Pinterest Tips

Tips to Help Your Small Business Stand Out on Pinterest

If you’ve begun to market your small business on Pinterest, then you’re probably aware of the enormous opportunity that 70 million eager to buy offers. While Pinterest has literally exploded in growth over the last few years, it is still a little bit of a Wild West Show, and more and more strategies are showing up detailing exactly how to reach these people.

Pinterest has exploded both in growth and also as a marketing platform in a relatively short amount of time, and what’s been proven about this audience is that while it is skewed largely female, it’s a great buyer’s audience. If you’ve got a product or service that is visual at all, (or can be) you need to get it on a board on Pinterest quick!

We’ve scoured our sources and found 5 great tips for marketing your small business on Pinterest. Start using them today!

5 Useful Tips on how to Market your Small Business on Pinterest

Join Pinterest Groups – Locating board groups in your market can help you speed up the engagement and connect with more followers. There is a free tool called PinGroupie that can help you find relevant groups. After you’ve joined a few of these, be sure and offer great value to the group.

Make a Blog Board – Setting up a blog board is a cool way to notify your followers automatically of your newest blog posts. Optimize for search and you’ll be surprised how many will find you in Google. Be sure to write a good description and use a compelling image.

Check Out Who is Pinning Your Competitor’s Pins – It would stand to reasons that those that are pinning your competition are going to also be interested in what you are offering. Be sure and follow them, and see how many follow you back.

Optimize Your Descriptions – Since you have only about 75-100 characters that show up in the grid description, it’s a good idea to craft a description which uses your primary keywords, and pertinent information. This is not, however, a place to sell!

Consider Adding Text to Images – Overlaying text onto your images converts much better than straight images. This will necessitate editing your image in image editing software, but in some niches these can return another 50% worth of engagement. I’d say that’s worth it!

Content Marketing

Learn How to Scale your Content Even if it’s Only You Doing It!

We all know the buzz surrounding content marketing as a way to help search rankings, receive direct traffic, links and more. There’s no question about the usefulness and advantages of this marketing method, and one would ignore this avenue at their own peril.

That is, unless, they’re a one-man gang, tasked with doing all the other aspects of an online business. Then the task becomes quite daunting indeed. These folks look with unbridled envy at companies with specialized staff members producing innovative, original content in its many forms, and wonder how they can find the time to make this happen for their own business.

Now that we’ve got the proper anxiety worked up, let me assure you there is a way to scale your content without going crazy. It will require a bit of organization and planning, but let’s jump in and show you what you need to do.

5 Killer tips for scaling content without a staff!

Use a Content Marketing Calendar – This tool can help you in many ways. By planning out at least 6 months ahead, you can easily work with product launches, marketing events and more. This can be as simple as a spreadsheet, and there are numerous samples available to look at on the Web.

Curate content – Don’t forget to take advantage of content curation, where you publish valuable pieces you discover on the Web to your audience as well, (attributing them!) while offering your own insights and takeaways at the same time. This is a great way to build your own authority in Google’s eyes, and it takes a LOT less time to accomplish!

Don’t be afraid to outsource – One easy way to get some help is to outsource a portion of the work. Even though this is an added expense, it’s not as much as you might think, and will help you tackle areas in which you may not have a lot of expertise, such as video, images and more.

Repurpose your content – Just because it’s a terrific blog post doesn’t mean it can’t be a just as compelling video, slideshow, email series or social media snippet. Use your imagination and utilize your content for more than the original purpose.

Content promotion – Don’t think that when it’s published you’re done. A large part of the effectiveness of content marketing lies in spreading the word, and when you send out new content, let the world know via your social media channels, and even paid promotion if it’s worth it you.

Tackling the task of scaling your content by yourself can indeed be intimidating, but also can be done with a little planning and strategy.

Click Here

Why Do People Click on Your Links?

Much of the time in our quest to connect with an audience, make sales, get opt-ins and more, we are depending on our visitors to make that connection via a web link. So it would stand to reason that one of our primary tasks in this quest is to make it our business to know how to get them to click!

It becomes our job to understand what makes them click. If you thought your job was over once you hyperlinked the words “Click Here”, you’re going to be disappointed! You have to do a little bit more work to earn that click. Everyone is pressed for time, and if you aren’t pushing the right buttons, so to speak, neither will they!

So to help make your pages a veritable clicking paradise, let’s examine 5 ways to optimize your links for clicks.

5 Tips for getting the clicks!

Say something with your link text – Link text is valuable in the sense that you have the chance to sell or persuade one more time. Instead of opting for a totally vanilla “Click Here”, try getting far more specific and benefit-oriented in your link text. You’ll be rewarded with more clicks!

Make each link on purpose – Don’t just insert links without having carefully strategized their purpose. Unless it is an informational content piece, don’t include links outside the scope of what you hope to gain from the page; such as a link to an offer, lead magnet or other objective.

Understand about the color of your links – There is a definite psychology pertaining to color, and you have to have this firmly in mind when designing links and buttons. For example, blue is a trust color, and orange encourages quick action. Get aquainted with these concepts!

Don’t get cute – Trying to hoodwink your audience by promising something in your link that’s not really true will get you a venomous response, and almost no results. Avoid using “clickbait” type of link text at all costs.

Use strategic placement – Understand that the placement of your links is extremely important. Almost always on a landing page you’ll want one link “above the fold” on the page, and include others every scroll or two. After all, the objective is to get the click, right!

Landing Pages

How to Make Your Landing Pages Convert Better

Even though most marketers will move heaven and earth to optimize the smallest of details on their websites, getting them to pay the same amount of attention to landing page optimization is a tall task indeed. And yet these will be the same people who will wonder why their landing pages don’t convert as well as they think they should.

There are some particular best practices you’ll need to make sure you are following to get the best results you can. Let’s have a look at 5 of these, and see if you can’t improve the performance of your landing pages!

5 Tips for optimizing your landing pages

Responsive design – Since today’s traffic is more than 50% mobile, this one thing can make a huge difference in how well your landing page converts. If your offer doesn’t render well, or worse doesn’t load at all, you’ve lost before you’ve started. Be sure that your pages are mobile ready.

Write great headlines – This is your first, and possibly only chance to hook your visitors into reading on and absorbing your offer. Studies are showing that you have something south of 5 seconds to make this connection, or they are out of there. Study how to create awesome headlines, and test several.

Clear Call to Action – Make it abundantly clear what you want the reader to do. Tell them, in no uncertain terms, why and what they need to do next to get the benefits you’ve so eloquently laid out for them. This is a major area for testing.

Use social proof – People are given to following the crowd, so if you have testimonials, reviews or product endorsements go ahead and find a way to get some of these in front of your audience. Your conversions will improve if you do.

Test – Simple A/B testing can do as much for your conversion rates as all else combined. Be bloody-minded about this, and make sure you are putting your best foot forward. Don’t be afraid to kill off that clever headline you thought would rock, but testing doesn’t agree with you. Numbers don’t lie!

Content Marketing

Have You Created your Content Marketing Calendar Yet?

Content marketing is without a doubt the buzzword lately, and more than that, it is an incredibly effective way to gain search rankings, brand your company, energize social media and much, much more. With the wide array of content publishing options at our fingertips today, one thing becomes abundantly clear: to be great at this you’re definitely going to need a content marketing calendar.

Precisely as a result of ease with which you can publish content in various forms all over the Web in the blink of an eye, having an organized plan of attack and strategy is more important than ever before. Let’s take a look at some of the hallmarks of an effective content marketing calendar, and how you can implement one.

Who should do this?

Even if you are a large company with several departments making use of the calendar, you’ll need to have a person dedicated to making sure the overall plan is advancing, and people are being held accountable. This presupposes that you’re using a single content marketing calendar. We believe this is best as even while there may be different people or teams working on different aspects of content creation, it is vital that there is a common vision and goals at play here. Having more than one calendar is asking for it, and really hampers efforts at promotion. Resist the calls for independence here.

This is to lessen the chances for assignments and deadlines falling too far behind, and jeopardizing marketing promotions that are inextricably intertwined.

What should you use for a content marketing calendar?

This can be a simple spreadsheet customized for the task. This is usually sufficient. There are many other forms of collaborative software if you have a large organization or want more automation.

Software like Basecamp, Teamwork and others provide useful platforms for running projects, and can help you keep track of complex campaigns easily. There is a cost and learning curve associated with this, however.

Generally a simple solution works best, and we would encourage this to get started, especially of you haven’t before attempted to task your content marketing. Upgrading to more sophisticated systems can always happen later on if need be.

Google Phantom Update

Should You Be Concerned with Google Phantom?

Recently Google rolled out the latest of their search engine algorithm updates, this one mysteriously referred to as Phantom. Many people still have no idea this occurred, and for good reason. It literally flew under the radar. Many search algorithm updates create quite a splash when they arrive. Ask anyone who was negatively affected by Penguin or panda, and their subsequent iterations. Some entire businesses were lost, and certainly fortunes were deviated.

The good news is that most search algorithm updates aren’t nearly that dramatic. Google says they perform between 500-600 updates yearly, and the majority are fairly insignificant, and go largely unnoticed.

This one is between those. Let’s take a peek at what the Phantom update was all about, and how you can respond if need be.

What is the Google Phantom update?

Google had warned us all that they were on the warpath for thin and poor content, and it looks like Phantom is another update intended to combat this pox on search engine results.

Some of the more well-known sites suffered with this update as well. Sites like HubPages, WikiHow, Answers.com and a few others took a significant hit.

Several specific things got their attention this time around. A lot of them are going to sound familiar to many who got hit in other recent Google updates. Pages with “thin” content, meaning scant content on the page designed merely to get a click or another action, were targeted. Also high on the list were pages with “clickbait” headlines, and also lots of stacked videos, too much poor user-generated content, pages with tons of ads, or unedited curated pieces.

Key takeaways for your use

The first and best thing you can do is take a close look at your site content by doing an audit. See which of your pages have suffered a loss in rank possibly due this Phantom, and then see if any of the above mentioned factors apply to it. Then you can either fix, update or junk it, depending on the age and relative current relevance of the content in question.

What you want to do here is come out of this with your best foot forward, showing off to Google and all who come to your pages that it contains the most relevant and current content you can provide. Do that and you needn’t worry about Phantoms!

How To Use Hashtags

Discover How Hashtag Marketing Can Work for your Business

If you spend any amount of time on Twitter, or now just about any of the other social networks, you know how widespread the use of #hashtags has become. They’ve become shorthand for entire groups and segments of people and movements.

It’s now possible to even utilize Emojis in your hashtags, at least on Instagram. The other networks will soon follow suit, I imagine.

Hashtags help you discover more about your audience, see what they’re talking about and interested in, encourage engagement, and also help you with branding.

To get you going in the right direction, here are 5 tips you can use to make your hashtag marketing more effective.

5 Great tips for making the most of Hashtag Marketing

Examine what your audience is talking about – One of the highest and best uses for hashtags is to grab some quick intelligence on what your audience is thinking, reacting to, and talking about. This is golden, and can help the entire scope of your marketing efforts.

Look into paid promotion – Promoting your hashtag on Twitter can sometimes make a popular campaign wildly popular. Only do this when you’ve got a good one going. The goal here is to have your hashtag make in onto Twitter’s trending list.

Use local hashtags for local promotion – If you want to promote specific local locations for your business, use local geo-modifiers to identify neighborhood businesses. A simple and effective way to increase the reach of your brand.

Found a trending hashtag? Join the conversation! – A fantastic way to leverage the power of popular hashtags is to jump into the ongoing conversation. Don’t attempt to hijack, but rather add substance to the discussion, in a way only your brand can!

Use Hashtags to amplify your marketing – Hashtags can be a good way to energize the success of already working campaigns, and help you make the most of them. Creating hashtags that continue the buzz and point to your campaigns are a great way to multiply your results.

Fast and simple to use, hashtags can be another arrow to add to your marketing quiver. Give them a shot today!

How To LinkedIn

Check Out these 10 LinkedIn Tips to Pump Up the Volume

LinkedIn is becoming increasingly more the go-to source for business leads and connections, but only if you are able to get out of the beginner mode. There are several great features that enable you to make connections, share content and extend your reach exponentially, but to be able to make the best use of these you need to be not only active but smart.

To help you with that, here are 10 awesome LinkedIn tips to get you started.

10 LinkedIn Tips to Maximize Your Reach

Customize your profile URL – Be sure and customize your URL with your or your company’s name. This naturally lends an air of professionalism to your page.

Put a LinkedIn Profile Badge on your site – An easy task to do and a nifty tool for increasing connections and site authority. Pick from a few different designs.

Be sure to optimize your page – Complete and make the most of all the features you can when it comes to your company page. You definitely want to make a brand statement.

List your skills to get endorsements – Be sure you list your particular skills when filling out your profile. This enables your connections to make that easy + click to endorse you for any of these they’re aware of.

Utilize your LinkedIn Groups – Joining and contributing to LinkedIn groups provides you with a couple of great advantages. This gives you the ability to send messages to members of the group who you are not level one connected with, and also the ability to view profiles.

Create Showcase Pages – Since LinkedIn got rid of the Products & Services tab, you’ll want to use Showcase Pages to promote products and services directly.

Directly Email your LinkedIn Group – Known as LinkedIn Announcements, you can mail all the members of your LinkedIn group once per week.

Get LinkedIn to send you leads with Saved Searches – By saving your searches on LinkedIn they will send you new leads based on the search parameters you entered. Can you say free leads?

Ask Your Connections for Introductions – Mine your current connections and ask them to introduce you someone they are connected to that you would like to be. You’ll be surprised at how many will say yes.

Reorder Your LinkedIn Skills – You now have the ability to edit your skills and within that you can reorder your skills to emphasize what you’d like to. It can also lessen the number of no-picture endorsers present there.

Social Media Tips

Does your Small Business Flounder with Social Media? See these 3 Tips!

Okay, it’s 2015: do you know where your social media is? We can all agree (at least I hope so) that social media is not only where the people are, it has also become a viable source of traffic, engagement and marketing for nearly any business that would choose to make use of it.

The key here is to get moving, and don’t fear the unknown. This medium changes daily, and you need a certain ability to roll with that, knowing that most of the time the changes only help you. (Remember, embrace change!) Let’s have a look at a few ways we can help you with that.

3 Social Media Tips for Small Businesses

Lay out a social media strategy – Decide on a goal for your social media strategy from the outset, as it will make it far more achievable and real to team members as you pursue it. Whether you intend to generate leads, engage with prospects or advertise, lay this out and then look at all the possible social platforms that could work for you. Not all of them will be a good fit.

Don’t try to use all of them – There are a lot of social platforms you can sign up for, however, not all may be applicable enough to your business to warrant the time and expense involved. For instance, if you are a Mercedes auto body shop, SnapChat (frequented by teens) is probably not your best use of resources.

Consistency is key – One of the main reasons social media works well for businesses is that they commit to engaging in it. Posting once in a blue moon will draw a big yawn from social media, and no one will care or come around. Once you commit, post frequently with awesome value and honest intent.

Once you’ve laid the groundwork for a successful social media initiative, you can begin to cultivate and build the type of following that will not only look forward to hearing from you, but will gladly help you spread the word.

Get Your eMails Opened

Check Out The Type of Subject Lines that Get Opened the Most!

It’s a well-known fact that emails that don’t get opened never get acted on. Now that we’ve had our daily thought from Capt. Obvious, it’s time to really look at what types of email subject lines can lead to higher open rates and subsequently, more actions taken on your offers and content.

Your task is to know which these are and use them and resist the urge to get clever and try and employ clickbait and other tactics that may in fact work against you. It’s far better to deal in truth, and make use of proven subject line types that employ sound principles to get your emails opened. Here are 7 of the top opened types of email subject lines.

7 Email subject lines that consistently get higher open rates!

Benefit: Everyone wants to know what’s in it for them. Benefit laden subject lines usually suggest a promise, often with an element of time involved. (Everyone also wants it yesterday!) An example would be “Create a second income stream in less than 30 days!”

Ask Questions: By doing so you’re begging a response that often gets answered by them opening the email to find the answer. “Do you really have time to do all this work yourself?”

How-To: Information is golden, and assuming your audience is the least bit interested in your subject, many will want to find out “How to make a Killer Bacon Omelette in 7 Minutes and 15 Seconds!”

Targeted: If you can target by either name or particular interest, you’ll cut right to the chase: “Only open if you’re an investor sick of paying too much for trades!”

Lists and Tips: In this day and age of zero time for tasks, helpful lists trick and infographics work wonders for your open rates. It’s a simple way to do research for the time-challenged.

Employ Superlatives: The words “Fastest”, “Easiest” and “Best” when injected into your subject lines are enticing for those who want the knowledge but haven’t the time or know-how to search for it.

Answers: Frequently email subject lines that provide answers for common questions in your market are top openers. “10 Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting Paid What You’re Worth!”

Try using some of these types of subject lines and see your open rates soar!