Making Content Marketing Work For Your Business

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

Content marketing, in the form of blogs, videos, infographics, and white papers or e-books, is and will continue to be a permanent feature in the online world. The use of such tools is continually expanding as marketers find new ways to offer content to target audience.

In order to attract more people to buy your products, you must also provide useful information that will drive them to your site and build the trust needed to move them through the sales funnel.

Take advantage of social media
Act to reach as many potential customers as possible. Social media helps to boost the visibility of videos, blog posts or infographics that you create.

This can be done by scheduling updates across all social networking channels to encourage your followers to view the content you created and to share them with their own followers.

However, be aware that you are walking a fine line; multiple daily updates may alienate your audience.

Post to bookmarking sites
People trust sites that post content that has been vetted by people who share their interests.

Content which receives the most votes quickly becomes popular, so in most cases, readers will skim through the top links for the best content.

??????As a small business owner, social bookmarking sites offer a great opportunity to connect with readers you might otherwise never interact with, increasing your chances of bringing in more customers.

Visitors to your blog should be able to get quick and simple updates each time you post something new. RSS feeds are efficient in ensuring this process.

Every visitor that signs up for updates from your blog can either read them through an RSS feed or get them via email. This eliminates the problem of visitors needing to check on your blog for new content.

Measure results
There’s really no tangible way of knowing whether or not your content-marketing efforts are productive except to measure your results.

Look at your analytics to see how many visitors you are bringing to your site to see if you are taking the right steps in marketing and sharing your content.

Find out which topics people are reading the most to help you generate ideas for future content.

Google Analytics is a free tool you can use to collect data on your content marketing efforts.

You will be able to review traffic to your site over time and make sure it is steadily rising as intended.

It’s no longer enough to simply have a blog, even an active one. It is critical to develop a comprehensive plan of action that will ensure the right people are drawn to your content and ultimately turned into loyal customers.

(Image Source: iCLIPART)

Blog Your Way To Success

Blogging is nothing new these days, but it’s still a powerful tool for promoting yourself, your ideas, and your personal brand.

Blogs are easy to set up, but good blogs can be challenging to maintain.

Keep these tips in mind to create a blog that will make a mark on the Internet:

Stick to a clear theme
Select a broad topic to concentrate on. If your blog seems too scattered, people won’t feel any compelling reason to read it regularly.

Know your audience
Think about who you’re trying to attract. What are they interested in? What are their problems? What do they need?

Address these questions and you’ll be able to create content that appeals to the readers you want.

Write powerful headlines
The first thing your readers will see when they visit your blog is the headline of your latest story. Give it some excitement and emphasis with action verbs and colorful language so they know what your item is about, and want to read it right away.

Engage with your readers
Don’t let comments sit there. Respond with a thank-you, more information, or to correct misinformation.

Avoid fights, but make your points clearly and respectfully so your audience knows you’re paying attention.

Keep at it
Many blogs start strong but then languish because their founders lose interest.

Remember that this is a long-term effort. If you’re not getting the response you want, try tweaking your blog, but don’t give up too soon.

Taking Your Business Online Can Increase Profits

by Jeremy Miller, Technician
Most if not all businesses can benefit from having an online-presence. Going on-line for a business can be a low-cost marketing solution.

Your online presence can help give customer’s quick access to information about you and your business, all the way to having automated inventory alerts that let clients know about new products and stock levels.

When getting started online, you’ll want to get a domain that represents your business. You’ll want to pick something that’s easy to remember, and easy to spell and type.

You don’t want a domain name that you have to spell out for clients – that makes it very hard to use in advertising.

There are many domain registrars to choose from, including Tech Experts.

After you have your domain name, you’ll need website hosting services. Most web hosts, including Tech Experts, include company email with the service.

Most hosting plans are very affordable. Our basic hosting plan starts at $9.99 per month.

If you want to take it a step further, you can set up an online store. There are a lot of options, depending on how involved you want the store to be.

Accepting credit cards online can be a hassle, especially with the new security and compliance regulations. If you expect to do a large volume of business in your store, it makes sense to set up a secure site and contract for the credit card processing services.

For smaller web stores, PayPal offers a checkout service that is fully PCI DSS compliant. Their basic service is free (less the processing costs).

Setting up a website is not enough to make your business drastically improve. You have to find a way to get customers to your website.

There are many ways to do this. An inexpensive and effective way to get your website noticed is to start a blog.

Blogs will show a human side to the business and search engines crawl blogs easily. Easy places to do this are popular websites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus.

This helps improve your ranking in a search on search engines. There are other ways to improve your ranking as well. In fact there is a periodic table guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

By looking at the periodic table, you can see exactly on a point scale what increases and decreases your SEO ranking.

There are companies that specialize in SEO Optimization. The fees range from very reasonable to exorbitant. SEO is as much black art as science, and it pays to have professional help.

There are tools that track how users are using your website. Google Analytics tracks how much time is spent on your website, and where visitors are going.

This can be useful for you to optimize your site for ease-of-use. You want to make it easy for your users to find what they are looking for and browse easily as well.

Another tool that can be useful is Google AdSense, which places targeted ads on your site – and everytime someone clicks on ad, Google will pay you a small amount.

The last thing to think about is the mobile version of your site. More users browse the Internet than ever before with their smart phones and tablets, so you’ll want to have a mobile site for these visitors.

This can be a little more tedious due to the fact that this technology is still emerging.

A lot of web sites require a mouse for them to function; an example of this would be a site with a menu bar at the top with a “mouse over” function to see the drop-down menu.

So having a site that detects the type of device and browser that the user is using and directs them to the correct site is important.

Five Ways to Manage Your Company’s Social Media And Online Reputation

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

Your company’s online reputation is one of your most valuable assets. A good reputation instills confidence in clients and prospects, and gives you the upper hand when competing for business.

In large part, social media has taken the control of a company’s brand and placed it in the hands of the consumer. It doesn’t matter how you define your brand, it all comes down to what your audience says.

One negative comment on a social networking site can spread like wildfire. To help prevent that, here are five tips on managing your company’s social media and online reputation.

Set up e-mail alerts
An e-mail alert will send you links to any new web activity around a keyword or search phrase. Use variations of your company’s name and the names of key employees. While alerts won’t show you everything on the web about your company, it provides an excellent daily snapshot.

Keep an eye on industry forums
Discussion forums are a combination of blogging and social networking. If there are forum sites for companies in your industry, they bear close monitoring. They are a breeding ground for oftentimes anonymous and unfounded consumer complaints.

Consumers will often turn to a forum when they have troubleshooting questions about a product. They are looking to their peers for the solution to their problem.

By becoming an active member of the popular forums in your industry, you’ll be able to directly respond to customer questions or complaints, building a stronger reputation and customer service program in the process.

Social media silence = death
If you find your company on the defense, make sure you respond quickly and efficiently. Companies no longer have the luxury of waiting a week, a day, or even a few hours to issue a press release to tell their side of the story.

When bad news breaks, respond quickly. Social media is all about instant connections, so clients have little patience for a company that takes their time responding to a bad situation.

Build strong relationships with industry leaders
Almost every industry has a blog (or blogs) dedicated to it. Popular and well respected bloggers have quite a bit of power when it comes to a business’s online reputation. A popular blog reaches thousands of people a day, so what they say has a far-reaching effect. Having a popular blog author on your side means you have their unspoken endorsement.

It also means that you have a strong support network if someone starts attacking your company online. Having a community of industry leaders on your side is a great way to defend your company’s online reputation.

Keep communication lines open
One of the easiest ways to hurt your online reputation is to shut yourself off from clients and prospects. If you don’t allow them to communicate with you (for better AND for worse), you are removing yourself from the conversation.

Encourage your customers to write online reviews about your company. Thank the ones who write a good review, and definitely reach out to the ones who weren’t as positive.

Customers are the lifeblood of any business, and communicating with them quickly and honestly will build a strong and positive online reputation.

The best way to manage your online reputation? Be proactive. Invest the time to build a solid social media reputation and before you need to defend your company from attacks or criticism.

Put Your PDA To Use: Six Tech Tools For A Healthier You

Forget going to the weight room or penciling calories into a food journal.

Tons of new technologies have been designed to help you get fit fast and conveniently. Check out these tech-savvy tools to aid in physical fitness.

Wi-Fi Scale
The advanced Withings scale, which measures weight and body fat, automatically sends your daily statistics to your phone or computer. You can then monitor your weight over time, catch patterns and set goals. The scale allows multiple users, so the whole family can lose weight together.

It might look like a run-of-the-mill bathroom scale, but the Withings scale is WiFi-enabled to track your weight directly on your computer.

Tweet What You Eat
While there are many food journal sites out there, Tweet What You Eat should particularly please the health-minded nerd in all of us.

The system syncs with your Twitter account so that you can send it messages throughout the day about your eating habits.

It also lets you log your weight and tallies daily caloric totals. SMSenabled Twitter lets you record your weight via text message, so you can keep up with your journal from anywhere – at a restaurant, on the street or in your kitchen.

While your food log can be kept private, many users find the public atmosphere of Twitter particularly motivating.

Body Bugg
Finally – a device that calculates exactly how many calories you burn in a day. Worn on an arm band 24/7, it provides accurate and detailed information about caloric expenditure and heart rate.

While it will track calories burned during exercise, the device is especially useful for learning how much daily activities – like house cleaning or playing with your kids – actually burn calories.

Any dieter knows that weight loss is a matter of calories in and calories out. The Body Bugg has calories out covered.

Wii Fit
While you might not have played a video game since you were a kid, Wii Fit is designed for users of all ages and health levels. The console guides you through all fitness needs, from cardio to strength training to yoga.

It even lets you chart your progress by calculating activity levels and body mass index. Cheaper than a gym subscription and certainly more fun, a Wii Fit in your living room leaves no excuse not to exercise.

Mobile Apps
There are hundreds of apps out there to help you reach your fitness goals.

Some of our favorites include Lose It!, which helps you track your daily calories and exercise; Fitness, a comprehensive database of exercise tips and videos; and iTreadmill, which turns your iPhone into a pedometer. Since you already carry mobile devices everywhere, apps might be the most convenient way to get healthy.

Should Your Small Business Have A Blog?

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

By now, everyone is familiar with socal networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Businesses and business owners are flocking to these sites to promote their companies and their brands. And with socal networking all the rage, blogging has become the forgotten stepchild of web marketing for small business. But this doesn’t make sense.

Blogging can be one of the most effective marketing tools for the small business owner because it’s easy to start, it’s easy to maintain, and it’s easy to leverage in enhancing your marketing mix. Here are some reasons why you should consider a blog for your company.

Improve Search Engine Rankings
Google, Yahoo and Bing LOVE blogs. They’re indexed almost overnight, and usually rank high in the search engine results. This helps you drive more qualified traffic to your website.

Engage with Prospective Customers
Blogging presents a unique opportunity to engage in dialog with your prospective customers on a continual basis. Anytime a new prospect visits your blog, you immediately leverage the vast arsenal of posts, comments and writing to help sell your products or services.

Dig Deeper
The pace of business is fast. Blogging is an opportunity to dig into a particular subject a little deeper without slowing down. You can write an extended blog post, or you can break up your thoughts into a dozen posts related to a particular topic.

Improve Your Writing Skills
One of the biggest benefits to blogging is the opportunity to improve your writing skills. Ideally, you’re going to post several times a week – frequent writing and editing means your writing skills will improve – which helps the rest of your marketing efforts, too.

Be Unique
Let’s face it – most business marketing materials like company brochures are incredibly boring. Blogging lets you put a little personality into your marketing. Customers and prospects get to see the real you, and your uniqueness could be the difference between you winning the business, and your competitor winning.

Listen and Learn
Read all the blog comments and email you receive, and read the comments on other blogs about your writings. Learn what your customers and prospects are thinking.

Test Ideas
Innovation is the engine that drives business growth. A blog is an excellent platform to test thoughts and ideas in a risk-free environment.

Become An Expert
Prove your expertise to new prospective customers with your knowledge and insights.

Supplement Your Other Marketing
Support your other marketing investments by leveraging your blog for promotion, marketing and feedback.

Get Subscribers
Many readers who like what you write will subscribe to your blog, providing you with a direct, ongoing communications channel with your target audience.

Uncover New Opportunities
The more you blog, the more opportunities will present themselves to you. You’ll gain a reputation as an expert in your field, which means clients and prospects are already sold on your ability to deliver results.

Tech Experts maintains two blog sites for our clients. The first,, is a blog written and maintained by our technical staff. It offers interesting ideas and timely technical advice based on our daily service work.

My blog at offers some of my insights on small business computing with an eye toward growing your company.

We offer a blog hosting package, that will work alongside your existing website. For example, if your website was at, we could set up a blog site for you at (or at any domain name you’d like).

If you’re interested in learning more about blogging, or would like to set up a blog site for your business, please give us a call at (734) 457-5000.

What Should You Blog About?

What is going on in your industry right now? Look for interviews given by industry leaders, tips, opinion pieces, research, news, and posts from other bloggers. Find out who are the main bloggers in your field, and then determine what new or alternative context you can provide.

These all can give you ideas for your posts. While you might not be unconvering big news, you should concentrate on generating thought leadership by stating your own view of that’s going on in your industry.

Be Alert: Actively monitor your industry with Google Alerts, Technorati, and Blogpulse.

Get a Nose for News: Keep on top of big issues with news aggregators like Google News, Techmeme, and Topix.

Then, go beyond the news and try to describe your own experiences, interests, expertise, case studies, etc. Personal stories can often resonate with your readers.