Business Basics – Cross-Blogging

Content marketing is amazing. Studies have found that inbound and content marketing cost 62% less than traditional marketing, and yet brings in three-times as many leads. If you don’t blog, you’re missing out on a huge marketing opportunity, and a great chance to network. Over the last year or so, we’ve really amped up our cross-blogging, and we’ve seen some amazing results. New markets have opened up, our web presence has never been bigger, and we’ve made some great new partners. cross-blogging

But, in finding new partners to blog with, we’ve noticed that some businesses don’t know the first thing about cross-blogging. So to help those of you experimenting with inbound marketing out, here are a few tips on how to make your cross-blogging experience positive and rewarding.

Make suggestions and share ideas

Some of the best articles we’ve ever written have come from ideas brainstormed with our cross-blogging partners. However, entrepreneurs can be a little skittish when it comes to sharing ideas. Now when a business is built on an idea, guarding it makes a lot of sense, but if that idea is nothing more than a possible topic for an 800-word article, you don’t have to treat it like a trade secret. So feel free to pitch ideas with your partners, and build off of each other’s suggestions. A major part of cross-blogging is networking. You want to forge a strong, working relationship with the people you partner with, and brainstorming is a great way to do just that.

Keep the relationship light

New bloggers sometimes get a bit overly zealous when contributing or accepting a post. Before anything is written, they want a thirty-page contract filled out in triplicate and faxed to their attorney’s office. Remember, you aren’t sharing revenue or starting a business together. You’re cross-blogging. A few simple requests like ‘don’t plagiarize’ and ‘don’t publish this somewhere else’ are really all that you need.

Don’t ask your partner to do all the work

We feel like this should go without saying, but we’ve had way, waytoo many potential partners ask us to just write the post for them. There’s no quicker way to ruin this networking and marketing opportunity than by shirking all of your responsibility and expecting someone else to pick up the slack. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Would you want a crummy, hastily written article, riddled with spelling and grammar errors on your blog? We doubt it. Any articles you send to your partner should be insightful, unique, and engaging, and you should expect the same of them. That way no one feels slighted, and your new partnership starts off right. 

Interested in contributing a guest post? We’d love to talk to you! Click here to read our author guidelines, pitch an idea, and get in contact with our social media team.

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How to Develop Lasting Relationships with the Right People

How to Develop Lasting Relationships with the Right PeopleAs an entrepreneur, relationships are some of the most valuable assets you’ll ever create. There are the relationships that you form with your customers, with your suppliers and with other small business owners. . You won’t find a column for “relationships” on your balance sheet but you should always be working on growing this asset no matter what.

When you focus your marketing activities in the following three steps, you will be working towards building strong relationships with customers and potential customers. By becoming an authority in your industry, building connections and bringing great value to the table, you’ll find yourself with a stable of strong business relationships in no time.

1. Establish Credibility in Your Industry

The first step is to position yourself as an authority in your industry. Don’t be afraid to highlight your credentials! Take advantage of inbound content marketing and create an informative blog, write a newsletter, and learn to use social media effectively. Every one of the aforementioned avenues are great places to build, grow, and nurture an audience.

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5 Reasons Entrepreneurs Need Video for Marketing (Like, Now!)

5 Reasons Entrepreneurs Need Video for Marketing (Like, Now!) Let’s get to the point: short videos are becoming as important as your website. They are a powerful way to make friends and influence people and to build a strong brand presence online so people want to do business with you. You need start creating these videos now for the following reasons:

1. It Pays Off

According to the Online Publishers Association, when you go visit a website, you are 64% more likely to buy a product on an online retail site after watching a video. Now, I know that all small businesses aren’t involved in retail, but you get the point. Video works, and it will work for you when you decide to put this tool in your arsenal. And guess what? That time is now.

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Celebrity Marketing: Fantastic or Fail for Business?

Celebrity Marketing: Fantastic or Fail for Business?If events like the Super Bowl are any indication, celebrity endorsements are just as powerful a promotional tool now as they were when Babe Ruth first plugged Red Rock Cola. From Stephen Colbert cracking up over pistachios to Ben Kingsley’s ominous urge to drive a Jaguar, big business continues to shell out big bucks for associating well-known faces with their brands.

But is the long-term risk really worth the short-term gain?

When it comes to marketing strategies, celebrity endorsements are one of the biggest gambles a company can make. Should the star continue to appeal to both the company’s core consumer and increase sales to their target consumer, the celebrity’s contract cost will be a drop in the bucket compared to the profit increase. But if that star slips up, well, we’re all pretty aware of the consequences.

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Thinking Outside of the “In” Box

marketingEach year, businesses all over the world push to find new ways of reaching new clients, making sales, and increasing revenue. While it appears that some marketing strategies have proven to be more effective than others, one thing is for certain: email will always be a part of any solid business marketing strategy, as it easily correlates to mass mailer marketing and other traditional business outreach methods.

However, because email is such a popular method used by nearly every industry, the positive effects begin to dwindle. Users who subscribe to e-newsletters and email marketing voluntarily will always be there, but those that businesses are attempting to reach for the first time have become numb to the mass mailing stimulus, and have learned to tune it out similar to the decreasing effectiveness of television commercials.

Fortunately, for businesses looking to reach out to new customers, part of the problem is also the ideal solution, and that comes in the form of social networking.

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4 Sales Tips to Lead Small Business Sales Teams to Success

How to Increase Holiday SalesThere are many critical variables for sales success, especially when it comes to small business sales. Because small businesses typically have more obstacles to overcome due to their size and lack of resources, it’s extremely important that small business leaders learn how to master the sales process. Ultimately, mastering sales skills can provide long lasting revenue. Below are a few simple sales training  tips and tricks to help small business sales teams to succeed.

Quick Tips to Remember:

  • Target: The right client means everything
  • Good Energy: Be upbeat and positive
  • Preparation: Stay prepared and continuously practice your selling skills
  • Delivery: Always deliver polished presentations

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3 Areas That Your Small Business Should Invest In

3 Areas That Your Small Business Should Invest InThere are staples and initiatives that every business needs in order to succeed. From marketing efforts to employees and equipment, you’re going to need to pay it forward in order to gain results. After all, the nature of business is to make investments.

However, the question lies in understanding where to make those investments and when to pull back. Read on to discover three areas within your small business that, with a little understanding and tact, will prove your efforts to be worthwhile.

Marketing

No matter how amazing your business offering is, it won’t mean much if no one is aware of it. Marketing is essential for any business that wants to bring in new business while educating and entertaining a consumer group. However, when it comes to setting a budget, where should you save and splurge?

Ad campaigns (consisting of flyers, banners or direct mail) can provide you with a return on investment both in a growing customer base and a more solidified brand image. The key to making your investment worth it is to have a consistent message across the board that speaks to your niche’s needs and wants.

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How Your Business Can Think Beyond the Everyday Ad

How Your Business Can Think Beyond the Everyday Ad Marketing requires keen insight in how to approach a product, service, or brand and effectively get it out to customers or other businesses. As one of the main forms of communication within commerce, marketing has evolved radically with tech advancements and social media, but some principles still remain the same. Cutting-edge ways to market a brand or product will either capitalize on a new insight or reformat a classical view in marketing to the 21st century economy. In today’s economy, businesses demand marketers think beyond the everyday and try looking outside of the box when it comes to ad campaigns.

What Consumers and Businesses Want

Marketing techniques have evolved to work beyond the everyday concept of an advertisement presenting or selling a product or service and now telling them what it is. Consumers, in an ever-competitive marketplace that has been energized by the internet, no longer want ads that talks at them. They want something that many ads have lost over time: engagement. Consumers and businesses want to be engaged in how the item relates to the customer or how it will help empower them. This leads to a new school of thought and appreciation toward the customer where companies want the consumer to become part of the greater whole of the business’ mission.

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8 Guidelines for Effective Video Marketing

8 Guidelines for Effective Video MarketingPeople love watching videos. With almost 1 billion active users, YouTube has become one of the most visited sites online. Many businesses have discovered the immense potential of video marketing and are now using it to promote their products and services – here are some tips which will help you derive the biggest benefits from video marketing.

1. Understand your audience.

Before posting any video, you need to get familiar with your target audience. What are their ages? What are they passionate about? What problems are they dealing with? What kind of videos would appeal best to your audience? Once you have answers to such questions, you will then be able to carry out an effective video marketing campaign.

2. Think outside the box.

There are thousands of videos on YouTube competing for people’s attention. For your video to stand out of the crowd, you will need to think out-of-the-box. Come up with a creative and radical concept which will capture the imagination of your viewers. You can get some inspiration by looking at what others have already done and borrowing some ideas. However, don’t make the mistake of duplicating entirely the work of others.

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Why Infographics Still Work

Why Infographics Still WorkInfographics have been around forever. Yes, that’s an exaggeration, but it’s not that far off from the truth.  If you really think about it, they’ve been around for tens of thousands of years. They’ve become modernized recently and are extremely popular.  They work well for a number of reasons, primarily due to their accessible and visual-friendly incorporation of various graphs, charts and illustrated data.

In addition to still serving well as a useful way to present data, infographics remain an integral part of effective content marketing. Infographics have an indisputable tendency to go viral, which is a great way to effectively promote services, a business or a specific set of data. They also have a substantial leg-up on boring, text-heavy approaches trying to get the same points across.

And yet, there are a lot of people out there who hate infographics. Why? Because more often than not they’re been completely misused, and tend to be poorly designed. Don’t let this hate scare you off from making one, though. Here are some areas to keep in mind when it comes to creating great infographics that work in your favor.

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