Just as you get to grips with Twitter and Facebook, along comes another social media platform for you to get used to.
If you have not already heard of Vine, you soon will as it has, as the name suggests, been spreading in popularity online like a weed.
Vine is a Twitter owned company that was launched early in 2013. It allows users to record short six-second clips that play continuously on an endless loop. This tiny six-second video is considered to be the equivalent to the 140-character limit on Twitter.
Think of Vine being like Instagram except with videos instead of pictures.
Users add these videos to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook and it is incredibly quick and easy to do.
So you may be asking yourself, ‘who wants a six second video and why would it be useful to my business?”
Well the answer to the first question is simple: Millions of people. Vine has already attracted over 13 million users in less than 6 months after its launch. There are thousands of blogs and sites that are dedicated solely to finding the bet vine videos and sharing them for everybody to see.
In answer to your second question here are some reasons why Vine is an effective way to promote your business:
If you have a customer who raves about your product or service, no doubt they will be very happy to agree to provide you with a testimonial. As the Internet is so visual, having video testimonials is the perfect way to showcase your testimonials. However, most customers, even if they love what you do won’t be too thrilled about the idea of appearing on camera for a long time to create a testimonial for you. Many of them will be camera shy and not comfortable in front of the camera.
But how about this for an idea: Instead of having then speak, why not have your happy smiling customer hold up cards with words that best describe your product or business. A six second video of your thrilled happy customer holding up cards such as “Saved Me Money”, “Easy to Use” and “Friendly Service” is the perfect way to get your message across and intrigue potential customers to look at what you are offering.
Instead of just having a static portfolio of your work on your site create an animated one on social media instead. It is such a simple idea that even small businesses without a large advertising budget could do. It will help spread the word about your product or service far quicker than any ad in the local press could.
Vine is perfect for creating suspense and intrigue, particularly if you are launching a new product or service or even adding an update.
You can start generating a buzz by giving your viewers a sneak peek. Simply link viewers to your website or information page where they can find more details.
The majority of your customers will be well clued up on social media and how it works. It is now part of everyday life. So use Vine to engage with your followers and starting a conversation by using a Vine video.
There are so many inventive ways that you could do this. For example one bookstore owner doesn’t ask what book his followers are reading. Instead, he gives visual clues as to what HE is reading and gets his followers to try and guess what it is. Genius!
People are naturally curious so why not treat your followers to a sneaky behind the scenes glimpse of your business. You could do this from a variety of different angles such as showing off a cool piece of equipment in your workshop, or putting faces to the names of the staff in your business. The list is endless and will thoroughly engage your clients.
If you are in the home improvement business, a landscape gardener, a beautician, an interior designer or any other kind of business where clients expect to see results then Vine is ideal for showing impressive before and after results. If the effect is really good then it will quickly go viral and have people rushing to your site to find out more.
You can show that your business is getting into the holiday spirit by creating fun videos and messages for your clients. This will help you to engage with your followers. You can also make them into marketing related videos by putting some promotions in the mix too showing your products relevant to the holidays.
Whatever you decide to do, it will go down well with your followers and they are bound to reward you with positive comments and spread the word about your video making sure it gets lots of exposure.
Use Vine to build up interest around any event that you might be planning by sending out a personalized invite to people that you want to visit your store, enter a contest or attend a seminar.
This is a particularly effective promotional idea: If you are attending a trade show get people to visit by doing a vine based “Where’s Wally” type promotion. Get your followers to watch the video and see if they can spot your logo at the show then offer a prize for the correct answers when they visit your booth. It works a treat.
Social networking has done a lot to ‘humanize’ companies and Vine is no different.
An excellent way to gain a new audience and potential customers is to show off your company being charitable or even of your and your employers having fun. If your company is throwing a Christmas party for example, post a video of your employees singing a Christmas carol. It is a nice touch and a fun way to interact with your customers.
We mentioned a great idea above for getting people to visit your trade show but here is another effective way that businesses are using Vine to great effect:
Use a Vine video with your conference hashtag to let people know when the conference or trade show is starting. You could even show a video of the speaker or your booth in the video too. It is a perfect way to attract a targeted audience and get additional visitors to your event.
The Internet is global but Vine is ideal for local businesses marketing to a local audience. Show your fans and followers how attractive your store or restaurant is and invite them to come and visit. You could even host a special event to bring extra footfall into your business.
Hopefully this article has provided you with inspiration and shown you how effective Vine can be for your business.
However, just before you dive in here are another 3 tips that will really help your videos to shine and encourage fans to spread the word and make them viral.
What makes Vine so different to many other video marketing strategies like YouTube for instance is this: you can’t upload something that you have already made. You cannot edit your video or go backwards once you get started. It really is a “one-take” process.
So with this in mind it’s important to know exactly what you want to record before you begin. Start by creating a simple storyboard or sketch out what kind of shots you want before you begin. Plan carefully what you want to film, the angle of the shots and how long you want each shot to appear for.
I know it sounds obvious but your vine video will work best if you have proper lighting and a series of steady shots. This is even more vital to remember if you are going to be using Vine to brand yourself online or wanting to show off your products and services.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. Just spend a few extra minutes planning your location and perhaps invest in an iPhone tripod to help keep your shots steady. It will make all of the difference to how well your videos will be received.
A lot of Vine videos don’t have any sound in them and that is fine if you don’t want sound in yours either. However, it may sound obvious but the Vine app will still record sound when it is being used. If you really don’t want sound in your video then you are going to have to find a very quiet location to film your video and try not to breathe too heavily when creating your video.
If on the other hand you WANT sound in your video you might want to consider buying a dedicated mic for your phone or experiment with the mic that comes with your iPhone headphones.
If you have already experimented with Twitter you will know firsthand how effective a tool it is and why so many successful businesses use it as part of their marketing strategy.
With the addition of Vine it will help keep your audiences engaged and reach an even bigger and broader audience than ever before.
Businesses are experiencing great results because the short videos create memorable impressions on their target audience and promote the business or product very fast by encouraging their target audience to spread the word and make the video go viral.
Businesses need all of the help they can get to get their product and services out there in front of the general public. By using social platforms such as Vine it is one of the best opportunities to grow your business through self-promotion and advertising.
Like all effective marketing strategies it can take a while to get to grips with how the media works or how to use it to its fullest potential.
This is how we can help. We have the experience required to help your business reach a much broader audience and attract brand new customers.
If you need any advice or would like to ask more about the marketing services we provide please don’t hesitate to contact us. We will be glad to help.
Download and install the Vine app for your iPhone, iPod, iPad or Android phone.
Create a Vine account using your Twitter profile or email address.
Find people to follow by going to your profile and clicking the People icon at the top right of the screen. You can also go to your settings and use the Find People option under Friends.
Connect your Facebook account to share videos on Facebook as well.
Click the video camera icon to start recording videos. Tap your finger on the screen to record and release stop recording.
When you’re finished, click continue to share your video on vine, Twitter and Facebook.
It is that easy. Now you can get creative and make your brand go viral.
Every so often we come across a client who refuses to acknowledge the positive effects the Internet would have on their business and think it is completely irrelevant to them. This is particularly the case with regards to social media.
“Oh my client base doesn’t use Facebook or Twitter” or “Our business isn’t aimed at kids.They are the only ones who use Facebook and Twitter. Our customers prefer the traditional methods of marketing”.
Can you believe that?
It is so frustrating for us as we can see their business struggling and we want to help them so much but there is not a lot we can do when they point blank refuse to reach out to a larger audience online using the Internet.
For anybody else who doubts the power of online marketing using social media platforms, here are some hard facts and figures that will make your head spin. The numbers are staggering and it shows the global impact that social media marketing is having on all aspect of business and personal life.
There are now over 1.15 billion Facebook users. People have been saying that Facebook has peaked but that figure is a 21% increase in just 12 months. Facebook is still the most popular platform and is now part of every day life.
We have talked a lot about Google+ recently. It has become the second biggest network during the last 6 months and continues to grow at a fast pace. It is finally reaching a point where Internet users are starting to become aware of it and are curious about how to use it.
Google+ now features in thousands of retweets, shares and traffic on the internet every day, which is a good indicator of how popular it is and why it shouldn’t be ignored.
Recent stats recorded on ExpandedRamblings.com reveal that Google+ has 343 million ACTIVE monthly users.
At the time of writing, Twitter is preparing to be floated on the stock market. Who would have predicted that when it first appeared?
Twitter is every bit as much a part of everyday life as Facebook and Google are. Almost every television program is using Twitter to obtain feedback and comments. News reports follow and report events based on Twitter comments. Everybody from movie starts to politicians use it to full effect to attract millions of followers and admirers. They know that it is a perfect marketing tool.
The concept is so easy and its power stems from that simplicity because it offers real time feed and news breaking capabilities.
According to a MediaBistro.com, the figure released in August 2013 show that Twitter has over 500 million users (35 million of those are in China alone).
Over 170 billion tweets have been sent, which averages out at about 400 million tweets PER DAY.
These are truly mind-blowing figures.
Facebook and Twitter are the platforms that create the most noise but LinkedIn, which is one of the older social networks, has been quietly working on making its platform more social over recent years and should not be ignored. In fact as a business this is the platform you should definitely be exploring to reach clients and contacts within your industry.
Again, the most recent figures reported by ExpandedRamblings.com reveal that LinkedIn has now exceeded 238 million users.
YouTube is the world’s most popular online destination for video sharing and creation and is absolutely fantastic as a marketing tool.
After revealing that every single one of the Ad Age top 100 brands had run advertising campaigns on YouTube, the social media giant recently reported this statement on its very own blog:
“….And today, we’re announcing a new milestone: YouTube now has more than a billion unique users every single month.”
The words ‘one billion users’ just rolls off the tongue and is too big to comprehend, but to put things in perspective and to show how enormous this figure is, the blog continues:
“What does a billion people tuning into YouTube look like?
There was a lot of excitement when Facebook first bought this fun and quirky image app company for $1billion. It hit headline news all around the world.
A lot of analysts thought that Facebook had more money than sense but it turns out to be a wise investment as it has helped Facebook move into mobile advertising and continues to grow every month.
From its launch in 2010, Nitrogr.am reports that there are over 150 million active users and over 16 billion photos have been shared (an average of 55 million photos every day).
Instagram is a great social media tool that will help your business to engage with your customers, build relationships and increase your sales.
Pinterest very quickly captured the public’s imagination soon after it was first launched.
The online “pinboard” social media platform has had a huge impact on how we use the Internet, even influencing the new Google+ design.
We have written about Pinterest before in previous articles but will be returning with another article very soon to show you just how powerful a marketing tool this is for your business.
To convince you of the popularity and influence of Pinterest, here are some facts and figures which again come from ExpandedRamblings.com:
There are currently 70 million users and Pinterest receives 2.5 billion page views EVERY MONTH. The average shopper on Pinterest spends between $140 – $180 on products.
Vine is relatively new and if you haven’t heard about it before, then you will find the article in this month’s edition very informative. Suffice to say, even if you have never heard of it before you will soon be hearing a lot about it over the coming months as its popularity spreads.
To put you in the picture mediabistro.com reports that 5 Vine videos are tweeted every second.
On the 20th August 2013 Twitter posted a tweet to announce that VINE had reached 40 million users and that figure is growing every day.
This is a huge growth considering it was only released earlier on in the year.
Tumblr is another company that was bought by an Internet Giant, this time Yahoo. The purchase was greeted with a lot of consternation especially from the Tumblr community whose audience are typically young and tech savvy.
Despite reports that the Tumblr users are deserting the site, Quantcast still report that it has 245 million unique visitors every month.
Despite being one of the oldest social sites (it was launched in 2009) it is one of the less mentioned platforms.
However you should not underestimate it, as it is particularly useful for bricks and mortar business giving them a stronger online presence. It is a perfect way to build a strong relationship with your customers by rewarding them with special offers and other benefits.
The number of users is around 30 million. Again, watch out for our future article, which shows you how to use this excellent business tool.
As you can see, rather than being something to ignore, social media marketing has become an indispensable tool to build relationships, engage with your customers and increase sales like never before.
The success in social media marketing comes from building strong and long-lasting relationships with your customers over months and years. You do this by providing them with the type of content and expertise that they will want to share with their friends, colleagues and family.
This approach will help to attract and keep loyal customers and is an approach worlds away from most traditional forms of advertising and marketing.
As the Internet evolves, so does social media. It is an ever-growing, ever-changing sector and as a result it is daunting for many businesses.
This is where we can help. We can help you with your social media campaigns while you concentrate doing what you do best, and that is running your own business.
If you had no idea how big social media marketing was until you read this article, or you have struggled running your own successful campaigns in the past, please give us a call and let us show you how we can significantly increase your profits.
“It’s only a mobile phone! What’s the point in making a website for that? You can’t see much on them anyway? If they’re interested they’ll look at it on their computer.”
What are we talking about? We are talking about how a website looks when someone uses a mobile phone or tablet to view it. Many, many small businesses have not chosen to make their website mobile-friendly, but does it really matter? Do small businesses really need to spend time and money to make a more design-responsive website?
Before making any decision that could cost money, a business is wise to look at whether there is a demand for what they are considering doing, but most importantly, whether it will have a positive, beneficial effect on their business and hence on their profits.
When the first cellphones were introduced back in the mid 1990’s, it was hard to imagine that these heavy, clumsy, over sized ‘portable’ phones would dramatically evolve into a tiny device that fits into the hand and would be capable of letting people instantly communicate verbally and visually globally with one another.
What was once science fiction is very much now science fact. All manner of daily activities are logged, recorded and shared on these devices. And once people had the capability to access the internet on their phone, regardless of where they were, smartphone development really began to accelerate. This portability has led to the rise of the mobile device but the decline in traditional desktop computers sales.
If you still need proof of how popular smartphones and mobile devices are, The Guardian newspaper reported in July 2013 that 90% of all phones sold were smartphones, with over 1.8 billion smartphones in existence at that time. Leading social media site Facebook recognized the importance of being mobile-friendly to its users. Because people were posting details of their lives as they lived them, it was crucial Facebook was able to offer a smooth and easy user experience, which could fit into the portable devices people carried with them. Facebook’s designers claim it can be viewed and used smoothly on around 7,000 different portable devices. The fact that there are so many different mobile devices is mind boggling.
There can be no doubt that if you want your business to prosper, you need to keep up with how people are shopping and where they are going to shop. Gone are the days when most people took time out of their evening or weekend to sit browsing on their desktop computer. People can access the web at anytime and anywhere they can get a mobile signal. It’s no longer about how a site looks; it’s all about speed – how fast they can get the information they are looking for?
People are internet window-shopping whenever they have a spare 5 or 10 minutes waiting for a bus, sitting in their car, on the park bench in their lunch hour or in the coffee shop. They don’t want to look at a pretty site design. They want a responsive site that loads quickly (less than 5 seconds), is easy to navigate around on their small device and a site where it is quick and simple to find the information they want.
That’s easy…just have a look! You may have looked at your site on your computer when your designer first finished it, but that may have been a number of years ago now, before mobile technology really came to the fore. You need to see if you have a responsive web design that will adapt itself seamlessly to the main percentage of mobile gadgets.
Take a look on your own phone, as well as on other mobile devices. Type in your web address and see what comes up. Notice:
If your site isn’t there in full and quickly, then you don’t have a mobile-friendly site, and that can be a big concern for your business. Over 80% of all local searches done on the internet are now done on mobile devices. Almost 50% of 18-25 year old website visitors consider their mobile phone as their primary computer, and that number will only go up, not down, as children grow up with more advanced technology. So if your customer is looking for you, the response of your website to their mobile device will determine whether or not they even browse your site.
There is no need to panic just yet. There is nothing here that can’t be changed or improved upon. Here are some really useful tips to consider when looking to make your website more mobile-friendly:
It might seem an obvious thing, but it is sometimes overlooked. There is no point creating a mobile site if nobody goes to it. When someone types in your web address on a mobile device, they don’t use a separate mobile URL. It’s the same one as your main website. So make sure your server is set up to recognise mobile devices and to automatically direct them through to the mobile version.
It’s pointless creating a mobile site if you cram it so full of content that the user has to wade through screen after screen of text to try and pick out what they want. Because your information is being viewed on a much smaller screen, realistically you can’t add all the in depth information you would have on a site viewed on a computer.
Your visitor hasn’t come to your site to learn more about you. They are there because they want something specific – your address, contact number or a product. So don’t cram each small page with as much text as you can get on, but add less (but more relevant) information to your mobile site in a condensed form. You want to make your visitor work less, not more, to find what they are looking for. If there is something that needs further explanation, like a full product description, then don’t be afraid to add in a link back to your full site.
It’s not just the content on your site that needs to be trimmed down. You need to look at simplifying how your visitor navigates around the mobile site. No-one wants to have to click here, then there, swipe and scroll and click again just to find your telephone number. Consider why visitors will use your mobile site and then put useful information within easy reach and the minimum of clicks.
The way your navigation looks is also important. Users want to be able to scan the home screen and immediately see where they need to be to get what they want. So keep your navigation clear and concise – don’t hide your navigation behind images. It is too confusing especially when they don’t have the roll over or hover features. It may look great on your main site, but it will annoy, frustrate and finally put off many visitors through the lack of friendly usability.
The rule to remember is mobile users have less time to talk and want to use that time to get the information they want and go. They certainly don’t want to have to fill out a 20 field opt-in form just to get a little information. The more fields a user has to fill out, the more unhappy they become.
When you need information from your mobile visitor, make sure you only add fields that are ABSOLUTELY necessary, and not what type of movies they like or whether they drink a brand of cola. You will engage your visitor more by giving them what they want quickly than by getting them to give you non-essential information.
Just because your mobile site is going to be viewed on a small screen doesn’t mean you have to leave out the most important thing – Your Brand Identity! When someone comes to your site, whether it’s the mobile site or your full website, they should be able to identify it immediately as yours. So use your corporate colors and logo together with your brand style on both sites so your visitor is confident both sites belong to the same company – yours!
How many times have you tried to tap the screen on your phone and missed the tiny button you were aiming at? Fingers come in all shapes and sizes. You wouldn’t expect a 6 foot 3 inch wrestler to have delicate slender fingers.
You may not be able to give people the option to change the size of button, but you can increase the button size to ensure visitors have a much easier time selecting the button they want.
The other thing you need to make bigger is the font size. It might seem logical that because you are using a smaller device, the text should be smaller too. But, in fact, the opposite is true. Because everything is being scaled down, you need to increase the size of font, otherwise your content will be unreadable. But this can work to an advantage. You can highlight features or areas of the screen by the selective use of color and larger, bolder fonts to pick out certain words and help the user understand the page more quickly.
It is easy to assume that visitors to your mobile site come there for exactly the same reasons as visitors to your mobile site, and so you arrange your site information in the same way. But is that actually the most likely explanation?
Visitors using a computer at home do not necessarily want the same thing as someone who visits your site on a mobile device. If someone local to your business is visiting your mobile site, they are most likely away from home using their mobile device because they want to know something more physical about your company. They could want to know your address or what hours you are open so they can make a personal visit. Or they may wish to contact you to make a booking or ask a question. They may even want to know what services you provide.
Whatever you eventually decide are the reasons someone would use your mobile site, make sure those pieces of information about your business are some of the first things that they can see and access.
Once you have made all the adjustments and changes to your mobile site, don’t forget to check everything works. Just because you can see your click-to-call function pops up, it doesn’t automatically follow that it will connect to your number. So check every pop-up, link and interactive function to ensure not only that they work, but that they work the way you want them to. Nothing is so frustrating to your potential customers as something that doesn’t work.
The whole aim of making your website more mobile-friendly is to increase the positive experience of your users. If people can come to your site and get the information they need quickly and easily, they will return back the next time confident that you have what they want.
Very few mobile browsers return to a site that is slow to load, complicated or makes them spend ages hunting down what they need. There are plenty of other businesses that do have mobile-friendly sites and they will move on to those sites without a backward glance.
By putting these guidelines into practice, you can make your user’s experience a positive one for them and a profitable one for you.
Social Media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest are excellent ways to keep in touch and engage with your customers. However, because of their success many people claim that email marketing is dead and no longer relevant.
Don’t listen to them, as nothing could be further away from the truth. Email marketing is alive and well and is still one of the most powerful and effective methods of online marketing and for keeping in touch with your customers.
First let’s establish what email marketing is and then show you why it is so effective in business.
Email marketing is when a visitor comes to your website and subscribes to your mailing list, which allows you to keep in touch with them via email. Having a mailing list such as this is essential if you are selling a product or service. Email marketing allows you to establish customer loyalty, trust and brand awareness, and encourages your subscribers to buy from you more often.
As you can see, it has many benefits. It is a powerful marketing tool but unfortunately, email marketing seems to have a bad reputation with some businesses, who don’t fully understand it.
Some companies think if people see an email that isn’t’t from someone they know, they will immediately consider it spam and delete it, and then think badly about their business.
While this may be true in some cases, (mainly because companies haven’t take the time to nurture their list), with responsible marketing you can make email marketing campaign work extremely well for your business.
Email marketing versus social media marketing
As we mentioned earlier, social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are excellent ways to engage with both potential and existing clients. They are perfect platforms for word of mouth advertising, strengthening the relationship with your existing audience and putting you in front of a brand new audience.
Both of these things are essential to your business. However, you don’t have much control over who sees your updates or even when they see them.
Not only that, but you are not fully in control of these connections, as Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter are constantly making changes without warning that could impact the way you connect with your followers.
Social media is important but it doesn’t give you the ability to contact people one-on-one the way you can with emails. With email marketing you are able to fine tune your promotional campaigns and build a list of people who are actually interested in what you have to offer.
With Twitter for example, your message is competing with hundreds or even thousands of other Tweets from companies promoting similar products or services to yours. The same is true on Facebook.
Even if you have thousands of fans, they probably follow lots of other pages as well, which dilutes your message. Yes, the same can be said about emails but if you send a personalized email and they open and read the email you will have their undivided attention even if it is just for a few minutes. There are too many distractions on social networks with chat options, latest status updates, new photos to see and so on.
That is why it is so important to try and convert your followers to your email marketing list as early as you can. Once you do it puts you in full control because they are now YOUR contacts. The only way you will lose them is if they decide to unsubscribe from your list.
How do you get your social network followers to join your list?
It is not hard to do. You simply have to give them a reason. For example you can offer them something in exchange for their email address.
It could be a special report, a how-to guide, an answer that addresses a particular problem or issue that your audience cares about, exclusive VIP information or some kind of special discount or voucher especially for your email subscribers.
You need to choose something that has immediate value to your subscribers, as well as something relevant to your target audience.
It doesn’t end there though. In fact that is just the beginning because if you want to keep your list active and not lose these valuable contacts, you need to think about how you can consistently deliver information that continues to keep them engaged and makes them want to open the email from you.
Treat your email subscribers like royalty
Customers who visit your offline business or who speak to you on the telephone expect to be treated special and rightly so. No doubt you are well known for excellent customer service and provide a great buying experience when you see your customers face-to-face. You need to apply this same experience to your email marketing list.
When somebody takes the step to subscribe and trust you with his or her email address they are in effect saying “I like what you offer and would like to get to know you better”.
They have invited you into their email in-box. You would never want to abuse that trust and relationship by bombarding them with sales pitches that constantly promote your products and services. You need to nurture your list. Be informative and helpful, as well as sending offers or news that you think they will want to know about.
Try not to view your mailing list as a mass of faceless names. Imagine your ideal kind of customer and talk to them one to one, as if they were in front of you.
It will help make your emails more personal and informative which will strengthen the relationship you have with them.
Create a newsletter
A newsletter is an ideal way to keep in touch with your mailing list. It provides the perfect mix of news, updates, special offers and information about your business to create engagement with subscribers and allows them to get to know you better. It is also an excellent way to encourage calls to action, perhaps with time limited offers for example.
The key is to provide relevant information that your ideal customers would like to read. Be sure not to bore them to death. It needs to be interesting and passionate.
Build a strong connection with your subscribers
Over time the connection between you and your subscribers will grow. This increases the loyalty they have to your business and will result not only in increased sales and profits but will also give you many other benefits. It will provide your company with new opportunities, referrals and mutually beneficial collaborations as well as gaining brand new and repeat customers.
An email list provides your business with repeat business
In the offline world you might decide to place an advert in your local press or invest in flyers or other advertising media.
The chances are, if enough people see your advert you will get some new customers.
With an email list, you have the opportunity to nurture and bond with your subscribers, so long term you end up with, loyal customers who will buy from you time after time.
Email marketing is one of the most powerful strategies for building a large core of new customers online in addition to your regular local customers in your bricks and mortar business.
Once you realize the power of sending out emails that result in creating extra sales and leads, you will soon be able to build a marketing campaign that becomes more profitable than the one before.
It is one of the cheapest most effective forms of advertising
Email marketing is still one of the most cost effective ways to promote any business. Over time you will be able to build up a mailing list with thousands of potential customers who are interested enough in what you have to offer to trust you with their email address.
You can communicate with these subscribers absolutely free and every time you send an email out it will result in many more sales. All for free.
Don’t underestimate the power of email marketing
As you can see email marketing is far from dead or obsolete.
Email marketing allows you more control over the message, including when it goes out and who sees it. Not only that but subscribers have made the active decision to give you permission to contact them which means that they are very interested in what you have to offer.
This gives you the opportunity to build a strong relationship with them. It is this relationship that gives you the power because people do business with people.
If you have looked after your list well they will have grown to like and trust you. In the end you will stand a much better chance of getting the sale than your competitors.
Now that you can see the power of a successful email marketing campaign we hope it encourages you to create campaigns of your own and continue to build a stronger relationship with your online customers.
Creating a successful email marketing campaign and building a relationship with customers who have entrusted you with their email address is a huge but very rewarding responsibility.
Done properly, you will see your profits soar. Done badly and not only will you see your sales decrease, but you could also damage your brand.
If you have any doubt whatsoever or simply want some advice on the best strategies for email marketing please contact us. You will be pleased you sought our advice and we will be able guide your business to a very profitable future. We look forward to hearing from you.
Make it interesting
Be sure to include lots of useful information in your messages. You must make it interesting. Don’t just send out sales pitches or make it just about you. Include information that is genuinely useful and interesting to your target audience or unique special offers that are not available to elsewhere on your site. If your subscribers feel you are only sending emails because you want sales from them, they won’t feel valued or special and they will hit the delete button, unsubscribe from your list or not bother reading your emails any more.
Have a visible link where the person can unsubscribe if they want to
This might sound negative but it is actually a positive thing. It puts your readers at ease because they feel they have control and are not being forced into anything. By law you must have an unsubscribe link in your email. If you try to hide it all you will do is frustrate and anger your subscribers, which is completely the opposite effect of what you are trying to achieve.
Receiving feedback from your readers is essential to strengthen the relationship you have with them, and for enhancing your email marketing projects. You can actively ask for feedback, opinions or suggestions from your readers. You can also get passive feedback by using email marketing programs, which track information like how many people open up your emails, or clicked on the links contained in them. All of this feedback is useful to help constantly improve and engage with your readers more.
Target the right people
This is good old common sense. If you bug the wrong customers with your emails all you will achieve is annoyance on their part. It is a waste of time for both you and them. You are better off fine-tuning your campaigns to an audience who actually want to hear from you.
Make the messages mobile friendly
More and more of your customers now access their emails on their mobiles or tablets so it is important your emails are correctly formatted to be sure they can be easily read.
Create exclusive offers just for subscribers of your mailing list
Nothing tells subscribers you appreciate them more for allowing you to contact them than by sending an exclusive special offer that can’t be found anywhere else on your website. These can be discounts, free delivery or any other deal you think would encourage more customers to buy.
All of these suggestions will help you to have a smoother and more successful email marketing campaign.
There are so many new ways to get information about businesses and branding out onto the internet, and new social media sites being introduced all the time. It seems every time you look at a blog post, video or online article, there’s a new symbol that has appeared to let you share the content with others. So it’s no surprise that some get overlooked more than others.
But in among all the tweeting, pinning and facebooking, there is one symbol that has been around for awhile – the rather unassuming ‘+1’ icon, belonging to Google Plus (+).
Google + is relatively new – it was launched at the end of 2011 – but already, it has a total of more than 500 million users worldwide. While many are familiar with the +1 icon, the Google+ business page, which was introduced at the same time, has gone mainly unnoticed. But the influence of Google+ is growing fast, and businesses should be joining the growing Google+ trend. Here, we give you an overview of Google+ and the benefits it has to businesses.
The first things you need in order to benefit from Google+ are:
1. A Gmail email account
2. A Google+ account.
Fortunately, Google make it so easy to do both at the same time, simply by visiting http://plus.google.com
TIP : Take the time to read through the brief overview information and watch the really quick videos (each under 2 minutes). It will give you a basic understanding of what Google+ is and how it works.
Once you have signed in, you’re ready to start….
Before you go anywhere, join anything, make a connection to anyone or hang out anywhere, it’s time to fill out your profile. When navigating around inside Google+, it’s good to know how to activate the menus.
TIP: Normally, you click on a button or icon to bring up the menu options, but Google+ uses a hover option. If you hover over things you will find menus and options appear for you.
If you are a little stumped on where to find your profile page, take your cursor up to the top left corner and hover over the ‘Home’ icon. In the menu that appears below the Home button you will see your profile icon. (You can also access it from the drop-down menu which is to the right of your top left profile picture).
When filling out this information, remember this is going to be seen by your potential new customers, so keep your profile entries more professional than personal.
Google+ profiles include 2 images – a small profile picture that act like an avatar (a small graphic picture that appears next to your posts and activity in Google+), and a cover photo which people see when they visit your profile page. Both of these images are important to your business profile, but for different reasons.
Profile Picture – Wherever you appear on Google+, (so in any Circle listing, a group, a post entry, etc), your profile image appears next to your name. It is a little piece of branding that appears every time you do in Google+.
Your profile images should ideally be uploaded at 250 x 250 pixels, and whether you use your profile image or a logo, it should be something that looks good and is recognizable when seen as a small image. BUT … your Google+ profile picture offers you an amazing opportunity to stand out in the search results. In among the Google search results, you will see that every now and again, one of the results has not only the title of the article and the webpage link, but a small avatar picture next to it too.
Doesn’t that entry stand out in the search results? This is their Google+ profile image, and although it doesn’t appear automatically, you too can easily get your profile image to be displayed in Google search results for all your blog and website entries.
How? It is a feature called ‘Google Authorship’ and you activate the feature from inside your Google+ profile by using the ‘Links’ section. You can use the link fields to add in and connect to all your websites, blogs and other profiles. To help verify your authorship, you can use a WP (WordPress) plug-in. (If you do a quick search in your site’s plug-in directory, you can find a suitable one).
It is well worth putting forth a little time and effort to extend your brand power and increase your visibility in Google search results in this way. It’s free, it’s very visual and it puts you miles ahead of your competitors.
Cover Picture – The cover picture is the 2nd image in your profile and is a MASSIVE 942 x 180 pixels. Not only that, but unlike other social media sites, there are no restrictions as to what information can go on it. So your business can take advantage of this massive billboard and add in calls to action, your website details, promote special offers, offer unique discounts… the possibilities are endless, and no-one is going to reprimand or ban you for doing so.
Once you have your profile sorted, it’s time to look around Google+. Here is a brief look at some Google+ features:
Running through the center of your page is the newsfeed of posts and you can choose whether to get a general stream of all the posts, or you can see posts from friends, family or other circles that you are connected to on Google+. You can also leave comments and replies on posts from in the newsfeed.
At home or at work, in our normal lives, we all have circles of friends, family or acquaintances we interact with. On Google+, you build circles of people you want to communicate to. It’s not just friends or family, you can build various circles of work colleagues, people you admire or follow or have a common interest with, people you find funny…the possibilities are endless.
Where Circles differs from other social media is you don’t need a formal invitation to connect with someone, so adding someone into a Circle is so easy. When you come across someone you want to add, hover over their name and it brings you up a list of all the Circles you have created. All you need to do is tick the Circle or Circles you want to put them in and you’re done, and YES, you can add people to more than one Circle.
Once you’re Circles are set up, you need to start building up your connections. You don’t need to send the same post to everyone. You can tailor which Circlesgets that post, so you can send it to as many or as few people as you like, which is great if you want to build up Circles of customers to send out targeted offers to every now and again, or a newsletter.
Since no-one needs to ask or be accepted to join a Circle, Google+ has a really handy ‘Added You’ button. This function shows people who have put you in one of their Circles. It makes good business sense to connect back to them and put them in one of your Circles. Just hover over their name and your list of Circles will appear for you to choose from.
This isn’t difficult at all – you simply type what you want to say into the ‘Share what’s new’ box. You can pretty much add anything else too – links, pictures or videos. Once ready to send, you can choose who to send it to. Below the post you’ve typed there is a ‘+ Add Name…’ field. You can choose to make it public, send the post to a specific circle or put in individual names in. But Google+ has a great feature, useful for businesses, in that it fully integrates with Gmail so you can send the post via email to your contact lists.
Businesses can add a business page to their account. This gives greater flexibility with the cover picture as businesses can choose to either have the one large cover or they can choose to have 5 smaller images at the top of the page. Not only does this option give businesses the choice to highlight 5 offers or aspects of their business, but it becomes so much easier to keep the display current and fresh simply by changing one or more of the smaller pictures, rather than having to produce an entire new large cover image every time.
A Google+ business page also offers more scope with statistics. Businesses can use the ‘Discover’ section to be able to see who is sharing their content, as well as ‘+1’ing their posts or content. Inside the Discover sector, businesses can also spot topics that are beginning to trend, and so stay current.
A community is a group, or forum, which has been created around a certain topic or activity, such as creative writing, fishing, internet marketing, etc.
Some communities are public, so anyone can join and become a member without having to ask, but some communities are closed. Closed communities are private communities. They only allow certain individuals in, in which case you need to ask to be allowed to join.
Inside communities, you can control what posts you receive. Posting in a community is different. Posts are divided into categories for different types of posts, so you can choose which lines of chatting you listen to. You can also choose to ‘mute’ receiving replied and updates from specific posts by hovering over and clicking the little ‘v’ at the top right corner of the post. This removes it from your Home page and prevent you seeing any more replies.
As a business opportunity, communities are great for doing market or product research inside a closed community. You can invite people who fit in to the target groups of your business to help you gather information and insight while creating a persona of your ideal customer.
Facebook has the ‘Like’. Pinterest has the ‘Pin It’. Well Google+ has the ‘+1’, and now that you know about it, you’ll see it all over the internet – in online articles and blog posts, next to pictures and videos and on websites and online shops.
+1 is your way of showing your Google+ Circles what things you like, find interesting or fun, or maybe you have found something you think others will find most useful or informative and you want to share it. There’s no need to fret about remembering which things you’ve liked or where you saw that really interesting feature. You profile has a +1 tab, which logs all your +1’s, so you can see them anytime.
Often overlooked, but crucial to branding your business, is the way your Google+ web page address appears within the browser. It is what your potential customer will type in or click on and can reinforce your brand’s identity with them.
A Vanity URL is a URL which is customised to reflect your company name. For example, https://plus.google.com/+davidbeckham is the vanity Google+ URL of footballer David Beckham.
The default URL assigned to everyone by Google+ is a long dull, unmemorable string of numbers that will impress no-one, and is instantly forgettable. Google+ does have a number of Vanity URLs, but is currently only assigning them to people who have either a high celebrity status, high business profile or a very large amount of followers. As a business, you can request to be given a vanity URL of your own, but unless you fall into one of the three categories mentioned before, it is highly unlikely that you would be successful.
Google+ has promised that more vanity URLs will become available in the future, but until then, there is a way of making your page web address more appealing and memorable. Sites such as http://gplus.to, http://plus.ly and http://gplusnick.com offer an alternative. They can set up a vanity URL to replace your current Google+ one.
So, on http://gplus.to,
That looks much better and is much more unforgettable that trying to type 21 numbers in without making a mistake.
Visual Branding – You can brand your profile with all sorts of marketing strategies, and you can make your Google+ profile appear in Google’s search results every time it brings up your website or blog entry
It is so very easy to separate people out into Circles and then target communication to them
Google+ Business pages offer more flexibility, have very few restrictions on branding and allow greater access to statistics
The huge Cover image is a great Billboard for promotions, special offers, Calls to Action, website and Social media contact details
Google+ offers full integration with Gmail, YouTube and Picasa
You can link to your website and blog easily
You can use Communities to help market and product research for your business.
Google+ is one of the best social media sites to display photographs on. The images are bigger and are shown off better inside the Google+ photo albums, which is great for displaying pictures of your products.
As you can see Google+ doesn’t just make sense for your business. It is an absolute must have and an essential social network for your company.
You have to jump in, and you know that. The only decision now is what you’re going to do with it.
Whether that’s creating a video series, highlighting your community, or using it for communication, you need to have a Google+ strategy immediately. If you don’t Google+ has the potential to disrupt every single online marketing plan that relies on SEO and social media to get traffic, generate leads, and make more sales.
We realize that you are too busy keeping on top of the day to day running of your business. There are not enough hours in the day to get everything done as well as trying to master online marketing tools like this which we admit can sound daunting.
So why not allow us to help? Our priority is to help businesses just like yours to succeed online.
We have the expertise and the experience so you can have full confidence that your business is in the right hands and is being well looked after. Our team is ready when you are.