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When you buy a magazine or newspaper, do you read through each page from top to bottom, taking in every word? Most people don’t. It’s more likely that you flick through the pages, scanning headlines and occasionally stopping to read an article in more depth when a headline catches your eye.
Journalists take a long time thinking up the perfect headlines that will grab the attention of their readers while still summing up what the article is about. When you write blogs for your business, you need to think like a journalist. Headlines are just as important (if not more important) to online content than they are for offline publications.
Most people online have a very short attention span. It has become uncommon for someone to stop and read a whole article. Chances are you’re not even reading what I’m saying word for word – you’re just skimming from one subheading to the next, maybe stopping to read any parts that look more important.
Does the perfect headline exist?
So, you need to take the time to write perfect titles for your blogs – these are your headlines. But, is there such thing as a perfect headline? No, unfortunately not. What appeals to one reader might not appeal to the next. And a certain style of writing titles might not suit you as a writer.
Still, there are lots of formulas that you can follow to pursue that “perfect” headline. Copywriting experts have spent a lot of time writing blog titles and researching what makes them most effective – what makes people click a link and read the blog.
I’ve pulled together some of these formulas to help you master your blog title writing skills.
The best formulas for writing effective headlines
Number or Trigger word + Adjective + Keyword + Promise
This formula comes from Jeff Goins, and is simple but effective. It really lets people know what to expect from the article, rather than a clickbait headline that overpromises and underdelivers.
The keyword lets you know the topic of the article, the promise tells you how you’ll benefit from reading it, i.e. what you’ll gain, and being specific with numbers gives you an idea of how much the article will deliver. While the adjective is there to entice the reader and grab their attention.
Try it out for yourself. You can play around with the order to get different variations.
[Do Something Desirable] Like [an Expert] Without [Something Expected & Undesirable]
This Copyhackers headline formula is a more advanced version of the classic “Be Like Mike” campaign from Gatorade. In this promotional tagline, you are invited to do something like a professional basketball player who you may admire. The headline formula takes this a step further, by also telling you how to avoid any negative consequences of doing this thing like a pro.
So, you might teach your readers “How to write headlines like Copyhackers without spending all your money.” Bringing an expert or professional into your headline adds an extra element of authority to your content.
[Adjective] & [Adjective] [What You Are / SEO Keyword Phrase] That Will [Highly Desirable Promise of Results]
This is what Unbounce call the Promise-Based SEO Headline. It explicitly includes your SEO keyword phrase to help your blog show up in search results for its focus topic. It’s not just keyword fodder, though. The adjectives at the beginning serve to get the reader interested, while the promise of results at the end makes them want to click to earn something desirable from reading the article.
For example – “New and exclusive headline writing tips that will get you more blog traffic”
This headline writing formula will really make your blog posts shine (I’m hilarious, I know!). This acronym can be found in a Kissmetrics blog and stands for:
Demonstrating how your blog post will help and entertain the reader gives them a reason to click and read it. The specificity tells the reader exactly what to expect – which is why numbers have been a running theme throughout these formulas.
Putting a sense of urgency and immediacy in your headlines will stop your audience from delaying in reading your article. Chances are if they don’t click it right away, they won’t click it at all.
Finally, the newsworthiness in your headline shows your audience that this article is something new and exciting, not something that they’ve already seen somewhere else.
Do you have a formula or process you follow when writing blog titles or are they unique every time?
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Most of us receive a stream of push notifications on our smartphones throughout the day. Some of them are necessary while others are just plain annoying. Others still can successfully make our day when we see them pop up. Mobile marketers using push notifications to communicate with their audience need to perfect this balance. You should use them in a way that delights and informs your customers. Sending annoying notifications will prompt users to ignore or block them.
If you’re at such a risk of annoying your audience with push notifications, then why take the gamble of using them at all? The answer is because, when done right, push notifications really work!
Push notifications: Love them or hate them
Research has shown that 52 percent of surveyed mobile users find push notifications to be an annoying distraction, while the remaining 48 percent find them to be useful in one way or another. So, we’re pretty much split down the middle on our opinion of push notifications. What drives these reactions?
Opinions are so varied not only because of individual differences, but also because of the varied quality of push notifications. The push notifications that encourage people to opt in help to save the user time, make them more productive, entertain them, or provide them with some other form of value. People that hate push notifications feel this way because the notifications they receive have the opposite effect. They cause the user to waste time and distract them from more important activities.
To make sure your app’s notifications land firmly in the “love” side of the pie chart, you need to focus on delivering messages that provide the kind of value that users like, rather than simply annoying them and wasting their time.
How apps use push notifications
Pretty much any type of app can use push notifications to inform mobile users of a variety of things. Here are a few common ways that mobile apps use push notifications:
- A social network letting you know someone has tagged you or posted on your wall.
- A calendar app reminding you of an upcoming appointment.
- A retail app informing you of a sale or discount.
- A gaming app encouraging you to come back and play.
- A messaging app notifying you of a new message.
- A news app sending you the latest stories.
- A health and fitness app reminding you to log your food and exercise for the day.
You’ve probably been on the receiving end of at least one of these notifications. There are many more ways marketers use them – some unique and creative, others not so much. No matter what type of app yours is, there’s sure to be some way to incorporate these types of notifications into your mobile marketing strategy.
The benefits of push notifications
Sure, you risk your users uninstalling your app in response to receiving too many push notifications. But, if you implement an effective push notification strategy, the benefits far outweigh the risks. Let’s look at some of the stats that prove the worth of push notifications for your mobile app.
- Improve user retention – Mobile users are a fickle bunch. Data from Localytics shows 80 percent of users churn within 90 days. Using push notifications can help to improve this figure. Looking at the first 30 days after an app is installed, 65 percent of users return to the app within that time when push notifications are enabled. This is compared to just 19 percent when they’re not enabled.
- Boost engagement – Not only will push notifications encourage people to keep your app on their phone, they also make them want to use it on a more regular basis when you use push notifications effectively. More stats from Localytics show that 25 percent of people use an app just once after downloading it. But, using push notifications properly can improve engagement levels by up to 88 percent for your mobile app.
- High open rates – The best thing about effective push notifications is that users really pay attention to them. Open rates vary between industries and app types, but average rates are around 50 percent more than that of email marketing.
How to get push notifications right
I’m sure you all want these benefits that push notifications can bring, but we’ve also mentioned those bad push notifications that give this technique a bad name. To make sure your app is one of the good guys, follow these best practices for making your push strategy a success.
The best way to avoid annoying your users with push notifications is to make sure that they provide value to the user. This could be an entertaining departure from their everyday life, a piece of information that could help them plan their day better (from a weather forecast app, for example), or an offer or discount on a product they have been looking at recently.
These are just a few ways your app could provide your users with additional value. This will depend on the kind of app you have and the industry it operates in, so think about how you can provide value that’s relevant to your app.
Remember that stat that push notifications receive open rates of around 50 percent more than emails? Impressive, right? The even better news is that adding personalization to your push notifications can boost open rates by a massive 800 percent! Broadcasting the same notification out to everyone results in those annoying push notifications that everyone ignores. You need to make sure every notification you send out is relevant to the user that’s receiving it.
You can personalize notifications based on the users’ past activity within the app. For example, you could entice inactive users to revisit your app with a notification saying “We haven’t seen you in a while. Check out what’s new with our app.” But, sending this kind of message to someone who was on your app yesterday shows you don’t know your users and could prove to be annoying.
Let customers tailor their notifications
One of the best ways to offer personalized push notifications to your users is to put them in control. It can be hard to say what the right time and frequency is for sending out push notifications because this can vary a great deal from one person to the next. Notification settings within your app should allow users to determine how often they receive notifications. Some users will be happy receiving daily notifications while others might prefer weekly or less frequent notifications.
Users should also be able to control what kind of notifications they receive. Take a news curation app as an example. Many of these apps allow users to select which topics they are interested in so they’re not being sent news that they don’t care about. So, if I want to hear about local news, sports, and politics but am not interested in entertainment and music news, then I can tailor my settings to reflect this.
Monitor user behavior
Once you’ve set your push notification strategy, be prepared to adapt. Monitoring user activity lets you assess how well your strategy is performing and how to improve it. If a lot of users are disabling push notifications or uninstalling your app, it’s time for a rethink. You might need to reduce sending frequency or examine your content to see if it’s really providing value.
You should also monitor the types of notifications that users open the most and which they ignore. This can allow you to focus more on the notifications that your users are actually interested in. Finally, analyzing the times of day and days of the week when your notifications get the most engagement can inform you of the best times to deliver push notifications.
You don’t want to have one of those annoying apps that people regret installing to their phone, so make sure you get your push notification strategy right to give your app the best chance of success while making your users happy. It’s time to pull in users with your push notifications!
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Apps are big business in 2018. You see people glued to their smartphones wherever you go. Research shows that 90% of the time we spend on mobile devices is spent within apps. Your customers are installing and engaging with brand apps, so entering this space could be hugely profitable.
We’ve already discussed the benefits of having your own app to help you decide whether this strategy is right for your business. While benefits like increased brand awareness and customer engagement can lead to increased sales and profits in the long run, you might be looking for an app to provide a more direct source of income.
How do you make sure that you secure a good return on your investment from building a mobile app? Here are a few popular monetization strategies businesses can use for their apps.
The most direct way to make money from your app is to have people pay to install it. Paid apps are available in app stores for as little as $0.99, but can also be much more expensive. The problem with this strategy is that there are so many free alternatives in the app store. You will need to show why your app is worth paying for over other free options.
Although you may get fewer downloads by offering a free app, your churn rate is likely to be lower. If someone has invested money into your app, then they are more likely to use it so their money has not gone to waste.
If you opt to make your app free to download, you can make money by offering in-app purchases. Use of the app is completely free, but you have the option of enhancing your experience by paying for certain things. This is common in gaming apps where users can buy upgrades and in-app currency to unlock exclusive content, speed up events, or upgrade their character.
The benefit of this approach is that it does not exclude users that are not willing to pay to use your app. Some people will continue using your app for free, while others will part with their money to get ahead or earn more rewards.
Like in-app purchases, freemium apps are free to download and use, initially, but then offer more to the user once they pay a fee. This could involve creating a free version of your app with the basic functionalities, and a premium version that offers more value and features. People can use the free app as much as they like but must pay if they want to unlock the features available with the premium version.
The freemium model is a good way to get your user hooked on your app before they commit to paying. This removes the barrier to entry because people don’t have to pay to download the app. It also offers users the chance to try out your app before making a commitment, so they can judge whether or not it is right for them.
Subscription models are similar to freemium apps. This commonly involves offering a free trial of your app for a limited period of time. If someone wants to continue using your app after their trial period ends, they have to pay. You could offer a 7-day free trial of your app, then require a monthly payment to continue using it. Subscription apps generally offer multiple payment options, such as monthly or annually payments.
Like the freemium model, this allows users to try out your app to decide whether it is worth paying for. The hope is that after using your app the user realizes that they can’t live without it and must pay to continue using it.
In-app advertising is a popular monetization strategy for mobile apps. With this strategy, it is free to download and use your app, but you sell ad space within the app to earn money from publishers. Offering your app for free helps you to gain a sizable audience, which is attractive to publishers.
If you opt for this strategy, you need to ensure that you do it well. If your ads are too disruptive to the user or aren’t relevant to them, it is likely to put them off. This will increase levels of churn. The ads you display should provide value to the user with relevant content. They should also be positioned in such a way that does not detract from the app experience.
These five app monetization strategies are all commonly used by app developers. It comes down to evaluating which one suits your app and your brand. Many apps are combining strategies. You could offer a free-to-use app with ads, for example, and then present the opportunity for users to pay to access an ad-free version of the same app.
If you are developing an app, make sure you plan how to earn back what you spent on it. Launching a free app and then adding in-app purchases or advertisements later can be a big turn-off to existing users. Be sure to implement your chosen model from the start.
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Do you ever feel like you don’t have a minute to spare in the day because you’re working so much, but your to-do list doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller? We all have days, or even weeks, like this. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Focusing on productivity can help us to get more done in less time. Rather than sacrificing even more sleep or longing for an extra day in the week, follow these tips to become a more productive marketer.
Plan your days
Having a clear plan for the day ahead can help you to stick to task more easily and not go off on time-wasting tangents. Some people sit down the evening before and plan what they’ll do the next day. You could also take 10-20 minutes in the morning to plan the day ahead. You could even do this on your commute to work.
Eat that frog
If we’ve got a big, important task, we have a tendency to procrastinate and put it off, instead focusing on smaller, more manageable tasks. Business guru, Brian Tracy advises you to eat that frog! Originating from a quote from Mark Twain, this theory tells you to tackle the thing you dread most, before you start on anything else. By doing this, you know that the worst task is behind you and you are ready to take on anything.
Being constantly connected through multiple devices is a real distraction. To improve your focus, turn your smartphone on silent and put it out of reach and out of view if you have to. Switch off any desktop notifications as well, especially email. Rather than checking your emails regularly throughout the day or as soon as you receive an email, allocate two or three times throughout the day that you dedicate to email.
There are lots of tools online that help you with productivity. Calendar tools, project management, to-do lists, time-tracking tools, and many more can help you make better use of your time. These can help you to manage your time more effectively, communicate better with your team, and keep track of everything that needs doing. Here is just a short list of tools that many marketers swear by for better organization and productivity:
Automate what you can
You shouldn’t rely on automation for everything, but it can help save time on certain tasks. Tools like Hootsuite and Buffer are useful for automating social media content, and most email service providers, such as MailChimp, allow for autoresponders and automated testing. Automation helps to free up your time from performing repetitive and menial tasks, giving you more time for other tasks.
When creating your to-do list for the day or week ahead, take some time to organize your tasks in order of importance. Highlight tasks that absolutely must be completed that day, mark deadlines on your calendar or list, and make sure to keep updating your to-do list. This helps you to prioritize your tasks and ensure that you meet important deadlines.
Give yourself a break
If you have a million and one things to do, you feel like you need to work non-stop until it’s done. This can actually be counterproductive. Your brain needs to take breaks in order to stay focused. Even taking a five-minute walk around the office can help to refresh your mind and recharge your batteries, leading to more a better work output.
When you’ve got a lot on your plate, you might try to save time by doing several things at once. Just like avoiding giving your brain a break, this can be counterproductive. It is better to focus all your attention on one thing at once and work efficiently on that before moving onto the next task. When you divide your attention, you become much less productive and more easily distracted.
It’s become an over-used phrase, but the trick really is to work smarter, not harder. Make more of the time you spend in the office so that you can achieve results and still have time to spare for yourself. What are your go-to tricks for staying productive? Let us know @MktngStrategy.
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What’s your favorite scary movie? No, this isn’t the start of a terrorizing prank call, a la Wes Craven’s Scream. Just take a moment to think about your favorite horror film, or even just your favorite horror scene. What is it that makes it so gripping and terrifying? Although you may not always be consciously aware of it, music is an important part of building up tension and atmosphere in film.
Just imagine your favorite horror scene without music; does it still chill you to the bone? If you can’t imagine it, take a look at this comparison of Psycho’s shower scene with and without music. It certainly loses much of the effect that Alfred Hitchcock originally intended.
Whether it’s a Hollywood film, a TV ad, or a YouTube video, music is really important to delivering your message. If you currently run, or are thinking of running, video marketing or advertising campaigns, then you should think carefully about your use of music.
Navigating copyright laws of using popular songs in your videos can be a challenge, though. Here are a few bits of advice for sourcing music for your video campaigns.
Using copyrighted music
Hopefully, you’re all aware that you can’t just take an image on Google and stick it from your blog. In the same way, you can’t just take a song that you’ve heard on the radio and add it to your marketing video. Do your research to find out whether that song is copyrighted, and who owns the copyright.
It’s not enough to simply say that you don’t own the rights to a song you use and give credit to the original artist. You need to actually gain permission to use it. If you get caught out using copyrighted music without permission, consequences can range from having your video suddenly removed to being sued by the copyright holder.
How to get permission for copyrighted music
If you absolutely have your heart set on a certain copyrighted song, you have a couple of options. The first thing you could try is contacting the artist or their record label directly on the off chance that they’ll give you permission to use their music. This may be unlikely, but if it’s a song by an upcoming, independent artist, then they might be happy to earn the extra exposure your video provides them.
Otherwise, you will need to obtain a license to use copyrighted music. You will often need to obtain two different licenses; the synchronization license and the master license. Online services such as ASCAP can help you to research and obtain licensing for copyrighted music. Obtaining licenses can be a complicated and expensive process. If you don’t have the budget or a legal team to help you handle these proceedings, there are a few other options.
Stock music sites
You’re probably familiar with websites such as iStock that provide stock images for public use, but did you know the same thing exists for music? You may be able to find open source music on stock sites, that are available for you to use in your marketing material. These sites generally contain royalty-free music as well as copyright-free. Check out Pond5 to find something that suits your project.
Public domain music
You are free to use any music that is in the public domain. This includes music that was never copyrighted and that which the copyright has expired on. Copyright expires when a certain amount of time passes after the artist’s death – typically between 50 – 75 years. In the US, any music published before 1922 exists in the public domain. Artists can also choose to place their work in the public domain.
An artist can make their work available under a creative commons license, making it free to use for certain purposes. Make sure you read all of the terms to make sure your use of the music is covered under this license. Creative commons licenses may specify that you have to credit the original artist.
One way to ensure that you won’t get in trouble for the music you use is to create it yourself. If you’re a musician or have a friend or family member that is, you can have your own custom piece of music created specifically for your video. If you have the budget for it, you could also hire someone to create the music for your video campaign.
Whichever option you choose, make sure you read the fine print to make sure your use of the music is appropriate and, most of all, legal. Although it can be complicated and time-consuming, finding the perfect music for your video could determine its success.
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What’s a website without traffic? It’s pretty much a journal for you to collect your thoughts, ideas, and other kinds of content that no one else will see. My guess is that this was not your intention when you invested in building a website. No, you want traffic. Lots and lots of high-quality traffic.
Increasing traffic to your website can be a real challenge. In fact, it is one of the most commonly cited challenges faced by online businesses. It’s time to change that! You’ve got enough on your plate as a business owner without having to worry about a deserted website.
Read on to find out the most effective ways for driving high-quality traffic to your website.
Blogging can help your traffic in multiple ways. If people aren’t visiting your site, give them a reason to! Fill your website with content that’s really valuable to your target audience. Content that is useful and engaging. Then, share your blogs as much as possible so that people know it’s there. This will drive them to your website to read your blogs.
Blogging also helps to improve your SEO. Google loves websites that are updated with quality content on a regular basis. This shows them that your site is one they should recommend to users when they search. Your website traffic will benefit hugely from being more discoverable through search engines.
On top of blogging on your own website, contributing blogs to other websites is another great practice. Find relevant websites that accept blogs from guest contributors and get in touch with them. Do some research before you propose or write a guest blog. Find out what kind of content their audience likes, what tone of voice the site’s blogs are written in, and what format they use.
This will help you to get quality backlinks to your website, which is great for SEO as well. It will also help to raise awareness of your brand and its website, getting more people to visit you online. Plus, if the website you contribute to shares your blog on social media, this will expose your brand to an even wider audience.
Speaking of social media, you need to be on it yourself to help direct quality traffic to your website. Make sure your website URL is in your bio on whichever social media platform you use. Plus, you can post links to your site and blog to get more people clicking – just make sure it’s not too promotional.
Post quality content on a regular basis to build a following on that platform. It’s also important to engage with other users and get involved in conversations. Discover the key influencers on social media in your field and follow and engage with them.
If you mention anyone like this in one of your blogs (if you link to an article of theirs, for example), then be sure to give them a shoutout on social media. Tweet a link to your blog with their @ handle. If they retweet, then that could be big exposure for your website.
A more direct way to increase traffic to your website is through digital advertising. Display ads, search ads, and social ads are popular forms of online advertising. If you have the budget for it, then advertising online can be a big boost to your website traffic. Targeting options mean that you can show your ads to a specific audience, meaning you can target the high-quality traffic that you want.
A lot of the ideas mentioned here contribute to your website’s performance on search engines, but this point focuses solely on the search factors on your website. Optimizing your site for search is so important for driving more traffic to your website. Here are a few factors you should be aware of:
- Keywords – The experts advise against keyword stuffing these days, but you should still think about the keywords and phrases that people might use to look for you. Try to incorporate these naturally in your website content and blog posts.
- Title tags – The title tag is the first line that appears in a search listing for a webpage. It should make it clear to the reader what the page is about. An unclear title won’t make people want to click on the search result.
- URL – Like the title tag, the subject of the page should also be clear in the URL. This is good for keywords as well as clarity.
- Alt tags – An alt tag is assigned to an image and is the text that is displayed when an image cannot load. This is good for accessibility and is also scanned by Google’s bots, providing another indicator of the subject of the page.
I’ve mentioned backlinks a couple of times already via blogging and social media. Why is building these backlinks so important? They are basically another way of showing Google that your website is worth suggesting to their users. If a lot of high quality, authoritative sites are sharing links to your content, then it must be worth sharing.
So, the more backlinks you can earn, the better you will look in Google’s eyes. Plus, if links to your website are being shared all over the internet, then more people are going to see them and (hopefully!) click to view your website.
A lot of these techniques feed into each other, so it shouldn’t be difficult to start working on several of them. Write a blog, share it on social media, earn lots of backlinks! Naturally building your website traffic takes time, so stay patient and keep doing what you’re doing!
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We’ve already given you tips on how to get your emails opened with effective subject lines, but what happens next? Once someone has opened your email, the content inside it needs to keep them interested. We’re going to guide you through the why’s and how’s of writing killer email content.
Why is strong email content so important?
You send your marketing emails out with a specific purpose. Perhaps you are trying to raise brand awareness, drive more traffic to your website, or encourage conversions. The content of your email needs to make this happen. Content that is difficult to read, uninteresting, or filled with errors isn’t going to convince the reader to click a link to find out more.
Your email content will also influence your recipients’ future behavior. So, if someone opens one of your emails to find boring or irrelevant content, they are unlikely to continue engaging with your emails. If they are not interested in your content, they’ll either delete future emails or unsubscribe altogether.
To improve your email engagement rates, you need to put time into creating compelling content for your subscribers.
How to create killer email content
So, how exactly do you write compelling content for your marketing emails? These tips will help you improve your content and engage with your audience.
Live up to expectations
Your subject line has convinced the reader to open this email, so it’s important that the content inside lives up to what you promised in the subject. If someone clicks an email expecting to receive 5 tips for cleaning their home, they’ll be disappointed if the email content doesn’t deliver this. Writing a clickbait subject line and not delivering in the email is a common practice of spammers, so avoid doing this if you want to stay out of the spam folder.
As well as relating to its subject line, your email content should be relevant to its audience. Write content that your audience would find interesting and useful. You should also use language and a style of writing that your audience will be able to relate to. Segmenting your mailing list can help you to tailor your email content to a specific audience.
Address your reader
Don’t make your emails all about you. Your content should address the reader directly and focus on them. If you’re promoting a service, for example, it should focus on how it benefits your customer. This gives your content a more personal feel, making it easier for readers to engage with.
Put your best foot forward
Not everyone that opens your email is going to read through it from top to bottom. Because of this, make sure that the most important information in an email is featured near the top. If your readers have to scroll all the way to the bottom to reach the juicy stuff, it’s not going to get as much exposure. It’s a good idea to repeat your call to action at the top and bottom of the email.
It’s a basic practice, but also one of the most overlooked. If your email has spelling mistakes and poor grammar, this will reflect badly on your business. Your readers will make a judgment of your brand based on this, even if it’s only on a subconscious level. Read through your emails and have someone else check them over as well to spot any errors. This should also include checking that all the links in the email work.
People often read their emails in a hurry, while at work or on public transport, for example. This means they don’t have time to sit and read long paragraphs of text. Keep your writing to the point to communicate your message quickly. Your emails should be easy to scan so that readers can easily identify the most important parts.
The call to action is one of the most important parts of a marketing email. Your reader needs to know what step you want them to take next, why they should do it, and how to do it. Be clear in your call to action text and use actionable language that is easy to understand. Phrases such as “click here”, “buy now”, and “get in touch” make it obvious what the reader has to do.
Practice these tips when creating your email content to send emails that get read and encourage engagement.
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When it comes to email marketing, platforms such as MailChimp, AWeber, and ActiveCampaign are real lifesavers. These platforms take a lot of the hard work out of creating, sending, and monitoring marketing emails. Automation, analytics, email templates and design tools all help you manage your email marketing, helping you get the best results.
While there are lots of great options available for creating and sending your email campaigns, the one we’re going to look at here is MailChimp. You don’t have to be a professional designer to create stunning emails using MailChimp. Their templates and drag-and-drop feature make it easy to achieve. We’ll walk you through how to create eye-catching email templates in MailChimp.
You have three options when it comes to creating your template:
- Code your own
The option you go for will depend on your design and technical knowledge, so let’s look at each of these options.
MailChimp’s basic templates are blank slates for you to customize, but they already have the structure in place so you don’t have to build it yourself. Various layouts are available with columns laid out in different ways. Once you’ve selected your template, the drag-and-drop design tool allows you to customize the design of the template. You can add and rearrange different content blocks, edit the colors, and add widgets to the template.
Themes templates are more complete than the basic ones. Professional designers have contributed these themes to provide MailChimp users with attractive, pre-made templates. The color scheme, layout, and design are already in place, you just have to add in your content. If you can find one to suit your email needs, then you can save time by using one of these themes. It’s a good idea for anyone who doesn’t trust their own design skills.
Code your own
If you understand how to use HTML and CSS, then you also have the option of coding your own email template. This gives you greater freedom and control over your email design compared to using MailChimp’s pre-built templates. Coding your own email template is a good option if you have the knowledge and experience.
Design tips for email templates
Once you’ve decided which type of template is right for you, it’s time to design it. Here are a few best practices for effective email design.
- Strong branding – make sure your branding is clear in your template design. It’s a good idea to place your brand name and logo at the top of the email so it’s one of the first things they notice. Your color scheme can also help to convey your branding.
- Color scheme – Pick a color scheme for your template that looks appealing while not detracting from the content. Using lots of different colors could make the design look messy. Pick one or two colors to accentuate the design.
- White space – If you overcrowd your email with different elements, your audience won’t know where to look. Space your content blocks out with plenty of white space surrounding them. This will help to guide the reader’s eye to what you want them to see.
- Balance images and text – Your template should contain a mixture of text blocks and images. This variety will help to hold your audience’s attention, as opposed to presenting them with a big block of text.
- Define your sections – The different types of content blocks and elements such as borders and dividers can help you to separate out different sections. This makes your email easier to scan, making it more engaging and easier to understand.
Once you’ve built your template, you can reuse it over and over, adding in the content for that specific campaign. You do also have the option of creating an email from scratch for each campaign. But, creating templates is a great way to save time spent on creating future campaigns.
Once you’ve got your template, it’s time to fill it with content for your email campaign. For tips on this, take a look at our blog on creating killer content for your email campaigns.
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Keyword research is an important activity that drives your SEO and paid search advertising. If you don’t carry out proper keyword research, then you could end up wasting a lot of your PPC budget. It could also hurt the levels of traffic you get to your website. Keyword research can also help your content marketing strategy. Discovering popular keywords gives you an idea of what topics your audience might be interested in reading about.
Getting keyword research right can be a complicated process, so here are a few tips to help you out.
Think like your audience
You might want to rank for “best pet shop Chicago”, but if your target audience isn’t searching for this term, then it won’t help you. Get into the mind-set of your audience to find words and phrases that they would actually type into a search engine. Researching your target market in depth can help you with this. You could even run small focus groups to get a direct insight.
Use keyword tools
There are lots of different online tools you can use to help you find relevant keywords. These tools can give you an idea of how often a given search term or keyword is being used, how competitive it is to rank for, and how much it would cost to target in a PPC campaign. Here are a few tools that could help with your keyword research:
Vary keyword length
Short keywords that may only consist of a single word, such as “shoes”, are known as head keywords. This kind of keywords receive really high search volumes because they apply so generally. It would be amazing brand exposure to be able to rank on page one of Google for these keywords. However, because they are so general, they are also extremely competitive as a lot of other websites will be trying to rank for them. This means you have a lower chance of ranking highly for them, and you’d have to pay a lot of money to do so with PPC campaigns.
Long-tail keywords operate in the opposite way. These are keyword phrases consisting of several words, and may be a full sentence or question. Because they are more specific, long-tail keywords are less competitive, but fewer people will search for them. Opting for more specific keywords is a good way to really hone in on the audience you want to attract. When choosing keywords, targeting a combination of head terms and long-tail keywords is an effective strategy to cover more bases.
Measure keyword quality
Monitoring the performance of your keywords is also important. If a certain keyword is bringing a lot of traffic to your website, but all of those visitors are bouncing straight off your site, then it probably isn’t getting you the kind of traffic that you want. So, as well as monitoring clicks to your site from a given keyword, also keep track of how well those clicks are converting or engaging on your site.
We don’t mean approach your keyword research with a defeatist attitude. Adding negative keywords to your PPC campaigns is a strategy you shouldn’t ignore. As well as adding keywords you want your ad to be shown for, you can also select words and phrases to rule out. This means people searching for these keywords won’t be shown your add or search listing. For example, if you sell eyeglasses, then you might want to add words like “wine” or “pint” to your negative keywords list to exclude people searching for the wrong type of glasses.
Your audience will use different language depending on what kind of information they are looking for. For example, if someone is considering buying a new smartphone, a search they conduct in their research phase will be different to one they conduct later on when they have decided what model they want.
So, someone searching for “best new smartphones in 2017” probably hasn’t got very far in the buying cycle and are simply looking for information. On the other hand, a search for “iPhone 7 monthly contract” probably comes from someone who has basically made up their mind and is just comparing providers.
Think about the aim of the content or page you are directing your audience to. If you are optimizing a blog post for search, then questions that come during the discovery phase will be useful. Whereas, if you are running a PPC campaign that aims to convert visitors and make sales, more specific search terms will help to target people who are ready to buy.
Keyword research is a tricky skill to master. The tools and tips provided here should give you a head start in finding the keywords that are relevant to your website and audience.
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New technologies and tools are being developed at a rapid pace these days. With them come new ways of marketing your business. Both online and offline, marketers have new techniques and best practices to adapt to. It can be difficult to keep up with the rapid pace of evolution. One marketing strategy that has stuck around is print marketing, but has it really stood the test of time?
There are plenty of marketers online heralding the fact that “print is dead”, but there seems to be at least an equal amount of people writing “why print marketing is not dead” articles in response. With these opposing views, it’s difficult to know whether we should keep investing money in print marketing or abandon it for good.
Print marketing vs. digital
Our world is becoming increasingly digital. Kids today are growing up surrounded by technology, so they’re already adept at using an iPad by the age of 2. Does this mean that print marketing doesn’t have a place in today’s society?
If you’re anything like me, checking your emails involves rapidly deleting a lot of junk. There might only be a few marketing emails each day that you take the time to open and read, and even fewer that you keep in your inbox. When it comes to physical mail, however, I am much more likely to open and read a letter I get through my door. There is the perception that letters contain more important and relevant content.
Sure, there’ll be a few cheap flyers and takeout menus that I instantly throw in the trash, but letters addressed to me, especially ones addressed by hand, grab my attention. Direct mail feels more personal and more thoughtful, even if it is marketing materials as opposed to an important letter.
It feels like the business has put real effort into getting their message to me. Think about the time it takes to send a “Thank you” tweet to a customer compared to the time and effort put into crafting and sending a personalized thank you note in the post. You are much more likely to keep hold of something like this, as opposed to the tweet that you’ll forget about pretty quickly.
Making print marketing work in 2018
Print marketing and advertising certainly still has power today, perhaps precisely because of how used to digital content we have become. Far from being an outdated medium, print has become something that is novel to us and, therefore, holds our attention better than digital content.
The way print marketing gets a bad rap is from marketers creating outdated campaigns. Just like spammy and intrusive online banner ads have given display advertising somewhat of a bad name, cheap and unimaginative print campaigns risk doing the same for print. Here are a few key ways to keep your print fresh in 2018.
Your print marketing has to stand out as something unique and valuable. Poorly printed flyers and cheap business cards aren’t going to cut it anymore. Make sure you invest money into printing marketing materials on high-quality paper or card, with impressive designs and compelling content. You should be proud to hand a business associate your business card, not ashamed. This quality will reflect well on your brand and also make you more memorable.
Personal and relevant
Leave old batch-and-blast techniques behind. You need to deliver personalized and relevant content to your audience in order to get your brand seen and remembered, and for the right reasons. I mentioned handwritten letters earlier; although this may take more time, it is a great way to give that personal feeling. Use the data you have on your customers to create specific, personalized content.
Bring print into the 21st century
If you still have concerns about print marketing being outdated, spruce it up with some 21st century technology. Using QR codes, RFID tags, or NFC are all good ways to link your print marketing with your digital marketing. Create a real omnichannel marketing strategy by making it easy for your audience to interact with you across multiple channels.
What’s your view on using print marketing and advertising in 2018? Is it dead-and-buried or still going strong?
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Having a blog on your website is a real draw. It provides visitors to your website with some extra value, encouraging them to stay on your site for longer and visit more unique pages. It is also a good way to get your website found through search engine optimization. People can find each blog post through search engines as well as your main website content, so you could experience a big boost in traffic.
Not all blogs are effective at bringing in more website traffic, though. To help your blog become more successful at this, here are a few simple SEO tricks to help your blogs perform better in search engines.
Firstly, you need to decide which keywords you want to target in your blog posts. This can go either way; you could think of a topic you want to write a blog about and then decide which keywords to target in this blog, or you could research popular keywords related to your industry and think of a relevant topic that could target these keywords.
Keyword stuffing is a thing of the past. Successful bloggers place more of a focus on the user experience while trying to incorporate keywords in naturally, rather than forcing them into your content and making it difficult to understand.
Headlines, Tags and URLs
Don’t just think about your blog content when it comes to keywords; there are plenty of other places within your webpage where you can sneak them in. Try to incorporate your main target keywords into the headline of your blog, ideally at the front of the headline as this makes it rank better for it. However, just like with your blog content, don’t force this. Your headline should still be compelling enough to encourage people to click on it.
Search engines also take your URL into consideration, so make sure you include your keywords in there if you are able to customize it. Again, earlier in the URL is better than at the end of it. Include your keywords in the tags on your blog as well for even better indexing. Try not to be repetitive with your tags, though, as these may be treated as duplicate content.
Earning backlinks to your blog posts helps to give it more authority, which Google loves. Try to secure backlinks from good quality domain names because these will be better for your search rankings. Buying backlinks could lead to consequences from Google, including domain names being banned.
Sharing your blogs on your social media profiles and encouraging your followers to share them is a good way of earning quality backlinks. You can also link to your own blogs within other blogs you write when the topics are related. Guest blogging is another great way to secure backlinks from other authoritative sites.
Optimize Your Page
The way your blog page and each individual webpage is designed matters to Google. If your webpages have sloppy coding and long load times, then they are likely to get downgraded in search results. Make sure your webpages are properly coded, that there are no broken links on the page, and that any images you have used have been resized so that the file size is not too big.
Installing a site map on your website lays all of your content out in one place. This makes it much easier for Google to index the content of your site. For most content management systems, you should be able to install a plugin that creates a site map for you. If you are using WordPress, you can install the Google XML Sitemaps plugin.
These are a few tips to get you started with improving the SEO of your blogs. Remember, the content you produce also plays a big factor. Write blogs that people will be interested in and will want to search for online and share with their social networks, and people are much more likely to pay you a visit.
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What’s in a name? That famous quote from William Shakespeare doesn’t quite hold true for website domain names, because a website by any other domain name might not perform as sweetly. Choosing the right domain name can have a big impact on the discoverability and reputation of your website. Read on for some of the key benefits of choosing a quality .com domain name.
At the birth of the internet, you didn’t have much choice when it came to domain extensions. Flash forward to 2016 and there are reportedly a whopping 882 different extensions to choose from. Despite this vast range of choice, the .com extension still dominates the majority of the internet, with sources citing statistics varying between 40-50% of all domain names. There are hundreds of extremely obscure domain extensions that each make up less than 0.1% of all domain names.
So, why is the .com extension so popular? It seems that its popularity has bred its popularity. Because it was one of the first top level domains to be registered, it was the most widely used. People came to associate .com with the internet and websites in general, and that association is still strongly held today. Because of this, .com is still the most recognizable and memorable extension, and it is the one that comes to mind first.
Most people’s initial assumption will be to put a .com at the end of a company name to guess their website URL. So, when people look for your website without using a search engine, a .com domain name helps your chances of them discovering it. It can also affect your credibility as a brand. Imagine you’re looking for an insurance company online and come across a website that ends with .cool or .party (Yep, these are real domain extensions!). Chances are you’re more likely to trust a .com domain name than one of these obscure ones.
Another advantage of .com is that it is globally recognized. This is vital if you are targeting a global audience or hope to achieve this in the future. If your business operates locally and is going to stay that way, then a country-specific domain extension such as .co.uk, .de or .en would suit your needs. Other extensions may be suitable for certain companies or websites. For example, .org is generally associated with charities and not-for-profit organizations, while .gov is used for government bodies, and .edu is commonly used for education sites.
Choosing a domain name
The extension of your website is important, but perhaps even more important is the domain name itself; the name that makes up the main part of your URL. This name needs to reflect what your business does and how you want people to view it. Your domain name is part of your company’s brand, and it contributes to the overall image of that brand.
Registering a quality domain name will make people be more likely to remember you and your website. This can help you gain more traffic to your site. A strong domain name will also change what your users associates with your brand in terms of emotions and the qualities of your brand. You want a domain name that instils trust and confidence in your brand so that potential customers are more likely to buy from you.
Descriptive vs. branded domain names
Most businesses use their brand name as their domain name. It makes you more discoverable online and makes people more likely to remember your brand name and associate it with your website. If you’ve already established your brand name and don’t want to change it, then best practice is to use that for your domain.
If you’re just starting up your business or are wondering whether to change your brand name when starting up your website, you need to think about what kind of name you want for both your business and its website. Domain names basically boil down to two different types: descriptive and branded.
Apple is an example of a branded domain. Although we all know who Apple are and what they do, the company name doesn’t tell us anything about them. Branded domain names are generally memorable and lend to the branding of the company. If they were to opt for a more descriptive name, they could use something like mobiletechnology.com. Not quite as catchy, but descriptive names have the added advantage of attracting “type-in” traffic. This is where someone searches for a keyword or phrase by typing it directly into their address bar. They might even add .com or another extension after it.
What if my domain name isn’t available?
There are millions of .com domain names already registered. So, when you go to register your domain name, you may find that it is not available with the .com extension. In this case, you will need to decide whether it is worth changing your domain name to find an available .com domain, or whether you’d rather choose a different extension to use the domain name you want to use.
You can make slight changes to your domain name to try and find one that is available. For example, when looking for our domain name, we might try marketing-strategies.com, marketingstrategy.com, or bestmarketingstrategies.com to find a similar one. You will need to walk the line between getting the .com and still having a domain name that is memorable. If you end up with something like best-online-marketing-strategies-for-businesses.com, it’s not going to be easy for people to remember or say. As a result, your brand is less recognizable.
As you can see, there is a lot to think about when selecting and registering your domain name and extension. The domain name you choose could impact the effectiveness of your website, so choose carefully and do your research.
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Google AdWords is a useful advertising tool for businesses large and small, even those without much of an advertising budget. You can get great results from a relatively small investment. At the same time, it can also be easy to go over budget and waste money if you don’t manage your ad spend properly. To help you run effective Google AdWords campaigns at low costs, here are a few best practices to consider.
Set your budget
It is important to set your maximum budget to make sure your costs don’t get out of control. You can set lifetime budgets for your campaigns, and also daily, weekly and monthly budgets. To gain full control of your ad spend, you might want to set all of these different budget types. This will stop you being faced with any unpleasant surprises when you check your ad spend reports.
Manual vs. automatic bidding
You can choose your bids to be set either manually, i.e. set by yourself, or automatically, i.e. set by Google. Manual cost-per-click allows you to set your own bids either for an entire ad group or for individual keywords. You will have maximum control over your AdWords budget and your ad campaign with this option, particularly if you are bidding at the keyword level.
Automatic cost-per-click allows Google to increase or decrease your bids to get the most clicks out of your defined budget. You can also set a maximum bid to stop Google from spending more than you would like. A similarly automated bidding option is enhanced cost-per-click. This allows Google to increase or decrease your bids by up to 30% based on how likely a person is to convert from your ad.
If you’re just starting out and want to keep your ad spend down, then manual bidding will likely be your best option. This is the option that gives you full control over how much you spend. There are also a number of flexible bidding strategies which may be a good option for your business depending on what your specific goals are from running AdWords campaigns.
Target long-tail keywords
Your first thought might be to target broad search terms because a lot of people will be searching for these keywords and you will reach a larger audience. However, because they receive such a high search volume, these terms are highly competitive and, therefore, more expensive to target.
For more cost-effective campaigns, it is better to target more specific, long-tail keywords. These may be longer search terms, or even full sentences and questions that your audience might search for. These keywords will be less competitive, meaning you can bid less on them.
Improve your quality score
Google awards each AdWords account with a quality score. This score is based on the quality of your ads and the keywords you target. A higher quality score means that your cost-per-click and cost-per-conversion will be lower. This is because a high score means Google thinks you meet the needs of their users, so they reward you with lower costs.
There are a number of ways you can improve your quality score. Doing effective keyword research will help you to target quality keywords, which will help your quality score. The quality and relevance of your ad copy will also have an effect, as will the quality of the landing page your ad directs users to. Your landing page should be relevant to the content of the ad to help improve your quality score.
Don’t always compete with your competitors
It’s natural that you’ll want to beat your competitors to the punch in winning AdWords auctions and getting to the top of page one of Google. However, if you are bidding on the exact same keywords as your competitors or on ads at the same time of day and day of week as them, then the cost of your bids is likely to rise due to the competitiveness. By bidding when your competitors aren’t, you can get your ads on Google when theirs won’t be there, and you could get it there for a lower price.
Campaign Bid Simulator tools
AdWords has different bid simulator tools to help you find the optimum bid for your campaigns or keywords. Adjusting your bid up and down will show you what impact this has on the performance of your ad. This can help you identify the maximum amount you need to bid to run a successful ad campaign, without spending too much.
Monitor and modify your bids
Like any marketing or advertising activity, it is important to continuously monitor and measure the performance of your AdWords campaigns. By closely monitoring different aspects of your campaigns, you can modify your bids to ensure you are getting the most from your budget.
Through AdWords reporting, you can compare the performance of your ads on different devices, at different times of the day or days of the week, or in different cities or countries, among other things. If you see, for example, that your ads are performing better on mobile devices than desktop, you could apply a bid modifier to your ads to bid a higher amount on mobile devices. This can help to maximize your conversions by targeting the most successful demographics.
There are a lot of different things to consider in budgeting your AdWords campaigns. These best practices should get you started with the basics of getting more out of your AdWords budget.
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So, you’ve got your blog page going and are regularly publishing top quality content. It’s a great start but, for most bloggers and businesses, this in isolation is not enough. You need to employ additional tactics to really boost your readership and the amount of traffic you receive. Sharing your blogs on social media or sending them in your e-newsletters is a good start, but one really effective strategy that you might not have thought of is guest blogging.
What is guest blogging?
Writing a blog to be published on someone else’s website is known as guest blogging. You might wonder why you’d want to provide content for another blogger or business when it’s difficult enough to create enough quality content for yourself, but the rewards earned from guest blogging will be plentiful. Here are a few key benefits to guest blogging.
More traffic to your website
Guest blogs are generally accompanied with a short bio introducing the reader to the guest blogger. Within this, or even within the content itself if it fits the context, you can link back to your own blog, website, or social media profiles. This provides your site with more exposure. If someone reads your guest blog and likes the content or your style of writing, they might click through to find more of your content. This helps to drive more traffic to your website and increase readership for your blog.
It’s great for SEO
These links from other blogs also benefit your website traffic because they are a real boost to your SEO. High-quality backlinks to your site are an important factor in search algorithms. The more inbound links you have to your site from authoritative sites, the higher Google will rank your site. This means that your website is more likely to be found in searches related to your brand.
If your name constantly pops up on blogs related to your industry, then readers will start to remember you and see you as an authority figure in that niche. Sharing your expert opinions and insights will build up trust and recognition, leading to greater interest in your content. This means that people are more likely to come to you when they need the latest news or an answer to a question related to that field. They are also more likely to trust the products or services that you provide. So, make sure that your guest blogs provide insightful content to establish this expertise.
Reaches a new audience
You can keep sharing your blogs in your own newsletters and on social media, but this is mostly going to reach the same audience each time. What you want is to reach new readers to circulate your content even further around the web. Another website will have loyal readers that might not have even heard of your blog before. Guest blogging on this website will expose an entirely new audience to your content. Contact websites and blogs that share subject matter related to your field of expertise, or ones that are likely to appeal to an audience with similar interests to yours.
Benefit from the reputation of other sites
This point is especially beneficial if your blog is not very well known. People won’t necessarily trust what a blogger says if they have never heard of them before. Someone reading your blog for the first time may wonder who you are and where your authority comes from. If you get your content published on a well-known, reputable blog or website, it is like you are given a seal of approval from that site. If a little-known, independent marketing blogger managed to get their content published by a major brand like HubSpot, for example, then it’s likely they know what they’re talking about and can be trusted.
Helps you improve your writing
A nice consequence that comes from the practice of guest blogging is that your writing is likely to improve. If you send someone a guest blog to publish on their network, they won’t accept it unless it meets the standards of the rest of their content. Although some people might not get back to you at all, others might tell you why they won’t feature you. This feedback can be really useful for helping you identify what you need to improve on in your blog writing.
When you next plan your upcoming content schedule for your own blog, try to incorporate a couple of guest blogs. Research which blogs might be a good fit for your content and study the kind of topics they discuss to get ideas for blogs to submit to them. Even one guest blog per month could see huge increases in your own blog traffic.
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Doing things by halves probably isn’t the first strategy that comes to mind when you think of successful marketing. It conjures up ideas of putting in little effort and not getting the best results. However, this is exactly our advice for your email marketing strategy. No, we’re not telling you to put in less effort. What we are telling you to do is segment your mailing lists. Segmentation is key to more effective email campaigns. So, maybe it’s time you did your email marketing by halves, thirds, fifths, or even tenths.
What is segmentation?
Segmenting your email list is a simple practice, but it can be time-consuming if you don’t have the necessary data. It involves splitting the members of your mailing list into smaller sections based on specific criteria. You could split your list into men and women, for example, or segment them based on how much they spend with you. We will look at various ways of segmenting your list later on in this blog.
Most email clients allow you to easily segment your email lists. If you already have a database with information about your recipients, it will be as simple as uploading this data to your email client and selecting how you want it segmented. If you don’t already have the information you need, it will require some additional research into the individuals or businesses on your list.
Why should you segment your email lists?
Highly targeted marketing is the key to effective communications and a great ROI. Segmentation allows you to deliver content that is targeted to a very specific audience. You can tailor the content and design of your emails to suit the needs and interests of each specific segment, rather than trying to appeal to everyone’s tastes all at once. People will be more receptive to content that is relevant to them personally.
Your customers aren’t all the same, so why should your email content be?
From effectively implementing segmentation in your email campaigns, you can benefit from higher engagement rates, meaning more of your recipients will open and click on your emails. This could lead to more traffic to your website, more inquiries, more sales, and more profits for your business. MailChimp found that segmented campaigns sent by their users received 14.63% higher open rates and a huge 94.27% higher click through rates than non-segmented campaigns.
Choosing your method of segmentation
How you choose to segment your mailing list will depend on the amount of information you have collected or have the ability to collect from your recipients. It will also depend on the aims of your campaign, the type of product or service you are marketing, and the typical buying cycle of a customer of your business, among other things. Here are a few ideas for segmentation strategies to suit a variety of business:
A simple male/female split would be ideal for fashion retailers, allowing them to create one email with women’s clothes and another with men’s clothes. A business advertising toiletries or jewellery, for example, could also use this strategy.
If your customers vary in age then they might come to your business for different reasons or to buy different kinds of products. A tech company, for example, might promote content about emerging tech such as wearables and VR to millennials while focusing on less advanced devices for older audiences.
If you serve a widespread area, then you might want to split your customer base in terms of what city or state they are located in. This could mean including region-specific news in each variation of the email. A restaurant might only deliver to a specific area, but still has customers visiting them from outside this area. So, they could include delivery information in emails to one segment but not the other.
Your newsletter sign up form could include a field or checkboxes asking customers what they are interested in. This will allow you to deliver them with content that is relevant to their tastes and interests. If a marketing company provides services for social media management, blog writing, marketing strategy, and SEO, they could ask sign ups which of these they are interested in and would like to receive content about.
You can create segments by looking at what your customers have bought from you in the past or what content they have interacted with. For example, if a business regularly buys printer ink from an office supplies company, then they could appeal to this interest by sending a blog about printing more efficiently. They could also cross sell to them by advertising a new model of printer.
These are just a few ideas for segmenting your email list, but there are a lot more possibilities. Research your audience to understand how you can segment them in the most effective way.
There’s a long list of best practices we could preach to you to get your email marketing in tip-top shape. Implementing them all would take lots of preparation and strategizing, so we won’t overwhelm you with them all at once. Segmentation, however, is one best practice that you should all move to the top of the list. You’re really missing a trick if you’re not doing this already.
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You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so it’s important that you make it a good one. When a prospect signs up to your mailing list or registers a new account on your website, the first time you get in touch with them thereafter cements that all important first impression. This is why it is good practice to send a welcome email to your customers and prospects after they first subscribe. Sending them a sloppy email or not sending one at all could give the impression that you don’t care about them or that you are unprofessional.
Why should you send a welcome email?
Sending a welcome email after someone subscribes lets them know that they’ve subscribed. This may sound obvious, but if someone signs up by accident or without realizing, then they might think you are spamming them when you start sending emails. By explicitly letting them know they have subscribed, they will become more familiar with your brand and will expect to hear from you again. The recipient can unsubscribe if it did turn out to be a mistake.
Welcoming new customers or prospects also lets them know they are valued. A friendly greeting thanking them for signing up shows that you care. This encourages people to engage with your brand, whether that’s by opening and clicking on your emails, replying to your social posts, or visiting your website to buy from you.
Best practices for your welcome email
Now that you know why you should be sending them, here are a few tips for creating and sending effective welcome emails:
Send them straight away
Customers will probably be expecting an email from you after they subscribe or register. This means your welcome emails will receive high open and engagement rates. If you don’t send an email straight away, then people are more likely to forget about your brand and, therefore will be less likely to engage when you do contact them.
This one is pretty obvious; welcome emails should be welcoming. Write a friendly greeting that shows you are happy to have this new person as part of your audience. A casual, conversational tone could be useful in creating this welcoming feeling, but make sure your tone of writing still suits your brand’s voice.
Personalizing welcome emails helps to improve engagement rates because they are more relevant to the recipient. How much personalization you can apply to your emails will depend on how much information you collect from people when they subscribe. It can be as simple as addressing recipients by their first name. If you have collected more details, then you can further personalize content by displaying products that are relevant to them, based on their gender or interests, for example.
Let them know what to expect
In your welcome email, you should let recipients know what to expect from your emails in the future. Tell recipients how often they will be receiving emails from you so that they can anticipate your content. Also, remind your recipients of what value your emails will provide them with to encourage them to open future emails. If you’ll be providing up-to-date industry news, latest product launches and exclusive offers, tell your customers this.
Give them a next step
Tell your customers what they should do next to continue the journey with your brand. What this is will depend on what you want to achieve from these emails. Include a call to action to encourage them to complete their profile, follow you on social media, or browse the products on your website, for example.
Give them an offer
If you want to encourage your recipients to convert from your welcome email, a good strategy is to include an exclusive offer or promotional code in the email. Providing 20% off their first purchase, for example, will give them a bigger incentive to buy from you straight away.
Welcome emails are a useful method for raising brand awareness and encouraging greater levels of engagement with your brand. When used effectively, they are also great tools for driving more sales for your business.
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Think about this: when was the last time you bought a pen?
It’s not much of a necessity anymore for a lot of us – pens always just seem to be lying around. We pick up free pens from events or in marketing promotions and we just keep hold of them. You never know when and where you might need a pen! You might find that you end up with a stockpile of pens with the names and logos of various different businesses on them.
Now think about your business. When it comes to promoting your brand and raising recognition and awareness of it, doesn’t this sound like the ideal situation? Your brand name and logo is in the houses, offices, or bags of your customers and potential customers, on an item being used on a regular, perhaps even daily, basis. Every time someone uses that item, they get a reminder of your brand and the products or services you provide.
This is the power of branded promotional products. By giving away free items that are useful to your customers, you can ensure that they’re not going to just throw them in the trash as soon as they receive them. A survey found that 87% of people claim to keep promotional products for more than a year. This means you get a great return on your investment, because these products keep marketing for you for a long period of time. Companies such as Vistaprint will print on a wide range of items for affordable prices, so you don’t need a huge marketing budget to use this strategy.
There is a wide variety of products you could use to promote your business, and it works for basically any type of business or organization, large and small. Beyond the trusty pen, consider the following branded products for your business.
What better to write on with a branded pen than branded stationery? Notepads, post-its, and diaries are a few things that people often need to hand. A company calendar is a good gift to give to your customers at the end of the year as it’s something they’ll hang in their home or office for the next 12 months.
USBs are really useful, so they provide a lot of value to your customers. This is especially a good idea if your business is tech-related. That way, the gift is relevant to your brand and what your customers are interested in.
This is another gift that provides a lot of value. Since they are larger, heavier and more expensive to buy than pens or paper, people are very unlikely to throw them away. You could also have branded mugs in your office, so any prospects or customers who come to meet with your team can drink from a branded mug.
You can have custom fridge magnets made with an image of your choice or your company name and logo. If someone receives a branded fridge magnet from you and decides to stick it on their fridge, they will see it every time they go to get food or a drink, so you get a lot of exposure.
Your brand name attached to someone’s keys is another great way of getting regular exposure for your brand. A branded trolley coin keyring is a particularly useful idea. People often don’t have the right coin to unlock the mechanism, so having one on your keys is really handy.
You can have t-shirts, hats, jackets, and more printed with your company name and logo. Having your staff wear branded clothing at events is good for exposure and also looks smart and professional. Branded clothing can be given out to customers too, but, depending on your brand, they might not want to wear a t-shirt with your logo blazoned across it. Subtler branding might work better in this case.
Reusable shopping bags and tote bags are a useful promotional item to give away. They can be used regularly, and other people will be exposed to your brand as they see others carrying them. Gyms or other health and fitness companies could give out sturdier promotional products like backpacks and duffle bags, so their clients can carry their gym gear with them and promote the brand whenever they go for a workout.
There are so many more ideas:
- gyms could give away water bottles,
- bars could give away bottle openers,
- makeup bags from cosmetic companies,
- personalized tags for pets’ collars from pet stores.
The tangibility of these promotional products gives them a kind of value you don’t get with digital marketing and promotion. As people touch, hold, and use your branded products, they are more likely to notice and remember your brand, compared to seeing an ad while they browse online. When it comes to the time when they need what you sell, they are more likely to think of you because you have remained at the front of their mind.
You can print your contact details on promotional products so it’s easy for people to get in touch. You can give branded products to your customers when they make a purchase, hand them out at events and exhibitions, and send them out in direct mail campaigns.
Investing in branded promotional products means you have marketing materials that continue to work for you on an ongoing basis. They can help you raise brand awareness, create greater brand recognition, and increase exposure to a wider audience.
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For any business with a website (which should be basically all of them by now), search engine optimization is crucial. Performing SEO on your site drives more traffic to it as it helps it rank higher on Google and other search engines. More traffic means more leads, and more potential sales. So, it is worth investing in tools to help you with SEO for your business. One SEO tool that we’d recommend to businesses is WooRank.
What is WooRank?
WooRank is a web-based SEO tool that you can use to generate a free report for your website. The tool analyzes your website for various factors that might be affecting your SEO and conversion rates. The report gives you a score based on how well your site performs for these factors, providing you with actionable tips for improving your SEO.
Your WooRank report will cover various factors affecting your SEO, performance on mobile, usability, backlinks to your website, and more. For each factor, it will tell you which you pass, which you need to improve, and which contain errors you need to fix. It also provides you with a marketing checklist with the top tasks that need completing to better promote and optimize your site.
What does it cost?
A great deal of analysis is available from the free report. For greater insight you can subscribe to WooRank for a monthly or annual fee. This allows you to track more, such as how your website is being promoted on social media by connecting your WooRank account to your social accounts, or how many visitors your site gets by connecting it to your Google Analytics.
There are three different subscription plans available; the Pro plan for $49 per month, Premium for $149 per month, and Enterprise starting from $249 per month. The enterprise subscription requires a personalized quote depending on the size of your company and your requirements. For both Pro and Premium subscriptions, a 14-day free trial is available to test out the full capabilities of WooRank. All three plans are also available on an annual subscription with a 20% discount.
WooRank is one of the best tools on the market for analyzing your website and helping you optimize it at an affordable rate. Because it’s a web-based service, you can easily access your insights by logging in online and viewing your dashboard. Get your free report from WooRank to find out actionable ways to improve your website’s SEO.
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When it comes to branding, it’s not just about what you say, but also what the words look like when you say it. We’ve already looked at how colors affect your branding, but the writing used in your logo and other materials associated with your brand are also an important part of delivering a consistent message and building a consistent look. This is known as typography.
There are several elements to think about when it comes to typography. The font and typeface of your text are a big part of the message it puts across, but also the size of the letters, the spacing between letters and between words, and other minor details that can have a big impact on readability.
Choose your typography carefully
Make sure to consider different elements and points of view when you decide on the fonts that you want associated with your brand. This is particularly important for your company’s logo; if you decide a few months down the line that you don’t like the font in your logo, you may need an expensive rebrand.
The fonts you choose, not only for your logo, but also your website and all other branded materials, should reflect the personality of your brand, the characteristics of your company, and the message you want to put across. If you want to communicate that you are a professional and reliable business, then using Comic Sans might not be the best choice. Alternatively, if your brand is aimed at kids and wants to show that it is fun and youthful, fonts such as Times New Roman might not be suitable.
The style of writing is important, but don’t sacrifice the readability of your text just to make it look good. Overly italicized or script fonts can be difficult to read, although they may put across an impression of sophistication and elegance. If this is your goal, look for something that covers the middle ground so that your audience can still understand it. The spacing of your letters and words is also important here. If letters are packed to closely together, it can make it more difficult to read
While font refers to a family of a particular style of lettering, the typeface refers to individual lettering styles within that family. For example, Arial is a font, but within that font you can have lettering that is italic, bold, heavy, light, narrow, etc. Each of these different styles are individual typefaces of the Arial family. Each different typeface offers a different perspective on the font and can be used to tailor the image to your brand.
Serif vs. Sans Serif
You may have seen these words at the end of some fonts but never really known what they meant. These are the two main categories of fonts. Serif refers to the small strokes leading into and out of letters. Sans serif refers to the absence of these strokes. A serif font is generally more traditional and can be easier to read. Sans serif fonts, on the other hand are more modern and fashionable.
Keeping your typography consistent is key to making your brand image recognizable and memorable to your audience. This doesn’t mean you use the same font as your logo on everything you write, but you should have a handful of fonts that you use for different purposes. Take your website as an example; using one font and size for your page headings and another for the main body of the page will help customers to navigate your content easier because these are clearly separated in their mind. Keeping this consistent across your whole website will make the user experience much better.
Bear all of these factors in mind when choosing the font, typeface, and other typographical elements for your branding. Choosing wisely can lead to clearer communication and more recognizable branding for your business.
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If you are a Facebook user, you have probably noticed the recent trend in users streaming live videos. Released earlier this year, this new feature follows in the footsteps of live video apps such as Periscope and Meerkat. Businesses have jumped on board with live video as a great way to increase engagement with their audience. It has been found that Facebook users comment more than 10 times more on live video than regular video.
Want to get involved with this new live video streaming trend but aren’t sure where to start? Here are a few ideas and tips for using live video for your business.
Ideas for live video content
The first thing you need to figure out is what you can show in your live videos. You can’t just start the camera rolling and hope inspiration hits. Viewers will be expecting valuable and interesting content, so you have to go in with a plan. Businesses are using the following ideas for their live videos.
Show your audience how your product works and how to use it. This will show them how your product can benefit them if they were to buy it, which could lead to more sales for you.
How products are made
Provide even more exclusive content by going behind the scenes to show how your product is made. This provides viewers with an interesting insight into the workings of your business and how the products they buy from you came to be.
Product launch or announcements
Build up some hype around a new product launch or any other kind of announcement, such as a change in venue or a new member of staff. It’s a great way to spread the word and get people excited about your launch.
Stream from events
Give an exclusive look into events for people who can’t be there. This could be an exhibition or launch event, for example. Show your viewers different locations and talk to different people to give them access to the event.
Interviews and Q & As
Educate your audience by conducting an interview with someone from your business or your industry, or by answering your audience’s questions. This will allow you to show the personality of your brand and your employees while also involving the audience.
Give a tour
Show your viewers where you work with a behind the scenes tour of your office or venue. This is also a good idea for hospitality businesses or real estate agents, for example, who can give live tours of their properties and rooms to prospective guests or buyers.
How to get more viewers
You don’t want to just be talking to yourself in your live stream, so you need to find ways to attract viewers to watch your videos. Here are few tips for doing this.
Provide interesting content
Your content is primarily what will make people decide whether to watch or not. Share interesting, informative, educational, or entertaining content, anything that is engaging for viewers to watch. People will switch off if they are not engaged.
Interact with your viewers
If you have interested viewers, then they will hopefully comment on your live video. Respond to these comments either within the video itself or in the comments section below to make your viewers feel involved and that you value their thoughts and opinions.
Invite people to turn on notifications
Users can subscribe to your videos so that they get notified whenever you go live. Encourage your audience to do this so that they know when you are streaming and are more likely to tune in.
Stick to a schedule
Setting a schedule of your live streams and sharing this with your audience is another way to ensure your viewers know when you are going to be streaming. If they know when to expect your content, then they can anticipate it and tune in specially to watch you.
Think about what kind of content your business could share in a live video stream and follow the tips shared here to get your audience members engaging with your brand more on social media.
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One effective method of showing people how to use your software is to literally show them how to use it. Having a screencast on your website can be a really effective way of achieving this.
When you start using a new software or web-app, it can be a little overwhelming. You aren’t familiar with all of the features and functions of the software, so it all looks very confusing. This may even put you off downloading or investing in the software, because you are unsure whether or not you’ll be able to use it properly.
If you are a business offering this kind of web-app experience, you want to avoid this user anxiety at all costs. To do this, you need to provide solutions that will help settle any concerns people may have about using your software. You can do this in a number of ways including online chat, telephone support, and FAQs.
What is a screencast?
A screencast is a video recording of a person’s computer screen as they use and engage with it. This is generally accompanied with a voiceover narrative or subtitles to provide instructions, extra information, or to provide entertainment. Screencasts are commonly used as video tutorials, online training, and gaming demos or play-throughs.
Screencasts are a great way to guide users through how to use your app or software as they can see your computer screen as you show them exactly what to do and how to do it. Take them through all of your site features to showcase what your app has to offer and how it can benefit them. At the same time, you can talk them through what you are doing to aid their understanding of the process.
How to make a screencast
It’s easy to create a screencast if you have the right software, and there are plenty of options for you to use. Screenflow for Mac and ScreencastOMatic are both popular choices that you could use. Using Screencast software is generally simple to do, and Screencast-O-Matic even has its own screencast on its homepage to show you how it’s done!
Screencast software gives you easy to use controls to set up your video, allowing you to record either your screen, the images seen through your webcam, or both. Decide whether you want narration on or off and start recording. Do everything you want to do on your screen and click stop when you’re done. You can also pause at any point along the way, which can be used to make editing your video easier.
Most screencast software will also provide editing options for after you’ve recorded your video. If not, then tools like iMovie are good for this. Once it’s finished, you can save your screencast and export it to whatever platform you want to publish it on.
Tips for getting your message across
It’s a good idea to write a script or create a plan for your screencast before you start. You could just improvise as you go along if you have an idea of what you want to do and say, but this could lead to more mistakes or awkward silences as you try to think of your next step. Complete at least one run through of your screencast so that you are fully prepared. The more prepared you are, the more natural your screencast will sound. Your preparations should also include getting any websites, images, or other resources ready on your screen so you can quickly navigate to what you need.
We’ve already mentioned the option to add audio narration over the top of your video, and we would definitely recommend it. This makes sure your video caters to a wider audience, because some people take in information better when they hear it, while others process information better when they see it.
The quality of your sound will make a big difference to the overall quality of your video. If your narration is difficult to hear, then you won’t be able to get your message across as effectively. You can just use the microphone built in to the device you’re using, but investing in a good quality microphone will really improve the end result. You should position the microphone about one foot away from your face for the best result. Placing it too close or too far away could compromise the sound quality.
Recording in large, empty rooms could also cause an echo in your sound, so aim for smaller rooms for sound recording. Make sure you eliminate any background noise as well, such as machines working in the background. Visual distractions such as flickering lights should also be eliminated.
Think about your audience
When it comes to the material you are showing on screen, think about how the audience will see it. Make sure everything is really clear for them to see. This could mean increasing font size so they can read text easily, or zooming in on important elements that they need to focus on, which can be done during the editing process. Also, remember not to display any private information about yourself that may be contained on your screen.
You don’t want anything on your screen that could be distracting your audience from your message. For example, if you constantly go back and forth between browsers unnecessarily or wave your cursor around when you’re talking, you could distract your audience. Make sure all of your actions on the screen add to or complement what you are saying and doing. This goes for sound too; turn off all notifications before recording your screencast so that these sounds don’t distract your viewers.
When you upload your screencast to the platform of your choosing, the thumbnail displayed before someone starts the video should tell them exactly what your screencast is about. Don’t use an obscure image that doesn’t explain anything, even if it is the first still of your video. Use a screenshot that gives them valuable information about the content of your screencast.
Screencasts, when done right, can convey a lot of useful information in quite a short period of time. This makes them a great resources for a variety of different websites. Take a look at the tools we have mentioned in this article to start planning how you can use screencasts for marketing your business.
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Getting your business found online is a difficult task, but also such an important one. So, you want to use all the tools you have at your disposal to make this happen. Getting your business listed on online business directories will really help with your online visibility.
People search these websites on a daily basis to find specific services in their area or online, helping to connect you with more potential customers. Getting more links back to your website and more mentions of your brand name online also helps to boost your website’s SEO, aiding your discoverability even further. Plus, many of these directories allow for customers to post reviews, building up good word of mouth for you online and giving you a platform to respond to these reviews.
To get you started, here are a few popular business directories you can register your business on for free.
Google is the biggest search platform out there, so it certainly pays to be listed with any of their products. Your Google My Business listing can show up in Google’s search results and can include a lot of information, including contact details, opening hours, images, and a map to locate your premises. You can also respond directly to customer reviews through your listing and track views and other insights.
Yelp is a popular platform that people visit when looking for a business or service. Reviews and ratings of businesses are posted by customers, so visitors can see which ones are worth visiting. You can include information about your business such as its background and what it offers, as well as displaying photos and offers for customers.
Like with Google My Business, Bing Places allows you to claim or add a listing for your business to display on the search engine, Bing. You can add information about your business to really sell yourself, and make it look visually appealing with your logo and photos.
Angie’s List allows you to create and monitor a listing for businesses in a variety of categories. Users of the site can write reviews for businesses they have visited or bought from. Other users can then see which ones have a positive reputation.
Citysearch is a U.S. directory site that allows you to search for businesses by city, state or ZIP code. This is great for local businesses to get more visibility and word of mouth online. You can add a listing for your business, or claim it if there already is one. Then, add information and offers to your listing and keep track of visitors to your page.
People use FourSquare to let people online know where they are and what businesses, shops and restaurants they are visiting. Users can also give feedback for and recommend the places they visit. Claim your listing to keep track of who is visiting your business and to encourage positive word of mouth online.
Another great website for promoting your local business, Superpages allows you to add valuable information about your business and collect and manage reviews from your customers. Respond to user reviews to improve your reputation even further.
The Business Journals is a website that shares the latest business news and advice, but it also has its own Local Business Directory to help the site’s visitors find businesses in their area. This is a good one for local businesses based in the U.S.
Hotfrog is a search engine specifically for businesses. Add or claim a listing for your business to get yourself found by the 1.5 million monthly users of this search engine. You can also use its reporting tools to help inform your SEO strategy, as it identifies the keywords that are driving the most traffic to your listing.
So, get your business name out there for free to start directing more traffic to your website or more customers to your store.
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The amount of time people spend on mobile devices is increasing year on year, and research shows that the majority of this time is spent on mobile apps as opposed to mobile web browsers. In 2014, this figure was at 86% for app usage and 14% for browsers. It is proven that mobile users are on apps, so businesses can certainly benefit from having their own mobile app.
The majority of small businesses think that this strategy does not apply to them; that it is only something for the large, well known brands with a big budget and big audience base. However, for businesses of any size, mobile apps can be a lucrative sales, marketing, and customer service tool. Plus, having an app developed doesn’t have to break the bank anymore with useful tools to help build a mobile app at a more affordable price.
Still, apps might not suit every single business. Read some of the benefits of having a mobile app to find out if it would benefit your business.
Keep in touch
Most smartphone users have their phones with them at pretty much all times throughout the day. Having an app on someone’s phone allows you to connect with them on an almost 24/7 basis. This means that you can get in touch with them through push notifications at almost any time. Plus, they can easily get in touch with you whenever they want. This is great for efficiently responding to customer complaints and queries. Better customer service will lead to more loyal and satisfied customers.
Target local customers
Mobile apps are especially handy for local businesses. Because they are with them wherever they go, mobile apps help you to target customers when they are in a specific location. This is achieved through GPS technologies in smartphones, as long as they are enabled. This allows you to target potential customers by sending them special offers and discounts when they are near your store, café, or restaurant, for example. This will encourage them to visit you and take advantage of this exclusive offer, helping to boost your sales.
Stay front of mind
Once someone has downloaded an app, it is there on their smartphone for them to see every day. Even if they don’t use your app very often, they will still see that icon representing your brand on a regular basis, perhaps even multiple times per day. Research has shown that apps lie dormant on a users’ smartphone for an average of 12 weeks before they decide to delete it. So, even when they stop using your app, you could potentially still get an additional 12 weeks of exposure. If your brand stays at the front of their mind for an extended period of time, they are more likely to think of you when they need your services.
Make a profit
Even if your app isn’t used directly to make sales for your business – it might just be for keeping your customers updated with the latest news, for example – you can still turn a profit from it. In-app advertising is very popular among advertisers. Selling ad space within your app is a good way to earn back the money spent developing the app, and then some. Of course, the extra exposure gained for your business through your app should also help with your bottom line.
With a bit of creative thinking, there are so many possibilities of what you can do with a mobile app, even if you don’t have the most fun or exciting business. So, start thinking about how a mobile app can help your business grow and become more efficient.
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When they start out, many business owners ask the question, “Do I need a marketing plan?” This is especially common amongst small startup businesses that don’t have a huge marketing budget. They don’t think they’ll be spending much time or money marketing their business at first, so they don’t think they need to worry about creating a plan.
But, marketing is essential to a business’ success, especially when you first start out. Even if you don’t have much of a marketing budget, you should still be carrying out marketing activities. It can be difficult getting those crucial first customers through the door without it. There are plenty of free and low cost marketing activities you can do, including social media and email marketing.
Just as a business plan is essential to starting up your business, a marketing plan is essential to our marketing.
What is a marketing plan?
As the name suggests, a marketing plan is a document that lays out a plan for how you will market your business. It should cover everything you need to inform your marketing strategy. Your marketing plan should outline:
- who your target market is that you are selling to
- who your competitors are and what their strengths and weaknesses are
- the strengths and weaknesses of your own product or service
- other information about your product or service, such as price and features
All of this information should give you a good idea of how you can market what you are selling; where and how you can reach your target audience, and what message you want to communicate about your business and what it is selling. This should also be explained within the marketing plan.
Why do you need a marketing plan?
Your marketing plan, just like your business plan, will help you to focus on a goal or a destination. It gives you a clear vision of what you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve it. It will also allow you to measure your progress and determine how successful your marketing activities have been. If you don’t know what you want your marketing campaigns to achieve, then you could waste a lot of time and money on activities that aren’t getting you anywhere.
Writing out your marketing plan could also help you to identify any potential pitfalls in your business and what it offers. If, when deciding who your target market is, you discover that there isn’t really a gap in the market for what you’re offering, then you may need to rethink your product or service, or find a way to gear it towards a specific demographic. If there are problems such as this, then it is much better to identify them at this early stage then once your business is already failing. At the same time, it also helps you identify the strengths of your business.
Essentially, your marketing plan helps you to stay on track. It gives you timelines to stick to and goals to work towards. One of the keys to successful marketing is consistency, and you are much more likely to remain consistent with your marketing if you have a plan to work by.
Putting it into action
Not only is it important to create a marketing plan, but also to actually use it and refer to it in your day-to-day marketing activities. So many business owners create a marketing plan and are so happy with the result that they put it in their desk drawer or on a shelf somewhere in the office to keep it safe, and then they forget all about it. They feel accomplished that they’ve completed the plan, but it was a futile effort because they don’t actually use it to guide their marketing.
Use your marketing plan to inform the marketing campaigns that you run. You should also review your plan on a regular basis to keep track of what is and what isn’t working. At the minimum, you should review your marketing plan once a year to evaluate and improve on your strategy.
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Thinking of ideas for your content and then creating it can be difficult and time consuming. You’ve probably found yourself staring at a blank screen on more than one occasion. But, you can save a lot of time by planning ahead and creating a schedule for your upcoming content – a content calendar. This can free your mind to focus on other important things in your business.
In this content calendar, you can plan lots of different types of content, and using a variety of these can help to keep your audience interested in what you are sharing. You can create blog posts, eBooks, whitepapers, infographics, videos, and much more.
To help you out, follow these 7 steps to help you create a calendar for your content marketing.
Plan in advance
Get a calendar for the upcoming year, print one off or use an online tool such as Google Calendars. Sit down with your team to fill the calendar with great content ideas. You could schedule your content for the upcoming month, 6 months, or even the whole year.
Decide your frequency
Discuss as a team how often you are going to publish content and on which days. It could be every two weeks, once a week, or more often than this. Be realistic about this; don’t plan to blog every day if you don’t have the time or resources to keep up with it. If you are creating different kinds of content, you may have these going out at different times of the week or month, and at different frequencies. Mark everything on the calendar to make this clear.
Pinpoint significant events
It’s a good idea to focus your content on the events throughout the year that you know people will be talking about. These could be specific to your industry or more general events. You could mark seasonal holidays such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Independence Day; key events or developments in your industry; and other global events such as the Olympics, the Super bowl, or the new season of Game of Thrones. You know these topics will be talked about a lot online, so writing about them in a way that’s relevant to your business could attract a lot of attention.
Now it’s time to think of ideas to populate your content calendar. Think of a variety of topics; some could be related to the significant events you have picked out, others could be related to your products or services, case studies of your customers, answers to questions that you are frequently asked, how-to guides, tutorials, etc.
Next, you must decide where in your calendar each topic should go. Start with the time sensitive ones that revolve around a certain date or time period. Then, start to fill in the days around these events with the more generic, evergreen content. Using an online calendar tool will make this stage easier because you can easily edit it if you change your mind or miss something out.
Once your calendar is complete, you need to actually write the content and schedule it. If there is more than one person writing the content, make sure everyone knows which tasks they have been assigned and when they need completing by. Online project management tools such as Asana can be useful for organizing this. The tool you use to create your calendar may also have the ability to assign topics to people. Getting your content written in advance is a good way to stay organized and consistent, so you’re not suddenly in a panic on a Friday evening that you don’t have any content for Monday morning.
If you’re planning your content far in advance, you should review your content calendar on a regular basis to make sure the topics are still relevant and appropriate. If you plan your content for the entire year, for example, you could sit down and review your schedule at the beginning of each month.
Remember to allow yourself some flexibility so that if a big unexpected event happens or if there is a new development in your industry, you can write a blog or make a video about this and fit it into your calendar. If you’re writing about an ever-changing industry such as social media or finance, then you’ll need to keep an eye out on industry news to make sure you cover the important things.
If you’re having difficulty getting started, there are plenty of free content calendar templates available online.
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Color plays an important role in the branding and marketing of your business, its products and services. Your brand colors are what can make you stand out and make your customers remember you. In fact, 80% of people believe that color improves brand recognition and almost 85% of consumers have cited color as the main reason they choose to buy a product.
What do your brand colors mean?
Many studies have been carried out to research the effects that colors have on people and what emotions they instil in them. While these are quite generic, they can still be useful in deciding how your branding will put across the message and personality that you want your company to portray. Here are a few associated characteristics and emotions of colors:
You should think about the connotations of each color when deciding on your branding. However, these traits are not definite and it is important to remember that a person’s personal preferences and experiences will also affect how they perceive different colors. For example, if you hate the color yellow, then it is not going to make you feel happy and optimistic. Perceptions of colors can also vary based on a person’s age, gender and cultural background, among other factors.
Your brand’s personality
What is more important when choosing your brand colors is that they match your brand in the eyes of your audience. They need to support the personality that your brand wants to portray, otherwise your audience will view your branding as misaligned, making it much less convincing and trustworthy.
Plus, different brands use the same color to promote a different message. The color green, for example, is commonly used among both financial institutions and ones associated with nature and the environment. Brands also have the option of going against the norm in order to stand out from their competition.
If banks always use corporate colors such as blues and blacks, a newly emerging bank with a bright pink logo would really turn heads. It may be a gamble, but it could end up working in your favor. However, you still need to think about how it will fit into your brand message. Perhaps you are the new, trendy online bank that is geared towards younger people. If it doesn’t fit with your message, then stick with the classics.
How does color impact your marketing campaigns?
Color should also be considered in terms of marketing and advertising more broadly. The colors on your website, in your e-newsletters, on a poster or in a shop display will affect how your audience responds, what they think about your brand, and even whether or not they buy from you. For example, the color red is usually used in store when sales are taking place as they promote the urgency of the situation. The intention is that customers will subconsciously think that they have to act fast to take advantage of the sale. It may be worth trying out different colors on your website, for call to action buttons, for example. A/B testing can give you a good insight into how colors change the behavior of your website users.
So, if you’re just creating your brand or if you want to fine tune your marketing, think long and hard about the message you want to put across and which colors can communicate this message in the best way.
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Although a lot of our communications have moved online in the 21st century, face-to-face networking still plays an important part in business. Having real conversations with people and making eye contact while doing so is a much more personal way of developing a relationship. This gives you a better chance of leaving a lasting impression.
At a business networking event, or even just during a random encounter with a potential client, the best and most professional way to exchange contact information is with business cards. The business card you hand over to someone has a real impact on the impression that you leave them with. If you don’t have a business card or if you hand over a card that looks cheap, this will make you and your business look unprofessional.
You can get business cards for cheap online. However, you are better off investing money into getting them professionally designed and printed to give a good first impression. When getting your business card designed, it is important that your card…
Is high quality
Your business card should look, and even feel, high quality. It is important to think about the thickness and texture of the material it is printed on, the clarity of the text and images printed, and also the design of the card. A well-designed, good quality business card will make people think that you are professional and that your business is successful enough to spend good money on your marketing materials.
Leaves a lasting impression
You want to create a business card that is really memorable. The quality mentioned in the last point will help with this, as people will remember the quality of your card. If you are in a creative industry such as design, you could create something out of the ordinary. Create something memorable that people will want to show their colleagues and friends.
Makes it clear what you do
It should be clear from your business card what it is that you do or sell. If your business name doesn’t make it clear, then you could add a tagline or an image that gets the message across at a glance.
Fits in with your branding
The logo featured on your business card, the fonts you use and the color of the card should all reflect your company’s brand. It should appear the same as, or similar to, all of your other marketing materials, both online and offline. This will help people to recognize your business when they come across it on other platforms.
Contains accurate information
It sounds obvious, but you need to make sure that all of the information contained on your card is accurate. If you have an out of date phone number or email address, or if there is a typo in either of these, then people won’t be able to get in touch with you. Plus, any errors on your card will make you and your business look unprofessional. It suggests that you don’t pay attention to detail.
Your business card is still an important part of marketing your business and yourself. You should make sure that it is saying the right thing and giving off the right impression.
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You want to send your marketing emails out to as many people as possible so that you can generate more leads, drive more engagement and make more sales. The problem is that collecting emails from people takes a lot of time and effort. So, why not just buy a whole bunch of email addresses from the internet? Well, this blog is going to tell you why you definitely shouldn’t be doing this, and why permission-based emails are the way to go.
It can be tempting to save time spent building your email list the honest way by buying thousands of email addresses in a single click, but a number of problems arise from this. Here are some of the key reasons why you should not buy email addresses.
They didn’t opt in
The people and businesses you are sending your emails to didn’t opt in to receive them. This will greatly reduce the effectiveness of your campaigns. These people aren’t necessarily interested in your brand and might not have even heard of you. When you receive an email from an unknown brand, do you respond well to it, or is it really annoying? Our response is usually to delete, unsubscribe or mark as spam. This leads to fewer opens and clicks for these emails, and a higher unsubscribe rate.
Some lists may say that they are opt-in only addresses, but this means they have opted in to receive the list providers’ emails. Or, they might have ticked a box (or failed to untick a box) agreeing to receive emails from selected partners. Even so, they do not know your business and are not expecting to receive an email from you, so are likely to react in the same way. This “opt-in” status is essentially a technicality.
Anyone can buy them
If you can buy this list of email addresses online, that means that pretty much anyone can. This means that the people behind this email address receive a great deal of spam. So, they are probably used to ignoring emails that they receive from unknown senders. The quality of the email addresses on a bought list is greatly diminished. Many people even have an email address dedicated to spam; one that they use to sign up for things online, but never check because they don’t receive anything of value.
Another problem with the quality of email addresses from a bought list is that you don’t know how up-to-date they are. Email addresses may no longer be in use due to people moving jobs. Or, the information you acquire from these lists may be inaccurate or incomplete. The result is that you waste your money on acquiring email addresses that won’t actually receive your emails.
Unhappy email providers
With all of the above issues comes a greater chance that your recipients will mark your emails as spam. If this happens on several occasions, the email provider that you use to send emails isn’t going to be happy. Many email providers have rules in place that will result in your account being blocked if you are identified as a spammer. This could even amount to a fine or legal issues. Even if the content you send isn’t spam, sending your emails to people whose addresses you haven’t acquired yourself puts you at a greater risk of being labelled as a spammer.
So, you should save yourself a lot of risk and hassle, and improve the deliverability and effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns by avoiding bought email lists. It is worth taking the time to acquire them through honest means. If you need some tips on how to build a genuine, quality email list, here are five ways you can collect email addresses.
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If you want your email marketing to be effective, then you need to build a good list of people or businesses to send it to. There’s no point in spending hours each week building an amazing email campaign just to sent it to a couple of people or, even worse, to send it to people who just aren’t interested in your brand and what it sells. Building a list of engaged recipients is a difficult task, and it can take time.
There are ways to build a large mailing list quickly, and that is by buying email addresses. We don’t recommend that you do this, however, and pretty much all marketing experts will say the same thing. A genuine, permission-based email list is much more effective and reliable than any email list you can buy online, no matter how big it is. In case you don’t take our word for it, you can read the reasons why buying your email list is bad.
So, if you’re going about it the honest way, you’ll need some tips on how to build your email database. Here are a few methods you can use to get your emails into more inboxes.
Sign up form on your website
Give them a simple way to sign up when they visit your website. This can appear in different formats – you could have the sign up form pop up on the page they are viewing or in the bottom corner of the page, it could be present in the static content of a webpage, or you could have a page on your website or a landing page dedicated to your newsletter sign up.
Make sure it is noticeable and that the form is quick and easy to complete. Stick to name and email address so people are not put off by having to enter a lot of information. By acquiring emails this way, you know that the people on your list are there because they chose to be and show an interest in your brand.
Run a competition
Set up a competition from your business that requires people to submit their email address, and other information if required, in order to enter. This gives them an added incentive to give away their email address. You can post the competition on your website or on social media, for example, so that people who already interact with your brand will see it and enter.
Another good incentive for people to share their contact details with you is free resources. You could write an eBook or whitepaper full of valuable information that your target audience would find interesting. Have this resource available to download from your website when users enter their email address. As long as they like the content you provide them with, they will be eager to receive more content from you through your e-newsletters.
Promote on social media
Most of the people that follow you on social media are already interested in your brand and the content that you share. You should make sure that they also know about your e-newsletters. Share a link to a landing page where they can sign up to receive your emails. Make sure you are sharing different content in your emails than you are on social media. Otherwise, there is no point in them following you through both channels. Let them know why they should sign up and what they will get that is different and valuable.
Guest blogging on other websites is a great way to expose a new audience to your content. Write a blog filled with valuable content and add a call to action at the bottom that points people towards your email sign up form. Try to get featured on a website that is related to yours and will, therefore, share a similar audience.
It may take a while to build up your email database, but it’s worth putting in the time and effort. Just remember that the quality of your recipients is better than the quantity. Don’t be tempted to buy thousands of email addresses from an online source.
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We live in a digital world, and your business (no matter how small!) needs to be a part of it. Your online presence is essentially the sum of all the different platforms your business is present on, and the activity and interaction your business is involved in on these platforms. It can take time and a lot of effort to build a strong online presence, but it is certainly worth the investment since it helps to raise brand awareness, build relationships with customers, and generate more leads and sales for your business.
But, how is it done?
Here are 6 key ways to build and grow the online presence of your business.
While it should not make up the entirety of a business’ online presence, a website is generally the first thing that comes to mind when people think about online presence. A website has become increasingly more vital for businesses large and small in recent years, as more and more people take to shopping, browsing and seeking information online.
When your potential customers want to find out more about you, they will go straight online and try to look for your website. If you don’t have one, or if you don’t have the right information on there, then this will turn them to your competitors. Make sure all of the key information about your business and its products or services are clear on your website, and that your contact details are easy to find.
Not only do you need a website for your business, you also need to optimize it so that people will be able to discover it. Not everyone online knows the name of your business to search for it or visit your website directly. Search engine optimization helps these people to find you and your website online when they search for given keywords.
You need to make sure that the design and content of your website enables it to be discovered on search. If you are unsure about how to do this, check out these 7 simple SEO tips to optimize your website.
Your blog can exist on your business website or as a standalone platform. Sharing useful and interesting content on your blog will encourage more people to come back for more, or to subscribe to your blog if you have set that as an option. It will also encourage them to share your content on social media, increasing the reach of your content, and your brand, online. Having a blog on your website also helps to improve your site’s SEO.
It’s not just a good idea to publish content on your own blog/website, but also on other people’s. This may sound counterintuitive, but writing a guest blog for another business or brand in the same industry, or one with a similar target audience can really boost your online presence. People who might not usually see your content will see it. It will also establish your authority in that industry, as well as also increasing social shares.
We’ve already mentioned how blogging can give you a presence on social media. To capitalize on this, as well as to engage with other online users and brands, you need to actually be present on social media. There are plenty of platforms to choose from, but don’t feel like you have to be active on them all. Determine which ones are best suited to your business, i.e. which ones your target audience is active on, and focus your attention on the two or three most suitable. If you try to do too much, then you will end up spreading yourself too thin.
In 2015, it was recorded that 80% of internet users own a smartphone. People are constantly accessing information and making purchases on the go using their mobile phones. Businesses need to accommodate this in order to grow their online presence. The first step towards this is making sure that your website is mobile responsiveness. What this means is that it displays correctly on any device, with any size screen.
Another option for businesses trying to increase their mobile reach is getting an app developed for their brand. Businesses can utilize mobile apps to sell their products, keep customers informed, encourage them to engage, and boost customer loyalty.
Building your online presence will get a great deal more exposure for your brand online. This will help you to grow a following of loyal customers and brand advocates.