Business Should Use Podcasting

The changing times have led to the implementation of various products of technology in businesses. With various aspects of businesses transforming everyday with the changing customer requirements and market demands, these tools have turned out to be necessities to stay afloat in this highly competitive market.

Podcasting has garnered an immense popularity over the years. A podcast is a set of digital audio files that are available on the internet for downloading. A user can subscribe to the podcast to receive the digital files once they are uploaded.
Businesses nowadays are increasingly using podcasts to improve their prospects. It is a powerful marketing tool. Podcasts have become the new talk radio on mobile devices. In fact, the increased usage of mobile phones has led to the explosive growth of podcasting. Let’s take a look at how podcasting can benefit your business.

The Benefits of Podcasting
Podcasting is an Alternative to Video
It is no news that video marketing is crucial for businesses. However, not everyone is comfortable to shoot videos. As a result, using videos, in that case, can hurt your and your business’s reputation considerably.
Additionally, some small businesses may not have the right equipment to shoot videos that will stand out. This is because there are numerous variables involved in videos which include lighting, sound, background and so on. Each of these can go wrong if they are not handled carefully. This is where podcasts become relevant.

Increased Traffic Generation
Using podcasts can help you reach out to new audiences for your business. Podcasts can help in building familiarity with a wide range of audiences. Listeners usually subscribe to the series and regularly listen. As long as the audio series continues, your audience is quite likely to keep listening.
Additionally, your audience may recommend the podcasts to others who may be interested in them, thus increasing your reach considerably. This can lead to improved traffic generation quickly.

Helps in Building Better Relationships with the Audience
Even though a podcast is a one-sided medium, it helps in building effective relationships with the listeners. It gives the feeling that the listeners know the person speaking on the podcast. People listen to podcasts because they have something in common with the speaker and the brand the speaker is representing.
Such a good relationship helps in building trust. This encourages listeners to be associated with the brand. This, in turn, leads to improved conversion. People are more likely to buy something from a friend than a stranger.

Easy to Create
Creating a podcast does not involve a lot of steps. The equipment required for the same is reasonably priced and also available easily. You would need a good quality microphone and headphones for creating a podcast. The editing software for this purpose is free and is quite simple. For uploading the files on your website, a good WiFi connection is important. You may also need to send the podcast to your audience through Email.
Once you have created the podcast, you can start promoting it to increase its exposure and reach out to a larger audience. For this, you would need to make the podcasts available on a variety of distribution channels.

Podcasts are Highly Engaging
We are no strangers to information overload. With the internet being filled with an ample amount of written content, audio information that attempts to engage customers can be a welcoming break from the monotony. Additionally, it leaves enough room for the speaker to convey the message in a highly interactive way which written content may not essentially provide.
In a survey conducted on 300,000 podcast listeners, it was found that 63 percent of the respondents had bought what the host had promoted. This indicates that podcasts can be used to engage the audience and influence their buying decisions positively.

Improves Public Speaking Skills
Regularly hosting podcasts could help you develop confidence while speaking in public. As a result, you would not face any problem while taking part in public speeches. You would start developing a natural, easygoing flow while speaking. In addition to that, you would also receive ample public speaking opportunities wherein you can promote your business.
Most businesses have already started augmenting podcasts into their marketing strategies. It is high time you start implementing them for the growth of your company.

Why Small Business Needs Content Marketing

Small businesses today are competing with a lot of noise. Consumers are plowing through the clutter as they use DVRs to skip through commercials, install ad-blockers to browse the websites they love without ads interrupting, and customize what shows up in their social media news feeds.

This makes it imperative to find ways to make sure your small business isn’t ignored. Write messages that your target audience will want to see and read. Whether you are looking for topics for social media post inspiration or ideas to use to make your blog posts draw customers in, it’s essential to reevaluate the way you communicate with customers. Replace the sales pitch with helpful information and the consumers will start to open their eyes and ears. Market with the goal to make buyers see your brand as a valued information provider — not an interruption.

This type of marketing is called content marketing. Content marketing focuses on communicating with the customer and creating and distributing information with the intent to engage a target audience and promote brand awareness. Information needs to be relevant and value-packed to help your small business attract and retain customers. Take a look at these 4 ways content marketing can drive results and increase your bottom line.

Ways to Use Content Marketing
Bolster Brand Awareness
One key to a successful content marketing strategy is consistency. Publish fresh content regularly to create multiple opportunities for your target market to see your company’s name. This is one of many ways to stand out from your competition, plus repetition makes your brand more familiar. Stay in the forefront of consumer’s minds so the next time they want or need the products or services you offer, they support you.

Build a Reputation as an Industry Leader
If there are eight electricians in town and only one provides helpful information to people in the community, this is the brand that will stand apart as the trusted expert. Take the necessary actions to demonstrate your expertise so prospective customers don’t question or research your skills. The small business that helps consumers, especially when they aren’t getting paid, will also earn a reputation of being trustworthy.

Reel People In With Shareable Content
Create a steady flow of new information on various topics to open doors and drive traffic to your website. You want to bring people in through search, traditional media, social media, and more. Marketing tactics such as pay-per-click advertising and digital banner ads don’t work as well if there is no content to promote. These vehicles need something to discuss and a place to link to. Publish relevant and current content so people have a reason to click and to encourage repeat visitors. These types of content also boost search engine ranking and increase the chances that potential customers will find your small business before they find your competition.

Keep Your Website Fresh
Today’s consumer relies heavily on the web to find the information needed to make decisions. A website is often a consumer’s first impression of that business, so it’s crucial to make it a good one. A stale website will not impress your customers and gives off an unprofessional vibe. Consumers who are on the fence may look at a website or a social media page multiple times, so make sure to have new information to see to make their experience a better one.

Content marketing is one of the most low-cost and effective ways you can drive traffic and build awareness for your small business. Work to create content that attracts, acquires and engages your target audience. It may take some time to see the results, but don’t give up. Stick with your content marketing strategy and continue to refine it and it will lead your small business to great success.

Marketing Tips for the Underdog

Before the days of the internet and Facebook statuses, marketing was a constant uphill battle for a lot of startups and small businesses.
Today, it is still an uphill battle. However, digital marketing has made the task of establishing a business presence much less intimidating. In fact, some might argue that it levels the playing field and gives the smaller guys an opportunity to shine in a way the big enterprises simply cannot.

There are a number of reasons why the market will always root for the underdog. As startups and small to medium sized businesses know, they have a lot to gain from a well-planned digital marketing campaign and must make sure every single dollar is put to good use.
If this sounds like you, take a look at these five tips to help compete and work towards a David and Goliath story for your business.
Small Business Marketing Tips

1. Invest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Did you know that 81 percent of shoppers will begin their buying process with a Google search? Or that 35 percent of all ecommerce traffic comes from search engines?
Small Business Marketing Tips – Invest in SEO
Think of SEO as the word-of mouth of the internet. Regardless of whether you own an e-commerce platform, a brick-and-mortar store, or both, investing in SEO is one of the smartest business decisions you can make to put yourself on the map.

If planned correctly, you will see an incredible ROI without breaking your bank. SEO is effective due to the fact that the customer is already looking for you, or the service you provide. This is where targeting the right customers with the right keywords helps a lot. In the hands of a marketer who knows their stuff, tools like Ahref’s Keyword Explorer prove invaluable in reaching your target audience:
Small Business Marketing Tips – Invest in SEO
However, the most important thing to keep in mind about SEO is that you will not likely see significant results overnight. Like most paid options, your visibility will be tied to your budget. SEO is a long-term investment. Don’t give up if you don’t see success right away. It can take weeks, or even months. Keep investing and eventually, you will see good results.

2. Showcase Expertise with Stellar Content
Content marketing has been the central focus in the digital realm for quite a while now. Content is the foundation of brand messaging. The task is producing material in the form of blog posts, infographics, videos, etc. suited to the platform of your choice.

Content creation is a golden opportunity for businesses of all sizes to shine and let the world know what they are made of and what profound value they can provide.
The trick to creating grade-A content is knowing your target audience down to a tee while fielding their most prevalent questions or concerns.
Take Firmoo for example. An online store for eyeglasses, they know that their product is typically one where customers like to go to a brick-and-mortar location and physically try it on.

In turn, they go above in beyond on their website to provide all the information the customer might need. In addition to perfected product listings, they publish a blog that addresses pressing questions within the industry.

Small Business Marketing Tips – Showcase Expertise with Excellent Content
Content is truly an underdog’s best friend. Google loves fresh, relevant material. The higher quality you produce, the better you will do in the search rankings. Everyone wins.

3. Seek out Influencers
Influencer marketing is all about expanding your community. An influencer is basically a prominent figure with a large following. The goal is to find one pertaining to your target market and getting them to talk about your business to their loyal fan base. When you find the right one, it can do wonders for startups and small to medium sized businesses.

Start by brainstorming a list of who might have the strongest impact on your audience. This could be anyone like a blogger, politician, Instagram model, or even another business owner.

For example, Boxed Water came up with a genius influencer marketing campaign titled “The Retree Project.” For every Instagram post tagged with #Retree, Boxed Water planted two trees. It paired with the National Forest Foundation and other Instagram influencers to spread the word about their philanthropy. As of this writing, they have planted over half a million trees!

4. Make a Serious Effort to Get Online Reviews
We’ve all heard the stats on how important online reviews are these days. Perhaps the most mind-boggling one is that 90 percent of shoppers incorporate them into their purchasing process.

With that being said, customer reviews and testimonials can be a game changer for startups and small to medium sized businesses. This means that the underdogs need to make a huge effort to gather feedback from customers.
Following a purchase, it is wise to send an email encouraging customers to rate them on the big review sites like Yelp, or with a simple form to fill out regarding their experience.

Small Business Marketing Tips – Make a Serious Effort to Get Online Reviews
Asking for reviews is a very simple task and can bring unbelievable results. The key is providing noteworthy service that warrants good feedback.

5. Never Stop Tracking, Analyzing and Improving
Tracking your results is perhaps the most important piece of the marketing puzzle. Without the keeping tabs on analytics, you won’t have a good knowledge of what you are doing well and what needs to be altered or optimized.
Keep a close eye on your targeted keywords as well as content performance so you know how to make your next move. This process is how you see that your money is well spent.

One of the best ways to put yourself ahead of the game is by backing up each decision you make with actionable data. If you haven’t already, look into domain analytics tools like SEMrush or a multi-channel dashboard like Cyfe in addition to your regular Google Analytics, in order to make sure each of your business moves are being properly tracked.

Simple Ways To Advertise Your Business

When done correctly, advertising can attract new customers, build sales to boost your bottom line and enhance your reputation. This is why more than $180 billion were spent in advertising in the United States in 2015. With so many digital tools available, it can be hard to know where to start. As you work to drive additional traffic to your website, take a look at these ways you can market your small business.

How to Advertise Your Business

Display Advertising
Businesses use display ads to highlight their products on websites in a variety of formats such as video, text, audio and images. Display ads share a common goal: to expand your online visibility and sell more products online. Two forms of display ads that drive results and get a positive response from Web surfers are pay-per-click ads and banner ads.
PPC advertising works really well with small budgets, yet business owners often ask themselves, “What is PPC and why should I use it?” Essentially, pay-per-click allows you to pay to get visitors to your site instead of earning those visits organically.

Banner ads are also a form of online advertising that entail embedding an advertisement into a web page. These ads generate a big portion of revenue for many websites. Usually the advertisement consists of an image in a rectangular graphic display that extends across the top or bottom of a website or down the right or left sidebar.

Social Media Advertising
One of many benefits of social media for business is that it provides a great way to cultivate more personalized relationships and better engage with potential customers. The goal of social media marketing is to coerce traffic to the product pages on your website — one of many ways to increase your small business sales.
The trick to a successful social media advertising program is to develop your online business persona. You want to humanize your small business, so post funny images or industry related links to engage your audience. You can also use social media to share and inform your readers about your products. The goal should be to speak to and connect with your audience.

Print Advertising
This form of advertising is when ads are published in printed materials and circulated to the masses. Newspapers, brochures and magazines are forms of print advertising. These methods have many advantages, such as the ability to reach large audiences of a particular demographic. When you advertise, it’s essential to figure out where your primary consumer market will have the most access to your advertisements so your print is in the right places and reaches the right audience.

Broadcast Advertising
This mass-market form of communication includes radio and television. Broadcast advertising was once the most popular way a business could reach a large number of consumers, but the rise of the internet has changed that. There has been a significant decrease in broadcast advertising due to the rise of DVRs and the creation of technology that gives us the ability to skip ads. This method is still used though, especially during times like the Super Bowl.

Many businesses put advertising on the back-burner and think of it as an expense. Instead, marketing and advertising should be considered an investment. There are countless ways to put your brand out there; you just have to figure out which methods will help your business achieve the best results.

Some Features for Small Businesses

You don’t necessarily have to pay for a great email solution for your small business.

If you’re tempted by premium business-class email services such as Google Apps for Business or Microsoft Office 365, consider a free service first. Gmail, Outlook or Yahoo! Mail might meet all the needs of your business, without the monthly fees.

For new business owners, sticking with a free service can also afford you the time to let your business grow. Until you have at least a handful of employees, you might not need the features that paid email provides, such as collaboration tools and shared calendars. And waiting might make it easier to pick the right paid service for the long haul, especially if your company grows quickly.

But don’t settle on just any webmail service. Read on for five features you should look for in a free email solution for your small business. Then check out BusinessNewsDaily’s sister site, TopTenREVIEWS, for a full review and feature breakdown of the most popular free email services on the Web.

Custom email addresses

You want to appear professional, even if you’re not using a professional-grade email service. That’s why it’s so important to link your free email account with a custom email address that includes the name of your business or website. Instead of yourname@outlook.com, your email address can be yourname@yourbusiness.com. An email address that includes your brand can give even the smallest of businesses an air of professionalism, and that’s important when you’re networking or connecting with new clients or customers.

Not every free email service allows users to set up a branded email address, and some require you to pay a recurring fee for the privilege. If you intend to stick with a free email service, be sure to pick one that allows you to customize the domain name in your address.

Advanced security features

Just because you’re using a free email service doesn’t mean you don’t deserve top-of-the-line security tools. The best free email services don’t just shield your inbox from spam. They also help protect your business machines against viruses and malware by scanning attachments and filtering suspicious messages.

Some services also restrict automatic downloads that could infect your machine, and offer phishing filters to screen against malicious emails that ask for personal information like passwords and credit card numbers. Even savvy small business owners can benefit from these automated security features, especially as your company grows.

Substantial inbox storage

You inbox is a record of every email correspondence you and your employees have made. By picking a service with generous storage limits, you can worry less about deleting and archiving old messages. That means your old emails, especially those that came with important attachments, will still be there whenever you need them.

Inbox storage limits vary widely among free services. Google provides 15GB of free storage for its Gmail service. But even that considerable amount of space might not be enough if you frequently deal with large email attachments. By comparison, other popular free services such as Yahoo! Mail cap your inbox at 1TB, and Microsoft’s Outlook has no cap on the number of email messages you can store.

Generous Attachment Limits

Does running your business mean sending and receiving large files such as spreadsheets, product orders or presentations? Most webmail services limit attachment sizes to between 10-25MB . That’s enough to send Word documents, but if you need to attach multiple PDFs or other large files, you’ll hit the limit in a hurry.

Many modern email services allow users to send much, much larger files by pairing your email with a cloud storage service. Google lets Gmail users send files up to 10GB, so long as the file is first uploaded to a Google Drive account. Similarly, Microsoft’s Outlook accommodates files up to a whopping 300GB if they’re uploaded to SkyDrive, and Yahoo! Mail offers similar functionality in conjunction with Dropbox.

IMAP Support

IMAP stands for Internet Message Access Protocol. Email services that support IMAP allow for true two-way email management, so any email you send or receive in any IMAP client will synchronize with the provider’s server.

Not every free email service includes IMAP support, but it’s a must-have for business users. IMAP allows you to access your email through a mobile app or desktop client, in addition to the provider’s Web portal. That gives you more options to read, sort and be notified of new messages, so you can always stay on top of your email inbox. When looking for a way to access and manage your email across desktop and mobile devices, opt for IMAP over POP (Post Office Protocol.) POP allows you to download your email to any computer of mobile device, but erases your email from the main server in the process.

Easy Step Email Marketing Checkup for Retailers

What’s the best way to stay in touch with your retail customers? According to a recent study, email blows all other marketing methods out of the water. Respondents of all generations, from Generation Z to Baby Boomers, prefer email communications from retailers by a wide margin.
How wide? Overall, 68 percent of consumers surveyed prefer to receive brand communications from retailers via email; just 6.9 percent prefer the next most popular method, in-store communications. (Rounding out the list, 5.6 percent prefer text messages and 4.5 percent prefer communications via Facebook.) This is one instance where the generation gap is quite small: 73 percent of Baby Boomers prefer email communications from retailers, and 62 percent of Millennials do, too.

Given the importance of email marketing to retailers, your approach to email needs to be on point. Take this seven-step email marketing checkup and see how you’re doing.
Email Marketing for Retailers Checklist

1. Are your emails segmented? Segmenting, or separating your email subscribers into different lists, helps you deliver more relevant emails. Subscribers may segment themselves based on how they opt-in to your emails, or you can segment them based on data you gather. You can segment subscribers in many ways, including:
Demographic information, such as age, gender, marital status, children
Location
Transaction-related information, such as how often they buy from you, when they tend to purchase, and their average purchase amount
Behavioral information, such as what pages they view on your website, what emails they open and what previous email offers they’ve acted on.

2. Are your emails personalized? Personalization is key in getting results from your email marketing. It’s also part of what customers like about email: For example, 64 percent of Millennials in the survey say email is the marketing channel that feels “most personal.”
The basic element of personalization, of course, is using the recipient’s name in the body of the email and/or in the subject line. Email marketing programs make it easy to personalize your emails this way; you can even add references in the body of the email to things like a recent purchase or visit. However, you should also personalize emails based on how you have segmented your customers (see above). For example, if you own a boutique that sells infant and children’s clothing, you might personalize emails differently based on whether the recipients are parents or grandparents.

3. Do your emails offer perceived value? One company whose emails I subscribe to sends multiple emails per day — each touting an offer such as “20 percent off today only!” or “$10 off your purchase today only!” It’s blatantly obvious that these “one-day only” prices are not really deals, and I’ve begun simply deleting the emails altogether.
In order for your emails to be perceived as valuable — rather than pesky annoyances — make your offers meaningful. In addition to discounts or sales, also send emails with useful information. For example, the infant and clothing retailer I mentioned could create a list of “10 top kids’ fashion trends for 2017,” complete with photos of products you sell in your store. Don’t have time to create such a list on your own? Then link to an article elsewhere online — it’s fine as long as you credit it properly.

4. Are you using triggered emails? E-commerce companies use triggered emails frequently. For example, if you’ve ever abandoned an online shopping cart, you probably got a reminder email asking you if you still wanted to make the purchase. Brick-and-mortar retailers can use the same principle, creating triggered emails based on customer behavior. For instance, if a customer who used to visit your shop regularly hasn’t come in for several months, send a “We miss you!” email with a tempting offer. Collecting customers’ birthday dates and sending emails with a discount good for the birthday month is another smart tactic. Or take a cue from cosmetics retailer Sephora and offer a small free gift during the birthday month — no purchase needed.

5. Do your openers get attention? Focus your copywriting energies on creating good subject lines that clearly sell the benefit of the email and its value to the customer. Because the first line of an email’s body text often displays before it is opened, make it powerful, too.

6. Are your emails mobile optimized? More than half of all survey respondents primarily check email on their smartphones. The younger the respondent, the more likely they are to do this: 59 percent of Millennials and 67 percent of Generation Z primarily check email on their phones. Make sure that your emails display well on smartphones, with enough white space to be readable, and buttons or hyperlinks that are easy to click on. Equally important, any links that take customers to your website should go to a mobile-friendly webpage.

7. Do you make it a priority to build your email lists? Getting new customers to sign up is essential to maintaining a healthy email list. Always ask customers at checkout if they’d like to sign up to receive emails from your store. While you should never make this a requirement for the sale (or make customers feel like you’re being pushy), you can incentivize sign-up by sending them a discount offer as their first welcome email or explaining that by signing up, they can get digital receipts instead of or in addition to paper ones. Provide a sign-up sheet near checkout or, for more accuracy, use a point-of-sale system that enables customers to input their own email addresses.

Know More Marketing Tasks Your Competitors are Successfully Automating

We live in a business world that’s largely ruled by automation. As a result, you’re losing time and money if you’re manually doing something that your competition is streamlining through automation. But are you aware of the various marketing tasks that your competitors are already automating?

What to Know About Automation
Automation is a big word with big consequences. It’s not as simple as identifying a problem, finding an automated solution, and implementing said solution. There are certain areas of your business that are naturally conducive to being streamlined and then there are other areas that need lots of manual input.
It’s also important to recognize that automating a task doesn’t mean you’re completely stepping away and severing all human ties with that task. Automation simply means that you’re able to eliminate some of the time wasted and relocate resources elsewhere.

“Businesses looking to adopt automation must realize that it is far from a one-size-fits-all solution,” IT pro Barclay Ballard says. “There are areas of your businesses that can become more efficient and productive by being automated, but even these are likely to require some human involvement. What’s more, there are likely to be some companies or teams that are completely unsuited to automation.”
The point is that you need to spend time carefully evaluating your needs and understanding what can and cannot be automated within your organization. What you discover may surprise you.

Marketing Automation for Small Businesses
Five Marketing Tasks the Competition is Automating
One area of automation that’s experienced a lot of growth over the last couple of years is marketing automation. There’s a ton of competition in this niche, with many good vendors to choose from. You can either select some sort of all-encompassing automation platform or pick and choose which tasks you want to streamline with individual tools. Either way, here’s a look at some of the tasks your competition is already automating as you read this article.

1. Social Media
Social media is the best place to start since just about every business with a solid online presence is automating their activity in some form or fashion. There are a multitude of tools and you can find applications for automating posting, sharing, engaging followers, syncing accounts, and much more. While there’s still a place for manually monitoring your account, automation can greatly reduce the time and manpower it takes to complete very basic tasks.

2. Blog Promotion
Blog promotion is a huge undertaking that has a considerable impact on your ability to grow your brand and generate leads. With the help of marketing automation tools, you can streamline many of the smaller tasks that take up your time – such as sharing posts, split testing headlines, finding high-quality images, and more. Most marketing automation platforms have a handful of blog promotion features packed inside.

3. Email Marketing
How’s your email marketing going? If you aren’t automating parts of this time-intensive area of your business, chances are, you’re missing out on opportunities to capture more leads and push them through the conversion funnel. Email marketing is naturally conducive to automation and with the right system in place you can segment lists, personalize messaging to the recipient, schedule email blasts, integrate relevant calls-to-action, and much more.

4. A/B Testing
A/B testing is something that a lot of marketers are scared to get involved with because they feel it will overcomplicate things. Well, thanks to automated tools that effortlessly handle spit testing, nothing could be farther from the truth. You can set up A/B tests in the background and you won’t even know they’re running. Then, based on the results from the tests, you can set up a system that automatically changes various landing page elements to satisfy what your audience responds best to.

5. Analytics
If you look at your analytics data and feel like it’s composed in a foreign language, you aren’t alone. But if you aren’t doing anything to deconstruct and understand what the data is telling you, you’re in the minority. Thanks to an influx of new analytics tools in the marketplace, it’s easier than ever to automate the collection and interpretation of data so that you can see exactly what’s happening in clean, visually stimulating reports.

Catch Up With the Times
“To carry out an automation project correctly requires time and investment in both software and people. It is not a quick fix,” Ballard says. “However, the businesses that succeed in automating the most time-consuming and repetitive tasks will reinvigorate their workplace by giving their employees the ability to work faster, more efficiently and more intelligently than previously possible.”

Should You Know The Best Ways For eCommerce Businesses

You’ve finally done it.
You’ve bought your domain. You’ve set up your website. You’ve even created some social media accounts. And you’ve set up your online store.

It’s time to start selling!
But there’s one problem … nobody’s coming to your website. Nobody’s buying your product. As a matter of fact, nobody even knows you exist!
That sucks, right?
But don’t worry. Every eCommerce business owner runs into this problem. Fortunately, there are ways you can attract more web traffic and get your eCommerce business started.
For most eCommerce businesses, online advertising is the best way to get more people to your website. In this post, I’m going to give you some helpful tips to maximize your online advertising efforts.
When you use these tips, you will see how much easier it can be to get more traffic to your website and earn more business.
You’re welcome.
Google Adwords
Google Adwords is one of the most common online advertising platforms. It’s also one of the most effective. If you’re going to use paid advertising, you should try out Google’s platform.
Here are some of the benefits of using Adwords:
It’s highly flexible. You can target many different types of customers
It’s a huge source of traffic. Google is the most popular search engine. 67.5 percent of search engine users use Google to find the information they need.
You get transparent results. You can easily see how your ad campaign is doing at any time.
Google is one of the most popular online advertising platforms. If you use it the right way, you can get tons of traffic to your website.
Know Who You Want To Target
Yes, I know this sounds obvious, but it’s really not. Many business owners fail to target their ads effectively. Their ads end up targeting people that aren’t interested in what they have to offer.

It’s important to know what your prospects are searching for online. Google’s Keyword Planner is a great tool that can help you figure this out. And it’s free!
When you’re writing your ads, you need to make sure you’re addressing the actual needs of your prospects. Don’t just tell your prospects what you offer. Tell them what problems you will solve. That’s what they’re looking for.
Make sure you have a clear call to action. Let them know what you want them to do, and why. This is the best way to make sure you get more click-throughs.
Use Negative Keywords
So what are negative keywords? It’s simple. These are keywords that you don’t want your ad to show up for. It keeps you from wasting time and money showing your ad to people who aren’t a good fit for your offer.
Here’s an example.

Let’s say you’re an attorney who specializes in estate planning law. Your ads cater to prospects that need to draft a last will and testament. In this case, you don’t want your ad showing up for people who are looking for a personal injury attorney. So “personal injury” would be a negative keyword for you.

You need to create a list of keywords that you don’t want your ads to show up for. This is how you maximize the effectiveness of your ads. You can make sure your ads aren’t showing to people who wouldn’t be interested in what you’re offering. If you learn how to use negative keywords, you will get more of the right traffic.
Facebook Advertising
Facebook is a great advertising platform if you want to gain more exposure for your business. It’s the most popular social media platform, which means that you have a higher likelihood of reaching your target audience. It’s the best online advertising platform for eCommerce businesses.

Here are some of the benefits to using Facebook ads:
You can target your ads more effectively. Facebook allows you to use demographics to target your prospects. You can be pretty precise in the type of person you want to see your ad.
There’s a HUGE pool of people to target. Facebook has 1.28 billion users. Over 800 million of these users are active on a daily basis.

Using it gives you an edge over your competitors. Many businesses are not taking advantage of the benefits that Facebook offers.
If you use Facebook ads correctly, you can greatly increase the amount of visitors to your website.
Rotate Your Ads
Don’t just use the same ad over and over again, even if it seems to be working. You want to rotate your ads on a regular basis.
Why?

Because you don’t want people to get tired of seeing your ad. If you use the same ad over and over again, people will stop clicking on it. If you get less clicks, your cost per click (CPC) will go up and your campaign will become more expensive.

Don’t make that mistake.
Develop an ad schedule for your campaign. Create a few different types of ads. Use different pictures. Change the ad copy. You need as much variety as possible. Not only will this keep people from becoming tired of your ads, it gives you a chance to see which types of ads work the best.

Use Landing Pages
This may sound counterintuitive, but you don’t want to send your visitors straight to your website when they click on
an ad. You want to send them to a landing page first.
Landing pages allow you to make the most of the visitors who click on your ads. With a landing page, you can educate your customers before trying to pitch your product. You can give them more direction on what you want them to do.

If you connect your ad to your home page or a product page, your visitor won’t know what to do once they get to your website. That’s why it’s best for them to see a landing page first.
Your landing page will give your visitor a clear idea of what you want them to do, and why they should do it. If you’re paying for the ad, you might as well make sure that you increase the odds of getting actual customers from it, right?

LinkedIn Ads
Using LinkedIn for advertising is one of the best decisions you can make for your eCommerce business. This is especially true if you have a B2B company.
Here are some of the benefits to using LinkedIn ads:
It allows you to target actual professionals in any industry.
You get more variety in the type of ads you want to create.

LinkedIn ads offer a higher conversion rate.
LinkedIn gives you access to tons of professionals around the world. It’s one of the best ways to reach major decision makers in the companies you target.
Choose The Right Ad Format
LinkedIn offers two different types of ad formats:
Sponsored Content.
Text and Image Ads
Both of these types have their own pros and cons. You’ll need to figure out which type works best for your business.
Sponsored content is an update that appears on your company LinkedIn page. These posts are targeted to a specific type of audience. They will show on your homepage feed. It’s best for advertising promotions that are happening for a short period of time.

Text and image ads include a headline, description and image. These types of ads are meant to be more long-term. You can target these ads to a specific type of prospect. You can target many different types of professionals in many different types of industries.

Make Them Valuable
Make sure you’re emphasizing the value of what you’re offering. You need to communicate what your prospect will get when they click on your ad.

On LinkedIn, the best way to create an ad is to speak to a specific problem or goal that your prospect might have. You want to show them how you can help. It’s about making their lives easier.

Final Thoughts
Using online advertising isn’t easy. It takes time to master. Creating the right types of ads requires a lot of trial and error. But, if you keep at it, you will earn a lot more traffic and get more customers. When you use the tips given in this article, it will become easier to get more people to buy your product.

Easy Tips for Maintaining Customer Relationships Online

To grow a successful business, you need to be able to market to customers online and then communicate with them effectively. There are plenty of methods you can use to improve your online customer relationships. Here are some top tips from members of our small business community.

Keep These CRM Influencers on Your Radar
If you want to improve your relationships with customers, then you need to have the best information at your disposal. That means you can benefit from following the CRM influencers listed in this Salesflare post. Small Business Trends CEO Anita Campbell is honored to be included.

Use Social Media Emoji to Humanize Your Business
When attempting to really connect with customers online, it helps if you can humanize your business. And using emoji on social media can help, as this post by Aleh Barysevich at the Social Media Examiner explains. You can also see commentary on the post over on BizSugar.

Get These Marketing Tools for Local Business Owners
Marketing a local business can require a unique set of skills different from those needed to market other kinds of businesses. But there are plenty of tools out there to help you market your local business to the right customers. In this Mobile Marketing Helper blog post, Kevin Cortez shares some essential tools for local marketers.

Go Online to Benefit Your Brick and Mortar Business
Even if you have a store or business that only sells to customers in person, you can still benefit from getting online. You can find some potential benefits for brick and mortar businesses going online in this Revel post by Caitlin Stanley.

Learn About the Cost of Google AdWords
Google AdWords can be a really helpful tool for businesses looking to expand their online reach. But you need to learn about the pricing structure if you’re going to take advantage of it. Gary Shouldis of 3Bug Media discusses more here. And BizSugar members chime in with their own thoughts too.

Amp Up Your SMB’s Performance and Productivity
If you want to connect with more customers, increase sales or otherwise improve the chances of your small business succeeding, you need to find ways to improve your business’s performance and productivity.

Build Links Without Creating Content
Content marketing can be a powerful tool for businesses. But it’s not the only way to increase your reach online. This Marketing Land post by Andrew Dennis explains how you can build links without creating your own content.

Define and Create Your Brand Voice
You need to have a consistent brand voice in order to effectively communicate with your customers over time. And you can define and create the right voice for your brand using the tips in this post by Jomer Gregorio on the CJG Digital Marketing blog. You can also see input on the post from the BizSugar community here.

Take These Steps for SEO Strategy Success
To get your business found online, you need an SEO strategy. But some business owners might not know where to start when creating that strategy. For five steps to a successful SEO strategy, check out this Search Engine Journal post by Sergey Grybniak.

Grow a Site to 10,000+ Visitors a Month
If you want to reach more customers for your small business, you need to get them to your site first. In this post from Basic Blog Tips, Anil Agarwal details how you can quickly grow your site in terms of visitors each month.

Steps To Establishing Your Brand Online

hard isn’t it?
Yes, I’m talking about establishing your brand online. As you have probably learned, you can’t just throw up a cool-looking website and then expect thousands of visitors to come flocking to it.
It doesn’t work that way. And it’s pretty frustrating, right? You’ve probably dabbled in social media. You may have even written a few blog posts.
But nobody comes to visit. And you’re probably about to lose your mind.

To add salt to the wound, you have probably seen many business owners make it look easy. How do they get so many visitors and subscribers?
Here’s reality: it’s not easy at all. Building a strong online presence takes a lot of time and hard work. But that’s not all. It also requires you to make sure you’re taking the right steps. After all, you don’t want to waste time working hard on something that isn’t going to get you anywhere, do you?

Online Branding Steps
That’s what this post is about. In this post, I’m going to give you some basic pointers that will set you on the path to building a thriving online presence. You will learn the steps you need to take to begin earning more traffic, getting more subscribers, and converting customers.

Start Your Blog
If you have done any reading on online marketing, you’ve already learned why blogging is important for business owners. Blogs remain one of the most powerful tools for expanding your influence, building credibility, and getting more exposure for your business.
Businesses who blog earn tons more leads than those that don’t.
Here are some of the benefits of blogging:
Blogging improves your search engine rankings, making it easier for prospective clients to find your business online.

It increases the likelihood that prospects will become paying clients.
Blogs are a great way to build your email list.
So why don’t more entrepreneurs blog? Well, one of the reasons is because they believe it’s too hard to build and maintain one.
But this doesn’t have to be the case. There are steps you can follow to establish a high-quality blog.
Start Creating Content
After you have chosen your platform and web host, and your blog is completely set up, you need to start creating content. This is the part you’ve been waiting for, right?
Not so fast.

Before you start writing content you need to have a plan. You don’t want to just start writing whatever you feel like writing. You need to know what type of content you need to write.
Fortunately, this isn’t too hard.
You just need to ask yourself the following questions:
What type of information does my audience need? What questions are they asking?
What types of blog posts would work the best for my readers?
What have others in my industry written about? How can I take a unique approach?
Here’s the thing: you’re not just writing content for the sake of writing content. Each blog post you write needs to have one objective: to benefit your readers as much as possible.

People don’t read content that isn’t helpful. Chances are, if they came to your blog it’s because they believe you’re providing information that they need. You need to deliver the goods!
Create Your Social Media Strategy
Creating a blog is an important step, but it’s pretty much useless if nobody reads it, right? That’s where social media comes in.
Social media is the best way to promote your content and your business. It’s the tool you will use to attract visitors to your blog and your website. An effective social media strategy can get your website more exposure and enable you to interact with your audience.

Use The Right Social Media Platform
Before implementing a social media strategy, you need to know which platforms to use. Otherwise, you might be wasting a lot of time posting on platforms that your audience doesn’t use.
The key is to find out which services your target market is using the most. You have to understand the demographics that make up your audience. Fortunately, you may already know this if you’re familiar with your industry.

Social Media Marketing Is About Being Helpful
Just like writing content, your main objective when using social media should be to help as many people as you can. It’s not about just promoting your products and services. Social media should be used to share your content and engage with your prospective clients.
Now, I’m not saying that you should never use social media to promote your products and services. It’s a great way to create awareness of what your business offers. However, you don’t want to overdo it.

One effective method for sharing on social media is to use the 30/60/10 rule. Here’s how this works:
30 percent of your social media posts should be your own content.
60 percent should be curated posts of other people’s content.
10 percent should be posts that promote your products or services.
You don’t have to stick hard and fast to that ratio. You might find that tweaking it a bit will work better for your business. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Find out what’s most effective for you.

Build Your Email List
When you start earning more traffic from your content marketing and social media efforts, it’s time to start converting these visitors into subscribers. This is how you will build your online audience and keep in touch with your followers.
Not only is email marketing great for building and nurturing your audience, it’s a highly effective way to get more customers. Email marketing is 40 times more effective than using only social media to attract business.

Give A Compelling Offer
How many times have you visited a website and been offered something cool for free? No doubt you’ve probably downloaded at least a few ebooks, checklists, and other types of content from sites that had valuable information to share.

Chances are, you only had to type in your email address, then download the goods, right?
So why does this work? Well it’s a little thing called the “reciprocity principle.” It simply means that if you give something valuable to another person, they will be more willing to give you something that you want.

In order to get subscribers, you have to offer something valuable. You can’t expect your visitors to give you their highly-prized email address if they’re not going to get anything out of it.

The great thing about this is that it’s not too difficult. You just have to think of what types of information would be the most valuable to your visitors.

Here are a few examples of free offers you can give to your readers:
Ebooks
Cheat sheets
Checklists
White papers
A free consultation
A video teaching
Not too hard right? But here’s the key: it has to be something that goes deeper than the value you’re already providing on your blog. You have to give them a reason to want it.

Engage With Your Audience
After you have gained permission to contact your visitors, you need to engage with them. This is where you will develop your email marketing campaigns.
When email your list, you don’t want to send only promotional materials. Similar to social media campaigns, email marketing should be used to provide value to your readers. Otherwise, they will stop opening your emails. They may even unsubscribe.

You don’t want that, right?
Figure out ways you can give your readers more of what they want: helpful information. Here are some suggestions:
Send updates on your latest blog posts.
Give content that only your email list gets to see.
Ask for some feedback from your audience. It’s a great way to gain a deeper understanding of your subscribers.
Give your readers a “behind the scenes” look at what your business is doing.

When you’re focused on providing more value with your email marketing, your readers will be more likely to spend their money with you. You don’t want to send a ton of sales emails if you’re not also providing a benefit to your readers.

Should You Know If Display Advertising Statistics for Different Types of Digital Ads

We’ve collected these display advertising statistics from a variety of sources. If you’re unsure of the differences between the different types of display advertising, there’s an explanation beneath the statistics.
Last updated: January 22, 2017
Banner Ads Statistics
Banner ads have been hit hard over the past few years:
Approximately 30 percent of Internet users say they find traditional banner advertising distracting and will actively avoid sites where the ads interfere too much with content.

92 percent of online ads aren’t even noticed.
Ad blocking is blamed for costing the advertising industry $22 Billion in 2015.
64 percent say ads today are annoying or intrusive.
However, retargeting is making banner ads relevant again:
Website visitors who are retargeted with ads are 70 percent more likely to convert on your website.
In one comScore study, retargeted ads lead to a 1,046 percent increase in branded search, a clear sign of heightened brand awareness and recall.
The average click through rate for ads is .07 percent while the average click through rate for retargeted ads is 10x that or .7 percent.

Native Advertising Statistics
Consumers interact with native ads 20 percent to 60 percent more than they do with standard banner ads.
Native ads with rich media like images or videos drive up to 60 percent more conversions than those without.
Reading a native ad headline yields 308 times more consumer attention than processing an image or banner.
53 percent of users say they are more likely to look at a native than a banner ad
Native mobile ads deliver 6X higher conversions for brands versus traditional banner ads.
18 percent more (52 percent vs. 34 percent) of native ad viewers show purchase intent
Sponsored Content Statistics
70 percent of individuals want to learn about products through content rather than through traditional advertising.
Sponsored content boosts favorability for the associated brand:
Display Advertising Statistics for Different Types of Digital Ads
In a study where participants were shown sponsored content examples:
On average, consumers spent almost two-and-a-half minutes with a sponsored story–the same amount as editorial content.
81 percent of respondents noted they enjoyed the content.
75 percent indicated they are likely to view additional sponsored stories.
63 percent would share the content with others.
Branded Content Statistics
As a comparison to the different types of display advertising, here are some branded content statistics that show the effectiveness of content marketing:
68 percent of users spend time reading about brands that interest them.
60 percent of people are inspired to seek out a product after reading about it
80 percent of people enjoy learning about companies through custom content.
70 percent of consumers feel closer to a company as a result of content marketing.
82 percent of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content.
What’s the Difference Between the Different Types of Display Advertising?
So what’s the difference between the different types of display advertising? This visual is a good place to start:

Display Advertising Statistics for Different Types of Digital Ads
Based on image at: Contently
Here’s a breakdown of each type:
Banner Advertising
Banner ads were the first form of online advertising. They can consist of text, images, and videos and often appear on the top or side of a page. The red arrow in the image below is pointing towards a banner ad:
Display Advertising Statistics for Different Types of Digital Ads
With the rise of ad-blockers, the effectiveness of banner ads has taken a hit. That’s changing however, as retargeting campaigns get smarter and easier to implement.

Native Advertising
Native advertising is a form of online advertising that matches the form and function of the platform on which it appears. This type of display advertising is “pay-to-play” as brands must pay for their native ads to appear. These ads take the form of search engine search ads, sponsored ads on social media, and sponsored content. The key is that native ads look like they are part of the site on which they sit.
Branded Content
Branded content is the text, video, audio, and images you use in your content marketing efforts. This type of content must be useful or interesting to your target customers. Branded content lives on your blog and social media profiles and uses search engine optimization (SEO) to drive organic traffic. You do not pay to place branded content online as you’re using locations that you own and/or control.

Sponsored content is a hybrid of brand content which is useful and native advertising which is a paid placement. In the images below, the red arrow is pointing to an ad on the front page which leads to the sponsored content shown in the second image.