digital

How to Make LinkedIn Connections Without Being Creepy

LinkedIn has made networking, connecting with your dream employer, and finding new clients easier than ever before. But you only get one shot at a first impression, and unfortunately, most people miss the mark.

And in the digital world where you may never meet a connection in person, that first impression may be the only chance to connect with someone.

It’s safe to say there’s a little bit of pressure here, but knowing LinkedIn etiquette makes it even easier to reach out to new contacts when you’re new to the game. With that in mind, here’s how to make connections on LinkedIn without being creepy.

Make sure your profile is up to date

Before you start reaching out, make sure your LinkedIn profile is optimized so that you’re making a great first impression. Update your professional headshot, work experience, summary, and headline before reaching out.

Research your target

Before you engage with strangers, know a little bit about precisely who you would like to connect with. What company do they work for? What position are they in? What can you find about them on Facebook? Look for any personal connections or common experiences you can note that may come in handy – just don’t take it too far.

Briefly introduce yourself to new contacts

Though some may recommend skipping this step entirely, a quick salute to your name and profession may bring light to the reason for your inquiry. You wouldn’t just get right to your pitch at a networking event without a formal introduction, would you? (If so, you should read this.)

Get to the point

Be sure to share your intent in the first message you send, because you may not have another. Beyond that, no one appreciates the suspense of the dreaded words “can we talk?” without knowing the purpose behind the conversation. Briefly and concisely state your purpose for connecting in two short sentences or less.

Ask a question for the next step

Instead of ending your message with a “thank you” or “I look forward to hearing from you,” end your message asking if you can email them or if they have time for a 15-minute call the following week.

Asking a question will more likely enable you to receive a reply.

Making connections on LinkedIn may just help lead you to a new position, new hire, or new client.

Don’t feel overwhelmed, and follow these simple steps to get started connecting with people online.

How to Monitor Your SEO

Though it may not seem very glamorous, carving out time on a weekly or monthly basis to monitor your SEO can help you shift and refocus your efforts drastically.

Considering that in 2017 Google changed its algorithm 13 times, it is critical to stay up to date on SEO trends so you’re not left behind.

Here are six easy steps to monitor your SEO, and stay on track with your marketing strategy.

Use Google Analytics & Search Console

Google Analytics and Search Console will allow you to begin tracking data for free, so take advantage. Google Analytics is extremely user-friendly and offers extensive tracking data and different options to report your traffic.

Understanding these tools will enable you to quickly spot trends on your website based on your target demographic, click through rate, and other important data that we’ll continue to discuss below.

Google Search Console will provide more extensive reports not found in Analytics, like your keyword queries.

Monitor your organic traffic

Your organic traffic is based upon the people who are finding you in a search engine by looking for your brand, offer, or product – and not by paid ads. Therefore, it’s important to know who’s visiting, where they’re visiting from, and how much they engage with your website.

Look at your data and study how many people are on your website, how long they stay, and what they’re searching for. All of these data points will help you analyze and adjust accordingly. Ask yourself, “what changes can I implement to be more visible and engage my audience longer?.”

Review your conversion rate

Organic traffic is critical, but once you’re past that milestone, your focus should be on selling.

Your conversions should not be limited to just selling, however. Depending on where you are in your business, your conversion rate could simply be having users take one designated call to action on your website. Maybe it’s taking the action to sign up for your email list, or following your directive to read your blog.

You won’t be able to monitor what you don’t measure, so setting up goals will allow you to see your conversion rate. On the GA or Google Analytics Dashboard, select Conversions > Goals > Overview, and set up goals just like the tab directs below.

Whether it be a destination, duration, or event goal, setting up these objectives will help you measure and define success.

Know your top pages for organic traffic

What pages are performing well? What pages does your target audience spend the most time on? Where is most of your traffic being directed? Take note, because these are the pages that are performing well.

But then, what pages are your lowest ranking pages, or exit pages? It’s critical to note at what point your audience is becoming disengaged, and thus leaves your website. If they’re becoming disinterested on your blog, be sure your calls to action are updated.

If your sales page isn’t converting, redefine your funnel. Knowing your highest and lowest ranking pages will help you celebrate your wins, but also retarget and reframe your losses.

Review your keywords

Using a free tool like SEMrush will help you stay on top of your keywords – because they can and will change over time, based upon what your audience is searching.

Are there words you would like to rank for but just haven’t yet? Then you can adjust your content marketing strategy. Try publishing blogs based on those keywords, or creating a free guide based on your audience’s search queries, and analyzing the results after a month of posting them.

Check your click through rate

Your click through rate is the percentage of people clicking your link once they see it rank in the search engine. You’ll want to revert back to Google Search Console, and here you’ll be able to view your total clicks, and the queries used to visit your website. Knowing your CTR, or click through rate, will help you understand once again how your target audience is finding you. But before you jump to changing all of your content, note that your titles or page descriptions can also have a high impact on your CTR.

Regardless of whether you’ve monitored your SEO for the first time after reading this article or if it’s your 100th time, stick with it. Continually monitoring your data and reevaluating your goals will set you up to continue ranking higher over time.

The Best Email Service Providers for Your Needs

If you’ve read an article or two on my blog, you’ve probably picked up on the importance of email marketing (if not, start with this one about your strategy.)

In today’s day and age, 95 percent of companies are taking advantage of email marketing. The ones who are not risk being left behind.

Whether you’re selling a product, service, blog, or personal brand, you NEED to build an email list. Depending on your needs, here are some of the best platforms to get you started.

ConvertKit

Building a personal brand, blog, or consider yourself a full time creative? Consider looking into ConvertKit. This platform is incredibly user-friendly and offers quite a few easy to use features to begin building your list.

With a visual builder comparable to Squarespace, ConvertKit also enables you to make Email Marketing Workflows. Platforms like Squarespace who have begun introducing email marketing campaigns have yet to introduce this feature, but it’s one essential to list building and staying in touch with prospects.

Though it’s priced higher than other platforms starting at $29 a month, it may just save you back precious time.

MailChimp

Why do we love MailChimp? Because you can start building lists for FREE.

If you’re bootstrapped into a low budget while getting off the ground, MailChimp is your best friend. It’s been around for quite a while and integrates with reputable platforms like Salesforce, Zapier, Eventbrite, and Shopify to name a few.

Though the platform isn’t as user-friendly, if you’re a smaller website looking to grow, MailChimp is an excellent starting point. And if you run into trouble, there’s plenty of resources about this platform to help you get back on track.

InfusionSoft by Keap

If you’re a growing business and have the budget for this all in one platform, InfusionSoft by Keap may be for you. Now known as Keap, this platform is the best of both worlds including both CRM (Customer Relationship Management, a tool used to manage all of your client conversations and data) and automated email marketing. Though it’s a bit pricier of an option (starting at $99 a month) keep in mind most CRM platforms are priced higher than this rate. But if you’re looking to build your list through content marketing, this platform is a must.

Constant Contact

As a small business primarily selling products, Constant Contact has quickly moved to the top of the list for most email marketers. Considering it provides access to an event management tool, download coupons added directly to your social media platforms, Facebook ad integrations, a diverse image library, audience segmentation, on top of the automation features offered by every other platform, it’s no wonder Constant Contact has become so popular. Pricing starts at $20 a month.

Drip

Another new platform, Drip has quickly generated attention marketing itself as the world’s first ECRM platform (CRM designed specifically for e-commerce.)

This platform is extremely friendly for beginners and is specifically notable for their email segmenting capability, visual workflow, marketing automation, and email segmenting. With plenty of integration capability, Drip is an incredible option to explore. Drip is actually free up to 100 subscribers and then jumps to $49 a month for 2,500 subscribers.

ActiveCampaign 

Starting at only $9 a month, ActiveCampaign is another all in one platform combining email marketing and CRM. With marketing automation and messaging features, ActiveCampaign is used by bloggers, marketing agencies, ECommerce stores, SaaS businesses, and even for higher education.

One unique feature is that this platform can actually track onsite events. For instance, you can track billing through your apps incoming calls, all of which that can be utilized in their CRM to create better customer conversation. If you’re a marketing company or agency, this one is worth looking into.

SendinBlue

Last but not least, SendinBlue is another easy to use beginner friendly platform. Users can create transactional emails, workflows, and segment users. Their free plan allows you to send 300 emails daily, and create campaigns without prior knowledge. Their free account offers unlimited contacts, with a cap of 9,000 emails each month.

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