Posts tagged marketing
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.

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.

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 Survive the Holiday Season as a Business Owner

If you can believe it, the holiday season is pretty much upon us. Before you know it, you'll be trying to balance your normal workload with holiday parties, present shopping, wrapping, and family in town.

And while it's so tempting to just take a break from all the social posting, and blogging and marketing work (I mean... let's be honest.. you're audience is busy too), where does that leave you in the New Year?

After working so hard all year, taking a break for the next few months leave you scrambling to bring you audience back up in 2019. So, how can we stay productive and focused, yet still manage to make time for all those fun holiday activities?

Check out the October inside The Hub for these answers and more. It's chock full of:

✔️content ideas centered around the season,
✔️inspiration to keep you focused,
✔️and a rock solid plan so you can stay connected and engaged with your audience throughout "the most wonderful time of the year".

All of this is inside The Digital Marketing Hub just waiting for you! If you're not a member of The Hub now's your chance to get 40% off your membership. Just click this link to get instant access to this, and all our previous trainings at an insane sale price! But hurry - this price expires on Tuesday!

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.

Video 1 of 8: Genius Content Marketing Hacks and Blog Ideas

The hardest part about creating new content and blogs is actually coming up with an idea of what to write about.

Picture it: You’ve set aside some time to write your blog. This week you’re going to actually do it! You open up your lap top, click on Microsoft Office, and that white screen pops up. Now that little curser is sitting there blinking at you, waiting for your brilliant words to come spilling out.

And… nothing is coming out. Now you’re staring at that blank screen with that blinking, mocking cursor. You’re feeling more and more anxious, but nothing is coming to mind. You scan through the inner recesses of your mind but you just can’t think of single, solitary idea. Finally, you slam your computer shut and decide you’ll try again next week.

Ok, maybe that is slightly dramatic, but it’s pretty close… #amiright?

Well, you don’t have to stress any more. For the next 8 weeks I’m brining you some genius (if I do say so myself) hacks to easily brainstorming content ideas. They’re easy, insightful and guaranteed to get your creative juices flowing.

How to Ensure Your Blogs Actually Get Written

Ok guys, I'm bringing you some tough love today!

Ok, maybe it's not that tough, but it is something that you may not want to hear. It's all about content marketing (aka blogging). Now, before you start going off on how "blog" is a 4 letter word, listen up.

I get it - blogging is tough.... especially when you don't enjoy writing. But we all know how important content marketing is (and if you don't... then just go back and look at some of my previous videos/posts)

So, today I'm bringing you one of my favorite, easiest tips to help make staying productive easier, and help alleviate that "blank page" anxiety.

Oh, and I've even got a super cool blog brainstorming template for you to download and fill out so you can streamline your ideas so you always have something to write about.

Download my Blog Idea Planner

Want even more tips, tricks and advice? Get curated Masterclasses and Expert Trainings delivered to you each month inside The Digital Marketing Hub!

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!

Do You IGTV?

In case you haven't heard, last week Instagram announced it's brand new app, IGTV (short for Instagram Television). What is it? It's a stand alone app (yes you have to download it from the App Store.) that allows users to create long form videos that can range anywhere from 15 seconds to 1 hour. 

That's right! You're not limited to the 15 second snippets inside Instagram Stories, or the 60 seconds on your feed any more! It allows creators to make vertical form videos (think no more having to rotate your phone sideways to watch videos) that tell longer stories, showcase their talents or business, and save those memories to their channel for people to continue going back to (long after your Instagram Story has expired). 

So, how can a business, like yours, utilize IGTV? Let's talk about what you can use it for.

1. Welcome/About Videos - Need some more space to talk about you and your business? In IGTV you can create long form videos that showcase your products/services, walk a potential client or customer through what they can expect if they work with you, or give a full view of what a day in the life is like for your business.

2. Training Videos - Facebook (and particularly Facebook Live) has been notorious for capturing the "training" video market. Now, educators have another platform to give step-by-steps, offer tips and tricks, and give insider advice.

3. Dive deeper into products - Create showcases around physical products and really get a chance to showcase all the in's and out's. Walk potential customers through membership sites or courses, giving them an inside view of what they're about to purchase.

I know it can be daunting to take on ANOTHER social media platform, but look at this one as an extension of what you're already doing. Video, and digital TV, is the way people are continuing to consume more and more information, and jumping on this trend early can put you ahead of the crowd.

Are you ready for all this?

Oooohhh I'm SUPER excited about some of the AMAZING content I just launched for June!

What's got me so pumped? Let me break it down for you...

The June Masterclass is all about the #1 way to reach your target market.

With all this  noise around GDPR, it has people wondering. Is email marketing even worth it? Spoiler alert: YES! Check out the latest Masterclass to learn my best practices, favorite email platforms (some are FREE), and best ways to grow your email list with engaged followers

This Month's "Ask Hubble" Podcast is all about some social media hacks.

Hacks you say? That's right, I've got a guest on with me and we're diving into how you can still get around the new Facebook algorithm to get some real organic views (YUP! It's still possible!), AND talk about how you can use Google+ to get some real website traffic.

Oh, and our Guest Expert Training is giving you the exact steps she used to go from $0 to $10K months in less than half a year.

Oh yeah... We've got online growth expert Melodi Maxton spilling some MAJOR secrets on how she organically grew her business WITHOUT a following, social media presence or website. Interested to find out how she did it?  

All of this content (PLUS one more Guest Expert training on how you can make passive revenue WITHOUT creating your own online course or product)  is brand new this month inside The Digital Marketing Hub!

So head on over and get instant access to all of this PLUS some amazing past trainings inside The Hub!

How To Sell Without Being "Salesy"

There's something crazy I've learned in all my years of working with Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs. And that's that many of them, are afraid to "sell" their products or services. Here's the deal - you are the #1 sales person for your business. You are the prime champion and advocate for how amazing your products or services are. Don't be afraid to share them with the world!

In this video I dive into:

  1. How you can connect with your customers/clients in an authentic way so they won't mind when you do mention how they can take the next steps in your business.
  2. Why it's SO important to always have an "ask" with every piece of value you offer.
  3. When and how long you should run promotions for to your email lists so they don't get overwhelemed.

Oh! And here's a bonus 4th tip for you that I completely forgot to mention in this video, but one lovely Facebook commenter reminded me off (sometimes I get a little nervous with video, I'm working on it!).

4. Always bring products or services to the table in a way that helps you potential customer or client. Talk about the benefits and how it can solve a problem they have, or fill a need they may have. If you truly believe in what you have to offer and how it can help your customers, than this should be the easiest step for you!

Looking for even more digital marketing tips and tricks? Join our exclusive membership program, The Digital Marketing Hub! 

UPDATE - The 7 Deadly Sins of Marketing

Since it is #ThrowbackThursday, we're bringing back one of our VERY first blogs we every wrote here at Hub Digital. Back in April of 2014, we wrote about the "7 Deadly Sins of Marketing" and gave some very pointed advice on what you shouldn't be doing when it comes to marketing. Since that way basically a lifetime ago in the digital marketing world, we decided to bring it back today and see if these "7 Deadly Sins" still hold true in today's environment.

2014 advice - 1. Setting your expectations too high - Many businesses and products fail before they even get started. You can't win a marathon by taking one step; it takes leaps and bounds to cross the finish line. Don't expect one ad or post to complete the job. Digital marketing takes creativity, dedication, and patience to build a following.

2018 edit - This one still absolutely holds true today! One of the things we work with our clients on is a reasonable timeline and expectations on how their business can grow online. We've all heard those stories about businesses that went from 0 to 6 figures in 1 month. And while that's great for them, it's important to recognize that these are the exception, not the rule. Marketing yourself online DOES work, but it does take time to see significant results.

2014 advice - 2. Being uninformed about your audience - Know your target audience, tone and message. The best message can be wasted on the wrong audience.  Determine what they will and will not respond to. Throwing darts at a wall may make them stick, but you'll never get the bullseye you're looking for that way!

2018 edit - Were we genius or what!? But in all seriousness, I don't think anyone can argue that it makes sense to just market to everybody all at once. Not only is it cost prohibitive, but it can make it seem like your business doesn't have a good handle on things, and can be a turn off to potential customers.

2014  advice - 3. Trying to use every available outlet for recognition - Though you may have a million ideas running around, sometimes focusing on a few is the key. Out of the large number of possibilities, choose a few that coordinate the best with your product or business. Posts that need more context could be shared on Facebook, for example, rather than Twitter, which has a character limit of 140.

2018 edit - This one is still absolutely true, but I think for different reasons. While restrictions in each outlet have loosened, it's still important to let yourself off the hook when it comes to posting on every outlet, all the time. Think about which ones your customers use the most (hence how point #2 is so important!) and what you enjoy doing. Combine the 2 to create a social strategy that works for you.

2014 advice - 4. Inconsistent timeline of posting - In an age of instant gratification, the audience no longer wants to wait. Posting consistently with updates reminds the audience so they don't forget about you. DO NOT give them a chance to become impatient. This is where choosing a few valuable outlets (#3) comes in handy. Pick ones that you know you can easily update on a consistent basis. 

2018 edit - This is still partially true. You must stay consistent with your social postings, blogging and email blasts, but there really isn't a a set time or day that's better for posting. With mobile becoming the medium of choice to access online, we are able to view content throughout the day, whenever we wish. This means that you can loosen the reins and vary posting times, and still see good reach from them.

2014 advice - 5. Overwhelming your audience - On the flip side, don't suffocate the audience with updates. Posting too much or sending too many emails can feel like spam which leads most to block or ignore future information. Everybody has that one friend that talks your ear off over lunch, and no one likes them. Finding the happy median between lack of posts and constant information is paramount for successful digital marketing. People will also enjoy two thorough and entertaining posts rather than five poor attempts. Rely on quality over quantity.

2018 edit - Hmmmmm.... Maybe? For a while social media sites, like Facebook, were all about quantity. The more you posted, the more you were seen. But now, with the recent algorithm changes, we're headed back into the world of quality over quantity. Facebook is pushing for well thought out, engaging content from businesses, not just random musings. We'll see this continue to evolve as these changes play out over the next few months.

2014 advice - 6. Neglecting mobile users - Many users access social media and sites on their phones, iPad, or tablet. Everyone is on-the-go and wants their entertainment/information to follow suit. Don't starve certain sections of your audience. Make navigating your business convenient with a mobile site that caters to mobile users' needs. 

Quick Tip: Also eliminate unnecessary images and videos to minimize loading times.

2018 edit - This has never been more wrong or more right! First of all, mobile is EVERYTHING now. Almost all your websites, content and efforts online should be focused towards mobile. Mobile searches, social media views and website traffic has officially surpassed desktop. Not optimizing your stuff for mobile is probably the #1 mistake a business can make. So, what's so wrong about this piece of advice? The elimination of images/video! Video has never been more important than it is right now. By not utilizing images and video on your website or in your marketing strategy, you're not only going to take a HUGE hit on SEO, but you're going to alienate a giant portion of your audience that will only watch video content over ready blog content.

2014 advice - 7. Biting off more than you can chew - After all of the other advice, sometimes you just need help. Recognizing that you cannot handle everything is important and there are people ready to assist at a moment's notice. Don't be hesitant to ask for help.

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2018 edit - DUH! That's what we're here for! ;)

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.

The Tools I Love That Make Marketing Easier

Today is Valentine's Day and we're talking LOVE here at Hub Digital! And by LOVE I mean some of the marketing programs and tools that we heart and use everyday. Check out the video below to learn more about them and why I recommend them, and then follow the links below to check them out for yourself!

The tools mentions in this post:

Canva - Graphic design program filled with templates to design everything from documents, to social posts, to banner ads. Can even create animated graphics for more exposure and engagement on social media.

Buffer - If you need help scheduling and managing your social media posts, we recommend Buffer as the easier to use, less expensive option.

ActiveCampaign - The email marketing platform for those with large lists and who need more integrated automated sequences and to move contacts through different sales funnels.

Mailchimp - For many businesses, Mailchimp covers more than enough of the emailing needs of a small business. PLUS it FREE up to 2000 subscribers AND automatic sequences are included!

Zoom - If you have video conferencing or Webinar needs, Zoom can cover both and is less expensive and more reliable than it's competition.

Drift - Have LIVE conversations with website visitors or encourage them to schedule appointments with you during your off hours. Engage your customers when they are thinking about you and your business.

Keeping Your Marketing Running While Squeezing Out Every Last Drop of Summer
Digital and online marketing tips from Hub Digital, Rhode Island.

Here in New England it took a while for summer to arrive. The cold and the rain hung around for a while, so we’ve spent every sunny day of August soaking up what we could. If you’re anything like us, you’re probably spending the last few weeks of summer trying to squeeze in as many final beach trips, ice cream sundaes, frozen margaritas, and lazy mornings with the kids as possible. 

While we all like to hit the pause button and head out on vacation these last few weeks before school starts, we also all understand that not all of our business can wait for the cooler weather.  Sometimes we’re off having a little too much of a good time, only to return in September to a backlog of emails, a giant To-Do list, and a book of business that could use a little kick in the pants to get going again. And to us, most importantly, a marketing plan that was pretty much ignored all summer long.

So this week, we’ve compiled a few simple tips to help you stay on top and keep your book of business organized and your marketing strategy optimized. Taking some time before heading out on the boat (lucky you!), or off to the zoo for the day, will ensure that your business is still working for you and ready for you to return after soaking up some rays.

1. Take a day to dive a little deeper and evaluate your current direction and growth strategy. While you don’t have to tackle everything on here (yet), it helps just to ask yourself some of these questions. Knowing where you stand will help you begin to formulate a plan, so when you return rested, and tanned, from your vacation you’re ready to address any issues, or dive right into any new projects or plans.

  1. What is working well?
  2. What needs to be tweaked? 
  3. What do your numbers look like up to now?
  4. Have you hit your growth goals?
  5. Where are new clients/business coming from?
  6. Are your current clients/book of business your ideal?
  7. Are you investing enough here, or too much there? 

2. Pick one day a week to schedule out all your content. If you’re usually someone who waits until the ‘day of’ to write that blog or Facebook post (and there’s nothing wrong with that… usually…) try switching it up during this time of year. Getting a few days ahead of the curve will help you ensure new content is constantly being updated in your absence and you won’t feel resentful about having to hit your computer to write a blog (or even worse, forget it all together) while everyone else is out having fun.

3. Commit to (limited) customer service 2x per day. We all know connecting with your potential clients or customers is important and so is answering their questions or getting them to engage on your social platforms. Commit 30 minutes, twice per day, to answering emails, liking/commenting on social posts, joining groups, etc. Do what you can, but make sure when that 30 minutes is up you shut your computer (or crash your Facebook app) and get back to enjoying your vacation!

4. Plan something big for the fall, and give yourself deadlines. There’s nothing worse than seeing time slip by and feeling like you could have done so much more. The fall and 4th quarter is a huge time for many businesses, and we don’t want you to feel like it passed you by. Commit to tackling a new project, marketing strategy, or big launch in the fall and put all the dates in the calendar NOW. 

Always wanted to run a lead generation campaign to really boost your email list? Give yourself deadlines for when you will have your lead magnet ready, your automated email sequence up and running and your Facebook ads live. 

Thinking about doing a big pre-holiday, in-store sale? Mark the dates off on your calendar now and work backwards to plan when your email campaign will start, your creative will be designed and ads will go live. By putting these dates in your calendar, you’ll be able to enjoy your time off while still feeling excited about the months to come. Plus it will give you target dates for when the party must stop (or at least calm down a little) and the productivity must start. 

So, whether you’re taking some well deserved time for R & R or whether you’re still hustling (or hopefully a combination of both), we hope some of these tips might help you get the most out of these dog days of summer, without leaving your business, or your marketing plan, high and dry.

Gary Kullberg: What to Look For in a Marketing Consultant
Online and digital marketing consultants rhode island, Hub Digital

Sometimes, at Hub Digital we like to connect with other marketing professionals to get their take on how they help small businesses grow. We believe that by sharing our ideas and strategies we can all help businesses better. Today, we've brought in Gary Kullberg of The Kullberg Consulting Group who breaks down why hiring a marketing consultant is important, and what you should be looking for in one.

If you’re an early stage or established small company seeking to profitably grow, you’re probably wondering whether you need a marketing consultant, much less how to select one.  Relax, you’re not alone!

Having spent many years working with small B2B, B2C, and nonprofit organizations on their marketing and marketing communications strategies and plans, I believe I’ve got a good sense of the issues facing them. Generally, at the top of the list, is the lack of a real marketing plan.  I’ve found that, despite possessing the skill sets that drive their organization’s success, founders and/or management simply do not have:

  • Time to think about marketing at all, because there is always something “more important” or urgent that needs their attention;
  • A real understanding of the power of marketing and how it can significantly improve profits and return on investment (ROI);
  • The resources, budgets and people available – marketing and marketing communications is “unfamiliar and scary,” and there are always other areas that need support first;
  • The knowledge of how to seek out and evaluate professional marketing help.

Yet, without real professional marketing planning, many brands are operating with a “Ready, Fire, Aim” reaction to the marketplace.   

So, what can a marketing or marketing communications professional do for you? In order to accomplish short and long-term objectives, you need to develop a meaningful marketing strategy and an integrated marketing communications plan and tactics. At its core, having a professional marketing program will improve your profitability and ROI. This task is often outsourced, frequently with a part-time Chief Marketing Officer.

The process starts with the outside consultant learning about your brand – its strengths and weaknesses, competition, distribution, business plan objectives, existing communication materials, employee involvement.  During this learning period, the consultant also avails himself of any pertinent primary or secondary research.  Most important, this period is also the time for establishing trust between the organization and the consultant.  You both must trust one another.

While some tasks may be completed directly during this learning period, an outside professional would use this knowledge to prepare:

  1. A marketing and marketing communications strategy, along with a positioning statement.  The positioning statement is a succinct description of the core target audience to whom the brand is directed, and a compelling picture of how the marketer wants the audience to view the brand.

Sound simple?  Take a minute and try to answer these four questions about your brand:

  • The target audience, in very specific detail
  • The category in which the brand competes, and its relevance to customers
  • The brand’s benefit and point of difference
  • A reason for the customer to believe – the most compelling proof

The positioning statement should be the credo for your brand to live by.  All marketing and marketing communications should flow from this positioning and be understood by all employees, agents, partners and management.

  1. An integrated and holistic plan with tactical expressions – media programs; creative executions, including new and/or traditional advertising; public relations; content marketing (social media, articles, blogs, white papers, video); packaging; point of purchase; employee engagement; and, events. The use of internal or external staff to create the above will be directed and evaluated by the consultant or, if necessary, specialists may be recommended to create various aspects of the plan.
  2. Recommendations for primary or secondary research when clear cut answers don’t exist on specific subjects.  Marketing depends on a complete understanding of the customers’ “wants and needs” as well as how they relate to your brand and competition.  Not just what your staff thinks; rather, information.  Facts beat opinion every time.  Look before you leap.
  3. A procedure of measurement and evaluation of the objectives of the agreed upon plan, as well as the established objectives to be accomplished with each target audience and marketing communication task.  Benchmarking and on-going analysis is key to successful marketing programs, allowing for change or refinement as you continue to improve operating efficiency.
  4. A format for informing and discussing the reasoning behind the marketing planning, so that everyone in the organization understands why the specific strategies, plans and tactics were developed and implemented.  The consultant should be a “teacher” to you and the entire organization becomes brand advocates.

If this makes sense to you, the next logical question is what talents should a marketing consultant have?  I believe you should look for a consultant, full or part-time, who is:

  1. Willing to learn your business from the ground up and doesn’t have a “one size fits all” mentality;
  2. An established professional, with extensive experience across industries and brands in B2B, B2C and nonprofit organizations, large and small.  Expand your horizons and don’t settle for experience in only your niche or industry;
  3. Media neutral and willing to embrace analytics to develop a variety of programs as well as to measure them.  In today’s complicated marketplace, a consultant must understand new and traditional media, the difference between efficiency and effectiveness, “likes” vs. “sales”, the dangers of digital ad fraud, etc., etc.;
  4. Apolitical and willing to tell it like it is, so candor will flourish in your relationship.  Having your consultant free to demonstrate the discipline of marketing and marketing communications will build trust and a meaningful partnership;
  5. Has an established network of marketing communications specialists who can be called in to provide solutions when necessary.

The marketing and marketing communications strategic and tactical challenges of today are growing exponentially.  But, as with our uncertain economic and political environment, putting your head in the sand isn’t a viable response.  As Will Rogers said, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” 

Gary Kullberg founded The Kullberg Consulting Group in 1994 to provide companies and nonprofits with impactful and cost-efficient methods for improving their marketing and marketing communications.  I enjoy analyzing and developing strategies, tactics, executions and measurements for small and midsized organizations.  My experience working with a variety of organizations in the B2B, B2C and nonprofit arenas has given me a deep understanding of branding and marketing ROI. Further, knowing when and how to employ traditional and new media is an outgrowth of my passion for being media neutral. I can be reached at Gary@KullbergConsultingGroup.com.

Our Favorite Business Beach Reads (That Aren't Lame)

A couple times per year we get an inkling for a good book. Especially when the warm weather rolls around, we start looking for something to give us a break from the day to day drudge. Something to inspire us. And something that makes us want to push a little bit harder, or work just a little bit more. But, also, not too lame and "self helpy", as nothing is sure to turn us off faster than "Chicken Soup for the Business Owner's Soul"...

As the summer weather is around the corner, today we’re bringing you some of our favorite business beach reads. Because while we all love to zone out with a trashy magazine, sometimes even down time has to be productive. And as a small business owner or entrepreneur, you know that just because the weather warms up, that doesn't mean your free time magically expands (does this mean we don't get summer Fridays?!). But while they may still be business focused, we may have forgotten to mention, that everything on this list will not only inspire you, but entertain you as well. No guilty "down time" here!

So whether you’ve grabbed a day by the beach, or have a couple of minutes before hopping into bed, check out our list of our current favorite reads, sure to get you excited to work the summer away. Ok, maybe “excited” was a little too much…

1. "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living the Good Life" by Mark Manson. Inspired by a blog post that went viral, this read is not for those easily offended by the f-word. If you’re like us, and this word is a part of your daily vocabulary, then we urge you to dive head first into it. Hysterically funny, while offering up some sage advice, this book isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. Despite the dismissive title, the focus of the book centers around the idea of learning what is really worth focusing on (and what isn’t worth giving a f*ck about). By letting go of things that aren’t worth your time and energy (like adversity, people who suck your energy, or what other people think about you) you open up the space to actually be productive and happy. Oh, and keep an eye out for everybody’s least favorite superhero, Disappointment Panda, who tells you the cold hard truths about yourself, whether or not you want to hear it.

Oh, and bonus with this one? Subscribe to Mark's blog for monthly inspiration told in his own, unique style.

2. "Get Over Your Damn Self: The No-BS Blueprint to Building a Life-Changing Business" by Romi Neustadt. Are you catching a theme here? Romi, like our previous author, uses humor and a no-BS style to bring you a full start to finish blueprint to rocking your business. While you don't have to be a network marketer to enjoy the tips, it does focus mainly to how to build a team and push your way to the top (without feeling sorry about it). If you're ready to stop making excuses and start moving forward in your business, Romi gives you a literal step-by-step guide on what changes you need make, and how you can make them. If you have any fears or anxiety keeping you from moving forward in your business, this book is sure to kick them in and give you the pep talk you need to "get over your damn self".

3. "#GIRLBOSS" by Sophia Amoruso.  #GIRLBOSS is written by one of our most favorite "girl bosses", Sophia Amoruso, who is the former Founder and CEO for "Nasty Gal", a $100+ Million dollar fashion retailer. By telling her own journey from dumpster diver to corporate butt kicker, this book is less "self help" and more subtle inspiration. Sometimes hearing about someone else's windy and long journey to the top is just what we need to refocus our own perspective on what amazing things we've accomplished already. While Sophis isn't your traditional "superhero", she offers a fresh perspective on succeeding, failing, and continuing to pick yourself up again until you've reached where you want to be.

Making The Most of Your "Downtime"

We've all had those days. In fact, we're having one of those days today. There's about 12 inches of snow making it's way down all day, client meetings are cancelled, and we're pretty much caught up on work. It's a wonderful feeling to have things crossed off your To-Do List. Wonderful that is, until the guilt starts creeping in. If you're anything like us, you don't do "downtime" well. While you may be dreaming of cuddling under a blanket and mindlessly binging on Netflix, when it comes to actually doing it, you find it hard to shut your working brain off. And now it's a snowy Tuesday, and while you probably deserve a day off, you're finding it hard to get past that "I should be doing something" feeling.

Well, we're here to tell you it's ok. It's ok to take a little downtime every once and while, and it's also ok to want to make the most of it. We've got a list here for you of some of our favorite ways to take it easy, all while keeping your brain churning and your business growing.

1. Review relevant publications. Take some time to review the newest trends that are happening in your business, or better yet how to market your business. You may learn a new way to advertise, how to better optimize your current outlets, how markets are shifting, or how other businesses, like yours, are succeeding. Some of our favorites (for our industry of course)? SmartBrief - An awesome collection of business, marketing and advertising news focusing on newest and upcoming trends. Advertising Age - Check out what some of the largest companies and agencies are doing and brainstorm about how you can use similar strategies in your own business. Business Insider - After checking out a few of the entertaining op ed's, we head on over to the Advertising and Media sections to get some of the insider information on what's happening in the industry.

2. Get your learn on. Have you jumped onto the online class trend yet? If not, you're missing out on one of the best ways to learn some best practices, new marketing techniques, insider secrets and ways to inspire growth. Learn from some of the best in their business and learn the same tips and tricks they've used to grow their businesses to become major players in the market. Amy Porterfield - A former business consultant, she's completely transitioned her business into online training ranging from webinars to social media marketing. Melanie Duncan - The Pinterest queen, Melanie Duncan teaches you how to kick butt in one of the fastest revenue driving platforms on the market. Marie Forleo - The founder of B-School, Marie Forleo can help you get past any negativity or doubt that can come creeping in when you're not looking. Courtney Foster-Donahue - A little quirky, Courtney breaks down the always illusive Facebook, and how to actually create Facebook ads that work. Hub Digital - Who can forget your favorite crew from Hub Digital? With classes ranging from prepping your digital content, to blogging, to getting your website to the first page in search (that's right! Exciting stuff coming soon!) we're sharing all our best secrets that we use to propel our small business clients.

3. Plug into a Podcast. Grab your headphones and listen to some of your fav's without having to read through lengthy blogs. Better yet? Jump on a treadmill, pick up your duster, or apply a your favorite face mask, and you can now multitask growing your business while getting a little quality "you" time. Amy Porterfield - She's back, and bringing in some of her favorite friends sharing their top insider secrets. Gary Vaynerchuk - If you're not offended by swearing, Gary Vee gets real about all things social media, entrepreneurship and business best practices. The Fizzle Show - who says growing your business has to be so serious? The Fizzle Show hilariously takes on entrepreneurship and focuses on how to stay creative.

Stay Committed to Your 2017 Marketing Plan
Learn how you can committ to a successful marketing plan in 2017 with the girls from Hub Digital Marketing.

Did you struggle with your marketing in 2016? Did you want to blog, had plans to cultivate your email list, and tried to come up with something clever to post social media? Well, you've already taken the first step towards making 2017 more successful for your business. Knowing that your digital marketing is important, and wanting to do something to better it, is key to getting you started in the right direction. 

Now it's time to do something with that drive. Make a commitment right now that you will not give up on your digital marketing this year. You are going to write engaging blogs, connect with clients on your email list, and rock your social media. Sound good? Good! Check out the video below to find out how you're going to do all of this while still having the time to run your business.

Pretty cool right? Ready to dive in? Of course you are! Click here to learn more about "How To Create a Year's Worth of Content In One Day" and see what you can do for yourself and your business for an under $20 investment.

Stop Waiting For The New Year!
Why Hub Digital thinks you don't have to wait until a new year to reinvent your small business.

We can be so guilty of this. When it comes to starting any big project, committing to change, or beginning something new, we push it off for a date that "feels" right. It's never "right now" but rather "the first of the month," "the first of the year," or "on Monday." Call it OCD or just simple procrastination, but whether it's launching a new aspect of our own business business or starting a new diet, there's always a better day to do it than today.

This time of year, it's something we run into constantly with small business owners. With the mad dash to finalize current projects, boost Q4 sales or simply "make it" through the holiday season, often times new marketing campaigns get pushed to the back burner. We often have clients ask us to get back to them in the New Year when some more time opens up.

Here's the rub with that decision. Launching a new marketing plan takes time to ramp up (you're looking at a minimum of 1-3 months depending on how involved it is). It takes time to create social profiles (if you don't have them already), edit current profiles (if you already do), begin creating and populating content, beginning SEO growth strategies, split testing different messaging, and curating images and videos. By waiting until January to start the discussion, you've already put yourself at a disadvantage. Now most of your marketing initiatives won't even be going live to market until well into 2nd Quarter. 

On top of that, you may be like us. You might push EVERYTHING off until that all important starting date! Not only are you now supposed to tackle your marketing strategy on Jan 1, but you may also be putting off an overhaul of your Quickbooks, employee policies, store/office redesign or a new product launch. I don't know about you but that seems like an awful lot to handle all at one time. And often times, when you've stacked too much on your plate, what's the first thing to be pushed aside until later? Your marketing! Something so essential to selling your products or services and selling your business continually gets pushed to the backburner and before you know it, another year has gone by without a solid plan.

So here's our advice. Put aside at least 1 hour a week in Q4 to focus on your 2017 marketing strategy. Plan out your blog calendar for the year, gather some social media content ideas, and set up those new social, email or software accounts you've always wanted to jump into. Your 2017 self with thank you when you go through that list of To Do's at the beginning of the year and this has already been checked off.