What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

Macaulay Gidado - What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

To understand the question, you first need to understand what web presence actually means. This isn’t the time to go consulting Wikipedia because, for some absurd reason, they have the definition of web presence backwards on the site.

Web presence, also called online presence or Internet presence, simply means your online penetration. This is the simplest definition anyone can give you. But for the sake of folk that might beg to differ, here is a list of interpretations we can go with:

  • Online penetration. I’ve already mentioned that.
  • Your online visibility.
  • Your digital footprint, which is a summation of all online files, destinations, and touch points you own or that refers to you.

So can we safely say that web presence is all about your online penetration, about establishing your presence or that of your brand online, about making yourself or your brand known on the Internet?

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on to what makes up a successful web presence.

When people hear web presence, the first thing that comes to mind is a website. But then our interpretations above clearly suggest that web presence is more complex than that — in fact, as complex as a person’s public image, which basically entails where they are from, what they do, and who they associate with.

With web presence, you are basically trying to put forward content that promotes your brand’s public image and in so doing help you sell your products or services. Take a look at the table below.

Macaulay Gidado - What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

Looking at the table above, you can easily identify the core elements you need to focus on to build a successful web presence around your brand. And thus we have:

  • Website
  • Social Media
  • Blogging
  • Email marketing

Let’s look at them one after the other

Website

Macaulay Gidado - What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

As I mentioned before, this is your base of operation. It’s where your brand’s web presence begins and ends. Every other aspect of your web presence should direct people back to your website. Hence, you need to put a lot of thought into making your business website as focused, informative, coherent, and on-brand as possible. Learn more about setting up a website for your business.

Social Media

Macaulay Gidado - What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

Now that your business website is set up, you need to draw people to it so they can learn about your business and products and possibly go on talking about them afterwards. For starters, take your business to where consumers gather. Think social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Think forums like Quora and Reddit. You could try to connect and engage consumers organically or you could run paid marketing campaigns on these channels. A combination of both is a better strategy, and your efforts here have to be perpetually ongoing and consistent for you to constantly achieve tangible results.

If running multiple social accounts is daunting for you, then you might want to check out Social Republic, which offers a central dashboard for managing all your social accounts.

Blogging

Macaulay Gidado - What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

You don’t just create a website for your business and then forget it. To achieve the goal of building a web presence, you need continuous participation. This is where blogging comes in. Sadly, many companies online don’t have a blog integrated into their websites. Even many of those that have rarely update theirs. Online presence is all about penetration and visibility, which you can then leverage to drive conversation and sales. For better penetration, more visibility, and more traffic, you need to continuously inject more relevant content into your digital footprint. Regular blogging can do that for you, just as ongoing participation on social platforms also can.

Email Marketing

Macaulay Gidado - What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

Say, your website and blog are booming and you have people flowing in from social media and search engines. How do you keep them coming back? Surely, if the content of your blog is valuable, many of your readers would want to come back. The question is: will they remember to come back?

This is why you need to be very proactive when it comes to retaining leads. These days, email marketing is the way to go. Simply sign up for a service like MailChimp, Aweber, and Mailgun. Then integrate an email subscription form into your blog and website and configure it to actively encourage your site visitors to join your mailing list. Getting them to sign up means you no longer have to wait for them to come to you. Instead, you can take your content, marketing offers and promotions to them.

Of course, there are many other elements of a successful web presence, but these four are the basics you need to cover before anything else. Do let me know what you think in the comment area.

This article also appeared in Macaulay Gidado Medium blog.

Do You Know How to Setup an Email Alias on Your G Suite Email?

Set up email alias for g suite email - Macaulay Gidado

An email alias is basically an alternative email address (whether already assigned to a mailbox or not) that you can use to send out or reply to emails via your mail mailbox. Last time, I talked about how to configure catch-all routing on G Suite. Today, I will talk about setting up an email alias on your G Suite email so that you can send out, or reply to routed, emails as the address they were sent to.

For instance, if catch-all routing allows you to receive emails sent to unassigned addresses on your domain, an email alias allows you to reply to the received emails using the same email address they were sent to, in spite of the fact that the email address doesn’t actually exist.

HERE IS HOW TO CONFIGURE AN EMAIL ALIAS ON G SUITE EMAIL

  • Go to mail.google.com and login
Setup Email Alias on G Suite Email - Macaulay Gidado
  • On the top right corner, click the gear icon and then “settings”.
Do You Know How to Setup an Email Alias on Your G Suite Email?
  • On the next page, click “Accounts”. Scroll down a bit and Click “add an email address”
Do You Know How to Setup an Email Alias on Your G Suite Email?
  • On the window that pops up, fill out the name you want to use for that email address. Could be your name. It could be “Support”. Could also be “Customer Care”. It’s up to you. Type in the email address you want to create. This could be [email protected]
Setup Email Alias on G Suite Email - Macaulay Gidado
    • Make sure that the box for “Treat as an alias” is checked. Then click the “Next Step” button under.
  • Google will send a verification code to the email address you added above.
Setup Email Alias on G Suite Email - Macaulay Gidado
    • If this doesn’t happen automatically, click “send verification” on the window that appears.
    • This is where it gets tricky. If the email address you added above is an existing one, then check the mailbox for that email address to find the verification code. If the email address doesn’t exist, then make sure you have set up catch-all routing on your G Suite account so that the verification email can be routed to your catch-all mailbox. Otherwise, you will not receive the verification code.
    • Next, Log into your mailbox on another window or tab.
  • Open the email by Google and retrieve the code. Or just click the verification link in the email.
  • If you prefer to verify using the confirmation code, then go back to the previous window, paste the code, and click “verify”.
Setup Email Alias on G Suite Email - Macaulay Gidado
    • You will be returned to settings.
  • Then look for where it says “When replying to a message”. Under it, check the box for “Reply from the same address the message was sent to”

That’s it. Time to test everything to make sure it works.

    • Have someone send an email to your alias. If you have catch-all routing on, you will get the email.
  • Now reply to that email and check with the receiver to make sure that they are seeing your alias and not your main email address as the sender.

You can repeat this whole process again and again, depending on the number of email addresses you want to add as a alias. I think there’s a limit though — 30 aliases to be precise.

Eight Things To Consider Before Building Your Website

Eight-Things-To-Consider-Before-Building-Your-Website - Macaulay Gidado

In this digital age, there are a lot of individuals and businesses on the Internet offering services for building your website. For someone new to the idea of setting up a website, the sheer number of available options can be confusing. It’s no wonder many people end up finding little to no satisfaction in running their own website.

You bring out your hard-earned cash and pay for a web development package, but then what you get in the end is a website that makes you frown.

Whose fault is it? Yours or that of the people you paid to do the job?

A wise man once said that knowledge is power. When you have the right information, you avoid pitfalls, you make the right decisions, and your chances of success increase. Therefore, why not equip yourself with the right information before jumping into building your website?

First, ask yourself the following questions:

What’s the Purpose of My Website

This should be the first question you ask yourself. If you can’t answer the question, then you probably don’t need a website.

Do you need the website:

  • For your business? Perhaps you want to open an online store or set up a page where people can make inquiries about your bakery.
  • For your career? Maybe you want to publish your CV and professional profile for employers from all around the world to see.
  • For blogging about a topic you are very conversant with? Or perhaps you want to set up a forum where like minds can discuss various topics?
  • Or something else?

Once you have determined the purpose of your website, then you are ready to go.

Is There a Market for What I Want to Do on My Website

That business you want to showcase with your website. Those skills on your CV. The topic you want to blog about. Is there a market for it?

How do you know whether or not there’s a market for something? You do a market research. If your website and the business/career/idea behind it don’t solve a major problem or add value to the lives of a good number of people, then maybe you don’t need a website.

Do I Know My Target Audience

What’s that saying? Jack of all trades, master of none. No site can meet all needs, just as no business can solve all problems. It’s just not feasible. Thinking your website is for everyone simply translates to setting yourself up for failure. It’s like shooting an arrow blindly and expecting to hit the mark. First, you need to discover who needs what you are selling the most and then target them.

What Will Make My Website Stand Out

It’s highly likely that someone already has a site similar to the one you plan to build. Therefore, before you start, you need to first find out who and who is already doing what you want to do. Once you have done that, then it’s time to brainstorm and give your own idea extra value, a unique selling point. This will give you a competitive edge.

How Far Are You Willing to Go for Your Idea?

People get great ideas every day, but very few ideas become successful. The question is: how dedicated are you to your idea? How far are you willing to go to see it through? This is where passion comes in. When your website idea is something you are passionate about, chances are that you will go the extra mile to keep it alive.

Who Will Manufacture the Content of My Website

A lot of work goes into a website. For starters, you need a copywriter who will discuss with you and help you produce compelling written content for your site. Then you need a competent web designer and developer who will help translate your idea into a visual design that will appeal to your audience. Our honest recommendation is that if you can’t do the work, outsource it to experts that can.

Who Will Run My Website

Websites don’t run themselves. You don’t just publish them and that’s it. Nope. Someone has to log in every day or week to run software updates and add to or change the content. If you don’t have the skill or time to do this yourself, then you will need to pay someone else to do it for you.

Expect Ongoing Expenses

Running a site is an ongoing commitment. After the expenses that come with the initial setup, you still have to pay for yearly web hosting subscription. Websites don’t sit in the air. They live in servers, and since you don’t own a server, you rent one from a web hosting company for your site. There are other ongoing costs like yearly domain and site backup subscriptions, depending on the features of your web hosting package. If hire someone or a company to manage your website, then the ongoing expenses will go into the yearly amount they charge you for management and maintenance.

There you go. Equip yourself with ample information pertaining to the above-mentioned points and you are ready to begin work on your site. Of course, if you need any help setting up your website or if you want to make the process seamless, then talk to one of our staff at Macaulay Gidado and we will get you started.

Online Ads Success: Eight Unobstructive Ways to Get Them Noticed

MACAULAY GIDADO makes it easier for entrepreneurs to do what they love.

The way we do business is rapidly shifting from physical to online presence. So it can be tempting to launch a website with the intention to make money overshadowing the need for quality content or services. Very often than not, we all bump into sites whose idea of making money via online ads borders on ferocity.

Banners in the middle of posts. Several monetized pictures inside a post. Misleading links. They all rank among the top reasons visitors click away as soon as they land on a site. You, of course, want those visitors to stay long enough to see your online ads and click on them.

Here are eight simple, non-technical tips that will ensure your online ads get a firm amount of attention.

Always Put Content First; Not Your Online Ads

There’s nothing more satisfying than great content. When your content is of stellar quality and serves your audience’s need, you gain reliability. And when your visitors find you trustworthy, they want to linger and check out more of what you have to offer. By spending more time on your website, they are bound to notice those unobtrusive strategically-placed online ads on your sidebars and footers, and they will click on them because you have already made them believe that everything on your website serves their needs.

Don’t Start Out Desperate for Income Through Online Ads

This is one of the biggest mistakes new website owners make. They launch a site and a day later, they have plastered every part of it with online ads. This can be very damaging to the reputation of a website, because it doesn’t serve the site’s audience. If you have ever stumbled upon one of those websites whose daily posts are monetized lists of products from Amazon, you begin to understand how frustrating a site riddled with adverts can be.

First build your content. Let your audience flow in. Gain their trust. Then start out with a few online ads placed in the right corners of your website.

The Reputation of Your Hosting Company Matters

Before choosing a web hosting service, it’s essential to make sure the uptime percentage of your favorite hosting company is as close to 100% as possible. A low uptime percentage means a host is likely to develop issues more frequently than ones with higher percentages. And whenever the issues arise, the websites hosted under them will become unavailable to visitors. This can be very detrimental to the reputation of a website, as readers are unlikely to return. This in turn translates to fewer eyes to notice your online ads.

So be wise in choosing a host.

A Good Design Can Go a Long Way

If your website is a product or service, then its design is the packaging. And in today’s world, packaging has become as important as content. Purchase a professional theme, one that suites the concept of your website. Hire a good designer—maybe an illustrator also.

It, however, isn’t all about how beautiful you make your website. It’s rather about whether the beauty complements the purpose. A tech site with lots of flowers and pink in its design can be a huge turn off for visitors, especially male ones—you have to consider that the tech world is dominated by men. If your design turns your visitors off, then be sure those visitors aren’t going to bother noticing your online ads. They, however, will surely turn away.

There’s also the issue of navigation. It’s paramount for visitors to easily find what they are looking for in your website. Any confusion brought by poor structure can most certainly scare them away. Thus your online ads become meaningless.

Update Your Site Regularly

Regular fresh content is what pulls visitors back to your site. No-one wants to read or watch the same thing over and over again. Post new tips every week, or better still twice a week. Make them relevant and interesting. Is your site an online store? Then update the images of your products and services with more creative images. Make your audience salivate with the promise of new, tasty content.

The more people that return to your website, the more likely your online ads are going to get noticed.

Don’t Stick Online Ads Everywhere

This is very simple. Don’t place online ads on every part of your site. Not in the middle of a post—this is very bad when it comes to image ads. Also not on pages like the ‘Contact’ and ‘About’ pages. And certainly not as a pop-up—this one can be especially annoying. Some very successful sites today know to limit their online ads to the sidebars and sometimes to the bottom of posts. You should learn from them.

Focus each content on one topic

By focusing each post on one topic, you help google Adsense easily learn which ads are relevant to your content and which ones are not. That way, you avoid the mistake of letting your readers, who visit your site to, perhaps, get your pig farming tips, see ads about first-class airline tickets.

Don’t Slow Your Pages Down with Ads

Too many ads, especially image ads, on a single page can slow the page down, and reader don’t have the patience to wait for a page to finish loading. If you make them wait, they might turn away to a faster website, and this defeats the purpose of you putting up all those ads in the first place.

So why not limit the number of ads on your pages. Make it reasonable. Two ads that get a hundred clicks per day are more profitable than ten ads that slow down everything to the extent that nothing gets clicked.

There are, of course, many other tips that can help you guarantee your ads get noticed. With these ones, however, you are on your way to safely making money with your adverts without annoying your precious audience.

Four Ways to Keep Your Content Marketing Blog Up-to-Date

4 ways to keep your content marketing blog up-to-date

Every serious content marketer knows this truth. It’s getting harder to conceptualize original ideas pertaining to content marketing. This makes regular blog updates a Herculean Task.

The truth is: there are still a lot of untapped compelling ideas. It’s not just about using your imagination and putting more creativity into your posts. No. It’s also about your passion for content marketing and the reason behind your content marketing strategies.

Here are four ways you can maintain frequent updates of your content marketing blog without succumbing to despair.

Rediscover Your Passion for Content Marketing

Lack of passion. That’s where the problem lies.

They say content marketing generates leads and drives sales, but this isn’t true for most people in the business. Many are struggling unavailingly to come up with new ideas to talk about on their blogs.

A question you should ask yourself is: if you lack the passion to write a compelling post, how do you expect you audience to find the passion to read and enjoy it?

How do you find your passion?

The phrase, content marketing, alone suggests we are all in it for the money. That’s true. But there has to be a supporting reason, one that pulls you through the bad times when the money isn’t coming. It could be your need to get heard. It could also be your desire to help people.

Rediscover that reason. Perhaps it can help you restart your passion for content marketing.

Help People

If your passion is to help people, then leverage it. If not, learn to care about more than what you get out of content marketing. Why? Because focusing on just your gains can quickly turn into despair when your content marketing efforts aren’t yielding your expected results—this can hamper your zeal.

Content marketing concerns helping people. You help them acquaint themselves with certain subjects in the hope that the knowledge you pass on spurs them to make a decision about your product or service.

If you have knowledge or experience about a certain subject, share them. Use them as post ideas. If your expertise is beneficial, people will always show their appreciation, perhaps, by purchasing what you are selling.

Also, helping people comes with fulfillment, which can serve as inspiration for conceptualizing more post ideas.

Outsource Your Content

A lot of content marketers outsource their content. It’s just reasonable. Sometimes you may be overwhelmed or too busy with work to write. Forcing it can lead to further stress and frustration, and even when you manage to produce some content in that condition, the quality may be in question and would only jeopardise your readership.

This is why it is ideal to have another content writer on speed dial for emergencies.

Also, by hiring another content writer, you take advantage of other people’s expertise and introduce a new voice to your blog.

However, be sure to properly vet whoever you hire to ascertain they are passionate about your niche and are professional enough to follow your guidelines.

Do you need help with your content marketing, Macaulay Gidado is here for you.

Welcome Guest Posts

Publishing guest posts from other bloggers in your niche is another way of keeping your blog up to date even when you feel uninspired to write.

In addition, welcoming guest posts will not only help you introduce your readers to new voices and views. It will improve your site’s authority through link building too, since the guest writers will obviously link from their blogs to their guest posts on yours. This in turn channels more traffic to your website.

Still, you ought to have a ‘submission guideline’ page detailing the requirements you want guest posts on your blog to fulfil. That way you maintain a certain level of control over what appears on your blog and ensure they don’t go against your niche as well as your blogs goals and objectives.

Whatever you do, never fall below standards. Always aim to offer value, for it’s mostly with content that is valuable to your readers that your content marketing can yield the desired result.

How to Choose a Domain Name for Your Business

How to choose a domain name for your business - Macaulay Gidado

When choosing a domain name for your business, you obviously want to get it right. A great domain name can make a big difference in your quest to make your business an online success.

How then do you choose the right domain name?

Many experts have come up with various tips on choosing a great domain name. Unfortunately, the sheer number of these tips has made it even more difficult and confusing to choose a domain. It’s now hard to tell which tips are the real deal and which ones are chaff.

You are not alone. Below, I have compiled some of the tips that have worked for Macaulay Gidado.

Your Domain Name Should Be a Branding Tool

Take hot-iron branding, for instance. People in the olden days used it to place marks of identification on things they own–for example, slaves and livestock. Hot-iron branding was all about identity.

Using your domain as a branding tool thus means using it to give your business an online identity. When people see or hear your domain name, does it remind them of your company? If yes, then you have succeeded.

Here are some ways you can use your domain name as a branding tool

  • Use your business name as your domain name. Just as Coca Cola, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook did.
  • Avoid names that are too generic.
  • Avoid including numbers in your domain. Numbers are not easy to remember.
  • Don’t use a name that sounds like that of a competitor.
  • You service coverage is limited to a specific location, then you might want to localise your domain name by adopting the country code top-level domain (ccTLDs) of that location. For instance, if your business only serves people in New Zealand, then consider using www.yourdomain.nz instead of .com, .org, or any other domain extension. This will improve your search engine optimisation and help your site rank higher for relevant searches originating from the country your business covers.
  • You might want to trademark your domain to safeguard it from competitors and squatters who might try to use variances of it.
  • You might also want to register your chosen name under various top level domains (TLDs) in order to prevent other businesses or people from registering them. For instance, don’t just register yourdomain.com. Also register yourdomain.org, yourdomain.net, and other domain extension you don’t want other people to register.

Make Your Domain Name Memorable

Make it easy for your customers to remember your domain name.

  • Shorter names are easier to remember.
  • Use a name that is easy to pronounce.
  • Avoid hyphens and numbers. They complicate things.
  • Avoid misspellings. Even though misspellings worked for Flickr.com and tumblr.com, they are tricky and can work against you.
  • Use a catchy name. Catchy makes for easy remembrance.

Never Use a Trademarked Name

Using a name associated with a trademark translates to cybersquatting. You will be basically infringing on another business’ trademark. You could end up in a lawsuit that will take away your domain and leave you paying damages to the trademark owner. Avoid trademarked names. Use this tool to check the trademark risk associated with your chosen domain name.

Is Your Chosen Name Available on Social Media

Before registering a domain name for your business, you might want to check whether the name is available on the top social media platforms. Why? Using the the name in your domain as your social media handle will help you:

  • Create a uniform online presence for your brand.
  • Make your brand easy to discover.
  • Improve your online credibility and authenticity.
  • Prevent other people or competing companies from stealing your brand’s identity on social media and doing God knows what with it.

Therefore, if your domain name is www.yourbrand.com, you might want to snag the Facebook and Twitter URLs www.facebook.com/yourbrand and www.twitter.com/yourbrand. Do the same for other social media platforms.

To check if your name is available on the top social media platform, use this tool.

Having acquainted yourself with the tips above, you mustn’t take all of them into consideration when choosing your domain name. However, making sure that your domain name conforms to some or most of them can improve your chances of snagging a domain name that makes all the difference for your business.

Nine Ways to Boost Your Company Website’s Credibility

Nine-Ways-to-Boost-Your-Company-Websites-Credibility - Macaulay Gidado

Trust will always play an important role in the purchase decisions of consumers. The questions are: How reliable are you? Do your prospective customers trust you? What does you track record say about you? And ultimately, does your website engender trust in your leads?

When consumers don’t trust you, good luck selling your product, and it doesn’t matter if the product offered on your site exudes quality. Here is a good example of lack of trust in business.

You are an avid computer user on your morning jogging routine. Then a stranger stops you and offers you a brand new laptop for £50 but only if you can pay immediately. Assuming you inspect the laptop and it’s good, and you also have the money on you, would you buy it?

The truth is that most people wouldn’t buy it, and that’s where trust comes in. This instance is a close depiction of what online store owners do. They set up products for sale and expect consumers to part with their hard-earned cash when these consumers don’t really know anything about who is selling the products.

This is why people would rather buy from big ecommerce sites like Amazon rather than from a small or new e-store.

According to the sales expert, Zig Ziglar, “Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.”

In business, you might not be able to do much concerning the first three. But as you can incite desire for your product, you can also build trust. Do this on your website by using these simple trust elements.

1. Let Consumers Know There’s a Genuine Person or Outfit Behind Your Site

This is among the simplest ways to build trust, and there are four main ways you can achieve this:

  • List your physical business address on your website.
  • Display at least two photos of your office. If the photos offer different views of the same place, then better.
  • List your membership with a governing organisation in your field. For instance, a membership with the chamber of commerce.
  • Depending on the product or service you offer, you can also display a picture of you and, perhaps, those of top members of your establishment.

2. Make It Easy for Consumers to Confirm the Information on Your Website

You can do this by reinforcing the information on your site using testimonials, citations, or by linking your source material.

This is why relevant outbound links are an essential part of website content. By linking to credible external articles with authority in your topic, you are basically providing evidence of the correctness of your content.

3. Don’t Hesitate to Emphasize the Expertise in Your Company, Content, and Services/Products

If you have experts in your establishment, by all means show them off alongside their qualifications. If you are connected to a renowned body, make sure that’s also visible on your site. The same goes for if your sponsors are authorities in their field.

However, be mindful not to link to, or display your connection with, disreputable websites or organizations. That would only discredit your website.

4. Can Consumers Easily Contact You?

Some people might like to call in or email to verify whom they are doing business with. Therefore, list your contact information on your site. While some other people may not check in, your phone number, email address, and physical address being on your site enhances your website’s credibility.

5. Ensure that Your Website’s Design Is Professional

They say ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, but the issue is that people will always do that. If your website’s design is the cover of your content, product, or service, then ensure that it looks professional.

This means that the design must complement your purpose, and make sure the typography, images, layout, and other aspects don’t look amateur. Otherwise, your website too will be considered amateur, and trusting it would be like trusting a rascal.

6. Regularly Update the Content of Your Website

Regular updates don’t only suggest that your company is still active, but also provide visitors with more useful content with improved quality. Site visitors will assign more trust to your content when they see this.

7. Is Your Website Easy to Use? Also, Is It Useful?

Usefulness and ease of use will boost the credibility of your website. Why? Because people love simplicity and quality—traits that could imply that your site not only has nothing to hide, but is also beneficial to users.

Always remember that you are in business because of consumers. Don’t make your site and thus product or service difficult to access.

8. Display Promotional Content Judiciously

Adverts, popups, blinking banners, hypes—nobody likes them. In fact, they are spammy. If you can’t entirely avoid ads on your website, show them sparingly and clearly tag them as sponsored content.

9. Watch Out for Errors

Whether it’s a typographical error, a mistaken link, or a misquote, errors will make you appear careless and does not echo credibility at all.

Your website is where your leads funnel and are converted to sales. Why not take care to build trust so that you don’t miss the opportunities that those leads brought with them?

How to Keep Your Marketing Emails Out of Your Subscribers’ Spam Folders

How-to-Keep-Your-Marketing-Emails-Out-of-Your-Subscribers-Spam-Folders - Macaulay Gidado

Many businesses incorporate email marketing in their promotional and marketing strategy. But very few are seeing tangible results.

Why is that?

The simplest and most reasonable answer is that your targeted audience isn’t engaging with your emails. And when a subscriber doesn’t find your emails engaging, the easiest way to get rid of you is to mark one of your emails as spam. Then straight to the spam folder all of your subsequent emails will go. You obviously don’t want that. It would defeat the purpose of sending out marketing emails in the first place.

What can you do about this?

Simple. Give your emails a better chance with your audience by trying out these powerful tips.

Ask Yourself The Following Vital Questions

The first step to solving a problem is by identifying its cause. Therefore, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are my subscribers’ email provider diverting my emails to spam?
  • Are my emails delivering or not? Find out by checking your deliverability and spam score using this tool.
  • Do your subscribers think you are spamming them? This typically happens when your subscribers don’t find your email content engaging enough, when your emails arrive too frequently, or when they are too focused on making sales.
  • Are people unsubscribing from your mailing list?
  • Are your subscribers marking your emails as spam?

Remember that merely identifying a problem doesn’t magically solve it. Don’t just ask questions. Don’t just try to identify the causes of your email marketing failure. You need to address and solve the problem. Otherwise, your email marketing campaigns will keep failing.

Try Email Content Filtering

This simply helps your filter both your outbound mails so as to help you avoid dispatching spammy emails, depending on your filtering parameters. When you don’t send out spammy emails, you lower the chances of your emails getting tossed into the spam folder. Services like Every Cloud Tech will even help you generate reports detailing how your emails fares out there.

Don’t Hide the Unsubscribe Link or Button

You might think that hiding the unsubscribe button or making it difficult to find will help you lower the rate at which you lose subscribers. But trust me, it’s a mistake. It would only frustrate subscribers. And when frustration sets in, the easiest way out is to toss the email causing that frustration into the spam folder–problem solved.

Why is this bad?

When a user marks your email or address as spam, their email service provider (ESP) automatically begins to divert subsequent emails from your address into the user’s spam folder. Now, when a lot of users under the same ESP mark your email or address as spam, the ESP could blacklist your address. This means the ESP will begin pushing emails from you into everyone’s spam folder. That’s including the spam folders of people that are actually interested in your emails.

Therefore, always make the unsubscribe button visible and easy to find.

Avoid Sending Emails to Non-Subscribers

Mining the web for email addresses is a shady strategy scammers and spammers use. Therefore, avoid sending newsletters or marketing emails to people that don’t want them. Doing so would only undermine your brand’s reputation and increase the chances of your emails landing in the spam folder. Also avoid sending emails to people that have already unsubscribed from your list.

Use a Reputable Hosting Service to Improve Your Email Marketing

Where do you host your email server? Make sure the IP address is not blacklisted by top email service providers–learn more here. Better still, use a reputable hosting services.

The above-mentioned tips may not entirely save your email marketing campaign. But they will go a long way in increasing your chances of finding success. They will help you keep your marketing emails from your subscribers’ spam folders.

Five Powerful Ways to Drive Engagement on Your Website

When running a website (whether a personal or a business website), the main goals are usually lead generation, conversion, and sales. However, whatever leads your site manages to generate would translate to nothing without engagement. Thus, conversion and sales via the site would remain elusive.

The question is: why engagement?

One answer to that is ‘to beat competition’. No matter how small your niche is, you will always be faced with competition. Statistics show that there are over 966million websites online today, and they are all clamouring for attention. This brings us to the second reason engagement is paramount.

Considering the mantle of information online today and how easily accessible it is, the attention spans of internet users have become meagre and fleeting at best. This makes it essential that your website begins to engage your visitors as soon as they land on it. Otherwise, you risk losing them a few seconds afterwards.

How then can you drive engagement?

The answer is simple. Do everything you can to make your website useful, informative, compelling, user-friendly, and attention-grabbing. Here are five ways you can do that.

Make Your Website Speedy

Apart from the fact that page load speed is a major Google ranking factor, it can also affect your bounce rate. This is because no one wants to spend their precious time waiting for a slow site to load. The longer your site visitors have to wait idly for your pages to load, the more disengaged they would become. One survey discovered that nearly a half of web users will abandon a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.

Therefore, why not do yourself, your site, and your brand a favour and seek out and apply as many strategies for improving page load speed as possible? Some of them include choosing the right web hosting package, using a minimalistic design, optimising your images, and compressing your files using Gzip.

Make It Responsive

In this age when the majority of the world’s population carries a mobile device in their pocket wherever they go, in this age when smart TVs are becoming increasingly popular, it’s very important that your website is optimised for both mobile devices and high-resolution screens. Responsiveness means that your site is designed to format and display well on various devices. This makes it user-friendly on all platforms, making it easy for visitors to engage with your content.

If you don’t have the resources to hire a designer/programmer that can design your site to be responsive, you could go for a website-building package like the ones offered at freeparking.co.nz/websites/. The great thing about these site builders is that they make your site automatically responsive, they are cheap, and you don’t need prior coding knowledge to use them.

Make Your Navigations User-Friendly

This means making your site easy to navigate. Users love it when they don’t have to work hard to discover what they are looking for on your site. Thus, navigations that are well-structured, simple, and easy to find can go a long way in keeping your visitors comfortably browsing through your pages and even encourage them to take an action that results in sales.

Also pay attention to proper integration of internal linking and use of calls-to-action.

Tailor Compelling Content

Typically, people visit websites in search of information. The problem is that information is everywhere online. Why should they digest yours? What makes yours stand out? When you don’t address these questions, you risking publishing unremarkable content on your site and thus driving your leads away.

Here are some things you can do to ensure your content is engaging:

  • Be original. Don’t copy. Think out of the box. Always find an angle that hasn’t been explored.
  • Make your content informative. Everything you write should count.
  • Use evocative images in your posts.
  • Catchy headlines are great.
  • Use short paragraphs. They are easy on the eye.
  • Backup your points with citations.
  • Try various post formats–text, info-graphics, videos, how-to posts, and so on.
  • Be humorous when you can.
  • Tell a story and favour conflict.

Find out more on creating compelling content for your website here.

Always Interact with Your Audience

Engagement is all about communication and involvement. You can’t hope to engage your audience if you don’t interact with them. Don’t simply publish your post and then dust your hands. Read the comments your posts generate and reply to them when necessary.

People relish recognition. It’s that simply. And when you reply to comments on your site, not only are you letting your visitors know that you recognise them, you also engage them by answering their questions, offering further information, and acknowledging their contributions.

There are many other ways you can drive engagement on your website. Check this out. You can start with the five mentioned above and work your way to other tips across the internet. Do this and you will see your engagement and brand loyalty improve.

Protecting Your Personal Brand Online: Important Things You Need to Know

Protecting your personal online brand

Gone are the days when business owners and corporations are the only entities faced with protecting their online brands. That’s a truth that can’t be disputed. Individuals now need to protect their personal brand.

Of course, it’s easy to imagine that, since you don’t own a business, there’s no brand to protect. However, instead of imagining, first try to understand what a personal brand and brand security mean. How their absences can affect his or her personal life.

Personal Online Brand

Your personal online brand is your public image online. That is, what you represent online. How people perceive you online. It’s your online visibility. Your online authenticity. Your online authority. It’s that name you use across all online channels. It’s the opinion you share on various web platforms.

Online Brand Security

Online brand security, on the other hand, is all about protecting that image. It’s all about plugging all holes via which an unauthorised person can leverage or hijack your brand (or some aspects of it) as their own. Usually, such a person would be looking to achieve a dubious goal with your brand. Perhaps, one that profits them, harms your online reputation or presence, or even hurts you as a person.

Therefore, while you may not have a corporate brand to protect, there are still your online handle and image. If you think nobody could be interested in stealing them, then think again. The threats to a brand can come in many forms:

  • As a desperate corporate competitor looking for an edge over you.
  • A cyber squatter.
  • A scammer.
  • Even as a spammer.
  • It could even be someone that answers the same name as you trying to establish their own online brand. This can be especially damaging if the person posts ideas that go against your values.
  • Or as your abuse of the internet. For instance, what you post on social media today can hurt you tomorrow.

There are many other possibilities. And if one doesn’t poke a hole in your online image, another might.

Why Do You Need Personal Online Brand Security?

  • About 48% of recruiters check their prospective employees’ personal websites before deciding whether to hire or not.
  • Even if you have no need for a personal online brand today, chances are that the need will arise in the future. For instance, an aspiring writer could become a popular professional author tomorrow. It’s only reasonable to secure your name across all channels from the onset.
  • About 63% of recruiters use social media to learn more about prospective employees.
  • Secure your online name against cyber squatters.
  • Protect yourself from scammers.
  • Protect yourself from competitors.
  • About 8% of companies have laid off an employee because the employee abused social media

Hence, if your personal online brand is compromised, so might your chances at some great online and offline business or employment opportunities.

How to Protect Your Personal Brand Online

Secure Your Domain Name

Since you are looking to secure your personal brand, it’s ideal to choose a domain name that is closely related to your legal name. If possible, use your legal name. Thus, if your name is John Lock, then use JohnLock.com or something close to that.

Depending on your resources, it’s also ideal to register variations of the name or the same name under top domain extensions. Example, [dot]net, [dot]co.uk, and [dot]org. This will tightly distinguish and protect your personal brand from other people answering the same name.

You can also register free subdomains with WordPress and Blogger. It doesn’t matter that you might not use them. This will help prevent someone else from stealing your identity there.

Build a Personal Website or Blog

There are many reasons you need a personal website or blog as a way of protecting your personal brand online. Here are the major ones.

  • It’s a way to build your authority online. When you run a personal blog, and share original, compelling content—your expertise and experiences—you create awareness about yourself, people get to know you, and with time you could become established as an influencer.
  • You offer yourself a better chance at landing business and employment opportunities.
  • You increase your visibility on search engines and put your name out there. Hence, when people, an employer or a potential business associate, google your name, you site appears. This can be especially beneficial when there are many other people online answering the same name as you.

Secure Your Social Media Handles

Be sure to register your social media accounts using your legal name or something close to that as your username. It’s recommended that you use the same username across all channels. That’s including in your domain name. If you have multiple domain names, one of them should reflect your social media username.

Social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn may allow you to answer the same profile name as another user. But then your username must be unique. And that’s what you should focus on securing. To simultaneously check for the availability of your legal or chosen name as a username on multiple social media sites, use this tool.

If there are social media platforms you don’t want to use, you can prevent someone else from registering your username. Simply create accounts on the sites for the sake of locking the username down.

Interconnect Everything

A very important way to establish and protect your personal brand online is by interconnecting all your online accounts. For instance, connecting all your domains to your website and connecting your social media accounts to your website and vice versa. That way, people can find your website via your social media profiles. Or your social media pages via your website. It’s a powerful way of showing your authenticity.

Select the Domain Privacy Option

When you register a domain, your personal information (that is, your phone number, address, email address, fax…) is publicly listed on the WHOIS directory. Other info like your domain registration and expiry dates is also listed publicly. This means that anybody can easily find your personal info by running a search for your domain name on the directory.

This exposes you to many security issues:

  • Scammers and spammers looking to take advantage of you and your personal brand.
  • You become vulnerable to identity theft.
  • Domain hijackers looking to take over your domain name.
  • It becomes easy for stalkers to find your personal information.

To protect your identity, simply elect the domain privacy option. That way, your registrar will have dummy domain registration info, instead of your true personal details, published on the WHOIS directory.

Finally, never stop researching more ways to build and secure your brand online. Because as the years go by, new threats will sprout. And you want to be ready for them. Leave nothing to chance.