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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.

The beginning 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 business owners spend time setting goals for the year ahead.

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

Here are the Digital Marketing tasks that staff can do to bring more inquiries and more sales:

  • Business blogging vs paid Google Ads or Facebook Ads
  • Email Newsletters
  • Optimising images and photographs for SEO

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

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FREE Digital Business Course

Learn How to Run a Business Online

starting-a-new-cafe-or-retail-business
It doesn’t matter whether you have a specifically online business, or a gift shop, clothing store, cafe or other bricks and mortar business, as a business owner, we can help you understand the digital economy.

In a post I published about starting your own business, I said that all small business owners should have an understanding of traditional and digital marketing. You’ll be surprised how many don’t!

All businesses have a digital aspect to them these days so it’s vital that business owners and managers know how to manage the digital aspects of their business.

This starts by understanding some of the terms used and how websites, domain names, hosting and the Google search engine works. Continue reading FREE Digital Business Course

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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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Break through the ceiling with a killer elevator pitch

Business Networking Strategies – the Elevator Pitch

marketing your small business in an elevator 2For a lot of people, when they start a new business, they take a training course. It might be in an area relevant to their industry or profession, it might be a general training course, like our small business StartUp course, or it might be training in particular software, like our MYOB or Xero training courses. The best way to practice an elevator pitch is to practice all the time.

Training is incredibly important, but it’s no substitute for real-life interaction with other business owners, with whom you can gain valuable insights and perspectives on owning and operating a new business in the real world. This is what makes attending regular networking groups and events an important undertaking for any small business owner – old or new.

I recently wrote a blog post on what you should do at a networking event, but there was one point that we didn’t cover in great detail because I felt that it required a blog post of its own, as it’s crucial to your success as a networker: the elevator pitch.

Honing your elevator pitch

Perhaps you’ve heard of the term elevator pitch before. It’s most often used to describe a business or organisation’s mission statement; the name reflects the idea that you should be able to explain what your business does in the time it takes to ride an elevator. When you write a business plan, in it you need to include an executive summary, which explains what your business does or will do; it’s also your elevator pitch.

But your elevator pitch needs to do more than just explain what your business does. It also needs to encourage people to want to do business with you – or at least, continue listening to what you have to say. If you’ve completed our small business marketing course, then you’d have already practiced writing and honing an elevator pitch for your business when you wrote the executive summary of your business plan.

Be interesting, but above all, be compelling

Remember the goal of a business plan is to entice someone to invest in your business or idea, but the plan itself can run for many pages, detailing strategies and tactics for ensuring your business’s overall success. Most banks and financiers don’t have time to read every single business plan that lands on their desk, so they turn to the executive summary to see if the venture seems like a good fit for them.

It goes without saying, then, that your executive summary needs to be compelling, as does your elevator pitch. If you’ve written a business plan for your business, this is a good place to start when developing the elevator pitch you plan to use at a networking group or event. Be personable, though, and keep it conversational. Remember that the person on the receiving end of your elevator pitch is unlikely to be reading it; they’re listening to you deliver it instead, so you need to be comfortable giving your elevator pitch, while also seeming authentic.

Key elements of an elevator pitch

In crafting your elevator pitch, it’s crucial to include the following key elements:

  • Hook people with a good opening line that makes them want to hear more
  • Tell people what you do, not what you are
  • Repeat key information, such as your business name or main product or service
  • Be interesting and authentic
  • Use plain language when you’re describing a problem your product or service solves
  • Think about your end goal and ensure your elevator pitch services to achieve it
  • Finish your pitch by asking the other person what they do.

You should know have a good understanding of what to do at a networking event or group; now it’s just time to find a group to try out your new skills. Try meet-up.com or your local chamber of commerce to find groups near you. Make sure to RSVP if you are going to attend, and then stick to it. If something comes up, let the organiser know, so they don’t hold the meeting up waiting for you.

For more information on how to use networking groups to your advantage, including information on referral marketing, continue reading our blog.

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What to do at a networking event

Networking Event Tasks: Step 1 – Let people like you

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

Whether you’re starting a new business or hoping to expand your existing one, networking can be your life support. Successful networking helps you to find and connect with like-minded individuals, with whom you can share your experiences as a new (or established) business owner, and gain valuable insights on the ways you can grow and develop your own business.

I’ve written about networking before, because I think it’s something every business owner should engage in regularly to complement their current marketing strategies. Networking with other business owners not only gives you access to a great brains trust to provide you with tips and advice, but it’s also a great opportunity to use referral marketing to grow your business.

What is networking exactly?

Many people think networking events and groups are places people go to sell their products or services to other attendees, but that’s not actually what a networking group or event are about at all.

[quote]The true definition of networking is ‘the process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts’.[/quote]

That being said, as a business owner, you should always look for new or potential business opportunities in everything you do. This is how you can help to grow and expand your business. But, where discussing your business might not always be appropriate in typical social settings, at a networking group it’s more than welcome; it’s encouraged.

Networking is a balancing act of meeting people and being social, while also looking for opportunities that will help take your business to the next level. To achieve this balance and make meaningful connections with other business owners that will prove beneficial to your business requires planning beforehand.

How can networking help your business?

If you run a home-based business, it’s not uncommon to find that you can go entire days and weeks without interacting with another person on a professional level. This lack of interaction is not only isolating, but it can prove detrimental to your productivity and the continued growth of your business.

Your business needs new, fresh ideas and perspectives to thrive, and networking groups and events can help to connect you with people who can provide you with those ideas. They also give you the opportunity to do the same for other business owners, which is what makes the arrangement so mutually beneficial.

Take the following real-life example, for instance:

A home-based bookkeeper was looking for advice about her website and how she could increase her search engine rankings and traffic to her website. She’d previously enlisted the help of SEO experts and web developers and funnelled a lot of money into her website, but she felt it still wasn’t performing well – it wasn’t mobile, for instance, and she felt the copy could read better. The bookkeeper decided to go to a networking group of small business owners who were meeting to discuss online marketing, in the hope that someone might have some advice for her or could refer someone who could help. There she met another small business owner, who operated a content marketing agency and who advised her on how to increase her web presence by blogging, creating shareable content, and optimising her Google My Business page; the agency also had an in-house web designer and developer. The bookkeeper was so impressed with the content marketing advice she received, particularly the tips on Google My Business, that she hired the content marketing agency to manage all of her content marketing, including updating her website so it was mobile; they, in turn, referred a number of fairly big clients to the bookkeeper.

Five ways to succeed at networking

The key takeaway from the above example was that the bookkeeper went to a particular networking group with a goal in mind: to solve her online marketing issues. She was seeking qualified advice from other business owners who could empathise with her situation and perhaps recommend a course of action or someone qualified to help. She received both. At the networking group, she met a person who was willing to give her advice that she could implement at herself. Because she’d received useful advice before that worked, she felt safe in her decision to trust the agency to manage all of her content marketing.

So what are the five main things you can do to ensure the next networking group or event you attend is successful? Well, it starts with goal setting.

  1. Network with a purpose:

Like our bookkeeper in the example above, you need to determine what your needs are and why you’re going to a networking group or event, in the first place. If it’s to find advice on how to improve your web presence, select networking groups with a focus on operating a business in the online world; if it’s merely to share the experience of operating a small business with other business owners in your local community, choose one in your area with that focus.

  1. Research:

Now that you’ve established your networking goals, it’s time to find the networking group or event that will deliver them. Check out the attendees and members of some networking events or groups to see which ones are most suited to your business and your networking goals. Once you’ve identified some people you think are worth pursuing at a glance, research them online. Check our their LinkedIn profile, website and other social media. This’ll not only help you to further refine your list of people to connect with at each networking group, but it’ll also help you to find some common interests to discuss with them when you do meet.

  1. Brainstorm some questions:

Before you attend any networking event, think of some questions that you’d like to ask the group or any individual member. It may seem like a waste of time, but it will help to ensure that, even if the other attendees are unprepared, at least you’re going to come away one step closer to reach the goals you set out for your business in the first place. Having targeted questions also helps to show the other attendees that you’re interested and engaged, rather than just there to kill time.

  1. Establish your presence:

Show the group that you’re somebody worth knowing and that your contribution to the group is as valuable as everyone else’s. It’s worthwhile remembering that some groups only allow one member from one profession only, to ensure there’s meaningful business opportunities for everyone attending, so you need to show that you’re worthwhile keeping around on a regular basis. Listen, be attentive, show you’re there to help other’s problem-solve just as you are there to problem-solve for yourself. Always be willing to share and contribute ideas, but know when to back off so as not to be the guy who hogs the conversation and makes the group all about him.

  1. Establish connections and follow-up:

Don’t just hand out and collect business cards willy-nilly. Your goal should be to establish a real connection with people that you’d like to add to your professional network of contacts and, in turn, be that person to them too. Exchange business cards, email addresses or other contact information and try to make a plan to meet-up outside of the networking group. After each event or meet-up, follow-up with each person you’ve exchanged details with. It’s probably taking to too far to call, unless you’ve made an arrangement to meet already, but otherwise sending an email or connecting on social media like LinkedIn is a good place to start.

Follow these five steps each time you attend a networking group or event, and you’re unlikely to go wrong. If you’d like to read more about networking and how you can make it work for your business, continue reading our blog. Otherwise, it’s time to get out there!

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Free Microsoft Word Beginners Training Workbook

Get Your Free Microsoft Word Training Workbook Now

Microsoft Word Beginners Training Course WorkbookWe’ve been hard at work on our Microsoft Word courses in readiness for the launch of our 2016 Microsoft Word courses and I’m happy to let you know that we are offering the first of our Microsoft Word Course Workbooks to you for free. It’s the 201 Course workbook and it includes exercise files that explain all of the different types of tools available in Microsoft Word.

Interested? Register Now for the Microosft Word Beginners Workbook and Exercise Files

Microsoft Word Exercise Files

The image in this blog is of one of the exercise files we’ve created that has loads of different Word formatting, including:

  • Font formatting (colour, size)
  • Paragraph Formatting (alignment, spacing)
  • Heading Styles
  • Headers and Footers
  • Images and Graphics
  • Tabs
  • Background shading formatting
  • Inserting hyperlinks
  • much more..

Sales Letters, Proposals and more

The “Content Marketing for Real Estate Agents” exercise file included with the free Microsoft Word workbook is one of dozens of files we include in our MS Word Courses and as a Microsoft Word student you’ll also get access to new training content we’re including Sales Letters and Proposals.

The exercises in all of our courses and the object for every course is to use software for practical purposes in every business. The Sales Letters and Proposals exercise files we’re working on combine software skills with marketing strategies we go through in our Small Business Marketing Course. Not only will you learn strategies to grow your business by increase your customer base and enhancing your product service offering, you get to create your own marketing materials using Microsoft Word.

Register for the free workbook

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Intermediate skills in Microsoft Word can help you create great sales letters

Microsoft Word Training Course is Being Nurtured With New Content

203 Microsoft Word Beginners Courses for sales letter, flyers, resumes, cover letters and tender proposalsI recently wrote about the content in our Microsoft Word Training Courses and because its a couple years old we’ve been offering the Microsoft Word Courses as a FREE BONUS to anyone who enrolled in our Excel or MYOB courses (with certificate options). If you’re a regular reader (subscribe here) or an EzyLearn student you’d also know that we offer either 12 month or lifetime access to courses and that includes access to brand new content.

[highlight]We’re in the process of create brand new content for Microsoft Word, including training on the creation of great sales letters, resumes and tender proposals.[/highlight]

I’m happy to share with you that we’ve been working on our Word course feverishly for the last 3 months (and there is still a couple months of work to go) to make sure that we have training on the most recent version – Microsoft Word 365 (the clould-based Microsoft Word program that you can purchase on an annual subscription that costs less than the previous versions). The new Word course content is now also aimed at helping you create documents to make sales (for businesses) or find work (for job seekers).

If you’ve always wanted to improve your skills using this popular program and write documents faster, make them look more professional or take advantage of tools like Mail Merge then you’ll get some great value out of this course. We’ll be going through some exercises to help you create

  • A great sales letter to highlight the call-to-action for your direct marketing campaigns as well as
  • A resume for the job you’re looking for (and a focussed cover letter).
  • Proposals and tender documents to win new business for your company

Sales Letters, Resume’s, Cover Letters and Proposals

[highlight]Can you see what they all have in common? They are all marketing focussed.[/highlight]

Each of these documents are used by people EVERY day to show how professional, smart, committed and capable they are. Most companies need to write sales letters and proposals to try to win new business and maintain or increase their annual revenue. Job seekers create resumes and cover letters to convince employers that they are the best person to choose for a job vacancy.

In creating this updated Microsoft Word Course content we’ll also be working on some real life examples of creating marketing materials as part of the Small Business Marketing Courses AND our Career Academy that aims to prepare students to confidently search and apply for job vacancies.

Sales Letters for Bookkeepers and Website Designers

Bookkeepers and website designers need new clients all the time, sometimes because they just don’t have enough work but sometimes because the nature of their work is project driven so it’s [highlight]important to always be spending some time in the sales department[/highlight] (even if you are a one person band). Some people do this with content marketing, or Pay-per-click advertising on Google or Facebook, while others actively seek to meet new people and give them a reason to engage their services.

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e’ll be working on sales letters as part of a direct marketing effort to reach potential clients and give them a [highlight]reason to act on the sales letter using a special offer and a call to action[/highlight].

You can create sales letters for your marketing campaigns using beginners skills in Microsoft Word, but when you develop the Intermediate or advanced skills you’ll find a dramatic difference in the quality of your documents.

Special Prices & BONUS Courses are for a LIMITED TIME ONLY

free online training course in Xero or Microsoft Word with MYOB or Microsoft Excel CourseAre you planning on doing a Microsoft Word Course in the new year? Why not enrol now and save at least $50?

After we’ve completed all the new course content and support exercise files we’ll be bringing the Microsoft Word Course prices inline with our other course prices, so when you enrol now you can get the Word course free if you enrol into Excel or MYOB (Certification option) or you can enrol directly into Microsoft Word and get the current discounted price. Enrol now and you’ll get the benefit of the new Word course material when it’s published but you’ll get it at today’s price.

 

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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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LinkedIn Profiles: How Useful Are They, Really?

What is the power of a LinkedIn profile?

how useful is a linkedin profile online learning social media training
We scrutinise the power of a LinkedIn online social media profile.

THERE MAY BE SOME debate over whether having a LinkedIn profile actually helps professionals make valuable connections with other professionals, but the same could also be said of traditional networking.

As a writer, I probably should network more, but personally, I don’t find much value in it. In the past I have either fallen prey to someone wanting publicity for their pyramid-scheme-type business or I’ve turned into a borderline stalker myself; harassing someone who perhaps only gave me their business card out of a feeling of social obligation.

Besides, a business card tells you nothing about how competent or capable that person is at their job. For writers and journalists, I’ve always found it pretty easy to validate their claims on Google; for other professionals: not so much. Until LinkedIn, that is.

The Professionalism of LinkedIn

LinkedIn may not connect you with the recruiter of your dream job, but Twitter doesn’t guarantee you’ll become BFFs with Mariah Carey, either. What LinkedIn does, however, is give you an online professional profile.

And it’s the rather perverse nature of today’s digital society that makes an online professional presence invaluable; LinkedIn itself can act as your calling card, demonstrating how others endorse you and your work; it can act as your resume; and it can help you to actively find the right job.

The Power of a LinkedIn Profile

Any time you meet someone, you can pretty much guarantee they’ll Google you. Whether they’re prospective employers you’ve interviewed with, people you’ve met in a professional setting (clients, industry alums) or even colleagues, you can bet at some point or another they have Googled you.

What that Google search turns up can totally change the way they interact with you.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve LinkedIn-stalked a fellow writer only to discover their LinkedIn profile is not so impressive, after all. From this point on the entire dynamic of our relationship has changed immediately; suddenly I feel I’ve got the power.

On the other end of the scale, discovering the meek-mannered, unassuming but otherwise seemingly-unimpressive editor I chatted to with extreme ease is actually a former Vanity Fair staffer or contributor to The New Yorker adds another dimension to our relationship — usually, I’m putty in their hands.

***

And it’s in this context that, yes, a LinkedIn profile does work. Whether you’re using LinkedIn as a job-hunter or a networker, your LinkedIn profile tells people everything they think they need to know about you.

The old phrase — first impressions are lasting impressions — is out. It’s online impressions that are the lasting impressions.

If you haven’t already, we welcome you to connect with EzyLearn at LinkedIn.


learn online training Xero courses videos for less

Our Xero online training courses include EVERYTHING for ONE LOW PRICE. Furthermore, if you select our Lifetime Membership option, you’ll have LIFETIME access to our ongoing course updates. All EzyLearn courses are accredited by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and can be counted towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. Find out more about our Xero online training courses.