All posts by Alan B. Zibluk

Many tips for finding customers in the Digital Marketing Field.

Many tips for finding customers in the Digital Marketing Field.

Ready to tap into the power of digital marketing to help your business succeed?

Check out this list of the top 10 digital marketing ideas from our FedEx Small Business Grant winners, including ideas for social media marketing, content marketing and more!  

Even better, not only are these digital marketing ideas easy to implement, they’re even easier for your business to afford.   

1: Run contests through social media
Nicole Snow is the owner of Darn Good Yarn, an online retailer of specialty yarns. She has achieved incredible success with social media marketing by allowing her social fans to pick the names of new yarn colors. The winner gets a free ball of yarn — and even better, bragging rights. Nicole claims that she’s able to track sales back to participants in the contest, sometimes even up to a year later.

Susan Buchanan, the owner of Humdinger Kettle Corn, a business that sells flavored popcorns, also asks users to provide feedback via social media and help her pick new flavors to develop. The advantages to her business go beyond fan participation — she’s also essentially getting free insight into what her customers are looking to buy. With that knowledge, she is better able to successfully roll out new product lines.

#2: Create a YouTube channel
YouTube allows just about anyone to set up an account, brand it with their business identity and post videos, all for free.

For a business like Catullo Prime Meats, a YouTube channel was a pretty logical fit.  Danny Catullo, the owner and operator of this specialty butcher shop, uses the channel to offer his customers recipes, how-to-guides and other fun and useful stuff. He’s even created family videos and had the good fortune of having a turduken video turn into a viral video marketing star — resulting in a five-fold increase in sales one year.

#3: Tap into star power
When Patrick Whaley, the owner and founder of TITIN LLC, a creator and retailer of high-tech workout gear, wanted to grow his social media audience, he filmed videos featuring well-known athletes.

Because those stars had already built up their own social followings, TITIN essentially leveraged the popularity of their social media marketing and realized a massive spike in views on their YouTube page.

With some smart cross-promotional messaging, TITIN was able to turn YouTube views into visitors to their website and a corresponding increase in sales, making the digital marketing campaign an easy expense to justify.    

#4: Treat content like king
If you’re setting up a website for the first time, you obviously want it to look nice, perform well and be easy for customers to use. But don’t forget about your content marketing!

Content marketing essentially means creating content in order to acquire customers. In order to do that, Danny Catullo advises making sure that your website is built so that it’s easy for you, or someone on your staff, to add, delete and update content. Most modern websites are built on a content management system (CMS), which is essentially a publishing platform for your site.

If you’re paying a vendor to set up your site, make sure right from the start that you’ll have access to your CMS and discuss whether or not training is included in the project quote. If you’re setting it up yourself, consider open-source alternatives, like WordPress, which also has the advantage of being free. 

#5: Make your content useful 
While we’re on the subject of content marketing, here’s one of the best ways you can make content resonate with customers: make it helpful!

Think about who your customers are, what problem your business could potentially help them solve, and then create content that does that (being careful not to give away your goods or service for free, of course).

Examples of this type of content include blog posts, videos, a Pinterest page, Facebook posts and more. Catullo Prime Meats hosts a YouTube channel of how-to-guides, cooking tutorials and more. Darn Good Yarn posts recipes on their Facebook wall, gives remodeling advice through their Pinterest page, and connects with younger customers on Instagram.Remember, content doesn’t just refer to writing – it can be almost anything your customers might find useful!

#6: Use website analytics
One of the best things about digital marketing is that it’s so measurable. Not only can you track traffic to your website, but you can also learn where the traffic is coming from, what they do while on your site, how long they stay – and much more.

You can also use website analytics tracking tools to measure ad campaigns, efficiently buy ad placements and more. The advantage to you as a business owner is that you can measure the return on investment (ROI) of your site and marketing, use what you learn to enhance performance and make smart decisions about what to continue and what to drop.

Ari Hoffman, the owner and founder of GOBIE H20, a retailer of environmentally friendly water bottles, uses Google Analytics, which is widely considered to be the industry standard. He’s such a big believer, in fact, that he advises other business owners to use it “like it’s part of your life!”

#7: Tap into online local search 
If your business relies on local customers, online local search could be a game changer — and compared to targeted media like TV, radio or billboards, it can be relatively cost-effective.  

Online local search marketing basically means ensuring your business is included in search engine results for your geographic area. For example, if you own a carpet cleaning business in Phoenix, you ideally want your business to come up when someone types “Carpet cleaners in Phoenix” into Google. Anyone performing that kind of search could be likely to be a potential customer, so it makes sense to have your business represented.

There are 2 basic ways to do that: 

  • Local search engine optimization (SEO), which involves creating content on your site so that it targets those keywords.
  • Local search engine marketing (SEM), which means buying keywords from search engines like Google or Bing.

Both ideas have been used successfully by the 2013 FedEx Small Business Grant winners. Danny Catullo attributes about 60% of his local business to a combination of SEO & SEM, while Ari Hoffman has used SEM to great success.

#8: Don’t take "No" for an answer
When Patrick Whaley of TITIN started his digital marketing efforts, his first strategy was to target a broad audience. Using what he learned, he was able to gain invaluable marketing intelligence, identify consumer trends, learn buying patterns and discover what it took to convert a variety of different demographics into customers.

“If you limit your sales at the start, you will never know how large your market potential really is,” Patrick said. “ I would encourage every company to try to sell to everyone they meet.  Don't be afraid to fail and don’t tolerate someone telling you ‘No.’ You will be shocked at how many new markets can be realized if you don't allow fear to hold you back.”

#9: Digital is bigger than your website
If you’ve just started your digital marketing, or even if you’re getting ready to revamp your existing efforts, there’s a natural tendency to want to go for broke with your business’s website.

But you should be careful about putting all your digital eggs in one online basket, according to Danny Catullo. Instead of spending a fortune on a flashy site, he used Shopify, a turnkey e-commerce solution, to get up and running. By paying small monthly fees, he was able to launch quickly, without a huge initial investment, and he even gets ongoing support.  

Plus, small businesses need to plan for the long term, says Ari Hoffman. Even the slickest website in the world won’t do your business much good if it can’t adapt and evolve. He advises setting aside 15% of your initial investment for future modifications.

#10: Star in your own show!
Last but definitely not least, Nicole Snow was able to turn a little bit of technological savvy into a huge marketing asset with a show on Google+.

‘Darn Good Yarn Live airs Thursday nights on Google+, and attracts an audience of die-hard fans who often become some of Nicole’s best customers. Plus, Nicole feels that the connections she creates with the public helps build a unique differentiation point from the competition – it literally helps her stand out in a “sea of yarn stores.”

With tools like Google+ and Vine from Twitter, your business can essentially host your own TV channel for free. So if you’ve got some creative ideas to share, fame (and fortune) could be just a few clicks away!

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

What Businesses can Gain from Mobile Marketing

mobile marketing

mobile marketing

What Businesses can Gain from Mobile Marketing

Marketing and advertising have truly evolved over the years. We have embraced ads on the television, radio and even in print media for more than a decade. The advent of the Internet has paved the way to new marketing campaigns, one of them being a mobile marketing. Because mobile gadgets are the hype today, there is no denying that mobile marketing is here to stay as more cost-effective way of advertising one's business.

Almost all of us have a mobile gadget or two. We often have our phones and other wireless mobile devices with us on a daily basis. This is a good opportunity for businesses to take advantage of mobile marketing. There are key benefits business owners can reap and enjoy.

The following are some examples that would get you motivated to pay attention to mobile marketing.

Immediacy. As a business owner or marketer, one thing you will love about mobile marketing is its immediate reach to your prospective consumers and clients. There is a guarantee that they will be able to receive the ads or the message within seconds in their mobile devices. For instance, sending an SMS message to your recipient is fast. This equates to your consumers getting your message faster than a blink of an eye, not to mention creating a mobile campaign is easy.

Cost effective. Marketing has never been this cheap. Traditional modes of marketing require a business owner to invest thousands of dollars just to create a few seconds of radio or TV commercials. The amount of money that goes with the printing of brochures, tarps and the like is probably within the thousands. With mobile marketing, there is no need to shell out this much. Mobile marketing requires you to invest a fraction of what you would spend in traditional marketing campaigns. You'd end up saving money while making the most of a possible global marketing scheme.

Higher reach. Billions of people around the globe have a mobile gadget or two. This also means that you could be able to reach out to those people within a single mobile marketing campaign. A successful mobile marketing campaign will allow businesses to be able to reach out to millions of customers in a blink of an eye at a fraction of what they would spend for advertising. Why limit your marketing campaign to just around the neighborhood when you can reach out to potential customers from all over the world?

There are still other key benefits you can enjoy if you shift your marketing efforts to mobile marketing. With the right campaign and technology applied, your success is guaranteed.

Ida Mae Boyd
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Degrees Of Separation In between You And The entire World

Degrees Of Separation In between You And The entire World

Social networking has actually been specified as the interaction between thoes or companies within a social structure. Within an online social network, people or organizations which can either be casual acquaintances or closely related by blood can quickly interact through messaging, blogs, picture sharing, chain mails, videos, music and a great deal of other communication tools offered in social media network websites in the web.

In the late 1960's, a social experiment called small world hypothesis was done to prove that any 2 individuals can be connected through a social media network by 6 degrees of separation. This was done by effectively passing a message from one person to a target individual through associates of individuals in the link. Although most of the links in the experiment failed to finish, the electronic variation of this experiment as well as the online social networks today has proven that we can certainly connect to almost any individual worldwide through our contacts.

 

Social Networking Websites

Social networking websites have actually just recently become popular in connecting individuals sharing the same pastimes or interests. These social networking websites can be, in a way, considered online communities where different individuals from all over the world can share their viewpoints, views, thoughts and normally everything that can cause the advancement of relationships or relationships. Making it easier for individuals to incorporate themselves into these social network companies, groups or websites can often be found in social networking websites where you can satisfy people with the very same interests, religious beliefs, region, view in politics, and so on.

Upon completing the registration for these social networks, you can then start to familiarize yourself with exactly what the social media network needs to provide. This can be done easily through browsing the member's profiles, reading the blog sites or bulletin board system and chatting with the other individuals online. In this manner, you can make good friends with other individuals you would not have the opportunity to be friends with in the real life due to the fact that of geographical, political, social and other constraints. Communicating with the people online will likewise make you knowledgeable about the various cultures, religions and people present in the social network which will be really advantageous in broadening your understanding about the world around you.

Threats of Online Social Networks

Because of this, many of the social networking sites have actually placed restrictions and constraints as to who could sign up with the network and what the minimum age ought to be. Some social networking websites have actually also put obstacles for the registration of individuals having a criminal record and some schools have even gone as far as prohibiting the use of the social sites to their students.

Understanding these dangers though, will help you take pleasure in and take full advantage of the benefits you will get from these online social media networks. So if you're ready to test your own small world hypothesis, search for these social networks online now.

Charles R Juarez Jr
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Blogging for SEO: How to Write a Blog for Google!

Blogging for SEO

Source:  Rob Neu

Get Your Blog Noticed

It seems like a lot of bloggers, and people in general really, have a bit of a negative view when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and how to utilize it to be one of the top entries of a search results page . It seems that lately opinions are moving in a more positive direction. I think this is awesome because SEO can really help bloggers get their content noticed. Ranking well in organic search is one of the best ways to share your voice with a larger audience and increase your authority on a given topic.

The goal of this article is to help bloggers understand that SEO is simply a tool, not the mystical black art that many have sold it to be. When you do SEO right, it really doesn’t need to impact your writing much at all. Once you learn the basics, it just sort of becomes something you do naturally without having to think about it very much. The places where most bloggers struggle are keyword targeting, strategic link-building, and technical SEO. Technical SEO is indexation problems, meta issues, and most of the other things that our SEO audits address.

None of these things should change the way you write significantly. Keyword targeting can be as simple as doing a bit of research to make sure you mention the right words a few times throughout your posts. Technical SEO sounds complicated, and can be sometimes, but if you’re a blogger using WordPress, chances are it’s actually a lot simpler than you think. Strategic link-building can be a bit tricky, but as a blogger you have a distinct advantage over other website owners in this area. Bloggers can update their site and display new content very quickly. Search engines love this kind of activity.

Harness Your Blog to WordPress

Facts don’t lie. As of this writing, WordPress powers over 38% of the Web. It is by far the most widely-used content management system and it continues to grow in popularity every year. It should be noted that this is the self-hosted version of WordPress, which is WordPress.org not WordPress.com. WordPress.com is a great place to get started, but if you’re serious about blogging and SEO you should consider self-hosting.

In addition to being popular, WordPress is also a very SEO-friendly CMS. Without doing anything extra, simply using WordPress will improve your chances of ranking. This is because it has a lot of basic SEO functionality, such as pretty permalinks and contextual page titles, built right in.

Moving to WordPress is (Usually) Easy

There are a lot of importers for WordPress that let you move your content from other systems like Blogger and Tumblr built right in. There’s also a bunch of great plug-ins and an entire guide to help make the transition to WordPress easier. One area that might be a bit of a challenge is choosing a new design for your site once you’re up and running. Lucky, there are tons of great free and premium WordPress themes for you to choose from.

Integrate Basic SEO Into Your Blogging

Once you’ve got your blog running on WordPress, you need to start thinking about integrating some basic SEO best practices into your blogging work-flow. A good place to start making some changes is in your keyword targeting.

Over time, you’ll start naturally writing your posts in a more search-friendly format, but when you’re getting started it’s best to do these things AFTER you’ve finished writing. When SEO isn’t familiar to you, focusing on it right out of the gate will just slow down your writing and frustrate you. Try to put it out of your mind until you’re done writing and think of it more as part of your editing work-flow.

You should also keep in mind that your SEO title and your meta description are going to be the way people see your post in the Google search results. Because of this, they need to be attention-grabbing. Getting this right is critical for convincing people to click on your post. A great title can even outdo a higher ranking in some cases, so definitely spend some time thinking about improving your headlines.

How Do You Know Which Keyword to Choose?

Choosing the right keywords for your posts is another area where most people struggle. Many times the title of your posts might not be exactly what people are looking for on Google. As you do this more, you’ll start to develop a bit of a 6th sense for choosing keywords, but starting out it can be a little tricky.

Don’t let this section intimidate you or stop you from optimizing your posts. Google is pretty smart and they’re getting smarter all the time. If your content is good enough, they’ll frequently rank you for the keyword you should have targeted if it isn’t something that’s super competitive.

That said, in a perfect world you’d always be optimizing your content for the ideal keywords. In order to get a little closer to that, you can use a few tools to get an idea of what people are searching for on Google.

Keyword Research is Hard, but Worth the Effort

In order to pick the best keywords, you need to do a little research. There’s a tool from Google called the Keyword Planner that will let you see how many people are searching for a particular group of keywords. The problem is it’s difficult to come up with variations on your original idea to see what might work best. Luckily, there’s a simple tool called Ubersuggest that can give you a ton of ideas to test in the Keyword Planner. Here’s a guide on how to use Ubersuggest.

Spending 5 or 10 minutes doing this can mean the difference between targeting a high competition, low volume keyword or targeting a low competition, high volume keyword. It’s hard to get into the habit of doing this, but if you take the time to learn it, you’ll understand the benefits pretty quickly.

Google also has another useful tool called Google Trends which lets you see the overall interest in a keyword or a topic over a period of time. This can be a good indicator for whether a keyword or a topic is worth focusing on. Keyword research is a pretty vast topic and it’s also one of the cornerstones of SEO. Don’t feel bad if you have trouble with it, you are far from being alone. Just chip away at understanding it a little at a time.

Participate in Your Community

Being an active blogger gives you a number of distinct advantages over other website owners. As a blogger, you probably already have a group of people you interact with and talk to online on a regular basis. This is a huge advantage! Keep track of where these people are hanging out on the web.

Stay active on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn in particular, among the Social Networks. All of these things mean that whenever you publish something related to WordPress, it’s pretty much guaranteed to get a lot of eyeballs and pull in a decent amount of links.

You need to do the same thing in your industry. Start searching for things related to your industry and follow the top results to find where everyone is hanging out. Find the popular blogs, see which social networks everyone is most active on, and pay particular attention to any forums your community is using.

Start leaving comments, talking on social channels, sharing your own content as well as the content of others, and posting in forums. Don’t spam anyone, but don’t be afraid to jump into the conversation either. Once you’ve established yourself in the community a little bit, don’t hesitate to start asking people for links when appropriate. If you’re a genuine person and you’re not just trying to leech off the community, you’ll be surprised how responsive and helpful everyone is.

Keep Track of Your Progress

If you’re not already using Google Analytics, you really need to start. Analytics can get pretty complicated and probably deserves an entire post of its own. That said, there’s a number of simple things you can look for in your analytics to help you keep track of and improve your blog’s content and SEO efforts. First of all, you’ll need to set up and install Analytics if you haven’t already. This guide does a good job explaining how to set up analytics and you can use this plugin to add analytics to your blog.

Rinse and Repeat

One of the biggest mistakes people make is they give up too early. The things outlined in this post take time! You can’t just target a few keywords, send a couple emails, and check analytics a few times if you want to succeed. You need to keep at it.

Don’t stop after you optimize a post or two. Do as many as you can! Go back into your old content and optimize it. Keep doing keyword research and learn how to anticipate what people will be searching for in your field. Keep your finger on the pulse of your community so you can be one step ahead of everyone and create content that people are thirsting for. You can do it! It’s not has hard as it seems, just keep working all the time and eventually you’ll get there.

Dennis Roeder

Contributor #markethive

 

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Become The Best Blogger

Become The Best Blogger.

Is it necessary to have a goal to become the best blogger in your niche? Is content marketing something that the public on the web is seeking? Many have asked that questions about the value of content marketing and wondered if it is limited to a few types of businesses. This article was printed in Hubspot in August 2014 titled, How To Become The Best Blogger In Your Niche. 

Back in 2012, Max Nisen wrote, “Content marketing is one of the biggest new trends.” He reported NewsCred’s CEO Shafqat Islam as saying, “Every Fortune 2000 company today is a candidate for content marketing. If they're not doing it, they will be.”

Two years later, Nisen and Islam’s prophecies have come to pass. We are in the age of content marketing — and it's showing no signs of going away. The content marketing arena is now so vast and so complex that people are starting to get lost. Don't believe me? Just take a look at this hodgepodge of an infographic from LUMA:

luma-content-marketing

In spite of the scary complexity, blogging is still the one of the most powerful weapons in the content marketer’s arsenal. And the better the blog, the better the content marketing efforts.

So here’s my thesis: If you are the best blogger in your niche, you can be the most successful in your niche. It’s only logical. If blogging is the core of content marketing, and content marketing is the path to success, then we must conclude that being a kickass blogger is the path to marketing success.

And here’s the really good news: You can become the best blogger in your niche. In the post that follows, I will provide three points that explain exactly how to gain that edge.

1) Know your audience.

Answer the most important question:  “Who is my audience?”

Too often, bloggers start with the wrong question. They ask things like:

  • How can I be interesting?
  • What can I write about?
  • What will make this post more engaging?

Those are great questions, but they are totally meaningless unless you first understand your audience.

I came across a line recently that stuck with me:

 

pngbase64c3c9af76173e7e56

When you blog for someone, you will have plenty of things to write about. What’s more, you’ll communicate in the right way — you'll be more "human" and familiar if you treat your audience like real people.

As you ask the big question, “who is my audience,” keep in mind these additional questions that will help you develop a deeper knowledge (From University of Maryland's Writing Resources):

 

  • What is the relationship between the writer and the reader?
  • How much does the reader know
  • Is the audience likely to agree or disagree with you?
  • What will the reader do with the information?

The clearer your view of your audience, the better your writing will be.

Your audience is smaller than you think.

Keep in mind that your audience is probably smaller than you think. Traffic metrics do not reflect an accurate count of your engaged audience. A better way to understand your audience is through engagement metrics.

In a study conducted by Chartbeat on Slate readership, they discovered that the most engaged readers were those who scrolled below the fold. A full 86% of engagement took place when readers scrolled to read an article.

 

chartbeat

Also, share metrics tend to skew the perception of an engaged audience. The people who share your articles don’t always read the whole thing, as an Upworthy study showed. This chart below indicates how long users stayed on a page compared to the point at which they shared the article.

attention_minutes

Your true readership is made of those who are engaged — the users who read your entire article and absorb the material.

You can build your audience.

Even though it is smaller than you think, you can also build your audience. Great bloggers grow in size and reputation. That’s what this article will tell you how to do.

The more you blog, the better knowledge you’ll have of your audience. You discover what they love, what they don’t love, what makes them click, and what makes them convert. In my Complete Guide to Building Your Blog Audience, I wrote this:

"A great blog begins with the content you create, but to be successful, a blog also needs a strong community or audience."

So you should not only learn who your audience is, but also shape that audience, too. To a certain extent, you get to decide who your audience is, and what they want to hear.

Everything starts with audience. If you know your audience and speak directly to them, they’re going to love you.

2) Be consistent.

You’re not going to be a wildly successful blogger unless you’re consistent.

An article on NewIncite had this to say about consistency:

"Quality of content and consistency are the most important factors in setting up your schedule … Consistency will keep them engaged, build brand awareness, and — if done right — help convert them to buyers."

It’s easy to talk about consistency, but it’s hard to do consistency. Bruce Springsteen wasn’t exactly a content marketing professional, but he had a great line about consistency:

"Getting an audience is hard. Sustaining an audience is hard. It demands a consistency of thought, of purpose and of action over a long period of time."

What worked for The Boss works for content marketers, too. You want to be a blogging rockstar? Take it from a real rockstar: Consistency matters.

Being a rockstar blogger feels good. But waking up early every day, hitting the keyboard every day, and maxing out your mental resources every day doesn't always feel good. But that gritty pain is what consistency is made of.

How often should you blog?

So, what does consistency mean in real numbers? How often do you need to publish a blog post? To answer this question, I’m going to be all evasive and tell you to refer to point one — know your audience.

Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute wrote this on the topic of blogging frequency:

"As long as the blog post serves these two goals it’s worth doing a post: 1) Is a compelling and interesting story to your target audience (the reader), and 2) Serves the objective for your blog. If that means five posts per week, great.  If it’s one per week, that’s fine to. [sic] Focus on whether or not you have a story worth telling."

I can’t give you a hard and fast number. I can, however, recommend a minimum threshold — you should aim for at least one post a week.

Why? Frequent output — i.e. consistency — is positively correlated with greater traffic, as indicated by HubSpot’s research.

blog-slide-7-resized-600

In addition, HubSpot discovered that bloggers with higher output had better lead generation results:

blog-slide-10-resized-600

So consistency leads to accumulation of content, and the more content you have, the more results you’ll get.

3) Be totally transparent.

If you’re more transparent than anyone else in your niche, you’ll get more readers. People crave transparency.

Kevan Lee, Buffer’s blogger par excellence, writes this in his article, "The Anatomy of a Perfect Blog Post:"

"We aim for an element of storytelling in each of the posts we write, often starting a blog post with a personal anecdote or moment of transparency."

Transparency is a tricky thing. On the one hand, relationships are built on trust and transparency. But it’s hard to be transparent. Nan Russell, in Psychology Today, had some cogent insights about transparency:

"People want other people, not necessarily themselves, to be transparent … Some people find transparency threatening, especially at work, while others find it exhilarating. Some confuse transparency with authenticity, or think transparency means communicating everything or knowing everything they want to know."

Transparency is important in blogging, because you are building trust, developing relationships, and growing an audience. At the same time you must exercise your transparency in a thoughtful and intentional way. You’re not going to spill business secrets, gossip about others, or divulge information that puts you in a dangerous personal situation.

The best advice that I’ve read comes from the article I cited above, regarding the role of transparency in the workplace. These principles, as I’ve restated them and applied to blogging, will make you appropriately transparent:

 

  • Tell stories that demonstrate your openness and vulnerability.
  • Make sure you are respecting your boundaries of confidentiality and the confidentiality of others.
  • Use your transparency to help others, not simply for the sake of being transparent.

When we try to become transparent, we’re usually not as transparent as we think we are. But if we work hard to share personal stories — appropriate details included — we’ll get better at it.

Transparency engages readers and turns your blog into something that readers love. As I’ve studied many blogging niches, I’ve discovered that the bloggers with the greatest degree of personal disclosure are the most successful. So if you want to be a successful blogger, you’ve got to get personal and transparent.

Conclusion

Being the best blogger in your niche has very little to do with writing technique and flawless grammar. Those technical skills kowtow to some way more important things:

 

  1. Knowing your audience.
  2. Being consistent.
  3. Being totally transparent.

If you put these techniques into play, you’re on the path to blogging domination and content marketing success.

*How to Become the Best Blogger in Your NicheWritten by Neil Patel | @neilpatel

DR. Raymond Jewell, is a leading economist and Home Based Business Consultant. He is a Alpha Legacy member of Markethive and manages several blogs on the hive. Dr. Jewell is offering, for a limited time, FREE Markethive Systems just click and sign up and witness the power of the Hive first hand. 

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall – What is the Most Powerful Socal Network for Entrepreneurs of them all?

Well before I reveal the answer to that question, what is the real benefit of social networking anyway?

Why should any online marketer spend time on social networks?  Wouldn't time be better spent just blogging and communicating with prospects and customers using email and other more productive methods, instead of wasting time on social media?

I can understand that social media can sometimes seem like unproductive time, especially repeated posts on Facebook that few people will ever see.  

The answer, I think, boils down to one word, REACH!.  If only one hundred people read a post of mine on Pulse, the blogging platform on LinkedIn, (for example), then that is one hundred more people that have read something I have written, and might decide to reach out back to me. If they had never read my blog post they probably never would have had that chance to read something that I wrote, and possibly connect with me.

Admittedly, that is only 100 viewers out of a total of 8,000 of my first level connections, so the percentage is not particularly high.  Supposing instead of a hundred or so views, I could get a thousand views for the same post that I submitted to LinkedIn?  That would 10X better than posting on Pulse, right? And if I could get 10,000 views of the same post, now that would be something substantial, at that point, right?

Social Media has the possibility of magnifying the reach of my outreach efforts.  Posting is one, and sharing content on social media is another.  Where on social media can you get the greatest bang for your buck, or the greatest reach for time spent?  The answer is Markethive.  It is a new social network for entrepreneurs that is available by invitation.  Just click on this link —-> Markethive, to find out more.

I have a number of posts on Markethive with thousands of views already, despite the fact that it is a relatively new social network. I have no doubt that with the new tools Markethive has recently implemented, I will soon get over 10k views on a single post. 

So why do posts get so many views on Markethive?

1) You can share your blog posts on Markethive with your other social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn, Stumblupon, and others.

2) With your permission, other bloggers on Markethive can share your content on their blogs, as well as on their own social networks.  You can also reciprocate to do the same with their content on your own blogs, and social networks.

3) As an owner of a group, you can share your content as often as you want with your group members.  LinkedIn limits your ability to post to your group to one message per week.  There is no limit to group messaging on Markethive. If you have valuable and interesting content to share with your group members, you can message your group members every day.

I give LinkedIn Workshops two times each week using one of the Markethive webinar rooms.  I have great respect for LinkedIn, and use it extensively to prospect and find marketing automation customers for my local marketing business.  There are so many great things that I like about LinkedIn, not the least of which is it's enormous size.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, and other social networks all have their strengths and weaknesses.

When it comes to blogging and my attempts to reach as many people as possible, however, I have to say, I prefer Markethive, and not only for it's blogging and sharing capabilities.  So, when I ask the mirror on the wall what is the most powerful social marketing network for entrepreneurs of all, it tells me that Markethive is best one of all.  

I suggest you give it a try, and you may find the same answer to your question that i did.  See you on Markethive!

John Lombaerde – Goldfinch Digital Publishing LLC

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

There Might Be Dragons (the Fear of Internationalization)

In the early 16th century, the Hunt-Lenox globe was drawn, showing uncharted (and presumably dangerous) areas marked with the warning: "HIC SVNT DRACONES" – "Here are Dragons."

there might be dragons

Subsequently, mariners sometimes adopted the phrase "there might be dragons" if they became concerned for their safety when in unfamiliar waters.

Of course, none of the mariners of old had actually ever seen a dragon, so each one conjured up his own image, and this is just as true today. For those of us who advise on internationalisation, here are a few perceived dragons that we hear about repeatedly:

I don’t know anything about internationalisation. I wouldn’t know where to begin.

You’ve already begun. Follow the International Man website. It has over five years of archived articles that cover virtually every aspect of internationalising. In addition, obtain a copy of Casey Research's Handbook for Surviving the Coming Financial Crisis. Go online to research destinations that fit your personal situation. Then, instead of taking a holiday at Disney World, go to a country that seems to you to be the likely best choice for either a second home or a complete change of national residence. You’ll be amazed at how extensive and varied the opportunities are out there.

Won’t I just end up as a slave to a different country instead of my home country?

Not if you choose your destination well. Many countries are far less invasive to your freedoms and wealth than the three jurisdictions mentioned above. Some, in fact, are just as prosperous and well developed as your present country, yet have zero direct taxes.

In addition, should you choose to live in multiple destinations, you’ll be less "owned" as a visitor or temporary resident than if you were a full-time resident and citizen.

Will I have rights there, since I’ll be a foreigner?

For those countries that fall under English common law, your rights will be almost identical to those of the locals. (This is less true in countries that come under civil law – notably Spanish America and much of Europe.) However, most everywhere, you will be regarded as a guest and, in many ways, be treated better than locals. In some countries, you will be treated better by both locals and the government than you were at home.

Will I have to learn a new language?

Yes or no, depending on your choice of destination. For anywhere in Central or South America (except Belize, Suriname and Guyana), yes. For the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, the UK and many Pacific islands, English is the primary language. In many other countries – Israel, the Philippines and most of Europe – English is spoken by a majority of residents. Your choice of destination may, in part, depend on your ability (or willingness) to learn another language.

What if I can’t find any friends?

Most choice destination countries already have entire expat communities. However, many who expatriate themselves find that they prefer the locals and choose to live in either integrated communities or predominantly local communities.

If I cash out here, my funds to start over elsewhere might be limited. How can I be sure that I’ll be able to afford to live there without giving up my lifestyle?

First, if you wait to cash out until after an event such as a real estate crash has occurred at home, or confiscation of your bank deposits has occurred, then yes, you will have less when you leave. Hence, the sooner, the better. Second, your lifestyle will be likely to change, as you’ll probably make different choices than before, based on new opportunities. Third, you may choose a destination where you’re already far more wealthy than most locals – where the cost of living is far lower than what you now pay. Fourth, even in a high-cost-of-living destination, if you choose to work, you’ll probably make more than you would at home. Fifth, if you move to a low-tax or no-tax jurisdiction, you’ll retain much more of your gross income. (My own country, the Cayman Islands, is such a destination, and I’ve met countless people who came here without even enough money to buy a used car, but ended up very successful.)

What if I’m unhappy there?

It’s a big world. There are many other choices and your first stop needn’t be your last. However, if you do your homework well before going, you’re likely to pick more wisely the first time out.

What if I decide I want to go back?

Some people (but not many) do make that choice. But they then find that any government that wants your money is more than happy to take you back. (Governments have no objection to wealth coming back in; they only try to stop it going out.) Even those who renounce their citizenship often find that they’re welcomed back into their first country, either on a visa or by reinstating their citizenship. However, the great majority, having succeeded at internationalising, never choose this option.

Many people fear perceived dragons when considering internationalisation. In doing so, they often overlook the very real dragon that’s creeping up behind them – the dragon of a declining world power that’s compensating for its decline through overreach – increasing taxation, removal of basic freedoms, an increasing police state, plus ever-expanding capital controls and governmental surveillance. As the situation worsens, the known world may well become more threatening than the new one.

The Middle Ages came to an end in part because new lands were discovered to the west by the mariners. Many people opted to stay put, for fear of dragons. Others opted for the slogan found on the reverse of Spanish coinage at that time. The two pillars on the coins represented the Straits of Gibraltar, and the slogan on the pillars – "PLUS ULTRA" ("More Beyond") – signified a whole world apart from the old one, with new opportunities.
 
The choice today is the same. Your future may depend on your outlook – whether you see the greater world from the standpoint of "HIC SVNT DRACONES" or "PLUS ULTRA."

Note: If you’re alarmed by the growing threat – from your own government – to your financial health and personal freedom, I can’t blame you.

You’ve seen the crowded parade of new laws, taxes, and regulations recently passed or now in the works. While many of those measures seem small, together they threaten to clog the arteries of the economy. Prospering – or just holding on to what you already have – won’t be easy.

In fact, I’m afraid that as financial resources shrink and government deficits rise, the grab for money will become more desperate. Governments will go beyond taxation and reach into retirement funds and into depositor accounts at banks to ask for help.

Events around the world show that capital controls, income tax hikes (to rates as high as 75%), debt monetization, nationalization of private pension vehicles, bail-ins, bank deposit confiscations, and other futile but destructive options aimed at your money will be used by cash-strapped governments.

No matter how well-protected your government tells you your money is, how comfortable can you really be if it’s all in one country?

Doug Casey has said over and over that spreading your political risk beyond one jurisdiction is the single most important decision you can make today.

Dubbed the ‘International Man’ roughly four decades ago, Doug Casey has not only established residency in nearly a dozen countries, he’s visited 145 nations (he recently got back from Mauritania where he inked a new TV deal), and has been a major investor in over 1,000 businesses across the globe…

It’s safe to say that there’s probably not another American alive today who knows more about international diversification than Doug Casey. It’s all about making the most of your personal freedom and financial opportunity.

Original author: Jeff Thomas April 21, 2016

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Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Google Analytics improves small business marketing

 

 

 

 

 

Google Analytics improves small business marketing

Google Analytics is a highly effective website analysis platform that allows businesses to assess how well they’re doing with their online marketing efforts. But for small business owners who aren’t all that comfortable with technology, the thought of digging into the analytics can be intimidating.

You don’t have to be an expert to glean valuable insight from Google Analytics, according to Mark Boyd, Search Engine Optimization Director at MIND Development & Design, and a SCORE blogger. By familiarizing yourself with how to pull some basic information, you can gain an understanding of how well your business website is performing. “Not only can you track results, but you can also track how you’ve gotten those results,” said Boyd.

With Google Analytics, you can track:

n Traffic volume. View your daily and monthly traffic and monitor ebbs and flows, highs and lows.

n Average time visitors spend on your website. See the pages visitors viewed while on your site and how much time they spent on them.

n Bounce rate. This reflects the number of visitors who left your website after only visiting one page. Bounce rate and average time spent on a website are closely tied. When a visitor views multiple pages, the time onsite is typically longer than if they land on one page and leave.

n Number and percentage of new and repeat visits. Knowing this can help as you build engagement with your audience. You can see what percentage of your daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly visits are new visitors versus repeat visitors.

n Traffic sources. You can see geographically where your website traffic is coming from, and if the traffic sources are organic listings, pay-per-click ads, referrals (such as from social media), etc.

n Compare current traffic to that of previous months and years. This enables you to compare performance and detect trends.

All of these can help you understand how your website engages visitors and how effective your off-site digital marketing efforts are at driving traffic to your website.

These are only the tip of the analytics iceberg. There’s much more data available, but interpreting some of it requires a higher degree of knowledge about the platform.

“My favorite part of Google Analytics is comparing current numbers to the previous year,” said Boyd. “It’s amazing how you can see the same traffic trends from year to year. That’s very helpful in planning your SEO, paid advertising and social media efforts.”

To power up your social media techniques, plan to attend the free SCORE workshop on May 10 at 6:30 pm, at the Traverse Area District Library, Woodmere branch. Seating is limited, so please pre-register at www.upnorthscore.com.

Michael McCrary is a principal at Pine River Consulting, LLC and has been providing marketing and strategy consulting to clients globally since 1990. He has been a SCORE mentor since June 2015.

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Source: Michael McCrary: Google Analytics improves small business marketing | Local News | record-eagle.com

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Entrepreneurial Skills Needed To Effectuate Positive Social Marketing Changes

There is a distinct dissonance regarding the behavior and social change espousements between people who believe that all marketing is evil and those who believe marketing has some redeeming qualities for the good. This diversity of opinion gets played out in program planning meetings, conferences, policy debates and resource allocations (such as found in RFPs and TORs). Not everyone who works to solve intractable problems needs to be a social marketer; yet, learning some basic marketing skills will be advantageous because the most important aspect of marketing today rides with the entrepreneurs who are shaping the social changes and solutions.

1. Entrepreneurs Learn to Listen
Entrepreneurs are constantly listening, looking for ways to maximize opportunities, leverage relationships, and connect to people. And while anyone can be a good listener, doing so as a marketer requires an analytical mind—the process is not at all passive. By being trained in the analysis of your prospective customer using focus groups, and other appropriate techniques, you’ll start to learn how to really listen to what your VIP members and investors want.

2. Entrepreneurs Learn To Make Better Decisions
Knowing how to find and interpret data about your VIP members and investors means that you’ll derive a better understanding of the problems you are facing and how to tackle them in new ways. Of course, you’ll also get in the habit of shortcutting through a lot of unnecessary paperwork and honing in on the relevant data and revelatory insights that are most important.

3. An Entrepreneur Matures In His Communication Skills
The best marketers learn how to gain perspectives into different personality types and how to apply different techniques for engaging with them, based on what their idiosyncrasies are. This could be described as learning tact.

4. An Entrepreneur Does Not Waste Time
Because everyone is on a shoe-string budget, you have to be particularly perceptive concerning the prioritization of resources which is fundamental for small and large organizations and independent operators. Being creative about who ultimately falls into your sales funnel and concentrate on, the ways you reach them, and how to economize while still being effective will help you turn into an efficiency machine.

5. An Entrepreneur Must Be Aware Of The World Situation

Marketers have to be aware of what’s going on in the world culture. This means they read, attend social gatherings, try to figure out what kind of trends are making waves, and generally pay attention to the zeitgeist. No matter what industry you operate in, one must learn to be particularly sensitive to their milieu, which is very advantageous in results shown. One must become accustomed to not focusing on the details of the situation one is found in but train oneself to focus on the bigger picture. This will ultimately payoff by enabling more productive work ethics and help one do better in their chosen workspace. As a byproduct of this kind of focusing one will probably end up having a keener interest in a lot that’s going on around you, which makes one a person who is more interesting for others to be around.

Leading In Social Change

If the foregoing matters are carefully worked through then the foundation is laid for the entrepreneur to be perceived as the leader who can be emulated. This is the most effective way to become an influence for the good in the role of societal movers and shakers. This kind of functioning must be consistent and without hypocrisy in order to acquire the standing to bring positive changes to the way business is carried out. This is the challenge for the entrepreneur, but the dividends are huge.

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

How to Blog for SEO: Write Blog Posts to Rank Well

SEO Page Rank

You are probably writing a blog hoping your ideal customers/prospects will find it.

Some simple changes that you can make to help you with your campaigns will be found in this article. You can increase your search engine visibility, drive more traffic to your blog and generate more leads or sales for your business.

Focus on keyword-rich subjects.

Why are blog sites a tool that are is so powerful for SEO (search engine optimization) and online visibility?

Because every post you compose becomes another web page, and every web site is another chance to rank well for a search that is a specific client is performing at this time. Or in 30 days. Or in a year. Because good, evergreen content continues to attract visitors to your website or blog for decades, producing more leads/customers for your offer.

There are a number of techniques to create tips which can become content for your website:

  • Turn consumer concerns into “Dear Abby” style posts.

  • Scour websites like Quora, Yahoo Answers, LinkedIn or other forums where you can find questions to help solve.

  • Simply take some keywords through Google Keyword Planner that you’d like to rank well for and run them. This device is free for you to find how many individuals are looking for your phrases each month, recommends associated phrases that might be better opportunities, and lets you know just how competitive that search is. (The higher your competition, the tougher it will be to split the page that is to begin the search engines.)

Create a keyword-rich title.

By default, the title of your post becomes the title of your web page.

Search engines give more importance to your page title than just about any other variable.

Too often, businesses give blog posts vague titles like, “A Word to the Wise,” or “A Lesson from Man’s Best Friend.”

Unfortunately, your ideal customers aren’t searching for those phrases. And if they are, they’re probably not interested in your post specifically.

Here are some tips to title a blog post for maximum visibility:

  • Lead with your keywords. Search engines give more weight to the first few words in a title. Examples might include, “Pinterest Marketing: How to Generate Leads from the World’s Hottest Social Media Site,” or “Men’s Bowler Hats: What’s Hot This Season.”

  • Number your lists. I know many people hate numbered lists, but they speak to how busy we all are. “101 Ways to Save Money for College” or “3 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview” are generally more engaging, and will generate more click-throughs at the search engines, which may increase your overall rank.

  • The colon is your friend. If you have a couple of competing keyword phrases that both seem appropriate, use a colon (or some other spacer) to cast a wider net. Do you write an Asian cooking blog? Try “Chopstick Instructions: How to Use Chopsticks.”

Work your keyword phrase into your copy early and often.

Your title is critical, but it can’t stand on its own; it needs to be supported by the rest of your copy.

You should work your keyword phrase into the first sentence or two of your blog post, and then repeat it several times throughout your post.

If you feel it’s difficult to work your keywords into the first sentence, try this trick: open up with a one to two sentence overview of your topic. If you still can’t work your keyword into the overview, then your blog post probably isn’t about your keyword anyway.

Warning! If you overuse your keyword phrase it can backfire. This is called, Keyword stuffing.

Google and other search engines may punish you for “over-optimizing” your post.

How much is too much? There’s no magic formula, but if your post doesn’t read well and the keywords feel forced into the rest of the copy, you’re probably guilty of over-optimizing.

You can also break up your keywords. If you wanted to rank well for some certain phrase you could use that phrase exactly once or twice, but also use each word separately in other sections of the blog article.

Share your post through social networks.

Inbound links—links from other websites and blogs—increase your search engine visibility, all other things being equal. However, links from social media sites and the comments section of blogs often carry the “no follow” link, meaning no search engine benefits are being transferred.

The search engines are a little cagey about how much impact social buzz has on their search results, but there’s no question that Facebook powers Bing’s customized search, and Google+ affects your Google search results.

By sharing your post through these and other social media platforms, and getting others to do the same, you’ll drive more traffic and build awareness of your post. Even if a tweet or a LinkedIn update doesn’t boost your overall ranking, it might introduce you to a blogger who links to your post from within a post, which does carry search engine weight.

To encourage more sharing, be sure to add any appropriate “share” buttons to the top and bottom of your blog posts, encouraging visitors to share your content.

Transfer your blog’s search engine visibility to your website or e-commerce store.

Blogs are often more conversational, less sales-y than a traditional website. The non-sales-y approach often encourages other bloggers to link to you, where they wouldn’t normally link to a business website or e-commerce site.

However, your goal may not be to have the most popular blog, but rather to build your business. If you’d like to leverage your blog to grow your business, you’ll want to create keyword-rich links from blog posts to sales pages on your website.

A blog post about tips for growing tomatoes in a home garden might link to your page that sells tomato seeds. A post about finding the right nursing care for an aging parent might link to your page on transitional services for families.

Search engines focus on the words in links, so instead of creating a link that says, “click here” or “learn more,” you’ll want to create a link that says, “heirloom tomato seeds” or “transition plans for aging parents.”

By creating multiple blog posts—including leveraging guest blog opportunities—that point to a given page on your site, you can increase the search engine visibility of any web-page you wish.

Be the master of your own domain.

There is a huge following for WordPress blogs, however, never run a business blog with the WordPress.com domain. Or Typepad.com. Or Blogger.com.

When you blog on someone else’s domain, i.e., gardenshop.wordpress.com, you’re building their search engine visibility, not yours.

Many blogging platforms have gone under in the past few years. You might be able to save your blog posts from the wreckage, but you’ll never recover all your inbound links and the trust you built up at that domain.

It’s critical to your success that you blog at a domain name you fully control. This could be part of your current site, i.e, gardenshop.com/blog, or it could be a separate domain entirely, i.e., gardenshopblog.com.

Conclusion and Summary in a Nut-Shell:

To create a blog that generates search engine traffic and new leads for your business, follow this simple formula:

  • Build your blog on a domain you own and control.

  • Focus each blog post around a narrow, keyword-rich topic.

  • Create a title that starts with your best keywords.

  • Use your keywords early and often in your blog post.

  • Make your post easily shareable through the social networks.

  • Leverage your blog’s new-found search engine power by linking to critical pages on your website or e-commerce store.

Based on an article by: Rich Brooks

Dennis Roeder

Contributor

 

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member