Get the Most from Search Engine Traffic

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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

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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.
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    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

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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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.

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.

Advertising Mistakes Small Businesses Make

Small business owners are more likely to make more costly advertising mistakes than large corporations. The main reason for this is because as a small business you likely do not have an advertising department and experts to help you navigate the ins and outs of advertising. You can avoid these mistakes simply by knowing about them and then not doing them.

Not Using Customer Relationship Managment (CRM) System – Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the process of tracking and analyzing all of the interactions you have with your customers and prospects. CRM software is a tool that centralizes, simplifies, secures, and scales your customer engagement.

Placing the Focus Elsewhere – The focus always needs to be on your audience, their problems, and how you can solve them. NOT on your products and/or services. They want to know what is in it for them, not what is in it for you. Remember to focus on benefits over features.

Being Unclear about the Audience – If you do not know who your audience is, it will be hard to create the right advertisement. Create customer personas so that each time you write an advertisement or create a message, you know exactly who to direct it to.

Having a Weak Message – In order to create a strong message, you need to know your audience and the objective ( the action you want them to do), ensuring that you list the benefits along with your unique selling proposition. If you include some powerful words in a simple but clear language, so much the better.

Not Sending Marketing Messages Often Enough – The frequency by which you choose to send advertising messages is important. Not often enough and they forget you exist; too often and you become a pest. You have to know your audience to know that fine line.

Avoiding a Call to Action – If you do not give your audience something to do, they will likely do nothing. It is important to know what your objective is before placing the advertisement so that you can form an effective CTA.

Not Using an Effective Landing Page – You can have a great product, a wonderful advertisement and then not convert people because your landing page is not effective. If you have a lot of click-throughs to the landing page but which aren’t converting to customers, test different landing pages.

Misunderstanding the Metrics – A good example of what metrics can do for you is the point above. Try to understand what the numbers mean so that you can make a good choice of how to perfect the situation. If you are not sure, talk to someone who is an expert.

Not Budgeting for Experts – You cannot do everything yourself and if advertising and sales are not in your expertise wheelhouse, you should contract with an expert to help you. If you already have your product or service ready, find someone who is used to marketing to your audience, and get their help.

Understanding that these are mistakes that many small businesses make with their advertising can help you not do the same thing. It is important that you are aware of the types of things small businesses do that cause failure, or that cost a lot of money without any results. If you know better, you can do better.

How to Stay Educated in Your Niche

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othing ever stays the same. If you think about how fast technology has changed our environment over the last 20 years, you’ll realize how imperative it is to stay educated in your niche. While your niche can remain your forte for years to come, what it looks like today will barely resemble what it will look like in just a few years. Think about it; no one is producing VHS tapes anymore, but no one has stopped watching movies. Our tools change, not our passions.

Attend Industry Events

Whether online or offline, it’s important to surround yourself with people who are in your industry and your audience. The more you can learn from others, the more you’ll be able to stay ahead of the learning curve regarding your niche. By surrounding yourself with movers and shakers, you won’t be caught off guard when people want WordPress websites instead of HTML static sites. Instead you’ll see what’s coming around the bend.

Follow the Right People

On one hand you want to follow your audience so you know what they’re up to, but you should also follow your competition and the leaders in your niche. Even if you’re a leader yourself, being involved with other leaders can help you stay ahead of the learning curve because you’ll be able to keep your ear to the ground. Try spreading out your associations because people tend to get caught up in a clique without realizing it.

Get Certified

Whether accredited or unaccredited, certification can often impress your audience. Research the accrediting authority to ensure that whoever is doing the accrediting is well known and respected in your niche before taking part. Also know whether that matters to your audience. When it comes to certain software, the software developers themselves may offer certification and if they do, that’s an important certification to pursue. In the realm of digital marketing, our favorite certification is DigitalMarketer.com. You can get certified in digital marketing through their DMHQ, Digital Marketing Headquarters. 

Perform Regular Keyword Research

Even if you’re not a writer, or a search engine optimization (SEO) expert, conducting regular keyword research can expose you to new industry terms and information that you might not otherwise be exposed to. Consider at least a yearly if not quarterly study of the keywords that are popular within your niche to stay ahead of your competition.

Read Books

Even if your specialty is highly technical, you can read a lot of books in your area to stay educated. Check out free books on Kindle to help you find important books being written today about your niche. Even historical books can help you understand your niche better in terms of where it’s going and where it’s been.

Take a Course

Many colleges and universities offer courses online today that you may not have seen in the past. A really good college that is low priced, accredited and non-profit is Southern New Hampshire University. In many cases the tuition is lower than local universities and colleges.

Teach Others What You Know

Sometimes the best way to stay ahead and educated on your niche is to teach. When you teach something you tend to study harder. It will force you to know what is going on within the industry in a more organized and productive manner. Teaching also solidifies the information within your mind better. That’s why history professors seem to remember everything. It’s not that they have photographic memories; they just tell the stories repeatedly and it finally sticks.

Track Industry Trends

Using Google Alerts and searching the internet, you can stay up to date on industry trends. You can also find trade publications, magazines, and newsletters that will help you understand what is happening in your niche. For instance, in the USA there is Small Business Majority which is a group that can help members understand how tax laws, health care laws, and other issues affect how they do business.

Continuing education, whether formal or informal, is the key that will keep you ahead of the rest. As long as you stay educated in your niche, you will have a long career and successful business working with the people you love and doing what you love.

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.

How to Create a USP That Works

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our unique selling proposition (USP) explains to you and your audience why your products and/or services are preferable over someone else’s products or services. Figuring out and writing down your USP is an important part of helping you develop a profitable business.

To be able to create a working USP you’ll need to:

  • Understand Your Target Audience – Who exactly are they and what problems do they have that you can solve?
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    Get to Know Your Competition – How is your competition serving your audience?
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    Know How Your Product Provides Value – How does your product provide value and solve problems for your audience?
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    Know Why You Created It – Why are you the one who should create the product service that really works?

Researching each of the four points above will help you gather the information that you’ll need to write your USP. Using the information collected above, you’ll want to write your USP in a concise, creative way that connects you to your market and explains how you solve their problems and fill their needs differently from your competition, in a way that resonates with your customer.

To write your USP answer the following questions:

  • Product Name - Write down what you want to name the product.
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    Description of Product - Describe your product succinctly.
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    How Product Works - Explain how the product works.
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    How Product Is Different - Tell your audience how your product is different.
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    Why You Created the Product - Explain why you created the product or service.
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    Why They Should Buy It - Tell your audience which problems the product solves.
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    Explain the Guarantee – This is where you tell them they’ll get their money back, or somehow show them that trying your product or service is risk free.

To develop your USP, answering these questions will tell your customers (and anyone involved with your business) what you do, why you do it, and why someone should buy from you. That’s what the USP does. What makes it work is that it’s something you and your entire organization can look to when creating new products, services, or marketing for the products and services.

You need to be able to describe the unique benefit to your clients if they purchase your products and services. But, having a clear USP isn’t just beneficial to them - it’s beneficial for you and your organization too because you need something to focus on to keep your marketing messages on track.

The other way to make your USP work well is to have it be short and concise. After you collect all the information and answers, you’ll use it to write your USP. But you will narrow it down immensely. Your entire USP should not be more than a short paragraph of about 50 words or less that you can easily use. Sometimes your USP can become your slogan. Think of some famous slogans. If they answer who, why, how, what, when, where and make a guarantee, then it’s their USP. Think: “The chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”

Of course, you can use your USP to create an entire story that you can put on your about page to answer questions your audience has and expand on your short USP.

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.

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