Signs That Your Marketing Promos Are Not Working

It’s easy to find companies that offer marketing promos. By marketing promos, I mean written content marketing, videos, social media posts and podcasts that are developed with the primary intention of driving traffic.

Some ways that these companies drive traffic include:

  • Creating dozens (if not hundreds) of blog sites
  • Publishing hundreds of articles or blog posts a day
  • Starting dozens of podcasts and embedding them on high traffic blog directories
  • Posting comments on high traffic media outlets
  • Designing dozens of social media pages across a wide range of social media platforms
  • Sending out hundreds of social media posts daily, often dozens of times an hour using social media automated marketing tools
  • Building dozens of websites around specific branded themes
  • Establishing their own subject specific snail and email contact lists
  • Interviewing on high traffic online and offline radio and television stations
  • Running low cost targeted ads on media platforms that put them in front of the very people who are most likely to find value (feel that they need) marketing promos

Consistently engage in the above actions yourself, and you’ll see an increase in traffic at your website, blog, podcasts and social media pages. You’ll also spend a lot of time on marketing, leaving you less time to devote to product and sales development.

Make sure that marketing promos lead to sales

Which is where companies that provide marketing promos come in. If you’re still reading this article, you’re probably looking for new ways to generate website, social media or podcasts traffic. But, think about it.

That’s not what you really want. You don’t just want more traffic. The goal is to gain more sales.

You didn’t go into business and come online to give yourself an ego boost. Profits and growing revenues are key.

If you’re not careful, this same intention could make you look like a sucker. How?

Who’s zooming who?

While it’s often a fact that companies that provide marketing promos engage in several, if not all, of the aforementioned actions, it’s not necessarily the case that those actions lead to increased sales for you. Think about it.

If the same several hundred or thousand people have a footprint at a marketing promos company’s blogs, websites, podcasts, newsletters and social media accounts, and these same people are clicking on links that lead to the company’s customer sites, it’s highly unlikely that these people are really paying attention to what they are clicking on. It’s like asking a thousand people to click on 300 links a day.

Facing marketing facts

How much attention do you think those sites are really getting?

Worse is the fact that some marketing promos companies use bots to drive traffic. It’s reached the point where entrepreneurs with minimal marketing experience suspect bots are used as part of marketing efforts.

Thing is that bots may drive tons of traffic to your sites, but that traffic is not included in organic traffic stats. So, how do you know if marketing promos are working?

Signs that marketing promos are effective

Signs that marketing promos may be working start with sales. Don’t just rely on analytics that marketing companies provide. Are you getting more sales since you started a marking campaign?

If the sales related to the marketing campaign continued at their present rate (i.e. 50 sales a week), does it make sense to continue the campaign? Also:

    • Do you see an increase in video channel subscriptions or do you only see an increase in traffic to a particular video that you’re promoting through a marketing company? If people are really interested in the video, you should see an increase in channel subscriptions.
    • Are the numbers of your newsletter subscriptions going up?
    • Is the amount of engagement at your electronic newsletters and other forms of direct mail improving? Examples of improvement in this area include more clicks on links that you embed in your newsletters and an increased number of newsletter shares.
    • Are influencers in your industry reaching out to you with interview or commentary requests?
    • Is your company website experiencing more clicks and are visitors staying at your website longer, checking out more pages, products and services that you offer?
    • When you compare month-over-month and year-over-year visitor analytics for your business, have one or both sets of numbers improved since you started the marketing promos?

More signs that marketing promos are effective

  • Has traffic to other areas where you have an online presence gone up? When people are truly interested in what you offer, they search for more information on you or your business. They want to know more about you.

Traffic alone isn’t enough to tell if marketing promos are working. Consider the type of traffic that a marketing campaign is generating. Is it bot or organic traffic? Are the people who are visiting your links through a marketing campaign employees of the marketing firm? Or are these people really interested in your products and services?

The top sign that marketing promos are working is an increase in sales that’s directly linked to the marketing campaign. Other signs include deeper consumer engagement. Again, examples of deeper consumer engagement are more people clicking on newsletter links, more shares and social media questions and comments.

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Signs That Your Marketing Promos Are Not Working

How to get paid on time as a freelancer

By Avery Baxter

As a new freelancer, the tough part is finding and securing client contracts. If you’ve been following us at Write Money Inc., you know that MediaBistro, Journalism Jobs, Upwork, Simply Hired, Craigslist, Freelance Writing Gigs, ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn, Twitter (yes, Twitter!) and professional associations are great places to find freelance work. Set up job alerts to avoid having to search through hundreds of jobs a day.

Those steps help you secure client contracts. Except for Upwork, the freelance job sites don’t help you to get paid. That’s up to you.

Good habits let you get paid on time as a freelancer

Getting paid on time as a freelancer may easily also be the second toughest part about being a freelancer. There are no automatic payroll deposits coming your way as a freelancer. What won’t stop are your bills. You need to get paid on time.

A first step to get paid on time as a freelancer is to write specific terms into client contracts that outline your pay rate and when payment is due from the client. For example, you could state that payment is due on the 5th day of the month. Set competitive rates. Organizations like the Editorial Freelancers Association, Contently and Writers Digest and NJ Creatives publish freelancer job rates.

Factor in your freelancing work experience and relevant training and certifications when setting rates. Don’t low ball yourself. You deserve to be paid according to your skill level comparative to average and competitive market rates.

Work with clients who have a reputation for paying freelancers on time. If a client falls behind in payments, contact them and ask when you can expect payment. There may be instances when clients don’t have the money to pay you on time, especially if clients haven’t received payment from their customers or if sales have dropped off.

Make getting paid on time a team effort

Make contact with clients in writing so you will have a paper trail. Pay attention to your gut. If you get the feeling that a client is having cash flow problems, consider reducing the amount of work that you complete for that client. The last thing that you want is to spend time on work that you may never get paid for.

Another way to get paid on time as a freelancer is to reach out to other freelancers who work for the client who’s been late in sending out payments. Ask these peers if they’ve been paid. If they’ve been working with the client longer than you have, ask them if the client has a habit of paying freelancers late.

Band together and reach out to the client as a team. You could also copy other freelancers on emails that you send the client requesting payment. As a last resort, be prepared to go to small claims court to receive payment.

You could also ask the client to return all work that he has not paid you for. Make it clear to the client that she is not to use the material in any form now or in the future.

To avoid having your freelance gigs shut down because a client hasn’t paid you yet, keep a roster of 10 or more clients who you work for. Search for freelance jobs daily. Again, remember to set up job alerts to save time. Continue to learn and expand your skill set, as this can help you to attract new clients.

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How to get paid on time as a freelancer

Home office tax deduction mistakes

By Rhonda Campbell

An increasing number of Americans are working from home or telecommuting. Yet, everyone doesn’t file home office tax deduction expenses that they’re eligible for. Business mileage, home office furniture purchases and business entertainment costs are just a few home office tax deduction expenses that people don’t take.

Keep up with telecommuting and home office changes

It’s good to see employers and customers accept that you don’t have to work in a large office to be creative, develop products, hold conference calls or complete many other work functions. Early in my working career, it wasn’t that way. Workers were expected to commute into the office Monday through Friday, and this was after computers and the Internet were the rave.

Surprisingly, the increase in the numbers of people working from home is in the “employer for-profit” category. Global Workplace Analytics reports that since 2005, the work-from-home population (not including self-employed workers) has grown by 103%. From 2013 through 2014, the population of people working from home grew by 56%.

It’s also surprising that only about 22% of self-employed people worked primarily from home. Self-employed home-based businesses that are incorporated grew by 18.7% between 2005 and 2014. Some of the highest percentages were for the numbers of American workers who would like to telecommute part-time. A whopping 80% to 90% of workers prefer to work from home part of the time. Talk about a sweet setup.

Home office tax deduction write offs you may be eligible to take

To qualify for a home office tax deduction, you must regularly use a portion of your home exclusively for business. Working on the living room sofa or at the kitchen table generally doesn’t count. You may also qualify for a home office tax deduction if your home is a principal place where you conduct business. The IRS says, “If you conduct business at a location outside of your home, but also use your home substantially and regularly to conduct business, you may qualify for a home office deduction.”

If you work for an employer, you could qualify for a home office tax deduction so long as you don’t rent a portion of your home to your employer and you use a portion of your “for the convenience of your employer”. Types of deductions that you could qualify to take follow (This list is not all inclusive. It’s advisable that you check with your accountant or the IRS before taking a home office tax deduction.)

  • Storage of home office business products
  • Daycare expenses (this applies if you use a part of your home to operate a daycare)
  • Rent or mortgage (You could qualify to deduct a portion of your rent or mortgage. The amount that you could qualify for is generally related to the percentage of your home that you use exclusively to conduct business in.)
  • Utility expenses
  • Healthcare premiums (If you’re self-employed, there’s a good chance that you pay for all of your health insurance yourself. You may be able to deduct these expenses.)
  • Business mileage (The amount that you could deduct per mile can change. Check with the IRS to get the most current business mileage rates.)
  • Marketing expenses
  • Office supplies
  • Tax preparer fees
  • Licenses and regulatory fees
  • Business related hotel and travel expenses
  • Business liability insurance premiums

Keep receipts and detailed records of each home office tax deduction that you take. Keep these records for at least seven years. Not only is it a good record keeping tactic, keeping good records could help you to discover ways that you can save on overhead, reducing costs and raising profits.

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Home office tax deduction mistakes

Get Ready for 2017 Daylight Savings Time

2017 daylight savings time picture

Picture by Manhattanhenge2 at Wikimedia Commons

By Eboni Walker

Sunday, March 12, 2017 at 2am starts 2017 daylight savings time. As it regards daylight savings time, remember the slogan, “Spring forward”. You’ll lose one hour of sleep this weekend. But, you’ll gain an extra hour of daylight at the end of the day.

Daylight savings time symptoms

Even with the extra hour of sunlight, it can be tough to adjust to the time change. Struggle to adjust to 2017 daylight savings time and you could display symptoms. Among daylight savings time adjustment symptoms are:

  • Prolonged fatigue – You might feel sleepy or tired early Monday even if you get seven or more hours of sleep Saturday and Sunday night.
  • Irritability – Fatigue could translate into irritability, especially if you are pressured with tight deadlines at work and a hectic schedule at home.
  • Lack of alertness – Dullness in your thoughts could find you moving slower.
  • Accidents – Blend fatigue, irritability and lack of alertness and your reflexes could be slower than normal. If it’s darker early in the morning where you live and you don’t allow yourself time to adjust to the light changes, you might expect your vision to adjust to the light changes faster than they actually do. This could lead to mishaps.

Make the most of daylight savings time is this weekend

Although you might not be able to avoid all symptoms related to 2017 daylight savings time, there are steps that you could take to alleviate the symptoms. Early steps start with preparing for the change. Preparation and other adjustment steps include:

  • Write a note, reminding yourself to set your clocks forward an hour
  • Head for bed 30 to 60 minutes earlier on Saturday, Sunday and maybe even Monday night, giving yourself more time to adjust to 2017 daylight savings time
  • Exercise in the morning to avoid feeling fatigued in the evening and slowly eliminating exercise from your daily routine or reducing the amount of time that you spend exercising each day and week
  • Eat a healthy diet to fuel your body for the day
  • Tell your children and everyone living in your house when 2017 daylight savings time is to ensure that everyone is prepared to make the adjustment
  • Ask your children to finish their homework on Saturday night, so they have all of Sunday to relax
  • Complete one to two morning chores at night
  • Host a 2017 daylight savings time get together to celebrate the change, encouraging yourself to see the daylight change in a positive light

Give yourself time to adjust to 2017 daylight savings time

Avoid oversleeping on Sunday. Before you go to bed on Saturday night, set your clocks forward one hour. Your computers should reset to the new time automatically. Give them a quick spot check when you wake to make sure that they are posting the correct time.

Do the same with your cell phone and fitness watches that are designed with a built in clock. And be patient with yourself. It could take you one to three or more days to fully adjust to 2017 daylight savings time.

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What YouTube TV May Mean for Your Sales

By Eboni Walker

It turns out that NetFlix was just the beginning. Google recently announced that it is launching YouTube TV. Although the YouTube TV channel lineup is not as long as DirectTV’s or PlayStation Vue’s, the new service is a good alternative to traditional cable television, especially with traditional cable television packages easily starting at $50 a month and up.

YouTube TV channel and price offerings you could tap into

At the outset, it will cost subscribers $35 a month to gain access to 44 channels among which include CNBC, Fox, NBC, ESPN and Oxygen. CNET shares a detailed breakout of the channels that YouTube TV is set to open with.

Considering that YouTube subscribers generally exceed one billion each month, taking the stretch into a subscriber television service makes sense. But, what will it mean for your business?

If you’re currently on YouTube and generating hundreds or more video views a week, you could introduce your products and services to new consumers by taking advantage of YouTube TV advertising offerings. Opportunities to get your products and services in front of more people may also come through the larger numbers of people who drift over to the non-paying YouTube shows after they log onto YouTube via the paying platform.

Should YouTube TV attract a larger share of United States viewers, that could turn into more exposure to your target audience if your target audience is heavily United States based. Right now, YouTube pulls in the majority of its viewers from outside of the United States.

Start preparing for the YouTube TV launch

As it regards the motive behind the launch, speculation is that Google wants to take a bite out of the $70 billion television advertising market. It remains to be seen what type of advertising options Google will develop (if any) for small to mid-size businesses. It’s also not yet clear if Google will offer varying advertising prices based on the day and time that ads air.

For example, will YouTube TV ads be more affordable when aired on shows that run on late weekday night or early on weekend mornings? If this possibility becomes fact, it may be smart to start building your current YouTube channels offerings.

Get out in front of viewers now. Take advantage of YouTube marketing training sessions. Some of these sessions run for several weeks. Many of the trainings are completely free. You can spot the training sessions at the top, right side of your YouTube channel’s page.

Build valuable business partnerships

Partner with companies that provide reasonably priced YouTube marketing services. Make sure that these companies yield “real” results. The Internet is replete with fake social media followers that marketing companies tap into to make it appear that you’re getting more exposure.

Another way that you could capitalize on YouTube TV is to study one to three channels that you want to advertise on. Find out which shows your target audience watches. Reach out to a peer to cover the cost of an ad if you’re currently unable to afford the price when you decide to run the ad.

Also, watch the traffic on the free YouTube video network. Be prepared to make content and marketing adjustments should you notice dips in your traffic after YouTube TV takes off. A good way to do this is to build and grow your own marketing contact list. Send newsletters, coupons, product and service announcements and other direct emails to contacts. Include the URL to your YouTube channel in all direct emails.

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What YouTube TV May Mean for Your Sales

Power of Trust Creates Miracle Results

By Rhonda Campbell

Trust is key to success. There is an element of unknown that we all enter at different times in our lives. We simply do not always know everything about everyone, every experience, every place and every aspect of the future. Having low levels of trust could cause you to experience higher levels of fear.

Consider this. What happens to your thoughts and physiology when you walk inside a completely dark room that you didn’t know was going to be dark, a room that you had never been inside of before? Does your heart race? Do you start to sweat? Do your hands start shaking? Do fear based thoughts start filling your mind, blocking out reasonable and peaceful thoughts?

Learning to true your true self

There’s a good chance that you have similar experiences just before you make a decision or find yourself in a situation that you feel you cannot fully (100%) control. If you don’t want to feel overcome by worry and anxiety, you’re going to have to trust.

Trust in truth is absolutely powerful. Trust in truth creates miracles. There is a place in each of us that is connected to truth. There is a part of us that knows the way. You’re going to have to value yourself enough to trust that part of you.

Actions that could strengthen your ability to trust include meditating, journaling, writing down and interpreting your dreams and writing an essay about a topic that you feel is important. You might be surprised how many subconscious (or hidden) thoughts and beliefs surface as you do this inner work. You might even discover thoughts that are blocking or trying to block your ease at trusting in truth.

Your feelings can be great guides

Pay attention to your sincere or honest emotions (also referred to as trusting your gut). Create a list of experiences that you have already come through. Build your confidence in yourself honestly. If you’ve already come through a layoff, relationship breakup, move, health challenge or financial struggle, you are not making that up. It’s a fact. You got through it.

You can face and get through future experiences. The list that you create gives you proof that you can. You could also start by trusting with decisions and experiences that you think are small.

Why is this so important? As previously noted, you are not going to know everything about everyone and everything impacting your life. If you don’t trust, you won’t take actions that could open your life up to amazing miracles. You won’t move unless you know how everything (or most things) will turn out. This could keep you stuck which, after awhile, could create feelings of frustration, boredom and anger.

As you start to trust your true self, exercise the confidence to go all the way through the trust process until the miracles is created. A miracle might be sleeping well at night and not investing hours at night to worry. A miracle might be speaking up for yourself and not apologizing and back pedaling should your speaking up create a wave of thoughts, feelings and actions from others.

A miracle might be trusting your true self when seeking a decision and not calling your siblings, parents, friends, colleagues, church members or neighbors after you hear from your true self and asking them what you should do — proving that you do not have confidence in your true self (certainly less confidence than you have in other people).

Trust in truth works. Physical vision cannot see how one experience connects to another, inner vision or your true self can see those connections. Because a miracle is a yet unseen (with the physical eye) event, you have to trust your true self to continue to awaken and advance.

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Let Someone Pay You To Expose Your Business

By Floyd Jackson

Let someone pay you to expose your business offerings. Believe it or not, there are people who will pay you if you let them toot your horn. These options could be just what you need to start to get the word out about what you’ve created.

People who will pay you while exposing your business

Hopefully, you will grow accustomed to receiving compliments, whether they come in the form of customer testimonials or top ratings. The effect could make you more comfortable with advertising and marketing your creative business offerings yourself. Depending on your personality, letting someone pay you to expose your business could be a near “must”.

Fact is, if you’re like many other creative business leaders, when you advertise your products and services, you feel like you’re manipulating people. Yet, you know that you’re not going to reach your target audience if you keep your creative developments a secret.

Here are people or places that may want to learn about your creative business. These places can introduce your creative products or services to new customers.

  • Award developers – It’s not just major motion pictures that benefit from get nominated for or winning an award. Books, technological products, artwork and other creative products can receive mass exposure by getting nominated for or winning an award. Speak at an award show and you could get paid to cover a segment of the show.
  • Contests – Not only could contests expose your business, you could get paid hundreds or thousands of dollars if you win contests. Go with contests that advertise winners on and offline and you could broaden and deepen your reach.
  • Conferences – You don’t have to attend every conference to expose your business. Some conference organizers allow you to send in free grab bag giveaways. It’s a form of free advertising that could pay off big, especially if the conference draws lots of attendees. Similar to awards shows, volunteer to speak at a conference, so you can potentially get paid for your appearance.
  • Schools – Bring handouts and samples of your creative business products to school events when you teach. Also, bring copies of your products to guest seminars that you speak at. Don’t just get paid to speak and share what you’ve learned so far with students, expose your business.
  • Business events – Businesses bring in guest speakers throughout the year. Add that you will showcase your products or services during or at the end of speaking engagements. Include this information in your contract.

Keep the momentum to expose your business going

You can continue to submit your creative business products or services to the above contacts. However, to build and maintain momentum, you need to get comfortable with telling others about what you’ve created. Start by carrying bookmarks, flyers, business cards and product samples in your purse and vehicle.

Give away free samples. Wear t-shirts, jackets and hats that advertise the name of your creative business and your website. Boldly add images of your products onto mugs, gift bags, umbrellas, pens and notepads. Prepare a quick answer or response for people who ask you about slogans, pictures and quotes on the marketing materials.

it’s time to get comfortable with business exposure

Attend industry specific seminars and trade shows. Make an appearance at one or more of these events a month. Always bring product samples and marketing materials with you. Look around and you’ll see this is what major corporations do. To maintain their mental imprint on large numbers of people, leaders at major corporations make getting out in public a top priority.

Do the same. While you get more comfortable marketing and advertising your creative business products or services, continue to submit your work to authority figures and award organizations. Get memberships with organizations that have impact. Stay out there, right where the people your creative business products and services support and empower are.

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