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Five Steps to Writing Great Blogposts that ENGAGE

The key to writing blogposts is consistencyA Blog post is a great way to create fresh content for your website and a fantastic way to demonstrate that you are an expert in your industry. By producing helpful posts on a regular basis for your website audience, you can build a dedicated following who will often revisit your site just to see what you have written next. Another benefit of blogging is that your website content remains fresh and everyone knows that Google loves “fresh” sites in its search results.

Several clients of Rusty Mango Design have recently started writing blogs on their sites to build their online influence so we thought it’s a perfect time that we share the process we go through to write an engaging blog post.

Step 1: Choose a Topic

Once you start down the blogging pathway, you’ll find that ideas for new posts are continually popping into your head. Be sure to write each one down (I write mine on post-it notes) and store them in your ideas folder.

These ideas must be relevant to your target audience and they must be helpful and/or solve a problem.

Once you have a selection of ideas in your folder, choose one and move onto Step 2.

Step 2: Research – What do others have to say on the Topic?

Get online and see what other experts in your field are saying about your chosen topic. I don’t suggest that you plagiarise but doing some simple research will help galvanise your own thoughts and get you ready to write your own piece on the subject.

My Mindmap - its messy but it works....Step 3: Create a Mindmap

Next, use a simple mind map to pour out your key ideas for the post. The mind map for this very blog article is shown on the right.

Write your topic in the centre and branch out in all directions with the various points on that topic – it’s amazing how the ideas start to flow once you start. Feel free to scribble down anything that pops into your head.

Step 4: Start Writing but use your Own Voice

Start writing your posts using each of the various points from your mind map. Expand on each point but don’t go too overboard – stick to the basic K.I.S.S. principle here (Keep It Simple Stupid). Waffling on will lose your audience.

Be sure to speak the words out load as you type (be ready for some weird looks from your co-workers here). Your text should reflect the way that you speak – your audience wants to hear from you, not some academic lecturer.

Finally, use a timer (I use a Pomodoro Timer App on my phone). This keeps you focussed on writing and prevents your blog post from consuming your entire day.

Step 5: Create a Summary and a Headline that HOOKS

Create a short summary/excerpt of your blog article to post onto Social Media (Facebook and LinkedIn are my choice) – this is much easier to do straight up after you have written the blog post. Don’t wait and do it later or you may lose the flow of your topic.

Finally, the headline of your post is essential to hooking the attention of your potential readers. Just like the headline in a newspaper, it needs to make the reader want to find out more. Headlines are an art form in themselves. Joanna Wiebe at CopyHackers has written an excellent article on this very topic: 5 Criteria for Writing Powerful Headlines: https://copyhackers.com/2013/09/writing-powerful-headlines/

Conclusion

By following the simple steps above and getting in the practice of writing a blog post on a regular basis, you will find that ideas will soon start to flow easily from your head onto your screen. Keep at it too – the helpful content you produce will be a great addition to your online arsenal, confirming to all your potential clientele that you are an expert in your field and your business deserves their custom.

Does your Small Business even need a Website?

Does your Small Business even need a Website?Yes.

Simple answer, isn’t it?

Oh, you still need more convincing?

Alright then – here’s ten good reasons why your small business needs to get its act together and get an online presence:

#1– The World’s largest Consumer Base

Over 3.2 billion people use the internet in some form on a regular basis, and from that enormous number, it is estimated that at least 80% have purchased goods or services online. That’s roughly 2.6 billion potential customers for you!

Any small business without an effective website is missing out on their piece of the action.

#2 – The Digital Consumer

The internet is now 25 years old – some of your potential customers don’t know a world without it. Your business needs a web presence to engage with the modern digital consumer – they are unlikely to look for you anywhere else.

#3– You can be Available 24/7

Consumers expect to have information accessible to them around the clock from a variety of sources and this includes from your business. A website makes you available 24/7 (even while you are asleep) to provide information, product help and online sales.

#4 – Engage with your Customers

A website helps you connect with your customers on an almost social level. You can communicate through the comments of a Blog (like this one), a website forum that you moderate or via the many channels of Social Media that are available for use. A simple social connection can often be the key to a successful business relationship.

#5– Create a Hub for your Marketing

Got a new product that you want to shout about to the world? Unleash the marketing power of the internet and spread the word like wildfire using your website as the hub and Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn as the tools to “hook” people in.

#6 – Customer Support

Reduce the number of customer support calls to your small business with the inclusion of “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)” page on your website. For more sticky problems that need one-on-one attention, integrate a ticketing system on the site that can be answered promptly by your staff.

#7 – Match it with the “Big Guys”

With a solid online strategy and a well-built website that people can find easily, your business can take on the larger corporations at their own game. On face value, the internet is a great leveller of the playing field – you don’t need the large payroll or a skyscraper in a capital city to make an impact.

#8– Instant Credibility

A professional website with the right information allows your business to attain instant credibility in the eyes of both your potential customers and other businesses. A quick online search by these people could quite easily be the deal maker or breaker, depending on what they find online.

# 9 – Physical Phone Directories are DEAD

 If you need any proof of this, take note that both the Yellow Pages and Local Directories are now offering website services. This hasn’t stopped them still charging an absolute mint for listing in their telephone books however, by branching out, they have acknowledged that online is where the modern consumer is looking for goods and services.

#10 – Build an Audience for your Business

Even if your customers are not in the market right now, an online presence allows you to keep their attention so that when they do need something, your business will be “front of mind”. Social Media, email newsletters, podcasts and video tutorials are just some of the ways you can continue to engage with your customers until they need you again.

Put simply – if you want to grow your business in today’s digital age, it needs a website. Considering the continual evolution of our online population and the growth of businesses who are on the Internet, it could be expensive for your business NOT to have a website.

I’ll bet that your competitors do.

If this article has helped you make a decision about your business’ online presence, get in touch with Rusty Mango Design for a free website development quote.

How to use Facebook BOOST to Promote your Small Business

Facebook BOOSTImagine having your brand exposed daily to thousands of people in your target audience? People who are actually interested in your products and services –  a targeted section of the demographic that you seek.

Facebook advertising has been set up specifically to get this kind of exposure.

It’s quite easy to do – your business’ Facebook page is full of opportunities. These are the big blue buttons that you see on your page – Promote your Local Business, Promote Website and Promote your Contact Button. From my own experience, the promotion that invokes the best response is the BOOST button. This appears after each post that you have made.

The BOOST button allows you to show your posts to a wider audience who are interested in what you have to offer. For example, if you found this post on your Facebook feed and you don’t currently follow Rusty Mango Design, then Facebook has decided that you may be interested in what we have to offer.

So how do you actually use the BOOST button?

1.  Only Promote Quality Content

Create content on your site that is helpful and informative –  it needs to be relevant to the target audience. This could in the form of videos, blogs (like this one), podcasts or downloads. Choose your medium based on your audience, your strengths and the information that you want to convey.

boost-details2.  Add your Post to Facebook

Once your content is online, create an engaging headline that grabs attention and invokes emotion or action. Alongside this, create a paragraph describing your content so Facebook viewers can quickly get an idea of what you are talking about.

Add these into your Business Facebook feed – just like you do with any new post. Be sure to include a LINK to your actual content! (simply copy and paste the website address)

3. Click BOOST

Self-explanatory –the BOOST button will appear after you click POST to add your content.

4. Set up your “Campaign”

A pop-up window will appear to help get your campaign sorted with easy to follow steps:

i. Create an Audience Group.

You’ll need think carefully about the interests of your target Facebook audience – more importantly, how old they are, where they are, what are they doing on Facebook, who do they follow and what do they post.  Remember that Facebook knows a great deal about us from our own posts and stores this information specifically for advertising purposes – like this.

ii. Select a budget that stays within what you can afford.

Example : $7 per day x 1 Week = $49 (maximum spend)

iii. Add a Facebook Pixel

Adding a Facebook Pixel to your website is optional but assists in tracking the conversions from your Facebook page to your actual website. It is a detailed system to explain so  visit Facebook to find out more.

iv. Payment

You’ll need your Credit Card details. No payments are taken until the end of your selected boost duration.

5. Click on BOOST POST

Finally, check back daily and you will see the results of your BOOST displayed directly under the post. Click on INSIGHTS at the top of your Facebook page to get detailed statistics on your campaign – how many people have seen the post, how many have clicked on it, new page likes and the current status of your selected budget.

If you need any assistance in setting up your own business Facebook campaign, get in touch with Rusty Mango Design. We have the experience to help you create an effective Social Media presence that will BOOST your business online.

Five Internet Strategies that could save your Small Business

Let’s be clear from the very beginning – using the internet for small business is NOT the guaranteed golden bullet solution to all your problems. The addition of an online presence will not automatically turn your fortunes around. Running your own website, engaging customers on social media and selling products online takes effort and hard-work – as will all the strategies outlined in this post.

The internet definitely offers you more avenues to market your business than ever before. You can generate followers and advocates that will purchase from (and market) your business 24/7, sometimes without any one-on-one interaction from you.

Below, there are five online strategies outlined that your business can employ to help raise awareness of your business and its offerings and, most importantly, boost that bottom line.


#1. Boost your Facebook Posts

Facebook BOOSTEver seen the big BOOST button on your Facebook page?

This is the button you will see next to any posts you have made. With the power of a BOOST (and a minimum spend of $7/day), you can actually display your posts in the Facebook feeds of a very specific audience. These people are the prime candidates to which you want to market your products and services.

For example, our local dance shop is selling Fascinators for the upcoming races in town. With Facebook BOOST advertising, they can target:

Women, who like Fashion, and live within 50 miles* of the town, in the 18-50 age group

With targeted boosts, you get your message sent out exactly where you want it to go – much better than casting a broad net and hoping you catch something.

* Not a typo – Facebook, an American company, measures in miles regardless of your location.


#2. Build an eCommerce Store

eCommerce online storeCoupled with the low overheads associated in running an online store alongside your “bricks and mortar” business, there are two major advantages for building your own online store

Firstly, an eCommerce store can sell your products and services 24/7– your customers don’t have to wait for the doors to open or for you to even be available. A good online store is set up to run automatically with payment options and shipping processes integrated.

Secondly – your online store is capable of selling anywhere in the world. Your customer base is dramatically widened beyond the immediate geography of your shopfront. If someone on the other side of Australia (or the world) wants to buy your goods, they can access your online store and make the purchase whenever they want.


#3. Provide 24/7 Customer Service

Customer ServiceGood customer service can be time intensive, and sometimes very repetitive with no immediate remuneration for your time.

With a website, you can off-set some of the repetitive parts of your customer service through the use of frequently asked questions (FAQs), video tutorials and downloadable help sheets (Bunnings are the masters of this) to name just a few. 

Setting up your website’s customer service area properly would be time well spent as the support you provide online can save you hours either on the phone or answering emails.

 

 


#4. Plan and maintain a Content Marketing strategy

Content MarketingContent marketing is a must have on any small business website. To clarify, Content marketing is a strategic approach focused on creating and producing valuable, relevant, and consistent content that attracts and retains your target audience. It is also a key element of the Google search algorithm, helping to determine your website’s placement in search results.

How do you create an effective Content Management Strategy?

  • Decide on your content mediums according to your strengths and your target audience (Blog, videos, podcasts, newsletters….)
  • Generate a plan in calendar format which includes the dates, topics and mediums for the creation of your content. This includes social media updates and blog posts.
  • Stick to the plan – consistency is the key to success!
  • Monitor your traffic to gauge the success of each item. This will give you valuable information in relation to what is working and what isn’t.

#5. Give Email Marketing a try

Email MarketingIf you are thinking of employing an email marketing approach to broadcast your small business, you can’t look past MailChimp (no affiliation with Rusty Mango). It has almost everything built-in to help you create great looking emails, distribute them and, most importantly, keep you within the law regarding SPAM.

Note: You cannot send emails from a business in Australia to anyone you like. You must have the recipient’s permission or an existing customer relationship with that person.  For more information, take a look at the Spam Act 2003.

Using MailChimp (and common sense), you can create an email campaign that drives business to your website and your physical store:

  • Use a pop-up plugin on your website to acquire email addresses from your site visitors. Some of these can be set up to send collected addresses directly to MailChimp.
  • Create list of your existing customer’s emails. Excel is a good way to do this as you can import spreadsheets to MailChimp.
  • Using one of the many templates, create your first email newsletter. Re-purpose some of the content that you have created for your site – blog entries are perfect for this!

MailChimp has a built-in unsubscribe option. Recipients of the email simply have click Unsubscribe in the footer of the email and MailChimp will automatically remove them from the list, satisfying another condition of the Spam Act.


Conclusion

The real secret to a successful and productive online presence for your small business is summed in one word – consistency. Your website cannot be a stagnant brochure for your business, it needs to be dynamic, helpful and must reinforce your position as an expert in your field with quality service and/or products. Make an effort to set aside 15 minutes a day and develop each of the strategies into a workable system for you – the rewards for your business will become clear in no time at all.

Feeling a little overwhelmed? If your business needs help developing any of the strategies above, please get in touch with Rusty Mango Design – we love to help small business!

Rusty Mango Design

Rusty Mango Design