Prevent a Dying Blog With These 6 Tips

Prevent a Dying Blog With These 6 Tips

Prevent a Dying Blog With These 6 TipsYou have a blog? Join the club. You’re competing with millions of Web content pages and other blogs for a reader’s valuable time, attention and page view. There are 59 million WordPress sites alone. More than 51 new websites launch each year, notes website monitoring company Pingdom. Ensure that your blog is a one-of-a-kind online destination with these marketing tips, and make sure you do the following:

1. Lists, Info Graphics, Images, & Blurbs

According to the Nielson Norman Group, a market research firm, only 16 percent of readers follow a blog post word for word. Nearly everyone scans the content to find the most relevant, interesting or entertaining information as quickly as possible. Build readers’ trust and keep posts brief. Include plenty of visual support, such as images, bullets, numbered lists, and informational graphics to drive your point home.

2. Blog Post Email Promotion

Neil Patel, founder of online analytics and marketing companies Kissmetrics and Quicksprout, says email messages drive 14 percent of traffic to a website or blog. Building email campaigns with a responsive design ensures messages can be read on any device. Keep the formatting short and simple. Nearly half of all email messages are read with mobile devices, according to email marketing company Yesmail Interactive.

3. Community Building & Social Media

Building a community and loyal following around blogging content helps maintain, and even drive, traffic. Readers invested in your content will re-share posts on Facebook, for example, that they see as worth promoting. For word-of-mouth blog marketing, make sure that you:

  • Post original, unique blog articles that speak directly to the reader
  • Post a blog link on all social media channels to announce a new post
  • Respond to social media comments and engage in active dialogue
  • Post updates on promotions, sales and events

You may attract a number of unique visitors, but the following pointers will retain them.

  • Host contests and giveaways on social media to engage visitors
  • Capture email addresses with free offers
  • Survey a reader after a blog view

4. Topics & Posting Schedule

If you can generate enough topics to keep your content fresh and your readers engaged, write as often as you can. Aim to post at least one piece of original content per week to stay relevant to both your readers and search engines.

Avoid space filler copy, and always write with a genuine interest in the topic. Enthusiasm will naturally be conveyed with your words and tone — a few lackluster articles can cause readers to hit the unsubscribe button.

Be sure to create a content calendar that’s topically fluid, rather than sharing random ideas and stories. Be open to inspiration and develop a high-level plan that keeps your blogging on target.

5. Mobile

According to an email marketing survey by Constant Contact, 44 percent of Americans own a mobile device, and 43 percent of those users open an email message on a smartphone or tablet. Promote featured blog posts and sweepstakes through email blasts that can be easily read on mobile devices. You’ll also want to go mobile from the business side. Acquire a guaranteed wireless connection with a portable Wi-Fi system from a website such as The capability to post remotely helps you meet your blogging goals in a timely manner.

6. Expert Citations

To obtain authority and credibility, cite evidence that supports a specialized topic if you are not an established expert in the field. Not yet a seasoned expert? Write with veracity and conviction or let your personality shine through with words to express a point or entertain.

Small Business Owners on a Budget

Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners on a Budget

If you own a small business, you may be facing some difficult marketing decisions. Financing is often tight and ideas are often scarce. Not every small business owner can afford to hire a marketing consultant, so here are a few practical marketing tips for a small business owner on a tight budget.

Have a Marketing Budget

Think about the scope of your business and about what you hope to accomplish through your marketing campaign. With this in mind, calculate the percentage of your budget that you plan to devote to marketing. Some experts recommend a level of about 10% of your revenue, but this can vary based on your individual situation and goals.

Stick to Your Plan

When you’re setting up the budget at the beginning of the year, remember to plan out how you’re going to use it. If you just stash the money somewhere and spend it haphazardly on marketing expenses as they come up, you’ll never know how long the year’s money is going to last. Try to be intentional about where you’re spending it by looking ahead and predicting how much you’ll need when. Be flexible when you need to, but try your best to stick with the plan.

Invest in a Good Website

Some small businesses figure that they can get away with just having the basics online or (worse yet) with not having a website at all, due to their local customer base and narrow range of interest. However, these days when new customers are looking for your business, the first place they may go is Google, and their online findings will be all they have to consider. If your business does not appear online, many potential customers will not even consider you. Try to make the first impression that a customer will have of you via your website a good one. Contact PowerSites today to get your small business a website, and make sure that you have the basics needed to have an established online presence.

Email Marketing

TV ads (and, by the same token, billboards) can be prohibitively expensive. Try to cut down on the need for a TV spot by capitalizing on free advertising methods like email marketing and word-of-mouth. Send out newsletters through email. This can be even more cost-effective than a printed newsletter and, even better, you can have your customers forward it to their friends for free.

Social Media

You definitely don’t want to miss out on the benefits of social media. Every small business should at least have a Facebook page and Yelp page. Post regularly to attract new customers, and keep your current customer base engaged. Thank them by offering them specials and exclusive discounts. Social media really is the online equivalent of “word-of-mouth” referrals. If someone likes your business, they will probably post about it on their Facebook, tweet about it on Twitter, or leave a review on Yelp. However, if someone does not like your business, they will most definitely be telling everyone on social media about it. However, if handled and addressed properly, negative reviews are a great opportunity to show that your small business excels in customer service.

Twitter Tuesday: Follow Tweets to Manage Your Online Reputation

The great thing about social media is that fans of your business will use it to let others know about their experience, but this can be a double-edged sword. At the same time, the worst thing about social media sites, like Twitter, is that folks who do not like your business can nearly instantly let others know about it, which can spread like wildfire.

Twitter Tuesday: Follow Tweets to Manage Your Online ReputationThat about sums up Twitter, a social media platform where users can say anything, as long it is no more than 140 characters in length.

Praising a place, checking in by tweeting their location, commenting on a restaurant’s menu or ambiance, or letting friends and followers know about a store they’ll never step foot into again – these are just some of the common tweet scenarios you’ll come across while perusing Twitter.

It doesn’t matter whether Twitter is part of your local social media campaign, you definitely need to stay alert, and monitor what is being said about your small business. Fortunately, you do not have to assign an employee to monitor the Internet for tweets about your small business. There is a free service called Twilert that will do it for you.

You simply sign in using Facebook or Twitter and then schedule Twilert to email you at set interval – from every time someone tweets about you to once a day. There are different pricing plans, but there is a free plan that sends you one Twilert per day.

The beauty is that you will learn what your customers are saying about you even if you don’t always use Twitter for marketing your small business.

It’s important that you be ready to respond to any complaint in a positive manner that will reinforce your good customer service. If you see something negative being said about your small business, don’t tweet back irrationally, defensively, or in a retaliating manner. Just simply tweet them that you are sorry, and apologize that they were not fully satisfied with their visit to your establishment, and instruct them to contact you privately via email so that you can resolve the issue, and potentially have another opportunity to give them a better customer experience.

If they do contact you, make every effort to satisfy them and they will most likely tweet about your customer service and what a great business you are! Social media platforms like Twitter can be one of your best marketing tools. Smart small business owners make every effort to manage their online reputations, and Twitter can serve as an open ended way of improving customer service.

Social Media Monday: Small Business Owner’s Guide to Facebook Graph Search

Facebook’s new applications and innovations can be hard to keep up with. But these same innovations can be used to help increase marketing for your small business. For example, the Graph Search, one of the applications recently pioneered, can help increase traffic to your Facebook page if handled correctly. Here are three simple steps to maximizing the Graph Search’s potential.

Keep your Facebook page active

First of all, if you want your Facebook page to be taken seriously, spend time on it. Make it attractive to customers and get them involved. When users are searching for businesses to try, the businesses that will show up in the search (and even more importantly, those that will have highest place) will be those with pages that are continually kept up-to-date and have plenty of reviews and user action. Keep your social media presence strong and vibrant. Write posts that intrigue customers and draw them in, and put promotions up online to encourage more customer action on your page. Try coupons and special online deals or even competitions to draw more traffic to your Facebook page.

Encourage recommendations and reviews

The more popular your page gets in the social media world, the more likely you will be to get more recommendations by users. This is important because for Facebook Graph Search, your popularity on Facebook itself is what counts to get you into the search results. Regularly encourage users and customers to share your page, invite their friends, and promote your services. Communicate to your customers how important their reviews are to you. Ask for their likes and comments often. Recommendations are especially important because they get you into the “friend recommendations” search results when potential customers are searching for a small business like yours.

Get your page on Facebook Places

A future expected development in Facebook search is a “Local” feature that will allow potential customers to search only those businesses in the immediate area. Because of this, make sure that your small business is listed on Facebook Places so that you can have a presence in the area and appear in the “Local” search results. Even now, there is a ‘Nearby’ option, so try to get a presence in the area by gaining as many recommendations as possible so you’ll be featured in a higher spot in the search results.

Using these three simple tips, you can ensure that you get into the Facebook Graph Search results for potential customers of your business. This is a great- and free!- way to promote your small business online.

Branding Your Small Business

Get Your Name Out There: Brand Your Small Business

As a small business owner, you know you’re good at what you do and you’re sure you can convert customers. But attracting the right customers in the first place requires regular commitment to branding and marketing. Upgrade your marketing and branding efforts to increase your marketplace share and brand recognition:

Select a Good Name

To stand out, your small business must have a memorable name. Something as simple as Mike’s Pizza or Jessie’s Dog Grooming Salon communicates who you are and what you do, but is not memorable. Potential customers might confuse you with a competitor. Before you finalize your name, check whether domain names are available and ensure your name has no embarrassing typos or slang meanings that could undermine your business, suggests You might upgrade Mike’s Pizza to Mike’s Deep Dish or Mike’s Pie in the Sky, for example. Or you could re-brand Jessie’s Dog Grooming Salon as Jessie’s Canine Coiffure or Jessie’s Dapper Dogs. The new names inject personality, stand out and are easy for customers to remember.

Define Your Brand

Branding Your Small Business
To successfully brand your small business, know what it means. If you’ve lost touch with your brand — or never created a strong brand — convene a focus group to help define brand personality. suggests asking questions about how your service compare to competitors’ to help focus your brand. Once you’ve tweaked your brand, craft a marketing plan that caters to your new brand.

Find Your Niche

Even in a crowded marketplace, differentiate your brand and products from competitors’ through the help of a niche. A niche is an area of business that is relatively free of competition and overlooked by your main competitor. For example, you may conceptualize your service in a new way by taking the traditional concept of a bicycle repair shop and creating a mobile version that travels to areas where cyclists ride. Either personal market knowledge or consumer surveys can help you identify a niche that may be overlooked by your competitors.

Establish Your Voice and Be Consistent

Having a consistent message is key to attracting and retaining fans. GoDaddy’s Bob Parsons likes to employ the Japanese concept of kaizen, a strategy for continual improvement, according to Lifehack. “When you’re ready to quit, you’re closer than you think,” says Bob Parsons. By committing to improving your branding and messaging every day, you can accomplish a lot with just small daily effort. Try tweeting daily, for one small example of focusing on branding daily.

Use Social Media to Connect with Customers

An active social media presence can increase brand awareness and help connect you to customers. Businesses use social media for customer service, location information and to demonstrate their expertise. Determine what social media channels make sense for your industry, then commit to maintaining a regular presence on these platforms. Metrics, such as number of fans/followers and daily or weekly posting goals, help you track your ROI and improve your social media performance.

These strategies require consistent work. Consider creating metrics that help you evaluate how well your branding efforts are paying off in terms of conversion, increased sales or higher traffic.

Get more Likes to your Faebook page

Social Media Monday: 7 Tips to Improve Your Facebook Results

Set-up Facebook Business PageWhat’s the key to improving your Facebook results? Develop a real strategy for goals and audience.

The first step when you begin working with Facebook or any social media site, should be to decide how it fits in with your overall social media marketing strategy. You may decide to use Facebook to attract a new target prospect or to increase penetration in an existing market, but be sure you know the target audience you want to reach, and make sure you set measurable goals along with creating a plan for attaining them. Follow these tips from PowerSites, and you should be well on your way to better Facebook results.

Nurture and engage customers with content, games

Ensure that your Facebook page is about more than just selling your product. Of course, you’ll provide information about your products, but don’t make the page all about hard selling. Try to provide a variety of useful information that’s fun to read too. Add a downloadable app, run a simple contest, or offer coupons and deals so the customer has a reason to visit your site often.

Add photos, apps, link only updates

Make sure your page is as visually interesting as your content by including pictures or graphics. Use the occasional link only update to direct people to your primary website while still keeping your Facebook page fresh.

Analyze the value of your Facebook fans

Now that you have a following on Facebook, use analytics to uncover what each fan is worth. There should be incremental revenue or more frequent sales associated with fans. If there isn’t, go back to step one and rework your strategy. Offer coupons, prizes or giveaways that help you to measure the impact on sales from your Facebook page by directing people to your store or website to redeem the offer.

Use customer feedback to help build your brand

Even negative feedback can have a positive impact if you take the time to respond in a thoughtful way. Don’t lash out at the poster, but do make sure you get your side of the story out there. Offer to make good on the problem if you can, and you may even turn the unhappy customer into a happy one. Refer to our previous Social Media Monday blog post for more tips on how you can turn social media negativity into customer loyalty.

Reply button

Use the reply button to respond to feedback and to make sure that the poster sees your response. People feel a very real sense of connection with social media contacts, and that feeling is exactly what you want to nurture. Show your posters that you value and respect them by responding to their posts.

Mobile layout and update

With mobile device web traffic nearing 50 percent, you want to make sure that your page reacts correctly to devices. Using Facebook Mobile Layout not only helps you ensure that your site looks great, but it allows you to update from your own mobile device.

Integrate with Salesforce Social

Salesforce’s recently introduced, which allows you to create and manage campaigns with just a few clicks. Where it really sets itself apart is with its integration to Salesforce’s CRM and listening tools, where you can analyze and target prospects based on demographics or behavior in near real time.

Just follow these tips, and you will find that they lead you down a path to effective use of Facebook, and ultimately, better Facebook management.

How to turn your negative customer feedback into customer loyalty.

Social Media Monday: How to Convert Social Media Negativity into Customer Loyalty

How to turn your negative customer feedback into customer loyalty. Eventually, almost every business or company will find a negative review or a post from a disgruntled customer in social media. Whether a retweet takes on a life of its own, or somebody leaves bitter post on your own Facebook page, it feels like a personal attack on your small business. For this blog in our Social Media Monday series, PowerSites is giving you the steps to help you convert any social media negativity into customer lotalty.

Monitor your brand

Negative comments can appear anywhere, not just on your Facebook page, Yelp page, or in a Tweet. Monitor the internet for any negativity so you can take action as soon as it appears. If you’re too busy to do the monitoring yourself, designate someone reliable. This is too important to ignore.

Post a reply

If you do see a post or comment on any of your social media pages, resist the temptation to ignore the post. Statements and opinions posted on the internet have the potential to be magnified and spread quickly, and the impact of a negative post that goes un-addressed can be substantial. People expect to see a response from the business owner, so if there isn’t one, it makes it seem as though the negative comment is the whole truth.

You may need to take a deep breath before you write it, but always reply to a negative post as quickly as you can. If the poster has a valid gripe, apologize and offer to make it right. If the post is just bizarre, make sure that customers hear your side of the story by creating a careful and factual reply. Don’t rush through writing your initial response. You want a well thought out response and you need to make sure it addresses all the points in the original message.

Watch for the poster’s response to your reply

If the negativity resulted from a legitimate problem, your sincere apology and offered fix may be enough to turn the poster into a happy customer. The internet is full of messages from once-angry people who amended the original post when the business resolved the issue. If you’re lucky, your poster will be one of these people. Now, when people come across the negativity, they also see your response and the poster’s amended comments. They realize that your business cares about its customer satisfaction, and that helps them to trust your products and business.

However, not everybody is so lucky, at least, not every time. If the poster responds negatively to your overture, repeat your reasoned response. Don’t get in to a flame war no matter how many unreasonable or outrageous comments the poster makes. Your responses must always be reasonable and professional.

In any case, it’s important that you make your side of the story available to potential customers. The most loyal customers may even make defensive comments or tweets of their own that highlight excellent service or superior products. By coming to your online defense, their original feelings of loyalty intensify, and they will become a more satisfied customer.

Remember, don’t let negative comments sour you on social media, because they are a terrific opportunity to enhance customer loyalty if you follow a few important steps.

8 Ways to Improve Your Email Marketing Campaigns

8 Ways to Improve your Email Marketing Campaigns

8 Ways to Improve Your Email Marketing CampaignsBesides getting started, the most difficult thing about an email marketing campaign is “the call to action” or getting the reader to do something like click through to your website, order your product or sign up for your newsletter.

Following are eight tips, brought to you by PowerSites, to help you create stirring calls to action that the elusive customer or client will find irresistible.

  • Compelling Subject Line

    A compelling subject line should be direct and to the point. It has to appeal to the customer, let them know what’s in it for them, and stand out in their inbox.  A compelling subject line might be something as follows: “8 Ways to Increase Online Sales.” A poorly crafted subject line may read: “Using SEO to Maximize an Online Cross-Platform Marketing Campaign.”

    The first subject line is brief, and does not promise more than you can deliver; the second is too long, has too much jargon that many might not be familiar with, and is likely doomed to be overlooked or deleted.

    Offer discounts, a free product, or a familiar brand name ad you will see your response rates soar. Experian Marketing Services conducted a study and found that using either “your” and “you” has gained favor with email marketing and the use of these two words has increased nearly 4 percent.

  • Have a Sense of Urgency

    Use words such as Now! Or Today! If the reader catches the sense of urgency, they will click on your message and read it, knowing that the offer is only available for a limited time.

  • Question the Reader

    In order to conquer the reader and snatch their attention, try asking a question. Questions are an effective motivator to get the reader to take action as long as they are relevant, compelling, and personal.

  • Pilot the Subject Line

    Test a variety of subject lines to see which one generate the most click-throughs (response to call to action). You can do a small sampling of twenty emails for each subject line you create.

  • Follow these Eight Tips to Improve Your Email Marketing Campaigns

    Use Caution with Images

    It is true that images add to most messaging, but make sure that you do not use too many images or even a single image if it influences the time it takes your email to load. More than a few seconds and your reader is likely to move on. If you do use images, be sure to include “Alt Text” for the image, in the event that the email browser does not immediately display the images when the email is being viewed.

  • Keep Email Frequency in Check

    An occasional and relevant email has a great chance of being read but if you start to flood the recipient’s inbox with similar messages, you are destined for their “black list.” Every email you send will wind up in the spam or trash folder without the recipient ever seeing it.

  • Offer Value

    Your email should be 80 percent information and 20 percent sales. This means that the responsibility is yours to provide fresh and engaging information. Attention spans are short on the Internet and your email will be discarded if the information is not relevant to the reader. Avoid generic news; instead of talking about how business has been affected by the recession talk about how your reader’s industry has been impacted instead.

  • Quality is Key

    Sending out 1,000 emails that are not high quality will not improve your chances of having it read. Group your recipients by categories and then tailor the message for that category alone. Quantity for an email marketing campaign is irrelevant; it is quality that brings results.

Fuel Small Business Growth with Webinars and Virtual Events

Fuel Small Business Growth with Webinars and Virtual Events

Fuel Small Business Growth with Webinars and Virtual EventsSmall businesses have limited resources, so every tool has to be effective or it won’t be worth the effort. Many small businesses shy away from webinars and virtual events because they think that they are expensive or complicated to produce, but with modern technology, this is not the case. Once recorded, webinars and virtual events can be useful for increasing sales in a variety of ways and for extended periods. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Product Launches

When you are introducing a new product, a webinar is a great way to reach all your customers and prospects at once. It allows you to rehearse and control your message so that you know all customers are hearing a consistent message. The webinar can remain on your website indefinitely where it will continue to fuel the interest of new prospects, so be certain to remove any topical or time related references that will date the webinar too quickly.
Virtual Events

Trade shows are expensive, and many of your customers have cut back on travel budgets so trade show attendance is down. For less than the cost of a small booth at a trade show, you can highlight your company and your products in a virtual event that will last far longer than any tradeshow in the physical world.

Marketing Automation

When you have an interesting webinar in your library, you can invite any new prospects to view it. As your prospect list grows, set up an automatic invitation to view the webinar and watch your sales increase because of this one nearly effortless process.

SEO Rank

You’ll want to have descriptions of your webinars that include your top SEO keywords, and you’ll get even more exposure if you post links to the webinars on social media sites.

Post Sales Education

Face-to-face education is expensive and time consuming, and most people prefer to learn in their own way and in their own timeframe. By posting educational webinars, you can reduce your training costs while improving customer satisfaction – a double bonus.

Thought Leadership

Use webinars to help establish your company as an innovative though leader. Whatever your product, you can comment on pending legislation that might affect it, advances in the field, new uses for the product, how other countries or cultures approach the problem your product solves or any other topic that interests you. Just as they do when you post thoughtful commentary on social media sites, people will eventually learn to value your input and perceive your company as a leader in the industry, despite your small size.

Employee Training

There is always a need for employee training, whether it’s a result of new procedure, employee turnover or company growth. To ensure that all employees have consistent training, record training sessions. By recording, you ensure that you don’t leave out important points and that employees can review the training multiple times until they know the topic cold.

Community Outreach

Like thought leadership webinars, this will help you build your company’s reputation. While it might be best to stay away from politics or religion, you can speak about topics such as community fund drives or local cultural events. When your customers perceive that you are a caring and involved force in the community, they will be more likely to bring you their business.

Social Media Monday: How to Use Facebook to Gain Email Subscribers

For this installment of our Social Media Monday series, PowerSites is providing you with some tips on using Facebook to grow your email list.

Facebook is regarded as something brand new and different in marketing, but the truth is that it’s really just one more way to ask for permission, and one of the most effective means we have of doing so. These seven tips will help you to make the most of Facebook as a way to enhance, improve and reach out with your email marketing campaign:

A Permanent Home for Email Content

A lot of people read through an email once and then delete it. By using Facebook as a permanent home for email content, you have a place where people can rediscover the old pieces they liked, and new users can check out examples of what they’ll be getting.

Your email service provider probably has some great Facebook apps that you can put to work for you. Check it out and see if they have anything that makes it easier for people to sign up through your Facebook page, and automatically integrate into your email database. You never know until you take a look at what they have for you to use.

Improve Your “About” Page

Improve and optimize your 150 word “about” description so that readers really know what it is that you’re all about. A lot of people click here first before reading more than one or two of your posts and updates, so this will be a tremendous help in winning over new readers.

Create Updates About Your Newsletter

Make sure to give your readers an update where they can use the comments as a thread to discuss the newest newsletter. When you send out a newsletter, create a post about it on your Facebook page, and pose a question that will engage your followers. It’s a good idea to figure out when most of your followers are online so that you can update them then and make sure that you’re reaching them while they’re actually up and about.

Promote Posts

Promoting posts isn’t always helpful, but at times it can earn you a lot of new readers. Promoting a post costs a little money but reaches out to a wider audience. This means more people, including people that may not already ‘Like’ your page, will be seeing what you’re sharing. Make sure that you’re promoting something special, not just another update, but a story that really resonates, and will catch the attention of someone scrolling through their News Feed.

Make it Better

Finally, make your email marketing content, and your Facebook content, better. Your content may even be good enough, but it can always be better, and every time you make it better, you stand a chance at gaining new followers. Don’t rest on your laurels. Improve your content so that when you share it with a wider audience. It actually matters.

Remember that Facebook is not magic, it’s just one more tool that you can use to grow your subscriber base and social media reach. When used appropriately, the results are endless.