As with social networking sites, blogging started out as a way to share your thoughts, opinions and feelings. Starting in the late 1990’s blogging has now evolved into an essential part of online marketing. If your business does not yet have a blog, it is time to get started.
Tools such as WordPress give everyone an opportunity to start a blog fairly easily. Once you start your blog, you will need followers to make your blog active and effective. Building a large and loyal following will take time, commitment and work but the results will absolutely be worth the effort.
Below are some strategies and tips you can utilize to begin building your blog’s traffic.
1. Use the Search Engines – Be friendly to the search engines. Optimize your keywords, link those keywords to other blog posts and utilize search engine plugins. Each post needs a keyword rich meta description as well. Another easy tip you can follow is to use hyphens instead of underscores in your urls. The search engines read hyphens as a space but not underscores. Using post titles in your urls is another way to get more positive attention from the search engines.
2. Get Readers from Other Blogs – Consider the blogging world a big party. By standing in the corner and not participating in conversations or talking to other people, you will end up alone. The same holds true to blogging. You need to get out amongst the crowd. Participate in conversations and attract people’s attention. Get them interested in you so they will come to your party (blog).
3. Bring Your Blog to Life – Be passionate in your posts. Let your personality shine through. Give your content life and energy. Do not overdo with personal posts. Don’t complain about a messy house or the kids giving you problems. You are there to provide helpful content for your readers, not whine. Keep it professional but let your readers get to know you. Show your readers you really care about them and your blog.
4. Hold Contests – Be creative in ways to make commenting on your blog fun. Have a ‘Secret Word” contest. Pick your word and let your readers know that whoever uses that word the most in their comments wins a prize. Hold a referral contest. So many referrals to your blog wins a prize. Let your readers post their contests as well. Cross promote each other and get more followers for all. Read More→
About ten years ago I wrote an article called “15 Ways to Advertise for Free.” At that time the advertising methods detailed in the article were very popular and quite effective. But because of the ever-changing internet and evolving technology, I thought it would be interesting to revisit these strategies and see how they have changed over the years and if they still produce results.
1. Message Boards – Message boards were a great way to network and make connections. Web-based message boards date as far back as the early nineties. Today, however, we have evolved into more advanced versions of message boards such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. A few message boards may still be around and could be mildly effective but they most certainly have seen a huge decline. Social media sites have taken over as the new internet forums.
2. eMail Discussion Groups – eMail discussion groups are another method of networking and connecting but it is done through email rather than a website. People subscribe to a group and participate in the discussions and offer advice, information and help. Such groups have evolved but are still very active and effective for internet business owners.
3. Ad Swaps – Ad swaps used to be one of my favorite marketing techniques. I would contact fellow ezine publishers and arrange to do an ad swap with them. This would very often lead to a lasting association. It is how I met many of my online business associates who also became friends. Although ad swapping can still be very effective, unfortunately it seems to have fallen in popularity.
4. Link Exchange – When exchanging links first became popular back in the nineties, everyone threw up a link directory and exchanged links with every site possible. Now, this is a very bad idea as irrelevant links can cause more harm to your ranking than good. It is now better to have a few quality relevant backlinks to your site rather than linking to every kind of site available. The search engines will actually penalize you for having too many unrelated links posted on your site. You also want to provide helpful links for your visitors so be selective in your linking choices. Read More→
In order to build a successful online business, you also need to build your credibility. Credibility is the quality one possesses that enables potential customers to trust and believe in them. This credibility will certainly extend to your business as well.
People need to be able to trust in your expertise and integrity when dealing with you. For some people, their credibility is their most valuable business asset. But unfortunately inexperience can cause many people to chip away at their credibility without even realizing it.
If you are regularly or repeatedly doing any of the following, you might want to reconsider and refine your business activities.
1. Taking Your Customers for Granted – This is surprising, but I see so many people taking their customers for granted and not realizing how important each and every one of them are – even if they do not make a purchase right away. Take the time to really listen to your customers. Do not get locked into the “I have to get the sale” trap. First you have to make the connection, build the trust and then chances are the sale will come. Put the customer and their needs first, not the sale.
2. Not Taking Responsibility – When something goes wrong with your sales transaction or other business matter, be sure to step up and accept responsibility. Do not try to place blame elsewhere or make excuses. People will see through this and a chunk of your credibility will fall away. You may think that trying to convince the customer that it was not your fault will help but it shows a lack of responsibility and commitment. Apologizing and doing everything you can to rectify the situation will go much farther in building your credibility.
3. Being too Pushy and Aggressive – The days of the pushy forceful salesman are gone. People want someone who can work with them, listen to them and offer them a solution. Show your customers you are that person and let them know you can give them what they need.
4. Being Inconsistent – To have a successful business you need to be consistent and regular. For example: If you send out a weekly mailing to your mailing list, be sure to send it out weekly. I, unfortunately, know a few online business owners who will send out a mailing here and there. I also know some websites that advertise new products daily but many times I have visited and nothing. These are exactly the types of mistakes that could destroy your credibility and drive away your potential customers. When you say you are going to do something, Do It!
5. Pushing Your Personal Life – In this day and age with the internet and social media, you can reach more people than ever thought possible. But unfortunately, many people get way too personal. When you are running a business and trying to connect with people you need to share insights, resources and information to help build your credibility, not your personal problems. You will need to listen to your customer’s problems but when a person comes to you for a solution to their problem, do not talk to them about your problems with the kids or how many bills you have to pay. Another chip of credibility will fall away. Read More→
A promotion is a way of drawing attention to your business whether it be through advertising or other means. Special offers, sales or contests that are not normally available usually produce impressive results. It is an effective way for any business to draw in new potential customers and to retain existing customers.
By running periodical promotional offers that are fun and interesting, you are keeping your business fresh and alive. But more importantly, you are showing your customers you want to help them save money, thus making them feel special and appreciated.The ideas for promoting your business are unlimited. Be creative and make your promotional offers fun and unique. Encourage interaction with your customers to make them more memorable.
Below are ten great ideas that are sure to pump up your sales and produce profits! We all know the standard discounted prices, bogo, and other sales but by putting new and fun twists on these proven tactics you are making them fresh and new!
1. Silver, Bronze and Gold Tickets – Hold an Olympic Event. Let everyone know that each and every customer will receive a silver, bronze or gold ticket with their purchase. These tickets allow the customer to save a good amount on any following orders or offer instant savings with the ticket.
Silver Ticket = 25% Savings.
Bronze Ticket = 35% Savings.
Gold Ticket = 50% Savings.
These numbers are just examples of course and can be changed to suit your business or you can use a dollar amount instead of percentage.
2. BOGO with a Twist – Put a fun new twist on the old BOGO standby. With each BOGO purchase, offer a certain amount of points depending on the amount of purchase. When the customer reaches a certain amount of points, offer him/her a free item of a certain value, or a gift card, etc. 50 points = free $10.00 item; 100 points = free $20 item and so on. Read More→
Statistics will tell you that participating in social media networking can increase your business by leaps and bounds. Social media is now the number one activity on the web and it can yield more power for your business than ever. Over 90% of marketers use social media for their business. Twitter is the second most popular social media site and should definitely be a part of your social marketing arsenal.
Below are ten tactics you can use to help increase your sales and make your business more successful.
1. Be Consistent – Nothing can kill a social media account like an inactive user. Don’t think you can post once or twice a month and keep an active following. You have to be consistent and you have to participate. Work out a tweeting schedule and stick with it. Retweet items of interest. People are active at different times so tweeting items of interest one time will not achieve the results you need.
2. Always Respond to Comments – By always responding to a comment you are acknowledging that person and letting them know what they have to say is important to you. This will encourage more people to interact with you and build the relationship needed to form a lasting business connection. By responding promptly to all comments your credibility will flourish and your reputation will make itself known. Ignoring comments will make the potential lead for your business go away. Read More→
A call to action is a button, graphic or text message in place to motivate your visitor to complete the desired goal. The goal being signing up, subscribing, purchasing, etc. The better your call to action, the higher your conversion rate.
Here are some examples of calls to action:
• Subscribe Here
• Order Now
• Try Our Free Demo
• Sign Up Here
• Call Now
These are some of your most basic calls to action but it is not as simple as it sounds to get people to respond to these calls. Below are ten ways you can beef up your response and increase your conversion rate.
1. Make It Simple – Your call to action should be clear, concise and not cluttered or overloaded with distractions. Do not confuse your visitors with too many offers, choices or actions. Cluttering your call to action with too many items might cause the person to lose confidence in making a choice at all. Read More→
Although the internet gives most of us an opportunity to build our own business, advertising and marketing that business can run into a lot of money. For many of us, this obstacle could be too big to withstand. Fortunately there are many ways you can effectively market your online business without paying a cent.
Below are 15 zero cost marketing ideas and techniques that are known to create results.
1. Ad Swapping – If you publish your own ezine or newsletter, you will want to contact other ezine publishers and ask them if they would be interested in an ad swap. You each run the other’s ad for an agreed amount of time for free exposure. Read More→
Because of the internet we all have the opportunity to make our own success and live the life of our dreams. But this does not mean that building a thriving internet business is easy or a way to “get rich quick”.
Starting and building an established online business takes commitment, persistence, hard work, and the drive to make it succeed. Unfortunately many people are led to believe it is as simple as putting up a website, placing a few ads and watching the money pour in.
That is exactly what I thought over 16 years ago when I first started online. I learned fast that building an online business would be much more than I ever imagined. While teaching myself how to make my business successful I made many mistakes. But I persisted and worked very hard. Then a very exciting thing happened. I started experiencing the benefits of success – both financially and personally. I find this work to be very rewarding in many ways and would recommend to anyone to stick with it and make it happen for yourself!
Mistakes are a very valuable part of building a business if you learn from them. Use your mistakes to your advantage. Below are some of the most common mistakes we can make when developing an online business. Read More→