A business may be getting a fair amount of traffic to its website, but in and of itself traffic can’t keep a business running. Visitors need to be turned into leads, and there are a wide number of factors that can effect their willingness to do so. One core concept of content marketing is that valuable content and the appearance of being a trusted source enhances your ability to win business. Putting content to work has benefits in terms of SEO, branding, and social media growth, but using content to create leads specifically is also a viable strategy, provided that your content is of a high enough quality to merit serious interest. Here are three techniques business owners can use to turn their content into a catalyst for lead creation. 1) Gate your best content. Gating content forces visitors to provide information in exchange for the ability to read a full article. While gating all of your content will more likely than not wind up annoying

  In a recent press release issued by ICIMS, over 400 job seekers were surveyed in order to define what it is that they were seeking to find in an employer. One of their findings was that a company’s culture can play a major role in attracting strong, qualified job applicants, an element that goes beyond how strong a hiring ad is. In addition, once they have attracted this talent, they can keep adding to their businesses through referrals, which according to ICIMS research makes up an impressive 34% of all hires. Based on this information, a corporate culture that can attract employees with the ability to positively contribute can wind up paying dividends as a business grows, helping to sustain the positive environment as well as the ability to produce of those involved as time goes on. A “clan culture” was the most desirable corporate culture listed in the survey response. So what exactly is a clan culture? It refers to a corporate culture wherein

According to internetlivestats.com, Google is searched on average over 40,000 times every second. dwarfing the total search volume of all of its closest competitors combined. Current SEO hinges on making a business and its website as palatable to the search engine as possible. In the case of small businesses, many times the goal of SEO isn’t to appear in the top results for a query globally, but rather, to appear in more targeted local searches that are more likely to be coming from someone who is able to physically come and visit their business or purchase something on an e-commerce part of the website. Directly pertaining to how this local search works is Google Plus and the business pages that can be claimed using its local feature. Thanks to the new, informally named Pigeon update from Google, changes are being made that may make local pages on Google appear more frequently within local search results. Claim your business’s G+ page to begin filling it with

  On the road to small business success, gaining control of the buzz surrounding the business will greatly help its ability to get recognized for the right reasons. While some buzz, such as word of mouth and customer submitted reviews, can be cultivated and promoted but not originated by the business itself, pr in the form of content and collaboration with media sources such as the local news or industry blogs is able to be directly engaged in by small business owners, and can be a great way to get out a brands message using already established channels. What is your brand’s message and why does it deserve to be shared? Thinking holistically about a brand’s message and what makes it unique will allow you to create more engaging material for press releases, which can then be released through news-wire services in order to gain rapid exposure from a wide range of digital publications. For business owners who don’t wish to allocate financing to news-wire services,

In a press release put out by Endurance International Group, they revealed data from 491 businesses of five employees and under, 15% had no logo, and out of those who did have a logo, 56% had designed their own. Since a logo is such an important and fundamental part of branding for small businesses, it is surprising just how many are content to go without one, or make one from scratch. Provided, many DIY logos come out looking great, at a certain point businesses should consider updating them with the help of a pro, even if it just to clean up lines and create higher resolution copies. When it comes to creating branded items such as shirts, not having a logo in a vector format can present an additional roadblock the it is better to be prepared for.  A logo is something that can continue to add value to a business throughout its growth. A logo is an important part of a business’s branding, going past

According to an article on USNews.com, small business owners across America agree that clean water should be promoted on the Federal level through the EPA. Currently, the Environmental Protection Agency has jurisdiction over the amount of pollution that can be dumped into waterways that are navigable year round, however this does not technically include waterways that feed into said navigable waters, such as lakes and streams. The EPA has proposed what it calls a clarifying ruling, and what opponents call an extension of its jurisdiction which would allow it to regulate pollution going into bodies of water feeding in to navigable waters. Support for clean water regulations is strong among small businesses, regardless of political affiliations. American business owners value the cleanliness of their water, as it has a major bearing on their ability to do business in their areas. While restaurants and food based businesses are among the most reliant on water cleanliness for their businesses, clean water can make a larger difference in the

  We’ve already discussed the tangible benefits participating in follow Friday (#ff) can have for small businesses, and in that vein, throwback Thursday (#tbt) also deserves a mention. For business owners, the level of comfort they possess using social media can vary greatly depending on their age, the nature of their businesses and whether or not they use social media in their personal lives or not. Sure, to many social media “days of the week” seem silly, but there is nothing silly about a simple hashtag that has the ability to greatly increase the reach of your business. Throwbacks allow your followers to engage with the story of your brand. The great thing about a throwback is that it allows you, the owner of your business, a chance to step back from the pressures of your present situation and reflect on all that you have accomplished to be where you are. This in and of itself would make a compelling reason to participate, but on the other side

A message in this context refers to a purpose that, while business related, has a higher level of social awareness driving it forward. A big brand example of a super successful campaign is (Red), which boast participation by some of the world’s most well known brands, all helping to raise money for HIV and AIDS research. Not only is the (red) campaign for a good cause, it has become widely popular and associated with a hip message. Whenever a branding technique enjoys global success and recognition, small business owners should sit up and take note of what it is that is driving the success. In this case, it is the positive message and charity aspect itself that in turn makes the products so successful. Find a good cause for your business to support. Local charities or positive influence organizations are a good place to start, since for local businesses the added value of improving the surrounding community compounds on locals inherent desire to purchase local products.

  People are amazingly unpredictable, with the ability to exceed expectations, or conversely to plunge well below them. It is this unpredictability that is simultaneously a great X factor for small business as well as a source of potential problems. For some business owners, managing conflict is a challenge that they relish, but for others the idea of having to be the bearer of bad news or chastise someone for a problem that they caused is a source of major anxiety. Still, letting things slide in business is a recipe for disaster. It is always better to fix an outstanding issue before it grows into a major problem. What is the issue? Determine who is responsible. Before you confront anyone over the problem at hand, you should have as solid an understanding as possible so that you can act appropriately and not randomly assign blame. For people who don’t like conflict in the first place, getting as clear a picture of the events which transpired will

  Social media management not only allows small businesses access to a potentially limitless audience, it’s also fun to use and a great venue for demonstrating creativity and a flair for marketing.  Within the process of managing accounts, the question of how to attract followers is one of the most pressing ones for business owners who may not truly be familiar with social media etiquette in terms of who to follow and who to not. In truth, there isn’t really such a thing as a predefined social media etiquette, and profiles tend to simply reflect the personalities of the people involved in managing them. For this reason, when business owners find other social media users that they feel like they click with it can be a good idea to not only follow them back but a more mutually fruitful cross promotion. One of the most popular and well known of these promotions is follow Friday. Follow Friday is probably most common on Twitter, but other

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