SEO Trends in 2017 for Small Businesses

 

When it comes to staying on top of the latest SEO trends, it can often feel like you are trying to catch the wind. Just when you think you are finally caught up, everything changes. You could spend countless hours and dollars trying to figure out one platform or strategy, only to find out that it no longer produces the results you were expecting.

On the other hand, simply sitting idle won’t do, either, since your competition will be making its own efforts to stay ahead of the curve.

That said, here are three major SEO trends in 2017 that are likely to shape the way smaller companies in particular do business. Whether or not you like them, you will have much to gain by paying attention and doing what you can to ride the wave.

3 Big SEO Trends in 2017

Mobile First. Let me put it bluntly: mobile devices are overtaking those “clunky” desktop ones not just in terms of numbers, but more importantly, in terms of activity. Unfortunately for many of us, putting our phones and tablets down already is a real challenge. But, it’s also an opportunity for business owners online. So, if your business is not on mobile, then you better get there fast.

For the past couple of years, mobile searches have been dominating desktop searches, and the gap is only getting wider. Thus, it almost goes without saying that you need to be creating a good online experience across all types of devices. Google recently thickened the plot with its announced mobile first index. What this means is that now Google will crawl the mobile version of your site or responsive mobile version first before the desktop version and use that content in the search results.

Sophisticated Online Search. Long gone are the days when online users would type a few keywords into a search box and (hopefully) get a list of relevant sites. Over the past five years or so, online search has become much more personalized and much more sophisticated. There are two main areas that businesses need to be paying attention to:

  1. The first is in optimization for user intent. This area, like the one that follows below, has been significantly improving over the past three years. Search engines are now getting much better at identifying user intent whenever someone does an online search. Instead of typing a few keywords, users are now entering full queries or phrases in search engines which then try to figure out the motivation behind each particular search. There are generally three types of motivation that require very different search results: 1) navigational, where the user is trying to get to a particular destination; 2) informational, where the user is looking for information on a particular product, service, or topic; and finally, 3) transactional, where the user is ready to buy or take some other type of action.

  1. The second is voice search. As mobile online usage continues to increase and technology advances, voice search has been gaining momentum. According to a recent study conducted by Google, 55 percent of those under 18 years old use voice search daily. That number increases to 75 percent for young users who are on their phones 11 or more hours per day. Even older users are increasingly turning to voice search to ask for directions or to help them multi-task.

Consistent Structure. Structured data is basically information that is formatted in a standard, universal way that helps search engines better understand a website. The result is often a better search engine ranking. The source of this structured data can be found at Schema.org. It is a code that was developed by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Yandex that you can add to your website to help search engines crawl your site faster and more accurately. As the number and content of sites explodes, the use of structured data by search engines will only increase.

In short, while SEO may be in constant flux, these three trends promise to underlie all of the change. If you choose to ignore them, you may end up missing the boat in your marketing- both online and off.

8 Social Media Selling Solutions & The New e-Commerce Frontier

Social media e-commerce is a marriage that was bound to happen. With social media attracting more and more of consumers’ time and attention, and mobile technology allowing people to instantly connect whenever and where ever they want, it’s a no-brainer that businesses would try to turn all of that activity into sales.

With social media e-commerce, you can turn your social media accounts into online stores and run a profitable e-commerce business. While it is still advisable to maintain an online store hosted on your own website, since social media and selling platforms tend to change their rules a lot, social media e-commerce nevertheless allows you to get your foot in the door with little to no initial investment.

If you are new to social media selling, then there are several solutions out there that can get you up and running in no time. Here is a list of some popular options to consider:

Shopial

Shopial allows you to instantly turn your online store into Facebook and Pinterest storefronts. You can also use the platform to create and activate Facebook ads in order to generate more targeted traffic and sales. The system works with all the major e-commerce platforms, such as eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Magento and Shopify.

Olapic

Throw those stock photos away! Olapic allows you to boost sales with user-generated images from social media. The platform aggregates images submitted by users on various social media channels such as Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. Then, using a curation algorithm and human editors, Olapic identifies which images are best suited to for use in your marketing campaigns.

Soldsie

If you are looking to monetize your Instagram feed, then Soldsie may be for you. Its selling solution, have2have.it, lets users shop your posts via a unique URL (have2have.it/yourstore). You just need to add the link to your profile, and customers will have easy access to a e-commerce version of your Instagram feed.

Soldie also supports an interesting Facebook app that turns the comments section into an e-commerce machine. Once customers leave a comment under a photo, Soldsie automatically adds the item to their shopping cart for quick and easy checkout.

Beetailer

Beetailer is another great social media selling platform for Facebook. The system quickly catalogs and imports all of your products on Facebook. The best part about Beetailer is that it is a set it and forget it system. Once the initial migration is complete, it requires no configuration or maintenance, and products are automatically updated as your website’s inventory changes. Beetailer also supports a wide range of marketing tools like campaigns and promotions, offers detailed analytics, and integrates with existing checkout systems.

Chirpify

Chirpify is an “engagement loyalty program” that integrates online and offline channels with social media. It works by using unique campaign hashtags to enable purchases across multiple social networks. The goal is to convert relevant social media activity into rewards for users while generating valuable data and sales for you the business owner. All users have to do is post the hashtag on their Twitter, Facebook or Instagram feeds to activate a purchase or take advantage of a promotional offer.

Facebook for Business

If you want to sell your products or services on Facebook, you might as well go to the source. Facebook for Business is a robust platform that allows you to create Facebook business pages and purchase Facebook ads and then integrate your Facebook campaign into a business website or mobile app. The platform also provides extensive analytics and reporting that will give you key insights into your campaign performance.

Pinterest for Business

Pinterest for Business allows businesses create branded Pinterest accounts. There are two important features that are valuable to businesses when it comes to Pinterest. First, businesses can add the “Pin It” button to any images of their products found on the web. When Pinterest users click on the button, not only is the image is added to their boards so their followers can see it, these pins also include the seller’s shop name and pricing information. The second feature is Buyable Pins. This feature allows you to add a Buy button on every pin you place on Pinterest. All sales generated are free of charge.

Twitter Buy Now

Twitter currently offers “Buy Now” buttons that allow followers to make purchases from your Twitter feed in real time. This means customers don’t even have to go to your online store to buy your products.

With one or more off the platforms mentioned above, you can turn your business’ social media presence into some serious social sales.

10 Ways to Update Your Social Medial Profiles

Now that the new year is upon us, it’s time to start developing some new habits in the way you market your small business- especially online. If you have been procrastinating when it comes to updating your social media profiles or you have been filling those accounts with “fluff” content, now is the best time to change that. Social media offers endless opportunities for small businesses to connect with their customers. But, it can be a big black hole of time and money if you don’t approach it in the right way or you are inconsistent in your efforts.

Don’t let this scare you away. Keeping those social media accounts active and engaging doesn’t necessarily have to be a big drain on your precious time, energy, and money. You don’t have to bang your head against the wall trying to come up with update ideas, either.

Case in point, here are 10 different update ideas that you can use to generate content on social media that will inform, engage, and entertain your followers:

1. Helpful tips and tidbits. Social media is the perfect medium to dispense helpful nuggets of information. Your update doesn’t have to be long or drawn out; just a quick tip, hack, or how-to that you know will be valuable to your target audience.

2. Re-sharing product-related posts from your customers. If your customers post positive photos or comments about your products or services, you can re-share it on your own social media accounts (in some cases, though, make sure to ask their permission beforehand). This accomplishes several things at once: 1) by recognizing your customer’s post and re-sharing it, you can increase good feelings and engagement among your audience; 2) you create more instances of your brand being mentioned on the given platform(s), which will help your online exposure and reputation; and 3) it forces you to keep tabs on customer sentiment.

3. Conduct a short poll or survey. Not only may this give you valuable customer feedback, but if you act on it, then it will also help to build trust and engagement among your target audience. But note: these questionnaires don’t have to always be heavy or serious. You can do something as simple as asking your customers what their favorite product feature, color, or taste is, or creative uses for your product/service. To encourage engagement, offer a discount, free give away, or other small prize.

4. Behind-the-scenes posts. You can post some pictures or short videos of your team getting ready to open the business or during the production production process. These kinds of updates makes your account and your business a bit more personal.

5. “Customer source.” Ask your customers to help you come up with the next product feature, name, or even the next line of products or services. Your customers will feel more “invested” in your business- even if their suggestions weren’t accepted, and that will help to increase both engagement and sales.

6. Hold a live discussion, chat, or workshop. Many social media platforms allow for some real-time interaction among members. Twitter, offers for “chats,” while platforms, such as Periscope, Facebook Live, Snapchat, and Google Hangouts, support live video streaming with followers.

7. Share resources. Found a good resource that your target audience may find useful? Share it in an update. Perhaps you have some resources of your own, such as an ebook, webinar, app, or a free download. As you update these resources, you can re-promote them across your social media channels.

8. Updates for a cause. Is there a cause or a charity that you are passionate about? You can promote them on social media.

9. Case studies. Case studies are pieces of content that share specific information about how your business helped a particular client or customer. You don’t have to include the whole account on social media. Just write up a few teaser sentences, and then link the update to the full article or interview hosted on your website.

10. Company announcements. Whenever you have company news or updates to share, like new locations, new products or services, upcoming events, and new leadership, social media is a great way to get the word out.

So, there you have it, 10 ways to keep your social media accounts active without making it look like you are running it on autopilot. Have any ideas not mentioned on this list? Let us know in the comment section below.

How to Repurpose the Content on Your Business Blog

In an effort to attract new clients and build up their professional reputation, there are many small business owners who pour a tremendous amount of time, effort, and money into the content they have on their blogs. But, once they hit the publish button on a new piece and promote the content they worked so hard on (or paid a lot of money for), they move on to the next article, video, or graphic.

Simply forgetting about this older content in favor of new stuff, means they are throwing all that time, money, and energy down the drain. Moreover, if the content is evergreen (meaning, that is focused on a topic that is continually relevant to your targeted readers and viewers) and it struck a cord with customers, community members, and potential clients when it was first published, then it is an untapped resource for future lead generation and reputation management.

Put another way, if you are maintaining a blog for your business and you are not making an effort to re-use or repurpose some or all of its content, then you might as well spend your time and money elsewhere!

Repurposing Content is an Essential Part of Blogging in 2016 and Beyond

So what are savvy business bloggers doing differently? They aren’t just creating more and more content. Instead, they know how to reuse their current content in order to reach the greatest amount of potential customers and fans.

Think about it for a moment. How many people or business professionals in your target audience spend a significant amount of time on other platforms or sites online? If they are not getting to your blog, then it makes sense to go where they are in order to catch their attention. This is the goal. If your content consistently provides these people with real solutions to their problems or useful insights into the things they are interested in, then you would almost be doing them a dis-service by not reaching out to them in the places where they are.

While creating content on your blog is an important tool to start building a relationship with prospects, it shouldn’t end there. Next comes the repurposing of that content. Repurposing means repackaging one piece of content across various media channels. In each occasion, the content is added to, or sometimes a section or a topic is taken out and highlighted, expanded upon, or tackled from a different angle.

The goal is to get the most amount of exposure and value from the original piece by reaching the maximum amount of prospects and driving more traffic back to your own website.

The other side benefit to this is that all this content floating around the web will create a kind of organic link wheel to your website. This will help your site’s SEO, since the number and quality of links are still an important ranking factor for organic search. This means, repurposing content will also make it easier to rank for relevant keywords.

5 Simple Ways to Repurpose Content

Now that we are on the same page about why repurposing content is so important, here are five simple things you can do to a current article to extend its reach:

1. Create slides that offer a summarized version of your article

2. Turn your article into a PDF with embedded links and upload it on to document sharing sites

3. Take one aspect of the article and expand on it in a new post on sites, such as LinkedIn publishing, Medium, or Business 2 Community, and then where possible, link back to the original article on your site.

4. Find a interesting, quality image and attach it to the article. Then share this image with a summary of the post on platforms, such as Pinterest, Google+, and Facebook.

5. Create a short video that summarizes or builds upon one point brought up in the article.

Of course, these options are just suggestions. There are many, many ways to repurpose content, and you should use the strategies that work the best for you, your business, and your target audience. The bottom line is that you work so hard on creating on good content, that you want your content to also work for you. Repurposing is one of the best ways to do that.

6 LinkedIn Tools for Small Business

Ever since social networks became popular several years ago, small businesses have been told to spend their limited time and money there in order to remain competitive and relevant. Yet, while the number of active social networks have multiplied, the real ROI of spending that time and money maintaining a presence on these platforms remains fuzzy at best.

There is, however, one robust platform that presents a more convincing case for small business involvement: LinkedIn. While LinkedIn may not be perfect, it offers a powerful set of tools to help small businesses network, build their brand, close sales, and even recruit talented professionals. Plus, it claims to have the biggest network of professionals and business owners on the Internet. So, this platform is great if targeting these people or businesses they work for, and it is certainly a place where you should be directing your resources.

That said, here are 6 of the most powerful and useful tools for small businesses that LinkedIn has to offer:

1. Showcase Pages

As the name suggests, Showcase Pages are used to highlight the various products and services your business offers. They are extensions of your many company page on LinkedIn. Why is this so important or unique? When done right, your company page and showcase pages work together to create a dynamic mini website. Instead of listing all of your company’s products and services on one profile page, LinkedIn is the only major social media platform that gives you the ability to richly convey what your company does and offers

2. LinkedIn Pulse

Content marketing certainly isn’t new. But, with LinkedIn’s native publishing platform, Linkedin Pulse,  you can potentially get your content in front of a massive professional audience. Moreover, as your content gets more popular, anyone who looks at your LinkedIn profile will have greater reason to believe that you are an authority on those topics. They don’t need to head offsite to your website or personal blog.

3. LinkedIn Recruiter

If you are looking for top talent in your industry, then LinkedIn Recruiter is definitely a tool to consider. Recruiter allows you to search through a vast pool of candidates by location, industry, profile key words, and more. Plus, you can include people in your search who will entertain job offers even though they aren’t actively searching. Once you have located potential candidates, you can reach out to them via LinkedIn’s InMail messaging feature.

4. Targeted Updates

Like every other social network out there, we are being bombarded with an overwhelming amount of information, and the worst part of it is that , most of this noise is not even relevant to us. With targeted status updates you are able to deliver relevant content to your contacts rather than bombarding your entire network. You can sort your list of contacts and connections into groups of 100 people or more.

5. Paid Advertisements

The last few years has seen a shift to paid advertising among social networks looking to capitalize on the user traffic they are generating. Most of this is due to a number of high-profile public offerings from Facebook, Twitter, and, you guessed it, LinkedIn. What makes LinkedIn’s paid advertisement platform unique, however, is that it supports the world’s largest online community of professionals. If your customer base involves college-educated professionals, or if you are a B2B business, then you almost cannot afford to overlook LinkedIn’s robust paid advertisement feature that allows you to micro-target media-rich ads to groups of people based on job title, industry, age, location, etc.

6. Sponsored Updates

The last important LinkedIn tool to make the list is also part of the advertising features. With sponsored updates, you can easily get your brand in front of current and potential customers in a way that is less distracting and annoying. Another benefit to this method is that you can let your content do the marketing for you without having to set up and tweak a formal advertising campaign that involves banner and text ads.

While the previous 6 tools can be extremely useful for a large population of small businesses, this really doesn’t even scratch the surface. There are countless Linkedin tools and third party apps and services that can enhance the user experience on LinkedIn. It just takes a little research coupled with a bit of experimentation to find the most useful and profitable combination for your business.

5 Social Commerce Trends to Watch Out For in 2016

While social media may currently be driving only a small percentage of online retail sales, all indications suggest that these channels will continue to expand in the future. In fact, social-driven retail sales and referral traffic are rising at a faster pace than all other forms of eCommerce.

According to the Business Insider Internet Retailer’s Social Media 500 report, the top 500 retailers earned a total of $3.3 billion from social commerce in 2014. That represents a 26% increase from 2013. The overall growth rate for eCommerce in the US, however, only rose by about 16%. Moreover, between the first quarters of 2014 and 2015, social platforms increased the number of eCommerce referrals by almost 200%.  Analysts are predicting an even greater surge in social commerce in 2016.

As I mentioned in my previous post, a number of major social networks including, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, have all recently introduced “buy” or “shop now” buttons to their platforms. The goal behind this move has been to significantly simplify and streamline the purchasing process from these networks.

Aside from direct commerce, social networks are also being used to engage consumers in the beginning stages of the purchasing process. In this case, strategies are designed to bring highly targeted traffic from social media to retailers’ websites and mobile apps.

In this eCommerce landscape, here are five of the most significant social commerce trends to watch out for in 2016:

1. Increased spending in mobile advertising. Now that the biggest social networks have all jumped into the mobile commerce fray, and the media has been generating plenty of hype around it, we can expect more businesses to pump money and other resources into their social commerce efforts. Jumping in feet first is not necessarily a good thing, though. If you are running a small business with limited marketing dollars, then it definitely pays to research the most effective platforms and strategies before committing to any one promotion.

2. More integration between online and off-line, in-store experience. Perhaps one of the coolest things about social commerce, is that it allows retailers to merge the online and off-line shopping experience. Some examples of this in action include:

  • Offering product-specific, in-store discounts to customers while they are standing in the store and researching these products via their mobile phones.
  • Allowing customers to create a “favorite product” list of items they may want to purchase in the future
  • Offering customers recommendations for products that compliment what they are purchasing

3. Re-aligning the business around omni-channel experiences. This is not just about revamping marketing, but restructuring the business to have the flexibility to respond to changes in consumer behavior and preferences. This means a few things. First, you may have to re-organize your operational teams internally to maximize your business’ ability to recognize and respond to customer buying habits. Then, you should take advantage of the fact that people are often researching products on their mobile devices before they come into a store. This means your mobile and social presence are essentially the digital entrances to your physical store.

4. Greater reliance on local targeting. Social and mobile commerce often revolves around instant, real-time impressions and decisions. You want to make sure your business and its products are properly positioned at the time when your potential customers need them the most. So, locally-based mobile searches for the products you carry, for example, could trigger a targeted ad offering a promotion on those products.

5. Making intimate, data driven decisions. While big data has been a buzz word for some time now, the goal for business owners is to understand in a more “intimate” way what makes their customers tick. How do customers make decisions, where are they going for answers, and what are they feeling as they are doing it? As consumer attention is increasingly drawn to mobile devices and social media platforms, the vast amounts of audience data and information available can be used to give businesses a leg up on their competitors.

In short, social commerce, like mobile commerce, is set for explosive growth over the next few years, and businesses need to make sure that they are ready for it. Their customers already are.

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Why a Social Media Graveyard Can Hurt Your Business

Are you are Instagram? Pinterest? Snapchat? How about Meerket, Periscope, or Blab.im…

It seems that with every new social media platform that comes out, there is the ever increasing expectation that small business owners should maintain a presence there. Sometimes, business owners will have a compelling reason for setting up an account and giving it a go. But even with the best of intentions, chances are that most of a business’ social media profiles will eventually lay dormant, collecting a whole lot of Internet dust.

The reality of running a small business is that your time, energy, and money are limited. Yet, each new social media platform comes with its own learning curve; it’s own draw on resources, and it’s own ability to offer an ROI on those resouces.

Many business owners will try out a new social media platform because everyone else is on there or because they are looking for a magic short-cut to good marketing and customer engagement. But, they then eventually abandon that platform when it doesn’t deliver what they were hoping for. They are hurting their business in a few of ways:

  1. They take a loss on all the resources they put into maintaining a presence on the platform
  2. If potential customers see these abandoned profiles it makes the business look unprofessional.
  3. They continue to miss the whole point of social media marketing

Case in point: there has been a lot of discussion lately about the use of live streaming video apps, such as Merkeet and Periscope. Many successful Merkeet users “defected” to Periscope when it first came out- eventhough the two platforms do essentially the same thing.

What happened? These users understand that their audience of fans and buyers relate to the spontaneity and engagement that live video streaming offers. It almost doesn’t matter which platform this happens on.

This applies to any business with any form of social media. First seek to understand your target market or audience. What is important to them? How do they would want to engage with you? Where are they already hanging out online, what are they doing when they are there, and what does that tell you about them?

Once you know these answers, then it’s just a matter of finding the platforms that allow you to best connect with your audience today. If you go in with this attitude, then even if a new, shiny platform appears, you will know ahead of time whether or not you should be there.

Moreover, when really important platforms make important notices or changes to the way they operate, small business owners will know when and how to respond. For example, a couple of weeks ago Google has issued a notice for small business owners with a Google My Business account. The notice states that business owners who have not logged into their Google My Business accounts in over a year may receive an email asking them to sign in and confirm their business information. If no action is taken then Google could turn a business’s account into an unverified one, and even more dangerous, Google could also remove a business from Google Maps which could seriously affect both a business’ online search traffic and off-line foot traffic.

Bottom line: you don’t want to litter the Internet with a social media graveyard of inactive or outdated accounts. Get to know your audience and spend your time and resources where it matters the most.

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Why Small Businesses Should Pay Attention to Google’s Product Listing Ads

Have you’ve been noticing anything different in the search results lately? If you’re in the U.S. and you’ve been doing any online searches for products, you may have seen some Amazon-like product listings popping up within and along side the search results. Below is an example of what they look like:

cocnut flour

This is Google’s new paid shopping ads program, which poses a direct challenge to other online ecommerce platforms, particularly Amazon.com. The program as a whole has three main components: the Google Merchant Center dashboard, the Product Listing Ads campaign section of Google Adwords, and finally the Google Shopping data feed, which is basically a file provided by an advertiser made up of a list of products and their unique attributes, such as “color” and “condition.” Google’s Product Listing Ads are cost per click (CPC) ads which online merchants can purchase through their AdWords accounts. These ads appear on Google Search pages to the left, and top of the search results page. Product Listing Ads are most distinguishable in that they feature a product image, and they cater to products and product categories instead of keywords.

Though Google has yet to roll out it Product Listing program on a full scale, there are a couple of really compelling reasons why you should be paying attention to it whether you run an ecommerce site or sell numerous physical products from a brick and mortar location:

  • You’ll get more visibility in Google searches than if your product was listed on Amazon. Unless shoppers are searching Amazon directly, they’re pretty likely going to do a search on Google first. And, even though Amazon has highly ranked searches in Google, Google has been pushing down those natural search results in favor of its own product listing ads. As further proof that Google Product Listings are the way to go, other big ecommerce sites, such as eBay, are quickly buying up advertising space.
  • You’ll tap into Google’s repository of search data. Another less talked about, yet potentially powerful part of using Google’s Product Listing program, is that every time a user conducts an online search it gives Google data, and if that user hasn’t turned off personalized search, then Google can retarget the user later on with relevant ads and promotions. For example, say someone does a search for “almond butter.” Even if no purchase was made or it was made through a non-Google vendor, when that person walks by a health foods shop two weeks later, he or she could receive a text message like, “Big sale on Almond Butter up the road!”

In short, Google Product Listing Ads, is definitely something to consider if your business involves the sale of products- whether online or off. For more information on Google’s Paid Shopping Ads program and how you can use it successfully in your business, take a look at this great ebook over at CPC Strategy.

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How to Use the Internet to Promote Your Business Without Getting Distracted

Remember a few years ago when social media marketing was being touted as a cheap promotional strategy that would level the playing field for small business? How times have changed! Today, using the Internet and social media to promote your business has become a necessity that typically turns into a costly draw on your time, energy, and money. Countless businesses are involved in Internet marketing in some way, and the sheer amount of competing noise can be overwhelming.

targetThough there is nothing cheap or easy about online marketing if you want to be effective, you can still get some real results without draining your budget and without compromising too much of your time. The key is going in with the right approach, recognizing what online marketing allows you to do (as well as what it can’t do), and knowing how to keep yourself from getting distracted.

These days, the majority of small businesses that conduct successful online marketing campaigns typically share a few common qualities:

They have a plan with measurable goals. Before you create even one online profile, send out one tweet or status update, or write a blog post, you need to be very clear about what you are trying to accomplish with your online marketing as well as if your goals are realistic. Are you trying to build relationships, sell products, or generate leads? All of the above? Once you’ve answered that question, you then need to create a detailed plan of action that describes how you will use Internet marketing to go about accomplishing those goals.

They are clear about their available resources. As mentioned above, successful online marketing takes a significant amount of resources. So, you need to be very clear at the beginning about what you can afford to dedicate to your online marketing efforts. What is your available time? What is your budget? What skills or qualities do you and your employees have that can be used in your online marketing? Do you have any good writers? Is anyone good at making connections? Creating engaging images? Conducting a webinar or hangout? Take stock of these resources and give some thought about how you can best use them.

They know where their target market hangs out. Stop spending your time on platforms that don’t convert! You need to find out where your target audience hangs out online and determine the best ways to reach them there. What kind of content will attract their attention and get them interested in your business?

They maintain an online marketing schedule. Another great way to help you stay focused on the things that matter is to create and maintain an Internet marketing schedule. This schedule will include any content marketing initiatives as well as social media marketing tasks, such as posting content, commenting, and connecting with other users. Make an effort to keep to the allotted times, and look for ways to automate the activities that don’t necessarily need direct input, such as scheduling status updates.

They keep their online marketing efforts fresh, yet focused. The online world changes very quickly. Techniques that were once working can suddenly stop being effective, while new openings and opportunities are being created. That’s why you need to be making the effort to monitor the effectiveness of each strategy and create some space to try out different techniques and platforms. Your goal with this is to be keeping and tweaking the strategies that are working, while putting a stop to the ones that aren’t. But, keep in mind that these efforts should be in moderation. If you remember the overall online marketing goals that you set for your business mentioned above, then you’ll keep yourself from taking on much more than you can chew and chasing every new and shiny strategy under the sun.

In short, successful online marketing is a process that is unique to your business and your target audience. There is no magic bullet; there’s no one guaranteed successful technique or platform. You need to just roll up your sleeves and figure it out. Don’t let this put you off, though. If you get it right, you can significantly improve your brand awareness, boost your sales, and create loyal customers, and these results will be exponentially greater than the resources you put in.

What Gmail’s New Unsubscribe Feature Means for Your Email Marketing

It seems that Google is extending its well-known crusade against spam to its popular email platform, Gmail. It all started a little under a year ago with Google’s introduction of the tabbed inbox. One of the most notable (and controversial) aspects of the new setup is that it automatically decides what your most important email is and sends it to the “Primary” tab in your inbox, while simultaneously shunting lower-priority messages (ie those from businesses and marketers) into the “Promotions” tab.

gmailAt the time, many email marketers expressed their dismay at the changes, since it seems the new setup lowers email open rates for those who manage a subscriber list.

Now that acceptance has set in, Google is once again shaking the email marketing world with the introduction of a new Gmail unsubscribe tool. Up until this point, Gmail users had to hunt for an unsubscribe link typically found at the bottom of promotional messages. Now, a new button will appear alongside the subject line of these messages. This means that users don’t have to leave Gmail (or even open the message) in order to unsubscribe from the list.

While it’s easy to see how all of these changes can improve the user experience, does it mean the death knell is being sounded for email marketers?

Far from it.

What it means is that any businesses looking to use email marketing to reach their customers must now consider how valuable and desireable their content and messages really are. Because the truth is if your content is interesting to the people you are trying to target, then they will actively wait and look for your emails. But, it means you need to be putting in the necessary time and the effort to connect with these people and understand their wants and needs. In other words, the relationship part of the customer experience is all the more important now- not just in your email marketing, but in all your promotional efforts.

So, in a way, the changes to Gmail represent a great opportunity for email marketers and the businesses behind them, because it practically forces businesses to look at their customers as people and not just email open rates, click throughs, sales conversions, and other such numbers. And, that is a very profitable proposition.