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West Coast Cyber Chick
8 minutes | a year ago
Cyber Tip - Holiday Marketing
Well here we are again, the holidays are about to go into full swing. Actually to me it feels like we skipped Thanksgiving and went straight to Christmas. I admit, I've been listening to Christmas music and watching the Hallmark Channel since the beginning of November. Guilty. This time of year seems to go by in such a rush and I find myself "trying" to slow down and enjoy it a bit more. So the whole feeling of moving past Thanksgiving might be a little self-induced. Sigh. So that said, what are your holiday marketing plans? We don't need charts and graphs to know that this is by far the biggest shopping season of the year. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday... and by the looks of it, Black Friday started a week early this year. (Justifies my Christmas music in November habit...) You should have your marketing strategy in place by now, but in case you're running behind, I've gathered up a few tips so that you don't miss the opportunity to reach out to your clients and prospective customers. Holiday Email Marketing You know how I feel about the importance of email marketing. If you don't, you haven't been listening! It's by far the easiest and most effective way to reach your audience. Now there are a lot of what I'd call "micro-strategies" in managing that email campaign and the list(s) that go with it. The reason I call them micro-strategies is not to diminish the importance of them, but rather because many of you don't even have an email strategy. I don't want to overwhelm you with some of the more advanced options available when you don't even have an email list to begin with. Your eyes will glaze over and that will be the end of it. We'll have none of that! So I'm not going to get into the nitty gritty email campaign tactics here (drop me a note if you want to learn more though!), but here are a few advanced email campaign strategies to consider once you've got that list going: List segmentation with differing offers Sale Previews Countdown Timers Email Automation vs Behavioral Triggers Basic Holiday Email Marketing Ideas Ok now the basics. We've got this! Share information about upcoming sales, promotions or specials Post your holiday hours and availability Gift ideas Upcoming local events Thank them for their business - ALWAYS thank you customers for their business! Wish your followers Happy Holidays (or Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, New Years - whatever is appropriate) Purely my opinion here, but don't overthink the political correctness of whichever holiday you're wishing happiness for. Let's focus on spreading some gratitude, joy and kindness. I am not offended if you wish me a Happy Hanukkah (especially if you come bearing latkes!) and my Jewish friends have no issue with me wishing them a Merry Christmas. The point of the season is peace and love. Let it start with us. Social Media for the Holidays Which social media channel do you find works best for you? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest...? If you're anything like me, you're probably finding it a bit overwhelming to keep up with them all. But that said, one or two of them are probably better and more effective channels for you than the others. Part of it depends on your business and part of it depends on your followers. Well chat about that at another time. So given that we're already busy (read overwhelmed) with family dinners, shopping, increased workload and traffic, let's narrow down just a couple of social media channels to focus on. We want to enjoy this time of year too, right? It's why I start in November. Just sayin'. Create posts (images and video), like your email messages, that speak to your audience and promote your offer. Which of your products or services do you think they'd be most interested in? Shoes (that would be me), massage (ok also me), electronics, holiday-themed gifts... Get it out there. Use relevant hashtags like #giftideas and #mybrandisawesomeandunique Be sure to tell them where they can purchase your special holiday widget, be it your shop or your website. Add a holiday theme to your posts; capture the spirit of the season. Be it greens, reds or blues, snow, or a palm tree draped in holiday lights for you southern folks, create a festive mood to your post. Get other people (customers/influencers) to post about your product or business - be sure they tag you. Easy and FREE! Have fun with your posts! 'Tis the season to lighten up a bit. Capture the culture of your business and share it with your followers. Does the dog go to work with you? How about a Santa hat on Fido? Do you bake Christmas cookies? Share that - and maybe even the recipe too. The cool thing about social media is that there really are no rules when it comes to the content you want to generate. Create some brand awareness and capture the essence of who you are and get it out there. Social media is the new word of mouth. Take advantage of it! Shop Local This is a little off message but it's worth saying. Support the other local businesses in your community. Those are the people, like yourself, that donate to the local fundraisers. Mr. Big Box Store, not so much. Instead of searching Amazon for that perfect hat and beanie for your niece, stop by the neighborhood boutique. And while you're at it, chat with the owner about what they're doing for holiday marketing. Let them know what you do and share some ideas together. And don't forget to post about the cute new outfit you just bought there. Because let's face it, you know you're going to buy more than just that hat and beanie! Create some community in your community. #shopsmallbusiness #shoplocal Spread the Message of Peace and Love This Holiday Season So here's the bottom line for me: We put so much into selling at this time of year - advertising, strategies, promotions, sales, whatever. Let's overlay a message of peace and joy into our marketing campaigns. Spread some kindness and love. Do some joint marketing with a local charity or shelter. Remember to say please and thank you. Give back when you can. The holidays can be a difficult time of year for people. Remember that this may not be "the most wonderful time of the year" for everyone. Keep that in mind if your sales clerk seems short-tempered or someone cut you off to that parking space at the mall. Let it go. Be grateful for all of the blessings around you. Let that message ring through your holiday marketing campaigns. Maybe together we can spread some good cheer and make the world a little happier. Happy Holidays my friends. Wishing you many blessings! To learn more about managing your marketing strategies, drop me a line. I'd love to chat with you. Also, please check out the @WestCoastCyberChick podcast and follow me on social! Best, Laura Nowak Brown aka The West Coast Cyber Chick
42 minutes | a year ago
Episode 3: Starting Over and Killing It with Christi Vogt
SHOW NOTES Christi Vogt #3 Christi Vogt lost her business overnight, but instead of simply giving up, she decided to go after her dreams of helping make a difference in the longevity of peoples’ lives and successfully launched a business of her own. Christi is no stranger to educating herself on her passions and has figured out a way to blend her purpose with making money. Discover how she is helping people live longer, is building a tribe, and what her best network marketing tips are! Don’t fight the universe. Be open to what possibilities are out there! What we’re talking about - Learning To Not Give Up - The Benefits of LifeVantage - Christi’s Best Network Marketing Tips Learning To Not Give Up Christi was enjoying running her own business with a partner when literally overnight it all ended and she was left with nothing. Instead of giving up on the dream of owning a business or helping others, Christi went out and started researching what was out there for her. She educated herself by reading books and finding ways to grow both personally and professionally. All of this led her to creating a business of her own and helping others do the same. The Benefits of LifeVantage Christi has always worked with people to help them with their skincare problems and as time progressed she saw a correlation between skin issues and stress. She read The China Study and found that cellular oxidation creates inflammation which is caused by stress and the only way to neutralize that is through antioxidants which can be found in plant-based nutrition. Christi discovered LifeVantage and how it offers all of these benefits and many more. Christi’s Best Network Marketing Tips Network marketing is truly all about finding your “why”, but there are many more tips and tools that Christi has to offer when it comes to learning how to succeed in network marketing. She says you need to be ok hearing “no” while also maintaining a firm belief in your product, yourself and the network marketing industry itself. You have to find your passion and not simply be in it for the money because you will not be setting yourself up for success. Christi’s focus is on making human connections by networking and in-person meetings. In the end, the quality of life matters most. LINKS MENTIONED LifeVantage The China Study Go Pro by Eric Worre Story Your Way To Success by Kindra Hall Lifespan by David Sinclair “How To Live Longer Better” Time Magazine TIMESTAMPS 30:55 (54 sec CV) – Most everybody has some type of health concern, you know they’re not feeling well, lack of energy, lack of sleep and what are most people doing? They’re purchasing vitamins and supplements and herbs and oils and lotions and potions and over the counter pain medication and sleep aids and energy drinks. It’s sad to me because most of these things have no regulations, there’s no backing it. We don’t even know what’s in a lot of these vitamins and supplements and a lot of studies are showing that these multi vitamins, especially you’re antioxidant vitamins like A, C & E are doing more harm to your body than good. So people have just been searching and nothing’s helping, disease is on the rise, so it’s actually really going back to the basics. QUOTES It doesn’t matter how old you are, how much money you have, we all have the same concerns. CV Don’t fight the universe. Be open to what possibilities are out there. LB I’m so grateful that I made the decision to design my life. CV Always be growing yourself, personally and professionally. CV If you’re motivated by money, it’s not going to work. You have to find your passion. CV In the end, the quality of life matters most.
30 minutes | a year ago
Episode 2: Get Off the Couch and Go with George Crezee
SHOW NOTES George Crezee #2 George Crezee is the co-host of Aging and Awesome, founder of Get Off The Couch And Go and one of the most inspirational and motivational people you will encounter. George is on a mission to share with others how you should get up and get going, no matter what age you are. He surrounds himself with positive people and is not only a great friend to all, but a creative at heart and someone who is working to change the world. Today is the day to start working towards your goal…just put one foot in front of the other! What we’re talking about - Get Off The Couch And Go - 50 Sporting Events In 24 Hours - Aging And Awesome TV Show Get Off The Couch And Go George created Get Off The Couch And Go over 15 years ago and interviews the oldest athletes at events or the one who has overcome the most challenges. One of his favorite interviews was during a cross country ski race in which he came upon a 79 year old racer. Not only was she cross country skiing at 79, but she was doing it blind. Get Off The Couch And Go showcases how at any age, anything is possible…all you have to do is try. 50 Sporting Events In 24 Hours George likes to do everything big and when his birthday comes around, it’s no exception. For George’s 65th birthday he set out to do 50 sporting events in 24 hours starting with skiing at 3:15am and ending after 11pm with a decathlon. Others referred to it as “the day of insanity,” but it was really a day of inspiration and sharing the message that there are no excuses not to get moving. Aging And Awesome TV Show As luck would have it, George was discovered by the Reno based TV show, Aging and Awesome and is now a co-host. Aging and Awesome may be a show about older generations, but younger viewers are watching to get educated about their parents. George is covering everything from Alzheimer’s to dating in your 80’s and everything in between. What’s stopping you from starting today? LINKS MENTIONED Episode 1: Just Start Get Off The Couch And Go Studio Crezee Website Studio Crezee Instagram Aging And Awesome THIS EPISODE’S SPONSOR KBHR 93.3 FM TIMESTAMPS 4:34 (32 sec GC) – Basically the whole ideas was to motivate others to get up and get moving. The way society is now these days, it’s so easy to be overburdened with business and family and work and so I’ve gone out as a self-proclaimed journalist and I will do sporting events, but then I, my main goal is to interview generally the oldest male, oldest female or somebody with some particular disabilities that it amazes us that they overcome to do this event. So that’s the premise of the site. 24:50 (42 sec GC) - You know what’s really great about it is that it is not just about athletic activities that I talk about on there. We talk about everything you can imagine, from Alzheimers to incontinence to when you’re 80 years old and you want to start dating, what do yu do? And so it’s really interesting for me to be involved in a lot of these discussions, but it’s such a good thing to get the message out and we’re finding a lot of our viewers are actually not that old, but their father and mother are still alive and now that’s kind of giving them a little bit of a window of information to where their parents are heading and it gives them insight to what to expect and what to prepare for. QUOTES This guy did everything right and it made me realize if he passed away from cancer, what are the rest of us doing to make ourselves be healthy? GC It took a village to make what we called “the day of insanity” event happen. LB Right now is the time to start. Today. Put one foot in front of the other and start going after that dream you have. Open that door of intimidation and you’ll be surprised at what you can do with yourself. Believe in yourself and hang out with people that are positive. If they’re negative, move them out of your way.
6 minutes | a year ago
Cyber Tip: Improve Your Website for Voice Search
Voice search is going to do nothing but increase in the coming years. How often have you found yourself saying “Hey Siri” or “Alexa find me…”? That’s voice search. If you have any doubt about the importance of ranking for voice searches, check out my post “Voice Search and Why It Matters to your SEO Strategy“. So how can we tune up or optimize our websites so that Siri and Alexa, and ultimately our potential customers, can find us? Let’s start with the reminder that Google is looking for sites that deliver a better customer experience. Are you serving up what your potential customers are asking for? And is your website delivering that content quickly? Here are some tips to help you identify ways to improve your website’s visibility: Make Sure Your Website Loads Quickly Google likes speed! Google voice search will favor sites that load quickly. Make sure your site does the following: Works well on mobile devices (ie is responsive) Serves optimized images (ie don’t load large images!) Utilizes website caching Uses minimal plugins Write The Way You Speak A user is likely to speak a search phrase differently than they would typing one. Think about how you would search for the closest restaurant. When you type it you might write “restaurants close to me”. But when you say it, you’re more likely to say “Where are the restaurants near me that are open now?” There are some great tools out there for helping you convert your keywords into questions. Check out Answer the Public for starters. I typed in “optimize website”. Some of the questions that came back were: how can you optimize website how to optimize website for mobile how to optimize website loading speed how to optimize website images So you can see that what we type is quite different from how we speak. Be conscious about how you write your content. Longer is generally better. Experts recommend page content to be between 1850 and 2500 words. Utilize FAQs Rethink your content to flow better with voice search. Consider adding FAQ pages or blocks of content into every major section of your site to better deliver your message. Informational intent (guides, how-tos, etc.) Navigational intent (store locations, services, press releases, customer service info) Transactional intent (videos, product information, comparisons, product stories) *Source: Search Engine Journal/Benu Aggarwal of Milestone Internet Featured Blocks of Content or Snippets Featured blocks of content or snippets are a great way for Google to identify content that we want to deliver to our potential readers. A featured snippet is basically a quick or summary answer from a web page. Google currently reads out featured snippets when answering voice search queries. To optimize your content for an identifiable featured snippet, include a concise summary of your main content above the fold under 29 words. Sections that use H-tags, lists, and bullet points are easily readable by Google and thus perform well. Keep the following guidelines in mind when writing: Answer specific questions Answer questions concisely Write engaging and interesting copy Another option is to utilize Schema or Structured Data Markup. This is a bit more technical so instead of me trying to explain it here, I’ll direct you to the expert, Neil Patel. He’s got a great article on using Schema. Focus on Local Searches Nearly a quarter of voice searches are looking for location-based content. This may not apply to your type of business but if it does, try adding phrases like “near me”. Make sure that your Google My Business page is up to date. Review your content, hours of operation and location information. You might also put a bit of time into building your Google reviews. I know that’s helped to boost my local business inquiries quite a bit. Conclusion Voice search optimization is still on the rise so stay ahead of the curve on this one. Improving your voice search optimization will help to improve your brand awareness, online purchases and revenue. Do it now and you’ll be ahead of your competition and likely grow your brand long-term. If you have any questions or thoughts, drop me a line in the comments below or shoot me an email. I’d love to hear from you.
6 minutes | a year ago
Cyber Tip: Survive the Next Economic Downturn
It’s not if, it’s when… No, I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer here, I’m just being realistic. For those of us with small businesses, an economic downturn or recession can hit us hard, some to the point of being business-ending. I managed to (barely) survive the last recession as a small business owner by the grace of supportive parents, which isn’t easy to admit at this age, learning to do a lot of things for myself, and scaling back… way back. If I had $10 in my checking account at the end of the month, I was doing well. And not only was I struggling, so were my clients. And you know what that means… if they’re struggling to keep the lights on, they’re going to scale back with you. And then you’re going to struggle to keep the lights on. A vicious cycle indeed. I bring this up because it feels like we’ve gone back to comfortable. Splurging more here, spending more there. I know because I’ve found myself doing it too. Ten years ago my Sirius satellite radio was one of the first things to go; now I’m like – oh I have to have that. How soon we forget. So I’m not suggesting that you start shutting off all of those “must-haves”, that really are extras, I’m just saying it’s time to start positioning ourselves for less than favorable economic times. And I’m right there with you, I need to do the same with my business so that I can continue to not just survive but thrive. A few of the things that I did ten years ago out of pure necessity: Cut back on every extra subscription, monthly payment or dues that you possibly can. At minimum, prioritize them so if the time comes, you’re not grasping for straws wondering where to start. Make Google and YouTube your best friends if they aren’t already. Be prepared to learn some things for yourself, whether it be repairing an appliance or fixing broken code on your website. I did it and so can you. Repair bills, no matter what they’re for, get expensive quickly. Besides, problem solving is a great skill to have on your resume. Build your network. Make a point to meet people, and tell every one what you’re doing. Consider bartering for services with other professionals. My Pilates teacher and I swapped website work for workouts. She got a great website and I got into the best shape of my life! A few things to start doing now: Dave Ramsey school of money. Get rid of debt, build the emergency fund and build the long-term fund. Yep, I need to do this too. Interestingly enough, some “experts” are saying to increase credit lines to prepare for a downturn. It’s far easier to get financing or credit when you don’t need it. I get the idea, but the notion of opening up the opportunity to increase debt is a scary one for me. Do what’s right for you and your business there… Rethink monthly expenses. Are you paying “a little extra” for products and/or services that you don’t necessarily need or use? Business software is one of the first things that comes to mind. Be mindful of the hiring process. If you have employees, or are considering adding additional people to the workforce, remember that a downturn affects them as well. What if you have to lay someone off or scale back their hours? The extra person in the office right now would probably be a great help but are they going to be one of the non-essential expenses that you have to cut? Because that person isn’t a line item you know… Diversify your client base. Do you rely mostly on income from a few clients? What would happen if that amount was cut in half? Or went away completely? Spread the wealth as they say. Consider targeting some smaller-scale clients from different industries to reduce overall risk. Build your network. Yes I’m repeating myself. Build your network of followers and communicate and engage with them. Stay in contact with email marketing, social media and above all, personal communication. Don’t be the person or company that they forget about – or put their list of non-essential expenses. Be the one who shows up consistently and go above and beyond for them. Loyalty really is a thing! We all get comfortable when times are good. Personally, I think now is a really good time to consider where the money is going and to make sure that there’s a cushion in place for the next go-round. Build solid relationships with your clients and support one another. We’re all in this together, good times and bad. Because it’s not if, it’s when. Will you be ready? To learn more about how to manage your own website and marketing strategies, subscribe to my newsletter and follow me! Laura Nowak Brown aka The West Coast Cyber Chick
5 minutes | a year ago
Cyber Tip: Tools to Grow Your Email List
So hopefully I've convinced you of the importance of email marketing. If not, please read my article Email Marketing - Yes You Need to Do It! An Email Address is an Asset Your email list is an asset, something that all of those social media followers are not. Email is a tried and true way to stay connected with your clients and prospects. I'm a big fan of soliciting email addresses from my website visitors, as you can probably tell. My goal is to create content that my readers enjoy and find meaningful, and keep them coming back for more. The best way to do that is to subscribe to my monthly newsletter where I highlight the content that I've recently created. You've already subscribed, right? Here let me help: One thing about an email address, everyone wants to get their hands on it. It's not just a commodity but a thing of value and you need to treat it as such. A lot of marketers now offer a discount or a freebie in exchange for an email address. It's a great way to encourage someone to sign up for an email list. Again, think of it as an asset. I'm not going to get into the "incentive to sign up" topic here, but I am going to share a great tool for making simple forms for your website that will be sure to increase your sign up rates. Utilize Email Capture Forms on Your Website Using a high-converting email capture form combined with targeting and behavior automation will dramatically help you boost conversions and grow your email list. I'm integrating OptinMonster forms into my website for exactly that reason. OptinMonster helps to convert website visitors into subscribers and ultimately customers. OptinMonster's features include: Beautiful forms that are proven to convert Personalized messages based on user behavior Referrer detection that shows targeted messages based on where user is coming from Exit-Intent Technology Lightbox Popup Drag N Drop Builder Retargeting Seamless integration with Constant Contact, MailChimp, Hubspot and email providers Plus Insights that help you to fine-tune your lead generation strategy I love these guys and it's so easy to use. Check out OptinMonster today and let's get going with that email list of yours! I can help you with your email marketing strategy. From navigating email marketing providers and developing content down to setting up and integrating subscription forms into your website. And to make it easy, check out this free trial being offered by Constant Contact! To learn more about how to manage your marketing strategies, subscribe to my newsletter and follow me! Best, Laura Nowak Brown aka The West Coast Cyber Chick
11 minutes | a year ago
Cyber Tip: The Importance of Video Marketing
Three, Two, One - ACTION! Video marketing continues to be on the rise as one of the most effective ways to promote your business, brand or product. You don't have to have expensive equipment, a studio or even a ton of knowledge to make a video that viewers want to watch. Video marketing can start with something as simple as your smartphone! You've probably noticed the increase in Instagram Stories, Facebook Live, and maybe even Snapchat. And YouTube - holy cow there's a how-to for everything there right? Want to know the correct way to eat a pomegranate? My good friend Linda did an impromptu, super simple video in her kitchen showing how to peel and eat a pomegranate. She filmed this YouTube video over 8 years ago and it currently ranks #3 and has had over 3.5 million views. I kid you not. So what's the deal behind all of these videos (including Linda's pomegranate how-to) and how can you get started with video marketing? I'll outline the Why, the How and the Where below to help send you on your way to stardom. Ok, maybe not stardom but how about a powerful way to engage with your viewers? (Although you'd look really good on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!) Video Marketing - The Why The numbers speak for themselves... Video Analytics 55% of people consume video content thoroughly. (HubSpot, 2016) 43% of people want to see more video content from marketers. (HubSpot, 2016) 81% of marketers are optimizing their social videos for mobile viewership. (Animoto, 2017) Having a video thumbnail in the search results can double your search traffic. (Search Engine Journal, 2018) Video drives a 157% increase in organic traffic from SERPs. (Wordstream, 2018) Video will represent 82% of all IP traffic in 2021. (Business Insider, 2017) (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics) I could go on with statistics but the bottom line is video is, and will continue to be, huge. And statistics are boring. Cost Effective Content, Increased Engagement and Better Search Engine Results Producing a video or live broadcast is as easy as point and shoot with your smartphone and a couple of social media apps, like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. It really is that simple. Shoot a quick video on your phone and upload it to your favorite social media channel, or go live! Live broadcasts give you the opportunity to engage then and there with viewers. You can answer questions on the spot and generate excitement about a new product or promotion. Going live creates content that is uniquely yours. Video in general is showing to improve search engine ranking too. Google appears to be placing more and more importance on video in search queries. You've probably noticed that YouTube videos are starting to appear in your search results. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Google now owns YouTube... The Google algorithm has been known to put higher value on the end-user experience, in other words you're more likely to rank well if you're delivering quality, meaningful content that the user is searching for. Video is one more tool in the tool box to do just that. Video Marketing - The How So hopefully I've drawn your attention to the fact that video is popular and growing, and that you should be considering how to integrate it into your marketing strategy. But how? Tools to Start Your smartphone. Yep, that's it. We're going to keep this super simple. Your smartphone has everything you need to start filming videos - from Facebook Live, an Instagram Story or just a short YouTube video. And remember to put your phone in Do Not Disturb or Airplane mode before you start shooting. You don't need the phone ringing while you're chatting it up with your viewers. Where Should I Film? You've got a lot of options here but let's start with your desk. Do a short video introducing yourself, a quick elevator pitch about what you do and thank viewers for watching. That's it. Pay attention to the lighting, the background and ancillary noise. I suggest your desk to start because you're probably sitting in a desk chair, so that gives you a solid, non-distracting background. Your office is probably, or should be, somewhat quiet. And hopefully you've got some decent lighting so you're not just a dark blurb on the screen. Film yourself a couple of times, or a dozen like I did. Get comfortable with speaking on video. Focus on being yourself, like you're sitting across the desk from your audience. If your message is more outdoors related, go outside! Again, be mindful of the surroundings so that the viewer can focus on you and not the trucks rolling by down the street. What Should I Talk About? Lots of options here but let's start with some basics: Introduce yourself - let the viewer get to know you and/or your company. Share your brand or product - show someone using your product. Testimonials - do a brief chat with a client about their experience with your product. Highlight an event that you're holding - both before and during the event. (Best for Live broadcasts) How Do I Promote My Video or Live Broadcast? Facebook offers some great tips and best practices for doing a Facebook Live broadcast but they apply to Instagram and other broadcasts as well. Announce to people ahead of time when you will start to broadcast. Create a visual with the specific date and hour and include what topics you will broadcast about. Same applies for a recorded video - announce and share it on your social channels. If you're broadcasting live, make sure you have a strong internet connection prior to going "on air". You don't want to lose contact mid-stream. Create a great description about the broadcast or video that entices the audience to tune in. Engage with your viewers; say hi by name and thank them for tuning in. Be sure ask viewers to subscribe and follow you so they can receive notifications about your broadcasts in the future. Video Marketing & Social Media Platforms - The Where Ok, so we've done some testing, gotten a bit more comfortable with ourselves on video and we have some ideas for what to talk about. Where do we go from here? Now's the time to play with different social media channels, ie Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Each has its benefits and they're definitely not mutually exclusive. YouTube & YouTube Live Youtube launched on February 14th, 2005 and is now the 2nd most visited website in the world with 30 million visitors each day. 1.3 billion (with a B) people use YouTube and almost 5 billion YouTube videos are watched each day. Impressive numbers aren't they? Time to start thinking about how to effectively utilize YouTube isn't it? Plus it's easy to start! Open the YouTube app on your phone and go to the top of the screen and click the video camera icon. From there you can record a video or go live. Alternatively, you can record a video with your phone's camera directly and then upload the video to YouTube later. The benefits of YouTube? We'll let me remind you that Google owns YouTube. SEO boost anyone? Yep, it would appear that Google places the same importance on video as it does on text content as YouTube videos are now appearing in search results. Just sayin'... don't ignore this opportunity to put yourself or your company out there. And just a note... Approximately 20% of the people who start your video will leave after the first 10 seconds. Create a damn good intro. Facebook Live Creating a Facebook Live video is really easy. To broadcast directly on your profile, tap Status and then click the Live Video icon (ideally from your phone). Facebook Live is a great opportunity to drive people to your Facebook Page plus it's viewable as a video once the live broadcast is over. Instagram & Instagram Live Instagram is a mobile/smart phone-based app that allows you to upload either photos or videos to your feed. Instagram has over 800 million active monthly users so it makes for a great platform to share visual content and connect with viewers and potential followers. You can upload a video from your phone to your Instagram feed or take advantage of the Instagram Live feature in Instagram stories. Instagram Live allows users to stream video to followers and engage with them in real time. When users broadcast live video streams on their accounts, a ring highlights their profile picture in Instagram Stories to alert followers that they can view the live stream. And the benefit? Well your story is up there at the top of the page, ahead of all those images and videos in the feed stream below. Nice exposure huh? Same as Facebook Live, Instagram Live is done from your phone. From the home screen of Instagram, click on "Your Story", then "Go Live". One of the things I like about live is that it's authentic. You're not editing anything for perfection; you're just being your real self. I think people appreciate that transparency. And a live broadcast is a great way to engage and interact with your viewers in real time. So that's it for my thoughts on video and live broadcasts! Don't ignore this valuable tool for marketing your business. Spend some time getting comfortable with video and then start to formulate your plan for incorporating it into your marketing strategy. I'm working on integrating more video into my social channels as well so stay tuned for more fun! To learn more about how to manage your own website and marketing strategies, subscribe to my newsletter and follow me! Best, Laura Nowak Brown aka The West Coast Cyber Chick
8 minutes | a year ago
Cyber Tip: Google vs Yelp Reviews
There are all kinds of online review sites out there, Yelp and Google being two of the biggest. Question is, which one should you focus your efforts on? Short answer - focus on Google but don't ignore Yelp. Here's the Why: Google Reviews are Better for Business - Take Advantage! Google is the king of search these days and Google Reviews has surpassed Yelp and every other platform in the online review world. Google makes it easier to leave a review, there's less competition at the moment, they don't get filtered the way Yelp reviews do and they help your local search engine rankings. What more could you ask for!
9 minutes | a year ago
Cyber Tip: The Importance of Email Marketing
Despite the rise of social media and unsolicited spam email (which is never a good marketing strategy, by the way), email remains the most effective way to nurture leads and turn them into customers. The Importance of Email Marketing Despite the rise of social media and unsolicited spam email (which is never a good marketing strategy, by the way), email remains the most effective way to nurture leads and turn them into customers. There are many reasons you should make email marketing one of your top priorities, but here are a few of main ones: Email is the #1 communication channel. Did you know that at least 99% of consumers check their email on a daily basis? That can’t be said of any other communication channel. In fact, over half of the population in the US over the age of 15 check their email before they do anything else, including checking social media. (Source: Optinmonster) You own your list. On any social media platform, your account (along with all your fans and posts) could be suspended or deleted at any time, for any reason, without notice. However, you own your email list. No one can take those leads away from you. That my friend is called an asset. Higher Engagement Rate: For the “Big 3” of social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), the engagement rate isn’t even 0.6%. Compare that to email’s average open rate of 22.86% and even its click-through rate of 3.71%. And that’s assuming that your social media followers even saw your post to begin with. Email converts better. People who buy products marketed through email spend 138% more than those who do not receive email offers. In fact, email marketing has an ROI of 4400%. That’s huge! And if you are wondering if social media converts even better, think again: the average order value of an email is at least three times higher than that of social media. Email is one of the most effective ways to make sales online. According to MarketingSherpa, about 60% of consumers subscribe to a brand’s list to get promotional messages and deals compared to only 20% that follow brands on social media. Use email to connect with subscribers with relevant content. Engage, tell a story. Be authentic to your brand and your message. Be respectful and appreciative. Allowing someone into your email inbox is not unlike inviting them into your home. Be gracious How to Start Email Marketing Your email list. You also shouldn’t just email everyone who’s given you a business card as they’re not necessarily likely to purchase from you. Add a Call-To-Action (CTA) button on your website – SUBSCRIBE! Make it easy for people to click and subscribe. Highlight it in the top navigation bar or header; add it prominently on your home page. I like to have a CTA button in the sidebars of my sites and in the body of the content; that way they’re on every page. Ask existing clients to subscribe to your email list. Most will be happy to hear from you as long as you don’t bombard them with emails. Back to that respectful thing I mentioned. There are a lot of great tips and tools for growing an email list. I’ll cover that in later blog posts. Email Providers You can’t just mass email people from your Gmail account. I know it seems like the simple, inexpensive place to start, but no, don’t do it. You’ll be quickly marked as a spammer and you’ll find all of your outbound emails being blocked. Again, just no. Effective and “best practice” email marketing requires a reputable email service. Anti-spam law is changing. In the European Union (EU), a new set of rules called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was introduced in May 2018. These new rules affect every email marketer who sends emails to people in Europe. Eventually, in my opinion, we'll be seeing rules like GDPR being implemented in the US as well. A professional email service will give you the ability to manage your email list easily, create opt-out links and follow industry standard protocols. The other benefit of a reputable email marketing provider is that your campaigns will be mobile-friendly. Mobile has surpassed desktop in email readership and will only continue to grow. Don’t miss an opportunity to connect with a poorly designed email. Two of my favorites are Constant Contact and Mail Chimp. Personally, at least for the time being, I’m using Mail Chimp. My larger clients are all using Constant Contact. Constant Contact Constant Contact is one of the largest and fastest growing email marketing service in the world. WPBeginner.com rated Constant Contact as the #1 Email Marketing service in 2019. It is also one of the easiest to use and beginner friendly email marketing services. You can easily manage your email lists, contacts, email templates, marketing calendar, and more. Mail Chimp Mail Chimp is great if you have a smaller list or you’re just starting out. Their platform isn’t as robust as that of Constant Contact’s, but it works nicely for a small organization. Mail Chimp offers a forever free plan which allows you to send 12,000 emails for up to 2,000 subscribers. This plan is fairly limited because you don’t get features like send-time optimization, advanced segmentation, multi-variate testing, etc. You are also required to display their branding in your email. I cannot stress enough the importance of growing and maintaining an email list. And your list doesn’t have to be big to start, just start. Even if it just consists of a few friends and family. They know people… who know people. Get my drift? For me, hey at least I know my mom enjoys reading my newsletters. Hopefully you will too. This post was selected as one of the top digital marketing articles of the week by UpCity, a B2B ratings and review company for digital marketing agencies and other marketing service providers.
10 minutes | a year ago
Episode 1: Just Start Already!
SHOW NOTES Just Start #1 Welcome to the 1st episode of the West Coast Cyber Chick podcast! Get prepared to hear cyber tips, interviews with small business owners, tools, and techniques to grow your business. You’re going to find encouragement and support and most of all motivation to simply get started. It’s important to simply start working on and towards your goals and in doing so, you’ll be ahead of those who prefer to stay comfortable. If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not growing! What we’re talking about - Your Podcast Host, Laura Brown - Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone - It’s Time To Just Start Your Podcast Host, Laura Brown Laura Brown is a marketing guru, tech geek and podcast lover who has discovered that podcasting is a communication tool that simply can’t be ignored. Laura is filled with cyber tips and tools that she wants to share with small business owners to help you grow and to simply get started on whatever goals you have made for yourself. The key is to not only set goals, but to go after them. Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone Being comfortable is actually a bad thing and can make you feel stuck. If you want to see different results, then you need to take action which might make you feel uncomfortable. Laura shares how in trusting her own instinct and following her heart, she has been able to achieve her goals even when it’s meant going down a new and different path. It’s Time To Just Start You have goals and dreams, but the one thing that is stopping you from achieving them is that you simply haven’t started chasing them yet. It’s time to get off the couch and start moving down the path of progress. It won’t be perfect and results won’t happen overnight, but the goal is progress, not perfection. Just starting to work on your goals will actually put you ahead of so many others who have yet to take that leap. Whether you are thinking about a new business, growing your business or following your heart in any way, it’s time for you to just start! What’s sitting on your heart? LINKS MENTIONED Shoreline Marketing Website Laura Brown’s Email Get Off The Couch and Go TIMESTAMPS 2:55 (16 sec) – We all like comfortable and most of us do not like change, but to achieve a different result, you’ve got to make a different path and I’m no different from you or anyone else here. What I’ve been doing is trusting my instinct and following my heart. QUOTES I’m all about encouraging people. Sometimes all we need is support and some motivation. Follow your heart. Set some goals. Go after them. You’re already lapping everyone on the couch by getting up and starting. Progress, not perfection.
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