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2018-04-26T07:49:25.824Z
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44 million Americans reportedly have a side hustle.

It seems like just about everyone is looking to get a piece of the gig-economy action.

And it’s no surprise why.

Running a side-hustle can give you an incredible sense of freedom.

You can be your own boss, bring in some extra income, and work on projects you’re genuinely passionate about.

Unfortunately, it all takes time.

If you’re not strategic about how you run your e-commerce side hustle, it can actually feel restricting.

Growing an online business is no simple task.

But when you’re trying to balance it on top of a full-time job, it can easily become too much to handle.

However, you don’t need to give up your e-commerce dreams just yet.

If you know how to make your side hustle work for you, you can achieve full-time results in part-time hours.

In fact, you can run a successful e-commerce business in as little as 15 hours a week.

Here’s how.

1. Work SMART, not hard

If you want to be a business owner, you have act like it.

Although you may not be running the next Amazon (not yet, anyway), you need to treat your e-commerce business like a full-blown selling machine.

That means creating a business plan, establishing a timeline, and setting goals – and sticking to all of them.

Let’s start with the business plan.

According to the Harvard Business Review, having a business plan can actually make you more likely to succeed.

Your...

Last year, my friend checked her Instagram engagement numbers and noticed something unusual.

They tanked.

“I used to get lots of likes and comments, but now it has totally dropped off,” she told me.

I asked her what she was doing differently.

Her answer?

“Nothing.”

And that was the issue.

Instagram has changed a lot since it first launched in 2010.

They now have 800,000,000 monthly active users.

And while that number is incredible, what is more striking is the rate at which the platform is growing.

In 2013, it had 100,000,000 users.

In 2016, it had 500,000,000 users.

By April 2017, it had 700,000,000 users.

By September 2017, it had 800,000,000 users.

This means its user base rocketed by 100,000,000 users in five months.

This graph maps out Instagram’s impressive growth numbers over the years.

Since Instagram is purely visual, it’s an incredibly captivating way to make a connection with your customers.

But only if you know how to use it in 2018.

Let’s take a look at the top Instagram trends all marketers need to know about in 2018.

1. Instagram is becoming ‘pay to play’

At first, access to 800 million users might sound like a marketer’s dream.

But the more you think about that number, 800 million users means more competition.

And more clutter.

To make matters worse, Instagram continues to make changes to their algorithm, negatively affecting brands’ organic reach.

In March 2018, Instagram...

If you’re looking to take your business to the next level and help your products stand out, you can’t afford to ignore the power of product tutorials.

Ever tried to use a product without any instructions? It’s not a fun process, is it?

Product tutorials solve that problem by helping current and future customers understand the value of what you’re selling because they showcase exactly how to use it.

But when a product tutorial is too lengthy, too complicated, or doesn’t look like something your customer needs, they might end up abandoning it all together.

And that’s not a good sales strategy for anyone.

Because the end goal isn’t to get a customer, it’s to keep a customer.

And that means creating a product tutorial that makes it super easy for a new customer to start using—and succeed at using—your product.

So much so that they want to keep on using it. You know, forever.

Here are a few companies that did just that.

1. Buffer keeps it simple

The global average for cart abandonment across desktop, tablet, and mobile devices is a staggering 77.24%.

That means there is an extremely likely chance you’ll lose your hard-won customers before they even make it through the onboarding process.

Avoid this classic pitfall by keeping your product tutorial super simple. Just like Buffer.

To get started, you just have to

If SEO were an Olympic sport, it would be race walking.

Everyone is after that first place slot – but it’s a long, slow, and strategic path to getting there.

By now, just about every marketer knows the basics of how to rank.

Find and target the right keywords.

Create high-quality content that your audience is looking for.

Prove time and time again that Google should value your content – and that it’s worth showing off to their users.

It’s a tedious and time-consuming process.

And if you do happen to make it to the top slot, it can be snatched away by a competitor at any moment.

Do you ever wish there was a shortcut that would allow you to breeze right past the competition and secure your slot at the front of the pack?

There is an underutilized market that might allow you to leapfrog your competition in a ranking list.

Featured snippets.

Featured snippets can act like your race track to first place.

By targeting this up-and-coming feature, snippets can help you rank highly in less time.

What are featured snippets?

When searching on Google, have you ever noticed the text boxes that jump out and answer your question before you ever even make it to a website?

Well, that is a featured snippet.

These descriptive boxes flip the traditional Google search result listing around.

Rather than giving you the headline, URL, and website first, you get the information, otherwise known as the “snippet.”

Featured snippets can...

Every now and then, the overlords of the Internet decide to change things up in the digital marketing world.

And with how fast things change, it can sometimes be easy to miss a noteworthy tidbit of news.

One such tidbit recently came to light, and it’s definitely worth your attention.

Namely, Facebook has started taking steps to change the Organic Reach of pages on their platform.

And that has some implications for everyone.

It doesn’t matter if your Facebook Page shares memes, connects a community, or is a landing page for your brand.

You’re going to see some changes, and chances are they will come sooner rather than later.

To help cut through the clutter and keep a clear picture of the path ahead, I’m going to lay out what’s actually changing.

And at the end, we’ll give you some insightful ways to come out ahead.

Hopefully, you’ll be able to take action accordingly and still have a healthy Facebook presence.

But first, let’s talk a bit more about what Organic Reach actually is, and why it’s changing.

What is Facebook Organic Reach?

Organic Reach on Facebook is simply a measurement of how many people can find you on Facebook for free.

It’s much like organic rankings on a search engine, although in the case of Facebook it’s based on aspects like popularity, post frequency, and other contributing factors.

And when you think about the current state of Facebook, it seems logical that Facebook would be making...

We all want to be “successful” marketers.

But what does success in marketing even mean?

Sure, we can track analytics.

We can count how many social followers we have.

We can watch our number of website visitors grow.

But how do we know what is really successful?

When it comes down to it, there is only one judge for a successful marketing campaign.

The customers.

There are dozens of “how to” guides and “best practices” marketers can follow.

But the truth of the matter is, if your audience doesn’t connect with it, it doesn’t matter how successful it was for another company or brand.

To truly develop a “successful” marketing campaign, understanding your customers is the only thing you need to do.

What is a customer-centric marketing approach?

Customer-centric marketing uses personalized messages, products, content, and more to ensure the consumer is getting exactly what they’re looking for.

But a customer-centric approach needs to go beyond just your marketing.

It requires creating a “customer-centric organization, not just a customer-centric marketing department,” says IDC research analyst Gerry Murray.

Putting your customers’ needs first can help improve relationships with your audience and retain customers.

This is because customers like to feel like they’re being given special treatment.

In fact, 90% of consumers found personalization appealing, while 80% said they’d be more likely to do business with a company that offers personalized approaches.

Promoting on social can feel like a popularity rollercoaster.

One minute, you’re on top.

Your post is taking off – skyrocketing through timelines and racking up likes and shares.

But the next time you post?

Crickets.

The likes are trickling in, comprised mainly of your team members and the intern’s mom.

It’s like everyone forgot about you.

Not knowing how your target audience is going to react can be stressful.

Putting time, money, and effort into creating a social strategy that doesn’t get attention can feel like a waste of time.

Unfortunately, that’s because it is.

Luckily, when you put a little more planning into the posts you share, you can start seeing stronger results.

To help you make the most of each and every post you create, here is a 7-step checklist you can follow.

Step 1: Find a post purpose

Maintaining a consistent posting schedule is important if you want to stay visible and relevant on social platforms.

This is why we see companies in just about every industry taking advantage of popular weekly hashtags like #MotivationMonday or #ThrowbackThursday.

Here’s a tweet from LA Fitness getting in on the Monday Motivation conversation.

Posts like these can help you create some consistency in the way you post online.

It lets...

Who said retail was dead?

According to the National Retail Federation, brick and mortar retail stores had a net increase of over 4000 store openings in 2017.

For each company that closed a store, 2.7 companies opened stores.

Although department stores stayed the same, Superstores thrived.

With e-commerce achieving a sales growth of 24.8% in 2017 compared to the previous year, mark my words, it’s booming.

But consumers are still flocking to local stores. The main reasons in-store shoppers prefer local over online stores are the issues they face with online shopping:

  • they can’t physically inspect the items
  • loss of power to negotiate a better deal
  • shipping costs
  • logistics (waiting for delivery)
  • entering personal information online
  • difficulty in returning items

Local foot traffic is still a major of part retail.

And one of the biggest trends marketers can’t ignore in 2018, is the rise of ROPO.

Research online, purchase offline.

This is the consumer habits of bargain hunters and thrifty shoppers looking for better deals locally.

The purpose of this type of marketing is to drive foot traffic to store and business locations so that they can avail of local promotions or services.

Google AdWords released new innovations that you can incorporate into your campaigns.

These innovations can help you improve your CTR you and make sure your ads are profitable.

Out of all of the different facets of digital marketing, social media tends to change with the most immediate and drastic results.

There is always a new platform emerging for marketers to look into and master to stay ahead of the trends.

And with algorithms on big platforms like Facebook always evolving, you have to stay on your toes as you figure out how to engage on them.

However, through all the change, there is one thing that remains consistent:

Users want to engage with brands in a personal way.

For this purpose, Instagram stands apart from all other platforms. It’s one of the best places for you to promote brand engagement with your users.

It’s grown by 1,400% in just the last five years. With growth like that, it’s a no-brainer for marketers to implement Instagram into their social strategies.

In particular, Instagram Stories makes easy for marketers to engage with users, humanize their brands, create leads, and generate customers on the platform.

They’re a great tool for showing potential customers (and existing ones) why your brand is relatable or interesting.

So, how do you get the most out of Instagram Stories?

That’s what this guide is here to help with. It will give you ways to use Instagram Stories to build your brand and convert leads and sales.

1. Show what makes your brand fun and relatable

All marketers know that social media engagement is important. It’s one of the best ways to develop trust from prospects.

And the...

Ever wonder why your product image doesn’t show up when you do a Google search for your product?

Wonder if that big product image on your new landing page might cause slower loading speeds for your customers?

What about conversions? Are your web conversions suffering because you haven’t optimized your images?

Images that aren’t optimized can negatively affect site performance, and therefore, conversions.

And what about customer retention?

Boosting customer retention by just 5% can increase profits by 95%.

And it’s 5 to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain a current one!

Most marketers aren’t coders or designers. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t understand the basics of the tech that plays such a huge role in your conversions and retention.

This means you should absolutely know how to optimize an image.

Here’s why understanding image optimization is so important:

Because images account for more bytes than any other part of a website, especially e-commerce sites, their size and complexity can make or break your web performance.

And that impacts your customer retention and conversions.

This is why optimizing images is one of the best ways to improve website performance and SERP rankings.

Take a look at the graph below from HTTP archive. As of March 2018, images make up 50% of website content.

As you can see, image optimization should be a...

The average person spends almost two hours on social every day.

This comes out to five years and four months on social apps over the course of a lifetime.

While this number may sound astounding, we all know how great social can be for connecting and engaging with friends, family, and brands we love.

We can get the news, family updates, and current events we need to feel connected all in one place.

But what’s one thing we’re not looking for on social media?

A sales pitch.

Promoting on social is like walking a tightrope.

When your messaging is on, your social posts can pick up wind, sending your products flying off their digital shelves.

But when you get your messaging wrong…

Coming across too salesy on social can leave your followers racing for the “unfriend” button.

To help you find the perfect balance, here are six ways you can use to promote your e-commerce products without being too salesy.

1. Connect with bloggers and influencers

Friends and family have always been one of the most trusted sources for product recommendations.

According to Collective Bias, 70% of millennials are influenced by their peers’ recommendations when making a purchase.

However, with social, that pool of trustworthy “peers” grows exponentially.

Customers now have more than just their friends and family to get recommendations from. They can turn to...

Facebook Messenger currently has more than 1.3 billion monthly active users.

Not only that, but 2 billion messages are sent back and forth between end users and businesses every month.

This is a huge opportunity to move consumers through the sales funnel and to boost your sales.

Now that Facebook Messenger has introduced the ability to purchase products directly through the app, the opportunity is even larger than before.

Unfortunately, many businesses seem to be struggling with successfully tapping into this huge market.

47% of customers surveys say that they didn’t have a positive live chat experience in the last month.

Not only that, but 56% of consumers can’t recall any exceptional live chat experience.

This means Facebook Messenger is a great opportunity to set your brand and your company apart in the eyes of the consumer, if you can do it well.

I’m going to show you how to wow your customers with Facebook Messenger.

I’ll help you figure out how to do this so well it won’t just improve your customer experience, it will also boost your sales.

First, let’s look at the main functionality of Facebook Messenger and why you should be adopting it as part of your business strategy.

Facebook Messenger is no longer just a messaging app

Facebook Messenger originally began in 2011 as a messaging app for Facebook users.

Messenger has since grown into so much more.

**Click here to check out Sherlock – our recently released product on Product Hunt now**

User engagement is the lifeblood of every SaaS business.

Whether you run a light, freemium prosumer app; or a heavy, enterprise B2B app – the success of your business is dependent on the engagement level of your user base.

This is because the business model of SaaS is based on retention.

It’s not about acquisition. You can sign-up as many customers as you want, but if they all leave after a month – you lose. The entire SaaS business model breaks without retention.

And engaged users stick around for a long, long time. Unengaged users don’t.

Without an engaged user base, you don’t have retention. Without retention, you don’t have a business.

It really isn’t much more complicated than that.

So…if user engagement is really this important to any SaaS business, why is it so hard for most of them to answer some seemingly simple questions,

  • Who are my most engaged users?
  • Which are my most engaged accounts?
  • Is my total engagement going up or down?
  • What is my most engaging event?
  • And a slew of other questions about user engagement…

I have always found it crazy that almost no SaaS businesses truly understands how engaged their user base is — now or over time. Certainly not from a quantitative perspective.

Even though it’s super important.

In this post, we will attempt to remedy that by laying out a framework for creating an essential engagement score that will allow you to actually quantify...

As of this month, Google had almost 75% of the search engine market share, which means that far more people are looking for information on Google than on any other search engine.

So, if you have a new website, you should be putting most of your energy into ranking on Google, right?

Well, let’s look at it this way:

If you were traveling from the East Coast to the West Coast, would you only take a single road?

What would you do if there was construction? Or, what if someone built a newer, better, and more direct highway?

Would you insist on staying on the same route?

I bet you wouldn’t.

You’d be willing to switch to a different route, and then maybe you would switch to another one later. You’d keep taking different routes until you finally arrived at your destination.

There’s no question that Google is a great road to take. It’s wide, it’s clear, and it’s direct.

And if you use AdWords, it’s a little like taking a superhighway to your destination – a superhighway with a lot of tolls.

The problem is that Google makes changes to that highway all the time by changing its algorithms (an estimated 500-600 times a year).

Sometimes, those changes can leave you stranded on the side of the road (think Panda 4.1 in 2014).

You...

Managing a sales team is no easy task. You have the potential to either make or break your sales reps.

And there’s tons of conflicting information out there.

Effective sales managers recruit top sales leaders, provide them with the tools they need to bring in sales and watch the numbers grow.

But it isn’t always as simple as that.

Sales managers can either inspire their teams and help them reach their goals or crush their morale, which leads to a decrease in your company’s profitability.

It can be hard to know what your sales team truly needs from you to hit their goals, make profits, and drive sales.

That’s why we’ve compiled these strategies to help you run a killer sales team in 2018.

Running a Sales Team: It’s a Big Challenge

Running a sales team is hard work.

It’s not always easy to find a balance between encouraging quality performance and pushing sales reps with new goals.

As a sales manager, your success depends on your team’s ability to meet performance goals. But sometimes, it’s hard to control and motivate reps.

Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to motivate and encourage your team to excel.

After all, your sales reps are the backbone of your business.

The Importance of a Sales Team

Businesses need sales to stay alive in the same way that humans need water.

Without sales, your business will die.

And as common as online sales are becoming, the need for sales reps to pick...

You blog because you want people to discover your content and engage with it. But sometimes, your reach just isn’t large enough.

That’s why it’s good to diversify your content.

Creating more content and putting it in more places gives you as many views, readers, and customers as possible.

If you want to boost brand awareness and engagement, you need to be active on as many platforms as you can to spread your brand across the web.

That’s why most businesses use sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn in addition to their regular websites.

But some businesses are missing a huge opportunity to publish content because they don’t realize that they can post full articles to LinkedIn via LinkedIn Pulse.

There are tons of reasons why blogging with LinkedIn Pulse is a win for businesses. Here’s a complete guide to using and publishing on the platform along with actionable examples of how to do it.

What is LinkedIn Pulse?

If you want to build a good reputation online, increase your credibility, and reach a larger audience, publishing content on social media can help you do that.

LinkedIn Pulse takes social media content a step further with an online news aggregation feed. Members can share self-publish content right to their audiences.

The platform generates blog posts, insights, and news from influential industry professionals and businesses looking to extend their reach and share insider knowledge.

LinkedIn tailors content to each individual based on their interests. That way, users only...

Remember Orkut? Or Friendster? How about MySpace and Classmates?

Maybe you do, maybe you don’t, because social media platforms come and go faster than most of us can keep up. For every success like Snapchat, there are plenty of others that failed to gain any serious momentum, even if they were fun and innovative ideas.

Are you familiar with Vero?

You know Facebook, of course, and Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and WhatsApp. They’re good (though not perfect). You probably use them at least once a day.

But we don’t find one platform that we like and stop. According to a recent study of social media in the United States, most people use an average of three of the top eight platforms.

Facebook and YouTube are used by a significant percentage of those on other sites and apps. Consider them the stalwarts. Most people have an account on those two behemoths (Facebook has 2.167 billion and YouTube 1.5 billion users) and at least one other platform.

But do you know Badoo, Snapfish, Tout, or Line? The point is, there are hundreds of social media platforms out there that you’ve never heard of, for virtually every niche, interest, or group...

No website can stand without a strong backbone.

And that backbone is technical SEO.

Technical SEO is the structure of your website.

Without it, everything else falls apart.

Imagine you wrote the most amazing content in the world. It’s content that everyone should read.

People would pay buckets of money just to read it. Millions are eagerly waiting for the notification that you’ve made it available.

Then, the day finally comes, and the notification goes out. Customers excitedly click the link to read your amazing article.

That’s when it happens:

It takes over 10 seconds for your web page to load.

And for every second that it takes for your web page to load, you’re losing readers and increasing your bounce rate.

It doesn’t matter how great that piece of content is. Because your site isn’t functioning well, you’re losing precious traffic.

That’s just one example of why technical SEO is so critical.

Without it working, nothing else really matters.

That’s why I’m going to walk you through the most important aspects of technical SEO. I will explain why each one is so crucial to your website’s success and how to identify and resolve problems.

The future is mobile-friendly

First, let’s talk about mobile devices.

Most people have cell phones.

In fact, most people act like their cell phone is glued to their hand.

More and more people are buying and using cell phones all the time.

I actually have two of...

Your content is poppin’. Polished and proofed, you’ve put this piece of content through the wringer to get it ready.

Now all you have to do is let people know where it is and wait for those likes, retweets, and accolades to start rolling in.

So you keep waiting.

And waiting.

Nothing happens. You might have built it, but the users aren’t coming to find it, contrary to the old adage. What gives?

Why isn’t your content (or product) getting the engagement you expected?

In 2018, if your social media strategy isn’t working in conjunction with your content strategy, you’re falling behind the curve.

There’s a reason 10% of professional marketers report social media marketing as the strategy most likely to yield big rewards in 2018.

The bad news: sabotaging your brand on social media is easy and potentially irreparable. If your social strategy isn’t getting the kind of engagement you want, you may be committing one of these five self-sabotaging social media sins:

  • Denying what people want
  • Forgetting to make room for new (older) users
  • Skipping movie day
  • Letting little errors cripple credibility
  • Talking without listening

The great news: I’m going to show you to fix them.

Social sabotage #1: Denying what people want

An estimated 73% of Americans report using YouTube. Facebook comes in at a respectable 68%. Instagram ranks as the third most popular platform at 35%.

E-commerce is growing at a meteoric pace, and there is no doubt about it.

According to a recent study by Statista, retail e-commerce sales worldwide reached $2.4 trillion in 2017 and are expected to reach 4.9 trillion in 2021.

Interestingly, this growth pattern is not solely a retail B2C phenomenon.

In fact, B2B e-commerce worldwide sales in 2017 peaked at $7.7 trillion, which is 235% higher than B2C.

Sounds pretty impressive, right?

And these figures do tell us a lot about major changes in consumer behavior that will continue to evolve in 2018.

The shopper is more technologically advanced than ever before and is empowered to drive disruptive changes in traditional retail business.

So if consumers increasingly prefer e-commerce to brick-and-mortar shopping, why do we still need physical stores? Why do businesses still want that foot traffic?

There are a number of reasons why, but let’s just start with another very simple, yet very loud statistic.

In-store sales accounted for 91% of all retail sales in the US in 2017.

This means that brick-and-mortar is still the most popular way to shop for most Americans.

And it comes as no surprise.

The in-store shopping experience is incomparable to browsing items on a desktop or mobile screen. The ability to see, touch and try products before purchase remains the biggest motivator for consumers to shop offline.

And that’s not the only thing stopping consumers from...