Newsletter Archives 2014

Which of these 3 types of small business owner are you?
For millions of small business owners worldwide, it's decision time. Pretty much every business owner will want to do better in 2015, however, their decisions regarding how to improve things will differ massively.
4 Ways to Make Your Ordinary Content Epic
Content marketing is making a resurgence. The good news is that SEOs and web marketers are now, more than ever, focused on producing quality content, rather than simply generating large amounts of it. Quality trumps quantity.
Get 14 Free SEO tools + a Marketing Strategy for 2015
With your busy schedule, will you find enough time to conduct an in-depth analysis of your site's strengths and weaknesses?
5 Local Search Tactics You Must Employ Today
Even businesses that rely on people in their town, coming into their place of business to complete a transaction, are held to the fact that, increasingly, most buying decisions start out with an online search.
Social Media ROI's Missing Ingredient
Are you putting all of your emphasis in social media measurement on exactly the wrong thing?
Let the market view in
There have always been marketers who rely on subjective data and unsubstantiated hypotheses. They have a point of view, are comfortable with their perspective and only accept information that confirms their opinions. They also tend to surround themselves with others who agree with them and reinforce this perspective. Unfortunately, social media, and the ability it provides to locate like-minded individuals, has made this even more prevalent.
Why Your Proposals Aren't Landing You Business
Do you know why so many consultants spin their wheels writing proposal after proposal without getting any results?
Switch to a comprehensive email threat management solution: Choose GFI MailEssentials
Microsoft Protection for Exchange has been discontinued and businesses will need to choose another product. This is a great opportunity to switch to a solid, comprehensive email threat management solution like GFI MailEssentials®.
The Benefits of Switching from All SEO Marketing to Social & Content
A small business technology company was focusing their online marketing efforts on SEO and this approach proved to be effective for several years.
5 Small Business Saturday Ideas to Activate Your Business on Social
Squeezing in between it's older, bigger and more attention-grabbing siblings Black Friday and Cyber Monday, looking for some love on the holidays is Small Business Saturday. Born in 2010 from the minds at American Express as a way to encourage consumers not to forget about the little guys, Small Business Saturday has been able to insert itself into the hearts of consumers and their holiday shopping habits for the last 4 years.
5 Shifts to Fix Your Social Media Metrics
On the social media consulting side of our business at Convince & Convert, my team and I are frequently called in to advise companies on how to improve and enhance their social media metrics. These scenarios vary based on company size and type (as well as their social media activities), but typically I find 5 areas where social media metrics and reporting can be fixed:
How to Build Your Marketing Hourglass
Marketers have long held to the idea of the marketing and sales funnel – a notion that suggests you start with a large target group and somehow squeeze a few clients down through the small end of the funnel.
Listen to Your Customers When Writing Your Marketing Content
For experienced marketers it's no surprise that understanding the motivations of buyers and what influences them can be instrumental for creating persuasive content marketing campaigns.
How True Authority Is Actually Gained
The idea of authority has gotten a great deal of attention in business circles the last few years. People who have amassed lots of fans and follows in social networks are seen to have authority. People who have lots of blog readers or who have carved out some niche of expertise are seen to have authority. Authors and speakers are deemed authoritative.
Topic Targeting Is The Best Answer To Most Problems
This weekend I had the good fortune to present at the Minnesota Blogger Conference where nearly 300 local bloggers gathered to learn, get inspired and network.
4 AdWeek marketing lessons for small businesses
Earlier this month, Advertising Week was held in New York City, and it featured some of the biggest brand names in the industry. Representatives from Facebook, Yahoo, and major-media publisher Condé Nast were all on hand to talk about upcoming initiatives and success stories at their companies. The week is well known for featuring the latest, greatest advertising initiatives and in recent years, a lot of that has centered on mobile technology.
The Future of Business Starts with Us
I often share a quote by Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, "Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself."
Keep the evil out of email with GFI MailEssentials
Email is a valuable method of communication but it is also a significant target for viruses, malicious content, phishing attacks and other email-borne threats.
How to Create an Effective Social Media System
As bloggers, we all have different goals. Some may be to monetize your blog; some may be to get a book deal; some may be to become recognized as an expert in your field; others may be to share company news and updates.
Social business and the competitive landscape
It used to be relatively easy to determine who was a competitor and who was not. Competitors were, simply put, one's rivals. They were companies that offered similar products or services to one's own company, and to succeed in business one needed to beat them. Quite often the sole goal of advertising was to differentiate one's business from that of key competitors, and to point out all their faults.
4 Questions to Ask When Planning Your Social Media Holiday Campaign
‘Tis the planning season, which means marketers are solidifying their holiday campaigns for the most important retail season of the year. Here are four important data points to consider when planning your social media holiday campaign for 2014.
The Importance of Content Strategy in Marketing
Content strategy, or how important content is for any brand, is what all brand people are talking about. Every marketer wants to create content that people will love, share, and talk about it. Every brand wants to get connected with amazing storytelling able not only lift the brand higher but also make people want to talk about the brand, the content, and connect to it.
Good Web Marketing Just Isn't Enough To Succeed Anymore
As a web marketer for over 15 years I know the benefits of a good SEO/Social Media/Conversion Optimization/Content Marketing campaign. The number of businesses who have succeeded by implementing solid web marketing campaigns is beyond numbering. But not every business that places a heavy emphasis on SEO succeeds. Sometimes, SEO cannot save your business, only you can!
How to Get Paid for Everything You Do
Far too often I see business owners and entrepreneurs just getting started that simply don’t value what they do enough because they don’t have the validation that comes with landing high-paying clients.
27 surprising facts about salespeople who are Social Selling
Social Selling is the use of social media to interact directly with prospects, to answer questions and offer thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy.
Re-branding - how not to alienate your customers
Branding your business is tricky. You have to make sure it comes across as appealing, a ‘must have’ brand that’s not too pretentious.
Today Only: Grow your business with complimentary tutorials
Skillfeed, Shutterstock's new online learning platform, is offering access to all courses and tutorials for FREE! Small business owners, online marketers, web developers, and other creative professionals, can pick up career-building skills in Online Marketing, Business, Facebook, and more, from anywhere, at anytime. To celebrate its launch, Skillfeed is offering 30 days of free access to hundreds of online courses. Don't miss out!
Re-branding - a better option than "disruptive innovation"?
“Disruptive innovation” seems to be the current hot trend for many management gurus, but it certainly has big risks too. An alternative for many companies or brands threatened by new products created with advanced digital technology is re-branding. Some traditional brands have successfully re-positioned their value proposition to leverage its core benefits and brand image to find new customers and rejuvenate their business.
Marketing is the NFL Quarterback of Business
Fascinating conversation this week around HubSpot's financials and its implications for inbound marketing as a marketing discipline. Great blog post by my friend, Tom Webster .
Seven Communication Sins That Kill Simplicity and Business
When communication is focused and simple, it can add value by challenging your prospects’ status quo, expanding their options, and helping them to see things in new ways. Yet, too often we complicate things and we may not realize it. That kills value and pushes people away.
7 Essential Habits of Successful Business Owners
Quality content includes many ingredients. It’s crucial to make sure that they are all included in every content piece you generate, and in your content strategy.
5 easy copywriting rules for your content strategy
Quality content includes many ingredients. It’s crucial to make sure that they are all included in every content piece you generate, and in your content strategy.
Keep the evil out of email with GFI MailEssentials
Email is a valuable method of communication but it is also a significant target for viruses, malicious content, phishing attacks and other email-borne threats
10 lessons on Walmart's social media strategy
Walmart is the world’s largest public corporation, biggest private employer and largest retailer. It is still a family-owned business.
The Real Truth About Social Media Metrics
Recently, I launched a brand-new video podcast called Jay Today . I upload a new, 3-minute video every business day, where I talk about social media, content marketing, business and life. It's a way for me to talk about what's in my head RIGHT NOW.
Why You Must Change Your Content Marketing Approach
Now that pretty much everyone on the planet gets the importance of content marketing it's time to throw a wrench in the works. To remain effective with your content marketing efforts you must constantly evaluate, change and evolve!
Should You Still Be Writing Business Blogs?
When I started blogging a little over 10 years ago, there were about 1.5 million blogs (Technorati). That's about 1 million other people with no idea what they were doing – just like me.
10 Ways to Supercharge Your B2B Lead Generation Efforts
B2B lead generation seems to be a mystery to many marketers. Just do a search on the topic and you'll find little that's helpful.
Changing perspectives in a world without barriers
For the past hundred years of marketing that's what we've been doing; we're looking backwards, trying to piece together an incomplete view of how markets and consumers behave to better understand and better serve their needs. We use a plethora of discrete and disconnected data points, from surveys and focus groups to demographics and buying patterns to understand consumer behavior. But, for the most part, we're still guessing.
How the World Sees You Should Govern Your Social Media Style
A few weeks ago, we gave Convince & Convert readers the chance to take a free assessment ($37 value) to determine how the world sees them – and more than 600 people participated.
Why Twitter just may be the better social marketing choice
Large and small businesses alike have spent the better part of the past half-decade trying to best leverage the marketing potential of Facebook – and rightly so. Facebook reports 1.23 billion active users worldwide, and an increase of 92 percent when it comes to shared content since 2012. People like Facebook – a lot – but it seems that just as marketers think they have the social network all figured out, the rules change.
5 Simple Acts to Take Right Now
The months of July and August can be slower ones for many small businesses in the U.S. While we've got a thing or two to learn from some other cultures about taking a "real" holiday, many business owners and their clients take vacations and spend less time thinking about business during the summer months.
Strategies For Implementing Influencer Marketing Programs
What's a faster way to connect with a target audience than building thought leadership from scratch? Working with influencers that already have authority and credibility with the target audience you want to reach.
12 experts define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Key Performance Indicators (KPI's) are one of the most over-used and little understood terms in business development and management. They are too often taken to mean any metric or data used to measure business performance.
Create More Meaningful Content and Enjoy The Profits
While at networking event in Bucharest I met the head of global business development and partnerships for a well known video hosting platform.
Measure and Optimize Your Content Marketing Performance
The obstacle in front of most large, or mature companies of any size when it comes to digital and content marketing, is the battle with status quo. From strategy to tactics and especially measurement, change is often seen as interruptive and risky vs. adaptive. But without adaptation, we can hardly evolve, can we?
Growth Hacking is Just Effective Marketing
The term "growth hacking" is all the rage these days, and in my mind it's a bit of a silly concept.
We Don't Need More Relationships
Okay, I know that title of this post may seem like a harsh way to make a point, but things have changed a bit. There was a time when marketing was about creating the message and sales was all about creating relationships – you got to know a prospect, maybe a lunch, then golf and now we can talk business.
4 simple truths about content marketing re-imagined
Content marketing is still a new field, and it remains dynamic and evolving. Every day, we have access tonew statistics, which are based on the increasingly fine and detailed data that can be collected. These all reveal the importance of content marketing to businesses, and the very management of day to day operations.
The Best Google Analytics Metrics for Social Media Professionals
Adam Singer, Analytics Advocate at Google, joins the Social Pros Podcast this week to discuss what it's like working for Google Analytics, measuring macro versus micro conversions for social media, and the importance for every business and professional of measuring success.
What A User Friendly Website Means To Search Engine Marketers
If you know me, you are aware that I have been doing what I call Holistic Usability and SEO since the year 2000. From the moment I combined the two practices, I became a black sheep.
[Download Now] 10 Keys to Entrepreneurial Success
Pat Sullivan, Founder of Saleslogix and Co-Creator of ACT!, shares the 10 keys he used to create over half a billion in revenue as an entrepreneur. These are the top 10 things Pat believes every entrepreneur needs to know to be successful in business.
Everything your business does, is marketing!
Everything your business does, is marketing. It gives people an experience, an insight into what you and your business stand for. It creates your story… either a story your clients believe is worth sharing or a predictable story, which they soon forget.
Do you make these 7 mistakes with your blog?
If you want better results from your blog, this post is just for you.
7 online marketing lessons on launching a small business from Bogart's Doughnuts
Some may not know this about me, but I'm a HUGE donut geek. I may be skinny (weighing in at 170 lbs), but I'm addicted to my donuts and coffee. I've cut back lately, but I still enjoy a good donut.
Customer Driven - : Why the Experience You Deliver To Your Customers Is So Important For Getting Online Reviews and Word of Mouth Referrals
Even though you have a great product or service, are your customers' referrals a little more elusive than you'd like?
Six Easy Metrics to Measure an Influence Marketing Campaign
Measurement is one of social media's key advantages over traditional marketing and advertising.
Customer Driven Online Reviews - Why They're Critically Important for Your Business
Does getting online reviews make you nervous? They can be scary. Your customers are out there saying whatever they please, and there's nothing you can do about it. Or is there?
7 Guiding Questions for Business Success
If I were starting a business today there are just seven questions I would want answers to. Funny thing is, even after twenty-five years in business, I still need the answers to these questions.
Breakdown of Social Media Marketing in 2014
Mike Stelzner over at Social Media Examiner has published the 6th Annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report based on a survey of over 2,800 marketers.
15 Ways Video Helps You Generate More Online Leads
Adding online video to your marketing efforts can generate more leads and sales for your small business. Here's how.
How up-to-speed are you about mobile?
If you use social web services like Instagram, Vine or Snapchat, you're probably aware that these particular services are very much designed for use on mobile devices. By 98 percent, 99 percent and 100 percent of users, respectively, to be precise.
Partners Only: 50% Off until 5/12
Become a Carbonite Partner and sell $2,500 (MSRP) worth of new SMB business between 5/12-5/16 and receive 50% off all appliance purchases in 2014!
B2B Marketing: Creative Ways to Promote your Content using LinkedIn and Twitter
We grow social networks expecting opportunities to create meaningful business relationships. Here's a couple of creative ways to promote yourself and your content to users on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Amazon Product Ads - Sign up and get $75 in Free Clicks
When you register for Product Ads you will create a Seller Central account. You can upload your products manually in Seller Central, via FTP, or using Yahoo! Store sync.
5 simple steps to increase your online visibility
Building your personal brand takes a lot of hard work and dedication. One of the most difficult aspects, and yet perhaps the most important in this digital age, is increasing your online visibility.
Optimize Your Marketing Efforts With This Online Marketing Audit
An increasing number of companies feel they have a solid content marketing strategy and tactical mix in place. Now it's time to think about how to integrate an "Optimize and Socialize" approach into the overall online marketing program.
Why Content, Social and SEO Marketing Should Be One Strategy
When you started out online, everyone and their dog were telling you that you had to have a blog. So, never one to turn down advice, you set one up and started churning out articles.
25 social media listening aids to increase your hearing
The numbers say loud and clear consumers make buying decisions based on what they hear from social networks. Does your business listen?
How to build brand trust - 4 essential steps
What?? You're kidding!! You just can't trust anyone anymore!! Too often we hear this reaction these days. Sadly the level of trust around the world has declined dramatically over the past few years - just look at the way people see the government, CEO's, foreign countries with corruption, our Congress, and many brands (company and product/service).
How to Get Sales and Marketing On the Same Page
The title of today's post became one of the major sub themes of my upcoming book Duct Tape Selling. It didn't start out that way, but in working with more and more sales departments it became clear that the move to inbound and social selling occurs much more effectively when there's a culture of cooperation and integration within sales and marketing departments.
Creating great content for content marketing: don't overthink it
Frequently, we hear our clients worry about how to keep a steady stream of content flowing. Many of them don't realize that they're making more of the problem than they have to.
Blogging, microblogging, media, social media or... Which for your business?
You may be wondering, which would be better for me or my business.. blogging, social bookmarking, a social media focus, or ?? A darned good question, particularly as all have a purpose, a time, a place, advantages and disadvantages. So, which one is best? There's no simple answer here, however, keep in mind that any option you select will require time {lots of it} , patience, and a commitment.
Discounted Online Shipping Made Easy - Guaranteed!
SHIP your orders from 1 or MORE stores using 1 or MORE carriers. Streamline your shipping across everywhere that you sell online.
How Small Businesses Could Leverage the Digital Newsroom Idea
Big brands like Coke, Nike and Marks and Spencer's have already launched magazine-style website with content that appeals to their core audiences. Can a small to mid-sized business with fewer resources do this?
Growing Social and 10 Social Media Tips to Help Build Your Brand Loyalty
Ok, you've gone to great lengths to create social media properties for your company. You've spent countless hours customizing the look and feel,built a following, curated and created content, so now what? The biggest thing you can likely do is to tell people about these resources. There's a number of subtle and effective ways to share pointers to your social streams.
10 Powerful ways to get people talking about your business
Here are 10 motivators, which inspire people to spread the word about you. See which ones you can adapt and apply into your business.
Strategic Approaches to Social Media Marketing
So many companies have become comfortable reacting to industry trends and competitors with tactics, that they end up with wasted effort, poor performance and plenty of frustration. This is especially true in the world of social media marketing as companies roll out social media tactics only to be left wondering in 6 months what the ROI is.
Google to Release New and "Softer" Panda Update for Small Businesses Soon!
Google is working its way to the "next generation" Google Panda algorithm updates. Matt Cutts, Google's Head of Search Spam, announced at the Search Marketing Expo that this version of Panda refresh is supposed to be softer than the previous updates.
5 Ways Business Owners Can Optimize Their Ads for Mobile
Seventy-two percent of small-business owners planned to increase or maintain their mobile ad spend, with 65 percent of these increasing their spending by up to 30 percent, according to a study by Borrell Associates of 1,300 small-business owners.
Do You Really Need To Kiss Up To Clients?
A big part of being on the agency or consultant side of our business is relationship-building and management. No question. In essence, your job is to build repoire and trust with the client. You want them to see you as a partner–a key member of the team.
How Much Transparency Is Too Much?
Transparency is a business concept that’s been tossed around liberally these last few years. To some extent social media has forced organizations to be more transparent, because they no longer had the luxury of hiding behind press releases and company spokespersons.
The Second Screen: What It Means For Small Business Marketers
For several years, the big marketing push has been to "go mobile." Though the concept of a smartphone was around long before it, the release of the iPhone in 2007 brought the technology mass adoption. Mobile phones quickly became another appendage – an ever-present device that is a computer, television and oh yeah, a telephone, all in one small package. Having a mobile-friendly small business is no longer a suggestion; it is a necessity in reaching consumers.
Customer Loyalty Is Mostly About Choosing the Right Customers
I know the title of this post might raise some eyebrows, but it’s true – most businesses have the exact clients they’ve chosen.
5 Things You Know But Don't Do Enough
I travel all around this world and speak to thousands and thousands of small business owners about the challenges of growing a business.
How You Can Use Native Advertising To Complement Content Marketing
For many business owners, online advertising has traditionally meant banner ads and Pay Per Click campaigns with the likes of Google and Yahoo. While the online space was in its infancy for marketers, this approach was successful.
Can Negative Reviews Help Your Business?
Negative online reviews can be a scary thing for small business owners. People can leave you reviews all over the web, and there isn’t anything you can do about it.
Before Any of the Tactics Matter Answer These 3 Questions
Most business owners think marketing and immediately think email, copy, Facebook and promotions - you know, tactics. Heck, most marketers do the same thing. I've been working with business owners for over twenty five years now and I'm here today to once again affirm that none of the tactics matter until you are crystal clear about a handful of things.
How to quickly get more from your marketing
I'm going to show you how to avoid a common marketing mistake, which is causing a lot of pain to a lot of small business owners. I'malso going to share a cornerstone of great marketing with you, which can quickly improve your marketing results.
Are You Developing Your Product Or Your Customers?
I frequently see new products. Companies ask me about their new product all the time. They are all very happy about what it does. They are enthralled with their vision for where it is going. They are a bit concerned about how much money it is costing to build the product. They are a little worried about how long it will take before they start making money. Sometimes, in dark moments, they will admit to feeling some pressure over all the stress. There’s a reason that they feel that way.
Personal Brands for Everyone
2014 will be the year of the personal brand. Do I dare make that prediction? (Do not confuse this with the "year of the selfie." That was 2013. Thank you, Oxford Dictionaries.)
How To Get What You Want From Your Business
If you have been struggling to get the results you want from your business, this marketing tip could be just what you’re looking for. As you may have already discovered, the marketplace doesn't really care about what you want.
How To Market Your Business... Like Apple
Here’s a valuable marketing tip, from one of the world’s most successful companies. I’m going to share a marketing lesson from Apple, which you can apply directly into your business.
25 Outreach Tools That Can Take Your Business To New Heights
Do you think a solid content marketing strategy exempts your brand from needing to do outreach? Sorry, but it doesn't. Check out these 25 awesome outreach tools for your smash business strategy. We're living in an era of content saturation. Over 2 million blog posts are published each day. Research by Technorati has found that digital influencers are quickly outpacing traditional media in terms of ability to win consumer trust. The world's best-known bloggers have the ability to make or break their brand's reputation with a simple Tweet to their massive audience. Perhaps most notable is the fact that blogs fall just behind retail websites in likelihood to influence purchase decisions.
11 Tools to Help Your Small Business Go Digital
Looking to make your small business more “digital?” Here are some everyday tools that will reduce your reliance on dead trees (though possibly increase your reliance on reading glasses).
The 3 Ways to Succeed at Content Marketing When Everybody in the World is Doing Content Marketing
Marketers always kill the golden goose, and content marketing is next on the chopping block. The volume of content being created now is enormous, and we're nowhere near the apex of the content creation trend. Companies are creating more and more and more and more content for three reasons:
Fulfill Your Resolution To Blog In 11 Steps
So "blogging" is on your 2014 New Year's resolution. Good for you. My goal is to guide you well past the first 28-days and into habituation. Starting blogging is not going to be easy for you. You'll be all hot and ready at first but you'll probably never make it — at least not without my help. More people give up on blogging — and writing in general — than give up on going to the gym in order to lose weight and get fit. Blog wasn't built in a day. Mark my words.
Why Facebook May Be The MOST Cost-Effective Marketing Option For Small Businesses
Many of you reading this blog probably saw this post by Ignite Media’s Jim Tobin a few weeks ago. The big stat: Facebook engagement has dropped by as much as 44% in some cases.
How To Win Against Cheaper Competitors In 2014
Right now, Google is showing your prospective customers the details of all your competitors – including those competitors who charge less than you.
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