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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!

How to Boost Your Social Media Presence

boost your social media presenceYour business needs to have a social media presence. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, if you’re a brick and mortar store or an ecommerce business. Customers expect to see you on social media. Here are 7 ways to boost your business’s social media!

Use Platforms Appropriately

You should create accounts for your business across multiple social media platforms to reach the widest and most diverse audience. But each of those platforms is different and shouldn’t be treated the same. For instance, you obviously can’t write very much on Twitter since there’s a 280-character limit. But that doesn’t mean you should simply copy and paste a tweet onto a Facebook post. You have the ability to expand your message, and your audience will expect you to do so.

Engage Your Business’s Social Media Followers

Use your business’s social media accounts as a way of creating a dialogue between you and your potential customers. Like and reply to the comments you receive on your posts. Enable direct messaging so your customers can easily contact you, and check those messages regularly.

Update Your About Section

A lot of people visiting your social media accounts will be trying to learn about your business, maybe for the very first time. If they can’t easily find the information they’re looking for, don’t expect them to give your business. Make sure the information in your bio or about section is up-to-date. On Facebook, include your business’s hours and always provide a link to your website.

Be Consistent

If you’re not regularly creating content and engaging your followers, you’re going to be forgotten. Having social media accounts is useless if you’re not consistently using them and putting your business out there. Social media users have short memories. If they don’t see your business’s posts regularly coming up on their feeds, don’t expect them to remember your business.

Stay Relevant

The best way to grab the attention of followers is to stay current. Use hashtags, make references to pop culture, and stay informed about current trends. This will help your content appeal to a wider range of people, not necessarily just the customers you already have.

Set Goals

Be intentional with your social media. Think about who the people you want to reach are and how you’re going to measure whether or not you’re successful in reaching them. Make goals for yourself. These can be both goals of what you want to gain in a certain amount of time and goals of what you want to do over a length of time. For example, you could have the goal that you want to gain 50 followers in a month and a goal to make 2 tweets a day, 5 days a week. You’ll have something to work towards and be more motivated to keep posting.

Monitor Your Progress

Don’t just post to your business’s social media accounts. Collect data on your posts. What posts are getting the most likes? What about comments and shares? Experiment a little and find out what the best way to maximize the impact of your posts is.

Social media is an easy way to help your business! By improving your business’s social media, you’ll reach more people, and that will turn into more sales!

7 Signs Your Website Is Outdated

signs your website is outdatedWhether you like it or not, your website is a huge part of your company’s reputation. Having an attractive, easy-to-use, helpful website is essential! Outdated sites can give the wrong impression of your company or brand. Here are some of the signs your website is outdated.

It’s Not Mobile-Friendly

Over 52% of website traffic comes from a mobile device. All those people are potential clients! This might be their first and only impression of your company, so make it a good one. If your website doesn’t look good on a cell phone, then you know it’s time to give it an update. Test it by looking it up on your phone: Can you understand how it works? Is it clear? Does it look good? If not, you need to work with your web developer to optimize your site for phones and tablets.

There Isn’t Enough White Space

Using color can capture a reader and draw in attention, but overdoing it can have the opposite effect. Dark blue, brown, and black backgrounds were popular in the early days of the Internet, but now, they just look extremely dated. And, while it may seem fun to use trendy colors, trends change quickly and drastically and show how outdated the site is. It’s better to use your brand or company colors in small amounts. If you want to use bright colors, use a muted overlay and break up the space with white areas to give your reader a breath.

Your Readers Have to Wade Through Lots of Text

Always assume your readers have a short attention span. You must capture your reader’s interest right away.  By capturing your reader’s attention right away, they’re more likely to stay on the website and purchase your products or services. Make your point at the beginning.

Your Photos Are Dated and Low Quality

Are your photos small and low resolution? Or do the people in the picture wear shoulder pads and rock a perm? 🙂 The quickest way to know a website is outdated is by looking at the pictures. It’s time to change out the images when they no longer reflect what the brand or company represents.

There Isn’t A Blog

Do you have a blog? You should! They’re a marketing tool to drive more traffic your way. Search engines love fresh content.  Using keywords, internal links, and backlinks, you’ll get more traffic and a higher retention rate. You’ll also establish yourself as an authority in your field. And, the helpful information you offer is a great bonus to your customers.

You’re Not Integrating Social Media

I’ve been to websites where I couldn’t find their Facebook or Instagram links, and I found it quite annoying! Not having social media attached to your website means you’re missing out on opportunities. Tying in your social media is not only helpful to customers who are looking for your social accounts, but if they follow you, it reminds them to come back again and remain your customer. Having a digital presence is important and social media is key. Make sure you have yours attached to your site!

Your Site Loads Slowly

40% of people will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Using outdated software can slow your website down, causing people to leave before they’ve even checked the content. Test your website to check its speed. And, if you want to use videos, try using an off-service site like YouTube. If your site is loading slowly, work with your web developer to speed it up.

What’s wrong with this website?

With your newfound knowledge, you can see that this is an example of an outdated website. With more white space and a new, modern design, it would be much more successful!

outdated website example

Should I Add Clickbait To My Website?

clickbait is bad for your businessClickbait can be a lot of things: profitable, useful… and downright weird. Website owners can use it to make money and generate more traffic. We all like to earn some easy cash and draw more attention to our online presence! So should you use it on your website? Here’s what you need to know.

What is Clickbait?

According to Dictionary.com, it is:

A sensationalized headline or piece of text on the Internet designed to entice people to follow a link to an article on another web page.

Due to the vast amount of clickbait on the Internet, it’s clear that it works. And the more outrageous it is, the better! Most clickbait articles center around “shocking” news or celebrity gossip, making bold claims to grab peoples’ attention and make them feel like they are missing out. You’ve probably seen the “Dermatologists Hate Him!” or “This One Weird Trick Will Help You Lose Weight.” Or maybe you’ve seen articles like

“Celebs You Didn’t Know Sadly Passed Away,”

“Why Hollywood Won’t Cast These Child Stars,”

“False Facts About Quinoa You Always Thought Were True.”

Yes, those are all real clickbait articles, and no, I’m not going to link to them. Basically, clickbait is an article with a really compelling title, but it doesn’t usually deliver on its promise.

So, Should You Use Clickbait?

Clickbait companies really want you to add their widgets to your site. They’ll even pay you to do this. Just check out this compelling argument by a major clickbait company. They promise to: “Grow your audience and revenue without compromising quality,” delivering “100% pure editorial content” and more! Sounds good, right? But there’s a catch.

Let’s say you add one of these widgets to your site.  You’re successfully click-baiting clientele to your site, but despite Zergnet’s claims, you generally will be compromising quality.

You’ll lose your readers’ trust

Using clickbait can cause your audience to lose trust. Once you lose that, well, gaining it back is nearly impossible. Often, you see clickbait along the headlines of “Can’t believe they died!” with a picture of Tom Hanks and once you click the link he’s nowhere on the list. A lot of the times the title is filled with an empty promise, “How to lose 10lbs in a day!” and then selling a diet program that takes months.

People will become cautious to click

Clickbait lingers on the line of dishonesty and it exaggerates (or even fabricates) topics to the point of lies. If you fool people too frequently with false clickbait titles, they’re less likely to click in the future.

Irrelevant topics fail to attract your desired audience

Clickbait can also attract the wrong sort of audience. While political clickbait about Kanye West and Donald Trump might seem like a great way to funnel traffic to your site, angry blog and social media comments left behind might detract from any traffic gains you’ve made. Chances are, this clickbait will have absolutely nothing to do with your business or blog. If that’s the case, you shouldn’t be using it.

Clickbait traffic will muddle your data

Clickbait is likely to muddle your site’s analytical data. Say, you’re getting over half a million hits on one link. While you might be getting some high numbers, analytics could be useless when looking for advertising demographic data.

The Verdict

While clickbait can draw attention and a new audience to your site, most website owners should not be using it. Running a celebrity gossip site? Go for it! Otherwise, stick to your own topics and grow your audience organically. That extra revenue from the clickbait companies just isn’t worth it.



15 Real Estate Marketing Tips

real estate marketing tipsAs a real estate agent, you’re an expert at marketing… marketing properties, that is. Marketing yourself is entirely different. Real estate is highly competitive, and if you don’t snag your clients’ attention, another realtor will! Here are several tips to help you establish credibility, gain new clients, and create strong connections.

1. Stay Consistent with Social Media

Social media is essential! And you can’t just post once a month. You need to be on a regular schedule. Get familiar with the popular social media platforms and create content that your clients will appreciate. Share blogs and articles with tips and tricks. Post photos of the homes you’ve sold, complete with the happy, smiling new homeowners (of course, get their permission first!). You can also share great new listings in your area and share your own website or blog.

2. Market Yourself on Zillow

90% of buyer will house hunt online. Zillow is the largest real estate website and gets over 160 million hits per month! Zillow Premier Agent allows you to advertise on local Zillow and Trulia listings, and in addition to posting new listings, you can also create a profile for yourself. Make sure to share a little bit about yourself to catch peoples’ attention and get them to call you up. Here’s how to create your free agent profile on Zillow.

3. Be a Part of Local Events

Online profiles are great, but nothing beats face-to-face engagement. Being a part of local events will you meet people. It’ll also help you showcase your knowledge and expertise as a realtor. You could have a booth at a local festival, sponsor an event in your town, or have a float in a parade. There are so many ways to connect and engage with the community if you put in a little effort!

4. Offer Less-Common Services, Like Video Walkthroughs

If you have an edge over your competition, you can market that to your advantage. For example, if you offer video walkthroughs on listings and most other realtors don’t offer videos, you have an immediate edge. You just have to advertise the fact that you offer these services and explain to clients why they are so valuable.

5. Create an Eyecatching Logo

This is one of the most important elements of your brand. A good, attractive logo will help you attract customers. They’ll see your logo all over town and recognize it as your brand. A bad logo can be confusing, it can look outdated, and it can make you look unprofessional.

6. Consider Livestreaming/Taking Video on the Job

People are naturally curious. They also spend a lot of time on social media! Use this to your advantage and let people see some of the behind-the-scenes work of being a realtor. Facebook Live and Instagram Stories are a great way to do this. You could livestream during an open house or other public event, explaining to viewers what you’re doing and why. Or you could videotape yourself while you’re staging a home, giving helpful tips at the same time.

7. Make Sure Your Website is Up to Date

Be sure to have an easy-to-use, aesthetically-pleasing website to showcase yourself and your work. Clients should be able to find your current and previous listings, reviews, and your blog on this site. It should be branded with your logo and include high-quality professional photos of yourself and the homes you’re selling.

8. Use High-Quality Photos

Whether on listings, social media, your website, or your print marketing, your photos need to be appealing and eyecatching. To accomplish this, you need a professional photographer. If your photos are better than other local agents’ photos, you automatically have a great advantage over them.

9. Write Blog Posts on Your Website

Build your audience by regular posting on your website’s blog. Give people helpful hints and tools for homebuyers and homesellers. You can even add some content about your day to day life to create a better relationship with consumers.

10. Install Google Analytics and Check it Frequently

Google Analytics helps website owners keep up to date with all sorts of metrics and information as it relates to the content and your website visitors. If the vast majority of people are leaving your site without contacting you, Analytics may be able to help you figure out why. If you suddenly have tons of people visiting your website, you can figure out where they came from. And if you post blogs, you can find out which ones are more popular than others. This can help you plan your blogs for the future.

11. Make Yourself Easy to Get Ahold of

Have your business contact information on every page of your website. Print it on every card or brochure. Let any potential clientele know how to reach you and make it easy for them! As soon as you have them on the line, you can personally speak with them to convince them of why they need your services.

12. Make Sure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly

As stated before, 90% of buyers house hunt online. Make your site mobile friendly and easy to use. In addition, consider creating your own app for more convenience.

13. Consider a Niche

If there’s a lot of competition in your area, then find a niche. Maybe you could target families with young children, pet owners, or real estate investors—just to name a few. You could focus on a specific price point (lower end or higher end) or you could zero in on a certain neighborhood that no one else seems to be targeting.

 14. Get Branded Items

Keep your name in people’s minds by having some branded freebies. This helps you spread the word all over town! Magnets, pens, and other items make good freebies to hand out to clients and to give away at local events.

15. Ask For (And Use) Testimonials from Past Clients

If your past clients are really happy with your services, they’ll be glad to provide a short testimonial. Amp it up even further by asking them specific questions and by including a photo with the testimonial. Use these testimonials on brochures, mailings, social media, and your website.

How to Connect with People Through Social Media

unzeenu connect with people through social media

This post is sponsored by UnzeenU, an innovative new communications tool to connect with friends, family and the general public. Learn more at UnzeenU.com

Networking and Building Friendships on Social Media

If you meet someone and you want to get in touch with them later or learn more about them, a great way to do it is to get connected on social media platforms. Here are the most common social media platforms and how to find people on them.

Facebook—You can look up Facebook users by entering their first and last name, their phone number, their school name and graduation year, their company, or their email address into the search bar. Another way, if you have mutual friends, is to go to your mutual friend’s page and search through their friends list until you find the person you’re looking for.

Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat—You can try searching their name in the search bar, though this doesn’t always work because people don’t always have their real names attached to these accounts. If the person was in the same location or at the same event as you, you could try searching through location tags. Searching location tags can be tedious, but you might find them if they happened to post something tagged with the location or event where you met them.

How Can I Connect with People Through Social Media If I Don’t Know Their Name, Number, or Username?

Have you ever met someone, forgot to ask them for their name or phone number, and later wished you knew how to get into contact with them?

Maybe a stranger helped you chase after your dog through the park when he escaped from his leash, and you want to thank them. Perhaps someone “paid it forward” and bought your coffee as a random gesture of kindness. Or you struck up a conversation with someone at an event, but then they got swept into the crowd before you could exchange contact information or finish your conversation.

Technology makes it easier to connect with people. But traditional methods have their limitations. To call or text someone, you need to know their phone number. To add them as a friend on Facebook, you need to know their name. To add them on Snapchat, Twitter, or Instagram, you need to know their handle or username—which might have their name attached to it, but it might be totally different.

To get around this confusion and find people more easily, you need a new social media platform. Don’t get us wrong—there’s nothing wrong with the existing formats! Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram all have a place. And, brand-new social media platforms are sure to appear as time goes on, maybe even dethroning the social media giants. Keep your favorite social media platform around—just keep an open mind to the new ones!

UnzeenU: Expanding the Possibilities for Networking and Connecting

UnzeenU gives you the power to reconnect with people, develop friendships, and send people messages without even knowing their phone number or name. Through “message tagging” technology, you can send messages to any other UnzeenU user.

With this new communications platform, you don’t have to know your recipient’s name, phone number, or personal details—though, you can send messages based on name or phone number. You can send messages based on the person’s location, timestamps, events attended, vehicle registration number, and more. Visit UnzeenU.com to learn more.



How to Avoid Plagiarism When Writing for the Web

avoid plagiarism - strong estate marketingIn school, students are taught to avoid plagiarism from day one. Every high school and college has an academic dishonesty policy, and every professor makes sure to include it in his or her syllabus. The consequences of plagiarism are serious: failing papers, flunking classes, and even getting kicked out of school. But after you graduate, the plagiarism is still serious—and the consequences can be even greater.

Why is plagiarism such a big deal?

You can get fired or discredited

If you plagiarize in the workplace, there’s a good chance you’ll get fired, especially if writing is a major part of your job. Plagiarizing erodes trust and damages reputations—not only for you personally, but also for your business. Customers may no longer trust you, and they may stop giving you business if they find out you have stolen someone else’s work.

People can find you out

There are a vast number of plagiarism-checkers available online. If you are plagiarizing from anyone notable—or simply anyone who cares about getting attributed—they will be checking to see who has been using your content. Copyscape is what we use at Strong Estate. It is one of many online tools that checks to see where your original words have appeared online. Editors and project managers often use these tools to make sure their writers are not stealing other peoples’ work. If a writer finds that you have been using their content, they most likely will ask you to take it down and could easily get you into trouble.

Plagiarism makes you look bad

When you plagiarize, you send two messages: laziness and lack of intelligence. Plagiarizing is lazy. Proper citing and original writing take time and hard work. If you’re not doing either, it shows people that you don’t care about doing your job correctly. Plagiarism can also make you look unintelligent. It shows that you didn’t have anything original to say.

How to Avoid Plagiarism


Quoting is probably the easiest, safest way to incorporate another author’s ideas into your writing with plagiarizing. Keep in mind that you can overuse quotations. Your writing needs to be your own; you shouldn’t stuff it full of exact quotations from other writers, even if you do attribute them to the author.

Side note: With the internet, you have the ability to hyperlink directly to the original author’s website, which is a super-easy way to cite. Far easier than making an MLA bibliography!


Paraphrasing is another way to use another author’s words without plagiarizing.  Paraphrases also require proper attribution. They don’t require quotation marks, but once again, linking to the original author’s website might be a good idea. When you paraphrase, make sure you have a good understanding of the original author’s intent in context. When you misunderstand the meaning of a piece of writing and inaccurately paraphrase it, you are committing another form of plagiarism. Once again, when you paraphrase, hyperlink to the webpage where you found the information.

Plan ahead

You should have the idea for your writing and an outline before you begin your research. You may get more ideas through your research, but if you don’t have some kind of outline beforehand, you may be tempted to take the entire outline from another piece of writing on the same topic. This will also help you narrow down your research and make the writing process quicker and more efficient.

Take good notes

Make sure you’re not writing in a hurry when you begin. Good writing takes time. If you’re in a hurry or disorganized, you may end up forgetting to attribute one of your notes or mixing up your sources. You may also forget what notes are exact quotes, which are paraphrases, and which are original ideas. When you return to your notes, you most likely won’t remember these details and won’t appropriately attribute. Don’t ever make the mistake of copying and pasting directly from a website into your notes. Just like they teach in school, figure out how to take notes in your own words. Ultimately, what you write will be better and you will have a greater understanding of your topic.

Plagiarism is very serious and you shouldn’t take it lightly, whether you’re in school or in the business world. But if you consciously think about how to avoid plagiarism, it’s really not hard at all!

If you’ve found a piece of content you would like to have on your website, but are concerned about plagiarizing, take advantage of Strong Estate’s rewriting service. With this service, our professional writers will take the content you want to use and completely rewrite it into something original. Here’s our process:

  • We open up a brand-new document next to the content that you want us to rewrite.
  • We never touch the copy/paste buttons.
  • Using original vocabulary, sentence structure, and organization, we create a brand-new piece of writing that will pass Copyscape and other plagiarism checkers, while still retaining the basic information that you want to portray.

If you’re ready to get started, use the contact form below to get ahold of us immediately, or Order Your Writing today!


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