Tag Archives: online marketing

7 Online Marketing Mistakes to Avoid at all Costs

Online marketing efforts can backfire if not done properly. Thee are certain things that are sure to turn off viewers and potential customers. I’ll list some common mistakes below.

Your Website Needs Improvement

This may be for various reasons. It may be visually cluttered and unattractive. Perhaps it contains typos and poor grammar. It may contain broken links or other problems with functionality. The pages may load too slowly.

You want your website to have a clean, well-organized appearance. The visitor should be able to scan it quickly for what they’re looking for. The pages should load quickly and be easy to navigate to. A professional copywriter can make sure that the words convey the right message and keep your visitors interested enough to stay on the page more than a few seconds. A poorly written or poorly designed page is almost certain to translate into a high bounce rate.

You’re not Using Email Marketing

It’s important to gather information about your visitors. Often, an incentive is provided, such as offering them a free gift, newsletter, discount, e-book, or other offering. Don’t buy email lists and send email to people who haven’t requested it. You should also provide an unsubscribe option to your subscribers.

Keep track of the responses from your list and create groups based upon their open rate and whether or not they click on the links contained in your email messages. This will help you target your readers with the best offers. You may want to send email less frequently to less responsive list members.

You’re not Analyzing Your Traffic

You need to use analytics to see where your website traffic is coming from. The available tools let you pinpoint the traffic and referral source for all of your leads and sales. If a certain traffic source clearly isn’t delivering results, don’t waste efforts and resources on it. Allocate more energy and resources on the sources that produce a high percentage of conversions.

You Talk too Much About Yourself

How do you feel about people who talk only about themselves? Your visitors and readers feel the same way. It’s boring, no one cares to hear about how great you are all the time or what you just ate. They want to know how you can help solve their problems.

You’re Over-Optimizing

Don’t create content for search engines, create it for humans. Google will penalize your site for overoptimization. Your content should focus on delivering informative, engaging content. Practices like keyword stuffing are a thing of the past.

Your Online Marketing Content is Stale

Keep your content fresh and relevant. Rehashing old articles isn’t going to be effective in catching your viewers’ attention and keeping them engaged.

You Don’t Have a Call to Action

You need to let the visitor know what to do next to get more involved with your content and business. A call to action may be a newsletter sign-up or an opportunity to download an e-book. Your call to action should be placed in the proper location, such as directly under the header, at the end of a post, and on the sidebar. The link should direct them to a specific landing page that clearly highlights what value is being provided to the customer.

 

Top Copywriting Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs

Some people naturally have a flair for harnessing the power of the written word. Some are born salespeople, and could sell ice to the Eskimos. However, there are some pitfalls that even a great writer needs to be on the lookout for.

Poor Copywriting Grammar, Spelling, and/or Punctuation

There are some hard and fast rules learned in English class. Others are a matter of style, and won’t get your paper covered in the teacher’s red ink At least you’ll have the “matter of style” defense to rest on if you get points off for a difference in style. On the other hand, the black and white errors that accompany spelling and punctuation stand out to the well-trained eye like the commission of an English felony. With sirens blaring, the spelling and grammar police will penalize you harshly.

I remember a client of mine who had horrendous spelling. It was as if a five-year old as trying to phonetically spell the words. I have to admit that I made an assumption and judged his intelligence based upon his poor spelling habits. It seemed to me that anyone whose spelling was so poor couldn’t be very bright or well read. As I got to know him better, I discovered he was very sharp and did read quite a bit. Not just his child’s bedtime stories either, he read lengthy literary works on various non-fiction topics. While it changed my assumptions about those who are spelling-challenged, I still cringe at certain spelling errors.

Ignoring SEO Best Practices

SEO best practices encompasses many factors. While the techniques involved are constantly changing, there are some constants to keep in mind.

  • Use original content. If you spin an article and it doesn’t pass Copyscape, you can get penalized. It’s not enough to just change some words around. While your time may not allow you to write articles from scratch, you need to properly reword your article when rewriting existing content. If you have doubts about originality, Copyscape is a good investment a 5 cents a search. There are also free plagiarism checkers available online.
  • Add images. Caution must also be used with images. If you don’t create your own, be sure you use royalty-free images or follow proper royalty and copyright rules. Your images should be interesting enough to catch the audience’s eye and properly optimized with alt tags and meta descriptions.
  • Find the right keyword balance. Currently, keyword stuffing should be avoided, it may get you penalized. Your language should flow naturally and not use keywords awkwardly. Your top keywords should be used in headings and as close to the beginning of sentences as possible.
  • Write an effective headline. The headline is what motivates your audience to click on the link and read further. If the headline isn’t compelling, the rest of what you write won’t matter, since it won’t be seen. There are various techniques used in headline writing, such as creating intrigue by posing a question, using strong adjectives, offering tips / how-to’s, and others.

I’ll be following up with some further tips in a future post. In the meantime, if you’d like to share some of your pet peeves, please feel free to sound off below.

LinkedIn Business Networking Success Tips

LinkedIn can be a great way to use social networks for professional gain. At first, in may look daunting to a person who’s used to Facebook’s visual interface and lots of entertaining, fluffy posts. The tone on social media sites vary according to the users’ motives, and LinkedIn is definitely about getting ahead in business-building your brand name, reputation, and customer base. Here are some of the top tips for getting the most out of LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Strategies for Dominance

Optimize your profile with keywords. Especially in your headline, your current work experience, past work experience and summary. Google Adwords is a great tool for keyword research.

Use a professional headshot. Your half-naked pose or picture of you at the bar will not impress. At least, not in the right way.

Complete your profile. Make sure to fill out all the sections and add projects, publications, awards, certifications, whatever you can to fill it out as completely as possible. You can use the Complete Your Profile button to get walked through this.

Take a look at some profiles of your top competitors. Not only does your profile need to be written with proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation, it should use effective marketing language with flair.

Build your connections number. 500+ seems to be the magic number everyone needs to have in order to be taken seriously. In this case, it’s quantity over quality, I doubt that most people actually know all of those connections personally. I imported my email contacts as a .csv file and hardly had anyone I knew accept my invitation to connect. I know some of them probably didn’t have a LinkedIn account or weren’t active users, but others, well…sheesh. The real topper is when you send a connection request to your coworker that doesn’t get accepted. Nice teamwork there, huh?

I eventually joined some open networking groups and that got me to 500+ quickly. (I did notice a couple of the coworkers who initially snubbed my connection request had a change of heart after I had 500+ and sent me one. Kinda made me feel like one of the nerds at school who suddenly gets invited to sit at the popular kids’ table at the cafeteria and now everyone likes you.)

Give endorsements. Sure, it’s nice when people endorse you back. However, if they don’t, don’t let that discourage you from taking the initiative in endorsing others. I always return endorsements as long as their profile looks like it matches the skills. It’s just the right thing to do for etiquette’s sake, and hopefully good LinkedIn karma.

Post updates. The Pulse feed is a good way to get visibility. I’d like to have time to post more often, but I try to share a blog post at least once a week.

These are some basic tips to get you started off on the right foot. Do you love or hate LinkedIn? If you do, please share your reasons.

Online Marketing Pet Peeves and Turnoffs

There are some online marketing strategies that I find highly irritating. Am I the only one? It sometimes seems that way, since they must be getting results if they appear so often. The following are my top offenders:

The Half Hour Audio Teaser

They’re going to share their secret to fame, fortune, happiness, success, etc. with you. How they lost 10 pounds in two days, the stock that’s set to skyrocket 100 times in value, how to make every person of the opposite sex fall at your feet. You’re dying to hear the big reveal, but first you have to listen to thirty minutes of a spiel that’s designed to prime you for the final pitch. If you have the time and patience to listen to the speaker drone on, he’ll keep leading you on with promises about how he’s going to get to the point and share the valuable secret soon. (Who is this guy anyway? The same annoying voice seems to be used in all of these things. They probably never show his picture because he’s afraid of death threats.) If you’ve got the stamina to hang in there until the end, you wind up feeling like you did when someone in your early dating years strung you along with empty promises. You’re wearing a big “S” for sucker on your forehead when you finally find out that in order to get the top secret information, you’re going to have to pony up the price of a subscription to their newsletter, buy their book, or buy a membership to join their group. I don’t understand how someone can still trust them to deliver information that lives up to it hype after they just spent all that time stringing them along with their teasing.

Online Marketing Daily Spam

One of my very first followers on my blog was from a guy who lives a “location-free lifestyle.” Okay, so he’s a homeless guy with a computer, but I was impressed that he was able to make enough of a living with just his laptop to travel the world. To show my appreciation, I reciprocated and signed up for his newsletter. That’s when I found out the hard way how much time a homeless guy with a pc has on his hands. I started getting tons of emails, sometimes more than once a day. If people are nice enough to subscribe to your newsletter, don’t abuse their email address. I shouldn’t be hearing from you more often than I do my family members and closest friends.

These are just some of the online turnoffs I encounter most. Feel free to sound off and rant about yours. Maybe I’ll even seem less crabby when you do.

Blogging Tips for Blog and Online Marketing Success

A blog is an essential online marketing tool these days. However, if you handle it poorly, it can backfire and damage your reputation. Here are some social media marketing tips to ensure your blogging is effective.

Blog Writing Tips for Blogging Success

  1. Write original content. Copy and pasting someone else’s content is a huge no-no. Not only is it illegal and unethical under copyright law and plagiarism rules, but the search engines are very adept at recognizing duplicate content and will penalize your site for it.
  2. Use quality, optimized images. Make sure they’re royalty free if you haven’t made them yourself or paid for them. Canva and PicMonkey are two popular image tools. Your images should have some visual appeal, something that catches the eye and draws a viewer’s attention to it. All images need to have alt tags and meta descriptions that contain the proper keywords. They also need to be sized properly for the target platform. For example, Pinterest favors taller images, while other sites favor wider images. You can use a plugin like WP Smush.It to reduce the load time of your images.
  3. Keep your content fresh. Posting only one a month or less won’t be often enough to get you the results you want. Google will rank your site lower if it sees the same stale content on there.
  4. Keep your target audience in mind. For example, a legal blog shouldn’t use lots of obscure Latin terms and legalese if it’s aimed at clients in the general public. Figure out how to match your tone to the style best suited to the readers you want to reach.
  5. Proofread. Use of proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation is important for a professional image. Especially if you’re trying to market writing services, a missing comma an cost you a potential customer. However, even if you’re selling widgets, sloppy writing may convey an unprofessional, sloppy impression of your business to your audience.
  6. Provide interaction. Your posts should give the reader an opportunity to provide feedback. Popular plugins for reader interaction are comment boxes and social share buttons, but there are also other options. If you use a comment plugin, be aware that spammers can target these, so you should protect your site with an anti-spam plugin like Akismet or Captcha. You may be very surprised, and not in a good way, by the number of spam comments you’ll receive without a safeguard in place. Deleting hundreds or thousands of spam comments definitely isn’t one of the joys of blogging.

These are some basic content writing tips that are essential for bloggers on all topics. Of course, there’s more to optimizing your blog and engaging with readers, so stay tuned for my follow up posts on blogging. Do you have a favorite blog? One you want to pick on-even mine?