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How to Use Google Keyword Planner to Connect with Your Customers

August, 2015 · By Deborah Fiorentino

What are your customers searching for on the web? If you’re anything like most small business owners, you have no real idea. Using Google Keyword Planner will allow you to pinpoint what Internet users are searching for, in turn giving you insight that you can use to build more effective content for the web. Ready to get started? Follow these simple steps.

Create an AdWords Account

If you’re not already a Google AdWords user, you’ll need to create an account. Google provides its Keyword Planner as a tool for businesses who want to advertise online. By identifying the search terms customers use to find relevant businesses and products, you can customize your ads to connect with the right users. Of course, the Google Keyword Planner works well for generating content, too.

Find New Keywords

Once you’ve accessed the Keyword Planner, you can find new keywords by telling Google about your business. For example, if you’re selling craft beer, insert craft beer in the product or service field to generate a keyword list.

You can also give the Keyword Planner your landing page. Google’s bot will search the page and attempt to find relevant keywords.

Choose Your Keywords Carefully

The Keyword Planner provides a list of search keywords, along with information about the number of searches performed each month. Using this information, you can pick out keywords that will likely generate organic traffic for your blog posts.

Remember, it may be tempting to only choose the keywords that generate a lot of monthly searches, but the competition for these keywords is generally quite high. If your website is relatively young, you may struggle to compete with bloggers or companies that have an established presence in the industry. For this reason, it’s beneficial to choose an assortment of different keywords, using both high and low competition options.

Build Your Content Thoughtfully

Once you’ve chosen your keywords, it’s time to start building content that converts well. Once upon a time, bloggers would stuff their posts with tons of keywords in an effort to pull in the most traffic possible. Unfortunately, this created text that was difficult to read and felt spammy.

Most search engines have changed their algorithms in the years since, so stuffing your posts with keywords doesn’t just make your blog appear spammy—Google could actually block your site from showing up in its results. Keep things in check by using a few keywords scattered throughout your posts.

Using keywords is a great way to boost your traffic and Google’s Keyword Planner makes it easy to do it correctly. By learning how to use this simple tool, you can ensure your posts make a greater impact, while simultaneously building page rank for your site. This will lead to more visitors, and hopefully, more customers.

Generating Buzz Online: 5 Tips to Get People Talking

August, 2015 · By Deborah Fiorentino

Capturing the attention of the masses is no simple feat. Instead of investing in traditional advertising and real world marketing initiatives, many small businesses turn to the web to generate sales. Online marketing and promotional efforts often prove less expensive than traditional advertising campaigns, but it’s not easy to create a viral hit. If you’re eager to get people talking about your product and brand, try using the following five tips to get started.

Give Something Away

Giveaways and promotional contents have long been a staple of the marketing world, for one simple reason: they work. Consumers like free stuff! Introducing a new house special or creating a limited edition beverage to celebrate the season? Talk about it on your social accounts and ask people to enter the contest.

Maximize the impact of your giveaway by thinking outside the box. Many brands ask consumers to retweet or share a contest announcement on Facebook to earn an additional entry. If you’re giving away something of significant value, ask users to submit their own content and solicit votes from the online crowd. In an effort to earn more votes, users will likely share your content aggressively.

Partner with Other Small Businesses

Small businesses are often plagued with limited marketing budgets, which makes it challenging to reach a large audience online. If you haven’t already done so, partner with another small business in your area to create a promotional offer or a special event. For example, why not offer a meal for two in your restaurant and partner with a boutique hotel to create a “romantic couple’s retreat?” If you’re a brewery or winery, make your products available through a local restaurant as part of a limited time “pairing menu.” The possibilities are endless.

Not only does partnering with other businesses make your events and promotions more interesting, but if both businesses promote the event online, you’ll reach a far wider audience.

Engage with Loyal Customers

Word-of-mouth advertising is worth its weight in gold. Consumers don’t like to listen to a brand endlessly extolling the virtues of its products, but they love recommendations from friends. When customers talk positively about you online, reward them! Direct message them and give them a promotional coupon, send them a t-shirt in the mail, offer them a free meal next time they stop by. Engaging in a positive way will encourage your customers to talk, talk, talk about your brand.

Pitch Prominent Bloggers

Building an online audience takes time, which is why it’s often useful to work with established blogs and websites who can share your brand with their existing fanbase. Work to identify some influencers in your industry and contact them with a great article idea. If you find a well-respected reviewer, consider sending them a case of your product for an unbiased review. There are plenty of ways to explore building a mutually-beneficial relationship with these movers and shakers.

Support Charitable Causes

Do you know why so many businesses support charities? It’s not simply because they’re benevolent—it’s also good for business. Whenever possible, sponsor local groups and events. When the marketing materials are published online, your logo will be distributed to the masses, in turn generating interest in your brand.

Headline Power: 5 Tips for Sharing Your Message Effectively

August, 2015 · By Deborah Fiorentino

Have you ever clicked on an interesting article, only to feel overwhelmed by the amount of text on the page? When writing for the web, you want to provide your readers with bite-sized chunks of digestible information, rather than confusing them with long-winded prose. Headlines should play an important role in your page structure, guiding your readers and keeping their attention. Feel stuck? Use the following five tips for creating effective headlines.

1. Tell a Story through Your Headlines
Web users rarely jump give a blog post their full attention. Instead, they’ll scan the page searching for relevant information. Your headlines should guide these readers through the content and serve as a storytelling tool. Summarize your paragraphs succinctly and progress through your post in a linear fashion to help readers find the information they’re seeking as quickly as possible.

2. Use Keywords When Possible
Like it or not, SEO plays a role in how effectively your blog posts reach a large audience. Search bots index your pages regularly, using headlines to determine what subject matter you’re covering. Place your top keywords within your headlines to boost your page rank.

Keywords also help your reader understand what you’re trying to communicate. If you notice your bounce rates are particularly high, poorly-optimized headlines likely shoulder some of the blame. Use keywords to clarify your message and keep your reader on the page.

3. Brainstorm, Brainstorm, Brainstorm
For many web writers, headlines are nothing more than an afterthought. Instead of focusing exclusively on the body of your post, however, take the time to carefully brainstorm headline ideas. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, you may even wish to A/B test headlines on your pages to see which text converts better.

4. Address Readers Directly
Treat your content as if you were engaging in a conversation with a potential customer. How would you highlight the benefits of your services or product line? Now, use your headlines as the opportunity to succinctly pitch your business.

Many successful bloggers use headlines to attack pain points for their readers. For example, “Are You Tired of Dining in Ho-Hum Chain Restaurants?” might be a great headline for a local bistro. This headline directly asks a question to the reader, explains what the content covers, and references a pain point many diners feel.

5. Keep Your Headlines Simple
Remember, your headlines should summarize the main ideas of your post, not compete for space. Try to limit your headlines to about 70 characters. Use vivid word imagery to interest your reader, but don’t cram too many vocabulary words into your headline.

Do you remember the “five Ws” from English class? Your headlines should answer these questions for readers: who, what, when, where, and why. Writing witty headlines isn’t necessarily wrong, but don’t get so caught up in the process that you lose track of the main idea.

Your Newsletter, Revamped: How to Supercharge Your Reader Engagement

August, 2015 · By Deborah Fiorentino

Collecting email addresses from your loyal customers allows you to target these readers with your customized marketing message, but many newsletters fall flat. If you’re tired of putting in all the effort and seeing no results, perhaps it’s time to rethink your newsletter strategy. Using a few simple tips, you can drive engagement, gain more subscribers, and ultimately, boost your bottom line. Ready to get started? Read on for a simple look at how to maximize the potential of your business newsletter.

Keep Your Content Digestible

Email users checking their inbox aren’t looking for a novel to read. Instead of bombarding your subscribers with too much information, provide small chunks of relevant text that can easily be consumed on the go. If you’re using your newsletter to highlight recent blog posts, include a few lines of your article as a teaser, and direct your readers to your site to read more. If you instead choose to write content specifically for the newsletter, use short sentences, plenty of headlines, and small lists to keep your reader’s attention.

Clearly Define a Call to Action

Plenty of business owners send out newsletters because they think it’s what you’re “supposed” to do. Don’t invest your energy creating a newsletter, only for your time to be wasted. Create a clear call to action to drive interaction with your brand. “Schedule a Dining Reservation Now” or “Check Out our Latest Dishes on YouTube” could be possible CTAs you might want to test.

Share Special Discounts and Offers

Everybody loves special savings, which is why many successful marketers use newsletters to share coupons and sales with their readers. Entice potential subscribers with the promise of free stuff, and deliver on that promise in your emails. Loyal followers enjoy feeling like they have “members only” access to your brand, and the promise of discounts and savings can help ensure your emails don’t head straight to the trash.

Include Timely Information

Many web writers strive to create evergreen content, meaning posts that will remain interesting from years to come. Your newsletter should do just the opposite! If you’re telling your audience to keep up with the latest by signing up for your emails, you should indeed be providing the latest, rather than simply rehashing tired topics.

Don’t Forget the Visuals

Newsletters should feature more than text alone. Use professional photography to immediately pull in your subscribers. You can also pepper your newsletter with colorful advertisements, vibrant social media posts, and enticing video content.

Newsletters can make an impressive impact, encouraging your most devoted followers to patronize your business and spread the word. By taking the time to carefully outline goals for your marketing materials and optimizing your emails with great content, you will help ensure your newsletter makes a powerful punch. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new ideas.