4 Keys to Guest Posting Success

Whether you guest post regularly or it is something you truly need to do more of, knowing the various benefits that guest posting offers is something you should definitely be on top of.

That said is your brand doing all it can with guest posting? For instance, have you reached out to countless blogs to see if you can guest post to them on a regular basis? If not, why is that? Some business owners will state that they do not have the time (or patience for that matter) to do all that reach out, only to have many publishers come back and respectfully decline. In the process, the former are denied yet another opportunity to promote their brands.

In the event guest posting has not been a big priority for you up to this point and time, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to change that thinking moving forward, allowing you to grow your website traffic. So that you know how to best take advantage of guest posting for your brand, remember these four tips:

1. Identify a message

What exactly are you looking to accomplish with guest posting in the first place?

If you’re on top of your game, you know that guest posting can direct more eyes towards your website–traffic that very well can turn into dollar signs sooner rather than later. That said make sure your message is loud and clear. When guest blogging; don’t make it all about your brand.

For one, there’s a good chance many publishers will not run your guest post if it comes across as too self-promotional. Google and other search engines are likely to penalize too, so be wary of posts where it is heavy on the “me” factor and light on the “we factor. Rather write the posts to help consumers learn more about your general industry, giving them information they may have trouble finding elsewhere.

Lastly, you can still run a link back to your website, one that doesn’t come across as spam.

Credit: Pixabay

2. Write with Authority

Keep in mind that both publishers and consumers like reading articles with some meat to them. That said, always look to write with authority when providing guest posts to others. While guest posting for your marketing needs, you still need to consider the needs of those you are talking to.

What can your audience learn from each and every guest post you craft? Will they have a guest post to read that they simply can’t find anywhere else? Finally, will your post resonate with them months after it has gone live?

When you write with authority, you stand a much better chance of being recognized as authoritative and relevant, two keys to success oftentimes in the business world.

3. Promote your posts

When you guest post for other sites, you can’t fall down on the job in terms of promoting those efforts on social media. Be sure you promote those posts without any reminders from publishers, doing it on your own because you know about the benefits that will come from it.

As an example, if you tweet out a guest post on Twitter that you (or your company) have authored, it stands to reason that other folks on Twitter (some following you and those seeing the relevant hashtags) will retweet your post. With that occurring, your post (and your brand) now gets more attention.

4. Keep chugging along

Last but not least, guest posting takes time and effort. Yes, that also translates into being committed. It can be easy after doing a few guest posts to figure you made some inroads, so no need to write for a period of time.

Unfortunately, guest posting doesn’t work that way. In order to have a real impact with guest posting, you have to keep hammering away time and time again with the articles. Always do your best to not only keep the ideas and the posts coming, but also to know what your message should be to those consumers you haven’t reached just yet.

 

About the Author: Dave Thomas writes about marketing and business topics on the web.

Is It Time For A New Warehouse Management Solution?

Your warehouse management system (WMS) is instrumental in managing everything from order fulfillment to keeping on top of your inventory. That means your WMS has an impact on many aspects of your business, including efficiency and cost effectiveness, accuracy of order fulfillment, customer satisfaction and how much profit you make!

If your warehouse management system is lacking, your business will suffer. Is it time you looked for a new warehouse management solution? Here are 7 signs to watch out for:

1. You’re In Paperwork Hell

A WMS should reduce the need for paperwork and make managing your warehouse much easier. Drowning in paperwork slows down your operations in several ways. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • Order confirmations are delayed while you wait for the right paperwork.
  • You have to deal with filing and storing all those pieces of paper.
  • Things get misplaced or end up with the wrong person.
  • Your staff have to waste time hunting down the right piece of paperwork.
  • Doing accounts takes a long time because you have to gather all the right paperwork first.
  • Inaccurate or incomplete records because no one could find the right paperwork.
  • Lost or delayed orders.
  • Incorrectly filled paperwork leading to a chain of frustrating events.

If paperwork is taking up your time and energy, then your WMS isn’t doing its job. Investing in a WMS that eliminates all but the most necessary paperwork is a solid investment in the efficiency and productivity of your business.

2. Your Workers Aren’t Time Efficient

The picking, packing and receiving processes are prime spots for time wasting and inefficiencies. It’s so easy to keep doing things the way you’ve always done them, without realizing how much that’s costing your business. Your workers should be able to pick, pack, receive or shelve items swiftly and efficiently without wasting time or effort. If they’re making redundant trips, wasting time going back and forth, or doubling back on their route, then they’re not time efficient. A new WMS will make managing your worker’s routes so much easier. The right WMS makes it easy to steamline systems and routes for the best possible use of your workers’ time.

3. You’re Seeing Far Too Many Lost Packages Or Customer Complaints

If you want your business to thrive, you’ll want to avoid these problems:

  • Orders going missing.
  • Orders getting delayed and going out late.
  • Incorrect orders getting shipped out

Wrong, late or lost orders reflect poorly on your business and will make your customers frustrated and unhappy with you. They won’t be so likely to do business with you in the future – and if they start talking about their experiences on forums or social media, your reputation could suffer. Happy customers who are delighted with the speed and efficiency of your service are the kind of customers who will order again. They’re the ones who will leave you five star reviews and recommend you to their friends and colleagues.

4. Your Business Is Expanding

Expanding your business is an exciting time It’s also the best time to take a look at your current WMS and make sure it’s up to the challenge of serving your expanding business. Perhaps you’ve recently added online ordering. Maybe you’ve increased your inventory or added a whole new product line. Or perhaps you’ve started finding and taking advantage of lots of new opportunities for your business. All of these are exciting developments – and all of them need a WMS that’s up to the task.

5. You Need To Simplify Your IT

IT is there to serve your business and help everything run seamlessly. If your current IT is giving you a headache, it’s time for a change. Here are some common indications that it’s time to simplify your IT:

  • You’re opening a new location and your current IT doesn’t have the capacity to expand to include it.
  • Your current system is old and inefficient and leaves you standing around while you wait for it to do what you want it to do.
  • Carrying out IT tasks is time consuming and counter intuitive.
  • Your current IT doesn’t play well with other IT systems in your business.

The right IT solution supports your business and makes it easy to streamline your warehouse processes. If your current WMS isn’t doing that, your business well benefit from an upgrade to a system that does.

6. You’re Working With New Technology

As your business grows and new technology becomes available, you might find your current WMS struggling to keep up. Whether you’ve changed the way your staff clocks in and out or upgraded your ordering system, if your WMS isn’t equipped to handle it you could run into problems and frustrations in the future.
Whenever you implement new technology, ask yourself if your WMS can handle it. Check thoroughly to see if your current WMS jives well with the new technology you’re using, and whether or not your current set up is ready to handle it.

7. It’s Just Not Efficient

This one is straightforward. The role of your WMS is to save you money, save you time, make your warehouse processes the most efficient they can be, make picking, packing, inventory management and all the other day to day tasks as effortless as possible, and cut down on human error.

Ask yourself if your WMS is doing all of those things. If it’s not, it’s time to find a WMS that can do all those things for your business.

Your warehouse management solution is the glue that holds your warehouse together and keeps everything where it’s supposed to be. If things are looking a bit ragged around the seams, an upgrade will give your warehouse a much-needed boost of productivity and efficiency.

“Stop Thinking Like an Association” to Debut at ASAE Annual Meeting Led by John Foley, Jr. and Samantha Lake

ilinklogo_280WILMINGTON, Mass. – (August 1, 2016) John Foley, Jr., CEO of interlinkONE, Inc. and strategic association advisor, and Samantha Lake, Vice President of Association Marketing Services for Grow Socially, will present a one-of-a-kind learning lab session at the 2016 American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah. This high energy and insightful discussion, titled “Stop Thinking Like an Association,” will take place on Monday, August 15, 2016 from 4:00 – 5:00 pm MDT.

As we move deeper in to the digital age, associations often find themselves stuck in the rut of “business as usual.” Guided by John and Samantha, attendees will transform their mindset from that of an association, to that of an entrepreneur; ready to take risks, embrace change, and welcome challenges. Attendees will leave the session with an entirely new outlook on what it means to lead an association. John and Samantha will open the minds of participants to a culture that values forward thinking, creative problem solving, and team work by highlighting the benefits this mindset can bring.

“I am both excited and honored to present with Samantha at this year’s ASAE Annual Meeting and to share crucial knowledge to those attending. Too often, associations find themselves saying ‘we’ve always done it that way.’ Our goal is to change that mindset and I can say with complete confidence that this presentation will do just that,” said Foley.

The sixty minute session is open to all ASAE Annual attendees. Those who are among the first to arrive will receive a surprise gift box packed full of valuable tools to help along the journey to success. John and Samantha are allowing attendees to pre-register for both the session and the gift box to ensure a seat and a box. Registration for the session and the gift box will be available at Association Marketer. Sign up for the Association Marketer eNewsletter to be notified when this registration becomes available.

Registration for the conference is separate through the ASAE Annual Meeting website: http://ilink.me/ASAEReg

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, interlinkONE, Inc. provides a collection of innovative marketing software solutions including MAX, a powerful and user-friendly marketing automation tool. Designed to take the stress out of communication with members and prospects, MAX gets the right message to the right people at the perfect time, and on a platform suitable to them. This intuitive system lets users build campaigns that deliver compelling content to their audience, promote awareness, build relationships, and educate. And with MAX’s easy-to-use system, anyone can use it; no expertise required. To learn more about MAX and how you can stay in front of your members visit MarketWithMAX.com.

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Media Contact:
Donna Vieira
Vice President, Marketing
interlinkONE, Inc.
donnav@interlinkONE.com

How In-Plants Can Use Cross Media: Part II

Missed part I of this mini series? Please click here to read my previous post!

What cross media channels can my in-plant facility choose from?

The list of channels available today can be overwhelming. Before we get into the different channels available, a word of advice: choose a few key channels that you think will work best for your target audience, and build on them as you go. Trying to blast your message to all channels at once can spread your message too thin, so it gets lost in the marketing chatter consumers face every day.

CrossMediaLifecycleHere’s a brief breakdown of a few different types of channels you can use:

  • Traditional / Offline: This includes direct mail, signage and billboards, television, radio, and events. Just because all the cool kids are on social media these days doesn’t mean they’re not still consuming these traditional channels, so you shouldn’t drop them either.
  • Social Media: It’s the 900-lb. gorilla in the room, so let’s talk about it next. Social media is so crucial because your audience is likely to be using it on a daily basis. Twitter has more than 300 million active monthly users, generating more than 500 million tweets every day. Facebook is the bigger of the two giants, with more than a billion active users. And those users are more than happy to interact with their favorite brands on social media; Coca Cola’s Facebook page has more than 92 million followers. Imagine having the ear of that many potential customers!
  • Your Website (preferably optimized for mobile): It may seem obvious, but your website is another marketing channel. Optimize it for mobile (meaning your site displays nicely on smartphones and tablets), and you’ve got two channels in one.
  • Mobile: This includes mobile apps, which can take a number of different forms depending on your business and your customers’ needs.

Those are just a few of your choices; your final mix will depend on which channels your customers are likely to consume. More on that next:

How can we incorporate cross media into our marketing plan?

So you’re sold on cross media. Great! But…how do you get started? Probably the simplest way is to find places where you can incorporate it into your current marketing plan.

Sending a direct mail campaign? Use key elements from it on your social media platforms, and allow customers to respond to the campaign via social channels. For example, you could run a contest, advertise it via direct mail, and let customers tweet their entries on Twitter.

The most important thing to remember when using cross media is to keep your brand image consistent across channels. Use the same images, and adapt the same messages for different channels. You want your brand voice to sound the same no matter where your customers hear it.

Cross media marketing can be a powerful addition to your marketing toolkit. Keep your customers’ preferences and needs in mind, and your cross media campaign could give your profits and brand image a big boost.

I hope you enjoyed this two-part mini series on how in-plants can use cross media marketing to improve their results. Please comment below with any additional comments or feedback!

Which Social Networks Should Be a Priority for Your Association?

With limited resources and a wide variety of social networks to choose from, many associations find themselves asking, “What should be the number one social media outlet to pursue?”

Unfortunately, there is no easy way of answering this because each social site is so unique. They each provide their own benefits, and associations would be able to use and benefit from each of them in different ways. Here is a breakdown of how you can use four of the top social media channels.

  1. Social_Media_Image_PurchasedYouTube. This requires low management maintenance. Whenever you create a video, you should upload it and share it with your audience in different ways. You can embed it into your website, email marketing blasts, share it on other social networks, embed it into online profiles, and have QR codes direct to them. If you enjoy being creative with your marketing efforts and you tend to be more of a visual person, preferring to give a face to a name and show your audience how your association can help them, YouTube should definitely be a utilized channel.
  2. Twitter. Twitter requires the most management, but also has the most benefits. First of all, its outreach and engagement opportunities are very extensive. There are many tools out there that can help you search for leads and existing contacts (contact me if you need help with this!). You can also initiate relationships by following people, and if they know you or have heard of your association, they will typically follow you back and interact. You can also embed your Twitter feed with your personal and Company Page LinkedIn updates (more on that in just a minute). Some tools even let you update your Facebook through Twitter. By syncing up social networks with each other, it can cover a lot more ground with just one post. Another benefit with Twitter is its hashtag feature. The best examples of hashtag usage would be during events. If you go to an event, attendees and vendors are able to include the hashtag (such as #BestEvent) within their tweets, which will make their posts show up in the #BestEvent Twitter feed. This is a great way of finding people at the show, engaging with them, and simply sharing your experience of the show with others. However, be mindful that there are a lot of tweets out there, so you must be consistent with your posts in order to position yourself as a thought leader who provides information but who also engages with their audience as well.
  3. LinkedIn. This network requires low management and has a more professional setting compared to others. Everyone should belong to this network because LinkedIn members appear within or close to the top five Google searches when their name is searched for. This helps encourage connections and relationships and it makes it easy for members and prospects to find you. Personal profiles also give you the capability of sharing your website, social networks, more information about your association, and many other types of information. If people want to learn more about you professionally, LinkedIn gives them the chance to do so, and then gives them the option to connect with you. While you are on LinkedIn, if your work email has its own domain, build a Company Page for your association. This gives the opportunity for all of your coworkers/employees to be under one network. LinkedIn Company Pages also give you the opportunity to promote your services, update members, and connect prospects with sales reps and more! You can also keep it updated by posting regular Company Page statuses. I would recommend sticking with 1-3 status updates each week to start, and try to focus on association news/industry news that your target audience would be interested in.
  4. Facebook. Facebook requires a medium level of management. My recommended amount of posts for Facebook is 4-5 posts per week, possibly a little more if there is an event happening that you are participating in. Sharing industry-related information in different mediums, such as photos, YouTube videos, blog posts, or articles, is a great way to engage with your Facebook audience. Your audience in this channel usually consists of existing members who enjoy being a part of and trust your association, and prospects who are interested in your organization, events, and services. Facebook fans usually join your page in order to stay in the loop with what is new. Posting pictures and YouTube videos of members and workers at your association is also great content and allows your audience to better connect with your organization. This social network is meant to focus on humanizing your association. So if you have an existing dedicated fan base who is online and wants to stay in the loop, Facebook may be your top priority.

At the end of the day, every association has its own unique audience. Think about where your audience is and how they enjoy learning about the type of services you have to offer. Once you discover these key components, determining which social media networks are the right ones for your organization will become more apparent. No matter which one you choose though, each network is great for enhancing your association’s search optimization. The more you update them, the higher they will rise in search results, plus, the bigger your networks are, the more potential you have of sending members and prospects to your website.

Evaluating Your Organization’s Target Market

Have you taken a good look at your organization’s target market lately? If not, it’s time you did. One of the keys to running a successful business is identifying the needs of your customers and making sure you provide for those needs. As the saying goes, if you don’t ask, you’ll never know, and there’s never been a better time to ask.

Why You Need to Re-Evaluate Your Market

Business sectors are always growing and changing. Perhaps a sector will see a shift in demographics such as attracting more people of a certain age bracket or gender into a field. Perhaps as as time passes old issues will get resolved and new ones will come to the fore. There may be changes in the law or in technology, or simply in how things are done. It all adds up to a changing face for the business sector at hand.

For your organization, that means the field in which you operate is changing. If you want to show your customers that you understand their current needs and concerns, you need to get up to date with what is happening in your field – and with your audience.

idea_lightbulbHow to Get Answers

There are two main places to go when you want to re-evaluate your market – your business sectors and your customers.

To make sure your organization is right on the pulse of what is happening in your field, make it a priority to stay up to date by keeping tabs on:

  • Social media
  • Related news topics
  • Professional journals and papers
  • Online sources of information such as blogs and forums
  • Face to face opportunities such as trade shows and networking

When it comes to your customers, you need to keep abreast of their current concerns by listening to them and asking questions. You can start by:

  • Paying attention to what your customers and others in your field are talking about on social media
  • Listening to what your customers tell you at networking events via email or any other time or method in which they contact you
  • Asking questions – from an informal question on Facebook to sending out a customer feedback survey, make time to listen and find out what is on their minds

By keeping as up to date as possible, you will be able to evaluate the needs of your audience and the sector in which your business operates. That all adds up to current and useful knowledge that you can use to evaluate what your organization offers and how well that fits in with the current landscape and needs. The result? You will stay relevant and establish your businessas a reliable source of information and support that understands what is happening here and now.