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marketing

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Does the thought of blogging leave you cold? You’re not alone. In fact, if you ask most any online business owner what their most dreaded task is, blogging will likely rank right up there with bookkeeping and cold calling. With few exceptions, most people simply do not like to write, so they find any excuse not to do it.
And as you can imagine, their traffic suffers for it.
The good news is, if you hate to write or feel you’re just not good at it, there are plenty of other ways to create shareable content on a regular basis without ever putting your fingers to a keyboard (much).

Crowdsource

Despite Google’s apparent dislike for it, guest blogging is still a fantastic way to both generate content and get in front of a whole new audience. Other bloggers, marketers, coaches and service providers are looking for ways to grow their audiences, and many of them would jump at the chance to appear as a guest on your blog. It’s a win/win for both of you.
Not into guest blogging? What about a text interview or cross-blog conversation? Simply supply a list of questions to your interviewee, and post her responses. The interview format is perfect for introducing your audience to someone they might want to get to know better.
A cross-blog conversation requires a little more work on your part but it can be a fun way for your readers to get to know you a bit better. A cross-blog conversation is exactly what it sounds like: a discussion that takes place on two different blogs, with you and your blogging partner both offering opinions about a topic, just as if you were having a chat over coffee.

Audio and Video

Podcasting and video blogs are more popular than ever and they’re perfect for those who don’t care for writing. With either type of content, all that’s required is you, sharing your thoughts. You don’t have to do anything as involved or complex as interviews, and you certainly don’t have to hire a studio for a day to record a series of “professional” videos.
You can create podcasts and video blogs with nothing more than your laptop with its built-in camera or a headset and an audio recorder. Just fire up your computer and share your thoughts. Don’t worry about perfection, your visitors will love a chance to see the real you!

Curate

If you’re like most people, you very likely share a variety of content on your social media accounts. You point out articles you’ve read, videos you’ve enjoyed, infographics that explain a complex idea in a simple way. It’s part of what makes social media fun and informational.
But what if you took your sharing one step further, and posted your thoughts on your blog first, before linking on social media?
The result of this curation technique, where you add your opinion with a link to the original article or video, is that you drive traffic to your site rather than someone else’s. Not only that, but it gives you more opportunity to start a conversation with your readers about the content you’re sharing.

Relying on Google or the other search engines to send you traffic can be an exercise in frustration. A better method is to encourage sharing on social media. But if you’re not a wordsmith, creating content can seem an overwhelming task. Rather than giving up and letting your blog languish, explore some other ways to create content your readers will enjoy and share.

We’ve been told (and told and told) for years that “the money is in the list” and that “your mailing list is your biggest business asset.” But if your list numbers are hovering in the low four-figures—or fewer—with no sign of growth on the horizon, such advice can seem a bit unhelpful.

The fact is, building a list is a catch 22: You can’t get sign ups without traffic and it’s difficult to find traffic when you have no list. What’s a busy coach to do?

Paid Ads Make List-Building Easy

By strategically placing ads in front of your target audience, you can drive tons of traffic to your opt-in offers and enjoy conversion rates of two or three percent or more. Even better, with some tweaking and split testing of your offers, you can carefully refine your ads and copy so that you’re attracting your exact ideal client and filling your list with buyers who are ready to take action, rather than freebie seekers.

All you need to run paid ads to your opt-in pages is:

A compelling offer, such as a video training series or live webinar
Copy to grab the attention of your target audience

Best Ad Placements

Once you have your components in place, the only question remaining is where to run your ads. You have dozens of choices, from Twitter to Google to YouTube to solo email spots.
The key is to first determine where your market is most likely to be hanging out. If they’re on LinkedIn, then running ads on Twitter will be a waste of time. Keep in mind the cost as well. Ads on Facebook are generally less expensive and less competitive than a Google Adwords placement.

Start Small, Then Refine

Once you’ve decided where to place your ads, it’s time to set your budget and begin running a small set of ads. Consider setting a small daily budget, such as $10 or $20 at the beginning, so you can get a feel for how your ads will perform. Watch the traffic, track your conversions, and create split tests of your landing page and ad sets to determine which performs the best. You can also refine the audience you’re targeting based on the stats you receive. For example, if you find that men between the ages of 20 and 30 are clicking but not opting in, you might want to remove them from your audience.
At least at first, it’s best to avoid running ads for paid products. Conversions for a free offer will far outshine those to a paid product—especially if your program is expensive. After all, those who are clicking on an ad most likely do not know you at all, so it takes a much bigger leap of faith to offer up a credit card number than it will to provide an email address.

Ad Copy Blunders to Avoid

Have you ever clicked on an ad because you saw an adorable pair of sandals that you just had to have, only to land on a page full of sneakers, with not a sandal in sight? It’s frustrating, to say the least, and that kind of ad to landing page mismatch will kill your conversions.

Your ad copy is making a promise to the reader. If your landing page doesn’t fulfill that promise, your readers will click away, and you’ll have wasted the money you spent to get them there. Before running any ads, be sure your ad headline, image, and copy all match the message on the landing page.

Paid advertising was once a tool used only by big companies or marketers with a lot of money to spare, but today they’re more cost-effective than ever, and the technology makes them easy to create and monitor. If you haven’t yet tried your hand at this useful traffic generation method, it’s time to do some experimenting. You might just find your list numbers—and sales—growing.

Ever wonder what makes some Facebook posts, videos, or blogs “go viral,” while yours are lucky to have 7 shares and two comments? While it might seem like some well-kept secret, the truth is it’s easy enough to create shareable content, if you put some thought and creativity into your efforts.

Everyone Loves Infographics

Whether you want to know more about how coffee is grown, or you’re looking for ways to boost your blog traffic, you’ll find a variety of infographics to fill you in.
These colorful, easy-to-read graphics share vast amounts of data while still entertaining an audience. By condensing numbers and stats down to easily digestible bite-sized pieces, you can make valuable information highly understandable for any audience. Even better, your market will be happy to share (and share and share).
If you’re not artistic, or don’t have the skills required to create your own, you can hire designers from Fiverr and other job sites, or use a tool such as Piktochart to quickly make infographics your audience will love.
**Pro tip: create an embeddable link for your infographic and encourage other blog owners to share it on their sites. You’ll automatically drive traffic from every site that posts your content.

Create Valuable Posts

Writing a blog post? Don’t just skim the surface of a topic. Dig deep. Provide as much information as you can on the topic.
While some bloggers will tell you that shorter is better, the truth is, posts of 3,000 words are more likely to be shared than their shorter cousins. So don’t worry about attention spans. Readers have proven they want good info and they don’t mind digging into a long post to find it.

Let Your Personality Shine

No one wants to read or share another “me too” post. Not you and not your audience.
What they do want—and what they’ll happily share with their friends and fans—is personality-driven pieces that aren’t afraid to take a stand.
That’s why coaches such as Kimra Luna and Marie Forleo are so popular. You know, simply by reading their content and watching their videos, that what you see is exactly what you get. Nothing is hidden; there’s no “corporate speak” to be found.
It’s easy to form a connection with someone like that because you feel like you know them personally. And what do you do with your friend’s content? You share it, of course!
It doesn’t take much to be shareable. Just be yourself, be transparent, and be valuable. In short, just do what you’re already doing, only with a little bit more oomph!

Here’s one sure way to build up a great following fast: do something just a little crazy.
If you’ve ever watched a reality TV show such as Married at First Sight or Survivor, then you know what a draw it can be to attempt something just a little crazy. Millions of people tune in each and every week to see what new catastrophes would befall the cast of Survivor, or what new battle would break out on someone’s wedding day on Married at First Sight.
Now imagine if you could generate that kind of traffic to your blog or website, just by attempting something off the wall.
The fact is, this is a tried and true marketing plan that companies have been doing for more than a century and you can easily do something similar in your business.

Write a Book…Or 20

When Kristen Joy of TheBookNinja.com needed a boost in traffic, she turned to the medium she knows best: Kindle publishing. Accepting a challenge from her business coach, she agreed to write and publish a new Kindle book each week for 20 weeks.
As the word spread about Kristen’s plan, her traffic grew (and grew, and grew). Why? Some people no doubt wanted to see her fail—after all, that’s really why we watched Survivor, isn’t it? But most people rightly thought that Kristen must have something important to say if she had committed to such a large project.
Nicole Dean pulled off a similar plan with her Blog World Tour. During the summer of 2009, she visited 15 blogs in 15 weeks, guest posting on the target blog for 5 straight days before moving on to the next. Did it work? Absolutely! Just like Kristen’s crazy book-writing spree, Nicole’s blog world tour gained her lots of traffic and thousands of new fans.

Stretch Yourself A Little

Now, you don’t have to write a book a week for 20 weeks, or even spend the summer guest blogging. But there are plenty of things you can do to build some buzz and drive some traffic to your site. The key is to find something that would make most people say “I could never do that.” And then do it.

Post to your blog every day for a year.

Post a new video to your YouTube channel every day for 90 days.

Speak at or attend one conference each month for a year.

Whatever “stunt” you decide to pull off, it must have two components to be successful:
It must be outside what most people would consider their comfort zone
You must commit to it publicly and often—tell your list, your social media followers, your blog readers, your clients, everyone.
A challenge of this sort must have one other component as well—your absolute conviction to finish. The last thing you want is to publicly declare your intention then quietly fade out mid-way to your goal.
If you’re looking for a fun, innovative way to drive a lot of traffic to your website, and to get more eyes on your content, consider setting a big, outrageous goal for yourself. You’ll be surprised how many people turn up to watch and cheer you on, and you’ll have fun along the way. Not only that, but at the end, you’ll have lots of content you can repurpose again and again, and you will have learned a thing or two about your audience and yourself, too.

Ask nearly anyone who runs an online business what their biggest struggle is, and chances are they’ll say “more traffic.”
You need traffic to build an email list.
You need traffic to make sales.
You need traffic to fill your coaching programs.
So the big question is, where do you get all that traffic?
Sure, you could buy ads, but if you aren’t careful, you might just fill your list with less-than-ideal audience members and that will do nothing for your sales. You could focus your time and energy on search engine optimization but unless you have years to build your business (and who does?) then SEO should not be your top choice.
Good thing you have other options.

Be a Guest

Everyone needs content. It’s the one thing that remains consistent among all content creators—there is never enough. That’s where you can help.
By guest posting on other coaches’ blogs, you can “borrow” some of their traffic.
You can’t simply regurgitate old content and send it out in a dozen directions though. To get the best results, you’ll want to:
Create custom content designed with your host’s unique audience in mind.
Provide stellar value with actionable ideas and strategies not found everywhere else.
Inject your personality so those new to you will instantly connect with you.
Offer a compelling reason to click through to your website or blog for more information.

Partner Up

No list? Here’s a quick way to “borrow” someone else’s list to kickstart your own: Schedule a free event with a partner.
Here’s how it works.
You (as the one with the small list) create a compelling, free training which leads naturally to a low-cost, no-brainer product.
Install an affiliate tracking system such as aMember, Infusionsoft or 1Shopping Cart.
Offer your best affiliates a higher percentage of profits in exchange for co-hosting your webinar and bringing their traffic along for the ride.
This is a win/win for both of you, as you gain the traffic while your affiliate gets a bigger payday. Just be sure you have a good funnel in place so that your new list members can benefit from all that you have to offer.

Get Interviewed

Want to really show off your expert status and bring traffic back to your site, too? The easiest way is to get on the interview circuit. Just like authors with new books and actors with new movies, coaches and service providers can get in front of new audiences simply by answering questions about what they know.
Of course, you’re probably not going to appear on the Today Show or Oprah (although that’s not impossible), but there are still plenty of opportunities out there for coaches and consultants in every niche.

Look for interview and speaking opportunities on:

Podcasts
Other blogs
YouTube
Periscope and Blab
Local events
Industry conferences
Telesummits

Start by reaching out to your colleagues and to podcast and blog hosts you most admire. Get the word out with your friends and your list that you’re looking for opportunities.
Even if you don’t yet have a list of your own, it’s easy (and fun) to kickstart your audience growth simply by making yourself available for these and other opportunities. Each guest post, podcast interview, and webinars are another chance to get in front of a whole new market, so take advantage of it!

As a coach, it can be difficult to watch the lack of progress of so many promising entrepreneurs and coaches. They’ve dreamed for so long about creating a solid, sustainable business, and yet, all they do is dream.
You know the people I’m talking about. They attend conferences, sign up for free webinars, buy paid training, and sometimes even work with a coach or two. And yet week after week, month after month, year after year, they fail to make any progress toward their dreams.
Are they just lazy? No. It’s something worse. They don’t know how to move from a dream to a plan and they’re stuck.

Start With the Long-Term

If you’ve ever been on a job interview and were asked, “Where do you want to be five years from now,” you might have thought it an odd question. But as a business owner, that might just be the most important consideration you can have.
Without knowing where you’re headed in the long term, it’s impossible to create a map to get there. You need to know what your destination is, so that every day, week, month, and year you can check your progress to be sure you’re still headed in the right direction.

Create Milestones

Once you know your ultimate destination, you can draft a plan for getting there, and create the interim goals that will help you stay on track.
For example, if in five years you want to be free to travel for 8 weeks every year, then you need to have a few pieces in place before that can happen:
• Enough income to cover travel costs
• Passive income to sustain your business while you’re not working
• A staff who can manage the business while you’re away
With this list, you can then work backwards from your five-year goal, and create milestones along the way. If you know you’ll need to earn $150,000 annually in order to fund your travel plans, and right now you’re earning $60,000, then reasonable milestones might look like this:
• Year 1: $70,000
• Year 2: $85,000
• Year 3: $105,000
• Year 4: $125,000
• Year 5: $150,000
With these milestones in place, it’s much easier to figure out exactly what you need to do to achieve them, by setting monthly, weekly, and daily goals.

Create Small Goals

If you say to someone, you need to move from $60,000 to $150,000 in five years, that’s a pretty overwhelming task. After all, it’s a $90,000 increase and most people will look at that and immediately dismiss it as impossible.
But when you break it down as we have above, and then again into smaller steps, it suddenly doesn’t look so daunting.
In the first year of the plan we have outlined here, your income needs to increase only by $10,000. That’s less than $1000 per month! Surely that’s easy enough to accomplish! You can further break that down by week: $1000 per month is just $250 per week. If you sell just one more group coaching package, or five more of a $50 training program, you’ve already reached your milestone.

That might mean sending one more email to your list, or investing an additional $20 per month in Facebook ads, or perhaps reaching out to one more JV partner. The point is, reaching this much smaller goal is far easier than thinking about that five-year plan.

So what’s your big dream? How can you deconstruct it into achievable milestones, workable goals, and finally, daily and weekly tasks? If you can do this (and you definitely can) then you can achieve anything in business and in life.

It’s not enough to dream of success. It’s not even enough to set goals.
The only way to truly achieve your dreams and build the business you’re meant to build is to sit down and just do it.
And that’s where many of us…well, fail is a strong word. But it’s the doing that trips us up more times than not.
We overbook our calendars until today’s to-dos become next week’s past dues. We procrastinate on the things that are important while attending to things that are merely “nice to do.” And sometimes we simply take on too much—even when we know better.

The answer? Embrace these five productivity hacks that top coaches use to get more done in less time.

• Rituals and Habits: Simply put, a ritual or habit is a consistent way of doing something. You have a morning ritual (wake up, brush your teeth, work out, shower, and head to your office), evening ritual (check homework, tuck the kids in, watch the evening news, and hit the sack), weekend ritual (sleep late, mow the lawn, catch a movie, visit your mom), and many others. 

The trouble is, if you’re not careful with your rituals, they can turn into productivity killers. Is checking Facebook or email a part of your morning ritual? Is turning on Skype a part of your at work ritual? Distractions such as these can turn even your best intentions into hours of wasted time. 

Take a good look at your rituals. What are you doing that you should not be—or that should be moved to another part of your day? Make your rituals more efficient and you’ll automatically get more done.

• Calendar Management: Want to know how much time you really have available for that new project? Try blocking off time in your calendar for all your existing projects. Fill in all your client calls, your business administrative tasks, time for meals and breaks, outside appointments, and everything else you’re committed to. What’s left might just shock you. 

Make it a habit to block time in your calendar for every commitment, and you’ll never again over-promise or over-commit.
• Learn to Let Go: Here’s a news flash. You do not have to do everything in your business. You can (and should) hand off those low-level tasks to someone else. Hire a VA to create your documents and manage your calendar. Let your tech support person manage your blog and email. Turn over your bookkeeping to an accountant. The time you free up will allow you to work on what’s truly important—and that only you can do.
• Work Hard, Play Harder: You are not a machine. You cannot work all day every day and hope to be at your best all the time. 

Take a day off. Get some rest, or relax on a long, slow hike. Take a friend out to lunch. Go shopping with your kids. See a movie or a play. Do something—anything—other than work. 

Not only will you return to the office feeling much more refreshed, but you’ll find yourself more creative and productive than before as well.
• Focus: Multi-tasking is impossible. You cannot efficiently create a new coaching program while you’re simultaneously surfing Facebook, keeping an eye on the kids, and answering the phone every time it rings. 

Instead, use your calendar to block time off for important tasks, then turn everything else off so you can focus. No phone, no Facebook, no kids or husbands or neighbors or pets demanding “just a minute” of your time. Tune everything out, and you’ll find your work getting done much faster.

Managing your time and turning up your productivity is not something that comes naturally to most people but when you learn to master this skill, you’ll find your business grows right along with you.

Imagine you had a coaching client who consistently failed to complete her tasks for the week.
She couldn’t find the time to get her email opt-in page completed.
She was too busy to write the next chapter of her book.
She was working too hard and completely forgot to put together her webinar presentation.
It wouldn’t take long before you sat her down for a serious talk about the future of your coaching relationship—and her business. A coaching client such as that is a frustrating waste of time.
Why, then, do you continue to accept these and other excuses from yourself? Why is your lack of business development allowed to continue, even when you know how important those tasks are to your future growth?
Now, before you go thinking I’m being way too hard on you, know this: we all struggle with this very issue. We all put our clients, our family, our friends, and even the neighbor we barely know before ourselves.
But I’m giving you permission right now to stop doing that, and start treating yourself as the VIP you really are.
It’s time to put your business growth ahead of that of your clients. Only by doing that will you be able to reach a larger audience, help more people, and achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself.
The simplest way to do this is to just make appointments with yourself. That hour or two you have free on Thursday afternoon? Don’t book a client call in that spot. Book yourself. Mark it on your calendar, and treat it as an unbreakable appointment, just as you would an appointment with a client or your doctor or your accountant.
Spend the time working on the things that are important to the continued growth of your business.
• Develop a new group coaching program
• Write a chapter of your upcoming book
• Write emails for your autoresponder
• Reach out to JV partners
In short, do those things you tell your clients to do—the things your own coach is likely advising. Don’t push them aside for “later” or “after your client work is done.” Elevate yourself to VIP client status and start putting yourself first. Your business will thank you for it.

SEO

Once you become a blogger, you see this bloody acronym everywhere.

What’s so important about it? Does it matter to me?

That depends. How important is website traffic to you? If you’re looking to gain exposure for your blog posts, having your blog found in search engines is a big plus. People searching for specific terms that relate to your posts will be able to find you.

Blog posts are naturally search engine friendly because

1.blogs are frequently updated with new pages

2.blog posts are text rich

3.blog posts have links to other pages that are related to the blog post

4. So if you’ve been writing posts consistently, that are of average length and include links to other posts on your site that

5. relate or other blogs that share the same niche, you’re already doing a great job at assisting the search engine spiders.

Spiders? Spiders my friend.

Ok, not real spiders.

It’s actually similar to a web browser. Search engine spiders crawl the www the same way you would surf the internet using safari or firefox.

It can start crawling anywhere and stop anywhere. It follows links to get from one site to another. When it’s done crawling, it takes what’s it learned and drops it into a database – a search engine’s database (Google’s, Yahoo’s, Bing’s, etc) where it’s indexed and saved. When a user enters a specific term into Google’s search box, the results are pulled from that database; ranking is based on relevance to the search term (and several other variables, to be explained in a more advanced post). The higher your post ranks in the search engine, the higher the possibility that your link will be clicked on.

So how do we optimize our blogs for search engines? Let’s start simple.

Basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tips For Your Blog Posts

Match your content to your title. Don’t name the post “thirty ways to barbeque foam cups” and then write about recycling for the environment.
Use your post topic’s keywords in the post’s title and headings tags. This is how the spider “decides” whether your content body is relevant to the post title. For example, if you want your post to be found by users searching for “after bedtime activities” then your post title and heading should have one or more of these words in them. Such as
Title/(h1)MainHeading: Bedtime Activities For Toddlers
(h2)Sub Heading: Toddler Bedtime Stories
(h2)Sub Heading: Bedtime Games
(h2)Sub Heading: Bedtime Stories
(h2)Sub Heading: Tips For Putting Your Toddler Down at Bedtime
Quick Rule: Only one Main Heading per post
Use secondary keywords in the body of your post. These are words that relate to the topic. Bold and italicize these words when possible. This also helps your friendly spider. Don’t go crazy, your post will look like crap.
All images should have Alt Text that applies to your post. Spider can’t see images, but if there’s alternate text there, it counts for something.
All images need a description – this is great for search engine indexing and as an excerpt when sharing on many social media platforms.
Include links to other posts on your site and use actual anchor words. If you link to a post about barbeque sauces, be sure that the anchor words that are linked to the post is “barbeque sauces”, not the word “here” as we’ve all done. You want the anchor words to be relevant to the post you’re linking to.
Choose Categories and Tags that relate to your post.
Install an SEO Plugin

Search Engine Optimization plugins help you to plug a meta title, meta description and meta keywords into your post page’s coding. This info is shown in the search engine results page (SERP) when your post is listed as the answer to a searcher’s query.  The plugin offers you the ability to write an eye catching, alluring description of the post to be shown in the SERP, assiting in helping searchers choose a link to click.

Get Social For SEO

Install sharing plugins on your post.

Get active on social media platforms.

Build your network. You need a network of peers to help you spread your post across the WWW.

The most important tip to SEO?

Write unique, meaty posts. Show Google and readers alike that you’re an authority on the subject.

Photocredit:
macromagnon via photoxpress (desk and www)
Nicemonkey via photoxpress (spider)x

Alex Eylar via Compfight

What do super-successful coaches and small business owners all have in common?
It’s not experience.
It’s not extraordinary skills.
It’s not even a powerful drive.
Although all of these things can definitely help your business grow, they’re not a prerequisite for success. After all, no one is born with experience or skills, and plenty of successful people lack drive.
The one thing that does make a difference, though, is your “why.”
Why did you decide to become a coach?
Why do you spend too many hours in front of your computer every week?
Why do you stay up too late and get up too early, just so you can work on growing your business?
The “why” is what ultimately drives us to success, but here’s the thing: it’s different for everyone. Your why is not my why, and my why is not her why. It’s a deeply personal choice that can have great meaning…or not.
For example, a survivor of domestic abuse might happily spend 60 or 70 hours each and every week mentoring other victims of abuse, or counseling couples on how to break the cycle. Her big why is a strong desire to prevent other women from suffering in the same way she did.
A mother of small children may be saddened at the thought of sending her kids to daycare just so she can go to work to (barely) pay for it. Her big why is a drive to spend as much time with her kids as she can, while still supporting her family.
A young, fresh out of school entrepreneur might resist taking the same path her parents took, working for a corporation for 40 years, only to retire and find themselves with barely enough to live on. Instead, she dreams of having the income (and the time) to see the world while she’s still young enough to enjoy it.
So what’s your big “why”? It might be the freedom to travel, the option to spend time with your family, the ability to take weeks off at a time to care for a sick family member, or even to earn enough money to support a charity that’s close to your heart.
Whatever it is, your “why” is the driving force behind every action you take. When you’re deciding whether or not to take on a new client, ask yourself if it’s aligned with your “why.” When you’re setting goals for the year, ask yourself if those goals are moving you closer or further from your big why. Thinking of branching out into a new business venture? Make sure it’s in alignment with your big why, and success is suddenly much more attainable.