5 Tips You Should Know Before Blogging

1-Make it personal

People want to read stories, not long essays or white papers.  Blogging is a way to build a connection with your audience especially when using simple words like ‘you’ and ‘I’.  Introduce a personal story to help engage your readers or something that is relatable to them.

2-Ask questions

If your blog asks questions of the readers, chances are someone will respond by commenting.  This is what you want – engagement.  By the way, don’t be afraid of constructive criticism from your audience.  Everyone has a viewpoint and an opinion.   Respond to all comments with respect and a professional tone.  Your readers will feel more connected to you and your message.

3-You need a community

If you upload a blog to your website and expect the world to go read it, think again.  Here’s where you need to put some time and energy.  By building a solid social media following, you’ll create a better opportunity for your blog to be shared.  Essentially, this is your main distribution channel.  Build your Facebook and Twitter followers.  Create videos and upload them to YouTube.  Reach out to other blogging sites to see if you may become a guest blogger and offer to reciprocate.  Turn your blog posts into podcasts that can be listened to while on the road.  There are several available methods for reaching your audience.  Try to use as many as you can.  There is another platform called Klusster which is a fabulous tool for bloggers to create their own publications or joining forces with other bloggers to create a community publication.  Check out this one on health which is made up of a community of local businesses sharing content related to health.

blogging
Healthy Waterloo Region

4-Stand out

There are over a billion blogs on the web vying for your attention, so you need to make yourself stand out.  Make it visually interesting.  I don’t know about you, but if I see a blog post that is almost all text and no images, I am not as inclined to read it through.  Break up your text with infographics and other visuals.  It will make your blog more enticing to read.

5-Choose a specific niche

It’s impossible to be all things to everyone and do it effectively.  So, don’t do it.  Pick a niche that isn’t too small either or you’ll have a hard time growing your traffic or have fewer people interested in reading your content.  Use Google Trends to home in on a niche.   This will show you on a graph the interest trends on a particular topic.  Here’s an example of a site blogging on the current popular niche of tiny home living.  The topic isn’t so small that the writers would run out of content anytime soon but it’s still specific enough to target interested readers.

Conclusion

If you don’t take the above key elements into consideration when blogging, you may find yourself floundering. These are just as important as planning your content.  Once you’re ready to begin writing, here is an article that might help you get things started and organized. What else have I missed here? What did you find to be critical to your blogging success?  Let me know by commenting.

5 changes in Internet Marketing in 2019

internet marketing

Internet marketing is going to experience major changes in 2019. These changes will have an effect on your own marketing activities – whether you are primarily an online or offline marketer.

Here are 5 areas that will see huge advances in 2019:

  • Voice Search
  • Chat Bots
  • Voice DIctation
  • Micro Influencers
  • Personal Interface

Voice Search and Internet Marketing

ComScore estimates that by 2020 50% of all online searches will be done by voice not typing on a device. Increasingly people will be using smart home devices – Google Home, Alexa.

Neil Patel has published an article about this trend and other interesting facts including that there are now over 1.8 Billion websites.

This will require a new approach to SEO

Chat Bots

What are chatbots? Those little message boxes that pop up, generally on the bottom right corner of the screen with a message “Hi, how can we help you”.

They work because of advances in Artificial Intelligence AI which allows them to respond faster than a human, work 24 / 7 without complaining and with very low operating costs. No salaries, payroll taxes, medical costs, vacations or bonuses.

Set up effectively, they can access your customer’s profile and personalize responses and suggestions. A great tool for internet marketing, but one that needs careful design and management

Voice Control and Activation

How much time would you save if you dictated your emails, articles, blog posts, all your content creation? It’s possible and it is going to become easier to use. An increasing range of computer applications will be controlled by your voice.

With the penetration of voice-activated smart home devices and growth in the use of voice search mentioned above, we could see disruptive effects in many industries from keyboard suppliers to printer manufacturers.

Micro Influencers and Internet Marketing

With the demise of traditional advertising and the “old” media it used as platforms, we have seen the importance of “influencers” rise. We have been used to seeing celebrity endorsements used in mass consumer advertising of, fashion, sports equipment and other major product and service categories.  Names like the Kardashians stand out.

internet marketing
image courtesy stux / pixabay

Now that is no longer the exclusive domain of big brands or big names.

Young children and cats are becoming YouTube millionaires because of their appeal to smaller groups of consumers. On a smaller scale, people you and I have never heard of are being paid to promote products or services to comparatively small numbers of social media followers.

The secret is relevance. Followers of a skateboard champion are probably not going to buy products designed for the recently retired.

For more on all this read Mars Dorian’s article on Mark Schaefer’s blog.

Personal Touch – Human Interface

Almost counter intutive to the 4 trends mentioned above which are possible because of advances in technology. This trend recognizes the need for human connections.

AI, chatbots and warm voices on smart devices all help to deliver a more personal experience to a consumer or new contact. Chatbots can quickly address the enquirer by name, scan data to “know” where the customer lives, what he or she has bought before. If there have been complaints or returns. In a service industry, the payment history can be checked and much more information can be used to enhance the customer’s experience.

That’s all because of technology. Sometimes that is not enough. At some point, many customers want to talk to a “real” human. You may share my frustration with automated call answering when none of your problems fit in the standard “Press 1 for sales, 2 for……”  list of options.

The businesses that will excel will be the ones which marry the best technology with just the right amount of human contact for each interface with customers, clients and prospects.

Some businesses have become highly successful by putting more responsibility in the hands of the people in the organization who deal directly with the customer.

In some cases, this results in cutting back on some uses of technology.

A great example is Timpson in the UK who introduced their “upside down” management policy with only two rules for employees.

Technology can alienate customers when low-level decisions are taken at corporate head offices based on historical data used to make decisions based on changing circumstances.

Timpson had taken all the network connected point of sale check out machines from its retail stores and replaced them with simple cash registers. Decisions on refunds, discounts, special offers are taken at store level.

internet marketing
image courtesy gavilla / pixabay

There is more on the success of Timpson on Wikipedia.

Conclusion

Changes in marketing and especially, internet marketing are rushing towards us. Advances in technology and changes in consumer demographics, lifestyles, attitudes, buying habits will all be affected by and influence marketing strategies and tactics.

Our objective as marketers is to adapt to the changes, use technology to enhance our customer’s experiences, not be a slave to it and to never forget the importance of the human connection.

That can be difficult for you as a small business owner or solopreneur, that’s why we have started a new service to provide qualified IT workers at rates you can afford.

Check out our new service here Recruitment

Peter Wright can be found at PeterWrightsBlog

Internet marketing image courtesy typographimages / pixabay

5 Key Types of Video Marketing

By 2021, Facebook says that all their content will be by video.  That’s only a couple of years away!  However, you can definitely see a trend toward video marketing especially if you are on social media. In fact, 50% of consumers want to see video from brands more than any other type of content.  As the VP for Slidely said, “If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is a library”.

Here are 5 types of videos you may want to consider to help bring more visibility to your brand.

1-Brand Videos

These videos aim to communicate the brand’s culture, vision, personality, products and services.  Often larger companies will use a celebrity to increase traffic views and engagements.  These are also typically part of a larger advertising campaign.

2-Explainer Videos

These help to demonstrate how to use a product and showcase its benefits.  Sephora is particularly good at these and their videos have proven quite effective.

3-Live Videos

Live streaming to your social media audience allows you to engage the viewers in real time.  It increases engagements and allows for immediate feedback.  Celebrity Suzanne Somers often does live streaming to promote her products and brand.  Her fans love it as it makes them feel like she is spending time with them personally.  You don’t need to be a celebrity for these to be effective though.

 

4-Expert Interviews

Here is a great way to position yourself as an authority about your niche.  It helps to harness trust from the community.

5-Personalized Messages

Instead of responding to a client via email, delivering a personal message through video email can have a far greater impact.  These are also great as a prospecting tool.

Here is an example of how you can personalize a message:

Conclusion:

If you are trying to gain brand visibility, the power of video is a medium you cannot ignore especially knowing that in just a couple of years, most of content marketing will be delivered via video.  So, go on and turn on those cell phone cameras and start filming.  Smile!

For more interesting blogs, please visit us here.

7 Types of Subject Lines to Get Your Emails Read

We are literally inundated with billions of emails sent and received PER DAY!  As marketers, is there a secret to ensure your emails are opened? While it isn’t a perfect science, below we outline 7 ways that can help you create compelling subject lines to increase your click-through rate.

1-Intriguing Subject Lines – Curiosity is a powerful motivator. It keeps the mind in a perpetual state of anticipation for what lies ahead, or in this case, inside the email.  Here are some examples: “Everyone is asking about this new beauty secret.” “The truth about email marketing and what you need to know.” “How much does working from home save you?”

2-Funny Subject Lines – Injecting a little humour is a lighthearted way to appeal to someone’s sense of fun.  However, make sure you know your audience to ensure you don’t offend anyone. Examples are: “50% off Ray-Bans.  Get in a new frame of mind.” “Up to 40% off trousers & sport coats. It’s a tailor-made deal!”

3-FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) – Think about it.  Fear of missing out is a great motivator.  The key is to highlight what the recipient will lose if they don’t open the email.  The higher the value, the more worried they’ll be about the missed opportunity. Examples: “By Invitation Only: Exclusive Rewards”. “Grab this deal before it’s gone.” “Only 2 hours left to this mega offer.”

4-Pain Points – Identifying problems and presenting solutions can be an attention grabber especially if it speaks to the reader’s relatable issues.  Here are some examples: “Sit back and let someone else do the cooking.” “Beautiful brochures made faster.”

5-Emojis – This is a good way to add emotion to your emails.  In fact, in one study, they found that emojis helped the person remember the message as opposed to no use of emojis. Example: Berry Impressive Summer Recipes.”

6-Resparking Interest – We all see a decline in subscribers over time.  Perhaps they feel that the content is no longer meeting their needs.  This calls for creative ways to re-engage the reader in order to regain their interest.  Here’s what this could look like: “We’ve missed you. Please come back.” “Still interested in that deal?” “Can you believe it’s been a month?”

7-Social Proof Subject Lines – In marketing, there is no greater stamp of approval than a referral.  When you set the expectation that all your peers are eating at a specific place or using a particular product, it gives credibility or provides a sense of quality. You can see that this may be like our ‘fear of missing out’ point above.  It comes down to the how you position the subject line in removing all doubt. Examples: “Most Popular Recipes This Week.” “The People Have Spoken: These Are Their Faves.”

For more detailed information, be sure to check out Hubspot’s article here.

Conclusion

Is there a secret sauce to creating a clickable subject line?  While we may not have a perfect recipe, if you follow the tips we provided, you may well be on your way to having a smorgasbord of content clicked through by captivated readers.

Don’t be a stranger! I’d love to hear from you so reach out and let me know how you get your readers to click on your emails.

3 Steps to Help You Write a Superb Blog Post

Did you know that marketers that blog regularly generate 67% more leads than those that don’t? How many of you are cringing right now? Although the idea of writing blogs can be an enjoyable task for some people, helping them to tap into their creative side but for many, it’s a task that simply feels like a chore. Lucky for you, there is a fail-proof template that might make things a bit easier.  Here we go:

Step 1: Creating a template

Don’t be afraid to take extra time when writing your first few posts.  You’ll find your groove and if you keep to a standard process for how you go about it, well, you’ll be spitting these out in about 45 minutes (and never longer than 2 hours).

Topics – You know your business better than anyone so think about questions your clients would typically ask you and write about it. Still need more ideas?  Hubspot’s Big Ideas Generator could be a useful tool. Simply tell them words that interest you and they will come up with topic ideas. Brilliant. Another good tool is Buzzsumo.

Fill in the Blanks – I remember learning how to write an essay in 9th grade and what has stuck with me to this day is the basic structure:  Introduction, body (with 3+ paragraphs) and conclusion.  So go ahead, take some paper and jot down a couple of sentences to introduce the topic to your readers.  Then, write down 3 subheadings. Finally, write down Conclusion. There’s your template!

Go back and fill in content under the subheadings with 3-5 lines of text.

For your conclusion, summarize key points so that someone just skimming your content can quickly decide whether they want to go back and read the whole article.

Step 2: Images

Select some good images.  There are stock-free images that you can get from sites like Pixabay but if you really wanted to step it up, you could pay for images on sites like Fotolia.  Spend time selecting impressive images because as the old saying goes, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’.  No one wants to read an article that is just text.

Step 3: Writing Style

When you begin writing your blog posts, keep to a certain style that you are most comfortable with.  However, one of the styles that most people enjoy reading is one that is more conversational like using the words ‘you’ and ‘I’.  Unless you’re writing a peer-review for a medical journal, keep it relatable. Here are a few more tips:

  • Use short paragraphs which should never be longer than 6 lines.
  • If your writing a blog that is roughly 2000 words include about 6 or 7 images throughout the body. Use your judgment here. If the blog post is shorter, still include a few images to help break up the text and increase the visual appeal.
  • Ensure you include supportive links to back up your statements. It only adds credibility to your article.
  • Encourage reader engagement by ending your post with a question. This invites the reader to comment or reach out to you for more information.

Conclusion:

By repeatedly following the above protocol, you should have a good routine in place to help you create blogs in no time.  Remember to:

  • Create your template with an introduction, some subheadings and conclusion. Go back and fill in content under each section.
  • Select some good images.
  • Be consistent in your writing style and keep it more conversationalist.

To find out who we are, visit us here.

For more great information, I like to follow the blogs from Neil Patel.  Check out his post related to this topic here.

Do you have any more ideas you’d like to share that have worked for you? I’d love to hear about them.

 

6 Great Social Media Tools for Content Marketers

Ever wonder how online marketing experts create posts for social media? Simply put, they get help! Some creative geniuses developed these fabulous software tools to help make their jobs easier. Here are 6 of them that may help your business.

1-Hashtagify.me – This tool helps you search for an appropriate hashtag and can determine how popular it is. Simply type a hashtag you’re curious about and you’ll be able to see how well it performs. It also suggests other related hashtags. The tool ranges in price from $19/mth – $249/mth.

2-Grammarly – This is a wonderful tool for anyone doing lots of writing because it not only acts as a spell-check, but it also identifies grammar errors. You can use Grammarly just about everywhere including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Gmail. It scans your text for common and complex grammatical mistakes and suggests how to correct them. This is a free tool with some paid features.

3-SurveyAnyplace – One of the best ways to collect valuable data and increase brand perception is to create engaging surveys.  These not only serve the purpose of gaining insights into consumer demands but can also be a fun way for people to share information about themselves that they wouldn’t have otherwise been inclined to share.  This is where SurveyAnyplace can provide tremendous benefit. Their survey software creates fun-to-take questionnaires, with game-like elements that truly engage.  They offer an offline feature which allows you to take the questionnaire anywhere, anytime, even when you don’t have an online connection. The surveys can be shared through multiple social media platforms. The tool is free for up to 20 responses and the Essential and Pro versions range from $29/mth – $49/mth.

 

4-Anchor – This is a free podcasting tool that enables anyone to create high-quality audio and instantly be heard anywhere.

5-PowToon – Video has become an extremely powerful and important medium to reach your targeted audience either through a corporate pitch or through social media platforms. PowToon is an amazing tool that allows you to create engaging creative animated videos. There is a free version with paid options ranging from $19/mth – $99/mth.

6-Canva – Here is a tool that every social media guru needs. Canva helps you create graphics and high-quality images using layout, templates and other design elements. Although the free version is quite comprehensive, to unleash more nifty tools, the price ranges from $12.95/mth and up.

How many of these tools are you using?  If you’re a digital marketer, there’s no doubt these software programs can make your life easier.  Give them a try!

For more great digital marketing articles, visit us here.

 

Why Increasing Your Visibility on Rented Land is Important

Years ago, marketers emphasized the importance of building your brand on land that you own such as your website, email lists, etc.  Building on things that you don’t own such as your social media accounts were discouraged because marketers felt you were helping to build someone else’s business, not your own.

My, How Times Have Changed!

Business owners discovered that trying to divert traffic to their websites so people could read their blog posts became increasingly more futile.  So, new ways had to be adopted for content flow to gain more visibility.

Rented Media Space

As much resistance as business owners had in embracing social media, they’ve come to realize it’s a veritable gold mine in accessing their audience.  Content needs to be unleashed! It has no value by sitting at home on your website.  You need to have it sitting everywhere people will have a chance in seeing it, hence using ‘rented land’.

Use platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Klusster, etc. to get your message out and hopefully drive more traffic to your website as a result.  Social sharing, as marketer Mark Schaefer has said, is the most important digital marketing metric after sales and leads.  “Social sharing is advocacy”.  In other words, when someone shares your content, it acts as a referral.  There is no stronger lead than that!

It’s also important to be seen repeatedly.  Someone may not click on your article the first time they see it in their posting feed but if they see it a few times, they are more likely to take notice and open it.  Some business owners have noticed that their articles may not be read through their newsletter offerings, but the same article may be clicked on LinkedIn, Facebook or Klusster.   The point, park it in several places!

So, go ahead and make use of any platform which will allow you to readily access your audience.

Have any questions? Please reach out and let me hear from you.

5 Tips for Writing Good Quality Content

Key Elements Every Article Should Have

1-Address your target market’s pain points – Figure out what their needs are and write about a solution in a clear, concise way.

2-Make sure your articles are free of spelling and grammatical errors – Whenever I read material that is poorly written, it makes me view the author in a lesser light.  Don’t dilute your brand by releasing unedited work.  Just having another pair of eyes read your articles can make the difference between the reader seeing you as an expert or just rushing through to get something out.

3-Make sure your content is visually tidy – Break up your text with lots of subheadings, short paragraphs, use of bolding and italics.  These components make articles easy to read and scan quickly.

4-Write in conversational tones – Articles written in legalese or in the language one would use in a doctorate thesis, will cause the reader to become bored.  Try using a conversational tone.  It makes it easy for the reader to follow and the casual tone makes the content more relatable.

5-Include supporting references – Including links to studies or references that support your claims gives your content added credibility showing you know what you’re talking about.

For more interesting information on creating quality content, visit Nichehacks.

 

6 Reasons You Need Email Marketing for Your Business

If you’re not using this marketing channel, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

How many people do you know that don’t have email? I cannot think of one. Fact is 54% of the world’s population has email and most of these people check and send emails everyday. This presents an excellent opportunity for businesses to reach their target market, improve their visibility allowing them to engage and convert more leads on a consistent basis.

You better believe your competitors are using email marketing and if you’re still not convinced, here are 6 reasons that may change your mind:

1-You reach more mobile device users – Wherever you go, just look around you and you’ll notice people looking at their cell phones. Every spare moment they have, they are tuned into their messages. It has been predicted that the number of worldwide mobile phone users is expected to surpass five billion by the year 2019. If you’re not using email marketing as part of your marketing strategy means you are missing out on using an important channel that most of the world is already using.

2-It’s cost-effective – Compared to other means of marketing such as radio, TV or print ads, email marketing is extremely cost-effective. It’s relatively simple to maintain an email list and with a higher response rate, it’s a great option for businesses working with a lower budget.

3-Email marketing can be automated – Many digital marketing processes cannot be automated but email marketing can be thus creating time-saving efficiencies. For example, if someone is shopping on your site but fails to complete the transaction, an email can be automatically generated to remind the customer to complete the process. Amazon is a whiz at this tactic!

4-You can make your email marketing campaigns personal – By using email marketing software, you can address your audience individually. Emails that include the recipient’s name are reportedly 22.2% more likely to be opened which means the opportunity to convert leads increases.

5-It’s a measurable channel – With good email marketing software, a business can determine how many readers opened their content, what time of day and who actually opened them. The only way to know if your strategies are working is to measure them and email marketing provides excellent analytics.

6-It’s interactive – Emails are action oriented. There is always an expectation for you to do something, reply, forward, click, sign-up, etc.

For more email marketing information, you might like to visit:

https://www.site-seeker.com/9-reasons-why-email-marketing-is-so-important/

https://blogs.constantcontact.com/benefits-of-email-marketing/

The Top 5 Marketing Trends for 2018

If you are a business owner planning your 2018 marketing strategy, you might want to incorporate the following to help give you the best advantage over your competitors.

1- The Use of Artificial Intelligence. Although this is something that is already being used, more and more marketers will find more ways to use AI to their best advantage. For example, predictive analytics in apps can help business owners deliver ads and information to specific market segments they want to target.

2- Live Video Streaming. This isn’t new, but you will see this grow exponentially this year. Eighty percent of users said they would rather watch a live stream than read a blog post. According to Facebook, live video gets 3x more views. Go ahead and use live streaming to advertise an exclusive promotion, show off holiday displays or even show a ‘behind-the-scenes’ at an event.

3- Content Marketing Will Become Even Bigger. That’s right! This isn’t going away anytime soon and it’s no wonder – 70% of people said they’d rather learn about a business through an article than an ad. And, content marketing is cheaper than many other forms of marketing (plus it can produce more leads).

Healthy Waterloo Region Online Magazine

4- Digital Marketers are Targeting Local Communities. Digital platforms are making it easier for businesses to advertise to local markets and engage with them. Bigger brands are competing with small local businesses for the same market share. It will be more important than ever for local businesses to be more strategic in appealing to their neighbours.

5- Reviews, Comments and Engagement! It’s important for any business to build trust and one of the main ways the consumer learns about a business is through ratings and reviews. Transparency is more important than ever as it brings the human element to the marketplace. Encourage clients to leave a review on your social media pages. These hold a lot of clout for future business prospects.

For more information, you might want to check out these articles:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2017/12/18/how-digital-marketing-will-change-in-2018-15-top-trends/

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/12-digital-marketing-trends-to-watch-out-for-in-2018/512767/