If you are looking to create a life you truly love, you may start to think of becoming an entrepreneur. Creating a business that you love and can help others is the best of both worlds, right?

In this interview with Ashley Howard, co-owner of Howard’s Cleaning Service, you will learn how her and her husband Billy are successful business owners. They started this business from the ground up and Ashley shares a few great tips if you are thinking of starting a service based business!

If it something you really want to do, just start your business and do it. Provide great customer service and get good at putting out fires as needed. You don’t know what is going to happen everyday, but just go with it!

Learn more about Howard’s Cleaning Service Here

Entrepreneur Series - howard's cleaning service

How to tell your story

How to tell your story:

  1. How did you get to the place you are at now? Tell us about your journey.
  2. How did you know that you wanted to do “this” for a living?
  3. Core Values – What are your core values and how can you add them to your products or services? (We have a lot of resources o our website on core values)
  4. What makes you different? How do your products or services stand out from the others?
  5. What do you say when people ask you “What do you do for work?”
  6. Who is your target market? What problem are you solving for them or what pain point are you addressing? This will tie into your WHY!

Notes:

  • Once you have your story written down, make that your “About Me” page or create a blog post out of it. Also, create a video that shares your story, Add it to Facebook, Pinterest, make a short one for Instagram.
  • You are creating your Personal Brand with your story
  • Make sure you are fulfilling your target markets needs, are you solving a problem or fixing a need? By writing your story it will help you fill in the gaps you may be experiencing.
  • Check out your competition. Both locally and nationwide, look at what they are doing well and look at what they could be improving on and take notes!

Once you have your story complete and you are ready to move into the marketing piece and really being able to speak to your target market, you need to know first what are they searching for? What keywords are best for your business to be blogging about that will reach your target market and attract those perfect customers or clients.

You are on your way to creating SEO-Friendly content for your website and blog! Please sign-up for our FREE  training video on performing keyword research to improve the SEO on your website and blog posts.

Sign-Up for our FREE Keyword Training Video

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Interested in learning more? Take a look at the following videos:

Internal and External Goals

Setting Your Business Up On Autopilot

Finding Topics Your Tribe Will Love [Video]

 

pinterest strategy and goals

Pinterest, just like any other network, requires care, commitment, and attention to detail when it comes to implementing your strategy and measuring your results. In today’s blog and this week’s Growth Prompt, we are building your Pinterest Strategy and Setting Goals for measuring your success.

Earlier in the month we’ve explored the in’s and out’s of what Pinterest is, as well as, how to create images, manage your boards, etc, but today we are taking that deeper dive into the strategies to use to optimize Pinterest for your business.

In addition to the information provided in this blog post, be sure to download this week’s growth prompt HERE. This PDF includes space for you to create your Pinterest Strategy and to Establish your Goals on Pinterest.

Download Growth Prompt.

Part 1: Creating your Pinterest Strategy

Step 1: Be Consistent.

On Pinterest in particular, it is of utmost importance to be consistent with your pinning. Why? Pinterest will show your followers a collection of recent and popular pins when they sign onto Pinterest. Imagine that none of your pins appear for days and then all of a sudden 10 branded images pop up at once.

First, the person isn’t going to know who you are and second, they are going to feel like you are spamming their Pinterest feed.

Rather than only signing on one time per month, instead we recommend trying to have a consistent flow of pins to your boards that consist of both your pins and those of other people.

To build Consistency into your Pinterest Strategy, you want to make sure that you have a clear understanding of:

  • When you can pin (ie, can you only commit to pinning on your computer at 10pm while watching Netflix or can you carve out time during the day)?
  • If you would benefit from a 3rd party application to pin and repin on your behalf?

3rd Party Apps to Help Manage Pinterest

Yes! These apps do exist and there are 2 in particular I recommend utilizing.

Tailwind:

The first, Tailwind*, has a robust pin-scheduling tool for your own pins and allows your to set schedules to pull from other pins, as well. Tailwind also includes Tribes, which are groups of people who have agreed to share each others pins on a specific topic.

Boardbooster:

Personally, I utilize Boardbooster* for my Pinterest management. With Boardbooster, you create Secret Boards and pin images to these boards rather than your public boards. In boardbooster, you then create a schedule for how many pins you would like to move from the secret board to your public board and what time of day you want these pins to be published. Boardbooster also has a looping function to repin old pins from your boards at a set schedule.

One downside of Boardbooster is that you can’t really visualize the order of publishing your pins, so let’s say you make 3 images for a blog post, when you pin them to your secret board, you also need to pin other images.

I love boardbooster, however, because I can spend one movie just pinning other images to my secret boards and not worry about Pinterest for a month.

Step 2: Create Multiple Pins for your Blogs.

Rather than just creating one pinnable image for your blog post, change the design and wording slightly so you have 3-4 images for each blog post. This especially works well if your blogs are 1000+ words long as you can create a pin for each topic you cover.

To manage this, I recommend creating a few layouts and templates in Canva that you can just swap out words and images. Then, as mentioned before, rather than pinning all the images at once, add them to your secret boards (if you use Boardbooster) with other images between and try to space out their publishing dates (or at least times).

You’ll also want to make sure the images are rotated into a board specifically for your brand and website. I recommend calling this board “From the XYZ Blog” or “Company Name Pins” – just something that makes it very clear that these pins are only from your website. Put this board at the top of your Pinterest boards as a featured board and you are good to go!

So, how do you incorporate multiple pins in a blog post without being overwhelming? Get your hands dirty with HTML and you’ll be good to go! 🙂

I recommend the following process for adding multiple pins to your blog post:

  1. Create images and name them with your blog topic then upload the images all at once to the end of your blog post.
  2. When you upload the images, add individual ‘alt tags’ to them with the following formula: BLOG/PIN TOPIC, keyword 1, keyword 2, #firsthashtag, #secondhashtag, keyword phrase 3, #thirdhashtag
  3. Drag and drop or copy and paste images to where they fit in the content (for example, if you have one topic at the start of the blog and it flows into another topic, you may want to include one pin that includes language from each of these sections rather than using the same language on every pin.
  4. With the remaining images that are at the end of the blog, you will now want to HIDE them!
  5. Just into the HTML for the blog post (in WordPress this is the Text tab above the content editor) and scroll down in the text editor to the end of the post. You should see the html code for the images here. This looks like: <img src=”URL” alt=”info you added to the alt tags”/>
  6. Directly before the first image you want to hide, add the text: <div style=”display:none;”>
  7. At the very end of the post after the last image you want to hide, add: </div>
  8. Click save and you are all set!

Step 3: Incorporate Pins from other Websites.

The last core piece of your Pinterest strategy is to include the Pins of other accounts and to pin images directly from other websites.

When you pin from other accounts, be sure you are looking to find popular RICH pins that include keywords in their descriptions and are frequently repinned. Typically, when you search for a topic, these pins will appear first in the search results.

Why do you want to only repin rich pins? These are often shared more frequently and if your account is posting pins that are shared frequently, you will tend to show up more frequently in Pin search results.

You also want to pin images directly from different websites because then you have the added benefit of having your profile link appear alongside the pin rather than only appearing when someone clicks to expand the pin!

Part 2: Setting your Pinterest Goals

There typically are two main goals businesses set for Pinterest. The first is much easier to accomplish than the second, but both simply require that you are consistently active on Pinterest.

 Goal 1: Gaining Name Recognition and Exposure.

Gaining name recognition and exposure is a great goal for Pinterest and is actually fairly easy to accomplish!

With my Pinterest account, I was able to grow from 100 followers to 60,000 pin views in a matter of 3 months. How? I wrote blogs and used Boardbooster to consistently pin new images, my images, and repin for me while I worked on other aspects of the business.

You can do this too, if you follow the strategy steps outlined above.

 Goal 2: Growing Traffic to Website.

Though to reach the first goal of gaining exposure doesn’t necessarily require you to blog, growing the traffic to your site ABSOLUTELY requires that you blog for your business! This makes attaining this goal a little more difficult as you need to build time in your schedule to blog and create pinnable images.

Once you create your schedule for writing blogs and the images, then, as long as you are using keywords in your descriptions, sharing the pin to group boards, and testing out different pin designs, you can be fairly certain people will click through to your site.

Final Thoughts: Freebies

So, as I wrap up, there is also the important notion to remember about what to do once people get to your site!

I always recommend including Content Upgrades in your content as a way to capture the names and email addresses of those who click through the site. This means in addition to creating the blog post and images, also creating a download and a form to add even more information to your post. Once someone signs up to download the form, you ‘own’ their email address and can send them weekly tips and news to continue helping them on their educational journey in your industry!

We’ll be doing an entire section on the ins and outs of Content Upgrades (Freebies) and Welcome Series, so stay tuned!

 

One of the best visual tools to use on Pinterest is Infographics, over the past few years, infographics have become a big deal. They are a great way to visually explain data to people. These images can really be used for just about any industry and I think that’s why they work so well.

People can get too caught up in making an infographic, what data do you use, where do you find that data, how do you create the image, what colors do you use etc. The list goes on and on.

We have created a 5 step system for you to follow to create the
BEST infographics for Pinterest!

 

  • 1 – Picking the right topic
    • Does it relate to your business?
    • What topics in your industry do people find interesting?
    • Is this topic something you are passionate about?
    • What data do you want people to receive?
    • Can you tell a story within the graphic?
  • 2 – Be creative, funny or useful
    • Can you get a reaction out of people
    • Explain something to your audience that will resonate with them
    • Explain the data you want them to learn on their level
    • Will your image be shareable?
  • 3 – Keep it simple
    • Have a simple and clean image
    • Keep your infographic to 3-5 points
    • Using text and images within your infographic
    • Have a good Call-to-action within the graphic, don’t give it all away in one image
  • 4 – Look and feel
    • Make sure you are using clear fonts that your audience can read
    • Tie your infographic into your brand colors only use 2-3 colors per image
    • Put your sources on bottom and your logo
    • Keep you infographic consistent with your brand
  • 5 – Size
    • Make your image longer rather than wider
    • Infographics should be 735 pixels wide and under 2,060 pixels long
    • Remember with mobile if they are longer than 2,60 pixels they can get cut off

Wonderful, now you know how to create your infographic, what it needs to look like, the things you should have and shouldn’t have, but now the BIG question is where do you get all the data?? I know as an entrepreneur I am always looking at infographics on Pinterest for our company and for our clients, I say WOW that is awesome, I want to create something like that. BUT where did they get the data, how do they know the key points they want to talk about??

We have put together a FREE download here for you with 6 key techniques to collect data to make the perfect infographic. As you can see there is a lot that goes into making just ONE image, right? This is a process. It’s really about finding that perfect topic that you really want to share with the world and being able to explain it in such a way where everyone gets it! You have to do your research with each infographic, make the process fun. As you think of these ideas for your infographics, keep a journal or word doc to start collecting your data. 

Conclusion

Remember you are always going to analyze your data and try to create a story with that data. Once you have your data, story, and image complete you can craft together a successful launch. Where will you place this image first? Each infographic needs to have your call-to-action, visually appealing and clearly branded. Here are a few steps we recommend for a successful launch:

  • Write a blog post about your Infographic with the image within the blog content
  • Share to Pinterest, Google, Facebook
  • Make another image that is the correct size for Instagram and share on Instagram

When you follow these steps to create the best infographics and implement our techniques to your data and design process you will be able to deliver an infographic that will resonate with your audience. An image that they will want to share and will build your brand.

Did you know?  Pinterest is the 3rd most popular social network and it has become a huge search engine!  People turn to Pinterest on the daily to:  shop, find information, ideas, educate themselves, organize themselves and so much more.  Once you get to know Pinterest and all that it can provide for you, the love affair begins 😉

To make sure your brand’s content hits the ground running, there are some basics you need to have in place, especially when it comes to graphics.  Pinterest is a highly visual platform.  Understanding the best graphics to use on the site is key to making your account perform its best.

We want to make sure you and your brand look your best on Pinterest, so, we put together this helpful 2018 Pinterest Image Size guide.  Download it, print it out, and keep it handy so you can have these image sizes available at-a-glance!  Download the guide HERE.

Part of being successful on Pinterest requires your ability to be found!  That’s where hashtags (#) come into play.  Once you have an understanding of how to utilize hashtags, you will notice an increase in your Pinterest traffic.

Hashtag Know How!

Here are 3 strategies you can use to get your hashtag game in place for your brand

STRATEGY #1:

Know the number of hashtags you can use one 1 pin.  A recommended rule of thumb is to use no more than 20 hashtags per pin.

STRATEGY #2:

Always use hashtags on the pins you post.  When people search hashtags in the search bar, Pinterest will compile the latest pins chronologically, placing the newest pins at the top of the list. That’s where you want your pins to live.

STRATEGY #3:

Organize a list of hashtags for your brand.  Categorize you hashtags into 3 buckets:

  1. Branded Hashtags:  a list of hashtags that only relate to and describe your brand
  2. Trending Hashtags: a list of trending (popular) hashtags on the topics you post about (these hashtags will frequently change based on the topic and current trends you are posting about)
  3. Content Related:  a list of content related hashtags to use in order to describe the post you are pinning

Best Practices When Selecting Hashtags:

  • Avoid using very broad hashtags, be more specific and try to think like your audience.  What hashtags would they use to find your pin?
  • Don’t be afraid to use hashtag phrases if they help to define your audience even better.  For example, we may use a hashtag phrase like #SocialMediaTraining as a hashtag to reach our audience.
  • Do some research!  When adding a hashtag to a pin on Pinterest, Pinterest will populate a list of suggested hashtags.  Next the hashtag, you will see how many pins are using the hashtag you are considering.  If the number is HUGE, your pin may get lost in the shuffle.  Try to determine how you can make your pin more niche with a more specific hashtag or hashtag phrase.

When working with Pinterest, our best advice is for you to get started, have fun, and experiment with different ideas, strategies, and tactics.  Happy pinning!

We are going to be talking about Pinterest for digital marketing for your business. Now is such a great tool for businesses to use for their marketing because it allows for your business to gain a broader audience without necessarily having to always wear to grow your network. Pinterest works much more like a search engine in this capacity rather than a social media Network.

What is Pinterest?

First and foremost, what is Pinterest? Is an Application that utilizes images to help people find things online more easily. So you can think of it almost like a visual search engine. Imagine if you did a Google Search and rather than having websites come up in text and phrases, the websites all appeared as images. This is Pinterest. Now with Pinterest,  users are prompted to search for items of interest and organize them in elements called boards. Board is a collection of that all relate to a certain topic. As a business you are able to Showcase elements from your own website as well as related pins from other people’s website so that your followers and the people who come across your account can more easily find information regarding the topic of your expertise without having to search around for related website and phrases.

The download for this week is to help you organize the boards on your own business Pinterest account so that they relate to items that your target market will be finding online. The link for this is at the bottom of the blog.

Now you might be thinking that Pinterest is only for a DIY, crafts, and Home Improvement projects, but in reality, it is for so much more! We have found that everything from business services and tips to graphic design and accounting for businesses have garnered lots of great feedback and traffic to our client’s websites. In fact once a pin goes viral, you can find that you consistently get leads that come from one blog post image on your website month after month.

We haven’t really discussed in detail the use of lead capture forms on your website, but Pinterest is a great traffic source if you have a lead capture form and free giveaway on your website as a way to attract new people to your email list.

When you utilize Pinterest it is important to make sure that your pins correlate with a Content that you find on your website and that your pins and board description include the keywords that you need to be found just as you would a search engine.

How do Search Engines Work (How Google Ranks Pages)

How search engines work is through matching the search user’s intent would be words that appear on a specific page on your website. If the search user intent and the keyword phrases that are used match the content that is found on your website you are more likely to appear in organic listing.

The same is true for Pinterest. As you are creating every single pin from your website you need to make sure that you are thinking about words and phrases that somebody might be using on Pinterest.

How to Organize Your Business Pinterest Account

We’ve recommend following these steps to ensure that your Pinterest account Boards are set up for success.

First step is to create boards that align with the interest of your target market on Pinterest. You want to make sure that these boards closely relate to your own business so that you can include a combination of pins from your own website as well as from other resources online.

When you create your boards, think about the different aspects of your business. For us, for example, we can pin about:

  • Blogging,
  • Business Tips,
  • Productivity,
  • Email Marketing,
  • Web Design,
  • Branding,
  • Social Media, etc.

Each of the boards we will want to pin very specific pins to that align with the board theme.

From here, you will want to make sure your Boards have descriptions that align with what a user will find pinned, as well as a list of the keywords that will help someone find the board.

Then it is time to get pinning! Don’t only pin from your own website, you also want to search for popular pins on Pinterest to Repin to your boards. It is best if these are popular pins because they will then help boost your own engagement and reach on Pinterest. Best of all, when your boards are well organized and the descriptions include keywords, your boards may even show up in Google Organic results, too!

We’ll be sharing more tips about including Pinnable images on your website and blog, but as a quick refresher, these should be tall images (735px x 1104px to 2061px).

I’ve put together a guide for you to create your own outline for your boards on Pinterest. Within this guide, think about the keywords you would expect someone to use to find this board (you’ll want to include these keywords in both the Pin Descriptions and in the Board Description), the Topics you want to include in the board (for example I group all social media together rather than having a board for each network), and your goals for the board with how frequently you hope to pin to the board so you can keep consistent.

Download your Weekly Prompt Here

Last week in the Social Speak Network we discussed setting goals for your business. It all starts with creating SMART goals and making sure these goals are driven by your Internal Motivators rather than External forces. If you missed these topics, please click to get all caught up:

This week, we are focusing on Reaching and Attaining your Goals.

Achieve your Goals

The PDF Download is Available Here

The purpose here is to give you the tools you need to make sure you are being productive as you work towards you business and personal goals. Far too frequently, especially as a business owner, things pop up and derail our journey to leading a more successful life. What can you do about this? My solution, following the advice of Todd Herman of the 90 Day Year, is to focus, as his title reflects, on shorter increments of time. Focusing on shorter increments of time allows you to stay more focused on the efforts that are going to drive you forward.

The premise is that you can utilize Time Blocking to make sure that rather than multitasking, you are focusing specifically on elements that will make a difference in your business and life. I feel this ties in with Tim Ferris’ book, 4 Hour Work Week, in terms of finding ways to structure your time more efficiently (hiring virtual assistants to aid with repetitive projects, checking email at specific points during the day, etc).

So how can you structure your SMART goals to be more attainable in your business?

Many of you may have focused on only your business goals within the SMART goals worksheet, in this scenario, we will be needing to grow your list slightly. If you only work towards your business goals, you may not be structuring enough time to work on personal and family goals, as well.

Step 1: Within the categories of Work, Education + Personal Development, Health, Family, and Something for Others, what is your number 1 SMART goal?

The worksheet provided at the end of this article includes space to enter these goals.

Step 2: Most likely, these goals are for the entire year. Working backwards, where would you like to be for each of your goals in 90 days (3 months)? It is alright if you want to complete the entire goal within the 90 days.

Step 3: To reach the goal or your progress towards the goal, what needs to be accomplished each week? What TIME do you need to set aside each week to ensure these tasks be completed?

Why do you need to understand the time it will take for you to reach your goals?

Within our daily lives, especially as business owners, we always have things popping up. When you are working towards our goals, knowing how long you need to focus on each one allows you to Time Block your week. This doesn’t mean necessarily writing down everything that you will be working on for the week at the specific time, but it does mean blocking off an hour (or however long you need) to focus specifically on one goal without interruption. No email, no social media, no phone calls. Just you and your work towards the goal.

Let’s say your goal to engage with your email list more frequently. What does this actually mean? Be more specific. What about, send 1 email to your email list each week with the goal of scheduling the email 1 month ahead of time.

To achieve this goal in 90 days, you would need to: come up with an email template, decide on the day of the week to send your email, come up with topics to discuss in your email campaign, start sending/ scheduling the emails. To have the goal of scheduling the emails out 1 month ahead of time, over the course of 90 days, you would need to write and schedule 4 extra emails (13 emails to be sent out during the 90 days + 4 pre-written for the following month).

Take the time to think about the amount of time you would need to prepare each email:

  • Email prep (template selection, day of week, etc): 1 hr
  • Content for each email: 45 min

From here, figure out how long you need to spend each week to achieve your goal of writing 17 emails in 90 days.

  • 17 emails divided by 13 weeks equals 1.3 emails per week (17/13=1.3).
  • In other words you would need to write one complete email and start the draft of the next email (or finish the draft of the email you started the week prior).
  • This equates to just about 1 hour per week to achieve your goal in 90 days (1.3 emails per week times 45 min per email equals 58.8 minutes per week). That seems pretty doable, right?

This means each week you just need to block off one hour to work on your newsletter.

Now, let’s just look at if you wanted to write all of the newsletters for the year within that 90 days, how long would you need to spend per week?

  • 52 newsletters divided by 13 weeks equals 4 emails per week
  • 45 minutes per email times 4 emails per week equals 180 minutes per week
  • You would need to spend 3 hours per week or just over 30 minutes per day to write a years worth of newsletter content in 90 days. This actually could be a great goal to have for your business.

You can follow this same process for all of your goals in the 5 categories listed above. As you move along in the 90 days, assess if you are actually committed to focusing only on the one goal for the blocked time allotted. Often if you find yourself falling behind, it may be because you aren’t committing to this task specifically. If you find you need more time, create 2 blocks during the week for your goal or 1 block of time each day to make sure you are progressing towards it.

Personally, I tend to choose themes for my years and create goals that relate back to these broad themes. In 2018, my theme is Organize. This includes my house (we already tackled our ‘hoarding closet’ and donated 2 giant bags of clothing, old bed sheets, old bags, and shoes to goodwill), my business (creating a process for setting my top priorities each day), my family (doing a better job managing childcare for our toddler), etc. So, however you choose your SMART goals for the year, make sure you start tackling the ones that are going to make the biggest difference in your work and life.

This 90 Day Year framework is available for download HERE. In the download you will find sheets to organize each of the top goals in the 5 categories as well as a weekly time blocking sheet to help you set specific times to focus on your goals. Again, during this time, you are not to answer emails or phone calls and you should be purely focused on the task at hand.

Download PDF for the 90 Day Year Here.

[This PDF is not the actual pdf that you would receive from Todd Herman’s 90 Day Year]

I don’t know about you, but my mind has been consumed with planning for 2018!  Specifically, I have been asking myself “how I can grow my business in the new year?”  The biggest question I have been asking myself is “What are the activities that I need to be involved in to grow the business and how can I tell if those activities will work and are working?”  Almost like kismet, I stumbled over the SMART acronym while surfing social media.  While it is not a new idea, it is definitely a timely one!

If you are not familiar with the SMART acronym, here is how it breaks down as it applies to business and goal setting:

S – Specific (make your goal is clear and not ambiguous) 

M – Measurable (how will you measure your results to ensure you have reached your goal?)

A – Attainable (make sure the goal is something realistic, something you can achieve)

R – Relevant (does the goal make sense for your business and your business plan?)

T – Time-Bound (how long will it take you to achieve your goal or what deadline did you assign to this goal?)

This acronym is a favorite as it reminds me to be laser focused when planning my goals for 2018.  Each goal I set for 2018 will need to be SMART.  Each letter of the acronym will be filled out in order for it to be considered a serious goal for 2018.  To do that, I created a 2018 SMART planner that I am excited to share with you!  You can download the planner and complete SMART for each goal you plan to achieve in 2018.

To get your SMART planner, click HERE.