When it comes to content marketing, the image is just as important as the content of the blog. The images you use in your blog and your overall content marketing campaign can have a huge effect on how visitors perceive your brand and business. In fact, images can make or break your business. Great images tell a story and compel readers to read on, while bad image choices can threaten your blog’s success.
If you want a more solid proof as to the importance of images, here’s a study on how posts with images gets 53% more click-throughs than imageless posts. However, adding an image is just the first part. Even more important is adding an EFFECTIVE image.
Following are 5 strong tips on how you can make the images you use on your blog compelling and effective.
1. Be clever but not confusing. Make sure that you choose images that tell a part of the blog topic you are writing about. You may even choose a clever photo that says something hidden about the topic. However, you must not overdo it; otherwise, your readers will get lost and your chosen image may look like it has nothing to do with your post at all.
2. Be consistent with your branding. The idea here is to have an image that readers can easily identify as part of your brand. You should be consistent in the layout and style of your images so that when people see one of your posts, they will recognize it instantly as belonging to your brand because of how the images are presented. If you notice, MACsWomen’s blog posts have photos with consistent branding.
3. Images should complement the post, not take attention away from it. One of the things you should absolutely avoid is choosing an image that can be very distracting. Yes, you want to get the attention of the readers, but you don’t want the images alone to be getting all the attention. Your image should entice readers, but must also deliver across this message: “Hey, I’m just the appetizer. Want the main course? Read the content below.”
4. Incorporate graphs and charts. Gant charts, pie charts and graphs can convey immediate information to readers in a way regular images can’t. Of course, graphs and charts are most effective when used properly – in a blog post that’s about stats, numbers, etc.
5. Try animated images and videos, too! Don’t limit your imagination, think beyond photos and images. If you want to make an impact, why not try animated images or videos? If you do not have the time to make the animations and videos yourself, you can use videos or gifs online that are relevant to your topic. Don’t forget to credit the source.
Over to you..
Hopefully the tips above can help your blog generate more interaction and convert better. If you have any thoughts, comments or more ideas that you want to share with us, please do so by commenting below.
Like everyone else, you start a business with one ultimate goal – to succeed. To be able to realize your goal it is important that you know where you are right now relative to that goal.
You can do this by creating a clear business vision that will help you evaluate every now and then whether you are progressing towards the realization of your goal. If you see that you’ve still got a long way to go, then you work a bit more. Basically, having a vision can help motivate you to go on and move forward.
Setting a Clear Vision of Your Business
If you have something to strive for, a clear vision mind, you and your team will be more energized and focused for the journey. Those mundane daily tasks will be more meaningful and exciting knowing that they are part of something bigger.
The vision that you create should not only help you succeed, it should also fit the core values of your company. It’s never good to have a business vision that is conflicting with the core values of your organization. This will get you nowhere.
Realizing the Vision
Having a vision alone will not get you anywhere. To be able to realize that vision you need to start making solid actions. Every decision and action you make everyday will ultimately impact the realization of your vision.
Focusing on the Key Areas of Your Business
To be able to bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to be, you need to focus on key areas of your business. Below are just some of the aspects that need your attention:
Focusing on Your Customers
Your vision should not only focus on the betterment of your company or organization, it must also improve, either directly or indirectly, the lives of your customers. However, before you can provide a useful product or service, you need to get to know your customers.
Connect and engage with them by providing them with helpful or interesting information. Listen to them. Find out what they want, what they don’t want and then start tailoring your products or service according to what you have observed.
Whether you’re a startup businesswoman or one that’s been in business for years, you must make sure that you have a clear business vision in line with the core values of your company. The vision will help you achieve your ultimate business goal.
Over to you..
Are you a startup business owner? Do you already have a vision for your organization? How is it helping you achieve your goals? If you’d like to share your thoughts and opinions with the MACsWomen community, please do so by commenting below.
The main purpose of building a website for your business is for you to extend your reach and for your online customers to have an easier way of accessing your products and services. And the overall layout and structure of your site will impact your conversion rate.
Below are 8 essential things that can help you have a website that can effectively convert visitors to leads.
1. A simple website URL or address. The very first thing you have to consider when building a website for your business is its domain or website address. The URL should reflect your business and brand. So if the name of your brick and mortar business is “Daisy Cupcakes”, go for daisycupcakes.com. Don’t try to fancy up your URL, the simpler the better.
2. An unambiguous branding. People who visiting your site for the first time should be able to instantly recognize what your site is all about and what it is that you offer. This means that everything on the home page, including your logo and header, should reflect what your business does.
Having short and crisp copies on your site that talk about your products or services will also help tell visitors that they are on the right site. In fact, you can feature your main products & services on the homepage.
3. Easy-to-find contact information. You want your visitors to contact you, right? Then make sure that you are displaying your contact information clearly on a page. The most common practice is to put up a “Contact Us” page on the main navigation menu and at the footer of the site. For e-Commerce website or those that deal with customer service, phone numbers are placed on the header so that it’s one of the first things that visitors notice upon landing on the site.
Provide them with more than one way of getting in touch with you. Aside from the usual contact form, provide your email address, your phone number, fax number and, if applicable, your business address.
4. Compelling call-to-action buttons. These buttons or links are your gateway to conversions. You have to make them stand out and make sure that you have compelling copies to urge visitors what to do – subscribe to your news feed, call you for a free quote or add products to their shopping carts.
5. A blog section. If you haven’t heard already, content marketing is BIG. And by big we mean REALLY BIG. Basically content marketing will help you establish a relationship with your customers and help your business earn their trust.
If you make it a point to provide quality and useful content to your visitors, they will keep coming back to your site whenever they need some information that they know you can provide. And the more they come back, the higher the trust value of your business becomes. Once you get your customers trusting your brand, it is much easier to compel them to do something like click your subscription link or ‘buy now’ buttons.
Over to you..
Check out your business website now. Do you have all 5 of the things we have mentioned above? What are some of the things that you think should be improved on your existing site? Please share your comments below. We’d love to hear them.
Just like every young aspiring entrepreneur out there, you’re probably on the brink right now of quitting your regular job. You have that entrepreneurial itch that you won’t be able to scratch unless you start your own business and be an independent business woman.
If you feel that you have the drive, then go for it. But before you go into the entrepreneurial world, find out if you’re really ready to take on the challenges ahead of you. Below are the 3 big questions to help you assess your “readiness”.
1. Why do you want to be an entrepreneur? Answers like “I want to be my own boss”, “I hate my job because it’s too stressful” won’t cut it. You have to remember that if you start a business, you are not your own boss. Your customers are your boss and they can be pretty demanding.
And if you want to start a business so that you can get away from the stresses your corporate job is giving you, then you have to reconsider your decision. Starting a business is not a walk in the park. If you hate stress, then you may end up hating your business because there’s just so much stress that comes along with being an entrepreneur.
2. Do you possess the right business skills? Analyze your personal skills, your core competencies as well as your weaknesses. Find out how you can leverage these skills when starting up your dream business. Here are some of the questions that you must consider to help assess your skills:
3. Do you have the resources? After establishing that you have what it takes to run your own business, the next big question you need to answer is: Can you afford to run your own business?
Is the business feasible and do you have enough resources to run it in the every early stages of its life? Remember that it may take months before you actually see an income coming in. Are you ready to make sacrifices? Do you have enough savings to support yourself during the first few months? If you don’t have the resources, are you ready to talk to investors, the banks or to a potential business partner?
To be able for your startup to thrive in a very uncertain business world, you need to have a business mindset right off the bat. You have to be ready to embrace and take on every challenge and uncertainty that comes your way – the stresses, the crazy demands and the ups and downs. At some point in your entrepreneurial journey, you’ll find yourself deep down the trenches. But if you have a winning mindset and attitude, you’ll be able to bounce back and eventually succeed.
Over to you..
Are you a woman entrepreneur? What made you decide to run your own business? What are the challenges you had to face during the early stages of your business? Please share your experience below, the MACsWomen community would love to hear them.
The best marketing campaigns are those that allow you to get your brand message across the right audience in the most cost-effective way.
If you’ve been in the online business for years, we’re sure that you’ve already tried a number of marketing strategies. Some of them may have worked better than others. But how do you pick that one online marketing strategy that can give you the highest return on investment?
Here’s a checklist that can help you evaluate whether a marketing strategy is right for your business:
· What do you know about the strategy? Was it recommended by online marketing
gurus? Has the strategy been used before by a colleague?
· If someone you know used the strategy, did they get the desired result?
· What are the main benefits of using the strategy?
· Do you know the risks involved?
· Is it doable for your business? Do you have the enough resources to implement it for
a period of time?
Test and evaluate. To ensure that your time, money and effort will not be wasted, it is very important that you analyze the ins and outs of the marketing strategy. It would also be best if you test the strategy first before deciding to fully implement it.
Run every marketing strategy that you are planning to use through the checklist to know whether it is viable for your business or not.
Be creative and always think different. If you want to become a better online marketer, you have to make sure that you have strategies that will make your brand stand out. In the book Purple Cow: Transform your Business by Being Remarkable, Seth Godin explains how thinking different made giant companies succeed.
Start collaborating with creative marketers in the industry so that you can get several marketing ideas. Meet up and brainstorm if necessary. If you can’t do so in person, you can setup a virtual meeting or conference. Join networking events and business summits, too!
Indeed, with the level of competition in the online market, the only thing that will make potential clients notice your brand or business is if you offer them something different. Something that would totally pique their interest and engage them.
Over to you..
How did you go about your online marketing strategy? Did you test it first? Do you have any online marketing tips you want our readers to know about? Please share them in the comments section below. We’d love to hear them.
More often than not, small business owners overlook an effective way to add talent to their businesses: hiring interns. Internships are typically viewed as a benefit to young adults. Interns will learn work experience and professional skills by being a part of the business for a short amount of time. But the businesses who hire interns also benefit! Here are a few reasons why hiring an intern can benefit your company!
1. New perspectives on key projects and issues.
Bringing interns into your company to join your full-time staff can shake things up a bit, in a good way! Interns can bring a positive mentality and fresh ideas to older ideas that may need some revision. Most interns will be young and still in college, so they will be full of enthusiasm and new ideas.
2. Help with tasks that full-time staff cannot finish.
Interns who are truly interested in furthering their work experience will be eager to take on small responsibilities for your business. They can add these tasks to their resume and it will show initiative. Give your interns meaningful work that will help alleviate the pressure from your full-time staff and that will help your organization run smoother and accomplish more. Make sure, of course, that you don't violate the The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which states that “the employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainees, and on occasion the employer’s operations may actually be impeded.”
3. Gain brand advocates.
One of the most common questions that college students are asked is "Are you interning anywhere this summer?" By mentioning your business (and presumably describing it and what they will be working on), interns become a free source of brand marketing. If you’re an impressive intern mentor, your interns will probably talk about their experience with peers, friends and family members, which becomes essentially free advertising for your organization.
Hiring interns can benefit both them and your business in various ways. Do not discount internship programs as useless! You might be pleasantly surprised.
What are your experiences with hiring interns? Have you found that they benefit your business or organization? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
Many modern businesses and startups manage employees remotely. Working from home appeals to many employees, and Stanford University reports that about 10 percent of U.S. employees now regularly work from home. With more businesses relying on remote talent, and more workers in the U.S. and abroad working remotely, modern businesses must rethink traditional methods of employee motivation. Whether your business has only some remote employees or operates completely online, these are tips and tricks to help motivate the employees that you may not meet face-to-face every workday.
1. Build trust between you and your employees.
When assigning tasks to remote employees, make sure the instructions and descriptions of the tasks are clear and easy to follow. Then, take a step back. Do not micromanage. If your remote employees perceive that you do not trust them to complete simple tasks, they will not be motivated to do their best or take the liberty to complete the tasks to their fullest potential.
2. Communicate regularly.
For employers managing remote employees, it is imperative to establish an efficient way to communicate with those employees. If an employee does not feel comfortable communicating with you or feels adrift, then their work and motivation will suffer.
Tools like UberConference and Oovoo are conferencing and collaboration platforms that can make communication easier between you and your employees. Simpler tools like email and Skype are helpful as well.
3. Give praise when it is due.
When the finished work is being sent to you electronically, it can be easy to forget that there is a person on the other end who worked hard on that task. Many remote workers can lose motivation because it can seem that their work goes unappreciated. If a worker doesn't feel like the business or the employer appreciates the work they are putting in for the company, they will be less motivated to do their best. This doesn't mean that every time a task is completed a "congratulations" is on order, but an occasional email or call praising their work will go a long way.
4. Make remote employees feel part of a team.
Working from home, away from the traditional office setting, can deprive some people of a connection to the workplace. Interaction between coworkers is important to some people. Plus, if employees feel like they have no sense of the business they work for, then it is easy for motivation to slip away. Conference platforms, group emails, Facebook pages, or weekly newsletters can help remote employees feel connected to the company they are working for.
Remote employment is becoming a serious business model for many modern businesses. Because of this, employers managing remote employees need to take it seriously. Remote employees need to be treated and managed like any other worker. MACs Women manages many remote employees and interns, and we would love to hear your feedback on how you work with remote employees. What are your tips for motivation? Answer in the comment section below!