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Blogging: It Still Matters in Today’s Mobile Social World

In today’s hectic, social world, it’s important to find ways to stay relevant and engaging. One important, easy way to do this is through blogging. So, why do these supposed internet experts keep saying blogging is dead? Yeah, I don’t get it either. Blogging lengthens the time spent on your site, makes your site more relevant, allows you to promote and sell products, and brings in visitors.

5 Ways Blogging Helps Your Website Stay Relevant

1. Site Visits (Bounce Rate)

With the presence of a blog on your site, visitors spend more time on your website rather than quickly visiting and leaving. The technical term for this phenomenon is that blogging increases your bounce rate. This is because a well-written, interesting blog draws in visitors, and with the more time spent reading your blogs, the more time the visitor will spend on your site. This overall increases the likelihood that that visitor will interact with your site as a whole, and visit multiple pages rather than just one page of the website. In a world where the attention span of a person lasts just a few seconds, getting someone involved enough with your site can make a world of difference.

2. Influence

Blogging gives you the chance to show that you know what you are talking about!! Whether you are a site promoting a service or selling a product, having blogs that prove that you are worldly, knowledgeable, and up to date with current trends and media shows potential customers that you are a reputable, useful site. Proving this helps convince a potential customer to purchase your product over someone else’s–you’re more likely to buy or use the service of someone who seems like they know what they are doing and has proof to show for this.

3. Promotion and Sale of Products

Blogging allows you to promote and sell your products in a more subtle, creative way. Three out of five marketers rely on blogging to promote and sell products, according to Quora Creative. This means that with blogging, the likelihood of your products selling is increased. Blogging is proven to increase traffic on your site as well, and visitors are more likely to interact with other areas of your site if blogging is present. Promoting your product or services over multiple media on your site increases the likelihood that a potential customer will purchase your product.

4. Visitors

Most individuals looking for a product or service use Google in order to find what they are looking for. According to Ooze Media, the way the Google algorithm works means that the majority of sites people visit regarding a search are within the first two pages of that search. If you have more blog posts present on your site, you are more likely to appear within these first two pages of a Google search. With this increased likelihood, you raise your chances of interaction with your website.

5. Evergreen

An important concept many online entrepreneurs fail to understand is that of staying evergreen, or current, with blogging and social media posts. In today’s mobile social economy, visitors will judge your website negatively if they do not see current posts. You will appear to be an amateur even if the reality is that you are too busy crushing new business and cashing checks to blog. Spend some of those dollars on regular blogging to avoid that appearance!  

Calendar

Stay Relevant, Stay Successful!

Take my advice, blogging has proved to remain a successful part of today’s competitive social world. From influencers, to selling products, to bringing in visitors, blogging regularly and sharing it to your social channels creates a positive effect. Today’s online world is hectic and ever-changing, but one thing that is a fact is that blogging is still a winner.

Micro Jobs…Are They Worth it?

With the rise of the pandemic, the popularity of micro jobs has skyrocketed. With the lack of a steady income from many traditional workplaces, people are turning to micro freelance jobs in order to make up for the loss of funds.

What is a Micro Job?

Micro jobs are work that is generally completed in a short amount of time for a small amount of money. DollarSprout  suggests that most of the jobs are completed for somewhere between $3-$100. Some micro jobs are completed online, while others are completed in person. Surveys, copywriting, and even translating are all micro freelance jobs that can be completed online, while babysitting, dog walking, GrubHub, and house sitting are micro jobs that are completed in person.

For online micro jobs, many sites house the opportunity to promote yourself or find jobs to do. Sites that are popular for housing micro jobs include Fiverr and Upwork. Fiverr and Upwork are freelancing services where individuals are able to advertise for services that they provide, and others are able to purchase these services. In contrast, traditional freelancing is work that an individual provides on their own, generally not affiliated with a company, and typically paid by the hour or by the job completed. Freelancing as we once knew it also pursued a limited number of clients and engaged with that book of clients over extended periods of time—months or years.

Advice for Micro Freelancers

If you’re looking to get started on micro jobs, there are a few things to consider.

  • Make sure that the source you’re using for your micro freelance job is reputable. For example, if you’re looking to complete surveys for money, make sure that the site or application is reliable, trustworthy, and safe. There are scam sites out there, and all it takes is a quick google search to see if the site you’re checking out is okay. Indeed suggests that another easy way to tell if a site is a scam is by checking if it requires a fee to join—if it does, it’s typically a scam.
  • Understand that micro jobs require work. It’s a job, after all, and if it’s worth it and is going to pay out, it will require you to put in effort to get the job done.
  • Although micro freelance jobs are a good way to get paid from home, it can be hard to get started to earn a steady income. Often, micro jobs are used as extra cash, or extra income, rather than becoming your primary source. However, with hard work and dedication, it’s possible to market yourself well enough that your micro job can become your primary source of income. Sites like Fiverr and Upwork are great for this.
Calculator and dollar bills

Is Micro Freelancing Worth it?

Overall, micro jobs are worth it if you’re willing to put in the hard work it requires to find and complete the job. Beware of anything claiming otherwise! It takes dedication and marketing in order to establish a steady income from this kind of work, but is rewarding and allows you to work from home. Individuals finding success with these sorts of jobs are those that put in the time and effort it requires to not only get the job done but also to create a business from it.

The E-Commerce Boom During COVID-19

E-commerce website

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 Pandemic has dramatically changed life as we know it. It’s changed the way we socialize, the way we do business, and even our purchasing habits. By mid-March everyone was quarantined to their homes, causing most businesses to lose revenue. While nearly every other industry has had to make some major adjustments, e-commerce has continued business as usual. In fact, during quarantine, e-commerce sales have been stronger than ever!

Let’s take a look at this shift, including changes your business could implement right now that will help you get through the rest of COVID-19 and succeed in the long-run.

How Businesses Can Become More Focused on E-Commerce During COVID-19

COVID-19 has confirmed what’s already been happening the last few years: people love online shopping for the convenience. But now e-commerce isn’t just favorable for convenience. It’s popular for safety too! Those who were hesitant to switch to online shopping because they’d rather interact with a real person are now avoiding brick-and-mortar locations to avoid those same interactions.

Shopping online means consumers don’t have to worry about being coughed on or touching a doorknob that could be carrying coronavirus. It also means customers can continue living in their pajamas and not worry about finding their face mask.

Businesses that are exclusively online are thriving. Not much has changed for them. Businesses that have both an online storefront and traditional brick-and-mortar location may be hurting some, but if their online presence is solid, they are still staying strong during COVID-19.

Taking your business completely online may not be possible in your industry. But chances are you can push at least some of your business operations online. If you haven’t done that already, there’s a lot you can learn from the e-commerce businesses that are booming.

Focus on Fast Customer Service

Selling your products online shouldn’t mean your patrons experience any less customer service. Virtual customer service is essential when you’re running an e-commerce business. The e-commerce businesses that are succeeding right now have effective measures in place to answer customer questions. Instant messaging is the most common way to do this. Many companies even allow customers to send messages 24/7.

This is important because in the online marketplace consumers will have more than just basic questions about product details. They may have a hard time placing an online order, especially if it’s their first time really dabbling with online shopping. At the moment, many senior citizens are making e-commerce purchases for the very first time and need guidance on how to use the technology.

Don’t think offering 24/7 support sounds practical? You’ll be happy to know you don’t need to connect customers with real people. Chatbots are able to field the most common customer questions. You don’t have to expel any extra time or money on answering questions, and your customers will still be satisfied with the level of service you provide.

Integrate No-Touch Forms of Payment

Another benefit of shopping online during a pandemic is customers and employees don’t have to worry about spreading the virus through cash or credit cards. Some brick-and-mortar businesses have stopped accepting cash as payment to avoid this. Online shopping gives consumers and businesses peace of mind. No one has to worry about passing any germs along while making a payment.

Online shopping with a credit card

E-commerce businesses have taken convenient payment options to the next level. Companies that accept no-touch forms of payment like PayPal or ApplePay make online shopping even more convenient for consumers. Some businesses even accept bitcoin. When you start accepting these forms of payment, you’ll have greater customer satisfaction during the pandemic and in the long-run.

Implement Better Work-from-Home Strategies for Employees

While a lot of these things have to do with the customer experience, it’s also important that you’ve created a strong work-from-home strategy for your employees during quarantine. Although we all hope this is the last time the world will see a pandemic like coronavirus, it’s also a good time to evaluate your overall work-from-home strategy. That way, if your employees ever have to work from home for a long period of time in the future, your business can still thrive. If employees know working from home is an option, they will also have greater satisfaction working for your company.

Make sure you have reliable technology and tools in place to help everyone in your company work from home. This should include:

  • Searchable employee databases
  • Secure messaging channels
  • Internal social networking
  • Videoconferencing

Make sure these platforms are cloud-based and accessible with mobile devices. It’s important that you’re proactive about choosing platforms that work best for your company even if you don’t think you’ll need them. You don’t want to end up with employees trying to communicate with each other across several different platforms.

Create New Solutions for Providing Professional Services

 It’s not just retail businesses that are changing during the COVID-19 Pandemic. It’s service providers too. Service providers like real estate agents, personal trainers, and others have struggled to find their footing in a pandemic-shaped world. But that hasn’t stopped many of these providers from succeeding. The key is creating creative solutions for new streams of revenue. But that hasn’t stopped many of these providers from succeeding. The key is creating creative solutions for new streams of revenue.

Some companies have shifted to providing quotes via video chat. Personal trainers have begun leading virtual workout classes on platforms like Zoom. Real estate agents have been providing video tours for their clients. This may not be ideal, but in many cases, it’s the only option to keep providing services safely during a pandemic.

The Long-Term Impact of COVID-19 Buying Habits

It may seem the e-commerce boom is temporary. But chances are consumers who have been driven to e-commerce will continue to prefer it long after this is over. This is also true of late-adapters who may not have been going online to make purchases in the past. It’s essential that your business is prepared to meet the evolving demands of consumers. Start working now.

If you have a business that’s looking to up its online game, you’re going to need compelling sales copy. Strong Estate Marketing would be happy to write content for your site. We’ll set your business u for success for the rest of the pandemic and long after it.

How to Effectively Market Your Business During the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19

It’s no secret that the coronavirus has been hard on the economy, especially small businesses. Many businesses have been forced to close their doors to keep customers and employees safe. While they will hopefully be opening soon, some may never be able to open back up.

The coronavirus doesn’t have to be the end of the business you’ve worked so hard to build. By being intentional about your COVID-19 marketing strategy, you’ll be able to stay afloat even during these trying times. Here are a few of our top suggestions for your business.

1. Connect with Customers Personally

Everyone is feeling isolated right now. If you’re a small business that thrives on relationships, you can’t afford to let those relationships die for weeks or even months. As a business, you should always be taking advantage of social media, but you should be doing it now especially. Connect with your customers online. Encourage your followers to invite friends to like your page.

Right now is the time to empathize with your customers. It’s a rare occasion where you know one of the major things on everyone’s mind. Use that knowledge to your business’s advantage. Show your support for them in a personal way during this difficult time. If you’re investing in your customers even while business is down, they’ll want to invest in your business when things are up and running again.

2. Focus on Local SEO

In the past, have you gotten a lot of business from tourists or other out-of-town visitors? These types of businesses have been hit even harder because travel has decreased significantly. Your most powerful weapon to combat this problem is SEO. Make sure you’re targeting locals who won’t have to travel far to utilize your services.

If you don’t have the chops to handle this on your own, connect with an SEO strategist. They’ll guide you into an SEO strategy that will attract customers who are actually able to get to your business. If you invest in your SEO now, you’ll reap the benefits even when this pandemic is behind us.

3.Offer a Special Discount in Light of Recent Events 

It may seem counter-intuitive to offer customers a discount during such hard times. But with everyone more concerned than ever about where their hard-earned money is going, discounting is in your best interest. A bargain of any kind is the fastest way to get the attention of your customers, and it’s an effective way to close a sale.     

Business sale

Think about the product or service you offer that can best serve people right now. That’s the best thing you can discount right now to keep your business going!

4. Refresh Your Website

Have you been putting off updating your website for longer than you’d care to admit? You don’t have an excuse anymore! Make sure the design looks current. Even if there’s nothing wrong with your design, a new design could get the attention of new customers and gain their business.

Are there current photos of your team and/or business on your website? Is the information in your employee bios accurate? Do you also have your current hours listed? Make sure all this information is up-to-date to leave online visitors with an accurate, positive impression.

Could your written content also use some updating? If it’s anything less than captivating, it’s time to hire a professional writer. You’ll get copy that improves your conversion rate and optimizes your SEO.

Do you have a blog on your site? Now is the perfect time to start one or make sure you’re continuously updating it if you already have one. This is another way to make sure your loyal customers or clients don’t forget about you. It will also improve your SEO ranking.

You can also check up on the more technical aspects of your website during this time. Is it running fast enough? Is it secure? Are there any features it could use that you don’t already have? Dig deep and think about how you everything you can do to enhance your online presence!

5. Do What You Can to Help

With everyone hurting a little extra right now, there’s no shortage of opportunities to do good for others. And although you should be doing these kinds of things simply for the good of others, showing your willingness to help will also boost your business’s image.

When people do have a little extra money to spend, they’ll want to spend it on places they know are doing good—make sure one of those places is your business! Even if you don’t have any extra money right now, you can always donate your time by volunteering. You can help the elderly and immunosuppressed by delivering their groceries or hop on the bandwagon of sewing masks. Create a company culture of volunteerism by encouraging your employees to do the same.

Volunteering during the pandemic

6. Don’t Panic

These are scary, unprecedented times. The future is uncertain. But if you go into panic mode, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. Just like with any business move you’ve ever made, you should have a well-thought-out strategy. Don’t make rash decisions you’ll regret later. Every business move you make should have a clear line of reasoning.

Although it may be trite, the truth is what’s happening right now is unprecedented. It’s changing often, and no one has ever seen anything like it before. Because of this, your decisions should involve even more careful planning than usual.

7. Plan for a Post COVID-19 Boom

Things aren’t going to be this way forever. Eventually, this pandemic will be over, and when it is, businesses that have survived will likely experience a surge in sales. This does not mean you should spend money you don’t have now based on the promise of future sales. But it does mean you should be preparing to pull out all the stops to bring customers back once you can open your doors again.

It’s important to keep the future in mind when you’re developing your business strategy in the coming months. Everything you’re doing right now to market your business will have an impact later on when you reopen your doors again.

Plan Ahead to Survive

There’s no denying that dealing with the coronavirus is going to be a challenge for businesses in nearly every industry. And it’s going to be that way for some time. But the more you prepare right now, the more likely you will be to stay open and succeed in spite of COVID-19!

Why a Professional Content Writer is Essential to Your Business’s Online Presence

Content writer using laptop

Every good business strategy should incorporate blogging and well-written website content. Although great writing doesn’t necessarily come cheap, it’s not an area where you want to skimp. When you go the cheap route, you risk your reputation, your customers’ opinions, your website’s rank, and more. Here are some of the biggest problems you might encounter if you settle for a cheap content writer.

Cheap Writing is Less Readable

One of the main goals of your website should be readability. You aren’t going to get bonus points for using SAT words and long, flowery sentences. In fact, this will deter website visitors and ultimately harm your conversation rate. Your content needs to be readable by a wide group of people to attract the most customers.

Readability isn’t just important for clarity. It’s also important for your website’s rank. Readability has actually become an essential part of how Google ranks you. When your website ranks highly, more people will be visiting your website. Your conversion rate will also go up. On the other hand, if you’re relying on someone who isn’t a very experienced writer to create content, you’re harming your bottom line.

Writing clear, concise content is second nature to a professional writer. Although you can argue that readability is subjective, there are some benchmarks for readable content. One time-tested tool is the Flesch reading ease score. This tool shows how readable the content is based on the average number of syllables in the words and the average length of the sentences. It scores the content on a scale of 0 to 100 with 100 being the easiest to read.

Ideally, content from a professional writer should fall in the 90 to 100 range. This means the content can be easily understood by someone as young as 11-years-old. In contrast, a writer who overcomplicates content is limiting your audience.

Web content in particular needs to be easy to read. People who are looking for products or services online don’t want to read a graduate thesis. They want compelling content that’s easy to read and will hold their attention. That’s exactly what they’ll get when they hire a professional writer!

A Native English Content Writer is Worth Paying For

The internet can be so useful for hiring service providers, including professional writes. But, unfortunately, this can make it more difficult to spot writers who aren’t actually as great as they claim to be. Sometimes you may hire a person that you think is a formally-trained native English writer, but the content they produce is poorly-written English content.

If the writer you’ve hired delivers poorly-written content, you’ll have to edit it to ensure it make sense to customers. In the end, you’ll have lost money in addition to the time you spent editing by hiring the amateur writer.

When your website isn’t written in clear English, it obviously hurts readability. Once again, that makes your customers have a harder time understanding your content and damages the SEO rank. But it also makes you unprofessional. If you want to present yourself as an authority on whatever it is you’re selling, you must hire a native English writer.

SEO-Optimized Content Improves Your Website’s Rank

If you’re paying someone to create content for your website, it better be SEO-optimized! Incorporating SEO keywords into your website is one of the most important things you can do to improve your website’s rank. Make sure that whoever you hire to write your content has a firm understanding of SEO.

A good copywriter will also know how to avoid over-stuffing your content with keywords, a.k.a. “keyword stuffing.” Using too many keywords can actually be a problem that harms your search rank. A professional writer will strike the ideal balance of just enough keywords without it being overkill.

SEO isn’t just about keywords. A good professional writer knows how to properly format a blog with headings and concise paragraphs. This will also help your site rank better on Google.

Professional Writers Deliver 100% Duplication-Free Content 

Perhaps the worst outcome of buying cheap writing is plagiarism. It may shock you to know that plagiarism isn’t just something students do when they’ve slacked off in class. It’s something that writers will deliver to their paying clients. If you aren’t careful about the writer you hire, this could happen to you!

This video demonstrates the kind of poor (and duplicated!) content you could end up with from an amateur writer—and the quality you can expect from a pro!

Plagiarism makes you look bad. You need to make yourself look credible. Your content should position you as a subject matter expert that your clients can trust for high-quality service or products. If you’re stealing content from other sources, you’ll look like the opposite: a fraud.

Plagiarism is, of course, illegal. You shouldn’t be doing it period, and the writer you might hire to work on your website definitely shouldn’t be doing it. But you might be thinking, “Who cares?” No one will know if you’ve copied someone else’s content. But the truth is Google knows, and it will penalize you for having duplicate content by lowering your SEO rank.

A quality professional writer will be able to give you 100% duplication-free content. You should be able to verify this using the site Copyscape. This is the industry standard for checking on whether or not the content has been duplicated. Plagiarism may be an easy way to get content on your website, but it’s not worth the risks you’re taking to put it up. Duplicate-free copy is worth paying for!

Choose Your Content Writer Wisely—Or Suffer the Consequences

Clearly, quality writing is essential to your business, and it’s worth paying for! Does your website need content? Make sure you invest in an experienced content writer who knows what they’re doing!

We would love to create website content for your business or help you refresh your website if it’s in need of a facelift. No matter what you’re looking for, we promise to deliver content that’s readable, SEO-optimized, and duplication-free. Because we’re native English writers, you’ll also never have to worry about us delivering copy that doesn’t quite make sense.

5 Elements of a Marketing Plan You Should Understand Now to Launch Your Online Business

This is a guest post from Emerson De Oliveira, the founder and president of Negotium Concepts, LLC. We are thrilled to feature him on our blog.

With so many companies moving online, there’s never been a better time to seize the opportunity and launch your own online business. However, building a business from the ground up is no walk in the park. As an aspiring entrepreneur you should focus on efficient planning, but as a business owner, producing results is the ultimate goal. You should work smart and hard when building a brand.

An effective marketing plan will help your company understand the market that it targets and the competition in that space. It will help you understand the impact and the results of your marketing decisions and provide direction for future initiatives. Although marketing plans can vary depending on the industry, type of products, services, and the goals you want to achieve, there are certain essential elements that most plans include. So, here are my top five elements of a marketing plan you should understand now when launching your online business.

1. Target Audience

Who are you targeting? Your target market should consist of consumers that exhibit similar characteristics such as: age, location, income or lifestyle. Consumers that are most likely to buy your products and services, are likely to be the most profitable segment(s) for your business to service.

Once your target market(s) have been identified, you can focus your efforts on tailoring your marketing mix with the needs and expectations of the audience in mind. This may involve carrying out additional consumer research in order to gain deeper insights into consumers’ motivation, purchasing habits, and technology usage patterns.

2. Unique Selling and Value Proposition

The goal of any great business model is to have a high-profit product that customers want to buy. A highly marketable product is traditionally described as having a unique selling proposition.

For example, Whole Foods offers wholesome, organic choices in its stores. Domino’s Pizza grew rapidly because of its super-fast delivery. UGG boots are not only fashionable but also allow you to walk comfortably without socks. These are all unique selling propositions.

Your product also needs a unique value proposition. Value is what the product does for customers that they’re prepared to pay you for. A product can have unique features, but do they benefit the customer, and is the customer prepared to pay for your product?

3. Leverage on Solid Analysis

Ask yourself, “What are my company’s strengths and weaknesses? What are the external opportunities and threats in my industry?” Leverage on a SWOT and competitive analysis to help answer these questions.

  • SWOT is an acronym that stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. A SWOT analysis helps you understand internal and external factors that can make or break your success. The SWOT analysis process is a brainstorming technique. It’s designed to help you understand what might differentiate you from your competition and what resources you have to execute that opportunity. In the same breath, the SWOT framework helps you understand what might prevent you from capitalizing on those opportunities.
  • A competitive analysis is an analysis of your competitors and how your business compares. By evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your competition, you can begin to formulate how to give your company an advantage. A comprehensive competitive analysis helps you determine potential advantages and barriers within a target market around a product or service. It generally helps brands monitor how direct (and indirect) competitors are executing strategies like pricing, promotions, and distribution.
  • Narrow down who your top three competitors are. What are they doing well? What are they lacking? What can you do better? A competitive analysis will help you answer these questions. In addition to recognizing your strengths and weaknesses, keeping an eye on your competitors helps you anticipate shifts in the market, spot new trends, successful tactics, and stay on the cutting edge of what’s working within your niche.

4. Marketing Budget

How much are you planning to spend on marketing per month? Do you have a budget in place to hire additional marketing resources? Determine how big or small your marketing budget will be.

The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends spending seven to eight percent of your gross revenue for marketing and advertising if you’re doing less than $5 million per year in sales and your net profit margin—after all expenses—is in the 10 to 12 percent range. You should plan to spend two to five percent of your sales revenue on your marketing budget. 

5. Monitor Key Performance indicators

At the end of the day, the best way to judge your marketing’s success is by measuring its growth in sales revenue. Measuring your sales growth is vital to the long-term health of your company. Not only does it serve as a good indicator when it comes to strategic planning, it also allows for identification of growth trends.

Tracking your marketing KPIs helps validate your marketing plan. Thanks to the countless tracking tools available today, businesses have more opportunity for transparency in their marketing efforts than ever before. Get to know your marketing failures and fix them by tracking your performance indicators. Get to know your marketing successes and share them with your team.

Finally, your choices for marketing avenues are vast and include email, social media, advertising, guest blogging, direct mail, advanced software, etc. With so many marketing choices, you need a plan to determine the best course of action for your business. Many business owners create a marketing plan and then set it aside.

Your marketing plan is a road map providing you with direction toward reaching your business objectives. It needs to be referred to and assessed for results often. Now you have a better understanding of the five elements of your marketing plan. Get energized and get your business going!

7 Inexpensive But Effective Ways to Market Your Small Business

If you read our blog about investments for online startups, you know that marketing is one of the best places to invest. But if you’re a small business, you don’t necessarily have the capital to afford a clever, large-scale marketing campaign. You have to stretch those precious dollars and make every penny count! Here are seven ways to market your small business that won’t break the bank.

1. Reward Referred Customers with a Discount

Your customers will definitely start referring their friends if it means they get a discount. Any kind of referral program is smart. But the most effective way to create a referral program is to partner with another business.

You should choose a business that operates either online or is in close proximity to yours. They shouldn’t be one of your competitors but instead offer products or services that complement yours. Build a relationship with them that’s mutually beneficial. Whenever you successfully refer one of your customers to their business, that customer will get a discount and vice versa. This is convenient for buyers and incentivizes them to use your services. You’ll likely gain many new loyal customers.

For example, if you’re a professional photographer, you deal with a lot of clients who want their makeup professionally done, especially for special occasions like weddings. Find a local makeup artist whose work you believe in and form a relationship with them. Clients who use your referral to a makeup artist can receive a discount.

2. Apply for Awards

Some businesses are fortunate enough to be nominated for small business awards or titles like “Best Cup of Coffee in the Midwest” or “Most Fashionable Independent Clothing Boutique.” But did you know that sometimes you can apply for these kinds of awards? If you end up winning, you could be recognized online, in a print publication, or on social media. Either way, if you’re able to win an award—or even announce that you’re nominated—you’ll definitely turn some heads.

Any award is something to brag about! Add the award to your website and all your social media channels. If there’s a write-up somewhere, get a copy and hang it up in your shop with pride. This is great advertising that will take you nothing apart from a little time.

3. Invest Some Time in Email Marketing

If you’re like many businesses, you probably have some kind of email list (and if you don’t, start collecting them ASAP)! This is a great way to inform customers about special discounts and promotions.

Turn your emails into a marketing campaign. Send out a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly newsletter with exclusive content that will excite your readers. You can even have two separate email lists: one made of current customers and one of people who simply subscribe to your emails. This will help you be even more effective with your marketing strategies.

4. Participate in Guest Blog Posting

Blogging is an easy, effective way to market your business and get found online. Another way to use blogging to your advantage is guest posting. Find another business that offers complementary services to yours or that you have some other connection with. They just need to have a blog! Then trade a featured blog post on their site for a featured post of theirs on your site.

This is the perfect way to get people who may not otherwise read your blog to check out your website. And this could lead to new people buying your products or services. If you don’t have the time or the expertise to write one of these blogs yourself, hire a professional writer! It’s the best way to ensure you’re putting out consistent, high-quality writing that readers will value.

5. Enhance Your Blog with Eye-Catching Visuals

Although having good writing on your blog is important, it’s not necessarily enough to gain new customers. You need great visuals to truly capture your audience and make them want to purchase your services. Photos don’t need to cost a lot. You can find them on stock photo websites like Pexels and Unsplash if you’re not willing to spend the money on professional photos.

One of the best ways to add visuals to your blog is to insert an infographic. This is a way to give your customers valuable, in-depth information. You could try your hand at making your own infographic or if you can afford to pay extra, hire someone else to do it.

6. Increase Your Exposure on Social Media

Social media is one of the easiest ways to create a marketing campaign nowadays. But not every business is utilizing these platforms in the most effective way possible. You should be targeting consumers where they are most active on your social media.

Choose a platform that is the best fit for your industry. If you’re not getting a lot of engagement, you should consider switching to a different social media platform and focus your efforts there. Make sure you’re utilizing your social media accounts as much as you can. Post valuable content for your followers and engage with those who comment on and share your posts.

7. Participate in Speaking Engagements

Is there a local event where you could share some wisdom with an audience? It’s a great way to market your small business! Look for speaking opportunities at benefits and other events. You don’t have to necessarily need to have a Ted Talk worthy speech prepared. You can simply speak on a topic related to your business.

You may even get the opportunity to network while you’re at the event. Make connections with the people there and pass out some business cards. You never know what could lead to a valuable relationship down the line! All you need is a little time to make it happen!

An Effective Marketing Strategy Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive!

Marketing isn’t always one of the most fun aspects of owning a business, but it is one of the most important. All of these ideas prove that it doesn’t have to take a lot of money to showcase the benefits of your business. If you go about it strategically, there are lots of ways to effectively market on a budget.

7 Smart Investments for Your Online Startup

startup investments

When you’re building an online startup, you need to be careful about where you’re investing money. Your funds are finite. Protect them. It’s smart to DIY where you can to save money, but you should also expect to spend money in some areas to make money. Here are some of the best places to invest your funds when you’re just getting started.

1.    G Suite

Every online startup communicates largely via email. You should own the email address you’re using for those communications. It makes you look professional and prevents people from thinking your messages are spam. It’s also good advertising for your business.

But G Suite is about more than just email. You get more apps and features than you would with a free Google account. For example, the business plan includes an application for app development. You can use it to make your own apps for your business. In addition, when you’re paying for G Suite you own the contents of your Google Drive and get even more storage space. A business account also includes unlimited cloud storage.


2.    Graphic Design Software

Advertising is the perfect place to spend your money because you can usually see a clear return on investment. You’re spending money to get noticed, and getting noticed brings you business. Make sure you have some high-quality visuals that represent your business well online.

You don’t necessarily need to hire a graphic designer to do this work for you. With the online service Canva, you can create logos, infographics, flyers, and more. You can design based on templates or start from scratch.

If you have a little more design experience, you might consider investing in the Adobe Creative Cloud. With a monthly subscription, you can access one app of your choice or all the Creative Cloud applications like InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator. You’ll also get 100 GB of cloud storage to keep all your files safe.

But, Beware of Subscription Services!

It’s easy to see subscription services as great deals on critical tools you need, but don’t go overboard. Services like G Suite and the Creative Cloud are smart investments, but be careful they aren’t a drag on your precious cash flow. Don’t over-commit to subscription services. If you’re finding yourself not using a certain subscription to justify its cost, make sure you cancel the service.

3.    Professional Images

Another way to appeal to your customers/clients visually is through high-quality images. You could do this in a few different ways. The cheapest option is using eye-catching stock photos from websites like Pexels, Flickr, and Unsplash.

If you subscribe to the Creative Cloud, you can also get Adobe Stock photos, including 10 free images for your first month. But don’t underestimate the power of paying for personalized photos as well. At a bare minimum, make sure you have some professional headshots of you and your team (if applicable) for your website and your professional email accounts.

4.    Marketing

Marketing is always a worthwhile investment, but especially when you’re first starting out and no one knows who you are. If you offer a professional service, Fiverr is a great platform where you can easily be found by people all over the world who need your services. Facebook ads are also a great way to target social media users, and they are more effective than Google Ads at focusing on a narrow audience. Figure out who can use your services and target them with your ads. You can use your Canva or Creative Cloud chops to create aesthetically-pleasing ads.

5.    A High-Quality Website

Spend money on your website. As an online startup, your website is your storefront and can do a TON of heavy-lifting for you. If you want your customers to come inside, you need your storefront to be inviting. Not only should it draw customers in, but it should also convince them to invest.

For an online business, the website’s effectiveness is also a huge part of customer service. Your website should be fast, efficient, and safe. Hire a reputable web designer or use a company like Squarespace or WordPress to build your website using templates.

Don’t forget about the writing. Your website should have plenty of content, but not so much text that it overwhelms users. Make sure you balance the text with images to keep users interested. The content should be engaging; from the home page to the product descriptions to the about page. You may need to hire a professional writer to fill your website with high-quality content – but it’s worth the investment.

6.    Reliable, Powerful Technology

As an entrepreneur, you’re going to spend a lot of time on your laptop. Make sure you get a reliable laptop but don’t go overboard with the price. Something too cheap won’t last you long, but something too expensive will drain your funds quickly. Remember, you can always upgrade in a couple years after you start making more money. Lenovo’s Yoga and Apple’s Mac are two brands of laptops that have all the capabilities you’ll need.

You need to be connected to the internet as much as possible so you can see orders and address customer questions. When you can’t get to your computer, you need to be able to get to your smartphone. You probably already have a smartphone, but is it good enough? Invest in the smartest smartphone you can find, but try to keep it as long as possible. Upgrading too quickly can also drain your funds without a lot of benefits to justify the expense.

But, Stay Away from Tablets

What you do not need for your online startup is a tablet. Don’t waste your money. A laptop will be able to do everything a tablet does and more. Many laptops also double as tablets. Between your smartphone and laptop, there is absolutely no need for a tablet.

7.    Microsoft Word

Some businesses will have a need for software and applications that others won’t. But most online startups involve some kind of writing. Microsoft Word is the industry standard, and it’s worth investing in the latest version – don’t try to work around this. Although you can do a lot with Google Docs, it will not have all the same capabilities as Microsoft Word. You’ll look much more professional with Microsoft Word.

The Right Tools Set You Up for Success!

Some of these investments might be subject to what industry you’re working in. But these are all great places to invest funds for your online startup. With these tools at your side, your startup is set up for success!

Artificial Intelligence Won’t Take Over the Copywriting Space. Here’s Why.

artificial intelligence copywriting

People all over the world are worried about AI taking their jobs. As content creators and copywriters, we’re no different! We see the technologies that are starting to generate content with minimal human input. Granted, AI writing technologies still have a long way to go, as you can see from the AI-generated Harry Potter books… but as the technology is evoloving, should we be concerned?

The verdict: Although AI will definitely make some sort of impact on the copywriting/content creating profession, we’re not intending to switch professions anytime soon. Here’s why.

Repetitive Jobs Are Easy to Automate, but Creative Jobs Are Still Very Difficult for AI.

First of all, it’s important to understand how AI is taking jobs. Repetitive, routine-based jobs like truck drivers and fast food workers are the first jobs to go. You’ve probably already seen evidence of this at your local fast food restaurant where you can order through a machine rather than a cashier. AI has by no means wiped out all these jobs yet, but they are disappearing at an increased rate.

They will continue to disappear before jobs that require more critical thinking and creativity (like copywriting jobs) become vulnerable to automation. Creating content is not repetitive. It’s subject to the needs of each individual client. So, automation is going to have a harder time taking over the field.

AI Writers Aren’t Very Reliable (Yet).

One current example of an AI writer is called GPT-2 from OpenAI, which is supposedly one of the most powerful and accurate AI writers currently available. OpenAI has produced several examples of AI-written content, including writing based on The Lord of the Rings, the Civil War, and more. The GPT-2 is only able to generate “reasonable” pieces of writing half the time. A copywriter that only writes “reasonable” content half the time wouldn’t be able to stay in business for very long. Copywriters are prone to mistakes, but, at this point, copywriters are much more consistent and reliable than their AI counterparts.

Artificial Intelligence Doesn’t Create. It Replicates.

One of the major problems with using AI as a copywriter is that AI can only replicate what already exists. It’s unable to create truly original content. All the AI writers that exist so far must be “fed” articles and content that a human wrote. They mix up and rewrite the existing content to create something new—or something that at least seems new. This is how GPT-2 works.

Other automated writing software like AI Writer and Word Ai are all about researching and rewriting human-written content. They are incapable of creating cutting-edge content on brand new information. This means that currently, AI writers are incapable of writing content for a brand-new company’s website or releasing breaking news for the first time. AI may be cutting-edge technology but when it comes to producing new and interesting content, AI writers will automatically fall behind.

AI Can’t Relate to Human Emotion.

One of the first things we were taught as writers was to engage with readers. Typically, this means appealing to a person’s emotions. This type of writing is effective for advertisements, website content, blog posts, and more. AI will have a disadvantage in any of these circumstances because artificial intelligence is obviously incapable of human emotion.

Copywriters are storytellers. Even if their writing takes the form of web content or a social media post, it’s grounded in some type of story. These stories could be from customers or company founders. Artificial intelligence can’t create personal, engaging content because it doesn’t have any personal stories to share. That makes it more difficult for AI to engage with consumers.

AI Writing Doesn’t Stand Out.

AI cannot make sense of human nuance. For example, the common everyday expressions that you and I take for granted are completely lost on artificial intelligence. Things like “Don’t put your eggs in one basket” or “Out of the frying pan, into the fire” are nonsensical to machines. Research scientist Janelle Shane even proved this when she asked a neural network to write new idioms based on 2,000 classic proverbs. The results? Hilarious expressions that don’t even make grammatical sense such as “A fox smells it better than a fool’s for a day” and “A good face is a letter like a dog.”

This also points to AI’s inability to take a nuanced approach to pretty much any topic. They will always want to write about things in black and white. And humor? AI has yet to master making writing funny. Ultimately, all of this points to the same thing: AI writing is boring.

AI Can Write Data-Heavy Text.

Although AI won’t replace copywriting jobs, it does have the ability to change the job. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Certain types of writing lend themselves to AI more than others. For instance, artificial intelligence is able to handle the kind of dense, technical writing that many writers might be intimated by. And AI can do it with better accuracy than a person. This could even serve as a good starting point for a writer who is struggling with a topic. The AI could write the more difficult, factual aspects of the text, and the copywriter could add in story and emotion to make it more engaging.

Acritical Intelligence Saves Copywriters Time.

AI can also help save copywriters time. Copywriters and professional writers in the future can use AI to do mundane tasks like help with business reports and even some journalism. For example, The Washington Post has utilized the artificial intelligence robot Heliograf to write simple sports coverage, including tweets and some articles. Even The Post admitted that Heliograf will not be replacing journalists on the staff any time soon. Rather, it frees up journalists to concentrate their efforts on more “in-depth reporting.”

Copywriters Will Have to Adapt.

Although AI may not be able to replace copywriters, it will still make a major impact on the industry. Copywriters who want to keep their jobs can’t get married to the old ways of doing things simply because they are tradition. Just like copywriters today have had to adapt as the advertising world has become increasingly digital, copywriters in the future will have to adapt by integrating artificial intelligence.

Of course, we’re more than a little biased in saying all of this. At Strong Estate, we do believe copywriting in the future will likely be done with the assistance of AI… not done completely by AI. We look forward to seeing how it could help us out and change our field for the better! As always, if you’re in need of creative copywriting for your business, you can order your content today.

7 Ways Blog Writing Helps Your Business Succeed

professional blog writing - strong estate marketingHave you thought about adding a blog section to your business’s website? If you haven’t, you should! No matter what type of industry you’re in, blog writing can benefit your business in ways you can’t afford to miss out on. Not convinced yet? Here are 7 ways a business blog can help your company thrive.

Blog Writing Drives Traffic to Your Website

Blogging increases your website’s SEO (search engine optimization). If your blog is producing consistent, relevant content, Google will reward your website by ranking it higher in the search results. This takes time, but if you stick with it, you’ll start to see positive results. You’ll get more traffic on your website and start making more sales!

people with laptops - strong estate marketingIt Builds Your Following

If you’re ranking well for SEO, some people will find your blog without ever having heard of your company. Take advantage of this opportunity. Don’t just post something and move on. Engage with the people who are commenting on your blogs. You can even encourage people to comment on your blog by posing a question or two at the end of every post. Just keep it relevant to the topic at hand. If there are times when you get negative feedback, you should still reply back. Consumers appreciate businesses that show an active interest in them as individuals. So, like and reply to their comments whenever you can.

It Helps You Learn About Your Customers

You can also use the comment section of your blog posts as a way to glean information about your consumer base. How old are the people commenting? Where are they from? How did they hear about your company? All of this information gives you a better idea of who is using your products and what demographics you might be missing. If you run an e-commerce-only business, blogging is one of your few opportunities to engage with customers. Don’t let this opportunity go to waste. Act on the information you learn by continuing to do what you do well and adjusting in the areas where you might be weak.

woman reading blog post - strong estate marketingBlog Writing Provides Valuable Information

Sometimes what you want to say about a product doesn’t neatly fit into a product description. Blogging gives you a bigger platform where you can get more in-depth about how your products can benefit others. You can even share some personal stories about how your products have helped you or the people you know. Maybe you have some tips and tricks on how to effectively use your products. Why not blog about them? Blog writing also gives you the opportunity to capitalize on trends and current events and tie them back to your products. If you’re noticing any patterns with customer concerns, your blog is a place where you can effectively address those concerns.

It Brings Your Social Media to Life

Having a strong social media presence is a must for all businesses today. Whether you own a restaurant, sell your artwork, or design dog toys, you need to be utilizing social media as a marketing tool. If you’re not really sure what to post, creating a business blog will instantly increase your content across social media platforms. And it will give people a new reason to follow your business’s social media accounts.

Interesting content gets shared on social media, even if people aren’t familiar with the company who’s writing it. This will not only increase traffic to your blog but also your website. Many of the people who check out your blog will want to learn more about your business. Ultimately, this will lead to more sales.

social media icons on phone - strong estate marketingIt Helps You Become a Memorable Brand

If you’re regularly posting high-quality content to your blog, people will have a hard time forgetting about your business. Your posts will be showing up on their social media and in their inbox. If they’re seeing more from your business, they’ll be thinking about your business. And if they’re thinking about your business, there’s a greater likelihood that they will buy your products or use your services.

And, It Makes You an Authority in Your Field

Blogging helps you show off a little. When you’re frequently blogging about topics that are relevant to your industry, you can show people that you’re knowledgeable and experienced. Your readers will start to see you as an authority in your industry. If you’re ranking well for SEO, people will also be more likely to trust your business. Consumers tend to see the top search results as the most credible ones. When people see you and your business as credible, you’ll start seeing more dollar signs.

Trust Your Blog to a Professional Blog Writer!

If your blog doesn’t have high-quality and consistent content, you won’t experience any of these great benefits. By hiring a professional blog writer, you can rest assured that your blog is in good hands! A professional blog writer won’t make the punctuation or grammar mistakes that will cause you to look unprofessional. They’ll look at your business with a fresh perspective, come up with interesting topics, and keep customers engaged.

Your blog represents your business. Make sure you’re presenting your business to the public the right way. Hire a professional blog writer to ensure your business blog is the best it can be!

strong estate marketing logoYou can get in touch with us or order your content right now if you’re interested in blog writing—we work with a wide variety of clients all over the world, and we can’t wait to learn more about your business!

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