February 2016 Grow Smart Growth Bites Newsletter

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The Content Marketing Trends That Will Shape 2016

Social Media Marketing Essentials You Are Screwing Up

How to Make Sure That You're Not Being a Conversion-Killer

Why You Need Visual Content Marketing In  Your Toolbox

February 2016


The Content Marketing Trends That Will Shape 2016

Content marketing has bFEB2016_IMG1ecome one of the most powerful tools at a marketer’s disposal. Instead of attacking consumers with an onslaught of ads, they can now cause potential customers to actually seek out their business organically. As is the case with all marketing tools, though, content marketing evolves. These are the trends you will need to catch up with for a successful 2016.

Google Knowledge Graph Will Change Content

If you have ever typed a query into Google and had the answer presented to you on the results page, without having to click any link, you have experienced Google's Knowledge Graph. It takes information from all over the web and easily presents it directly on the return page. Fortunately, this is usually only possible for simple information. If you start providing content on more in-depth topics, you'll likely continue getting the all-important click.

Visual Content Will Be Even More in Demand

Cisco predicts video will dominate 69 percent of the world's consumer internet traffic by 2017, and there are several valid reasons behind this. One of these reasons is the large move towards video in the content marketing world. The written content market, while still important, has become saturated. Consumers are demanding more visual mediums, and whether it is infographics or video, we have to acquiesce.

Aggregated Content Will Give Consumers Power

If you were to look at the hashtag page for an emerging news story on Twitter, you would see aggregated content. This is information being gathered from all over the web to create one clear picture. With tools like Project Lightning from Twitter, consumers will begin to get more of their content, especially the content we use for real-time marketing, in this manner. Because of that, marketers will need to look for new publication opportunities.

Quality Content Will Be Essential

It seems that many marketing gurus out there have beat the proverbial horse to death when it comes to saying “quality content is a must.” In reality, though, this will be truer than ever in 2016. Since the written content market is becoming saturated, people have tons to choose from. In fact, there are now computer algorithms that allow machines to write simple articles on their own. Because of this, only the best content will rise to the top.

Every so often, there is a mass leap in evolution in marketing. Fortunately, this is not what is happening with content marketing. In 2016, a little preparation can help you stay abreast of these changes.


Social Media Marketing Essentials You Are Screwing Up

FEB2016_IMG2Even the most novice social media marketer knows a few essentials. From the best times of the day to post to spacing out these posts for maximum effectiveness; some of these rules are almost common sense. Unfortunately, many of these marketers are also making the mistake of not knowing some very basic social media marketing rules. Here are the ones you may be missing.

Never Make Procrastination Appealing

We have all seen that one furniture store that has had the “One Week Only Sale!” sign outside for the past four years. While this might work well for a physical retail store, it is not doing you any favors with your social media marketing. Procrastination in this world usually means the loss of a sale. Constantly offer new promotions with incentives, and make sure that each has a deadline to opt-in, purchase, share, or whatever call to action you require.

Make Use of the Free Tracking Tools

It seems almost nonsensical that a marketer would not know about the tracking tools available on social media, and yet, some marketers are still not using them. Twitter and Facebook both allow you to see how many people are engaging with your posts and offers. This is a great way to evaluate the effectiveness of your campaign. Always use these programs in conjunction with your other data tracking tools.

Paying Too Much Attention to “Experts”

There are undoubtedly those out there who are great with social media marketing, but anyone who says that a certain rule works perfect every time might be overconfident. There are no universal truths in social media marketing. Instead, you should be focused on results. If something is garnering results but does not fall under “accepted knowledge,” who cares? If it works for you, then go with it.

Always Be Clear About What Fans Should Do

There are some out there claiming that Facebook is reducing post reach if there's a direct call to action listed. This myth can be dissuaded by simply posting a “Not sure if fans can see this. Please ‘Like' so we know it is working” post. While it is not pretty, you are sure to get tons of interaction. If your content is meaningful being direct with your followers about what they should do (“Visit our website,” etc.) is fine, and will get results.

Social media marketing is not the future… it's the now. Make sure you are doing it right.


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Create a Content Marketing Plan that Rocks!

think global concept on tablet computerThere's little worse than being the cause of your own business missteps. However it comes about, you feel the fool for stepping in it, and would do anything to take a step back in time. Since in all likelihood that's not going to happen, perhaps it would be good to look at some of the ways we can inadvertently sabotage our own traffic and conversions. They are a lot simpler than you might think, and also easy to fix!

8 Ways to Kill Traffic and Conversions


Lack of testing

If you decide that testing isn't important or you can't be bothered, you deserve what you get. Even the best marketers test every aspect of their offers, (one reasons why they're the best!) and leave little to chance. Test it all, and do it systematically.


Wrong type of traffic 

Usually the main reason why people bounce off your page, getting the wrong type of traffic can be as simple as optimizing for the wrong keywords, (usually unwittingly) and getting a whole host of people showing up who have no interest in what you're offering. Make every effort to rank for exact phrases, and match your content to those search terms. (Paid or organic)

Too many hoops

Making your prospective customers jump through too many hoops before getting what they want is a sure way to kill conversions. Only ask for what you absolutely need, and no more!

A weak call to action

The only thing worse than a weak call to action is the lack of one. Ask for exactly what you want, in no uncertain terms!

Slow page loads 

You have but a few seconds, usually less than four, to capture your visitors attention and draw them into your offer.

Poor on-page SEO 

Take care constructing page title tags and Meta descriptions. A poor job here can lead to your page not ranking as well as it might, costing you valuable traffic and probably sinking any quality scores you are seeking due to page irrelevance.

Not mobile-friendly

If your page is not responsive to mobile formats, you are going to lose up to half of your audience right from the start. With more than 50% (and growing) of all web traffic now coming from a mobile device you really need to come join the party.

Not enough landing pages

Not having a dedicated landing page for each search term you hope to rank for (or pay for) is a sure way to get poor quality scores and even poorer search rankings. While it may seem like a lot of work to create multiple optimized landing pages, it will be well worth the trouble. Besides, these days there are many tools that can make this very easy.

Committing any of these traffic and conversion mistakes can hurt, but the good news is that now you know, and can avoid them entirely!


Why You Need Visual Content Marketing in your Toolbox 

If you actually need any more evidence the Web is gaga over visual content, look no further than the fastest-growing sites over the last several years. Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and more have captured the audience for good, and are set to deliver a steady stream of visual content to a device near you 24/7.

FEB2016_IMG4This presents a challenge to marketers who haven't yet embraced this form of content marketing. It won't be long before you'll begin to notice that your more traditional forms of content are being displaced by various forms of video, images and more. And by then you'll also be losing ground and money to your competition.

Visual content has been proven to enhance engagement, time on site, interest and sharing. (In fact visual content is shared 3X faster than text!) All of those things sound pretty good to me!

3 Primary ways to create visual content for marketing

Video

Video is all grown up now. There are many ways to create and use video for your marketing purposes, and you need to be making video a regular tool in your marketing mix. The traffic from YouTube alone is worth it, not to mention the advantages video has over text when it comes to conversions.

Images

There's a reason why the top photo sharing sites Instagram and Pinterest are ranked as the 27th and 36th most popular sites on the internet respectively. People are into imagery, and the ease of sharing and creation has made this into a social media phenomenon.


Some popular ways to make videos include…

  • Talking head videos
  • Slideshow videos
  • Animated videos
  • Shorts (Vine, Instagram)
  • Customer Testimonials
  • Product demos
  • Videos sales letters
  • And many more!

Creating unique imagery for your various marketing purposes, such as for blog posts, site content, advertising images and more is easier than ever. Free tools abound that help you easily edit and shape your image and message exactly how you would like it, and create many versions for testing purposes as well. Not only that, the images themselves can have many incarnations, living on your web properties, the aforementioned photo sharing sites, Google images and more.

Infographics

A hybrid of text and imagery, infographics have their own unique uses in the world of visual content marketing. These are becoming easier and easier to create, as tools are sprouting up that enable even those of us with very modest skills to create stunning infographics.

These allow you to share what could be viewed as “dry” content textually in a way that's alive and visually compelling. Moreover, one of our favorite things about infographics is the amount of times they get shared, bringing traffic and valuable backlinks. A triple threat performer if there ever was one!


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12 Simple Tips For Protecting Your Brand Online

12 Simple Tips For Protecting Your Brand Online

If you’re a new company and you want to thrive in your industry, the first thing you need to get ahold of is your brand identity. Branding is one of the basic aspects of online marketing, but it’s also one of the most important, if not the most. What do you want your customers to think of when they hear or read your brand online? Most companies and entrepreneurs tend to lose focus on this matter, especially if they are eager to “get by” and make a name for themselves straightaway. (more…)

October 2015 Grow Smart Growth Bites Newsletter

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5 Tips for Winning With Facebook Ads

5 Ways Small Businesses Can Get Going with Online Marketing

Create a Content Marketing Plan that Rocks!

How Small Businesses are Using Social Media

How to Create Content that Drives Traffic

October 2015


5 Tips for Winning With Facebook Ads

5Tips_WinningFacebookAds5 Ways to Deliver Better Results from Your Facebook Advertising

Facebook ads have grown into a powerful tool for the average marketer, enabling them to reach vast numbers of people they might otherwise not have had the budget or ability to find. It is also very cost effective if you know a bit about how to manage your campaigns, which makes it an extremely viable choice when compared with Google Adwords and other PPC platforms.

Imagine having the capability to dial in a highly targeted audience based upon interests and behaviors and have your ads up and running, bringing you new leads and sales in just hours. That can happen, but you need some knowledge to make it happen. Here are 5 tips which will help guide the way!

5 Best Practices for Your Facebook Ads

Master precise targeting – Facebook is the industry leader with regards to making it possible to precisely target your advertising audience. Using tools like Audience Insights directly integrated into your advertising platform, you can direct your ads to niches as small and specific as you want. This is the single most important skill to master in Facebook advertising.

Utilize only the Mobile and Desktop ads – Right side ads have their place but they are trickier to try and get a positive return on your investment. Besides, newsfeed ads and mobile are the place to be, as more than half of all Facebook traffic originates on a mobile device.

Segment and Daypart – Parsing out your audiences into specific segments you can reuse makes it easier for you to market long term. Also, look into the new feature of dayparting on your ads, delivering them only when your customers have the best shot at seeing them.

Use Eye Catching Graphics – Use vivid and compelling images for your ads. This can take a bit of time, but the right images will sell you ad far better than any words. And please don't use images that have been used time and again.

Investigate lookalike audiences – Facebook's ability to create a “lookalike” audience based upon your fans, email list, and other factors is a goldmine waiting to be discovered. Take advantage of this before your competition does!


5 Ways Small Businesses Can Get Going with Online Marketing

Check Out These 5 T5ways-small-businesses-can-get-with-online-marketingips for marketing Your Small Business

Congratulations! You've decided to take your business online, now it's time to get about some marketing. We're assuming that you've got the basics: a website with your own URL, not built on anyone else's platform. (i.e. Blogger, Wix, etc) You want to own your business, not have it exist at the whim of someone else.

Online marketing isn't a dark art reserved only for those wearing Black Hats and frequenting hacker forums. The slick SEO consultant who comes calling will want to charge you a lot of money for many things you can easily do yourself.

It's really not rocket science, however, many are scared to make a mistake. Let's dispel some of those fears by taking a look at 5 steps new marketers can take to get going with online marketing your small business.

5 Tips for marketing your small business online

Start Blogging – Blogging is easy, and carries with it some inherent benefits for a small business. It will help you establish your brand, build authority, and start gaining a following, all essential elements of online success.

Take social media seriously – We live in a world where social media rules the day. That's where the people are, and if choose to not be there, you'll soon be eclipsed by your competitors.

Monitor your online reputation – Set up alerts so that you can be aware of and respond to any social or website mentions of you or your company. It's far easier to do this and catch something when it's a small spark before it ignites into a firestorm.

Begin building an email list – The top thing successful online marketers say when asked if they could do one thing differently, is that they wished they'd started building an email list from Day One.

Make use of online directories – Get your business listed in all the major online directories for small businesses, such as Yelp, Google My Business, Merchant Circle and others. One very important must-do on this is to be sure that your NAP info, (name, address, phone) is consistent over all of these sites. Make it easy for people to find you!


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Create a Content Marketing Plan that Rocks!

Create a Content Marketing Plan that Rocks!Creating a Content Marketing Plan is a Necessary First Step!

The lifeblood of all businesses on the internet is content. It's what your visitors come to check out and browse, and without fresh, innovative compelling content, your business really has nothing to say.

It doesn't matter if you sell the very best widget ever to come down the pike; if you can't or won't articulate that in various forms of web content in a regular fashion, no one will care.

So how does one set about crafting all this wonderful content? The first thing to know is that you can do this very simply when you create a content marketing plan and decide to stick to it. Let's check out several steps toward generating your own content marketing plan.

Developing a killer content marketing plan

Find your audience and provide them with what they want – All businesses have a unique audience all their own, and yours does as well. You'll want to identify who they are by creating your own customer “avatar” and understanding what they need.

Choose your types of content – You aren't restricted to just blog posts; you've got the whole content world at your feet these days. Never has it been so easy to create so many different varieties of web content, such as videos, podcasts, unique imagery, infographics, webinars and more. Decide which forms work best for you and start creating.

Create an editorial calendar and stick to it – This part is key: make sure you commit to a publishing schedule and abide by it. Schedule your content in advance, so that not only does it get done, but so that it can coordinate with promotions, product launches and other activities you have going on in your business.

Market your content – Simply creating it isn't enough, you need to promote your content. With millions of new web pages hitting the internet daily, it can be difficult to have your voice heard. Promote your content via your social media channels, cross promotions, and even paid ads if appropriate.


How Small Businesses are using Social Media


How Small Businesses are using Social MediaExactly How are Small Businesses Using Social Media?

Everyone understands now that social media, while once considered an enormous time waster, has developed into a powerful and fast solution for getting new leads and sales into your small business. What hasn't yet become clear are the ways small businesses are using social media. Considering that there are many avenues to explore in social media, we think we ought to give you a glimpse into how small business owners like yourselves are using social media.

See how you compare, and what you might want to implement for your small business marketing moving forward in 2015.

What are small businesses doing with social media

Now some 74.5 percent of small businesses report using social media to promote their companies, and they're throwing money at it as well, as 21.4 percent count this as their highest media spend of all. Clearly, social media has gone from a waste of time to a viable marketing channel.

55 percent of these companies have a Facebook business page, and another 20 percent are using Facebook Ads to promote posts on that page.

The other major players competing for attention from small businesses are LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Google+ could be included in this group, but as it stands now, having gone through yet another incarnation, many are unsure what to do with it. Google My Business is the latest offering from the folks at Google, and it is an ambitious attempt to consolidate Google+, Places, Map and God only knows what else under one roof. We'll see.

How can you get your business started with social media?

The first thing to do is to make a commitment to start and stay active. Too many times you'll see a Facebook Page tossed up with little care and no ongoing attention. You're ostensibly doing this to garner prospects and new customers to your business; don't make this mistake!

Start with a few social properties, like Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and possibly Twitter. If you have a lot of products that you can showcase, think about adding Pinterest and Instagram. The key here though is to make sure you don't take on more than you can reasonably manage.

Make videos, and always make an effort to point people to where you want them to go, preferably your blog or site. Engage with anyone who wants to strike up a conversation, and be generous with your comments and knowledge. You'll find that before long you'll have more of a following than you anticipated!


How to Create Content that Drives Traffic

How to Create Content that Drives TrafficCreating Content that Brings Traffic to Your Site

Content marketing is more than just creating a continuous feed of new content into your web site. Done correctly, creating content that drives a lot of traffic to your site is a real possibility.

The solution to have this happen for you is easier than you might think, but does require a little outside the box thinking. In particular, you need to know how to involve several different types of content into the mix, and use them together.

Let's see 7 ways you can create content that can attract more traffic, and not just one time!

7 Types of content that can bring loads of traffic to your site

Infographics – We are a visual Web, and infographics have become one of the most popular ways to cram a lot of content into an appealing format. Even better, they are easily sharable, and can send a ton of visitors to your site.

Case studies – Folks are dying to know, step-by-step, precisely how to do things. If you can present a case study that got fantastic results, your content will get ranked, go viral, and garner lots of looks.

Tutorials – Similarly, an excellent tutorial, especially on things technical, is able to bring you a lot of eyeballs for a very long time.

Make videos – You'd have to have been asleep for the last few years not to have noticed the value and impact of video, especially for traffic and SEO. Plus, your video channel could become a vibrant social stream all in itself.

Podcasts – Podcasts are all the rage now, as people love to listen (even in meetings sometimes!) when they aren't able to watch. Moreover, it is a great medium for their smartphones, which can be challenging to watch videos on.

Conducts interviews – If you can set an interview with an authority figure in your space, you'll be amazed how much traffic and authority it can provide.

Create an epic post – Although this is not something you can knock out every day, becoming recognized for producing long form content people want to share and read is very good for your brand!


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June 2015 Grow Smart Growth Bites Newsletter

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The Value of Getting Emotional In Your Sales Copy

10 Best Practices to Steadily Grow Your Email Opt-in Lists

June 2015


The Value of Getting Emotional In Your Sales Copy


The Value of Getting Emotional In Your Sales CopyYou've seen it a million times. Ads aimed straight at your heartstrings, or designed to make you mad enough or fearful enough to act up on these products or services. It's been going on since sales have been around, and these days it can be honed to a science.

While many shrug off the idea of using emotional triggers in sales copy, thinking it manipulative and at times trite, the truth is that it works very well, and doesn't have to be so “in your face” that it offends us all.

Let's look at some of the ways emotion works in copy.

What methods of employing emotion work?

There are several ways writers employ emotion in their copy to help get the click. This can be done through the use of some of our most basic human emotions. Here are some ways emotion can be very effective at getting to the heart of your readers.

Fear

“Don't lose all your hard-earned money” messages have been around forever, and play to the specific part of our brains that house all our fears of being late, left out, under-appreciated or broke. None of us likes to be in these places, so messages designed to keep us out of harm's way, whatever it is, often work very well.

Tribes

 We all long to belong to a group of people they most identify with. Not many chose to truly go it alone. Realizing this we can all strive to “Be like Mike!”

Time

No one has any in today's fast paced eternally-connected world so the promise of “saving you gobs of time” strike a chord within us alerting that this may be worth paying attention to. (When we can find the time, of course. That's where scarcity comes onto play).

Incredible Value

We live in a deal-oriented, coupon-clipping world, and the prospect of saving money and still getting awesome value is where the consumer mindset is at the moment. Those who deliver great value at the best price win.

Where can you use this?

These emotional triggers to reach your audience where they live can be used in a variety of media. Remember the goal here is to get them to feel something, and then act on that feeling.

Some of the ways you can employ these emotional triggers are:

Email marketing campaigns

Obviously you want to use emotional triggers to good effect here.

Social media

 Use not only in posts, but on your Facebook pages and any content you post to sites like LinkedIn.

Paid ads

Essential here to get the clicks!

Site content and Landing pages

When you have a goal to drive opt-ins or sales, emotional triggers will help you get your audience to hit that button!


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10 Best Practices to Steadily Grow Your Email Opt-in Lists


10 Best Practices to Steadily Grow Your Email Opt-in ListsWhen it comes to email marketing, there are a few truths that quickly come to light:

One, having acquired your email list, it will soon stagnate and dwindle if left to its own devices. Efforts need to be made to nurture these subscribers to keep them interested and responsive.

And Two, if you hope to curb that loss of valuable subscribers, you need to continually make efforts to grow your list. It's also a great way to give yourself a raise, too!

So how do you accomplish the second of those. To get you going, we've compiled 10 tried and true methods you can use to steadily grow your email lists.

10 Best Practices for growing your email lists

Make your opt-in form hard to miss

If one of your major goals is to build your list, it's necessary to make your opt-in forms difficult to avoid. Even better, using popups or lightboxes can be very effective. Never mind if you find them annoying; they are proven to work quite well.

Give a valuable benefit

Everyone wants to know what in it for them. Creating a valuable lead magnet that offer tremendous value will get you far more opt-ins.

Encourage forwarding and social sharing

Today we all have many people we're connected to, and having your audience share with theirs can yield tremendous results.

Market your opt-in offers on social media

Use your social media channels to post to your opt-in pages and offers. You never really know how many contacts your fans and followers have, which could result in a large traffic bump.

Run Facebook ads to your opt-in offers

Run inexpensive Facebook ads to build your audience with relevant offers. This can also reach far wider than your normal reach extends.

Place opt-in CTA's everywhere

 Make sure you are spreading the word far and wide about opt-in in to your list. This includes sites, blogs, videos, social media pages and email.

Create specific lead magnets for different markets

Custom create specific lead magnets for markets and sites that either have very different audiences to demographics, for example, image sharing sites like Pinterest and Instagram.

Use your YouTube Channel

Promote your lead magnets and offers via your YouTube channel. Essentially make a video about your lead magnet or opt-in offers.

Host a webinar

Inviting people to a content-filled webinar is a terrific way to add a large number of people to your lists. Not only are they getting top-notch content, but a personal touch from you, helping increase your authority and enhance your relationships.

Link to your offers throughout other content

Make sure we are linking to your opt-in offers in all of your other Web content. This includes links on your websites, social media channels and web signatures.

 


 

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May 2015 Grow Smart Growth Bites Newsletter

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7 Killer Ways to Get New Content Promoted with Great Effect

7 Awesome SEO Tips for small business

May 2015


7 Killer Ways to Get New Content Promoted with Great EffectAs we are all no doubt aware, content marketing is the flavor of the year when it comes to online marketing tactics. And for good reason, as Google is constantly looking to reward great content with high search rank positions.

Moreover the rise of social sharing has led to the possibility that your content can have a far greater reach and influence than you were ever able to muster before.

It’s no longer simply enough to create great content and expect Google to rank it and have visitors come running. Now the recipe calls for creation and subsequent (or concurrent) promotion. You need to be able to strategically plan how and where to promote each piece of content for maximum exposure and traffic.

To accomplish this, you need to have an idea of the best places to promote, we’ve come up with a handy list of 7 terrific ways to promote new content.


7 Killer Ways to Get New Content Promoted with Great Effect


gsm may2015 newsletterEmail your list

If you have an email list, (and you should!) be sure to send out an email previewing and encouraging your readers to go to your content source and view it. Also use this opportunity to encourage sharing the content to their social channels as well.

slideshareCreate a slide deck for SlideShare

SlideShare is one of the top 150 sites on the internet, and receives tens of millions of unique visitors per month.

Create a slide deck of (usually) condensed content, and make sure it is optimized for search well. Google ranks SlideShare content well, and you can receive a lot of traffic from this source.

doc sharing sitesDoc sharing sites

Another way of repurposing your content and getting a lot of new eyeballs to your site is by publishing it on document sharing sites like Docstoc, Scribd, and Issuu.

These sites are very well trafficked and provide great links and a large active audience.

outbrainOutbrain

This is a paid service that promotes content on highly trafficked sites, like FastCompany, Reuters, Wall street Journal, CNN and People.com, to name but a very few.

You pay per click, and it is surprisingly reasonable for such a high-powered syndication service.

social mediaPublish on your social media channels

One of the best ways to get more exposure for your content is by linking from all your social media channels.

You never really know who among your readers has a huge following of their own that you might be able to tap into.

paid promotionPaid promotion on Facebook and LinkedIn

Direct promotion on LinkedIn and especially Facebook in the form of a promoted post (NOT a boosted post) are great ways to reach specific segments of audience you may want to explore.

This can be relatively inexpensive, particularly if you take the time to find a highly targeted audience.

make a videoMake a video

Creating short slideshow video or teaser about your content and posting it to YouTube can result in a large influx of visitors who might otherwise been unaware of your new content.


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7 Awesome SEO Tips for small business


7 Awesome SEO Tips for small businessMost people consider SEO something of a dark art, and don’t pretend to have a clue where to start, and in a sense they’re right. The reason for this is that SEO is in a constant state of change and adjustment. What worked last year is bound to get you penalized this year, so merely keeping up is a chore in itself.

That said, there are a number of things we can do in our business SEO that will certainly help us on our search engine rankings. We’ve tried to deliver 7 of the most likely to remain around for more than a moment, and give you a good start at optimizing your small business site for search.

7 SEO tips for small business sites

Create epic content

There’s no getting around it: Google loves long form content that is authoritative. If you can create 1000-2000 word posts or pages, you’ll be a rock star in the rankings. This has so many benefits; not only will you rank better, you will get more shares, mentions, and comments.

Internal linking

Internal links to other relevant pages on your site is a great way to rank for many more keywords than you might have targeted with one post or page. This is one area where it’s fine to use an anchor text keyword in your links, so don’t be shy about it.

Optimize your site for mobile

With more than half of all organic searches originating form a mobile device, you’d be crazy not to have a responsive mobile version of your site available. The mobile search is practically a parallel universes when it comes to search, so don’t neglect this!

Set up your Google My Business account

I almost didn’t include this, as Google seems to change their local site constantly, but this one seems like it may stick. It has a number of cool functions besides tying into your Google+ account, including an easy Hangout integration. This is a necessity for ranking well in local search.

Make your content sharable

Be sure to include the facility to share your best content. People love to send along what they’ve discovered, and you just never know which influencer with millions of followers may be reading or viewing your content.

Get your NAP data consistent

Getting your business name address and phone correct across all Web platforms, including your social media channels is a must-do. Incorrect entries will keep you from getting visitors, as well as harm your search rankings.

Acquire proper backlinks

It’s still a competitive world when it comes to rankings, and you will still need to get backlinks to your site. Do it the smart way, however, by letting it happen naturally by posting and sharing terrific content, and whatever you do, don’t be that guy who goes out and purchases a few million links. Google will find you out, and your rankings will drop like a stone.


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February 2015 Grow Smart Growth Bites Newsletter

Grow Smart Newsletter May 2014

Issue 025 February 2015 // Grow Smart Marketing

Welcome to the latest issue of the Grow Smart Growth Bites, your monthly newsletter dedicated to business growth and development. In this issue:

  • Why Paid Promotion Could be the Difference in Getting Your Content Seen

  • Pros and Cons of DIY vs. DFY Marketing

Why Paid Promotion Could be the Difference in Getting Your Content Seen

Content

We’ve all seen the stats, and know only all too well that everyone is putting up more and more content these days, and the forecast is for even heavier showers over the next year.

The problem we face though is getting our content noticed amid the sea of competing voices. How will your content rise above the din and reach where you need it to go?

Fortunately, this can be achieved by using a combination of smartly placed social media and web promotions that will not only get it out there far more than what we are able to accomplish on our own, but also with a targeting component that will give it far more effectiveness.

What you need to consider before using paid promotions

There are a few things you need to have worked out before you venture into spending money with this type of promotion.

  • Who is your audience and what do you want to accomplish? Understanding exactly who you are targeting, even if that is a small sub-set of people who visit your site or blog, will be of tremendous value when it comes time to pay for this. Precisely targeting the people that you want seeing this content is a great way to spend your ad dollars.
  • Which platforms are you going to use? There are several choices here, and each has their own strengths and particular type of audience. There is also the type of ads to consider, such as discovery type ads, such as with Outbrain or StumbleUpon, or sharable ads on social media, which is usually the cheapest, easiest to share and most accessible.

What are some good ad platforms to start with for social media?    

Using social media for paid ads promoting your content is a great way to be seen very quickly and exactly in context. There are lots of platforms to choose form, but we’ll talk about the three most people seem to gravitate to for this purpose.

Facebook – This is the best one to start with, for several reasons. Facebook has an easy to use interface that will have your ads up and running very quickly, and even better than that, the targeting features found in this platform are second to none, and allow you to precisely target who see your ads. What’s more, it can be very cheap to run ads here, once you get your feet wet. Either use clicks to website or post page engagement model for best results.

Twitter – Promoted Tweets work very well for this purpose, and you’re able to target people by the type of people they follow, as well as with keywords.

LinkedIn – If you have a LinkedIn presence, you’ll find this network can work very well for you in this regard. Use the Sponsored Update option, and avail yourself of the targeting options LinkedIn provides.

If you’re unsure about spending money to promote your content, you need to ask yourself why then create it in the first place? In order to compete these days, you need to be seen. Make sure you are!



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Pros and Cons of DIY vs. DFY Marketing

 

Marketing

Given everything you need to be concerned about with starting and running a small business, it’s understandable that many might make the mistake of overlooking perhaps one of the most essential questions you need to determine right from the start.

That question is whether or not you are going to go the do it yourself route (DIY) or opt for the DFY (done for you) path.

This is crucial to get settled right at the start, as it informs most every decision you’ll be making with your marketing from then on. Not to say you can’t adopt this if you’re further down the road; it’s just more advantageous to have it in place from the beginning.

To help you decide, let’s look at some of the pros and cons of DIY vs. DFY, and let you plug your own business into the equation.

What to think about when deciding between DIY vs. DFY

  • If you’re short on cash, DIY makes sense for things that you can truly accomplish with reasonable skill and effectiveness. You’re simply trading time for money, and this may not be what you wanted when starting your own business.
  • DIY can be a trap for those who are not technically-inclined, or even those who think they are! If you break it, you’ll be the one tasked to fix it!
  • One area rife with people who believe that they can DIY is the area of content, and in particular, sales and ad copy. If you get this wrong, you won’t succeed.
  • Don’t listen to a chorus of voices. Even if you opt for DFY, don’t take their word as the authority on the subject until and unless you’ve checked it out. You can end up chasing a lot of rabbits, down the hole.
  • If you do contract out work to be done for you, make sure you are very clear what is to be done and by when. Always remember who is in charge here, and don’t let your business be held hostage. Try to avoid paying the total fees in advance; opt for split payments at various stages of delivery.
  • Be careful when going the DFY route when it comes to design. Insist on approvals before major pieces are set in place, to avoid headaches and problems down the road.
  • Make a list of your own strengths and weaknesses. This will go a long way toward helping you decide what you can or should do, or not.
  •  While there are now many content management systems available that make it easy to put up a simple site, remember that if you are not technically savvy, you may not be able to make all the pieces work well in concert. Today’s Web is a tangled one, and if you have the slightest complexity, it can be enough send you scurrying for help after all!

Think about these items, and take a fearless inventory of your skills and desires before you craft a policy for your small business going forward.

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