an airplane accident than having someone convert on a banner ad
    Etc., etc., etc. …

Forget about trying to reach a prospect under 40 with outbound marketing. Inbound marketing is different. Inbound marketing works by earning someone’s attention, rather than buying it.

It’s a good enough answer with compelling supporting statistics, but there’s more to inbound marketing than this. In this post I’m going to give you my insights. I’m not just going to harp on how outbound is reaching increasingly diminished audiences and how inbound is more engaging and more accessible — although both statements are very true.

I’m going to speak from experiences that are real. And in the spirit of full disclosure: Vital is a Hubspot Partner Agency, so I could simply repurpose Hubspot’s experiences and playbook like most partner agencies. But we also consider ourselves a Moz shop, with a Moz Pro account, and we develop using the WordPress CMS with the Yoast SEO plug-in (not the Hubspot COS), which means we have some independent experiences and additional tools that frame our perspective.

No experience is more relevant to that perspective than our own inbound transformation. Over the past three years we went from referring to ourselves as a creative agency (web design, SEO and branding) to wholeheartedly embracing the moniker “inbound marketing agency.” But we weren’t sold inbound — we experienced it. We are our own best inbound marketing case study. In an industry many say is difficult to scale, Vital has experienced 300% growth in revenue and 300% growth in employees, all of which is solely attributed to our inbound and content marketing strategies.

First, let’s define inbound marketing vs. outbound marketing, keeping in mind two aspects of marketing strategies: distribution and message.

Inbound vs. Outbound marketing strategy infographic

Inbound marketing — if Hubspot didn’t coin “inbound marketing,” they have certainly spent a lot of time and money branding it as their own. Here’s how they define it: “Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be. By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time.” This is a decent definition, if somewhat oversimplified.

The term “inbound” is relatively new. It took Vital a while to embrace the term “inbound” to describe what we were doing with our clients. In the beginning we referred to it as “SEO” and “content marketing,” and although we weren’t a Hubspot partner agency, we were reading their content. We knew a term was needed for the paradigm shift we were seeing in online marketing, because SEO had fundamentally changed and digital marketing was becoming increasingly more disparate from traditional marketing. Digital distribution made analysis highly measurable and results-oriented, showing that inbound marketing was exponentially more successful than outbound marketing, when done correctly.

It’s not just that traditional distribution was so different from digital distribution; the message was changing, too. And the more we were learning about the message, the better the results we were getting. The terms “digital marketing” or “traditional marketing” only spoke to the distribution aspect of the message, and “inbound marketing” included the new message itself. This new message was educational, it involved thought leadership, and was transparent and engaging. So, in the absence of anything better, we drank a little of the Hubspot Kool-Aid and gave in — today we call it inbound marketing, too. But there’s more to inbound marketing than the statistics on the dwindling audience of outbound and the engaged and accessible audience of inbound.

Outbound marketing is inherently obfuscated, duplicitous and full of shit.

Jeff Rosenblum Questus Inbound vs Outbound

Outbound marketing, or traditional marketing, is the marketing we grew up with: radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, direct-mail, billboards, event sponsorships, etc. The traditional outbound strategy can even be found in such digital distribution forms as email blasts, banner ads, PPC, and SPAM. But the defining qualities of outbound marketing is message. Outbound marketing’s message, as eloquently stated by Jeff Rosenblum of Questus, “is inherently obfuscated, duplicitous and full of shit” (check out his keynote speech “Can marketing save the world?” at Hubspot’s Inbound ’13).

Outbound is a world of jargon where the loudest and most obnoxious are rewarded. Back in the day, clever was rewarded, but due to the escalating costs and increased competition to reach dwindling audiences, marketers have had to dumb things down to the lowest common denominator to maximize their conversions. So we are left with advertisements that use fluorescent pink, bold print, BIG discounts, exploited women and puppy dogs. How dumb do they think we are? No wonder a paradigm shift in advertising had to take place.

Now that we have defined inbound marketing vs. outbound marketing, here are some of the comparisons we like to use at Vital:

Interruption-based vs. Permission-based

best inbound marketing Interruption vs permission based

Outbound Marketing: Outbound marketing is interruption-based marketing. Its premise is to find a medium with a large following and periodically interrupt that following with disassociated ads. The hope is that with some careful planning and a study of the demographics, a small percentage of the audience will listen to the interruption in the storyline and convert in to a customer. If you can find a large enough following or an above average association, the small percentage of conversions will be worth the investment. Those opportunities are increasingly more like a needle in a haystack.

Examples: TV, Radio, Direct Mail, Newspaper, Billboards.

Inbound Marketing: Inbound marketing is permission-based marketing. There are two premises here:

  • First, communicate via mediums in which the audience has given you permission to communicate.
  • Second, answer the questions people are asking and proliferate those answers around the web in anticipation of the question.

Both of these premises are permission-based.

In the first method, the audience is smaller in numbers than mass media, but because the audience is inherently more friendly and has already raised their hand to get your messages, the audience coverts at a 750% higher rate than interruption-based marketing.

Examples: subscription based email marketing, social media, blog subscribers, webinar attendees, etc.

In the second method, the numbers are virtually limitless, since your audience online is infinite. Thanks to targeting keywords, you can answer the questions prospects might be asking about your products and your industry. Since this audience is looking for the answers that you are proliferating throughout the web, the conversion rates are unparalleled.

Examples: SEO, keyword targeting, landing page strategy, content/blog strategy, etc.

An example of permission-based marketing that will put inbound into context is the Yellow Pages. Before websites, subscription-based email and blog subscriptions, the Yellow Pages was one of the few places you could advertise where prospects were actually looking for you and you weren’t interrupting them. Yellow Pages was so successful that companies would name themselves AAA or ABC to be at the top of the listings. In 2001, Vital had a $10,000 a month Yellow Pages marketing budget, buying enhanced listings (bold) and an ad in every book from Boston, MA to Portland, ME.  Why? Because it worked, and there was an undoubted ROI.

– See more at: https://vtldesign.com/inbound-marketing/inbound-marketing-vs-outbound-marketing/#sthash.BienW617.dpuf

Inbound Marketing: How to Connect with Millennials

Inbound Marketing: How to Connect with Millennials

“So, Content is King but, millennials demand superior content quality for their money” …. Vaurn James

So, do you smell the money and if not then, your olfactory senses require immediate medical intervention because “there are currently 80 million millennials in the U.S., and with an annual buying power of 200 billion, they are the most lucrative segment of the us market”.  Clearly, it’s in the interest of both marketers and corporations to better understand this audience so as to provide them value rich content, while addressing their interests, needs, wants and problems for this segment of the population between 18-34 years old.  So, how do you go about understanding the behavior of Generation Y in the digital age and build a trusting relationship where commerce results in a WIN-WIN for all involved?  Truth be told, I had no bloody idea and that’s why I deferred to Google, Hubspot, Markethive, life experience, millennials, marketers and pure guesswork.  It’s like being a parent but, you still don’t understand the kid because your knowledge and experience are both inadequate so you seek help.  Hence, I sought professional expertise in the arena of what is called Inbound Marketing to millennials and learned much about this new generation of consumers.  To connect involves understand how they behave and think.   

According to the experts creating a Buyer Persona is the best approach to connecting with this desired target market.  Now, a buyer persona is a multi-dimensional profile that identifies the way your ideal consumer thinks, feels, motivations and problems, that you will resolve by providing a solution.  Remember, “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them…Albert Einstein”.  The more detailed the profile the greater the odds of success increases.  Think of today’s inbound marketing specialists as behavioral analysts or more commonly known as profilers who analyze significant sums of data detailing past sales patterns and contact databases (surveys, interviews, etc) to uncover trends about how certain leads or customers find and consume your content.  It’s all psychology; therefore, to better influence anyone then, it starts with understanding their behavior through how they think.  Without a doubt critical thinking, research and posing the right questions are key factors in the assessment process that helps create an evaluation narrative of your ideal buyer persona. 

This is especially true when dealing with millennials because they are highly educated but, also technologically dependent and use social media as a daily interface with other millennials to interact with each other, while developing their own individual identity through the use of technology.  Today’s corporations still continue to struggle to connect with flavor of the month demographic because they are very frugal and skeptical because of how business is conducted in such a mercenary manner.  In today’s economy millennials have little expectation of long-term employment with the same company; hence, they have no loyalty to brands that have not been approved by fellow millennials which creates the challenge of gaining them as long-term customers.  As a growing and powerful segment of the economy millennials demand what they want and can leverage by using the digital tools that have become part of their daily routine.    

Now, interruption or outbound marketing tactics appear to be no longer effective because the approach isn’t permission based.  Traditionally, marketing involved the following methods: buying TV ads, flyers, popup ads, radio ads, mass emails and other intrusive methods that try to interrupt an individual’s daily routine to buy.  Clearly, a permission-based method of marketing where attention of your audience is earned increases the chances of successful sale.  Since, millennials were raised in the digital-age with new technology available to them and increasing in sophistication their attention is often restricted to products and services that they and peers identify with.  Old school marketing tactics are less effective and this is why inbound marketing that focuses on the interests of their audience functions as superior approach in developing a long-term trusting relationship.  Nobody will buy if, they don’t trust you nor your company.

So, are you engaging in direct advertising or educational marketing where an informed decision can be made regarding potential purchase?  If, it’s the former then, your content is wasted because purchases in today’s economy often go through a vetting process by consumers via YouTube, blogs, snapchat and other social media devices where people express their likes or dislikes of a product.  Want people back at your website for purchase then, content must show the benefits; otherwise, the miserly millennials will keep their shekels in their pouch.  

“In a nutshell, inbound marketing is about making meaningful relationships with consumers via the internet, primarily through content. It’s about creating and sharing content that your audience seeks. It’s about positioning your brand as a thought leader that can be trusted”.  “In addition, inbound marketing will help you to create opportunities for participation and interaction—through likes, comments, and shares, your audience can better connect with your brand on social media, through your blog, and through other means”. 

Vaurn James

Contributor

 

SEO Tips for Bloggers

SEO Tips for Bloggers

All serious bloggers are interested in building a large community of enthusiastic readers, and this is why SEO is so critical to your success. Without good search visibility, people who are interested in your content, but don’t know you, may never find you.

SEO best practices are primarily driven by Google, and change frequently. This post, which lays out 50 important SEO tips for bloggers, features a lot of links to Google instructional pages. These Google links will enable you to bypass outdated or incorrect SEO advice that unfortunately permeates the web.

Besides being ever changing, SEO is complicated and technical. These 50 tips, while important, just scratch the surface. What tips can you add to the list? 

SEO Strategy

The following five points offer some big picture guidance for your SEO activities. Perhaps a sixth point would be, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Great SEO requires balance: pay equal attention to onsite and offsite optimization opportunities.

  1. Content quality is your primary onsite SEO consideration.
  2. For keywords, user intent is a major consideration, since the most valuable traffic to your site comes from users who are interested in doing business.
  3. Think visibility rather than rankings, because rankings vary from user to user, and users look for search results based on content type (images, news, etc.).
  4. A steady increase in organic search traffic growth is usually the best indicator of strong SEO.
  5. For link building, quality is more important than quantity.

Blog Post Setup

Your blog posts not only have to interest human readers – they also need to be constructed so that Google can find them, read them and appropriately display them in search results. Even brilliant content must be optimized in order to find its largest potential audience.

  1. The post URL should default to display the post title.
  2. The post title (H1 tag) should default to be the post Meta title tag.
  3. The post title should include keywords, preferably at the beginning of the title.
  4. Post titles should always be unique and relevant to the content.
  5. WordPress users should use the Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin or the  All in One SEO Pack.
  6. Always write a unique and catchy Meta description tag, with a call to action if applicable, for your post, as it will attract more click-throughs.
  7. Read this page from Google with extreme care for a foundational working knowledge of key SEO content considerations.
  8. Include prominent social media share buttons in the post template, as social shares are correlated to rankings.

Site Structure

Many blog themes from WordPress and other CMS platforms are SEO-friendly right out of the boxbut how you set them up, modify them and maintain them makes a big difference in Google’s ability to find and rank your blog’s content.

  1. Avoid long blogrolls on the sidebar, because site-wide outbound links can reduce rankings.
  2. Do not participate in link exchange programs.
  3. Internally link relevant posts on your blog, but do it selectively.
  4. Avoid keyword-optimized anchor text for outbound links unless they are extremely relevant and flow naturally within the narrative.
  5. Use Google Webmaster Tools to identify and fix broken links and other SEO-unfriendly site issues.
  6. Have your own domain.
  7. Have all versions of your blog resolve to the www.domain version.
  8. Use Custom robots.txt to prevent Google from crawling pages you don’t want indexed, such as off-theme content.
  9. Improve page loading speed by upgrading hosting, clearing your cache, compressing images and other techniques.

Content Composition

Going back five years or so, SEO copywriting involved a lot of precise rules about how and where to display keywords in a blog post. Today, Google is smart enough to interpret a post’s theme and relevance without strict adherence to these rules – which is great news for bloggers who want to focus on human readers!

  1. Original content generally outranks duplicate content by a wide margin.
  2. Don’t overuse keywords in post text.
  3. Keywords in subheads, italics, bold or within ordered and unordered lists have slightly more power than keywords in plain text.
  4. Word counts aren’t as important as they used to be, but all other things being equal, longer posts rank better than shorter posts.
  5. Your first SEO priority is to write useful, relevant and authoritative content for human readers, because that is what Google is looking for.
  6. To develop new post topics and SEO opportunities, review analytics regularly to identify popular new keywords and strategic long tail keywords.

Onsite Images And Video

Image and video search are segmented search options on Google that can attract a tremendous amount of traffic. If you are in a visual business, such as graphic design, or any type of business where customers may want to view images or video of what you do, then image and video optimization are essential.

  1. Use relevant keywords in your image’s file name.
  2. Write descriptive alt text for images in plain sentence format.
  3. Write useful and interesting image captions, because they keep visitors on your page longer.
  4. Follow Google Webmaster image publishing guidelines.
  5. Follow Google Webmaster video best practices.

Google Authorship

Traditionally, Google primarily associates content with the site on which it is published. Google Authorship is a fairly new program that associates content with its author. In time, we will probably see high authority authors outrank low authority authors, making it important for bloggers to start participating in Google Authorship program now.

  1. Actively participate on Google+ and in the Google Authorship program.
  2. Since original content is immediately indexed and ranked on Google, write original, useful and keywordrich content on your Google+ posts.
  3. Link your Google+ profile to all blogs and sites you write for following these instructions.
  4. Whenever possible, link your guest authors’ Google+ profiles to your blog.
  5. Use an appealing Google+ headshot, as it will be displayed in Google search results.

Offsite Activities

When your blog is linked to from high quality, relevant sites, it tells Google your blog’s content is authoritative, meaningful, useful and interesting. Establishing and maintaining a solid link profile is probably the single most important SEO activity you can engage in.

  1. Guest blog on relevant and authoritative blogs to build inbound links.
  2. Invite relevant and authoritative bloggers to guest post on your blog, to build social shares and traffic.
  3. Be ultra-selective in pursuing directory listings, as they are generally not an effective way to build inbound links.
  4. Avoid building links by publishing content on article banks.
  5. Avoid building links by publishing non-newsworthy press releases.
  6. Review your link profile, removing bad links, fixing broken links and updating good links to conform to best practices.
  7. Optimize your YouTube channel and videos by following these instructions.

SEO Agency Red Flags

Many bloggers partner with SEO agencies or freelancers in order to cover all of the bases noted above. There are a lot of tremendously talented people to choose from – but there are also some that bloggers would be wise to avoid.

  1. Avoid agencies that promise #1 rankings or tons of free links.
  2. Avoid agencies that don’t have a documented, transparent description of their methodology.
  3. Avoid agencies that don’t provide detailed reports of activity and/or results.
  4. Avoid agencies that won’t provide client referrals.
  5. Avoid agencies that speak in an overly technical way or have other communication shortcomings.

That was a lot to digest, but when it comes to SEO, it’s still just an appetizer. What SEO tips can you share?

Guest author: Brad Shorr is Director of B2B Marketing for Straight North, an Internet marketing agency headquartered in Chicago. He is an experienced content strategist, respected blogger, and SEO copywriter. Connect with him on Twitter @bradshorr.

The Ultimate Gift for Mom: Financial Freedom via Inbound Marketing

The Ultimate Gift for Mom: Financial Freedom via Inbound Marketing

Well, it's Mother's Day (okay, May 8, 2016) and time to honour the Old Girl, who gave birth to you and plays or played a pivotal role in your success or failure throughout life, just ask her.  Oh yes, your FATHER; likewise, deserves the same honour and respect on June 16th 2016, despite less media and corporate advertising on TV and Online.  Anyway, time to get down to business and demonstrate the ultimate act of L-O-V-E for one's parent.  Learn how to achieve and then, teach mum the fundamentals of financial freedom through Inbound Marketing. 

In fact, duplicate the process with other family members so it becomes a generational practice.  More importantly, you create the Ultimate Gift for Mom, that keeps on giving and giving.  It’s only fitting because she was your first teacher of Inbound Marketing.  Mum was an expert in Inbound Marketing?  Yes, she was because her task was about developing and training the “inner you” to become the best man/woman you could become, believe it or not. Additionally, she was your first teacher of Inbound Marketing because she did the following things in preparation of your arrival: researched, developed data, consulted with experts (grand mum), created strategies specific to the individual (yourself) and executed strategies to achieve a resolution to daily problems.  Should sound very familiar from both a marketing and mother perspective. Both give birth to their babies and responsible for their developmental growth which later impacts society.   

By now the symbiotic relationship between mum and Inbound Marketing should be clear, I hope. Now, let’s jump ahead in time and show the interconnectivity between technology, inbound marketing, mothers and their kids (Millennials).  So, with the massive acceleration in technological devices (computers, smartphones, IPads, Kindle, Mac Books, etc.,) and impact on social media, significant changes in societal behavioral conduct have occurred and businesses are scrambling to make appropriate adjustments to meet the needs of their consumer base.  Unfortunately, many businesses still engage in an old strategy called Outbound Marketing where companies (buy leads, pay for TV commercials, flyers, door-to-door salesman, etc.,) initiate contact by sending their messages to their desired target market.  Nothing wrong with traditional marketing (outbound marketing) if, the strategy generates new and consistent customers; however, consumer behavior has changed and attracting them requires a more individualized approach that earns their attention. It’s the intimate touch that’s so critical in today’s market (yeah, just like mum). 

Generally, Millennials (Generation Y or Net generation) are the target population most desired by most major corporations because they are some-what “fresh meat” with great potential purchasing power; however, they are also, very entitled and opinionated in their beliefs which have impacted corporate culture, media and certain parts of society when dealing with various social issues (equal pay, abortion, war, etc.,).  Being in a westernized capitalist society when money is involved or potential to generate massive revenue then, positions quickly change at least publicly because business is business.  So, mum’s little millennials are impacting the society and possibly the World be it good or bad.  So, she should be rewarded for her dedication.

Now, the research suggests that rearing a child from birth into adulthood (18-years old) costs approximately $250,000 dollars and the cost continues to increase yearly.  Yes, you are worth it but, what about Dear Old Mom?  She and the Old Man could use that money for their retirement.

How about offering Mom the ultimate Mother's Day gift and I don't mean a card with chocolates and roses.  No, give her the means to retrieve the investment cost of rearing YOU and your siblings.  Give Mom and Father (don't forget him) access to the essential Tools, Training, Traffic and Resources needed to generate, Consistent, Predictable and Long-term Residual Income in the Information/Computer and Social Media global economy.  Start on May 12th 2016 or sooner.

Oh yes, since Father's Day is shortly after Mother's Day give the Old Man an early bird special.   Since he already “Tied The Noose” it's best he has a backup plan in the event of divorce, which is likely in today's reality.

Behind every great man is a man greater, his father.” 
― Habeeb Akande

Vaurn James

Contributor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Tips For An Authentic And Productive Writing Process

7 Tips For An Authentic And Productive
Writing Process

 

Richard Tipsword, Contributor

 

Does this sound familiar?

You’re sitting in front of your laptop, staring at a blank screen.

The deadline for the article you need to write is approaching, and you’re struggling to get started when you should be in the final editing stages.

As you sit there trying to put your expertise in writing, a strange insecurity creeps up your spine. You see yourself changing before your own eyes, transforming from a confident expert into a self-conscious amateur.

It’s your own Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde transformation experience.

I’ve been there.

I used to hate writing

Well, actually, it was more like loathing than hating.

Anytime I needed to write anything I’d procrastinate, pretending that avoiding the project would make it go away. Needless to say, the procrastination led to a flurry of rushed writing at the last minute to meet my deadlines, resulting in less than my best work.

But my real problem wasn’t the act of writing. It was fear. Fear of making mistakes, fear that what I wrote would sound stupid, fear that my writing wouldn’t make sense to the reader, etc.

My insecurities were turning me into a monster

So there I was, a guy with more than 15 years of experience, who has won some awards and is even a judge for three international design competitions, worried about sounding stupid.

It sounds ridiculous, but my fear of screwing up made writing a miserable experience for me.

I even used to try to compensate for my fears. I’d use stiff, formal sentences and large, important-sounding words to try to “prove” I knew what I was talking about. Unfortunately, all that did was make me sound like a pretentious jerk.

It was like I was changing from Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde anytime I had to write something.

Then one sentence from my college professor changed everything

I had a job that offered tuition reimbursement benefits, so I decided to take some college classes. One of my classes was a composition class, and the professor gave me the best writing advice I’d ever heard.

“Write the way you talk.”

Wait. What?

It can’t be that easy! Seriously? What a liberating idea! That one piece of advice helped me break free of my fears and relaxed my writing style. No more procrastination. No more using large, unnecessary words to try and impress the reader. I could just relax, be myself, and write.

Now before you get the wrong impression, let me explain something: writing the way you talk does not give you permission to write poorly, or to publish content that sucks.

What it does is help break down the mental barriers of fear and procrastination that keep you from being a more engaging, and more productive writer.

Here’s how to use “write the way you talk” to squash your insecurities and avoid sounding like a pompous idiot:

1. Imagine yourself having a chat with a trusted friend

Good writing is like a conversation between the writer and the reader. So when you’re writing, think about how you would explain your topic to a close friend who was sitting next to you.

If you were having a conversation with that person, what words would you use? What would you talk about first? What examples would you give to help them understand your topic? What questions might they ask?

Approaching your writing this way will help you write copy that’s more informal and conversational in tone, that better engages your audience. As it happens, it’s also the best way to write sales copy.

2. Record yourself talking about your topic.

Not sure what you sound like in a conversation? Try recording yourself talking about your topic.

This is especially helpful for people who have clients they talk to on the phone regularly. The next time you’re explaining something to a client on the phone, record the call and listen to it later (Be sure to check the laws in your state first. Some states require you get the other party’s permission before you record). The easiest way to do this is with one of the many available plugins for Skype that do call recording.

3. Take a deep breath, relax, and just be yourself

By writing the way you talk, you can’t help injecting a little of your personality into what you write. After all, you’ll be writing in your own voice, using plain English everyone can understand, and a tone that makes you seem more human than textbook.

Combine that with a few relevant, well-placed personal stories and you have the makings of some irresistible content.

4. Use the same words that you do in your everyday life.

If you write the way you talk, you’ll be more inclined to use common, everyday words that you would normally use in conversation.

This prevents you from sounding like Captain Jack Sparrow using (in my best Johnny Depp impersonation) obtuse and generally confounding speech that makes your readers wish they were drinking rum.

So keep your writing simple and clear without artificially inflated language. A good rule of thumb is: if the average person would need a dictionary to know what your word means, then you need a different word.

5. Toss out the rule book and just start writing

If all the rules about grammar, writing styles, active versus passive voice, and punctuation are adding to your insecurities about writing, toss out the “rule book” for awhile and just write.

Focus on getting the main points of your idea down in your first draft, and don’t worry about anything else.

Once you’ve done that, you can go back and edit the heck out of what you wrote.

Do you notice any obvious errors? Is there anything that could be rearranged to bring more clarity to what you wrote? If so, now’s the time to fix it along with any grammatical, spelling, or other writing problems.

After you’ve made those corrections, leave the article to sit overnight and look at it again in the morning with fresh eyes. Is there anything you can do to make it even better?

6. Enlist the help of a close friend to keep you honest

Want to make sure that what you write actually sounds like you and not someone else?

Enlist the help of a close friend. Have them read what you write, and tell you if it sounds like someone else wrote it. This will help keep you true to yourself, and will force you to be authentic with your writing.

7. Read what you write out loud

One of the first editing tests I put my writing through is reading it out loud. Doing that makes awkward sentences and bad punctuation become obvious, because as you read, you’ll naturally “stumble” over the parts that need to be fixed.

So as you read your writing aloud, pay attention to those places that tend to trip you up — they may need some additional work.

The moral of the story

Get over the fears of messing up or sounding stupid. Just write the way you talk and you’ll be able to knock out your first draft in no time.

If you’re willing to do that, you’ll find that you’ll dread writing a lot less and be able to get more writing done because you’re working on it instead of fearing it.

I’ve been using these tips to guide my writing for several years now, and today I got the best evidence yet that they work.

I was talking with one of my clients on the phone about blogging, and as we were discussing the content for her blog she told me, “Whenever I read something you wrote, you always sound like such an expert. Like you really know what you’re talking about. ”

Need I say more?

So go ahead. Dive in. Who knows? You may even start to like writing.

Written by: Logan Zanelli

 

Many tips for finding customers in the Digital Marketing Field.

Many tips for finding customers in the Digital Marketing Field.

Ready to tap into the power of digital marketing to help your business succeed?

Check out this list of the top 10 digital marketing ideas from our FedEx Small Business Grant winners, including ideas for social media marketing, content marketing and more!  

Even better, not only are these digital marketing ideas easy to implement, they’re even easier for your business to afford.   

1: Run contests through social media
Nicole Snow is the owner of Darn Good Yarn, an online retailer of specialty yarns. She has achieved incredible success with social media marketing by allowing her social fans to pick the names of new yarn colors. The winner gets a free ball of yarn — and even better, bragging rights. Nicole claims that she’s able to track sales back to participants in the contest, sometimes even up to a year later.

Susan Buchanan, the owner of Humdinger Kettle Corn, a business that sells flavored popcorns, also asks users to provide feedback via social media and help her pick new flavors to develop. The advantages to her business go beyond fan participation — she’s also essentially getting free insight into what her customers are looking to buy. With that knowledge, she is better able to successfully roll out new product lines.

#2: Create a YouTube channel
YouTube allows just about anyone to set up an account, brand it with their business identity and post videos, all for free.

For a business like Catullo Prime Meats, a YouTube channel was a pretty logical fit.  Danny Catullo, the owner and operator of this specialty butcher shop, uses the channel to offer his customers recipes, how-to-guides and other fun and useful stuff. He’s even created family videos and had the good fortune of having a turduken video turn into a viral video marketing star — resulting in a five-fold increase in sales one year.

#3: Tap into star power
When Patrick Whaley, the owner and founder of TITIN LLC, a creator and retailer of high-tech workout gear, wanted to grow his social media audience, he filmed videos featuring well-known athletes.

Because those stars had already built up their own social followings, TITIN essentially leveraged the popularity of their social media marketing and realized a massive spike in views on their YouTube page.

With some smart cross-promotional messaging, TITIN was able to turn YouTube views into visitors to their website and a corresponding increase in sales, making the digital marketing campaign an easy expense to justify.    

#4: Treat content like king
If you’re setting up a website for the first time, you obviously want it to look nice, perform well and be easy for customers to use. But don’t forget about your content marketing!

Content marketing essentially means creating content in order to acquire customers. In order to do that, Danny Catullo advises making sure that your website is built so that it’s easy for you, or someone on your staff, to add, delete and update content. Most modern websites are built on a content management system (CMS), which is essentially a publishing platform for your site.

If you’re paying a vendor to set up your site, make sure right from the start that you’ll have access to your CMS and discuss whether or not training is included in the project quote. If you’re setting it up yourself, consider open-source alternatives, like WordPress, which also has the advantage of being free. 

#5: Make your content useful 
While we’re on the subject of content marketing, here’s one of the best ways you can make content resonate with customers: make it helpful!

Think about who your customers are, what problem your business could potentially help them solve, and then create content that does that (being careful not to give away your goods or service for free, of course).

Examples of this type of content include blog posts, videos, a Pinterest page, Facebook posts and more. Catullo Prime Meats hosts a YouTube channel of how-to-guides, cooking tutorials and more. Darn Good Yarn posts recipes on their Facebook wall, gives remodeling advice through their Pinterest page, and connects with younger customers on Instagram.Remember, content doesn’t just refer to writing – it can be almost anything your customers might find useful!

#6: Use website analytics
One of the best things about digital marketing is that it’s so measurable. Not only can you track traffic to your website, but you can also learn where the traffic is coming from, what they do while on your site, how long they stay – and much more.

You can also use website analytics tracking tools to measure ad campaigns, efficiently buy ad placements and more. The advantage to you as a business owner is that you can measure the return on investment (ROI) of your site and marketing, use what you learn to enhance performance and make smart decisions about what to continue and what to drop.

Ari Hoffman, the owner and founder of GOBIE H20, a retailer of environmentally friendly water bottles, uses Google Analytics, which is widely considered to be the industry standard. He’s such a big believer, in fact, that he advises other business owners to use it “like it’s part of your life!”

#7: Tap into online local search 
If your business relies on local customers, online local search could be a game changer — and compared to targeted media like TV, radio or billboards, it can be relatively cost-effective.  

Online local search marketing basically means ensuring your business is included in search engine results for your geographic area. For example, if you own a carpet cleaning business in Phoenix, you ideally want your business to come up when someone types “Carpet cleaners in Phoenix” into Google. Anyone performing that kind of search could be likely to be a potential customer, so it makes sense to have your business represented.

There are 2 basic ways to do that: 

  • Local search engine optimization (SEO), which involves creating content on your site so that it targets those keywords.
  • Local search engine marketing (SEM), which means buying keywords from search engines like Google or Bing.

Both ideas have been used successfully by the 2013 FedEx Small Business Grant winners. Danny Catullo attributes about 60% of his local business to a combination of SEO & SEM, while Ari Hoffman has used SEM to great success.

#8: Don’t take "No" for an answer
When Patrick Whaley of TITIN started his digital marketing efforts, his first strategy was to target a broad audience. Using what he learned, he was able to gain invaluable marketing intelligence, identify consumer trends, learn buying patterns and discover what it took to convert a variety of different demographics into customers.

“If you limit your sales at the start, you will never know how large your market potential really is,” Patrick said. “ I would encourage every company to try to sell to everyone they meet.  Don't be afraid to fail and don’t tolerate someone telling you ‘No.’ You will be shocked at how many new markets can be realized if you don't allow fear to hold you back.”

#9: Digital is bigger than your website
If you’ve just started your digital marketing, or even if you’re getting ready to revamp your existing efforts, there’s a natural tendency to want to go for broke with your business’s website.

But you should be careful about putting all your digital eggs in one online basket, according to Danny Catullo. Instead of spending a fortune on a flashy site, he used Shopify, a turnkey e-commerce solution, to get up and running. By paying small monthly fees, he was able to launch quickly, without a huge initial investment, and he even gets ongoing support.  

Plus, small businesses need to plan for the long term, says Ari Hoffman. Even the slickest website in the world won’t do your business much good if it can’t adapt and evolve. He advises setting aside 15% of your initial investment for future modifications.

#10: Star in your own show!
Last but definitely not least, Nicole Snow was able to turn a little bit of technological savvy into a huge marketing asset with a show on Google+.

‘Darn Good Yarn Live airs Thursday nights on Google+, and attracts an audience of die-hard fans who often become some of Nicole’s best customers. Plus, Nicole feels that the connections she creates with the public helps build a unique differentiation point from the competition – it literally helps her stand out in a “sea of yarn stores.”

With tools like Google+ and Vine from Twitter, your business can essentially host your own TV channel for free. So if you’ve got some creative ideas to share, fame (and fortune) could be just a few clicks away!

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

Millionaire Mindset: The Way You Think, Wealth or Poverty.

Millionaire Mindset: The Way You Think, Wealth or Poverty.

“Today, you have the opportunity to transcend from a disempowered mindset of existence to an empowered reality of purpose-driven living. Today is a new day that has been handed to you for shaping. You have the tools, now get out there and create a masterpiece.”
― Steve Maraboli, The Power of One

Being a successful entrepreneur is one of your goals; however, before it can be achieved belief in your success begins 6-inches between your ears; otherwise, a few defeats will yield a self-defeating mentality and confirm your inevitable arrival in the MLM Cemetery.  In essence, “The Way You Think” is critical to your ability to generate consistent, predictable and long-term residual income.  More Importantly, your mindset is core to the life you ultimately build and this means no excuses because the outcome is put squarely in your hands so, what do you do now?

Now, winners who think positively and achieve their goals, possess or develop what is commonly known as a Champion or Millionaire Mindset.  Now what role does a Millionaire Mindset play in entrepreneurship, business, home business or life?  Millionaire Mindset is “a way of thinking and acting that invites and maintains an overflow of abundance; a special way of relating to money in a way that attracts it to you”.  I highly recommend the book, Money Is My Friend by Phil Laut.  Yes, people obsess about money but, it’s only a tool and it’s about thought.  So, how does one develop a Millionaire Mindset?  SOLUTION is quite simple and that involves

being trained by a multi-millionaire, who believes in success development.  Okay, don’t have access to your local multi-millionaire then, follow a skill-model who has proven or demonstrated daily habits he/she are on the road to prosperity.  When you think like a winner and execute habits that ensure future success then, the outcome is predictable because you think the way you feel.  So, it’s safe to say, that entrepreneurs and/or successful businessmen like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and countless others don’t embrace self-limiting belief practices nor engage in conduct that would reinforce a destructive mindset that is repeated by the working poor and middle-class on a daily basis (consistently having more bills at the end of the month than money or living pay cheque to pay cheque).  When you set limits to your potential then, “you’re just another ham and egger”…..Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. 

Millionaire Mindset is critical not just to the average Joe and Jane but, especially to business as indicated by the 50% failure rate within the first 5-years of existence.  Believe it or not many CEO’s contribute to the failure of their company due to their resistance to better innovation processes that would enhance the production, efficiency and quality, while driving down costs of a product or service.  Seems anti-capitalist but, this is certainly true in technology/Internet based companies.  Unfortunately, political correctness or just plain FEAR has negatively impacted the greater society and businesses/entrepreneurs are not exempt.  It seems Economic Darwinism will identify the winners and losers in the greatest sport in the World known as business.  Those who make the necessary adjustment in relations to changing market conditions (Inbound Marketing) and more importantly, satisfying their customers increase their odds of success, while those entrenched in old methods of production (Outbound Marketing) despite a changing market and fail to listen will eventually, become another stat.  Keep an open mind or suffer the consequences.               

As consumers become more sophisticated business owners have become or forced to recognise they must cater to the interests of their target market.  This is why Inbound Marketing is rapidly becoming the norm because it’s about connecting with the internal needs of the customer by bringing value and earning the right to occupy their time.  So, are you embracing and internalising inbound marketing in your daily interactions or you more the outbound marketer where it’s more superficial and no real work on the inside?  This question is critical because it circle backs to the way wealthy people think versus those who are working-poor or middle class.  Want real success in anything then, it starts working on the internal you and this is why Inbound Marketing must become your standard method of thinking and execution in business.  Below, I have provided a few examples of how the wealthy are Inbound Thinkers and the related benefits.     

       

The Millionaire Mindset: 6 Mistakes The Rich Never Make:

  • It’s a Matter of Control, "The primary difference between the wealthy and the rest of us is that they're in control of their money — they don't let money control them," says Jaime Tardy, a business coach and author of "The Eventual Millionaire," who has interviewed more than 150 millionaires on how they accumulated their wealth.  “If you approach your finances from a place of fear or ignorance, you'll be like a boat floating around the ocean without a motor."
  • You Refuse to Face Facts, in the immortal words of Foghorn-Leghorn, “figures, don’t lie” and the wealthy know this as gospel, which explains why they invest the time in learning and scrutinizing their financial portfolio.  The attitude is that every financial transaction needs to be recorded and determined by its financial implication.

    You Overspend, credit card debt epitomizes the bad habit of over spending on products/services you cannot afford.  "Millionaires aren't out there buying Lamborghinis," Tardy says. "They make purchasing decisions based on their current financial status and their goals. They're rich because they're good at keeping money – not spending it.

    You Neglect to Adjust Your Finances Following a Big Life Event, when you tie the noose (get married) or suffer the death of a parent then, your finances will be impacted.  "Successful people understand that every transition you go through has a financial implication – and they make sure to build a plan for those turning points," says Pete Bush, a certified financial planner with Horizon Wealth Management in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

    You Waste Cash on Fees, late fees, service fees and miscellaneous costs that can be avoided if, you are diligent in maintaining your bills. 

    You Focus on Saving More — But Not Earning More, Millionaires aren't in the business of wasting money, but they also recognize the greater importance of earning additional income as a way to attain financial goals faster. "[Wealthy people] understand that while there is a limit on how much you can save, there is no limit to how much you can make," Tardy says.          

    You Obsess Over Price- — and Sacrifice Value, "Wealthy people understand that the cheapest route isn't always the most valuable," Bush says. "They are able to take the long view and consider how what they pay today compares with the worth over time."

    I invite you to examine our information.  After all, true Economic Independence begins with a MINDSET that embraces and most importantly, believes in Personal Development and avoids Governmental Dependence because it OFTEN limits Growth.

    Vaurn James

    Contributor

     

     

41 Tips that Get Over 10,000 People to your Email Sub List

41 Tips that Get Over 10,000 People to your Email Sub List

 

Of course, not everyone struggles to reach these different stages.  Some people skyrocket to success in a few weeks, other people do well with traffic levels but not with your mailing list.

This particular blog has well over 10,000 people on the mailing list and gets a few thousand visitors per day.

In this post I’m going to show you a few really cool lessons I’ve learned while building it up to this level – a level that I think it genuinely attainable by any blog.

Let’s do it.

 

How to get to that magic 10,000 email subscribers mark

As always, I’ve probably forgot a lot of really cool things.

1. You need a strategy

Without an overarching strategy you are just blogging blindly. I spend a lot of time working on my blogging strategy because it gives me a laser-focus for what I want to achieve in the short and long term – and I know exactly what outcome I want from every article that I write. If you want more email subscribers you need to make it part of your strategy.

2. Your traffic sources matter

Some niches prefer Google traffic, others prefer referrals. Either way, you need to figure out which one works for you and go after it. Not all traffic is created equal. If you aren’t getting conversions it might be because of the places your visitors are coming from.

3. You need your own host

If your blog is on a free host with a free domain name you are shooting yourself in the foot from the start. It’s time to start a WordPress blog on your own host and make use of all the plugins and extra features that this allows you. Do it early, before it’s too hard to move.

4. A fast blog can make a huge difference

Speed matters not only for Google rankings but also for conversions. This study showed that for every second your blog takes to load you lose a massive amount of conversions. Figure out how to make your blog faster – it might mean a new host, a cache or some tricky coding fun.

5. Making friends will make or break you

The people that you connect with (both blog owners and readers) will make or break your blog. The more genuine connections you can make the more likely you are to grow a blog quickly as they help promote it and give you the right advice.

6. Free eBooks and courses still work well

Offering a free eBook to email subscribers still converts better than offering nothing. People are reading eBooks more than ever thanks to all our new portable devices. If you can give them something good you’ll make an instant impact.

7. You need to use Aweber or similar

Aweber is a service that hosts your email subscribers, lets you send them a free eBook after they subscribe, gives you access to a huge number of stats and also lets you design your own opt-in forms. It’s not hard to use and makes a huge difference to how a professional blog can function.

8. Costs add up

Website hosting, email subscriber hosting, advertising, purchasing images, etc. all adds up. A blog like this one costs around $300+ a month to keep online. Unless you are making a strategic income from it the costs can make it not worth while.

9. Your goals are important but can often change

It’s extremely important to have goals for your blog or website but it’s also important to make sure that they change if they need to. If something isn’t working and you’ve given it a lot of time and effort than it’s sometimes better to be strong and let it go and try something else.

10. You still have to sell the list

Just because you have a mailing list doesn’t mean that people will automatically subscribe. Don’t just stick a form in your sidebar and hope that people will give you their details – sell it. Mention it in posts, develop landing pages, talk about it in your guest posts. You need to let people know what’s going on.

11. Split testing can change your business

Glen wrote a really good post about split testing and how it can literally grow your conversions/income by 1000%+. You can split test your landing pages, your opt-in forms, your mail outs, etc. and see which versions works best. It’s easy to do nowadays so there really isn’t an excuse not to. Just make sure you’re testing things that matter and giving them enough time to show meaningful results.

12. Write on other blogs more than you write on your own

A lot of bloggers just write on their own blog and then wonder why no one is reading it. Well, it’s probably because no one knows it exists! Use guest posts as a starting point to get your name out there. Write more on other blogs than your own until you have a big reader base.

13. Text is great but other media is growing

Writing is, in my opinion, still the most powerful form of content on the net. People read a lot and not everyone can watch videos at work. But things like podcasts, videos, info graphics, etc. can play a huge role in getting you new and improved traffic.

14. SEO is dangerous

Relying on Google for anything is, as I’ve said before, a really stupid idea. They constantly change their algorithm and cause websites to go from fame to misfortune and visa versa. Play around with it and obviously try to do all the right things when it comes to blogging SEO and getting heaps of traffic but don’t ever rely on Google for your main source of income alone.

15. Advertising is a good idea

Dabbling in advertising can produce some really cool results. You don’t have to spend much. Try out Paid Discovery on StumbleUpon to give your posts a bit of a boost. There is nothing wrong with promoting your blog in this way.

16. Colors make a difference to conversions

Things as simple as colours can have a huge impact on how well your product or opt-in form convert. Again, you want to split test this stuff but I’ve noticed big changes in sign ups when switching my sidebar button from green to red and so on.

17. Social proof works in different ways

My friend wrote a really cool post on how different types of social proof can influence people in different ways. He explains it a lot better than I’m going to so have a read of the article and try to test whether social proof statements like subscriber counts are right for your blog.

18. Less is not always more

The idea that less is more is rarely true for a blog. You want more traffic, more subscribers, more sales. Of course, if the traffic isn’t any good it won’t make a difference, but try to to use ideas like “a small number of loyal subscribers” to stop you from growing a mailing list with a HUGE number of loyal subscribers.

19. Research is important

I spend a moderate amount of time researching keywords and competition before I write a blog post. It makes a huge difference about where I rank and how well the post is received. I show you my methods for this in Subscriber Special Ops – but until that opens up you might want to figure out your own ways to research before you write.

20. Pop ups work

I don’t care what anyone says.

😛

21. HelloBar is a great way to divert traffic

The bar at the top of this site is called HelloBar – a website/tool owned by Neil Patel that lets you put a message and a button up top and then split test two different versions. It’s a really cool way to divert traffic to a landing page or a mailing list sign up area. And it works really well.

22. Trying new things can inject a bit of magic

As I wrote in a recent post, sometimes you just need to do and try new things to see huge changes take place on your blog. You might not always know why it’s working but trying new things and failing is better than being stuck at a plateau for months on end.

23. Tracking and stats give you real insights in to what’s working

The statistics that you get in Aweber, Google Analytics and so on give you valuable insights into what is working. You can even use services like Crazy Egg to see where people are looking and clicking on your website. This stuff takes out a lot of guess work and lets you focus on real metrics.

24. You need to be different

Being different is the most important thing you can do online. Find a way to make your brand stand out from the crowd and then push that difference as often as possible.

25. What works on their blog might not work on yours

Sometimes I have “borrowed” ideas from my blogging icons after hearing how well it works for them only to find that it completely tanks for me. It’s a good lesson – what works for one blog doesn’t always work for another. And, yet again, this is why you need to split test different ideas and make sure what you think it the source of a success is actually the true source.

26. Find different reasons to mention your list

At the top of this post I mentioned that SSO was closed but that it would be open again soon and be announced to the mailing list. Moments like that are a very powerful way to get new email subscribers. Find different methods like that to work your mailing list in to your content and you’ll see new and curious subscribers on your mailing list.

27. Explain it in a really simple way

A lot of people who visit your blog will have absolutely no idea what a mailing list is or why they might want to give you, a total stranger, their personal email address. Spell it out for them very clearly, whenever you can.

28. The successful strategies change regularly

Something that I’m really only just learning is that successful strategies change regularly. I used to try to be really conservative with my online stuff because I was worried about compromising a “long term” blog for short term gain. But, what I’m seeing now, is that most of the successful people go after lots of little short term things and push them hard while they are working.

29. Don’t sell too early

Once you get to a certain level of subscribers it can be tempting to sell your blog/website and make a quick dollar (or 20,000). But what I sometimes regret is that I didn’t stick with that blog because I reckon it would probably be pulling in at least $100,000 a year by now. Just because you’ve reached one of those milestones, don’t sell up.

30. The homepage header works

You know those blogs that have the first half of their homepage devoted to an opt-in form? Those things work. I’ve heard of people who have them converting at 10% of all homepage traffic. You can get one of these added to your blog by a good designer and coder probably for a couple of hundred dollars.

31. Don’t forget mobile death windows

Not everyone can afford a beautiful responsive theme and some of us are too lazy to launch their beautiful responsive theme (guilty). But at least make sure your opt-in forms and pop ups work for mobile users. For example, if you use the lightbox version of the pop up you might find that people on iPhones have trouble closing the pop up and thus might exit your site without reading your content.

32. Target your offer in different segments

One thing you can do in AWeber is create different segments. So, you might have one landing page that lets people subscribe to your updates, another landing page that let’s people subscribe to updates only about “watermelons” and so on. By doing this you can target your offers and go after selective sources of traffic to ensure you’re really honing in on what people want.

33. Be consistent in your mail outs

One thing that I have learned the hard way is that inconsistency really gives subscribers the shits. If you tell them that they are going to get updates once a week don’t send them updates three times a week. You’ll lose them very quickly.

34. Email subscribers often hit “spam” first

Related to the last point, often you’ll find that an email subscriber will mark an aggressive or inconsistent email campaign as “spam” as opposed to just unsubscribing or deleting that particular email. Perhaps it makes them feel better but more likely it’s just easier to send it all into the spam folder dungeons.

35. Don’t be afraid to lose lots of subscribers

And now to throw a spanner in the works from the last three points – don’t worry about losing lots of subscribers. Every time we send out an email to the list we lose between 30 and 60 subscribers. That’s good. It means you’re getting rid of people who aren’t interested/aligned to your content.

36. What gets people to open an email might not get them to click through and buy

I ran an email campaign recently where I split test two different subject lines. The first email had an open rate of 41% and the second email had a dismal 26%. The funny thing was that the second email converted better than the first. I think this shows us two things: noise (attention grabbing tactics) doesn’t always lead to conversions, and that split testing is vital.

37. WWSGD?

There is a really cool plugin called WWSGD which stands for What Would Seth Godin Do that puts a little dialogue box at the top of your post and welcomes people based on cookies – new visitors get a message that old users don’t. But you can take this further. For example, if you came from Twitter you might get a message like “Hey there Twitter user! Check out our posts on getting the most out of Twitter”. These types of WordPress plugins are an amazing and easy way to attract more email subscribers by getting people deeper in to your content.

38. Tell me why I don’t like Mondays (but Sunday is okay…)

I’ve also found out that Monday is terrible for new posts, even though some people say it’s the best day. For me the best days are Tuesday and Wednesday but test for yourself.

39. Always be tired

Generally I find that the best traffic is around 9am East Coast time which tends to be around midnight in Australia – unless it’s daylight savings. Sure, I could set an automatic scheduler but I find that readers really love chatting to me in the comments section and if I’m in bed I get a lot less interaction. So – always be tired.

40. Redirect those comments

One of the coolest things I ever did on this blog (and one of the most popular and widely copied posts on my site) was redirecting comments to a “thank you” page using a simple plugin. As soon as someone leaves a comment for the first time they’ll get redirected to a little page that thanks them for their interaction and shows them the mailing list and some other cool content. It converts at around 7%.

41. Be genuine

Unless you can make all of this come together in a genuine way you’ll find that your readers will know. People are looking for a place/person to connect with – offer them genuine friendship through quality content and you’ll grow in leaps and bounds.

What has worked for you?

Growing an email list is one of the most important aspects of a successful blog. It is your mailing list that allows you to promote your content, sell products and launch new projects. So, what has worked for you? Leave a comment and let me know if I’ve missed anything obvious.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Markethive, The rise of the Entrepreneur

Basic Orientation and the Legacy Alpha Founder special.

How are these two related? Well, they are and they are not.  In the orientation as I take you through a new Markethive account, we cannot avoid the Alpha default promotion and subsequent video and disruptions. So let me digress:

As we discover how the system works, how we set up our picture, our profile page, videos, blogging etc and how all that is centralized via our profile page, it becomes important to understand the current Alpha program and how that effects a major benefit the profile page has.

The Alpha program makes the profile page into a powerful advertising platform that connects all subscription registrants into your field of children.

The children: We are using the term “Children” and “Parent” to illustrate the relationships you will build advanced towards becoming an Alpha Voyager up to Alpha Founder.

You the “parent” sponsor a new subscriber “child” via your Alpha-powered profile page. This relationship never breaks. The “child” can de-friend you, go their own way, join different groups than you, basically become lost to ever connecting with you again, or they can remain your friend, become a strategic partner in your agendas, campaigns and strategies and belong to the same groups you do, join your coop programs. Either way, as your “child” and as long as you are an active Alpha Leader, every purchase they make in Markethive (ads, boosts, calendar displays, Blog promotions, Alpha upgrades) pays you up to 50% of their purchase as a direct commission.

Markethive is built upon the foundation of a free social network empowered by the culture adhesiveness of entrepreneurs and a powerful platform of inbound marketing technology and an advanced broadcasting platform not found anywhere else. The platform itself is priceless and would cost over $3000 per month to acquire anything like it.

The orientation part of this video is produced so you understand the basic nature of Markethive, it’s platforms of incredible marketing power, the culture, your engagement within that culture and how your Profile page becomes a serious tool to build a powerful  sphere of influence, a lifelong network and a source of a long term sustainable living income.

And this is at the core of the building of Markethive. Building a social network of entrepreneurs, in a social network system easy to navigate, with a clear to follow program to engage and indoctrinate entrepreneurs into becoming Alpha Entrepreneurs, alpha like the lead Dog in a pack.

Alpha Entrepreneur:
a) ability to protect oneself (rarely senselessly endangering oneself)
b) leading others
c) being a successful speaker that can persuade people with logic
d) not being afraid of confrontations such as arguments
e) high social intelligence
f) very high work ethic and drive to succeed; a strong desire to produce, earn, and excel 
g) a strong desire to shape one's environment rather than be shaped by it.
h) being the exact opposite of a loser (one who justifies quitting and rejects personal responsibility)
 i) promoting survival and inspiring others with good ethics.

Legacy Alpha Founder (Alpha Legacy)

Originally launched as the first version of the affiliate program, the “Legacy” Alpha Founders was designed to raise money to fund the “pending” marketing campaign as 2015 came into play. However, events being as they were, the system was not ready to promote or capable of broadcasting and as of July 2015, new engineering was required and major changes have occurred.  I am pleased to announce Markethive has a brand new Chief Engineer, Stephen Hodgkiss. We have also moved to Amazon servers, have rebuilt 90% of the previous code, have all brand new mail servers which are 100% approved through Amazon which means email delivers over 90% of the recipients.

Which leads us to a whole new level of an affiliate plan called the BeTheAlpha affiliate program. This program has replaced and added a whole new level of titles, rewards and achievements, through single level multi rank; step by step process with a progressive path to achieve top ranks. Those titles and ranks are as follows:

  1. “Free Member” (this is the new signup that has just discovered MarketHive) and will be consistently navigated to the Alpha presentation page until action to join a level occurs
     
  2. Trail Blazer” is the first step of a series of growing your “business”, getting orientated with “Markethive” and customizing and configuring your “profile” page.  It is this step that prepares you to become a “parent” as well as understand the concept.
     
  3. Voyager” activates the “profile” page to start gathering the “children” It is at this option another tool appears (Invite Contacts) allowing the member to invite everyone from their Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, and Lycos accounts to the profile page. The system also begins orientation into advanced functions like the Blog Widgets, Plugins and Leads capture page widgets and broadcasting.
     
  4. Navigator” orientates and motivates to take leadership in organizing teams with Groups, Skype screen sharing and Web conference rooms. Also continues with tips and techniques using Markethive. This is the first level that also pays commissions from all the “children” the “parent” has gathered to date.
     
  5. Commander” almost doubles commissions and comes with greater advertising benefits. Also includes weekly seminars with CEO and other company “Founders” regarding the power of and vision of Markethive.
     
  6. Odyssey” like Commander gives a greater leverage in advertising advantages and greater commissions.
     
  7. Founder” is the top of the chain of command, advertising credits and commissions plus a profit pool.

Thus being the coming Alpha Affiliate Program in 2016

The new Alpha Founder position @ $5000.00 in the new affiliate program will offer the following:

  1. One time deposit of $10,000 in ad credits
  2. $200 per month ad credits for life
  3. 50% commissions on all financial transactions by your children
  4. 1 share of 5% of the company’s revenue pool shared with unlimited Founder members.

The current 2015 Alpha Founder, now referred as Alpha Legacy @ $1200.00 offers the following:

  1. One time deposit of $3000 in ad credits
  2. $200 per month ad credits for life
  3. 50% commissions on all financial transactions by your children
  4. 1 share of 5% of the company’s pool (limited to 250 shares; members)
  5. Share of new children (customers) from corporate marketing and advertising campaigns
     

Alpha Legacy Year End 50% off sale. There are a limited number left and we are selling the contracts for $600 each. You can use these contracts to apply the terms to any number of Markethive Accounts, yours or someone you transfer the contract to or sell it to.

Our goal is to raise $100,000 to further fund engineering, and empower you to become serious entrepreneurs.  We all own this thing together.

See you at the meetings

Chuck Reynolds
C
ontributor

 

Top 5 Most Effective Online Lead Generation Ideas According to Experts

Top 5 Most Effective Online Lead Generation Ideas According to Experts

lead generation

The 2014 Global Digital Statistics, Stats & Facts report indicate that there are approximately 2.5 billion people online. Just imagine tapping into this incredibly large market. Capturing merely a fraction of such a tremendous source of customers could lead to considerable profits for your brand, products or services.

global digital marketing snapshot 2014 

How can you tap into this very huge global market? The answer to that is Online Lead Generation. This is now the age where cold sales calling and elaborate sales team efforts are slowly ebbing away into the past. What business owners need now to tap into this bountiful market are effective digital marketing tools specifically designed for maximum lead generation results. There are many tools of these kinds available for businesses to use, however it would be best for business owners to select which lead generation technique will cater to their unique business needs and environment.

Digital Marketing Philippines takes you into this journey of exploring lead generation ideas that were specifically tested and proven to deliver results. These ideas were intended to guide you in making your ultimate goal of increasing sales and revenues through effective online lead generation techniques. In no particular order, here are the top 5 most effective online lead generation ideas as recommended by experts in the field of Digital and Internet Marketing.

The infographic (click to zoom):

Top 5 Most Effective Online Lead Generation Ideas According to Experts

 1. Online Lead Generation by Website Optimization

Your website and/or landing page lie at the central hub for conducting an online business and is where most of the sales transactions will like take action. The results of a LinkedIn B2B Technology Community survey conducted among more than 800 B2B marketers indicate that website optimization for better lead acquisition is among the top 3 effective lead generation ideas.

Experts from the Brainrider Knowledge Marketing Group showcase some websites that were already optimized for lead generation. Don’t expect to have good lead generation if your website has not yet been updated or optimized for the last 3 years according to Brainrider who recommends the following best practices for optimizing your websites and landing for better lead generation:

  • Customer-focused website navigation for ease in understanding your content
  • Highly targeted customer-focused content that helps your audience in the purchase decision making process
  • Set multiple calls-to-action that entices your audiences to subscribe, download, contact you or make a purchase – together with good visuals like large action buttons
  • Help your prospects in their budgeting process by making it easy for them to understand your pricing schemes with products clearly categorized according to price ranges
  • Access to lead generation forms should be present in both your main content and sidebars

2. Online Lead Generation by Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization is still the primary lead generation strategy used by top digital marketers according to several reports including the State of Digital Marketing Report from online marketing expert Webmarketing123. This survey included more than 500 online marketers in the US, with SEO garnering the biggest impact on lead generation for both B2B and B2C markets.

lead generation survey b2b and b2c 

 

SEO is ideal for generating leads particularly through organic web searches that consumers use everyday. Good ranking in search results means higher visibility for websites or landing pages, generating a lot of leads in the process. There are several SEO techniques that you can choose from but content marketing should be your primary focus in SEO.

The 2014 B2B Content Marketing Research by the Content Marketing Institute highlighted that 93% of digital marketers will make use of SEO and content marketing as a primary tool for 2014. Running SEO together with content marketing is a good strategy according to these experts in preparation for future changes in search engine algorithms that may occur. For these experts, the link building strategies done in the past won’t cut it anymore and 92% percent believe that creating really good content is the way for generating better leads through SEO in 2014 and beyond.

3. Online Lead Generation through Pay-per-Click (PPC) Advertising

Pay-Per-Click advertising is still alive and strong, helping businesses generate a great deal of highly targeted traffic that has the most probability for lead conversion. If your business is just new in the Digital Marketing arena, then PPC would be your ideal launching point, quickly generating good results and the quickest possible time. The 2013 State of Paid Search Report highlighted that up to 72% of digital marketers find PPC advertising very effective in lead generation and plans to increase their budget in 2014 for PPC ads.

 ppc marketing growth 2014

 PPC spending survey 

Google Adwords still stand at the forefront for PPC advertising as indicated in the diagram above from the 2013 State of Paid Search Report. While many frown on paid advertising as a digital marketing tool, these experts believe that PPC ads is still a very viable and high quality resource for generating valuable leads and will most likely continue on this thread for years to come. New businesses can quickly generate their much needed leads using PPC ads, and veteran digital marketers will continue to make use of this important tool for generating good results that will push them towards their goals.

4. Online Lead Generation through Social Media

Social media is undoubtedly one of the most effective sources for lead generation and the 1.8 billion users of social networks definitely won’t lie, as reported by the 2014 Global Digital Statistics, Stats and Facts. The report also indicated that more than 135 million users of the top social networks were added in 2012, with Facebook jumping to an astounding 1.184 billion active users.

 Activer users by social platform survey

 Social media is a very important channel not only in engaging or connecting with your targeted audiences, but it has evolved into a new digital marketing culture that has a strong influence on consumers’ buying behavior. Studies from industry experts like Forbes indicate that up to two-thirds of the top sales experts in the world categorize social media as an important lead generation and sales channel.

Chadwick Martin Bailey, another expert market research firm, reported that up to 51 percent of Facebook users and 67 percent of Twitter fanatics will most like purchase recommendations from brands they are a fan or a follower of. Such is the impact of Social Media on lead generation and sales that revenues are expected to go up exponentially in the coming years according to experts like eMarketer in their report on the US Social Network Ad Revenues 2012-2015.

us social network ad revenue 

 5. Online Lead Generation by Email Marketing

Email marketing is not dead and is definitely one of the most effective lead generation tool according to Digital Marketing experts. iContact reported that even though email is an old internet marketing tool, many still use email heavily on a daily basis as indicated in the graph below. The report states that email marketing still delivers a good deal for your investments, averaging a $44 ROI for every dollar spent if proper email marketing techniques are used and executed.

 current state of email

The report also indicated that email can still influence consumers’ buying behavior in a world where too many information are flooding every available online channel they can have their hands on. According to the report, up to 83% of consumers will most likely spend more during their shopping or purchases if they get good information about brands, products or services through email. From this list of consumers, order were actually 44% larger while others would make online purchases 28% more often.

 How effective is email marketing

Lead generation is still at the heart and soul of doing business and this fact applies both to online or traditional methods of generating prospects that eventually can be converted into paying customers. There are so many ways available for generating valuable leads online but making use of these time-proven and expert-recommended ways of generating leads online should put your business at the forefront of making headway and generating favorable results from your digital marketing efforts.

Digital Marketing Philippines, in its commitment for providing you with valuable tools for Internet Marketing success, have outlined the Top 5 most effective channels among these myriad ways for online lead generation. It is still up to the business owner or digital marketer to choose, test, and validate which of these tools will fit perfectly well with their business niche or nature. The key here is start using these tools now, generate more leads that you can handle – and reach your Digital Marketing goals for 2014 and beyond.

Thank you to author: Jomer Gregorio