Posts Tagged ‘advice’
Monday, September 1st, 2014
Friday, August 29th, 2014
Image courtesy of hyena reality/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Unfortunately, many businesses treat their contact page as an afterthought. They focus on their home page, blog and product pages, but forget to make sure their contact page is user friendly, optimised and strategically planned.
This is a dangerous mistake to make since your contact page can help you bring in more customers and convert leads to sales if you use it the right way. Here are a few tips to help you make sure your contact page is working for your business.
Link to it in Obvious Places
We’ve come to expect links to contact information in the main navigation and the footer of websites, so make it easier for your market to find your contact page by putting links here. But, don’t stop there. Also consider adding a link or even a contact form in a place where people won’t miss it, like on your sidebar for example.
Stick to the Word “Contact”
We’ve also come to expect businesses to use the word “contact” when linking to this kind of information. Don’t confuse people by using some other label on your navigation bar or even links. Keep things simple, clear and concise for best results.
Give More than one Option
You’ve probably seen those websites where the only contact option you have is to fill out a form. But, what if you want to speak to a customer service representative? Or, what if you want to visit a store location? Give people a few options to contact you so the process isn’t frustrating. Some forms of communication you could include are:
- Phone Number
- Email Address
- Contact Form
- Social Media Accounts
- Physical Address
- Fax Number
One key thing to remember is that your customers need at least one private way to contact you. If you don’t offer an email address or phone number, you could be fielding customer support questions or even complaints on social media, which can be hard for you to respond to and can even hurt your brand and reputation.
Ask for Minimal Information
If you do use a contact form, don’t ask for more information than you need. People are becoming increasingly wary of online privacy and being asked to provide details a business doesn’t really need could scare off customers. For example, don’t force a customer to provide a phone number when you offer email support.
Optimise for Mobile
Remember that some of your site visitors could be using smartphones or tablets, so your contact page needs to be optimised for mobile devices. Make sure your page is easy to read, navigate and use even on a small screen so users don’t get frustrated and give up, leading you to lose customers.
Your contact page is one of the most important parts of your website so it’s important that you optimise it and use it strategically. The last thing you want is for your customers to be confused when it comes to contacting your business. Make it simple, easy and streamlined by optimising your contact page.
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Thursday, August 28th, 2014
Image courtesy of Sara Björk/Flickr.
Calls to action are vital to your Internet marketing tactics. Whether you are using social media, content marketing or advertising, most, if not all, of your pieces should include a call to action. This statement should ask people to do something that will help you meet your goals.
But, asking people to call you, make a purchase or “click here” gets old, and frankly, isn’t always very effective. To make your calls to action more powerful, try using some stronger, more creative verbs. Here’s a list of 8 words and phrases to help you get started brainstorming.
“Make a Change Now”
If your products or services can help people make a change, tell them that! Make the phrase more urgent with words like “now,” “right away,” or “immediately.” This is a phrase that will attract a market that isn’t happy with something and is ready to do something different.
“Let us Solve your Problem”
On the other hand, maybe your customers want you to solve a problem for them. Communicate the fact that you are ready and willing to do that with a call to action that tells people to leave things in your hands.
“Recharge” is a word that stands out and conveys a sense of renewal and energy. Calls to action that are asking people to relax, take advantage of new information or increase their energy are good candidates for a word like this.
Another powerful word, “reclaim,” is one to use with people that feel they have lost something you can replace. Some examples of this call to action might be “reclaim your time,” “reclaim your storage space,” or “reclaim your independence.” This is a word that not only asks people to take an action, but also inspires them.
“Make things Easier”
If your business is all about making something easier with a product or service, convey that idea and benefit clearly with a call to action like “make working out easier” or “make keeping your family safe easy with these tips.” One of the major benefits of phrases like these is that they all show value right away, which is attractive to an online audience.
People like to save, whether that means saving money, time, hassle or energy. This is a word that jumps out on social media and your website. You can also use this as part of calls to action related to discounts, as in “save 20 percent when you enrol this month!”
“Help” can be used in two ways: telling people you can help them or asking them to help you. Use this verb when you want to show people what exactly you can do for them to make the benefits of your product clear.
Or, use “help” to encourage people to reach out to you. For example, post “Help us choose the best poster for our event” on social media and solicit feedback from your market. This can be applied to anything from “help spread the word” to “help us understand what you need.”
“Get Exclusive Access”
Giving people exclusive access can help you build a buzz about a new product or make some online resources more valuable to your audience. People who have exclusive access may be more likely to feel valued and loyal to your brand.
The calls to action you use across your entire strategy and all of your tactics should work together to encourage people to respond the way you want them to. If you are trying to promote an event, your calls to action will be different than if you are trying to increase sales.
Choose some powerful words to make your calls to action more effective and make sure your content is aligned with your brand so you will see more results.
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Wednesday, August 27th, 2014
Do you publish content to LinkedIn? Is it tailored for that specific market and working for your business? If you want your content to stand out, attract your market and help you meet your goals, you need to know a few things.
LinkedIn Users Read a lot of Content
LinkedIn published a report called “The 2014 Professional Content Consumption Report,” which is full of information that can help businesses learn how to use LinkedIn more successfully.
According to the report, which is based on an analysis of 2,701 LinkedIn users’ habits, people who use the site spend an average of eight hours a week consuming content that is professionally relevant to them. That’s a lot of time, which means you have the potential to get your market’s attention through content marketing.
Another interesting statistic in the report is that 43 percent of unique LinkedIn site visits were from mobile devices. That means nearly half of the people you reach on LinkedIn are expecting content, links and information that is easy to consume on a smartphone or tablet.
Why People Read Content on LinkedIn
Historically, LinkedIn has been used to connect with professionals, meet new people, network and learn about businesses. Those uses are reflected in the list of reasons people read LinkedIn content.
The report found that LinkedIn users read content published there to:
When you know why people spend time consuming content on LinkedIn, you can make sure your are publishing content that meets those needs, making it a more effective tactic.
Content Topics that Resonate
LinkedIn’s study also found what kind of content LinkedIn users spend their time reading across all online platforms. In other words, the researchers found out what kind of content LinkedIn users are reading on blogs, websites and other social media sites.
- 41 percent of the time is spent reading professionally relevant content
- 30 percent is spent reading news
- 29 percent is spent consuming entertainment
Knowing that LinkedIn users are interested in content that is professionally relevant, about current events and entertaining, we can get an idea of what kinds of content businesses should add to their content marketing plan when it comes to using LinkedIn.
These statistics show us how time is spent across all platforms, but what kind of content are people interested in reading on LinkedIn?
According to the report, the content that is clicked on and shared the most is content that falls into one of three categories:
- New Research
- Breaking Industry News
- Case Studies
All of these more generally fall into the category of industry-related content. People on LinkedIn are looking for and consuming content that is related to their professions, interests and industries.
Publishing content to LinkedIn can help you reach your market, but you’ll be much more successful if you know what kind of content to post. The majority of your content should meet users’ needs and fall into one of the three categories with the most clicks and shares.
As you more closely align your content and LinkedIn strategy with these statistics, you’ll find that you will reach more people, get more engagement and increase your presence on the site, helping you meet your business goals.
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Friday, August 22nd, 2014
Image courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Millennials, or people who reached adulthood around the year 2000, make up a large portion of many businesses’ markets. These people are graduating from college, starting professional careers, buying products and perhaps most importantly, using the Internet like other generations don’t.
People in this demographic are tech savvy and know how to use laptops, tablets and smartphones and incorporate this kind of technology in their everyday lives. If millennials are part of your target market, you need to make sure your marketing strategy fits their habits.
What are the Habits?
Content Marketing Institute found some technology-related habits millennials tend to share. These habits tell us about how we can create effective Internet marketing strategies.
Millennials are always connected. Texting, messaging apps and social media allow them to be in touch with friends, brands and news sources around the clock. Get in front of this market by using the channels they are using.
Multitasking with Multiple Devices
People in this group have a habit of looking at more than one screen at once. They will watch television while browsing social media on their smartphone or even check in with their smartphone while working on their laptop.
Knowing this, you can create marketing plans that use more than one platform. Combine television or video with blog posts, ask event attendees to connect with social media and live tweet conferences.
Taking Control of Content Delivery
Millennials don’t like to be interrupted with marketing materials, even when they are multitasking. Pop-up ads, disruptive social media ads and other forceful tactics won’t work with this market.
Instead, create content platforms like blogs, social media profiles, YouTube channels and apps that let people control how they access your content. When people willingly use your content and recognise its value, they may be more likely to become loyal customers.
Engaging with Online Content, not Just Listening
While millennials are connected and controlling how and when they view content, they are also engaging with it. People in this demographic don’t just read articles, consume information and look at content passively, they actively engage with it.
Millennials like to comment, share content, give their opinions, critique and otherwise engage with online content. Make room for this in your content marketing plan by using tactics, like social media, blog posts, and apps, that allow your market to interact with you, not just passively listen.
Valuing what their Friends Think
People in this age group aren’t very interested in what strangers or businesses think, but they are very interested in what their friends think. Use this to your advantage by getting people to talk about, recommend and review your business on social media. Also use testimonials and advertising tactics that allow millennials to see your business the way their peers do.
Valuing Honest and Genuine Marketing
Don’t bother with dishonest or deceiving marketing tactics. Not only could they be considered unethical, but millennials will see right through them. People in this group value transparency and marketing approaches that are genuine. Be true to your story and use real, honest Internet marketing strategies to get better results.
Millennials are such a large demographic and if they are part of your target market, they are an important segment to reach online. Keep their habits in mind and understand how they use the Internet, social media and mobile devices so you can find ways to enhance your marketing strategy to successfully reach and influence people in this group.
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Thursday, August 21st, 2014
Image courtesy of Fredrik Rubensson/Flickr.
If you’ve been using social media for a while, you are at risk of falling into one of a few common pitfalls. Many businesses find that they start posting the same kind of content over and over, stop attracting new followers and even that their posts are being ignored.
So how do you avoid these problems? By making sure your social media strategy and accounts stay fresh and current. There are some sure signs that your social media strategy needs a boost and that it’s time to make some changes to keep getting great results.
Your Growth is Flat Lining
One of the first sure signs that your social media strategy needs an update is that your accounts aren’t growing anymore. If you aren’t gaining new followers, something isn’t right when it comes to the content you are sharing or the way you are reaching out to your market.
It’s important to track what tactics work when it comes to growing your social media accounts. If you can, look back to when your account was growing and what you were doing to get those results. Also look for new ways to attract more people to your accounts and encourage them to connect with you.
Interaction has Decreased
Social media accounts that spur comments, shares, interaction and website traffic bring the best results. If you have noticed a decrease in engagement, it’s time to give your social media accounts a boost.
Experiment with different types of posts, reach out to others, join groups, start conversations and work to make social media a two-way conversation between you and your market.
Your Accounts don’t Reflect your Current Brand
Another sure sign that it’s time to update your social media accounts is if they no longer reflect your brand. Businesses, products, brands, areas of focus and markets all evolve over time, and your accounts should keep up with these changes.
Make sure your pages are branded with your current look, logos and colours and then assess the content you are sharing and the types of posts you are publishing to make sure they are consistent with your branding strategy.
You are Behind on Social Media Trends
How closely do you follow social media trends? It’s not always wise to jump on the latest trend just because everyone else is doing it, but it is important to keep up with things so you can take opportunities that will help your social media marketing, and entire business, grow.
Watch what new social media networks become popular, how people (especially in your market) use different sites, what kinds of new features are added, what kinds of advertising options are offered and other trends so you can find ways to make sure your accounts are up to date and you are taking advantage of every opportunity to reach your market.
It’s important to make sure your social media accounts and strategies are current and are helping you be as successful as possible. If you recognise any of these signs, it’s time to give your accounts a boost.
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Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
Image courtesy of Nongkran_ch/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Testimonials are valuable because they can help you reach your customers in a way few other tactics can. The popular idea that people do business with their friends is true. People like to hear from other people who are like them and are sometimes more likely to trust happy customers than they are a business.
There are so many ways you can incorporate customer testimonials into your marketing strategy. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.
Use them Strategically on your Website
Don’t hide your testimonials in a place on your site where no one will see them. Put them on your home page where people will see them, next to product information, on landing pages or on your sales pages. Use them at key places throughout your site where people are likely to be swayed by what your satisfied customers have to say.
Include them in Email Marketing Strategies
Another great place to use testimonials is in your emails. Choose the right testimonials for the right emails and lists of subscribers so they will attract and resonate with your readers. Keep these testimonials short and to the point when possible.
Post them to Social Media and Tag Customers
Get your testimonials in front of a lot of people by posting them to social media. Take it further by tagging the people who wrote the testimonial to encourage interaction and even more sharing. Keep in mind that you should get a person’s permission before publishing a testimonial with her name.
Use them for Infographic Content
Infographics are visual and give you an easy way to share a lot of information very clearly. Consider adding some testimonials to an infographic along with some statistics about your products, the number of people who use your services and the benefits you can provide.
Combine them with Images
Combine testimonials with images so they grab people’s attention and are more interesting. These kinds of photos can be shared on social media and your blog. Pair testimonials with pictures of your products, events, customers or just attractive images that help you build your brand.
Add them to Online Ads
Use testimonials on your banner and social media ads to communicate to your market how satisfied your customers are. These kinds of ads can be very persuasive and can help you build trust as people hear from your customers, not just your marketing team.
Try Using Video Testimonials
Mix things up a little by using video testimonials. There are lots of ways you could do this, including taping customers, showing your products in action and using a voiceover to read the testimonials or using an animated video that uses text to share the testimonials.
Display them in your Stores
Don’t forget offline marketing too! You can display testimonials in your stores on counters, walls or as part of displays. You can also include them in marketing materials like brochures, catalogs and other printed materials.
Using testimonials in your marketing efforts can help you build trust with your market and gain more customers. Start with some solid testimonials that prove your worth, value and benefits and then find creative ways to use them as part of your marketing strategy.
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Monday, August 18th, 2014
Image courtesy of leigh_east_photoman/Flickr.
Link building is a search engine optimisation technique you can use to gain rankings and get more traffic to your website. More sales, more email subscribers and a bigger audience are all perks that often come with more traffic, so link building is a strategy that can bring big benefits to your business.
There are essentially four different kinds of links and each of them is beneficial in a different way.
Natural links are the links that people build to your site without you even knowing it. They happen when someone likes your content or finds it useful and relevant so he links to it from his blog post, article, website or other web property.
These links are very valuable because Google favours links that aren’t forced because they prove that a piece of content is high quality and relevant.
How to Get Them
The best way to get these links is to produce the best content possible and work to become an authoritative resource people know about.
Earned links are very similar to natural links but they are built when you reach out to other people. They are usually on opinion blogs, review sites and news articles. These are helpful because they can help you reach a new audience and attract more site visitors.
How to Get Them
Get earned links by reaching out to bloggers, reporters and site owners with opportunities to write about your business. Landing sponsored posts, guest posts and product reviews are simple ways to generate earned links.
Built links are the links we usually think of when we talk about SEO. They are links your business creates with the main goal of gaining search engine rankings. Google penalises links from link farms and other tactics it deems low quality, so only build quality links to your site.
How to Get Them
Built links are one of the easier types to get because you don’t have to rely on other sources to get them. Some common ways to build links include distributing press releases, submitting articles to websites and adding your business, with links, to online directories.
Social Media Links
Social media links are just what they sound like, links to your website from social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Search engines can’t always read these links, but they can lead to more site traffic, which could help your rankings. More traffic, a social media presence and increased brand awareness can be very valuable for your business.
How to Get Them
Of course, you can start getting these links by opening social media accounts, sharing links and building a following. Then, create content people will want to share and add sharing buttons to your website so it’s easy for people to post your content to their social media accounts.
Link building is an SEO strategy that can help you get better rankings and bring benefits like more traffic, increased sales and better brand recognition. When you use all of these link types, you’ll have a comprehensive strategy that brings results.
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Friday, August 15th, 2014
Image courtesy of Mike Linksvayer/Flickr.
Great pieces of content that bring excellent results all start with a good idea. Whether you are creating blog posts, articles, videos, social media posts, podcasts or images, you need to know what will resonate with your audience so people will respond to your calls to action.
The type of content you use will depend on your business and goals, but how do you come up with ideas that will stick and bring results?
Think like your Market
If you were a person in your target market, what would interest you? Put yourself in your market’s position and think about what kind of blog posts, videos or social media accounts you would look for and why.
Sometimes we think we know what our market wants and get stuck in a rut by continuing to provide the same kind content over and over. Take some time to stop and think like the people you are targeting to make sure you have their best interests in mind.
Ask Your Audience what it Wants
But, even when you try to think like your market, you may not completely understand what people are looking for, what they need and what topics or themes attract them. One of the very best ways to get ideas for successful content is to talk to your market.
Use social media, surveys, informal polls, focus groups and other tools to find out what your market wants. Through multiple-choice and open-ended questions you can uncover topics, needs and interests relating to your market and then use them to brainstorm ideas for content.
Find a Need and Fill it
The most valuable and effective content fills a need. It provides something your market is looking for and helps people solve a problem. The need you fill can be as basic as a need for entertainment or it could be as complex as needing how-to advice or even health resources. Find out what your market needs and then find a way to fill those needs with your content marketing strategy.
Watch Market Trends
Look into market trends like what people are purchasing, the services they are using, pop culture topics they are following, how they are spending their time and other trends to find out what might capture your audience’s attention. Of course, you don’t want to blend in with the crowd, but using popular topics and adding your own spin to them can help you get people excited while still standing out.
Find out what Your Market is Doing
Find out what your market is doing both online and offline. What social media sites do they use? Are they reading blogs? Do they spend a lot of time using their smartphones? What kinds of businesses, transportation and stores do they frequent? Information about what people in your market are doing is a great place to go for inspiration for content.
To get the most out of content marketing and encourage people to respond to your calls to action, you need to use compelling content that provides value to your niche market. Think like your market, ask questions and analyse trends, habits and needs to find ideas for content that will grab attention and work for your brand.
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Wednesday, August 13th, 2014
Image courtesy of Courtney Dirks/Flickr.
New social media sites are always popping up and the sites that are popular this year may not be as popular next year. But, before you open an account on any new social media site, whether it’s new or not, use this checklist to make sure you are setting yourself up for success.
Decide if the Network Matches your Market and Goals
Not every social media site is right for your business. Do your homework to find out if the people you are targeting use the site. You can do some quick research by looking into the site’s user demographics or go a little further by conducting some surveys.
Also consider whether the site and its features can help you meet your goals. For example, Instagram is a great choice for a business that wants to visually promote products while LinkedIn is a good choice for a business that wants to use long form content.
Set up your Bio, Description, Links and other Settings
Set up your account and make sure things like your bio, description, links and other settings are all complete. Take advantage of things like profile pictures, backgrounds and other features to brand your page so it looks like it belongs to your business.
Explore the Features
Take some time to explore all the features on the site. Look for things like posting options, notifications and extra features for businesses you can use to get even more out of the site. You may also consider looking into advertising options you can use later if the site is successful in helping you reach your market.
Start Posting Quality Content
Once your account is set up and your page looks branded, it’s tempting to start promoting it and building a following. But, before you do that start posting updates and sharing content so your account looks active and valuable before you actively promote it.
This simple step can help you gain more followers and avoid turning off users who take one look at your empty page and decide not to connect with you.
Interact with Others
As you start posting content, interact with other users on the site. Leave comments, join conversations and start connecting with others. This will help you start to build the foundation of your account so you will have some activity and a good start before you officially launch it.
Of course, as you start to interact with others you will probably begin to attract followers. This is great and a good way to begin building your audience.
Promote your Account
Once your account is completely set up and you have shared a few weeks’ worth of content or posts, you can start promoting your account and actively generating a following. By now, your account will look active and users will recognise the value it brings.
Add a “follow me” button to your website and promote your new account through your blog, other social media accounts and any other marketing channels you can.
Whenever you start using a new social media platform you need to do so strategically. Start by making sure the site is a good match for your market, business and goals and then lay a foundation with a complete profile and some quality posts before you start promoting it.
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Image courtesy of Flazingo Photos/Flickr.
It’s hard to stand out on social media these days. With so many people using it and so many posts being shared, social media is full of content and some businesses find that their posts are being skimmed over or even ignored.
Social media can be a powerful marketing tool if you can stand out and capture your market’s attention. All good social media strategies start with quality content. From there, there are some simple things you can do to stand out on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Remember that Less can be More
Use short, to-the-point posts to get people to stop scrolling through their news feeds and read your posts. In some cases, less can be more. Instead of posting long, wordy status updates, stick to just a few sentences.
This is especially easy to do when you post a picture or a link to content. Use just enough text to lure people in and get them interested enough to click the link.
Use Bold and Interesting Images
Pictures can help you accomplish things and convey messages in ways words can’t. They can also help you get people’s attention and make them curious enough to read your post or the content you link to.
Use images that are bold, interesting, funny, entertaining or that give your audience a new look at your business or products. These kinds of pictures can help your content stand out among all the other social media posts.
Offer Quick, Valuable Posts
Offering value is a great way to get your market’s attention, but on social media you need to do it quickly. Creating posts that provide instant value will help you reach more people and could even help you gain more followers and get more social media shares.
Some simple ways to do this include offering a coupon, announcing sale dates, linking to a how-to video or otherwise providing value in just a few words or one sentence. This tip is similar to the idea that less is more, but takes things a little further by introducing real value to a short post.
Incorporate Two-Way Communication
Don’t just use social media to talk about yourself and at your market. Instead, talk about others and talk with your audience. Do this by commenting on posts, joining conversations and even mentioning and tagging others in your posts.
These kinds of social media posts are more dynamic and interesting because they aren’t fully self-promotional and they make it easy for others to get involved.
Don’t Over Post
Lots of businesses are tempted to post to social media accounts too often. Yes, you do need to post frequently and stay consistent, but don’t spam your followers. If you over post, you could lose followers and people may start to ignore your posts because they are so frequent.
On the other hand, when you post regularly but not too often, your posts will stand out on news feeds and people will be more likely to pause and read what you have to say.
Standing out on social media so your market will see and interact with your posts is important if you want to use your accounts to promote your business. These simple tips are things you can start implementing right away to see better results.
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