In a time where people are becoming savvier, what may have worked 2 years ago, isn’t always effective today.   For example, in the “good old days” (about 18-24 months ago,) when it came to search, most people relied on Google.  If someone was searching for your product or service, they would go to Google, type in what they were looking for, and either find your product or service—or not.   rubik cubeBut now, the market has shifted. Google isn’t the only thing people use anymore.   In fact, Stathunter just revealed that for the first time Google dropped below the 75 percent mark for search marketshare. And now that Yahoo is the default search engine for Firefox, they are gaining even more marketshare, growing three times in the past three months. So while Google is still King, Bing and Yahoo now make up just over 26 percent of the search market.   This does not even factor in things such as social media marketing which has become a hot trend to add to the mix, especially Facebook marketing.   So the truth of the matter is that the search marketing environment has evolved and converged. The relationship between marketers and consumers has become more complex.   I will say that one place Google still reigns supreme is when it comes to emergencies and impulse buys. For instance, when your kitchen sink is backed up and you need to find a plumber, Google is people’s #1 go-to source.   Google paid search can also increase impulse buys. For instance, including reminders of specific holidays such as Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day or showcasing deals relating to your consumers’ search results can trigger fast purchases.   However, in the current market, most businesses can’t rely on emergencies and impulse buying purchases alone.   So if your business typically experiences a longer buying cycle or your customers typically do more research, then to get the sale, you need more than just Google search. You need additional communication touch points across multiple channels that can be seen on multiple devices.   In fact, according to Google’s ZMOT, “the average consumer engages with 18.2 pieces of online content before making a final purchasing decision.” And Marin Software predicts that 50% of Google searches will be done on mobile devices by December of this year.   I’m witnessing this happen with my clients too. For example, one of my clients used to kill it with PPC on Google only.  When his results started to decline using methods that had always pulled well, we began testing some new marketing for him.  

Your New Winning Strategy

What I found was that using a combination of strategies that included PPC, remarketing, display ads, Facebook ads, Youtbe ads and Bing ads did the trick. We also made sure that his ads could be viewed on mobile devices, desktop computers, and tablets. This new combination out pulled his former model.   For your business, it might be that you need PPC, remarketing, direct mail, Youtube and Facebook.  I can’t say for sure within the space of this article as it depends on your target market, the length of a typical sales cycle, and a number of other factors. But what I can say for sure is that the market has changed and it requires a more sophisticated marketing strategy if you want to cut through the noise and get the best return.  

Three Key Takeaways You Can Use In Your Business Right Now:

  1. It is no longer enough to rely on a single channel for all your marketing. You must diversify and combine multiple marketing channels if you want to stay on top.
  2. Examining your target audience, their behavior patterns and preferred marketing channels, will help determine which marketing channels you should test first.
  3. Your ads and content must be mobile, tablet, AND desktop friendly as consumers are doing research and making buying decisions across multiple devices.
Standing still and continuing to market in the same way you have been is dangerous. Keep up with what is working and what isn’t. Test new strategies. And keep your marketing a moving target so you’ll never be left behind.   If your marketing isn’t pulling what it used to or if you want to avoid a decline, contact me for a free consultation. I can help you determine what is working for your particular product or service and target market and help you decide what to test first.   Here’s to your online success!   Yours Truly,   Eric
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 | Posted by | Categories: Facebook, local marketing, Other - Advertising & Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Small Business, Social media |
SEO Do you realize that if you manage your website, SEO tools, and pay-per-click tools, you can literally have as many leads as you want from your website? I assume that a website should convert approximately 5% of the viewers to doers, taking some kind of action that you want them to take. So, all we have to do is make sure the website does convert viewers to doers, and then we make sure we’ve got the right amount of traffic arriving at the website. All quite manageable. Today, we’re mainly talking about how to get the traffic to your website through Search Engine Optimization, SEO.   One of the crucial factors in marketing an online venture is search engine optimization. With so much of competition around, it has become one of the most important processes. You can find a number of search engine optimization companies that offer quality SEO services for your online/offline businesses. An SEO marketing company not only offers you with online marketing services but they are also responsible for the web development, search engine ranking and pay per click advertisements etc. Your ranking on search engines is an important factor for developing your online business. Therefore it is very important to hire a web promotion and marketing company for effective and efficient marketing of your business.   Before implementing the optimization plan, they need to show you a test version so that you can see the working and can suggest for any changes if there need to be any. They need to have a proper link building plan as it is a very critical ingredient of SEO which, if done properly, will give you long term results. This is not the end as they need to give you quarterly or monthly reports also on the progress of your Search Engine Optimization. As an addition to this, some search engine optimization companies also give an offer to expand the search engine optimization by adding more keywords based on the day to day changes in the market.   Use these search engine optimization tips to develop a strong campaign and increase your ranking in search results. You should stay up to date with new search engine optimization strategies since search engines often look for ways to update their methods.   This is where Search Engine Optimization comes in. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, refers to a set of practices and methods aimed at improving your visibility in search engine results. It does this by improving the ranking, or position, your website gains in search engine results in relation to other pages that compete with your own.   Search Engine Optimization technique can build traffic by achieving high ranks on search engine result pages. But, you have to follow strong strategies of SEO to display your website on top result pages prominently and more often. This is free however it may take some time to appear in top results.   Search engine optimization (SEO) is more important for internet marketing personnel to gain more targeted visitors naturally. SEO is a Search Engine Marketing technique to achieve high rankings and gain more traffic via Organic Search. Here an older but still very actual video from Mister Google himself:   Now on to more definitions: If, for example, your site currently appears in the tenth page of about one million relevant results, chances are that searchers are going to get bored before they get to that results page or are going to visit websites that appear higher in the results. If, however, you have a high ranking in search engine results for specific search terms or keywords, then searchers are more likely to visit your site. Search Engine Optimization works, then, by optimizing your web pages in such a way that they gain a higher ranking in search engine results and, from this, improved traffic and online sales.   Measuring up this way will allow you to assess which route is best for you. But always remember that knowledge is power, and learning the basics of search engine optimization yourself (regardless of whether you implement them or not) will be your best defense against soaring search engine optimization costs from the SEO “sharks” out there!   We do so in the belief that SEO is not some form of esoteric knowledge known only to industry professionals, but is rather a form of knowledge that you can quickly learn and apply yourself. With this in mind, this course aims to give you all you need to know in order to either enable you to optimise your own website or become proficient in SEO techniques. By completing the course, you will gain a good insight into the fundamental methods of Search Engine optimization and will be able to carry out your own SEO campaign.   Hope this helped you understand what SEO is really about. If you need help just contact me.
Top 5 Facebook Marketing Best Practices for your Business greenlotus.ca3/23/13   Facebook is a rapidly growing medium, and businesses are beginning to take advantage of the marketing potential inherent in social media platforms. Facebook marketing for your business can be very effective, when done right! An analysis of Facebook statistics demonstrate interesting user trends, and provide a foundation upon which to implement Facebook marketing initiatives, and maximize on return on investment.  

Follow these best practices to ensure you gain the most out of Facebook marketing for your business:

Follow these best practices to ensure you gain the most out of Facebook marketing for your business:Follow these best practices to ensure you gain the most out of Facebook marketing for your business:Follow these best practices to ensure you gain the most out of Facebook marketing for your business:

  1. Call-to-Action: Include a Call-to-Action in Facebook posts/updates and invite your target audience to engage, comment, like or link to your content. Increased social engagement will not only help develop your social reach and online credibility, but also improve your search engine result ranking.
  2. Image: Include a photo with your post/update and increase the likelihood of social engagement (likes, comments, links, etc). Stick to short posts and updates of 80-100 characters in length.
  3. Engaging Content: Write about timely topics that are of interest to your target audience. Ensure that Facebook posts/updates occur consistently throughout the month, and provide fresh, original, relevant and engaging content that readers will engage with and share with their own social networks.Use an active voice in your Facebook posts/updates, and either a positive or negative tone to trigger engagement with your audience. Be original, strike a chord with your audience, and elicit engagement.
  4. Timing: Morning posts/updates gain more social engagement than posts made later in the day. Peek Facebook activity occurs early in the morning, at noon, in the evenings and on weekends (ie: off-work hours). Facebook posts made at 9am gain the most social traction throughout the day, compared to posts made in the afternoon.Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday are the most active days on Facebook, for sharing information. Most B2B and B2C marketing occurs during the week, and it is important to note that weekend posts might be more effective!
  5. Frequency: Facebook updates and posts should be scheduled once every other day. This frequency (and consistency) enables updates/posts to remain visible in the Facebook ‘news feed’ at optimal times of day (and is not too frequent to be bothersome to your audience).
Have a look at some Facebook Statistics, and draw your own conclusions: facebook1 Most (40%) Facebook ‘shares’ occur on Saturday (followed by Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday). Posting updates on Saturdays ensures optimal reach because of increased user engagement, and less competing social clutter. Most Facebook shares occur before work hours (starting at 8am), peeks at noon (11-12pm), and again at 6-8pm; times when individuals have the ability to access their social networks, at their leisure. Articles posted at 9am tend to be shared more on Facebook than articles published at any other time. Photos perform the best on Facebook, and receive on average more shares, likes and comments. There are notable differences in the performance of text and video comments. Posts that are either very short (80-100 characters) or very long (780-800 characters) receive the most likes on Facebook. Posts written in a neutral voice/tone receive fewer Facebook ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ than posts that are either very positive or very negative. Readers are attracted to the extremes, and are more likely to engage and comment. (based on data by Dan Zarrella and Hubspot)

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 | Posted by | Categories: Facebook, local marketing, Small Business, Social media | Tagged: , |
  Here’s an article about it:  

Google Places is Out, Replaced By Google Plus Local

PR Web Perth, Western Australia (PRWEB) May 31, 2012 Oracle Digital, one of the top SEO companies in the country, has announced that it has added new modifications to its inventory of products and services, in order to adjust to the recent changes done by giant internet company – Google. In its latest move, Google has updated its numerous Google+ features and has replaced Google Places in the process. And according to numerous industry experts, this change, alongside Google’s Penguin algorithm and Knowledge Graph – will bring in some big changes that online businesses and internet marketers will have to take heed of. Studies of the new Google+ modification has shown that Google+ Local pages will now appear in the area where Google Places used to appear when search results were shown. And according to Google’s Marissa Mayer – the company has already replaced 80 million Google Places pages with Google+ Local pages, and many more replacements are expected within the next few days. In addition, the giant internet company has also tweaked its review system, with the replacement of its traditional 5-star rating system with Zagat 30-point rating scale. Google has also made the Zagat reviews more in depth by adding subsections on the review process, such as service, atmosphere and the like. Industry experts and analysts likewise report that there are other advantages to the new Google+ Local pages, such as its integration with other Google features – like Google Properties, Maps, Mobile, Search and other features. Additionally, its integration with Google+ “Circles” is also expected to make user find recommendations done by family, friends, colleagues and other connections, making reviews more honest and accurate – and minimising the existence of false reviews. Regarding search engine optimisation, SEO experts are saying that because Google+ Local pages (unlike Google Places) is actually indexed by Google – this makes optimisation easier for those who are looking for more traffic, better search engine rankings and more customers in the long run. Concurrently, since a user’s Google Places page is converted into a Google+ Page automatically – it can likewise be considered as an excellent tool to enter into internet marketing and social media marketing campaigns as well. And according to experts, this opportunity must be maximised accordingly if one wants to earn even more in the end. This opinion of experts is similarly viewed by Oracle Digital’s Director of Operations, Clint Maher. He says, “This move to replace Google Places with Google+ Local is an excellent opportunity for business owners who are looking to make more out of their online campaigns. After all, not only does it bring more accurate ratings for businesses, but it will also make your social media marketing campaigns a lot more effective as well. You just need to follow the proper procedures – and everything will follow”. “Although this new interface may seem to be a bit daunting to some, this is not really the case. You just need to make relevant and valuable content – then share it by utilising the right procedures in order to widen your market.    

Here you will find an incredible article about how to use your blog to drive customers to your offline business. This article was actually written by Neil Patel on May 28, 2015

How to Use a Blog to Drive Customers to Your Offline Business
  I strongly recommend you spend 30 minutes to not only read this article but to study it. It’s that good!   Enjoy   Eric
Your customers are out there, waiting to buy your products. If you wait too long, they’ll go to your competitors. Don’t let that happen. Amazon is building a same-day delivery system that could change online shoppingas we know it. Their strategic plan is to have warehouses in every major city all over the world, complete with trained employees to provide top-notch customer service. The future of online is offline. And blogs offer a great way to prove yourself and drive customers to a brick-and-mortar business. Blogging may seem like an activity that’s prominent for online businesses, but smart marketers are taking advantage of it to grow their offline business. Ideally, combine both offline and online marketing for the best possible results. image12 In fact, your customers expect that from you. According to Graphs, “64% of shoppers research products online before buying offline.” An offline buying cycle usually begins online. A survey by PriceWaterhouseCoopersfound that “70% of consumers use smartphones to find out where the nearest store is located around them.” If your online marketing tactics are not well orchestrated, your offline business will suffer. 

Step #1:  Market Analysis

If you want to fully understand your market, the first step is to assess it. Do you have a big enough target audience to sell to? On the web, niche marketing is common, because you can’t afford to market to every customer out there. Why would you sell snow jackets to West Africans, when they don’t have a cold climate? It would be a total flop. Here’s how NetMba explains market analysis: image51 According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, determining your potential market share and conducting a competitive analysis are two essential elements of business success. Inbound marketing strategies are proven to generate leads, but those strategies are more likely to produce great results when you get to know the minds of these prospects whom you’ll eventually convert to customers. image75 Market analysis puts you ahead of the game. It shows you exactly where your customers are getting their information, and how open they are to different kinds of content, including product reviews, case studies, and visual information. image77 For the same reason, you should conduct keyword research (more on this later) – to understand trends and the psychology of consumer behaviors. Nothing happens by chance – something triggers your customer’s choices. It could be social media changes, content marketing changes, or government policies. image88

Step #2:  Brand Marketing

Your brand is you. When you think of Virgin Group, Richard Branson probably comes to mind. image21 In the same vein, a company’s brand is their reputation. And you earn that reputation by doing “hard things well,” says Jeff Bezos. image65 Nothing is as exciting as knowing that every time you tweak your website, copy, or product, it will eventually either improve your conversion rate or kill it. When competition gets tougher, top brands aren’t worried. They’ve been set apart by customers, through excellent customer service and products. image19 Brand marketing is not a one-way street, or a one-time effort. It’s what you do consistently. Before you get started, though, you’ve got to know your target audience (see Step #1,above). People make judgments about how strong or weak an offline business is just by looking at the logo. Of course, your logo is just one aspect of your branding – there is much more to it, including the customer service that you provide. image01 Remember that when you’re building your brand using both online and offline strategies, you’ll have to say “no” often. According to Pamela Wilson of Big Brand System, “The Power of a Well-Placed No” can be the best move in your business. image82 And because “no” is the hardest word to say, most marketers find themselves struggling to abide by their standards, or meet expectations after saying a reluctant “yes” to a deal. Consequently, they weaken their brand. No matter how hard they try to build and strengthen it, it won’t work – because the foundation has been broken.  

Step #3: Using Your Blog to Attract Customers to Your Offline Business

According to Eric T. Wagner of Forbes, “80% of small businesses crash and burn within the first 18 months.” It doesn’t matter whether you’re a business of 1 or 1000: business success is about relating with customers and seeing their problems through their eyes. This helps you solve their problems, regardless of the kind of business you’re building – offline, online, or both. A critical step in solving problems is to define your ideal customer. Skip this step, and you’re headed for failure. image79 A research study by Statisticbrain found that only 55% of offline service-based businesses are still operating after 4 years. The remaining 45% just fizzle out. Here are even more statistics from different industries: image14 Your blog is powerful enough to drive customers to your offline business, if you use it wisely. Plan your content and promote it wisely. With an offline business, you have to find your target audience offline, too. image34 Don’t start your blog – or your offline business – just to make money. Money is just the by-product of a successful idea well-executed. When an idea occurs to you, you have to nurture it and take action on it. And if you’re a visionary entrepreneur, you should be able to see the success of your offline or online business even before you get your first customers. The money hook OpenSim Grid acquired 10,530 new users in 30 days, by incorporating content marketing into their campaign, while carefully studying the different regions that their users were coming from. This enabled them to craft winning campaigns. image50 Most people think that getting results from a blog could take 6 – 12 months, but that’s not true. In fact, 45.54% of offline businesses started generating leads in the first 2 – 4 months – just by blogging frequently. image44 You must understand the science behind content writing, if you want prospects to flock to your offline business. The type of content that drives traffic and builds a brick-and-mortar business has to be specific and targeted to the right audience. Meaningful information can be more impactful when it’s shared through storytelling. Stories captivate minds and resonate with the emotions. Human beings are simply wired for stories. image22 1).    Research keyword pertaining to your offline business: Keyword research should be part of your blogging strategy. image73 Researching keywords is actually the first thing to do when you want to know what your prospects are searching for. Keyword research tells you what products and services your prospects are looking to buy and how desperate they are to find them. Without a grasp of keywords (search terms typed into the search engine by users), you’ll be lost when it comes to content execution. Some businesses are already taking customer insights and feedback seriously. image20 If you’ve read the story of how Shopify grew 10x in three years, you probably noticed they’re using an omni-channel strategy to gather customer insights and feedback. Here’s an excerpt and chart: image76 The blogging statistics pyramid by Empowering Blog found that blogging businesses get 97% more inbound links and 434% more indexed pages. The rule is to stay consistent and learn along the way. image09 Unfortunately, most people are not using blogging to its fullest potential. They still prefer social media and in-person events. This is prominent in some countries, especially Australia, where businesses prefer social media content to typical blogging. image69 And yet, according to statistics from HubSpot, 93% of companies who use an inbound marketing strategy including blogging primarily get more leads. image25 I think the reason why some business owners don’t adequately leverage blogging is because they don’t really understand their customer’s mindset and desires. Blogging does seem to be the best way to stand out from the crowd. image10 The question to ask is this: are your customers looking to buy products online or in-store? Or would they want to speak with a customer representative first, before investing in your service? The only way to answer these questions is to research which keywords your customers are typing into the search engines themselves. image35 Words have power.  When those words come from your target audience, you need to pay attention. image06 When your customers use certain words in web searches, those words will help you make smart business decisions. And that will make your customers happy. image15 To research those keywords that pertain to your offline business – those search phrases that your ideal customers are using to find what you sell – you need to put yourself in their shoes, so to speak. Say you’re a home realtor in New Jersey and you want to know the keywords that prospective clients are searching for before coming to your office. Here’s what you do: Step one: Go to Google AdWords Keywords Planner. All you need is a Gmail account. Once you log in, click the “new keywords” tab: image72 Next, plug your main keyword (e.g., Home Realtor New Jersey) into the search box. Scroll down and click “Get ideas.” image49 Step two: Check the keywords. Just click the “Keywords tab” on the dashboard, and you’ll reveal all the keywords in that group. Note that these keywords are relevant to your offline business. If you can create content around these keywords, while focusing on the user intent, you’ll attract and retain clients and customers. image63 Step three: Analyze the keywords. From the list, identify the keywords that are relevant to your offline business and the type of services that you provide. Choose keywords that you can relate with, when potential clients and customers come to you. image78 Note: If you want more variations of your main keywords, you can scroll down the page and click the [>] button to reveal more of them: image70 Your work’s not over yet. Now that you’ve found the keywords your ideal customers are searching for, it’s time to create article headlines with them. Of course, by now, you should know exactly what to write about, because you’re an expert at solving the particular problems your customers are facing. The article headlines are critical to the success of your content, just like headlines on the cover of a widely-read magazine. image84 In fact, Ted Nicholas, the world’s famous direct response copywriter said that 73% of your client’s buying decision is made when they come in contact with your content headline. So it pays to make your headlines as powerful as possible. image39 Enough talking; let’s create some catchy headlines with the keywords that we researched earlier. What I’m going to do is use ideas from the magazine cover above to make my own unique headlines. Movoto, a real estate blog, has some catchy headlines. You may want to learn from them if you’re in that industry, especially with the keywords below: image85 The target keywords that will do this job are:
  • Homes For Sale In New Jersey
  • New Jersey Homes For Sale
  • New Jersey Multiple Listing
  • New Jersey Realtors
Note: The main keywords are italicized. Keyword: homes for sale in New Jersey
  • Homes for Sale In New Jersey – Strike a Smart Deal
  • 7 Factors to Consider When You Find Homes for Sale in New Jersey
  • These Home for Sales In New Jersey Have More Hidden Clauses
Keyword: New Jersey Realtors
  • Get In On The Professional New Jersey Realtors
  • Top 5 New Jersey Realtors Who Can Help You Turn Failure Into Success
  • You Can Turn Failure Into Success With These New Jersey Realtors
  • The Step-by-Step Guide to Finding Expert New Jersey Realtors
So if you run a WordPress blog, for example, you can create highly useful blog posts,write in-depth articles that will rank well in Google search engine, ebooks, and short reports that you can give away in exchange for a prospect’s email address and phone numbers. You can even create videos and upload to YouTube where tens of thousands of people your target audience can easily find them. There is so much you can do with the headlines above. However, focus on the user intent, and don’t try to manipulate search engines. An example of clickable headlines that don’t look manipulative are the ones fromBuzzfeed. Take a look: image41 2).    Create engagement-focused content: According to LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community, “77% of marketers will create more content in the next 12 months.” More so, they want to focus on content that will engage the user. Because when the users are engaged, they’ll respond to the offer pleasantly. image11 They understand that nothing beats high-quality content. It’s the solid foundation upon which every successful digital company is built. Whether you’re running ads or relying on word-of-mouth, the foundation is great content that engages. This kind of content will double your search traffic and drive qualified leads. Growing more and more Offline businesses are beginning to see the impact of great content. A data-driven Slideshare presentation by MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute revealed that 86% of B2B marketers in North America use content marketing to drive leads and increase sales. Creating content that will engage your audience has everything to do with your understanding of the engagement sequence. First time blog visitors and customers who come to your blog may not be ready to buy your products yet, or visit your brick-and-mortar store. They need to be nurtured until they begin to trust you. image33 It’s a lot easier to create engaged content that will funnel prospects to your offline business from your blog. Just follow this 4-phase engagement sequence as highlighted in the above image. I like to call it the CIES model:
  • C – Connect
  • I  – Inform
  • E – Entertain
  • S – Share
A).   Connect: Having no prior knowledge of you or your product, your customers want to connect and get to know you. Nothing more. At this stage, you want to avoid inflicting “information overload” on your prospects. image42 The ideal approach is to welcome the person. Show them around your blog. Or better yet, give them a free ebook, introductory video, free trial to your software, or the like. You may even ask for their email address in exchange for one of these freebies. However, the key is not to hijack their email address and start bombarding them with promotional emails – that would be terrible! For example, Lewis Howes understands how to connect with first-time visitors to his blog. He uses a simple and non-intrusive pop-up opt-in box, which is professionally designed to captivate the target audience. image81 Howes also uses introductory video on his blog homepage to connect with the right audience and inspire them. image86 Andrew Warner, founder of Mixergy, uses a tactical bit of linkbait to connect with first-time visitors to his blog. Having interviewed over 1,100 industry experts including the founders of Wikipedia and Groupon, he displays the pictures of those experts on his homepage as social proof. Of course, this could inspire a potential client to trust Warner’s recommendation and decide to hire him. image71 The science of social proof gives us an idea on what to expect from the target audience when you use product reviews, testimonials, social media statistics, and so on. Ed Hallen of BufferApp gives a much better explanation: image30 These social proofs will in turn encourage people to subscribe to your email list. And once you have a prospect’s email address, your job is to educate them on a consistent basis. image37 Nurture them with engaged content, so they’ll have no need to go to your competitors. Content is truly king! image32 According to Curata, 56% of leading business bloggers have documented plans to hire additional content marketing personnel in the next 12 months. These leading bloggers have learned that the only way to thrive in this competitive digital and offline marketing era is through custom content that’s designed to engage. In 2011, a survey by Custom Content Council found that 61% of consumers feel excited about, and are more inclined to purchase from a company that creates and connects with them through custom content. As you start to communicate with prospects via your blog and email, you also have to measure engagement through metrics like the number of visitors to your homepage, subscribers, social media mentions, and so on. image53 The truth is that everyone wants to learn new things and find solutions to their problems. If you challenge yourself to make it worthwhile for your customers by sending information (i.e., content) that helps to alleviate their pain, you’ll successfully drivecustomer loyalty. image90 B).   Inform: Content that informs is critical for building your business, whether it exists online or in physical locations. I once watched a video by Eben Pagan where he shared some powerful copywriting tricks. He said that compelling copy always starts with motivation, followed by information, then action. image55 These days outsourcing is prominent in the internet marketing world. And even though 62% of companies outsource their content marketing, companies still must persuade and inform correctly. A successive parade of freelancers may not be able to do this for your business, because you’ve got to be consistent with your voice. The second sequence of content engagement is where you “inform” the customer about their need. Yes, they had a need before coming to your blog – now you have to reiterate it, and provide a solution. This is the easiest way for them to know that you have exactly what they’re looking for. image83 Make no mistake: You can’t just tell people that you have a solution for them. First, identify with their challenge or problem – then offer your help. That’s how you create engagement. To “inform” your customers with the right information, you need to break it down for them. Again, don’t overwhelm them. Three to five bullet points is all you’ll need to drive home your message. Blogs aren’t the only platforms that inform using bullet points and easy-to-digest tips. Some corporate business sites and SaaS company sites also have it. For example, Adespresso, a powerful Facebook ads manager, informs with four bullet points and a bold subheadline. Take a look: image46 Marie Forleo, the B-School Queen and an influential blogger, doesn’t even use bullet points to inform her blog visitors and customers. She uses a single sentence, which is actually the subtitle for her page. image27 C).   Entertain: Most people visit a blog just to be entertained. A recent research study by InboundWriter found that interesting content is one of the top three reasons why prospects and customers follow brands on social media. Jeff Bullas also documented that articles that contain images get 94% more viewsthan articles without images. So clearly visual content helps entertain your readers. Celebrities and entertainers have one common attribute: when you watch the ones you like, you feel better and want to share that feeling with others. So even if your business is of the offline kind, you’ve got to entertain people. When prospects come to your office or store, don’t make it boring for them. Remember that the first impression matters. The same is true for your blog. It should be interesting and engaging, if you want people to stick around. image62 Trust me on this point: If you have the right information or solution for your customers, but your blog design is boring and your article headlines are not compelling, you won’t generate leads. And when that happens, eventually you’ll be out of business. image08 This is why your blog design has to be professional, clean, and visually appealing.
Content may be king, but design executes the decrees of the king
If you use WordPress CMS to manage your blog, there are professional themes that you can use. Better yet, hire a professional WordPress developer to customize your own theme. One of the best WordPress blog designs around is Derek Halpern’ssocialtriggers.com. With his picture on the homepage, it makes a huge personal branding statement. image43 Volusion, an ecommerce shopping cart solution, also has a professional blog design. The company adopted a minimalist magazine design, which showcases the high-quality, compelling, and visually-driven content. That holds their visitors’ attention. image26 My blog, QuickSprout.com, also just got a slightly new design, with fresh updates to its typography, logo, and other branding elements. Although the layout is still the same, it now has a more relatable and fun look. image40 D).    Share: The fourth and last phase of the engagement sequence is sharing – sharing with your readers, and compelling them to share your content on social media. According to NewsCred, 87% of B2B marketers use social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to distribute their marketing content. Noah Kagan found thatblog content containing images usually gets shared the most. image66 One test of engagement for your content is how many social shares it generates. In this digital age, the public decides who has the best content – not the writer or marketer. image31 The rule to follow is “always make sure that your blog posts are as easy as possible for your readers to share.” You can install the WordPress sharebar plugin, and display it on the left side of your post pages. Mashable, one of the leading technology and startup blogs, prominently displays social share buttons right below the article headlines – note, too, that displaying the total number of shares adds social proof as well: image00 Meanwhile, I took a different approach with this blog. I made sure that my social share buttons are scrollable and appear on the left side of my blog posts. On average, I generate over 500 Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn shares on each of my posts. image03 3).   Engage blog visitors in the comments section: Every aspect of your blog is important, including the comments section. One way to easily increase comments on your blog is simply by responding to them. I respond to the majority of comments on my blog, if not all. image57 In fact, when I discovered the potential of comments, I began to take it seriously and generated $25,000 with 249 comments on other blogs. image38 Within a short while, I saw 3,973 visitors and six leads from the 249 comments I left at other blogs. I left those comments on industry blogs, which produce the best results for me. image87 I’m not alone. Marcus Sheridan, founder of The Sales Lion, spends 5 – 6 hours a week reading and writing comments on other blogs. Your goal is to drive customers to your offline business through your blog, so if you ignore comments, you may miss out on potential customers who read your posts, benefitted from them and decided to write a comment. image61 If you don’t take time to review comments and respond, how on earth are you going to establish and maintain a strong bond between you and customers? image23 Just by responding to comments, you’ll engage the readers and build a stronger rapport that can lead to real business. I always respond to comments and this has really helped me to connect with my readers on a personal basis. image54 Brian Dean, the founder of Backlinko, typically receives over 150 unique and valuable comments from his blog readers on each post. He replies to virtually all of them: image16 4).    Use storytelling on your “about” page: One of the most important pages in every blog is the “about” page. That is where you share your big-picture vision and backstory. image02 If you want to convert visitors who stumble on or visit this page from search engines, social media, or direct referrals, your best bet is to use storytelling. Remember that the human brain is wired to remember and be moved by memorable stories. So use them wisely to connect with your customers and funnel them to your offline business. image36 5).   Promote offline events with your blog:  There are countless offline events that you can take part in, such as conferences, workshops, summits, seminars, and trade shows. Those are all opportunities to both showcase your blog and drive more customers to your offline business. image04 Richard Walker of Econsultancy shared a recent study by iProspect, where they found that offline marketing tactics like the ones mentioned above boost your online effect by 40%. One example: if you plan to speak at a local event or seminar, make sure you use your blog to invite attendees. Rohit Bhargava, CEO & founder of Influential Marketing Group, shared why he’s been invited to speak at events and speak to audiences as large as 2,000 people. image18 According to Bhargava, being original and learning about other speakers are key to getting lots of speaking engagements. This is really important if you’re struggling togain traction and become a keynote speaker. image80 As the event kicks off, try to update your blog regularly with the latest happenings and lessons learned. Then refer attendees to your blog to learn more. You’ll be strengthening your bond with them, which is a great customer relationship strategy. Pat Flynn is one marketer who uses his blog to promote offline events that he keynotes, such as the NMX conference. image05  

Step #4: Measure Conversion Rate for Blog Landing Pages

If you want to get results for your blogging efforts, you’ve got to set up goals for your analytics and track the relevant metrics consistently. Every business entrepreneur needs to do this, because that’s the only way to make smarter business decisions. Here are some statistics to keep you informed about conversion rate: image89 It doesn’t matter what platform you’re using to drive customers – there should be some form of tracking in place, in the same way that you measure the impact of offline events. This helps you hold your marketing efforts accountable. Jeff Adelson-Yan says the ideal place to start is to create landing pages specific to the offline campaign, and then track the effectiveness of the call to action. Ramsay Taplin saw a 22.7% conversion rate on his new landing page, just by tweaking the subscription form and the typography: image68 As you can see, little things really do matter when it comes to blogging and landing page design. image24 You can also set up different landing pages for the same product, then use offline marketing strategies like TV, radio, newspaper ads and word of mouth to drive visitors to these separate pages. That way, you can tell where your visitors came from (e.g., TV ads) and which section of your landing page draws more attention. image74 When you connect online efforts with offline conversions, you get better information about the response rates to your blog homepage, specific and high-converting landing pages, and product pages. There is no hard-and-fast rule on how long your landing page should be. The page that generated $1 million for Moz wasn’t spectacular – but it was right for the target audience. image67 This is why carrying out A/B split testing is essential. Simple landing pages like the one at Groupon convert well; otherwise, they wouldn’t have kept it for months. image64 Remember the goal of a landing page is to get the ball into the hole, metaphorically speaking. This is usually the ultimate goal of Copyblogger Media when they launch a new software product for their content marketing community. They understand the profit potential when the ball gets into the hole – that is, when your message appeals to the right customers. image60 In the same way, SAP optimized their landing page and improved lead generation by 32.5%. image52 Note: Your content has to be relevant to your specific audience. It’s no longer enough to have great design and so-so information. By tweaking your headline, subheadings, copy, and call to action to appeal to the right audience, you’ll boost your conversion rate. This is true, because Avis, a car rental company, saw an increased conversion rate of 105%, when it partnered with House of Kaizen to optimize the performance of its PPC campaign. image58

Step #5: Use the Right Offline Marketing Resources and Tools

In your small business (whether online or offline), you need budget-friendlymarketing tools and resources that work. These tools will definitely help you to build more social influence and become the go-to expert in your industry. Social media is here to stay. One recent statistic tells us that 53% of customers use Facebook to interact with brands. image17 Just because you’re a small business owner, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should only be doing small things. Why not change the status quo? According to Danny Bermant, if you really want to succeed at content marketing and online advertising, you’ve got to understand offline marketing strategies, too. Remember: before the internet was invented, there was offline business. image13 And customers haven’t changed all that much. They still crave quality service and valuable products that will solve their problems. Personally, I believe that if you’re a good communicator offline, you’re more likely to succeed online, because there isn’t all that much difference in the two approaches. You need tools and resources for creating advertising materials, product packaging, and broadcast materials (for TV advertising and radio), as well as other brand marketing needs. When you start using the right tools, you’ll stand out from your competition and attract the right customers to your offline business. Brand Marketing A few of the tools that are helpful for both offline and online marketing are: i).   Infusionsoft – Infusionsoft provides small business customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation software. image45 One thing you absolutely need to run your offline business is a tool that helps you collect customer contacts, manage them more efficiently, and build relationships for you. image07 ii).    CrazyEgg: I discussed eye tracking and heatmaps earlier, and how important it is that you know where your site visitors are clicking. You’ve got to know which sections of your landing page attract more prospects. Is it the header, the sidebar, above the fold, or the headline? You can eliminate the marketing mistakes that 95% of marketers are making by using CrazyEgg. image48 CrazyEgg is a simple yet advanced piece of software that takes less than five minutes to install. When that is done, you can log back into your account and visualize exactly where most of your visitors are clicking. iii).   Evernote: You’ll need something to take, save, and collect notes, and Evernote is a great choice. When you attend offline events, read books, listen to podcasts or negotiate a deal with prospects and customers, viable ideas are likely to occur to you. Don’t store those valuable ideas solely in your brain – you will forget them. image28 The Evernote app on your mobile Android or Apple device (such as Samsung Galaxy Tab, iPad, iPhone or Nexus) can do the job perfectly. iv).  Google Analytics: This is Google’s flagship software product. It’s free to use and shows you how many people visited your blog or landing pages. image56 Whether you’re an ecommerce entrepreneur, a consultant, author, or offline business owner, you need to start a blog, create useful content and publish regularly, and then track your progress by determining your ideal customers, which country they’re coming from, and how long they stay at your blog.

Conclusion

In his book, 57 Hot Business Marketing Strategies, Tom Corson-Knowles said that at least 80% of your business activity should be focused on marketing. It’s not just about having data-driven blog posts on your blog, but also marketing it to the right audience. That’s how you can profit and drive customers to your offline business. You can no longer isolate digital marketing, just because you run a brick-and-mortar business. Smart content marketers don’t use their blogs to push sales and earn quick bucks from their audience. Instead, they consistently create helpful content that builds trust and defines a loyal tribe that will stick to them no matter what, online and off. That’s the same approach you should take. Do you have an offline business? Tell us how you use blogging to drive customers and clients.

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