Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The 5 Struggles of the Entrepreneur

The struggles of the entrepreneur are many but here listed are my observations and personal experiences of the top ones. So often I get asked, "how can I get more clients?", however often in reality they aren't willing to do what it really takes.

1. Entrepreneurs don't understand the importance of choosing a niche
So many entrepreneurs are under the impression that selling to everyone keeps options open. The reality is, not choosing a market niche closes the incredible opportunity of expertise-driven branding and selling. Choose a market niche and own it. You're able to design marketing efforts that attract your ideal client when it's very targeted. Successful marketing is hard enough as it is, not identifying a target market intensifies that difficulty many times over.
2. Entrepreneurs don't properly communicate their value
So many entrepreneurs over-complicate what they do or sell. They aren't focused on their real value to the client and articulate their messages badly. Today's consumer has a very short attention span and needs to know right away what the impact of your offering does for them. In a sentence you should be able to articulate the value of what you do and saying it should be like breathing. If you don't understand the true value of what it is you do - how do you expect others to buy?
3. Entrepreneurs don't know how to leverage the Internet and don't put the right effort into learning
The Internet is here to stay and its power is accelerating. My followers know that my first business failed because I didn't know how to leverage the Internet, as a result it's my mission to make sure it doesn't happen to others. The Internet holds so many opportunities to expand the profit margin yet in most cases they go untapped. People will invest very little in websites that they use incorrectly. They're focused on the wrong things when it comes to their website. It's supposed to be used as a tool to grow your list and generate leads - yet instead it's used as an over-priced brochure.
4. Entrepreneurs often don't value their time
Time costs money bottom-line. Entrepreneurs need to put a dollar sign on their time and make sure they make it. When you're working in your business during the day - don't take time out to do things that don't pay you what your time costs. If something happens and you need a repair to your WordPress site for example, don't spend YOUR entire day trying to diagnose it. It's cheaper to pay someone else that can get easily repair something in an hour that you may spend a whole day on. Even if it cost $150 to pay someone else, hopefully your time in a day is worth more than that.
5. Entrepreneurs sometimes think small
Small thinking produces small profits. You must invest in your business and take it seriously if you plan to be profitable. I know many entrepreneurs that spend years trying to get a business of the ground and they will dribble money into it here and there over time. Over a three year period the money an entrepreneur sprinkles over a business that isn't profitable adds up. Yet they scoff at paying someone like me to coach them through the process. Someone that has been there, done that, and can tell them exactly what to do. It just doesn't make sense.
I see so many professional marketers out there pushing their messages on vulnerable entrepreneurs that are looking for an easy solution and it outrages me.
"Make a million dollars a year just working 4 hours a day!"
"Build your list to 10,000 people in just 30 days with very little effort!"
"Easily get more clients with these methods!"
Professional Internet marketers know exactly what entrepreneurs need to hear to buy their products. They know that entrepreneurs want it easy, and they want it now. Professional marketers know that struggling entrepreneurs want high reward for a very small investment of time, effort and money. They use that point to get them to join their lists so they can sell them their products.
Here's the truth. It's hard. It's really hard. There are no quick fixes. However, the struggle doesn't have to be as hard as some make it. The trick is you have to stop chasing your tail and making the same mistakes over and over. Learn and leverage! You have to learn how to market your business properly - learn how to leverage the Internet. Most importantly of all - expand your mind and stop thinking small.
Step up to the plate, take a deep breath, and play a bigger game. This post has been re blogged from a 3rd party, see the original source here

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

TrulyShare: A Step Ahead of AdSense and Affiliate Marketing

What about turning your website or blog into a steady stream of revenue? You can do that by leveraging your content. Create useful content for the visitors and, at the same time, supplement it with ads that are a bit more than ads.

TrulyShare ads provide a free, flexible and engaging way to monetize your site. Your visitors see products that are relevant to your content. Relevant products highly increase the chances of clicks and successful purchases.

Sure, there are options like AdSense and affiliate marketing. However, TrulyShare is a step ahead of these. Though there are several reasons for that, here are the two most prominent ones:

  1. More relevant products per page
  2. More frequent payouts

More relevant products per page
For successful monetization, it is important that the ads be in sync with the content. A footwear ad on a health article won’t do. You need to take care that the ads appearing agree with the content. In fact, such ads will supplement your site. It is simple access to a shopping experience directly on your page. Your users will appreciate you to help them find great products. The fact that they are on your site simply means that they are interested in that kind of content and products.
More frequent payouts
Where TrulyShare goes past AdSense is helping your users shop on your page, something that is an addition on the usual ads. Moreover, the payments are also more frequent. The threshold for releasing a payment is just $20, which you’ll certainly get quicker compared to AdSense and several affiliate marketers.

You just need to add a widget to your site. There are plugins available for various blogging platforms.Your revenue will grow as your content and traffic grows without you doing anything special. It is time you try the alternatives to AdSense.

Monday, July 22, 2013

5 Alternative ways to make money online. The next big things.

Making money online sounds like a dream come true — which is probably why so many spam e-mails and scam websites litter the Internet and our inboxes with promises of easy money. But earning extra cash on the Internet isn’t just a pipe dream. If you use a bit of common sense to dodge the scams, there are lots of legitimate opportunities to make a little extra pocket money, or even fund a dream vacation. Here are some of the best legal new ways to use the Internet to line your wallet.

Crowdfund your way to success

When you hear the word “crowdfunding,” chances are you automatically think about Kickstarter, which lets designers, developers and writers pitch product ideas that anyone can contribute to. But with GoFundMe, you can use the power of crowdfunding to help pay for your next vacation, cover unexpected bills, go to graduate school or just about anything else. Whatever goal you’re trying to reach, write it up on the site and then ask your friends, family and anyone else to chip in to help — you’ll be surprised at how a few dollars from all of your friends can add up!

Answer questions and share your expertise

Who knew that answering questions could earn you cash? Sites like JustAnswer will pay you (as long as you’re qualified) to answer questions submitted by people who need advice they can trust. For instance, if you’re a tech genius, someone might ask you to help them set up their new smartphone. You have a law degree? Maybe someone needs a simple legal question answered. Auto mechanic? Please, tell me how to reset the car’s computer after I change the oil (but first, walk me through how to change the oil). This is a great way to take what you know and turn it into a nice little side business for yourself. 
Another service I have put to the test recently is Rewarder. You sign up and see if you can help anyone who has posted a “reward.” Today, someone is offering $100 if you can help them find their poodle. Another person is offering $50 for a travel itinerary to Sydney, Australia. My personal favorite, someone will pay $20 for proposal ideas for his girlfriend. Easy, fun and the “rewards” add up.

Sell your time or services

If you have free time, there are a lot of services that can turn that time into money earned. Fiverr is an online marketplace where you can post anything you’re willing to do: your creativity (and what people are willing to pay for) is all that limits you. Payments, as the name implies, start at $5 but can go higher. I also like online storefront Zaarly — which is kind of a personal concierge service. Using the site requires you to submit an application, but once you’re approved, what you sell is up to you: dog-walking services? Pilates lessons? Homemade birthday cakes? Closet organization? Describe and price your services as you see fit and wait for orders to come in. One bummer, though, is that it’s not available everywhere yet — check the site to see if it’s offered in your area.
The (small) downside to both of these services is that they require you to have some personal marketing skills: To succeed, you need to convince people on Fiverr and Zaarly that your services are worth paying for.

Buy things (and save)

Clipping coupons can be a pain, but a new wave of couponing apps is here to help us save money and even get cash rewards — just for doing the shipping! Ibotta works lets you buy products listed in the app, take a photo of your receipt with your smartphone and get cash rewards deposited into your PayPal account. Ibotta also asks you to watch ads, answer poll questions, or do other small tasks to earn your savings. SavingStar is a similar rewards program, but it ties into your grocery or pharmacy’s rewards card to track your purchases, so you don’t have the hassle of scanning receipts — but on the downside, it works only with a select range of stores. Both of these apps are easier than clipping coupons, and the small savings ($0.25 to $1.00 seems the most common) will add up over time.

Have a yard sale ... from your smartphone

Yard sales are a great way to earn some extra cash, but they can be a hassle to set up and run. So instead, why not take a picture of what you want to sell on your smartphone and offer it up on the online classified service Antengo? It connects you with others in your area who are want to buy your stuff — Antengo will automatically post the photo and your description of the item to users of its app and to sites like Craigslist and Facebook, so your ad gets the widest reach possible. I’m a little addicted to this service. A garage sale has never been so easy.
This article has been re-blogged from a 3rd party. See the original post here

There are other services, but these are a few newer ones that most people I know aren’t aware of. What others do you know about? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

5 Keys to writing better content

Website content is critical to all businesses that want to connect with both current and potential customers. In order to turn the web copy tides and keep all eyes on your site, here are five keys to producing better website content:

1. Snippets Are Better Than Novels

Being clear, concise, and engaging is important, but if all that quality content is delivered in bulky, Hemingway-style sentences, nobody’s going to read it.
Why? Well, nothing against great American authors, but the attention spans of Internet users are geared toward the short-and-sweet side of things.
Long form sentences are pretty daunting for people looking to gather bursts of information and then move on. So, help your audience get what they’re looking for by providing the goods within a reasonable amount of words.

2. Don’t Be A Rocket Scientist

Unless you’re actually writing copy that specifically pertains to rocket science, leave the complexities out of your content. Considering your company’s content is meant for the widest audience possible, use language that corresponds with your readers. 
This isn’t to say you should dumb down the eloquence behind your words, but rather find different, more general terms to express yourself, your products, your services, and anything else you’re trying to get across.
Besides, if readers need a thesaurus from one sentence to the next, they’re simply going to look for content that doesn’t require a companion text.

3. Take a Different Approach

The sooner you realize you’re not an authority on whatever content you’re about to throw into the Internet melting pot, the better. Chances are that whatever you’re about to post already exists in one form or another on the web. 
This is a good thing because it’s a chance to make your content shine in a different way. So, instead of writing the same “How To” article that ten other authors already wrote, try writing a “How Not To” article. 
Likewise, if every article that pops up in search engines is “The Benefits of,” try taking a “Pros and Cons” approach. By including what others forgot to mention, you’ll actually be adding something more to what’s already on the Internet.

4. A Little Humor Goes a Long Way

Two copywriters walk into a bar… Granted, this isn’t necessarily the type of humor you should be aiming for, but a little wit here and there will put your website content above the rest. 
Think about it, would your rather read a cut and dry article or a lively, snappy article bursting with witty insight? If your answer is cut and dry, then it’s amazing you’ve read this far. 
On that note, it’s also important to use humor sparingly and only when appropriate. If your content doesn’t call for irony, satire, or anything remotely considered humorous, then it’s best to save the stand-up comedy routine for another day.

5. Be Inspired

In the spirit of saving the best for last, the information above goes without saying that everything you write must be inspired in some way. 
If you don’t feel at least slightly passionate about the subject you’re writing on, then your time is better spent finding different subject matter. Believe it or not, the way you feel about your website’s content truly does come across in the writing.

By following just a few of the tips above, your company’s content will jump off the webpage as opposed to getting lost in the online shuffle.

After all, you made it through this article, didn’t you?

This article has been reblogged from a 3rd party. See the original post here

Monday, July 15, 2013

Understanding backlinks will help you make more money online

Online marketing has indeed become more popular and sophisticated since its inception. Nowadays, legit ways to make money online are made easier because of developments in the marketing strategies that entrepreneurs can utilize. Among these strategies include the effective building of backlinks. Many business owners and marketing professionals consider backlinks as one of the most valuable promotional strategies at present because of its many benefits in terms of relating to the target market and other web personalities alike. 

Building backlinks is both an easy and a complicated strategy. People have to understand it even in its most basic form so that they would not fail to appreciate its purposes and benefits. Let us therefore discuss building backlinks and its basics. 

What are backlinks? 

Visually depicted
Also popularly termed as inbound or incoming links, backlinks are indicators of how many times a specific website is referred to by other sites. They are the equivalent of the offline referrals wherein other website administrators mention or post among their sites a link to a particular site. Meaning, when one website refers to another site throughout its content, then that is considered a backlink. It enables other visitors of that website to be redirected to the link it has made a referral to.Building backlinks are essential portions of online marketing campaigns like search engine optimization and generation of website traffic.  
Backlinks are known to indicate how popular a particular website is by means of determining how many mentions or links it has gotten from other sites. Also, backlinks are a creative albeit indirect method of gathering more traffic from the usually inaccessible segments of the market being targeted. 

How do you build backlinks? 

There are several ways through which backlinks are built. One of the most popular methods is through blogging. As the community of bloggers continually grow, their following has also dramatically increased over the years. This leads to more and more online names referring to one another and creating links to each other's websites. 
Several legit ways to make money online rely on blogging nowadays that building backlinks for search engine optimization purposes is already a popular strategy. Thus, this builds a more honest and open relationship among fellow bloggers.  
Another strategy through which backlinks can be built is through joining forums and online discussions. Certain blog or website owners join discussions on topics that are relevant to the content they are creating. Then, for every entry into the forum such as information and opinion, the participants get to post links to their own websites for further reference of the others. This allows for more visibility of the website's link to Internet users who are most likely interested in the content posted. 
Finally, backlinks can be built through article submissions to popular directories online. People are always hungry for valuable and trustworthy content. They consider the Internet as a great avenue for learning and gathering information. Therefore, many users frequent article directories to check out new and relevant items. If links are posted together with the content that are available to the readers, then there are higher chances of them being clicked through that eventually leads to website visits. In an ideal situation, the links can even be mentioned or posted in the readers' own websites. 

Why are backlinks important? 

Backlinks are important especially in increasing a website's potential for search engine optimization and page ranking. Nowadays, search engines such as Google are likely to consider links as prime results when they are mentioned in many relevant third-party websites. These websites are also page-ranked in terms of popularity so the more backlinks there are the better their chances are of getting high ranks. Consequently, being included in the top search engine results and getting high page ranks are essential when a website aims to gather sales leads or to promote specific products.   
Considerably beneficial to all types of legit ways to make money online, backlinks capitalize on the distinctive nature of Internet users in terms of how they relate with each other. Trust and camaraderie is built as much as a good reputation for the brand or product being marketed. Therefore, backlinks should be utilized in such a way that they would earn positive regards from the other Internet users.

This article has been reblogged from a 3rd party. The original author is Professor Bob Boyd

Contact Information:
Professor Bob Boyd 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Five easy ways to make money online

It's hard to remember a time before the internet. For as long as most of us can recall it's the place we've automatically gone to research topics, book tickets, interact with friends and watch whacky video clips - but how can it be used to make money?
Considering how many hours we put in to surfing the web each week it makes sense to spend at least some of that time productively. Therefore, we asked a number of online gurus to give us their top tips on how it can be used to help generate a full or part-time income.

 1. Become an eBay trader

The Godfather site of the e-commerce world has been going since 1995 and boasts more than a million users across the globe. It can be used to buy and sell virtually anything - and from a business perspective your “shop” can be viewed 24-hours-a-day. 
The key to success is focusing on certain products, according to Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation. “Don't try and sell everything - be as niche as possible,” she says. “The businesses that I'm seeing perform best at the moment are those that have a very clear product that they market to a well-defined audience.”

 2. Sell goods you've made online

Stepping on from eBay trading is manufacturing the goods that you sell. This can include anything and everything from model cars and plates to jewellery and clothing. Services such as enable you to set up and run your own online shop. 
Lesley-Anne Pace set up The Cotton Bee ( after being given her aunt's 40-year-old sewing machine just after her daughter, Phoebe, was born in November 2009. She used it to make a patchwork play mat and hasn't stopped sewing since! 
“I create handmade patchwork quilts and sell a selection of fabrics,” she says. “I am currently developing a range of hand-embroidered items which I'm looking forward to offering in the next couple of months.” 
The 39-year-old, from Gateshead, likes the fact she can run the website around her life and studies, although admits it can be tough keeping organised. “I have an artistic personality and am easily distracted with new projects,” she says. “My advice is to make use of social media to advertise and connect to potential customers as it's free!”

 3. Start up a blog

There are a staggering number of blogs around the world but setting one up and building a loyal readership cannot only provide a source of income but a potential springboard to full and part-time work opportunities. 
Journalist Susie Boniface is a prime example. Under the alias Fleet Street Fox ( she wrote an opinionated blog as a way to move from being a national newspaper reporter to columnist - and it resulted in a book deal with The Diaries of a Fleet Street Fox being published earlier this year. 
The 36-year-old says the keys to her success were having a memorable nickname, keeping on the pulse by tweeting during popular shows such as Britain's Got Talent, and falling back on established tabloid newspaper techniques to get readers. “I stuck to very simple colours - black, white and red - and a simple serif font,” she says. “I also made sure there was plenty of spacing and regular use of photographs and links to substantiate the points I was making.” 
Susie's advice to would-be bloggers is to think up a catchy name and include lots of links to raise your profile as people will link back to you. 
“You need to know what people are talking about and be interesting and witty,” she adds. “You need to engage readers and this takes a long time as there's no brand loyalty on the internet. It's not like they go to the shops to buy the same paper every day.” 
“You can also use affiliate schemes to generate revenue, with hundreds of brands willing to offer commissions if your site helps directs traffic to them and generates revenue,” he says. “Affiliate Window and Commis-sion Junction are two of the most popular schemes.”
Affiliate schemes work with hundreds of individual brands who are willing to offer commission to sites that can help them generate revenue. 
Online marketers and bloggers are quickly jumping on the "monetization widget" strategy. Traditional display ads have been on the decline lately. Bloggers are claiming that combination of affiliate marketing paired with contextual shopping can create a strong and steady income. See a great example here.

 4. Take online surveys
The deal is that you answer questions or review products and get rewarded for your efforts. While it won't make you thousands of pounds it's still a smart way to boost your income, according to Guy Anker, news editor of 
“Dedicated survey-stashers can make £200 a year in cash and vouchers, while some of our users have even pushed it to the max and made £800 a year,” he says. “It's best to focus on survey sites with decent payouts, low payment thresholds and a reliable volume of surveys.” 
Avoid sites that charge you to register and keep a record of all surveys that you've filled out, making a note of the title and the promised payment. Taking a screenshot and noting down any reference numbers can also help you with any subsequent disputes. 
Of all the sites, suggests Ipsos (, Swagbucks (, Global Test Market (, Crowdology (, and MySurvey (

 5. Set up a photo library

If you are a budding photographer then why not sell your images? You can, of course, set up your own website but it will be up to you to generate “traffic” to your site in order to make sales. 
An alternative is to sign up to sites such as and earn upwards of 15 percent commission every time one of your images is downloaded.
This article has been re blogged from a 3rd party source. See the original post here

Saturday, July 13, 2013

4 Quick Blogging Tips for Beginners

Blogging is incredibly fun. Whether it be for a business or a personal blog, it is a great way to express your opinions or share some awesome articles with others. In this post, I want to share some quick blogging tips for beginners. Whether this is a personal blog or not, these tips can apply to anyone really.

1. Have a Plan

Preparation is the key to success. That was a great quote by Alexander Graham Bell. It is important to always have a plan and map out what you want to accomplish. When starting your blog you should have a few things in mind. First get set up with the hosting and domain. For this post I will assume you have that handled. At this point you before initially launching your blog. Consider getting all the social media accounts needed, and try your best to get a username that is identical or almost identical to your sites name.
After getting all those accounts set up. Start creating some content. This is the key to any blog. Try to have atleast 10 posts or more fully complete before even considering to launch your blog. Also have back up posts saved away and ready in case you get busy.

2. Promotion

After handling the setup of the blog and content creation, you need to consider promotion of your work. This does not have to be advertising, atleast paid that is. You can gain a huge audience by simply doing some quick free things to boost your blog traffic. Posting new content is the best way, because then people can find you in the search engines. Once you have a post consider some ways to promote it. Some of these include social media, guest blogging, and sharing on social bookmarking sites like reddit, stumbleupon, etc.
Another little tip you must consider is to leverage your new visitors. Try to make “follow” buttons present on your site. That way new visitors can follow your content and you will continuously build up an audience through social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and other sites.

3. Design + Development

Website Design
Now that you have a good start to your blog, consider working on the design and development. Design is what makes your website unique and attractive. Development is also important. You can use this to implement cool plugins and time-saving tools to make your blog even better.
Also work on the images used in both your blog posts and on your social media. The more professional these are, the better they reflect your blog. This will help you gain support and people will see your blog as a professional site and not just some random content they came across on the web.

4. Monetization

The final tip I offer you is monetization. Not all bloggers want to make money, but why not while you’re at it? Monetizing your blog can be a great way to create a little bit of income and get paid doing something you love. This can be through advertising, selling products, or even affiliate marketing. There are so many ways to make money from blogs and there are always new ways popping up – the key is to find what’s the best way for you.
The latest trend are monetization widgets. Check out the latest monetization widget brought to you by TrulyShare. They combine contextual shopping with affiliate marketing to create a seamless shopping experience for your blog readers. 


No matter what your reasoning for blogging, I hope these tips were at least slightly useful to you. They are very, very basic, but this is the flow I followed when working on blogs in the past and it has proven successful. Just remember this one thing. Blogging is not all about the money and profitability. Keep it about the readers, and in their best interesting, and you have a much higher change of being successful.

This article has been re-blogged from a 3rd party. Please see the original post source here

Friday, July 12, 2013

Can You Make Real Money Blogging?

For awhile, it looked like blogging might be everyone's answer to the question: How can I become rich while working at home and focusing on a topic I enjoy?
Not that that isn't happening, but for those who are younger or who haven't been paying attention, about 10 years ago, blogging was just beginning to buzz. As Michael Liedtke of the Associated Press wrote in 2003:
"The online diaries known as Weblogs or 'blogs' seemed like a lot of inconsequential chatter when they surfaced a few years ago. But ... what once seemed like a passing fancy has morphed into a cutting-edge phenomenon that may provide the platform for the Internet's next wave of innovation and moneymaking opportunities."
In the years since, some blogs have been sold to companies for millions of dollars – but most haven't. According to the Nielson Company, there were 181 million blogs at the end of 2011, which begins to explain why the country isn't full of multimillionaire bloggers.
"Bloggers usually underestimate how hard it is to make money from blogging because there are so many blogs out there ... They assume that just by putting the blog up, it will be enough. Kind of like the 'if you build it they will come' mentality. That's not likely to happen to most people, though," says Jacqueline Bodnar, a prolific blogger in Daytona Beach, Fla., and author of "Starting Your Career as a Professional Blogger."
So for bloggers who are trying to become filthy rich – or at least aim for a respectable middle-class income – here are some things to keep in mind.
Making a living won't come quickly. 
If you've lost your job and decide to start a blog to support yourself, good for you. But keep job-searching, especially if you don't have a spouse to bring in revenue – because odds are, this isn't going to work out.
But let's say it does. It may take months before money dribbles in from advertisers. Generally, bloggers set up ads on their site, frequently with mainstream ad players like Google AdSense, Amazon Associates and Pay-Per-Post, all of which are fairly user-friendly. But after finding the advertisers, you'll need to find readers – a lot of them.
A few years ago, the money for ads on blogs was "very, very high, at least for established blogs with large audiences," says Amy Corbett Storch, 35, who lives in Bethesda, Md., with her husband and three kids. She first began blogging in 2003, but then the economy tanked, and advertisers began to become more choosy with their dollars, and they still are.
Storch's blog,, which gets its name from a nickname given to Amy by a co-worker, was initially a humor-personal memoir blog. But since she had her first child in 2005, it's been considered a "mommy" blog, of which there are many. 
In 2006, Storch quit her job as managing editor for a financial publishing company to be a full-time blogger working from home while raising a family. She also branched out beyond her own blog, and now blogs for sites including ClubMom, TheStir, Babble, AlphaMom and, in 2007, she co-founded, an entertainment-culture site for parents.Storch says the ads at the top of a blog or website – banner ads – are paid on a CPM basis (cost per thousand readers). "In the heyday, you might get [advertising] campaigns for $15 or $20 CPM," Storch says. "This month, my highest CPM ad is paying $6. Most are around $2 or $3." 
That can work out pretty well if you have an audience – Storch says has about 700,000 page views a month. But if you're only getting, say, 1,200 page views a month, you might only make enough to treat your family to a night out at McDonald's. Even if you're pulling in enough money to pay the mortgage, Storch says bloggers have to remember they're going to pay commission to their ad network, taxes on their blogging income, hosting and Internet fees, and she pays for childcare. 
"If Amalah was all I was doing, I'd be completely freaking out. Diversify, folks," she says.

Utilize your expertise. 
Sure, you can start your blog as a memoir, which certainly worked for Storch. But if you have expertise that people pay for in the non-blog world, definitely consider blogging about that.
This article has been re-blogged from author Geoff Williams
See the original post here

50 Percent Of Companies Struggling With SEO Aren’t Integrating Social Media

What’s one key difference between companies that are successful with SEO and those that aren’t? According to a new study from Ascend2, it’s this:
Successful companies integrate social media into SEO strategies and tactics more extensively than companies that struggle with SEO.
The research agency surveyed almost 600 business and marketing professionals around the world late last month, and asked the group to rate their own companies’ SEO success. The survey compares answers from the 15 percent that said they’re “very successful” with SEO and the 18 percent that said they’re “not successful.” Admittedly, that’s a small sample size, but the data are still interesting and seem, to me, that they’d hold true across a larger survey, too.

Social Media & SEO Integration

The biggest difference between the “very successful” and “not successful” companies is their use of social media as part of the SEO strategy. As the chart below shows, 38 percent of those “very successful” with SEO are doing extensive integration of social media, compared to only two percent of the companies that aren’t succeeding with SEO.
And a full 50 percent of the latter group — the ones not succeeding at SEO — aren’t integrating social media at all.
That chart only compares the successful and not-successful companies. Elsewhere in the study is a chart using the whole group of respondents, which shows that almost one-quarter of the group aren’t integrating social media at all into their SEO strategies.
Our columnist Trond Lyngbo just wrote about this last week, in fact. In his article, You’re Dead… If You Don’t Integrate Social Media & PR Into Your Local SEO Strategy, Trond said
Social content ranks well on search engines. What happens on TripAdvisor (a social review site) and Yelp (a business directory) stays on Google (a search engine). What people say about your business — their feedback, the ratings they leave — everything — is publicly accessible to your prospective buyers. And this, of course, impacts the research/purchase cycle.
A couple other interesting notes from the Ascend2 survey:
  • 48 percent of all respondents said “creating original content” is the most effective SEO tactic — the top answer
  • only 19 percent said “external link building” is the most effective, but that may be due to difficulty — 45 percent said it’s the most difficult tactic, more than all the other tactics they could choose from
  • at 48 percent, “lack of budget and/or headcount” was listed as the most challenging obstacle to SEO success
The full report is available for free, but contact information is required.
This article has been reblogged from Search Engine Land. See the original post here

Monday, July 8, 2013

3 Steps To Improve Your Online Sales

We’ve all heard that the future of our business will be e-commerce, but the sad truth about most company’s websites is that they don’t bring in many sales.
Yes, they get an inquiry here and there, but in my experience, most CEO’s and entrepreneurs are quite disappointed with the results they’re getting from their website.
The problem is not the medium itself, it’s how most websites have been designed. Many are little more than boring brochures. There’s little on them that compels the reader to actually pick up the phone and call the company, or get out their credit card and purchase. As a result, on average around 98% of website visitors do not contact the company or buy.
Think about that figure for a moment. 98% of website visitors do not contact the site owner! That really is an extremely high failure rate.
But fret not. There are many things you can do to make your website vastly more effective. Here are 3 that can really help you get the results you want.
1. Give Them A Clear List Of Reasons Why You’re Better
Your typical website does not do this. Instead the average site is full of vague summaries of what the company does, and clich├ęd platitudes about ‘high quality’ and ‘friendly service’. That, ladies and gentlemen, is neither believable nor compelling. It’s marketing puffery and idle boasting. It doesn’t make anyone want to write a check. 
Almost every business would be far better off just listing the 5 top reasons people should choose their company. And then explaining why those reasons matter.
Unless you quickly give site visitors tangible reasons why they should buy from you, they’ll swiftly move onto the next website.
2. Increase The Amount Of Copy On Your Site
As the great advertising writer David Ogilvy put it, “The more you tell the more you sell.” In general you’ll find that if you increase the amount of details you give about your product, the more persuasive your website will be.
How is your product made? How do you select your materials?
What about your staff, could you say something interesting and relevant about their abilities? 
Look at your company’s history. Do you have many years experience delivering a top grade product or service? Tell your site visitors about all these things.
What do you customers think of you? Put that on your site as well.
This technique works because genuine buyers are usually doing a lot of research. They typically want to know a lot before they buy, but most websites are short and shallow – they simply don’t give potential buyers the information they need to make a decision. And so they don’t.
3. Capture Their Email Address    
This is the number one website mistake made by companies. If 98% of site visitors don’t contact you, then it’s imperative that you grab their contact details before they leave.
How can you do that? It’s easy, just offer them something valuable.
Like a free report about your industry. A checklist of what to look out for when choosing a supplier.  Discounts, tips, or the chance to get your e-newsletter full of useful information each month. Make it free and make it valuable. 
Then once you have their email details don’t just try to sell them stuff. Continue to send them useful and important information that can help them, in your area of expertise. Over time they’ll begin to respect you as an expert in your field. Then when the time is right they may well buy from you. 
Selling often takes time. It often can’t be achieved on your website. So you need to stay in contact with potential buyers and win their trust. Few do this and therefore they usually end up with poor website sales and inquiries.
These 3 techniques are simple and easy to apply. But having mentored literally thousands of entrepreneurs over the last ten years, I can assure you that they can work wonders on your online sales.

This article has been re-blogged from Forbes website. The original author and article can be found here

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

7 mistakes of failed startups

A great idea ensures startup success, right? Wrong.
No one enjoys hearing it, but three out of four startups will fail before they ever get to market. Yes, even the greatest ideas are still susceptible to ending up in the trash. As a startup founder, mentor, Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) member, I’ve witnessed far too many startups reach the end far too early.
As discouraging as this may sound, realistic expectations are essential to startup success. Through my years of involvement in the startup community, I’ve encountered a variety of pitfalls and mistakes including negative partnerships, overbuilt products, and poor marketing tactics.
But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for those entrepreneurs starting up if you avoid these seven mistakes:
1. You’re too idea-focused. This may be hard to swallow, but it takes more than a game-changing idea to find startup success. Today, ideas are a dime a dozen and you’re most certainly not the first to think of what you’re about to try to sell. It’s really the people behind the idea whom matter most. Avoid committing yourself to an idea, and instead eat, sleep, and breathe the execution of your vision.
2. You’re quick to quit. When it comes to startup success, giving up shouldn’t be an option. Starting a business requires complete commitment to ensure you make it through the inevitable roadblocks along your way. Be prepared to find your resilience to bounce back from many “no’s” in the beginning — and maybe even pivot if necessary. But continually overcoming the negativity will fuel you in the right direction.
3. You forget the power of simplicity. The importance of standing out often leads startups to lose focus and overbuild on their product. Believe it or not: A slew of features won’t set you apart from the competition. To avoid a pitfall, ensure you’re creating the minimum viable product (MVP). This ensure you’re building something with unnecessary bells and whistles from the beginning.
4. You’ll figure out marketing later. No, just because you’ve built something you feel is worthy of a doubletake, doesn’t mean anyone else feels the same way. This is why marketing and user acquisition is crucial to startup success. One thing I’ve seen at my Web marketing agency is that most startup founders invest all of their time and money in their product, but forget to develop a detailed strategy and budget when it comes time to launch their product. If you want your startup to thrive, you need to start planning out your marketing strategy from the get-go, otherwise you’ll never entice users to try it.
5. You never ask for advice. No mentors means no soundboarding. Avoiding any unwanted criticism will only drive you toward startup failure. Constructive criticism from experienced members of the startup community will keep you in line. Keep an open mind when consuming feedback. Only change your pace for the criticism that you feel is most on-par and worthy of your attention.
6. You’re thinking too big. You may want to reach everyone with your product, but that just isn’t feasible. You can still think big and go niche. Finding your niche will make marketing cheaper, more effective, and easier. Say you create a golfing product. You wouldn’t want to market this item to people in Alaska, would you? Instead, you should focus on one area and potentially a common theme within your chosen target audience. This will streamline your marketing strategy.
7. You hire the wrong people. As I said before, it’s the people behind the idea that are the driving force. If you’ve enlisted a team of less-than passionate and savvy individuals, they may be your downfall. This could even be your business partner. Set up your startup for long-term success by seeking partners and team members whom are on the page as you are, but also balance you out by presenting different traits, skills, and viewpoints. Are you right-brained? It’s time to take on some left-brained hires to encourage balance.
Startup success is depended on the avoidance of inevitable pitfalls, unwavering ambition, and never accepting “no” for an answers.
How did you avoid startup failure?
Image: Thinkstock
This article has been reblogged from TheNextWeb

Monday, July 1, 2013

The 7 Components of Complete Brand Strategy

If you don’t have a comprehensive brand strategy in place for your marketing efforts, chances are very good that you can sense something is already missing. When marketing efforts are begun without implementing a brand strategy, you hit a wall. At first it might not be obvious but after a while an astute marketing professional will be able to tell, as well as have the necessary skills to change that. This article will serve as a primer to having a comprehensive branding strategy that will sell products. 

1. Your brand must fit your product. Despite what many people think, your brand is not your product, website, logo. Say the word “Apple” for example, and chances are good that you will think of computers and music equipment. That’s because Apple has a strong brand message and they keep that message on track to fit their company. 

2. Consistency. Don’t allow your branding message to get diverted or splintered. In many cases, especially when there are several managers affecting the message, companies end up with different branding messages being sent out. This is confusing to everyone, especially your consumers. Keep yours a one brand company. 

3. Emotional Appeal. Head logic doesn’t sell products; emotions sell products. 

4. Reward Loyalty. Did you ever wonder why there is so much advertising directed at owners? The answer is obvious. Companies want to assure that buyers of their products made the right choice. In short, they’re rewarding loyalty on the part of their customers. 

5. Measurable. Make sure you are able to measure the success of your branding. If you can’t effectively measure what effect your efforts are having on your sales figures, your efforts are probably falling on deaf ears. 

6. Flexibility. Regardless of how you measure the effects of your marketing efforts, if they’re not working make sure that you have the flexibility to change your approach as quickly as possible. Many managers have the approach “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” It might sound good, but chances are good that this attitude will leave you on a sinking ship. Find out why your efforts aren’t working and change it. 

7. Mind Your Own Knitting. The old saying of Satchel Paige, “Don’t look back, someone might be gaining on you” holds true in marketing. And while it might be true that you should be aware of what your competitors are doing, don’t become so preoccupied with them that you lose sight of your own objectives. Learn from your competition, and then move… forward. 

This article was written by Hayley Granton and Michael Myles, published on June 28, 2013
This article originally appeared on Mycorporation's Weblog and has been republished with permission.