Adwords Management For Startups

You’ve setup your startup and now want to advertise online with a set marketing budget.

What now?

Google AdWords, is a pay-per-click advertising that gives small businesses the opportunity to get the word out about their product or service to targeted groups of people who are interested. You can start with a small budget, as little as $100 (to really get results), Google AdWords is extremely beneficial in getting the right web traffic for your services and products.

Here’s How To Benefit from Google Adwords (PPC) Advertising:

Choose where your ad shows up in search.
Choose targeted keywords.
Create ad copy (what potential customers will see on search).
Set your cost-per-click (CPC) budget.
Track the success of your ad campaigns.
Get charged ONLY when someone clicks on the Google/partner ad.
Have ads appear along with content that matches your company.
For example; If you sell “Baby cribs” and someone searches for “baby cribs,” your ad would be most likely to appear for that keyword based on your CPC bid and budget.

Reach new customers you otherwise wouldn’t reach with organic search.
Target specific groups including mobile users
In February 2013, Google AdWords was updated so advertisers can start targeting mobile with the ability to choose a specific device, such as an IOS or Android. You can set a target time of day for your ads to show on search. This update is called “Enhanced Campaigns”.

You can view ads showing up – on the Top and bottom of Google’s search results page under the words “sponsored links and AD in green”.

How high in the list your ad appears depends on how closely your keywords match a user’s search term, and how much you’re willing to bid for each click to your website. *Note: You won’t find ADS on the side of Google anymore.

So how do you get started with Google AdWords?

Simply follow these three steps to get started with a free account:

Step 1: Create a Google Adwords Account

Creating an Adwords account is quick:

Go to: https://adwords.google.com
Click the button that says “Start Now”
Enter your account details (e-mail, password, currency and time zone)
Log into your email, open the e-mail from Google AdWords, and confirm your e-mail address to link your accounts.

Step 2: Create Your First Adwords Ad Copy

Creating an ad in Adwords can be fairly simple, but you’ll want to consider a few things that will help you create a truly compelling ad copy that people will click on to visit your site.

After confirming your e-mail in Step 1, Google will take you to a page that allows you to create your first ad copy. You can choose a text or display ad campaign. The display ads appear as graphics with text (So you will need to have images for your ads)with a template.

To help keep you on track for success, we will focus on Text Ads Only, but both have similar set ups when you move to other steps of the campaign setup.

Choose a text ad.

Add a headline – Your headline shows in bold and is used to grab the searchers attention, so try to grab the readers attention with this line.
Your ad headline must be 25 characters or fewer.

Fill in description line number one – This line provides additional information from the headline.

If you were browsing for your product, what would make you click on the link with the intent to buy?

You don’t want to trick people to come to your site, so make sure you can deliver on any promises you make with your ad copy. Use up to 35 characters on the first line.

Remember traffic doesn’t always translate to sales.

Fill in description line number two – This is a place to add additional information that may not have fit on the first line.

You can also use a call-to-action tag here, such as “save 20% off if you order now.” You have 35 characters to use on this line as well.

Where your PPC web traffic goes?

Display URL: Put address for your website as you want it to appear on search. It is best to leave out the “http://” and simply use “www.mysite.com” for ad appearance.

Destination/Final URL: This is the actual URL destination to your website landing page. The http:// is already in the drop box, so you don’t need to add it.

You can also choose https://. In the blank box, fill in the rest of your website address. Be sure the link is working properly and will take the visitor to the precise landing page. You don’t want to pay for clicks that don’t actually land on your website due bad linking or no direct landing page for the ad copy.

Carefully review the ad previews for both Top and bottom ads. You may want to enlist the help of another person to check for typos or grammatical errors for you publish your ads.

Click the blue “Save Ad” button to save your ad copy.

Step 3: Activate Your Account

After completing your Ad and you like the way the ad looks, you can prepare to run it but you’ll need to activate your account first. Until you account is activated, your AD will have a red box along the top of your AdWords home page that says, “Your account isn’t active because you haven’t entered your billing information”.

To publish your completed ad and activate your account, you will need to do the following;

To Activate-account > Click on the words “enter your billing information” within the red box at the top.
Select the country or territory from the drop box where you’re located or where your billing address is and click on the blue button that says, “Continue.”

Fill in your business information. You’ll need to provide your business name (if sole proprietor or individual, enter your full name here or leave blank), a contact name, street address, city, state, zip/postal and telephone number. Your country should already be listed.

Select how to pay. You can sign up for automatic payments or manual payments.

Google recommends automatic payments, but if you click the wrong thing, you could wind up paying more than you initially planned on, which can really hurt someone on a limited advertising budget.

If you’re starting on a small budget, it might be better to start with manual payments, even if you need to wait for them to clear before your ad goes live.

9 Reasons Why Social Media Has Become An Epic Fail for Your Business

Stop wasting your time; here’s what you can do right now to turn things around.

Wish you were getting better results with your social media?

Many entrepreneurs I talk to are frustrated they aren’t seeing anything come of their social media efforts. They’re ready to give up, thinking it’s all been a huge waste of time.

This is when I tell them social media marketing isn’t as easy as creating and posting content. Indeed, there’s much more that goes into making social media marketing work effectively for a business.

So if you can relate and feel like you’re spending hours on social media and think it’s all been an epic waste of time fail, then it’s time to take an honest look at what you are doing.

Social media is a prominent advertising, marketing and lead generating tool for businesses today but the trick is being strategic about your efforts.

Keep reading the rest of this article for ways that you might need to get more strategic and turn your efforts into a profit-making endeavour.

Here are nine common mistakes business owners and entrepreneurs make with their social media:

1) You Aren’t Relevant. It’s really important to know your audience (aka your ideal client) and choose posts they will find meaningful and useful. Stay on topic within a range of subject matter they care about.

For example if you have a work-at-home-Mom Facebook page, posting a story about potty training tips is a little off base. Yes, it’s a parenting article, but it’s not about home business.

2) You Don’t Have a Plan. It’s really important to map out a social media marketing calendar and decide what are you promoting and when. Ensure you’re posting when you know the most amount of followers will see that post.

Be sure to write articles and social media posts that are in alignment with your sales goals and ones that you know your ideal target market would appreciate reading.

When the stars are aligned, magic happens.

3) You’re Following Someone Else’s Blueprint For Success. You know your target audience better than anyone. What works for one social media guru may not work for you.

It’s OK to get ideas and strategies, but the real test is when you try it. Look at your analytics and see if your posts get the engagement and response you desired.

Do what works for your business, not what you think is working for someone else.

4) Your Metrics Are Not Specific Enough. What is your social media goal for a campaign you are running? Is it brand engagement, visibility, website traffic, lead generation or sales?

Each goal will be measured with different tools. Use the right tool to measure the metric that accurately reflects your achievement for that goal.

5) You’re Too Promotional. Don’t turn your social media accounts into a non-stop, 24/7 promotion for your business.

It’s important to offer a good mix of value-oriented posts that are sprinkled with some calls to action. If you promote too heavily, you’ll turn off your audience and they will stop following you so make sure the bulk of your posts truly engages their interest.

6) You Never Post Original Content. Fans are attracted to you because of who you are and what you know. They want to hear from you and see your original articles, freebies, surveys, quotes, and graphics.

So give them something just from you instead of always sharing other people’s content.

7) You Aren’t Engaging With Your Audience. Posting and leaving without interacting with your followers is a sure-fire way to tell your followers not to bother commenting again.

Monitor your pages and respond quickly to comments. Write posts that ask readers opinions and thoughts and get engaged with the conversation.

Social media has great potential to be a two-way conversation. Be inviting, open, responsive and build relationships with your fans.

8) You’re Not Patient Enough. Rome wasn’t built in a day and social media won’t make you a millionaire quickly either.

Social media marketing is part of a “Relationship” or “Inbound” marketing strategy, which is based on the premise of developing relationships with your followers over time.

With this methodology, comes trust that once someone has grown to know, like and trust you, they will then be much more willing to purchase from you. It all takes time. Patience and consistency is the key to social media marketing success.

9) You Don’t Have a Team To Help You. If you’re doing your social media all by yourself, it may be time to delegate some of that task as part of your marketing team.

A social media specialist can help you create a strategy, develop themes that align with your business, curate content, schedule posts, monitor comments and mentions, and analyze the results.

Your social media team may also include a graphic designer to make social media graphics, a content curator/poster, and an analyst. If you want to dive deep and boost your results, a team will help you get there faster.

Social media is a powerful way to build your brand exposure but going in with no strategy is akin to throwing spaghetti on the wall and hoping something sticks.

If you need help with your social media efforts, ask me about how we can help you or consider joining my monthly Social Blast membership group where you will learn proper strategies that will turn your failures into triumphs. Learn more about Social Blast here.

Creating An Effective eNewsletter That Gets Read

7 Important Format Components to Include In Your Information-Based Newsletter

I sign up for a lot of digital newsletters. Mostly because I anticipate one of these three benefits from being on that person or company’s list:

1. Receive details on sales and discounts
2. Be entertained or inspired
3. Learn something of value

Most people are like me and will gladly provide their name and email address for at least one of the above benefits.

I’ve written a lot about the reasons WHY an entrepreneur or business should be sending out regular newsletters and today’s article focuses on the 3rd reason provided above – creating information-based newsletters that your subscribers will love.

What To Keep In Mind for Your Newsletter

First, here’s a few tips on what you want to be thinking about as you compose your next email send out. You’ll want to:

– Offer something of value; be informative.
– Lose the sales-pitch, aim to educate instead. Aim for 90% educational content and 10% promotional. (The exception to this rule is if you are a B2C company that sells products where people are signing up to receive special discounts to subscribers.)
– Be personable; let people get to know, like and trust you.
– Be concise .
– Be consistent .
– Use a compelling subject and opening line.
– Adhere to Anti-Spam and CASL laws – ensure it’s easy for people to unsubscribe while using a trusted newsletter service provider.
– Use graphics, headings and white space to make the newsletter visually appealing and easy to read.

So before you dive into writing, it’s important to plan your newsletter to get optimal results.

Here is a summary of the components that should make up your value-driven newsletter:

7 Important Format Components to Include In Your Information-Based Newsletter

1. Begin With a Personal Note

In order to build a “know like and trust” factor with your readers, you want to give them some insight to who you are personally. I’m not saying you have to share what you ate for breakfast that morning (unless nutrition is your business!) but do share something casual or interesting that your readers would love to know more about.

If you feel uncomfortable with sharing personal information, then share what seminars you’ve taken, what books you’ve read, what hobby you’re into – anything so people make a connection that you are a human being just like them!

Include a photo pertaining to what you’re talking about if you can as this enhances the relationship building you want to achieve.

2. Have a Client Showcase/Raving Fans Section

This can be in the form of showcasing new clients or a way to post client testimonials who are your raving fans.

Make this section more than just a couple of sentences – you want this to be more a short case study that details the benefits of what you did for a client and why they are so happy with your product/service.

Have a photo of the client and link to their website so it becomes a win-win scenario and they get good exposure for writing you such a rave review.

3. Include a Feature Article

When it comes to providing something of value to your readers, this should the main feature of your newsletter.

There are a couple of ways to do this and I suggest you give them both a try and monitor your results:

1. Place the full article in the body of the newsletter OR
2. Have just the first couple of paragraphs of the article in the newsletter and then link to the full article that is also posted in your blog. This serves a couple of purposes:
1. Sends people back to your website and
2. The article posted in the blog is great for search engines and can also be posted to your social media sites at the same time.
Be sure to add a note at the bottom of your article inviting readers to repurpose it in their own newsletters or website and/or share it to their social media followers.

Give them a short paragraph that must accompany the repurposed article that provides a call to action for the reader to go to your site and get your free giveaway or sign up for your newsletter.

4. Add a Schedule of Where You Will Be

If you do presentations, talks, webinars, podcasts, demonstrations or anything where the public could come and see or hear you, add this section that details the dates of these events and what you’ll be doing.

If you are wanting to showcase yourself as an expert in your industry, include other events such as attending seminars, high-end coaching sessions or travel destinations.

5. Have a Promotional Section

Just because we don’t want the newsletter to be salesy doesn’t mean we shouldn’t let our subscribers know what we have to offer.

In fact, I highly recommend adding such a section to your newsletter so you don’t become known as someone who ONLY provides valuable content and then when you DO want to promote something, they will leave in disgust! (Yes, I’ve learned this lesson myself.)

So create a section that is either image based or text and image that provides enough information to compel people to click and read more about your offer.

6. Provide Recommendations

This section can be used for you to recommend something you would find of value to your readers. This can be a book, a recipe, a service or product… whatever you wish!

If possible, you can use this opportunity to become an affiliate of the item you are promoting and gain commissions on any sales that might come of it.

7. End With Your Bio/Profile

Conclude your newsletter with a section at the bottom reminding your readers of who you are. Craft a concise “20 second elevator pitch” that speaks to the problems people have that you can solve for them.

Finish with a call to action by contacting you for a free ‘get acquainted’ session or whatever your free offer is.

Many clients shy away from writing a newsletter because they don’t know what to write about. Here’s a suggestion: think about a question a client asked you this week or think about an interesting idea you came across you want to share with your readers.

Start writing down what you want to say – don’t worry about the grammar, just get your thoughts onto paper. Once that hard part is done, then flush out the rest of your newsletter by following the formula above.

Writing a consistent newsletter does take commitment and I know it took me a few years before I got serious with my commitment of delivering valuable content to my readers every Tuesday.

4 Content Marketing Trends for Business Owners in 2017

As we approach 2017, it’s interesting to think about where we’re headed in the coming year when it comes to marketing our business.

All business owners want to stay on top of their game by being prepared for what’s ahead but in today’s fast-changing world, what does that look like?

Below are some content marketing trends you’ll want to prepare for when marketing your business in the coming year:

1) Incorporate More Social Media Graphics, Infographics, Visuals and Videos. Since your followers are 80 percent more likely to read your content if you use coloured visuals, this area needs to be built up more across your social media channels.

The popularity of visual content will only increase, so you must be prepared. Using Facebook live is still a hot commodity so be sure to dive into that opportunity too!

2) Build a Team. 60 percent of marketers in one survey said content creation was their biggest challenge last year.

To overcome this obstacle, get a team of people to help make content development and publishing easy. This includes having a good writer and social media specialist.

3) Tap Into Influencers. 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations where only 33% trust ads.

Consumers have begun to tune out traditional ads and increasingly connect to their social networks to guide their buying decisions. That’s why connecting with influencers is so important.

What is an influencer? “Influencers are people with significant networks (followers, readers, etc.) who can speak to a broad range of products and services with the ability to sway opinions in their favor.” – Jess Estrada.

Identify influencers to reach out to in your industry. Follow them on social media and see where you can strike up a conversation.

4) Drive Content Marketing Leads into a Funnel. High value content is one thing, but if you don’t build in a strategy that continues building rapport with prospects in the right way, you are leaving money on the table.

Content Marketing is a highly effective way to segment your audience and send them targeted follow-ups and offers, instead of adding them to your main email list.

Creating an Effective Content Marketing Plan for 2017

One of the biggest mistakes I have seen businesses make is they jump into content marketing without a strategy. While trying to appeal to their target market, they slap together a couple of eBooks and free offerings and hope it will be enough to drive sales.

The first step to making content marketing really work for you is to have a solid, smart content marketing plan in place.

Make sure you outline the following essentials in your content marketing plan:

• Understand Who You Are Marketing to. Before starting any kind of marketing strategy, it’s vital you understand who your ideal target market is. There’s no point in investing your time and money into marketing when you don’t have a clear understanding of who you want to buy from you.

• A Comprehensive Review of Past Efforts. Review your past content marketing efforts and results from 2016. This helps you to see what was most effective, what wasn’t, and develop a plan to improve for next year.

• Set Goals and Benchmarks to Determine Future Campaign Success. Having a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish and what that will look like is important.

Do you want to develop awareness? Are you working to build brand loyalty? Are you educating prospects? Want to increase engagement with your tribe? Are you increasing sales and profitability?

• Develop Content Ideas that Align with Sales Goals. Here’s some example sales goals:

o Boost sales of Mega Fit Bootcamp by 25%.
o Get 50 new leads a month into our sales funnel.
o Create an eBook on Sales Tips for People Who Hate to Sell to drive leads to the funnel.

• Plan a Content Marketing Calendar with Dates and Deadlines. Create an editorial calendar that clearly lays out your dates and deadlines so you can easily prioritize your efforts. This eliminates the “what do I write” problem.

It also makes it much easier to work ahead on content and delegate to team members.

I hope you’d enjoyed these highlights, stats, and facts to help you prepare for content marketing in the coming year.

Facebook for Business: Futile or Beneficial?

7 Facebook Facts Every Business Should be Aware of for 2017

Does your business have a Facebook presence? If so, have you been actively capitalizing on its social marketing reach or have you abandoned it due to thinking your efforts were futile?

I fear many of you are thinking the latter and feel pretty defeated over the lack of results you’re getting there.

Trying to build brand awareness and get solid leads from Facebook can be a frustrating experience. And honestly, without a proper strategy in place, you could very well be wasting your time.

But before you give up on this highly effective marketing channel all together, consider these recent Facebook stats:

1. Across the globe, Facebook is the top social network for membership with an 84% share. This means your business is missing out on a large potential for brand exposure if not actively involved on Facebook.

2. 79% of all Internet users worldwide use Facebook with 68% of those being adults in the U.S. Moreover, it is estimated there will be 169.2 million Facebook users in the U.S. by 2018.

3. There are 1.79 billion monthly active users worldwide on the Facebook platform with 1.18 billion people using it on a daily basis. That’s billion. Think about the potential your business has in getting in front of just a fraction of that.

4. 50% of 18-24 year-olds immediately log into Facebook when they wake up. If your target market is this age group, you now know the best time to be posting!

5. Nearly 30% of users are aged 25-35, which is the most common demographic. This creates a great opportunity for you to get in front of this prime target audience and expand your brand reach more than any other marketing method can accomplish without having to pay multiple thousands of dollars to do so.

6. The average time a user spends on Facebook each day is 20+ minutes. This is plenty of time to get your value-rich content in front of them!

7. There’s an average of over 8 billion video views on Facebook every day. This is why incorporating video into your social media strategy can be very beneficial.

Yes, Facebook is a very crowded space where it has become increasingly challenging to get your voice heard. But there is hope!

With the use of offering high-quality content through content marketing initiatives, consistent posting, Facebook Ads and taking advantage of Facebook’s live video, your business can reap many rewards.

Where Do You Go From Here?

There are lots of ways to get better results from your Facebook efforts but here’s a short list that can get you started in the right direction:

– Thoroughly understand who your ideal target market is so you know what kind of posts will appeal to them.
– Start a content marketing plan stemming from your blog and begin sharing that blog content to all of your social media platforms.
– Use a social media scheduling platform like Hootsuite to better organize your time.
– Create value-driven pieces of content (text, images and video) and consistently post them to your page.
– Ensure your business page is looking professional to match your brand design as well as fully filled out with a proper description and URL back to your website so your followers know exactly what you do.
– Add a call to action on your business page that will prompt followers to go to the next level with your business.
– Get actively involved on Facebook both from your personal profile and your business page by liking, commenting and sharing other people’s posts, pages and groups.
– Hire a social media professional who understands Facebook advertising to strategically place promotional ads (as opposed to trying to do this yourself where you are bound to not get the same results and pay a lot more money too.)

10 Marketing social media tactics boost holiday sales

Tis the season for holiday sales!

Shoppers are flocking online in search of gift giving ideas. According to Mashable, “65% of shoppers tap social media looking for the perfect gift … and two out of three shoppers purchased a gift they found via social media.”

So what are the best ways to cash in on seasonal sales with your business?

Whether you are a service-based business or sell products, here’s some suggestions to get in the spirit with holiday sales.

1) Learn from the Ghost of Christmas Past
Look at metrics from last year’s holiday sales. What products were bestsellers? Which promotions created the biggest lift in sales? What special offers were a total bomb?

Discover what worked and didn’t so you can capitalize on it when you plan this year’s promotions.

2) Make a Holiday Social Media Cover Image
Decorate your social media business pages with a specially designed cover image. It’s the perfect place to announce special holidays promotions and deals.

Be sure to create one for all of your social media accounts.

3) Use Holiday Hashtags
Twitter shoppers may use hashtags to find their next purchase. So take advantage of hashtags to get discovered.

Some popular hashtags include: #blackFriday, #diy, #holidayssavings, #stockingstuffers, #holidays, #Christmas, #Hannukah, #Kwanzaa, #NewYears

Need ideas? Here’s 106 Hashtags for the Holiday Season http://www.trainingauthors.com/106-hashtags-for-the-holiday-season/

4) Create Social Media Graphics for Promos and Deals
Everyone loves getting a great deal when holiday shopping. Make festive graphics promoting special promotions that make purchasing the perfect item irresistible.

Deals can include:

• one day only,
• limited quantity sales,
• buy-one-get-one free,
• special discounts or holiday coupons.

Consider offering a “12 days of Christmas” promotion with a special deal each day!
Canva makes it easy to make custom holiday social media graphics.

5) Boost Sales with Free Shipping
Consider offering free shipping for holidays gifts. Create highly visible buttons or banners promoting it on your website.

Or you can boost the order size by offering free shipping on orders over a bigger dollar amount such as $100.

Studies show that shipping costs are one of the biggest deterrents to making a purchase online so this one tactic could result in big returns for you.

6) Offer Gift Ideas
Holiday shopping can be frustrating when you don’t know what to buy for the person who has everything. You’ll want to promote your bestselling gifts.

Make gift buying easy by sharing gift suggestions like:

• 5 gifts for mom,
• 10 gifts grandparents love,
• 5 gift ideas for tech savvy teens etc.

Then offer links to purchase each of the items you mention on your blog and on social media.

Better yet, if you have a blog, write articles based on these topics and refer to your products within the article with links back to the purchase page.

7) Write Reviews
If you offer one of the hot new products of the season, consider writing and posting a review about it on your blog. In this review you could mention your own offerings that would be a great gift accompaniment.

As an example, do a review of the top three smart phone accessories for Mom this Christmas and share pictures of them with a red bow on them along with a side-by-side features comparison. Then mention how your offerings go great with these gift ideas while including links to purchase.

You could also incorporate your Amazon affiliate link for those products

8) Suggest Stocking Stuffer Ideas
Help idea stumped shoppers by offering suggestions for small items for everyone on their shopping list!

Write a blog post with the hottest stocking stuffers for the season. Share daily stocking stuffer ideas on social media using hashtags like: #beststockingstuffers2016 #cheapstockingstuffers #stockingstuffersforwomen

9) Reward Loyal Customers
Offer to give a $100 Gift Card to a randomly selected customer caught posting a picture or video with your product on social media. Set up a campaign having them use a special hash tag like #christmascountdown.

This can help your promotional campaigns to go viral as customers share on their timeline and family/friends see their post.

10) Share Holiday Spirit
Connect to the spirit of the holidays in your customer’s hearts. Engage your customers by asking them their favourite holiday tradition.

Get people to interact with your brand by asking them to share:
a. Their most-loved family recipes from Thanksgiving or another holiday event.
b. What their most loved Christmas song is.
c. DYI Christmas decorating tips.
d. Easy gift wrapping suggestions.

 

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The Entrepreneurial Bright and Shiny Object Syndrome Exposed

What You Need to Know Before You Sign Up for Yet Another Program

There’s an insidious travesty happening in the entrepreneurial world and I’ve stayed silent about it long enough.

It’s time to expose what’s really happening to unsuspecting entrepreneurs and business owners when it comes to seeking the perfect answer to their business needs.
You probably already know it as chasing after the bright and shiny object syndrome.

It happens when the perceived need to learn more, be more and do more outweighs the need to actually get clients and run a business.

Why The Bright & Shiny Object Syndrome Happens

New entrepreneurs, especially women, often horde a deep-seeded secret that weighs them down and prevents them from growing their business to the heights they are perfectly capable of, but often don’t realize it.

That secret is the debilitating knowing they will be exposed as a fraud.

I know this because I too had this fear years ago.

It kept me playing small.

It stopped me from stepping outside of my comfort zone.

It dictated all of my business decisions from how much to charge to how I should be positioned in my industry to whom my ideal clients were.

The thought of being exposed as a fraud far outweighed any voice of reason that declared otherwise. It was a powerful force that controlled my every move.

But I had no idea this was going on. I wasn’t consciously aware of how much my actions were based upon that one fact: Feeling like I was a fraud.

But was I really a fraud? Hardly.

My educational background and previous business skills and experience put me far above the level of many of my competitors in the web development and digital marketing space. But I still found a way to discount all of that.

It wasn’t enough.

I needed to learn more.

Clearly they know far more than I do – just look at how “successful” they are.

They know the “secret”.

So what did I do about it? I signed up for every program I could in order to find out what that secret was.

I embarked to find that perfect formula to follow. That magic system that would take me from point A to point B easily and effortlessly.
That thing that would make me successful.

Once I completed these programs, THEN I’d skyrocket my success!

Not.
And it’s probably not going to work for you either.

Yes, you’ll get some new insights out of the training. You’ll learn a few things along the way. But it won’t be enough.

And that’s because it’s not really what you need. Not by a long shot.

More than likely all those programs will just result in you feeling more overwhelmed and confused than ever before. How on earth are you going to find the time to implement all this, let alone understand how to do it all?

There’s only so much time in the day and wouldn’t you prefer to be working on what you’re passionate about instead? The reason why you went into business to begin with?
Here’s the deal. What you really need is to start believing in yourself.

I can’t tell you how many struggling entrepreneurs I have worked with over the years. They aren’t able to reach successful heights in their business and the first (and often only) thing they will blame is themselves.

Their inner voice is screaming at them:
• You don’t know enough.
• You need to learn more.
• You are clearly in way over your head – what were you thinking anyway?
• You’re better off just quitting before you are exposed as the fraud you really are.

This may sound very familiar to you too.

So what does an aspiring entrepreneur do when they have thoughts like these? They sign up for every course, program, system, webinar, teleseminar, telesummit imaginable.

They become addicted to learning.

In their quest to no longer feel like a fraud, they embark on a mission to learn every single aspect about running a business they can. They feel they MUST learn how to:
– Figure out who their ideal client is (even though they’re not sure what to do with that info once they have it)
– Build a website themselves (even though technology has never been a friend of theirs)
– Design their own logo and marketing materials (even though they have never had any formal training in graphic design)
– Set up a sales funnel (even though they’re not really sure what that is)
– Write the sales copy on their website and landing pages (Even though writing does not come easy for them)
– Do Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on their website (even though they aren’t sure what that means)
– Conduct webinars and teleseminars in order to launch their new program (even though they don’t have a program to launch yet)
– Get on stage and be a speaker… write a book… participate in JV partnerships… hold workshops…. The list goes on and on!

What results from all of this? Entrepreneurs are spending SO much time and money on learning all of these skillsets that aren’t a part of their core competency, they aren’t left with any time or energy to focus on their own business!

And here’s the insidious part of it all:

The people who are selling you these programs and systems know full well you are prime for the picking. They are capitalizing on your fears and are making loads of money doing so. They are counting on you feeling you MUST know all of this stuff before you can be successful at your business.

They also know that once they have your attention, you are prime to be “upsold” on higher-end programs or at least make affiliate commissions by referring other products/systems/platforms you MUST have.

Their business survival depends on it.

“BUT SUSAN!” I can hear you saying out loud… “in order for me to be successful, I have to have all of these things in place, and I can’t afford to hire anyone to do it all for me!”

Yes. But.

There’s a couple of falsehoods in that statement:

– You do NOT need a website or marketing materials (yes, that’s coming from a web developer and online marketer!). Not right away at least. I sure didn’t have those things in place when I first started.
– You do NOT need complex marketing funnels and fancy lead generating downloads
– You Do NOT need a huge list or any list at all for that matter
– You do NOT need to have every duck lined up in a neat row before you can start talking to clients and generating business.

Eventually, sure, you can work towards incorporating all of that into your business and marketing model. But not until you can afford to have it done properly. Wasting your time and money on learning how to do it all yourself is simply that – a waste of time and money.

And that’s because you will never learn as much as what the pros know in those key areas to get the same kinds of results by doing it yourself. You simply can’t know it all.
Plus that deep-seeded fear is also going to do whatever it takes to stop you in your tracks.

What You Really Need

All you need to start and run a successful business is to trust yourself, your knowledge, your expertise and your ambitious drive to do what it takes to make it work.

And most of all, you need the confidence in yourself that you are absolutely, unequivocally more than capable of bringing your business vision to fruition.

Your passion, energy, drive and vision is the fuel that moves your forward and creates the opportunities you need to make your business successful. Not all of those programs you’ve signed up for.

The more you believe in yourself, the more opportunities will materialize that will get you one step closer to achieving your goals.

Will you be rich in 30 days like many sales pages promise? Unlikely. But if you are wanting to build a sustainable business, you probably don’t want that kind of huge growth anyway.

Stop believing all of the hyped-up promises we are bombarded by everywhere we turn and instead, start believing you already know what you need to move forward.
And of what you don’t know, the right help at the right time will show up for you.

Now go. Trust yourself. Build a sustainable business with confidence and kick that false nagging voice that’s tell you you’re a fraud out the window. Stop giving away your power to those that are hungry for your money and make the right choices for you based on confidence, not fear.

Developing Social Content – Where Social Media And Content Marketing Merge

Are you trying to successfully incorporate social content into your blog? Even experienced content marketers like 411 Locals face challenges and struggles when creating content that is meant to engage their audiences. The key factors behind successful sharing of social media content are those that make the art of developing social content. But how to create content that is both educational and touching the emotional side of your readers? Here are some innovative ideas about how to expand your content marketing strategy and make it work for your social media goals.

Customer Spotlights Work Better Than Long And Boring Case Studies

A good part of the content marketing gurus love to point out complicated case studies. In fact, this method of being persuasive has been used so often that it became more of a nuisance than an actual attention-grabbing tool. It is kind of hard to get involved when you see a wall of text that explains the step-by-step struggles of someone you’re not familiar with as a reader. So that’s why the customer spotlight can enrich the reader’s experience with the use of feedback and emotion. It is a more direct approach to prospects – to make them see what your happy customers have to say. With customer spotlights, you’re telling success stories coming directly from the source.

Interview Bloggers If You Have The Chance

Some of the most valuable followers are the ones that count as influencers. Their actual worth-base is more than tens of customers, in the long run. Someone who is well-known and respected will earn you more views, likes, comments and long-lasting engagement. The overall impression that your readers will gain is no less than positive. Interviewing a big name in the blogosphere will bring you on a whole new level, where you no longer communicate your thoughts one-sidedly. Approaching influential people takes time and requires skills like being tactful and on the other hand, loudly convincing when necessary.

Build Authority By Sharing Insights

It is a faster if somewhat less direct influcencer outreach. To put it simply, you need to create compilations of thoughts and ideas, already shared by top dogs. Moreover, linking to the source will add more page authority to your blog. You will be more trusted as a source of information – both to your audience and the search engines.

Input New Context To Already Known Information

Having the dogged determination to create new content at all cost can be a major drawback. One of the most important aspects of earning “eyeballs” is your ability to express a genuine point of view. And you don’t have to create new content for that. You only need to comment and analyze well enough to have your audience intrigued. So instead of rewriting well-known pieces of content, you can actually add more to an existing text. Your insights can make a tremendous change of opinion among those who read the original content.

Elegantly Extort Your Audience

Here is a tip that always works – the more engaged you look, the more interested your audience will be. With your timely responses to the appearing comments, you will inspire more comments. The more intensive discussions you get, the better chance you have to extract resources for surveys, topics, and new concepts. This is just one of the techniques used by 411Locals – it makes your audience both satisfied and contributing to the purpose of your blog and/or social media profile.

Why Businesses Need SEO for their Online Communications

Effective search engine optimization to drive consumers to the website

The goal is to generate increased targeted web traffic and increased lead generation. How? By integrating long tail keyword combinations into the text, analysis of the effectiveness of on-page optimization, and optimization of page content, meta tags, headline tags, and alt tags.

But there is more, such as internal and external linking, submission of your site to Google and Bing, SSL certificates, and local listings submission.

So if you’re reading this and you don’t have the time or the desire to further market your business online, and to monitor and analyze SEO tactics and strategies, and make ongoing changes to improve performance, you should consult with a specialist like the J Howard Company.

The typical small business owner profile

I have a small business and I want to update my Web site.

I want it to be “responsive” so it looks great on any mobile device.

I want it to be easy to navigate and provide a good experience for the user.

I need to be able to add content and images easily.

I want to make sure it’s secure and can’t easily be hacked because I sell things online.

I don’t want to spend a fortune.

I want it in a timely manner, say three months.

I don’t want to have to update it often just because the software used to make the website is outdated.

(It’s a good idea to copy this list and to refine it for your own use because it serves the purpose of your agreement for using someone to complete what you can’t or don’t want to attempt. As long as everyone involved is aware of what is expected of them, there should not be much of a problem.)

If you are like most businesses you want to be found on the Internet because you believe you are then more legitimate (just like your competitors). You may be aware of other businesses’ successes and you also want to get your piece of the online-buying market.

You may have consulted with an ad agency (they often outsource this and other services)and decided the price was too high—you don’t need a full-service agency just to have a Web site.

You don’t know about design or programming (that’s not your business or career choice) and you have seen advertisements on television, or researched creating your own Web site by using a template or a free software program.

You really don’t like what you see from most of the do-it-yourself template results so you look for Web site designers to give you a cost estimate, and there are thousands to choose from. The very best examples are not surprisingly the most expensive.

You do more research and find that so-and-so company had their Web site created by someone using a WordPress program, and you are told that it is easy to use and inexpensive to get on a Web hosting service like GoDaddy. You take the plunge.

Very soon you discover that the most recent program you have is now out of date and because of hacking and security concerns you need to update your version of WordPress.

You also discover that your attempts at using the updated software require more experience than you have or care to be involved with, and so you contact one of the designers you found online who knows how to use WordPress.

Like any professional, the designer wants to be paid for their time and after you both agree to what is expected and the cost, you are told it may take three to four months to complete the site and have it live on the Internet. Four or five months later you have a site.

You want to update data and information and also add some images and content to your new site. Your designer assures you that this is all possible with all the plugins and so forth built into your site. When you try it yourself, you are overwhelmed by the all the options and power you have available. Many designers are still learning about tools like WordPress, so it pays to get some kind of guarantee from whomever you decide to use (see the list above).

Because you are not experienced you have to rely on a designer to do the work for you until you become experienced yourself at making the alterations to your site as you want (with your CMS, or Content Management System). You pay the price for their experience and hope that there are no problems.

But there usually are.

Many times it is a problem in the code for one of the many plugins your site uses. Or there is a compatibility issue. Or, you don’t understand the logic of how to use the tools resulting in incorrect operation or display. Whatever the problem is, you need to get that corrected. That may mean a developer (one who knows programming code inside out) will be required if your designer isn’t a developer, too.

Now you may be sorry for choosing that low-cost overseas Web site design company because they are unavailable to help you. Many times they go out of business or just no longer take your calls. Maybe what they did was wrong and you now must use someone that has to correct whatever they did wrong.

Finding a good developer is not as easy as finding a good designer. This is why I use a designer and a developer. The designer can make a slick looking site. The developer can ensure it all works properly. Finding a person who is both is even rarer. Most developers tell you that they lose money designing Web sites so they don’t do it anymore.

So, six months or more after you started to get the new site up and operational you have a decent Web site. You have spent about twice the amount you expected and it took twice as long to get it completed. You still need to learn some of the WordPress design functions and your developer should be able to help you with step-by-step instructions.

The point is that if you have little or no experience in Web site design, you are better off having a local source or at least someone in the same country to perform the tasks. It takes time to learn and it isn’t for everybody. WordPress makes updates often so you should also have a developer that can keep the site up to date when it is appropriate.

I have found a good source for Web site development named Golden Oak Web Design. Instruction for multiple types of WordPress users is offered and can save customers money if they consult first with Golden Oak Web Design.

For writing content and optimizing the Web site and all online documents, I suggest you contact the J Howard Company.

Maximize Your Lead Generation with Interesting Articles

How to improve your inbound marketing strategy with irresistible articles
Most companies today have Web sites that are not bringing in new business. Companies are not getting the full benefit of the Internet because they don’t understand how to generate leads with interesting articles that funnel prospective customers to their Web site. Because the Web sites lack provocative reasons for the visitors to take action, the sites just sit there like unread library books, if customers find the Web site at all.

Many sites of some of larger companies in their business sectors are loaded with information that never gets read. Why? For one thing, how do customers discover the company?

What differentiates one competitor from another? What points the visitor searching for answers to a particular Web site? How has the company helped others? What are others saying about the company? Where can they find out more about the company and its solutions to customer challenges?

What examples does the company offer? How recently was there a story about how a customer needed what the company specializes in? Does the information about the company appear neutral or does it sound like an advertisement? Is there something newsworthy that could benefit more customers if they knew about it, and where would they find this?

The problem most companies are unaware of is that people need much more than information—they need wisdom and knowledge so that they can make the best decisions. People want to know that their buying decisions are based on facts, testimonials, stories, and examples of what works best for their particular wants and needs.

Generating Web site traffic
When prospective customers search the Internet, they are looking for specific answers to problems or wants or needs. Imagine the level of interest that results from finding not just one but several or many news articles that link to a company’s blogs or Web pages.

Think of the surgeon that has many accolades displayed on the Internet versus the other surgeons that have little to none. Who would you rather trust your surgery to?

News articles can not only educate and inform, but draw more attention to Web sites. This can boost a site’s search ranking and improve search results positioning. This compounds the articles’ effectiveness over time. Continued article distribution generates more traffic and more interest in the business.

Evoking the feeling of customer confidence
More can be accomplished through article submissions and strategies that ultimately affect sales and increase the funnel of new leads. Synergistically, articles, blogs, white papers (etc.), all add to the perception of expertise and authority which supports all sales efforts.

By expanding the marketing base through interesting articles, cementing relationships is more easily accomplished before the sale is made.

Lower cost
The cost of an article writing and distribution campaign is much less than hiring a salesperson to prospect for new business. Businesses would be wise to determine the value going forward for every new customer that connected with the company due to something the customer read online.

Lead generation takes time. Several months are a short time to see results from article writing and distribution. The Internet spiders have a lot of information to crawl so it makes sense to get started right away. Interesting articles are gaining more popularity on the Internet. Once an article appears on the Internet, it is there for years.