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Are You a Bookkeeper Who Needs More Clients? Want My Advice?

FINDING PROSPECTS AND converting them into clients involves selling and most of us hate doing it, but wait…

If you are a bookkeeper, selling online MYOB training courses to your clients could be the perfect complement to your business.
If you are a bookkeeper, selling is as important to you as it is to, say, a real estate agent.

For those of us in small business, be it as a bookkeeper, real estate agent, sales rep or the like, most of us are selling every day of our lives.

This means we get pretty good at it. We develop techniques that we can replicate and that become part of our daily lives.

The process of selling is really no longer about selling per se; it becomes about a systemised process of:

  • sourcing new leads (using content marketing, networking and advertising)
  • educating those leads about their services (using websites, social media, white papers, property reports)
  • understanding whether the lead would in fact be a good buyer or potential client (using face-to-face meetings, phone conversations and emails)
  • closing the sale (via offer and acceptance, funds transfer, receipts and after sales support).

With the growing power of modern cloud-based technologies, more people are taking the plunge to start their own businesses, but people who do so must constantly:

  • stand out from their competitors (say, other bookkeepers) to get discovered by people needing help with their books, either remotely or in their home/office
  • do an efficient job in managing their schedule and dealing with clients, and
  • market their services effectively.

Content Marketing takes the “salesy” out of selling

I’ve written a lot about content marketing lately because content marketing is simply imperative for anybody looking to sell their products and services and source new clients.

The beauty of content marketing is that, as a system to source new leads, you can cover all the steps of the selling process without it seeming like a chore and, best of all, without feeling “salesy”, cheesy or inauthentic. It’s focus is about the potential client — it’s about providing them with relevant information that will benefit them — not ramming a sales pitch down their throat.

Good sales people realise that sales and the very process of selling is not about just “closing” a sale. Rather, it’s about understanding what the customer needs, seeing if your product is a good fit and then offering a solution to a customer’s problem.

content marketing is most of the new sales funnel for real estate agentsHow much of sales is Content Marketing?

To this end, content marketing is about 80% of the selling process or 80% of the sales funnel (as corporate sales people like to call it).

This is because content marketing involves information gathering; it involves seeing if your product and YOU are a good fit for your client.

These are the content marketing stages:

  • creating relevant and interest website content
  • ‘call to action’ that results in email or mobile number capture
  • email or SMS marketing
  • social media profiles to engage with your prospects
  • CRM’s to manage the final parts of the selling process.

When you implement these systems you can sit back and watch it work and then focus on your conversion rate or what industry experts call CRO – Conversion Rate Optimisation.

Do you really want to be an online marketing professional? Let us manage it for you

Start a bookkeeping business not a franchiseMost of our students are looking for bookkeeping work, or want to start a bookkeeping service business — that’s why they use our services for MYOB Training Courses, Excel Training Courses, Xero Courses and Small Business Management Training.

Our recently updated bookkeeping directory is matching small business people to bookkeepers for a fair rate (for instance, if you want a level 3 bookkeeper, you pay for a level 3 bookkeeper). The National Bookkeeping directory is aimed at helping people (our students primarily) find bookkeeping work or start a bookkeeping business, but it’s also a great way for small businesses to find bookkeepers located close by, or who have the skills they require but who don’t necessarily need to come into the office and can assist them in the cloud.

To find out how you can be more than just a bookkeeper, and start your own bookkeeping business and promote your valuable bookkeeping services to a wider circle of potential clients via content marketing, read about listing yourself on National Bookkeeping or becoming a licensee.

 

 

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Breaking Bad Content Marketing: The Correct Way to Use PowerPoint

Breaking Bad Content Marketing for small business presentation for real estate agents and bookkeepers AND writersI’d like your opinion!

I was reviewing some of the content we’ve created this year and I was actually astounded at the number of blogs we’d written that mention content marketing. Even so, when I mention content marketing to many business people, they’re still not really sure what I’m talking about. So I asked Angela in our office to put something together — just for fun. Better still, I recorded an audio commentary to go with it; I hope you find it of use.

All the content marketing talk

Want a recap of all the times I’ve written about content marketing? I did a whole lot of posts about real estate agents and how important content marketing is for them. Here are some of the blog headlines in our content marketing category:

Maybe I’m a bit more passionate about content marketing than I even realised (which is saying something!) Watch the video below and let me know your thoughts.

Video presentation with annotations and a call to action

 

Want to know more?

If you’re interest in learning about the contents of our Content Marketing, Facebook and Social Media course which is currently being uploaded to our LMS read about it here and follow the links to pre register for alerts. When we release it we’d have a great offer for early students. 🙂

Thought you may like to know that we are going to reveal everything we did for Derek Farmer’s real estate site for property sales in Cammeray – even Facebook advertising and re-targeting to stay front of mind with his client database.

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The New Year’s Approaching: Think About New Content Marketing for Your Business

The Value of Content Marketing

the-value-of-online-content-marketing
Finding it hard to get started in content marketing? Register for our upcoming course.

January, February and March of a new year, which is typically the quietest as people take a while to adjust to the work and school routine, is when a lot of businesses spend time setting goals for the year ahead.

Just as individuals set their own personal new year’s resolutions, many businesses use January and February to set some new year’s resolutions for their business’s marketing activities.

Business Blogs vs Paid Advertising

In 2016, there was an unprecedented uptick in the number of Australian businesses using content marketing to help drive their search engine rankings, increase customer engagement, and position themselves as opinion leaders in their industry. If the last 12 months is anything to go by, then, it’s fair to say 2017 will continue the content marketing trend.

Yes, I’ve been talking about content marketing a lot on this blog lately, as it’s a marketing strategy EzyLearn has been using, almost exclusively, for many years now, with much success — you are reading this blog post, after all!

EzyLearn and our partners continue to help many businesses establish their brand and build credibility online using content marketing — something we continue to do to great effect for real estate agents, to name but a few. Whether you are an agent, bookkeeper, small business owner, or just have dreams to start working for yourself, why not register your interest in our up and coming content marketing course.

Great Content is Like an Equilateral Triangle – All the Sides are Equal

As popular as content marketing has become in the last few years, many people still don’t quite understand that great content marketing requires you to pay equal emphasis on each component. This includes the word content itself in an ebook or enewsletter for instance, but also the layout and design, the SEO etc. It also needs to be free of typos!

I know, in the past, I’ve probably been guilty of rushing to publish content on our website because I’m so eager to share what we’ve created with you. But for content marketing to be successful in the long term, it needs to be approached holistically. In other words, the copy is equally as important as the design and the layout; the messages need to be consistent and you need to keep communicating with your customers — it can’t be hit and miss.

Just as every side in an equilateral triangle must be created equal, so too do you have to consider all components equally when content marketing.

Outsourcing is Okay

As a small business, you probably have at least one person in your team who is either a) design inclined; or b) a good, strong writer. If you’re really lucky, you may have both, but it’s not uncommon for a business to need to outsource part of this work to a professional, usually on a contract or freelance basis.

Take stock of the talent you have in-house already. If you have a competent designer, utilise them and outsource the writing to a professional. It’s unwise to try and do everything yourself. Producing high quality content is a time-consuming process, made even more so if there’s a particular aspect of it — the writing, say — that you’re not proficient at.

I would say that most business owners do most of what I would loosely term ‘designing’, themselves, which in the case of blogging is choosing an image that accurately reflects the message you’re trying to communicate in the main copy.

Think Outside the Stock Box When it Comes to Photos for Your Blogs

content-marketing-photos
Litter your blog posts with photos you have taken yourself – these are far more personal and usually more interesting than expensive, routine image libraries.

There is a certain art to selecting images for your blog. You want to avoid using ones that every other blogger is using, which means ditching your regular Google Images haunt and using a stock library instead. But this is where you need to do your research.

Many free stock libraries serve up the same images that you find in Google Images, which brings you back to square one. They’re also incredibly boring. At this point, next logical option probably seems like paying for a membership to a stock library.

Again, research is required here. Not all stock libraries, even paid ones, are created equally. Well known libraries — iStock Photo, for example — are expensive, while the other, lesser known ones are still boring. So what’s a content marketer to do? Get creative.

Take Your Own Digital Marketing Images With Your Smartphone

Remember, content marketing is about creating original, high quality content that’s relevant both to your customers and to your business. With this in mind, rather than paying for expensive stock photography and images, why don’t you take your own? There’s nothing more original and relevant to you and your customers than your own photography.

Publishing original content on your blog and website, whether it’s in the form of images, copy or videos (or all of the above), the harder it will work at driving your search engine rankings, while, at the same time, the personalised approach will have a longer lasting impression on your readers and customers.

Prioritise Content Marketing in 2017

Bookkeepers especially — take note!

Start a bookkeeping business not a franchiseIf you’re a bookkeeper looking to start your own bookkeeping business and find yourself clients, or grow you list of clients, and content marketing isn’t already on your agenda for 2017 —  it should be.

In terms of having the experience and know-how to content market to people we know what our students need to be successful to this end, after all, most EzyLearn students use our services for MYOB Training Courses, Excel Training Courses, Xero Courses and Small Business Management Training because they’re looking for bookkeeping work or want to start a bookkeeping business. Very early in the piece we started finding out why our students did our courses because it enables us to develop targeted products (and write content about) what they need.

Join our Bookkeeping Directory TODAY

We’ve launched a new bookkeeping directory which is aimed at helping people (our students primarily) find bookkeeping work or start a bookkeeping business, but it’s also a great way for small businesses to find bookkeepers who are close to them. We’re also taking registrations for our content marketing online course.

To find out more about how you can be more than just a bookkeeper, and start a bookkeeping business, including promoting your bookkeeping services to a much wider circle of people and engaging in content marketing, read more about listing yourself on National Bookkeeping.

If you’re interested in content marketing, either for your business or because you’d like to become an independent contractor offering content marketing services to other business, you can learn more by subscribing to our blog.

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Free Tip for real estate agents who want to use video in their social media with WordPress websites

Getting video into social media advertising and marketing is king for real estate agents

property marketing is important to sell your house in Sydney's lower north shore property marketYou may recall a recent post about the exciting work we are doing with real estate agents around Australia to help them with their social media marketing as their industry goes through massive technological change.

Real estate agents are adopting Facebook pages, using Facebook advertising and creating their own websites to make them stand out from other agents but most importantly to show property sellers that they’re very experienced in the local property market and also great people to deal with. This stuff also applies to bookkeepers, accountants and most businesses where a good personal reputation is important!

Creating videos, serving videos and displaying videos

We spend much of our marketing efforts “writing” blogs to add value to you, the reader. We also optimise these pages so they can get discovered by people who use Google and other search engines to find information. Through our digital marketing agency, virion we’re doing this work for real estate agents AND bookkeepers so make sure to check these services out or contact us if you want to know more.

The thought of creating, uploading and then displaying videos on a website is very daunting to some people and usually it’s the inserting the video into a website as a blog or a page that is the part people aren’t sure about. So, I created a video for you! Yes, feel free to enjoy my calm, relaxing, yet very capable voice go through a process that our team go through dozens of times a week.

We have a course on WordPress and this video and other new videos will shortly be inserted into that course but the other aspects of performing this type of work involve these questions:

  1. Where are you going to store the videos. We prefer Wistia because of their fantastic analytics but most people are familiar with Youtube and the fact that it’s free is a great benefit too.
  2. How are you going to display it. We prefer to keep our content on our own websites but lots of real estate agents are happy to build up a following on many different social media platforms and Youtube is definitely one of them.

Enjoy the video below and make sure to Request a Quote if you are interested in having my team and I manage your online digital marketing using quality content.

Youtube videos into WordPress Blog pages

Also, stay tune for updates about our forthcoming Facebook for Business Courses.

 

 

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Real Estate Agent, Derek, Has Made it to Page 1 in Google

6 Weeks from Zero to Hero in Google Organic Search

Keyword analytics for derek farmer real estate agent in CammerayI HAD A GOOD, long think before writing this blog post. However, I’ve decided it’s OK to write this blog — because the blog should be about helping business people reach Page One in Google’s organic search results (that’s the FREE ones!)

You should see the number of emails I get each week from overseas companies in Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and even the US and UK.

All of these emails are telling me the same thing: How they will get my company onto Page 1 in Google!

You might be thinking, “Yeah, so what? I already know how to do that!” or let me see your list of companies. Point is, there are lots of these self-professed experts around — and I’m probably no exception!

SEO Aspects

I last wrote about real estate agent, Derek Farmer, before Christmas when we had already created his new website. The aim of this was to help property owners find him when they’re ready to explore selling their property.

We’d already begun the process of creating relevant content but ramped it up in the last 6 weeks and the results were amazing as you can see from the chart!

The work we did to help Derek get onto Page 1 of Google WITHOUT spending a cent on advertising,  involved all the tools we use at EzyLearn just to run our business. The thing with this is that we practise what we preach.

That’s the beauty of running an online business: You get pretty good at all the technical and content stuff, particularly when you have to compete with the marketing muscle of billion dollar organisations like MYOB and Sydney University!

Of course, Derek was a good real estate to begin with. He had a great existing reputation in Sydney’s Lower North Shore and over 170 property sales under his belt. Quality speaks volumes.

Give something away

Derek Farmer real estate agent smiling portrait in selling your property educational training videoDerek had also spent a lot of time, considerable money and brainpower coming up with an educational series of videos. These helped his vendors (people selling their homes) and prospective customers better understand the various stages of the sales process.

This reflects the need for businesses to generate great quality content that people will find valuable — it’s something everyone needs do in the “Google information era” we all now live in.

See what Derek has done and learn more about Automated Response Marketing

virion: A brand I am proud to work with

Virion is the arm of the business that helped Derek achieve such tremendous online success.

If you want to see more of what we do with online and content marketing, along with case studies and success stories, subscribe to our Virion blog.

Check out the Blog and Subscribe

Whereas the EzyLearn blog is chiefly about what we teach, the virion blog covers more of what we do. I’d love to share the work we do with you. Who knows if you see something you like, you can even join us and get involved!

[button link=”http://virion.com.au/subscribe/” color=”green” newwindow=”yes”] Subscribe Now[/button]

 

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How hackers can destroy your Google content marketing efforts tonight

Content Marketing points to your website

Content marketing for real estate agentsHaving your own website enables you to build a credible online profile (that lasts a long time) and the power to clearly understand visitor traffic analytics. This is important because your goal with a content marketing strategy is to provide useful information that your website visitors are looking for and just like real property there are risks that strangers want to get inside and cause damage.

Just like real property these risks are mitigated by good site management services and you can learn about some of the hacker risks below.

Anyone can attempt to hack your site

Hackers are found all over the world from developed countries to countries where their people earn less than a dollar per hour so in some circumstances the time it takes to hack a site is irrelevant and the rewards are significant. Those rewards can be for:

  • financial gain,
  • the challenge of it,
  • recognition, or even
  • out of boredom

This means that every business, regardless of size or industry, is susceptible to a hacker attack.

Hacker attack types

Remember that hackers can sometimes spend a lot of time planning an attack, but all you see are the end results over night so it is important to be vigilant at all times. Hackers can affect your business is different ways and there has been a lot of publicity about these attacks this year. These are some of the goals for hackers:

  • Stealing your customers’ data
  • Stealing your private business data (like internal communications)
  • Serving malicious software
  • Deleting or disabling your site
  • Gaining control of your website or computer
  • Directing traffic away from your website

How your website is vulnerable

Most websites of small businesses are managed using a content management system like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal etc and these systems have the capabilities of creating user accounts (including the administrator) and enabling users to create content like comments on blog posts. They also include the capability of using themes, plugins and other programs that connect to the main content marketing system and give it more functionality. It’s when these aspects of a small business website are not kept up to date, managed for hacker activity and originally configured to minimalise the chance of attack, that you can get unstuck.

Why to choose 123ezy for content marketing for real estate agent websites

123ezy-Content-Marketing-real-estate-agent-websitesWe’re combining with content marketing writers and our team of experts to make content marketing available to individual real estate agents to help them build a profile and credibility online. I’ve been working with online services even before EzyLearn started teaching people about “how to send and receive an email” and “how to navigate around a website and use a search engine” at our Dee Why training centre since 1999 and I’m looking forward to helping other sales and marketing focussed people do the same.

We operate an online training business that relies on our websites being up and running ALL of the time – if there are issues we need to be able to redirect website visitors to an alternative site for continuity and we are constantly monitoring our website visitors, vulnerabilities and remedies.

Even with the latest themes and plugins and fancy graphics and animations, just having a website is not enough these days. Real estate agents (and most other professionals) need a system that collects prospect information AND sends automated marketing messages to them, while allowing them to opt out at any time and that is just the start of the content marketing we’re offering to real estate agents. Want to see our ARMS working? Register Here.

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Content Marketing for Real Estate Agents

Real Estate Agents Want to Get Discovered Online By Property Vendors Ready to Sell Their Property

Good local real estate agent in Cammeray Sydneys lower north shoreIf you are a regular reader of this blog, you’ll notice the slant towards accounting, bookkeeping and the frenzied competition between the software companies that provide software for this purpose. However, we also teach students how to use WordPress so they can take advantage of the massive benefits of content marketing.

We’ve also changed the layout of this blog using a responsive theme in WordPress. This enables the blog to be read easily no matter what device you are using (computer, tablet or phone), or at what orientation (portrait or landscape). I am also involved in an exciting new project that enables real estate agents to build credibility online using the tools we use at EzyLearn.

Real Estate Agent Websites

Real estate agents can build a credible online profile by creating a website and use content marketing to help people who are interested in selling their property and it might be a good time to do that in the heated Sydney and Melbourne property markets!

Derek Farmer is a successful real estate agent in Cammeray (in Sydney’s Lower North Shore) and he has created a series of educational videos that demystify the process of selling a property. His video topics include:

  • Tips for Buyers on Auction Day
  • Tips for Sellers on Auction Day
  • Nothing is Happening After Months on the Market
  • How to Handle an Offer
  • How to Handle Feedback
  • Commission – How Much Should You Pay
  • Preparation – How Much Should You Do
  • Marketing – How Much Should You Pay

What I love about this project is Derek is part of a new breed of real estate agent who is open and transparent with information and he has gone to the trouble of creating these videos because it also give him an opportunity to reveal himself to potential sellers. He’s effectively pitching himself to thousands of potential property sellers with information they’re looking for and he’s taking the opportunity to enable them to get to know him – electronically.

Content marketing involves video, images and text

Real Estate Agents Commission - How much should you payContent marketing involves the use of relevant content that people find useful and if you do a good job at it potential customers will connect with you to learn more and stay connected until they are ready to use your services. If you’d like to learn more about the importance of having a website and keeping it updated regularly watch the video interview I had with Michael Griffiths, the referral marketing guru.

Good content marketing keeps people at your website longer and even takes them to other parts of your website and all of this visitor information is tracked by search engines like Google, who then improve your rankings in organic search results. It means that when you spend time and money on good content marketing you gradually build a credible online brand with a reputation that lasts a long time. It’s a long term strategy taken by committed people who want to be in business for the long term.

[button link=”http://derekfarmer.com.au/property-training-tips/derek-farmer-newsletter/training-video-gallery/” newwindow=”yes”] Take a Look at the Videos Now[/button]

Receive “Content Marketing for Real Estate Agents” Information Pack

Content Marketing for good local real estate agentsIf you want to learn more about our 123ezy service or share it with a real estate agent you know visit our Real Estate Agent Website page and learn more about the Automated Response Marketing System. There’s also an opportunity to work with us as a writer which you can learn about at the StartUp Academy.

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Why Continuing Professional Education is Important for Bookkeepers

CPD for Bookkeepers is Becoming More Important

CPD CPE and ongoing education is very important to the Tax practitioners board TPB for Registered BAS AgentsEducation is obviously something we think is very important, whether you’re changing careers, starting a new business, or looking to upskill for a promotion. But what about education to keep your current job? The Australian Government thinks that’s equally important, especially for BAS and tax agents.

In March this year, the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) changed their renewal process to now include continuing professional education (CPE) as a mandatory for all registrations after July 1, 2016. Between now and June 30, 2016, it’s sufficient for BAS and tax agents to merely show they have read and understood the new CPE policy to renew their registration, but this arrangement can only be used once; moving forward those BAS and tax agents will still need to complete further education to register again as a BAS or tax agent the in the future.

Are You a Currently a BAS or Tax agent?

Over the last few years, the Government has introduced a lot of new measures that BAS and tax agents have had to comply with in order to continue to offer their services to clients, namely the changes in 2010 that made it mandatory for all BAS and tax agents to hold a minimum qualification of a Cert IV in bookkeeping.

The new CPE requirement could seem like just another measure that BAS and tax agents need to comply with just to be able to keep their jobs. It’s not. CPE has been introduced to ensure that BAS and tax agents continue to understand, not just their own industry – that of tax and finance – but also how other industries are changing too.

There are more people leaving their jobs as employees and starting to work for themselves as consultants and freelancers and contract workers, across a wide array of industries. Marketing professionals, for example, no longer simply come up with marketing hooks for companies; they also have to understand how to create websites and how SEO works and social media. In some cases, they even become unofficial spokespeople and sales reps for the companies they’re consulting with, leveraging their contacts on their clients’ behalf.

CPE makes BAS and tax agents more valuable, not less

This vastly complicates a marketing professional’s tax if that marketing professional’s job now encompasses the roles of several other professions within it. Similar changes have been observed in bookkeeping, with registered BAS and tax agents now providing more operational and administrative-type services, in addition to just bookkeeping.

The point, then, of CPE is not to make it more difficult for tax and BAS agents to renew their registration with the TPB, but to help tax and BAS agents to remain as highly skilled as they’ve ever been, in an ever-changing labour market. And the better skilled you are as a BAS and tax agent, particularly those self-employed BAS and tax agents, the more value you’ll be able to provide your clients, and the more work you’ll get from them in return.

To learn more about continuing professional education for bookkeepers, visit the TPB website. Otherwise, to read more about bookkeeping, particularly starting your own bookkeeping business, continue reading our blog.

Are you a Writer and Want to Work from Home Blogging for Businesses?

I write about marketing professionals because they are increasingly important in small businesses as businesses grapple with getting discovered online.  I recently wrote about Blogging for Business and our new training course to help businesses with their content marketing strategy and tasks because it’s something that my team are spending more and more time on. It’s also an area that is evolving every month and requires writers to learn about and adapt to new technology.

Enrol into the Blogging for Business Course now and take advantage of it’s current cheap price. We’ll soon be adding real life exercises where blogging students will be asked to create content and have it edited and published so they can participate in a real world business blogging project!

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Blogging for Business Training Course

Create a Business Blog to Start Your Content Marketing Strategy

blogging for business helps you get discovered for the keywords relevant to your business

I started Business Blogging when we took our training courses online because there is a lot of information to share about MYOB, Xero, Microsoft Excel and the other software programs that help small business owners streamline their business, manage their accounts and finances and perform sales and marketing to bring in new sales.

Another reason was my realisation that keywords are king in the age of discovery where getting discovered by Google results in over 70% of the traffic to many websites!

Keywords Are King

A lot of small business owners throw thousands of dollars at Pay Per Click advertising in the hope of getting more visitors to their website. The most common service to help people spend these advertising dollars is Google’s own Google Adwords. Here’s a blog post about Google Adwords from 2010.

[quote]Have you heard the promise “I can guarantee your website appears on page 1 on Google”? It’s often by using Google Adwords and targeting selected keywords that companies can deliver on this claim, but at what cost?[/quote]

Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)

Google Adwords is the perfect capitalist advertising tool because every advertiser competes for the keywords they want. The more competitors there are for a keyword or keyphrase the higher the cost per click – How scary is that!?

I understand that “Insurance” is one of the highest cost keywords you can “bid for” and there would be some pretty big players in that business. They keywords in this paragraph is “bid for” because that is exactly what happens, you place a bid for the maximum you are willing to pay for that keyword or keyphrase for EVERY time someone CLICKS on your ad.

There are ways of making sure a competitor doesn’t send you broke by clicking on your ad over and over, but essentially this strategy involves choosing keywords and bidding in the marketplace with all of your competitors.

Would You Rather Have People Come to You?

Bidding for keywords using Google Adwords is a great way to quickly test an idea or a strategy because you can guarantee website visitors, albeit at a high price, but people come across our website from all sorts of different keyword searches and that is where this blog has come in very handy.

I admit when I first started blogging for business the concept seems very NERDY! It’s like keeping an online diary for all to read and share. Then I justified it by affirming that keeping a blog is really just like having a “News” section to your website, demonstrating that your business is active and there’s a lot going on. Now I realise that it’s even more than that! Blogging for Business helps you

  • build an online reputation,
  • explain how some customers use your products
  • encourage readers to become customers
  • encourage readers to be part of your community
  • enable customers to be advocates and recommend your business

Having a business blog with useful content, good use of relevant keywords and landing pages that give internet users answers to their questions will help you begin the journey into Inbound Marketing, where potential customers discover YOU and what you have to offer. Do it right and you’ll just need to guide your website visitors to the conclusion you want – usually a sale.

Your Blog Becomes More Valuable Every Week

The other great thing about Blogging for Business is that your blogging site and the landing pages you refer to become more and more valuable over time as they remain in Google’s cache. They also become tools that can be used by your staff as they refer the blogs to customers who have specific questions that are answered in your blog posts.

Google is the current flavour for search engines and they seem to be doing a great job to stay in front, but Bing (owned by Microsoft) and others in China and Russia are always looking for ways to do better and get more people using them and having an active and useful blog will ensure success no matter how the search engine market changes.

Choose EzyLearn for Your Blogging for Business Training Course

We’ve been blogging about our online training courses since 2008 and we are a training company that designs courses in a logical fashion from basic to more advanced skills to ensure you experience the epiphanies most students are looking for when they do a course.

We include all of our content for one low price and we add updates that we create during the year to our existing courses, creating more content and better value for money every month.

Best of all our Blogging For Business Training Courses includes real life blog site membership, exercises where you get to create your own blog posts and link to landing pages, participate in social media and in a community of like minded beginner bloggers.

Learn more about the Blogging for Business Training Course.

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Seriously, Why Wouldn’t You Use WordPress for Your Website?

Finding Income Opportunities for EzyLearn Students

start a business and work from home bookkeeping, content marketing, admin and moreWe’ve had some exciting news in the last couple of weeks: EzyLearn students who are completing the MYOB Training Courses and WordPress Courses are starting to earn money because we’re helping them get customers AND improve their skills!

I’ve been working with the team at Workface and we’re assembling a training and mentoring program to help EzyLearn students start and operate a business from home. The best part of this, and something I am passionate about, is that we’re helping people from all over Australia become remote contractors (teleworkers, call it what you want) and work from anywhere via the Internet.

Yes, you can start a business & work from home

I recently wrote about how cloud-based software is enabling people who live in regional Australia perform work for businesses in the capital cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide etc) and also about the Teleworking hubs that are starting to appear around the country as part of the evolution of people living outside the cities and working at home or close to home.

You may also recall that we’ve also launched the Startup Academy this year to provide formalised and structured training and mentoring support. It’s for you so if you are interested in starting a business and working from home we’ve teamed up with some products/service providers to give you a flying start and projects to start on right away.

Explore running your own business from home now

Bright VIC to Melbourne Virtual Assistant is doing content marketing for infant massage business in Sydney
Imagine travelling this far to work for a client. Content Marketing can be done from anywhere

There are opportunities to provide office/admin support services, content marketing, business telephone systems and IT support and of course bookkeeping services and if you’d like to start a business in one of these areas then explore the business opportunities.

When you sign up and join our team you’ll gain exposure to many new online (cloud-based) software and services that enable us to:

  • collaborate,
  • share files,
  • work on project together,
  • set and manage goals and daily tasks,
  • turn to each other for support,
  • create and build your own online profile, and
  • many more skills that will enable you to work for yourself and generate your own income, no matter where you live.

Remember our goal is to help you start a business and work from home – NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE. Helen from Bright is our latest virtual assistant and she is doing some website design and content marketing for an infant massage business starting up in Sydney’s Northern Suburbs! I looked at a Google Map and discovered that she’d have at least 3 hours travel if she wanted to work in her nearest capital city!

Are you looking for someone to help you in your business?

We’re going to document our journey with these remote contractors and share with you some of the growth they go through as they grapple with the new frontier of internet working.

If you are a business looking for any of these services you can Find a Contractor through Workface and our team can get to work for you too.

[button link=”http://workface.com.au/services/find-contractor/”]Find a Contractor[/button]

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What is inbound marketing?

Will customers like you according to Google?

google likes great quality content for inbound marketing purposesInbound marketing is the focus on creating quality content that attracts and draws people toward your company and product. In the last few years, it’s come to replace the outbound marketing methods of old, which involved buying ads and email lists and paying for leads, making it one of the most effective online marketing methods. If this sounds a lot like content marketing that’s because it is, or at least, it’s a subset of it.

Content marketing is the process of consistently creating valuable, relevant content that you share online to attract more customers to your business. Inbound marketing is about being found online, through search engines, social media, and the like. See the difference? No, well allow me to elaborate.

But first, a little history lesson

Content marketing has been around for ages – it’s thought to have started with John Deere, the agricultural machinery manufacturer, which started it’s own magazine in 1895 called The Furrow – but it’s only recently gained more traction as businesses and marketers alike try to find new ways to engage customers online. Despite that, content marketing is just one cog in the greater online/inbound marketing machine.

Inbound marketing, though now very intimately linked to content marketing, is actually a far newer incarnation of the more traditional marketing activities. Inbound marketing is maybe only a decade old, and grew out of the shift in the way consumers interact and respond to advertising. Where consumers were once passive observers of advertising, the Internet made them powerful advocates or critics of a brand, aided greatly by social media.

Which side of that fence a company’s customers fell on was entirely up to what they did with their marketing. Increasingly, though, it became clear that consumers weren’t interested in straight advertisements, especially not on the Internet; they want content and they want content that’s informative or engaging – or both.

If you’ve been following this blog, then you know that EzyLearn is busy developing a new content marketing course, which we hope will complement our existing small business management course that currently covers traditional marketing – buying ads, telemarketing, letterbox drops; basically, what’s now known as outbound marketing.

If you’ve been following this blog, then you’ve also been following our own content marketing strategy: to share valuable, informative content with our students and prospective students, to form a community of individuals who are as passionate about learning and development in their professional lives as we are.

Can content marketing exist without inbound marketing?

Before I talk about whether content marketing can exist in isolation to inbound marketing and vice versa, I’d just like to summarise exactly what content marketing is and what inbound marketing is.

Content marketing is the strategic creation of informative, engaging, and valuable content. It’s the blog posts, newsletters, web pages, and – yes – print advertisements, flyers and brochures.

Inbound marketing is the overarching marketing plan or approach to attracting customers. It’s the distribution methods and channels of your blog posts and newsletters; it’s opt-in email lists; online community building (social media management); search engine optimisation; pay-per-click advertising; and so forth.

Because content is such a big part of marketing, whether it’s outbound or inbound marketing, I believe that, while you can use content marketing on its own, it’s not really possible to use inbound marketing without any content. Besides, there is some overlap between content marketing and inbound marketing, anyway.

Is there a career or business opportunity in Inbound Marketing?

In content marketing, you may decide to regularly write and publish blog posts, promote them on social media, and encourage people to subscribe to your blog using an opt-in widget on your web page. That single content marketing activity – blogging – involves, by default, some components of inbound marketing. No one writes a blog post, after all, and leaves it in their content management system without publishing it and then linking to it on social media.

That’s why we decided to develop a content marketing course, rather than an inbound marketing course because, by convention now, many elements of inbound marketing are carried out as part of the regular content marketing process. Content marketing also integrates better with other marketing activities, like networking or outbound marketing, which means you can create content for to be used on your blog and repurpose it for a letterbox drop.

Continue reading our blog to learn more about content marketing (or subscribe to ensure you don’t miss out!), where we’ll also keep you posted on our forthcoming content marketing course.

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Who really cares about Sensis? Yellow Pages? Content Marketing shows you care

content marketing versus yellow pages and sensisYellow Pages vs Content Marketing?

A client of ours showed me an email that came from Sensis and it looked a little sad. It showed how many times an ad appeared and how many people clicked for more information. The saddest part is that this Billion dollar company is now just another online directory. It’s another example of how a traditional business, that hires professional and persistent sales people to sell high cost packages is dying an accelerating death. The other large one I recall was Encyclopaedia Britannica – remember those door to door salesmen who made a good income selling these for your children’s benefit? OK, now I’m assuming you’re over 45 😐

Why Content Marketing

We decided many years ago to go down the blogging route because it makes sense. These days the correct term for blogging for business is “Content Marketing” and it’s great because it’s a way of:

  1. Constantly informing readers,
  2. Demonstrating an active business and website
  3. Informing website visitors about changes in the business,
  4. sharing stories about how people use our services and
  5. Making general announcements.

How Bad is the Yellow Pages Directory Going?

Telstra recently offloaded their majority ownership in the Yellow Pages business they branded as Sensis and in the fine print on page 15 (2013 year) and page 18 (2014 year) you can see that the revenue for this business declined by 11.7% and 22% respectively.

I remember when most local tradies (plumbers, electricians, chippies, builders etc) would spend tens of thousands of dollars per year to keep their position in the large display ads. I even remember the days of the golden phone that Yellow Pages use to make available to business to PROVE just how many phone calls would be coming in the door as a result of advertising with them. If anyone remembers the golden phone offer I’d love hear from you on our Facebook page..

Where do you spend your marketing money?

The idea for this blog post came as a result of being forwarded an email, but it ties in nicely with our Small Business and Startup Course which is now available at a hugely discounted price! Read on to see how we changed our pricing structure.

Marketing and Communication course for small businessIn this course we have two subjects which cover marketing for small business and we have some great interviews with Michael Locke who shares information about the 4P’s. Sensis would represent an excellent case study of where the marketing function may not have been submersed in the strategy business decision making to stem this significant change in their business model.

Small Business Management and StartUp Course

The recent change we made to this course was to separate the business coaching and assessment options and make them available separately. In this way the Small Business and StartUp course is much like our MYOB course where you can work through everything at your own pace and request support if you need it.

If you are interested in doing a number of different courses as well as the Small Business Management course you might want to enrol at the Australian Small Business website where you can choose our software courses at a discounted price (when combined with the small business management course). This way you’ll be able to use WordPress for your content marketing, MYOB or Xero for your accounts and Excel for any spreadsheet work.

References:

Telstra Annual Reports 2013, and 2014

PS. By the way, you can still get Britannica and online it’s just under $70 pa. You can also still buy the printed edition for under $700 and you can pay $2500 for a whopping collection of short stories, plays and poems..

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Prevent Russian Attacks on Your WordPress Website with Google Analytics

Traffic from Russia, Eastern Europe, Philipines and India?

We’ve been busy these last couple months in upgrading and optimising our websites, fine tuning our online marketing and studying our Google Analytics and came across a Russian based website that was sending a lot of traffic to several of our sites. After closely monitoring our website traffic, landing pages, bounce rates, time on site etc, we found a lot of in bound traffic from a Russian site called Darodar. It made me wonder why we’re all so scared of web traffic from the USSR. In fact it’s a reminder of the fact that labour is very cheap in some of these countries and some companies or individuals can go to great lengths to

The best thing to come from all this really is that by looking at our statistics regularly, updating all scripts and plugins and server side applications not only do we have an up-to-date website with security and protection against online risks, but we understand our website traffic in detail. This is helping us fine tune our website content constantly to provide our website visitors with what they are looking for.

I don’t normally write like this

Google Analytics - Channels, Sessions, Conversions, Sources, Aquisition, BehaviourI don’t normally like to write about all the technical details we have to go through as an online training course provider, but we’ve been assembling some marketing information about our new online business opportunities and realised this is exactly the type of information that we’ll be sharing with students who come along on our online marketing business opportunity.

As it turns out the type of traffic we were getting is called HTTP Referrer Spam or just Referrer Spam and hundreds of people are talking about it online already. Here’s a snipped of some of the sites we discovered. There is a lengthy conversation on an official WordPress Support Forum, and an article on a popular article site called Reddit.

The Best Answer

The best answer we found was this link that confirmed that this type of attack is not malicious to your website, is not a server side issue and won’t affect the ranking and traffic to your site. The biggest issue is that we spent all this time and even ended up going to the site in question (that’s one of their goals!!) and that it distorts our Google Analytics information.

We disable the Darodar Spambot and any traffic from this location. It’s not the best solution because we can’t do this for every website that performs this type of activity, but again, it gives us more clarity about what is happening with our website traffic.

Who cares?

If you want to get to know more about our online marketing contractor business opportunity go visit the StartUp Academy website for more information. I’ll be sending more information out shortly so stay tuned – including the services we are launching to help people start their own bookkeeping business..

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Is Google Your Sugar Daddy?

google marketing networking
Show Me the Money: A thorough understanding of how to use Google can help you – and your business – earn more.

We been speaking about referral marketing a lot lately, and in a recent post about marketing action plans, we talked about why you should include referral marketing and/or networking as a marketing strategy in your marketing plan. That may seem silly to some people, since networking doesn’t always translate to sales straight away, but we’ve discovered another reason why you should include it in your marketing plan: Google!

Google Outlines My Referrals

We were recently at our web stats using the Google Analytics app for Android, when we discovered that even Google separates the traffic to your website from other websites as ‘referrals’. This really highlighted the fact that you can be receiving referrals online from any news or content you make available on the web.

How to Create Great Online Content

The most accessible way to create good content online that will drive independent referrals for your business is to maintain a blog. If you publish a few posts each week that are highly relevant and highly targeted to your readers (your customers), the more likely they are to tweet, like or share your content with their friends, families, and colleagues.

Use YouTube

You could even take it a step further. Maybe you’re an IT consultant and you’re looking for other ways to connect with your customers and provide them with informative content – why not create a few YouTube tutorials that you can embed in your website and share on your social media platforms. With a little care, and some thought to the execution, you’ll set yourself apart from the other IT guys who only talk in gigabytes and mainframes.

Move Up the Google Rankings

The other upside of creating regular content is that you’ll move your way up through the Google ranks, which in turn, will bring you more referrals from Google, too. SEO also plays a big role in your Google rankings, but only so long as you’re creating the content people want.

If you truly want a Google Sugar Daddy, then you need to keep pushing relevant, informative content online, so you can engage with your customers and clients online.

Thinking about starting your own Bookkeeping business – or any other kind of business? We cover more about the powers of Google and how to market and advertise your business in our Small Business Management Course

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But Networking Isn’t Making Me Any Money! Putting Together a Marketing Action Plan

marketing action plan networking
With a Marketing Action Plan, you’ll be able to isolate which marketing strategies are working best for your small business.

In the marketing module of our Small Business Management course, our students learn about marketing action plans, and throughout the course come to create their own marketing plan for their soon-to-be business. We also talked about referral marketing and networking in our last post, in which we outlined what every business should be doing to grow their customer base. For this reason, it should also be included in your marketing action plan.

What IS a Marketing Action Plan?

A marketing action plan sets out all of the marketing strategies for your business, including your goals and how you intend to achieve them. For consistency, and so that you can see and measure how each of your strategies have performed, we recommend that you include any of your networking activities in your marketing action plan.

Aside from being able to isolate what strategies — networking, advertising, email newsletters, etc — have performed the best at delivering your marketing goals, including your networking activities in your marketing plan, with a schedule, will also help to keep you accountable and ensure you actually put the time into networking.

The Money Comes Later

Because networking is often seen as not being immediately revenue generating — after all, many times you’re drinking tea and coffee and eating biscuits, while you chat with other business owners — it can be tempting to let your networking go by the wayside. But you shouldn’t — just as you shouldn’t let your other marketing activities go by the wayside, whatever they may be.

Share the Load

It’s also good to include details about each of your marketing strategies, so you can delegate it to another member of staff to project manage. So if one of your marketing strategies was to send a weekly email newsletter to your database, you could include information about the copywriter you’re employing to write the copy and the information would need to be sent to them each week.

You should also include the cost of employing the copywriter and the cost of distributing the emails each week. We use Feedburner — our preference for a variety of reasons; namely, because it’s free and we use it to distribute our blog. Feedburner also comes with the stability of being a Google product (we’re currently creating more content for a Google course, by the way). Learn more about Feedburner in our WordPress training course.

By including this information, you’re able to accurately measure how successful your newsletters strategy has been compared with, say, advertising in your local paper. Since you’re also including your networking activities, too, also include any membership fees or the cost of meals in your marketing plan, too.

Continually Changing

Just like a financial plan shouldn’t be a static document, your marketing plan should also evolve with your business as you grow and develop your customer base — and even your product and service offerings, too.

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If you’d like a step-by-step guide on creating a marketing plan for your business, we cover marketing plans in our Small Business Management course, in addition to financial planning, web design, and other important aspects of owning and operating a small business.

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Pimp My Business: Networking How-To’s and an Apple Case Study

networking2
Once you start networking it becomes easier and more natural.

We recently wrote a post about referral marketing and how it can genuinely grow your business. We talk about different marketing strategies in our Small Business Management course, and particularly the different mediums – newspapers, online, etc – that you can use to advertise your business, but referral marketing is one marketing strategy that doesn’t cost a lot and that you can – and should! – begin today.

Apple: A Case Study for Using Referral Marketing

Besides driving sales, getting people talking about your business, its products or services (or creating ‘awareness’) is the goal of pretty much any marketing campaign. Consider Apple, for example. As a company they came back from the brink in the mid-2000’s when they launched the iPod. Apple had always created far superior products to IBM, but it wasn’t until Apple really pushed themselves as the trendier, far superior alternative to IBM and Microsoft-based products that they could become the company they are today.

The success of Apple is not just that their products were better (because they always were), but the way they marketed them to their customers, which relied heavily on referral marketing. Apple knew that once someone tried an iPod, they’d tell their friends about it and they’d, in turn, tell their friends about it, and so on.

Basic Networking How-To’s:

That’s basically what happened. And you can do the same for your business, even if you don’t have Apple’s marketing budget (or even their technological know-how). It starts with networking, so we’ve put together a few networking How To’s to get you on your way:

  1. Find your tribe: Whether you’re looking to connect with other local business owners or perhaps you’re specifically looking to connect with other bookkeepers, you need to find your tribe and make connections with them. You’d be surprised just how many other business owners are out there, just like you, looking to connect with others. Check your local newspaper, the noticeboard at your local shopping centre, gym or café. There are also a number of great online tools that facilitate networking – meetup.com is one of them, and a personal favourite of ours.
  2. Use social media: Social media is another great way to connect and interact with your customers and clients. But it’s also a great way to connect with other movers and shakers within your industry. Twitter and LinkedIn are especially great platforms for cultivating online connections with people in your industry. It’s important, however, not to treat Twitter as your own personal spamming platform. Your Twitter feed should be interesting and informative – and show that there’s a real person (or group of people) behind the Twitter handle, rather than a robot pushing out links to your website.
  3. Follow up – When you meet a new person, always ask for their business card and always offer yours. Remember that networking is not about selling, and in fact, you may not actually sell anything to that person, but if they like you, they may just refer you to their friend or colleague who is looking for your services. The key to getting to this point – where this other person is referring you to others – is being genuine. Take an interest in that person’s business and follow-up with them. Connect with that person on social media, send them email – follow up!
  4. Get outside your comfort zone: Instead of always going to your local networking group, try a group somewhere else. Business Networking International, or BNI, is a global networking organisation that is always looking for new members. It is very structured and not for everyone, but its huge success is partly because of the structured way they operate. Find a chapter near you and see if it works for you (tip: you may try a couple of chapters before you find your tribe).

So what are you still reading this blog post for? Go forth and pimp your business! Network, people!