Often, people begin their online marketing efforts as a part time gig, with the transition of moving as soon as possible to fulltime self-employment. Unfortunately, as time goes on, far too many people find themselves exactly where they started out: Coming home from a necessary day job they don’t particularly enjoy, and working on their online marketing for a few hours for a little “extra income.”
While this is a happy medium for some people, many others will become frustrated. Here are a few ways you can change your approach to your online marketing entrepreneurship efforts in order to finally make the transition into working for yourself full time.
1) ‘A few hours’ won’t cut it: Let’s face it, if you went to work for ‘a few hours’ each day, your boss would have a talk with you before long. Think of how long it would take for a business to reach profitability if every employee cut down their 8 or 9 hours to 2 or 3 each day. Somehow, people expect this approach to work in building their own businesses from home. At best, they underestimate the amount of time it will take to compound the effects of a few hours per day into a fulltime income. The people who will break away from this mode don’t shy away from the hustle, and know that they need to essentially be working fulltime hours on their marketing efforts to quickly get them to a livable scale.
2) Get serious about your customers. Many online marketers like to talk about their ‘clients’ or their ‘projects’ but remember that, at its core, the success of your business is a direct result of how well you interact with your customers. ‘The customer is always right’ should apply, because you’re a small business. People find it too easy to get caught up in ‘working for themselves’ and don’t take the time to be respectful and appreciative of everyone who is kind enough to hand them over money for a service or product. Stay humble, even when you’re kicking butt.
3) Get outside of the norm. In your communication channels, consider working on some new angles that are less crowded and also less expensive to engage with (if you go the route of paid advertising). For example, properly working your content into reddit or Stumbleupon can offer a massive return on your time if done correctly. While most marketers are chasing burnt out and overvalued approaches, you’ll be sitting on the secret sauce.
4) Finally, get disciplined. Have a routine for everything. If you’ve got just your evenings to grow a business with, you need to be efficient. This means making a schedule for your tasks and sticking to it. It means working to ensure that tasks don’t drag into others (checking and responding to emails is a big one!). And, above all else, it means testing and drilling down into the actions that are driving the most results, and focusing your time on those.
Remember, if you want to have a business, don’t work on a side project.
Marketers, we need to have a talk. For the past few years, the cost per click of Google Adwords, and now Facebook’s newsfeed ads and promoted posts, have been climbing. It makes sense that as platforms have become more and more known to marketers and the public in general, more people have tried to take advantage of them, and they’re become more competitive. For some markets, certain keywords and audience targeting may still be viable on these networks, but many small businesses and entrepreneurs will find themselves boxed out of these networks by costs of per click sometimes into the double digit dollars. Ouch.
Instead, here are a few networks that are off the beaten path but can offer a great ROI for those willing to take the time to explore them.
Bing: Bing has been laughed off as a search engine in lieu of Google’s massive marketshare when it comes to search traffic. That said, their ad product can actually offer a decent volume of traffic at a fraction of the cost. This is partly because they’ve partnered up with other smaller search engines (like Yahoo), and ads run through the Bing ad manager will also show up on those networks. In general, you can secure the same keywords for less by using Bing if Adwords is pricing you out. Plus, their support is excellent, especially when compared with the sped of Google’s, and livechat means you can always get clarity on ad performance, no matter where you are in the world or what time it is.
Reddit: Reddit is an odd duck. Many people have been scared off from using this platform because they’ve offended a deeply defensive community. Reddit avoids promotion as much as possible, and people catch on quick when it becomes apparent that someone is posting their specialty forum or ‘subreddit’ with the express intention of promoting their brand or hawking a product. That said, reddit gives marketers the ability to pay for a link to remain at the top of a subreddit for as much time as you’re willing to pay for – and lucky for marketers that value is grossly underestimated right now, meaning you can get impressions and clicks dirt cheap. We’re talking advertisements that get 15,000 impressions for $10. If you’re writing effective ads that get even a few clicks, you’re already getting a lower cost per click than just about any platform available for mainstream marketing.
Other honorable mentions include things like Stumbleupon, where promoted content can go viral for no additional cost, and retargeting using the Bing display ad network. These are far from your only choices, but they’re a good starting point to get the wheels turning about how you might be able to leverage networks outside of the ones that grace headlines every other day. Of course, the same principles apply when keeping careful track of your ROI and split testing your ad creative to make sure you’re getting the best return possible.
It’s no secret that the folks over at Apple have always been a little jealous of Google’s dominance as the Internet’s top search engine. But the iCompany has been bogged down with too many product launches and keeping the company strong in the wake of Steve Jobs’ death to do anything about it.
Word on the street is that Apple’s search deal with Google is going to expire soon and when it does, the search engine default on the Safari browser that comes with every Apple computer, iPhone, iPad (and now iWatch) is going to be up for grabs. And you just know that Bing or Yahoo (or every other search engine for that matter) would love to have that particular piece of business.
There’s even speculation that Apple may have its own search engine in development. After all, the company has a long history of vertical integration.
Dumping Google Could Have Big Consequences
RKG’s Mark Ballard has stated that “roughly half of total paid search traffic (is) at stake in 2015 if the Safari search default is really up for grabs across devices.” That could have huge consequences that would be felt throughout many industries.
It also could lead to a big drop in Google’s value. Imagine what would happen to Google if Apple were to drop its search engine from its devices. For one thing, Google would experience an immediate (and permanent?) drop in the amount of mobile traffic, market share and paid clicks it currently has. According to StatCounter, Safari’s presence on Apple-based desktops and mobile devices accounts for slightly less than 26% of all US Internet traffic. That’s more than IE. Only Chrome has a larger share.
Another Player Waiting in the Wings?
Meanwhile, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer has publicly stated that she would like her company to be the default search engine for Apple.
And Bing already does the searches for Siri on mobile devices and for Apple PC’s Spotlight searches. That could mean that if Apple is planning on dropping Google, because it already has a working relationship with Bing, it may put their search engine at the top of their list of candidates.
There’s also a lot of speculation about a recent job posting from Apple for an “engineer projection manager” for its “Apple Search” department. That’s a pretty strong indicator that Apple is at least considering getting into the search engine business.
Here’s what the job posting says:
“Apple seeks a technical, driven and creative program manager to manage backend operations projects for a search platform supporting hundreds of millions of users. Play a part in revolutionizing how people use their computers and mobile devices. Manage operations projects that support groundbreaking technology and the most scalable big-data systems in existence.”
Now, that may sound as if Apple is announcing the launch of its own search engine, but it also could just be a bluff to improve its negotiating position with Google, Bing, Yahoo or another player.
Does Apple Still Have the Guts to Pull Off Such a Huge Move?
There’s no question that Apple under Tim Cook is a much different company than Apple under Steve Jobs (both times). The days of launching industry-changing products is in the past for Apple. So the best bet right now would be that Apple will keep its relationship with Google.
But there’s always the chance that Google may want to pull out of its deal with Apple. After all, the search monsters pays Apple a reported billion dollars per year in revenue sharing for its deal with the mobile Safari.
Stay tuned to for the next episode in this high stakes corporate Internet soap opera.
Have you ever wondered what the most popular reasons are that people leave websites? Recently, Kissmetrics put out some very interesting data and numbers that should help every marketer out there understand their viewer behavior just a little bit better.
Poor Navigation and Layout
If your website is poorly designed and difficult to navigate, people will leave it. Quickly. Don’t make this mistake and be sure to use logical and intuitive design when planning your layout. The main navigation links should be across the top or down the left of your screen. All pictures should be clear and related directly to the site, telling a story or providing information. Your text shouldn’t contain confusing links which are vaguely labeled and buried in the main body. Additionally, always add a sitemap.
Have you ever gotten to a site and had pop-up ad after pop-up ad? Or Flash ads or content that fills the entire screen which leaves you searching for dozens of little “X” buttons on the boxes every few seconds? Horrible. This is why people leave sites: too many ads. Never let an ad be the first thing to welcome your visitor to your site. They shouldn’t be obtrusive or cover up a portion of the content as if to say, “You’re only allowed to read that after you pay attention to this ad!” Keep it tasteful, relevant and as always, make sure your ads are much, much smaller than your content, otherwise you look like a spam site.
Horrid Structure of Content
If your site is a jumbled mess of content where nobody can find what they are looking for, watch your bounce rate climb through the roof! There should be a logical flow to your content as it draws visitors deeper into your sales funnel at each step. Keep content that should be together all on one page, not scattered over three or four. Group similar content together to make it easy to navigate deeper into the subject matter. Highlight keywords and don’t forget subheadings in bold.
Automatic Audio and Video
People can find a video on your page if they want to. They don’t need you to auto-play content and possibly blow their eardrums out if they have headphones in, wake up the baby if they forgot to turn the speakers off or slow-down their loading process with ski—pp—ing—spee—ch—pa-tt-er—ns. Give them the option to start the audio or video themselves, or at the very least, start the volume very low and give the user a quick option to exit the audio or video without exiting the website.
You’ve been Googling for half an hour, you’re about to lose your mind—finally, you find the product you’re looking for, get on the site and BAM! A registration requirement pops up acting as a physical barrier between you and the pot of gold. You consider signing up but you will not give into this type of bullying! You hop in your car and drive off to the store to buy the product, happy that you defeated the evil internet for at least today. Yeah, don’t be that website. At least offer a little preview or demo first so they can see what you’re offering before you twist their arm.
As you can see, an intelligently designed and well-written and thought-out website can eliminate a lot of high bounce rates that are out there. If your product or service is great, give it a chance to
speak for itself. Don’t lose the war before the battle even begins!