Category Archives for Strategy

The Ever-Changing Face of Marketing

T

echnology has been a huge influence on how people have marketed their goods and services ever since people have had goods and services to sell. Whether it was the printing press, the radio, television or the proliferation of trains and cars that made traveling easier, something new has always come along to change how marketing is done. But nothing has ever been as noteworthy as the internet.

Consumers Are Smarter Than Ever

Because of the internet, consumers have a lot of information at the tip of their fingers that they never had before in the history of the world. Now they can look up information about you, and whether it's right or wrong they will learn something about you and your products before buying. It is up to you to make sure the right information is out there for them to find.

Social Media Is Ubiquitous

Before the internet, stores had to host huge events that were quite costly in order to stir up conversation and social interaction. Today, they simply need to start an active Instagram account or Facebook group or page. Everyone uses some form of social media today to gather information and learn about your business and offerings. In fact, more than 80 percent of the US population uses social media.

Your Audience Is Starving for Content

It is important to put content everyplace your audience likes to be. If they like Facebook, you need to be on Facebook. If they like blog posts, you need to supply them with plenty of blog posts. If they like getting information through email, then you need to accommodate them. It can be difficult to keep up at times, but with help you can work smartly and efficiently by re-purposing content as needed.

SEO Is Here to Stay but It is Changing Too

Due to the advent of the net, pulling your audience to your information requires knowledge of search engine optimization. This can include on- and off-page optimization of a website and blog, but also of article titles, social media posts and more. It is all about attracting the right audience to your information.

The Customer of One Is Now an Imperative

Due to the ability to automate and personalize using technology that has been created since the advent of the internet, business owners can make their customers feel special and unique. Even though customers are smart and know a lot of it is automation, they do appreciate it and it shows in purchasing habits.

Inbound Marketing Has Taken Over

Bringing your customers to you is now how marketing works best, as opposed to outbound marketing which was how marketing started. It was posters, magazine ads, commercials - these things all interrupted the consumer to give them the message. Now it is less intrusive and all about bringing them to you with the right information.

E commerce Generates over 1.2 Million Dollars Every 30 Seconds

It seems like eCommerce has been around forever. In reality it has been around in a smaller way since the 60s, but it really came into being as it is today in the 90s when the first book was sold on Amazon in 1995. Nothing has ever been the same since, and it just grows and grows. Online shopping is bringing back grocery delivery even.

Augmented Reality Is Next

What you can look forward to is augmented reality. This will enable people to feel as if they are in a store when they are really online. Movies have depicted ideas of augmented reality, such as the Tom Cruise movie about virtual data called Minority Report in 2002. Now marketers are trying to figure out how they can work augmented reality into the everyday lives of consumers.

It is imperative that you keep up with how marketing is changing in terms of the tools that are used. In many ways, the principles don't change much. You have to find a way to educate your audience, inform them, engage them, and build relationships with them, so that they trust you enough to spend their money on your products or services.

The Proper Way to Use Redirects for SEO Purposes

If you don't know what redirects are, essentially it's a way of forwarding one URL to another URL. You have several main types of redirects including 301, 302 and Meta refresh. A 301, which is a permanently type of redirect, is the one that's most recommended for SEO purposes.

The 302 is a temporary redirect and has to do with refreshing and sending you back where you came from. A good example is when you pay for something on a website via PayPal and the PayPal site sends you back within ten seconds.

Using redirects incorrectly can damage your SEO, especially if the search engine thinks you're trying to hide information or trick people. Therefore you will want to follow these best practices to ensure that you don't get penalized.

Redirecting an Entire Site

This can happen if you have a section of your website that suddenly becomes more popular and you realize you have enough specialized content to place more focus on this one aspect. That will require a new domain name, and to reconcile that with moving all the content you'll use a simple redirect.

So if people used to go to yourdomain.com/popularcontent to see that content but you want them to go to popularcontent.com instead, you'll do a redirect from the first URL to the new URL. This will work very well, but the search engines will take some time to reconcile everything and the new site will not show as much trust as the old site. This type of redirect is done on the server level and can be complicated.

Redirecting a Particular Page

Often if you have affiliate products and sales pages that you want to direct people to, you can use a redirect in order to have a prettier link. In this case you'll need to use both JavaScript and Meta to redirect the page. You'll create a text file with the code and upload it to the server in the .htaccess file order to make it work.

The reason this is a good thing to do is that you can then use a pretty URL from your domain, like mywebsite.com/greatproduct instead of using the ugly affiliate links they give you. Plus, if they change their affiliate program, all you'll need to do is change the code on one file rather than go through and replace a bunch of individual links. For directions on how to do this you can read Mari Smith's post on how to make a redirect link: http://www.marismith.com/how-to-make-a-redirect-link/

The reason these are better for SEO is because you can use a better domain name for the information you're trying to share in the first example, and in the second example you can share links with keywords in them in an easy way rather than an ugly link without keywords that people are less likely to click on.

Using redirects can be tricky but if you do it right and don't abuse it, it's perfectly fine for SEO. Just keep in mind that the link should not trick your users in any way, and it will take a while for the search engines to trust the redirect.

Market Your Website Offline

W

hen a business owner builds a website, they often forget the one way to market a website that has nothing to do with technology. Marketing the website offline is a great way to get the word out about your website and what you offer. Using business cards, brochures, t-shirts and other premiums, plus being active in your local community, you can get the word out about your business.

  • Business Cards - Don't forget to put the URL to your website on your business card. You can even put a QR code on the back of the card to encourage them to use their smartphone to visit the website.
  • Flyers and Brochures - Don't discount flyers, brochures and other printed materials that you can create and give out when anyone asks questions about your business. Keep some in the car, and ask people to allow you to post your flyers in their business.
  • T-Shirts and Premiums - People love wearing t-shirts with different business names on them. Why not put your business on the t-shirts you wear instead of someone else's? This is a great way; if you can create something a little different you'll get more questions.
  • check
    Window Decals - That real estate on your car can be put to great use when promoting your website offline. Be sure to make the information big enough so that people can really see it. Choose a catchy URL too so that people can remember it while driving.
  • check
    Sponsor Events - Whether local or not, you can pay to sponsor events. This means you'll appear in the brochure, perhaps on signs at the event, and maybe be mentioned by the hosts of the event by voice during speaking parts of the program.
  • check
    Host an Event - When you host an event, you're a very noticeable presence. Your business name will be everywhere, you will be everywhere and people will get to know you and come to visit your website.
  • check
    Attend Events - When you attend live events, you can draw a lot of attention to your business by handing out cards, wearing t-shirts when appropriate, even giving out premium products like pens, cups, and so forth so people remember you when the event is over.
  • check
    Teach Locally - You don't have to be a certified teacher to teach classes. Some areas have lifelong learning centers that enable anyone who is an expert to teach something to people who want to learn something.

When it comes to marketing, don't leave any stone unturned. That includes marketing your website online and offline. Don't forget that not everyone, even today, uses search engines or means online to find information. Some people still use old-fashioned information and paper to find the information they need.

How to Maximize Every JV Partnership

J

oint ventures are when two or more people / business owners decide to enter into a particular project together for a limited time to combine resources in terms of talent, funds, and tools. Doing this well requires some understanding and knowledge of how JVs work and what the best practices are.

  • Choose a Strategic Partner - You want to JV with people who offer complementary products to your audience and who also have complementary skills to yours. You need to search for "yin and yang" so that you complement each other rather than work against each other.
  • Don't JV Core Capabilities - You don't want to JV anything that is your core income, because if you do you could lose your main business. Instead, JV side projects or test out projects with side partnerships. Don't risk your main income ability with a JV.
  • Spell Out Detailed Plans - Before you get started, both parties should spell out detailed plans for how they want the JV partnership to proceed. This information can then be negotiated upon in order to come up with a final plan of action.
  • check
    Implement a Contract - Don't enter into a JV partnership that requires a large input of time, money and effort without an iron-clad contract. Having that contract can protect you both from any misunderstandings and outright disagreements.
  • check
    Share Responsibilities - Ensure that the contract spells out what each person is supposed to do. Which resources are being used in terms of monetary, technical and human capital? Understanding these answers can help make the JV partnership work more smoothly.
  • check
    Choose a Leader - No project can be successful without a strong leader or project manager. Hiring a launch manager and or a project manager will help keep everything in order and working on time like a well-oiled machine.
  • check
    Check Up Periodically - The partnership should have a meeting periodically to discuss the goals, metrics and progress of what is happening with the JV partnership, and whether or not the partnership is successful.
  • check
    Do It Again - When something works, you should always find a way to repeat it. As you embark on joint ventures, you will discover some partnerships work better than others. Be sure to analyze why a particular situation worked and why it did not, so that you can repeat the successes and not the failures.

Remember that JV partnerships are most appropriate for short- to long-term projects that are not permanent, and between complementary entities rather than competing entities. You want share resources and not compete for them. This ensures that you both experience success in the joint venture that will add to both of your bottom lines.

Products to Create Passive Income

C

reating products for passive income proliferation is an excellent way to get past the whole idea of working trading hours for dollars. All of us are programmed to work eight hours a day for a wage or fee, but it doesn’t have to be that way. One of the oldest passive income ideas is rental income for real-estate, but today you can earn passive income online right from home. Here are some ideas that work well.

  • Create Apps - Even if you don't know the first thing about code you can find freelancers willing to create your product for you to spec. Come up with an idea for your audience, then run it by a coding expert. You can find them on Upwork.com, and even place an advertisement on Craigslist.org if you prefer.
  • Write EBooks - Today, publishing your own books is a great way to make passive income. You can write it yourself or you can hire a ghost writer to do it for you. You can publish eBooks on Kindle for free. Or you can, for a fee, use CreateSpace through Amazon to publish a print book if you like.
  • Run a YouTube Channel - Did you realize that some people make thousands of dollars a month with popular YouTube channels? If you want to break in, you don't need to be fancy. You simply need to find a topic that is popular, and present it in a way that people like to watch. You take a share of ad revenue.
  • check
    Create a Paid Directory - Software is available that allows you to create a directory website that is run practically automatically. The people put their information on the directory for a fee, then you simply approve them or not. Approvals can even be automated.
  • check
    Develop ECourses - With websites like Udemy.com popping up all over the place, you can now create your own eCourse and get paid for each person who signs up to take the pre-created class. This is passive income at its best. Outside of updating outdated courses, you just publish and collect.
  • check
    Create an Information Product - An info product is one of the oldest forms of passive income on the net. Simply create a product that teaches someone how to do something that you love, or provides a collection of information for them that they want, and you're in business.
  • check
    Make a Membership Website - People love to be exclusive and feel as if their part of an inner circle. You can charge a monthly fee to allow people to be part of your inner circle if you have enough information to share with them. Add in a forum and a lot of people stick around just for that.
  • check
    Run a Website/Blog - Blogs and websites that are active have content that goes up on them daily. The content is free to read and advertiser supported via ads and affiliate products. But, you can create a pay-to-read website and blog as well. It's up to you.

While creating these products is not actually "passive" in that you still have to do some work, collecting a big pay day later when other people promote your products as affiliates will feel as if you didn't work for it.

Software to Help Deliver Your Course

W

hen it comes to eCourses there are many ways to deliver the course. You can do it yourself on your own website using a password protected page, through email autoresponder like Infusionsoft, or through other methods. Let’s go over a few of those methods to familiarize you with the multitude of ways that you can deliver your course.

  • Udemy - You can build a course, and then earn a percentage of sales, through using a third party system like Udemy. Your course has to be approved, and they have high standards of what is included and how you do it. For example, using the method requires a certain percentage of your course to be in video format.
  • Infusionsoft - You can deliver your course through email using an autoresponder like Infusionsoft. Simply use a password to protect each page that has the download on it, and use a payment gateway like PayPal first.
  • Memberium - This is a great way to deliver your course. You can have them pay using the system, then sign up for a list. You use the list to remind them about the pages to allow them to download your course.
  • check
    InstaMember - This membership site software helps you build a page that is members only so that they can get courses delivered to them. This is a WordPress plugin; the biggest drawback is you cannot drip the content.
  • check
    MindFlash - This is an LMS system that allows you to accept payments, teach courses via mobile, social media, and more. You don't need a website or a system to use this. It's an all-in-one course delivery service
  • check
    LearnDash - This is an LMS plugin for WordPress that you can use to host your own learning management system easily to drip feed your courses to your audience. This is one of the easier options if you have a WordPress website.
  • check
    CouseCraft.net - This is a hosted system that will allow you to create and deliver your course without having to set up a system yourself. It's simple to use, the price is fair, and it's free to get started. Try it out.
  • check
    Academy of Mine - This is a cloud-based system that allows you to upload your course. You can even start an entire school and conduct live streaming courses if desired. This software has features you may not need that are very advanced, including affiliate program, multiple teachers and more.

However you decide to set up your course, it's important to ensure that you have the right payment gateways that your audience wants to use. In most cases, most people who buy courses on line like to pay via credit card or PayPal. So, you'll need a professional account in order to accept payment.

Get the Most from Search Engine Traffic

S

earch engine optimization is an important component in online marketing. It uses techniques to ensure that your website or blog receives as much traffic as possible from all the search engines. But, you don’t really want all the traffic; you just want the traffic that is right for your website. You want targeted traffic that wants what you have to offer. This is the way you make the most of search engine traffic.

To get started making the most of search engine traffic, do the easiest things first.

Check Your Site for Broken Links

Do you have broken links on your page that you haven't fixed? This can happen easily for many reasons. However, the reasons don't matter as much as making sure that you fix the broken links. You can use a broken link checker to check for links regularly on your website. When you find links that don't work, fix them right away.

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

Optimize Your 404 Error Pages

You can personalize a 404 error page to take advantage of your audience members accidentally going to the wrong page or a link you didn't catch that's broken. There are many ways you can personalize and optimize a 404 error page; how you do it will depend on the voice you want to project on your website or blog.

Update Keywords

Over time keywords change due to the audience changing or society changing. Words today may mean something else later. Taking time to study keywords and making a long list of all variations of keywords can also help you think of new content to create for your audience.

Use Keywords in Headlines and Titles

When you have studied the right keywords, you can use them as titles, headlines and sub-headlines on your website and blog posts. Don't try to be tricky in your titles at all; instead use all words correctly and accurately.

Remember Benefits over Features

Your audience cares more about what's in it for them than about what's in it for you if you answer the CTAs. Find ways to get through to your audience about all the benefits of your offerings and what you can do for them.

Get Links from Authority Sites

The days of getting any links into your site are over, but getting links from authority sites is always important and will always be in. If you can get links from .edu sites, that's even better. A way to accomplish this is to create your own courses that are high value enough that an education site may take notice.

Link to Authority Sites

A great way to get noticed by others, including search engines, is to link out to other sites that have authority. Content curation is a great way to create valid links out from your website to authority websites. Include a blurb of your own for each item you link to so that your opinion and thoughts are added to the information you share.

Keep Content Updated

Content of all forms is important to put on your website and blog. Use text content in the form of blog posts, audio, video, long form, short form, white papers and more on your blog and website to get the most from search engine traffic.

Finally, use the right meta information such as "alt" tags on images, tags on posts, and so forth. Try using a plugin like SEO by Yoast if you use WordPress to build your site, to help you get the most from search engine traffic.

How to Improve Your SEO from A to Z

Y

ou hear a lot about search engine optimization or SEO, but often what that means is a mixed bag. Many people don’t understand what SEO is, or that there are many kinds of SEO and that you don’t have to be an expert to improve your SEO. There is both on-page and off-page SEO. Let’s take a look at both types.

The thing to remember is that SEO tactics change continuously based on the algorithms that the search engines choose to use to help their audience find what they're looking for. The big key to remember is that the search engines are trying to deliver excellent results for their target audience. Your job is to help them.

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO consists of anything you do to improve search engine traffic and results such as inbound links, trust building, social media, blog promotion, videos, press releases, commenting and more. You can use all of these tactics to help build up your website's traffic and thus your conversions.

  • Comment on Blogs and Forums - Even if you're not allowed a link back to your website, your comments on blogs and forums do not go unnoticed - especially today when most use identification procedures via Gravatar or Google to find you through your profile.
  • Social Media Posts and Promotions - When you write a blog post or publish anything on your blog use social media to promote it. Not only will you get more traffic to your posts, you'll get more links to your website via your general social media promotions.
  • Conduct Interviews - Give interviews on radio shows, on blogs, and more. The more authority you can build by being interviewed, the more links you'll get back to your website and products, and the more people will get to know you.

Finally, when it comes to off-page SEO, don't underestimate the power and effectiveness of the good old-fashioned press release to get the word out about your business to the media. Press releases are still excellent ways to publish information about your products and services, especially if you can tie it to a popular human interest story and news of the day.

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO consists of anything you do on your website to ensure that you get more traffic to your website via the search engines without paying anything for the traffic. Creating perfectly optimized pages is as simple as adding a little extra effort.

  • Publish Targeted Content - If your content is high quality, unique, and relevant to your audience, this will help them find you. They'll look for words that are inside that content and be sent to your pages.
  • Headings on Pages - Using keyword-rich phrases for the headings on your website, including your blog posts, will help search engines find you too. Plus the words will be something your audience will focus on as they scan your page.
  • Check Grammar and Spelling - You want people who visit your website to come away believing you have authority on the topic that's in your niche. Therefore, it's important to double check your grammar and spelling.
  • check
    Code Your Site Right - Within images, headings, descriptions and more, there are ways to use metatags to give the search engine clues about the topic on your blog or website. Use them properly to describe images and the subject matter, so that your audience will find you.

Using both on- and off-page SEO is an effective way to ensure that you set up each page on your site properly. If you use self-hosted WordPress, you can use various plugins like SEO Yoast to help guide you for on-page SEO.

Link to SEO Yoast - https://yoast.com/wordpress/plugins/

Creating Passive Income as a Service Provider

W

hen you’re a service provider, in many ways (unless you have a huge team) you are working trading hours for dollars. With only so many hours in the days, your income will eventually top off. But, if you work in your spare time to create passive income, you can create a situation where you can overcome the hours for dollars trap.

First of all, let's understand what passive income is. It's not really as easy as the word "passive" makes it sound. You do have to do some form of work first to collect the income down the road. But, you do the work today and then collect on it tomorrow - many times months and even years down the road.

The best way to approach creating passive income as a service provider is to consider who your audience is right now, then find products and solutions that can help them. For example, if you are a virtual assistant for life coaches, they're going to need systems such as payment processing systems, course delivery systems, sales pages and more. You can become an affiliate for all of these systems that you then recommend and help set up for your customers.

As a service provider, there are many things you know about your clients which can help you determine what they need. You probably know your clients more than other people who create affiliate products and systems to use, so you may be able to find and create even better offerings than others due to your insight.

Here are some more ideas for creating passive income.

  • Write an eBook - You likely can teach other service providers or your client audience how to do something, and writing an eBook is an excellent way to go about it. You can write the book and get it up on Kindle within a few weeks.
  • Develop a Membership Course - You can turn your book into an eCourse easily with the right set-up. You can put your course on a website, or you can use one of the cloud-based providers such as Udemy.com.
  • Create a Blog - A blog is a good way, though a long term way, to earn some passive income by recommending tools, products and services to your audience. You technically can easily create two different blogs. One directed to other service providers, and one directed to your ideal client for whom you now work as a service provider.
  • check
    Build an Online Directory - A directory is a great way to collect some money to allow people to list their business on the site. You can make it pretty hands off with the technology available from directory software like eDirectory.
  • check
    Promote Products as an Affiliate - Your audience likely needs various products that you can recommend to them as an expert service provider. When they use the link you provide to them, you'll earn a little bit of commission.
  • check
    Outsource More - As a service provider you can become the public name of a larger entity when you outsource. If you can find people to outsource to who will do the work less expensively but as well as you, you can make money without having to do the work. Your job becomes marketing the services.
  • check
    Promote an App - You may be able to come up with an idea for an app for your audience. Even if you have zero coding experience, you can hire a coder to make the app for you, then promote it to your audience as well as your customers.
  • check
    Create a YouTube Channel - Popular YouTube channels can earn a full-time income and you can get in on the action. You can either make videos yourself, or you can hire someone to make videos for you depending on which way you plan to go.

Developing passive income sources as a service provider is a delicate balance. Always be honest with your clients when you recommend a product to them that it's something you will earn commission on. Nothing is wrong with that at all, but you have to be up front with them about it.

Seven Ways to Nurture Existing Customers to Increase Sales

O

ne of the most important assets you have is your current customers. It’s much less expensive to keep your current customers and turn them into repeat customers than it is to go out and find more customers. This is not to say you should not keep marketing to find new customers, but you should do all you can to nurture the existing relationship you have with current customers in order to increase sales. Here are seven ways to achieve that.

  • Offer Early Bird Sales on New Products – When you know that you’re planning the release of a new product, tease your current customers along the way about the launch. Then finally boost sales of the new product by offering early bird sales opportunities to the customers you already have.
  • Keep in Contact with Your Customers – Even if you aren’t planning a new product launch for some undetermined time, it is important to keep in touch with your current customers by sending them links to interesting products you’ve discovered that other people have developed, or articles that you think they might find interesting.
  • Follow Up with Customers Often – Once a customer buys something from you, it’s imperative that you follow up and ask them how they are enjoying their purchase. Do this after allowing enough time for them to try the product or see the results of the product. Use the feedback you get from your questions to make your next product better.
  • check
    Thank Your Customers – Never pass up an opportunity to think your customer and surprise them with unannounced bonuses. These types of bonuses will encourage future purchases because people love feeling as if they got more than they paid for.
  • check
    Invite Current Customers to Special Events – If you are planning a special event that would be appropriate for current customers, never fail to invite them personally to the event. Whether it’s in person or online, they’ll appreciate the gesture and remember you for it.
  • check
    Make Customer Service a Priority – Never skimp on good customer service. Implement a good ticketing system with deadlines on how quickly someone will get back to the customer, whether they have a problem or a compliment.
  • check
    Invite Current Customers to Private Groups – A great way to thank your satisfied customers for their business is to invite them to a private Facebook group or message board for customers only. These people will be invaluable to you moving forward to create new products and services.

Your current customers are far more important to help maintain a long-term business than you may initially think. They can become your biggest fans, recommending your products and services to others. And if you please them, they will become repeat, long-term customers that will stick by you for years.

>