Category Archives for "Web Marketing"

How Are Businesses Using Google+

How Are Businesses Using Google+

Has Google+; become an afterthought in your social media marketing plan? When was the last time you took a look over there? You may also be asking yourself if Google+; is or ever will be a viable tool for your business. You’re not alone because many are still divided as to whether to even spend any time or effort on Google+;.

Why we think it’s worthwhile now and in the future!

It’s being shared that Google+; is now outpacing Twitter. Even though this in no way “feels” true, it quite possibly really is. Just the proliferation of Gmail and the convenience of having Google’s entire suite of web services available at the same time has probably sealed the deal. Not just that, but since Google Plus Local Listings already incorporates such small business services as Zagat, StreetView and Google+; User ratings, it has effectively replaced Yelp.

Also, Google Hangouts has a direct effect on where Google+; is headed as well. The advantage of using a Hangout, instead of perhaps Skype, to do video conferencing is a major plus (no pun intended). Yes, we know that Hangouts is still somewhat clunky and a pain to figure out, but when you do, it’s far and away the leader of the pack. Just the incorporation and automation that Hangouts shares with YouTube is worth the price of admission. (Which of course is free!)

So what are some ways businesses are using Google+;?

There are a number of uses of Google+; in your small business. Here’s just a few:

  • Build networks of like-minded individuals with Google+; Circles
  • Using #hashtags to help posts appear in Google search
  • Be sure and Link Google+; to your blog or site, and reap the Google Authorship benefit in the search pages
  • Do live video chat with Google Hangouts
  • Use tags in Google+; to reach out to people directly

To see a tremendous list of strategies and an incredible infographic for Google+;, see this post on Copyblogger. While Google+; might not enable you to get all warm and fuzzy just yet, our bet is that it’s worth the time both now and down the road!

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5 Simple Ways to Make Your Email Marketing Profitable

You probably have heard all kinds of desperate predictions about the demise of email marketing, but what the evidence shows is that it’s still an integral component of your online marketing mix, both now and down the road. As reported by Sign-Up.to’s 2013 UK Email Marketing Benchmark Report, there has been a strong increase in average email open rates, rising from 18.35 percent to 21.47 percent within the past 12 months. Also, (and even more exciting) the average return on your email marketing investment is a mind-numbing $44.25 for each dollar spent. (iContact)


EmailMarketing

So how do you to take advantage of this?

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

  1. Create great subject lines – Headlines matter, as your open rates will tank if you overlook this aspect. Take the time to craft a subject line that makes people want to open your email. This could be a combination of curiosity, excitement, urgency, beneficial and spam compliant.
  2. Write engaging content – Make certain your emails are not only written to engage, but are also providing great content unique to your brand. Over-deliver when it comes to handing out pearls of wisdom, as that is presumably why they’re subscribed to and following you in the first place, correct?
  3. Incorporate social media – This is a easy way to spread your emails around, especially those with terrific content. Implement social sharing buttons in your emails, and encourage your users to use them. This can result in easy new opt-ins.
  4. Send mobile-friendly emails – Given that 64 percent of decision makers read their email on their mobile device,(TopRankBlog) and also the average person checks their smartphone some 34 times a day, do you need any more convincing to make your emails mobile friendly?
  5. Send email more often – This is one we frequently hesitate at. Nobody wants to keep pissing off people who don’t want to read your messages. Sure, if you’re selling some shiny new object every email. Rather, make sure to keep sending fantastic content that people simply can’t wait to read. Copyblogger reports that very often your unsubscribes actually decrease if you mail more frequently.

Convince Your Readers with Persuasive Copy

There may very well be no more fundamental task for a content provider than to be persuasive with your copy. Sounds simple, right? Just up until you’ve tried it, perhaps. You will discover a reason top copywriters get paid the big bucks. Never fear however. You needn’t break the budget to hire your local Shakespeare just yet. There are some basic components of copy-writing with persuasion which will make a major difference, and best of all, they can be learned!

Convince Your Readers with Persuasive Copy

4 Essential steps to persuasive copy

  1. Be sure it’s scannable – We hear constantly how nobody reads on the web anymore – they scan. It is sadly true, since these are the cards we’ve been dealt, here are some ways to make sure that your copy is read by the scanning surfer intent on leaving your page. Use plenty of white space, bullet points, sub-headlines, bolding and color, and compelling images to reel them in and keep their interest.
  2. Write conversationally – Write like you’re talking with a friend. Nobody wants a lecture. So no matter what the subject, and how technical it can appear, be sure you write as you talk. It truly helps with building the trust you are hoping to build with your reader, particularly if you are hoping to induce them to buy anything eventually.
  3. Structure for your outcome – We all love to be told stories, and you can use this in your favor just about every time. We process information most efficiently when the content is provided in a narrative stream, so don’t be shy about telling your story! Use a beginning, middle and end, lead inexorably to a climax, which would be to get the reader to take whatever action you’re asking.
  4. Ask for what you want! – It’s hard to think that we actually have to say this, but so often copy is lean on the asking side. It’s as though they don’t want to come off as too pushy in actually asking for the sale. The truth is that if you don’t sell the ask with enthusiasm, you’re actually disappointing and possibly confusing the reader. It’s expected, so ask. Never write anything without a strong call to action!

Move to “Flat Design” Underscores the Significance of Mobile

There a brand new trend that’s sweeping the web design industry called flat design. You may not have heard about this yet, but you’ve surely seen it. The thing is, it’s not really all that “new”, as Microsoft pretty much introduced it in 2006 with its now-discontinued Zune site design.

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

Flat design is seen as simple, bright solid colors, plenty of white space, plus the lack of drop shadows, gradients, and textures that were a major element of a web designer’s arsenal for quite a while now. Often typography plays a prominent role in flat web design. Flat web design is a “smooth” solution whose aim is to eliminate as many decorative elements of a “3D” type look as is feasible.

Move to Flat Design Underscores the Significance of Mobile

So why the change from 3D to flat design?

There are several reasons why this is taking place, but possibly the most persuasive reason is that it’s an invention born out of necessity. The 2D environment that designers often have to work in, in this ever-more mobile world, necessitates economy of scale.
It’s become more and more difficult to cram all you may want onto a 4-inch screen, making a 3D simulation somewhat disadvantageous and incompatible with a terrific user experience. With a flat design pages load faster, are less bulky and are more responsive. In a competitive world where you have a few short seconds to win over and hook your visitors, every second counts.

Is this a fad or is flat design here to stay?

The jury remains out on that, but suffice it to say if it is a trend, elements of it may be tough to dismiss quickly. Apple is rumored to be considering a flat design for the next operating system, the iOS7. If it does turn out to be a fad, the simplicity and user-friendly functionality of flat web design may give it a lengthier shelf life than you may think!

Don’t Dis Design – It Matters!

So you don’t think design plays a part in first impressions? Think again! A study by researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in 2012 showed that it takes two-tenths of a second to form a first impression, give or take a nanosecond.

This makes it ever more important, as the ability to obtain good design is proliferating, to ensure that we are doing all we can to grab that favorable awareness. This really is vital for small business, as a poor design will often lead to trust issues, a key factor for smaller enterprises attempting to build their brand.

dont-dis-design

How can we promote good design?

The first place to start is with some thought. Discovering how you would like to present your brand and products is largely influenced in the planning stage. That very same study revealed that your logo has the lion’s share of a visitor’s attention, with images and social interaction following closely on its heels.

In a nutshell, the visual elements matter! So now that you have the data, you have no excuse. I mean you really don’t, because expense is not really a viable excuse for inaction. Crowdsourcing sites like 99Designs, CrowdSpring and others have made what was in the not so distant past a very expensive proposition, into a very achievable endeavor.

How can you expect to benefit?

The benefits of good design are more plentiful and often less obvious than you may think at first. While a killer look for your website and graphics is a no-brainer, other elements like product packaging, advertising, and even infographics are shared, Pinned and ReTweeted from your pages.

This can have a substantial effect on your site’s reach, and client base. Moreover, the good feelings that an exceptional design impart may be intangible, but not when you watch your site’s traffic increase as a result of it! Take a cold hard look at your design elements today!

Daily Deal Sites – Do They Work?

You’d believe from all the hate that’s been written about daily deal sites, and the way they are now all history as an effective way to market your small business, we wouldn’t like them either. You’d be wrong.

There’s quite a bit that goes into making daily deal sites work for your local business, and a few well-publicised failures, shouldn’t be the reason to avoid using the daily deal model. As a matter of fact, if you take a close look, the lion’s share of them “failures” had quite a bit in common.

With a evident misunderstanding of just how to run a daily deal promotion, poor negotiation of their deals, and not tracking their new customers redemption and spending. Given that they had unbelievable fails in these areas, is it any wonder they failed?

daily-deal-sites

Daily Deal Sites – So Why All The Hate?

One reason could be the financial struggles Groupon and LivingSocial have been going through. While they probably will come out fine at the end of the day, financial writers wanting to seize upon the harmful aspects of some daily deal sites.

They regularly point to stuff like spam complaints, a glut of deals to choose from, deal hoppers (customers who hop from deal to deal with no intention of being a regular customer) and in deal fatigue.

3 Ways you can help make Daily Deals work for your business

  • Know just how the money works! – Be sure that you know how the numbers work in your deal. Determine what your average sale is and don’t try to exceed it with a daily deal. Also, make sure you negotiate credit card processing fees, as many of the daily deal sites will pick these up.
  • Have a strategy for following up – Up to 75 percent of those daily deal customers are new to you, so make sure you have a plan in place to entice them to return, whether that be another voucher, or….?
  • Don’t start too quickly – Begin somewhat cautiously, so you can master how the daily deal model works in your business, then scale up once the time is right.

The demise of Daily deal sites is grossly overstated, and you can still use these to grow your business, if you take the time to do it right!

If you have used  a Deal Site to promote your business and have any experience, good or bad, we would like to hear from you.  Share your experience by leaving a comment below.