The Importance of Call Tracking for Marketing Campaigns

The Importance of Call Tracking

The Importance of Call Tracking Call tracking has been around for several years, but not enough local businesses are utilizing this nifty tool for marketing. In this post we’ll go over what call tracking is, how it works, and how it can help your business to get the most out of your marketing campaigns.

What is Call Tracking?

Call tracking sometimes gets confused with caller identification, but the two are actually opposites. With caller identification, you see the unique number of each person calling you. With call tracking, callers see a unique number for contacting you.

Call tracking makes use of a unique local or toll-free phone number for each of your campaigns. Even though each number will forward to your main number, you now a way of associating specific calls and leads with specific campaigns. For example, the number that a company shows in their SEM ad  will be different from the number they include on their Facebook ad or car decal. Each number will forward to the same line, but now the company knows how each caller discovered them.

Why Call Tracking?

Call tracking is one of many great tools for marketing campaign success. With its data collection capabilities, it offers valuable insights into your campaigns so you can maximize the return on your investments.

Real Time Results

Call tracking will differentiate each of your marketing campaigns from one another—that is, not just different campaigns for different offers, but different campaigns for the same offer (such as by promoting the same product or piece of content across different channels, or to different audiences). With call tracking, you can see which campaigns, mediums, and methods are generating the most leads—not just after the fact, but in real time, as the leads are coming in. With this real time information, you can adjust parameters and reallocate your resources more quickly, to maximize results.

Detailed Caller Information

In addition to connecting phone calls to their campaign source, call tracking allows you to monitor several other metrics on your marketing campaigns. You can capture all incoming calls, hang ups, and voicemails from customers, and you can see precisely which piece of content encouraged them to call you in the first place. Call tracking reports are like call logs. They show the name of the caller, telephone number, location, duration of the call, and voicemails.

Call tracking can be used in all types of marketing mediums, from print ads, to display ads, to direct mail, radio, TV, and more. Marketing is an investment and you need to know what just you’re getting in return for your money. Start using call tracking in your marketing campaigns so you can get a better grasp on your ROI today.

6 Savvy SEM Tips

SEM tips

SEM tipsSearch engine marketing (SEM) used to refer to both organic and paid methods of increasing your website’s rank on search engines. It is now more commonly associated with the latter, and has come to be synonymous with several other terms, including pay-per-click (PPC), cost-per-click (CPC), paid search, and AdWords (which is specific to advertising on Google). No matter what you call it, running an SEM campaign can make a huge difference in the online visibility and growth of your business.

Related: 6 Ways to the First Page: How to Show up On Search Engines

The Importance of SEM

Paid search campaigns specific to Google are called Adwords campaigns. With over 40,000 search queries every second, showing up at the top of Google search results can up your business to a whole new segment of potential customers.

The Challenge with SEM

However, with so many other businesses advertising, the plethora of search terms to target, and Google’s ever changing algorithms, it can be daunting to identify the strategy that will yield the highest return. To help the new user get started, or to help the veteran users improve, here are six savvy SEM tips to help you maximize the results of your paid search campaigns.

SEM Tip #1: Implement Tracking

While impressions and clicks are important metrics to monitor, measuring the success of your campaign goes way beyond your click-through rate (CTR). Your Adwords data offers many insights, but it does not tell you how many of those clicks turned into phone calls, website form submissions, or new sales leads. Your first SEM tip is to incorporate lead tracking into your campaigns as a more strategic indicator of ROI.

Tracked Phone Numbers

With tracked phone numbers, you use a different phone number for each of your campaigns. Even though each number will forward to your main number, you now a way of identifying which campaign the user saw that lead them to call your business.

Tracked Links

With tracked links, you take the original link of the page you are trying to promote or advertise, and add a unique code to the end of it for each of the different ways you are advertising it. Regardless of where a user sees your link (on a search engine vs on a social media post, for example), they are directed to the same page. However, since each URL is unique, your analytics will track clicks to each unique URL, allowing you to see which channels people are coming in from/

With tracking enabled, you will have a tangible number to determine how many roofing jobs (or haircut appointments, or equipment rental requests) you received thanks to your search campaign.

SEM Tip #2: Write Competitive Ad Copy

It’s important to differentiate your ad from the dozen other ads that might appear on the search results page. To come up with compelling ad copy, think about what sets you apart from your competitors. Are you licensed and insured? Do you offer free quotes? Does your company provide same-day service or free shipping? What about having the largest inventory in New England? Use your two lines of ad copy wisely to distinguish your business from competitors, and convey why your offer is worth clicking on.

SEM Tip #3. Include Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are used to show extra information in particular areas of your ad (such as adding additional links to your site or displaying additional contact information). They don’t cost extra, but if they increase the number of clicks your ad receives, you may use up your budget more quickly.

Ad extensions have a mix of pros and cons. They help your listing to occupy more space on the results page, which can help with your online visibility. Also, the extra content may provide the details that users may need in order to click (improving CTR, which means more web traffic). On the other hand, sometimes the more content a user has to read through, the more likely they are to disengage.

SEM Tip #4: A/B Test Your Ads

A/B testing is an essential tool for SEM success. The initial build-out of an SEM campaign can seem daunting, but don’t just settle for the first ad copy you come up with. Create multiple versions of each ad and ad group. With an A version and B version of each ad, you can experiment to see what language and which calls to action gain the most traction.

What will users find more appealing, “Prices as low as $99.99” or “Receive $50 off today”? With A/B testing, you can optimize around what works.

SEM Tip #5. Negative keywords

SEM ads are designed to show up for specific keywords that you choose—terms users are likely to type into search engines when seeking your product or service. While keywords are central to your campaign, negative keywords are sometimes equally as important.  Negative keywords are the terms for which you can prevent your ad from showing up, to ensure that the Google is serving up only the most qualified, relevant impressions.

Is there a product or brand you do not sell? Or a service you will not provide? Does the product you offer have multiple meanings (computer chips, potato chips)? These are the terms to add to your negative keyword list.  Negative keywords help to ensure your ads are displaying to users who are more likely to click. They also save you from paying for clicks by users who are not relevant.

SEM Tip #6: Use Landing Pages

Instinct may tell you to link all SEM ads right to your homepage, allowing the user to navigate themselves to where they want to go. Do not do this! Use landing pages! Users want (and need) you to bring them directly from the ad to the exact item it was offering. The content and URL of your landing page should be highly relevant to the keywords you are targeting (it should include them).  “View Our Full Inventory!” should bring users right to the inventory page. This will ensure that your new web traffic can quickly see and access the specific info they are looking for.

A good landing page also makes clear what the next steps are, through a clear call to action. Call! Sign up today! Contact us for your instant quote! In addition, any particular brands, makes, or products referenced in the ad copy should be clearly visible. Anyone looking for a Toro mower should not be directed to a page dedicated to Husqvarna.

Finding success in SEM goes way beyond setting up a keyword list and budget. It takes experimentation and strategic data analysis. What works? What doesn’t work? With the strategies highlighted above, an SEM novice can start to become a savvy digital marketer.

The Importance of Online Reputation Monitoring

The Importance of Online Reputation Monitoring

The Importance of Online Reputation MonitoringIn today’s web-focused world, reputation management has become a crucial area of focus for businesses. More digital channels and greater user access have caused online reputation to become a more dynamic entity: able to be built and developed over time yet subject to change at any moment. We’re only scratching the surface as to why online reputation monitoring is important. Here are 10 more detailed reasons to start monitoring your online reputation today.

10 Reasons Why Online Reputation Monitoring is Important

1. Your Online Presence is Pervasive

The internet offers a diverse set of channels by which people can engage with, talk about, or learn about your business. These include your blog, comments on your blog, others’ blogs, review sites, posts and comments on social media feeds (yours and others’), and much more.

This means that there are more opportunities than ever for people to engage with or talk about your business. This doesn’t mean you should stop growing your online presence, which is crucial to business growth. It means you’ll need to ramp up your online reputation monitoring.

2. Responding is Crucial

It is a digital marketing best practice to respond to all comments about your business. Responding to positive mentions will help to build further engagement and strengthen your relationships. Responding to negative reviews is crucial for mitigating their damage. With all of the places that your business can be mentioned, it’s important to be on top of them as much as possible.

3. Unknown Listings

For many online directories, any users can create a listing for any business. This means that your business could be listed and collecting reviews on some sites without your knowing. It is important to respond to all reviews—positive and negative—but you can’t respond if you don’t know they are happening! Online reputation monitoring isn’t just about responding to reviews, it’s about identifying where you are being reviewed in the first place.

4. Claiming Takes Time

It may seem a bit scary that anyone can list your business online. The good news is, you can eventually control the listing by claiming it. Unfortunately, this isn’t always an instant process as it typically requires mail verification, and in the meantime, you have no control over what gets said about your business. Online reputation monitoring is important because in cases where you do get listed without knowing, it can reduce the amount of time that elapses between the listing being created and your business claiming it.

5. Word of Mouth is Trusted

Given the power of online reviews, it’s clear that people trust what others have to say on the internet—even if they are complete strangers and even if that information is not true. The pace of internet activity today is too fast for people to be concerned with fact checking, so one negative review can do some damage. On the flip side, potential customers are eager for reassurance that your business is the right decision, and will be highly encouraged to convert upon seeing positive reviews. The influence of what others have to say about your business makes online reputation monitoring extremely important.

6. Word of Mouth Travels Fast

Word of mouth has always traveled fast, but with the real time and sharing capabilities of social media and other online platforms, it now travels at lightning speed. It is imperative to stay on top of the word of mouth regarding your business so your reputation can remain as stable as possible.

7. Automation is Unreliable

Many business directories and review sites pull data from already existing directories to automatically generate listings. This means that your business is most likely listed in more places than you know. In addition, since it’s a computer doing the automatic listing generation, the information doesn’t always transfer over completely. This can lead to inconsistent or incorrect information about your business across the web, which can negatively impact your growth.

8. Miscommunications Happen

As mentioned above, people trust what others have to say about your business, even if it’s not true. There is no way of knowing how true a negative review or comment may be. Furthermore, customer experiences are all subjective. How you say something will not always be how someone hears it. People perceive things in different ways, and sometimes you just won’t win.

Negative customer experiences are going to happen, no matter how great your company is. Online reputation monitoring allows you to identify, keep track of, and resolve these types of miscommunications before they cause significant damage.

9. Feedback

The last reason why reputation monitoring is important is because it allows you to gain insight into your business and target audience. Knowing what people are saying about your business can help you to identify what’s working and what’s not, so that you can better serve your target audience and customers.

10. Identify New Channels

One last reason to monitor your online reputation is because you never know—you may find your business on a channel that you weren’t aware of that actually helps your business. It might be a review site that drives traffic to your website, or a directory that attracts a lot of callers.

Your online reputation is a dynamic part of your business, subject to change at any time. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing. The change can be that of growth, improvement, and development. As long as you are monitoring your online reputation, you can use the power of the web to your business’ benefit.

Call to Action Examples for Email Signups

Call to Action Examples for Email Signups

Call to Action Examples for Email SignupsThough it is one of the older digital marketing strategies, email marketing is still around because it works. Businesses use this versatile platform to generate and nurture leads, strengthen client relationships, build their audience, and obtain more customers. So how do they get these email addresses in the first place? They ask. Placing call to action phrases and buttons in your website and other forms of content is a great way to collect email addresses to build your email list. Below are 15 real examples of email signup calls to action that help to illustrate call to action best practices.

Call to Action Examples for Email Signups

At this point, we’ve told you about the meaning of “call to action”, we’ve given you examples of call to action phrases, and we’ve even covered call to action best practices. Now it’s time to provide some visual examples to complete the picture. Below are 14 call to action examples that businesses have placed on their websites to build their email list.

Example #1: Nuzzle

 

call to action examples for email signups

With the adorable little fella in this call to action, how could we not include this example? All cute pups aside, we also like the simplicity of the design and the attractive colors. NOTE: This does not mean you should use your pooch to get email signups. Nuzzle is a dog collar company, so this image is relevant to their business.

Example #2: Business Development Bank of Canada

 

call to action examples for email signups

We like a few things about this email signup call to action. The “FREE”, in red and all caps, informs the user of important information right off the bat. The description below is short yet it lets you know exactly what you’re getting, and how. By reassuring that you can unsubscribe at any time, and including a visual example on the left, BDC reduces the risk and uncertainty of signing up.

Example #3: Cabot

 

 

call to action examples for email signups 002

While the previous call to action uses detail and design, this one uses more simplicity and exclusivity. “Become a Cabot Insider” appeals to the human desire to be a part of something special. The short description lets users know exactly what to expect, and the green color of the subscribe button creates a welcoming and safe feel.

Example #4: Digital Trends

 

call to action examples for email signup

Digital Trends does not go into extreme detail about what you will get for signing up. They assume that you are on their site to get their Computing News and thus will have an idea of what a recap will look like. Instead of detail, they focus more on urgency with their “Don’t Fall Behind” headline, as well as on asking for permission to send additional emails. Another unique aspect of this call to action example is that the “no” option is not an X, but a longer more human sounding statement.

Example #5: The Country Cook

 

call to action examples for email signup
What we like about Country Cook’s email signup call to action is its personalized language and attractive design. Words like “pop” and “gimme” add some fun and excitement. The message below the actual button addresses some of the hesitations a user might have and adds a human element to this digital box. There are quite a few exclamation points in here, which has its pros and its cons. In addition, the black color of the field text draws attention away from the rest of the elements in the call to action, which may or may not be intended.

Example #6: DIY Site

 

call to action examples for email signup

This DIY site uses the same approach as Country Cook, creating the feel that a human is calling you to this action. In addition, the simplicity of the message, the use of bold font and contrasting colors, and the big white arrow makes this an eye catching graphic.

Example #7: SMS Global

 

call to action examples for email signups

This email signup call to action takes an effective approach of highlighting first the benefit to the reader (“Grow Your Knowledge”). The use of “Don’t Fall Behind” in Example #4 has a similar effect but more of a negative connotation. This call to action also appeals to the human desires of belonging (“Join thousands”) and exclusivity (Don’t miss out!). Finally, the use of “now” in the subscribe button creates urgency.

Example #8: Investopedia

 

call to action examples for email signups

Like Example #7, Investopedia encourages the reader to sign up by highlighting the benefit it will bring to them. They also clarify the frequency of the emails, reducing uncertainty. Like Digital Trends, this call to action uses a more human-sounding phrase for the “no” option. Unlike Digital Trends, this phrase is a bit more witty. This type of approach has its pros and cons as well, with regard to brand voice and user experience.

Example #9: Printsome

 

call to action examples for email signups

This call to action by Printsome is different from the ones before it as it asks for the user’s name as well. In addition, it creates incentive for signing up, with both an immediate and long term offer. The subscribe button is bright and eye catching, and uses urgency and excitement.

Example #10: Remote.co

 

call to action examples for email signups

This call to action example is worth noting because it uses a large attractive image and immediately conveys the purpose of signing up. In addition, the text below the headline attracts attention with the use of a question, and clarifies the email frequency for the subscriber.

Example #11: Teddy Bear Club

 

call to action examples for email signup

What makes this email signup call to action unique from the rest is that it starts with a question. Questions can be a good way to catch the reader’s attention. The description doesn’t provide explicit details into what kind of information the subscriber will get, aside from “open houses and more”, but it does provide the benefit to the reader: being the first to know. The actual button, however, is a bit confusing. “Learn more” makes it uncertain as to whether clicking the button is the last step for signing up or will bring the user to another information page.

Example #12: Crush Boutique

 

call to action examples for email signup

We like Crush Boutique’s email sign up call to action because even though “you” isn’t as effective as seeing your actual name, the phrase “hey you” certainly grabs your attention in a friendly way. We also like its simple and attractive design. The word “Join” reassures the user that clicking that button will complete the action of being added to the list. There is also more than one option to exit, which can help the user to feel less confined and more in control of their experience.

Example #13: Popsugar

 

call to action examples for email signup

PopSugar’s email signup call to action contains a few elements that we haven’t seen yet in the above examples. The “Signup with Facebook” option may be preferred by regular Facebook users, and is sometimes quicker and requires less steps.  The phrase at the bottom creates transparency for Popsugar and confirms for the user the action they are taking—giving Popsugar permission to email them. However, including “agree to the Terms” may cause the user to feel like they are committing to something bigger than they thought, and to feel hesitation. If this is in fact a legal requirement, including it at the bottom and in small font is the best solution.

Example #14: Living Social

 

call to action examples for email signup

Like Popsugar, Living Social also includes a consent statement, at the bottom and in a small font. But what we really want to point out here is the simple and attractive design, the gift icon to convey that the reader will get something out of this, and the use of an offer to encourage signups. However it is unclear as to whether this 80% refers to a single coupon or the average discount for items on their site.

These examples were meant to further your understanding of the purpose and best practices behind website calls to action. We hope they’ll provide information inspiration for you to create an effective email signup call(s) to action on your website.

How to Optimize Your Marketing Emails for Mobile

How to Optimize Your Marketing Emails for Mobile

How to Optimize Your Marketing Emails for MobileJust a few short years ago, it was not considered mission-critical to optimize your marketing emails for mobile device delivery. Now, as people have become attached to their mobile devices, mobile optimization has become a top email marketing best practice. If you want your email marketing to work for your business, you should be writing, designing, and delivering all of your marketing emails with mobile in mind. This post will go over the basics and essentials of mobile email so that you can be equipped for higher performing campaigns.

What is Mobile Email Marketing?

At this point, very little expert advice about even the basics of email marketing does not also discuss a mobile-first strategy. The prevalence of information and tools for mobile email is simply a reflection of the dominant position this strategy now occupies in the email marketing space.

The overall objective with mobile email marketing is to design your email to, at the very least, be equally as effective when read on a mobile device as it would be on a laptop or desktop. This is very similar to having a responsive or mobile-friendly website. You want your target audience to be able to engage with you no matter when or how they encounter your business.

Why Mobile Email Design is Important

User Experience

It is likely that you yourself have received emails that failed to follow basic principles of mobile email design. Chances are, you either got impatient with the email, worried that something on your phone was broken, or felt some other negative inclination that either caused you to exit the email or switch to a different application on your phone. Mobile email design is crucial for creating a positive user experience for your target audience.

Business Reputation

Badly designed and poorly performing emails not only fail to deliver the message to the intended audience, but they also convey a negative impression about the organization and its ability to keep up with the times from a technology standpoint. As such, mobile email design can actually help to preserve and strengthen your business reputation.

Competition

If your email design is lacking, readers are not just likely to abandon the email. They are also likely move on to the rest of their crowded and noisy inbox, to other businesses that now have taken your “top of mind” spot in their heads. Even worse, they may also “rank” you below your competitors in their mind.

Conversion

Let’s say you managed to stay patient while a poorly designed email loaded, and also decided to give the sender the benefit of the doubt. Even if you took the time to read the email, you probably didn’t perform any of the calls to action, because either the button didn’t render or it was slow to load. Mobile email design is crucial for email lead generation and conversion.

Mobile Email By the Numbers

Below are some stats that will help reinforce why mobile email design is a high priority element of your email marketing strategy:

•  There are over 4.35 billion email accounts worldwide with 1.8 billion mobile email users.
•  Over 205 billion emails sent every day = 74 trillion each year
•  In 2016 Gmail alone eclipsed over 1 billion active users.
•  56% of all emails are now opened on a mobile device. Desktop use dropped to just 16%.
•  Apple iPhones and iPads account for 46% of email client use.
•  50% of Americans check their email in bed before getting up.
•  42% of Americans check their email while in the bathroom.

Elements of a Mobile Optimized Email

At this point we’ve made it clear that mobile optimization is essential for email marketing. The good news is that it is also easier now than ever to engage in mobile email marketing. There are several tools and platforms available to make sure your message is well received by your audience—no matter when or where they might read or receive the message. Now it’s time to show you how to stay in line with this best practice.

Subject Line

This is the first thing your reader will see when deciding which emails to open. Keep the subject line between 5-7 words and make it enticing!

Concise Content

Less is more. Do not try and share too many messages or ideas. For a mobile optimized email it is best to focus on one topic and give it room to stand out.

Single Column Layout

With a wide variety of screen sizes on mobile devices, using a single column layout will insure the least amount of zooming and allow the reader to simply scroll through your entire message. The optimal width is 320 pixels for normal displays or 640 for retina displays.

Call to Action/Offer

The call to action goes hand-in-hand with having concise content. Place the offer near the top of the message and then make the next step painfully obvious and simple to execute. Use buttons instead of hyperlinks and make the button at least 40 x 40 pixels.

Fonts

Not all fonts work well for mobile optimized email. Choose a simple font and be consistent. Use 14 pt fonts for text and 22 pt fonts for headlines to make it easy to read on smaller screens. Dark colored text on lighter backgrounds creates a nice contrast that stands out well.

Limit Photos

If you use too many photos and they are not enabled on the user’s device your message will appear as annoying blocks of white space. Apple devices enable images by default, however Android devices do not. Include alt text (the text alternative) for any picture you do use so the reader knows what you were going to show them. Also use smaller images that are more responsive and will load faster.

Preview/Test

Always preview your mobile optimized emails before sending them out to your subscribers. If possible, view the email on a desktop, iPad, iPhone and Android mobile device.

Follow these guidelines to optimize your marketing emails for mobile devices and you will be on your way to worldwide domination of your segment of email marketing.

7 Ways to Monitor Your Online Reputation

7 Ways to Monitor Your Online Reputation

7 Ways to Monitor Your Online ReputationReputation is a keystone element of a business’s success and survival. The tricky part about reputation is that it is not just the result of what you do and say about your business. It is equally influenced by what others do and say. This gets especially tricky when it comes to your reputation online.

The automation, sharing, and real-time features of the web today have granted people unprecedented opportunities to impact even the strongest of business reputations—positively or negatively. As such, it is more important than ever to monitor and protect your online reputation. There are many online channels to stay on top of and many ways to monitor them, but here are seven to start with.

1. Monitor Review Sites

One of the most obvious ways to monitor your online reputation is to check review sites such as Yelp. Many online directories allow anyone to add a listing, so even if you didn’t list your business, it may still be on there, collecting reviews. Be sure to claim your listings wherever possible, and monitor these sites frequently. If you do in fact see a negative review, don’t panic! As long as you know how to respond properly, you’ll be okay.

2. Setup Google Alerts

Another way to monitor your online reputation is through Google Alerts. Google will notify you whenever new content is published online containing keywords that you choose. You might set up alerts for your name, your business’s name, common misspellings of your business name. With Google Alerts, you can stay on top of what’s being said about your business, so you can catch and resolve negative reviews and acknowledge and engage back with positive mentions. You might even create an alert for your competitors’ names, to keep tabs on their activity and what others are saying about them.

3. Monitor Your Social Media Accounts

Checking your social media accounts is a must for monitoring your online reputation. Even if you can’t post every day, you should still check your accounts every day to keep up with engagement. Just like with online reviews, it’s important to respond to both the positive and negative comments and mentions of your business. You can also set up email or mobile notifications so that you can be aware of posts as they are published.

4. Check Other Social Media Accounts

Keep in mind that you should not just monitor your profiles and posts. Stay on top of others’ mentions of your handles and uses of your custom hashtags as well. This can ensure that your audience is using them often and appropriately, and also that your hashtag isn’t overlapping with someone else’s.

5. Monitor Your Blog

Enabling and engaging with comments on your business blog is a great way to learn more about your audience and get new post ideas. However, this puts you at risk for negative and spam comments as well.

Spam comments—whether positive or negative—will shed your business in a negative light. Canned comments like these will detract from the genuineness of your blog. Even comments that are gibberish and obviously spam can indicate to your visitors that you don’t check your blog often, which might discourage non-spammers from posting comments.

6. Verify Your Partners

Partnering with other businesses is a great way to increase exposure, cross-promote, and cut costs. However you may want to do a quick check on the online reputation of your partner-to-be before engaging with them.

If you do find negative mentions of this business, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to trust those mentions or find a new partner—although you may choose to. The point is to be aware of and prepared for any potential consequences of partnering with a business with a questionable online reputation.

If you are just building your reputation or repairing from a setback, it may be best not to associate yourself with other businesses who may be going through the same thing.

7. Ask Your Customers

Your current customers and social media followers can also help you to monitor your online reputation. Don’t be afraid to use surveys or polls to get a sense of how users are experiencing your website and other online channels of engagement. Just be sure to keep your surveys short and convenient, and not too frequent.

With greater than ever speed and accessibility, your online reputation can take on a life of its own. Start with these seven strategies so that you can take control of how your business gets represented online.

Why Email Marketing?

Why Email Marketing

Why Email MarketingPerhaps the real question for this article should be: Why not email marketing? Many businesses and organizations have diversified their marketing strategies by heavily engaging in the latest social media phenoms, allowing their email marketing campaigns to fall by the wayside a bit. If this describes your company, then read on for a refresher about why email marketing should remain a core part of every marketing strategy.

Why Email Marketing Works

Consumer Needs

Email marketing works because people love to stay informed, and use smartphones and other mobile devices to remain connected 24/7/365. This level of connectivity has created a compulsion for many people to constantly check their devices for the latest and greatest news, events and happenings with their friends and family and the world around them.

Inboxes are Frequented

Your customers may be using social media on a very regular basis to keep up with current events and other forms of entertainment, but email is where they go for the important, mission-critical information in their lives. This includes paperless delivery of monthly bills and other private communication that keeps their lives organized and moving forward smoothly.

Permission Based

One of the best reasons why email marketing works is because they have invited you into their private, inner circle by signing up for your email marketing campaigns. This offers significant advantages over social media, where there are no guarantees that your message will make it to their newsfeed. The average Facebook user could see between 1,500 to 10,000 posts in their newsfeed every day IF the magical algorithm the site uses allowed that to happen. Instead, it gives priority to certain posts and filters out others altogether. Since you have been given access directly to your customers inbox, you are guaranteed that your message will be delivered.

Why Email Marketing is Effective

Flexibility

Email marketing is a format that is flexible and provides more space for the content that you want to communicate to your customers. This helps you establish and show your brand’s voice and create resonance with your targeted demographics. Consumers support and identify with brands that share their interests and values. Email marketing keeps you connected to your target audience in this way.

Personalization

Personalization is another important reason why email marketing is effective. Your email subscriber list can be segmented in an endless number of ways such as by age, gender, zip code or purchase history. If you wanted, you could even craft a unique message especially for just one specific, valuable customer.

Action-Oriented

Sometimes the email marketing message to your audience is intended to educate them or share other valuable information, but most of the time you will also want to include a specific call to action. What do you want them to do next? It could be to click a link to a landing page to sign up for an informational event or to enter a contest. Do not miss an opportunity while you have their attention to get them to take the next step or to purchase goods/services from your company.

Measurable

Another reason email marketing is effective is because it is measurable. Not only will you know how many people received your message, but you will also see detailed analytics on when the message was opened and which links they decided were interesting enough to click. Pay careful attention to this valuable information as it will allow you to to improve the effectiveness of your email marketing, by giving your audience more of what they are interested in and less of what they are not.

Long-Term

Email marketing is effective over an extended period of time if you take the right approach and consistently deliver value to their inbox. You do not want people to only receive a few messages and unsubscribe. Ideally this is a long-term relationship that will allow you to nurture potential customers and convert them to paying customers for years to come.

Why Use Email Marketing

Reliability

How many times have you moved in the last 20 years? Did you ever have a problem with your emails finding you in your new home? The same cannot be said for snail mail, but email is extremely reliable and stable. Some of your customers have gone completely paperless, and might even be a bit annoyed if you were sending things printed on a piece of paper they would have to deal with.

Cost Effectiveness

Email marketing is also cost effective. Automated email platforms allow you to reach thousands of customers with a just a few clicks. Compare this to the time and expense of creating, printing, and mailing traditional marketing pieces.

Strategic Capabilities

Email marketing also allows your organization great flexibility as to the type of message you send, as well as the intended outcome of that message. You may choose to send a comprehensive monthly newsletter that has a variety of content. It could include new product information, a valuable coupon, customer success stories or other content interesting and valuable to your recipients.

Outside of the monthly newsletter you could decide to strategically send an invitation for a special event or promotion taking place at your business. This allows this single message to stand out and not get overlooked amongst the other content in a newsletter.

Hopefully this overview makes it clear as to why email marketing should be a central part of every business’s overall marketing strategy. Enhance and grow relationships with your customers and prospects. Send them a well crafted, email marketing message today!

10 Essentials for a Successful Facebook Business Page

Essentials of a Successful Facebook Business Page

Essentials of a Successful Facebook Business PageAny business can get on Facebook, and social media is an essential marketing tool, but simply creating a Facebook business page does not secure immediate benefits for your business. To get Facebook to facilitate your marketing goals, you need a strong business page that represents your brand and engages your target audience. Here are ten essential elements of a successful Facebook business page that will allow you to reap the benefits of social media for your business.

1: Impressionable Cover Photo

Your cover photo will be the first thing that visitors notice when coming to your page. Make sure that you use a photo that captures the essence of your organization and leaves no doubt they are in the right place. Choose a high quality photo that has a clear focal point and will not appear pixelated. The photo should also be sized appropriately or Facebook will automatically stretch the photo to fit and skew the proportions of the image. An ideal cover photo size for your business page is 828 x 315 pixels.

You can also add your logo or other text to the image. Less is more, so be careful not to make the image too busy by adding too many elements. Keep it simple and also be sure to put a link to your business website in the description of the photo. This could be your homepage or anywhere else on your website you are trying to direct traffic.

2: Simple Profile Photo

Your profile photo should be considered a design element of your cover photo. Instead of adding your logo to the cover photo, you may instead use your logo as the profile photo. Again, you want the image to be recognizable and to immediately reassure your visitors they have found the correct page. Be sure to place a link to your website in the description of this photo as well.

3: Concise About Section

Pay attention to the details when completing the “About” section of your Facebook business page. Just like with any business listing, your information needs to be complete, accurate, and consistent with other listings. Check (and double-check) for accuracy, especially as it pertains to your phone number and website link. Some businesses change their hours seasonally. Be sure to update this part of the about section as needed. Also, be concise with your descriptions about your company and its offerings. Don’t tell visitors everything about your company on your Facebook business page. Tell them what they need to know, what benefit you bring, and how they can learn more.

4: Call to Action Button

At the top of your page just underneath your Cover Photo is a where you will be able to select the type of button you would like to use for your call to action. The choices are:

•  Buy Now
•  Shop Now
•  Sign Up
•  Call Now
•  Contact Us
•  Send Message
•  Send Email

You will then be able to link these buttons to any web page you want to direct potential customers to view. This could be a product page, landing page, or homepage to name a few. You would be surprised how many Facebook business pages do not have a call to action button enabled. Make it easy for your customers to take that important next step with just one click!

5: Engaging Timeline

A successful Facebook business page doesn’t just attract visitors. It keeps them there and gets them to come back again. The key to retaining visitors is an engaging timeline. To build an engaging timeline, be sure to regularly post content that is interesting, useful, and easily digestible.

6. Integration with Instagram

If your business uses Instagram, make sure you link your Instagram feed to your Facebook page. By doing this, any photos you post to Instagram will automatically post to your Facebook timeline as well. This is essential for adding visual elements to your timeline and cross promoting your social media channels. Facebook owns Instagram, so the linking process is fairly easy.

7. Meaningful Milestones

Creating milestones on your Facebook business pages is another essential yet underutilized feature that you should put into action. Milestones showcase the important achievements, anniversaries, and awards of your business. Not are these important to your reputation, they tell the story of your business and equip users to paint a more complete picture of your brand.

8: User Likes

When someone likes a Facebook business page, they will by default be following it unless they change their settings. Encourage your customers to “like” your page so that you can keep them informed about special events, sales, changes in hours or new products and services you are offering. The more people who like your page, the more brand awareness you can create. Also, likes provide social proof that will encourage additional users to like your page.

9. See First

Even if someone is following your Facebook page, they still might not see all of your posts. This is because just like search engines, Facebook uses an algorithm to prioritize the information that shows up on a users’ feed. This might seem unfair, but without the algorithm, the average user would get between 1,500-10,000 posts on their newsfeed, and your posts would get buried anyway!

There is however a “see first” feature on Facebook whereby users can choose particular accounts to show up first in their News Feed. Inform and remind your followers that if they add your business to their “see first” list, they won’t miss out on important events, promotions, and announcements.

10: Pinned Posts

This is a fantastic way to give new life to great content that you have previously posted on your Facebook business page. With pinned posts, you can keep a specific post at the top of your timeline for seven days. After that, it returns back to its original position on your timeline. If you have content that you know resonates with your audience, or previous posts that generate engagement and shares, try pinning it to the top of your timeline.

Follow these ten tips when you design your Facebook business page and you can take your social media game to the next level!

A Facebook business page can only become a marketing tool if you put in the time and effort required. Build your page with these ten essentials in mind and you’ll be on track with getting Facebook to facilitate your success.

15 Benefits of Email Marketing

benefits of email marketing

benefits of email marketing FIThough it’s been around a while, email is by no means an outdated marketing strategy for business. Even with the rise of social media platforms and business blogging, email is still the number one way to communicate with your audience. If you are not yet taking advantage of this tried and true marketing strategy, these 15 benefits of email marketing just may be the impetus to get you started.

1. Email Integrates Easily

The first benefit of email marketing is that email integrates easily with other marketing channels. For example, you can repurpose content from your email marketing campaigns into quick and effective social media posts to multiply your reach, without having to reinvent the wheel again and again. Data collection, sharing, and other features are also typically maintained with email, which makes for accurate and uninterrupted tracking and measuring.

2. No Character Limits

Email provides the benefit of unlimited space for content. Unlike many social media platforms, you are not limited by character limits or the types of media that you can share with your recipients. Attention spans are short, so it is an email marketing best practice keep the message to the point, but the choice is yours as to how long or short the message might be for each email. Make content easy to scan at a glance and get the main message, but also give readers the option for more information if they want.

3. Stay Top of Mind

One of the basic purposes of email marketing is to maintain regular communication with past, potential, and current customers. This helps to reinforce the positive feelings they have about your organization, and ensures that they will remember your business even when they are most distracted. During the rush of the holidays you can make sure that your customers think of you first to spend their dollars with your company. In the slow season for your industry it can provide a boost to sales and make sure people do not forget about all you have to offer.

4. Email Fosters Long-Term Relationships

Another way email benefits your business is by facilitating the development of strong customer relationships. Delivering consistent, interesting messages that add value to your customers will help you earn their trust and respect over time. It will also ensure that they look forward to and pay attention to your organization’s email messages. Think about the long-term value of the customers on your email list, not just what they might buy from you today.

5. Personalize Your Messaging

The benefits of personalizing your marketing messages are too great to ignore. Email marketing campaigns allow you to address your customers by name, speak directly to them, and show the human side of your company and team. With email, you can present the personality of your business and better resonate with your audience.

6. Optimize Your Content

Email marketing benefits your business by allowing you to optimize your content and messaging for the greatest effect. With list segmentation, demographic targeting, and testing, your can identify the best strategy, tone, and content for your target audience or even and niche markets within it. Pay attention to the results of your email campaigns and use this data to create an even better campaign next time.

7. Email Supports Variety and Versatility

With email marketing, you are not limited to one format, content type, or frequency. You can send a monthly newsletter, sprinkle coupon sends in between, or provide updates on a major event you are planning. When you mix things up and freshen up the layouts on a periodic basis, you keep things interesting and eliminate the risk of your messages becoming background noise.

8. Email Drives Conversions

Well written and designed emails with call to action buttons encourage readers to follow links to landing pages or other web-based assets. With careful attention to the outcome you want, you can use email marketing to drive various goals involved with creating sales and increasing revenue.

9. Improve Your Social Media Reach

For your followers who have email notifications set up, they will be notified via email every time you post something to your social media channels. In some cases, they can view the post directly in the email window. This helps to increase the number of people who see and engage with your social media posts.

10. People Prefer Email

While the proliferation of ads on social media is seen as a nuisance, 91% of people actually like to receive promotional emails from brands they support. Combine this with the fact that email is 40x as effective as Facebook and Twitter combined makes this a no-brainer.

11. Ensured Delivery

Social media platforms and search engines have algorithms that filter out content according to particular metrics. Email, on the other hand, is a freely flowing platform. People on your email list subscribed to your content and want to receive your information, so there are no algorithms or filters to obey. With email, you know that your message will get delivered and that you will enjoy the benefits of regular communication with your audience.

12. Reach Your Customers 24/7

More than two-thirds of all email is opened on a mobile device. This means that customers can see, read, and engage with your emails throughout the day, no matter where they are or what time it is. To reap this benefit, make sure your emails are responsive or optimized for mobile.

13. It’s Quick and Easy

With the various tools and platforms available, creating professional email marketing communications has never been more simple. Plan carefully and craft a finely-tuned message or blast out a deal-of-the-day that gets immediate results.

14. Create a Dialogue with Your Audience

Your marketing emails don’t have to be one way messages to your target audience. You can also use email to open up interactive engagement with your audience. Just be sure to respond promptly!

15. Email Builds Credibility

The last benefit of email marketing is that it provides endless opportunities to show your expertise, credibility, and brand voice. This allows you to earn trust from your audience and build your business reputation.

There are many more benefits to list, but hopefully these first 15 have been enough to convince you that email marketing is still going strong. Get started with email marketing today, and watch your business grow.

8 Major Benefits of Online Business Directories

benefits of online business directories

benefits of online business directoriesMany small business owners know about online business directories, but aren’t quite clear on how advantageous they are to their business. Online directories are not just a digital version of the Yellow Pages, where you have to fish through information and flip through pages to find what you’re looking for. They are comprehensive platforms that enable users to instantly identify, learn about, and contact businesses relevant to them. Online business directory listings can work wonders for your small business. This post will familiarize you with online business directories and the specific ways they benefit small businesses.

Types of Online Business Directories

An online business directory refers to any online database that connects users with relevant businesses. Directories contain a diverse range of information on each business, however some may have a primary focus. Some of the more specific focuses of an online directory might be to:

•  Provide accurate customer reviews
•  Enable side-by-side comparisons
•  Use GPS and social media data to provide real-time results
•  Focus on a specific niche or industry

Online business directories can take the form of a website, app, and/or other platform. They exist on the web, social media platforms, smart phones, and even on specific devices.

The Cost of Business Directories

There are many online directories for which listing your business is free. Some are free but require additional payment for special features, such as multiple locations or categories, including a website link or call to action, removing ads from your listing, or adding photos and video.

Benefits of Online Business Directories

Some small business owners mistake online directories as massive databases where their listing will just get lost in the shuffle. The truth is, these platforms have significant benefits for small businesses. Here are eight:

1. Amplify Your Online Presence

If you search for your business name on the internet, you will likely see your business show up in directories for which you never submitted a listing. This is because many business directories today pull from other larger directories and automatically create listings.

This means that getting listed in one directed usually means getting listed in several more, allowing you to kill two (or more) birds with one stone. On the flip side, sometimes the information doesn’t transfer over properly. It’s very important to check, claim, and update your listings frequently and regularly.

2. Improve Your Local Visibility

Though they are massive, online business directories have advanced filtering and suggesting capabilities, and serve to connect you with your target audience. As a local business, directories are beneficial because they make your business visible to your local community.

3. Get Discovered More

The typical online business directory allows users to search by specific criteria, such as service, location, and category. By simply entering complete and accurate information in your listing, the directory will then connect your business to the people searching for it, even if they don’t search your business name explicitly. This is highly beneficial because oftentimes, people don’t know to search a specific business name or the specific service they need.

4. Use Word of Mouth

Most online business directories have a customer review component, as word of mouth has always been a trusted source for consumers. With real time and sharing capabilities of mobile devices, customers can now publish reviews more quickly—even during their experience. People seek out and trust online customer reviews today more than ever, so get listed in online business directories and you’ll be placed in a direct channel to your target audience.

5. Strengthen Your Business Reputation

The fear of negative reviews prevents many businesses from getting listed online, but this shuts them off from getting positive reviews too, which are essential for a good reputation. As long as you know how to properly handle one, the cost of one negative review is outweighed by the benefit of many positive reviews. Plus, a mix of reviews can even strengthen your reputation, as it shows that you are a genuine and healthy company that has nothing to hide.

6. Increase Brand Awareness

When a user performs a search in an online business directory, it will display a list of relevant results, each with a brief snapshot so that you can decide which one to click on to learn more. This means that even if a user doesn’t click on your listing, they still see your business. Every encounter a person has with your business increases their awareness and familiarity with your brand, which warms them up for further engagement.

7. Boost Your SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of providing your web content in such a way that search engines will favor it and rank it higher in results for applicable searches. A search engine wants to be trusted by its users, so the more information it can obtain about your website, and the more consistent that information is, the better you will rank. Online business listings are a great way to support and supplement your already existing information to give it that extra validation.

8. Show Up on Google

It is possible to get on the first page of Google through SEO practices, but it can take a few months to start seeing results. Online business directory sites, on the other hand, have been around for a while, have high amounts of traffic, and are for the most part trusted by search engines. Since Google likes these characteristics, its first page of search results regularly contain pages from online directories. If you get listed in an online business directory, you have a chance of benefitting from their well-established SEO and showing up on the first page of Google.

Online business directories have immense benefits, and neglecting them can actually hurt your business. So get started today with creating, claiming, and updating your listings online.