Category Archives: Good List

Widen Your Online Presence with a Social Media Boost, Part 3

Make your business soar and succeed online with the help of five social networks.

Foursquare, a location-based application that lets people check in places where they’re currently at, was launched in 2009. Three years later, this online community has more than 20 million users worldwide who approximately perform over 2.5 billion check-ins every day. This is an exciting concept that many businesses quickly seized by using Foursquare for marketing purposes. The San Diego Union-Tribune is using this application to offer free newspapers. Its Foursquare advertisement says, “Get a free newspaper when you check in.”

This technique serves to attract people to become regular readers and subscribers of the San Diego Union-Tribune. People are naturally attracted to ‘free’ items, especially if they’re striving to minimize their expenses. Place a sign on your door saying ‘Free ________ for any _________ within _________” and you’ll have dozens of curious shoppers asking about your promo. This can be used to make people more aware of your brand. Once they have their hands on your product, they’ll examine it thoroughly and assess whether it will fit their needs.

Foursquare is an instrument to complement specific marketing strategiessuch as discounts, product trials, free tastings, publicity events, and more. Foursquare fans get excited to unlock rewards and earn points from certain actions such as checking in to a new place (3 points) and adding a new venue (5 points). There’s also a feature that makes a user check in as many times as possible in 60 days to be the ‘Mayor’ of a certain place. This, however, can be difficult to track if the place in question attracts a crowd of savvy Foursquare users.

Using this application as a stand-alone tool will make you rely on the number of check-ins. Businesses can now depend on the pull of friendship to get customers curious about their products. Foursquare users will see if they have friends who went to a particular business before. Once they know people who used the products and services they want to check out, they’ll certainly ask those friends about it.The good thing about this is you’ll get more customers if the verdict about your store is good enough to make them interested.

Once you’ve successfully created a Foursquare brand page, you can now call on users in the same location as your business. Logged-in users can see you on the map and click to look at your brand page where you can advertise several promotions. For example, you can get people coming in through the door with this message: “Get a pair of brand-name shoes at 25% off from 5 pm to 6 pm!” This will allow you to get their attention and make them curious to visit your store and see the shoes on offer. You can also provide freebies or shout out about an event coming soon. Invite prospective customers to a public party. Inform them about new products coming soon.

Go on and check out the options offered on this URL: https://foursquare.com/business/.

Happy checking in, Foursquare fanatics!

Creating Content to Connect

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Rules to Follow in Writing Articles for Your Blog or Website

Writing informative and engaging articles for your blog or website is the right way to attract visitors and increase your site traffic. This is all well and good, especially for your marketing campaigns. But are you adhering to the rules to ensure you’re maintaining journalistic integrity?

You may be thinking how online business promotion and advertising is related to abiding by journalism ethics and standards. One thing you should keep in mind is whatever you write is still subject to criticism, whether your articles are published in traditional or modern media. Tony Burman, former editor-in-chief of the CBC News, declared that “Every [news] organization has only its credibility and reputation to rely on.” This still applies to all types of web content, except the literary and scientific articles.

Everything we publish on the net is subject to scrutiny. Many people have the tendency to believe whatever they read without questioning the source. This poses harmful consequences for them, especially if the writer has slanderous or malicious intent. When we apply this to marketing, writers are prohibited from exaggerating the effectiveness of a product or service in providing a desired outcome. Overblown claims are not tolerated, as these can mislead customers and make them believe that using a certain product will cause the anticipated effect.

This is particularly true for beauty products like whitening or tanning creams and lotions. Advertisements for these goods cannot say that “Product X can make you change your complexion in less than 7 days. Try our product because with Product X, you’ll look beautiful every time you use it.” This makes it important for all businesses to be careful in saying how their products will affect customers and meet their needs.

Almost all articles follow some form of guiding principles. A written marketing piece should be creative and clever enough to draw attention and attract interest without giving the wrong impression to consumers. According to Joe Chernov, Content Marketing Vice President for Eloqua, there are rules to follow to make sure you’re providing truthful and accurate content:

1. Fact should win over opinion.

Stated opinions without facts to serve as backup are not truthful. This is because opinions are sometimes biased or prejudiced against a certain idea. There should be statistics, data research or quotes from experts to support your statements.

2. Have a reference for every point you want to make.

You should have a source for all the main points and claims you make in your article. Quoting sources provides your article with more credibility and makes it less likely to be challenged. Listing your sources also helps you remember where you found the information and assemble an unassailable defense for your stated opinions.

3. Clarify everything with your sources.

Looking for quotable sources can be difficult, especially if your reference does not want to be cited for some statements. When writing your articles, make sure you find some other references you can use as a foundation for your assertions.

4. Look for a different viewpoint.

It is easy to get lost in an issue if you isolate yourself on only one side of the matter. Seek the opposite side of the argument to get a feel of things and know what the big picture looks like. Being familiar with how the other side will compose their argument will make it easier to frame your arguments for the side you’ll support.

5. Append a byline for your sources.

Always look for the originator of your source documents to ensure you’re crediting the right person for the information you want to cite in your article. A byline can include some facts about the writers’ current occupation and activities to establish how they became experts in their respective fields.

6. Minimize jargon.

Readers can find it hard to stick to an article that has many technical terms they cannot easily understand. Lessen the instances when you have to write down something that would sound too technical to your readers. Make your piece easily comprehensible so they will continue reading and not be alienated.

 

References:

Mashable.com

Wikipedia.org Link 1

Wikipedia.org Link 2

Instagram Your Way to Social Media

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How to Integrate Instagram on Your Social Media Campaigns

Internet users are quite fond of pictures. Show them images of a sleeping cat on a funny pose, as well as a glass building glinting with the soft light of the sunrise. Your pictures are sure to garner many likes within the hour. Businesses can take advantage of this obsession with pictures using Instagram. This mobile application has filters you can use to enhance the look and quality of your photos. Experiment with a few of your personal pictures to gain mastery in using the app. Once you got the hang of it, you can begin taking shots of your products and share them on the Instagram network.

Using Instagram is a potential gold mine for many businesses looking to make marketing success with photos. Since July 2012, there have been 80 million users on Instagram alone. Tapping into the demographics will allow you to reach an Instagram population that is 53% female and 47% male, ages 18-34 years old. If your target audience is within this age range, then Instagram is a good online avenue to start your marketing campaign.

But if you use Instagram, how exactly do you reach your intended users? What do you do to get their attention and engage them with your content?

According to Jason Howie, social marketing can be executed on Instagram if you adhere to the following tips:

1. Partner Instagram campaign with other social networks.

Social media is a bigger world out there. Although Instagram has more than 80 million users, it has a relatively young audience. Consider reaching out to a variety of other age groups on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and other social networking sites. This will make your products available to a wider audience and help you engage with other users who want to check out your merchandise online.

Integrating Instagram with your existing social media campaigns will also liven up your marketing strategy. Using pictures are known to fetch more engagement from followers, due to the visual appeal that photos generate.

2. Engage your followers.

Communicating with your followers is the number one rule when it comes to social marketing. Explore your followers’ accounts and make sure to like and comment on posts you’re interested in. Do this, especially for followers who often check out your content. This will make them appreciate you more and urge them to follow back more enthusiastically. Answering customer inquiries is also advisable, as many customers prefer to reach out online because it is more convenient than calling the hotline. Make sure to check your account from time to time to see queries you need to immediately respond to.

Launching contests and promotions using Instagram is also useful in exposing your pictures to more users. Arrange online events and offer enticing rewards like discounts and freebies to make users more interested in following your account.

3. Make behind-the-scenes shots accessible.

Showing your followers how you create or manage the products you sell boost user interest. Engage your customers with fun posts about your staff as they get ready for a full day’s work in your store. Pictures like these make followers feel closer to your business as a whole, and enable customers to know you better. Starbucks, the most popular coffee shops worldwide, engages its fans and customers with photos of events and other behind-the-scene activities.

4. Encourage staff involvement.

Involving your employees on your Instagram campaign can make them feel motivated as they have a part in your marketing campaign. Be sure to discuss guidelines on what’s appropriate to post so there will be no misunderstandings. Allowing them to post their pictures about the business will make followers take notice and see how you run your venture. This will spur more engagement, as followers feel closer to a business which shows transparency on how it runs its day-to-day operations, events and other processes.

5. Create your own hashtags.

When tagging your own photos, utilize hashtags specific to your own brand. Using popular hashtags will not be suitable, as this will show general results, rather than your brand. For example, you’re in the coffee shop business. Don’t apply the hashtag ‘#coffee,’ as this will point followers to results like these:

See, there’s more than 1 million photos for the #coffee hashtag. Your followers will have difficulty scrolling through the results. Apply your shop’s name to your campaigns to get more precise results. You can utilize the name of your store to tag your photos. This will have the added benefit of promoting your brand.

As Facebook and Instagram is merged, your pictures get additional exposure. Once a follower clicks ‘Like,’ your picture will appear on their friends’ news feed. When they click on your photo, they’ll see all the likes and comments, which encourage them to look at your photo more closely. This can make them share your photo and cause a viral effect. Other than the mentioned effects, creating your own hashtags will also help you measure the generated ROI. This will help you determine if your audience responds well to your Instagram campaign.

6. Use Instagram’s geo-tagging feature.

Use Instagram’s geo-tagging attribute to make followers more aware of your location. This feature can also help a lot in contests that will make participants look for something using Foursquare and other interactive maps. To connect Foursquare when sharing your Instagram photos, turn on the ‘Add to your Photo Map’ feature and name the location, then click ‘foursquare’ on the share options.

7. Pay attention to your analytics.

Studying your analytics data can yield information on what pictures work best for your campaigns. This will also help you learn who your most engaged followers are, and allow you to concentrate on those who can be your staunchest brand advocates. The statistics will also help you learn which social networks work better for your Instagram strategy. The best times to post your photos can also be mined from the data to ensure that you display your pictures during heavy online traffic.

8. Experiment with your pictures.

Instagram provides many free filters to improve your pictures’ visual appeal. There are also more available options for the paid membership. If you have enough budget, try checking out the choices to help you learn which filters work in making your photos look their best. This will help you promote your business and engage more followers.

 

References:

Social Media Today

Quora.com

Mashable.com

Branddnainc.com

SimplyMeasured.com

Jezebel.com

Photo Credits:

HubSpot Blog

Web.Stagram.com

Instagram Help

Landing Pages that Rock

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How to convert visitors to customers using your landing pages

Designing a landing page that makes visitors pay attention can take a lot of time and effort. More so with pages that encourages browsers to fill out the form. These pages must look well and easy enough to understand at first glance. Pages that are too technical have a small chance of persuading visitors to perform the desired action. This is because visitors, especially those with little procedural knowledge, won’t be inclined to sign up for something they barely understand. Before you set up your page live on your website or social media page, see these tips first. Following these bits of advice from Dainis Graveris may help you create pages that turn out more revenue:

1. Important content must be placed above the fold.

The above-fold position is the part of web page immediately visible to you. The lower part you have to scroll down to is called ‘below the fold.’ Important content must, therefore, be located above the fold to ensure visitors will read them. They concentrate on this part more because it’s the part they first see when the page loads. Anything below the fold is scanned more often than not. Make sure to prioritize which content goes above the fold to ensure that the relevant content will be understood.

2. Make the form simple and easy to understand.

Questionnaires with many required fields turn off many visitors so make your forms short and straightforward. The less information you’re asking, the more chances your conversion rate will increase. Additional subscriber information can be filled out in the future once you’ve gotten your subscribers engaged in your marketing campaigns. Additionally, shorter landing page content will make your readers focus only on the most important parts they need to know. This will make your content clearer and easier to comprehend.

3. Use only one call to action.

When you’re making a landing page, it is important to make sure you’re asking visitors to do ONE action only. For example, if you want email newsletter subscribers and webinar registrations, plan two pages instead of combining both into one page. Persuading customers to do both actions in one page will just backfire. They will get confused and will likely avoid filling out your form altogether. Before you start creating landing pages, think of your goals first. List them down, so it will be easier to frame the primary and secondary headlines and the supporting content.

4. Organize your landing page to get rid of clutter.

When it comes to web page creation, clutter means unnecessary details, extra links, and additional images that turn attention away from the form to be filled out. Clean up your page to minimize distractions that will sidetrack your visitors and make their attention wander to that curiously hypnotic GIF image on the corner. Hiding the navigation menu will also increase your conversions by 100%, as visitors will be more focused on the content rather than on the box of links located at the top-center of the page. 5. Apply SEO techniques to your landing page.

Optimize your landing page with keywords and metatags to make it more visible on search engine results. Appearing on the first page of the search results will bring more traffic to your landing page and expose it to visitors looking for what you’re offering. This will lead to increased traffic, more engagement, and more leads.

6. Prioritize loading time.

Speed is one of the key considerations in making a landing page work. If your page is slow to load, you’ll lose prospective customers. Strike a balance between building a creative page and loading speed to ensure visitors will continue flocking to your landing page and sign up.

7. Pin social networking share buttons on your landing page.

Utilize social media buttons to enable visitors to share your page on the news feed. This will allow their friends see which page they signed up for. Other people will be intrigued on what their friend has shared and check out your page themselves.

8. Use heat maps.

When you use heat maps, you’ll see ‘unclickable’ sections which visitors like to click. This will help you understand how visitors see your landing page and what difficulties they encounter when they fill out their information details. Organizing your landing page according to the data from heat maps will make your page more user-friendly and easier to understand.

9. Make your privacy policy visible.

Visitors are naturally wary of placing their contact details on online forms. Reassure them and increase their trust with a visible privacy policy link. Place this link on fields requiring them to encode their email addresses and phone numbers. Knowing that you’ll have a privacy policy in place will make them feel you care about their online protection as much as they do.

10. Set up thank you pages.

Thank you pages are great for advertising relevant products and services your visitors might be interested in. Give access to limited trials, free downloads, and other email subscriptions with this page. You can also place social networking share buttons here, if there’s no room on the landing page.

 

Improving the layout of your landing pages can help you start getting leads for your marketing goals. Go for gold with a well-designed and optimized landing page!

 

References:

1stWebDesigner.com

Pardot.com

WebDesign.org

Photo Credit:

VisualWebsiteOptimizer.com

Booting Up Your Business

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5 Digital Tools to Advance Your Brand in 2013

Bringing your business online is just the first step in establishing your brand among online audiences. Other than creating a visually pleasing, easily navigable and user-friendly website, you’ll need a blog or podcast, as well as a few social media pages. There are also other tools you need to make your online marketing campaigns a success. Here are some tools recommended by CheapSally.com, which you can use to fully realize the potential of your campaigns and earn more customers:

1. Social Bookmarking

Social bookmarking allows users to save bookmarks on a public site and tag them with keywords. These keywords will allow you to easily find bookmarks you have saved. You’ll need to register on a social bookmarking site so you can store bookmarks, which you can designate for public or private use. Visitors on these sites can search for resources using keywords, persons or popularity to see the public bookmarks registered users made.

Popular social bookmarking sites include Twitter, Pinterest, Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, and more. Brands can use these sites to save their finds and share them with their followers. This will encourage engagement as followers will be exposed to your products and services, resources, and other marketing content. You can also post interesting pictures and links that will engage your followers’ attention and make them more interested in what you’re posting. One business who gained success in using a social bookmarking site is Whole Foods.

Whole Foods used Pinterest to show boards, which interest their customers. From plants to recipes to kitchen decorations, this business has engaged followers until they grew to have more than 60,000 followers.

2. F-Commerce

Facebook is the largest social media site today with more than 800,000,000 users. With this site, you can create ecommerce opportunities to boost your sales. This especially works for businesses which are popular on Facebook. Show your appreciation for their continued engagement with exclusive product offers. Encourage them to share the limited offer to their friends. According to research, “users are four times as likely to conduct a transaction inside Facebook if it is referred to them by a trusted friend.”

Promote your exclusive offers on weekends when users are likely to be online. As they spend more or less 25% of their web browsing time on Facebook, there’s ample opportunity for your business to garner attention and incur sales.

Giving exclusive offers like what Oscar de la Renta did can bring more likes to your Facebook page and make it easier to reach a wider audience.

3. Digital Deals

Coupons are the way to a savvy shopper’s heart. Catch the attention of bargain-hunting users with discount offers on your page. This has the added benefit of increasing engagement on your page and attracting more people to browse your content. Coupons also have a way of getting new customers inside your store. This gives you a chance to widen your client base, so ensure you make those deals enticing. Strive to perform stellar customer service to make them come back and become regular visitors.

Any business can use deals to make more people come to their shop. Inquire with deal sites to promote your business using coupons.

4. Mobile Photo Sharing

Most of us have a fascination with pictures, as these can serve as records of memorable times. This spurred the development of Instagram and other picture editing and sharing applications. Businesses can use this tool to take pictures of their own products and services in beautiful and creative ways. Milysan Troche used Instagram to post images of her fashionable outfits. She quickly gained popularity with her tasteful style until followers inquired whether she can post and help them sell their slightly used luxury merchandise. Troche’s consignment business grew rapidly until her Instagram cannot handle the demand as fast as it used to. This made Troche launch MyHauteCloset.com where multiple items are sold on the same day they are posted.

Other businesses can also succeed on Instagram. One thing to keep in mind about posting on this application is to ensure you publish only the most beautiful images you have of your merchandise. Poorly taken pictures will not succeed, so make sure to take good pictures or hire a professional to help you out.

5. Gamification

Gamification employs gaming mechanics to encourage users to behave as desired and through the use of a point and reward system. Badges, levels, challenges and the possibility to level up increase the users’ motivation and make them engage more.

One example of this method is Foursquare, an app used to save and share the places you’ve visited. When users record where they have been, they earn points, challenge friends, earn badges, and become ‘Mayors’ of places they visited.

The Bottom Line

These tools can help businesses earn success for their marketing campaigns. Using these tools helps you learn which method will work best for your trade. Consider each one to supplement the traffic coming to your website and social networking pages.

 

References:

PRDaily.com

Net.Educause.edu

BlueGlass.com

Ebizmba.com

Mashable.com Instagram for Business

Mashable.com Gamification

Kissmetrics Blog

Foursquare.com

Photo Credits:

Pinterest.com/Wholefoods

Addicted2Candi.com

4sqi.net

Getting the Scoop on Yelp

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Managing Your Business Online Presence in One of the Largest Review Sites

Yelp is an online database of business reviews written by customers for other people who might be interested in going to a local store. This website helps people find good places to shop, eat, drink or loosen up after a whole day’s work. Yelp is a site where you can find both nice and unpleasant evaluations of different businesses.

Many people use Yelp – reviewers who want to share their experience, vacationers who want to know more about the place they’ve visited and other people who want to know more about a certain business. This makes it necessary for entrepreneurs to pay more attention to this site which now has more than 20 million reviews on its record. These reviewshave the ability to make or break businesses, depending on what was written.

Businesses need to make their mark on this site immediately. This is because your own business information can appear on Yelp without you knowing it. Third-party data providers gather basic business details and contact numbers from public sources. Search your business name on Yelp to see if it comes up on the site. You may need to correct the facts listed, such as address, phone numbers, and more.

If you want to benefit from the web traffic visiting Yelp every day, coordinate with the site to place ads that make your business visible online to more potential customers. Placing ads are not for free, though, so you need to plan how yto advertise your merchandise on this review site. Other than that, here are some things you need to know about this site:

1.  Yelp’s traffic comes from its home page.

Out of the 78 million people browsing on Yelp, 60% of the site traffic mainly comes from laptops and desktop computers, with smartphone traffic following after. The number of visitors using mobile phones to access Yelp is increasing, though, so entrepreneurs will do well to add their Yelp business information on their mobile campaigns.

2.  Retail stores have the biggest category.

Before September 2011, restaurants are the top search term customers use when they go to Yelp. Now, retail stores and other shopping centers make up the biggest group on the review site. This is because people look for more alternatives in their shopping trips due to the economic downturn that hit the country. Many businesses involved in retail have seen this opportunity and went to Yelp.

3.  Don’t ask customers to post reviews on Yelp.

According to Darnell Holloway, Yelp’s Local Business Outreach manager, businesses should not solicit reviews from their customers. This is because Yelp wants to focus on raising awareness rather than making businesses compete with each other with the number of reviews they have on their respective pages.This also runs the risk of making customers feel like promotional prizes that must be touted for everyone visiting Yelp.

4.  Earn Your ‘People Love Us on Yelp’ Stickers.

Companies with consistent high ratings get free ‘People Love Us on Yelp’ as proof of their perfect online reputation. Once a business earns this ‘badge of honor, customers familiar with Yelp will trust this business more and visit more frequently.

5.  You can ask reviews to be posted on Yelp through subtle ways.

Yelp recommends that entrepreneurs to add the URL of their Yelp business page onemail signatures and business cards to let customers they’re on the review site. This is a more understated way to request a customer to look at your Yelp page and write a review.

6.  Yelp used to pay for reviews.

When Yelp was just starting, they paid for reviews outside the San Francisco area to get more people to visit their site and pull up their search engine rankings. This strategy was abandoned, however, when Yelp started to grow and became more popular.

7.  Customer service has the greatest pull.

When people grade a business, they put more value on customer service than the quality of the merchandise they bought. This proves that engagement and service levelsare more important in terms of building good relationships with customers. Put more attention to the way you conduct customer service to make people more aware of your good qualities.This can persuade them to come back.

8.  For every star you earn, there’s a 5-9% increase in profit.People naturally want to go to stores, boutiques and other commercial establishments with high ratings. When your 3 1/2 star rating becomes 4 or 4 1/2, more customers will patronize your store. If they’re satisfied with your overall service, they’ll become part of your regular client base.

9.  Yelp is inclined to invite reviews for independent businesses rather than chains.

Independent businesses get more reviews than chains because their service tends to become more or less uniform. This is because chain businesses have an overall management committee who keeps tabs on the way things are run on each branch. Independent businesses, on the other hand, have varying reviews because they are managed by different people with different approaches to how they run a business.

10.  Entrepreneurs can approach Yelp about ‘inappropriate’ reviews.

When businesses receive malicious reviews, business owners can contact Yelp and dispute over the review. Entrepreneurs can communicate with the reviewers, if necessary.

11.  Yelp advises businesses not to sue over bad reviews.

Negative reviews, especially fake ones, can make tempers boil until the entrepreneur is forced to file a lawsuit against a reviewer. Before starting legal action, Yelp advises to let cooler heads prevail because undue attention will be given to the review in question. This will make customers stay away from your store more and bring your revenues down.

Businesses can earn more revenue with Yelp if there are more positive reviews than negative ones. What you can do to yieldpositive reviews is to continue providing reliable service and fine products for your customers.

 

References:

Mashable.com

Yelp FAQ

Putting Life Back to Your Email Campaigns

You’re looking at the email campaign analytics one day, and notice that your subscribers are barely interested on what you’re sending them. Only a small number of clicks registered, with not much traffic coming to your blog or website. Some subscribers choose not to receive emails anymore and new members are not forthcoming.

It’s time to liven up your email campaigns! Here are some ways you can increase your subscribers and make your existing ones more involved:

1. Solicit feedback and study the comments.

When thinking how to make your emails refreshing, conduct a survey with your subscribers. Ask them what they like and dislike about your emails. Data gathered from these questions can help you find what’s lacking in your campaigns. Call a meeting with your staff. Request feedback about the answers taken from your subscribers. Discussing new strategies with your staff will help you think of ways to make your content more interesting and engage your subscribers, too. Engage in brainstorming sessions and offer incentives for those who generate the most original and feasible ideas. This will spur healthy and friendly competition, as well as make you closer as a team.

2. Follow the leader.

It also helps to take examples from leading veterans on email campaigns. Subscribe to their newsletters with your personal email address and examine the content closely. Determine what elements specially attract you to click the links. It might be the attractive colors, well-designed graphics, the catchy subject line headers or the intriguing article titles. Pay close attention to how the content was presented. What style do you think will be most effective? Adopt the basics you think will work on your own content. Don’t copy everything you see! The techniques they use may not apply to your own situation; what’s worse is it will make your emails look like copies.

3. Experiment and evolve with new formulas.

When something doesn’t work anymore, it’s time for a change. Don’t be afraid to try new things. It’s up to you if you want to introduce changes first or do a complete overhaul of your emails. Ask your subscribers whether they like the new tweaks. Show them a link where they can key in their comments, reactions, and further suggestions. This will help you know whether your new strategy is effective or not. If your latest technique doesn’t work out, don’t be discouraged. This is a trial-and-error period for your campaigns. Whatever results you gain help you and your staff learn more about your target audience, their preferences and what attracts their attention. Putting what you discerned from your experiment will turn out more customized email campaigns for your subscribers.

4. Renew relationships with your email service provider (ESP).

Commercial ESPs provide email servers that allow users to send bulk email to their subscribers. Additional features may include receiving or storing messages. Reviewing any policy changes on your contract with your current ESP will enable you to see if you can request other features you may need. Inquire if you are eligible for spam testing, email customization, and more. This will make you more efficient in sending email and finding out whether your non-responding subscribers have marked your messages as spam.

5. Review the basics of email marketing.

OK, let’s face it. You’ve been performing email marketing for a long time, and might have forgotten some basic email rules. Test your skills and your staff with a random email marketing review. Explain your goal so they will not be confused on why you want them to test their working knowledge. This can evolve to a bonding session with the team, and don’t forget to offer rewards for the highest performer.

6. Keep your emails short and sweet.

A long email is a detriment to email marketing strategies. Keep in mind that your subscribers generally have low attention span and boredom threshold. They will not pay sufficient attention to content longer than 4-5 paragraphs, no matter how interesting your article is. Keep your email copy snappy and concise. Make at least three short paragraphs with the first one indicating why the subscriber should try this product so-and-so. The second paragraph will serve as your ‘call to action’ piece to encourage the subscriber to reply through call or email to inquire.

7. Use a personal tone.

Establish a rapport with your subscribers using a personal tone. Write as if you’re speaking to them in a conversation, and not as if they’re facing you in front of a stage. This will make them feel that they can approach or reply to you in a friendly way. Be careful, though, of sounding too personal like assuming things like, “This is perfect for your little ones,” or “Make your life better and happier with these suggestions…” This type of personal statements can turn off subscribers and make you come across as presumptuous.

 

Making subscribers feel happy to see an email from you is an integral part of email marketing. Do your best to maintain their subscription with beautifully presented and finely written content. Keep your emailing skills sharp and up to date with engaging articles.

 

References:

MarketingProfs.com Link 1

MarketingProfs.com Link 2

Wikipedia.org

Fish and You Shall Find: Creating Landing Pages that Work

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Creating landing pages can be difficult if you don’t know the basics. If properly presented, these pages can persuade visitors to complete certain actions and boost your marketing campaigns. Landing pages are also useful in promoting ads, guest articles, newsletters, product launchings, new pages, and more. How do you make effective landing pages that will encourage visitors to take action? How will you widen your customer base and generate more leads using these pages?

One way you can drive traffic to your landing pages is to make them appear as pop-ups as soon as visitors visit your home page. This will immediately attract their attention and engagement. If visitors close the prompt ad, you can place ads on the right side of all pages on the center position. Make the ad colors distinct from the background to make it noticeable.

When visitors click on the ads, greet them with a message. Tell them what you want to introduce: a new product, a giveaway or a webinar. Build your landing page around your call-to-action statement to ensure your visitors understand what you want them to do. A rambling and jumbling call to action will weaken your campaign and make it unsuccessful.

According to Dainis Graveris of 1stWebDesigner.com, a landing page should have the following elements to engage visitors and make them browse your website more often:

1. Page Headlines

The headline is one of the first things we see when a page loads. Make your headline catchy to engage your users’ attention. A well thought-out headline will grab attention and give the reader an idea on what the page is all about. Make sure the headline and advertisement wording fit together. A lack of connection between the two will only confuse readers. It also helps to make your headline keyword-optimized to make it appear on the search engine results and make it more visible to other web users.

2. Secondary Headlines

The headlines should also be clear and concise, and compelling enough to catch visitors’ attention. The words should convey what the page is all about in a ‘short and sweet’ manner.

3. Page Content

The page content should be easily understood by your readers. Avoid using big words that will make them look for an online dictionary. Use ‘you’ often to concentrate the message on them. Make your piece persuasive enough to compel them to follow the call-to-action statement. Your content should have impeccable spelling and grammar. A wrongly spelled word or awkwardly stated sentence can detract the trust of your visitors and make them doubt your credibility.  In addition, highlight the benefits your visitors can get should they follow the call-the-action. This will intrigue and persuade them to get that ebook you’re offering or sign up for a trial period on your offered service.

4. Trust Indicators

A page is more trustworthy if there are testimonials, third-party trust and security certification, guarantee seals, and press mentions. These indicate that the business is reliable enough to ensure their online privacy and security. This would make it necessary to verify every detail you put on your landing page so you would not be proven wrong and be considered a fake. Look up details on how you’ll to get Better Business Bureau accreditation, VeriSign approval, and other security certifications.

5. Call-to-Action Statements

You need call-to-action statements that directly instruct visitors on what to do. Avoid using vague statements like, “Try our product today!” Instead, frame your call to action like this: “Order a diamond ring today!” The second statement will get more clicks because it’s phrased in a clear manner. The first call to action will not get as much response because it is uncertain how a visitor will try a product, unless you’re offering a free trial.

6. Conversion Buttons

Conversion buttons should be bright, bold and clearly highlighted. It should stand out because visitors might change their mind about the action you want them to do if they cannot immediately find the ‘Click Here’ button. In place of ‘Click Here,’ you can use ‘Download Now,’ ‘Buy Today,’ and use signal words like ‘new’ and ‘free.’

7. Links

Keep the links few and simple as possible. You don’t want your visitors distracted by many links while they’re in the middle of reading your content. Minimize the number of links to three or four to make visitors focus more attention on your headlines and call to action. Your links may point back to ‘Home,’ ‘Products & Services’ and ‘Contact Us.’ Do not make the links look like the tab titles you have on your website’s home page. This will prove to be off-putting and make your visitors click on them instead of reading your landing page.

8. Images and Videos

Make your visitors more interested on your landing page content with well-taken pictures and videos. Don’t use stock photos as this can hurt your authenticity in the eyes of your visitors. Use pictures that display your product well or post a video on how to use your product. You can also give actual demonstrations and show your viewers the benefits of using the product.

9. Above-the-Fold Position

When you’re making a landing page, make sure your visitors don’t have to scroll down the page to read the whole content. Some viewers neglect to scroll down as they tend scan the content and encode their details. This makes it important to ensure that the landing page is visible ‘above the fold’ and do not make scrolling necessary.

10. Landing Page Experiments

Test which copy, call-to-action, headlines, photos and videos get the most clicks and engagement from your visitors. Use analytics to help you learn which page will be more suitable for your campaigns. This will help you earn the high engagement and conversion rates you need to make online marketing a success, as well as avoid this scenario:

References:

Formstack.com

1stWebDesigner.com

Photo Credit:

to.GStatic.com

 

 

The Old Spice Effect: Business Videos with a Heart

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Make customers stop and pay attention with a story about your business.

We have loved reading stories ever since we were children. We even make up our own as we strive to make the people around us wonder and imagine. Storytelling never fails to stir us, even in the form of unfounded news or hearsays. Marketing is no stranger to stories, as well. They use storylines to generate interest on the products and services they promote. This ability is evident through the commercials we see whenever we turn on the television.

There are the Mentos commercials, which feature the “Freshmaker,” and show how your breath can be made fresh with just one candy. Look back on an Old Spice ad that presented a half-naked, towel-clad Isaiah Mustafa telling viewers to “Smell like a man, man.”This commercial told a story that fans of the Old Spice Facebook page clicked. They then typedtheir comments, liked the posts, and shared the page.

This aptly demonstrates the power of storytelling in an ad. Old Spice, the company, contracted Mustafa, a former football star player, to help spread the message that the Old Spice scent can make a man smell more masculine. The reactions above showed how effective the campaign is, making it achieve 14,393 likes and 7,864 comments. This commercial was released last 2010, and it still got comments up until three months ago.

How do you create stories that will imitate the Old Spice effect and make customers pay attention to your content? How do you make them interested with your products? Here are a few ways:

1. Create introductory videos.

Make a video that introduces your business well. Show footages of your store and merchandise, along with your office and employees. If you have a production area, show that in the video, too. Let the CEO make an appearance and explain how your business can be of service to the general community’s needs. You can show this video on your website’s home page, which gives visitors a bird’s eye view of your business processes. This video can also be featured on your social networking pages to engage your followers.

Doggytopia, a dog day care center based in Kelowna, Canada, uses this technique well to tell customers how they will take care of your pets while you are at work. Brenda McBurnie, the owner of the establishment, showed the place where dogs can play and be taken care of. This video serves as a good marketing tactic to attract more customers to visit and entrust their pet dogs to Ms. McBurnie.

2. Product Videos

You know how great your product is, and how useful it can be to perform a certain function or purpose. Customers don’t automatically know that, so make a video that will show them how special your merchandise is. They key is not to tell them, but to demonstrate how. General Electric effectively used this type of video to feature a machine that detects the presence of cancer cells in a patient. This video showed GE employees telling viewers how fulfilled they felt when they helped create something profound like their cancer health care equipment.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJCiZ7J4Al4&feature=player_embedded

 

Here are some examples of the reactions to the ad

3. ‘Competitive’ Videos

Provide a video detailing the reasons your business is unique. Think of special qualities that sets you apart. It can be about your many years of experience, longevity in the industry or the value of your products. Discuss how you started your business and made it grow. Impart some stories about how your family or friends helped you set up your venture and make it through the lean times. This can help customers know you more and make them feel you have something in common with them.

One video under this category is Kathleen King’s story of how she entered into another venture. This was after being booted out of her first bakery, which she established and managed for twenty years. She illustrated how she maintained her strength and determination to carry on and become successful again. These characteristics made her stand out against other bakeries near her locality.

http://www.inc.com/chris-beier-and-daniel-wolfman/how-tates-bake-shop-founder-kathleen-king-lost-it-all-and-bounced-back.html

4. Statement Videos

Shoot a short video that showcases your business commitment or mission. This allows customers to know your goals and what principles you stand for. This can help them decide that they’ll support you to attain yourobjectives. For example, you manage a hospital and commit yourself to ensuring your health care staff provides the highest quality of care available. Illustrate how you fulfill your commitment statement with a video.

Blackboard, a company that fosters online and mobile learning, declares its commitment to be ‘accessible’ to students with a high-speed Internet connection. This allows them to reach students and impart the education they need. Rajeev Arora, former Vice President of the Marketing Department at Blackboard, reiterates the company’s commitment on the video below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiG67InGZ4Y

5. Corporate Personality Videos

How does your company define your business? What are you passionate about your corporate culture? Illustrate how you love your enterprise with a video. Answering this question makes it necessary to go back to the time when you first decided to set up your business.  Why did you choose to establish a restaurant, for example? Is it because you like to feed and make people happy through food? Or you love to cook and create dishes that make people satisfied with the taste?

Kristy Greenwood, the owner of Victory Love+Cookies, explains her passion for baking cookies as a way to “get them out into the world, spreading love and light, sugar and flavor, by whatever means necessary.”According to Ms. Greenwood, her zeal for life and making other people feel good is represented by her cookies – light, sweet, and delicious.

http://vimeo.com/32883545

Bottom Line

Using videos to tell stories is a great way to engage your visitors. Almost nobody can resist a feel-good story, which inspires them to do better. Use this to connect to your target audience. Maybe you’ll reach them the way Old Spice did. 😉

 

References:

MarketingProfs.com

Forbes.com

Adweek.com

Inc.com

Swipely Works Blog

No2Pen.com Blog

VictoryLoveandCookies.com

Photo Credits:

Old Spice Facebook Page

Oops! Three Social Media Mistakes to Watch Out for

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Scenarios to Avoid when Starting Your First Online Marketing Campaign

It’s natural to make mistakes, especially on the first time you handle something. It is the same way with social media. It’s easy to think about it as a simple venture, as your activity for the whole day is to think up status updates, photos, videos, and other content that will get the attention of your intended audience. But social media is beyond that. In fact, this is the first common misconception that entrepreneurs form when they first encounter the concept of interacting with their customers online. Business owners need to socialize with their target audience, hence the word ‘social.’

Social media is more than attracting the attention of your customers with an online advertisement. It is important to create a website and networking pages that will introduce your business to customers. You cannot hope to succeed in online marketing without these two platforms. This is because customers instinctively distrust businesses that feature only an ad.

If we match this with real-life event, it was as if they just met you for the first time and suddenly, they received a brochure from you. They don’t immediately pay attention to the brochure and ignore it until it’s time to throw it away. This makes it necessary to introduce yourself and your purpose first, especially on the web where there’s no face-to-face interaction. Your website and your networking pages will function as your ‘introduction’ while your ads will become your ‘online brochure.’

The primary goal is to connect with customers and build relationships with them, hence, the word ‘social’ in social media. Entrepreneurs need to ‘socialize’ with their target audience online before they advertise about their merchandise. Concentrating all efforts on marketing, instead of doing as advised, will be your first mistake. This is because social media doesn’t convert as easy as 1, 2 and 3 when it comes to generating sales leads. You need to establish a connection before approaching the customer with a sales pitch.

You have to give something, so you can sell your merchandise. Your agenda for the first three months or so, should be establishing your online presence. Make a short yet detailed ‘About Us’ sections on your platforms. Show pictures of your store and staff, as well as your products and services. Interact with your customers online. It is advisable not to embark on a marketing campaign around this time as you’re still seeking to make yourself known to your customers and trying to get close to them. Remember, it takes time, energy and effort to develop relationships online and get returns on your labors.

Being active in social marketing is not equivalent to success. You may be posting everyday but are you sure your followers are engaging with your content? Make sure your blog, website or social networking pages are monitored with analytics. There are free analytics software from Google and other platforms to help you determine whether your posts receive attention from your intended audience. If there’s positive improvement than when you started, then continue what you’re doing. Are you sure, though, that your goals are aligned with your efforts? Brad Smith, a social media expert, offers advice on making your networking posts effective:

  • What is your main goal in joining social media? Do you aim to develop awareness about your merchandise? Do you wish to make customers more loyal to your brand? Or do you want to increase your sales? Choose one goal, and coordinate it with your strategy. Combining all three goals using one strategy will not gain you anything as each goal needs a corresponding series of actions.
  • List down each step and measure your progress. This will help you track your progress and see if you’re deviating from your plan of action.
  • Identify which activities get the highest ROI. Sometimes, we concentrate too much on the quantity of posts we produce every day. Experiment with different posting times and types of content and monitor each trial with analytics. This will allow you to see which posts get the most engagement from your followers.
  • Measure your productivity. Determine if an action offers sufficient returns for your efforts. If not, cancel them to make room for more activities that will yield enough rewards.
  • Remain dedicated. Sometimes we get discouraged when we see that there’s only a small number of people responding to our campaigns. When this happens, partner with an associate to keep your morale up and help you maintain your dedication.

Engagement doesn’t just happen; it is nurtured. A video will not become viral if you rely on your target audience to spread it. You must perform marketing initiatives to push your content and reach prospective customers who might be encouraged to contact you. How do you set your campaign in motion? One way you can do that is to roll out newsletters to your existing customer base. This generates interest among your customers on your latest content.

You can also ask other bloggers to encourage their audience to visit your website. Contact online newsletters which welcome guest articles. This has the added advantage of increasing links that will pull up your search engine rankings. On the same vein, look for syndication partners that can run your articles. If you have sufficient resources, you can do your own promotion and advertising. Create a video and upload it to video-sharing sites. Customers can be persuaded to share your video if it is effective in engaging their attention and making them feel that it’s worthy to be shared to their own friends.

There’s no automatic growth when you join social media. Even though this field is relatively new and inexpensive, it takes time before you can successfully establish your presence online. It will be far easier if your target market already knows you, but what if they don’t? This makes it necessary to follow the rules, work hard and adjust your strategy as you go along. This may be new ground, but you can still succeed, provided you follow the basics while making your own path at the same time.

 

Reference:

Social Media Today