Posts Tagged ‘small business’
Monday, July 21st, 2014
Thursday, July 17th, 2014
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Publishing content to your blog is a key part of Internet marketing, search engine optimisation and content marketing. But, publishing blog posts is only the first step. To leverage your content and get the most out of each post, you need to follow up with a few key steps.
These steps should be part of your general Internet marketing strategy and your social media marketing plans. If you aren’t following up each blog post with these actions, you could be missing out on some of the benefits of blogging.
Create a Shortened, Trackable URL
Your content management system will most likely create a URL for your blog post. Take that URL and shorten it with a service like bit.ly so that you have a shorter version of the URL that you can track to find out how many people are clicking on the link and get an idea of what kind of content your audience likes.
Share through Social Media Accounts
Blogging brings more value when people see your content. Whenever you post to your blog, you should instinctively share the post through your social media accounts.
Whether you use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or any other social media account, share each blog post there to reach your market and drive traffic to your site.
Incorporate into Email Marketing
If you use email marketing at your business, find ways you can use your blog posts in your campaigns. New blog posts can help you get your messaging in front of your market, inform your customers and drive traffic to your website.
You could include links to your blog posts in a marketing email or you could let readers subscribe to get email updates whenever you post to your blog.
Schedule the post for Future Use
Posts that have information that will still be relevant and useful later can be scheduled to be used again. If you use a social media scheduling tool, schedule the URL to be shared again later as part of your content marketing plan. Otherwise, include it in your marketing calendar to use for social media, content or email marketing again later.
Use for Content Inspiration
You can use your blog posts to brainstorm ideas for more content. Do this formally by creating multi-part posts, blog series or theme days or just informally by finding ways to expand more on the topic or blogging about related ideas.
This kind of blogging also gives you a good opportunity to build internal links on your blog and website, which can help with SEO.
Respond to Comments
Finally, don’t disappear after you publish a post! Keep checking in and responding to comments. It is especially important to respond to the first few comments because it will show other readers that you are listening to them and are there to answer questions.
All of these steps will help you reach your market, gain customers and get more value out of your blog. Start seeing more benefits by including these tips in your Internet marketing plan.
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Tuesday, July 15th, 2014
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Getting more engagement on your social media accounts can increase brand awareness, boost sales, drive traffic and encourage customer loyalty. Many businesses are constantly looking for ways to get more “likes,” comments and shares on social media.
To get the best engagement and see long-term benefits you will need to use some strategic social media marketing plans. But, here are seven quick and easy ways you can start getting more engagement today to jumpstart your accounts.
Start Asking Questions
One of the quickest and easiest ways to start getting some engagement is to ask questions. Ask for product feedback, opinions, reactions to events or responses on anything that will interest your market. People love to talk, especially about themselves, so use this to generate some responses and conversation.
Participate in a Group or Community
Groups and communities are the perfect place for conversation and interaction and can even help you gain more followers. Find groups that are related to your industry or community and that are likely to attract people who would also be interested in your business. Join existing communities or set up your own groups and start inviting people to join them.
Mention and Tag other Users
Generate responses and conversations by mentioning and tagging other users. Do this with a status update or by sharing content from another business and giving it credit. When you mention others in your posts, they will be more likely to respond, starting a conversation, or even share your post with their followers, helping you reach a larger audience.
Start a Conversation
Start a conversation by asking another user a question or commenting on someone’s post. As you start a conversation with someone else, other users may also join in and before you know it, you will be involved in a conversation with a group of people and eliciting all kinds of engagement.
Post Something Different
If your followers are used to the types of things you post and are no longer interested in interacting with them, change things up. You may want to make some permanent changes to your overall social media strategy, but you can test some different tactics by posting something new.
Post something that is different from what you normally post and go with something funny, entertaining, touching, amazing, awe-inspiring or even controversial. Sometimes all it takes to start generating more comments and interaction is a small change in what you post.
Crowdsource Something Simple
Crowdsourcing something simple, like a photo caption, is a great way to get people talking and involved with your brand. Other ways to do this include asking people to vote on a new blog design, asking people to comment on which of your products they like best, using fill-in-the-blank posts or asking for photo submissions. This tactic is similar to asking questions, but it involves more creative interaction.
Do a Giveaway
Giveaways are popular on social media and they are an excellent way to gain new followers, get comments and encourage people to share your posts. Make sure the giveaway is for something your market values and that it requires people to somehow interact with your brand on social media.
All of these tactics can help you generate more interaction on your account right away. Start using these tips and then when you find what works for your market, consider changing your social media marketing strategy so it will be more effective.
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Thursday, July 10th, 2014
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Increasing brand awareness through social media isn’t a unique goal. Many businesses use social media, and other forms of Internet marketing, to make their brand, business, products and services more recognisable.
When your market knows who you are and what you provide, you can increase sales, become an industry leader and build trust with your market, which will help your business grow. With just a few easy tactics you can start building this kind of awareness through social media.
Ad campaigns are a great way to promote your business and attract new followers on social media. Design a campaign specifically for people who don’t already know about your business or who have a very limited knowledge of what you do. The ads can be used to drive traffic to your website, increase sales or build your social media following.
Your social media campaign should give you direction and purpose. It should help you avoid random or unorganised posts and messaging. Make a plan that outlines what you want to tell people about your brand and what kinds of actions you want people to take, and then make sure your posts will help you accomplish those goals.
Develop a Personality
Part of your brand is your personality. Clearly define if your brand is fun, spontaneous, professional, casual, friendly or serious and then make sure that personality shows through on your social media profiles and posts.
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and post monotonous content or updates that are dry and lack feeling and personality. Break out of this by becoming more human and conversational on social media.
Social media is meant to be conversational, so talk to your followers! Accounts that respond to questions, ask for feedback and interact with others attract more followers. Having conversations can also help you get in front of more people and build your social media presence.
Some easy ways to have conversations include:
- Asking Questions
- Thanking Customers for Feedback
- Commenting on Customers’ Posts
- Interacting with other Businesses
- Responding to Comments on your Posts
- Giving Shout Outs to Partners or Community Members
- Thanking Customers
As you start having conversations it will become a habit and before you know it your accounts will be a hub for your customers and draw the attention of people who haven’t heard of your business.
It’s hard to establish a brand and increase awareness when you aren’t consistent. As you start to include these strategies in your social media plans, be consistent. This means posting regularly, continuing to have conversations and maintaining your presence.
When you are consistent you will establish your place on social media and you’ll become part of larger conversations. You’ll also be more visible to other users, which will help you raise brand awareness.
Using social media is a great way to increase brand awareness and by adopting just a few habits and making sure you are using your accounts strategically, you can inform your market about your business and grow your customer base.
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Tuesday, July 8th, 2014
Accenture Interactive recently did a study that reveals how chief marketing officers across several industries feel marketing will change in the coming years. The study found that 78 percent of all CMOs surveyed agreed that “marketing is expected to undergo radical changes over the next five years.”
What are these changes? The world of marketing is always changing and with technology it is changing very quickly. Some of the expected changes were revealed in the study, which asked CMOs what they expect to see. Here are five of those changes and what they mean for your business.
Digital will Account for more than 75% of Marketing Budgets
Digital marketing is becoming more and more vital to business’ success. In the coming years, your company will need to embrace digital marketing tactics like search engine optimisation, social media marketing and pay-per-click advertising. All of these forms of online marketing can help you build your brand, increase awareness, boost sales and accomplish all kinds of business goals.
Mobile Specifically will Account for More than 50% of Marketing Budgets
We’ve known for a while now that mobile marketing is growing quickly. In the next few years, many expect it to account for more than half of marketing budgets. If you don’t want to be left behind, you need to embrace mobile marketing.
Mobile marketing can include things like social media, mobile apps, responsive site design, text message marketing, email marketing and sophisticated technologies that allow businesses to track customers, through their smartphones, as they come into their stores.
Earned Media will be more Important than Paid and Owned Media
Earned media is becoming more valuable. Focusing on things like distributing press releases, providing high-quality content and reaching out to bloggers will result in coverage that will bring brand recognition and site traffic.
Earned links are also an important part of search engine optimisation, so producing content that people will want to link to is important to multiple aspects of Internet marketing.
Marketing Campaigns will Begin Unfolding in Real Time
Real-time marketing is made possible with social media and the ability to quickly update blogs and websites. This kind of marketing is often in response to news events or pop culture or just as a way to make a product launch more exciting. You can lay the groundwork for this kind of marketing by building up your social media and blog followings and keeping tabs on what is happening in your market, industry and community.
Analytics Skills will Become a Core Competence in Marketing
Website, social media and other social media analytics can tell you whether your marketing is working and can help you understand how to make your campaigns more effective. Keeping close watch on how your tactics are performing, how your market reacts and what kinds of results you are getting will help you enhance your strategies.
There’s no question that digital marketing is the way of the future. Your business will need to use online tactics and strategies to keep up with its competition, reach its market and succeed.
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Monday, July 7th, 2014
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One way you can bring something new to your Facebook marketing strategy is to use Facebook apps. A custom made app can help you run contests, collect email addresses, offer games and make it easier for your market to engage with your brand.
The benefits you’ll see from an app will depend on the kind you use, but all businesses that use Facebook apps can expect to see some general benefits.
First, Facebook apps are a great way to help you brand your account’s page. You can use your profile picture, cover photo and posts to show people that your page is an official part of your business and increase awareness, but an app lets you take this branding to a whole new level.
A custom app can include your logo, brand colours and a design that matches your overall brand, reminding people that use it that it belongs to your business.
Incentive to Follow You
An app adds value to your Facebook page and can incentivise people in your market to follow you. When people know what you have to offer, they will be more likely to follow you for easy access to the app.
Of course, you will still need to make sure your posts, the content you share and the conversations you have with your followers are valuable, making your entire Facebook experience something people won’t want to miss out on.
Using an app gives your followers and market another way to interact with your page and business. Now, in addition to being able to post comments, answer questions, “like” posts and share your content, they can interact through your app.
Think about what kind of goal you want to accomplish with your app and then make sure its design and function will help you get there. Your app should be easy to use and intuitive for visitors.
More Page Visits
While people in your market may only see your posts in their newsfeed, and rarely look at your page right now, an app will give people a reason to go directly to your page. For example, they will now navigate to your page to enter a drawing, play a game or otherwise use your app.
You can take full advantage of this perk by using an app that encourages people to visit your page daily or weekly. The easiest way to do this is to do a giveaway every week that requires people to use your Facebook app to enter it. As people are coming back to your Facebook page on a regular basis, be sure to keep it updated with current posts, links to your website and other information.
Facebook apps are a great way to enhance your page and make your social media marketing more powerful. Your app will work best when you use it in conjunction with a Facebook page that is frequently updated and already has a strong following, so work to build up your account before you launch an application.
We help businesses create custom apps to improve their social media marketing strategies and get better results. Contact us if you’re interested in finding out how you can benefit from a Facebook app.
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Friday, July 4th, 2014
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When you use Internet marketing to promote your business, you want to reach as many people as possible. Some new research shows that if you include just two things in your marketing strategy, you will reach 8 out of 10 Internet users.
So what are those two things? Social media marketing and blogging.
While these two basic Internet marketing strategies may seem simple, Search Engine Watch reports that businesses that use them reach 80 percent of Internet users.
To widen your audience and make sure you are reaching your target market, you need to use both social media and blogging strategically. If you use these tactics without purpose or direction, they won’t help you achieve results.
Jumpstart your Social Media
When was the last time you reviewed your social media marketing strategy? Reassessing your strategy often will help you make sure you are using each account to its fullest potential and benefiting from your efforts.
Choose your Sites
What social media sites are you using? Look at your accounts and make sure things like your biography, profile picture and contact information are all up to date. If your fans are engaging with you and you are gaining an audience, you are likely using these sites well. Consider if there are other social media sites that lend themselves to your brand and goals.
The content you create, curate from other sources or even the status updates you post should all help you reach your goals. You can accomplish all kinds of things, from increased brand awareness and sales to more email subscribers through social media. Decide whether the posts you share are helping you be successful.
Take some time to assess your social media accounts and strategies to make sure they are helping you reach your overall marketing goals.
Rethink your Blog
Your blog should also help you achieve your business goals. One of the biggest benefits of your blog is that it is a platform you have full control over. Social media sites come and go, features are always being added and removed and you don’t have complete control over how your page is branded. But, with your blog you know you have a platform that will always be there and will look and function the way you want it to.
Your blog also gives you a unique opportunity to get your own message, facts and information out there, without the risk of it being misconstrued. Media coverage, other blogs and sometimes even social media sites don’t give you full control over your message the way your blog does.
Who is Your Audience?
Think carefully about who your blog audience is. Is it potential customers? Current customers? Other businesses? What demographic information do you have about your audience? When you know who your blog is for, you can leverage it to your advantage. If the kind of content you are sharing isn’t of value to your audience, your blog won’t be very successful.
Social media and blogging are two very important Internet marketing strategies. When you use these two elements effectively, your campaign will be successful and benefit your entire business.
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Friday, June 27th, 2014
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Summertime is a great time to give your Internet marketing a boost. Right now, people are enjoying warmer weather, going on vacation and looking for projects and entertainment to keep them busy. Taking advantage of the coming months can give you a great opportunity to make more sales and attract new customers.
Depending on your business and the kind of marketing you are using, there are so many ways you can enhance your strategy and breathe new life into you promotional plans this summer. Here are a few ideas to get your creative ideas flowing.
Reassess your Search Engine Optimisation Plan
It is essential that you reassess your SEO plan on a regular basis. Trends, search engine algorithms and your business’ needs and goals are always changing. Identify what your current traffic and sales goals are and make sure your SEO plans are in alignment and will help you succeed.
Look at things like keywords, content plans, on site optimisation and other factors and determine whether each part of your strategy is working to its fullest potential.
Do Something New with Social Media
Are you stuck in a social media rut? If you have found yourself posting the same kind of content over and over and if your audience isn’t growing or engaged, it’s time to try something new. You can rethink your strategy entirely or you can just run some special summer campaigns.
Holding contests, offering discounts, adopting a hashtag or using a specific theme can help you breathe new life into your social media marketing.
Clean up Your Website
Over time, business’ websites can become cluttered and lose focus. You’ve probably added pages, buttons, images and forms over the past several months, or even years, and your site could be overwhelming and confusing to visitors.
This summer, take some time to clean up your website. Remove clutter and pages you don’t need anymore and make sure things are clear and streamlined so people will respond to your calls to action.
Now is also a good time to make sure your site is fully optimised for search engine optimisation so your pages will get higher rankings. Some things to look at include keyword use, conversion rate, site speed and how easy it is for search engines to read and rank your pages.
Plan Upcoming Ad Campaigns
This summer is also a good time to look forward and start to plan some ad campaigns. Pay per click and search ads can help you promote your business and drive traffic to your website. For these campaigns to be successful, you need to strategically plan your keywords, the sites you use and ad copy to attract and target your key markets. If you start planning now, you’ll be ready to launch effective ad campaigns that can help you increase your sales and have a strong finish to the year.
Take some time this summer to revitalise your Internet marketing tactics. When you boost your SEO and social media campaigns and clean up your website and plan some upcoming ad campaigns, your plans will be ready to help your business be successful for the rest of the year.
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Monday, June 23rd, 2014
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A major part of Internet marketing is strengthening your brand online. You want people to recognise your content, website, blog posts and even social media accounts as part of your business. When all of your online tactics fit your brand, your marketing campaigns will be more effective.
Start with your Website
First, make sure your website is branded. Things like the colours, images, style, layout and copy should all speak to your brand and help you tell your market who you are. Make sure your website reflects your values and has the tone you want to convey to your customers.
For example, if you have a very professional, business-to-business brand, your site should be a little more formal and streamlined. On the other hand, if your business is casual and targets a laid-back public, your site could be more colourful, have a unique layout and use less formal copy.
Leverage Social Media Settings
Now, use social media settings to brand your account pages. Using things like profile pictures, cover photos and other custom options will make your social media pages look like they belong to your company. This is beneficial because it helps you own the property and helps your market associate it with your business.
Also keep in mind that the style you use when posting can help you brand your pages. The tone you use for status updates and the type of content you share will also help you solidify your brand.
Translate Traditional Marketing to Online Marketing
Look at your brand and find ways you can translate it into online marketing. When the brand you use for your stores, printed materials and traditional marketing tactics match your online tactics, your brand becomes much stronger.
Choose elements like colours, logos and styles that you can easily use on your blog posts, social media accounts and other online strategies to make your brand more complete throughout your marketing, both online and offline.
Be Consistent with your Voice
Some online marketing channels, like social media or even your blog, do require a more casual tone. These spaces are usually a little more casual and a conversational tone can help you generate some interaction.
However, don’t change your voice widely from tactic to tactic. Maintain the same voice across all your channels so that people will understand what your business is all about. People will be confused if you use very formal styles on your blog posts and then extremely casual styles on your social media posts. Instead, find a middle ground that lets you meet the needs of the platform but also allows you to maintain your own, unique brand.
Strengthening your online brand is all about finding ways you can translate your brand to online mediums. Use colours, tones, styles and other elements to make your website, blog and social media accounts part of your brand.
When all of your online content and properties are aligned and branded, you will be able to increase brand awareness and build an online voice for your business so you can reach and influence your market.
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Thursday, June 19th, 2014
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According to HubSpot, 69 percent of recipients unsubscribe from emails because the business is sending too many messages. Email marketing can be a very effective way to reach your market, but if you spam your audience this tool will quickly become ineffective.
Every business, industry and market will require a different email frequency. While several emails a month may work quite well for one business, another may find that is too often. You’ll need to carefully consider your business and audience as you choose an email frequency.
While there isn’t one golden frequency that all businesses should use when deciding how often to send emails, there are some questions you can ask yourself to determine what is best for your business.
Does this Email Provide Unquestionable Value?
Each time you design an email and prepare to send it, ask yourself if it provides unquestionable value to your market. It’s generally a bad idea to send an email just for the sake of contacting your customers or just to send one.
Instead, make sure each email provides value that your market will recognise, benefit from and want. Ideally, the people on your email list welcome your emails and look forward to your messages because they know they are valuable and have information they are interested in.
When does our Market Want to Hear from Us?
Make a list of times and situations that describe when your market would want to hear from your business. When you email people when they want to hear from you, and not just when you think you should, your campaigns will be much more successful.
Some times your market may want to hear from you include:
- During Sales or Promotions
- After the Launch of a New Product or Service
- When you Have Relevant News
- During Major Company Changes
- When you Can Provide Helpful Tips and Guides
- When New Free Resources are Available on your Site
Think about your business and what your market wants and then make your own list of times people will want to hear from you. Then, build your email campaign around those situations.
You can even take this a step further by allowing people to sign up for specific kinds of alerts and dividing your email list into groups so you can more easily target each of your audiences.
What is our Current Unsubscribe Rate?
Keep close track of the unsubscribe rates for each of your emails and lists. Pay attention to times when more people seem to be opting out and then assess your emails to find out what could have spurred people to unsubscribe.
To find out why people are unsubscribing, include a short form on your unsubscribe page where people can choose the reason they are leaving your list. This feedback is valuable and you should use it as you develop your campaigns.
You know your market best, so when you watch its actions and listen to its feedback, you can choose the perfect frequency for your emails.
Start evaluating your email marketing campaigns by asking these questions so you can avoid sending too many emails and losing subscribers. When your campaign uses the right frequency and provides value, it will be more likely to help you reach your goals.
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LinkedIn is an incredible networking tool you can use to connect with colleagues, others in your industry, potential employees and even customers. But, to get the most out of this social network you need to know how to use it to network and how to leverage all its features to build connections and foster relationships.
Update your List of Connections
To get the most out of LinkedIn, you need to keep things like your profile and list of connections current. After you meet someone, connect on LinkedIn and send him a quick note reminding him of who you are.
Some people like to meet new people on LinkedIn by connecting with them and then sending emails to introduce themselves. This approach can work, but connecting with people you have already met in real life is a good way to strengthen relationships and make your connections more valuable.
Tell People you are on LinkedIn
You can also encourage people to connect with you by promoting your profile page. When people know you are on the site they will be much more likely to search you out and connect. You can use your website, blog, email signature and even business card to tell people you use LinkedIn. Be sure to set up a custom URL so it is branded and is easier for people to remember and search for.
Share Content and Interact with Posts from Others
Sharing links to content, from your own site or others, is a great way to get conversations started which can help you build relationships. Of course, it can also help you promote your own business and brand yourself so people know what you do.
LinkedIn has recently made it possible for everyone with a profile to publish content directly to the site. Doing this regularly will help you build your reputation and spark conversations with others. For example, you could write a blog post and share it with your connections, asking for their input.
Join and Participate in Groups
LinkedIn groups are a great place for people with common interests, backgrounds, jobs and talents to meet. They are also a great place to meet potential customers. Join groups and then actively participate by posting content, joining conversations and inviting others to join. You can also start your own group, which can help you get talking with other people and make new connections.
Ask Questions and Offer Input
People love to give advice and help their connections, so give your contacts a chance to do this by asking questions. You can ask general questions about your industry or more specific, technical questions. The idea is to get people talking and conversing with you and others.
Also keep an eye out for people who post questions as status updates or in groups and respond when you have something to offer.
Don’t be Afraid to Reach Out
LinkedIn is all about networking, so don’t be afraid to reach out to your connections just to say “hello,” ask a question or ask for specific advice. The heart of networking lies in reaching out and conversing with people, keeping in touch and talking about current projects and industry trends. LinkedIn makes this easy because you can use it to send emails or private messages to your contacts.
LinkedIn is a very valuable networking tool that can help you build your business, find top-notch employees to add to your team and even attract customers. Networking is a continual process, but when you get in the habit of using LinkedIn regularly you’ll reap the benefits of being a pro networker.
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