Google Tools For Online Marketing

Almost all businesses, regardless of size or industry, use Google in some form. Be it Google Calendars, Google Drive or trusty old Gmail, it seems as though everyone relies on at least one of Google’s products to support their work routine. That said, there are a few hidden treasures in Google’s toolbox that, at times, don’t seem to get enough credit.
Sure, Google has hundreds of apps, but there are some that can have a serious impact on your online marketing initiatives that seem to be flying under the radar. Additionally, Google’s products typically have “freemium” models, which offer the invaluable opportunity to experiment with a variety of different techniques and hone in on what serves your brand most.

We’re all for testing out the latest and greatest from the world’s most powerful Internet giant. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to give a few of these seemingly under-appreciated products a spin.

4 Powerful Google Tools For Online Marketing

Google Trends
If you’re looking to amp up your SEO strategy, Google Trends is a tool that shouldn’t be overlooked. It allows you to see how frequently a term is searched so you can get a gauge for its popularity.

Google Trends instantly creates a graph of the search volume by language, country, city or region, revealing how the term has evolved over specific increments of time. It also forecasts how those terms will trend over time, helping you to make more educated decisions.

Essentially, Google Trends makes it easy for you to stay current with your product’s marketing language so you can jump into conversations about topics relevant to your space.

Think With Google
We like to consider Think With Google as a creative brain-trust we can turn to when searching for inspiration for our online marketing strategies. The resource is loaded with valuable information on industry trends, research and statistics, tips on marketing techniques and unique insights to get your creative juices flowing.

When devising your online marketing strategy or quarterly and yearly plans, don’t skip Think With Google. We love visiting this tool when we’ve come down with a marketing writer’s block, too.

GoMo
Consider this: 67 percent of people say a mobile-friendly site makes them more likely to buy a product or use a service. In other words, you should tap into the mobile revolution or your business may soon be left behind with the fax machines and the pagers of the world—otherwise known as those that failed to innovate.

Luckily, GoMo makes the transition to the digital world a simple one. Free for the first year, GoMo instantly generates a mobile-friendly version of your website so you’re no longer deterring your on-the-go customers with a site that’s nearly impossible to navigate.

Google Analytics
This might seem like a no brainer to some, but studies show that Google Analytics is actually a terribly underutilized tool among small and medium sized businesses. Without Google Analytics, carrying out website online marketing strategies is like driving blindly in the dark. Website analytics reveal critical data about how existing and potential customers interact with you online.
When evaluated properly, the analytics insights offer up ample opportunities for customer engagement and retention.
If you take away one thing from this article, let it be this: Install Google Analytics and learn to love it.

Quick tip: If you already have Google Analytics running on your site, check out Visua.ly’s personalized analytics infographics. You can create visual infographics that include your site’s data so that you can track your site’s performance by viewing it in an infographic. (An example is pictured above.)

I make a concerted effort to explore each of Google’s online marketing apps and gather data on the impact they have. I’m always impressed with what I learn about our customers and marketing strategies. So while one of these four Google tools might leap out at you more than the others, my suggestion is to give them all a try and see what they churn up.

Use Facebook Live for Your Small Business

Should you be using Facebook Live for your business? Is it worth your time and effort? According to Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), videos (live and otherwise) are viewed more than four billion times per day. And with Facebook giving priority to live videos in the news feed, you certainly may want to consider this service for getting your business message out.
So how can you make use of Facebook Live to engage with the platform’s over 1.1 billion active daily users, or at least those users who are likely to be customers? Here are a few tips.

Ways to Use Facebook Live for Your Small Business
Give an Inside Look at Your Business
As with Instagram Live or Periscope, you can use Facebook Live to give your customers a behind-the-scenes look at your business and how it works.
You can also use the service to focus on an aspect of your business that your audience would be interested in.

Promote an Upcoming Event
Have an upcoming event that you want to promote? Start by making your audience aware that you will be hosting a live video about the event using posts for a better reach. Be sure to have an easy to remember URL to share with your viewers. Post the link on the video comments as well just in case your viewers don’t have a chance to write it down. Use a tool such as Bitly to create a URL that you can track.
Use trackable URLs to tell which social platform is getting you the most signups for your event.

Tease New Products
Use Facebook Live to give your audience a sneak peek at your products. For instance, if you have just launched a new product, you could tap into the massive daily users of the platform to get the word out.
If you opt for this option, consider providing a link during your video to take pre-orders and capitalize on your audience’s excitement. Use this session to also answer questions from your customers.

Engage with Your Facebook Group Members
Do you run a Facebook group for your business? Well, you can now use Facebook live to broadcast regular business updates that are relevant to your group. This is definitely a good opportunity to connect and to deepen relationships with your customers.
One thing that you have to remember though is that any of your group members can post live video to the group so you might want to adjust the group settings so you have to approve all new posts.

Customer Care
Any serious business knows the importance of having an efficient customer care service. Luckily, Facebook Live makes it absolutely easy to take care of your customers’ questions. Use live videos to respond to questions. This is especially useful when it comes to answering repeat questions.

Identify a common question that your customer service team receives and rather than answering the question over and over again, use a Facebook Live video session to answer it.
Things to Consider Before You Use Facebook Live
Before you start streaming live videos, you need to:

Have a Plan
Live video is great for engagement, but you don’t get a chance to fix your mistakes. Before going live, ensure you have your broadcast plan well laid out. Have points to guide your conversation.

Implement a Call-to-Action
Always end your live broadcasts with a call to action. This could be a call to sign up for your email newsletter, subscribe to your broadcasts or to check out your products.

Consider Your Video Quality
While many people enjoy live broadcasts because of authenticity, you still have to make sure you deliver quality videos. Make sure you are audible enough and in an environment that your audience would love to see.
When used correctly, Facebook Live can be a great tool to work into your overall marketing and social media strategy. Of course, more interaction and engagement with your audience is likely to increase your sales.

Tips To Encouraging Employees to Visualize Their Success

Hard work and passion fuels the workplace. However, without a vision for success, it can be difficult to produce concrete results.

Visualizing success is an effective way to create accountability in the workplace. Employees who imagine themselves being in control of the results they accomplish will be more successful at work.

Here are some techniques to help employees visualize success:

1. Use imagery to visualize individual success.
Imagery is a powerful way to visual one’s success. In fact, many successful athletes have used imagery to motivate themselves before competitions.

A January 2014 study of 16 male sprinters published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research discovered when the athletes used imagery to visualize their success, they reduced their sprint times.

Employees can apply the same technique in the workplace. When visualizing success, have employees focus on the process of reaching success and what the final result feels like. For example, tell an employee to imagine receiving recognition from their boss in front of their co-workers after completing a big project.

2. Get employees excited.
Another common technique for visualizing success is through arousal. This simply means getting excited about the task at hand and using that excitement as motivation. The aforementioned study used arousal to get athletes excited to race, which helped them visualize success.

Encourage employees to find excitement and purpose in their work. For example, host a brief meeting each morning to get employees “pumped up” about projects and offer team members high fives. This positive energy can help employees get excited about their goals.

3. Create a visual corporate mission statements.
While corporate mission statements can offer a foundation for the workplace, employees need to visualize the goals they need to accomplish.

A December 2014 study of 151 hospitals and 62 groups of full-time employees published in the Academy of Management Journal found imagery in corporate mission statements can help employees “see” the values of the company.

When creating a visual corporate mission statement, use descriptive words and imagery. For example, let’s say an organization wants to create satisfied customers. Write a mission statement that tells employees they work for a company that “cares about its smiling and happy customers.”

4. Create vision boards.
Encourage employees to create a vision board for their workspace. Whether it’s a bulletin board in their cubicle or a wall in the office, have employees create a vision board representing their dreams and goals for the organization.

Have employees include photos that represent their ideas of success and things that inspire them. They can also include empowering words and quotes. This vision board will serve as a daily reminder of what employees hope to accomplish each day.

Tips for Entrepreneurs to Get Highly Effective Business Success

Being an entrepreneur means that you’ll often blaze your own trail: No career guides, counselors or maps will guide you from one step to the next: You’ll have to make it up as you go. I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole adult life and it’s the only career I’ve ever known. In a way, that makes me lucky: I’ve become not only comfortable with, but actually good at, forging ahead into unchartered territory.

However, like everyone else, I’ve faced moments of doubt and uncertainty and plenty of sleepless nights. As I look back at the steps that led me from my first sale — standing next to my grandfather Joe at a folk festival when I was just a young kid — to my assorted entrepreneurial ventures today, some common themes emerge.

1. Keep the big vision in sight.
A big vision will take you far. I put this tip first because when things go wrong on the path to your success, and they will, keeping the big vision in mind will enable you to steer your way back to a successful course. It may not always be the course you imagined, but your big vision becomes your north star, which in turn helps you navigate and orient yourself through the darkness. I believe in this so much, I even co-wrote a book on the subject with my brother. Your vision is your foundation, compass and celestial beacon, lighting the way forward.

2. Fuel your vision with perseverance.
What should go hand-in-hand with a big vision is the perseverance you’ll need to keep moving forward. If you’re a Game of Thrones watcher, there was a great line in a recent episode when Stannis Baratheon was being advised about the lack of wisdom in starting a battle in the snow. He responded: “We march to victory or we march to defeat, but we go forward, only forward.”

Sometimes, when things get challenging on your path as an entrepreneur, you have to commit yourself to moving forward, regardless of the discomfort and fear surrounding the next steps. When you fuel your big vision with perseverance and the spirit of “only forward,” you eventually meet your success.

3. Make a plan, but be flexible.
You need a few sets of plans, even if each is only a few pages. A business plan, with an accompanying marketing outline, are important blueprints for success. They help you map out the major landmarks of the road ahead, define your success and break the journey into important metrics you can track your progress against.

I’m not one for a giant, robust plan nobody will access, but I do advocate a more modest go-to plan that can act as your basic instruction manual and hold you accountable to specific numbers. The reason I don’t support highly detailed plans is that I believe you need the flexibility to alter the course as necessary. Sometimes, large changes to the plan will be necessary.

4. Embrace your expertise.
If you’re already innately good at something, or have a skillset, embrace it. Don’t try to be all things for all aspects of your business. Hire out or sign contracts with agencies for the things you can’t do, and focus on your strengths as quickly and often as possible. Don’t be a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none.

5. Don’t reinvent the wheel.
What is already working in other people’s business models, in your industry, in software applications and other business operations that you can emulate instead of re-create? Don’t waste your time trying to set up systems when you can simply purchase and install one, saving precious time and spending little money. I always keep my burn rate in mind and run as lean as possible. But sometimes the best decision is to take on the expense of some good systems so you don’t have to waste time and make mistakes building your own.

6. Don’t burn out.
This isn’t just a stale piece of advice: Your health is literally the most important thing in your life. When your body gives out, you’re done. Your heart doesn’t care how good a business you have; your circulatory system isn’t all that impressed with your money or accomplishments. . . you get the point. Personally, I try to eat really good food, get good sleep and take as much time as I can manage day by day to laugh with my kids and see my wife.

You will burn out if you sacrifice your physical and mental health on the altar of your business. So, take care of yourself.

7. Leverage everything.
Life hacks may seem like just viral fodder on the internet, but they can teach an important mini-lesson in leverage. When you use leverage to your advantage in every aspect of your life, you go further, faster. Leverage outsourced help to streamline tasks and gain traffic time for important phone calls. Leverage down time waiting anywhere (the doctor’s office, your kid’s school, your mechanic’s waiting room, your airline flight) to get stuff done.

8. Keep your sense of humor.
If you can’t laugh at yourself, you’re missing out. I was almost asleep the other night when I thought of a funny event that had happened earlier that day, and I suddenly found myself erupting with laughter so loud I woke the dog.

Laughing is a good cure to diffuse stress, infuse some lightheartedness into life and get some perspective on the fact that, hey, this is only life after all — you don’t have to take it so seriously.

So, try to laugh more and stress a little less. It strengthens your emotional and mental well-being, keeps other people from getting under your skin and keeps you cool and collected, plus a lot more fun to be around.

How to Avoid These Common CRM Mistakes

We live in the age of the customer, where businesses are built on the relationships they have with their shoppers. Customer relationship management (commonly referred to as “CRM”) is foundational to a small business’s customer experience strategy. It serves as the building blocks for winning over, helping and creating repeat customers. Today, small businesses have access to CRM technology that allows them to connect with their customers in a way that wasn’t possible a few years ago.
However, a CRM tool is only as good as its implementation, and for first-time CRM projects, there are potential pitfalls along the way. The following are the mistakes that can sabotage your CRM, and guidance on how to avoid them.

Common CRM Mistakes

Lack of Ownership
Without having someone explicitly own the project, you are likely to see a diffusion of responsibility effect. This is a phenomenon when people are less inclined to take responsibility for action when others are present. There should always be someone in charge. Ideally, someone who understands the sales and servicing process so they can map those processes to the tool.

Ignoring the End User
Poor end-user adoption is the quickest way to have your CRM investment turn into a liability. Lots of systems have many shiny, fancy features but if the system isn’t straightforward and easy to use — guess what — it’s not going to get used. If the system doesn’t make the sales team better at their jobs, they are not going to use it.

Dirty Data
If you put dirty data into your CRM (meaning inaccurate or incomplete information), your end user is going to get dirty data out of it. No one wants dirty data. If your sales folks can’t trust the system, they’ll quickly go back to whatever they were using before, and your brand new CRM tool will collect dust.

Following Others
When most businesses look to implement CRM software, they ask colleagues and partners about what they use. Just because a colleague is in love with their CRM doesn’t mean it will work the same for your business. Each business has unique customers and processes, and it is important to conduct research to find the one which will be the right fit for the whole business and not just one person.

Inadequate Training
It’s important to build good process and habits from the start of the project. Salespeople are busy and might not want to spend their time on training, but it’s crucial for the long-term health of the system. Otherwise, the tool becomes less useful which in turn leads to less use.

Bad Reinforcement of Rules
When sales managers bypass the system and go directly to their team for updates, they send a signal that it’s okay to cut corners. This is not okay. If this happens, employees who take the time to keep their CRM information up to date will feel like they are wasting their time and, eventually, they will stop updating it.

At the end of the day, as with any business: your people are your greatest asset. If you’re not regularly and correctly explaining the value of a CRM to your team, then they will lose interest. The more people communicate about the benefits of a CRM, the more they will explore it and the more they will reap its rewards. They will inevitably wonder how they ever went to work without a CRM solution in place. Go forth, avoid these pitfalls and take CRM by the horns.