Archive for Marketing and Advertising

How Much Should a New Business have in their Marketing Budget?

Marketing is an essential function of any business who wants to draw new customers. Whether B2B or B2C, you have to promote your business so people know you exist. Today’s marketing is way more complicated than before which makes it crucial for small business owners to carefully plan and research what marketing options will be most effective both with cost and results.

But how much does it cost? 

How Much Should a New Business Budget for Marketing?That depends.

For a local business, you should consider print as well as digital. For an online or consulting business, the Internet holds a lot of choices that may work for you.

Let’s look at all the aspects of marketing: 

First, you need a website. Your website should be a 24/7 functioning sales person for you. It needs to be branded properly with calls-to-action to capture leads and most importantly, optimized for the search engines (SEO). Yes, there are free and do-it-yourself (DIY) platforms out there, but I don’t recommend them.

Budget for a website:

How Much Should a New Business Budget for Marketing?Depending on what you need it to do, ie, shopping cart or booking system, it may cost from $1200 – $2500+. Do your due diligence before you hire someone. Google them, read reviews, look at other websites they’ve done. Just because they say the can build a WordPress site, doesn’t mean they know everything about WordPress and follow best practices. Social media needs to be integrated in the website. Check out their social media accounts. Are they active? How many followers do they have? What do they blog about? Does it seem like they know what they’re talking about?

Domain names cost about $12/year. You don’t need to buy up all the versions. Try to get the .com. (Related: Website Planning 101)

Hosting is next. Shop around. Compare apples to apples. One company is cheaper for the first year, but more when renewal time comes around. Another gives you 25,000 visitors per month when another only gives you 10,000. That’s something you need to think about. Typical costs are around $4.00/m and you pay annually. You can usually save if you buy 3-5 years worth. I host with SiteGround (affiliate link).

Website Security. The last think you want is to find out that your site has been hacked. It has to be rebuilt. Major headache! I recommend Sucuri (affiliate link). They protect your site and they’ll clean it up if it gets hacked. This site hacked twice in 2014 which is why I’m on SiteGround and use Sucuri. They charge $199/year. It’s insurance for your website.

SEO: 

Yes, you can hire someone to do your SEO, but you can do it yourself with keyword research, regular blogging and being active in social media. However, if you want to outsource this, figure on anything from $350 – $500 upfront fee for optimizing your site, and then an ongoing fee of $100 – $200 a month for monitoring. See social media below…

Graphics: 

Sure you can use free tools like Canva.com to create graphics if you are so inclined, but you may want to have your logo and social media cover graphics professionally done. Depending on the designer, they can charge from $50 – $100/hr and based on how many redos, can cost from $200 – $1000+.  You want to have quality graphics as these portray your online image.

Market Research and Planning: 

Because there are so many marketing channels, you need to determine your target market niche(s). This requires some research. You can do it yourself by searching online for the information you need on your specific target(s) and the economic overviews of your particular industry. Then based on the research, developing both strategic and tactical marketing plans. Hiring this out will cost anywhere from $500 to $1000 depending on the type of business it is.

Social Media Marketing:

You don’t have to be on ALL the networks. Just the ones that your target market frequents the most (you’ll learn this from your research) and where you’ll get the most exposure and SEO. You can learn how to do this all yourself, but know that it takes more work up front to build a following and search for your target market on the networks. You also need to produce content. (See the next section). Just posting willy nilly on Facebook is not social media marketing. That’s a waste of time. If you hire someone to do it for you, plan on spending from $500 – $750 up front for setups and ongoing from $750 – $2500 a month, again, depending on your business and target(s).

Blogging, Videos, and Other Content:

How Much Should a New Business Budget for Marketing?Google wants fresh relevant content written for the human reader. Video marketing is also hot and fairly easy to do. Pictures and podcasts are also good content. Much of these you can do yourself, but again, it’s time-consuming. AND they need to be good quality as these reflect your company’s image. A good content marketer/blogger will cost around $50 per post (300-500 words) and you need to have a fresh post at least once a week, 2-3 times a week is optimal. Depending on the extent on the type of video marketing you want done, a short, professionally 2-minute video can go for $100 – $250. Longer, more complex productions will be, of course, cost more. Doing podcasts requires some sort of recording, hosting and distribution system which also have a cost. Podcasting also takes planning and maybe even having other people involved.

There are many free online tools, but keep in mind that as with learning any new software program, there is a learning curve. It will take you more time at first until you get used to it. The majority of these free tools have upgraded versions with more features. They can cost from $10 – $50+ a month or $50 – $400+ a year.

Print and Direct Mail:

You may want to use some old-fashioned print and direct mail advertising. Especially for local businesses, these may be an effective option. Postcards are the most affordable. Depending on how many you are sending, printing and the paper stock they can cost from $250 – $2000. You also need to buy a list and that cost will vary with how many names and what contact information you want. Shop around. And, no you can’t buy email lists. It’s against the law. Build your email list organically with a lead capturing offer on your website and draw them in with good content.

Paid Online Advertising: 

If you want to get more instant exposure, especially for a local business, you might want to invest in some Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads on Google and on the Social Media Networks. Again, based on your research, you’ll determine which networks are best for reaching your target market. With PPC, you get charged unless someone clicks on your ad. You have to pay up front, say, $25 for one week, and on most of the networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, you can target people by location, age, gender and in some even likes and interests. Furthermore, having a strategy on what you want to accomplish with the ad beforehand increase your chances for success. What’s nice is that you can track it and the networks have comprehensive reporting systems.  So, for budgeting purposes, set $25/week. Any less than that won’t give you the reach you need.

By now you’re probably thinking, “Why do I want to get into business?” Well, I highly recommend working with a SCORE mentor for FREE. Yes, some things are still free! Both SCORE and the SBA have tools and offer assistance in getting funding so you can put all this in a business plan that makes sense.

One thing you must remember….

Put Your Best Foot Forward — Always! 

There’s a lot of competition out there. And not just your direct competitors, but competing for people’s attention online. Prepare, plan and be patient. It doesn’t work overnight. 

Budget picture CC license credit: http://nyphotographic.com/

This post original appeared on the Greater Phoenix SCORE blog

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The New 80/20 Rule of Marketing and How to Get it Right

The 80/20 rule of sales and marketing has been around forever.

80% of your business comes from 20% of your target market.

So what does that mean?

Basically, you need to get to know that crucial 20%!

The New 80/20 Rule of Marketing and How to Get it RightEspecially now when you’ve got so many marketing choices out there. Who’s your perfect customer? Who’s your most frequent customer?

Here’s how to apply the 80/20 rule to your business:

  1. Clearly define your target market personas – that 20%. You can have more than one! Do some research. What are their buying habits? Likes and dislikes? What devices to they prefer? Which social networks do they frequent the most? What are they going to enter into the search box to find you?
  2. Brand your business so that you speak directly to that 20%. This does not mean using your favorite color. There’s a whole psychology of color that you need to understand to be effective.
  3. What’s your strategy to build the brand and get exposure? That’s where your website, blogging and social media come in.
  4. Educate your target audience on why your product or service will make their lives better or solve their problems. That’s what content marketing is for.
  5. Lastly, setup a buying process that makes sense to them. To do this, you have to step into their shoes and see EVERYTHING from their perspective. Knowing and understanding your target’s buying journey is critical.

This might sound complicated to you. Do you have to hire a business or marketing coach? No, not if you are willing to learn.

That’s the beauty of Your Social Savvy Solution Online Training Center! We’ve got it all here in one place. We have easy, online video classes that guide you through:

  • Defining and researching your target market – start with this free Workbook.
  • Branding and the psychology of color as well as how to setup, optimize and brand your social media profiles
  • Understanding the social media networks and where your target market is hanging out
  • Putting together a strategy on how to best reach your target, draw them to your website and reel them in.
  • How to educate them through effective blogging and content marketing
  • Tools, tips and tricks to get it all done in a reasonable amount of time!

You have a responsibility to your business to learn how today’s marketing works!

We’ve made it simple for you with easy-to-follow online classes. Click here to get started for only $20/m!

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What You Need to do to Jump-Start a Business Slump

Is your business slow? Has the phone stopped ringing? If you’re in a business slump, there are a few things you can do to jump-start it and attract new customers. Every business has it’s good times and bad times; feast or famine; flood or drought.

First, take a step back. To what can you attribute the slow-down?

  • The economy, the election, national news, a weather event? You can’t do much about those except wait. This is where that rainy-day fund comes in.
  • You’ve been relying on old-fashioned tactics like cold calling, telemarketing, Yellow Pages, etc.
  • Have you been avoiding online marketing like social media or content marketing because you find it overwhelming and confusing?
  • You haven’t updated your website since…. wait! You’ve never updated your website since it was created years ago.
  • If you have an updated website, you haven’t written a blog post in over a month… or is it over a year? Or does your site even have a blog?

Second, do you really understand your target market?

You need to clearly define and get to know your target market(s)….

  • What are their pain points (problems) that you, your product or service can alleviate?
  • Do you need to educate your target as to the benefits of using your product or service?
  • Do you know what your target market is going to enter in to the Google search box when they have the problem that you can solve?

What You Need to do to Jump-start a Business SlumpThird, is your online presence functioning as it should?

  • Are potential clients finding you? Where do you come up in Google search when someone searches for what it is that you do? Who does comes up on the first page? What are they doing that you’re not?
  • What are they doing when they land on your site? Do you have a call-to-action where you can capture their email address in exchange for an ebook or other giveaway?
  • Are you sending them a monthly newsletter to keep your name “top-of-mind”? Are you following up with marketing emails after they download the freebie?
  • Are your social media network profiles setup correctly and are they painting a positive image of you and your business?
  • Are you creating fresh content — blog posts, videos, graphics or podcasts — at least 3 times a week? Then are you sharing them on the social networks?
  • Are you actively engaging with potential clients and referral sources on the social media networks? Is your social media following growing steadily?
  • Do you have a strategic marketing plan to reach your target with today’s media?

“If you’re not adding new followers on social media, you’re not growing.” ~Mark Cuban

These are tough questions that need to be asked. Moreover, you need to come up with the right answers. If you have more “nos” or “I don’t knows” as answers, then you need to make some changes.

What You Need to do to Jump-Start Your Business

Never give up on a dream

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Top 10 Best Social Media News for the Week 12-30-16

The last week of 2016 was full of more 2017 predictions and “best of” compilations with regard to social media news, but I did find some valuable articles.

I love this little poem from The Story of Telling “Change Making”:

The story changes the value.
The value changes the perception.
The perception changes the experience.
The experience changes the outcome.
The outcome changes the customer.
The customer changes the story.

Are you telling stories in your blog posts? That’s something to think about!

Here are this weeks top Social Media News Posts:

  1. This week in Social Media NewsAre Selfies and Businesses a Social Media Match Made in Heaven? – Read the article before you go selfie crazy!
  2. While We’re Going After Fake News, How About Ad Scams, Too? – Be careful what you click on. If it looks too good to be true it usually is!
  3. How to Use Instagram Live Video – It was just a matter of time till Facebook added their Live Streaming Video feature to Instagram. Here it is!
  4. Do You Need Google AMP?  – AMP = Accelerated Mobile Pages. With Google’s “mobile first” focus for 2017, this may be something to consider.
  5. Google Shopping feed optimization: Speak your customers’ language and write more compelling product titles – If you have an ecommerce site – this one’s for you! Even if you don’t do Google Adwords, it has good tips on optimizing your product titles so they’ll come up in Google organic search results.
  6. Why Google shutting down Map Maker should terrify SMBs – This one is for local businesses with brick-and-mortar locations.
  7. Periscope (and Twitter) launches live 360 video broadcasting – In my 2017 Social Media Truths, I mentioned Facebook 360° video and now Twitter & Periscope has it too!
  8. Facebook and Twitter Ads: 3 Things You Need to Know – I usually advise folks to start doing social media marketing without doing ads, but if you want to get maximum exposure, this is something to consider.
  9. Desktop SEO VS. Mobile SEO [Infographic] – It’s important that you know your target market – do they use more mobile or desktop? It makes a difference!

Make 2017 Your Best Year Ever!

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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 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.

Free Phone Consult & Social Media Audit

Make yourself bigger to overcome challenges. Learn how to do SEO right.

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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Carve out the Time to do Your Marketing Successfully

When business owners — no matter what size their business is — attend one of my classes and discover how much time is involved in doing their own marketing, they say, “I don’t have that kind of time!”

I feel your pain. Not only do I have to run my business and do stuff for clients, but I’ve got to record classes, brand them, upload them, keep up with the latest social media news, attend networking events AND market my business on top of it all!

HOWEVER, If you don’t market your business EFFECTIVELY, how are you going to…

  • increase traffic to your website?
  • grow your email list?
  • become trusted and credible?
  • get on the 1st page of Google?
  • gain exposure?
  • build valuable relationships with your potential customers or referral sources?

You only have so much time in the day and 7 days in the week. Use your time wisely!

You MUST FIND THE TIME to do Marketing!

How much time you spend on social media is highly dependent on how tough your competition is.

Book your free 30-minute phone consultHere are some tips to help you do that…

  1. Use your to-do or reminder app on your smartphone or tablet when you get an idea. I was relaxing, watching TV and a great idea for a blog post popped into my head. I picked up my iPad and added it to my “Blog Post Ideas” list. The next time I’m wondering what to write about, I look at the list and check off a topic. I also have a secret board on Pinterest where I save videos and infographics I want to use in the future.
  2. Plan to spend some time learning. It’s going to take some time UPFRONT to get used to all these software programs. Remember when you learned Microsoft Office? There was Outlook, Excel, Word and PowerPoint. You had a learning curve. But, after you got used to them! Furthermore, by using them everyday, it takes LESS TIME for you to do what you need to do.
  3. Plan to spend extra time building your following. Especially if you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to spend 90 minutes a day for the first 30 days building your following. That is, searching for, following, greeting, posting, tweeting, connecting, etc. with your potential target market, influencers and referral sources. Once your following is built, and by this time you’re used to the programs, you should be able to manage your social media in less than 30 minutes a day, and it should take you no more than an hour to write a blog post, less if you embed videos or infographics. (And, by taking our Social Media Marketing Boot Camp, you can learn exactly how to do this!)
  4. If you’re going to an appointment and you know that you’ll be waiting for a while, check social media and the news on the mobile apps. When I was doing allergy shots, the doctor wanted me to wait 30 minutes to make sure I don’t have a bad reaction. Well, I used to take my laptop and in 30 minutes, whip out a blog post. When I got back to the office, I published it. (They didn’t have wifi.)
  5. Plan ahead. This week, I knew I would be at a conference for 3 days, so last Saturday, I wrote 2 blog posts and scheduled them to publish in the future. (As I’m doing with this one!).Blogger and copywriter service
  6. Schedule social media posts to go into the future. Use tools like HootSuite (Free up to 3 accounts then you can go to the [ad link] Pro Version) and TweetDeck (free to manage Twitter).
  7. Monitor your social media accounts and respond in a timely manner. Contrary to common myths, you DON’T need to be on social media 24/7! However, it should be working 24/7 for you, while you’re running your business (or sleeping! Yes, you still need sleep!) Unless you’re a big brand with lots of staff to do this, you need to see who might have a question, or most importantly a customer service issue. Nonetheless, determine what is important for you to know and set alerts for that – turn off all the others!
  8. Automate content from trusted sources. Using HootSuite (you’ll need the [ad link] Pro Version for this) or Dlvr.it (free to a point) you can automate articles and blog posts from influencers and industry sources. Use Feedly to find content that’s relevant or related to your industry.
  9. Prioritize. Obviously, your clients and customers come first as does your family and health. But, marketing your business needs to be a priority, too. Otherwise, your competition is going to leave you behind in the dust.
  10. Delegate or outsource. Even solopreneurs can’t do everything themselves. Oh, sure, you try. I know, I’ve been trying to do it all for 5 years. But, I realized that, especially when it comes to accounting, I’d better hire an expert.  If you have a staff, delegate marketing to your most creative person or people.

You can automate a lot of the content, but you still have to be social!

It’s like joining an association or a chamber of commerce – you get out of it what you put into it. You have to be active.

If you want to be successful in today’s social world, you’ve go to become “Social Savvy“!

Your customers are social savvy, isn’t about time you became social savvy yourself?

Where can you go to learn how to use the tools? Right here! Learn via easy-to-follow, online videos and resources, in a logical progression, that takes you step-by-step, through planning, research, blogging, and the social media tools that you need to take your business to the next level.

In the end, it’s whatever works for you! Just do it!

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That was then, this is now: The New Rules of Effective Marketing

What is “Effective Marketing”?

One thing for sure is that Marketing today isn’t like it used to be! People don’t want to be interrupted by ads or commercials. They’ll search for what they want when they want it. That being said, you need to be found when a potential customer is looking for what you have to offer.

the new rules of Marketing & PR

[Amazon Affiliate Link]

In his bestselling book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR, [Amazon affiliate link], David Meerman Scott lists the old-fashioned ways of marketing. They don’t work unless you have lots of money to spend and today’s effective marketing – what actually does work.

The Old Rules of Marketing

  • Marketing simply meant advertising (and branding). And sometimes even sales.
  • Advertising needed to appeal to the masses.
  • Advertising relied on interrupting people to get them to pay attention to a message.
  • Old-fashioned advertising was a 1-way communication: company to consumer.
  • Advertising was exclusively about selling products.
  • Advertising was based on campaigns that had a limited life.
  • Creativity was deemed the most important component of advertising.
  • It was more important for the ad agency to win advertising awards than for the client to win new customers.
  • Advertising and PR were separate disciplines run by different people with separate goals, strategies and measurement criteria.

The New Rules of Effective Marketing and PR

  • Marketing is much more than just advertising.
  • PR is for more than just a mainstream media audience.
  • You are what you publish.
  • Book your free 30-minute phone consultPeople want authenticity, not spin (or hype).
  • People want participation, not propaganda.
  • Instead of causing a 1-way interruption, marketing is about delivering content at just the precise moment your audience needs it.
  • PR is not about your boss seeing your company on TV. It’s about your buyers seeing your company on the Internet.
  • Marketing is not about an agency winning awards. It’s about your organization winning business.
  • The Internet has made public relations public again, after years of almost exclusive focus on media.
  • Companies must drive people into the purchasing process with great online content.
  • Blogs, online video, e-books, news releases and other forms of online content let organizations communicate directly with buyers in a form they appreciate.
  • Buyers want information in language they understand, not gobbledy-gook-laden jargon.
  • Social networks like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn allow people all over the world to share content and connect with people and companies they do business with.
  • In our always-on world, buyers expect instant 24/7 communications.
  • On the web, the lines between marketing and PR (and sales and service, too) have blurred.

Given all of the above, YOU as a business owner, needs to understand today’s marketing. If you are trying to attract new business, then you need to be marketing. Marketing is as essential as accounting for every business. No need to be overwhelmed by social media marketing!The problem is that the average small business owner is not a marketer, just like they’re not an accountant. (Unless you are an accountant, then you’re definitely not an expert marketer! It’s a left-brain vs. right-brain thing. Believe me, being a creative person, I hate accounting, that’s why I outsource that.)

So, what’s a small business owner to do?

Get Social Savvy!

I’ve designed my resources and classes so that the anyone can easily learn how to properly and effectively using the free tools that social media provides. Each resource and class goes in a simple, natural, logical progression. You learn not just how to do it, but comprehend why you need to do it. You also learn how to measure your efforts so you can see what’s working and not working. This allows you to adjust your strategies and tactics based on the data and be more effective.

I’ve used the word “effective” a lot because, what’s the use in being on social media, if you’re not being effective? If you’re not getting results?

It’s one thing to post on Facebook, but it’s totally different to market on Facebook.

The Social Media Success Startup Pack gets you thinking about…

  • defining your target market
  • where and how to find data and research on your target so you know where and how to talk to them
  • all aspects of branding including the psychology of color
  • learning the lingo of online marketing so you don’t feel like a tourist in a foreign country
  • planning your strategy and tactical marketing

Then, there’s the Social Media Marketing Boot Camp, which covers blogging and the basics of the social networks. (Boot Camp 102 is coming soon!)

Imagine amazing your competition by getting on top of them in Google search and leaving them in the dust!

Isn’t it about time you got Social Savvy? Start here!

Make 2017 Your Best Year Ever!

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Video: Marketing has to be a Priority for Your Business

Your business needs a good strategic marketing planWhat are the main priorities for your business? Is it getting new customers or clients? How are you going to get them? Cold calling is dead. Inbound Marketing is in! Marketing has to be a priority for your business.

In this Facebook Live video I explain how you need to carve out the time properly market your business.

 

SocialMedia marketing. Wednesday’s with the Wiz

Posted by Giselle Aguiar on Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Here is what you need to do to take control of your marketing:

  • Carve out the time to do marketing. If you need help, I recommend productivity coach, Margo Brown with Wave Productivity. She can help you be more productive so you can devote more time to marketing and getting more customers.
  • Clearly define your target market. Start by downloading the free Define Your Target Market Workbook.
  • Learn the culture of each of the networks so you know which ones will be the best to engage with your target
  • Set goals, objectives, key performance indicators and benchmarks that your want to reach
  • Put a comprehensive strategic plan together to help you meet your goals
  • Develop a tactical plan to implement the strategy
  • Monitor and measure monthly to see what’s working and what’s not working

You can either hire us to do this for you, or your can learn how to do it yourself in 5, 3-hour sessions of the Social Media Marketing Boot Camp.

Not sure what you need? Click here to schedule a free 30-minute phone consult and analysis of your website and social media efforts.

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Marketing makes your Small Business Successful. Do it!

learning social media marketing is like learning how to drive a car

My first car – a 1974 Plymouth Duster.

Unless you don’t need to get new customers, marketing is a crucial part of your business. In this Wednesdays with the Wiz Facebook Live Video, I explain the importance of marketing for a small business. I get it. I’m a small business owner myself. I’m busy running my business. However, you still have to make time for it.

Think of marketing as the oil that makes your car engine run.

You have to change it regularly so you car doesn’t die. You have to make sure it’s good quality so it doesn’t muck up the works. It can’t run without it.

 

Posted by Giselle Aguiar on Wednesday, March 23, 2016

I remember when I got my first car, my dad told me to always check the oil regularly. There’s more to owning a car than just putting gas in it. I feel bad for small business owners because I see so many of them making silly, stupid mistakes that are hurting their online reputation, wasting their time and money, and not producing the results they need. And it’s all because they don’t know what they don’t know!

That’s why I wrote this ebook: 216 Mistakes Small Businesses Make in Social Media Marketing. It’s a free download. Go get it.

Here’s a challenge:

If you find that you’re making 20 of these mistakes, then ask yourself,

Isn’t it time for you to start getting Social Savvy?

Check out Social Media Boot Camp 101! Easy, online video tutorials. Get started today!

Got Questions? Please write them in the comments below and I’ll answer in future blog posts.

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