Solopreneurs – 5 Tips How to Manage a Startup from Home

The dream of working from home has transformed over the years from a trendy dream shared by many to a realistic work option for many. In fact, it is now an increasingly common way for everyone from remote workers and freelancers to entrepreneurs and others to work and earn a living. As a solopreneur, you may benefit from working in the comfort of your own home on a daily basis rather than in a stuffy corporate environment filled with bothersome distractions. You can also save time and money each day by eliminating a lengthy commute from your schedule.

However, regardless of whether you are running a side business, launching a major entrepreneurial project or pursuing other career goals out of your house, you need to manage your home office strategically to promote optimal growth and success.

1. Get the right digital tools.

There continues to be a benefit in jotting down ideas on a notepad and making lists on a whiteboard, but the use of the right combination of digital tools should not be overlooked as well. There is now a wide range of apps that are designed to promote success in a work-from-home environment.

Freelancers and remote workers can explore apps and tools for assistance with everything from time management and financial management to remote team activities, copyrights and more. It is wise to try out a slew of apps to learn more about how they can benefit you and assist you in overcoming your challenges. However, refine your use of them to a handful so that you can maximize their benefits fully.

2. Show what you have with a great landing page.

If you are a solopreneur trying to launch a side business or a primary business, you need to have an amazing website that your consumers can explore at their leisure. The website should have a well-designed landing page that clearly states what your business is about, and it should not be vague or misleading in any way. The entire website should be created with easy navigation in mind.

Remember that users who are confused or frustrated by a website will likely click off of the page. More than that, it should provide your target audience with a convenient way to communicate with you and to get the information they need about your company and its products or services. Make the content SEO-rich to boost search engine rankings, and add taglines as needed for maximum benefits.

3. Manage your home office like a corporate one (but also like your home).

One of the biggest challenges you may face when working from home is finding a home and work-life balance. Set up a home office that is dedicated to professional activities so that you do not impose on the comfort of others who live in the home. This can also help you to minimize distractions when working from home. Your office space should be comfortable and have a dedicated area for your professional activities, ample lighting and numerous power sources for all of your equipment.

While you may be busy with work activities daily, keep this space as neat and organized as possible to promote efficiency. It is also wise to complete seasonal maintenance on this space, such as by conducting a thorough spring cleaning and checking all wires for fraying and other safety hazards. With the right setup for your home office, you can boost your productivity and efficiency level tremendously.

4. Use social media to strengthen your brand.

As a modern solopreneur, you have access to exceptional tools and resources that your predecessors did not have access to, and there are numerous benefits associated with the proper use of these resources. Social media marketing is one of the top resources that you need to use to strengthen your brand and communicate with your target audience in a cost-effective way.

Select a few of the top social media platforms to focus your attention on, and pay attention to the platforms that your target audience is most likely to use frequently. Use your social media presence to communicate regularly with your audience in a meaningful way that adds value, and encourage them to communicate with you in a two-way fashion to establish a loyal following. You can easily develop your brand and even expand your reach to a larger target audience without a huge marketing budget when you use social media marketing effectively.

5. Build brand loyalty by giving away freebies.

After you have a rather large number of followers on a few relevant social media platforms, consider the benefits of giving away free things to your target audience periodically. These may be actual gifts or digital items, such as an e-book or a free tutorial. People love to receive free things, and this can help you to develop incredibly loyal consumers with relatively minimal effort. When used effectively, your freebies can even create demand for your products or services. This can increase your profitability and overall success in the years to come.

Running a successful business from home can be challenging, but you can see that there are strategic steps that you can take to promote great results from your efforts. Regardless of whether you are a freelancer or you are starting a much larger business out of your house, you can easily act on these tips today to enjoy a more functional and productive work-from-home experience.

Jeff E. Brown, freelance writer

Jeff E. Brown is a freelance writer, self-taught lifehacking teacher, DIY home improvement specialist, owner of two happy dogs and a barbeque master. He loves learning through experience and writing about all the cool things he has learned since he moved out of a compact apartment into a comfortable house. You can reach him @jeff8rown

5 Simple Tips To Up Your Content Marketing Game

A content marketing campaign is crucial to any business trying to make a name for itself in the online world. Content marketing has become so prevalent that over 90% of small businesses now employ it as part of a broader marketing push. That means that today it is not enough to create content, one now needs content that is of the highest quality and greatest relevance.

Many people are finding that achieving their desired goals is more difficult than they thought and some are flat-out failing with their content marketing strategy. Thankfully there are many tried and true methods to not only improving your strategy but to achieving long-term success as well.

Listed below are the top four ways to improve your content marketing campaigns.

1. Refine Your Strategy

When you created a content marketing campaign, you probably (hopefully) set out with a strategy for implementing it. Unfortunately, most people fail to realize that a strategy is not a one-and-done prospect. It requires the flexibility to change and adapt.

A good strategy begins with identifying key performance indicators (KPIs). A KPI can be anything from a view ,to a share, or even a conversion – as long as it is something you can track. These KPIs could, and perhaps even should change over time.

Once you have a refined strategy with set expectations, you can begin testing what content works, and what doesn’t. There is no single method of creating killer content (no matter what anyone might tell you), so trying different things until you find the one that works for your business is always necessary.

2. Stop Underestimating Cost

If you’re like most businesses I have consulted, you expect the world at the lowest cost possible. Unfortunately, companies that are not willing to spend the money necessary for a successful content marketing campaign usually don’t see success.

When it comes to marketing you get what you pay for. Writing is not a science, yet many businesses treat it as such, hiring anyone who claims they can create effective content. Finding the top content creators is as important as finding the best person for any other position at your company.

All of this is worthwhile in the long run, as generating leads through content is actually less expensive than it is through traditional marketing techniques.

3. Promote Your Content

On the internet, the phrase “If you build it, they will come” does not apply. It is not enough to create an optimized website and write content. You have to work hard to promote it as well. Of course, great content generally gets rewarded by search engines, but even the best content needs a boost. With so many ways of promoting your work, there is no excuse not to.

You may start out by including it in an email newsletter to your subscribers. Your base is your most reliable source of views, so always cater to them first. Next, make use of all social media channels, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Google+. Even the most minor of online mentions can boost your content.

Finally, pitch your work to others. Influencers are usually happy to share great content and other site owners are always looking for some new ideas to share. The best part about content promotion is that everyone benefits from the cycle of sharing.

4. Implement Systems Instead of Goals

Most businesses create lists of goals that they wish to achieve when considering a marketing campaign. These can be anything from aiming to get X number of site visits every day or hoping to earn X dollars in a single year. This style of thinking, especially when it comes to content marketing campaigns, isn’t always best, however.

In his book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, Scott Adams discusses the benefits of creating systems instead of goals. He argues that systems are more effective at creating lasting results than goals, which are fleeting and limit your output. After all, if you have an endpoint, you will work only to achieve that and nothing more.

Adams also happens to talk about his personal content creation process. When he first began, he treated the process as a kind of research and development. He wrote on a variety of topics, in a variety of different tones, and analyzed which garnered the best response. He continued to build on the content that worked and his style eventually got him so much attention that publishers and publications sought him out.

Adams understood that had he set out with a specific goal in mind, he would not have had the opportunity to feel around for his own personal voice and command the respect and response that he eventually received.

5. Listen to Feedback

One of the best ways to find out how effective your content marketing campaigns are is to simply ask your audience. You can do this simply by adding a comments section to your blog and opening yourself up to constructive criticism. You can also analyze your data.

Analytics provide an unspoken testimony about what your visitors truly think. Do they spend time reading your content or do they bounce quickly? Is your content converting or are you targeting the wrong audience? It’s easy to figure this information out if you approach the data wisely.

Finally, keep an eye out on your social media posts. It’s important that your content be packaged differently for each platform and that you understand the desires of your followers on each one. Feedback in the form of likes and comments can go a long way in helping you shape your message.

6. Curb Your Expectations

Content marketing is not the end-all solution to your company’s success. It is just one of many strategies you should have in place. When used as a supplement to your overall online marketing plan, it can be very effective, but many people have extremely high expectations – especially in the beginning.

It is important to remember that you are competing with hundreds of other companies just like yours. Even minor results are great results, however, and every view counts. Just because your site isn’t bringing in millions of visitors, doesn’t mean your campaign isn’t providing you with worthwhile outcomes.

Always remember to keep things in perspective, be grateful for your successes, and remain flexible with your plans. Using these four methods, your content marketing is sure to take you places.

Author: Brandon David is the founder of Website Builder Insider. Although he didn’t receive any formal training, he has dedicated most of his time to becoming an authority on everything web related. When not online, Brandon is most likely eating, sleeping, or doing something else to maintain his unhealthy addiction to the internet.

List of Tips for SEO Workers

SEO is becoming more and more important for websites and businesses, seemingly on a daily basis. With constantly changing guidelines, there’s so much to consider all the time; it can be difficult to keep on top of things. However, whether you’re searching online for a definitive source of information or asking your colleagues, it seems as though everybody has a different idea on what’s more important and what the basics actually are.

In this article, we’ll explore and define a vast number of tips and tricks that can help you to improve your SEO knowledge and techniques, helping you to become one of the most effective and efficient SEO workers in the industry!

Patience is Key

SEO practices are equally about you as a person as it is about how much knowledge you have. Once you’ve optimized the keywords in a web page or article, you won’t instantly see millions of readers once you hit the publish button. SEO is about the long game. This means being patient to see what results come from certain techniques before panicking and changing your strategies before they’ve had a chance to work.

Never Stop Learning

With over 200 SEO criteria set by Google alone, SEO is one of those industries where you could easily learn something new every day. Be open to this ability to learn. In fact, you should embrace it and try to learn something new every day. When you have the time, commit to online SEO courses, read books on the industry and read articles written by some of the leading people in the industry. The more you know, the better you’ll be.

Page Warren, Marketing Manager for Best Australian Writers, explains;

Despite the overwhelming demand for SEO workers, this is still an incredibly competitive industry. You need to be on top of your game if you want to be the best. By keeping your knowledge of current SEO practices up to date, you can be sure that you’re always one step ahead, allowing you to maximize your opportunities by doing the best job you can”

Master on the Basics

Despite what every SEO worker says, there are some basics that you’ll need to practice ensuring your website’s SEO ranking can be the best it can be. You’ll need to learn how to create XML site maps, refine your URLs so that they’re SEO-friendly as well as constantly researching the best relevant keywords for your industry. These are all essential techniques that you should be using already. If you are, ensure you master your practices, so you can complete them effortlessly without wasting too much time.

Your Website’s Content is Your Lifeline

Whether you’re working for a blog, a website, a business or for yourself, content marketing is vital. If you don’t already write blogs or source blogs from external sources, you need to start, now. This will effectively generate leads of your website as well as increase your SEO ranking. You need to make sure all your content is of the highest quality possible and is 100% unique while applying the correct keyword density to each post. The same applies to your static page content.

Utilizing Social Media

Social media is bigger today than it ever has been before and this will continuously grow with time with no end in sight. However, from an SEO worker’s perspective, you need to use these platforms wisely. Whether you’re sharing content on your website’s page or using the integrated marketing and advertising tools, do your research before you start spending money. Most successful sites have completed prior research and have become successful on a very limited budget because they were precise and targeted properly.

Use Tools

Even if you only practiced the tips and tricks mentioned above, there simply isn’t enough hours in the day to complete it all, let alone all the other practices you should be implementing and completed. Whatever aspect of SEO you excel in, concentrate your energy on that. For the other jobs, research, download and invest in other tools that will help to make your job easier. Whatever aspect of SEO you want to complete, you can be sure there are endless tools out there that can help you to complete that task with ease.

Optimizing the Website

This is an essential SEO practice that many workers implement at the start but never return to. Optimizing your website is considered by some to be the most important element to building a high SEO ranking. At the start, your website may run fluidly and flawlessly. However, once you begin adding content, videos, images, plugins and extra pages, it won’t be long before the website begins to slow. Take time out each month to complete a thorough deep clean and optimization of your website, ensuring your users will never have to wait around while the website loads.

7 Do’s and Don’ts of Email Signature Marketing

Did you know that every single day, approximately 144.8 billion emails are exchanged? And what’s more mind-blowing is that 84% of this mails end up in your spam folder. Don’t you think this kind of makes it obvious that many people are totally unaware of the aspects that are accountable for great marketing strategy?

You may think nobody even notices an email signature but the smartest online entrepreneurs will tell you otherwise.

It is more than just a decoration, an email signature is your identity to somebody you want to build a professional collaboration with and who knows simply nothing about you.

In fact, reports have shown that successful email marketing campaigns can garner 4300 percent ROI. Below, we will discuss 7 do’s and don’ts that’ll help you reach your marketing goals.

Do Find a Good Layout: This is the first and most important step for creating an impressive email signature that’ll promote your business. A good email signature should be informative and neat.

What information you’d need to put in the signature will depend on the kind of business you are promoting. Remember that everyone is a fan of simplicity.

So, keep the information to-the-point.

Don’t Clutter It with Too Much Information: There is absolutely no point in using an email signature to write your autobiography. If you overstuff your signature with truckloads of links and information, that would be a major turn-off for your potential clients.

The chances of anyone opening the never-ending list of URLs in your signature is too less.

Do Include Social Media Links: 21st century is all about making your presence felt over the web and social media platforms have leveled the ground for everyone. If you or your company has no presence on social media, people will find your business shady. That’s plain psychology.

Adding Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin links to your signature will help you generate more traffic and most importantly, your business will be talked about, that’s the goal, right?

Don’t Use Multiple Fonts and Colors: Minimalism is in vogue right now. Treat your email signature like a signature only, it is not a medium to show-off your graphic designing skills.

In order to avoid making the design overly complicated, limit the number of color palettes in the signature and always use only one type of font.

Using the same font you use for writing the email for the signature as well gives it a nice touch of professionalism. Choose a type and size of font that’s easy to read, e.g. Ariel, Calibri, Tahoma, Verdana, Gill Sans and a few more.

Do not use Comic Sans at any cost because you wouldn’t want to come across as an unprofessional, unserious business person, would you? To make the design clean and eye-catching, again, opt for the minimalist approach.

A pro tip is to take inspiration from the colors present in your logo. This will help your clients and users connect to your brand more effectively.

Do Include Your Blogs: Including your blogs, Podcasts, Webinar in your signature is also a smart marketing tactic in the digital era. If you keep adding fresh content on your blog and hyperlink it to your email, the recipients will get an easy access to new content and will keep coming back for more.

Don’t Use Personal Quotes Unnecessarily: If you’re promoting a serious business, you have to create a solid impact on the email recipients. The best way to do is include information related to the brand only. Using personal quotes, unless you are a globally recognized celebrity, would be over-the-top and kick of tacky as well.

Do Keep the Font Palette Small: Previously, we spoke about keeping the color palette small, now we will talk about the importance of keeping the font palette even smaller. The whole point of chalking out an impressive email signature is to increase brand awareness.

Using different fonts for highlighting different texts would make it look like school project of a student who ran out of materials to write about. If you want to get a flexible typeface that can be customized according to your liking, the internet has a plethora of options for you.

Don’t Add Long Disclaimers: Inserting a long disclaimer in email signatures is a very common mistake people make. Now you might argue that it’s better to be safe than sorry. Well, sorry to pop the bubble here.

No legal advisor will ever tell you that email disclaimers hold any weight. Its function is strictly limited to just annoying people.

Do Use Dividers: Use dividers to keep the contents of the signature organized and maintain a strong hierarchy. Full-bleed dividers will help the most important pieces of information in your signature like Name, Contact Info highlighted so that they readily capture the attention.

Don’t Jam It with Social Media Buttons: This might counterintuitive to our suggestion to use your email signature as a medium to general more traffic to your social media pages. Having said that, overdoing anything in an email signature has more demerits than otherwise.

Tailor your signature according to your target customers and the brand. Use maximum 4 social media buttons (use icons instead of URLs) to keep the space uncluttered.

Do Use Professional Headshots: Using a headshot instead of a full body photo (do not use selfies) is another tip you must follow to create lasting impact on the recipients. Make sure to look professional in the photo, dress in formals and keep the hair well-groomed, look directly at the camera and pose against a not-so-flashy background.

Headshots are best of email signatures because it highlights your face and as the image size would be small, it will take less time to load.

Don’t Use Too Many Images: Once again, let’s stick to “the lesser, the better” policy. Including too many images in the signature can make the emails end up in the Spam folder. Limit it to maximum 2 images. The pictures you choose should be relevant to the service you’re promoting.

Do Make the Signature Mobile-friendly: Everyone has smartphones these days and the number of people opening emails from their phones is ever-increasing. Did you know that 48% of the total mails delivered everyday are opened on phones. That’s something to take note of.

To kickstart a successful email signature marketing, you have to pay attention to the scale of your design. For small screens, you need to optimize the size of the logos, images, shorten the long website links and email addresses. If you are going to use a wide logo, make sure to use a vertical template.

Don’t Overcrowd with Too Much Content: As you might have already remembered by heart now, less is more when it comes to designing a cool and catchy email signature. Including irrelevant content like quotes and sagas of your achievements will only backfire.

5 Digital Marketing Mistakes to Avoid as an Ecommerce Business Owner

Running an e-commerce website is probably the most straightforward and barebones way to make money online. You effectively set up a shop and try to sell as many products as you can while adhering to the vast majority of rules that have governed retail business for millennia.

One huge part of running a store of any kind has always been marketing and in the e-commerce world, the majority of it will happen online. Unfortunately, many e-commerce business owners believe that digital marketing is nothing special and that anyone can just pick it up. As a result, they end up making mistakes that undermine their business and any positive marketing efforts they make as a whole.

Today, we will look at the five most common and harmful digital mistakes you have to avoid as an e-commerce business owner.

1. Going At It Alone

This is something that has already been hinted at in the introduction, but it is such a massive mistake that it needs to be talked about some more. Namely, due to an enormous number of “digital marketing experts” that write collective tomes online, many e-commerce business owners think there is no skill or expertise to digital marketing.

They start following half-baked advice from a self-proclaimed guru and they end up wasting tons of money on various digital marketing practices that do nothing for them.

There is a reason we have digital marketing agencies and people who make a living from it. They know how it works, they know the numbers, and they know the best ways to accomplish certain goals. Even if you are not planning on doing anything spectacular marketing-wise, it is still a good idea to consult a digital marketing expert or agency of some kind to do an audit of your website and recommend a few practices down the line.

2. Ignoring SEO

Search engine optimization is still surrounded by an aura of mystique and, for some people, it is still a half-tolerable practice that is used by people who wish to “fake” the results in search engines. E-commerce business owners who happen to think this way will soon find themselves in all kinds of trouble, if for nothing else, then because everyone else is doing SEO.

SEO has become an integral part of the online existence of any business and for e-commerce websites, it is perhaps even more important than for others due to the brutal competition online.

All SEO efforts should start from the website itself – getting the right domain name, setting up an SEO-friendly sitemap, being careful with meta descriptions and alt tags, using robots.txt file to prevent indexing of duplicate content and more.

Some e-commerce website owners also invest in paid Google and social media ads, while others go the content marketing and link building way. The important thing is not to ignore SEO and to at least incorporate some basic smart practices.

3. Neglecting Email Marketing

Email marketing has become undeservedly maligned some time ago, probably because most writers still see it as this outdated, ancient method that goes to spam and is of no use.

In reality, every digital marketer understands that email marketing still gets the job done, at a certain steady rate, providing a solid return on investment that can be easily tracked and that allows for simple tweaks to make it even more efficient.

Besides a proven track record and a certain stability, email marketing has also become far more versatile than it has been in previous years. For example, it is now used to increase customer loyalty, to reward oldest customers, to reduce customer churn, to retarget customers who didn’t make a purchase and much, much more.

It is also important to point out that people actually want their favorite stores to send them email updates, as opposed to being bombarded by salesy stuff on social media where it feels intrusive.

4. Misusing Social Media

Social media is not ad space. The sooner everyone realizes this, the better we will be off. People tend to filter out the vast majority of promo material on social media, especially if it is done half-heartedly and without any tact.

Unfortunately, this is the way most e-commerce businesses do it.

Social media is about interacting with customers and potential customers, allowing them to engage with your brand and become more than just people who spend money on your products. Many e-commerce companies even use social media to provide customer service and help out their customers as quickly as possible.

Of course, you will be promoting your company and your products along the way, but it should never be the primary reason for your social media presence.

5. Falling For Hype

If there is one thing you should definitely avoid as an e-commerce business owner, then it is falling for various iterations of digital marketing hype. The reason why a certain practice or idea gets hyped to oblivion nowadays is that new stuff attracts clicks and everyone jumps on the bandwagon, from website owners to writers to aforementioned “digital marketing experts”.

And while these overhyped practices and ideas have their use in certain situations and for certain companies, they are almost never something that can be transplanted to just about any company on the web.

Before you get swept up in the latest digital marketing craze, stop and think long and hard whether it makes sense for your e-commerce store. For instance, account-based marketing, a perfectly effective B2B marketing technique will have absolutely no sense for an e-commerce store.

Be critical of new ideas. Do not be crusty or dogmatically negative, but make sure you have vetted every idea properly.

How to Make Your Business Blog Look More Professional

Your business blog has a lot of important jobs to do. You want to use it to establish your business as an authority in its niche, to keep in touch with current and future customers, and turn your readers into buyers. In order to do that, you need to have a blog that inspires trust. Your followers deserve a clean, professional looking blog. You’re trying to win them over, and how much care and attention you put into your blog just might be the most important factor in that process.

Choose the Right Color Scheme

Colors are more important than a lot of people realize. If they’re all mismatched, a cohesive theme is lost. If your blog is mostly black and white, it may look poorly maintained. Certain color schemes evoke certain feelings. Colors should match your brand and be consistent throughout your blog. You want enough contrast between your background and font colors in order to make the blog easy to read. Navigational features should be colored to stand out, and areas of interest should pop against plain content.

Improve Your Graphics

If you’re relying heavily on things like stock images and text tables, your readers are going to notice. You need custom graphics. For blog posts that feature a lot of information, it’s worth translating some of that information into an infographic. Since most people are visual learners, you want to make sure you’re paying enough attention to the visuals they’re getting. If you’re not a graphic designer, you can always hire one on Gumtree to refresh the graphics you currently have and generate new ones for posts.

Make Navigation Simple

You want your readers to click around on your business blog. The longer they’re there, the more interested they are in what you’re doing. If they can’t find the rest of your content, there’s no reason for them to stick around. Make sure your blog is highly organized. Get rid of clickables, widgets, and features that add no value to your blog. Keep your menus sleek and simple, and make sure all of your navigation is optimized for mobile. Since about half of your blog’s traffic will come from smartphones, you need to be sure everyone can use it.

Have a Thorough “About” Page

Who is behind your blog? How are your readers to know that you aren’t some lonesome guy or gal camping out in a basement? Make sure your “About Us” page features valuable information about your business. Let them see addresses, phone numbers, and contact information. Feature short profiles on the employees responsible for running the blog. It shows that you’re committed enough to what you do that you’re willing to put your name on it, and reinforces the concept that you’re all real people. This is great for both trust and professionalism.

Be Careful With Ads and Clutter

Blogs that are littered with advertisements, whether they’re for your own products and services or general ads placed for revenue, often translate as eyesores. If you have a lot of junk all over the place, your blog might seem less like a valuable resource and more like a clickbait scam. If you want people to take you seriously, you need to be very careful with your advertisements. If your readers feel like all you care about is making money, they’ll lose sight when it comes to the value you actually provide.

Always be willing to accept feedback from your readers. Make sure you’re active in the comments section. If they don’t like the way something looks or works on their blog, they’ll probably tell you. Be a good listener, and be willing to make improvements when your readers suggest them.

As part of a small marketing team, Margaret Austin, likes to write about digital marketing trends and anything that helps entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. She’s interested in photography and modern art.

Why Your Campaign Never Works Out The Way You Plan

You’ve been there, and you’ve felt it before. Your marketing campaign has failed – yet again. Even though the budget was large enough, and you did everything right, it turned out that final result is well below satisfactory.

If you want to be on top of the game in the fast-paced world of digital marketing,  it is of utmost importance to constantly adapt to new trends and changes. However, if you want to get in and stay in the game, there are a few basic rules you must abide to avoid most common mistakes of digital marketing campaigns.

Your plan isn’t solid, and you lack focus

Charging blindly into the battle will most likely result in utter obliteration of one’s armies –  unless they have an overwhelming force, that is. Similarly, unless you are equipped with ‘out of this world’ budget, choosing to start a campaign without the proper plan will most likely result in a failure.

Your digital strategy should embody your brand, include your audience, and have clear, measurable goals that focus on your business growth. However, the most important part is budget and finance managing – a thoughtfully planned and well-executed campaign can easily outperform lazy, mass-media ad buys.

Once you’ve made a solid plan, you have to maintain the focus and stick to it. First of all, invest your time in areas that will bring you quick and measurable reward. Only after that, you can turn to long-term goals, which should bring you the success of greater magnitude. The key component here is persistence, so keep your eyes on the prize and maintain focus at all costs.

You are setting unclear goals

Before you even start you need to know two things: what exactly you want to accomplish and how to make sure you’ve successfully achieved your goal. Therefore, sit your team down, set right expectations, consult your budget, and get cracking.

Goals of every campaign you launch should be realistic, no question. However, to determine if your campaign was a success or failure, you will need to measure it up against a certain metric. Choosing it is entirely up to you, but it may be nice to mention the most common ones:

  • Was the budget breached?
  • Did we reach the targeted audience?
  • Has our audience taken any desired action and in what manner?

Choose audience and numbers by taking a look at the past campaigns and reanalyzing them once again. Also, do not forget to make “from start till the end” timeline, as it will be crucial for determining milestones and deadlines.

You don’t know or care about your audience

If you are selling toy dolls, targeting middle-aged men would be absurd. Similarly, you will not try to sell a set of kitchen knives to 12-year-old children. Knowing your audience is the first place to start in building your digital marketing strategy. Without a clear understanding of their needs, it is very likely that your entire strategy will crumble. Also, your audience is constantly changing and evolving, so you may have to make minor or major shifts in your digital strategy.

So you have to take into consideration which your specific audience visits social media platforms. It is highly unlikely that 50-year-old man will have a Snapchat account just as a college student doesn’t necessarily visit LinkedIn that often. Trying to engage with users on every app available is hard (almost unachievable), so knowing your target audience and then utilizing the proper social media platforms to engage with them is a base for the success of your social media campaign.

Finally, respect them. If you are going to bombard them with email, make sure that all links included are working. If you are going to opt for coupons, make sure they are valid when your customer reaches the checkout site of your online store. As a marketer, you need to regularly walk through the customer acquisition and engagement funnels, and try to spot any errors or inconsistencies that confuse customers and prevent them from completing their purchase.

You are old fashioned and inflexible

Marketing is changing rapidly and constantly. Adapt or perish.

It’s simple: pre-internet marketing will never be applicable online. So if you are old-school marketing expert who thinks that 1980’s handbooks are still viable, then you are probably going to have a bad time. The fact of the matter is that people behave differently on the web than they did with the media of the past. The internet provides them with more control, choices and accessible information than ever before, so TV and Radio ads simply do not have the same impact. When it comes to digital marketing, it is all about pinpointing the right audience and targeting them with the right content at the right time.

One more mistake that old fashioned marketing managers make is forcing the single “Right” message across all channels. Yes it is less work, and yes it costs a lot less, but it is a lot less efficient. Modern market is incredibly diverse and fragmented, so campaigns should rely heavily on data and take multiple angles in the product advertising approach. The formula is simple – different information for different types of buyers. Most people you are trying to reach care for no one but themselves and their needs, which is why they became masters to shutting out everything that isn’t relevant to them.

You are keeping your team and clients in the dark

Leading a campaign should be a team effort. It is an endeavor that requires careful project planning and diligence, not only from you but your co-workers as well. Also, you are doing it for a client. That client could be the company you are working for or an outsider who hired your team for a ‘one time ride’.

Each stakeholder is essential for the campaign to function properly, so keeping any one (or worse everyone) in the dark is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Why? Well simply because your team members may be able to offer you creative suggestions which you didn’t even consider. Also, they might recognize opportunities you missed. Don’t do everything yourself – you don’t have to. Make a centralized platform for your team, gather ideas and delegate tasks. If anything, you will be more productive. If you opt for the right tool, you can include your clients as well, thus making client management issue a non-issue.

To conclude, a successful marketing campaign requires a lot of planning, communication, coordination, and flexibility. So plan well, set clear and attainable goals, mind your audience and include all stakeholders in campaign development. It may be difficult at first, but you can rest assured that over time these mistakes will become a thing of the past.

Here’s How to Make Your Boring Company Blog Interesting

Blogs succeed when they publish content that people find useful and entertaining. Knowing this, you want to make your business come alive and seem both interesting and fun. Unfortunately, not every business has a business model that naturally captivates the masses.

Already, you know that a blog can help you establish your firm as an authority in your industry. Through it, you can also pitch your products and inform your market about related issues and events. Still, earning something more than a “ho-hum” from the online public might seem almost impossible. You can change that.

Your blog can humanize your brand and give it personality. In fact, it can pleasantly surprise your readers by piquing their interest and stimulating their minds. Even better, people might find that your blog helps them solve problems while enjoying a fantastic customer experience.

Of course, talking about having an exciting blog sounds great, but making it a reality for your company might take hard work. Regardless of whether you need to revamp your existing blog or start a new one from scratch, here’s how to make your company blog interesting enough to increase your market share and boost your profits.

Blog’s Design: Make Content The Focus

Blogs of practically every kind crowd the Internet, so standing out requires a fabulous design that features the high-quality content that you produce. In light of your need to put your brand in the spotlight, make sure you keep advertisements away from your text and avoid inserting ads in the middle of your posts.

In the first place, your design communicates your priorities. When people see that your advertising is of secondary importance to your commitment to delivering value to the community, they will naturally reward your brand as they shop. In fact, creating an outstanding experience requires visually appealing text with short paragraphs, bold points, and fascinating images.

 

The Best Blog Content Answers Customer Questions

Make sure that everything you publish meets the real-life needs of real people. When you do this, you give people reasons to continue visiting your blog and keep up with your brand. Moreover, you create a reputation of having a company that first gives to others and later reaps rewards in the form of sales.

Your blog should also give people confidence that you stand behind every sale by answering questions that people have about your products and services after they buy. Needless to say, accomplishing this will require careful planning and creativity. Begin the job by developing an intimate knowledge of your ideal customers and finish it by addressing their questions and challenges.

As you display your expertise, make sure that you encourage conversations. If you do, people will visit your blog to participate in the community to get the latest updates and to leave comments and contributions that increase the value of your site.

 

Keep It Simple

You and your team have expert knowledge of your products and services as well as your industry. In the light of this fact, you should refrain from creating content that only experts can understand. In other words, the use of jargon and insider terminology on your blog can become a problem for new shoppers and prospects.

Make your blog interesting without sacrificing quality by conversing with your audience as you would with a friend. In the event that you cover difficult concepts, break them down into manageable chunks to keep readers engaged. Additionally, you can tell stories about real-life experiences that can build rapport with your audience and simplify your message.

Another way to keep your blog simple is to publish a series to deliver in-depth coverage of complicated topics. To begin with, this avoids discouraging visitors with lengthy articles that seem to never end. Furthermore, such an approach keeps visitors coming back for the next part of the series.

Increase Engagement

What is the purpose of your blog? Ultimately, your blog exists for the purpose of connecting with your audience. Making that possible, however, requires you to create a transparent aura to which people can relate. For example, you can talk frankly about the issues that have challenged you and your firm and how you overcame them.

If you operate a manufacturing company, you can use your blog to present prototypes of your product ideas that people can view online and then offer their feedback. As a result of your solicitation for feedback, you can gain valuable advice for creating a winning product while giving your audience a sense of purpose and value. When you increase engagement, you set your company apart from competitors who secretively develop products and expect customers to conform to their designs.

In addition to soliciting feedback, you can use your blog to post client interviews so that prospects can learn about the efficacy of your products from real-world accounts. To add to the engagement effect, you should also consider giving your blog visitors advance access to your new products and services. In summary, everything you do to improve audience engagement will help you build a loyal following that can lead to sustainable revenue growth.

Use Visuals to Complement Your Text

Plain text can cause weariness for the eyes and dull the mind. After all, endless lines of words can become tedious. Knowing this, why not create a diverse array of content types? A picture can indeed convey a thousand words.

Connect visually with your audience by incorporating visual content including videos and photos to communicate your message. Sometimes, especially in cases that involve complex ideas and complicated products and services, an infographic can accomplish more than a thorough text-based discourse.

Think about convenience in addition to effectiveness while contemplating visual content. Nowadays, people are busier than ever and need to quickly assimilate the information they need. Knowing this, when you answer their questions visually, you save them the time that a written article would require. Moreover, if you provide audio content such as a podcast, people can listen to your content while they do something else.

Final Words


Even if you operate in a boring, mundane industry you can find ways to intrigue your audience. In fact, some products are so boring that no one would ever predict that you could make them interesting.

Rise above audience expectations by creating content that meets the real-world needs of your audience. Additionally, when you present your message in simple ways, you make your products and services easy for your new prospects and customers to understand.

Now that you know how to make your boring blog interesting, get to work! Interact with your audience, communicate visually and watch your sales and profits soar.

Author Bio

Heather Redding is a tech enthusiast and freelance writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is a coffee-addict who enjoys swimming and reading. Street photography is her newly discovered artistic outlet and she likes to capture life’s little moments with her camera. You can reach Heather via Twitter.

7 Harmful Mistakes Businesses Should Avoid on Social Media

Businesses have discovered the power of social media and have flocked to popular social networks to attract leads, pitch sales, and service customers. Despite their concentrated effort to connect with audiences via social sites, only a few businesses have thrived there.

All things considered, improper approaches to social media provide the best explanation for failure. Unlike some conventional thinking, companies cannot achieve success only by opening accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other venues. In fact, a successful social media strategy takes a lot of work.

If you want to achieve great things using social media, you must have realistic expectations and invest your time, money and effort in ways that will contribute to your goals. Additionally, you should learn to avoid making the following seven harmful mistakes on social media.

1. Making Aggressive Sales Pitches

Some businesses assume that social media exists as a channel for promoting products and pushing sales. Even though you can at times announce promotions and make special offers on your social media profiles, too much of that activity will turn off your audience and cause your reputation in the online community to fade.

As you avoid making the mistake of constant advertising, remember also to avoid bragging. Rather than constantly hyping your products and showcasing the excellence of your brand, focus on building relationships. If you make people feel important and create value for them, they can become enamored with your business and have reason to choose you over your competitors.

2. Bombarding with Messages

In the first place, you should remember the difference between creating value and becoming a nuisance. In contrast to the many social media failures of the companies who bombarded their audience with incessant messaging, try to take it easy. As much as you want to get noticed on social networks, you should always ensure to post content in moderation.

By all means, you should create valuable content that solves problems and improves lives. As you go about your work, however, make sure you always make your content interesting and diverse: from insightful articles to short and funny reminders. Always create fresh content rather than sending out repetitive messages that can quickly bore your followers.

3. Being Too Passive

Moderating your use of sales pitches and restraining the number of messages you send on social media should never keep you from having an active social presence. Such a mistake goes on display countless times when companies create a Facebook page only to leave it idle, hoping for people to discover it.

Actively engage your audience by maintaining a lively interactive presence. Such an approach requires a lot of time, so make sure you enlist the help of your staff. Also, you should respond to every comment and feel free to share fun content such as jokes and memes that your customers might enjoy.

4. Ignoring the Community

Your effort to engage social media users should help you avoid the common mistake of ignoring the community. In contrast to firms that only use social networks to publish information, your business should create a two-way street where you and your followers routinely converse and share content. When you talk to your fans and socialize, you give a human touch to your brand.

Even when businesses create meaningful dialogs on social media, they sometimes fail to leverage the full value of their audience. How to achieve the latter? For example, you can actively solicit feedback from customers to learn about their experiences. Doing so helps your brand appear transparent and sincere while supplying you with a stream of information that can help you better serve your customers.

5. Poor Customer Care
Speaking of customers, successful firms have discovered that social networks provide a fantastic channel for customer service. Never make the mistake of ignoring their comments, especially when they come from dissatisfied customers. Rather than allowing customers to feel unimportant and ignored, make sure you promptly address their concerns.

Even when people say embarrassing things about your brand, you can use the situation to display your dedication to customer satisfaction. Furthermore, as the world looks on, you will earn their trust by demonstrating that you stand behind every sale. As a matter of fact, news of your excellent service will quickly spread.

6. Acting Like a Robot

Make your brand come alive by letting your personality shine as part of your brand. People want to connect with other people on social media. Notwithstanding, many companies use a robotic tone on social networks and create a mechanical, sterile aura for their brand. You can do better! Allow yourself to use humor, emoticons and casual speech as you interact with others.

Above all, make you and your brand approachable. Do this not only by avoiding arrogance but also by making friendly gestures and sincerely communicating your feelings. Of course, you must always stay vigilant because you never want to say anything offensive or behave flippantly. In other words, stay professional, but personable at all times.

7. Lack of Grammar Skills

Repeatedly, companies that attempt to use social media hurt themselves through their writing. When you write with improper grammar and fail to spell words properly, you communicate a lack of professionalism. So spend the necessary time to proofread your content to make sure it reflects positively on your business.

Poor grammar can also cause social media failure when you produce video and graphic content. The greatest message in the world can quickly become the subject of ridicule if the messenger comes across as either ignorant or uneducated. Knowing this, make sure that everything you post to social media communicates competence, professionalism, and confidence.

Conclusion

In summary, you can use social media to grow your business, but doing so requires you to learn from the mistakes of others. By working hard and ensuring that you create both a personable and professional image for your firm, you can build profitable relationships and a stellar reputation for your brand.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Helen Eagleton, a freelance blogger from Boston, follows topics in the realm of education, technology, digital marketing, and business in general. When she’s not researching for her next article, she enjoys watching documentaries and exploring the nature. Reach her @eagleton_helen

Top 7 Free SEO Tools for Small Business Owners

Search engine optimization involves a lot more than just keywords and XML tags. Effective SEO requires market research, competitive analysis, coding, evaluation of website analytics, content marketing, and converting visitors into customers or followers. Choosing the right tools is the key to accomplishing all the work needed for competent SEO. Fortunately, many of these tools are available for free:

1. Google Analytics

This is the most powerful weapon in the arsenal of SEO professionals. All it takes is a few lines of code implemented into a website to unleash a treasure trove of insights about visitors, their actions on your website and their preferences.

One of the best features of this tool is the vast amount of learning and training resources available to beginners and advanced users alike. The free version of Google Analytics is powerful enough to be used by Fortune 500 companies; the premium version has, even more, features that can be used to fine-tune SEO, content and website layout strategies.

2. Google Search Console

Similar to Google Analytics, this tool is a must-have for website administrators, SEO practitioners, and internet marketers. Previously known as Webmaster Tools, the Search Console can be used to see how Google crawls and indexes a website so that improvements can be made.

One of the most powerful features of this tool includes the Disavow Link option to eliminate negative inbound URLs. Another useful function is the crawl report, which lists errors that should be corrected to improve page rank and search engine visibility.

3. Google Keyword Planner

Another fantastic free tool offered by Google; this one is actually part of the AdWords online advertising machine but it can be freely used to conduct keyword research and to analyze search trends.

It is important to remember that the estimates given for monthly search volume may not be accurate, particularly since Google intends to get users to launch AdWords campaigns. Nonetheless, this is a great tool to evaluate longtail keywords. Since the Keyword Planner is plugged into Google Search Insights, users can trust that their research will be current and congruent with ongoing search trends.

4. Moz Open Site Explorer

One of the most important aspects of modern SEO is to cultivate good backlinking practices, which can be greatly augmented with this tool by Moz, a very respected name in online marketing.

The ranking of websites by domain authority is very useful not only in terms of pursuing inbound links but also to get ideas on potential content and layout strategies. The Site Explorer determines the keywords that are actually working for websites based on visitors and content, thus allowing administrators to work on increasing the authority of their pages.

5. MozBar

This abbreviated version of Open Site Explorer provides a lot of functionality in a single browser bar. With a single click of the Moz button, the bar provides users with Domain and Page Authority metrics according to various search profiles that can be customized to account for the geolocation of the searchers.

With the MozBar, search profiles can also be changed with just a couple of clicks to learn more about the browsing and searching habits of audiences in other countries. With the premium version of this tool, users can also view the keyword difficulty for any search term or string, and they can also investigate the page optimization options related to specific keywords.

6. Yoast

Hands down, this is the best SEO plugin for WordPress websites. The best way to use Yoast is to install it at the same time the website is being created. By doing so, website administrators will be able to create the global metadata necessary to start publishing and optimizing.

Once new pages or posts are ready to be posted, the Yoast plugin examines the content and structure to issue SEO recommendations based on a traffic light scheme of red, yellow and green. Content creators who use Yoast regularly will notice themselves becoming more proficient in terms of creating blog posts, articles and new pages that are truly SEO-friendly.

7. SEMRush

This is the tool recommended by SEO professionals for advanced keyword research. The powerful features of SEMRush are intuitive and easy enough to use for the benefit of small business owners and website administrators who handle their own SEO.

For many users, SEMRush will feel as the only tool they will need for their online marketing needs. Users can access keyword intelligence for any website to learn how frequently those terms appear in search queries every month. SEMRush integrates with the SEOBook and SEOQuake products created by associate developers. The free version of this tool allows a few searches each day; with the premium version, users get more insight and freedom to explore more keywords.

In the end, becoming proficient with SEO requires some research to learn the basics followed by constant practice that can be accomplished by regular use of the tools listed herein. Small business owners who master the use of these tools will be well on their way to staying ahead of their competitors.