Hello and welcome to my blog. I am Bret Talley, Florida based Internet Marketer (Ft Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm Beach). If you are a local business owner in Florida, this blog is for you. I have adopted a new approach to marketing, and feel that you should be able to gain the majority of your customers by inbound methods: having your customers find you online when they need you, instead of the traditional methods of interrupting people’s day with your marketing message that the majority of the public has learned to tune out.
Here you will find many tips on how to increase your online web presence, internet advertising, and how to use search engines and social media to find new customers who actually have a need for your products. Also, I will teach you, the local business owner, how to position yourself as an industry leader, so potential customers will choose you when it comes time for a buying decision.
I hope the information in my blog helps you, and feel free to contact me with any other internet marketing questions for your local business. Enjoy!
Real time bidding is how display advertising is beginning to be bought across websites for the most part. there are many different companies who have a platform and ad server that support real-time bidding to deliver yours or your clients advertising messages to the right target audience.
So what actually IS it
Basically, real-time bidding means that you can change things on the fly, based on successes and failures of your campaign. It kind of reminds me of the stock market, but less risk and fluctuation. Advertising pricing goes up and down across websites depending on supply and demand factors, amongst other things such as how narrow or broad your target scope is. When you place a bid amount for advertising, you are telling the ad server how much you are willing to spend for impressions or clicks.
It kind of reminds me of the stock market a little bit, but less risky and less fluctuation.
Its pretty great also to be able to tell which of your creatives or ad sizes are performing better than others. This way you can alter the campaign as you go.
When you post your website or update your pages, you will find that it doesn’t show up on the search engines right away. You have to wait for your pages to get “indexed” by the engines. Basically, they have bots that crawl the internet following link after link, and creating a “map” of the internet. Until the major engines bots crawl your website or new pages, it will not show up in the search results at all.
TIP: to see if your page is indexed, type: Site:http://yourwebsitename.com/yourpagetitle into the search engine and see if it comes up. If it does, you are indexed, and if it says no results, you still have to wait.
This can be a frustrating process, especially for businesses who rely on these type of things as part of their income. There are ways to help get your site indexed faster though. And here are some of those:
Create a Sitemap – Creating a sitemap helps the search engines to be able to find all the relevant pages within your site. There are a few ways to create a sitemap for your site. There are a few WordPress Plugins such as Google XML Sitemaps, or you can search for an “online sitemap generator” to create it for you, and upload it to your websites root directory.
Set up Site on Webmaster Tools – Once the sitemap is in place, you should submit the link (usually yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml) to Google from Webmaster Tools under the Optimization option, to ensure that it will crawl your website and all the pages on the sitemap
Tweet it – Once your URL is up and running, send a tweet with the link, and cast out to all of your relevant social networks. The more links you have up, the faster the bots will crawl your website.
Post on Social Bookmarking Sites – Post a blog article on Social Bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon with links back to your website. These sites are high PageRank also and usually get a lot of traffic.
Website Links – If you have other websites, drop a link to the new site on one of your new ones.
Ping Search Engines – You can ping the search engines at places like Ping-O-Matic, or submit your URL to Google at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/submit-url/.
– Bret Talley
Is the non-office destined to be the 21st century. Right now, my office is digital. It doesn’t exist. More and more I see people, especially entrepreneurs, that just don’t need them to run a business. As technology grows, it is easier and less costly for a business to run this way in order to cut expenses.
How can a business with tons of overhead and fixed monthly costs of leases, taxes, utilities, expensive printers, cubicals, and a whole mess of other costs think about comparing pricing to a silimar non-office mobile business? They can’t.
Those cubicles all cost money. If a company has been in business any length of time, they are probably making money… Those costs get transferred somewhere. Usually to a customer in the price of goods. A percentage of the products you buy go to paying for a huge waste of space sometimes.
Now granted, there are pluses to an office environment, like team building… and big companies love seeing asses in seats for some reason.. but I venture to say that an office makes a person no more productive than if they worked mobile. Actually, it may lower productivity due to all the constant interruptions and time wasting involved with them.
A lot of sales organizations use cubes. I guess they think it saves them money on not having offices for salespeople. As a previous salesperson, everyone hates them. Nosy neighbors can hear your every move. I venture to say, that if you make 50 prospecting calls at Starbucks or at home in boxers, there’s really no difference between that and making them in a suit in an office, except for being a little more uncomfortable.
Instead of hiring seat fillers, companies should focus more on hiring the best talent. I’m convinced that great people, workers, and leaders will work hard regardless of their environment, just as lazy people will find a way to be lazy even with the strictest of micro-managing. Good stretch and attainable goals and reward systems should be worked on harder than strict rules and punishments. That method is usually counter productive and shuts people off. Most companies fear loss of control though. They like keeping all employees on their services, with their devices, keeping all the information internal, and having asses in seats from 8:30-5:30…
That reminds me actually, what happened to 9-5? Where’d this extra hour of office time get logged in here? How did society squeak an extra hour in there? What’s up with that? Maybe an extra hour got tacked on due to all the water cooler time losses.
People don’t want to be constrained. As technology grows, people request more freedom from an employer… but it seems like the more technology grows, the more limitations a lot of businesses try to put on people.
As the technology moves exponentially faster every year, there’s little need for office space for many industries. If you manufacture or distribute physical products, this may be tough, but for a lot of new and growing industries in computers, technology, information, data, digital space, and online media, there isn’t much need for one. They can easily become a big square waste of money with cubicles and gigantic printers.
“What about meetings?” I can hear the cry of managers already.. First of all, most meetings are a waste of time, and pretty much all of them can be done in under an hour if they are run efficiently. Most meetings are actually just to fill time when people don’t know what to do, or because they feel like they “have to”. Try cancelling your next meeting. The world will go on, and the company will survive. Also, write down all the extra things you accomplished with that hour. A meeting with 30 people is actually wasting 30 hours of productivity, not 1. Some meetings I guess are necessary though, to keep goals set, and to review results or plan future ideas, but with technology nowadays, you can run a worldwide meting with Skype, join.me, GoToMeeting, or any other software, and make a few dollars selling your huge office roundtable.
“My clients want to meet at my office” No they don’t. In my 10+ years of selling, customers rarely if ever want to come to your office, and if they do, its probably because they themselves don’t have one. Try Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, or a restaurant. Even if you had 30 salespeople, and each expensed a lunch with a client every day for an entire month, it would still probably be less expensive than an offices monthly expenses, and you would probably close more business. Also, there are companies that specialize in shared office space if you really need one sometimes.
Most business can be done electronically anymore, and as time goes on, I think it will become commonplace for the customers and clients of most businesses to be in different markets, or maybe even places you have never even been before. If you have a product or service that someone needs the customer can be anywhere in the world.
Are offices going to end up as big gigantic relics like typewriters, or the Zack Morris cell phone? Probably not… old companies hate this idea and probably won’t change anything, until they start losing contracts to younger, hipper companies that have less costs to pay for.
So next time someone shows off their big flashy office to you, ask yourself if it’s like Vegas casinos, where the house always wins. They didn’t build that house. You did.
1) Quickoffice – This is probably the best 20 bucks I have spent on an app. It seems a little pricey compared to most of them… but when 1 app can handle just about all of your Microsoft Office needs, its pretty inexpensive actually. This program links up with most of the larger online storage companies including Dropbox, Box, Evernote, and Google Drive. Easy to edit Word Docs and organize your files into folders. The PowerPoints could use some work, but mostly it will help with your PDFs, Excel, and Word documents.
2) Square – This little magic gadget is pretty impressive. A portable credit card swiper for tablet and smartphone. It’s like a digital cash register. When you have clients where the meetings can be mobile at a Starbucks or at the clients office, you can close the deal on the spot, get payment, and have everything done before the meeting is even over. Pros: Very easy setup process. Cons: processing fee of 2.75%. Nice mobile app though.
3) Goodnotes – This app will let you import documents such as PDFs and write on them with a stylus. Perfect for contracts that need to be signed, or even notes that you need to take while in a meeting. It looks way more tech-savvy than bringing paper contracts. Some old-schoolers may be a liitle weary of signing a digital document, but being able to email it to them on the spot usually gets over that fear. There’s other similar apps, but most of them have either download fees or charge by the document… this one is free.
4) Keynote + Remote – Ever need to present or pitch your business to many people at once? Like a boardroom setting or to a few decision makers at once? The tablet doesn’t work in these situations. When you have a projector or something similar for presentations, Keynote can be a strong presentation tool. The remote app acts as the clicker changing the slides from your mobile device. It’s impressive. I think I may have sold people before the pitch even started with this goodie.
5) Flipboard – Newsflash… Nobody under 50 reads the newspaper. Especially with apps like this that can personalize your news to the things you actually care about. Personally, my passions are technology, advertising, music, and sports. This is how my magazine gets set up. Flipboard scrapes the top sites for each category and shows you all the new articles in an easy to read format.
6) Google Drive – This is the updated space for Google Docs. Basically an online cloud storage place for your documents. It’s a free service with 5GB of free storage before you have to pay. The good things here are you can link documents between people. Do you have a business partner or client or co-worker that you don’t see daily? If you have files that need consistent updating, Google Drive will store the files so everyone you add can update the document and keep it shared, which helps having 1 copy of each file instead of all different editions.
7) CloudOn – This is another Microsoft Office app like QuickOffice. Cloud hosted Office suite. This one also links with some of the major cloud storage companies like Dropbox. The downside here is there is no local storage available. It’s also free though. The only issue could be if you end up having network issues while in the middle of a meeting. You could end up looking kinda dumb. That hasn’t happened too often to me though. Both are pretty good options in this space.
8) Yammer – This is a pretty cool app for companies with many different departments and offices in different markets. Think Facebook for your business. You need to have a firstname.lastname@example.org email address in order to get access to your network. You can set up different groups or networks for each department or even for different projects that pop up. It increases sharing, helps with team building, and brainstorming across large scale.
9) SignEasy – This one is another digital signature app. It’s a little more robust than the Goodnotes one, but you have to pay. 20 bones annually, or pay by the document at a $1.99 price tag, which seems small but high volume could skyrocket that. The good thing is that you can save your signature and initials and its pretty easy to use. It also links with all the major cloud storage companies.
10) Evernote – Evernote basically allows you to consolidate all of your “stuff” into one place. Stuff meaning everything from notes, to-do lists, images, documents, web clips, and audio notes. Instead of having like 20 different apps all scattered, it consolidates your “stuff”. The kicker here is you are only allowed 60MB of upload space for free.
All these apps should be able to help you with either client appointments, working with co-workers or helping to manage employees, or increasing your own productivity in a business space. And there’s one common theme throughout… BUY STOCK IN CLOUD STORAGE!
1) Mobile traffic surpassing desktop – 2013 should mark the year where mobile traffic will fully surpass desktop traffic… in some places it already has. Having a mobile strategy should be standard in your internet marketing campaigns. Mobile converts well if you have a site setup for mobile.
2) Social integration with search advertising – Friends have a major influence on purchasing decisions, and every year, social aspects are affecting search engine results more and more. Still not perfected, but expect some testing in this area as friends suggestions work their way into our search results
3) Growth of eBooks – No surprise here. The Nook and Kindle lit up the Mother’s Day sales charts, and its not looking back. Will real books even exist at all in a few years? Universities are even teaming up with Apple to provide course materials in the app store. Expect more material like this for 2013, and less page turning.
4) Effective data driven campaigns – Minimizing advertising waste. It gets easier and more precise every year to reach a super targeted consumer. Demographics are no longer Adults 25-54. With all the cookie data available for purchase, you can get as super niche targeted as you want for your particular business.
5) More accurate behavioral targeting – Along with data… targeting by behavior has also been improving like crazy over the past few years. The accuracy is getting scary about what behaviors advertisers can find out about consumers.
6) Increase in content marketing – Content sells you. Content makes you an industry expert. Good content that is. It’s hard to keep churning out great content consistently, but you will reap rewards if you can do it successfully. Try to write your own if you can… hiring a blogger can sound fake and people can tell its not your tone in the writing. Google rewards great content, and your content can make the difference between winning or losing a new customer.
7) Remarketing becoming standard – Remarketing technology is improving greatly as well. Sending different messages to people who visited different parts of your site, whether they bought or not, are just a few of the possibilities for remarketing, a technology that was the new kid for awhile and is now coming into its own.
8) New wave of digital agencies – As traditional media becomes less and less viable and more percent of advertising budgets go to online every year, expect a lot of digital agencies to be popping up all over. If you decide to go with an agency, make sure that you choose wisely. What do they have as a competitive advantage?
9) Traditional media companies implementing digital departments – If they haven’t yet, most print, tv, radio and outdoor companies are hiring digital departments, usually led by a digital sales manager or director of digital sales. Expect this to grow as the monies continue to move online.
10) Increase in social advertising technology – The big news story being Facebook exchange, making it easier to target and interact with users on social media in conjunction with your own domain. Look out for more social advertising and interaction with your customers in the future.
11) The Cloud – Businesses are placing their bets with cloud technology to keep their costs down and the infrastructure is set to keep growing. Cloud storage should see a continuing rise in 2013 for both the business and personal sectors.
12) Location based mobile marketing – Do you want to target someone that is near your business. Close to the point-of-purchase. In the vicinity. All high converting means of advertising. Location based advertising is getting more precise every day, and if used correctly can have a great effect of drawing in the surrounding population.
13) Tablets will outsell notebooks – I read that iPad would be the 11th largest tech company in the country by itself. That’s one product outselling almost every entire organization in America. Its safe to say that tablets are here to stay. More and more business gets conducted by means of mobile it seems. I feel like tablets just got to the market, and now they are due to outsell computers next year? Do you have a mobile strategy?
How much talent, thought and effort is required to copy and paste someone elses unique thoughts and articles to social media networks?
Wait for it… NONE, zilch, zero.
It actually takes negative thought, because instead of creating unique thoughts of your own… copy and pasting other people’s ideas to social media networks like linkedin, twitter, stumbleupon, facebook etc seemed like a more legit option. (spamming other peoples unique content)
I’d like to make it clear that this article is not a knock on Klout… It’s a smart idea in theory, but a knock on unoriginal spam-artists that clog up my news feeds with other peoples content all day.
Why do people do this so often? There are a few reasons I’ve found. People want to be known as an industry expert. Copy/pasting someone else’s content over and over doesn’t accomplish this. It’s super easy and lame. It makes you look like the industry idiot. Mostly in my industry, it is new people to the digital/internet space that feel the need to spam up content all day. Any moron can spam social media feeds with new awesome articles they just NEED to post. Writing unique thoughts and content is difficult. I trust people who can write about their respective industry in an intelligent way. More and more, the savvy consumer is relying on articles and knowledge when researching to make a purchase decision… especially one that requires a large or long term investment.
Let’s say you needed a new roof… would you choose company 1 who wrote the book on roofing, or company 2 that sent a link to company 1’s unique work to all their LinkedIn followers. I think I’d choose company 1… I don’t know about you though.
So why do so many people do this? Klout is a major reason. Klout is a company that tries to rank people based on their social authority. Through watching these trends throughout this year, I’ve come to 3 realizations about Klout.
1) This score is meaningless
2) Your Klout score is inversely proportional to how busy you are in life.
3) Klout doesn’t take into account unique content, email marketing, articles, blog posts etc.
From what I gathered, they basically just reward people for generating a lot of social user interaction, regardless of who made that content… hence, the Klout-Spam Pheonomenon. A lot of people, especially newbies who want to impress their friends or co-workers post a plethora of other peoples content for this reason. It makes your Klout score go up. I think that is stupid, and requires no unique thought process or originality. Unique content should be what counts, and spamming should not be rewarded. For this reason, I think the score is meaningless.
Also, I’ve monitored my own score as I’ve gone through different life changes. 1 thing remained constant… The busier I got, the lower my Klout score was. Currently, I don’t have a normal 9 to 5 gig, and my Klout score is 44 with just going through my daily routine… When I was at my busiest, it dropped to a 27 at the lowest point. This is a simple fact of time, if you are really busy with whatever it is that you do, you probably aren’t spamming other peoples posts all day. I wouldn’t say this is Klout’s fault… in theory it is good. Unoriginal people abuse it though and you shouldn’t use that to determine anything important.
Unique content is difficult to generate consistently… you need to be an expert in your field in order to constantly come up with new ideas that don’t bore people to death. Keeping things fresh and interesting is a challenge. That should be rewarded by Klout. Also, other social tools with content like email marketing (newsletters) and interaction on other blog sites are ignored.
It is an imperfect ranking system to say the least. Be weary about using this to rank anything important or evaluate anyone. Someone could have a huge score but sit around all day and do nothing, but most people who are busy in life may have lower ones. Basically, take it with a grain of salt if you are looking up someones Klout score. And if someone harps on their own all day, they are probably one of the Klout spammers.
Why is the digital world so hard to grasp for some people?
It’s difficult because some people look at digital or internet marketing as a singularity. It isn’t. It’s not like digital advertising is like TV, print, radio, outdoor, or any single one of those types of advertising. It is like learning all of them. The digital landscape consists of many different products and services, which each operate as their own industry. Figuring out how to choose the right marketing tool to fit the client’s needs correctly takes a long time to learn.
Instead of traditional media including print, radio, TV, outdoor, direct mail etc… digital marketing encompasses search, display, mobile, remarketing, social, affiliate and a whole host of other segments which are actually basically whole industries of their own. Most people tend to pick one to focus on… it is hard to know them all inside and out. To add to this… they all change every day.
The game has changed. In most traditional media, creativity wins. Most successful marketers and advertising people are very creative. They sell ideas to clients instead of just advertising time. While this is still true in the digital world, to be a successful digital marketer, you need to possess analytical skills along with the creative mindset. With all the tracking and analytics tools provided by companies like Google, you need to be able to spot trends over time, change things on the fly, and adjust marketing campaigns and dollar allocation based on faults and successes.
Most people are not naturally both creative and analytical, although both skill sets can be somewhat trained over time.
Not to mention what I think is the most difficult piece of the puzzle: Being able to explain something that is by nature, very complex, in a way that a client with less industry knowledge can grasp and understand. I have seen very intelligent marketers that know the business inside and out lose people instantly by talking too much about optimization or other words that most clients don’t even really care about.
So what makes a successful Digital Sales Manager? I think that the DSM needs to possess these traits in order to be successful
Tech Savvy – Half of life is a show… digital is no different. Nobody will buy from someone that isn’t up to date with technology and play the part. They also need to read about current events and happenings in the tech world. I have found that clients tend to test knowledge of digital people consistently before deciding to buy.
Sales – Pretty self-explanatory. Sales is a hard thing to teach. You can improve someone’s sales ability, but it is pretty impossible to teach someone that can’t sell to sell. Before even trying to sell clients, the DSM needs to sell the salespeople. It is hard to sell sellers. This role needs to sell the salespeople at the organization that they know their stuff and can be a resource not only for digital knowledge, but also to close business.
Media Expertise – First and foremost, having contacts helps. Trust is tough to gain from clients who have many choices for digital advertising. Having contacts gives you a leg up on the competition. Also, to lead the salespeople successfully, they also need to believe that along with digital, the DSM knows the advertising world and the market inside and out.
Analytical Skills – Digital requires a lot of knowledge, statistics and graphs are a major part of determining success of campaigns. DSM requires knowledge and experience working with numbers and trends.
Creativity – Along with analytics, there is still a good amount of creativity involved with the campaigns, and choosing the correct products and services for the right clients. Also approving graphics and track record for setting up successful digital campaigns is essential. Most failed campaigns I have seen have failed because they were set up wrong on the front end.
Web Contacts – While large companies have many resources, none of them have everything. Does the DSM have contacts for web design and development to lean on in case of an emergency?
Business Development – Building a department requires a lot of work, time, and leadership. Has the person done this before successfully? This is basically like building a brand. Brands are some of the hardest things to build, and even harder to keep successful over a long period of time. Has the DSM done this before?
Juggler – This position requires a lot of juggling… Both of time and prioritizing opportunities with the salespeople. It takes a special person to be able to do all of that without annoying the salespeople.
Training – Running training sessions with the salespeople is essential for growth. Making them non-boring and fun is even more challenging. Salespeople normally hate meetings.
Flexible – Digital changes way too fast if you cannot adapt to change and keep up. If you can’t… you will fail.
Promotable – This person should eventually become Director of Digital Sales as revenue grows and more contributing employees are hired around them.
If you have been marketing your business for any length of time, the inevitable question to ask yourself comes at the end of the advertising campaign. Did the campaign “work”?
What the heck does “work” mean anyway?
If I’ve learned one thing though my time in marketing, its that “work” means different things to different people. Does “work” to you mean growing your social media by 1000 followers, increasing new business by 5%, getting to the top of the search engine, or branding your name in the marketplace? Each of these goals will require a completely different internet marketing strategy.
The word “work…” is subjective, and can mean just about anything.
If the internet marketer is knowledgeable about your business, the campaign is functioning properly, and has the advertisers measurable goal in mind, the campaign should mostly always “work” to meet the businesses needs. Everything online is trackable through historical trends, averages, and percentages to achieve success.
With internetÂ marketing and digital media in particular, everything is trackable. From the amount of people who see your ad, click to come to your website, call you, buy something online, sign up for your newsletter, to the people who leave without doing anything. Each step is able to be tracked along the way, and calculating percentages of visitors and conversions can make it fairly easy for an internet marketer to create a campaign and budget that will deliver a desired result for a client.
Part of the reason why I think Florida internet marketing campaigns sometimes “don’t work”, is that there is a difference between the business owner and internet marketer about what the actual goals of the campaign are. (or the marketer is just plain inexperienced and presents the wrong plan).
Most times when posed with the question: “what are your goals” People will respond “get more customers” or “increase profits”. These are not campaign goals. These are both vague results that will surely end up with a disconnect between what the 2 parties are looking for with the end result.
You would think that the businesses would always want the most leads possible, but maybe not… if I am talking to a very small business, and I bring them 1000 new customers in a month that they are not equipped to handle, and because of this, the processes start failing and their service starts to fall… then the campaign definitely “didn’t work” for that client.
Or what if the campaign generates a lot of leads for people that were too far away from the business and none of them buy anything. Or people calling in for products the business doesn’t even sell. Both are marketer fails based on incorrect geography and targeting.
All these things need to be taken into account when setting up a digital marketing campaign to begin with, and can lead to disaster if all the right questions aren’t asked.
Many internet marketers also don’t ever even ask about profit margin, what a customer is worth to a business owner, closing percentages, etc. These are things that help to ensure that the campaign will “work” when its all said and done… but a lot of internet marketers are too busy selling products instead of listening to needs of a client and put together a plan that “works”.
For example… If an attorney needs 5 new clients this month for a campaign to “work”, now there is a baseline to judge success. How many leads does that attorney need to close 5 clients? How much is each client worth to the attorney? These type of questions are the ones that the marketer needs to find out in order to budget the right campaign that will ensure success. It would be tough to make a case for a campaign that would “work” without asking questions like this one about someones business.
In my experience with Florida businesses, Internet Marketing should always “work” at least to some degree. Analytic data helps the cause by tracking all the results from the clients website. Through analytics, a good internet marketer will easily be able to tell how many website visitors are needed to generate the right amount of leads to the attorney to make sure that he gets his 5 clients for the month.
Make sure your marketers are asking the right questions, listening to your needs, and has a good product, and you should mostly always see a campaign that “works” for what your goals are.
Last week, I was struggling with writers block… I couldn’t think of anything interesting to write about for my internet marketing blog. I figured that this kind of thing may happen to other businesses from time to time, so I thought it would be fitting to put a list together of things that help me when I’m trying to figure out what to write about. Â This way a business owner can refer to this list when suffering from writers block.
1) “How to” guides – Any special knowledge on your industry or topic? makes for a great blog article. Â Instructional guides tend to generate a lot of traffic. Â Write a step by step guide on “how to” complete a task.
2) Make a list – People love to read lists. Lists get a lot of click throughs and time spent on your blog. Create a top 10 list about a product you know well. Tip: Use an odd numbered list sometimes. They stick out of the crowd and your article will get more attention.
3) Have a guest blogger – It doesn’t need to be all the owner or marketer blogging for the business. Have a guest industry expert to post on your blog. Also, you may think about opening up your blog to other employees. Great ideas can come from this, and it will take some off the pressure to create quality content off of yourself.
4) Tell a story – Most posts are about information or to teach someone. Try using an actual real-life story or case study about a client, or something you did to change your industry for the better.
5) Take a video – If a picture is supposed to be worth 1000 words, I think a video is worth at least 1000 pictures. Take aÂ video to add to your blog. It can be anything from a video from your processes to an event that you hosted. Also, try starting a series of short videos with a theme.
6) Interview an expert – Interviews can make for great posts to switch things up a bit. Set up some questions and interview another expert in your field. It sometimes helps to get a second opinion about the industry, and you may actually end up with a ton of other blog ideas that you didn’t think of before. Try recording the interview for a possible podcast.
7) Whats trending? – Do a little homework and research all the new trends that are topical at the time of the writing. Not only will this give you some ideas for a post, but you will coninuously keep up to date on your industry.
8) Use Infographics – Create an infographic about one of your products (ex. see image)
9) Read other blogs – Sounds simple, but make sure you bookmark a lot of the other thought leaders newsletters and blogs. Make sure not to steal someones ideas, but reading a lot of other successful bloggers can definitely “jog your blog”
10) Future Predictions – What do you think is going to happen in your industry this year? What new products do youÂ expect? Where will your industry be in 5 years? Predictions can be great posts, especially around seasons and holidays. Go back later and see if your were right!
11) Tackle an industryÂ contreversy – Is there a topic in your industry that is under debate and has differing opinions? Write about this, it will generate a higher level of comments and engagement than other types of posts.
12) Success Stories – Talk about your past experience. Examples of successes and what has worked for your business can be great articles. Make sure you keep them as informational and you don’t come off as “bragging” to your readers.
13) Answer a question – Do you have FAQs in your industry? Answer some of the questions that are repeatedly asked in your field. This should generate a lot of web traffic to find out the answers, along with branding you as the industry expert.
14) Review industry products – Are there any new products or technology in your field that you can write about? Rate them and talk about your experiences using them.
15) Ask your customers – Your customers can be the greatest source of information to write about. After all, your writing is geared toward them anyway. Ask some of your closest clients what is important to them.
Hopefully this list helped out and you already have a few ideas to start your next post. Â A quick tip for bloggers, when you get an idea… write yourself a note right away! Â The best creative ideas come quickly, but fade just as fast.
Google provides many free tools for the public and businesses. Insights for Search is a tool that uses tons of historical search engine data to evaluate behaviors, patterns, and trends for particular search queries. This is valuable information for any business owner. Here’s 4 ways that Google Insights for Search can help your business:
#1 BUSINESS EXPANSION: If you are a business owner that has the possibility of expansion, than this step is for you!
Some simple data provided using Google’s free tool “Insights for Search” can save you tons of time researching, and a lot of money getting great data that market research companies would charge a fortune for.
The basic premise for Insights is to log all search data entered into Google and provide this data in any form that you want, by creating graphs and filtering data by time, geographic location and keywords.
In the example below I am searching for weight loss, so I would be a business that does either dieting, exercise etc.
As you can see on the graph above from 2011, Mississippi indexes way higher than other states in the southeast for people searching for weight loss.
This next graph (see above) breaks down your search more for regional interest, so you can target your campaigns more precisely by metro areas and research which cities should be more successful markets to enter.
#2 SPOT NEW OPPORTUNITIES: By examining the “Rising Searches” section, you can spot new areas of opportunity in your field based on recommended keywords by Google. These keywords have experienced high growth in recent times, and may be a new area to focus on. In the example below, Florida Internet Marketing keywords would have led to terms like “affiliate marketing” and “seo”.
Rising searches can be a great way to forecast whats coming up in your industry.
#3 MARKET RESEARCH: If you are having trouble building an advertising message, figuring out which products to highlight, or what keywords and message to use in your advertising, then Google insights can help you. For example, if you market for a University trying to figure out which of your programs would need the most demand
#4 OBSERVING SEARCH CYCLES: This works great for any seasonal business or businesses that may have peaks and valleys in sales volume. By using Google Insights, you can see changes in search volume for your keywords. This is extremely helpful to a business owners, and can help forecasting, and look back at historical trends to look at industry growth rates in your area.
In the example below, you can see the trends for air conditioning in Florida. As you might expect, the search volume steadily rises into summer, and falls again after summer. Some interesting spikes can also be seen though in April ’10 when there was a major heatwave in Florida. Pretty interesting information here for business owners that want to plan a Florida Internet Marketing Strategy.
Note that Google Insights for Search is by no means the only method you should use when determining a business & Internet Marketing strategy. Take it for what it is, another tool to help plan your business strategy.