Email marketing has been proven an effective online process and should be a mainstay in your digital marketing toolbox. Like a pot of brewed Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, you can mess it up if you don’t perform A/B Email Testing. 

All of the hard work and time spent generating those valuable leads will go to waste if your email marketing campaign has no direction. A/B Email Testing will ensure your campaigns are targeted with laser precision and all resources are maximized. 

What Are The Benefits Of Email Marketing?

What was the first thing you did this morning shortly after waking up and before the first cup of coffee?

If you’re like 58% of Americans, that would be to check your email.

Yes, more than half of people check their email first thing in the morning – even while they’re still in bed. It’s not social media, phone messages, or newsfeed. 

And people don’t stop there. Chances are, you check your email multiple times every day. 

This is what makes email marketing so effective. If your message successfully gets into the recipient’s inbox, there is a 21% chance that your email will be opened and read. 

Email marketing has a very high Return on Investment (ROI). Studies have shown that for every US$1 spent on email marketing, you get a return of US$44 or 4,400%!

Of course, these are just statistics, not guarantees. You have to run your email marketing campaign correctly to be on the winning end of the statistics. And one of the best ways to ensure success is to conduct A/B Email testing.

What Is A/B Email Testing?

The simplest definition of A/B email testing is that it’s a process of testing different sections of your email to see which ones will best generate the desired results.

When it comes to an email, the smallest changes can lead to big results. From the subject line to the content itself, A/B email testing lets you know which version your audience will respond better to.  

It’s worth your time to conduct A/B email testing to ensure that your efforts get the best returns. 

As mentioned earlier, email marketing has a very high ROI. The rate of return on email marketing is much higher than Pay-Per-Click advertising, social media marketing, and various forms of traditional marketing.

What Are The 3 Benefits Of A/B Email Testing?

Even the most experienced digital marketers can’t get email marketing right every time. A/B email testing has benefits that will lower the risk of costly mistakes.

1. Fine-tune Your Email Marketing Strategy 

They might overlook a component of the email because it seemed inconsequential. By the time the Digital Marketer is able to pinpoint the component, it may have already squandered selling opportunities with the email subscribers. 

With A/B email testing, you can increase the chances of success of your email marketing campaign by comparing and contrasting different versions and pinpoint the areas that elicit the most favorable reactions from your audience.

2. Increase the Click-Through and Open Rates of Your Email

When you know what your subscribers like to see and read, you will be able to increase the open and click-through rates of your email. 

The higher the open and click-through rates the higher the probability of your subscribers visiting your website and participating in your Calls-to-Action (CTA). 

As you gain the confidence of your subscribers, it won’t be long before their interest in your products or services gets converted to sales.

3. Save More Money

Some marketers think that sending out an email blast is the best way to get results from an email campaign. 

“Let’s weed out those who are interested or not by sending the same email to everyone. You can save more time and money.”

Mr. Shot Gun Marketer forgot to tell you the fundamental truth about the leads you worked hard to generate for your email campaign:

Everyone is different. 

People react differently to content. By sending out the same email to everyone, you have failed to consider the individuality of your subscribers. They signed up for different reasons and motivations. 

An email blast will not only lay waste to the leads you generated but it may do irreparable harm to your reputation. Before you know it, you will have more people unsubscribing to your email list.

What Components Of Your Email Should You Subject To A/B Testing?

Most people probably don’t give much thought about how they should structure or compose emails when they send them out to friends, family, and business associates. 

This is because you have a personal relationship with the recipient of the email. At the very least, the person knows of you because of a chance encounter at a trade show or convention. Perhaps the recipient is a referral of a mutual friend. 

With an email marketing campaign, you are sending out content to people you don’t know. You have no idea of who they are; what they like and how they respond to marketing copy. 

A/B email testing acts as your guiding light so that you’re not blind when running the campaign. 

You can get a clearer picture of who your audience is and what they like simply by testing different components of your email.

What components of your email should you subject to A/B testing?

  1. Subject Line – Find out how to phrase the title of your email, the length of the title, and the type of promotion you should run in the campaign.  The right subject line is responsible for the high number of open rates. 
  1. Time and Day – If your business caters to a global audience, run tests to identify the best times and days to send out your emails.
  1. Images – Studies have consistently shown that people respond faster and more favorably to images than text. Find out the types of images and other intricate details that encourage your subscribers to open your emails.
  1. Personalization – Do your subscribers react positively when you greet them by name? Other than that, find out how they want you to approach them. For example, some may prefer that your preheader states a solution to a problem they are experiencing.
  1. Calls-To-Action – Which CTA does your audience respond faster to: “Free – For First 50 Sign Ups ” or “Buy Now-Limited Stocks Only”? Your choice of CTA could determine how fast you can convert interested prospects into paying customers.
  1. Content – Many people sign up because they love your content. But as we said, each person is different. Some may prefer list-type articles while others might favor instructional content or “how to’s”. Find out who likes what and laser target your content to the right subscribers.

5 Smart Tips On How To Run A/B Email Testing

A/B Email testing is a conscientious process. You must be diligent, detail-oriented, and most of all, patient. As we said, even the most experienced Digital Marketers may not get it right the first time. 

That said, we have included 5 smart tips on how to run your A/B email testing that can put you on the right track to email marketing success.

1. Identify Your Objective

What do you want to accomplish with the A/B email test? Usually, there are 3 areas digital marketers are focusing on when running an A/B email test:

  • Number of Unsubscribers – Find out if there is a significant difference between the number of followers who unsubscribed from the A and B test groups.
  • Click-through Rate – Find out which test group generated more clicks on your email.
  • Open Rate – Find out which test group opened your email more frequently.

2. Formulate a Hypothesis

Once you’ve identified your objective, you can proceed to formulate a hypothesis by reviewing the components of your email and analyzing which one can deliver the expected results.

For example, your objective is to increase the open rate. You hypothesize that by coming up with a list-type subject line such as “10 Ways to Generate Wealth Now”, you will have more subscribers opening your email. 

Don’t run tests on all the email components at the same time. Identify one component, run the A/B test, analyze the results, then move on to the next component.

3. Study the Most Frequently Sent Types of Emails First

For sure, your previous emails can be used as benchmarks for your hypothesis. Pull them out and study them carefully.

  • How did you prepare the components?
  • What was the structure of the emails?
  • How long was your content?
  • Which groups responded favorably?
  • Which groups did not respond?
  • Were there people who unsubscribed?
  • How did you write the subject line?
  • Did you use a preheader?
  • Did you greet the recipients by their first names?

You can get valuable information from your most frequently sent emails. Use the details as benchmarks for your current A/B email testing.

4. Divide Your Email Marketing List Into A and B Segments

Start out with a small portion of your email marketing list. Divide them into A and B segments. 

There are many good email marketing software that you can use to help you segment your email marketing list. 

Here are a few segments that you might want to consider for your own email marketing list:

  • New Subscribers
  • Tastes and Preferences
  • Interests
  • Geography or Location
  • Level of Activity
  • Amount of Purchase
  • Frequency of Purchase

How you segment your email marketing list will depend on what your objective is. 

In our example, you want to increase the open rate. Given this objective, you can create a segment of those who engage with your emails more frequently and those who hardly engage with your emails.

5. Track and Analyze the Results of Your A/B Email Tests

Stay on top of the results. Collect and organize the data from the A/B tests. Analyze them thoroughly. Run more tests if needed and if you wish, change some of the conditions of the test. 

Once you’re confident with the results of your A/B email test, you can expand it to a larger population from your list. 

You may experience variances from the results because of the larger test group. But that’s okay. It will help you fine-tune your process and come up with more effective email campaigns.

Conclusion

According to Statista, the number of email users will grow from 3.9 billion in 2019 to 4.48 billion in 2024. Compare that to social media which has 3 billion active users in 2019.

Social media may come and go but people will always use email. 

A properly managed and tightly-focused email marketing campaign will surely generate wonderful results for your business’ digital marketing strategy. Performing an A/B test before you email marketing content to your subscribers will not only help you achieve your goals but it will keep your audience engaged.

If you’ve decided to run an email marketing campaign, give us a call and we’ll set up an effective one for you!

And if you enjoyed this article, please feel free to share it with your community.

If you ask 2 different writers about how to create content for SEO, you will get 2 different answers. Ask a few more content writers and you’ll likely get variations of how to create SEO content. 

Why are there so many different approaches to SEO? Copyblogger described SEO as quite possibly the most misunderstood concept of Digital Marketing. The reason for this is that SEO has exploded in popularity in the past few years. 

In the race for the top spot in the search rankings, SEO practitioners are continually looking for an edge over the competition. The techniques and principles of SEO evolve as the online behavior of consumers change. 

You have to find out the “how” and the “why” people are searching for content before you can create the “what”.

In this article, we will simplify the process of creating content for SEO. We will give actionable tips that you can immediately use to get your webpage climbing up the search rankings.

Writing For SEO – The Dilemma Facing Content Writers

SEO or Search Engine Optimization helps your content get found on the Internet by using a combination of techniques and processes to develop strategies with the purpose of increasing your visibility to the search engines. 

Search engines like Google track and index content with web crawlers. These web crawlers are guided by a search algorithm that evolves to reflect the online behavior of Internet users.

That’s the dilemma facing content writers – creating content that conforms to the search engine algorithm while at the same time writing content that appeals to the audience. 

“How do I write content that is optimized and yet, still appreciated by my readers?”

With the rules of the SEO changing frequently, it’s hard to keep up with the discipline’s best practices. 

For example, one of the fundamentals of content writing for SEO is to maintain a keyword density of 2% or lower. 

In other words, if your blog has a total word count of 1,000 words, the number of high-ranking keywords used should not exceed 20. Otherwise, Google could flag you for keyword stuffing and penalize your webpage in the search rankings.

On the other hand, you can create a 5,000-word Buyer’s Guide that’s stuffed with more than 200 keywords and still rank high in the SERP. 

Keywords are a crucial component of SEO because they reflect the search patterns of Internet users. Keywords give you an idea of how a consumer launches a search query. 

Integrating these high ranking keywords into your content will enable the web crawlers to find and index your content faster. 

However, the fundamentals of SEO state that the keywords must be used in the content exactly as how they are phrased by consumers when launching a search.

So how do you use “digital marketing Colorado” in a sentence? 

There are SEO practitioners who say adding “in” or using punctuation marks to make the keywords grammatically correct will render the keyword powerless. 

At this point, you can see what all the confusion is about. A content writer is taught to create impeccable content – one that is grammatically correct, free of spelling errors. 

With the growing influence of the Internet, now, he has to reorient his way of thinking and create content that “appeals” to the search engines. 

So how do you reconcile the dilemma?

Creating Content For SEO – Writing For People

The truth is, there is no dilemma. 

SEO best practices will change to reflect how people search for content. The algorithm is in a constant state of change – and it’s people – your audience that’s leading the search engines. 

Thus, to simplify the process of creating content for SEO, only focus on the golden rule:

Write for people – your audience- first.

Here are 5 actionable and useful tips on how to create content for SEO:

1. Establish a Writing Process

Content writing for SEO involves a different process because you are trying to laser-target your audience. You have to know what they want to read about; what topics interest them and how best to present the content to entice them to click on your URL over another.

Establishing a writing process gives you an organized manner of uncovering the interest of your audience because it reduces the guesswork. When writing for the Internet, research is not limited to the subject matter itself.

Here’s a writing process for you to consider:

  • Topic Research 

Review the numbers or metrics of your current content. Which ones generated the highest engagement rates? Which types of content got the most likes or shares? Which types of content have resulted in the longest time on your page?

As we discussed in our blog “10 Must-Have Tools For SEO Content Writers”, Google Keywords Planner is a wonderful tool for topic research. 

Another online platform you can use to get topic ideas is “Answer the Public”. This is a keyword tool that gives you ideas for topics based on what people are talking about in your industry.

Create a large database of topics, organize these on a spreadsheet, and categorize them according to the subject matter.

  • Keyword Research  

Google Keywords Planner is an effective tool for keyword research and it’s free. Another free SEO tool you can use is Ubersuggest which was developed by Digital marketing wizard Neil Patel,

If you don’t mind paying US$99 per month, subscribe to SEMRush which is an amazing SEO tool that streamlines the keyword research process. 

Similar to the topics list, organize the keywords in a spreadsheet, and arrange them in order of monthly search volume – from highest to lowest. 

  • Subject Matter Research 

By now, you should have an idea of what to write about. The next step is to read up on the subject matter. 

Even if you’re an expert on the topic, doing a bit of research will do some good. At the very least, you can update your knowledge or get a quick refresher.

Identify at least 3 reputable sources of information particularly if you plan to include statistics or numbers on your content. 

These websites will be used as hyperlinks to verify your information. Adding at least one reputable link to your content will improve SEO and enhance your brand as a reliable resource. 

  • Create an Outline

An outline helps you structure the content of your article. It gives you a perspective on the continuity or flow of information of your content. 

What’s important is that readers have an easy time following the “train of thought” of your content. Within the first few seconds of reading your blog, they should be convinced that they clicked on the right URL.

One of the best techniques is to use statements or ask questions that make the reader think to himself “Yes!” within the first 100 words. We applied this technique on this blog – which is probably why you made it to this section!

  • Set a Timeline for Drafts

You can go about this in 2 ways.

First, set a timeline based on a target number of words. For example, review a draft after every 1,000 words.

Second, set a timeline based on the time spent writing. Studies show that we can maintain 100% focus no more than 90 to 120 minutes at one time. After 90 minutes, it’s possible you can no longer maintain 100% focus.

It could be time to step back and review the draft thus far. 

Setting timelines for drafts keeps you on schedule and lowers the risk of making embarrassing mistakes on your content.

  • Implement QA Measures

Before you publish your content, run it through a QA or Quality Assurance process. Here’s an example of a QA process that we implement at Mountaintop Web Design:

Step 1 – Run content through Copyscape to check for originality.

Step 2 – Run content through Grammarly to check for spelling and grammar errors.

Step 3 – Perform a “manual review” or read the content one more time to check for continuity, tone, and look for errors in grammar and spelling. 

Once you publish content, it’s there for people to read. When it comes to brand building, first impressions last. Don’t take chances. Perform QA procedures until you’re 100% confident about the quality of your content.

2. Choose the Type of Content to Write About

77% of Internet users read blogs. 

Businesses that blog regularly get 97% more website traffic than businesses that don’t blog. 

These stats prove frequent blogging helps build businesses. 

But content isn’t just blogging. There are other types of content that you can create for your audience:

  • Articles – Think of content that’s good enough to get published in a newspaper.
  • Buyer or Product Guides – A type of long-form content that’s packed with information such as product reviews, recommendations, technical specifications, pros and cons, images, and shopping links.
  • Infographics – A type of content that delivers information via images or graphics. 
  • How-To’s – Informative, well-structured, and organized form of content that is very popular with the audience and gives your webpage a boost in Google’s SERP.
  • Listicles – Similar to How-To’s, listicles rank very well in Google’s SERP. If someone writes an article “10 Smart Home Based Business Ideas In 2020”, you can outrank him by coming up with a larger list such as “15 Top Home Based Business Ideas In 2020”.

The key takeaway is to give your audience a variety of content to read. You can create a Content Calendar and schedule the publication of each type of content. 

3. Summarize the Parameters of Your Content

The parameters of your content refer to its qualities. For example:

  • Length – How long is your blog? Generally, long-form blogs or those that exceed 2,000 words generate higher traffic and are more effective in building your business brand. 

However, the average time spent on a blog is only 37 seconds. How long is a blog that takes 37 seconds to read? The average person reads 265 words per minute. 

The bottom-line: If you consistently publish optimized content that is well-researched and impeccably written, your reader will spend more than 37 seconds on your blog. For better results, go for long-form content.

  • Images – Adorning your content with high-resolution images that are relevant to the topic will surely increase viewership. 

For the purposes of optimization, use original images. There are plenty of stock photos that you can download from the Internet but Google rewards webpages with images that are unique to its own.

Keep in mind that high-resolution images can slow down the webpage’s download speed.

  • Purpose – Are you using content to build your brand or to sell products and services? The purpose of your content will determine your choice of keywords.

For branding purposes, use keywords that have the highest search volume per month. However, if you’re selling products or services, you can opt for low search volume keywords but the competition is high. 

A situation where the search for keywords is low but competition is high indicates businesses in your industry are getting good results with these keywords in their PPC or Pay-Per-Click ad campaign.  

This low search/high competition SEO strategy can be used if you’re running a content marketing campaign alongside a PPC campaign. 

  • Tone – The golden rule when creating content for SEO is to write for people – your audience. You’re the acknowledged expert in the field – that’s why people click on your webpage. They want answers, not more questions.

Write in a manner that your audience will easily understand. Don’t try to impress them with technical jargon. They’re here to learn not to be confused. 

Your tone should be conversational; informative but never dismissive of your audience. 

4. Create a Posting/Distribution Schedule

Once you have completed your content and are confident of its quality, you may now shift your focus on creating a posting and distribution schedule.

Identify the channels or platforms where your content will be posted. In addition to your social media pages, you can reach out to other relevant websites and ask if you can post your content on their page.

You should also come up with a posting schedule. How often will you publish content? 

In social media, you can publish at least one piece of content per day. But choose the correct social media channel for your business. 

Image-driven products are best posted in highly-visual and generally “social” networks such as Facebook and Instagram. In these types of social media networks, it would be better to post 3 to 5 times a day.

5. Monitor the Performance of Your Content

Which types of content are performing very well and which ones aren’t? Website analytics and social media insights will give you valuable data on how your content is performing. 

Consistently monitoring the performance of your content will allow you to streamline your efforts and repurpose more resources toward creating content that delivers the desired results.

Conclusion

Writing for the Internet is much different than writing an article and sending it over to the editor of a glossy magazine for review. 

Before the Internet, all a glossy magazine needed was an eye-catching cover with compelling headlines to stand out from a hundred other glossies at a newspaper stand. 

When you’re publishing content on the Internet, the objective is to get found. How can your webpage stand out and be highly visible versus millions of other websites in your industry?

This is why you need SEO to create compelling content that ranks high with the search engines. 

Do you need help writing SEO content? Give us a call or drop an email. At Mountaintop, we have a track record of writing high-quality content that ranks very well in Google. 

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has continued to gain popularity over the years because it helps businesses maximize the returns on their digital marketing investment. SEO has become the difference-maker for content writers. 

Writing online content means writing for your customers. For your efforts to yield results, your content must be searchable on the Internet. 

As most entrepreneurs have learned, being an expert in your field is not enough to ensure your website’s ranking in the search results. For your valuable information to be found, it must be optimized.

To give your optimization strategies a boost, we’ve created this list of 10 must-have tools for SEO content writers.

1. SEMRush

SEMRush is a favorite SEO tool for content writers. It’s easy to use and effective. What SEMRush does is to extract the high-ranking keywords used by the websites that are ranking high in the search results page.

An interesting feature of SEMRush is the Writing Assistant.

Writing Assistant is a tool that gives immediate recommendations on the best keywords to use for your content. It does this by analyzing the keywords used by the highest-ranking web pages.

For example, you can download the Writing Assistant app and have it installed as an add-on for Google Docs. 

Turn on Writing Assistant before you start composing on Google Docs. As you type, Writing Assistant will run a check on your content for SEO quality. It will break down your content into 4 categories:

  • SEO friendliness
  • Readability
  • Tone
  • Freshness or originality

To get Writing Assistant, you must first have a SEMRush account. A free version of Writing Assistant is available but if you want more in-depth features, sign up for the Guru Plan which costs $199.95 per month.

2. Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a definite must-have for digital marketers who want to run a laser-focused SEO campaign. 

Google Search Console gives you all the necessary information you need to assess how your website is performing. You will know which web pages are popular with the audience and the keywords they use to access your website.

You will also get data about the number of pages that have been indexed by the search engines. 

Its search analytics feature will give you the following insights about your website:

  • Total clicks
  • Total impressions
  • Average Click-Through-Rate (CTR)
  • Average position in the SERP

All of these data can be used by the content writer to fine-tune your optimization strategies. Your content writer will know with certainty the types of content he needs to create to increase the visibility of your blogs and other forms of online content. 

3. Yoast Real-Time Content Analysis

Yoast is one of the most popular plug-ins for WordPress especially for content writers looking to shore up their SEO strategies. Yoast’s Real-Time Content Analysis is a valuable resource for SEO advice in addition to providing features to help your website move up the search rankings.

Yoast’s Real-Time Content Analysis is a cloud-based tool that won’t cost you a cent. You can hop on the cloud at any time and use this valuable tool to sharpen up your content and make your web page more visible on the Internet. 

Create and then, edit your title. Optimize your meta description. Use its integrated analytical tools to guide your content writing process. To be more certain, Yoast’s Real-Time Content Analysis will give you sneak peek and see where your SEO efforts will place you in the search engine results page. 

4. Google Keyword Planner

Similar to SEMRush, Google Keyword Planner is another mainstay in the SEO toolbox of many content writers for 3 very good reasons.

First, Google Keyword Planner is free! All you need to access Google Keyword Planner is a Gmail account. 

Second, Google Keyword Planner is customizable and easy to use. Simply set your desired settings – target country, language, and list of keywords – and you’re good to go. 

Third, Google Keyword Planner is complementary to SEMRush. How? Use Google Keyword Planner to check the monthly search volume of a particular keyword. Not only will you see data on volume but Google Keyword Planner will give you Keyword Ideas. 

Choose a high volume keyword idea and type it into the Google search box and launch a query. Google will present a list of websites that are relevant to the search query.

Copy and paste the URL of the website in the first position of the SERP onto the search box of SEMRush then click enter. SEMRush will retrieve all of the keywords used on the web page. Repeat the procedure for websites from the 2nd to 5th positions in the SERP. 

You will have a spreadsheet of keywords that have been proven to help web pages rank high in the SERP.

5. Website Auditor’s Content Auditor

Website Auditor has come up with its own SEO tool called Content Editor. Think of Content Editor as Word with SEO features. This wonderful SEO tool will give you tips on how to optimize your content as you’re transposing ideas from your mind to the keyboard.

Title and meta descriptors are very important to optimize your page. As you’re preparing your respective descriptions, Content Editor will give you a preview of what your SERP will look like plus an idea of what your competitors’ SEO strategies are. 

A challenge for content writers, especially for those writing Buyer’s Guides or Product Reviews, is to keep track of the keywords used in the content. Sometimes a 6,000-word Buyer’s Guide will need more than 100 keywords integrated into the content at least once. 

Content Editor has a keyword counter that will help you keep track of the keywords you need to include on your content. 

6. nTopic

Writing online content is much different than writing for a glossy or submitting a research paper to your college professor. The ideal content for online publication goes beyond well-researched material and having no errors in grammar and spelling.

Content writers often write without knowing if the words they use are relevant to the topic or not. Some words may not be associated at all with the subject matter you are writing about. 

Google considers topic relevancy as an important ranking factor. If Google does not consider your content as relevant, your web page may find itself down in the search rankings. 

nTopic is an SEO tool that works to improve your content by letting you know if the keywords are relevant to the topic by giving you an nTopic score. If the score of your content is low, nTopic will give recommendations on how to make it better.

nTopic claims in its website that a web page sees a 4% increase in the search rankings after implementing the improvements the software recommended. 

7. KWFinder

KWFinder is almost like an all-in-one SEO tool for content writers. 

Similar to the other SEO tools discussed above, KWFinder will give you a good number of keyword suggestions. In addition, KWFinder will give you other useful data such as:

  • Search Volume per Month
  • Cost-Per-Click Figures
  • History of keywords – how popular these keywords have been over the years

You will also be given comprehensive information on the current position of the keyword you are using. 

KWFinder is not a free SEO tool. The Basic Plan will cost you US$49 per month and will help you find 100 keywords per day. 

The most expensive plan is the Agency which costs US$129 per month and will help you find up to 1,200 high-ranking keywords per day. 

8. Scoop.it

According to studies, to drive more traffic to your website and to increase search rankings, the ideal blogging frequency is 11 times per month.

Even the best content writers will have a hard time sustaining a pace of 11 optimized blogs per month. But you need content – high-quality content – to give your website a boost up the SERP. 

Your next best option would be to pack your website with high-quality and optimized curated content. 

Scoop.it will do just that for you!

Scoop.it is a content curating machine that scours the Internet in search of articles that are unique, useful, informative, and relevant to your website. Of course, these articles have been optimized for search engines.

By publishing high-quality curated content, you can enhance your brand, open up potential connections with influencers, and provide your followers with relevant information. 

9. SpyFu

SpyFu is an SEO tool that does exactly what you think it’s all about -spy on your competitor’s SEO strategy!

Simply type in the domain name of your competitor and SpyFu will retrieve a number of valuable pieces of information that you can use to fine-tune your own SEO strategy.

The treasure trove of SEO information includes the following:

  • Organic keywords your competitor is ranking for.
  • Adwords for PPC your competitor is using.
  • Keywords your competitors have used that yielded poor results.
  • Keep track of the keywords your competitors are actively bidding for.

Then, type in your website. 

SpyFu will recommend the best keywords you have not used or spent on for your PPC campaigns.

This is a wonderful SEO tool to have because you will know exactly how your SEO strategies are measuring up versus the competition. 

10. WooRank

WooRank is an online tool that does a comprehensive audit of your SEO strategy. In real-time, WooRank will give you valuable information on how your SEO is doing – the strengths that deliver results and the weak points holding it back.

But WooRank won’t stop there. 

Once the weak points of your SEO strategy have been identified, WooRank will propose an action plan that can help deliver the desired results. 

An interesting feature of WooRank is its Keyword Tool that helps you find the best keywords for your content, keeps you updated on your ranking versus your competitors for targeted keywords, and tracks the performance of your keywords over time. 

Conclusion

To compete for the top spot in the search rankings, SEO is an absolute must but your SEO game must always be on point. 

The rules of SEO are constantly changing because the online behaviors of consumers are likewise shifting from time-to-time. You have to stay on top of your audience and find out what motivates them to perform a search. 

The 10 SEO tools we discussed in this article will eliminate the guesswork and ensure you have solid data to design an effective content marketing strategy or improve upon your current one. 

If you need help in fine-tuning your SEO strategy, give us a call or drop an email. We will get in touch with you right away.

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community.

Digital technology and the Internet have given consumers the advantage of learning everything they can about a product or service before making a purchase. 

Looking for the best Wi-Fi router in 2020? All you have to do is run a search for “best Wi-Fi router 2020”. Within a few seconds, a list of the websites with the information you need will appear on the search results page. 

If your content marketing strategy is on point, your start-up technology retail business might just be on the list. 

Why Your Start-Up Needs Content Marketing

The objective of a content marketing strategy is to compel the reader to answer your call to action. 

What do you want your readers to do? 

  • Do you want them to follow your brand? 
  • Do you want them to acknowledge you as an expert or a valuable resource? 
  • Do you want them to buy your product or patronize your service?

According to a study conducted by Quoracreative, 75% of Internet users read blogs on a regular basis. Meanwhile, 64% of consumers who watch an advertising video will buy the product. 

And if you’ve read a social media post about the amazing Cappucino served at the new coffee shop that opened – chances are you would follow the 81% who were convinced by the review and try out the product yourself. 

Blogs, videos, and social media posts are all examples of content. They are created to trigger a response from the reader. The same can be said about other forms of content such as web copy, product reviews, e-books, and podcasts.

As a start-up, content marketing can help your business gain traction. In a competitive industry, you need maximum visibility to get the attention of potential customers. 

If people love your content, they will follow you willingly and become followers of your business. In time – and with consistency – some of your followers may become customers.

7 Steps To Create The Ultimate Content Marketing Strategy For Your Start-Up

To be clear, content is anything you post or publish. It does not mean that you should just post anything on the Internet and expect results. 

If you were compelled to act by the content you read, then you know what effective content looks like. 

For your content marketing campaign to deliver results, you need to have a strategy. 

1. Define Your Content Marketing Goal

The direction of your content marketing strategy will depend on what you want to accomplish. 

What is the goal of your content marketing campaign?

  • Are you looking to gain immediate traction?
  • Do you want to give more information about the products you carry?
  • Do you want people to learn more about you and the people behind the company?
  • Are you using content marketing to share your knowledge with your target audience so they can have immediate solutions to questions?
  • Are you hoping to generate more leads for your sales funnel?

Regardless of your goal, a well-planned and properly implemented content marketing campaign will deliver results for your business. You just need to stay focused on that goal. 

If you layout multiple goals for your content marketing campaign, your efforts will have no direction. Your resources will be spread out too thinly and the message of your campaign will be lost. 

2. Create an Audience Profile

An Audience Profile is similar to a Buyer’s Profile which many realtors create to fine-tune their marketing strategy. 

To make an Audience Profile, you list down the characteristics of the person who would be interested in your content:

  • What is the age group?
  • Are they mostly men or women?
  • Are they working or still studying?
  • If employed, do the majority of the audience hold managerial positions in the company?
  • How much do they earn?
  • Where do they reside?
  • How will they access my content?
  • What are their interests?
  • What issues concern them?
  • What are their present needs? 
  • What types of content do they like to read?
  • Do they prefer text or video content?

The questions can cover more areas – as many as you want to get a better idea of the kind of audience that would appreciate the content. 

Having a solid Audience Profile will set the process of creating content much easier. You will have an idea of the content your target audience wants to read and how to reach them.

3. Set Up Your Content Marketing Toolbox

Blogging is one of the most popular forms of content. Many marketers consider blogging as the cornerstone of content marketing. It is just one of many tools that you can include in your content marketing toolbox. 

You can use videos, podcasts, live streaming, forums, newsletters, e-books, infographics, listicles, case studies, how-to articles,  white papers, checklists, interviews, product reviews, GIFs and memes as your content marketing process. 

Your choice of process would depend on your:

  • Marketing Goal
  • Type of Business
  • Target Audience
  • Budget

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to content marketing. 

For example, if you are in the business of selling dress watches, you will find greater success using video content that is distributed through social media channels such as YouTube and Instagram than blogging via LinkedIn. 

Review your Audience Profile and draw up a budget for your marketing campaign. A big-budget will give you more flexibility but unless your strategy is on point, the investment will not yield a significant return. 

You can have a successful content marketing strategy without breaking your bank account.

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4. Assemble Your Content Marketing Team

Are you a gifted writer? Do you know how to do keyword research? Do you have experience in content optimization? 

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, then bravo! You are capable of creating engaging content with the potential of driving traffic to your website. 

But you shouldn’t.

Content writing takes time. A 1,600 to 2,000-word blog will take 3 hours to write. That does not include keyword research, topic research, and quality control. 

Rather than writing content, you should outsource the work to a remote team of content experts. 

What skills should comprise your content writing team?

  • Content Writers
  • Keyword Researchers
  • Graphic Designer
  • Videographers
  • Content Editors

To be clear, you don’t have to hire these skills for your content writing team. Again, it would depend on your goals and budget. Add to that, your business experience. 

As a start-up, start out small. 

Get 1 content writer preferably a person who can also do keyword research and quality control. Hire a graphic designer only when your content calls for it. 

You may not need a videographer right away. Some of the best videos were shot using an iPhone. 

The takeaway in this section is: Don’t create your content. Outsource content writing to an experienced person so you will have more time to attend to the main activities of your business. 

5. Create the Content Marketing Process

If you pass by a newsstand, your eyes will search for the publications that you are used to reading. You love the content; style of writing, tone, and the topics are of great interest to you. 

Writing for the Internet goes through a different process. Think of the Internet as a gigantic virtual newsstand that has billions of publications to choose from. 

Once posted, your content will be added to the sea of publications that are already flooding the Internet. 

Thus, when writing online content, your primary objective is to get found by your target audience. To get found, your content has to be optimized for the search engines. 

An effective optimization technique is to embed your content with keywords that are popularly searched by your target audience. There are various tools that you can use to conduct your keyword research:

  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Ubersuggest
  • Answer the Public
  • Keyword Surfer
  • Keywordit
  • Google Trends

These are free keyword tools that can get the job done for your content optimization plan. 

When you have the keyword spreadsheet ready, here are a few basic rules on how to use them effectively on your content:

  • For a blog post that ranges from 1,600 to 2,400 words, choose 5 to 6 high search volume keywords. 
  • Identify the main keyword which is usually the keyword that best describes your topic. 
  • The main keyword should appear once in the title, the first paragraph, the body of the content, and the conclusion.
  • The ratio of keywords to total word count should not exceed 2%. 

With keywords ready for use, let’s come up with a simple but effective content marketing process for your start-up:

  • Review your Audience Profile and make a spreadsheet of topics your followers would like you to write about. Use your keyword list to come up with titles.
  • When you have zeroed in on the topic and title, it’s time to conduct topic research. Choose 3 to 4 reliable references for your topic.
  • Create an outline for your blog. We recommend dividing the body of your blog into smaller sections under different headings. These sub-headers should include minor or secondary keywords – a keyword that is relevant to the main topic.
  • Begin writing! For list-type articles, you may want to start with the body first to get a better grasp of the content. We find this approach makes it easier to write the introduction and conclusion to the blog.
  • After completing the blog, run it through a spelling and grammar-checking software such as Grammarly. Then, read the article and look for other errors. The software can make a mistake because it may not understand the context of a sentence.
  • Review the structure of the blog. If it looks cramped, open it up. Our blogs are a good example. Keep the paragraphs and sentences short. Space the paragraphs properly. Readers don’t like to read blogs that look cramped up.

6. Identify Your Content Distribution Channels

Where will you publish your optimized content?

The first distribution channel on your list should be your website. If possible, use original images. Stock images are always an option but Google prefers images that are unique to your website.

For a start-up, it would be best to keep your distribution channel strategy simple. Thus, social media would be the next logical choice. After all, people spend on average two hours and 22 minutes of their Internet time on social media. 

As mentioned earlier, not all social media networks function in the same way. Choose a social media network that caters to a community interested in your type of content. 

For example, business-related content would gain more traction in LinkedIn than Facebook. Visual-heavy content would generate more interest in networks such as YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest or Snapchat.  

Finally, create a distribution schedule.

There are several recommendations on how often you should post content. Some say you should post a minimum of 5 times on Facebook to get results. Others say twice-a-day is enough. 

Our recommendation is to keep your strategy simple. The objective is to stay top-of-mind. Posting content once-a-day should be fine. 

If you don’t have original blogs to post, share curated content, post inspirational messages or simply post status updates. 

Another strategy would be to call on friends or associates who have websites that cater to your target audience. Propose a guest blogging arrangement whereby you can post original blogs on each other’s websites. 

7. Measure the Performance of Your Content Marketing Strategy

The great thing about digital marketing is that you can measure the performance of your campaign. Find out how your content marketing strategy is performing. 

  • Which blogs or articles account for the longest time spent on your website?
  • Which types of content are generating the highest levels of engagement and sharing?
  • Which types of content have the highest number of “likes”?
  • Where do your followers come from?
  • How do they access your content?

Website analytics will give you all the data you need to assess the performance of your content marketing strategy. Social media networks have analytics that you can use to get data on the types of content you have shared. 

By reviewing the numbers on your content marketing campaign, you can pinpoint the flaws, correct them, and strengthen your strategy to get the desired results.

Conclusion

If we got you excited about starting a content marketing campaign, it’s time to slow down a bit and understand one thing:

Content marketing takes time to get results. 

A person who reads your blog may enjoy what he has read but it doesn’t mean he will automatically follow you or sign up for your newsletter. 

Consistency is the key. 

Content is king – but you have to produce consistently great blogs, articles, videos, and other forms of content to get people to become your regular audience. 

As an entrepreneur, your time is best spent on your business. Leave your content marketing needs to us! Give us a call or drop an email. We will get you started on a content marketing strategy that will get you the results you want.

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community.

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If the Home Page of your website answers the “why” of your business, then the About Us page tells customers the “who” of your business. 

The Home Page is where your customers will find the company’s BVP or Brand Value Proposition – a short statement that tells them within 6 seconds why they should choose your business over the competition. 

For this reason, businesses tend to focus more on the Home Page than the other pages of their website. After all, it is the landing page of your website. Once you click on a URL, you will end up on the Home Page. 

The About Us page is often designed as an after-thought. 

Check out a few websites at random and visit the About Us pages. Most entrepreneurs and top-level executives view the About Us page as a resume on a website. 

All you read are their academic achievements, positions they’ve held in previous companies, the number of businesses they own, and awards won in the industry. 

Sure that looks good on paper – but how will a resume of your accomplishments convince your website visitor that your business has the solutions to his problems? 

At Mountaintop, we have a unique approach to designing the About Us page of our clients. 

Instead of creating a design that shows “who” the business is, our approach is to highlight the “why”:

Why you are the best person to handle the customer’s problems, concerns, and needs.

Thus, instead of designing an About Us page about you, we create one for the most important people in your business.

Your customers. 

Why Is The About Us Page Important?

According to a 2015 study, 52% of website visitors click on the About Us page. 

Why is this so? Shouldn’t prospective clients click on the Services page to find out your pricing?

Put it this way, if you were at a networking event, would you sign up for the services of a business owner after exchanging “Hellos”?

Chances are, you would use the event as an opportunity to learn more about the business owner:

  • Why did he get into this type of business?
  • What experiences in life motivated him to start the company?
  • What is his approach to managing clients?
  • Do we share common values? 
  • What is his vision for the company?

In short, what is his story? 

A purposeful About Us page can create an immediate strong connection with the site visitor if he sees that the story of the company is actually the story of the customer achieving their goals – The company needs to invite them into their story. You share a similar story. 

He reads your About Us page and he thinks to himself, “This guy – gets it!” 

It gives assurances and confidence that yours is the right business for the job!

How To Write An About Us Page That Gets Customers

Finding the right client or customer isn’t just about your skills, educational attainment, and years of experience.

Customers want to know if you are someone they can relate to. This means sharing experiences – stories – that resonate with the site visitor. 

But it comes down to your story – why your experiences, knowledge, and history make you the best, right-fit choice for the customer.

You have to establish that connection – and the About Us page is an effective way to get it done!

Here are 5 tips on how to write an About Us page that gets customers excited about your business.

1. Tell Your Story 

Everybody loves a good story. Especially those that trigger emotional cues with the reader. 

If you’re a business consultant for small and medium scale enterprises, share your stories of struggle. 

Let them know your humble beginnings – how you overcame failure and the lessons you learned that motivated you to become a business consultant. 

Small and medium-scale business owners will relate because they are probably in that situation right now. Your story will give them hope and the assurance that it’s possible to overcome failure and find success. 

How?

If inspired, they might click on your call-to-action and connect with you right away!

2. Write With the Customer In Mind

Core values… mission vision… our purpose…

These are all great. It’s nice to let the customers know you place high regard on your core values and that the business has direction and pre-defined objectives. 

But they will not convince the customer to patronize your business. 

The customer wants to know how you can help them by understanding why you are the most qualified person to handle the job.

When writing the About Us page, keep the customer in mind:

  • What are his persistent problems and pain points?
  • Which of my products or services are best suited to resolve these problems?
  • What issues are my customers interested in?
  • What types of solutions are my customers looking for?
  • Where do my customers come from?
  • How is the customer dealing with the problem right now?
  • Which of my experiences can my customers strongly relate to?

Let’s go back to our example of a Business Consultant who is creating an About Us page on his business.

A good example that would resonate with the readers would read like this:

“As a lifelong entrepreneur, I understand the challenges you face.

My first business venture failed – I lost $10,000. I thought I had learned my lesson, but my second business venture lost $100,000. 

Failure is part of life as an entrepreneur. But instead of being fearful of failure, embrace it – and learn from it.

My third business venture? We’re in our 10th year and going strong!

Let me show you how to overcome failure and succeed!”

This type of About Us content combines #1 – Tell Your Story –  with #2, Write For Your Customer.

Don’t you think the About Us copy will get the customer excited about doing business with you?

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3. Compel the Reader to Act

Now that you’ve gotten the reader interested, what do you want him to do? 

  • “Go to our services page – right now?”
  • “Give us a call or an email and we’ll get on it right away!”
  • “Click the ‘Get Started’ button – and let’s get started!”

Your website presents a great opportunity to get clients for your business. If your About Us page is spot on, the customer may not want to waste a single second and sign up with you immediately. 

Make the process easier by adding a CTA button on the About Us page. If you noticed, we ended the CTA with a strong sense of urgency. Don’t be shy about your intentions. Let the customer know what you want him to do – right now!

4. Converse – Don’t Lecture

What would you think if the person you are talking to at the networking event kept framing his sentences as:

  • “You should have done this…”
  • “You should have done that…”
  • “If I was in your position, I would have…”
  • “You shouldn’t have done that…”
  • “I wouldn’t have done that. Instead, I would have…”

You should also avoid using technical jargon or terms that may not be understood by the reader.

For example, if you provide online forex trading services, don’t try to impress the reader by writing in this manner:

“In 2005, I was able to capture the failed fifth of the move from 38 to 43 and retraced the 61.8% Fibonacci ratio which covered the move from 43 to 41. This allowed me to enter a buying position at 39.22 which terminated at the conclusion of the truncated fifth wave.”

“What? You lost me at ‘2005’!”

Write in your own voice. Don’t try to impress by getting technical. Instead, write in simplified terms.

How would you converse with your customer if you met him for the first time? 

Even if the reader hasn’t met you, being authentic allows them to hear your voice through your content.

5. Add Great Images

So you’ve written a great About Us copy that shows customers who you are. It doesn’t end there. To know you is to see you. Customers want to see who you are. 

Having a nice picture of you on the About Us page adds a face to your business. If you believe that you are your business and your business is you, then it only makes sense to add a nice picture of you on the About Us page. 

Conclusion

The About Us page can add plenty of muscle to your website. Don’t ignore it. A well-conceptualized, well thought out, and purposeful About Us page can effectively entice the visitor to strongly consider your business. 

If our article made you re-think your current About Us page, give us a call or an email. Let’s work on it right away!

And if you enjoyed reading this article, feel free to share it with your community!

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Once considered an “outdated” form of marketing, email continues to prove itself time and time again as an effective and reliable channel. Email marketing can help businesses acquire 40 times more customers than social media. A B2B audience, in particular, ranks email as the third most influential resource of information after thought leaders and colleague word-of-mouth.

This is why consistent investment into email content should be standard for a well-rounded digital marketing strategy. Newsletters are one of the simplest ways to keep your brand on subscribers’ radars and continuously build stronger engagement.

What constitutes a newsletter? A newsletter is an email sent (most likely at a regular schedule) informing subscribers of relevant business updates. Content varies from customer-focused information such as activity reminders or new product releases to business-focused brand news.

Here are five elements to pay attention to when constructing a perfect newsletter.

1. First Impressions

Due to the importance of high open rates, first impressions are extremely important in email marketing. Open rates are the percentage of emails opened in comparison to the total volume you’ve sent. It’s a standard benchmark to measure and it affects campaign performance—after all, subscribers who don’t open what you send can’t engage with the content in your newsletters.

This is why to hit or move beyond the average email open rate of 17.92%, you need to pay attention to:

  • The email address you send campaigns from

Misrepresenting who you are by listing a vague email address risks having your mail sorted into the spam folder by email providers. This may be a violation of the FTC’s CAN-SPAM Act, which requires you to clearly state who you are in your emails. 

  • The text preview, or header and first few lines

Some browser extensions provide a snapshot preview of the contents of an email when they arrive. Take extra care in writing the first few lines or choosing the first image.

  • The short phrase in your subject line

Subject lines are best kept short, clear, and inviting. The average recommended length is 35-50 characters—any more than this and email providers clip them short.

2. Copy

Which would you rather read from start to finish? A message that looks like it was copied and pasted and mass sent to everyone or something that uses your first name and looks crafted to appeal to your interests?

Personalization is the name of the game when it comes to the written content of your emails. 60% of marketers say data that provides contextual signals like location or weather is highly effective. Plus, personalization can improve conversion rates by 6%. Create different options for different customers, with newsletter content that varies according to the interests of each list segment.

In addition to the types of content you send, mind your writing style. Using online communication means you have to write for the web. That means:

  • Shorter paragraphs and sentences
  • Minimal jargon
  • Focus on a single audience per newsletter
  • Aim for a single goal to minimize distractions.

3. Layout

More than half of all emails are now opened on a mobile device, so the first thing to consider when laying out content is whether it’ll look good when read via smartphone. After that, you want to structure emails to present a natural flow of information, with images and text complementing each other to eventually lead towards a call-to-action.

Here are three email design layouts you can use.

  • One column – A simple layout designed to work on both desktop and mobile, only coded to be mobile-first. They usually adapt and scale, and contain bite-sized information to help users navigate easier.
  • Inverted pyramid – Begin with a large, engaging image. Follow it up with a value proposition that clearly communicates the benefits of reading, insert the rest of your content, and end with your CTA.
  • Zigzag – An angular design grid using color-blocking and tilted imagery acts as a guide pushing the reader towards the end of the email.

Source: Campaign Monitor

4. Images

Go big or go home? It isn’t that simple. With changes in screen width, diversification of devices and resolutions, and consumer browsing habits, finding the ideal image size isn’t as straightforward as before. While desktop and laptop resolutions have become larger and sharper, more emails are being opened on smaller mobile devices. Responsiveness is key.

A safe size for your larger images, though? The best width for your newsletter images is still 600px wide, making the legacy of Microsoft Outlook live on. However, you can go wider if you keep central visual elements in the middle and use the rest of the space for the background instead.

When choosing content to accompany each part of your newsletter content, such as company updates or product recommendations, think of social proof and lifestyle. You want your audience to see themselves in your content, not alienate them. For example, if subscribers are older, you won’t want to use images with teenagers or a different age demographic.

5. Calls to Action

A good call to action button improves click-through rates and assists in conversions. And yes, they aren’t just links included within your email body, they’re individual buttons positioned right where your reader can see them.

Call to action buttons normally don’t have much variation, but there’s a good reason for that. These buttons are already an established bit of web design and automatically register in viewers’ minds as clickable, so deviating from that consistency will cause confusion. What you need to do is make sure the text on them is clear and actionable, that they’re visible on the page, and that they look inviting.

You can place them near the end of your newsletter or beside each segment of content referring to it, such as in the case of news collections and product catalogs. You need at least one—or else, why are you sending newsletters at all?

Final Thoughts

Newsletters are simpler in scope than emails built to support a special campaign. However, invest the right amount of thought into their design and you can build lasting relationships with your subscribers—eventually converting them into fully paying customers.

Author Bio

Ash Salleh is the Director of SEO at Campaign Monitor, where he works closely with content, copy, and analytics teams to improve site-wide optimization. Prior to his time at Campaign Monitor, he also provided SEO and digital marketing expertise at Zappos and Axiata Digital.

While many employees spend their free time daydreaming of becoming financially independent, the entrepreneur is working to make the dream a reality. That is why entrepreneurs are risk-takers by nature.

Entrepreneurs are willing to take that all-important first step of breaking free from the chains of the 9-to-5 grind and take command of their of their own destiny. Instead of driving someone else’s business, they go behind the wheel and follow the course they have charted for their own business success.

Yet, sometimes these very same attributes – ambition, drive, and dedication – can become an entrepreneur’s own worst enemies.

They end up taking on too many tasks most of which are administrative in nature. As a result, a big chunk of their waking hours are spent – rather, wasted – attending to functions that have no direct contribution to their bottom line.

The workday becomes unproductive. The essential tasks or the core functions of the business are left unattended. Goals are not met. Business targets become farther away today compared to yesterday.

By taking on non-essential tasks, the entrepreneur ends up working for his/her business instead of on his/her business. Ironically, the entrepreneur has become an employee of his/her own business.

Is there a way or a process the entrepreneur can use so he/she can focus on the main functions of the business without overlooking the administrative tasks?

The Solution: Outsource Tasks And/Or Services!

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Would you rather spend 2 hours filtering your Inbox or working on a client’s project?
  • Would you like it if your phone keeps ringing every 30 minutes while you are working on your client’s project?
  • Would it be okay with you if the Internet provider cut its service because you unwittingly forgot to pay the latest invoice?

If you answered “No” to these questions, it is time for you to consider outsourcing tasks of your business.

Outsourcing is the process of delegating or transferring predetermined tasks or functions to a third-party service provider.

You can read more about the benefits of outsourcing in our article “How Outsourcing Tasks Can Save You Tons Of Money – And Build Your Business”. In the article, we presented an accounting of how much money you can save through outsourcing.

Essentially, outsourcing is the ideal strategy for entrepreneurs, especially those in the start-up stage, because it is a low-cost, high-value solution. From the article, you will come to understand that with outsourcing, costs are easily managed.

Outsourcing will present you with options that you can use to stretch your finances without compromising the quality of goods and services.

FTE Vs. Outsourced Talent: Which Is The Better Option?

Cost savings are possible because you are taking advantage of comparative advantages that are generated by outsourcing foremost of which is labor.

With outsourcing, you are not hiring full-time employees or FTEs. Instead, you are contracting the services of qualified people or agencies. This distinction between FTE and contracted services is very important!

Let’s compare the FTE and the outsourced talent:

Particulars:FTE:Outsourced Talent:
Rate/Hour (Minimum)$18$8
Work Hours/Day8Flexible
Work Days/Week5 to 6Flexible
Paid Benefits:YesNo
Total Cost:$27/hour$8

As you can see, flexibility is the key differentiator between an outsourced talent and an FTE. When you contract services, you are not obligated by law to pay a minimum wage or designate the mandated work hours per week.

This makes it possible to be more financially flexible with the outsourced talent compared to hiring an FTE.

Here are some real-world examples:

  • Contract the services of a virtual assistant who can manage your administrative tasks 10 hours a week.
  • Outsource content writing services and pay the outsourced talent on a per word or per productive hour basis.
  • Outsource web development/management services to Mountaintop Web Design and pay fixed charges on a monthly basis.

By agreeing on the conditions for payment, you are assured of higher productivity and better quality of work.

According to a study that was presented by productivity coach Steve Pavlina, the average American office worker only puts in 90 minutes of productive work every day.

That is 90 minutes out of 480 total work minutes every day or a productivity rating of only 19%! Yet, America remains the strongest economy in the world.

What happened to the remaining 390 minutes? According to Pavlina, those hours are spent surfing the Internet, taking extended water cooler/coffee breaks,  napping, checking their cell phones, and reading the news.

Guess what? Those hours are paid. This means every time an FTE chit-chats with a another FTE about the latest Netflix movie, you are paying for those minutes.

By outsourcing, you are also increasing your level of productivity because now you can place greater focus on the main enterprise of your business.

A study presented by the Harvard Business Review showed that at most, people can only maintain 100% focus on a given task for 90 minutes. After completing the task, you have to rest the mind for at least 10 minutes.

Assuming an 8-hour work schedule, this means that by outsourcing tasks, you can target 4 to 5 tasks to accomplish every day. That is 360 minutes out of 480 minutes per day or a productivity rating of 75%!

In contrast, a fully-paid FTE who can tender only 90 minutes of productive time per day will possibly only accomplish 1 task per day.

Which Tasks Should You Outsource?

Hopefully, at this point, we have convinced you of how outsourcing can build your business. The question we will answer in this section is which tasks you should outsource.

In the future, we will present a more detailed and comprehensive article on how to take a strategic approach to outsourcing that can scale up your business. For now, we will show you how to identify the tasks that you should outsource in order to streamline costs and increase productivity.

You will need to answer these questions:

  • Which tasks are non-essential or not directly related to my business’ main enterprise?
  • Which tasks will require a higher level of expertise and greater experience?
  • Which tasks are repetitive in nature?
  • Which tasks do I have the tendency to overlook or forget?
  • Which tasks do I greatly dislike doing?

From there, you will probably come up with the same or similar tasks that we have outlined below:

1. Administrative Tasks

For many entrepreneurs, administrative tasks are the necessary evils of running a business. These tasks are categorized as non-essentials, meaning they are not directly related to your business’ main enterprise. However, they play an essential role because administrative tasks keep your business organized and running.

Examples of administrative tasks that you should outsource:

  • E-mail Filtering
  • Calendar Management
  • Appointment Setting
  • Phone Handling
  • Preparing Reports
  • Limited Research
  • Database or CRM Management
  • Bookings and Reservations
  • Preparation of Limited Communication

2. Technical/Specialized Skills

Your business may need to introduce new products and services that require greater skill, a higher level of expertise, and longer tenure. These are skills that you cannot become proficient at simply by watching YouTube videos or reading a “For Dummies” instructional. Otherwise, the quality of work will suffer.

Examples of technical/specialized skills that you should outsource:

  • Website Design/Management
  • Digital Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Content Writing
  • Graphic Design
  • Software App Development
  • Transcription Services
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3. Customer Support Services

Many businesses stunt their growth because they are only focused on new market development. In so doing, they neglect their current market base or end users of their products or services.

Don’t forget your current end users. They are already your customers. The cost of maintaining them is lower than creating new markets for your products and services. And the returns are much higher because your current end users already made the decision to choose you over the competition.

Having great customer service assures your existing end users that their needs and concerns are always met and addressed right away.

Examples of Customer Support Services that you should outsource:

  • Inbound Phone Support
  • Technical Support Services
  • Email Support
  • After-Sales Surveys or Outbound Call Support
  • Chat Support
  • Content Moderation Services

4. Back-Office Functions

It’s called the back-office because the people who work here are not seen but otherwise play a valuable role in running your business. You can outsource these tasks to qualified third-party service providers and still get great results.

Examples of back-office functions that you should outsource:

  • General Accounting
  • Payroll Preparation
  • Employee Benefits Administration
  • Human Resources Management – Recruitment, interviews, testing, evaluation, and selection

Conclusion

To better understand the value of outsourcing, let’s delve into the mind of the entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs or to be more specific, small to medium scale business owners, are limited by their resources. Even the most successful ones do not have the benefit of liquidity compared to large scale businesses. This is, of course, part of the growth process.

As a small business owner, the immediate challenge is to maintain liquidity before achieving profitability. Effective cash flow management is very important. Thus, an entrepreneur strives to keep operations as lean as possible.

Instead of hiring employees to help him/her run the show, they take on most, if not all of the tasks of the business.

Ask any entrepreneur and they will tell there is nothing they can’t do. Like a superhero, an entrepreneur will take on any challenge and believe they can win it. The reality is, victories are only short-term.

Over the long-run, the number of unproductive workdays has accumulated to a point that the business starts to suffer.

Your best option is to outsource specific tasks or functions. Not only will outsourcing services greatly reduce the costs of running a business but the strategy will help you increase productivity without compromising the quality of work.

If you enjoyed this article and know people who would greatly benefit from it, please feel free to share!

And if you would like to know how Mountaintop can help you get started on your own outsourcing solution, please do not hesitate to give us a call. You can consult with us for 30 minutes free of charge.

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“To err is human; to forgive divine”

That wonderful and enduring quote is from “The Essay on Criticism”, a satirical work authored by 18th Century English Poet, Alexander Pope.

You’ve probably come across this quote a number of times. Its meaning is pretty much cut and dry.

Everyone makes mistakes. Thus, people who forgive those who make mistakes are acting in a divine or god-like manner.

In content writing, mistakes do happen. Even if you run your content through the latest spelling and grammar checking software, there remains the slight possibility of a mistake or mistakes getting through. After all, software programs are man-made.

For sure, even your favorite writers have had their fair share of content writing mistakes.

However, just because mistakes are part and parcel of content writing, does not mean that you should allow them to happen.

Unlike the real world, the people who patronize the Internet may not be as forgiving. Sometimes it only takes one mistake to sink the entire content writing ship.

Here are 9 content writing mistakes that happen even to the best writers out there.

1. Powering Past Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is a very real thing. The last thing you should do as a content writer is to deny its existence. Because once you get Writer’s Block, the entire creative process will come to a standstill. You may find yourself staring at a blank screen for hours, maybe even for days or weeks.

The best bloggers on the Internet get Writer’s Block. In content marketing, long-form blogs – those that exceed 1,900 words, generate great results. In addition to writing extensive blogs, these writers try to publish 16 blogs per month in order to drive more traffic to their websites.

With such a punishing writing schedule, ultimately the blogger will burn out. Content writing is more than just writing. There are different types of research involved – market, industry, marketing, and keyword to name a few.

All told it may take as little as 4 hours and as much as 2-3 days depending on the topic to write a well-written, accurately-researched 1,900-word blog.

Therefore, if you are experiencing Writer’s Block, you may be exhausted. The best remedy is to simply back off.

Rest. Relax. Regroup.

Don’t try to power past Writer’s Block. You will only increase the chance of producing substandard content.

When your mind has become fully relaxed, the well of ideas will be filled up with creativity and you will be able to write freely and effortlessly again.

2. Carelessness When Editing Your Content

In November 2018, Tiger Woods made his first hole-in-one in more than 20 years. That’s The Tiger Woods, the winner of 14 Majors and 80 PGA titles. If the world’s greatest golfer cannot hit the ball straight into the cup in his first swing, what makes you think you can get your content right the first time?

Creating compelling content is not about perfection. It is about presenting a finished product that will be enjoyed by your readers. Don’t take editing for granted. Just because it feels right does not mean it reads right.

You can always find ways to make your content better.

When you are tired, it becomes harder to process the way your content is currently written. The best thing to do is to simply save the file and review it the following day.

It could be how certain statements are phrased. Perhaps some sentences and paragraphs are too long. You’ll be surprised that by switching paragraphs or sentences around, the context becomes clearer.

The difference between today’s version and yesterday’s draft will be like night and day.

3. Failure to Run Your Contact Through Proofreading

Coming across a misspelled word or errors in grammar is like finding hair in your soup at a fine dining restaurant.

Chances are you will never come back. The same could be said about your readers. These types of mistakes can spoil the entire experience. Worse, it will reflect on your approach to writing.

Your readers will think you are irresponsible, negligent, and sloppy. It will also send the message that you don’t care about your readers.

Here are 3 tips on how to proofread your content:

  • Review your content frequently. You can do this after every completed section, page, or before you save the file.
  • Ask a friend or associate who has writing or editing experience to review your content.
  • Run your content through a spelling and grammar checker software program.

There are no limits on the number of times you want to review your content. As a rule-of-thumb, keep reviewing until you are 100% confident that there are no errors in spelling and grammar.

4. Lackadaisical Approach to Research

For content to have value for your readers, it must be relevant, useful, and informative. If you do not perform accurate research, your content may give erroneous and outdated information to your readers. It will neither be relevant, useful or informative.

Research is the substance of your content. Without accurate data, your content will have less meaning and value. The reader will not be able to derive any information that will address his/her needs or concerns.

One reason why some writers overlook the value of research is because they regard themselves as experts in the field. They know everything.

If you were writing for a financial publication, how would you know whether to recommend a “buy” or a “sell” of a particular stock if you are not updated in trends, industry developments, and company information?

Publishing content carries with it a sense of responsibility. You should be confident about the quality of your content before posting it on the Internet.

5. Failure to Validate Statistics, Facts, and Figures

For those who do research, it is important to validate statistics, facts, and figures before using them as information in your content. Otherwise, its value will diminish and lose relevance.

First, try to make it a point to use the latest data available because trends can change within a period of time. When doing a search, always include the year in your query.

For example, instead of just writing “number of businesses with websites” on the search query box, you should write “number of businesses with websites 2019”.

If data for 2019 is not available, the search engine will get you the latest data it can find.

Second, use only reliable websites as sources of information. For example, when writing topics about business, websites such as Forbes, Bloomberg, and Reuters are great sources of information.

Finally, always cite the reference in your content. A simple hyperlink will be enough to show the reader that you did not pluck the numbers out of thin air.

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6. Winging It – Writing With No Outline

The outline serves as your guide for organizing the information in your content. It adds structure to your writing, makes the process flow smoother, and the sessions more productive.

An outline sets up the framework of your content. In its most simplistic form, an outline will have an introduction, the body, and a conclusion. You can use bullet points to summarize the key details under each section.

There are no clearly defined rules on how to use an outline. You do not have to start the process by writing the introduction.

For example, when writing a list-type or “How To” articles, you can start with the body of the blog. By attacking the “meat and potatoes” of your content first, you will develop a better idea on how to go about writing the introduction and conclusion of your article.

7. Putting Greater Emphasis on Quantity of Writing

A 2016 study by the Content Marketing Institute showed that marketers considered blogging as the fourth most effective vehicle for delivering content. For this reason, 42% of marketers try to put out multiple blogs every week.

As mentioned earlier, long-form blogs have been proven to deliver the best results for brand-building, lead generation, and search ranking purposes. However, writing long-form blogs too frequently will wear you out. In time, the quality of your work will suffer.

It is nice to set targets for your blogging schedule but if the trade-off will be a high percentage of poor quality blogs, the effort will not be worth it. You will be better off following a writing schedule that you can comfortably accommodate.

8. Writing For Oneself Instead of the Audience

If there is a “Golden Rule” for content writing, it would be this:

Always write with your audience in mind.

  • What are their needs?
  • What are their concerns?
  • What issues are important to them now?
  • How can I apply my experience and expertise to help my audience find the answers they need?
  • What is the best and most effective way to present my content to them?

The biggest mistake a writer can make is to write for himself/herself.

From our experience, the business owner does the content writing for his/her website. They believe that as experts in their field, they are the most qualified people to write about the subject.

That is true. However, writing about the subject and articulating its meaning to the reader are 2 different things.

Business owners tend to become too technical when they write. It is understandable because for them technical jargon is part of their natural way of communicating with others in the industry.

Your audience is different. Many are not as well-versed as you on the topic. That is why they are on your website. They want to learn from you; your experience and expertise.

You will have to write in a language that can easily be understood while keeping the overall value of the content untouched.

9. Using Pronouns to Leave the Reader Hanging

Pronouns are part of writing. However, there are writers who tend to abuse pronouns and end up leaving the reader hanging.

What do we mean? Here are a few examples of “hanging pronouns”:

  • This could be bad – What could be bad?
  • These should be discontinued – What should be discontinued?
  • Those are wrong for you – What are wrong for me?
  • That was not necessary – What was not necessary?

Don’t assume that the reader can infer the meaning from the context. Again, write with the audience in mind and make sure reading your content is a pleasurable experience.

A few tweaks in the writing will make the pronouns come to life:

  • This latest development on the scandal can be bad.
  • These medications should be discontinued.
  • Those running shoes are wrong for you.
  • That final remark was not necessary.

Conclusion

Writing is one of the first skills we learn growing up. As soon as we can hold a pencil in our hands, writing is one of the most natural things we can do.

Internet-based content is not your ordinary type of content writing. There is more to the process than just putting together facts, other forms of information, and make sure these are presented without glaring errors in spelling and grammar.

On the Internet, where 4 Billion people are searching for valuable information from across more than 2 Billion websites, your primary objective is for your content to be found by its target audience. This means your content must be optimized for the Internet.

Thus, in addition to the mistakes that you have to avoid, you should also factor in SEO in content writing.

Optimizing content adds a new dynamic to the process:

  • You have to conduct keyword research.
  • You have to consider the optimum keyword density in your content.
  • Keywords have to be strategically embedded in your content.

You have to be mindful of your content’s ease of reading for your audience. Did you notice our paragraphs contain no more than 3-4 sentences? Did you also notice that our sentences run fewer than 40 words?  These techniques will help make your content more readable.

Even if you are a seasoned writer, your time is best allocated to running the core functions of your business.

Your best option would be to outsource content writing to qualified third parties like us. Our articles have been selected as among the best in the business by UpCity.

Content is king and content marketing delivers results. If you want to know how our content writing can help your business achieve its goals for 2019, please feel free to give us a call or an email.

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