The Ultimate Resource Guide & Planner To Improve Or Create Your SEO Strategy Plan

flatlay desktop with office supplies and pink flowers

SEO is never a one-and-done idea, more it’s a type of philosophy that you must adapt to be successful in your endeavors. Everything you do, every sentence you write, every graphic you create and every content marketing plan you follow should ALL start with SEO.

  1. What exactly is SEO?
  2. What does SEO optimization mean for you?
  3. Why is SEO so important?
  4. Being SEO Flexible.
  5. How To Create Your Own SEO Strategy.
  6. How To See If You’re Strategy Is Working.
  7. Your Own SEO Planner.

1. What Is SEO? 

Search Engine Optimization is the science of making your content rank high in the search engines of today. 

The official definition is this: 

According to this piece of MOZ SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.

What goes into SEO?

To understand the true meaning of SEO, let’s break that definition down and look at the parts:

Quality of traffic. You can attract all the visitors in the world, but if they’re coming to your site because Google tells them you’re a resource for Apple computers when really you’re a farmer selling apples, that is not quality traffic. Instead, you want to attract visitors who are genuinely interested in the products that you offer.

Quantity of traffic. Once you have the right people clicking through from those search engine results pages (SERPs), more traffic is better.

Organic results. Ads make up a significant portion of many SERPs. Organic traffic is any traffic that you don’t have to pay for.

2. What Does SEO Optimization Mean For You?

It’s a strategy or plan that you create that will continue to build on SEO as you go along, by using: 

  • Title
  • keywords
  • headlines
  • image titles
  • image descriptions
  • categories
  • tags
  • Cornerstone Content
  • social media posts

to consistently rank higher in search engines. This strategy works best when created at the very beginning, but can be improved along any step in the process.

3. Why Is SEO So Important?

SEO is important because it keeps the search results fair. It reduces the ability to manipulate these results as much as possible so that the sites appearing for each search are there because they deserve to be there. Hard work and a website that appeals to visitors correlate with high search engine rankings, so if your site meets these criteria, you’ll have a better chance of showing up in the results.

Users trust search engines and achieving a top spot in search engine rankings signals to searchers that your site is a credible source. The higher you rank in results pages, the more clicks and traffic your site will generate. SEO also improves user experience, making it more likely for customers to become repeat buyers. According to this piece on WEBFX.

4. Being SEO Flexible

What does being SEO flexible mean? It means that you take several key factors into consideration when making your SEO plan. Such as:

  • Current Events
  • Special Dates
  • Longtail keywords
  • Pivoting when things aren’t working.

No one ever sits down and creates the “perfect SEO plan” because honestly, it doesn’t exist. Being SEO optimized is an ongoing strategy and taking in these other key factors will only improve your rankings.

Taking into account the keywords you have chosen for your brand messaging you should also find ways to create with these four ideas in mind. 

EXAMPLE:

Ellen is a food blogger and she uses these 4 keywords as her foundation.

  • Baking
  • Desserts
  • Organic
  • Gluten-free

 

Now using the previous considerations she might use these sentences or keywords.

 

  1. How To Keep Your Holiday Desserts Gluten-Free
  2. How to Bake The Ultimate Organic Holiday Meal.
  3. Baking Thanksgiving Desserts For The Dietary Challenged.
  4. Your Christmas Baking Taking To The Next Level With These Organic Recipes.
  5. Ten Things That You Could Be Doing To Completely Ruin Your Easter Baked Goods.

 

5. How To Create Your Own SEO Strategy.

Now comes the easy part, because I’ve actually done the hard work for you. I created the FREE SEO PLANNER STRATEGY PLANNER and it’s a step by step guide to build a strong SEO foundation and to scale that plan as you grow.

 

On-Page SEO Tips

  1. Make sure that your URLs are clean: 
    1. Think ahead
    2. Be consistent
    3. Use keywords
    4. Avoid any special characters. As they show up as “%20” which is unattractive.
    5. Length should be 50-60 characters
  2. Make sure your title is attractive:
    1. Start with keywords.
    2. Mind the length.
    3. Make it sell.
  3. Meta Descriptions:
    1. 150-160 characters.
    2. Don’t overstuff with keywords.
  4. Schema Markup: Structured data can do wonders for your SEO strategy.
    1. Use a Schema Markup Plugin
    2. You can also use Google’s, Markup Helper.
    3. How to check- use Rich Result Test.
  5. Optimized headings (h1-h6)
    1. H1 headings- Technically each of your pages has 2 titles.
      1. The title tag is displayed in search snippets. 
      2. H1 tag benefit: Unlike title tag no character limitation. Use more keywords.
    2. H2 headings- Split page into high-level section mini titles within your content.
    3. H3-H6 headings- Used to mark further subsections within the content. Don’t overload keywords.

 

A.Keyword Saturation:

  • Use keywords earlier in the copy. You should be using keywords within the first 100 words. 
  • Go beyond “exact matches” add more related keywords.

 

B.Content Length:

  • Content length changes from year to year and is currently around 2,000-word posts do best.
  • Want to make your content more compelling? Check out this piece from MostlyBlogging.com

 

C. Visual Aids:

  • Fill in your “alt” tags.
  • Compress your files.
  • Use descriptive filenames.

 

D. Above The Fold Content:

The top part of the page visual when it’s first loaded.

  • Remove distractions.
  • Optimize For Core Web Values 
    • How fast it loads
    • How stable it is while loading.
    • How soon it becomes interactive

 

E. Mobile Friendliness:

You should check your site on all mobile search engines and make changes based on your results.

 

F. Internal Links:

  • Should flow from one link to another.
  • Pass authority from popular pages to less popular ones.
  • Move users down a funnel.
  • You need to always consider this: Whenever you create a piece of content you should always consider where the reader should go next.

 

G. Outgoing Links:

  • Link to larger, more established sites.
  • Each piece of content should have relevant links.

 

H. The Comment Section:

Make sure that your comments are set up as “no follow”. If you use popular comment plugins they take care of this for you. 

 

6. How To See If You’re Strategy Is Working:

If you see that your backlinks are on the rise, your SEO efforts are working properly. If you see that the number of organic keywords on your website are also increasing, it’s safe to assume that you are targeting the correct keywords for your industry and using them successfully in your content. WebFX

 

7. Your Own SEO Planner:

 I’ve created your very own SEO Planner to help you keep your brand message on point. Sign up for my weekly newsletter (Sunday morning’s) to get a copy for your very own, plus you’ll get full access to the Resource Library, deep discounts, and amazing tips to help you succeed in your online business or blog.

 

You might also like these other resources:

What You Don’t Know About SEO Could Hurt You

Simple SEO Practices You Can Establish To Be Search Engine Attractive

How To Improve SEO & Increase Pageviews In 2020

9Shares

Google Analytics Pt 3: The Final Wrap-Up

flatlay desktop with pink and white flowers, macaroons and thank you note

As we’ve learned over these last three weeks there is so much information inside your Google Analytics account. We learned how to connect it to your website in Part 1 and in Part 2 we learned how to read those statistics and how to find what you need quickly. Today, we’re talking about Google Analytics integrations that will take your stats to the next level

GA is a robust tool that can help you not only read those statistics, but it gives you a snapshot of the health of your business. From your website to MailChimp or other email service providers and even Youtube!

Mailchimp (which is what I use on a daily basis and you should too!) is the most important integration to me and that’s because it gives me the answers I need quickly and I don’t have to go to other places to find it. I can access the information right from my MailChimp reports page! To set this up follow these instructions:

 

 

screenshot of Google/Mailchimp integration
screenshot MailChimp/Google Analytics integration
screenshot of MailChimp / Google Analytics integration
screenshot of MailChimp/Google anlytics integration
screenshot of MailChimp/Google Analytics integrations

Google together with MailChimp can help you optimize your campaigns by giving your readers what they are most interested in.

Google Analytics & Youtube

You can also combine your Google Analytics account with your Youtube Channel. I found this great step-by-step video by ExtremeWebDesign.com

 

Google Analytics & Social Media

It’s very easy to track the amount of traffic that comes from different social media platforms. There is no integration, no coding!

This information is already there! Just sign in to your GA account and follow these intructions:

social media stats on Google Analytics
social media stats inside Google Analytics

As you can see you can easily keep track of your statistics and therefore improve your content creation, campaign optimization, social media ads or posts, etc.

Knowledge = Power!

Starting next week I’m going to be starting a new series on MailChimp! I hope you’ll join me. Don’t want to miss out? Sign up below↓.

Get Ready For The Holidays With These Customizable Pinterest & Instagram templates!

12Shares

Google Analytics Part 2: Understanding The Translation

black/white flatlay desktop keyboard, mouse, various office supplies

Last week, I started this Google Analytics series by showing you how to connect it to your website. Once you do that it will take time to record the statistics. Google Analytics doesn’t go backward! You won’t be able to check statistics from the past, but in just a few days or weeks will give you a snapshot of how you’re website. The longer that you have it connected the clearer that snapshot will be.

I completely understand that for some just looking at the GA dashboard is stressful. It’s almost like a foreign language until you start to understand the amount of information that you can find about your website, your sales, your readers, or whatever you’d like to track. Today, I’m going to show you how to find that information quickly and explain things that you might not understand.

The Main Dashboard

The first thing you need to do is to go HERE & learn the terms that you’re going to have to know to make any sense of data. Some of the information that is in GA are things that you really don’t need. Unless you’re running a larger eCommerce site. This is for bloggers and small businesses who need valuable information about

  1. How many people come to the website?
  2. What they do when they get there?
  3. What they are interested in?
  4. What is working & what needs improvement?

This will allow you to create content that your readers want. For a small business, it could help you decide when and what to put on sale. Who to target you’re marketing toward and understand what it is they need and most importantly how you can help then achieve it.

screenshot of Google Analytics dashboard

My screenshot is a little blurry, but you can see there is a lot here. Let’s go over where to find the important facts.

Google Analytics screenshot

AUDIENCE>>OVERVIEW:
  • How many people come to your website?
  • How long they stay there?
  • How many are new visitors and how many are returning visitors?
DEMOGRAPHICS>>OVERVIEW

Marketing has to be different depending on the audience.

INTERESTS>>OVERVIEW

You wouldn’t sell to a man the same way you sell to the women (just ask the creators of the tampon tax)! Unlike that example, there are reasons why you need to know your audience ages. Something that interests me at 50 would bore my daughter to death who is 28. My husband plays softball…me…not so much.

Learning how to read the language of analytics can help you drill down the best marketing approach for your individual readers. Next week, I’ll show you how to integrate GA and get even more information!

Do you still have questions? Comment down below!

14Shares

The Tools I Can’t Live Without Pt. 2

Entrepreneur working at a desk

*The tools and products below are used by me on a daily basis. However, I AM NOT AN AFFILIATE and I am not paid by these companies.

One question that I get asked quite often is, “What tools do you regularly use to do what you do”. I spend 90% of my time online and finding tools that are easy to use, easy to set up, and affordable could be a whole career in itself. If you’re not familiar with me I run three websites, three FB groups, spending time on social media platforms, plus I manage over 58 websites (not including my own).

If you missed part 1 you can find it HERE. Today we’re going to talk about a few more of the important tools that I use to run my business. There are so many tools out there and I have to admit I’ve been guilty of shiny object syndrome and I’ve gone down enough rabbit holes in my time, but I have found that less really is better when it comes to running your business.

There are things you need to do:

  1. Email service provider (newsletter vs rss feed)
  2. Keeping track of your statistics
  3. Creating content
  4. Organizational

These are just a few, but they are the ones we’re going to cover today.

Email Service Providers

I’ve worked with a lot of email service providers and I’ve even recommended a few, BUT I always come back to MailChimp. I hands down recommend this to everyone whether they are a blogger or have an eCommerce site. You cannot find better value then the paid version of MC and if you have under 2,000 you can use totally FREE!

Below are a comparison of the top three email service providers CONSTANT CONTACT, CONVERTKIT & MAILCHIMP:

pricing charts for MailChimp

You can see here that for $9.99 you can have up to 50,000 contacts with a MailChimp Essentials account. Under 2,000 is completely free.

Pricing Chart For ConvertKit.

ConvertKit charges $29 for 1,000 subscribers.

 

 

Pricing chart for Constant Contact

As you can see Constant Contact wants a whopping $45 a month!

I use MailChimp, I recommend MailChimp and if you look right over there →→→ ( in the sidebar) you will see the MailChimp logo. I’ve recently partnered with MailChimp and after weeks of testing, I am now an official MailChimp expert. I AM NOT AN AFFILIATE I DO NOT MAKE MONEY FROM YOU SIGNING UP. I just really love the service.

Have questions about what MailChimp can do for you? Just email me at Rena (at) theblogging911.com.

Tracking Your Statistics

You know I love me some statistics! So much so that I became a Certified Google Analyst. Also over there →→→ BUT that doesn’t mean that it’s the only tool I use. Sometimes you need comparing views especially when you’re trying to see if what you’re doing is working.

So of course, I turn to Google because let’s face it, they are the internet Gods. But I also like using JetPack’s statistics. You can get a lot of information by comparing the two. Jetpack has a free and a paid version and it does offer a lot of features but you can get the same information for free.

Google Analytics is free and very easy to set up these days and if you use the MonsterInsights plugin it gets even easier. I totally recommend all three of these products.

IMPORTANT TIP: Make sure to filter out your own IP so that you aren’t counted in those statistics. I made a video showing exactly how to do that in this blog post.

Creating Content

Creating content is nonstop so anything you can find that will help you accomplish creating compelling content that people are actually wanting to read can be difficult some days. I usually write all of my content right in the WordPress post editor but when I’m working on ideas I like to open up a Google Doc. They are easy to use and easy to share. I do have Microsoft Word, but Google Docs is just easier sometimes and this especially true if you’re using Gmail.

I like to get inspiration from several places. It may be a newsletter I’ve read, a webinar I’ve watched or a podcast I’ve listened to. My favorite place to go for a little inspiration is Pinterest first. I am a visual learner and Pinterest is the eye candy of visual learners. I love to learn and I try to learn something new every single day even if it’s just about myself.

I also get a lot of inspiration from your questions, but lately, my most favorite way to create content is in my newsletter. I share a blog post every week, but I also like to have conversations with all of you. I love hearing your replies so please keep them coming! Also, if you have something that you’d like me to cover let me know.

Organizational

I have to be totally for real here. I struggle with organization every single day of my life. I am not an organized person and I work hard, but don’t always accomplish my goals. My mind doesn’t work the way it used to and some of my struggles are memory issues, spatial judgment, and organization. That being said as a business owner I require a certain amount and the way I’ve found to deal with this is to try not to overcomplicate it. I have bought courses on time-blocking, organizational concepts, and automation and on and on. All a waste of money in hindsight.

No one thing works for me so I use a multitude of services to achieve the mediocre amount of organization I can actually stick with and here it goes.

Dropbox

I save all of my clients’ assets to a shared folder in Dropbox. This is also where I store all website backup copies. I also store most of my assets there as well, but historically I have used Google Drive for client files and One drive for mine, but recently decided to keep it all in one place. I spent a REALLY LONG weekend setting it all up, but I love it now.

Trello

I am very new to the Trello game and I cannot believe what I have been missing! I am still working out my system there because I did what I always did and ran around like a sugar addict in a candy store creating more and more boards, but I have created ONE BOARD that contains EVERYTHING I need in my daily business. Client info, passwords, subscriptions, and even a list of the many, many courses I’ve bought over the years.

Canva

Is also a great place to store graphics and pdfs etc. You can create folders to keep it all in order. This way when I’m making a graphic I have what I need to create it in the client folder. I love Canva so much (I have the business account) that I totally did away with Photoshop & Illustrator. I can do everything I need to do with Canva and $12.95 is a lot better than $53 monthly!

Pinterest

Is another place to store things. I create a secret board with every new design to pin inspiration, ideas, and branding pieces. I always have a few secret boards going for research purposes.

What tools do you depend on to do what you do?

13Shares

Two Google Analytics Filters Everyone Entrepreneur Should Know About

Every blogger knows just how difficult it is to build a successful blog. There are so many things that you have to learn about that most people don’t even consider. Things like:

  • Creating graphics
  • Understanding email marketing
  • Social media
  • Branding

and that list goes on and on and on. You know the old joke:

How many hats does an entrepreneur where? ANSWER: All of them!

One thing that isn’t often talked about but is definitely a necessity is analytics. If you do affiliate marketing, sponsored posts or make money off of your site in any way you need to know the stats behind it.

Things like pageviews, unique visitors, bounce rates. Terms like this usually invoke either 1. Your eyes glaze over and you skim the rest of the article or 2. Confusion about what it all means.

Today, I’m going to show you two Google Analytic filters that every blogger should be using as well.

Filters are a way of weeding out the events that you don’t want in your final counts. The first of which is the IP filter. What does this mean? You need to be filtering out your own IP address so that you are not counted along with your other stats. Why you ask? Because without this particular filter you won’t get an accurate picture of how your site is doing.

So, together we’re going to set up an IP filter. It’s really simple so don’t panic!

The next filter we’re going to set up is to keep your analytics from being hijacked. In the video below I show you exactly how to set up both filters.

How can someone hijack your analytics? Well, there’s a little known way of finding out anyone’s GA code. It’s very simple.

  1. Go to your website.
  2. Right-click your mouse.
  3. Choose “Page Source”.
  4. Hit CTRL + F for the find command and type in GA.
  5. Scroll down and you’ll see your own GA code.

There isn’t a way to hide them from this view so the only thing you can do is to add a filter that will keep your GA code safe from hijacking.

Go into your GA account, click on ADMIN>>Filters. Add a new filter and then choose “CREATE NEW FILTER” and give it a name that you will remember.

Scroll down and hit “CUSTOM” and then check the “Include” button. In the dropdown choose HOSTNAME and in the box below type in YOURDOMAINNAME.COM & click save! It’s that easy.

Need a little more help? Try this video I made to show you how to quickly filter out your IP address and including only your own hostname.

Have questions? Let me know in the comments below!

59Shares

Why Now Is The Perfect Time For A Re-Design

Pink & gold flatlay desk

Are You Tired Of Looking A The Same Old Tired Website?

When you visit other websites are you green with envy?

I get it! I love color, all colors, and when I come across a pretty new color palette or an amazing font comes across my desk I start designing in my mind automatically and before I know it I’m putting the changes on my own sites or those of my clients.

I’m going to tell you a secret…

I can trust you, right?

I don’t always practice what I preach! SSHHHHH! Don’t tell anyone, but I struggle with branding because I get bored so easily. You’ve heard me and a whole lot of other experts tell you that consistent branding is necessary for brand recognition, but nobody tells you that IT’S SO DAMN HARD!!!

I’m constantly experimenting and if I could spend my days making graphics I would. That’s my favorite thing in the whole world! Speaking of…Did you know my DIY BLOGGING/TRAVEL site WanderingWebDesigner is having a grand opening sale and now until Jul 31st you can get 30 custom graphics for $30!!! That is a hell of a deal 50% off of the regular price! Better hurry though this amazing offer ends 7-31-19. If you looking for web design tips, travel recommendations, or your just trying to figure it all out by yourself then this is the site for you!

Anyway, back to branding. I get bored easily so changing out designs for graphics or website graphics seems like a necessity to keep my business looking fresh and user-friendly. I love pretty pictures (can you tell) so whenever something catches my eye I have to have it. I have a fabulous subscription to Styled Stock Society where I get all of my images exclusively for this site. I pay a small fee once a year and every month I get so excited to see the new images in the library and there’s no limit. As you can see I’m a huge fan of the flat lay desktops.

The best place to find professional images, videos or music for your website or social media is Shutterstock. You’ll find anything you’re looking for from foodies to fashion. You can use free sites like Pixabay or Unsplash, but free doesn’t always cut it when you need to create consistent & professional branding. As a special gift to you, they are going to give you a 10% discount just for being a loyal reader! Use this link and bump your game up!

Best professional stock images on the market.

Choosing the right imagery & graphics is just as important, if not more important than copywriting, color palettes & font choices. When creating a brand you want your ideal customer to feel a certain type of way when they see your content. Let’s face it, today’s world moves at warp speed and we need to keep up. People no longer read, they visualize and scan so having the right imagery is really the only way we have to stand out and grab attention.

For example, I want my clients here on The Blogging 911 to feel confident & empowered. The way I accomplish this is by connecting the technology to run their businesses and setting up system automation to save time & money while giving their clients & customers great user experience. I work with mostly females because I love what I do so much & I want you to love what you do just as much. It’s life-changing. For me to be a success you need to be successful.

So, Why Is It The Perfect Time For A Re-Design You Ask?

Because when you purchase our design or branding package you don’t just get a fresh, modern look. You get the full experience where you’re in the driver’s seat to your own destiny. Right now, I’m throwing in a lot of Summer bonuses that don’t normally come with the design/branding package.

  • A full video tutorial teaching you how to use your new site + a Skype session to answer any additional questions. ($150 value)
  • You know that you’re building on one of the best website frameworks on the market thrown in at NO EXTRA COST! ($60.00 Value)
  • Your choice of child themes from StudioPress from my theme library (A $49.99 to $149.99 Value).
  • Things like SSL Certificates are always included. Provided by Bluehost.
  • You also get one full year membership to the website maintenance plan ($149.99 value) so that you can use your new website knowing that someone is there to help, to answer your questions, to keep the site updated and backed up. To hold your hand through the whole process for A WHOLE YEAR!!! Who does that?!?

It’s like having an insurance policy for your website!

You won’t have to:

  • Worry about conflicting plugins.
  • Worry about backing up your site.
  • Worry about updating WordPress.
  • Worry about backing up your theme.
  • Worry about backing up your plugins.
  • Worry about optimizing your database on a monthly basis.
  • Worry about running a monthly malware scan twice a month.

If you’re new to WordPress you will receive a detailed video explaining the various parts of your new website and best practices when it comes to using it. Even if you’ve used WordPress you might like to watch it and maybe find out things that you didn’t know.

Another reason now is a great time for a redesign is because we’re in the Summer Slumps, those few months every Summer where people have nothing on their minds but spending time with family & friends, enjoying vacations, or just lounging by the pool! Get ready for the busy holiday seasons now. Create a plan from publishing new content to creating a sales funnel, email sequence or setting up a shopping cart & Facebook ads.

I only work with one client at a time so that I can give them a 100% personal service. So you better hurry, spots fill up fast! A re-design is more cost-efficient than a build because the foundation is already there which means it costs less & takes less time than a standard web design/branding package. Turn around is generally 2 weeks instead of the 4 to 6 weeks it takes to build out from scratch.

Pageviews always decrease during the Summer months.

Which means it’s a perfect time to freshen up that website, dust off the cobwebs, add a much-needed enhancement, upgrade your website security, or just move things around. It’s the perfect time to put a content marketing plan in place.

I’d love to talk to you about your ideas, dreams or wishes! Need something other than web design? Need to connect analytics or maybe set up an email sequence? Check out the shop over at WanderingWebDesigner.com

Right now I’m offering a web design/branding package for over half off the usual pricing! This is for established websites only.

Get a consistent, beautiful new look that will be shared across all platforms.

Have you been dreaming of carving out a brand for your products or services that will turn sales on autopilot!

You better hurry!

I don’t know how long I can afford to keep this pricing!

$500

 

 

*This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase I will earn a small commission. It will in no way affect your pricing.

 

 

225Shares

Step-by-Step Sales Funnel Planning

 

Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of setting up your sales funnel? You’re not alone. Many online business owners fail to properly plan out their funnel, and it shows.

They have an opt-in incentive that doesn’t appeal to their audience.

Their follow-up emails don’t flow naturally from the opt-in.

Messages are unbalanced—either too many sales pitches or not enough. Even worse, the offers don’t match the market.

Making these mistakes is common, so if you recognize yourself here, don’t feel bad. The good news? There’s an easy fix.

Step 1: Survey your market

All too often we think we know what our readers and potential buyers want, but in reality, we’re simply guessing. We make the mistake of believing that we are our market, but that usually is not the case.

The only way to know for sure what your market truly wants and needs is to ask them. Set up a simple survey (even a Google form will work) and ask your blog readers, social media followers, and email list to give their opinion.

Do this right, and you’ll know exactly what you should be offering your audience, plus, you’ll know that language to use on your opt-in page.

Step 2: Create your opt-in

Now that you know what your market needs, it’s time to create your opt-in incentive. Keep in mind that readers today seem to prefer simple, easy-to-digest offers rather than 200-page eBooks or 7-part video series. This makes your job a bit easier, too.

Some popular choices for opt-in incentives include:

  • Checklists
  • Worksheets
  • Resource guides
  • Video training
  • Webinars
  • Audio downloads

 

Step 3: Map out your autoresponder

Every good opt-in incentive should be followed up with a series of emails that build on the material. If you’ve offered a resource guide, for example, then your follow-up emails might include usage tips for each of the resources, or case studies that show how others have benefited from using the tools.

Step 4: Make an offer

Arguably the most important part of your funnel, your offer must be the logical next step for readers to take. They’ve worked through your opt-in incentive, read and acted on your emails, and they’re hungry for more. Time to make your offer.

Just like the other pieces of your funnel, your coaching offer needs to be the answer to your readers’ most burning questions. If you consider your opt-in and follow-up series to be the “lite” version, then your coaching offer is the premium package. Bigger, beefier, and the perfect next step.

Before you post your first opt-in code, take some time to map out your funnel according to these steps, and you’ll not only fill your funnel faster, but you’ll close more sales along the way.

 

13Shares

Top Tools For Building Your Sales Funnel

Ready to start building out your sales funnels? There are just a few things you need before you can get started. Here are some of the most popular options when it comes to putting together both free and paid funnels: 

Lead Pages—when it comes to building opt-in pages, LeadPages.net is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal. They’ve tracked and tested a variety of page styles to determine which ones convert best, and they make it easy for you to build similar pages for your funnel.

It does come with a monthly fee, though, so before investing, you’ll want to be sure you can recoup your investment.

Instabuilder—similar to LeadPages, but without the monthly investment. Instabuilder is a plugin for WordPress that allows you to create your own funnels. It includes several funnel templates and a drag-and-drop page builder that makes it easy to get just the look you want.

AWeber—Probably the easiest email manager on the market today, AWeber is the choice for many small business owners, not only because it’s simple to use, but because it’s also economical. Starting at less than $20 per month for up to 500 subscribers, AWeber offers both autoresponders and broadcast emails, list automation, and segmenting, so you can send emails exactly when—and to whom—you want.

AW Pro Tools—an add-on to AWeber, AW Pro Tools gives you added control over your list management by automatically removing unsubscribes, moving subscribers from one list to another based on the link they click, and other useful automations. 

PayPal—The simplest of all payment processors, PayPal allows you to take payments online for a very reasonable fee. It will also act as a simple shopping cart.

Ontraport—Another email manager, Ontraport offers shopping cart functionality as well, so you can create powerful funnels that are fully integrated with your sales process. The benefit here is that you don’t have to try to synch your cart with your email system, since it’s completely self-contained. 

Infusionsoft—Probably the top tool for any business model, Infusionsoft is an all-in-one solution for customer management, funnel setup, mailing list, and even membership sites. It’s priced at the high end, but if you can (and will) use all its power, then Infusionsoft is well worth the investment.

You can see that you have a lot of options when it comes to building out your sales funnels, but what are the must-have items? At the most basic level, you must have:

A way to create web pages. A simple WordPress website will fill this need, with a little bit of work. LeadPages or Instabuilder are nice to have, but not essential, especially if you’re just getting started.

A way to capture email addresses. AWeber is definitely the top choice here, but others include MailChimp, Constant Contact, and iContact.

A shopping cart. PayPal is as easy as it gets when it comes to shopping carts, but other options include 1 Shopping Cart, Woo Commerce, Infusionsoft, and aMember.

 

I recommend you start small. Build the funnel framework as simply as you can, using tools that don’t cost a fortune. Once you have a few funnels up and running, you will be able to see where they can use improvement, and how the tools available to you can help make your funnels convert better and work more efficiently.

8Shares

What The Heck Is A Sales Funnel Anyway?

For an online business owner, a sales funnel is probably the most important marketing tool you have. And yet many entrepreneurs – both new and established – have no clear understanding of what a funnel is or how it works.

As you can imagine, failing to fully understand this critical part of your business means fewer sales, lower profits, and ultimately, an unstable business.

A Simple Sales Funnel

At its most basic, a sales funnel consists of free content, which typically requires nothing of your readers. Many sales funnels begin with blog posts, YouTube videos, Facebook content, and other information readers can access at no cost. This is the “top” of your funnel.

Next, you’ll have an attractive offer that requires a very small “payment” of sorts – typically an email address. You’ve seen this type of offer on websites all over the internet, and probably even signed up for some. This is the free ebook or guide, video series, checklist, workbook, or other valuable content that is available in exchange for “opting in” to an email list.

Once on your mailing list, you’ll then present your readers with a series of low-cost offers. Perhaps you have a low-priced ebook or a trial membership.

Customers who purchase your low-priced product move further down the funnel, and are presented with more, higher priced products. As they continue to buy, they move closer and closer to your top-end offers, which make up the bottom of your funnel.

How Your Funnel Works

If you imagine your funnel as looking like, well, a funnel, it’s easy to see that your free content—at the top—is consumed by the largest number of readers. Below that, your extreme low-cost item (available only for the cost of an email address) attracts a smaller subset of the true freebie seekers. Next, your low-priced products bring in yet a smaller group.

Finally, as you near the tip of the funnel, only the most loyal of fans and customers will purchase your highest priced offers.

Your job, as the business owner, is to ensure that your funnel leads buyers naturally from the top, free offers all the way to the bottom. The more buyers you can keep in your funnel, the more money you will make.

Most new—and even established—business owners can easily envision the top of the funnel, but if you truly want your business to grow, you must master the entire process, and that starts with understanding what a funnel really is and how it works.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be covering sales funnel in depth. Want to keep up? Sign up for my email list and you’ll get it first!

Do you use a sales funnel? Do you recognize one when you see it?

 

12Shares

Are You Ready to Give Up on Email Marketing? Read This First

Are you so frustrated with the results of your email marketing campaign that you’re ready to throw in the towel? Don’t worry about it – we’ve all been there. Email marketing seems like a simple way to boost sales.

And it can be, provided that you can get your subscriber to open the email in the first place. After all, it doesn’t matter how great your marketing message is if no one ever reads it, does it?

In the busy world that we live in, you need to time the email perfectly so that they get it when they have time to open it. Is there any point in sending it through late on Friday afternoon when everyone’s getting ready to go home, for example?

Security awareness training is another thing that you’ll have to consider when crafting your email. Many companies have software that allows them to remove any suspicious messages and spam before they get delivered to their servers.

There are a good few more, but these will be dealt with in the EveryCloud infographic that we’ve published below. You’ll learn:

·         Why email marketing is still the best thing since sliced bread

·         How people use emails and whether or not they view them on their mobile phones

·         What might make people consider your email spam

·         When the best spending times are

·         And a whole lot of other interesting facts

204Shares

Is Speed Important For Online Stores?

E-commerce infographic about site speed for e-commerce

Online sales are on the rise and e-commerce is expected to grow at a much faster rate than offline retail. With this in mind, it’s hardly surprising that more and more businesses are working hard to build a strong online presence that often includes opening an e-shop.

Important as online stores are, there’s still a lot of misconception about what factors improve the odds for online success.

Take website speed for instance. Though many online marketers believe it is somewhat important for their businesses, they are unaware of the extent it impacts websites.

The gurus of web hosting reviews at the Hosting Tribunal created the fact-packed infographic below to show the latest stats about how page loading time affects online stores.

Meanwhile let’s bust some misconceptions related to speed and e-shops.

For starters, did you know that slow page load time negatively affects your total page views and bounce rate?

Research shows that for every second delay in page loading, you will have 11% fewer page views. Additionally, the bounce rate probability rises sharply with every small increase in page load time.

For instance, sites with load times of 5 seconds have the bounce rate probability of 90%. For sites with load times of 10 seconds, this figure is 123%. So, a 5-second delay in page loading causes bounce rate to increase by a whopping 33%.

But that’s not all. Majority of viewers who choose to stay for longer periods of time on slow online stores are likely to be unhappy with their site experience and as a result never shop there again.

52% of online shoppers rank site speed as an important loyalty factor and 64% of them will take their business elsewhere if their on-site experience is below-par.

A slow web page also means a high cart abandonment rate, which measures the number of people who add an item to their shopping carts but leave without completing the transaction.

All in all, slow page loading affects your online store in many ways. So what are you waiting for? Take a look at the graphic below and apply corrective measures immediately if your site is slow and sluggish.

41Shares

Creating and Achieving Your Email Marketing Goals

While huge corporations can afford to spend a lot of money testing out different marketing strategies, small businesses do not always have that option due to a much more limited budget. That is why they usually need to stick to proven marketing methods which have the best ROI.

 

The Benefits Of Email Marketing

One such method is email marketing. It is a cost-effective way to reach a large number of customers and has the added benefit of enabling you to track the marketing campaign results easily.

Another great benefit of using email marketing is that you can target specific audiences with specially designed and personalized content. This improves the chances of the email being opened and read because it will reach people who are more likely to be interested in the products and services that your company is offering.

Email marketing also brings dozens of other benefits, all of which are listed in the infographic below provided by 99firms.com.

Know What You Want

Before you start creating an email marketing campaign, you need to define your goals. What is that you are hoping to achieve from the campaign?

  • Sales conversions – It goes without saying that every business wants to improve conversions. Luckily, there are many metrics that you can use to see how well your email marketing is affecting them.

  • Website traffic – Bringing as many people as you can to your website can only be a good thing. Not only will this raise awareness of your brand, but it will also improve its ranks on search engines. You can see how effective your emails are by taking a look at the click-through rates.

  • Increase revenue – Another common email marketing goal is to increase revenue. When recipients start to become customers, you can declare your email marketing campaign as successful.

Once you know why you want to use email marketing, you should segment your email lists into relevant groups. That way, you can send specially designed content to certain groups of people. If you do otherwise, i.e., send the same email to all the addresses you have, your campaign will fail.

The next step is writing the email, which also should be thought out carefully. There are many aspects to composing a marketing email, and you need to make sure that you take care of all of them.

85Shares