Posts Tagged ‘advice’
Wednesday, December 11th, 2013
Tuesday, December 10th, 2013
Image courtesy of Florian Ziegler/Flickr.
Effective Internet marketing campaigns include calls to action. Whether you are using social media, blog posts, websites, online articles, videos or any other marketing tactic, each one should ask your market to do something or encourage people to take some kind of action.
Calls to action should help your business grow and develop in some way, whether that is with more sales, increased exposure or better brand recognition. The specific calls to action you use will depend on your business goals and marketing campaigns. But, there are some strategies that you can apply to most calls to action to make them more powerful.
Create a Sense of Urgency
Creating a sense of urgency, whether it is by imposing a time limit or simply by telling people they need to act quickly, can make your calls to action much more powerful. This strategy tells your audience that the sooner people act, the better off they will be. Urgent calls to action are commonly used with limited-time deals, freebies and even when asking people to contact a business.
Appeal to Needs or Wants
When you appeal to peoples’ needs and wants, they are more likely to respond to your calls to action because you are positioning yourself as the solution to someone’s desires. To do this successfully, you need to do some market research and understand what is important to your market and how those things can be connected to your business or product.
Solve a Problem
Becoming the solution to the problems people in your market commonly have is a great way to make your calls to action more powerful. You probably already know how your business or products solve a problem or make peoples’ lives easier, so use that knowledge as you create calls to action. When people understand that what you have to offer is a real solution, they will respond to your calls to action more readily.
Promise a Benefit
People are overwhelmed with emails, online content, websites and social media posts. To break through all the messaging your target market is exposed to every day, you need to give people a reason to pay attention to and respond to your business. One great way to do this is to promise a benefit.
This can be done in the form of good deals, valuable content or outstanding results. When you answer the “What is in it for me” question for your market, your calls to action will be powerful and effective.
Use Influential People and Ideas
Calls to action can be enhanced when you use influential people and ideas to help deliver them. If there are certain people, websites or ideas that your audience respects, find ways to integrate them into your marketing and calls to action. Remember that sometimes peoples’ friends are extremely influential, so using them to help promote your brand on social media can be a simple way to use this strategy.
The more powerful and effective your calls to action are, the more beneficial your Internet marketing campaigns will be for your business. Start improving your calls to action by using one or more of these five strategies.
Friday, December 6th, 2013
Image courtesy of Jim Pennucci/Flickr.
When you start or enhance a search engine optimisation campaign, choosing the best keywords is part of laying a strong foundation that will help you be more successful.
Keywords are an integral part of an SEO campaign that will help you get more site traffic and even help you increase sales and build your business. But, to see these benefits you need to choose your keywords very carefully. Here are 10 rules that can help you do this.
Find Keywords that are of Value to Your Business
The first qualifying factor for any keywords you use should be that they are of value to your business. The keywords you use should be words people who are likely to become customers, or to respond to your calls to action, would use.
Start with Current Rankings
Is your website already ranking for any keywords? If it is, you may already have a good starting point. Assess these keywords and decide if you want to include them in your SEO campaign.
Check Search Volume
There are several keyword research tools out there, including some from Google, that let you find out how many people are searching for specific words and phrases. Before you start trying to earn keyword rankings, check to make sure their search volumes are worth the effort.
Research the Competition
Keyword research tools can also give you an idea of how much competition you will be facing if you work to rank for certain words. They usually rank the competitiveness so you can get a general idea of how hard it is going to be to rank for them.
Of course, you may also have a good idea of what other businesses or websites may be trying to rank for specific keywords. You can find out what sites have top rankings simply by typing keywords into a search engine.
Choose Keywords that are Specific
Keywords that are more specific, called long tail keywords, are often easier to rank for and can actually have better conversion rates. For example, instead of targeting the keyword “smartphone” you may want to use “Android smartphone,” which is more specific and could help you target potential sales leads.
Brainstorm as if You Were Your Market
As you brainstorm keywords, try to think as if you were a member of your target market. What keywords would they search for? What terms would they use if they were looking for one of your products or just your business in general? This strategy can help you choose keywords that will be more valuable to your business.
Use Keywords that are Relevant to Your Site Pages
Of course, if you rank for keywords that aren’t very relevant to the pages they lead to, your SEO campaign won’t really help you be successful. Choose keywords that will capture your market and encourage people to respond to your calls to action.
Look for Related Words and Terms
While you are building your keyword list, try to find related words and terms. This will help you target a wider audience and could help you find more words you can rank for, which will be beneficial to your campaign in general.
Consider the Conversion Rates
Some keywords convert site visitors better than others. You can probably make some educated guesses on which ones will have higher conversion rates, but the only way to find the best ones is to track your site visitors. As you discover which keywords have higher conversion rates, consider focusing more heavily on those ones.
Use Location-Based Terms When Possible
Location-based terms, like “computer stores in London” or “London web designer” are specific, detailed, easier to rank for and may even have higher conversion rates. Whenever possible, use keywords and phrases that include city, neighbourhood, community or even street names.
Start improving your SEO efforts and strengthening your campaigns by using these 10 rules as you choose your keywords. Always track your efforts and successes so you can alter your plans and make them as effective as possible.
Friday, December 6th, 2013
Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
In just a matter of weeks, 2013 will draw to a close and we’ll be on our way to a new year. With a new year comes lots of opportunity for change and growth, and you will need a solid website that will help your business reach its fullest potential next year.
While you may not be able to do a complete website overhaul before the end of the year, you can certainly make some changes that will make your website more effective.
Reassess Keyword Use
Depending on the business you have and the industry you are in, the keywords you use for your search engine optimisation campaigns probably change periodically. If you haven’t assessed the keywords on your site for a while, now is the perfect time to do so.
Check to see which keywords you are using and decide if there are better options. Then, make sure the density is adequate and all keywords are used naturally, and not forcefully, throughout the copy.
Check for Current Calls to Action
Your keyword focus isn’t the only thing that has likely changed over the last year, your calls to action may have changed too. Look at each page of your website and check to make sure each includes a current call to action. The calls to action you use should help you reach your marketing and business goals.
Launch a Mobile Version
There’s no question that mobile Internet use has increased significantly and it will probably continue to increase. There is a good chance that a large portion of your market views your website from a smartphone or tablet, but is your website ready for that?
Before the end of the year, launch a mobile version of your site so it will be easier to read, view, navigate and use for these mobile users. This group is significant, and you don’t want to miss an opportunity to meet its needs.
Use the Right Social Media Buttons
Throughout the last year, did some of your social media accounts grow? Did you put a bigger emphasis on some than you did others? Did you join new social media networks? Make sure the social media buttons on your site are for the sites you use and that they direct people to active, helpful online communities.
Now is also a good time to make sure you provide social media buttons throughout your content so your readers can easily share it through their own social media accounts.
Create a New Opt-In Offer
Is your opt-in offer or freebie getting a little stale? Your free offer may be outdated, no longer appeal to your changing market or have lost the interest of your site visitors. If you offer something like a report, download, free sample or discount to gather email addresses and build your email marketing list, this is the perfect time to create a new one.
Over time, these free offers lose their lustre and need to be replaced. Consider creating something that will highlight what your business does and that is of high value and interest to your market, so people will want to claim it.
As the year comes to an end, it is the perfect time to make sure your website is current and ready to help you meet your marketing and business goals next year. Start paving the way for success by making these simple changes to your site.
Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013
Image courtesy of pixbox77/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
We’ve talked before about how to start email marketing the right way but when it comes time to execute your plans, how do you start? Of course, a good email marketing campaign starts with strategic planning, market identification and a strong website. But, beyond that, there are some specific steps you need to take to get your email marketing plans off the ground.
These steps are meant to be used after you have identified your audience, decided what kind of content you want to use and built an email list. Once you have a basic foundation in place, you can use these steps to help you start the technical process of running an email marketing campaign.
1. Create Enough Content for Five Emails
First, spend some time creating content for your emails. Whether you plan on sending out basic emails or full newsletters, creating at least five emails before you start sending them out will help you more strategically plan your content. You can make sure each of your emails work together and complement each other as far as messaging and calls to action go.
2. Use a Call to Action
Every single one of your emails needs to include a call to action. As you draft your emails and create the content you plan to share, strategically decide what you want to ask your audience to do. You can use email marketing to do anything from increase sales to boost website traffic. Some common goals for email marketing campaigns include selling a product, promoting an event, increasing traffic to a blog and increasing social media followings.
3. Put Together an Offer
An offer, like a free sample, download, or discount, will help you grow your list and maintain subscribers. This offer can be something that changes periodically or it can be a freebie that you offer for a long period of time on your website.
When people claim their offer, you can add their email address to your list. Then, as people experience what you have to offer, they will be more inclined to become subscribers and customers.
4. Send Your First Email
Once you have written five emails, used a call to action and put together an offer, you are ready to send your first email. Use an email marketing tool or software program to help you format and send your messages.
Be ready to track this first email, and all your other emails, by having site analytics tools in place that will allow you to see if you get more traffic after you send your email or by measuring your social media followers before and after the email is sent.
Many email marketing tools include tracking programs that let you see how many of your emails were opened, which can help you understand how to be more successful.
5. Use Email to Promote and Sell
As you start sending out emails and creating more pieces of content to share, make sure you are using them to promote and sell your business and products. Promotions can be strong or more gentle, but all of your emails should advance your business in some way. The way you promote your business will likely change over time, depending on your current goals and marketing strategies.
If you are just starting an email marketing campaign, use these tips after you have set some goals and identified your market. Then, as you continue to use email marketing, be sure to track your results and adjust your emails and strategies as needed so they will be as effective as possible.
Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013
Image courtesy of Philip Chapman-Bell/Flickr.
With the holidays just around the corner, you may be preparing to set up your social media accounts so they will run on auto pilot while you are out of the office. Many, many businesses use social media scheduling tools to help keep their accounts active and to keep promoting content during holidays and just to help them keep up with their social media marketing.
The problem is, if you rely too heavily on social media scheduling, you risk looking like a spammer. Your followers know when you are simply pushing content on them and aren’t being genuine. Sometimes businesses fall into the trap of sounding robotic, losing touch with their market and becoming less genuine when they use social media scheduling.
Fortunately, there are a few ways you can use scheduling tools to help you keep up with your accounts without compromising your brand and becoming a spammer.
Start Finding and Creating Valuable Content to Share
First, don’t just write scheduled posts at the last minute for the sake of having posts. Start planning in advance by deciding what kind of content you want to share through scheduled posts and start finding it or creating it.
The idea is to be purposeful with your scheduled posts so that the content you share when you aren’t posting live is just as valuable as the content you would normally share. Don’t leave your audience hanging by posting less helpful content just because you are scheduling it ahead of time.
Write Scheduled Posts as if they were Live
Even though you are writing social media posts days or even weeks in advance, write them as if you were writing them to be posted immediately. Use the same style, tone and voice that you would normally use so that your audience can’t tell that you aren’t posting live.
Also be sure to use the correct tenses when scheduling posts. For example, don’t use the future tense unless it will be necessary at the time of the posting. Instead of writing “Don’t miss our holiday sale next week,” write “Don’t miss our holiday sale going on right now!”
Don’t Change Your Posting Frequency
When you sit down to schedule social media posts, it can be tempting to get carried away and schedule more content than you would normally post. If you do this, you will come across as spammy and you could even lose followers.
Instead, maintain your regular posting frequency even when you use scheduling tools. If you normally post three to four times a day, schedule posts to go live three to four times a day.
Check in Whenever Possible
One of the best ways you can avoid making your accounts look spammy when you schedule posts is to check in whenever possible. If you can, don’t rely completely on the scheduler to maintain your accounts for you, but find a middle ground. For example, maybe you can schedule posts that share content, but you can still log in periodically to engage with your followers.
Keeping an eye on your account even while content is scheduled to go live can also help you make sure things are running smoothly. When you log in you can make sure your posts are being shared and monitor activity more closely.
Using social media scheduling tools can help you manage your social media accounts, especially during busy weeks or when you won’t be in the office. These guidelines can help you make sure your accounts maintain their followers, stay active and continue to provide value to your market.
Friday, November 29th, 2013
Image courtesy of Emanuel Hallklint/Flickr.
YouTube is a major social media network that can help you build your brand, generate traffic, make more sales and reach other business goals. But, YouTube doesn’t lend itself to every business. The visual aspect and the type of audience the site attracts need to line up with your business and goals in order for you to benefit from it.
How do you know if YouTube is a good fit for your business? If you answer “yes” to these five questions, you should consider adding the site to your social media marketing strategy.
Does Your Business Already use Video?
If your business already produces videos as part of its marketing strategy, YouTube may be a good fit for you. Creating high-quality videos that inspire and move your market is one of the most important parts of using YouTube effectively, and if you have already started producing videos, why not use YouTube to deliver them to your market?
Do You Already Use Social Media Marketing?
You don’t necessarily have to have a strong social media following to use YouTube successfully, but it can help. When you already have a strong and loyal Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or other social media community, you can leverage it to help you get more YouTube subscribers and views.
Are Your Products or Services Visually Interesting?
Businesses that have products and services that are visually interesting generally do better on YouTube. If your business lends itself to how-to videos, product reviews or informational, entertaining or moving videos, you should consider using YouTube.
It may seem obvious, but to get a lot of views and shares on your videos they need to be interesting. If your business or industry isn’t very visually interesting, you may want to pass on YouTube and opt for social networks like Twitter or LinkedIn.
Can You Use Video Creatively while Still Meeting Your Goals?
Your business shouldn’t create videos just for the sake of creating them. If you can creatively and strategically capture your brand, business and products in video format, while meeting your business goals, YouTube could be beneficial to your business.
A picture is worth a thousand words, but only if it is done well. The videos you use need to be of the best quality, portray your brand and speak to your market. If you can accomplish this, YouTube could give your marketing a boost.
Would Your Market Respond to Video Content?
Lastly, if your business can successfully reach its markets through video, encouraging them to respond to calls to action, you should consider using YouTube for social media marketing. As you form your online and social media marketing plans, it is important to make sure you are choosing channels, tactics and strategies that your market will respond to, and if video is one of them, you should consider using YouTube.
YouTube can be an extremely powerful social media network if used for the right purposes and for the right business. If you answered “yes” to these questions, you should consider finding a way to add it to your social media marketing strategy.
Thursday, November 28th, 2013
Image courtesy of Courtney Dirks/Flickr.
If you are planning on starting a new blog for your business, you are probably anxious to launch it. Blogging is a great way to keep your market informed, increase your search rankings and enhance your online marketing. But, before you publish your new blog, use this checklist to make sure the launch will be successful and your blog will get off to a good start.
Create a Branded Design
First, make sure your blog’s design matches your brand. If it is part of your company website, it should flow with the rest of the site. Use colours, styles and visual elements that match your brand’s tone so that when people visit your blog they will know immediately that it is part of your business.
Write a Search Engine Optimised “About” Page
The “about” page on your blog will tell your readers what your blog is all about and what they can expect. But, it can do much more than that. If you optimise it with proper keywords it could help your blog rank for those keywords, which could help you get more traffic and readers. Do keyword research and choose the best words for your blog and company, and then use them naturally throughout your “about” page copy.
Add Social Media Following Buttons
If you use social media marketing (if you aren’t, you should consider it), you must add social media following buttons to your blog. These buttons make it so your readers can “like” you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter or connect with you on any other social network you use. Put the buttons in a place where readers will see them and make sure you keep your accounts updated.
Set up a Subscription Form
One of the best ways to market your blog and business is to build an email list, which you can do by adding a subscription form to your website. You can choose to update your readers every time you publish a new post, once a week, once a month or even just once in a while when you have news or a special offer to share.
To get the most out of your blog, you will likely want to enable comments. Doing this will allow your readers to have conversations about your content, allow you to respond to them and will help you turn your blog into a thriving online community. Building an active audience like this can help you with other marketing tactics and build your business.
Set Up a “Contact” Page
Setting up a “contact” page will make it easy for your readers to contact you. You can use a form that asks for the person’s name, email address and message, or you can simply publish your email address and allow your readers to email you directly.
Display Related Posts
When you display related posts at the end of each of your blog posts, you are giving your readers more content and a reason to stay on your site longer. In general, people who stay on your site longer are more likely to respond to calls to action, subscribe to your emails and even become customers.
Add Social Media Sharing Buttons
Let your audience help you promote your content and your blog by adding social media sharing buttons on all your posts. This way your readers can share your posts on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn or another social media network. This strategy can help you get more traffic and more readers.
Publish at Least Five Posts
It’s generally a bad idea to launch a blog without any content. The whole purpose for setting up a blog is to share content, so make sure you have at least five posts published before you launch. This will make your blog look alive and will attract readers, since it will give visitors a chance to see what kind of content they can expect on your blog.
Make a 3-Month Editorial Calendar
One of the most challenging aspects of blogging is publishing new content on a regular basis. Keep yourself on track and your blog updated by making an editorial calendar for the next three months. You can plan topics for each day or actually write headlines that you will use.
Of course, you will need to be somewhat flexible to accommodate current events, spontaneous ideas and to cater to the needs and wants of your audience. But, setting up a calendar will help you stay on track and can help eliminate writer’s block, since you won’t have to come up with blog ideas on the spot every day.
Before you launch your new blog, make sure these 10 features are in place so that it will be successful from day one.
Thursday, November 28th, 2013
Image courtesy of Feelart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
The most successful marketing emails all have a few things in common. The strategies and specific messaging and tactics you use in your emails should be designed for your business, but there are some elements every marketing email should have.
A Catchy Subject Line
Your email’s subject line is your foot in the door. If you fail to capture your market’s attention with the subject line, people won’t open your email and your email marketing plan won’t be a success.
Some ways to make subject lines more interesting include promising a benefit, adding a sense of urgency, offering a discount, making it short or asking a question. There are all kinds of things you can do to make your subject lines more catchy, and when you know what motivates your market, catching peoples’ attention will be easier.
Each email you send should include marketing messaging. The messaging you use will change depending on what your current goals are, but it should always be there. The whole idea behind sending marketing emails is to tell your market something, so make sure the message is clear and easy to understand.
Sometimes your messaging will be temporary, like when you are promoting a sale. Other times it will be more permanent, as you inform your market about your business and brand, for example.
A Call to Action
Successful marketing emails always include a call to action. Again, this is something that may change periodically depending on your current strategy and goals. Some common calls to action include asking your market to buy something, connect on social media or visit your website.
Carefully consider your calls to action and make sure they will help you reach your goals. Also make sure calls to action are easy to follow. For example, if you ask your readers to subscribe to a weekly newsletter, include a clearly marked button they can click on to subscribe directly from their inbox.
A Smart Layout
When your marketing emails are easy to read, your market will be more likely to read the entire email. You can accomplish this by breaking text up into smaller sections and using a visual layout that is appealing and makes your email stand out.
There are all kinds of email marketing systems you can use to design your email so that it matches your brand, is easy to read and guides the readers’ eye to important sections.
Elements like shapes, contrast, layout and colours are all important when it comes to creating a marketing email format that encompasses your brand and encourages your readers to respond to your calls to action.
Social Media Buttons
If you use social media marketing, social media buttons are a vital part of your marketing email. Even if asking your market to connect with you on social media isn’t your call to action, include buttons that link to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social media accounts.
When you include these buttons, readers who didn’t know that you use social media can easily find your accounts and people who are interested in becoming more connected and receiving more frequent updates from your business can connect with you through social media.
While it’s true that every company’s marketing emails will include different messaging, calls to action, branding and other elements, all of your emails should include these five basic features. Marketing emails that include these are more successful because they capture interest, encourage people to take action and can even help you build your audience.
Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
All too often businesses set lofty goals, maybe once or twice a year, and then never revisit them. These goals sound like good ideas and maybe even fit into digital marketing strategies already in place, but aren’t ever revisited so they get left behind. To actually benefit from your goals, you need to go about goal setting in a very specific way and then follow some steps to make sure you are actively pursuing your goals.
Set Goals that Fit into Your Business’ Plans
The online marketing goals you set should fit into your business’ overall plans. They should complement what your business is already doing and help your business be more successful.
As you set goals for your online marketing strategies and team, keep your business’ goals in mind. The goals you set should make it possible for your business to meet its goals. For example, if your business has the goal of making a certain profit for the following year, your online marketing goals could be to increase sales and grow the company’s customer base.
When we’re setting goals, it is easy to get carried away and become overly ambitious. While it is great to be optimistic and to aim high, setting unrealistic goals won’t be much help to your business. If goals are so lofty that team members get discouraged and give up, or feel that they aren’t ever able to accomplish them, your team will stop moving forward.
The best approach is to set goals that inspire your team to push ahead and do better, but aren’t so unrealistic that they are impossible to meet. Then, when you meet your goals you can see what you have accomplished and set another goal, to accomplish even more, advancing your business.
Make Goals Measurable
All your goals should be measurable so you can tell what you have accomplished, what is working and what isn’t. Measurable goals are much more helpful to your business because they will help you understand whether you are being successful and give you figures and information to help you create future plans.
A good example of a measurable goal would be: “Get 600 more Facebook fans in the next 6 months.” This goal has a timeframe and a figure to reach for, so it will be easy to measure your success.
Not all goals will be this easy to measure. For example, a more abstract goal might be something like: “Over the next year, create a stronger brand that results in more awareness in our markets.” This goal still has a timeframe, but brand recognition may need to be measured with things like focus groups and surveys that are conducted once before the goal is set and again at the end of the year.
Sometimes ambitious goals can seem overwhelming, and without a plan of attack you may not be able to achieve them. Once you have set online marketing goals, set up some milestones that will help you reach them and help you understand what you need to accomplish to be successful.
When you set the goal of getting 600 more Facebook fans in the next six months, you know that you will have to gain 100 new followers each month. This can be your milestone and you can set up tactics that will help you gain those followers.
When you set strategic goals that are realistic and measurable, and when you set milestones that will help you successfully achieve those goals, your business will benefit more than if you were to set some goals at the beginning of the year and then forget about them. Start this approach now by setting aside some time to set goals and finding ways to accomplish them.
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
There are many, many online marketing tactics your business can use, but all of those tactics fit into four basic online marketing categories. Online marketing is a broad field that encompasses lots of tools and strategies that can help your business do anything from increase sales and website traffic to promote awareness and build stronger relationships with your customers.
Search Engine Optimisation
You are probably familiar with the term “search engine optimisation,” but do you know how SEO can benefit your business? In essence, SEO strategies can be used to make your company’s website appear higher up in search results. For example, with the right SEO campaign your furniture company’s website could appear in the top results when someone searches for “furniture shop in London.”
Studies show that people pay more attention to the first few pages of search results, so getting your website to rank at the top will be extremely beneficial to your business as more people find your website. A good SEO strategy will employ things like optimised content, link building, social media and mobile tactics.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing may be one of the most popular forms of online marketing. Almost all businesses use some kind of social media network, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or LinkedIn, to promote their products or services.
But, with a strategic plan, social media marketing can help you do so much more than promote your business. You can use it to learn more about your market, drive traffic to your website, create strong relationships, improve your reputation, join industry conversations and so much more.
Online advertising can be a powerful way to market your business. You can buy advertising space on all kinds of websites, including social media networks, news sites, blogs and other sites. Different websites have different requirements when it comes to advertising, and more popular sites will generally charge more for advertising space.
The key to making online advertising work is to buy advertising space on websites that attract your market. Make sure the advertisements appeal to your target market and are placed on sites your potential customers already visit.
Affiliate marketing is another popular type of online marketing that can bring a lot of success. Businesses that do affiliate marketing work with another company and agree to promote its website. The business makes money depending on how many sales it produces, how much traffic it directs to the website or how many clicks it generates through links it has created.
There are lots of affiliate marketing opportunities out there and the businesses that are most successful with this know their market and blog readers and choose to work with affiliates that will appeal to their customer base. To do well with affiliate marketing, you must also have a large readership and have a good relationship with the people who visit your site.
Depending on your business, market and goals, your company may use just one or two of these types of online marketing or all four. If you are looking for ways to promote your business online, consider these four basic options and decide which ones will be most effective for you. Then, create a solid plan, execute your strategy and measure your efforts so you can constantly improve your online marketing strategies.