5 Simple Ways to Make Your Email Marketing Profitable
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Archive for June, 2013

5 Simple Ways to Make Your Email Marketing Profitable

Posted on: June 29, 2013 by in Business Building
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Despite the dire predictions of the demise of email marketing, what the evidence shows is that it’s still a vital component of your online marketing, now and also for the foreseeable future. As per Sign-Up.to’s 2013 UK Email Marketing Benchmark Report, there has been a strong increase in average email open rates, rising from 18.35 percent to 21.47 percent in the last 12 months. Moreover, the average return on your email marketing investment is now an astonishing $44.25 for each dollar spent. (iContact)

So how do you to take advantage of this?

Here are 5 easy ways to get your email marketing efforts heading in the right direction!

  1. Write killer subject lines - Your subject lines actually do matter, as your open rates will confirm if you gloss over this part. Make sure you do the needed work to fashion a subject line that makes people open your email! This could be a combination of curiosity, emotion, relevance and urgency. Make sure to check for spam compliancy as well.
  2. Write amazing content - After your subject line, nothing will get your emails opened and read more frequently than delivering jaw-dropping content. Content people can’t wait to open and read. I’m subscribed to several lists like that, where I open and read every word without delay. Aim to be one of those!
  3. Incorporate social media - This is a easy way to spread your emails around, especially those with terrific content. Implement social sharing buttons in your emails, and encourage your users to use them. This can result in easy new opt-ins.
  4. Deliver mobile-friendly emails - Now that 64 percent of decision makers read their email on their mobile device,(TopRankBlog) and the average person checks their smartphone some 34 times a day, isn’t it time to make sure your emails are  mobile friendly?
  5. Send email more often - This is one we frequently hesitate at. Nobody wants to keep harrassing people who don’t want to read your messages. Sure, if you’re selling some shiny new object every email. Rather, make sure to keep sending great content that people simply can’t wait to read. Copyblogger reports that often your unsubscribes actually decrease if you mail more frequently.

There is Life Beyond Groupon and Living Social

Posted on: June 26, 2013 by in Business Building
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Now that Groupon and LivingSocial, though far from dead, are sorting out their businesses moving forward, smaller daily deal sites have jumped to the mind of small business owners as a viable option for this business model moving forward. It’s not completely vital to go with the biggest company, when in fact, a smaller daily deal site may be better for your business.

So who are these smaller daily deal sites?

There are a number of daily deal sites that cater to small business. No longer are you trapped buying huge inventories of deals, when you really don’t have the business to allow for it. Also, support from a smaller site is much easier to find, as you’re not passed over for businesses spending far more money than yours. A brief, albeit incomplete, listing of some of these companies includes daily deal sites you may not have heard of yet. Everyone knows about the market mavens like Groupon, LivingSocial, Facebook and now Google, however the smaller, possibly more agile companies would include the likes of Woot, Yelp, eLocal, Local Response, ZipLocal, Signpost, CityMaps, Yipit, and ShowMeLocal.

How daily deals can work for hyperlocal marketing

Some of these niche sites provide the flexibility to adapt and change to your hyperlocal marketing needs. If your campaign needs fine-tuning or adjustment quickly, it’s far easier to accomplish than with a larger company. They typically don’t have investors to answer to, and can often make adjustments and decisions that a Groupon couldn’t. They already know they need to come through for your small business, or your business will dry up. Also, in our social environment, and particularly with a hyperlocal marketing campaign, word of mouth can have both a positive and negative effect. Don’t make the mistake of discounting the smaller daily deal sites when you are searching for offers. They could be just what you need!

Google Hangouts – The Best Free Webinar Tool Out There!

Posted on: June 22, 2013 by in Business Building
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Google is known for coming up with new programs and then ditching them if they don’t work out. Anyone remember Google Wave, Google Buzz and now Google Reader? While many have predicted a very similar fate for Google , an addition to this may save the day. Google Hangouts is Google’s latest addition, and one that truly has lots of usefulness. (Particularly for marketers!)

Google Hangouts – So what is it exactly?

The short version is that Google Hangouts are a good way to connect with others via a live video chat, one that can be recorded and utilized in various platforms and in many ways. Joined at the hip with your Google account, a hangout is very simple to launch, and has a goldmine of attractive features for marketers. You can host a hangout with up to ten other people, and many others can view live at your YouTube channel, Google page, or a web page. Google records the whole affair, and sends a YouTube URL to you after you’re done, that you can then use in your marketing in a number of ways.

Marketing with Google Hangouts

There are tons of ways to integrate Google Hangouts into your marketing. Listed below are 10 ways people are using successfully.

  • Webinars - Sick of expensive GoToWebinar fees? Now you have a no cost alternative!
  • Conferences - Easy to setup teleconferencing makes a Hangout a no-brainer for sharing a conference experience.
  • Meetings - Hold virtual meetings in an informal, yet immediate venue.
  • Product Launches - A creative way to create positive buzz on launch day. (Or before!)
  • Interviews - Interviewing people made easy with Hangouts! Recorded, and transcribed.
  • Product Demos - Show people what you’ve got, live and in person!
  • Virtual Press Conference - Share newsworthy items via Hangouts.
  • Live Streaming Events - Many marketers are now using Google Hangouts as their own live TV station, broadcasting weekly shows.
  • Q & A with Customers - Build relationships with your customers live and answer their questions and concerns.
  • Podcast from your Hangout - Making a Podcast to share through iTunes is another way to share your content.

Google Hangouts is a terrific new tool to add to your marketing mix. Don’t miss your chance to connect with your customers in a meaningful way.

How to Write Persuasive Copy

Posted on: June 18, 2013 by in Business Building
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If you want to sell anything to anyone on the net then it is imperative that you learn how to craft persuasive copy. Not tough you say? Perhaps until you’ve tried it once or twice. Then you start to understand why top copywriters get paid a lot of money. No need to throw in the towel just yet, however. You can discover basic elements of copywriting and persuasion which can help your copy do what you want it to, and best of all, they can be learned!

4 Essential steps to persuasive copy

  1. Make it easy to scan - We all know that writing for the Web has become an exercise in who can make the most readable and scannable copy. Some ways to make certain that your copy is ingested by the fast-wandering web surfer are to utilize tactics like using plenty of white space, bullet points, sub-headlines, bolding and color, and compelling images.
  2. Write conversationally – No one likes to feel that they’re being lectured to. So even if you are promoting ideas or a topic that you’re dead certain is either new or advanced, make sure you speak as though you’re relating this to a good friend. Write as you talk. It goes a long way toward building the trust you want to build with your reader, particularly if you hope for them to complete an action anytime soon.
  3. Structure to your conclusion - Humans have a tendency to process information best when presented in a narrative fashion, so make sure and tell your story! Beginning, middle and end, rising action to a climax. Strong headlines that seize the reader. All resulting in a conclusion that compels your reader to take action in whatever form you are asking.
  4. Ask for what you want! - It’s tough to think that we have to say this, but so often copy is lean on the asking side. It’s as though they don’t want to appear too pushy in actually asking for the sale. The fact is that if you don’t sell the ask with enthusiasm, you’re actually disappointing and possibly confusing the reader. It’s expected, so ask. Never write anything without a strong call to action!

Flat Web Design – Simple, Uncluttered and User-Friendly!

Posted on: June 15, 2013 by in Business Building
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There a new trend that’s sweeping the web design industry called flat design. You may not have heard about this yet, but you’ve surely seen it. The thing is, it’s really not all that “new”, as Microsoft more or less introduced it in 2006 with its now-discontinued Zune site design.

So what is it that makes a “flat” web design?

Flat design is characterized by simple, bright solid colors, plenty of white space, and the lack of drop shadows, gradients, and textures which have been a major element of a web designer’s arsenal for some time now. Often typography plays a leading role in flat web design. Flat web design is a “smooth” solution whose aim is to eliminate as many decorative elements of a “3D” type look as is feasible.

So why the move from 3D to flat design?

The reason making the most sense is that designers find it more and more difficult to cram all the elements of a 3D design into a world full of mobile screens. The 4 inch limitations placed on this are making moving to a simpler, more compact and functional user experience right out of the gate. This coupled with making pages load faster, and have far more responsiveness is vital in a mobile world where seconds matter.

Trend or is flat web design here to stay?

The jury remains out on that, but the reality is that if it is a trend, parts of it may be difficult to dismiss quickly. Apple is rumored to be considering a flat design for the next operating system, the iOS7. If it does end up being a fad, the simplicity and user-friendly functionality of flat web design may give it a longer shelf life than you might think!

What is SoLoMo and Why Do I Need It?

Posted on: June 11, 2013 by in Business Building
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If you haven’t yet embraced the concept of SoLoMo, (social, local, mobile) it’s high time to get plugged in and understand exactly how and why this is a most significant direction for your small business to embrace.

So what is SoLoMo and why do you want it?

The melding of these three diverse technologies was unavoidable. As mobile devices get more and more advanced, permitting geo-location services to track every move, it was just a small step into empowering businesses to send notifications to nearby customers. Research conducted recently by the Pew Internet & American Life Project shows that around 74 percent of smartphone users use them to get information, and about 18 percent are using them to check in on local businesses with services like Foursquare. This has brought about both an opportunity and a challenge. A growing number of mobile users are seeking local products and services, and if your small business is not using its social media to connect and draw these people who are out there roaming the streets looking for something to do, eat or buy. It’s your job to make certain they find you before they find someone else!

3 Ways to your business can employ SoLoMo

  • Utilize social media - Using your social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter and others to engage and inform your audience is an effective and low-cost method to build relationship and your brand at the same time.
  • Be visible locally - Work with local search directories that are appropriate for your company, and actively market to your local customers.
  • Spend some on mobile marketing - Mobile ads are returning excellent ROIs, since most users who are searching local are out there looking for it in the field. Also, some local advertising methods are cheap or free, such as check in deal on Facebook or FourSquare.

A great example of SoLoMo in action is exemplified by Walgreens. Checking in with Foursquare gives their customers coupons and a whole lot more! SoLoMo isn’t going to do anything but expand exponentially, so take the time to make sure your small business is prepared for it!

4 Tips for Using #Hashtags Effectively

Posted on: June 8, 2013 by in Business Building
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Know exactly what a #Hashtag is? If you’re not a social media maven, and particularly Twitter, you might not have a clue just what a #hashtag is. No need for that being the case any more. A hashtag is a # paired with a word or phrase to perform a number of functions. Twitter users attach hashtags to tweets as search conventions, a method of categorizing, and marketing tactics. #Hashtags can also be used in other social media platforms.

Some #Hashtags basic guidelines

Be certain to do your standard due diligence and see if the keyword you’d like to use is not employed elsewhere. This is as simple as performing a little research (a search on Search.Twitter.com) to find out if that #Hashtag will be a good option. Also, don’t try to make hay with misleading #hashtags, even when they are seriously trending. This will almost definitely blow up on you. And one more thing: be sure to proofread prior to when you make that #hashtag!

4 Ways to win with #hashtags

  1. Make your #hashtags short and direct - Making it brief and direct is the proper way to win with #hashtags. If you need to combine more than one, fine, but don’t string together a small army of them, as that will annoy readers and label you an amateur.
  2. Make them easy to remember - An unforgettable #hashtag is one that will be shared widely. Give some thought and you just could possibly have it go viral.
  3. Use them on your other social channels - A #hashtag wants desperately to be shared, and you can now do so across multiple social media channels including Facebook, Google , LinkedIn and Pinterest. This will really help to sear the #hashtag into the brains of your readers.
  4. Make use of keywords - If possible, work in your brand or major keywords. This isn’t always feasible, so choose judiciously.

Make the creation of memorable #hashtags a to-do item in your social media marketing check-list. It will work to keep your brand and buzz in front of your social media audience!

Small business innovation – Some basics

Posted on: June 5, 2013 by in Business Building
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While at first glance it would make sense that the smaller, more agile entrepreneurial companies amongst us would be the more innovative. You would think this would be true. And you would be wrong. It’s not for a lack of trying or desire. It’s simply that smaller businesses lack the R & D budgets, the staff, and the vision that larger companies can commission. Needless to say, the challenge for small business innovation is to break past the glass ceiling managing to keep it from innovating, and actually get into the game! Less than half of small businesses were brought into being as the result of a new idea, according to a study by Erik Hurst and Benjamin Wild Pugsley of the University of Chicago. They assert that most new business is another “Me-too” venture, offering the already crowded marketplace another grocery, plumber or florist. Little innovation required, and consequently little growth.

So precisely what does it take for a small business to move from the ordinary to a business that is leading innovative ideas in their space?

4 Strategies to develop a culture of innovation in your business!

  • Reward and encourage innovation - Give your staff perks and tangible rewards for identifying and helping to implement new and innovative initiatives. Creating some excitement around finding new and better ways to run your business should benefit them as well.
  • Understand your markets’ desires and needs - Keep up with the latest trends and ideas in your market. Make sure to be hooked in to all the news and views that are effecting your company, and take action on what you hear and see!
  • Be sure to connect with your existing customers - Listening and taking into serious thought what your customers say about not just your business and products, but about what their wish list would contain is extremely important in helping to understand a direction you may want to check out. Keep the conversation focused on what are the customer’s problems, and make use of those to help fashion solutions!
  • Be ready to try something new! - Don’t be scared to be innovative. A great example of a company willing to fill a need is Behance.net, a Web-based platform for creative works, where artists can present their work regardless of their resumes, hoping to turn more ideas into reality.

Is There Any Reason to Use Instagram In Your Business?

Posted on: June 1, 2013 by in Business Building
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Marketers searching for a way to engage and grow their reach would do well to look at the meteoric growth and popularity of Instagram, a free online photo sharing and social network platform acquired by Facebook in 2012. Instagram allows members users to upload, edit and share photos with other members through the Instagram website, email, and social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Foursquare and Flickr. On Instagram, you can follow other users’ photo streams, be followed back by those users, and search for friends by name or find any friends that might have previously connected to you on other social networks.

Some ridiculous numbers

Okay, just how popular has Instagram become since its founding in 2010? Here are 7 statistics that tell the story:

  1. Instagram has 100 million monthly active users. (Instagram)
  2. 40 million photos are posted per day. (Instagram)
  3. 28 percent of U.S. Internet users between the ages of 18 and 29 use Instagram. (Pew)
  4. 98 percent of Instagram photos posted by top brands are now shared to Facebook. (Simply Measured)
  5. 59 percent of Interbrand’s top 100 brands are on Instagram. (SimplyMeasured)
  6. There are 8,500 likes per second on Instagram. (Instagram)
  7. 1,000 comments are made per second. (Instagram)

How can your company use Instagram?

Knowing that people react to sites like Instagram on an emotional level, small businesses who take the time to show what is important to the brand and to the core target customer are just where they want to be. Smart business use Instagram as a snapshot inside their company, and put a personal face to their business and enrich relationships at the same time.

Private Picassos, a children’s art studio in New York City, has found that by using Instagram to document their student’s progress, has contributed to parents commenting and sharing the photos, increasing their business. I don’t do any paid advertising, so it’s a way to encourage your client to do the marketing for you, director Valeen Parubchenko says.