Providing Online Resources For Small Business Owners and The Busy Entrepreneur

Author: Sharon Remeikis Online Marketing Solutions Page 1 of 86

Sharon is a true entrepreneur with a decade of expertise in internet marketing. Her passion consist of affiliate, network, social media marketing and coaching.

30 Ways to Make Your First Sale Online

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Once you have set up an e-commerce store, the next step is, of course, to focus on driving sales.

Successful e-сommerce retailers don’t just launch and hope everything goes well — they have multiple marketing initiatives up and running that get their stores in front of new audiences, and ultimately driving sales, at all times.

If you’re a little short on ideas for making your first sale online, we’ve put together a list of thirty methods you can test right away. Let’s jump right in.

How to sell online

Tips from e-commerce experts for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.

1. Sell on Instagram

With one billion users, Instagram isn’t a bad place to start when you’re looking to secure some quick first sales.

Instagram is a prime channel for building an audience, getting early attention for your products, and leveraging influencers to build buzz around your brand. But there’s a few things you’ll need to do to make Instagram work for your store.

First, fill out your profile completely; if there’s a form available, you should be using that real estate to build your brand and drive users to your site.

Second, determine the best hashtags for your audience. What hashtag(s) is your ideal audience following? Use those to get your posts in front of them.

Finally, post regularly with attractive images that feature your products. Instagram is a visual platform, so make sure that the visuals you’re using are good ones.

To streamline your sales, you can also connect Instagram shoppable posts. Shoppable posts allow you to tag products in your images with specialized links to purchase right from Instagram.

Considering Instagram? It’s best to create your Instagram profile early — even before you launch your store. The earlier you can get your Instagram rolling with attractive content, the faster your first sales will be. That being said, it’s never too late to start!

2. Explore Pinterest

50% of people bought a product after they saw a promoted pin and 93% of pinners use Pinterest to plan their purchases. So don’t miss the chance to expand your audience. First, start a business account (it’s free), customize your profile with board covers and titles, and make sure your bio is SEO-friendly.

Pay attention to Rich Pins — they provide more information directly on a pin. There are four types of them, and your choice is a Product Pin. It shows the price and where to buy your product. Learn how to add rich pins here.

The pin shows the price and informs pinners that the item is out of stock

3. Add Your Products to Facebook

To increase visibility for your new store, add your products to your Facebook business page. With Ecwid, it only takes a couple of clicks.

Once you’ve connected your Ecwid store with your Facebook business page, a new “Shop” tab will allow Facebook’s two billion active users to discover your products:

This will also allow you to quickly advertise your products on Facebook using Facebook’s powerful audience targeting tools. Learn more about Facebook tools available from Ecwid.

4. Ask Friends to Write a Review

Family and friends are often your first customers. Leverage those relationships by asking your personal network to spread the word about your products on social media, in person, and even on popular review sites. Just five friends promoting your products on their social channels can be enough to win those elusive first sales.

You can also offer your friends free products in exchange for detailed reviews. When free stuff is on the line, you might just be surprised at how helpful those friends can be.

5. Test Facebook & Instagram Ads

Facebook (which owns Instagram) makes advertising simple and allows you to determine your budget, run time, target audience, and ad design. Not many other advertising enable so much customization, and the nice thing about ads here is that you can stop them at any time.

Plus, with Facebook’s built-in analytics, you can see real, tangible results for your efforts to discover what makes an effective ad. And since Instagram is now under Facebook, including your ads in this network is just a matter of clicking a checkbox, as seen below.

Create Facebook ads that speak to your target audience and have a compelling CTA for customers–and then watch the sales roll in.

6. Throw a Contest

Contests are great for promoting your business. You may catch the interest of potential customers and gain new subscribers. Choose a prize worth joining the competition, for example, a gift card or a collection of products. Make sure the rules are clear and simple to follow. Promote your contest or giveaway on all your social platforms, even if it’s just Instagram-based, for example.

Explain or show your subscribers how you chose the winner. If it’s a contest — explain the criteria you based your decision on. If you use a randomizer app, make a video of the process. This way you ensure your followers’ trust.

Giveaways are popular on Instagram — you can throw them for any occasion you like (Image: @insidecrochet)

7. Sell on Facebook Messenger

Once shoppers start discovering your new store, they’ll probably have a few questions before they’re ready to make a purchase. And if you want to get those sales over the line, you’ll need to be able to answer those questions quickly and efficiently.

Email is reliable but response times are often delayed, and too many phone calls are likely to frustrate both you and your millennial customers. That’s why we added our Facebook Messenger integration for Ecwid storefronts.

FB Messenger in the Ecwid storefront

About 1.3 billion Facebook users are already using Facebook Messenger to communicate with friends and brands, so chances are your future customers will be there too.

Learn more about what FB Messenger can do for your store and how to get started.

8. Work With Google Shopping Ads

Google Shopping Ads uses targeting, bidding, and keywords to help you expand your audience and create advertising campaigns.

The good news is that Google Shopping is integrated with Ecwid. You can run automatically optimized Google Shopping Ads even if you’ve never dealt with it before. All you have to do is follow three simple steps: choose your target audience, choose products, and start your campaign.

This is what a Google Shopping Ad looks like to a potential customer.

9. Consider Affiliate Marketing

81% of brands use affiliate marketing. It allows earning commissions for marketing another company’s products. In other words, you pay someone for every visitor or customer brought to your website by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.

You may partner with bloggers or other companies from your industry. For example, you can provide your partners with special banners that link to your store. They can even place your entire store on their websites. The advantage is that you promote your products only to interested people and pay only when you get results.

GiftIdeaGeek is an Amazon affiliate website. It uses humorous descriptions and focuses on geeky and pop culture products that match their niche

10. Partner with an Influencer

Think about who your audience looks to for advice about your type of product–is it a blogger, a podcaster, a news outlet, or something/someone else? Outline some potential partners and reach out to propose a contest, giveaway, or product spotlight that can get your online store in front of a new, interested audience.

Not only is this a form of social proof that helps validate your online offerings, but it takes some of the slimey-feeling sales pitch out of the customer acquisition equation. Essentially, you’re letting someone else sing your praises–and that’s a great way to make sales online.

Bloggers Emma and Elsie at A Beautiful Mess partner with clothing stores to do “Sister Style” posts, which show them wearing products they’ve been given as part of a paid advertisement. In these posts, they link out to the stores that provided the items–which makes it easy for their blog readers to purchase them, too.

Send free samples to influencers within your industry or a related industry. When they review your product, you’ll get more traffic and followers as well as approval from experts in your industry.

You can also ask industry influencers for an interview. This way you may get content for your blog and gain new followers.

11. Participate in a Group Giveaway

Brands often collaborate with bloggers and influencers to drum up a buzz with prizes and giveaways. Participation usually requires the audience to interact with the collaborators on social media in a specific way in order to be eligible for a prize. This gives new stores an opportunity to gain new followers, likes, and even make sales as a prerequisite to participation. And they may even stick around after to continue interacting with your brand if your profile has valuable content to offer.

To get started, you can brainstorm your own group giveaway or join an existing one. If you opt to join in on a giveaway that already has some momentum, look for giveaways united by a specific topic (for example, “eco giveaway”) so that any prize will be relevant for the target audience.

12. Support a Charity Organization

Charitable giving is a great PR opportunity and a chance to make your first sale — especially if you’re a small business that relies on your local community.

To make your donations work for your business, choose your organization to donate to wisely. You can pick a local organization or something larger, but make sure the values of the organization resonate with your brand values.

La Mer donates to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation

13. Promote Your Products at a Local Market

Crafty, handmade, local, organic — if any of those words describe your business, you might want to consider trying your hand at a local market. Farmers markets and artisan fairs are a perfect opportunity to get your products in front of potential customers to secure a few easy sales.

To bring your market customers online, print flyers with discounts and a link to your store, keep business cards or QR codes on hand, and remember to create an experience your customers will want to share.

14. Start a YouTube Channel

Becoming YouTube-famous isn’t exactly easy, but if you understand the trends (and put in the hours), you can — at a minimum — harness its power for your first sale.

Unboxing videos are a popular trend on YouTube and a perfect approach for e-commerce stores.

Source: Google

If you have a friend with a strong YouTube channel, ask them to shoot an unboxing video of your product. Or (if you have the money to spare), hire an influencer to create a sponsored video of your product.

And don’t limit yourself to unboxing videos either: there are a variety of YouTube trends you can leverage based on the types of products you sell, from makeup tutorials and recipes to how-to’s. Browse Think with Google, Google Trends, and your competition to understand what’s working on YouTube for similar brands.

Source: Think with Google

If you’re fairly new to YouTube, you’ll want to do some research before you jump in. Get started with resources like this: YouTube for E-Commerce: How to Sell Without Selling.

15. Participate in the Spaces Where Your Customers Spend Time

This suggestion is a big one because it’s how you’ll organically build relationships with customers. Find out where your target market spends time (is it a Reddit thread? A Twitter chat?) and participate there without making a sales pitch. Be resourceful, be kind, and strive to make friends in these spaces.

It’s what Gary Vaynerchuk did to grow his online wine business–which is now a multi-million dollar company. He spent time sharing his expertise, and people grew to trust him as a resource within his niche.

Source: tv.winelibrary.com

Over time, people will come to know who you are and what you do, and they’ll take action without you having to ask them to. You’ll earn sales and referrals, which is good news for your e-commerce business.

Also, check out trade shows or even local flea markets and farmers’ markets. This way you can sell directly to your potential customers. Prepare discount coupons or stickers to give away for subscribing to your email newsletter or social media pages.

16. Master Your Networking Skills

Business networking is vital for attracting new customers or partners and understanding the market. It helps to make your business more visible and gain valuable contacts. You can network both offline (at conferences, business meetings, coworking spaces) and online. Social media is called “social” for a reason: join Facebook groups relevant to your niche, or participate in discussions on forums.

However, networking is not about handing out your business cards at events and subscribing to experts in your industry. It’s about cultivating long-term and mutually beneficial relationships with people who can be helpful to your business.

Check out our detailed guide to business networking and make your first step, or listen to this episode of the Ecwid E-Commerce Show, where two Ecwid merchants share how contacts helped them to manufacture their unique product from scratch:

17. Find Distributors for Your Products

Struggling to get your first sale? Let someone else make it for you.

Distributors are third-party professionals who work with retailers to get your products into their stores. The right distributor partner can dramatically increase your sales by helping you reach untapped markets and create new channels for sales and promotion.

Bear in mind, however, that adding more middlemen can also eat into your profits, so it’s best not to look at this as a long-term strategy. But when you’re just starting out, distributors can be a great way to spread the word about your products and build a loyal customer base to grow your operations.

Read more about finding distributors for your products.

18. Open a Popup Store

Who says you can’t build an online audience face-to-face? If you sell locally, a temporary pop-up store in a smart location like a street market or festival can be a quick way to jumpstart your sales.

Having a physical interaction with your customers offers more than an opportunity to interact with your products. Someone who’s met you in person is more likely to create a buzz about your store by sharing the experience with friends (granted the experience was a positive one). According to a survey of Ecwid merchants, word-of-mouth marketing (one customer sharing their experience with another) was the second most common way to promote a small business.

Read about an Ecwid merchant who managed over 70 popup stores in one year.

19. Start an Email Newsletter

Collecting email addresses for your email newsletter allows you to stay in touch with potential or past customers on an on-going basis. The ROI is significant, too: According to data from Campaign Monitor, you are 6x more likely to get a click-through from an email than a Tweet.

Source: campaignmonitor.com

So how can you start gathering email addresses? Think about:

Including an opt-in on your e-сommerce site

Asking customers to opt-in during the checkout process

Using a lead generator (like a 10% off coupon) for those who sign up

Including an opt-in link in your email signature

Motivate people to subscribe to your newsletter: offer some kind of value for signing up. For example, it can be a chance to win a free product every month or week.

These are just a few ways you can get started–but as your list of subscribers begins to grow, you’ll be able to stay top-of-mind with shoppers who end up coming back to your online store over and over.

20. Create a Blog

A blog is a place for you not only to promote new products and to share sale information, but it can help you build a relationship with customers by giving your audience a behind-the-scenes view of your online operation. Create a blog to show your processes for shipping orders, talk about how you come up with new ideas for products, and let customers come to know you as the face behind the business.

Need an example? Online retailer Ugmonk wrote a blog that showed a product being made from start to finish.

21. Become a Source on HARO

HARO, AKA Help a Reporter Out, is a place where journalists and writers go to find sources for their articles. By becoming a source there, you can find opportunities not only to be quoted online and in print, but you can also share your expertise and build up authority as an expert in your field.

HARO sends out queries three times a day to source inboxes, and then you have the opportunity to respond with your best pitch. Over time, your successful responses will help you get your brand in front of new audiences–and you’ll have some positive SEO benefits from that as well.

22. Share a Great Story

Online competition is heavy, and the average attention span of internet users is falling. So, in order to engage your audience, you’ll first have to win their interest. And that’s where your brand story comes in.

Why should someone buy from you? What makes your business different? What are your company’s values? Your brand story is how you differentiate yourself from the pack. It’s who you are as a company — and that’s something shoppers are interested to know.

You might not have the resources to build a robust brand identity out of the gate, but there are several steps you can take to get your brand headed in the right direction:

•Create a strong value proposition

•Tell your story on your “About Us” page

•Use consistent, high-quality photography

•Present your products in consistent packaging (even if it’s simple)

As you begin to develop your brand, don’t be scared to showcase your strengths. A well developed brand story that tells customers exactly who you are and what you’re about can mean the difference between winning your first sale and being lost in the noise.

23. Add Links to Your Store

In order for a shopper to make a purchase, they’ll first have to find your store. And one of the most obvious ways to increase your store’s visibility is to create links.

Here are some great places to add links to your store:

•Your personal email signature

•Social media profiles (including personal)

•Guest blogs you’ve written for other websites

•In a QR code that can be printed and placed on your car or in other conspicuous locations

•In comments on forums and groups

24. Assemble a Lookbook

If you have a physical product that is associated with a lifestyle brand (think clothing, accessories, shoes, etc.), a lookbook that showcases your product in an aesthetically pleasing context helps buyers imagine themselves owning and using your products.

It’s a step beyond the standard product shot, and it gives shoppers an opportunity to see your products in action, too. Need an example? Check out L.K. Bennett’s online lookbook.

Learn more: Where to Find Models for Your Fashion Brand

25. Run a Live Stream Event

We’ve mentioned how social media can create early buzz around your products, and one great way to do that is through live video. Facebook and Instagram both offer live video tools that can be used to create brand experiences to connect with your customers.

To get the most out of live video, think of a fun activity like a lottery, contest, lecture, etc., that your audience would be excited to tune into a live stream to get. Then announce your live stream event early and promote it every day leading up to the event to drum up interest and engagement.

If you’re using your live stream to drive sales, create an exclusive coupon code that you can share with your audience at the end of your live event. Remember to keep your stream short and fun, and get audience feedback to improve future events.

26. Prepare Gifts

In e-commerce, discounts are a dime a dozen. So what happens if you switch up your strategy and offer a free gift instead of an equivalent cash discount? In one study, researchers selling lotion found they sold 73% more bottles by offering a bundle as opposed to a discount of equal value.

More often than not, customers will be more attracted to an offer that provides an extra item for free than an offer than simply provides a partial cash discount — even if it’s monetarily equivalent. So take some time before your store’s grand opening to consider what type of offer will be best for your new customers. Is it an extra product for free? An exclusive gift? What one offer can you make that’s relevant to your store and provides significant value to your customers?

27. Offer Free Shipping

Once a shopper arrives on your website, you want to do everything in your power to convince them to make a purchase. Ecwid is already optimized to encourage conversions, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few extra tricks you can use to help ferry window shoppers through the checkout process. And that’s where “free shipping” comes in.

Roughly 84% of shoppers are more likely to complete a purchase with a store that offers free shipping. In fact, shipping costs are the number one contributor to abandoned carts.

Promoting free shipping on your website empowers customers to add products to their carts and complete their purchases without friction, knowing they won’t be surprised with any ancillary charges during the checkout process. When they see the price, they can make a purchase decision right then and there.

And free shipping doesn’t have to mean lower profits either! Check out some of our guides like six free shipping strategies for help, then learn how to market your free shipping offer for maximum results.

28. Offer Free Returns

According to recent reports, as many as 1 in 3 purchases will be returned. But that’s no reason to give up the fight. In fact, if you manage returns well, you’ll have the opportunity to not only save that sale, but also win customer loyalty for future purchases. And, of course, one of the best ways to manage returns well is to offer easy free returns for your customers.

What’s more, free returns give new customers the confidence to buy by enabling them to test your products risk-free. This is especially valuable for a new business with limited reviews.

If free returns are out of the question, consider offering gift certificates in exchange for returned items. You’ll be able to recover the sale, and offer your customers an opportunity to get the product they want.

And don’t forget to provide a clear return policy that’s easy to find in your online store.

29. Offer Buy Now, Pay Later

Whether or not a shopper completes their purchase depends — at least in part — on how convenient your payment options are at the time. If your products are more expensive, customers may hesitate to complete their purchase, particularly if you’re a new store with a short track record.

Fortunately, Ecwid offers “buy now, pay later” through Afterpay. Connect your Ecwid store to Afterpay to let your customers pay for their orders in four two-week payments with no additional fees when paid on time.

Learn more about Afterpay and Ecwid’s other 50+ integrated payment options.

30. Publish an FAQ Page

Sometimes customers have questions. And more often than not, they’ll want answers to those questions before they’re ready to complete a purchase. The easier it is for customers to find adequate answers to their questions, the more likely they’ll be to convert. By creating a resource with answers to commonly asked questions, you can help shoppers find important information quickly, and get back to the business of shopping in your store.

Not sure what to include on an FAQ page? Not to worry. Check out our guide to creating an FAQ page for ecommerce stores.

Make Your First Sale Online: Try New Methods

If you’re not already executing some of the strategies outlined here, today is the day to start. In no time, you’ll be well past your first online sale and busy packaging up orders.

If you’re past this point in your business, what are some of the ways you made your first sale?

Today’s Entrepreneur Quote

8 Social Media Trends To Look Out For In 2022

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Posted by Irina Weber

Social media platforms have become an integral part of our business marketing campaigns. According to Statista, 92% of companies use social media for their marketing purposes as of 2021. They have a good reason for that. Because today 71% of people use social media channels more than ever before.

Do you know that brands that meet their customers’ expectations on social media networks get massive spikes in engagement? Keeping that in mind, let’s dig into these eight biggest social media trends.

Especially the ones that will help you to plan your strategy for the upcoming year.

Social Trends That You Are More Likely to Follow in 2022

Social media trends have gone through revolutionary changes over the past decades. Studying these trends and molding your business strategies accordingly is what can give you the edge in this competitive world. Here is what you should keep an eye out for:

1. Paid and organic social media tactics go local

Social media is like a pandora’s box that has opened an immense level of opportunities for businesses. The paid and organic marketing tactics are set to be targeted locally, i.e., to specific markets, since they yield better results.

Today we are seeing that paid and organic social media efforts have a heavy focus on location. A lot of brands create tailored content and ads for target audiences in certain geographic areas. For example, they promote ads with seasonal or weather-specific products, promote live events in specific geographic locations, and use location-specific filters on time-sensitive UGC.

Location-based marketing and advertising is a go-to approach for many brands. With its extended adoption and use, it will become a key part of social media marketing in the following years.

To maximize your local marketing strategy, you can use WebCEO to optimize your social media content for local SEO and increase your CTR. The tool allows you to get access to important data. You can also view reports by connecting Google My Business to your WebCEO account.

2. Influencer marketing becomes more prevalent

As per a report, 51% of the brands have found that influencer marketing is a vital cog that has helped them acquire more customers. On the other hand, buyers have shown strong support to the suggestions made by influencers that have directly impacted their purchase decision.

Today a lot of customers look at influencer content that shows the brand’s products in action, their value, and explains how to benefit from them. That’s why many brands come to use micro-and nano-influencers to build brand reputation and significant engagement.

The growing number of influencers on various social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok is proof that influencer marketing will play a major role in companies’ 2022 social media marketing campaigns.

3. User-generated content and social proof become more in-focus

Today a lot of companies have taken their main focus to improve their social media marketing with user-generated content. A major reason behind this is that the recommendation of previous users easily influences other buyers.

According to this research, 93% of marketers tell that customers trust more user-generated content than content made by the company itself. This includes all types of UGG from social media posts to product reviews and pure recommendations.

Social proof is a phenomenon where people replicate the actions of others by having behavior in a given situation. We can expect to see an increased inclusion of user-generated content and social proof in the marketing strategies in the coming year.

“User-generated content removes all doubt about your brand and makes your customer jump on your bandwagon to catch your offer,” says Mariano Rodriguez from LawRank. “With the increased focus on UGG, you can create stable relationships with your potential customers”.

If you want to move forward with this trend, build a balance between instructing to make sure that your customers’ content meets certain standards and looks authentic in the way they create said content. It is essential to create a plan to select high-quality UGG once it’s created, show it on your social media channels, and ask for high-quality UGG that will enhance engagement and significant experience for your customers.

4. TikTok will continue to get record views

TikTok will continue dominating in 2022 and developing a new medium where brands can connect with their target audiences. This platform has taken the biscuit and quickly has become a go-to approach to attract new customers and retain current ones.

With the launch of marketing features and advertising, TikTok is in the spotlight to secure a huge number of brands, users, and creators and the highest quality content that will go on engaging with it for different marketing purposes. Moreover, the app has introduced a monetization model and e-commerce aspect for brands to stay TikTok savvy and connect with more customers.

5. Social media content is FOMO-central

The constant connection to the virtual universe of social media has brought about the fear of missing out. We are constantly bombarded with the highlights of the lives of people around us on social media platforms. This set of information acts as a constant reminder of all the things that we are yet to experience.

Do you know that 56% of social media users feel FOMO and constantly check their favorite channels more frequently than they did two years ago? Today a lot of brands are going to capitalize on this in two ways: create ephemeral content on Instagram Stories and Snapchat posts.

Marketers need to experiment with this time-sensitive content to promote their products, increase sales, and can’t-miss company events. By creating this sense of urgency and exclusivity, you will improve the use of your ephemeral content.

Live video is another great way to generate engagement and increase your audience’s sense of FOMO. You can create shoppable live videos where you include exclusive offers and promotions to make them more effective and engage directly with your product. Try to deliver the best experience to your audience that will never get again and keep them engaged well in the future.

6. The Metaverse will be the next consumer connection

Until now, we learned a lot about the universe, but now a new term is gaining huge popularity — “metaverse.” Metaverse is a virtual world that can connect anyone, anytime and anywhere. The central concept of the metaverse is the idea that virtual and 3D environments that are available, accessible, and interactive in real-time will be the transformative medium for social and business engagement.

Moreover, Facebook has just taken a serious step in the metaverse direction and has changed its name to “Meta”. It is predicted that other social media giants will follow in the footsteps of Facebook in 2022. So, the metaverse is not yet a reality, but it could be the next evolution of online socializing and interaction.

7. Social selling will improve the customer journey

Now social selling is becoming a key part of eCommerce businesses that need real growth and increased brand presence. According to this research, 78% of social sellers make more sales than their counterparts who aren’t using social media.

With the advent of new shopping features, social media users can buy easily products and items without leaving the app. Business owners need to reevaluate their buying options and use social selling opportunities via Instagram Shop, Stories, Reels, and more. The next big thing in social commerce will be selling via live video as a more prevalent way in 2022.

8. Brands will move to social media decentralization

Social media decentralization empowers the users to see the content of their choice. Social media decentralization would allow the consumers to find the brands. This can help avoid working around complex algorithms to find the consumers. Also, it would open up immense opportunities for new entrants or smaller brands to compete against the large brands.

Today brands don’t need to be limited to the main social media channels anymore. They can create their own in-house social communities with different features and forums to control their audiences. The main idea of decentralized social media is a different infrastructure without a central server and no company controlling the website. So, you will see a serious move of companies following the way with a stronger interaction aspect to the customer experience.

Social media is becoming bigger and better as years roll by. It is just like an old wine that tastes better with age. So, if you want to succeed in social media, you should focus on content, connections, and strategy in 2022.

Customer demands can be high that means brands need to provide diverse opportunities. They also should accelerate customer intelligence to their social media strategy. In this article, we’ve listed the best social media trends you can use for your campaign. These will help your spread your social media wings.

Today’s Entrepreneur Quote

Today’s Entrepreneur Quote

Happy Holidays!

The year has gone by so quickly. It’s hard to believe It’s Christmas Eve!

There’s so much excitement on Christmas Day that brings many blessings to so many and others who wished that they had someone to share the holidays with!

Open your hearts to include those who may be alone and invite them to share some good cheer.

Personally, I am so grateful to have my family and so many great friends to spend time with over the holidays.

With New Years fast approaching, I am happy to see 2022 and will not miss 2021! As I reflect back on this past year, I welcome a more peaceful year and pray for good health into the new year.

And, it goes without saying that I wish the very same for you too!

With all that being said, I couldn’t let this day go by without posting this today.

From our family to yours, I would like to wish each of you who do celebrate Christmas, a very merry Christmas holiday. And for all others, I hope your holidays are special too!

Sending you all lots of holiday cheer into the New Year!

6 Ways to Improve Traffic For Your Small Business Website and Become Irresistible To Customers

6 Proven SEO Growth Hacking Techniques for Your Small Business

Regardless of the size of a business, in order to stay ahead of your competitors, it’s important to focus on SEO. Knowledge of SEO growth hacking is necessary to survive the cut-throat competition in the digital world.

Search engines are the go-to place for people to ask questions and clear their doubts. So, SEO growth hacking has the potential to make your business immensely profitable and successful. If you own a small business, you need to focus on SEO growth hacking to grow your business and gain the trust of your target audience.

When done correctly, SEO growth hacking strategies can help you improve your rankings and increase your conversion rates. While traditional outbound tactics like direct mailing are able to generate conversion rates of 1.7%, SEO can generate conversion rates of 14.6%.

SEO Growth Hacking

So, you need to focus on effective SEO growth hacks which can help you gain top ranks in search engine results. Here are four proven SEO growth hacking techniques you can use:

1. Design a Mobile-Responsive Website

Lately, there has been a significant increase in the number of searches that originate from mobile devices. The reason for this is an increase in the number of mobile devices and greater availability of internet worldwide. In 2019, it is expected that the number of smartphone users will reach 4.68 billion.

Also, due to the greater use of mobile devices, traffic generated from smartphones and tablets is also increasing. In 2018, 52.2%of all web traffic was generated from mobile devices.

So, it’s crucial to develop a website that has a mobile-responsive design and can adapt to any screen size. This is a key SEO growth hacking technique. If you own a small business, follow these tips to make your website mobile-responsive:

  • Make sure to create cohesive, legible, and relevant content.
  • Ensure that you optimize your visuals so that they take less time to load.
  • Always make sure to create vertical page designs instead of static or horizontal pages.
  • Use touch-friendly buttons and navigation tools.
  • Always add social sharing buttons to your content. These will make it easy for your readers to share your content with their social networks.

You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to check if your website is responsive to devices like mobile phones and tablets. The tool will also guide you on how to make your website mobile-responsive.

6 Proven SEO Growth Hacking Techniques for Your Small BusinessImage Source – Google

2. Create Content Clusters

Creating content clusters involves having a main page to act as the pillar page – the center of content with overarching topics. All of the content pages related to that main topic will link back to this pillar page as well as to each other.

For example, you could have one pillar page on SEO and create different pieces of content on the various SEO tactics and other related topics. This could include topics on keyword research, page speed optimization, voice search optimization, and more.

This kind of linking structure sends out signals that help search engines understand that the pillar page is an authority on the topic it covers. And over time, this will help the page gain a better ranking for that topic.

This has been proven by a HubSpot studythat experimented with topic clusters. They found that their pages got higher placement in search engine results when they did more interlinking. And an increase in internal links also boosted impressions.

6 Proven SEO Growth Hacking Techniques for Your Small BusinessImage Source: HubSpot

You could take this strategy up a notch by creating content clusters based on the keywords for which your competitors are ranking. That way, you’ll have a better chance of getting ahead of them and/or staying ahead.

You can use tools like SpyFu to find out which keywords your competitors are ranking for. Just enter their URL and the tool will pull up a report of their organic rankings and top keywords. It will even show you how many clicks they’re getting for those keywords.

6 Proven SEO Growth Hacking Techniques for Your Small BusinessImage Source: SpyFu

3. Improve the User Experience (UX)

User experience has a direct impact on your rankings. According to Google’s guidelines, web pages need to be created primarily for users and not for search engines. So, you should aim to provide an excellent user experience to your target audience.

Make sure to understand and consider the needs of your potential users when you create a web page for them. This will help you improve the user experience. The way a user behaves on your website helps search engines gauge the credibility of your website.

So, to improve the user experience, streamline your website structure. Make sure to create a website that’s easy-to-navigate. This will make sure that your potential customers can move easily and quickly through your website.

In addition to optimizing your website’s structure, create relevant content and use engaging visuals. It might not be a cost-effective strategy for a small business but it’s definitely worth the investment.

4. Improve Page Load Speed

The page load speed of your website can affect your rankings. If your web pages take too long to load, it can annoy people. Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and imagine their reaction to a web page that loads at a snail-slow speed.

This can be frustrating and can drive away your audience, in spite of having great content on your website. So, you need to focus on improving your page load speed. This is a very important SEO growth hack.

The faster the loading speed of your website, the higher will be your chances of securing top ranks in search engine results. Google considers the page loading speed to be a vital factor in determining rankings.

So, even if you own a small business, you need to make sure that your website has a fast page loading speed. To begin with, you can delete all the unnecessary data and links from your web pages. Secondly, optimize the size of your visuals. These are often responsible for increasing the page loading time and slowing down your web pages.

To keep an eye on the loading speed of your webpages, you can use free tools like Google PageSpeed Insights. It will help you monitor the loading speed of your website and will give you feedback on how to improve it further.

6 Proven SEO Growth Hacking Techniques for Your Small BusinessImage Source – Google

5. Aim to Get Featured Snippets

Featured snippets get more visibility than any other position on the search engine results pages. It’s even more prominent than the top position and is often called the 0 position. You can see proof of this in the screenshot below, where Digital Marketing Institute gets the featured snippet but the top position is Single Grain.

6 Proven SEO Growth Hacking Techniques for Your Small Business

You should aim to get featured snippets for your content if you want to get assured visibility and drive more traffic to your site. While there’s no guaranteed way to achieve this goal, there are a few tactics that will help you improve your chances of getting featured snippets. These are some of the essentials you should start with:

  1. It’ll be easier to get featured snippets if you already rank on the first page. So start by focusing your efforts on improving content for which you’re already ranking on the first page.
  2. Improve your formatting to make it easier for Google to understand what your content is about. Summarize your points into lists and bullet points, as those are easier to understand for the search engine. Make sure you use h3 tags in your subheads because Google sometimes re-formats those tags into bullet points in featured snippets.
  3. If you’re creating new content from scratch, target question queries because they tend to get more featured snippets. For instance, “how” earned 51.11% of paragraph featured snippets and 46.91% of list-based featured snippets. You can use platforms like Answer the Public to discover common questions asked around your target keywords.

6. Improve Your Meta Tags

Even something as small as your meta tags can have a huge impact on your click-through rate and SEO performance. Optimizing your meta titles and descriptions can significantly boost your impressions and traffic, if you do it right.

That’s mainly because your meta tags are what searchers see on the search engine results page. So depending on how compelling and helpful they are, people may feel more inclined to click on your link.

And the more click-throughs you get, the more you’ll convince Google that your content is relevant to that specific search term. Soon, you’ll climb up in rankings for relevant search results.

In fact, Elise Dopson increased her search traffic by 54% just by optimizing her meta tags. Impressions also increased by 57% and her average ranking position jumped up 10 places.

6 Proven SEO Growth Hacking Techniques for Your Small BusinessImage Source: Elise Dopson

It’s not enough to just add keywords in your meta tags for search engines to rank your site. You also need to cater to humans – the actual people who are going to read your meta descriptions and decide whether or not to click on your link based on its relevance.

In addition to adding keywords in your meta title and description, you should also consider a few other best practices.

  1. First of all, the character limit is a crucial consideration as you cannot risk having an incomplete description displayed in the SERPs. The average meta title is about 55 characters long, while the average meta description contains approximately 164 characters.
  2. Your meta tags should be relevant to their respective page content. They should accurately and concisely describe what the page is about so searchers will know whether it’s relevant to their searches.
  3. Keep your meta titles short and to the point, accurately summarizing the topic being discussed on the page.
  4. Your meta descriptions should be about two sentences long. Typically, the first sentence should lead up to why the topic is important while the second sentence invites people to read the content or click on the link. They should be as descriptive yet as brief as possible.

Final Thoughts

SEO growth hacking can have a significant impact on both how you rank in search results and your conversions. SEO strategies such as using long-tail keywords, creating a mobile-responsive website, and improving your page loading speed can help you immensely. So, leverage them and start taking your small business to new heights.

Do you know of any other effective SEO growth hacking strategies? If so, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Today’s Entrepreneur Quote

13 Self-Marketing Ideas For a “New You” in the New Year

self-marketing

By Deborah Shane

The ever-changing and evolving self-marketing best practices arena continues to change at the speed of light. New platforms, media, apps, sites, and ideas emerge daily and are coming and going at a rapid pace.

Being and staying informed but not getting sidetracked or distracted from your plan can be challenging. There should be a mix of new ideas and the tried and true practices when self-marketing.  Finding the best and right mix and blend for you is always the best approach to personal branding as well as business branding.

Marketing Charts reports these top 10 multi-platform social networking websites are clearly blending more with traditional methods of brand interaction, with no surprise Facebook leading the charge at 45 percent:

“There continues to be a strong tilt in adoption towards younger age groups, but the gap has closed over the years. This year, 90 percent of adults aged 18-29 are social media users, up from 78 percent in 2010. Not far behind, some 78 percent of 30-49-year-olds count as social media users, with that figure up from 53 percent in 2010.”

There is clear evidence that we are still watching TV, reading magazines and newspapers (more online) and listening to the radio. Add to that, the parallel world of content marketing with blogs, podcasts, e-marketing, mobile, text and social media platforms and we can and do get overwhelmed with all the choices.

You Have to Figure Out

  • The marketing vehicles that are best for you and your customers.
  • A clear brand and marketing message about you, what you offer, why you.
  • Being consistent, looking professional and staying fresh.

Marketing yourself and your business is the most important aspect of your business plan and can greatly impact your success or failure. More focus on your brand authenticity, engagement and transparency is, however, more important to consumers and will continue to be. If you commit to being and proving you’re honest, you will have the best chance of earning consumer trust – and you will be rewarded.

As we all try to cut through the clutter, choices and options, below are self-marketing ideas and suggestions for the new year.

Self-Marketing Ideas

1. A clean, current, engaging, easy to navigate website.

2. A WordPress blog where you can share your expertise and the expertise of others you admire.

3. A fully developed professional, active LinkedIn Profile, with recommendations.

4. A Facebook page that you use strategically, respectfully and carefully.

5. Smart use of Twitter for branding yourself and others.

6. Podcasting that features quality content from yourself and features others.

7. Email marketing campaign to regularly engage your permission based A list.

8. Joining a local chamber and professional organizations

9. Going to key conferences to meet strategic people, in person, in your industry.

10. Going to seminars and workshops to enhance your professional advancement and knowledge.

11. Brand refresh and update to keep yourself visually  current and relevant.

12. Smart, strategic partnerships and alliances that add value and reach.

13. Give back, pay forward, selected pro-bono work to help and serve others.

Conclusion

If you want to be taken seriously, then you have to be and act serious about adapting and adopting both the tried and true and the newest best self-marketing practices of the moment.

Today’s Entrepreneur Quote

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