Thursday, 13 October 2016 17:49

Why Do I Need Email Marketing? Isn't Email Marketing Dead?

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Email marketing has gotten a bad reputation in recent years for spam, selling customer information, and filling people's inboxes with junk that no one wants. It doesn't have to be that way though. Learn how you can use inbound marketing to build a great email list that will bring you leads on a regular basis.

Can I even reach customers with email anymore?

Yes, you can reach customers by email and you will form a far more intimate connection than social media ever could. In fact, on social media, you'll have to fight for attention among the posts of others, but in email, you have everyone's attention to yourself. You can deliver news based on your reader's personal interests or the content they view on your website already.

 Aren't there rules about spam though?

Yes, spam is never a good idea and you should always include an unsubscribe link in your emails and respect the wishes of your readers if they unsubscribe at any time from your list. You may view the rules of the CAN-SPAM Act here for more information about spam and various penalties that could be faced. Of course, you will also want to know the various spam laws for your country or the country you are mailing to as well to be safe. In general, if you get readers to opt-in it will save you a great many headaches later.

 

How can I get readers for my newsletter?

I'm glad you asked! The easiest way to do this is to add a sign-up page to your website for this or include a pop up in your site to allow users to subscribe. You may also publish a link to subscribe through social media as well. Of course, you could also include newsletter subscription when users sign-up for your site or services too. However, you could also set up email-gated content too, allowing you to gather subscribers for your email list as well. 

What is email-gated content?

Email-gated content is content on a landing page that can only be accessed after the user has supplied their email and agreed to be contacted by email. This subscribes the user to your newsletter and gives them something of value too. Email-gated content should be valuable to the reader and you should be transparent about the fact that they are subscribing to your newsletter. You can include e-books, pdf's, free courses and more as email-gated content.

 

So as you can see email marketing is alive and can help you to get in front of your customers quickly and easily without the noise of social media. 

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Wednesday, 12 October 2016 18:23

10 Things to Avoid When Freelancing

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As a freelancer time is precious and resources are often stretched thin. We all wonder at times what we shouldn't be doing as a freelancer and I know I did in the beginning. Below is a list of the top ten things I've found not to do to keep myself moving forward.

1)Procrastination:

 

Procrastination is my ultimate downfall and at times I lapse into it, but I've found that the Pomodoro Method is the best thing to keep myself on track. I use this technique along with a kanban board to stay on top of things. Pomodoro allows me to work in twenty-minute chunks and take five-minute breaks until I've done 4 cycles of this and then I get a twenty-minute break and the cycle starts all over again until I'm done for the day. The only thing you need is a timer on your phone or a simple egg timer to get started.

For the kanban method please see my earlier post on this topic.

2)Not Planning:

I hate planning I really do, but it really is best if I do plan. I try to keep my tasks for the day to a maximum of three large task broken down into smaller tasks. This keeps me from overbooking myself and helps me to keep my kanban board working very well too. sometimes I have ongoing tasks in addition to those three daily tasks, but balance is the key to avoiding burnout I've found. When I don't plan I find that I forget things, become overwhelmed, schedule things on top of other things, and work until I'm exhausted, or worse try to multi-task.

 

3)Isolation:

It can be easy to get cut off from the world as a freelancer, especially in the beginning. Many of us become overwhelmed with work and seldom leave our desks until we wake up one day and dread even seeing our desks or the mounting pile of work. Others may not be doing well in business and struggling to generate leads bringing them to a point of depression where they don't want to see anyone else. Still yet sometimes we forget we haven't seen people, changed clothes, or moved from the house in days because we get lost in our own worlds as introverts. Sometimes the best fix for this is to schedule time off and out of the house to help combat the isolation and loneliness you might feel as a freelancer. Try scheduling lunch with friends, a fun night out, or a walk with friends to get some exercise in as well.

4)Rigid Rules:

Freelancing is an ever changing environment and flexibility is the key to success. Getting caught in old patterns or habits or rigidly scheduling everything can lead to feeling a sense of failure. Not staying on top of news in your industry and becoming rigid in your approach could also be detrimental when working with clients who may be looking for a fresh approach to their problems or an alternative to outdated methods. Instead, try to review your progress often and read news from your industry on  a regular basis to stay ahead of changes while learning new techniques.

 

5)Too much networking:

I've discussed networking before and while everything is good in moderation networking may quickly get out of hand. Freelancers may find themselves networking for most of the day with little to show for it. When they could instead be putting time into building a successful website, creating useful content for potential customers, developing a social media presence, or reaching out to potential customers in a more targeted way such as through email newsletters that users may have signed up for in order to gain access to email-gated content on their site. Networking is good, but if it isn't bringing you leads you might want to consider other approaches for a while.

6)Overworking:

It's easy to overwork yourself when there's no card to punch and no clock to answer to. In the beginning, you may be trying to get your portfolio built with plenty of projects on your resume. Other freelancers may have gotten so many clients that they can't keep up. It's important to define a start time and end time for your work each day and remember to give yourself time off each day. I like to work from 10 am to 6 pm while other freelancers may be early risers or night owls working late into the night.

 

7)Bad Chairs:

s a freelancer you'll probably spend a lot of time in your chair at your desk. It's important that you get a comfortable chair with lumbar support for your back. When you sit for long periods of time in uncomfortable chairs you may get back pain, leg pain, or neck and head pain. It's also important to keep your work at eye level to avoid neck strain as well.

8)Keeping bad clients:

When you started freelancing you probably wanted to work for yourself and make your own rules. The truth is that we all have someone to answer to, but we don't have to be abused. If you have a client who is rude, pushy, or simply disrespectful go ahead and do yourself a favor by firing them. It won't do you any good to keep them and you'll soon dread having to work on their projects. So go ahead and give them some recommendations for your competition, give them a couple weeks notice, and get out of there. However, if a client refuses to pay you may stop all work until payment resumes to avoid not getting paid for your work.

 

9)Working without a contract:

Please don't work without a contract! You will come to regret this if a client keeps expanding the scope or does not pay you. When setting up a contract outline the scope of your work, objectives, cost, payment terms, and cancellation terms. This will keep you and your client safe in the long run. So do yourself a favor and put in the time now to ensure smooth working conditions later.

10)High priced lead generation sites as a beginner:

Lead generation is often promoted as a paid service and can be a good thing, but I wouldn't recommend it for many beginners. In the beginning, it's best to have others recommend you that you may be close to, advertise in your own neighborhood, or promote yourself on social media. When you have more funds to work with later on you may want to try a lead generation service or PPC advertising as well to increase your sales.

 

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As all of you know I love social media marketing, in fact, I love it too much sometimes according to friends and family ( I am so not addicted to my iPhone), but I digress... However a few months back something started to happen in the spooky world of social media that I hadn't seen yet. At first, I was embarrassed and you may have been too if it's happened to you. 

 

There was a song by Motley Crue called Girls, Girls, Girls, and while cheesy, it certainly came to mind one day as a creepy backdrop to the slew of webcam models that have as of late began to follow me on Twitter. Why would webcam models be following me, though?

 

Let's break this down:

-First I'm a woman, making me less likely to be interested in the female form, although that's not true for all people of my gender so this would be sort of a spray and pray tactic for models.

-I run a business account on Twitter and never post social things there.

-I don't have any connections that could really benefit them (unless my business contacts like webcam models...I'm not judging :) )

- These accounts are most certainly automated which is a huge violation of Twitter policies so it's like shooting yourself in the foot from the outset.

 

So why were these girls following me of all people?

 

The answer is they weren't. Yep, that's right, there were no webcam models following me ( or at least it's very unlikely) and it's likely there are no webcam models following you.

I know this seems strange, but there it is. So stop panicking and get ready for a lesson in bots. Yep, that's right ladies no need to be jealous of the girls trying to follow your significant other on Twitter. It's likely they are as real as an adolescent fantasy...maybe less so in fact.

Twitter webcam models following us are likely bots that are used to generate a vast amount of followers for a variety of reasons including but not limited to hacking, scams, advertising, ad monetization etc...

The pictures are real of course and are likely of some lady intending to show someone a good time, but sources around the internet speculate that these photos may be stolen. This means someone has set up a bot account fully automated it and slapped on an enticing picture to lure our little monkey brains right into the trap. It's ok really, we were designed to be attracted to these images, but we shouldn't let ourselves get drawn in. 

 

Instead, if a webcam model follows you on Twitter the best thing to do is to report and block the account. This allows Twitter to investigate the account and keep you, along with the entire Twitter community safe. Keeping these bots to a minimum or eliminating them from the platform is the best way to manage the issue and prevent possible safety threats to you both online and offline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, 27 September 2016 02:34

Could Networking be Killing Your business?

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When the topic of networking came up recently with a colleague of mine I had to pause and think. Is networking really the best solution? Are we really going to find clients among business owners? The answer is yes and no. One thing is for certain though, anything can be a bad idea without moderation, remember even water can hurt you when used incorrectly...This is by no means a scientific article, but it is my two-cents on the subject to date.

 

All right so I hear you all saying "But Megan, how can you be putting down networking? You're all over social media, you used to run a networking group, and you cater to small business owners as clients. You're also a marketer, so how can you take this stance? Why would you say those things?".

I know, I know, people are going to get upset, but bear with me and try to have an open mind. I was astonished in the beginning too, but eventually, it all made sense.

The following reasons make me think that networking may not be your best bet (in person anyway):

  • Networking events can waste valuable time.

  • Networking events can make you have less than realistic expectations.

  • Networking events may not bring as many customers as you think, especially if the competition is fierce in your niche. 

  • Networking may make you feel important and successful when you really aren't going anywhere

  • Networking efforts might be better spent by attending events where clients are rather than only business owners in your area.

  • Face to face networking takes time, fuel, and preparation

Yes, I know I seem anti-social at this point, but just stay with me for a minute.

Let's say you go to a local event for one hour, it takes you a half hour to get there and get back to your workplace, an hour to get ready, and some fuel to get there too. Maybe you'll get leads and maybe you won't. So what have we lost: time, money, and maybe our drive when we think we've already accomplished our goals by telling others how well we are doing.

 

 Yet if we'd done some internet networking we might have lost a little time, but probably not as much, we would have saved on fuel and we could still be comfortable while targeting the exact niche we are looking to market too by choosing appropriate networks and forums online. Networking groups are often not niche specific in the real world and may be like a spray and pray effort while passing out that deluge of business cards.

I can just hear the naysayers now "Wow, Megan, you sound pretty bitter about networking...what went wrong?"

 

The truth is nothing went wrong, but I started to notice a trend. My happy thriving business started to take a nosedive as my networking efforts increased. Each networking event I went to in my area led to seeing mostly the same people every time who were usually uninterested in my services, did it them themselves, saw no value in them, or weren't at the stage to need my services. So time after time I would attend events, pass out my stack of business cards, quell my social anxiety, and smile until my face hurt to no avail.

While my approach may not be for everyone and may be more appropriate for those with online businesses, this is how I like to do things.Feel free to do whatever works best for your business though.

So what don't I do?

  • I don't have coffee, or in person meetings for that matter(unless there is a real need, but this is rare in my line of work). I have never made a sale in an in-person meeting and while I love coffee with some good conversation, I reserve this for Saturday and Sunday mornings. If you want to have coffee with me we can be friends, but I don't do business over coffee.

  • I don't attend local networking events unless there is a speaker in my niche I want to hear or it is an industry specific event.

  • I don't buy into the trap of thinking popularity will bring me success. I'm an introvert and I'm ok withthat, if you like face to face

    interaction by all means

    go for it.

  • I don't have phone calls with cold leads.

  • I no longer host networking events. They were a waste of time and my time is finite.

  • I avoid people who are drinking the "networking Koolaid" to the extreme. I like to be with people who get things done and dream, not just dreamers.

  • I don't have free in-person consultations. That's right if you want my time you'll pay the $55/per hour to secure that. I've been stood up too many times and I find if people pay first they have an incentive to show up. Harsh, but effective. I do however give free consultations online Monday through Friday from 10 am to 6 pm outside of major holidays in the US.

So you might be thinking "Okay Megan, what do you do? Also, do you hate people?" No, I don't hate people, I promise I can be quite warm and friendly, but business is business and my time has a price.

Here's what I do:

  • Make use of social media to draw targeted niche traffic to my website.

  • Nurture potential customers with blog posts like these.

  • Do great work for word of mouth advertising from happy customers.

  • Make use of email and LinkedIn to contact potential leads or discover leads.

  • Have Skype video meetings with potential clients to fill the need clients have for face to face interaction.

  • Make use of the phone for those let's have coffee and chat moments.

  • Insist on respect and draw the line at being stood up. I am less likely to give people a second appointment if they stand me up without any explanation.

  • Use forums in my niche to answer questions and connect with potential clients.

  • Produce quality content that people can use and recommend to others.

I have seen much more success by networking online so if this is the case for you don't feel bad. On the other hand, if your business has a proven track record of doing well with face-to-face networking then get out there and hustle. Networking isn't all bad or all good. Remember how I said anything without moderation could be harmful to us and our businesses? Networking can be a great tool when used correctly and with time in mind. In fact, I've made some great friends through face to face networking, but I've yet to make a sale offline.

Do you network in person? Has it been effective for you? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

 

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Wouldn't you like to know exactly what your users are thinking? Imagine the benefits you could gain including lower bounce rates, higher conversion, and more sales! While we can't read minds user testing might be the next best thing. Read on to learn more about user testing and a few ways to get the job done for free no credit cards required! 

  When I first built my site here I had little to no idea what I was doing and Joomla! seemed very scary. However, as time passed I got comfortable with the platform and the website progressed into the finished (ever evolving) site that you see today. The site has changed a few times though and I wondered each time if users would like the site and be comfortable using it. 

In the beginning, I relied heavily on strict SEO practices, great content (a very subjective concept), and social media to get the word out, but something wasn't right and my bounce rate was very high. In frustration, I reached out to friends and family for free feedback for my own purposes. While each person tried to be helpful they were also being nice. They were telling me what I wanted to hear rather than what I need to hear. 

Then a colleague recommended Peek User Testing to me and it was amazing. The sign up was free and simple too. They asked for my name, phone number, website, and email. They never asked for a payment and I got three free tests per month sent right to my inbox whenever I wanted to request them. I was a little nervous at first, but the reviewer was honest and I got a lot of insight from the video they sent back to me. 

In a five-minute video, a real user had reviewed my site, let me know their major pain points, let me know what they thought of the appearance, and let me know what was good about the site as well. I was able to take all of these things and work on a second "draft" of my site. The second draft was tested and it too had numerous issues with user experience, but this time the appearance was much better. Finally, the site as you see it today gets a few comments about appearance, but most folks are happy with the user experience as a whole. I would never have known these things without user testing though. 

 

So how can user testing help you to improve your site?

  • Honest, unbiased feedback for a real viewpoint from actual users gives you a base to work from.

  • You will know where to tweak your user experience to maybe reduce clutter, improve a sign-up form, or choose less glaring colors in some cases (perhaps people don't like bright purple as much as I did...).

  • Help you to find potentially broken links or missing pages on your site.

  • Recommend content changes or moving modules on the site to their places.

  • Help to point out slow loading times so that you don't lose users due to this.

  • Help to clear up confusing areas of your site or improve navigation through user feedback.

  • Help to increase sales by making it more clear what your site is about.

  • Help to point out annoying ads that cover the page or pop up at inconvenient times.

 

It's also important to keep in mind that user experience and the overall ease of use within your site are now signals to Google that will affect your site's rankings as well in search engine result pages. While thin content and spammy sites used to be able to rank well with a bit of SEO magic, that isn't the case any longer. I know I'm always putting a great deal of emphasis on the content because the content is king, but the user experience is right behind content at this point. 

Google looks at things such as the following when evaluating your user experience:

  • Can users easily find what they are searching for?

  • Is your site easy to navigate?

  • Is your site relevant to the search terms linked to it?

  • Does your site provide legitimate content that is relevant to your audience and does that content have credibility? 

  • Is your site responsive across a variety of devices (most people aren't chained to a desktop anymore :) )?

  • Does your site look professional and is it easily accessible to all users?

 

 Of course, user experience bleeds into another area most site owners haven't even thought of as well, link building. In this day and age site owners are looking for credible sites with rich content and a great user experience to link to. If your user experience isn't up to date and working well then you may be left out in the cold. Most site owners will likely bypass a spammy or low ranking site now in favor of more relevant sites to build their credibility in the long run. Remember, in link building, it's quality over quantity these days. 

To learn more about user experience and design for user experience check out this short video from d.studio.

 

 While there are many great tools around the web that rely on bots and algorithms such as Site Grader, Google Analytics, WooRank, and many more, there's no substitute for a human review every now and then. If you think user testing needs to be expensive or have complicated focus groups set up, please don't be discouraged. I thought it would be expensive in the beginning too. However, when I found out about the free testing with three free tests a month from Peek I was quick to grab the opportunity. 

 I hope that you will love Peek just as much as I did, but if you know of some other great user testing tools then please feel free to let me know in the comments.

If you are having trouble with user engagement within your website please reach out today for a free consultation-no credit card required!

***I am not affiliated with Peek User Testing and I am not receiving any money from the product discussed within this blog. I do not own an portion of the aforementioned company and I am in no way a spokesperson for this company. For more information about the services of Peek User Testing please contact their company directly. I am merely a satisfied user providing relevant and honest content to my blog community. This is not an attempt to sell or endorse any product. No part of this article should be taken as advice to use or not use the products mentioned here. This article is for educational purposes only. 

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Tuesday, 06 September 2016 14:17

9 Things You Must Know to Keep Your Business Safe Online

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There are a lot of risks to think about when doing business online and security is the number one concern when getting your business online with a website all of your own.  Yet, putting your business online is a great way to increase sales, build a fan base, and scale your business without purchasing more physical space for a brick and mortar store. Today we are talking with Kimera IT to learn more about keeping your business safe online. Read on to learn more about major online security concerns and to get a better perspective of hosting services as a whole.


1.    What type of security risks could be an issue for small businesses from a hosting or website point of view?


There are several security risks with different levels of severity. From the hosting company standpoint, isolation is one of the main concerns and the best first line of defense, when this is done properly if one website or database is attacked, it will not grant access to other services running on the server.
Nowadays, however, it is easier to accomplish isolation since most of the time a customer will get its own VM or Cloud Server.  This also allows the client complete control over their website and web services and in unmanaged server plans, the client is responsible for maintaining the server.

2.    How do hackers impact small business? Isn’t this just something large financial or healthcare providers online have to worry about?


Vulnerable websites can and do get hacked often and malware is then inserted on the server, this malware can do a number of tasks using server resources, like sending e-mail, scrapping websites, host back-links and alter the current website (defacing). 
I would say that every business, large or small should take security into consideration when choosing a provider. It is also advisable that the developers work with the hosting provider in order to achieve optimal security and disable unused vulnerable features as much as possible.



3.    What would the security risks be for my site if I offer memberships or login areas where users need to share their information?


Encryption is a must! A secure web server with the latest encryption protocols ensures that communication is secure between the user and the server.
Web sites that allow for transactions and store sensitive information should be kept up to date always and have a security audit every 6 months.

4.    What are the five most common security concerns that you see on a regular basis when working with clients?


1. Many websites are launched and very rarely updated
2. Plugins are utilized that have known vulnerabilities
3. Bad passwords are often used in content managers
4. Bad passwords are often used in e-mail accounts
5. Bad coding practices lead to security issues.


5.    Are plugins and other extensions included on some platforms such as Joomla or WordPress often a security concern?


They are, and there are many well known bad plugins, but I believe the main issue is that plugins are installed, then the developer launches an update to fix the issue and that update is never performed on the server side.
There is also the issue that the update can break the site, making it a difficult and lengthy process.

6.    What are some basic steps that website owners can take to keep them and their clients safe online?


The most important steps to secure any website are:
- Use strong login details
- Check for extra user accounts regularly
- Daily website backup (when possible)
- Daily database backup



7.    What should a site owner do if they feel they’ve been hacked or their site has been compromised?

The hosting provider should be notified and the entire site can either be suspended or simply restored from backup. The system administrator should be able to help pinpoint the vulnerability so it can be patched.

8.    Could dedicated hosting help my site to remain more secure? If so are there other benefits to dedicated hosting as well?


Dedicated hosting usually means dedicated hardware resources. This can help with performance if the website has traffic that justifies it. In terms of security, however, unless you also control the network layer, it is no different from a virtual server.

 


9.    What is cloud hosting?


Cloud Hosting means flexible hosting, hardware resources are seen as pools of resources that can grow instantly. Cloud Hosting can also mean High Availability (HA), where a website or web service runs on multiple servers to ensure maximum up-time in case something should go wrong with one of the servers.

Kimera is a small IT & SaaS company established in 2003 and currently supports customers in three continents through Bare Metal Servers, Cloud Services, Cloud Servers and Service Level Agreements.

We focus on tailored hosting solutions that fit the customer's needs and help ensure that all services run smoothly.

You can learn more about Kimera IT at https://www.kimeralive.com

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter too!

FB: https://facebook.com/kimera.page


Twitter: @_kimera_

 

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Yep...it's flu season again and you've likely picked up the nasty bug from someone you know and love or maybe even your favorite barista down the street.

Maybe you woke up with the slightest of tickles in your throat earlier this week and thought you had a cold coming on, but yesterday at lunch time you could have sworn someone ran over you with a mack truck by the time you got back to your desk.

The CDC estimates that around 20% of the population in the Us gets the flu each year. So it's important to remember to get your flu vaccine by early October, especially if you are in a high-risk population or live/work with a high-risk population. High-risk populations include cancer patients, those with auto-immune diseases, respiratory patients (asthma/COPD/CHF etc...), stroke patients, the very elderly, the very young, and those who are bedridden or have reduced mobility. Pregnant women are also considered an at-risk population and should receive a flu shot too. Many local pharmacies offer flu shots and your local doctor's office will likely be giving flu shots too. Most health insurance plans cover flu shots and if you don't have health insurance your local pharmacy may be a cheaper option to get vaccinated and stay well this flu season.

 

Let's say you didn't get your flu shot though... self-flagellation aside, you're probably feeling pretty rough.

 

Flu usually lasts around one week and produces symptoms such as :

  • Coughing

  • Fever or Chills

  • Headaches

  • Extreme Fatigue

  • Stuffy or

    Runny Nose
  • Sore Throat

  • Body or Muscle Aches

  • Flu often comes on suddenly and makes people feel far worse than a cold

So now you're sick and you just want to feel human again so you can get back to your clients. I know, I've been there, but right now you need rest and lots of it. Seeing your doctor early on in the course of influenza may shorten the duration of your symptoms or reduce their severity if Tamiflu is prescribed. Tamiflu is an antiviral drug that helps to reduce the growth of the influenza virus to help you feel better faster.

 

Otherwise, symptomatic treatment may help you to feel better. Pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen may ease headaches and muscle pain. However, those with asthma should steer clear of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs including but not limited to ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and aspirin. Cough syrups with dextromethorphan may ease a hacking cough while Sudafed and other decongestants could help to unblock your nose and clear your sinuses. Afrin may be used for symptomatic stuffiness too, especially at night when congestion may be at it's worst. it's worth mentioning that those with high blood pressure should talk with their doctors about using decongestants in oral or spray form though. Please be careful, my mother had high blood pressure and took decongestants during a sinus infection only to have a disabling stroke many years ago. Some individuals may also choose to use a mentholated chest rub to relieve coughing during sleep. Other remedies may include using a humidifier, elevating your head while sleeping and drinking warm liquids such as herbal teas or chicken soup.

However, it's important to remember that I'm not a doctor and I don't want anyone taking this article as medical advice. Please see a qualified healthcare provider if you are feeling ill. The information contained here is meant only for educational purposes.

Now that we've discussed the nastier sides of the flu we know we have clients to handle too. Most clients will be very understanding if we keep a good track record of timely, quality deliveries. There are some steps you can take during the flu to stay on top of things:

  • Let clients know when you are ill as early as possible

  • Never wait to the last minute to complete work

  • Let clients know when you expect to return to work/normal operations

  • Call for help! If you know other qualified freelancers who could take a bit of the project then let them know what's going on to see if they can help you to keep a big project on track.

  • Check emails daily when sick and respond as needed to keep the lines of communication open between you and your clients.

  • Never go to meet clients when you have the flu until you are fever free for 24 hours or more. We never know who our clients go home to and they may have young, elderly, or at-risk individuals to come in contact with regularly. Stay home and don't spread the flu, please!

  • Be sure to wipe work-spaces down when returning to work with a disinfecting product.

  • Let clients know when you have returned to work.

  • Be prepared to take it a bit slower than normal during the first week or two after the flu has resolved for you.

 

I'm sure by now you're ready to never have the flu darken your door again, but how can you prevent it? According to some experts, the following tips may help to reduce the spread of flu to you and your loved ones...and all of those lovely clients.

  • Get a flu vaccine yearly.

  • Wash your hands with soap and running water before eating, after blowing your nose or coughing into your hands, and after coming into contact with someone else who may be sick.

  • Use hand sanitizer to clean your hands if they aren't heavily soiled when soap and water aren't available.

  • Cover your mouth and nose by sneezing or coughing into your elbow.

  • Throw away used tissues and sanitize surfaces regularly.

  • Opt for disposable tissues rather than handkerchiefs that may trap germs and spread them each time you sneeze or blow your nose.

  • Get some rest and stay well rested this flu season.

  • try not to touch your nose, mouth or eyes when possible.

  • If you are ill stay home until you are fever-free for at least 24 hours without the aid of fever reducers.

  • Some people also recommend not shaking hands with others during flu season as well to lessen the spread of germs.

Here's to wishing you a healthy flu season and many productive days ahead!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Content...we all need it, we all want it, and on the internet, you're dead in the water without it. Great content is so elusive that many have begun to think of it like an urban legend (I promise we won't have to hunt it like a Yeti...much :) ). Some consumers may even be saying, isn't all content creation the same? Don't all content marketing companies or services use the same tactics? The answer is no! One size does not fit all. Here at The Content Oasis, we want to bring back great content while allowing the personality of your business shine through to attract readers and delight your customers every day. Read on to learn more about our content creation and marketing services and discover how we can make your content King today!

There's no need to search for great content like an urban legend!

I'd like to welcome you all to our website which I have painstakingly created for us all to share a wonderful experience. I'm glad to have you drop by and I hope you'll check out the other articles in our blog collection here as well. If you haven't already, please take a moment to make yourself familiar with the marketing packages on our home page. We'll be discussing these packages today and how they can help you to drive traffic like crazy while becoming an authority in your niche to establish a stellar reputation online.

While you're thinking those packages over, let's talk about why anyone would need content creation or marketing services in the first place. Before the internet many companies, in fact, most companies used a marketing practice known as outbound marketing. These tactics included direct mailing, billboards, tv ads, cold calling, kiosks in local shopping areas, and many other tactics that fall under this umbrella. Consumers at the time had very little information to work with when purchasing a product and shopping or purchasing was often a gamble. Buyers could consult a few sources such as Consumer Reports or those that they knew had used the product before, but otherwise it was anyone's guess.

Often users had no resources beyond the media for product information, like TV ads or other media materials broadcasted widely to a variety of audiences.

When the internet came into most of our homes this changed forever. People were instantly connected with individuals from around the world. They could see reviews about products or services day or night and the purchasing space opened a great deal as well. No longer were individuals limited to small local stores, large chain stores, the mall, or the flea market. Now there were tons of individuals on the internet selling diverse items and products ranging from personal care products to furniture every day.

So a different marketing approach came into play known as inbound marketing, for more information on how inbound marketing can help your business please see our previous post on this topic. In short inbound marketing seeks to draw customers in while providing value through content that is relevant and shareable. This content helps readers come to you and ask what you can do for them rather than us blasting our customers with information about what we can do for them. So now we need to create website content, social media content, email marketing content, and we can also apply user-generated content as well.

Everyone wants to be the King of Content, but are they?

We know that everyone and anyone is promising great content around the internet so it seems as if all content creation or content marketing services are just alike, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Often when a client looks for content a higher fee may scare them away or they may be tempted with a quick turnaround. I'll just be honest, if this is you then you're going to get burned. Often those services will use article spinners, copied content, or poorly written content stuffed with keywords to "market". If you've already been burned I'm sorry for you and I hope it never happens to you again because most customers have been there at some point so don't feel too bad about it.

The difference here with us is that we will:

-Speak with you to determine what your niche is, who your readers are, and where your readers can be found.

-We will learn about your company, your values, and the personality of your business to let the real you shine through.

-We will personally craft your content to be 100% original and we will never use an article spinner.

-All articles are checked for keyword density before being returned to you to be sure that keyword stuffing is never an issue.

-Every article we create is run through CopyScape Premium to be sure that we haven't somehow taken someone else's words on accident so that you can be sure you never face a plagiarism issue.

Let us help you to create content that preserves the unique personality of your business to make you stand out online!

The big point here is that we are creating custom content just for you. So your content is the proverbial special snowflake. It will flutter around the internet in all of its shiny glory as your users, readers, and followers gain insight from it each time they read more. It will drive your readers to share your content and attract the eye of influencers in your niche as well because great content makes little difference unless it's the right content. I used to work in medicine and the saying was right route, right medication. Here the difference is right content, right readers, this is the magic, this is how successful content is born and we want to help you make it happen.

At The Content Oasis we help customers to find the best package to fit their needs or create an individual package for them. Our basic through premium packages all include content for the pages of your website. Our individual services listing helps users to get individual pieces of content to meet their budget. The content curation package offers you the chance to have us curate the best content in your niche and serve it up to your readers or followers to have them running back for more. Or if you are looking for general content for all of your content needs you can choose our content creation package. This package helps customers to get content for brochures, flyers, video scripts, case studies, articles, and more.

We know this is a lot to take in, but we are always here to chat. Feel free to contact us for any content marketing questions you may have, questions about the packages, or to get started crafting great content for your business today!

 

 

 

 

 

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Many customers have asked me this over the last couple of years. Why do I need a marketer? Is internet marketing a DIY project? Can’t I just do it myself?  Why should we pay for marketing services online? In this post, I want to discuss these questions to hopefully shed some light on the subject and help companies to make a better decision on spending their marketing funds or not when the need arises.

 

Does everyone need online marketing?

Everyone does not need internet marketing, but most could use these services. Businesses with no online presence and no need to be online to find customers and grow their business will not need assistance with online marketing. Sometimes spending money on marketing in the online world can be foolish for small local businesses, unless it is for a local SEO strategy through Google My Business, Yelp, or other online listing sites. So whether a business needs an online marketing strategy or an online presence is a case by case decision. I am happy to discuss this with potential customers though and I strive to never sell packages or services unless a client truly needs them or will derive benefit for their business from them.

If I need an online marketing strategy do I need a marketer?

The internet is a wide world with a great deal of competition so unless you are well versed in marketing or plan to be in the near future then yes you’ll like need someone experienced in marketing. For online marketing, you’ll need someone who is experienced in other mediums besides traditional outbound marketing tactics such as cold calling, billboards, TV ads, etc…

Can’t I just go the DIY route for my marketing?

Again you could, but why? Many marketing professionals, myself included, provide reasonable pricing for many services and can develop packages and proposals to fit your own unique needs. We understand that you have bills just like we do and we do our best to help you get the exact services you need without hidden fees or overpriced services. When you go DIY you may miss out on important opportunities to promote across platforms, tips and tricks learned through experience and the latest marketing techniques. We’ve already taken the time to wade through social media marketing, email marketing, and many of us are certified in inbound marketing as well. I am HubSpot certified in both Inbound Marketing and Email Marketing; this allows me to help my clients get the most up to date marketing tactics to help them avoid the expense, lost time, and detrimental mistakes when marketing their company.

Another important thing to mention here is that it’s possible to damage your online reputation or standing through DIY marketing. Google is very strict on what is and isn’t allowed these days. Duplicate content, keyword stuffing, article directory submissions on multiple platforms, and spammy content could all lead to penalties from Google. This means lower search engine rankings in the search engine results pages, meaning that customers will be even less likely you to find you online after these penalties. After all, most users never search past the first results page, so what do you think the odds of finding your company would be if Google moved you to the fifth page or lower? An experienced marketer can help you to avoid these and other costly mistakes.

Why should I pay for online marketing services?

As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. When considering working with a marketer or marketing form you should be prepared to pay some fee. These will vary based on location, experiences, and services rendered. Paying for services secures professional advice, services, and expertise just as if you paid an attorney or doctor for their services.  While you will have to pay now, you will likely see monetary returns later as your business receives more traffic online leading to more leads and ultimately more sales.

A word of caution:

Before hiring a marketing professional ask them about their experience, credentials, and any results they’ve had in the past. For content marketing, you may also want to view a portfolio as well. You can view my HubSpot certifications here on the site and my portfolio as well. I hold an Associate of Arts Degree as well and I have two years of marketing experience with a heavy concentration of content marketing. For an example of what a website might look like if you chose to work with me feel free to browse through my site here as it is all my own work. All service packages listed on the right-hand side of the Home page layout my specific fees. If you don’t work with me that’s ok, but you should expect something similar from any marketing professional you are going to hire. You should also ask for a complete estimate with pricing for each item billed before beginning too and ask about fees for rush work, additional work added after the project begins, late fees, and any deposits they require upfront. We require a deposit of ¼ of the price of your project before beginning for any project over $100 and you may view our other fees and payment terms in the FAQ section of this site too.

Interested in working with The Content Oasis?  Contact us today to boost your sales and establish a stellar online presence that you can be proud of!  

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Thursday, 07 July 2016 18:45

Does Keyword Density Even Matter?

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Many website owners and bloggers wonder whether keyword density even matters anymore. After all Google puts so little interest on it how important could it be? Read on to learn more about how keyword density could affect your site in the future and the present.

The Keywords do Matter!

Choosing the right keywords does matter. Check out our previous post on using the Google Keywords Planner for more information on choosing the best ones. In all cases you’ll want to be sure the content on your pages is relevant to your industry, but keyword density is definitely a lesser metric these days.

There is No Such Thing as the Perfect Keyword Density!

Yes, you read that right. If you think there is a magic number for keyword density I would like you to please consider why you think that. Google pays little attention to the density of keywords, but instead pays attention to content relevance, user experience, navigation, design, header tags and other important factors outside of keywords.

However, there is Such a Thing as Keyword Stuffing…

I know I said density isn’t important, but if you are stuffing in keywords just to rank then keywords could cause you problems. This because the content will have poor readability for users, seems spammy, and likely provides poor relevance for your readers. So please don’t keyword stuff articles or web content.

What Can I do then?

Simply write naturally with your optimal keywords in mind. Add them in where they feel natural and make sure you are writing with readers in mind first and bots in mind last, after all, your site is for people, not bots. Bots merely analyze your pages to see if they should be served to searchers as part of search results. So concentrate on providing value to your readers with clear content that is relevant to the subject at hand and you should be fine.

Need help with your content marketing? Contact us today for a free consultation!

 

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