Friday, March 10, 2017

Not driving enough traffic to your blog? You’re not doing these 6 things

So you’ve decided to start blogging. Great! Blogging is a great way for professionals to demonstrate their expertise, build trust, and cultivate leads and drive more traffic to your site. Your blog also provides great content for an email newsletter that can keep you and your business fresh in the minds of prospects and referrals.

We know that getting yourself writing was a challenge of it’s own, but you’re past that. You are regularly producing content; but it’s discouraging. The traffic to the blog is still low. How can you get more of the right people to visit your blog?

Here’s 6 steps you need to take after you’ve finished writing to help insure your blog posts get read by more of your ideal prospects, thus drive more traffic to your website:

1. Optimize for SEO

Once you have the text of the blog post the way you want it, and you’ve had someone else edit it for grammar and clarity, it’s time to start optimizing it for search. Hopefully you had some keywords in mind when you were writing the post, and so you already have a high volume, low competition, key phrase that you want to target.

Use your Keywords in the H1 tag, the title tag and the meta description and even in the URL. If you have pictures, rename them to include the keywords you are targeting.
Add links to other websites that have relevant content. Use 2 – 3 outbound links per 1000 words. You should also add links to other pages on your site that might have relevant information. Again, 1 – 3 is enough.
Check your keyword density. How many times have you used your keywords in the article? Don’t over do it; you don’t want it to sound awkward. But add your keywords where ever you can. For example, I use the keyword “drive more traffic to your website” for this article, and only use it a few times, and not always the exact phrase if it doesn’t come naturally.

2. Optimize for visitors

Once you’ve done your search engine optimization, go through it to make sure that it’s easy for humans to read. The page should look inviting with copy that’s easy to scan and easy to read on any device.

Break up big blocks of text by adding pictures, bullets, or pulling quotes.

Create opportunities for Social sharing. Have a short sentence that summarizes an important idea? That might make a great tweet! Here’s how to make the text of your blog post tweetable! It also makes your posts more engaging. Make it easy for them to share! Here’s an example:

3. Optimize for conversion

If we have a post that search engines are going to drive traffic to, and that humans want to read, we need to make sure that folks do something while they are there. We want to make sure that readers will take action.
Add a call to action. Invite readers to do something once they’ve read the post. You could make them an opt-in offer (for your newsletter, or ebook), you could invite them to follow you on social media, or share the post on social media. You could invite them to comment. But whatever it is — make it clear and make it easy for them to take action (just click).

Sidebar offers. While we only want to have one call to action at the bottom of the post, you can also make an offer in the sidebar for something else that might be of interest.

4. Optimize for social

The last thing we need to think about is how the post will look when it’s shared on social media. The most important things here are the title tag and the featured photo.

Title tag. The title tag is usually what people see on social media. It needs to compel people to click on it in order to get them to your site. How can you make it more intriguing? Can you ask a question, make a promise, or tickle their curiosity?
Featured image. Having a good featured image will also drive more traffic to our website from social media. Make it big, and make it interesting. Some picture you found on a free stock photo page isn’t going to cut it. Can you add words to it? Can you use a meme? What will make it more click worthy?

5. Spread the word

Finally, you are done optimizing. Give it a once over from the reader’s perspective and then press the publish button. But wait! You aren’t quite done yet. You still need to get it out into the wild. You need to push it out to yourfans through your own social accounts. Then you need to share it with specific folks you think might have an interest — colleagues, clients or friends who share your interest in that topic. Lastly, are there any groups of people you have interacted with that might have an interest in discussing this?
General sharing. Schedule some posts to your personal and company social channels. Best practice is to share more than once (people don’t follow every one of your posts) over the course of a week or 10 days.
Specific sharing If there are a couple of key folks in your network who might have a specific interest in the topic you are writing about mention them in a twitter post. Or, send them an email alerting them to your blog; it’s always good to remind them of how your blog is relevant or interesting to them. You can even ask them if they’d be willing to share it with their audience as well.
Group sharing. If you are involved in any forums, or groups on LinkedIn, Google Plus, or any place on the web where your target market is gathered, share it with them too. Don’t blanket the Internet with it, but go ahead and share it if it’sreally relevant to the group and could foster a solid conversation.

6. Monitor the results

Now that you’ve put it out there, are people coming? Are they commenting (either on your site on or the social sites where you shared it)? Are they re-sharing it? Are they clicking on your call to action? Watching what’s happening can help you to continue to optimize and get better results.
Tweak the keywords. If the post got traffic initially (from social media or your fans) but then it starts to die out, you might tweak the keywords a bit to see if there’s another keyword that would attract more google traffic.
Build inbound links. If the post did really well, you got conversions on your CTA and they were really the kind of people you are wanting to meet more of, you might want to invest in some link building. Create some guest posts on similar topics (you can even rewrite the post that did well from another angle), and include links back to your site and other posts in the post you are writing (or re-writing). Then offer it to other high traffic blogs in your niche. Just posting it will drive some traffic, and the additional inbound link will help your post to rise in the search engine rankings.
Test different offers. If you got a lot of traffic, but folks aren’t converting on your call to action, try another offer. Instead of the ebook, try a webinar, or a video download.

If this sounds like a lot of work, it is. Make it count. Publish less frequently, but get more out of what you are publishing.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Essential Phrases for Your Next New Business Meeting

When you go to meet with a new client, you need to have a list of objectives to accomplish during that meeting. A plan, if you will.

Why? Because it’s just so easy to fall into the trap of casual conversation for an hour or two—only to find that at the end of your time together, you haven’t closed the deal on any new business.

Before you take your next new business meeting, I want you to have these five phrases on your “must say” list. They’ll make your meeting much more efficient and productive for both parties.

“I’m not sure I can help you”

You probably read that phrase and thought, “Whoa…why would I say that to a potential new client? I’m here to close a deal.” Correct—you are. But you also want to make it clear from the beginning of your meeting that you have a specific skill set, and if what the client needs would be better suited working with someone else, you’d be happy to make that introduction.

This is a major trust-builder with a new client and shows that you’re not just taking this meeting because you want the money—you’re taking it because you care that this person finds the best possible solution to his or her problem.

“Tell me more”

Asking the person you’re meeting with to tell you more about their specific problem helps you gather the details you need to clarify a few unanswered questions, like:
Do I have the skills/resources to help solve this unique problem?
What obstacles is the client currently facing?
Is this problem something I have helped someone with in the past?

Letting the client elaborate on the issue at hand is the time when you should be taking notes and actively thinking about what you can bring to the table.

Bonus: It shows interest, and demonstrates a willingness to create a custom solution. Everyone feels like their problem is new and different—so let them explain why.

“What is your process for decision making?”

This question will help you gauge how much the client has thought about potential solutions—and what tactics they have in mind to try out. It’ll also tell you a bit about his or her work style, which you want to have a good picture of up front.

If the client isn’t sure how to answer, this is your moment to propose some decision-making tactics that illustrate your expertise. Propose some plans of action and show that you have a clear path in mind.

“What’s your plan B?”

You want to know what the client’s second option is—especially if it’s not working together with you. This will help you identify threats to the working relationship and shows that you’re already thinking ahead.

If you’re worried that you’ll be having the same conversation with the client six months from now, you need to ask this question. Show that you have a plan to solve the problem today—and that you can help them immediately.

“Are you ready to work together?”

So many people forget to make the hard call to action at the end of the meeting while they’re still face to face with the client, and as a result, they end up trying to chase down the client via phone calls or email to finally seal the deal.

Don’t assume you’ve got a new client—make the formal ask by saying, “Let’s do this. I have a plan, are you ready?” If you get an affirmation, lay out the process, the costs, and get them to sign the paperwork right then and there.

Get the Most Out of Each New Business Meeting

With these five simple phrases, you can completely transform your process for a new business meeting so that both you and your potential client waste less time and leave feeling like you accomplished something worthwhile.

In business, you know that time is money—so start making your time more profitable.