[Source: This article was published in searchenginejournal.com By Ron Lieback - Uploaded by the Association Member: Deborah Tannen]

The power of blogging is endless.

This sentiment is especially true for SMBs, which typically don’t have the financial backing of major businesses that can provide an endless flow of appealing video or podcast content.

A company blog has one overall goal that results in increased revenue: to create energy around what I call “TAR” – a concept that I blogged about before, TAR standing for Trust, Authority and Reputation.

Once these three elements are established, the blogging effort’s ROI over time will far outweigh that of any paid marketing campaign.

Unfortunately, companies and digital marketing agencies fail to experience the true power of blogging.

Either they are non-believers who don’t understand that a blog is the ultimate builder of TAR, or they do believe but constantly struggle with finding the perfect writer.

Companies can source a blog writer in three ways: a digital marketing agency, a freelancer, or in-house.

The typical digital marketing agency has a few in-house writers who may have to blog about various unrelated subjects. The outcome is never optimal here.

Think about creating content for a finance client one moment, followed by a pet supply company the next, then an aftermarket auto accessories business. This will soon cause burnout unless the writers are magically proficient and passionate about all of those subjects.

17 Non Negotiable Skills for Blog Writers in Any Business

When seeking a freelancer or in-house writer, the search is much easier; you search through numerous websites or place a hiring ad. But this situation also arrives with some issues.

Reputable freelancers and a dedicated in-house blogger can become pricey, And, unlike in most agency situations, the blogger may not have an SEO expert to enhance his or her work.

How about editors? Most freelancers don’t have editors.

These issues have helped develop my agency’s business model, which relies on freelance bloggers of various passions. I basically find and match writers to clients.

The client receives triple the value because they not only get a writer skilled in their industry/niche but also get all the SEO enhancements and a unique seven-layer editing process.

Whether you run an agency that offers blogs or a company searching for a freelancer or in-house blogger, the following 17 non-negotiable skills are crucial for acquiring and retaining quality talent, and increasing company revenue through one of the strongest forms of content marketing.

1. Passion & Proficiency

When blog writers have a passion for the subject and are both proficient in the craft of writing and the subject itself, the quality of work increases dramatically. This provides a stress-free environment for both the writer and the business.

Those that are passionate about a subject are typically more knowledgable, which keeps the material factual and trustworthy. And you can tell a passionate writer from a fake within a few sentences.

Sure, some of the best writers can be experts on subjects with zero passion for them, but the quality will never match that of one who has both proficiency and passion for the subject.

When my agency searches for new writers to cover a subject, this is the first criteria.

Don’t get me wrong-a few of what I call “factotum” writers exist that can just do it all because they have such a passion for writing they’re willing to spend extra time learning about the subject and eventually become super passionate about it.

But these writers are tough to find – and if you do find them, hold onto them.

Leadership mentor Michael Hyatt’s supports this concept in his latest book, “Free to Focus”. Hyatt says that for true success in life and careers, one must find their true north on the “Freedom Compass” – a productivity tool he has created that helps evaluate tasks, activities, and opportunities.

The true north of this compass is called “The Desire Zone.” This is where passion and proficiency intersect, and people can make their most significant contributions to “business, family, community…and maybe the world.”

The same goes for a blogger with passion and proficiency for both the subject and writing.

Expert Tip

When hiring an agency that will offer blogging, or a freelance/in-house blogger, ask some simple questions first.

If you’re using an agency, ask for details about their writers.

  • Are they in-house?
  • What industries do they blog about now?
  • What do they know about my industry?
  • And are they passionate about it?
  • What work can I see that they previously completed?

If you’re hiring a freelance or in-house blogger, simply seek writers that are interested in your industry. Then ask questions like above.

If reputability is a factor within the industry, simply use Google News with the author’s name in quotations.

For example, I’m a 10-year veteran of the motorcycle industry and have written thousands of blogs. A quick Google News search of “Ron Lieback” and you’ll find over 4,200 blogs – most from the motorcycle industry.

2. Meets Deadlines

A blog’s success thrives on frequent and consistent delivery, which means the writers must meet deadlines. This is where smart leadership takes over.

Don’t iron fist and demand deadlines; rather, influence the blog writers by making them know they are part of the success story.

When revenue increases and a client can directly attribute it to blogging, that writer should feel a sense of pride. Sometimes they don’t, and you must reinforce that.

Expert Tip

Always bump up the deadline for writers by a few days. For some, I go as far as a week in advance. Things happen in life, whether the writer gets sick or something else.

Make sure you have a buffer zone for them and you. This saved me a few times; during one situation a writer became extremely sick. I was able to redelegate the work to another writer and continue fulfilling the client’s content calendar.

3. Timely Communication

Besides meeting deadlines, writers must also have timely communication.

By timely I don’t mean immediately, but at least within 24 hours for emails and three hours for calls/texts.

When the blog-creation process is proactive, there’s no need for reactive actions, including immediate answering of an email.

I’m a firm believer and practitioner of only answering emails three times a day. To remain in à la Cal Newport “Deep Focus” mode, I also keep all notifications off when working, and keep calls silenced.

Expert Tip

Explain the importance of timely communication up front with your bloggers, along with the criteria of when to expect a response.

Explain how this timeliness will create less stress, which equates to happiness in both work and personal situations.

Timely Communication

4. Clean Spelling & Grammar

There’s a huge difference between “colon” and “cologne.” You want to smell like the latter, for sure.

Always spellcheck everything, and make sure someone else edits besides the blogger.

The best writers in the world are created by the best editors. Mistakes will always occur – the goal is to correct them before anyone sees them.

This also goes for proper grammar. I’m not only talking about punctuation and proper use of adjectives, but also the use of words.

For example, further and farther are commonly misused. The first one is used for time references, and the second is used for distance.

Another is fewer and less; always use fewer to describe plural words and less to describe singular words: That used Ducati has fewer miles, but less beauty.

Expert Tip

Send your bloggers two essential texts on grammar – the iconic “The Elements of Style” by Strunk and White, and also “The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need”, by Susan Thurman.

Also, have them use the free version of Grammarly.

5. Organization Is Vital

The days of the unorganized writer have passed – at least when delivering value to a client through consistent and frequent blogging.

All modern writers should educate themselves in the art of self-organization, whether that means blocking certain hours every day for blog work or writing down the weekly assignments across a whiteboard.

Whatever works – just as long as an organized system is present.

You want to know have trust in your bloggers, and not have to worry about them slacking here or there or forgetting an assignment. It’s also the leader’s job, whether the manager of an agency or company, to explain the importance of organization.

Expert Tip

Have bloggers handwrite their week’s tasks in a daily planner. Provide one if they don’t have one.

I’m not about to explain the psychology behind it, but physically writing stuff down helps me organize better than any digital planner. Writers will likely appreciate the handwriting anyway.

6. Understands the Audience

For writers to blog effectively, they must understand the target audience.

You’ll explain things much differently to an audience nearing retirement versus a teenager. Again, agency/company leaders will need to provide this education to the blogger.

This is where marketing materials need to be shared, and CEOs need to engage with the blogger or agency. Also, sometimes there are various target audiences due to where a prospect is within the sales funnel (more in point 16 below), so it’s a leader’s duty to explain this.

Expert Tip

Bloggers should be in constant conversation with the sales team, which is typically closest to the client and understands the client’s needs and questions.

This will help the blogger expand on topics and provide more value to readers.

7. Consistent with the Delivery of Voice & Style

Once bloggers understand the target audience, they must either continue or develop the company’s voice and style. All blogs should have a consistent voice.

Don’t be funny one day, satirical the next, and serious a week later. Keep consistency at the forefront.

Always create content in the same style, whether we’re talking about style guides or the way you create your content.

I like short, choppy sentences, and short paragraphs. I think it’s easier on the eyes and allows readers to digest quickly.

Others like longer sentences and chunky paragraphs.

Whatever you choose, stick with it.

In regards to style, some like Associated Press (AP), and others like the American Psychology Association (APA). Again, whatever you choose, stick with it.

Expert Tip

Most copy on the web is written in AP styling, which is what newspapers and most magazines use. Send your blogger the latest AP Stylebook PDF or, better yet, the book version so they can always refer to it.

Another great reference book that covers AP and other styles like APA is “The best punctuation book, period.” by June Casagrande.

These two books should always be at arm’s length.

8. Open to Edits

This is vital, especially when working with a new client or business.

In the beginning, the blogger needs to fully focus on learning everything about that business, from the style/tone to the target audience.

In an agency situation, it’s a leader’s duty to explain this process to the client. I ask my blogging clients to be ruthless during the first few blog edits – not only for factual information but voice and style.

Be wary; the point of contact in the business might want to write for himself or herself instead of the company’s target audience. This is something that also should be discussed before any writing is completed.

Expert Tip

At a minimum, have two extra sets of eyes on the blogs after they are written.

Even those with zero editing skills can pick up a missed fact or spelling error.

The more the better; I demand three separate sets of eyes at my agency after a writer hands in a blog, and we still sometimes find mistakes.

Open to Edits

9. Creates 110% Original Content

Yeah – 110 percent. In theory, anything over 100 percent is impossible, but using 110 stresses that blog writers should strive for complete originality.

I’ve read numerous articles on the same subject, and sometimes they sound so similar it’s as if they all just had different titles. This happens all the time in the digital marketing world, and more so in the world of powersports/motorsports journalism.

This is the quantity over quality factor, and some writers are just trying to pump out endless blogs in hopes of making a positive impact on search engines. But one original article that pukes originality will overcome 10 worthless ones.

Expert Tip

When you first hire a blogger, do yourself a favor and copy/paste the first few paragraphs into Google. I only found a writer to be plagiarizing once, but I would have likely lost a client due to it.

Make sure you explain there is no mercy for plagiarism. I only do this for the first or second blogs – after that I know I can trust writers because I only work with those that share my values for honesty and trust.

Plagiarism – even the most minimal version of it – will immediately sever (not severe!) the relationship.

10. Content Lacks Fluff

This is blogging – not the sometimes cheesy copywriting found within product or category copy.

Remember, all blog efforts should support the overall mission of TAR: Trust, Authority and Respect.

Kill the fluff and sales-forward copy. This is blogging that’s built to establish TAR.

Expert Tip

Bloggers should never overuse adjectives or adverbs. Most are useless, though some may be a major help.

Have your bloggers read Hemmingway – the master of simplicity.

11. Understands SEO Basics

The more SEO a blogger knows the better. But again, as point #1 states, it’s better to have passion for the subject and proficiency for writing over SEO.

They should understand – and learn, if need be – keyword research and the use of related keywords.

Also, bloggers should understand the importance of header tags, and how to effectively write titles and meta descriptions (character count, keywords, etc.).

Expert Tip

Some of the best bloggers around know squat about SEO.

That’s why I’ve created a system in my agency that provides writers with “SEO Content Guidelines” for each blog. It includes things such as:

  • The optimized title.
  • Related keywords.
  • Recommended word count.
  • The top URLs ranking for the topic we’re after.

I tell bloggers not to mimic the competition, but rather understand what the competition is doing, and do it better. These are best created by an SEO with some creative writing skills.

Always ask the writer if they can create a better headline – and maybe ask for two so you can A/B test it.

12. Knows & Strengthens Company USPs Through Blogging

One of my agency’s unique selling positions (USP) is that it’s an SEO-driven content marketing agency with a focus on written content that helps a business refine and strengthen its USPs.

So when my writers create blogs for my agency’s website, this USP is reinforced. The same goes for my client’s content.

Every blogger should know the company’s or their client’s USPs, and strengthen them through blogging.

Again, this is on the leadership team to make sure the blogger knows just what makes the business or agency’s client stand apart from the rest, and this is why USPs are so vital for success.

Expert Tip

Companies typical transform over time, which either pulls them away from a former USP or develop new ones.

To truly gain an edge with blogging, revisit older blogs and either refresh them with the newer USPs, or rewrite/delete them if they exploit an older USP.

Knows Strengthens Company USPs Through Blogging

13. Competitive Landscape Knowledge

Bloggers should have a deep knowledge of the business’s competitive landscape. This will further educate them, and allow them to witness and, better yet, predict future trends.

But take warning – nothing should be replicated unless you’re in the breaking news industry where stories will naturally repeat.

Expert Tip

Have your blogger follow a news blog within the vertical he or she is writing about, and follow the top ranking blogs.

The easiest way is to simply google “(industry term) news”. A good example is “SEO news,” which brings up quite a reputable publication for SEO.

14. Willing to Promote & Share Personally

If writers are dedicated to their work, they will have no issues sharing the blogs they have created across their personal social media platforms. This also goes for the blogs without their bylines – most businesses blog under the company name.

Everyone knows the power of social and sharing, and having bloggers pitch in will help the blog’s mission with establishing the company’s TAR.

It also shows that the blogger values the business he or she is writing for – and that helps strengthen the relationship between blogger and company, or blogger and agency and company.

Be warned, though; some clients respectfully sign non-disclosures. If an NDA is present, sharing simply can’t happen.

Expert Tip

If you have multiple bloggers, provide incentives to those who get the most shares over a period of time.

An example will be a $50 gift card to the blogger who gets the most shares over a quarter or so.

15. Bring Possible Solutions with Problems

This point was created for the leadership team.

Writers may have an issue with a blog’s direction, or with the criticism that some businesses have with voice or style. Don’t let them just whine about these types of issues.

If a problem exists, make sure the bloggers know that a possible solution must arrive with complaints. This will make the future workflow smoother, and less stressful.

And both of those concepts equate to higher quality writing, and, ultimately, retention of blogging services.

Expert Tip

Have bloggers “sleep on” a problem before presenting it. As humans, we get caught in the moment and let our emotions guide the conversation.

Usually, after some time, the problem is much smaller than first assumed and dissolves itself. This is especially true for writers; I know from experience.

Two decades ago my emotions would always get the best of me over criticism on a piece of writing. Now, after getting away from the situation and letting my mind subconsciously do some thinking, most criticism is warranted.

16. Understands the Basic Sales Process

This is crucial – the more blog writers know about sales, the more intimate they can get with the businesses’ audience.

Talking with the sales team will help with this information. Bloggers should also know the sales process, including the sales funnel.

Knowledge of the sales funnel will add more granular details about the target audience, allowing the blogger to further expand on the content and make that business a more authoritative voice in its industry.

Expert Tip

At my agency, I think in terms of where prospects are at within the sales funnel in regards to the content I produce. Most blog campaigns fall into the following model:

  • 50% written for newbies: they don’t know much about your business or industry but are learning.
  • 25% for intermediate: they are educated, but need that extra bit of incentive to become a client.
  • 25% for experts: they are extremely knowledgeable about your industry/business, and are just looking for the right partner that will help scale their business. These blogs also speak to the existing clients through use in newsletters; this shows your clients that your business thrives to stay current and remain authoritative in the vertical.

I can use a quick example from my agency’s blog:

  • 50% of the blogs are for those just learning about content creation and SEO.
  • 25% are for those who understand content creation and SEO but are searching for reputable help.
  • 25% for the experts, who are typically CMOs or SEO managers that are looking for immediate partners.

This is based on the current sales model, but that model is fluid and can change within weeks.

Understands the Basic Sales Process

17. Constant Flow of Education

I can never stress enough about the constant need for ongoing education within anything, from career development to personal happiness.

This is especially true for writers, who can quickly become stagnant if always writing about the same things. The more a writer reads, the better a writer will become. There’s no debating this.

Expert Tip

Send every blogger two essential texts on writing: “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser, and “Writing Tools” by Roy Peter Clark. And have them allocate at least a half-hour every day to read the latest blogs that discuss SEO writing.

Concluding Thoughts

The point of a blog is to establish a company’s TAR – Trust, Authority and Respect. But you just can’t hire any blogger or an agency; you must find one that aligns with your business’s core values and will provide the highest ROI possible.

Through two decades of writing professionally, and owning an agency that makes roughly 80% of its revenue from blogging, the skills above are an absolute must.

Remember, though, that everyone can acquire and build upon their skill levels. Once you have a blogger that excels in all 17 above, that’s when you can get them on autopilot and use more of your time to do what you do best.

Categorized in Business Research

[This article is originally published in forbes.com written by Brandon Stapper - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Dorothy Allen]

In 2018, a one-size-fits-all approach to lead generation simply doesn't work anymore. Appealing to different market segments to generate leads requires an intimate knowledge of the different lead generation tools at your disposal. And knowing these individual tools isn't enough -- you must also create the perfect blend of lead generation tools to reach all corners of your prospective markets.

As a printing company, we market to a wide variety of clientele. From corporate businesses that need new signage and displays for promotions, to individual clients who need invitations and decor for celebratory events, we've had to learn how to market effectively to them all. Along the way, I realized that the engaging subject line sales email that worked for a company in the trade show circuit won't work for a bride looking to print her suite of wedding stationery. This doesn't mean I've had to choose one or the other, but instead I have had to make a plan to reach both efficiently and effectively.

If you would like to do the same in your small business and create the ideal mix of lead generation tools to work for your markets, here are some of the tried-and-tested tips that worked for me.

First off, what is lead generation?

Lead generation can best be boiled down to how you create and capture interest in your product. This broad definition encompasses a ton of different methodologies, from in person to digital. Most importantly, lead generation evolves with the times. As new technologies surface or the latest social media craze begins, lead generation aims shifts to meet each market segment where they're at.

The biggest trend to date is the desire for an organic lead generation. Cold calling is out and often viewed as an antiquated, interruptive and tiresome practice. Instead, customers prefer a soft sell, in which they organically stumble across your product or service and make the decision to buy.

Find your mix with these three questions.

The answer to how to create your lead generation mix can be answered in three simple questions and validated by on-the-ground research. Before blindly investing in marketing campaigns over multiple platforms, ask yourself:

  •  Where does a member of my target market spend most of their time?
  •  Why would a member of my target market need my product or service?
  •  What is the member of my target market's buying preference?

These three questions will help you suss out the best ways to position your product or service. Pay attention to the last question -- buying preference is a big one. If you're marketing to a younger generation, chances are you'll want to have a clean, uncluttered site with a quick checkout option -- and I mean quick. Filling in a bunch of questions and being taken through a cyclone of pages may convince your younger buyer to leave your product in their cart.

Allocate your funds accordingly.

After some thought, you probably have a pretty good idea of your ideal customer and where they buy most of their products (and why). Depending on the size of each ideal customer base -- like our company, you may have many -- allocate your marketing funds accordingly. If you primarily do business-to-business (B2B) sales, then email lead generation software and state-of-the-art trade show displays may receive the majority of your marketing support. If you're searching for a younger, hipper demographic, you may disproportionately put funds toward influencer campaigns, social media, and web design.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

If you're unsure exactly what tools are at your disposal, do some research by talking to and observing your target market. Here are some rules of thumb to consider in triangulating the perfect approach for an organic lead generation.

  • Content marketing: Writing helpful how-to articles establishes you as a thought leader that people feel encouraged to buy from. Guest posts on other sites are also a great way to gain visibility with new audiences and encourage organic lead generation. Depending on your industry, this approach is a great way to attract the eyes of young professionals looking for career advice.
  • Social media: If your product or service can be marketed visually, Instagram and Snapchat are great platforms to get the attention of younger millennials. Facebook marketing is a strength when appealing to middle-aged consumers. Keep in mind that mindless scrolling on Instagram and Facebook occurs during downtime, and Facebook is the main culprit behind browser tabs when professionals are killing time at work.
  • Trade show and professional networking: Consider joining your town or city's Chamber of Commerce or CVB. You'll rub elbows with decision makers who know other decision makers, and establishing yourself as a leader in your community or industry can easily create organic leads. Trade shows are also a good opportunity for B2B networking and lead generation.

There are too many other examples to count, but if you spend time putting yourself in the shoes of your target market and searching out the points where they would stumble across your product or service during the day, you can't go wrong. Crafting the perfect mix of lead generation techniques is a challenge, but a fun one -- especially when it pays off!

Categorized in How to

Source: This article was Published bmmagazine.co.uk - Contributed by Member: Robert Hensonw

The advancement of technology has given us so many ways of finding out what we need to do to sustain businesses of different kinds.

Regardless of the differences that are unique to each business, one thing remains important – knowing what your customer base wants, and then work on fulfilling their needs in order to survive the competition.

With the era of monopolies now gone, it makes it very essential to on market research. That is why the major companies in the world employ the services of marketing teams and spend millions of dollars annually in recruiting research firms. Here are some reasons why you need to spend that money on research.

To have a better idea of what you are going to do

This may sound generic as ever, but the thing is – it shows you the importance of conducting research in the first place. The worst mistake you can make as an entrepreneur is shooting in the dark – you simply waste your time and resources without anything to show for it. You may make mistakes along the way even if you have sufficient information, but it is better to be prepared.

Whatever decision you make for the business, it is important to do your homework. From sourcing for suppliers, getting potential clients, and even developing the range of your products and services. It can also help in clearing up any queries that you have while still providing you with sufficient first-hand strategy that helps in progressing the business, also known as SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats).

It helps you to stay focused

Let us be honest here – marketing research and marketing, in general, is not an easy venture to get into, especially with all the multitasking that happens today. Even as a business owner, you might find yourself trying to focus on multiple projects, playing various roles within your organization, while still running the business and trying to help it succeed.

However, when you have done sufficient market research, it should inform you of what your consumers want. This helps you make a list of priorities you need to accomplish, which in turn helps you in managing your time as effectively as possible. It also gives you a guide on both the long and short term strategies you need to put in place, which helps you feel more organized, less frazzled and overwhelmed in the long-term.

Gives you better insight on your customers

Regardless of whether your business has been in the game for a long time or is starting out, target customers should always be a priority, as they are either potential or loyal customers. Good market research strategies will clear doubts you may have on the identification of these customers, including their gender, ages, locations, and so on.

The more analysis you do on their spending habits and products they frequently purchase, for instance, the better you can understand what makes them tick. This allows you to focus on manufacturing certain products or giving certain services in order to retain them as loyal customers.

Helps in understanding customer behavior

Aside from getting to know potentially loyal customers, you can use market research to find out some requirements of the customers. The improvement of technology has given us some useful advanced software tools such as Google Analytics, which assist you to understand the behavioral patterns of your customers. Oncetheir spending behavior is understood, you can then refine and customize various products for them.

These software tools can use the data in two forms. One is tracking the spending habits of the customer when they are online, which is a real-time analysis (it particularly works if you have an online shop), and the other is to check their past spending behavior to see if there are any patterns involved.

Helps in analyzing competitors

If you have ever read the book ‘The Art of War’ by Sun Tzu, it states that for you defeat your enemy in battle, it is important to know yourself and know them, and they will never defeat you. This statement is true; not just in war, but also in other aspects of life – especially when it comes to running a business.

Monopolies do not exist anymore in this day and age, so every business has fierce competition all around it. This should motivate you to do adequate research on the market as well as your competitors, and you may learn some strategies from them that can either push you ahead or reduce the growth of your competitors.

Even more important, it will help you to keep your growth consistent through the improvement of your services and products.

Gives you adequate information for selling and forecasting activities

The most important focus of sales forecasts is helping a business keep adequate inventory, an action which regulates the balance of demand and supply. The only way to find this out is through doing research. After doing a sales forecast you can then begin to plan for alternative goods you can sell, or find new methods of selling the goods. In addition, you may have consumer bases in other countries; market research allows you to find them and tailor make strategies for those areas.

Reduces losses and risk on a significant level

The best approach to use would be a contingency approach. At the back of your mind, you remember that the business may not do well due to factors that may be beyond your control, or others may be mistakes you will learn along the way.

Market research proves to be effective at reducing risks that you incur or the losses your business may suffer, as long as it has concrete findings to back it. It helps in avoiding mistakes such as poor pricing methods and poor marketing so that your business has a fighting chance of thriving.

Final thoughts

Making your business succeed in the face of increasing competition is not an easy thing, and that is why market research exists – to enable you to find weaknesses you should improve on. With these tips, investing in proper research is justified, and it will give your company great benefits.

Source: This article was published searchenginejournal.com By Matt Southern - Contributed by Member: Corey Parker

Google My Business has started sending notifications when new listings go live on the web.

A representative from Google announced this update while stating users will only receive these notifications if their business accounts are fewer than 100 listings.

Bulk verification accounts will not receive these notifications.

Accounts will also not receive these notifications if their language preference is set to anything other than US English.

Another way to confirm a listing’s real-time status is to click the direct links on the “Your business is on Google” card.

The “Your business is on Google” card is displayed in the GMB dashboard on the right-hand side, as seen in the example below:

Those who would prefer not to receive notifications can unsubscribe at any time from the settings menu.

Categorized in Search Engine

The evolution of executive search in recent years has seen tremendous shifts in the recruitment landscape. The acquisition of executives has become highly strategic. Disruptions within the digital economy, brought on by AI and automation technologies, have impacted all aspects of search.

From recruiting top talent to employing more sophisticated assessment techniques, executive search requires much more agility. To best serve their executive clients, many top recruitment agencies are turning to data analytics to develop and expand their service offerings.

When data analytics are complemented by a suite of technology-based tools, recruitment, talent selection, assessments, executive coaching and succession planning are enhanced at the executive level.

Leading recruitment agencies can attest how leveraging data analytics is crucial to attracting top-level talent in a fast-paced, ever-shifting business climate. Here are the five unparalleled benefits of leveraging data analytics in executive search.

1. Better decision-making

Data analytics is playing a critical, strategic role in improving decision-making. Today’s complex business environment makes analytics an important competitive resource for finding and attracting highly qualified talent.

Inefficiencies and costs are two areas in recruitment where data analytics drives ROI.

When recruitment agencies employ analytics capabilities to inform recruitment decisions, efficiencies are improved and costs are cut. This affords recruiting companies to boost or optimize their ability to inform recruitment decisions, providing a highly competitive advantage.

2. Increased quality of hire

Analytics drives the ability to mine actionable insights.

Adopting an analytical approach towards executive search helps headhunting firms increase the quality of executive hires. Employing structured data analytics functions helps focus data on the most important metrics relevant to recruiting and retaining qualified executives.

Data analytics allows recruitment agencies to dig deep into metrics to highlight the following factors:

  • Top talent characteristics
  • New hire performance
  • Qualified applicants per requisition
  • Resignations or involuntary turnovers within three months of service.

Utilizing analytics to the executive search experience allows companies to recruit the right talent for mission-critical roles.

3. Improved candidate experience

A critical step in the success of talent acquisition is the candidate experience. Research done by IBM Analytics shows that a great candidate experience is a “fundamental requirement” for hiring sought-after executives. The candidate experience has a far-reaching impact, determining important outcome measures like greater advocacy, job acceptance, employment branding, and potential sales.

Data analytics can be leveraged to improve the candidate experience. Incorporating analytics across every stage of the recruitment process informs recruiters with relevant information to enhance the candidate experience.

Analytics allows talent acquisition teams to better track a candidate’s progress across the recruitment pipeline.

Understanding the difficult steps that hinder the hiring process allows recruiting teams to take the correct steps to address potential hindrances, vastly improving the recruiting process and, more importantly, the candidate experience.

4. Improved speed of hire

With highly qualified executives in short supply across multiple sectors, businesses must optimize the speed and agility of the recruitment process. The use of analytics technologies addresses these talent shortages to sustain a competitive edge.

A data-driven approach to recruitment helps reveal bottlenecks in the hiring process. It also provides more accurate time estimates of each hiring stage. This enables talent acquisition teams to know with confidence how long the recruitment process will take to fill mission-critical roles.

Data analytics allows talent teams to work with agility, increasing speed and predictability to better manage the hiring process in a faster, more impactful way.

5. Creation of a diverse recruitment culture

A diversity- and inclusion-first culture unlocks numerous business benefits such as improving innovation and outperforming competition.

Implementing data analytics to the hiring process enables companies to set and achieve diversity targets. Unlike traditional recruitment methods, analytics eliminates the guesswork of determining demographic metrics. Acquisition teams can better monitor important demographic metrics like ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation and education to increase diversity.

Analytics can further enhance diversity metrics to map acquired knowledge such as military experience, cultural fluency, and language skills to drive innovation and business success. Strengthening the leadership team with diversity and inclusion can be a strategic approach to succeeding in an evolving marketplace.

Employing a data-driven approach to recruitment

The application of analytics is key to remaining competitive in today’s fast-paced, evolving business climate. Taking a data-driven approach to the executive search enables your company to be successful in its recruitment process.

Today’s marketplace requires the power of analytics to recruit sought-after executives to meet every talent need and to achieve real business results.

AUTHOR BIO
A passionate recruiter with more than 12 years in the executive search industry, Payal Bhatia is an international headhunter and business partner for RM & Associates in the MENA region specializing in the FMCG, retail, telecom and engineering sectors.

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was bbntimes.com By Anuja Lath - Contributed by Member: Deborah Tannen

Google AdWords started in 2000 with merely 350 advertisers. 18 years later, a lot has changed with the number of advertisers growing exponentially.

According to the statistics, Google earned more than 44% of the global online advertising revenue and 80% of search results now contain AdWords.

Google AdWords is one part of PPC advertising, which any business can initiate by creating an AdWords account. Businesses invest big time in it since the benefits are plenty. Especially small businesses that struggle a lot to be seen by their prospective customers, AdWords is the most feasible option available. Small businesses can benefit a lot from AdWords. While initiating paid advertising, it is suggested that a small business should make use of Google AdWords tips to succeed.

For a business that has just stepped into the online world or marketing, ranking well on a search engine is a difficult task. This is where AdWords helps a business become visible to the users who could be their prospective customers.

Here are the benefits of Google AdWords for businesses:

Measurable at all Times

When compared to traditional marketing methods, online marketing offers better measurability. This is because you get real-time updates on your reach, impressions, clicks, likes, comments, etc. This is the same case with running AdWords. As a business owner or marketer, you get real-time updates on your ads, the number of clicks, conversions, etc. This helps you measure if your ads are working. The advantage of this is that it lets you make changes to your campaign instantly as you keep getting insights about your ads.

More effective

With AdWords, your ads are only shown to people who are searching for specific keywords. Unlike traditional marketing, this ensures that your ads are seen by a highly relevant audience that is likely to be your potential customers and not just anybody and everybody.

There is also a possibility of putting time and geographical restrictions. For example, if you only want your ads to be displayed from 9 AM to 12 PM, you can do that! And, if you want your ads to be displayed only in your city, that can be done too! By adding various filters and features, your ads can be made more effective.

Instant Results

One of the challenges faced by small business owners is that they all want their business to rank well on search engines. However, organic rankings take time, expertise and a lot of peripheral activities such as off page SEO. For startups, driving visitors to their websites can be a big task.

With AdWords, it is possible to attract visitors to your website instantly. If you are willing to pump in the money, you can make sure your ad is the first one to show on the SERP. However, to see better results, it is a good idea for your business strategy to use a combination of both SEO and AdWords.

Boosts Engagement

If you invest money in AdWords, your ads are bound to show up on SERPs. Once you implement your AdWords campaign, you will see that you get clicks more often. AdWords boosts the engagement on your website. And the best part is that you only pay when someone clicks on your ad!

The more clicks and advertiser gets, the better it is! With every click on your ad, there is a potential customer on the other end who is landing up on your website or landing page.

Tracking

Once you implement AdWords, it becomes easy to track various campaigns and analyze which ones work best for you. The transparent nature of Google AdWords allows you to test and track your campaigns in real time.

This tracking and analysis allow you to tweak your campaigns till all your ads are high performing ads. This can be done by identifying low performing ads and keywords, adding or removing geographical locations based on data, and other tweaks.

Stay Ahead of the Competition

Perhaps the best quality of AdWords is that it gives you a clear picture of exactly what your competitors are doing with their AdWords campaigns. This helps you stay at par if not ahead of the competition. Based on ads your competitors are running and the keywords they are targeting, you can revamp your AdWords strategy.

One way of doing this is by implementing competitor analysis. This lets you know what about the trending techniques and strategies your competitors have been following. Getting seeing online by your potential customers means you have a better chance of generating more viewers, thus leads.

Get Found Easily

In today’s technology-driven era where the solution to everything is the Internet, implementing AdWords for your business will ensure more eyeballs, clicks and more than anything, it will make your business more discoverable.

Using AdWords for your business will help potential customers and users find you easily. The key to success here is having a good understanding of the type of keywords your target audience uses to find products or services like yours.

It is nothing but beneficial for businesses to implement AdWords campaigns to get discovered by more potential customers. If your business has the capacity to invest in a Google AdWords campaign, we highly recommend it! Let us know your thoughts on running an AdWords campaign in the comments below!

Categorized in Business Research

Source: This article was thebalancesmb.com By LAURA LAKE - Contributed by Member: Corey Parker

Just contemplating the need to do market research for your business can feel overwhelming. However, you need to jump in because market research is key to the success of your business. First, you need to understand the difference between "market research" and "marketing research."

Market research is when you have narrowed down a specific "target, " and you are delving into the behavior of that target.

In other words, its research into a very narrow group of consumers.

Marketing research entails dealing with a broad range of consumers. Marketing research includes "market" research, but it also delves into more. The best way to differentiate the two is to understand that marketing research is essentially about researching the marketing "process" of a company—not just "who" they are targeting.

First, let's look at how to implement marketing research, which includes the following steps and the questions you should be asking yourself along the way:

  1. Problem definition. The problem is the focus of your research. For example, "why are sales soaring in your Midwest territory, but dismal in other parts of the country?
  2. Data collection method and needs. This is where you ask, "how will I collect the data I need to solve the problem? Do I use surveys, telephone calls or focus groups?
  3. Determine sample method. Sampling represents those you will be collecting information from. You need to ask yourself, "what sampling method will I use? Will it be a random sampling, a sampling that contains a similar element, or a natural sampling?
  4. Data analysis. You need to figure out how you will you analyze the data. Will you use software or do it by hand? Also, how accurately do the results need to be?
  5. Determine budget and timeframe. You must determine how much you're willing to spend on the research and how soon it needs to be completed.
  6. Analysis of the data. At this point, you conduct the analysis of the data that has been collected in the previous Steps.
  7. Error check. Be sure to check for errors in the data you've collected and analyzed. Errors can occur in the sampling method and data collections.
  8. Create your report. The final step of marketing research is to draft a report on your findings. Your report should contain tables, charts, and/or diagrams. It's important that your report clearly communicates the results that you found. Your findings should lead to a solution to the problem you identified in Step One.

3 Key Benefits of Market Research

Market research also provides many benefits. It takes the guesswork out of marketing and gives you data that you can use to drive your marketing strategy—and accomplish your objectives and goals. It's a systematic approach that can make your marketing not only easier but more effective. 

Market research includes the following benefits:

  • Communication driver. It drives your communication not only with your current customer base but your target prospects as well. 
  • Identifies opportunity. Market research shows you where the opportunities are and helps you identify not just high-level opportunities but assists in showing you the more immediate "low hanging fruit" opportunities. 
  • Lowers risk. Detailed data keeps you focused on the real opportunities and helps you avoid unproductive areas. 

Categorized in Market Research

Source: This article was published searchengineland.com By Greg Sterling - Contributed by Member: Robert Hensonw

The company is filing new lawsuits, has developed tools and a stronger education program.

Scammers claiming to represent Google continue to prey on small business owners. They often also make threats about removing listings or outrageous claims about ranking improvements. Sometimes they try to charge for things that are free on Google.

In the past, Google has done a number of things to try and stop this kind of fraud, including filing lawsuits. Now, it’s stepping up its efforts and has announced a new set of initiatives.

The company is taking legal action against several entities. In addition, it can now better identify accounts tied to scammers and remove them. Google has also developed a tool to let business owners report scams, and it’s providing a directory of trusted partners.

Here’s an abbreviated version of what Google says in its blog post today:

  • We’re taking legal action against Kydia Inc. d/b/a BeyondMenu, Point Break Media, LLC (and affiliated entities) and Supreme Marketing Group, Inc. d/b/a Small Business Solutions
  • We’ve developed new automated and manual techniques to better identify Google accounts tied to scam efforts.
  • We’ve created a new tool that lets business owners report scammy practices and policy violations.
  • We’ve started providing resources and education to local small business organizations.
  • We’re launching the Google My Business Partners program [with] a directory of trusted partners.

Google is also recommending steps that local business owners should take themselves:

  • Make callers prove they’re from Google.
  • Claim GMB pages.
  • Understand that ranking claims are probably fake.
  • Don’t respond to robocalls.
  • Use the Do Not Call Registry.

The partner directory will be especially helpful. Litigation is also critical. To the extent that Google sues and wins, it will be a deterrent to firms (within the reach of US courts) trying to take advantage of the ignorance of small businesses.

Categorized in Search Engine

 Source: This article was published smallbusiness.chron.com By Sam Ashe-Edmunds - Contributed by Member: Barbara Larson

Research on aspects related your business, such as your target customer, marketplace trends, production processes, and financial practices, can help you predict trends, project sales, spot opportunities, and avoid potential problems. Understanding the nature of different types of business research will help you use data to maximize your sales and profits.

Reasons for Business Research

Business research can help you determine what potential customers want, which can guide you toward the development of better products and services. It can keep you abreast of what your competition is doing and help you spot marketplace and industry trends. Research lets you analyze how your departments are performing, and then compare their performance against projections to determine if you need to make adjustments.

Types of Business Research

Employ a variety of business research types to maximize the benefit that data can provide your company. Conduct customer surveys and focus groups of potential customers. Join your industry’s trade association to access its research studies. Perform budget variance analyses every quarter to determine if your revenue and expense projections were correct or if you need to adjust your budget. Keep tabs on the competition to determine if they’ve changed their products, where they’re advertising, what they are charging, and where they are selling. Check your website traffic data to determine who’s visiting your site, what pages they’re accessing, and which keywords bring people to your site. Sites such as Quantcast and Alexa can give you valuable data about your competitors’ website traffic.

Choosing Methodologies

Depending on your budget, you can conduct research in a variety of ways. Online surveys can provide you with quick, easy-to-understand data. Websites such as SurveyMonkey let you administer short surveys for free, charging a fee for more expansive surveys. Telephone surveys of current customers let you spend more time and solicit open-ended questions. A focus group lets you get a small group of potential or current customers together to discuss their ideas, suggestions and thoughts in ways that produce the information you might not have considered. Mail surveys cost more, but let you reach a large number of highly targeted recipients, depending on what mailing list you use. Analyzing your sales by distribution channel, territory, sales rep, price point, margin and volumes helps you determine where you should focus your marketing efforts.

Outsourcing the Work

If you aren’t expert at conducting research or don’t have the staff to perform this type of work, consider hiring a research firm to assist you. They can give you a list of options, allowing you to increase your research effort as your budget allows. Research firms have access to tools such as databases, phone banks, and email programs that you might not be able to afford, helping you gather data you otherwise couldn’t.

Categorized in Business Research

Source: This article was published bizfluent.com By Rick Suttle - Contributed by Member: Edna Thomas

Companies conduct business research for a number of reasons, including gathering crucial information on consumers and business clients. However, companies must make sure they use the correct methods for collecting customer information. Most company market researchers use phone surveys when they want to get reliable information quickly. However, companies must make sure they complete enough surveys so the results can best represent opinions of the entire demographic.

Testing New Products

Business research tests the potential success of new products. Companies must know what types of products and services customers want before they market them. For example, a restaurant chain may initially interview focus groups to test a half dozen types of fish meals. The focus groups will likely consist of small groups of customers. The objective of the focus group may be to determine which fish meal customers like the best. The company may even use customer input in naming the entree and ask how much consumers would spend for the meal. Eventually, the company may test the fish meal through surveys with larger groups of people.

Ensuring Adequate Distribution

Companies may also use business research to ensure the adequate distribution of their products. For example, a telephone directory publisher may conduct a distribution followup study to make sure phone directories have been delivered to all residential customers. Publishers of telephone directories base their advertising rates on distribution. Therefore, ensuring that all residences receive phone books is crucial to the success of the publisher's business clients. Similarly, a consumer products company may want to talk to retailers about all the different brands they sell. The results of the business research will help marketing managers determine where they need to increase their product distribution.

Measuring Advertising Effectiveness

Companies use business research to determine the success of their advertising. For example, a milk manufacturer may want to know what percentage of the population saw its most recent television commercial. The milk company may find that more people become aware of its advertising the longer the television ad runs. The milk company may need to run its television advertisements at different times if few people have seen the commercials. Companies also use business research to see if consumers recall the message or slogan of their commercials.

Studying the Competition

Companies often use business research to study key competitors in their markets. Companies will often start with secondary research information or information that is already available. For example, a software company may want to know the percentage of customers in the market who purchase its products versus competitors' products. The researchers can then study the purchasing trends in the industry, striving to increase their company's share of the market. Companies will often need to increase their market share in an industry to increase sales and profits.

Categorized in Business Research
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