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Tag: marketing

Is your website ready for Google’s mobile update in May?

It has been widely reported by Search Engine Land, Techcrunch, and others that Google is planning a new update to their algorithm regarding mobile-friendliness.  Mobile web traffic now exceeds traffic from desktop users, so Google is emphasizing how important it is that websites have the ability to display information correctly on mobile devices.

In the spring of 2015, last year Google first prioritized this and will update that original announcement again next month with a new change in their ranking criteria.

What does that mean to website owners and administrators?  Simply, you may lose mobile traffic if your site is not compatible with mobile devices.

Fortunately Google does provide a tool in which you simply type in your url to check your site.You can find it here —-> Google Mobile Checker <—-

Something else that is less critical, but worth paying attention to is AMP — (Accelerated Mobile Pages). Google would also like sites to use their formula for making web pages load faster.  They are emp

You can find all about it at the following link.  —-> AMP <—-

Best of success in all your endeavors.

Jon Lombard – Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

7 Tips For An Authentic And Productive Writing Process

7 Tips For An Authentic And Productive
Writing Process

 

Richard Tipsword, Contributor

 

Does this sound familiar?

You’re sitting in front of your laptop, staring at a blank screen.

The deadline for the article you need to write is approaching, and you’re struggling to get started when you should be in the final editing stages.

As you sit there trying to put your expertise in writing, a strange insecurity creeps up your spine. You see yourself changing before your own eyes, transforming from a confident expert into a self-conscious amateur.

It’s your own Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde transformation experience.

I’ve been there.

I used to hate writing

Well, actually, it was more like loathing than hating.

Anytime I needed to write anything I’d procrastinate, pretending that avoiding the project would make it go away. Needless to say, the procrastination led to a flurry of rushed writing at the last minute to meet my deadlines, resulting in less than my best work.

But my real problem wasn’t the act of writing. It was fear. Fear of making mistakes, fear that what I wrote would sound stupid, fear that my writing wouldn’t make sense to the reader, etc.

My insecurities were turning me into a monster

So there I was, a guy with more than 15 years of experience, who has won some awards and is even a judge for three international design competitions, worried about sounding stupid.

It sounds ridiculous, but my fear of screwing up made writing a miserable experience for me.

I even used to try to compensate for my fears. I’d use stiff, formal sentences and large, important-sounding words to try to “prove” I knew what I was talking about. Unfortunately, all that did was make me sound like a pretentious jerk.

It was like I was changing from Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde anytime I had to write something.

Then one sentence from my college professor changed everything

I had a job that offered tuition reimbursement benefits, so I decided to take some college classes. One of my classes was a composition class, and the professor gave me the best writing advice I’d ever heard.

“Write the way you talk.”

Wait. What?

It can’t be that easy! Seriously? What a liberating idea! That one piece of advice helped me break free of my fears and relaxed my writing style. No more procrastination. No more using large, unnecessary words to try and impress the reader. I could just relax, be myself, and write.

Now before you get the wrong impression, let me explain something: writing the way you talk does not give you permission to write poorly, or to publish content that sucks.

What it does is help break down the mental barriers of fear and procrastination that keep you from being a more engaging, and more productive writer.

Here’s how to use “write the way you talk” to squash your insecurities and avoid sounding like a pompous idiot:

1. Imagine yourself having a chat with a trusted friend

Good writing is like a conversation between the writer and the reader. So when you’re writing, think about how you would explain your topic to a close friend who was sitting next to you.

If you were having a conversation with that person, what words would you use? What would you talk about first? What examples would you give to help them understand your topic? What questions might they ask?

Approaching your writing this way will help you write copy that’s more informal and conversational in tone, that better engages your audience. As it happens, it’s also the best way to write sales copy.

2. Record yourself talking about your topic.

Not sure what you sound like in a conversation? Try recording yourself talking about your topic.

This is especially helpful for people who have clients they talk to on the phone regularly. The next time you’re explaining something to a client on the phone, record the call and listen to it later (Be sure to check the laws in your state first. Some states require you get the other party’s permission before you record). The easiest way to do this is with one of the many available plugins for Skype that do call recording.

3. Take a deep breath, relax, and just be yourself

By writing the way you talk, you can’t help injecting a little of your personality into what you write. After all, you’ll be writing in your own voice, using plain English everyone can understand, and a tone that makes you seem more human than textbook.

Combine that with a few relevant, well-placed personal stories and you have the makings of some irresistible content.

4. Use the same words that you do in your everyday life.

If you write the way you talk, you’ll be more inclined to use common, everyday words that you would normally use in conversation.

This prevents you from sounding like Captain Jack Sparrow using (in my best Johnny Depp impersonation) obtuse and generally confounding speech that makes your readers wish they were drinking rum.

So keep your writing simple and clear without artificially inflated language. A good rule of thumb is: if the average person would need a dictionary to know what your word means, then you need a different word.

5. Toss out the rule book and just start writing

If all the rules about grammar, writing styles, active versus passive voice, and punctuation are adding to your insecurities about writing, toss out the “rule book” for awhile and just write.

Focus on getting the main points of your idea down in your first draft, and don’t worry about anything else.

Once you’ve done that, you can go back and edit the heck out of what you wrote.

Do you notice any obvious errors? Is there anything that could be rearranged to bring more clarity to what you wrote? If so, now’s the time to fix it along with any grammatical, spelling, or other writing problems.

After you’ve made those corrections, leave the article to sit overnight and look at it again in the morning with fresh eyes. Is there anything you can do to make it even better?

6. Enlist the help of a close friend to keep you honest

Want to make sure that what you write actually sounds like you and not someone else?

Enlist the help of a close friend. Have them read what you write, and tell you if it sounds like someone else wrote it. This will help keep you true to yourself, and will force you to be authentic with your writing.

7. Read what you write out loud

One of the first editing tests I put my writing through is reading it out loud. Doing that makes awkward sentences and bad punctuation become obvious, because as you read, you’ll naturally “stumble” over the parts that need to be fixed.

So as you read your writing aloud, pay attention to those places that tend to trip you up — they may need some additional work.

The moral of the story

Get over the fears of messing up or sounding stupid. Just write the way you talk and you’ll be able to knock out your first draft in no time.

If you’re willing to do that, you’ll find that you’ll dread writing a lot less and be able to get more writing done because you’re working on it instead of fearing it.

I’ve been using these tips to guide my writing for several years now, and today I got the best evidence yet that they work.

I was talking with one of my clients on the phone about blogging, and as we were discussing the content for her blog she told me, “Whenever I read something you wrote, you always sound like such an expert. Like you really know what you’re talking about. ”

Need I say more?

So go ahead. Dive in. Who knows? You may even start to like writing.

Written by: Logan Zanelli

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Who Are You Really Marketing To?

 

"…25-30 year old single women with annual incomes over $75,000, who live in San Diego, who like to shop…So if we are pretending we’re a clothing store, these might be some of the questions we should ask:

Where do they shop?

What magazines do they subscribe to?

What blogs might they read?

What do they struggle with when shopping?

How do they share their shopping experience?"     

      –Derric Haynie, CEO Splash

So, I'm new to the world of marketing.  No, it's not my educational background and I am surely not "fluent."  So, when I took a few minutes to read the above article (http://hive.pe/eG) written by Derric Haynie of Splash, I was amazed that there was so much to learn with regard to marketing!  Apparently, I'd been utilzing some aspects of marketing for quite some time now and hadn't even realized it. 

Have you ever completed a profile on an online dating site?  Whether or not you were providing misleading demographic information for your profile, you were probably marketing toward a certain mate.  So you created a profile in such a way that the hope was that you would attract a certain someone who had all the characteristics that you were looking for.  Am I correct?  Well, even though this example is quite simple, you were using some aspects of marketing.  If you included photos along with your description and traits, then you (in a nutshell), were utilzing the phenomenon known as "buyer persona."

I invite you to check out Derric's blog, especially if you are like me and you are new to this world of marketing.  I thought it gave a great overview of this topic and it has forced me to think more about who my target audiences are in more detail.

I'd love to hear thoughts once you've had a chance to read Derric's article.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Blogging for SEO: How to Write a Blog for Google!

Blogging for SEO

Source:  Rob Neu

Get Your Blog Noticed

It seems like a lot of bloggers, and people in general really, have a bit of a negative view when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and how to utilize it to be one of the top entries of a search results page . It seems that lately opinions are moving in a more positive direction. I think this is awesome because SEO can really help bloggers get their content noticed. Ranking well in organic search is one of the best ways to share your voice with a larger audience and increase your authority on a given topic.

The goal of this article is to help bloggers understand that SEO is simply a tool, not the mystical black art that many have sold it to be. When you do SEO right, it really doesn’t need to impact your writing much at all. Once you learn the basics, it just sort of becomes something you do naturally without having to think about it very much. The places where most bloggers struggle are keyword targeting, strategic link-building, and technical SEO. Technical SEO is indexation problems, meta issues, and most of the other things that our SEO audits address.

None of these things should change the way you write significantly. Keyword targeting can be as simple as doing a bit of research to make sure you mention the right words a few times throughout your posts. Technical SEO sounds complicated, and can be sometimes, but if you’re a blogger using WordPress, chances are it’s actually a lot simpler than you think. Strategic link-building can be a bit tricky, but as a blogger you have a distinct advantage over other website owners in this area. Bloggers can update their site and display new content very quickly. Search engines love this kind of activity.

Harness Your Blog to WordPress

Facts don’t lie. As of this writing, WordPress powers over 38% of the Web. It is by far the most widely-used content management system and it continues to grow in popularity every year. It should be noted that this is the self-hosted version of WordPress, which is WordPress.org not WordPress.com. WordPress.com is a great place to get started, but if you’re serious about blogging and SEO you should consider self-hosting.

In addition to being popular, WordPress is also a very SEO-friendly CMS. Without doing anything extra, simply using WordPress will improve your chances of ranking. This is because it has a lot of basic SEO functionality, such as pretty permalinks and contextual page titles, built right in.

Moving to WordPress is (Usually) Easy

There are a lot of importers for WordPress that let you move your content from other systems like Blogger and Tumblr built right in. There’s also a bunch of great plug-ins and an entire guide to help make the transition to WordPress easier. One area that might be a bit of a challenge is choosing a new design for your site once you’re up and running. Lucky, there are tons of great free and premium WordPress themes for you to choose from.

Integrate Basic SEO Into Your Blogging

Once you’ve got your blog running on WordPress, you need to start thinking about integrating some basic SEO best practices into your blogging work-flow. A good place to start making some changes is in your keyword targeting.

Over time, you’ll start naturally writing your posts in a more search-friendly format, but when you’re getting started it’s best to do these things AFTER you’ve finished writing. When SEO isn’t familiar to you, focusing on it right out of the gate will just slow down your writing and frustrate you. Try to put it out of your mind until you’re done writing and think of it more as part of your editing work-flow.

You should also keep in mind that your SEO title and your meta description are going to be the way people see your post in the Google search results. Because of this, they need to be attention-grabbing. Getting this right is critical for convincing people to click on your post. A great title can even outdo a higher ranking in some cases, so definitely spend some time thinking about improving your headlines.

How Do You Know Which Keyword to Choose?

Choosing the right keywords for your posts is another area where most people struggle. Many times the title of your posts might not be exactly what people are looking for on Google. As you do this more, you’ll start to develop a bit of a 6th sense for choosing keywords, but starting out it can be a little tricky.

Don’t let this section intimidate you or stop you from optimizing your posts. Google is pretty smart and they’re getting smarter all the time. If your content is good enough, they’ll frequently rank you for the keyword you should have targeted if it isn’t something that’s super competitive.

That said, in a perfect world you’d always be optimizing your content for the ideal keywords. In order to get a little closer to that, you can use a few tools to get an idea of what people are searching for on Google.

Keyword Research is Hard, but Worth the Effort

In order to pick the best keywords, you need to do a little research. There’s a tool from Google called the Keyword Planner that will let you see how many people are searching for a particular group of keywords. The problem is it’s difficult to come up with variations on your original idea to see what might work best. Luckily, there’s a simple tool called Ubersuggest that can give you a ton of ideas to test in the Keyword Planner. Here’s a guide on how to use Ubersuggest.

Spending 5 or 10 minutes doing this can mean the difference between targeting a high competition, low volume keyword or targeting a low competition, high volume keyword. It’s hard to get into the habit of doing this, but if you take the time to learn it, you’ll understand the benefits pretty quickly.

Google also has another useful tool called Google Trends which lets you see the overall interest in a keyword or a topic over a period of time. This can be a good indicator for whether a keyword or a topic is worth focusing on. Keyword research is a pretty vast topic and it’s also one of the cornerstones of SEO. Don’t feel bad if you have trouble with it, you are far from being alone. Just chip away at understanding it a little at a time.

Participate in Your Community

Being an active blogger gives you a number of distinct advantages over other website owners. As a blogger, you probably already have a group of people you interact with and talk to online on a regular basis. This is a huge advantage! Keep track of where these people are hanging out on the web.

Stay active on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn in particular, among the Social Networks. All of these things mean that whenever you publish something related to WordPress, it’s pretty much guaranteed to get a lot of eyeballs and pull in a decent amount of links.

You need to do the same thing in your industry. Start searching for things related to your industry and follow the top results to find where everyone is hanging out. Find the popular blogs, see which social networks everyone is most active on, and pay particular attention to any forums your community is using.

Start leaving comments, talking on social channels, sharing your own content as well as the content of others, and posting in forums. Don’t spam anyone, but don’t be afraid to jump into the conversation either. Once you’ve established yourself in the community a little bit, don’t hesitate to start asking people for links when appropriate. If you’re a genuine person and you’re not just trying to leech off the community, you’ll be surprised how responsive and helpful everyone is.

Keep Track of Your Progress

If you’re not already using Google Analytics, you really need to start. Analytics can get pretty complicated and probably deserves an entire post of its own. That said, there’s a number of simple things you can look for in your analytics to help you keep track of and improve your blog’s content and SEO efforts. First of all, you’ll need to set up and install Analytics if you haven’t already. This guide does a good job explaining how to set up analytics and you can use this plugin to add analytics to your blog.

Rinse and Repeat

One of the biggest mistakes people make is they give up too early. The things outlined in this post take time! You can’t just target a few keywords, send a couple emails, and check analytics a few times if you want to succeed. You need to keep at it.

Don’t stop after you optimize a post or two. Do as many as you can! Go back into your old content and optimize it. Keep doing keyword research and learn how to anticipate what people will be searching for in your field. Keep your finger on the pulse of your community so you can be one step ahead of everyone and create content that people are thirsting for. You can do it! It’s not has hard as it seems, just keep working all the time and eventually you’ll get there.

Dennis Roeder

Contributor #markethive

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Become The Best Blogger

Become The Best Blogger.

Is it necessary to have a goal to become the best blogger in your niche? Is content marketing something that the public on the web is seeking? Many have asked that questions about the value of content marketing and wondered if it is limited to a few types of businesses. This article was printed in Hubspot in August 2014 titled, How To Become The Best Blogger In Your Niche. 

Back in 2012, Max Nisen wrote, “Content marketing is one of the biggest new trends.” He reported NewsCred’s CEO Shafqat Islam as saying, “Every Fortune 2000 company today is a candidate for content marketing. If they're not doing it, they will be.”

Two years later, Nisen and Islam’s prophecies have come to pass. We are in the age of content marketing — and it's showing no signs of going away. The content marketing arena is now so vast and so complex that people are starting to get lost. Don't believe me? Just take a look at this hodgepodge of an infographic from LUMA:

luma-content-marketing

In spite of the scary complexity, blogging is still the one of the most powerful weapons in the content marketer’s arsenal. And the better the blog, the better the content marketing efforts.

So here’s my thesis: If you are the best blogger in your niche, you can be the most successful in your niche. It’s only logical. If blogging is the core of content marketing, and content marketing is the path to success, then we must conclude that being a kickass blogger is the path to marketing success.

And here’s the really good news: You can become the best blogger in your niche. In the post that follows, I will provide three points that explain exactly how to gain that edge.

1) Know your audience.

Answer the most important question:  “Who is my audience?”

Too often, bloggers start with the wrong question. They ask things like:

  • How can I be interesting?
  • What can I write about?
  • What will make this post more engaging?

Those are great questions, but they are totally meaningless unless you first understand your audience.

I came across a line recently that stuck with me:

 

pngbase64c3c9af76173e7e56

When you blog for someone, you will have plenty of things to write about. What’s more, you’ll communicate in the right way — you'll be more "human" and familiar if you treat your audience like real people.

As you ask the big question, “who is my audience,” keep in mind these additional questions that will help you develop a deeper knowledge (From University of Maryland's Writing Resources):

 

  • What is the relationship between the writer and the reader?
  • How much does the reader know
  • Is the audience likely to agree or disagree with you?
  • What will the reader do with the information?

The clearer your view of your audience, the better your writing will be.

Your audience is smaller than you think.

Keep in mind that your audience is probably smaller than you think. Traffic metrics do not reflect an accurate count of your engaged audience. A better way to understand your audience is through engagement metrics.

In a study conducted by Chartbeat on Slate readership, they discovered that the most engaged readers were those who scrolled below the fold. A full 86% of engagement took place when readers scrolled to read an article.

 

chartbeat

Also, share metrics tend to skew the perception of an engaged audience. The people who share your articles don’t always read the whole thing, as an Upworthy study showed. This chart below indicates how long users stayed on a page compared to the point at which they shared the article.

attention_minutes

Your true readership is made of those who are engaged — the users who read your entire article and absorb the material.

You can build your audience.

Even though it is smaller than you think, you can also build your audience. Great bloggers grow in size and reputation. That’s what this article will tell you how to do.

The more you blog, the better knowledge you’ll have of your audience. You discover what they love, what they don’t love, what makes them click, and what makes them convert. In my Complete Guide to Building Your Blog Audience, I wrote this:

"A great blog begins with the content you create, but to be successful, a blog also needs a strong community or audience."

So you should not only learn who your audience is, but also shape that audience, too. To a certain extent, you get to decide who your audience is, and what they want to hear.

Everything starts with audience. If you know your audience and speak directly to them, they’re going to love you.

2) Be consistent.

You’re not going to be a wildly successful blogger unless you’re consistent.

An article on NewIncite had this to say about consistency:

"Quality of content and consistency are the most important factors in setting up your schedule … Consistency will keep them engaged, build brand awareness, and — if done right — help convert them to buyers."

It’s easy to talk about consistency, but it’s hard to do consistency. Bruce Springsteen wasn’t exactly a content marketing professional, but he had a great line about consistency:

"Getting an audience is hard. Sustaining an audience is hard. It demands a consistency of thought, of purpose and of action over a long period of time."

What worked for The Boss works for content marketers, too. You want to be a blogging rockstar? Take it from a real rockstar: Consistency matters.

Being a rockstar blogger feels good. But waking up early every day, hitting the keyboard every day, and maxing out your mental resources every day doesn't always feel good. But that gritty pain is what consistency is made of.

How often should you blog?

So, what does consistency mean in real numbers? How often do you need to publish a blog post? To answer this question, I’m going to be all evasive and tell you to refer to point one — know your audience.

Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute wrote this on the topic of blogging frequency:

"As long as the blog post serves these two goals it’s worth doing a post: 1) Is a compelling and interesting story to your target audience (the reader), and 2) Serves the objective for your blog. If that means five posts per week, great.  If it’s one per week, that’s fine to. [sic] Focus on whether or not you have a story worth telling."

I can’t give you a hard and fast number. I can, however, recommend a minimum threshold — you should aim for at least one post a week.

Why? Frequent output — i.e. consistency — is positively correlated with greater traffic, as indicated by HubSpot’s research.

blog-slide-7-resized-600

In addition, HubSpot discovered that bloggers with higher output had better lead generation results:

blog-slide-10-resized-600

So consistency leads to accumulation of content, and the more content you have, the more results you’ll get.

3) Be totally transparent.

If you’re more transparent than anyone else in your niche, you’ll get more readers. People crave transparency.

Kevan Lee, Buffer’s blogger par excellence, writes this in his article, "The Anatomy of a Perfect Blog Post:"

"We aim for an element of storytelling in each of the posts we write, often starting a blog post with a personal anecdote or moment of transparency."

Transparency is a tricky thing. On the one hand, relationships are built on trust and transparency. But it’s hard to be transparent. Nan Russell, in Psychology Today, had some cogent insights about transparency:

"People want other people, not necessarily themselves, to be transparent … Some people find transparency threatening, especially at work, while others find it exhilarating. Some confuse transparency with authenticity, or think transparency means communicating everything or knowing everything they want to know."

Transparency is important in blogging, because you are building trust, developing relationships, and growing an audience. At the same time you must exercise your transparency in a thoughtful and intentional way. You’re not going to spill business secrets, gossip about others, or divulge information that puts you in a dangerous personal situation.

The best advice that I’ve read comes from the article I cited above, regarding the role of transparency in the workplace. These principles, as I’ve restated them and applied to blogging, will make you appropriately transparent:

 

  • Tell stories that demonstrate your openness and vulnerability.
  • Make sure you are respecting your boundaries of confidentiality and the confidentiality of others.
  • Use your transparency to help others, not simply for the sake of being transparent.

When we try to become transparent, we’re usually not as transparent as we think we are. But if we work hard to share personal stories — appropriate details included — we’ll get better at it.

Transparency engages readers and turns your blog into something that readers love. As I’ve studied many blogging niches, I’ve discovered that the bloggers with the greatest degree of personal disclosure are the most successful. So if you want to be a successful blogger, you’ve got to get personal and transparent.

Conclusion

Being the best blogger in your niche has very little to do with writing technique and flawless grammar. Those technical skills kowtow to some way more important things:

 

  1. Knowing your audience.
  2. Being consistent.
  3. Being totally transparent.

If you put these techniques into play, you’re on the path to blogging domination and content marketing success.

*How to Become the Best Blogger in Your NicheWritten by Neil Patel | @neilpatel

DR. Raymond Jewell, is a leading economist and Home Based Business Consultant. He is a Alpha Legacy member of Markethive and manages several blogs on the hive. Dr. Jewell is offering, for a limited time, FREE Markethive Systems just click and sign up and witness the power of the Hive first hand. 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Entrepreneurial Skills Needed To Effectuate Positive Social Marketing Changes

There is a distinct dissonance regarding the behavior and social change espousements between people who believe that all marketing is evil and those who believe marketing has some redeeming qualities for the good. This diversity of opinion gets played out in program planning meetings, conferences, policy debates and resource allocations (such as found in RFPs and TORs). Not everyone who works to solve intractable problems needs to be a social marketer; yet, learning some basic marketing skills will be advantageous because the most important aspect of marketing today rides with the entrepreneurs who are shaping the social changes and solutions.

1. Entrepreneurs Learn to Listen
Entrepreneurs are constantly listening, looking for ways to maximize opportunities, leverage relationships, and connect to people. And while anyone can be a good listener, doing so as a marketer requires an analytical mind—the process is not at all passive. By being trained in the analysis of your prospective customer using focus groups, and other appropriate techniques, you’ll start to learn how to really listen to what your VIP members and investors want.

2. Entrepreneurs Learn To Make Better Decisions
Knowing how to find and interpret data about your VIP members and investors means that you’ll derive a better understanding of the problems you are facing and how to tackle them in new ways. Of course, you’ll also get in the habit of shortcutting through a lot of unnecessary paperwork and honing in on the relevant data and revelatory insights that are most important.

3. An Entrepreneur Matures In His Communication Skills
The best marketers learn how to gain perspectives into different personality types and how to apply different techniques for engaging with them, based on what their idiosyncrasies are. This could be described as learning tact.

4. An Entrepreneur Does Not Waste Time
Because everyone is on a shoe-string budget, you have to be particularly perceptive concerning the prioritization of resources which is fundamental for small and large organizations and independent operators. Being creative about who ultimately falls into your sales funnel and concentrate on, the ways you reach them, and how to economize while still being effective will help you turn into an efficiency machine.

5. An Entrepreneur Must Be Aware Of The World Situation

Marketers have to be aware of what’s going on in the world culture. This means they read, attend social gatherings, try to figure out what kind of trends are making waves, and generally pay attention to the zeitgeist. No matter what industry you operate in, one must learn to be particularly sensitive to their milieu, which is very advantageous in results shown. One must become accustomed to not focusing on the details of the situation one is found in but train oneself to focus on the bigger picture. This will ultimately payoff by enabling more productive work ethics and help one do better in their chosen workspace. As a byproduct of this kind of focusing one will probably end up having a keener interest in a lot that’s going on around you, which makes one a person who is more interesting for others to be around.

Leading In Social Change

If the foregoing matters are carefully worked through then the foundation is laid for the entrepreneur to be perceived as the leader who can be emulated. This is the most effective way to become an influence for the good in the role of societal movers and shakers. This kind of functioning must be consistent and without hypocrisy in order to acquire the standing to bring positive changes to the way business is carried out. This is the challenge for the entrepreneur, but the dividends are huge.

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

How to Blog for SEO: Write Blog Posts to Rank Well

SEO Page Rank

You are probably writing a blog hoping your ideal customers/prospects will find it.

Some simple changes that you can make to help you with your campaigns will be found in this article. You can increase your search engine visibility, drive more traffic to your blog and generate more leads or sales for your business.

Focus on keyword-rich subjects.

Why are blog sites a tool that are is so powerful for SEO (search engine optimization) and online visibility?

Because every post you compose becomes another web page, and every web site is another chance to rank well for a search that is a specific client is performing at this time. Or in 30 days. Or in a year. Because good, evergreen content continues to attract visitors to your website or blog for decades, producing more leads/customers for your offer.

There are a number of techniques to create tips which can become content for your website:

  • Turn consumer concerns into “Dear Abby” style posts.

  • Scour websites like Quora, Yahoo Answers, LinkedIn or other forums where you can find questions to help solve.

  • Simply take some keywords through Google Keyword Planner that you’d like to rank well for and run them. This device is free for you to find how many individuals are looking for your phrases each month, recommends associated phrases that might be better opportunities, and lets you know just how competitive that search is. (The higher your competition, the tougher it will be to split the page that is to begin the search engines.)

Create a keyword-rich title.

By default, the title of your post becomes the title of your web page.

Search engines give more importance to your page title than just about any other variable.

Too often, businesses give blog posts vague titles like, “A Word to the Wise,” or “A Lesson from Man’s Best Friend.”

Unfortunately, your ideal customers aren’t searching for those phrases. And if they are, they’re probably not interested in your post specifically.

Here are some tips to title a blog post for maximum visibility:

  • Lead with your keywords. Search engines give more weight to the first few words in a title. Examples might include, “Pinterest Marketing: How to Generate Leads from the World’s Hottest Social Media Site,” or “Men’s Bowler Hats: What’s Hot This Season.”

  • Number your lists. I know many people hate numbered lists, but they speak to how busy we all are. “101 Ways to Save Money for College” or “3 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview” are generally more engaging, and will generate more click-throughs at the search engines, which may increase your overall rank.

  • The colon is your friend. If you have a couple of competing keyword phrases that both seem appropriate, use a colon (or some other spacer) to cast a wider net. Do you write an Asian cooking blog? Try “Chopstick Instructions: How to Use Chopsticks.”

Work your keyword phrase into your copy early and often.

Your title is critical, but it can’t stand on its own; it needs to be supported by the rest of your copy.

You should work your keyword phrase into the first sentence or two of your blog post, and then repeat it several times throughout your post.

If you feel it’s difficult to work your keywords into the first sentence, try this trick: open up with a one to two sentence overview of your topic. If you still can’t work your keyword into the overview, then your blog post probably isn’t about your keyword anyway.

Warning! If you overuse your keyword phrase it can backfire. This is called, Keyword stuffing.

Google and other search engines may punish you for “over-optimizing” your post.

How much is too much? There’s no magic formula, but if your post doesn’t read well and the keywords feel forced into the rest of the copy, you’re probably guilty of over-optimizing.

You can also break up your keywords. If you wanted to rank well for some certain phrase you could use that phrase exactly once or twice, but also use each word separately in other sections of the blog article.

Share your post through social networks.

Inbound links—links from other websites and blogs—increase your search engine visibility, all other things being equal. However, links from social media sites and the comments section of blogs often carry the “no follow” link, meaning no search engine benefits are being transferred.

The search engines are a little cagey about how much impact social buzz has on their search results, but there’s no question that Facebook powers Bing’s customized search, and Google+ affects your Google search results.

By sharing your post through these and other social media platforms, and getting others to do the same, you’ll drive more traffic and build awareness of your post. Even if a tweet or a LinkedIn update doesn’t boost your overall ranking, it might introduce you to a blogger who links to your post from within a post, which does carry search engine weight.

To encourage more sharing, be sure to add any appropriate “share” buttons to the top and bottom of your blog posts, encouraging visitors to share your content.

Transfer your blog’s search engine visibility to your website or e-commerce store.

Blogs are often more conversational, less sales-y than a traditional website. The non-sales-y approach often encourages other bloggers to link to you, where they wouldn’t normally link to a business website or e-commerce site.

However, your goal may not be to have the most popular blog, but rather to build your business. If you’d like to leverage your blog to grow your business, you’ll want to create keyword-rich links from blog posts to sales pages on your website.

A blog post about tips for growing tomatoes in a home garden might link to your page that sells tomato seeds. A post about finding the right nursing care for an aging parent might link to your page on transitional services for families.

Search engines focus on the words in links, so instead of creating a link that says, “click here” or “learn more,” you’ll want to create a link that says, “heirloom tomato seeds” or “transition plans for aging parents.”

By creating multiple blog posts—including leveraging guest blog opportunities—that point to a given page on your site, you can increase the search engine visibility of any web-page you wish.

Be the master of your own domain.

There is a huge following for WordPress blogs, however, never run a business blog with the WordPress.com domain. Or Typepad.com. Or Blogger.com.

When you blog on someone else’s domain, i.e., gardenshop.wordpress.com, you’re building their search engine visibility, not yours.

Many blogging platforms have gone under in the past few years. You might be able to save your blog posts from the wreckage, but you’ll never recover all your inbound links and the trust you built up at that domain.

It’s critical to your success that you blog at a domain name you fully control. This could be part of your current site, i.e, gardenshop.com/blog, or it could be a separate domain entirely, i.e., gardenshopblog.com.

Conclusion and Summary in a Nut-Shell:

To create a blog that generates search engine traffic and new leads for your business, follow this simple formula:

  • Build your blog on a domain you own and control.

  • Focus each blog post around a narrow, keyword-rich topic.

  • Create a title that starts with your best keywords.

  • Use your keywords early and often in your blog post.

  • Make your post easily shareable through the social networks.

  • Leverage your blog’s new-found search engine power by linking to critical pages on your website or e-commerce store.

Based on an article by: Rich Brooks

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Your Business is Marketing and Not Sales: What… Impossible?

Your Business is Marketing and Not Sales: What… Impossible?

Sales is the highest paid and World’s Oldest Profession, contrary to popular opinion.  Any challenge is foolhardy because selling is the conclusion of any and all transactions between individuals involving product/services.  However, the conduit is really Marketing.  Now, what kind of IDIOCY is this being presented as Truth?  After all, isn’t all the about the Benjamins Lebowski, Cash is King and it's all about the lettuce; otherwise, why are you in business?  You don't want to be operating a Non-Profit Agency which 95% of marketers are actually operating which isn’t too encouraging.  So, what kind of marketing are you conducting and how effective is it?  It’s a critical question because different methods will yield different results at different times based on your audience’s interests.  Marketers and the industry have become more competitive and sophisticated due to increased demands by consumers.  In fact, to be effective they must function both like an economist and detective addressing what I call the W5s of a campaign (Who, What, When, Where & Why); otherwise, they will not see the pay-window.        

Now, before the core question can be answered let’s briefly examine the issue of Sales and its role in business.  Let’s look at a basic definition before we continue, “sales are sales, it’s converting any inquiry or lead into a contract or shipment”, while “marketing is not advertising.  Marketing is finding out what people want, why they want it and how much they’ll spend.  Don’t confuse marketing with advertising”.  Now, we got all the formalities out of the way, time to get to the real meat of this article.  Safe to say, sales are the final stage of the transaction but, why is the sale considered to be so important?  What was the process that motivated the buyer to complete the transaction?  There exist multiple stages involved between the start and finish and this is the sales process.  Basically, the sales process can be reduced to the following: Prospect, Connect, Research, Present and Close; however, a more in depth definition is best described by Mark Roberge at Hubspot.            

Well, it's hard to believe but, there exists an old term that holds TRUE and more importantly, an accurate measure of your ability to close a sale.  Have you heard the expression, “It’s all in the Presentation” or “you get once chance to make a first impression”?  Think about it, how do you make sales?  The process is SIMPLE (kind of); however, the execution often requires more skill to attain success.  Now, part of selling involves advertising, “promotion of a product, service or company. It features a strong call to action and promotes the benefits of that being advertised”. 

The other component of the sales process involves connecting through various methods of communication featuring your product/service.  Let’s examine some of the methods of connection: e-zine marketing, email marketing, cold-calling, videos, live webcasts, blogs, banners, online ads, search engine marketing, social networking, podcasting, twitter and mobile content, all are established methods of online marketing designed to connect with a desired target market. Again, how do you make SALES with these different methods of connecting with the masses?  Putting your product/service in front of as many eyeballs as possible with the aforementioned methods.  Seems simple but, never forget about quality content.  Sales are made based on perceived value; therefore, the most effective way of converting a prospect into a long-term customer is by educating them, addressing their interests and demonstrating how a particular product/service can render a solution to a particular problem/challenge.  Think about it, no hard-sell nor the usual rubbish by fast-talking snake-oil salesmen.

Now, back to the important question of what kind of marketing are you executing (Freebie Marketing, Word of Mouth Marketing, Close Range Marketing, etc.,) and why? The essence of the question boils down to what is called customer segmentation or segmenting customers into smaller groups to better understand their wants, needs, interests and other factors so as to provide relevant content.   Makes sense and this is why Inbound Marketing increasingly has become the standard form of marketing.

Firstly, what is Inbound Marketing and how does it work?  “Inbound marketing refers to activities (blogs, podcasts, eBooks, SEO, physical products, newsletters, whitepapers, social medial marketing and other forms of content marketing) that bring visitors in, rather than marketers having to go out to get prospects' attention”.  “Inbound marketing earns the attention of customers”.  

One primary goals behind marketing is to develop a business relationship where TRUST is established and maintained for the long-term…. similar to Marriage (lol!!!!).  Like Marriage it's not 50/50 but, 100/100 but, you are responsible for your own actions within that relationship.

When you think about that bloody insane Institution called Marriage, it's a business involving two Individuals who both marketed and sold themselves to each other and the confirmation of the Sale was “Marriage” or as I affectionately say, “Tying the Old Noose…I mean Knot”.  Like any successful relationship TRUST is vital; otherwise, no consummation of the transaction.  All transactions (monetary, personal, etc.,) involve commerce and marketing is the conduit that facilitates the process. Well, allow me now to demonstrate the benefits of Inbound marketing.

  6 Inbound Marketing Techniques Every Business Should Use

Give Away A Free Guide That’s Directly related To Your Business, what better resource can you create than a Guide that provides relevant information about the value and benefits provided by the product/services you make available to the masses.

Pick One or Two Keywords, And Optimise The Heck Out of Them, want leads and traffic then, the solution is to focus on a few keywords that are valuable, and create specific pages on your website that are for those keywords specifically. 

Build Your Personal Brand, your business is a reflection of yourself, Entrepreneurs like Jayson DeMers, Joel Gascoigne, and Hiten Shah are examples of people building businesses by means of building their personal brand. If you start a business, it’s virtually impossible to separate yourself from that business. It only makes sense to use your personal brand to build that business. Many brands such as Tim Ferriss’s and Ramit Sethi’s depend almost exclusively on the power of their personal brand. 

Ask and Answer Questions On Social Media, engage subscribers in social media sites and provide solutions, tips, suggestions to those who would benefit from your knowledge and expertise.  When you increase your presence and value online then, the benefits are soon to be received. 

Create Am Email Pop, use the popups in your business to build the email list for obvious reasons.

Guest Blog, “Guest blogging is, indeed, one of the powerful ways of building strong, high-quality relationships that may help you in multiple ways, including developing business opportunities and professional connections, setting brand value and, of course, acquisition of link juice.” — Moosa Hemani, Moz

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Creating your marketing strategy

Creating your marketing strategy

Developing a marketing strategy is vital for any business. Without one, your efforts to attract customers are likely to be haphazard and inefficient.

The focus of your strategy should be making sure that your products and services meet customer needs and developing long-term and profitable relationships with those customers. To achieve this, you will need to create a flexible strategy that can respond to changes in customer perceptions and demand. It may also help you identify whole new markets that you can successfully target.

The purpose of your marketing strategy should be to identify and then communicate the benefits of your business offering to your target market.

Once you have created and implemented your strategy, monitor its effectiveness and make any adjustments required to maintain its success.

This guide helps you identify which customers to focus on and your key objectives in reaching them. It explains what to include in your marketing strategy and how it can be used as the basis for effective action.

  • Key elements of a successful marketing strategy
  • Understanding your strengths and weaknesses
  • Developing your marketing strategy
  • Tips and pitfalls

Key elements of a successful marketing strategy

One of the key elements of a successful marketing strategy is the acknowledgement that your existing and potential customers will fall into particular groups or segments, characterised by their "needs". Identifying these groups and their needs through market research, and then addressing them more successfully than your competitors, should be the focus of your strategy.

You can then create a marketing strategy that makes the most of your strengths and matches them to the needs of the customers you want to target. For example, if a particular group of customers is looking for quality first and foremost, then any marketing activity aimed at them should draw attention to the high quality service you can provide.

Once this has been completed, decide on the best marketing activity that will ensure your target market know about the products or services you offer, and why they meet their needs.

This could be achieved through various forms of advertising, exhibitions, public relations initiatives, Internet activity and by creating an effective "point of sale" strategy if you rely on others to actually sell your products. Limit your activities to those methods you think will work best, avoiding spreading your budget too thinly.

A key element often overlooked is that of monitoring and evaluating how effective your strategy has been. This control element not only helps you see how the strategy is performing in practice, it can also help inform your future marketing strategy. A simple device is to ask each new customer how they heard about your business.

Once you have decided on your marketing strategy, draw up a marketing plan to set out how you plan to execute and evaluate the success of that strategy. The plan should be constantly reviewed so it can respond quickly to changes in customer needs and attitudes in your industry, and in the broader economic climate.

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses

Your strategy must take account of how your business' strengths and weaknesses will affect your marketing.

Begin your marketing strategy document with an honest and rigorous SWOT analysis, looking at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It is a good idea to conduct some market research on your existing customers at this point, as it will help you to build a more honest picture of your reputation in the marketplace.

Strengths could include:

  • personal and flexible customer service
  • special features or benefits that your product offers
  • specialist knowledge or skills

Weaknesses could include:

  • limited financial resources
  • lack of an established reputation
  • inefficient accounting systems

Opportunities could include:

  • increased demand from a particular market sector
  • using the Internet to reach new markets
  • new technologies that allow you to improve product quality

Threats could include:

  • the emergence of a new competitor
  • more sophisticated, attractive or cheaper versions of your product or service
  • new legislation increasing your costs
  • a downturn in the economy, reducing overall demand

Having done your analysis, you can then measure the potential effects each element may have on your marketing strategy.

For example, if new regulations will increase the cost of competing in a market where you're already weak, you might want to look for other opportunities. On the other hand, if you have a good reputation and your key competitor is struggling, the regulations might present the opportunity to push aggressively for new customers.

Developing your marketing strategy

With an understanding of your business' internal strengths and weaknesses and the external opportunities and threats, you can develop a strategy that plays to your own strengths and matches them to the emerging opportunities. You can also identify your weaknesses and try to minimise them.

The next step is to draw up a detailed marketing plan that sets out the specific actions to put that strategy into practice.

Questions to ask when developing your strategy

  • What changes are taking place in our business environment? Are these opportunities or threats?
  • What are our strengths and weaknesses?
  • What do I want to achieve? Set clear, realistic objectives.
  • What are customers looking for? What are their needs?
  • Which customers are the most profitable?
  • How will I target the right potential customers? Are there groups that I can target effectively?
  • What's the best way of communicating with them?
  • Could I improve my customer service? This can be a low-cost way of gaining a competitive advantage over rivals, keeping customers, boosting sales and building a good reputation.
  • Could changing my products or services increase sales and profitability? Most products need to be continuously updated to maintain competitiveness.
  • Could extending my product list or service provision meet existing customers' needs more effectively? Remember that selling to existing customers is generally more cost effective than continually trying to find new ones.
  • How will I price my product or service? Although prices need to be competitive, most businesses find that trying to compete on price alone is a poor strategy. What else are my customers interested in? Quality? Reliability? Efficiency? Value for money?
  • What is the best way of distributing and selling my products?
  • How can I best promote my products? Options might include advertising, direct marketing, exhibiting at trade fairs, PR or marketing on the web.
  • How can I tell if my marketing is effective? Check how your customers find out about your business. A small-scale trial can be a good way of testing a marketing strategy without committing to excessive costs.

Tips and pitfalls

Before looking at new markets, think about how you can get the most out of your existing customer base — it's usually more economical and quicker than finding new customers. Consider whether you can sell more to your existing customers or look at ways of improving the retention of key customers. Focus on the market

Your marketing strategy document should:

  • analyse the different needs of different groups of customers
  • focus on a market niche where you can be the best
  • aim to put most of your efforts into the 20% of customers who provide 80% of profits

Don't forget the follow-up

  • Approach the third party for feedback about your strategy — they may be able to spot any gaps or weaknesses that you can't see.
  • Put your marketing strategy into effect with a marketing plan that sets out the aims, actions, dates, costs, resources, and effective selling programmes.
  • Measure the effectiveness of what you do. Be prepared to change things that aren't working.

Pitfalls to avoid

  • Making assumptions about what customers want.
  • Ignoring the competition.
  • Trying to compete on price alone.
  • Relying on too few customers.
  • Trying to grow too quickly.
  • Becoming complacent about what you offer and failing to innovate.

Original document, Create your marketing strategy.
Source: Business Link.
Adapted for Entrepreneurs

This information is provided free of charge and is intended to be helpful to a large range of businesses. Because of its general nature, the information cannot be taken as comprehensive and should never be used as a substitute for legal or professional advice. We cannot guarantee that the information applies to the individual circumstances of your business. Despite our best efforts, it is possible that some information may be out of date.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Spirit of the Entrepreneur!

Entrepreneurs posses a driving spirit:

You hear it all the time from famous business owners: They started flexing their entrepreneurial skills by selling lemonade on the corner, building gadgets in their garage or hosting weekly college beer pong tournaments before they were running multimillion-dollar companies. It would appear that behind every mogul that is successful a kid who was raised knowing these people were born for business.

But what is it that sets entrepreneurs apart from the remainder? What is it which makes people certain of themselves sufficient to just take the prospect of failure head-on and have the determination to emerge on the top? It requires a special types of individual to create a notion in motion, riding the highs and lows from humble beginnings to ultimate success.

The spirit that is entrepreneurial is a gift that inspires other people to end up being the best they could be. From passion and positivity to leadership and aspiration, here you will find the entrepreneurs that most usefully define the entrepreneurial character.

Passion:

No body embodies the term "passion" quite like Richard Branson, creator for the Virgin mega-brand. Part of Branson's passion lies in his insatiable appetite for starting businesses. Established in 1970, the Virgin Group has expanded to a lot more than 200 organizations, ranging from music, publishing, mobile phones and space travel. "Businesses are like buses," he when stated. "There's always a different one coming."

Element of Branson's appeal is he not only has passion for business, but an incredible passion for life. Branson is well-known for an adventurous streak and zest for a lifetime, making him the most admired business owners for their power to have a work/life balance that is successful.

Positivity:

Jeff Bezos knows the charged power of good reasoning. Living by the motto that "every challenge is an opportunity," Bezos attempted to create the bookstore that is biggest on earth with just a little internet startup called Amazon.

Amazon.com established in July 1995, was able to sell $20,000 per week within two months. By the  end associated with the '90s, however, the dot-com bust had brought Amazon's stocks from $100 to $6. To incorporate insults to injuries, experts predicted that the launch of Barnes & Nobles' competing website would wipe out Amazon. Rather than hiding for fear of losing, Bezos came out fighting with optimism and self-confidence, pointing down to critics most of the positive things his company had accomplished and would continue to do.

Bezos proceeded to expand Amazon, which now offers anything from publications to clothes to toys and much more. Bezos claims his spouse likes to state, "If Jeff is unhappy, wait 3 minutes." Thanks to Bezos' good thinking, Amazon.com has grown into a $5.7 billion company.

Adaptability:

Having the ability to adjust is one of the greatest skills an entrepreneur can have. Every business that is successful must be willing to enhance, refine and customize their services to constantly give customers whatever they want.

Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page take this idea one step further by not merely reacting to improve, but leading the way. Google constantly leads the internet with revolutionary and new ideas that allow people to see and do things in many ways they couldn't have did before (think Google Earth). Making use of their ability to often be one action ahead, its no wonder Google is one of the many powerful organizations on the net.

Leadership:

A good leader is some body with charisma, a sense of ethics and an aspire to build integrity within an organization–someone who's enthusiastic, group oriented and a teacher that is great. Most of these characteristics had been embodied by the late Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, a company that has helped more than half a million ladies fulfill their fantasies of purchasing a company.

Ash's tale began as a mother that is single, working in sales for a home company many different items. Despite being one of many compannies with sales that are top for 25 years, Ash had repeatedly been refused the promotions and pay raises her male co-workers had been getting. Fed up because of the real way she was being addressed, Ash started Mary Kay Inc. in 1963 with $5,000.

Ash was most commonly known for being a motivator that was a powerful inspirational frontrunner, producing a business with a "You may do it!" mindset. Her sometimes over-the-top incentives included the famous pink Cadillacs she would provide top sales directors. Thanks to her effective leadership abilities, Ash was called one of many in a business that is influential in the last 35 years, and her company was recognized as among the best businesses in America.

Aspiration:

At age 20, Debbi Fields don't have much. She had been a housewife that is young with no business experience, but exactly what she did have was an excellent chocolate chip cookie recipe and a dream to talk about it changing the world.

Fields opened her very first Mrs. Field's store in 1977, despite being told she was crazy to believe a company could endure entirely on attempting to sell cookies. Fields' headstrong dedication and ambition helped her develop her small cookie shop into a $450 million business with 600 locations within the U.S. and 10 foreign nations.

Dennis Roeder
Contributor

  

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member