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This is a guest post by Anita Ginsburg

Business owners often hyper-focus on promotion, especially when they’re just started out. The idea of gaining audience attention becomes so important that engagement and retention never crosses their mind.

Unfortunately, this can lead to a business losing their newfound audience as soon as they get it.

Poor retention and engagement can also deter potential followers and customers from ever interacting with you because they notice that your site doesn’t have much to offer aside from ads and promotional content.

Capturing audience attention has to be a multi-channel effort that uses real, engaging and, most importantly, valuable content to generate new leads.

Understanding how to create and present this content to different people will help you benefit your company, grow your audience and secure returning customers.

Adapt Value to Customer Experience

At every stage of the sales funnel, a person is looking for something different. The type of content you offer a first-time visitor to your website shouldn’t be the same content you offer someone who is making a return visit or looking for more information.

One problem businesses make is not differentiating their audience into smaller sub-groups or demographics.

This ultimately leads to generic content that only satisfies some people on a superficial level; no genuine connection is made, and people don’t stick around because they don’t feel like they’re getting anything out of their experience.

Use buyer personas and customer feedback to fine-tune your content and add value to every engagement with your audience.

Don’t Post and Ghost

If you’re paying for Facebook ads or running an Instagram campaign, you have to be active on those platforms. If an ad or sponsored post shows up in someone’s feed and they’re interested they will click through to your page and make a decision to follow or interact based on what they see.

Make sure you have some current activity including posts related to the content of the ad you’re running.

Messaging services for business can help you stay in direct contact with your customers while also helping your teams stay connected to make sure that all of your content efforts are in sync. Make sure that you’re putting effort into both marketing and content creation for your existing audience.

Keep It Real

One of the best ways to keep an audience is to be vocal and responsive. No one wants to follow a business that presents itself on a soapbox all the time.

Instead, you should strive for a real, down-to-earth tone that is both professional and approachable. People will like being able to feel like there’s a doorway to communication always open; a conversational voice makes your business more

Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg or on Facebook

Catching Your Audience’s Attention And What to Do Once You’ve Got It originally appeared on Andrea Stenberg's The Baby Boomer Entrepreneur

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We are at a unique point in time when it comes to video marketing. While YouTube has been around for years and there are businesses and brands who dominate that platform, if you jump onto video for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or other platforms you still have a chance to be part of the bleeding edge of video marketing.

Don’t believe me?

Here are 7 reasons why NOW is the time for you to get your business on video.

Video Makes You Money

According to Aberdeen Group, brands that use video marketing grow their revenue 49 percent faster than companies that don’t. Businesses using video get a 27% higher click-through rate and 34% higher web conversion rates, compared to businesses not using video.

Think about it, you can make about one third more sales on your website from exactly the same number of visitors. That kind of ROI should make you stand up and take notice.

78% of Mobile Data Traffic is Video

Yes, 78%. And that’s just mobile. It doesn’t count people watching online video on desktop and laptops using wifi or hardwired internet.

Now to be fair, that stat is a little misleading. One video will use considerably more mobile data than a dozen static web pages.

And a lot of that video mobile data use is for things like Netflix or sports.

However, more and more businesses are using video marketing on social and their websites. And if you don’t get started now you’ll get left behind.

More Time From Facebook

Facebook reports users spend triple the amount of time on video vs other types of posts. And video gets 59% more engagement (Likes, Comments and Shares)

Think about your own behaviour on Facebook. When you’re scrolling through the news feed, aren’t you more likely to stop and check out a video for a least a few seconds?

That’s also why when you’re creating video for sharing on Facebook or other social platforms you need to have movement and something interesting in the first three to five seconds,

Instagram Users Take Action From Video

Instagram users report that 75% of them have taken an action after watching a business’s video on Instagram.

This action could be clicking through to a website, checking out the business profile, following them on the platform or even making a purchase.

I know with my own behaviour I have made several purchases – both consumer and business – after seeing the product on Instagram. And very often, the post that grabbed my attention was a video.

Better Engagement on LinkedIn

Native video (uploaded directly to LinkedIn instead of sharing a YouTube link) is fairly new on LinkedIn. However, people who use video on LinkedIn find their videos get three times more engagement of text posts (Hootsuite).

If you use LinkedIn, scroll through your feed and pay attention to how many videos you see. If you’re connections are like mine, you won’t see very many videos yet.

If you start posting videos in your feed you can be ahead of your competition.

Video is Killing it on Twitter

Just like all other platforms, video is out performing other types of posts on Twitter. Two stats that made me sit up and take notice are first, tweets with video see 10x more engagement. This is a big deal because I’ve found Twitter engagement is down.

Second, promoted Tweets with videos cost 50% less on cost-per-engagement than other posts according to Twitter.

You Will Be Ahead of the Curve

Although use of video is rapidly increasing, the majority of small businesses are still holding back on using video. (Only 41% of all marketers use video according to the Aberdeen Group).

Why not?

I don’t have any statistics on this but from speaking with my clients there are three main reasons. Business owners think:

  1. Video equipment is too expensive
  2. They don’t have the skills needed such as video editing, using the camera
  3. They could never get on camera

If that’s you, I feel your pain. In 2018 I had a goal to make video marketing a significant part of my marketing strategy. I ended up doing almost no video because I thought it was too expensive, too hard and I was afraid of getting on camera.

In 2019 I discovered that I could start making video with tools I already owned. With some small investments I could greatly increase the quality of my video marketing. And getting on camera didn’t actually kill me. In fact, the more I do it, the more I enjoy it.

Are you convinced? Will you start using video in your online marketing? Leave a comment and let me know.

Stop Being Scared of Online Video Marketing
Download Your Free Copy of The Low Cost Online Video Toolkit

7 Reasons to Start Video Marketing Today originally appeared on Andrea Stenberg's The Baby Boomer Entrepreneur

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Factors That Impact the Success of Your Facebook Ads Campaign

Is it worth boosting a post on Facebook?

I get that question a lot.

It’s easy to spend a lot of money on Facebook ads. If you’re not careful you can quickly spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars with little to show for it.

You see there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to creating a successful Facebook ads campaign. If any one of these pieces are not correctly in place it can dramatically ramp up your costs and drop your results.

Choosing the right objective

Before you choose an objective for your Facebook ad you need to ask yourself:

Why do I want to create an ad on Facebook? What do I want people to do as a result of seeing my Facebook ad? How will this help me grow my business?

For example, are you trying to sell a product, get people to sign up for your email newsletter, get people to watch a video, start a conversation in messenger, increase engagement on a Facebook post or drive foot traffic to your bricks and mortar store?

Choosing the wrong objective from the start is going to mess up your entire Facebook ad campaign.

Audience

The next factor in determining the success of your Facebook ad campaign is choosing the correct audience: who are you actually sending the ad to?

Some of the options for choosing an audience include:

  • age,
  • gender,
  • geographic location,
  • interests,
  • activity on your Facebook page,
  • visitors to your website,
  • your email list
  • lookalike audiences.

Choice of audience has a huge impact on your cost per result, effectiveness of the ad.

I have seen the same ad run to two different audiences and cost as much as $7 per action difference. If you’re trying to sign up a hundred people for your email list, $7  per opt-in can have a huge impact on your budget and your results.

The ad itself

Design of the Facebook ad matters. Choosing the correct image or video can have a dramatic impact on the results and the cost. Likewise, the headline and the caption have an equally important role in the success of a Facebook ad.

Crafting a correct Facebook ad is as much art as it is science. It takes a certain amount of trial and error plus intuition to create an effective Facebook ad.

And testing. You should always test different elements before you scale up your budget.

I ran one test where all aspects of the ad were exactly the same except one version had a red border on the photo, another black, orange and blue. One colour vastly out performed the others. The problem: the next time I did this test a different colour won. There are no absolutes when it comes to Facebook advertising.

Your Call to Action

What you ask people to do in your ad and where you send them matters.

For example, if you are using your ad to get people to sign up for your email newsletter you could have the perfect objective, audience and ad image and copy but if the opt-in page doesn’t convert your ad will fail.

That’s why it’s important to really analyse your numbers in a campaign so you can see which part of the process is causing the problems.

Wrap Up

Facebook is absolutely a great platform for growing your business. And Facebook Ads can expand your reach and accelerate your time frame.

However, as you can see there are a lot of pieces to a successful Facebook advertising campaign. If any one of these pieces are wrong it can completely derail your campaign.

You can’t just toss up a Facebook post, throw some money at it and expect to hit it out of the park first time through.

You need a strategy behind what you’re doing.

You need a system.

If you’re ready to change what you’re doing with your Facebook marketing check out my new course “Create Your Facebook Marketing System”.

You’ll work with me to answer those questions and plan out a strategy that actually works.

Do you have questions or comments about Facebook ads? Leave a comment below.

Are Facebook Ads Worth the Money? originally appeared on Andrea Stenberg's The Baby Boomer Entrepreneur

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In a time of selfies and TMI posting, a lot of entrepreneurs are still shying away from showing themselves on social media.

I get it.

I hate being on camera. In my head I’m still 23 but when I’m on camera I can’t deny I’m in my 50s.Grey hair, wrinkles, extra pounds and all.

I confess I still feel a little stupid and self involved taking selfies or talking on camera when I’m out in public.

Plus when I post, I want to be professional, talk about business.

And I know you’ve heard stories and even seen photos of kids posting photos of themselves drinking, doing things you’d never do in public never mind post on the internet.

You want to keep it professional.

But the truth is, business is about relationships. People still prefer buying from people they know, like and trust.

How do you talk to clients?

Forget about the internet for a minute. How do you talk to potential clients?

Imagine you walk into a Chamber of Commerce event and start up a conversation with someone you just met.

Do you jump right in with a sales pitch? Do you tell them all about your products and services and how they can save them time, money and make them lose weight?

No! (At least I hope not)

Start the conversation

You talk about the weather. Who won last night’s hockey game. What you did with your kids on the weekend.

When you’ve broken the ice you ask about their business and what they do.

At this point you tell them a little about your business and what you do. You don’t try to close the deal right now. You’re just starting the relationship.

Later you’ll friend them on Facebook, invite them to connect on LinkedIn or follow them on Instagram.

And you’ll follow up. Maybe invite them for coffee. Send them an article about something they’re interested in. Congratulate them on their kid winning a Foosball tournament.

You keep building the relationship until it’s time to have that sales conversation.

Because people need to look you in the eye, get to know you. Become comfortable around you. And when they know, like and trust you THEN you try to sell.

So why do you think it should be any different online?

You need to build a relationship online, even more than in person.

And while having an online business (or marketing your offline business online) means people can’t shake your hand and look you in the eye, if you’re putting yourself into your social media they can do it virtually.

If you post photos of yourself, show your workspace, get on video and talk to your audience, they get the chance to know who you are. What you stand for. See that you’re a real person just like them.

They get to know, like and trust you.

And I promise you … no one will buy from an online business without trust.

My challenge to you:

Take a look at your social media and your website. Are you there? Are you giving people a chance to know who you are?

If the answer is “no” start today.

Put your photo on your “About” page on your website. Post a selfie with an introduction on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn. Bonus marks if you tag me in the post so I can check it out.

Stop hiding! You will be amazing.


Are you missing from your social media? originally appeared on Andrea Stenberg's The Baby Boomer Entrepreneur

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Recently I was checking out a business from their Facebook page. Wanting to know more I clicked the About section, looked for the link to their website and clicked through. Instead of finding their website, I saw message from a domain Registration site saying “this domain has expired. Please renew it or it will be deleted”.

Your Most Important Business Asset

In 2019 your website is arguably your most important business asset. It’s your home on the internet. Your website gives your business credibility, visibility, lets people know how to contact you and more. For online entrepreneurs it’s their primary source of revenue

Most people will check out your website before contacting you about doing business. It’s part of a normal background check. If there’s something wrong with your website, they’ll just go to a competitor. They won’t tell you there’s something wrong.

And it’s not just potential clients. A mortgage broker I know says he seen small business owners be turned down for mortgages because their business doesn’t have a website. Financial institutions don’t consider you to be a serious business person if you don’t have a website.

So how could this happen? How could you lose your website? There’s a few ways this can happen.

You Forgot to Renew Your Domain

You could forget to renew your domain name and not receive the notification from the registrar.

I recommend adding the renewal date for each of your domain names to your Google calendar with a reminder several weeks in advance.

With your domain registration, many registrars will allow you to set up automatic renewal.

This is a good idea, but remember credit cards expire. Even if you have automatic renewal set up you should go into your account and double check that everything is still working when it comes to your renewal date.

If you have more than one website or one domain for your business make sure they’re all registered with the same registration service. If you have multiple domains registered with different registration services it’s much easier for something to fall through the cracks. If all your domains are registered with one company, when you login to renew or check on one domain you’ll be reminded when others are renewing.

Some registration services allow you to change the renewal date so all domains renew at the same time. This can be a good idea as you only have to do this once a year. However, if you own a large number of domains this can get expensive so make sure you have enough room on your credit card if you use this option.

You can renew domains for multiple years. If you do, ensure you record when the expiry date is. If you renew a domain for five years, it is very likely that your credit card will have expired by the renewal date and so automatic renewal will not work.

If you realize you’ve let a domain lapse, contact the registrar immediately. Reputable companies will have a grace period where they don’t allow anyone else to purchase that domain to give you time to renew. But be aware that there are people who look for domains that are expiring and purchase them in the hopes you’ll be willing to buy it back at an inflated price.

Your Hosting Expires

Another thing that can happen is you’re hosting expires. If you forget to renew your hosting you may still own your domain but if you’re hosting company deletes your data you will still have no website. Additionally, if you do not have an up-to-date backup of your website you may have to recreate it from scratch.

I recently was contacted buy a former client who had had this happen to them. Their website had likely been down for several months before they noticed it. They were hoping I had backups of their website.

Just like with your domain registration, you want to make sure the notification from your hosting company goes to an email address you check on a regular basis.

It’s also a good idea make it a practice to check in on your on a regular basis. Just visit them from time to time so you know they are still live.

Many hosting companies will backup your website but it’s a good idea to keep an up-to-date backup offline as well.

Hacked

The third way you could lose your website is if it’s hacked. You don’t have to be a large player to have your website hacked. Spammers and hackers go after legitimate websites for distributing malware, SEO spam, credit card skimming, e-mail spam servers and phishing sites.

It’s more common than you think. I recently clicked a Google link for a well known large company and got redirected to another business.

To avoid getting hacked ensure you have all software, themes and plugins up-to-date. Use strong passwords. Use appropriate security software. Make sure you have a regular backup system. If the worst happens and your website is hacked, often the easiest way to get control back is to delete everything and reinstall a clean backup.

Audit Your Websites

I suggest you do a quick audit of your websites today. Know where they’re registered, where they’re hosted, when each of these payments renews, ensure you’re contact information is current. Set up reminders for renewal dates.

While you’re at it, do an audit of your social media assets. Make sure you have current email addresses listed for your accounts and include a secondary email address if it’s allowed. Add your cell phone to accounts for account retrieval. Update passwords if needed.

Not sure if your website security is up to snuff? Schedule a complimentary consultation and we can discuss your options.


Don’t Lose Your Website originally appeared on Andrea Stenberg's The Baby Boomer Entrepreneur

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Creating content for sharing on social media can be time-consuming and mentally draining.

That’s why it is so important to find ways to reuse or repurpose your content. After all, if you can take one idea or one piece of content and share it all across the web multiple times and in multiple ways it’s going to expand your reach and save you a ton of time and effort.

I believe the best place to start with your content creation is with your blog. If you’re not a writer, hang in because I will have a tip for you following this section.

Blogging is important because it is the one piece of real estate on the web that you own. You don’t own Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest or any of the other social platforms. You have to play by their rules, run the risk of getting booted off the platform and if you succeed in driving traffic to your profile you’re helping build someone else’s SEO.

When you focus on blogging, you’re building your online reputation, improving your search engine ranking and having the potential to grow your business in a meaningful way.

Each time you add a new blog post you’re adding a new page to your website. This is a new potential landing page, another opportunity for you to show up in a Google search and another reason for people to visit your website.

When using blogging as a marketing tool you want to focus on three things. First you want to provide valuable and/or entertaining content. This shouldn’t be fluff, or hastily copied from other pages.

Second, you want to focus on important keywords; words that people are using to search on Google. These keywords should be in the title, subheading and used throughout your blog post.

Third, you want to be sure to include a call to action at the end of your post. In many cases this call to action will be to get them on to your email list. However it can be as simple as asking them to leave a comment, sharing on social media or setting up an appointment to talk to you.

What if you’re not a writer?

No worries. If you’re not a writer there are a couple of ways you can get around this.

If you’re a good speaker, record yourself talking about the subject matter and have it transcribed. Or if you have the technology, you can have it automatically type based on what you say.

For example, I am using Google Docs to write this particular blog post and instead of typing I’m using the Voice to Type feature. This is the first time I’ve used Google’s Voice to Type and I’m very impressed. It’s very accurate and simple to use.

If you’re still completely resistant to writing, you can use a video or an audio as your blog post. Just be aware that in order to get the most search engine optimization out of your post you are going to need to transcribe or at least summarize your audio or video in writing because Google can’t yet search audio and video.

How to repurpose your blog post

Once you write a blog post you need to promote the hell out of it. You want to get as many people as possible back to your website to read your blog post. Repurposing this post in as many ways as possible is the best way to promote it and get more traffic to your website.

Twitter

Whenever you write a new blog post, after you hit publish review your post and see if you can pull out short quotes or tips from it to be used on Twitter. Be sure to include an image and a link to the blog post.

If you use a tool like HootSuite or Buffer you can then take these multiple quotes and schedule them out over the coming weeks. Since Twitter is still mostly a real-time social network, most people won’t see all of your tweets that are about a single blog post.

A ninja tip for using Twitter is to not just promote your current blog post. Continuously promote past blog posts on Twitter.

By continuously promoting older blog posts you continue to drive new traffic without having to create new content. Keep a list of your previous Tweets for each blog post and you can either repost them as-is, reword the description slightly and/or use a different image.

Instagram

There are five ways you can use Instagram to promote your blog post.

First is in the Instagram feed. Use a beautiful image and write a description explaining why someone should read the full blog post.

One of the downsides of Instagram is you cannot include a clickable link in your Instagram post, you have to send someone to your profile in order for them to have the clickable link. However, if someone is willing to take those multiple steps odds are they will be very engaged in your blog post.

A second way to promote your blog post on Instagram is through Instagram Stories. Create a Story using a combination of audio, images and text to promote your blog post.

Note: if you have fewer than 10,000 followers on Instagram you can’t use the Swipe Up feature to drive people directly to your blog post. However, you can ask people to DM you if they’d like the link. This is a great way to encourage engagement, start a conversation all while driving traffic to your website.

A third way to promote your blog post on Instagram is using Instagram Live.

Go Live on Instagram and talk about one part of your blog post. You don’t want to share everything from your post otherwise why would somebody bother to go read it?

Pick one aspect of your blog post and talk about it in the Live video then end your video with the call to action of going to your blog post to read the full article. Be sure to tease some of the other content that you didn’t discuss.

A fourth way to promote your blog post on Instagram is using IGTV. Create a short video, under 10 minutes, talking about part of your blog post.

One of the cool things about IGTV is you can include clickable links in the description of your videos.

Finally, you can promote your blog post using Instagram Ads. Create a post or a video and promote it to your ideal clients.

You don’t have to spend a ton of money. Even as little as $5 can drive significant traffic to a blog post.

Facebook

Facebook is a great way to drive traffic to a blog post. The simplest way is to share a link to your blog post on your Facebook Page or your personal profile. Generally I prefer to share it directly to my Page and then reshare it from my page to my profile.

You can also do a Facebook Live video. It can be exactly the type of content you used on your Instagram Live video. Take a section of your blog post and discuss it live.

If you have the technology you can stream Live to Instagram and Facebook simultaneously however this is not for beginners. It also makes it more difficult for you to respond to comments and questions that are live because you have multiple inputs.

Finally you can further promote your blog post using Facebook ads. Since Instagram is owned by Facebook you can actually run both Facebook and Instagram ads from your Facebook ad account.

However, I prefer to run one ad for Facebook and one ad for Instagram because I’m better able to see which platform is performing better when I run them as separate ads. Again you don’t have to break the bank. As little as $5 can really expand the readership of a blog post.

Pinterest

I’ve had great success using Pinterest to drive traffic to blog posts.

Create a beautiful eye-catching graphic with the title of the blog post along with a description and a link then share it to Pinterest.

But don’t stop there. I belong to several group Pinterest boards that are aimed at my target audience. I reshare the blog post Pin to these group boards to further grow my reach.

YouTube

You can create a YouTube video related to your blog post and include a link to the original post in the YouTube video description.

If you’ve already created a video for Facebook you might consider just uploading it directly to YouTube. However, be aware that there are different styles between different social platforms and one video that does well on Facebook may not do as well on YouTube.

Once you’ve uploaded a video to YouTube be sure to Tweet about it on your Twitter profile.

Repurpose your videos

If you create a video for YouTube or Facebook you can embed it directly on your blog creating a new blog post.

If your video is not just a regurgitation of your blog post but a discussion of one aspect of your blog post then reposting it to your blog is not going to be a duplication. It’s just a new post with different content on the same subject matter.

If you’re worried about audience fatigue wait a couple of months after you published the original blog post before you create a new post using the video. This allows for a gap between posting on the same subject.

LinkedIn

There are several ways you can promote your blog post on LinkedIn.

First you can share a link with a description and photo onto your LinkedIn profile in the news feed.

A few weeks after your published your blog post and promoted everywhere, republished the full post on your LinkedIn profile as a full-length post.

I have done this multiple times over the past few years with blog posts that are doing particularly well on my own blog. After I publish it to LinkedIn I find that the article published on LinkedIn actually ranks higher in a Google search than the original blog post even if it’s still getting significant search traffic.

When republishing be sure to create an “author box”  at the end of your article. Include a short description of who you are, what you do and a call to action. This could be sending them to your blog to read a related post, encouraging them to sign up for your free offer, inviting them to send you an invitation to connect or inviting them to set up a free consultation call.

SlideShare

You can convert your blog post into a slideshow (using Google Slides or PowerPoint) incorporating images and text then upload it to SlideShare. You can then take this SlideShare presentation and embedded in your profile under multimedia.

Google My Business

If you have a Google Business listing you can share blog posts to your listing. This ensures there’s activity on your Google listing and gives people who discover your business listing something to look at to learn more about you.

Email Your List

If you have an email list (tell me you have an email list) send an email about your blog post. Include a short excerpt or teaser along with an image and a link.

Email signature

There are a number of apps that allow you to import your RSS feed from your blog so that you’re most current blog post is included as part of your email signature.

It may not drive significant traffic, but it’s a free and easy way to promote. Once you set it up you never have to think about it again.

Webinars

If you’ve created a really informative blog post perhaps it would make a great webinar.

Take the SlideShare presentation you created for your LinkedIn profile and use that as the base for your webinar.

An added bonus of using a webinar is you not only get new content out of an existing post, but you can grow your email list.

Publish an update

This is a fast and easy way to get new content. If you have an older blog post that is getting lots of traffic but it is a little out of date you can update it one of two ways.

First you can go in and edit the original blog post with the new information. You can then add a little note at the top saying this was updated on today’s date. Then you take all the above suggestions and repromote this post.

A second way to update a post is to rewrite it completely and publish it as a brand new post. Go back to the original older post, add a note at the top and the bottom saying that you have written a newer, more up-to-date post on this topic and include a link to the new post.

Then use all of the above to promote the hell out of the post.

Create a Guide, Ebook or PDF

If you’ve written a really amazing blog post with tons of valuable information turn it into a guide, ebook or PDF. You can use it as a free opt-in, as a download or sell it on Amazon.

Submit to Other Sites

There are many websites that only publish articles that have been previously published elsewhere. They are always looking for new quality content.

If there are aggregate sites in your industry, after you publish your own blog post and gotten some traction submit it to one of these sites. You may get new readers and new traffic.

I recommend that you only submit to websites that allow you to have an author box that includes a link to your website, blog post or free offer.

There you go. You can take one piece of content and spread it all over the internet in multiple ways so you can save yourself some time and reach more people.

Have I missed the suggestion? If there’s a way you repurpose content that I didn’t mention in this post please leave a comment and share how you repurpose your blog posts list.

Repurpose Your Blog Posts to Save Time and Expand Your Reach originally appeared on Andrea Stenberg's The Baby Boomer Entrepreneur

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Why should you Get Personal with you social media posts? People want to do business with people they know, like and trust. Showing off your expertise isn’t enough. You need to give your followers a chance to get to know the person behind the business.

What does that look like?

You need to Get Personal. Let the people who follow you virtually look you in the eye.

You don’t have to share your deepest, darkest secrets. But you do have to be willing to open up.

Today’s Assignment

Create three or four “get personal” posts. Here are some ideas:

Post one:

Create a post that introduces you to your audience. Even if people have been following you for a while they may not know you well so let them learn something about you. Include a selfie and write three or four paragraphs introducing yourself. First tell everyone who you are and what you do. Next share two or three personal pieces of your personal bio. Are you married? Have children? Have pets? Write a paragraph about that. Do you have a hobby? Tell them about it. Bonus marks if you make this a video instead of a photo and text.

Post two:

Explain why you started your business. We all have a story … some spark that motivated us to start a business. What was yours?

Post three:

Get out and take a photo of one of your favourite places in your neighbourhood. Let us know why you love this place

Post four:

Ask for people’s opinion about something personal. I have a friend who posted a question about whether bald men should use soap or shampoo. It generated a lot of funny comments and helped establish a personal connection with his followers.

Share one of your Get Personal posts today. If you’re posting to Facebook or using a scheduling tool schedule the other three posts over the next month.

After you’ve posted, share a link to your post on my Facebook page so we can see your wins!

Get Personal with Your Social Media Posts originally appeared on Andrea Stenberg's The Baby Boomer Entrepreneur

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I don’t care if you’re a coach, consultant, massage therapist or a toy store owner you need a blog as part of your online marketing strategy.

First of all your blog is the one piece of real estate on the web that you own.

You don’t own Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or any of the other social platforms. You have to play by their rules.

Not only that, you run the risk of getting booted off the platform, sometimes very arbitrarily, and losing all the work you’ve done.

And if you succeed in driving traffic to your profile you’re helping build someone else’s Google ranking.

Why Have a Blog and Not a Static Website?

The short answer is Google. You want your business to show up on a Google search, preferably in the top 3 listings.

Let me explain how having a blog as the foundation of your online marketing strategy helps with Google ranking.

Imagine there are two business owners – Dick and Jane. They are both coaches serving the exact same market in the exact same city. (They could also be consultants, real estate agents or clothing store owners. It doesn’t really matter for this example.)

Dick and Jane both create websites for their business. The websites go live on the exact same day. They each have a Home page, an About page, a Services page and a Contact page.

However Jane decides to start a blog and Dick decides his website is finished.

Now Jane isn’t much of a writer. And she’s very busy. So she decides the best she can do is write one blog post a month.

Each month Jane chooses a topic she knows her potential clients are interested in. These are topics related to the types of problems her clients have. The types of problems that make them look for coaching in the first place.

Fast forward a year. Dick’s website hasn’t changed. Jane’s website has 12 new pages – one for each blog post. Each blog post has a keyword rich title and contains valuable and interesting content.

Now when someone does a Google search, there are 12 additional chances for Jane to show up.

Furthermore, from Google’s point of view, it can’t tell if Dick is still in business because there has been no activity on his website.

With Jane’s blogging however Google can see her business is active.

Guess whose website is more likely to show up higher in a Google search?

You got it. Jane.

But making blogging the foundation of your online marketing isn’t just about Google. It’s also about social media.

Blogging Helps With Social

There are very few businesses that don’t have some sort of social media presence. However, I frequently hear business owners tell me they don’t know what to share on social media.

Now it is a good idea to share content from other people on Facebook or LinkedIn but that’s not all you should be doing.

Since you don’t own your Facebook page or your LinkedIn account one of your goals with your social media should always be getting people to visit the part of the web you do own – your website.

Each time you write a blog post you can share it to social media. Quote a section, include a photo and add a link back to your website or all of the above.

Cross posting from your blog to your social media is a key part of your online marketing strategy and will save you time.

Blogging Helps Prospects Know, Like and Trust You

All marketing is about giving your prospects the chance to know, like and trust you enough to become clients.

It’s no different with your online marketing strategy.

Let’s refer back to Dick and Jane. If someone visits Dick’s website for the first time they may not be ready to hire him. If that’s the case, Dick has to hope they’ll come back when they are ready to hire a coach.

When someone visits Jane’s website for the first time, they have those blog posts to read in addition to the regular pages.

If the blog posts are helpful or informative, they give the prospect more information about Jane and her abilities. The can see for themselves that she’s knowledgeable rather than just taking her word for it from her About or Home page.

Furthermore, if they like what they read they will come back to read future blog posts. They may even subscribe to get notified right away when new posts get published.

Even if first time visitors to Jane’s website aren’t ready to hire her, they’re more likely to be closer to making a decision after reading her blog. And the blog means it’s more likely prospects will come back.

The more contact you have with new prospects, the greater the chance you have of building enough know, like and trust capital to turn them into customers.

I hope I’ve convinced you that blogging is a necessary part of your online marketing strategy. Come back next week where I’ll share tips on how to come up with topics for your next 12 blog posts.

Are you following me on Instagram? Not only will you get some great content about social media, you can see how I share my blog posts on Instagram. @andreastenberg

Why Your Blog Should Be The Foundation for Your Online Marketing Strategy originally appeared on Andrea Stenberg's The Baby Boomer Entrepreneur

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Should your small business be on Instagram? I know you can’t be on every social platform. You have to actually find time to run your business.

In fact I always tell clients it’s better to get really good at one or two social platforms than to dabble in many.

That said, I think that most businesses should really consider making Instagram one of the social networks they use. Here’s why:

Get Your Small Business on Instagram So You Don’t Fall Behind

First of all, Instagram hit 1 billion users in June 2018.

In 2018 71% of U.S. businesses are on Instagram compared to almost 49% in 2016. That means if you’re not there, you’re falling behind. The good news is only 52% of small businesses are using Instagram. If you jump on now you can be one of the leaders.

People are Using Instagram – A Lot!

Instagram is one of the most downloaded apps on the App Store and Google Play.

Once they download the app people are spending a lot of time on Instagram – about 30 minutes per day.

And while Instagram does skew younger than other platforms (64% of 13 to 17 year-olds and 59% of 18 to 29 year-olds are on Instagram) older folks are jumping on board too.

On my main Instagram account (yes I have more than one) the largest group of followers are women aged 45 to 54.

And don’t forget there are a billion users. Even if you have an older customer base, you’ll still reach a lot of them on Instagram.

Facebook owns Instagram

Facebook is the largest social network on the planet. And they’re throwing a lot of money at Instagram. This says to me that it’s not going away any time soon and is only going to continue to grow.

They’re also adding new features all the time – Instagram Stories (to compete with Snapchat) and now IGTV (some think it’s a direct shot at YouTube).

There’s a lot of ways you can put your small business on Instagram

Either way, there’s lots of ways you can get a jump on the competition if you get started now.

Instagram Has More Engagement Than Facebook

Have you ever complained about the lack of organic (free) reach on your Facebook page? Then you really should be considering Instagram. It has 58 times more engagement than Facebook.

Instagram is Great for Local Business

Instagram allows you to add a location tag to each photo you upload. Do it. Posts with location tags get 79% more engagement.

This is partly because there’s a “Places” tab in the search feature that allows users to locate Instagram posts and accounts near where they are right now. It makes it easy for people to find your business.

Just as importantly, you can easily find out who has been posting images about your business. And when you find those people, like and comment on the posts. Thank them for visiting your business. You can even reshare “user generated content” about your business.

Want to take engaging with your customers up a notch? When you find someone who mentions you on Instagram (or other platforms) in your comment invite them to bring the comment into your store/restaurant for a discount or free gift. They’ll become raving fans and it will encourage others to post as well.

Instagram Ads Are Cheaper

I run a lot of ads on social media. And while Facebook is still a good value, ad costs are going up as more people jump on the platform. Frankly, Facebook is running out of places to show ads so the price keeps going up.

However Instagram ads are still dirt cheap. And they get amazing reach.

More importantly, people are buying from Instagram. 30% of users have purchased a product they first saw on Instagram.

Content for Other Social Networks

No, you don’t want to share everything on every platform. They all have their own audiences and styles.

However, great photos can be shared across platforms since most people have one platform they use more than others.

However, to make sure you don’t piss off people who really love you and follow you everywhere, I’d stagger the use. If you post a photo on Instagram Monday, don’t share it on Facebook until next Wednesday and on Twitter the Saturday after that. It’s unlikely someone will see all the posts and if they do, they may have forgotten by then.

Do I have you convinced that your small business should be on Instagram? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

And if you want to follow me on Instagram to learn more you can find me @andreastenberg or @hackingmyhealth

7 Reasons Why Your Small Business Should Be On Instagram originally appeared on Andrea Stenberg's The Baby Boomer Entrepreneur

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If you’re new to Facebook advertising, this video shows you how to create an engagement ad in the Facebook Ad Manager.

You’ve probably seen the “Boost Post” feature when posting to your Facebook page. While you can absolutely use this, by going into the Ad Manager you have more control over targeting, ad creation and more. Once you’ve created some custom audiences you know convert, then you can choose the Boost Post and add a custom audience to create an ad on the fly.

Before you run any Facebook Ad campaign you should have the Facebook Pixel installed on your website. The Pixel is a piece of code that gets added to your website so Facebook can track people who visit your website while logged into Facebook.

This is really powerful because it allows you to create a custom audience of people who have already visited your website. This custom audience already know who you are so will be more likely to convert than a completely cold audience who don’t know who you are.

You can also run ads to people who visit a sales page on your website but don’t make it to the thank you page – in other words they looked but didn’t buy. If they were on your sales page they were clearly interested. By running ads geared specifically to these people, you may nudge some of them into making a purchase.

This video shows you how to create an Engagement Ad – an ad designed to encourage people to like, comment, share or click on your ad.

However, as you can see, there are several other types of objectives for Facebook Ads. Ones you might consider running include:

  1. Traffic – this type of ad is optimized to find people who are most likely to click an ad to go to your website (or another location on the web other than Facebook).
  2. Video Views – this is currently one of the least expensive types of ads. Facebook wants people to be using video and they convert well. One strategy for Video View Ads is to run them for a specific video or series of videos. Then create a custom audience of people who watched 50 to 75% of the videos. Now create an ad targeting this custom audience. Make sure the ad is for a topic related to the topics of the videos.
  3. Lead Generation – perfect if you want to use Facebook Ads to grow your email list
  4. Messages are for running ads so you get people to message your page using Facebook Messanger
  5. Conversions are for making sales. The ad is optimized to show it to people who are most likely to convert (buy). You can have other types of conversions but for small business, sales is the most likely.
  6. Store Visits is for getting your ad in front of people who are on Facebook on their mobile device and near your store. It’s really meant for chains with multiple locations, however you can set it up for only one location.

I don’t ever recommend running Page Like ads – ads whose sole purpose is to get people to Like your page. In my opinion they’re a waste of money. If you run any other type of ad, a certain number of people will click through to your Page and Like it, regardless of the objective.

Do watch the entire video to learn more about setting up an Engagement ad and some of my strategies and advice for getting the most out of the ad.

How to Create an Engagement Ad for Facebook originally appeared on Andrea Stenberg's The Baby Boomer Entrepreneur

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