GoLeads Content

Advertising your product or service in a newspaper or on TV can cost a lot of money. In some cases, one television ad can eat up an entire year’s marketing budget, or more. If you are like many small businesses, this type of advertising is just not feasible.

One way to get some media attention for your company – without the huge price tag – is to become the focus of a feature story. The key, according to Mark Nowlan in his article How to Attract Attention with a Feature Article, is to emphasize information over outright promotion. By doing so, it is more likely that a reporter or editor will use your story just as you pitch it.

  A feature is an in-depth look at a topic, product or industry–it’s a complex story designed to be read at a leisurely pace. And a feature can benefit your company by linking your brand or product to a larger trend or industry focus while also showcasing you, the entrepreneur, as a thought-leader in your field.

What many people fail to realize about the news industry is that journalists are always on the lookout for feature stories that they can have on hand to be printed or broadcast when there is a shortage of breaking news or on what are commonly referred to as slow news days.

In his article, Nowlan gives you a step-by-step guide to pitching your idea for a feature article to reporters. While such free publicity may seem too good to be true, you might be pleasantly surprised at the interest a quality feature story can generate from the news media. But be patient, sometimes it can take weeks or months before you are contacted regarding your story. If your story is used, however, it will no doubt be worth the wait.

Our topic this week is about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). As most of us already know, this game is changing dramatically. Google is placing a lot of emphasis  on content, social media, sharing, etc. Old ways of doing SEO are obsolete.

Enjoy the article. Hopefully it sparks some ideas for you. Feel free to contact us. We would love to hear about them, and if there’s any way we can help you, please let us know.

 

The Changing Face of SEO

Seismic changes are taking place in the world of search engine optimization (SEO). Today, algorithm updates and an emphasis on user experience mean that search engines are better able to rank a website based on the quality of its content instead of the number of keywords it contains.

If your SEO strategy consists simply of increasing your website ranking by producing subpar content that is littered with unnaturally placed keywords, it’s time to get a new strategy. And this new strategy must include producing quality content that offers insight on a particular topic or solves a problem.

Of course, the goal of search engines has always been to produce the most relevant and useful results. While in the past this was achieved almost exclusively by identifying relevant keywords, search engines have become much more sophisticated. Search engines are now pinpointing content that connects, educates, and inspires its readers. All while filtering out content that, while chock full of keywords, offers little or no value to the reader.

If you are working with an SEO company that is telling you that they can improve your SEO through keyword placement, you are working with the wrong company. Instead, increasing your online visibility involves filling your website with quality content that not only helps to generate more sales leads, it also helps you to become known as a thought leader in your industry. The best part? Your search engine rankings will increase as a result.

Like most people, you are probably wondering just how search engines are able to distinguish between high-quality content and keyword-laden content that exists only to manipulate SEO. The fact is, until very recently, search engines were unable to. That’s why so many SEO companies could promise higher search engine rankings simply by increasing the number of keywords used.

But the times are truly changing and today search engine rankings are determined almost exclusively by the amount of quality content contained on a particular website. The type of content that leads to increased user engagement and is more likely to be read and shared.

Of course, for content to be read and shared, a website must be mobile-friendly. After all, if you want people to read your content it must be easily accessed from smartphones and tablets. It also must be easy to share through the use of things like social sharing buttons. Remember, today’s Internet users have little time or patience for unresponsive sites that are hard to read or slow to load. And search engines don’t like these types of sites either.

Finally, while keywords may have fallen from grace in the world of SEO, you don’t need to do away with them completely. There is nothing wrong with placing an appropriate keyword in the title or body of an article as long as it helps people understand what they are reading. But one thing is for sure, gone are the days when keywords were the darling of the SEO world. And those days aren’t coming back anytime soon.

Recent studies show that more than 70 percent of small businesses say that email marketing makes up the majority of their marketing plan. Email is everywhere these days. Whether for personal or business use, almost everyone has an email account. That’s why email marketing makes such good sense – especially for smaller businesses and companies who are unable to afford a multi-media marketing campaign.

In light of this fact, you would think that every small business would be using email to raise awareness of their brand and increase sales. However, many small businesses are under the mistaken impression that implementing an email campaign is more hassle than it’s worth. In reality, however, email marketing is one of the most cost-effective and least complicated forms of marketing you can choose for your business.

What’s more, email marketing offers a better return on investment than almost any other type of marketing strategy. That’s because the money spent on email marketing is minimal compared to other forms of marketing. Think about how much you would spend to produce and air a 30-second radio commercial and it is easy to see why an email campaign makes such good sense.

Email marketing also will boost your company’s social interaction. It allows you to post links to your social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and your customer can share your email with friends, family, and business associates.

Email marketing gives you the ability to track and better understand how your contacts are responding to your emails, as well. This allows you to tailor your emails to meet the needs of your customers in ways that traditional marketing strategies cannot.

If you need to get your message out right away email marketing is definitely the way to go. All you have to do is compose an email and press send. Traditional marketing techniques simply can’t offer that same flexibility.

Once you have begun your email marketing campaign you may be curious if it is working for your business. That’s another advantage of email marketing. The results of email campaigns are easily measured because you receive reports that tell you things like how many people saw your email and how many people clicked on the links in your email.

The more you learn about email marketing, the easier it is to understand why so many small businesses are using it.  Isn’t it time you joined the 70 percent of small businesses who are using it to grow their business?

Social apps and the rise of digital and mobile marketing will be the end of email marketing. At least that’s what the experts have been telling us for some time now. One look at email marketing’s ROI and it is easy to see that the experts are wrong.

Research shows that email marketing delivers a return of almost $45 for every dollar spent. That’s the highest ROI of any other digital marketing tactic. But before we bash the so-called “experts,” it is important to realize that email marketing has surprised almost everyone with its ability to adapt to the digital marketplace.

So how is email marketing managing to stay so relevant?

  1. It is taking advantage of user engagement on other channels. The best email marketers are able to mine an individual’s data and use that to personalize their email marketing efforts.
  2. It is adaptable. The best email marketers monitor the success of each email campaign to find out what did and didn’t work. Who unsubscribed? Who responded to a call to action? Do customers respond to animation? Do they prefer video testimonials? The lessons learned are then used to shape the next email marketing blast and make it more effective.
  3. It is personalized. At the end of the day, it’s all about the customer. Specifically, the one reading the email. Email marketing, unlike many other social media and digital marketing techniques, allows you to speak to a single customer. Many social media sites blast information to all who will listen but email marketing can be tailored to one customer at a time.
  4. It is inexpensive. Small businesses on a tight budget can reach as many customers as they want without spending an outrageous amount of money.
  5. It is mobile. Everyone knows that mobile is where it is at today. In fact, with four out of five consumers using their mobile devices to shop, going mobile is essential to the success of your business. Email is easily adaptable to mobile devices so it allows you to reach customers and generate sales leads without investing a great deal of money on new technology or software.

Email marketing may not seem as flashy as some of the latest apps and other digital marketing techniques. It is, however, a tried-and-true method of marketing that continues to do a fantastic job of reaching customers.

If you are like most people, there is no better feeling than seeing your number of likes, follows, subscribers, and visitors increase. And the more those numbers increase, the better you feel.

Jason Zook, founder of IWearYourShirt.com, felt the same way. And for years, according to The Truth About Growing An Audience, he went to drastic methods to gain a bigger audience. Trouble was, although he gained a bigger audience, it wasn’t doing him any good in terms of sales leads or new customers.

Why? Because although he had built a huge audience, that audience wasn’t right for his business.

When it comes to building a following, you must focus on quality over quantity. Learning to tame your ego can help you sift through the numbers and find the people who give you the most value.

At GoLeads, we can help you build a strong audience that actually cares about your business. While that audience might take time to grow, it will be well worth it. That’s because you will end up with a loyal and committed audience that is interested in your company and what it has to offer.

Zook believes that growing the right type of audience requires three tactics (which are paraphrased here):

  1. Define your audience and focus on bringing that audience value.
  2. Create consistent content for your audience that inspires or helps to solve a problem.
  3. Spend time interacting with your audience.

Of course, doing all of these things requires a solid strategy, hard work, and a lot of patience. At GoLeads, we specialize in helping our clients build audiences that are interested in the products and services they have to offer.

Zook admits it may be a cliché but to build the best audience possible, you must focus on quality, not quantity.

Learning to tame your ego can help you sift through the numbers and find the people who give you the most value.

We couldn’t agree more.

Creating content is a big job. After all, it takes a lot of time and know-how to create good content and then make sure it is distributed through the right channels and reaches its intended audience.

Many business owners want to know that content creation is truly worth the time and effort needed to do it right. The answer is an emphatic, “Yes!” So why is that?

  1. Content is the most effective SEO tool when it comes to getting your website a good ranking.
  2. Content will provide your sales leads with the kind of information they want. And when you help a prospect solve a problem, you also stand a good chance of converting them into customers.
  3. Good content builds trust. When your prospects know and trust you, they will be more likely to buy from you in the future. They also will be more likely to spread the word about your products or services.

Now more than ever, businesses can’t rely on just one marketing technique to drive sales. Some prospects are best reached on social media, others by direct mail campaigns, and still others respond best by talking to someone on the phone.

Thankfully, it isn’t necessary to reinvent the wheel every time you set out to market to a different set of customers or prospects. In fact, many marketing strategies don’t just work well together, they work better together! One example of this is when you mix contenting marketing with inbound marketing.

Creating quality content for your website means making sure that it contains the necessary keywords while also connecting, educating, and inspiring customers. This builds on what you are already doing with your inbound marketing – seeking to build trust and getting your company noticed. You might even want to go to your sales team for content ideas. After all, they know better than anyone what your customers are looking for from your products or services.

In the end, it is important to remember that no matter how well content marketing works with other types of marketing tools, it remains its own unique and effective technique. To put it another way, according to the Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is the practice of creating relevant and compelling content in a consistent fashion to a targeted buyer, focusing on all stages of the buying process, from brand awareness through to brand evangelism.”

Many businesses fret over how they will respond to negative reviews or customer comments on their social media sites. The truth is, even responding to positive feedback or simple questions can be challenging. After all, you are basically engaging in a public conversation and that can be difficult.

You don’t have to be a social media guru to know that the absolute worst thing you can do on social media is to ignore someone who is reaching out to you. Remember, these are customers and sales leads. When someone makes a concentrated effort to contact you, you must respond. This includes questions, compliments, or complaints. So how do you best respond in these three instances? Here are some tips:

Questions

We all know how to answer a question. It gets a little dicey, however, when there is no clear cut answer available. Maybe someone is waiting for an item that is backordered and they are wondering why it is taking so long. Since this may take some time to research you can’t be expected to provide an answer immediately. What you are expected to do is to acknowledge the question immediately. Let the customer know that you are looking into it and then provide regular updates. Even if you don’t have an answer, people want to know that you received their message and if it takes some time to find an answer, they want updates to know that you haven’t forgotten about them.

Compliments

Responding to compliments about your service or product or anything else having to do with your brand is imperative. If someone took the time to compliment you and you fail to acknowledge it, what does that say about your business? Be sure to thank that person for the compliment and let them know that you value their business. Such interactions will keep these customers engaged with your brand.

Complaints

Even if you believe a complaint or negative comment is unwarranted you still need to take the high road and acknowledge the problem. You then need to apologize that this person had a poor experience. It also is important that if a person complains publicly, you respond publicly so people who saw the initial complaint know that you handled it. By keeping it all out in the open, you are getting the message across that you take complaints seriously and always do your best to make things right.

Social media interactions can be difficult but they are essential to building brand equity and keeping customers engaged. And it is important that you don’t drag your feet when responding. Studies show that people who engage a business on social media expect at least an initial response in less than an hour.

Maximize your email campaigns!

Email marketing is a great way to connect with your customers and prospects. And just like meeting people face-to-face, you want to use email in a way that helps you strengthen your relationship with your recipients. In other words, I’m assuming you don’t always try to sell something to the person you’re talking to every time you see them. If you do you probably don’t have a lot of friends.

Email marketing is the same way. Our philosophy is simple. When it comes to email, we want to make sure your campaigns do the following: Connect, Educate and Inspire. When you have that philosophy in mind, your email campaigns will do the following:

  1. Significantly improving your customer acquisition rate
  2. Helps you become a Thought Leader in your industry
  3. Increasing your brand awareness and over time will build equity into your brand
  4. Will help maximize all of your content on your site and drive traffic to your website.

Email marketing is incredibly powerful when implemented correctly. GoLeads (www.goleads.com) can help you achieve these objectives with your email campaigns. Give us a call to discuss this.

Plus, don’t let lack of resources stop you from implementing an email campaign. GoLeads will do it all for you – from the design to writing the content. We can handle it all from start to finish and every step in between. Call us today and let’s maximize Email to grow your business.

402-334-1824

Improve Your Focus at Work

If you find it difficult at times to sit down at your desk and really focus on something, you’re not alone. A 2015 Microsoft study states that the average human attention span has shrunk to eight seconds and it is expected to continue to shrink.

So how can you improve your focus at work and do what needs to get done? Whether you are calling sales leads or grading papers, you have to be able to focus.

Stephanie Vozza writes in 8 Ways to Improve Your Focus that one of the first things people need to realize is that focus is an acquired skill. To say that some people are able to focus and others are not is false. Vozza compares focus to a muscle that needs to be trained.

Too many people labor under the idea that they’re just not focused, and this becomes a self- fulfilling prophesy. Once you drop this mistaken belief, you can take a much more realistic approach to building focus.

Vozza has eight tips for building your focus, ranging from taking short breaks to grabbing some coffee. While the tips are simple, it can be difficult to implement the changes. One thing Vozza advocates is unplugging for 30 minutes. Unfortunately, people who are constantly checking their email or text messages may find this excruciating but it is definitely worth the effort.

While it may seem obvious, in order to stay focused people must identify what they should be focusing on. In other words, if you know what you need to be doing you will be less likely to be distracted by things that aren’t important.

No matter how quickly things are moving or how much information you have at your fingertips, you won’t accomplish much if you are unable to put your head down and get work done. Now that’s something you really need to focus on!

When it comes to marketing methods, email remains one of the most popular ways to communicate with current and prospective customers.

One reason that email marketing is so popular with marketers is because it works. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing yields an average 4,300% return on investment for U.S. businesses.

There is simply no better way to provide current customers or prospects relevant content than email. No matter what your objective – promotional, educational, or simply to introduce yourself – nothing works better.

So now that we know email isn’t going anywhere, here are some ways to make sure your next email marketing campaign is your best:

  1. Make sure you have the right audience by obtaining a premier business email database for sales leads. A high accuracy rate for email mailing lists is essential or your efforts are wasted.
  2. Optimize it for mobile. More than 60 percent of decision makers read emails via their mobile device and studies show that emails that are not easy to use on mobile devices will be deleted. And there are no second chances. Once a reader determines your brand’s emails don’t offer a pleasant experience they are extremely unlikely to open subsequent ones.
  3. Content should specifically mention the person who is reading the email. By using their name and other specifics, such as their location or company, an email will seem more personal.
  4. If you are sending promotional materials, don’t use the same promotions you use on social media. If you offer 20 percent off an item through your Facebook site, try free shipping through email or vice versa.
  5. Keep in mind that usability studies show that most people won’t look beyond the first screen of an email so try to keep content short enough to be contained on the first screen. When you do need to send a longer email, use a hyperlinked table of contents at the beginning of the email so people can quickly and easily access the information that interests them.
  6. Measure the results of every email campaign. This will allow you to find out what worked, what didn’t work, and how your next campaign can be even more successful.

The key to successful email marketing is to make sure every one of your email campaigns is better than the last. By using the steps above you can make sure that this is always the case!