Web Assessments

Today’s websites are the greatest marketing tool there is.  They are the best tools for communicating with customers and showcasing your products and services.  They are the lifeblood of your brand and convey your status, reputation, and position in the market.  That’s why web assessments are so critical to learning whether you are making the most of your website.

These are a few questions that our web assessments answer:  (1) Can consumers find your website easily when they search the internet for companies that sell the products and services you do?  (2) Does your company’s name surface often on the internet?  (3) Is your website designed to invite customers to your site’s inside pages to check out your products and make a purchase?  (4) Can people locate your website through social media? Do your social media sites direct traffic to your website?

Web assessment points 1 and 2 (above): Can consumers find your website easily?

Web assessments tells you whether search engines like Google and Yahoo can “read” your website, so that your company name and products come up often when people search for them on the internet.  Through search-engine optimization (SEO), your website and products are located more often, and your name can even seem to pop up everywhere when someone searches for your brand.

SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the search terms or keywords typed into search engines, and which search engines are used by your targeted consumers.  The more often a website appears in search-engine results, the more often people will visit it.

By the way, can consumers access your website using their mobile phone?  That’s another matter to consider when you ask for web assessments.

Website assessment point 3: Is your website designed to invite customers?

Every site is designed, but few are designed well.  When it comes to website design, you don’t want it to look a mess.  You want your brand, logo, colours, and company’s personality to explode from the home page and pull consumers inside.  On the inner pages of the site, they read fascinating, well-written snippets on what’s great about you and your products and services.  They see exciting themes– photographs, drawings, or picture-caption copy that communicates as well as the writing.

Bear in mind that a website built from a cookie-cutter template lacks original design and can seem amateurish for companies in the business of attracting customers or even employees.  If you want to look professional—hire a professional designer to make you look good.  Your reputation is at stake.

Consider the amazing sites that will impress visitors

All websites can be scaled to include digital catalogs, e-commerce, forums, message boards, blogs, auctions, contests, sales coupons that flash like light bulbs, newsletters, chat, classifieds, photo galleries, games, reviews, donation buttons, event enrollment forms, comments sections, and response forms. The only limitations are your imagination.  By the way, we design catchy and meaningful logos.

Website assessment point 4:  Do your social media sites direct traffic to your website?

Are you on social media?  Your competitors are.  Do you “share” your web content on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and so on.  Since you want to be on every corner of the web, it’s essential to incorporate social media into your website.  This means having great social media links.  You want all your sites—social media and web—to communicate with one another.

Web assessments are a must.  If you do any digital work at all, ensure it’s focused on improving your website’s design, SEO, and connection to social media.

Crafting a Practical SEO Strategy

Every business owner should know something about search engine optimization (SEO), even if it’s just the name.

internet marketing how to

But not everybody knows where to start when it comes to crafting a practical and effective SEO strategy.

Any SEO strategy hoping to succeed begins way before the website design has even started and never really ends.

Here are 3 practical steps to crafting an SEO strategy:

SEO Strategy Step 1: Know your objectives, know your audience

Before you begin planning your SEO strategy, you need to really define what you’re trying to achieve with your website.

What is the real objective of your site? What do you want your website visitors to do once you have them there?

Once you know this, you need to identify who your audience is going to be in order to know how to entice them. What do they do? What do they like? What don’t they like? How old are they? Where are they located? Where do they hang out online?

With this information gathered, you can combine it with your primary objective to come up with a secondary one: getting these people to visit your site.

SEO Strategy Step 2: On and off-site SEO

The single most important part of your on-site SEO is going to be the quality of your content, and you will live or die by the keywords used in that.

They are going to have to be relevant to how your target audience will find you, relevant to your site itself, and with a high enough search volume to make it worthwhile to use the keywords.

Much of the rest of your on-site SEO strategy is going to follow the same formula that everyone does: making sure every title, page, image, URL, text snippet, and anything else is optimized for your target audience to find you.

Where you will need to get a little creative is with the off-site SEO strategy.

This is all about getting the word out and earning the links back.

Contacting and building relationships with peers, commenting on relevant blog posts and forums, offering guest blogs on authority sites in return for links back to your own, and having a high quality social media presence are all ways to improve your off-site SEO.

The fun part is identifying what is likely to work and what isn’t. Which authority sites are receptive to guest bloggers? Which have the more open-minded audience, willing to give somewhere new a minute or two of their time?

Is the older, recipe and interior decoration Pinterest crowd better for your niche or the younger coffee shop hipsters on Instagram?

SEO Strategy Step 3: Monitoring and tracking your engagement

So having made sure all of the above has been carried out to the absolute best it could have been, you’ve now got traffic coming out of your ears.

Or maybe just a steady trickle.

Either way, you need to know where your traffic is coming from and what it’s doing on your site. Using Google Analytics lets you monitor all of this information, providing great insight into where you can still improve. And you can always improve.

Monitoring how changes affect your site, utilizing split testing techniques, and keeping an eye on what the more successful of your competitors are doing right is all part of an ongoing SEO strategy too.

From before the beginning to the end that never comes

A great SEO strategy treats a website like a mother does a baby.

Really.

The planning begins well before the birth, and the care and attention never ends.

The 6 Step Social Media Plan For Business

Today let’s talk about how to create a successful social media strategy!

The very first thing you want to do before you do anything else is figure out what your objective for your social media plan is.


Are you trying to grow a large community on your social platforms?

Are you trying to generate qualified leads?

Are you trying to get traffic back to your website?

Its only when you know what your objective is that you can then start to put a successful social media plan together.

 

Step 2- evaluate your social media resources.

Is it just you that is going to be engaging on social media for your business or do you have a team of people at your office or perhaps consultants that you have hired to help you with this?

Once you have figured out how much time and energy you have to utilize in social media, then you can go ahead and move on to the next step which is the execution.

Step 3- identify your target on social media & what they care about

So a big part of social media is content. You have to determine what content is important to your target audience and how you are going to get that content out there.

Step 4- curate & create content for your social media platforms

A big way to save time is to curate content which is to share content that has already been posted from other resources onto your own platforms.

The other option is to create your own content, like blog posts, videos like the one below and even images.

Step 5- create a social media schedule.

Then you want to commit to a schedule. Make sure you are posting consistently, whether that is once a day, once a week or once a month.

Consistency is key to building trust with your audience on social media.

Step 6- measure the results of your social media efforts.

Lastly, make sure you are measuring your efforts every single month or at least once a quarter.

Take a look at what is working and what is not working as it relates to your objective.

There, you can find out what posts are getting more engagement, more comments and which ones are driving more traffic back to your site and then you can tweak your strategy from there in terms of what you are posting and when!

CNN Interview: Social Proof & How it Affects Consumer Buying Decisions

Let’s talk about how to leverage social proof to influence your customer’s buying decisions.

What is the psychology of decision making?  How does that fit into the new world of communication and how people research decisions?

Check out Laurel’s interview on CNN where she answers these questions and more:

A transcript of the interview is below:

There has been a powerful shift in consumer behaviour in the last 10 or so years.

Previously consumers didn’t have that much power when they were making a buying decision, they would have to go into a showroom and talk to a salesperson to get information.

With the advent and extremely huge adoption of web usage, consumers now have most of the power and are doing most of the pre-buying research before they even contact the business in question.

So, one of the things customers are looking for as they go through the buying process is social proof.

Social proof essentially provides trust that the business has done good work before and can be trusted to do so again.

The way that that is conveyed typically is social proof: testimonials, recommendations, credibility of having up to date website, presence on social media etc. More importantly that other people have interacted with the business and had a positive result.

In this transparent internet world, customers have the ability to submit reviews and testimonials and reviews basically anywhere on the web.

Consumers can review your business on google, Yelp, Facebook.  What this does is affect your search rankings as a business owner on the internet.

The more positive reviews you have for example, on google the higher your business will rank over and above those that don’t have as many positive reviews.

It is one of the top ways people are able to vet your business and see if they will have a good experience. Its certainly recommended to get as many positive reviews as possible.

Also acknowledge any negative reviews you get. Let’s face it, you cant please everyone but by ignoring negative reviews it actually does more damage than simply addressing those concerns people have. it is tremendously affective in convincing your customers you do provide great service.

Q. How do product and service endorsements fit into the modern world?

Product and service endorsements are one of the most powerful ways to sell a new client or customer.

You can tell them all you want how great you are but having words come from someone you have done business with already, using their experience, will most precisely mirror the experience of your future customer.

To have older clients and customers positively reviewing you and going through the experience that they had will tick all the boxes in terms of addressing the concerns your future customers will have.

Q. There is an idea of a difference between implied and explicit endorsements. What is the difference between the two?

Implicit endorsement is something that is occurring a lot through social media.

For example, If you have a Facebook business page and you have 7 people like your photo, they are implicitly endorsing you as someone they do and would do business with and that they know, like and trust.

That is the power of social media and why it works so well. It could also be how many fans you have and followers on your youtube channel. It builds credibility.

Explicit endorsement are things like reviews and testimonials from past clients as well as any reviews you may have or items that would position you as a thought leader.

Any PR or being featured in magazines, interviews on TV stations like CBC, CNN etc, that is also very credible social proof that gets a bigger spread and impact.

If you found this post valuable, please share! And don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube Channel

Pro Tips to Using Pinterest for Business

Today in your one minute tip we are going to be talking about how you can use Pinterest to promote your small business.

Pinterest is a social media marketing tool that is free to use and really easy because its basically about collecting images and pinning them.


So why can this work for small business?

First, pins on Pinterest last a really long time on the newsfeed.

so if you pinned something 3 months ago that has the ability to stay in the news feed and get promoted, seen or shared for up to 3 months from the time you posted it.

That is a long time compared to other social media sites. For each pin that you are pinning, you get a lot of longevity out of that.

Secondly, it is really easy to build community on Pinterest.

All you need to do is go and re-pin others content, share it to your own boards and like it and comment on it. Its that easy!

There is lots of fantastic stuff that people are talking about on Pinterest. They’re talking about holidays, food, all kinds of stuff.

You don’t need to necessarily pin anything business related, just go and network with the people that you already know. You can go and sync your existing contacts into Pinterest and just begin with your community and go from there.

Third, you can use Pinterest to drive more traffic to your website.

If you re-pin images from your website, IE your blog, onto Pinterest that allows you to drive traffic back to your website and position yourself as an expert in your field.

So its a triple whammy, using Pinterest to start driving business to your site.

That’s your one minute tip and if you found this valuable, please remember to share!

If you like this video- subscribe to my channel & never miss a tip!

 

 

What to do when you can’t remove bad reviews online

A bad review can have a devastating impact on your business reputation.

So, how can you protect yourself and your business from bad reviews?

What if you can’t remove bad reviews?

First of all, take heart.

Bad reviews happen to everyone and every business no matter how hard you try to please everyone.

In many cases, you know exactly who the customer is, and the situation they’re dealing with.

Sometimes this customer may be unreasonable, highly emotional, unaccountable for their part in the situation- or worse- all three.

Here are 7 ways to deal with a bad review. 

  1. DO NOT ignore the review. You must take proactive steps to address the bad review.
  2. Avoid the temptation to argue or blame your customer.
  3. In the same forum for review- publicly acknowledge how they’re feeling and that they’re obviously upset.
  4. Invite them to contact you directly so you can make it right.
  5. Reiterate online exactly what you did or are willing to do to make it right.
  6. Contact them directly and ask them to remove the bad review.
  7. Solicit positive reviews until you have more good than bad.

By addressing the review that just wont go away you’re being accountable, transparent and honest. All traits that anyone reading reviews of your business will appreciate.

 

 

 

Everything You Need to Know About Marketing Yourself on Social Media

In this live on Google Hangout’s interview we cover what every business owner needs to know about social media.

The interview is a follow up to Laurel’s book- Social on 17 – How to successfully market yourself on social media in only 17 minutes a day.

In this 49 minute interview, we cover; Social Media Do’s and Don’ts, How often to Post, Using Automated Tools, The HIT List, How to Blog for your Business.Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 3.11.00 PM

BONUS: How to ask for the sale and How to Differentiate yourself from the competition.

Hit play and go on with your workday, and in less than an hour you will have learned everything you need to know about marketing yourself on social media!

If you like this post, please share!

 

5 Amazingly Simple Blog Post Ideas Every Overworked Business Owner Needs to Know

Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.

And when it comes to digital marketing, working smarter means taking full advantage of what’s already working.

Whether you’re just starting to write blog posts, or you’ve been doing it for awhile you may need some help to come up with topics for your blog posts. 

This post will show to come up with an unlimited supply of blog post ideas based on the premise that you’re going to imitate that which is already working.

5 steps to writing blog posts in your sleep:

  1. Find out what blog posts are already going viral
  2. Improve upon the existing blog post
  3. Be inspired by powerful headlines that are already working
  4. Adapt the headline to fit your blog post
  5. Publish & spend the rest of the day in the hammock, lavishing in the attention from your adoring fans. 

Sure, that sounds easy- but where to start?

First, the research portion. Finding out what posts are trending is easy, if you have this Top 5 Trending list:

Step One:

Find out what to blog about.

  1. Check out alltop.com for posts that are trending
  2. Search Google Keyword + Best + Top 50 + Best 2014 for great blog post ideas.
  3. Go to the Reddit home page 
  4. Go to BuzzFeed.com
  5. Check out medium.com

Step two:

5 Stupidly Easy Ways to Improve Upon Successful Content

Once you’ve found an article that would provide value for your audience to you, spend a few minutes and think on how you can improve it. 

We’re not suggesting you copy the post. Simply use it as a basis from which to start. Then, ask yourself these 5 questions:

  1. If it’s a top 10 list, can you make it into a top 15 list?
  2. Inversely, if it’s a top 10 list, can you make it a top 5 list?
  3. Can you improve upon the image used?
  4. Was there any information missed or outdated?
  5. Can you make it easier or more fun to read?

Step Three:

Creating the best headline for your blog post

Again, we’re going to be inspired by the masters. Check out the headlines on websites like these and make note of one or two exceptionally powerful ones

  1. Mashable.com
  2. Buzzfeed.com
  3. Techcrunch.com
  4. FastCompany.com
  5. The Onion

Step four

Create the best headline you’ve ever not written

Take the most compelling headline you’ve found and modify it to fit your subject matter.

Step five

Publish & revel in your glory.

BONUS Advanced Blogging Manœuvres:

  1. Instal Feedly.com and begin compiling a Google Reader Style aggregate of other industry specific sites that may have great content
  2. Instal the Scrape Extension & Use the “Scrape Similar” feature to get even more hot articles and topics
  3. Opensiteexplorer.com will tell you the most popular pages on any given site– ie- your competitors!

How to write blog posts

This article would not have been possible without the amazing presentation by James WD Anderson at Social Media Camp 2014.

Thank you James!

Did you like this post?

 

 

Please share it ! Or, if you have a minute and are procrastinating right now, leave me a comment below.

Social in 17 now available

Social In 17

If you’re feeling confused and overwhelmed about how to use Social Media as a marketing tool, you are not alone.

This book cuts through confusing lingo and contradictory advice to bring you up to speed in under 10,000 words.

Complete with printable cheat sheets, this book will quickly position you to receive the increased exposure, credibility and leads that result from successful marketing on social media.

Buy the book on Smashwords
Buy the book on Amazon
Buy the book on ibooks

 

By focusing on practical and tactical information, you will learn:

  1. The differences between Traditional and Digital Media
  2. The Common Pitfalls of marketing using Social Media, and how to avoid them.
  3. Straight Up Social Media Do’s and Don’ts
  4. Growing your network exponentially and continually.
  5. Converting Contacts To Customers
  6. What to Post- Content Curation and Creation
  7. Automation- Save time with today’s automation tools
  8. Getting Set Up– Starting from Scratch or Renovating
  9. Execution– Marketing Yourself in Only 17 Minutes a Day

If you want to:

● Learn to use Social Media to build your business- without spending long hours
● Learn the exact, hands on, proven tactics the experts use to deliver measurable returns
● To receive the step-by-step to-do’s that will help to translate these concepts into daily action

Then this ebook is for you.

Get it from Smashwords
Get it from Amazon
Get it from ibooks

 

What people say about Social in 17:

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As a budding author trying to market my books online, Social in 17 has given me a perspective on how to manage my social media presents. I believed that social media was another direct sale tool. With this attitude I did not achieve good results and gave up. Laurel Anne Lindsay’s approach of cultivating a network with sales as a result that network makes more sense to me. Laurel gives an easy to follow plan on how to use social media and suggestions on what media to use. I know that with the tools from Social in 17 I won’t be a social media newb for long

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Super job Laurel!
Great read – keeps me engaged throughout.
Good solid advice on social media.
Lays out easy to follow strategies to keep up to date and current on your social media accounts.

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“Really! Social Media can be done in 17 minutes a day. Laurel gives you the structure, the tips, and the ideas. This book is quick and easy to read. She touches on all the major social media platforms but she isn’t short on details. I enjoyed Laurel’s clear and concise style. Well worth my time (and I teach courses on social media). “


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This whirlwind tour of marketing in the social media age gets right to the point(s) with highly actionable, no-nonsense instructions on how to get the job done. While Ms Lindsay does set context with a solid nod to the What and Why, she deftly takes you to the How and When very efficiently so you’re able to put the learning into practice without delay. Social in 17 is an excellent resource for anyone looking to market their business on social media without having to spend extra consuming theories and hypotheses of arguable utility. Its basically a marketer’s Coles Notes for the modern internet!

 

Get it from Smashwords
Get it from Amazon
Get it from ibooks

 

 

3 Reasons Every Business Owner Should Be Blogging (VIDEO)

You know there are a lot of things you should be doing.

As a business owner, manager or entrepreneur it can be challenging to identify the actions that will generate the best results. When it comes to digital marketing, there is so much information it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

However, there are 3 very good reasons you should be blogging regularly.

Watch the video to learn more.