Tag Archive | "Selling"

What People Actually Want to Avoid (It’s Not Marketing and Selling)

Have you ever stopped paying attention to content when a publisher stepped up their marketing game? I know I have….

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Is There Still a Difference Between Marketing and Selling?

Back when I worked in the corporate world, our organization, like many, had a great, big invisible wall between marketing and sales. The marketers crafted messages, thought about fonts and brand colors, produced beautiful brochures and websites, and figured out new ways to get people to know our company existed. The end result of this
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Selling and Marketing to Senior Citizens When Your Team is Very Different From the Customer

Hear wisdom from Denis Mrkva, General Manager of Aetna’s HealthSpire subsidiary, sharing what he’s learned leading a team selling (and serving) his customers with Medicare Advantage plans.
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What Ethical, Effective Selling Looks Like

There’s a well-loved myth out there that if you do something reasonably remarkable and distribute passionate content, you’ll automatically have an audience who will support you in style for the rest of your life. You don’t have to do anything scary. Like sell, for example. Now if that works for you, that’s terrific. So does
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Getting Comfortable (and Effective) at Selling Your Product or Service

This week, we have some resources to help you actually Sell the Thing. Because you can create magnificent content all day long, pull together a wonderful audience, and produce a glorious product or service. But if you lack the skills to Sell the Thing, you don’t get the benefit of all that hard work. On
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Selling SEO to the C-Suite: How to Convince Company Executives to Support SEO

Posted by rMaynes1

The implementation of a solid SEO strategy often gets put on the back burner — behind website redesigns, behind client work, behind almost everything — and even when it is taken seriously, you have to fight for every resource for implementation. SEO must be a priority. However, convincing the company executives to prioritize it and allocate budget to SEO initiatives can feel like scaling a mountain.

Sound familiar?

Convincing company executives that SEO is one of the most critical elements of a holistic digital marketing strategy to increase website traffic (and therefore customers, sales, and revenue) won’t be easy, but these steps can increase the chances of your program being taken seriously, and getting the budget needed to make it a success.

Before you start: Put yourself in the shoes of the C-Suite and be ready to answer their questions.

While it’s no doubt frustrating that your executives don’t understand the importance of SEO, put yourself in their shoes and consider what is important to them. Have solid answers ready to questions.

CEOs are decision-makers, not problem-solvers. They are going to ask:

  • Why should we invest in SEO vs. ?
  • Is this going to be profitable?
  • Do you have proven results?
  • What does success look like? What are your KPIS?

CIOs and CFOs will fixate on cost reductions. They are going to ask:

  • What will this cost us?
  • Can similar results be achieved at a reduced cost?
  • What level of spend will maximize ROI?

CMOs want to ensure the organization’s message is distributed to targeted audiences in order to meet sales objectives. They will ask:

  • How many more qualified leads will this bring us?
  • What will this do to increase our brand exposure?
  • What is our competition doing?

CEOs are unbelievably busy. In the nicest way, they don’t care about details, and they don’t care about tactics (because they simply do not have time to care). What do they care about? Results.

For example, the CEO of a large insurance broker sits in his office and Googles the term “Seattle insurance.” Success for him is seeing his company listed at #1 in the organic results. He doesn’t want to know how it was achieved, but for as long as that’s the result, he’s happy to invest.

Getting the support you need for your SEO strategy can be tough, to say the least, especially if there is no understanding, no interest, and no funding from the C-level executives in your company — and unfortunately, without these, your SEO plans will never get off the ground.

However, executive-level buy-in is crucial for a successful SEO campaign, so don’t give up!

Educate your stakeholders

1. Start at the beginning: Define what SEO is, and what it isn’t

It might sound like a no-brainer, but before you even start, find out your C-Suite’s SEO expertise level. Bizarre as it may sound, some might not even really fully understand what SEO is, and the concept of keywords might be entirely alien.

Start from the very beginning with examples of what SEO is, and what it isn’t.

Include:

  • How people search for your business online with non-branded industry keywords. Use analytics to show that this is what people are actually searching for.
  • Show what happens when you conduct a simple search for a related keyword. Where does your business rank and where do your competitors rank?

If you want to go into a bit more detail, you can show things like where keywords appear in your page content, or what meta-data in the titles and description fields look like. Gather as much valuable insight as you can from the CMO to help tailor your presentation to fit the style the CEO is used to. It will vary from CEO to CEO. Same story — but a different approach to getting the message across.

Remember, keep it high-level. When talking to your C-Suite about SEO, it’s important to talk to them in a language they’ll understand. If your presentation includes references to “schema,” “link audits,” or “domain authority,” start again, scrapping the technical jargon. Instead, talk about how SEO helps businesses connect directly with people who are searching online for the products and services that are being offered by the company. Highlight how it’s a powerful business development tool that aligns your business with customer intent, one that targets potential customers further down the sales funnel because it attracts traffic mostly from people who are in the market to convert. Focus on the purpose of an SEO program being to build a sustainable base of monthly quality potential customers by generating additional traffic to the website.

Use hard facts to support your points. For example:

  • 72% of marketers say relevant content creation was the most effective SEO tactic (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)
  • 71% of B2B researchers start with a generic search. (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)
  • Conversion rates are 10 times higher on search than from social on desktops, on average. (Source: GoDaddy 2016)
  • Half of search queries are four words or longer. Not including long-tail keywords could mean losing potential leads. (Source: Propecta 2017).
  • Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published 0–4 monthly posts. (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

2. The meat of your presentation: Why SEO is so important

Once you’ve shown what SEO is, you can move onto why it’s so important to the organizational goals. Sounds simple, but this is probably the most difficult part of convincing your executives of the need for an SEO strategy.

C-Suite executives are not interested in the how of SEO. They want to know the why (the value, the return on investment), and the when (how long it will take to see the results and the ROI of this endeavor). It’s almost guaranteed that they’re not going to want to know the minute details and tactics of your proposed strategy.

Outline the project at a high level, and don’t get bogged down in the details. If the CEO is well-educated in other channels (like paid search, offline marketing, print marketing, or display advertising), try to use SEO examples that can be understood in a relative way to how these other channels perform.

Note: To sell SEO to the C-suite doesn’t necessarily mean you’re committing to doing all of this work yourself. You might be pitching for the budget to use an SEO agency to do all of this for you.

Break out the proposed project into 4 sections, each with a “what” and a “why.”

1. SEO audit:

Your website is a business development tool, and so the SEO audit is focused on assessing how well the site is performing currently. Talk about how you’ll assess the website in several areas to understand any problems impacting site performance and identify any potential optimization opportunities to make it more search engine-friendly, and to align it to business objectives both from a technical and content perspective.

2. Recommendations:

From the audit, determine what needs to be done and when. Not all tactics will work for all organizations, and as an SEO expert, you’ll be able to review the business and draw on your past experience to determine what’s going to earn the highest ROI. Prioritize recommendations and have a case to present for each, proving how it’s more important than another recommendation, and how it will impact the overall business if implemented. Ensure that those critical SEO components that will expedite the results are implemented first. Be sure to address these questions:

  • What combination of tactics is going to work best for this organization?
  • What is going to have the biggest impact now, and what can wait?
  • What should be a top organizational priority?
  • Do you have access to the internal resources and knowledge to be able to implement the recommendations, or do you need to consider using an external agency?

3. Implementation:

Whether this is an internal project or you’re engaging an SEO agency, the project lead should be very hands-on, making SEO recommendations and guiding the IT team through the successful implementation of as many of them as possible so as to have the biggest impact on organic search. At times it can feel like you have to jump through hoops to get the smallest recommendation implemented, and that’s understandable. However, if you endeavor to understand the internal IT processes, you can customize recommendations to fit the IT team’s schedule. You’ll see more success that way.

This is one of the biggest obstacles that Mediative, as an agency, runs into. We conduct SEO audits and provide recommendations for success, in priority order — but getting access to internal IT resources and getting your SEO recommendations into the implementation queue can be incredibly challenging.

We worked with a Fortune 500 company for four years on SEO, covering the major areas of site architecture and site content, with the ultimate goal of increasing site traffic. At any given time, there were 40+ active SEO initiatives — open tickets with the client’s IT department — all of which had an impact on the SEO of the client’s website. However, they represented only about 20% of the total open tickets for all IT service requests in this client’s IT department; as a result, vying for precious IT resources became a huge challenge. A great SEO agency will learn to adapt tactics to fit in with whatever sort of IT procedures your company already has in place.

4. Goals and measurement of results:

HubSpot has presented the core metrics that CEOs care about the most; you should address these metrics with benchmarks and informed predictions (not vague guesses) for how SEO can improve them. Unlike channels such as paid search, it can be difficult to give the exact cost and the exact number of leads or revenue SEO can generate. The key here is to get the understanding of the CMO to help present your case to the CEO. SEO or organic search traffic (when measured properly with analytics) can be the biggest driver of low-cost traffic and quality visitors to your website.

  1. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) – This is the total cost of acquiring a customer in the organization. If you can show how SEO acquires customers below the company average, you’re already winning.
  2. Time to Payback CAC – This is the number of months it takes you to earn back the CAC you spent to get a new customer. Again, if you can show that SEO reduces this number, it will increase the likelihood of your program getting the thumbs up.
  3. Marketing Originated Customer % – This ratio shows what percentage of your new business is driven by marketing efforts, a sure-fire way to secure more SEO budget if you can prove exactly how many new customers it’s driving.

Look at simpler metrics as well, such as:

  • Traffic to your website.
  • Number of leads generated.
  • Decreased bounce rates.

Inform your executives that you’ll be measuring these metrics in conjunction with other metrics, such as average ranking position, to see the overall impact of your SEO efforts.

  • Use industry research to put a monetary value on ranking higher. For example, the fictional company Acme Shoes sells shoes online. The company website recently ranked #4 on a desktop Google search for [women’s shoes].
    • A #4 ranking sends the website 20,000 unique visitors per month.
    • The average value of a website visitor has been calculated at $ 20, therefore ranking at #4 is valued at $ 400,000/month.
    • Research has shown that, on average, the #4 ranking gets 7.3% of Google results page clicks, and the #1 ranking gets 32.8% of page clicks — 4.5x more. Therefore, it can be estimated that increasing ranking to #1 will lead to 90,000 monthly unique visitors.
    • The estimated revenue from ranking #1 for [women’s shoes]: $ 1.8m/month.
  • Present different scenarios. For example, what would happen if no SEO efforts are made over the next 12 months? Now in contrast, what do you predict will happen with $ X of investment, and how that would increase even further if doubled? Be sure to have a few options available, not just all-or-nothing.
  • Be very specific about the goals at each level of investment. Find examples of SEO strategies that have had great results. Best case would be results from your own tests in preparation for a larger project, but sometimes even small SEO tests are not approved until the C-suite has bought in. In this case, find case studies from your industry, or research/results of similar tactics to those that you want to implement. The C-Suite want tangible, real-world solutions that are proven to work, not vague ideas.

Tip: A lot of SEO is “free” — it just takes time, knowledge, and resources (which is where it gets expensive) to make it successful. Use the word “free” as much as you can. For example, an online listings component of an SEO strategy may utilize free directory listings.

In summary, an SEO project may address all 4 sections listed above very well, but the key is communication. Great SEO agencies are strong communicators with all stakeholders involved — the marketing team, IT teams, content writers, designers, code developers, etc. It’s important to remember that following best practices, executing SEO tactics in a timely manner, and measuring the results all require clear and concise communication at different levels of the organization.

Congratulations! You’ve perfectly pitched SEO to your C-Suite. You’re almost guaranteed to get the green light! So what now?

Manage expectations from day one.

Basketball player Michael Jordan was once quoted as saying: “Be true to the game, because the game will be true to you. If you try to shortcut the game, then the game will shortcut you. If you put forth the effort, good things will be bestowed upon you. That’s truly about the game, and in some ways that’s about life, too.”

He could have been talking about SEO.

SEO is a commitment. To reap the long-term benefits, you have to put in the effort with minimal gains at first. Make sure your C-Suite knows this. They might get frustrated that after 3 months of effort, the results are not prominent. But that’s how SEO goes. SEO isn’t a “set it and forget it” tactic. It’s an ongoing program that builds successes with time and consistency.

By setting realistic expectations that it will take several months before results are seen, there won’t be pressure to try other tactics, like paid search or display advertising, at the expense of SEO. Of course, these tactics can complement your SEO efforts and can provide a short-term benefit that SEO can’t, but don’t be swayed from SEO as a core strategy. Stay the course, and keep focused on the long-term benefits of what you’re doing. It will be worth it!

Continually measure and track performance

You should be ready at the drop of a hat to provide up-to-date results with performance measured to key metrics (to the last month) of how your SEO efforts are stacking up. You never know when cost-cutting measures might be implemented, and if you’re not ready with solid results, it might be your program that gets cut.

Show how your SEO efforts compare to other programs in the company, such as social media marketing or paid search. Search is always evolving, so keep up and be seen keeping up. 
Never stop selling!

In the case of our Fortune 500 client, we were able to implement all of the key SEO initiatives by prioritizing and building cases for implementation. After several months, organic search traffic and revenue was leading all other digital marketing channels for this client — more than PPC and email marketing. 
Organic search generated approximately 30% of all visits to the client’s site, while maintaining year-over-year growth of 20–25%. This increase was not simply from branded traffic, however — year-over-year non-branded traffic had increased approximately 50%.

These are the kind of results that are going to make the company executives sit up and take SEO seriously.

To conclude:


As the proponent for SEO in your organization, you play a critical role in ensuring that the strategies with the quickest and biggest impact on results are implemented and prioritized first. There’s no magic bullet with SEO – no one thing that works. A solid SEO strategy — and one that will convince stakeholders of its worth — is made up of a myriad of components from audits to content development, from link building to site architecture. The trick is picking what is going to work for your organization and what isn’t, and this is no mean feat!


For more SEO tips from Mediative, download our new e-book, The Digital Marketer’s Guide to Google’s Search Engine Results Page.

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Unique Selling Proposition (USP) Defined in 60 Seconds [Animated Video]

content marketing glossary - what are unique selling propositions?

Like David Ogilvy, mid-20th-century ad man Rosser Reeves promoted a hard-sell approach and thought advertising should do one thing: sell.

And sell he did.

Campaigns for Viceroy cigarettes, Carter’s Little Liver Pills, Listerine mouthwash, and Colgate toothpaste boosted sales and put these brands on the map.

His goal was to get customers to recognize a specific brand proposition — what has become known as a unique selling proposition (USP).

But what exactly is a unique selling proposition? And why is it so important?

Watch our 60-second video about unique selling propositions

With help from our friends at The Draw Shop, we whipped up 12 definitions from our new Content Marketing Glossary into short, fun whiteboard animated videos.

Check out our video for the definition of USP:

Animation by The Draw Shop

And for those of you who would prefer to read, here’s the transcript:

In essence, a unique selling proposition (USP) is something that you offer customers or clients that your competitors do not offer.

It’s also known as a “remarkable benefit.”

In the late 1970s, FedEx effectively branded itself as the fastest, most reliable shipping service with its tagline: “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”

That was the remarkable benefit no other company could claim.

And once you identify that unique element for your business, you’ll know exactly what the theme of your content marketing should be, which will eventually become the big story of your business.

Share this video

Click here to check out this definition on YouTube and share it with your audience. You’ll also find 11 additional Content Marketing Glossary videos.

Additional USP resources

For more information about unique selling propositions, visit these three resources:

Learn more from the Content Marketing Glossary

Ready to master content marketing essentials? Watch all of our animated whiteboard videos right now by going directly to the Content Marketing Glossary.

By the way, let us know if there are any definitions you’d like us to add to the glossary! Just drop your responses in the comments below.

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Why I Stopped Selling SEO Services and You Should, Too

Posted by ryanwashere

In my 28 years on this planet, I’ve come to accept two things as fact:

  1. The sun rises every morning.
  2. Marketers screw everything up.

Because of fact No. 2, I had to stop selling SEO.

Why? Here’s an interaction I used to have five times a day.

*Phone rings*

Me: “This is Ryan Stewart with WEBRIS. How can I help you?”

Caller: “I’m looking for SEO for [domain.com]. I want to rank for [keyword terms x, y, and z]. Can you guys handle that?”

Me:

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 11.42.47 AM

I’m over it.

I’m tired of explaining to people SEO doesn’t work that way anymore. And I need the rest of you to get on board with me, because we’re driving ourselves out of business.

I mean, come on people. Look around. We need to stop trying to jam websites where they don’t belong. The SERPs have changed.

Google shows search results based on what’s best for the user. We can’t just rank for whatever keywords we want.

Let’s take a look at a few examples:

Example #1: Search “best headphones

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 6.22.33 PM

What do you notice?

Not a single result on the first page is a product page.

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 6.46.24 PM

They’re all articles about different headphone types, their benefits, pricing, etc.

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 6.22.57 PM

We’re all Google users. We all know these are much better results to get than getting a single brand’s product page. I want to shop around, compare products, and read reviews. Don’t you?

Example #2: Search “restaurants in miami

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 6.47.57 PM

What do you notice?

Not a single result on the first page is a restaurant’s website.

As a matter of fact, the results above the fold are tied to review aggregators and Zagat ratings.

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 7.58.26 PM

Underneath the fold, the results are filled with listicles, reviews, and articles.

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 6.53.03 PM

I’d much rather read reviews about dozens of restaurants than be directed to a singular one.

Example #3: Search “buy a cheap tv

Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 10.36.21 AM

What do you notice?

Ahhhh, yes, I threw this one in for the comment trolls.

The top five results are product pages. However, they’re all mega-brands. With the current algorithms, we’ll never outrank a brand for keywords like that (without spamming the hell out of it).

What else do you notice?

Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 10.36.48 AM

Articles, not product pages, are ranking at the bottom of the first page.

Example #4: Google “plumbers in san francisco

Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 10.41.16 AM

What do you notice?

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 7.42.26 PM

Not a single result on the first page is a website. There are only review aggregators: Yelp and Google+.

OK, so what’s happening?

It’s a combination of two things:

#1: Google’s got a lot of data, and they’re utilizing it

It’s safe to say Google understands what users want by analyzing the massive amount of data it has. If we take off our SEO goggles, it’s hard to disagree.

Personally, I love the power of choice. I’d rather pick from a list of companies with reviews and comparison data than one that only includes websites that make it to the top of organic listings.

In addition (as much as I hate to say it), I trust brands. I’d rather buy a TV from Best Buy than www.shop-cheap-tvs.com. Wouldn’t you?

#2: We’re moving into the “pay-to-play” era with Google

Not too long ago, Facebook moved into the “pay-to-play” era. Now Google’s headed that way.

Google’s main source of revenue is advertising, counting for almost 90% of Google’s revenue in 2014. And one of their main earners, display, is falling fast.

Google’s message is clear: If you want to sell directly through the Google platform, then you’ll need to pay for it.

Let’s go back to my last example, “plumbers in San Francisco.” Look at what’s happening above the fold with that query:

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 7.04.45 PMThat’s right, baby! Paid local listings.

If this test sticks, it’s going to have massive implications on local search. If I were a betting man (and I am), I’m all in that this is the future of local search.

But is SEO dead?

SEO is absolutely not dead. As long as people use Google search, SEO will be alive.

However, let’s recap. Money/buyer (i.e., purchase-intent) keywords are:

  1. Dominated by huge brands that 99% of the world can’t outrank (without spamming)
  2. Returning less product pages and more articles and other forms of content
  3. Triggering the knowledge graph, review aggregators, and more user-focused results

What this means is it’s time to seriously reevaluate the landscape. The days of ranking a products or services page first for these purchase-intent keywords are limited.

If we want to capture that traffic moving forward, there are three things we can do:

#1: Pay for it

This is very straight forward. I like to use paid search as a remarketing tactic. We capture traffic from all corners of the web, and then when those people are ready to buy (using those money keywords), we use highly targeted paid ads to snag their business.

#2: Create valuable content

If we go back to my first example, best headphones, the results are dominated by content that compares ratings and pricing for various headphones.

No one shares, engages, or links to products and services pages. The fact is, no one except for us cares.

Instead of trying to jam those pages with links, create a piece of content that delivers what Google (and users) want. By creating value with your content, you open it up to earning social media shares and powerful links from relevant sites.

If you want to compete against the big dogs for organic search real estate, content is your best option.

#3: Optimize your website for the web

It’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization), not GO (Google Optimization).

Yelp is a search engine. Facebook is a search engine. Twitter is a search engine. Amazon is a search engine. Quora is a search engine. Pinterest is a search engine. YouTube is a search engine. See where I’m going?

Each of these platforms offers unique benefits to the user. In a lot of cases, people looking for things on these platforms are likely to bypass Google altogether.

For example, l just moved into a loft in downtown Miami. I loathe shopping of any sort, so I allowed my girlfriend to manage the process for me. She ended up purchasing all of the furniture from Etsy (an e-commerce platform I knew very little about).

I asked her how she arrived there. This is what she told me:

search-engin-pick

  • Pinterest – She used Pinterest search to find inspiration on how to decorate. Using keywords like “loft decorations,” she narrowed it down to the specific pieces of furniture she liked.
  • Amazon – She then went to Amazon and searched with keywords that were based on the furniture she liked on Pinterest. She was looking for rustic furniture. Amazon didn’t have a great selection of that type.
  • Ebay – So she moved to Ebay, knowing that she could find cheap, secondhand (i.e., rustic) furniture there. She found that most things were a little “too used,” so she moved on.
  • Etsy – Finally, she landed on Etsy, knowing they specialize in unique handmade items. She purchased all the furniture from there (and simultaneously broke my bank account).

Now, I realize she could’ve used Google to search for all these things. She chose not to, though, because she felt it was an extra step she didn’t have to take.

She chose to use those specific websites/platforms/search engines because each one was built to handle exactly what she was looking for.

Applying this to your website

The long-winded point I’m trying to make is this:

It’s no longer just about optimizing your website for Google. It’s about optimizing your presence across the web.

By understanding who our target audience is and where they spend their time, we can attack those platforms and build an organic presence.

  • If you’re an attorney, you need to be on sites like Avvo, Lawyer.com and Find Law because they dominate the SERPS
  • If you’re a local business, Yelp and Thumbtack are crushing it right now
  • If you have an e-commerce store, get your product on as many platforms where your customers are as possible (including Pinterest)
  • If you sell large-ticket B2B services, SlideShare and LinkedIn are gold mines for connecting with C-suite executives looking for information

The list goes on and on…

Bringing it all home

This is why I stopped selling SEO. I’m begging you to follow suit.

We need to educate non-marketers that times have changed. We can’t just “rank and bank” for whatever we want anymore.

We don’t want to wait around until it’s too late. This isn’t a phase. This is the way it’s going to be going forward, and we all need to get on board with it.

As Google gets more intelligent, we need to get more intelligent about how we approach marketing. That doesn’t mean looking for ways to beat the search engine algorithms. Instead, we must learn to use them to our advantage.

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The ‘Horror’ of Making a Living from Selling eBooks

ap-j-thorn

Look out, Stephen King.

A new generation of Horror authors are using the power of self-publishing to climb the ranks, get new fans, and push the envelope in the genre.

J. Thorn is an up-and-coming Horror author who knows how to write great books … and build an audience and income stream with them.

In this episode of Authorpreneur, host Jim Kukral and J. Thorn discuss:

  • How J. Thorn went from selling two books a day to 200 books a day
  • How to build a powerful fan-base and turn them into readers through creative content marketing
  • The biggest mistakes J. Thorn made when writing and launching his first book
  • What readers really want and how to give it to them
  • How much work is involved in becoming an authorpreneur

Click Here to Listen to

Authorpreneur on iTunes

Click Here to Listen on Rainmaker.FM

About the author

Rainmaker.FM

Rainmaker.FM is the premier digital marketing and sales podcast network. Get on-demand business advice from experts, whenever and wherever you want it.

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SearchCap: Google Restaurant Delivery, Yelp Selling & Mobile Friendly Begins

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: Google Restaurant Delivery, Yelp Selling & Mobile Friendly Begins appeared first on Search Engine Land.



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


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