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5 Marketing Tips for a Successful Online Business

5 Marketing Tips for a Successful Online Business

Marketing. Plenty of starting businesses hate that word and online marketing can be even more challenging. As there are websites and competing businesses in just about every niche imaginable, using marketing to stand out from your online peers can seem to be an incredible challenge. This is especially so if you don’t have that much money to put into your marketing budget.

But there are plenty of tips which any online business can use to market their business no matter their financial situation. Here are five tips to develop a successful online marketing strategy.

1. Don’t forget your audience

This is the simplest, yet most important tip of all as market research is essential to marketing. Are there particular demographics you are trying to attract? What websites does that demographic frequent? What qualities will they be looking for when they look at your product and how can you show your product has those qualities?

These are just a few questions which any online business should know the answer to before they plan a marketing strategy. Come up with a few, good open-ended questions and then conduct your own market research. Be social and ask customers for their thoughts and check what people are saying about your company on social media. This will help you identify your weaknesses and know what your marketing strategy should look like.

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2. Look into Content Marketing

Instead of buying ads on Google or designing some complicated website, you can set up a simple blog or Instagram detailing little facts about your business. You can take a humanist approach which shows your business as being a warm and friendly place, or discuss the ins and outs of the industry in a more technical fashion. As noted above, you have to know what your targeted audience is like and then create content that will cater to them.

Content marketing is more inexpensive compared to traditional appraoches, but it is challenging. You will need to update your content regularly, think of interesting things to say all the time, and create well-crafted blogs or videos to attract people to your website. If you are interested in learning more about content marketing, then the Content Marketing Institute is a great place to start.

3. Get active on social media

Even if you create the greatest blog post ever, it does not matter if no one actually reads it. Places like WordPress are a good way to set up content marketing, but content marketing must be tied into a social media marketing campaign to get it out to potential readers.

But an active social media strategy does not mean creating a business account on every social media website. Focus on one of the major social websites and slowly spread out to the others, once you have a reliable following on your first website. Facebook is probably the default choice, but you can use LinkedIn if your business is more formal and professional and Instagram or Pinterest if your business is more casual. And avoid Twitter.

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Social media marketing strategy is a major field, and this article can provide additional hints on what to do.

4. Understand the importance of SEO

A sound social media strategy is very important, but Google remains one of the biggest tools which new customers can use to discover your business. For that reason, it is important to have a good search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.

Remember that Google tracks and ranks websites by how many other pages are linking to them. This means that you want to link to other pages so that those websites may link back to you. You also need to update your content regularly. If you do, then others will link to the new articles and videos you produce, getting your website higher on search rankings.

Dieter Hsiao, CEO of Mezzologic, believes that companies must take a holistic approach to link building, which means collecting links from multiple channels.

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“It’s maximizing a company’s web presence, ensuring that customers can easily find and obtain the information and resources they need – and making it simple and enjoyable to research and buy the company’s products,” says Hsiao.

While there are small tricks you can use to improve your SEO rating like links and consistently using major keywords, understand that the best way to get high on a Google search is to come out with consistent, quality content. I cannot emphasize enough how important content and content marketing can be for any online strategy.

5. Cater to mobile customers

We know that people are using their mobile phones to go online and conduct business more than ever, but we still underestimate just how much. An April 2016 report from comScore indicates that 65 percent of digital media time is now spent on mobile.

Consequently, any business must have a mobile strategy. This means that it is necessary to design your website so that it is easily navigable by mobile users. It may be a good idea to create a separate website for mobile users, especially if your small business is a retailer or restaurant. Also look at getting less information in every web page – while people may be spending more time on mobile compared to desktops, they still spend less time per page compared to desktops.

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At bare minimum, creating a website which is difficult to access and navigate with a mobile will slow traffic down to your website. Make sure that potential problem is fixed.

Featured photo credit: SEO Planter via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 22, 2019

10 Killer Cover Letter Tips to Nail Every Interview Opportunity

10 Killer Cover Letter Tips to Nail Every Interview Opportunity

A cover letter is an introduction to what will be found in the resume. In a cover letter, the applicant is able to use a conversational tone, to explain why the attached resume is worth reviewing, why the applicant is qualified, and to express that it’s the best application the reader will see for the open position.

Employers do read your cover letter, so consider the cover letter an elevator pitch. The cover letter is the overview of your professional experience. The information in the body presents the key qualifications, the things that matter. The cover letter is the “here is what will be found in my presentation”, which is the resume in this case.

Something really important to point out- a cover letter should be written from scratch each time. Great cover letters are the ones that express why the applicant is the best for the specific job being applied to. Using a general cover letter will not lead to great results.

This doesn’t mean that your cover letter should repeat your most valuable qualifications, it just means that you don’t want to recycle a templated, general letter, not specific to the position being applied to.

Here’re 10 cover letter tips to nail every interview.

1. Take a few minutes to learn about the company so that you use an appropriate tone

Like people, every company has its own culture and tone. Doing a bit of research to learn what that is will be extremely beneficial. For instance, a technology start-up has a different culture and tone than a law firm. Using the same tone for both would be a mistake.

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2. Don’t use generic cover letter terms — be specific to each company and position

Hiring managers and recruiters can easily identify generic cover letters. They read cover letters and resumes almost every day. Using words and terms like: “your company” instead of naming the actual company, and “your website” instead of “in your about us section on www.abc123.com”, are mistakes. Be as specific as possible, it’s worth the additional few minutes.

3. Address the reader directly if you can

It is an outdated practice to use “To Whom it May Concern” if you know the person that will be reviewing your documents. You may wonder how you’ll know this information; this is where attention to detail and/or a bit of research comes into play.

For example, if you are applying for a job using LinkedIn, many times, the job poster is listed within the job post. This is the person reading your documents when you “apply now”. Addressing that person directly will be much more effective than using a generic term.

4. Don’t repeat the information found in the resume

A resume is an action-based document. When presenting information in a resume, the tone isn’t conversational but leading with action instead, for example: “Analyze sales levels and trends, and initiate action as necessary to ensure attainment of sales objectives”.

In a cover letter, you have the opportunity to deliver your elevator pitch: “I have positively impacted business development and growth initiatives, having combined two regions into one and achieving 17% in compound growth over the following three-year period”.

Never use your resume qualifications summary as a paragraph in your resume. This would be repeating information. Keep in mind that your cover letter is the introduction to your resume- the elevator pitch- this is your opportunity to show more personality.

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5. Tell the company what you can do for them

As mentioned above, this is your chance to explain to the company why you are the best person for the open position. This is where you tell the company what you can do for them: “If hired as the next (job title) with (company name), I will cultivate important partnerships that will enhance operations while boosting revenue.”

Many times, we want to take the reader through the journey of our life. It is important to remember that the reader needs to know why you are the best person for the job. Lead with that.

6. Showcase the skills and qualifications specific to the position

A lot of people are Jack’s and Jill’s of all trades. This can be a great big picture, but not great to showcase in a cover letter or resume.

Going back to what was mentioned before, cover letters and resumes are scanned through ATS. Being as specific as possible to the position being applied to is important.

If you are applying for a coding position, it may not be important to mention your job in high school as a dog walker. Sticking to the exact job being applied to is the most effective way to write your cover letter.

7. Numbers are important — show proof

It always helps to show proof when stating facts: “I have a reputation for delivering top-level performance and supporting growth so that businesses can thrive; established industry relationships that generated double digit increase in branch revenues”.

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8. Use testimonials and letters of recommendations

A cover letter is a great place to add testimonials and information from your letter of recommendations. Mirroring the example above, here is a good way to use that information:

I have a history of consistently meeting and exceeding metrics: “(Name) rose through the company and became a Subject Matter Expert, steadily providing exceptional quality of work.”- Team Manager.

9. Find the balance between highlighting your achievements and bragging

There is fine line between telling someone about your achievements and bragging. My advice is to always use facts first, and support that with an achievement related to the fact, as shown in the examples above.

You don’t want to have a cover letter with nothing but bullet points of what you have achieved. I can’t stress this enough — cover letters are your elevator pitch, the introduction to your resume.

10. Check your length — you want to provide no more than an introduction

The general rule for most positions is one page in length. Positions such as professors and doctors will require more in length (and they actually use CV’s); however, for most positions, one page is sufficient. Remember, the cover letter is an introduction and elevator pitch. Follow the logic below to get you started:

Start with: “I am ready to deliver impeccable results as (name of company) next (Position Title).

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What you know and like about the company, what initiatives, missions, goals resonate with you: “I read/listened to an interview that your Chief of Staff did on www.abc123.com. His/her statement regarding important up and coming employee engagement initiatives really resonated with me”.

Overview of your qualifications and experience: “I have a strong background in developing, monitoring, and controlling annual processes and operational plans related to community relations and social initiatives”.

Highlight/ Back up your facts with achievements: “I’m a vision-driven leader, with a proven history of innovation and mentorship; I led an initiative that reduced homelessness in four counties and received recognition from the local Homeless Network and the County Commissioner”.

Close with what will you do for the company: “As your next (job title), I am focused on hitting the ground running as a transformational leader who is driven by challenge, undeterred by obstacles, and committed to the growth of (name of company).

Bonus Advice

When applying for a job online or in person, a resume and a cover letter are standard submissions. At least 98% of the time, both your resume and cover letter and scanned via ATS (applicant tracking systems). You can learn more about that process here.

The information provided in a cover letter should be written and organized to be compatible with these scans, so that it can make to a human; from there, you want to make sure that you capture the recruiter and/or hiring managers attention.

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Featured photo credit: Kaleidico via unsplash.com

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