Posts tagged digital advertising
5 Ways to Get More People Reading Your Emails

Ahhh… the ultimate question. How can I get more people opening up my emails?

It’s something every business owner or marketer struggles with at some point, and now that we've talked about how to increase your email subscribers, it’s time to talk about engaging them. It’s a constant balancing act between investing time in your email marketing strategy and feeling like it’s not making enough impact.

Well, first thing’s first. Let’s talk benchmarks. As of 2018, the national average open rate for emails across all industries was 24.88%.

So, what does that tell us? Basically it gives us some more realistic view on what we can expect our open rates to be. It gives us a better idea on how to track if what we’re doing it truly working.

So, now the meat and potatoes, how can get more people opening our emails and increase our own open rates.

  1. Start with your list - Having a large list can be REALLY tempting. Seeing those big numbers can give you a great ego boost. Here’s the thing though, if they’re not opening your emails, then they’re just an empty number. And while that number may make you feel good when you look it, it actually could be hurting you in the long run. Continuing to send emails to people who aren’t opening them can actually be a trigger to mail carriers like Google and Yahoo who may end up sending your emails directly to spam. What I like to do is at the end of every quarter scrub my list of anyone who hasn’t interacted with an email of mine in the past 90 days. While it may hurt to see them go, it opens up space for those who actually want to hear from me, and helps ensure that my emails get through to them.

  1. Make sure your email is mobile compatible - With all the cool templates out there it can be tempting to overly design your email campaigns. But here’s the deal, over 60% of emails are opened on mobile phones, and if they aren’t easy to read on a phone, chances are your email is just getting deleted, or even worse, not being delivered at all. Think about streamlining your email format (studies show plain, simple text actually works the best), or check in from time-to-time to see how your emails are showing up on mobile devices.

  1. Time it perfectly - Readers are more likely to open an email within the first hour of delivery. So it’s our job to optimize that delivery day and time to reach as many active readers as possible. Studies show that Tuesday and Friday are your best days to send emails, with Wednesday and Thursday close seconds. Further more, a majority of people open emails up after 12pm (with a peak around 3pm). Of course, all of this should be specified to your audience so start with these best practices and play around a little to see the best day and time for you specifically.

  1. Change who your email is sent from - this can actually make a HUGE difference! Research shows that changing your “from” name to your personal name, rather than your business name, can increase open rates by as much as 35%! Of course, this has to make sense for you and your business - but it may make a case for showcasing more of “you” in your business. People buy from people.

  1. Up your subject line game - Now this is the big one. Your subject line can completely make or break an email campaign. Here’s some best practices to help you shape an open worthy subject line:

  • Keep it between 6-10 words. Too much longer and it can get cut off

  • Personalize it if you can. Most CRM platforms let you easily add in names to your emails or subject lines. Some studies have shown an increase in open rates by almost 20% just by adding in the reader’s first name.

  • If you’re giving away free content, or linking to a video in your email make sure you mention it in your subject line.

  • Tease their interest. Make readers want to know what’s inside by peaking their interest without giving it all away. Stay a little cryptic, or get them questioning what you're talking about. They’ll open your email to find the answer.

  • Avoid exclamation marks and question marks sometimes. Overuse of them can trigger spam filters and keep your email from getting delivered.

  • Consider an emoji. Some recent studies have shown a small increase in open rates when a sender used an emoji in the subject line. It’s always worth a try - plus they add some color and fun to an inbox.

If you’ve been struggling with your open rates, take a crack at those tips above over the next few weeks, I can guarantee you’re going to start to see an increase!

Ready to see how Hub Digital can help you grow your business online? Click here to schedule a free strategy session with Amy.

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.

How to Show Up When You Just Don't Want To

Hello there! While I know I promised a blog idea series (and don't worry - part 2 IS coming soon) I took a little detour today. Why? Because I just didn't feel like doing the other blog post. Plain and simple! 😂

I figured a lot of other business owners go through something similar from time-to-time. It can be hard just showing up sometimes. So, here's my thoughts on showing up for yourself and your business when you just don't feel like it. Drop me a comment below or on my FB page and tell me your story.

School is in Session inside The Hub!

It's Back-to-School here inside The Hub! We're bringing you brand new Masterclasses and Training to kick start your fall marketing plan.
 

Is Q4 your time to shine?


Q4 and Holiday Season isn't just for Christmas Sales (although it's that's your jam, let's go!). It's a big time for many businesses as people are back from vacation, their kids are back in school, and it's time to get stuff done before the Holiday season. In this month's Masterclass I'm bringing you some GENIUS (if I do say so myself), ways to take advantage of the season and bring in some MAJOR Q4 sales.
 

Struggling to connect with your audience?

It could be because you're not reaching the right people. We've got Jessie McGath whose dropping some truth bombs on finding your ideal audience, connecting with them, and shifting your mindset so you can actually grow, and stop spinning your wheels.
 

Confused about all this Google stuff?
 

It's all good - you're not the only one! In the "Ask Hubble" podcast this month we're breaking down the different between Google+ and Google My Business (I know, why so confusing Google!?), as well as talking about how to get in front social media influencers and use them to grow your business online!
 

All of this content (PLUS one more Guest Expert training later this month) is brand new this month inside The Digital Marketing Hub!

Oh, and because you can try it out FREE for the first seven days, you can check all of this stuff WITHOUT paying a dime!

I can just hear the chorus of "Thank You's" now! (You're welcome by the way!)

.S. School is session - time to up your marketing game!

How to Use Google Trends to Shape Your Content Strategy

Google has SO many cool tools. So many FREE tools! So, why are we, as business owners not taking advantage of them?

If I had to guess, I would say it's because many of us either don't know they exist, or don't know how to use them. Well, that's where I come in!

In the past we've gone through Google My Business, Google Search Console and Google Keyword Planner - so today we're diving into Google Trends, a super cool insight into what other people are searching for on Google. It's an awesome way to see what timely things are happening that you can relate back to your business, or what is happening in your vertical that you can shape content around. By focusing on trending keywords and phrases, you can capitalize on all that SEO to drive more traffic to your site.

Check out the video below to get inside view of the tool and how to use it!

Your A to Z Guide to The Perfect SEO Strategy

Feel like we beat the SEO drum here at The Hub? You're right, we do!

Let's chat about SEO (aka search engine optimization) a little bit. Why are we so fanatical about it? Well, have you been a little frustrated lately by the reach (or lack there of) on Facebook? Have you been seeing some traffic on your website but they haven't been buying anything (because they're not really your ideal audience)? Do you know need to step up your marketing but aren't in a place to spend money doing it?

SEO is the answer to all of these issues. It's the best way, especially in this new digital marketplace, to get through the clutter, stand out in front of your ideal target audience, and reach them in the place that they are *literally* searching for your products or services.

But hey, I get it, SEO can be overwhelming, confusing and frustrating. There is SO much information out there, and a lot of it is so "techy". Are you feeling:

✔️ A little turned off by the entire search engine optimization thing? 
✔️ Avoided it because you're not sure where to start?
✔️ Think you're doing it right but aren't 100% sure?

Enter Sara Graybill of Graybill Creative. Her guest expert training, inside The Digital Marketing Hub, is walking you through an ENTIRE search strategy (that's right, A to Z, start to finish) and doing it in a way that you can actually understand and implement! Shocking, I know!

No more wondering what an SEO strategy entails. Now more trying to figure out if you're doing the right thing. It's all about finally feeling confident, finally get more qualified traffic, and finally making sales without paying out the nose for advertising.

So, if you're a member, head on into The Digital Marketing Hub and check it out! I

f you haven't signed up yet, visit thedigitalhub.club/get-access to learn more and get instant access to this and a whole bunch of other trainings inside!

How to Vertically Record Your Computer Screen For Mobile

With the launch of IGTV, and the increased popularity of Live videos on social media platforms, we are consuming more and more content on our phones and tablets. So, what does this mean for content creators and business owners looking to connect with their audiences? It means we have to shoot things mobile first. Mobile first, most importantly, means shooting in a vertical format. Studies show that a majority of people prefer to watch videos on their phone vertically, because it's how we naturally hold our phone to make calls, text, or browse social media. While that's easy to do on your phone (duh, it's a mobile device). It can be more difficult to do that on your computer.

If you're like me, a lot of times I like to use my computer to record myself (it's much more steady than trying to hold my phone, think and talk all at the same time), or record my computer screen. Often, I talk over slides or an internet browser to better showcase the strategy or technique I'm teaching about. What I've realized though is the horizontal format of our computer screens does not translate well on mobile phones.

So, after a little bit of research I figured out how to successfully rotate my computer screen so I can still screen record what I'm doing in a more professional way, and it is SO much easier to view on a phone. Check out the video below (shot vertically of course), to get my step-by-step instructions on how to do it!

For more quick tips and tricks like this, be sure to follow me on Instagram (@hubdigitalmktg) and check out my IGTV station!

We're celebrating the 4th of July...

.... with brand new content inside The Digital Marketing Hub!

What do we have for you this month?

Ever wondered how your website is REALLY doing?

I've got a step-by-step video all about one of my favorite tools (Google Search Console) that includes how to set it up, explores all the features and tools, and walks you through how to analyze your results. Check out the latest Masterclass this month to get my tips and advice.

Speaking of websites.. frustrated with trying to write that perfect, customer converting copy for it?

Your website should tell your story, showcase your brand, AND convince your potential client/customer to buy. I know, easier said than done right!? Don't worry, I've brought in copywriter Amy Lanci, to give some of her best tips and guidelines for writing THE BEST website copy.

Putting out content but still struggling to get more followers on Instagram?

This month I invited guest expert, Yael Bendahan, And together we're exploring how to keep your instagram growing consistently with REAL potential clients and customers who will REALLY engage with your content (among other things).

All of this content (PLUS one more Guest Expert training later this month on how to get more organic traffic to your website) is brand new this month inside The Digital Marketing Hub!

Oh, and because you can try it out FREE for the first seven days, you can check all of this stuff WITHOUT paying a dime!

I can just hear the chorus of "Thank You's" now! (You're welcome by the way!)

The Money Making Social Media Platform You're Missing Out On

What money making social media platform are you most likely missing out on? HINT: It's NOT Facebook!

Local businesses especially, are missing out on one of the most influential, cost effective and money driving platforms out there. What is that platform? Pinterest! Now, before you shut it down, hear me out. In this recent Facebook Live I broke down WHY Pinterest is for you, no matter what your industry is. 

Some Stats About Pinterest:

Pinterest Demographics:

  1. Pinterest has 175 million monthly active users
  2. 2 Million Pinterest users save pins daily
  3. 81% of Pinterest users are Females
  4. Millennials use Pinterest as much as Instagram
  5. Median age of Pinterest user is 40
  6. Half on Pinterest users HHI is $50K or greater
  7. 10% of Pinterest users HHI is $125K or greater

Pinterest Facts:

  1. 87% of Pinners have purchases a product because of Pinterest
  2. 72% of Pinners use Pinterest to decide what to buy offline
  3. 93% of active Pinners said they use Pinterest to plan for purchases
  4. More than 14 million articles are pinned each day
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".

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). 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.

5 Days to Jumpstart Your Digital Marketing

2018 is here! And at Hub Digital we came into it swinging. We challenged some amazing VIP's to start their year right with our mini challenge, "5 Days to Jumpstart Your Digital Marketing". On Facebook Live each morning we dove deep into a different pillar of marketing, and we talked about some of the best tips and tricks to tackle each of them.

It was so amazing to connect with so many entrepreneurs and business owners to help them start their year right. They asked some amazing questions, gave each other some awesome advice (that's right, it wasn't just me talking!), and got inspired to kick some serious marketing butt this year!

So then I got to thinking, why would I want to keep these information only to a select few? Why not open it up to the rest of you so you can rock it as well? So, that's what I'm doing! Check out the videos below and create your own online marketing mini challenge! Challenge yourself to work on your own digital marketing. Challenge yourself to do some of the marketing things (cough... blogging... cough) that you've been putting off for a while. And challenge yourself to commit to growing your business this year, even when you don't feel like putting in the time and effort.

Check out the videos below and feel free to always reach out with any questions you have! Oh! And don't forget to join our private group, The Digital Marketing Hub, so you won't miss out on even more tips, tricks, and future challenges!

Day 1 - Keyword Research. The very first thing you must do when it comes to your digital marketing is keyword research. In this video we walk through the process of researching long tail keywords and how you can brainstorm them for your business to compete better in search.

Day 2 - Blogging Brainstorming. Creating content, or blogging, is one of the most effective marketing strategies for SEO, and for connecting and selling potential clients and customers. Check out Hub Digital's ideas for coming up with blog ideas so you never end up staring at a blank screen again.

Day 3 - Content Planning. By planning your content, you are much more likely to stick to your marketing plan. Learn some of our best strategies to planning your blogs, social media posts and website content.

Day 4 - Promoting Your Content. How can you promote your content for FREE? We all know social media works, but we have some lesser known ideas (have you heard of a blog carnival?) that will help you promote your content for FREE!

Day 5 - Pinterest Ads. We all know about Facebook ads, but have you explored Pinterest Ads yet? Get some of our best tips and tricks to promoting your business on Pinterest (even if you didn't think your business would traditionally work for Pinterest!)

Elizabeth Stone: Finding work life balance as an entrepreneur or small business owner
Hub Digital and Elizabeth Stone talk life as an entrepreneur or small business owner.
Elizabeth Stone talks about how to find work/live balance as an entrepreneur.

Elizabeth Stone is an entrepreneur and business woman passionate about making a positive impact by pointing her businesses towards social enterprising. She is a Rhode Island native with about ten years of experience working with small businesses and people to help them grow and flourish. She is deeply involved in the Rhode Island community and regularly volunteers her time to nonprofits around the region. This year she won the overall award for the Rhode Island Business Plan competition with BI Medical. She has also started BioSci Labs, an incubator, and coworking space. BioSci Labs helps to develop innovative technologies into commercially recognizable products ready to be brought to market. She has started Pepper's Closet, a social enterprise committed to spreading ocean literacy and cleanup effort through custom crafted apparel. Pepper's Closet donates 10 percent of all profits to conservation and cleanup efforts. 

As an entrepreneur and small business owner I understand just how hard it can be to find a reasonable work-life balance. Between meetings, actually doing work, networking, teaching classes and all the administrative tasks associated with running a business, how can there be time for our family and ourselves. 

First off, to be an entrepreneur, you need to love what you do because it certainly won't be easy. I really put my heart and soul into the projects that I start and if I weren’t passionate about them, I would get burned out really fast. Right now my main projects are BioSci Labs  and Pepper’s Closet. Bringing innovative products to market to improve healthcare and helping to improve the ocean - what’s not to love? As much as I do love my job, finding a work-life balance is paramount. I am a better and more creative worker and a more patient and supportive wife/momma when I can find the right balance. I am far from perfect but here are a few tips and tricks that have helped me balance business and pleasure.

Here are five things that help me:

  1. Time Management - Set attainable goals. In a world were productivity is so often defined as multitasking, sometimes you have to focus on a single task and complete one action item. I like to start out my day with a fast item that I can complete to get myself on a role. As much as I like to answer emails while on conference calls, sometimes its better to shut my phone off, minimize the emails, and get just one thing all the way done.
  2. Scheduling – This goes hand I hand with time management. My Google calendar is my BEST FRIEND! I schedule everything - work outs, play dates, dates with my husband, work meetings, swim lesson, music class, etc. Planning my week ahead allows me to find help on the days I need it whether it’s from my brother, husband, mom or friends. Owning my own business gives me the freedom and flexibility to take my daughter to swim and music class during the day, but in return I am usually working nights after she goes to bed. Like the old saying goes, 'owning your own business means you get to pick which 80 hours a week you work.' 
  3. Communication - Being honest with yourself and others about what you can and can’t do. Do not be afraid to say no or ask for help. It is far better to be honest and say no instead of making commitments you end up shirking… or handing in projects way past the deadline. This one is especially difficult for me because I am always trying to please everyone.
  4. Outsourcing & Delegating - I outsource and delegate as many tasks as I reasonably can, both at home and work. As a small business owner this is sometimes very hard to do. It is important to let go of complete control of doing it yourself and trust others with tasks. I use Sunbasket and Amazon in lieu of grocery store and Target runs (though somehow I still find myself wandering around target). I share household tasks with my husband and daughter. Lately, I’ve been thinking about strapping Swiffer pads to Pepper’s feet while she runs around the house! Go, Pepper, Go!
  5. Self care- There will always be more work to do. It is important to take time for yourself every day, even if its only 30 min a day. My outlet is exercise.  A walk during lunch (leave your phone off), yoga in the morning, a run after work. We all have 30 min a day we can dedicate to ourselves. 

No matter how hard I try and schedule and plan sometimes things don’t go the way I want (especially with a toddler), so my advice to myself and everyone else is LET IT GO and go with the flow.

If you’d like to learn more about our friend and mompreneur, check out some of her other guest blogs: 

The Mompreneur Guide to Globetrotting With a Toddler

The Mompreneur Guide to Eating Healthy on the Go

The Mompreneur Guide to End of Summer Fun and Getting Back to School Ready

6 TIPS TO OVERCOME ‘BLOGGER BLOCK’
6 tips to overcome blogging block from Hub Digital Marketing, Rhode Island.

One of the biggest mental blocks most business owner’s face when creating blog posts is…coming up with the topic ideas. You can stare at that blank document with your fingers resting on the keyboard for a good 30 minutes, squinting your eyes and wracking your brain trying to come up with something to put down that will impress the masses! It's easy to become discouraged or frustrated and push it off until tomorrow. Unfortunately, that "tomorrow" gets farther and farther away and before you know it, it's been 2 months since your last blog post.

Have no fear. Today we have a list of 5 best practices to help you stockpile a ton of ideas so you never have to stare down that plank page ever again.

1. Compile a list of FAQ's - There's a reason these are called "frequently asked questions”. If more than 1 person has asked you the same question in a meeting or at an event, it's likely a lot of other people want to know the answer as well. Think about questions you get asked daily in your job or at your business and jot them down to create an easy list of topics.  *If you are not the one ‘touching’ the customers/clients it’s also a great idea to include your salespeople and/or project managers in this list gathering activity!

2. Utilize your bookmarks folder - Like I mentioned last week, bookmarking relevant articles and websites is a very underutilized tool. Create a special bookmark folder called "Blog Ideas" and save anything that isn't timely to it. Bookmarking content ideas with a long shelf life will ensure that you'll always have something relevant to post when you need ideas.

3. Pull up your notes app - Despite the fact that we use our phones for everything else in life, for some reason we often forget to use it for storing information on the go. When you're out during the day, quickly pull up the notes app on your phone to jot down ideas or questions that come to mind. Even if you end up throwing some of them out you won't forget the stroke of genius you had in line at Dunkin Donuts. 

4. Sign up for industry newsletters - Find some newsletters related to your industry and sign up for them. Even if you don't read them everyday, you know you can always quickly pull them up for a list of relevant articles and content.  *Or, join groups on the social media platforms you’re active on – even if you don’t participate on a regular basis, these can be great resources as well!

5.  Stalk your competition - Google other businesses in your sphere and see what they're writing about. Look at content that people are responding to and see if you can expand upon it. Have another (better) way of doing something? Use that as a springboard for your next post. Notice a topic that isn't getting a lot of attention? Cross that off the list and don't waste your time.

6.  Or…Get a ‘Year’s Worth of Blogspiration’ – Download our completely FREE PDF to get an entire year’s worth of blog ideas so you'll never end up staring at a blank screen again.

In our free PDF you’ll: Get organized, save time and start putting out more original content designed to drive more website traffic, and convert that traffic into more sales.

  • A full year's worth of blogs ideas designed to drive more traffic to your website, engage more customers and get more sales! 
  •  A bank of blog ideas ready to go at a moment's notice (no more staring at a blank screen with writer's block.

Stop procrastinating and wasting time! Start creating more original content that converts.

Hub Digital's Favorite Marketing Tips
Hub Digital is an online and digital marketing consultant agency in Rhode Island.

We often get asked what is the one tip, or the most impactful thing, we like to tell clients. Today, the Hub Digital team has gone through our entire toolbox and picked out our favorite ones of the bunch. 

Tuni’s favorite marketing tip…

Self Awareness.  Who are you, what do you do and, most importantly, WHY do you do it?  What makes you or your business different and stand out from your competition?  What do you enjoy most about your business or work?  What seems to get the best response from your clients or customers?  Where do sales come from?  Follow the money…where do you generate the greatest margin and/or what part of your business generates the most revenue?  

So, just like me, this tip is simple and complex at the same time but I promise that the clearer you are on the answers to these questions the easier it will be to grow your business!  

Then, one of my other favorite tips (after you have the answers to these questions) is to share.  Share your expertise with your followers through blogging, email campaigns (permission based of course), social media posts, contributing to relevant groups, writing articles and so on.   Remember two things: people do business with people and businesses that they know, like and trust and building that brand trust is key.  I always say ‘help them help you’ and by physically networking, blogging, emailing your list and staying active on social media you will build a loyal engaged following that will convert to sales and grow your business.  Doing what you love (or at the very least enjoy) and really honing in on your unique value proposition(s) then sharing will help them help you…promise!  

Amy’s favorite marketing tip…

Want to do something? Chances are there's a tool for that! There are so many cool platforms and software companies out there that are helping to make marketing a little easier. Often times you may be trying to bootstrap your processes or are wasting time on outdated techniques. Do some research around what you need in your business to reach or connect with new clients or conduct your day-to-day business.  

Some of my favorites:

Satori - Do your clients/customers need to make appointments for meetings or calls with you? Link Satori with your Google Calendar and the times of the day you're available for them, for streamlined scheduling. Now, right through your website or a link you send them, they can see when you're available and pick the time that works for both of you! Their information is then saved right in Satori where you can automate reminder emails, send out surveys or paperwork prior to your meetings, or follow up with contracts they need to sign. 

Buffer - While we don't normally recommend scheduling your social posts through a 3rd party scheduler (stats have shown your organic reach actually decreases when you use them), sometimes it's a necessary evil. If your choice is between scheduling in advance or not posting at all - we definitely recommend choosing the former. Of all the scheduling tools we've found Buffer to be the easiest to use and it provides some of the better stats and feedback so you can evaluate what is working and what isn't. 

Zoom - We've discovered this recently at the recommendation of other industry leaders. Zoom is a super streamlined, easy to use video conferencing platform that you can use to not only schedule calls or have meetings with clients that aren't in your area, but you can use it to host webinars to large audiences. A really cool bonus? You can go live in Facebook right in Zoom so you can broadcast your webinars or talks to your audience on there with just one click. 

Mailchimp - Have you struggled with finding an email platform that works for you? Depending on your emailing needs, Mailchimp is FREE up to 2000 subscribers and offers clean templates and great stats so you can easily track open rates, click thrus and manage your lists. There are also amazing automated tools you can set up to save yourself time and a low monthly rate that won't break the bank. 

Ian Manning: How to Stay Healthy & Productive at Work

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. 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.

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 whilekeeping 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.

The "Emily Post" Guide to LinkedIn Etiquette
Learn how to optimize your LinkedIn profile for maximum networking.

Ok, so this is more the ‘Tuni Schartner’ guide to LinkedIn etiquette, and anyone that knows me is probably getting a chuckle right about now as I tend to tell it like it is and I’ve been known to be honest to a fault!  I’m not, necessarily, who you would think of in an Emily Post reference. But, when it comes to LinkedIn I think I have a pretty decent grasp on best practices around ‘how to behave appropriately’.   I’m, at my core, a relationship marketer – I enjoy meeting and getting to know people and I’m a natural connector and facilitator of putting together mutually beneficial relationships.

We should start with the very simple basic facts:

  1. LinkedIn is a platform designed for professionals to engage, it is not a ‘social’ site like Facebook or a dating site (more on that later!).
  2. Professionals are people.  When it comes to sharing your professional information on LI, remember that even the top CEOs (or whoever you’re trying to connect with) are people so information should be created and delivered in a way that the ‘people’ on the other end hopefully find interesting, become engaged and might even convert into clients/customers or great referral sources.
  3. LinkedIn is a GREAT way to connect with and build your audience! 

A great quote from the founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman:

"LinkedIn is a closed network, and for a very simple reason: For the network to have value as an introduction tool, the connections need to have meaning. It's up to you to vet each and every request so that if someone comes to you and says, 'Would you introduce me?' you're in a position to evaluate whether the connection would be of mutual benefit."

*Quote taken from the book, ‘Never Eat Alone’ by KeithFerrazzi. 

Hoffman’s quote really hits the nail on the head.  Why are you here?  LinkedIn can be a highly effective tool in your toolbox for creating connections then building trust with those connections that turn into mutually beneficial relationships.  

I often recommend to our clients, our Hive coworking members, and at workshops I lead on the topic of ‘Painless Networking Tips to Grow Your Business’ that when an authentic connection is made, say at a business networking event or through a warm introduction, etc…you then send a connection request on LinkedIn with a personalized note – as well as follow them on their other appropriate platforms ‘appropriate’ being the operative word here as their personal Facebook page wouldn’t make sense if this is strictly a professional connection.  In the case that a connection is made at a networking, business or even personal event and it appears that this might be a mutually beneficial connection, I recommend you follow up immediately with a personal email (or phone call or both) then go to LinkedIn and send that connection request and note.  If you find someone on LinkedIn that you’d like to be connected with – for different reasons such as, he/she is a colleague of a friend or client, someone you’ve met in the past through business or even an old schoolmate that you found on LinkedIn that makes sense (again in a professional and respectful way) to connect with , a new client (individual and team members),  and so on, use the same basic practice of sending a connection request with a personal note explaining why you’d like to connect.

Ok, now back to that reference to LinkedIn NOT being a dating site…don’t ever ask someone to ‘hang out’ or in any other way ‘hit on’ someone on this platform – it’s creepy folks, this is a professional platform.  Sorry, this literally just happened to me and as I was planning on writing this week’s Hub Digital blog on this topic…couldn’t resist and had to add this ‘what not to do’ tip!

Another what NOT to do tip, and this one is HUGE, don’t send someone a connection request and as soon as they accept it send them a super cheesy straight up sales pitch.  ‘I love it when people do this’ SAID NO ONE EVER!!!  

Overview: LinkedIn is a great resource and tool.  Use it to highlight your unique value proposition, differentiator, expertise and unique personality in a professional and respectful way that would make both Emily Post and I proud!  Grow your network, grow your business through solid relationships and the mutually beneficial sharing of information and connectivity!  

Is it Really Worth it?
Big SEO For Small Businesses online search engine optimization class.

So by now you've heard us talk up one side and down the other about "Big SEO For Small Businesses". We've talked about:

how it will save you time,

how it will save you money,

what's included in the class,

and how it's unlike any other SEO class or strategy you've ever seen before.


But one of the things we haven't really talked about is the true value of this class. Because we're sure you're wondering, is it really worth it?

The 15 lessons in this class go beyond just a "traditional" SEO strategy. They go beyond just fiddling with a few things on your website. And they go beyond what you ever thought was possible from organic search alone.

This class is designed to optimize all your marketing techniques for SEO so everything is working for you, all the time.

And on top of that, you're not only optimizing your content to show up in search, but we show you how to optimize your content to convert those leads into sales.

Let's put it another way.

If you were to hire us to manage all of this for you, you're looking at a price tag significantly higher than what you would pay by clicking the link below.

Purchase "Big SEO For Small Businesses" 

But despite the lower price tag, you won't be getting watered down information. This is the very same information we charge premium pricing for in our consulting practice. Included in this class is some of our very best tips on how to get your website to the first page in Google search, and we just can't wait to share it with you.

But, we suggest you click sooner rather than later because enrollment for this class closes tomorrow and you don't want to miss out!

Anthony Pensabene: 3 Ways to Create Killer Content
Today's guest blog comes from Anthony Pensabene, an SEO expert, who is breaking down how to create content that not only drives traffic to your website, but is content your audience actually cares about.

Today's guest blog comes from Anthony Pensabene, an SEO expert, who is breaking down how to create content that not only drives traffic to your website, but is content your audience actually cares about.

You’ve heard content is important. 

But what’s next? What’s your next piece of content going to be about? 

Many small businesses choose topics related to services or products. Alternatively, some choose topics based on current events or the interests of staff. 

All of those are fine, yet these businesses wonder why that content is not driving traffic or kindling interest after initial publish.

Below, you’ll learn three ways to create content that:

  • Your target market cares about
  • Drives traffic to your site

Answer Questions

Many businesses seek SEO services to rank better for competitive terms related to services and products. However, query-related content is a great way to drive traffic and the interest of people who are in the sales funnel. 

So rather than attempt to rank for a product or service term, you want a piece of content to rank well in addressing a customer’s question or concern.

Let’s use a sneaker supplier as an example. It’s very likely generic words like ‘sneakers’ or ‘womens sneakers’ will be too competitive. Similarly, any brand name such as ‘Nike’ or ‘Vans’ will be super competitive. 

What’s a small businessperson to do? Answer questions that customers have related to the product or service.

  1. Start toying with Google’s autosuggest function. 

Place words how to, when, and what before a term.

There’s no limit to what you can find. Below, I’m going through the alphabet, putting ‘b’ next to ‘how to’:

2. AnswerthePublic is a cool content tool that gives a grand idea of the kind of information people want to know around any topic. 

Let’s use the topic of car insurance. We put ‘car insurance’ in the tool, choose US for country origin, and we’re provided with 157 questions.

At this point, you may wonder which topics to choose. To further target content, consider the search volume and competition level.

Copy and paste queries into Google’s Keyword Planner to get monthly search volume and a better idea of how difficult it will be to rank for the term.

Get Peripheral

3. Let’s use Google Analytics to learn more about our site visitors’ interests.

In Analytics, go to Audience → Interests → Affinity Categories

Basically, Google segments site visitors by their overall search behavior. It’s a nice way to generate peripheral topic ideas. 

So let’s say we have a clothing business and identify Home Decor Enthusiast as an affinity category. Our customers shop for clothes, but according to Google data, they also visit home interior sites, buy home goods, etc.

You can get creative in combining your service or product with identified affinity categories. Or, you could use a content ideation tool like Hubspot’s.

Here are some ideas:

Boom! Now, you have three new ways to generate topics and a bunch of new tools to try!

Anthony Pensabene has been working in digital marketing since 2007. He helps his boss, Dan Shure, with the Experts on the Wire podcast.

Budgeting for Advertising - How Much Should You Spend?
How much you should budget to spend on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and GoogleAdwaords.

Whenever we bring up the topic of digital advertising we always get the same question, over and over again. How much does it cost? This is a tough one to answer. Knowing how much to spend on your digital advertising is really dependent upon your business, time of year, and frankly, what you have to spend. The great thing about digital? Even the smallest budgets can succeed online, which is especially helpful for small businesses that are priced out of the more traditional options, like newspaper and TV.  We've pulled together some basic guidelines on what you should be prepared to spend if you really want to start seeing your online ads make a difference for you. Again, remember these are just general guidelines and should be adjusted to fit what you find works best for your individual business (testing is always important).

Facebook
The big kahuna. The main one. The platform everyone wants to be on. With an estimated 33.76 BILLION (that's right, billion with a "B") expected to be spent on Facebook ads in 2017, both local and national advertisers alike know that this is the place to be. However, with so many options available it can be hard to know exactly what you should be spending on each of the different types of campaigns.

  • Like Campaigns - While guaranteed to get you likes, it can be a little hard to know if the people liking your page are truly interested in your business. Keep these budgets small, starting around $50 for a 3 or 4 day run. See how they perform and go through the list of who liked your page to see if any seem "off" or "spammy". Then wait a few weeks to see if engagement has gone up or these new likes are paying off.

Total Spent Per Campaign: $50, Expected Cost Per Like: $1

  • Boosted Post - Again, jury is out on whether these are effective or not so keep the boosted posts to only those things that are truly important. Limited your boosting to your own fan base can be beneficial to ensure you reach all the fans that you just can't get to relying on organic reach alone. Save targeting people outside of that existing fan base (those that already like your page) for a more traditional FB advertisment.

Total Spent Per Boosted Post: $10-$30

  • Advertisement - For more traditional advertisements (whether they be static image or video ads) start small here and gradually increase your budget over the course of a few days. Studies show that throwing large amounts of money at your ad off the bat actually ends up costing you MORE per lead in the long run. Another benefit of this strategy is that you can test different ads and target groups slowly with less money and then increase spend on those that you find are working for you. Plan on hitting a target of at least $30 to $40 per day (this can go up to hundreds of dollars per day if your budget allows) and being about to sustain that for a minimum of 5-7 days to really see ad impacts.

Total Spent Per Campaign: Start at about $10-$20 per day, Slowly increase in $5 or $10 increments daily depending on overall budget and time of campaign. 
Expected Cost Per Lead: $3-$5

Instagram
Another Facebook owned platform, Instagram is quickly being indoctrinated into the FB advertising fold. While they haven't touched algorithms around what's appearing in Instagram newsfeeds (yet), it's getting harder and harder to reach new users and followers without the use of ads. If you're adding Instagram ads on to Facebook ads (which you can do right through the Facebook Ads Manager), plan on following a similar budget and strategy as your Facebook ads.

Total Spent Per Campaign: Start at about $10-$20 per day, Slowly increase in $5 or $10 increments daily depending on overall budget and time of campaign.
Expected Cost Per Lead: $3-$5

Pinterest
Ahh Pinterest! The underappreciated and underutilized advertising platform, for small businesses especially. With the common misconception that Pinterest advertising is way too expensive and out of reach, not enough small business are jumping on this bandwagon. But we're here to tell you, it's WAY more affordable than you think! There hasn't been any evidence of needing to "start small" in Pinterest like you do in Facebook, but if it's your first time running ads on the platform it's always better to try testing with a smaller budget first to see if it's something that works for you. Plan on about $20-$30 per day (but feel free to go up from there) and about $100 - $500 per campaign. 

Total Spent Per Campaign: $100 - $500, Expected Cost Per Click: $.25-$1

Google Adwords
Once the king of all online advertising, competition is fierce. Google is THE search engine with the majority of searches done within it, it's no wonder advertisers are clamoring to get their brand in on it. However, with this one we like to say, “buyer beware!". While it can be effective, it's taking increasingly more and more money to outbid competition. In addition, users are getting very savvy to knowing what are "ads" and what is real, organic content. Latest studies show that about 60-70% of people searching tend to skip past the ads altogether and jump right to organic search. Good news? 30-40% of people are still clicking so there is still value in the platform, just be prepared to expand your budget.

Total Spent Per Campaign: $500 - $5,000, Expected Cost Per Click: $2-$15+

The Black & White Reality of Technology’s Place In Your Business’ Growth Strategy
Learn more about why digital marketing is so important for a small business in Rhode Islsand.

We live in a digital environment and what grew businesses in the past is no longer going to work moving forward.  Technology is a part of our everyday lives and social media is really just a slang term for how the majority of people communicate and consume information today.  There was a real shift in digital marketing in 2016, and as we’ve moved into 2017 there are some major realities that everyone needs to be mindful of, such as the importance of authenticity and transparency in creating organic content, as well as the critical nature of how and where you deliver that content.  Organic vs. paid reach is where the action is (which we’re super excited about) and the ability to remain open and agile will be the difference between success or failure when it comes to a company’s digital marketing strategy. 

Life, and business, shifts over time and change can be a good thing.  Stop and think about the changes that people, and businesses, experienced when the printing press was created.  How about radio and television?  Do you remember just a few decades ago when so many business owners thought websites, and the internet in general, was a fad?  Or, think about those business owners that understood the value of email marketing early on and had great success with that.  There were crazy open rates back then upwards of 90% compared to today’s average of 15-28% (depending on industry).  We’re just trying to illustrate that there are so many small to mid sized business owners out there that are still pushing against essential elements of marketing and growth strategies!

There’s more competition for attention now than there ever has been, and if a company out there wants to be heard by their identified target audience then they’ve got to figure out where that audience is putting their attention.  And, they need to also understand that when their audience is on these different platforms the messaging needs to be crafted specifically for them in that space.  It sounds like a lot and we’re not going to sugar coat it, it kind of is, but with the right strategy in place it can all be streamlined, efficient and even fun.  Understanding how to utilize technology to grow your business is paramount.  Creating great content then being able to distribute it in a way that your audience will want to consume it is the key that unlocks the door to engagement and reach. 

Ready to ditch the fear of the unknown and take the reins? Here are some things to keep in mind:

Self Awareness is key

Companies first need to really focus in on who they are, what they do and why they do it, then they need to create content that tells that story.  

Identify Your Audience

They need to clearly identify and understand who their target audience and where their attention is and/or how they’re consuming information.  

Remain Open and Agile

The work is not over yet, as this digital landscape is changing constantly and businesses must continue to experiment with where their audience’s interest and engagement is!  

Quality Content Matters

Today’s consumers are savvy digital hunters and they’re discovering businesses for the first time through Google searches or social media.  Smart marketers know that they have to focus on creating authentic quality content and customized messaging for the social platforms that have been identified as making the most sense for that specific business. Organic reach vs. paid reach is super important in this saturated marketplace and by understanding how to identify (and use properly) key words, key phrases and all the other important components of creating quality content is HUGE.  

Sell The Way Customers Want To Buy

That quality content then needs to be served up properly onto the different platforms, from a blog post on a website (a website that is set up properly as this is the foundation of a solid digital marketing strategy), to a carefully crafted video posted on YouTube, to the images posted on Instagram and so on let the amazing technology work efficiently and effectively to grow your business!  This is the tip of the iceberg and just a brief overview of how businesses need to embrace all the fantastic technology driven world that we are now living in and create digital marketing strategies that will help rank them higher and be seen by the people that want to buy whatever service or product they’re selling.