Month: December 2016

How to Get More Traffic to Your Blog in the New Year

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For most of us, the new year is motivation to sort out our digital mess, clear the inbox and fix old bugs. I like starting a new year with the feeling of old stuff being sorted. This way I feel better prepared for new projects and challenges in the New Year.

As business owners and marketers, one of the things we tend to put off is sorting out our blogs. We’ve become accustomed to handling small inconveniences and bugs. Many of us can  barely find time to publish new content let alone find the time to research the  countless new plugins available or update old articles.

Well, I hate to break it on you, but getting all that technical staff in order is probably more important than publishing new content. Lack of security opens you up to the risk  of losing all your precious content. . Slow pages and broken links means lost readers and conversions. You need to start thinking about your blog performance now, so you can  start the new year with a better converting, more successful blog. So what to do to first?

Fear not, this checklist will take you through the complicated lists of plugins and tools, so  you can get right down to execution.

Step 1: Fix or remove broken links

One of the most widespread issues with a website of any age is broken links. Broken links present both SEO and usability issues. The more broken links your site has, the less trustworthy it looks both to a user and a web crawler. You may have no control over pages that go down over time (resulting in broken external links) but you are fully responsible for the links that you have on your pages, even older ones.

It's impossible to keep track of broken links and images, even if you have a smaller site. You need a reliable tool to handle this for you.

Netpeak Spider is an ideal solution for larger-scale websites. It's a desktop program, so you won't have compatibility issues with your browser. It’s also fast, and very flexible - you don't have to be an SEO expert to use it. Just run the tool regularly and fix new errors as they are found. Look for errors in red, those are the most important to eliminate.

netspeak

If you have a small blog, make sure to install the awesome Broken Link Checker WordPress plugin. It may slow your site down if you have too many pages, but it works great for blogs with under ~500 articles.

To avoid slow-downs and downtimes, you should disable automatic crawling to make sure it will run a new report on demand.

The plugin saves a ton of time by letting you remove broken links right from its dashboard.

linkchecker

Step 2: Keep an eye on your site security

Did you know that around 37,000 websites are hacked every day? It's no joke! Even with some security measures taken, you still run the risk of getting hacked. Huge sites, with multi-million dollar budgets like Yahoo! and LinkedIn are regularly hacked, and WordPress is not the most secure environment out there.

A proactive measure is submitting your website to  Google's Search Console. They have one of the largest databases of compromised websites, and they almost instantly know once a new site has been hacked. They will send you an email once they notice anything weird with your website so you can take measures on the spot.

Now that we have monitoring in order, make sure you have taken these steps:

  • Always update your WordPress version as soon as possible, and update your plugins as well.
  • Always install well-trusted plugins. Search Google before installing anything and only install from the wordpress.org website.
  • Never keep "admin" as a user. Come up with a different username for the blog administrator and use a powerful password (later versions of WordPress will generate a good one, so just go with it).
  • Use Login LockDown to limit login attempts.
  • Never login to your blog using public WiFi, never give anyone admin access unless you know and trust them, never give anyone permissions to upload anything to your blog (use standard contributor permissions for your site contributors).

Step 3: Make sure you address downtime timely

How often is your site down? According to these stats, even the most popular hosting providers have terrible uptime numbers. Your site may be down without you even realizing. Being offline is one of the worst thing that can happen to a digital entity. It means your website visitors have nowhere to click, no way to get in touch with you, and no way to engage.

Try Monitority to be notified whenever your  site is down. The tool is absolutely free and the moment your site goes down, your email is pinged so you can look into the problem right away. If you have a few sites to manage, give Pingdom a try. It has some cool analytics and monitoring reports you'll find useful. Pingdom also talks to the monitoring dashboard with Cyfe.

cyfe

Step 4. Find better keywords for your old content

Your content can be outstanding, and people may still not be able to find it. That means wasted effort. It's a new year coming, time to make the most of your old content so you’re ready to create new articles.

Try Serpstat to discover good keywords and optimize older articles. Just take a core term from your article, run it in Serpstat and set the competition filter between 0% and 3% to discover relevant phrases that may take you on top of Google's search results page.

results

Step 5. Try and push those search positions higher

There are tons of search queries that your site is already ranking for. You may be unaware of those because they rank below the fold and hence they are not sending too much traffic. However, these are often keywords that have huge potential.

Try Google's Search Console "Search Analytics" feature to show you which search queries are driving traffic to your blog. Make sure to check a box called "Position" (for some reason, it's unchecked by default). This way you'll see your page average position for each search query.

analytics

If the average position of a keyword is 5 or lower but it's driving traffic, this means two things:

  • It will send tons of visits if it's #1 or even #3.
  • It is not that hard to push it higher, without additional effort.

What to do with these keywords:

  • Discover which exact pages are ranking for the term.
  • Use this WordPress plugin to send more internal links to that page.

Usually, this quick exercise results in 2-3 higher positions and therefore better traffic.

Are you ready to take action? Hopefully this checklist will get you started. Happy New Year!

Want to learn more about any of the subjects mentioned above? Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here.

 


The Best Growth Marketing Strategies for B2B

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Although B2B business has always been in the shadow of B2C, the field has been increasing in the past year, and growth marketing has a lot to do with it. As companies adopt effective strategies to increase profits and engage more clients, the industry continues to mature and attract more prospects, 

Some reviewers cite companies like Alibaba and Amazon to support the claim that B2B have borrowed growth marketing strategies from B2C. Indeed, the B2B world seems to increasingly recognize the importance of customer experience and service, a domain it has historically neglected.

Apparently, this approach is paying off significantly. In the U.S., B2B e-commerce is already twice as large as B2C e-commerce. The same trend will likely expand to the international arena in the near future.

What specific strategies lie behind the success of modern B2B companies? Let’s find out.

Social Media Engagement

The role of social media for B2B companies continues to increase. Previously, this field has been dominated by B2C companies because it grants them access to an enormous client base. However, in recent years, social media has been increasingly used by companies that provide services to other companies, especially through Facebook ads. You have probably seen them in your news feeds; they invite you to connect with the business by visiting their site to request a quote or demo. There's definitely a strategy to marketing your B2B company with Facebook, so make sure you adequately understand the Facebook sales funnel.

Besides providing great opportunities to use digital advertising, social media networks are a good way to engage with your existing customer base and answer questions from potential customers. With social media, getting in touch with a company is convenient and low-commitment, providing prospects with an easy way to reach out and learn more.

The most effective social media profiles contain “contact us” buttons that encourage viewers to click them and visit the company website. Given that more than half of international B2B companies use social media, adding it to your B2B company’s online presence is a no-brainer.

LinkedIn Presence

The first international network for professionals has emerged as a great growth marketing tool for B2B companies. According to Jerome Knyszewski from Heavyshift Marketing, LinkedIn has generated 80 percent of B2B leads out of 100,000 posts, while the closest competitor Twitter raked in only 12.7 percent. Facebook is third with just 6 percent. Several years ago, LinkedIn was primarily used as a way of connecting with colleagues and business partners, but its function has evolved to include lead generation by connecting with businesses.

For example, experienced B2B owners say that a series of messages are sent to the representatives of companies as part of their marketing process. According to Martin Morgan, a senior marketer from Proessaywriting, this strategy works just like a standard lead generating and nurturing approach and is supposed to build relationships with potential partners.

For more information on engaging with potential contacts on LinkedIn, learn how to create a LinkedIn engagement strategy.

Use of Targeted Content

Targeted content is an immensely effective growth marketing strategy, initially pioneered by B2C companies trying to attract more customers. Content is increasingly recognized as a primary factor in the decision to engage with a company because it helps to connect, entertain, educate, and improve brand image.

B2B businesses have recognized the importance of content for reaching new clients, and now use it to drive consideration and influence purchase decisions, in addition to building brand awareness. Examples of effective content include research reports, digital magazines, infographics, articles, and videos.

Email Marketing

More than 70 percent of marketers today consider email marketing to be a vital strategy because it allows for concise and clear communication. B2B companies have been using it for quite a while now. Many great email marketing strategies have been developed specifically for B2B, many of which you can learn about by following thought leaders, taking online classes, following leading blogs in the space, etc.

For example, in this Smart Insights article we learn that Dropbox emails its users to promote installation of its desktop/mobile app by  focusing on benefits of installing the product. Hubspot uses emails to inform its customers about upcoming webinars, and details specific benefits of joining an event to increase turnout.

Clearly, email marketing is a great method that can be used to connect with potential clients and show them the benefits of collaborating with a company. By leveraging your subscriber lists, client retention, up-selling opportunities and lead generation are benefits that can be gained at a relatively low cost. Be sure to understand the ins and outs of a comprehensive email marketing strategy.

Mobile Marketing

The mobile experience is a big deal nowadays. Successful B2B companies are increasingly launching  mobile-optimized websites because mobile traffic volume has widely exceeded desktop traffic. Mobile apps are often developed to accompany mobile sites and provide an even more enjoyable and fluid experience for users. According to Bizible, 83 percent of B2B marketers use mobile marketing tools like apps and websites to connect with clients, generate and nurture leads, and take advantage of cutting-edge technologies including voice recognition, QR scanners, and GPS systems.

Among the most surprising technologies in mobile B2B marketing is text messaging. SMS has been used by many companies, from cab services to electronic shops, to inform clients about upcoming deals and new offers. In addition to  advertising, companies often include personalized messages to gain customers’ attention, and build rapport. According to Bizible, SMS follow-up after a phone call increases conversion by up to 112 percent. Therefore, if you’re dialing your clients, you should definitely be texting them.

Personalization

Personalization has proven to be an effective growth marketing strategy in B2B and B2C companies. Just as it is important for a company to demonstrate its uniqueness through creative and effective branding, it is important to acknowledge the uniqueness of a customer. Personalization can be defined as a way of  “presenting information to a consumer that acknowledges whom he/she is and what his intentions are — to make his/her interaction more meaningful.” Personalization makes interaction with a company more positive and individualized, making it more memorable.

In B2B, personalization can be applied through various means, including website design, social media, loyalty programs, packaging, phone and chat, ad networks, landing pages, wish lists, opt-in and transaction emails. The end results of a robust personalization strategy include higher conversion rates, and client satisfaction.

Conclusion

B2B companies continue to expand, and growth marketing strategies are a main reason for their success. The strategies described in this article are proven to work for many B2B companies, so don’t be afraid to start applying them today!

Tom Jager is professional blogger. He works at A-writer.  He has degree in Law and English literature. Tom has written numerous articles/online journals. You can reach him at G+ or Facebook.

Want to learn more about any of the subjects mentioned above? Here are some relevant classes: Mastering the Facebook Sales FunnelCreating a LinkedIn Engagement Strategy, Email Marketing Tactics

Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here here.

 


5 Major Content Marketing Trends for 2017

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Ah, content marketing.

Influenced heavily by Google’s algorithms, content marketing has the undivided interest of entrepreneurs and internet marketers around the globe. Marketers know that using content for SEO is more affordable than traditional advertising, but improvements to search engine algorithms (and rapidly changing consumer demand) means it’s never been more difficult to stay in the limelight.

2017 will usher in a new, dense tangle of requirements for content marketers; but before we take a glimpse at the upcoming challenges, let’s take a moment to review what happened to content marketing in 2016:  

Content Marketing in 2016 Became:

  • Saturated. Statistics show that over 2 million blog posts are published daily, in addition to millions of YouTube videos, GIFs, infographics, and other types of written and visual content. Simply put, the amount of content online is cluttering the digital world.  
  • Focused on “Behind the Scenes” Strategies: The enormous amount of visual and written media released in 2016 made content marketing heavily dependent on “behind the scenes strategies” like promotion and outreach.
  • Ruled by Niches: Marketers today have two options: make your content visible, or allow it to become lost in the jungle. To make their way through the thicket of blogs, videos, and infographics, effective marketers used niche sites to zero in on their target audience.

With this background information in mind, let’s take a look at 5 content marketing trends you can expect in 2017:

1. Visual Content Marketing Will Dominate

We’ve already seen  the power that Facebook Video and YouTube Live hold. In 2017, this growing demand for visual media will skyrocket. A combination of live and staged videos will be used by brands that are openly embracing the inevitable change from written to visual media.

What to do:

Visual content is arguably one of the most time-consuming types of content creation.  Thanks to improvements in technology, creating branded videos and images isn’t as difficult as it once was.

Without a budget:

Startup companies and small businesses already have the tools they need to begin creating visual content: company cell phones and computers. Through a combination of social apps like Snapchat, and broadcasting sites like the ones listed below, your business can start building a visual content strategy that won’t stretch your budget.

A few (free) sites to consider include:

It's also a good idea to publish visual content on free sites like Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr, which have a primarily visual focus, and massive audiences.

With a budget:

Brands with a small marketing budget should consider pairing the free solutions above with the work of a professional videographer, photographer, or media agency. Professionals like these can help to plan a unique visual content strategy that captures your brand’s unique personality. 

2. Shifting Focus to Data and Retention

Marketing is an industry driven by two factors: results and data. For content marketers, showing how a blog can drive return traffic and therefore sales is difficult - without the right tools, that is.

What to Do: If you’re not already using analytics tools to track your basic content marketing efforts, it’s time to get started. Many agencies use Google Analytics to track basic site data, then expand on that tool with diversified metric tracking tools like:

  • Bitly
  • Linkody
  • Cyfe
  • SEM Rush
  • Hubspot Marketing Automation
  • Ahrefs
  • Kissmetrics
  • CrazyEgg
  • Piwik
  • SimilarWeb
  • Moz OSE

Be sure to learn more about how data analytics can be leveraged to improve the quality of your website, and increase conversions.

3. Mobile Compatibility Will Be Key

These days, it’s rare to see millennials (even baby boomers!) without a cell phone clutched tightly in hand. Google has monitored the shift from computers to mobile phones closely; as a result, it’s rumored that the Goliath of search engines will make mobile users a  key focus in upcoming algorithm changes.

What to Do: If you don’t already have a responsive website, it’s time to invest in one. Content that is easy to read on mobile devices will be critical in 2017. Once a site is set up to support mobile, it’s time to craft content strategies that cater to mobile users. Mixing up content lengths and trying new formatting tricks are just two ways to optimize content for mobile use. A few other ideas include:

Integrating a mobile content strategy with mobile oriented PR and outreach can increase your exposure to audiences who primarily access the Web through mobile devices.

Remember: it’s likely that shorter-form content paired with minimal visual content will become more important as time goes on.

4. Distribution Will Rule

The internet is saturated with content – everything from plagiarized to carefully written articles can be found in just a few keystrokes. Because of the immense clutter, promotion of existing content will matter just as much as the quantity that’s produced.

What to do: Although there are hundreds of ways to promote content, social media and vertical content platforms will be essential in 2017.

Social platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter will become marketing staples as we progress into the new year. To reach very specific audiences, vertical platforms are highly recommended. A few “mainstream” examples of these emerging platforms include:

Industry: Home & Garden

  • Houzz
  • Zillow
  • Better Homes & Gardens

Industry: Pop Culture

  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat
  • Instagram
  • StumbleUpon

Industry: Internet Marketing

  • Moz
  • Hubspot
  • Contently
  • SEMRush

5. Interactive Content Will Be a Hallmark of Content Leaders

In 2017, brands using interactive content (such as quizzes, questionnaires, and worksheets) will become the thought and trend leaders of the content marketing industry. A few brands already engaging in interactive content include Buzzfeed, The Content Marketing Institute, and Kissmetrics.

How to do it: Whether you want to code your own interactive content or use a site that builds them for you (like ThingLink), start producing  interactive content of the kind  listed below.

  • Quizzes / Polls / Surveys
  • Interactive E-books
  • Interactive White Papers
  • Calculators
  • Responsive Images
  • Games
  • Maps
  • Interactive Infographics

Conclusion

By mixing a variety of these interactive assets into your content marketing strategy, you can attract and retain site visitors in your target audience.

To stay competitive in 2017, online marketers will need to stay agile and adapt to emerging content marketing trends. Create mobile-friendly content and websites to maintain a competitive edge; once a site is optimized for mobile, build systems to create and distribute visual content assets. After reviewing updated data on returning visitors and bounce rates, adjust your strategy to boost retention and conversions.

Angela Higbee is the director of the content marketing agency, Progressive Creativity. She spends most of her time doing business and reading; away from “the desk,” she can be found with family or exploring the Colorado outdoors with her dog.

Want to learn more about any of the subjects mentioned above? Here are some relevant classes: B2B Social Visual Storytelling on Instagram, Pinterest & TumblrLeveraging AnalyticsMobile PR & Content Marketing

Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here here.

 


Why Social Media Nurturing Needs Immediacy

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Most salespeople know that 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first.

Marketing and sales teams that take this idea to heart have great processes for getting  MQLs (Marketing Qualified Lead) to the sales rep as fast as possible so they can start smiling and dialing. Unfortunately, many organizations struggle to convert this important lesson over to the nurturing stage of the sales cycle. This is especially true on social media, where potential leads often go hours or days without a response.

While immediacy is a crucial aspect for any kind of lead nurturing, social media nurturing may be the most important. Your customers are used to instant communication over these networks. They are also increasingly wary of any messages that don’t fit into the conversations they’re having, and their immediate needs.

Improving social media monitoring and automating social media nurturing will help your organization improve the immediacy of your social media messages and ultimately increase responses and sales.

What is Immediacy?

First, what is immediacy? While it does involve an immediate response time, speed is not the only factor. The term originated with non-verbal communication before social media or marketing automation were ever invented.

In the 1960s, Professor of Psychology Albert Mehrabian defined immediacy as the “degree of directness and intensity of interaction between communicator and referent in a communicator’s linguistic message.”

Probably a little too dense for our needs. From a sales and marketing perspective, immediacy involves a few different factors:

  • Context
  • Time
  • Personal Connection

In his recent talk at INBOUND 2016, Gustavo Reis discussed how he uses the idea of immediacy to grow the social engagement with his online math course. Using these principles, he created a following of 60K+ on Facebook in less than a year and 5K+ on Instagram in less than 2 months.

Incorporating Immediacy into Your Social Media Nurturing

So why is immediacy so important and well suited for social media nurturing?

According to Marketing Donut, 63% of people requesting information on your company today will not purchase for at least three months, and 20% will take more than 12 months to buy. Engaging and nurturing these leads for up to a year is impossible without deep insights into their needs and a scalable way to reach out consistently.

Here are a few steps for incorporating immediacy into your social media nurturing, to improve the directness and level of engagement you receive from your audience.

Identifying Touchpoints

If you’re only using website data such as website visits and form submissions for your lead scoring and segmentation, you’re missing out on a large part of the picture. Not to mention, most prospects won't engage directly with your business enough to keep a meaningful conversation going.

Monitoring social media provides you with even more data:

  • What leads are interested in
  • Keywords
  • Influencers they follow
  • Events they’re attending
  • Who they’re engaging with
  • Content they like

This allows you to identify a much larger set of touchpoints. The more information behind your lead nurturing, the timelier your messages can be and the more you can tailor them to the context of your lead’s conversation.

Segmenting by Context and Relationships

As your business scales, you can’t expect to send each of your leads a personalized tweet, DM or email based on their unique actions. You can use marketing automation and personalization to send them one of a hundred or more carefully tailored messages.

In a recent webinar, we discussed how Socedo saw unsubscribes decrease by 50% when we included context in our emails. The more segmented you make your leads, the more personalization you can add to each message you send.

Context and personalization don’t just involve the content of your social messages and emails. Segmenting your leads by the person they had initial contact with – and then ensuring all future communications come from that same person – can greatly increase the immediacy of your messages. When we started sending emails from employees leads had already engaged with, we saw 76% higher open rates. When we sent from a different person, our open rates decreased by 24%.

Real-Time Marketing

Once you have set up social media monitoring to identify touchpoints and segmented your audience based on those insights, you can send them relevant content in real-time. Here are some examples of real-time nurturing that focus on immediacy:

  • “I saw you just tweeted about this event, did you know we’ll be there? Here’s a webinar about it.”
  • “You just shared an article on conversion rate optimization. Check out this whitepaper that dives deeper into the subject.”
  • Like a tweet 24 hours after following someone on Twitter.

Socedo uses these examples in our own social media nurturing. Through the last example, we’ve gained 30% higher follow-back rates (you can learn more about this tactic and others in our webinar, “10 Lead Nurturing Hacks for Faster Conversions”).

Thanks to the increased opportunities for context, timeliness and personalization, socially engaged leads move 25% faster through the lead pipeline and convert at a 22% higher selling price. Using the principles of immediacy, combined with social media and marketing automation tools, you can create a lead nurturing system that is much more engaging while still remaining scalable for your business.

How does your company nurture leads through social media? Do you use any of the concepts of immediacy? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 9.00.16 AMTeena Thach is Socedo’s social media and marketing specialist. Socedo is a demand generation system that empowers marketers to discover, engage with and qualify prospects through social media to generate revenue at scale.

Want to learn more about any of the subjects mentioned above? Here are some relevant classes: Social Media Strategy for BusinessSocial PRFundamentals of Social Media for SEO

Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here here.

 


11 Ways to Acquire More Leads Using Your LinkedIn Profile

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LinkedIn can be a great source for generating potential B2B leads if you know the right tactics. In this article, we’ll go over the top 11 strategies to acquire more leads from LinkedIn:

1- Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile to Connect with Potential Prospects

The very first step is optimizing your LinkedIn profile. In order to do this, you must expand your network by connecting with other industry users. The trick is to form connections with people who you’re unfamiliar with, with the goal of establishing a long term relationship whenever possible. However, this requires subtlety; otherwise, you might be seen as a spammer.

When LinkedIn users receive an invitation, there are two ways they can see it: their notifications bar, and the message inbox. The notifications bar showcases a small preview including your name, title, and the beginning of your message. If these are people who don’t know you, chances are they require more information before they accept your invite. To learn more about you, they’ll click on the invitation to view the full message.

The full message contains your name, picture, your title and tagline, and your message. A profile picture is very important, and without it, you won’t be taken seriously. Your job title will help users decide whether you’re worth connecting with or not.

The main thing that people check for when poring through your profile is legitimacy. The best thing you can do to help increase this is to simply make sure you’ve completely filled out the details of your profile page, including links to your website and published works if applicable. You may also try adding a line that lets people know you’re willing to connect with new users.

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2- Tag Prospects and Influencers in Your Conversation

LinkedIn tags are a great way to enhance your efficiency and provide your sales cycle with a more streamlined process. These tags enable you to group your contacts any way you want, and though LinkedIn offers some generic options to start, the real fun begins when you create custom tags.

Filtering and organizing your connections becomes very simple with LinkedIn tags. Tags make it easier to understand various segments of your connections, based on details that are not available on their profiles. A maximum number of 200 tag categories may be used at a time.

You can tag based on location, clients, prospects, industry, media contacts, event tags, and strategic partners. It’s even possible to use LinkedIn tags in your sales process to identify their position in the sales cycle; you no longer have to worry about forgetting leads and tracking prospects.

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Just click on the Tag button and select appropriate tags from the drop down, or create new ones

3- Frequently Add Connections to Your Network

It’s a good idea to invest a bit of time each working day to build your connections. Using the “People You May Know” list, you are able to broaden your social network easily. At the same time, you’ll become known as a person who reliably expands their network, which is important. Keep in mind that every person you speak to regarding work or business in the course of a business day is a prospective LinkedIn connection waiting to be added to your network.

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4- Join Groups and Share Updates

LinkedIn enables you to interact with people who are present in the same groups as you. You can use this as a targeted method to add value to other users, expand your present networking with connections and prospects, or exchange helpful business insights. All it will cost you is five minutes of your time each day to post an update to your network. You can use this daily update time to post videos, blogs, or articles that will be of interest to your customers and prospects. You might even use the “Pulse” feature present on your dashboard. Every time an update gets posted, your profile is displayed on the feeds of all your connections. However, take care never to sell when posting updates. Use them only to share your business expertise and add value to your network.

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Go to Interests, click on Groups, and step into the world of LinkedIn groups.

5- Buy LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn ads allow you to get in front of suitable prospects. Ads improve your visibility, thereby increasing your “know, like and trust” factor in the community. LinkedIn ads possess great targeting options, and micro campaigns allow you to limit advertising costs, gain more visibility, and track your progress easily. Learn as much as possible about paid ads to maintain a high score and run the most effective campaign possible.

Ads can be bought in two ways: CPM, also known as cost-per-mille (‘mille’ meaning 1,000 impressions), and cost-per-click (CPC). For sponsored content, it’s probably best to go the CPC route. CPC ads generate fewer clicks in the short term, but LinkedIn will continue to show them until money is earned. This is helpful when you want visibility and recognition.

In the case of text ads, CPM is the way to go. These are great for lead generation.

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Go to the Business Services menu and select the Advertise option to create an ad and explore your options.

6- Use Ad Rotation Strategically to Prevent Banner Blindness

When using LinkedIn ads, it’s best to create a bank of different ads for rotation, rather than putting all your eggs in one basket. This not only helps to prevent banner blindness, it also allows you to determine which ads perform the best. Choosing the winning ad can lead to a massive spike in conversions and clicks generated.

Applying for ad rotation is easy. You can rotate your ads evenly, or enable the LinkedIn algorithms to pick the best one. You should allow your ads to run for at least a couple of weeks before evaluating their performance, to make sure you have a large enough sample size. When you’ve found the best-performing ads, you can easily swap out the losers and begin testing new ones.

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7- Regularly Post Your Articles on Pulse

Pulse is an amazing tool for LinkedIn users to discover meaningful, reliable content that they can share with their target market. Users who remain active on the platform will stay at the top of their network. This sort of passive awareness comes in handy when reaching out for an introduction. It is good practice to promote guest contributions on your LinkedIn profile and engage with potential customers by seeking feedback on your content. Posting articles frequently on Pulse gives you a chance to educate leads, which in turn adds to your value and leads to stronger relationships.

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8- Adopt the Auto-Suggestions Provided by LinkedIn to Constantly Improve Profile Visibility

You will receive frequent notifications from LinkedIn to add new users to your network. Your ultimate goal should be to establish a connection with them and ensure that when they view your profile, they will see helpful and relevant information about your business. Growing your network on a regular basis will boost your profile visibility. Auto-suggestions are extremely helpful in connecting you with the right users in your industry. When it makes sense, it’s a good idea to ask for recommendations, and provide them to members of your network. This will strengthen the connections you already have, and increase the overall reputation of your profile.

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9- Add Valuable Content to Your Sponsored Updates

Sponsored updates are a more subtle form of advertising that allow for more precise customer targeting. To use them effectively, you must first generate lots of quality content, then create different sponsored updates within a fixed time frame to promote that content to your target audience.

While this may seem like a lot of work, you can reap rich rewards as a result. The point of this method as opposed to CPM or CPC is to deliver value upfront in order to attract customers. When using sponsored updates, make sure to track your campaign’s success after it’s begun to evaluate the most valuable incentives and implement any changes to your sponsored updates in the future.

Take the time to learn how effective content is created to give your advertising strategy a tremendous boost.

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10- Make Use of Advanced Search

Advanced search filters are a great way to search LinkedIn users based on their relationships, company size, seniority level, and function.

The first criteria you should use in the Advanced search is location, title, and industry. The trick to B2B sales is  targeting the same level of employer or employee in every company, and this is where the title filter comes in handy. If location is a factor to doing business, use the location filter ensures that all the contacts you find have the potential to do business with you, similarly, you can use the industry filter helps you scope out targets within your target industry.

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Click on the Advanced option to the right of the search box on your LinkedIn homepage to access advanced search.

11- Run an Email Marketing Campaign on LinkedIn

LinkedIn has its own personal messaging system called InMail to help you connect with new users. It’s easy to apply for your own marketing campaigns. All you need to do is ask your round table and webinar guests to cover an event on their networks. This method works best if you send focused messages to recipients using the filtering tools offered by InMail. It is easy to filter recipients on the basis of industry, company size and role, and thereby locate ideal targets for boosting your campaign.

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Final Thoughts

Nothing beats LinkedIn when it comes to highly relevant social media marketing. As an entrepreneur, creating an effective LinkedIn engagement strategy is a surefire way to acquire more leads and connect with the people who matter. With the profile management tips and tricks we’ve shared above, you’re now ready to leverage your profile to attract more leads than ever.

About the Author

Joydeep Bhattacharya is a digital marketing evangelist and author of the SEO blog, SEOsandwitch.com. He is a Google Adwords and Analytics certified professional helping brands increase their presence online. He can be reached via Twitter or Facebook.

Want to learn more about any of the subjects mentioned above? Here are some relevant classes: Creating a LinkedIn Engagement StrategyCreating and Curating Content People Love, Email Marketing Tactics

Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here here.

 


7 Ways to Make More Affiliate Income on Your Blog

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Are you looking for ways to increase  your affiliate income as a blogger? Then you’ve come to right place!

This article will review some very powerful strategies for you to market affiliate products that go beyond splash pages and simple blog posts.  We’ll start by outlining a quick list of 7 ideas, then go into more detail for each one.

Let’s get started!

How to Increase Your Affiliate Income – Quick List

Here are several ways to get more money from affiliate programs on your blog:

  1. Use Detailed Tutorials 
  2. Employ Facebook Ads 
  3. Utilize Your Email Lists
  4. Use Graphics & Banners
  5. Link Back 
  6. Become an Expert
  7. Get Promotions and Endorsements

Today, promoting affiliate programs is one of the most effective ways to earn a passive income from your blogging platform. If you choose to work with affiliate programs that you trust and promote them properly, you will find that it is easy to create a stable source of income over the long-term.

Use Detailed Tutorials

One of the best ways to earn good money from affiliates is to promote an affiliate product or program as part of your detailed tutorials. This will work well when you have pieces of long form content in which you can embed affiliate links. As long as the affiliate programs you’re a part of offer products relevant to your niche, it’s often easy to find natural ways of recommending them as part of an informational guide.

This strategy will allow you to benefit from both the initial promotion and the long-term traffic you will get from your blog’s rankings on Google. It is also effective because you won’t have to shove the product/service down your readers’ throats. All you need to do is recommend the product as a good choice for a process reviewed in the tutorial.

Employ Facebook Ads

If the content or tutorial on your blog is particularly high quality, consider driving traffic to it using Facebook Ads. If the affiliate product has a high payout price (above $50), then you are almost certain to earn good money even after paying Facebook’s advertising fees. You should be sure that your page is already converting and bringing in enough traffic before burning cash on it, just to be safe.

Make sure to track and test to be sure that you have a good understanding of your conversion rates and the reasons behind them. This will serve invaluably as you choose a target audience for paid advertisements, whether on Facebook, or somewhere else.

In 2016, social networks are the best place to advertise for almost any purpose. Consider learning more about promoting your blog through social media, and leveraging Facebook's world-wide audience to earn leads.

Utilize Your Email Lists

If you don’t already have an email list, you absolutely need to get one! Email lists are a fantastic tool for affiliate marketers, helping you to keep track of prospects, and stay in touch with people who have already benefited from your platform.

But assuming that you already have email lists, you should definitely use them to advertise your affiliate products, especially in relevant niches.  This strategy brings positive results because it is ongoing and automatic. This is an especially easy method to use for pre-branded products; using this method, there is no need to build an image in a lengthy blog post. All you need to do is send your email out to hundreds or even thousands of subscribers who have a potential interest, and you’re certain to convert sales. To make the most of your campaigns, make sure you understand key tactics for composing an attractive and compelling email.

Use Graphics & Banners

Never forget that a picture is worth a thousand words. Many affiliate programs will provide you with images that you can use to promote a product or service. Including these with your blog posts or featuring them prominently on your website can be even more effective than simply using links. Combining graphics with any of the methods above will only make them twice as effective!

Of course, you need to use common design sense. Generic banners posted in inconspicuous places or plastered indiscriminately across a page can be ugly and unattractive at best, and turn customers off at worst. Make sure that you design your page effectively when using this method!

Link Back

Once you’ve created tutorials or blog posts like the ones described above, create link backs on areas of your website with high sustainability to keep the traffic flowing in.  Find other places on the internet to include your link that are likely to be around for a long time.

For instance, within a high-quality guest post on an authoritative blog, ensure that you write an article that will naturally allow you to mention a post on your own blog with affiliate links. The blog owner is likely to allow this so long as your article is valuable, and constitutes more than a sales pitch for your affiliate programs.

Writing effective content is an art, and before sending queries off to influencers, make sure you know how to create and curate content people love.

Become an Expert

You should become an expert when it comes to using the affiliate products you wish to promote. The best affiliates become successful because readers turn to them as authorities on products or services that they promote.

One of the best ways to ramp up your affiliate income is producing high quality content that displays your expertise. This not only gives your readers a good idea of the impact the product had on your life, but also gives them a reason to trust you, and keep coming to your blog for useful information

Get Promotions and Endorsements 

Finally, ensure you get great promotions and endorsements from high value blogs and websites. Nothing will increase your affiliate income like an endorsement or mention from sites that are already trusted authorities with interested audiences. Getting mentioned on popular websites aligns you to them, which means you will end up tapping into highly-recognizable brands. 

Concluding Thoughts

The above tips and tricks will go a long way in improving your chances of earning more affiliate income from your blog. Each of these strategies will require some work on your part, such as creating content, promoting, networking with others in the industry, and analyzing your results. But the results are worth it! Give any of these tips a try, and enjoy the additional income from your blogging efforts. 

Want to learn more about any of the subjects mentioned above? Here are some relevant classes: Fundamentals of Facebook Marketing, Creating and Curating Content People Love, Email Marketing Tactics

Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here here.

 


4 Critical Steps to Gain an Impressive B2B Online Reputation

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Is the online reputation of your business heading south?

Do more negative than positive reviews come up when someone Googles your business?

Does your potential client-base prefer your competitors over you?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then this article is for you!

Why Online Reputation Matters for B2B Businesses

B2B decision-makers are forming an opinion of your business based on what the search engine giant Google has to say about it. Here are few stats that prove this fact:

  • 42% of potential clients Google the people that they are going to do business with.
  • 45% of people change their mind after reading about a company online.
  • 68% of business owners consider reviews to be the most important trust indicator.

Furthermore, although most B2B businesses have a higher profit margin when compared with B2C businesses, they also have a smaller customer base. Additionally, generating a lead in B2B is more difficult than in B2C. It is therefore vital for B2B businesses to build a solid reputation online.

There are a number of ways for a B2B business to build and maintain its online reputation. Here, I have assembled a list of 4 tactics to help you build a solid reputation for your firm in the industry vertical:

Step #1: Capitalize on the Benefits of Client Testimonials and Case Studies

To evaluate vendor products and services, the first thing a potential client will do is Google the business. The very next step is to visit the corporate website: this makes it vital for B2B entrepreneurs to ensure that no  mistakes are made when designing the website.

Website visitors tend to make decisions on impulse, so you only get a few seconds to impress them.

How can you turn visitors into customers in less than a minute?

The best way is by leveraging ‘Social Proof’.

Positive reviews and recommendations from clients on your website will entice visitors to stay longer and motivate them to take action. B2B entrepreneurs must therefore publish captivating client testimonials on the homepage. Another great way to build a positive reputation of your firm is to publish detailed case studies about client experiences with your firm.

You should also include snippets of your clients’ feedback in other marketing arenas such as email, social media posts and PPC ads.

Step #2: Harness the Potential of Social Media

Social media has revolutionized the world. Millions and millions of people are using social platforms to inform purchasing decisions, as well as to keep up with friends. This is true for B2B firms as well. If reports are to be believed, almost 81% of B2B decision makers use online communities to analyze a business.

This whopping figure makes it vital for B2B businesses to be actively present on social platforms. Moreover, search engine giant Google gives social platforms high authority. As such, positive comments on social platforms will lead to higher rankings with search algorithms.

However, not all social platforms are a good fit for your business. You need to figure out the ones where your target audience is present. Popular social platforms for B2B firms include Twitter, Linkedin and APSense.  

Being actively present on relevant social platforms gives you a golden opportunity to build brand awareness, establish credibility, and ensure that your business has a competitive advantage over others in your industry. It's important to study the best social media practices for business in order to succeed.

Step #3: Make Your Brand A Thought-Leader Through Content

The best tactic for a B2B business is to have an outstanding online reputation!

According to reports, content marketing is considered an important marketing strategy by 88% of B2B companiesso there is a high chance that your competitors are leveraging this tactic. To stand out from the crowd and create a strong impression of your company, brand yourself as a thought leader.

The key to being a thought-leader in your industry vertical is to regularly publish relevant, informative and fresh content.

To make your content contagious, figure out exactly what your target audience needs, what their problems related to your market are, how your product/service can help them in solving their problems, and build this information into engaging articles. Take the time to learn how engaging content is crafted, and make sure to keep track of the latest changes in your industry to prevent your platform from becoming irrelevant.

Maintain a content calendar and stick to it. This way you will get desired attention, build reputation in your industry, and generate qualified leads for your business.

Step #4: Invest in Monitoring Tools

These days, word-of-mouth travels almost at the speed of light, thanks to technology. The negative impact of this on B2B companies is that years of brand-building can be tarnished by a single negative comment or tweet on social media. Even worse, if the negative reviews are on review platforms with high search engine rankings, any potential customer doing a Google search on the company will probably see them. These negative search results can jeopardize your company’s online reputation.

This makes it crucial for all B2B companies to monitor and analyze conversations about their brand that are occurring in the social-sphere and on review platforms.

Social monitoring tools such as Mention, Topwalker and Topsy allow you to track conversations, demographics, geographics, keyword tags and more. Monitoring social conversations can help you alleviate a social media crisis before it spirals out of control. Monitoring tools can therefore help to strengthen your brand and improve your overall reputation.

Implementing a Reputation Strategy for Your Business

If you are not taking the aforementioned steps to build your online reputation, don’t forget - your competitors are.

It’s critical to tie your reputation strategy to your digital marketing strategy. Invest your dollars in building and maintaining your brand reputation. A strong reputation online will automatically promote your brand, generating more leads for your business.

Author Bio:

Kim Smith is a Content Consultant at GoodFirms, a full-fledged research firm that offers a transparent and unique platform for web development agencies to stand out from competition and magnify their industry-wide credibility and visibility. Online you can find her on twitter: @contactkim11

Want to learn more about any of the subjects mentioned above? Here are some relevant classes: Social Media Strategy for Business, Creating and Curating Content People LoveCrisis Management with Social Media

Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here here.

 


5 Ways Online Team Training is Better Than In-Person

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Online team training is vital to your team’s effectiveness. The digital era has ushered in a compelling focus on online team training, offering more value on the whole than  traditional training methods. Benjamin Franklin said it best when it comes to investing in your team:“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

In a 2015 survey with more than 200 participants, one-third of employees said that their companies’ training strategies were not productive. Another third of those participants said that company training is not interesting or engaging.

But marketing strategies continue to change, and employees that stay up-to-date on those changes will certainly be more effective. To stay up-to-date requires training. The equation is actually quite simple: effective and engaging training methods equate to a more effective team.

Your team may be lacking the training necessary to make moves in your unique industry. According to HR Professionals Magazine, “The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that employers with fewer than 100 employees provided only 0.8 hour – that’s only 12 minutes of manager training per six month period.”

Online team training is all-encompassing. In addition to gaining skills, your employees can brush up on product knowledge and access important resources via online training as well. This puts your workforce ahead of the competition, ultimately enhancing your company’s bottom line.

From startups to industry leaders, online team training is essential. Last year, L’Oreal, the leading cosmetic company in the world, took online team learning to the next level: they utilized the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) model to train 160 of their employees.

Your workforce has become mobile, and your team training program needs to follow. Let’s take a closer look at how online team training is more effective than traditional hands-on methods.

  1. Online Team Training is Cost-Effective and Employee Compatible

Online team training is more cost-effective than traditional training. When you keep your employees engaged, they are more likely to stick around. Your team is an investment, and your team training strategy should reflect and protect that investment.

A 2014 survey by Gallup found that, “The bulk of employees worldwide -- 63% -- are ‘not engaged,’ meaning they lack motivation and are less likely to invest discretionary effort in organizational goals or outcomes.”

A mandatory training course that takes your employees away from projects they need to get done will only decrease morale. And when morale is low, employees tend to move on. The value of training your team effectively will subsequently help your retention efforts, according to USA Today Money.

People’s attention spans are also decreasing, according to Learning Solutions Magazine. The publication notes that, “Current researchers argue that the average attention span of American adults has dropped and it is limited to 20, 10, or even five minutes.”

Finally, online team training is easier to swallow for many employees. Many effective online training modules run for a maximum of 15 minutes. This helps employees stay focused; two hour long in-person training sessions just won’t cut it anymore.

  1. Online Team Training Bridges Gap with Mobile Apps and Gamification

Online team training has introduced exciting new ways for employees to learn, such as gamification. The PowerPoint training days may very well be dead - your team wants their training to be fun and engaging, similar to their online lives. Online team training essentially bridges that gap, by using what employees already love and are familiar with.

Treating online training like traditional methods will therefore yield the same ineffective results, according to Training magazine.  Virginia state performance support coordinator and instructional designer Sherri Dosher,  says, “If an organization simply puts PowerPoint bullets online, the end result will still be death by PowerPoint. It’ll just be DOA at the computer versus the classroom.”

In an effort to combine what employees already know and love with online team training, companies are using mobile apps and gamification as tech resources. Integrating gamification is making online team training more engaging than ever.

Jiffy Lube learning and development manager Ken Barber,  says, “More graphics, more videos, more voiceover, more knowledge checks, and fewer word slides will make the course engaging and fun for the students.”

Combining mobile apps with online team training will also increase effectiveness for your employees and business. A 2015 study by Global Workplace Analytics found that 25 percent of U.S. employees work remotely in some form. With so many of your employees connected and on-the-go,  keeping them plugged-in to online training via apps will only increase effectiveness.

  1. Many Company Topics are Simply Geared for Online Team Training

Online team training offers simplicity when it comes to many business topics that  are simply geared towards an online platform. Compliance-based courses such as software technical skill building on Office, Java, etc., and HR required training like sexual harassment courses can be easily tailored for online access.

Online team training can also be implemented for new hires. A series of courses can help new employees get up to speed faster, allowing assimilation into the team dynamic more effectively, according to employment solutions platform TrainingToday.

“Repetitive content, especially for new employees in a high turnover environment, is ideal for e-learning,” says Ken Barber. “While these could be taught in an ILT class, the information is easily communicated in an interactive e-learning course.”

Verizon is another company that effectively  uses online team training to its advantage. Via VerizonTech IT, the communications company offers knowledge-based courses online to deliver information consistently. And they do it across multiple channels, focusing on the end-user’s pace.

  1. Online Team Training at the Micro-Level Keeps it Simple

One major pitfall of hands-on training is the risk of over-training. A Sales Performance International report warns about the ineffectiveness over-training has. The study finds that multiple day training sessions could cause  50 percent of information to be forgotten within five weeks.

Massive amounts of information via marathon in-person training sessions are simply no longer effective. Overtraining leads to more employee stress, poor cost-benefit ratio, and a loss of interest, according to Houston Chronicle. Online team training, however, has picked up where traditional methods  have failed.

TED Talks are an excellent example of effective micro-level online team training. Through TED, you can access industry leaders and learn a variety of topics in short 15 to 20 minute increments. This allows information to be processed in a more meaningful way, keeping you and your team engaged.

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  1. Online Team Training Offers Freedom and Flexibility

Research suggests that 47 percent of employees want freedom and flexibility in their company training. Online team training serves those in need of just that. With the mobile workforce on the rise, companies are taking a hard look at how they implement training programs.

A 2014 survey by the Association for Talent Development found that 16 percent of the 340 companies surveyed use “at your own pace” online training. Not allowing employees to learn at their own pace can be counterintuitive. Employees who do not learn at their own pace often rush through training and simply brain dump what they’ve learned in a short period of time.

Interestingly, a 2015 Harvard Business School study found that those who reflected on learning tasks performed at higher rates with higher material retention. Online team training that emphasizes freedom and flexibility will certainly be more effective. Employees will not be as inclined to rush through training if they know they can do it in parts.

Online team training clearly offers more value to your employees than traditional in-person training. From marketing to the art of negotiation, your team can gain invaluable business assets such as planning, strategizing, tactics, techniques, and software development, among other skills needed in an effective workforce. Implementing a cost-effective and flexible online team training program is powerful strategy to increase employee output and expand your bottom line.

Nick Rojas is a self-taught, serial entrepreneur who’s enjoyed success working with and consulting for startups. Using his journalism training, Nick writes for publications such as Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, and Yahoo. He concentrates on teaching small and medium-sized enterprises how best to manage their social media marketing and define their branding objectives.

Want to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article? Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here. 

 


How to Create a Blog That Converts

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guy that converts customers

If you are like most bloggers, you aren’t blogging as a hobby: you want to make some money. Making money boils down to bringing in traffic that converts into sales. The first step is to figure out what you want to write about. It should relate to your business, and be valuable to your readers. Next, you need traffic, and various ways of getting visitors to buy your product or service. That's the short of it. Let's dive in a little deeper with 9 tips to help you on your way to a successful blog.

1. A Fast Website Converts More Customers

You need to have a fast website. Otherwise, your visitors are going to move on to one that is faster. According to Google, speed is one of the main things looked at in search ranking algorithms. Make sure that your site is as fast as possible, and don’t use a lot of high resolution videos that will slow things down. Videos are important, but to prevent long loading times,  it’s best to sparingly use shorter videos that will retain the attention of your visitors.

2. Make Sure Copy is Scannable

Many users will not give your page their full attention, so you need to make sure that it’s scannable. Keep paragraphs short so readers can easily discern the structure of your content. Use bullet points, dashes, arrows, etc. to get your points across, and readers will be more apt to pay attention to what you have to say. This will let you effectively lead them to the CTA.

3. Use a CTA That Converts

In order for you to get sales, customers have to act. That is why you need a call-to-action (CTA). You must ask your customers to do something. Use a CTA that is going to grab their attention, but make it simple: think titles like “Buy it Now” or “Download Now”. Make sure that the offer is tempting enough that they will want to take advantage and click on the CTA. If your CTA is persuasive and the customer finds your product valuable, it will turn plenty of casual visitors into conversions.

4. Build a Subscriber List

It’s important to have an email marketing list if you want to grow your blog. Use your list to make connections and market your products or services. You will need to find the right email marketing tool, and you need a platform for storing subscribers. Once you have your list, you can send out regular newsletters, announcements, personalized notes, etc. to keep your business fresh in the minds of your customers. Be sure that your email content offers something of value to your customers, and draws them back to your website.

5. Use Visuals

Our brains process visuals a lot faster than text: 60,000 times faster, in fact. So, it goes without saying that content containin a lot of visuals are going to be viewed more often than content with no visuals. Having awesome visuals engages visitors, and show readers what your business has to offer. Visuals include both photos and videos; the better they are, the better your sales are ultimately going to be.

 

6. A Visually Pleasing Website Converts More Customers

Your landing page should be attractive and eye catching, and never cluttered. Take advantage of color psychology; soft blues create a calming sense, and red stimulates. Leave a bit of white space so that the page is easier to read. Use images and videos to grab attention, but don’t go overboard and bombard the senses of your readers with too much flash and bang. This often comes off as pushy and inauthentic.

7. Conduct Regular User Surveys

In order to know what your customers really want, you have to come right out and ask them. This is why it is so important to do customer surveys on a regular basis - for instance, users who create CoSchedule accounts are asked to take part in surveys at the point of registration, which allows CoSchedule to see what users are looking for.  You will need to use the right tool, such as Survey.io, which lets you create user surveys regularly. Use this feedback to make sure that you are giving customers what they need.

8. Offer Validation from the Big Guys

When you are able to do affiliate marketing, you can use name brands to draw readers to your own brand. It may take a bit of time and effort, but try to get brands that are well known, and avoid the lesser known brands. When people see brands they recognize on your site, they are going to associate you with the brands that they already know and trust.

9. Start a Podcast

Podcasts are a great way to build your personal brand and credibility. Through podcasts, you can inspire other bloggers and help them by offering guidance and support, using various online marketing tools. This is a great way of adding personal touch to your blog. Seize every opportunity to connect with your audience and deepen the relationship between your brand, and your readers.

Want to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article? Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here.