Whatever the reason, from self-isolation to quarantine, you have the need to bring your offline classes online. This post will help you set up a low-cost tool called Zoom so you can deliver your classes easily online. Plus you have the option to record them and turn them into an online course at a later date.
As you plan your online classes, you’ll need a variety of tools to help you support your students virtually.
One of the most popular virtual meeting services, among small business owners, is the free service offered by Zoom. If you aren’t familiar with Zoom, we will be walking you through the basic steps to help you create your own virtual training room. This will help structure the process in a logical order of steps that people will take to sign up for your online training. Let’s get started with opening your new Zoom account and looking under the hood.
Setting up Zoom is easy and intuitive if you have set up another video conferencing or webinar training service in the past. It may even look familiar to you if you have attended a Zoom webinar or other webinars, in general. The point is that getting things set up and using the tool isn’t rocket-science. You can do this yourself or have an assistant do it for you, if you feel uncomfortable with tech tasks.
Go to https://zoom.us.
On the next page, enter your first name, last name, and password twice. The password should be at least 8 characters long and be a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Once you have completed this step, you will be logged in automatically.
You will then see your personal URL for the service. That link is the gateway to the classes you host.
With the free service, you can host up to 100 people for a limited number of times per month, for 40 minutes at a time. This is applicable to meetings with 3 attendees or more. You are allowed unlimited personal meetings with 1 or 2 people.
Once you are feeling confident that Zoom is the right choice for you, go onto one of the three paid tiers of service. The next tier up will give you up 200 seats. You can also pay for more seats if you need to. https://zoom.us/pricing
The other tiers of services are for larger companies who will have more than one host (minimum of 10, and 100 for the 2 tiers), with pricing equaling the monthly fee for those tiers (currently around $20), times the number of hosts. On the webinars tab, it states you can have up to 10,000 attendees.
But if you are just starting out, begin with the free option and you can always upgrade to the small business tier paid option if you need to.
Note that it does not offer webinar recording with storage in the Cloud unless you have a paid level of service. Otherwise, it will store your recordings onto your computer for you to access as needed. Some media files can get very large, so be sure you have plenty of space on your hard drive, or remember to move them to Dropbox or OneDrive straight after.
Depending on size and length of the video, you might be able to upload it as an Unlisted file to YouTube and then embed the video in a page at your site for interested parties to view the recording if they missed the live broadcast. The important thing is to be able to make the training accessible so anyone who missed it can see it, and to be able to edit it if you wish.
On the left-hand navigation menu, choose My Meetings:
Meetings will be listed according to start time, topic, and webinar ID.
Click Schedule a New Meeting:
On the next page, you will see at the top:
Enter your title and description.
Next, toggle or click to set the specifics of your webinar.
Note date, duration, and time zone. Be careful around the time the clocks change if you live in a location that uses Daylight Savings Time.
Aim for at least a few ahead of time, in order to give you the chance to promote your class, especially if you have a large number of seats to fill.
As the pink box states, you have a limit of 40 minutes, but the toggle is only in 15 minute increments, so you will really only get 30 minutes, not 45, with the free plan. It is possible to create a good class in 30 minutes, but timing will be tight and it will leave most viewers wanting more (which can be a good thing in some cases and frustrating for them in others).
If you check the box for recurring meeting, you will see:
In most cases, you will not be having a recurring meeting. However, if you were using the system for coaching, for example, this might be a useful feature, with a weekly or monthly coaching call being booked in. Again, the paid service will give you the chance to host more classes that are longer in duration. But for the moment, we are just setting up your first one.
Your next choice is what your participants will see when they sign into the Zoom room:
This should be turned on for host, with a welcome slide showing on the screen. There isn’t any need to show their computer screen to them unless you really want to surprise them with your first slide. A welcome slide, however, tells them they are in the right place.
Note: Try to get into the room early and start promptly. The clock is ticking in terms of Zoom’s parameters, and people are busy (as are you).
Next, choose how they can access your audio:
For most webinar hosts and users, “Both” is the best option.
Note that if they are not dialing in from the US, you need to click edit and can add other countries as needed. For this reason, you may want to have someone manning the help desk to assist with last minute registrations:
Zoom will provide the right dial-in numbers with the international dialling codes in their invitation. Or your participants can just listen through their computer.
Next, choose your meeting options:
If you click “Require meeting password,” a box will open up:
Insert the password you wish to use. Write it down so you don’t forget.
Enable join before host – This lets them enter the room before you. If you will make it a point to be early, or don’t want them to see the first slide you will be showing, leave this box unchecked.
Mute participants upon entry – This is a good option because a lot of people have all sorts of things going on in the background and it can be very frustrating for people on the call to listen to chatter, dogs barking and so on when they are trying to hear the class.
Use Personal Meeting ID – This will be included as part of the invitation they will be sent and adds an extra layer of security if you want to make sure the people logging in have registered. This is important if you have a limited number of seats and don’t want people who actually registered to get turned away, which can be very frustrating and disappointing.
Enable waiting room – A waiting room will allow you to control when your audience enters the webinar and sees your first slide. You can hold them in the room until you are ready.
Record meeting automatically – Recording the class on the local computer is always a good idea so you can offer those who missed out a replay, and use the recording for various other marketing and sales purposes.
When you are finished, click Save.
On the next page, you will see a page that recaps what you saved, and offers additional useful information.
You will see name, description, and time, with these choices:
Add to your calendar of choice as needed.
Next, you will see:
With your own customized data.
All the way to the right of the “Join URL” field, you will see:
Click on the link and you will see:
Note the phone number sections will also be customized with your ID, which they will have to enter in order to get into the room.
Copy the invitation and paste it as needed, such as into your email marketing platform broadcast email to invite people on your marketing list to attend. Edit it as needed, such as adding your description of the online class, and then click send. (More on this in a moment.)
The rest of the page will show the options you chose on the previous page. If you want to make any changes, click:
Now your meeting is all set up.
Your only other important step in the interface is when the time comes, you will click the button next to your meeting data to start the meeting and begin presenting to your audience:
There is also a link if you wish to delete the meeting:
Once your meeting looks exactly the way you wish, you will be able to start inviting people. Unfortunately, there is no built-in feature for doing this through Zoom, so you will need to create a registration funnel through your email marketing platform and then drive traffic to it. Let’s look next at how to build an effective registration funnel.
Several popular email-marketing platforms are available to small business owners. This helps to connect with your target audience. They include Active Campaign, Aweber, Constant Contact, and others.
We use and recommend Active Campaign so that you can use the system as a CRM as well.
To make things easy in the long-run, you’ll need to create a new mailing/registration list for people that want to register for your online class. The principles will work the same for most other platforms. If you already have an email marketing platform that isn’t Active Campaign, read through it to make sure you have all the items you need to create in order to have an effective funnel.
STEP 1: Create Your New List
Log in to Active Campaign or your other email marketing account. In Active Campaign, look at the left of the screen for the list tab:
Click and you will see all your lists. On the right, click Add a List
In Step 2, you will name your list. This will be visible to anyone who subscribes, so be strategic about what you name it.
Subscribers will also see your description in various locations, including when they unsubscribe, so write one that is an accurate description of what they will learn and the benefits of being on the list.
When finished, click Add
On the left hand menu you will see the forms tab. Click on the tab and you will be taken to the forms section .
At the top on the right you nee to click on
you will then have a popup appear like this
This is where you will give your form a name. Decide on the type of form (most people use the inline form).
The action taken is next, you can add a tag, subscribe them to an email list (in this instance that’s the one you will choose)
Option lets you choose the list you want the person filling the form out to go into, when you click the dropdown it will list all of your email lists and you can choose the appropriate one.
If you want to add more than one action then click on
So you may want to add them to a list and add a tag.
When you have completed this part click on
You will now be taken to the form editor. This is where you can check your form settings and customise the look of your form.
The first tab you see is the fields tab. All of the elements on the right are drag and drop. for example, if you required the telephone number to be added you would click and hold over the ‘phone’ element and drop it in the form where you want it to be
The style options allow you to change colours fonts and other elements such as the size of the text.
The last one is the options, this is where you can set the message they receive once they have submitted the form. You can also check the action here, in this example the will be added to the list 111test
Once you have created you form you will need to make it avaliable for people to sign up to. To do this the next step is to click on this button on the top right of the page
This will take you to the next stage which gives you 4 options The first option is to embed your form using code on your website, this can be a bit more difficult and may need your web developer to do this for you. Although it takes no coding ability to use this it can be tricky to know where on your site to insert the code.
If you do choose this option then you would highlight and copy and paste everything within the box.
The next option to share your form is via a link. This is great for personal invites or if you are sending out emails Although this is under the integrations section its more of a sharing option. Simply copy the link and send out
Your 3rd option is to use the active campaign free plugin for WordPress. This is a simple way of connecting your forms and for the plugin to add the code where you want it. If you have some understanding of plugins on your WordPress site then this is a good option over using the embed code. If you are unsure please do check with a developer though that it won’t cause any conflicts on your WordPress website.
Your 4th option is to add your form to a facebook page. Great if you have a big facebook audience.
you don’t have to choose just one of these ways to share your sign up form, you could use a combination and at any point you can go back into your form and grab the integration to use wherever you need to.
Next we move onto creating your welcome sequence
Go to the automations tab on the left hand side and click, you will be taken to the automation section where you want to click in the top right hand corner button
A box will pop up and ask you which type of automation you want to create, for the purposes of this being new to you will the ‘start from scratch’ option is the best option. click on that option then click
To automate your email welcome you need to tell Active campaign , what needs to happen to start this automation process in motion. This is know as a start trigger. You will click on ‘subscribes to a list’ then click continue
This is where you can choose the list you want to connect the automation to. select your list and click ‘Add start’
you will now be prompted with the following options. Here you will choose ‘send an email
As this will be your first email in the automation this is what you will see.
Thats normal, just click on the ‘create an email’ link that is highlighted in blue to get you started. The first thing you will do is give the email a name. This name WILL NOT be shown publicly its for you to see in your automation flow only. If you are going to send out more than one email in the sequence you may want to number them or describe the contents of the email Once you have decided click on the ‘Create button’
your next step is to choose a teplate, to get you started a basice welcome email template may be easier however they can be customised after you choose so don’t panic if you think its not exactly how you would like it to look. In my example i will choose the welcome email template
The sender details are next. These can be changed at a later time , if you know these now it’s best to add them so you don’t forget to change them before you set the process live.
The email editor will now open up for you. This is where you can add in your email text, images and links. you can personalise the message that you want to send for each individual receiver.
On the right hand side you will see lots of options to add elements to your email , change colours , fonts and font sizes. Use your time to make this look and feel how you need it to. don’t be overly complicated with your design, simple is best and gets read
Once you are happy click ‘next at the top and it will open up the campaign summary.
The campaign summary runs through with you, the sending details are correct, you have tracking on if you wish. It passes the spam checks according to Active campaign and also allows you to either preview the email or send yourself a tst version via email. this is really useful to ensure it looks good when sent.
When you are happy click
The welcome email is very important, but it is the bare minimum to send out. Sending a few general follow up emails about the topic of the class can keep them interested and looking forward to the event. Let them know if they need to prepare anything or take the opportunity to give them more information.
To add another email you click the ‘Plus’
Then you will be taken back to the beginning of ‘add a new action.
Remember in between each email you can add in sending delays in hours or days otherwise they will all be sent at once. (More about that over here )
The page with the form that you have just created is commonly referred to as a squeeze page or a landing page with it’s only purpose is to encourage a visitor to subscribe. Try to make it as easy as possible for subscribers to join and give them a strong reason as to why they would want to.
Here are a few examples of very succesful opt in pages
Name your confirmation page the same as the URL you gave when creating the settings for your form, such as: www.thebusinesssuccessdojo.com/email-confirmation-page
Copy and paste the data about the online class. You can also add a countdown clock set to the time the class is going to take place,
On the left, enter the exact details of when the class is to take place.
Carefully and thoroughly, test your online class setup step by step to make sure it is functioning properly. Subscribe to it yourself, using an email address that you look at often so you will be able to see if each message you send out is going out correctly.
Check the confirmation email and the welcome email. In addition, check the confirmation page and edit as needed.
If you’d like to change something, go back into your list to edit it, save the changes, and test again. When you’re sure that it’s correct, you’ll want to start driving traffic to the sign-up page, which is the beginning point of your online class success
Congratulations! You have now learned how to create the system for your online class using a variety of tools and by following the best practice tips. Now all that remains is to take the steps to get your funnel set up fully and deliver your first profitable online class.
You have a meeting to go to. The car needs fuel, you haven’t had lunch yet and you’re worried about the sales aspect of your business. You know you should be marketing your business more, but if you haven’t got the time for fundamentals like living, then how the heck are you going to find time to blog?
Sure you could get up an hour earlier to make time, but that would mean getting up at 3 am, an hour after you’ve gone to bed… There has to be a better way to get your blog posts out of your head, down your arm, and onto the keyboard.
Outlines, or outlining is a fantastic way of being able to create your content faster. Your outline can be the structure of a blog post or a loose script for a video. The outline provides the structure for your content and you can fill it in over and over and over again. What’s not to love about that? It’s working smarter, not harder. To make things even faster for you you can download your free outlining roadmap here:
Outlining Roadmap <—– right click and “save-as” to your desktop. Print and complete. Research from Princeton and Stanford University shows that writing by hand means you’ll retain the information for longer and are more likely to act upon it. Writing by hand sets you up for success!
What do you need to create outlines?
I outline in two ways, but there’s also a third way which we’ll cover further down in this post. For the first way, you’ll need a pen and paper or you’ll need a Word (or Mac equivalent) document,
You know roughly how long your blog post will be; roughly 500 words and the standard outline will have five paragraphs made up of an introduction, a body of three paragraphs, and then your summary or conclusion.
Of course, the outline itself will vary but when you’re starting out or in a rush the outline described above is perfect.
And this is exactly what you type or write:
Introduction – One Paragraph containing
Three Paragraphs in Body
Each of these three paragraphs should concentrate on a different aspect of the main topic.
Each paragraph should open with the idea of the coming paragraph. The rest of the paragraph should support that statement with statistics, stories, quotations, or supporting ideas. And where you use these, you need to add in your sources too. I make a note like *research here* as I write my outline.
Remember to transition between paragraphs so that the words flow from one paragraph to the next. The quickest way to do this is with bridging or transitional phrases like
I use this post here as an inspiration for my transitional words; you can never have too many in my opinion.
An effective conclusion ties up what you’ve said, and when it’s well written, it leaves the reader with something to remember along with the feeling of closure.
The Call To Action
This is where you encourage your reader to take action and I tend to write in big letters “CTA”. It’s quicker.
Decide on whether you will use an app (yes there are heaps of mind mapping apps) or some software. You can use a pen and paper if you’re not experienced with mind maps, and you may just prefer to hold a pen in your hand. I know I do. If you’re an experienced mind mapper you already know about outlining as it forms the framework for your map!
Freemind is software that allows you to organize your ideas and reorganize them as you go along. You can get the software for free at http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page.You can use Freemind for things like product creation, webinars, ebooks, etc., but here we’ll use it to organize ideas for a blog post.
The topic, for the purpose of this article, is outlining with ideas for an introduction, three paragraphs in the body, and a conclusion.
With a mind map, you can add topics and subtopics, move them around, or delete them on the screen easily. Mindmaps are flexible and easy to use.
The third way… If you’re familiar with PowerPoint (like I am) then you can use that to create your mind map.
If you’re a writer, you sit down and write. If you’re a blogger then you sit down and blog. And sometimes you just can’t find the time to either write or blog. Mindmaps and outlining will speed up the entire process. Have you tried it?
Outlining Roadmap <—– right click and “save-as” to your desktop. Print and complete. Research from Princeton and Stanford University shows that writing by hand means you’ll retain the information for longer and are more likely to act upon it. Writing by hand sets you up for success!
PS Want to join us in the blogging challenge? Join up here – it’s free. Everyone is welcome from Fitness bloggers to business bloggers.
Attention. We all want it. We all have it.
We consume all and every kind of content about attention from how to get it to how to stretch it to how to get more of it. And in consuming this content we absorb some lies
The truth is that these lies fuel the narrative that says we’re not worthy of attention. That our content is not worthy of attention.
Think to your attention for the moment.
Attention spans are not getting shorter. The threshold for bad content has got higher. This means your content needs to be better, faster, stronger especially if you’re going to create a content series.
Does this mean you should never attempt to create content series?
Hell no. It just means you will need to plan strategically and focus your energy. The good news is, the more frequently you create your content the better you will become.
The 30 Day Blogging Challenge is a series. It’s 30 blog posts, videos and roadmaps shared via email for 30 days. That’s a lot of attention-holding.
The 30 Day blogging Challenge works so well because it’s evolved since it was first delivered online in 2007. The value shared in the blogging challenge is worth more than blogging courses sold at £997.
The blogging challenge content series takes you from bystander to participant to champion. It feels strong and powerful and attracts those that want power pulsing through their own content.
There are 5 steps to planning your content series, and plan it you should. It’s not an easy post, like a list post, to pull together. You need to get your ducks in a row before you create and share. This free roadmap and 5 steps will help you get your content series done!
Content Series Roadmap <— Right-click and “save-as” to your desktop.
Need more help with the blogging challenge? Check out the Blogging Challenge Companion Guide
Common goals for web content are
Your content series will also position you as a leader in your field or industry.
Decided your content series goals and write them on your roadmap.
When putting together the blogging challenge the theme was simple; what does someone need to know in order to no longer be a beginner with content?
All the content in the blogging challenge is aimed at growth. There’s also the secondary theme of encouragement.
Decide what the theme of your series is, and what sub-themes (if any) there are.
George RR Martin didn’t wake up one morning and decide he was going to write 8 books describing the worst of humanity and throw in a dash of wolves and dragons. He started with a structure and grew it from there.
You can read a Game of Thrones, the first book, or start with A Clash of Kings. Although they’re a series they also stand alone.
Each post in your series needs to be good enough to stand alone and yet be part of a bigger whole.
Each post in your series needs to be structured the same. You also need to balance the length of the posts. Will it seem weird if you open your content series with a 10-word post and finish it with a 3,000-word post?
The Blogging Challenge was originally written one post at a time. We made it up based on feedback from the participants as we went along.
The Blogging Challenge 2020 was written in a batch over 3 weeks. The 13 years of experience means that we were able to go from one post at a time to batch writing. You may have the experience to write a batch, you may prefer one post at a time.
Add your answers to your roadmap
Calls to action in a content series can be complicated. The calls to action in each piece of content will lead to the next post. But what happens when you finish the series? Where will your readers be guided?
Add your answers to the roadmap.
Pressing publish is a big step for your content series. You might want to announce it on Facebook or with a livestream. You might want to create some promotional videos.
You will also want to create a landing page for the series and add the links as they become published. Whether this is for your internal use, or for everyone to see is up to you.
Your content series isn’t limited to blog posts. You can also edit them into a book. People pay for convenience. The Blogging Challenge Book has been around since 2014. The emails are free, but the book is not. It now has a companion guide, and a planner and a course that’s part of it. All of these additions have taken time.
The companion guide didn’t even exist until February 2020!
Decide on how you will publish and promote your series. Add the details to your roadmap.
Now you have your content series plan… All you have to do is create it!
Formating your blog posts doesn’t have to be a painful experience. But if you choose not to format your content it becomes a bad experience for your reader. The average person visits a website for 15 seconds! So, if you have a high bounce rate in your Google Analytics, and you want to keep your readers on your site longer, then formatting your posts is the first step! In this post, there’s a 10 step How to Format the Perfect Blog Post checklist, as well as this detailed post. By the time you’ve finished reading you too will be able to format your blog posts with ease.
Perfect Post checklist <— right click and “save as”. Print out the checklist and add it to your blogging challenge folder.
Like this? You’ll love the Blogging Challenge Companion available on Amazon
Readers don’t read the way you think they do! They skim the content, and then they may go back and read it fully. Their eyes read web content in a Z-Pattern. And an F shaped pattern. And probably some other patterns we’re not aware of.
By adding in headers we help draw the readers eyes down the content so they consume more of it, and hopefully stop skimming and start to read properly.
Adding subheadings to your content is really easy. You can do it in 3 clicks!
When someone reads a wide wall of text, their eyes tire quicker. There’s a lot of eye moment that goes into reading. Create narrow columns of text so your reader is pulled deeper into the content.
Newspapers use this technique to get you to read a triple page spread. Their narrow colomns with just 80 characters across mean there are a lot of narrow columns to read rather than one huge wall of text.
We recommend that you add an image to your blog post and align it to the right to create a narrow funnel of text. On a mobile device, the image will appear above the text, and on a desktop, you will have the narrow column for easy readability.
I know your content is important, but there’s no need to make it all bold, or all italics… or all bold italics!
But highlighting a phrase here and there will help your content get read. Some SEO experts say you should make your keywords bold or italics. Readability trumps SEO, so highlight your best sentences.
The days of a perfect blog post being text only are long gone. You need to add a visual that aligns with your content and your brand.
We recommend creating a template on Canva.com for speed and ease of use.
Creating an unordered (bulleted) list makes things easy to read
If you create a post with a number in the headline used a numbered list. Because there are people who will count your list to make sure you’ve given them what you’ve promised in the headline. Yes, really.
Or coloured content boxes.
Don’t overdo the callout boxes as they can be disruptive to the reading experience.
Try pull quotes in your content to draw the eye to important things.
This sentence has five words.
Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine.
But several together become monotonous.
Listen to what is happening.
The writing is getting boring.
The sound of it drones.
It’s like a stuck record.
The ear demands some variety.
I vary the sentence length, and I create music.
The writing sings.
It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony.
I use short sentences.
And I use sentences of medium length.
And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.”
Don’t drone. Don’t bore. Shorten your paragraphs and sentences. Wherever possible create music with your words.
If you have an image, remember to add a caption. A caption can even be a call to action, a quote or a link.
You can see this in action in the images above.
Make sure your content can be read on a mobile device. If someone has to move the page left and right (with their finger) in order to read it… It’s not mobile-friendly.
Your site may be mobile-friendly, but social media sites might wrap a frame around your content so that it’s no longer easy to read.
Image A is a link opened on Facebook.
Image B is the same article opened in a browser.
Where you share your content can impact its mobile friendly-ness.
Is your content important? Then sign it!
You can use Canva to create a signature, or, you can just type your name and hyperlink it to your about page.
We eat with our eyes, as the saying goes. If food doesn’t look appealing then we don’t want to eat it. The same applies to content – if it’s not visually appealing then we don’t stop scrolling to take a further look. This post will help you create a branded template to use in your blog content (and other places). It’s a big post, with bonus materials so, you might want to bookmark it or share it so that you can find it later.
The first place to start when it comes to visual content is your own brand. This means knowing the following
Visual Content Success Roadmap <—- Download, print and add to your blogging challenge binder. If you’ve not joined the blogging challenge already you can do so here: https://www.sarkemedia.com/30dayblog
You might want to include a mood board if you have one.
Having this in one place speeds things up when comes to creating your branded template.
We love Canva. We’ve used it since it launched, and have recommended it as part of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge since 2012. The small monthly fee for additional features is well worth it. However, as a small business owner, you may also prefer to use Photoshop or similar. For the purposes of this guide, we’re going to use Canva as most people can access the free version and create a gorgeous branded template in no time at all.
Step 1 – Create Your Account on Canva and login, or sign in if you have an account already.
Step 2 – Create Your Branded Template
Once you’re logged into Canva.com you will see the home screen:
You want the area that says “create a design” (arrow 1). Go to arrow 2 and click until you see the option for Facebook post (arrow 3).
Click Facebook post.
You’re now ready to start creating your branded template.
Arrow 1 – Click to change the template name from “Facebook Post Untitled” to your website’s name and the word template. The ones for this site are called “Business Success Dojo Template”. This makes it easy to remember.
Then choose a template that you like the design of. Remember, we’re going to change the colours and the images, so don’t focus on these. Click on the template and it will appear in the white space where arrow 4 is.
If you find the visual is too small to see, click the number with a percentage next to it (arrow 3) this increases the size so you can see better.
If you get stuck, just click help (where arrow 5 is).
As you can see from the image above, my branded template needs some more work so that I can use it.
Click where arrow 2 is, and I can change the beige background to my brand blue. I do this by clicking the box where arrow 3 is pointing.
This opens the pane where arrow 4 is. Here I can add my brand colours, or if I have them there already select the colour that I want.
Each element on the image is clickable and can be changed to reflect your brand.
To change the font click the text (arrow 1) and then click the text where arrow 2 is. This will open a pane where you can choose your font. If you have a specific brand font you can upload this to Canva.
By clicking where arrow 3 is you can change the colour of the text.
I change the text at arrow 4 to the url of this website. Next, I click the image where arrow 5 is, and swap the photo of muffins to an image in my brand style.
Finally, I change the coloured bars to fit my branding and added my logo. Here’s my finished visual:
As you can see it’s very easy to adapt one of Canva’s many templates to fit your own website and visual branding:
As you can see only the design structure remains the same as the original and I have a branded template that I can now use in every single blog post.
Contrary to popular belief, you cannot just take someone else’s image and use it. You cannot go to Google Images and choose anything from their either.
Images and visual content are protected by copyright law. The person who created the image has to be contacted and give their permission (preferably in writing) before you can use it.
Many of these sites give away images or charge as little a dollar for a great quality image.
Going forward, as part of the blogging challenge, your aim is to add your branded visual to each blog post you publish.
You see, people don’t only type in text to get answers… They also use sites like Pinterest to find great content and they bookmark it by “pinning” the image in your post to one of their boards. This not only sends you more traffic, but it helps your SEO and overall visibility.
P.S This post contains affiliate links. These links, if you click and purchase, may earn us a small commission. This is just one of the many ways bloggers get paid when they create content.
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…
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.
Once you have published any piece of content, it is important to look at:
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.
That’s simple, to get you started there are only 2 things you need to do
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
How do you use templates in 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?’
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.