5 Business Mistakes to Avoid in 2017

Today’s Throwback Thursday on business mistakes from January 2015 has been updated for 2017.

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We’re a month shy of the halfway mark in 2017.  Are you hitting your business targets?  If not, is one of these business mistakes holding you back?

The truth is you will never outperform your self-belief.  Your self-belief is part of the foundation for your success.  Your self-doubt can completely undermine any success that you are capable of achieving.

To move beyond self-imposed limitations, we need to dream.  Dream big.  It’s time to let your imagination take you to new heights that to this point you thought weren’t possible.

Here are 5 mistakes to avoid in 2017 to get to sail to new heights:

1. We often set goals that we know we can achieve – what we know we can do.  Safe goals are not really satisfying – achieving them can feel something like punching a clock day -in and day-out.   Insert yawn here.

If you are doing this, realize that there’s no big reward or payoff for ordinary goals.  You’ve heard the saying – no pain, no gain?  Here’s another one: If the pain is greater than the pleasure you’ll surrender the goal every time. Without inspiration, your goals will not be sufficient enough to cause you to attempt great things.

Without sufficient inspiration, our efforts at lofty goals will come up short.  Most goals that people set are not based on what they’d love to do – the goals lack passion, so the effort to achieve them lacks passion.

When the pain comes, the goal is set aside.  Create loftier goals based on your passions, envision a great future, and you will have the motivation necessary to stretch yourself to achieve greater outcomes.  What great goal can you create for the next seven months of 2017?

2. Setting goals based on what we think we can do according to a plan is another mistake. Too often, we fall in love with an elaborate plan.  In the back of our minds we’re convinced that if we can plan the work, we’ll be able to work the plan and achieve our goals.

The problem with this is that we cannot control the outside conditions and circumstances of the world.  We can be working our plan and changes in conditions and circumstances can make our plan obsolete. Now what?  Too often when conditions and circumstances change, we lower our goals to fit the new reality.  Our plans turn out to limit us rather than enable us to achieve greater outcomes.

Think about how you can revise your goals upward when new conditions and circumstances warrant that kind of adjustment.  When you meet your targets, reset to new targets to keep your momentum working for your greatest success.

3. Too often we require knowing exactly how we will do it in order to set a goal.  Our mistake is believing that we have to know the how before we will commit to our dream.  This also limits our outcomes.  We can dream big and then allow our doubts to creep in and quash our passions because we don’t see the how.

The truth is that often we don’t know the how until we start working toward fulfilling our dream.  When we dream and let our passions lead us, we have the motivation to find the way forward.  Dreams and passions drive creativity.  Creativity often happens as we attempt new things.  Dream the dream and let the how come out of the process of achieving the dream.  Take the first step and trust that succeeding steps will become clear as you move forward.

4. Too often we question our right to be, do, or have whatever it is we want in our life.  We question our worthiness or our capability to achieve our dreams.  This is incredibly limiting and will take away from you the very resources that are within you that will enable you to achieve your goals. Never question your worth.  Marshall your abilities, skills, talents, and resources, and use all that you are and all that you have to reach your highest potential and achieve your dreams. You can do it!  Believe this and act on it.

5. Another limiting thought is that the purpose of the goal is to achieve the goal.  The purpose of the goal is to cause you to grow, to become the person who can have the best rewards of life.  Unlocking the deep reservoirs of ability within yourself is a great achievement in itself. There are other rewards, of course, but the satisfaction of doing your best is a great feeling.

You may desire to build a business that will deliver you a six-figure or seven-figure annual income.  That may be your goal, but aren’t the rewards that come from that income what you’re really after?  Maybe that level of income will enable you to pay off your bills, finance a vacation, or fund your children’s educational account, or completely change your lifestyle.  Your business goals can be the catalyst for creating the life you want for yourself and your family.

Use your imagination and intuition to dream big.  If you want to achieve your dreams it’s time to stop playing it safe.

The first law of receiving is giving, so as you set your astonishing goals, think about how your business can serve others.  What is it that you have to offer the world?  If you will take this approach, you will find that the journey can get difficult, but the breakthroughs make it all the more worthwhile.

So, what are your dreams for 2017?  How will you make them reality, starting right now?

I invite your comments and questions, and your likes and shares.

4 Reasons Not To Curate Content On Your Blog

Okay, I’m convinced. I’ve done it in the past, but no more. Curating content for you blog will kill your search engine optimization. How?

First, 78% of marketers curate content according to sparkreaction.com. So, given that, you’d think it must be a good practice, right? Well, social media sharing is great, but it is terrible to do on your blog.  Here’s why.

When you repost entire articles, or even a portion of an article with a link to the rest of it, you may think your doing your readers a wonderful service. Maybe that’s true, but what you may not realize is that you’re also giving your readers a reason to navigate away from you website. That’s not good for your business.

Second, you also put yourself in position to have your SEO downgraded through what is called the “duplicate content penalty.” That’s a red card for your website; it’s the SEO equivalent of plagiarism.

Third, if the original site changes the content or deletes it, you’re put in a bad place with your readers by giving them outdated information or worse, giving them dead links. A bad user experience reflects poorly on you and your business.

A fourth reason not to curate content is that you might be sending your readers to a competitor. Why would you want to do that?

Have a convinced you? I hope so, because if I have you are one step closer to the success that you seek for your business.

I welcome your comments and questions, your likes and shares.

Take Your Opt-In Rate to the Next Level

Today’s Throwback Thursday post on opt-ins returns from January 2015.

The best online way to turn prospects into customers or clients is the opt-in.   Whether it’s building your list or building your sales, without opt-ins your business cannot succeed.  So, how can you maximize your opt-ins?

First, target your advertising.  According to internet marketer Amy Porterfield, David Garland made $19,800 of sales from one product launch to an email list of 500 people.  500 people! Can you imagine doing that?  That’s a precisely targeted email list!

Second, make sure that your lead magnet is substantial enough to warrant opt-ins.  If you’re offering a poor lead magnet, you will not get the level of opt-ins that you want.  The benefit that you offer your audience will have a strong effect, positive or negative, on your opt-in rate.

Here are six ways that you can maximize your opt-ins from your website with an opt-in box.

1. The Sidebar  As you can see on this page, this is where I place my opt-in box.  The right column is a great place to place an opt-in box since people expect navigational links in this area.  But, there are other places as well for opt-in boxes…

2. A Feature Box  A feature box can be place immediately below your headline and it will be the first thing that eyes are drawn to when they hit your website.  Porterfield does this with a big picture of herself on the left side of the box, a headline across the top of the box, three bullet points that pitch free training, boxes for name and email address and a red button that says “Give it to me.”  It looks professional, it’s engaging, and she wouldn’t do it if it weren’t effective.

3. Inside blog posts  I do a version of this at times.  An opt-in form can be placed within a blog post. What I generally do is link to one of my landing pages in a blog post on a related subject.

4. At the end of a blog post Someone who has read to the end of a blog post obviously has some interest in what you are talking about – give them an opportunity to opt-in at the end of the blog post that they have read.

5. A pop-up box Maybe you hate pop-up boxes (I do), but they can be effective (which is why you see so many of them).  I’ve found that my opt-ins improved when I stopped using a pop-up box and went to the banner across the top.  See what works best for you.

6. Your “About Me” page  People do look at your About Me page – you can verify this by looking at the statistics for your website.  Prospects want to know who they are dealing with.

Try some new places for your opt-ins and see what works best for you.  This much I know – the more opportunities you give readers to opt-in, the better your chances of building your subscriber list and connecting with them on a higher level.

I welcome your comments and questions, your likes and shares!

2 Essential Marketing Formulas For Your Success

In today’s post we’ll discuss two marketing formulas with 4 P’s that can help you boost your marketing efforts.  Here’s the simple equation that guides today’s post:

2 x 4 P = Huge Sales

The first set of 4 P’s pertains to your marketing mix and the graphic below tells the story.  These 4 P’s will guarantee or obliterate your success.  Click on the graphic below to gain insight into how you can use these 4 P’s to guide your business into the winner’s circle.

One thing to notice is that product is key for both formulas – without a great product all the best marketing in the world will not guarantee success.  In fact, great marketing for a poor product will hasten its business failure.  Product reputation can build quickly with great marketing, and once people identify a product as a bad one, word will spread like wildfire.

The other three P’s of the Marketing Mix formula complete this map to marketing success (or failure).  A product that is correctly priced, correctly placed, and correctly promoted will be a winner.

The second set of 4 P’s was put together by Jeanine Blackwell.

The first P is People.  Who is your target audience?  Without understanding your target audiences, chances are good that you’re either spending too much for your marketing, or you’re failing to connect with a sufficient number of customers or clients to be profitable, which amounts to the same thing – ineffective marketing that results in undersized sales.

The second P is Pain.  What is the problem that your target audience is dealing with that your product can solve?  Pain points are a crucial consideration for advertising and marketing.  What pain does your product eliminate?

The third P is Possibility.  What dream fulfillment can you deliver?  How can you transform their pain point into something incredibly positive? How can you turn their situation from pain to pleasure?

The fourth P is Product.  This is what moves your target audience from pain to possibility.  When your marketing puts great products in front of the right target audiences, sales abound.

Use these two marketing formulas as you put together your marketing mix and advertising.

I welcome your comments and questions, and your likes and shares.

How to Start Your Internet Business

Today’s Throwback Thursday post on starting an internet business returns from September 2014.

Website, check.

Blog, check.

Email list, well, started anyway…

Have you wanted to start an internet business but thought that there’s too much to it?  It might not be as difficult as you think it is.

Your Website

Creating a website can be hard work for some people, but it doesn’t have to be.  I recommend building a WordPress site (like this one).  It isn’t difficult and there’s plenty of free help available if you need it.  In some cases, your hosting company will give you the help you need.

If you have your website in place, the question is whether you are using it to its fullest potential.  There are so many different kinds of pages that you can put on your website and different ways to set up your site.

Website Pages 

If your website is set up primarily as a blog, are you putting valuable content on it regularly?  Internet marketers have different ideas about what regular means.  Some post weekly, some post less than that, and some post two or more times per week.  Check your stats and gauge your effectiveness.  If you’re not getting the amount of traffic that you need to be profitable, consider changing the frequency of your blog posts.

Setting up a blog and putting valuable content on it regularly can be a stumbling block that stands between you and success.  If it is difficult for you to come up with good ideas for content, contact me.  I’ve got some ideas on this.   If your blog’s up, your content is good, but this isn’t helping you to make sales, again, your issue may be not enough traffic.

If your website is more of a sales platform, how effective has it been for you?  Are you seeing sales come from your sales pages?  Are you driving enough traffic to your website to create sufficient sales to be profitable? What percentage of your traffic is buying?  There are a number of reasons why you aren’t getting more sales and it can be difficult to figure out.  Have you tried split-testing your sales pages?

Your Email List

Building an email list of subscribers can be expensive, but there are free as well as inexpensive ways to do this.  The free and inexpensive ways will take more time – that’s the trade off – your time or your money.

Growing your email list will take months or longer unless you want to make a massive initial financial investment.  I know of an internet marketer who went all in to build a list quickly and got her business to profitability quickly, but most people either don’t have the money or are fearful of investing a lot of money in a new business.

Whether it’s through solo ads, banner ads, Facebook, Google, or other social media, it can take time to build a significant list of responsive subscribers.  The more money that you wisely put toward this effort, the faster you will build a big, responsive list.

So, where to start?  Logically, the website is where to start.  Once you have a website up, you can either create it as a blog (which is easiest) or set it up as a sales platform.  If you skip the blog, chances are anyone who goes to your site is not going to see you as anything more than a pushy salesperson.  That can limit your ability to create sales and is generally not a good idea.  So, create your blog and fill it with valuable content!

Your email list means that you have another content issue – your list needs to hear from you on a regular basis or it becomes unresponsive (unresponsive = no or few sales).  This  is where affiliate marketing comes in since none of us can create a storehouse of products to present to our subscribers on a regular basis.

Think about this – if you contact your email list a few times a week, you need two products a week to recommend to them.  They have to be good products; if they’re not your subscribers will get the impression that you are the internet equivalent of a snake oil salesman.

Fortunately, there are many good products available to affiliate marketers.  There are also some real scams, so do your research and be choosy.

Once you’ve got the three essentials in place (website, blog, and email list), it’s time to use other tools.  You’ll need sales pages, lead capture pages, content delivery pages, possibly webinar pages, and/or membership pages.  If this all sounds complicated, it doesn’t have to be.  Remember, we are talking about tools, and these tools are in the marketplace to help you with every aspect of your online business.

I send my email list information on the best tools available on a regular basis.  If you aren’t on my email list, sign up now!  If you are, you should know that I research the products that I recommend and I don’t recommend scams or junk.

So, if you’ve started and haven’t yet seen a profit, or you haven’t started, what’s holding you back?  I welcome your comments and questions, and your likes and shares.

 

How Using Keyword Intent Can Build Your Business

Keywords are one of the most essential elements of search engine page ranking and understanding how they work can improve your business. Get your keywords right, and your page ranking will improve.  That should lead to more visitors and sales.  Get them wrong and you will be buried.

When you understand the intentions of searchers, you can craft your content with keywords to reach them.  There are four main keyword intent, and when you fashion your content according to the right keyword intent, you will attract the best traffic for your website and business.

Here are the four main keyword intent categories:

1. Informational Intent

Most searches are looking for information, and your keywords can help others find your content.  If you want people to find your content, make sure you’ve focused on keywords that lead people to your content.  This post is on keyword intent and as I set up the SEO for this post I will list it under “keyword intent.” I use Yoast SEO on this WordPress site, and I recommend it.

2. Navigational Intent

Navigational intent means searches looking for a particular website.  If people know about your site and want to find it, this is the kind of search that they would do.  This kind of search would include your brand name, or what the searcher remembers about your website url.

An example of this could be someone trying to find the website for a retail store.  They might just type in bigstore.com and see if they got it right.  If they got it wrong, Google or another search site might say, “did you mean bigstore.us?”  They might just type in bigstore and see what the search engine comes up with.

3. Investigational Intent

This kind of search goes after comparisons between businesses and products.  Maybe someone would like to see the options for t-shirt printing in their town.  This would be an investigational intent search.  Perhaps someone else wants to do an analysis of their competition.  This too would be an investigational intent search.

4. Transactional Intent

This has been called “the Holy Grail of search marketing.”  Typical key words in a transactional intent search would be “buy, purchase, best price, coupon, or discount.”  People doing a transactional intent search are ready to buy.

As you set up your blog posts and landing pages, keep in mind the four types of keyword intent.  These could help you gain more views, followers, and buyers.

The following graphic illustrates how different keyword intent fits different stages of the buying process.

What would you add to this?  I invite your comments and questions, your likes and shares.

7 Things You Need To Know About I.M. Right Now

Today’s Throwback Thursday post returns from September 2014 (and it’s still relevant!).

If you are interested in internet marketing there are 7 things that you need to know right now to be at the top of your game this year.

Jayson Demars wrote an article in Forbes last September that has proven true on every count. Here are his points:

1. Content marketing is bigger than ever. That means that information marketing in hot niches will perform well for savvy marketers.

By the way, social media is one of the hottest platforms for content marketing today.  96 Amazing Social Media Marketing Tricks is designed to help you effectively use social media for your business.

2. Social media does not just mean Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The social media trend has moved into YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, and other social media platforms as well.  How many of these are you using?

3. Images rule.  America and Europe particularly are highly visual cultures (and I understand that Europe includes a number of different cultures).  Include pictures with your content to grab the most eyeballs.

4. Keep it simple.  This is a long-standing principle that is more important than ever.  We live in a micro-second culture with images and messages constantly bombarding consumers.  Keep your messages short and simple.

5. Make your message mobile.  Mobile platforms continue to grow in significance and advertising that is not optimized for mobile will be left in the dust.  Adapt or perish!

6. Ad retargeting is growing.  Demars reports that advertisers have taken notice of the 2% sales rate of first visits and have devised a way to use browser cookies to place ads in the places frequent by those who have shown interest in their products and services.  If you haven’t noticed this yet, you will.

7. Social shares push SEO.  Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines heavily weight social shares for SEO.  So, if you can get your readers to share your content, your SEO will
improve and so should your sales.

That’s it.  It’s a lot, but every single point is important as you enter the last quarter of 2014 (and still relevant in 2017. ed).

Which insights are you already using?

Which ones have the greatest potential to move your business forward?

Which ones do you need to incorporate right now?

I invite your comments and questions, and your likes and shares.

Improve Your SEO, Build Your Business

Do you know the three main factors that Google considers when ranking results?  Factor in these three factors and you will build your website’s audience.  Those three factors are relevance, authority, and trust.  Since Google is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the search world, let’s focus on this behemoth.

Relevance

Relevance measures the content on your site.  The more closely your content matches a particular search request, the more relevant your site is.  Exact matches of words will score highest, while synonyms and key phrases that Google recognizes as also relevant will also help your relevance ranking.

Simple, right?  Yes, but the next two factors are a bit more complicated.

Authority

Authority has to do with the trust with and influence over others that your website and/or content generates.  There are hundreds of factors that search engines consider, but here’s the most important one: how many links there are to your content – this is numero uno.  Also, the authority of the websites that link to your content can improve your authority.

Say someone wants information on 21st century widgets.  If the top website in the 21st century widgets niche links to your content, your authority will rise.  But if links come from less relevant sources to the widget field, say your content is linked in a blog post about canaries, your authority will increase less.

Other authority factors include how many mentions you get, how much your content is shared, how any fans you have… In essence, authority is a popularity contest.  You can have the greatest content in the world, but if no one sees it, you will not be building your authority.

How do you build your authority?

A. Use more keywords.  Keywords are king when it comes to SEO. Keyword stuffing is a practice than can boost your SEO. This refers to loading up a website with keywords that will improve a website’s SEO ranking.  Be careful with this – Google penalizes sites that they believe are doing SEO manipulation.

The following infographic illustrates two newer SEO practices and it comes from kissmetrics.com:

Keyword intent refers to the intention of the searcher.  The following infographic from Wordstream illustrates three search intentions:

Commercial intent keywords are those that attract potential customers. This topic will be the subject of an upcoming blog post here at tonyseel.com.

Long tail keywords refers to keywords and phrases that are more specific to your product and niche.  Long tail keywords will typically draw a smaller audience, but will result in higher sales.

Yoast’s Marieke van de Rakt compares long tail keywords to a jukebox containing 10,000 songs.  Only a small segment of those tunes may be regularly played, but over time, 98% of them will be played at least once.  Only a small subset of internet users may be interested in a long tail keyword, but when the pool of internet users is over 3 billion, that small subset can be quite large.

B. Use social media to boost your authority and your SEO.  Your site’s popularity on social media can boost your SEO and your authority.  Be sure to communicate regularly for your business on social media and this will positively affect your SEO and authority.

Trust

Trust is difficult to measure, but Google does rank pages with longer articles and unique content that is regularly updated higher than sites without these factors.

One indication of a site’s trustworthiness is a simple check to see whether they have Privacy Policy, Terms, and Disclosure statements. Seems simple, right?  As simple as it is, it is a measure of whether a site can be trusted.

External links to other trusted sites also improve your trust ranking.   Video content will encourage visitors to stay on your site longer, and this will increase your trustworthiness.

Social media also affects your trust.  How many Facebook likes and other signs of social media approval are you garnering?

This is just touching the surface of these three key factors in SEO.   What would you add?  I invite your comments and questions, your likes and shares.

Business versus Busyness

Today’s Throwback Thursday post returns from May 2014.

It is easy for many of us to be busy, but does our busyness translate into good business?  It might not if our busyness isn’t about the priorities of our business.

Online marketing is a fluid business with best practices and new challenges cropping up every day.  You could spend your entire life keeping up with trends and investigating what’s new, what’s changed, what’s stopped working and what’s now working.

That’s important to a certain extent, but when does business turn into busyness and detract from your pursuit of profits?  Or worse, does busyness keep us from ever becoming profitable?  For the newbie, busyness can be a very poor substitute for business.

Online marketing can be an incredibly profitable business or a really expensive hobby.  We’re either making progress in our business, or we’re missing the mark and running around like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off.

So, what’s the difference between business and busyness?  The difference is focus.  Don’t ever underestimate the power of vision and goals.  What do you want to achieve in your business, short-term, mid-term, and long-term?

Reasonable goals for online marketing are making your first $1,000, then a five figure annual income, six figure income, and even seven figure income is not necessarily out of reach.  Why not? What’s holding you back?

If your long-term goal is six or seven figure annual income, how are you going to get there?  Setting good goals that lead to focusing on the priorities that will get you there is an essential first step.  How long will it take to get there?

Once you have your goals, set out your timetable.  Then break down your timetable into smaller chunks (annual, quarterly, monthly and weekly).  Once you’ve done your timetable, figure out what you need to do this week to make progress toward your longer term goals.  

Then it’s a question of prioritizing your tasks to complete your goals in your different time frames.  Each day, focus on completing the tasks that lead to completing the most important project that contributes to reaching your goals.  This process is a blueprint for business success.

Once you’ve focused on business, you can get rid of the wasteful busyness that eats up your time and stymies your progress.  Do this and you will be well on your way to reach your goals.

I welcome your comments and questions, your likes and shares.