Archive for January, 2018

Why You Should Start a Blog

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

For any small business, starting a blog can be an important way to stand out in a crowded field or industry. Here are just a few of the benefits that you can obtain by starting a new blog.

Get closer to your customers

Customers are the lifeblood of any business, but how well do you really know what your customers are thinking and saying? A blog provides a way to get closer to your customers and understand their preferences, habits and behaviors. Every time you update your blog, you will receive commentary and feedback from customers.

Moreover, if you integrate basic analytic packages for your blog (such as Google Analytics), you will have the ability to see very important information about where your visitors are coming from, which pages they are visiting and which Google search terms are bringing them to your website in the first place.

Improve your website’s SEO ranking

As you can already see, Google is an important element to consider when launching a blog. If you want your business to become more visible and appear on the first page of search results, one way of doing that is by launching a blog. That’s because Google’s search algorithm specifically looks for websites that are updated regularly and that are attracting a lot of new activity.

Since blogs are updated regularly and can attract a lot of customer activity and feedback, many SEO experts recommend adding a blog to a pre-existing website. This is an important point – while your blog can easily be created as a standalone website, it works most effectively when integrated into your current website.

Create a new flow of customers

If you update your blog on a regular basis, you are not just making it easier for Google to find you – you are also making it easier for new customers to find you. That is why you should base the content of your blog on what customers are already looking for in search engines. For example, if you are a hardware store, think about the types of home improvement projects that customers are asking about or searching for online, and then develop content that is based specifically around those queries. Again, it’s all about being smart and tactical with how you use your blog.

Become a thought leader in your industry

Within any industry there are “thought leaders” – the types of people who seem to be ahead of new trends, who are asked to speak at business events, and who are generally considered to be experts in their field. When you launch a blog and carefully grow and cultivate your audience, you have the potential to become a true thought leader. Every time you are asked to speak at a local business event, community event or trade show, you are essentially generating free PR and marketing for your business, too.

So what’s the best way to proceed with your blog? My advice is to hire a professional web developer to set up your blog so that you can focus on telling your story and developing great content that will attract new customers.

What is Social Media Marketing?

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

Social media marketing is a subset of digital marketing. It refers to a wide range of marketing activities that can be conducted on the world’s most popular social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

The most basic form of social media marketing is simply setting up a social media presence in the first place, such as by setting up a Facebook page for your business or a Twitter account for your brand. You can then use these pages and accounts to interact with customers, let them know about upcoming specials and promotions, run contests and provide behind-the-scenes updates about your business.

When customers “like” your page on Facebook or “follow” you on Twitter, they will hear from you every single time that you update your account. Thus, if you run a local restaurant or pub, you might tweet out a special promotion every Monday (e.g. a two-for-one special only available to social media followers). The key here is to offer a different form of content for each different social media platform, so that users have an incentive to follow each of them.

After you’ve set up a basic social media presence, the next step is experimenting with the different advertising solutions that are possible on these platforms. For example, Facebook makes it very easy to set up a highly targeted advertising campaign that can last for as long as you’d like, even just a few days. Best of all, you can build this advertising campaign so that only certain types of people will see the ad. For example, if you are a restaurant business, you might only want to show Facebook ads to people who live within 10 miles of your restaurant. (Why waste money by showing ads to people who live too far away to ever stop by?)

As you start to learn what types of content resonates with your customers, you can start to branch out into more engaging types of content. For example, on Instagram, after you’ve posted a few standalone photos, you might want to start collecting photos into “Stories,” so that you have a much greater ability to tell a narrative about your business. On Facebook, you might want to experiment with video (especially live video), which has been shown to be the most engaging form of social media content.

In addition, you can also experiment with a subset of social media marketing known as influencer marketing. This can be an enormously powerful form of marketing if you are in certain industries, such as fashion, travel or beauty. For example, let’s say that you run a clothing store that offers fashion for young millennial women. You could find a social media influencer in the fashion business; this person would promote your products and store for you on their own social media accounts. Since these influencers can have tens of thousands – if not hundreds of thousands – of followers, even just a few sales made from an influencer marketing campaign can have a very high ROI.

It might seem easy to set up your Facebook page or basic social media profile by yourself, but if you really want to achieve results and experiment with some of the more sophisticated forms of social media marketing, you should consider hiring an expert. All of your social media platforms should work together seamlessly, and that’s one big advantage of hiring an expert: your social media platforms will work, and they will work well together.

Blogging in English For Non-Native Speakers

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

For many non-native speakers, the very idea of blogging in English might seem to be completely insurmountable. Coming up with unique ideas and concepts for blog posts might be easy, but how can you convey these thoughts and ideas online if you are not fluent in English? Fortunately, there are many different solutions to this issue.

Opt for images, not text

Perhaps the most popular solution is to focus on images and video, and not text. This simplifies matters considerably, because you only need to provide a few basic captions to the images. And, if you opt for video, you might not need to provide any text at all. You could simply embed a link to the video right within your blog.

For example, let’s say that you are a restaurant owner based in Houston, Texas. Your business specializes in authentic Mexican cuisine, and your primary customer base is the city’s Latino community. You are now looking to expand your presence in the city, and that means launching an English-language blog. You could use this blog to showcase examples of menu items with a series of beautiful photos. For each photo, you’d simply include a brief caption of the name of the dish. Or, you could use your blog to introduce visitors to the various members of your team – such as your new celebrity chef or your “employee of the month.”

Use online tools to edit and translate text

Another solution is simply to write in your native language and then use an online tool like Google Translate to translate the most difficult parts into English. This can often produce a working translation that you can then edit with a tool like Grammarly. Or, if you have other team members (or family members) who are fluent in English, you can ask them to review and edit what has already been written or translated.

Another option is to provide two versions of a website blog, one in your native language and one in English. In Europe, for example, it’s quite popular to provide multiple versions of a website for people speaking different languages. There will often be a button that toggles on/off between English and another language (German, French, Spanish, Italian, etc.). You could adapt this same solution for your blog.

Use short-form content that’s based around lists

Finally, another option is to limit the type of text-based content that you will be creating for the blog. A blog doesn’t have to be a long, rambling essay. It can just be a “listicle,” which is really just a brief list of items. This is a very popular form of content made popular by sites like BuzzFeed. For example, if you are a restaurant owner, you might post a list of “Top places in the city to buy fresh, organic food.” This type of content provides immediate value to the reader, but is easy enough to create without the need to be completely fluent in English.

While it’s possible to set up your own blog and provide content for it on a regular basis, it’s preferable to hire a professional blogging agency or other expert who can help to set up your blog and post content on a regular basis. It really depends on how comfortable you are with your level of English proficiency and how much it matters to your core audience.