3 Proven Ways to Market Your Business (Marketing Made Easy)

The world is filled with great ideas and broke business owners with fabulous products but no sales.
The fact is, ideas are not what drives most businesses success. Marketing does. So before you quit your day job to branch out on your own, it pays to have a solid marketing plan in place. Start with these 5 ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Free Webinars

For information product sellers, coaches, and service providers, one of the best sources of new clients is in free training webinars. No matter what your niche, the promise of in-depth training at no cost is enough to entice potential clients to part with an email address (which you’ll be able to market to later) and an hour of their time.
Not only that, but webinars are a fantastic way for those potential customers to get to know you better. And the better they know you, the more likely they are to buy.

Content Marketing

Not comfortable hosting a webinar? Hit the keyboard and start sharing your thoughts and ideas via your blog, ebooks, guest articles, and other written content. For internet marketers, this gives readers a taste of what they can expect from your product. If you sell physical products, it provides the perfect opportunity to share useful tips and other important information with your buyers.
Of course, there’s another important benefit to content marketing, too: search engine optimization. Google and other search engines index the words on your website and use the information to present search results to their users. Content marketing is a tool you can use to make the most of these results and to bring more potential buyers to your website.

Paid Advertising

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google, and plenty of other sites all offer paid placement, and with today’s powerful analytics tools, it’s easy to create ads and drive traffic inexpensively. Consider starting with Facebook, since the cost is low and it’s easy to target your ads to your ideal client. Once you’ve perfected your funnel, you can branch out into more costly ads with a larger reach, such as Google AdWords or another ad network.

Don’t limit yourself to these three marketing methods though. There are dozens of others you can try, including affiliate programs, automated funnels, direct mail campaigns, and even television advertising. The key is to keep testing and tweaking to make the most of every marketing effort so that your business continues to grow.

Quick and Easy Tweaks to Automate Your Sales Funnel

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read our disclosure for more info.

When it comes to leveraging your time, automation is the sharpest tool in your toolbox. It allows you to get more done in less time, and to smoothly move people through your sales funnel.

For many small business owners, though, that’s one area that’s often overlooked is your website.

Use Your Blog to Build Your Mailing List

Like any smart business owner, you likely have opt-in forms on your website. They’re in the sidebar or maybe the footer, and you might have a pop-up to capture attention as visitors are about to leave. (If you aren’t using pop-ups, you should be! Here’s my favorite WordPress plugin for pop-ups.)

But do you have a solid call to action at the end of your blog posts? When a new reader is finished consuming your posts, are they primed to learn more? Give them the opportunity by offering an opt-in at the end of each post.

Even better, make it a logical next step by creating a related offer for each post. Called a content upgrade, these offers typically consist of a simple checklist or worksheet and capture attention by providing even more information about a topic they’re already interested in. You can even customize the forms on each blog post with tags so you can target them further in your sales funnel.

Keep Them Reading With Related Links

How often do you revisit old blog posts to link to newer content? This is an important maintenance job that will help provide visitors with the information they’re looking for by linking related posts together.

Not only is this strategy good for keeping visitors on your site, but Google approves as well. Posts that link to each other encourage search engine bots to crawl your site more thoroughly and help boost the rankings of your most relevant posts.

[Hint: This is a perfect job for your VA.]

Make the Best of Your Download Pages

Whether you’re giving away a free report or paid product, your download pages can pull double-duty by offering visitors a “what’s next” option. For free download pages, a related, low-cost product is best. It gives readers the chance to learn more about you with a small investment.

For paid products, consider offering a complementary product instead. If you’re protecting your download pages with a membership script, you can even offer upsells based on what they already own, making the choice even easier for them.

And if you’re using a double-opt-in mailing list, make use of that confirmation page, too! That’s the perfect place for a quick upsell or an invitation to join you in your Facebook group or weekly Periscope.

Here’s a good rule of thumb to follow on your website: Whenever a reader lands on a page, she should be offered the next logical step. When you write your blog posts or create your download pages, keep that in mind, and your sales funnel will practically fill itself.

3 Unusual Places to Find Affiliate Partners

No matter how proudly you embrace the “solopreneur” title, there comes a time when you absolutely must reach out for help. And for savvy business owners, that help often comes in the form of affiliate partners.

Also called JV partners, affiliates act as your own private sales army, spreading the word about your products and services to a whole new audience—theirs. Not only do you reach people who might otherwise never encounter you, but you also benefit mightily from your affiliate’s existing relationships. By promoting you, an affiliate is endorsing you to their audience. They’re saying, “I know this seller; I trust them, and you should, too.”

But even with all those many benefits, coaches and product sellers sometimes struggle to find great partners. Sure, lots of people will register for your affiliate program, but the Pareto Principle is alive and well when it comes to affiliates: 20% of your partners will do 80% of the work. That means your goal is to recruit higher-performing partners.

The only question is, where do you find these great partners?

Pick Your Virtual Assistant’s Brain

Chances are good that your VA works for other business owners in similar niches. If you’re a business coach, they very likely work with several other coaches and they’re in a position to know…

  • Where their clients are in the business development cycle (ideally you want established partners, not newbies)
  • Their audience demographics (so they’ll know if they’re a good fit or not)
  • Their willingness to promote (some people simply don’t do affiliate partnership, so it’s a waste of time to approach them)

Look to Your Best Clients

Especially if you’re a business coach, your clients might just be your biggest fans—and they’re in a position to recommend you to friends, family, social connections, and elsewhere.

Be sure your clients all know that you offer a referral/affiliate program, how to sign up, and what the benefits are.

Your Competitors

It’s true—your competitors might just be your biggest affiliates if you give them a chance.

In some circles (such as business and relationship coaching) clients tend to “graduate” from one coach and move to another. This is normal and to be expected. And when you’re on good terms with your competitors, the coach their ex-clients move to might just be you.

Don’t be afraid to look in unusual places for your next affiliate partner. You really never know who can connect you with potential clients and partners. Think about all your relationships—from your team to your social circles to your competitors and colleagues—and consider all of their relationships and how far that might stretch. Then pick up the phone or draft an email and start leveraging your contacts!

10 Steps to Improve Your Search Engine Ranking (SEO)

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a great addition to any online marketing effort. Proper implementation can lead to amazing results, with a higher search engine ranking leading to an increase in traffic (website visitors) and sales.

The opportune place to be when someone is looking for the types of products, services, or information you offer is at the top of their search results. This is what SEO is all about.

Let’s look at the factors that affect on-page and off-page SEO and how these can impact your search engine ranking.

On-Page SEO

  1. Add a title tag. You will need this on every page of your website, as this will show the search engines and your visitors what the page is about. It should be 70 words or less and include the keyword or key phrase that you want to rank for.
  2. Write a meta description. This is not always needed and is often ignored by the search engines. However, you can use it to explain in more detail what the webpage is about. Include the keyword or phrase within this description too.
  3. Create sub-headings. These make your content easier to read, plus helps improve your search engine ranking. You can use them to add additional keywords and key phrases into your content. This shows the search engines that you believe them to be important to your content.
  4. Build internal links. This technique can be powerful and may be strong enough to rank individual pages without any external (off-page) SEO. Just put a link in your smaller articles to a longer, more authoritative piece of content. This helps the longer content to rank higher.
  5. Use image name and ALT tags. Give each image on your website a name that includes your chosen keyword. When indexing the page, the search engines may rank these images when people search for that particular keyword.
  6. Avoid over-optimizing. When creating content for your website, it’s important not to over-optimize the content. This means that it will benefit you to sparingly use the main keyword while including related keywords and phrases. You may be able to rank highly for these other keywords as well.
  7. Make your website mobile-friendly. These days, most searches and social media traffic will come from mobile devices (click here to see how many). So, it’s important that your website works properly on mobile. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, this will impact your user experience, and therefore your ranking signals, negatively.

Off-Page SEO

  1. You must build trust. Trust has become an important ranking factor. It shows the search engines that what you say is accurate and that visitors can trust your content. To develop trust, build high-quality backlinks from other trusted sources, and ensure that your content is high quality and accurate.
  2. Build backlinks. Most SEO experts gain backlinks by building relationships with other websites. It’s crucial to avoid spamming your links or building them too quickly. This could result in your website becoming de-indexed, which is essentially being banned from the search engines. Check out this article from Position Digital for more on how to build backlinks.
  3. Get social signals. According to some SEO experts, getting likes and shares from social media may have an impact on your search engine ranking. So, it makes sense to create the most valuable content you can and share it with your own social media accounts, where others can like and share it too.

Now that you know what on-page and off-page factors affect your SEO efforts, you can make any necessary changes to your website, leading to a boost in rankings and sales.

Just remember that SEO takes time to work. It won’t happen overnight and may take many months for you to see the fruits of your labor. However, this effort will be worth it once you’re continuously getting targeted traffic from the search engines, with the sales that come with it!

3 Proven Strategies for Small Business Owners to Increase Cash Flow

Is your small business struggling to make enough profit to pay the bills? Low cash flow and living paycheck to paycheck can be quite frustrating. Perhaps you started a small business so you could pursue your dream while earning money at the same time. If so, then you know that it isn’t always easy to get a small business to bring in the profits you’d like.

However, if you’re willing to work hard and have a good plan, there’s no limit to how far you can take your small business. Luckily, there are many ways to increase your current cash flow and free you from the threat of financial disaster.

Consider these strategies to increase your cash flow:

  1. Collect feedback. Many small business owners forget the importance of soliciting feedback from their clients. There are several effective ways to find out what your clients think about your products and services.
    • Ask the client to fill out a quick survey or questionnaire to rate various aspects of your business. These surveys can provide an excellent glimpse into your client’s point of view. There are many different websites that enable you to create simple surveys. Look online to find one that meets your needs.
    • Follow up with your clients with a phone-call or email asking for comments about your products or services. Inquire about which aspects they are satisfied with and which need some work.
    • Talk to your clients in person and ask them how they feel about their experiences with your business.
    • Remember, word of mouth is one of the best ways to advertise your business. If you have a bunch of satisfied customers, they’ll tell their friends and family about their positive experience and you’ll get more business.
  2. Get rid of products that don’t sell. It’s likely that you offer your customers a wide variety of products, but only a few of these products bring you maximum profit.
    • Sometimes a large inventory can work against your business. Customers often avoid buying altogether when they’re overwhelmed with options.
    • Instead of offering more products that likely won’t be sold, trash the unattractive products and offer more items or services related to your best-sellers. This is an excellent way to boost sales while reducing upkeep and inventory costs.
  3. Pursue unique marketing strategies. If your business is experiencing a steep drop in sales, there must be a reason. It could be that your marketing techniques are simply not as effective as you thought. Consider alternative marketing techniques.
    • Think about marketing your business online. It’s becoming easier with each passing day and more people are prone to search the internet for better deals. Businesses that have online order options are often much more successful. It’s a perfect way to increase cash flow.
    • Get the word out. Take advantage of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to promote your business. Check out our Social Media services to see how we can help with this part!
    • Radio advertisements, commercials, billboards, and flyers all increase the visibility of your business. Sometimes, direct marketing is just as effective.

By using these strategies you can boost sales and increase the revenue of your business. Once these strategies have been implemented, there will be no need to worry about how you’re going to pay the next bill. You’ll finally have the money to live the life that you’ve dreamed of.

It just requires determination, persistence, creativity, and an open mind to make your business successful. Test different strategies and stick to the ones that work best for you. Your efforts will be worth it once you see those increased profits.

Have you used these, or any other, strategies to increase your small business’ cash flow? How did it go?

Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

How to Learn Online Marketing at Home

To become successful with online marketing, one must develop the necessary skills and knowledge to produce the best results.

This will take hard work and patience, but the good news is that you do not need to attend a college or university to get these skills.

In this guide, you’ll discover some methods you can use to learn online marketing at home. In fact, you could become an expert yourself!

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM is a major part of online marketing and is split into two defined areas: search engine optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC):

  1. With SEO, you’ll learn how to optimize a website so that it ranks higher in the search engines’ organic results, therefore helping to drive targeted traffic to your website (learn more about searching engine ranking here).
    • An important item to understand about SEO is that this is a discipline that changes continuously. Because of this aspect, you’ll want to monitor the major players in SEO to keep up with search engine algorithm changes, so you can adjust your own methods accordingly.
    • There are many SEO courses online, including one that we’re working on here, at Steady Radiance Design. Research these courses, pick one, and get started!
  2. PPC, or Pay-Per-Click marketing, will enable you to send traffic to websites with targeted advertisements.
    • Google Ads is still one of the most popular PPC networks, which will show your ads on Google properties and websites that have the AdSense code included.
    • You can learn PPC easily online and relatively quickly. There are numerous courses you can take, including ones that will allow you to gain a Google Certification for PPC ads.
    • Once you’ve gained this accreditation, create some PPV (Pay Per View) campaigns of your own to gain the necessary experience you’ll need to get your own clients.

Social Media Marketing

It’s almost impossible to imagine a world without social media. Millions of people visit social media websites each day, which is why learning how to market on these platforms is so important.

Social media marketing has many advantages, such as:

  • Marketing your website for free by engaging your social media audience.
  • Buying effective advertising campaigns for as little as $5/day.
  • A highly targeted audience that you want to show your ads to.

Luckily, there are online courses available on these platforms themselves that will help teach you how to market to the millions of users that use these platforms daily. From paid campaigns to getting your content to go viral, if you want to learn about something, there will be a course available that can help.

Email Marketing

Despite what you may have heard, email marketing is still one of the best ways to market online.

The first step is to build an email list. Offer something valuable, such as a free report or discount coupon, that is related to your products or services in exchange for their email address. In this way, you can build a list of people that opted in to receive your emails.

To run a successful email marketing campaign, it’s important to understand your audience and what they want. Once you understand what they want, you can craft an offer that will be attractive to them and then make your offer in an email to your list.

In order to build your email list and send emails to them, you’ll need to use an autoresponder. There are many autoresponder platforms on the web, and many of them are free to get started.

With an autoresponder, you can also track your ads and their effectiveness.

To learn more about email marketing and how to effectively use an autoresponder:

  • Pick one and start using it. All the major autoresponder platforms have numerous guides and articles about how to use them to run successful marketing campaigns.
  • You can also find videos on YouTube that teach how to run email marketing campaigns with your chosen autoresponder.
  • Or you can do an online search for a course that teaches you the information you need.

Do Your Research and Take Action

You can research online marketing tips at home and find out what techniques are working for others.

You can then take these ideas and use them yourself. Many techniques you learn may not be successful, but you will soon learn what works best for you and what does not.

You’ll learn your own way of working and which area of online marketing you prefer to focus on. Not everyone can be an expert at everything, which is why many successful online marketers have a team of experts who each specialize in their own area.

You can become one of these experts yourself and do your own online marketing for your own company or offer your services to others. You could make a nice extra income this way!

Do you have more questions or need some addition guidance for how to improve your online marketing game?

Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

Instagram Account Lock – Why it Happens and What to Do

In recent weeks, Instagram has cracked down on users who have violated their Community Guidelines. As a part of this process, Instagram casts a wide net around certain areas, so many users who have not actually violated anything are also getting an Instagram Account Lock notification. Here’s how to know if you have actually violated Instagram’s Community Guidelines and what to do if your account has been locked.

Read more

Health-Related Facebook Pages Could See Downgraded Posts for Sensationalist Health Claims

Last Tuesday, July 2, 2019, Facebook announced that they implemented two new post ranking updates to their most recent algorithm which was released last month. These updates target Pages that post “exaggerated or sensational health claims [or are] attempting to sell products or services based on health-related claims.” According to Travis Yeh, Facebook Product Manager, the reason behind this change to the algorithm is to “improve the quality of information in News Feed.”

Examples of the types of posts that would be downgraded were provided by Facebook. However, they leave a lot of room for interpretation. In our opinion, that means that there will be a lot of misidentified posts. The only good news is that Facebook won’t block the identified posts. Instead, they will be shown lower in the News Feeds of your followers.

Here’s what Facebook says about how they are evaluating posts through this new lens:

“We consider if a post about health exaggerates or misleads — for example, making a sensational claim about a miracle cure [and] we consider if a post promotes a product or service based on a health-related claim — for example, promoting a medication or pill claiming to help you lose weight.”

As you can see, their definitions are fairly broad, though they anticipate that a majority of Pages won’t see a significant change to their post distribution in News Feeds. They suggest that Pages should avoid sensationalist health claims and solicitation using health-related claims. In addition, any pages that do see a decrease in distribution can simply stop posting that sort of content.

These newest changes to the ranking algorithm come on the heels of another major change involving health-related posts. In March, Facebook announced that it would take strong action against Pages and Groups that “spread misinformation about vaccinations on Facebook.” Those types of posts will see harsher consequences than those discussed above. Spreading misinformation about vaccinations can completely exclude your Page or Group from recommendations on Facebook. Also, Facebook will reduce the distribution of posts made by offending Pages and Groups as well as rejecting ads with the offending content.

So how do you avoid this type of content if you’re in a health-related field?

As with most issues related to Facebook’s algorithms, this all comes down to word usage. The algorithm will indetify posts by searching for phrases commonly found in spammy health-related posts. Facebook has not said what phrases the algorithm will look for. We believe terms to avoid are things like “guaranteed results”, “lose weight fast”, and “risk-free”.

What do you think of this change? Do you think it will help reduce spam for users? Or will it just make more unnecessary headaches for business Page owners?

Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Power Up Your Social Media Marketing

One of the least expensive ways to improve your marketing is to ensure that your social media game is on point. In fact, according to a recent study from Clutch, Social Media is the second-highest priority for Small Businesses (second to a business website) and three out of five small businesses use basic social media outreach to market their brand. As an added benefit, using social media marketing can also cultivate brand loyalty!

We can hear you all now, saying “I don’t have time for social media marketing” or “I don’t know how to do it”…well we’re here to help! If you don’t have time, reach out to us and we can manage your social media for you; if you don’t know how (or just want some great tips), here are some easy ways to use social media marketing for your business.

Content creation 101

The most important part of any social media marketing plan is content creation. You need to have something to post and you’ll need to have a lot of it! Here are some of the best places to find content relevant to your business:

  1. The first place to look for content is things you’ve already created. You can repurpose content from a blog, a past newsletter or any other marketing collateral. If you sell products, you could do a weekly product spotlight with just the product image and catalog description (plus a link to the product on your website, of course!)
  2. Spotlight upcoming events.
  3. Offer freebies or discounts for your social media followers.
  4. Live stream a video of something your target audience would be interested in. You can also add some “hype” posts prior to going live to increase viewership. Here are some ideas for live videos (these can be good topics for traditional text/image posts too!)
    • Share details about your business. This can be anything from how the business started to how you got to where you are now.
    • Give an insider’s look at what you do. For example, if you manufacture something, do a sneak peek at the manufacturing process.
    • Share what makes you different from your competitors – why should potential clients choose you?
    • Do happy customer/client interviews so they can share what makes your business the best.
  5. Solve some problems. Think about the problems that your target audience faces and post ideas or solutions to those problems.

Share content from other sources

You don’t have to write everything you share on social media. Instead, you can share posts that include links to other information or articles that you find interesting, or you think your target audience would find interesting. Make sure to add some text to the post, discussing why you like the resource your sharing, and don’t forget to include a link! Also, be sure that you don’t imply that you’re the author of the content.

Make it nice to look at

Whenever you’re doing a social media post – especially for Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest – it’s essential that you include an image (it’s actually a requirement on Instagram). The only exception to this would be if you’re doing a live video on Facebook. Coming up with images for every post you do might seem like a daunting challenge, but we’re here to tell you that it can actually be relatively easy!

Unless you have a graphic designer on staff, we recommend that you use Canva. It’s a service that let’s you create high-quality graphics and ads with an easy drag-and-drop interface. It includes access to stock images, text, icons, graphics and more! There’s even a free option that works wonderfully for basic designs.

Automate, automate, automate

When coming up with any kind of new strategy (marketing or otherwise), scalability is essential. We recommend that you post at least once a day to your business social media platforms, but to do that, you’ll need some serious automation. Automation is one of the best ways to ensure that your social media presence is consistently active. Basically all we’re talking about when we say “automation” is a service that will allow you to schedule posts in advance. There are multiple options available to schedule posts in advance, but we recommend Hootsuite for the best all-around option. All you do is set it and forget it!

 

There is obviously a lot more that we could go into for setting up a stellar social media marketing plan, but this is enough to get you started on your marketing journey!

Drop us a line if you have any questions or would like us to help you set up a marketing plan!

 

What other ideas do you have for social media marketing for small businesses?

Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Facebook Released 2019 Q1 Numbers on Automated Standards Enforcement

If you’ve been on Facebook for any amount of time (for business or personal use), it’s likely that you’ve had a post flagged for some sort of violation of Facebook’s community standards. As Facebook comes under more scrutiny for the content posted on their platform, they have increased the automated detection of said content. For the most part, this is a good thing, but there is a dark side to this increase in automated standards enforcement: misidentification.

In a recent report, Facebook gave an overview of how their automated detection is working. For the purposes of our post, we’re only going to focus on the spam numbers in the report. The report covers the first quarter of 2019 along with a broader view of the past year. Specifically, it shows the amount of content that Facebook has “taken action on” during that time period (meaning they removed the content, applied a warning screen to the content, or they disabled the account). According to the report, the amount of spam content that has had an action taken on it has more than doubled in the past year, going from 836 million in Q1 of 2018 to 1.76 billion in Q1 of 2019.

For the first quarter of 2019, they’ve added a new metric – they are now showing how much of the content that had action taken against it was restored, either by their own accord or because a user requested an appeal. They don’t have that information for any other time periods, so everyone is just going to have to wait and see how that metric increases or decreases in relation to the amount of spam identified.

To give Facebook some credit where credit is due, the report shows that in Q1 of 2019 only about 3% of the posts Facebook took action on were misidentified. That low of a percentage is great, but it still equals out to 44.2 million posts that were restored after being misidentified as spam. If one (or more) of your posts was part of that 3%, I’m sure you’d agree that it’s frustrating and troubling, to say the least, to have your content misidentified as spam. According to some users, having a post identified as spam can also cause problems in other areas, such as having your comments on other content flagged and locking you out of your account.

Overall, it appears that Facebook’s automated standards enforcement is doing its job, but because of the incredible amount of content shared on the platform every day, we feel like they might be struggling with getting it right. Regardless of our opinions though, one thing is certain, as Facebook continues to increase their automated standards enforcement, it’s likely that you will see an increase of spam notifications for content that you post on the platform.

What are your thoughts on Facebook’s automated standards enforcement? Have you seen an increase in reported posts on your profile or pages?

Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter.