Monday Morning Marketing

“Your Morning Cup Of Marketing Know-How”

8 Ways to Create Shareable Social Media Content

Online Web Marketing

According to Jonah Peretti, founder and CEO of BuzzFeed, creating content people love to share is the key to success.

Self-titled as the ‘hottest, most social content on the web,’ BuzzFeed features content ranging from breaking news to cat pictures that make you ‘LOL’ (laugh out loud).

Peretti emphasized one important rule for content, “You need to spend 50% of your time on the idea and 50% on how you spread it. Not 95% and then only a tiny portion on how to spread the idea.” Quality alone is simply not enough to making something spread, you need a strategy.

When it comes to creating content people will love to share, anyone can do it. Keep these eight helpful tips in mind next time you’re thinking of what to post.

1. Have a heart

Emotional intelligence is important when it comes to creating relevant social media content. The formula for success, in regards to social media marketing, begins with showing your fans and followers that you genuinely care about them. Focus on starting a conversation, not advertising your services. Listen and pay close attention to what your customers have to say and get to know them. This is what builds strong relationships. By recognizing the things your fans and followers care about (relevant to your business), you can create a meaningful community.

Also, don’t be afraid to add personality to your content. Prove to your fans that there is a living breathing person (or people) behind your brand. Content should never be dry and lifeless. Your audience may be professionals, but that doesn’t mean they’re not human. Remember, people use Facebook to make social connections with friends. Make your brand feel like a friend.

2. Discover what drives them

People use social networks to build profiles that express who they are. Consequently, people share content that helps them share their identities. This may sound harsh but it’s not likely that people are passionate about your actual product. It’s what your product enables them to do or what it allows them to express about themselves that’s important. What does your business’s product or service say about those who use or buy it? Tap into these insights and tailor your social content to speak to the unique personalities of your customers. This will create a vibrant, engaged community of people with common interests and passions.

3. React fast

During the Super Bowl blackout, Oreo got so much buzz from their on-the-fly Facebook post. The ad said, “You can still dunk in the dark.” It was incredibly simple but so successful because it was timely and subtle. Oreo reacted to an unexpected event and in turn created the most powerful ad on one of the most expensive advertising days of the year, for free! When your posts are timely, they feel more authentic and genuine. As a small business owner, you can use your smartphone to instantly react to breaking news or simply share an in-store exchange.

4. Walk a mile in their shoes

Cute animals deserve respect. ‘Huh?’ What Peretti meant is that you should be human and empathetic. Put yourself in the shoes of your fans and followers. The best content is content that is emotional. Use the perspective of your audience to shape the nature of your community.

5. Make them laugh

Perretti made a great point, “When you go out and laugh with your friends, you don’t remember the jokes, only that you laughed.” You don’t always have to fixate on the value level of your content. The emotion your content elicits is what creates a memory. It’s not mandatory that every post makes you ‘ROTFL’ (roll on the floor laughing), but humor is important when it comes to connecting with people socially.

6. Use nostalgia socially

People use social media to express themselves and share their past experiences. Content that pays tribute to something your customers might miss or may have forgotten creates connections amongst customers who share the same emotional reaction. This will create social chatter and engagement.

7. Take a stand

Caring about something that ‘matters’ is absolutely something people want to express. Nonprofits have a great advantage here. Let the passion you have for your organization shine through and if you’re not a nonprofit, show customers the ways your business gives back. You also shouldn’t be afraid to share the positive causes you stand behind. Be inspiring and your readers will be inspired to share.

8. Keep it classy

When people search for content on Google, they assume no one is watching. When people consume content on Facebook, they know everybody is looking. In fact, people are 25% less likely to purchase an embarrassing item online if there’s a social media button next to it (25% more likely if it’s an item they’d be proud to own). If you ever have any hesitation about posting something socially, don’t post it.

These 8 useful tips will help you create socially shareable, relevant content. Just make sure you spend as much time getting your content out there as you do actually creating it.

original source: constant contact blog

Monday Morning Marketing

“Your morning cup of marketing know-how”
Online Web Marketing

What to Do if Blogging Doesn’t Excite You (And When to Ignore the “Rules”)

By Ali Luke: Daily Blog Tips eNewsletter
In our survey last year, one reader wrote: I just can’t seem to get excited about blogging. I understand that videos are a must.”

This raises two key questions:
How do you get fired up to blog (or how do you recapture that enthusiasm if you’ve lost it)?
Do you have to follow the rules – the “musts” of blogging?

It seems to me that trying to follow all the rules is an easy recipe for losing your enthusiasm (and as I’ll explain in a moment, the good news is that you don’t have to take every piece of advice going).

Getting Excited About Blogging

While you may well be blogging for a purpose like making money or building an online platform, you want to enjoy the process, not just the end result.

A blog takes up a lot of your time and energy, over months or years. If you feel “meh” about blogging, then either you won’t get far, or you’ll have to keep on forcing yourself forward – which isn’t much fun.

While there are plenty of practical ways to recover your blogging motivation, if you never feel excited about blogging, you might need to sit back and take a look at what’s going wrong.

If you feel completely unenthusiastic about your blog, ask yourself:

1. Have You Chosen the Wrong Niche?

Perhaps you picked something that seemed like a good money-making opportunity, but you’re really not interested in it. Or maybe your niche was so narrow that you’ve run out of things to say.

2. Do You Interact with Other Bloggers?

I don’t just mean leaving comments or retweeting their posts. Do you go to conferences or meetups of bloggers? Do you get together on Skype, or exchange emails? Other people who “get” what we do can help us get excited about it.

3. Do You Need to Take a Break?

If you’ve been blogging for months and months, and it’s wearing you down, perhaps you need to take a few weeks off. (This can also be a good opportunity to assess what you might want to change about your blog.)

Not Every “Rule” is Right for You

Personally, I’d find it pretty hard to get excited if I tried to follow every single blogging rule I’d ever heard. Like:

  1. You should post every day if you want traffic.
  2. You need to leave loads of comments on every blog.
  3. You should email five new people every day.
  4. You must create videos.
  5. You have to build a really big audience before you think about monetizing.

… and so on.

Some of these “rules” are useful advice in some circumstances. (Number 5 is just plain wrong, but some new bloggers think it’s true.) But there’s no single rule that’s going to make your blog succeed or fail.

If you’re struggling with a particular rule, like “you must create videos”, then ask yourself:

1. Is This Rule Out of Date?

Sometimes, advice changes, either as the blogging world itself shifts or as bloggers learn more about what does and doesn’t work. When I first got interested in blogging, blog carnivals were a big deal; today, you hardly ever hear about them.

2. Is This Rule Ignored By Other Blogs?

How many big blogs can you think of that don’t post anywhere near daily? Jon Morrow’s Boost Blog Traffic and Glen Allsop’s ViperChill both come to mind – both highly successful blogs.

While we do post daily (Monday – Friday) on DailyBlogTips, we don’t advise all bloggers to do the same. If you enjoy posting frequently and your audience are engaged, by all means stick with it – but you might want to ask your readers what they want.

3. Is This Rule Making You Want to Quit?

If the thought of producing videos makes you shudder, then it’s probably not right for you. While it’s a good idea to take a step outside your comfort zone, don’t let the rules force you away from blogging (or put you off even getting started).

There’s no single “right” path to success as a blogger, whatever some gurus might have you think. If the rule is getting you down, then it’s time to ditch it.

How excited are you about blogging? And what’s the worst “rule” you’ve come across (and perhaps even tried to follow) during your time as a blogger? Let us know in the comments.

original source: Daily Blog Tips eNewsletter

Monday Morning Marketing

“Your morning cup of marketing know-how”

Online Web Marketing

“Five Practical Steps to Recover Your Blogging Motivation”

by Ali Luke

It happens to almost every blogger at some point.  You start losing interest in your blog. You get busy, and you post less frequently. Perhaps you take a week off … and it becomes a month, and then three months.

It can be really tough to re-motivate yourself, especially if you started blogging with high hopes of a six-figure income within your first year, and you’ve been faced with the reality.  There’s often a lot of work between where you are and where you want to be.

But you know, of course, that if you give up now, you’ll never succeed.  Here’s how to get your motivation back.

Step #1: Look at Your Non-Blogging Life

Let’s face it, there’s a lot going on in your life – and you may find that some things are interfering with your blogging.  Maybe you need to drop or cut back on another commitment.  Maybe you need to improve your organisational or time management skills so the rest of your life doesn’t crowd into your blogging hours.  Or maybe you need to take care of yourself before taking care of your blog – it’s hard to focus if you’re stressed or feeling low.

Even at times when it looks really hard to fix things, find a way to take one small step forward.

Step #2: Write Down What You’ve Achieved With Your Blog

Even if you’ve only been blogging for a month, you’ve achieved a lot.
For instance:

  • You got your blog online – that’s more than many people manage!
  • You wrote at least one post, and probably quite a few more.
  • You got your first readers (they still count if they’re family and friends).
  • You probably connected with other bloggers in your niche on social media or forums.

When you only look ahead at the distance between you and your goals, it can feel like you’ve got a huge mountain to climb and you’re right at the bottom.

But when you look back at what you’ve already accomplished, you’ll see that you’ve climbed a big, steep section of that mountain already.

Step #3: Set a New, Short-Term Goal

Many bloggers have eventual goals like “quit my job and live off my blog” or “make six figures a year.” But what would you like to achieve with your blog in the next three months?
That could be:

  • Launch my first ebook.
  • Get 500 subscribers to my email list.
  • Make $100/week.

… or almost anything you can think of that’s realistic and achievable.

Step #4: Create a Plan for the Next Month

It’s tough to be motivated if you have to come up with new ideas every time you sit down to blog, or if you have no idea how your daily efforts will fit into the bigger picture.  So make a plan. Do it on paper, in a spreadsheet, with an app … whatever works for you.

You don’t have to map out every single post in detail, but do make sure you’ve got enough ideas to see you through the month – and try to write plans for some of them.

Also, look for one way to take a real step closer to your short-term goal. So, if you want to earn $100/week, pick a great affiliate product that you own and can market, or start offering consulting, or write the sales copy for your first ebook.

Remember, other bloggers have succeeded, and you can too.

Step #5: Talk to Other Bloggers

Whether it’s on Twitter, at a local event, in a Facebook group, in a forum, or even in the comments on DailyBlogTips, chatting to other bloggers can be hugely motivating.

If you’re on Twitter and need a bit of encouragement, tweet met at @aliventures. But don’t stop there: search for other people tweeting about your topic, and follow someone who has roughly the same number of followers as you. Check out their blog, and tweet them to tell them you like it (assuming you do!)

And if you’re struggling today … leave a comment below and tell us why you’re not feeling very motivated.

If you aren’t struggling, look at the comments and leave an encouraging message for someone who’s having a tough time with their blog.

source: dailyblogtips newsletter

Monday Morning Marketing

“Your morning cup of Marketing Know-How”

Online Web Marketing

“Top Ten Small Business Web Site Marketing Tips”

Many small business owners struggle with the seemingly overwhelming task of managing their web site. There always seems to be so much to do, yet no time to do it all (something we know all too well). This brief primer should help to highlight the key aspects of web site management that will help them gain the most from their web site with the time that they have available.

The following ten tips are key to maintaining a successful web site. Follow these and your site will do better. Nothing will guarantee that a web site will be successful as there are simply too many different factors that impact web success – but as a general rule these ten tips will always lead to better performance.

#1 Content

Content is key
All the search engines scan a sites content now – almost ignoring things like meta tags. The more content you have on your site the more the search engines can scan – but there is more to it then that: people like content too. Many people measure a web site´s success by the number of visitors it gets – so ask yourself – why would people come to your web site? do you offer them interesting and informative information that relates to your product or service? if not, why would they come?

Relevant content and lots of it is a key for a successful web site. There is always room for more content on a web site, and you can never have too much.

Take this article for example, while it´s fairly useful information for many of our visitors, it´s also additional content for our blog, social media, etc. – and will serve to increase our online presence. Writing articles about aspects of your industry is a great way to generate content.

Set aside an hour a day (or at least an hour a week) to devote to adding new content to your web site.

#2 Freshness

Keep it current
Having lots of content is great – but if it is all three years old it´s not going to look like your site is much of a priority. The search engines actually track this. They monitor how frequently your site changes as they visit it for indexing. The more often it changes the better your rank in the freshness category.

What constitutes change? pretty much anything – which is why keeping a BLOG or adding frequent news articles to your web site usually produces such good results. It is also the reason why having something as simple as rotating content and the current date on every page has been shown to make a difference (although the search engines have been getting wise to this kind of tactic)

#3 No Tricks

Don´t try to outsmart the Search Engines – Eventually you´ll loose
Many design firms promise success through the use of tricks, backdoors, and special tactics designed to sneak a web site into a top position rapidly. Something, of course, that the search engines are constantly battling to defeat. Why play the game? as the search engines find the cheaters they will plug the holes and a rank (that usually costs a pretty penny to achieve) will immediately be lost.

Rather, follow the recommendations of the search engines – most set out rules for web masters that outline what they would like to see in a web site (incidentally these rules are the main source of research for this document) By following the rules the engines are actually battling all the cheating web sites and working to promote the sites that follow the rules – they are fighting FOR you!

#4 Links

Links both in and out must be relevant
There has been a lot of talk about link exchanges – people linking to others merely to gain a higher rank (hmmm, this smacks of breaking tip #3) if you are going to link to someone and/or ask them to link to you – ask yourself: is it relevant?

Any old link is not going to help you much – search engines will look at who is linking to you – they are also starting to pay very close attention to how many links you have off your web site on a page. This is being done to try and drop sites with pages of links (do you have a links page on your web site?).
It is far better to have relevant links in various places throughout your web site – on only those pages that specifically address the topic that relates to the page being linked.
Unfortunately you can´t exert too much control over the way that other sites link to yours but it is worth looking at how a site usually links to others before to specifically go requesting a link from them. For example: a link that is your logo isn´t very useful (search engines ignore images) whereas a link containing text, listing the topic of your web site, from a related web site would be of great value.

#5 Structure

Organize your web site and everyone will thank you.
Both the search engines and your web visitors prefer a web site that is well structured. The search engines due to their very nature (being computer programs) must break down all web sites into elements based on the structure of the pages. People, so frequently rushing to find the specific information they are looking for, rarely read through web pages but rather scan headings and bullied lists to find the detailed sections of interest. In both cases a well structured site will be far better received then one that is a mish-mosh of information haphazardly thrown together.

This is simple to do – but all too often missed. Make headings, use the correct coding tags for them, organize sections of content into groups, and use bold and bullied lists to present key points.
Keep in mind when writing paragraphs of text that most humans will not read them unless they are specifically titled with a headline that matches what they are looking for.

#6 Accessibility

A web site that speaks to all is better then a site that only speaks to some.
Tips #6 and #7 are closely related: The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) provides a list of guidelines for how to create web sites that are accessible to as many people (and systems) as possible. Think about your web site – can someone with a visual disability (perhaps even something as simple as colour-blindness) still get information about your product or service? If not, how do you feel knowing that you have just excluded a vast segment of the population from accessing your web site?

There are many simple ways that you can ensure your web site is accessible to people with special needs. A group of simple tests for the sites content and design that ensure your product or service is presented to the widest possible audience. The specifics are beyond the scope of this document – but be sure that you check with your designer to ensure that your site design and code is following accessibility guidelines.

#7 Quality Code

Well coded web sites perform better.
Many small business owners don´t have too much control over the code used to create their web site – but it is still important to know how important it may be. Standard compliant code that has been checked for errors is easier for the search engines to assimilate. It is more widely visible across varied platforms (computer types) and in different browsers.

Ensure your web designer is writing standard compliant code that is validated for errors. You can also check your own web site using freee on-line toos from the W3C (The World Wide Web Consortium – the standards body that administers Internet technologies)

#8 URLs

Prudent choice of URLs will impact your web site´s performance
Professional web designers should already know this – but if you are using a content management system to build your web site, or portions of it, it is important to understand the significance of the URL used to access pages on your web site.

Search engines look at the address of every page on your web site and try to extract key-words from the content of the url. For example, you may have a page about “Widgets” on your web site called “somewhere.com” creating the page with a filename of widgets.html will give a better keyword rank then page6.html this is also true of sub-directories on the site somewhere.com/widgets/… being better then somewhere.com/files/…
This is a fairly subtle point but makes a significant difference for most search engines. It can also make it much easier for people that are typing in a URL to access a specific page of your web site.
If you really want to target a key phrase consider purchasing a microsite for that phrase. An inexpensive secondary web site that can be tailored to focus on a specific key phrase or concept.

#9 Style

Looks do matter – but perhaps not the way you think…
In the grand scheme of things the “looks” of a web site in the classic sense are not really that important – honestly! once people have looked at a web site for a few minutes they will quickly discard their first impression (based on looks) and move immediately to asking – is this site giving me the information I need – and can I find it quickly (going back to tips #1 – content and #5 – structure)

So what are we on about with style? simple – ensure the style of your site makes it easy to read. Avoid things like black backgrounds with white text (inverse text is harder to read) ALL CAPS (humans read by identifying word shapes – writing in all caps forces people to read every letter and quickly becomes annoying – plus on the net it is used as an typographic method of indicating you are screaming) You should also check your web site using a color blind test to ensure that visitors with the various types of colour-blindness can still actually read your navigation.

#10 Images

Selling a product – better make sure it looks good
If you are selling something that has a visual representation – then professional looking photography is key. Even a multi-million dollar resort will not look good if the photographs are amateurish. If you care about what you have to sell, then it´s worth investing in some professional photographs to show people what you have. Remember, on-line people can´t get a hold of your product – so you need to give them some really good photographs so that they can feel confident that it meets their needs.

source: thepawprintnetwork.net

Monday Morning Marketing

“Your Morning Cup Of Marketing Know-How”

Online Web Marketing

7 Tips for Online Marketing on a Tight Budget

The World Wide Web is a tool with endless limits. Creating and maintaining a business presence online is more practical than ever before. In fact, online companies are popping up out of the woodworks. However, I can vouch that sustaining a successful online business is easier said than done.

With the immense amount of information on the Internet and users largely having the control to view exactly what they want, getting your product in front of potential customers can be challenging to say the least. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what works (and what fails terribly) when it comes to marketing online. Today, times are tough. Most companies have little room left in their tight budget when it comes to marketing. Here are 7 tips to follow to develop a successful online marketing strategy on your startups limited budget.  

1. Know your market.
Your marketing strategy will never be successful if you do not have a clearly defined audience. Before you spend a dime on marketing, figure out your target market first. There’s no need to pay top dollar to hire a fancy market research firm. If you know your product, you should be able to figure out your market yourself. For example, who will be most interested in your product? Men or women? What is their age group? What are your customer’s interests? What is their likely financial situation?

Once you have a thorough profile of your customer, determining how and where to reach them is much easier. This step may take awhile, and that’s OK. If you start marketing before you have a clear customer profile though, you will likely be wasting your dollars in places that will never reach your customer. Just because Pinterest is growing rapidly, doesn’t mean your audience is the one making it grow.

2. Set and reset goals.
Determine what you are looking to gain from online marketing. Increased awareness? Increased revenue? You will probably have multiple goals, but keep track of what they are so you can measure your success. When you reach your initial goals, set new goals so your company can continue to improve.

3. Set a budget.
Now that you know who your target market is and have set goals, plan your budget accordingly. The good thing about online marketing is that you can be successful even when on a tight budget. A lot of platforms are available at no charge. However, sticking solely with free forms of online marketing might not be the best strategy for your company. Carefully determine what outlets are most necessary for your product and be willing to spend some money to get results.  

4. Brand yourself.
Set yourself apart from the competition. There are thousands of companies trying to sell products on the Internet. Thus, you need to make your brand unforgettable. This begins with your website. Your domain name should be your company’s name if at all possible. If there are other companies online with names similar to yours, you may even want to consider changing your name to one that will not be easily confused with another product. Acquiring a domain name has a fee involved, but using a hosting service is very affordable even for the smallest budgets.

The way you want your brand to be viewed by customers is really up to you. But once you figure it out be consistent and stick with it. Having a professional website and a strong social media presence is important here, but you should also take the time to interact with potential customers and build relationships with them. The main cost involved in this step is just the man hours put into the process, which will drastically be reduced when you’ve established your brand.

5. Search engine optimization.
When someone enters a search query into a search engine about something relevant to your company, obviously you want to be one of the first results displayed. So how do you make this happen? Essentially, you need to make your website more appealing to search engines. Do this by using keywords that are commonly searched, backlinking your site, customizing the headline and description, etc.

SEO can admittedly be a complicated and time consuming process, however the time needs to be spent here to ensure your website is getting found. Your best bet is usually going to be spending a bit more of your budget and hiring the right people to do the proper research.

6. Blogging.
The more content on your site, the more opportunities there are for search engines to pick it up. Blogging can be a great (and free!) way to generate leads and links into your site. But don’t just be producing content to produce content. Write quality blog posts that will engage the readers. Guest blogging on more established blogs is another way to get more traffic to your own site.

7. Social media.
Don’t just sign up for these services and then forget about them. Start being active on social media. These sites should be used to promote your blog posts and communicate with customers. However, most people don’t follow companies on social media unless the company gives them a reason to. So, of course, give them a reason!

source: forbes online

Why Do You Need A Marketing Plan?

What a silly question, right?

As marketing professionals, we all understand the importance of marketing plans. However, not everyone in your company thinks this way. To some, writing a marketing plan is a waste of time. In this article, you’ll find a surefire way to get upper management on your side.

Before we start, here’s a quick primer on what role marketing serves.

Marketing:

Communicates a consistent message to the ideal customer. Discovers what customers want and need as well as what price they will pay. Knows where to find customers that will most likely buy. Builds the foundation for sales through multiple channels. In short, marketing creates the sale opportunity.

So, where does the marketing plan fit in? It becomes the roadmap for achieving your business goals.

A Marketing Plan:

Tracks Costs / Measures Value: A marketing plan provides a step-by-step guide to what you are spending money on and when. It enables you to budget marketing expenses–helping you keep control of your expenditures, manage your cash flow, track sales to marketing expense ratio, and measure success of your marketing efforts. It also ensures that product development dollars are not wasted.

Helps with Focus: Your marketing plan gives the company something to rally behind. It helps staff understand goals and become customer-focused. It also empowers them to make decisions on their own that are consistent with the company’s objectives.

Charts Success: A marketing plan helps you chart your destination point. It becomes a guide through unfamiliar territory.

Serves as a Business Handbook: Your marketing plan is a step-by-step guide for your company’s success. To put together a genuine marketing plan, you have to assess your company from top to bottom and make sure all the pieces are working together in the best way. What do you want to do with this enterprise you call the company in the coming year? It assigns specific tasks for the year.

Captures Thinking on Paper: The finance department isn’t allowed to run a company by keeping numbers in their heads. It should be no different with marketing. Your written document lays out your game plan. If people leave, if new people arrive, if memories falter, the information in the written marketing plan stays intact.

Reflects the Big Picture: In the daily routine of putting out fires, it’s hard to turn your attention to the big picture, especially those parts that aren’t directly related to the daily operations. Writing your marketing plan helps in determining your current business status and provides a roadmap for business goals.

Becomes a Document to Build On: Creating your very first marketing plan is a time and resource consuming endeavor, but well worth the effort. Once the plan is complete, you just need to make minor adjustments and tweaks to it; you won’t have to re-create it from scratch. It will serve as a template and benchmark for you to work from as you define your objectives and strategies for next year. It becomes a living document for measuring sales success, customer retention, product development, and sales initiatives.

Now that we know the benefits of a marketing plan, we need to take a step back and decide where to start.

Where Do We Start?

The best place to start is to evaluate where you are now. How are you positioned in the market? How do your customers see us? What are your strengths/weaknesses, and what are some emerging market threats and opportunities?

Typically a marketing plan is done in sequential phases–the next part of the plan builds off of the phase before it.

The marketing plan also needs the help of most everyone; it cannot be completed without the assistance of many people within the company: manufacturing, finance, operations, sales, management, and marketing.

Management also needs to sign off on the marketing plan before it starts so that everyone supports it and dedicates time to it. Without management buy-off, it is very difficult to put together a successful marketing plan.

Who should see your plan?

An abridged version of the plan should be shared with everyone in the company.

Now, wasn’t it a silly question to ask why you need a marketing plan?

source: MarketingProfs.com

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