Elayne Whitfield, BA, MVA ~ VA Industry ExpertSubscribe Now

Common Mobile Marketing Mistakes

Common mobile marketing mistakesThe landscape of internet use is dramatically changing. Mobile sales are outstripping PC sales, over half of social media users are doing so from mobile devices, and approximately half of your audience is using mobile devices to read their emails. Because of this rapid and substantial change many marketers are making serious mistakes when approaching their mobile audience. Thankfully, you can avoid these issues if you just think ahead.

Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

Creating Complicated Opt-in Processes

You can always get more information from customers later, but creating an easy and streamlined opt-in process greatly appeals to mobile users. When a customer is using a finger instead of a keyboard to click boxes and type in information, they will become frustrated if the procedure is too complicated or lengthy. Make it easy; remember that less is more.

Not Ensuring Links Work for Mobile

When you send any email link it needs to be able to be read on a mobile device because you need to assume that’s where readers will be viewing it. Can the user click through easily? Does the website work well using any device? Can the user get around the navigation?

Not Being Targeted in Your Actions

When you send out a message or put out content, know why you’re doing it and who will be seeing it. You can use your email and website metrics to determine which devices your audience uses so that you can ensure that any device can access your info.

Not Understanding Laws, Rules, and Regulations

Like with most things to do with marketing, there are laws, rules, and regulations that need to be followed. Ensure that you become familiar with these laws so that you don’t break any of them and make things more difficult for yourself than they need to be. Opt-in regulations and privacy concerns are important to most people so they should be to you too.

Using Too Much Text for the Space

Remember the size of most mobile devices is about 3.3 inches of space. If that small space is overrun with text and your user has to scroll sideways forever to read all the content, they’re going to get frustrated and give up fast. There are ways to optimize your content within the code to ensure that it automatically adjusts based on the device your audience is using.

Not Creating Ongoing Value for Customers

As important as access is, creating value is equally essential. If you’ve created an app for example, if you don’t want to lose your customer, one way or another you’ll need to remind them about the app by offering updates, extensions, and more. The value of a long-term customer cannot be underestimated so keep them engaged with your product.

Building an App without a Plan for Marketing

Apps are a great way to get involved in the mobile marketing landscape. That being said however, creating an app is like creating a whole other business and it comes with new responsibilities. You not only need to create the app in a way that people enjoy using it, but you also need a marketing plan if you want it to be successful.

Not Having Clear Calls to Action

Once you know the purpose of a message that you want to send out, it’s imperative that you craft clear calls to action. Sometimes you may need to test different CTAs to find out which ones work best for your audience.

Treating Mobile as a Separate Entity

While mobile is a huge platform and should be considered by anyone who wants to market online today, it’s also important to remember that mobile devices are simply tools for users to access your content. Much like different browsers, different devices have different code requirements. Thankfully though, by using HTML5 and responsive coding, you can make your websites work for all devices seamlessly.

Avoiding these common mobile marketing mistakes will help you become a winner in the online marketing game. Don’t ignore the statistics of a changing environment when bringing your marketing campaigns into the present. Gear yourself towards mobile or you’re going to be leaving money on the table.

Tips for Sharing Your Unique Voice and Vision with the World

Colourful image of person singing or speakingYour blog, website, email newsletters, social media posts and other means by which you communicate with the world is how you share your voice, vision and perspectives. The ideas presented on these platforms are unique to you and this should be clearly reflected to your audience. If you want to stand out from your competition, there are many things you can do to separate yourself from the ordinary.

* Blog Regularly - The first thing you need to know about getting your vision and voice out into the world is that you need to do it regularly. Blog regularly, update social media regularly, appear as a guest regularly, and take every opportunity you can to be yourself representing your personal brand.

* Mix up the Formats - A blog doesn’t have to be text based. It can be in the form of infographics, memes, podcasts, videos and more. Use every content format that you can as long as it fits within your brand and the image you want to portray to your audience. Re-purpose content into new forms to get the word out to more people.

* Create a Plan of Action - The content that you create should have a purpose. The best way to ensure that the purpose matches your goals is to develop a plan that you will use across all channels; one that encompasses all promotions planned and events scheduled. Additionally, your plan can include current events and updated news if you’re ready.

* Understand Your Niche - You can never study your niche enough. Devote some of your time each week to understanding who your audience is and should be, inside and out. Study the history of your industry as well as what is happening today and what might happen in the future. Keeping your ear to the ground will make you a go-to expert in your niche and will keep your blog current.

* Know Your Audience - While you do want to add your own vision and voice, it’s also important to understand how far you can go without upsetting your core audience. For example, if you start a blog for people who are vegans and then change your mind, that’s okay, but realize that you’re going to change your audience entirely as well as the focus of your blog and this could disrupt what you have already established.

* Don’t Be Afraid to Be You - One of the most wonderful aspects of being online is the ability to be free to be yourself. You will find support and belonging for any lifestyle but you’ll also find detractors. To be truly authentic you cannot worry too much about your detractors. Put your audience and your true self first and foremost all the time.

* Be Consistent Across all Channels - Whether it’s your blog or a social media channel, it’s important that you keep the same flavor, voice, and vision apparent in each space. This will make you appear more trustworthy and help your audience get to know you even better.

* Engage Authentically with your Audience - Outside of blog posts, social media posts and other forms of content that you put out into the world, there are also discussions and comment sections in which you can engage. Be yourself when you interact with your audience, too. They want to know what you really think and this is a great way to do so.

Each blog post or other content platform that you send out into the world is important all on its own. Content spreads your message, establishes you as an expert, and drives traffic through keywords and more. Each deserves the attention called for to bring your unique voice and vision to them.

Even if you hire someone to write for you as a ghostwriter, it’s important that you edit the content to bring more of yourself to the blog. Whether it’s a sign-off phrase you want to use, or a special way with words that impacts your readers, be yourself. What matters is that you’re consistently yourself no matter where the content appears.

Five Online Business Optimization Strategies

word strategy with magnifying glassRunning a business online gives entrepreneurs an incredible chance to expand and scale their operations. Where offline businesses require a physical presence, online businesses can operate entirely with virtual storefronts and digital real estate. Expanding online is also much simpler and bringing your business to new heights can be achieved without the need for expensive outlets and physical locations.

Still, there are a few major errors that first-time online entrepreneurs tend to make when they scale their businesses. From expanding too quickly to moving in all the wrong directions, the road to running a large-scale online business is paved with potential potholes. These five strategies are designed to help you achieve worthwhile business optimization while taking your business to new heights without endless difficulties and setbacks.

1. Stick to the 80/20 Principle

Pareto's Principle -- known as the 80/20 principle -- dictates that 80% of your returns -- in this case, business profits -- will come from just 20% of your actions. Your goal in running an internet business is not to do as much as you can, but rather to achieve as much as you can. Focus on the ultra-profitable 20% of clients/customers, and eliminate as much of the fluff as you possibly can.

2. Whenever possible, add products to service businesses

Service businesses are a good short-term model, but as a long-term earning option on their own, they are not the best. The main issue with service businesses is the lack of scalability and long-term earnings potential. By running a service business, you are essentially tying a value to your time and working from that alone. It is a more effective strategy to create a product and use your time to amplify its sales.

3. Package and sell your information

Informational products are a major hit, especially in the online world. From guides on mastering online business to simple how-to sets for learning a new skill, informational products make up a huge percentage of online sales. If you have skills that would otherwise only be valuable in a service business, why not package them into an informational product that you can sell online?

4. Focus on marketing before you start your business

The make-or-break component of any online business is marketing. The internet is crowded, especially for small online businesses, and there is no chance to survive without a large customer or client base that knows how to find you. The world's most profitable companies are invested in marketing before they expand, and you should be too.

5. Set a value for your time, and don't waste it

You have set up your online business, invested in some manual and paid marketing presences, and you’ve started to earn over $100 a day. The only problem is that it is taking almost 12 hours to do it. There will be times, especially when running an online business, where you will rack up a reasonably impressive daily earnings total. Ignore it. Daily totals are deceiving and are not an accurate metric for judging online business success.

What is much more valuable is the amount of time that goes into that income. Set a minimum value for your time, and create an online business that gives you options on where to spend it. Sometimes services might be worthwhile, other times product-based work might be the best solution. Either way, set a minimum cost for an hour of your time and design a business that allows you to earn above it.

3 Tips for Crafting an Effective, Tweet-able Message

Twitter bird logoFew social networks encapsulate public discussions more effectively than Twitter. Thanks to its condensed nature and enormous audience, a single topic or thought can often evolve into a completely natural case study for marketers. Be it immense disapproval or the enormous success of a single meme, Twitter offers a unique look into the heart of any conversation.

Given this amazing resource that is Twitter, how can you make these conversations happen to suit you, regardless of your particular product, sales team, or industry? While it's very difficult to create a conversation out of nothing, especially when a product or service is inherently uninteresting, it's very easy to optimize a discussion so that it spreads throughout the social media landscape like wildfire.

Apply these three tactics to your next Twitter promotion, compare them against your past experiences, and realize how a few creative copywriting tweaks can enhance your social media ROI.

1) Learn to love the '…'

Add an ellipsis to the end of your tweets and you stand to experience a 20% increase in click-through traffic. This timeless tweak has been used by performance marketers for decades, both online and off. Whether you're tweeting a message or advertising a product on Adwords, this simple tweak can help you instantly increase the amount of readers who visit your linked page.

2) Use numbers, instructions, and summaries

Numbers catch the eye; instructions can increase involvement; and summaries attract users looking for information, particularly those who are looking to better understand a particular topic. These Twitter tricks were all mastered by copywriting professionals years ago, and they're still just as effective today. Use them if you’re not doing so already and you'll see an increase in traffic.

3) Get people scared, and promote distrust

In order to increase the amount of time that readers spend thinking about your product, it's important to project a situation where they wouldn’t normally be thinking about it. If you want to increase the sales of your pest removal product, remind readers about the dangers of bed bugs and how certain companies wouldn’t want you to know about these dangers – especially at around 11:30PM or right before bed time.

Got an investment to pitch? Promote fear in people by reminding them that others could get ahead of them if they choose not to leap at the opportunity. People respond to fear and distrust, even if it's minute and fairly inconsequential. Use 'fear words' in your tweets to draw in readers, and use your additional content to make them familiar with your brand, your company, and your product's advantages.

5 Tips for GREAT Headlines that Consistently Convert

HeadlineI know this may be difficult to hear, but most of the hard work you put into writing your article will not attract attention on its own. Content will certainly speak for itself, but this is only true if people are willing to listen to it to begin with. And unfortunately, the average reader on the internet today will not give you even a moment of their precious time unless you prove to them that you deserve it over everyone else. What’s the best way to do this? An irresistible headline is a good start.

Almost any topic you can think of will have dozens of articles covering/discussing it; all of which will have great information. To compete with these equally entertaining and well written articles you need to put out the best bait: your headline. All too often people will glance over this aspect of their work as if it is unimportant when in reality it is the MOST important part. Unless you are a headline-creating savant you shouldn’t be churning out your article titles in 30 seconds and this leads me to the first of my 5 tips for creating great headlines.

1. Don’t Rush

I’ve been there myself. Your deadline is creeping up and you’re delicately looking over your work to make sure every semicolon is perfectly placed and every paragraph break flows flawlessly. Right before you submit/publish you remember that you haven’t finalized a headline and should probably think of something catchy. After a whole 42 seconds of deliberation you decide to keep the clunky title you had when you started writing because you’re running out of time.

Big mistake. Headlines should be looked at as the pinnacle of your work, not an afterthought. Choosing a good headline can often take 45 minutes to an hour so allot yourself that much time to figure things out. Rearrange words, break out the thesaurus, and don’t give up until you’re completely satisfied.

2. Use Numbers

It worked for this post didn’t it? Lists are a concise way of organizing things, and letting people know that you’re keeping it brief from the get-go is a great way to convince them to start reading. Few things are more frustrating than getting a page into an article, scrolling down to the bottom to see how much more you have left, and finding out you’ve just started reading someone’s 200 page novel. Time is valuable and readers like to get in and out of things as quickly as possible. They aren’t perfect for every headline but lists do work and you should take advantage of them.

3. Offer Something of Value

Unless your article is an opinion piece on some of your personal favourite things, you’re going to want to present your work as if it is offering something that the reader can away take with them. And even if you are just listing off something that you like, you don’t have to present it in such an obvious way. Instead of having “My 10 Favourite ______” call your article “The 10 Best _______ money can buy”. Don’t be afraid to use bold language like this since this will only draw on people’s curiosity. And as long as you write with passion and explain yourself, how can you be proven wrong? Offering things like “the best…”, “reasons why…”, “facts about…”, or “predictions for…” in your title will give the reader the feeling that they are gaining something from your article. If someone thinks your work will be of value to them then they will be far more likely to read it.

4. Promote Distrust

Although overuse of this technique may give your writing a cheap or tacky feel, a well placed promotion of distrust will attract greater audience attention. People will often be skeptical of mainstream ideas so advertising something like “secrets doctors/nutritionists/other professionals don’t want you to know about” can be very effective. Offering “hacks” or seemingly insider information that people can use in specific aspects of their life or even just their daily life will lead to more clicks on your article.

5. Mix it Up

Chances are if you’re reading this, you aren’t looking to write one single headline. Writing one headline won’t be that difficult, but if you always use the same formula of “10 ways to get better at _____” or “Improve your _____ with these 7 strategies”, your readers will get bored. Be creative and keep your audience on their toes. Mixing things up will ensure that you have a growing base of readers who consistently give you their attention.

Picking a Great Niche For Site Flipping

Picking a Niche for Site Building - ImageWebsite flipping is one way an Internet marketer can make money. They build a site, usually making it a WordPress blog, fill it with content and graphics, and monetize it several ways. Next they list it for sale on a site such as Flippa and while they are waiting for bids, they start creating their next niche site to flip. This can be quite lucrative if done right.

If you want to start flipping, one of the biggest things to consider is your niche subject. It makes no sense to put all your hard work into building a site that no one wants to buy, right? So it's important to pick a niche that SELLS, not one YOU find interesting to work in. Save the topics you're passionate about for sites you want to create and keep, unless of course, you're lucky enough to really like a topic that does sell. But generally, throw the passion idea out the window when it comes to building sites to flip.

Some people pick a specific niche based on the fact that they have lots of PLR on that subject to use for content. While PLR can be a huge time saver, you're still going to use your valuable time setting up the blog, putting the content on it, and getting it ready to sell. That time is wasted if the niche isn't the right one and no one wants to buy your site.

The best way to pick a niche for your purposes is to do some research on sites such as Flippa. It's easy enough to find the sites that have sold - just look it up on Flippa. Then start a spreadsheet where you can list the subject of the sites that have sold and how much they sold for. You might also want to include how old the site was, how many posts (content) were on it, and the different ways it was monetized (such as AdSense, ad space, ClickBank, own digital product, etc.)

As you compile your information, you will begin to notice certain topics that sell better than others. You don't really have to know WHY; you just have to know which topics. And it can change over time, so do your research quarterly or so.

Currently, here are the topics that sell well, in no particular order:

weight loss
Twitter
Facebook
acne
dog training
site flipping
making money online

But don't take my word for it, do your research and see what you come up with. Website flipping can be fun and profitable for those who like to create new blogs but don't want to continuously keep them up. If this sounds like you, pick a niche with the help of the above information and get busy.