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Devine Mae Loredo

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The Most Common Mistakes that Lead to Entrepreneurial Failure

Posted by Devine Mae Loredo

December 16, 2012

inbound_marketing_and_entrepreneurs-resized-600There are many factors that lead to the success of a business, such as social changes, financial status, availability of resources and so forth. But the most crucial thing that can affect your business is your personal perspective and attitude towards work.

Bad habits and bad practices will ultimately contribute to a business’ fallout. Running a business is never that easy - it certainly takes a great amount of determination, intense hard work, a lot of time and of course, a persistent attitude. But sometimes, even having all these traits won’t be enough (and bad luck doesn’t have anything to do with that). Nellie Akalp wrote about the common mistakes entrepreneurs do that that affect their business. Here’s a snapshot of some reasons...


1. They Don’t Have a Passion for Running a Business

Passion is usually not in short supply with entrepreneurs; however, this doesn’t mean that all entrepreneurs have a passion for what’s needed. Many times, people have tremendous passion for their product, service or technology but this doesn’t necessarily translate into a passion for managing a company.

2. They Need to Please

Kindness is a wonderful trait and one that we need more in business today. However, a relentless need to please can be detrimental to an entrepreneur. People with this tendency often overextend themselves in the workplace and bend over backwards for others. In short, it’s hard to achieve your own goals when you’re constantly focused on trying to make everyone else in the room happy.

3. They Can’t Work Without a Playbook

When you run your own business, you call the shots.  You’ll need to be confident making decisions on the fly and setting your own course without any instructions. If these aren’t your strengths right now, you’ll need to learn them pretty fast.

4. They Fear Failure

If you’re scared of failing, you’re probably playing it too safe as an entrepreneur. Fear of failure is one of the strongest forces holding people back from their potential. If you fall into this category, you’ve learned that it’s easier to slide along with the status quo than to take that important first step.

5. They’re Overloaded With Busywork

With all of today’s digital distractions, it’s easier than ever to lose control of one’s schedule and goals. Savvy entrepreneurs know how to stay focused on their priorities in the face of these distractions. They understand how to manage and lead their time, rather than simply react to issues and requests as they come in.

To learn what not to do, I encourage you to read the full article, 7 Reasons Some Entrepreneurs Don't Meet Their Potential.

Your business’ success depends on how you, as an entrepreneur, perceive it. There’s an old adage that says, “Love your job so you don’t have to work for the rest of your life”. If you have enough belief and passion for what you do, success can come your way. Be unrelenting in your efforts concerning your business, in order to rise to the occasion.

What about you? Do you have some of these traits too? What did you do about it? Leave a comment and share it to us!

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Topics: Small Business Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Marketing Automation


Use LinkedIn to Increase Profits for Your Business

Posted by Devine Mae Loredo

December 15, 2012

inbound_marketing_and_linkedin1-resized-600If you’re not actively using LinkedIn to build relationships, educate your network and generate exposure and leads – you’re missing out on the action. In business, you always want to be where your prospects and clients are, and for the most part, they’re probably in social communities such as LinkedIn.

Business Owners, Marketing Managers and other business professionals are embracing social communities to connect with people who are likely to be good prospects, as well as clients and colleagues. Sites such as LinkedIn, make it simple and easy to keep in touch with people, and check out their “updates” and activities.

Far and away, the best social networking site for professional networking is LinkedIn. This social media forum is perfect for professionals to connect and stay connected with those they need to stay in touch with. LinkedIn offers their members the opportunity to have an online rolodex of contacts which can be accessed from your profile, and on the go with the LinkedIn mobile app.

But if you’re new to LinkedIn and looking for some help, here are some tips for you from Patricia Redsicker based on the book by Brian Carter, LinkedIn for Business:

1. Set Up a Weekly Routine

  • Promotion—Post new content to LinkedIn groups, your company page and your profile (minimum 30 minutes, maximum 2 hours).
  • Answers—Look for new questions to answer in LinkedIn Answers (minimum 15 minutes, maximum 2 hours).
  • Groups—Participate in LinkedIn groups and reply to posts where appropriate (minimum 15 minutes, maximum 2 hours).
  • Other content marketing—Produce new content for LinkedIn such as articles, white papers and infographics (minimum 1 hour, maximum 8 hours).
  • Networking—Search for journalists, media and industry peers, accept connection requests and initiate connections with others (minimum 1 hour, maximum 3 hours).


2. Generate Leads With LinkedIn Groups

As with all social media activity, remember that it takes multiple “touch points” on LinkedIn to make an impression, so patience is the key. One of the best ways to get leads is to post discussions and comment on other posts in relevant groups. Stand out in the group by positioning yourself as the expert. You can accomplish this by voicing customer needs and challenges more accurately, and then sharing information, tips and news to help them. The key is to remain visible by being a valuable resource.

3. Create and Optimize Great Ads

  • Target your audience. Focus like a laser on who they are.
  • Choose creative images and ad copy to get the message across to this target. Create 5 to 10 versions of the same ad (each containing different images, text and headline) so that you can find the best ideas and combinations.
  • Run and test various ads and analyze the results.
  • Once you analyze the data, look at your key metric (e.g., click-through rate) and determine your audiences’ responses. Using this information, decide what you should focus on to duplicate the success of the best ads and what should be eliminated.


4. Find New Customers.

There are additional places you can find potential customers—in the newsfeed and from existing connections. Many people completely ignore the newsfeed, but you can filter it by new connections. If you see that one of your contacts has just connected to someone you’d like to connect with, now is a good time to get that introduction.

If you want to find out more about LinkedIn and Mr. Crater’s book, you can read the full article here: 4 Ways to Profit From LinkedIn.

As you’ve probably begun to find out by now, social media is one of the great ways to promote your business online. Keep in mind to regularly communicate, interact and respond with your audience to help gain prospect’s trust, maintain customer loyalty and encourage brand awareness.

Are you using LinkedIn for your business? Leave a comment and share your best LinkedIn tip with us!

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Sales & CRM, Social Media


Facebook Marketing Tips to Get You Results

Posted by Devine Mae Loredo

December 14, 2012

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With social media setting the trend for online marketers, you’ll want to make sure you’re part of the game – and not just sitting on the sidelines watching it happen!

Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Pinterest are among the dominate social communities to be participating in, and are great forums for interaction to promote brand awareness and loyalty. Social media sites can also help boost your business’ online presence and search engine ranking to help position your company as a more reliable and customer-focused brand in your industry.

Navigating the choppy waters of online marketing isn’t easy, but following the tried and true success principles that have worked for other businesses will help you be more successful in yours

Facebook has proven to be one of the most active and engaging communities, and – like all social communities – has “rules” to play by. In order for you to achieve a successful social media experience using Facebook, remember these helpful tips:

1. Fill Out Your Business Page Completely

It’s important to complete all the fields for data about your company. Your clients and potential clients will be looking for information such as address, phone numbers, business hours, product information, photos and etc. Make your company details easy to fine, so they don’t have to go looking for it.

2. Don’t Over Post

Post on a regular basis, and post often but be sure not to not overwhelm your followers with too many uninteresting posts. For some companies, this may be once or twice a day. For others, you may have lots of interactions, information, events and activities to post about. If this is the case, you may need to post 10 – 15 times a day.

3. Never Post Boring or Immaterial Content

Just as though you wouldn’t want to read boring or uninteresting content, neither do your followers. Don’t post just for the sake of posting – offer relevant information that educates, empowers and informs. Variety is the spice of life but make sure what you post still reflects what your brand stands for.

4. Make Use Of Facebook Insights

Data and statistics can be very useful when you take time to evaluate and study them. Facebook Insights offers this kind of information for you to analyze how your business page is doing.  Use this information to understand your audience, and to give you analytics that help you better understand your audience and their activity.

5. Take Advantage of Facebook’s Ad Options

Facebook Ads might be a powerful asset to your marketing, but as with any other kind of advertising, planning and testing will be your best allies. These ads will be quite targeted because of the data Facebook collects from us, and can be helpful in your exposure. Before getting started, set a budget that allows you to test various titles, messages, pictures and offers before getting caught up and spending too much.

With over 1 BILLION users, Facebook can certainly be a strong venue to provide education, attract prospects and connect with your clients. There are many more resources available to you inside Facebook, so invest time in this social community to find tools and aplications that work well for your business.

Did I miss anything? What other things would you add to achieve a successful social media marketing campaign through Facebook? Don’t be a stranger, hit us up with your comments or suggestions!

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Topics: Small Business Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Social Media


3 Critical Tips for Using Content Marketing for Lead Generation

Posted by Devine Mae Loredo

November 30, 2012

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Content is king - a simple yet profound sentence for business owners and online marketers. Generating content that educates, empowers and informs - while promoting it to the right audience, will ultimately help your business grow online.

Content marketing is the art form of attracting and engaging your customers and prospects with content (like blog posts, videos or e-books) that paves the way to stronger relationships between marketers and their audience.

Oftentimes, small businesses don’t have enough time or resources to launch successful content marketing campaigns. This type of “education-based marketing” involves consistent effort, and content creation budgets that some small business owners just doesn’t have. So how do you make content marketing easier for you?

Consider creating content in ways that allow you to present something of incredibly high value to your audience - without spending as much time. You can attend conferences and post your notes, have someone interview you and transcribe the conversation or you could create a poll and write about the results. Don’t overlook the fact, that you can also repurpose older content and giving them new value. Looking for more tips? Try these three…

  • Always make your content relevant to your brand and to what your business or company upholds. Make sure that your content reflects what your brand is truly about.
  • Make sure your content is shareable. Have share buttons for social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, to make your information sharable to your reader’s network with the click of a button.
  • Consider telling it from a story point of view. A real human experience will attract greater attention and is more relatable for your audience. People will want to read about something that they can connect with as a similar experience.


If you’re a business owner, don’t overlook the fact that your employees are knowledgeable and have a unique perspective of their industry. They will have certain insights from customer interactions that can be used for educational content. If you stay creative, and think with an open mind – you can come up with a large variety of resources from which to pull from!

Whatever source you use to pull resourceful education from, make sure it’s a high value to your audience, and something helps them see why you are the right company they should trust. Content marketing takes a continual effort, and will work for you when you remain consistent.

 

Image Credit: Eric D. Wheeler

 

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Topics: Blogging, Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing


How to Master LinkedIn Like an Expert

Posted by Devine Mae Loredo

November 29, 2012

inbound_marketing_and_linkedin

Social media is setting the tone for online marketers today. The oldest marketing rule is to “fish where the fish are”, and the fish are in social media communities. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn not only help people stay connected, but allow them to research, become informed and give / receive their opinion immediately. As you can imagine, this benefits business owners and marketing professionals greatly.

Social media sites, such as LinkedIn, provide an interactive platform for professionals to showcase their businesses online - and to a more targeted audience. Using social media correctly also helps establish a powerful online presence that can boost your search engine optimization. Many smart marketers also use this medium to promote brand awareness, and strengthen relationships with their customers using

LinkedIn has more than 175 million users, and is the primary social networking website for business professionals.

LinkedIn is a powerful platform that can get underutilized and oftentimes, be placed on the back burner. This social community can be extremely useful, especially when you're aware of all the little hidden tricks that don't get nearly enough exposure as they deserve. Here are 35 tips (divided into three categories) you can use to optimize your LinkedIn presence, help you with your networking and assist your marketing needs:

To optimize your LinkedIn presence you should:

  1. Claim your vanity URL.
  2. Create a profile badge for your personal website.
  3. Make your website or blog links sexier.
  4. Search engine optimize your profile.
  5. Install applications.
  6. Rearrange your profile.
  7. Take advantage of “Saved Searches”.
  8. Extend the life of your questions.
  9. Quickly turn your LinkedIn profile into a resume.
  10. Find a job with LinkedIn’s job board.
  11. Get endorsed.


To use LinkedIn for professional networking you should:

  1. Use OpenLink to send messages to people you’re not connected to.
  2. Check in on “Network Updates”.
  3. Be identifiable.
  4. Export connections.
  5. Easily find email contacts on LinkedIn.
  6. Leverage the perks of LinkedIn groups.
  7. Take advantage of advanced search options.
  8. Share your LinkedIn status updates on Twitter.
  9. Network in real life.


To use LinkedIn for business/marketing you should:

  1. Optimize for the new Company Page design.
  2. Post company status update and target them.
  3. Track company buzz.
  4. Add a video to your company page.
  5. Leverage LinkedIn answers to its fullest marketing potential.
  6. Use LinkedIn Today to keep track of industry news.
  7. Use LinkedIn to generate leads.
  8. Created targeted products and services tab variations for your company page.
  9. Experiment with LinkedIn ads.
  10. Use group statistics for better targeting and marketing.
  11. Create an industry LinkedIn group and subgroups.
  12. Email and poll that LinkedIn group.
  13. Collect recommendations.
  14. Recruit new talent.
  15. Add the company Follow and LinkedIn share buttons to your website/content.


How are you using LinkedIn to the fullest? Please let us know if there are other tips and strategies you’re using to get the most from this excellent social community.

LinkedIn is an excellent way to reach prospects, stay in touch with your network, educate your community and promote your business online. Be sure to take advantage of the tools and resources available to you – mostly for free!

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Social Media, HubSpot Tips


Use Content Marketing to Attract Your Buyers

Posted by Devine Mae Loredo

November 28, 2012

content_marketingBecause of the advances in mobile apps and more web integration with social communities, (and faster internet for almost everyone), marketers have a unique advantage to more quickly and easily reach their target prospects.

Just because we’re “more connected” with our target market of prospective buyers, doesn’t mean that they’re seeing what you’re posting, or anxiously anticipating your next blog or article. With the overflowing growth of content online, many of your consumers are getting overwhelmed with information, and sometimes see the same info repeated in multiple websites or posts. It isn’t a matter of merely providing information anymore for your consumers, but remembering to educate to empower their buying decision. And when done correctly, they will be armed with buying knowledge to make the intelligent purchasing decision from you - because you taught them how to buy.

The challenge for business owners, executives and marketing managers, is to provide the kind of content that repositions you out front of your competitors. Here are just a few ideas:

  1. Understand your buyers:  insight into the knowledge level of your buyers is best obtained from third party buyer research.  My point of view: do not skimp here.
  2. Develop a strategy: only 38% of businesses have a content strategy.  My point of view: take time to formulate a content strategy based on buyer research – do not make it up.
  3. Put structure in place: be purposeful by creating an Internal Content Marketing Agency.  My point of view: do not make content marketing an orphan child.
  4. Acquire talent: get the right content creation talent with the right skills.  Do the proper talent assessment.  My point of view: adding a line to an existing job description role and calling someone a content marketer will not work.


The ability to consume, discern, assimilate and make use of content on the part of buyers is doubling every year. Is your content marketing keeping pace with your customers?

Your content marketing strategies will make or break your business. No matter what strategy you plan to use, it always boils down to what you can offer the consumers. Buyers don’t want to be fooled by irrelevant and unnecessary information. Instead, anticipate what your target wants, and educate them by giving them what they need.

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Topics: Blogging, Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing


How Building Links Will Improve Search Results

Posted by Devine Mae Loredo

November 21, 2012

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Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the smartest and most effective strategies for positive results with your inbound marketing. Having a high, organic SEO ranking will not only demonstrate your trustworthiness and reliability, but it can distinguish you from your competitors. With the possible drawbacks coming from changes by search engines like Google’s Penguin Update, how will this affect your future marketing campaigns?

Link-building is one of the strongest ways you will improve your search engine optimization. When Google recognizes you as highly relevant for a particular search, this is the “secret sauce” you want in your marketing mix to drive ideal buyers to your site – because of your “popularity” with Google.

Courtney Eckerle wrote an article about a recent MarketingSherpa webinar, where Alex Dunks, Manager of Business Development with Webmarketing123, whipped up five link- building steps that can improve your search engine ranking. Some of his concepts are:

  1. Lay a strong foundation by setting groundwork and understanding how to properly measure what is and is not when working with keyword selection. He believes that the anchor text of a link is important because Google and other search engines evaluate it when they follow a link.
  2. Put tracking in place. Tracking is important in the same way we want to have our keyword rankings benchmarked - we want to know exactly where we’ve come from and where we’ve gone. According to Dunks, you what to figure out which keywords are actually making a difference. What if it’s just two of the 20 keywords that are delivering conversion? Hone your campaign and focus on only the two that are leading to conversions, and find some new variations that are very similar to those words.
  3. Make your links as diverse as your keywords. He advices marketers to think of external links as entry points to your website, and especially to those deeper points in your website. He said a good strategy to employ is to make sure that the content on your website is organized into themes. An example would be “silo one” for men’s shoes, “silo two” might be women’s shoes, and by grouping things into silos, Google is better able to understand that theme.


Check out all the steps mentioned by Alex Dunks in the article, “5 Steps for Building Links that Improve Search Results”. Would you add other steps? What link building strategies have you found to work especially well for your business? Please share them here by leaving your comment.

Many business owners and marketing professionals struggle to implement link building, especially with the myriad of consistently changing factors search engines use to rank pages – such as Google's new Penguin update. Use these steps to establish a specific plan for strategically building links that will improve your ranking.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, SEO, Sales & CRM


Marketing Lessons Learned from the World Series

Posted by Devine Mae Loredo

November 20, 2012

Marketing is also like any game - you plan the best strategies, execute them the best way you can and keep your goal focused on success. For you to win in any game, you should know your opponents and learn their strengths and weaknesses - as much as you know your own capabilities and liabilities. It’s the same way with marketing. 

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Scott Batchelor, a manager of field marketing at SAS, came up with an interesting analogy comparing marketing with the World Series. He believes that when you test, measure and adjust your marketing campaigns to respond to a constantly changing environment, you can confidently make the changes needed to increase effectiveness. Scott devised three marketing tips inspired by the fall classic.

  1. Build a heat map of your marketing campaigns to analyze where you're hot and where you're not. Focus on the hot! A marketing heat map can help analyze the success of campaign ingredients. Start by listing all the different activities in your marketing lineup, and then establish the criteria for three categories: hot, warm, and cold. Building these criteria, (this can change from industry to industry and category to category), will give you the opportunity to tailor your definition of success.
  2. Don't be predictable. Mix up your campaigns to stay fresh and interesting.  Think of your audience as you construct a marketing campaign. Build toward the end goal—a registration, a click through or a personal contact. Instead of starting from scratch each time you plan something, use one campaign to build on the next. If you zig when they think you'll zag, you'll gain their attention - and you'll be more effective.
  3. Use historical campaign data along with your gut instinct to make decisions. You'll have a lot less indigestion when you use data to back your gut. Marketers tend to create campaigns that are inspired by other campaigns. But determining how effective those new campaigns will be is sometimes akin to throwing darts at a dartboard. We just don't know what the click-through rate, conversion percentage, or registration numbers will be. Sometimes we have to go with our gut because we feel it's the right thing to do.


You can learn more about these tips from his article, “Three Valuable Lessons Marketers Can Learn from the World Series”

Use these tips to make your marketing campaigns better for your company. As with this article, it’s a good idea to take ideas from all different areas of “real life”. The savvy entrepreneur will look at various elements of society, entertainment and other events in their world – and see how they could apply to their business.

When you test, measure and adjust your marketing campaigns to respond to a constantly changing environment, you can confidently make the changes needed to increase effectiveness.

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Topics: Small Business Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Marketing Automation


Increase Your Landing Pages for a Better Marketing Experience

Posted by Devine Mae Loredo

November 19, 2012

inbound_marketing_and_landing_pages-resized-600If you’re happy with the amount of traffic your site is receiving but not with the number of visitors that are being converted into customers, you’re probably wondering where you should focus your time and resources. Since you want your site to generate more sign-ups or purchases, the best thing you can do is add more landing pages. If you already have a main landing page, you’re probably wondering why you need more.

While it’s not the only reason, the most significant one is because it’s hard to speak directly to every visitor with just one landing page. Even if you have a highly targeted message, there’s still going to be a significant number of your visitors who don’t connect with it. In order to give your website a more successful conversion rate, you’ll want to create targeted landing pages for your specific audience, that is based on specific goals, such as, sales, registrations or sign ups. When you’re able to give your visitors what they are looking for in a simple and clear web page, you’ll earn their undivided attention – which will help you when trying to move the visitor through a process for a successful sale.

Since landing pages are so important to your lead generation and conversion rate, it makes sense to increase the amount of the landing pages on your website. The more landing pages you have, the more conversion opportunities you’ll gain. When you have a variety of landing pages offering different messages, various offers and call to actions that you can test – this gives you feedback that will prove to be vital to your marketing.

The goal of most landing pages is to get someone to sign-up or make a purchase. For your landing pages that fall into the latter category, when someone clicks that page’s call to action, they’re going to be taken to your site’s checkout. If you look at your analytics and notice that a significant of the people who click the call to action don’t actually complete the checkout process, it’s probably an indication that your checkout needs to be streamlined. In addition to having a reliable merchant provider, you want to ensure that this process is as painless as possible. Eliminating any unnecessary steps or form fields can significantly boost your conversion rate.

One of the reasons many businesses only have one landing page is because they assume it’s going to take a lot of time and effort to create additional ones. While that may be true for brand new sites, since yours is already established, chances are you already have a significant portion of the content you need. All that will be required of you is putting it together and formatting it in a way that properly targets that landing page’s demographic.

Below are several ways you can easily increase your number of landing pages:

  • Invest in a Landing Page Creation Tool that enables you to quickly and easily create optimized landing pages
  • Create more offers to go along with your landing pages that provide a variety to allow you to test feedback and responses
  • Adjust your existing offers to cater to different personas by revising previous offers and customizing them based on the needs of your site visitors


To help you understand why you need more landing pages for your business website, check out this article from HubSpot entitled, “Why You (Yes, You) Need to Create More Landing Page” What other questions do you have regarding multiple landing pages? Leave your comments below, and share with our community.

More landing pages only means more opportunities for your business. It can help improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), provide you a higher conversion rate, while allowing you the chance to speak to all the different needs of your prospects and clients.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, SEO, HubSpot Tips


Simple Rules to Follow to Capture Your Online Audience

Posted by Devine Mae Loredo

November 14, 2012

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For any business to be successful, you must focus completely on your targeted audience. After all, the success of your business is determined by how well you connect, communicate and nurture your audience. But in the world of marketing, where change is always constant, how do you attract your audience and maintain any level of relationship with them - especially with ever-changing technology, the distraction of social media and still gain word of mouth influence? Here are three suggestions:

Start with the most basic but equally important factor, appearance. You might be tempted to think that looks may not be important, but keep in mind that it does matter (a lot). Your company’s website or blog should be professional-looking and uncluttered to your potential customers and clients. In order to capture their attention, the look of your website or blogs should present professionalism, be easy to read and capture their attention - visually.

Draw their attention with your content. You will immerse your targeted audience in reading your company’s site or blogs when you publish content that is relevant, informative and even entertaining. Your educational content should be something that your customers and prospects actually need, and find helpful. Write content that is useful and purposive for them – something worth sharing.

Engage and interact with your targeted audience. Your company’s website and blogs should provide an open forum for discussion between you and your prospects and customers. This will enable you to get to know them better, and their feedback and suggestions regarding your products and services will also help improve your company. Remember that keeping an open mind for suggestions and improvement will empower your network to propel your success.

These are just some basic things you can do to attract your targeted audience and maintain their loyalty to your brand. To learn what not to do, Stephanie Sammons wrote an article about things marketers do that will drive your audience  away in: “7 Ways to Turn Off Your Online Audience”. What would you add to this list?

Today’s consumers are becoming more aware and wiser when searching for, and choosing products and services they want. The last thing you want to do is run them off and have them shop with your competition. Most times, you’re making obvious mistakes that can be easily fixed. Understand these ways to keep your audience engaged, so that you keep them coming back for more.

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Topics: Blogging, Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing


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