The 2013 Governor’s Conference on Small Business will be hosted at the Grand Sierra Resort on Wednesday, August 28th. The event will last from 7 am till around 2 pm and will feature a variety of panel sessions in the morning with Governor Sandoval and Anthony Levandowski (of Google) speaking during the luncheon from Noon till 1:15pm. Tickets are $35 in advance and $45 at the door. For more information or to register, visit business.nv.gov
Governor’s Conference on Small Business 2013
The 2013 Governor’s Conference on Small Business will be hosted at the...
Business Opportunity Forum
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Money Smart for Small Businesses
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If you own a website, you are probably interested in getting more traffic to your site. You want to begin rising up the ranks in popular search engines like Google and Bing, getting your site listed where people will see it. The top digital marketing agencies can certainly help you do this, but one thing that they will tell you is that quality content is required in the modern day. Search engines have algorithms that are designed to sort out spam and keyword stuffing, so current SEO needs to be about using those keywords along with fresh, useful content that is engaging to people who come to the site. When your site is beneficial and engaging, you will have more return traffic, which also helps your ranking.
The Top Digital Marketing Agencies Understand Their Users
The first thing that the top digital marketing companies are going to do for you is to determine what people are looking for when they search for your keywords. You need to give them what they want. If they are looking for the answers to questions or common problems, for example, you have to give them those answers or at least point them in the right direction. When people think your site is honestly useful, they will keep returning, so you need to get to know your users from their perspective.
The Best Digital Marketing Strategy Is To Have Your Users Awaiting Your Next Blog Post
The next thing you need to do is to make sure that your site really connects with readers. Give them articles that make them want to keep reading or, better yet, that make them want to come back in the future to see what else you have posted. Draw them in with questions that make them think or reflect their own needs and questions back at them. They should leave your site wanting more, and it has to connect with them to produce this feeling.
Allow For Interaction On Your Site To Create A Social Brand
One excellent way to connect with your readers is to allow them to interact with the site. Put up a forum so that they can make an account and talk to other users. Create comment sections so that they can comment on the articles or videos that you have posted. When they do comment, respond to them and keep the dialogue flowing. People love to feel like they are a part of a community, and things like this will keep them coming back day after day.
The Top Marketing Agencies Advocate Updating Your Blog
Keeping your content fresh will also help you put up fresh, new content all of the time. Do not let articles just sit on your main page and grow stagnant. Do not update your blog with a flood of information at the beginning of the month and then ignore it for the next 29 days. You need to keep a constant flow of fresh content streaming onto the site so that people will always feel like they should check back and see what else you may have posted recently.
Develop A Social Media Marketing Strategy
In today’s world, SEO is about more than just your site. You need to connect your site to popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. You can create accounts for free on all of these services, so you really have nothing to lose. They can act as portals that will draw people to your main site, and they can also act as links that will help get your site indexed and move it up the rankings. As with your on-page content, though, you need to work hard to keep all of your social media profiles fresh and engaging.
Closing Thoughts On SEO Strategy
At the end of the day, the top marketing agencies should help you create an overall SEO strategy that incorporates all of the things listed above. These things will help make your site engaging and popular, drawing people in and holding their attention. Your strategy needs to be implemented and then carried out consistently. When it comes to SEO and engaging sites, you cannot do everything once and then forget about it. If you have a good plan and you are committed to consistent work, though, you will see an increase in your site traffic.
Shane writes forLevel Up, a digital marketing agency that specializes in Grand Rapids SEO.
Launching a startup is an exhilarating experience for entrepreneurs. However, it’s also rather exhausting. The actions you take in the first three months can determine whether your product is a stunning success or an abysmal failure.
Getting a startup off the ground requires a deep understanding of both content marketing and public relations. With so much to consider, many entrepreneurs find themselves overwhelmed. For this reason, you need to have a straightforward marketing strategy from day one.
When launching a startup, it’s important that you don’t get ahead of yourself. Ensure all the core elements of your brand are given significant amounts of attention. For example, both your name and logo need to adequately convey all the ideals your brand represents
Your name will be the pillar of your brand. For this reason, one should never hastily settle for a mediocre name. Likewise, the choice of a logo is another decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Your logo is the flag your brand will proudly wave. Needless to say, it’s in your best interest to make it unique and aesthetically pleasing.
Setting Your Team Up for Success
Success should be clearly defined from day one. Whether 300 sign-ups or $30,000 dollars in profits, it’s important to have an attainable goal. However, these goals need to be realistic and tied to growth. Every member of your team should understand your objectives and be encouraged to actively pursue them. Defining success too late in the game leads only to confusion and chaos.
As you and your team try to meet your goals, you’ll likely find some strategies work for you and some don’t. As a startup, it’s crucial to recognize a failing strategy quickly, so you don’t waste valuable resources. One way to ensure your business can quickly adjust to varying levels of success, is by borrowing ideas like continuous integration, sprints, and scrums from the agile project management strategy. This will allow you to quickly spot problems and adjust accordingly.
Choosing a Niche
Before one can begin marketing, it’s important to know exactly who you’re trying to reach. What demographic will your product appeal to? What profession will get the most use out of your product? How does your product help people in a way that sets it apart from the competition? Fundamental questions like these help to determine the tone and direction of your marketing campaign.
You never want to waste time and money on advertising to people who couldn’t care less about your product. To avoid this, it is extremely wise to narrow your focus down to a specific niche. You should do your best to choose a niche that isn’t saturated to death. Ideally, your market should have high demand and low competition.
Blogging and Getting Social
Hopefully you know that your startup should have a blog. Blogging for your startup up can position your brand as an industry expert and provide your customers with helpful information. With that being said, a poorly maintained blog can scare off consumers. It’s important for your blog to appear as credible as possible. Especially in the first few months, guest blogging in front of the right audience is a great way to gain credibility in your industry.
Social media is a great way to get the word out about your blog, but it isn’t as simple as posting a few links on your Twitter: Users are constantly bombarded with clever attempts at gaining their attention. To reap the rewards of social media, it’s crucial to understand that each site caters to an entirely different demographic. While people expect to receive news on Twitter, posting links all day could get you ignored on Facebook.
Regardless of the social network, there are a few things that users will always respond well to. Not surprisingly, giving something away for free is a pretty good place to start. If you offer a user unexpected value, chances are they will become excited and inform others.
Your startup should launch a contest or giveaway. A very cost effective way to go about this is by offering some of your products/services for free. The chance to win cash, on the other hand, is a foolproof method of generating attention around your startup. A contest with a modest reward of $100 is still capable of generating attention on social networks. After generating buzz, your mailing list should be used to capture these leads and continue engagement
The Importance of Email and Continued Engagement
This may come as a shock, but email still remains the most popular way of communicating online. Whether it’s for work or private conversation, people all over the world check their email on a regular basis.
For lasting success, a brand must focus on building close, personal relationships with consumers. However, the common clutter found on social media sites often makes this extremely difficult. Sadly, many fail to realize that email marketing is the best way to build the kind of personal relationships required for sustained growth.
Understand that creating a quality email campaign isn’t a simple task. Legal factors, design related issues and niche specific elements must all be taken into consideration before starting an email campaign. If you’d like to prevent a disaster, take the time to examine a thorough email marketing guide for small businesses.
The first 90 days must be spent solidifying your startup in its niche and securing the trust of consumers. Tremendous rewards are waiting for brands that launch from a solid foundation.
Rob Toledo is a Marketing Consultant with Distilled. Residing in the Seattle area, his love for tech and startups is only overshadowed by his obsession with great coffee, the rain and running his dog at the park.
If there is one thing we entrepreneurs are, it’s time-strapped.
From developing content to promoting your company, monetizing your efforts to creating mental space to allow for more ideas; your day-to-day business routine can get a tad overwhelming if you don’t take control of it.
It is because of this laundry list of daily tasks that we solopreneurs, webpreneurs, mediapreneurs – whatever you want to call us – need to find a way to leverage our time. The best way to do this? Outsource.
Why Should I Outsource?
A few weeks back I watched a video featuring Chris Ducker who is a fervent believer in outsourcing just about any task you can in order to create more personal white space for yourself and your business.
It can be difficult though to loosen the reins and work ON your business instead of IN your business; especially when you have always done everything yourself.
Well, today we change that.
Grab yourself a pen and paper (I think people still use those!) and get ready to free up some time, rid your life of stress and unclench your firm grip around the tasks that are eating up precious hours which could be used for other things…like making money!
What Can I Outsource?
I asked myself the same thing and for so long I had convinced myself that I was the only other person on the planet who could write content for our many sites, reply to comments or answer general emails.
If you are feeling the same, grab your paper and divide it into these three sections: things you don’t like doing, things you can’t do and things you shouldn’t be doing.
Once you have your categories, run through a typical week in your business and list each and every task that is repeatable, can be taught to someone else or is something you simply cannot do yourself.
Not sure what you can outsource? I felt the same. Here is how I started…
In my ‘things I don’t like doing’ category I listed: editing posts, formatting posts, keyword research, optimizing posts, finding images, answering redundant emails and sifting through spam comments that make it through our filters.
In my ‘things I can’t do’ category I listed: tweaking website issues and creating sidebar elements.
Finally in my ‘things I shouldn’t be doing’ category I listed: transcribing videos, setting up affiliate tracking, goal tracking, transferring name servers and double checking links within guest posts I’ve written.
Once I had these down on paper I could see just how much time I had been wasting on tasks that could be easily passed onto someone else.
Now that you have it all written down and it’s in front of you, you can make a judgement call.
Ask yourself “who can I hire to take over the specific tasks that take up the majority of my time?” From there you can hand off specific systems to your potential staff and free up your time.
But what if it’s not just work-related tasks you need help with?
If you prefer to keep a choke-hold grip on your work tasks, try outsourcing some of your domestic tasks.
Stuck for suggestions? Why not try creating some personal freedom by hiring someone to clean your place, get your groceries delivered, walk your dog, deliver your meals, take your car in to get serviced, pick up your dry cleaning, take care of your lawn, organize any mess you may have lying around or watch your kids for a few hours each weekend.
Any task you can possibly think of that could save you precious hours each week is something you should consider outsourcing.
But where do you find an outsourcer and more specifically where can you find one you trust?
How To Find the Right Outsourcer
There are countless sites out there in cyberland that have qualified and responsible virtual assistants just waiting to be hired and put to work.
From O Desk to Elance, Hire My Mom to Virtual Staff Finder there are networks out there that will not only guide you through the process of hiring the best candidate for your requirements but some – such as Virtual Staff Finder – will even pre-interview applicants and preform background and reference checks.
If it is domestic help you are looking for, consider running a search for ‘domestic assistants’ in your area.
Alternatively, you could niche down specifically what it is you want help with, ie. grocery delivery, cleaning, organizing, dog walking and use that specific task to search for the perfect professional.
Either way by choosing to outsource some of your most menial tasks you are helping to free up some much-needed personal white space in your life, ultimately helping to make room for more productive tasks that will get you that much closer to your end goals.
After all, who really wants to bother with website maintenance, keyword research, transcriptions, lawn mowing, grocery shopping or dog walking if you don’t absolutely have to?
Not me, that’s who.
Jill Stanton is a wanderluster and a lifestyle business owner hell-bent on teaching others how to live a life dripping with purpose and freedom. She lives out of a backpack, probably swears too much for her own good and isn’t afraid of a tall glass of gin. Recently, her and her husband launched a free book called The Art of Authority, to help others ditch the confines of the 9-5 and create a lifestyle business they love.
In these current difficult economic circumstances, many companies seek to make cuts where they can. After all, the ability to keep your staff is much more important than a Christmas party or training course, isn’t it?
However, it’s during these lean times that staff morale can hit rock bottom when such employee-focused initiatives are ‘put on hold’. That’s why it’s actually more important than ever to try to get the team bonding together. Drinks after work are all very well, but what does that actually achieve? It gives license for staff to blow off some steam, talk ‘shop’ and probably go home feeling less motivated than before.
What’s needed is a properly structured and thought-out team building activity, one in which employees have their minds distracted from their daily tasks and instead concentrate - albeit subconsciously – on becoming a more cohesive unit. The impact of team building goes much further than that, though. Here are just a few benefits that you may not have considered previously:
Currently, many employees are expected to put in extra effort in order to push the company forward – without any additional incentive. In fact, many feel that they must be seen to work extra hours in order to keep their job secure. That said, inviting employees to a team building event is a demonstration of the fact that, actually, they are valued. It shows that you value them enough to want to make them find ways to work smarter, not harder and that you are investing money into their well-being. It’s a hugely positive thing and while you may receive some initial groans, most employees do recognize and appreciate the intention.
Emphasis ‘shared goals’
One thing about team building is that it highlights the fact that everyone is working towards the same goals, which is something that can then be translated when back in the workplace. Very often, individuals forget that they are working as part of a team toward the same ends. Some may put petty barriers in place to prevent others completing a task – being a ‘jobs-worth’, as it’s known. Getting these same people to work together can build relationships that will impact the way tasks are carried out. Essentially, it gives staff the opportunity to learn more about each other and to better understand each others’ roles. This in turn leads to more consideration and greater support when back in the office.
Raised morale = productivity
Happy staff are typically more productive staff, thus, by investing in a morale-boosting team building activity, you could experience increased volumes and improved quality of work. What’s more, a company that is seen to be investing in staff is one that fosters loyalty among its staff, one that can attract staff, and one that has high staff retention. In the long-term, you might not only make greater profits due the increased productivity, but save money on costly recruitment drives.
The above is just the tip of the iceberg when its come to the benefits associated with team building, but it’s clear to see that such activities have a really positive impact.
About The Author
Magnus Ward is a professional writer, blogger and also a globetrotter. Currently he lives in Brighton, UK. In the above post, he has come up with some great suggestions as to how to motivate staffs in office. To know more about team building activities, you may connect him via Google+.
SoSu Tv Presents Eric Jennings, of the software platform company Pinoccio. Eric shares a bit about his background and some of his experiences running his own business in the Reno area.
SoSu.TV Presents Jonathan Lee as this week’s entrepreneur of the week. He is a Reno native and is currently the President and CEO of Hotlap, a company that helps prepare racers and enthusiasts alike, for the toughest challenges and best stories that their sports have to offer.