Tag : blogging

MArketing Automation Do's & Don'ts

Marketing Automation Do’s & Don’ts

Now that we’ve detailed out what marketing automation is, we want to give you a few tips as you think about implementing a new platform into your process. This will outline what you should and should not be doing with your marketing automation.

7 Marketing Questions No One Will Ask

who, what, where, when, why, how questions - uncertrainty, brainstorming or decision making concept, colorful crumpled sticky notes on cork bulletin board

who, what, where, when, why, how questions – uncertainty, brainstorming or decision making concept, colorful crumpled sticky notes on cork bulletin board

The Internet has been around for quite a while now, but there are still a surprising number of business executives who don’t understand its usefulness and are afraid of looking weak by seeking to learn the basics of Online marketing. For the past half-decade, my Marketing team has been using PPC ads, SEO, social media, blogs, and other online tools to reach a wide audience and educate them about a topic as seemingly boring as inventory management software. If we can do it, you can definitely do it.

In that spirit, I would like to humbly offer my answers to eight questions about online marketing that we find many companies are still too embarrassed to ask:

 

 

1. How do I blog?

This is a big question. Be consistent. Don’t start a blog and only post once a year or post a whole bunch of content every day for a month and then not post anything for a long stretch of time. Post as often as possible, but don’t risk burnout by trying to post every day. Keep posts short and to the point. Come up with your own unique ideas for things to write about, address customers’ issues, look at what other bloggers in your industry are talking about, and always keep an eye out for other things to inspire blog posts. Remember to keep your content relevant to your target audience. That doesn’t mean you should always be pitching your products. Mix it up and pick topics that add value in the life of your prospects. , if you do this well they will return to read future posts.. It’s perfectly fine to delegate blog writing to an employee, but it is nice for a CEO to sometimes make his or her voice heard by writing a blog post personally from time to time. Once you’ve established yourself as an expert on your own blog, guest blog on other blogs. Comment on other people’s blog posts and establish a rapport

2. What is the difference between SEO and PPC?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of getting Web pages to rank high on search engines through links from other websites, quality content on those pages, and other factors that cost workers’ time, not money. Pay-per-click (PPC) ads show up above and to the side of organic search results. As their name implies, these ads are placed atop search engine results based on how much companies are willing to pay to put them there, and they pay the search engine each time someone clicks their links.Organic vs. Paid traffic Image

3. Is YouTube useful for marketing?

In today’s marketing world, video is the king of content. There are many different video platforms online, but YouTube has the largest audience and is extremely popular. Most prospects prefer about 2 to 3 minutes of video (the shorter the better) rather than reading text on a page, but the video needs to be relevant and engaging, or they won’t watch it through to the end. They will motivate prospects to dive into your copy to learn more when videos are done right. Best of all, YouTube provides their own analytics. Use these to learn what’s working best for you and then build on it. If you are serious about video then create your own YouTube channel and customize it to include your branding. All your videos should have a call to action and a link back to a relevant landing page on your site where people can learn more about your products or services.

4. Should I buy links?

No. Don’t be duped by people claiming to get you thousands of links to improve your search engine ranking. Google GOOG +1.83 % is adept at telling which links are relevant to a specific topic or not, and paid links will generally be a waste of money, make your site look spammy, and can negatively impact the overall success of your online marketing efforts.

5. How do I get links?
Hyperlink ImageThese can include infographics, blog posts, articles, videos, PDFs, white papers, etc. Comment on other people’s blogs and share with people on social media to invite them to come see what you’ve created.

6. How do I get listed on Google, Bing, and other search engines?

Unscrupulous people try to take advantage of business people’s naivety about SEO by claiming that they will submit your website to all the major search engines. Ten years ago that might have been a selling point, but not in 2013. Google spiders crawl new websites within days or sometimes even hours of their creation. There’s no need to contact search engines to get your site “listed” in their results. This will happen automatically, and the key to getting the best listings is to have great content that is relevant to the topics your prospects are searching for.

7. How do I use LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook?

With all social media, the secret to success is moderation. Don’t go on a wild posting spree for five minutes and then ignore people for the rest of the day. You need to engage with people, ask questions, listen carefully to what they say, join discussions, and most of all, be real! Be very cautious with the concept of “buying” followers (known as “social seeding”. It is a cheap trick (or an expensive one, depending on how you look at it) that will eventually backfire, especially as Twitter improves its ability to judge users by the quality of those who follow them. In the case of Twitter, in particular, you don’t want to get into trouble with Twitter or lose credibility with your real followers by having thousands of fake ones just to boost your image.

The one potential exception to this rule is the possibility of using a small amount of “social seeding” to get you over the Twitter hurdles more readily as you build your own initial following. Use this tactic carefully, and know that a share of “purchased” followers will eventually be falling away– all the more incentive for doing all you can to be “keeping it real”.

Twitter hashtag ImageOn Twitter, it’s a good idea to use hashtags (#onlinemarketing, for example) to track conversations on a particular topic and invite others to join. On Facebook, you should post on relevant people’s and companies’ walls to open the door to communication.

Don’t start a blog and only post once a year or post a whole bunch of content every day for a month and then not post anything for a long stretch of time. It’s perfectly fine to delegate blog writing to an employee, but it is nice for a CEO to sometimes make his or her voice heard by writing a blog post personally from time to time. Guest blog on other blogs once you’ve established yourself as an expert on your own blog. Comment on other people’s blog posts and establish a rapport

Comment on other people’s blogs and share with people on social media to invite them to come see what you’ve created.

 

To Higher Profits!

Alex, MPeMG

Managing Partner & Co-Founder

(412) 374-1558

www.MPeMG.com

(We actually answer our own phones!)

LinkedIn Has A Publishing Platform???

strategyLinkedIn Has A Publishing Platform???

I’ve always said you don’t have to be anointed as an influencer to build online influence! It’s up to you to contribute to your audience, share valuable experiences, and create solid content that shows your thought leadership.

The LinkedIn publishing platform gives you the opportunity to expand your reach in a major way. Since all LinkedIn members have access to the platform, it’s critical for you to create high-quality content that differentiates you.

Your published posts show up at the top of your LinkedIn profile.

With the LinkedIn publishing platform, you can follow other publishers and build your own followers in the process. While your LinkedIn followers have the potential to see your LinkedIn posts, they aren’t official network connections. (It’s similar to LinkedIn’s current model for following LinkedIn-appointed influencers.)

Any posts you publish on LinkedIn are tied to your professional profile and show up near the top of your profile. This means your thought leadership insights are showcased when someone views your LinkedIn profile.

The first post we published to LinkedIn helped me attract over 200 new followers, and my profile views were up 38% week over week! These stats tell me that the LinkedIn publishing platform is going to be a great place to share longer-form, thought leadership content.

#1: Create Valuable, Attractive Content

Before you start posting, have a plan in place. What content is most useful for your audience? Is your post too salesy? Although there’s no formal editorial process, LinkedIn makes it clear that sales-oriented content won’t be tolerated (after all, that’s what the advertising platform is for).

LinkedIn has some helpful guidelines in their Help Center about what to publish. This is a good reference for understanding how to frame your content so it resonates with and adds value to both your established audience and your potential audience (which will now be even greater than your existing LinkedIn network).

Make sure your posts are scannable.

The general guidelines we’ve seen (including LinkedIn’s) recommend keeping posts between 400 and 600 words and publish weekly. However, you could certainly experiment with these parameters and determine what works best for you.

Like other social networks, people want to consume information quickly. Make it easy for them by creating scannable, attractive content. A few best practices are using a compelling headline, placing an eye-catching image at the top of your posts, bolding important text and breaking up longer paragraphs.

Feel free to enhance your articles with YouTube videos or content from SlideShare to make them as interesting and useful as possible.

When you’re ready to write an article on the LinkedIn publishing platform, it’s pretty easy. Go to your LinkedIn home page and look for the pencil icon in the box at the top where you would typically share an update.

When you click the pencil icon, you’ll see the publishing editor. This is where you create your post.

LinkedIn’s publishing editor is very simple to use. It’s similar to the WordPress editor or Microsoft Word. You can type or paste your text into the editor and format it right there.

Does your LinkedIn post have a bio section? You’ll need to create a bio at the end of each post. Your bio should include a sentence or two about who you are, what you do and who you help, a link to your website or blog or even a specific call to action.

It’s a good idea to make the most of all of your resources. In my bio below, I’ve linked my name to my Google+ profile, and on my Google+ profile I added LinkedIn to the list of sites I contribute to. This ensures that Google picks up my authorship profile for my LinkedIn posts.

Be sure to create a bio section at the end of every post you publish!

Before you hit Publish, please be sure to review your post and check it for grammar and spelling (the Preview option is helpful here). But if you don’t catch everything, you can go back and edit your post any time.

#2: Share Your Post Everywhere

To maximize your reach and engagement inside and outside of LinkedIn, share your post on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+. If you have a LinkedIn company page, share it there as well (assuming your post is relevant to your company page’s followers).

This kind of aggregate social networking adds credibility and encourages more shares and engagement across the social web. In turn, all of that engagement sends social signals to Google’s search algorithm and can help increase your visibility in online searches!

 

#3: Manage Your Post Comments

You’ve written a useful post, you’ve promoted it far and wide and people are reading it. After all that effort and exposure, don’t forget to check your comments!

In the Comments section of your post, you can respond to and interact with members who are leaving feedback or starting a discussion.

Don’t forget to respond to comments on your posts!

In most cases, those who commented on my posts were people I’m not currently connected to. That means the post is getting visibility beyond my first-degree network, and yours probably will too. Unfortunately I did see one or two spam comments when I posted, but you have the ability to hide and/or flag these.

#4: Evaluate Content Performance

LinkedIn immediately starts to show you the number of views, social media shares and comments your post generates. I admit that it’s exciting to see those metrics changing right before your eyes in real time!

Use your LinkedIn post metrics to determine how well your content is resonating with your audience. As you build your professional content library, compare your posts to see which ones outperformed others.

When you have a feel for what’s working for you, take some time to review the posts of your favorite official LinkedIn influencers and your competitors. Evaluate their posting schedule and which posts got the most views and engagement. Consider how you can use similar tactics for your own success.

Evaluate what your favorite influencers are writing about.

Seeing what’s working gives you an idea of what people are responding to and you may want to consider using similar topics or how-to’s that appeal to your own audience.

Learning from the LinkedIn influencers who have gone before you can help you craft a more successful content strategy of your own!

Keep Your Existing Blog!

It’s critical to remember that LinkedIn’s publishing platform shouldn’t serve as your content publishing hub. It’s a place to syndicate and further showcase your existing professional content from your blog.

Remember, you don’t own your LinkedIn presence or the content associated with it.

I recommend publishing the original post to your own blog first, then publishing it to your LinkedIn profile in its entirety.

You may want to vary the two posts a bit, however. Perhaps write your blog post to your specific audience or niche, and when you publish it to LinkedIn, change it to appeal to a broader audience.

The LinkedIn publishing platform is an important part of any marketer’s content strategy. I think it will be interesting to watch the network grow as an online content destination for professionals.

Why Small Business Saturday Is Important To You

Founded six years ago in response to small business owners’ most pressing need– getting more customers during the busy holiday shopping season– Small Business Saturday has quickly earned its’ stripes among holiday traditions. Additionally, consumers spent $14.3 billion at local and independent businesses on Small Business Saturday in 2014, and this year the hype and buzz surrounding the day seems to have only increased.Small Business Saturday

From Shops to Spas to Salons and More

Year round, shopping small is widely encouraged among communities and businesses alike thanks to the ‘Shop Small’ message that is branded with Small Business Saturday. This message is supported by all types of small businesses– including restaurants, cafes, spas, fitness studios, community art foundations and more– making it a day for small businesses, communities and consumers alike to look forward to. As a small business owner myself– and admittedly, a huge fan of shopping small– I know first hand the strength that a nationally recognized message can offer a small business owner, and it’s for this reason among others that Small Business Saturday has continued to see extraordinary success and growth since it first came to be in 2010.

The Shop Small message is recognized year round, with Small Business Saturday– the Saturday following Thanksgiving each year– becoming an increasingly popular holiday tradition.

With free marketing resources, event guides, online ads and more available at ShopSmall.com, businesses can utilize these resources as part of their Small Business Saturday planning– making it a nearly turn-key experience. This easy to implement strategy combined with the national attention that Small Business Saturday generates is something any small business can appreciate, helping to make their job of having a successful Small Business Saturday that much easier. Interestingly, however, some businesses and communities have yet to be a part of Small Business Saturday due to the confusion as to whether or not it’s necessary to accept American Express. As the founding partner of Small Business Saturday, American Express created Small Business Saturday to celebrate and support small businesses, while welcoming any business to be a part of the day. Their goal was simple yet their dreams were big. They wanted to help drive more attention to small businesses during one of the busiest shopping seasons of the year, and fortunately for small businesses across the country, their idea has, in fact, become a big, big deal.

History Tells Us It Works

Among the small business owners who has had success with Small Business Saturday include store owners Bill Jette and Dixie Carroll of Rhode Island based J Marcel. Last year, Jette and Carroll saw more sales on Small Business Saturday than any day of the six and half years that the store has been in business. In 2014, there were 174k Small Business Saturday tweets on November 29, 2014– last year’s official Small Business Saturday – and 356k total tweets in the month of November in 2014, as identified by Union Metrics.

Expanding on this, the fourth-annual Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey recently released by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and American Express identified that supporting local small businesses continues to be a priority for shoppers nationwide. This is good news for those planning to support Small Business Saturday– now entering its sixth year– with 55 percent of U.S. consumers reported that they are aware of the day, making this the highest figure yet recorded. Possibly even more exciting, however, is that 83 percent say Small Business Saturday inspires them to Shop Small all year long.

Small Business Saturday puts these businesses in a position to not only survive but more importantly to thrive year round.”.

Expanding on this, NFIB CEO and President Dan Danner explains that “Small Business Saturday has grown every year and it’s been a big boost to Main Street America.”.

Additional key findings from the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey include the following:.

45 % of customers plan to spend more on Small businesses Saturday this year than they spent last year, which is up 38 % who intended to spend more last year.
Almost two-thirds (65 %) plan to spend at least $100 at small, independently-owned retailers or restaurants on Small Business Saturday this year.
77 % of customers aware of Small Business Saturday plan to go to one or more small businesses as part of their holiday shopping.

Shopping Small on Small Business Saturday.

With the U.S Small Business Association reporting that 28 million small businesses in America account for 54 % of U.S. sales, it’s no secret that small businesses are big business. Year round, small businesses shape our communities and neighborhoods thanks to their unique charm, characteristics and one-of-a-kind personas, and it’s these attributions that help make Small Business Saturday even more important to support and celebrate. Putting small businesses center stage on Small Business Saturday is the least we can do as customers for businesses and the people who work within them who do so much for us year round.

As a small business owner myself — and admittedly, a huge fan of shopping small– I know first hand the strength that a nationally recognized message can offer a small business owner, and it’s for this reason among others that Small Business Saturday has continued to see extraordinary success and growth since it first came to be in 2010.

As the founding partner of Small Business Saturday, American Express created Small Business Saturday to celebrate and support small businesses, while welcoming any business to be a part of the day. Expanding on this, the fourth-annual Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey recently released by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and American Express identified that supporting local small businesses continues to be a priority for shoppers nationwide. With the U.S Small Business Association reporting that 28 million small businesses in America account for 54 % of U.S. sales, it’s no secret that small businesses are big business. Putting small businesses center stage on Small Business Saturday is the least we can do as customers for businesses and the people who work within them who do so much for us year round.

To Higher Profits,

Alex, MPeMG

A special thanks to Dan Danner, NFIB & American Express OPEN