All posts by Kevin Arrow

content plan

Why A Content Plan Is Crucial To Your Business

Whenever I talk to new prospects there are normally 2 things that come up time and time again.

The first thing they like to tell us is that ‘Content doesn’t work for my business’, come on,  we were told for years that content for transport businesses was a waste of time, all whilst we were sucking in leads from businesses every week :-). You just need the right people and the right intention behind your content strategy.

The second thing is they don’t have time to plan let alone review their content strategy, the truth is they don’t value it as a priority and are happily creating random content that just doesn’t work. The truth is, you need to plan and review every time you publish something new because timing is everything and audiences change. The biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make are:

a) They don’t have a content plan
b) They don’t track and test their results

Sometimes it’s because they don’t know how to plan and track…

A Content Plan

All marketing on the internet is content marketing. Blogging is content, Video/ Vlogging is content, linkedin updates are content and Facebooking is content. No matter what you are trying to sell, you need visibility. You can only get visibility if you have a web page with content of some type on it. It could be a post, top tips, embedded video, graphic, Slideshare presentation and so on. Your content is based on what you know your target audience struggles with and needs more information about.

In addition, it should be keyword rich. Every single site on the web has a search option. It might not be very good, but they have them. If it is written content on the page, important keywords and phrases, the people in your niche would be likely to search for should be in the title, description, on the page itself, and in the tags. If it is a graphical item, name the file using keywords. Then use keywords in the title, description and so on. This process is known as search engine optimisation (SEO).

Basic SEO isn’t that hard to get to grips with, it’s a process rather than a hidden secret nobody knows about, yes effort is required but 15 minutes optimising a page will get you far better results than not bothering and bagging out content that just isn’t being found.

Content series are also massively important which is why planning out what you are doing in advance adds a structur to your content that the search engines love and more importantly your readers engage with.

 

Analytics

Once you have published any piece of content, it is important to look at:

  • How visitors looked at the piece of content
  • How many of those visitors followed your call to action.
  • Who visited and why
  • How did they come to find your content, what did they look at and on what page did they leave.

Your traffic can come from SEO, PPC and also social media. But how many follow your CTA? Imagine you create a 7-part e-course on Living Your Dream Life. You would create an optin page and tell people about it. Then you would track the visitors and the number of subscribers. You would also check the social media response, such as likes, shares and comments, if you are really clever tracking the link clicks from each platform

You would then look at the traffic logs of your site, such as Google Analytics. Google Analytics is free. Register for an account and add a small amount of tracking code to your site. You will start to see traffic reports for your site. The Audience tab will tell you how many visitors you had, as well as age, gender and so on. The Acquisitions tab will show you where they came from – Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Keeping a close eye on the success (or not) of the content you publish is one of the best ways to keep on creating exactly the kind of information that your target audience is most interested in, which should lead to more relevant traffic and greater profits.

What To Do Now?

That’s simple, to get you started there are only 2 things you need to do

  1. Go over HERE and grab you planners and actually USE THEM. planners are a waste of time if they sit there empty, work out your content strategy and plan it out, it’s your playbook for getting the right content out at the right time to the right people.
  2. Get yourself a google analytics account, I mentioned they are FREE, so what’s stopping you, if you never know what’s happening then you can never do more of what works, once you have your account you connect it to your site and then keep your eye on it, learning, understanding and adapting the way your website visitors interact with you and your content.

Conclusion

the bottom line is you need to plan your content, create and publish then look at what is happening, without any of these steps your road to gaining new clients online is going to be difficult, slow and rather painful.

Be good to yourself and I guarantee when you do these few steps you will really start to enjoy your content creation and more importantly enjoy the new clients it brings to you.

Kevin Arrow

How To Achieve Business Success in 2020 – 100 Top Tips

When it comes to running your own business, how do you know where to begin? There are so many little considerations and moving parts to any business that it can seem overwhelming. You set out thinking business success is only a few short weeks away once you have launched your business however there are many things a serious business owner has to think about when launching and running their business.

That’s why I’ve collated these 100 tips. These are ‘survival’ tips that will help you grow and maintain your business – whether you’re just starting out in your business venture, or you’ve already been in business for a while.

In this blog post you will get tips on the following areas

How to get to know your customers so that you can deliver the products and services they need in the ways they need them
The basics of business planning that every entrepreneur needs to know
What you need to do now to prepare for future disasters so that your business isn’t derailed when they occur
How to document your systems and processes not only for your employees but also for potential investors
The essentials of small business finance
How to identify the help you need and build a solid network that will provide it
Ways to keep an eye on your market and its changes and developments
The basics of managing a strong social media presence and what to do with it
How to monitor and control your reputation online
Essential time management tips
Tips on reducing and managing stress for when things get hectic.

By the time you finish this blog post, you’ll have the basics under your belt and a long list of things you can do today to make sure your business not only survives but thrives in 2019.

Here are 100 small business survival tips.

Know Your Customers

1- Look at Who’s Looking

Whether you have an online store or an offline brick and mortar shop, pay attention to who is visiting and know as much about them as possible. If you’re offline, watch your customers shop, talk to them and get to know them as well as possible. For an online store, pay attention to your metrics use google analytics or wp slimstat and look at visitor profiles. You can use this information to tweak and better appeal to your customers.

2 – Focus on Needs

Focus on your customers’ problems and needs. Your products or services should fulfil those needs or solve those problems. If your products or services don’t, how could they be improved so that they do? Or, thinking about it another way, what type of customer could benefit from your products or services?

3 – Focus on Relationship, Not Sales

From the moment a customer encounters your business, hold off on sales and instead focus on building a relationship. Think in terms of how you can help the customer. Interact with them and create a bond. Easing off on the sales means they may not buy anything today or even tomorrow, but if you build a good relationship they eventually will, and they’ll stick with you.

4 – Create a Two-Way Dialog

The best way to get to know your customers and build a solid relationship is to get two-way communication going. Encourage them to contact you and interact with you. A great way to do this is through social media. Remember that even offline businesses can and should use social media to do this.

5 – Find Out Who Is Filling Their Needs Now

Find out who a potential customer is buying from right now and how they feel about it. Knowing this information reveals a great deal about your customers’ tastes and how they make their purchase decisions. Perhaps you have something unique to offer that your competitors don’t.

6 – Put Yourself in Your Customers’ Shoes

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and see things from their point of view. When you do this, you can better understand the wide range of buying options they have, as well as the pros and cons of each. This also helps you clarify the edge you have over your competitors.

7 – Take Advantage of Tools

There are many online tools to help you get to know your customers better. Metrics give you passive data on who visits your site and what they do there, but tools like SurveyMonkey or survey slam, which lets you create surveys, Activecampaign an email and crm system that allows you to see what interests them can all help

8 – Don’t Assume

You probably know the popular saying, ‘When you assume, you make an ass of you and me.’ When it comes to online business, it’s more like ‘When you assume, you get out of touch and lose relevance with your market.’ Never assume you know what your customers like. Always rely on hard data or your customers themselves.

9 – Seek Out Face Time

Whether online or off, you should value the actual face-to-face time you get to spend with your customers. Phone calls and emails can be helpful for getting to know them, but there’s nothing like actually spending time with them. Where you can try to arrange a meetup or similar, where it’s not easy have a zoom social and invite them along with no agenda

10 – Find Out How They Feel

When gathering information about your customers, don’t just focus on demographics or behavior, but also how they feel and think. This is part of what’s also called psychographics. When you’re trying to address needs, ease pain and solve problems, your customers’ feelings are extremely important.

Business Planning

11 – Set SMART Goals

When setting goals, do it the SMART way. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. In other words, make sure your goals are specific and locked in to a deadline. Decide how you’ll measure them so you’ll know if you’ve reached them or not. Make sure they’re achievable and relevant to your business.

12 – Identify Your own Milestones

You reach large, overarching business goals by setting smaller sub-goals or even micro goals along the way. These are the milestones that get you to your destination. Not only do they give you direction, telling you what needs to be done on a daily basis, they also give you a sense of achievement when you reach them that keeps you motivated to keep working toward your goals.

13 – Keep Breaking Up Your Goals

Large goals are daunting, but so are your milestones. In order to reach each milestone, you should break them up into definable steps. Take your sub-goals and milestones and keep breaking these up further and further until you have specific tasks you can accomplish each day.

14 – Determine What Makes You Unique

In order to make your business a success, you need a strong unique value proposition. This is what sets you apart from other companies. Don’t focus on being the biggest, fastest, cheapest or best, because something better can come along. Instead, focus on what you offer that’s unique. This is harder for another company to outdo.

15 – Define Your Target Market

Create a profile for your target market that includes demographics, buying habits, and the feelings and attitudes that make up what’s called psychodemographics. Create this profile as if it were an actual person, or avatar, and focus your efforts on marketing specifically to that person.

16 – Size Up the Competition

In the planning stages of your business, research your competitors. You need to find out the overall business climate, as well as come up with ideas to set your business apart. Look at what they offer, what makes them unique, and how they solve customer problems. Also, try to find out what their customers think about them.

17 – Focus on Details

When most people start a business they have a vague idea of what it is and how it will work. But to survive and thrive you need details spelled out as clearly as possible. Think about how your business should operate on a daily basis. How specifically will you meet your customers’ needs? Where will the profits to keep you going come from?

18 – Find Out What People Do on Your Website

When designing or re-designing your business website, focus on what you want people to do there. Don’t just think in terms of design and features, but what actions you want visitors to actually perform. For example, you may want them to sign up for a newsletter or start following you on social media. For each online marketing channel, identify a purpose in this way.

19  – Get the Resources You Need

Identify what resources you have to work with and which resources you’ll need in the future. Outline how you will develop or secure those resources when you need them. Identify others who can help.

20 – Plan with Patience

If you’re just starting out, it’s normal for a business to make little or no money for its first few years of operation. Be patient when planning your business. Give it the time it needs to grow and become profitable.

Preparing for Disaster

21 – Back It up

Create a system for backing up your business that includes routinely backing up all data and storing it. Include procedures for what to do if data is lost and define who has access to the backed up data. Consider using cloud services as well as a physical back-ups, and back-up your data in more than one place.

22 – Invest in Security

Invest in a solid security program or service that will ensure your network is safe. Update whenever updates are offered. You may also choose to have your network tested. There are services that try to hack into your site in order to discover its vulnerabilities.

23 – Use Password Protection Best Practices

Your greatest security is simply choosing good passwords and changing them regularly. Use random passwords that are impossible to guess. Avoid common passwords like birthdays, kids’ or pets’ names, or anything related to your company. Change passwords regularly and restrict access carefully. When you hire outside help, give them temporary passwords and delete when the work is finished. Always change passwords when a person leaves your company.Using a free service like lastpass will help you immensely.

24 – Conduct Security Training

Train your staff  and outsourced team well on security procedures and how to avoid malware. Make clear guidelines on downloading from the internet and teach them about common threats like phishing schemes. Make sure everyone is on the same page.

25 – Create an Acceptable Use Policy

Along with your security training, create an Acceptable Use Policy. This is a written statement that outlines what uses of the company’s computers are appropriate or inappropriate, especially in regards to internet use. It’s important to have these guidelines spelled out clearly.

26 – Protect Your Customer Data

On your website, clearly spell out how customer data is stored and used. Write a privacy policy that covers everything and post it on your website. Treat this customer data like it is gold. Make sure it is encrypted and restrict employee access to only the information they need.

27  – Use Multiple Channels to Keep in Touch

Make contact with your customers through as many different channels as possible so that if you lose one, you can still communicate with them. For example, if your site gets taken down, you can still maintain contact through social media or your email mailing list. Using a service like liveagent will allow you to have multiple channels of communication filtered into one place to keep it organised for your business

28 – Establish Disaster Protocols

Establish clear protocols for any type of disaster that could occur, from data breaches to natural disasters that shut down your company. When something like this occurs, you and your staff need to act quickly and in an organized manner.

29 – Hire Good Legal Back-up

Hire a business lawyer and make sure that all of your legal documentation is in order. Keep copies of all paperwork and understand well what you legally can and can’t do. This will include your terms of business and any contracts you need with your customers.

30  – Listen to Legal News

Keep an ear open for changes in internet law. Especially where ecommerce is concerned, there have been major changes in recent years that anyone doing business online needs to know. Make sure you understand copyright law well and how it pertains to what you do online.

Systems and Processes

31 – Map It Out with a Manual

Define all of your business practices and write them out in a manual. This can be used as a troubleshooting guide for when things go wrong as well as a training manual for new employees. Document each process for every area of your business including product development, quality control, customer service, internal and external communications, the sales process, financial processes, etc. Use graphics and checklists to make it easy to follow.

32 – Create Training Materials

From your manuals, create materials specifically for training new staff or contractors. These should give an overview of how the company works, as well as specific information for learning systems, processes and policies.

33 – Make Training Videos

If you rely on virtual help for internet or computer based tasks, an easy way to train this help is to create videos. Use screen capture video production software and film yourself actually doing the work. When you hire someone, you can give them these video tutorials and they only need to watch and follow.

34 – Secure Funding

If you’re working on a start-up, write your business systems and processes with financial funding in mind. If you want to take out a business loan, you’ll have to show these materials as part of the application. The more detailed and thorough they are, the more likely they are to get you the funding you need. You may also need to show this documentation to investors.

35 – Write Step Processes

When writing your processes, take each process or thing your business does, and break it down into steps. The steps should be simple and easy for anyone to understand even if they don’t have any knowledge of your industry. If a process has more than about seven steps, break it down into two sub-processes.

36 – Write a Style Guide

Some companies write a style guide. This is a manual that explains how communications should be made in a detailed way. A style guide might cover, for example, how you write emails to customers, what to say on the phone to clients, and words and phrases to use/avoid in marketing materials. How you communicate is important for your brand image, so it should be consistent. Some style guides also include ready-made templates you can use instantly for communications.

37 – Go Visual

Whenever possible, use visuals in your documentation. A graph or diagram explains a process instantly at a glance so that there’s no confusion over terminology. A great way to document your processes is by using mind maps. A mind map allows you to present a ‘big picture’ of information in a simple, easy to understand way.

38 – Allow Room to Grow

In your business processes and systems documentation, allow room to grow. Your business will evolve over time, and your processes and systems need to be able to sustain this change. Make each process scalable and write your documentation with your future growth in mind.

39 – Ask for Collaboration

Enlist your employees or coworkers to help you document your systems and processes. They may think of details you would forget. They may have other input as well that helps to explain the system more clearly. If you have a larger company, you might ask your employees to document their own processes, and then have others review for accuracy and clarity.

40 – Identify Areas to Improve

You can use your documentation not only to outline and clarify processes, but also to identify areas that need improvement. By writing everything down, you get a clearer picture of how your company works. You may find areas where there is waste or inefficiency. It helps if you ask employees and customers for feedback.

Financial Survival Tips

41 – Create a Solid Budget

Every business needs a budget. No business can survive without one. Your budget is your estimated monthly expenses and profits. Start by considering expenses. Most start-ups can’t rely on profits early on until they have a steady cash flow going.

Separate expenses into three categories: Fixed expenses which don’t change, such as rent, leased items, and insurance; variable costs, which are related to sales volume and include things such as raw materials, shipping and software to meet sales demands; and semi-variable costs, which are costs that can be adjusted depending on volume of business such as advertising and salaries.

42 – Use Accounting Software

Make it easy on yourself and use an accounting software program such as QuickBooks. While you can’t completely automate your financial operations, automating what you can is a huge help. It makes managing your finances that much faster and easier.

43 – Forecast Major Expenses

Make a list of all of your business’s major expenses such as computer upgrades or subscription services. Put these on your yearly calendar far in advance so that you have time to plan how you’ll pay for them. This way, you won’t have to take money that’s needed elsewhere when it comes time to make your payment.

44 – Pad Your Estimates

When estimating costs for expenses that aren’t fixed, such as rent or salaries, pad your estimation because things usually cost more than expected. For advertising and marketing expenses, take your estimate and double it. For legal and licensing expenses, triple them. They may not cost this much but at least you’re covered if they exceed expectations.Detailed research will help you with this so you can be fairly accurate and there will be no sudden surprises.

45 – Plan To Survive Shortfalls with a Credit Line

Arrange a credit line with your bank when things are good and you don’t need it. Then, when you experience a shortfall, as every entrepreneur inevitably does at some time, you can borrow only what you need. The reason this is a good strategy is that banks are wary of lending to creditors who need it immediately. It’s much easier to establish a credit line when you don’t need it.

46 – Get into a Regular Billing Cycle

Create policies for billing clients if your goods or services are such that you receive payment later. When you get payments later, you’re extending credit to your clients. Like any creditor, you need to regularly invoice them and create clear policies for dealing with late payments. Unpaid invoices (Accounts Receivable) can really hurt your cash flow when they get out of hand.

47 – Plan Taxes Well in Advance

One thing that’s not a financial uncertainty is taxes. Tax season rolls around every year at a set time, so plan ahead. There’s nothing worse than being caught unprepared when tax season hits. Put together all the resources you need including any legal help. It’s good to also set aside some extra cash for tax season in case you have to pay more than expected.

48 – Don’t Set and Forget

Create a budget and revise it constantly. Revisit it each month to see what has changed, as some things certainly will. Update your budget based on the activity of the last month. Also take into consideration any changes in your company that may affect finances, such as new staff or new regular clients.

49 – Scan Your Paperwork

Scan all financial paper work and back it up. This makes it easy to store and retrieve financial documents. You can also easily share documents with potential lenders or others who need to see them. Scanning saves paper and protects you if you get audited.

50 – Record Your Finances

Record your finances honestly and keep in mind that someday a banker may be pouring over them, deciding whether or not to offer you a loan. If you think about this future banker when you make financial decisions, it may influence you to make decisions that are sound now.

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Conclusion

Running a small business isn’t easy and you’ll find many roadblocks along the way. But these 100 survival tips are enough to get you started with conquering those challenges and getting past many of the common mistakes business owners and entrepreneurs make.

Here are a couple suggestions for using these tips to your best advantage:

1. For each of the categories of tips, try picking one tip that you know you need to work on and explore it in more depth.

2. You can also pick a whole category and devote a week or month to implementing some of the tips.

Good luck in your business ventures and here’s to your business success!

Is Video For Marketing Your Business Any Good?

Is Video For Marketing Your Business Any Good?

Video marketing is powerful and effective, and an absolute must-have if you are blogging for business, creating social media interest, selling products or services. If you do it right and regularly, you’ll find that you are building awareness like never before and getting more customers, too.

Need convincing?. I know video marketing is effective marketing, but it’s always nice to have something other than personal experience!

Let’s take a look at the stats around video marketing

  • A one minute video is worth 1.8 million words (Forrester Research)
  • 46 percent of Internet Users watch video (comScore)
  • 100 Million Viewers of Video Every Single Day (Wall Street Journal)
  • 90 Percent of Home Buyers Use Video (National Association of Realtors)
  • B2B? 75% of Executives Watch Business Videos on YouTube (Forbes)
  • 65% of Executives that Watch Business Videos Visit the Website (Forbes)
  • 80% of Internet Users Remember Video ads ( Online Publishers Association)
  • 64% of Video Viewers Were More Likely to Buy due to a Video (comScore)
  • 51% Increase in Subscriber to Lead Conversion Rates due to Video (Yahoo! Small Business)

To put it simply, if you’re not using video marketing you’re missing out on huge conversions, better brand awareness and a whole lot of cash.

What Makes a Good Video for Video Marketing?

Before you start making videos, it’s a good idea to understand what makes for a good video for video marketing. When you create a video, it’s important to have a few facts clear.

  • Know your goals – You need to know why you’re doing the video. Is it to sell one particular product, brand awareness, or to report about an event? Be clear on the point of the video before you even start shooting.
  • Know your audience – To make a video the right way you need to understand who you’re creating it for. If you don’t know who your audience is you could accidentally turn them away from you without meaning to.
  • Tell a story – If you can turn anything you want to do on video into a way to further a story then you have a winner. If the focus is on the audience understanding the story you’re trying to tell, then the video will be more effective.
  • Keep it short & simple – There are few times when the video should be longer than 4 or 5 minutes. The best course is to try to keep it down to about 2 or 3 minutes so that people don’t get bored. Plus, it will force you to cut things that aren’t relevant.
  • Develop a Script – The best thing you can do is create a script as well as a short list. My goto method is bullet points if its you on camera  While you don’t want the video to appear as if you’re stiffly reading something, you do not want to miss anything important when you tape the video.
  • Get the right lighting – Hardly anything is more important than light. You can use lamps that you can buy relatively inexpensively to help light up the shot better. Test out how the shot looks before you commit to the recording.
  • Ensure great sound – The other important part of your video is the sound and it’s really just as important as the light if you want people to hear your message. Test out the sound, and you can even do a voice over if you can’t get the sound accurate with the mic on your camera.
  • Optimise for SEO – Getting seen is not going to happen automatically. You must ensure that the description, title, tags, annotations and call to action are impeccable so that you get more views and more answers to your call to action.
  • Do more than one – One video is not video marketing. It’s just a random video. Video marketing should be a planned and regular addition to your content marketing efforts. Much like your website will look empty with just one blog post, you’ll need a few videos to really be engaged in video marketing.

Video marketing is an important part of content marketing today because of the ease of the available technology, and that some of the public prefers video over text. If you give it enough thought and consideration, you’re sure to develop an effective video marketing campaign for your audience.

what videos are you currently making and are they working for you?

If you are struggling but know you have to get the video aspect of your marketing working hard for you with results then book in a FREE discovery call with me and we can work out exactly how you can move forward.

Kevin Arrow

The Template Cheatsheet #infographic

Templates are a great way of giving to your audience. You can give them away as an opt-in gift. You can use templates within courses that you offer. You can add them as content upgrades. Templates can be used to take a customer through a process and maybe even to track progress. The uses of templates are vast and wide.

In this Infographic I go through how to make templates that will have the biggest impact and result in supporting you in your business.

The Template Cheet Sheet

Please pin to your marketing or business Pinterest board

How do you use templates in your business?

Kevin Arrow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

50 Creative Video Ideas For Marketing Your Business

With video being a big part now of how you market your business in an engaging way it always poses the age-old question of ‘What type of video do I make?’ 

Here are fifty creative video marketing ideas you can try, remember to tweak and adapt them to your industry for the best results.

  1. Host a video contest and publish the best video. This can generate a lot of fun and buzz while getting you a great cloud-sourced video ad. For a great example of this, see the Gmail video contests or do a search for the Marie Forleo B-School scholarship videos.
  2. Do a parody or remix of a popular video. If you can parody a popular video right as it’s taking off, you can often get hundreds of thousands of hits. My favourite is the Instagram Song, sung to the tune of Nickleback’s Photograph.
  3. Upload a few video testimonials. Having others see how much people love your product or service can have a powerful effect and video testimonials are almost impossible to fake.
  4. Do a how-to video series. People love learning, especially on a specific topic that they’re passionate about.
  5. Demonstrate a product. It can either be your own or someone else’s. Demonstrate it via Google Hangout Live and then share it in blog posts and via your You Tube Channel.
  6. Answer common questions. Do one video per question, or a bunch of questions in one video like I do on my social media hangouts
  7. Address common objections to taking action. Find out what excuses people commonly have to not taking action and tackle them head on in a video.
  8. Record an inspirational speech on video.
  9. Subtitle an existing video. If there’s an existing video in your market, one quick way to get a lot of views is to reproduce it with subtitles. Make sure there are no copyright issues before doing this.
  10. Tell a story visually. Use a storyboard to walk them through a story that has a lesson in the end.
  11. Do a stop-motion graphic. These are very difficult to create, but have a tendency to go viral when they’re done well.
  12. Hire a professional voiceover from Fiverr. If you have just the visuals and don’t want to use your personal voice, get someone from Fiverr to do the voiceover for just $5.
  13. Get someone else on camera to teach. Have someone well known in your industry teach on camera.
  14. Create a slideshow video. Use a slideshow from PowerPoint to create a video. Narrate each slide to walk people through the slides.
  15. Guide someone through an experience. For example, a guided meditation or a guided writing exercise.
  16. Do a membership that ships a video every month or a video exclusive newsletter
  17. Use video on your sales page and squeeze page. You can often get higher conversions through video landing pages than any other kind of landing page.
  18. Show the behind the scenes of your business. People love seeing the nitty gritty of how things are done.
  19. Let them get to know your team. Introduce other people in the office on video show them who answers the phones and who packs the deliveries.
  20. Plan and perform a publicity stunt. Do something gutsy in public and film it.
  21. Piggyback off a popular current topic. For example, do an election video during the elections.
  22. Do a screencast. Record your screen while demonstrating something, teaching your customers a new skill is  always a winner.
  23. Tell a story from your life about your topic.
  24. Share a random thought or rant. Don’t edit the video, be totally uncut.
  25. Say something controversial or take an uncommon stance
  26. Do a timelapse video. Setup a video camera and let it film for a long time, then condense it all into a few minutes.
  27. Prove or disprove a myth.
  28. Pose a puzzle or question. Then answer the question in a later video. This gets a lot of people involved and also gives you the chance to provide content later.
  29. Show and tell your tools. For example, if you’re teaching how to create video, do a video specifically on all the different kinds of software, tools and equipment.
  30. Talk about a mistake you saw someone make. Dissect it and show them how to avoid that mistake for themselves.
  31. Do a public poll and film it. Go into the public and ask people their opinions on a certain topic. Post it to show what popular opinion is in a certain field.
  32. Ask employees of distributors questions. For example, if you have a fishing site, call up the fishing rod manufacturer and ask them questions about the rods.
  33. Host an in-person competition and put that on video. For example, have a fishing contest, interview the winner and put the whole thing on video.
  34. Issue a challenge and ask people to submit videos. For example, challenge your audience to do something using your products. Whoever can show video proof wins a prize.
  35. Give advice to yourself from when you first started. Film a video as if you were talking to a past self, then publish that video.
  36. Explain the theory behind something. Instead of just teaching how to, share the why.
  37. Talk about the emotional difficulties clients may face on their journey.
  38. Do something ridiculous on video. Make it funny or just plain outrageous.
  39. Post a video response. If your response is good, it might get picked up in the “related videos” tab and get a lot of views.
  40. Explain the laws around your industry.
  41. Cover an event. For example, a live seminar, conference or trade show.
  42. Have people hold up index cards with statements. You’ll need at least a dozen to make a good video.
  43. Video blog your entire day. Then speed it up and show people what your day is like.
  44. Impersonate someone. For example, if you’re a piano teacher, try dressing up like Lady Gaga or Elvis for a lesson.
  45. Unbox a product. Unpack a new product while explaining exactly what makes it special. A product reveal is always popular with die-hard fans
  46. Do a hidden camera video of something. For example, go behind the curtains at a concert and show people what that’s really like.
  47. Introduce yourself to your audience. Tell them who you are and what you care about.
  48. Make a list video. For example, 25 tips on how to do X.
  49. Co-ordinate with other successful video producers. Publish the video to both of your lists to get more reach.

That’s 49 creative video marketing ideas from me… I’d like one from you now. Leave your creative video marketing idea as a comment.

Kevin Arrow

 

7 Key Elements For A Homepage Of A Website

7 Key Elements For A Homepage Of A Website

Your home page is important. Quite often it’s the page that most visitors come to first. It’s the page you will generate the most links to, unless you write an epic post. It may also be the page that the search engines pay the most attention to when people are searching for you by name. With these facts in mind it makes sense to make sure your home page is as well designed as it possibly can be.

There are seven key elements for a successful home page. They each are important independently, but they work together to provide a unique and impact experience for your visitor. Before you take a look at these key elements, however, it’s important to answer a question first.

What is the goal of your successful home page?

Your home page needs to have a goal – an objective. What do you want visitors to do? What action do you want them to take? There are many possibilities. You may want direct your reader to:

  • Dig deeper and explore your website
  • Click through to a services or product page
  • Opt-in to stay in touch
  • Discover more about who you are and what you do
  • Find resources that will make their life easier

Once you know what you want visitors to do, then you can make sure your home page supports this goal.

Now you’ll use the seven key home page elements. These include:

Images

The images you choose on your home page are important. You want them to support the overall website and business goals but they shouldn’t detract from the main purpose of the website. Images, in the form of graphics and photos, can quickly overwhelm a home page and become a distraction if you don’t manage them carefully.

An example of how the image is part of the successful home page is shown over here at Content Nitro

If you choose to use images (and they really can enhance a home page) make sure they support your goals. Make sure they adequately represent your brand.

This will probably mean booking a photoshoot, and buying some specific stock images and customising them to fit your brand.

The most common image you use might be your own photo, as you can see from the example, you can look Sarah right in the eye and see that she’s a real human being. This helps connect the reader to you. It helps brand your business and start building a rapport. You can also have photos and imagery around what you do, how you do it and your services.

The images should tell your story visually and back up the words on the home page. On Sarah’s homepage you see a speedometer, this is part of the Content Nitro branding and straight away shows p[rogress, speed and moving forward.

Everything from words to images should be in alignment with each other. If they’re not, your reader can tell. They can’t quite put their finger on something being wrong, they just know that it is.

Strapline

Your strapline is often the very first thing a visitor will see. If it doesn’t grab their attention, then it’s not doing its job. However, in addition to grabbing their attention, it also must support your home page’s purpose.

The strapline here at The Business Success Dojo is clear . concise and tells you exactly how we will help you.

 

Take time to craft your home page headline. This is also an important element to test and track. Create two home pages with two different headlines and then test them. Yes, that’s right, test your home page’s impact. Determine which headline is better at helping you accomplish your goal for this page.

Emotions

Emotions are what your visitors use to validate their buying decisions. They’re incredibly important if you’re trying to motivate any action.

You can tap into your visitors’ emotions with images and words. If it’s the first time visitor, you need to show you understand their needs and tap into their emotions so that they trust you enough to start moving through the site.

Navigation

Make sure that your visitor not only knows what they’re supposed to do on your home page, but also that they can quickly work out how to do it.

Over on Honeys hypnotherapy site  she makes it really clear on how you can book a free consultation with her. You can also see how she has segmented out her 3 areas of support, Anxiety, Deprtession and teens, each with thier own button taking you to that sopecific area for more information.

This isn’t always a navigation bar, the successful rise of home pages as landing pages proves this isn’t always needed. You just have to make it clear for your visitor to take the next click.

On the 1230 TWC homepage you can see all the successful home page elements in action.

  • A gorgeous visual of networking over lunch
  • A strong strapline
  • Emotional connection
  • And a slimmed down navigation so that the most popular pages are accessible from the home page

If you want your visitors to move deeper into your website, then make sure your buttons and call to action support this. If they can’t find the way to the page they want, they’re going to leave.

Proof

You might notice that many of the elements of a successful home page are also sales copy elements. This is because you are trying to motivate an action. Your home page has a purpose. Proof can be demonstrated by:

  • Awards
  • Testimonials
  • Endorsements
  • Trust Factors
  • Facts and statistics

The proof you use, again, depends upon your goal. On Elizabeths site you can see just how credible she is with all of her certifications being proudly presented on her homepage. This instantly tells any visitor she knows exactly what she’s doing and they are safe with her as a qualified professional

You want to encourage an opt-in, then you might use facts and statistics along with a banner ad highlighting any awards your site has won. This gives your website credibility.

Call to action

A compelling call to action is required for every successful home page.

Calls to action guide your visitors towards the action you’d like them to do next. There’s no clutter, just simple and effective sign-posting and calls to action.

Remember to test your calls to action too. We’ve found “Subscribe” works better than “Sign up” in the optin calls to action. Whatever works the best for your audience is the one that you stick with.

Opt-in form

Finally, if your goal is to motivate an opt-in, then you must have an opt-in form on your home page. In fact, everything on that page needs to support the goal of the visitor becoming a subscriber? Why? Because 70% of website visitors leave never to return again – even if they like your site.

Another of our clients Shelley from Tomorrows VA gives her homepage visitors an option to opt in to her email list by offering them something they may be interested in for subscribing, on her site as a whole she has different opt ins based on where they are on the site and what they may be interested in however on the homepage as at that point there is no way of telling what they are looking for there is a general opt in.

The  homepage of a website is perhaps the most important page on your website.

Make sure the elements on your page support your goals and your success. Test and track various elements until you get the best results, and remember, nothing, not even the home page, is set in stone and it can be tweaked and tested until it’s supporting your website goals.

Is it time your home page had a makeover?

Kevin Arrow

17 ways to boost your website’s credibility

17 ways to boost your website’s credibility

Do you remember your first website design? I wish I had a screenshot of mine. It was set up in GeoCities and it was an unholy mess in bright yellow and orange, with a hint of red, if my memory serves me correctly. Websites looked a whole lot different way back then

Fast forward a few years to 2006 and I had designed a really lovely Flash website in orange and silver, with sliding star trek doors that opened and closed when you changed pages. They even made swishing sounds as they opened and closed. I had lots of traffic, or what I thought was a lot of traffic and all the visitors loved playing with those sliding doors.

Of course no one ever called us of course, we didn’t have our phone number on the site and when we finally got around to adding it we put it at the bottom of the page because we didn’t want people to think they had to ring us right away

In fact, we didn’t have very much on our early websites that boosted credibility at all!

Alot has changed since the early 2000’s and I have learnt alot to.

With it becoming easier and easier to build websites and the cost of these can sometimes be very low it’s really important that you atrt to think about some of the things that will make YOUR business website stand out more and be much more likely that visitors will be interested in what you are offering.

What can you do to boost your website’s credibility to your visitors through your website design?

1. You don’t need to spend a million, but a professional logo and website are a big credibility booster.
2. Always include an “About Us” page on your website. People want to know who they are doing business with.
3. Share any relevant education, awards experience you’ve received that are relevant to your work. You worked hard, so shout it out.
4. Include a Privacy Policy on your website. Give your website users and subscribers the confidence to share their information with you.
5. Use a secure server for your shopping cart. This will avoid any alerts from popping up on a customer’s antivirus program.
6. Include your full mailing address on your website and avoid a P.O. box. Services like Mailboxes Etc. can provide you with a street address. This helps with location marketing and enabling local customers to find you better.
7. Include a phone number on your website, preferably at the top of the page unless you prefer to be contacted in other ways.
8. Respond to public inquiries. It’s shocking how many website owners don’t bother to answer their email.
9. Respond to customer inquiries even faster. These people are your bread and butter, so treat them like gold.
10. Join relevant organizations and display your participation. For example, Better Business Bureau in the US or  FSB in the UK.Other organization logos on your website can boost your credibility.
11. Consider date stamping all your content. While leaving the date off evergreen content makes sense, when people plan to reference your content, they want to be able to see how current up to date it is.
12. If you update your content frequently, have a stamp that indicates the last date your content was updated. Doing so helps identify you as a current source of information.
13. Keep your copyright statement up to date with the current date. There’s nothing worse than seeing “Copyright 2004” in 2019!
14. Use your real photo on your website and in your business social media profiles. Hiding behind cute avatars does not boost your credibility.
15. Reduce spam complaints and use a confirmed opt-in (a.k.a “double opt-in”) process for your mailing lists.
16. If you reference other content to create your own content, always state your sources. It’s common sense and courtesy.
17. Readily collect and publish testimonials on your website. Detailed testimonials with real names and photos or videos are best with links to their websites if they are business owners.

Of course this is a quick list of just 17 ways to boost your website’s credibility, what would you add?

Kevin Arrow

 

 

How To Get your Business Moving When Your Are Stuck

Have you ever had a day where you couldn’t get started? You thought that things were holding you back?  I have had days like this, no matter what I tried to start, writing a blog post, creating my next webinar training even creating my next course, it just wasn’t happening. It’s a rare business owner who—at some point—doesn’t feel stuck and thinks that their business is lacking something.

Perhaps you’re in the early stages of burnout. Perhaps you aren’t reaching your goals and can’t seem to get past the income ledge you’ve found yourself on.

All of this is perfectly normal in business. But staying stuck or on your ledge isn’t.

Successful small business owners figure out how to overcome the hurdles, wade through the overwhelm and continue to grow their business.

The first step is to determine what exactly is holding you back and what you’re lacking in your business:

Lack of Clarity

When you don’t really know what it is you want from your business, you’re experiencing a lack of clarity. Maybe you aren’t clear on who you’re meant to serve, or can’t quite envision your sales funnel. Or maybe you can’t even picture your signature training course in its entirety, or the thought of selling it leaves you in a haze of confusion.

These are all symptoms of a lack of clarity, and they can stop a business dead in its tracks.

Here’s what to do if you lack clarity in your business

  • Breathe, and remember to keep breathing.
  • Grab a journal or notepad and empty your mind into it. Write everything down. Use coloured pens. Use highlighters. Dump your brain into the pages and then make a cup of tea (with a side of hobnobs if possible)
  • Don’t look at your journal for 24 hours. Make a note of what keeps surfacing in your mind
  • Look at your journal and look for the patterns and the things that rise to the top.

This technique can help you get clear on what your next step is and why it’s important to you.

Lack of Focus? Start Here:

If you’re clear on your goals but you’re having trouble moving forward consistently, then a lack of focus might be your trouble. You head to your office each morning with purpose, but by lunchtime, it’s clear you haven’t accomplished anything you set out to do.

You’re not a bad person, or even a shoddy entrepreneur. You’re just having trouble focusing on the next step that needs to happen to make your dreams come true.

Finding focus is easier than you think

Try this: With your end goal in mind, brainstorm the next physical action you need to take to achieve it. So if your goal is to build a 4-week course, then your next step might be to poll your mailing list about what they need/want from you.

Tried the next step and you still lack focus? Get your smartphone out.

Brain.FM is one of my go-to apps and you can listen to a “focus” piece of music that will help you. I love music and understand deeply how music can help you move between states and change how you feel – it really works well. The next time you listen to music be present:

  • Listen to the lyrics.
  • Listen to the beats.
  • Listen to the emotions.
  • Notice how you feel – feel good? happier? note the song down and listen to it again when you need a lift.
  • Create a playlist of your “emotions” and remember to include a focus playlist.

If you find this doesn’t work for you, I highly recommend hypnotherapy. I use Hypnosis Downloads

A fantastic resource to help you regain your focus amongst the many other things they help you with

I often skip Brain.fm and jump straight to the hypno – for me, this brings faster results.

Lack of Excitement

Bored? Lost interest in that business you once loved? This is, unfortunately, pretty common among entrepreneurs. That’s why we see so many of them jumping from business to business, never spending enough time in any one business to see it through to success.

Staying excited about your business starts with having a dream and a vision that keeps you going even when you’re faced with the day-to-day drudgery that every small business owner encounters. Not everything is fun when you’re running a business, and I know I won’t be popular for saying it out loud. It’s how you get through the dull and boring days that make a difference.

I take a minute and think of my girls, Sarah my wife and Bones our German Shepherd and remember my business provides the environment for me to be able to spend the time with them all, when I want,  doing what we all enjoy.  Your reasons for doing and being an entrepreneur will keep you motivated.

Planning for Future Success

Want to know how to easily fix all these issues (and more) on a permanent basis?  It’s a simple technique that the world’s most successful entrepreneurs have been using for decades: vision boards. These fun and colourful tools are often just what you need to clarify your dreams, work out your next steps, and stay excited about your business.

We hang ours on the office wall, and we can see at a glance our hopes, dreams, and vision for our business. I won’t deny it; there’s a lot of sparkle on my vision board.

Vision boards can be as simple as a few images clipped from a magazine and pinned to a corkboard, or as complex as a framed poster with handwritten quotes and 3 tubes of glitter. The choice is yours. It’s completely personal, fun, and best of all, it works.

Give these things a try next time you’re feeling stuck in your business. And if you’re not stuck, share your tips in the comments for becoming unstuck and envisioning your success.

How big Is Your Email List?

How To Make Big Profits From A Small Email List [Downloadable]

In the real world, there’s nothing more offensive that someone looking you up and down and demanding to know how much you earn. There’s an online equivalent of this real-life rudeness and that’s demanding to know how big your email list is.

The reason you’re asked these questions is the person that’s asking is assessing your worth, qualifying whether you are worth speaking to or not.

And I hate it.

I have a real, intense dislike of the people that “qualify” you with these questions as there’s an assumption that if you meet their criteria that they can help you, and that you need them to help. There’s very little consideration for you and what you’d like, in their assessment, and that’s possibly the main reason I despise the people who do this.

When I used to network heavily I would often come straight before or after a job (i owned a courier company). I would be wearing steel toe cap boots, shirt and trousers pulling up in an unmarked white van.  Often I was overlooked as anyone of ‘worth’ I had multiple times been told I wasn’t a serious business because I didn’t wear a suit. Those same people would then stand up in the network meeting and asked to be connected to people exactly like my clients. Bigger companies, companies with lots of employees, you get the gist… they never got the referral

They made assumptions rather than asking, The same view is and should be taken  when people out of the blue message me and ask me how big my list is.

They’re trying to work out if I’d be a good JV partner, and let me reassure you despite my list size, I’m not a good JV partne for them.

If you want to JV with us you need to know a few things.

  • Your content and promotions have to fit into our editorial calendar, if they don’t then I’m not partnering with you.
  • Your product has to be of interest to my audience, and if it’s not possible to sell the product in the EU (due to Vat Moss etc) then I’m not promoting.
  • Affiliate percentages have to be fair. If I have the audience and you don’t, then you’ll be needing to be offering me 50% upwards to get my attention. Offering me 5% of a $1000 program isn’t respectful of the costs involved in nurturing my email lists and the amount of effort I’ll need to put in to make a sale.
  • You want to “test” a product on my audience? Nope, only I get to do that, and believe me, my subscribers are the most tolerant group of people you’ll ever meet and they have a connection with us, and put up with unique ways. They are not lab rats and the size of my list doesn’t mean you get to go all experimental ninja on them

How big is your list?

It’s none of my business :),  and it’s none of your business how big my lists are. Really it’s not.

  • It’s none of your business because my list is part of my business.
  • An email list is one of your business assets, and the size of your list does not matter if they’re not being opened and acted upon. And it truly is none of my business how you carry out your business. Really it’s not.
  • If you choose not to grow an email list I might think you’re silly and with Aweber and Get Response so reasonably priced, I might wonder why you’re not investing in one of their services, but it really is none of my business, no matter how curious I am.
  • And then there’s the often ignored fact that your list may come from email addresses you’ve harvested from LinkedIn, your address book and any number of other places and your subscribers haven’t opted in at all.

Size is irrelevant when it comes to email lists, because there are so many different variables to take into account. Let’s face facts, if numbers are all you are interested in (and not nurturing the relationship) knowing precisely how many subscribers I have won’t help you at all.

If I did do a JV with you all you’ll discover is how bad your targetting is!

How often do you email your list?

I may get upset if we work together and you don’t email your subscribers. But only when we work together. Prior to this, it’s none of my business.

What’s important is that your emails get opened, they get read and they get acted on, and if they don’t then you clean your list and adapt your subject lines and content until they do work. Size is irrelevant, but if you don’t email your subscribers you won’t know this.

You have never, ever needed a big list to make decent money.

What you need is decent relationships, and the right people getting the right information.

Relationship building is hard. I won’t pretend it’s easy, and even we can struggle at times. It means showing up regularly in your readers inbox, it’s sharing useful things with them and it’s building connections with them and starting conversations, even when you may not feel like talking!

You just need a little planning!

And here’s the deal… In the box below is an email planner PDF. It’s yours, it’s my gift to you.

If you share the post via the box you can get the email marketing planner and do more with your email marketing. It won’t stop you being asked how big is your list, but it will enable you to reply confidently it’s none of your business, and my list is healthy and profitable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How To Clean Your Email List

 

A lot of people think business blogging is a free hobby. Or, as I’ve seen it promoted – a free marketing tool.

As you know, business blogging isn’t free. If you want to make your best impression you will need to self-host rather than have a site that has yourname.cheapskate.com on it, so that means you’ll need hosting,  possibly a framework and probably a premium theme such as Thrive

Then, of course, you’ll need a decent pop-up that isn’t going to drive people bonkers  and an account with Active Campaign to manage your list efficiently. Not a lot of change out of £500 if you are lucky.

In today’s post I want to talk about a blogger or marketers biggest ongoing expense – the email list.

Many bloggers and online marketers have lists with hundreds of subscribers, often thousands. They’ve heard that the money is in the list but if these subscribers are not clicking on the links nor participating in the discussions, why are you still clinging on to them?

An email management service starts at $12 a month from Get Response, or $9 with Active Campaign and this fee increases with your amount of subscribers – the more you have, the more you need to invest. This means you need to keep your email lists clean and tidy with people who want to be there, that open, read and engage with your emails.

Automations Are Your Biggest Friend.

The best way to do this is to simply set up an automation in your email system that identifies inactive subscribers, you then try to re engae with them and after a few tries if nothing happens you remove them from your system, all done on autopilot. You can set up time spans to do this so, for example, any subscriber that hasn’t opened any email for 6 months then enter them into your ‘re-engage’ sequence.

If you are a nice blogger / online marketer, you might like to warn your subscribers that you’re going to delete them if they do not take action. With services like Active Campaign you can program in re-engagement campaigns really easily and then set and forget so you know ALL of you subscribers have been active within the last xxx months.

Having a big list is useless if the subscribers are not reading your content

If your subscribers are just deleting as soon as they hit your inbox and generally ignoring you, you have a content issue or they have a time issue. If the issue is time you need to consider how many times you’re going to say hello and be ignored, before you realise this is their choice.

Your choice is not to continue paying for them to be on your email list.

Tough? You have to be, because you want your marketing to work for you – you want to build an awesome relationship with your readers.

Email list cleaning – how to do it

By running your ‘re engage automation you will be targetting your  subscribers in a way that you have not previously.  You might try sending them some emails telling them that they’ve been inactive for a while, and you intend to remove them.

These subscribers many need a push instead of a pull to act, and of course you can try a new approach on these inactive subscribers compared to your active subscribers.

It could be a terrific market test on more aggressive ad copy, different placement of links, and brand new or fresh approaches.

Of course, the minute they start to open, click and interact they get removed from the ‘re engage ‘ automation and are sent back into the regular list schedule that they came from.

If they decide to take no action or unsubscribe then you have moved them on from being dormant or inactive.

Either way you will take an inactive subscriber forward on their path with oyu either as a re engaged subscriber or an unsubscriber.

Another reason to clean your lists is that you’re being forced to look at your metrics and performance.

I know it is boring, but honestly, you need to do this so that you know what is going on with your subscribers. For instance, if you have an inordinate amount of inactive subscribers, meaning, if most of your subscribers are very inactive consider that your current advertising copy, and email copy, might not be meeting their expectations when they signed up for your list. Look back to where they signed up, read your first email to them, what did you promise. Have you delivered?

If you haven’t, quickly correct this issue and start delivering value right now. It wouldn’t hurt to eat a bit of humble pie and send your readers a free gift or a truly great offer, explain that you’ve re-evaluated your marketing strategy and it should improve. You might be surprised at how this small change will help with your conversion rates and encourage engagement.

The entire point of email marketing is to get some kind of return on investment (ROI) and if your list is not paying for itself, modify it until it does. If they have not unsubscribed, and you’re not going directly to the spam folder, you still have a chance to convert them.

Another type of subscriber to remove…

The subscriber that engages, but is never happy. Some subscribers only subscribe to a few lists. Yeah, they are rare but they are out there. So if you email them every day they get hacked off, and they email you back to moan. Other subscribers love the value that you send but the monthly offers you source or create to make their life easier isn’t appreciated.

They moan right at you rather than unsubscribe. Delete them. Harsh? As I mention right at the start – blogging is not free. It costs you time, energy and money to blog and then start a relationship with your readers. If it is not working, do something about it, start a dialogue with the subscriber, call them… but if it’s not making them happy, delete them.

It is important to remember that even if your copy is perfect, and you’ve done it all right, some people will simply just stop opening your email for no reason whatsoever. There are reasons for this, sometimes it is that your email is disappearing into the spam black hole, and sometimes it’s just that they weren’t interested to start with. Perhaps they were a freebie seeker and really did only join to get the opt in gift that you were offering. This happens, if you try to re-engage them and it does not work, then it is time to delete them off your list.

If you haven’t started your email list yet then why not start today. learn exactly how to start your email list from scratch with our help

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