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Think Like A Startup: Five Ways To Boost Your SEO Strategy

A new startup is born every day.

In garages, dorm rooms, and basements all around the world, people are bringing their business ideas to life. But this surge of entrepreneurial energy isn’t limited to actual startups. Big brands like Coca-Cola and Red Bull are adopting lean and agile methods to mimic the flexibility and rapid innovation of Silicon Valley’s hottest up-and-comers.

While it may not be practical to adjust every aspect of your company to be more like a startup, adjusting your SEO strategy at the enterprise level to mirror a startup’s methods can help you stay ahead of the game.

Here are a few SEO tips ripped right from the entrepreneur playbook:

1. Remove Bureaucracy

When you have to submit a request and go through multiple layers of approval to make even the smallest change, it squelches productivity. SEO is no different.

Your SEO team should constantly be adding and altering keywords and phrases. If every change has to be approved by the legal team and the board of directors, it destroys efficiency.

Cut the red tape, and place your trust in your SEO team. Make sure they can easily access web files, CSS, and other privileged information.

2. Stop Keyword Stuffing

SEO operates in a pyramid structure, where main terms are targeted on the home page, ancillary terms are placed on secondary pages, and so forth.

For example, if you have 1,500 terms you want to target about smoke detectors, your home page will target “smoke detectors,” and your internal pages will target long-tail keywords.

However, big companies often try to bypass this process by placing all their keywords on the home page. This method can produce quick results, but Google will ultimately penalize them for bad SEO practices. This year, we saw quite a few big brands — including eBay — tumble down search results for trying to game the system.

Cramming in low-quality links with too many anchor texts will yield feeble SEO results. Instead, hire a qualified PR professional to get you on reputable sites like CNN. The organic, healthy links will filter in naturally and boost your SEO without keyword stuffing.

3. Be Relentless About Creating a Great User Experience

Ultimately, startups succeed due to their commitment to producing the best possible user experience. Big brands can harness this mentality simply by striving to build a better site than their competitors. By producing superior content and increasing your website’s load speed, you nurture a positive brand image.

The Internet marketing blog ShoeMoneyonce described this idea as the “screw Google” mentality, which suggests that you manage your website as if Google doesn’t exist. This will keep you focused solely on building a great website that customers will return to again and again.

4. Embrace Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have a larger impact on SEO than you think, and startups know this. The most successful ones know that creating a community around branded content begins a cycle that ultimately elevates a site’s SEO.

When you create attention-grabbing posts and your followers click through, Google notices your site’s traffic spike, and you boost brand awareness.

It may not be a traditional SEO move, but it’s a great one for your site.

5. Don’t Take Shortcuts

Every entrepreneur knows there’s no substitute for hard work and dedication, and that includes a sound SEO strategy.

Back in 2007, SEO “specialists” advised their clients to set SEO bait, which tricked viewers into organically linking to a site. On Myspace, users often took quizzes that produced results in easy-to-copy banner ads. When they embedded them on their Myspace profile, it artificially inflated that site’s visibility. Google eventually caught on, and sites were penalized.

There aren’t any shortcuts to good SEO. It all comes down to great content, an engaged audience, and a solid SEO team that gets your customers the information they’re looking for every time.

While the Internet landscape is constantly evolving, SEO has remained a valuable marketing tool for businesses of all sizes. If there’s one method your company can steal from startups, it’s this: Get to work.

 

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Eager to Start Another Business? 6 Things You Need to Keep in Mind

It’s easy to get caught up in the romance of the first time — whether it’s love or entrepreneurship. But for so many founders, that initial startup is just the beginning.

Today, a panel of experts at Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) event will examine the nuts and bolts of starting a successful second venture. The panel is part of the tech company’s annual conference, which began last night in its hometown of Austin and brings together female entrepreneurs from around the world.

The inspiration came from last year’s DWEN event during a session focused on scaling for the future: “Much of the conversation focused on the need to diversify and create multiple revenue streams in order to innovate and continue to grow,” says Jennifer “J.J.” Davis,  executive director of global communications at Dell.

Today’s panel includes Catherine Graham, president of Toronto-based promotional products agency RIGHTSLEEVE and CEO of cloud-based business management software company commonsku, and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, cofounder and head of strategic alliances for Gilt Groupe, among other high-profile female entrepreneurs.

“When you’re looking to start a second business, you should leverage your network in every possible way you possibly can,” says Graham.

We took her advice, asking a diverse group of women founders what they’d kept in mind when building their second — or sixth — businesses:

1. Wait until you have to pivot.
Starting a business can be hell on earth: You want to be so passionate about your idea that you have no choice but to do it. The idea for DailyWorth.com couldn’t have come at a worse time: Soapbxx.com, my 10-year-old web engineering company, was successful; I had a two-year-old and was pregnant with my second child. But if you’re obsessed with starting and building things, you have to strike when the idea hits you. And on the flip side, if you’re questioning whether it’s the right time, then maybe it isn’t.
— Amanda Steinberg, founder of digital media company DailyWorth.com

2. Ensure your first business is rock-solid. 
One of the most challenging things about spinning out the second business is that the startup phase is all consuming. So make sure the original business is set up for success: Be very, very clear about its vision, its strategy, and about who is running the team to get you to your goals. You can’t over-communicate
— Catherine Graham, CEO of commonsku

3. Don’t expect overnight success. Life is all about embracing change and employing your skills into new areas to keep things fresh. After selling the marketing and communications consultancy that I started when I was 25, I wanted to move from advising businesses to building a brand of my own, deploying all the skills I’d learned so far. But [the transition] wasn’t instant: It really can take a couple of years to exit your first business, find the right idea to develop next, line up the team and get funding in place.
— Debbie Wosskow, Founder and CEO of Love Home Swap.

4. Capitalize on what went wrong the first time.
The easiest part of starting a second business is having the wisdom and experience to know what NOT to do. I had 40 angel investors in my first company, many of whom had no knowledge of our industry, and I spent much of my time managing them. The second time around, I made sure I only had five angel investors, all of whom could add value to my business in some way, before a series A round.
— Ruma Bose, principal at Ohana Capital

5. Take your time building buzz. 
Before we launched Zady.com 10 months ago, one of Warby Parker’s founders told us: “You can only launch your brand once.” We planned for our release 90 days in advance, creating a “coming soon” website with just enough detail—but not enough to write a story about Zady. Eventually we did speak to a top journalist, which resulted in a cover story in August of 2013. From there, we were off to the races.
— Soraya Darabi, co-founder of Zady.com

6. Maintain a first-timer’s enthusiasm 
A second business is easier in some ways and more difficult in others, just as a second child is: You may have fewer stumbles, but you still have to wake up at 2AM and change the diapers. Since the newness won’t be there [the second time around], you have to really, truly be as fired up—if not more so—about your concept.
— Carolyn Rodz, founder of Market Mentor

 
 

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Don’t Make These 10 Startup Mistakes

Starting a business is difficult. Launching a startup is even more challenging. Aside from facing the challenge of attempting to build a company from the ground up, many entrepreneurs have little prior experience in the business world. Even when they have an incredibly awesome idea, complex problems arise, such as managing the young enterprise, handling finances and hiring employees on a budget.

Due to a lack of experience, many startups endure the misfortune of failure — if they launch at all. Be sure to not add to their tales of disaster. Here are 10 startup mistakes to avoid at all cost:

1. Going it alone. How many startups that have met with success have only one founder? Larry Ellison’s Oracle is an exception.

Indeed establishing a company is hard work and it often takes more than a single individual to launch a business. There are highs and lows, not to mention some tasks that few can undertake alone. Crushing blows and setbacks sometimes make it hard to continue on without another person’s encouragement. Then there’s a need to market the plan and build the product or service. Money has to be raised to launch the startup.

In most situations, it’s an incredibly daunting to tackle all this alone. A little help from friends and professional colleagues can help in launching the startup.

2. Skimping on the business plan. Having a solid business plan plays a vital role in determining future success. A business plan, after all, serves to guide the startup in the right direction by answering the following questions:

What is the purpose of the company? Who are the potential customers? What are the mission and values?What’s the direction desired for the company? Who are the company’s competitors and what are they doing? How can the company measure success?

In other words, a sound business plan determines every aspect of the startup. And whenever the company is stuck or a new venture is to be launched, refer to the business plan.

There’s no need to go creating a business plan in as formal a manner as someone would in business school. But having a business plan is recommended since it will help determine the company’s direction over the long term.

3. Not handling money correctly. When it comes to startups, having money is very much a big deal and it needs proper handling.

One of the biggest mistakes is spending too much, which may occur when a business owner or founder becomes overly eager and hires a ton of people. At first, the entrepreneur may believe all the new employees are needed. But this will just mean burning through the startup’s finances faster. To avoid this, hire those only those truly needed and take staffing up step by step.

A founder may be tempted to blow through a lot of cash pretty quickly, spending on unnecessary expenses. Instead of these funds going to good use, they’re just wasted.

If a venture capital firm just handed the company a big, fat check, it may be expecting a big fat result very soon. No more fooling around. It’s time to get to work.

And what if the business suddenly has to undertake a costly change and insufficient funds have been set aside? What happens if the original plan must be scratched in favor of a backup plan? What if an investor backs out or a client doesn’t pay? What if a vital element for the business costs too much? Is there money to handle such scenarios?

Without proper management and use of its finances, a new business may never set sail. Be sure that someone good with numbers can help out with this.

4. Not being able to pivot. Every entrepreneur will say that nothing ever goes as planned. But being able to pivot is part of the game. At one time Nokia had a paper mill and made rubber boots. Today, it’s a telecommunications company.

Odeo once existed as a podcasting platform. But when Apple launched its podcasting platform, Odeo had to pivot. Today Odeo is that social media outlet known as Twitter.

To become a successful business owner, keep a backup plan for every worse-case scenario but also be flexible and able to pivot if the original proposal isn’t going to work.

5. Thinking too small. If an entrepreneur thinks too much outside the box (meaning targeting a very tiny niche market), success may be elusive. Investor Paul Graham, the founder of startup incubator Y Combinator, explained in “The 18 Mistakes That Kill Startups” that many entrepreneurs believe it’s safer to target a smaller crowd so the competition isn’t as fierce. But “if you make anything good, you’re going to have competitors, so you may as well face that,” Graham said. “You can only avoid competition by avoiding good ideas.”

6. Choosing the wrong location. Siting a business has always been important. Setting up shop in the right location is key, considering the cost and the geoposition of potential customers and the industry as a whole.

For example, Rowland H. Macy originally started a store in Massachusetts, but it didn’t pan out. So, he learned from the mistakes and relocated his business to Sixth Avenue in New York City. The enterprise was successful and resulted in the retail giant known as Macy’s.

And consider the fact that many successful tech companies tend to emerge from tech hubs like Silicon Valley, Seattle, Portland, Ore., and Boston.

But there’s another reason why location matters: venture capitalists. Graham observed how most venture capitalists fund startups that are located about an hour’s drive away. This may be because investors learn of  startups through someone else in their network. So to receive funds, site the startup close to where the money is.

7. Ignoring a hunch. There’s nothing quite like the instincts of an entrepreneur. It’s probably the reason many get far with their startups. So don’t ignore that hunch. Use it to advantage.

But make sure that that entertaining a hunch is balanced with engaging in number crunching, viewing key performance indicators and developing business strategies based on research.

8. Launching at an inopportune time. When launching a startup, timing is everything. While certain circumstances lie outside of control (like the economy or natural disasters), launching at the right time can be arranged. Never mind the exhaustive scientific approach. Just make sure the company doesn’t launch too early or wait too long.

Launching too soon might put the entire enterprise at risk. Consider the following: Is this a product or service that people really want? Is it ready to be marketed? After all, there’s nothing worse than rushing a startup to market out of a desire to beat the competition or start making revenue. Be sure that the startup is ready to go before making it public.

On the flip side, don’t wait too long. Otherwise there’s the chance all the money will be exhausted or that a competitor will be first to market a product. Make sure that everything is ready to roll but don’t procrastinate. Establish deadlines and meet them.

9. Getting the hiring process wrong. Be sure that hiring doesn’t start too quickly. That will drain the entreprise financially. But the part o the hiring process that’s constantly tweaked is the attempt to recruit the right people.

So many startups have folded because the people hired were just not right for the company, perhaps a friend who lacked skilled for the work role. Or someone didn’t fit in with the team because of a personality mismatch. Be sure to have qualified people working at the startup.

And ensure that everything is documented. No one wants an ex-employee to sue because a huge chunk of the company was promised in exchange for services, an agreement that was only sealed with a handshake.

10. Too much outside influence. Whether it’s advice or criticism, feedback from an outside source sometimes is a great assist. Would Facebook have taken off if Sean Parker had not suggested to Mark Zuckerberg that he move to California and change his project’s name from Thefacebook to just Facebook?

Of course too much feedback can be detrimental. Along a company’s journey, many will say what’s best for it. If everyone’s advice is followed, the business would no longer bear a resemblance to the original idea. Being pulled in too many different directions just isn’t good for a business.

Even though Zuckerberg took Parker’s advice, he still kept a vision of what he wanted Facebook to be. He didn’t take every piece of advice offered. He just used the suggestions that he knew would work for his company.

 
 

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Ancient Yoga Has Lessons for Modern Entrepreneurs

Startups and yoga are two cultural phenomena that have become mainstream over the past decade. There’s a 20 percent chance you’ve tried a startup, a 40 percent chance you’ve tried yoga and a 100 percent chance you know someone who’s tried one or the other. To pursue either one well, you must focus on your center and build your flexibility. That creates a paradox in the startup world. Two startup imperatives, focus on the core business while remaining flexible, seem to be in conflict.

The Paradox. Radically focused on your startup’s core mission? You might pursue the wrong target market or feature set for too long. You might hurt yourself by not pivoting quickly enough. Maintaining your startup’s flexibility? You may explore too many potential growth avenues and not push hard enough on the single product-market fit that will enable your startup to succeed.

Startup literature is filled with firms that either never gained traction, or did so and then flamed out, because they were either too core-focused or too flexible. Unpacking the nature of yoga can help us resolve this startup paradox.

The term “yoga” derives from the Sanskrit word for “yoke.” Just as two oxen yoked together can pull a heavy load, yoga joins together mind and body to achieve a goal. In yoga, disciplined mental effort increases your body’s capabilities, leading to greater health, longevity and sense of fulfillment.

Yoga teaches that physical and mental centeredness, i.e. core focus, is the starting point. By paying close attention to breathing, the central activity of your body, you begin unlocking greater capabilities in your muscles and connective tissues. Yoga starts at your center and, from there, builds strength and flexibility.

The Discipline of Flexibility. The same principle applies both to successful yoga practitioners and to successful startups: Focus on the core enables flexibility. To Rob Bernshteyn, CEO of successful late-stage startup Coupa, your core means not just your line of business, but also “the set of core values that keeps your culture intact. If a startup were to define “agility” as a core value, it could evolve its line of business without losing focus on customer success.”

Agility-as-core-value aligns with the principles of the Lean Startup movement, which teaches that startups succeed by learning as much as they can from customers over the shortest iterative cycles at the lowest possible cost. Just as one can perfect a balanced yoga pose over a series of trials and errors (gravity often wins), so too a startup can take a disciplined approach to experimenting and learning, building flexibility in the process.

The Startup in Your Mind’s Eye.  Yoga and startups both harness the power of vision. In yoga, a meditative state is often used to induce a vision. The student is encouraged to picture something in his or her ‘mind’s eye’. Startups are frequently tied to a vision, typically that of the founder. John Foley, founder and CEO of innovative indoor cycling startup Peloton, believes a founder’s higher consciousness comes from accepting that a startup’s reality, at least initially, may fall short of his or her vision.

“Compared to where a founder sees his or her business ultimately going, it’s almost always a disappointment to launch the version 1.0 product,” Foley said. Yoga teaches the student to pursue an intention without becoming discouraged at the gulf between vision and present reality. That is a critical skill for entrepreneurs facing significant resource and capital constraints.

With important parallels between startups and yoga, it seems the insight for entrepreneurs is that there is no paradox after all. You can stay centered without sacrificing flexibility, however doing so requires discipline and placing your vision in proper perspective. If customer learning is a startup’s oxygen, then achieving traction represents a startup’s mastery of poses, each one guided by intention and achieved through disciplined practice, leading to business health, longevity, and the team’s sense of fulfillment.

 
 

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9 ‘Mindsets’ You Need to Switch From Employee to Entrepreneur

Mindset is probably the major determinant of success in pretty much every walk of life. In other words, the thinking patterns you habitually adopt largely govern the results you achieve.

But different circumstances and situations require different mindsets, something that anyone looking to leave paid employment and strike out on their own, must be aware of. Unfortunately, not all would-be entrepreneurs understand the dramatic mindset shifts required, without which business success is unlikely.

So how, as a one-time employee, will you have to think differently to succeed?

1. You’re responsible for all decisions – good and bad. Entrepreneurs have an incredible opportunity to create something from nothing, in a way that’s not possible working for someone else. But this means making big decisions about what must be done, when and how. You can’t wait for things to happen, or for someone to tell you what to do, you must make them happen. Successful entrepreneurs also understand that opportunities may be short-lived, and so develop a sense of urgency that helps them achieve their goals.

2. You need to hold both short and long-term visions simultaneously. Work for others and you are mainly responsible for ensuring that what needs to be done now, is done. As an entrepreneur, you have to project your mind forward, thinking about the potential pitfalls and opportunities that lie around the corner, and making decisions based on uncertainty. This requires you to come to terms with the fact that what you do, or don’t do, today, will have an impact on your business three months, even five years down the line.

3. Feeling uncomfortable is your new ‘comfort zone.’ As an employee, you’re used to thinking ‘inside the box’ rather than outside it. As an entrepreneur, there is no box. You see what others don’t, test new ideas, seize new territory, take risks. This requires courage, a thick skin and the ability to keep going despite rejection and skepticism.

4. Learning is a continuous journey. As an employee, you have a job description, requiring a specific skill-set. Being an entrepreneur involves learning many new skills, unless you have the funds to outsource what you’re not good at or don’t want to do. That could be learning to set up a spreadsheet, getting investors on board, marketing your ideas, crafting your perfect pitch, or using unfamiliar technology. What needs to be done, has to be done – there is no room for excuses.

5. Numbers don’t lie. Where numbers are concerned, it’s enough for most employees to know what’s coming in and what’s going out. As an entrepreneur, you’d better learn to love numbers fast, because your cash flow is what will keep you in – or out of – business. Ultimately, it’s your sales, costs, profit and loss that will either give you sleepless nights or an enviable lifestyle. But without the guiding light of numbers, your business will be continually heading for the rocks.

6. Love your business, but be objective. As an employee, you can go on doing something you dislike just for the salary. As an entrepreneur, you will need to love your business because of the effort and long hours required. But you mustn’t fall into the trap of thinking and acting like an employee in your own company, working ‘in’ rather than ‘on’ the business, a ‘technician’ rather than the person who steers it forward.

7. Enjoy breaking rules. As an employee, breaking the rules could mean dismissal. Entrepreneurs on the other hand, aren’t interested in the status quo – they’re always looking for ways to do things differently. That means acquiring a global perspective, always peering over the horizon, or at least towards it, to where the next big thing is waiting.

8. Time isn’t linear. As an employee, you have a timetable to work to. As an entrepreneur, while you might not be tied to a desk or computer 24/7, you will always be thinking about your business, what it’s doing well and what it could be doing better. There will be no respite – you will live and breathe it.

9. Start now. Most people under-estimate the time it takes to make the transition to entrepreneur, so it’s sensible to start shifting your mindset while you’re still employed, perhaps even setting up a business to run alongside. This could give you the opportunity to develop skills and build experience while still enjoying the safety-net of a salary, something that at some point you will almost certainly need to give up if you want to grow your business.

So, employee or entrepreneur? Is it time to switch? The choice is yours.

 
 

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10 Truths About Self-Publishing for Entrepreneurs With a Book Idea

Research shows that 81 percent of people say they have at least one book in them, according to the New York Times. As an entrepreneur, a book is a great way to establish your authority in your industry.

It’s estimated that Amazon has earned $5.25 billion from eBooks so far this year, according to George Parker in The New Yorker. For entrepreneurs, this is an opportunity to add income to your business.

The problem is that there are 600,000 to one million books self-published  every year in the U. S. alone, according to Nick Morgan. This has spawned an entire industry aimed at those wanting to self-publish a book. It’s also made it very difficult for your book to stand out and sell copies.

It’s estimated that the average book will sell fewer than 250 copies, according to Nick Morgan. It’s hard to sell books. Here are 10 hard-earned bits of advice that will help you sell your book.

1. Don’t make your book free through Amazon’s KDP select program. Amazon has a program called KDP Select. When you enroll in the program you have to make your book exclusive to Amazon. You can’t even sell it on your own website. In exchange for exclusivity, Amazon will give you a small portion of their lending program (about $2 per book).

They will also let you offer your book for free for five days every 90 days. The free promotion was a popular strategy in 2011 and it’s still widely used today. The goal is to get more reviews for your book and your book in more readers hands.

The biggest problem is you can’t sell your book on your own website. That costs you the opportunity to connect with your customers directly. You can’t add their name to your email list, you can’t tell them about your other products or services. Amazon gets to do that.

People don’t respect something they get for free and, since there are millions of other free books, chances are they won’t even read yours. During free promotions you give away thousands of books and in return you get maybe a hand full of reviews.

The former publisher of Writers Digest, Jane Friedman, has an excellent article about whom this program works best for. It’s not the average author.

2. You need to hire an editor. When all the big self-published authors are asked what was their biggest mistake, the overwhelming answer is not getting their book edited. Readers notice when your book isn’t edited. They will leave negative reviews about the grammar. That affects your book sales because reviews are the first thing a book buyer looks at.

3. Self-publishing is not easy. Self-publishing has opened many doors and taken away the gatekeepers but don’t think it is easy. With a major publisher you write the book and the publisher handles the ins and outs of creating the book. With self-publishing, that all falls on you.

4. You don’t need a physical version of your book. Create Space is an amazing company that can print your book on demand. You can have a physical copy of your book but that doesn’t mean you need one. If you speak at conferences and want to sell your book in the back of the room, that’s one thing. If you just want to sell your book, an ebook works just as good.

5. It’s tough getting your self-published book into bookstores. As someone who has a publisher, I can tell you that getting placement for your book in a bookstore is hard. Bookstores only want to give space to proven authors. There’s a self-publishing company called Lighting Source, which has a relationship with Ingram books, the world’s largest book distributor. Ingram distributes books to all the major bookstores. Yes, Ingram can get your book in the bookstores catalog but not necessarily in the actual bookstore.

6. You have to market your book. It doesn’t matter how good your book is, your book will sell or languish depending on the marketing. Remember the (at least) 600,000 books published every year? Many good books go unnoticed. Writing a good book is just the start. Marketing gets the book noticed and persuades people to buy it.

7. Don’t put your picture on the cover. Authors enjoy seeing their smiling face on the cover of their book but book buyers don’t. Your photo on the cover is a great strategy if you are Brad Pitt or someone with name recognition but seeing the picture of some random person actually pushes people away from buying your book.

8. You book is worth more than 99 cents. With all the competition, you’re told you have to price your book for 99 cents to sell it. As an entrepreneur, you goal is not to be priced at the bottom of the market. Understand the value you provide and price your book accordingly.

Books are generally greatly underpriced for the value they provide. Let everyone else chase the bottom while you enjoy more profit on the top.

9. One book will not make you rich. Successful self-published authors have multiple books. It’s possible for one book to take off but that’s the rare exception, not the rule. Multiple books, especially series, give your other books a better chance to sell. If someone buys one of your books and likes it, they’re likely to buy your other books.

10. You need to launch your book. A book lives and dies by the marketing. To get the maximum exposure for your book you should do a full-blown book launch. What does this mean? You should form a launch team of about 100 people.

These 100 people are bloggers and website owners who will help you promote the book during the launch week. Your goal is to get concentrated sales during a specific week to drive the book to best-seller status and help it in Amazon’s algorithm rankings.

These 100 people will leave reviews for your book on Amazon and anywhere else your book is sold. They’ll promote your book on their social media pages and on their website and email list.

You walk away with 100 reviews and your book exposed on a larger network than you could have reached on your own. During this launch week you should also offer a few freebies to entice people to buy your book. The freebies are what you will give your launch team as a thank you for their help promoting your book.

The former CEO of Thomas Nelson Books, Michael Hyatt, did a great job proving this strategy. Have a clear plan for your book. As an entrepreneur, a book should definitely be a part of your strategy for business growth. Establish your authority and earn some passive income through your book sales.

Follow this advice and your book will thrive. Take full advantage of the amazing opportunity self-publishing can provide every entrepreneur.

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2014 in 2014, Business, Entrepreneur

 

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Does Your Facebook Efforts are Paying Off?

Have you invested in Facebook for your business? Does your efforts are paying off? Keep reading to know how to measure the results.

Measuring the total return on investment of a business’ Facebook efforts is tricky, if not nearly impossible. There are lots of variables to consider, many of which businesses can’t really track.

How can a business optimize tracking and quickly discover which efforts are paying off the most? The answer is to use each month as an opportunity to test a new Facebook tactic! Tactics could be hosting a sweepstakes or a giveaway, or hosting a campaign focused on building an email list.

By testing and tracking the performance of different types of promotional tactics, a business is able to pinpoint its most valuable Facebook efforts.

Here are four things you can do to measure the results of your Facebook efforts.

1. Prepare an Excel Sheet

Before you test your first Facebook tactic, create either an Excel sheet or Google Spreadsheet and record the following:

  • Date
  • Total number of page Likes
  • Average number of Timeline visits (find this metric in the Visits tab of Insights)
  • Average number of organic Likes (find this metric in the Likes tab of Insights)
  • Average number of unlikes (find this metric in the Likes tab of Insights)
  • Average number of paid Likes (find this metric in the Likes tab of Insights)

By taking note of these six metrics, you’ll have a good idea later of how your Facebook tactics affect your brand’s average Timeline performance.

2. Set Up Your Tracking Links

Facebook Insights provides you with a lot of vanity metrics — i.e., Likes, Shares, and “People engaged.” To discover deeper, more valuable metrics, you’ll need to use some tools. Here are a few that my team have found useful:

  • Facebook Conversion Pixels: If you’re using Facebook ads to promote your tactics, create a conversion pixel within Facebook’s Ads Manager or Power Editor. Doing this will allow you to measure the return on investment of your ads.
  • Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) Parameters in Google Analytics: To identify which of your marketing efforts are most effective at promoting your Facebook tactics, use UTM parameters. These parameters are custom tags added to the end of a URL — this creates a unique URL for you to share. When you promote your Facebook tactic (contest, promotion, etc.) using a Facebook post, tweet and/or email blast, use a unique URL for each effort. In Google Analytics you will then be able to identify which types of posts and/or promotional content are best at driving traffic (clicks) to the Facebook promotion you’re testing.
  • Improvely: I like to describe Improvely as an easier-to-use, more comprehensive Google Analytics. With Improvely, it’s simple to create unique tracking links and trace where the revenue and conversions of your Facebook tactics are coming from.

3. Record The Results of Your Promotion

After each of your month-long Facebook efforts is complete, revisit the excel sheet or Google document you created. Add the following columns to it and then record the month’s results:

  • Total number of entries and/or leads gathered
  • Total cost of promotion (Include Facebook ad spend, cost of prize, and other costs related to building and/or promoting your promotion)
  • Total number of sales/conversions
  • Sales/conversion value, i.e., your monetary gains
  • Type and amount of user generated content collected
  • Other notes/comments about promotion

Note: Fill column with N/A if issue doesn’t apply to your promotion.

4. Evaluate and Test, Test, Test. Then Test Again!

Once you’ve recorded the results of your first few Facebook tactics, reflect on what’s working and what’s not. Keep in mind, the same formula for success is not going to be the same for every business so it’s important to keep testing and learning.

Not sure what types of Facebook tactics to test? Here are some ideas:

  • Host a photo-vote contest
  • Offer an exclusive coupon or discount code to fans
  • Share a free downloadable resource with fans after they opt-in to your email list
  • Give users the chance to win a prize from your brand when they complete a survey

Yes, it’s impossible to track one-hundred percent of the ROI of a brand’s Facebook efforts. But does that mean a brand should be discouraged from using Facebook? Absolutely not. By committing to tracking and testing different Facebook tactics on a consistent basis you can gain a clearer understanding of how your Facebook efforts are paying off.

 

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