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Originally published June 8, 2017

Running a business is no easy feat so why not make things easier for yourself?

There are a plethora of great free business tools that are available on the Internet that can give you excellent results with half the effort.

And the best thing? They are completely for free so you won’t have to dig into your budget either.

Here are 5 free business tools that save you time and money

1. Graphic Design: Canva

CanvaEveryone, except for those blessed with design skills, will know how difficult it is to create beautiful visuals. Logos, websites, and even blog images can take so much time and effort that you may not have.

If you have a professional designer to take care of these things for you, then that’s great. If not, and applications such as Photoshop or Illustrator are too advanced for you, then I am pleased to introduce you to Canva.

Summary

Canva – empowering the world to design – is a graphic design tool for everyone, especially those who are not graphic designers.

It comes completely for free, with some purchases and upgrades (Canva for Work) if you desire. However, I feel as though most of the features and functions that I need are available the free version, based on my experience with it for the past few years now.

Canva offers different side design templates to help get you started. From social media posts to posters, infographics, eBook covers, menus, logos, business cards, and YouTube channel art.

The possibilities are endless, and if for any reason you want to create your own sized design, then you can choose your own custom dimensions.

How to use it

Whichever design you choose, you will be presented with templates that are relevant to it.

For example, if you choose a business card design, it will display a blank business card in the correct size, with the option of starting from scratching or clicking on one of the available templates.

These templates are not only there to give you some visual inspiration but you can also use them as your own.

The easy-to-use drag and drop feature means that you can customise it to however you like.

There is an array of features that you can choose such as icons, lines, shapes, charts, and fonts. You can upload and use your own images or choose one of the many stock photos they have in this free business tool.

Once you are happy with your design, you can choose to save it as a PNG, JPG or PDF.

[Author’s Note: I find that when I try to upload a Canva image to WordPress as a PNG file, it does not work. If you experience this problem, save and download your images as a JPG file type].

You can always revisit your designs anytime and make as many copies, changes, and downloads as you want.

Advantages
  • Easy to use
  • Offers a design school and design tutorial to teach you how to create the best design, e.g.font combinations, using different functions.
Disadvantages
  • You cannot organise your images into folders or categories, meaning that your designs are displayed in chronological order from the most recently opened. It can make some older designs more difficult to find.
  • It does not let you make a background transparent. To do so, you need to upgrade to the work account.
  • You also cannot resize images once you have created it. Likewise, you will need to switch to the work account.
Price

Free – It is completely for free. However, some elements do cost $1USD once it is downloaded, though this will be labelled as such.

Canva for Work offers a free 30-day trial, and then costs $9.95USD/month, or $12.95 per user/month.

Want to get started? Click here.

2. Scheduling: Calendly

Calendly

Another one of those great business tools is Calendly.

Summary

Have you ever had those endless conversations where you message a client or customer back-and-forth trying to come up with a date and time that you are both available to meet up?

It is annoying, time-consuming, and tedious.

This is why Calendly is the perfect solution.

How to use it

According to their website, “Calendly helps you schedule meetings without the back-and-forth emails.”

With different plans, it offers a basic $0  plan that allows you to schedule unlimited events.

All you have to do set up calendars for different events.

For example, you may set up an event for 1-hour consultations, another for quick coffee catch ups, and another for phone calls.

Once that happens, you can generate a unique URL to send to people, and even just embed on your website or email signature.

Once people click on it, they will be taken to a page where they can choose the date, and then the time. If a particular date or time is booked, then they will be unable to click it as it will appear as unavailable.

They will then need to enter in their contact information and any other additional questions you set up. If you want to conduct a business consultation with them, you can choose to require their business URL, and what exactly they need to help with so that you can prepare for the meeting accordingly.

Your calendars will be updated automatically, such as Google Calendar, iCloud, Outlook, and more. Those booking can also choose to add it to their own calendar too.

It is that easy.

Advantages
  • You can establish a unique URL to maintain a professional look.
  • You can use this link to add to your social media accounts, email signature or even embed it to your website so that anyone can book in at any time.
  • It is flexible. Let’s just say that you want to only have coffee catch ups for 20 minutes at a time between 11 am – 1 pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. When people click on your coffee catch up calendar, only these days and times will be displayed.
Disadvantages
  • There is no way of double-checking that people who are booking using this free business tool are legitimate.
  • The free plan doesn’t give you the ability to make customisable reminder and notification emails to invitees.
Price

Calendly offers three plans:
Basic – Free
Premium – $8 per user/month (billed annually)
Pro – $12 per user/month (billed annually)

Want to get started? Click here.

3. Organisation: Evernote

Evernote

Summary

Do you want to “remember everything, capture what’s on your mind, and get organised?”

Then Evernote will be your new best friend.

Evernote takes the typical Notes app and enhances it, making it better for organisation, keeping track of multimedia notes, and improving productivity.

How to use it

Evernote comes with such a plethora of functions and abilities that this free business tool will become a staple in your work life.

(Author’s Note: In fact, I am using Evernote right now to write the first draft of this post.)

This application has folders called “Notebooks”. In each notebook, you can create an unlimited number of “Notes” This way, you can organise everything into categories. You can even add tags to make it simpler to search for things, a tool particularly useful if you find that you take notes on anything and everything.

It works just like a word document, with the ability to customise font size, style, add bullet points, checkpoints, links, attachments, and more.

But this is where it gets interesting.

You can also chat with other people and collaborate with them without having to use another application. You can take images right in Evernote, and sync it across 2 devices.

Advantages
  • It has the ability to sync across 2 devices that have Evernote so that you always have updated notes on hand.
  • It offers plenty of features to help make organising easier, such as tags.
  • You can change the interface to your personal preferences: list view, grid view, images, and more.
  • You can clip images from the web straight into Evernote, helping you store information and articles to read later.
Disadvantages
  • Some great features are only available in the Premium plan such as presentations.
  • You are limited to 60MB worth of monthly uploads.
  • The maximum note size is 25MB
Price

Evernote has 4 different plans to consider:

Basic – Free
Plus – $49.99/year
Premium – $89.99/year

Evernote Business – $132/user/year

Want to get started? Click here.

4. Email Newsletters: Mailchimp

Mailchimp

Summary

Sending emails to customers, clients and prospects is a great way to cultivate long-term relationships with them and to send reminders about your business.

Emails are delivered directly to their inbox, unlike other marketing strategies such as social media, where they may miss an update from your business.

Creating, designing, sending, and analysing email newsletters doesn’t have to be as difficult as you may think, not when you have one of the best free business tools for emails on your side – Mailchimp.

How to use it

Mailchimp works similarly to Canva in which you can create your own email design or use one of their templates.

With drag-and-drop functionality, you can customise the template to suit your own.

Mailchimp makes it very simple to add images, change the font size, style, and format.

To be able to send your finished email newsletter, you need to create a list where you can add your contacts. You can do this manually or import a list over.

Once it is created, you can preview it on different devices such as desktop, smartphone, and iPad so you can see if the responsive design is functioning properly.

From there, just pick a list that you want to send it to, determine a time to schedule it or just send now.

Once an email is sent, you can analyse the results in a free report. Mailchimp tracks how many unsubscribes, bounces, opens, and clicks you receive.

Advantages
  • Easy to design beautiful emails with its simple interface
  • Can analyse the results so you are not running an email campaign blind. You will receive tactical results to then effectively re-strategise for your next campaign.
  • Even the free plan of Mailchimp allows you to set up automated emails to help with your marketing strategy
Disadvantages
  • From my experiences with Mailchimp, sometimes the formatting can be a bit of an issue. At times, it doesn’t do what you tells it to do.
Price

Mailchimp offers a pricing plan based on how many monthly emails you send and how many total subscribers you have.

Free plan – Up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails/month.

The price then increases depending on these two factors.

Want to get started? Click here.

5. SEO: Google Analytics

Google Analytics

Summary

Want to know great your reach is with your audience? Eager to find out the exact number of visitors coming to your website, which pages are the most popular, and how long they are spending on it?

Download and install Google Analytics to take the guesswork out of it.

You will get real answers that you can then use to adjust your strategy and maximise results.

How to use it

By installing Google Analytics custom dashboards to your website, you can then choose different options to see the results.

For time frames, you can choose to see data for the past three years, one year, 90 days, 30 days, 14 days, 7 days. In addition, you can see results from the day before, results on this actual day, as well as in real-time.

There are multiple statistics that are tracked with this free business tool. These include sessions, users, organic, page views, bounce rate, location, pages, referrers, searches, traffic, technology, and 404 errors.

Advantages
  • No more guessing how well your website is doing. Google Analytics gives you real results so you can make adjustments as needed.
  • It is very easy to install.
  • It is updated in real time so there is no delay in receiving updated information.
  • The time range that you can view results allows you to see any patterns emerging so you can prepare, such as busier periods or quieter seasons.
Disadvantages
  • Google has changed the way their analytics work so if a user is signed into a Google account while viewing your website, their views will appear on your dashboard but it will not specify which page/s they visited. This may make it harder to really analyse which pages are performing the best.
Price

Free – Google Analytics is free.

Want to get started? Click here.

Now that you have the 5 best free business tools that save you time and money, are you planning to use any of them?

Are there any other free tools that you enjoy using in your business? Do you want me to talk in detail about in particular ones? Let me know in the comments below!

I can’t stress it enough – you cannot just press publish and hope your readers come to you. Especially in this digital day and age where more and more blogs are emerging on the web, you need to do more to make sure that your posts are read. One way to do this is by creating a content marketing strategy.

A content marketing strategy is what will help you properly plan, implement and execute your blogging strategies. It may change as you learn more about blogging but by having a solid plan in place, you will be in the right direction to actually get results from your content.

Actionable Tips on How to Develop a Content Marketing Strategy

1. What Is Your Goal?

By defining your goal, you can really help to identify the direction of your content marketing strategy. Do you want to increase traffic and conversions to your website? Do you want to position your business as the expert in your industry? Do you want to increase sign ups?

Related: SEO Dos and Don’ts: How to Drive Traffic to Your Website the Right Way

2. Understand Your Ideal Reader

The main thing to remember when knowing how to develop a content marketing strategy is that you are not writing for you, you are writing for your ideal reader.

To do this, profile who your target audience is. Get as much information on them as possible so you can really develop a strategy that will appeal to them.

Some information that you should gather include:

  • Are they female or male, or a mixture of both?
  • What age group are they from?
  • Where are they located?
  • What is their demographic?
  • What content length do they enjoy? Long form or short form?

For example, if your target customer is a busy mother who lives an on-the-go lifestyle, then maybe shorter posts would be more beneficial as they have limited time.

However, if you are targeting lawyers, then really in-depth, longer posts may be the best length.

By understanding your ideal reader, you can increase your posts’ appeal to them and make the most of your content.

3. What Is the Best Content Type?

The word “blog posts” tend to come up first when you talk about content. While blogging is an increasingly growing popular content type in the digital era, it is not the only one.

By knowing your goal and your ideal reader, you can determine what content type can generate the best results.

Some ideas include:

  • If you want to increase brand awareness and publish “how-to” tutorials on your product, then videos are well-suited for these topics.
  • If you want to drive more traffic to your website, then optimised blog posts is the way to go.
  • If you want to increase email subscription sign ups, then an ebook that requires an email to download is a great idea.

4. Create a Schedule

The next step on how to develop a content marketing strategy plan is by creating a schedule.

Use the information that you have gathered from your ideal reader.

For instance, if you are located in Australia but your main customer base is in the United States, then publishing your posts according to optimal American times is beneficial.

This is why doing your research and really getting into the mind of your customers is so crucial in creating an effective strategy.

Studies have shown that different days give you more comments while others give you more shares and views.

In the end, there is no one right answer that I can give you about the best posting times. Try out some different posting days and times to determine what gives you the best results for your business.

Your schedule should also cover not just publication times but also promotions. Once your content is published, how will you promote it? Which social media platforms will you use? How many tweets should you write for the one post? Should you even use Twitter at all?

5. Track Performance

A key factor to remember when knowing how to develop a content marketing strategy is that you need to measure the results. There are many business tools out there that can help track content performance. Google Analytics can help show you page views, bounce rate, time spent on page and more.

Related: 5 Free Business Tools That Save You Time and Money

If your goal is also to increase conversions via content, then you can also use Google Analytics to track this.

Other tools you may want to use include SE Ranking (tracks keyword rankings) or SEMrush (both are paid tools but offer free trials).

By measuring your performance, you can then adjust your content marketing strategy to then maximise results.

Knowing how to develop a content marketing strategy means that you can really optimise your content and get the results that you want.

What other tips do you have on how to develop a content marketing strategy? Leave me a comment below, I would love to know!

As a blogger, I read plenty of blogs myself. Not only do I read digital marketing blogs, but I am also an avid consumer of health and fitness articles, lifestyle, travel, and creative writing blogs. One thing that I really enjoy that some of my favourite bloggers do is a link round up.

This is where they round up a bunch of their favourite blog posts and articles that they have read to share with their own readers, and I decided to do that here.

There are so many great business and digital marketing posts out there so I thought I would share some of my favourite ones that I have read recently:

Digital Marketing Link Round Up: Content Marketing Strategy

How We Grew Our Organic Traffic by 43% Without Publishing a Single New Blog Post by Hubspot

I tried to keep away from the big names in the game because I believe that most of us would be reading them anyway. But I had to include this post because it is the favourite article that I have recently read. I really enjoyed reading about how Hubspot focused on one article that they had already published to improve their traffic.

Their case study and gamification of “Mission Week” was so interesting to read. It just proves that when it comes to blogging, quantity is not always the path to follow and that writing and publishing posts is only half the battle. Focusing on marketing and really promoting each post can really take you far and grow your traffic.

Read it here.

Getting More Uses Out of Existing Content by John Jantsch

This is another great article that explains great ideas for giving old blog posts new life in a clear and concise manner. I especially liked the point about repurposing old content such as turning blog posts into infographics, email series, or videos.

Not only will this help promote old blog posts but it will cater to your audience who learn in different ways, such as the visual learners.

Read it here.

Digital Marketing Link Round Up: Business & Entrepreneurship

2 Women Who Built a Business While at Goldman Sachs and Marc Jacobs Explain How Corporate Jobs Made Them Better Entrepreneurs by Libby Kane

9-5 has been getting a bad rap lately. As a health and fitness freelancer myself, I am not a fan of the routine corporate job life. However, that’s not to say that the 9-5 work life is completely bad. I am glad for the roles that I had before beginning freelancing because it taught me many skills that I still use today, especially in my first job as a content writer.

In this article, 2 women explain how they have used their experience in their corporate jobs to better themselves as entrepreneurs. I found this article really interesting, especially as I love reading about how people become entrepreneurs and their journey.

Read it here.

Taking the Plunge on Your Start Up by Benjamin Humphrey

Another article that I have recently read and enjoyed follows the journey of Benjamin Humphrey as he founded Dovetail and convinced his co-worker Brad to become a co-founder. He details the qualities you should be looking for in a co-founder to make sure that the person you choose is the right person.

This was an intriguing read because it was an honest, personal account from someone who left a full-time job to pursue both a financial and personal investment. I liked Benjamin’s straightforward approach to writing and that he is not only talking about his experiences but how others can learn from them as well.

Read it here.

Digital Marketing Link Round Up: Social Media

How Successful CEOs Kickstart Their Business with LinkedIn by Joe Escobedo

LinkedIn is not only a really great way for professionals to connect with other professionals and network but it can also drive sales and website traffic. When used properly, LinkedIn can be a powerful tool as these two CEOs featured in the article have discovered.

In this interview-style post, you can learn how to leverage LinkedIn in only 30-minutes a day with successful CEOs who are already proving that it can be done.

Read it here.

Digital Marketing Link Round Up: Work Culture

Why It’s Time We Paid Employees to Exercise at Work by Ryan Holmes

As you already may know, I am huge on health and fitness so any article that advocates for helping employees incorporate fitness into their work life is a big win for me.

In my first internship and job as a content writer, one of my work perks was having a free gym membership at the local gym just around the corner. I loved and really appreciated this and it showed how my work company understood how fitness can help employee wellbeing and concentration, the same way Hootsuite does.

In this article, Ryan, CEO of Hootsuite, talks about how promoting fitness on the job has actually helped his company, cultivated work culture and improved employee performance. It is a great read, and something I am definitely standing behind.

Read it here.

Did you enjoy this digital marketing link round up? Is this something you would like to see more often? What other articles have you read that you really enjoyed recently? Please let me know in the comments below, I would love to know!

Original featured image source: MAC Instagram’s repost (here) from @wendy_online

Celebrating #NationalLipstickDay

29 July 2017 was a special day for all lipstick lovers alike; it was #NationalLipstickDay. To celebrate, MAC Cosmetics Australia announced a lipstick giveaway marketing campaign. They were going to give away full-sized lipsticks that day at selected boutique stores, for free.

All participants had to do was follow the Mac Cosmetics Australia Instagram account, sign up in store and then show up at the specified locations so they could enjoy their shiny new lipstick.

They announced this on their Instagram, specifying, “Note: Strictly whilst stock lasts on selected shades only”.

MAC marketing campaign
MAC’s Instagram announcement of the giveaway

It had all the ingredients of a great promotional marketing campaign for MAC to increase Instagram followers and sign ups.

Except for the fact that stock ran out very, very early.

Despite hundreds of people lining up before 9 am, stores ran out of lipsticks within approximately 15-minutes of their doors opening.

Each store was given a different number of lipsticks. Some customers claimed that their local store only had 40 lipsticks while others had 100. Either way, customers were not happy with the limited amount of stock that was provided for what was promised to be a huge giveaway.

The aftermath saw hundreds of fuming customers. Some even promised to boycott the brand.

As one girl stated, she couldn’t “…believe I lined up for 2 hours only to find out only “100 lipsticks were available.

MAC has since had to issue an apology in response to the growing number of complaints from customers.

A MAC spokesperson gave this statement to news.com.au:

Thank you to everyone who visited M.A.C yesterday to celebrate National Lipstick Day and collect a free lipstick of select shades.

We experienced the most overwhelming response and due to popular demand, many of our locations ran out of stock early on in the day.

We gave away thousands of lipsticks across the day but know some consumers have missed out and we are really sorry to those left disappointed.”

Customers are reputing this claim, however, commenting, “It wasn’t due to popular demand that you ran out, it was a scam. My Myer had only 50 lipsticks to give away, that’s not a lipstick give away [sic].”

Some other comments left by upset customers who walked away empty handed included, “Such a poorly organised promotion to generate foot traffic without explaining how limited stock would be or that it would only be a couple of shades. Not impressed and not following MAC Cosmetics anymore.”

“Very disappointing promo. Didn’t realise there would be so few given out. Wouldn’t have wasted the journey. Why didn’t you just hand them out instead of making such a big announcement and then having such limited giveaways?”

“Southland ran out in less than 20 minutes and hundreds of people left disappointed. Social media FAIL. If you’re going to do a huge social media campaign, have the goods to back it up. #marketingfail

MAC Lipstick Marketing Campaign Mistakes

Let’s get the facts straight first. Of course, the limited stock was going to run out quickly. MAC is one of the biggest makeup brands and they were giving away one of their most popular products for free. It was going to be busy and some customers were inevitably going to leave empty-handed.

But did MAC mislead customers by giving the illusion that there was going to be much more stock than there was?

What Could Have Been Done Differently

Giveaways and promotions are a great marketing tool, as long as you can live up to the hype. While MAC stock was definitely not going to last all day, maybe there were some other ways to control the giveaway that would have helped minimise the disappointment and anger from the customers that missed out.

MAC could have approached the marketing campaign differently. For example, they could have stated that “the first x number of people will receive a new lipstick in each store”.

This way, customers would be aware of what “limited supply” actually means.

Doing this would reduce the disappointment and take away blame from MAC for not adequately living up to the supply-and-demand.

What You Can Learn from This Case Study

This case study highlights the importance of being transparent with your customers. While MAC did not outrightly say that everyone will be able to receive one, it did give the illusion that there was going to be much more stock than there actually was.

So if you want to run a marketing campaign for your company, make sure that you provide clear outlines and guidelines that take away confusion. Be open with your loyal customers, offer better communication and remember, transparency is key.

What do you think of MAC’s lipstick giveaway? Did they deserve the criticism or was it unfair? How would you run a marketing campaign differently? Leave me a comment below, I would love to know!

So you know that in order to get your content marketing strategy in place, you are going to need keywords to focus on. These keywords form the foundations of your SEO so it is important to get it right.

But while you know that you have to use keywords, how do you know what keywords you should focus on?

In this post, I will take you through 2 types of keywords: short tail keywords and long tail keywords.

They both have their own pros and cons so it is best to learn about each of them before diving into keyword research.

But first, I need to talk to you about the conversion funnel.

Conversion Funnel

To put it simply, the conversion funnel refers to different stages that the average customer will experience before converting.

Though each funnel does vary, there are typically 3 main stages: Awareness, Interest, Conversion.

It is referred to as a funnel because the first stage yields more potential customers, and as they go further down the funnel, the number of prospects reduce, leaving only prospects that are more likely to convert into paying customers.

The conversion funnel is an important factor to mention because what keywords your prospective customers use will indicate where on the conversion funnel they are currently sitting at.

Short Tail Keywords

Short tail keywords consist of 1-2 words. As you can see, because of its short nature, these searches will not yield specific results or answers. Rather, they are general searches.

Most people who use short tail keywords in their search are those at the top of the conversion funnel. They are merely researching and gathering information.

This is why people will type in “running shoes” as opposed to specific questions or phrases. They just want to learn more about this term. The short term search will yield plenty of results so that they can start deducting what information they need to make an actual (potential) purchase later down the track.

Advantages

Higher search volume/impressions: Short tail keywords generally elicit a larger search volume. Because they are more general and less specific, these are keywords that are more commonly used than long-tail keywords and subsequently, you will get a lot more impressions (number of times your webpage appears in the search engine result pages – SERPs).

Ranking for these keywords will be great because you will definitely generate a lot more traffic to your website, granted that your title tags and meta description are all optimised.

Disadvantages

High competition: Because the keywords are so generic, the competition to rank for them is generally much higher. For example, if you want to rank for “running shoes”, imagine how many other shoe companies there are that you have to compete with that want to do the exact same thing!

While it can be an excellent benefit to be on the first page for similar keywords, it is pretty difficult to do unless you are a big international company.

Low conversion rate: These keywords are targeting customers who are at the top of the conversion funnel and are still just researching the product or service that they are after. There is less chance that these customers will convert into paying customers (at this point).

Related: A Detailed Introduction to SEO for Beginners

Long Tail Keywords

On the other hand, long tail keywords are typically made up of 4 -6-word phrases.

These keywords are more “targeted” than your short tail keywords. They are typically used by prospects that are further down the conversion funnel. These customers are the ones that are more likely to turn into paying customers as opposed to users just looking for more information.

For example, instead of “running shoes” they may search for “black running shoes for women”. You can get even more specific such as including a location in the phrase, e.g. “black running shoes for women in Sydney”.

The more specific the term is, the lower in the conversion funnel the user is. This means the higher the chances that they will turn into a paying customer.

Using my example, now that the user knows more about running shoes, they are clearly looking for black shoes and searching for a store in Sydney.

By narrowing their search term, they are also narrowing down to the results that will give them what they want (aka YOUR business).

Advantages

Higher conversion rates: These users are in the conversion part of the conversion tunnel, meaning that you are more likely to turn these users into customers. With these specific search terms, they are actively looking for your business to get them what they want.

Low competition: Unlike with short tail keywords, the competition for these phrases are lower as they are more specific and targeted.

High visibility: As there is lower competition for these keywords, it can really increase your website’s visibility in the SERPs.

Disadvantages

Lower search volume: One of the things that put a lot of marketers off is that there is a low search volume with these long tail keywords. However, this doesn’t always necessarily mean it is a bad thing. Would you rather have 1,000 impressions of a short tail keyword and turn only 1 or 2 of them into paying customers, or a search volume of 100 and turn 10 of them into paying customers?

So Which Keywords Should You Use for Your Business?

As you can see, short tail and long tail keywords both have their advantages and disadvantages. I don’t think you should stick to just one type or the other, and instead, I recommend using a combination of both with slightly more emphasis on long tail keywords.

The short tail keywords can generate a lot of traffic to your website and help to position you as an expert in your industry. On the other hand, long tail keywords can assist in really targeting users that are more likely to convert into paying customers and increase visibility.

Using both these types of keywords will give you a well-rounded SEO strategy.

Related: SEO Dos and Dont’s: How to Drive Traffic to Your Website the Right Way

How to Look for Keywords

Now that you know what type of keywords to focus on, here are some tools that can assist you in choosing keywords for your business.

Related: 5 Best Free Business Tools That Save You Time and Money

Google Keyword Planner

Keywords: Google Keyword Planner

Of course, you can’t talk about a keyword research tool without mentioning Google Keyword Planner. This tool helps you find new keywords while also showing you search volume data and trends. This way, you can see how well your chosen keyword has performed over a specific period of time to see whether it is worth focusing on.

A great feature is that it even lets you input negative keywords.

Negative keywords are phrases that you don’t want to include in your search. For example, if you are selling wine glasses then you don’t want to include keywords that are related to eyeglasses or sunglasses. It helps to eliminate keywords that seem related to yours but are not.

Übersuggest

Keywords: Ubersuggest

Übersuggest promotes itself as a keyword search tool that tells you keywords that are not available in Google’s Keyword Panner. Using this tool is fairly simple.

Just enter a keyword or phrase that is related to your business. Then it will come up with a list of potential keywords that you can focus on. It is sorted out in alphabetical order so it is easy to review each keyword properly. If you are a more visual person though, you can turn this list into a word cloud.

It also gives you the option to look at Google Trends Data (by clicking on a selected keyword). This way, you can see how well the keyword has fared lately. However, for some reason, this never works with me and only comes up with a blank screen but hopefully, it works for you!

If you want to export the list of selected keywords, then you can also do that.

Ubersuggest is a really simple and easy tool to use if you want an alternative to Google Keyword Planner, or like with short tail and long tail keywords, you can just use both.

What keywords do you use for your business? Do you find that short tail or long tail keywords yield better results for your business? Or do you use a mixture of both? Leave me a comment below, I would love to know!

Sometimes, your blog can be left a little neglected. Despite promises to blog consistently, things can happen in your work or personal life, or you might just be experiencing writer’s block. It is understandable, however, with the availability of free online blogging tools, blogging and keeping a schedule has never been easier.

This article will follow the blogging process – from idea generation to publication – and give you free tools to help with each step. This way, you have no more excuses to not blog consistently and get that traffic to your website.

1. Get That Perfect Idea with BuzzSumo

8 Free Tools to Help You Blog Consistently

Have you had that problem where you want to blog consistently but you just don’t know what to write about?

It is a problem that can really prevent you from publishing content on a regular basis.

Next time you open a document up to start writing only to draw a blank, check out BuzzSumo.

BuzzSumo is a great way to check out what is trending in your specified industry. Then, you can see what topics your target audience is most interested in (but bear in mind, the free version only lets you see the top 4-5 posts).

Add your own perspective or approach to the subject, and you have a winning idea.

2. Manage Your Editorial Calendar with Google Calendar

8 Free Tools to Help You Blog Consistently

One of the methods to ensure that you blog consistently is to create and follow an editorial calendar. This means that you have all your blog posts planned out in advance, avoiding the scenario of getting to publication day and realising that you have yet to write a post.

Google Calendar is a free tool that can help you keep track of important dates in your schedule. As you can see, I like to start posts a week in advance but you can do fortnightly or monthly depending on your preference (or even a few months in advance if you are super organised). You can easily change the colour of the label depending on what the reminder is about, e.g. writing the post, editing the post, for better organisation.

It gives you an overall view of your editorial calendar as well so you can easily see everything that is happening and what you have to do on any given day.

3. Track Your Progress with Trello

8 Free Tools to Help You Blog Consistently

Now that you have your editorial calendar all set up, it is time to track your individual blog post progress.

Depending on how you work, this could mean breaking down the blogging process into sub tasks such as writing the content, sourcing/taking images, editing content, editing images, etc.

Trello is a very easy project management tool to use. As they say on their website, it keeps “track of everything from the big picture to the minute details”.

They even have an editorial calendar template that you can use as a supplement your Google Calendar. While you cannot easily see tasks at a glance by their due dates like in Google Calendar, it helps you keep track of where you are up to in the blogging process.

For example, their template is categorised by “Research”, “Writing”, “Editing”, “Graphics” and so forth. However, you can change it depending on your preference and what best suits you. I have used Trello before with the headings “To Do”, “Doing”, “Pending Review”, “Done” which worked really well.

It is a great collaborative tool to use because it comes with the ability to use independently or with a team and you can assign a task to a specific team member. You can also add attachments, graphics, links, checklists, and comment on tasks, making it a more in-depth management tool to use alongside Google Calendar.

4. Write Your Post Using Google Docs

8 Free Tools to Help You Blog Consistently

There are many great tools to use to help write your posts. If you are like me and you like to write your post on a separate document before exporting it to WordPress or the CMS that you use, then I am sure you would have used Google Docs one time or another.

Related: 5 Free Business Tools That Save You Time and Money

Google Docs is an easy- to-use word document tool that has everything you need to completely format your post, ready for publication.

5. Export Your Post with Wordable

8 Free Tools to Help You Blog Consistently

Now, if you have used Google Docs, you would have also noticed that it isn’t the best tool to use to copy-and-paste your post into another system. The formatting almost always goes wrong, especially if you have images.

It can be really annoying having to fix everything up and make it ready for publication again, which is where Wordable comes in.

In just a click of a button, you can export your document straight to WordPress without having to fiddle with the layout or fix anything up. It appears just as you left it, which saves you so much time (as well as a headache!).

Please bear in mind though, you are only given 4 free exports per month.

6. Edit Your Post with Grammarly

8 Free Tools to Help You Blog Consistently

Now, there is nothing more off-putting than typos in a post which is why I recommend using Grammarly.

Related: I Made These 7 Blogging Mistakes So You Don’t Have To

Grammarly is a free tool that you can install in your extension and it automatically checks your content for spelling and grammar errors.

Now it isn’t perfect. Sometimes it can get things wrong because it doesn’t understand the full context of your sentence but it is a great starting point to help make your post perfect.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work on Google Docs so I suggest using the Doc spelling and grammar checker there, and then once you use Wordable to export the post, check it again with Grammarly. It works in WordPress too!

7. Capitalise Your Headings with Title Capitalization

8 Free Tools to Help You Blog Consistently

Here is a fun fact about me. I am very lazy when it comes to capitalising headings including titles and subheadings.

Whether or not you like to capitalise each word in a heading really depends on your preference, though this is a practice that I do adopt myself.

But like I said, I get pretty lazy so I use a tool called Title Capitalization (American spelling).

All you have to do is type your title into the bar or even just copy and paste one in. It will then automatically capitalise the appropriate words. Then just copy and paste it back into your post.

It is as easy as that!

There are different styles that are available such as AP Style and Chicago Manual of Style. The option I choose capitalises words with five or more letters.

However, it doesn’t really matter which one you choose to use, as the key here is consistency. Whether you want to keep your headings lowercase except for the first word or capitalise words with four or five letters, make sure that you stick to it.

Readers generally won’t notice which one you choose but they will notice if the format keeps changing.

8. Schedule/Publish Your Posts with WordPress (or any other CMS)

8 Free Tools to Help You Blog Consistently

The only CMS I have used is WordPress. However, I am sure that the scheduling and publishing tool is pretty similar across all systems.

You can easily set the date and time to when you want your post to be published according to your editorial calendar.

This way, you won’t have to worry about remembering when to publish posts because this will all be taken care of, making it that much easier to blog consistently.

With our busy on-the-go lifestyles, it can be very challenging to make the time to blog consistently, even when we want to. Factors such as writer’s block can prevent us from maintaining a regular blogging schedule that can really help drive traffic to our website’s and establish a loyal following.

With these online tools available, hopefully, this will make it easier for you to be able to blog consistently.

What other methods do you use to keep a regular blog schedule? Let me know in the comments below, I would love to know!

I have written many blog posts and articles in my three years being a copywriter and during this time, I have made many blogging mistakes.

While I wish that I can re-write and edit some of the blog posts I have published, instead, I have just learnt from them and I wanted to share those lessons with you.

In this post, I have compiled and explained these 7 blogging mistakes that I have already made so that you don’t have to.

1. Not Having a Clear Direction

How many blog posts have you read where the first few paragraphs have left you with no clue as to what the author is going on about? How many times have you exited the page because you were just so confused?

A blog post should have such a clear direction that readers know about the post is about in the introduction. In fact, they should know what is it about even before they start reading it, (from the heading of course!).

For example, this post is a list of blogging mistakes that I have made so far in my experience of being a copywriter.

That was clearly articulated in the heading as well as the first paragraph. When you clicked on the URL, this is what you would have expected, and rightly so.

If you write your blog post not knowing where it is going, this will be very clear to your readers. So make sure that before you even start writing the first word of the post, you know the outline, what the topic is and what you want to say.

For example, instead of just sitting down to write a random post about blogging, I specifically defined the topic. Just this little step made it so much easier for me to write, and it will be so much easier for you to read it as well.

2. Not Having a Clear Purpose

Blog posts should not be written for the sake of being written.

You shouldn’t be making the blogging mistake of publishing posts because you heard that it was good for SEO and your business.

Related: SEO Dos and Don’ts: How to Drive Traffic to Your Website the Right Way

Each post should be written with a clearly-defined reason.

Here, I am trying to help writers avoid making the blogging mistakes that I have made before.

I am not just writing about blogging mistakes for the fun of it. I want you, as my readers, to get something out of this, which is improved blogging skills.

So when you plan your post for the day, make sure that you know what the purpose is. If you are questioning why you are writing the post in the first place, your readers will question why they are reading it.

3. Typos

This is pretty much a given but it is such a critical point that I couldn’t leave it out.

Spelling and grammar mistakes are simple and easy ways to be seen as unprofessional.

I get it, mistakes happen to everyone and even the most observant and diligent of us can miss typos.

People have differing perspectives on this but in my personal opinion, one or two typos is not going to make me blacklist a blog. Like I said, mistakes happen.

In saying that though, anything more a couple of mistakes just shows that you are not taking the time and effort to really check over your work and put your best foot forward.

Imagine this scenario. You have just finished a great post that you have been working on for a couple of hours and you just want to get it out there. After a quick final skim, you hit the publish button only to re-read it a while later and realise that there were so many mistakes in it.

Or imagine this scenario. You have thoroughly checked your work and hit publish thinking that it is perfect. Then, you realise later on that there were such obvious mistakes you didn’t see in that final edit.

Are any of these scenarios common experiences to you? I know they have both happened to me multiple times.

When you finish a blog post, it is understandable that you are excited that the work is done and want to get it out there. It is also understandable that if you have spent so much time staring at the screen working on the same post for a while, it is easy to miss even simple mistakes.

Even after realising that I needed to spend more time editing my work before hitting publish, I found out that I still kept missing obvious mistakes if I have been working on something for a long time.

My way fixing this?

I now use a free online tool that checks my spelling and grammar called Grammarly. I actually really love it because it highlights mistakes immediately and tells you the reason why. So not only is it just checking your work but you are learning so that you don’t make the same mistakes again.

Unfortunately, Grammarly doesn’t work on some tools like Evernote or Google Docs so you may have to do some copy-and-pasting.

Of course, if you don’t use Grammarly, some online word documents already have spell check integrated into the system such as Microsoft Word. Yoast SEO plugin in WordPress also measures readability and highlights the text in question to bring to your attention.

For some heavy-duty proofreading, I use a couple of tools. I check on Grammarly first and then use the Yoast SEO plugin. I also re-read my posts out loud.

If you have ever written and presented a speech, I am sure you would have realised that nothing emphasises the mistakes in your work more than reading out loud. It also assists in showing you how your post flows so I recommend reading your posts to yourself every time.

Another way to avoid making typos and errors in your post is by taking a break between the writing and editing stage.

It could be a day, a week, or if you are short on time then even a few hours. Get away from your computer, go for a walk or work on other tasks to give yourself a break. Then come back to the post with fresh eyes.

4. Large Paragraphs

Nothing will increase your bounce rate faster than writing a post that consists of one huge massive chunk of text.

The big lesson to learn here is that you need to use paragraphs.

Break up your text into headings, subheadings and paragraphs for better readability and content structure. Each paragraph should encompass a different point.

Readers want to experience an easy, seamless read.

This doesn’t come naturally to me because I tend to keep writing until I have a massive chunk of text in front of me, so I started experimenting with different paragraph lengths.

Now as you can probably tell, I only use 2-3 sentences or lines per paragraph before I move on.

5.  Messy text

One of the blogging mistakes that really stand out to me is that I maaaay have been a little bit too experimental.

Big headings, small headings, different colours, various fonts, italicised words, bolded words, CAPITALISED BOLDED WORDS.

See how messy that sentence looks?

I really wish that I can go back and edit those posts and keep it simple, neat and organised.

So be mindful with how you format your blog posts. Use big headings when necessary, sub-headings when relevant, and emphasise only the important points.

Don’t overdo it because it can really ruin the reader’s experience.

In this case, less is more.

6. Messy Images

It is not just text that makes up your blog posts but the images as well.

When you use more than one image in your post, try to make them the same size.

I understand that sometimes you need different sized images for different purposes (such as portrait for Pinterest and landscape for Twitter) but this is not always the case. Some people, like me back in the day, just don’t pay attention to how the image formatting can affect your post.

So you may have an image that takes up the entire width of the page and then the photo in the next paragraph is a small thumbnail.

Likewise, with the experimental text and formatting issues in my previous point, this makes the post look really messy.

Try to keep the image sizes consistent when applicable.

I do this is by using Canva. It is a free business tool that lets you choose the image size that you want.

Related: 5 Free Business Tools That Save You Time and Money

Then you can duplicate that image size and add images to each copy.

And viola, same sized images for your blog post, and a neater and more professional post.

It can take a while but it is well worth the effort, believe me.

7. Too Short or Too Long

The best blog post length has been widely debated by copywriters and marketers for a while now.

SEO states that anything over 300 words is good, some believe that 500-words is the optimal length while others like Neil Patel advocates for long blog posts that are well over 1000-words.

Whatever the length, your priority should be writing a well-informed and detailed post.

When you don’t put in the effort to really research a topic, you will end up with a sub-par post that skims the subject. Alternatively, you may end up trying to drag out a topic just to hit 2000 words to its detriment.

This will leave them finding other sources to get the knowledge they are looking for.

Take the time to write a well-informed blog post, whether it is a 500 or 1000+ word blog.

Blogging can position you as the authority in your industry but only if you are publishing detailed and compelling posts. The key words here being detailed and compelling.

Remember, each one should be offering your readers value and that should be your main goal, not word count.

What blogging mistakes have you made?

These are just a few of the blogging mistakes that I have made during my time as a copywriter and I am sure that I will make many, many more.

But like everything, there is always a lesson to be learnt, or in this case 7.

So make sure that you avoid these blogging mistakes when you are updating your company blog. It can really make a difference in publishing a good post and a great one.

What blogging mistakes have you made? What lessons did you learn from them? Please let me know in the comments below, I would love to hear about them!

P.S. If you are having trouble finding the time and effort to write great blog posts and would like professional assistance, then please shoot me a quick message here.

Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, refers to a set of strategies used to drive organic (unpaid) traffic to your business website. It involves both on-page and off page techniques, that when leveraged correctly, can give your business great benefits.

Related: A Detailed Introduction to SEO for Beginners

But like with most things, there are ways that you can “cheat” the system. And like most of these things, there are certain repercussions and consequences that will occur if you are found out. In regards to SEO, this includes being de-indexed or banned from search engines.

As an ethical business owner, you want to make sure that you are driving traffic to your website the right way. This means employing ethical and accepted SEO strategies, referred to as “white hat SEO”. On the other hand, unethical practices used to take shortcuts and manipulate search engines and users are named “black hat SEO” and should be avoided at all costs.

So before you start implementing an SEO strategy, read this article first. I will tell you the white hat SEO dos and black hat SEO don’ts so that you don’t make mistakes that will affect your greatly business ranks.

Drive traffic to your website the right way, using SEO best practices

Don’t Keyword Stuff

Keywords form the foundations of your SEO strategy and they play such a critical role in how well your website performs (for more information, please read my detailed introduction to SEO for beginners here).

This is because these keywords are then used in all areas of content such as your website content, blog posts, articles, meta and title tags, alt images, etc. Not only should this keep your search engines happy but you also need to find the balance in keeping your human audience happy as well.

For example, if your keyword is “freelance copywriter”, you don’t want to use it in every sentence just to increase the number of times it appears. You still need to consider your readers and what will read best for them.

“I am a freelance copywriter from Sydney. If you are looking for a freelance copywriter who can help promote your business, then I am the freelance copywriter for you.”

See this example? In these three sentences, I have integrated the keyword three times. While I may think this is great for search engines, how did it read for you?

Not only is it repetitive but it doesn’t flow naturally and makes the content disjointed.

This is called a black hat SEO tactic called keyword stuffing and it can kill your SEO.

Don’t Hide Text

Another black hat technique regarding keywords is making the font very small and changing the colour of the keyword to the web page background. This way, when the page appears, users are unable to see the keyword as they are “invisible” but search engines still pick it up.

While this can work on a short-term basis, chances are, search engines will pick up on this unethical SEO practice and punish your website for it. It can remove you from search engines altogether and this is something that will definitely not help drive traffic to your website.

So what can you do instead?

Do Integrate Keywords Seamlessly

The key is to reach 2-3% keyword density. This percentage relates to your keyword and word length ratio – a smaller word count means a smaller keyword density and vice versa.

In fact, once you reach optimal keyword density, the extra times you have included your keyword don’t really benefit you much at all anymore so it is best to aim for 2-3%.

For example,

“I am a freelance copywriter from Sydney. If you are looking for a writer who can help promote your business, then please contact me.”

This reads so much better and still seamlessly integrates the keyword into the text. Better still, it only uses white hat SEO.

It can be difficult to write great copy that is informative, SEO compliant and easy-to-read. This is why I recommend hiring an experienced copywriter to help write your business content for you.

Don’t Use Link Farms

Another important aspect of SEO is the number of backlinks that link to your website. This can be a difficult technique to put into practice because you are relying on others to promote your website.

Subsequently, some may opt for the easy way out and use link building websites.

Have you ever come across a site that had nothing but links on it?

That site is a link farm and they serve no real purpose other than trying to cheat the SEO system and increase the number of backlinks to the website.

Don’t get involved with link farms. There are other effective ways to increase inbound links.

Do Improve Link Building By Guest Posting and Other Means

There are many other ways to increase backlinks to your website that follow white hat SEO.

One of the more popular ways is guest posting. This is writing a guest post on another relevant website, preferably one that is an authoritative site, and linking back to your website in your byline.

In these cases, the other blog owner will also write a guest post for your blog, so you help each other out.

It’s a win-win situation.

Other ways include creating share-worthy content that people want to refer back to or recommend to others, such as detailed and informative blog posts or even graphics such as infographics.

Related: 8 Proven Strategies I Learned From Neil Patel’s Advanced Customer Acquisition Webinar

These are the right ways to drive traffic to your website so don’t rely on short-term black hat SEO.

Don’t Trick Users With Irrelevant Content

Don’t you just hate it when you see a search result that uses the right keywords and indicates that it hold the answers to your query? But then when you click on it, it comes up with something completely unrelated?

Tricking your customers to visit your web page even if it is irrelevant to their search is an annoying and frustrating black hat SEO tactic. While it may get visitors there, it certainly doesn’t help to maintain them and they will click the back button as soon as they realise. Not only is this unethical but it will increase your bounce rate.’

Not only is this unethical but it will increase your bounce rate.

Do Publish Relevant Content

The traffic that you want to generate to your website should be visitors who want to be there because you are providing them with something of value. This includes making sure that the content on your website is relevant to their search query.

This goes back to keywords. Make sure that you use keywords in your title tag and meta descriptions and that the main content on the page focuses on that keyword as well.

Doing this will enhance your reputation as a knowledgeable source in your industry and one that your customers can trust.

And above all else, it will drive traffic to your website the right way.

Don’t Spin Articles

One black hat SEO involves copying or plagiarising content from other popular sites. Doing this will help the website appear higher in the ranks when people search for it.

However, some may have discovered a loophole around this called article spinning. Rather than copying and pasting the content and publishing the exact copy, they will change some words, sentences or even paragraphs to create some variation between the original and the copied version.

This also helps to prevent search engines from identifying copied content.

However, not only is this black hat SEO but this is still plagiarism.

Do Write Original Content

Gain followers that want to read your content by making sure that everything published on your website is original and helpful.

If you really do like another article or post, then you can quote or cite sources from it. Just make sure you include who commentator or author and provide a link to the original version.

But just remember, the majority of the published work should be your work.

Make sure you only use white hat SEO

Now that you know how to drive traffic to your website the right way, make sure that you only use white hat SEO strategies. Yes, black hat SEO may yield short-term outcomes and white hat SEO does take a long time to see the same results but it is well worth the effort.

You will generate organic traffic made up of people who actually want to visit your page because they see the value in it.

In saying that, it is good to be aware of black hat SEO just so you know what techniques to avoid to drive traffic to your website the right way. This way, you eliminate the risk of being penalised by search engines such as not appearing in the SERPs and being de-indexed.What other black hat or white hat SEO techniques do you know?  Leave me a comment below, I would love to hear them.

And this is something that will definitely not help your SEO strategy.

What other black hat or white hat SEO techniques do you know?  Leave me a comment below, I would love to hear them.

I think it is fair to say that Neil Patel is THE marketing guru or at least one of the best ones out there. As an avid reader of his blogs, I can see the hype.

 Neil Patel is one of the top influencers on the web. – The Wall Street Journal

Neil is one of the top entrepreneurs in the nation. – Entrepreneur Magazine

With praise coming from such authoritative sites, it is no wonder I signed up for his free online training webinar – Neil Patel Presents Advanced Customer Acquisition. In this article, I will be giving you a summary of what I learnt during this little-over-an-hour session.

I won’t give away all of Neil’s secrets though. I think that you will get the best value by watching the webinar yourself and learning from him directly, though I do hope that this article will still enlighten you to some great tactics and information that I really enjoyed learning about.

Like his webinar, this article will be split into these agendas:

  1. Increase click-through rate (CTR)
  2. Competitive intelligence
  3. Link building
  4. Lead magnet
  5. Tripwire
  6. Core offer and profit maximiser
  7. CRO hacks
  8. Advanced marketing program

Increase CTR

Of course, the higher your website ranks on SERPs, the better chance you will have of getting search traffic. This leads to a higher CTR.

However, your rank is not the only thing that is taken into account by users when deciding to click on your page. Other SEO elements, such as your title tag and meta description, play an important role in persuading users to choose your link.

Related: A Detailed Introduction to SEO for Beginners

The more appealing your copy is, the more clicks you will get to your site. And Google notices.

If you are ranked number two on the SERPs but your CTR steadily surpasses the link ranked at number one, Google will see this and change your position.

This is why you need to make sure that your pages are optimised. Use keywords in your title tag and meta descriptions and make sure that the page that you are leading visitors to are relevant to their query. Nothing will cause your bounce rate to rise more than articles that do not help the user whatsoever.

Using online tools such as Google Search Console can tell you your CTR. If it is under 5% then you need to rewrite the copy to improve it.

For tips on how to do this, use these keywords when applicable:

  • How to
  • Listicle ( e.g. 8 Proven Strategies I Learned From Neil Patel)
  • Free
  • You
  • Tips
  • Blog post
  • Why
  • Best
  • Tricks
  • Great

Competitive Intelligence

One quote that stood out to me (I may be paraphrasing) is, “Marketing is not a guessing game. It’s a science.”

If you think about it, it is completely true. There are so many online tools and systems available that can help you take the guesswork out of marketing.

How do you know what your customers want? Ask them using survey tools like SurveyMonkey. What keywords are your competitors ranking for? You can easily get this information if you know how to find it.

Another quote that Neil may not have said but still rings true in this case, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”

In this section, Neil talked about different techniques and tactics that you can implement to find out what your competitors are up. You can discover what keywords they are ranking for, what widgets and tools they are using on their website, who is linking to their website, and more.

Some tools he mentioned included SEMrush, Built With, and Ahrefs.

Link Building

We all know that link building plays a huge role in search engines determining how authoritative your site is. The more websites that link to it, the better, the more highly authoritative websites that link to it, even better.

However, if this is something you have tried, it is easier said than done as it requires other sites putting you blog links on theirs.

Here are some ways that you can do this.

Guest post

One of the more popular and easier ways to increase backlinks to your website is by guest posting. This involves reaching out the websites that are relevant to your own and pitching a guest article to them. By doing that, you can include a byline that incorporates your URL.

Some websites may have a section dedicated to guest blogging, with instructions on how to pitch for you to follow. For other websites that do not have one, try and find an email to the relevant person, such as the editor, to send your request. If you cannot find one, then most blogs will have a comment section. Leave a comment stating your interest there.

Do the work for them

This is a smart tactic that Neil has highlighted. It consists of finding broken external links on your target website and emailing them if they would like to know what they are so they can rectify them. Then once they respond that they do (because who would turn down this offer?), you can tell them that your domain offers similar information but without the broken link.

Neil stipulates that this works because you are helping the owners out by highlighting broken links and for giving them an alternative to replace them with. It saves them time having to try and find replacement links.

So here is a summary of the tips in this section to consider:

  • Make your emails relevant
  • Don’t use mailing tools
  • Striking up a conversation can increase your chances of getting a response
  • Approximately 5-10% of people should link back to you
  • Just as you wouldn’t buy followers on social media, do not pay links. It is too risky.

Lead Magnets

Did you know, “your highest converting traffic channel will be your email list”?

If you take part in the webinar, you can see statistics from Neil’s own experiences in traffic, and his email list is definitely the main source of traffic.

So to increase your traffic and conversions, you will need to collect emails.

How?

You need to give something away that will entice your visitors to submit their email address.

This could be eBooks, courses, something that will give them valuable information and insight, and help them in any way. If you really are unsure of what to offer your customers, just ask them. Use SurveyMonkey to ask them, “What can I help you with?”. Alternatively, research popular articles in your industry and offer an eBook or course on that.

Though don’t just implement the good ol’ pop up asking them to join your email subscription and leave it at that.

Use your copywriter to write compelling content that will make them want to sign up.

For example, you might have seen some popups on digital marketing blogs asking you if you want to increase your traffic. If the yes option is chosen, then you will fill out a form asking for your name and email, which then automatically gets added to their subscription list.

In the better marketing pop-ups though, the buttons still stipulate the same yes or no buttons but in a more persuasive way. Instead of an option that says, “no, thanks”, you might write, “no thanks, I get enough traffic.”

Can you really get enough traffic to your website though?

If this is still clicked, Neil advises to put up another pop-up. In his own site, the second pop-up window then states something along the lines of, “Congratulations on getting plenty of traffic to your website. I can show you how to double conversions.”

This second pop-up has helped him gain more emails.

Summary of some of Neil’s best tips:

  • Yes or no questions generate 20-30% more leads
  • Journeys and courses convert better than eBooks by 16%
  • Include lead magnet offerings throughout your website, such as on your homepage and as an exit strategy
  • A good lead magnet will generate 5 emails for every 100 unique visitors

Tripwire

If you sell goods online, then this section will be particularly helpful.

Basically, a tripwire is an offer that is so irresistible that people cannot say no to it. By offering a low-end offer, you then have the opportunity to upsell and downsell (this will be thoroughly explained in the next category).

To choose a tripwire, just think about a problem that your target customers experience and how you can solve them.

One example that a webinar participant asked was what she could use as a tripwire for her candle business. Neil’s recommendation? Candle wicks.

Just remember:

  • Your offer needs to be irresistible
  • Do not charge more than $47 for your tripwire. Ideally, it should be cheaper. Neil’s own tripwire tactic saw him charge only $7 but make big revenue from it.
  • When people reach the checkout, offer a more expensive product that they can purchase (upsell).
  • At least 30% of people should purchase this upsell

Core Offer and Profit Maximiser

This is all about doubling your revenue. Like I mentioned before, you should have upsells and downsells offered at the checkout. In fact, there should be 3 upsells/downsells altogether.

As an example, Neil used his consulting services. He offered consulting services at x amount for a month.

Once your customer has proceeded to checkout, offer them the first upsell that is double the price of their item but speeds up the process. For instance, Neil will come to your business for an entire day and work directly with you on your business. You get all the information and knowledge in a day compared with a month.

Then, you should offer another upsell at 1.5x of the price. This should focus on automation. Instead of executing all the strategies that Neil recommended by yourself, why not hire his professional implementation team that will automatically do it for you?

The final profit maximiser is a downsell that is two-thirds of the price. This should be a complimentary product.

If you are wondering what your profit maximisers should be, focus on things that offer speed and automation. These two factors will enhance the original purchase item.

CRO Hacks

Do you go straight for the hardsell with your customers? How often does that generate a positive result?

In this section, Neil talks about CRO hacks – conversion rate optimisation.

Engage first

He states that conversion optimisation is like dating. You can’t ask someone to marry you and expect them to say yes straight away. Instead, you want to talk to them and build up a friendship. Slowly get into dating for a few years before asking them for marriage. The likelihood of them saying yes increases tenfold.

This is the same when it comes to converting customers. You need to engage with them first before asking for a commitment.

There are some online tools that allow you to use their products first so you can gain insight into how it works. After they have completed the process, that is when they ask you for an email to get the results. It works better than just asking for them to sign up immediately.

Simplify sign up

Also, another hack is making sign up easy. Thanks to the popularity of social media out there, everyone is almost logged into a social media account at one time or another, or have one. Give your visitors the option to sign up using Facebook or Twitter authentification. You can even allow sign up via their Google account.

If they do sign up by email though, make it easy. A 2-step sign up means that customers will be more inclined to complete the process rather than presenting them with a form with many questions.

Use first person

This hack has to do with integrating psychology into marketing. Leverage the power of the first person voice to increase sign ups.

Prequalify customers

One way to helping customers determine whether or not they want to sign up is by prequalifying them. This technique is also good because it can incorporate first person voice as well.

If you are running a personal training bootcamp, you could have a sign up sheet that reads something like this:

Do I want to lose weight?

Do I want to get fit?

Do I want to build muscle and strength?

Then this bootcamp is perfect for me.

By asking these questions and using first person, the customer will agree with every point then they will be more inclined to sign up.

Advanced Marketing Program

The last section of the Neil Patel’s webinar promoted the advanced marketing program. He tells you all about it, gives you great discounts and bonuses, and also answers any questions that people may have.

I’ll let you find out all the details from Neil Patel himself. All you have to do is watch until the end of the webinar.

Summary

This webinar ran for less than 1.5 hours and was filled with great information. I really enjoyed how he used examples from other companies, as well as his own, so you know that his claims are legitimate.

He also gave us some tools to use – some paid, some for free – so that we could get started implementing some of his tips.

Related: 5 Best Free Business Tools That Save You Time and Money

I think that if you want to learn more about driving traffic to your website and increasing your conversion rates, then this webinar is a really great way to do it. Just make sure you have your laptop or a notepad with you to take notes, though he also does send the presentation to you afterwards.

Have you ever attended a webinar from Neil Patel? Are there any other webinars that you would recommend? Leave me a comment below, I would love to hear about them.

As seen by the popularity of #MotivationalMonday, there is something about motivational quotes that people just love.

And I completely understand the appeal of inspirational quotes. I love them myself. When I read my favourites, I inevitably find myself pumped up for the day ahead, ready to tackle any challenge.

Rather than another list of well-known motivational quotes article though, I wanted to write about lesser known quotes that are by no means less inspirational. With their ability to tell a story in just a few words, quotes are really quite self-explanatory. However, I think that delving into detail for each of these inspirational quotes can really help uncover the hidden potential of how they can help you.

Be Motivated by these Inspirational Quotes

Nothing will work unless you do. – Maya Angelou

How many times have you daydreamed about reaching success? How many times have you let yourself fantasise about getting that promotion, landing that big sale, hitting that personal best in the gym, but fail to make the means to achieving it in reality?

While thinking positive is something that can motivate you by letting yourself imagine the feeling if you actually reach your goals, it can also potentially debilitate you from taking the steps to actually do so.

Related: The Positive Side of Negative Thinking

This is where this inspirational quote comes in, “Nothing will work unless you do.”

At the end of the day, visualising success is beneficial and can greatly inspire you, I really do believe this. But it is important to bear in mind that this alone will not help you attain those dreams in reality.

You need to actually create a plan of action and determine the necessary steps to do so. You need to work and move forward. Otherwise, you will be stuck in a space where the only way you can reach your goals is through visualisation.

A professional writer is an amaetur who didn’t quit. – Richard Bach

Whether you are a writer, businessperson, singer, artist, or manager, everyone starts off as a beginner. Coming from someone who is just a couple of years into her career as a copywriter, and more recently, trying to pave her way as a freelancer, it is so easy to look at those who have “made it” and think that you are never going to get there.

Sometimes, you can even believe that they had it easy, luck was on their side, or they are just better than you.

It is easy to forget that once upon a time, they were just amateurs as well, stuck in the very same position as you are. They were probably looking at professionals in their field wondering how they would ever get to their level as well, thinking the exact same thoughts and being plagued by the same self-doubts and uncertainty.

The thing to remember is that they didn’t quit. They kept persevering to get to where they are today.

You have to do the same for yourself as well.

He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying. – Friedrich Nietzsche

This inspirational quote summarises the lesson of taking little steps to get to where you want to go, instead of just jumping in headfirst. You need to prepare yourself because great things take time and effort.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as instant or overnight success.

Bear this quote in mind if you feel like you are moving forward so slowly, or don’t feel like you are getting anywhere at all; you have to build yourself up. Most of the time, this is from the very very beginning.

Choose your thoughts how you choose your clothes. Make sure they are the best fit for the time, place and location. – Unknown

So many people allow negative thoughts to infiltrate their minds. I am not talking about the kind that can spur you into action and help prepare you for any potential obstacles but ones that weigh you down and debilitate your ability to move forward.

The kind that paralyses you and takes control.

Whether you are preparing for an important presentation, meeting, or exam, your mental game is crucial. Just as this quote stipulates, you need to make sure that your thoughts are helping you in whatever situation that you are in.

You wouldn’t choose gym clothes for a job interview because it is what is comfortable or want to stay in the familiar. You would choose the appropriate attire that will increase your chances of landing that position.

This is the same with your thoughts. Adopt an attitude that will help see you through such as confidence, determination, resilience, or any other positive emotion that the situation calls for.

It can really make a difference in how well you perform and what results you can achieve.

One of the fastest ways to improve your life is to simply do what you said you were going to do. – Unknown

How many times have you said that you will do something only to postpone it to tomorrow?

I know that I am definitely guilty of that.

Too many times, I’ve put off writing an article even though I said I would do it.

This makes me unproductive and leaves a lot of things on my mind. It’s crazy when you think about how simple the solution is; I could easily just clear my head by doing what I said I was going to do.

Some things people, including myself, delay things for years. Maybe it was because the timing wasn’t right, you were scared or anxious, comfortable being where you are, or because you were lazy and didn’t put in the effort.

For whatever reason or (let’s be honest) excuse, that you have, you need to just do it (thank you, Nike).

Future you will thank you for it later.

Action is the foundational key to all success. – Pablo Picasso

As you can probably tell by now, these inspirational quotes have a common theme – action – so I am going to keep this one short and simple.

Merely wanting something is not enough. You need to go and get it yourself.

Inspirational quotes never fail to teach a valuable lesson in just a few short words. They can really assist in motivating you and giving you the attitude and determination to attain your ambitions.

Do you like these inspirational quotes? Which one was your favourite? What other ones do you live by? Leave me a comment below, I would love to know!