Marketing

Creating a Marketing Plan As Easy As ABC

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Creating a marketing plan can seem very overwhelming. There are so many techniques to consider and data to collect before you can make a truly great marketing plan. However, when you get to the core of your a marketing plan, it can be summed up in three stages - Analyze, Budget, and Convert. By focusing on these parts, it's easier to digest the data and create an impactful plan. Now let's take a closer look at each part.

Analyze

I strongly believe in using data to drive a marketing plan. This means you should understand who your target market is and where they go. That's the best way you will to get your message out in front of them. Let's be honest, I'm going to choose different places and messages if I'm selling something to me and my husband verses my parents. This is why it pays off to be very deliberate and specific about your target market, and taking the time to understand them.

To help you start analyzing your business and target audience, I made some free printable worksheets. You can download them at the link below!

Download My Free Market Analysis Worksheets


One thing I like to do is create personas. In a nutshell, this means you give a face, name and background to someone who fits in your target audience. Then, you can create a brand, message, website, social media presence, advertising, etc. by taking a step back and looking at your brand through their eyes. Most businesses' target audiences vary, so you should create a persona for each type of person you want to attract. Then, you use that persona to make the best marketing decision for each contact point you have for them.

You also need to analyze the types of places you can advertise, and who uses them. For example, you typically see younger people on Instagram while Facebook skews older. Also, there are different interactions and content layout on each. So, what you create and use for each one should be slightly different. Using the personas you made for the demographics who normally use those sites and your call to action should drive your choices for creative. Then, in the end, you can have a better, more sincere connection to the target audience on those sites. 

Now, on a slightly different note, with the ever-changing options to get your message in front of people using the internet, you might not have a lot of data to go off of. However, knowing you have little to no data to use, is also a way to gage risk. Then you can decide if you want to pursue that option with the understanding that there is a potential for a huge payoff or giant loss. So, don't be afraid to do something, just because there's not data for it. Who knows?! You might be the next Zuckerberg. 

Budget

This section is dependent on the type of business you have and what you're financially willing to put toward marketing. To completely serious and honest here... I will give someone with zero dollars for marketing much different advice than someone who has a million dollars. Some of it will overlap, but at the end of the day you can reach more people, much easier if you have more coin... as with most things in life: cash is king. 

Don't feel discouraged if you don't have money to put toward marketing. You're lucky to be in business during the age of the internet! You can put a your own time and energy into creating ads, and still reach people. It will definitely take longer to garner a following and you need to have a greater understanding of content marketing. But! It's not impossible. I don't pay to advertise my website and blog, but somehow you found this article. By (cough, cough) analyzing my market and understanding their online habits through data, I'm able to place my content in places they already were perusing the internet. 

Convert

Turning lookers into buyers is what makes marketing such a valuable investment. This is the part of a marketing plan I feel like gets lost by those who are less experienced in creating them. After you know who your market is and how you're going to get in front of them, you need to determine how you're going to get them to buy your product. As a business owner, this is something you have to be hyperaware of. Getting likes and comments on your social media is great and all. But! If you don't have a call-to-action that pushes them to the next step in the buying process, then you're not truly marketing.

You need to continuously foster relationships and build trust with current and potential consumers, whether it be online or in person. This is how you'll turn someone who is "just looking" into someone who is a loyal customer. For my website, I use social media to funnel people to site. While on my site, I offer multiple ways for someone to sign up for my newsletter (I'll leave a link for that below :) ). Once someone has signed up for my newsletter, I share helpful tips that relate to recent blog posts and new products, which I link in that newsletter if someone wants more information on the topic. This means my subscribers can stay updated on what I have on my site, and I can build good rapport as a trusted source for marketing, social media, branding, blogging, and planning/organization. So, as my website grows along with my product and service offerings, my newsletter followers will be the first to know. 

As you can see, converting a consumer to a customer isn't as scary or sleazy as it sounds. Trust me, if I can do it, you can do it!


4 Reasons Why Your Business Needs A Social Media Strategy

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Using social media to market your business seems like a no-brainer. It’s free, easy to set up, and it seems like anyone can figure out how to use it. So why do businesses struggle to get followers and engagement on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc? A lot of them don’t have a strategy in place to get the most out of their platforms, and to stay on task. Below are a few reasons why I’m a firm believer that every business needs a social media strategy.

Provides a Roadmap

Creating a social media strategy gives you time to think about what you want your social media presence say about your business. A social media strategy helps you decide on your tone of voice, graphic look, posting schedule, key words, hashtags, and much more. Then you know what your content should be, and it becomes easier to determine what to and what not to post.

Sets Expectations For Followers

People will follow accounts they believe provide some kind of benefit including aesthetically pleasing, educational, helpful, inspirational or aspirational. When people who are new to your profile, they tend to peruse your recent posts to see if it’s something relevant to them. If your posts are all over the place, someone may hesitate to or all together forgo hitting the follow button. However, if you are constantly providing content they like, then they are more likely to follow you. Because of this, it is key to understand your target market and build a strategy around them.

Keeps Your Posting Consistent

One key component to any great social media plan is a posting schedule for your content. You need to pick broad categories, and determine how frequently you will post each one. Maybe every Monday you post something motivational, Tuesdays you post a new blog post, Wednesdays you host a webinar or live video, Thursdays you share your sales, and so on.

Luckily it is very easy to schedule social media posts, which also makes fitting social media posting into a busy schedule a little bit easier. You can schedule posts days, weeks, or months in advance. However, scheduling posts doesn’t mean you should avoid checking the pages you manage. You still need to include your audience in the conversation and promptly reply to any questions, comments or concerns raised on your pages.

Helps You Find Your Audience

You need to engage with your audience on social media. This means that in your social media strategy, you should be outlining those who make up your target audience. These are the people who share the same values as your business. By defining and connecting with these people, you will have a more effortless and genuine connection with them. In the long run, these are the people you want following your business on social media. They will provide you will valuable feedback, be excited about the new things you offer, as well as be more willing to like, comment, and share you posts. 

Need help creating your social media strategy? Contact me today!


Five Easy Ways to Grow Your Blog's Pageviews

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How to improve post statics, and increasing pageviews is on every bloggers' mind. It took me a little while to get into the swing of things, and start seeing a consistent increase in my blog's pageviews. In today's post, I wanted to share what helped me.

Pick a Topic You Love

Writing about a topic you enjoy is the best way to have great blog stats. Why? Because if you write about what you enjoy, readers can feel that, and are more likely to enjoy reading it. When picking a topic (or topics) you want to write about, make a list of blog posts you'd write. This is helpful for many reasons. First, you'll have a go-to list of posts you can write, so you don't have a lull in posts. Secondly, it's a good way to determine if there is a topic you should write about. If you have a list that goes on-and-on, you know this is something you're passionate about and have a lot to share. However, if the list is fairly short, you might want to look at different topics you can use instead of, or in conjunction with the one you were planning on using.

Write Evergreen Content

To get the most out of each post, make sure it will stand the test of time. If your content is tied to a specific day, like that year's Oscar nominees, then you'll see the stats for that post diminish as it ages. On the other hand, if your posts are useful day-after-day and year-after-year, then you're going to get more views out of each of your posts everyday. I'm not saying don't write content that has an expiration date. But I am saying that you need to make sure your have a good mix of content that is evergreen and will expire.

Search Engine Optimization

Proactively managing your site's SEO is key to increasing your pageviews. By following basic SEO tips, you should be able to increase the amount of organic traffic you get. Not sure where to start to improve your SEO? You should definitely read my Beginner's Guide to SEO:)

Share on Social Media

If you're not doing this already, this is going the easiest and fastest way to increase your pageviews. Share your new content with your friends, family, and fans using social media like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Personally, I love using Pinterest to attract readers to my blog, but it does take a little more work then just posting a photo. To get the most action out of  your Pinterest posts, you need to create bright, colorful, and long graphics that depict what you're sharing about. When done right, those few extra minutes pay off to a lot more pageviews.

Link to Your Other Related Posts

You may or may not have noticed that I already did this earlier in the post. I already have an in-depth post about improving SEO that ties in perfectly with the topic of improving your blog's stats. So I linked it :) You need to be doing this, too. When someone finds your site, you want to give them an easy way to find all the other relevant content on your site. To do this, you need to be mentioning and linking your other posts that relate to one another. Maybe you wrote a new post that ties in to one you wrote a couple months ago. Well go to that older post and link the new one. You need to make it as easy for your readers to find what they need on your site. The fewer clicks and searches they need to do, the better!

Want to start a blog? Read my post "How to Start a Blog" here!


The Beginner's Guide to Improving SEO

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Understanding how to get your blog or website to show up in search engine results can be very overwhelming at first. It can be difficult to decide where to even start. So on today's post I'm sharing some SEO tips and tricks that have helped my blog.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which in a nutshell means that your site is search engine friendly. In broader terms, this means that the code for and content on your site is fashioned in a manner that makes it easy for search engines to understand what each page is about. This is extremely important if you're trying to increase your organic search traffic, because search engines are looking for sites that ensure it's providing relevant results for each search.

Write About Content People Are Searching

Now I'm not saying never write about what you enjoy. BUT! You should make sure to write content that people are searching for that's within your blog's genre. Because, let's be honest here, if your content isn't about what people search for, then you're not going to get any organic search engine traffic. For example, my product review posts get more organic search traffic then anything else. Now those types of posts make up a small portion of my blog's content. Because I'm very selective about the products I review on here, I only write about products I love or was honestly curious about myself before I even got it. However, because I know this helps my blog's overall SEO, I keep an eye out for products I personally would search for more information about to review on my blog.

Choose Titles That Work Well as Search Results

This is key! When you write the titles for blog posts and webpages, you need to make sure it's something your reader would click on in their search. For example, I picked the title for this post, because someone who is trying to learn more about SEO would be likely to click on it. I wouldn't want to name it "Search Tips" because that name is too vague for someone who's quickly skimming through search results to think, "That post seems relevant, and they must know what they're talking about. I should read that one." So make sure you choose your titles wisely if you're trying to improve SEO.

Post Regularly

Now you're probably wondering, "How often should I post?" Sadly there is no perfect answer for this one, because it depends on your site. For example, if you're posting about news, you'll need to update your site on an hourly basis, while I can get away with only posting new content a couple times a week. However the more stale your site becomes, the more likely it is that it will dip in the search rankings. So, try to set a schedule you can maintain, so you have some new content on your site regularly. Even if that schedule is only once or twice a month.

Give Your Photos Descriptions (and use Alt Text)

When you look at a photo of flowers, you know it's flowers. However, when search engines see a photo of flowers, they only see the information in the code. So, you need to tell it what's in the image. This is when adding photo descriptions is important to increasing the odds of your photos and website coming up in search results. Wordpress also gives you the opportunity to add Alternative Text to your image that can also help search engines better understand what's in your photos. This is the perfect place to add keywords that might be searched related to your post's topic.

Use Google WebMaster Tools

This is an extremely helpful tool when you're trying to improve your SEO. The one feature I use most is Fetch as Google to have it Request Indexing. This is one way for you to tell Google that your site is there, and it has content to crawl and read. You can chose to have it fetch your site as mobile or desktop, and you can even give it a specific URL on your site to fetch. Once you click the "Fetch" or "Fetch and Render" button, it will give you the option to select a "Request Indexing" button for the new fetch. After click on the "Request Indexing" button, you can chose for it to crawl only that URL or that URL and all direct links (I typically do the latter). This process can take a few days to complete, but once it's done it will also give you a report of any errors it found on your site. Some of these errors are minor that you don't need to fix, while some are major and need to be fixed before Google will trust your site enough to use it in search results.

Also!!! Make sure you add every version of your site to this tool. This includes http and https, with and without www., and all sub-domains you have. This will help better direct Google to your site. Plus, it will help you understand what is being pulled up in organic searches, and any errors that occurred when your site was crawled.

Give it time!

Last, bust certainly not least: SEO doesn't just magically work overnight. It takes weeks, even months, to really take full effect. So, do not get discouraged if you're not getting the organic search results you were hoping for right away. Just keep implementing these tips and tricks, and eventually you should see results.

Want to start a blog?
Read my post “How to Start a Blog”
here!


How to Start a Blog

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Starting a new blog can be a daunting task, especially when you think about how many blogs are out there. It has even been hard for me to continue or even start blogging again, but my love of it means I always return. Because of this, I've learned a lot over the years, and I wanted to share it with you.

1. Always remember that there is only one you!

I think this is the thing that always gets me excited about blogging. On the flip side, forgetting this is what discourages me the most. Blogging is a way to share your story, whether it be through recipes, style tips, parenting advice, workout tips, or even literally telling about what's happening in your life.

You shouldn't start a blog to be like someone else. It makes it too easy to give up because you don't have what they do. There will always be someone out there who has more money, better equipment, or more time to make their blog better than yours.

It's easier to find inspiration when reading other blogs, if you always remember that there's only one person who can tell your story, your way.

2. Decide what you will be writing about

Pay attention to what blogs interest you. This also means bloggers you follow on social media, especially  Pinterest and Instagram. Bloggers use these sites as a way to capture their audience's attention and get them to read their content. Maybe you follow a lot of fashion bloggers on Instagram, you might follow food bloggers on Pinterest, or you could read more posts by mom who share their parenting advice that you Google search.

Knowing what content draws your attention, might help you narrow down your blog subjects. It's very hard to blog about something consistently that doesn't keep your attention. So, picking subjects that you enjoy reading about is extremely important. You also need to build your blog subject list, and find a way to bring them under one umbrella. Keep in mind that your interests might grow and change. So pay attention to that throughout your blogging career, and consider evolving your blog throughout the years.

3. Pick a name

This can be one of the hardest parts of starting a blog. You want to make sure your blog's name fits with the subject(s) you have decided to cover, but there are two camps on how to name your blog:

  1. Choose a name that clearly defines what your blog covers

  2. Choose a name that allows you the ability to change your blog topics as your interests change

You can probably tell by the name of my blog that I went with option number two. I write about what interests me, and what's happening in my life. So, I was somewhat narcissistic and named my blog after myself. However, that name gives me the opportunity to write about my interest even when they evolve and my life changes.

4. Get your domain

Now that you have a name, it's time to see if it's available as a domain. Honestly, you may need to come up with a few different names before you can find one with an available domain.

If you are going to be a hobbiest blogger, I would recommend starting your blog with Wordpress.com. It's an awesome site and gives you a lot of options for free. With this site however, your free domain will end with .wordpress.com (for example thehayleyfiser.wordpress.com).

However, if you are looking to make money off of your blog and monetize your site, there are two options I would recommend using. First is Squarespace, which is what I’m currnetly using for my blog. It’s super easy to set up and relativly inexpensive. It’s the perfect option for someone who doesn’t have experience with coding a website. They make it super easy to purcahse and host a domain through them with some of the pricing packages they offer.

The second option is for someone who knows website coding and wants more control over the way the blog looks and functions. For those people, I would highly recommend using Bluehost (yes, that is an affiliate link :) ) to purchase your domain and host a Wordpress.org site (this is what I did for my website before I starting using it for my consulting business and it was just a blog). You can use their Domain Name Checker below to see if the name you want to use is available.

If your domain is available, head on over to Bluehost  and purchase your domain. They also make it super easy to install Wordpress.org, and they'll host your site. So once you buy your domain, you can immediately start your blog on a trusted blogging site. They make it super easy, and have professionals available via phone and chat if you have any questions or run into issues when setting your site up. I ran into a ton of issues migrating from a Wordpress.com to Wordpress.org site, and their chat representatives where extremely helpful.

5. Design your site

You officially have a blog! Now it's time to make it shine. There are a ton of different templates and themes to choose from for Squarespace and Wordpress, and they are super easy to put your own stamp on. I am currently using the Squarespace’s Bedford template. Back when I had my site on Wordpress, I paid for the theme Holly & Weave by pipdig and loved the way it looked and functioned.

Have your blog set up?
Read my “Beginner's Guide to Improving SEO” 
here!

This post contains affiliate links for Bluehost, which means that if you make a purchase after clicking on one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation. Let's be serious, mama needs a new pair of shoes :)