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How to Develop a Successful Content Campaign

Guest Article When you want to develop a successful content campaign, you must have a plan. Key Performance Indicators or KPIs–are vital to planning and deploying a successful content. Before you write a word or record a video, take a step back and decide what metrics to track and make sure you know the answers to the questions below. Question #1: What Are Your Goals for This Content? When planning content, it is crucial to know the purpose of a particular piece. Confusion sets in when a piece is lumped into broad categories, such as “branding”, but its specific function is less clear. Is it branding a particular widget? The company at large? Both? To solve this problem every piece of content needs specific, measurable goals. For example: Let’s imagine that you want to develop a branding campaign with the following components: (10) search engine optimized blog posts related to a specific keyword (20) Instagram photos relating to your keyword (3) downloadable guides (2) explanatory videos (1) infographic At first the KPIs are straightforward: have you and your team delivered all the components? Yet, this measurement is worthless if a strong, central idea is not evident throughout. The worst “branding campaigns” fall flat because the focus is on appearance, not purpose. Moreover, many small businesses try to mimic the branding approach of competitors with larger resources and totally different goals. A more useful question to ask first is: what will this content make people feel or do? Too many business owners create content in a vacuum. Assigning blog posts to one person and Instagram posts to another only works if the larger strategy is agreed upon from the start. The larger the team, the more the members must collaborate. What about the goals assigned to each piece of content? Every medium has intrinsically different goals. For example, you might set goals on the number of social media shares for each blog post or infographic (a social action). You might set different goals to count the number of downloads on guide or ebook (a customer acquisition action, with different expectations along…

How To Measure Your Digital Marketing Efforts

Guest Article You might think your unique digital marketing efforts are working, but how do you check the effectiveness of your campaign and compare it with your expectations? Your digital marketing ventures can range from managing a social media handle to recording a regular podcast to blogging to running a full-fledged online advertising campaign. Your marketing evaluation, therefore, will help you to channel your resources towards the most fruitful marketing efforts. Now since you have jumped into different platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to shout about your business, you can go ahead and use the campaign analytics to analyze the effectiveness of your content. Use the following tips to create a valid analysis: Understand The Requirements and Target of Your Campaign: To analyze the outreach of your campaign, you must realize the aim of your campaign. So before you proceed with the evaluation, answer the following questions: How many social shares did my posts get? How much was I expecting? What is the size of my follower base? How much has it grown in the past six months or years? What is the reach of your brand on social media platforms? How are your online reviews on sites like google, yp.com or websites like Yelp? Has there been any improvement in your ratings? What are the conversion rates on website visitors? Has your email list grown? What are the average number of inbound visitors to your site? How much organic traffic are you seeing monthly? Once you determine these answers, you can use this information to compare it with your desired marketing goals. In a scenario where your campaign doesn’t create the desired effect, you can run an informative diagnosis to realize the shortcomings of your business. Once you create benchmarks for following your campaigns, you can use the available statistics to make adjustments to your strategy. It will also allow you to understand the visitors, their bounce rates and how you can use this information to promote your products and build more effective landing pages. Understand and Reevaluate The Client Requirements: Back when you started your online…

How To Find Your Number 2

Guest Article Tell me about a Steve Jobs, and I can show you a Steve Wozniak. Show me a Brian Roberts, Chairman and CEO, Comcast and look no further than Stephen Burke his Senior Executive Vice President. Explain to me the magnitude of the Civil Rights Movement lead by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and I can talk to you about Dr. Ralph Abernathy and Bayard Rustin. When you think about the greatness of President Abraham Lincoln, and I ask you to research William Seward, his Secretary of State. If the greatest basketball player of all times is Michael Jordan, then I would say he never won a ring until Scottie Pippen matured as his sidekick. Get the picture? It may take one to lead a great business, but it takes two to sustain and grow it. My new book, It Takes 2: Who is Helping You Lead?, provides leaders with the tools to find the very important second man or “2Man” for their staff.  The term 2Man isn’t gender-specific, so it can be applied to a man or a woman. The role they fill and the responsibility they carry is determined by what you need as the leader of your business. A 2Man is the person on the executive leadership team, whose job is to add value to the organization, execute the mission, and bring relief to his or her senior leader. As you look at some of the most successful organizations and businesses in history, you will see that each great leader had an influential and brilliant 2Man. Whether you are a Creative Director, Grace Coddington, who was the secret weapon behind Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue (the inspiration for the movie The Devil Wears Prada); Ed McMahon, Johnny Carson’s late-night sidekick who became famous for the line, “Heeeeeeeere’s Johnny!” or Charles Munger, Warren Buffet’s right-hand man––all of these individuals are or were considered 2s who helped their businesses achieve great levels of success and fame. So if these unique individuals are essential to helping you lead your business, the question is…How do I find them? Below are…

The 5 Biggest Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Company’s Cash Flow

Guest Article Cash flow is one of the most important aspects when it comes to running a business. As a business owner, you’re always trying to balance the money coming in versus the money going out. While it is important for you to be making a profit, it’s even more crucial to determine whether your cash flow is positive or negative. We’ll look at some of the biggest mistakes that you can make as a business owner that can send your cash flow plummeting. It’s critical that you understand these mistakes so that you can avoid them in your business. Failing to track expenses If you neglect tracking your expenses, you can end up spending far more than you think. For a new business in particular, you can be eager to get new customers even if that means taking a loss to gain that new customer. The same can be said when you’re searching for a new employee to hire. There are quite a few acquisition costs that some business owners may overlook. For established businesses, it can be easy to lose track of traditional expenses that may continue to pile up while offering less and less value. Examples of these expenses can be out of date phone systems and tech support contracts. Unless you regularly track and evaluate these expenses you can severely harm your cash flow. Diligently track your one time and recurring expenses so that you always have an up to date picture of where you stand in terms of cash. Being difficult to pay Depending on your business, you may have survived for years without accepting credit cards or allowing online payments. Today’s customers have more options than ever in ways to make payments, and if you’re not flexible in how you can be paid you’ll likely scare some potential customers away and end up with a higher percentage of late paying customers. Talk to current and potential customers and ask them how they’d prefer to pay and adjust your business to accommodate them. Not cracking down on late payments and overdue invoices Few things will…

7 Ways IGTV Can Be Valuable for Your Small Business

Guest Article Since it’s launch in 2010, Instagram has become a global community of one billion! Recently, the photo sharing app announced their new feature IGTV, which allows users to post and watch videos that are up to one-hour long. While there’s a stand-alone IGTV app, you can also watch it from within the Instagram app. IGTV functions in a different way. First, the videos are full screen and vertical. Also unlike Instagram, videos aren’t limited to one minute. IGTV starts playing immediately when you open the app. You don’t have to search to watch content from people you already follow on Instagram, you can search based on your interests. Some other features include: Swipe up to discover more Switch between “For You,” “Following,” “Popular” and “Continue Watching.” Like, comment and send videos to friends in Direct. Here are some IGTV specs to keep in mind: Video length: 15 seconds to 60 minutes (The full 60 minutes is currently only available to larger accounts or verified accounts.) Everyone else has a general limit of 10 minutes File size: up to 3.6GB File type: .MP4 Video size: 9:16 Video thumbnail/cover image: .JPG Millions of businesses around the world already have a great presence on Instagram and IGTV can be a great way for these businesses to acquire new customers and build stronger bonds with the existing ones. Like Instagram Stories, IGTV also allows you to add a swipe-up call-to-action, which allows you to link to target landing pages. You can also upload IGTV videos straight to Facebook Watch. So what types of businesses can fully utilize IGTV? Beauty & Makeup business: Tutorials of makeup application or tips for styling your hair. You can even film a customer getting specialized treatment at your salon. Interior Designer: Shoot a renovation project or a customer testimonial who got their home designed by you. Retail: Sneak peek into the new collection or teaser videos of what will be hitting your stores. Restaurant: Show the new recipe you are testing or tips for making gourmet food. There are other ways to use IGTV to your benefit…

How to Avoid a Holiday Disaster

Sponsored Post We’re just a few weeks away from putting up the Halloween decorations, now is the ideal time to make sure your small business is set up for holiday sales. If you make the bulk of your revenue during the biggest shopping season of the year, it’s time to get started with what you need to avoid a holiday disaster. Planning is critical—especially for those in retail and ecommerce—but a little bit of advanced planning will go a long way. Trust me, you can never start too early getting ready for holiday sales. Use this as your checklist to ensure that you’re ready to roll once November gets here. Get Your Holiday Offers Ready What are you going to put on sale or bundle together? Think about creating a limited-time only promotion or giving your merchandise seasonal flair with custom-printed packaging labels featuring holiday designs from Avery Design and Print. If you have aging inventory, it’s a great way to give it a little boost, or consider bundling it with more in-demand products. Your sales strategy might need to get more aggressive to compete with your competitors who will be slashing prices. Also consider offering free shipping – not offering it is the #1 reason for shopping cart abandonment. Set Your Sales Goals What are your goals for your holiday sales? You should have specific, measurable sales goals that you will work toward. Review last year’s sales records, assess your sales results versus your costs. Did you run out of anything? Did you have enough staff? What were your packaging and shipping costs? Did you have any unplanned last minute costs that can be budgeted for this year? Have Enough Inventory and Packaging Supplies You’ll likely need more inventory, packaging and shipping supplies, so don’t wait until November to order. You risk the products you want being out of stock, or potential shipping delays, both of which can cause you to aggravate paying customers. Before you order your inventory, do a deep assessment of which products you want to push in your holiday campaign. When ordering, ask your supplier for a discount…

How to Survive the First Year of Small Business Ownership

Guest Article You’ve taken the leap into the rough waters of small business ownership, beaming with the excitement of a new chapter in your life and the possible success of your idea. However, getting started is only the beginning. The first year of running a small business can be the hardest times any owner will have to endure. You must learn to stretch cash in creative ways to help you make it through that tough year. So, here are some suggestions you can take to make sure to survive that first year of small business ownership, and ready to take it to the next level. Have a Solid Business Plan First things first. If you’ve opted to skip a bank loan or an investor, make sure you have a clear idea and goal in mind for your small business. You need to develop a business plan so that you can be sure your idea is well planned out. While it’s good to have ideas circulating around in your head, putting it to paper can help you to organize your thoughts, create a solid objective and specific sales goals. Do your research and write a business plan that you’ll want to use it to run your business. Keep Expenses Low Making sure you don’t run out of money is a certain way to stay afloat. Keep the spending limited to things you absolutely need for the business. It is easy to get carried away and begin to buy various amenities you think you may need in the future, but let that decision be made when the time comes. Focus on the here and now. You can also save money on electricity by conserving the amount of energy you use. Make sure you shut down your computers each night. When it comes to hiring employees, hire only those positions which are unquestionably essential for the company, and stick to contractors and freelancers for everything else. Review Your Finances Monthly Your money may be stretched thin in the beginning, so taking the time every month to go over your expenses is a good…

How to provide multilingual customer service

Guest Article When you think of customer support, is having customer service agents who speak English enough for international success? Of course, not! If you want your products to be known worldwide, you need to make yourself understood by different nationalities. English might be the most used language right now, but it is not enough if you want to offer a professional customer support experience. So, how can you offer multilingual customer service in your business? How many languages are enough when it comes to a top-notch customer support center? Clients today are looking for high standards and they are more likely to order products or services presented in their mother language. This article is going to show you why a multilingual customer support is important for your business if you are targeting global markets and how to implement it. Decide the level of support you want to offer! When you create your business strategy and decide that you want to target international customers, you need to also determine the level of support you are going to provide. It should also remain consistent during the entire process. You should analyze which markets where your products are likely to be most successful and prioritize the languages in those markets. Here are some elements you should consider: Frequently Asked Questions Section – this is a great start when you want to offer a multilingual customer support. FAQs cover crucial topics like refund policy, payment options or product use. Therefore, if you want to target international clients, you can translate this section in several languages. Social Media – without a doubt, most of your clients are very active on social media. Wouldn’t it be better for them to understand your posts on Facebook and Instagram and share them? Be proactive and translate your posts in different languages. This is how you are going to grow your brand loyalty and build brand equity. Call center support – You can hire customer support agents to talk to your clients in their language. In general, customers prefer call centers where they can ask questions in their…

How to Bring Minimalism Into Your Small Business

Guest Article Ever visited a home designed around the simple principles of minimalism? From the moment you enter the space, it’s obvious that something is different. Clutter is nearly nonexistent. The few knick knacks that made the cut actually have purpose. The space somehow seems bigger. When you’re in a place like this, you feel a sense of peace and satisfaction. Imagine bringing that level of order, balance, and functionality to your small business You can – and should – bring minimalism into your small business, whether you’re running it from your home or a brick and mortar location. It’s not that hard, you can start right now! Follow these principles to up your efficiency, boost productivity, decrease clutter, and cut time spent on looking for things. It make no sense to spend large amounts of time on efforts that aren’t bringing you significant returns. It’s simpler than you think to use a minimalism approach. Clear the clutter with the SHED method Start with an office-wide necessity audit. What’s there that doesn’t have to be? What’s there that shouldn’t be? What do you need, but don’t have a place for right now? Gather these items and sort them into piles. You might try the SHED method: Shred (items to destroy or trash) Hide (items you need, but that can be “hidden” with smarter storage) Elsewhere (items that can be placed out of your workspace) Donate (items you can give away or donate) Increase efficiency with the Pareto Principle Also known as the 80-20 rule, the Pareto Principle is a powerful staple in bringing minimalism into your small business. It states that on average, 20% of the tasks and effort you’re putting in are responsible for 80% of the results you get. Conversely, the other 80% of your efforts are essentially going to waste, bringing in only 20% of your results. Your task: Identify the 20% of tasks that are bringing you 80% of your results – and figure out how to outsource, delegate, or altogether cut the 80% of tasks bringing you just 20% of your returns. Amp up productivity…

How to create lead magnets for your small business

Guest Article Leads magnets are undeniably one of the most efficient and gainful ways to collect contact information from your website. By offering something valuable to potential customers in exchange for their email address or cell phone number, you create a mutually beneficial scenario – making internet users more likely to trust you with their contact information. Unfortunately, however, it requires a significant amount of trial and error, to lock down a lead magnet that works. The best lead magnets focus on what their target market wants, what motivates them, and approaches them in a way that seems genuine and good-natured. Here are five top lead magnets formats and tips for making them work. THE CHEAT SHEET Inside information on how to perform better and tips for making things easier are always valuable. This is particularly so in today’s society, where people are constantly pressured to keep up with rising demands of business to generate better results faster.  The key to a compelling cheat sheet is to keep your content short, concise, and jam-packed with little known facts that have practical, real-life benefits. For example: If you own a golf equipment store, a cheat sheet entitled “How to Pick the Best Golf Irons For Your Unique Needs” would be relevant and appealing to golf enthusiasts. How to make it work: Touch on your ideal customer pain points when pitching your cheat sheet to them as an offer. Be sure to keep the following questions in mind when writing your landing page content: What are the most common reasons why a potential customer would want to read this cheat sheet? How can I make the information as easy-to-understand as possible? What problems will my cheat sheet resolve for the reader? Why should my target customer act on this offer as quickly as possible? What can I say within my introductory content to make this cheat sheet enticing to my readers? THE FREE TRIAL If you are in the software industry, offering a free trial is always an impressive lead magnet. After all, everyone loves getting something for free! Even if it…

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