Archive for 2017 Success

12 Pinterest Mistakes You Need to Correct in 2017 for Exposure

You can’t afford to be making Pinterest mistakes! It’s where 150 million people go to plan, find things they need, and bookmark pictures and videos they want to save for later.

Unfortunately, many small business owners are making these and many more Pinterest Mistakes….

  1. AZ Social Media Wiz Organize Your Office Board on PinterestSkipping Pinterest because you’re a B2B business. Pinterest is very powerful SEO helper as pictures and videos pinned from your website take the link with it. For B2B companies, Pinterest should be a secondary or even tertiary network. For instance, I’m a B2B business and I know most of my potential customers are small business owners who work from home. I have a “Organize Your Office” board on Pinterest.
  2. Not realizing that Pinterest is more than just babies & cupcakes. Yes, if you want consumers and soccer moms, you need to be on Pinterest. However, Pinterest is where people plan how they are going to spend their money.
  3. Using a personal account for business. Keep business and personal separate. Go to http://business.pinterest.com to create a business account or convert a personal one into a business one. Delete any personal pins and boards.

    Free Phone Consult & Social Media Audit

  4. Not taking advantage of the 500-character description areas on boards and pins. Besides, here’s where you can add links and hashtags with relevant keywords. Helps you get found!
  5. Having empty boards. If you have an idea for a board, but don’t have pins for it yet, keep it “secret” until you fill it.
  6. Using shortlinks. Shortlinks like bit.ly or ow.ly are great for Twitter, but not needed on Pinterest. In this case, the longer URL helps with SEO and gives credibility.Pinterest analytics - check them monthly
  7. Not adding categories to your boards. This helps you come up in searches. Make sure it’s relevant. If you create a board on the fly, go in later and add the description.
  8. Not verifying your website. This will connect your website with Pinterest and they will track pin action from you site. However, if you’re a franchise or MLM, you may not be able to because you need your own domain. Being in a sub-domain or sub-directory won’t work. In that case, you can’t get the analytics from your website.
  9. Not checking analytics monthly. Pinterest tells you which pins got the most engagement, as well as, what else interests your followers. Moreover, this is valuable information as it helps you plan what you’re going to share in the future.

    What You Need to Know About Social Media and Website Analytics

  10. Not pinning pictures from your blog posts after you’ve published them. This helps with SEO. Furthermore, it helps drive traffic to your site. When someone clicks twice on a pin, it goes to the originating website.
  11. Pinning just your stuff. Have other boards of related pins that your target may be interested in. Remember, it’s not about you it’s about them – your potential customers!
  12. Not adding original content. Sure, repinning other people’s pins is good (and easy), but you should post fresh videos and pictures regularly. Delete stuff that’s outdated and move boards around seasonally.

If you’re making any of these mistakes, how many more are you making? Find out with this free ebook…..

Are You Making These Social Media Mistakes?

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12 Website Mistakes You Need to Fix for 2017 Success

“My online marketing isn’t working! I have a website, but I’m not getting any sales! What am I doing wrong? I need to drive traffic to my website!”

I hear this all the time. As a small business owner, you know that having a website is important. Furthermore, it’s way more than an online brochure! Regardless of whether the business is B2B or B2C, as I review websites, I see the same mistakes over and over again.

Here are the TOP 12 Mistakes I see small businesses make on their Websites.

  1. Thinking that if you build it they will come — NOT! Having a website and not blogging or sharing on social media is like having a billboard out in the middle of the ocean. Sure a passing ship may see it, but that’s not going to be enough. Moreover, you need to blog at least 2-3 times a week for the first couple of months especially if your site has been stagnant. It’s all so Google will notice you. Each blog post needs to be shared on all the major social media networks: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ (posted public it will be indexed in the search engine), Pinterest and LinkedIn. Yes, Pinterest! It takes the link with it helping with SEO. Once you’ve built some momentum and a following on social media, you can reduce your blogging to once or twice a week. However, check your analytics each month. If you see your monthly web traffic fall, go back to 2-3 times a week. Still, your analytics won’t lie.
    Blogger and copywriter service
  2. No lead generation strategy – or lead capturing on your website. You must have a clear call-to-action on your website for it to be effective. You need to convert visitors to leads then nurture them into sales. That’s where a good Marketing Automation campaign comes in. First, you need a good Call-to-Action. Something of value to your target market – an ebook, free course, webinar, whitepaper (if your business is more technical) or a coupon. Keep the form short. Ask only for their email address and first name. In addition, you can ask 1 or 2 questions to segment your email list, but no more than that. Once you’ve got their email address, put them in an email drip system. I use MailChimp (affiliate link). They have a basic automation service for only $30 a month and it works great. Think out your email messages strategically to direct your warm lead into a sale.
  3. Not optimizing each post or page for the search engines. The free WordPress plugin, SEO by Yoast is the best SEO plugin out there. It walks you through everything you need to do so your post/page will get noticed by Google. Besides, it helps with “readability”. You need to write for your target market. Remember, you’re the expert, they’re not. Write for the human reader with the search engine in mind.
  4. Think like your customers when you design your website. Not fully thinking out what you want to accomplish with the website. What are your goals and objectives? Who do you want to reach? Sure, your main objective is to increase sales, nevertheless, your site needs to walk the visitor from the landing on your page, to where you want them — the conversion. You want to convert a visitor into a warm lead and then you need to nurture that lead into a sale. (See #2 above) Having well-done market and keyword research along with a strategic marketing plan will work as a guide for you website and online marketing efforts.
  5. Having popups. They are extremely annoying. Don’t you remember that popup windows were blocked in browsers. Now they’ve made them plugins to WordPress so they can’t be blocked by browsers. My greatest pet peeve are the exit ones. I want to bookmark or share the blog post, I move the mouse to do so and the pop-up appears and I have to look for the “x” or “close” button. I don’t even read it. You do want to have a clear call-to-action in the top or right-hand side of the page. More discrete popups are the ones that appear at the bottom corners. They’re visible, but not obstructive. Additionally, as of Jan. 10, 2017, Googe is going to block sites with popups on MOBILE from their mobile search! Read this.
  6. Not using analytics. Analytics should be checked monthly. Which sites are driving the most traffic to your site? How long are visitors staying on your site? How many new visitors are you getting compared to returning visitor?
    What You Need to Know About Social Media and Website Analytics
  7. Having social media follow buttons that either go nowhere or link to your networks and you haven’t posted anything since 2013. If you’re not active in social media, don’t put buttons on your site. What’s more, it makes you look stupid. You need to make it easy for people to follow you and to share your content with their friends. That said, don’t make people hunt for the social media links. Also, label them so people know which is a follow button and which is a share button. You need to have both social media share and follow buttons on your website
  8. Using a “website builder” or “drag-and-drop” sites. What makes these sometimes free sites easy to use is the “drag-and-drop” feature. However, that feature creates a lot of code in the background. The search engine doesn’t recognize code. It’s looking for text written for humans and links. All that code is like a brick wall. Also, you’re on their platform. Those platforms are created with proprietary software. That means it will only run on their system. If you want to move it, you can’t.
  9. Not investing in your own assets. Your own email list, blog, website, video, graphics, etc. On any other platform, whether a free blogging site or social media, you’re just borrowing the space there. You don’t own it. You have to follow their rules and they can change them at any time AND use your content as they wish.
  10. Not having a blog on your site. WordPress makes it easy to have a static website and a blog all in one. Also, without the blog, you don’t have the fresh content that Google is looking for and you don’t have content to draw people to your site. Google ignores static websites.
    Make 2017 Your Best Year Ever!
  11. Thinking a website built more than 5 years ago is still OK. It’s not. An outdated website affects your online image and SEO.
  12. Having a boring “Join our Newsletter List” call-to-action. The visitor is thinking, “What’s in it for me?” Tell them. Give them a freebie – something useful to them – in exchange for their email address.

Believe it or not, when I combine these with others that I’ve seen as well as all the social media ones, there are over 200 common mistakes small businesses are making with their online marketing efforts.

No wonder you’re frustrated!

Download this free ebook to see what other blunders you may be making…..

Are You Making These Social Media Mistakes?
In conclusion, any mistakes are fixable. Some repairs are simple, some not much. Nonetheless, they you need to address them if you want your online marketing efforts to work. Let me take a look at what you’ve got and I’ll give you a truthful analysis and advise you on what you need to do to make 2017 a successful year for your business.

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Your 2017 Success Plan: 10 Social Media Truths You Need to Know

I covered SEO and Content Marketing for 2017. Here we go with Social Media Marketing. Think about this: 10 years ago, in 2006, when Facebook, Twitter even companies like HubSpot were in their infancy, who could have imagined that 10 years later, 2.3 billion people would be active in social media? (See more stats in #10 below.)

If you’ve been ignoring, afraid of, or otherwise not doing any social media marketing, well, continue ignoring it at your peril. Yep. If you want to succeed in 2017; because you want new business; if you want exposure, you need to embrace social media marketing.

“You need to invest in other marketing skills and put as much effort and investments in them.” ~Derek Iwasiuk in Addicted2Success

Here’s what’s going to be HUGE in 2017 in Social Media Marketing

1. Facebook Video

Facebook Live Video part of Content Marketing for 2017 SuccessIn 2016, Facebook introduced Facebook Live Streaming Video. You can broadcast from your personal Facebook page as well as from your business page.

“Facebook’s been refining their focus on video for some time, and you can expect this to continue into next year.” ~Social Media Today

Live and Native Videos get more exposure on Facebook than plain posts. A Native Video is one of your videos uploaded directly into Facebook not just a YouTube or Vimeo link shared on your page.

What You Need to Do: If you remember anything from this post it’s VIDEO FIRST on Facebook!

2. Facebook Search

Imagine this: 2 billion searches daily! And they are constantly changing their algorithm in order to “improve” search. Facebook is getting like Google. They want the most relevant content to come up when someone searches for something. On Facebook, that can be posts, pages, videos, people, shopping, places, groups, apps, anything!

So, it’s crucial that you rewrite your Facebook business page descriptions and make them keyword-centric. Create unique keyword-rich using descriptive content. This also applies if you are an ecommerce site.

“Ignore Facebook at your peril — even if you’re B2B!” ~ Brian Sutter, Forbes

What You Need to Do: Apply the same keyword research you did for your website to your Facebook page. Fill in ALL the boxes.

3. Facebook “Seeking Recommendations”

“Whether traveling to a new place, looking for a hair salon, or searching for the perfect place to eat, people already turn to their friends, family, and local Groups on Facebook for advice. We’re rolling out a new tool that makes it easier to get and organize all those recommendations in one place.” ~ Facebook

Finding local events is going to be part of this service. So, if you have an event, set it up on Facebook from your business page. Make sure your graphic is of good quality and you have the description with all the relevant keywords. They’ll be rolling out a new version of the event dashboard in the next few weeks. (“Rolling out” means that not everyone sees the new format at once.)

What You Need to Do: Make sure your Facebook business pages are setup nicely with good graphics and a call-to-action.

If someone is recommending your services or products, you don’t want to miss out on a potential customer because you’ve been neglecting your Facebook page!

Are You Making These Social Media Mistakes?

4. 360° Video on Facebook

Talk about changing perspective! How cool is this!

What You Need to Do: Investigate to see what’s involved with producing 360° video.

Get started with this article from Search Engine Journal.

4. Social Customer ServiceSocial Media Terms Glossary & Online Marketnig Lingo Guide Free ebook

Enough on Facebook! No, back up. The new Facebook business page design makes it easy for a visitor to message you from Facebook. If you have a fast response time – that is, within hours, not days, you’ll get a badge to display on your page showing you have a quick response time.

Twitter is another one. When people are not happy with customer service, they’ll tweet out their frustrations. It’s up to you to be monitoring any mentions or hashtags and respond quickly. Do not do automated responses. Recently, a certain insurance company was trending on Twitter (thousands of people were talking about it) and one person mentioned @Geico. Well, Geico’s automated response system replied to their tweet, with “We’re here to help! Let us know what we can do for you!”. The funny thing is, they were just mentioning it. They weren’t complaining. Instead, Geico, should have picked up on what was going on and used it to their benefit. What happened was, that lots of people were retweeting that tweet and making fun of Geico’s auto response. Not good.

Social Customer Service is expected by consumers however, not many companies are using it.

It’s all about building relationships. Of course, relationships can’t be built if you automate EVERYTHING!

What You Need to Do: Make sure you check your social media at least once a day and monitor your mentions.

5. Twitter will Become more Powerful

News no longer breaks, it tweets.

And our incoming president, Donald Trump knows it. Like him or not, he knows the power of Twitter. He’d rather tweet out an announcement before informing the crowd of reporters waiting in the lobby of Trump Tower. Donald Trump Tweets Secretary of State pickTweets come up in Google search. Because Twitter goes so fast — like a never-ending news ticker — you can easily share 10-20 posts a day. Use a tools like HootSuite (ad link), Buffer or TweetDeck to schedule content out. However, when sharing pictures, make them “native” on Twitter by uploading them directly on Twitter proper or using TweetDeck.

What You Need to Do: Learn Twitter’s Culture so you can use the Tool Properly and Effectively.

6. You’re Going to Have to Pay to Play

Facebook boost post paid advertisingFurthermore, online ads will be more expensive. In other words, your $25 a week will buy you less reach and keyword bids will be higher in pay-per-click (PPC). My advice still is NOT pay for advertising until you’ve tried doing it “organically” (not paid) for 3-6 months. Although, you can continue to avoid paid advertising, but more than likely, your competition hasn’t. You’re going to have to pay to get extra exposure — especially on Facebook. That’s how Facebook makes money. They fix their algorithm (search engine) to show less from business pages that don’t pay. Nevertheless, there are still ways to get exposure on Facebook without paying and it’s with videos. (See #1 above).

What You Need to Do: Familiarize yourself with the Best Practices of PPC and paid online advertising.

Now, I specialize in non-paid, organic social media and SEO marketing. That being said, if you’re thinking of doing paid advertising, here are a few articles to guide you…

7. Social Conversions

Get Your Social Media Startup Pack now!Get them while they’re hot to buy! Those impulse buyers. They see something they like and have to have it now! Social conversions is a feature that many of the social networks are offering. Pinterest has it down with their Promoted Pins. You pin something from your shopping cart and people can purchase it without leaving Pinterest. The idea is to avoid a shopper having second thoughts or being distracted when they go to your online ecommerce site to purchase something.

Facebook, SnapChat, Twitter and Instagram are all working on providing this service. It’s part of PPC or “pay-to-play” that I wrote about above. The networks are attempting to make it easy to pull in your ecommerce products into their systems, but it may take a little programming on your part. Moreover, ecommerce sites like Shopify and Etsy have tutorials on how to integrate your store in the social networks.

By the same token, on the non-paid side, the new redesign of Facebook’s business pages improved on the call-to-action (CTA) button. Make sure you’ve got yours leading the visitor to the right place to get the most conversions.

What You Need to Do: Familiarize yourself and keep up with the latest new ecommerce in social media features.

Make 2017 Your Best Year Ever!

8. Email Matching with Paid Social Media Advertising

Another feature that the social networks are offering is “Email Matching”. You upload your customer email list to the network and when someone on your list logs on, they’ll see your ads.

What You Need to Do: Again, do your research. Learn before spending money.

9. Big Data, Analytics and Insights

Going along with all this advertising comes tracking what’s working and not working. Enter Analytics! Analytics aren’t as scary as they seem and you don’t need to hire an analyst to understand them or to get valuable information from them. Besides Google Analytics, each of the networks has insights and analytics available even if you don’t pay for advertising.

You must check these at least once a month so you can judge which posts were effective and what isn’t bringing you business or doing what you expected. [Related: Determine Your Key Metrics Before You Start]

Free Download: Define Your Target Market WorkbookAll the networks also use the data garnered from users to help you find your target market niche. Additionally, they assist you in targeting your perfect customer. That’s why you need to Define Your Target Market first and then do some research on them. For instance, if you’re on Snapchat trying to reach Baby Boomers, you’re not going to be successful. If you want to reach 12-24 year-olds, then yes, Snapchat is a tool for you.

What You Need to Do: Get into the habit of checking your analytics at the end of each month.

10. Social Media Statistics You Can’t Ignore

In conclusion, here are 10 of 2016’s Big Data stats that should open your eyes to the power of social media marketing.

  1. Close to 2 billion people are active mobile social users (Vendasta). This means that people take their social media with them wherever they go. They access it at all times of the day. This is why it is so important that your website is optimized for mobile (and I wrote about this in the 2017 SEO post) so when a mobile user goes from your social media page to your site, it’s a smooth transition to a conversion.
  2. 84% of Internet users are on Facebook (Vendasta). Even if you’re a B2B business, you can generate leads on Facebook. That’s where the people are! That being said, with more and more businesses, both B2C and B2B, marketing on Facebook, it behooves you to have a distinct strategy to reach your specific target market. Without a good strategic plan, you’ll be wasting time, effort and money and not getting the results you want.
  3. Over 40% of Twitter‘s 317 million active users learn about products and services via Twitter (Vendasta). I recommend using Twitter daily for brand exposure and SEO. (See #5 above)
  4. 7 out of 10 professionals describe LinkedIn as a trustworthy source of professional content (SmallBizTrends). In addition, 50 percent of B2B buyers use LinkedIn when making purchasing decisions. Even for B2C businesses, both your personal profile and company pages on LinkedIn boost credibility. In case you didn’t know, Microsoft bought LinkedIn so look for some big changes to the platform in 2017.
  5. There are 540 million active users on Google+, 62% of them are B2B marketers (Vendasta). Believe it or not, there are active users on Google+. The power of G+ is that everything posted “public” gets indexed in the search engine.
  6. 60% of millennials have an account on Instagram and they hit 500 million active users in 2016 (Vendasta). They grew by 100 million in one year. Facebook owns Instagram and they’re only going to be making it a better user experience.
  7. Pinterest has more than 150 million monthly active users (HootSuite). 60% of pinners are under 40 years old. Though the majority of Pinterest users are women, the male population on Pinterest has increased by 120% in the past year. (Must be all the DIY stuff!)
  8. 50% of young adults in the US watch videos on Snapchat (Vendasta). They hit 200 million users in 2016. 60% of millennials in America use Snapchat. If you’re trying to reach the younger market, you need to consider Snapchat.
  9. There are 900 million unique visitorss to YouTube every month (Vendasta). They are the most visited online platform with 8 out of 10 Internet users visiting YouTube monthly.
  10. Almost 90 percent of marketers say their social media marketing efforts have increased exposure for their business, and 75 percent say they’ve increased traffic. (SmallBizTrends)

What You Need to Do: Stop procrastinating and get your social media act together NOW!

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Your 2017 Success Blueprint – 10 Content Marketing Truths You Need to Know

To have good SEO, you need to have good content. Content Marketing is a crucial a part of your marketing plan as are SEO and Social Media.

Here’s what you need to know and do regarding Content Marketing in 2017:

1. Video – Hotter than Ever!Video marketing is still hot!

Good content doesn’t only need to be written. In 2016 we saw Facebook Live Streaming Video take off and Facebook also admitted that Native Videos (videos uploaded directly into Facebook) get more exposure than plain posts.

To give videos an extra lift, embed them into your blog posts. The text of your blog post can be your video’s transcript, like I do with my Q&A posts.

“I think video is a megatrend, almost as big as mobile.” ~Mark Zuckerburg

What You Need to Do: Figure out how you can incorporate video into your marketing mix.

  • You don’t have do one every day. Once a month or even a couple of times a month.
  • Use your smartphone to create short how-to videos
  • Get on Facebook and do a live video from anywhere — as long as you have wifi!
  • Do a voice-over recordings of PowerPoint presentations
  • Determine which format works for you — in ease of creation and amount of views they get
  • Try Twitter live videos
  • Coming soon – Instagram live videos
  • Video Converts

In fact, when video is prominently featured on a landing page, conversion rates can go up by a whopping 80%. ~ Convince and Convert

2. Unique, High-Quality Content will be Key

Focus on quality over quantityAbsolutely – Quality over Quantity! Don’t forgo quality in order to get more content out there.

  • No fuzzy graphics — there is no excuse! You can create high-quality pictures with free online, easy-to-use graphics programs like Canva. Download free, license free, online pictures and graphics from sites that I list in this blog post. And don’t steal!
  • Proofread before you publish or post — read your blog post aloud to yourself. Even your social media posts!
  • Preview your blog posts before publishing — Do the graphics look good? Does the eye of reader make a natural progression down the page to your Call-to-Action?

What about unique?

“Most Americans are exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 advertising messages a day!” ~ Convince and Convert

What makes what you have to say or show unique? What makes you different? How is your content different from what your competition shares?

What You Need to Do: Plan out what content you’re going to create.

3. Reshare Your Content on Social Media

Resharing content can increase engagement by over 600%!

Social Media Terms Glossary & Online Marketnig Lingo Guide Free ebookSo you publish your blog post at 9 am and share it on all your social media networks at the time. Someone that logs on at 3 pm or in the evening probably won’t see it unless they have you in a Twitter list or Google+ circle; or have your posts showing first (a Facebook feature). You can manually schedule it to republish on your social networks using tools like HootSuite (ad link), Buffer or TweetDeck.

Another way to give your content extra exposure and traction is to publish it on LinkedIn’s Pulse. At the end of the post, add the line, “This post originally appeared on______” with a link to the original article on your blog. Your site still maintains the authority because there is where the post originated. Yet, on LinkedIn, you validate your expertise by showcasing what you know and how you can help people.

There’s a plugin I use called Revive Old Posts. For free, you can reshare to Twitter. With the upgraded version ($75/yr.), you can also reshare to LinkedIn and Facebook.  I think it’s worth it just to save the time of manually scheduling. You pick the time frame and you can exclude posts that are not “evergreen” or are time-sensitive.

Think of it this way, your perfect potential customer could have missed it the first time it went out!

What You Need to Do: Don’t be afraid to reshare your content.

4. Blogging – a CORE part of your Content Strategy

Blogs are rated 1 out of 5 the most trusted sources of information online.

People ignore the paid ads in Google search and go for the organic content because they know that that’s where they’re going to find the authentic answers to their questions or problems.

What You Need to Do: Read some of my articles on blogging:

Blogger and copywriter service5. Build Relationships through Your Content

“Content builds Relationships, Relationships are built on Trust. Trust delivers Revenue.” ~ Andrew Davis

Good content marketing builds relationshipsAnd this applies not to just blogs, but what you post on social media and the videos and podcasts you produce. The more you post about what you know, the more you solidify and build credibility and trust.

Even if you use direct mail, people are going to check you out online, before they hire you or buy your products. People will…

  • Google your company or brand name
  • Look at reviews not just on Google, but on Facebook and Yelp
  • Compare prices and check out your competition
  • Read more information until they are satisfied that they can trust you

People buy from whom they know and trust.

What You Need to Do: Produce good, quality content, build your following and build your email list.

6. Visual Content

Change is tough, but the alternative is obsolesenceYes, videos, but also pictures, animated gifs and infographics work. Even if you don’t sell a product, you can share inspirational and motivational quotes as well as original graphics.

B2B or B2C, you can use these two social networks to share eye-catching visuals….

Instagram:

Here are some recent Instagram stats:

  • 68% of Instagram users engage with brands regularly
  • Instagram has 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook
  • 50% of users follow a business
  • 60% of Instagrammers say that they learn about a product or service on the platform
  • 75% of Instagrammers take action after being inspired by a post, like visiting a website, searching, shopping or telling a friend

Pinterest: “The World’s Catalog of Ideas.”

Here are some recent Pinterest stats:

  • 150 Million monthly active users
  • 67% of pinners are under 40-years old
  • Male users have grown by 150% in the past year
  • 87% of pinners have purchased a product because of Pinterest
  • 72% of pinners use Pinterest to decide what to buy offline

What You Need to Do: Go visual – figure out what will work for your business.

Make 2017 Your Best Year Ever!7. Be Impactful

Free Download: Define Your Target Market WorkbookFor content to be Effective, it must have IMPACT. In order to be impactful, your content must be MEMORABLE. To be memorable, requires that you truly Understand Your Audience (target market).

Yes, we’re back to that again. What does it mean to Understand Your Target Market?

Knowing the answers to these questions as it applies to your perfect customer…

  • What makes them happy?
  • Who do they trust for information?
  • Where are they hanging out online? In other words, which networks do they prefer?
  • What angers them?
  • What are their pain points and problems that you can solve?
  • Who influences them?
  • What are their wants, desires and dreams?
  • How is your content going to impact their lives? To Sell or Not to Sell: What is the Right Ratio on Social Media

Is your content going to try to sell them something right away even if they’re not ready to buy? Or is it going to provide useful information that they can use right away hence building trust?

People Buy from whom the Know and Trust

You need to map where the customer is in their buying journey.

  • Do they need more information?
  • Have they developed trust towards your company?
  • Can they make a decision to buy right away, or do they have more questions?

What You Need to Do: Download my free Define Your Target Market Workbook

  1. Answer all the questions as it pertains to your business whether B2B or B2C. You can have more than one target market.
  2. Create buyer personas for your defined targets.
  3. Research your target and your industry so you can understand their buying habits as well as their online media usage.

8. Create Memorable and Evergreen Content

Content that's memorable builds trustIf your business is anything like mine, you need to educate your target market in why they need your product or service; why what you have to offer is better, different, more effective, etc.

Your content can, of course, be in the form of a blog or static pages on your website, but they can also be….

  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Infographics
  • Social Media Posts

The objective is to build trust and credibility. You need to us Truth as a Service.

Evergreen content is anything that’s not time-sensitive, seasonal, or talking about an event or specific day. It stands the test of time. You can share it over and over again and it still is applicable. Its information is useful and solves problems that people keep having.

Give them best practices to tackle their problems. Think emotion and functionality. The folks at Copyblogger define it this way….

These special resources are in-depth examinations of a problem, solution, trend, or topic. They can help your audience find tons of information on a subject that interests them, which adds value to your blog.

Evergreen content is timeless.

What You Need to Do: Plan out your content marketing strategy.

9. Provide the AnswersYour content markeing should provide answers to the questions your target is asking.

It’s up to you to provide the answers to the questions Your Target Market Personas are asking. Are you getting it yet? You can’t answer the questions if you don’t know what they are!

I like Q&A sites like Mosaic Hub and Quora. I’m signed up to get an email every time someone asks a question in my fields of expertise. The idea is to try and be the first one to answer the question — providing the best answer. If you see that someone beat you to it and their answer is the same as yours, I give them a thumbs up and don’t bother writing the same thing. HOWEVER, this just gave you material for a blog post or a video. If people are asking it on those Q&A sites, they’re asking it also on Google and YouTube.  [Related: SEO in 2017] YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine next to its parent, Google. The most searched-for phrase on YouTube is “How to”.

What You Need to Do: Get on those Q&A sites and search for the questions pertaining to your field of expertise.

10. Make sure EVERYTHING is Optimized for Mobile!

Google Mobilegeddon 2017 is coming!I cover mobile as it relates to SEO in the previous article of this 2017 planning series.

Here are some tips to make sure you’re content can be seen on mobile devices:

  • Large enough type. No smaller that 14 pt, 16 pt is considered the best size.
  • Pictures not too large and they should be responsive – that is, they move over when viewed on a small screen so you can see the text.
  • External links (links to sites outside yours) should open to a new tab in the browsers.
  • Your mobile website should have the same content as your desktop site. What that means is that it contains all your static pages and your blog posts.
  • Make sure there are NO POPUPS in your mobile site. Starting Jan. 10, 2017, Google will block sites with popups in mobile!

What You Need to Do: Visit your site on a mobile device. If it’s not optimized, do something about it.

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Your 2017 Success Blueprint – 10 SEO Truths You Need to Apply Now!

I truly hope you’re taking this downtime to Plan and Prepare for 2017. In order to provide you with some guidance (and save you time), I’ve sifted through dozens of “2017 predictions”, “2017 trends”, “2017 must do” blog posts and articles for you. I’m dividing them into 4 posts: SEO, Social Media, Content Marketing and Marketing Strategy.

Most of these experts are no longer using the word “trends”. What’s trending implies that it’s hot for a short time and then it goes away. (That’s what they said about Facebook and you can’t say a site that gets close to 2 BILLION active monthly users is a “trend”.) These are MANDATORY if you want to be found online. Ignore these at your peril. 

Look for “What You Need to Do” under each “truth” to help you plan and prepare for 2017.

Let’s start with SEO:

1. Google will keep changing their algorithm

“Google is trying to make its algorithm a mirror image of the heart, mind, soul and needs of the customer.” ~ Seth Besmertnik in Search Engine Journal.

It’s Customer-First marketing NOT keyword-first marketing. It’s all about the Customer Experience (or CX). Which brings me back to YOU MUST clearly identify and understand your Target Market. (Download the Free Workbook). Users want to solve problems. Once you’ve identified your perfect customers’ pain points, then you can give them the content that will help alleviate them. Yes, you still have to do keyword research, but more important is target market research.

What You Need to Do: Use this free workbook to create buyer personas – for both B2C and B2B businesses. Free Download: Define Your Target Market Workbook

2. Mobile-First

Mobile will dominate desktop when it comes to searches. Google has over 80% of all mobile searches. The first Mobilegeddon happened in April, 2014. Now, the next one will be January 10, 2017. ANY website with a popup ad on their mobile version of their website, WILL BE BLOCKED! I wrote about it in this post. 

Because of Google’s “mobile-first” stance, mobile sites have to have the SAME CONTENT as the desktop site. In other words, if you have a mini-version of your site that comes up when someone is on a tablet or smartphone, with minimal content, it will lose “authority” in mobile search results. Not good.

What You Need to Do: Visit your website on a mobile device.

Is there a popup? Do you have the same content that’s on the main desktop site? If not, contact your webmaster and make sure that…

  1. Popups are removed
  2. Your contact information is easily found
  3. It’s not just mobile-friendly or mobile-responsive, but it’s your full site content that comes up

3. Local Personalized Content – “near me”

If you’re a LOCAL BRICK-AND-MORTAR business, this is important. (If you are a local consultant without an office where you want clients to go to, then skip down to #4.) People will search for things like, “gluten free bakery near me”. If your business is not in GOOGLE MY BUSINESS with your actual brick-and-mortar location, you won’t come up. However, that doesn’t mean you have to add the words “near me” in your content. No. Google bases the search results on the user’s GPS and your listing in Google My Business.

What you need to do: Go to Google My Business and make sure your listing is accurate.

4. Voice Search – “OK, Google”

This is something to consider when doing the copy (static content) on your website. People don’t talk like they write. Whether they’re using their smartphone, Amazon’s Alexa, Siri, Google Home or other voice command system, they’ll ask a question. It’s up to you to have the answer to the questions your target market is asking!

What You Need to Do: A website audit.

  1. Go through your site and read the content in your main pages. Is it compelling enough to attract a visitor and KEEP THEIR ATTENTION? Does it answer their questions?
  2. Look at your meta tag descriptions – Is the question you are answering there?
  3. Go through your blog posts – are they all optimized? Do they have have the relevant keyword tags? Are they indexed in the right category? (And that’s not “uncategorized”.) Are the titles worded in the form of a question?

The best way to figure out what your target market is asking is to get to know them.

Make 2017 Your Best Year Ever!

5. Artificial Intelligence (AI) & RankBrain

Yep. Now machines are trying to do your thinking for you. Well, think about it. Sometimes when you’re looking for something, you’re not sure what to ask. You may enter several search terms in the box before you get the answer you want. Google’s new AI, RankBrain, will come up with “people also ask” with other similar questions that you may be asking yourself. All in attempts to provide you with the best answer to your question. It’s machine learning as it applies to search. The AI has the ability to learn and categorize information to accurately match a searcher’s query.

RankBrain, an artificial intelligence algorithm, modifies the weighting of other algorithms over time to place more importance on some than others.  It also plucks out the important keywords from questions or longer searches to be able to ‘understand’ questions and answer them as accurately as possible. ~ SEMRush

Search results on Google

In searching for “business plan”, below the paid ads, was the definition as well as related questions. The top box is called a featured “snippet”.

 

Now you must be asking, “How do I get my answers as the ‘featured snippet’. Here’s Google’s answer to that question:

When we recognize that a query asks a question, we programmatically detect pages that answer the user’s question, and display a top result as a featured snippet in the search results.

What You Need to Do: Identify the user’s intent.

What does the searcher expect to find when querying your keywords? Answers to their questions and problems. What are they asking? Use Q&A sites like Mosaic Hub and Quora to see what people are asking in your field of expertise.

6. Attract the RIGHT traffic, not just ANY traffic

Increase the right website trafficWhat good is a visitor if they’re NOT your target market? You should have Google Analytics installed on your website. Check it every month. This will give you the “bounce rate“. That’s a measurement of how long a visitor stays on your site. The right visitor will read the blog post then look for related content based on categories, recent posts and keyword tags. If someone lands on one of your web pages and sees that it’s not what they’re looking for, they’ll leave right away. The more times that happens, the higher your bounce rate will be. You want your bounce rate around 50%.

Plus, you want conversions. You want that perfect potential customer to land on your page, see what they need and grab it. You need the right calls-to-action in the right places to capture the right traffic and convert the right visitor in to a nice, warm lead. In your strategic plan, you want to think “Conversion Rate Optimization”.

A way to avoid a high bounce rate is to write for your target market with the search engine in mind. That’s in both your site’s main pages and your blog posts.

What You Need to Do: Really Understand Your Target Market

7. You can start RANKING in a few weeks

This used to take months! If you’re not on page 1 of Google search, do this:

  1. Publish relevant content — answering the questions that your target market is asking — in 3 blog posts a week
  2. Make sure you’re incorporate all of the tips listed on this page!
  3. Become active in social media,

And you can start ranking in weeks not months!

What You Need to Do: Blog 3 times a week and engage in social media.

8. Create Long-Form Content

I know many of you aren’t going to like this one. I know you struggle with coming up with 1, 300-500-word article a week never mind longer ones and more often!

What is long-form content? Well, this article is – sort of. At this point I’m at just over 1200 words*. The experts are recommending 2,000 to 4,000-word articles!

However, not just wordy articles. Offer information of INCREDIBLE VALUE. To whom? To your target market, of course! Yes, we’re back to that.

Remember, Google loves fresh content. Lots of it. Longer articles will stand out.

What You Need to Do: Write, write and write some more.

Blogger and copywriter service9. Rank for Authority in Your Field

Be known for authority in your field. All this writing will have an impact. You will rank for authority in your field. This is more than having your really nice LinkedIn profile coming up first when someone Googles your name. I love it when I ask someone, “How did you find me?” And they respond, “I Googled _________ and you came up.”

What You Need to Do: Show off your expertise and knowledge.

10. Don’t just Rely on SEO

In 2017, solely expecting SEO or search engine traffic to be the only marketing you do is recipe for failure. You can have the most optimized website, but if you’re not creating the fresh, relevant content that Google wants, AND you’re not participating in Social Media, you’re not going to get the results you need. Nothing is going to happen.

What You Need to Do: Diversify your marketing efforts by adding content marketing and social media.

11. Bonus! What still holds True

Besides the above 10 “truths”, the following aspects still apply for improved SEO:

  • Using images and video
  • Site speed – it has to load fast
  • No Flash
  • User-friendly link structure – easy to navigate
  • Links to your social media profiles
  • Sharing your pages and posts in your social media.

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Do you have any questions? Please comment below and I may use it in a Q&A video or future blog post.

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