How blogging helped me to understand the rules of business!

Hey guys, 

It has been a long time since I have written something for my blog, So I thought I should put up a piece for you guys to read!Let me know your thoughts; whether you agree or disagree with me by making comments below!

So what have I learned from running DxbBlog?

First of all as I stated in my earlier posts it was never a serious project for me, instead I just love to write about stuff and always love to create platforms where I can share my experiences. For example, Dubai blog I created because I needed a platform where I could share my experience openly, and if you have been following my posts you might know that I started this blog after being turned away a forum (in 2011), where I posted a negative post about a CPA Network, and it was deleted. So I decided to create my own platform, so thank you warrior forum for that! Anyway, so to share my experience about Dubai I created this blog as a side project, but then slowly it things started getting bigger and better. 

Today I want to share what I learnt from it!

Social Skills

How blogging helped me to understand the rules of business!

My Recent Picture during one of the reviews!

I am not a very social person at all, I am the kind of person you will find sitting in the corner alone whenever there is crowd around/ As I am kind of shy/lonely, and I like it that way. Some would say I am an introvert?  This blog helped me to improve my social skills, provided a platform to socialize and get to know people. I am still and anti social person, but I feel and improvement in myself, in terms of socializing and the willingness to communicate a bit more!

Quality is better than Quantity

As Lucius Annaeus Seneca a Roman philosopher says “It is quality rather than quantity that matters.” This quote relates to our industry a lot. Many bloggers and affiliates worry about Quantity rather than Quality, We always worry about traffic volume instead of traffic quality, When I started writing DxbBlog I always hesitated to contact companies and businesses just because I didn’t have enough traffic. But slowly I realized, it’s never about traffic volume its more about the quality of your traffic and your approach. You will soon find me working with tourism departments of different countries and yes I still don’t have much of an impressive traffic volume on the blog but because my traffic quality is what I pitch when I approach companies, they are more willing to work with me!

Build relationship with brands

This is something I truly learned when I started meeting with the companies and businesses in conferences, meetups and one on one meetings. I made mistakes at the start by bluntly selling them off in my very first meeting, and later I slowly started learning and built relationships first, before pitching them anything about my blog. I also started using the “first foot in the door” approach, Where I would not sell them anything instead I asked them if they have a PR list for Bloggers / Media and if they could include me in the list so that I can stay updated with their events and from there onwards I built relationships and  still learning more and more every coming day!

You don’t need to have thousands of followers…

Again same as traffic volumes, you don’t always need to have thousands and thousands of followers on your social media platforms to become an influencer on the internet. Look around, a few online platforms buzzfeed, entrepreneur.com and many other related website, You will find many of their contributors having a few hundreds of followers. In order to succeed you will have to approach the right people and ask them how you can contribute. 


Build PR connections, relationships, then act.

This is one of the best pieces of advise I can give you no matter what you are doing, Build your PR write about topics of your interest. Whether you are an employee, or a entrepreneur, your personal PR is a must. Share your knowledge about your topics of interest with others! Be it a newspaper or a blog, this will help you a lot. Or an example relating to myself, DxbBlog.ae isn’t at a stage where it can generate advertising revenues for me, so in a way its unprofitable, But that’s what you think! Actually as an affiliate it has provided me great opportunities to work with a few amazing services which not everyone can promote and even that in the UAE (Lowest competition and huge profit margins). Also lets not forget the awesome 5 star treatment i get when I visit different businesses for blogging 😛

So there you have it, a few things I learned. I hope you enjoyed reading my article, if you disagree please let me know why and if you agree still let me know by making comments below. And yes, start writing today!

From going Homeless to building a Brand!

Its been over 2 months I haven’t posted anything on my blog. The last two months were quiet eventful. First of all, I was left homeless for a week or two due to a fire in my building and for the very first time, I realized how long it takes to recover from such unfortunate events. However, complaining aside, I am thankful I escaped the fire safe without any kind of physical harm to myself.

Due to this, I wasn’t able to give my business proper time for almost a month. Luckily, thanks to my awesome team, everything was taken care of whilst I handled my situation, except the fact that I couldn’t write anything for you guys for a while. After recovering from the fire accident I began working towards one of my old projects, which I started 3 years ago in partnership with miss rocker. The project is what we are going to discuss today.

I have a habit of continuously buying good domains that interest me or spark me with potential. Normally I buy at least 2,3 domains a month and the majority of them I never use and they are just left sitting with my domain registrar or expire after a year or so. During similar adventures I bought a domain www.dubaiblog.biz.

One of the reasons I bought this domain is myself and Miss Rocker are very passionate about Dubai and wanted to share our experience of relocating business here. The original idea was to help investors establish their companies in Dubai and assist them with the visa, and company registration procedure. To summarize, we bought the dubaiblog.biz, generated a few leads, made a few sales and then eventually we lost interest and this seemed to be the reason it failed! During this time, we bought another domain www.dxbblog.ae where we could share our experience about Dubai and basically document things and create guides related to Dubai, etc. This was a very interesting topic for me and Miss Rocker as well as our passion for Dubai, we started to generate a passion to make this blog something big, we knew where it was headed.

In September 2014 we attended Adsimillis Meetup and learned about a travel blogger Clelia Mattana and looked through her blog Keep Calm And Travel. From there we picked up some awesome tips and decided to keep our blog’s topic mainly travel and to keep the purpose of the blog as a place where people can learn about Dubai. This included; What hotels to stay, what places to visit and what activities to participate. In fact, we wanted to create a blog where we can tell people what they can do in Dubai to make their holiday memorable and also to provide information to UAE residents about how they can spend their holidays locally.

We also stick by the rule that we will only provide first hand information to our readers, which means write and discuss places, services or hotels which we have personally visited and stayed in to give our readers a better prospective, rather than multiple random reviews.

We have been working on this project slowly, as for us this project is more of a hobby than a way to make money. I must admit we have been going with a really slowly pace. So far we have reviewed a couple of hotels in the UAE and the United Kingdom and also other services /activities, (Mostly free of cost and we were invited by hotels and the tourism services providers to review their services). We also participated in two travel industry exhibitions so far World Travel Market and Arabian Travel Market. Recently I visited Arabian Travel Market .

360° Image by IMG World's At Arabian Travel Market 2016

360° Image by IMG World’s At Arabian Travel Market 2016

World Travel Market was our first event we participated in so we couldn’t do much except learning more about the industry. However, Arabian Travel Market was a huge success.

After getting such an awesome response from these conferences, and learning so much, I have decided to work on Dubai Blog and build its brand. So now me and my partner miss rocker are going to make it a successful brand, I thought it would be a great idea to also document and build a case study for you guys.

Firstly, the gains from the latest travel exhibition, we were not only able to get some good business from different travel companies, but also we talked with different tourism boards from different countries about collaborations. I hope we will be able to secure something with at least 2 of the countries. Also we have secured some lead generation deals with some luxury tourism related companies and my company would be their only authorized lead generation partners. With not much competition in the region, and niches, I hope this will prove to be a great success for us and we would be able to make some good revenue from lead generation campaigns and we will get an opportunity to learn more about the travel niche!

This was just a little intro about the project Dubai Blog, I will try to keep updating you with its progress at least once a month and also post about other topics as well! Do not fear! KJ is back!

Guest Post By AffEngineer – Six Figure Marketer

Hello all, Mateen from Affengineer.com here.

Firstly, I’d like to thank KJ for having me on his blog.

I still remember reading his blog when I hadn’t earned a single dollar and being motivated by his case studies and blog posts. They were what I needed to keep going and make this work!

I’m here to tell you my short story how I transitioned from a full-time graduate engineer stuck in the corporate office to a full-time internet marketer.

Before I continue, I wanted to set the tone.

Internet Marketing is hard. Very hard. If you want to make this your full-time career, you have to make it your number one obsession. Your reason to live and breathe. Especially at the start, when your learning curve is enormous.

Sure, you can get lucky and stumble upon a profitable campaign right off the bat but that’s rare and you don’t want to depend on dumb luck. You want to build a skill-set so you’re able to maintain an income for the rest of your life. That’s what I realised.

I remember my last year of work like it was yesterday. Over the two years I was employed, I went from being ridiculously passionate about building a career in construction to hating being in a 50m radius of my office.

You build fake relationships, have to go through with stress levels no one should be dealing with and work long hours hardly having a life of your own.

I remember going from endless conversations of fun to boring conversations of work. Nothing was new in my life anymore. I’d get up, go to work, come home, eat, sleep and repeat.

What was the point of this? How can anyone be ok with this? Forty more years of this? No way!

In my second year of employment I had lost all interest. I was still there but my mind was out. It was at this moment I started to be interested in business as a full-time career.

I was a hustler at school, selling USB’s, Phones, Playstations, anything I could flip for some extra income. It was exciting and where people saw fun and excitement, I saw opportunity to make money.

Anyway, I finally quit my job and entered the world of entrepreneurship. For six months I tried everything. I started some random blogs, made iPhone apps, bought and sold things from eBay, Went yard sale hunting, started a YouTube channel and all sorts of things I thought would make me money.

They all ended the same. I’d lose interest and give up. Mostly it was my fault for giving up too early but there was an element to all this that was making me fail time and time again.

Marketing.

I was creating all these awesome websites, but had no clue how to get it in front of people! How do I go about doing this?

That’s when I decided to stop all projects immediately. What’s the point on working on a mobile phone app for 3 months only to launch it and see hardly any downloads. I realised a business with no marketing plan is not a business. It’s a dream.

That was the one thing I was missing.

That’s when I researched on marketing, stumbled upon Affiliate Marketing and immediately fell in love.

I could learn good marketing and make money at the same time? That’s perfect!

For the next month, I worked 12 hour days learning simple design, coding, WordPress and setting up tracking. I read everything Affiliate Marketing related like a mad man. There were days I forgot to eat. My hair and beard were grown out and I looked like the biggest hobo. I had also lost some weight.

I was obsessed. It was unhealthy but it was necessary for me to evolve. Everytime I came across a great post I saved it. I’ve got a massive database of random threads and success stories that helped me greatly.

I eventually found the right people to guide me and started to see results. After a month in, my 12 hour days paid off and I saw conversions. Three months after that, I had my first $200/profit campaign!

I even wrote a success story on AffPlayBook about it!

success

It was crazy. It was a massive puzzle at the start but when it all clicked and came together, it just made so much sense.

Everyday I had a new challenge and as I asked questions, read around and learned, I got better and better. Every month, I’d look back and if I had learned a lot, I knew I was on the right track.

About a year after this campaign, I had my first 10k Revenue day and six figure month.

It was after this day that all the limitations I had in my mind were unlocked. No more did I think about making just $500 a month or $100/day I wanted to make $1,000s a day.

Anything is possible in this industry and I learned that eventually. You just need the right skill sets to capitalise on opportunities when the time is right and the ability to never give up.

You may think I know a lot more than the newbie marketer. Maybe I do but the biggest difference was I work a lot harder than most people and I spend my time doing the right things.

While people are reading and watching YouTube tutorials, I’m spending real money and learning from my mistakes.

I might lose $200 in one day, but a month later it will help me make $1,000s.

I’ll launch 10-20 campaigns a day sometimes just to see what happens. My success rate is low. Very low.

Probably one in every 100 campaigns I launch is profitable. In fact, I’d call that lucky. So what do I do about it? Launch as many campaigns as quickly as I can. If I launch 100-200 campaigns a month and get 1-2 profitable campaigns out it with the occasional unicorn, I’d be on easy six figures. That’s how this industry works.

You spend, You Learn, You earn.

Right now, I’m doing a ‘100 Campaign Launch Challenge’ which I’m blogging about almost every day. I launch campaigns and tell the world what happened with them. Did I lose money or did I make money? There’s some very valuable gold nuggets in there for newbie marketers.

Anyway, I just wanted to drop by and say hello. Hopefully, I’ve opened your eyes to the realities of this industry. It’s not a fairy tale but it’s not easy either. If you’re ready to put in hard work, you’ll get there I guarantee it.

Cheers and thanks to KJ for having me here.

Mateen @ Affengineer.com

Native Advertising Guidelines Released from the FTC

Using native advertising practices has been one of the most effective options for marketers for quite some time now.  The reason they are so effective, of course, is because they look and feel very similar to the rest of the content on the page.  Even if consumers can see that it is a sponsored post, the content has the same feel as the rest so they naturally seem to trust it more.

Unfortunately, many marketers don’t go far enough in ensuring that the visitors to their page can easily see whether they are reading a normal post or it is an advertisement.  This is where violations to laws and regulations can come into play.  Unless you have an attorney to review every native ad you post, however, it can be hard to determine whether you are in compliance with laws or not.

To help address this concern, the FTC has just released a new guide called, “Native Advertising: A Guide for Business” that will go through this potentially complex form of advertising to help marketers learn what they can and can not do.  According to the FTC this report was designed to, “help companies understand, and comply with, the policy statement in the context of native advertising.”

Any marketers who are using native advertising will want to go through this report to learn whether or not they may be in violation of any laws.  It is written in an easy to follow format that will allow you to quickly gain the information you need without having to waste hours of time (or hire an attorney) trying to figure it out.

Director of the Bureau Consumer Protection, Jessica Rich, said of this report, “The FTC’s policy applies time-tested truth-in-advertising principles to modern media.  People browsing the web, using social media, or watching videos have a right to know if they’re seeing editorial content or an ad.”  This set of guidelines will help make marketing using native ads much easier and less risky.

If you are a marketer who uses, or is thinking about using, native advertising make sure you take some time to read through this new set of guidelines.  It can be found on the FTC’s site HERE.

One more thing to keep in mind is that if the FTC has taken the time to put together this set of guidelines to help marketers, you can be confident that they will be taking a closer look at digital marketing practices in this area in the coming months.  Marketers who continue to violate their set of standards will likely face fines of some sort.  The publishing of this from the FTC may be a signal that they will be taking greater enforcement efforts against violations related to native advertising in the near future.

13 Ways to improve your Site’s Visibility on Mobile

We all understand the importance of mobile visibility, yet many brands are still struggling to optimise their sites for multiple devices.

As phone usage climbs and consumers become increasingly comfortable with purchasing from their phones, adapting your site to various screen sizes and load times is paramount.

Check out the tips below to help pinpoint some quick changes you could implement to improve your mobile visibility.

Mobile friendly website

Understand your mobile users

A mobile user’s intentions will differ from those on desktop, so start by looking at your analytics data to see how your visitors are engaging with your site on a phone.

The mobile segment in Google Analytics includes traffic from tablets too, so you might want to create a custom segment for a more accurate representation.

Focus on mobile-friendly keywords

Mobile users are pushed for time, which means they search differently to those on desktop.

Long tail keywords are less common, so optimising your mobile site for mobile-friendly keywords will help you to rank.

Keep title tags concise – to around 40-60 characters – and track mobile and desktop keywords separately to monitor your progress.

Keep it concise

Content needs to cater to a mobile audience, in terms of topic and length, so shorter pieces are more likely to engage those on a phone.

When optimising for mobile, don’t be afraid to cut content you don’t think will be as relevant to your audience.

Mobile users are likely to be on-the-go, so a store locator, for example, would be useful to them. An extensive ‘contact us’ form? Not so much.

Ensure resources are crawl-able

Avoid using robots.txt to block bots from crawling essential files that help render a page – this includes ads.

If access is restricted to resources, like CSS or images, they might not detect your site is mobile friendly, therefore restricting its visibility.

Focus on user experience

Poor user experience can cause visitors to bounce and Google to demote pages.

Unplayable videos are a big example. Google suggests using HTML5 standards for animations, embedding that’s playable across devices, and including video transcripts for any instances where media can’t be played.

Reduce amount of text entry

Wherever possible, opt for drop down menus, lists or pre-populated fields to minimise issues for your users when typing on a smartphone.

Avoid interstitials

You might think pop-ups are a great way to encourage email or app sign ups, but they seriously hinder user experience on a mobile.

These ads are difficult to dismiss and, since mobile screen real estate is limited, seriously impact experience.

If you’re not willing to drop them altogether, try tidy banners on your site instead.

Make your site responsive

Google recommend a responsive design, as it’s easier for users to share and link to a single URL. It also helps their algorithms accurately assign indexing properties.

Minimise loading speeds

Visitors are easily frustrated with slow sites, particularly if encountering them on mobile when time is restricted.

Using a responsive site can help with this, by eliminating the need for redirects to device-optimised views, keeping load times down.

You can use Google PageSpeed Insights to detect any issues with your load times.

Avoid Java or Flash

Apple products don’t support Flash and aren’t likely to in the future. They also make up 30% of the smartphone market, which is why it’s best to avoid Flash altogether.

Similarly, some phones don’t support Java, which can also increase load time.

Use the right redirects

If you have a separate mobile site, over a responsive design, ensure mobile users are redirected to the correct pages.

If a user searches for something specific, but is then taken through to your homepage, they’re far less likely to engage or convert.

Allow visitors to access your full site

We understand you worked hard on your mobile site but that, unfortunately, won’t stop some users trying to find information you’ve chosen to hide.

Ensure the option to return to the full site is available on multiple pages.

Optimise for local searches

Users are far more likely to visit a store after conducting a local search on mobile than if searching on desktop or tablet.

Unique pages, optimised for each location, will increase indexing, and your likelihood of appearing in search results for targeted keywords.

With mobile usage continuing to rise, it’s too easy for brands to fall behind by becoming too desktop focused.

Start tackling areas for improvement sooner, rather than later, and make sure you keep a regular eye on mobile performance.

Headlines Essential to Driving Traffic from Search & Social

While it might not be surprising to many, the headline of a story is the most important factor when attempting to drive traffic to it from either social sites or search engines.  This is according to a new study by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.  The study analyzed the habits of 20,000 people in 12 different countries and learned a lot of important information.  The following are some of the key points that are covered in the study, and how they can be used by marketers.

Headlines More Important for Search than Social

While a good headline is essential for a successful story no matter where it is published, the study found that it is significantly more important when people see it on search results compared to social media.  For search results, the study showed that more than 50% of people in each country (well more than 50% in some countries) said that the headline was the most important factor when determining which stories they click on.  For social, on the other hand, that number dropped to an average of 37% for most countries, with the highest being just under 50% in Ireland.

Other Factors that Encourage Clicks

The other factors that were ranked were ‘content that comes from a site I know and trust’ which was the second most popular option and ‘content that comes from a person I know and trust.’  For search, not surprisingly, content that comes from a person I know and trust only got a few percentage of the people.  On social, however, it was nearly 25% in most countries.  This is, of course, because people see their friends and family sharing a post so they assume it is going to be interesting or engaging.

For search, having a site that is from a trusted site that people recognize is far more important than having a site that comes from people they trust.  In most cases, Google and the other search engines will rank trusted and/or recognizable sites such as well known news sites, YouTube, WikiPedia and things like that.  For marketers, building a brand can help drive traffic by building trust in the brand name.  Of course, that takes time.

Using Proper Headlines

While it may be obvious that using great headlines is essential to driving the most traffic you can, it isn’t always as easy as people would like.  Figuring out what types of headlines work best for your specific site or product can be difficult.  Some things are proven to drive traffic, but they don’t convert very well.  On the other hand, some types of headlines may not get as much traffic but will convert at higher rates because of the fact that it attracts more motivated buyers.

Finding the right balance can take some experimentation and learning about your target customers.  This is well worth the effort and over time will allow you to write high quality headlines for your posts, videos and other types of content.  If you are interested in seeing the full study from Reuters, you can see it HERE.

Five Content Options for Attracting Traffic

When it comes to making affiliate sales one of the most important things you need is a steady stream of traffic.  For most marketers today, that means putting up new content on a regular basis.  New content provides visitors a reason to come back, encourages sharing, builds links and helps give the search engines the information they need to rank you well.  It can, however, be hard to think of content options that are related to your niche without getting overly repetitive.

The following five options have been proven to engage readers, encourage sharing and bring in traffic both while it is published and for months afterward.  When done properly, these ideas can give you an almost endless number of ideas that you can turn into blog posts, videos, tweets, Facebook posts, infographics or any other type of content that you need for your site.

Case Studies

These don’t have to be overly complex studies to be informative and important for your readers.  Find something that you’re doing anyway, and write down each of the steps you take.  Take a little extra time to document the results and you’ve got yourself a very useful post.  If you have recently brought in a new customer, for example, you can write about the steps you took to get the customer to make their first purchase.

Customer Interaction or Reviews

If you can get a customer to take a picture with your product or record themselves opening it or using it, you can turn that into a very popular post.  People love seeing real people with products before buying them.  Consider offering a ‘bonus’ if they provide you with an honest review, a picture, an ‘unboxing’ or some other type of user content for your site.

Responding to Customers

If your customers are asking you questions or making comments on your social media pages, you can take those and turn them into posts.  Choose a few of the best questions or comments, put them up in a post and then reply to them.  You can also record yourself reading the posts and giving a response on camera.  This is a very good way to show your customers or potential customers that you really do care about what they do and say related to your brand.

Tips & Tricks

Come up with 5 or 10 ways to help people who have purchased your product to get even more out of it.  Simple tips that can make what they already purchased even more valuable than it normally would be.  This will not only show potential customers that you care, but will also get existing customers to come back again and again.  Even if you’re just promoting an affiliate product you can still offer this type of content to show that you’re more than just a portal to buy.  You’ll be there for the customers well after the sale.

Timely Posts

Look at the news or look at what time of year it is and try to associate your content with that.  If it is the start of a new school year, consider writing something about how your product can benefit students.  If it is almost spring, write about your product and spring.  Any holiday, news event or other time specific item will due.  This not only gets extra popular when you post it, but each year at that time you can often get a resurgence of traffic, especially if you remember to ‘reshare’ it.

Five Important Points for Successful Data-Driven Content Marketing

Not too many years ago people wouldn’t have really understood what was meant when someone used the term content marketing.  Today it is one of the hottest methods in marketing, and one that most experts agree will be essential for digital commerce long into the future.  This is because content marketing is the base for just about all other types of marketing efforts.

The content on your site needs to be great to keep people there, and encourage them to come back.  It also helps to improve sharing, which drives more traffic.  Good content builds trust and helps with SEO too.  The bottom line is, the right content marketing is essential to every brand.  The problem is, many people are doing it all wrong.  BingAds has put together the following five points for successful content marketing that is data-driven.

Search & Social Data

The first point they stress is that you need to start with the search and social data you can get.  Content is only going to be found through effective ranking in the search engines or having it be shared on social networks.  With this in mind, you need to know who your customer is, and what types of things they will like.  You can gather some of this information directly from your analytics and online keyword research tools.  Once you’ve gathered the data, you can optimize your content to meet the needs of your target audience.

Creativity

People today don’t want to see another page with the same things they’ve seen on countless other pages.  Using creative insights to form your content will improve engagement, which can translate to improved conversion rates too.  Using different approaches to engage with your customer will help keep them coming back for more.

Trending Topics

Not surprising, making content about trending topics can be very effective.  Look on the social media sites or the ‘top searched’ reports to see what people are looking for, and produce the content directly for them.  While this does require you to act quickly to get your content out in front of the trends, it can drive a lot of high quality traffic.

Listening on Social Sites

Most people in marketing know that social media is a great way to get your content out in front of people.  What many miss, however, is that it is also a great place to listen to customers or potential customers.  Reading every comment on your posts, as well as posts on your competitor’s pages, can be a great way to learn more about your customers.  This information can then be used to improve your content marketing efforts.  Of course, you can also reply to those comments to improve engagement even further.

Distribution is Essential

Finally, you’ll need to make sure you are properly distributing the content you create.  If you don’t put your content out there in the right ways, it will never be seen by your target audience.  This doesn’t just mean publishing content on as many places as possible.  It means learning about your audience, finding where they like to consume content, and taking steps to ensure you are there.

These aren’t revolutionary ideas, but they are proven to be effective.  Unfortunately, many people don’t put these types of efforts into effect.  They simply publish the content on their sites and hope it will get attention.  Why not try each of these items with your content marketing campaigns and see just how effective they can be.

New Report Shows US E-Commerce Growing Rapidly

The full numbers for eCommerce in 2013 are finally out from the US Census, and the results are looking quite good for anyone who is involved with the online marketing industry at all.  The report found that US retailers had 13.6% growth from 2012 to 2013 on their eCommerce platforms.  This brought them up to $261 Billion, from $229 Billion in 2012.

goldfish in cart - e-commerce concept

The growth is not exactly surprising, but it is always a good idea to work with the best and most accurate numbers possible to avoid getting caught up in the hype that is commonly found in this industry.  Taking the time to look at these results, even if they are nearly two years old, is very important.  In many ways it will confirm what the estimates had been up to this point.

The official report, which is titled, “E-Stats 2013: Measuring the Electronic Economy” says that in 2013 retail sales accounted for about 5.8% of total sales.  This is up from 5.3% in 2012.  The total sales also went up by 3.8% to a total of $4.5 trillion in 2013 (2012 had $4.3 trillion).

One thing that marketers should pay close attention to from this report is that the eCommerce is still just a small piece of the total retail puzzle.  As you can see, it is just 5.8% in 2013.  That percentage will likely go up some in 2014 and 2015 but the reality is, even digital marketers should be looking to see how they can benefit from offline sales as well.

Over time, however, most experts believe that the balance between traditional retail stores and eCommerce will start to get closer to even.  This isn’t likely to happen in the near term, but slowly over time.

Where is the Money?

The report found that the largest category for retail merchandise sold through the Internet in 2013 is clothing and clothing accessories.  This segment includes footwear.  This one segment is generating $40 billion in eCommerce sales at this time, and has gone up since.  For anyone looking for a new niche to enter for online marketing efforts, this is clearly a great option.  Of course, the vast majority of these sales go through well established companies.  Some of them, however, do have affiliate programs in place.

Importance of Reports

These types of reports are an important tool for all marketers to be aware of.  They can serve a number of purposes.  First, it can provide valuable data about where the money is being spent and how much of it there is.  Second, and perhaps most importantly, is that the reports can be used to show potential clients just how essential a good digital marketing strategy can be.  When managed properly it can contribute a significant amount to a brand’s bottom line and increase both online and offline sales.

This report can be found HERE.

Should you be using LinkedIn in Your Marketing

Just about all marketers know that social media is an essential piece of their marketing playbook.  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and others can help to drive a significant amount of traffic very quickly.  This traffic is also often very targeted and can convert at surprisingly high rates.  Whether using it for organic traffic or paying for ads, social media is a key tool for marketers today.

Conversion rate concept word cloud background

Conversion rate concept word cloud background

One social media platform that is often overlooked, however, is LinkedIn.  This business based platform is used by millions of members, almost all of which are already working professionals or those looking to improve their career opportunities.  In most cases, this means they are the type of people who will most likely have extra money to spend on product.

In addition, LinkedIn is used by millions of businesses, making it an excellent platform for those who are looking to provide products or services to other businesses.

Different Usage Goals

Another big benefit that LinkedIn brings to the table is that many people using this platform are actually looking for ways to improve their business or their careers.  When this is the case, they are much more likely to click links or even buy products that can help them meet these goals.  With Facebook, Twitter and other platforms, on the other hand, people are typically looking just to get updates and go.  While they can still drive traffic, it is less likely that they will be already in a ‘buying’ mood.

New Report on LinkedIn

If you’re still not convinced, consider a new report that was released concerning people in the Washington D.C. area, LinkedIn is used by more than 79% of business professionals.  This makes it the most used platform in the area.  Facebook is in second place at 77% and 62% use Twitter.  Of course, this is a very local report, but it does show just how large LinkedIn has become in the past several years.

Even in other parts of the country, and around the world, LinkedIn has become an essential tool for businesses and those looking to improve their careers.  These number may even grow going forward since most people today see LinkedIn as an important part of their job search or running their business.

How to Market on LinkedIn

Getting your products or services out there on LinkedIn is not always as hard as some might think.  First, there is the option to run advertising on the site.  This can be very effective and it is quite easy to set up.  LinkedIn has similar targeting options to the other social media networks as well, which can make this an excellent option.

For organic traffic, you can post links to blog posts or other important pages on your website.  To get additional exposure, you can join LinkedIn groups that have sometimes thousands of members.  These groups are segmented by topics, industries and more so you can get your message in front of the exact type of people who will be most interested in what you’re promoting.

The bottom line is you need to make sure you have LinkedIn as a part of your overall social media marketing strategy or you could potentially be missing out on a huge amount of traffic and sales.

Importance of Keeping Your Site Secure

One of the most important assets you have as a digital marketer of any type is your website.  This is where many marketers direct their traffic to enter their sales funnel, to learn more about the products or even to make the final purchase.  Of course, this is also where people sign up for email marketing lists and take most other actions, so it is obvious that the website is an invaluable resource for many businesses.  Unfortunately, it can also be a major vulnerability.

Online Security Technology

If you’re one of the millions of people who have their pages on the WordPress platform, for example, you have (hopefully) noticed that there were two updates in the past several weeks.  These updates were put out to close serious security flaws in the WordPress platform that have made millions of sites vulnerable to a variety of different types of hacks.

While WordPress does a fairly good job at keeping their software up and fixing security flaws as they are discovered, it is typically a game of catching up with the bad players.  Only when hackers get into enough sites does WordPress find and fix the flaw, which means your sites are potentially insecure at all times.

Why Security is Important

Most people know that keeping their site secure is important because they don’t want to lose access to their site, even for a time.  There are many additional risks, however, that marketers need to be aware of, including the following:

  • Malware – Many hackers don’t actually want to take over a site. They simply get into the back end of the page and inject malware into the code.  This malware then gets passed to everyone who visits your page.  This puts your customers at risk, and if they find that the problems came from your site, you will lose their trust.
  • Link Saturation – Other hackers attempt to put in hidden links onto your page. This can help improve their SEO efforts, while damaging your own.  In many cases, these links are invisible and can be in place without you even knowing they are there.
  • General Mischief – Some hackers are essentially just doing it for fun and may ‘vandalize’ your site by putting up their own images, content or other things. This can cause your page to look very unprofessional.

Keeping Your Site Safe

While it is impossible to be 100% secure from all hackers, there is a lot you can do to put in some added levels of protection.  Taking all the precautions you are able will help to ensure you don’t have any unnecessary downtime or other issues with your business.  The following are some critical safety measures you should consider:

  • Backing Up Your Site – Running backups of your site on a regular basis will allow you to restore your page quickly in the event of a disaster. Many hosting companies offer this service for free.  Make sure, however, that the site is backed up at least weekly, if not more often.
  • Updating Software – Keeping your site’s software up to date is also very important. Whenever a new version of WordPress or whatever CMS you’re using comes out, update it right away.
  • Keep Info Updated with Hosting Company – In the event that your site is hacked, you may need your hosting company to provide you access. Keeping your personal information updated with them will make it easier for you to verify your identity so they can help you faster.
  • Malware Detection – There are many plugins available for most types of content management systems. Make sure you have one installed and you use it to monitor for any unwanted software.

If you ignore the security of your site, you may quickly find yourself in a situation that is impacting your business.  These types of problems often take a long time to fix, and can ‘scare’ away customers for life.  You don’t want to wait until it is too late to take action.  Start working to protect your site today.