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The Top of Your Holiday Wish List: How to Ensure Your Business's Yearlong Success

‘Tis the season to be spending. After all, the holiday season has proven to be the most lucrative time of year for small businesses, which expect seasonal shopping to account for a large chunk of their annual revenue. Overall, retail shoppers are expected to drop an astounding $682 billion during the holidays, according to the National Retail Federation.

For small and midsize businesses, boosted sales don’t have to be just a seasonal phenomenon. Small businesses can use holiday traffic as an opportunity to position themselves for year-round success. Because this is also the season of giving, I’m happy to offer some tips to extend the holiday sales season into 2018 for sustained small business growth. Here are three sales and customer service strategies to prioritize this year.

1. Capture customer information.

A record-breaking 112 million shoppers participated in last year’s Small Business Saturday. That’s a lot of foot traffic. Aside from short-term sales perks – shoppers spent $15.5 billion during last year’s Small Business Saturday alone – the holidays give small businesses a long-term opportunity to grow.

When the holiday crowds come flooding into your store, encourage them to share their contact information. It’s easy to incentivize shoppers to do so through contests, drawings and mailing list invitations. While it can be daunting to keep track of it all, a small business-focused CRM such as Act! makes it easy to store, organize and access your data.

Remember to use those emails and phone numbers to follow up with your customers down the road. Thank them for their business, and ask whether they’re satisfied with the products or services they purchased. Keep them informed of upcoming sales, events and new products too. Showing customers you care about their satisfaction, and keeping them notified of relevant sales or promotions, is a surefire way of earning their patronage through 2018 and beyond.

 

Editor’s note: Looking for email marketing software? We can help you choose the one that’s right for you. Use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:

 

 

2. Listen to your customers.

When it comes to understanding a customer’s needs, always go straight to the source – the customers themselves. During the holiday rush, small businesses are swarming with such experts. As they pass through your store, pay attention to what they’re looking for. While you’re surely eager to help customers find a product to fit their immediate needs, remember to sell with foresight. Ask customers questions about the products, services and promotions they’d like to see and purchase in the long term. Remember to inquire about how you can improve your current products or services too.  

Listening to customers can help boost holiday sales while also positioning a company for future success. If a customer is concerned about the lack of functionality of one product, you may be able to direct them to a newer or alternative option to make a same-day sale where the customer otherwise may have given up and gone to a competitor. Additionally, if you’re receiving lots of inquiries about a product you don’t yet carry or a product that doesn’t have the specific functionality your customer needs, you can consider making those additions in the new year. It’s critical to ask questions to see what new products, services and solutions customers might be interested in moving forward. 

Engaging with and listening to customers is as sure a strategy as there is to position the business for future growth. A Gallup study showed fully engaged customers are likely to spend more and become loyal to a company.

3. Think before you price.

It’s important to remember that money isn’t the only factor influencing a sale. Quality and customer experience are huge motivators too, as evidenced by a Harvard report, which found that customers with the best experiences spent 140 percent more than their dissatisfied counterparts. Better still, it determined that customers are willing to pay 86 percent more for products when shopping at stores known for outstanding customer service.

Slashing prices too heavily can hurt your business in the long run as well. It’s not sustainable to heavily discount prices on a regular basis, but if you do it once, customers will expect low prices and big sales on a regular basis. The same customers who were overjoyed to find a great price in November may return to your store in January and be disappointed to find your products tagged at regular prices. Let your competitors make that mistake. Be the business that customers can come to knowing they will receive consistent pricing, excellent service, and quality products and services.

 

(POLL) Does Your Business Provide Mobile Phones for Employees?

Smartphones and mobile connections have literally changed the game for small businesses, no doubt.

They’re the ultimate weapon these days in business. They keep you and your employees connected just about anywhere you are. They perform so many functions yet it seems the last thing you need them for these days is a phone call.

And despite the costs that may come with them, they’re almost invaluable to many small businesses. But are they so valuable to your company that you’re willing to pay to outfit employees with a mobile phone for work purposes?

This week, we’re wondering if your company provides mobile phones to its employees or do you rely on your employees using their own smartphones at work?

Maybe you just give phones to your sales team or your tech crew on the road. Or perhaps your company hands out a mobile phone to everyone in the building.

Let us know by answering the poll question below and use the Comments section underneath the article to tell us a little more about your company’s cell phone policy.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “(POLL) Does Your Business Provide Mobile Phones for Employees?” was first published on Small Business Trends

Holiday Marketing Essentials: 4 Ways Smart Businesses Get Results

The holidays are here and have announced their arrival with a historic flurry of retail activity.

Already this year, retail sales have soared to record heights for Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In fact, on Cyber Monday 2017, there was a reported $6.59 billion in total online sales, which shattered the previous year’s record by more than $3 billion, according to Adobe Analytics. Amazon accounted for an estimated 36 percent of that total alone.

U.S. total retail sales for the holidays were up nearly 5 percent in 2016 when compared to the previous year. eMarketer reports that in 2017, that number is expected to increase again by at least 2 percent overall and as much as 16 percent for ecommerce. Based on the early numbers from Cyber Monday, those numbers appear to be fairly conservative.

With this surge in overall sales, big brands are swinging for the fences with massive advertising campaigns and extreme sales promotions across a wide variety of traditional and digital platforms.

Smaller business owners and marketers may feel that it’s impossible to make much headway for their brand in the face of these big-budget advertising campaigns from Fortune 500 companies.

But don’t give up yet. There are still many holiday marketing opportunities and ideas that small businesses can leverage for great success.

All too often, small business owners and marketers react to the crazy landscape of holiday season marketing with a shotgun approach. They will try to be everywhere at once, like their big brand competitors, stretching their marketing budget and time so thin that there are few positive results.

Instead, small business owners have to hyperfocused when implementing their holiday marketing plans in order to be successful.

Here are four practical ways smart small businesses get great results from their holiday marketing efforts.

1. Maximize your ad budget with an intelligent PPC campaign.

A detailed, optimized and targeted pay-per-click (PPC) campaign is the best way to gain new customers during the holiday season. For smaller businesses, the key to a successful PPC campaign is making sure the campaign is as specific as possible. Not sure what a PPC campaign is or how to use it for your general business marketing? Read about PPC advertising here.

To do this, you should focus on getting these five key things right:

  1. Focus on your best-performing network.
  2. Use all ad features correctly and fully.
  3. Focus PPCs for only your top one or two holiday products or services.
  4. Target your audience as specifically as possible.
  5. Perfect your remarketing campaign.

First of all, you need to isolate your top-performing network or medium. For ecommerce companies, this is oftentimes Google AdWords as it provides access to the widest audience and specific keyword targeting. For businesses with a strong social media presence that converts, it may be a social media network like Facebook or Pinterest. Every business performs differently on different PPC networks. 

Whichever network your business does best on is the one you should focus on for your holiday season marketing. Every network will get more competitive during the holiday season, so you shouldn’t waste ad spend on ones that don’t usually perform well anyways.

Second, whether you choose Facebook, Google, Amazon, a referral network, or some other paid advertising spot, make sure to refer to best practices in setting up advertisements for that medium. 

Third, you should focus your increased holiday ad spend to only a few of your top holiday products. This will ensure, again, that you’re not wasting ad budget on under-performing items in a more competitive landscape. Your hero products or services should be the focus of your PPC campaign during the holiday season.

Fourth, no matter which network you advertise your campaign on, there is likely some level of audience-targeting tools at your disposal. Use these to be as specific as possible with your audience. You want the audience that sees the advertisements to look just like your best customers. 

Finally and most importantly, make sure you have a finely tuned remarketing campaign for individuals who visit your website during the holiday season.

Most customers take many interactions with a brand to convert, so getting them to your site the first time only gets you halfway there. Remarketing will allow you to readvertise to these people who have already shown interest in your product or brand and spend significantly less money per click.

2. Get positive brand recognition by partnering with a local charity.

The holidays are a hectic time for business owners and marketers, which is why it’s incredibly important to prioritize working with charity during the holiday season. Chances are many of your competitors won’t do much for charity because of their busy schedules, and even if they do, many won’t prioritize it correctly. That means that if you do it right, then customers will take notice. 

There are many ways to partner and get involved. The best ways to do this from a business perspective involve using your business’s facilities as a hub for your employees and customers to help out. Things like coat or food drives, Angel Trees, or gift drives are great ways to drive foot traffic and build positive brand awareness while helping out those in need during the holiday season.

Make sure to let your local newspapers and publications know what you’re doing so you can have the biggest impact for the charity you are working with and so customers know the good you’re doing in the community.

3. Capitalize on urgency by creating limited-time products and sales.

Urgency is one of the greatest motivators to drive conversions during the holiday season. With an obvious high demand for goods and services, as evidenced by the stampeding crowds at doorbuster sales and out of stock items online, it’s only natural to think that most holiday items are likely to have limited inventory. That’s why it’s essential to include limited-time products and sales in your holiday marketing plans.

Ideally, if your product offering lends itself to it, create a unique, seasonal product or product line. Try to be as clever and localized as possible with these holiday products in order to hopefully drive word-of-mouth and social media buzz. Craft breweries tend to do this very well, by brewing small-batch seasonal specialties that are often on tap for a limited time during the holidays.

For ecommerce businesses, try to integrate things like countdown clocks on products that are on sale or information about how many items are left in inventory. These types of urgency drivers have shown to have a huge influence on purchasing decisions according to an A/B test by Behave. When a countdown clock was placed next to an item, the item had up to 9 percent more sales when compared to the standard product page for the same item.

Urgency is a powerful holiday marketing tool.

4. Wrap things up with an amazing customer experience.

Finally, the last way that smart businesses get holiday marketing right is by creating timely, seasonal and personal packaging for their products. Holiday-themed packaging connects with customers and enhances their perception of a company. 

There are many creative ways that you can use holiday-themed packaging and messaging on your products. From simple things like including “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” on your invoices to completely redesigning your product’s packaging for a holiday theme, every personal touch counts.

For ecommerce stores, make sure you offer a “this is a gift” option at checkout so that potential gifts aren’t ruined by being seen before they’re wrapped.

A fun, cost-effective way to make your shipping boxes and product packaging more seasonally appropriate is by using custom printed labels and stickers on your products. You can arrange a variety of designs as a collage on your boxes or keep a static holiday messaging on each box.

However you decorate your packaging for the season, just make sure that you do something to make it more festive. Your customers will notice and will grow their love for your brand because of it.

Remember, don’t try to do too much.

The holiday season is hectic enough for anybody, but especially for business owners and marketers. Remember that by doing too much with your holiday marketing this year, you will probably end up watering your advertising down, wearing yourself out and being lost in the noise of the holidays. Stay hyperfocused, be smart with your marketing initiatives, and most of all, take time to breathe and enjoy the beauty of the holiday season. 

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The post XXXTentacion Claims Ex Won't Testify in Domestic Violence Case, Prosecutors Doubt It appeared first on Newline Marketing.

Should You make $300,000 with E commerce or Affiliate Marketing Info Product 🔑🔑

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Customer Acquisition Strategies That Won’t Break the Bank

Getting new customers isn’t always cheap.

That’s one of the reasons why I tell businesses to focus on customer retention.

With that said, it’s impossible to retain customers if you can’t get them through your doors or to your website in the first place.

If you’re a new company without an existing customer base, you’ll need to come up with some creative ways to acquire new ones.

The problem is new businesses typically have a limited marketing budget.

They need sales to generate money for promotional content, but they can’t get any sales without those promotions.

It’s a paradox.

This goes for companies that may have been in business for a while but are struggling with their revenue streams.

Regardless of your situation, new customers can always help.

You don’t need to spend a fortune on customer acquisition.

Here’s a basic formula that shows how to calculate your acquisition cost:

image2

If you want an even more accurate version of this formula, you can add additional costs besides sales and marketing. They may include:

  • wages
  • infrastructure
  • production
  • any other costs

That’s the true representation of how much it costs you to get a new customer.

Keeping this number low will give you a much higher return on investment.

The strategies I’m going to show you actually work.

I know this from personal experience.

These are the most inexpensive techniques to acquire lots of new customers.

Start by retargeting old customers

I know what you’re thinking.

If you’re focusing on existing customers, it’s retention, not acquisition—right?

Not exactly.

If you’ve been in business for a while and it’s been a year or two since a customer was active, I wouldn’t refer to that person as an existing customer.

Getting them back to your business is basically like getting a brand new customer.

Dig up any old information you have on this person:

  • email
  • phone number
  • address

Anything you have.

Reach out to them with a promotion to try to get their business back.

Here’s an example of an email campaign from Carter’s:

image7

They give an old customer a reason to make another purchase and come back to their brand.

If you’ve recently made new improvements to your business, don’t be afraid to let old customers know.

Maybe the reason why they left in the first place was because they thought your company was outdated.

Share any information about your infrastructure that has improved the customer experience.

Do you have a new mobile application?

Have you renovated your brick and mortar location?

These are examples of things to promote when you contact these old leads.

Step up your presence on Instagram

To survive, you have to adapt to the times.

The days of using snail mail and local print advertisements to promote your business are slowly becoming a thing of the past.

Your business needs to have a digital presence.

Stay engaged with prospective customers via Instagram.

Over half of users on Instagram are active on a daily basis.

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There are also 800 million active monthly users.

These numbers continue to rise each year.

The popularity of this platform isn’t going to phase out any time soon.

One of the reasons why I like to use Instagram is because it’s so inexpensive.

It doesn’t cost you anything to create a profile.

The only cost is your time.

Even if you’re paying someone to manage your social media accounts, it’s OK as long as they’re being productive.

Here’s what you need to do.

Work on getting more followers on your profile.

Realistically, not all your followers will become customers.

Don’t worry about converting all of them.

Let’s go through a scenario.

Start with a goal.

You want to gain 10,000 Instagram followers in the next month.

It’s a high number, but it’s attainable.

You’re aiming to convert 20% of your followers to customers.

That’s 2,000 new customers in just one month.

Don’t forget the best part: it didn’t cost you anything.

For those of you who think a 20% conversion is too high or unrealistic, think again.

Based on this generational data, it’s actually quite modest:

image4

Internet users in the United States are likely to purchase something from a brand they follow on social media.

If you get more followers, you’ll get more customers.

You can improve your conversion chances if you’re managing your Instagram account properly.

Post pictures and videos of your products and services.

Get your followers involved as well.

Try to encourage them to post images of themselves using your products.

One of my favorite ways to do this is by featuring customer photos on your account.

When your followers see they can get recognition for their photos, it gives them some extra motivation to post pictures with your product.

Here’s an example from the Thule Instagram:

image6 1

Now anyone who has one of Thule’s products knows they can be featured as well if they take a cool photo.

Getting customers to post photos on their personal accounts is a great brand awareness strategy.

You’ll get more followers and acquire more customers.

Again, this strategy is completely free.

Create more video content

Like I said earlier, you need to stick with the trends.

Video content is trending upward at record rates.

Across the globe, 52% of marketing experts say video has the highest return on investment compared to other marketing content.

That’s great news for you if you’re trying to keep acquisition costs low.

Doing something as simple as adding a video to your landing page can increase conversion rates by up to 80%.

One of the best parts about creating a video is that you can use the same one across all of your marketing channels.

I’ll go through some examples to show you what I mean.

Let’s say you created a video for your website.

You can also send it via email to your subscribers.

Not everyone on your subscriber list is a customer.

Some people may have provided you with their email addresses, but never actually bought anything.

Here’s a great opportunity for you to acquire those individuals.

Look at how Patagonia embedded a video in their email marketing campaign:

image5 1

You can use the same strategy.

Don’t create a different video for each marketing channel—that’s a waste of time.

If the video is less than a minute long, you can even add it to your Instagram profile, which I discussed above.

Is your video longer than a minute? No problem.

Just include a specific clip from the video or make it into a top highlights clip.

All of this is much more cost effective than creating an entirely new video.

In addition to email and Instagram, add videos to your:

  • Homepage
  • Blog
  • YouTube channel
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

I know what you’re thinking.

How can this be a low-cost strategy if I need to hire a professional cameraman and crew to make a high quality video?

I’ve got good news for you: none of that is necessary.

In fact, the vast majority of businesses produce their video content in-house.

image3

This helps keep costs low.

Just invest in a decent camera and microphone.

You don’t need anything too fancy.

There’s plenty of inexpensive or even free video editing software that you can get on your computer as well.

If you’re willing to pay for a video editing tool, you can try Moovly.

image10

You can get a subscription for as little as $5 per month.

They even let you try the software free for the first 30 days to see whether you like the experience.

Some of you may have wanted to create videos in the past but didn’t know what kind of content to produce.

Remember, we’re trying to acquire customers here.

Your videos need to display your competitive advantage.

What makes your products or services better than something similar on the market?

Try starting with a video tutorial.

Go through a step-by-step process of how your product can solve a problem.

You can also create videos that demonstrate a product.

That’s not necessary for all products.

For example, if your company produces hats and headbands, I don’t think you need to teach potential customers how to put a hat on.

With that said, you can still come up with a creative video that shows what makes your product unique.

Dollar Shave Club uses this strategy with their promotional video content:

image8 1

The video doesn’t teach you how to shave.

Instead, it walks prospective clients through the process of getting razors and other shaving products delivered to their front doors.

It’s an effective and low-cost strategy for customer acquisition.

Start running epic giveaways

If people aren’t buying your product, you need to come up with a clever way to get the product in their hands.

Give it to them free.

Let me clarify.

I’m not saying you should give away thousands of products.

But you can run monthly or even weekly promotions.

You can choose between:

  • sweepstakes
  • contests

A sweepstakes means you’re giving away something to a person picked at random.

It doesn’t require any skill, and there’s nothing someone can do to increase their chances of winning.

All the person can do is enter and hope for the best.

Contests require skill, and the winner is selected based on judgment.

I think contests are more effective.

It gets the participants more involved, which is great if you’re trying to acquire new customers.

Let’s say someone entered your contest but didn’t win.

They put lots of effort into their entry and were looking forward to getting the product.

Well, now they may be more inclined to make a purchase.

Here’s an example of what a conversion funnel looks like when you run a contest:

image9

That’s what I love so much about this strategy.

First of all, it’s not going to cost you anything except for the cost of the product you’re giving away.

But it’s also a great way to build your email subscriber list.

In order to enter, make it a requirement for customers to provide you with their email addresses.

After all, how else will you be able to contact them if they win?

Now at the very least, you’ll be able to send them promotional emails.

If the contest didn’t entice them to make a purchase, your email marketing campaign can get the job done.

Remember earlier I said that if you get more followers on Instagram you could get more customers?

Well, the same concept applies here.

Additional subscribers on your email list can improve your conversions.

It’s an inexpensive way to acquire new customers.

Conclusion

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to spend a fortune on customer acquisition.

This holds true for startup companies as well as businesses that have been operating for years.

While customer retention should be a priority as well, you can’t keep a customer if you never got them on board in the first place.

That’s why I like to start with retargeting old customers.

You already have their contact information. If it’s been years since they last made a purchase, the additional revenue will have the same impact as the impact you would get from a new customer.

Instagram is one of my favorite social platforms for customer acquisition.

Since people are more likely to make a purchase from brands they follow on social media, focus on getting your follower numbers up.

You’ll be able to convert a percentage of those followers to customers.

Adding more video content to your promotional channels will help as well.

You can make these videos in-house, so it won’t be very expensive.

Contests and sweepstakes can increase brand awareness and get you some new customers.

These strategies will also help you get more email subscribers, so you can continue to market to those people and increase conversions.

What are some budget-friendly ways you’ve used to acquire new customers?

Catering to the Needs of Deal-Hungry Customers: Does Digital Coupon Marketing Make Sense?

Let’s face it, we all love to get good deals and free stuff. Even those who insist they are not promotion-sensitive actually do care about what brands are offering to get our attention. According to Valassis, 90 percent of all consumers use coupons to get some extras, save money or purchase things they would not likely buy without a discount.

More than a century has passed since 1887 when Coca-Cola offered coupons for a free glass of coke. Back then, coupons brought the company true marketing success. Today, 130 years later, the use of coupons for marketing purposes is still viable and impressively effective.

Coupons as a concept have not changed much over the years – they still entitle holders to receive something for free or at a discount – but they are no longer limited to print versions. The ways people consume information and shop have evolved, and today consumers are offered better deals via multiple channels:

  • Text messages
  • Push notifications
  • Emails
  • Social media platforms
  • Brand websites
  • Retailer websites
  • Couponing and discount sites 

Mobile and digital coupons are on the rise and getting more and more attention from consumers, especially from tech-savvy millennials. Coupons are a powerful and ubiquitous marketing tool that connects people and their wallets to brands. In today’s price-conscious society, consumers spend an average of two hours per week looking for the best deals and opportunities to save online.

The idea of getting something extra or hunting down a bargain has the power to influence a customer’s decision at different stages of their purchasing journey:

  • During planning: Customers are making their shopping plans according to coupons offered by stores or ecommerce websites.
  • In-store: Customers change their minds, favoring discounted products over those they initially intended to buy.
  • After a purchase: Customers scan receipts on their mobile devices to get money back or earn redeemable points.

How can brands benefit from digital coupon marketing?

Digital coupons provide brands with myriad marketing opportunities, because there is no bad time to offer persuasive incentives to deal-hungry customers. A well-targeted and relevant digital coupon campaign can work magic and present major benefits such as:

  • Improving customer loyalty and retention: Existing customers are more likely to return for more.
  • Attracting new customers: Incentives can grab the attention of customers who typically do not buy from you.
  • Helping with the trial and promotion of a new product: Offering a good deal for a new product encourages people to try it and recommend it to others.
  • Generating buzz around the brand: Promotions and discounts help companies spread the word about their brand.
  • Growing engagement: Brands can win more followers and appreciators by rewarding the most active community users on social media.

Do’s and don’ts

Not all coupons and coupon campaigns are created equal, and not all of them are destined to succeed and bring the desired results. It is important to understand that coupon marketing is not a piece of cake; it takes a lot of planning and strategic thinking. Here are some basic principles to stick to when offering your customers a deal:

  1. A coupon must be created with best design practices in mind. It should be visually appealing and persuasive, and able to put a customer in a shopping state of mind.
  2. Do not use too much busy text. The message and call to action on a coupon should be clear, specific and to the point.
  3. If your promotion plans coincide with a major holiday, do not hesitate to use its celebration to your advantage, to double your campaign’s effect.
  4. Make the coupon’s redemption process easy and hassle-free. Keep it as simple as possible with the least number of steps leading to customer satisfaction.
  5. Distribute your coupons across all channels, but try not to overdo it. When it comes to emails and texts, send those only to customers who agreed to receive promotional messages, to avoid customer irritation.
  6. Target local customers. If you aim to use digital coupons to promote your brick and mortar store, make sure to market to your local audience.
  7. Create a sense of urgency. A limited time frame or number of available coupons encourages customers to redeem coupons at the moment of access.
  8. Avoid creating the image of a “cheap” brand. By offering discounts too frequently, you risk devaluing your brand. People love good deals, and they may develop a habit of buying from you only when you offer discounts.
  9. Do A/B testing. Marketers love to get into the minds of customers to see what tactics work best, and marketing with coupons is no different.

 

Editor’s Note: Looking for help with email marketing? Use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:

 

 

Bottom line

Coupons, especially digital and mobile ones, are on the rise, providing an active and effective marketing catalyst. The desire to receive incentives and find deals lies in our nature, and it would be unwise to overlook the marketing potential of coupons. A coupon marketing strategy may seem easy to devise and implement, however it requires thorough planning and analysis. Do not forget about upcoming holidays that offer a perfect time frame in which to effectively reach your audience.

Linda Lee of Facebook: Customer Service Main Reason Customers Use Messenger to Connect with Small Businesses

Billions of messages flow through messaging apps every single day, with a growing number of those messages going between customers and businesses. And according to a recent study commissioned by Facebook, 330 million people connected with a small business for the first time this year.

The Reason Customers Use Messenger, and the Impact

This is an incredible number which tells us that for those who aren’t interacting with customers on Messenger, it’s time to start figuring out the best way to start doing so as soon as possible.

Linda Lee, Strategic Partnerships for Facebook Messenger, shared with me insights from the study, some examples of how small businesses are incorporating Messenger chat into their interactions with customers, and how marketers are engaging prospects in Messenger to acquire customers.  

Below is an edited transcript of our conversation. To hear the full interview click on the embedded SoundCloud player below.

* * * * *

Linda Lee of Facebook: Customer Service Main Reason Customers Use Messenger to Connect with Small BusinessesSmall Business Trends: Maybe you can give me a little bit of your personal background.

Linda Lee: As you noted, I work on strategic partnerships here at Facebook, specifically on Messenger and the Messenger platform. Our goal is to really help and work closely with businesses to connect with customers and their users and fans and readers on the Messenger platform and leveraging all the tools and features that we’ve built to date.

Small Business Trends: You recently commissioned a survey to look at how Messenger is being used in businesses, and in particular, small businesses. Before we start talking about some of the results, maybe you could give us a little bit of background on the survey and also why you guys decided to do it now.

Linda Lee: Overall we’re seeing messaging is on the rise… We did commission a study — I believe it was in 2016 — where we really dug into this a bit more to better understand messaging behavior among consumers. Especially with respect to the way that they wanted to connect with businesses. In that survey, 63 percent of the people surveyed said that their messaging with the businesses has increased over the last couple of years, and even beyond that, 67 percent of them expect to message them even more over the next coming two years.

The more recent study that we commissioned in 2017 found over 330 million people started conversations with businesses for the first time on Messenger. I think, again, that just shows you the power and the ease with which businesses can make those connections using Messenger in this way.

Small Business Trends: 330 million people connected with a small business on Messenger for the first time. That seems like a pretty huge number. Could you talk a little bit about maybe what are some of the things that customers are reaching out and interacting with small businesses on Facebook Messenger?

Linda Lee: One of the great things about using Messenger for these type of conversations between businesses and customers is really the variety of ways in which you can do so. The simplest and easiest way for businesses to get going in having these conversations is by turning on messaging on their Facebook page. You’ll see that when customers are navigating to a small business’s page on Facebook they can easily tap that button they see at the top of that page that says “message now” or “message us” to ask those questions. It’s really a variety of questions that we’re seeing, what we refer to as use cases. Some of it is around answering questions perhaps around specific services or products where they need more details or specifications. Then it’s also about dealing with customer care issues, perhaps. Maybe perhaps they’ve already bought a product or a service, they have a question or an issue that’s come up. It’s a really easy way for customers to be able to reach out to businesses directly and get that personal response back from them.

Small Business Trends: Can you talk a little bit about Messenger Codes and how they’re being used?

Linda Lee: We’re really excited about Messenger Codes just because of the ease in which people can get going in connecting with a business. For those who aren’t aware, Messenger Codes are the scannable QR-type codes that a customer can open Messenger, go to the camera interface, and you can hold down on that code and each business has their own specific code. You can set up multiple codes depending on, perhaps, if you’re doing offline campaigns, if you have an in-store activation or an event or some type of sale going on, you can use that code when people come into the store, have them scan it and it would greet them. You direct them to the starting point in that conversation that you want them to have with the business. You can set up the code with what we call referral parameters, and perhaps if it’s a sale that’s going on about lotion that’s in that store for today, that first message that the customer would see is some information about the promotion going on with respect to that product.

So that’s what’s great, it really helps connect the online and the offline experiences together and also presents a really easy way for people to get started with conversations.

Small Business Trends: People, particularly small businesses, are trying to figure out bots. So you talk about Messenger and person-to-person interaction, but how does Messenger help companies leverage the power of bots to interact with customers.

Linda Lee: Well, around bots it’s really just automation that is going to help these businesses manage the number of inquiries or the number of conversations they’re seeing come through from customers. It’s as easy as, let’s say, if you turn on your messaging on your Facebook page, there are automated replies, instant replies that you can set so that if a customer were to try to message you and it’s during your off hours, you can have that message reply back and let them know that you’re away, set their expectations on when they can expect a response back. That’s one level of automation.

Now, for businesses that are interested in taking the next step in building out an automated bot, that’s a really easy way to get going with answers. Some of those frequently asked questions or things that will help the business, again, manage the number of inquiries and the type of inquiries that are coming in. I think for businesses you tend to have the top five or 10 questions that customers are going to ask time and time again. So you have a good sense of what your customer base is interested in or is going to be asking. Those are really easy ways to get going in implementing through an automated bot to be able to handle those responses automatically and free up businesses to respond back to those inquiries that perhaps take a little bit more time or need some higher level of interaction to get to resolution.

Small Business Trends: When I think about Facebook Messenger, you do think about how it can help from a customer service perspective. But are there ways that companies can leverage interaction from a marketing perspective on trying to figure out how to bring a customer on board?

Linda Lee: We have a lot of ways in which you can utilize Messenger as well as some of our app products. We just want to make sure that businesses, again, know the variety of tools that are available to them. So we talk about things like our Click to Messenger ads which were a really easy way for businesses to really leverage the targeting capabilities of Facebook app systems and ad tools to be able to set ad campaigns, let’s say, in Facebook Newsfeed, to help drive potential customers and perhaps even existing customers where they’re interested in additional products into your Messenger experience.

I think you may be aware of Aprille Franks-Hunt. She’s actually a small business owner. She’s a Master Business Coach, and she’s done a fantastic job of working from the ground up and utilizing Messenger and Facebook Newsfeed ads to drive some of her marketing campaigns; get more sign-ups around some of the coaching sessions and products that she has available. There’s a lot of really good examples and ways in which you can utilize Messenger this way.

We also want to be sure that you are relevant with the type of marketing messages that you’re sending out. So we do have messaging policies in place to make sure that, when it comes to marketing, let’s say, it really needs to be the user that has initiated that interaction with the business and has opted-in or indicated in some way that they want to receive these type of messages from the business.

Small Business Trends: What’s the line that companies need to be mindful of to make sure that they don’t overstep their bounds because the technology seems to be there and the opportunity seems to be there, but what are some things they need to be aware of before they jump full bore into leveraging Messenger?

Linda Lee: I think the question that we always start off with is making sure that you’re solving an issue first. That you’re not a solution looking for a problem in other words. For these small businesses in particular, they know their customer base so well and I’m sure a lot of them have repeat purchases and frequent customers as well. It’s really about understanding what are the needs of your customers? What’s missing today in terms of the way that you’re interacting or communicating with your customers? Let’s take email for example. Quite a few businesses send email out but, of course, we all know a lot of times you get those emails in your inbox, they tend to go to your spam box, or it’s a do not reply return address, so there’s really no easy way to respond back. And really it’s about creating those personal connections. So finding ways — especially when it comes to content — that you are sending to your customers, making sure that, again, it’s relevant, it’s personal, that it’s engaging as well. That it invites the customer to have that conversation with you.

I would say that’s first and foremost, is making sure you’re giving good thought to what is your starting point. What is it that you’re solving for? It’s really about people first. Your customers come first and making sure that you’re solving a need that they have.

Small Business Trends: Where are we going to be — from a small business perspective — in a year or two communicating with customers on Messenger?

Linda Lee: Small businesses across the country are using Messenger to make business personal again. It’s really helping small businesses, local businesses extend their reach. It’s helping them become global businesses beyond just their local communities. That’s what we’re really excited about.

No matter the size of your company, the size of your ad budget, or your industry, we expect that Messenger will be at that intersect and it will be a critical component to how small businesses connect with their customers in an ongoing, engaging, personalized way.

Small Business Trends: Linda, where can people learn more about what you have to offer them from a Messenger standpoint for their small business? How can they get up and running, and where should they go to learn more?

Linda Lee: The great thing about our platform as well is that it’s a completely open platform. So there’s no charge to use it. You can get going with all the great materials that we have. We have a great website, messenger.fb.com, and it has some great resources for small businesses and developers as well, to get going and thinking through the steps in how to set out the experience for connecting with customers on Messenger. You’d asked the question about bots. It has more information about some of the more technical aspects of APIs and plug-ins and things that businesses can utilize to really draw people into their experience.

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This article, “Linda Lee of Facebook: Customer Service Main Reason Customers Use Messenger to Connect with Small Businesses” was first published on Small Business Trends

44 Types Of Content To Share On Social Media – Writers Write…

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Office Om: 8 Ideas for Reducing Stress at Work

The pursuit of mindfulness shouldn’t stop at your front door. Mindfulness cannot be confined to your off-duty hours. Any person hoping to be more mindful must consider how to incorporate mindfulness into their daily office life as well. The office accounts for a large portion of your day and probably an even larger portion of your stress.

Practicing mindfulness at work may seem like just another thing to add to your to-do list, but it can make dealing with the rest of that list easier. While these tips may not make you forget that you’re at work, they will help you on the path to a calmer, more focused you.

1. Start your day with intention.

Before you allow yourself to be swept up in what needs to be done and the stress awaiting you, take a few moments to think about your day. What tasks do you need to do to be ready for the day? Tasks as simple as properly hanging up your coat, filling up a water bottle or checking your immediate desk supplies are a good way to prepare yourself.

Rather than hurrying to your desk and beginning your day with a harried search for a pen while on the phone, take time to intentionally begin working. If your space is orderly and you’re prepared, the day won’t seem so daunting.

3. Allow yourself to simply walk.

When you see people moving about the office, do you notice how many of them are looking down at their phones? Force yourself to simply move about the office without typing an email or texting a client. Focus on the movement of your body and the sensations you experience. Multitasking is often inefficient and results in mistakes.

Get in the habit of paying attention to your surroundings and appreciating the brief break that walking to a meeting affords you. You can’t properly greet co-workers or notice the sunlight streaming through the windows if your eyes are glued to your screen. You’ll notice more about your surroundings and reduce the risk of missing an unfortunate autocorrect to your boss.

3. Treat your lunch break as a break.

Treat your lunch as an actual break in your day rather than a time to stuff food in your mouth while answering emails. Even if you only use 10 minutes of your lunch for actual eating, force yourself to do nothing but enjoy your lunch and the sensation of eating for those 10 minutes.

Being mindful is about paying attention to the task at hand. You’ll give yourself a much-needed break in your day and become more aware of how you’re nourishing your body. Paying attention to your food choices and the amount you eat are obviously helpful to your health, but they also benefit your mind.

4. Take breathing breaks.

Don’t forget the power of breathing breaks. Of course, you breathe at work all the time, but take a moment at your desk to really pay attention to your breathing. Sit up straight, and let your only focus be on the act of breathing. Inhale deeply, pulling breath from the diaphragm, and then slowly exhale, drawing it out longer than your inhalation.

Even just for a minute or two, this breathing can result in a powerful, mind-clearing calm. Doing this when you begin to feel stressed will renew your mind and allow you to conquer the task more efficiently because your mind will feel clearer.

5. Examine the stress that you feel.

When you are feeling stressed, try to take a step back and analyze it rather than give in to it. If you consider the root of the stress, you may find a better way to deal with it that won’t result in as much anxiety.

Perhaps you’ll find that you consistently overbook your afternoons because you are not a morning person, but the stress of those afternoons is what is leading to poor sleep and difficult mornings. Maybe you’ll find that your desire for perfectionism is what is resulting in procrastination and panic.

While some stress is unavoidable, much of it can be prevented if you distance yourself from the immediate emotional response. Practice distancing yourself from these stressors so that you can determine a way to reduce or negate the stress and allow yourself to move forward with your work. You may find the solution is as simple as asking a co-worker for help or altering your usual pattern of client meetings. Little changes can make a big difference.

6. Practice active listening.

Listening is especially difficult when multitasking is involved. If you frequently struggle to remember what your boss just told you or can’t recall the client’s most recent feedback, there is a good chance that your overly active brain is multitasking while you are trying to listen.

Instead of passively listening, try to actively follow every word that is said to you. Learning to pay attention to people means listening to more than just the words they are saying, but also trying to understand their point of view.

More active listening can lead to better understanding and an increase in empathy. Improving communication is an effective way to become more aware of your surroundings. It can make you more mindful at work and in turn make you better at your job.

7. Take a break from your smartphone.

Smartphones are now a staple of our daily lives. But although they bring many conveniences and efficiencies into our day, they can be detrimental to our overall sense of wellbeing. Smartphones emit artificial frequencies that can interfere with the natural protective frequencies of the earth. This interference can make you feel anxious and distract you from your mindfulness practice.

One way to combat these artificial frequencies is to wear a Philip Stein wellness bracelet or watch. These wellness wearables are enabled with Philip Stein’s new Natural Frequency Technology that can help you restore balance and bring you back in tune with the earth’s natural rhythm. When worn at night, the sleep bracelet can help you sleep more soundly so you can wake up feeling more refreshed.   

8. End your day with intention.

Just as you should begin your day with intention, so too should you end it. If you strive for a healthy divide between your personal and work life, it is advisable to keep them separate. This means that you leave work at the office, and that work should be left at the office properly. Leave your desk area cleared and organized. Put the pens back in the cup and throw away any trash.

An easy way to mindfully signal the end of the day to yourself is to make a short to-do list for when you return. This allows you to get down on paper (or screen) what you are concerned about or what to tackle first. You will also have a plan for the next day and free your mind a bit. Taking a few minutes to intentionally end your day in the office will make it that much easier to return to work and feel purposeful and ready for the day ahead. 

 

LinkedIn turns 10, celebrates ‘Cinco de LinkedIn’ | via Venture Beat…

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[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHOQ6mho2io&w=640&h=360]

Master Google Adsense with These 3 Tips (INFOGRAPHIC)

Holiday Season AdSense Tips - 3 Ways to Get Ready for the Busy Online Holiday Shopping Season (INFOGRAPHIC)

The holiday season is finally here, but even more this year shoppers will be heading online instead of to the mall. Is your smalll business ready?

With businesses going all out to woo customers, it can be tricky for you to grab your audience’s attention. To succeed, you need great products and a solid promotional strategy. And part of that strategy must include online advertising,  says Google.

Google has created a neat infographic to help small businesses maximize their seasonal sale performance with AdSense.

Holiday Season AdSense Tips

In an article published on the Inside AdSense blog, the company has shared three simple ways to make the most out of the upcoming holiday season.

Here’s an overview.

Use AdSense Native Ad Formats

You can use this format for a user-friendly experience that integrates with the look and feel of your website. You can get started with in-feed, in-article and matched content native ads.

Improve Ad Viewability

A simple way to gain more clicks and a higher ad revenue is by simply increasing the number of viewable ad impressions.

Improve Your Page Speed

Nobody wants to stick around until a  a webpage slow website gets loaded. In fact, poor loading speed can deter visitors from checking your website again. It’s therefore important to provide quicker load times that can boost user experience. To learn if you have a problem, you can test your site in PageSpeed Insights.

Understand AdSense in Depth to Reap the Benefits

Over the years, AdSense has emerged as a useful tool for small businesses to promote themselves. But to ensure your ad gets featured in the most relevant locations, it’s important to vet your content and stick with a topic that has maximum earning potential.

For more useful insights into AdSense and how it can help you win big this holiday season, check out the infographic below:

Holiday Season AdSense Tips - 3 Ways to Get Ready for the Busy Online Holiday Shopping Season (INFOGRAPHIC)Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Master Google Adsense with These 3 Tips (INFOGRAPHIC)” was first published on Small Business Trends

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How Small Businesses Can Use Video to Make a Profound Impact in 2018

As 2018 approaches, the rising popularity of video content shows no signs of slowing down. Many experts expect video marketing to be one of the best ways to grow a business in the next year, thanks to its high ROI and engagement rates.

Creating this type of content may seem intimidating to some marketing teams that do not have the resources for high-quality production tools or a large social media budget. However, teams don’t need to create feature-length videos to attract viewers. Studies have found that videos less than a minute long receive the highest retention rates – 80 percent – while videos longer than five minutes only receive around 50 percent retention.

As you begin to design your 2018 marketing strategy, consider these three ways short videos can help your business in the next year.

Develop thought leadership

Positioning your brand as a thought leader in your industry is one of the best ways to build trust with customers. By releasing content that provides valuable information and helpful insights through concise videos, you show your audience that your business understands the industry inside and out.

Focus on creating content that provides true and unique value. Tutorial, how-to and educational videos are great ways to connect with your audience and grab their attention. As the popularity of live video streaming continues to climb, many businesses can benefit from combining this trend with educational content by hosting live webinars.

With an average of 46 percent of viewers converting into customers, hosting webinars is a highly successful strategy for industry leaders. Livestreaming typically results in impressive engagement levels, especially when they are informational and helpful to the audience.

One of the best ways to establish thought leadership these days is with interactive webinars. For this purpose, ClickMeeting is a user-friendly video meeting tool that makes the planning and execution of a high-quality webinar quite easy. Equipped with tools for email marketing and registration pages for beforehand, slide decks and real-time polls for during the webinar, and analytical reporting for once your webinar wraps up, this resource can be influential in establishing your status as a thought leader.

The key is keeping the content short and sweet in a way that hooks viewers’ attention and maintains it throughout the video.

Build customer proof

There’s no doubt that a personal recommendation from a friend or family member is likely to influence purchasing decisions. However, studies have found online reviews these days mean as much as a personal endorsement to customers.

Getting your happiest clients to give you testimonials in video form produces a great sense of social proof and is a perfect way to build trust, as it provides potential customers a way to get to know your company in an unbiased way. Rather than just listing comments and statements from your customers, doing mini-interviews is a more candid and realistic way to share success stories.

Get creative with your testimonial content by recording your business helping customers with various projects or purchases. You could also sit them down for a one-on-one professional interview. Bravo is a great tool for filming and editing testimonial videos, thanks to its simple, straightforward design.

Users can auto-populate questions to make recording customer reactions and answers easy and genuine. Once recording has finished, you can post directly to YouTube, social media channels and your website.

Make your business human

A personal touch can go a long way. It also builds a meaningful connection between your business and customers. Many customers choose small businesses because of the friendliness and personalization they are able to provide, which they don’t always find with large corporations. In fact, customers are willing to pay more for a company that can provide personalized service in ways that only small businesses can.

Even though your videos are meant to be seen by a wide pool of viewers, it’s still a great way to communicate the personal story of your business and the personality of your brand. Use quick videos as a way to introduce yourself to customers in a more personal way. Share candid shots of team members and employees helping customers, interview workers, and record fun events that display your company culture in a genuine light.

In conclusion

Designing a successful and lucrative video strategy for the new year doesn’t have to be super complex. Remember that, while audiences enjoy watching video content, they also have diminishing attention spans.

Be strategic in the type of content you release so each video provides value and captures interest in a concise fashion, rather than just adding to the noise. With a little bit of planning, creativity and a genuine interest in adding value for your customers, your video marketing will be a success in 2018 and beyond.

 

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[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rF5iIyxr7i8&w=640&h=360]

How to Create Content More Efficiently with Curation Techniques

I’ve always said that every website should have a blog.

Think about how long you’re currently spending to write a blog post.

I’m willing to bet it takes you at least a few hours to create each.

Sometimes longer posts take up to six or even eight hours.

Where do you find the time to focus on other aspects of your business?

I struggled with this concept as well when I first started blogging.

It seemed like there weren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.

Then I realized that your content doesn’t always need to be created from scratch.

Think about it.

Chances are, your content isn’t some new or revolutionary breakthrough in the industry.

You’re writing about something that’s been discussed before.

Sure, you’ll put your unique spin, voice, and personal experiences in there, but ultimately there are plenty of similar topics on the web.

Spending your entire day writing blogs is not an efficient use of your time.

Instead, I’ll teach you some content curation skills that will help you write content faster.

David Kadavy from The Medium was able to learn different tricks to improve his productivity.

image1

Look at the impact this had on his published word count between 2015 and 2016.

If you follow my advice, your productivity will skyrocket as well.

Here’s how you can use content curation to effectively manage your content strategy.

Make sure you’re utilizing visuals

If you’ve been reading my blogs for a while, you know I’m a firm believer in using lots of pictures, screenshots, and other infographics to illustrate my points.

That’s no secret.

But there’s a reason behind this strategy.

Adding pictures to your blog posts makes it easier for people to read.

It breaks up the content and grabs the reader’s attention.

There are also plenty of great image resources on the Internet.

While creating a unique visual or infographic is great, it’s not necessary.

Instead, use someone else’s image, making sure to give credit to the original source.

This will save you a lot of time because you won’t have to create these images yourself.

Don’t be shy when you’re adding visuals to your content.

Images make it easier for readers to process your point.

image3 1

See what I mean?I

Fittingly, I’m using an image about the importance of visuals to prove my point.

But seriously, think about how easy it was for you to process and retain what you just saw.

Visuals also make it easier for you to put words on the page.

Here’s what I mean.

Once you insert an image in your post, it gives you something to talk about.

Explain the image to your readers.

It will guide you in the right direction instead of just coming up with content out of thin air.

You’re much less likely to suffer from writer’s block if you always have something to talk about.

Here are some additional tips about using images within your content:

  • Use high quality visuals that aren’t too cluttered.
  • Make sure they are easy to read and understand.
  • If the visual contains data, make sure it’s from a reputable source.
  • Always cite your sources.
  • Use lots of images.

All of these pointers will help you create content faster and more efficiently.

Start with an outline, and stick to your plan

Never start creating content from a blank page.

Psychologically, it’s intimidating.

But more importantly, it’s not an efficient use of your time.

Sure, as you start writing, you’ll need to do some research along the way.

But it helps significantly if you get some of that out of the way before you get started.

Here’s what you need to do.

For example, let’s say you are writing a post about the best ways to find a new job.

Start with a Google search.

image8

Now you can create a list of the 28 best ways to do this.

Keep in mind, there will likely be some overlap among the pages.

You’re not the only one using curation strategies to build content.

But when it’s all said and done, you should still be able to come up with at least 10, 15, or maybe even 20 different ways on your list.

The key is planning this out ahead of time.

Open all these pages in a new tab.

Each time you see something you want to include in your article, add it to the outline.

Quickly add a few notes to develop further when you get to that point of your writing process.

For example, you may talk about a specific job board site on your list.

So a note could be “insert statistic about the job placement success rates of this site.”

Then you can do that research when you get there.

This strategy also makes it really easy if you’re aiming for a certain word count per post.

Let’s say you want all of your posts to be roughly 2,500 words.

If you determine you’ll have 15 different sections based on your list, now you can aim for each section to be about 165 words.

It keeps you on track for your goal.

That way you’re not frantically trying to come up with a 500 word conclusion or end up reaching your desired word count after your second subheading.

Repurpose content on different channels

For the most part, I’ve been discussing these curation strategies as they relate to blogging, but let me clear the air.

Your content doesn’t stop with blogs and articles.

One of my favorite ways to repurpose content is through YouTube videos.

I’ll give you an example based on my own blog and YouTube channel.

image7 1

Here’s a post I wrote that was a big hit.

It’s got 137 comments (and counting) at the moment.

What did I do?

I repurposed some of the main points and made it into a YouTube tutorial.

Here’s the link to my YouTube video.

image6

You don’t always have to use content from other people for your curation strategy.

Instead, take your existing content.

You can also use this technique on social media platforms.

Think about Twitter.

You have only so many characters to use.

Rather than racking your brain to come up with the most clever tweet on the planet, refer to your posts that already have thousands of words.

Take lines directly from that content, and post them on social media.

It will save you a ton of time, and you’ll be able to focus on other aspects of social media management, like responding to customer comments.

That’s a much more efficient use of your time.

You don’t need to be the first person to break a story

How many times have you seen a breaking news story, only to discover that it’s inaccurate?

I see it all the time, so I’m sure you have as well.

That’s because all these news outlets want to be first.

But first isn’t always best.

You don’t want to develop a reputation for being an unreliable source.

Furthermore, the first person to break a story may not have a chance to include lots of relevant information.

Let’s use a hypothetical example of a local car accident.

The first person to break the story may just say, “car accident on X street at Y time.”

But they don’t have any other details to report.

So if you wait a little bit, you can newsjack the story.

image4 1

Wait for other sources to report new information.

Now you can write about other factors like the:

  • number of cars involved
  • types of cars in the crash
  • names of any victims
  • cause of the accident
  • road conditions at the time
  • quote from law enforcement

You can see where I’m going with this.

Being the first one to release new information doesn’t get you a gold star or sticker.

Instead, it limits your resources and the amount of information you can talk about.

Curate content from the comments section of your blog

You should always be checking the comments on your page.

Respond to these users.

It’s a great way to help with your search engine optimization, but it also keeps your readers actively engaged.

You may find some valuable information here as well.

People who comment on your page may be doing so to promote their own websites or blogs, but their points may be viable.

Take a look at what people have to say.

It might just be included in your next post.

Send a newsletter with a roundup of your weekly content

Again, you don’t always need to use someone else’s thoughts or ideas to generate new content.

Sometimes the best curation source is your own writing.

If you’ve got a weekly or monthly newsletter, it’s a great opportunity for you to promote content you’ve already published.

Moz does this with their monthly top 10 newsletters.

image2 1

Instead of coming up with something new or unique for their monthly newsletter, they just repurpose the hard work they’ve already done.

You can use this strategy as well.

Write a weekly roundup post that summarizes the content you’ve already covered during the week.

Work smarter, not harder.

Don’t get me wrong.

I’m not saying to just copy and paste your existing content into a new article.

That’s a quick way to lose readers.

But you can just take something old and put a new spin on it.

Update new statistics.

Add personal stories or a learning experience you’ve come across since the content was originally posted.

This will make your life a lot easier, and you’ll spend less time trying to come up with new ideas.

Conclusion

Your time is valuable.

Instead of spending endless hours each day trying to come up with new content to write about, you can use curation strategies to be more efficient.

Remember, content curation doesn’t just apply to your blog.

You can also use these methods to help produce content on social media.

image5

Research showed that finding and posting content on social media was the most time consuming aspect of this process.

It doesn’t have to be.

Use lots of visuals in your content.

Rather than creating original infographics, use ones you find on the Internet.

Make sure you give credit to the source.

Images make it easier for readers to process and retain information as well.

Don’t start writing from scratch.

Build an outline using ideas you find from a Google search.

This will make things easier for you to write naturally and stick to a plan.

All of the curation doesn’t need to come from someone else’s pages or ideas.

Repurpose your existing content.

Take a top performing blog post and turn it into a YouTube tutorial.

Use phrases from articles on your site as social media posts.

Think twice before you try to be the first person to break a news story.

Instead, wait until all the information gets released.

You’ll have more reliable sources and information to use.

Refer to the comments section of your blog if you’re looking for new ideas.

Use recent posts to come up with a weekly newsletter or round up blog.

If you follow these strategies, you’ll spend less time creating content and more time focusing on other areas of your business.

What kind of content curation strategies have helped you spend less time writing blogs each day?