Best of the Web: A Harvest of Business Power

Best of the WebIt’s September, and the gardeners are reaping the harvest from spring planting and summer’s care.

And Danny has gone hunting again. He’s scoured the web for the best inspirations, tools, and tips to help you have a great business harvest this year.

For many of us, September is Launch Time. Our audience is back from vacation and ready for our newest solutions. Are you ready for them?

Here at Firepole, we’re almost ready. … ;-) … And by the time you read this post, we’ll be days away from our biggest launch ever.

Essentials of Entrepreneurship

Step out of the day to day and even the year-by-year. Remember why you’re an entrepreneur and what a difference you can make. These three blog posts will inspire your transformational thinking.

Awesome Tools for Marketing Success

Tech got you down? Here are two stories about how to make excellent use of the technical tools that are the machine that keeps our business running.

Lessons From the Trenches – Marketing and Entrepreneurship

Read these posts and you will: Survive your first year; go viral with your marketing; write copy that sells; cut to the chase and succeed, and hear an inspiring story of how entrepreneurial thinking is making its way throughout our society.

And Three Interviews with Danny

I want to let you in on a little secret. This year, Danny has been gathering the links for the Best of the Web posts, and I’ve been putting together the page. Now, we’re coming out of the closet as collaborators. He hunts, I write, you get the best.

It’s a great formula. And Danny is doing more than just finding posts – he’s getting posted, too!

The whole world is going Podcast – and so is Danny. Here he is, sharing Firepole wisdom on three podcasts. Enjoy – and learn!

As always, if you think we’ve missed anything truly awesome out there on the web, be sure to say so in the comments!

The Complete Guide to Using Online Quizzes in Marketing

Online quizzesEvery marketer has two problems.

First, we want people to visit our website. And second, we are responsible for turning that traffic into quality sales leads who will become paying customers.

We’ve thrown everything at these problems, from paid ads to viral ploys that make no sense, and still the problem lingers on. But – one company found an innovative solution to solving these problems. Let me tell you their story.

On June 19th, 2014, Worth Global Style network, a fashion forecasting business, set up a quiz titled “What’s Your Customer Type?” The online quiz was eight questions long and was designed to lead quiz takers to discover what kind of customers they had. It was a fun quiz, but a simple one.

One week after publishing the quiz, it had seen 1527 views and collected 258 new email subscribers – and the only promotion that was done for it was to share on Facebook and Twitter a couple of times.

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Tweet it! Quizzes have the potential to both drive traffic and grow your email list to promote long-term relationships. This unique blend makes quizzes a form of content that kills two birds with one proverbial stone.

In this article I will dissect what makes a good quiz, using the Worth Global Style Network as an example. Are you ready to make an awesome quiz? Let’s get started.
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CEI 071: Scale Your Business with David Finkel

David FinkelToday’s podcast is on an issue that isn’t covered very often in the online marketing world. Heck, it isn’t even covered very often in the offline business world!

You see, there are a lot of books about how to start a business. And there are a lot of books about how to run big businesses – like Fortune 500 companies.

But there aren’t many books on how to transition between starting a business and getting to the big business level.

That’s why David Finkel and his co-author Jeff Hoffman wrote Scale, which is coming out in September 2014. It’s all about why it’s so hard to go from a small to a medium company, or a medium to large company. In the book, David tackles overwhelm, a lack of focus and – most relevant to us – how we as entrepreneurs can allow other people to take tasks off of our plates.

So let’s jump right in! Simply click the play button below to start listening.

Podcast runtime: 28 min 23 seconds | Transcript

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Struggling with Your Social Media Marketing Strategy? Start By Being Social

social media marketing strategy Tweet it! Are you struggling with your social media marketing strategy? Are you happy with the results that you’re seeing?

If not, then you’re not alone.

Sadly, many businesses and business owners aren’t too savvy when it comes to social media. They jump right into promoting their product or service without first identifying who their target audience is, and how to connect with that audience.

This is a problem that plagues a lot of businesses.  Social media success requires that you be “social” first.

Let me explain.
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Panda-Proofing Your Content in 2014 (& Increasing Google Traffic to Your Blog)

google traffic

Image Credit: SearchMetrics

As an online marketer or business owner, you know that traffic, leads and sales are the bloodline of your business.

Am I right?

Your sales come from the traffic coming to your pages. And there isn’t a better, higher-converting cold traffic source than Google traffic.

This post is going to give you some recommendations for getting more Google traffic. With just a few tweaks and some re-energized focus, you can significantly grow your Google traffic, and provide a long-term boost to your online business.
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5 Online Branding Mistakes That Can Kill Your Start-Up

online branding mistakesOnline branding is an abstract concept that is easily misunderstood.

It’s often mistaken for your logo, your products, or service. Tweet it! But branding is much more than that. It’s entwined with every aspect of your business, whether you realize it or not.

Even if you’re not consciously working on your brand image, you still have one. It’s your customers and potential customers perception of you, whether good or bad.

If you aren’t actively promoting your brand or your image, it’s important that you also don’t make a mistake that can ruin your business. And if you are actively working on how your potential customers perceive you, you absolutely must pay attention to mistakes that could torpedo your efforts!
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CEI 069: A New Approach to the Business Plan with Jessica Oman

business plan Jessica OmanWhen you hear the phrases “market research” or “business plan,” do you eyes just glaze over?

It’s pretty common for entrepreneurs to stay away from both of these topics, because they sound boring and outdated.

The truth is, though, that they don’t have to be. That’s where Jessica Oman comes into the picture. Jessica is the founder of Renegade Planner, which is a site dedicated to business planning for non-conformists. (Bet you never would have guessed that from her website name, right?)

Jessica’s found a way to make understanding your numbers and creating a business plan interesting and engaging. It all starts with figuring out your ideal client, so let’s jump right in!

Simply click the play button below to start listening.

Podcast runtime: 24 min 20 seconds | Transcript

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Choosing the Right Social Media Platform for Your Business

social media platformsIt’s hard to keep up with the plethora of social media platforms available  to promote your business on. When Facebook came on the scene, you were skeptical, but you started because everyone said it was “the” place to be. And now that you’ve got the hang of it, there’s Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube and Google Plus. Where do you draw the line?

It’s not enough these days to just be on social media – everyone else is there too. Tweet it! You need to be effective on social media and really be playing the game well. So rather than trying to be everywhere at once, you’re better off just focusing on one or two social media platforms that really suit your business.

So which ones do you choose? At the end of the day, it’s all about choosing the platforms where your audience hang out. Choose a platform that’s going to help you get your message out to people who are genuinely interested in what you have to say, and ultimately what you have to offer them.

If you were reading carefully, you’ll notice that I said choose one platform that’s going to get you where you want to go. Let’s take a look at the 6 major platforms and work out where you should be focusing your time and effort.
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Guest Posting and the Seasons of Business Growth

business cycles“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun.” ~Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

There is a rhythm to the four seasons of the year: Winter for introspection, spring for planting, summer for growth and fall for harvest.

Often our business cycles and growth as entrepreneurs mirrors these seasons.  I can see this reflected in my journey through the Audience Business Masterclass program.

My decision to join the ABM started over the winter, as I was contemplating how I would go about taking the next steps on my blogging journey. Winter, you’ll remember, is the hibernation period – and a great time for reflection and introspection!

Those early days in the ABM program had me reflecting on my business niche as well as my own blocks to success, which I discussed in my last ABC Project update.

Once I realized what fears were causing me to stall with my ABM efforts,  I was able to move past them and on to finishing my first incentive and growing my mailing list.  That meant commenting and guest posting, which I’ve been working on this spring and summer.
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