Category Archives for Strategy

Common Website Mistakes to Avoid

Common Website Mistakes to Avoid

When you decide to build a website for your business, there are so many things to consider. It can be confusing to deal with the conflicting information out there about what constitutes a useful website, as well as matching it with your vision. As you work everything out in your mind, try to avoid making these mistakes.

Ignoring the Rules of Accessibility

It’s very important to understand the rules of accessibility, not just so that differently-abled people can enjoy your website, but also to help search engines access your site better. Link to rules - http://www.w3.org/

Including Irrelevant Content

From images to audio, to text, you want to avoid including any type of content that is not relevant to your audience and the message you want them to take away from visiting your website.

Contact Info Is Not Readily Visible

Nothing is more frustrating than wanting to contact a business but not knowing how. Don’t hide your contact information from your website visitors; it is important that they can contact you.

Unnecessary Entry Pages

You’ve seen websites like that; the ones that you have to “click here to enter.” This is completely unnecessary. It can be an impediment to your audience finding the information they need, and is absolutely a problem for search engines.

Including Automatic Audio

Some websites have sound that comes on the moment the visitor goes to it, or if the cursor goes over it, but this is also a bad thing to do. Let your visitor choose when the sound comes on and goes off so that they aren’t irritated.

Not Updating SEO Regularly

Search engine optimization involves ensuring that the right keywords, headlines, sub-headers, and information are in each page, plus that you provide enough information off your page to help get links back to your page. Learn all you can about SEO to make the most of this organic means of getting traffic.

Too Many Graphics

Graphics are important for a website and add to the look, feel and mood of your website. But, you don’t want to have too many, because it will make your website load slower and cause your visitors to get tired fast.

Unorganized Navigation

Learn how people tend to look at websites. When they read paper, it’s left to right, but websites they read vertically and sometimes in an F pattern. If you can understand that, you can put the important information where they’re most likely to view it.

If you can avoid these mistakes, and perfect each item here, your website will be that much more inviting and useful to your audience. You’ll get more visitors to come to your website, plus you’ll get more of them sticking around, answering your calls to action and more.

60 Ways on How to Boost Your Website Traffic in Just One Hour a Day

Even if all you have is one hour a day, you can do a lot to increase traffic to your website. The best way to get more traffic to your website quickly is to add more targeted content, promote that content, and keep repeating that.

Many things on this list will not even take you an hour. If you start at the top of the list and work your way down the list over a day or two, spending one hour each day, you can dramatically increase your website traffic.

  • Add “alt” tags to images on your website
  • Add a plugin like Inline Tweet Sharer
  • Add an online forum
  • Add deep links to more content on blog posts
  • Add links to your website to all autoresponder series
  • Add one email to your autoresponder series
  • Add one resource to your website
  • Add to the FAQ on your website
  • Add Your blog to iTunes and Amazon
  • Answer comments on your blog
  • Ask for shares, tweets, and likes
  • Build a sitemap
  • Comment on other people’s blog posts
  • Create and run a Facebook advertisement
  • Create a cheat sheet for your audience to use
  • Create a Gravatar account
  • Create a poll on Facebook
  • Create a SlideShow.net out of an old blog post
  • Create and send out a press release
  • Create your own blogging network
  • Curate other people’s content on a topic of interest
  • Curate someone else’s content surrounding one topic
  • Develop a blog tour
  • Ensure that your site is responsive
  • Highlight and organize old blog posts surrounding a particular topic
  • Host a teleseminar
  • Host a webinar
  • Improve META descriptions on your website
  • Interview a client or customer
  • Interview an important person in your niche
  • Join a syndication network
  • Offer a free eBook to your audience
  • Open up comments on your blog
  • Organize a targeted pinboard on Pinterest
  • Participate in online forums
  • Personalize your 404 error page
  • Promote your content on social media
  • Publish your RSS feed
  • Send out a breaking news story
  • Send out a newsletter
  • Share influencers’ content with your audience
  • Share, tweet, like
  • Start a sponsored content feed on LinkedIn
  • Start an expert panel series
  • Submit a guest blog post for publication
  • Tie a holiday into your promotions
  • Transcribe interviews to text
  • Turn a fact-based data-driven blog post into an infographic
  • Turn an old blog post into a short video
  • Update an old blog post with new information
  • Update any social media site profile
  • Update images on your website
  • Update your Facebook page profile
  • Update your Google Plus profile
  • Update your Pinterest profile
  • Update your profile on LinkedIn
  • Use Canva.com to grab a quote to share on social media
  • Use screenshots to make a how-to guide
  • Write and publish a new blog post on your website
  • Write one page of your next book

When it comes down to it, you will need to promote and distribute all the content that you create to make the most of it. Getting more traffic to your website is as easy as increasing the amount of content that you produce, as well as the amount of promoting that you do for that content. Create, distribute, promote, and repeat should be your mantra.

Reasons Marketing Plans Fail and What to Do About It

The number one reason that marketing plans fail is due to a lack of seeing the plan through to the end. In other words: not following through. You can write a plan down in the minutest detail, but without action to back up what is written, nothing will happen. Other reasons why marketing plans fail are:

Not Understanding Your Audience

Running a successful business requires a lot of research and dedication to getting to know your audience inside and out. That means not only for today but for the future too. As time moves on, some things about your audience will change as well. A good example would be Dove Soap. They've always had the same audience, but they can't market to that audience the same today than they did 20 years ago, or they run the risk of offending their audience.

Not Understanding Your Products

Do you know every product that you offer your audience, and do you know why you offer them? What benefits do they give your audience? Don't just know how to list the features of your products. The audience only cares about the benefits, and you should be able to explain your products from their perspective.

Not Setting Measurable Goals

Many businesses just run advertisements without really knowing why. If you don't have a specific goal, such as increasing your email list by 100 subscribers in one month, it will be hard to know if what you're doing is working or not.

Not Setting Realistic Goals

If you have a budget of 100 dollars a month, you may not be able to reach 1000 new subscribers in a month or hire someone to write 20 new articles for your blog. Therefore, work with your budget or around your budget to meet a goal. However, don't create a goal based on budget; only create the plan based on the budget.

Not Understanding Why

You want to add people to your email list, but why do you want to do that? What is the point of your goal? If you can't understand the reason behind your goals, then it won't be easy for you to execute them.

Not Knowing How

Many people are afraid to admit that they do not know how to do something and need more education. If you can find a way to identify gaps in your education and find tutorials or coaching to teach you, you'll be more likely to be successful.

Not Knowing Who

If you don't know who is going to help you reach your goals and implement your plan, then you may not succeed. When you write out the plan, make sure that you also write out who is going to execute on each part of the plan and when.

Not Following Through

Many business owners do all the planning but never implement anything. It could be due to fear of success or fear of failure, but just like a diet, if you don't follow through, you will not see the results that you want.

Marketing plans don't fail if they are made and then implemented. The reason is that a marketing plan changes with the times, objectives, and goals. As long as you are working the plan, you will more than likely find success.

Marketing Strategy and Marketing Plan – What’s the Difference?

The best way to get strategy versus plan straight is to realize that you need to develop goals (strategy) before you can create a plan of action to reach those goals. First, you come up with the strategy and goals, and then using the goals, you will create the plan. They go together, and you need both to be successful when marketing your business.

Here's an example:

Marketing strategy: Increase email subscribers to market XYZ product

Marketing plan: Create and promote a freebie report targeted toward a specific audience for the purposes of increasing email list subscriptions.

You have to know what you want to do before you can determine how you're going to do it. This is why creating a marketing plan is an important part of owning a successful business. Come up with the right strategy so that you can create good goals, then from those goals, develop a plan of action that provides for you daily, weekly, and monthly tasks to perform toward reaching the goals and seeing the strategy through.

The step missing here is the doing. If you were to create a workflow for developing your marketing strategy and plan, it might look like this.

Define the Goals

Measurable and attainable goals spelled out. If you can't write it out, you haven't dug deep enough. Name what you want. If you plan to increase your email list subscribers, then by how many? Which list? With whom?

Identify Why

Know why you want to meet the goal. Do you know why you're building your email list? You should know that you're building it to promote XYZ product.

Create a Plan of Action

ist all the tasks you must do to reach the goal. What does it take to create a freebie? A writer, an editor, a delivery system, and promotion; what else?

Implement the Plan

Organize the plan and implement it in the order necessary to succeed. Always remember the first things first. Set the time limit or deadline, then work your way back to today to start filling in when you need to do each task.

Measure the Results

Determine if you met your goals by seeing how much you exceeded or how far you are from the measurable goal that you set.

Adjust and Improve

Throw out what isn't working and keep doing what is. If you did not reach your goal, determine why. If you did, make a new one.

Repeat

Do it all over again for every goal.

Understanding the importance of understanding how you will go about meeting a goal is about as important as creating the goal. As you work through the marketing plan, you may determine that you lack skill or education. That will then determine that you need the help of some sort from a contractor or technology.

Common Webinar Mistakes

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t may help you to know some of the most common webinar mistakes made. You want to avoid making too many mistakes but don’t allow fear of mistakes to stop you from going forward with planning and hosting a webinar. Webinars are an excellent way to get qualified leads, build expertise, and develop buzz about your business.

Not Practicing

It's important to practice your presentation as well as handing off the mic/controls to others who might participate. Understanding how everything works before the big event will make everything go more smoothly.

Lack of Preparation

In addition to practicing, it's important to prepare for your event. Make sure that your microphone works; ensure that you have a quiet space. Get your presentation ready, and study up on any questions that people might ask so you're ready with some answers.

Not Setting Up Landing Pages

When you're serious about selling something or providing information about anything, it's important that you care enough to make a sales page or landing page for it. Its the best way to get more conversions.

Skimping on Professional Assistance

You can't do everything yourself at all times. Sometimes you are good at one aspect of webinars but not others. Why not outsource some of it to other people so that you can focus on what you know best.

Setting Too Broad of a Topic

You want to narrow down your topic to a very small area, because you do not want to overwhelm your listeners. The viewers will shut down when you throw too much information at them. Plus, a narrow topic is easier to market and you can be more assured of attracting your target audience.

Not Understanding What Your Audience Needs

Your job is to solve your customers' problems. You can't do that if you don't know who they are and what they need. When you focus on problem solving, you will come up with a better topic.

Failing to Market Your Webinar

There is just no such thing as "build it and they will come." You really must do something to get the word out. Use social media, blog posts, articles, guest articles, a blog tour and whatever else you can use to get the word out.

Forgetting to Test Out Technology

Even though issues may happen no matter how much testing you do, test it out anyway. The more tests you conduct, the more likely things are to go smoothly. You cannot ever know for sure how the webinar will go, but testing helps make you more comfortable.

Not Having a Webinar

The biggest mistake that you can possibly make is not having a webinar. Once you do it a couple of times, you'll be hooked. They can be as small and cozy or as large as you want them to be. You can have them often or rarely; it's totally up to you.

You're going to make mistakes sometimes. But there is no reason to reinvent the wheel when it comes to webinars. Someone has had a webinar before you, and they have perfected the best way to do them. Find a template and start planning for your success today.

Top Apps to Help You Run Your Business Lean and Mean

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hen it comes to running a lean business, the name of the game is efficiency. You want to use apps that increase your efficiency and help you do more in less time.

PayPal

This is a no-brainer today, as many people like paying for their online purchases via PayPal. There are other online payment processors and certainly you need more than one, but PayPal is going to be the one most people choose to use.

Link - https://www.paypal.com/

Go Daddy Bookkeeping

This is single entry bookkeeping that helps you keep track of income and expenses automatically. It connects with FreshBooks, PayPal and your bank to help eliminate data entry issues.

Link - https://bookkeeping.godaddy.com/

FreshBooks

This is an invoicing system with some project management, budgeting, and accounting features. You can use it with many other types of bookkeeping apps like Go Daddy Bookkeeping, but also with some others that you might like. It offers time tracking and the ability to manage a team's work.

Link - http://www.freshbooks.com/

Basecamp

This is project management software that is low cost, and people love it. It helps arrange tasks, reminders, and more. Your clients can sign in too, or you can just use it to manage a team of contractors.

Link - https://basecamp.com/

TeamworkPM

This is another project management tool to use that will do all the things Basecamp does. It is more designed for working with teams and clients who don't like signing on to anything and prefer using email.

Link - https://www.teamwork.com/

Microsoft Office 365

Using MS Office is almost essential when working from home. Although you can use some free services like OpenOffice.org, MS Office is still the main one that most people use. And you'll need it. Instead of buying the software outright you can use the online service for a monthly fee. What's wonderful about that is that you do not have to worry about updates.

Link - https://products.office.com/

Dropbox.com

This is a file sharing and storing solution that works great with your clients and team. It's not expensive and they even have a free version. They have also developed a project business version.

Link - https://dropbox.com/

Evernote

This is free software that enables you to keep track of notes from the web, voice, photos, and more, even handwritten notes. This is great for planning and organizing new products and services.

Link - https://evernote.com/

Hootsuite

If you manage social media for others, or yourself, using a service that allows you to automate some issues will cut down on the time that you use for doing things.

Link - https://hootsuite.com/

Zendesk

If you have a lot of customer service issues, this is a great way to set up a ticketing system. Ticketing systems will save you a lot of time and effort.

Link - https://www.zendesk.com/

Mozy

This is a backup system that will save you from disaster. Saving on an external drive is not good enough; it's safer and better to save your computer's files in the cloud. Then if you lose your entire home, computer, external drive and all, your work is safe.

Link - https://mozy.com/

WordPress.org

Starting a website with WordPress.org self-hosted website is very important. And, outside of special platforms like membership sites (for example the New Rainmaker platform) and personalized websites, it's free.

Link - https://wordpress.org/

AWeber

Whether you use AWeber or another autoresponder service is not as important as actually using one. The time you can save, plus the ability to easily stay lawful in your communications with others, is amazing.

Link - http://www.aweber.com/

You don't need every one of these apps to run a lean business as some of them do the same thing. Choose which apps work best for your niche and the way you have designed your work flow. Remember that the more efficient you can become using apps, the leaner your business can become.

Understanding Parallel Trends and How to Profit from Them

P

aying attention to trends within your business is an important way to increase your profit. If you’re not aware of parallel trends within your business, then it’s time to look into them. An example would be if your business is DIY (doing it yourself) re-purposing furniture, there might be a trend within the business of redoing garbage finds found on the street into usable furniture and decor. This would be a parallel trend. If you’ve kept ahead of your industry, you’ll be one of the first to jump on this new trend within your area of business.

How to Keep Ahead of Your Industry

Create a Google Alert

Using keywords, industry names, movers' and shakers' names, and so forth, create alerts that will come straight to your inbox that you can use to notice and then profit from parallel trends.

Search Social Networks

Social media networks such as Twitter are terrific for identifying trending articles and information within any given business or industry. Do regular keywords searches within your area of business.

Use Innovative Tools

Using tools like Think with Google and The Internet Time Machine to learn about trends in your industry. These types of tools can help you notice trends sooner.

Here are my favorites:
Think with Google - http://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/
The Internet Time Machine - http://www.theinternettimemachine.com/
Answer The Public - https://answerthepublic.com/

Read Industry News

If you subscribe to industry blogs, newspapers and magazines, and observe the people within your area of business, then you’ll be able to see trends in advance of your customers and audience.

Poll Your Audience

What does your customers and audience want to know more about? Often, this is a great way to identify a parallel trend from which you can profit. Who better to help you identify parallel trends than the audience themselves?

How to Make Money and Profit

Once you identify a parallel trend within your business, then you need to use the information you know to increase your profit. Using the example above of DIYing garbage to usable furniture and décor, once the idea is identified you will:

  • Write blog posts about it – Where to find the garbage; what online sources to join to get free items to DIY, such as Freecycle.org, or Facebook groups devoted to giving away items.
  • Photograph examples – Do some DIYs from garbage yourself and take pictures of the process.
  • Teach others how to do it – Create lessons about how to DIY different types of potential garbage finds. Describe what makes good garbage finds to DIY.
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    Create plans to sell – Draw plans of every garbage DIY that you create.
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    Make videos of the process – Make videos of the entire process.
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    Curate other people’s work – Show examples of what others are doing.
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    Sell a how-to eBook – Combine everything into an eBook to sell.
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    Etc

Having identified the trends, go out and market them as much as you can. Since it is a trend, more people will be doing Google Searches for the trend because they’re going to see it everywhere. If you’re not writing about it, making products to help with it, and educating your audience about it, you’re missing out on huge profit potentials - not only in new products or services you can develop based off the parallel trend, but your regular products and services too.

SMS Marketing Ideas

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here are many benefits to SMS marketing such as increased customer loyalty, wider brand awareness, improved customer relationships, better sales, and the fact that as far as marketing is concerned it’s an inexpensive marketing method.

To get started with SMS marketing, you’ll want to get people to sign up. You can use all of the following ways to get people to do that:

Signage

If you have a bricks and mortar business, simply ask people to sign up, or put up a QR code that they can scan with their phone.

Billboards

You won’t need that many letters on a billboard to get your audience to view it and text you to get on your list.

Website Sign-Up Forms

Ask for mobile information on your web sign-up forms.

Newsletters

Do you send out email or paper newsletters? Use the distribution to get the audience to sign up for your text message list.

Radio

Yes, radio ads still work, and you can make it short and sweet by asking them to text you at a specific number that will opt them into your SMS list.

Email Messages

Already have an email list? Send out a message with a free offer that requires them to provide their mobile number.

Social Media Sign-Up Forms

Ask for mobile numbers on your social media sign-up forms, along with email addresses.

Contests

Have contests that require SMS information to enter, thus signing them up for your list.

Always remember that whatever method you use to get them to sign up, you should allow for easy opt-in and opt-out. Once you have collected the information, you can get into actually marketing to them.

Get to Know Your Audience

Researching what type of messages they want to receive will be the best way to figure out your next steps. Knowing who they are and the type of schedules they stick to will also help you determine the best times to message them.

For example, if you have a restaurant, you can plan to send out text messages right before dinner time with a special coupon code. If you know your audience loves watching cooking shows, you can tie that into with your messages by having sales during those shows while your audience is hungry.

Conversely, if you own a cooking website you can send out an appropriate recipe two hours before dinner linking to tonight’s dinner recipe idea. The simple fact of getting to know who your audience is and how to trigger action is all you need to come up with more SMS marketing ideas.

Create Shareable Messaging

The more interesting your messages are, the more likely they are to be shared by the recipient - thus growing your list or growing the amount of people who answer your call to action. Messages like, “Get 20% off with six of your best friends at Downtown Pub from 8 to Midnight” is something that will be shared so that six people go to the pub. It’s a great idea to send something compelling enough that they’ll share it.

SMS marketing is a great way to retarget old customers and get repeat purchasing, as well as turn them into referrals for new customers.

Test Your Service or Product with Teleseminars

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hen you think that you’ve picked a niche that is worth exploring deeper, it’s important that you test the niche to see if there is enough interest for you to earn money before you spend too much money developing, creating, and marketing a new product or service. One really great way to do so is to test interest with a teleseminar.

A teleseminar can be given just over the phone, or online and on the phone. The audience can call in and listen live or listen to a recording. With some teleseminar platforms you can even play the teleseminar “as live” where the clients don’t realize that the event is recorded at all and it's run on automatic.

An awesome service for this is called Instant Teleseminar.

Choose a Topic

A teleseminar can be on any topic you want, directed to any niche you want. Choose a topic of interest to your test niche. Maybe your event can be something like “20 tips for (fill in the blanks).” Choose a topic that they would care about enough to attend with the idea of collecting email information to market other products to them later.

Set the Date and Start Marketing

Set a date for the teleseminar a few weeks from now and start marketing it right away through email, social media, joint ventures, advertisements and press releases. You can work on the content between now and the teleseminar date.

Collect Sign-Up Information

Be sure to collect information from each person who signs up for your teleseminar event. In this way, you can collect the information needed to be sure you can attract enough audience members for your niche.

Have More Than One

Don’t give up if your first turn-out isn’t what you expect; it can take a long time to attract a brand new audience to start your new niche. The way to tell is to look at your reach compared to your conversions.

Ask for Help

There are already likely people who serve this new niche you want to get involved in, and you may want to include them in your teleseminar by inviting them to speak for 10 to 15 minutes. They will promote the event to their lists which helps you get on the inside of the new niche.

Develop the Content

Based on the title you choose for your teleseminar, you’ll want to start creating the content so that you can give a good event to the new audience.

Create a Spectacle

If you can offer free “door prizes” and discounts to participants in the teleseminar, your turn-out, and your email list by extension, will be a lot bigger. The bigger the turn-out, the better you can judge the niche based on their participation subsequently.

Follow Up

After the teleseminar is really the time you can better test your niche. You’ll use the information you collected on the participants to contact them and ask for even more information. This response is crucial to testing whether the new niche is appropriate and profitable.

If you try a few times, have a good amount of website visitors, and you still do not get a good response, then it is possible that the niche is not a profitable niche. But, if you are able to get some response and more information from the niche based off your follow ups after the teleseminar, then you’ve found yourself a new niche that can likely become very profitable.

Narrow Your Focus to Broaden Your Sales

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ne of the biggest mistakes a small business owner can make is to cast too wide a net when it comes to who they will serve and the products and services they offer. It might seem counter-intuitive to narrow your focus to make more sales, but when you have a small business it’s the best way to earn more money with less effort.

​There is always someone out there who is able to charge less money. In that case, don’t compete on price. Instead, narrow your niche and compete on specialization. Show your market how special your product or service is compared to your nearest competition. Make sure that you stand out from the rest by not competing on their level but on yours.

Facts about niche markets:

​Niche Markets Have Fewer Customers

​This seems like an obvious statement but it should be stated again, because when you have fewer customers you need to differentiate in a new way. By choosing a narrow niche market, you’ll focus on quality or even quirkiness over price.

​Niche Markets are Less Price Sensitive

​Due to the fact that fewer businesses are willing to serve smaller markets, they are often less price sensitive due to lower competition for their business. So the customer is more impressed by how you are different than your price.

​Market Expansion Means Creating New Products or Services

​One issue with a narrow focus is that you’ll need to find new ways to make more sales. Usually, this will be in the form of new products and/or services created just for your niche, such as education, more personalized services, continuity programs and more.

​Staying Successful Means Always Improving over Competitors

​With a narrow focus you can really get to know not only your customers but also your competition, and continue to improve the value you offer your audience without lowering your price.

​You’ll Need to Build Relationships with Customers

​When dealing with a smaller niche, you want to bring your customers into your circle and make them part of your family. You want to get to know them very well and let them get to know you. Building relationships is an essential component of increasing sales within a niche market.

​Narrowing Your Niche Enables You to Focus Your Talents

​The more specialized you become, the more you can be seen as an expert by your audience and in truth the more of an actual expert you will become. You’ll become a lot freer to do the kind of work that you need to do to perfect your craft.

​Narrowing Your Niche Gives You a Competitive Advantage

​By working with a very small, focused, and narrow niche, you’ll have an advantage over other businesses owners who don’t understand the power of focus.

​You’ll Get More Referrals and Recommendations

​ue to having a smaller market your audience will become a lot like fans and cheerleaders, recommending and referring you to their friends and colleagues who are likely to also be members of your niche.

Finally, the way to narrow your niche market is to choose a market in which you already have experience, talent, connections and an understanding of their needs. This won’t reduce your need to study the market and research the market, but it will give you a good starting point from which to develop the research.

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