How Can I Save Enough for Retirement Without a 401(k)?

What do you do if you’re among the one-third of non-unionized American workers who don’t have access to a 401(k) retirement plan at work? You’ve got options. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, freelancer or full-time employee, here’s how to build wealth on your own.

Think about how you spend today, and how that might change down the line.

1. Create a retirement goal.

Before selecting an account, determine how much you really need to save in order to stop working one day, based on what you want your life to look like.

Think about how you spend today, and how that might change down the line. For example, you won’t be saving for retirement, so you can mark that item off your budget—but you could be paying more for health care than you do today. You can also use an online calculator to help nail down a number. With that in mind, you can develop a retirement strategy, using one of these account options:

2. Open an Individual Retirement Account.

Just about anyone with an income—or even a spouse with one—can open an IRA. Popular types include a Traditional IRA, Roth IRA and SEP IRA. (Acorns Later offers each of these three options.)

Traditional IRA: You can contribute up to $5,500 ($6,500 if you’re 50+) in 2018, and contributions may be tax-deductible, depending on your income and spouse’s access to an employer-sponsored plan. Tap it early, and you’ll pay a 10-percent penalty, plus income taxes.

Roth IRA: If you meet certain income requirements, you can contribute a max of $5,500 of after-tax income. Then your money grows, and can be withdrawn in retirement, tax-free. You can tap your contributions—but not any investment gains—anytime, without penalty.

SEP IRA: A simplified employee pension allows self-employed people (including side giggers and freelancers) to make big pre-tax contributions for themselves and any employees. You can contribute up to $55,000 or 25 percent of compensation, and you can deduct at least a portion of your contributions today and won’t pay income taxes until retirement.

3. Consider a Solo 401(k).

Free from age or income restrictions, a solo 401(k) plan permits any self-employed individual with an employer identification number to contribute up to $55,000 (plus $6,000 if you’re 50+) in 2018. Like IRAs, you can go the traditional route with pre-tax contributions, which are tax-deductible today. Or you can open a solo Roth 401(k) and contribute after-tax cash, which grows tax-free. The catch is that you can’t have any employees, aside from a spouse.

4. Invest in a regular brokerage account.

Once you’re in the hang of saving for retirement, you might want to invest more. If you don’t have any self-employment income and have already maxed out a traditional or Roth IRA, you can invest in a regular brokerage account, like your Acorns core account, which has no contribution limits.

There aren’t restrictions around when you can access your money, but keep in mind that for long-term investors, it pays to stay the course rather than making regular withdrawals.

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5 Money Lessons That Could’ve Saved Me Thousands

Over the past seven years, I’ve accomplished a lot of my money goals: I paid off $52,000 of debt in just seven months; adopted smart habits that grew my business and net worth; and figured out how to save throughout the year, so I’m never surprised by pop-up expenses.

But for every right thing I’ve done with money, I’ve done another five things wrong. If I could go back in time and tell myself anything, I’d start with these five lessons.

1. Start budgeting when life is simple.

When I first started making my own money, life was simple. I basically just needed enough to afford cheap rent, gas, a cell phone, pizza for dinner and beers on the weekend. But as I got older, life naturally became more complicated. And as much as I thought I could keep track of everything in my head, it didn’t work out that way.

Pizza and beers turned into a mortgage, groceries for my growing family and co-pays—on top of stuff my wife and I wanted, which ultimately led us down the path to racking up debt. We wasted thousands by failing to make a plan for the money we had coming in and going out. And it was a lot harder to fix that ingrained behavior once I’d been doing it for years.

2. Car payments drag you down.

Did you know that the median household income in America is $59,000 and yet the average price for a new car is more than $35,000? Maybe that doesn’t sound too crazy (but it is!) because it’s what many of us consider normal.

Years ago, I made this mistake of purchasing a new car that represented a whopping 70 percent of my gross annual income. Of course, the only way to afford it was to set up payments over 66 months, while that car continually dropped in value. I did eventually sell that car—for a huge loss—but not before spending thousands, which is why I’ll never buy a new car again.

I spent way too much time paying interest on debt rather than earning it on my investments.

3. Always live below your means.

No matter how much we make, it can feel like there’s never enough leftover each month. In fact, according to a Money Magazine report, “people’s peak earning years also appear to be their peak debt years.” Ouch.

You might’ve put this together from my first two lessons, but back in 2011, my wife and I found ourselves in financial trouble. We were earning more than we ever had, yet were also running up huge credit card balances because we didn’t tell ourselves no. To add insult to injury, our overspending meant we were undersaving, meaning we were digging ourselves further into a hole, and further away from building wealth.

4. Time trumps money.

You can always find ways to earn more, but you can never recoup lost time. Albert Einstein once said compound interest—when time and money work together—was the 8th wonder of the world, and he was spot on. Here’s an example I wish I’d understood years ago:

Start investing $2,000 a year at 18, and you’ll have nearly $89,000 in 18 years, assuming an 8-percent average annual return. Even if you stop and let it ride, that can turn into $522,000 by age 65! On the other hand, wait till 36 to start investing $2,000 a year—and continue until age 65—you’ll have just $143,000, despite contributing a lot more money.

I spent way too much time paying interest on debt rather than earning it on my investments, and I didn’t get serious about investing until I was 28—meaning I left thousands on the table.

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5. You will always need $1,000 handy.

Did you know 40 percent of Americans can’t cover a $400 expense with savings? And yet everyone will have a financial emergency at some point. That’s why emergency funds are so important. Ideally, you’ll work up to having three to six months’ worth of basic expenses saved, but $1,000 is a good first goal. This will cover most regular unexpected expenses like car repairs or a minor medical bill.

I remember when my alternator died years ago. It should’ve been an easy $500 fix. Instead, this small car repair triggered a freakout moment, following by a period of “oh crap, poor me” because we had to pay with a credit card with 20-percent interest. Worse, we were already carrying a balance from the previous month’s emergency, and this dug us deeper into the hole.

If you start working on an emergency fund now, you’ll spare yourself the anxiety I had of worrying about these small hiccups that should be non-issues.

6 Ways to Grow Your Money Without Even Trying

Building wealth sounds like something that requires endless amounts of time that, let’s be honest, many of us just don’t have. But the reality is that often, we can accomplish more with our money by doing less. Take these six “slacker” moves.

1. Don’t jump when the market does.

Stock prices can fluctuate based on a variety of factors—from political drama to corporate earnings and new economic data—so it’s nearly impossible to predict what’s coming and when. That means people who panic-sell are much more likely to miss out on future returns than to benefit from taking action.

What to do when the market suddenly drops? Nothing. Give yourself permission to stop watching the news and stalking your account balance. The best approach is usually to just stick it out. Remember that the U.S. stock market has gone up significantly over time; it just doesn’t climb in straight lines.

Setting up automatic transfers to your savings and investment accounts ensures you’ll never forget to do it

2. Automate your savings.

This one’s a no-brainer. Setting up automatic transfers to your savings and investment accounts ensures you’ll never forget to do it, and you won’t accidentally spend the money on other stuff first.

Set Up Recurring Investment

3. Bump up your 401(k) contributions automatically.

It’s easy to want to invest more for retirement, but it can be hard to actually make it happen. Enter: “auto-escalation.” It’s a feature as many as 60 percent of employers offer as part of their 401(k) plans that automatically increases your contributions on a regular schedule, like around raise time.

If you’re one of the 34% of Americans who don’t have access to a 401(k)—or if you want to invest even more—consider opening an Individual Retirement Account. (Acorns Later offers Traditional, Roth and SEP IRAs.)

Check Out Acorns Later

4. Become a digital stranger on your favorite shopping sites.

According to one survey, Americans waste a whopping $450 every month on impulse buys. If “1-click” shopping is your budgeting kryptonite, just say no to autofill—and save by virtue of the fact that you’re probably too lazy to get off the couch, hunt down your wallet and type in your credit card number.

5. Shop your own cabinets.

Speaking of impulse buys, it’s not just online shopping that gets us in trouble. The average American makes 1.5 weekly trips to the grocery store, which presents plenty of opportunities to fill your cart with stuff you don’t really need (especially if you’re shopping hungry). So instead of immediately heading to the supermarket, save yourself a trip and scope out your own kitchen for food that might otherwise be wasted.

6. Nab a last-minute travel deal.

You had good intentions to plan your next vacation months ago, but, well, you didn’t get around to it. Lucky for you, waiting till the last minute can pay off. Try the last-minute deals section of Expedia (a Found Money partner), where you can save hundreds on hotel and flight packages; visit HotelTonight (another Found Money partner) for up to 50 percent off accommodations; or look into LastMinuteCruises.com, where you can book upcoming voyages for just $50 to $75 a night.

Shop Found Money

WRITTEN BYCathie EricsonCathie is a Portland, Oregon-based freelance journalist whose work has appeared in Forbes, LearnVest, Costco Connection and others.

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How Can I Save Enough for Retirement Without a 401(k)?

Double your Email List with Powerful Landing Pages

An effective landing page is one of the most useful tools in your marketing arsenal.  I’ve used them successfully for many years and I always advocate their use to other people.  A landing page is where all of your new web traffic is directed.  It’s the main focus of your traffic generating efforts and it’s also the first thing your visitors will see.

And contrary to what you might think, the best page for new visitor is probably NOT your homepage. A good landing page will grow your opt-in list while preselling at the same time.

Creating a Webpage

The first step in creating a landing page is choosing the platform.  Landing pages have been made using nearly every method imaginable.  The trick is to choose one which is easy for you to use while, at the same time, making sure it works on a variety of devices and browsers.

WordPress is one of the most popular options because it is so easy to use.  It has become an industry standard platform and is versatile enough for a variety of uses.

You basically purchase a domain name and web hosting, install WordPress for free, and then install a free or paid WordPress theme (site design). Other options include things like OptimizePress (a fantastic theme for squeeze pages), Drupaal, or even basic HTML if you know how to write code.

Headlines and Sub-Headlines

Search around and you’ll find that headlines are used in all of the most effective landing pages.  This is the first bit of text anyone will see.  It’s basically the title of your landing page and should grab the visitor’s attention.  Sometimes you will only have a few seconds to capture that person’s attention, so the headline needs to be strong.

Sub-headlines can be a great addition when using a lot of text.  You can think of these like chapter titles in a book except you’ll be using paragraphs instead of chapters.  These are great additions because people might skip over some of the text to get to the information they want. Make these strong, too, but save the most important benefits for the main headline.

Landing Page Layout

The way you design and arrange your landing pages is important.  It can be a good idea to look at a few successful examples created by other people.  The headline should be right at the top, followed by a bit of sales copy and information about the offer you’re presenting under it.

Images can also help add impact to a landing page.  Pictures of the product, as well as stock photos and other inspirational images, can help your visitors connect with your offer.  Or, in the same place, you can have a short video that says the same thing. Or both!

At the end (or usually on the right side of the screen) is the call to action which, in this case, is an opt-in form.

Videos vs Text

For a long time, landing pages were all about text.  With web based video becoming so popular, however, many marketers are utilizing this state-of-the-art technology.

Videos make presenting information incredibly simple.  They require less work on behalf of your visitors and can deliver a large amount of information in a short period of time.  Videos are inexpensive to produce and there are a number of ways to have one created for you.

Opt-in Box

The opt-in box is a simple form which allows visitors to submit their email address.  They usually do this in exchange for a free gift.  This is the main purpose of your landing page.  When they fill out the form, their address is added to your opt-in mailing list.  You can now keep in touch with these leads and present them with great new offers later on.

Building effective landing pages is a bit of an art, and testing to see what works is more scientific.  It can be hard to figure out exactly what works over time.  If you’ve tried everything and still aren’t seeing your list explode, then it’s time to discover the secret—the 4th ingredient to my master Sales Formula can instantly double your income overnight. Find out how by clicking custombuiltvideos.com now.

What is a Sales Funnel?

If you’ve been in the internet marketing world for any amount of time, then you’ve probably heard the term “sales funnel” before.  This is a popular concept, but many people still have trouble understanding what exactly a sales funnel is.

It’s really just a way of looking the whole sales process from the first contact until the day they stop buying from you.  “Funnel” is a good analogy and makes the process easy to tweak and improve by singling out what steps work and what steps don’t.

A typical sales funnel has a few different steps.  For internet marketing, this process begins by generating traffic and directing it to an opt-in form which generates leads.  Through interaction with your list, these leads get warmed up and become prospects.  When you present them with a great product or offer, some of these prospects will turn into customers.

 

Attracting New Leads

The first thing to do is to choose an enticing, niche-specific offer, or reason to come to your website.  If they’re targeting the weight loss niche, for example, then they will choose an attractive product, service, or website which is targeted to people who want to look and feel better.

Remember that you want to generate traffic that you can turn into leads.  You’ll need something enticing enough to get people to your website.  Once you’ve picked a lead generation method, the next step is turning this traffic into leads.

 

Landing Pages and Freebies

The landing page is important because this is what you’ll be directing traffic to.  A landing page is just a simple, single page website that presents visitors with a free offer.  This freebie is usually something small but attractive. It could be a few short videos, an ebook, or even software.  You can either create these freebies yourself or use someone else’s with permission.

Visitors access this free offer by submitting their email address in a form posted on the page.  Once they’ve done that, they are now on your mass mailing list.  This is how traffic is converted into leads.  The entire purpose of the landing page is, in fact, to help grow your list of leads.

 

Autoresponders

When you generate a new lead, it’s important to contact this person as soon as possible.  Since most of us can’t just sit at our computer all day waiting for a new addition to our list, many marketers utilize autoresponders.  This is a type of software that will automatically email someone when they sign up, and several times afterward to keep in touch with them.

This email can be used to start building a relationship which turns leads into prospects.  The message this software sends can thank the person for signing up, deliver the free product they wanted, and possibly point them in the direction of something else they might like.

 

Sales Page

The sales page is the end of the funnel (for now).  It’s where the leads you’ve generated get turned into paying customers.  There are a few different theories on creating sales pages but they generally include an attention-getting headline, some sales copy or a video, information about the product, a call to action, and bonuses to add value to the customer.

The secret to success in internet marketing is creating an effective sales funnel.  You can’t simply create a product and hope for it to sell.  You need to generate traffic, turn them into leads, follow-up multiple times, and then convert leads into customers.

To help you supercharge your efforts, you can gain insider access to some of the most effective sales funnels and high-converting products in the home business niche today by simply clicking here.

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How to Grow Your Blog Into a Business

Most of the time, businesses start blogging as a way to build an audience. However, the reverse seems to be happening. More and more people with blogs are starting to monetize their traffic. It makes sense because one of the hardest things to do as a business owner is grow your traffic. If you grow your blog first, you already have a solid following to support your business idea.

Starting a blog is easy, but if you want to make money later, you need to think about your strategy and set yourself up for success. It’s important to know what you need to grow your blog and grow your traffic.

What is a Blog?

A blog is a weblog of content updated regularly. It’s an online publication written in a personal tone, meant to share opinions, teach others, develop a personal brand, or sell products or services. Blogging is fulfilling, but it also requires commitment.

It’s important to be consistent, no matter how often you publish. Your audience grows to expect your posts, so keep at it, and don’t disappoint them.

How to Start a Blog

Finding the time to flush out your ideas and do it consistently is the hardest part of blogging. Once you find the time, starting a blog is straightforward. Consider your opportunities to monetize your blog, determine your audience, and plan a publishing strategy.

You need to think like an entrepreneur to make this venture profitable in the future, so map out the groundwork for your distribution and monetization now.

Ways to Make Money

Most people think of running ads on their blogs as a way to make money, but there are other ways. Building a loyal audience is more important than building a big one, and you won’t earn the trust of your followers by spamming them with ads all the time.

Instead, think of ways you can sell physical or digital products that align with your audience. Sell your services as a writer or designer. Publish a book. Create subscription-based packages with platforms like Patreon. Do paid reviews or become an affiliate for other brands.

You have to enjoy blogging for it to succeed. Dedicate yourself to serving your audience as best you can.

Pick a Niche

With all of the information on the internet, it’s hard to stand out. Try to choose a topic that’s hard to find elsewhere. It’s also critical to choose a niche audience. There are so many internet users that it’s impossible to appeal to all of them.

You can focus on a specific location, present your content in a different style, or focus on a smaller segment of a bigger market. For instance, writing about steakhouses in Kansas City that serve steaks larger than forty-two ounces allows you to focus more deeply on your topic that choosing to write about steakhouses in general.

Choosing a Platform

When it comes to hosting your blog, you have two choices. You can host it yourself or host it on a paid platform. If you host it yourself, you have more customization options. You still have to pay a fee, but it’s less than a paid platform, and you have more flexibility in design.

Using a service to host your blog is the best option for those who don’t know a lot about design or HTML. Some options include Blogger and WordPress. Think about how you want to monetize your blog because not every platform gives you what you need.

You can also use free platforms like Medium or Tumblr. They have built-in audiences, making it easier for you to get started, but they provide less customization, and your blog design ends up looking like everyone else’s on the platform.

Picking a Name

This is a great time to think about what you want to name your blog. Unless you plan to build a personal brand or portfolio, don’t use your name. Think of something catchy, fun, and descriptive of your brand. This name should reflect your blog’s identity, add personality, and be easy to remember and type.

Groundwork for Growth

Thinking about how to grow your blog and having a solid plan in place helps you to build momentum quickly once you get started. If you don’t have a plan, you may end up struggling with distribution because you don’t have a strategy. Publishing is nerve-wracking, but having a plan can alleviate some of that.

Planning for growth involves collecting emails as soon as possible. Use a service like MailChimp to store your subscriber list and make distribution easy. It’s free for up to two thousand subscribers. You can also use MailChimp for signup forms, which is a critical piece of capturing this information.

Embed your signup forms directly into your content with a call to action to subscribe, so the experience is seamless for your audience and easy to manage for you.

Blogging can be stressful, but it’s also a blast. Use these tips to think about how you can grow your blog to make money later. The great thing about starting a blog is that you don’t have to quit your day job until you start making money. If done right, once you start making money, you’ll grow quickly.

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The Four Ps of Marketing

Marketing isn’t easy, and without a proper marketing plan in place, your company may suffer. The main ingredients for a successful marketing campaign are the four Ps. These essential marketing items are product, price, placement, and promotion. To provide a positive experience for your customers, it is in your best interest to ensure that each P works with all the others.

It takes a lot of work and effort to determine what customers want and need, as well as identifying their shopping habits. Once these steps are taken, you will then need to produce your product, find the right price point, and promote it. All of these actions must be taken together to avoid problems. Let’s explore the four Ps of marketing, determine what they are, and how they work together.

Product

Your product is the heart of your business. It is near and dear to your heart, and if you’ve done your homework, it’s something that is unique to the market, allowing it to stand out from the rest of the competition. The challenge with any product, however, is remaining distinct and unique. From a product perspective, it is best if you have a solid understanding of what customers are looking for in regards to benefits and features.

It’s also imperative that you learn how they will use your product, that way you can make sure the product you’re offering fits their wants and needs. If the product doesn’t fulfill a need, it won’t be likely that customers will purchase it. Perform market research to have a good idea of ways your product will be used.

Price

Of course, your product is only going to sell if you set the appropriate price point. Your business will want to use production costs, projected fulfillment, and other key metrics to determine the proper price for your product. Make sure you are conveying the quality of your product to customers when considering the initial amount of your product. At the same time, do what you can to keep in mind how the price you select, along with costs of manufacturing and production, will have an impact on your product in the long-term.

Placement

In today’s market, placement is no longer simply about identifying the appropriate retailers or best locations. There are now many other channels and outlets to give consideration when thinking about your product placement. Where is the area with the highest foot traffic? Which retailer is showing growth and expansion? What businesses does it make the most sense to establish a partnership with?

These are all questions you will want to consider when it comes to product placement, but you’ll all need to think about the digital aspect of marketing. Will you want to have a social media campaign? Ensuring your product is in a spot which will gain traction and attention in the market is the key to successful product placement.

Promotion

With the continued growth and immersion of our lives into social media, it only makes sense to promote and market your product online. This means that your product marketing needs to be multi-pronged, something that did not require as much attention in the past.

Nowadays, customers want to see the product first-hand. They want to interact with it, ask questions about it, get answers about it and learn more about the brand, all from the comfort of their home. Provide high-quality videos and content to your potential customers, and they will reward you with their loyalty.

Take time to understand each of the four Ps and how they can make or break your marketing campaign. Have a strategy for each ingredient, and focus on trouble spots that may disrupt a successful product. Pay close attention to the four Ps of marketing, but also consider other marketing resources which can accentuate and highlight your product.

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How to Use Buyable Pins on Pinterest

Pinterest partners with Shopify so businesses can easily sell their products on Pinterest. Buyable Pins are a type of Pin that include a Buy It button. It lets customers check out and pay for things they find on Pinterest using their Apple Pay accounts or a credit card.

As a business, Buyable Pins are a game changer for your marketing and conversion rates. All you need to do is add the Pinterest sales channel to your Spotify account. It automatically enables Buyable Pins for everything you put on Pinterest.

If you understand the importance of using social media effectively, you know what implications this has. You already implemented an effective social media marketing strategy. Closing the gap between your marketing and your sales is easier now with Buyable Pins.

Why Sell on Pinterest?

Eighty-seven percent of Pinterest users admit to buying something they found while looking at Pinterest. The average order on Pinterest is $50. This is higher than all of the other social media platforms, meaning implementing Buyable Pins can help make Pinterest a major source of online orders and sales.

With over two million people pinning products every day, Pinterest is a gold mine of new consumers, impressionable browsers, and impulse purchases. This is ideal for you if you plan to grow your business. Buyable Pins provide the functionality you need to make these transactions happen.

Understanding Pinterest

While many people use Pinterest for inspiration when it comes to home decor, fashion, recipes, and much more, Pinterest is more than just a pretty face. In addition to a colorful board for you to pin and share, Pinterest is a massive sales channel, driving a higher order average than any other social media network.

It’s detrimental to your business to overlook this fact because as people browse for inspiration, the convenient Buy Now button could push them into the realm of purchasing. Especially when the Pin displays and in-stock notification, it’s tempting to make that impulsive purchase.

How Do You Sell on Pinterest?

Before the Buyable Pin button existed, businesses could use Rich Pins. Rich Pins allow users to see the price of your item and how much inventory you had in stock, but they still had to click the Pin, navigate to your e-commerce store, and make the purchase.

While Rich Pins have a higher click-through rate than normal Pins, they still don’t allow for the all-important purchase. With the implementation of Buyable Pins, users can safely and securely purchase items directly from Pinterest with a Shopify integration.

Not only is Shopify one of the best e-commerce website builders today, but the Pinterest integration makes it one of the best opportunities for business owners to sell more product directly on social media. It opens the door for more sales and makes it easy to connect with your target market.

While other social media sites have more users, Pinterest enables more targeted marketing, making it a better channel for selling more products. Pinterest users are already in the mindset to browse and learn more about your products, making it an ideal time to entice them with a Buyable Pin.

If you aren’t selling products on Pinterest yet, you need to consider it seriously. Partnering with the best e-commerce website in the industry makes this as seamless for you as it does the consumer. Your Shopify market is already set up, so it’s easy to make the transition, and well worth it.

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How to Grow Your YouTube Following

 

Today, YouTube has over one billion viewers. If you aren’t using YouTube to grow your audience, you’re missing out on a substantial portion of the population, and a great way to increase your influence online. It’s not just viewers you need though. You need users that are actively engaged in your channel. YouTube is a massive opportunity to grow your following for the long-term.

Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to grow your YouTube following. There is no secret formula or unique guide to building up your user base. It’s merely being consistent, providing quality content, and rewarding those who follow you. What does that look like? Here are a few ideas.

Consistency is Key

As we previously mentioned, one of the keys to a successful YouTube following on your channel, and a loyal following is consistency. Pick a theme and stick with it. There’s nothing worse than finding a YouTube channel you like, only to discover that it’s changed direction or not what you thought it was. It’s a good, quick way to lose followers.

Build your brand, and doing it in a way that doesn’t require users to take a lot of time to figure out who you are and what you’re selling. Users subscribe for two reasons: 1) Because they like the content they just viewed, and 2) Because they expect more of the same in the future.

Figure out before you launch your channel what your premise and platform will be. Communicate it effectively across all of your videos so visitors will be able to identify your brand at a glance. You can do this in a variety of ways, whether it is through a channel trailer, via a pitch that lets users know when the next post will be, or through customized thumbnails which will grab the attention of visitors to your channel.

Quality Content

When a person is introduced to your channel, the more of our videos they watch, the higher the chance they will subscribe, thus growing your YouTube following. Watching your videos gives visitors an excellent opportunity to follow you, while also showing them why they should.

One way you can do this is by creating playlists of your content. Organize your videos in a manner that will get good traction through searching on YouTube. You can choose important keywords to drive traffic to your channel. Create themed segments with your videos, which allows you to have control over which video the user will see next. This is especially important as YouTube could wind up playing other content, as opposed to your own after the video is over.

When creating your content, be sure to make it viewable in a format conducive to a mobile device. That does not mean it needs to be recorded and viewed on a smartphone, but rather that you should keep in mind that a lot of content is seen on a mobile device. Create short, consumable videos that will keep followers returning on a regular basis, eager and hungry for more.

As stated previously, there’s no shortcut or secret recipe to growing your YouTube following. Anyone trying to sell you a “get rich quick scheme” is nothing but a waste of your time and money.

When it comes to your YouTube following, more often than not, quality trumps quantity, especially when it comes to your users. It’s more important to have an engaged, valued audience of a few thousand than it is to have a million followers who have no idea who you are or what you’re selling. Find your niche, create your content, and build your following.

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Making Your Own Marketing Videos

Professional marketing videos promoting your business aren’t cheap. You get what you pay for when it comes to marketing your products and engaging your audience. However, there are tools you can use to accomplish these tasks without breaking the bank. You don’t need Hollywood; you just need fast and free.

Incorporating marketing videos into your strategy accomplishes several things:

  • Their versatility allows them to live in several places like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, your website, and your blog.
  • They are eye-catching, enabling your audience to digest the same information in a more engaging format.
  • Marketing videos are easy to repurpose by trimming, expanding, or converting to GIFs for easy sharing. Infographics also make great videos.

How to Make a Video Like a Professional

You don’t need expensive equipment to make a great video. Sometimes you don’t even need your own footage. An idea is a great place to start. Try storyboarding your plan and writing a script. Find or create the footage you need. Edit it using an online app. Upload for viewing!

Free Stock Footage

Now for even better news. You don’t even need your own camera. Seriously. There are so many great places to find stock footage. You can repurpose existing photography, find material on stock footage sites, and shoot your own footage with your phone. It gives it a great, home video feel that appeals to today’s audiences.

Sites you can check out for stock videos include Videvo, Pexels, Distil, and Pixabay. They contain photos from around the world, high-quality graphics, and vibrant animations. Public domain sites like Pond5, Archive.org, and NASA contain historic footage and vintage videos. You can also find free audio on Freesound.org, Looperman, and Converse Sample Library.

 

Paid Music and Footage

Sometimes free just doesn’t cut it. But you don’t have to spend a fortune either. Audio Jungle and Video Hive have sounds, music, and video effects for you to sample. It may be worth the monthly subscription if you plan to continue making marketing videos.

Free Tools

You can use the live streaming feature on most social media platforms to create video. For producing quick, high-quality videos, there are a lot of free apps online. Some even come with their own library of stock images. Try Quik by Go Pro, Lumen 5, or Teleprompter Video Creator.

GIFs are gaining in popularity, and there’s one for every situation. Most social media platforms allow users to search for GIFs using keywords and respond easily to any comment. You can use Giphy to turn your marketing videos into GIFs in hopes of becoming the next internet sensation.

For editing, try Resolve for your desktop editing or Power Director for editing on your phone. They include professional features allowing for color corrections, stitching, object removal, and much more. If you use Power Director, you can shoot video, edit, and share directly from your phone.

Making Engaging Videos

Videos perform better and have more viral potential than text or photo. Often, people watch videos on social media with no sound, so use captions to garner more attention. Many social media platforms even autoplay videos with no sound at first, so with captions, your audience can pause to watch your video without extra clicking.

Use thumbnails to entice people to watch your videos. They provide a headline, or a snapshot of what your video is about, so use Canva to create something that grabs users attention. More importantly, make sure your marketing videos are responsive to mobile, since that’s most likely where people will watch them.

Don’t let the cost of professional video creation and editing stop you. You need competitive material, but you can do it all yourself and have fun in the process. Engage your entire team for a memorable experience, or use stock material to save time. Be resourceful and use the free tools available to you to create engaging content that doesn’t cost a fortune.

READY TO START A ONLINE BUSINESS WITHOUT HAVING TO BUILD IT YOURSELF.

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