Online Marketing News: State of Digital Marketing, New Geostickers & Top B2B Channels

SEJ Annual Report: State of Digital Marketing 2017
Search Engine Journal conducted their annual study and found some fascinating statistics. For example, 42% of respondents allocate almost all of their digital budget to PPC and display advertising, and 62% of marketers surveyed listed Facebook as their preferred social platform. Search Engine Journal |99ea5ae1e61c0e356a415ea5c3c47fcb|
If you are using Instagram in New York or Jakarta, you may have noticed a new feature – Geostickers. When you take a photo, you can click on the sticker icon and the Geostickers will appear. This is coming from a long line of changes Instagram is making that look — probably non-coincidentally — a lot like Snapchat. Instagram |1af1b751f07a3c1cbf45101b9fe69ece|
New research from DemandWave showed that 95% of B2B marketers are using social media, 93% are using email and 91% are using organic. Interestingly, 73% said email was their top driver of leads, followed by 70% who said organic and 55% that said social media. MarketingProfs |974ba2259144cf379264a7c153535763|
Facebook’s measurement department, comprised of some of the old Atlas team, has created a measurement dashboard that allows marketers to see cross-network stats to help them analyze their Facebook and Instagram campaigns, along with ads that run on Facebook’s publisher partner sites. AdWeek |76336bc3976de43d77561d818de62a60|
A new study from TrackMaven shows insights into social network engagement and audiences, top-of-funnel blog content, PR performance, and overall website health by industry. TrackMaven |a661f57c6a1af9ead444786fc74eb890|
Marketing Land reports: Google has now rolled out the free version of its reporting tool, Data Studio, globally and made several improvements to the tool, including filters and analytics segments.” Marketing Land |b795becf7a320f86e50242a22f2ff94e|
According to Advertising Age, “Twitter is now offering some advertisers guarantees on video ads, a step of maturation for the company that makes its ad product similar to a TV-style buy.” Pre-roll ads will be counted according to Media Ratings Council standards, and Integral Ad Science and third parties like it are confirming the results. Ad Age |53ed149eada5b6f6dfb079bb0d6aa47b|
Google released their new Cloud Video Intelligence tool that allows users to search one or more videos using keywords and get a list of results that detail where in the video you can find objects relevant to your search. Mashable |ec56ba24c1691e29da53a7a89dcecc3d| We’ll be back next week with more top online marketing news stories! Have something to share? Tweet it to @toprank.

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Visit CRO Company, Picreel, In San Diego March 10-12 At The Traffic & Conversion Summit 2017

Visit CRO Company, Picreel, In San Diego March 10-12 At The Traffic & Conversion Summit 2017

Picreel will attend the Traffic & Conversion Summit from March 10-12, 2017. The exit intent software company can be found at Booth #19 in the exhibit hall

Online PR News – 09-March-2017Picreel, a conversion rate optimization (CRO) software company will be exhibiting at the Traffic & Conversion Summit 2017 in San Diego from March 10-12, 2017. The event is a popular digital marketing conference and is the largest conversion conference in North America.

“This is a conference that we look forward to attending every year. There is always a ton of great information and ideas coming out of the sessions and, of course, we really enjoy the opportunity to connect with our customers in the exhibition hall. This year we plan to showcase new features to our software and also will have some exclusive offers available to everyone who stops by Booth 19,” explained Kevin Petersen, CEO of Picreel (http://www.picreel.com).

Peterson went on to explain that even if a company can’t attend the Summit to see Picreel in person, they have other ways to keep current with the Picreel products and services. The Picreel blog is full of ideas and solutions that companies can use to convert web traffic and make the most of their Picreel ads.

Picreel also runs a Customer Success Stories podcast which features one to three customer success stories each month. Included in the podcast are exclusive digital marketing tips. The podcasts feature actual Picreel users who share information about how they use the product and the impact it has had on their business. Podcasts are posted on the first Monday of every month and are available through iTunes under http://www.newworldpodcasting.com.

Another way to get to know Picreel is to schedule an advanced demo with their team of CRO experts. The demo allows potential Picreel customers to see the exit intent software in action and gives businesses a chance to ask questions and get answers directly from the Picreel team.

“The demos are the single best way to find out if Picreel will work for a company. It’s an opportunity to ask the pointed questions that pertain to a specific business or business function and find out if Picreel can help meet marketing and conversion goals. We have a great team, all of whom are very well-versed in the software and what it can do and has done for other businesses. Seeing the product in action on a website and then seeing the behind the scenes of how to set up a campaign is really eye-opening for people. They are surprised by how easy it all is,” said Peterson.

Visit Picreel at Booth #19 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt this weekend or at http://www.picreel.com to learn more about the company’s products and services.

About Picreel.com: Picreel is a conversion rate optimization software company with 10 years of experience helping website owners get more customers with fully customizable pop-up overlays, surveys and links that capture website visitors before they leave a site.

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Company Contact Information
Sydney Martinelli
http://775-825-3234
775-825-3234
 
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M.C.B. Shoes Designs Modern LED Shoes for Parents and Children

M.C.B. Shoes Designs Modern LED Shoes for Parents and Children

M.C.B Shoes today announced that the modern LED shoes for parents and children are now available for sale on the companys official website.

Online PR News – 09-March-2017 – M.C.B. (Manufacturer, Customized, Best) Shoes, today announced that the modern LED shoes for parents and children are now available for sale on the companys official website and online marketplaces. These modern LED shoes are available in both standard and customized designs.

We believe in transforming and bridging the gap that exists in the shoemaking industry by providing cost competitive, reliable and high quality LED shoes, said Mr. Shook Lu, M.C.B. Shoes Product Manager. With these, all our OEM, ODM and wholesalers, can compete favorably in both local and international markets – this is our main pride.

Features of LED shoes for Parents

M.C.B. Shoes has introduced a number of modern LED sneakers for men and women. They come in different shapes and designs such as the high top, sneakers, boots, high sole and low sole shoes.

The retail price for these shoes range from $25 to $39.99, translating to a 35% OFF on every pair. This gives all M.C.B. Shoes partners a chance to compete fairly in the dynamic fashion industry.

Parents can choose from Euro sizes (35 to 44) or U.S. sizes (4.5 to 11). All the light up shoes have a USB rechargeable port inside the shoes and it takes 3 to 4 hours to charge fully.

They have an easy to access on/off switch for lighting up the shoes at night.

Features of LED for Kids

M.C.B. Shoes has over 17 different types of modern LED shoes for kids. These include the standard running shoes and sneakers.

The company manufacturers fancy LED shoes for kids with wings such as: The luminous wings LED kids shoes, summer single round heelys light up trainers, black wings dance sneakers and multi-colors, among others.
All these LED shoes for kids retail between $15 and $36, with both Euro (35 to 46) and U.S. (4.5 to 11) available.

Like the LED shoes for adults, kids LED shoes have a standard USB port for recharging.
To ensure quality and consistency in the performance of the LED lights, M.C.B. Shoes has adopted strict quality control. It uses high-grade PU leather and energy saving LED lights.

Every process conforms to the SGS (SV602240) requirements. The shoes must pass the UN38.3 and battery drop test.

M.C.B Shoes products meet the international environmental and safety standards.

Availability of Modern LED Shoes for Kids and Children

M.C.B. Shoes are available in the U.S.A., Europe, Australia and Middle East. Customers can buy these shoes from M.C.B. Shoes website, Amazon, AliExpress, eBay, Wish, Dhgate, Lazada and Cdiscount.
About M.C.B. Shoes

M.C.B. Shoes designs, produces and processes all types of LED shoes for kids and adults. Whether it is athletics or partying footwear, M.C.B. Shoes team researches and adopts strict quality control (QC) process to produce comfortable and high quality LED shoes.

Founded in 2006 and based in Xiamen, China, M.C.B. Shoes has over 200 styles of LED shoes with custom logo designs available. M.C.B Shoes market share for LED shoes has expanded to the U.S., U.K., Australia and Middle East; with over 50 OEM clients.

For more information, contact:

Email: info@mcbshoes.com
Phone: +86 15860886065
Web: http://www.mcbshoes.com

Company Contact Information
Shook Lu
http://www.mcbshoes.com/
+86 15860886065
 
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How Marketers Can Thrive in the Post Digital World

Eric Yale Forrester DSPHX

When I first heard Eric Yale from Forrester suggest at the Digital Summit conference that we live in a post digital world, I have to admit. I thought he was a bit nuts. Or just being sensational.

I was wrong.

If you’re thinking the same thing, here’s a rundown of what Eric said to provide some clarity.

In today’s marketing world, it is increasingly important for brand and consumer interactions to be frictionless, anticipatory and immersive. This is what customers expect and in a post digital world, it’s what brands need to deliver.

To understand what this means for marketing, Eric suggested that there are three fundamental reasons we are “post digital”.

First, customers are entitled. With the proliferation of digital devices, customers have huge expectations from brands. The evolution of this expectation is centered in the growth of always addressable customers – that is, customers who use more than three devices from multiple physical locations to connect with a brand. These customers expect to see the right message in the right place at the right time. In 2011 it was 51% of US online adults and in 2016 that number has grown to 67%.

Second, the digital distinction has dissolved. It’s no longer about what’s digital and what’s not.

With 59% of consumers using mobile phones while shopping in a retail store, companies are beginning to experiment in ways that integrate mobile with physical. For example, digital dressing rooms in brick and mortar stores.

Third, digital insights fuel business strategy. Digital insights are being used to inform marketing as well as overall business strategy across the enterprise.

For example, Royal Caribbean’s digital bracelet streamlines onboarding and allows payment at stores on the ship. And John Hancock uses private Fitbits that collect data which can affect customer insurance pricing.

So, what does post digital marketing look like?

Eric says it’s about doing what you say – making good on your brand promise online and offline. It’s about making sure the customer has a great experience across the spectrum. It’s about a shift in thinking.

Think of it this way: Instead of wondering what media you should buy, think about how you can solve customer problems. Or, instead of thinking only about what offer will drive a customer purchase, think about how you can reduce the stress of your customer’s decision process.

This shift in perspective is important because legacy marketing manners don’t work any more:

  • 85% of consumers say advertising has little or no influence on their decisions
  • 43% of marketers still don’t know what marketing actually works

To change your mindset, you have to think about what marketing actually is and reimagine the marketing function and your role within it. Also, think about how you participate in the rest of your company.

To break it down, Eric, offered three rules for post-digital marketing:

  1. Be human. Use empathy to understand your customers and their experience. Be anticipatory in your efforts to serve customers and solve their problems.
  2. Be helpful. Focus on solving problems for your customers, not just selling products. For example, Staples turned the Easy Button into an app you can easily talk to to order office supplies. OpenTable is smart enough to send reminders to book a reservation for Valentine’s day before the Super Bowl.
  3. Be handy. Understanding and optimizing the customer experience is key to a frictionless solution. For example, Marriott launched their app for mobile check-ins and added the ability for hotel guests to make front desk requests from the app. After evaluating the most frequent types of calls to the front desk,  they made it possible to easily accomplish those asks through the app – from toiletries to more towels.

Eric says the post digital world is already here – even if you’re still in the midst of digital transformation. A post-digital perspective might require a new mindset from legacy thinking, but with core rules like “be human”, “be helpful” and “be handy”, I think we can agree they are fundamental and certainly doable for most companies.

Eric Yale @ericyale is Senior Consultant, Marketing and Strategy Practice at Forrester.

If you are in the Los Angeles area April 4-5th, be sure to check out the next Digital Summit conference (#DSLA)


Beverly Jackson of MGM will be giving the opening keynote and there will be a lunchtime interview keynote with Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple. For my part, I will be giving a closing keynote about the future of influencer marketing. There are many other top notch speakers presenting as well from Facebook, Pinterest, Google, LinkedIn, BET Networks, Adobe, Forbes, The Economist, AOL, BMC Software, MIT, Wells Fargo, The Onion and many more. Digital Summit is a can’t miss conference.

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How to Increase the Revenue Value of Your Homepage by 851%

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

I think this is a fitting quote to demonstrate the importance of a great homepage.

Once a visitor lands on your homepage, you need to impress them in a hurry.

Failure to do this typically results in a lost conversion with the vast majority of visitors never returning.

How can you ensure you make a good first impression?

And, more importantly, how do you boost conversions and increase the revenue value of your homepage?

There are countless strategies that work to some extent.

But I’d like to cover a handful I feel are the most practical and impactful.

I’ve researched each of these strategies and have implemented them on my own as well as my clients’ sites.

I’ve even seen some clients increase the revenue value of their homepages by as much as 851%.

This is not an exaggeration or some gimmicky hype to get you to click on my articles. This is stuff that works.

Let’s get down to business.

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Your first objective is to ensure a fast load time.

This is perhaps the most important factor of all because the rest of the strategies I’m going to discuss don’t really matter if the bulk of your visitors abandon your homepage prematurely.

Here’s a graph that illustrates how page abandonment increases as the load time of your homepage increases:

image08

I suggest using the Pingdom Website Speed Test to accurately assess the load time of your homepage.

If it takes any longer than 5 seconds, you need to speed it up. Learn how to do it from this article I wrote.

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Once a visitor lands on your homepage, they should be able to tell right away what you’re offering and why it’s worth their time to check out your site in further detail.

This requires you to take one simple but incredibly important step: create a clear value proposition.

ConversionXL defines a value proposition as a clear statement that:

  • explains how your product solves customers’ problems or improves their situation (relevancy),
  • delivers specific benefits (quantified value),
  • tells the ideal customer why they should buy from you and not from the competition (unique differentiation).

Here’s the value proposition I include on neilpatel.com:

image00

It’s clear, specific, and to the point.

Below are some other good examples.

Dollar Shave Club pulls it off well:

image15

So does Unbounce:

image06

You get the idea.

For a more thorough explanation and tips on how to create a killer value proposition, check out this guide from ConversionXL.

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A few years back, there was a study that examined the impact of including a picture of a person on homepage performance.

The study involved A/B testing of two very different landing pages created for Highrise, a CRM software company.

The original design was pretty basic but fairly busy, meaning there was a lot of information.

However, the new design was very simple and included a large picture of a woman smiling.

The results were undeniable. Using the second design, with the woman smiling, resulted in 102.5% more sign-ups.

Here’s a comparison of the two designs:

image13

What does this tell us?

It’s clear that including images of people (more specifically, people smiling) on your homepage can have a dramatic impact on conversions.

I actually follow this formula on my homepage for neilpatel.com, and it’s worked out wonderfully:

image16

Other successful bloggers do the same.

Do you recognize this guy?

image11

Here’s another one:

image03

And here’s Marie Forleo:

image07

This is Matt Barby:

image04

Here’s Lewis Howes:

image10

These people aren’t celebrities. They aren’t models.

They’re just bloggers. Successful ones.

They’ve figured out that a face on the screen vastly improves the profitability of the homepage.

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At first thought, placing your contact information in a conspicuous place on your homepage might not seem like a big deal.

It might seem like a mere footnote.

But it’s actually more important than you might think.

In fact, a study from KoMarketing found that

once on a company’s homepage, 64% of visitors want to see the company’s contact information.

image09

And it’s not just your basic info like an email address.

Most people want thorough contact information like your phone, email, and address.

According to KoMarketing,

a lack of contact information will also deter buyers from moving forward with a Request for Proposal (RFP) and with filling out a form to request a demo or RFP.

I think this is important so visitors can tell for sure you’re a legitimate organization with a physical address and not some sleazy snake oil salesman who’s just looking to take their money and run.

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The same study from KoMarketing states that

once on a company’s homepage, 52% of visitors want to see ‘about us’ information.

This is one of quickest ways to establish trust and credibility with potential customers.

They want to make sure you’re legit.

Typically, the best location for your contact info and About Us section is the navigational menu at the top.

It’s above the fold and can be found in an instant.

However, if you have a fairly brief homepage, you could also place these sections at the bottom, like I do on neilpatel.com:

image14

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There’s one mistake in particular I see countless companies make.

And that’s offering too many choices on their homepages.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

image05

I would venture to say that vast majority of visitors who land on this page feel overwhelmed or even paralyzed with all the information.

It’s just too busy.

Here’s the deal.

People tend to enjoy having different options and choices. But only to an extent.

Too many choices have a paralyzing effect, and many people will end up doing nothing.

Here’s a screenshot from The Harvard Business Review in which they touch on a 2000 study involving choice:

image18

The point here is that you should keep your homepage fairly simple:

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That’s exactly what I tried to do with the Quick Sprout homepage, and it’s worked out very well.

If you have a lot of different products, build some type of filter so that visitors can figure out what they need without being overwhelmed in the process.

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You know what I hate?

When I land on a website and want to test out a trial version or make a quick purchase but get hit with a long registration process.

I find it really inconvenient and flat out annoying at times.

And guess what?

So do most other people.

There’s an article written about this issue by User Interface Engineering (UIE) called The $300 Million Button.

I suggest you check it out if you are not sure what I am talking about.

Long story short, most first-time shoppers find it irritating when they have to register before they can buy something. In fact, many resent it.

I love a particular quote from one shopper who said,

I’m not here to enter into a relationship. I just want to buy something.

I think this sums it up perfectly.

Don’t make your customers jump through a bunch of hoops. Instead, allow them to complete their desired actions as guests rather than registered users.

That, right there, can have a dramatic impact on your revenue.

The article from UIE provides a concrete example of just how big of an impact it can have.

Here’s a screenshot:

image02

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Let’s be honest.

It doesn’t take much for a would-be customer to turn around and hightail it out of your site.

And most people will have multiple concerns they’ll want addressed before they ultimately decide to make a purchase.

Here are some common concerns they may have:

  • Your company doesn’t fully understand my problem
  • What if your product doesn’t fix MY problem?
  • Why should I trust your company?
  • Why should I choose your product when there are so many other (and potentially more affordable) options out there?

Your goal is to quell any concerns or objections they may have.

But how do you do this?

It usually starts with acknowledging the problem your demographic is facing. Here’s a good example from Basecamp:

image17

This lets visitors know that Basecamp understands how disorganization and confusion can create stress and hinder the progress of a project.

The suggestion is to let Basecamp help them get things back on track.

Including a few testimonials tends to be effective for proving that a product can fix a potential buyer’s problem. If it’s worked for countless other people, it will work for them too.

As for trust builders, here are some ideas:

  • Include logos of companies you’ve worked with or have been endorsed by
  • Include “trust seals” from third-parties such as the Better Business Bureau
  • Mention awards or certifications your company has received

Finally, with proving value, explain why your price is what it is and what customers will get from you that they won’t get from competitors.

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If a visitor doesn’t convert right away, there’s a good chance you’ll lose them forever.

You want to strike while the iron is hot and while you’ve got them on your website.

One of the best ways to do this is to create scarcity or urgency.

I do this on neilpatel.com by having a feature that says “Training Starts in: X amount of time”

image01

It begins counting down immediately after visitors land on my homepage.

I’ve found this to be effective for getting visitors to take action and for increasing conversions.

Now, there are a lot of different ways to create scarcity or urgency, and I don’t have time to fully discuss them here.

But what I suggest is checking out this post from Marketing Land that explains some techniques for using urgency psychology to improve conversions.

Note: There’s legit scarcity and there’s fake scarcity.

Using fake scarcity is a sleazy, underhanded tactic that most people will sniff out.

Always be honest.

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There are many factors that ultimately determine the revenue value of your homepage.

It can be maddening trying to figure out what makes your visitors tick and wrapping your head around the psychology of user experience.

But I know for a fact that using these strategies will have a positive impact on the process.

You can use them to build instant trust, encourage further browsing, increase conversions, and ultimately boost your revenue.

What do you think is the single most important aspect of your homepage? What makes it profitable?

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Ten Simple Ways to Improve Any Blog Post in Minutes

Ten Simple Ways to Improve Any Blog Post in Minutes | ProBlogger

Are your blog posts as good as you want them to be?

Perhaps you don’t seem to get many comments or shares. Or maybe your recent posts are great, but you feel like your older ones are lacking something.

You don’t need to rewrite each post from scratch to improve it. Often, a few small tweaks can make a dramatic difference.

Here are ten of my favorites to try out today:

1: Make the Title Stronger

Some bloggers have the knack of writing powerful titles; others struggle. If you find yourself going with the first title that comes to mind, it might need a bit of work.

Good titles grab attention and make a clear promise to the reader. Compare:

Write Better Blog Posts – not specific enough, doesn’t make it clear what the reader will gain from reading this post

Ten Ways to Improve Your Blog Posts – better, though still a little too generic

Ten Simple Ways to Improve Any Blog Post In Minutes – much more specific, makes a clear promise, appeals to readers who want quick and easy solutions rather than lots of theory or detail!

2: Shorten the Introduction

When you’re drafting a post, it’s easy to let the introduction drag on a bit too long, as you get into the swing of writing. That’s absolutely fine … but you don’t need to leave everything you’ve written in place!

Is your introduction gripping and engaging? Does each sentence draw the reader into your post, maybe by giving them a vivid picture of the problem they want to move away from – or a  promise of what’s about to come?

If your introduction seems to ramble a bit, cut it down. Readers rarely need to know exactly where the inspiration for a particular post came from, for instance.

3: Add More Images

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a blog post that had too many images! A large image at the start is always a great way to draw the reader’s eye … but you can also use images along the way to break up the text and to add useful information (e.g. screenshots, book covers).

If you’re struggling to find good images to use, check out Where to Find Free Images Online for links to lots of great sites.

4: Create More White Space

“White space” is all the stuff around the words of your post. It might seem an odd thing to think about when you’re trying to improve the post itself – but white space makes it easier for readers to engage with your actual words.

You can add more white space by:

  • Writing in short paragraphs.
  • Using bullet-pointed lists (like this one!)
  • Including quotes (see #5)
  • Using subheadings (see #7)

If the text on your blog seems a little cramped or difficult to read in general, consider increasing the font size and/or the spacing between lines. You can do this by switching to a different WordPress theme, by adjusting your theme options (for some premium themes), or by editing your Style.css file.

5: Include a Quote

Quotes from other people can help support the points you’re making in your post. You might use a quote to kick-start your post, or you might include one part-way through.

Normally, quotes are set in “blockquote” formatting, which will often be indented on the left-hand side – creating extra white space.

For lots more on using quotes in your posts, check out The Why, How and When of Using Quotations on Your Blog.

6: Add Links to Other Posts

Have you written about a related topic in the past? Include a link – either part way through your post, where it’s relevant, or at the end of your post in a “Further Reading” or “Next Steps” section. This is a great way to draw people further into your blog – and it can be very handy if you want to cater for readers of different ability levels; you can link to basic information and definitions for beginners and/or to more advanced posts for experienced readers.

Of course, you can link to other people’s posts too: this provides just as much value to your reader and also helps you build relationships with other bloggers (who’ll almost certainly be delighted by the link)!

7: Use Subheadings as Signposts

Like it or not, most readers will not read every word of your carefully crafted post. They’ll scan through for the parts that are most relevant to them.

Subheadings are very helpful for these readers: they “signpost” what’s coming up. If you haven’t used subheadings, or if yours aren’t very clear, go through and make sure that each key section of your post begins with a subheading that explains, briefly, what you’re about to cover. (In this post, for instance, each item in the list begins with a subheading.)

8: Add a Conclusion

Is your post rounded off nicely … or does it just stop? Your conclusion is just as important as your introduction: it ends your post neatly, giving readers a sense of completion – and it also often prompts readers to take action.

If you’re not sure how to finish your post, you could:

  • Invite comments (“Do you have any tips to add? Leave a comment below!”)
  • Encourage readers to implement what you’ve written about. (“Try just one of these ideas this week…”)
  • Offer extra resources (“Click here to download my .pdf on…”)

9: Proofread Carefully

One very simple way to improve your posts is to proofread them – carefully. It’s so easy for typos to sneak in, and your spellchecker won’t necessarily catch all of these. If, like me, you tend to leave [notes to self] when you’re drafting, do make sure you’ve gone through and filled in any blanks!

If you’ve written a particularly important post (perhaps a guest piece for a large blog or a post that you’re going to be sending a lot of traffic to), then it might be worth asking another blogger to help proofread: sometimes, fresh eyes can spot mistakes that you missed.

10: Categorize it Correctly

This might seem like a small thing, but it can make quite a difference to readers: make sure you’ve categorized your post correctly. Definitely avoid using “uncategorized” as a catch-all default – this tends to look haphazard and unprofessional.

Not all blogs use categories as navigational tools, but if your does, it’s particularly important to check that you’ve put your post in a sensible category. That way, people interested in that particular aspect of your topic can easily find past posts that are relevant to them.

 

Improving your blog posts doesn’t have to mean spending hours rewriting them: a few little tweaks can really make them shine.

You don’t need to do all ten of these for every single post on your blog, of course. Instead, pick one or two that you’re going to try out this week (either when you work on a new post or when sprucing up an old one).

If you’ve got any quick blog post fixes to add to the list, too, drop a comment below!

The post Ten Simple Ways to Improve Any Blog Post in Minutes appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

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8 Important Questions Your Social Media Marketing Strategy Must Answer

Social media has become a necessary and important marketing tactic for nearly every business, helping brands and marketers build brand awareness, share and interact with customers and prospects, and create another vital touch point in the evolving customer journey.

But as the social media landscape continues to evolve, competition for audience attention is stiff. In fact, 40% of marketers say social media marketing has become more difficult for them in the last year, according to Social Media Examiner’s 2016 Industry Report. As a result, many brands and marketers feel their social media marketing strategy needs to incorporate a little bit of everything to compete.

However, adding more channels and tactics to your strategy isn’t sustainable, let alone the key to getting the growth, engagement and ROI you’re looking for. The real key is crafting a social media marketing strategy that strikes a balance between your audience’s needs and your brand’s unique business goals.

And in order to create the perfectly balanced strategy, there are some critical questions you must be able to answer. Below we outline nine questions that can help guide your creation efforts.

#1 – How does my social media strategy fit within my overall digital marketing strategy?

Your social media marketing efforts should not be siloed. They should be an integral part of your overall digital marketing strategy—from helping curate content ideas to building brand awareness to engaging with influencers.

Tip: Use your digital marketing strategy as a roadmap for determining how social media can support your overall objectives, as well as individual campaigns or projects.


Your #socialmediamarketing efforts should not be siloed. @CaitlinMBurgess
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Simply put, there can be no strategy if there’s no end goal. Your objectives are the foundation of your strategy, guiding every decision and tactic that comes next.

Tip: Whether you want to increase your number of followers, boost referral traffic to your website, foster engagement or drive more conversions, set goals that can be measured. In addition, set benchmark goals so you can gauge the success of your efforts as you go so you can put more effort behind what’s working and improve what’s not.

#3 – How will I measure effectiveness or results?

Once you have your objectives, you have to determine how you’ll know if you’ve actually achieved them in a meaningful way. As mentioned above, your goals should be measureable. However, you’ll need to interpret the data you collect to get an accurate view.

Tip: Go beyond high-level metrics. For example, if one of your objectives is to increase website traffic, don’t just look at overall social referral traffic to gauge success. Dig deeper to understand how those visitors are interacting with your content once they get there. Some things to consider are top performing pages, time spent on page, the average number of pages visited and conversions.


Go beyond high-level metrics to determine the effectiveness of #socialmediamarketing. @CaitlinMBurgess
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If you want to build rapport and provide your audience with relevant content and discussion, you need to understand their interests, motivations and pain points, as well as which platforms they’re utilizing most.

Tip: Get started by defining who your ideal customer is by creating a customer persona, which is a general representation of who your target customer/follower is. Get in touch with your sales team to gather direct insights, and dig into your website analytics to learn which channels are driving the most traffic and engagement. In addition, use the insights and analytics options within social platforms to see when and how your followers are engaging with your content.

The goal here is to uncover which social channels are best for reaching your target audience, as well as what topics, content types and discussions are most relevant.

#5 – What type of content does my audience consume on social?

In today’s social media environment, simply sharing links to your company website or blog with a bit of text will not drive your objectives.

Tip: Use the audience insights you’ve gained from your work to create customer personas to create a plan including the appropriate mix of images, videos, links and discussion starters that connect to your audience’s topical interests and information needs.

#6 – What do I want my followers to know about my brand?

Social media gives your brand the opportunity to show people who you are and the value your offer, not just what you sell. Is your brand focused on innovation? Is your amazing corporate culture something that sets you apart from the competition?

Tip: Tell your company’s story. Develop a brand voice that brings a human element and personality to your social media pages. Leave the jargon and sales pitches behind, and talk to people on their level.


Develop a brand voice that brings a human element & personality to your #socialmedia pages.
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#7 – How often will I engage on each channel?

Consistency is key to fostering continued engagement on your social channels. But that doesn’t mean you have to post 10 times a day on each channel. Ultimately, you want to be a regular fixture in news feeds, but not overwhelm your audience.

Tip: Develop a daily, weekly or monthly plan or schedule that details when, where, what and how you’ll be posting. Below is an example of what your template could look like.

#8 – How will I execute my strategy?

All your research and planning will be for nothing if you haven’t defined the tactics, tools and resources you’ll need to execute.

Tip: Combine your social media strategy with your other digital and content marketing efforts to create a tactical mix that speaks to your audience. Some tactics that you could include are influencer content, paid ads, video and live chats.

In addition, determine which curation or management tools will help you find and share relevant content with your audience. Also, make sure you define who within your organization will be responsible for execution and measurement.

When developing your social media marketing strategy, what other key questions did you need to answer? Tell us in the comments section below.


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New gTLDs are Like Used Cars

There may be a couple exceptions which prove the rule, but new TLDs are generally an awful investment for everyone except the registry operator.

Here is the short version…

And the long version…

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About a half-decade ago I wrote about how Google devalued domain names from an SEO perspective & there have been a number of leading “category killer” domains which have repeatedly been recycled from startup to acquisition to shut down to PPC park page to buy now for this once in a lifetime opportunity in an endless water cycle.

The central web platforms are becoming ad heavy, which in turn decreases the reach of anything which is not an advertisement. For the most valuable concepts / markets / keywords ads eat up the entire interface for the first screen full of results. Key markets like hotels might get a second round of vertical ads to further displace the concept of organic results.

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The tech monopolies can only make so much money by stuffing ads onto their own platform. To keep increasing their take they need to increase the types, varieties & formats of media they host and control & keep the attention on their platform.

Both Google & Facebook are promoting scams where they feed on desperate publishers & suck a copy of the publisher’s content into being hosted by the tech monopoly platform de jour & sprinkle a share of the revenues back to the content sources.

They may even pay a bit upfront for new content formats, but then after the market is primed the deal shifts to where (once again) almost nobody other than the tech monopoly platform wins.

The attempt to “own” the web & never let users go is so extreme both companies will make up bogus statistics to promote their proprietary / fake open / actually closed standards.

If you ignore how Google’s AMP double, triple, or quadruple counts visitors in Google Analytics the visit numbers look appealing.

But the flip side of those fake metrics is actual revenues do not flow.

Facebook has the same sort of issues, with frequently needing to restate various metrics while partners fly blind.

These companies are restructuring society & the race to the bottom to try to make the numbers work in an increasingly unstable & parasitic set of platform choices is destroying adjacent markets:

Have you tried Angry Birds lately? It’s a swamp of dark patterns. All extractive logic meant to trick you into another in-app payment. It’s the perfect example of what happens when product managers have to squeeze ever-more-growth out of ever-less-fertile lands to hit their targets year after year. … back to the incentives. It’s not just those infused by venture capital timelines and return requirements, but also the likes of tax incentives favoring capital gains over income. … that’s the truly insidious part of the tech lords solution to everything. This fantasy that they will be greeted as liberators. When the new boss is really a lot like the old boss, except the big stick is replaced with the big algorithm. Depersonalizing all punishment but doling it out just the same. … this new world order is being driven by a tiny cabal of monopolies. So commercial dissent is near impossible. … competition is for the little people. Pitting one individual contractor against another in a race to the bottom. Hoarding all the bargaining power at the top. Disparaging any attempts against those at the bottom to organize with unions or otherwise.

To be a success on the attention platforms you have to push toward the edges. But as you become successful you become a target.

And the dehumanized “algorithm” is not above politics & public relations.

Pewdiepie is the biggest success story on the YouTube platform. When he made a video showing some of the absurd aspects of Fiverr it led to a WSJ investigation which “uncovered” a pattern of anti-semitism. And yet one of the reporters who worked on that story wrote far more offensive and anti-semetic tweets. The hypocrisy of the hit job didn’t matter. They still were able to go after Pewdiepie’s ad relationships to cut him off from Disney’s Maker Studios & the premium tier of YouTube ads.

The fact that he is an individual with broad reach means he’ll still be fine economically, but many other publishers would quickly end up in a death spiral from the above sequence.

If it can happen to a leading player in a closed ecosystem then the risk to smaller players is even greater.

In some emerging markets Facebook effectively *is* the Internet.

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Domains have been so devalued (from an SEO perspective) that some names like PaydayLoans.net sell for about $3,000 at auction.

$3,000 can sound like a lot to someone with no money, but names like that were going for 6 figures at their peak.

Professional domain sellers participate in the domain auctions on sites like NameJet & SnapNames. Big keywords like [payday loans] in core trusted extensions are not missed. So if the 98% decline in price were an anomaly, at least one of them would have bid more in that auction.

Why did exact match domains fall so hard? In part because Google shifted from scoring the web based on links to considering things like brand awareness in rankings. And it is very hard to run a large brand-oriented ad campaign promoting a generically descriptive domain name. Sure there are a few exceptions like Cars.com & Hotels.com, but if you watch much TV you’ll see a lot more ads associated with businesses that are not built on generically descriptive domain names.

Not all domains have fallen quite that hard in price, but the more into the tail you go the less the domain acts as a memorable differentiator. If the barrier to entry increases, then the justification for spending a lot on a domain name as part of a go to market strategy makes less sense.

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Arguably EMDs have lost more value than brandable domain names, but even brandable names have sharply slid.

If you go back a decade or two tech startups would secure their name (say Snap.com or Monster.com or such) & |9a7cefde3d2c372c7c84396559c933b3| try to build a business on it.

But in the current marketplace with there being many paths to market, some startups don’t even have a domain name at launch, but begin as iPhone or Android apps.

Now people try to create success on a good enough, but cheap domain name & then as success comes they buy a better domain name.

Jelly was recently acquired by Pinterest. Rather than buying jelly.com they were still using AskJelly.com for their core site & Jelly.co for their blog.

As long as domain redirects work, there’s no reason to spend heavily on a domain name for a highly speculative new project.

Rather then spending 6 figures on a domain name & then seeing if there is market fit, it is far more common to launch a site on something like getapp.com, joinapp.com, app.io, app.co, businessnameapp.com, etc.

This in turn means that rather than 10,000s of startups all chasing their core .com domain name off the start, people test whatever is good enough & priced close to $10. Then only |44d7e6f764d3915a9b041947477d252d| they are successful do they try to upgrade to better, more memorable & far more expensive domain names.

Money isn’t spent on the domain names until the project has already shown market fit.

One in a thousand startups spending $1 million is less than one in three startups spending $100,000.

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Some of the companies which are registries for new TLDs talk up investing in marketing & differentiation for the new TLDs, but very few of them are doing much on the marketing front.

You may see their banner ads on domainer blogs & they may even pay for placement with some of the registries, but there isn’t much going on in terms of cultivating a stable ecosystem.

When Google or Facebook try to enter & dominate a new vertical, the end destination may be extractive rent seeking by a monopoly BUT off the start they are at least willing to shoulder some of the risk & cost upfront to try to build awareness.

Where are the domain registries who have built successful new businesses on some of their new TLDs? Where are the subsidies offered to key talent to help drive awareness & promote the new strings?

As far as I know, none of that stuff exists.

In fact, what is prevalent is the exact opposite.

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So many of them are short sighted greed-based plays that they do the exact opposite of building an ecosystem … they hold back any domain which potentially might not be complete garbage so they can juice it for a premium ask price in the 10s of thousands of dollars.

While searching on GoDaddy Auctions for a client project I have seen new TLDs like .link listed for sale for MORE THAN the asking price of similar .org names.

If those prices had any sort of legitimate foundation then the person asking $30,000 for a .link would have bulk bought all the equivalent .net and .org names which are listed for cheaper prices.

But the prices are based on fantasy & almost nobody is dumb enough to pay those sorts of prices.

Anyone dumb enough to pay that would be better off buying their own registry rather than a single name.

The holding back of names is the exact opposite of savvy marketing investment. It means there’s no reason to use the new TLD if you either have to pay through the nose or use a really crappy name nobody will remember.

I didn’t buy more than 15 of Uniregistry’s domains because |d6affc2b2546bc587af743f00d4df64c| in the first place and I didn’t feel like buying 2nd tier domains … Domainers were angry when the first 2 Uniregistry’s New gTLDs (.sexy and .tattoo) came out and all remotely good names were reserved despite Frank saying that Uniregistry would not reserve any domains.

Who defeats the race to the bottom aspects of the web by starting off from a “we only sell shit” standpoint?

Nobody.

And that’s why these new TLDs are a zero.

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Many online verticals are driven by winner take most monopoly economics. There’s a clear dominant leader in each of these core markets: social, search, short-form video, long-form video, retail, auctions, real estate, job search, classifieds, etc. Some other core markets have consolidated down to 3 or 4 core players who among them own about 50 different brands that attack different parts of the market.

Almost all the category leading businesses which dominate aggregate usage are on .com domains.

Contrast the lack of marketing for new TLDs with all the marketing one sees for the .com domain name.

Local country code domain names & .com are not going anywhere. And both .org and .net are widely used & unlikely to face extreme price increases.

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A decade ago domainers were frustrated Verisign increased the price of .com domains in ~ 5% increments:

Every mom, every pop, every company that holds a domain name had no say in the matter. ICANN basically said to Verisign: “We agree to let you hose the masses if you stop suing us”.

I don’t necessarily mind paying more for domains so much as I mind the money going to a monopolistic regulator which has historically had little regard for the registrants/registrars it should be serving

Those 5% or 10% shifts were considered “hosing the masses.”

Imagine what sort of blowback PIR would get from influential charities if they tried to increase the price of .org domains 30-fold overnight. It would be such a public relations disaster it would never be considered.

Domain registries are not particularly expensive to run. A person who has a number of them can run each of them for less than the cost of a full time employee – say $25,000 to $50,00 per year.

And yet, the very people who complained about Verisign’s benign price increases, monopolistic abuses & rent extraction are now pushing massive price hikes:

.Hosting and .juegos are going up from about $10-$20 retail to about $300. Other domains will also see price increases.

Here’s the thing with new TLD pricing: registry operators can increase prices as much as they want with just six months’ notice.

in its applications, Uniregistry said it planned to enter into a contractual agreement to not increase its prices for five years.

Why would anyone want to build a commercial enterprise (or anything they care about) on such a shoddy foundation?

If a person promises…

  • no hold backs of premium domains, then reserves 10s of thousands of domains
  • no price hikes for 5 years, then hikes prices
  • the eventual price hikes being inline with inflation, then hikes prices 3,000%

That’s 3 strikes and the batter is out.

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The claim the new TLDs need more revenues to exist are untrue. Running an extension costs maybe $50,000 per year. If a registry operator wanted to build a vibrant & stable ecosystem the first step would be dumping the concept of premium domains to encourage wide usage & adoption.

There are hundreds of these new TLD extensions and almost none of them can be trusted to be a wise investment when compared against similar names in established extensions like .com, .net, .org & CCTLDs like .co.uk or .fr.

There’s no renewal price protection & there’s no need, especially as prices on the core TLDs have sharply come down.

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Aggregate stats are somewhat hard to come by as many deals are not reported publicly & many sites which aggregate sales data also list minimum prices.

However domains have lost value for many reasons

  • declining SEO-related value due to the search results becoming over-run with ads (Google keeps increasing their ad clicks 20% to 30% year over year)
  • broad market consolidation in key markets like travel, ecommerce, search & social
    • Google & Facebook are eating OVER 100% of online advertising growth – the rest of industry is shrinking in aggregate
    • are there any major news sites which haven’t struggled to monetize mobile?
    • there is a reason there are few great indy blogs compared to a decade ago
  • rising technical costs in implementing independent websites (responsive design, HTTPS, AMP, etc.) “Closed platforms increase the chunk size of competition & increase the cost of market entry, so people who have good ideas, it is a lot more expensive for their productivity to be monetized. They also don’t like standardization … it looks like rent seeking behaviors on top of friction” – Gabe Newell
  • harder to break into markets with brand-biased relevancy algorithms (increased chunk size of competition)
  • less value in trying to build a brand on a generic name, which struggles to rank in a landscape of brand-biased algorithms (inability to differentiate while being generically descriptive)
  • decline in PPC park page ad revenues
    • for many years Yahoo! hid the deterioration in their core business by relying heavily on partners for ad click volumes, but after they switched to leveraging Bing search, Microsoft was far more interested with click quality vs click quantity
    • absent the competitive bid from Yahoo!, Google drastically reduced partner payouts
    • most web browsers have replaced web address bars with dual function search boxes, drastically reducing direct navigation traffic

All the above are the mechanics of “why” prices have been dropping, but it is also worth noting many of the leading portfolios have been sold.

If the domain aftermarket is as vibrant as some people claim, there’s no way the Marchex portfolio of 200,000+ domains would have sold for only $28.1 million a couple years ago.

RegistrarStats shows .com registrations have stopped growing & other extensions like .net, .org, .biz & .info are now shrinking.

Both aftermarket domain prices & the pool of registered domains on established gTLDs are dropping.

I know I’ve dropped hundreds & hundreds of domains over the past year. That might be due to my cynical views of the market, but I did hold many names for a decade or more.

As barrier to entry increases, many of the legacy domains which could have one day been worth developing have lost much of their value.

And the picked over new TLDs are an even worse investment due to the near infinite downside potential of price hikes, registries outright folding, etc.

Into this face of declining value there is a rush of oversupply WITH irrational above-market pricing. And then the registries which spend next to nothing on marketing can’t understand why their great new namespaces went nowhere.

As much as I cringe at .biz & .info, I’d prefer either of them over just about any new TLD.

Any baggage they may carry is less than the risk of going with an unproven new extension without any protections whatsoever.

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Who really loses is anyone who read what these domain registry operators wrote & trusted them.

Uniregistry does not believe that registry fees should rise when the costs of other technology services have uniformly trended downward, simply because a registry operator believes it can extract higher profit from its base of registrants.

How does one justify a 3000% price hike after stating “Our prices are fixed and only indexed to inflation after 5 years.”

Are they pricing these names in Zimbabwe Dollars? Or did they just change their minds in a way that hurt anyone who trusted them & invested in their ecosystem?

Frank Schilling warned about the dangers of lifting price controls

The combination of “presumptive renewal” and the “lifting of price controls on registry services” is incredibly dangerous.
Imagine buying a home, taking on a large mortgage, remodeling, moving in, only to be informed 6 months later that your property taxes will go up 10,000% with no better services offered by local government. The government doesn’t care if you can’t pay your tax/mortgage because they don’t really want you to pay your tax… they want you to abandon your home so they can take your property and resell it to a higher payer for more money, pocketing the difference themselves, leaving you with nothing.

This agreement as written leaves the door open to exactly that type of scenario

He didn’t believe the practice to be poor.

Rather he felt he would have been made poorer, unless he was the person doing it:

It would be the mother of all Internet tragedies and a crippling blow to ICANN’s relevance if millions of pioneering registrants were taxed out of their internet homes as a result of the greed of one registry and the benign neglect, apathy or tacit support of its master.

It is a highly nuanced position.

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Spreo Wayfinding System and NoviSign Digital Signage Integrate Together

Spreo Wayfinding System and NoviSign Digital Signage Integrate Together

Spreo wayfinding system, who specializes in indoor navigation, has recently integrated with NoviSign digital signage software to provide a combined solution.

Online PR News – 07-March-2017 – Spreo (U.S.A.) specializes in indoor sites/buildings navigation and provides solutions for self-location detection, based on advanced technology. Spero is offering a wide range of constructions and infrastructure, fixed and mobile stations, portable equipment, charging, distribution and collection points. Spreo uses BLE beacon and WiFi signal fingerprinting, internal sensor fusion, map constraints and other data inputs to provide a complete, integrated platform for step-by-step indoor navigation, location based marketing and analytics.

NoviSign (since 2011) is a digital signage software provider, develops and sells signage solution which includes Android (as well as Windows and Chrome OS) based signage player and high end content editor – a studio that enables users to easily design a screen, divided into flexible sub areas, which present different kind of media, from traditional design, social networks and up to interactive games, polls, and IoT based content – such as face recognition/people counting and identification, event trigger display by scanning or detectors.

Among its customers: Nasa, Home Depot, Great Wolf Lodge, Disney, Worten, Dold, Mellanox, Hadassah hospital and more.

The cooperation and joint development between the two was carried out this year, brings into synergy the advantages of each platform, combining the navigation and dynamic broadcast capabilities into one solution.

As part of the indoors navigation process, your self-position is noticed as an event – detected by the system and triggers a designed display of information, messages and opportunities along the way/route.

Gil Matzliah, NoviSign’s CEO: “This is a breakthrough towards a smarter consumer of tomorrow, that will be holding an important information prior to the acquisition, allowing him cost-effective experience and better purchase.”

Company Contact Information
Nir Doron
http://www.novisign.com
+1(646) 893-7770
 
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From Miserable Telemarketer to Successful Entrepreneur: How Starting a Blog Changed My Life

 

From Miserable Telemarketer to Successful Entrepreneur: How Starting a Blog Changed My Life | ProBlogger

This is a guest contribution from Joen Rude Falsner.

Most of us have been there: we’ve all had this job where the financial compensation was the absolute single motivation to even show up.

Luckily for most people this, usually, low-compensated, uninspiring and numbingly boring job is characterized by being temporary. Something we do only for a short period of time.

Not for me.

For five full years I was rocking the position of a full time phone supporter specializing in assisting surprisingly helpless people with their TV setup and broadband service subscription.

“Have you tried turning it off and on again?”

I hated it. Oh my God, how I hated it.

A little bit about me

So I’m Joen. A 28-year-old dude from Denmark who has an opinion about most things in life.

Whether the topic is bear hunting in Alaska or how to keep tropical flowers alive in a costal temperate climate, I will find a way to ask questions that I am genuinely interested in knowing the answers to while also insisting that I know a thing or two about the subject.

The struggle of saying no to the system

This is who I’ve been most of my life. In my mind I have always had all the answers, but never when the topic landed on me. When the topic was ‘Joen’, I instantly became mute.

I was okay with this for a few years, but then I started to realize that my friends were moving up in the world.

Everybody around me seemed to be thriving with fancy degrees, fancy grades and eventually fancy titles. They had their life paved already, while I was digging my own hole deeper and deeper using faulty modems and TV boxes as a shovel.

At age 25, it would be fair to describe me as a rather depressed individual primarily due to the fact that I didn’t seem to have much of a bright future.

I didn’t have any formal education other than high school and a 2-year-short piece of garbage degree in marketing that was worth nothing more than a seat behind the register in your nearest supermarket.

See, that’s the thing. I never wanted a formal education, because it simply wasn’t for me. I just couldn’t care less about it.

I wanted to create. They wanted me to read.

Saying no to the system was a huge deal that I am forever grateful I did. It was also something that was incredibly difficult. Everybody expects you to do what society expects you to do.

Because if you don’t do what society wants you to do, then what are you going to do?

Entering the digital universe

Regardless of my state of depression I was eager to dig my way out of the hole.

My close friend, Frederik, who is kind of a SEO and PPC hero told me about blogging and affiliate marketing. He actually introduced me to the whole digital universe a few years earlier, but it took me two years before I summoned the courage to act on it.

Finally, I decided to start a blog.

February 7, 2014, I started Stayclassy.dk, a fashion and lifestyle blog with focus on quality over quantity and the good life.

I was determined to be successful.

From dinosaur to digital dude

Back in 2014, when I started my blog, I think it would be fair to say I was kind of a dinosaur.

Of course I knew how to work my way around a computer and I have always been pretty handy with ‘basic stuff’, but I had no idea just how big the difference was between casually using a computer and understanding the incredible opportunities the Internet offers.

Getting started with blogging

When I started blogging I was only familiar with basic tools.

I knew that it was important to make a keyword analysis in order to identify the best keyword for an article so that it would be easier for it to rank. I also knew it was important to create a lot of content.

Quality content of course.

But that was pretty much it. Those were my tools. Creating content and using the right keywords. Looking back, I actually like the simplicity of my starting point.

Because creating content is really the most important part of getting started with blogging. Forget link building, guest blogging and what else you got.

There’s no point of reaching out to people if you haven’t already built a solid platform to show.

My goals when I started the blog

I’m not gonna lie.

Getting into blogging was mainly incentivized by the possibility of earning money. I wanted to get out of my day job badly and in order to do so I had to earn money.

I started the blog while also working my full time job. In other words, my schedule just got a lot busier. It was three hours of blogging before work and 3-4 hours of blogging after.

All together that made my average day ~3+9+3=~15 hours long.

The goal from day 1 was to create one quality article a day. An article that had to be at least 1000 words long.

I knew that text heavy articles weren’t necessarily a goal in itself, but setting this rule was important as I was also forcing myself to write.

A lot.

You have to remember that when I started blogging my only writing experience was chatting to girls on Tinder. I had zero experience, although I’ve always been all right at putting together a sentence or two.

The strategy

By writing an article a day, and sometimes even two, I knew that in a year I would have 365 articles in the bank. That’s 365.000 words or the equivalent of 3-4 good books. I liked the sound of that.

Content before anything.

That was my basic strategy to begin with. It wasn’t until I had +45 articles that I began thinking in terms of getting links.

With 45+ articles I had something to show. I had already created a blog that I was really proud of. People would also take my blog seriously and that made my link-building effort a lot easier as more of my guest post enquiries were granted.

Along with the consistent output of quality articles I started getting links. My blog started to become authoritative-ish.

I remember how much I hated the link-building game.

I thought it was so lame that links were the all-important factor in getting those much desired organic rankings. This was also one of the reasons that I didn’t put too much effort into it at that point, which, in hindsight, was a really bad decision, but more on this later.

Affiliate blog posts for the win

That was my mind-set.

If I wanted to earn money, I had to monetize as much as I could without of course making my blog appear spammy.

So the majority of the articles I wrote were affiliate blog posts, however I would complement them with lifestyle blog posts of various sorts in order for my blog to maintain a dynamic range of content.

Mainly it was affiliate articles in the fashion department where I had one particular affiliate program that would turn out to perform extremely well.

I already knew that, as this was the online go-to-fashion retailer for most Danes, but I didn’t know that it would become ~70% of my combined affiliate income almost three years later.

Spending a lot of time analyzing all the available affiliate programs as well as testing them out has been of great importance to the success of my blog.

If you don’t keep a close eye on this, you will consequently earn less money. Less money that over time will accumulate to a huge loss.

Earning my first dollar

Exactly 14 days was how long it took me to earn my first affiliate dollar after having started the blog.

My first sale was worth exactly 7 euros.

I was ecstatic. Just two weeks in and here I am already living the passive income dream.

Okay not really, but I could immediately see that this “earn money online blogging”-thing wasn’t just a fairy tale pipe dream.

It could be done if using the same technique as Andy Dufresne in Shawshank Redemption (best film ever by the way), who dug a hole through the wall by applying only pressure and time.

Pressure and time

That is all it really takes and although there isn’t any hole to be seen right away, you will eventually hit the other end of the wall.

Although I was seeing dollars only two weeks after getting to work, things were moving slow. Painfully slow actually, but it was easy to stay on track as I continued to grow my audience month after month.

From Miserable Telemarketer to Successful Entrepreneur: How Starting a Blog Changed My Life | ProBlogger

The first 11 months of Stayclassy.dk

The first dot on the screenshot above marks the very beginning of Stayclassy.dk with virtually no traffic. Eleven months later the dot had jumped 16,193 steps in the right direction.

This was the time where I finally quit my beloved phone supporter job.

And not only did I quit. I moved to Australia. Away from icy Denmark and on to the deliciously warm continent where endless summer is always thriving.

I was not earning a full time living by any means at that point, but it was enough to get by as I also had saved up a bit of money.

Suddenly Joen was moving up in the world. Life was looking up. It felt great, to put it mildly.

Affiliate Marketing is great, but…

… it takes time and an abundance of hard work to get there.

Being one year into my blogging journey I was still not making enough to fully rely on it. Far from it actually, but I was okay with that. I knew it was only a matter of time, if I kept doing what I was doing.

Nonetheless, it was time to diversify my income stream.

So I engaged in sponsored content. I was getting more and more enquiries from businesses who were seeking promotion.

This was terrific as I was able to supplement my affiliate income with a tangible here-and-now income. They would pay me immediately as opposed to the hundreds of affiliate articles where I was still waiting to reap the true benefits of my hard work.

Given my blog’s good image I didn’t even have to approach businesses. They approached me. That was a solid pat on the shoulder and a strong indication that I was doing something right.

So I carried on.

The digital dude

That’s who I was starting to feel like. After a year of hard work, I was beginning to get a real grasp on blogging and this digital universe in general.

I was suddenly able to have “academic discussions” with my friend, Frederik.

I knew what was going on in the world of blogging and the wide variety of things you need to consistently keep an eye on.

After just one year I felt like I had learned incredibly many things that no school could ever teach me.

The main reason for this was that every time I wanted or had to implement something on my blog, I had to learn about it. Combining theory and practice was apparently the way to go. At least for me.

Becoming a successful blogger

So basically, in year two of my blogging career, I was kind of living the dream. I was travelling around Australia living in Darwin (not that much of a dream spot by the way), Cairns and Melbourne. I also spent six weeks in Bali and a month in Thailand.

Was this it? Had I made it?

I think most people would agree that I had indeed become a successful blogger, but to me I was only getting started. I was comparing my blog to a successful start-up. Things were going just fine, but it was nowhere near enough.

In short I kept maintaining the outlook of treating my blog as a real business: that strong growth was the only acceptable outcome. I think this has been an essential ingredient in getting to where I am today.

Being a successful blogger isn’t a static thing. It’s a constant battle that requires a continuous effort.

Very quickly things can go the wrong way. You can get hit by the Google bus (yes, that was a metaphor for losing rankings) subsequently affecting your income. There can be a drought where businesses are not interested in having sponsored content on your blog.

So many things can go wrong along the way.

I’ve been through all of this.

Several times. Up and down. Down, down and then up, up and up. It’s a never ending rollercoaster that will sometime make you feel sick and other times euphoric.

Dealing with the hardships of blogging

So yeah, blogging is no walk in the park. I have been through quite a few hardships.

Oh God, the discipline…

Call it what you want, but I call it hardship. One of the biggest challenges I have faced, and still am facing, is discipline.

It is so much easier to get up in the morning when you have a boss, who expects you to be there at 9am sharp.

When you are your own boss, it is so easy to allow yourself to sleep way past 10am. It is so easy to browse through hilarious cat photos instead of doing what you should be doing.

I have definitely not solved the problem of procrastination. I have, however, become more self-disciplined. I am constantly trying to improve my self-discipline by the use of various techniques.

Urgency

Because life seems so long, it is really hard to work towards your goals with a sense of urgency.

The mind seems to think that there always is plenty of time to do something else, which is why it is okay not to do what you should be doing right now.

I tell my brain every day that I need to have a better sense of urgency. This actually helps me with being more disciplined.

Mental toughness

Everybody talks about motivation. “You need to stay motivated”. “Read this book so you can get motivated”.

Of course motivation is a good thing, but I have come to the realisation that motivation is something that comes and goes as it pleases. It is a temporary state of mind and you have no control over it.

Instead, I have learned that the key to becoming a disciplined blogger (and person in general) is to work on your mental toughness.

Convincing yourself to write when you reeeaally don’t feel like it. Convincing your mind to finish a blog post although it tells you to stop right now. You get the point.

It is a draining exercise that will only be fruitful if applied repetitively.

It is a quite complex topic that I am by no means an expert on, however I have found it easier to work on my mental toughness when combining it with meditation and cognitive behavioral self-therapy.

Yeah, that was a pretty advanced word, but it’s actually not that complex.

In essence, it is about analysing your own thoughts and rationalising the why and what’s: why am I feeling this lack of doing anything productive? What is the consequence of not doing this work and what is the positive outcome if I do? By working right now, I will move closer to my hopes and dreams.

This exercise is really helpful as I simply get more shit done.

Delayed gratification

It’s about working hard now and then at some point later be rewarded. It makes sense, but the waiting time can be daunting. And it usually is.

At least for me as I am notorious for being impatient. When I hit publish on a blog post I want it to rank immediately, but fact of the matter is that it usually takes months before it sits on page 1, IF at all.

When getting into blogging you really have to be okay with delayed gratification.

I have been dealing with this hardship by always celebrating the small victories. It can be a little improvement in my rankings. It can be a few new e-mail subscribers, new fans on Facebook, a little increase in affiliate sales and so on.

Don’t be too hard on yourself just because you have yet to reach your big milestone.

Surviving ‘the dip’

You are probably familiar with Seth Godin’s terrific book, The Dip. Basically it addresses how every new project, business and hobby is all fun and games in the very beginning.

It’s exciting and you are as motivated as can be.

Pretty fast, though, the excitement fades. Suddenly obstacles are starting to build up. It’s not as easy as it was yesterday and you actually have to work hard.

Few people are lucky enough to avoid the dip and I sure as hell wasn’t one of them.

When I started the blog I had already read Seth Godin’s book, so I was aware of the concept.

That was a good thing as I therefor was expecting the dip. I was prepared for it and knew that this was simply just a state I would have to hustle my way through.

By keep telling myself that surviving the dip is an essential part of becoming successful, I was able to power through.

Having to do everything yourself

Most bloggers who start out have very limited resources. That means they have to do everything themselves. Outsourcing is generally not an option.

Right from buying the domain, setting up the first blog post to sending business proposals to potential partners, fixing various technical aspects and understanding how SEO works, everything is on your plate.

And you have to be really hungry if you are going to chew your way through all of it.

Having to do everything yourself has been one of the most valuable things I have had to do. You learn so incredibly much so incredibly fast simply because you have to.

The downside, however, is that you easily will find yourself overwhelmed. You don’t know where to start and it all just seems too much.

What I have done in order to not go down Overwhelm Lane, is to break down the tasks in what is super important and what is not so super important.

Then I will start with the number one super important task and solve it. When I have somewhat solved it, I move on to the next one. And then the next one.

It’s so much easier this way as opposed to starting from scratch with five different things you have zero grasp on.

From successful to thriving blogger

Even though I felt like a successful blogger after only twelve months of blogging, I wasn’t thriving. The blogging hardships were still of too great proportions.

I was still waiting for the blog to properly take off. I also still had so much basic stuff to learn.

Fast forward to the beginning of 2017

That’s today.

2 years and 10 months later I am still blogging away. I have written more than 700 articles. I have published more than 700,000 polished and edited words.

Stayclassy.dk has become the largest men’s fashion and lifestyle blog in Denmark with more than +60,000 monthly readers.

Blogging is my bread and butter, but my blogging income allows me to eat steak and béarnaise – and quite often actually!

I feel like I am thriving. I understand the blogging business. I know how it works. I generally just find it easy to connect the dots. Getting to this point has also sped up the growth of my blog.

The most valuable tools I use

Consistency

It might seem self-explanatory, predictable and whatnot. I don’t care. Consistency carried out with persistence is by far the best path to destination successfulness.

And everybody knows that, right?

I think they do. The problem is that most people don’t understand just how important it actually is.

Or maybe they do.

They just don’t have the stomach to stay on course by moving one feet in front of the other every day. Because it is by no means an easy tool to use. It requires self-discipline on a daily basis, and yeah, we’ve already been over that.

The most incredible SEO-research tool available

Right up until six months ago I have been a cheapskate when it comes to the many online research tools available. No way I was paying $200+ a month just so I could look at competitor backlink profiles and keyword rankings.

Boy, has this been a poor decision, and not only a poor decision, it has also been an expensive one.

I’ll tell you why.

In the jungle of SEO-tools I was referred to Ahrefs.com by a friend of mine who was doing an unbelievable job with building links and domain authority for his own site.

I signed up with a paid profile and started looking at backlink profiles of competitors and people in the Danish SEO-industry, who I knew were building lots of links.

Immediately, I saw how many quality links that were just laying there. Up until July 2016 I really hadn’t done much about building quality links to my blog, so I figured it was well overdue I put in an effort.

And so I did.

I picked all the low hanging fruits to begin with, however sticking only to relevant and natural ones. I moved on to approaching strong websites where guest posting made sense.

Quickly, I got into the game of doing white hat link building. So many strong websites were suddenly pointing to my blog and then, BAM, I saw the effect.

From Miserable Telemarketer to Successful Entrepreneur: How Starting a Blog Changed My Life | ProBlogger

The annotation next to July 2016 marks the day I started putting effort into link building. Two months later my blog took a massive jump. And then again.

Essentially I had doubled my organic traffic. This naturally had a pleasant effect on my affiliate income.

It was great to see this boost in traffic and earnings, but I am still cursing myself for not putting in this effort much earlier. I wonder how much money I have lost.

Oh, well.

Expensive lessons are sometimes the most valuable ones. And here the lesson was that links are ever important, whether you like it or not.

I know that everybody knows this. I’m not sharing any wild information that will shake the blogging or SEO industry. I just want to remind people that as ridiculous it can seem to spend an entire day on getting a single link, it is most likely worth it.

Another great thing about Ahrefs…

… is that their ranking system works as daily motivation for me.

Being able to see your Ahrefs rank, but also domain rating and organic search movements is fantastic.

It makes me want to work even harder as the daily effort I put into my blog translates to these Ahrefs statistics. Everyday they are updated.

Here is one of the Ahrefs graphs I follow religiously. Notice how it started going upwards in July, when I signed up.

What blogging has given me

Getting into the blogging business was in many ways a desperate measure.

Back in 2014, I would never have guessed just how many good things that would come out of it.

Because fact of the matter is that blogging has done so much more for me besides giving me juicy do-follow links, a bunch of traffic and a passive income.

I’ve become an independent dude

Almost three years of experience with running my own business has made me very independent to the point where I will never work for another person.

The joy of seeing my own business grow and grow is more fulfilling than anything I can think of.

The independence has also given me clarity.

I am more focused on what I want to achieve with my time on this little planet of ours. I will always have doubts about the decisions I make, but I have become confident enough to follow through and take the risks regardless.

Being a good writer is incredibly valuable

I will probably never be the Mark Twain of the 21st century, but I think that I have become a pretty decent writer in the course of the last three years. A writer that keeps improving.

One of the things that I have realized and thought a lot about lately is how valuable it is to be a good writer.

Writing not only allows you to tell a compelling story, it enables you to reach out to other people with a much higher rate of success. Here I am talking about creating appealing proposals to businesses, but also communication in general.

Additionally, writing has made me much more creative simply because I have forced digital ink on the screen every single day. Coming up with blog post ideas and putting them to life is one of the best ways to exercise your brain’s creative muscle.

Freedom to do what I want to do

Although blogging is no 4-hour-work-week gig, it comes with a tremendous amount of freedom.

Yes, you have to spend a lot of time in front the screen, but having the freedom to choose where in the world you want to sit and when is priceless.

In many ways it is the ultimate thing in life. Being able to do what you love from anywhere in the world.

As I’m writing this I am sitting on a roof top bar in Melbourne with the sun in my face.

Well, actually the sun is in my back, but yeah, no complaints.

I moved back from Australia to Denmark in December last year as I wanted to have a steadier base to work from. That hasn’t stopped me from bringing my laptop around the world.

In the last 12 months I have brought my laptop to Dubai, Italy, Greece, Berlin, Switzerland and now Melbourne where I am spending two months before moving onto an epic road trip around the southern parts of Australia.

The doors that have opened

Blogging has opened so many doors for me. It has led me to bigger and better on a continuous note. I get to work with amazing companies.

One of the best experiences was a company that wanted me to do an article on their insane collection of whisky, rum, cognac etc., where I was literally paid to taste some of the most expensive drops in the world. Is this real life?

I have established a network with talented, interesting and reputable people that stretch much further than the blogging environment.

My blog has given me a strong résumé that makes a formal education irrelevant. Although long educations in Denmark are free, I have also saved a lot of time and money by not wasting the last three years on a bachelor degree that won’t serve me.

Most importantly, blogging has made me a happier dude

And not just happier. Happy.

Blogging has given me a sense of purpose in life. I feel like I make a difference doing what I do, which is a feeling that gets emphasized by the many messages I get from inspired readers.

Okay, I’m gonna stop now with the happy camper poetry. It gets a bit much, doesn’t it?

Is blogging for everyone?

Certainly not. And I don’t mean that as in ‘not everybody is talented enough’. I am pretty sure most people could create a blog with decent content.

The problem is just that blogging is much more than creating content. As we talked about earlier there are so many strings to pull, if you want to become successful.

Of course everybody can blog on a hobby level. Nothing is stopping you from writing about your love of gluten free unicorn shaped candy, but if you want to make a living off of it, you will have to go beyond the content.

You will need to treat it like a business. Are you up for starting a business?

What’s next?

For me, you might ask? Only three years in, I still have a lot to learn. I feel like I am still just getting started. After all, three years really isn’t that much.

But to answer your question, I will continue to create content relentlessly although things are beginning to head in new directions. Directions where the format isn’t necessarily text-based, or at least where I don’t have to create all of it myself.

This means that I am in the process of expanding the team from 1 (me) to 2 or 3. This would allow me to take things to the next level and move closer to the ultimate goal, which is becoming the leading fashion and lifestyle magazine in Denmark.

Right now I am in the early phase of starting a vlog.

Something that scares the shit out of me. Putting myself in front of the camera and figure out how to tell a story. Am I even interesting enough? Hardly, most of my friends would probably say.

But I don’t care.

It’s time for Stayclassy.dk to work on even higher engagement. In a world where people can’t seem to get enough of videos, it is increasingly difficult to keep your audience interested only via text formatted content.

People want variety.

Although I have zero experience with recording I decided to jump straight into the vlogging world. I bought a Canon 70D, Røde VideoMic, various tripods, lenses and the whole shebang.

I am on really deep water, but I think I will manage to find my way to the shore.

This is the first vlog of Stayclassy.dk. One of many adventures to come.

So this turned out to be quite a long read. 5000 words actually. That’s a pretty good length if you want it to rank high. Google loooves rich content.

Remember, though, it’s not about the word count. It’s about the message.

I’m sure you got what it takes to become a successful blogger. Really all it takes is to get started, be consistent and passionate, and carry on.

Joen is the guy behind Stayclassy.dk, which is the biggest fashion and lifestyle blog for men in Denmark. He writes articles with the main purpose of inspiring his readers to become the best version of themselves. Connect with him on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

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