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Integrate content marketing into your sales process for business success in 2016

In a recent Forbes article on The Top 10 Business Trends that will drive success in 2016, one of the top trends was integrating content marketing into your sale process. I personally love this tip and I hope all my clients adopt this trend. But what does this actually mean and how can you implement it in your business in 2016.

Content marketing is a term bandied around in the online world all the time. Put simply content marketing is when you create a digital asset and use it to promote your product or service. The content needs to valuable, relevant, and consistent and is designed to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience, normally your target audience. The digital asset can be a blog article, how to guide, video training series, ebooks, checklist and more. There are lots of large companies that have been doing this well for a long time. In 2015 we saw more and more smaller businesses create great bits of content as lead magnets in their business.

The new trend is to continue to use content marketing as part of your inbound marketing strategy but also throughout your sales process. Not just at the beginning of the funnel. So ask yourself a quick question. Are you using content throughout the sales process? If you aren't using it - you might be missing out on sales. Here's how. Many consumers now spend time researching products either before or during the sales process. Customers value impartial good quality input and advice about products and services. If your not providing the content to help them make the decision someone else probably is and that someone could be your competitor. If they give them the answers they need - more than likely they will buy from them because they have become the trusted advisor.

So the hot tip for 2016 is to find ways to integrate valuable impartial content to support customer buying decisions. The key here is that it must be impartial - you need to expound what you good at but also acknowledge what you are not good at. Being honest and authentic is key here.


So how would you actually implement this is your business this year.

Task 1: Beef up content on your product or sales pages to keep customers there

  • Look at your product and sales pages afresh. These pages play an important role in supporting customer buying decisions. Ideally if you can provide all the information or content the customer needs to make the buying decision on your page, they won't leave and go somewhere else to get it. They will stay, add the item to the cart and checkout.
  • Assess whether you have included honest information about your products or services. Its important to list all the good points and sometimes to helps to include a list of what the product or service isn't good at or shouldn't be used for.
  • Make sure your product or sales pages include reviews and quotes from real customers. This builds trust and helps the customer to feel confident about the purchase. We don't really want them leaving to go to a product review site to set the information. Once they are there a review of a customers product might attract them and they never come back.
  • Also consider adding a link to a PDF guide about the product or service that includes valuable, easy to read information about the product or service. In this guide include a comparison chart between you and your competitors - be honest. Make it visually easy for a customer to know if your product is a good fit for them.
  • Add a "I need help" pop up box that allows the user to request assistance which triggers a guide, 'how to' or more info about the product to their email account. This guide may actually answer their question and get them to convert right then and there.

Task 2: Drip feed content over the course of the sales cycle using auto-responders in your onboarding workflow

  • Do you have a lead magnet to a product or sales page? Review this lead magnet to see if more information can be added to assist customer buying decisions. Once you have captured their email address look at your auto responder emails in your onboarding series that move customers through your funnel. Does the content in the series provide the customers with progressively more information, answer more typically asked questions etc? This is what we are aiming for - we want customers to have have everything they need to buy the product or service. If you don't provide product comparisons on the product or sales pages consider sending it as an email during the onboarding series.

If you need more help with content marketing then please contact us for a coaching session.






The Ultimate Guide to Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding has been one of the best things ever to happen to artists and entrepreneurs.

Every year since 2010 artists have received more funds from crowdfunding than they have from the National Endowment of Arts. Meanwhile, it’s propelled new businesses, like Oculus Rift, which raised $2.4 million dollars on Kickstarter before being acquired by Facebook for $2 billion; and Pebble, one of the early trendsetters in smartwatches.

This “pennies from many” model allows many more people to pursue their creative and entrepreneurial visions. For prospective entrepreneurs, crowdfunding is an exciting way to generate attention, validate an idea, and perhaps most importantly, raise capital without going into debt.

But running a successful campaign is no walk in the park. That’s why we’ve put an infographic that gives you an overview of the two major crowdfunding platforms and the characteristics of successful campaigns. You’ll find in these two pieces everything you need to know about the right sort of product to crowdfund and how to transition to an enduring campaign afterwards, with data-driven advice on optimizing your campaign page.

In addition to up-to-date and novel advice, this guide includes in-depth interviews with four entrepreneurs who got their start with successful campaigns. These include interviews with Canary Home Securities, which raised $2 million to become Indiegogo’s most-funded hardware project; and Catan Boards, which raised 1,400% of its funding goal.

Today, we present The Ultimate Guide to Crowdfunding, as well as Crowdfunding 101, an infographic with the data analysis of 400,000 campaigns. Take a look



Twitter With New “Buy” Button

Two days ago Twitter officially announced a new "Buy" button that can be embedded in tweets to allow users to buy a product with a couple of clicks. For now the feature is limited to a "small percentage" of users on its mobile app only.

However, it's an important announcement as it could signal the next evolution for social platforms as they move from being not just a place to connect and share content, but also important engines for social fuelled "discovery commerce". 

In their blog post, Twitter goes on to say, “This is an early step in our building functionality into Twitter to make shopping from mobile devices convenient and easy, hopefully even fun.”

The social media giant began dropping hints and signals that something like this might be coming when it hired former Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard to lead its commerce team over a year ago. Speculation only increased when a tech news blog got its hands on a mock-up of the Buy Now button a few months back and users began discovering the buttons sporadically as part of Twitter's initial beta tests. 

To start, Twitter will be testing the feature with a select group of artists, brands, and nonprofit organizations.

With people becoming more and more comfortable with completing transactions on their mobile devices, be it their smartphone or tablet, mobile commerce will continue to evolve quickly, and its something we've been watching and planning for very closely here at Shopify



Free Advertising Methods When Money Is Not Enough

Become en expert
Submit articles related to your business to the local paper, trade journals and professional organization’s newsletters. Choose a topic that reflects your expertise on the subject and make sure your business is mentioned.

Aim to be one of the great public speakers
Professional meeting planners are always looking for presenters and workshop leaders for conferences. Research contact names in the Directory of Meeting Planners or start with your local Chamber of Commerce or Rotary Club. If, like most people, you dread the thought of public speaking, join your local club; this is also a great way to meet potential customers. When you do get the opportunity to make a presentation, be sure to collect business cards for a drawing to win a book or other prize related to your business.

Reward Referrals
One of the best ways to get new customers is to enlist the help of your current ones. Offer a reward of free merchandise or services for any lead that turns into new business. If you publish a catalogue, include a card where customers can provide the name and address of someone else who might want to receive one. When you get a new customer from a referral, be sure to send the source a personalized thank you note along with their reward.

Set up a newsletter
It’s crucial to keep in touch with your current customers as well as potential ones, and what could be easier than sending out a regular newsletter? After you obtain permission from the recipients, you can describe new products, offer coupons and provide links to articles online your customers might be interested in reading. Keep it simple with pure text or include photos and other graphics

Start a blog or contribute to a forum
This can be a great way to drive traffic to your website and keep a conversation going with your customers. There are several free blogging sites to get you started, I recommend Blogger , WordPress or Tumblr . Here you should post any type of news, promotional messages or information related to your product or services. Another way to get your name out there is to contribute to online discussion groups (without making it obvious you’re advertising). Find the forums that relate to your business by typing in keywords at the top online group websites. I recommend Google , Yahoo groups. Be very careful when using forums to advertise. Many discourage users from bombarding discussions with their own links or promoting their business. Find a forum built for this type of promotion, otherwise you could lose credibility.

Sponsor and charity
Any time you do anything for a charity such as sponsoring an event or donating free materials, make sure the press knows about it ahead of time. They might send a reporter to cover the occasion, but if not, send them photos to publish afterwards

Social media Advertising
It is to no surprise that social media is playing a social role now in the business field due to it’s large database of active people. If businesses know how to use that power they can make millions with minimal efforts. Facebook, Google +, Twitter, Pinterest have large number of global population active during the day. With the right message, banners, keywords there is lot of power to exploit.
In this article we tried to give 7 free advertising methods but by no means these aren’t enough. If you don’t make a plan and a budget for advertising you’re in big trouble. This methods have their place and their contribution in the business advertising but without the plan and the budget your business is flying on autopilot.

Feel Free to comment to know more about free advertising methods.



Pinterest vs. Twitter: Which is Best for my Business?

Social media is a powerful marketing tool for your business. If you haven’t started using social media to market your business then it’s about time you started. The question you now may be asking is, which social media platform should I use?

It’s a good question to ask considering how many social media platforms are now available.  You need to use the platform that is going to give you the best results for your business because each of the platforms have a different audience. We all know about Facebook but this is used more commonly to keep in touch with family and friends. Then there is LinkedIn, which is most commonly used by professionals and is great for networking. Google + tends to attract a more techie kind of crowd.

Then we have Twitter and Pinterest. Twitter is one of the most popular platforms of social media with close to 676 million registered users and 115 million monthly active users. 

Twitter is also a powerful tool for marketing. It has become wildly important for many businesses ever since it introduced paid advertising. Now many businesses are using Twitter to promote their businesses through Tweets that are promoted to customers and prospects on the network. 

However, we also have Pinterest, which is a visual social media platform. Images have taken off in the social media sphere ever since Instagram and now the fast growing Pinterest is adding to the popularity of images. Images have become a powerful way to grab people’s attention and spread messages and many businesses realise how powerful this can be for their business.

Pinterest is relatively new on the social media scene, launching in 2010, and experiencing a surge of growth in 2013. They have 70 million users worldwide but the most important statistic of all for businesses is that about 70% of users are on Pinterest to help them make a buying decision. It has also recently been announced that brands like General Mills, Expedia, and Gap are participating in the first ever paid ads on Pinterest.

So which is to be for Your Business? Pinterest of Twitter?
To put it simply, this depends entirely on your audience and where your audience is going to find your message. Keep reading.

Pintrest Perks
Just because Pinterest is gaining momentum and popularity doesn’t mean you should be using it. You need to take into consideration the type of audience you have first. If you are a business in the food, travel, or DIY crafts, then your business will benefit from using Pinterest. This is because these types of audiences are the most active on this platform. For example, cooking and dining makes up 66% of activity. On Twitter that percentage is 42%. Twitter might be strong in this field but it doesn’t even come close to Pinterest.

However, the biggest advantage of Pinterest is that 83% of its users are women. This might not mean much to you at first but consider this. Women have a better retention rate than men do and they become more active. In other words, Pinterest has the most potential for an engaging and interactive social media campaign. 

Secondly women also view Pinterest as a reliable source of information and advice so if you wanted to establish brand loyalty then this is a great place to start.

The Advantages of Twitter
This doesn’t mean that Twitter doesn’t have some incredible benefits. In terms of gender Twitter is more balanced. Twitter also has more users who live in cities and it’s the preferred choice when it comes to the tech industry. 

But Twitter’s biggest advantage is that it can be used with other social networks, websites and emails. The passive nature of Twitter means it is great for driving traffic to other social media outlets like Pinterest. This is a feature that other social media platforms don’t have and it places Twitter with a distinct advantage in this area. Twitter is also great for customer service with many people tweeting a brand with their questions rather than sending an email.

Disadvantages Pinterest and Twitter Present
Each of the platforms has their unique advantages but they also have their cons.
Arguably Pinterest’s biggest con is that it’s favoured by women. The problem with this is obvious, it’s not going to reach everyone. It has a specific niche that is not ideal for other fields like say sport. A football team would have a hard time on Pinterest for example because of the nature of the audience.

Pinterest does generate more leads than Twitter but it doesn’t drive as much traffic as Twitter. 

Twitter isn’t flawless either. One of the biggest problems with Twitter is the fact that there are millions of tweets flying around everyday so it’s easy to get lost in them all. Not only that but Tweets are limited to only 140 characters, which can be frustrating sometimes. If you have a long message you want to broadcast to the world then it is difficult to do so on Twitter.

In Conclusion
There are both pros and cons to both Pinterest and Twitter and the one you should use depends entirely on your audience. Once you’ve figured out your audience you’ll have a better idea of which social media platform to focus on and once you’ve got that figured out, you’ll have a powerful marketing tool at your disposal.

Which platform do you prefer and why? 



Grow Your Social Media

Grow Your Social Media with these 5 Key Steps

Social media is enormous! So enormous in fact it accounts to 40% of all time spent online. Social media has created a new way for consumers to discover brands and for marketers to reach out further to potential customers. Incredibly 93% of marketers today say that they use social media for business growth. Last year (2013) saw a outpouring in popularity for platforms including Pinterest, Instagram and Vine. This year we’re expecting even more sites to pick up traction including Google’s own Google+ which is becoming an essential part of people’s daily lives.

However, to make the most of this incredible marketing channel, here are five essential steps you should adopt for successful social media marketing.

Plan your strategy
A clear digital strategy is essential for successfully driving sales and leads from social media. 25% of small businesses do not have any strategy in place for their social media marketing. Appreciate that each social network has its own audience demographic and that you should make your choice as to which platforms best suit your business based on their target customers.
Here are some demographic differences between some of the leading networks.

  • Facebook is the leading social media network, with 67% of people online using it.
  • 60% of these Facebook users are female.
  • A 28 years old female is the average user on Twitter.
  • 18–29 year olds tend to be the primary user of Instagram.
  • Pinterest is heavily used by the female gender, with 80% of users being female and those, which have higher education and higher earnings.

With these in mind, you need to take the time to research your customer. What is their personality type? What is their lifestyle? What value can you add for them online?

Having selected the appropriate channels, monitor what your competition is doing. What is working for them? Start creating a social content calendar, as this will help you to organize, plan ahead and remain consistent with a social content schedule.

Quality content is vital
There is no denying that audience engagement is vastly improved with quality content. This can make the difference between your content being shared across multiple platforms and helps to generate more interest in a brand. Quality content also makes a difference when it comes to your organic SEO.
So what exactly do we mean by quality content?

  • Informative
  • Sharable
  • Actionable
  • Relevance to your target audience

To write like a master you need to embrace humor but also promote authoritative knowledge of the subject, your industry and your audience. With content being so crucial to social success, you, as a social media marketer, should experiment to see what works best for you, even if they are successes or failures.

Visuals engage
A study by the University of Harvard shows that 70% of all Facebook activity revolves around the posting of images and that 44% of all users are more likely to interact with brands if they use pictures in their posts. On top of that 121% more shares were generated when using professional quality photos with an average of 90.64 shares per post.

Because of this love for visuals, social networks like Vine, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram are becoming increasingly more popular. You need to think ahead and create your strategy incorporating images at every opportunity.

Don’t forget, when scrolling down a Facebook newsfeed, it is the images, which secure the most feed space, increasing brand visibility, and decreasing the chances it is missed. This is especially true on mobile devices, as images greatly increase the visibility of a post. Furthermore, studies have shown that people are more likely to remember the contents of a post when accompanied with a striking image.

Don’t forget to be active and responsive
When your customers flock to your business’ social platforms to post comments, don’t forget, they are going to expect you to be social as well. Microsoft and Xbox are two excellent examples (among many businesses), which openly embrace Twitter for customer relations and support.
Boasting an impressive 1.3 million tweets, the Xbox support profile is one of the most active and responsive brand feeds on Twitter. It even goes so far as to call itself “the most responsive brand on Twitter”.

With an average of just 42 minutes per response to feed mentions, the Microsoft Support Twitter feed is lightening fast when compared to traditional customer service outlets.

With this in mind you need to remember that simply responding is not enough. If you are too automated with your responses it could get you into trouble through inappropriate responses. Responding with a generic reply could inadvertently promote negative attention and you could be seen to be uncaring. Public perception is a big deal when it comes to social media, as customers want to feel that they’re interacting with a human instead of an automated response robot.

Get your ruler out and measure those metrics
Although there are hundreds of millions of social media interactions every day and the majority of businesses embrace the power of social media marketing, incredibly 25% have no strategy in place to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns.
I can bet that through the time and money you spend on social media marketing, you’ll want to see a return on your investment. Measuring metrics is one the best ways to measure activity and to see where it can be improved.
A few metrics which you should definitely keep track of are:

  • Click through rates from posts onto your business profile
  • The number of shares you receive across various networks
  • Conversion rates
  • Website traffic generated from social channels. (You may even find activity coming from platforms you don’t even use)

As with traditional marketing, one of the main goals of social media marketing is to increase sales. On the same hand maintaining brand awareness is just as important. By monitoring these key metrics you can adjust your social media tactics to increase efficiency and return on investment. Which let’s be honest, is the bottom line for determining whether any marketing strategy is effective.

Social media must be employed if you want to be successful in business. By failing to plan and measure results, you’re setting yourself up for a fall. Listen to what your audience is saying and engage at every opportunity.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and gained some insights into making the most out of your social presence.





Social Media Promotion Ideas

Running promotions on social media sites is a great way to drum up excitement, gain exposure, increase engagement, and increase your follower count. If you've never run a promotion on social media, the idea may be overwhelming. Below are a few ideas from GroSocial to get you started:

  • Run a photo contest. Photo contests are a fantastic way to get your community involved. Ask followers to post their own photos of them interacting with your product in some way. In order to win the contest, entrants need to get the most votes. Guess how they get votes? By sharing their photos with their social networks and asking their friends to vote. What does this mean for your Facebook page? More traffic and more potential new fans.
  • Run a challenge. This too can involve encouraging fans to post photos of themselves though it doesn't necessarily involve getting votes. For example, Revlon’s “red lipstick” challenge encouraged Facebook users to post photos of themselves wearing red lipstick and then sharing their photos with their friends.
  • Hold an essay contest. Photos are highly shareable, which is why photo contests are so popular. However, compelling stories are a great way to drive engagement, too. For example, you could run a contest asking fans to share their inspirational pet rescue stories, business success stories, adventure of a lifetime stories, and so on and then either pick the winner at random, have a panel of judges, or use a voting system.
  • Hold a caption contest. Post a funny photo and ask fans to submit captions. You could offer a small prize to the winner or hold the contest purely for bragging rights. Either way, caption contests are a great way to get a lot of people engaging, liking, commenting, and sharing your post. Caption contests are also a lot of fun, and they allow your followers to share their wittiness.
  • Hold a trivia contest. Again, you could award a small prize to the winner or hold the contest just for fun. You could also award a desirable product or service from your business.
  • Hold a “how many jelly beans” contest. Remember having to guess how many jelly beans were in a pickle jar? Use a variation of this concept by posting a photo of a large quantity of your products and asking fans to guess how many. For example, a grocer might post a photo of a pyramid of tomatoes (how many tomatoes) while an accountant might post a photo of a stack of papers representing the latest IRS regulation (how many pages).

These are but a few ideas for holding a social media promotion. What types of promotions have worked for you? Share your ideas in the comments section below.



Marketing to the Sexes on Social Media

When you think of Pinterest users, who immediately comes to mind? Women! While many social sites such as Pinterest appeal to women, it would be a mistake to ignore men on social media. In fact, according to The State of Social Media for Small Business infographic, only 36.5 percent of its survey respondents said that most of their clients were women. Both men and women are using social media, making it important not to make assumptions. Checkout these tips from GroSocial to make the most of your social media marketing.

Who is Your Market?
In many cases, the sexual identity of your market is obvious. For example, if you sell women’s shoes, your market is primarily female. On the other hand, if you sell dog supplies, your market likely consists of both men and women. Depending on your business, you may want to target one gender over the other for any number of reasons despite your products and services’ universal appeal. In any case, you should know who you want to target on social media so that you can attract the right users to your social media sites and then craft campaigns that will resonate with them.

Start by examining the sexual make up of your current customers. Is it an equal mix? Do you have more male or female buyers? Why? Does it surprise you? Is your current marketing affecting this mix? Does it make sense to replicate this audience on social media?

Attracting Your Target Gender
Once you’ve determined who you want to target, you can then work on attracting them. On option is to use Facebook ads to generate more likes to your business page and show those ads only to users who meet your criteria. Facebook allows you to specify demographic details including gender.

Marketing to Your Target Gender
Building an audience is just the beginning. From there, you’ll need to “speak the same language.” After all, if you’ve built an audience of men but then discuss issues more relevant to women, your message will fall on deaf ears and vice versa.
What if your audience is mixed? That’s fine, too. While your messages will need to be more inclusive, you can still run the occasional gender-specific campaign.
Whether marketing to men, women, or a mix, getting a clear picture of who you are speaking to will help you to be more clear in your targeting and messaging. If you haven’t yet defined your target audience, start by at least determining whether it’s primarily male, female, or an even mix. You can always build from there.



Evolution of Facebook Audience Targeting

Facebook is revolutionizing digital ad targeting through what they are coining “Audiences” as the umbrella term with a variety of technical ways to target people, not cookies based on digital behaviors. The “move fast, break things” culture that Facebook embodies could not be more true in terms of the advancements made to the array of targeting features introduced to their ad platform this year.

This Infographic by Opnia, a social advertising and mobile app dev agency,provides a detailed overview of the evolution of Facebook audience targeting. As you can see the targeting opportunities to splice and dice your messages to a highly relevant audience are endless. And now with Facebook’s improved analytics tool “audience insights” advertisers can upload email data to garner social insights about their customers. This tool can be used in a variety of ways for research and content marketing, but main focus is to improve targeting through Facebook advertising.



Using RSS Feeds to Automate Social Media

Using RSS feeds to push your blog posts and/or other content to your social media pages can be a useful way to ensure that your followers learn about your latest posts. However, using RSS feeds in this manner isn’t without argument. Below are a few of the pros and cons, to keep in mind

The Pros of Using RSS Feeds
First, let’s look at the advantages:

  • Automation – Setting up RSS feeds so that your blog posts are automatically broadcast on your social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook saves you time and effort. If you would normally post manual links each time you publish a blog post, using an RSS feed to automate the process allows you to focus on other tasks such as co-operating with other social media users or even writing your next post.
  • Set it and forget it – Once set up, everything happens automatically. You’ll never forget to mention your latest blog post again.
  • Focus – You can also set up your RSS feeds so that only those in a specific category or those tagged with a specific word are fed to your profiles. For example, if you blog about cars in general and run a Facebook page focused on Honda cars, you could set up your RSS feed so that only those blog posts tagged with the word “BMW” appear on your Facebook page. You could also use RSS feeds from others (such as news from car manufacturer) and adopt a similar strategy.

The Cons of Using RSS Feeds
Now let’s look at the downside of using RSS feeds:

  • Automation - Too much automation can backfire. Social media users want to follow real people, not robots that aggregate information. Make sure to use RSS feeds sparingly. While you’re at it, adjust the publication settings so that a maximum of one or two posts can be published in a single day. This way, your social media sites won’t get bombarded with post after post after post.
  • Duplication – If you have followers that follow you on Facebook and Twitter and you automatically send your blog posts to both social media profiles, those followers will see your blog post twice. They may feel that there’s no point in following you on both profiles. To avoid this problem, use tags or categories to divert some posts to Twitter and others to Facebook.
  • You may not be online and ready to respond once posted – If your Facebook or Twitter account posts a link to your blog and your followers have immediate questions or comments, you really need to be available to interact — that’s the whole point, right? To avoid this potential problem, make sure to set up your automatic RSS feed to occur at a specific time of day when you’re more likely going to be able to respond.

Using RSS feeds to share your blog posts can be a good strategy as it allows you to set it and forget it while keeping your social media page updated with current, relevant information. But it can backfire, too, if you overdo it. Use sparingly, respond promptly to comments, and keep your followers engaged.



Benefits of Social Media Marketing

Once considered “new media,” social media has been around for over a decade. In fact, Facebook recently turned 10. No longer “new,” social media marketing appears to be here to stay. After all, users continue to flock to social networks, and so do marketers. What’s in it for your business? Check out these benefits of Social Media Marketing

  • Traffic and exposure - Social media marketing allows you to reach a much wider potential audience as your followers interact with your social profiles. In addition, many businesses periodically and strategically link to their blogs, websites, and landing pages from their social media pages which further drives traffic. In addition, you can keep the majority of your status updates social and informative and then encourage users to opt into an email campaign where you have the opportunity to guide them toward a buying decision.
  • Loyal fans and brand advocates - Engaging users on social networks breeds loyalty. In addition, many of your most satisfied customers will share their enthusiasm for your products and services with their own networks.
  • Leads, leads, and more leads - You can also use social media to generate leads. For example, you might offer a special report, ebook, or whitepaper on your blog or Facebook page in exchange for an email address.
  • Marketplace insights - Some social networking sites such as Facebook also provide you with detailed analytics. For example, you can quickly see the demographic makeup of your Facebook followers. In addition, you can target specific demographics through Facebook ads.
  • Improved rankings in search engines - Search engines want to serve up relevant results to their users. Having an active social presence with a great deal of engagement, likes, shares, and comments can signal to search engines that your website is highly topical and authoritative.
  • Increased sales - Who doesn’t want to increase sales? Social media with its ability to deliver additional traffic, loyal fans, and leads can positively impact your bottom line by driving sales.
  • Lower marketing costs - Social media marketing is not free, but it’s also not overly expensive. For example, you can sign up for Facebook and Twitter for free and then interact with followers without any upfront costs. That said, your time has value, so don’t forget to factor that in. In addition, you’ll need someone to write quality content for your blog, email newsletters, content marketing campaigns, and so on, and you may want to invest in targeted ads to attract the right following. According to HubSpot, inbound leads cost 61 percent less than outbound ones (social media is a form of inbound marketing).
  • Business partnership opportunities - Finally, social media is a fantastic place to network with other business professionals in your industry as well as potential partners. Start by joining LinkedIn or Facebook groups and becoming an active contributor.

These are but a few of the many benefits you can expect from social media marketing. Your customers, prospects, and potential business partners are using social media. This means that you should, too!




Email Marketing Unsubscribe Do’s and Don’ts

Just recently, I was purging all of my “unwanted” email  subscriptions. We’re talking hundreds of mailing lists that I was no  longer interested in or just plain never wanted in the first place.
It was actually quite an enlightening experience to look at the  processes from a “customer” or “prospect” standpoint rather than that of  the marketer, or online business owner! And it became quite clear WHY  people just get angry and report marketers as spammers!
In this article, we’re going to focus on some of the Do’s and Don’ts  regarding your unsubscribe process. And how to stay out of hot water  when a real live email administrator finds your emails and tries to make  a decision as to whether or not to let you keep on mailing or not!
Some practices or errors to avoid at all costs in list management are as follows:

  • NEVER allow an unsubscribe URL to point to a missing or deleted web page! If  you frequently change your website, always keep a record of the  previous names of those pages, and set up HTTP redirectors to bring  misdirected subscribers to the new correct pages.
  • NEVER allow another piece of mail to get to an unsubscribed user. Your  database deletes do not necessarily have to be in real-time (though it  is preferred, and a lot easier to manage that way) but all mail  campaigns should begin with ensuring that recently unsubscribed users  are excluded.
  • DO NOT program the unsubscribe URL to redirect to another one of your sites to process the removal.  This gives the illusion of foul play, and astute users may skip the  removal process and instead simply report the communication.
  • DO NOT create a removal page that prompts a user to re-enter his/her email address. You already know what this address is because you just sent it an  email! Your mail campaign software should be smart enough to build the  subscriber’s ID into the unsubscribe link so that the user does not have  to enter anything extra.
  • NEVER send any text on a removal page describing a time frame for removal (eg. “Allow 3-4 days for processing”, “May take 4-6 weeks”). Whether  your process is real-time or otherwise, always indicate that  ex-subscribers will get NO MORE communications, and that you are sorry  to see them go… And remove them right away!
  • NEVER attempt to obscure or draw out the unsubscribe process in the hopes that the user may find it too much trouble, and  reconsider. A good (bad!) example of this would be a lengthy and  confusing list of publications requiring that the user clear the check  box next to each.
  • Don’t Make the User Go Through Excessive Confirmation Screens!

You see all sorts of convoluted unsubscribe processes out there. In  marketing, it’s the equivalent of “upsell hell” when you’re trying to  make a purchase. All it’s going to do is make people mad and encourage  them to report you as a spammer. There’s no win in that no matter how  you look at it!
Now, on the flip side, here are some Unsubscribe Tips that may help  you not only stay in the good graces of the Email Administrators and  keep a customer – or get a new one!

  • Include a 1-Click Unsubscribe Link In All Email Correspondence. At  the end of every email, you should have a link that the person can  click on in order to immediately unsubscribe him/her from your list. And  make it simple and obvious! Don’t make them click through to another  page to enter their email address again and so on and so forth.
  • Honor All Unsubscribe Requests Immediately. Unfortunately,  you will have people that don’t click the link and send emails back  requesting removal from your list. (Admittedly, some of these can be  quite rude). And while it may be tempting to send them back through the  process or to reply with instructions to click the link, simply remove  them instead.
  • Utilize Your Unsubscribe Page As A Tool. If you put  a custom page up for your unsubscribe, which we certainly would  recommend, be sure it’s a working page.If you have a continuity program,  you may want to make sure they don’t think they are unsubscribing from  the continuity program by putting something to the effect of “You have  successfully been removed from our email database. If you’re requesting  to cancel your subscription to our ACME monthly service, please click  here to complete. Your paid subscription will NOT be canceled until you  complete the cancelation process”.This will reduce your chargebacks and  complaints ten-fold.

You may also use this custom webpage to give them one final offer,  recommend something else via an affiliate link, try to get them to  subscribe to a different list, etc. This is a great way to monetize your  competitors’ marketing efforts!
You have absolutely nothing to lose at this point because this is  your last chance to communicate with this customer, so make the  communication mean something to your bottom line!



LinkedIn Tags

LinkedIn Tags- A Tool You May Not Know About

Did you know that LinkedIn: World's Largest Professional Network allows you to group your contacts using custom tags? This little-known feature is a useful tool that allows you to filter your LinkedIn contacts based on your own criteria. Better yet, once filtered, you can send messages to 25 tagged contacts at a time. Here’s what you need to know about tagging and filtering contacts on LinkedIn brought to you from the Boutique Business consulting

Create Meaningful Tags
LinkedIn provides you with some default tags such as Friends, Colleagues, Classmates, and Group_Members. While useful, it’s even more powerful to segment your contact using your own custom tags. For example, you could segment your list based on the types of products and services your prospects and customers are interested in or their business types, job roles, or even favorite sports team.

Before you get started, think about your tagging structure so that you don’t inadvertently create redundant tags such as “salesperson” and “sales consultant.” In addition, keep in mind that you can use multiple tags for each contact. Thus, you could tag someone as a “customer,” “car enthusiast,” “CEO,” and “Dodgers fan.”

In order to create a tag, you will need to go to your Contact list in LinkedIn. Do this by going to Network > Contacts. Hover your mouse over a contact from your list and then click on the Tag button that appears. Click the Add a New Tag link in the submenu. Give it a name and click Save. This will both create the tag as well as tag that person with the tag you just created.

Once created, you can then tag other contacts with that same tag (or create new tags as applicable). To tag another contact with the tag you just created, find that person in your Contacts list, hover with your mouse, click Tag, and then choose the tag in the drop down list. Repeat as needed to tag your other contacts.

Filtering Contacts by Tags
Once your contacts are tagged, you can filter your list based on the tags you just created. Why? It makes your list more manageable. For example, if you need to refer an IT project to an IT consultant but aren’t sure where to start, you could start by filtering your contact list based on those who you have tagged as IT consultants. Instead of wading through a large list of contacts from all kinds of backgrounds, you would then have a small, highly relevant list.

Using Tags to Send Mass Messages via LinkedIn
Another reason to use tags to filter your list is to send targeted mass messages. For example, let’s say that you want to reach out to all of the IT consultants on your list about a new product your company is preparing to release. While you could use tag filtering as discussed to send messages to them individually, LinkedIn allows you to send the same message to up to 25 tagged contacts at once. This can save you a great deal of time and ensure that your message goes out only to those who meet your specific tagged criteria.

To do this, filter your list by tag as described above. Next, click Select All. Now, click on Message. Enter a subject line and message. Before you click the Send Message button, decide whether or not you want your recipients to see who else the message is going out to. By default, names and email addresses will be shown to all contacts. If you’d like to override this, remove the check in the box next to “Allow recipients to see each other’s names and email addresses.”

If you have more than 25 tagged contacts, you will need to send your message in batches and repeat. This means that if you have 250 contacts to send messages to, you’ll need to do this process 10 times. Though tedious, it’s far less tedious than having to do it 250 times.

LinkedIn’s tagging feature is a nifty tool that you may not know about. Start using tags to segment your contact list as needed.




Why are social networks working so well?

That's an easy one!

The answer is that we are all still CAVEMEN and are longing for a TRIBE!

I explain why in about 2 minutes using a couple of cartoons.
Cavemen do have some very basic needs.

Our needs have evolved with time but are still basically the same!

Humans found out that life is difficult (extremely sometimes!).

Being member of a tribe makes life easier!

Being member of a tribe learns you new stuff!

You can also find your mate!

That's why social networks are working so well!

After all ... we are still the same ...

CAVEMEN, and we love belonging to a TRIBE!
Hope you liked this post.




What is Content Marketing?

What is Content Marketing?

For starters, content marketing is not exclusive to the web, it can be any marketing platform. It’s includes the creation and sharing of media or publishing content whose purpose is to acquire more customers or conversions. There are many different ways you can display content, including text, photos, videos, e-books, case studies, white papers, infographics and more. While this is the general definition, something you also need to consider is the character your content carries. With Google’s algorithms changing constantly content has evolved greatly. People are searching more, asking more questions, what you need to ask yourself is, “Am I answering their questions?” Companies in every industry and size have various content strategies. From Fortune 500 companies to startups the proof is in the content, not the pudding. While there are many different ways to market, you'll definitely be able to find a way to use it to your advantage and boost your online presence.

Starting off as a copywriter and working my way up to Head of Content I understand just how important a good content marketing strategy really is for your overall business. With websites carrying such an expensive price tag (for a good, quality one at least...) you want to make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck. The last thing you want is to pay thousands of dollars for a site that is just filled with generic content lacking any sustenance or personality. Whether you are about to dive into a new web development project or you are just looking for new ways to improve your site’s traffic and conversions, rethinking your current content marketing strategy can help greatly. Here you’ll find tips on what to look out for, how to position your content and what to make sure you include in your site.

Why is it so important?
Let me put it this way, your content will definitely be one of the major determining factors in whether or not they convert, return, or even recommend your site to others. Keeping your target audience and visitors happy and engaged is your ultimate goal. Supplying them with the answers to their gnawing questions will be how you win them over.

What is it's purpose?
Though the main purpose is to gain new customers and conversions, you are  also providing your customers with a direct connection. The best way to do this while you increase conversions, traffic and boost your reputation is to fulfill a need. Your website needs more than just an overwhelming amount of focus keywords crammed in each section. Become your community’s go to resource, answer their questions and keep them engaged, all with a strong strategy..

How has it changed in few years?
In the last few years as Google updated their algorithms, content creation has changed greatly. Rather than it just being the vehicle to cram SEO keywords and pitching your products you now have the opportunity to establish a connection with your consumers. Instead of just taking up space on the web, use it wisely and surprise yourself with how much your traffic and conversions improve.

Are you utilizing your content the right way?
How does your content look right now? Are all of your pages extremely dense with keywords and no real material? Even if you have a good pagerank now, that won’t last long. Google’s geniuses know all about the loopholes that slipped past the last algorithm, so what may have worked for you months ago may not continue to work. So what’s the solution? Understanding the importance of your content marketing strategies and putting some serious thought into it!

What are the benefits of content marketing?
By using content marketing the correct way and taking the right amount of time to strategically position your pages, services and it’s continuity you can benefit more than just gaining more conversions. Your content can help you narrow down your audience, show what strategies are working, what areas need improvement and more. With the right content marketing strategy you can become a credible resource in your industry while staying ahead of the curve instead of constantly playing catch up with every new update.

What can your content tell you?
There’s a reason I keep saying its so important. With the right positioning and strategies you can identify various important components of your online presence and business. With the right analytics programs your content marketing can find your target audiences and narrow it down to specific areas. Working with your analytics program, you will also be able to see what pages are driving the traffic and which ones have the highest bounce rates. You can then pivot your content marketing strategy to address these weak points by finding what made your strong pages so visible. Was it the information available? The formating? The images? It could have even been for a long-tail keyword you were unaware of. All of these questions can be answered with the collaboration between your analytics and your content.




Vine is an app owned and created by Twitter that allows you to create and share short video clips. Dubbed the Instagram of video, Vine encapsulates what twitter itself encourages, small, snappy moments or thoughts that appear to be spontaneously shared with the public. Yet unlike Twitter or Instagram, Vine has the novelty factor- people’s interest is piqued. Tweets and photo shares are old news, but 6 second videos? Well, the possibilities are endless! The influence of Twitter as the biggest and best form of social media marketing is by no means in question, yet Vine can undoubtedly support and emphasise Twitter marketing campaigns.

Vine shares more with the animated GIF than YouTube, and almost doesn’t feel like a video app at all. It is its own thing. It’s a code that unlocks creativity in six-second bursts, a powerful tool for real-time journalism, an entirely new art form.

And after spending a week with it, I’m influenced it’s going to be big. Genuinely, big !!!

One of the ideal marketing features of Vine is that the videos are on a continuous loop so that viewers actually see a clip at least a couple of times, making it the perfect tool for optimising product recognition and branding. If anything, the use of Vine at least shows that your company or business is up to date in the world of technology, something that is becoming increasingly recognisable as a necessity in the modern world. Though there is of course a challenge in making sure your videos are engaging rather than annoying, if the result is positive, Vine can definitely be considered an unbelievably influential tool in the world of social media marketing.

Vine lack some basic features, it need a better linking method, for example. People – discovery is a mess, especially since Facebook quickly blocked vine from using its social graph. You can’t edit titles or tags or comments once your video is posted. And you can’t go back later and export your videos on twitter or Facebook. Twitter is working on fixing all of these things. It already removed the ability to search for videos tags. A sharing fix should be impending.

Here are a few helpful tips we’ve put together to help you make the most of Vine:

  1. The use of humour in videos, if done correctly is always guaranteed to entertain rather than annoy possible clients or customers
  2. Use the app to advertise competitions, discounts, sales and promotions to increase coverage about your company or business
  3. Like Instagram, use Vine to show your company’s personal side. Take sneak-peaks of what goes on behind the scenes. Introduce yourselves as people rather than faceless businessmen and women. This can also be linked to the tip about humour- show you are human!
  4. Use the app to engage your followers in conversation- pose a question or a thought and invite people to respond
  5. Use to show off a new product- video allows you to provide more detail than a picture could
  6. Use the app to support your tweets and make them more interesting- people are more likely to watch a video than read a blog
  7. Be entertaining! As long as your video has some sort of link to your business or what you stand for- then it’s worth it!



Make Attraction Marketing Your Secret Weapon


Learning how to build a successful online business does not have to complicated. When you first started your business, you probably thought that you would be successful by now. However, after months of running after your friends and relatives, preparing for business presentations and attending seminars, you decided that things aren’t working out for you. Maybe at first you thought that you were only going through a rough patch, but as the months went by, you started losing hope.
If this sounds similar to your story, you need to learn how to build an internet business with attraction marketing. People in your life might have told you to that the only way to find success is to talk to your friends and relatives about the business opportunity that you have. Forget about what they are telling you to do. Instead, learn about attraction marketing.
Attraction marketing can help you build your business without requiring you to chase after leads. You don’t have to go out and actively look for customers. These customers will approach you for the benefits that your products, services and opportunities  have to offer. You can learn how to build an internet marketing  business online, right at home in your pajamas.
Attraction marketing involves these steps:

  1. Knowing your target market – your customers are the ones who will most likely benefit from your products
  2. Building your website or blog – a simple website that you can use for your business
  3. Creating informative and interesting content (aimed at target market) – valuable content that your target market will find useful
  4. Driving traffic to your website – use online tools and social media websites
  5. Capturing leads – turn your website visitors into leads and stay in touch with them

Attraction marketing can help you with these steps. Once you are familiar with this method, you will be able to wake up with an inbox full of leads. Learn how to build an internet marketing  business with attraction marketing and stop chasing after your potential targets.

If you want to learn more about attraction marketing - watch this great video from James Hicks that explains more about it.



Facebook Marketing Vs Google Adwords

Below is an interesting infographic from WeblineIndia that looks at the difference between Facebook Marketing and Google Adwords. It shows the similarities between the two and where they differ. It shows that they serve different purposes in your marketing strategy. From this I surmise that Google Adwords are still more effective despite the cost. What conclusions do you draw?



Google AdWords Tip - Adwords Editor

Google has made it easy for anyone to get up and running with advertising and promote their websites instantly at any time. Which is great. But also it is usually at the expense of wasting clicks, and ultimately, your money. As Digital Marketing experts we know that achieving the most from our resources is a primary objective of effective online marketing.

But, how could you be sure that you are not wasting your budget with ineffective AdWords campaign settings?

This tip will help you better manage your AdWords account, improve your performance, save money per click and conversion, and ultimately get more from your AdWords advertising.


Using AdWords Editor

Although this is not a direct tip to optimizing your AdWords account, Adwords experts recommend using Google’s desktop software, AdWords Editor as it can save you a lot of time with your PPC optimization.

All changes can be made offline before setting everything live at once, which is great for building up accounts. Campaigns, Ad Groups and Keywords can be expanded quickly with copy and paste commands.

AdWords Editor also allows you to bulk edit text (replacing text or appending text) and adjusting bids using multiplier rules. Some additional built in tools allow you to find duplicate keywords and group keywords by theme, helping to create a tightly optimized AdWords account.

If you need help with Adwords please contact us.