5 Social Media Marketing Mistakes To Avoid

5 Social Media Marketing Mistakes To Avoid

Consumers expect companies to engage with them across social channels. But for many ecommerce businesses, social media management is often overlooked or relegated behind other tasks. Social media campaigns are everywhere! While they are meant to enhance your brand and rally your audience, too often brands simply launch social campaigns, cross their fingers and hope for the best. If you are looking to launch a social media campaign, be sure to avoid these three common mistakes. Social media marketing is something that everyone is adopting. Be it an established business or a small local business. Everyone wants to jump onto the bandwagon of making their brand presence felt on social networks. The simple reason being – that’s where the crowd is. However, there are some common social media marketing mistakes visibly noticed.

Why are all endeavors not successful? Why are all Facebook and Google Plus pages as popular? Why are your competitors doing better on SMM? What promises are you making and not catering to? There are various such questions that need to be answered. Social media marketing mistakes – no matter how minor – can cancel out whatever your business has been doing right. Give your competition a run for their money, and maximize your ROI by avoiding such common social media mistakes. While it’s great to learn about what you should do, one could argue that it’s just as important to learn about what you shouldn’t do. If you stop and think about it, social media is now a constant in almost every aspect of our lives—work, politics, breaking news, keeping in touch with friends, you name it.

Social media marketing is now a critical strategy for businesses large and small. You might be thinking, “It’s only social media, how hard can it be?” The answer is: for a brand, it can be very hard. While the ever-evolving social landscape gives us new and exciting ways to engage with our audiences, the changes require us to be agile and able to learn quickly, sometimes through trial and error. The good news is with a smart, detailed and succinct strategy, many of the most common social media marketing mistakes can be averted. Here are some of the most common mistakes in social media marketing strategy, that entrepreneurs must avoid:

Lack Of A Strategy

Deciding early on the goals of your social media presence will likely shape your strategy. Are you planning on increasing brand awareness, site traffic, and leads? Or are you looking to use social media as an additional customer support channel? For some businesses, it may be a combination of these, especially as their audience grows. Once you determine your strategy, identify platforms to use. If your company is focused on lifestyle or fashion, consider Instagram and Pinterest. Both frequently roll out new options to increase sales. What to post in your social profiles depends on your organization and its social strategy. For most of the popular channels, the days of posting your own content and hoping for traffic to roll in are long gone. Twitter and Instagram moved away from a chronological feed to one that prioritizes the content of each user. Most companies might have experienced this and you could be one of them.

The story goes like this: you decide to join the social network, make your profiles, load it with info, put great stuff out there to attract attention and then disappear. Within weeks of your ‘super’ launch your page is converted into a barren land with followers wondering what they are doing there and some people seeking answers and getting no replies. Your social media presence soon becomes a flop show! So the first step is to have a social media marketing plan. The plan should be such that it should build on your presence and not let it dwindle. Any plan would require – time investment, strategy and goals and team for interaction. You need to keep your resources in place to have the game progressing. Ensure you have a dedicated resource, such as a social media marketing manager, who can develop a brand voice, drive a strategy that aligns with your business priorities, and maintain customer relationships.

Overuse Of Automation

Automation makes everything easier for you. It allows you to regularly post updates on your social media profiles while you’re busy taking care of other aspects of your business. But too much automation can make your social media accounts feel impersonal. It also prevents you from interacting directly with your audience, which limits your brand’s ability to build genuine bonds with them. It’s okay to schedule your posts for specific times, but make sure you also set aside a couple of hours every day just to monitor the activity on your posts. During this period, you can answer any questions people have, and respond to any issues people have reported. You can also use the time to thank and appreciate loyal fans, which will strengthen their bonds with your company. While these tools can be a huge help for social media users, they can also negatively impact your engagement if overused. Too often, marketers will look to these programs as a one-stop-shop, dumping all of their content into a scheduler and blasting it across as many social media platforms as possible.

While this may be appropriate for some things, only 15-20% of your content should be treated this way. Why? Well if you take a step back, the reasons become pretty obvious. Each platform follows a different format, and therefore, the content should be customized to fit the different houses it’ll live in. Not only that, but you want your audiences to feel that the community they’re engaged with is authentic. Whether they follow you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or anywhere else. You want the messaging to make sense where they see it. For example, anything over 140 characters needs to be reworded for Twitter or your message will end up getting cut off. Instagram has a video limit of 1 minute – so you’ll probably want to mention where they can see the full version… a message that wouldn’t make sense on Facebook’s platform. These are just a couple of examples of how you want to be careful with automation. It’s a great tool to help handle your accounts, but you don’t want to come off as robotic.

One Way Engagement

Customers and prospects are going to talk about your company whether you are listening or not. So taking a proactive approach can prevent a small mishap from turning into a much larger public-relations issue. There are many social media monitoring tools to get one started, including Hootsuite, Social Mention, and Mention. But listening tools can only do so much. Product and service problems are bound to occur for most companies. Using social media channels to communicate those problems can keep customers informed. This happened a few years ago with Weight Watchers, when its mobile apps did not work due to a site-wide overall. Knowing how and when to respond to a crisis will be unique to your business. In many cases, profiles have updates but no participation in conversation. Lack of conversation with your clients and followers decreases value of your social presence and you don’t build on valuable relationships.

A lot of companies view social media as nothing more than a way to deploy content – where you put your message out there, and then engage/respond to people as they engage/respond to you. While that’s a great first step, a successful social media campaign doesn’t stop there. That means perusing your timeline and liking people’s posts, commenting on pictures, following accounts that make sense for your brand… don’t make the mistake of just sitting back and waiting until someone starts the conversation. Not only will it make your audience feel more connected to your company, but you’ll see a notable boost in your engagement. How many times have you found yourself clicking on profiles that have liked your picture, or commented on your post – to see who they are or what they have to offer? The same concept works in reverse. Talk to your audience and they’re much more likely to talk back.

Inaccurate Target Audience

This is a big mistake – keeping an active page with lot of info but no real followers. This means you don’t really have virtual support and weakens the basis of your social existence. To avoid this, it’s important to build a slow and steady network of real people. And the most important is to know your target audience. Aiming in the dark may seem like you are working very hard, but in the end, results will suffer! Are you creating social media content based on what you assume your fans and followers will like? Or do you check out your competitor’s social channels and just do whatever they’re doing? You know what they say about assumptions, right? Creating social media content based on assumptions or half-assed “competitor analysis” is inefficient and ineffective.

You need to take the time to get to know your own audience. What are they into? What do they care about? How old are they? Where do they live? This time spent reaps big rewards in the long run. Conducting thorough audience research will ensure that all of your social media marketing efforts are as effective as they can be. It will help you discover the best ways to attract and connect with your target audience. It will give you a better understanding of how to create content that will resonate with them, in a tone they’ll find comfortable and approachable. There are many tools and methods for conducting audience research. One of the most direct ways is to use social media monitoring to find out what your audience likes and what they think of your brand. This can help you measure the impact of your social media marketing campaigns, and identify engagement and improvement opportunities.

Unrealistic Expectations

We all want our social media campaigns to “go viral,” but the truth is, there is no secret checklist to follow to make that happen. Blasting your campaign on social networks where you don’t have a dedicated audience doesn’t make much sense. If your brand has a strong social media presence on one or two networks, focus on distributing your campaign there. Additionally, share your campaign with your email list – this is a group that will likely be inclined to participate and encourage their networks to do so as well. Sharing is where the magic happens! Ensure that your campaign is easily shareable by incorporating a campaign hashtag. Include social sharing buttons on your landing page. With a majority of social media users accessing via mobile, it is important to make your landing page mobile-friendly. Also, consider adding an incentive for your participants who share the campaign with their networks.

While this is something brands should do every day on social media, it is particularly important when running a campaign. Engage with those who participate! Not only does this humanize your brand, but it shows participants that you’re paying attention. A simple “thank you for participating” can go a long way. New advancements in paid social and account-based marketing (ABM) have created a unique way for marketers to understand their audiences better than ever before to serve up relevant messages at just the right time. Customization and personalization are becoming the norm, and it’s inevitable that platforms are evolving to allow its users more flexibility in how they want to tailor their content feeds. But what does that mean for social media marketers? Establish your objectives and define how you’ll measure results. Understand who your target audience is and what they want, and then frame your thinking around your audience’s needs and interests, not your own sales pitch. Start with the basics and before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to success.

4 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Should Engage Employees In The Decision-Making Process

4 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Should Engage Employees In The Decision-Making Process

Some companies refer to their employees as “employees.” Other organizations refer to their employees as “associates,” “staff members,” or “team members.” There is not much correlation between how a company or department refers to their “employees” and overall employee satisfaction. However, there is a direct correlation between how involved employees are in the decision making in their department or team and their overall morale, motivation, and satisfaction with their jobs. Companies and departments who have a higher level of employee involvement in decision making show higher levels of employee motivation and satisfaction. All managers and supervisors would like everyone to think that they involve employees in the decision making of their department or team.

But when you would actually ask the employees or associates, would you get the same answers? There are many benefits of involving employees in the decision making of your company or department. Decision making is one of the toughest parts of running a business. But, it is the ability to make decisions that makes one feel like the ‘owner’, making it hard to do away with authority. However, experts say that at times it is important and often mandatory to engage employees in the decision making process. Powerful shifts have been taking place in the world around us. More people are demanding a say in the institutions that impact them. Consumers are determining what a company’s brand is – not the other way around. It’s an exciting revolution and many organizations are responding with new ways of working.

The desire to have a say in perhaps our most important institution – the company we work for – has been a fundamental desire of employees for a long time, and the current shift is intensifying this desire. Unfortunately, the divide between the type of involvement employees crave and what they actually have seems to be widening in many organizations. And that is just one of the reasons of the decline in workforce of companies. Leading people successfully in this new world requires a new paradigm – collaborative leadership. This approach works because it is less top-down and it enables real employee involvement in making a business work. Simply put, collaborative leadership makes employees partners in the business management process.

Here are some of the reasons why entrepreneurs should involve their employees in the decision- making process:

They Feel Valued

The associates feel they are a valued part of the team. When associates are involved in the decision making, they feel that people in ownership and management positions value them as a significant contributor to the team’s success. When people feel valued, they will usually raise their level of effort and commitment to ensure the department’s or company’s success. The associates are able to make better day-to-day decisions because they have accurate information regarding the direction of the company or department. Managers and supervisors who do not share information or involve associates in the decision making are usually the same people who complain that associates are unable to make good decisions.

Previously, employees were told what to do and they did it – this approach seemed to work for a long time. Then, smart employers started involving employees by asking for their input on how to improve the way things worked. However, it was still up to managers and executives to decide whether to listen to these suggestions. Often they didn’t, leaving employees disillusioned. Collaborative leadership gives employees a seat at the leadership table and makes them partners in defining the vision and plan for their organization. The benefits of this approach include higher quality options and strategies, greater employee buy-in for new directions and the required action, greater organizational agility in the face of rapid change, and ultimately, better business performance.

They Feel More Responsible

The associates feel a stronger bond of responsibility for making the decision. When you are responsible for making a decision, and the decision turns out to be a bad one, you do whatever you can to correct the decision and make things right. The same is true for everyone. When associates are involved in making the decision, the chances of the decision being a success increase since all members of the team are committed to correcting the parts of the decision that are not in alignment with the department’s or company’s vision and values. The associates will focus more of their energy on future-oriented problem solving rather than blaming their current problems on management. Associates who have not been involved in making the decision have co-authored some great comments such as, “Whose brilliant idea was this?” or “This will never work in a hundred years.”

All of these comments demonstrate two things: First, the employee is not in agreement with the decision and second, when the decision goes wrong, and it will because the associate is not committed to the decision’s success, the employee has someone to blame. Employees will feel more responsible when they have a say in a decision. Collaborative leadership pushes beyond accountability to achieve the natural result of giving employees a seat at the leadership table – ownership. Enabling employee ownership for where the business is going, how it works and the results it’s achieving requires giving team members the knowledge and freedom to engage in problem-solving activities and make decisions collaboratively without oppressive micro-management. Employee ownership accelerates the ease and speed at which a business achieves its goals.

Higher Motivation

Morale and motivation is higher in organizations where associates are involved in the department/company’s decision making. When people are involved in the decision making, they know they make a difference to the department’s or company’s success. When people know they make a difference, they find it easier to be motivated and satisfied with their job. Getting employees involved in decision making is a sure shot way of making them feel important and boosting their morales. Low morale causes disengagement which results in high absenteeism and low productivity levels. Since high morale is influenced from top to down, the higher management has to do something about it, and giving employees a sense of power is a pretty good way to go about it.

Giving your employees a seat at the leadership table won’t make a real difference unless the atmosphere feels right – they just won’t contribute. Collaborative leadership works to create an environment where employees will be bold enough to make the most of this opportunity. It encourages participation by team members, engages them through intriguing questions, listens to their answers, and involves everyone in lively and positive dialogue. It enables and rewards new idea generation and implementation, the seizing of new opportunities, appropriate risk taking, and intelligent failure. When conditions feel safe, employees engage and collaborate enthusiastically.

More Time For Managers

When associates are able to make the decisions that impact their work, it frees up the manager or supervisor to work on more future-oriented issues that will ultimately make the department or company even more successful. For example, a manager will now have the time to look at how the department’s or company’s customers are changing their demands and level of expectations. With this new knowledge, the manager can lead a discussion on what changes will have to occur in the next decade to meet the changing customer demands. In addition, managers will have more time for changing procedures and refining processes.

You will have more time in hand to concentrate on other tasks when you have employees take decisions on your behalf. Decision making can be a tough process. It involves taking care of a lot of things, most importantly your employees’ reaction, especially when a decision concerns them. Conversely, when you have employees taking decisions, you do not have to do the homework or worry about what they would have to say on it. You are getting them involved in the process, and the end result is you have more time to spend on other activities.

6 Myths About Entrepreneurial Success You Must Stop Believing In

6 Myths About Entrepreneurial Success You Must Stop Believing In

There are a number of timeless universal principles that can guide you to success. They usually involve setting goals, being determined and having a clear vision. And then there’s advice that sounds great and seems to make a lot of sense, but backfires when put into practice. It’s important to be aware of these misguided beliefs and bad habits, so you can avoid pitfalls in your journey. There are the some of the biggest myths about achieving success which you need to replace with healthy habits that will help you create a happier life and achieve sustainable success.

How often has this happened to you? You want to do more with your life – get into great shape, pursue a hobby you’re passionate about, start your own business, or work toward a new career, etc. You start building a positive habit that will take you in that direction – exercise, waking up early, writing, meditation, an evening routine, studying, etc. You begin with a lot of determination (for a week maybe). Then something makes you skip your habit for a couple of days: a new project at work, unexpected household events, illness, family coming to visit, and so on. Those “busy” days keep popping up, and so you skip more often. Before long, you abandon your new habit altogether. It’s frustrating isn’t it?  Trying again and again to build positive habits, but not being able to?

Sometimes you feel that you simply don’t have it in you to do anything anymore.  You are just too busy, too old, and just plain exhausted. But what if that’s not true? What if the only things holding you back are a few limiting beliefs? And it is not about negative beliefs. We hold numerous beliefs about what works, about the correct way to do things, and about what we need to do to be successful. And on the surface, many of these beliefs sound quite positive and motivational, and they are in some situations. However, in many other situations, they turn into motivational myths that completely cripple our progress and prevent us from building positive habits.

We all want to be successful. It’s that promise of finally reaching the light at the end of the tunnel that inspires us to keep hustling — even when the going gets tough. Yes, success is always the end goal. But, stop and ask yourself this: Do you really have a clear picture of what success is? Or, are you only operating with what you’ve been told? Are you falling into the trap of believing common myths about success? If so, it’s time for a friendly wake-up call. But, remember, just because they’re often repeated, doesn’t mean they’re true. Here are some biggest success myths you’ve likely heard time and time again – and you must stop believing in:

Follow Your Passion

We’ve all heard it before: if you do what you love, you will naturally advance and become successful. This sounds great, and seems to make a lot of sense. And for some people, it may be true. Doing what you love can increase your motivation and make you more determined to see your goals through. But there are other important factors to keep in mind. If you love doing something, but there is no market for your skills or product, you have a significant hurdle to success. Chances are, if you take stock of your strengths and weaknesses, and consider all possibilities, you will discover that there is more than one path to success. You may find there is something else you like nearly as much, and one with a better market and a higher chance of success. Keep in mind that there is no perfect job. No matter how much you love doing something, there will be elements of your work that you may dislike or even dread.

Instead of focusing solely on doing what you love, make sure that you love what you do. Work should be something you enjoy and gain a sense of fulfillment from. Remember that there may be more than one career option out there for you and that most people go through a variety of careers over a lifetime. Be open to pursuing new paths. Successful people are always focused on the future and working to anticipate problems their companies will surely face. We must all be constantly making to-do lists and working toward our future goals. However, if you are so focused on what’s next, you may be forgetting to live in the present. Constantly looking ahead without taking stock of what you have will make it difficult to connect to the people around you, and you may find yourself locked into an unhappy mindset.

Be A Perfectionist

Being a workaholic is considered an admirable trait among entrepreneurs and business professionals. And being a workaholic usually goes hand in hand with being a perfectionist. If you aren’t willing to work long hours and ensure every detail is absolutely perfect, then you must not want it badly enough. This myth says that you must be willing to sacrifice everything to become wealthy and successful. If you follow this rule, you’ll set the bar so high that it will become nearly impossible to succeed. It will all end up backfiring, because the more we hound ourselves to work harder, the more difficult it is to focus. Our productivity drops, we become frazzled and stressed and it becomes difficult to concentrate on the task at hand. You must take time for yourself. Giving yourself a break and letting your mind wander is important in promoting creativity and ingenuity. Allowing yourself to decompress will actually get you further faster.

Once you finally reach that big milestone — whether it’s a certain salary, a specific position, or a particular accomplishment — you’re convinced that the rest of the pieces of your life will fall into place. All you need is to achieve that objective, and everything will be coming up roses. Unfortunately, this rarely holds true. Sure, maybe that level of success will mean that your career has reached an all-time high. But, if you’re counting on it to be the key to eternal happiness and a flawless life, you’ll likely only be disappointed. Remember, your work is only a portion of your life. So, while achieving a professional goal is always rewarding, it doesn’t mean that suddenly you’ll find nothing to complain about. Ultimately, there’s no such thing as a perfect life — regardless of how much professional success you achieve. So, instead of waiting for that major milestone to create the life you want, focus on your happiness now. Leave adequate time for the things you enjoy and celebrate all of your wins — even the small ones.

Expensive Education Is A Must

For many years, it has been believed that any worthwhile career begins with attaining a four-year degree. The bigger and more renowned the school, the better your chances for success. However, attending a traditional four-year university is simply beyond many people’s budget, and not everyone is cut out for it. Does that mean they are doomed to an unsuccessful life? Absolutely not! Education can come in many forms and be gained in a variety of ways. There’s no longer just one way to do it; an unconventional education can be just as valuable as one gained through an Ivy League school. The key is to absorb knowledge and gain life experiences that will teach you how to apply your wisdom.

Even the most expensive four-year school only gives you the tools to help you learn and grow. It’s up to you to come up with a plan and execute it. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that success, happiness and wealth are linked. We often measure our success by how many zeros are behind our annual salary. Believing that money will bring us happiness is perhaps the saddest and most devastating myth of all. If the most important measure of your life’s achievement is based solely on dollars, you are setting yourself up for frustration and disappointment. You are saddling yourself with a materialistic mindset that will impede your ability to enjoy life and see the beauty in the world around you.

Willing To Sacrifice Everything

You’ve heard this story a million times: successful people work for hours without taking breaks, eating, or sleeping. You might have heard how Eric Clapton used to practice the guitar for 18 hours a day, or how Bill Gates sometimes slept on the floor of his office to save the time it would take him to go home, or how Edison worked for days without a break while inventing the light bulb.  The underlying message: you need to sacrifice even your basic physiological needs if you wish to succeed. These stories inspire admiration in today’s corporate-influenced culture. But they make you overlook a critical question: Did these people work at superhuman levels every day?  No! Many people try to find more time for their positive habits and projects by skipping breakfast, sleeping less than even six hours, or hardly taking any breaks at work.

Such drastic measures are scientifically known to be sure-fire ways of reducing your productivity. They diminish your energy, IQ, decision-making ability, willpower and more. Sooner or later, sacrificing adequate food or sleep will become too troublesome to sustain, and you will end up quitting too soon. Rather than try to gain time through over-the-top sacrifices, why not spend less time on things that matter less?  Spend less time on social media, less time watching TV, or fewer evenings at the pub. Instead of focusing only on the things you are good at, work to develop a range of skills. Having other aptitudes and interests will increase your creativity and keep your mind active and nimble. Make time to pursue new areas — you’ll feel excited about new possibilities, and this will keep you from getting into a rut.

Transform Yourself Completely

Game Of Thrones is a piece of fiction – and yet, many of us buy into its theory of ultimate success, believing that scheming and conniving your way to the top is the only way to achieve your objective. The thinking is that if you aren’t looking out for No. 1, then who is? But successful people know better. They aren’t focused entirely on themselves; instead, they are serving others and helping others become the best they can be. They realize the importance of having compassion for others and helping others succeed. This instills loyalty in those around them. It creates a sense of commitment and reciprocity. Everyone is motivated to work hard for their common goal because there is a feeling of “being in it together.” Do you have a future image of yourself as a transformed person?  Someone who is healthier, happier, more confident, incredibly productive, always able to balance work and life, and so on.

Most of us do to a certain extent. Every now and then, we become motivated to do something to become that person. But you know how it usually goes. Resolutions just remain, well, resolutions and wishes for some other time. Your over-enthusiasm is actually the cause of your failure.  When you try to build six new habits at a time, or even two, you will become overwhelmed and most likely fail at every habit. Why?  Because making changes requires willpower. Trying to build two new habits at the same time divides your available willpower between those two pursuits, making it more difficult for you to do either of them. Successful transformation begins with building a single habit, preferably the simplest one first. Don’t begin the second habit until you have been consistently doing the first one for at least a month. Let your first victory pave the way for your second.

All It Takes Is Hard Work And Deadlines

This belief is single-handedly responsible for at least half of all the personal failures people have discussed with me over the years. This might sound ridiculous, but it’s true! After all, everyone agrees that success requires hard work, regardless of whether you want to run a marathon or build a successful business. Simply put, hard work is something you just can’t avoid, even if you work smart. However, you also likely have other job responsibilities, household chores, and family responsibilities. The good news is that hard work is NOT the most important element in success, at least not initially, when you are just beginning to build a habit. The only thing that matters initially is to actually do the habit every day for a very short time. The point is simply to become accustomed to an everyday routine. A habit is something that you do without willpower, something that comes to you naturally. Doing it every day trains a part of your brain.

That’s when you can increase the time by two to five minutes every week. Taking it slow allows you to make gradual adaptations to your everyday routine to accommodate your new habit. Just remember, hard work is important, but that’s the second step toward change. The first step is consistency.  Once you become consistent with a small habit, only then should you begin to work harder at it. You might believe that you can’t get anything done without setting deadlines. First, a deadline will draw your attention toward your goal, the result that you seek. Deadlines also cause people to underestimate the amount of time required to get a job done. If you set deadlines that are not practical, you are building up unrealistic expectations that will soon demotivate you. It’s important to understand that deadlines have a time and a place, but they aren’t universally beneficial. If you need a better approach to stay motivated, focus on your “big why.” Why do you want to build this habit/project/etc.? What rewards will you gain? How will it make you happier and more fulfilled?  Write this down, remember it, and let it be your inspiration!

5 Killer Ways To Make Money From Blogging

5 Killer Ways To Make Money From Blogging

Now that you have your blog set up and traffic is coming your way, you’re ready to start monetizing your blog. You must have seen or heard about people who make a lot of money from blogs. Some people aren’t even afraid to show it off to their readers. List building refers to adding new subscribers to your email list. You can entice readers to subscribe by offering a free gift exclusive to subscribers and, of course, by consistently producing great content that people want to come back to. But how does this help you monetize? It keeps people in-the-know. When you launch your eCourse, start offering consulting services, or publish an eBook, your subscribers are going to be the first ones to care. So, if you want to see quick results after a launch, be sure you have an email list built up to gain access to a pool of interested individuals. That’s not to mention that you can also monetize your email campaigns with banner ads and affiliate links, too.

In some cases, you might even set up a separate paid subscription email list for exclusive tips and offers. If you want to start gathering your visitors you will need a email service. Their service because it isn’t expensive, they have excellent support, and a great autoresponder management system. Making money from your website isn’t a myth. It’s doable by everyone. In fact, turning a part-time, hobby blog into an income generating asset is fairly common with a bit of luck and some hard work. At the very least, you should be able to make enough to cover your basic expenses for a domain and hosting. You might even be able to replace your income. Keep in mind that the strategies listed below range from easy and passive, to ones that require a TON of on-going work, so make sure you pick something that suits your site and lifestyle preferences.

With so much information to consume and strategies to digest, how is that any one person can find the time or the wherewithal to not only grasp the art of blogging itself, but also that of driving significant amounts of traffic? We all know blogging isn’t some altruistic pursuit. People want their words to be seen and shared. They want to gain the respect of the masses and boost their authority in their respective industry or niche. Not only is it difficult to drive traffic to a blog, but it’s also hard to monetize the traffic that you do receive. The problem? Most people ignore the fundamentals of online marketing when attempting to earn any semblance of an income from their blogs. But if you go about it the right way, you’ll certainly profit in the long run.

Here are some of the killer ways to make money from blogging:

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing. As the blogger, you include links to a product or service offered through another business’s affiliate program. If one of your visitors clicks on that link and purchases the good or service, you’ll receive a cut of the cost. If you choose to join an affiliate program, it’s always a good idea to promote products relevant to your niche, promote products you’ve personally used and recommend and including a disclaimer on your site as to not mislead your readers. Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to make money from your website or blog. Start by finding a product you like and would recommend. Then on your website, you endorse the product and promote it to your website visitors and email subscribers.

If the product or service resonates with these people, they’ll click on your affiliate link, purchasing the product, while you get a split of the sale price. One of the most popular methods for monetizing a blog is to leverage affiliate marketing. This is especially useful when you’re just starting out and you don’t have your own products or services to sell. All you have to do is develop content that will ultimately be in harmony with whatever affiliate offers you plan to push out.

Email Marketing

Spend any amount of time reading blog growth tips, and you’re sure to come across people saying “the money’s in the list“. They’re referring to your email list, which comprises your most loyal readers. The objective is to convert as many strangers who visit your site for the first time into passionate followers who want to stay up-to-date on your latest work or content. Admittedly this is a long term strategy (and you definitely won’t get rich overnight). But it’s one of the best, long-term methods to profitably growing your blog into a full-fledged, money making enterprise. Never lose sight of the importance in creating relationships with your followers, however. Offering great information or free help is a perfect way to start. Spamming people with unsolicited offers is one of the fastest ways to abuse reader’s trust and sabotage your long-term goals.

One of the most powerful methods for making money from your blog is directly through email marketing. But to be successful, you need to build your list. Whether you promote blog updates or create a lead magnet, utilize one of the more popular email marketing platforms like ConvertKit, Aweber or InfusionSoft to implement the systems necessary to begin marketing via email. By building a strong bond and a connection with your readers, you can effectively generate a sizable amount of money through the course of marketing both your own products and services along with affiliate offers directly through email.

Selling Digital Products

Creating digital products is a great way to profit from your blog. You can effectively sell any type of digital information product on your blog as long as it’s in harmony with your content. You can build a webinar to market your product and deliver them through a member’s area or through other downloadable means. Digital products can be a combination of videos, downloadable guides, resources, PDFs, software components, SaaS and others. Do your best to create something that helps fill a need or a void. Don’t second guess yourself, as you’d be surprised at just how much money you can make by selling digital products on your blog. Ebooks offer a relatively quick pathway for making money from your blog. Develop an ebook that’s aligned with the content of your blog.

Non-fiction ebooks are relatively simple to create, and if you’re teaching a skill that many people struggle with, it’s likely that the ebook will produce a healthy profit. Creating good products that are well made and polished require a ton of time and additional resources (like design, content, etc.). Selling your own products on your site also bring up problematic issues like payment gateways, shipping and taxes. Writing eBooks is a super popular way to start selling a unique product in your industry, and it’s ideal for pretty much any niche. With so many self-publishing opportunities available, too, it’s easy to get your book published and ready to sell with major retailers like Amazon or directly on your site.

Selling Services

Selling digital online courses is another way you can profit from blogging. Develop intuitive and helpful courses that add a tremendous amount of value and the rest will be smooth sailing. By putting your heart and your soul into these courses, you can simply allow them to sell on autopilot for you, another great avenue for passive income. Courses work great when it comes to technical skills like web development, digital marketing, graphic design and so on. But they also work in formats like finances, stocks, currency investing and accounting. Find what you’re really great at and do the due diligence before building your course. Then make something far better than the other courses out there in the marketplace. Consulting is another popular way to make money through your blog’s traffic. With these services, you charge a fee to give feedback to readers.

While it does seem like coaching services are infiltrating every aspect of the market these days, selling coaching services through your blog can definitely be a lucrative prospect. Whether you set yourself up as a life coach, a career coach or a business development coach, you can earn a significant income through just a handful of clients.  Decide on a number of packages, and do your best to ensure that you address any objections upfront. If you’re already teaching your visitors through your blog, why not create an exclusive learning opportunity by building a paid online course? A common way to sell these courses is by setting up an 8-week course through automated email messages or releasing the full package all at once so students can work at their own pace.

Paid Reviews

One of the common ways to making more money from your website means getting those visitor numbers UP. Once you’ve done the hard work of building steady traffic to your site with an engaged community, there are a few different ways to monetize your hard work. For example, many companies go out of their way to look for blogs that will feature their sponsored content. You can also review the products from a company in an ‘advertorial’ that’s part content, part advertisement. For example, if your website is all about the latest iOS games for iPhones and iPads, the creator of one of those ads would LOVE to have you review and feature their app to your fans. When done right, this can create a win/win scenario. However done poorly, with irrelevant or inauthentic site content, and it can erode all of the reader’s goodwill you’ve worked so hard to create in the first place.

If you’re generating a decent amount of traffic, you might be approached by a business looking to sponsor your site. There are usually two requests you get – Paid reviews or sponsorship posts, Banner ads. Paid reviews are when the business sends you their product and pays you to write a review about it, but you are not obligated to write a positive review. Alternatively, some businesses will sponsor a specific post in exchange for a link back to their site. It is an ethical practice to disclose the sponsorship to your readers. Banner ads are just what they sound like. They’re ads you place in “banner” style, usually in your sidebar. The business sponsoring the ad will often pay you monthly to keep the ad up on your site.

5 Ways How To Be Ahead Of Your Deadlines

5 Ways How To Be Ahead Of Your Deadlines

In business, deadlines can be the difference between success and failure. If you have a deadline to deliver a project to a client or customer and you fail to do so, that piece of business could be jeopardized — even if the client/customer is an understanding one.  Sometimes, there will be times when you will miss a deadline because of circumstances out of your control and that is fine. It happens. But outside of that, you should ensure that you maintain a high level of business efficiency in meeting deadlines and targets. Deadlines – a word that can instantly cause hearts to race, minds to go numb and stress. If you happen to be in a work scenario, deadlines are often like the bosses that hunt down employers. Read more

Happy Working! – 5 Secrets For Making A Happy Workplace

Happy Working! – 5 Secrets For Making A Happy Workplace

If business owners and managers don’t care about the happiness of employees, it’s likely that a substantial percentage of their most talented workers will leave. That’s one reason to care. The other is that happy, engaged workers are more likely to be creative, productive and customer-centric — ready and eager to contribute to your bottom line. How do you promote happiness and engagement? Every manager worries about their employees at one time or another. From sick time to work time, the bottom line of the business is to maintain a great environment so everyone can do their best.  Without a comfortable environment where employees feel they can do their job, you will find that turnover will rear its ugly head more and more often.  So what can you do as a manager to create a great workplace environment? Read more

5 Ways You Can Kill It With Ecommerce Content Marketing

5 Ways You Can Kill It With Ecommerce Content Marketing

Creating valuable free content creates trust, builds your brand, keeps people informed, gives you something to share on social media and helps you rank in search engines. More importantly, content marketing helps you attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. But how many companies are actually walking the walk? And more importantly, how can ecommerce companies like yours create content that breeds fans and followers? It makes sense – if you offer a service or some kind of software that helps people do something, content marketing helps you position yourself in the customer’s eyes as an expert in that area. When people step up and show interest in your educational content, they’re letting you know that they might need other stuff you offer. But what about e-commerce marketing? Read more

3 Ways You Didn’t Know To Use Rich Snippets

3 Ways You Didn’t Know To Use Rich Snippets

Snippets are the lines of black text that accompany every search result listing. They describe the page’s relevance to the phrase that the searcher used as his search query, with the words that match the query shown in bold as shown below. A Google search result listing for “born dinah loafers” with the rich snippet outlined in red. Rich snippets are additional pieces of information that the search engine is able to identify on the page, used to enhance the searcher’s understanding of the value of that page. Ratings, pricing, and availability are commonly seen in ecommerce rich snippets. Search engines provide rich snippets not to play favorites with one page over another, but to enable searchers to make a more educated click decision and improve the likelihood that searchers will choose a page that satisfies their need. Read more

7 Ways To Make Facebook Work For Event Marketing

7 Ways To Make Facebook Work For Event Marketing

Since Facebook is used by 1.7 billion people, it naturally seems like it would be an ideal place to promote an event, and because there are so many people using Facebook, it sometimes feels like reaching people shouldn’t be a problem. As many event organizers and event marketers can attest, Facebook can be a great way to promote an event, but it won’t just work for you. Organizers and marketers must learn how to promote an event on Facebook, before buzz can be generated and registrations can be increased. Does your business conduct events? Are you wondering how to use social media to promote those events? Social media is a powerful tool to gain exposure, whether you’re hosting a physical conference or an online event. Using Facebook for event marketing is an excellent way to increase registrations and ticket sales for your events. The best part? Read more

6 Tips On How To Maximize Ecommerce Customer Service

6 Tips On How To Maximize Ecommerce Customer Service

Customer service allows you to hit the hearts of your followers. And any good brand shouldn’t just have customers, they should have followers. Brand advocates, even. You get that by providing the absolute best customer service possible. That simple letter to a girl that couldn’t spell landed them publicity on dozens of sites. It got them backlinks for better SEO and more social media followers. But most importantly, it got them brand advocates. People resonated with it. And that’s just one example. Great customer service has the power to multiply your eCommerce brand in ways you can’t even imagine. Customer service is just about the most important part of your eCommerce business. According to a report by a trusted and reputed organization “97% of customers say customer service is very important to them. Interestingly, by 2020, customer experience has been predicted to take over price and product as the key brand differentiator. Read more