Hello fellow marketers and welcome to this week’s edition of The DM Report!
We hope you enjoyed last week’s launch edition all about ‘AIM’, or as you now know it – Artificial intelligence Marketing. It’s always interesting learning about new technologies such as ‘AIM’ and what it’s doing for us all now and what it might do for us in the future.
This week we’re straying away from the digital marketing trends and turning our focus towards ‘Side Hustling’.
What in the world is side hustling you ask? Let us explain…
The common definition of side hustle is that it’s a way to make some extra cash that allows you flexibility to pursue what you’re either most interested in, most skilled at or both. Look at Side Hustling as a chance to delve into fashion, travel, online marketing or whatever it is you are passionate about without quitting your day job.
According to entrepreneur.com and many other sites out there, it’s agreed that it’s a great idea if you need something to fill in any gaps in your week, to help you make some extra cash or if you simply need a break from the repetitiveness of your usual income.
Entrepreneur.com has a list of 50 ideas for a side hustle endeavor and we’re about to take a look at some of the most common from across the web.
Drive for Uber: Someone always has to get somewhere at sometime, and most of us have used Uber or Lyft to get from point A to point B when public transport just won’t cut it! There are some requirements to start driving with either company which can be found on their website: UBER: BECOME AN UBER DRIVER
Sell items on EBay, Gumtree, and Preloved: Each and every one of us has a load of stuff just laying around the home or wherever you’re living. It’s quick and painless, you simply take pictures of whatever it is that you are wanting to sell, post it online and wait for someone to come along and buy it. You know the old saying ‘another man’s trash is another man’s treasure’, it’s completely true and these selling sites are proof. The biggest tip for selling items is to take good quality pictures of what you are trying to sell, write a clear, detailed description and do your best to catch the buyers eye.
Tutor over Skype: This technology didn’t exist 20 years ago and now there are endless possibilities with If you have knowledge about something and want to share it with others why not teach those who are trying to learn something about a particular skill set that you can provide to them and get paid for it? You can also tutor in person but online allows much more flexibility.
Get a part-time job: we know what you’re going to say! You want a social life or your full time job is just too much to consider having a second job! But in today’s realm most people are carrying the weight of two jobs, one full and one part time, or they’re somehow managing two full time jobs. There’s always somewhere that’s looking for someone to fill a few hours here and there, why not you?
Start a Vlog/Blog or Podcast: There might even be money in this one, especially if you create and develop a popular channel that attracts sponsors! Initially, if you just have vast amounts of information that you are willing to share with the world for free then one of these options might be perfect, especially if you like being seen and/or heard sharing your thoughts and ideas with the world.
Walk dogs: Man’s best friend, our little four legged furry companions always need some love and attention. If you work from home or just have a lot of spare time on your hands, this is a great opportunity to get out there with a four-legged friend. Put your computer skills to work, make up some flyers and take them to your local coffee shop, newsagents, library, the local park – anywhere that you are allowed to post signs! Grow your client list and your dog walking business will take off before you know it.
We could go on for hours listing all the possibilities that are out there for side hustling. If you’re strapped for cash or just want to do something that benefits others these are just six simple ideas to get you thinking.
If you have spare time to go out and make a difference in someone’s life by doing something that helps them and eventually helps you to make a little bit more cash on the side, then it’s a hustle worth hunting out!
The author: Phillip Kirks is an Apprentice of the Internet Business School. When he’s not writing engaging, factual Blogs for our students, he runs his own production company and is a keen filmmaker and producer. He currently lives in Denver, CO.
Hello fellow marketers and welcome to the brand new, weekly ‘DM Report’ from the Internet Business School.
We will be blogging about all things Digital Marketing and the new trends that are present today, tomorrow and into the future each week.
What can you expect from ‘The DM Report’?
The blogs will cover specific topics once a week that are trending within the Digital Marketing world. We want to ultimately inform you of what the new trends are, break them down so you can gain a better understanding of what each topic is, how it affects the rest of the marketing world and how it might affect you too.
Let’s get reporting!
The first topic to discuss here is Artificial Intelligence Marketing or ‘AIM’. If you’re thinking robots like those in Steven Spielberg’s ‘A.I.’ or ‘I Am Robot’, it’s not quite that but the concept is kind of like a robot!
Let’s break it down, just what is ‘AIM’?
The trend around the World Wide Web is pretty much the same when you do a search for AI Marketing; it’s a way for marketers much like you and I, where large amounts of information are brought together through the use of algorithms. From searching things online, to how we communicate online and then compiling all that data into one report for marketers to formulate the best course of action for their campaigns. In essence ‘AI’ is generating a model that can predict your customers next move and help you refocus your campaign to make your customers experience stronger.
There are many companies out there that are leading the way for ‘AIM’ and the one that I referred to the most in my research is Emarsys.com, they helped this confused Digital Marketer gain a better understanding of what ‘AIM’ is and also gave some good insight on breaking it down.
Emarsys.com talk about 3 core elements when it comes to ‘AIM’:
1) BIG DATA: In basic form, what they are saying here is that big data is all the information that consumers and customers search for on the Internet, such as habits, likes and dislikes, activities, and personal preferences.
Social Media: (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and similar) Social activity, product reviews, ‘liked’ and shared content, loyalty/reward apps and CRM (Customer Relationship Management), these are all things that contribute to big data. All this information that the ‘AI’ gathers from the big data gets fed into the system and then it starts to learn from all that data, what we like to call ‘Machine Learning’.
2) Machine Learning: This is where AI gets to shine – so to speak – after it’s gathered all the big data it then breaks it down into four sub-categories; common occurrences, common insights, responses and actions.
All these compiled together help to draw conclusions for us the marketers, on where the marketers should be focusing their efforts to maximize their campaigns and reach the most people. Which leads to solutions that help AIM to help us.
3) Powerful Solutions: There really isn’t much out there about this core element at the moment, but I’m sure that as ‘AIM’ develops further more will come from it. However, what we can discern from this research is that the powerful solutions side of ‘AIM’ is what’s considered to be the human side of AI. It can understand and eventually learn from the way each and every one of us communicates via social media, blog posts, yelp reviews, even Google searches! Then it takes all that it has learned and sends it to us marketers so that we can compile the data and come up with strategies and campaigns to get our product and services out to the masses.
Those are the basic, core concepts of ‘AIM’ now let’s take a brief look at the five core benefits of ‘AIM’:
1)More Intelligent Searches: RFSE’s (or ‘Rapid-Fire Search Engines’, such as Google), this is where ‘AI’ is paying very close attention to what you are searching for everytime someone says “Google it!” or if you’re trying to find out something that you just don’t have the answer to.
With all these RFSE’s that happen on any given moment during the day, ‘AIM’ takes all that into consideration and it reports back to us the marketers to identify key areas that we should be focusing on when marketing to the customer.
2)Smart Ads: This ties back into the more intelligent searches as well as the machine learning and the powerful solutions mentioned above. ‘AIM’ is using all this information to attach ads to the sidebars of your Yahoo page or when you are Google searching. It places those ads in strategic spots so it’s more appealing to the customer.
Plus ‘AIM’ takes all this and puts it into the big data which in turn is giving us the marketers more insight into what ads can and should be running.
3) Refined Content Delivery: ‘AIM’ is taking all that information from the searches and the smart ads doing just what this benefit suggests, refining the content. It’s basically identifying potential clients/buyers to us marketers and then in turn either we deliver or ‘AIM’ delivers the content for us.
4)Relying on Bots: ‘AIM’ is always learning every second that we are online, chatting with friends, posting on social media. Today you may have noticed that some websites that you visit a little window pops up in the lower right hand corner.
Say hello to the AI bot chat function! Just when you think it’s an actual person on the other side of that box, guess again. It’s ‘AIM’ trying to figure out what it is the customer is there for and then directing them to the desired service that they are looking for.
5)Continued Learning: As mentioned already throughout this blog post, ‘AIM’ is always learning. It’s tapping into once-hidden insights that will give an advantage to us marketers, in coming up with new and insightful campaigns to spread the word about certain products and servers that we are in charge of.
More importantly it is optimising the outreach of just those we feel would benefit from the product or service we are marketing, but ‘AIM’ is helping us target the right customer – clever!
From this marketers viewpoint ‘AIM’ seems to be a good thing for us in the field of marketing as it will shorten the amount of time we spend in the office looking at mounds of data, and help us redefine how we go about providing the products and services to the general public.
Thanks for reading, there’ll be more form TheDM Report next week!
The author: Phillip Kirks is an Apprentice of the Internet Business School. When he’s not writing engaging, factual Blogs for our students, he runs his own production company and is a keen filmmaker and producer. He currently lives in Denver, CO.
Much like the famous Google updates designed to improve the quality of search engine content that gets shown to users, Facebook recently announced its own ‘meaningful interactions update.’ The goal here according to Facebook was to prioritise Facebook posts that fostered genuine user engagement, with emphasis on posts coming from family and friends – family and friends will most likely put up posts that connect to the user, Facebook is reasoning.
And they’re right; brands want to sell their products, marketers want to influence users and celebrities are hell-bent on boosting their fame. Friends and family, on the other hand, want to interact with their loved ones genuinely and this is what Facebook wants.
So, where does this reality leave the entrepreneurs and small business owners displaying their services on Facebook?
On New Grounds in the Facebook New World Order
Of the many things that affect a post’s visibility and ranking on Facebook, the new algorithm is tilting the oars to focus on signals, particularly signals that suggest such a post is delivering active interactions. Basically, ‘active interactions’ is fancy words for the likes, shares, and comments a post generates once it goes live on Facebook.
One thing to note, however, while it was formerly considered good practice to goad the target audience into doing one of the aforementioned three with like, share and comments bait, Facebook is upping the game significantly. Users must genuinely like or want to share and discuss content. A hint of any bait techniques with the new update will most likely attract content demotion.
The way forward
It’s however not all doom and gloom for business owners and entrepreneurs, there’s still a handful of things to do to adapt to Facebook’s user biased changes.
Here the most important tips:
1. Creating attractive yet valuable content.
This should come as no surprise. Content is king, and it is as simple as that. If you’re debuting relevant content, your audience will find it easier to relate and in extension connect with your post. And if they can relate to your content, their family and friends would in most cases find such content relatable. So more shares, likes, comments and invariably audience reach for you. You’re doing what Facebook wants – actively engaging its users.
2. Build a community of like-minded individuals who will always see reason in your posts.
While the average Joe might find your content seemingly uninteresting, there’s probably a Facebook user somewhere who’d give everything to have a sneak peek at what you’re presenting (assuming you’re churning out quality content). With every average Joe that scrolls past your post uninterested, the chances of it finding the preferred audience gets slimmer. This is where Facebook groups come in handy. They allow you pool together a community of like-minded users who are more likely to see the light in your content.
3. Now’s the best time to increase your ad budget.
It’s hard to admit, but the truth is the days of organic reach in the social media world are numbered. Facebook’s tacit ‘we want our users to see family and friends first’, unless you are paying us to put content ahead of family and friends resonates this fact.
Business owners and entrepreneurs looking to derive better results must now (sadly) hone in on their ad management skills. Thankfully, this is something that requires less effort than traditional methods of obtaining organic reach.
4. Finally, live videos.
One surefire way of leapfrogging the tactical embargo brought on by the new facebook algorithm is to invest more in live videos. Live videos are one of Facebook’s recent additions to its feature-rich ecosystem, so it comes as no surprise that they’re actively pushing for its adoption and success. What this means is that, unlike regular content, live videos are less likely to go through the laser-eyed screening of Facebook’s new algorithm. Whatever content you push through live videos Facebook will back you up on that (at least for now) because apparently, they want to further improve on the already record-breaking 3 billion live video views per day. Time to get that camera rolling!
There is nothing to be worry about this new Facebook algorithm, follow these helpful tips for publishing your content on Facebook and all the other social media platforms, keep providing the good value and the quality content to your customers and everything is going to be alright!
If you want to learn more about how to use Facebook Ads to reach your ideal customers, generate new leads and drive sales in your business, feel free to check out our Facebook Advertising Course here at the Internet Business School.
Karina Motelli is a successful Online Entrepreneur and current Coach at the Internet Business School. When she’s not helping her customers to become successful in the Online Market World, she’s mentoring entrepreneurs through the Internet Business School. She currently lives in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom.
With the hassles of rush hour traffic and the politics happening in the corporate world, it’s not surprising for people to look for a more comfortable option without the pressure. Advances in technology have made the impossible possible. In this day and age, you can now run your own business without leaving the comfort of your living room. Who would have thought that would have been possible ten years ago?
With Fulfilment by Amazon and drop shipping dominating the online business world, selling something online has never been this easy. You don’t even have to have the product on hand!
If there’s one thing difficult about running an online business, it’s the amount of work that needs to be done. Product sourcing, SEO, and customer service are just a few of them. As tempting as it may be for you to try to do all these, it’s just too much for one person to handle. You’ll be needing help from people who specialize in the said tasks.
Fortunately, there are virtual assistants who can help you with the tasks mentioned and more. They all work online as well and can take care of the other tasks you need to maintain your business’ operations.
Below are ten virtual assistants you can hire to boost your online business and help you earn more profit.
When you’re in the business of selling online, one of the primary keys to your store’s success is the kind of products you offer. Identifying products that sell and marketing them to the right audience is pure magic. That’s the best formula for success in any seller’s playbook.
You can’t rely on your bestseller forever though. You need to be always on the lookout for the “next big thing” because when it comes to selling products online, it’s usually about trends.
An efficient product sourcer can help you find that next big product by doing the research and communicating directly with warehouse owners and suppliers. This VA can help you find that product by going through different channels, something you do not have the time to do.
Part of the success of every online business is its reach. The wider a brand’s reach is, the bigger the opportunity for growth and success.
When it comes to doing business online, you’ll need fresh leads to promote your business to and eventually, convert to sales. The bad news is that it’s not as easy as it seems. It takes a special kind of skill to run campaigns and get people to respond to them, or send engaging newsletters that people subscribe to. You need to focus on this, not on gathering emails.
The good news is that you can always hire a lead generation specialist to do all the prospecting, qualifying and generating of new leads.
When you’re in the online space, it’s not enough to have a well-designed website or content that provides great value. All of this will amount to nothing if no one can find you. Searchability has become a crucial aspect of every online business because people are impatient. If you’re not on the first page of a Google search, the chances of getting clicked are slim.
You need someone who knows how to make a site searchable. One who has the ability to get your site ranked high on the search engines. You need an SEO specialist who possesses the skills and techniques to get search engines to recognize your site without gaming the system.
There are a lot of VA SEO specialists you can hire on online hiring marketplaces who can help you get your site optimized. They’re worthy investments you can’t afford to ignore.
An online business’ survival depends on the amount of people who follow it consistently enough to become potential customers. It’s tough to get people to click on your website. It requires some hardcore marketing skills and great content.
One of the ways to draw people to your site or to the page of one of your products is by running a PPC (Pay-per-click) campaign. These paid advertisements designed to get more eyes turned to your website by sending them to a more targeted audience.
This is something a reliable PPC specialist can bring to the table. They can bring in more fresh leads by running highly-targeted campaigns, something your brand needs to continue to generate profit.
As of December 2017, Facebook’s active users have grown to a staggering 2.13 billion. Instagram now has 800 million active monthly users. The numbers are undoubtedly phenomenal and it proves one thing. Social media has become a major part of our lives.
We all know how big of an impact social media has because most of us are on it more often than not. Whether you’re on the train, in a restaurant, or at the park, as long as there’s Wi-Fi, chances are you’re on your phone and on social media. The next question now is, what will you do?
Leveraging the power of social media is definitely the way to go. You need to hire a social media VA who will take care of your social media posts and reply to comments and messages from your followers. Social media is a powerful marketing tool, and it would be a shame if you didn’t take advantage of it.
One of the tactics companies implement to widen their reach is by leveraging the huge following of people who are considered influencers. The idea here is that if you can get these influencers to promote your business, it will give your brand a massive boost.
You need someone who can find the ones who are relevant to your business and find a way to contact them. It’s not as simple as sending out a pitch, though. You have to build relationships with them, too. To achieve this, you need someone with fantastic people skills. You need someone who can reach out to these influencers and build relationships with them on your behalf.
It’s a task that will take a lot of time and effort, something you don’t have. All the more reason to hire a partnership outreach VA to do it for you.
The customers are the life of every business. Without customers, businesses would be nothing. Just like any other business, you want to take care of them so they will always come back to you and maybe bring some friends along.
Hiring a good customer service specialist can help take care of your customers by providing timely assistance. They answer customer inquiries, process follow-ups and in some cases, even process refunds and track orders. And with a VA, this can happen around the clock, while you sleep, so your customers are always attended to.
You can’t just leave customers on their own after selling them your product. You need patient and able customer service specialists to make sure that they are taken care of should they have additional, post-sales questions or even complaints to report.
No business will ever be run properly without someone to look after the books. To ensure progress and profitability, you need to be able to track where your budget goes and how much money is coming in.
There are accounting VA’s you can hire to help keep your books balanced and spend budgets wisely. These VA’s can help you analyse potential financial problems and generate reports so you can see how money moves within your business. A good accounting virtual assistant can spare you a lot of headache by helping keep your expenses in check.
Product photographer / graphic designer
People are highly visual. When it comes to stuff we see on the internet, pictures are still better for attracting engagement than plain text. There is a psychology involved in selling products online and it all begins with just getting people’s attention. The internet is so crowded. People will only take notice if your content stands out.
This is why you need an experienced photographer and graphic artist. You need someone who can create materials that capture people’s attention so you can increase your chances of getting clicked. If you’ve got someone who has a gift and is able to capture the best angles and someone who can create eye-catching graphics, you’re already halfway through to a successful sale.
Your website is the heart of your business. This is where all the action happens. It’s where people find your products and where they purchase them. This is where the daily action happens. You want to make sure that you give website visitors the best experience. Make it easy for them to navigate the website and find what they’re looking to buy.
A proficient web developer VA does that for you. Their job is to design a website that is user-friendly because this is how you’ll begin to gain a loyal following.
People love to be spoon-fed and when they’ve got everything they need to buy a product online, you can almost guarantee that they’ll be back for more. Spending on a good web developer is good investment, the benefits of which you’ll reap in the long run.
While online businesses present a unique model that people think is comfortable, the truth of the matter is, it isn’t. Online businesses require a lot of work and more than a few skills to become huge successes.
By hiring the virtual assistants we mentioned above, you can rest assured that you have the most important aspects of your business taken care of by people who possess the relevant expertise.
You can’t do it all no matter how determined and hardworking you are. Don’t be afraid to trust other people because they may just be what your business needs for it to grow and become more profitable.
Connor Gillivan is the author of Free Up Your Business: 50 Secrets to Bootstrap Million Dollar Companies, a serial entrepreneur, and the CMO and co-founder of FreeeUp.com. When he’s not bringing together hundreds of freelancers and business owners, he’s mentoring entrepreneurs through his site, ConnorGillivan.com. He currently lives in Denver, Colorado.
Being your own boss as an entrepreneur, running your own start up, it’s amazing. The excitement of making your own money, the journey to success, it’s a blast from the very beginning. There is however a downside. Working by yourself can get lonely. In fact it can get empty and confusing sometimes. If you need to ask a question, where to do you go? How do you know you’re doing something in the best way you can. If not, how to do you find someone who can tell you how to do it better? And even if there is someone, how do you know whether they’re trustworthy.
That’s why you should make an effort to find like-minded entrepreneurs, creating a network of trusted experts around you that you can share information and time with. Working with others at networking events, conventions and the like, allows you find new approaches to your day to day work. Having to deal with others forces you to think differently, makes you accountable for your own decisions and really helps to motivate you out of a rut. Being part of a group of entrepreneurs can be the difference between a stagnating business and one that grows through bright new ideas. The ideas you get from a group of fellow entrepreneurs are better suited to your work rather than taking advice from those outside the industry. It’s empowering to know that others have got your back when you’re in trouble, meaning every meet-up is worth every penny and minute spent.
Discussing your business with others also means that you’re going to have to practice honesty. Unless they know the full good and bad of what you’re doing, they can’t help you work out whether your current plans will hurt or help your business. You also can’t keeping taking advice and not give any in return. Finding like-minded entrepreneurs is therefore an excellent chance to increase your authority and honesty as a business person. Discussing your mistakes and the mistakes of others is a learning experience than will often prevent further problems later.
Want to find your tribe and start connecting? Visit us online and keep an eye out for upcoming events. Why not come to one of our courses and learn alongside your fellow entrepreneurs? Discover new skills and connect the people around you. Our Free One Day Workshop is perfect if you’re thinking of or have just started as an entrepreneur. Click here to find out more! We look forward to seeing you soon!
We appreciate that growing traffic can be a struggle for small businesses. That’s why here at the Internet Business School, we’ve created our Local Business Marketing course. But before you delve into the world of local marketing, here’s a few starting strategies that you can use right now to increase your number of clients.
Strategy 1 – Tell Your Website Visitors to Do Something on Every Single Page.
Every page on your website is an opportunity for potential clients to get involved with your business. Take advantage of this lead those prospective customers where you want them, but putting a call to action on all of your pages. This not only maximises the traffic through your website, but you start to train your audience to follow instructions when you give them. If you never ask them to do anything, they’re going to be taken by surprise when you ask them to hand over money. However it’s not surprising for you to ask them to engage every time you deliver content or information to them. If you do this your customers will come to understand your relationship is a Give and Take one, you give them information in exchange for their engagement and then sales. Engagement can be anything from signing up to a free newsletter to directing customers to your blog.
Strategy 2: Use the Sidebar or Breaks in Your Blog to Make Offers
From discounts to simple opt-in to lists, side bars are an excellent place to grab the reader’s attention. The point is simply to capitalise on the attention that blog page is getting. Once they opt-in they can go down your business’ sale funnel, meaning you can monetise the traffic you get from your blog and maximise profit by creating relevant offers on these pages.
Strategy 3: Get Their Contact Info the First Time
For every page and opportunity you present, you should also include a way to capture the traffic and further the relationship with the client, even if they don’t convert immediately. To do this, why not drive people to a URL that will require an email capture before they can get what they want. Another method is to create a retargeting pixel to capture the traffic from your website and remarket to them on Facebook – driving that traffic to a Lead Magnet that can also get you their email address. Now you can market to them wherever they are, inbox and News Feed.
But why is this important? Well, when someone visits your website or sees your sign for the first time, they’re what’s known as cold traffic – they don’t know anything about you and they don’t trust you. However if they see you repeatedly in their News Feed or get content from you in their inbox, they start to warm up to you. The warmer they are, the closer they are to spending. Warming however does take a bit of time. It’s recommend you contact your buyers a minimum of seven times in an eighteen month period. It’ll take a minimum of seven times before they are ready to buy from you, often it’s more. However if you never captured their information at the start, you’re never going to be able to start those interactions in the first place, so always collect a list!
Strategy 4: Focus on Your Products Benefits, Not Its Features
This is especially important if you sell anything over Amazon. When you write a product spec, don’t just write what the product is, include how these features benefit the buyer. Tell them why they should care about this product. When advertising your product, tell the potential buyer how the product will take them from their Before state (unhappiness, dissatisfaction, lacking in something) to their After state, where their life has been changed and improved with the use of your product.
Make sure your benefits are fully explained. You could imagine you’re talking to Homer Simpson as you’re explaining, as he exemplifies some of the traits you need to get through when explaining to a customer. He easily gets confused and can’t figure things out on his own, so explain things clearly. He is however a good person so don’t belittle and talk down to him. Explain everything very clearly to him as he won’t think of it on his own. This approach to marketing works best – assume nothing, spell everything out.
Looking for more expert tips and guidance on how to increase your traffic and client base? Learn how to get more leads, prospects and cash slow to your small business, or start your own local business marketing agency with our Local Business Marketing course.
Here at the Internet Business School, we know that getting traffic to your website can be hard work. With so many methods out there it can be confusing knowing what really works. Well, here is our countdown of lesser known hacks that can send your website traffic through the roof!
10) Get Interviewed on a Podcast.
Podcasts are massively popular and their audience increases day by day. It’s estimated that 4.7 million people download podcasts every day. Being interviewed on a podcast not only generate exposure for your business but it also makes you look like an industry expert. Search for podcast that’s relevant to your area of expertise and make a list of podcasts you’d like to appear on. Start with smaller lists (podcasts with less than a thousand listeners) and then work your way up.
9) Repurpose your Blog Posts for Youtube.
Want more people to read your blog posts and sign up for your emails. Get on Youtube. Youtube has over a billion users, that’s almost a third of all people on the internet. Create video versions of your blog posts and upload them onto Youtube with the same titles to bring in traffic to your site, the links for which you can put in your video and video description.
8) Guest Post on Social Media
Also known as cross posting, find social profiles in your niche/area of expertise that are similar in size to your own. Ask the owner to share a post for you and offer to do the same for them. It’s a win-win benefit for the both of you.
7) Ping people mentioned in your content.
This is how you build up relationships with people that have influenced your business. Quote or mention these people in your blog posts and then when you publish your content, tweet at or email them to say you’ve mentioned them. Don’t beg for shares and make sure you mention them in a way that is actually useful for your readers. If they like it, they’ll then share it for you.
6) Target Direct Sharers
Buzzsumo.com allows you to search blog topics. Their ‘view sharers’ buttons will show you a list of people who have shared similar blog posts to yours in the past. You can then reach out to them on social media or email and ask what they think of your blog in the hopes they will share it too. When they then share it, send them a thank you message. Reach out to as many people as they can for maximum exposure.
5) Get on Google News
Getting your website listed on Google News definitely drives up traffic, but did you know over 60% of people trust Google News rather than other sources of News? This means it’s a great place to attract traffic that actually converts. Be sure to provide current and relevant content to make the most of Google News.
4) Run a Limited-Time Giveaway
Growing a subscriber list can also be a lot of work. However viral giveaways are a great strategy to overcome this initial hurdle. Give away something to a lucky few winners. It’s like running a lottery, collect emails in exchange for a prize draw. You can even ask your customers to share the giveaway with their friends to increase the chance of winning. This has been known to exponentially increase followings.
3) Offer a Free Product or Course.
Creating a new product may seem like a lot of work just to increase traffic, but it has been proved immensely successful. If you hit the right audience, present the right solution or make use of an incredibly popular current trend, your list will grow unbelievably fast. Research your customer base and work out how you can grab their attention. Then create a relevant product and watch the interest come in.
2) Do Webinars For Another Website.
Blogging is a powerful tool but you have to be able to convert readers into customers. Webinars famously have amazing conversion rates and joint webinars are essential to building traffic for your website. Find websites in the same industry as you. Approach them with an offer of conducting a webinar for your readers. Pick a topic you think is essential for your visitors to know and then present on that subject.
1) Be a Case Study for a Popular Blog.
This is a great way to gain instant credibility and viewers. Use someone else’s product, write a about it and then ask them to feature it on their blog. This is like using a testimonial but it’s easier to get traffic back. If you use any products that apply to your particular niche, approach the maker with a case study. Always link back to your own website.
Want to learn more about how to get customers flocking to your site? Why not attend our Ultimate Traffic Hacks course? Discover everything you need to know to rapidly increase your website traffic and convert visitors into buyers. Come visit the course page to find out more!
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Here at the Internet Business School, we’re always looking out for great new ways that small businesses get the edge over their competitors. Learning from previous mistakes has always been a huge part of developing highly successful online stores. Luckily for you, some of the largest businesses have already made these mistakes, so all you have to do is sit back and learn! Here’s our top ten lessons to keep in mind when running a shop online.
Lesson One: Reduce Your Customer’s Risk.
Customers are scared of getting ripped off, especially when it comes to buying products online. If they’re too afraid to enter their details into your website, they’re never going to buy anything. You need to reassure them to get them spending. Putting a price promise or a data safety logo on your site can make your site seem more trustworthy. However don’t paste these logos or promises on every page or image. Over-repeating the fact you are trustworthy will only make you seem dubious and desperate. Customers need the most reassurance when they’re committing to spend money, so add these promises when they get to their shopping cart or checkout.
Lesson Two: Make Sure the Customer Can See Their Cart At Any Time.
Big retailers have found that customers are less likely to abandon their shopping carts if they can click and see it at any time. By allowing your customer to hover their mouse over an icon that then displays their shopping allows them both to keep track of their spending and remind them of their intention to buy. Visible shopping carts can also impart a sense of urgency in your customers. If a buyer can see that there is only one product left, or that other people are viewing the same item, they are more likely to quickly make the sale.
Lesson Three: Offer Free or Flat Rate Shipping
Though not possible for every business, free shipping is a magnet for customers. The next best option is shipping at a flat rate. Studies have found that nearly 50% of customers abandon their shopping carts because shipping costs are too high. So if you offer free or flat rate shipping, make sure to advertise that fact as early and often as possible, especially on your site’s homepage. Many business now mention their free shipping at every stage of checkout to impress on the customer the fact they have saved, the same goes for offers on shipping (flat costs if the customer spends X amount.)
Lesson Four: Pick the Best Payment Options for Your Audience
There are many ways to pay online, people are moving away from entering their bank details into sites and are choosing payment platforms such as Paypal, Google Wallet, Apple Pay. When setting up your online sales, research what are the common forms of payment for your target audience. For example, the Dutch use a payment system called IDEAL, however UK customers are more likely to use methods such as Paypal. If you are hoping to sell to the Dutch, it makes no sense not to accept payment through IDEAL, but this won’t work for the UK market.
Lesson Five: Don’t Force Them To Create An Account
Customers are naturally distrustful of handing data over online. Allowing them to make purchases as a guest negates this fear whilst still making sure they make a purchase. Include guest checkout whenever possible, present the option to sign up after the purchase is made, however allow the customer the freedom to choose.
Lesson Six: Provide Many Interactive Product Images
One photo of your product is not enough. Customers want to see a product from every angle, they want to zoom in on details and see every colour, size and other option the product comes in. When selling online, these pictures are often all the customer has seen of your product. Online retailers now offer 360 degree product shots with hovering zoom features. Videos are also used to show the product in action. Seeing the product used in ‘real life’ encourages customers to buy.
Lesson Seven: Product Images Must Update With Customisation Options.
Customers don’t want to guess what something will end up looking like. If you offer a single product in several colours, add images of each product in each colour. These also include size options and personalisation choices. If there is the choice to personalise a product, the customers wants to see their creation before they part with their money.
Lesson Eight – Use Grid Style Category Pages
Tests have shown that the more items you see in a single row on a page, the better a page performs when it comes to sales. This means that presenting your products in a grid rather than a single-product column yields better results. This approach is best used on desktop rather than mobile due to the size of the screen.
Lesson Nine – Avoid Perpetual Scrolling
Once incredibly popular, perpetual scrolling now only adds confusion to the customer experience. Many customers use the footer of your site as a form of navigation. If you keep the page scrolling, they’ll never find it. Finding products is also made harder by constant scrolling. It’s much easier for a customer to remember a good pair of shoes on page two than a good pair of shoes somewhere vaguely above their current position.
Lesson Ten – Offer Order Tracking
This is a quick and easy way to both to add customer trust and keep your customers visiting your site. People will visit your site to see where their order currently is. This gives you an excellent opportunity to generate further sales by showing them new offers every time they come back.
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Making sure your site ranks at the top of search engine rankings is essential to getting your online business seen. That’s why here at the Internet Business School, we’re always keeping an eye on the top SEO techniques small businesses can use to get the edge over their competitors. So what should you be keeping in mind when optimising your site?
1) Find the Best Keywords for Your Website
Make sure to know what your customers are searching for before you optimise your site. There’s no point spending time and money on something that won’t even bring you more sales. There are multiple tools out there which will tell you how often people are searching for select keywords. Many of these tools are absolutely free and offered by the search engines themselves. Google will even calculate how successful your keyword choice is when you choose a listing. Investing time into finding the best keywords that generate the most leads is essential for increasing your reach.
When using any SEO tool for keywords research start with ambiguous searches, create categories and drill down to create smaller more specific groups of keywords. These groups can later be used as clusters of keywords for any Sponsored Ads you create. With SEO, these groups can also be used as directories of the content who will want to have on your website. Long tail keywords are ideal for generating sales. Rather than short vague keywords such as ‘kindle’, ‘brown shoes’ or ‘laptop’ use longer more specific keywords, for instance ‘buy used amazon kindle’ or ‘nike brown shoes size 10’.
2) Do Competitor Research
Search engines analyse incoming links to your website for their rankings. Therefore knowing how many incoming links your competitors have will give you an edge over their businesses. Of course the first step to this is knowing who your competitors are in the first place. When analysing your competition you should consider these very important linking criteria:
Competitor rank in the search engines
The quality and quantity of their incoming links.
What keywords are they using in the title of their linking page?
What percentage of links contain specific keywords in their link text?
The Google PageRank or MozRank of linking pages.
The popularity of the linking domain and the linking page (measured by links and mentions.)
Many SEO tools will provide you with quick and easy competitor research options. However here are some other factors you should consider when scouting out the competition:
Click on the link to their Site Map page and see what keywords you can find their links.
Look at their XML Site Map to find keywords in their page names.
View the HTML title and meta tags of your top competitors and make a list of what you need to target.
3) Write Content People Want to Link and Share.
Just writing a generic article full of keywords isn’t going to automatically get you a high ranking. Link-building is essential for building up a good reputation with the search engines so it’s important to get people interacting with your content and sharing it. Keep the following checklist in mind to get a higher ranking in search engine results, many of the suggestions came straight for Google.
The content educates the reader.
The content is original.
It’s exciting to share.
There are supported facts and references.
There’s enough detail that people will link it to come back later.
There’s fun and interesting videos or imagery.
It’s relevant and topical.
It’s controversial enough to grab attention.
There’s a discount or offer involved.
It’s easy to link on social media.
It establishes you as a figure of authority.
The site thanks people for sharing or linking it.
4) Optimise your title and meta tags.
HTML titles and meta tags should be different on every page of your website if you wish for search engines to list them in their search results. Google does not use the meta keywords tags in their ranking. Google accounts for 64% of all searches, so do not dwell too long on your meta keywords tags.
Google only shows the first sixty-six characters in their search titles. Therefore it may be best to keep your titles to under sixty-six characters whilst still keeping the title relevant to the content. When it comes to the meta description, include your top terms in a description that reads properly and doesn’t look like spam. It should give a clear indicator as to what your site is about. Amazon’s meta description is a good example of a clear explanation that includes many keywords:
“Online shopping from the earth’s biggest selection of books, magazines, music, DVDs, videos, electronics, computers, software, apparel & accessories, shoes, jewelry, tools & hardware, housewares, furniture, sporting goods, beauty & personal care, broadband & dsl, gourmet food & just about anything else.”
5) Optimise Your Headings and Subheadings
Headings play an important role in organising information for search engines, so make sure to include online one H1 tag when creating a page, and optionall using one or more subheading (H2-H6). You can use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), to make your headers more appealing. Here’s a piece of code you can use in your heading:
h1 font-size: 18px;
h2 font-size: 16px;
h3 font-size: 14px;
Since a page full of headings would be completely useful, add content between them, 400+ words per page is recommended.
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Here at the Internet Business School we’re always keeping an eye on the best ways for interpreneurs and their small businesses to get ahead of their competitors and reach greater success. Knowing your customer base is absolutely key to growing your business and your profits. That’s why if you want to fast track your business to success, you’re going to need to do some market research. So what common mistakes should you be looking out for when you start your research? Here are our top ten:
1) Overspending – If you’ve got the know-how, market research doesn’t require you to break the bank. Yet in their haste for data, many business owners pay out a lot to get all the information as fast as possible. Take some time to shop around, or research other methods, to avoid overspending.
2) Not knowing what you’re looking for – Don’t do market research in the hopes of just discovering anything about your customers. You should know what information you need before you start. Have questions ready for what you need to know.
3) Poor choice of sources – The internet is a great place to start your research but you must consider the source of the information you’re getting. This is especially a problem on the internet, where sites can included dated or biased material. Research your research materials and make sure they are reliable.
4) Not knowing enough about the competition – Get as much information about your competition as you can. The more you know about their business, their pricing, and their strengths and weaknesses, the more effectively you can combat the competition.
5) Not researching price information – Your market research should tell you what customers expect to spend and how high they will go to buy a product or services like yours.
6) Researching the wrong group of people – You need to know your targeted demographic before you start your research. Make sure you know exactly who you want your customer base to be before you start on any focus groups or surveys. Many business make the mistake of gathering data that turns out to be useless for their needs.
7) Having non-specific surveys – It pays to take time and make sure your survey is getting exactly the sort of information you need. Irrelevant information is time and money wasted so make sure you are asking the right sort of questions to get useful answers.
8) Not being aggressive enough with your research – No one is going to give you the information you need if you’re not aggressive enough with asking for it. Give your customers an incentive to fill out your survey. Put it in as many places as possible for them to see. Answers are crucial and without them surveys have little point.
9) Relying on one set of data – One set of information is rarely enough to get a complete overview of any group of customers. Use different sources of data, your own surveys, information from online research, and any other relevant industry sources to find primary and secondary resources of information.
10) Not using your results – What’s worse than bad market research? Ignoring the research you’ve already done. Just because your results aren’t what you want to see doesn’t mean the information is useless. Learn from what you’ve got and if it shows you’ve made a mistake, own up to it. That’s how your business will grow.
Want to get researching but don’t know where to start? Our online market research course is exactly what you need. Visit our course page to find out more and discover this essential tool to business success with the Internet Business School.