Author Archives | Caitlynn Cush

Pinterest Search Ads: Latest In Social Media Marketing

Recently Pinterest announces it’s latest feature: Search Ads. This advance towards a more strategic search advertising platform is a huge for Pinterest.

The new function allows businesses to run ads using keywords. Pinterest integrated Search Ads will now give businesses both large and small a way to run ads that show up among other relevant content.  Since Pinterest is a visual entity, ads will of course be visually based – heavy on the engaging images and less on the textual aspects.

According to the Business2Community, “Beyond showing up in relevant searches, this feature update includes improved targeting and reporting options, however the details have yet to be released. Nonetheless, with better data and audience insights, brands can more successfully target their audiences with ads that represent their current wants and needs.”

Pinterest created a short video to show how ads will work within its platform.

 

Posted in Social Media Marketing0 Comments

5 Tips To Get You Noticed At Your Next Marketing Event

Both big and small marketing events such as AdTech and Social Media Week often have even the most outgoing marketers huddling in the corner. Coming from someone that sometimes has difficulties breaking the ice in social situations, you all have my sympathies. It can indeed be a daunting task to have numerous networking possibilities right at arm’s length but have absolutely no idea where to even start with your conversation.

There are some sure-fire ways to beat that anxiety knot brewing in your stomach. Tips and tricks that will both make you look and feel confident.  

Here are a few tips to capture the attention of potential clients and associates.

Get Social (Media)

The time to begin putting yourself out there to both clients and prospective customers is not when you walk through the convention doors, but weeks to a month in advance of the event.  This does not mean sending out (email) blasts after blasts filled with mysterious and obnoxious hints that promise them the moon.  Instead, take the reality approach by simply informing your contacts that you will be at the event and that  your booth (if your business should have one) is worth visiting. If you don’t have a booth, possibly choose a restaurant, diner, or pub with a meeting time.

Make a Plan

When you are prepared and have a plan, you are more likely to walk out of the networking event with the right connections. Before you even pack your bags for your next event, do a little research and find out who is going and who isn’t.

  • Make a list of the people that you would like to connect with.
  • Choose those that you believe will further your professional goals.
  • Take the list with you, if you walk into the event and freeze, pull the list out and regroup.

Dress for Impact

Like it or not, how you look is often the first thing that others notice about you. Often, within a few seconds of walking into an event room, others have formed an opinion about you just based solely on what you are wearing.

Not only will an appropriate outfit give you confidence, you are less likely to get looked passed when you approach that guru you have been following for over a decade.  

Let the outfit of your choice speak for you. Your outfit can tell others a lot about who you are.  Rather than choosing an outfit that blends you into the crowd as a whole, pick something that will have you standing out apart from the masses. High-contrast colors and bold styles are a start.

Instead of throwing on your everyday suit, think about what can give you that little extra pop. Red your color? Choose a bright red tie, socks, or even blazer. 

Have an Elevator Speech Prepared

Of course, people are going to ask about you, your business, and your plans for growth. Be able to explain what you do and why you do it in about 30 seconds. If you can weave in a short story with it all the better.  People tend to remember or associate people with tidbits of information that they can recall easily.  

Use Your Voice

Nerves often tend to bring out the worst in us. For instance, up swinging your voice at the end of a sentence will cause your statement to sound more like a question. Another common mistake that can deter others from you and your business pitch is filling your sentences with the word “like” or the dreaded “Umm.”

Gurus and other networking starts speak with purpose and certainty.  They know exactly what they are going to say and aren’t afraid to say it. By lowering the tone of their voices just enough to command attention, they exude the confidence of someone that knows their subject backwards and forwards. A confident voice is the finishing touch to your confident, powerful image.  

 

Getting noticed at marketing events shouldn’t be a daunting task or one that has you breaking out in hives.  Use the above tips to project confidence and pretty soon you will feel it too.

 

Posted in Affiliate Marketing0 Comments

Let’s Go Back In Time – Content Marketing Edition [Infographic]

Content marketing new? Heck no! Content marketing has been around in it’s current state for about 100 years now.

Uberflip released an infographic showing the history of this marketing method, which goes all the way back to the time of the cavemen.  Yes, cavemen.  The earliest signs of communication via content on the walls of caves, which is really just a big infographic.

To see the history of content marketing, right up to 2017, check out the infographic below.

Posted in Content Creation0 Comments

4 Common Email Phrases that Make Readers Hit Delete

The written word can more often than not be misunderstood or misconstrued. The make up for the tone of voice that is unmistakable in person, you have got to carefully and tactfully choose the proper phrasing.

For instance, I find that when I’m personally writing a message (be it text, email, or message) to my friends or family I tend to overuse the exclamation point or CAPS to indicate my exuberance towards a particular subject. Sometimes, though, not even an excited piece of punctuation is able to fully get my feelings across to the reader properly.  Or worse, my words are misunderstood in a negative way.

Before you dash off a hasty email correspondence – broadcast message to your list, customer service message, or even a simple message to a colleague – check out these common but mentally unpopular lines that could have your readers opting out faster than it took you to hit send.

“Whatever you think”

This is normally uttered following a request for input, and in day-to-day life might be a perfectly fine response for where you want to go to dinner. In the business world, if the request was sincere but you either don’t have the time to deal with the back and forth or you believe your initial suggestion was truly the way to go, the three little words will very much convey your true feelings on the matter.

“Just”

Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, co-founders of Food52, once commented that adding “just” to your emails makes you seem less confident. After taking a look at previous emails I’ve sent, I really have to agree.

“Just checking in” or “Just wanted to ask a question” downplays your request to actually get the ball rolling. Clearly you aren’t just checking in; your time is valuable and you deserve to know what is going on.

“Actually”

“Actually” may very well be the new “literally” or “basically” in emails. The problem with the word, is that it is often misused or thrown in where it doesn’t stylistically make sense.

“Kind of”

This one is self-explanatory really, or it should be. Using “kind of” or it’s equally disturbing counterpart “sort of” in an email comes across as vague or wishy washy, as if you aren’t totally committing to your thought.

 

 

Posted in Email Marketing0 Comments

5 Tips That Will Keep Your WordPress Site Secure

It’s a new year, with a whole heck of a lot of changes happening on our little spec of dust that we call Earth. This makes it the perfect time to do a security check on your WordPress site.

Think of it as an annual check-up but for your website. A time to make certain all is running smoothly and nailed down securely enough to keep those pesky hackers out of your business. Taking the time to go through the checks and balances now could save you not only added expenses but a huge headache in the future.

Let’s face it, any downtime that your site suffers equates to potential income lost by you!

Start with the following 5 tips that will keep your site secure and safe:

1. Strong Admin Credentials

If you happened to use an installer when you set up your WordPress site such as Softaculous, you might have noticed that their one click installation defaults to admin as the username and pass as the password. I certainly hope that you changed that. If not, that’s the first thing you can check off your list for fool-proof ways of getting hacked.

You are probably saying to yourself, “Why would anyone want to hack my site?” Understand, that there are thousands upon thousands of bots being run around the clock attempting to guess your wp-admin page. Yes, yours too. Keep in mind, that once they gain access it now becomes their site to do with however they wish. Think of the possibilities.  All your hard work, themes, content, plugins… gone!

This can easily be solved by using a simple password generator such as the following:

2.  Update often

We have all seen those pesky messages that greet us at the top of our dashboard. True, I’ve often been tempted to ignore them a little longer than is prudent.  However, I’m here to tell you that keeping your core code up to date is not only an necessary evil, but could save you hours of frustration in the future.

WordPress does indeed have an auto update option, which in my opinion should likely be mandatory.  True enough, it can be a bit frustrating and often time consuming when the update breaks some of the code that you have tweaked and/or customized. In fact, if you leave the auto updater off and manually update yourself you will see this message.

That text alone is enough to give most of us the cold nervous sweats.

The flip side though, could and most likely will be a lot worse. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when your site will be hacked if you are using an old version of WordPress.

3.  Don’t cut corners with themes/plugins

With over 48,000 plugins available and lord knows how many other themes and widgets, it’s easy to just point and click to quickly install something – anything.  Since WordPress is open source it is easy for amateur coders to develop a plugin that they can charge for. Unfortunately, many of these have been developed without proper vetting for quality assurance.

What does this mean for you? You guessed it, further ways that your site could become vulnerable.

Before installing a new plugin, theme, or widget do your research. Fortunately we live in a society that loves to spew both praise and criticism without much of a second thought. Reviews will often let you know a lot about the developer and their practices.

4.  Use secure connections

Each and everyday, we share our personal information with different websites either to make a purchase or simply log-in.  In order to protect the data transfer, a secure connection needs to be made. That’s where SSL and HTTPS come in.

HTTPS or Secure HTTP is an encryption method that secures the connection between users’ browser and your server.

Why do you need to move from HTTP to HTTPS?

Are you running an ecommerce site that collects payment information? Most payment providers such as Stripe, PayPal and Authorize.net will require you to have a SSL certificate.

Also, Google recently announced that they would be using HTTPS and SSL as a ranking signal in their search results. Hello SEO nightmare if you haven’t moved over.

There are several tutorials online that will help you with the transition.

5.  Backup regularly

Go head, do a quick search for WordPress backup in the plugins section of your dashboard. Almost 1000!  And that is just inside the WordPress portal. This doesn’t even begin to account for all the other offsite options available.

Many of them have schedulers built in, so you can set it to backup automatically say at midnight local time every night. That way god forbid something does happen, you will have a current copy of your site to rollback to.

If you follow these 5 simple steps, you will be miles ahead of the competition that isn’t in terms of staying safe from hackers.

Has your site ever been hacked? If so, how did you address it?  We would love to hear from you in the comments below.

Posted in Blogging, ecommerce, Home Business, Wordpress0 Comments

Affiliates earn now, not later with Adcash

Adcash is an ad network that prides itself on providing supply and demand on a global scale. In short, they broker a lot of premium campaigns daily: this applies to affiliate campaigns as well.

Alibaba, Facebook, Travelocity and Pocket Gems are just a few of the premium demand sources that use Adcash for affiliates and they’re willing to pay for it.

Payouts start at a few cents per install to a percentage of sale that could reach over 100 euros. With Adcash, you can act as a pure affiliate or incorporate the offers as part of a larger strategy.

Accessing those offers is simple, publishers just have to register for a free account and will be able to integrate offers into their properties within minutes…if you know the system.

Become an affiliate with Adcash with a few clicks

Let’s take a quick dive to check it out. Once an affiliate creates a publisher account, it starts with a simple click of the Campaigns tab.

The Campaign Browser immediately opens from the tab, displaying all offers in thumbnail form. The list is extensive and would be difficult to screen capture, so here is just the first offer row of the Games vertical.

The menu can also be filtered according to Country and Format (as pictured above). This comes in handy with a network as large as Adcash. Remember, they’re brokering campaigns for 249 countries and regions.

While not scratch and sniff, it’s click and explore

The thumbnail collage that is the offer menu is no accident, it’s an efficient way to preview campaign creatives. Like what you see? Click and get a more detailed view of the offer.

Adcash gets right down to business and provides publishers with the detailed payout specifics, as well as a Banners tab for size and language specifics.

Here’s where the ambiguity begins. The Adcash affiliate interface is not as intuitive as it could be: there is a lot of “click and explore” to find out where and what information is available.

Find your affiliate offer settings with a little abracadabra

It is unfortunate because Adcash offers a wealth of information and settings for each offer that won’t populate until you click Add to favorites.

For example, you have to add the offer to your favorites to get Targeting rules information, as well as Conversion tracking, and Interruption notification settings.

Yes, affiliates are told how to get promotion materials and additional settings information at the top of the page, but it isn’t highlighted. While a minor UX detail, it will still prove frustrating for some publishers.

Select your affiliate offer line-up with a rotator and start earning

Saving a few UX quirks, the affiliate offer mechanics are all about efficiency, right down to their rotator. This is important to remember: all systems have learning curves but Adcash is clean.

Adcash appears to understand that, while you want to be rewarded for your work, you have work to get back to. From its menu’s thumbnail layout to its rotator, Adcash wants affiliates to start earning now, not later.

Register today

 

Posted in Affiliate Marketing0 Comments

Top 3 SEO Trends for 2017

Search engine optimization is constantly changing and evolving, making it extremely necessary to stay on top of the latest news to remain successful.   

As we look back at 2016, with its slew of algorithm updates from Google culminating in the release of Penguin 4.0 and the announcement of mobile-index first at the end of the year, no wonder some of us struggled to remain in the game.  That’s why it is even more important to take a moment now, at the beginning of the new year, to rethink our SEO strategies for 2017.  

Taking into account Google’s recent activity, below are what is believed to be the three most important SEO trends to watch out for in 2017.

#1 Mobile First Index

If it wasn’t already obvious enough, a strong emphasis on Mobile Optimization should be every marketer’s top priority in 2017, particularly those playing in the SEO realm.  Even if one only based this data on the numerous statistics showing how mobile searches outweigh desktop searches by more than 60%, they would be hard pressed to deny Google’s mobile-first index plan.

Up until now, it might have been possible to spend too much time and energy on mobile optimization, however in 2017 it is going to be a necessity for websites to have a spot on mobile presence in order to succeed online.

#2 Structured Markup

Structured data markup (aka schema markup) is a type of microdata that makes it easier for search engines to parse and interpret the information on your web pages more effectively so they can show the most useful information on it, potentially on Google search results. This trend is gaining some leverage with the recent release of Google Home, which relies heavily on answering questions using websites which adopt structured data markup.

Look at the example below:

Realsimple.com adopted a schema markup, therefore Google as found information in the article which and displayed it at the top of it’s search results.

Think of the process of including schema microdata in your web pages as altering your diet to only eat healthy nutritious foods, exercising regularly and getting a good night’s sleep – which is probably 50% or more of all american’s new year’s resolutions.  Even though marking up your pages with schema can be bit of a pain (just like it is to keep that resolution), 2017 probably won’t bode well for you if you don’t put in the effort.

#3 Voice Search

We have all seen the numerous commercials for such devices as Amazon Echo and Google Home, not to mention the ever humorous Siri and it’s counterpart Google Assistant. The adoption of voice search has steadily been increasing over the past few years. In fact,  Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO has even announced that 20% of all mobile queries are voice searches. This just goes to show you just how important it will become to use schema markup in your webpages.  

So what does this actually mean for SEOs? Optimizing for local SEO, natural language and of course adding in schema markup to your webpages are now more important than ever.  Use a tool like Storybase to help generate natural language keywords to craft semantically relevant content.  Also look into schema markup helpers such as Google’s Structured Markup Helper.

On the whole, 2017 should be an exciting year. There were several changes that rocked the boat in 2016 which should most likely continue on into the current year. Therefore, preparing for these trends sooner rather than later will not only help your marketing game, but hopefully keep your website ahead of any major SEO changes Google might throw your way in 2017.

Posted in Search Engine Optimization-SEO0 Comments

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