Archive for February, 2016

8 Benefits of Article Submission to Article Directories

8 Benefits of Article Submission to Article Directories

As I see, article marketing is not dead yet coming into the new year. Here are 8 benefits of submitting articles to article directories and how it can improve your online business.

1. Free Advertising: Most article directories allow you to include links in the article you submitted that you can direct to your blog. If you write articles with content related to your product or services, you can to advertise your products indirectly and include a back link to your product or services. This results in a free marketing media for your offers.

2. Boost your personal and business credibility: Most article directories allow you to have an author bio box at the bottom of every articles you submitted. You can use your author bio box to advertise your business or personal brand to build a brand image for yourself. In the author box, don’t forget to market your blog by including a link back to your product page for more information on the related articles you have submitted.

Moreover, when you have submitted enough ‘good’ articles read by unlimited visitors to the article directories from all over the world, you will soon be seen as an expert in your industry who has a wide knowledge in the field. Being listed as “authors” in article directories helps promote yourself as an expert in your field too!

3. Get traffic to your website: With the links that you are allowed to include in your articles and your author bio box, you have created a doorway for readers to click on the links to come to your website. When crafted in an interesting way, these links will bring readers to your website especially when your articles are being selected by website owners to post in their own website and reposted all over the Internet.

4. Large exposure to millions of visitors: Your articles may be viewed by the millions of readers who browse article directories every year.

5. Viral Marketing: If your articles were good enough and being chosen by website owners to post in their blogs, this automatically creates a viral effect for your article content. Your article can then be republished virally all over online with backlinks to your blogs as well as your personal advertisement in your author bio box.

Most article directories as well as blogs now comes with RSS (Really Simple Syndication) technology which produces RSS feeds for all websites contents. These articles can then be posted easily through RSS feeds and spread even further receiving more views and clicks that can help you can get traffic to your website or blog.

6. Generate sales and leads without having a website: Even if you do not have a website, you will also gain from your effort in article marketing, since the article directories as well as website owners who reprint your article in their websites can act as your website. Since your articles come with an author bio box as noted above, you can include your contact information such as office address, contact number or email address instead of links to your website to allow potential customers to contact you.

As a suggestion, it always advisable to create a simple web presence online even if you do not know how to build a website. You may create a free blogger or WordPress blogs, or even Facebook and Twitter page that you can link to from the bio box.

7. Reach New Customers: With a wide readership of article directories all over the world. and the chances of your articles spreading on the Internet, submitting articles to article directories can help you reach new clients that you have never dreamed of. Your article content and your business can be exposed to millions of potential clients all over the world.

8. Get continuous traffic to your website for years: Articles submitted to article directories usually stay in the directories forever, meaning that your articles can continue to attract traffic to your site for many years to come.

6 Ways Social Media Monitoring Can Benefit Your Business

6 Ways Social Media Monitoring Can Benefit Your Business

In this age of increasing business competitiveness, digital marketers would do well to adopt social media monitoring as a daily routine for maintaining marketplace awareness and extracting business intelligence. Far too many businesses fail because they don’t know where they are and where they should be heading. With the existing statistics or data from social media analytics at hand, marketers can begin to interpret and take necessary actions for improvement.

Social media monitoring can help digital marketers achieve the following objectives:

1) Generate leads: After you had published a prospecting message, track who respond with interest or inquiring questions and follow up with them. Alternatively, you can search for ongoing chatter which seems to reflect a need for your products or services and take part in them. Keep these questions in mind: What trending topics are they following most closely? Whom do they usually interact with, and why?

2) Re-evaluate your positioning or pitch: Don’t be surprised if, through monitoring conversations, you find that there seems to be a mismatch between how you market your products/services and what other people are expecting. Your continual response in these conversations helps them understand how you can serve prospects better and also helps you fine-tune your marketing pitch.

3) Service customers: It used to be that the only customer service channel is one in which customers submit a support ticket through a helpdesk module on the corporate website. Now they can say anything they like on social media. Marketers have no choice but to adapt by bringing “customer service” to these 3rd-party websites, resolving complaints wherever they are and turning negative experiences into positive ones.

The next action point is to create a community page and invite customers to voice out their feedback, complaints or questions in there. At least this page becomes an outlet which you can control as an administrator.

4) Identify core influencers or advocates: Within your customer base, there is probably a core group of satisfied customers who may have already publish recommendations to their connections. Try to identify them from repeat purchase records, given testimonials and your search for ‘positive’ or endorsing keywords about your products/services, then keep them in an exclusive list of people that you would like to incentivize for their word-of-mouth efforts.

5) Snoop on competitors: Nothing unethical about it. It’s just a way of finding out how they are promoting their business online and where they did well so you can emulate their strategies. You can also discover what others say about them.

6) Optimize your marketing efforts: Your social media metrics give you a means of understanding where you should focus your social media marketing efforts to yield better results.

As you can see, with social media monitoring your social profile will no longer be in isolation from your target audience. Your consistent communication with your prospects and customers helps to establish a brand that cares. Companies of all sizes can benefit from making the most of online resources to monitor their reputation.

How To Monitor Your Social Media Presence In 10 Minutes A Day

The Ultimate System For Tracking Engagement On Social Media

Understanding The Most Important Metrics For Measuring Social Media Campaigns

The use of social media channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter offers instant visibility for your brand, helping you to not only accelerate brand awareness, but also disseminate key brand messages among your target audience.

We propose to set up, manage, monitor and report on your social media profiles on an ongoing basis.

As part of our management of the social media profiles, we will engage in the following activities:

  • Regular monitoring of the social media profiles for user interaction with the your brand, e.g. new likes, shares, @mentions and retweets
  • Regular posting of all your company news and updates to the profiles
  • Regular profile posting around local events, national events, news, views, media articles and updates
  • Regular posting of updates around your offers and promotions
  • Informational and service update postings, e.g. website updates, new features, etc.
  • Launching any competition/promotional campaigns you are happy to pursue
  • Reporting on a regular basis on key social media engagement statistics, which form the basis for the metrics and objectives setting for our social media campaigns.

These metrics include but are not limited to the following:

  • Increase in the number of Facebook likes
  • Total weekly Facebook page update ‘shares’
  • “Friends of Fans” metrics
  • “People Talking About This” metrics
  • “Weekly Total Reach” metrics
  • Number of new Twitter followers
  • Number of Twitter retweets
  • Number of Twitter mentions

Definitions Of Popular Social Media Metrics

These are the most common explanations:

  • Conversions = the number of people who achieved a desired result. This could be paying for a product, signing up for a trial, completing a form, or any other goal you’ve set up for your campaign.
  • Leads = potential conversions. These include anyone with the need or interest to pursue your product or service.
  • Engagement = the total number of likes, shares, and comments on a post.
  • Reach = a measurement of the size of audience you are communicating with.
  • Impressions = a look at how many people saw your post.
  • Funnels = The paths that visitors take toward converting.
  • Visits vs. unique visits = Visits count each time a person visits your site or page, regardless of whether or not they have visited before. Uniques count each person only once.
  • Bounce rate = The percentage of people who land on your page and immediately leave, without viewing any other pages rate at which people leave your site after viewing only one page.
  • Exit rate = The percentage of people who leave your site from a given page. It’s possible these people have browsed other pages of your site before exiting.
  • Time on site = a measure in minutes and seconds of how long a visitor stays on your site before exiting.
  • Audience growth rate = a comparison of your audience today to your audience yesterday, last week, last month, etc.
  • Average engagement rate = individual post engagement compared to overall followers.
  • Response rates = These can be measured in two ways, either as the speed with which you respond to comments and replies on social media, or how quickly your marketing or sales department follows up with leads from social.
  • Inbound links = the number of sites linking back to your website or page.

The No. 1 Metric: Conversions

If you consider social’s place in a marketing funnel, it’s likely to be at or near the top. The more leads we can capture, the better. The more conversion insights we get, the better we’ll know how to target the leads we pull in. Here’s the way that Social Market Buzz shows where social fits in their funnel.

The Ultimate System For Tracking Engagement On Social

As we work toward investing in our social media communities, we expect to try out a lot of new experiments along the way in terms of the best ways to measure our efforts and the best types of content that truly engage with our audience.

One of the experiments that we’re eager to try is a new way of looking at engagement. First proposed by Avinash Kaushik back in 2011, this theory of engagement breaks the metric into 4 parts that you’ll find to be consistent across all social networks: Conversation, Amplification, Applause and Economic Value

  • Conversation rate: This is simply the number of conversations per social media post. On Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn, this would be comments. On Twitter, it’s replies.
  • Amplification rate: This measures the number of reshares or retweets on average for each post.
  • Applause rate: This accounts for the various ways a user can promote a post on different networks—Retweets, Likes, +1s, etc. (Side note: I love the word ‘applause’ to describe this metric).
  • Economic value: According to Kaushik, this value is the sum of short-term revenue, long-term revenue, and cost savings

Ultimately, you want the work you do on social media to lead to a paying customer. That’s the ultimate conversion.

How To Monitor Your Social Media Presence In 10 Minutes A Day

Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation

Marketers often use the terms demand generation (demand gen) for lead generation (lead gen), interchangeably, but they’re not the same strategies.

I would like to clearly lay out definitions and goals so you are never lost for words about the difference between demand generation and lead generation again.

It is important to make the distinction between the two as marketers today are under the spotlight. They are asked to demonstrate ROI for each marketing dollar spent. Lead generation is one of the best ways to evaluate demand generation efforts.

What is Demand Generation?

Definition: Demand generation covers all marketing activities that create awareness and interest in your product, company and category. It includes a mix of inbound and outbound marketing.

Goals: Brand awareness and Creation of interest.

  • Demand generation not only focuses on your offering but also on your category.
  • Content designed for demand generation is generally more readily accessible and shared as much as possible.
  • Examples of Demand Generation content:
    • A whitepaper.
    • Blog posts.
    • Social media posts.
    • A public relations campaign.
    • A PPC campaign.
    • A product video hosted on YouTube.
    • A booth at a trade show.

Demand Generation Singapore
Lead Generation Singapore

What is Lead Generation?

Definition: Lead Generation is the process of collecting leads through form fills for the content you provide or through a website tracking software to add to your database of leads.

Goals: Collection of qualified leads to build trust and relationship; establish the expertise of the company and nurture them through the funnel until closed as customers.

Longer sales cycles, multi-step engagements, and enterprise sales require a lead generation strategy and process.

  • Examples:
    • A form ahead of your e-book/whitepaper/webinar.
    • A form on your PPC landing page.
    • Website visitor tracking of all your website visitors.
    • A form kept at your booth in a trade show.
    • A form to receive regular communication such as newsletters.

Remember: If you’re starting a lead generation campaign, be sure to have some sort of lead management system in place, such as HubSpot. You don’t want to create all that content only to lose your leads in the funnel.

In a nutshell, demand generation shapes perception, and lead generation is a data-gathering system.

It is critical to have a marketing plan that consists of both demand generation and lead generation. Each individual piece of content should be trying to do one or the other, not both at once. You have to distinguish lead-generating content from demand-generating content and craft each one accordingly.

Discover 4 Key Points To A Great Social Media Implementation Strategy

Discover 4 Key Points To A Great Social Media Implementation Strategy

Your company may have a range of social media accounts, but not an implementation strategy. I think this is one major distinction many businesses fail to make. At best, without a solid, consistent strategy, marketing staff can only post:

1) random and unconnected messages,
2) infrequently,
3) in a haphazard manner that will lose the readers.

Social media postings is a common business routine today, but a strong social media strategy can align with and strengthen the long-term branding of a business. Branding, as we know it, is the solidification of a unique identity in consumers’ mind at both conscious and subconscious levels, so social media postings can be planned ahead in schedule to consistently feed fans and followers, the larger purpose of which is to simply let them know you, in representing your business identity, are here for them.

Establish Your Business Values First And Foremost

If a consistent path is to be made from branding to social media, it starts with establishing the values that form the business identity. Social media is merely the channels that communicate these values to the right audience. With your business values established as a criteria, whatever you say and do on social media becomes a reflection of these underlying values. In fact, it is a lot easier to have a single set of guidelines to adhere, otherwise, if there are more than one staff handling social media, each will speak his/her own mind, thus resulting in conflict.

Know Your Audience

In Sales and Marketing, we had written about knowing who your buyer personas are. Likewise, you need to establish the predominant psychographics of your fans and followers. Psychographics define a person’s motivations, internal values and needs. Knowing these important points can help you formulate topics and themes that get them talking. Leverage on your followers’ active participation to generate content and conversations and extend social media reach.

Most of all, there may be “nothing personal in business” as a saying goes, but your success in social media largely hinges on your level of engagement with your connections. Social media is a people-oriented business, so you can’t do without your supporters.

Provide Great Content

Providing great content becomes easier when great business values are lived out. In my mind, greatness begets greatness. Establish a quality standard by which great content is posted or shared to educate and delight followers, take them to the next level and build better relationships. Plan how long an overarching theme and topic is to be discussed, then determine the number of messages or articles to be published in a series at regular intervals.

Track The Chatter

Sometimes you don’t need to try too hard to think of themes and topics. There are tools available to discover what is trending and other people are talking about.

You can use Google Alerts to track topical keywords. Create a Twitter stream based on a hashtag in Hootsuite. Consolidate all the business news-worthy sites like Forbes, Small Business Trends, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, Business Insider etc. in FeedSpot, which is a popular RSS feed consolidation website, so you read all the latest content in one account.

If you come across any one article of interest, you can then join in the discussion or expand on it by getting your followers involved.

These are the 4 key points to a great social media implementation strategy. Of course, there are a lot more to them in the details which I have not managed to cover. Take your time to research and plan out how to funnel targeted leads from social media.

How To Monitor Your Social Media Presence In 10 Minutes A Day

Design A Social Media Marketing Plan With These 7 Sets Of Guidelines

How To Design A Social Media Marketing Plan With These 7 Sets Of Guidelines

I received feedback and questions from readers on the nitty-gritty details behind the 3 essential social media advice. Thanks to them, it got me thinking about creating a social media marketing plan. Now, such a plan would be customized differently for each individual and company. It could be dynamically updated from time to time, and so this blog post only sets out to raise the guideline questions that will help you formulate your own social media marketing plan.

1. Define types of conversion goals

A famous goal-setting axiom by Stephen Covey goes to say that we must “begin with an end in mind”. In social media context, your fans and followers can have one or more reactions to each of your postings:

a. ‘like’ a post
b. share/retweet a post
c. leave a comment
d. directly message you
e. click through your destination URL in the post

Sometimes the way you craft your post may get your readers to take action on their own, but to encourage engagement, you can regularly prod them with instructions like “Please share this post to your friends. I’m sure they will find it interesting,” or “Please like this. Thanks!” or “To learn more details, please click the link to the next page.”

Knowing what your conversion goals will turn out to be for most of your social media posts will help you determine how you are going to craft them, what content formats would be suitable (see below) and how you are going to mix up the various content on a weekly basis.

2. Define S.M.A.R.T. metric goals

By definition, S.M.A.R.T. stands for:

a. Specific: Visits, leads or customers
b. Measurable: Provide a number
c. Attainable: Understand benchmarks
d. Relevant: Relates back to overall end goal
e. Timely: Include timeframe

A S.M.A.R.T. goal statement: “Increase _____ by _____ ( starting at this amount _____ and go to this amount _____ per ____ ) by this date _____.”

Example:

a. “Increase number of new Facebook fans from 156 in January to 250 in February.”
b. “Increase 15% engagement rate with Instagram followers by end of February. Write to 5 more new followers every week.”

3. Identify target audience

As someone in business, you should already know your main prospect demographic—the people most likely to purchase from you, so you begin with identifying the followers whom you are going to increase engagement with and provide more personal attention to.

Criteria for identification include geographical location, occupation, which social networks they frequent on, gender, marital status etc. Of course, if you have a detailed buyer persona profile to work with, referencing it will make the work easier.

4. Identify content types and formats

Some suggestions:

Format: short text (one- or two-liners), a 600 x 400 graphic, an infographic, video link, website link
Type: questions or quiz, invite followers to share experiences, product/problem feature, news, trends, quotes
Tone: serious, funny, informative, reflective, inspirational, educational

Lastly, the content to be published must align intrinsically with an overarching or defining business theme so that your social business page can project a certain gravity, cohesiveness or consistency that gets readers understand your positioning, knowledge and expertise.

Theme: lead generation, social media, landing page design etc.
Topics: main topic, weekly sub-topics

5. Identify actions and strategies

a. What content to publish throughout the week?
b. Who is responsible for various social media roles e.g. publishing, engagement, graphic design, content research, paid advertising etc.?
c. Datelines?
d. How much budget to set aside for paid social media promotion?

6. Editorial calendar

You do not have to design an editorial calendar from scratch. Google “social media editorial calendar” and you should find some in various designs. Customize them to fit your needs. At the very least, a calendar should have the following features:

a. Social media channel (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Instagram)
b. Post
c. Format
d. Date
e. Staff responsible

Most likely the calendar is designed in an Excel spreadsheet. Create new tabs for each month. Plan out the content to be published for one full month in advance.

7. Analyze results

The major social networks have their built-in analytics with which you can analyze the click-through or engagement performance of your posts. Discern which topics work best for you and perhaps you may consider focusing on these topics more often. Did certain types or formats of content get more shares or ‘likes’ than others? Which days of the week get the most readers? Which social networks do you find the most comments or engagement on your posts? These are questions you can ask to help you improve your social media marketing efforts.

As another saying goes, “Fail to plan and you plan to fail.” Having a social media marketing plan is better than none as it helps you to think ahead creatively what content to publish regularly so that you can extend your online reach to attract more fans and followers to your cause.

How To Monitor Your Social Media Presence In 10 Minutes A Day

Can you outperform these Inbound Marketing statistics?

Can you outperform these statistics?

The statistics can’t lie. As the marketplace shifts online, Inbound marketing is poised to take over traditional marketing methods in terms of lead generation performance. Consider these numbers:

54% more leads are generated by inbound tactics than traditional paid marketing.

More marketers say inbound delivers cheaper cost per lead than outbound methods.

68% of B2B businesses use landing pages to garner new sales leads. (MarketingSherpa)

Business websites of 401-1000 pages get 6x more leads than those with 51-100 pages.

Content marketing generates 3 times more leads and costs 62% less than traditional.

You can discover more interesting marketing statistics and trends on this page. Be inspired to reach these benchmarks in your own digital marketing activities.

Click the blue bird and share a tweet. Thanks!

3 Essential Social Media Advice

3 Essential Social Media Advice

3 most important pieces of advice I can share with someone who is new to social media:

A: 1) Be engaging. More than ever, social media encourages 2-way communication. Be as much interactive as possible.

2) Publish valuable content. Let your passion about a subject matter shine through by publishing content consistently. Know what’s “in the trend” that gets people to like and share your posts.

3) Plan “goal funnels” for social media: Know what measurable end results you want to get from your social media activities. Plan out your goals, be it for list building or sales conversion, and determine how your followers would act in your social media account to reach these goals.

Click the blue bird and share a tweet. Thanks!

How To Monitor Your Social Media Presence In 10 Minutes A Day

7 Rules Of Social Media

7 Rules Of Social Media

It’s time for me to talk about social media and some ‘rules’ to make this work profitably.

Social media is powerful because it has a “different” kind of traffic—your visitors can get engaged with you on your site and be interactive.

They’ll want to express their viewpoints and “talk” with you which, make this traffic source more intimate.

So here are my 7 Rules of Social Media Success:

Rule #1: Make your site and your site’s content easily accessible. Finding you is one thing, but what will they find when they get there? Can your audience easily link to it? How can they be notified of updates to your site? How easy is it to broadcast or syndicate? How easily can they reach your site over and over again?

Rule #2: Include buttons and links on your page that will make tagging and bookmarking easy to do. Adding bookmarklets to your site makes it easy for your audience to have a say or express the value of your site. It makes it easy for them to promote and comment as well.

Rule #3: Reciprocate any incoming links. Use features like trackbacks (for WordPress blogging) or retweet in Twitter and so on. It’s an added incentive to make others wanting to link to you again and often.

Rule #4: Make your content portable (even off the web) using MP3s, PDFs, etc. Make it easy to link to or easy to add on their site. One of the best examples of sites that do this is YouTube. They provide a URL as well as an embed code that makes vlogs portable. With the trend of mobile marketing now, making content available through formats such as PDFs and MP3s definitely improves your content consumption.

Rule #5: Allow others to take your idea and make it their own. We’re not talking about plagiarism, but about collaboration. Some of the greatest ideas can come as a result of someone taking your idea to the next level. At the very least, your audience will appreciate your ideas and give you some acknowledgment. REMEMBER—community is all about sharing.

Rule #6: Always act as a resource for your audience even when there’s no apparent benefit. The more helpful you are, the greater your efforts will be appreciated and these benefits will materialize over the long term.

Rule #7: Be free with giving recognition and praise to your audience for providing insightful and useful comments on your site. People love to be noticed for their contributions. Make them feel good about you by making them feel good about themselves.

These rules provide the foundation for your search media optimization strategy. I think if you start incorporating these rules as a part of your site’s plan, you’ll see immediate benefits and ultimately, make you more money.

For me, you’ll see more of social media work down the road. It’s TIME.

How To Monitor Your Social Media Presence In 10 Minutes A Day

Try Out These 5 Free Online SEO Tools

Free Online SEO Tools

There is an abundance of free online SEO tools available on the Internet. Most of them provide some pretty impressive statistics and information to help you optimize your website, analyze search engine positions, research your competitors, plus much more!

There are 2 ways these free online SEO tools can be used:

1) For digital marketers who are new to the area of search engine optimization Singapore, these tools provide excellent insight on how a website is performing and ranking. They can quickly highlight issues and trends with their current website and provide a good insight as to where optimization work is necessary.

2) For the more experienced search engine optimizers amongst us, these tools will act as a complement to the more specialised SEO tools like WooRank, ahrefs, Web CEO or Traffic Travis. They can even be used to supplement an SEO’s internal knowledge base and experience.

Here is a selection of some choice tools for both the novice and the experienced search engine optimizers:

1) Keyword Research Tool: This helps to research appropriate words and phrases to include in your web page’s body text to aid promotion. It’s simple and to use and requires the user to enter the sort of word of phrase you wish to be found under, the tool will then suggest some additional words and phrases you can think about using. One of the great things about this tool is that it gives you the option to select from a range of top search engines, e.g. Google, Yahoo, Bing.

You can start by google-searching for “best free keyword research tools” to try them out. I found one here: SerpStat. There is also good ol’ Google Keyword Planner. 2 good commercial keyword research software that I’m aware of are GrepWords and Long Tail Pro.

In case you have not kept up, keyword research technology has advanced to include “keyword difficulty” analysis. Keyword difficulty is a metric number that tells you how difficult it is for your web page to rank on the first page of search engine results for a particular keyword. Read about it in this article.

2) Keyword Density Checker Tool: This tool reads the body of the page you specify and gives a report on what words are used, and how many times they are used. This is a valuable tool as most engines will rank your site depending on your keyword density (which typically ranges between 3% and 9%).

3) Keyword Rank Checker Tool: This tool checks whether your website appears in the first fifty results in major search engines for your chosen keyword or phrase. If the URL is present, it will output what position it occupies. As an additional feature, the tool also informs you if any other URLs from your domain appear in the search results.

4) Link Count Checker Tool: This tool measures the total number of inbound and outbound links that a web page has, and identifies these links. It helps digital marketers to evaluate their link-building techniques so as to improve overall link quality.

5) Meta Tag Generator: This automatically generates a Meta Keyword tags by reading the page you specify, removing common words from it, and picking the most used words on the page. Extra weight is given to words in a heading tag.

The area of online SEO tools is an exciting area of growth as SEO developers come up with more creative tools to represent, evaluate and suggest improvement to website positions in the search engine results. No doubt we will be revisiting this area again.

6 Tips For Branding And Communication Through Business Blogging

6 Tips For Maximizing Branding And Communication Through Blogging

I was thinking aloud some interesting business blogging strategies that you can immediately apply to increase awareness and improve your online business.

1) Offer advice, industry news and insights and guide your visitors on some tips and other opportunities related to your business. This practice will make you an authority in the eyes of customers and visitors. Broadcast important information such as news and current events so that others can learn the important facts. If they miss any reports or updates on the mass media (T.V., radio etc.), they can easily retrieve information from blogs that are updated frequently.

2) Encourage your readers to write comments and suggestions. Their comments and feedback will be helpful because at least you know that someone is paying attention to your services and visiting your website.

3) Take their feedback as a means to improve your overall design, layout, the content, marketing process and other business aspects.

4) Post regularly in your blog. Make it fresh and up-to-date. Having more published content expands your online presence, adds more value, improves SEO, increases keyword searches (and more organic traffic), deepens industrial knowledge and sharpens your writing skills too.

5) Repurpose your blog posts as an ebook, infographic, video, whitepaper, printout or any other forms of media for further dissemination.

6) Allow others to reprint the articles that you have written on their websites. However, they need to ask for your permission with the condition to post them with your resource box (or signature) containing your URLs. This provides more backlinks and thus more exposure to your website.

Business blogging is a great way to be heard. There is no limit with what you want and can do. You can write about your own views, expertise, ideas, opinion, put in pictures etc.

Business blogging has helped many industries improve their businesses and has even taken the careers of prolific bloggers to the next level. Setting up a blog these days is very easy with the famous 5-minute WordPress installation, or you can create a blogger.com account and link your new blog to your website, but like any other work, it takes effort to work your way up. Keep publishing good content that is friendly and interesting so that your readers will frequently visit your blog as a part of their daily habits.

How To Transition From Traditional To Inbound Marketing In 7 Steps

How To Transition From Traditional To Inbound Marketing In 7 Steps

The adoption of Inbound Marketing* in Singapore and generally across Asia is not as fast as we had wished. Based on feedback, the biggest challenge business owners face is how putting more emphasis on digital marketing can affect their operations, prospecting effectiveness, sales leads quality and ultimately sales conversion. They do worry about the hard numbers, and we respect that.

On the other hand, old habits die hard too. When once-reliable marketing methods gradually become outmoded and enter a sunset phase, marketing professionals are slow to adapt to changes, and instead of committing to training, decide to “move on in life”, thus resulting in employment turnovers.

Nevertheless, businesses are dictated by an ever-changing marketplace, which consists of highly educated and well-informed consumers who are less likely to give in to emotional purchases, and take more time to deliberate buy-in decisions. Going Inbound is the best way to reach out to these consumers, inform them with your business knowledge and nurture their confidence in your business entity.

Transitioning from traditional marketing to Inbound need not be a sudden process. If your company already has a website, I can safely presume someone in your company is administrating it. This particular administrator will be much needed for his/her skills to continually publish digital content assets to augment online business presence.

Here are 7 steps to take note when preparing to go Inbound:

1) Have a mindset and culture for online expression and sharing: Content is the essential ingredient and driver of Inbound Marketing. Do create content in popular forms like blog posts, articles, ebooks, whitepapers or social media posts so that people who are already interested in your products and services can easily search for you.

2) Transform all your existing offline marketing materials into digital assets and vice versa: Coming up with digital content is as easy as taking what you already have as flyers, pamphlets, handbooks, brochures, direct mail etc. and repackage them into product pages, social media images, infographics, email messages and the types of content mentioned in point 1.

Conversely, when you have original online content, think how you can share it in the real world, such as printing it as a guide to give away at events, repurposing it as a PowerPoint presentation, include it as a link in print, promote it as a print ad etc.

3) Upgrade your existing website structure a) to integrate content publishing platform and b) with clear conversion points: For point A, I’m referring primarily to having a blog. Setting up a blog these days is very easy with the famous 5-minute WordPress installation, or you can create a blogger.com account and link your new blog to your website.

For point B, having succinct conversion points designed into your website means you will know where and when your leads will be elevated in their salescycle stages as determined by their actions, whether it is a simple action of downloading an ebook, using the “Contact Us” form to submit an enquiry, or liking a Facebook post etc.

4) Design an Inbound marketing plan: Digital marketing campaigns require sustained effort and can go on for months. For results to take significant effect, a routine of digital marketing work needs to be carried out daily. If you are not sure where to start, you can search for digital marketing agencies like iSmart Communications to ask for help. Give us a call or e-mail us with your enquiry and we will get the ball rolling as we guide you along.

5) Design a more consultative prospecting call script: Unlike the typical cold sales leads, the leads you accumulate online has known, to an extent, a little more information about your business, who you are, what’s your expertise and how you can help them solve their challenges. They are just beginning to search for solutions. Therefore taking a consultative approach to speaking to them enables you to understand where their starting point is in their buyer’s journey so you can bring them to a close with much less resistance.

6) Set aside budget for Inbound marketing: As soon as you begin to sense a good momentum picking up in your Inbound efforts, it’s time to consider how much budget you can afford to ramp up the work. You may even consider scaling down your traditional marketing activities and transfer the budget from there to Inbound.

7) Invest in a marketing automation software like HubSpot Singapore: Automation enables Inbound marketers to disseminate their content on schedule, so that every sales lead that requests for a particular information will have the same lead nurturing experience no matter which day or date they opt in. Leveraging on automation can free up the marketers’ time so they can spend it on other matters.

These 7 steps are by no means simple. They just provide a broad overview on what it takes to direct more efforts into Inbound marketing. Certainly the devil is in the details, but it is not expensive nor risky to start small. Start by publishing and sharing content online, and take note where your new audience is coming from and how it grows. Talk to them, address their problems and soon you will be nurturing a critical mass of fans and followers. In effect, you are establishing your online business presence and authority the Inbound way.

* Inbound marketing is a form of digital marketing that involves SEO, social media, blog and landing pages to generate sales leads.

Best Social Media Marketing Tips For Small Businesses In Singapore

Best Social Media Marketing Tips For Small Businesses

Social media has emerged out as a powerful tool for promoting small businesses in Singapore. In fact, social media platforms are a must for small businesses as they render you enough opportunities to engage your customers. In a world of fast-growing social media world, users are seen using these sites to link back to their favorite web pages. They then share these links in their friend circle thus creating a viral marketing effect which is both enlightening and effective. By adopting some of the best social media marketing Singapore tips and tricks as discussed below, you can certainly make your small business flourish in the market.

Follow A Schedule

You are not required to post daily. The idea here is to post quality content which gets a response. Your posts should have interesting and useful content for your customers and for your prospects. The business promotional content you put in various social media platforms should have a blend of content, pictures and useful information about your niche area along with your personal but effective views.

There are numerous small businesses which post once or twice a week and are able to engage good number of customers and build a tangible network over the social media sites. All you need to remember is to avoid losing traction with your target group.

Link Your Accounts

If you are not able to manage your multiple social media accounts for your business promotion, simply focus on one. Then just link the other remaining profiles with the chosen one so that anything you post over it is seen circulated on the other accounts.

For instance, anything you post on the Facebook wall can be published in your Twitter account and vice versa. While doing this, you need to keep in mind the character limit allowed at various social media sites. Twitter simply allows a maximum of 140 characters, and anything longer would look incomplete.

Automate

The moment you work out a list of good and quality content, you can plan to post them at some specific times of the day. There are couple of tools like Socialoomph and Timely for Twitter which can help you to work with a perfect schedule. However, it is recommended to avoid automating all your social media presence since being social media platforms, you have to value the ‘social’ element in them.

It is therefore wise to spare some time to “be present” in your social media realm and interact with your customers and prospective clients. The mantra is though you will automate but as a person you are still very much human.

Centralize Your Engagement

You can find a number of social networking platform tools and applications which can help you to centralize your social media accounts at one place. This will make your business promotion activities easy and simple. You can try tools like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite for this task. These tools can help you to post, manage, monitor and maintain your updates across a couple of social networking platforms at one go and thus save your time.

In the past few years there is a boom of social media usage among Internet users. Hence, marketers and small business owners are not leaving any stones unturned to promote their business. By trying the above important social media marketing Singapore tips and tricks you can certainly make your small business grow and get good business revenue.

How To Monitor Your Social Media Presence In 10 Minutes A Day

3 Tips For Getting More Business Exposure Through Social Networking

3 Tips For Getting More Business Exposure Through Social Networking

The way we network on the Internet has changed drastically. Social networking is gaining momentum because people are looking out to interact with each, share, discuss, etc. Businesses can benefit from this because now there are even more ways to get in touch with their target audiences. There are more communication channels today than there were before, which means you’ve got a better chance of increasing your reach as a business on the Web. If you want to succeed at social media networking, use the following tips and you’ll succeed in no time.

Firstly, you need to give something if you expect to get anything. You’re not just networking and negotiating, but you’re rather helping people and you’re showing them that you really care about them. Experienced digital marketers know that this is one of the main rules when networking online. You need to practice a lot of gratitude to win your customers. It takes a bit of effort but in the long run, you’ll see that the results are no less than great. You will find that your customers and prospects trust you more, and your business will earn even more business than before.

Secondly, you must be credible when networking on social websites. People are aware of the online scams and negative reputations floating around so you have to prove that you are honest and trustworthy. This helps to foster trust and build up the relationship as time goes by. If you feel that a mistake has been made, admit it. People want to do business with someone that is real and not phony.

Thirdly, you have to honest in all of your dealings. Clients want to be aware of what is occurring on the inside. They want you to be crystal clear about your rules and policies. There should never be anything to hide because you want your customers to trust you and your business to succeed. This will not happen until you are honest with your clients and potential customers. If you do not like something in particular, state it. Be honest with your customers and show them what you really think and they will appreciate you for it.

The 3 tips above will show you that social networking is a great way to expand your business. You will reach out to your customers effectively, and your reach will expand too. If you hope to succeed over time, and you want your business to go far, you need to make sure you keep learning the latest techniques that will take you far in this business.

How To Monitor Your Social Media Presence In 10 Minutes A Day

5 Simple Productivity Hacks To Get Ahead Of Your Growing Workload In The Digital Age

5 Simple Productivity Hacks To Get Ahead Of Your Growing Workload In The Digital Age

Most of us have so many tasks to do every day that it can seem unmanageable and overwhelming. The digital marketing workload only seems to increase with each passing week. And phone calls, emails and social media can focus us on the latest and loudest, rather than what is truly important.

The workload isn’t going to change, but we can change how we handle it. By prioritizing, we can separate what needs to get done from what could be done, and break down tasks into manageable goals and next actions.

Here are 5 simple productivity hacks to help you prioritize your work:

1. Trim task lists.

Delete or move the tasks on your list that remain at the bottom and realistically won’t get done. This will leave more room to work on tasks that need most of your focus. Rank your tasks to see what you are able to purge. Or use one of the many task management software programs, some of which even have mobile device versions, to more efficiently handle your task lists.

2. Control your inbox.

Email is a great way of communicating, but going through your inbox can be a huge time commitment and it can be overwhelming. Of all the emails you receive in a day, 20% of them are probably worth 80% of the time you spend. Organizing and purging the remaining emails will make the important ones feel more manageable.

3. Set goals.

Determine what is a primary goal for you for the week and what is actually secondary. If you take the time to think about it, the answer may surprise you. And don’t just write it down and forget it! Revisit your goals and reward yourself for completing them, or make adjustments if they no longer seem feasible. This should be a living document that changes as your needs change. You can use your email application or other software to keep your goals in a handy, digital location.

4. Evaluate the important vs. the urgent.

Interruptions may seem important, but are they really? Looking at what is truly important can help you to focus on the work that really needs to be done. The urgent tasks may seem like they need to be done now, but take the time to consider if they really need to be handled immediately or if they just seem like they do. Set up action folders in your email application or create to-do lists in other software so that you don’t lose sight of your less-than-urgent tasks.

5. Create a schedule.

Think about those tasks you decided were important and make sure you have enough time to work on them. Distractions will come up throughout your day! The important thing is to make sure you budget your time well so you can process your massive inbox and answer that emergency phone call without sacrificing your high priority items.

Contributed by Dale Carnegie Training.

SEO Tip: The Importance Of Header Tags

SEO Tip: The Importance Of Header Tags

Most of us who have been doing content marketing for any length of time understand that to receive any amount of search engine traffic there are some basic search engine optimization (SEO) rules that need to be followed to be successful. Today, I like to touch on header tags.

Header tags are one tip used to pinpoint important information in your web page or blog post. The header tag should be placed in your page or blog post where the most important information starts. The HTML for this header would have a h1 enclosed in < > placed before a key phrase and enclosed with a /h1 in < > after it. Example:

You can also use varying levels of header tags throughout your post, changing the number from 1-5, like using <h2>…</h2> to single out an important paragraph in an article but more often used for sub-headlines. In a decreasing manner, h1 tags carry the most SEO weightage, h2 tags carry lesser, then comes h3 tags and so on. However, it is wrong thinking that we can start stuffing keywords in header tags.

The latest Google algorithm updates have come a long way from measuring search ranking success in a purely mathematical manner to evaluating the overall authoritative degree and x-factor of a website, and that is why keyword research and optimization has to take a “less hack-and-slash, more intelligent” approach that does not raise any red flags upon detection and review.

Therefore, the best way to use h1 tags is to think along the line of what your potential website visitors would type in the Google search box in order to reach your content page, and frame that likely keyword-filled question within the h1 tags. In this way, the text in header tags gives readers a clear idea what the whole web page is about, thereby enriching their user experience on your website.

Not only do header tags improve readability of your content by introducing sub-headlines as “visual breaks” for quick scanning and referencing, they can also improve the search ranking of the web page or blog post. They have not lost their importance in SEO; it’s that their importance takes on a whole new meaning.

Sales Communication: 5 Tips For Enhancing Your Sales-Closing Capabilities In The 21st-Century Marketplace

5 Tips For Enhancing Your Sales-Closing Capabilities In The 21st-Century MarketplaceIt’s great that your website is doing well at generating sales leads, but the seller’s journey is far from over. As your marketing or sales department begins to disqualify prospects and take note of the few good ones, you can’t help but feel like you are walking on a tightrope: one bad move and the hot lead could say, “I’ll think it over,” or mention some other excuses and s/he gradually slips away.

It’s a real bad feeling to have when all your efforts come to nought. It may be true that somewhere down the sales process, bad strategies rear their ugly heads, and so it is time to identify who or what is at fault and remedy the situation. It is also true that the failure to convert leads into sales arises due to external forces beyond your control.

You see, we cannot discount the fact that the online marketplace has evolved such that merchants and sellers have no choice but to adapt to changing consumer trends. In days past, sellers would diagnose prospects’ needs, align those needs to their solutions and sell the solutions based on a ‘match’ that is wholly ‘conjured’ by themselves whether they actually solve those needs or not. Now with the Internet, consumers can have all the accessible research data at their disposal, to define a solution for themselves, and compare competing sellers to find the best possible match for their pre-defined solution without having to approach sellers at an earlier stage and suffer through listening to their promotional bias.

In a sense, this is good news because according to a study by the Corporate Executive Board, prospects are up to 57% closer to a purchasing decision by the time they make first contact with a seller. If that seller is you, it means that the positioning of your solution is convincing and strong enough to sell on its own.

We present 5 sales communication tips for enhancing your sales-closing capabilities in the 21st-century marketplace:

1) Seek customers’ feedback: Much has been said about following up on prospects in order to guide them closer towards the sale, but following up on customers after the sale is just as important to gauge how well your solution or product is working to solve their problems. You could ask them to rate specific features of your product, how long a time period does it take to solve their problems, or if there is any improvement they’d like to see in future product iterations. Translate positive feedback into an emphasis of strength by retooling your promotional copy, and also publish feedback as customer testimonials to boost the positioning of your solution.

You can also research similar competing products to yours and see if you can further differentiate your positioning in more unique ways.

2) Shorten response time: This practice is much stressed by our director, Stanley. Within 3 rings of the phone, it must be picked up. When an enquiry email comes in, reply to it, or call the person back within 5 minutes. The impact is unmistakably massive: Prospects are almost always impressed by quick response. Any length of time you can reduce in the buying process through quick response and resolving any questions that could affect their purchasing decision accrues to their benefit and yours too. This raises the bar on your competitiors, while your prospects can’t help but remember you the most.

3) Know your hot prospects intimately: Presuming you come across a prospect who knows more then most, it’s time to ‘switch’ your sales approach towards selling on the prospect’s terms. Do some research on the prospect’s professional background through social media, his/her business, the history of his/her interactions with your website, lead score, CRM records etc. Standard templates can only get you so far. On the other hand, such research helps you understand a particular buyer persona, personalize the sales process, create conversations and plan for meetings. Having an intimate understanding of where your prospect is coming from can boost his/her perception that you care, and this in turn increases the likelihood of a sale.

4) Seek common ground by asking first, telling later: During meetings, get prospects to talk first so you can align yourself or your positioning to them in an agreeble manner. It’s like what Dale Carnegie said, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Ask them about how their problems or challenges arise in the first place, what information have they gathered as part of research, and “What help are you looking for?” Asking questions help you determine from what angle the prospect has positioned his problem as a priority, so you can ‘attack’ from that angle and gain his/her trust. Any experienced salesmen who know their products at the back of their hands should be fearless at asking questions because they know they can always be in control of the conversation. It is why you are just as much qualified as the lead to arrange for a meeting in the first place. Yes, trust yourself on that. If you can’t come up with a satisfactory answer on the spot, you can always get back to them later after doing your own research.

5) Persistent follow-up: Again, follow up on prospects every step of the way to clear all their questions, while giving them some time and space to think through your offer. It could take between 5 to 12 follow-up instances to close the sale. According to Dan McCade, it could even take up to a year to close a sale. More importantly, following up prevents them from turning cold.

Discover 4 Elements To A/B Testing To Optimise Your Landing Page

Discover 4 Elements To A/B Testing To Optimise Your Landing Page

As marketers, sometimes you run into situations where you’ve come up with what you think is a perfect professional landing page design. Everything checks out and you’re raring to publish.

But how do you know whether the page resonates with your target audience and you aren’t suffering from a bad case of “creator’s bias”?

Or do you have a landing page which you think can be improved, but you aren’t sure where and you need to run some experiments to test your ideas?

The solution: A/B testing, otherwise known as split-testing.

A/B testing about is running a simultaneous testing experiment between two or more pages to see which page performs better. It avoids the risk of wasting your time and marketing budget fumbling around which landing page elements make a difference and which don’t.

By creating two different versions of your page, you can discover which page design works better, test ideas and hypotheses you may have and support these ideas with data, ensuring every change produces positive results for your website.

Running A/B testing can help you learn how to drive more traffic and sales leads to your website more effectively. Small changes can make the biggest differences.

Effective A/B testing of landing pages can generate up to 30–40% more sales leads for B2B sites and 20–25% more leads for e-commerce sites.

Which elements should you test on your professional landing page? How do you recognise the elements you should spend more time testing and optimising? Here are four suggestions on where to conduct A/B testing on your professional landing page.

1. Offers

A/B-test different offers, formats and offer topics and how they compare in driving business results.

What types of offers convert the most visitors into sales leads?

Which offers help you push leads down the sales funnel?

E-books can perform better than webinars in converting visitors to leads whereas webinars are more effective than e-books in converting leads to customers. Offers like consultations and demos are more effective in closing customers.

2. Copy

A/B-test different messaging formats, copywriting styles and fonts.

Which headline formats and styles work more effectively to promote your offer?

How can your offer’s benefits and value be positioned in your copywriting?

What types of social proof can you include to make your offer more attractive? Which format of social proof is most effective?

3. Form fields

How much information should your form ask from your visitors?

How does your audience react to different questions on your form?

Which form fields are most effective to qualify and nurture your leads?

Does your content perform better when gated behind a form or not?

4. Whole page

While tweaking individual elements, you must also consider the layout of the landing page as a whole.

A/B testing gives you time and means to experiment with your landing page designs without significantly affecting your company’s bottom line. Optimise your landing pages now to improve the quality and quantity of leads you collect from them.

Colour Psychology

Colour Psychology

Does it ever occur to you why headlines are often in bold and red? Just because every copywriter is doing it doesn’t mean you have to follow, but there are meanings behind the use of various colors that accentuate words in a copy.

Black: seriousness, distinctiveness, boldness, power, sophistication, tradition

Blue: authority, dignity, security, faithfulness, heritage, corporate stability, trust

Brown/gold: history, utility, earthiness, richness, tradition, conservative

Gray: somberness, authority, practicality, corporate mentality, trust

Green: tranquility, health, freshness, stability, appetite

Orange: fun, cheeriness, warm exuberance, appetite, speed

Pink: femininity, innocence, softness, health, youth

Purple: sophistication, spirituality, wealth, royalty, youth, mystery

Red: aggressiveness, passion, strength, vitality, fear, speed, appetite, urgency

White: purity, truthfulness, faith, contemporary, refined, wealth

Yellow: youth, positive feelings, sunshine, cowardice, refinement, caution, appetite

Hope today’s post on colour psychology gives you some ideas how to further enhance your marketing message.