Happy to share a resource from Constant Contact about  125 Links to Make You a Better Marketer. It’s all about email marketing best practices and worth a look.

Every week, I’m setting up new clients with marketing campaigns and helping them with their design, because email marketing works – and design does make an impact – if you use it right! And, staying in touch with customers brings in business.

If you’d like me to look at any of your email campaigns or take a test drive with a free trial of Constant Contact for 60 days, please reach out. I’m happy to schedule a complimentary session to see what your goals are.

In full transparency, I also get a small commission depending on the size of your list, but you can also use a free service which won’t have all the bells and whistles – and so much more.

All in all, email marketing works.

Tiny Business Habits to Help You Make More Money

Do you slow down in the summer working on your business? To some extent, we all do, but there are some tiny business habits that will make your small business more money.

Read KC Agu’s article in Entrepreneur.com and pick which habit you’ll commit to this week. The list has 5 items and it’s not daunting. In fact, it makes perfect sense!

I’m going for #2: Track just one major business metric daily.

It’s already given me clarity in forecasting for next quarter.  I could tell you to up your PR and marketing efforts and answer HARO 3 times a week, but you already knew that.

If you’re a small business today, chances are you’re on social media, in one way or another. If you’re not, prospects and customers may wonder why. An active online presence is even better – and shows not just that you’re in the digital age, but you want to connect with your audience. And, that’s important to them!

9 No-Brainer Social Media Tips to Grow a Brand

  1. Find Your Audience and Stick with it. You will never be Mr. or Mrs. Wonderful who everyone loves. Find your buyers online and grow that list into a base of raving fans who always want to know more and buy.
  2. Lose Perfection. Get content out there. Nothing is ever perfect, and that’s especially true when you start out. Experiment with posting and see what’s popular with your audience. Tweak and adjust from there.
  3. Go with Your Gut. One of the first mistakes I made as a copywriter was asking for the opinion of a handful of people. Was I on target? Was my message clear? Bottom line, pick one person who you trust as an editor and trust the process.
  4. Do What You Can Do. Stop trying to be Superman® or Wonder Woman®. I used to think I had to be the be-all end-all, especially when I was starting out. Pick and choose your copy, platforms, schedule and go with it. Build from there.
  5. Forget About Being on the Cutting Edge. I hope you are, but don’t be disappointed if you’re not. I’m thinking you’re working on and in your business, so if you’re on pace with your industry or ahead of your own time that’s probably good enough. See #2. Lose perfection.
  6. See what’s trending and go with it. PR pros call it newsjacking. I call it smart marketing. Check out one of my favorite tools, Buzzsumo.com and punch in your keywords. What are people writing, talking about and sharing?
  7. Figure Out Your Call-to-Action. What do you want your followers to do? Click through, ask a question, take a survey? Just be you, the expert, and make sure you’re always engaging in your brand’s tone and voice.
  8. Automate to Save Time. Using tools like Buffer, HootSuite and Edgar, you can plan ahead, save time and money. After all, you should be in your genius time as much as possible, not copy and pasting.
  9. Be Patient and Test. We’re not in life-saving mode. We’re discovering our voice and connecting with our audience and other influencers. Don’t stress, mistakes make us better marketers!

Social media is just one piece of the PR and marketing pie. You’ve got dozens of other promotional tactics to promote your brand and grow your business. The key is that all should be working together towards a common goal.

Tweak, Test and Try. 3 T’s to Ta Da!

I’m a sentimental soul and remember my dad not just on Father’s Day, but other days too. I can’t imagine my life without his entrepreneurial inspiration, guidance, acceptance of my crazy ideas and endless hours of listening to my questions – at the kitchen table as a kid and through the years, working on and off, from about 8 years-old to when I got my first full-time job after college.

As a mentor, he shaped my life until the day he died. This is for you, Dad.

Words of Wisdom from a Serial Entrepreneur

  • Being an entrepreneur is the only way to go. You can set your price and your schedule. It’s not always easy, but it’s always yours.
  • Make friends with your competition. This wasn’t such a welcome idea at 14 when he asked me to invite all the ‘pretty’ girls to a party. He told me I would assess the situation quickly. Ouch.
  • If I die at the lake, throw me in the water with my briefcase, you and your brother will collect double.
  • It’s not so much about the cost, it’s about the terms. If you want it, go for it. You can figure it out later. He said this with a pencil, always behind his ear.
  • Pick a point on your drive home, then leave your business there. It will still be there on your way back.
  • A happy wife is a happy life. My take on this age old advice: living in harmony is good for everyone.
  • Don’t burn the candle on both ends. You need to rest.
  • Pick the right partner that will support you thick and thin.
  • Travel and see the world. Life is short. Have fun!
  • Take care of your family. They’re why you work so hard.

My dad also told me I should study PR, even when I wasn’t quite sure what it was. “You’d be good at it,” he said. Years later, I figure he was right.

 

You can look at search engine optimization (SEO) as an easy task, or a daunting one. If you have time and money to spend, feel free to hire an expert, especially if you’re in a super competitive industry. But, if you’re on a budget, you can still apply the basics with DIY weekly tasks to drive traffic and increase visibility to rank higher in Google.

Master these 9 SEO Tips to Get Higher Google Rankings and More Business

  • Know that SEO is a process, not an overnight magic trick. And, that’s true whether you hire out or DIY. Look at your Google Analytics and set a goal for what you’d like to accomplish. Test and track to see what’s working. Then tweak accordingly.
  • Use keywords on your title tags and get them right. What words would your prospects and customers use to search for you?  Title tags are keyword rich and usually have between 50 – 60 characters. Be sure they’re also in the headers, body and image alt-tags too.
  • Create and verify your Google My Business Page (GMB). You’ll want to ask for reviews from your customers here and post consistently. This will help drive traffic, especially if you aren’t writing a blog or other content as part of a deeper campaign. Bad reviews? Answer promptly and politely.
  • Consider using Word Press plugins like Yoast SEO. Once you focus on keywords and start writing, Yoast will grade you – from red, yellow to green when you’re hitting the mark. The more you write the better you’ll get.
  • Post videos and transcripts on your website. Videos keep visitors on your page longer (and Google likes that). As an added bonus, provide a transcript of the video with medium and long tail keywords to build SEO and drive traffic.
  • Go to a local college and find an online wiz or intern. Teach him/her 10 steps to easy SEO, including how to blog, build an audience, post to a Facebook page, distribute to social media and social bookmarking sites including Twitter, Google+, Pinterest or a host of others.
  • Keep track of your online listings and make sure they’re accurate. If you’re practicing organic SEO, be consistent in your efforts to get the biggest bang for your buck.  Again, look at Google+, Yelp, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and listings where you have online presence.
  • Don’t overlook Google Maps when you’re planning SEO. If you have a store front location or work from the road, you can benefit from having all roads point to you. You don’t have to be there all the time, this SEO tactic drives traffic to your site and potentially to your store!
  • Lastly, answer HARO ads as a way to build SEO and backlinks. Sign up at HelpAReporter.com and show journalists that you’re an expert. When you’re published, there’s almost always a backlink, back to, you guessed it, you.

If you’d like more information on SEO read this:  Moz’s Beginners Guide to SEO

Every savvy business owner knows that a combination of offline and online marketing strategies work to increase visibility, customer loyalty and sales. But, many don’t think about guerilla marketing.  In simple terms, it’s getting in front of your target audience, up close and personal.

Guerilla Marketing is About Being Creative

  • Think about promotional tactics as a way to build brand awareness. Find your target market at events, big Meetups and create a buzz on the street or at an industry event. Engage!
  • Develop a well thought plan for creative and execution. What are your goals? Best location(s)? Right offer? And, have you hired the right staff to carry out the mission from start to finish?
  • Think about Graffiti art on buildings, sidewalks or empty storefront windows. Interesting or funny build outs. Unusual creative in likely spots. Be bold, but ask for permission first.
  • Consider Geo-Fencing, which uses your smart phone’s GPS to offer deals in targeted locations. Snapchat has Geofilters which features location specific marketing and Instagram launched Story Search for hashtags and locations.
  • Create a program that works hand in hand with your current marketing campaign. Think pop-up stores, free samples, branded promo items. I once held Make Money Mondays at Starbucks in the Greater Boston area where I was the PR Pop Up!
  • And finally, be a happy marketer, not an annoying one. In your face is so much different than up close and personal! It’s all about building relationships that last.

 

We all know the power of video and it’s no secret that in 3 years, 75% of content on mobile phones (and Facebook) will probably be mostly video.

It took some time to get on bandwagon and I’m not sure if I was just being my perfectionist self or wondering how it was going to happen.  But, it did. At the end of last year, I wrote down my goals and in less than two weeks, my YouTube channel was born.

With expert help and strategy, we got to #1 in Google for small business marketing expert, at least for a short while. If that can happen for me, it can happen for you.

So, what’s important for small businesses to know this year about video?

  • You don’t have to have a big budget to grow your brand, create awareness and set yourself apart as a leader or expert in your industry. While many businesses are just blogging, video content often makes a bigger impression – especially when you’re producing and uploading on a consistent basis.
  • Since Google owns YouTube, you have a greater chance of being ranked higher on that search engine. Viewers also typically think: top position = more qualified. Fact is, you can get there by earned status or paid.  My favorite is promoting without a PR budget.
  • Now, you can’t put out video that stinks or that’s not geared for your target audience. Research is a must and your content has to be valuable. Also remember, you don’t have to produce an epic video — it can be simple. An intro video about who you are, testimonials, behind the scenes. See where I’m going?
  • Also keep in mind the length of your video. Keep them short, about 60 – 90 seconds. You can give a tip, an insight, create a montage.  Inform, educate or entertain, but most importantly have fun. Brand personality shows in your eyes, actions and energy – on camera and off.
  • Lastly, you’ll want to upload your content to YouTube, but, don’t forget about Facebook or using Facebook Live so that you’re upfront and personal with your fans and followers. Check these sites too: Vimeo, Daily Motion and Metacafe. And, Instagram and Snapchat? Recent studies show Instagram has 500 million monthly users and Snapchat with a mere 5 billion videos watched in a day.

Time to get into the video game for digital marketing growth?

I hear that as a yes. Start small.  Think big.

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me “you have to be on social media,” I wouldn’t just be rich, I’d be retired and island hopping in the South Pacific – that’s one place I’ve wanted to go ever since my 20’s.

If you’re a business or brand you probably should be on social media. But make sure you’re on social media the right way – and not wasting time, resources and money.

5 Must-Haves for Effective Social Media Marketing [On a Budget]    

  1. Do you know what you’re doing? Many business owners are brilliant in their field but don’t have the time or desire to be experts at social media. And that’s OK. You don’t have to be a digital marketing guru, but you should understand what you’re doing and why. Get all the information you need from social media marketers who make it their goal to share 70% original content, 20% (OPC) other people’s content and 10% self-promotion.
  2. Social media is a public forum to talk, rant and rave. So, listen. Listen to what your customers are saying – not just on your own platform, but on like-minded channels.  What’s the buzz? What’s trending with influencers?  One way to find out is with Buzzsumo. It’s a web-based research tool to see what’s popular in your topic, how often a post has been shared, and who the active influencers are. Check out who’s starting conversations and what’s being said, so you can be in the know. There’s a free and paid version – try before you buy.
  3. Are you using technology to make social marketing easier? When I discovered automation tools like Buffer and Hootsuite, it made my workload so much lighter. I liked planning ahead and working on my business not always in my business.  Automation tools saved me hours of manually posting online, and like any business owner will tell you, time is money. Free worked for a while, but $10 a month works too.
  4. Engaging or just posting? Post and forget is one strategy many business owners subscribe too, and as much as you hope it will work, it really won’t. Take advantage of every opportunity to engage with your followers and answer their questions, even if it’s just adding a comment or two. Keep an open attitude as you build your like, know and trust factor, in a way that’s authentic!
  5. We know you’re busy. You can’t be everywhere all at once and be there 100%. I know that and so do you. Choose 2 or 3 social media platforms that resonate with your brand and put your energy into them. Look where your competitors are and if it looks like they’re making a splash, make a dash.  It’s fine to test the waters but be sure to target platforms that target your prospects and customers. They’re the ones who are going to buy.

Check out this Graphic from Constant Contact on where people are spending their time on social media.

Interesting to think about – considering we only have x amount of time in a day! It’s not a math problem, it’s a way of life!

Want to be a LinkedIn superstar? Why not, who wouldn’t? 

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networking platform with 467+ million members, so you ought to look good whether you’re promoting your personal or professional brand, or building a sales funnel, online and offline.

The basic version of LinkedIn is a no-cost marketing and PR tool that you can create, modify and save 24/7, 365 days a year. That is, for now. I’m not sure what Microsoft will do in the future.

You know the LinkedIn basics, but I’ll reiterate them.

Complete the entire profile, first. Post a professional high res picture that looks like you, today, not 50 pounds ago. Create a profile title using strategic keywords and add the bar key – that’s shift forward slash – to get the biggest bang for your space. Create a LinkedIn cover photo for free on  Canva.com. Customize your URL with your name; ie, www.LinkedIn.com/in/RobinSamora.  Use all 2000 characters in the description, attach your blog, a book chapter or special report. And don’t forget to include your accomplishments. It’s not bragging, it’s promoting.

Now for more advanced LinkedIn tips.

  1. Include your city in your profile title which helps your profile stand out 20+ times more.
  2. Consider using a colorful background for your photo. Your image will pop and not be boring.
  3. Structure your company page to convert customers. Include an image with a call to action.
  4. If you’re prospecting, save your searches. After all, why re-create the wheel?
  5. Download your LinkedIn contact’s email addresses to build or mirror a potential Facebook Ads list.
  6. Start a LinkedIn group to gain authority and build your networking capability. This puts you in control.
  7. Publish lengthier content (around 2000 characters) on LinkedIn Publisher (formerly Pulse) on a consistent basis. Create titles 40 – 49 characters long. Include images to attract attention.
Thinking about sponsored ads on LinkedIn? Check out their lead gen form to easily collect info from 500+ million professionals, without clunky forms. Sales just got easier.  So did ROI. On mobile phones, for now. Take a look.

 

  1. Use How-to and list style headlines, but not questions. They typically perform poorly.
  2. Don’t embed YouTube videos. They also lack performance.
  3. Test publishing long content on Thursdays. It seems to be a high-traffic day.
  4. Write so that an 11-year-old can read your content. Make it easy to get through, not a thesis.

Take a look at Boston University’s #BUGiving Day and their social toolkit. I’m not sharing this just because it’s my alma mater. I like how it’s put together.  It’s a content-rich example on how to develop your own communication tool to share news, special events and promotions.

I signed up to help support their event and received an email follow up asking me to be a social brand ambassador for the cause.  “Sure,” I thought.  “Why not.”

First, here’s the email that I received:

Hi Robin:

Thanks so much for signing up to receive email reminders about BU Giving Day 2017.  The big day is now just two days away, and we couldn’t be more excited!

I’m reaching out today to remind you to save the date for Wednesday, and to spread the word to your fellow Terriers that #BUGivingDay is coming.  We’ve put together this social toolkit to help get you started.

We’d also love it if you joined us as a social ambassador.  When you sign up, you can link your favorite social accounts and receive emails with easy one-click sharing when we have new content.  You also have the chance to win some great prizes just by signing up.

Thank you for your support of Giving Day – you help us make a huge difference in the lives of BU students today, and for years to come!

Thanks,
Phil

When I saw their social toolkit, I was intrigued. When I opened it up, I loved how it was organized with easy to read headlines and sections.  Giving Day Basics. Examples of Facebook posts and Tweets. Facebook Cover Photos. Instagram Pictures.

Great job BU.  Not just cause I’m from COM. It’s good work.