When running your own business, it’s essential that you have a business plan in place. The trouble is, no matter how well thought out that plan is, challenges will arise that disrupt it.

The most successful business owners not only have a business plan, they know what to do when life, or business, throws that plan out of whack. And as any seasoned business owner will tell you, it isn’t a matter of if obstacles arise, it’s a matter of when, and how many, obstacles arise!

So as a business owner, what do you do when the inevitable crisis occurs? The following guest post gives you some good insight into how to cope with an unexpected bump in the road.

Getting your content noticed is tough. This is true even if you have stayed on top of the recent changes to Google’s algorithm and have put into practice the best in search engine optimization.

The fact is, however, even if you are able to drive people to your website or blog, it doesn’t mean they are going to read what you have written, much less share it. If you are scratching your head wondering why your content doesn’t seem to connect with your target audience, you are not alone. The good news is, there are some common issues that might be to blame for your lack of engagement and most of those issues are fairly easy to correct.

  1. Your headlines aren’t unique. Let’s face it, there is a lot of content out there. That’s why it’s so important that your headlines catch the attention of readers.
  2. Your content is too “informative.” Make sure your content solves a problem or answers a question. Your content must do more than just inform people about an issue because your audience knows what their problem is, what they want to know is how to solve it!
  3. You are unable to get to the point. The attention span of internet users is becoming shorter and shorter and most people scan rather than read articles. Make sure you get to the point quickly or readers will pass you over. You can add more details further down in the story but it’s important you don’t “save the best for last” because you may have lost your readers by then.
  4. Your copy is difficult to read. Remember that short paragraphs, subheads, and bullet points work best.
  5. You haven’t harnessed the power of numbers. Studies show that people are more likely to read posts, articles, blogs, and other content that include numbered lists. And numbered lists are more likely to be shared.
  6. You don’t know your parts of speech. Social media scientists say that headlines that include more verbs and less nouns are more likely to be clicked on.
  7. You don’t write like you talk. Providing good advice in a conversational voice is what makes people view you as an authority on a subject, not using big words.
  8. You’re afraid to be funny. You don’t have to crack jokes in every post or article but it’s a refreshing change of pace when you can insert a little humor into your writing. It also makes you seem more personable.
  9. You are writing about a boring topic. Let’s face it, some topics are easier to write about than others but by getting into the mind of your intended audience it will be easier to make a topic more interesting. After all, you are writing for your reader, not for yourself!
  10. You avoid relationships. Good content will leave people coming back for more. Encourage repeat traffic by asking people to submit comments and questions.

If you own a business, getting that business up and running online can seem like a Herculean task. When it finally goes live, it may be tempting to sit back and bask in your accomplishment but that is the last thing you should do.

While it’s true that more than 90 percent of consumers go online to look for products and services, just because you are online doesn’t mean these consumers will find you. In fact, not actively promoting your brand online is the same as not being online at all.

According to The First 5 Things to Do After Getting Your Business Online, an article by the small business editor at Small Business Trends, there are some critical steps you need to take to keep your business moving forward after it goes online.

  1. Use your domain name to promote your brand
  2. Create lots and lots (did we mention a lot) of content
  3. Find customers through email, social media, and search engine optimization
  4. Create ecommerce capabilities and/or capture leads online
  5. Remain flexible and open to new ways of doing things

Don’t get discouraged if you can’t accomplish every item on this list immediately or perfectly. The important thing is that you have a plan and continue to work toward your online goals.

Keep track of what you learn and don’t be afraid to make adjustments along the way.  As your needs change, you may need a full-fledged ecommerce site or you may want to make your website mobile-friendly.

Of course, if you feel that you are in over your head when it comes to getting notice online, it might be time to enlist some help. At GoLeads, we have helped people just like you create content, actively connect with new customers, and capture leads. And that is just the beginning.

Finally, remember that just because your business is online, it doesn’t mean you can only use online methods to get it noticed. A combination of online and offline marketing tactics is usually the best strategy for getting your business noticed.

Search engine optimization (SEO) has always been important to businesses. However, recent changes to Google’s algorithm mean that now, more than ever, businesses need a firm grasp on the best practices in SEO. This is especially true for businesses that rely heavily on results from search engines to drive traffic to their websites.

At GoLeads, we are always amazed at the responses we receive from clients after we introduce the subject of SEO to them. Answers are varied, but usually come down to these top 3:

“Oh, we’re already doing this.”

“I have someone concentrating on this full time.”

“We do outbound calling. We don’t want inbound calls.”   (Really?)

What’s interesting about the first two responses is that it doesn’t take much research to recognize they really aren’t doing anything when it comes to SEO. We can never find them in the organic listings under their keywords or phrases. Plus, their back-end coding is all wrong, there is no new content…the list goes on.

The great thing about SEO is that it’s never too late to start taking an active approach to it. Now is the time to get back in the game. That’s because Google has changed the rules quite dramatically that it’s possible for everyone to compete for visibility.

Need another incentive? Businesses that do not abide by Google guidelines may be removed from its search engine entirely.

While deciphering and adhering to SEO best practices may seem daunting, fear not! Learning how to best leverage SEO for your business is not impossible. What follows are the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to the latest in SEO:

  1. YOUR WEBSITE MUST BE MOBILE AND USER FRIENDLY. Most of us realize that every business must have a mobile website. But equally important is that your mobile website is easy to read and look good on every type of mobile device, including smart phones and tablets.
  2. CONTENT REMAINS KING. Content continues to reign supreme and it is becoming more important all the time. Today’s content must be high quality, provide useful insights, and be easily shared.
  3. SPEED COUNTS. Slow websites will be penalized. For example, if the pages on your website take too long to load, your page ranking will suffer.
  4. TIME (ON YOUR WEBSITE) IS OF THE ESSENCE. There is no such thing as someone spending too much time on your site. In fact, Google will be judging your content on how long people spend on your website. Likewise, if you have a lot of visitors to your website but they don’t stay for long, you need to find out why that is and take steps to change it.

Knowing what SEO strategies are most important and how to implement them can be a struggle. At GoLeads, we help businesses just like yours do this every single day and we can do the same for you. Navigating the new SEO landscape can be difficult, but the good news is you don’t have to go it alone!

Today’s many social media platforms make engaging with customers and prospects easier than ever. Unfortunately, this fact gives many business owners the mistaken impression that social media marketing is a simple undertaking. In truth, getting your target audience to engage with you on social media is no easy task.

In her article, 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing, Susan Gunelius tells us that social media can dramatically increase a company’s following. But like anything else, what you put into your social media marketing strategy is directly related to what you will get out of it.

If you publish amazing, quality content and work to build your online audience of quality followers, they’ll share it with their own audiences on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, their own blogs and more.

This sharing and discussing of your content opens new entry points for search engines like Google to find it in keyword searches. Those entry points could grow to hundreds or thousands of more potential ways for people to find you online.

At GoLeads, we tell our customers that the more accessible and inviting a company’s social media marketing efforts seem, the more hard work and strategizing actually went into those efforts.

Your social media strategy should always keep in mind the audience you are trying to reach. For example, if you are looking to attract investment bankers, your posts should contain information that specifically speaks to that audience. And fluff copy isn’t going to do the job. After all, these professionals know their industry inside and out and won’t waste valuable time on content that doesn’t bring something new to the table. Gunelius’ Law of Value talks about this:

You must add value to the conversation. Focus less on conversions and more on creating amazing content and developing relationships with online influencers. In time, those people will become a powerful catalyst for word-of-mouth marketing for your business.

Producing quality content takes a lot of time and a great deal of research. And it’s important to remember that it takes patience to achieve social media success. Therefore, don’t get discouraged if it takes longer than you expected to gain traction. When it comes to social media, slow and steady really does win the race.