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Uncategorized Weekly Tips

Inbound Marketing

Use the Power of Inbound Marketing To Unleash A Whole New Animal 

As more and more small businesses struggle to gain a competitive edge, it is becoming important to find a unique set of tools that can maximize the potential profit from every advertising dollar you spend. Forget about the old days of having to do direct mailing, expensive radio and television advertising and full-page newspaper ads. These have grown out of fashion. The Internet and its recent revelation of social media have unleashed a whole new animal that has affected small and large businesses alike – it’s called inbound marketing! 

When you consider that most direct mail isn’t even opened and the fact that most people skip TV ads to grab their favorite snack, you’ll begin to understand the power of inbound marketing as the marketing strategy for the 21st century. 

What Is Inbound Marketing? Idea

Why “inbound” you may be asking? 

The “inbound” has to do with reeling in customers to your company in comparison to going out and fighting for them. In this way, potential customers are already warmed up to the idea of buying your products and services. No need for hard selling! No need for begging! In other words, they want to hear more about what you have to offer. 

That sounds wonderful but how can all this actually be done? 

Inbound marketers take advantage of the latest technology of web 2.0 in order to thoroughly engage their audiences on the unique vision that their company offers. This is done with the use of blogs that publish high, quality content about their business or in the form of electronic white paper or webinars that can disseminate a large amount of info in a very short time. 

Furthermore, the use of social media in inbound marketing is used to create “buzz” and get people actively engaged, with the hope that they’ll share critical information about your company left and right in a way that it goes viral. Best of all, social media is free and there are now many tools that can allow you to manage all accounts from one location. 

Finally, SEO can be used to develop higher rankings for your company’s position in the search engines. This can be as simply as optimizing the tags of photos shared on social media platforms to complex strategies that involve PR outreach and relevant keyword research for your target market. 

With so many companies taking advantage of inbound marketing’s recent success, what are you waiting for? There is a wealth of opportunity available out there waiting to be tapped into and designed to maximize your profits, while leveling out the playing field for many small businesses.

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Weekly Tips

How To Reduce Your Bounce Rate

What is a bounce? A bounce is someone who goes to your website and leaves after looking at the first page.  A good bounce rate depends on several factors, but a rule of thumb is that under 50% should be your first goal.  You can find your bounce rate in Google Analytics under Audience Overview.

I see several sites with bounce rates in the 90’s. This is very bad.  That means that 9 out of 10 visitors take a look at your landing page and leave without doing anything.

In this session, I am going to show you the first and most effective way to decrease your bounce rate by creating a Value Proposition.  Here is how to do it:

ValueProp2

  1. Get a Super Graphic – The first part of the value proposition is a great graphic. This graphic should be something that is related to what you are selling, so the visitor gets a clear picture of what the website has to offer.
  2. Create An Attention Grabbing Headline – Make a great headline consisting of 7 to 13 words. Five times as many people will read the headline over the copy.
  3. Answer The Three Questions – Make sure your headline and the following paragraph answer the three questions:
    • What is it?
    • Who or What is it about?
    • What do I get?

    These 3 questions should be about what you are offering, not about your company.

  4. Write a 2 or 3 Sentence Paragraph explaining the headline – Once you have their attention, explain the headline in a little more detail.
  5. Have 3 Bullet Points – Make 3 bullet points about the best benefits you can think of for your product or service. For some reason 3 works better than 2 or 4 or more.
  6. Create An Opt In Button – Now that you have made your pitch, create a way for the visitor to continue into the sales funnel if they are interested, with a nice button to click.

Here is an example of a very successful Value Proposition we did for Little Turtle Golf Club.

Capture

By creating a good value proposition, your visitors will get a clear picture of what your website and company are about, and the interested ones will be more likely to contact you or buy your products online.

If you can decrease your bounce rate from 90% to 60% that means you will get 4 times more people interested in your products or services.

 

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Fun Graphics Weekly Tips

Redesigned Site?

Cool info-graphic from Sprout.

How to Redesign Your Website Without Losing Traffic or Sales
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout
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Web Tools Weekly Tips

Google Places

Are you using Google Places or Google +? You should be. I assume you would like your business found.  I bet you would like them to visit your website.  I think you might even like them to contact you.  Maybe, buy your product or service?  Well, it all starts from finding you.  More people search online than ever before.  It’s just so easy.  “OK, Google”  Find me “……”.  “Siri” what’s the best place to shop for “….”.  You don’t even need to be at a desktop computer anymore, if you have a smartphone, it’s on you at all times.

Between your smart phone, tablet, desktop or laptop, it’s rare that you don’t have a readily available answer to the question or be able to search for the product you need.  But if you are the one selling it, could you find your product (without typing in the exact product or business name)?  If you answered no, then how is anyone else going to find you.  One of the easiest ways to get you started is something anybody can do themselves.  Add your business to Google Places. Here is the current way to do this.  It’s changing all the time so the details could be slightly different, but you should still be able to accomplish this fairly easily.  If not, don’t worry we can help.

This consists of 3 steps:

  1. Submit your information, from basic contact info to photos and video.
  2. Verify the listing by phone or postcard.
  3. Wait for the listing to appear on Google. Verification will take up to two weeks

To  Get Started: Go to http://www.google.com/business/placesforbusiness If you have an account “Sign In”  (If you don’t have an account  click “get started for free” and set up an account.)

    1. On Google Places homepage, click Add new busines
    2. On the “Find your business” tab, search for your business by phone number to see if Google already has information about your business. Select the country of your business location from the drop-down.
    3.  Enter the phone number of your business listing.
    4. Click Find business information.
    5. Review the search results, if any, to see if one of them describes your business.
    6. If none of the results are related to your business, you will be prompted to add business information on the Edit Details page.
    7. If none of the results is your business, click Add a new listing. You’ll be prompted to add more information on the next page.
    8. Fill out the basic information about your business. This includes:
    9. Company/Organization: This is the official/registered name of your business. Some businesses may be located within a mall or a container store, which is a store that contains another business. If your business is within a container store or mall, and you’d like to include this information in the local listing, specify the container store in parentheses in the business name field. For example, Starbucks (inside Safeway).
    10. Address (required): The address should look exactly the way you’d write it on a standard mailing envelope. If you are a service-area business, you’ll be able to hide your address in a few steps. We recommend listing suite numbers in Address Line 2.
    11. Phone Number (required): Be sure to include the area code with your phone number.
    12. Website: Your website URL can be a maximum of 255 characters.
    13. Click Next.You’ll now have the opportunity to provide the following information about your business:
    14. Categories: Enter several categories to describe your business, to make it easier for others to find when they search Google. Google will automatically suggest categories as you type. Make sure you choose one Google-suggested category before adding customizable categories. You can enter up to 5 categories for your business.
    15. Hours of operation: Select your hours of operation using the dropdown menus. If would prefer not to specify your hours of operation, keep the radio button selected next to “I prefer not to specify operating hours.”
    16. Payment options: Select the checkboxes next to the payment methods that your business accepts.
    17. Photos: Use the photo uploader to add a photo from your computer, or specify a URL to add a photo from the web. You can add up to 10 photos to the listing. Photos will appear in order of greatest size and quality. To learn more about adding photos, check out the User Guide.
    18. Video: To add a video, upload it to YouTube and copy and paste the URL to the listing. You can add up to 5 videos to the listing. For help with uploading your video to YouTube, read the article on how to upload a video in the YouTube Help Center.
    19. Additional details: Use this section to add custom information fields to the listing. For example, parking availability, or whether your business allows pets.
    20. You can preview the listing as it will appear in Maps on the right side of your screen. New information will appear in the preview as you enter it. When you’re satisfied with the listing, click Submit at the bottom of the page.
    21. Choose how you would like to verify your listing and click Finish.

Once you’ve submitted your business information, you’ll be asked to verify it before it goes live. There is even an Android App that helps you keep your account up to date.   CHECK IT OUT

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Weekly Tips

Using Pinterest for Content Marketing

It seems Pinterest isn’t just for recipes, crafts, decorating and DIY.  If you aren’t using Pinterest to promote your marketing content, you need to start thinking about it.  Why?

Pinterest:

  • In 2 yrs surpassed 10 million users –
  • Capable of driving more referral traffic than twitter
  • Pinterest users are twice as likely to interact with brands than people on Facebook

Tips for Pinterest

  • Write unique quality content- Seems article pins are the new big thing
  • Very important : Add visually appealing images. It’s the first thing people will notice even if you are pinning an article. Make the image descriptive and relevant to the content
  • Pins do show up in Google searches

Just like other forms of social media Pinterest may not be for all businesses.  Do a little research and see if Pinterest can work for you

(For a little more information check out this blog article. http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/pinterest-announces-rich-pins-for-articles-nj

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Weekly Tips

Looking for Ways to be More Productive?

I came across a great Infographic by Anna Vital in Entrepeneur.com with tips on how to get more out of your day and increase productivity.  Some of these tips may apply to work, some to home and some to both.   I hope some of these will help you get more accomplished in your day.

  • Do the easiest things first
  • Tune out the news
  • Visualize your end product
  • Spend less time on trivial things like what to wear
  • Learn what to ignore
  • Know the 80/20 rule. What 20% of work produces 80% of result?
  • When energy is low, take a nap
  • Prioritize one item per day
  • Visualize the end product
  • Discard what you stop using
  • Manage anxiety by running, dancing, working out
  • No meetings unless they are decisive

Last and most importantly,

  • Treat time as your money!

Start with one or two of these tips and see if they help you get more productivity out of your day.

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Weekly Tips

How to Use Business Cards to Promote Your Business

Do you think business cards are an outdated marketing tool?  According to an article on Manta and the comments by readers the answer is no.

There are a lot of reasons these little, dependable, easy to carry cards should not be forgotten.   Let’s face it.  Wherever you are, using business cards are a personal way of giving potential customers your information.  It makes it easy for them to get back to you.  In this age of technology we have lost the personal connection with people.  Having something tangible to pass out that is eye catching and attractive, will be memorable.

Here are some TIPS for business cards:

  • Design should be colorful, eye catching and compliment your website.
  • Paper should be high quality. Glossy cards will stay cleaner but people won’t be able to easily jot notes on them.
  • Use an easy to read font size and color.
  • Don’t put too much information on your card to where it looks cluttered and hard to read.  Include the basic contact information, names, phone numbers, fax, email etc.  Also include your logo and tagline /catchphrase.  Nowadays it’s not unusual to see a photo on a business card to help people put a face to the business.
  • Order a sufficient amount to cover a few months.  As your business grows and changes some of the information you want on your business card may change too.  You should also change the design every so often especially if the design and or colors of your website change.
  • Lastly, triple check all the info.  Who wants a bunch of business cards coming back from printing with incorrect information?

Think about business cards as adding “Spice” to your marketing plan.  Small, Personal, Informative and Cost Effective, business cards are still a great way to reach out to prospects and leave a reminder of your brand.

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Weekly Tips

Using Testimonials As A Marketing Tool

What do clients think of your business?  Customers research businesses and look for reviews of those businesses. Having testimonials on your website and on your google places or yahoo local listings can attract new clients. Think about it. If you are researching two companies who are competitors, one has rave reviews on their website and listings and the other doesn’t, who would your first choice be?  Here are some tips for testimonials.

Tips for Testimonials

  • Ask Permission
  • Put full name and contact information of the person providing the testimonial
  • The testimonial should be the customers own word
  • Add their picture if possible
  • General testimonials are good but a specific testimonial about what your company did for them helps customers understand what results they will  get by working with you

Testimonials add credibility and help show trust.  Take time every once in a while to ask ‘satisfied customers” if they would mind writing a brief review of how your company helped them solve their problem or helped them achieve or surpass a goal. It may just help a  potential customer to “take action”.

 

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Weekly Tips

How to Turn Customers into Leads

On the contact form ask prospects to provide only information that will enable you to quickly follow up.

Small contact forms with only 3 fields convert at a rate of 25% (Quick Sprout)

Organize your leads so you can follow up quickly.  The quicker you follow up the better your chances of  reaching that person.

Follow up within an hour with great cusomer service.  This will help you keep prospects coming back.

For prospects who have not completed a purchase, send them company news, a promotion, or information on a new product or service.  This will increase the chance they come back to you when they are ready to buy.

Be attentive to these leads.  It may result in 45% more in ROI. (Marketing Sherpa)

Do follow up!

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Weekly Tips

Tips for Setting Business Goals

If you are running a business, learning how to set business goals is important to your success.

Use the SMART process for creating goals.

Specify, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time

1. Set clear definable goals that are achievable and stick with them.

2. Write them down.

3. Don’t Procrastinate.  Identify a specific goal, and with short term plans that are steps towards the larger goal, set a deadline to accomplish the goal.

4. Monitor and track your progress.

5. Use programs like Microsoft Excel to set up spreadsheets and keep track.

6. Reward those who have worked to achieve the goal.  It could be a financial incentive, a day off or at least a sincere thank you.

Having goals and tracking your progress will give you a better chance of success.