Monthly Marketing Tips for March 2017

Yes, it’s April.
My newsletter is a little late this month because I have been quite busy. I just moved into a new place over the weekend, I got a new computer and, earlier in the month, I gave a presentation on Google Analytics for WordPress. (You will likely find it useful even if you don’t use wordpress.)
This month we also have too very practical articles for your online marketing:

  • How to consistently publish content, and
  • What not to do on social media


What is Google Analytics? Why should you have it on your site? How do you sign up for it? How do you install it? What do you do with it once it’s install?
All of the answers to these questions are answered in my presentation, which you can download here. And you can listen to me narrate it as well! (This is a much shorter version than the actual presentation, which ran over an hour.)
See the presentation.
I would appreciate your feedback as I am doing another later this month, on Search Console (aka Webmaster Tools).

Don’t know how other business owners manage to write so much? This post outlines one successful marketer’s writing process. You, too, can consistently publish engaging content that brings visitors to your site and encourages trust and relationship-building.
Read the post.

This post outlines three common mistakes businesses make in using social media to promote their business. The mistakes are:

  • Not using proper tagging (such as hashtags on Twitter)
  • Using User Generated Content (UGC as this post calls it) without permission
  • The last one is actually a twofer:
    • Being unclear with your communication/messaging
    • Having concealed relationships with influencers and other companies

All of these are things to avoid if you are committing resources and time to a social media presence.
Read the article.
By the way, click on the “X” to read the content, no need to sign up.

Ask me a question any time at or on skype at riley.haas
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Why Not to Use PDFs for Your Content

One of my clients asked me the other day if he should be publishing his blogs as pdf files. I reacted in abject horror which probably shocked him and seemed inexplicable. So I explained myself but we realized that this may not be so obvious to small business owners. I mean, PDFs are really handy, why not use them?

There are many reasons not to use PDFs for your every day content but I will cover two of them in this post: the first is a “user experience” (UX in the lingo) reason, the second is a efficiency/practicality reason for you, the business owner.

Continue reading “Why Not to Use PDFs for Your Content”

Tips for September

Good morning,
It’s already fall. I can feel it in the air. I had so many things I was going to get done by the end of the year and now I’m not sure I’m going to get them done, with just over 3 months left. But with the cooler weather, hopefully there will be fewer distractions. And hopefully this month’s newsletter finds you a little more prepared for autumn than I feel at the moment.
I hope you enjoy the articles and video and here’s wishing you a very early Happy Thanksgiving.


This is a great,brief primer on some key factors you should be focusing on for getting more search traffic. Unlike a lot of the stuff I’ve shared with you so far, this one is written for the lay person (phew). And you can ignore that it’s written for a B2B audience, as it’s even more applicable for those marketing directly to consumers. Here are the “four crucial things” you can do, in summary:

  1. Understand domain authority – a metric that is a guestimate of how well your site will do in the search results
  2. Maximize your media list – this is really good advice that not enough people follow
  3. Request a link – hard (for me) to do but really worthwhile
  4. Incorporate your keywords – but remember, you still want your content to be user friendly.

Read the full article. Just click on the popup box’s X to read the article.


Warning: requires signup to read
This article details 3 basic ideas about how to do content marketing better. It requires signing up to Marketing Profs, which may or may not be something you want to do, as they will bug you far more than I do. However, as you can see from a number of their pieces I’ve shared, they do have some good stuff (though I find much of it too niche).
Is it worth signing up for this piece? Probably. You can always unsubscribe from their notifications later if you want.
Sign up and read the article.


We want to put out interesting, original content. And we are told all the time that we need to make our content original in order to get attention.
But Rand Fiskin of Moz tells us that republishing your old content (updated of course) can actually be better than writing something brand new. This video explains why Google would want to promote republished content (i.e. your updated old content) over “fresh” content.
Especially for all of us with little staff and little time, this is really encouraging information that lets us reuse and repurpose our old work.
Check it out.

Ask me a question any time at or on skype at riley.haas


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Marketing Tips for the Solopreneur

I hope you’re had a wonderful summer. I’ve had quite the busy one myself and can’t believe it’s just about over. But it’s TIFF next week, my favourite time of year, so I’m quite excited.
This month we’ve got helpful articles and videos covering content marketing, social media marketing and SEO.
First, there’s a helpful, albeit brief, guide to creating content your potential clients and customers will actually want to read and share.
Then, we have a video on the perils of using social media as the only way to drive traffic to your website.
Finally, our second video is a little more for an expert audience: solving common SEO conundrums.


This brief guide lays out a fairly straightforward way you can create content that past and future clients/customers will enjoy and share. The steps are

  1. Create buyer personas
  2. Finding your audiences pain points (including free ways of doing so)
  3. Creating a list of proven topic ideas
  4. Use the “CURVE” method to write your content (see the guide)

All of these are easier said than done, but the article gives some hints on how to do these things and a quick googling of any of the topics will find you many more articles on how to do these things. (Also, googling is basically how you accomplish step 3.)
Read the article. Just click on the X to ignore the signup box.


This video has some bad news. “Link building” – the process of getting other sites to link to you, thereby improving your position in search engine results – probably cannot be accomplished through social media. Social media is valuable; it’s valuable to share your content, products and services with people who won’t find it with the search engine, and it’s particularly important to building relationships and trust with your potential clients or customers. What this videos says is that what social media cannot do is elevate your search engine ranking in and of itself.
Watch the video.


Another Whiteboard Friday video – yes, I know, I share a lot of them, but it’s because they’re really good!
This one is more for experts. It examines 5 frustrating SEO experiences and how to possibly overcome them. Here are the five:

  1. Following SEO best practices doesn’t improve your ranking
  2. Your competition appears to be doing better than you through bad links
  3. I have no idea why my ranking goes up or down
  4. I can’t accurately quantify, predict or control my SEO
  5. Google is biased to big brands.

The content is definitely for people who know what they are doing when it comes to SEO. But if you do, this video is edifying.
Watch the video.

Ask me a question any time at or on skype at riley.haas

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When Word of Mouth is No Longer Enough

You’ve been relying on your friends and your happy clients to spread the word about your business. But what happens when your word-of-mouth referrals dry up?

I suspect this is the fear of every small business owner who relies on referrals. Fortunately, the internet has made it possible for us to get clients another way, without relying too heavily on referrals and without paying for expensive advertising in print, on billboards or on TV or radio.

Internet marketing – or digital marketing – allows the small business owner to both better target their marketing efforts and to handle these efforts ourselves, if we’re willing to spend the time.

There are four main types of digital marketing:

  • Content Marketing
  • Pay-Per-Click Advertizing (PPC)
  • Search Engine Optimization (the infamous SEO)
  • Social Media Marketing

No matter which methods you choose, all of these methods are cheaper than conventional media advertizing and all can be handled by you, the owner, if you are willing to commit the time to learning how. When done properly, they will also provide you with leads on a far more consistent basis than word of mouth referrals.


Content Marketing

Content Marketing is basically the use of “content” – blogs, videos, podcasts, reviews, and other internet content – in lieu of traditional advertizing. This blog post is an example of content marketing – I give you some information for free in the hope that you will not only like the information but come to trust me as an expert and a person you can trust.


Pay Per Click (PPC)

PPC is the most famous kind of digital marketing – it includes both the ads you see when you use Google or Bing, and the banner ads you often see on websites. Think of PPC as the ability to have an online billboard, but have that billboard shown only to people who are looking for words related to your services, and this billboard doesn’t stay in one place. Also, you only pay for the billboard if people look at it.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is the basic, ground-floor building block of digital marketing but the industry is jargon-obsessed and so understanding what it is and why you do it can be hard to figure out. The short version is that SEO is all about compliance of your website with the best practices dictated by Google (and Bing, to a lesser extent). That’s all it is. It isn’t a secret sauce for huge traffic and leads. It can be done well and poorly and the effects of either aren’t always apparent. But it is necessary in the long run so that you will get “organic” (i.e. unpaid) search engine traffic to your site. There are both technical and non-technical aspects to SEO, and the technical stuff will require a developer.


Social Media Marketing

The trendiest form of digital marketing is also the most misunderstood (well, outside of SEO) and most time-consuming. You should engage in social media marketing only if your product or service can fit into one or more social networks and you can spend the time to perform it consistently. If you can’t do both of those things, there is no point whatsoever.


I will be covering all of these topics in more detail in the future but know that you do not have to rely on referrals. You can become a master of some or all of these marketing techniques which can support your referral marketing efforts going forward.

Email me any time at riley dot haas at gmail dot com or find me on skype at riley dot haas.


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July’s Tips for Sollpreneurs

I hope you’re enjoying the heat and I sure hope you have air conditioning.
This month we’ve got a piece on “interactive” content, and the value that content can bring to your marketing, provided you can invest in it, a guide on how to use “influencers” to grow your brand and your presence on social media and, finally, seven common mistakes business owners may make when marketing online.
This month, all content is from a site I read regularly called Marketing Profs. They have an annoying sign up form that pops up before you read – just click on the X, I’m sure you’ll find the content worthwhile. Also, if they want you to sign up to read the full article, it may be worthwhile. They produce a lot of interesting stuff, some of which is relevant to small business owners. (However, much of it is only relevant to business-to-business marketers and so you may not want to commit, or you may want to sign up for to try, and then unsubscribe later. I leave that up to you.)


“Interactive” content is content that asks or requires the user to participate (as simple as an embedded poll in your article). This article discusses why it’s valuable for your marketing campaign. Fair warning though, the best interactive content is going to be expensive.
Read the article.


We hear about “influencers” a lot. “Influencers” are merely people on social media who have a lot of followers, and a lot of influence with those followers. Influencers can be great for drawing attention to your brand, your products or your content, though the biggest ones will want substantial compensation for their influence. This article helps us understand how to use them for not just greater brand visibility, but fro creating social content (i.e. content for your brand that exists only within the social media space and not on your site). Note that the article requires you to sign up for a Marketing Profs account.
Read the article.


This one might be for the experts out there. When we do things daily, sometimes we fall into habits that can be unhelpful. This article highlights seven things we do that might be counterproductive for our online marketing. It’s a geared towards people who are already marketing their businesses online on a full-time basis.
Read the article.

Ask me a question any time at or on skype at riley.haas


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Tips for May

Marketing tips for the solopreneur

Summer’s here and I’ve gone from complaining about the cold to complaining about the heat, like any good Torontonian.
This month we’ve got an article about how to have plan 700 day shelf life – yes, that’s right, two years – for your blog post; that is, how to make it work for you for two years, rather than a week or two.
Next, we’ve got a brief post on cognitive psychology in user experience (UX in industry jargon), on how the important thing for conversions is to make it as simple as possible. (It sounds obvious, but it’s not always).
Finally, yet another video from Moz: this time, it’s about how google’s knowledge graph (that box on the right side of the search results) can actually help you market your business.


This Marketing Profs article provides a pretty thorough guide on how to create a strategy for how to use a single blog post to promote your business multiple times over the course of two years. Yes, it is possible. As I say to my clients, just because a few people on the internet read your post doesn’t mean nobody else wants to read it…re-share!
Read the article.

User Testing is one of the premier UX resources for small business owners online, giving lots of free advice. In this brief piece, they discuss how to design your site to get more gut- or impulse-based conversions instead of requiring your users to think about what you offer. They also provide useful further reading resources.
Read the article.

I know there always seems to be a Moz Whiteboard Friday video in this newsletter. That’s because, in my mind, there are few more helpful discussions of SEO out there. Rand’s topics are usually for people with some degree of knowledge, but he is engaging and once you are over the hurdle, these are very useful.
This episode, Rand talks about gaining insights from Google’s knowledge graph which you can then apply to your site.
Watch the video.

Ask me a question any time at or on skype at riley.haas

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Solopreneur Tips for March

I hope you had a good Easter. This month I’ve got two videos and one guide to share with you. One of the videos in particular is more for SEO experts, so I’ve left it for the bottom.
It’s an all Moz month this March (sorry), as Moz remains the best source of quality content for any small business owner wanting to learn digital marketing.
First, we’ve got a beginner’s guide to content marketing, an extremely detailed and useful piece for those looking to avoid using Google Adwords.
And thanks for reading.

Moz has long been the source for the best, most thorough and in-depth marketing insights online. Their content marketing guide is unparalleled. It is written so that even the most lay person can understand it, but it provides insights even an expert might try out.
Even if you’re not interested in their other content, I strongly suggest bookmarking the index for this guide, or even downloading the webpages for future reference.
Read it here:


In this episode of Moz’s Whiteboard Friday (their weekly series of internet marketing videos), Moz CEO Rand Fiskin deals with that question that always eats at the small business owner: should I rebrand / redo my website to gain more business?
Watch it here.


This second whiteboard Friday video is a little more for the expert, but it’s still worth watching. In it, Rand explains to us how to estimate potential traffic for our business, provide the business is for a particular niche and isn’t some big e-commerce site (not a problem any of us have!). It’s the kind of video that’s worth watching more than once, over the years, as you get more and more comfortable with online measurement tools.
Watch it here.

Ask me a question any time at or on skype at riley.haas


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Solopreneur Tips for February

Marketing tips for the solopreneur

I was in Colombia for half the month and that’s made it rather difficult to focus on improving my newsletter. (If you’re interested, the trip is slowly being recounted here: Plug plug plug.)
This month I’ve three more great pieces about digital marketing. Hope you enjoy.

Continue reading “Solopreneur Tips for February”