Can a Robot Write Content that Connects, Educates and Inspires?

Look around stores, restaurants and other businesses and you will see examples of humans being replaced by machines. From self-serve kiosks at the airport to self-checkouts at the grocery store, there are many instances where humans are no longer needed. According to many experts, this is a trend that is here to stay.

But certainly some jobs are machine-proof, right? After all, you can’t expect a robot to write content. Or can you? Writer Suzanne Lucas was so intrigued by this prospect that she decided to find out for herself. In her article, This Post Was Written by a Robot, Lucas discovered that a robot can indeed write content. The problem is, it isn’t very good. Here are a few lines from one robot’s article:

Hiring employees is really a beginning to creating a strong workforce. High employee turnover costs company owners in time and productivity. Offer a competitive rewards package that suits your personnel requires.

That’s not to say that writing-robots are completely useless. For example, Lucas says that such programs or tools can help an inexperienced writer come up with ideas and can offer some options for putting keywords into different contexts. Other than that, let’s just say that Lucas isn’t worried about losing her job to a robot anytime soon.

It’s not a bad deal if you’re willing to do some editing and your focus is on getting content available for search engines. If your focus is on getting people to read, love, and share your content, hire a human.

Quality content connect, educates and inspires. Something a writing-robot has yet to achieve.

If you own a business today, chances are you have some presence on social media. Depending on your business, you could be active on such sites as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or one of the many other social medial platforms popular today.

In her article, Is Your Business Social Enough, 4 Ways to Boost Engagement, Nicole Fallon Taylor writes that for businesses to get the most out of social media, they need to be engaging in meaningful conversations on social media. In other words, while businesses need to focus on broadcasting on social media, they also need to focus on engagement. If they don’t, they are missing out on establishing important connections with their target audience.

Taylor offers some tips on how to find the correct social media balance for your business so that its social media strategy is as effective as possible. For example, she urges business owners to view social media from the perspective of a consumer:

Take off your “business” hat for a moment, and think about what you, as a consumer, want  from the brands you follow on social media. You’d probably be put off by a company that only   shares its own links and nothing else — and so would your own customers.

Her other tips include:

  • Prioritize Customer Communications: Never let a customer question or complaint go answered. If it is going to take some time to get a question answered or complaint resolved, make sure you respond and let the customer know that right away.
  • Know and Own Your Brand Voice: Don’t try to be something you are not. When you are communicating with customers on social media don’t try to be too hip or too funny (unless your brand really is hip or funny). People respond best to authenticity.
  • Focus on Channels that Make the Most Sense: It is always better to have a well-executed and active social media presence on one or two channels than to try to be everywhere all the time.

Social media is becoming more powerful and far-reaching by the day. That’s why just showing up isn’t enough anymore.

 

Summer is right around the corner. Vacations, family reunions and just hanging out at the pool put everyone—including customers and prospects—in a great mood. This make summer an ideal time to implement light-hearted marketing promotions that get the name out about your business.

The best part about summer-time marketing is there are really creative ways to promote your business without breaking the bank. If you are having a tough time coming up with ideas, no worries. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most festive, affordable, and imaginative ways to make sure the sun is shining on your brand all summer long!

Take to social media. Have customers and prospects upload their vacation photos and have people vote for their favorite. The person who posted the winning photo wins a basket full of fun summer goodies, a coupon for a free product or service from you company, or anything else you can think of. You can spend as much or as little as you want on your prize so you control how much you spend on it!

Get your name out there. Print your company’s logo on beach balls, beach towels, sunglasses, water bottles, or anything else you can think of that people use in the summer. Hand these items out to sales leads and customers and your name will be all over the parks and beaches.

Host a party. If you are able to spend a greater amount of money, consider hosting a BBQ, pool party, or outdoor concert for customers and community members. This will not only promote your business, it will promote goodwill among the community and your brand.

Do unto others. Another way to have your business viewed in a positive light is to plan and sponsor an event where all proceeds are donated to charity. The event can be as elaborate as a fireworks show or as laid-back as a car wash or dunk-tank. This is truly a situation where everyone wins.

Spread the news. Most cities and towns have a long list of summer activities. Print those activities on a notepad or magnet along with your company’s logo and contact information. People will refer to the information all summer long and when they do, they will be reminded of your business, as well!

There are countless ways to make sure that summer is a hot season for marketing your business. The key is to make sure that whatever marketing method you choose, it is fun for you to implement and a fun experience for your customers and prospects!

 

 

No matter how successful your small business, you should never stop looking for new customers. After all, circumstances can turn on a dime and you never know when you might find yourself needing to replace lost clients or grow your business.

If you are just starting out, you may be building your client base from scratch and are unsure how to attract customers. You are not alone. Even the most experienced business owners spend a great deal of time figuring out how to secure their next customer.

There are as many ways to attract new customers. Most businesses, however, will want to use tried-and-true methods that are most likely to secure additional clients in the shortest amount of time. If you fall into that category (and chances are you do), here are some important tips to make sure that whether you currently have a large customer base or are struggling to find customers, you can attract the number and type of clients you want:

Tip #1: Know your ideal client. When you know exactly who your ideal client is, you will have a much easier time attracting that type of client. When you cast too wide of a net, or use too general of a marketing message, that message tends to get lost on realistic prospects and sales leads because it is too broad.

Tip #2: Know where potential customers hang out. Are the customers you are looking for more likely to spend a majority of their time online? Are they best reached by phone or through a direct mail campaign? No matter how outstanding your marketing message, it has to be seen by prospects to be effective.

Tip #3: Know the answers. When you establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry, people will naturally be drawn to you and your business when it comes time to buy. Having a responsive website, blogging, creating quality content and being active on social media are all important steps to getting your name out there as the expert in your field.

Tip #4: Know how to create compelling calls-to-action. Encourage visitors to your website to subscribe to your newsletter. Ask them to follow you on social media. Create ads with free offers. Once prospects follow you or take advantage of one of your offers, you can begin to connect with them on a regular basis and fill your sales funnel.

Tip #5: Know the importance of follow up. Always follow up with each and every sales lead. No matter how interested a potential customer is in your product or service, if you never follow up, this prospect will quickly lose interest.

Again, there are countless ways to attract new customers. Using the tips listed above will help to ensure that you never lack for new customers or prospects.

 

When you are marketing your business, sometimes the last thing you think about is your call-to-action. This is unfortunate because a good call-to-action can be the most important part of any marketing campaign.

A call-to-action is a statement that tells a lead, prospect, or customer what they should do next. A weak call-to-action is easily overlooked or ignored. A strong call-to-action is one that people can’t resist and, more importantly, can’t help but to click on or respond to.

So how can you write a compelling call-to-action that entices your target audience to do what you want them to do? Here are some tips:

  1. Use short, action-oriented language. Call now! Download immediately! Don’t get left behind! These are all great examples of concise and effective calls-to-action.
  2. Show them the value. People want to know that if they click on a call-to-action it is worth their time. They also want to know what they will get in exchange for their time. Will it solve a problem they have? Will it save them time and money? Can they get more sales leads? Note: It is imperative that you never let people down with your calls-to-action. If you make a promise that by clicking on your link they will be able to save time and money, you better make sure they will!
  3. Provide an incentive. Purchase in the next 24 hours for free shipping!
  4. Create a sense of urgency. Click before time runs out! Many marketers are surprised to learn that if they tell people what they should do, they will actually do it!
  5. Think big. Little buttons at the bottom of a copy-heavy page aren’t going to get noticed. The bigger the better. Consider adding calls-to-action at the top of your page or in other prominent locations, as well.
  6. Make it clear where they should click. Make the click button looks like it should be clicked. Add borders, shadows, or even make it seem as if it is coming off the page. If people have to wonder where they should click, they probably won’t.
  7. Make it pop. You don’t want your call-to-action to blend in with your page, nor do you want it to clash with its design. The key is to use similar fonts and colors that work well with your design but that also pop off the page. Using plenty of white space also can help.

In most cases you will have to experiment a bit with calls-to-action before settling on which ones works best. If a particular call-to-action doesn’t seem to be working well, try another one. After all, an effective call-to-action can do wonders for your business so you need to pay close attention to what works and what doesn’t.

 

 

Social media is one of the most important marketing tools for small and medium-sized businesses today. Almost 90 percent of marketers will tell you that a social media presence is critical to the success of their business. So it’s no wonder that social media is where small and medium-sized businesses spend the majority of their marketing dollars.

Social media is also becoming an important player when it comes to SEO. Recent changes to Google’s algorithm mean that the more active you are on social media, the higher your search engine rankings.

If social media is so essential to the success of a business, then why is it that so many businesses do not have a social media strategy in place? For starters, many marketers simply do not know what a social media strategy actually entails. They also mistakenly believe that simply sharing helpful information or updating their followers on new products or services is an effective social media strategy.

Unfortunately for these businesses, a solid social media strategy involves much more than just slapping information up on a social media site or two. Instead, a successful social media strategy involves engaging and interacting with your target audience while establishing yourself as a thought leader in your industry. So how is this accomplished? The following steps are necessary to establish an effective social media strategy:

  1. Research and understand your particular target audience
  2. Use a distinct voice to compose posts and updates, as well as to interact with your followers
  3. Monitor your sites so that you are able to respond to comments and feedback from your followers in a timely manner
  4. Put measurable goals in place to accurately and regularly assess the success of your social media efforts
  5. Create a publication calendar and schedule of posts

Social media can be overwhelming for the newbie and just because someone has a personal Facebook or Twitter account, that doesn’t make him or her an expert in social media. Instead, it is often best to seek help from an outside source to make sure that you are putting your social media marketing dollars to use wisely.

 

 

 

 

Every business owner wants a website that is highly visible to the major search engines but they struggle with how to make that happen. In many cases, these business owners become overwhelmed and throw up their hands in defeat.

If you are one of those business owners, don’t despair! While achieving a high SEO ranking is critical to your business, making it happen is not as difficult as you might think. What follows are some ways to make sure your website gets noticed by the major search engines while generating more sales leads for your business.

  • Avoid overly-general headlines. Whenever possible, mention the name of your business in the headline of any content you are posting to your website. This allows the search engines to recognize what your business is all about.
  • Don’t skimp on headlines. A good rule of thumb is that for every 150 words or approximately three paragraphs, use a headline or a subhead. In other words, break up large blocks of copy. This helps with SEO because it reiterates what your content is all about.
  • Caption images. You have heard that images are important but if you don’t include a description of those images search engines will pay no attention. The more descriptive your captions, and the more they relate to the content, the better.
  • Avoid telling visitors to “click here.” If you are linking to a different page on your website make sure you specify what is on the page visitors are being directed to. For example, if you sell mufflers and you want people to visit a page on your website that lists the different types of mufflers you stock, instead of “click here” write “muffler product page.” This is just another chance for the search engines to know what your website is all about.
  • Keep it fresh. This is an oldie but a goody. The more fresh content on your website, the higher its SEO ranking. Search engines want the latest content so it’s your job to give it to them! If you can’t keep your website updated with fresh content, consider hiring a company that will do it for you. It’s that important!
  • Get social. Social media increases the visibility of your website by driving traffic to and from your website. Make sure your website includes social sharing buttons so that people can go back and forth between your website and your social media sites. The search engines love this type of activity.

If you are like most business owners, you are probably already doing many of these things. All it takes is a few tweaks and additions and you are on your way to a higher SEO ranking.

 

 

When it comes to marketing your small business, you may be tempted to take a cookie-cutter approach. This is especially true if you are worried that your budget doesn’t allow for a custom approach to marketing.

The truth is, however, that every business—no matter how large or how small—has a particular target audience it needs to reach and should tailor its marketing materials to that target audience. Further, some marketing methods clearly work better for some businesses and industries than others.

In his article, Small Business Marketing Tips for 6 Industries, Drew Hendricks explains how small businesses should fine tune their marketing approach based upon their industry. For example, Hendricks gives the following advice for plumbers, electricians, and others in the home services industry:

Search engine authority: Generally speaking, your customers give you a call when something is broken or needs maintenance, so it is critical to rank well in search engine results. Build your authority — and therefore your rankings — with on-site search engine optimization (SEO), authoritative content about your business and services.

Hendricks gives suggestions and advice for other industries, as well. And while the article is not intended to be a comprehensive marketing strategy, it definitely gives small businesses something to think about and offers them a place to start.

For years business owners have been told that they must have a website. As a result, almost every business has one.

Unfortunately, even businesses that have had a website up and running for long periods of time still aren’t exactly sure what that website is doing for their business. Some business owners have websites for no other reason than they were told they needed one. Still others understand that a website is a marketing tool but don’t know why.

While the types of websites are as varied as the types of businesses there are, all websites have one very important function: lead generation. The truth is, as important as a website is to your business, if it isn’t generating sales leads there no point in having one. (While there are particular cases when a website is designed simply to give a sales team credibility, this is an exception rather than the rule.) In fact, having an outdated website can often do more harm than good.

To be effective, your website should be constantly generating leads that allow your salespeople to close deals. And in some cases, a website is the sales team! If your website isn’t doing a good job of lead generation, you need to make some changes. Here are three places to start:

  • Always be optimizing. Website optimization needs to be an ongoing process that helps your website become more effective over time. This is accomplished by becoming familiar with the behaviors of your website visitors, experimenting with changes that will encourage visitors to do more of what you want them to do (for example, buy a product), and then evaluating those changes to see which ones work best.
  • Get personal with your calls-to-action. Statistics show that personalized calls-to-action convert 40 percent more website visitors than blanket calls-to-action. If a repeat customer visits your site, your website should welcome him or her back to your site by name and with information about products which match that customer’s interests.
  • Nurture leads. The best—and simplest way—to nurture leads is to send thank you and other relevant follow-up emails. These can include things like special offers or discounts. Remember, it is much cheaper to nurture leads than to uncover new ones so don’t miss out on this important opportunity.

Remember, your website was created to work for you. Make sure it is doing its job.

 

Social media is more important than ever to your business. However, knowing what specific aspects of social media to concentrate on can be difficult. After all, social media is a broad term that encompasses many different things.

In order to make sure that your social media strategy is as effective as possible, it is important that you concentrate on what is hot right now in the world of social media. So what is hot? The following list outlines it for you:

Social Signals: When people share your content, it sends more traffic to your website. More traffic, means a higher SEO ranking. So while social media doesn’t directly affect your SEO, without it your SEO can certainly suffer. The takeaway? Organic, high-quality content is more important than ever.

Mobile Traffic: Last year, mobile traffic overtook desktop traffic in the United States and its usage shows no signs of slowing. Therefore, if it isn’t already, mobile needs to be your number one focus.

Data-Driven Targeting: With all of the valuable insights that can be gained through social media analytics and other reporting tools, there is simply no excuse for not personalizing your marketing messages to every one of your sales leads—including those on social media. Make no mistake, your competition is approaching your customers and prospects with a personalized message so you better be doing the same thing!

Response Times: Surveys show that consumers who reach out to companies via their social media sites do not like to be kept waiting. And unhappy customers demand the quickest response—less than an hour. If you are keeping your customers waiting you can be sure they won’t be your customers for long.

Engagement Matters: Research shows that social media influences customers’ buying decisions even more than retail websites. Further, the more engaged your customers are on your social media sites, the greater your sales numbers. That’s why it is so important that you work to make your social media sites commerce-driven. While buying over social media is still in its infancy, the day will come when you will need to implement such strategies. Until then, engaging customers via social media about your products and services will make the inevitable transition much smoother.

Live Streaming: Live streaming video is believed by many social media specialists to be the next big thing. Live streaming personalizes your brand on a whole new level because it is unedited and much more authentic.

Social media has endless potential but it requires a great deal of time and attention to do it right. This is time well spent, however, as the potential payoff is huge.