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Tips for Success

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8 mindset matras to make you unbeatable

 

To be successful most of us will be in a constant battle with ourselves. Every day we will be having an internal dialogue with ourselves that determines what we think, what we feel and what we will achieve. Life is a rollercoaster, some days we are down on ourselves and others we are flying high, believing we can achieve anything. We can't be feeling up every day, but on the days we are down, we need to be reminded of these mantras and build ourselves back up. 

To be successful we have to have the right mindset. We need to be telling ourselves positive things more often than we are telling ourselves negative things.

According to James Clear, an entrepreneur and writer for the Huffington Post, research is beginning to reveal that positive thinking is about much more than just being happy or displaying an upbeat attitude. Positive thoughts can actually create real value in your life and help you build skills that last much longer than a smile.

Here is a list of eight successful mindset mantras that you should say to yourself every morning. Print them out and have them on your desk. Refer to them when you are having a crappy day.

1. Believe in yourself - {Stop doubting yourself}

Successful people believe in themselves. They believe that they can achieve anything. They have a go-getter attitude that empowers them to take on challenges. They enjoy the journey and believe that they will grow and learn from it, no matter the outcome.  Truly successful people are different to you. They just believed they could.

2. Think positive thoughts - {Stop thinking negative thoughts}

You get what you focus on. If all your focus on is the negative then that is what will eventuate. "It's like a needle in a groove," says Guy Winch, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Emotional First Aid: Practical Strategies for Treating Failure, Rejection, Guilt and Other Everyday Psychological Injuries. "As the groove gets deeper and deeper, the needle has a harder time getting out of the groove." What's more, rumination can actually make you more angry or upset than you were originally, because the issue becomes magnified in your mind.

So instead think positive thoughts. Get into the groove of thinking about and visualising yourself being happy first and then visualise what success means to you.

3. Believe there is no such thing as failure - {Stop having a fear of failure}

Fear of failure is when we allow fear to stop us doing the things that can move us forward to achieve our goals. We can choose to see failure as "the end of the world," or as proof of just how inadequate we are. Or, we can look at failure as the incredible learning experience that it often is.

So stop believing that everything is binary, that there is either success or failure. Instead believe that no matter the outcome you will learn from the process, develop new skills, meet new people, and have small wins along the way that should be acknowledged and embraced!

4. Accept responsibility - {Stop criticising others}

Don't play the blame game. Often when things aren't going well for us, we turn around and criticism others. Sometime we do this to make ourselves feel better expect that it doesn't actually make us feel better. There are lots of reasons why we criticise others. In the context of success it is often because we feel threatened by other people's competence, attractiveness, etc. so they are trying to level the playing field. We also criticise when we feel insecure and are overcompensating.

Before you criticise others, stop. Think about your motivation for criticising that person. Is there something that you need to accept responsibility for? Is there something you're not dealing with? Address with yourself first, why you have these thoughts and feelings and do something about them. Respect yourself by respecting others. Honor and love yourself and you will never dishonor or hate another.

5. Speak kind words to yourself - {Stop negative self-talk}

Excessive self-criticism tends to backfire, because it leads us to focus on our so-called failures instead of the “small ways that we could have improved,” says psychologist Tamar E. Chansky, PhD, author of Freeing Yourself From Anxiety.

Instead try speaking kind words to yourself. Speak to yourself like you would speak to your best friend. If you wouldn't say it to your best friend, don't say it to yourself. Another thing that can help is relaxing your standards. Don't be a perfectionist. Perfectionists never win, so stop holding yourself to unattainable standards.

If you are really prone to this one - see this article for some awesome tips on how to stop negative self-talk.

6. Stop procrastination - Get started

Stop procrastinating, start doing. Stop wondering and start experiencing. Don't live with regret. Get out there and do, do. This is sometimes easier said than done. So how do you actually start doing when all you want to do is put it off..again. Here are a few quick tips. Break the task into smaller, manageable bits. Change your environment. Find a new invigorating place to work. Create a detailed timeline and time block your calendar for it. Remove all the things that normally distract you, like your email or your phone.

Guess what - the sense of achievement you will feel when you actually complete it will be so awesome and worth the hard work!

7. Stop having fear of success - Embrace success

Some of us suffer from a fear of being successful. In an article by 99u.com, Hugh MacLeod points out, success is more complex than failure. For most of us its more comfortable to stay in a familiar situation, even if it doesn’t feel great. But achieving success (however you choose to define it) means you are entering uncharted territory.  It often means that we are putting ourselves out there to be scrutinized and criticized, and exposing ourselves to new pressures and demands. It’s only natural to wonder whether you’ll be up to the challenge. For some of us we become anxious and decide not to take on the risk.

The tips for how you overcome this fear is basically to remind yourself what success will bring you. It will bring you a sense of achievement, a feeling of reward, possibly extra money, a bigger network and freedom. These things are worth taking on the risk - don't you think?

8. Stop people pleasing - Please yourself first

This is a big one for most people. Now don't get me wrong, being a people pleaser can be a good, healthy thing. People pleasers tend to be:

  • great at resolving conflicts

  • great at making social connections

  • have attractive personalities

  • be great listeners

  • big givers

The key is to only please in moderation.  As psychologist Harriet Braiker says – 'to please is a disease' – and in excess it can become an addiction that eventually results in your neglecting your own needs and wants, and ironically losing the respect of the people you are trying to please. You need to take care of you. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating well and have a little relaxation time. If you are taking care of you this gives you the energy to give to others. Don't neglect yourself at others expense.

 

 

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5 steps to be more consistent everyday and it might not be what you expect..

 

The Consistency Struggle - how to be consistently consistent

Consistency is one of the keys to business success. Here is why:

  1. Being consistent helps you to feel organised, disciplined and efficient. It helps you to feel in control and reduces your stress. This is because you know exactly what you plan to work on and deliver on when.
  2. Consistency ensure that every time a customer interacts with you that they have the same experience. If they have the same experience - they come to rely on it and will select your company every time and spread the message via word of mouth. Think of McDonalds or Subway. We all know exactly what we are going to get when we visit their stores. Customers want to have confidence that we’ll deliver on our promises every time, not just when it’s convenient.
  3. Most things you do in your business take time to get traction. You need to stick at with consistency to see the results. For example you can't expect to post on Facebook every now and again and grow your audience to 5000 people. You can't expect to get sales from your newsletter if you don't send it out on a regular basis. You need to commit to a strategy and execute it consistently. Then you can measure whether its worked or not because you have given it your all and given it enough time to get traction.
  4. Consistency makes you look professional. For example if you send an email newsletter one week, then again 3 weeks later, then 3 months later - this doesn't look professional. They don't know when you will be sending out your awesome information so they won't think of you when they need help or want a similar product. You need to be front of mind and to do this you need to communicating regularly. Great companies do everything consistently. Its what helped to make them great. They systematise as much of their business as they can so it is repeatable.

"Trust it. Give it time, and keep being consistent. You’ll get it.”"

It's something so many of us struggle with - me included. It is something I have been thinking a lot about lately and something I have promised myself that I am going to work on.

I have made a commitment to myself not to take on anything unless I can be consistent with it and follow through. For example when I started this group - I asked myself - can I commit to posting and responding everyday? If I can't then - I shouldn't start it because that is what is required to grow a Facebook community. So far I have done - ok smile emoticon missing maybe only 1 or 2 days.

Do you struggle with consistency? Why do you think you struggle with consistency?

So how do we get consistent?

1. Keep your focus on your why

When you know why you are building your business, how it helps others and how it fulfills a need in you - its easier to stay on task.

Here is what I mean.

If you are a marriage celebrant, for example, your whole reason for existing is to give the engaged couple the best ceremony ever. You know that you can create the perfect day. You believe that your unique talents can help lots of newly engaged couples. However you can only help them if they know about your amazing celebrant service. The only way they can know about you - is if you get out there and market to them. To do this - you need to create a strategy and execute on it consistently. Your drive to reach as many couples as possible helps to keep you focused on marketing activities like posting on Facebook and blogging. If you don't, lots of wonderful couples will miss out on finding a truly incredible marriage celebrant. Now, that's not fair is it smile emoticon Keep your why front and centre.

2. Pick your battles

You are only human and despite our best intentions its hard for us to be consistent at everything. We tend to stay consistent at those things we make a habit of like showering in the morning.

As business owners we need to pick our battles. I touched on this when we did the time management training - when I spoke about "your one important thing". Once you decide what your one or two important things are - you need to make a habit of working on it.

Our businesses go through different seasons and our focus needs to change with the seasons. If you know an area of your business needs focus now - make a commitment to your self to focus on that and be consistent at it.

Don't pick 10 battles. Pick the number of battles you can handle. How do you know this number? That depends a little bit on your available time. If you haven't worked through the time management training - so back and do that now - it will really help.

3. Plan + Schedule It

We tend to stick to things when we plan it and we know our objectives. The best way to do this is to schedule it.

The time you set aside to work on your important tasks needs to be scared and non negotiable.

In the time management course we create a timetable. This is where you schedule the things you want to get consistent on. Once its in your schedule. Printed out and up on your wall you can focus on sticking to it. Each week when you sit down to plan out your week - make sure you prioritise the tasks you want to be consistent on.

4. Ignore how you feel

This is the one time we need to ignore how we are feeling and do it anyway.

Part of this process is acknowledging that feelings and thoughts are temporary and subjective.

So even if you are not feeling like it - please do it anyway. No matter if you feel stressed, sad, busy etc. Stick to your schedule - you will feel better it in the end because you will feel accomplishment and satisfaction. These feelings are awesome and so much better than how you were feeling before you started work.

Try to be disciplined in the moment. Help yourself to be disciplined by setting up an environment where you can work comfortably and without distraction. If you enjoy your environment - this is half the battle. Grab your favourite hot drink and get cracking.

5. Don't beat yourself up

There will be times when you don't stick to the schedule. Don't beat yourself up. Get back on the wagon and keep going. Keep reminding yourself why you have set the goal to be consistent and the rewards you will get from it. The reward is worth it, keep persevering. Do one thing at a time. Cross it off and move to the next.

I know that each of us has it within us to be consistent. Lets all take baby steps towards this goal. Make sure you have decided your "one important thing" and lets start working towards focusing on this over the next month.

Do you have any other techniques you have tried to make yourself consistent? I would love to hear about them.

 

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The 5 things you can learn from Shopify Success Stories

 

Shopify loves to share success stories with its audience. Who wouldn't - its important for Shopify to show potential store owners how incredible their platform is and what better way they through success stories.

I have taken a look at some of the latest success stories and pulled out some key learnings for you. Hopefully these key learnings will help you to fast track your success.

1. Know how you plan to acquire your customers before you start

This is awesome advice. Don't invest all your time, effort and money in your product and website if you don't know how you plan to market to and acquire your customers. Business success involves much more than a great product and a great looking website.

Investing time in working out how you plan to get traction with your new business is vital. Your traction plan needs to be closely aligned to your ideal customer. You need to know who your ideal customer is and where you can reach them.

Its important to set aside budget for your traction plans. It will cost money to reach your target customer. In the case of Teaglad - the most successful customer acquisition channel for them was Facebook and Google Display ads.

I always advise my clients to start building an audience before your even launch your site. Launching to an active and engaged audience rapidly increases your likelihood for success. The owner of Devon Maryn, worked to build their presence on social media and gain followers in their target audience. They shared in-process product designs, asked for opinions, and even ran contests for people to name the products. This all contributed to an engaged fanbase who were ready to buy by the time they had inventory to sell in August 2014.

2. You can do everything yourself

The owner of Comfortable Boxes Co recently share his success story with Shopify. One of the key points he shared was that he is doing everything in his business. He is a brand new start up and he is handling all of these things himself - purchasing, procurement, graphics design, video editing, marketing, social media, systems, accounting, banking, payments, sales, quotes, wholesale, and customer service. He believes that you can do everything yourself.

I tend to agree with him. Here is why. Unlike when I started my online business over 7 years ago there are so many tools now that can help novices doing things well. If need graphic design for your business - then use Canva. If you need a video for your business - take it yourself with your iPhone. Your accounting system is now fully integrated with your website. Customer service is made easier with live chat and other customer service apps.

Now don't get me wrong. I don't want you spend ridiculously amounts of time trying to figure things out. But I do want you to invest time to empower yourself with knowledge. Then go and seek the advice or help from an expert.

I also believe that when you are starting out - you should play every role in your business. This gives you an unbelievable insight into what is required to make that function of your business successful. If you have a can do, growth mindset - you can take on anything. What you learn will be invaluable.

3. Customers are everything

Absolutely! We don't exist without customers. Your business's whole reason for existing is to help your customers solve a problem or fulfill a desire. You need to have your customer at the centre of absolutely everything you do in your business. You need to love your customer. You need to want them the best for them in sense. In very aspect of your business think about how you can make your customers lives easier, more rewarding, more joyful or more insightful. Seek to delight your customer at every point they touch your business. Try to impress them each time they interact with you. 

4. Connect with your customers

Knowing your customer intimately allows you to connect with your customers on a personal level. Forming a true human connection where you are able to speak in a way that resonates with your customer is vital. Do you know the language your customers use to talk about their problems and desires? Do you only talk about your products and the not the benefits of your products on your website. Do you demonstrate clearly to your customer how your offering will help change their lives?

It is important to give your most loyal customers everything they need to share your story for you. Building a fan base of loyal customers who can't stop talking about your company, will quickly turn to 100 customers and take off from there. There are a few thing you can do to make this happen. Do you have effective share tools on your website? What do you do to reward customers who support you? 

5. Word of Mouth

Two of Five the success stories cited Word of Mouth as insanely important for their business. And I couldn't agree more. The cheapest customers you can acquire in your business are ones referred by their friends (assuming you are not paying for the referrals). My family business has relied on word of mouth almost exclusively for the last 30 years.

Working hard on your customer experience - every single touch point you have with a customer will help to ensure that your customer has an incredible experience that they want to talk about and share with their friends. Your website has a part to play in this customer experience but its not everything. Too many Shopify store owners focus almost exclusively on the website. They forget about the before and after experience with their brand. What can you do before some purchases and after some purchases to create a lasting and unique experience that people will want to share with their friends?

Have you been in business for a while?

If so I would love to hear what you have learned. What are your 5 insights into success?

An on side note:

If you are a Shopify store owner - do you have a success story to share? Then make sure you submit it. Getting on the Shopify blog and in their success story email is great exposure for your business. Here is the link to submit your story.

 

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The Overnight Success Phenomenon

Take heart - we often look at other people's businesses and think "how did they become an overnight success?". But often what seems like overnight to us actually took 10 + years to build.

Over the last few weeks I have been listening to lots of amazing online marketers and successful online business owners. They nearly ALL same the same thing. Building a successful business takes lots of small consistent steps each and every day. It takes putting one foot in front of the other each day, consistently working towards your dream.

Smart Startup recently published an article about the founder of Australia's first online beauty store - Kate Morris of Adore Beauty. She now has an annual revenue of $14m and is considered by some to an overnight success. But in reality her business took 15 years to build.

It took Kate 10 years to reach $2million revenue. Her business plateau at this point. She then took some important steps in her business to grow it to $14million a year over the last 5 years.

Here is what she did:
1. Sort help - she consulted a business coach who recommended she write up a 10 year vision statement to herself. This process reminded Kate of where she wanted to go with her business and re-energised her to focus on what was important to her and her customers.
2. Purchased a larger warehouse
3. Moved her website onto a new platform
4. Introduced price matching policy
5. Offered free shipping on all Australian orders
6. Increased the inventory
7. Launched a marketing campaign

Looking at the Adore Beauty website there are lots of things that are being done well which help Kate to succeed. These include:
1. Being a Google Trusted Store
2. Having live chat that pops up and asks if you need help
3. Being an improved seller of leading brands and showing the authenticity badges
4. Adding free samples start the cart and a surprise free gift to your customers

Are you doing these things on your website?

So take heart....success for many is a gradual process. Don't hold out for the one big event that will skyrocket your business. Contact us if you need help aligning your business with your dreams.

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Integrate content marketing into your sales process for business success in 2016

In a recent Forbes article on The Top 10 Business Trends that will drive success in 2016, one of the top trends was integrating content marketing into your sale process. I personally love this tip and I hope all my clients adopt this trend. But what does this actually mean and how can you implement it in your business in 2016.

Content marketing is a term bandied around in the online world all the time. Put simply content marketing is when you create a digital asset and use it to promote your product or service. The content needs to valuable, relevant, and consistent and is designed to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience, normally your target audience. The digital asset can be a blog article, how to guide, video training series, ebooks, checklist and more. There are lots of large companies that have been doing this well for a long time. In 2015 we saw more and more smaller businesses create great bits of content as lead magnets in their business.

The new trend is to continue to use content marketing as part of your inbound marketing strategy but also throughout your sales process. Not just at the beginning of the funnel. So ask yourself a quick question. Are you using content throughout the sales process? If you aren't using it - you might be missing out on sales. Here's how. Many consumers now spend time researching products either before or during the sales process. Customers value impartial good quality input and advice about products and services. If your not providing the content to help them make the decision someone else probably is and that someone could be your competitor. If they give them the answers they need - more than likely they will buy from them because they have become the trusted advisor.

So the hot tip for 2016 is to find ways to integrate valuable impartial content to support customer buying decisions. The key here is that it must be impartial - you need to expound what you good at but also acknowledge what you are not good at. Being honest and authentic is key here.


YOUR TURN --->

So how would you actually implement this is your business this year.

Task 1: Beef up content on your product or sales pages to keep customers there

  • Look at your product and sales pages afresh. These pages play an important role in supporting customer buying decisions. Ideally if you can provide all the information or content the customer needs to make the buying decision on your page, they won't leave and go somewhere else to get it. They will stay, add the item to the cart and checkout.
  • Assess whether you have included honest information about your products or services. Its important to list all the good points and sometimes to helps to include a list of what the product or service isn't good at or shouldn't be used for.
  • Make sure your product or sales pages include reviews and quotes from real customers. This builds trust and helps the customer to feel confident about the purchase. We don't really want them leaving to go to a product review site to set the information. Once they are there a review of a customers product might attract them and they never come back.
  • Also consider adding a link to a PDF guide about the product or service that includes valuable, easy to read information about the product or service. In this guide include a comparison chart between you and your competitors - be honest. Make it visually easy for a customer to know if your product is a good fit for them.
  • Add a "I need help" pop up box that allows the user to request assistance which triggers a guide, 'how to' or more info about the product to their email account. This guide may actually answer their question and get them to convert right then and there.

Task 2: Drip feed content over the course of the sales cycle using auto-responders in your onboarding workflow

  • Do you have a lead magnet to a product or sales page? Review this lead magnet to see if more information can be added to assist customer buying decisions. Once you have captured their email address look at your auto responder emails in your onboarding series that move customers through your funnel. Does the content in the series provide the customers with progressively more information, answer more typically asked questions etc? This is what we are aiming for - we want customers to have have everything they need to buy the product or service. If you don't provide product comparisons on the product or sales pages consider sending it as an email during the onboarding series.

If you need more help with content marketing then please contact us for a coaching session.

 

 

 

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Squarespace 7

Squarespace  announced its first major platform update in two years: Squarespace 7, adding new splash pages, templates and integrations with Getty Images and Google Apps.
The release advances the completely rebuilt codebase that arrived with the release of Squarespace 6 in 2012. Squarespace 7 will become available in waves to customers starting tonight. Customers can opt-in to the platform, or choose to hold off on upgrading during the early transition.

Today’s launch also includes the official release of Squarespace’s Blog and Note Android apps, which emerged in public beta last month. Squarespace has also graduated its developer platform from beta.
The Getty Images deal offers subscribers a subset – tens of millions – of editorial and creative images at the price of $10 per image. Google Apps for Work integration is available for $5 per month. With the exception of those two new partnerships, Squarespace’s pricing hasn’t changed.
Squarespace 7 also includes a new preview interface for editing your site. The right side of the page will include the preview of your content, while the menu will been compressed to the left. Adjusting the size of your browser window calls up varying device silhouettes to show you how your site will look on tablets and smartphones.

Cover Pages offers customers new splash templates that can either sit on top of an existing Squarespace site or serve as a minimalist landing page. Squarespace has also added 15 new templates centered around specific website categories

Squarespace founder and CEO Anthony Casalena launched the company from his dorm room at the University of Maryland 10 years ago. The company now has 380 employees with over 2 million websites created on its platform. In April, Squarespace raised a $40 million Series B funding round.

Find out more on : www.squarespace.com

 

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Mobile first

Designing for mobile Vs desktop
Which should you tackle first: the design for large desktop screens, or the one for mobile devices?

Starting with smaller screens forces you to create a lean, focused design. All the necessary content is built into the mobile version from the outset.
Starting with mobile doesn’t mean you’ll scale back your desktop site. Instead, that you can make “progressive enhancements” to supplement the large-screen experience.
This type of site development goes hand-in-hand with responsive design too.

The 7 key principles of mobile web design:

  1. Design for mobile based on most popular and/or important content
    What are the majority of visitors looking for on your site? That’s the content you should put front and center in your design. It must be easy to find or use, or your site visitors will move on to someone else.
  2. Everything should be available…
    Even if not everything is visible. In other words, make sure mobile users have access to the majority of your site’s content. It’s frustrating to look for needed information that’s simply not available on the mobile optimized site.
    On the other hand, just because the content is there doesn’t mean it has to be linked to via the main navigation bar.
  3. Limit navigation options
    As noted above, you need to be choosy about the information that you put front and center.
    Too many menu layers, too many clicks, too many choices, you have to simplify if you want your site to be mobile friendly.
    David Moth of E consultancy recommends no more than three layers of menus and a max of five or six menu items.
  4. Buttons matter
    Thumbs aren’t the most accurate pointing device; putting buttons too close together will only lead to frustration.
    Who wants to keep hitting “reload” when the button you’re trying to click is “submit”? avoid tiny fonts and minuscule buttons.
    Instead, use elements that are sized for easy clicking.
  5. Watch your media
    While the aesthetic design of your website is extremely important, media elements can cause mobile browsers to trip up.
    Keep an eye out for overly large image files, bloated fonts that load too many unecessary characters, and videos in formats — like Flash — that won’t play on certain mobile operating systems.
  6. Pop-ups are problematic
    If you’re throwing too many pop-up surveys or sign-up boxes at your mobile visitors, they’re going to get annoyed. It’s frustrating to get rid of pop-ups on a small screen.
    Unless it’s absolutely necessary, avoid them.
  7. Don’t require too much text
    Forms are a pain to fill out when you’re typing with your thumbs. Keep the text input needed to a minimum. No essays, please!

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6 Ways to Market Your Business (and Make Money) with Pinterest

“I love Pinterest because it makes me money,” wrote Charles Huff, author of How to Sell on Etsy with Pinterest, and he’s right; Pinterest users spend between $140 and $180 per order on average. Facebook and Twitter shoppers only spend $60 to $80. It’s clear that the future of social media marketing lies in visual platforms, and therefore marketing with Pinterest is vital. But marketing effectively with Pinterest is another story. Here are 6 ways you can effectively make money with Pinterest, while effectively marketing your business all along:

  1. Pin with a purpose, use “Call-to-Action” templates
    You’ve pinned an image with your brand. Viewers like the image and they re-pin it. Great, you’re getting your name out there. But what if you could actually increase the chances of turning those people who are merely just re-pinning into…customers? Adding a special “call-to-action button” on your pin will not only improve click through rates by 1,300% but will increase the chance of people taking a step closer to becoming a customer- whether its receiving a coupon, entering a contest, joining an email list, or showing them another one of your products. Here are 50 free customizable “Call-to-Action” templates.
  2. Make it easy to re-pin
    You want people to be able to re-pin your content easily. By building in a “pin it” button or “follow” tab on your content, you make it so much easier for people to pin your content on their boards. This will help people interact and engage with your brand more easily.Pinterest teaches you how to build these buttons or widgets with very simple steps. You can also use the “hover pin,” which allows a “pin it” button to appear when your mouse hovers over the image.
  3. Sometimes you should “Rich Pin,” instead of just Pin
    If you want to use your pin to try and sell a product or tell someone the location of your store, use “rich pins.” They’re just pins with extra information. For example, “product pins” include information on where to buy the product, availability, and real time pricing- if there’s a drop in price, your pinners will be notified. Pinterest pins that include prices get 36% more likes than those that don’t have them. “Place pins” are equally effective. After taking a picture of your newly designed display window, wouldn’t it be wonderful if people could get a map to your store to come see the window (and of course, potentially buy products) in person? “Place pins” give pinners a map, address, and phone number of the pin. Learn how to use “rich pins” here.
  4. Don’t #Pindump
    You always hear “quality over quantity”- and that goes with Pinterest too. Pinning too often is not good for you or your brand. It risks annoying your followers, making your brand look weak and desperate for attention (you don’t want to be that brand). View the platform as a gallery where you upload significant products or cool pictures of your product. Keep the rest of your inventory images on your website.
  5. Pin different content (or else it gets boring)
    True or False: Pins are for images only. False! You can pin videos, audio, podcasts, or slideshows as well. People consume a wide range of content these days- you can’t win with just pictures and text. Adding variety to the type of content you pin will allow a wider range of people to engage with your brand. As you know, online video is extremely popular these days- especially short videos with a lot of information in a short period of time. Podcasts are also a creative way to build relationships with your potential customers.
  6. Use this secret formula for getting more repins
    70% of brand engagement on Pinterest is generated by users- not brands. Therefore: You. Must. Get. That. Repin. It really gets the conversation going, involves users, and creates a following. While there is no “secret” formula to getting a repin (oops, sorry about the title!), here are some helpful tips on getting repins:
  7. Use this secret formula for getting more repins
    Images that include red or orange hues are twice as likely to get repins than images with blue hues. Images with several dominant colors get 3.25 times more pins than images with just one dominant color.
    Images with good lighting (medium lightness for users to see) are repinned 20 more times than images with bad lighting and that are too dark. Images without a face receive 23% more repins that those that do. Of course, don’t get too caught up on trying to follow a systematic approach to getting repinned. You need to give your brand some personality too. Join the conversation and repin things yourself; follow, like, and comment on pins that are related to your industry. You want to always be engaging with other users- after all, it’s all about social marketing right?

Source: Pinterest

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Social Sharing and Driving Traffic to your Website

You have a great product, idea or service. You’ve devoted in putting together a solid website. Social media marketing is important, so you have Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts – maybe even a Tumblr account too. You know social sharing is a key element of success online, but you want the results of your efforts to improve.
Follow these ten guidelines to use those social media channels to engage with customers and draw traffic like never before.

  1. When – and how often – to share
    Think about how you interact with different types of content on the web. Unless you run across your dream customer/employer, you’re probably not poring over their tweets from months ago or even last week. And what about how people interact with content that you post? After a couple days, that adorable picture of your kid/dog/car probably isn’t generating new ‘Likes’ on Facebook anymore – no matter how cute you know it is.
    Tweet often, as tweets have a short shelf-life. Facebook posts last somewhat longer, but similarly get lost in the shuffle after only 4-5 hours. Blog posts provided longer-lasting, searchable contents.
    Get to know the unique blend of needs, habits and personalities that typify your customers, and share content on a timetable that encourages them to interact. Best practices for a knitting needle company and a designer vodka will look quite different, regardless of where on the web you’re posting.
  2. Maximize the size and visibility of your posts
    If eyeball attention and space are so precious on social media, than any way to claim additional real estate must be incredibly valuable. It is. Facebook continues to tinker with its News Feed formula and presentation. Recently, it has expanded the space given to a link preview post, from 154×154 pixels to now displaying previews x3.5 times larger. This has turned the previous best-practice of sharing photos with commented links on its head.

    Preliminary research shows that these new link-preview posts dominate photos on engagement metrics. Considering that clicking on the picture, link or caption all direct readers to your linked website, this is no surprise. Don’t send your customers clicking away to a jpeg – post links and send them to your site.

    Either way, the value of including images in posts in undeniable: posts with images receive almost 40% more interaction than those without. This holds true on Twitter as well: images make up 20% more of the links on Twitter than the next-closest content type, and they similarly dominate engagement stats.

  3. Get to know your customer
    Social sharing gives you the chance to say whatever you want, to the entire world. Do you want the world to know you’re out of milk? Or do you really want the audience that cares that you’re out of milk?
    Everyone is a brand now. From massive corporations to a lonely pre-teen, everyone has a personality and presence to cultivate online. Consider your audience when identifying popular social content to re-post on your own social channels. It’s great that you’re interested in something you’ve seen online, but take a second to make sure it fits the tone and focus of your brand.

    Think backwards from your customer: is the person who will click on what you’re sharing a person you want visiting your site? Is that person going to be pleased to end up on your site? If you can answer ‘Yes’ to those 2 questions, share freely and prepare to welcome additional traffic to your site.

    Even if you’re not online to make money, it’s reasonable to call your audience ‘customers’. They’re spending their time, clicks, and advertising eyeballs on your content, so reward them with value in return. Use analytics tools to learn about your followers on each of your networks and track the performance of various styles of posts and types of content.

  4. Benefits of (regular) blogging
    The Internet is giving you an opportunity to post lasting content – content that you control, on a site you control. Exploit that opportunity.

    Your tweets will disappear, buried under a mountain of billions of fresher, sub-140 character messages. Any message on another medium is just that: not fully your own. Your blog benefits you in search, gives you a platform to become a reputable source, garners links to your work, and drives traffic directly where you want it: your website. Choose compelling images to accompany your posts. As with posts directly on social media platforms, this increases engagement and makes your content virally shareable on various networks.
    So, do it. Blog regularly. Current research indicates that blogging 15 or more times per month can increase traffic by 5X. Even if you’re a small organization, make this a part of someone’s job description. If you’re part of an even smaller enterprise, then find a way to make blogging work for you – the same research shows your business stands to benefit the most in terms of traffic increase.
    f you’re not already posting frequently, these numbers may seem daunting. Don’t worry, there are ample resources for blog post ideas. Post a weekly round-up of the most important news in your industry. Compose a How-To article related to the work you do, and shop it around to other content sites. Write a profile/review on a company you admire (maybe one you’re interested in working with/for), and link to their site. Share this on your social channels, also tagging their appropriate profiles. You get to associate with an established player in your industry. And maybe they’ll return the favor by sharing your work with their followers.

    Finally, remind your readers of the excellent content you’ve already created. Do a post highlighting your most engaging content of the month or build posts that reference some of your most successful previous pieces. Blog content is longer-lasting, but this is still the internet – it takes concerted effort to get your desired content onto your customers’ screens. Focus that effort on promoting your best work.

     

     


     

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10 Things to Boost Your Website Conversion Rate

No matter how streamlined your marketing campaigns are, boosting conversions should be top of your daily to-do list. Once an advertising campaign works, companies tend to neglect testing different variables to improve their conversion rates. Here is a list of the 10 tests you cannot afford to miss.

  1. Identify the unique selling propositions (USPs) that convert the most. 
    All of your products or services have strong selling points but not of equal importance to your customers. Test all USPs in your ads, prominent placements of the site and social media to figure out which of these improve your conversion rate the most. Once you find the best unique selling propositions, you will be able to plan your communication strategy in a way that maximizes customer acquisition.
    Related: The 3 Most Important Online Marketing Metrics to Monitor
  2. Landing page design
    You can test the landing page design in two separate phases. Phase one consists of testing several page designs in order to find the one that appeals most to your target customer. Try comparing image versus content based pages.
    Phase two consists of applying changes to the top performing design in order to test how different versions of the same page affect the success of your website. You should focus the majority of your time on the top section of the page.
  3. Landing page calls to action
    The majority of marketers decide what call to action to use based on the answer to the question: what do I want customers to do on my page? However, clever marketers would rather answer another question: what is the action customers can take on my page that will maximize profits? Testing calls to action will have a significant impact on your bottom line.
  4. Landing page text
    Make sure to test the positioning of text: where do you place the testimonials? Where are you going to analyze your benefits and features? What headlines will you use at the top of the page to maximize visitor interest? Use metrics such as sales and average time on site to evaluate the performance of your pages.
    Related: How to 'Split Test' Your Website to Engage Online Customers Better
  5. Mobile vs desktop traffic return-on-investment
    Mobile and desktop traffic are likely to convert at a different rate. Compare how much marketing budget you are spending on each device with what you are getting in return and then decrease the budget of the least profitable.
  6. Pause traffic sources based on bounce rate and average time on site
    Analyze the quality of incoming traffic from each of your marketing channels and decide which are not worth targeting due to low average time on site and high bounce rate. You can then reallocate the budget to those channels with a higher conversion rate.
  7. Adding a chat button
    Many of your website visitors might prefer to discuss business before jumping on a call or buying a product. Installing a chat on your site is relatively inexpensive and will give you one more way to convert visitors into leads.
  8. Customize landing pages for top performing geographic areas
    Where are your sales coming from? Identify the most profitable geographic areas and create dedicated pages offering local deals (e.g. free shipping in New York.)
  9. Conversion rate of returning users
    Invest in users that have visited your site, spent enough time on it but did not convert. They are likely to be interested in your offer but prefer to compare all available products first. Create campaigns to target past website visitors and test different offers and/or unique selling propositions to incentivize sales.
  10. The checkout process
    Create a smooth and fast checkout process to avoid missing out on potential customers when they are ready to convert. Test guest checkouts, short billing information forms and one-step checkout pages!

Testing is the best way to improve the conversion rate of any site. While there are numerous methods you can test, the ten elements above are a great starting point. This process is neither easy nor quick but it is worth investing the time to benefit your business long term.

Related: 12 Ways to Increase Online Sales

Related Book: Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords

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Understanding Meta Tags

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The Meta tags are perhaps some of the most important text on a web page, not just for search engines. Meta tags can have an enormous impact on the user experience, brand awareness and conversion. Mastering these meta tags and using best practice will dramatically improve your website.

Meta tags are HTML tags at the top of the document that are usually read by search engines that crawl the site trying to learn about each page. But there are two very important meta tags that speak to us humans as well, informing and guiding us in very clever ways.

As an example, the meta tags for this page are…

<title>Understanding Meta Tags - boutiquebusinessconsulting</title>

<meta name="description" content="Meta tags are some of the most 
important text on a web page, mastering these tags and using best 
practice will dramatically improve conversions. Learn more."/>

Meta Title

  • The meta title describes the subject of the page.
  • The meta title should ideally be about 65 characters.
  • We see this meta title in the browser tab and as the leading title in search engine results.
  • The meta title is the most important piece of information that search engines read on a given page.

Search engines value meta titles quite highly, so including important keywords in them is really helpful, preferably at the start of the title. For us, a title tag should clearly describe the nature of the page. In addition, the tag can also contain your brand – typically at the end of the tag. If the title is too long, search engines will normally truncate the title, chopping off the last bit.

The meta title is typically also used when sharing the page on social media (Facebook, Twitter etc) – the meta title becomes the heading, so making this interesting and appealing to read is quite important. The same applies to the meta description.

Meta Description

  • The meta description is a snippet of text that is displayed under the title link on a search engine results page.
  • The meta description ideally 155 characters or fewer.
  • The meta description has little if any SEO value but is important for conversions.

Some helpful tips when working with meta descriptions…

  • Don’t overuse or repeat keywords in your meta description, it will make your description look spammy and untrustworthy.
  • Avoid making extravagant claims in your descriptions, it’ll just undermine your credibility (eg. don’t do something like… “boutiquebusinessconsulting will make all of your dreams come true”).
  • Try to Include a call to action or even an incentive to click through to your page (eg. “boutiquebusinessconsulting build great websites – click here to find out more”).
  • Focus on the benefits of your product or service to the visitor – it should be about them (eg. “We custom design websites that help you stand out from your competitors and get sales”).
  • Mention your location if you are a local business (eg. “boutiquebusinessconsulting is a Sydney based web design agency”). This helps searchers instantly connect your business to their need.
  • Establish your credibility (eg. “boutiquebusinessconsulting has been in business for over few years”).

Meta Titles will always be used by search engines, but sometimes your meta description won’t be. Sometimes the search engines will choose text from within the page to use a description to match the search term. The best way to avoid this is to make sure the description reflects (as closely as possible) the content on the page.

Write Compelling Meta Tags

Writing compelling meta descriptions is a great opportunity to “sell the page”. If your descriptions are bland and haven’t been thought through, you’re missing out on the opportunity to convert a searcher into a visitor.

Visitors, when doing a search, are basically skimming or speed reading the search results, trying to make a quick judgement about each page to decide whether to click through or move on. If your descriptions are well written, interesting and even exciting (and also relevant to the actual search term), you’ll have a higher chance of attracting the searcher to your website.

Meta tags don’t have to be perfect at launch, in fact its always a good idea to come back and fine tune the wording. It can be a time consuming job, but it is one part of building a website that (while often overlooked) can really make a big difference.

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8 Reasons To Do Pop - Up Shop

Pop-up shops are the Snapchat of retail; Most of their magic comes from their temporary and "get-it-while-it-lasts" nature. 

In fact, according to Specialty Retail, pop-ups are expected to be a $8 billion a year industry, and has everyone from Warby Parker to popular boy band One Direction trying to get in on the action.

Not only can the location of a pop-up vary but brands use them for a wide array of purposes, from creating an unforgettable and branded experience for consumers that generate buzz and brand awareness, to quickly testing and experimenting in what used to be costly retail waters. In essence, pop-ups are transforming the way we shop.

Over the last few months, we've been busy creating resources to help merchants who might have only sold exclusively online to consider thinking about pop-ups shops as another sales channel. From picking and negotiating the perfect location, designing the store interior and displays, to marketing and evaluating your success, we hope to provide everything you'll need to get started.

Regardless of whether you're considering your first pop-up or have a few under your belt, here are eight reasons why every ecommerce merchant should give pop-up shops a chance.

Source:pinterest,shopify

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Free Advertising Methods When Money Is Not Enough

Become en expert
Submit articles related to your business to the local paper, trade journals and professional organization’s newsletters. Choose a topic that reflects your expertise on the subject and make sure your business is mentioned.

Aim to be one of the great public speakers
Professional meeting planners are always looking for presenters and workshop leaders for conferences. Research contact names in the Directory of Meeting Planners or start with your local Chamber of Commerce or Rotary Club. If, like most people, you dread the thought of public speaking, join your local club; this is also a great way to meet potential customers. When you do get the opportunity to make a presentation, be sure to collect business cards for a drawing to win a book or other prize related to your business.

Reward Referrals
One of the best ways to get new customers is to enlist the help of your current ones. Offer a reward of free merchandise or services for any lead that turns into new business. If you publish a catalogue, include a card where customers can provide the name and address of someone else who might want to receive one. When you get a new customer from a referral, be sure to send the source a personalized thank you note along with their reward.

Set up a newsletter
It’s crucial to keep in touch with your current customers as well as potential ones, and what could be easier than sending out a regular newsletter? After you obtain permission from the recipients, you can describe new products, offer coupons and provide links to articles online your customers might be interested in reading. Keep it simple with pure text or include photos and other graphics

Start a blog or contribute to a forum
This can be a great way to drive traffic to your website and keep a conversation going with your customers. There are several free blogging sites to get you started, I recommend Blogger , WordPress or Tumblr . Here you should post any type of news, promotional messages or information related to your product or services. Another way to get your name out there is to contribute to online discussion groups (without making it obvious you’re advertising). Find the forums that relate to your business by typing in keywords at the top online group websites. I recommend Google , Yahoo groups. Be very careful when using forums to advertise. Many discourage users from bombarding discussions with their own links or promoting their business. Find a forum built for this type of promotion, otherwise you could lose credibility.

Sponsor and charity
Any time you do anything for a charity such as sponsoring an event or donating free materials, make sure the press knows about it ahead of time. They might send a reporter to cover the occasion, but if not, send them photos to publish afterwards

Social media Advertising
It is to no surprise that social media is playing a social role now in the business field due to it’s large database of active people. If businesses know how to use that power they can make millions with minimal efforts. Facebook, Google +, Twitter, Pinterest have large number of global population active during the day. With the right message, banners, keywords there is lot of power to exploit.
In this article we tried to give 7 free advertising methods but by no means these aren’t enough. If you don’t make a plan and a budget for advertising you’re in big trouble. This methods have their place and their contribution in the business advertising but without the plan and the budget your business is flying on autopilot.

Feel Free to comment to know more about free advertising methods.

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Simple Tips for Improving Your Web Design

Your web design is one of the most important aspects of your online business. Everything in your design is important and in this post I’ll be giving you some simple website design tips to help improve your website, ranging from colours, fonts, images, and how all of this relates to your success and failure.

Have a polished, professional logo - and link it to your home page
Your logo is an important piece of your brand. It is the visual representation of your brand so you need to make sure you have a professionally designed logo that best represents your brand identity. A good idea is to feature your logo in the top left hand corner of each of your pages and also link your logo back to your home page for easy navigation.

Use intuitive navigation
This means make sure that you have primary and secondary navigation for your site. You need to make sure that your primary navigation options are deployed at the top of the site and your secondary navigation options are deployed in the form of a sidebar.

This is important to avoid any confusing navigation layout otherwise people are more likely to quit a page than spend time trying to work it out. Put the less important links for your page at the footer of your site rather than in the primary navigation area.

Get rid of clutter
Many websites place too many images on their sites where it gets to the point that visitors become overloaded with information. When this happens they are more likely to leave the site than stay on it.

If you want to keep visitors on your site you need to make sure that there are no competing calls to action on web pages or visual clutter such as an excessive amount of images and graphics. Basically anything that will divert a visitors’ attention away from your main message on the page.

Another great tip is to keep your paragraphs short. People tend to have short attention spans so make sure your paragraphs are no longer than five to six lines.

Give visitors breathing room
It is important to control the white space on your site by creating enough space between your paragraphs and images. This ensures that the reader has room to breathe and absorb all of the features your site and business has to offer. A great rule to remember here is less is more, which will help to keep readers focused on your content.

Use colour strategically
The colours on your site should be used strategically. Using a mostly neutral colour palette can help your site project an elegant, clean and modern appearance. For example you could also use small dashes of colour on headlines and key graphics to help guide visitors to your most important pieces of content. You need to remember to keep the colours you use consistent with the rest of your marketing materials though.

Invest in good, professional photography
Make sure that you invest in professional photography. If you use generic photos then you are creating a generic impression of your site whereas professional photography creates that important positive first impression that you need.

If you can’t afford to invest in professional photography for the time being then at least invest in some professional looking stock photos because this is better than a generic photo that says nothing about your business.

Choose fonts that are easy to read across devices and browsers
Choosing a font is a very important part of the website design process. When choosing a font you need to consider what it will look like on a tablet or mobile device. This is so important now because so many people are using these devices to browse the net with. The problem is that a font that looks good on a computer monitor might not look so good on a smartphone.

The typeface you choose should be easy to read and no less than 11pt in size. If you are using a fixed width design then use a font size that allows for a maximum of 15-20 words per line. If you use a fluid design then use a font size that allows 15-20 words per line at 900-1000 pixels wide.

Design every page as a landing page
You need to design your website so that the key information you want displayed is on every page. This is because the majority of site visits do not begin on the home page. So every page needs to be designed as if it were a landing page with all of the key information being displayed on that page.

Respect the fold
Your call to action should be featured on the upper portion of your website. Put your business phone number and email address at the top of the page (if you want customers to contact you). With regards to home page images it is best to not go for a full width slider. You can still use a slider or some other images, however, it is best that it only covers two-thirds of the width so you can add in a contact form above the fold.

Use responsive design - that automatically adapts to how the site is being viewed
Make sure that you use a website that has a responsive design. This means that it will automatically adapt to the browser size on whatever device you are using. This is much more efficient than designing a site for each device and it also creates a better user experience, which means visitors are more likely to spend more time on your site.

Forget Flash
Forget using Flash. The ongoing dispute between Adobe and Apple has ensured that using Flash as an internet standard is coming to a close. There are other options that are more user friendly such as HTML5. What is so great about HTML5 is that it’s search engine friendly and has the ability to function on many popular mobile operating systems without a plug-in.

Don’t forget about buttons
Buttons are something that can be overlooked but they shouldn’t be. Many of your typical submit or send buttons look ugly so what you should do is aim to make the buttons so appealing to customers that they can’t help but click on it. Ideally, you should design the buttons in mind so that they change colour, gradient, opacity, or even font style when you hover over them.

Test your design
Test your website design so that you can optimise your website. You want to test various elements of your design so you can determine which is best. You can do things like user testing, A/B, and simple analytics to help you determine what is working well and what isn’t. Testing your web design is so important because it can result in more profits for your business when you hit that winning design.

In Conclusion
There are few simple website design tips you can start implementing today. Web design is one of the most important aspects of your business and can help improve your bottom line by enhancing user experience. If you are someone who is not the most savvy when it comes to website design then it may be wise for you to hire a professional so you can create the best looking website possible.

 

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10 Social Media Accounts You Can Learn From

Social media is by far one of the best ways that you can market your business. A large percentage of the population are now using social media in some capacity, around 73% of adults as of September 2013. It is for this reason that you need to be active on social media and using it to grow your business. 

But how do you choose which social media platform to use? This is a great question because every social media outlet is different. Some work differently than others because of the kind of audience they attract. For example, a popular Twitter account may not work so well on LinkedIn.

You need to spend a bit of time working out which social media platform is going to be the most beneficial for your business and what kind of audience it mostly attracts. A great way to help you work out which outlet to use is to analyze the following 10 social media accounts below and how they use these platforms to effectively promote and grow their businesses.

How To Market Your Horse Business (Facebook)
Facebook is the most popular social media platform in the world, in particular among teens. The problem is in making your message stand out amongst all of the noise on Facebook.

There is one shining example of this and that is an account called How To Market Your Horse Business. 

This account has won numerous awards since its inception such as 2012 Social Media Examiner’s Top 10 Facebook Business Page, and has been featured as “9 Businesses Doing Facebook Right”, “5 Facebook Pages We All Aspire To”, to name just a couple of their many accolades.

The reason that this is a page you should learn from is because it found its niche and offers advice from an industry leader. They also do a great job of user engagement and this is something that every Facebook page should be doing. It also does a great job visually of branding itself with the cover photo both horse and marketing related. If you want to learn how to market your business via Facebook then this is a great place to start.

Taco Bell (Twitter)
Twitter is another giant of the social media world being the second most popular platform globally. There are some 58 million tweets that are being sent everyday so it can seem difficult to make yourself stand out.

Taco Bell is one food giant that has earned their reputation on Twitter and this is because of the way they post tweets. They keep everything lighthearted and comical. It’s fun and entertaining, and gives people a great experience. Even when users criticize them they still respond with a witty comeback and don’t take it personally. 

This is not all they do well though. They also use hashtags properly, promote new products, and have fun with holidays and other events. They do everything well from engaging their users, connecting with influencers, understanding their niche, etc. This kind of interaction is great for the kind of younger audience Twitter attracts.

There is a very good reason they won Ad Age’s coveted Marketer of the Year Award for 2013 so learn from Taco Bell’s example. 

AppleOne (LinkedIn)
LinkedIn is by far the most popular professional network online with a registered user base of 300 million people in over 200 countries and territories. However, LinkedIn is different to Facebook and Twitter, generally attracts a different type of audience so your approach needs to be different.

AppleOne is an employment company that was founded in 1964 and they are a great example of using and managing a LinkedIn page. One thing they do particularly well is excluding images and rich media. This makes their page stand out when they do share an interesting article with a high quality image that grabs your attention. They also do a great job at explaining what they do on their profile.

They have done such a good job with their page that it was included in the Best LinkedIn Company Pages 2013.

Blue Bottle (Instagram)
Instagram is a great social media platform for your business especially if you rely on images. This is another hugely popular social media platform with 200 million active users who share 60 million pictures per day. 

One brand that you should take notice of on Instagram is Blue Bottle Cafe. The reason this works so well for them is because it allows them to showcase their pastries and lattes with great designs. They also upload photos of their employees in their cafe. This allows you to get a sense of what the cafe is like and helps to add some personalisation to their business.

Blue Bottle Cafe is a great example to follow if you are a business that could use images to promote your business.

Travel Channel (Pinterest)
Pinterest is another image based social media platform and this one has been growing rapidly in popularity. This is a great platform to be focusing on if you have a business that has anything to do with images so things like travel, food, DIY, etc. This outlet has 70 million registered users who check out pages 2.5 billion times per month.

One of the top brands you should learn from on here is Travel Channel. What they do great here is break up their boards. For example they have a board for Europe, castles, destinations, hotels, and they even have a board for foods around the world. They have found their niche within the travel industry and they have a specific audience that they market to. 

This is a great account that you can learn from if you want to create an account on Pinterest.

Dutch Photo Walk (Google Plus)
Everyone knows how popular Google is but not everyone knows how popular Plus is. Google Plus has over 540 million users who share and post content every month. 

Google Plus has amazing potential because of its ability to connect with YouTube, maps, and search. There is one account in particular that has realised this amazing potential and that is Dutch Photo Walk. 

This account is by a group of people who love to take scenic walks throughout the Netherlands. They then take pictures and share them on Google which is a great way to connect with users. They go one step further though and create a Hangout where people discuss the post-walk. 

They understand Google Plus well and are a great example of how you can use this platform to connect with other Google services and products. 

The White House (Tumblr)
Tumblr is growing in popularity especially in regards to mobile usage. It might come as a surprise to many people but one account that uses Tumblr well is the White House. 

Some people may not find the White House all that interesting but what they do well is post great content. One day you might see the Marine One taking off from the front lawn, the next you might see a picture of all the living Presidents chatting. 

Another thing they do well is tapping into the spirit of holidays and events. For example their image of eggs in front of the White House with the caption: GET EGGCITED: Today’s the White House Easter Egg Roll. This helps people get into the spirit of any events that may be presently occurring.

The reason why the White House account is so effective is because they share content in a way that is witty, fun, and effective. Not only that but it shows users a behind the scenes look at the White House which piques curiosity for many people.

Jethro Ames (Vine)
Vine is a new social media platform but one that has immense potential for future growth. Since Vine began in April 2013 it has become the most downloaded app in the App store. Video is going to be an important piece of content in the future with predictions that by 2016 55% of internet traffic will consist of video.

If you are looking for a great example of how to use Vine then take a look at Jethro Ames. This guy has perfected the stop-motion video clip and he’s become so good at it that many brands such as GE, The Coffee Bean, Comedy Central, etc, have hired him to work on their videos.

Ames has become such a well known figure on Vine because of his trademark style. He keeps things simple, engaging, and shareable. His trademark style that he has become so well known for is pretty simple to. He takes things like Pac-Man and uses them to play with food. Basically he’ll take something that is nostalgic and use it in his own style for creating his videos. It’s a simple but effective technique that he has made his own.

16 Handles (Snapchat)
Snapchat is another image based social media platform that is enjoying growing success. There are roughly 26 million users in the US who share 400 million snaps per day.

Whilst some brands are hesitant to embrace Snapchat, others are more keen to jump on board. For example, the account 16 Handles is one company that has jumped on board and they are having great success with Snapchat. They are a New York City yoghurt shop that have used Snapchat successfully for running promotions. In fact, they are the first company to run a Snapchat marketing campaign with its ‘Snappy New Year’ campaign.

This was a simple idea they used that got users engaged. What they did was ask users to take a picture of themselves eating yoghurt and send it to the 16 Handles Snapchat account. Their reward for participating was a coupon that gave them 16-100% off a purchase. The promotion was successful for the company as they had 1,400 interactions.

Snapchat is a platform that is new for marketers but 16 Handles were able to take a tried and trusted tactic- a competition, and apply it to a new format with success. They are a great example of how to use this platform to promote a business.

Absolut (Whatsapp)
Over 450 million people use this app every month with 70% active per day. In four years this app has outgrown Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Skype, and Twitter. This represents great opportunity for marketers especially when you consider how popular mobile usage is nowadays.

Absolut Vodka was the first brand to run a marketing campaign using this app. It promoted the launch of its new Limited Edition Absolut Unique in Argentina. Included as part of its promotion, the company offered two tickets for the public to its exclusive launch party. What they had to do was convince a fictional character called “Sven” through Whatsapp that they were worthy of entry. It was fun, it was engaging, and it worked. More than 1000 messages via audio, images, and video were sent. They also got around 600 new customers because of the buzz it generated.

This is great example of how to use Whatsapp for promotional purposes. 

In Conclusion
Social media is something you should absolutely be using to market and grow your business. If you don’t then you are putting yourself behind every other business in your industry that is. If you are unfamiliar with these social media platforms and how to use them to grow your business then you can use the examples above. They are all examples of social media done well and you can learn a lot from them.

 

 

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How to Increase YouTube Rankings

If you are not using YouTube to generate web traffic to your business, it’s about time that you start because there is some great potential to build publicity for your business and your brand using YouTube. YouTube is world’s second largest search engine so it’s well worth your time learning about how you can use this tool to help generate traffic for your business.

One of the great things about YouTube is that you can optimise your video content so it ranks well in search engines. In this article I’m going to show you how you can use YouTube to generate even more search traffic than what you could get with Yahoo and Bing.

You need to start with a video
It is easier than ever to create a video that you can put on YouTube. You can use the camera on your phone, or a proper video recorder to record your videos. The main thing to remember is that your content is valid.

It is very easy to use and YouTube is such a great source of traffic. Here are some of the key reasons why you should be using this platform:

  • There are over 1 billion people using this service
  • There were over a trillion YouTube views in 2011
  • There are 4 billion views on the service every day
  • There are over 100 hours of video added to YouTube added every minute
  • There are 1 billion average YouTube mobile video views per day
  • 40% of YouTube traffic comes from mobile sources
  • YouTube has experienced growth of traffic of 52.86% since 2013

There are plenty of statistics you could point to as proof as to why you should use YouTube to increase your web traffic. The bottom line is that YouTube is a massive source of traffic you should be using.

How SEO and YouTube Works
There are two specific categories that YouTube ranks content for. These are Video Content and User Engagement and these are the two areas that should be your focus when it comes to using SEO with YouTube. However, it is very important to remember that SEO for YouTube doesn’t work in quite the same way as SEO for Google.

It should be noted that the search query in YouTube does not have the ability to tell if a video is relevant to a users search query. If you know how YouTube ranks content you will know how you can optimise your video for YouTube’s SEO.

YouTube’s SEO
There are some key things to remember with YouTube’s SEO:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Tags used
  • Transcription
  • Your channel authority
  • Delivery of your content

This is the basic way in which YouTube distributes and ranks video content based on its search engine function. One great thing with YouTube’s search engine is that you can control it as a publisher, meaning if you optimise your content properly you’ll have few problems in getting it ranked highly.

Another great thing to note with YouTube and SEO is that you don’t need a high level of User Engagement to rank highly for your videos. Instead, it’s about how well you understand YouTube’s SEO.

The Importance of the Title
The title is one of the most important aspects of YouTube’s SEO. There is going to be a lot of content out there that is similar to yours so you need to stand out and the easiest way you can do this is with a clear and unique title. 

The title is where you optimise your video for SEO and is arguably the most important component. The reason this is so important is because it influences your CTR (click through rate).

Just like with Google you need to make sure your content is high quality and relevant to the audience. You shouldn’t sacrifice the quality of your content just to rank highly. Be sure to include the keywords in the title tag and make sure it relates to the video itself.

The Importance of the Description
The video description box is your one real chance where you can really describe and define your video. This will be most beneficial for users who look for your video content primarily through YouTube rather than Google. 

The point of this information is to increase the CTR and provide users with some basic information about what they are going to get when they access your content. Show users in your description that your video will be beneficial for them.

Summary
YouTube is such a great way to increase publicity for your business and your brand that you’d be crazy not to use it. It is very simple to make a video and they are a great way to sum up a lot of content in a short period of time. It is very easy to rank highly for videos that are relevant to your business and this is something you should be using if you want to generate some extra web traffic outside of the usual channels.

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Marketing to the Sexes on Social Media

When you think of Pinterest users, who immediately comes to mind? Women! While many social sites such as Pinterest appeal to women, it would be a mistake to ignore men on social media. In fact, according to The State of Social Media for Small Business infographic, only 36.5 percent of its survey respondents said that most of their clients were women. Both men and women are using social media, making it important not to make assumptions. Checkout these tips from GroSocial to make the most of your social media marketing.

Who is Your Market?
In many cases, the sexual identity of your market is obvious. For example, if you sell women’s shoes, your market is primarily female. On the other hand, if you sell dog supplies, your market likely consists of both men and women. Depending on your business, you may want to target one gender over the other for any number of reasons despite your products and services’ universal appeal. In any case, you should know who you want to target on social media so that you can attract the right users to your social media sites and then craft campaigns that will resonate with them.

Start by examining the sexual make up of your current customers. Is it an equal mix? Do you have more male or female buyers? Why? Does it surprise you? Is your current marketing affecting this mix? Does it make sense to replicate this audience on social media?

Attracting Your Target Gender
Once you’ve determined who you want to target, you can then work on attracting them. On option is to use Facebook ads to generate more likes to your business page and show those ads only to users who meet your criteria. Facebook allows you to specify demographic details including gender.

Marketing to Your Target Gender
Building an audience is just the beginning. From there, you’ll need to “speak the same language.” After all, if you’ve built an audience of men but then discuss issues more relevant to women, your message will fall on deaf ears and vice versa.
What if your audience is mixed? That’s fine, too. While your messages will need to be more inclusive, you can still run the occasional gender-specific campaign.
Whether marketing to men, women, or a mix, getting a clear picture of who you are speaking to will help you to be more clear in your targeting and messaging. If you haven’t yet defined your target audience, start by at least determining whether it’s primarily male, female, or an even mix. You can always build from there.

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Making The Most Of Your Website!

Are you wondering why your website is not driving results you had hoped for, after finally it’s been built.
That could be because you are tumbling into one of the four big traps business owners often overlook on a start-up website.  Let me share with you some points to consider, and a little advise on how you can right your wrongs online.

Making customers click too much?
Blame it on society’s increasingly shortened attention span, but most websites overestimate the number of hoops their customers are willing to jump through in order to get to the products or service they are looking for.
Every single click is an action point. When different actions distract people, they don’t click on the one button you want them to.
A little advice : Decide what action you want customers to take, whether it’s making a call, finding your address, or placing an order, and emphasize that button over all others

Thinking about mobile last?
According to the National Small Business Association survey, only 1 out of 5 business owners has a mobile (responsive) website. That is progress, however, most of those business owners are not making the best use of the fact that they have a mobile website, because they are still designing for the web. As mobile traffic becomes increasingly important, entrepreneurs should begin designing their website with “ mobile ready” first in mind.

A good mobile website, should look like an app, users should be able to navigate it by swiping, rather than clicking, a motion that is native to the mobile phone. There should also be a constant action point visible to users, so they do not have to zoon in and out to get what they want and where you want them to be.
A little advice : start by thinking about your mobile website and them bring that experience to the Web, it can fix a lot of other problems.

Using overly complex, jargon-laden description?
Entrepreneurs, excellent though they may be, are often terrible at explaining what they actually do. Face- to-face, there is time for clarification. On a website, there is not.
Most business owners can suffer from simply knowing too much. They try to tell everything they know about themselves or their services to users in a short period of time, and in the end users can be confused about who they are and what they offer.

A little advise : try to distil your value proposition into one sentence, keeping in mind that once you hook a customer with a clear, concise itch, you will likely have time to expand later.

Too much content?
Different from trap No. 3, this is not a matter of what you are writing but how much you are writing.
Thinking about mobile first should alleviate this problem, because mobile website have less space. Instead, whenever possible, use a video, diagram, or other type of media to get your message across.

A little advise : if it is just your website, and not an article or something people want to read , the less text you have, the better and more beautiful it will be

 

 

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