Entrepreneurs are often tasked to running the ship alone until they get things moving. As a business coach and marketing consultant, I am often in the position of wearing many hats! But as business grows and time becomes scarce, it becomes necessary to delegate out things you once had time for, but now seem to be putting on the back burner due to time constraints, or find helpful online programs to help you work faster. Something that gets the job done without you needing to reinvent the wheel.
I am here to tell you, DELEGATE is not a dirty word! There are so many things to get done, and fortunately we live in a world where you can find quality freelancers or programs that will help you get the job done efficiently so you can focus on your clients. Below is a list of online services I recommend to my fellow small business owners!
- PicMonkey and/or Canva: These services are a quick way to create a graphic for all of your social media platforms, or even something you want to create to physically mail to someone. They have templates set up for just about any occasion or event, and both services will store them in a library so you can re-visit and edit them. Easy to use and with a ton of tutorials, you can create a quick graphic for just about anything. (Side note: Don’t skimp on a quality graphic designer when it comes to your logo though!)
- Rev.com – I was recently introduced to this service. It is a transcription service that will take your video or audio file and turn it into text, thereby allowing you to use that content to also have a blog post or document for whatever you need! They are FAST and very accurate. My experience has only been minor edits. Video content is so important, but you should always re-purpose good content. A blog post is a perfect start and this eliminates a lot of the work involved! Check it out!
- Trello – this is a great online tool that helps you organize content of any kind. Brainstorming, to-do lists, you name it. Whatever you want to share and collaborate with others that is accessible online and has a great mobile app as well. I use it for to-do lists that are shared, as well as sharing flow charts and ideas. You can create teams, projects specific boards for certain people to share, the list goes on and on.
- Hootsuite – I know, this one has been around a while, but it recently has really stepped up its game to include Instagram and make the ability to share on multiple platforms even easier. The user interface has really grown leaps and bounds, so if you have checked out a while, make sure you give it another look.
- HubsSpots Blog Topic Generator. This is a great tool if you have NO CLUE what to write your blog about! It simply wants you to enter three different nouns and then it will come back to you with five different topics that will get your mind working. The best part, you can enter the same three nouns again and hit enter and will give you five more ideas if you don’t like the first round. Blogging is important, and it is easy to get stuck on a topic, but not with this tool!
- Ripl.com – what a fun app you can use to create videos on your mobile device. But did you know there is also a desktop version? Perfect opportunity to create fun and quick videos you can share anywhere even if all your content is on your desktop! They will brand them any way you like and then you share them with the world!
This is just the tip of the iceberg on the programs and services you can use to help run your business, but still keep the costs down. It is so easy to get stuck in a rut doing the same thing, I highly encourage you take the time to learn how to work smarter, not harder, so you can make your time more efficient, thereby giving you the opportunity to make more money!
So tell me – what is a favorite service of yours that you use to help run your business? Post in the comments below!
As you know, I am a big fan of collaborating with other authors to bring my readers valuable content that will help them build their business. Today’s guest post is from Wendy Dessler. Wendy is a super-connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition. Here are some of Wendy’s thoughts on some quick and actionable SEO tips that will help improve your visibility!
Cover All Your Bases
There is more to online content optimization which utilizes search engines than its simple creation. You want content that is the right length, that has been properly structured such that it is visually appealing, that concerns topics about which target markets seek information, and includes useful data.
You want your content to have links which go to your site, as well as other resources that don’t compete with yours, but which may simultaneously assist your clientele. Pictures are a great idea, so are video links and clips if you have the ability to include them.
Something else you want to do is include anchor text as well as keywords. The two differ but slightly: keywords need not necessarily have anything that links beyond the content being read. Keywords are sort of an “anchor point”, if you will, for a search engine. Meanwhile “anchor texts” are anchor points for the reader.
The right anchor text will be amenable to search engine algorithms, and will lead clientele directly to your home website. But if you don’t choose the right anchor texts, you’re wasting your time. According to Linkio, “A tool should automatically filter out links that don’t matter.” The right kind of anchor text selection tool will give you the best possible choice to build your article around.
The SEO Behind The Scenes
Something else you’ve got to consider when it comes to marketing online is the coding which hides behind the scenes. There’s a thing called “meta tagging”. Basically, this is a fancy way of referring to HTML code which hides behind “the veil”, as it were, of your site’s interface.
In HTML code, the way you title things will make a difference to search engines where a query might be entered in. It can be complicated to properly optimize meta tags, but this is a core tenet of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) protocol.
Something else that is core to SEO is the continued production of content. If you want to be absolutely sure that your online marketing campaigns lead to the results you seek, then you want continuous creation. Ideally, you want content pieces that are at least 500 words. It turns out that longer content actually tends to be more effective.
If you’ve got content of this length, you want about fifty original pieces produced monthly. That comes to a minimum of 25,000 words. Over the course of a year, that comes to about 300,000 words of content. That’s quite a lot! It’s doable internally, but if you’re not doing it right, you could be doing a lot of work in vain.
Guest Blogging And Professional Assistance
Something you can do to bolster the effect of your online content is to utilize guest blogs and to repost content that is relevant. For reposting purposes, you should strive to design content that has an evergreen quality which can be continuously reposted. In terms of technology this may be difficult, but it’s not impossible.
For example, new tech requires new writing; but that which concerns trends—like Moore’s Law—can be evergreen. If you’re unfamiliar, Moore’s Law predicates that computational ability doubles on itself at regular intervals.
Getting The Help You Need
It’s easy to see why working with the right developer of online content makes sense. There are many variables to consider, and while it’s certainly possible that you’ll get the hang of it eventually, it’s unlikely you’ll retain “cutting edge” affiliation with trends as they develop; and the learning curve with content can take years to master if you don’t know what you’re doing.
That said, content marketing using SEO and other techniques which utilize the web can be exceptionally effective. If you have yet to look into this, you should. If you have already, it makes sense to work with professional purveyors in order to see the greatest return on the most minimal investment. Remember: time is money—if you’re wasting hours on something that’s futile, you’re wasting money. Professional solutions will help you avoid this.
Email marketing used to be the only online method a business owner had to keep in touch with their clients and potential clients. When social media came along and made things easier, email marketing started to get somewhat of a bad rap. However, everyone should keep in mind – and this is the one thing I tell all my clients – email is never going anywhere. It is also the thing you have total control over, meaning you own your list – you do not own Facebook. It is imperative that you continue to keep in touch via email. Even if your email is not officially “opened”, the chances are it is seen anyway in the preview section of most people’s email accounts. Seeing your name keeps you top of mind. But how does a business owner make the most of their email marketing? Here are some helpful tips that will assist you in getting the most out of your email marketing.
- Send more than just a monthly newsletter
Most email programs do not limit the amount of times you can reach out to your list in a month. So why not mix it up a bit? You can use your software to welcome new clients each month, send appointment reminders, birthday greetings, holiday wishes or even special events that your company is having. Think outside of email: what would you reach out to your clients and send them if you were mailing something via snail mail? The sky is the limit on thoughtful emails that could lead to your next sale.
- Segment Your Lists
This is especially true if you are very specific with certain emails. For example, the topic of your blog you are promoting may be targeted to a specific group of people. Take a technology company for example. Maybe they are giving tips on something that is Windows related. That company should have at least two lists: one for Windows users and one for Mac users. That way you are sharing relevant content to your list and not annoying some of your clients with information they don’t care about.
- Utilize the AutoResponder feature
This is the most under-utilized feature of most email programs. Typically there is a thank you email once someone signs up to be on your list and that is it. Take the time to set up several follow up emails. For instance if the first one is a welcome, the second auto-responder could go out a week or two later asking a specific question related to why they signed up. For example if you were selling a product, you could set up several auto-responders to go out to make sure the customer is satisfied or to see if they have any questions. Perhaps even asking for feedback can be an option. This keeps you top of mind, as well as provides good customer service.
- Make sure it is mobile friendly
More and more people check their email on mobile devices. I have seen stats that range anywhere from 50% up to 80% on my clients’ reports that show mobile devices are how the emails are being opened and read. With that in mind, you want to make sure you select a mobile friendly template, or if you are making your own make sure it is easily read on a mobile device. We are all guilty of not reading an entire email if it is cumbersome and just moving on from frustration. If it is hard to read, you will lose the attention of your audience.
- Re-engage the users that did not open
I know that Constant Contact provides detailed reports on who opened and who didn’t open your email campaign. You can run a report and select all the unopened email addresses, change the subject line to see if that helps to get their attention, and send it again. The important thing is to try. People get a lot of email, so it is important to try sending it again to see if it helps your open rate – which hopefully leads to more sales!
- Actually use it!
This one seems simple, but it is sadly true. Everyone knows they need to send emails, but they get bogged down with what to put in them, not enjoying the process, or a myriad of excuses of why they don’t have time to get it done. Let me be clear – if you are not emailing your audience you are missing multiple opportunities to connect with them. Email is a MUST. So if you need help getting it done, then find help.
In full disclosure, I am a Constant Contact fan. I have been a faithful user since 2007. I have seen a lot of changes in the way the email programs work in the last nine years. But one thing remains the same – people still check their email, and people are definitely influenced by great subject lines and dramatic images. So stop putting your email marketing on the back burner and make the most of the most precious asset your business has – your list.
So tell me about your email plan. What system do you use and why?
As many of you probably already know, this month marks my sixth year anniversary as the CEO of Queen Bee Consulting. During my amazing journey with my clients over these years, I have become comfortably acquainted with the constant flux of the digital marketing landscape. Technology changes every day. New algorithms, new standards of quality, and new social media trends are always evolving. And while it is important to keep up with these trends and evolve with them, there is one classic digital marketing method that I have found to be tried-and-true, and absolutely worth the effort of maintaining…
Email newsletters are a very low cost, very traceable, and extremely efficient way to stay in contact with a large audience on a routine basis. If you aren’t currently using email marketing as part of your overall marketing strategy, there are several reasons to consider adding it into your mix.
Email Marketing Keeps You Top of Mind
Simply put, if you send out a newsletter every month to remind your contacts that your business is actively looking for new customers, they will be more likely to remember you when they or someone they know needs your services or could benefit from your products.
Email Newsletters Expand Your Reach to Different Audiences
If you’ve been doing a good job targeting and tracking the sources of your business, you should know how to best reach your audience. The benefit of adding email newsletter marketing into the mix with social media and blogging is that you will be able to reach different people through a variety of channels. The content you take time to compose for your blog can be promoted through social media, but you really can’t give it the credit it really deserves without also repurposing the blog content as part of your email newsletter.
While insights and trends can help you predict when you’ll have the best chance of reaching your targets through social media posts, there is no guarantee that ALL of your customers or prospects will be reached through social channels every time. For this reason, it is always important to also fire your messages out through email communications. Your email newsletter will be delivered to targeted inboxes, extending the reach of your content to different people through a different channel.
Think of your marketing as a three-legged stool. Website/blog, email newsletters, social media. You need all three to work get optimum results.
Tips For Collecting Email Addresses
It is estimated that over 144 billion emails are sent each day and 91% of consumers check their email inbox on a daily basis. So it makes complete sense to try to tap into email as part of your marketing strategy. If you don’t already have a database of email addresses built up, here are a few tips for gathering a list of subscribers for your email newsletter campaign.
- Network and Collect Business CardsThis is one of the easiest ways (at least for most people) to gather email addresses. Any time you attend a networking event, be sure to grab business cards from the people there. Most business cards have an email address printed on it, so just take the time to enter the contact information into your database each week. Ideally, you should also try to meet and greet the owners of those business cards personally at the event or later so that they will give more attention to your email communications. Make sure to ask them if you can put them on your list – common courtesy goes a long way and no one wants to be spammed.
- Gather Emails During Your Enrollment ProcessThis should be a standard procedure for any service-based business. When you ask customers to fill out information as part of your sign-up process, be sure to request an email as part of their basic contact information.
- Offer Incentives for New SubscribersIf networking isn’t your “thing” and you need to build your contact base through other methods, consider offering a discount program, small prizes for signing up, or other promotions to entice people to volunteer their email address to you. Providing useful, quality content is essential for maintaining subscribers, but to get people to give you a chance in the first place you may need to offer something in exchange for their information. This can be done through social media channels, traditional marketing materials, or at offline events that you host. My giveaway is two free chapters to my book. You can subscribe here to get yours!This method is also highly recommended for retail and product-based companies. People are already accustomed to being asked for contact information during the checkout process at many stores, so use the opportunity to collect information that can help you earn repeat business from each customer.
Cross Your Heart, Your Intentions Are Pure
As added peace of mind, be sure to let your potential subscribers know that you will never sell or give their email address to a third party or spam their inbox. Promise them that any communication they receive from you will be useful and valuable information that you hope they will be able to share with their friends and family.
I’d love to hear from you! Let me know what kind of experiences you’ve had with email newsletter marketing—either good or bad. And if there is any way that I can help you get started with a successful email newsletter campaign for your business, please contact me today! Also, click here to sign up for a program where my friends at Constant Contact will make you a customized template for FREE when you sign up!