Category Archives for Content Marketing

What Your USP Really Means to You and Your Customers

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rafting your unique selling proposition (USP) is an important component in running a long-term, successful business. The process of creating and writing down your beliefs and values, and aligning them with your goals and strategy, will help you to create an action plan for success. If you don’t understand why you do something, and you can’t explain why to others, it will be difficult to create either products or materials to market the products.

The USP Helps Small Businesses Differentiate

If you have a small business, you won’t be able to compete on the things larger businesses often compete on, such as price. Instead, you’ll need to focus on one thing that you stand for that is different from your competition so that you can take some of the market from the big guys. You can do it if you focus on sub-audiences rather than the larger audience.

The USP Helps a Small Business Narrow Their Niche

For instance if you provide content to small business owners, narrow down what type of content you provide and to which small business owners. “Small Business Owners” is too large of an audience. Instead, perhaps you want to write content for life coaches who focus on helping 40-plus-year-old people get new jobs?

The USP Helps Small Businesses Focus

That’s your audience, so your value proposition needs to be discovered next. Understanding that will also help you market to your customers in a way that separates you from the competition. Perhaps your competition focuses on inexpensive or even cheap content. You will focus instead of writing well-researched content delivered on time, every time. In this way you are not competing on price; you’re competing on quality.

What Your USP Means for You With a well thought out USP, you can decide exactly what you want and plan how you’re going to get it. It can assist with seeking appropriate feedback, and gives you a direction for taking action to reach your goals. A good USP can even help you work on changing your approach until you succeed because you know what makes you stand out.

What Your USP Means for Your Customer

A well thought out USP helps your customers understand what value you bring to the table and how you’re different from the competition. It tells your customer why they should buy from you instead of someone else. It provides a promise to them from you about your products or services that differentiates you from the others.

Creating a USP is going to put you at a competitive advantage because it will help direct your actions today and tomorrow, as well as succinctly inform your customers about important information that will help them make a choice to purchase your goods or services.

Real-Time Content Marketing Tips

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ost of the time, the point of content is to spread brand awareness. However, when it comes to real-time marketing the purpose of content is to build customer loyalty by engaging in a continuous dialog. Thankfully, today this can be done rather easily with the advent of online communication, social media being one of the main real-time centric technologies available to use with real-time marketing.

  • Monitor Industry News - Keep abreast of everything happening in your industry in terms of news events, and how you can relate your business to the news events that are happening. Sell products related to any of the news events of the day; you can use that information to connect to your audience by (for example) creating a meme or info-graphic and sending it out with a specific hashtag to attract those who are reading that news event.  A great service for creating info-graphics is Design Pickle.
  • Monitor Social Media - On any given day there are hundreds if not thousands of comments, questions and stories that appear on social media that you could use to craft content that is sensitive to real-time events. Even if a comment is negative, you can turn it around and make it funny or use the comment as a way to show the facts of your business and industry to the world.
  • Build a Community - One of the fastest ways to build content that incorporates real-time marketing is to build a community of insiders. You can do this easily on Facebook with Facebook groups, or you can start a message board on your own website for your inner circle. If you are listening, your inner circle will let you know what they need and want in terms of new content.
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    Don't Forget Your Audience - Don't get lost in all the information online and forget who your audience is. When you produce any content, including real-time answers to questions, comments, and information gathered, don't forget who your audience is. Have them in mind when you develop the real-time content.
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    Unleash Your Inner Editor - Real-time content cannot take the time to go through your normal editing process. You'll therefore want to put a team on real-time content creation that you trust to understand the essence of your company and your audience so that they really can respond in real-time.
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    Create Compelling Content - Real-time content isn't the time to send out a stale and boring word salad. Instead, this is the time you want to take more effort to creating funny, entertaining, interesting content that speaks to what is happening right now that also keeps your company values and audience in mind.
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    Less Is More - When it comes to real-time content, keeping it short, sweet and simple is often better. Creating a meme, infographic, or other easy to digest information may get more traction than a long word-centric document, especially when you want results fast as possible.
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    Create Real Authentic Content - You want to create good content with the information that you can acquire on social media and by listening in on forums and other areas that your audience hangs out. More is not always better, but good content with an eye toward current events will garner more interest when it's based on real stories and real information.

The important thing to remember when crafting content based on real-time information is to let go of the control reins a little so that the content can get out faster. Then be sure to monitor the real-time activity based on the content you push out. Try different forms of content to see what works best for your audience.

8 Hacks to Create Passive Income

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here are many ways to create passive income online today – more ways than this one article can give you. Perhaps you will get your creative juices flowing by looking at these ideas for making passive income online.

YouTube Channel

Creating a YouTube channel to make passive income can take a lot of work. But, the video you make today can earn money for you forever, or at least as long as YouTube continue to do things the way they now do it.

The best way to proceed is to come up with a good idea that your audience will enjoy and try to put up as many videos as you can each week, no less than one a week. With YouTube, consistency is the key. A good example of a high earning YouTube Channel is Mother Goose Club which earns millions a year.

Link - https://www.youtube.com/user/MotherGooseClub

Busy Niche Website / Blog

A busy website or blog is a great way to earn passive income. At first you will have to work extra hard getting up the right content, and finding the right products to promote. You will not be able to join an ad network other than AdSense until you are more popular, but it will not take long if you work at it daily.

A good example of a blog that earns good money is RealitySteve.com. You do not have to create something about celebrities to earn a lot of money, though.

Kindle EBooks

You can write and publish Kindle eBooks for passive income. It is easy and free to publish on Kindle. You can write the books yourself, or you can truly make it passive by outsourcing it to someone else to do. A man by the name of Ty Cohen makes millions via Kindle publishing. There are more, so that means it is possible

Develop an App

Take a clue from Ty Cohen and create apps too. You do not need to know even one bit of code, because you can find a freelancer on a site like Upwork.com to do it for you. Then you will promote the app to your audience. The app will earn money for a long time if you create the right kind.

Create an ECourse

With all the simple software that is available now, you can take your idea and create a course in no time. Try using a system like LearnDash.com to promote and sell your course. Look up LMS or "sell your eCourse online for money" and you will find plenty of ways to do it.

Develop Information Products

You can write or use digital video to create information products to promote to your audience. In fact you can put them on ClickBank.com, JVZoo.com, and other affiliate networks to allow others to sell the product too for a percentage. This is the fastest way to start making passive income, because technically you only need sales pages and not full-fledged websites to promote.

Membership Website

If you have knowledge that others want, you can put it behind a membership wall and collect a monthly fee for those who want to join. Some good examples of memberships that make money are Writer Help Wanted, and the membership community Living Plant Based. Any idea that you have can work as a membership community.

Links:
Writer Help Wanted - http://www.writerhelpwanted.com/
Living Plant Based - http://www.livingplantbased.com/

Become a Niche Affiliate Marketer

There are many products already created that you can start to promote now. You can go to ClickBank.com, JVZoo.com and other affiliate networks to find products that have affiliate programs that are ready for you to promote. Simply use proven systems to promote their products, and you can be making passive income in no time.

While the beginning of creating passive income is anything but "passive," the point is that once you start creating and marketing these products you will stop the treadmill of trading hours for dollars. Instead of being limited by how much time you have each day, you will be able to sell your products to as many people as you desire.

Top Tips for Building a Powerful and Profitable SMS Marketing Campaign

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MS can help you increase your marketing reach exponentially if you know what to do. Think about it – the customer has their mobile device with them all the time, and according to many studies the open rate for text messaging is over 97 percent. With results like that, you can’t turn down the opportunity to incorporate SMS marketing into your business practices.

Target the Right Audience

You want only people on your SMS lists who want to be on them. Get permission to market to them via SMS by being direct and up front about why you want their mobile number. Give them options so that if they want to receive messages in other ways that they can.

Follow the Law

Just like there are anti-spam laws for email messaging, there are laws regarding SMS messages. You must have an easy way for consumers to opt out of receiving messages and the system must work to remove them immediately when they ask.

Use a Service

The easiest way to follow the law and to run a profitable SMS marketing campaign is to use the right services and software which help you automate the system, follow the laws, set up all your marketing messages in advance of the campaign, and send messages on the fly when you feel like it.

Create Thought-Out Messaging

Don’t just throw anything together when it comes to SMS marketing messages. Ensure that your message has a reason for being, and that it leads to some sort of action or conclusion by your recipient.

Host a Competition

People love competition and SMS is a great way to host one using polls, voting, and surveys to complete the competition and allow participants to win something of value.

Announce Last-Minute Sales

SMS messaging is a perfect way to announce last-minute or time-limited sales. Sending out a text message that gives the recipient a code with three hours to respond is going to get a lot more buyers than you can imagine if you’ve done the work to build a responsive, targeted list of customers.

Be Viral

SMS messages need not be boring. They can even become viral if you take the time to think about what message you want to send. You can include links to images, videos, and more right to your customer at any time of the day or night that they can then forward to their friends.

Use for Product Verification

Need a way to get people to join your SMS list? Ask for phone numbers to verify the product and to provide free training for your product or service. Most people who have already bought from you will have no issue entering their number for verification.

Create Awareness

Using SMS campaigns to create awareness of new products and services is a great way to circumvent the unopened emails. For example, if you’ve collected email addresses and SMS information, try sending the information via SMS to the people who did not open the email. You’ll probably get a higher open rate and the awareness will be spread.

Offer Coupons, Deals and Specials

Everyone loves a special deal and your SMS list members are no exception. In fact, if you send out a coupon or deal at the right time, you’ll be surprised at how many people will take advantage. The key is to understand your customer enough that you know which deals to offer at which time.

Engage Customers

Don’t forget that SMS marketing is much like any other social media marketing - it’s social. Therefore it’s important to engage with your members strategically so that they will help spread your message and answer your calls to action.

JV with Others

An SMS marketing campaign isn’t really that different from an email marketing campaign. You must build your list, send focused messages, engage them, and provide value to the people who trust you enough to give their information. If you do that, your SMS marketing campaigns will be successful.

SMS marketing is a powerful marketing method that many small businesses should be involved in. If you’re not using SMS marketing yet, why not?

Promoting Your Course

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nce you have created a course and set it up on a delivery platform, you need to start promoting your course. If you don’t promote your course, then no one will purchase it and you won’t earn money. Promotion is when the real work of the entire course happens. There are multiple ways to promote your course.

  • SEO - Search engine optimization is very important to ensure that people find out about your course. There is on-page and off-page SEO to consider. In short, SEO when done right can enhance the ability of your audience to find your sales pages, blogs, and course.
  • Social Media - Use social media to promote your courses. Hint about them and give a sneak peek into them. Pull out quotes from your course to promote with memes on social media, using images that relate to your course.
  • Blogging - Write a series of blog posts about the problems that can be solved by taking the course. If you educate the audience on their pain points and then give them the solution to solve it, the course, they will sign up
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    Interviews - Conduct interviews with people who have radio or podcasts. During the interview, mention your eCourse, offering a special coupon code for listeners.
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    Testimonials - Give your course to a few good people in order to collect testimonials for the course so that you can put them on your sales page. People like proof that your program works, and this is the best way to gather that proof.
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    EBook - You can actually turn the course idea into an eBook which you can use to promote the course. Make an eBook that discusses the pain points and potential solutions to the problems, including your eCourse.
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    Webinars - Have a webinar to talk about the pain points and problems of the audience the course is for. Then give them a special offer they can't refuse if they sign up right now for the full eCourse.
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    Sales Page - A really awesome sales page can help you promote your eCourse. You want a page that is totally focused on your audience, their pain points, and how the course will solve their problems.
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    Affiliate Marketing - You can use many affiliate networks in addition to your sales page to promote your course. It depends on how you set up the course but you can use aMember.com, ClickBank.com, and other affiliate software to help promote your course. When you have other people helping, you'll sell a lot more courses.
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    Giveaways - You can give away small reports, small segments of the course, and other information to get people to sign up for an email list where you can promote the course in more detail.

It's important to do a combination of every one of these ways to promote your eCourse if you want to earn you a lot of money from it. A course can earn hundreds and even thousands of dollars if you do what it takes to get the word out to the audience.

Determining Your Online Marketing Goals

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ne of the first things you need to do when starting an online business or a new marketing campaign is to determine what your online marketing goals are. Do you want to increase sales conversions, get more traffic, improve your reputation or expand your brand? It is very important to understand that for a goal to become a reality, it needs to be specific, measurable, attainable, and realistic, as well as time specific. These are called SMART goals.

Potential Online Marketing Goals

First create a general list of goals, and then get more specific. A potential list of goals is below; yours will be different and based on your products, services and possibilities.

  • Generate More Sales - While this may seem like an obvious goal, it's important to state exactly how many more sales you want to achieve, in what period of time, and for what product.
  • Expand Online Presence - Every business today needs an online presence but the larger you build it, the more attention you'll get, and the more money you'll earn.
  • Increase Website Traffic - You want targeted website traffic, not just more website traffic, to ensure that you reach your other goals.
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    Get More Social Media Followers - More social media follows engaging with your posts can lead to an increase in so many other business indicators.
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    Generate Leads - You want to nurture leads that can turn into sales.
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    Grow Authority - The more authoritative your online presence, the better for all your other goals.

Making Your Goals SMART

The next step is to make your goals SMART. These points will help steer you in the right direction.

  • Specific - If you can't name what you want to accomplish in precise terms, it will be hard to know whether or not you've even achieved success. It's important to note whether or not you want to increase traffic, get more subscribers, or establish yourself as an authority, so that you're not acting without any knowledge of where you're going.
  • Measurable - If you can't provide a number detail to your goal, how will you know whether or not you achieved the results you wanted? To translate that, consider stating that you want to increase subscribers to 1400 starting from 800.
  • Attainable - It's important to know your audience enough to know if what you are shooting for is possible. Look back on the past as a good indicator of how well your future campaigns will go for your particular audience.
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    Realistic - If you have a goal of increasing subscribers, but you're not leading them to your newsletter form sign-up, then you're not being very realistic. Each campaign and goal must match each action that you take.
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    Time - If you don't set a time limit, you may never achieve your goal because you will be too tempted to procrastinate. Set deadlines that are realistic for the project that you're doing, based on your industry and past experience.

Making SMART goals part of your repertoire will increase your success exponentially. The reason is that you will have an actual final goal as something you're shooting for in order to succeed, instead of not having a clue where you are going. Plus, you'll be able to study the results to see if it worked. If it did not work, you'll be able to find ways to adjust for the future.

Nine Tips to Create Subscriber-Friendly Content 

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any times people subscribe to a mailing list and then immediately unsubscribe. Why do they do that? They do that for a variety of reasons – from not feeling like the content was directed toward them, to feeling like they get too many emails, or worse because they forgot they ever signed up due to the lack of emails and so many other emails. These nine tips will help you avoid all these situations.

  • Really Know Your Subscribers – Before you attempt to get one subscribe, ensure that you’re attracting the right people to your email list. Having just anyone sign up won’t help you reach your goals. Ensure that the content you put out there to attract people to sign up is directed to your target audience, and no one else. Also ensure that any freebies you give out in exchange for email addresses are things that only your target audience would want.
  • Personalize Subject Lines – Once they are on your email list, it’s important that you use the technology within your autoresponder software to personalize the subject lines for your audience. If they see their name within the subject line, they’re going to be a lot more likely to open it and notice it in the deluge of email they already receive.
  • Personalize Content – Your autoresponder software also has the ability to personalize the inside contents within the email. Use it. It’s important to use this capability because audiences respond very well to having content personalized to them. They see their name and they feel more important and more like clicking through.
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    Send Only Targeted Content – When you create email content to be sent out in your list, it’s important that it is targeted. Once you’ve attracted your target audience, don’t mess it up by sending something different than they expect. Double check for each title you plan to send to them. Ask yourself: "Does this fit my target audience?"
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    All Content You Send Should Be Purposeful – In addition to being targeted, the content needs a purpose. Your purpose can be multi-fold. You want to inform, entertain, educate and engage. You may not do every single one of these – though that should be your goal – but at least choose one of these. Plus, do include your call to action, every single time.
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    Your Content Should Be Helpful – One of the most important things you'll want to impart to your audience is your willingness and desire to help them achieve something or solve their problems. Since what you offer them does solve their problems, you are on the right track by offering them your products or services.
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    Don’t Send Content Too Often – Be careful about sending content too often. You know the people who send content three or four times a day; it is irritating and even if they do offer something good you stop reading. You get sick of it and just don’t read and eventually you unsubscribe. You don’t want that to happen so tread carefully here.
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    Don’t Send Content Too Infrequently – Conversely, it’s important to avoid not sending content to your audience enough. Before the first person signs up, you should have in the autoresponder enough content to go out at least for one year, one piece of content a week. That’s 52 evergreen pieces of content that fit your audience and promote the products you have now and know you’ll have for a long time. Then you can add fresh content to go out once or twice a week that is new if you desire.
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    Study Your Metrics – Finally, it’s really important that you study your metrics. If you don’t know who is opening, how many are opening, when they’re opening and what happens when they click through to follow your call to action, then you won’t know if what you’re doing works or not. You should be aware of whether or not your work is really producing a response.

Creating subscriber-friendly content is simple if you have done the work to understand who your audience is, and what they want. You can even use your autoresponder software to engage your members and ask them what they want. The more you can deliver what they want, the more successful you’ll be.

How to use SMS to Launch a Product

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MS marketing is a very flexible form of marketing which is very important today. People use their mobile devices continuously; many even taking them to bed with them. They eat with them and keep them by their side at all times. If you’re a marketer who hasn’t experimented with SMS marketing, you’re missing out. One great way to use SMS is to launch a new product.

Just like with email marketing, customers opt in to receive your text messages. As you build your list, you will send the customer or potential customer messages to announce new products, send them to a new website, and more. It’s not unlike email marketing but the messages need to be shorter, more direct, always have a call to action, and offer a simple way to opt out in each message. Once you get through those issues, your message is as good as in the customer’s hands.

  • Build Your SMS List - Use every avenue at your disposal for building your SMS list. If you have a store front, ask for cell phone numbers at checkout, whether it’s an online store or a bricks and mortar store.
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    Tease Information out to the List – As you get new sign-ups, be sure to send them a test message and allow them to opt in or out, remind them where they signed up, and send them a coupon or something exciting.
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    Ask Your Subscribers to Share – When you send them a message, ask them to share this exciting information and opportunity with their friends because it will help make your SMS list larger.
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    Send Creative Messages – You aren’t limited to just text today with SMS. You can send a video message, or an image that is more creative and will potentially get more buzz.
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    Offer Early Bird Coupons for New Product – Once they sign up, don’t just forget about them even if you’re not done with the main product yet to launch. Send coupons and early bird information. Make them feel special and exclusive.
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    Build Up Excitement - Keep sending messages to pique their interest in the next thing and the big launch. You want them to be happy to get your text messages.
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    Launch – When the product is done, launch it via SMS like you would if you were launching it via email marketing. Send information to get them to go to your website to buy, or bricks and mortar business to buy.
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    Repeat – Keep doing it. Sometimes it takes time for a customer to respond and act on your SMS messages. As long as they’ve not opted out, send messages to them on a regular basis but don’t do it as often as you would an email.

SMS marketing has a big chance of creating a viral campaign if you send interesting messages that trigger your audience to want to purchase from you right now. This method of marketing works very well with limited time offers because of the sense of urgency that you can elicit with the message if worded correct with a good call to action.

Pros and Cons of Native Advertising

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ative advertising, like all advertising, has its pros and cons. The problem a small business has is that without advertising they can’t find all their customers. So, it helps to understand the pros and cons of each type of advertising.

Pros of Native Advertising

  • Better customer targeting – The fact that the ads run only where like content is seen means that the people who click through your content are better targeted and more likely to find your information helpful.
  • Less expensive – Compared to other forms of more traditional display advertising and banner ads, this is a much less expensive form of advertising. It offers a lower barrier to entry so that many different types of businesses can take advantage of this type of advertising.
  • Bypasses ad blind customers – Most consumers today are blind to most traditionally advertising. The way that native advertising appears is less intrusive and doesn’t always look like an ad.
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    Enhances content – Having more information similar to what a reader is already reading is a good way to offer more information to readers.
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    Increases targeted followers – Since the promoted information only appears with like information, it will be more likely to produce a lot more targeted readers.

Cons of Native Advertising

  • Can seem deceptive – Many people who use native advertising put tricky headlines, and when the consumer clicks through they’re not happy, thus making it harder for more honest publishers to use native advertising.
  • Seen as unethical – Due to the dishonest headlines, the native advertising can seem unethical to some readers.
  • Publishers receive backlash – Often when a publisher allows native ads to appear on their website their traffic goes down, even as their revenue goes up.
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    Too advertorial – Sometimes people misuse native ads as if they’re like the old-fashioned advertorials that appear in print magazines. This is not a good use for native advertising.
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    Google may penalize native advertising – It has been found that Google penalizes publishers for including native advertising on its pages. However, Google is actually getting in on the native advertising game so this may not be true.

The fact is that all forms of advertising have problems to overcome. People are prone to dislike all advertising, even when it ends up helping them. After all, how would anyone find out about products that help them without advertising? Your job is to provide excellent materials so that your audience can find the solutions it needs.

In order to overcome the stigma of advertising of all kinds, it’s important for small business owners to not be tricky with headlines, to be straightforward about what’s going to be in the content, and to provide informative content that is helpful to your audience. If you seek to always under promise and over deliver, your readers will never be disappointed when clicking through your native advertising to find what you have to tell them about.

What’s the Difference in Owned, Paid, and Earned Marketing Strategy?

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hen you are choosing different marketing strategies to implement when marketing your business, it’s important to understand the choices you have and how they differ. You essentially have three choices when it comes to marketing, namely “owned,” “paid” and “earned” media. You’ll more than likely use a combination of all strategies for the very best results.

Owned Media

This consists of your own website, blog posts, social media accounts, and articles you write and own.

Owned media is very important for business owners because it is something that you can control and use the easiest. Your content on your website needs to be top-notch, taking into consideration search engine optimization. Your content on your blog needs to be updated often with relevant content directed toward your audience. Engage often on your social media accounts.

Paid Media

This consists of promoted posts, PPC campaigns and anything that you pay for play.

One good use of paid media is to engage in a remarketing campaign. For instance, if someone has come to your website to view a page and then leave, you can use remarketing (also known as retargeting) to bring the viewer back to your website.

Sponsored articles, advertisements, email marketing, paid search, promoted video are all examples of paid media. This is another important element for most marketers and it’s important for you to use these opportunities. Start small with using promoted posts on Facebook.

Earned Media

This consists of information about your business that is owned by a third party and not controlled by you.

Whether you want earned media or not, you’re going to have it. It can be both good and bad, and it’s still earned media if a third party put it out there without your permission and without payment from you. You can have some measure of control over earned media by providing the best customer service you can, having top-notch products and services, and keeping your ear to the ground to make the most of any positive third party earned media.

Sometimes there can be cross-overs with owned and paid media, as well as owned and earned media. For example, if you own a blog post and you pay to promote it. Or if you created a video that happened to go viral that is both owned and earned -because once it goes viral you essentially lose control of it and what is said about it. Take advantage of those opportunities when you can.

All business owners should use a combination of all three forms of media in their marketing efforts for the very best results. With today’s crowded marketplace, the old ways of just relying on search engine optimization and your own social media promotions are over. You need to find a way to stand out from the crowd to become a force to be reckoned with.

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