Archive Monthly Archives: July 2017

Creating a Content Marketing Plan

Pretty much every aspect of online marketing needs content. You need content for social media posts, blog posts, guest articles, white papers, eBooks, and more. You can use many types of content to help get the word out about your products and services while educating your audience about the issues in your industry.  Taking this approach will help you develop yourself as an authority and your products and services as answers to your audience’s needs.

The best way to accomplish this is to develop a content marketing plan. You can create a content marketing plan for any type of business quickly and easily.

Set Goals for the Future – What do you want to accomplish with each piece of content that you want to create? First write down some ideas, such as increase traffic by 50 percent within 6 weeks, increase sales by 60 percent within 4 weeks, or get more targeted newsletter subscribers within a specific period of time. Be specific about your goals in terms of the exact results you want to achieve and how you will achieve them.

Assess Where You Are Today – Everyone has to start where they are today. How many subscribers do you have now? How many people have purchased your product or service to date? What type of content do you have and what types of results is it producing right now? Can you pinpoint exactly which pieces of content are getting the type of results you want? Perhaps none of your current content is getting any results. Note that, so that you know where to begin.

Know your Target Customer -Take a closer look at who you want your exact customer to be. Create a persona describing that perfect customer so that when you create any marketing content you know who you are creating it for. You may find you have several subsets of audience personas for the same product; that is okay, but looking at them will help you develop even better content.

Understand Your Sales Funnel and Your Audience’s Buying Cycle – You have your product/sales funnel, plus your consumers buying cycle to consider. Content should be created for each stage of the funnel and the cycle because each type of content has a different purpose.

Know the Purpose of Each Piece of Content – When you know the purpose of each piece of content you create, you will be able to direct it to the right person, at the right time, and put it in the right place. These actions will ensure that you receive the results you are looking for.

Create an Editorial Calendar – Once you have an idea of what type of content you want to create, get out a calendar and start writing in what needs to be written or created. For example, if you are promoting a video eCourse, you may need to produce some shorter videos along with articles to give your audience the information they need to choose your course.

Have the Content Developed – Once you have a calendar, you can just go day by day and create the content you need. Or you can send it to someone else to do it for you such as a contractor. If you want to hire a contractor, you will need to create content in advance to allow for the turnaround time of each contractor that you hire.

Promote Your Content – Do not just post the content and leave it at that. Instead, once the content has been published tell everyone about it. Promote it to your list; promote it to your social media followers. You may want to try using Twitter Ads and Promoted Posts on Facebook. Also, ensure that you set up SEO on your site using a good plugin like SEO Yoast.

Measure the Results – Using the analytics systems that you have already in Google Analytics, your email marketing software, and any other software that you use for your business, test and measure whether what you are doing is working or not.

Optimize and Adjust – When you look at the results of your work, take a look at what you can improve upon and adjust. Try changing one small thing, or doing more of something that is working really good to improve your content marketing plan.

Rinse and Repeat – Like with most things that work, you should do it again. Keep the process moving forward month after month, year after year, based on analytics and the products and services that you want to promote.

Creating and following a content marketing plan will improve your business exponentially. You will be able to stay ahead of everything based on your products and services, including planned launches and so forth. It is important to be proactive to ensure that the results that you want are obtained.

Coming Up With a Teachable Topic

Everyone has something they know that they can teach to others. Anyone can create an online course to teach other people what they know. But, when you sit down to come up with teachable topics you want to keep these 8 killer questions in mind.

What Do You Know? – There is usually something you are passionate about and that you already know that you can teach to others. For example, maybe you know the secret to making the perfect peanut butter cookie? You can teach the fundamentals of baking a peanut butter cookie and what is important to make it come out perfect.

What Do You Want to Know? – Even if you do not know how to do something, you can still create an online course. Just learn how to do it and create step-by-step instructions as you go to create an online course with that information.

What Are Your Strengths? – It is important to know what your strengths are because creating a course requires several steps. For example, you may need to add video, or create screen shots, or write a great deal of material. Any one of these things may require learning or outsourcing.

Who Is Your Audience? – It is important to start with an audience that you want to teach. Then you can find out what they want to know and create courses for them. Even if you do not know the material personally, you can interview subject matter experts, or even hire someone to create the course for you.

What Is the Goal? – Once you have decided upon a potential topic, can you figure out what the end goal is? What do you want to teach your audience? What do you want them to walk away from the course knowing?

What Is the Main Objective? – You need to figure out your main objective for teaching a course at all, then the objective of the course. Do you want to teach them something they need to know so that you can earn extra money, or do you want to teach them something so that they can also learn about other offerings you have?

What Tools Do You Need? – When you determine the ideas you want to teach to your audience, you will need to make a list of tools you need for creating the course. Perhaps that means you will need a good video camera or a stand for your iPhone so that you can video yourself cooking. Or maybe you need a tool like Camtasia to edit the videos.

What Platform Is Right for Your Course? – Once you work out all the details, you will need to figure out where to host your course so that you can easily promote it. You can host it with the right software right on your own domain, or you can use a system like Udemy.com to sell your course. It is up to you.

Teaching online courses can be very lucrative if you find the right information that people want to know, find the right platform, and market the course in a way that gets people to sign up. The idea for the topic is just the beginning.

Never Stop Blogging

One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to promote their business is that when they get busy they give up on blogging. One of the best tools you have at your fingertips to build traffic to your website is your blog. The blog is almost always the number one way that people find their way to your website. Here are 8 reasons you should have a business blog.

Great for SEO – Your blog is perfect for improving search engine optimization because you can write keyword-rich, authoritative articles full of information that your audience wants to read and needs to know about. Search engines like often updated websites and the easiest way to update a site often are via the blog.

Connect with Customers – A blog is a great way to connect with your customers. If you open up the blog to comments, then it is more like a busy message board or forum, provided that you answer and enter into discussions with everyone who comments on your blog posts. Not only that, those comments are also great for SEO.

Build Authority – When you blog about things in your business, your audience will get to know you better and realize that you are an authority on the niche and topic that you are involved in. Proving it over and over again through your choice of words on your blog will build that up even more.

You Can Create New Products – Through blogging, you will be able to analyze problems your audience has, then come up with solutions for them. As you develop a problem and solution format, you will be able to use those blogs as future products.

Offers Free PR – Few things in life are free, but your blog, if you write the posts yourself, is about as free as it gets. Not only that, it is also a very effective form of marketing. You can use the blog to reach out to others and even open doors for you for other types of publicity.

Build Relationships – Your customers will come to expect your blogs, and they will look at you as the person they want to learn more from. This is a great way to build relationships because if you post to your audience with them in mind, they feel like you are thinking of them when you say something.

Provides Audience Insight – When you blog and open up your comments to your audience, you can get a lot of insight into what they want. Just ask for feedback from your audience when you want more information from them. Then you can use that information for future blog posts, and products.

Allows You to Tell Your Story – Aside from a great source of traffic generation, blogging is also a way to tell your story through your website. You can post about the personal information that you might not normally do when it comes to business. But, do be careful and make sure you can somehow relate the personal insights to your business and audience.

When you start a blog, it seems to move slowly at first. But after you have managed to post on a regular basis for a few months, you will start to see a steady trend upwards for site visitors, comments, and engagement. The upwards trend will not slow down if you never stop blogging.

How to Integrate Scaled Content Creation

Knowing how to scale content, or get the most out of your content, is an important idea that all small business owners need to understand. There is only so much time in the day, and only so much information that can be out there at any one time. If you do not learn how to scale the content that you spend a lot of time, money and resources on, you will come up short.  Here are 8 ideas that will help in creating a positive ROI and scaling your content.

Curate Compelling Content – Researching and finding content that your audience will find valuable outside of your own content is an important component of becoming a thought leader and getting your name into the discussion. Plan in advance to find the right content that relates to the information that you have created for the day, week or month. Share your thoughts on the content that you share, and link to the original source.

Use a Lot of Original Content – It is important to use at least as much original content as you do curated content. To craft content that speaks to your audience you need to always research your audience. Remember that while an audience may not change, e.g. “Housewives with children under 2 who stay at home,” their ideas change through the generations. You would not create content for the wife and mother who stays home with her young children today that has any relationship to content that you may have created back in 1960.

Craft Engaging Social Media Content – Remember that each social network has its own personality and values. You need to make sure the content you share on the social media matches this personality. You can edit and change it to make it fit. Share older evergreen content when it relates to a discussion on social media as an answer. Also, don’t be afraid to share everything more than once on the same social media. The people who are online right now may not be online later.

Repurpose Your Content Well – When you repurpose content, do not copy and paste into new formats. Truly change the personality of the content by using it as research and making it practically new for the different format. You do not want it to look cookie cutter; you want it to look and feel new. All content should be housed on your website, so by making it new you avoid issues of duplicate content, and maintain the originality of the piece. Cross-link to all your content as needed to tie it in.

Tell Your Story – The best way to improve brand awareness is to find ways to tell your story. You will generate more leads and make more conversions by getting close to your audience, and let them get to know who you are, why you are who you are, and what you stand for. Craft a compelling story that puts your audience front and center.

Plan in Advance – You know the saying that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. When it comes to content, nothing could be truer. You need to decide how much content you want to create, what formats the content will take, and the volume of curated content you want to add. In addition, you need to put it all in writing in the form of a publication calendar so that you can visually see how it all ties in with your product funnel.

Promote Everything – Whether it is curated content, or content you have created in its original form, or repurposed content, it’s important to share it all. Promotion is at the heart of your success. Promote via social media, pay per click, email marketing, and affiliates. The more ways you can find to promote the content that you want your audience to see, the better conversions you will see.

Get Help – All of this seems like a lot of work, and it is. But, you can do it by getting help. You can outsource to individuals and manage everything yourself, or you can hire a company or a content manager or content strategist to help you with the process. You can be as hands-on or off as you want as long as the content that is created and promoted fits your brand.

Your audience wants a continuous flow of information, and they want it in different forms and from different resources. You can offer them the best of all worlds by giving them the content you believe is valuable that other people create, and by providing them with your original content in many different forms for their use. Putting all that together in a cohesive form needs to be planned in advance to make it work seamlessly.

Building Your Affiliate Marketing Program

Affiliate marketing is not a fast results type of program. A well-planned affiliate marketing program built today can pay off in spades tomorrow. But, remember – it is a long-term plan, not a short-term overnight success type of situation. So, here are 8 things to get you started on the right foot so that you can do it right.

Set Up Your Website Right – You do not want to have a terrible website with ineffective sales pages if you want affiliates to take an interest in your offerings. Ensure that your “about us,”  “privacy policy,”  “return and shipping policy” (if dealing with physical products) and “contact information” are clear for all to see.

Do Not Link Away from Your Site – When it comes to promoting a product, the page should promote that product and nothing else. You do not want to lead people away from your website when they are coming there to learn about a specific product or service. Take away anything that links them away. Your affiliates will appreciate it.

Clear Contact Information – If someone has a question that they need to be answered, you want clear contact information so that they can contact you easily. You can also use a service that provides a chat with people to help them make purchasing decisions. Whatever you decide, make it easy for people to ask questions and get answers.

Product Pages That Convert – It is imperative that you have a clear call to action, great images, good descriptions and benefits of the product on the page. If your product pages do not convert, then affiliates will not want to touch the product.

Converting Marketing Collateral – Affiliates need copy, images, text and more to promote your products and services. They are not going to create it for you. If you want them to send out emails to their list, create an email that they can edit and make their own. Do the same with all the marketing materials you offer them to ensure that they promote your offerings.

A Fair Commission – Affiliates are like sales people who get paid only when they make a sale. If you want them to do a lot to make that sale, then they will need a fair percentage of sales to make it worth their time. If you do not offer at least 50 percent, you are unlikely to attract high-level affiliate marketers to your program.

Offer Incentives to Affiliates – In addition to a fair commission, you can also offer prizes to top sellers so that they work harder to promote your offerings. People like competition and if you give it to them and let them win prizes such as additional money or a physical prize, they will want to win.

A Fabulous Product – Of course, if you want to attract affiliates, you need a product that is everything you say it is and more. You want your affiliates to be excited to promote the product because it does what the sales page says it will do.

Having affiliates to promote your products and services is like having a legion of fans screaming your name. They will blog about you, promote you, and be excited about it – because if you are offering a great product or service, they know that it makes them look good. After all, their job is to promote things to their audience that solves their problems. Your product could be the answer.

How to Make Improvements in Client Interactions

Nothing is more important than ensuring that the communication you have with your clients is productive. There are many ways to communicate with a client. They encompass words and actions. Sometimes the words are spoken and sometimes they are written. But for all communication, your actions speak volumes above the words that you use. Ensure that your actions back up your words for the most effective form of communication.

Here are ten tips that you should know:

Engage with Clients – There are numerous ways you can engage with your clients, from a private Facebook group, to open office hours, to weekly Skype calls, to answering emails quickly. The more you can engage with your clients and the more they feel that you are open to communication, the better.

Show Empathy to Your Clients – Sometimes, especially when a client is complaining about something, it can be hard to be empathetic. But, you must always put yourself in your client’s shoes and look at things from their perspective in every interaction. When a client reacts badly to something, do not respond to their poor behavior; respond to the actual problem. They will feel heard and it will help.

Ask Clients for Feedback – A great way to open up communication with your clients is to show them some of your half-finished work and ask their opinion on it. That might be scary because they might respond going in a new direction than you thought, but it can help make them more satisfied with your work.

Ask Questions Directly to Your Clients – Do not be afraid to ask your clients direct questions about anything you are working on with them. Ask them if they liked your work, how they would improve it, and what suggestions they have for future work together.

Solve Their Problems – Be proactive with your clients and when you see a problem that they have that you can solve, or you know who can solve it, share that with them. Clients want their problems solved and even if they do not take your advice, they will appreciate your knowledge and expertise.

Act as Educator – You are an expert in your niche and your clients should view you that way in order to have a good relationship. Feel free to educate them on the area you have your expertise in. They will appreciate your voice as an expert.

Create Better Contracts – If you do have contracts with your clients, then the best way to make your communication work is to work on perfecting your contracts. When an issue comes up with one client, be sure to take that as education on how to make the contract with the next client even better.

Be Free with Your Opinion – The worst thing you can do is not give your client your opinion. You want to work with people who value your opinion, so be sure to give it. Always state that it is your opinion with some facts to back it up. Make it clear that they can go in whatever direction they want, but this is your expert opinion.

Always Be Yourself – Do not try to put on someone else’s personality. Only you can be you, and that is who your clients hired. Keep being yourself always. Even if it is scary sometimes, and even if a client might let you go due to who you are, those who stick with you will be a joy.

Send Them a Survey – Follow up with your clients at least yearly with a survey asking them about your work, products, and services. Having this yearly feedback will help you do better in the future with them and other clients.

Taking some time each year to review past communications with clients, analyze how you could do better, and working on improving will go far in helping you become an even bigger success.

What Is a JV Partnership?

A joint venture partnership is made between two or more individuals or business owners to work together on a particular project, product, or event. The companies do not become one; instead, they maintain their separate individual entities while working on a particular goal together. The purpose of a joint venture is to combine resources to maximize efficiencies of each entity for the particular project.

Limited Time Span – While some JVs do last a long time, most of them are temporary until the completion of the project. Many businesses find themselves entering into several consecutive JVs due to the success of others.

Clearly Defined Objective – Another thing that denotes a JV partnership is that they usually have a very clearly defined objective or reason for being put into place. Each entity involved knows their place and what is expected, as well as the goal.

The degree of Involvement Is Obviously Defined – Each part of the JV alliance has a particular thing that they are supposed to do, and this is clearly spelled out in an obvious manner. Each partner knows what is expected, what to do and when to do their part.

Spelled-Out Financial Contributions – Since the business entity is not going to be formed in a JV, the financial responsibilities of each member must be expressed. Sometimes one person is responsible for the finances, will deduct expenses from income and then distribute the profits as spelled out in the contract.

Plans Spelled Out for Problems or Disputes – In a JV that is temporary in nature, there can still be issues and disputes that arise. The contract usually spells out what to do and who will be the final say in any dispute – typically an unbiased arbitrator or in some cases the person with the main financial input gets the final say.

Termination of JV Arrangement Detailed –  Since a JV agreement is not permanent, usually the contract spells out exactly when and how the arrangement will end and what will happen to the intellectual property when the arrangement is complete.

Non-Disclosure Information – Most of the time both parties require some sort of non-disclosure information to keep trade secrets, contact lists, financial and other information private since some of them will necessarily be revealed during the JV partnership.

Other Legal Information –  It is important to check with your state and country about various terms and issues that should be covered in your JV agreement. Together with your JV partners, you may want to determine which of your locations will have the final say on any legal issues that should arise.

A joint venture partnership is a great way to expand your reach because you get to use each other’s contacts, resources, and skill set. But, it is important to understand what a JV is and what it is not. It is not combining two businesses permanently and it’s usually a temporary joining of forces.

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