Moving with the times: marketing strategies and advertising ideas for 2013 – A guest post by Dave of PublishersNetwork.com

a fleeting moment in time

a fleeting moment in time (Photo credit: Brenda Anderson)

No matter what type of business they run, small business owners share a common goal: to bring in new customers and to keep the customers they already have. Having the right online marketing strategy in place is one of the best ways to accomplish both of these goals.

Developing a quality marketing strategy requires doing a bit of research. In order to properly market a product to potential customers, it is necessary to first know some information about those customers. It is then easier to customize the online marketing strategy to satisfy their specific needs. It is also a good idea to check out what competitors are doing and whether their approach is working or not. Being open to new ideas is an important part of keeping a business fresh and successful.

New marketing and advertising strategies for 2013 Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular means of marketing and shows no sign of declining in 2013. A type of revenue-sharing relationship, affiliate marketing is an arrangement between a website owner and an online business owner. The website owner agrees to place advertisements for the small business in order to help it sell products or steer customers toward the business owner’s website. The business owner then agrees to give the website owner a share of the profits. Whether it is pay per click, pay per sale or pay per lead, affiliate marketing is an effective way to market a business through passive advertising. Now, affiliate networks such as Media Whiz affiliate network help to facilitate this marketing arrangement, with Media Whiz bringing together and managing the right business owners with the right websites.

The booming sales of the many eBook compatible devices available on the market today, such as the Kindle, the iPad and smartphones, mean that electronic book sales will only continue to increase in 2013. Businesses would be wise to approach the promotion and sale of eBooks as a huge marketing opportunity for their company. As eBooks are relatively inexpensive, they can be accessed from a variety of platforms, and the ease of being able to download and read them anywhere at any time means that eBooks can also provide generous income to businesses who promote these products well. Creating an eBook that focuses on a certain aspect of the business may take time and effort, but producing such a valuable resource for current and potential customers will make the effort worthwhile in the returns it will bring in.

Blogs, once simply spaces for the creative or documentary meanderings of writers, have now become full-fledged marketing tools for many types of business, and this trend looks to continue in 2013. One of the latest strategies for using blogs to advertise and market small businesses is to create so-called mini blogs that provide customers and potential customers with valuable information, while at the same time providing the writers with a means for earning income. Paying to create a blog is a much more financially sound strategy than paying out large sums to a third party to create a website.

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Keeping in Touch with Customers Over the Holidays – Automating Blog & Social Media Posts

A guest post by Gina Smith

You have big plans to take some time off during the holiday season. One problem – you don’t want to lose the momentum of your blog and Social Media posts you’ve worked so hard throughout the year to build. No worries – you can still wake up Christmas morning without having to worry about posting to your blog or social accounts. Below are some helpful tips to consider:

Automate Blog Posts
First, if you aren’t already doing so, set your blog to replicate across your social networks. Each blog provider is a little different, so consult the help section or ask your webmaster how to integrate with your Social Media sites. While you are looking into this, check the steps of how to automate your blog posts. Most blogs, including WordPress and Blogger, include this capability. Once you integrate and automate, you can set up content to post automatically throughout the holidays.

Establish a Calendar
Pre-plan what and when you want to post. If you will be on vacation, consider posts which are less likely to generate comments you will need to immediately address. Also, perhaps think about including posts which are less “business” related. Do you have a favorite recipe to share? Or, how about a list of last minute gift ideas. And, of course, don’t forget a fun greeting Christmas morning and a Happy New Year at midnight on January 1st.

Become Familiar with Facebook Scheduling
Did you know Facebook offers a scheduling feature right in the application itself? Here’s how to use it. First, write your post and attach any tags, photos, videos, etc. Next, look to lower left corner of your post. You will see a clock symbol. Click this to set the year, month, day and time. You can schedule posts up to 6 months in advance, and even backdate posts in your timeline.

Explore Third-Party Providers
There are a number of third party providers which you can use to automate your Social Media posts. One of the most popular is HootSuite, which is used by a number of larger corporations. There are both free and paid versions. Both allow you to manage and automate posts for a number of Social Media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Google+ Pages, and even WordPress, among others. The paid version includes analytics, additional social profiles, and other neat features. Buffer and TweetDeck are also popular third part providers to consider. Always be sure to thoroughly research the options, features, terms and conditions, etc., of any third party provider and choose one which best fits the needs of your business.

So, no need to fret about your blog and Social Media posts over the holidays. With a little pre-planning, you can easily sustain momentum with your customers all the way into the new year!

Gina Smith writes freelance articles for magazines, online outlets and publications on behalf of a number of companies, including Global Response. Smith covers the latest topics in the business, golf, tourism, technology and entertainment industries.

Struggling with Business Blogging in 2012? Fancy a chat with me?

Info from the English WP http://en.wikipedia.o...

Image via Wikipedia

 

I was talking to someone at a networking meeting the other day, and we both agreed that 2012 looks set to be THE year that small businesses really start to understand the value of blogging for business. While many companies ‘dipped their toe in the water’ in 2010 and 2011, the increase in publicity surrounding business blogging is sure to encourage more small businesses to give it a go.

But it can be a bit of a minefield can’t it?

  • How to setup a blog
  • What platform to use
  • What to blog about
  • Is guestblogging worth it?
  • How to encourage interaction
  • Writing blogs that encourage sales, but aren’t too ‘sales-y’

And that’s just things I’ve heard recently!

So I’m offering small businesses a great chance to kickstart their blogging this year, and it starts off FREE!

 

Free?

Yep, free.

I’m offering 5 lucky small businesses the chance to trial my new small business blogging mentoring for ten days for absolutely nothing.

 

What’s in the Small Business Blogging Mentoring Package Nikki?

Glad you asked 😉

I’ll help you with every aspect of blogging, mentoring, giving ideas, helping out with issues, and helping you get valuable promotion and traffic in a number of ways:

  • 1 40 minute phone call a month to talk through ideas, issues, give tips, hints, guidance and more
  • After each call, a follow up email with the points we’ve discussed, and any further thoughts I’ve had
  • A recording of each call so that you can listen back at your leisure
  • Email support until the next call, to help with any queries you have
  • Ad hoc emails from me giving extra advice and ideas as I think about them during the month
In short, a pretty bespoke mentoring service aimed squarely at your business blog.
In February I’ll be launching a member’s only blogging forum, and you’ll get free access to that too.

What’s the catch?

There’s no catch. This is how it works.

  1. You sign up to my small blogging mentoring service at a special price of £60 per month
  2. This is set up so that you don’t pay ANYTHING for 10 days.
  3. Before that 10 days is up, we’ll do your first call; for free
  4. And you’ll get your follow up email and recording: for free
  5. If you’re not happy, or decide it’s not for you, simply cancel your subscription before payment is due.
  6. If you are happy, simply carry on as normal, your paid subscription will start and we’ll book your next call

You’re just doing this in the hope we’ll forget to cancel and have to carry on, aren’t you?

Nope. I’m doing it this way to ensure that the people who sign up for it are serious. If I just offered free calls without the subscription system I’d have to spend half of my time chasing people to sign up afterwards, which in turn means I have to make the service more expensive.

There really is no catch – if you want to cancel after our first call, you can. If (as i hope) you want to carry on, this system makes it seamless for both of us.

 

OK so what do I have to do?

Use the Paypal subscription button below to subscribe (you can cancel at any time, there’s no minimum subscription fee) and you’ll see it will tell you your payment will be taken in 10 days.

I will email you to determine a good time for the call and we’ll go from there – it’s that simple!

Questions? Drop me a line to nikkipilk@gmail.com or grab me on Twitter @nikkipilkington

Remember, only 5 places available to start with, so book in soon!

Like this post? Don’t forget to check out the 30 Day Blogging Challenge, and kickstart your blogging in just 30 days!

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Stuck for blog post ideas? Write an FAQ!

Question mark

Image via Wikipedia

This post is extracted from the 30 Day Blogging Challenge, a £5 ebook or 30 Day email course aimed at kickstarting your blogging success

Today let’s set up a mini FAQ. We’ve already spoken about how people often search with questions, so let’s put 4 or 5 of the questions you get asked and drop them into a blog post.

For example, I could write ‘Top 5 Social Media Questions’

They could be:

  • Does Facebook really work for business (yes)
  • Is ghost blogging wrong? (no)
  • Isn’t Twitter all about what people had for lunch? (no)
  • Isn’t blogging a waste of time? (no)
  • How do I set up a WordPress blog?

The answers could be a few lines, or a few paragraphs, but they’ll make up the bulk of the post.

What are the questions your client and customers ask you the most? Answer them in today’s blog for a ready made mini FAQ.

Eager to see the rest of the challenges? Get the 30 Day Blogging Challenge ebook for just £5 now

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Blogging around :)

nikkitwitterI don’t only blog here, I’m active in a few other places (as well as blogging for clients of course!) – so here are a few of my blogs in other places you may not have known about!

Birds on the Blog

I love being a Bird, and if you haven’t checked out this great site, full of fab female bloggers blogging about business and life, then you should do it now! Here are some of my recent posts over there:

My personal Blogger blog

As you would imagine, I post about a lot of different things on here – personal stuff, bits about clients, things that interest me. I wiped it a few months ago and started again (lots of reasons) but there are a few posts on there that you may be interested in if you want to know more about ME:

Guest Blogs

I’m pretty much always available for a guest blog or two, so if you’re interested in having me write something for your blog, please get in touch at nikkipilk@gmail.com. Here are a few guest posts from me:

I blog in other places too, sometimes as me, sometimes under a pseudonym, depending on the content – if you spot me on your travels, do leave a comment and say Hi!

Need comments and exposure for your blog posts?

Hands in the air - in concertI’m going to revive something I used to run in a slightly different form a few years ago, and I’d be delighted if some of you would join me.

One of the problems lots of us have is getting comments on our blogs, finding blogs to comment on, and generally getting exposure for our blogs.

Blog commenting groups are a great way around this.

How does it work?

  • Each group consists of no more than 8 people, and each person lets the rest of the group know when they have made a new blog post.
  • The group resolves to comment on the other members’ blog posts where possible
  • The group is also asked to Tweet and Facebook any posts that are particular interesting to them (this isn’t obligatory)
  • In theory every blog post should have at least 7 comments on it, but the fact that they are promoted too means that in practice they often have many more

Who’s going to be in it?

Well, I’m going to do as I did before and run multiple groups, some will be loosely themed (eg sites of interest to mums, B2B blogs, retail etc) and some will be just random.

You can be a part of as many or as few groups as you like.

How’s it going to run?

Ideally I’d like to run this using Facebook Groups – we’ll keep each group private so only the members involved can see the relevant info. However, I am aware that not everyone is on Facebook so we could also run it via an email discussion group and / or Skype chats. We’ll work it out as we go along.

I don’t have a blog, can I still take part?

If you’re planning on commenting on the other blogs in the group then yes, but each group will only have one person that doesn’t have a blog.

Can we use the groups to ask for feedback on blogs / blogging ideas?

Yes, it’s as much a support group at times as it is a commenting group

OK, so how much will it cost me?

Nothing. Zero. Nada. It’s something I ran on a networking site I’m no longer involved with years ago, and it worked well – I think it could work well again. Eventually I might turn it into a website, but it will still be free.

I’m interested, sign me up!

OK, in the first instance you need to email me nikkipilk@gmail.com and tell me:

  • Your name
  • The address of your blog
  • Your industry
  • Whether you want to be in the ‘loosely related’ groups, the ‘random’ groups or both
  • Whether you’d rather be part of a Facebook group, an email group, a Skype chat, or you don’t care

That’s it! Please don’t leave your answers on this blog post, as I’ll be sending all emails to Leigh to collate the groups, and it’s easier for us both to keep everything in one place.

Thanks for reading so far and I look forward to helping you to get more and more comments on your blogs, and to us all helping each other out!

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Creative Commons License photo credit: marfis75

5 blog headlines from today's newspapers

News Paper Origami Dragon MonsterOne of the issues that a lot of people have when writing blogs is that they can't think of anything to write about. One way to stimulate the creative juices and come up with ideas is to scan through the news. Just reading a few news stories can give you something to write about, so let's see what headlines we can find for blog posts today, and what sort of blogs could be written:

 

  1. The Telegraph has: Gender disappointment – coping with the 'wrong' baby. If you run a children's type website, this would be great to write about and generate discussion. Similarly if you run a life coach or counselling blog, it's a controversial subject sure to get the comments flowing. Obviously it would be a good subject for a blog on a pregnancy website. Blog titles? How about: "Is there such a thing as the wrong baby?" Or "Did you wish your boy was a girl?" Or "How to cope with Gender Disappointment guilt'? Something about the biological reasons people want a certain sex child. Or maybe tie it into the Chinese situation where baby girls are often dumped because boys carry on the line.
     
  2. I'm too fat for fashion says size 8 Gemma Atherton is a headline on the Daily Mail website today. Again, a controversial subject that it's easy to write about. A women's site, food blog, weight loss site, life coach, and many more spring to mind when I think of this one. Blog titles such as "When the perfect 10 is weigh too big", "No wonder our kids are anorexic" or "Does size matter"? Something about how clothes sizes have changed in the last X years. How about something comparing men's sample sizes with women's sample sizes?
     
  3. The Sun and other papers are leading with the news that David Cameron has slashed Cabinet Ministers' pay by 5 percent. Again, great fodder for a number of blogs – recrutiment and jobs, accountancy, political, even just general business. How about "How cutting salaries can increase performance"? Or "Why 5% off your salary could mean X% more marketing"? Or "Why you don't have to be a government minister to make difficult financial decisions"? Maybe something about how to present a pay cut to your staff?
     
  4. The Guardian has an article about Wall Street banks being investigated over links to rating agencies. Perfect for a number of industries to write about – financial, property, investment, to name a few. Apart from writing about the story, think about other angles to it – how about a blog about whether the rating agencies are a good way to 'value' sub prime mortgages these days? Or an FAQ on sub prime mortgages? Or "What is a sub prime mortgage and what's all the fuss about ratings?" "Why you need a sub prime mortgage" I could go on forever on this one!
     
  5. For something a little different, the Times is reporting that lobsters should be worth more than £3. While this is obviously great blog fodder for a foodie or recipe site, it could lend itself to many other blogs too. Most bsuiness blogs could write about why spending a little more is often a good thing. "When the lowest price doesn't mean the best value". "You really do get what you pay for" "Don't be like the lobsters; cheap as chips' and many more headlines spring to mind. I write blogs for (among others) a building company, a telemarketing company, a kiddie's clothes company and a greetings card company – that one story allowed me to think of a blog for each of them – and many more!

So there you have it, off the top of my head, 5 stories that could lead to blog posts. So when you're short of ideas, grab a cup of coffee and trawl through the newspapers – you're sure to find soemthing that you can write about.

I can guarantee that whatever your industry, one of the papers has something in it today that you could turn into blog fodder. In fact, I'm so sure that if you post your blog address in the comments below, I'll find you a news story and give you a headline – how's that for being sure of myself?

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Creative Commons License photo credit: epSos.de

Recommended WordPress plugin – Photodropper for WordPress

If you post a lot of your blog's content onto Facebook, you really need to include a picture with your blog posts to make it look good, stand out and not look like everything else you post on your Facebook Fan Page or profile.

But of course, you can't just go running to a search engine and steal any old picture, without giving proper credit or paying for it.

Which is where this fab plugin comes in – Photodropper for WordPress searches Flickr for pictures that you ARE allowed to use, and allows you to put them into your blog posts, along with the proper accreditation and copyright notice – all at the touch of a few buttons!

You can search by keyword to find the picture you want, choose the alignment and size, then simply press to insert into your blog – it's so simple anyone can do it!

(If your blog is a commercial one, make sure you check the 'commercial blog' box as some people on Flickr don't want their pictures used on commercial blogs)

To download this plugin, visit the Photodropper for WordPress website.

Not sure how to install plugins? See our Guide to installing WordPress plugins.

Still unable to install? If you need help installing a WordPress plugin, please see our WordPress Plugin Installation Help service.

Apologies for my absence – but I have a good excuse!

19jan10aIt’s been a little while since I updated, but I think I have a good excuse 🙂

Some of you may remember me posting about my pregnancy – well Olivia Niamh was born 2 weeks early on 20th February, taking us a little by surprise.

See, I’d planned to be a good little blogger and practice what I preach. I’d written and set up scheduled blogs for all of my clients, I’d planned the blogs I was going to write for myself, and then I was out of time – so no blogs from me for the last week!

Here in France there’s an obligatory 5 day stay in hospital, and we arrived home on Thursday, which gave me a couple of days to get back into the swing of things. Clients have indeed been receiving emails at 2 and 3 am, and I’m still a little behind (yes, everyone who’s met me, it’s the only time the words ‘little behind’ can be used in the same sentence as my name 😉 ) but we’re getting there.

In the meantime, why not check out some of my recent blogs over on Birds on the Blog:

Normal service will be resumed pretty soon, as soon as we have Olivia trained up 😉

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Olivia Niamh Gisbourne

How do I get more targeted traffic to my blog?

A question I’m asked a lot, and one of the things that may help is something I covered in my blog over on Birds on the Blog today – Make your blog posts answer questions for more targeted traffic.

Feel free to nip over there and add your blog to the comments so I can help you out too!

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