How to Build a Strong Online Presence

A couple of years ago, BIA/Kelsey conducted a survey of over 100 sample consumers. A subsequent data analysis revealed that 97% of modern consumers use the Internet when researching local products and services. The percentage is probably the same today, but seeing how the number of both Internet (according to ITU data, it grew from 2.1 to 3.4 billion today) and mobile users (according to Cisco research, the number quintupled since 2000) grew immensely since then, you only now have a lot of more potential customers online. The bottom line is, for most people in the 21st century, their first introduction to your business and your brand is by discovering it online.

A strong online presence will not only increase your brand’s reputation, but it will also establish you as an authority figure in your particular niche. So the biggest question is this: How can you exactly stand apart from every other business that is trying to reach new customers online? According to last year’s findings from the Kauffman Foundation, there are over 530,000 new business in the US every month, so if you really want to differentiate yourself from the competition, you will have to use certain branding and marketing methods to increase your online presence.

Properly Optimizing Your Site

At this point, there is no valid reason why you should not have a business website. But surprisingly, according to the findings from the US Small Business Administration, over 50% of small businesses in America do not have an official website. When you consider how many people are searching for products online, this fact is troublesome, to say the least. Nevertheless, assuming that you already have a website, you have to make sure that it is properly optimized. It has to be mobile-friendly and it needs to have frequent information updates.

Going Beyond Blogging

Regularly updating your blog will build trust and help you define your brand’s voice, but you should not limit yourself to blog posts alone when creating new content. Instead, you should develop multiple forms of content such as infographics, eBooks or short, online videos. Dr. James L. McQuivey of Forrester Research argues that the only one minute of video is worth around 1.8 million words– that is an equivalent of 3,600 typical web pages. So just ask yourself do you really have the energy to write almost 2 million words? And even you are a quick writer, and write let us say, two pages an hour, it would take you two and a half month of writing to achieve the impact of 60 seconds of video.

Increasing Visibility through Email

And while many people today are quick to dismiss email, the fact is, email marketing is still ridiculously effective. A recent McKinsey & Company study found that email is still a more effective way of acquiring customers than social media. The researchers explain that the main reason for this is that more than 90% of consumers still use email on a daily basis. According to their report, email is 40 times more effective than Twitter and Facebook combined. This is one of the reasons why companies in the highly-competitive travel industry depend on email to boost their visibility and increase conversions. Therefore, if you are not sure where to start with building your online presence, maybe it would be a good idea to start with the most “primitive” tool you have at your disposal.

Conclusion – Staying on Your Toes

For instance, while we mentioned that you should definitely try some other forms of content rather than sticking to blogging, you have to keep in mind that guest blogging is powerful tool. While guest blogging is primarily used for link building purposes, it can also help you earn credibility and drive your site’s traffic. Simply put, if the audience of an established website (think Forbes or Entrepreneur) enjoys your posts, they will surely visit your site and possibly follow you on social media.

Finally, if you are not convinced that investing in your online visibility is essential to the success of your company, one fact will undoubtedly convince you – your competitors are already doing it. And if your business falls too far behind, it may become irrelevant in just a few years time. For that reason, you need to build your online presence, and increase the “findability” of your website, products, and services, if you want to stay one step ahead of your competitors both.

Oscar is a writer from Sydney and one of the editors at Bizzmarkblog. He enjoys conducting research in the vast fields of business and marketing and writing about the useful insights he gathers on a daily basis. Follow Oscar on Twitter.to stay updated with his latest posts.

Knowledge is Power: How to Make Your Brand a Leading Authority in the Industry

When your business is able to project an image of itself as a fountain of knowledge, all kinds of positives follow. People will know that they can trust your company, and that means they’ll be more likely to buy from it. You can also then begin to grow your share of the market and become dominant. But how can you make your brand a leading authority in your industry? These steps will help you get there.

Offer Valuable Insights on Social Media and a Blog

If you want to become a leading voice and authority in your industry, you need to think about how you’ll get your voice heard. There are two key ways in which this can be achieved. First of all, you’ll need to provide insights on social media. It’s free and easy for people to follow your account on Twitter, so give people a reason to do so. If they feel like you’re offering something important, people will follow you and your reputation will grow. You should also start up a blog that people can read and track. Reseller link building can help your blog become more popular and get more traffic.

Write Guest Posts Too

As well as writing great content for your own blog, you should write guest posts for other websites and blogs. When you do this, your thoughts and ideas will be exposed to people who have never even visited your blog before. It’s all about exposing new people to your way of thinking. If they like what they read, they will head over to your blog and find out more about your ideas. So, if you are offered the chance to write guest posts, go for it. And if you’re not offered these opportunities, you should go looking for them.

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Don’t be Afraid to Say Controversial Things

Sometimes, the best way to grab people’s attention is to say things that they weren’t expecting. If you can do this, they will sit up and take notice. That’s exactly what you want and need. Your business will never become a leading authority within its industry if people aren’t listening. And people are always interested in hearing from people who think differently and come up with new ideas. So, don’t shy away from saying things that defy conventional thinking and logic. It’s a really good way to gain a foothold and get your name out there.

Speak at Events Whenever You Get the Chance To

Public speaking allows you to get up on the stage and have your voice heard. If you or someone else who works for your company can do this, your business will reap the rewards. There is no reason why you shouldn’t give it a try and see what happens. The more you can speak in front of people, the more people will see your business as a leading authority. So, whenever you are offered the opportunity to speak at an industry event or something similar, grab it with both hands. You can’t let those kinds of opportunities escape you when you are trying to become a leading voice.

Entice More Customers To Your Restaurant With These Delicious Marketing Hacks

Are there always a few empty tables in your restaurant each night? That certainly won’t be good for business! All successful restaurants are busy every night, and you should aim to be turning people away at the door. Not sure why you aren’t experiencing all this buzz about your business? Maybe you aren’t getting the marketing right. Here are some delicious restaurant marketing hacks that you can use to entice more customers.

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Get Involved With Food Bloggers

When you are planning your restaurant marketing strategy, consider getting some local food bloggers involved. In fact, many restaurants host special menu tasting nights whenever they launch a new menu. Invite lots of food bloggers to come and try your food. If they love it, they will rave about it in their blog! But make sure you invite bloggers who have a large following. This is a great way to get some free advertising and content placed on blogs that are read by a lot of people!

Run Competitions

Is there really no such thing as a free lunch? Well, there can be if you offer one to your customers! That doesn’t mean you need to give away lots of food for free, of course. But you should hold regular competitions. You can run them on social media. For instance, post a tweet saying that someone who retweets it will win a free meal. Loads of people will be hitting that retweet button to try and get their hands on the prize! And they will post your tweet to all their friends. This is a quick way to get a load of new followers and customers in hardly any time at all!

Join Takeaway Websites

There is currently a big trend for people to order their takeaway meals on websites such as Delivery Hero. These websites show someone who is looking for a takeaway, all the restaurants that deliver in their area. Listing your menu on these sites is a great way to increase sales. Not only that, though, but it is also an excellent method of getting your name out to a wider audience. Someone may order from you who has never heard of you before. They could then dine in your restaurant next time they are in town.

Blogs And Social Media

No business can get away with not having a blog or social media accounts these days. They are important for a number of reasons. Firstly, your blog can increase your website’s SEO. An SEO-driven website will reach the top of Google’s search results, and more people will notice you. Secondly, social media is also good for spreading your business’s name. Make sure all engagement with followers is friendly and professional so that you don’t give yourself a bad reputation.

Meal Deals And Happy Hour

Restaurants may have been using them for years, but you should still offer meal deals and a happy hour. Customers love to eat out when they think they are saving money. So start advertising yours now to fill up all your tables!

Is It Time to Get Advice on Your #SEO?

If your company’s brand recognition efforts are stuck in neutral, what do you plan on doing about that?

Whether you have been in business for many years or are rather new to the business world, getting your brand recognized is one of the important (yet sometimes daunting) tasks you will have.

Stop for a moment to think about why brand promotions are so important.

For starters, millions of consumers are all about the digital age these days, so reaching them through the Internet is critical.

Sure, you should still be putting time and effort in when it comes to other modes of marketing and advertising, but what you do online can go a long way in determining whether or not your brand will ultimately be successful.

That said do you have the tools and resources in-house to accomplish your brand promotional goals? If not, will you expend the time and effort (including expenses) to find those who will help you with such needs?

Simply ask yourself, is it time to turn to the pros?

Why SEO is a Key Ingredient

If you’re not fully up to speed on search engine optimization (SEO), one of the reasons it is so important is because of all it encompasses.

For one, SEO gives your brand the opportunity to be seen and heard on countless blogs, blogs that are read by millions of consumers on a daily basis.

With that in mind, how do you get started?

As Miguel Salcido, owner of Organic Media Group SEO agency notes, “The key is letting an experienced agency SEO consultant put together a customized SEO strategy for you free of charge, thereby allowing you to match up with your competitors.”

That SEO strategy (which really is not all that complicated) should include at least the following:

  • Goals in place – First and foremost, what are your goals you want to accomplish with an SEO plan in place? Once again, this is where turning to the pros can make all the difference in the world. With a qualified agency running the show, you not only get sound advice and implementation of your search engine optimization goals, but you turn over one of the more important responsibilities for your brand to professionals. In doing so, you take the pressure off yourself to come up with all the answers as to how to best promote your brand;
  • Website loading – When was the last time you looked at your company’s website? On a scale of 1 (poor) to 10 (great), how easy is it to move around on? Face it; many of today’s consumers are leading busy lives, lives wherein they don’t have time for failing websites. If your site is slow to upload, has broken links etc. it is a recipe for disaster. A qualified SEO consultant (or team) can analyze your site, seeing where the breakdowns are coming from;
  • Guest blogging – Have you been a regular participant in guest blogging? If not, you are again missing out on potential customers and an improved revenue stream. When you guest blog for others (and you should reciprocate the offer for appropriate businesses and individuals), you have the opportunity to get your brand out in front of countless eyes. This is all possible by adding a keyword link back to your site, be it in the copy itself or the bio. As such, consumers (and other businesses) can then visit your website, learning all there is to know about your products and services;
  • Social media – Finally, where’s your social media game at these days? If you say that it is in development or even non-existent, you have work to do. As Salcido points out, “A comprehensive social media plan includes content promotion, engagement, analytics, and more. It’s a way to further push your brand out in the world, and create discussion. Optimize your social media strategy, and your company will grow.” That said if you haven’t been pushing social media up to this point, you really need to reconsider that idea. With a well-planned social media itinerary in place, you can reach out to countless consumers (along with other businesses), setting your brand up for more exposure. Whether you use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat or other such sites, don’t be a stranger in the world of social networking.

When you go to the pros for SEO advice and implementation, you get the opportunity to give your competitors something to think about.

That thought eventually will be how can they catch up to what you are doing?

 About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business topics on the web.

Are You Linking up with Blogging Success?

Everyone running a business wants their company to be as successful as possible.

That said some running companies fail to capitalize on a number of opportunities around them. In failing to do so, dollars are lost and growth is tempered.

With that being the case, stop for a moment and review where your brand is winning and where it may in fact be losing.

One area where you may be coming up short is with your blog.

Those companies investing the time and energy into their blogs are typically the ones who see new business opportunities come through their doors on a regular basis.

Meantime, those companies giving their blogs minimal time and effort are typically the ones who see competitors snatching up new business, business that quite frankly could have fallen into the former’s laps if they just would have invested more time with their blogs.

When you take a moment to think about it, are you linking up with blogging success? 

Links and Their Importance

linkWhile you never want to be writing blog posts that come across as simply trying to sell something, you do want posts that are linking up with success.

For example, if you are doing some guest blogging for other sites, inserting a relative link in a post that runs back to your website is perfectly fine.

The key when doing this is always making sure that the link flows naturally within the copy, not standing out like a sore thumb.  An example of a bad linking strategy would be inserting a link to healthcare when you’re a Realtor and your blog focuses on real estate topics.

Even though this is not rocket science, it can be a little tricky at times, leading you to consider working with a guest blogging service.

That service provider can assist you with a link building guide, directing you towards natural links in your blog posts.

If you’re unsure of how to go about finding the right guest blogging service, start by doing a Google search.

While there are plenty of such services out there, you should be able after some research to whittle down the field in a rather short period of time.

Once you have the guest authoring service you want working with you, make sure to focus on:

  • Quality content – First and foremost, quality content sells. Using the example of the Realtor, he or she wants blog content which speaks to consumers looking to buy or sell real estate. Remember, consumers have a plethora of sites they can turn to in order to learn more about buying or selling the home of their choosing. Your content should be something that resonates with the consumer, not something they have seen time and time again. Also make sure your content has a call to action at the end. This is a great means whereby you can engage the consumer, encouraging him or her to act moving forward;
  • Marketing your content – As great as your blog content may be (and should be), what if just about no one was familiar with it? Working with a guest authoring service allows your content to be pushed in front of countless eyes, eyes that oftentimes will turn to their wallets or purses and make purchases with you. Your content should be marketed on all the major social sites for business needs (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc.). As any social marketing expert can tell you, there is more to it than just doing the occasional share or tweet. You need to engage with others doing the same thing, along with responding to consumers when they come to your social sites with inquiries etc. Be sure that the social media conversations go both ways, allowing you to be seen as a leader in your respective industry.

There is so much potential sitting there in your blog, but are you putting it to work?

In order for your blog to link up with success, you must put in the time and effort to nurture the blog.

If you do that, you could very well be linking up with success.

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers blogging topics on the web.

Is Your Business Giving Off The Right Impression? Here’s What You Should Be Considering

A business can just sail through sometimes. Neither making it into a big success or failing. It just seems to sail at a level. This is because you may not be giving off the right impression, and ultimately affecting your chances of growth. But don’t panic. There are some things you can do to turn this around. Which is why I thought it would be a great idea to share with you some of the things you should consider when it comes to the impression you make. I hope these tips help you improve.

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Start a blog

Businesses work well and succeed because of engagement with new and existing customers. One way to do that is through a company blog. This could be a way you supply content that may be of interest to your customers. Or it could simple be a way of you touching base in more details. More than perhaps you would through social media. Sometimes people like to hear the thoughts and opinions of people in a business. This is where you could change the impression people have of your company.

Your brand speaking to potential customers

Does your logo and brand give off a great impression? Does it look professional and appealing? Doe sit invite a customer to look into what you have or does it deter them away? These are all questions that you should consider asking yourself. You could try and take things to different level and look at redesigning your brand. You could utilise Adobe Illustrator and create a vector image. Creating spinning objects on Adobe After Effects or just working on the image at hand. Your brand and logo is the first impression you make, get it wrong and it will be the last one you make.

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Look at your online presence and website

Most things are done online these days. People grocery shop, buy their clothes, order takeaway food. They can even book a holiday and communicate with people through online platforms. This is why your website and online presence needs to be top notch. Is your website easy to use? Are you searchable through an online search engine? Working on your online presence could vastly improve your company’s image and the impression that you make.

Utilise social media as much as possible

Social media is your chance to engage with customers directly.  Be those existing ones or new customers. Which is why your presence needs to be consistent and relevant. You don’t need to be on every form of social media available. Especially if this is something you haven’t worked on before. Consider trying a few of the most popular ones and taking it from there. Twitter is excellent for short and precise information. You amy want to consider the power of a hashtag and how this could work for your business. Or alternatively look into Facebook. It happens to be one of the most popular sharing sites for people. Used daily. This is where you could get your business seen by people who may not have had the opportunity to before.

I hope these tips help you create the right impression for your business.

3 Things That No Blogger Should Ever Do

There’s no denying that blogging has changed the way we share and communicate information. From expressing our opinions to sharing experiences, it’s a fantastic way to connect with others. The number of people starting their own blog has trebled in recent years, and some have even made lucrative businesses out of theirs. The blogging community is one that encourages involvement, no matter what your age, gender, beliefs or interests are. But they do have an unofficial etiquette you need to abide by. So if you’ve just set up your first blog and want to make a good impression, here are some things you should never do.

Expect overnight success

Many new bloggers think that creating a successful blog can be done in little time and with minimum effort. This is a common misconception of blogging and sets unrealistic expectations. Even though it often doesn’t seem like it, top bloggers work for years to build a good reputation and loyal following. They will plan and create original articles and images, which can take hours or even days to accomplish. So if you’re not prepared to put the work in chances are your blog won’t succeed. If you are willing to put the time and effort in, start considering how you can drive traffic to your blog. You could hire an Adwords Consultant to help you or promote it regularly on social media. In addition to this, use a calendar to plan your weekly blogging schedule and a notebook to generate ideas.

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Copy another blogger

While there is nothing wrong with taking inspiration from another blogger, you should never directly copy their work. Copying and pasting their text and images shows a significant lack of respect for the blogger. They will have spent time and energy creating that content, and it’s unfair to take credit for their hard work. It also shows that you care very little about your content. Looking at other blogs is something that is encouraged, so don’t be put off from doing so. This is a brilliant way of learning how to blog effectively from people with more experience than you do. Contact them directly to see if they will allow you to write a similar piece based on their idea. As long as you credit them with having the idea with a link to their blog, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Ignoring their loyal readers

Even though your blog might be a personal outlet, it’s also a source of information and insight for your loyal readers. These are the people who return to your blog frequently and communicate with you. They are a valuable asset to your blog, so it’s vital that you take the time to acknowledge them. Otherwise, they will feel unappreciated and find a similar blog elsewhere. Encourage your readers to communicate with your by asking them questions. You can even ask them for advice on blog titles and content. You’ll discover that their ideas and feedback could improve your blog and make you a better blogger. Plus it will help you build a good reputation which could help you reach newer readers.

It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by blogging, and there’s a lot you need to learn. But knowing what you shouldn’t do is always a good place to start.