Month: September 2015

3 Ways to Become More Productive

Things are moving pretty fast these days. The Red Queen of Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass nailed it: “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

If you want to move faster and get more things done on your work, here are 3 tips that might help you:

1. Consider Get a Virtual Assistant

Learning to delegate stuff is one of the best things you can do as an entrepreneur or business man. A virtual assistant can handle most of your trivial and daily tasks, such as answering to emails, scheduling meetings, and even more shopisticated stuff such as doing keyword research and tracking. If you are not sure where to get one, simply post the job description on Elance.com and I am sure you’ll get dozens of qualified applications.

2. Do Online Meetings When Possible

When you are signing or negotiating a big contract, meeting face to face with the other party might be a good idea. For most other situations, however, doing an online meeting will be just as efficient as meeting face to face, but it will save everyone involved a lot of time and money. Online meeting services are pretty sophisticated these days, meaning that you should be able to setup your online meeting in a matter of minutes. If you want a recommendation, check out ClickMeeting.com, as their price is reasonable and you’ll get the complete set of features.

3. Use Your Commute Efficiently

Most people spend quite a lot of time on their cars or on public transportation. We are talking about hundreds of hours every year. What if instead of just listening to music or sleeping you used that time to do something useful? One of the best tricks I learned over the years is to listen to audio books. By doing that on my commutes I tripled the amount of books I read every year. Audible.com is by far the best place to get your audio books.

Wanna learn how to make more money with your website? Check the Online Profits training program!


Listen, Collaborate, Measure

Three words, simple in concept yet difficult in practice. When we talk about blogging and making relationships through collaborations the core of social media requires a better understanding of social technologies. It’s nearly reverse of traditional marketing.

Where traditional marketing and planning starts with a message for the target audience, social media begins about what the consumer and your audience is saying about your brand. This stands in contrast to prescribing and directing a message with the intention to persuade people and drive conversion. Taken together, listening, collaboration and measuring creates the overall basis for the highest required conversions for a blog.

Below are three concepts that you should include in your social business program. Have a look:

1. Listening and responding intelligently

It’s one of the measurable connection between you and your marketplace, a direct link to your customer. Listening is a core skill of any communication process. right? listening to what the user is actually saying and measuring both the subject and the source, will enable you to join the sensible conversations.

Many bloggers believe that process of listening should be built around paying attention to the conversation and then responding on the basis of strategy and measurement. Listening is important to understand what to do and why you should do that on web. Integrating a listening program in your social media can do wonders because it will provide the intelligence you need to put blog conversations to work.

For example using social share buttons for your blog posts enable content sharing. This encourages engagement on your blog. Reviews, comments, recommendations are the first things to display to a customer in a marketplace. These are important because it precisely informs the consumer how to make smarter choice before buying a product or consuming a piece of information.

Creating a baseline: There are generally no metrics to answer questions like “How much conversion one should expect?” or “How many negative posts are bad?” Therefore, it’s always recommended to establish your own baseline, and build your social strategy out of that.

Finding your influencers: Diving deep into the conversations to find out who all are participating in a conversation is important to find out what is actually being said. For example, in PR you connect with media persons, journalists, analysts and so on because these are the people sitting on the entry points to launch you to a bigger and wider audience. The most challenging aspect is that literally anyone can be an influencer.

2. Encouraging collaboration everywhere

collaborative activities always grabs the top spot in an engagement process. Moving your customers and readers is simple a “must do” in your marketing plan. A basic structure that you should follow to drive engagement to your blog is:

1. Defining objectives
2. Listening
3. Organizing
4. Engaging and
5. Measuring

Being an active part of any conversation is all about telling that you are part of a larger community, and telling that you appreciate it. This level of engagement will itself bring in higher levels of loyal engagement. People in a community truly values a sense of belonging and promoting that can give you all the fruits of social media in one plate.

No matter through what social network you are connected with people, all matters is they really want to know what is happening around a brand. On Facebook, people are sharing more personal stuff than ever before, which clearly states that people are in a need of personalised and shareable content.

3. Measuring social media

The final thing you should do is measuring your efforts over social media for your business. It’s important because it is the key to understand how effective your marketing strategy is and can be. Social media today can be and should be measured without fail.

Calculating your reach as a blogger, the number of comments on a post or how many times people shared your content can be easily obtained. Making measurement an important part of your social business plan is “must do”

When measuring your blog’s analytics’s you’ll encounter data in an unstructured way. Social media analytics tools provides the much needed thrust to sort out this unstructured data.

Linking social analytics with business analytics

It’s always recommended and very important to connect your social analytics with business analytics. Blog posts, comments, video posts tend to share what happened when a brand was being measured in terms of social media engagement. These things will help you create a better social media strategy. Also, they can be used as guide to respond to a negative comment. Also, a social media platform can be used as a feedback system which can collect comments to keep your blog on track.

It’s simple. You do it one way, the people will respond in one way. You do it in a different way, the people will respond it in a different way.

Over to you

Do you agree that the feedback loop helps a brand in setting up a strong measurement and testing application to build a business? Feel free to give suggestions in the comments section below.

Akshay Chugh is the co-founder of Posterguy.in, a lifestyle brand powered by artists across India.

Wanna learn how to make more money with your website? Check the Online Profits training program!


A Few Tips for Blogging Growth

Blogging is competitive and if you are new to it, you might face a tough challenge. In order to create a fan base and gather an audience around your blog, you need to do something extra. An important fact is that blogging is not limited to writing only, but you have to be good at relationship building, content distribution, social account management and more.

This may be overwhelming, especially if you are a one man show, but like it or not this is the only way you are going to sustain a position in the market and with time you will obtain a great amount of traffic on your blog.

In this post today, I am going to discuss a few ideas that are important for new bloggers to consider as important. Number 1 is important, but it is not the only thing bloggers should focus on. All of these ideas should be marked in your to-do list as “High Priority.”

1. Relationship Building
Building relationships is as important as writing a quality piece on your blog and this is because without it you might not be able to promote your content and get the word out from others.

When I started a blog three years back, the first thing I did was build relationships within in the industry and that helps me with following things:

-It helps me get my content out to a wider audience when people I was connected with shared my content with others in their circle.
-I mostly build relationships with influencers within my industry; they give me honest feedback about the content quality I put up on my blog. This helps me get better at content quality.
-They introduce me to others within the community and, slowly and gradually, I was able to make a circle of peers and friends who help me get extra traffic and opportunities to build links, which helps me organically.

If you need to see consistent traffic coming in on your blog and want your content to pull readers naturally, the idea is to build strong relationships with other fellow bloggers within your industry; comment on their blog, participate in social chats, forums, promote their content and you will see the magic start to happen almost automatically.

2. Writing Quality Content on a Consistent Basis

Writing quality content is important and I am so glad that many bloggers are actually doing this, but this is something you need to know as a professional blogger; you need to write quality content on a consistent basis. There is no short cut to it!

If you are going to write quality content once a month and the rest of your posts are average, readers might leave you as there are more choices available than you can imagine. Checkout Biz Sugar or Inbound.org, you will have an idea of how many blogs update amazing content on a regular basis.

In order to stay ahead of the crowd, you need to write quality content that should be posted on a consistent basis.

3. Organization is the key

Blogging is lot of work and, if you are not going to be organized, you probably will end up frustrated and your blog will be affected negatively. The idea is to organize and schedule everything a month prior at least. Here is a post that tells you how you can organize and manage blog content and calendars.

Once you are done, you can schedule your post through social media sharing and subscribers email accordingly. This will help you get more done in less time without getting frustrated.

4. Distribution is very important

This is an extension of point one. As discussed above, you need a wider audience on your blog and for this you need to build relationships with others within your niche. There are other options that you can use to attract an audience to your blog, which includes outreaching to like-minded people, sharing your post on social media platforms, using paid social media to attract target audience, submitting your content to content communities and more.

Once you do that efficiently, chances are you will see a consistent increase in traffic and organic rankings for your blog.

Important: It’s always important to look into your niche and see what social networks are working well for you and act accordingly. For instance, for women’s products Instagram and Pinterest might work well, whereas for digital marketing the powerful social media platforms will be Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

5. The Technical SEO

This is the one point that most people do not discuss, but for any website (commercial or blog) is very important. If you have your page correctly setup, chances are you will be more likely to rank better in search engines for your long tail key phrases.
Long tail key phrases are important, especially for blogs, for two reasons:

-It’s easier to rank for long tail key phrases and, due to less competition, you usually stay on the first page for a longer period of time and get to enjoy consistent traffic on the blog.
-Other bloggers, when finding quality sources, usually search for long tail key phrases which allow you to get a link naturally to your website.

If you are using blogging platforms like WordPress, there will be lot of plugins that can help you make your life easier from the SEO stand point. We are using plugins like Yoast SEO, Yoast Google analytics and sociable on our company blog and these have cut down lot of our manual work.

There are lots of other things that you should know and consider as important as a beginner level blogger, but the above discussed ideas are the few most important items that you should have in your list. Are you seeing tracking with your blogging? Share your blogging secrets with us in the comment section.

Moosa Hemani is a search marketing consultant. He shares his thoughts and experiences on his blog setalks.com. Follow him on twitter (@mmhemani) to get in touch with him.

Wanna learn how to make more money with your website? Check the Online Profits training program!


Make More Sales by Tracking your Leads

Most businesses have very little idea where their leads and sales come from, simply taking the natural highs and lows in their stride and continuing with the same strategy they outlined from the get-go.

Making sales is the ultimate goal of any business, but if you’re not tracking where your leads and sales come from you’re missing a big opportunity. If you can find out from that new customer exactly what led them to you, you can proactively tailor your marketing strategy to do more of what’s been proven to work.

By focusing more on data analysis and measuring your marketing efforts, you’ll be able allocate your marketing budget based on true performance – spending more on what works and less on what doesn’t – in order to improve the quantity and quality of your sales leads.

Where do leads come from?

Inbound leads will mostly come to you via telephone or website visits, but there are many sources that drive customers to make that original contact.

To start evaluating the source of leads it’s common to code them, which allows you to track your marketing and PR activity more effectively. Inbound leads are a direct result of your promotional efforts and without tracking your inbound leads, you won’t be able to tell which source has performed best.

Monitoring your inbound leads is simple. In this article we look at five sources you can track and how to do it.

1. The online search journey

Customers begin the decision-making journey long before they ever arrive with you, and you can effectively track this path to purchase by monitoring the keywords and phrases customers are using.

Depending on where they are in the search journey, the terms customers use will differ. Customers mostly begin searching with a wide net using broad search terms, and gradually become more specific as they refine what they’re looking for.

By evaluating the search journey paths from your marketing reports you can understand which keywords are most relevant to your business and how you can be using them more effectively.

2. Page tracking

Page tracking allows you to monitor which lead sources have directly resulted in an action being performed on your website, such as entering contact details or making an enquiry.

By placing code on a landing page that only reveals itself once the user has completed a business-valuable action (submitting contact details; making payment, and so on), you can then determine your Cost Per Acquisition (CPA).

Google Analytics Acquisition Reports is a great tool for tracking the keywords and channels that are most valuable to your business, allowing you to focus your marketing efforts on the sources that are driving ROI.

3. Click tracking

One step up from page tracking is click tracking, or event tracking. This allows you to measure actions on your site that don’t lead to specific pages, such as watching an embedded video.

Click tracking, like page tracking, allows you to measure the journey users take before performing your chosen actions, showing where they came from and which search terms they used. This can be done using Google Analytics Tracking Codes, by installing codes on the pages you want to monitor.

By identifying which search terms drove positive actions on your site, you can refine your content strategy to convert more customers.

4. E-Commerce CPA

If you’re an e-commerce business, you can embed an e-commerce tracking code to monitor how customers are interacting with your products online. This way, you can see exactly what it’s costing you to make each sale and which traffic and keyword sources led the sale in the first place. Using Google Analytics, you can determine what your revenue is per traffic source and which keywords are the most valuable to your business.

Tracking CPA in this way allows you to refine your marketing strategy to bring cost down and adjust your prices to increase your profit margin.

5. Call tracking

All this online tracking is well and good, I hear you say, but what about the leads that don’t come through your website? Although you’re likely to see far fewer leads offline than online, the sales leads you get via phone are often the most valuable for your business.

Once upon a time, the only real method for tracking telephone leads was to ask customers when they called in where they heard about the business. Nowadays, the technology we have to track offline leads is much more sophisticated.

Businesses such as Mediahawk have created powerful call tracking software that every self-respecting marketer makes use of, allowing businesses not only to track offline traffic sources but to provide valuable data on each call.

Conclusion

By tracking your sales leads effectively from source to sale you get a comprehensive picture of how your marketing spend is driving performance, allowing you to refine your marketing strategy in line with your results. In short, effectively measuring your sales leads will allow you to drive increased ROI, cut unnecessary spend on underperforming channels and ultimately, make more sales. And that’s the ultimate goal of any business, right?

Wanna learn how to make more money with your website? Check the Online Profits training program!


6 Keys to Content Marketing Success

Everyone knows content marketing is where it’s at. Sure it takes a LOT more time and effort than other forms of traditional digital advertising, but it works! Its no secret that people tend to tune out the old school forms of advertising. So what makes content marketing work so well, and what tools and tips are needed to make it even more effective?

After spending a lot of time combing through many articles on content marketing—where new info is released daily—we decided to officially launch our own newsletter, Content Weekly. Take a minute to subscribe now and let us know what you think!

Here’s a few key tidbits we’ve picked up from mashing up several articles in our heads:

1. Document Your Strategy – Seems pretty basic, right? It’s hard to know what’s working well if you’re constantly shooting from the hip. Make sure your efforts support your business goals, which can vary based on your industry, otherwise it’s all just a waste of time.

2. Measure and Track ROI – Of course this is not always cut and dry. Content marketing is not meant to have an immediate impact on sales, it’s more about building trust with customers. Metrics such as web traffic, social interactions, and other metrics are common forms of measurement, but are they really impacting your business over time? Although content marketing is a long term strategy, over time you should be able to see an uptick in qualified leads and sales. Your tactics ultimately need to make an impact, or it’s time to tweak your strategy.

3. Use Infographics – This just makes sense. Humans tend to digest information better in graphical form, even information that seems kinda dry on the surface. Need some inspiration? Check out this collection of the best infographics from Hubspot.

4. Distribution of Your Content – it can take some trial and error to determine what works best for you. LinkedIn is typically the most popular (and successful) option for B2B, while Facebook or Pinterest are best for B2C. And many ad paid search and sponsored posts to the mix as well. More the likely its gonna take a mix of free and paid methods to get your message out there.

5. Produce Quality Content that Aligns with Your Goals – the popularity of content marketing breeds the mediocrity of content. Focus your efforts more on quality than sticking to a strict rule of “must create one piece of content per day” rule.

6. Get Contributors With Multiple Perspectives – ok, so I get it that you’re not comfortable with everyone writing your next rad article. But chances are they either have ideas on what would generate interest, or they can give you a good draft to work with. So talk to product development, the sales team, your IT department and so on. Even if you need to sit down and conduct an informal interview, a different perspective can be very refreshing.

Nobody ever said content marketing is easy…but your customers like reading stories, or learning more about topics that help them become more educated on an important subject. It’s well worth the time and extra effort in the long run.

With all that in mind, we came up with a brilliant idea for blog promotion (coming soon on that, just be patient)! But first things first….we started a handy little newsletter to help ourselves and our own networks. So, checkout the free Content Weekly newsletter, a roundup of the best tips and tools for content marketing and the art of blog writing. New resources surface daily, so don’t miss the best ones by subscribing to Content Weekly.

Wanna learn how to make more money with your website? Check the Online Profits training program!


Don’t Have A Blog Yet? Check This Guide

Regardless of your age, profession and location, having a blog will certainly help you out. For one thing, writing regularly will improve your creativity and your writing skills. Second, once people start visiting your blog you’ll gain many opportunities to meet new people and expand your network. If you are not convinced yet, here are 34 more reasons to get blogging.

Despite the many benefits of blogging, getting started is not always easy, especially if you don’t have technical skills. Spending hours and hours just to learn the basic stuff will frustrate many people and make them abandon the idea altogether.

If you are in this situation, I want to recommend a guide about starting your first blog that I came across recently.

The guide was written by Abdullahi, who 3 years ago went to this same problem. He knew he wanted to publish his content online and possible make some money with it, but he didn’t know how to get started. He used the trial and error process until he figured things out, and decided to publish the guide to help people in similar situations.

You will find that the sections and steps are quite easy to follow. For instance, he starts with deciding what your blog will be about, what blogging platform you should use, how to pick a hosting plan and so on.

Another thing I like about the guide is the fact that Abdullahi is putting his email address there in case you face any problems, and he is commit to help you out if that happens.

If don’t have a blog yet but want to get started therefore, check the guide out!

Wanna learn how to make more money with your website? Check the Online Profits training program!


Google Photos and Free Storage

There’s something I don’t understand about the new Google Photos. The settings page lets you choose between uploading high quality photos and videos for free, at reduced sizes (16MP or less for photos, Full HD or less for videos) or uploading original photos and videos at full resolution, but that counts against your quota.

This doesn’t make sense. Google+ Photos had a different policy: “Only photos over 2048×2048 pixels and videos longer than 15 minutes count toward your storage limit.” Google+ even had a setting that resized your photos to 2048×2048 or less, so they stayed under the free storage limit.

Google’s new policy doesn’t seem fair to those who pick the “original” option. If you upload photos that are 16 MP or less or videos that are 1080p or less, you should be able to store them for free, regardless of the Google Photos setting you choose. The distinction between “high quality” and “original” should only be made for photos and videos that don’t fall under Google’s limitations.

Google Drive Bonus Storage Is Expiring

2 years ago, Google offered 10 GB of free storage for installing the Quickoffice app for Android or iOS. Unfortunately, Google’s bonus storage is about to expire.

“We wanted to let you know that you have bonus Google Drive storage expiring on Oct 3 2015. While this bonus period is coming to an end, you can always purchase additional storage,” informs Google. “Rest assured that your files in Google Drive remain safe and accessible by you and the people you’ve shared them with. You just won’t be able to add or sync any files unless you are using less than your current available storage or you’ve purchased additional storage.”

Basically, Google won’t delete your files, but you’ll have to delete some of them or purchase more storage if you actually used the 10 GB bonus storage. Since the storage is shared between Gmail, Google Photos and Google Drive, all of these services are affected and you can also delete Gmail messages with large attachments or photos and videos from Google Photos that use your Google storage. Here’s how to find Gmail messages with big attachments and a list of Google Drive files sorted by size.

More About Google’s New Visual Identity

Google Design’s site has an interesting article about Google’s new identity. Google’s designers started by “distilling the essence of the brand down to its core” and built 3 elements that work on any platform: a sans serif logotype, the dynamic dots that respond to users and a compact version of the Google logo.

Some people said that Google’s new logo is childish and it really is. “The Google logo has always had a simple, friendly, and approachable style. We wanted to retain these qualities by combining the mathematical purity of geometric forms with the childlike simplicity of schoolbook letter printing. Our new logotype is set in a custom, geometric sans-serif typeface and maintains the multi-colored playfulness and rotated ‘e’ of our previous mark—a reminder that we’ll always be a bit unconventional,” mention Google’s designers.

The dots are an interesting way to convey the full Google logo in a Material Design approach. “The Google dots are a dynamic and perpetually moving state of the logo. They represent Google’s intelligence at work and indicate when Google is working for you. We consider these unique, magic moments. A full range of expressions were developed including listening, thinking, replying, incomprehension, and confirmation.”

Google now uses pixel-perfect SVGs for base assets and generates thousands of vector-based variants. For example, there’s a version of the logo that’s optimized for low-bandwidth connections and is only 305 bytes. Google’s old approach was to serve a text-based approximation of the logo.

{ Thanks, Brendan Early. }

Templates, Insights and Dictation in Google Docs

Google’s standalone web apps for Docs, Sheets and Slides now show a list of templates you can choose to quickly create a document, spreadsheet or presentation. For example, Google Docs shows templates for resumes, reports, letters and you can expand the list to see even more templates (essays, class notes, project proposals, meeting notes, brochures, newsletters).

Google Sheets has templates for to-do lists, budgets, calendars, schedules, invoices, time sheets and more.

Google Slides also has a few templates for photo albums, pitches, status reports, lesson plans, portfolios, weddings, party invites and more.

Another new feature lets you get insights on a spreadsheet by simply selecting a range of cells and clicking Explore. This feature works in the desktop web app and the Android app and it shows trends, patterns and even charts for the data you’ve selected. It’s surprisingly useful.

Google Docs now shows the new changes in a collaborative document. “If there are new changes, click the New changes button to the right of the Help menu. You can also click the File menu > See new changes.”

Voice typing lets you dictate a text in Google Docs for desktop, but only if you use Chrome. Activate this feature from the Tools menu and speak in one of the 40 supported languages. You can say “period”, “comma”, “question mark”, “exclamation mark”, “new line”, “new paragraph” to add punctuation to your text.

You can customize your forms by picking a theme or adding a photo. Google chooses the right color palette to match your photo. Insert images and YouTube videos to illustrate your questions.

{ Via Google Docs Blog. Thanks, Brendan and Jérôme. }