3 Tips to Choose the Best SEO Agency for Your Business

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) basically helps your brand to appear higher on search engines and it improves your online presence. If you are an entrepreneur and are looking forward to hire the services of an affordable SEO agency, you’re on the right track. This is because SEO is very important for the online growth and success of your business. You may get confused by the sheer number of agencies offering a wide range of SEO services, but you need to be vigilant in choosing the right agency for your business. So, how do you select the right service provider as per your needs?

Here are 3 key tips that you need to keep in mind while hiring an SEO agency:

  1. Dig in to their past online experience

You need to dig into the past of the potential SEO partner you are looking forward to hiring. This particular information is needed to help you understand their background and skills and most importantly, to figure out who will partner you in your journey of online growth. Any mistake in hiring the right agency can be disastrous for your brand’s reputation. It can lower your rankings and harm your domain reputation and Google’s trust. You must check their website, blogs, social media presence and client portfolio. Browse through their client list and visit their websites to understand the quality of work they are providing.

Also, it can be a good idea to hire an agency with prior industry experience. For instance, if you are into the e-commerce business, it is always better to hire someone who has worked for an online retailer previously.

  1. Variety of services being offered

SEO alone cannot do much for your business but when combined with content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, mobile marketing and PPC marketing, it can help businesses reach the pinnacle of success online. If an agency is offering you all these services under one roof, climbing up the SEO ranking will not be an uphill task for your business any more. The benefits of this will manifest themselves in the form of uniformity of work, common goals and lower prices. It would also be easier for your management since you will have a single point of contact for all the services rather than having to deal with many people for different jobs.

  1. Reporting and transparency

The most essential characteristic of any good SEO agency is they should be transparent in their work. You should expect a detailed weekly or monthly report (whichever suits your business) from them. Most SEO agencies distribute regular, customized reports with details of the strategies they apply, their effects and the improvements brought about by them over time in key areas. Opt for an agency that uses Google’s best standards, practices and techniques, which would increase your brand presence organically. Make sure that the agency you are planning to hire does not use unethical means that may put your brand in trouble.

Once you have all the answers, it’ll be time to make a decision. Some of the key things to note are as follows:

  • Try to provide your SEO agency with as much information as possible about your website and marketing efforts to date. Refrain from hiding any information as that will make their work more difficult. For example, if in the past, you have bought any links or fake social media followers, let them know.
  • Patience is the key! Do not expect results from the first month itself; it may take at least 4-5 months (or more) to see some concrete SEO results.

4 Tips To Help You Sell Your Online Course

Creating and selling online courses can be a great way to earn some revenue from working online, but it can also be quite challenging to make the money from them initially.

However, even with a very small budget (or no budget at all!), there are ways that you can promote your online course and try to make at least a few sales.

1. Promote the online course on your social media

Depending on the type of website you have, you may have social media accounts for your small business. Even if you haven’t set up social media accounts for it yet, you can promote your online course on your own private social media. Don’t forget to make your posts public so that friends of friends can see them and people can share to their friends and a wider audience.

Look for groups which relate closely to your online course topics and share within these.

2. Create content about your course

People won’t buy your online course unless you have managed to explain what it teaches and the benefits that they will get out of it. Without turning into a pushy sales person, create content about your online course which makes it sound like something people would want to buy.

You can also offer to guest post on other websites, or create a couple of blog posts and give your new online course a mention at the end.

3. Give customers a discount

Everybody loves to feel like they’ve gotten a bargain, so if you knock the price by 50% for a few days, people will feel more pushed into making a quick decision and paying for it before the price goes up.

Be careful not to run discounts and promotions too often, as this will cause people to avoid buying it at full price and just want until the next promotion comes around. Another great way to get interest is to offer a module for free to give people the chance to try before they buy.

4. Pay for advertising if you can

While budgets are usually very small when you first start out, don’t be too anxious to shell out some money for advertising. Sometimes you need to spend money in order to make money, so while it might seem desperate at the moment, it will help you to target your audience and attract people who are genuinely interested in your online course.

5 Tips for Improving Performance in Small Sales Teams

In my years of experience in sales and sales management, I have observed many small and medium sized sales teams. Often, they struggle to perform at capacity and hit their goals and it’s frequently a sales management issue. Sometimes it’s because the CEO or business owner is the de facto sales manager and is wearing many hats. They are often just too busy running their business or spread too thin. Sometimes they’re the technical experts in their field and their expertise and time is being used to improve products, systems or services. It’s sometimes because a top performing sales person was promoted into a sales management role and their strength lies in salesmanship and delivering revenue to the business personally rather than in a broad sense. Below are five things you can do to improve sales management in your company now.

1. Planning

Many business owners have at best a rudimentary sales plan. If they do have one, often times it consists of higher and higher sales goals, without accounting for what will drive that new business. Will a new product line be added, a new market be opened or new additions made to the sales team? Will the company be able to support the added expense while markets are opened and new sales people trained? How much risk will the company bear? A good but simple sales plan takes this into consideration. Takeaway: Make a better sales plan with concrete steps to get to the desired goal.

2. Modernize

There are many new technologies that make it easier to interact with prospects. Among them are CRM systems, collaboration tools, the cloud, dialers, email tracking, prospect and customer information systems. Existing systems are being upgraded all the time with the newest capabilities. All are designed to more efficiently and effectively reach more buyers, disseminate information, warm them up and help make sales. Social media platforms allow a business to extend its reach inexpensively and makes your business more visible to search engines such as Google.com. Takeaway: Evaluate new technologies on a regular basis to make sure you are keeping up and modernize as needed.

3. Training

Training sales people serves three purposes. The first is that it provides them an opportunity to hone and refresh their skills. The second is that it reminds them that performance is important and that expectations for them performing well are high. The third is that it shows a willingness to invest in them and that they are part of the long term plan for the organization. Takeaway: Make sure you offer training to your sales people every year (a sharp axe cuts better than a dull one).

4. Lead Generation

All businesses need sales and most small and medium sized businesses are subject to the feast/famine paradigm. When they’re busy, the first thing that gets pushed aside is prospecting for new business. Until business slows down. Then there’s a flurry of sales activity and soon business is back where it should be. For a while. Most small businesses don’t have bandwidth to prospect effectively in a consistent way.

Lists should be highly targeted and refreshed regularly. Technology should be used and a proven process followed. The technology should reinforce the process rather than detract from it. Top management should enforce the use of the technology and following of the process. Utilize social media and blogging to widen your reach inexpensively. Finally, no one can be an expert on everything so get help from the professionals when needed. Takeaway: Make prospecting part of the company routine and culture and call in the experts when needed!

5. Measurement

You get what you measure is the old adage and it’s mostly true. The challenge is top management often has a hard time pinning down the exact actions, activities and behaviors they are trying to encourage and measure. Here’s a practical example. Maybe top management believes that offering free webinars will increase sales since it worked well in the past. So the goal is to run well attended webinars.

How will these webinars be promoted to prospects and clients? Will a set of emails be sent, starting a few weeks before the first webinar? Then a prospect list with email addresses will need to be purchased and loaded and a compelling email invitation created.

Will prospects be called and told about the webinars? Then phone numbers will be necessary, a script will need to be created and a person designated to make the calls. To track call results, an activity report should be created and run on a regular basis to test the messaging, to make sure the calls are being made and to analyze the prospect responses. Will the report be grouped by prospect type (or industry or state or city or source)? Then that data will need to be captured or imported for each prospect.

Finally, reports should measure the success of each webinar, so that results can be tabulated. How many people registered and attended are important to measure, as well as what happened to the prospect once the webinar was complete to determine the ROI. Takeaway: Create reports that measure actions, activities and behaviors that drive sales success, run them regularly and share the results.

Top 7 Time-Saving Tools To Supercharge Your Social Media Marketing WITHOUT Adding To Your Workload!

With all of the hard work it takes to get your business up, running, and profitable, it’s no wonder why so many entrepreneurs struggle to find the time to maintain their social media presence.

That’s why I’ve invested in figuring out little social media “hacks” – tools and methods I can use to maintain my presence, grow my followers, and make money with social media WITHOUT actually adding to my workload each day.

In this article you are going to discover 7 of those time-saving social media tools:

1) Tweet Adder – With this piece of software, you can automate sending Direct Messages to new Twitter followers (a great way to offer your followers free gifts for following you on Twitter, thereby building your list in a completely automated way). You can also quickly and easily generate lists of relevant people to follow without ever having to log in to the Twitter platform. Easy peasy!

2) Pay With a Tweet – With this piece of software, you can offer followers an alternative to opting in with their name/email address. Instead, they can “pay with a tweet”(they tweet a message out on their Twitter profile, and in exchange, you give them access to your offer). I like to use this to kill 2 birds with one stone: adding value to my list, and building my list. The way this is done is by only allowing existing newsletter subscribers the option to pay with a tweet. When your subscribers send their tweets out, the tweets will contain a link leading back to a landing page which DOES require an opt in. So anyone who clicks from their tweet is then required to opt in to the mailing list, thereby growing your list (again, without any added work)!

3) Meet Edgar – The typical social media scheduling softwares that entrepreneurs use (ie. Hoot Suite and Sprout Social) still require quite a bit of manual work because you have to enter the days and times that the posts go out for each profile. You also can’t re-use content automatically (you have to actually re-enter it in the system). With Meet Edgar, you can load in a bunch of content in bulk and let Edgar choose when to schedule them. And, the more content you post, the smarter Edgar gets (so if a certain post is getting a lot of traction, Edgar will re-use it automatically to help increase engagement on your pages). Love it!

4) Fan of the Week – This app is a great way to show some love for you most active fans on your Facebook fan pages. Each week, the software evaluates which of your fans was the most engaging on your profile, and will reward the fan by announcing them as the “Fan of the Week”. This is an easy and automated way to keep your followers happy!

5) Hub Spot Blog Topic Generator – One of the most challenging parts about social media is coming up with stuff to post about. This includes coming up with blogs to syndicate on your social media. With this tool, you can enter in a couple words related to what you want to write about, and it will generate a list of blog topic ideas for you.

6) Canva – Unless you’re a graphic designer, creating branded graphics for your social media posts can be a pain in the neck (and if you hire people to do it for you, it can cost a pretty penny). I’m techy, but I’m not a designer, so what I do instead is use Canva to create my social media graphics. I customize their Free Layouts with my brand colors, images of myself, and quotes or messages that would resonate with my followers.

7) WooBox – This one’s pretty neato, because you can do quite a lot with it: Contests, Coupons, Quizzes, Polls, Social Media Landing Pages, and more. But the social media “hack” and time saver feature they one that allows you to set it up so that whatever you post on your Fan Page automatically posts to your Twitter. Now, the downside of this is that your content on these platforms is the same (so why should someone bother to follow you on Twitter?) and if you post a longer post, it’ll show up weird on Twitter. But, if you’re super strapped for time, keep the length of your posts in mind, and set up another means for why people should follow you on Twitter (ie. giving followers a unique freebie for Twitter followers only, using Tweet Adders Direct Messaging feature mentioned in #1), then it’s totally worth it.

Armed with these 7 social media tools, you will be able to build a following of fans who love you without having to sacrifice hours each day to coming up with content, creating posts, and thinking of ways to create engagement. (woohoo!)

Now go out there and get sh*t done!

<3 Amanda