6 Ways to Grow Your Email List

Now that we know that email marketing is ESSENTIAL to your marketing plan (and if you don’t, go back and read my previous post!). Now comes the dilemma that a lot of business owner’s face. How do I grow my email list so I have people to market to?

Today we’re breaking down some of my favorite techniques to get more engaged email subscribers, and we’re going to do it in a way that is authentic and doesn't feel slimy or salesy.

  1. Encourage current subscribers to share - Adding social share or “email to a friend” buttons can be a super simple way to get more subscribers. Giving your current subscribers an easy way to share content means you can get in front of their networks.

  2. Give away something free - This is probably the most effective way to add subscribers quickly. By offering a coupon code, discount, or even a freebie in exchange for someone’s email, you can bolster your list pretty substantially. If coupons aren’t your style, or aren't getting you the traction you’re looking for, think outside the box. Putting together a cool white page, PDF, or instructional/inspirational video series can be a great way add people to your list who are really interested in hearing from you.

  3. Create bonus content - Just because you’ve been writing a blog (as you should per our June discussion…) it doesn’t mean that you have to give away ALL your content on your website. Create bonus content based off of your blog post and encourage readers to subscribe to get it.

  4. Utilize your social media - Create a cool contest or give-a-way that requires contestants to submit their email address to enter and promote it on social. Especially if you already have a following, it’s a great tool to bring those followers over to your list. While you're at it, utilize your social channels to promote some of that gated content (that we talk about in #3), and drive more traffic to them.

  5. Find a partner - Search around for a complimenting business, blogger or influencer to help promote your brand. You can run a joint promotion, contest or give-a-way that can help increase both of your lists. This is also a great way to increase social media following and just general traffic.

  6. Go old school - If you’re a retail business or have a physical location, set up a notebook or pad and pen on your countertop. It's easy to collect email addresses from online sales, but often times we forget to ask in stores. Have a little set up and encourage who ever is working the register at the time to collect the email addresses of everyone as they check out. If you’re a service based business, you can still apply this strategy by collecting emails at networking events and expos.

If you stay consistent with your list growth strategies you will start to see some serious growth over time. The goal of this is also to see an increase in subscribers who are engaged and excited to hear from you each and every time.

And don’t forget, it’s email marketing month inside The Hub - the online marketing membership program geared towards helping you grow your business online! Get instant access to even more trainings and masterclasses to help you up your email marketing game for only $1!

Our Favorite Business Beach Reads 2019

Summer has FINALLY arrived here on the East Coast and the warm weather makes us excited for the beach and a good book. And while love a good romance novel (hey, don’t judge!), sometimes it helps us feel more productive to combine our lounge time with our learning time, and dive into a good business read while sun tanning.

Below we broke down some of our favorite current reads to help you feel inspired, focused, and productive while hanging by the pool. Want even more great reads? Check out one of our older beach reads lists here.

  1. Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business by Paul Jarvis - A veteran designer boasting large clients like Mercedes, Microsoft and Yahoo, Paul Jarvis breaks down how good things can come in small packages. Solopreneurship is on the rise, as more people strive to make extra income, and technology opens all of us to more freedom. If you’ve ever played around with the idea of starting your own business, or already have and need a little inspiration to keep going, this book blueprints how staying small can mean success.

  2. The 30-Day Money Cleanse: Take control of your finances, manage your spending, and de-stress your money for good by Ashley Feinstein Gerstley - Being in business means money stressors, no doubt. Whether it’s stressing about making money, saving money, or what to spend our money on, we are constantly thinking about money. However, one of the things I’ve learned is that the more you stress about money, the more stressful money becomes. Spend a month this summer giving yourself and your business a money cleanse and reset your money mindset towards the positive.

  3. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin - Seth Godin is one of my favorite marketers because he explains things clearly, and with fun examples like how seeing a purple cow in a farmyard would stop you in your tracks. And as marketers and business owners (because yes, all business owners are marketers) that’s our job - to stop our customers in their tracks. Here’s the rub though, the old ways of marketings aren’t working anymore. Get Godin’s advice on how to move beyond the “3 P’s of Marketing” to the things that are going to help you grow your business today.

Stop Writing Lame Blogs

We've all been guilty of it. We've been told that we have to create content for SEO, marketing or advertising purposes so we've forced ourselves to write a blog post. It usually begins by sitting in front of our computers only to be distracted by Pinterest before typing the first sentence. After an hour of browsing kitchen renovations and dream vacations, we finally tear ourselves back to our word document where we painfully, and slowly, type out a few sentences on something related to our business. We've written blogs on topics we either don't really know anything about, or have no real interest in, in an attempt to just get something, ANYTHING, out on the page. We stuff it full of keywords trying to get ranked in Google, hit publish and move on to the next marketing task on our list.

I'm here to tell you, however, that it's time to reevaluate that strategy. Not only is the content lame and uninspired (yes, I called your blog post lame) but it just plain bores you and your audience. You created your company, or picked your job, because it's supposed to be something you love to do. Yet we treat talking about it like a chore. How is anyone supposed to get excited about your product or service if you aren't excited about it yourself?

It's time to start creating content that actually contributes something to the internet. I think I can speak for all of us when I say the universe has had enough of the "Why you should use me to purchase your home" or the "Look how much I know about finance" blog post. We want to know why you are excited to get up and do your job everyday, and how you can help us navigate the world a little easier. 

No matter what service or product a customer is looking for, there are probably a million different companies out there vying for their attention. Your content is what is going to set you apart, label you as the expert in the field, and gain their trust (subsequently gaining their sales).

If you could indulge me, I'd love for you to try something for me. Before writing your next blog post, take a step back and think about the last conversation you had about your business where you got truly excited. What did you talk about? Who did you talk to? How did you say it? Did the other person actually seem interested and ask questions back? Now write about that. Not only will your audience thank you for adding to the conversation out there on the world wide web, but you'll feel good for actually contributing something useful to the world.

Still need more blog ideas? Check out our FREE download: 365 Days of Content Ideas - it’s chock full of blog prompts, social media posts and timely events that you can use to get your creative juices flowing.

Do I Really HAVE to Blog? Short Answer: YES!

Ahhh blog. The “4 letter” word that can strike fear in the heart of many business owners. You open up that word document to that big, blank, white page and see that cursor just sitting there, blinking. All of a sudden your mind goes blank, and you have no idea what to write about.

Creating content for your blog or social media sites can be a daunting task. With so many other things you have to do on a daily basis to run your business, posting to a blog can seem like the absolutely last thing on your list. You may even be thinking to yourself, “Why would I bother writing a  blog anyways?”

Here’s the deal, for those of us that aren’t fans of writing (or being in front of a video camera), putting together a blog or vlog (that’s right! You don’t just have to write it!) can seem like a daunting task. But whether you type it up, or film it from your iPhone, a blog can be super valuable for driving more sales to your store. Let’s break it down a little.

  1. It boosts your SEO - When it comes to ranking higher in Google searches, blogging is the #1 way to do it. Part of Google’s algorithm ranks websites based on how much recent content has been posted, and if the keywords in it match someones search. Writing, or creating video blogs, gives you the opportunity to add fresh content all the time, and add tons of keywords to your site. Increasing your SEO means more organic traffic (and more shoppers) headed to your website!

  2. It connects you with your customers - While customers will always love a good sale, sometimes you may not have anything going on. Or maybe you notice your email open rates, or social media engagement, going down because the only time you reach out to them is when you’re pitching them to buy something. A blog is a great way to create content that can connect with your customers, and get them talking about your brand in a unique way. Creating content around top trends, upcoming new product launches, and style ideas can get your audience excited and ready to shop.

  3. It makes you the expert in your industry -  People like to buy from brands that they trust. Creating a blog filled with great tips, advice and information builds that trust with potential customers. Not only are they more likely to buy, but they are more likely to become brand champions, promoting you to their family and friends.

  4. It makes you shareable - Getting in people’s newsfeeds is getting harder and harder these days. And only posting about selling your products isn’t going to cut it anymore. Blogs are a great way to get your name out there and shared among people who may not be in your current network.

But here’s the deal, don’t feel like you have to commit to a single format that you’re super uncomfortable with. Don’t like writing? It’s all good, put together a vlog instead! What’s important is that you’re creating value for your customers. Creating content is one of the most cost effective things you can do to grow your business. Don’t shy away from it, and watch how traffic and engagement grow!

Google My Business - The "Other" Social Media Outlet?

With the big news that Google is shutting down Google+ over the next few months, it seems like Businesses are back to using giants Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. While Google+ never really took off in the first place, many businesses are left wondering how (and if) this change will impact their business.

First things first, Google+ and Google My Business are 2 separate entities. Google+ was Google’s answer to the social media craze, thinking it would become a place for individuals to interact within “circles” of friends and colleagues. This is was they are beginning to phase out.

Google My Business, instead, is essentially a free directory listing where Google allows you to post information about your business, pictures and social media updates, as well as receive reviews from other Google users. The benefits of this platform are tremendous and those include:

  • In-depth insights into how many people viewed, clicked on, or called your business from this listing.

  • Easy "click-to-call" capabilities for smart phones. Meaning if someone Googles you on their phone a button will appear where they can call you in one click.

  • Integration with Google maps to easily show where you are located on a map when searching from a desktop, and one click access to directions when searching on a phone or tablet. 

Businesses with a Google My Business account also get several benefits in search. These range from showing up, essentially immediately, on the first page in search (on the right hand side map search section), as well as the added SEO benefits of linking your website directly with a Google property.

Now here comes the confusing part. There are 2 ways you can sign up - as a "Brand" page or as a "Location". A lot of businesses lean towards the "Brand" option as they may service multiple locations or may not be location specific. Here's the problem with just doing a "Brand" page. You don't get all the added benefits that I listed above. You are only going to show up in that Google Search Map section if you sign up as a location and verify it.

Once it's verified and running, it's important to keep you profile up-to-date with the correct information. Check in about once per month and make any changes to your contact info, hours or description as needed.

In addition, Google My Business, offers you the ability to post updates that live on your page for 7 days. These are great places to post events, sales, new content, or anything else you’d like to have Google Searchers see while viewing your profile.

So fear not business friends, while Google+ is leaving us (RIP), there are still some great options to take advantage of when it comes to promoting your business on the search platform.

How to Leverage Social Media Backlinks for SEO

Depending on who you follow, you may hear conflicting opinions on the importance of social media backlinks and how it plays into SEO. Some marketers believe it has no impact, and other’s believe it is imperative to an SEO strategy. So, where do I stand in all of this? I’d say, decidedly in the middle. Let me explain.

Back in 2014 Matt Cutts of Google, came out and said that social signals and activity, like those from Facebook, Twitter and now Instagram, have no impact on Google Search Rankings. They said they will cull them as individual results, but they do not impact the website they are linked to.

Going even further, it’s been confirmed that a link on Facebook is labelled as a “no follow” link, which in SEO terms means that it doesn’t carry any juice. That means that any links you build on your Facebook Business Profile, or in any groups, will have ZERO impact on your off-page SEO rankings.

So, that leaves a lot us wondering, why would we even bother? With Facebook greatly reducing organic reach, why would we push a social strategy that doesn’t even help with SEO? Well, let’s break it down a little.

Referral and Direct Traffic

One of the things social media is great for, is for increasing both your referral or direct traffic. While a link on social profile may not count towards your overall backlink count, the traffic that comes from them does. One of Google’s ranking factors is how much traffic your website receives, with the importance of direct traffic outweigh that of referral (although both are important!).

In addition, Facebook and other social media sites tend to have excellent domain authority, meaning that the traffic coming from them is usually higher quality, another factor in Google rankings. Driving more traffic to your blog posts or general website pages through your social profiles is a great, and efficient way, to increase your rankings.

Outside of placing links in your posts, think about ways you can drive direct traffic through your social profile. Adding a URL to your cover photo or on your profile that a user can copy and paste into their browser can help in this respect.

Where to Place Links

Now that we know that including links in your social media can have an impact on your SEO (even though it’s not the traditional one you think of), let’s break down where you should be placing those links for maximum impact.

  • Social Posts - This one may seem obvious, but every time you post a piece of blog content or refer to your products or services, make sure you post a link for your audience to follow.

  • Your Social Profile - Almost all social media platforms let you add a link to your website under your “profile” or “about” section. Make sure you utilize this real estate by linking back to yours.

  • In Your Groups Description - with the decrease in organic reach for business pages, a lot of business owners have turned to creating Groups where they can interact with their audience. Don’t forget to put your logo inside your groups description for members to find it!

  • Your Page Button - on Facebook in particular, you have an option to add a link under your cover photo with a call to action. Make sure this link goes back to your page with an appealing CTA.

  • Cover Photo - When crafting your cover photo image, think about adding some text and printing your URL on there. Make sure it’s short and easy for a visitor to copy into a browser bar.

Changes are coming to Facebook... Again...

It’s almost become a joke among marketers and business owners, what change is Facebook going to announce this year? It seems like the New Year brings a new announcement from the social media giant, who seem to be perpetually rolling out changes that seem mostly geared towards business presence, ad sales, and curating content for its members.

After a troubling 2018 and mass concerns regarding privacy breaches and inauthentic content and accounts, many subscribers and investors were left wondering how Facebook would address these issues in 2019.

In a lengthy essay written by Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook’s website, we’re able to see the new vision of the social platform, and that is overwhelmingly privacy. So, what does that mean for both private members and business owners? Let’s break it down a little bit.

Private Messaging

The first thing to talk about is the overall vision of what this new privacy based platform would like. Many people are guessing that Facebook will start to look more like the popular messaging platform, WhatsApp. This means that your messages will now become encrypted, so that they are only visible to those that are having the conversation, and not even Facebook itself will be able to access the content.

Privacy advocates are applauding the move, while some government agencies are expected to push back, stating this move will drastically increase the spread of harmful content, and hamper Facebook’s ability (and promise) to stop the spread of “fake news” on it’s platform.

Smaller Groups

Outside of it’s change in it’s messaging policy, something that has left a lot of marketers scratching their heads is Zuckerberg’s likening of Facebook becoming less like a town hall broadcasting information, and more like a private living room, with private conversations. This is where things get murky.

While we’re still unsure what this change will look like, it seems to imply that business communications will be limited to private groups and advertising. It’s assumed that ad prices will rise, and targeted groups will become smaller and more engaged. How businesses will be able to target is still up in the air, as privacy concerns and Facebooks new commitments, means less information available to marketers.

Commerce

Another hint from Facebook has been a focus on a commerce platform that allows you to buy and sell or collect payments from family and friends. We’ve seen this become more popular among Facebook Marketplace and private Buy/Sell/Trade groups - although at this time payments are processed through PayPal or private transactions. What will be interesting to see is how businesses will be able to tap into this new revenue stream, or if will be strictly focuses on private sales.

Overall, I don’t think this means the end of Facebook for Business, but I do think it will mean that organic reach will continue to go down. In addition, I think the clever ways businesses have used to get around things (like utilizing groups) will become less effective as privacy goes up. However, I do believe the audience may become even more valuable as they become more targeted and engaged - just be prepared to open up your pocket book to reach them.

Continuing Education for Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

Time tends to go by extremely quickly when you're in the trenches of running your own business. The day-to-day tasks of a small business can be overwhelming and take up most of your day. By the time you have a minute to reflect, a month has gone by and you've done nothing but tread water! The world is changing, marketing is changing, and best practices are changing, and you're left wondering how you can possibly fit more into your day? There's no way you can add anything else, like learning and implementing the newest trends in business while managing your daily to-do list. 

This is where this exploding trend in continuing education can come to the rescue - online classes. Created by both real world professionals and educators, these classes are created for the busy small business owner. They are often presented in smaller modules, or on membership platforms, that are easy to sneak in during the day and can range in topics from current marketing trends, to time management, to how to drive sales. 

The online class is one my favorite things. As a constant consumer of information, I think it's an amazing way to pick the brains of those that are rocking it in the business world. However, there are a lot of classes out there, and it can be difficult to know which ones are worth investing in. It seems like lately, you can’t throw a stone without hitting 5 different “experts” hawking an online course. I have a few tips on what to look for to ensure the class is top quality and will work for your needs:

  • Make sure they've implemented their techniques on their own business. The best way to tell if someone is the real deal is if they don't just teach, but actually do. Make sure they mention using their strategies on themselves, and if they give real world examples of how it was successful.

  • Get an outline of the class before purchasing. Real classes will give you a full, in-depth look of the class BEFORE making you buy it. They should walk you through the modules, clearly explain what you'll learn, and what you'll get which should give you a good idea if it's what you're looking for.

  • Make sure your personalities jive. Not only does the information need to be legit but you need to actually like the person to retain any of it. Check out some of their videos and articles to see if you like how they speak, phrases they use and if you can easily understand the way they present the content.

  • Don't be afraid to ask questions. Those disseminating and selling the information shouldn't be afraid to answer questions you have about their product. Ask them to give you more in-depth information on what's covered in the class, if it's updated as things change, and how long it will take to finish the class. 

If you take a couple minutes to Google different topics you're interested in learning more about, you're bound to find a variety of classes that will fit your needs. To give you a little bit of a head start I'm breaking down my personal favorites that I can guarantee are well worth the investment.

  • FB Framework - Courtney Foster-Donahue. Courtney is definitely a personality so I fully acknowledge that she may not be for everyone! She is super upbeat, super fun and has built and AMAZING business, mostly through Facebook. In this training she’s sharing some of her top tips PLUS she continuously updates it when Facebook rolls out new changes (which is basically every other day). Click on that link to check out a free mini class so you can get to know her and her philosophies better before joining.

  • Digital Course Academy - Amy Porterfield. Amy Porterfield is probably one of the more well known online educations, and there’s a reason - she knows what she’s talking about! This one is an investment, but I personally have taken this one myself and find the information completely worth the 4-figure price tag. It breaks down everything from building you course, to how to use webinars to promote your business, to other ways on how to market it effectively. It's been a tactic that I've found has been an integral tool in promoting my business. This class only opens it doors a few times a year so I suggest signing up for the waitlist to get updated on when it’s available again.

  • Power of Pinning - Melanie Duncan. A great option for those looking to explore Pinterest and learn how this platform can be used to help drive traffic to websites and sell products directly through the platform. It also dives into Pinterest SEO and how you can optimize your pins not just for Pinterest but Google as well. I’ve taken this one as well and it’s a great intro to using Pinterest in a more business sense (not just to save home decor inspiration).

  • Member Site Academy - The Membership Guys - Have you been interested in putting together your owner membership program? As the title suggests, this is a monthly membership program that incorporates pre recorded trainings with monthly Live Q&A’s. This adds a level of accountability and engagement that can really help you stick with the content and apply it.

  • The Digital Marketing Hub - Amy Fields - I couldn’t to write a whole blog about courses and memberships sites and skip my own right?! If you’re looking for monthly tips, masterclass and trainings around how to grow your business online, then this is for you! Each month we bring you new, themed content, all geared towards helping you succeed online. Your marketing plan isn’t just a single technique or strategy, so having a one-stop-shop to driving more traffic and sales online is a massive timesaver for a small business owner.

Ian Manning: How to Stay Healthy & Productive at Work

With the cold weather upon us, we find ourselves spending much more time indoors… sitting. Because of that we’ve brought back one of our favorite blogs which has never been more important than now.

Many of us spend most of our day sitting at our desks. While that may be great for our businesses, it's not necessarily good for the body. While it may not be a marketing tip, today we've brought in Physical Therapist and pain reducing junkie, Ian Manning of Orthocore PT, to give all of us some advice on how to stay healthy, happy, and productive, throughout our work day. And sometimes, this kind of information is just as important!

We all want to be successful in life, and in our jobs. No matter what your measurement of success may be; money, title, Instagram followers, etc…there is one thing that can certainly get in the way of your work goals…PAIN! Pain can distract you when you are working, it can keep you from sleeping, and it can lead to hours of lost time. So how do you make sure you stay pain free, focused at work, and how can you make sure you are moving well and keeping your body healthy? 

Let's start with what you are using to fuel your body. How is your water consumption? Most people who I talk to say,  “yeah, I drink tons of water.” Most people (even those that drink a “ton”) don’t drink enough. A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water in a day. Proper hydration keeps you focused throughout the day. Our brain is suspended in fluid. If you are dehydrated you can easily lose focus and make mental mistakes that will affect your job. 

What qualifies as “good movement?” If you can touch your toes (while keeping your knees straight), squat down, go up/down a couple flights of stairs, run a mile, or walk 3, you move fairly well. If any, or all, of those sound like something that would put you in the hospital…it's time to get serious about improving your fitness. Not only will focusing on your strength and flexibility prevent injuries, it will improve your productivity at work. 

So what do you do if you can’t do any, or all, of those things listed above? Let's start with flexibility. Can’t touch your toes? Here is my favorite way to improve your hamstring flexibility. Try doing 10 repetitions of this hamstring exercise, on each leg, once a day. I can guarantee that in a month you will be on your way to touching those little piggies once again!

How about squatting down? Think of how many times you sit and stand in a day. If you can’t do it properly you are just asking for a problem down the road. Let's start with proper form. When you sit down your shoulders should be over the middle of your feet with your trunk upright and your hands out in front of you. Start with performing 10 squats, twice a day, going as low as you can while keeping the proper form. As that gets easier, either add more repetitions or more sets. 

Lastly, let's talk about cardiovascular health. This is one of the easiest things to improve. You just need to commit to making it a part of your day. Simple solutions include going for a walk at lunch. Or, if you have a set of stairs in your house, every time you use them go up/down one more time than you need to. The best thing to do is get a buddy to help keep you accountable. Pick someone who will keep you honest and motivate you when you don’t want to do anything. Once you make it a part of your routine it will be easy. Your brain and your heart will thank you. 

Improving your health and fitness is guaranteed to increase your energy levels, make you more alert, and increase your focus. So put down that 4th cup of coffee, work on your body, and enjoy the new found success that follows!

Ian Manning graduated with his Masters degree in Physical Therapy from Northeastern University in 2004. Ian has always worked with orthopedic based injuries, starting in school with his co-op/clinical rotations then leading into his professional career as a PT. He is constantly working to continue his education through course work and staying current with research. Ian is certified through the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) to treat golf related injuries and to improve golf performance. Please visit our Golf Performance and Rehabilitation section for more information.

ORTHOCORE PROVIDES RESEARCH BASED PHYSICAL THERAPY FOR ORTHOPEDIC AND SPORTS RELATED INJURIES

At OrthoCore Physical Therapy we will provide you with quality rehabilitation that focuses on your personal goals. We use a mixture of research supported techniques to decrease your pain, increase your strength/flexibility, and restore your functional movement. Our staff strives to educate our patients about their rehabilitation process and help them get back to their target goals and objectives.

Though we are based out of North Kingstown, although we treat patients from the greater Providence area including East Greenwich, South Kingstown, Warwick, Narragansett, Newport, Jamestown, Cranston, Westerly, and other surrounding towns.

How to Take Awesome Videos on Your IPhone

Some times the best tips are the simplest, and that’s what this weeks blog is about.

With the video craze beating down upon us, we’ve all be trying to create video content as quickly, and as often as possible. With most of us shooting these on our iPhones, it’s all about how we can up the quality of these recordings to showcase our message in the most professional light.

In today’s video I’m showing you one of my favorite tools (that I’m a little embarrassed to admit it took me so long to find), and showing you how I use it to make shooting prerecorded, or even live Facebook videos easier.

Taking Advantage of the Audio Craze

Audio is EVERYTHING now-a-days. Yes, video is still massive (and will continue to grow in 2019), but with our increasingly busy lives, we’re constantly searching for a way to do more things all at the same time.

Audio content allows us to consume information or entertainment while on the go, while working, or while wrangling a family who is ready to eat dinner.

So, how can we, as business owners, take advantage of this new interest in the auditory arena? There’s of course podcasts, which are a super fun format, but also really time consuming and require a lot of effort on the part of the host. What I’ve got for you today is a tip all about how you can easily, and cost effectively, translate the written content you’re already creating, in a way for customers to consume audibly.

There is Life Outside of Google

Gasp! Can you believe it!?

Yes… There is a life outside of Google and search engines that you should be paying attention to. Are we giving up our undying love of Google? Absolutely not. It’s still the number on search engine (by far) and the number one driver for organic traffic and sales. But that doesn’t mean that the other ones out there aren’t worth pandering to (at least a little bit).

Wondering what they are? No, they’re not Yahoo or AOL (no offense guys), so make sure you check out the video below to learn more about life outside of Google, and what you should be doing to increase your SEO on ALL platforms, not just ones that start with “G”.

5 SEO Myths You May Be Wasting Your Time On

There is a TON of misinformation out there about digital marketing in general, and SEO in particular. Because Search Engine Optimization is something that a lot of people don't understand (or choose not), are overwhelmed by, or can't keep up with, it's often something that is easily misrepresented by "experts".

People also tend to get into habits with how they manage their SEO, and don’t update their techniques as things change. You’d be surprised how many people are still practicing SEO techniques that have been ineffective for years.

Don't worry, today Hub Digital has your back. We're breaking down the 5 biggest SEO myths that are still floating around in cyber space and are giving you permission to STOP waisting your time on them!

1. WWW vs non-WWW is important.
Every website owner has the decision to make their website URL “www” or to completely lose the “www”all together. While there are some technical differences in the 2, Google has officially stated that there are NO SEO benefits of one over the other. The important thing to remember is that once you choose which one you want, stay consistent with that version. You can choose your preference in Google Search Console. What IS important is having a secure site version (https) available and prevalent over your traditional non-secure version (http). In 2018 that began to play a huge role in ranking.  Learn more about that here.

2. You have to fill out your Meta Keywords
If you’ve looked at the backend of your site to do your Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions you may have noticed a spot to put in Meta Keywords. These used to be extremely important for SEO and many SEO “experts” still think they hold weight. However, in recent updates Google has announced that because of keyword stuffing (which is when a website is filled with keywords that may or may not relate to the page) that meta keywords now have absolutely NO bearing on Google search rankings. Like I said before, you can fill them out if you want, but since they don’t make a difference, what’s the point? 

3. URL's should be keyword rich
There is still debate among many SEO experts about having a URL with a lot of keywords in it. Here’s my take - creating long, keyword rich URLs may actually hurt, instead of help your brand. Recent studies have shown that Google is consistently ranking long URLs lower in search. Recent analysis shows that the top 10 results on Google consistently have URLs with less than 37 characters. Also, after analyzing a random selection of 30,000 domains they found that those with a keyword in their URL ranked NO better than those that didn’t.* On top of that, really long URLs can be difficult for people to remember. Moral of the story is, if it makes sense to throw in a keyword go ahead, but keep it short, sweet and easy to remember. *Stats courtesy of Search Metrics

4. 301 redirects aren't SEO friendly
This one can get a little technical and confusing so bear with me a little. When someone types in a URL in the top bar, it takes them to a website. It is up to us to tell the internet what site we want it to take someone to when they type in our URL. There are a few ways to do that. The 2 most popular are Domain Mapping and 301 Redirects. Domain Mapping is when you purchase a URL from an outside outlet (like GoDaddy) and you want it to link fully to your site. Through this process you are changing the DNS and hosting settings so your URL is directly associated with your website. This is telling Google that this is your MAIN URL for your site and the one that should get all the juice. However, sometimes you may want to add an additional URL or change the one that is linking to your site. In order to achieve this you can 301 redirect the extra, or new, URL. A 301 redirect is telling Google that you want this URL to link to your website permanently. While it will still bring traffic to your website, you’ll see that the URL bar will change to your mapped URL once they get to the site. Because 301 redirected URL’s aren’t mapped, and don’t carry as much SEO juice as mapped URLs, many people think they aren’t SEO friendly. However, they actually can be a great thing for your site. If you map multiple URLs to your website they end up all competing with each other in SEO, essentially dropping you in search because not one URL will stand out. This is because your URLs carry SEO weight and can help in search (like if you’ve owned the URL a long time). By 301 redirecting the extra ones, you can still use them to point to your website, but won’t be taking away from your main URL’s SEO juice. Another good use of them is if you decide to change your main URL to a new one. By mapping your new URL and 301 redirecting your old one, you’ll actually transfer about 90 - 95% of the SEO juice of the old one to the new one.

5. You should use Google Authorship
This one’s pretty easy, Google Authorship doesn’t exist anymore, so don’t even bother trying. Google Authorship was an experiment by Google trying to link content you create with your Google+ profile. After multiple attempts it never caught on, and Google shut it down. You may still see listed in some outdated SEO classes or articles. If you do, just ignore it and move on.

Want even more tips, tricks and marketing advice? Check out The Hub!

Facebook for Business in 2019

Even if you’ve pushed against it, all business owners have somehow been exposed to Facebook and it’s power to advertise and promote your business. You’ve probably also heard about the massive changes that the New Year seems to bring to the platform and how businesses can take advantage of it.

2018 was the year brought the massive news feed changes. It reduced businesses organic reach and shifted all of our focus pretty heavily towards advertising. As soon as we started to adjust to that, Facebook got hit with some pretty serious data protection claims, which has now changed the game in what information advertisers can access and how they can target their ads to potential customers.

So, as we enter 2019, this leaves us scratching our heads, wondering, “What is happening?” What are the next big changes coming up to Facebook in 2019, and what does that mean for us as businesses?

Well, in order to answer that question, I turned to someone a little smarter than me… Google. After doing some research (and combining it with what I’ve seen for myself and my own clients), I’ve come to a few conclusions.

  1. Ad pricing will rise - As organic reach continues to shrink, and the demand for ad space on the platform continues to rise, it’s just a classic supply and demand issue. Ad costs will go up, and it’s going to become more and more expensive for businesses to break through and show up in the newsfeed.

  2. Facebook/Instagram Stories - While Facebook stories haven’t taken off like Instagram ones have, the ability to shop right inside, and offer full screen video and still advertisements, it’s no wonder they have caught the attention of advertisers. Think about how you can utilize these, especially if you’ve found your newsfeed ads losing steam.

  3. Video, Video, Video - We seem to say it in everything we write and it couldn’t be more true on Facebook. Video is continuing to take over, and with new video creation tools offered right inside the ads manager, it’s becoming easier for smaller businesses to take advantage of it.

  4. Look-a-like Audiences 2.0 - That’s right, while you may not be able to target based on off-platform behavior yourself anymore, the new Look-a-like Audiences will help you better identify your own audience, and find those who are similar in values and behavior.

Want to see some of the other things that may be important when it comes to Facebook in 2019? Check out this article I found to read more, and happy Facebooking!

Want more trainings and classes on growing your business online in 2019? Check out The Digital Marketing Hub!

8 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch in 2019

Tis’ the season for all the marketing experts out there to start making predictions for 2019. They’ve waded through the craziness that was 2018 (and a crazy year it was… cough… Facebook… cough), analyzed what happened, and used that information to try to see what is going to be important in the year to come.

There’s A LOT of information out there - so, instead of making our own list this year, we’ve read through some of the more reputable sources, and pulled out what is, in our opinion, the most impactful predictions, specifically for small businesses. We’re comparing it to what we’ve seen happening in our world, and what we believe will be what shapes 2019 in the world of marketing.

Forbes

Chatbots - We’ve seen these grow in popularity among larger brands, and chances are you’ve probably interacted with one, whether that is to ask about when a package will be shipped, or request pricing information. Not only are they getting better and more natural at answering customer service questions, but Chatbots can be great at warming prospects and setting up sales appointments. With the rise of businesses like Drift, Chatbots are becoming more and more popular (and affordable) for small businesses who struggle to keep up the influx of customer requests.

Local Influencer Marketing - We’ve all heard of influencer marketing, and have probably been exposed to a post or 2 from some of our favorite celebrities (hey there Kim K…). But on the hyper local level, the same concept can be used to make a big impact for small businesses. Seek out local blogs or influencers who reach your target demographic and geographic location.

Digital Marketing Institute

Facebook May Be Peaking (For the Younger Ones) - With all the data and political drama that Facebook dealt with in 2018, younger populations are continuing to shift their attention away from the platform. This is a great reminder to really pay attention to your target market, and put your marketing efforts into where they are. It may mean moving away from outlets you’ve used for years, and investing in new ones.

Video, Video and More Video - Video is continuing to be even more important this year and users are gobbling it up. Combining a traditional video strategy with live video can not only help engage people more with your content, but drive more organic traffic (since Google is using it as one of it’s major ranking factors).

Good Content Still Matters - I love this one (as a content marketer myself!). Creating valuable content (both written and video) is continuing to matter in the new year. Your audience has many choices when it comes to spending their money, so taking time to make their experience with you unique and valuable is going to go a long way in 2019.

Neil Patel

Voice Search - The king of search knows his stuff when it comes to SEO trends, and he’s right on point touting the importance of voice search in 2019. Between Google Home, Siri and Alexa, we are talking to our devices more and more. This means that the terms being searched are changing (they are following a more common sentence structure) and the results being shown are changing as well. Utilizing long form key phrases to match these voice searches in your blogs and content can help you continue to rank high in search results.

Podcasts - He’s not the first, and he won’t be the last to mention the importance of podcasts and audio content in 2019. As our worlds get busy, we are looking to consume content in ways that fit into our crazy schedules. Audio content that can be consumed on the go, in our cars, doing chores around the house, or while working on something else, is going to continue to be consumed in large quantities in the new year. With a lower cost of entry, it is easier now, more than ever, for small businesses and solopreneurs to jump on the podcast train, and share their knowledge with the masses.

Big Commerce

Mobile is More Important Than Ever - Mobile isn’t new, and we’ve consistently focused our efforts on ways to make content easier to consume on mobile devices (scrolling content, vertical video). But consumers are purchasing more and more from mobile devices, so making that process easier and smoother is going to become equally as important. Utilizing mobile shopping apps and social media shopping carts can be great ways to drive more mobile purchases for product based businesses.

So there you have it - the top trends we (and the rest of the digital marketing world) see happening in the New Year. Let us know your thoughts! Have you already started implementing some of these things? Do you plan to in the new year?

Hub Digital wishes everyone a safe and happy Holiday Season! We look forward to sharing more great content and tips with you in the New Year!

How to Rank on Google's First Page: An Interview with Neil Patel

Ok, so maybe this isn’t me interviewing Neil Patel… although, can you image how cool that would be!? What I’m sharing with you today is an interview Neil gave where he answered one of probably the most asked/most elusive question, “How can I get my website to rank on the first page of Google”.

In the interview, Neil answers the question from a mortgage professional who pretty quickly was able to move their ranking from in the 80’s to about 11 for a lot of their identified keywords. Using tried and true SEO techniques like content creation, optimized Meta Data, fast load times, linking and mobile optimization has clearly worked in moving his websites rank.

Great! This sounds amazing! So, what’s the problem then? Well, he’s been stuck at 11 for a little while. He knows that ranking on the first page is extremely important to getting more organic traffic, but can’t seem to get there. What is he doing wrong?

Well, Neil is giving his number 1 tip to move you from the 2nd to the first page. And I’m telling you, it may not be the answer you expected.

Ok, I can’t hold it in.. here’s the answer: Patience and Consistency!

YES! That thing we’ve been touting for years. Following the right techniques, doing them often, and not getting frustrated and giving up after a month or 2 is the ONLY way to get yourself to the 1st page, and STAY there.

Don’t believe me? Check out this video from Neil to hear him shed more light on how this whole SEO process works, and how the most successful people make it work for them in the long term.

Check it out here!

How to Get Your Audience to Hear You When They're Not Listening

Sometimes it feels like you’re talking and talking and no one is listening (please tell me that I’m not the only one!). You spend so much time and energy planning amazing video content to use in blogs, on your Facebook profile, and in your advertisements. You record, rerecord. and probably rerecord again, until it’s perfect (or as perfect as it’s going to get). You upload, hit publish and… it feels like you’re talking to a brick wall.

Here’s the deal though. You’re audience isn’t listening to you. And chance are they probably aren’t going to 90% of the time. So how can you get them to hear what you have to say?

This week’s video has the answer to that question, and trust me, it’s WAY easier than you think!

Get monthly Masterclasses and Expert Trainings each month inside The Digital Marketing Hub. Click here to learn more!

Video 8 of 8: Genius Content Marketing Hacks and Blog Ideas

It’s the final installment of our 8 week video blog idea series, and we’re ending it up with something timely to the season.

That’s right, it’s all about playing up the season, time of year, or things that are happening in the world around you. But, how can you relate it back to your business? I’m giving you a few real life examples of how you can take your business and make it relevant to the time of year.

Check the video out below and in case you missed any of our previous blogs make sure you check them out and get your blog game strong for 2019!

Video 1: Using your customers

Video 2: The most bookmark worthy blog posts

Video 3: Getting blogs without having to actually write them

Video 4: What you probably are forgetting to do

Video 5: Utilizing articles and news content

Video 6: The topic you know the most about

Video 7: The best blogs for SEO

Get monthly Masterclasses and Expert Trainings each month inside The Digital Marketing Hub. Click here to learn more!

Video 7 of 8: Genius Content Marketing Hacks and Blog Ideas

Outside of providing amazing value for our clients/customers, we also should be using our blogs to drive more organic traffic and rank higher in search.

In today's installment in our 8 part Blog Idea videos series, it's all about SEO. I'm giving you my top tips to writing blog posts that move you up in Google Search Results, drive more organic traffic, and create new brand champions.

Not only is this week's topic meant for SEO, but it's also mean to attract new customers to your brand, and ease them into your area of expertise in a way that makes them feel comfortable, understood, and valued.

Check it out below!

Get monthly Masterclasses and Expert Trainings each month inside The Digital Marketing Hub. Click here to learn more!

Video 6 of 8: Genius Content Marketing Hacks and Blog Ideas

Part 6 of our 8 week blog ideas series should be a topic start that should come easily to you (even if writing doesn’t). It’s something you know a TON about (trust me, you do), and have probably told the story of multiple times, over and over already.

What’s the topic? You!

That’s right, this week it’s all about you, and it’s the perfect topic as 2018 wraps up and we look to the new year. Check out the video below to get my take on how to tell your story, and why talking about yourself can be so important.

Get monthly Masterclasses and Expert Trainings each month inside The Digital Marketing Hub. Click here to learn more!