Archive for online marketing

Why You Need to Use Categories and Tags in Your Blog Posts

What would you do if I told you that taking a few seconds to do something that will improve your search engine optimization, keep visitors on your site longer, increase your page views and decrease your bounce rate, you’d do it, right? I hope so. Taking just a few seconds to use categories and tags in all your blog posts will absolutely help.

Here’s why you need to incorporate categories and tags in your blog posts…

  1. Categories and tags are keywords. Google loves keywords. Especially those that are relevant to the nice fresh content that you’re writing. Those very keywords, you discovered from your research, your target audience is entering into the search box. Additionally, they’re the ones that will help you come up on the first page of Google when someone is looking for information on that topic.
  2. They help keep visitors on your site longer. When used, Categories and Tags appear on all your blog posts. When someone clicks on one of them, all the articles with that topic come up. Furthermore, it piques the curiosity of your visitor. The longer a visitor stays on your site, the higher the chances that they’ll do something, like convert into a lead or make a purchase.
  3. It decreases your bounce rate. The bounce rate is calculated by Google Analytics (you need to have this setup already). It measures how long a visitor stays on your site. If they land on your site and not see what they want, they’ll leave quickly – or bounce out. You don’t want that. Moreover, you want a bounce rate around or lower than 50%. That means if you get 100 visitors a week to your site, 50% of them stick around to read more than one blog post.

Where do I add Categories and Tags?

Categories and tags in WordPressIn a WordPress blog, they are over on the right column about halfway down the page. Choose no more than 3 categories. You can choose as many tags as are relevant to your blog article. Think of the category as the general topic of your post and the tags as the major keywords that you mention in the article.

Below Categories are the Tags. Add as many as pertinent to your post. Don’t over do it. Choosing these comes easier after you’ve done your keyword research. Always add your name and your company name to the tags. If you’re local, add your city. Think of different ways to say the same thing. Once you’ve used tags in more than one post, click on “Choose from the most used tags” and you’ll see a “tag cloud”. The ones with in the larger font are the ones that you use most often. Just click on them to add them. Saves a ton of time!

Another mistake I see people make is leaving “Uncategorized” as a category. This is an easy one-time setup fix.

WordPress Menu - Posts, Categories & TagsOver on the left menu, under Posts, click on Categories. Here you can add all the topics that you plan to blog about in advance. You can always add a category on the fly from the right menu.

WordPress Menu- settingsThen, on the left under Settings, Writing, find “Default Post Category”, and choose one of the most generic topics that describes your blog. This way if you forget to pick a category, it won’t be under “Uncategorized”. “Uncategorized” doesn’t help whatsoever – it definitely isn’t a keyword! If you have blog posts with “Uncategorized”, they’ll be automatically changed to whatever topic you indicate here.

When blogging regularly, at least weekly, and using categories and tags religiously in all your blog posts, you’ll start to see an increase in the number of page views per visit and a decrease in the bounce rate.

Have you been blogging and not using categories and tags?

You can easily add them to past blog posts by going to “All Posts” from the left menu. You’ll see a list of all your posts and columns for both categories and tags. Hover your mouse over the the post title and you’ll see links. Click on “Quick Edit” and you’ll be able to add the relevant categories and tags for that post. Click on “Edit” to open the full editing screen if you need to.

In conclusion, this is just a small part of what it takes to blog effectively. The easy-to-follow tutorials in the Social Savvy Solution Online Training Center will guide you through planning what to write about, how to blog on WordPress, how to get exposure and drive traffic to your website with social media marketing and how to see what’s working and not working each month.

For only $20 a month and you can watch all the videos at your own pace, at whatever time works for you! Cancel at any time, but you’ll see that the valuable update videos produced each month are worth every penny.

With time and practice, you’ll be blogging in less than an hour and managing your social media in 30-minutes a day! Yes, you can!

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How Not Blogging Weekly Hurts Your Reputation

The purpose of blogging weekly is to keep Google happy and attract new visitors to your website who will convert to leads or clients.

What does Google want? Google wants fresh, relevant content written for the human reader.

What do your potential customers want? They want answers to their problems, information, advice or to be entertained – and the want it now!

The last thing Google or a potential customer wants to see is that your last blog post was March of 2012. OK, you may not be that bad. But even a month old is too old.

If you’re not blogging? How are people finding you?

First, if you haven’t updated your site in years, it won’t come up on Google search. Over 83% of searchers are on a mobile device. If your site is not mobile-friendly and responsive, you absolutely won’t come up. Basically, the only traffic you’re getting to your site is from someone who clicked on the link on one of the social media networks or they have your business card. Too few, I bet. Or they Googled your business name exactly. Most all business will come up for their name. But if there’s another business with a similar name, and their content is more recent, they’ll come up first. Not good.

Now, lets look at it from the potential customer’s point of view.

Frustrated potential customer who can't find content because you're not bloggingLet’s say it’s an entrepreneur looking for a contractor in a specific city because she’s opening a new business. She goes on LinkedIn and searches for “commercial contractor my city”. She sees that the 2 folks that come up are not in her network. But, they have the links to their respective websites. The searcher clicks on the links and goes to the websites. Contractor 1 has a website that looks dated – old fashioned. She clicks on About Us to read about the company, who are they, how long have they’ve been in business, etc. Then she clicks on Blog. The last article was in 2012, just text, long paragraphs and no pictures or videos. Under Portfolio, there are pictures with no descriptions. You can’t tell where the projects were, how long it took to build, was it under budget?

This happy customer found content that helps in a blog.Over at Contractor 2’s site, there are high-quality graphics with their last 3 projects on the home page. Each are linked to a blog post describing each project in detail. At the bottom are tags and categories with links to other similar blog posts by type of project. The person seeking will look for articles about projects like what she’s planning to build. She thinks, “This company has experience doing projects like the one I’m planning. I’m calling them.”

Also on their site are testimonial videos showcasing recent projects from start to finish with the happy camper client opening the door of their redone place. Yes, like the “reveal” on those home improvement shows. Ah, but before the entrepreneur makes the call, she’s going to check their Facebook page to see if there are any reviews and updates. (The first company didn’t even have a Facebook page. Oh, my!) There she finds 5, 5-star reviews. She’s sold.

Wow! That took maybe an hour. Which is how long it should take you to write a blog post.

Blogging regularly builds trust and credibility. People buy from whom they know and trust.

What should you blog about?

  • Tell Stories – people like to identify with people in stories; use pictures of people like your target audience.
  • Don’t let this happen to you! Hypothetical situations
  • FAQs – anticipate what a potential customer will be asking
  • Industry news – careful with the industry jargon, though. Remember your audience is not the expert. You are. Write for an 11-year-old.
  • Offer advice, useful information
  • Blog about what you know

Get more ideas in the blogging and content marketing class videos as a member of Social Savvy Solution! For just $20, you can watch as many videos as you want. Cancel at any time. But, I’ll be sharing updated videos each month.

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How to Simplify Marketing that is More Complicated than Ever

How Often Should You Blog for Marketing Success?I just watched a webinar on “The Future of Marketing” (this link will take you to the slides). The first presenter, Mark Schaefer made me realize that the “marketing wheel” graphic I use to explain how today’s marketing works is obsolete. Ah, the challenges of keeping up with this stuff!

Before, you wrote a blog post, then shared it on the social networks. Ideally, your target market saw the post, was enticed to click on it, which led them back to your website. Well, that kinda-sorta still works, but it seems like the social media networks, predominantly Facebook, LinkedIn, and I’ll throw in Google+, want publishers to create content just for them. They want to be the content magnets. They want the attention. So your website isn’t the center of it all anymore — the social networks want to be your source of information.

How to Simplify Marketing that is More Complicated than Ever

Source: The Future of Marketing Webinar with Mark Schaefer

What’s up with the Social Media Networks?

The social media networks are in this to make money. They rely heavily on user analytics and data. Moreover, they make changes to their platforms based on that data.

Their objective is to…

  • get people on their platform
  • keep people on their platform
  • collect personal information (yeah, I know, Big Brother)
  • then take that data and use it for advertising

What you need to do in your marketing:

You can’t get around this. To quote the Borg, “Resistance is futile. You must comply.”

  1. Go where your customers are
  2. Focus on building awareness
  3. Give people a reason to go to your website

Because content and information are so readily available — between digital media and apps — people have what they need at their fingertips.

So what’s a small business marketer to do?

  1. Now more than ever you MUST start with narrowing your target market niches. Write up personas, give them names. Get to know them. How do they use social media? What devices do they prefer?
  2. Do some research. Once you’ve narrowed down the niches, you have to study their habits. Breaking them up in to basic age groups is the first key:
    1. Under 25
    2. 25-40
    3. Over 40
  3. What are their pain points/problems that you can solve? How can you make their lives better, easier, more fun, happier, etc.?
  4. Come up with the content that gives them what their looking for — blog posts, videos, podcasts, pictures. What you choose depends on the networks they frequent and what each age group prefers.
    1. Blog posts at least 300 words
    2. Videos that you upload directly to Facebook or Facebook live videos
    3. Short Instagram videos
    4. Short opinion, motivational, inspirational or advice pieces/text accompanied by a picture
    5. Original articles for LinkedIn — especially if you’re B2B
  5. Write this all down in strategic and tactical plans.
  6. Implement the plan
  7. Monitor and measure — check your analytics monthly to see what’s working and not working. Adjust your strategic and tactical plans accordingly.
  8. Plan for the next month – set new goals and benchmarks
  9. Repeat steps 4-8 every month.

By this point you’re probably thinking, “I can’t do this!” “There’s too much!” “I just want to quit!”

That’s why I created Your Social Savvy Solution SIMPLIFIED! Marketing made simple.

Your Social Savvy Solution Simplified! Marketing made easy!Yes, I added another “S”!

If you follow the steps, in that order, you will be able to reach your target market, draw them to your website and convert them into a sale. I outline everything for you. From optimizing your website and profiles for the search engines — both Google and the social networks — to strategizing for each network — to how to measure your efforts. Each step is covered in detail. Even how and where to do research.

Best of all, it’s affordable! Just $20 gets your started! You can watch the all the videos, download all the materials 24/7. Go at your own pace, in your own time. If you’re a morning person, get up early and watch a video or two. If you’re a night owl, watch them at 1am. Whatever works for you! The individual classes are around 15-35 minutes. Everything is in a logical progression. You can view the videos covering where you feel you need more help first then check out the others later on. You have full-access to all training materials.

What’s more, there are new, updated videos each month. As the networks add new features and change things around, I’ll record both presentations and demonstration videos explaining the changes, what they mean to you and what you need to do to adapt it to your business.

Face it. In this age of modern technology, you have to go at the speed of change or definitely get left behind. It’s your choice.

Join now, stop at any time.

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How Not to let Today’s Marketing Technology Drive You Crazy

Let’s face it, business owners, Marketing Technology (or MarTech to the techie folks) can get out of hand. What happened to the days when putting your shingle outside your store and an ad in the Yellow Pages (remember those?) was enough?

Take a look at the infographic depicting all the marketing technology choices out there in 2016:

You can click on it to view a larger image, but don’t go cross-eyed trying to make sense out of it.

How not to let today's marketing technology drive you crazyThis goes to show you the ridiculous amount of marketing technology choices out there.

You can’t be on all the networks all the time!
It’s impossible!

Here are 10 Logical Steps You Need to Follow to keep Yourself Sane in this crazy MarTech world.

  1. How not to let today's marketing technology drive you crazyClearly Define Your Target Marketing Niches – You can have more than one target market! But you MUST identify them. Start with this FREE Workbook.
  2. Do some research on your target, which social networks they use most often and figure out the best way to reach them. Create personas for each niche.
  3. Get to know your target audience. What do they like or don’t like? What are they looking for? How can your product or service make their lives better, easier, more fun, etc.
  4. Get to know the networks. Each one has its own culture. What works on Twitter doesn’t work on LinkedIn. Do you even have to be on Snapchat?
  5. Make a plan. Brainstorm with your team or a mentor. Work out some strategies on how to engage your target audience on the social networks. You don’t have to be on all the networks! Focus on the ones that your target market frequents the most.
  6. Make a content calendar. What are you going to blog about? What does your target audience need to know that will make their lives better…. etc.? (What’s in it for them?)
  7. Optimize EVERYTHING. Each and every description, about section, bio, web page and blog post must be optimized not just for Google, but for the powerful internal search engines that each network has.
  8. The first step towards getting somewhereTake time to learn. You can never waste your time learning how to do something better and more efficiently.
  9. Use it or lose it. Apply what you learn right away so you don’t forget it. Don’t be afraid to wander around Facebook or LinkedIn even Twitter and Google+. You’ll get faster and savvier, the more you participate and engage.
  10. Have confidence. As you learn how to properly and effectively use the social media networks to engage with your target; as you get more comfortable creating the content that your target audience wants to see, you will feel more confident with your marketing efforts and you’ll also start seeing results.

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That’s why I created Your Social Savvy Solution Members Only. It’s where you can go and get all the knowledge that you need, in a logical progression, to become the confident, savvy marketer so you can….

  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Generate more leads
  • Grow a following
  • Become an influencer
  • Increase sales
  • Get on the first page of Google
  • Be more effective

What are you waiting for? Special Introductory Price…. Learn More….

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Top 10 Best Marketing and Social Media News of the Week – 2-3-17

The social media networks are constantly changing and adding new features. It’s up to you to keep up with all these changes to be able to more effectively market your business. Your Social Savvy Solution Members Only club will help you do that without being overwhelmed.

Those of you who purchased either the Boot Camp/Master Class, will get the first 3 months free. Those of you who purchased the Startup Pack will get 2 months free. Watch for emails. Those of you who belong to SCORE, Local First Arizona, the Southwest Veterans Chamber of Commerce or another group and you can still use the coupon code and get 10% the monthly membership dues.

Here are this week’s 10 Best Marketing and Social Media News

  1. How to Stop Overthinking Your Content and Start Writing What Your Customers LoveDon’t Overthink It! That’s something I tell everyone who takes my classes. I had a client once who obsessed on getting the SEO to go from yellow to green and she called me in a panic. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be good content that your target market will want to read and possibly entice them to buy.
  2. What Should You Do if Someone Attacks You Online? – Unfortunately there are evil, nasty people out there who have nothing better to do in life than to be a pest and make our lives miserable. They are called trolls. Here’s some good advice on how to deal with them. Don’t feed the trolls!
  3. What if Super Bowl commercials were like digital ads? – This week’s “best news” would be incomplete without posting a marketing blog related to the Super Bowl.
  4. This might be Kellyanne Conway’s most ‘alternative fact’ yet – I check what’s trending on Twitter every morning. When I saw “Bowling Green Massacre” trending. I clicked on it thinking it was another crisis or mass shooting only to find that it was Kellyanne Conway who misspoke in an interview. She was trending #1 on Twitter for some time. This is a lesson in getting your facts straight and the power of Twitter to make or break someone’s credibility.
  5. Turning Your Social Media Connections into Clients – I get asked this question a lot. Here are some nice tips on how to do it without alienating anyone.
  6. Do You Know What it Feels Like to Get Hacked? – I do. My site was hacked twice in 2014. Worse that the trolls, hackers are evil and will hack a website just because they can. Some hack to steal email addresses, some for financial gain. In this day and age, if you don’t have anti-hacking insurance on your site like (ad link) Sucuri, you risk having to rebuild everything from scratch.
  7. Facebook’s Testing Out a New Tool to Help You Connect with Like-Minded Users – Oh, boy, is Facebook getting into the dating business?
  8. Online Content: Is Longer Really Better? – This is another challenge: how long should a blog post be?
  9. The 4 Ways to Keep Facebook Group Members Engaged – I’m considering a Facebook Group for the Members Only Club. No selling allowed. It will be to exchange ideas and offer suggestions.
  10. Why There’s No Perfect Time to Post on Facebook – So many “experts” dig through tons of data to come up with the best time to post on social media. It all depends on your business and your audience. The best way to find the best time YOU to post is to look at your analytics and insights once a month. The Analytics class (that’s already there) and the tools class (that will be available in the Members Only Club) will guide you on how to do this.

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Top 5 Best marketing and Social Media News of the Week 1-27-17

Only 5 social media news stories this week! That’s not to say that there is a ton of news out there, but I’ve been swamped with new projects.

  1. Facebook News Feed Algorithm: Percent of a Video Watched By Users Given Weight – If someone watches only the first 10 seconds of a video, what good is it? You have to capture the viewers’ attention in the first 5 seconds. Now more than ever. Moreover, you have to plan out all your videos.
  2. 3 Changes Coming to Facebook Trending Stories – What’s trending is important because sometimes you can ride on a trend’s coattails and gain exposure.
  3. MailChimp moves toward becoming a marketing platform with Facebook ads feature – Some of you regulars know that I use MailChimp (affiliate link) for my email program and automation. Now, they’ve added Facebook Ads to their service. Very cool.
  4. How to Prepare for Voice Search – “OK, Google…” “Siri, where’s the closest bakery?” “Alexa, how do you unclog a garbage disposal?” No matter your business, you want to be found when someone searches for what you have to offer.
  5. How to Write Emotional Headlines That Get More Shares – How enticing are your blog post headlines? They have to be appealing enough that when someone sees it, they click on it. Then the content needs to deliver on the headline. If it’s good, you have more of a chance your visitor will become a lead and that they’ll share it with their friends. Oh, don’t forget to have share buttons on your site.

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12 Branding Mistakes You Need to Stop Making Now!

One thing small business owners need to understand is that everything they do online: website, social media pages, Google listings, everything is how people see your business. I see so many business owners make the same Branding Mistakes over and over again. It’s like they don’t care.

It’s Your and Your Company’s Image that is at Stake! 

Some may say, “I do get some sales from the site.” How many are some? 1 a month? Imagine how many you could have if you had a good looking, functioning website with quality images, were blogging regularly and using social media the right way! It could go up to 1 a day or more!

Sure you want to save money by doing it yourself, but invest in some classes and learn how to do it properly and effectively. If you don’t take social media and online digital marketing seriously in 2017, you might as well close up shop.

Here are some of the top Branding Mistakes I see small businesses make.

  1. Branding mistakes: take the time to do it right the first time.Attempting to do it yourself without properly learning how to use the tools. Sure, you can post on Facebook, but do you know how to market on Facebook? You can use Word, but do you know how to use WordPressCreating a website might sound simple enough, but if you don’t do it the right way, it will all be wasted time and effort. 
  2. Not committing to social media long-term. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
  3. Not having a logo! It’s all about branding.
  4. Inconsistent branding. People need to know who you are and what it is that you do at first glance no matter where they find you.
  5. Ignoring your social media accounts. If you have a link on your website to your social media networks, you better be posting regularly! Nothing looks worse than after clicking on a link, I see the last post was months even years ago!
  6. Hiring an intern or student to do your social media marketing. Just because someone knows how to tweet or post on Facebook doesn’t mean they know how to market on Facebook. Whoever you hire to do your marketing, should know marketing first, then be familiar with the social networks, blogging, websites, content marketing, branding and how your particular target market uses each of the networks. Moreover, they should be able to come up with comprehensive strategic and tactical plans. 
  7. Not using an email address with the company URL for business emails. It looks more professional to use “yourname@company.com” rather than “yourname@gmail.com”.  And don’t use AOL! It really dates you!
  8. Not posting quality graphics. There are enough free graphics tools out there so there is no excuse for having fuzzy, cut-off or crooked graphics. 
  9. Putting social media follow buttons on your website that either go nowhere, to the main network page or go to an account that hasn’t been active in years. Don’t put follow buttons on your website until you are active in social media. It makes you look foolish. 
  10. Book your free 30-minute phone consultMaking it all about you. It’s about them – your target market. Serve don’t sell. Don’t just post your stuff! It’s not about selling. It’s about sharing. Share other people’s content that is of interest to your target market. They are thinking, “What’s in it for me?”
  11. Taking Shortcuts like buying Twitter followers or Facebook likes. These are fake accounts and definitely NOT your target market! Don’t do it!
  12. Not realizing that it takes time and effort upfront to build a following. Plan on spending 90 minutes a day on social media and blogging 3 times a week for the first 30 days while you’re building a following. Then you go into management and maintenance mode and based on your analytics, you’ll focus on the networks that are driving traffic to your site and where you’re building relationships.

    What You Need to Know About Social Media and Website Analytics

Your online materials — website, blog and social media — should encourage credibility and trust. Furthermore, they should entice and encourage your potential target to read more, click on a link to download an ebook or contact you.

Are you making some of these branding mistakes? If so, then you’re probably making more. Download this free ebook with all the mistakes I’ve seen out there! 

Are You Making These Social Media Mistakes?

 

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Top 10 Best Marketing and Social Media News of the Week 1/20/17

As I’m writing this, I’m watching Donald Trump be sworn in as our 45th President. As expected, in Social Media News, the Inauguration is dominating the social networks. Even on Twitter, @POTUS (President of the U.S.) and @FLOTUS (First Lady of the U.S.) has a transfer of power today. Former President Obama will be @BarackObama and Mrs. Obama will be @MichelleObama. Though Donald Trump will keep his @RealDonaldTrump account. He administration will be using @POTUS and the new First Lady will be using @FLOTUS. All of the prior tweets sent by these accounts will be transferred to @POUTS44 and @FLOTUS44 respectfully. @VP will go to @VP44.

Social Media didn’t come to be until after Obama first took office. He embraced it with doing Google Hangouts, Twitter chats and using other social platforms. Now, President Trump was already using social media mostly because of his TV show, The Apprentice. Moreover, he said recently,

“If the press were honest, which it’s not, I would absolutely not use Twitter. I wouldn’t have to.” ~President Donald Trump

He understands the power of Twitter.

NBC News reporter Kelly O’Donnell reports that transition officials say that while the administration will take control of the @POTUS account, Trump himself will stick to tweeting from his personal account. ~Mashable

And, he has a new secure phone!

Besides the Inauguration, here’s what I found in Social Media News this week….

  1. 5 Local SEO Mistakes to Avoid in 2017 – If you’re a local, brick-and-mortar business, you need read this. When someone searches for _____ “near me”, Google bases the result on the searcher’s GPS and the businesses’ listing on Google. If for whatever reason,  your listing is wrong, you will not come up in the search results! Go to Google My Business to check your location and make sure your listing is complete with relevant keywords and use pictures! If you need help with this, please schedule a coaching session.
  2. 5 Brands Doing Cool Things on Social and What You Can Learn From Them – Nonetheless, keep in mind that these brands have huge marketing budgets. However, strategies and tactics in social media and content marketing that work only need a little creativity and cleverness.
  3. Facebook’s Algorithm Invites Marketers to Step It Up: Here’s Why – Keeping up with Facebook’s algorithm changes (that is what comes up in user’s newsfeed) is a challenge. Despite that, we marketers need to keep up with it otherwise, everything posted on Facebook is wasted. Just posting stuff on Facebook at random or willy-nilly is not going to work. You must have a strategic plan for both content marketing and social media posts.
    Make 2017 Your Best Year Ever!

  4. 6 Reasons Why Your Landing Page Has a High Bounce Rate – A Landing Page is a web page used exclusively to promote an offer and convert a visitor into a lead. It is void of distractions like links to other pages.
  5. 6 UX principles marketers can’t afford to overlook – “UX” stands for “User Experience“. You have to see everything from your potential customers’ point of view.
  6. The Power of Geofencing and How to Add it to Your Marketing [Infographic] – One of my first clients was a restaurant in Chandler near the I-10. The owner asked me if there was a way to have a message pop on their cell phones when they were passing by on the highway. At that time, there wasn’t. Now there is. That’s Geofencing. “Geofencing is a location-based marketing tool that enables more active consumer focus.”
  7. What Is the Difference Between White Hat and Black Hat SEO? – I find it hard to believe that so many years after Google’s first algorithm change (Panda), there are still “SEO services” using Black Hat SEO tactics. It’s important that you, as a small business owner, know the difference. Otherwise, your website can suffer when it comes to SEO ranking! There’s a right way and a wrong way to do SEO. Make sure you do it the right way.

  8. 3 Ways to Find New Opportunities with Google Analytics – Google Analytics may seem daunting to some of you, nevertheless, it’s a very useful, free tool! It’s worth understanding how to use it.
    What You Need to Know About Social Media and Website Analytics
  9. 3 Reasons why you can Safely Ignore your Competitors’ Traffic Metrics – I remember a client once who was in a very competitive industry and she was obsessed with one particular competitor. I can understand how this can waste valuable time. Sure, you should know what your competition is doing in regards to how many blog posts they are publishing each week; how often are they tweeting or how many likes they have on Facebook. Focus on the customer.
  10. 3 Considerations for Increasing Engagement With Your Content – To effectively engage people with your content, you need to understand your target audience.

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Breaking News! Google Plus Events are Back!

Google Plus Events are back! As of January 24, 2017, Google+ is reinstating their events feature. Yay! When G+ rolled out their new look, events went away. Facebook was the only social media network who kept their event promotion feature. They figured they could get companies to pay to boost their events and it worked. LinkedIn, once upon a time, also had events and they went away also. You’d think that a professional networking platform like LinkedIn would give users opportunities to promote their events. Hopefully, with the new changes LinkedIn is making, they’ll bring events back also.

G+’s timing couldn’t be better because we’re starting to plan Greater Phoenix SCORE’s 2017 Symposium in April (more on that later!)

Along with events, Google+ is making some more changes. Apparently a lot of people are participating in Google+ communities. Similar to LinkedIn Groups, there’s a community for just about every industry and interest out there. What’s important is to find an active group where you can mingle with your potential target market and/or potential referral sources and influencers.

As noted in Social Media Today…

“Yes, Google+ still exists, and while it’s hard to know, for sure, how many people actually use it, as of the platform’s latest update last August, Google noted that more than 1.6 million people were still signing up to Google+ communities every day. That seems like a lot, but through the various audience breakdowns and analysis points, all the figures indicate that millions of people are still active on the platform. And Google likely wouldn’t support the product at all if usage rates were too low.”

The key is to find the active people who would be interested in your product or service.

Here’s what else is new on Google+: The old, classic Google Plus is going away.

  • Hiding nasty comments – they call them “low-quality” comments. I call them nasty trolls. Facebook has had this feature for some time. If you do want to see all the comments, you can.
  • Image Zoom – this is a nice feature especially for people promoting locations, photographers, and anyone who uses visuals. Google+ has always been a favorite place for photographers to showcase their work. Even amateurs.
  • Bye, bye older version – You have to get used the new version. In my opinion, they made accomplishing things harder. Actions that used to take one click to do, now take 2 or 3. Nevertheless, I’ve warned the folks who have taken my classes to learn how to get around the new version because the old one will, at one point, go away. And that will be January 24, 2017.

Like it or not, G+ is here to stay. Still, it’s power is in its connection to the Google search engine and SEO. However, if you can reach those millions of people who are on it with your quality marketing message, it’s going to help drive traffic to your site and get you on that invaluable first page of Google search.

The new Google+ is featured in our Social Media Marketing Master Class. These classes will be separated soon so, if you wanted to take one network at a time, you can. Watch your emails for the announcement.

 

If you’d like a 1:1 tour of the new Google+ to make sure you’re setup correctly, click here to book your time.

Change is tough, get over it!

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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.

Free Phone Consult & Social Media Audit
Be fearless in the pursuit of a functioning website!

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