Category Archives: Blogging

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Facts about Content Marketing That Every Business Owner Should Know

J.R. Atkins content marketingContent marketing grows in popularity with each year. But what is it, a working technology or another trend that will soon come to naught? To competently answer this question, let’s dig deeper along with Lucy Adams.

Let’s face it: content marketing is not suitable for everyone and requires time (up to a few years!) to give results. Like any other trend, content marketing is surrounded by myths and omissions. To confidently decide whether to invest in this tool, let’s consider the facts that we already know about content marketing.

#1 Content Marketing Strategy Should Be Documented

According to Content Marketing Institute, about 42% of companies in b2b operate according to the pre-written content strategy.

On average, successful companies use 15 tools while inefficient – no more than 10. Successful companies allocate about 40% of their budget on content marketing while inefficient – about 15%.

#2 Content Director Will Soon Become One of the Most Demanding Professions in Marketing

More and more top managers will treat content marketing as a necessary tool requiring marketing costs. This means that companies will need not only favorable climate and corporate culture but also responsible managers to create and implement content strategies. Companies that do not assign responsibility for the creation and distribution of content to special people or units will lose the battle!

#3 Content Marketing Attracts More Customers at a Lower Cost

According to polls, in about 60% of cases, content marketing increases both the quantity and quality of incoming potential customers. Moreover, the price per 1 client reduces by 38%! In other words, good content marketing has a tangible commercial effect, increasing the flow of customers and reducing the price of a single lead.

J.R. Atkins contenet marketing model#4 Large Information Articles, Videos, and White Papers Have the Greatest Return on Investment from All Content Marketing Tools

According to a study conducted by copypress.com, the three greatest tools in terms of ROI are feature articles, video materials, and white papers (manuals, reviews, and mini-books that help to choose this or that product or solution).

In conditions of time and budget shortage, you can start your content marketing strategy with posting the materials that give the maximum effect and require minimum efforts. Most likely, employees of your company must have valuable experience to share. Start with it.

You can never know which article will become viral and cause noise. Often the material that takes a week goes unnoticed, and vice versa. That’s why you should prepare at least a dozen of different publications to test the interest of the audience.

#5 Your Subscriber Base Is Your Main Asset

Remember that you can’t make the first impression twice! Be sure to provide visitors with valuable information from the very first try. As soon as you get emails, things will go easier.

There are many pieces of evidence of the effectiveness of proper email marketing. According to icontact.com, those customers who received emailing spend 83% more money on online purchases and make purchases 28% more often. Every dollar invested in email marketing receives the return of $44!

#6 Adjusting the Content Strategy to the Sales Funnel Increases the Conversion

According to Aberdeen Group, adjusting the content strategy to the sales funnel increases the conversion by 73%. Almost all successful companies have internal databases containing articles, presentations, reviews, cases, videos, interviews, checklists, recommendations, etc. along with instructions for managers. It is called lead nurturing.

Prepare useful and interesting materials for clients, which will help them to understand your opportunities and advantages better. Teach sales managers to use these materials, taking into account the degree of customers’ readiness for making a purchase.

#7 People Won’t Read Everything You Wrote

According to Nielsen, only about 25% of the text is covered by an average visitor while 17% of visitors spend less than 4 seconds per page (apparently, these are those who immediately realized that they are in the wrong place).

First of all, make the visitor sure that he will find what he’s looking for. Secondly, make the page convenient for quick scanning, the so-called diagonal reading. Thirdly, provide bright, contrasting and understandable calls to action: these buttons must vividly stand out in the background of the page!

J.R. Atkins email marketing content#8 Content Marketing is not Suitable for Everyone

It requires transparency, both in relation to customers and within the organization. One of the main tasks of content marketing is to get the trust of the market. Customers want to work with competent, enthusiastic, afflicted people who won’t quit in a difficult situation.

#9 You Must Have Your Own Content Marketing Platform

Make sure that you post materials on the platform created for your tasks and that you completely control. All the other platforms are the leased territory. They can disappear one day, and you will not do anything about it. Although you need links, you must have your personal platform!

Given the excessive attention to social networks, there is another danger: your competitors can target advertising exclusively to the communities that you lead in social networks, thereby taking away your potential customers.

When it comes to monetizing contacts and customer bases, one targeted subscriber from an emailing base brings the same amount of money as about 15 followers in social networks. That is, the point is to focus on collecting a base of loyal subscribers, considering the audience in social networks as a useful addition to it.

#10 Content Marketing is about a Team, not a Single Person

Depending on your tasks and scales, you will need a person or team that will embody your content marketing strategy. Where can you get a good content marketer? Well, it’s all about your budget. One of the options is to find the best you can afford and train it.

If you can afford only one specialist, must have the skills of writing, editing, getting information from your employees and authoritative sources, as well as preparing the full range of marketing materials, from blog posts to emailing and brochures that sales managers will send out to potential customers.

If your budget is small, don’t worry. Just as morning exercises are beneficial to the body, even one strong article in a couple of weeks can be of great importance if such articles are regularly issued!

 

Guest Blogger:

Lucy Adams is a blogger and buzzessay writer. She’s interested in education, writing, books, and a few more niches. Simply put, Lucy is a generalist who’s able to bring to life a huge variety of ideas. Feel free to share your suggestions; be sure, you’ll get a grounded response to your each and every request.


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9 Ways to Validate Your Startup Ideas

Having your own business might be something that you envisioned for a long time. Now that you have an idea on what business to pursue, should you jump in right away and get started? No matter how excited you are and how good you think that idea is, it’s still best to pause and validate if your business idea.

Validating your startup idea doesn’t necessarily eliminate the risk of failure. However, this will tell you if it has a bigger chance of succeeding. Plus, it will help determine if you are on the right track when it comes to your plans.

One of the things to ask yourself is what problem you are trying to solve or eliminate? Your product or service must be useful for your target audience. It should be the solution for their specific issues or it must make their lives easier.

Know your market. Decide on which group of consumers you will be focusing on. Do your research to find out about their needs, wants, and expectations and see if your idea meets them.

There are more ways on how to validate your idea for a startup business. We compiled them in an infographic to make the process more convenient for you. Find out if your idea is something that is worth pursuing or not with our gorgeous and informative illustration below:

9 Ways to Validate Your Startup Ideas

Guest Blogger: Scott D. is with Start Blogging online: www.startbloggingonline.com

 


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Social Media Webinar @Rio Texas Conference of UMC

The Rio Texas Conference has hosted several webinars since February 2016. On April 30, 2016, Rev. Will Rice hosted a social media webinar with J.R. Atkins, author of Social Media 2.0.

 


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2015 SXSWi Recap by J.R. Atkins

Some of my friends and clients ask what the big deal is with South by Southwest Interactive or SXSWi. In short; ideas, technology and trends are introduced there that affect our lives and business. Technology such as Twitter (2006), Square (2009), Foursquare (2009), Uber (2009), Pinterest (2010), iPad2 (2011),  Microsoft Surface (2012), Google Glass (2012), Pebble Smart Watch (2013), Oculus Rift Virtual Reality head gear (2014) and see more historic trends at 22 Years of SXSWi.

At the 2015 SXSWi Festival I noticed the following 5 tech trends worth noting.

  1. New social Media App – MeerKat – Spontaneous video via Twitter
  2. Health Tech – Mobile App: Measure by Phillips Healthcare
  3. 4k TV – Samsung – 2X the Pixels
  4. International Flair – It’s a global event – Krista Hendriks, Utrecht Area, Netherlands
  5. com – It’s like UBER for overnight dog care

Please let me know if you find any of this interesting or beneficial to you or your business.

  1. MeerKat: http://meerkatapp.co

MeerKat is a new app that allows users to easily live stream video from their cell phonesJ.R> Atkins uses MeerKat via their Twitter accounts. You can “Schedule” a video and your MeerKat followers will get a notification of when you are about to begin. Or, you can create a live “stream” in the moment for those who are watching. Like Twitter, MeerKat video can be seen by anyone. It’s similar to a Google Hangout or Skype video call but much easier. Just download the app, sign in with twitter and click on “schedule” or “stream” and you’re ready to broadcast. The idea is making use of our desire to have a spontaneous connection.

Related story by David Gilbert of the International Business Times.

  1. Measure: in beta test

Nike Fit bit bits the dustPhillips Healthcare is building an online portal that will allow you to feed your data from non-Phillips devices such as a Fitbit, Moves App, Misfit Flash and Phillips devices such as Blood Pressure Cuff. Even the data from my Nike Plus (no longer supported by Nike) can be uploaded to the portal.

Moves App used by J.R> AtkinsPrior to this portal, each App or fitness solution had a separate place to store and view data. With the Phillips Measure platform, you could, in theory, import health measurement data.

During my visit, I was able to meet the developers, debug some code and gain some keen insight into the future of Individual Healthcare Monitoring. A person to follow is Hans Notenboom, Global Head of Digital at Philips Healthcare based in the Netherlands.

  1. Samsung Curved 4k TV: http://www.samsung.com/us/video/tvs

Samsung 4k curved TVI first heard of 4k in early 2014 from one of my videographer friends and I was think, “I’m just getting use to HD.” 4k means 4000 pixels vs HD which is 2000 pixels. So 4k is 2X. A 4k TV will have a resolution of at least 3840 x 2160.

Samsung took over a restaurant in Austin and turned it into an “experience” with fresh juices, snacks, a big video wall made of Samsun Tablets, a virtual reality experience and a blogger lounge.

The curved, 4k TVs were the big thing for me. Unlike the past, you don’t have to wait for the Cable and local TV stations to upgrade to 4k. YouTube, Netflix and Hulu are already broadcasting shows in 4k. So now that a 60” HD TV at Walmart id $600 or less, get ready to upgrade to 4k for $2500.

 

  1. International Flair

Meet Krista from the NetherlandsWhile having lunch at a sidewalk café in Austin, I met Krista Hendriks who was in town from the Netherlands to give a presentation on “Cuddly Drones” a project exploring the emerging surveillance culture, exploring the democratization of surveillance tools and how do teach children to critically explore this drone-filled future? Yea, you can meet people anywhere, but at SXSWi there is an instant level of trust and interest around how technology is affecting our lives.

Technology is bringing our world closer together and SXSWi is helping. Check out her profile on LinkedIn.

  1. com: www.Rover.com

J.R. Atkins uses Rover.comMy dog, Forte, travels frequently with me and he went to Austin to see the sights and keep me stress-free. Yet, I needed an overnight dog sitter so my wife and I could party on Saturday night. In steps Rover.com, an Uber like solution to help you connect with home based dog sitters. Download the app and in just a few minutes you are connecting with locals who can keep your pet overnight for about ½ the price of a Vet or animal boarding service. Send a message, confirm, and set up the drop-off and pick-up time. Rover.com covers the collection of fees. I called their customer service and had a great experience.

Events Worth Considering

03/30/15 – Principles of Social Media (CTC)
04/01/15 – LinkedIn for Success (CTC)
04/06/15 – Successfully use of Facebook (CTC)
04/08/15 – Using Video for Success (CTC)
04/10/15 – Selling in the Digital Age (CTC)
04/14/15 – Website Trends (CTC)
04/18/15 – Successful Marketing Plans (CTC)

04/22/15 – Social Media Basics – Lewisville Chamber & SCORE

04/23/15 – Your Effective Strategy Plan – Webinar


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The Value of Continuing Education by J.R. Atkins

If you consider yourself even somewhat successful in life, then you probably have an appreciation for continuing education. It does not matter if your education was attained in an artisan fashion through an apprenticeship program or if you hold a PhD from a prestigious university. Once we reach a level of skill and knowledge and begin to apply it, we find there is more to know. Some professions require CE units to continue one’s eligibility to practice their craft. For the rest of us, we are left to find our own way.

As I reflect on the past few years of growth and continuing education, I find that I receive this education in the follow ways:

  1. J.R. Atkins likes Duct Tape SellingConversations – With people with different perspectives, different backgrounds and life experiences, and often smarter than me. The DFW World Affairs Council is a good place for this.
  2. Books – Both fiction and non-fiction, especially about growing companies, new technology, and suspense thrillers. Two recent reads are Duct Tape Selling and Tribal Leadership.
  3. Workshops – Anything from a 30 minute Webinar to a full day with an expert, often about new products or businesses, such as my client, Financial Halo and their Prescriptions at Cost Program.
  4. Conferences – South by Southwest interactive (SXSWi) is one of my favorites, but I also attend world affairs related conferences such as “Walking with Palestinian Christians” in Tipp City Ohio.
  5. Structured Course Work – Self-study or guided by an expert such as the Academy for Spiritual Formation a 2 year course that meets each quarter for a week at a retreat center.

 

I also see a trend in the types and topics of continuing education:Prescription Medications at cost

  1. Industry Knowledge – skills, regulations, new developments
  2. Self-Improvement – Being vs. Doing
  3. Skill Development – WordPress, Public Speaking, Patience, Writing
  4. Spiritual Development – Prayer, Giving, Mission work
  5. Financial Development – Reducing expenses and increasing wealthJ.R Atkins needs your suppot to attend the Academy
  6. Management – New trends, Leading Projects, Online Management Tools
  7. Leadership – Beyond setting an example and motivating to help people attain their potential

 

As for frequency, I usually attend at least on big conference each year where I travel away from my local area and spend 2-5 days in a hotel thinking, learning, writing, planning and growing.

What about you? What kind of continuing education do you attend and how often? What would you say is the best source of development for you? I’d appreciate you sharing your experience and ideas on the blog so others can see, but any communication method that is good for you is good for me.

P.S. Note that I have two locations now:

North Texas Location: 8745 Gary Burns Dr # 160-210, Frisco, TX 75034J.R. & Stacey Lead a Ministry now

Central Texas Location: 1105 Bridge St, Gatesville, TX 76528

And my wife and I have started a ministry for spiritual growth called Something Different Ministries.

Events worth considering

 


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What can we learn about Social Media from the Carwash Business?

This article originally appeared in Professional Carwashing & Detailing where I was interviewed about Social Media. I thought you might find tips and relevant information here for your business.

Earning likes and profits

How to use social media to build customer relations and improve business

APRIL 28, 2014
Social media is one of the biggest buzz words in the business world, and it’s something that everyone says you need, but not everyone understands how to use. Professional Carwashing & Detailing interviewed three experts in the field of social media about how carwashes can best utilize it for public relations and marketing purposes. And while Facebook is still the most important social media site, there are others that you should be using to help improve your customer realations and get the word out about your carwash, according to the experts.

The 800 Pound gorilla

Facebook may have lost some of its “cool factor” with the youth, but Blane Russell, president of Social Eyes Marketing, said it’s still the most important social media website. “Make sure you’re doing Facebook in a big way, because it’s the 800 pound gorilla,” he said.

Facebook and why works to improve profits for washes

J.R. Atkins is the author of the book “Social Media 2.0,” and also a speaker and consultant on social media. He said that “Facebook is definitely the place to start, and then grow based upon your market and what you learn from Facebook.” While Facebook isn’t the only social media website you should use, Erin Sullivan, social media manager, agrees that it’s the most important resource for carwashes. “For the carwash industry Facebook is still number one.” She said that both Facebook and carwash industry appeal to a large audience, which makes them an ideal fit.

How to maximize your Facebook experience

The experts have some tips on making Facebook a good use of your time. Russell said that using Facebook to give away free carwashes is one way that his clients have gained followers. The hard cost of the wash is very low, and the number of followers it can help you get is high, he said. Facebook isn’t just about selling you to people, it’s also about entertaining them, according to Russell. “Everyone’s natural nature is to try to sell all the time, but if you want to get liked, amuse them, and they’ll like your page” he said. “Ask open ended questions, like: “Does your car have a name, and if so, why,” and you’ll start a conversation rather than turn people off with a sales pitch. He also recommends that you post regularly, at least a couple times a week, and that you have some humor and personality in your posts, so that people appreciate them. More articles on: Social media Social media is about building up loyalty and community, according to Atkins. He said it’s important to respond back to people on Facebook that contact you, and create posts that are designed around the types of things that your customer base is interested in. Facebook isn’t just about getting new customers, but keeping ones you have, according to Atkins. He said wash owners he’s worked with tell him that by “using social media, my customers keep coming back, and don’t stray.” A loyal customer is very valuable to a carwash, so keep them informed about what’s going on at you wash. By creating a Facebook account, and not using it, Sullivan says you’re doing more harm than good. “It hurts the business more than anything when they [Facebook account owners] don’t pay attention.” People recognize quickly when you aren’t engaged in your Facebook account, and not only will they not like your page, but they might think less of your business, she said. Her recommendation is to show some personality, and realize that every post you make doesn’t have to be about carwashes. “Your customers are not simply carwash customers, they have other interests as well,” she said. Another tip Sullivan has is to link your other social media accounts to Facebook when possible, to eliminate extra work, and connect across multiple platforms.

Professional connections on LinkedIn

While Facebook is still the most important social media website, there are many others that your wash can benefit from using. LinkedIn is a place that people go to discuss business, and because of that it has some advantages over other social media outlets. Atkins said that it’s “where your professional credentials live online.” He added that LinkedIn is important for wash owners who are hands on, and looking to work with other established businesses. LinkedIn is a better place to communicate professionally, according to Sullivan, who said it is definitely a supplemental tool, but can be effective for certain business situations. Russell agreed with the other experts that the major advantage about communicating on LinkedIn is that “no one will get upset or offended if you’re direct with them” about wanting to talk business. Setting up a profile, and learning how to use LinkedIn is very simple, so while you may not see a big initial return from creating an account, you will have a “virtual resume” and a place to connect with other businesses, according to the experts.

The pluses of Google+

While Google+ hasn’t taken off the way many predicted, it does have importance as a social media tool, even if it’s in a way that you might not think. “If you own a business, you need to have a presence,” said Russell. He also recommends usingGoogle Local as the place all of your reviews are put through to improve your search rankings, and get the word out about the great work your carwash does. More articles on: Multi-profit centers Google holds a lot of power as a search engine, and adding your business to Google+ gives your wash a better ability to be featured highly when a customer searches for it, according to Atkins. When you use Google’s search engine for a carwash that has a Google+ account, you will see information for its Google+ on the search page. “Google+ is definite must have now,” said Sullivan. She explained why it’s so important for business owners. “If I have a Google+ page, I now control what shows up in the Google search. When it comes up in search results, it will have the carwash name, it’s pulling the name, the description, the information … you know can dictate through your Google+ page.” She added that it’s important to get your presence on Google+ now, while it’s still an overlooked medium. It may not be the place you will go to communicate with your audience, but if you’re not on Google+ you’re missing out on improving your search engine optimization, which is one of the major ways people find out about a business.

Getting the picture with Instagram

The experts see Instagram as a supplemental tool, but an important one none the less. And the best thing about it is how simple it is to use. Grab your smartphone, take a picture, write a caption, add a few hashtags, and you’re done. “The beauty of Instagram is that people are going to promote you if they get excited about what you’re doing,” said Russell. Instagram is particularly popular with young people, and learning how to use it now can keep you ahead of the pack. Instagram is the perfect place to host pictures you’ve taken for a charity event or to showcase something unique or interesting that happened at your wash, according to Atkins. Another great thing about it is that it can be integrated with other outlets like Facebook and Twitter. For example, Atkins said you could “promote your event on Facebook, and then post pictures of the event on Instagram.” The ability to place pictures across multiple platforms makes Instagram a tool that can help you increase your Facebook and Twitter as well. “People respond to visuals more than something they read,” said Sullivan, which is a major reason why Instagram has become so popular. She sees it as an additional tool, and one any wash owner can utilize because of its simplicity. “It’s a good sort of extra … I think it’s a clear winner for how easy it is to use, and connect with other platforms.” Signing up for an account takes minutes, and you’ll be snapping pictures and posting them on Facebook and Twitter in no time. Taking pictures is fun, and Instagram is so easy to use.

How to follow Twitter

While Twitter is a platform that seems pervasive in our society, it is also the one that most people don’t understand how to use well, according to Atkins. You might not use Twitter to cultivate a following, but it is a great place to get direct feedback from your customers, he added. Read also: How to start a carwash articles Twitter is the place that you can “turn a raving lunatic into a raving fan,” according to Atkins. The way you do that is by responding to people who tweet you. For direct communication, Atkins sees Twitter as a better tool than Facebook, “it’s like texting,” he said. If someone finds you on Twitter and asks you a question, it’s easy to grab your smartphone or hop on your computer, and immediately respond back. If Facebook is the place to communicate to people, Twitter is the place for people to communicate to you. “It’s a conversation more so than other social media sites,” said Sullivan. “You need to expect to interact.” Twitter, more than Facebook, is about a two way communication between you and your audience, according Russell. Sullivan recommends how you can use Twitter as more than a way to communicate with your customers. She said you start by following some hashtags, and seeing what successful carwashes and other businesses do when they’re tweeting. It’s also important to think of the phrases that your customers would be searching for, and post on those hashtags. Russell said one way to effectively use Twitter is to find the important people within your community, and tweet them. Twitter is a conversation, so just like talking to people, there’s ettiquette, and things you can do to make follow and unfollow you. Once you figure out how to have a conversation on Twitter it can be a great tool. Even if you don’t want to utilize it for communicating to your audience, you should have an account so they can communicate to you.

Taking it all in and having fun with it

Facebook is still the most important tool you have at your disposal, but there are many other sites that offer their niche that can help improve your profits. If you need to connect with a local business, there’s LinkedIn. If you want more people to find you on Internet searches, use Google+. Want to speak directly with your customers, tweet them on Twitter. Need somewhere to showcase all those great pictures from the charity even you did? Well put them on Instagram. Social media doesn’t have to be hard work; in fact our experts recommend that you make it fun. Come up with a contest, and hype it up on Facebook, respond back to your customers on Twitter, and use Instagram to show pictures of the event. There continues to be those who don’t think social media is a viable resource. However, as Atkins joked, “If you can overturn the government of Egypt [with social media], I think we can increase sales 10 percent.”


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Irfan Ahmad on “How to Promote Your Blog Content to Get 1,000 Social Media Shares”

If you generate content to share, this Infographic will be interesting to you. Thank you Irfan for sharing.

Do you want to know how to promote your blog post so it’s shared over 1,000 times on various social media channels?

There are some tricks, tools and techie stuff you need to be aware of if you want to make that happen.  However, you have to have great quality content as a starting point; without this, you are wasting your time!

In the following infographic, we show you a whole range of tools and techniques that will help you achieve 1,000 shares and possibly even many multiples of this.

This infographic was designed by our friends in Canva.

J.R. Atkins suggest how to promote your blog


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