Latest Posts

20 Digital Marketing Tips for Online Marketing Success

Digital

20 Digital Marketing Tips

The 20 digital marketing tips outlined below will dramatically increase your chances of succeeding online.

The list is by no means complete but it’s a good starting point for beginners to digital marketing.

What is Digital Marketing?

Before digging right into the online marketing tips, let me first explain what is digital marketing for those that are new to this term.

Digital marketing is a broad term that includes all marketing channels and methods you can use to promote products or services on the Internet but also on electronic devices such as TVs, mobile phones, and electronic billboards.

Online marketing has a number of pillars but the most important are:

  • Website marketing
  • Search engine marketing (SEM)
  • Social media marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Mobile marketing
  • Banner advertising
Digital Marketing Channels

Digital Marketing Tips

20 highly practical digital marketing tips for small businesses.

  • Use your own domain
  • Use VPS hosting
  • Create a professional website
  • Make your website load as fast as possible
  • Spend time on SEO
  • Spend money on PPC
  • Don’t forget about Bing Ads
  • Start with a low advertising budget and grow profitable
  • Build your presence social networks related to your business
  • Don’t over-promote your business and services
  • Use paid advertising
  • Publish good and original content
  • Create a content calendar
  • Promote your content
  • Use email marketing
  • Build an email list from the beginning
  • Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
  • Don’t forget mobile apps
  • Buy advertising space
  • Keep improving your digital marketing campaigns

As you can see from the image above, each component of digital marketing is a huge chapter on its own.

DIGITAL MARKETING FULL COURSE
  • Best way to learn digital marketing
  • Become a successful digital marketer
  • Increase your traffic in 60 days or less
  • Trusted by more than 3000 students

Nevertheless, I will try below to summarize the most important digital marketing tips for each component so that you increase your chances of successful online marketing.

Website Marketing Tips

1. Use your own domain

Buy a domain name that is relevant for your business and use it to build your brand. The recommended extension is a .com or .net. Keep the domain name short (max 3 words) and avoid having spaces.

Before you register a domain name, search for the name on Google and make sure that no other business exists with a similar domain. If there is, try to find something unique because otherwise, it will be very difficult to promote your brand and rank high for related searches.

2. Use VPS hosting

Website hosting plays an important role in the success of your website. Your website should be hosted on a fast and secure server. Avoid using shared hosting solutions. They may be cheaper but having your website hosted with a bunch of other websites is dangerous.

On a shared hosting environment, you share the same IP address with other sites and if they are involved in spammy actions, it will have a negative impact on your website as well.

Spending $20-$40 a month for your own virtual private server is not that much compared to the benefits you get. Choose an SEO friendly web hosting company and make sure that your website is secure with a valid SSL certificate and the software is up-to-date.

3. Create a professional website

When you start a website, spend some time thinking about your site structure and functionality. A professional website is not characterized by its ‘looks’ but with how easy it is to use on all devices.

Identify the purpose of having a website and make sure that this is reflected in the design. Don’t forget that a website represents your brand and it should be something you’re proud of.

4. Make your website load as fast as possible

Page Speed is an important usability and ranking factor. Try to make your website as fast as possible by avoiding unnecessary graphics or other cosmetic elements. Test your website speed using the Google PageSpeed Insights tool and follow their recommendations.

Resources to Learn More about Website Marketing

Search Engine Marketing Tips

5. Spend time on SEO

SEO is not a once-off process but something that you have to do as an ongoing process. If you are not sure how to do it, go through an SEO certification. It’s the best way to learn SEO and optimize your website.

SEO will help your website get found on Google for related searches. Online businesses that can do SEO successfully, are more likely to grow and withstand the pressure from other online competitors.

Resources to Learn More About SEO

  • How to become an SEO Expert – The steps to follow to learn SEO and become an expert.
  • SEO Checklist – A comprehensive SEO checklist that covers all areas of SEO.

6. Spend money on PPC

Pay per click platforms (think Google Ads) are great because they can generate targeted traffic to your website fast.

If you are serious about your digital marketing, PPC should be part of your monthly budget.

7. Don’t forget Bing Ads

Google Ads is the most popular platform for PPC advertising but there are also other platforms like Bing ads that can get you good results with less budget.

Bing is the second most popular search engine and something worth testing as part of your overall online marketing strategy.

8. Start with a low advertising budget and grow profitable

Once you start with PPC, don’t put all your money from the beginning but start slow, optimize your campaigns, and make them profitable and then increase your budgets.

A common mistake made by many digital marketing specialists is to spend all their budget on campaigns without first testing the waters with one or more pilot campaigns.

Social Media Marketing Tips

9. Build your presence in social networks related to your business

There are a lot of social networks available and you don’t have to use them all. Select the ones that are related to your business and potential customers and concentrate on those.

The table below shows the demographics of each network and you can use this as your guide.

Social Media Platforms Demographics.

10. Don’t over-promote your business and services

Social media networks are not about business but it’s about people, so make sure that you don’t over-promote your business or services but instead try to make your pages useful with content that may interest your readers.

11. Use paid advertising

Getting social media followers for your business it’s harder than you think. People like to follow other people and interesting pages and not ‘business’ pages that try to sell them something.

So, the easiest way for you to get your business page in front of a lot of people and increase your chances of getting new followers is to use advertising.

Facebook has an advertising platform for businesses that allows you to run different types of campaigns and target a specific audience based on their Facebook activity, location, device, and demographic information.

Content Marketing Tips

12. Publish good and original content

Digital marketing is about content, whether this is text, images, videos, or audio you need good and original content for your website and social media pages. Without a content marketing plan is like walking with your eyes and ears closed.

What is good content for a digital marketing campaign?

  • It’s content that users want to read either because it satisfies their intent or because they find it interesting.
  • It’s content that is unique, thorough, and well-researched.

13. Create a content calendar

There is a huge competition on anything you plan to do online so you have to be ready to perform better than the competition by publishing better and more content than they do.

It’s not exactly a quantities came (quality is still more important) but it does play an important role.

14. Promote your content

Publishing good content is very important but it’s also important to promote your content and bring it in front of the eyes of the right people (these are the people that are likely to become your potential customers and also more likely to re-share your content).

Resources to Learn More About Content Marketing

Email Marketing Tips

15. Use email marketing

Email still converts better than other sources – Despite the dominance of social networks, email still performs better than most of the digital marketing channels. A targeted email list is likely to generate more profit than a targeted social media campaign.

16. Build an email list from the beginning

If you are starting now make sure that an email list is part of your plans. Give incentives to people to give you their emails and make sure that you don’t spam them but send them information that is useful to them.

Resources to Learn More About Email Marketing

Mobile Marketing Tips

17. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly

Although you don’t have to make your website responsive, a responsive website has more advantages than having a mobile and a desktop version. It is actually recommended by Google as the best approach to mobile websites and it is also a hot trend in the digital marketing industry.

The first step is to test your website using the mobile-friendly tool and fix any issues.

18. Don’t forget mobile apps

Besides having a mobile-friendly website, do not forget that your users and potential customers are searching and downloading apps (like crazy) from Google Play, Apple Store, and Amazon. If you want to be found in those stores, you need to develop and submit your own native apps.

Banner Advertising Tips

19. Buy advertising space

While PPC is the easiest and most effective way to reach customers, sometimes it is just better to find a website that has the traffic you want and contact them to buy advertising space. This way you keep the middle man out and this makes both you and the publisher happy.

20. Keep improving your digital marketing campaigns

Digital Marketing does not have a start and end date. Your efforts should be continuous and the opportunities are endless.

A PPC or social media campaign may have a start and end date but your digital marketing efforts don’t. The opportunities for promoting your business online are endless and the above 20 digital marketing tips are just a very quick summary of what you can do in each area.

The best way to get a complete picture of how to use digital marketing to the fullest is to enroll in a digital marketing course. Good courses will guide you step-by-step on how to take advantage of all online marketing techniques and practices to grow your business.

source: 20 Digital Marketing Tips for Online Marketing Success

READ MORE +

Actionable Content Marketing Tips for Digital Marketers

Content Marketing

30 Actionable Content Marketing Tips

Content marketing has been growing exponentially in popularity and there are now over 500 million blogs on the Internet (1.6 billion websites, but only half a billion identify as blogs). As with any great marketing channel, content marketing has become saturated and is less effective in 2019 than it was ten years ago.

So should we just give up now? Well, if you don’t leverage content marketing you will not only be missing out on a lot of leads, but you will also be swallowed up by the competition that knows how to leverage it effectively.

Even though the days of content mills are long gone, there are other, much more valuable ways to leverage content marketing. We are going to give you some insider tips that not only prove that content marketing still works, but that it continues to be one of the strongest strategies to drive conversions.

In this post, I’ve provided 30 effective and actionable tips to not only get the most out of your content marketing, but to take your performance up to the next level.

1) Check for Grammatical Errors

Not only do you look a little silly to your potential customers if you can’t spell (particularly with spellcheck on every platform from Word and Google docs to WordPress), but you may also see a drop in rankings. Google wants to deliver authoritative results and nothing makes you look less authoritative than having misspellings and grammatical errors throughout your content.

But what if you’re not a writer? Try a content writing service like EssayGeeks. If you’re a decent writer but just need some help to improve, install Grammarly, a tool that will help you with everything from emails to blog writing:

 

Dive Deeper: 10 Ways to Generate Topics and Write High-Ranking Blog Posts

2) Write Relevant and Actionable Content

In order to be a great marketer and business owner, you must first understand your customer. Regardless of the niche you are in, you should know your customer’s problems and pain points like the back of your hand.

And to truly develop a piece of content around your customer’s pain point, make sure that it is actionable. Are you giving them the specific steps and tools they need? Could you take this piece of content and replicate the steps? If you don’t think you could carry out the advice in the article, you haven’t finished it yet.

Dive Deeper: 10 Ways to Generate Topics and Write High-Ranking Blog Posts

3) Develop Content Marketing Goals

A shocking statistic from a study done by CoSchedule shows that 26% of marketers don’t even have a marketing goal. Of those that do, only about half are meeting their goals fairly often.

 

Noah Kagan of AppSumo often speaks about having one company goal. So before completing any task throughout the day, he asks: “Is this task going to get us closer to our company goal?” If the answer is no, don’t do it.

Now that you have the company goal in mind, what are you trying to accomplish by creating and promoting your content? Is it brand awareness? More sales in the next quarter? From there, you can pick a topic and map out the piece.

Dive Deeper: Creating Google Analytics Funnels and Goals: A Step-by-Step Guide

4) Offer FREE Value through Your Content

Do you know what most of today’s consumers want? They want to hear the word “free.” Think about how many of your friends like to brag about the great bargain they just got. The same goes for your customers. While most marketers and brands are asking for money in return, you can offer free tools and high-quality information to build your brand.

If Neil Patel can provide an entire tool for free (Ubersuggest, a keyword research tool – and not some cheap thing that barely does its job!), that’s a pretty good indication that there is an ROI on free value:

 

Consider offering your own valuable content (like an in-depth, downloadable guide) for free or building your own useful tool, like Neil did. We created ClickFlow, a tool that lets you to test the effectiveness of each page (or groups of pages) to increase your organic traffic without the hassle of building links or writing more content.

 

Dive Deeper: Why Neil Patel Pays $30,000 for Content & Gives it Away For Free [podcast]

5) Use Content to Drive Leads into Your Sales Funnel

Content marketing is one of the most crucial aspects of a sales funnel. From pulling customers into that initial stage (TOFU) with specific content pieces to getting them to click the “buy” button on the sales page, content is everything.

Start by creating amazing content that drives awareness, whether that is a video, blog post or infographic. Within this content, make sure that you are enticing the reader to move into the next stage of the funnel (MOFU). This could be by asking for an email address before providing access to gated content. Continue to be aware of how your prospect is feeling at each stage in your marketing funnel and adjust your copy to reflect that:

 

Dive Deeper: How to Choose the Right Content for Each Stage of the Marketing Funnel

6) Keep in Mind that Longer Content Performs Better

Longer content gets more attention from both Google and people:

You’ve probably heard this before., but what you might not have heard is that higher rankings also increase conversion rates. A study on Quicksprout showed that when they A/B tested landing pages, the longer ones not only performed better, but also had more qualified leads.

So why does long form content work better? More often than not, a blog post of around 2,500 words will:

  • Capture attention and offer more relevant information
  • Incorporate more keywords and SEO optimization
  • Develop authority of the website that published it

Dive Deeper: Do You Really Need to Write 1,890-Word Blog Posts to Rank on Page 1?

7) Understand Your Target Audience (and Buyer Persona)

Any marketing campaign, whether it’s content marketing, social marketing or search engine marketing, needs to be directed towards a specific target audience. Although you may wish that every single person in the world was your ideal customer, that’s rarely the case. Make sure that you understand whom you’re creating content for – and figure that out before trying to sell anything.

Failing to understand your ideal target buyer (or buyer persona, as seen in the image below) is a serious mistake that will result in a lot of wasted energy, time and money:

 

Dive Deeper: The Complete Guide to Developing and Using Buyer Personas

8) Gain Authority Links with Guest Posting

Guest posting is an amazing way to get more people familiar with your brand. Think about it. If your friend Bill introduces you to his friend Sally, you’re no longer a complete stranger to Sally. She will probably make a lot of positive assumptions about you based solely on the fact that you are Bill’s friend.

Guest posting works in a similar way. You get to tap into the host blog’s whole new network and promote your brand. If they have a strong and loyal following, you should get a pretty good ROI. This is a super easy and cheap way to get lots of prequalified eyes to your website.

Dive Deeper: 5 Types of Guest-Post Content that Support Your Link-Building Efforts

9) Optimize all Your Headlines

David Ogilvy once said:

“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

But if you never get anyone to click through your headlines to the post, it won’t matter how great your content is.

Click-through rate (CTR) is a direct ranking factor. If Google notices that people aren’t clicking through, you will begin to see a drop in rankings. Keep in mind that you should be optimizing for user intent before search engines. While it is good to include your main keyword in the title, don’t over optimize either.

If you get stuck coming up with an attention-grabbing headline for your article, check out our post on this subject:

Dive Deeper: How to Write Hero Headlines to Skyrocket Click-Through Rates

10) Offer Exclusive Content to Your Email List

With an ROI of 4,400%, email is still one of the most powerful marketing channels that you should be leveraging, because the people on your list are already your fan.

If you aren’t already offering exclusive content to your subscribers, you’re missing out. People love to feel special and when you tell them that only they (the subscribers) are going to receive the “best of the best” information, they’re more likely to opt in.

If you want to take it up another level, try segmenting your emails. A study done by Campaign Institute showed that segmented campaigns produced a 760% increase in revenue. That added level of personalization goes a long way.

 

Dive Deeper: How to Use Personalization to Increase the Impact of Email Marketing

11) Maintain a Content Calendar

Content marketing without consistency is just like a fitness schedule that is not performed on a regular basis. Both cases will bring fewer results.

In order to build your brand’s reputation, you should create and share valuable and qualitative content consistently, and the best way to organize this somewhat daunting task is to use an editorial calendar:

 

If you don’t have a huge team or budget, you can do this with a simple Excel or Sheets spreadsheet. However, there are a number of tools available, such as:

  • CoSchedule – editorial calendar
  • WordPress – editorial calendar
  • Asana – project management and editorial calendar
  • Trello – project management tool
  • MeetEdgar – social media post scheduler
  • Buffer – social media automation tool

Dive Deeper: How to Produce High-Quality Content Consistently and Not Waste Your Money

12) Make Social Sharing on Your Blog Easy

This is one of the easiest hacks to implement. Add visually attractive (and prominently placed) social sharing buttons throughout your website pages and blog posts. Use an easy, one-click sharing button, because if it’s time-consuming or otherwise difficult, nobody will use it.

On the Single Grain blog, each post has a floating social sharing column that follows you as you scroll down, so it’s always right there:

 

Another idea is that when your readers finish an article, create a CTA (call-to-action) that asks them to share your content on social media.

Another great option to make social sharing easy for the reader is to include Tweetable quotes when possible (make sure they’re actually worth quoting, though!), like this one from 6 Actionable SEO Strategies for Exceptional Customer Service:

 

Dive Deeper: How to Use Social Media to Substantially Improve Your SEO

13) Go Omni Channel

You’ve already spent a whole lot of time making an amazing video – but if you leave it as just a video, you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities that only require a little extra work. Take advantage of the one, great piece of content you created (the “seed”) to easily create a handful of others (the “sprouts”) by using the Content Sprout Method.

So instead of creating a million different pieces of content in addition to that video you made, you can hire someone to transcribe the video and turn it into a blog post; you can use the audio and publish a podcast episode; you can compile the stats or the step-by-step process into an infographic. And so on.

The reason this works so well is because everyone has a preferred medium in which they consume content, so if one person doesn’t enjoy reading long blog posts, they can easily consume the same info via podcast to listen to on their way to work.

Dive Deeper: Omnichannel Marketing: Using the Content Sprout Method to Overcome Info Overload

14) Know What Form of Content Each Social Platform Is Best For

Each social media channel varies slightly in their preferred form of content. For example, YouTube is obviously the best place for video content, Twitter is great for a one-sentence teaser and a link back to your blog, Instagram and Pinterest are great for visual content, etc. Pinterest is also a great holiday-themed platform:

 

Dive Deeper: The Beginner’s Guide to Crafting a Highly Effective Social Media Strategy in 2019

15) Post to Medium

This is a tactic that is often overlooked, but is a very powerful way to get more traffic to your site. Medium is free to post on and provides a wealth of information on a variety of topics:

 

To optimize for the highest CTR to your website, only post the first several paragraphs of your article and make the reader click to your website to read the rest. If you want to really take it to the next level, make sure that you optimize your dated posts – that means refreshing old ideas, images/screenshots and stats (and, of course, all links) to make it more relevant to the current year.

In addition, check your keywords. If you are ranking for keyword topics that are relevant but not mentioned in the content, consider adding a section that explains those topics.

Dive Deeper: The Advanced Guide to Medium Marketing

16) Update Old Content

Speaking of optimizing your older posts…. In this rapidly changing industry, a year or two is all it takes for your content to become outdated. Or it might be ranking for keywords that you were not initially targeting. Rather than going through the hassle of writing an entirely new post, a better idea is to just update it. That way you don’t lose any SEO juice on the original URL.

Updating older, well-performing content involves:

  • Performing some research to see what has changed on the topic
  • Rewriting parts of the article to reflect these updates
  • Citing new, authoritative sources
  • Making sure that all the links are working (and updated – generally you don’t want to link to a source that is more than a 1-2 years old)
  • Replacing any obviously outdated images
  • Refreshing the intro and conclusion

How do you know which blog posts to update? You should conduct a thorough content audit on an annual basis to discover any insights into your blog and content marketing strategy. Click the link below to learn how to do this.

Dive Deeper: The Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting a Content Audit

17) Your Content + Influencer’s Quote = Positive Results

Approach an influencer whom you believe would be interested in your content, brand’s values or ideas:

Within five years, influencer marketing is positioned to become a $5-10 billion industry. And the companies and brands that are aware of this and have already invested in influencer marketing campaigns have generated up to a 520% return on investment! Here are some more juicy stats:

An easy tactic is to get an opinion on the same matter that your content discusses. Publish some quality articles with some great quotes from known influencers in your space, and you’ll reap amazing benefits. This is an example:

 

Dive Deeper: 5 Hacks to Start a Conversation with an Influencer

18) Use an Influencer for Better Content Exposure

Another option is to pay an influencer to promote your content to his/her audience. Before committing, make certain that you do some proper research. Analyze the influencer’s audience, engagement and their trustworthiness. These are all elements that make the difference between a good and a bad investment in influencer marketing.

Remember, this is a relationship and just like any relationship, influencer marketing should be a two-way street. If your brand is the only one that benefits, you won’t be long for this strategy. You will eventually find that nobody wants to partner with you.

YouTube influencers are probably the most popular, but that’s not your only option. The main types of influencers include:

  • Celebrity Influencers
  • Authority Influencers
  • Social Media “Sensations”
  • Micro-Influencers
  • Bloggers

Because 44.44% of influencers feel that brands aren’t providing them with fair compensation, stand out from the (bad) competition by treating your influencer(s) well and reap the benefits of a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Dive Deeper: How to Grow Your Business With Influencer Marketing and Brand Partnerships

19) Pay a Lot of Attention to Your Keyword Research

Keyword research is super important. The better you rank for specific keywords, the better you’ll perform in the SERPs. I’d say that this is one of the most common mistakes that marketers make: they neglect the keyword research process. It’s not that they don’t do it, but they’re not really finding the best possible combinations of keywords for their purpose.

Choosing the right keyword can attract the right audience, which could propel your content marketing strategy into the largest driver of new customers for your business.

According to Ann Smarty:

“What are people who are interested in your niche looking for? What questions do they have? What do they like? What do they read? Keywords offer a lot of insight into these factors, giving you a glimpse into the common searches that your audience is performing. The goal is to see what they want and then provide it.”

Dive Deeper:

  • Targeting Branded vs. SEO Keywords: Which Should You Focus On?
  • Why You Should Use Long-Tail Keywords in Your SEO Campaign
  • SEO Keyword Research Made Easy in 2019
  • Should a Blog Post Focus on One Keyword or Multiple Keywords for SEO?

20) Educate Instead of Trying to Sell

Content can be considered a selling machine – indirectly. However, if your content marketing strategy includes free content (blog posts, newsletters, social media posts), you should have a clear purpose for this content. I’d say that the perfect goal would be to bring the prospect from point A (not interested) to point B (very interested) to doing something/getting a problem solved (become a customer).

And the best way to do this is: only once you’ve educated your prospect should you start to suggest your service or product.

A very good example of this is Ramit Sethi’s company, I Will Teach You To Be Rich:

 

He does not offer any of his courses online, so even if you wanted to buy his courses, you can’t. First, he warms you up in an email sequence and provides a ton of valuable information for you up front – no strings attached. It’s only after a period of time that he will offer you the course. And it works. In one day alone he made $400,000!

21) Pay Attention to the Analytics

Analytics matter a lot. A content marketing campaign is actually dependent on statistics, as you’ll always want to optimize and eventually scale your efforts.

The reason why you should be looking at analytics is because you need to see where people are dropping off in your sales funnel. Unless there is a technical error with the site, you will want to A/B test the copy. You can even track it right in Google Analytics:

 

More often than not, you’ll find patterns and “winning” content, and soon enough you’ll know what works and what doesn’t so that you can double down on what does work.

Dive Deeper: How to Run A/B Tests that Actually Increase Conversions

22) Leverage Data to Optimize Your Content

Data collection is huge today. Every company is trying to acquire leads. Most will ask for your name, email, phone number, gender, favorite food, high school locker combination, etc., in order to create a description of you (called a buyer persona) and deliver the best possible products, services or advertisements for their audience.

Doing this will increase your sales because you won’t just be pushing products at everyone on the web; you’ll be able to target specific people with specific offers, making it more probable that you will get the sale.

And you should do exactly the same thing with your content: use the information your target audience shares with you to better satisfy their needs and problems.

Dive Deeper: How To Write Data-Driven Posts

23) Produce Both Evergreen and Trending Content

Both evergreen and trending content are worthy of your attention, but I prefer to focus 70% of my efforts on the evergreen subjects, while 30% goes to trending topics. Make no mistake – if there’s a hot topic in your space, write about it. Just ensure that you’re not churning out the same content that everyone else is by providing your own unique angle, statistics or research that your company has gathered, or writing truly 10x content about it:

 

The benefit to writing about evergreen subjects is that you’ll be able to keep updating it every year or so and get a lot more mileage out of it with a lot less work.

Dive Deeper: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know About 10x Content

24) Use Conversational and Simple Language

Exceptional content is never complicated. Most people don’t get excited about reading a textbook, but they do get excited about having a conversation with a friend. Write with a conversational tone, not a monotone.

This is also a great opportunity for you to leverage your brand by creating a unique voice. If you’re a funky startup, you can “chat” with your readers and use casual jargon. If you’re an accounting firm, you’ll want to sound professional, but you can make the topic more palatable with cool examples and easy-to-understand language.

Dive Deeper: The Art of UX Storytelling: How to Create Your Brand’s Story

25) Engage with Your Prospects as Much as Possible

Think of it like a friendship. The more you talk, the stronger the relationship becomes. How frequently are you connecting with your prospects and customers? Once a week? Once a year?

Your content is a great tool that can serve you well in this regard. While writing articles, for example, or when recording videos, address your audience directly. Use the second person (“you,” “your”) and ask them a lot of questions. Encourage them to deliver their answers in the comments, through an email, or on your brand’s Facebook page (and be sure to respond quickly!).

Note: If you do ask for comments (as you should!) YouTube doesn’t like for you to actually say the words “leave a comment below” or make it otherwise obvious that you are asking them to comment. Instead make it more natural by saying something like “let me know what you think of…”

Dive Deeper: Here’s How Targeting Cold, Warm & Hot Traffic Builds Successful Customer Relationships

26) Offer Strong Calls-to-Action (CTAs)

CTAs are essential. People generally don’t do stuff unless you tell them to. So next time you want to them to like your social media page, ask them for a page like. When you need more subscribers, create a strong call-to-action that encourages sign-ups. The trick to an effective CTA button is to inform the user what’s in it for them:

 

Most people also don’t realize that you can A/B test your CTA. Here are a couple factors that will change the CTR of your CTA:

  • Location
  • Color
  • Copy
  • Value Prop

Here are some great examples of irresistible call-to-action ideas for your inspiration.

Dive Deeper: How To Create CTAs that Actually Cause Action

27) A/B Test

When in doubt, test it! The numbers never lie. As content marketers, this is often overlooked, though it is important to do. Here are a couple of things you can and should be A/B testing:

  • Headlines/Title Tags
  • Various Opt-ins and CTAs
  • Content Formats
  • Image Types
  • Content Length

 

Google now offers a free A/B testing software, or you can use other paid tools, like Crazy Egg. Make sure that when you do A/B test, you give it ample time to have a full sample of data to look at and don’t change too many things at once.

Dive Deeper:

  • What Is A/B SEO Testing?
  • 5 Important Landing Page Elements You Should Be A/B Testing

28) Understand Which Traffic Channels Are Worth It

Your content is usually not worth posting everywhere. For example, it might not be worth it for an e-commerce store that sells women’s shoes to be posting on Medium. Some traffic channels will be hard to leverage, so it’s much wiser to focus your energy on the platforms that bring increased results.

To get an idea as to where you should start, look at the channels that your competitors are using. If they are investing money into those channels, guess what? They work!

You need to test, test and test again. Figure out which channels work best for your brand/product and then double down on them.

 

Dive Deeper: 54 Alternative Ad Networks to Open Up New Channels of Growth in 2019

29) Use the 80/20 Rule to Optimize Your Content Marketing

Are you familiar with Pareto’s principle? Simply put, it states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

Referring to content marketing, you should figure out which 20% of the content you’re creating generates 80% of your overall results. Remember that you can apply this to testing various mediums, testing blog post formats and even topic clusters. Once you know what that 20% is, put more of your focus and resources on it.

Then the 80% of your work should be promoting that 10x content.

Dive Deeper: Why Content Marketing Should Always Be 20% Creation and 80% Promotion

30) Keep Up with the Marketplace

The digital environment changes practically every day and the speed of progress is phenomenal. That is why it is so easy for online marketers to fall behind: they get stuck with something that used to work while ignoring the reality of a growing and changing market. As technology and techniques advance, the marketplace will inevitably fluctuate.

Your role as a content marketer is to pay attention to what’s going on and be one step ahead of your audience so that you can inform them. Figure out what the latest marketplace rules, trends, disasters, technologies and topics are and pay attention to them!

Dive Deeper: How AI Is Shaping the Future of Content Marketing and Personalization

Takeaway

Content marketing works. That’s why so many people are using it today. The key to ensure that it continues to work is by leveraging new and innovative tactics like setting clearer content marketing goals and A/B testing various content. Stepping away from the content mill and into a customer-focused strategy is how you will make content marketing work.

source: 30 Actionable Content Marketing Tips for Digital Marketers

READ MORE +

8 Digital Marketing Tips For You

Digital Marketing

8 Digital Marketing Tips

Are you feeling like you’re lagging behind the competition and badly needed some actionable digital marketing tips?

As a small business owner, it’s all too easy to feel this way. After all, you aren’t a big company that can afford to hire an army of digital marketers to keep up with all the latest digital marketing tips.

But, that doesn’t mean you can’t become a one-man/one-woman army.

Your weapons are your knowledge. After you read this article, you’ll be able to pick up your weapons and beat your competitors!

There are many different weapons (digital marketing tips) that can carry you to success.

But most of your competitors don’t know how to wield them.

This article will focus on the most popular digital marketing tips. They’re popular because they work. But only if you know why, how, and when to use them.

But first, let’s address a rookie way of thinking that many small business owners have.

Actionable Digital Marketing Tips for Your Business

1. Eggs In Too Many Baskets

This is a mistake that many rookie business owners make – trying to do everything at once with little prior experience.

You set up 10 social media accounts. You set up a PPC campaign. You set up a rigorous blogging schedule about a topic that you haven’t properly researched yet.

And the worst thing is that you’ve never even used more than half of those social media platforms in the past!

Sound familiar?

If so, then stop. The worst mistake a new business owner can make is trying to manage too many new social media accounts all at once. We’ll get to that mistake in the next section.

But for now, the lesson we want you to understand is: less is more. When you’re just starting out, focus and consistency should be your primary goals.

Focus: if you try to launch several campaigns at once, you’ll not only be totally overwhelmed, but you’ll also have difficulty determining which marketing campaigns were successful.

Consistency: this will be the key to getting your business off the ground.

  • Being consistent on social media will build you a loyal following.
  • Being consistent in your blogging will build you a loyal customer base and turn new, cold prospects into new buyers.
  • Being consistent in SEO means that you’ll save money in the long run instead of relying too much on paid advertising.

Too many small business owners try to do everything at once and fall flat on their faces.

But you don’t have to be one of them. By following these digital marketing tips, you’ll already be ahead of the game.

2. Find Your Place in Social Media

Most small business owners know that they need to be on social media. After all, social media isn’t going anywhere. In 2019, 79% of Americans had a social media profile!

 

But as we touched on in the last section, too many rookies take that message too much to heart and try to go from being invisible to being everywhere at once.

For most brands, this is a recipe for disaster.

As a new small business owner, your aim should be to find your place on social media. This means that in the beginning, you should focus only on, at the most, a few social media platforms that you’re already feeling comfortable with.

Now, after marketing on these platforms for a while, note how many interactions you’re getting.

For example, if Instagram isn’t giving you any engagement, then move on and focus on the platform that does!

The aim here is to find the social media platforms that give you the highest level of interactions (likes, shares and comments).

And the lesson here is: don’t bother wasting your time on a platform if your audience simply isn’t there!

Find out where most of your audience is and post on those platforms consistently to build up a loyal social media following.

3. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is relatively new in the realm of digital marketing tips. In fact, most of your competition has probably never heard of it!

And for the ones who have, they’re probably going about it the wrong way.

But influencer marketing can be a very powerful tool when wielded correctly.

So what exactly is influencer marketing?

Simply put, it means that instead of marketing to your target audience directly, you pay or inspire influential people in your niche to get the word out about you.

When it comes to social media users, influencers are basically the strongest referrals that your business can get.

 

For example, a survey by Collective Bias showed that 30% of consumers are more likely to buy a product recommended by a non-celebrity blogger.

Influencer marketing is especially effective on millennials, since 70% of consumer millennials are influenced by the recommendations of their peers in making buying decisions.

So, you should always keep a look out for potential future influencers in your niche. You’ll want to engage with them so that you can build your brand visibility.

 

So what do other small business owners get wrong with influencer marketing, you ask?

Many small business owners still think that doing lots of guest blogging (a form of influencer marketing) and getting lots of backlinks will boost SEO and drive traffic.

This was true in the past, but not anymore. Small business owners these days have to tread carefully with guest blogging and getting backlinks because Google has cracked down on this practice several times in the past. Google penalizes websites that abuse this practice, and that’s not what you want for your brand new website!

Now that’s not to say that guest blogging is inherently a bad practice. Far from it! But it shouldn’t be done in a spammy way. Instead, it should be done with the main goals in mind being:

  • Brand promotion.
  • Building credibility by leaning on the shoulders of industry giants.
  • Tapping into another community.

4. Don’t Underestimate Having an Email List

An email list is probably one of the most valuable and responsive assets you can have.

  • Valuable – CRM software company Hatchbuck found that customers who purchase products through email spend 138% more!
  • Responsive – according to QuickSprout, email subscribers are 3x more likely to share content on social media!

And unlike your social media followers and fans, you own your email marketing list.

But believe it or not, many of your competitors aren’t even thinking about having an email list. Instead they make the mistake of thinking that they can get away with just building a social media following.

Of course having a strong social media following is very important! But when it comes to turning cold prospects into paying customers, email marketing is one of the best ways to do it.

5. The 80-20 Rule for Content

The 80-20 rule means that 80% of your success will come from 20% of your efforts. This rule applies to just about everything, including your content. Your content can be created in a variety of different mediums.

For example: videos, webinars, blog posts, infographics, etc.

 

So how does the 80-20 rule apply?

Quite simply, 80% of your content should communicate VALUE, and 20% of it should be focused on promotions. Valuable content means content that’s unique, fresh, timely, relevant, and solves real problems for your target audience.

Your success will come from 20% of your efforts, but that other 80% is necessary to drive it!

Too many small business owners have it the other way around. 80% of their blog content is overly sales-y, and only 20% of it contains useful or valuable information!

If you aren’t convinced about the value of creating useful content, then take a moment to reflect on the fact that businesses with blogs receive 67% more leads than businesses without blogs.

Other benefits of having a blog include:

  • Getting more targeted traffic.
  • Adds a human element to your brand, thus building trust and loyalty with your customers.
  • Cost effective and simple to setup.

6. When to Rely On SEO

Every small business owner who ventures into the world of digital marketing tips has heard about SEO.

But still, many of them shy away from it because they think it’s complicated and too time consuming.

While both of these things may be true, SEO is still the best way to drive free traffic to your website.

Even something as simple as your business name can influence your ranking in the search engine. According to an SEO company Local SEO Guide, businesses with a strong keyword in their business name rank 1.5 spots higher than businesses without a keyword in their business name.

Instead of focusing on a long term SEO strategy, too many small businesses blow their digital marketing budget on PPC ads when starting out. We’ll talk more about that in the next section.

So what are the different areas that SEO covers?

 

There are a lot. But broadly speaking, these are the main ones:

  • Website optimization.
  • Page optimization.
  • Device optimization.
  • Credible link building.

There are many other sub categories of these main areas. For example, keyword usage is a sub category of page optimization.

There’s a lot to learn. But learning and implementing SEO will give your website better visibility in the search engines.

And to get an idea of how important SEO is for website visibility, you can look at past Google updates. One very important Google update made websites that aren’t responsive on various digital devices not even appear in the search results at all!

Now thankfully, you don’t have to learn SEO all on your own because you know an SEO agency (your friends at LYFE Marketing).

But you should still learn the basics of SEO and what the expectations of an SEO specialist will be.

Hiring an SEO specialist is well worth it. The SEO specialist will help you perform an SEO audit, which includes analyzing how users are interacting with your website and your social media platforms.

And finally, don’t expect immediate traffic from doing SEO. It can happen, but it’s pretty rare. Instead, look to paid advertising for quick traffic.

7. When to Use Paid Advertising

As we touched on in the previous section, many small business owners spend too much of their working capital on PPC. They have the right idea – spend money on paid advertising in the beginning to get some traffic coming in.

But in the absence of a sales funnel and a long term SEO strategy, they begin to rely on PPC to drive most of their sales. This is not a sustainable digital marketing method on its own.

Their mistake is that they end up confusing “more traffic” with “more sales.”

But all they end up doing is getting more cold prospects and no sales.  And in PPC advertising where you pay for each click, this can get expensive if you aren’t making conversions from your clicks.

More traffic is a great thing, but without a marketing funnel, you won’t get optimal results.

Instead, you should follow these 3 simple steps:

  1. Create a relevant and compelling offer. For example, your newsletter or a free eBook.
  2. Create great website content.
  3. Create targeted PPC ads to get people to your site.

Remember one of the most important digital marketing tips – traffic isn’t everything.

An amateur mistake is to expect to turn cold prospects into immediate buyers. Bring them in first, and then convert them into buyers later.

8. Enhance the User’s Experience

Enhancing user experience (UX) will be the glue that holds each of your strategies together.

The following are common and popular ways to do this. There are also plenty more metrics and digital marketing tips for measuring user experience.

  • The content on your site.
  • The communication channels you use.
  • An intuitive user interface (UI).
  • Your website’s loading speed.
  • Intuitive menu navigation.
  • Chatbots to assist in communication.
  • A simple tone for your content.

In order to make the optimal choices for these different areas, you’ll need to learn more about your target audience.

 

There are four key digital marketing tips to remember for creating a good user experience in 2019:

  1. Remember to inform and inspire your audience with your content. This will give them a lasting impression of your company and make engagement easier.
  2. You’ll also need a customer management strategy to help you connect better with customers. It will take you through query and complaint management. It will also collect customer feedback and make them feel like they’re a part of your brand’s community.
  3. Another thing to keep in mind in 2019 is the effectiveness of video marketing. It continues to trend upward in popularity with the rise of live streaming. Popular platforms have already embraced live streaming. Consider Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, and Snapchat Stories to engage with your audience.
  4. Lastly is optimizing your website for mobile usage. Since Google launched its Google’s mobile-first indexing last July, all new sites should be optimized for different devices, especially for smaller screens. Having a mobile-friendly site is no longer optional but rather essential for every business. So even if you have a perfectly working desktop website, you should also develop your mobile site if you don’t want to be invisible in search engines.

Conclusion

As you can see, the best way you can get ahead of your competition is to use the tried and true ways of digital marketing properly. Your competitors will keep on making the same mistakes, while you’ll be sidestepping landmines and growing your business with these 8 digital marketing tips.

 

Source: 8 Simple Digital Marketing Tips Your Competitors Probably Don’t Know

READ MORE +

The 16 Best Marketing Strategies to Try in 2020

Marketing

Best Marketing Strategies

Well, 2020 is here. And, so far, it doesn’t look much different than December 2019. That’s why we asked dozens of digital marketers for their best marketing strategies of last year—and, boy, did they deliver.

Here’s a look at what tops the list for marketing experts 2019—and what we think are the 16 best marketing strategies you can take into 2020.

1. Educate with your content

Content has long been king and 2019 was no different.

Citing figures from the Content Marketing Institute’s 2019 trends report, Robin Barendsen, head of digital marketing at office space rental company WehaveAnyspace, noted 77% of B2B marketers use content marketing.

“In fact, the majority of B2B content marketers use educational assets to nurture leads and build audience trust, which is absolutely essential for inbound marketing,” he said. “Think about informational blogs, white papers or quizzes.”

We’re likely preaching to the choir here, but, generally speaking, brands should create content that is relevant, authoritative, and, of course, educates its audience.

2. Personalize your marketing messages

Peter Wilfahrt, managing director of digital agency Versandgigant, said marketers should personalize every single message in 2020 by digging into analytics and understanding demographics, affinity categories and in-market segments. More on that in a moment.

“Only very few brands execute a personalized messaging strategy,” he said. “And we’re not talking about adding the first name to your email greeting … really dig into your prospect’s mind and discover what they fear, wish and want.”

While Brock Murray, COO of digital marketing agency seoplus+, agrees consumers should be made to feel special, he argues automation is the way to go because it allows advertisers to create ads that dynamically change based on whoever is searching. And, Murray said, results show consumers want this type of customization.

“With that being said, timeliness also proved to be a critical part of any strategy as users proved they still don’t want to be bombarded with content, particularly if it isn’t even relevant to them,” Murray added. “Overall, all of your content and markup should be concise and easily understandable to ensure your users receive value with each interaction. Transparency and respect of users’ privacy should also be a critical component of any digital marketing strategy.”

Frank Spear, content marketer at WordPress contest plugin RafflePress, said personalization boosted his marketing strategy far beyond his expectations in 2019.

“We tried to implement personalized content in virtually every aspect of our strategy,” he said. “Our opt-in ads change based on the content users read before the popup was triggered. The relatable promotion is designed to show consumers that we understand their pain points and want to help. We allow our customers to pick the type of content they want to receive from us when they subscribe to our email marketing campaigns.”

Effective personalization is the result of efforts like behavioral segmentation, or separating audience members into groups based on their actions, like first-time purchases, abandoned carts, repeat purchases and page views without conversion, said Sam White, marketing manager at CBD site Soul CBD.

“Each behavior group can look very similar to each other demographically and then act in very different ways,” White added. “Behavioral segmentation is what allows us to speak to each group in a way that makes sense with how they interact with the brand.”

Vivek Chugh, CEO of checklist app Listables, agreed data-driven segmentation has worked well so far because it allows Listables to tailor its messages and make sure it is getting it in front of the right people, so this segmentation will be a big part of marketing in 2020, too.

3. Let data drive your creative

According to Natalia Wulfe, CMO of digital marketing agency Effective Spend, platforms like Google and Facebook are taking control more control of audience targeting as they simultaneously move away from manual bidding capabilities. Meanwhile, their algorithms have become adept at understanding which ad images and copy will drive the best click-through and conversion rates.

“With these shifts, we’ve seen creative emerging as a serious performance driver, carrying equal weight to other key drivers like placement selection and audience targeting,” she said.

As a result, Effective Spend overhauled its creative design process to incorporate a data-first approach.

“We analyze the performance metrics of existing creative, identify where the gaps are, and then design new creative that directly impacts those poor performing metrics,” she added.

4. Invest in original research

One of the best marketing strategies of 2010 was investing in original research.

Tamas Torok, head of online marketing at Javascript development company Coding Sans, said Coding Sans has been publishing its own research on software development trends since 2017, and these reports have generated links from reputable websites and yielded thousands of subscribers.

“This strategy worked because we came up with something new,” he said. “New data attracted links and it was beautifully presented, which made people share it on social media.”

Coding Sans plans to publish at least three new reports with original research in 2020.

Matthew Zajechowski, outreach team lead at digital marketing agency Digital Third Coast, agreed using proprietary data to create long-form content with graphics has been an effective 2019 strategy, resulting in backlinks from thousands of high-authority publications.

“Publishers want new story angles to cover on a subject even if they’ve covered it a billion times before,” he added. “Having proprietary data allows us to have that unique angle and presenting it with graphics makes it easy for them to share. We look for writers and publications who cover that subject and present it to them as new research or a study.”

5. Update your content

And don’t forget the content you’ve already published.

In fact, Cyrus Yung, co-founder of SEO company Ascelade, said updating old content is a strategy that has served Ascelade well as Google has a freshness ranking factor and most sites eventually see content decay.

“They have old articles that have ranked well previously and have attracted backlinks, but the search traffic for that particular article is on a downward trend,” he said.

Mark Webster, co-founder of online marketing education company Authority Hacker, said 2019 was the year Authority Hacker focused on this tactic of refreshing older content instead of just pumping out new, high quality content.

“After some testing, we found that making simple updates and tweaks and, most importantly, changing the date of the article to represent the newest revision [made] our rankings instantly [jump] up,” he said. “It’s no secret Google prefers fresh content but we had not anticipated this to be such an easy win.”

What’s more, it’s cheaper to refresh old content, so Webster this small technique a “huge win.”

Jeroen Minks of PPC agency Vazooky Digital, too, called updating existing website content “one of the best and most successful marketing strategies that I [used] last year.”

“By going through each article and page individually and [updating] them, I have seen a big increase in organic rankings which have led to more website traffic and new customers,” he said. “Part of the content optimization was to involve other experts in my articles, which led to more external links and a better social media presence.”

6. Try subscribing to HARO

Another popular 2019 strategy was responding to queries from journalists on services like Help A Reporter Out (HARO), as they are constantly looking for experts in a range of fields.

In fact, Olga Mykhoparkina, CMO of chat platform Chanty, called answering HARO queries “by far the best marketing activity we’ve done this year”—more so than even guest blogging and fixing broken links.

That’s because Chanty gets an average of five to ten links a week by responding to relevant queries.

“We’ve come up with a methodology to pick the best and most relevant queries, send timely answers to them and, in the vast majority of cases, we’ve gotten backlinks from high authority websites,” she said. That list includes outlets such as American Express, Forbes, CMSWire, and Inc.com.

“As a result, we’ve grown our organic traffic and our domain authority has noticeably increased in a matter of just a few months,” she added.

Vartika Kashyap, marketing manager at project management software firm Proofhub, agreed, noting HARO has been a great source of authoritative backlinks and has helped boost content ranks.

“And do you know what the best part is?” asked Alexandra Zamolo, head of content marketing at communications platform Beekeeper. “It’s absolutely free. All it takes is a little bit of your time to craft a few well-written quotes every day that apply to your industry. How cool is that?”

7. Expand your guest blogging opportunities

Another way to expand your reach? Allow more people to create content for your brand through guest blogging. Pamela Bourgault, a digital marketing specialist at digital marketing and social media reporting platform DashThis, said DashThis has scaled its content strategy by allowing clients to contribute to its blog.

“This type of strategy is ideal for both of us since they can use this guest post contribution to leverage their expertise and we can use their knowledge to leverage our blog as a resource for relevant information and lead generation,” she added. “In most cases, these articles bring in a lot of organic traffic and promising leads for us. We have some articles that our clients have written that still to this day bring in over 200+ leads per month.”

8. Use more video (again)

Video remained a popular digital marketing tactic in 2019, and it’s a must marketing strategy for this year, too.

Stuart Leung, vice president of marketing for vaping brand Breazy, said videos forge stronger bonds with consumers, which, in turn, makes them more likely to purchase a product. Options include tutorials, testimonials and behind-the-scenes footage.

Case in point: Chris Savage, CEO of video software company Wistia, said Wistia has paid close attention to the rise of streaming platforms and has seen more and more businesses take a page from the Netflix playbook, creating longer-form original content to build brand affinity. That’s why Wistia created its own late-night-style talk show, Brandwagon.

“Throughout the series, I talk with some of the top minds in the marketing world to learn the secrets behind some of their biggest successes,” he said. “Plus, we welcome some unexpected special guests and our team even buys a ’91 wagon to transform into the ultimate Brandwagon along the way.”

Wistia used social media to advertise trailers and clips and allows viewers to binge watch the entire show, resulting in a steady increase in brand search volume and an increase in overall time spent with the brand, Savage said.

9. Livestream

Morgan Lathaen, marketing specialist at printing company Thumbprint, noted livestreaming was on the rise in 2019 and will continue to dominate in 2020 because it is free, takes a short amount of time to produce, reaches a broader target audience, and offers authentic user engagement.

“With that, live content has the ability to generate greater impressions than posts published in newsfeeds,” she added.

10. Try explainer videos

Another option for video content is explainers. That’s what Raj Vardhman, editor-in-chief of remote work resource GoRemotely.net, said his site opted to do in 2019 to make complex concepts easier to understand.

“The Google algorithm continues to favor websites with video content, which makes these incredibly important both for marketing and SEO,” he added.

Larissa Murillo, Marketing Manager at SEO and website marketing tool Marketgoo, said Marketgoo took this one step further by creating a course for online learning platform Udemy that was more educational than promotional.

“The idea behind this tactic was to build brand awareness of our SEO tool and use the course to teach basic SEO and how to use our tool to help with that effort,” she said.

While conceding the attribution for signups was tricky because students were typing in URLs rather than clicking on links, Murillo said another advantage was the videos were reusable in other capacities, like blog posts.

11. Host or join podcasts

Digital marketing consultant Ryan Scollon called podcasts “a real breakthrough in 2019” with a surge of shows in digital marketing in particular.

Marketers can appear as guests on established podcasts or start their own, both of which Scollon said offer huge benefits with few downsides.

“Podcasts are a great way at building a solid audience that returns every week without having to have your face in front of the camera,” he said. “It’s also a great way for repurposing content that you may already have on your blog.”

Stacy Caprio, the founder of Accelerated Growth Marketing, said appearing on podcasts has been one of her most effective marketing strategies of 2019 because it has driven site traffic and brand awareness.

“The trick is to go on … podcasts that have devoted audiences in your own niche, so the audience interest overlaps with your own,” she said. “This works well when the podcaster has a large audience that trust them implicitly and will take their interviewing of you as an endorsement that they want to check out on their own.”

12. Prioritize local SEO

According to Dan Rice, marketing manager at recruiting firm Talent Locker, the most effective strategy in 2019 was optimizing and prioritizing Google My Business, the free tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including search and maps.

“We have used this as part of a wide-ranging digital marketing campaign designed to raise awareness of the brand and brand name,” he said. “Through steadily producing posts, updates and actually helping drive people to our Google My Business listing, we have been getting strong results … it doesn’t just appear to be helping local SEO, it is also highly significant in driving searches on brand names, too.”

Digital marketing consultant Leslie Whittaker agreed, noting while most businesses have claimed a Google My Business listing, only a small percentage have optimized it. Plus, Google continually adds new features and many businesses aren’t even aware they exist, which means they are missing out on opportunities to drive leads.

“For business with a brick and mortar location, Google My Business is an essential marketing tool,” she said. “It’s the first place people turn when looking for a business, especially local businesses and it’s an easy way to increase leads in a short time.”

For example, by focusing on the Google listing, Whittaker said one client, a spa in Midtown Manhattan, saw a 398% increase in the number of times the listing appeared in Google searches, an 84% increase in phone calls and a 153% increase in traffic to the website. Another, a dermatologist with a new practice in Long Island and a new listing, has appeared 8900 times in search results and has received 280 site visits from said listing, along with 300 phone calls.

Erin Sparks, CEO of digital marketing firm Site Strategics, said the new real estate from Google, along with lead funnel functionality, shows it wants customers to interact with its properties first, which is why Google is giving businesses the tools to connect with said customers.

“From the Get a Quote functionality to Custom Service Menus to the relatively new Google Guaranteed Local Service Ads, it is clear that Google wants you to interact with the customer as quickly as possible with its tools,” he added.

13. Set up automated email marketing campaigns

Maciej Baranowski, manager of customer engagement at career advice website ResumeLab, said ResumeLab started automating its email marketing campaigns in 2019, which was a “resounding success.”

That’s because the company can send almost four times as many newsletters, which more than compensated for the initial drop in conversion rates.

“Ideally, we want both, but math tells us that the tradeoff was more than worth it and we’ve been surging ever since,” he said.

Automated email also allows for better customization with A/B testing, infographics, sequences, time zones and CTA buttons, as well as data-backed optimization.

“With each subsequent week, we’re getting smarter about what the ideal newsletter looks like,” Baranowski said. “In the end, the juice was more than worth the squeeze. The transition pains have yielded a much smoother, smarter and efficient approach that we look forward to fine-tuning further.”

14. Prepare for voice technology

Continuing a trend from prior years, voice search was once again on marketers’ minds in 2019.

That includes chatbots, which Paige Arnof-Fenn, CEO of marketing consulting firm Mavens & Moguls, noted cut costs and convert visitors into leads by answering FAQs, as well as optimizing for voice queries and long-tail keywords. Again.

Arnof-Fenn said the latter will be key to maximize marketing and advertising opportunities via voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant.

“I predict that the brands that perfect the branded skill with more customer-friendly [and] less invasive ads are going to win big,” she added.

Faizan Ali, who does PR for WordPress resource site WPBeginner, said adding semantics and optimizing content for voice searches yielded a lot of featured snippets for WPBeginner, which helped increase traffic by 37% in 2019.

What’s more, Alexander Kehoe, operations director of web design firm Caveni Digital Solutions, said Caveni is using natural language processing to assess the quality of its own human contributors and create more value for customers.

15. Test out augmented reality

Extending the personalization trend, Polly Kay, senior marketing manager at window treatment retailer English Blinds, said interactive content that allows customers to preview products paid off well in 2019.

For English Blinds, that means rolling out a tool for prospects to upload pictures of their home interiors to create window treatment designs to see how they’d look.

“This idea initially came from my seeing hair design websites in which women were able to upload a picture of their face and see how it would look with different hair styles overlaid to it,” she said. “This proved to be hugely successful for us during testing, for many reasons. The most obvious of these is that it enables people to see how one of our products will look in their home before paying the money and taking a chance, which of course helps to incentivize sales in and of itself.”

After a four-month trial of this Virtual Interiors tool, the brand decided to look closely at enabling additional interactivity in 2020.

16. Use smart bidding

According to Wulfe, Google and Facebook have also significantly expanded their AI-based ad targeting and bidding capabilities over the last year and her agency has adopted them across “at least 90% of our search and social ad campaigns.”

That’s because smart bidding options like Google’s Target CPA are able to learn quickly from past data to optimize ad spend toward top-converting search queries, ad creative, audiences, and demographic segments. To ensure the algorithms have as much data as possible, Effective Spend tracked all the important activities users do on clients’ sites and connected clients’ CRM data directly to each digital channel to tell the algorithm which conversions were junk and which ones became qualified leads and sales.

 

Blog Source: The 16 Best Marketing Strategies to Try in 2020

READ MORE +

5 Effective Digital Marketing Tips to try

digital marketing

Digital Marketing Tips

Promoting your business is much more difficult today than it was in 2009. Driving awareness for your brand is about to get more challenging thanks to the complexities of online search and social media. Thanks to digital marketing, you can level the playing field against the competition.

The tactics your business needs to win in 2020 are much different from a decade ago. Rand Fishkin is one of the top authorities in marketing, delivered a rousing keynote at NextCon19.

Rand founded Moz and SparkToro, and authored the new book Lost and Founder. He has been at the forefront of search marketing for more than 15 years. At NextCon19, he revealed insights, data, and recommendations for brands to succeed in search and social media.

During his keynote, he laid bare tips to succeed in digital marketing in 2020. Apply these digital marketing tips to increase your reach and conversions in 2020 and beyond.

  1. High Engagement Results in Greater Social Reach
  2. Beware of Google’s Rising Influence on Digital Marketing
  3. Create Business Models that Survive Digital Marketing Change
  4. Measure the Right Digital Marketing Metrics that Matter
  5. Build a Responsive and Loyal Email List

NextCon Studio Interview with Rand Fishkin

Alright, let’s dig in! You don’t want to miss these digital marketing tips you can apply to your business.

1) High Engagement Results in Greater Social Reach

Social media marketing has come a long way in just a few years. During his keynote, Rand shared three tactics to drive social media engagement:

  • Optimize for comments and engagement in 2020 if you want to succeed on social media.
  • If you post content with low engagement, social media platforms penalize the reach of future content. Conversely, you can use positive engagement streaks to drive traffic back to your website.
  • Facebook, Twitter, and Google craft their sorting algorithms to make users addicted. They want to maximize revenue from advertisers. All they care about is keeping users on the platform longer. That means content that keeps your audience on the platform performs best.

“Take advantage of these things now, while social influence is still possible,” Rand told the audience. “Three years from now, I’m sure the landscape will be much different.”

From a tactical level, it means you can’t simply post everything on social media. Be selective with your digital marketing campaigns. A series of misses limit the success of future content published by your brand.

Here’s a hot take I posted after Rand spoke at NextCon.

During his NextCon Studios conversation with Yaniv Masjedi, our chief marketing officer, Rand was candid about his mistrust of Google. He spoke about how the behemoth’s algorithm makes it harder for small companies to perform well with search engine marketing.

On a whim, Google can enter new verticals like travel, recipes, music, and erase the past success of top performers. Google’s interests go well beyond search.

“It was interesting watching the hearings this summer when multiple tech companies testified before Congress,” Rand said. “I remember watching one congressman tell Adam Cohen, Google’s director of economic policy, that Larry Page had once said Google’s mission was to get information to the end-user as fast as possible, and then ask Adam if that was still Google’s mission.”

“You could just see Adam crumble, provide a non-answer, and dodge the question. We all know the answer is no—that they want to keep people on Google because that is how they monetize their customers.”

He echoed this same sentiment in his keynote, explaining that while SEO is not dead, Google has taken away organic clicks via Featured Snippets and in-house products. They also rank videos on YouTube above competitors like Wistia in search.

Why should Google’s reach and size matter to you? As a marketer, this creates new opportunities. Unfortunately, digital marketing tactics of previous years no longer work as well. You need to always be willing to revisit your previously held assumptions, especially in digital marketing.

The Rise of Zero-Click Searches

 

Rand said he worries about the percentage of clicks that go to paid search versus organic search. In particular, zero-click searches are rising.

“If your business can benefit from providing zero-click searches, the world is your oyster,” Rand declared. If this sounds tempting, it’s because it can help you pierce through the noise by surfacing high-value excerpts to the top of Google.

For companies that have an interest in becoming an authority in their industry, this is helpful. However, this search engine optimization opportunity presents new challenges.

  • Can I benefit from this search query?
  • Can my team or client give credit for zero-click rankings?

If your answer is neither, then focus on keywords that do convert better. Ultimately, it means if you create value from search, you should pursue it.

3) Create Business Models that Survive Digital Marketing Changes

Rand rocketed to stardom in the marketing world with the success of Moz, ‘Whiteboard Fridays,’ and SparkToro. While those successes look simple from the outside, there were many bumps in the road. So many bumps, he decided to write about them in his book Lost and Founder.

“Lost and Founder is a guide for myself on things I should have done differently,” he told Yaniv during the NextCon Studios interview. “There is an idea that is popularized in the startup/tech world that venture capital is the end-all-be-all. That, if you build a great company, you will be interesting to a venture capitalist, and that interest will make you some sort of superstar.

“But if you noodle on that logic for just a few minutes, you will quickly see that message is just from the VCs and the tech press. The truth is, I think, VC kills more than it means to because there is so much pressure to grow quickly.”

Instead of focusing on rapid growth, Rand suggests entrepreneurs center their attention on profitability and survivability. No amount of digital marketing can save you from a broken business model.

4) Measure the Right Digital Marketing Metrics that Matter

On the topic of how businesses can do a better job marketing, Rand spoke about measurement. Specifically, the fallacy of influencer marketing.

He said while marketers put dollars toward a channel like influencer marketing, brand advertising, events, and sponsorships, they rarely track those dollars. Even worse, those activities tend to be loosely connected to a company’s overall mission, vision, and goals.

“But on the other side, when it comes to organic search, content marketing, and email marketing, a lot of marketers are obsessed with proving ROI value based on last-click,” he says. “It is madness to underweight measurement in one sector and overweight another sector. By doing that, you lose your ability to be creative and thoughtful in tactical channels.”

Gen-Z and Millennials are mired in influence marketing. While most influencer marketers exist on YouTube and Instagram, influence is found everywhere contended Rand.

As a digital marketing strategy, you wouldn’t want to target the largest influencers on the web. Instead, focus your efforts on the highest affinity and engagement instead of sheer size alone.

Great marketing happens when brands engage customers and trusted authority figures they care about. Figure out what content they engage with on organic channels. Earn quality brand exposure. Advertise to drive sales among those who are consuming those channels.

5) Build a Responsive and Loyal Email List

What is the single most tactical, undervalued, marketing channel? Email lists.

Companies can establish strength in search, but then Google can take away those channels with a new algorithm. The same goes for YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others. Not many digital marketing tactics have a 40:1 return on investment (ROI).

“But if you have someone’s email list, and they love getting emails from you, and they open it every time, you become hard to compete against,” Rand told Yaniv. “Strong email lists can build on themselves in a flywheel fashion the way few other practices can.”

Building a highly engaged email list in-house helps you achieve more successful marketing campaigns. Beyond the segmented audience itself, the group of contact can multiply digital marketing performance. Digital marketing tactics like retargeting enable your business to reach new prospects with similar characteristics later.

 

Blog Source: 5 Proven Digital Marketing Tips to Win in Search, Social, & Email

READ MORE +

Creating an Effective Ecommerce Website

ecommerce

Ecommerce Website Tips

With eCommerce booming, especially with stores closed amid the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important that your eCommerce website stands out. Customers are more likely to buy from a well-designed, navigable, up-to-date site.

Here are some tips to ensure your eCommerce website generates sales and encourages return customers.

Design and Branding

Visual appearance is important. The first thing users notice is design. If your site is overcrowded, confusing and out of date, customers are likely to look elsewhere. 93% of consumers consider design to be a key deciding factor in purchases. A simple, minimal layout will make your site visually appealing. If this isn’t your area of expertise, hire a website development professional or digital marketing agency. Investing in the design elements of your site will create a professional appearance for your brand.

Mobile Optimization: According to the Radicti Group, there are about 6.95 billion mobile users worldwide and growing.  In the last quarter of 2019, mobile devices generated 52.6% of global website traffic. In order to keep up with competition and stay modern, you need to make sure your site functions well when accessed via mobile.

Contact Forms and Chatbots: Shoppers can make online purchases in a couple of clicks. A big part of that is due to pre-programmed chatbots which help customers with basic issues and answer questions. Being able to get answers fast without dealing with an agent or waiting for an email is likely to encourage customers to buy.

Keep it Simple and Scannable

Generally, people don’t want to have to read through blocks of text while shopping online. Ecommerce is meant to be fast. If your site has too much going on, it could be distracting. The main purpose of your eCommerce website is to generate sales. It’s good to have information about your brand available, but make sure it’s not distracting from your products.

Navigation: A clear navigation menu allows customers to easily search your site and find what they’re looking for. Use drop-down menus to organize your navigation bar and prevent it from looking too crowded.

Search: People don’t want to spend a lot of time searching through hundreds of products, especially if they already know what they want. Your search feature should let customers filter results based on things like size, color, or price. If a potential customer can’t easily and quickly find what they’re looking for, they’re probably going to look elsewhere.

Use High-Quality Images

Clear photographs of products are essential. No one feels comfortable buying something that they can’t see first. High-quality images are an important investment that every ecommerce business needs to make.

Make it hi res: Images need to be high resolution. Blurriness and pixelation can make your business look unprofessional. If you’re selling clothes, invest in a professional photographer and models. If customers can see the clothes on actual people, they can better imagine them on themselves.

Testimonials and Reviews

Most online shoppers consult online reviews before deciding to buy a product. Reach out to your customers to follow up about their purchases. Ask for details about their experience. This valuable information helps you improve either way, and you can post positive feedback.

Honesty and Transparency: If you receive a negative online review, don’t ignore it. Instead, reach out and talk to the customer directly. Try to reach a solution. They will see you as trustworthy and reliable and will feel more assured that you will treat them with the same courtesy.

Social Media Proof: Most people are plugged into some form of social media. In fact, as of 2020,8 billion people worldwide have at least one social media account. Not only is social media marketing an important tool, but it also provides an opportunity for you to connect with your customers and provide real reviews. Social proof, such as testimonies from peers and celebrities, encourages browsers to purchase. When customers see that you have an active Facebook page with lots of positive reviews and followers, they’re more likely to trust you.

Shipping and Fulfillment

Offering fast, low-cost shipping options are super important. It’s best to partner with a reliable logistics and fulfillment service to ensure efficient shipping processes. Customers want to be able to track their orders and receive updates about exactly when they will receive it. A logistics company can equip you with the latest shipping technologies and many enable international shipping. If you sell on Amazon, an FBA fulfillment service can streamline the process and ensure that customers get their orders quickly.

An e-commerce website is a powerful tool for any small business, and yours needs to stand out. A well-designed, easy-to-use site is critical for converting visitors to customers.

 

Source: Tips for Creating an Effective Ecommerce Website

 

READ MORE +

16 Flooring Tips to Transform Your Home

Flooring

 16 Flooring Tips

Flooring is a major consideration in any home; it can set the tone of the room, inject personality and be a talking point, while all the time providing comfort underfoot.

Innovative designs, which include everything from reclaimed wood to jaw-dropping 3D-effect vinyl, mean that flooring no longer provides the backdrop to a room; it can now be the focal point.

We’ve hand-picked some of the most gorgeous designs and unique materials available in flooring which are guaranteed to give your interiors an inspiration twist.

A Quick Note on The Materials

Flooring choices have come a long way from simply choosing between carpet and floorboards. Now, there are a multitude of attractive and durable materials which will add the wow-factor and provide comfort.

Resin

Resin is made from a chemical interaction between two polymers which, when combined, ‘fuses’ with concrete, making one seamless layer. The result is an extremely tough floor which is also slip resistant.

Vinyl

Vinyl is rapidly overtaking linoleum as an attractive and practical flooring choice. Vinyl is also slip resistant and provides a warmer touch underfoot than stone or ceramic tile flooring.

Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed wood is one of the hottest flooring trends as it fits the ever popular vintage brief perfectly. Reclaimed wood flooring can come from a range of sources such as old wine crates, gym floors, former retail flooring or even wooden pallets. One of the most popular types of reclaimed flooring is parquet which often comes from gyms or schools.

Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles are the classic flooring choice, having been a staple throughout history, especially during Victorian times when they were first mass produced. Tiles used to be used mainly in hallways, bathrooms and kitchens but in today’s interior design, anything goes!

1. Create continuity between your outside space and indoor space to make your rooms seem bigger

If you have patio doors or bi-fold doors flooring is instrumental in ensuring continuity between your garden and your interior. Use decking outside and wooden boards inside and ensure they point in the same direction.

Even when the doors are closed, having similar flooring on your patio and your living room will help give the sense of the space being “projected” through the glass and make the inside space feel much larger.

Even if different materials are used or different colours, the alignment of the boards will help create a sense of flow.

2. Use ceramic tiles that imitate wood if you don’t want wood floor

If you don’t want wooden floors in your interior, there are ceramic tiles available which offer the look of wooden boards, but are available in different colours to add a pop of personality to the interiors.

The Graffiti range from Topps Tiles is a great example of how cleverly designed ceramic tiles can be used in place of wood to create an ultra-modern finish.

The Graffiti range from Topps Tiles

You can match other patterns of flooring as well as the elongated look of floorboards and decking. Parquet flooring inside the home, which has been laid in a square pattern, can be replicated outside the home with patio stones laid in a similar pattern. Even though the materials are different, the similar design will be enough to make a connection between the two spaces.

3. Use Vinyl (or even grass!) To Bring the Outdoors In

Strategically placing plants inside the home is the obvious way to bring the outdoors indoors, but you can enhance this further with your flooring. Vinyl flooring inside the home, which has elements of the great outdoors can help create a seamless flow between outdoors and indoors. The Grass range from Harvey Maria brings the lawn into the home and the design is actually inspired by the grass at Kew Gardens, so be assured it won’t be any old lawn you are introducing into your home!

3D Royal Flooring have developed resin floors which feature mind-bending 3D designs, which add a whole new dimension to flooring. Many designs can be incorporated into 3D floors. We like the natural elements of this stone and leaf effect, which is perfect to tie in with a stone and gravel patio design.

The Must Have Flooring Trends

The Trends:

  • Industrial
  • Retro
  • Classic
  • Shaker
  • Anything Goes!

Flooring is on the up in the style stakes and now demands as much attention as every other aspect of a home’s interior. Like all styles, flooring has its own trends and we spoke to industry experts to get their take on what’s hot.

4. Get an Industrial Look with Vinyl instead of Concrete

Mark Findlay, MD of vinyl flooring manufacturers Harvey Maria, recognises the trend for all things industrial, a theme which has been big in 2014, and how this can be transferred to flooring. Mark said, “The industrial trend has been a strong contender in interiors this year with concrete floors, furniture and accessories proving popular. Harvey Maria has three concrete-effect flooring options in a range of shades to complement your chosen colour scheme.”

The advantage of vinyl effect flooring over actual concrete flooring is that it’s much softer and warmer to the touch. If you were to opt for concrete flooring, then it’s important to have the surface properly sealed because if moisture is able to penetrate the surface, it can create mildew.

Industrial style interiors actually bring together a number of popular trends including metallics and vintage chic. Vinyl flooring enables a multitude of designs, including concepts inspired by vintage 1950s kitchens. Bright colours and retro designs create the ideal backdrop for a truly quirky room. You can mix and match the flooring with neutral or contrasting walls and even tie in your bi-folding doors, which come in a range of colours – check out our Pop Art and Retro ranges for colour inspiration.

5. Use Patterned Ceramic Tiles for a Retro Look

Ceramic tiles can also be used to embrace the industrial trend and the ever-popular retro trend. Retro patterns work fantastically well with industrial style furniture which incorporates metals and luxurious fabrics such as leather.

Tara Rees, Brand Manager at Fired Earth, believes that patterned ceramic tiles can work in every room in the house and retro inspired patterns would certainly make an impact in the living room. Tara said, “Tiles are playing a starring role in interiors, with a definite trend towards using them throughout the home rather than just in kitchens, bathrooms and hallways as we’ve traditionally tended to use them in Britain. With such an exciting array of colours, patterns and shapes to choose from, there are tiles for every style of home. There’s endless potential for getting creative, and bold geometric designs such as Fired Earth’s Trellis porcelain tiles are particularly popular at the moment”.

The versatility of tiles mean that they can be used in any part of the home as the designs available are limitless. You can even mix up a couple of different bold patterns to create a truly unique retro inspired design in your home.

Tiles lend themselves particularly well to traditionally styled interiors, which brings us onto another hot trend of the season – the classics.

6. Get Classic Style with Monochrome Tiles

Classically styled interior design take its influence from Europe’s grand homes, which match eclectic dark wood furniture covered in opulent fabrics with traditional heritage paints and patterned ceramic tile floors.

Patterns in monochrome are an ideal choice if you want a very traditional look with influences from the Victorian era. Black and white (or grey and cream) are a popular choice for kitchens and lend themselves very well to modern interiors as well.

Coloured tiles can also be used to inject a Mediterranean twist to a room with classic patterns and shades inspired by the country kitchens of Italy and Spain.

Anuraag Parashar, Tile Buyer at Topps Tiles said, “Decorative tiles in striking colours such as blues, greens and reds, make a statement in any room, and offer an immediate uplift for a tired room.Francisco Segarra tiles offer a nod to the Mediterranean with intricate detail and an encaustic effect. Produced using advanced digital printing techniques, the latest patterned tiles also benefit from being affordable and easy to fix.”
7. Use Reclaimed Flooring to get a Shaker Style

Keeping with the more traditional look, wooden floors have always been popular and with good reason, as they are attractive and add a real feeling of warmth to the home. The current trend in wooden floors is to use reclaimed wood which can come from a range of sources. This is obviously beneficial for the environment, but reclaimed flooring can also add a truly unique look to the home as no two floors will ever be alike. For a beautiful Shaker-style look, reclaimed wood with a driftwood inspired finish. The Cabana range from The Reclaimed Flooring Co creates a real feeling of romance as the wood features natural textures which look as though they have been carved by the sea.

If you don’t want to change your entire floor, then you can transform floorboards the easy way with a lick of paint and still embrace the Shaker style. Plain white floorboards can instantly lift a room and if these seems like it might be a little dull, then simply add a touch of different colours to highlight certain areas such as fireplaces or even paint a rug effect onto the floor. Farrow and Ball paint is specially designed for floors and as it’s hard-wearing, it can last for many years, or you can update your design whenever you like to keep your interiors fresh.
8. Reclaimed Wood Doesn’t have to just be Floorboards

Reclaimed flooring doesn’t have to be simple floorboards, and the more unusual the place the wood is reclaimed from, the more unique the design. Junckers manufacture sports and dance flooring, which Glasgow based flooring specialists McKay Flooring stock as reclaimed wooden flooring, complete with the original court marks. When this wood is relayed, it creates a colourful, distinctive pattern.

9. Try Parquet Flooring for a Splash of Colour

If you want a look which brings even more colour into your flooring, then try coloured parquet flooring, either with colour throughout the room or with little touches here and there. McKay Flooring also stock parquet flooring which has been reclaimed from Selfridges department store, and the bright yellow trademark Selfridges shade will really bring the sunshine to any room.
10.Get Statement Flooring with the Versalitiy of Vinyl

Vinyl flooring really comes into its own when it comes to unusual designs as pretty much any image you can think up can be transferred onto your floors. Murafloor specialise in patterned vinyl flooring and their design ranges from maps of the world to Lichtenstein inspired pop art. Richard Wilde, Murfloor MD, comments on the endless design possibilities of vinyl. Richard said, “Traditionally, the flooring industry has been about mass volume production, where you just select a product from the list of existing designs. I find that incredibly dull, and I think these days people want customisation and the ability to personalise their interiors. Printed flooring opens up a new opportunity to with flooring which was a previously untouched space.”

11. Do it Yourself

Looking for a truly one-off look? Then it’s time to roll your sleeves up and dig out your toolbox. The trend for customisation has spread to flooring and personalising your floors with a little DIY is a guaranteed way to create the wow factor in your home. There is a multitude of ideas and tutorials online to inspire you. We’ve picked a couple of our favourites below.Give your room the glamorous make over with a glittery gold concrete floor. Want to try yourself? Head over to Crafty Chica for a full tutorial.Unique and recycled flooring made from bottle caps. Photo by Miro Dvorscak

Bi-fold Door Flooring 5 Point Check List

  1. Continue the style of materials from the inside outside. The materials don’t need to match, but the design should be similar and replicate any pattern.
  2. Opt for bi-folds with even threshold designs. This will minimise accidents from people tripping, and prevents a barrier being created between the two spaces.
  3. Make the most of the view by choosing bi-folding doors with slim profiles to maximise the glazing space. Origin’s aluminium bi-fold doors boast slim sight lines yet are extremely strong and secure, giving you the maximum amount of glazing and the ultimate sense of space without compromising on security.
  4. Introduce low levels plants around the doorway both inside and out to draw the eyes between the spaces.
  5. Light the way with floor spotlights to bring both spaces together with light.

source: 16 Flooring Tips, Tricks and Ideas to Transform Your Home

READ MORE +

Floor Remodeling Tips and Tricks

Floor

Floor Remodeling Tips

Why not get the best floor home improvement tips from the best in the Bronx?

Jimmy Lanzetta, the owner of Morris Park Floor, has been in the floor business for 47 years so he usually assures customers not to worry if they dread replacing the worn-out carpet in their home or if they don’t like the idea of installing their own hardwood floor.

He likes to remind anxious homeowners that his professional team can help them with every aspect of their new floors, from selection to installation — so they don’t have to worry about the heavy lifting or hard choices themselves.

“There’s not that many floor covering stores around.” He told thisistheBronx. “If you go into one of these big box stores, you can’t even get help there. At least if you go into our flooring store, we’ll acknowledge people when they walk in and we talk to them and guide them in the right place. If you go to a chain store, they don’t care. They really don’t care what you buy.”

Here are top ten tips on floor remodeling and maintenance straight from the Morris Park Flooring experts themselves!

1. Always order at least 10% more than is needed for the job.

Not having enough supplies ready for your installer may cause the installers to charge extra money in order to go out and buy more flooring. Having more materials than needed will save time and money.

2. Choose quality carpet backing for your carpet.

When buying carpet, remember that the quality of the padding is important and is always going to matter. Just as a building needs a solid foundation to be sturdy, your carpet needs a layer of quality padding to provide support, strength, and some extra cushioning.

So part of choosing a new carpet for your home is considering the carpet backing as well. This will help both to form the carpet’s structure and also to protect the carpet from moisture, bacteria, and mold that might seep up through the subfloor.

Note: Europeans had started to import carpet weavers from the Middle East around 1300 AD. In 1801, a device was invented by Joseph M. Jacquard that used punch cards to place up to six different yarn colors in textiles, which helped increased production.

3. Consider Engineered Wood For Durability.

You might have heard about ‘engineered wood.’ This isn’t strictly a hardwood option, but it does offer strength and durability. Engineered wood is a coated amalgamate with multiple layers of wood and epoxy. The top layer is a hardwood or another decorative wood option.

Unfortunately, some parts of people’s homes aren’t able to have solid hardwood floor because of moisture. For those who want the beautiful look of a hardwood floor in an area that’s too moist, engineered wood offers a great alternative that won’t warp. Engineered wood is real wood that is manufactured using different types of wood veneers.

4. If you’re trying to get a rental house in shape fast for incoming tenants, use carpet.

When you’re trying to get a rental house in shape for tenants, carpet is often your fastest option. Since carpet can typically be installed much more quickly than other types of flooring, you’ll have less turnaround time between tenants.

5. Carefully select the wood color to make your home look more spacious.

Lighter wood planks and stone tiles bring a fresh, spacious feel to living spaces and can help brighten up the darker areas of your home with fewer windows [and less natural light], while mid-wood planks and stone tiles can be a good match to neutral color schemes as well as adding warmth. If you want to add rich depth and a bit of luxury to your space, darker wood tones and stones will help you get just the look you’re going for.

6. Make your hardwood floors pet-proof.

Did you know that not all types of hardwood floor are pet-friendly? It’s important to choose a wood with at least three coats of urethane or polyurethane finish to prevent your pet from scratching the wood.

7. Hardwood floors are probably the best value.

Hardwood is the longest-lasting, most sustainable floor option available to homeowners. It’s also growing in popularity and can add a significantly large value to the home.

8. Steam your carpet properly to remove dents from heavy furniture.

Has heavy furniture left depressions in your carpet? Try holding a steam iron close enough for the steam to reach the carpet, but don’t let the iron actually touch the carpet. Lift fibers by scraping them with the edge of a coin or spoon.

9. If you choose two tile colors, it can look more decorative.

One of the best aspects of tile is how easy it is to create intricate designs and patterns. By simply choosing a second color of tile to mix in, your room will have added interest.

For depth of color and natural appeal, nothing beats stone tile. Granite, marble and slate are all popular today, and though they require some maintenance, the rich appearance of natural stone is unmistakable.

Porcelain is one of the strongest tile materials available on the market. It’s usually a bargain, too. It is typically less expensive than natural stone, but is lighter and stronger (and less prone to cracking) than stone. It’s also a stain resistant option.

10. Tiles can be bacteria resistant and easier to clean.

Unlike other floor materials, tile is a naturally bacteria resistant surface. It cleans easily and provides an inhospitable environment for the growth of mold, mildew, allergens and bacteria. When a tile floor is clean, it’s really clean.

READ MORE +

Installing Laminate Flooring Properly Tips

Flooring

8 Installing Laminate Flooring Properly Tips

Plastic laminate first came to prominence back in the 1940s and 50s as a popular kitchen countertop material. But by the late-1980s it was beginning to fall out of favor as homeowners began replacing old plastic laminate counters with granite or solid-surfacing materials. To survive, the plastic laminate industry needed a renaissance, which came in the mid-1990s with the introduction a revolutionary new product: plastic-laminate flooring.

Though it was first met with quite a bit of skepticism, builders and homeowners soon discovered that plastic-laminate flooring was extremely durable, highly stain-resistant, affordable, and quick and easy to install. And it came in dozens of wood-grain patterns and colors that mimicked the look of real wood. Today, plastic laminate flooring remains popular and every major flooring manufacturer offers a line of laminate flooring.

One of the advantages of a plastic-laminate floor is that it’s installed using the floating-floor method. The planks aren’t fastened down with nails or glue. Instead, the tongue-and-groove planks are snapped together and then laid, or “floated,” over a thin rubber underlayment. This method is one of the quickest, easiest ways to install a new floor, making it perfect for do-it-yourselfers. It typically takes about 4 hours to install laminate flooring in a 10- x 12-foot room. And once you snap in the last plank, you’re ready to install the shoe molding and carry in the furniture. There’s no time required for sanding, staining or varnishing.

If you’d like to install your own laminate floor, here are a few tips and tricks that can help ensure you end up with a neat, professional-looking job.

Prep the Room

If you’re working in a small- to medium-size room, it’s best to carry out all the furniture. For larger rooms, you can simply move everything to one side of the room, lay half of the flooring, then move the furniture onto the new floor, so you can continue laying flooring across the room.

Next, check to see if the room has quarter-round shoe molding running along the base of the baseboard molding. If it does, you’ll need to remove it before laying down the new floor. But leave the baseboard molding in place. Pry up the shoe molding using a thin pry bar, such as a hive tool, but be careful not to damage it; you’ll need to replace the shoe molding after installing the plastic-laminate floor. And here’s why:

Laminate flooring expands and contracts with humidity, so it’s important to leave an expansion gap—usually ¼ to 3/8 inch wide—between the baseboard molding and the flooring. The shoe molding will cover that gap and allow the plastic-laminate planks to move undisturbed and unnoticed. Important: When nailing the shoe molding back into place, be sure to nail it to the baseboard, not to the flooring.

Now, it is possible to lay laminate planks over some types of old flooring, including sheet vinyl and wood, but it’s always best to remove the existing floor to gain access to the subfloor beneath.

Trim the Doorways

To ensure the new laminate planks fits neatly around doorways, it’s necessary to trim the door casings and side jambs so the planks can slip underneath. This may seem like a hassle, but it’s much easier than trying to notch the flooring around the doorways.

Start by laying a piece of the rubber underlayment in front of the casing, then set a piece of plastic-laminate flooring on top. This will serve as a guide, making it easy to trim away the exact right amount of wood. Next, handsawor oscillating multi-tool to cut flush across the top of the flooring and through the casing. Repeat to trim the remaining casings and side jambs. Then vacuum up all the dust and debris.

Prep the Subfloor

With the old flooring removed, now’s the perfect time to silence any squeaks in the subfloor. Slowly walk around the entire room, listening for any squeaks. If you hear any, use a cordless drill or, better yet, a cordless impact driver, to drive 2-inch drywall screws through the subfloor at each noisy spot. And whenever possible, drive the screws into a floor joist below.

If there are any wide cracks, voids or holes in the subfloor, fill them with wood putty or self-leveling compound.

Roll Out the Underlayment

Laminate flooring is supported by a thin rubber underlayment, which forms a moisture barrier and adds a cushioning layer beneath the plastic-laminate planks. It also helps deaden sound. There are a few different types of underlayment available, so be sure to use the kind recommended by the flooring manufacturer. It typically comes in 3- to 5-foot-wide rolls in various lengths.

Roll out the underlayment from wall to wall, and trim it to length with a sharp utility knife.

Roll out and cut the next length, then butt it against the first piece of underlayment. Don’t overlap the edges and don’t staple or tape the underlayment to the subfloor. Just butt the strips together and put masking tape across the seams to prevent the underlayment from shifting out of position.

Install the First Row of Flooring

Before installing the floor, it’s important first to calculate the width of the flooring planks in the very first row and in the very last row. That’s necessary for a couple of reasons: First, the floor will look much better—and more balanced—when the first and last rows are approximately the same width. And more importantly, it’s critical that neither row be less than half the width of one full plank. Here’s how to do the necessary calculations:

Measure the width of the room and subtract 3/4 inch for the expansion space (3/8-inch gap along each wall). Then divide by the room width by the width of one plank. That’ll give you the number of full-width planks needed to cover the floor, plus the fractional width of any remaining plank. If the remaining width is less than half a plank, you must use a table saw or circular saw to rip down the flooring in the first row so that the last row will be at least half a plank wide. Sound confusing? It isn’t really. Here’s an example:

Let’s say the room is 123 inches wide, and the plastic-laminate planks are 7½ inches wide. Subtract 3/4 inch from 123, then divide by 7½ to get 16.3. That reveals that you’ll need 16 full planks to cover the room, plus 3/10ths of a plank. So, if you start the first row with full planks, the last row would be only 2-1/4 inches wide, which is 3/10ths of a plank. In this case, it would be necessary to rip 2 5/8 inches off the first row so that the first and last rows would each be 4 7/8 inches wide. Get it?

When setting down the first row of planks, be sure the edge with the tongue faces the wall, and the grooved edge faces out into the room.

Use a Tapping Block

The laminate planks fit together with tongue-and-groove joints, which snap together. But in most cases, you’ll still need to close up the joints using a hammer and tapping block. Never hammer directly on the edge of the plank or you’ll crush it, making it impossible to install the next plank. Also, be sure to use the tapping block when striking the ends of the planks to close up the end-butt joints.

You can make your own tapping block from a scrap piece of hardwood, but you’ll get much better results from a tapping block specifically made for laminate flooring. The tapping blocks are made from super-tough plastic that will easily last throughout the job. You can buy the tapping block from the flooring dealer.

Cut the Planks

You can use virtually any carpentry tool— including a power miter saw, portable circular saw, jigsaw, or even a handsaw—to crosscut plastic-laminate planks to length. And don’t worry if the cuts aren’t perfect, the shoe molding will conceal them. However, sawing through the planks creates a lot of super-fine dust because the core of the flooring is made from medium-density fiberboard (MDF). So, consider renting a manual laminate-flooring cutter, which resembles a giant, guillotine-style paper cutter. Its long handle provides the necessary leverage to quickly and quietly slice through the planks without creating much dust. And if you use the manual cutter, you can work right in the room without creating a mess of sawdust.

As you work your way across the room, be sure that all cut ends of the planks go against the wall, never in the middle of the floor. Don’t cut any plank shorter than 12 inches, and stagger end-butt joints from one row to the next by at least 6 inches, though 12 to 18 inches looks better.

Install the Last Row

The easiest way to install the last row of flooring is to first snap together all the planks end-to-end. Then tilt the entire row into place against the next-to-last row. Align the tongue-and-groove joint, and press down on the last row. If necessary, slip a pry bar between the last row and baseboard. Slide a thin piece of plywood or hardboard behind the pry bar to protect the baseboard, then apply pressure to force the joint closed.

READ MORE +

10 Responsible Pet Care Tips Owners Should Read

pet care

As a pet parent, you want to do everything you can to care for your pet; this involves regular, everyday activities to ensure they stay happy and healthy. Practice these ten responsible pet care tips year after year for a lifetime of happy and healthy cats and dogs.

1. Veterinarian Visits

Responsible pet care ownership starts with regular visits to the veterinarian. Given their shorter-than-human lifespan, your dog or cat should be getting a checkup at least once or twice a year. Depending on your pet’s vaccination schedule, they may go more frequently when they’re young, but establishing and maintaining good pet care health means keeping up with vet visits as they age.

Trips to the vet can be, shall we say, challenging. Cats, in particular, may be averse to leaving the comfy confines of their home, but there are ways to reduce stress for both of you. Acclimating your cat to her carrier when she is a kitten is good practice (and avoids the running-away-and-hiding-under-the-bed scenario). Dogs tend to like going for car rides. Take your pup on joyrides, so he won’t associate getting into the car with going to the vet. And many pets don’t mind a trip to the veterinarian’s office, especially if you choose a vet that’s a good fit for your little friend.

2. Vaccinations

Vaccinating your pets is a vital component of responsible pet care. Soon after welcoming your new pet into your home, schedule an immunization appointment. During your first visit, the vet will set up an immunization schedule for your little pup or kitten to protect them from illness and disease. Vaccinations for puppies should happen early in your puppies first few weeks after you bring him home. Talk to your vet at your first appointment, on when a good time to schedule that visit. They help prevent diseases such as rabies, Lyme disease, and distemper. Cats benefit from vaccines that prevent feline herpes virus, feline leukemia, and rabies. If you’ve adopted an adult or senior animal, make sure they are immunized, too. Vaccinations do need renewal and aren’t just for young pets.

3. Proper Identification

If the unthinkable happens and your little guy or gal gets lost — youngsters in particular are prone to dashing out the door — having proper identification is the key to a happy ending. Start with the basics: a safe collar, and a tag that contains all of your contact information. In addition to an ID tag, microchipping your pet is advisable, because there’s always the chance a collar will fall off. The microchip, an electronic device about the size and shape of a grain of rice, is implanted under your pet’s skin and can be read by a scanner that pulls up your identification information. A combination of these forms of identification will go a long way to reuniting you and your beloved pet, but only if you keep your contact information up-to-date. Be sure to change your information on file with the microchip if you have a change in address or phone number.

4. Spaying/Neutering

Sterilizing your pet prevents a host of health problems, including complicated pregnancies, and reduces the number of homeless animals. Spaying your kitty (removing the uterus and ovaries) greatly reduces her risk for cervical cancer, eliminates the risk of ovarian cancer, and prevents her from going into “heat.” That minimizes the chance that she’ll stray from home in search of a partner, and any nearby male cats will be less aggressive (and they won’t spray to mark their territory, something that benefits you and your furniture). Neutering your puppy helps alleviate aggression and roaming the neighborhood, and will prevent him from getting testicular cancer. Because spaying or neutering is surgery that requires general anesthesia, your pet will likely stay overnight at the vet’s office for at least one night for observation and recuperation.

5. Healthy Food

Two connected elements of responsible pet ownership include providing animals with fresh, cool water and healthy food at all times. The right pet food will enrich your best buddy’s life, providing them with the energy and nutrients they need. With so many meal options to choose from, it can be daunting, but you can become adept in no time by familiarizing yourself with important ingredients and how they help your pup or kitty. When choosing the best cat food, look for a good balance of protein, carbs and fats. These are important ingredients for dog food, too, as is plenty of fiber for the digestive system. In addition to healthy ingredients, select a pet food formula that is appropriate for your pet’s age, health conditions and activity level, and speak to your vet before switching your pet to a specialized food.

6. At-Home Care

As your pets’ caretaker, your job is to provide them with good hygiene habits at home as well as at the vet’s or groomer’s. Brushing their teeth, combing their coats and providing them with healthy food all keeps them in tip-top shape. To stay on track with responsible pet care, schedule hygiene and grooming tasks in your calendar and try combining tasks, such as a comforting comb after trimming nails, until it becomes routine.

7. Comfy Quarters

As the seasons change or you rearrange your living space, take a look around to see that you’re providing your pet with a safe, cozy habitat. Dog bed looking a little flat? Buy your pup a new one. Litter box area not cutting it anymore? Spruce up your kitty’s bathroom with a new box and scoop. This also is a good time to check for potential hazards. Look for exposed cords or wires (young animals find these to be great chew toys), secure safety gates, repair loose windows or screens and remove any plants that are poisonous to your pet.

8. Training and Socializing

One of the most important aspects of responsible pet care is ensuring your dog or cat is well-trained, and proper socializing is a part of that. Starting when they’re young is best and most effective, but it’s never too late to learn new tricks. Toilet training is the number one priority for any animal with whom you share your home, as is working on obedience training. Learning socialization skills will help your puppy or kitten bond with you and with other pets. Ask your vet or local animal shelter for recommendations for good trainers in your area or at-home training guides to read. A well-trained pet is a happy pet, and that translates to a happy pet parent.

9. Following Dog Park Rules

Taking your dog outside to play is one heck of a good time, and, being the social creatures they are, dogs love a good romp outdoors. If you decide to take your pup to a dog park, abide by the posted rules. Proper dog park etiquette, such as bringing your own toys and not bringing in food, keeps everyone safe, especially if a dog is aggressive or under-socialized. Bring along treats for afterward to reward your guy for his good behavior. Vets also recommend that you wait until your dog is at least four months old before bringing him to the dog park to ensure he’s vaccinated before being exposed to other animals.

10. Safe Playtime

It’s no secret that dogs and cats love to play, and it’s an effective relationship-building activity. Take stock of their toys. Are they safe? Be mindful of threadbare stuffed toys that pose choking hazards and hard, sharp edges that could cause injury. Throw away and replace playthings that are worn out. Making DIY cat toys and dog toys is a great, inexpensive way to bring even more fun to pet parenting!

Remember, these tips aren’t applicable just during pet holidays — make them part of your regular pet parenting role, and you and your pets will reap the benefits for a lifetime!

source: 10 Responsible Pet Care Tips

READ MORE +