Social media marketing sounds easy to plenty of new entrepreneurs, yet they must perceive the contrast between individual online networking use and expert utilization.
Consider it like this: on the off chance that you bake a batch of cookies to serve your family, at that point that is something you can oversee without anyone else. Yet, in the event that you anticipate serving 1,000 cookies to peers over the course of a three-day business conference, at that point that is an altogether more complex issue!
Everything gets more complicated when you move from personal to professional, and the outcomes matter more, as well.
All of a sudden, you aren’t simply posting on your Facebook when you feel like it. Nor would you be able to enjoy occasional the reply and like. Instead, you’re actively trying to drive business goals and represent your brand in a likable way.
The emotional contrast between the two approaches finds numerous entrepreneurs off-guard. To help them out, here are eight secrets the masters utilize with regards to online networking marketing — and that numerous small businesses miss.
Write Down a Policy and Style Guide
Ask them to tell you what the business’s social media policy is, and you’re just as likely to get dozens of different answers. In fact, most employees may look you back blankly in the face.
A social media policy guides the brand voice as well as the decisions a business makes when posting. So, if you were trying to pick between two image types, the social media marketing policy could help you decide on the one that aligns better with your social goals.
Set policies for employee social media use, too. Make sure they know they represent the company! Let them know what sorts of offenses could get them in hot water, including posting extreme political opinions or offensive takes.
Creating a social media style guide can similarly help make posting easier, especially if more than one employee handles the duties. Align everything in your policy and style guide so that your social media accounts can support both your brand and your marketing goals.
Target Your Content and Conversations Towards Personas
Some small businesses get HUGE social media followings …of people who would rarely buy anything from them.
There is a big gap between mass engagement and targeted engagement.
You want your posts to speak to a highly targeted audience based on the traits of your best customers. For instance, if you pitch your services to existing IT departments, don’t be shy about using jargon. Stay current on any discussion, too, so that your ideas don’t seem dated.
But if you want to offer managed IT services to regular businesses, they may not know a CAT cable from a cat collar. Feel free to post basic how-tos, and try to keep terminology approachable.
Decide upon the segments you want to speak to in order to raise your chances of success. Imagine traits of a single person in this segment, including their typical job role, the things they value most, and broad aspects of their personality. This is your “persona” for an idealized version of a target audience group.
You can even name them! That way, before you decide on a post to share or an image to use, you can ask something like: “Would Sarah the retired optometrist care about this post?”
Strategize, Set Goals, And Ditch Vanity Metrics
Always set goals for your social media usage. It should serve a concrete purpose that ultimately benefits your business.
Common social media marketing goals include:
- Raising website visits
- Generating leads through job quotes
- Helping introduce new products to people
- Getting more participants for events, contests, and things like webinars
- Upselling existing customers
- Reminding prior customers to return again
- Promoting a specific brand value, especially through philanthropy
No matter what your goals are, ensure they actually help your business get more money or improve its brand.
For instance, having a certain number of “likes” or shares from a post promoting your content should not be a goal. These are vanity metrics. Instead, you should monitor the number of actual visits to the content on your website. Ideally, you will also have targets for the percentage of people converted from social to content to signup for your related offer.
Carry on Actual Conversations and Engage
Don’t just post into the void or post things you, personally, want to read.
Everything you post should be targeted towards the personas you have created and tied towards business goals.
You want your audiences to feel like your brand is carrying on a conversation rather than just talking at them.
Respond to certain positive comments or interesting ideas. Try to see if you can get the full perspective from people who have something negative to say. Make each response feel personal, not canned.
Give your audience opportunities to take center stage. Post a question for them, like “what are your favorite ways to save money?” Ask them if they would like to see more of certain content types, or less of certain post types.
Also, make your social media use broader than just posting on your own page. Use social listening tools to monitor brand mentions and jump in on messages when you think it’s worthy of a conversation. Find other business pages, and engage with them like you would want others to engage with you.
As Andrew Kucheriavy of web development company Intechnic writes, “make [sure] your interactions are meaningful! Networking is about adding value to a relationship.”
Make Time for Off-Schedule Posting
Many business owners go ahead and queue up an entire month’s worth of content in advance.
This is great! Having a schedule makes the social experience more consistent and professional for your audience.
But you shouldn’t be shackled to this schedule.
New articles and ideas will pop up on your radar all the time. Maybe something interesting happened in your industry this week. Maybe you just snapped a great photo of your team at the office.
Give yourself the chance to actually share content during opportunities like these rather than hoarding it all until next month. If you set aside, say, an hour each week to make time for unscheduled postings, then you can flesh out your existing content and make your page feel more organic.
Just remember to stick to your policy, goals, and buyer persona (avatar) guides. Also, proofread twice! Want a really awesome way to create, schedule and automate your social media marketing? Try our free tool, MySoPro today!
Promote Content Posts to Put Them in Front of Targeted Audiences
Promoting content on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter can be highly affordable. More importantly, it can grow your audience beyond people who already follow and interact with your pages.
Start experimenting with promoting certain posts and using custom audience building features. Platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook even offer the ability to target specific companies or hyper-local areas.
If you put just a small budget behind a few key posts a month, then you can quickly multiply the number of people who see your messages. You also generate valuable data based on who does and doesn’t interact when they see certain posts.
Don’t Assume Social Media Marketing Is Easy to Do Yourself
There’s a reason “social media manager” is a full-time job at most big companies. Even for small businesses, managing it all and doing it right can be tough.
On top of that, you may not have the time to dig into your data or revisit your strategies and guiding documents.
So seek out help. Share the burden with others who are qualified and whose judgement you trust.
As Social Media Week observes: “Long gone are the days when you could rely on an intern to manage your business’s social media accounts. Either hire an in-house expert or outsource to a social media management firm.”
Crawl Before You Walk, Walk Before You Run
Similarly, as with anything in business, don’t take on more than you could possibly deal with. Stick to one or two social networks at first. Otherwise, your pages could feel like soulless cookie-cutter copies or, worse, ghost towns with nary an update in months.
Be that as it may, if you stay focused on your goals and your principles, at that point you can begin little to discover progressive achievement. Just once you get the hang of it should you begin to scale out and accomplish more.
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When you go online, chances are that a lot of the content you see is in video format – and for good reason. Every day, approximately 100 million people watch at least one video online. So videos are an incredibly effective way of marketing your product and/or service.
If you have been avoiding making videos because you think they will be too expensive or difficult to make, it is time to rethink your marketing strategy.
61% of all businesses now use video content in their digital marketing plans. Two out of every three of these businesses are newcomers to video.
Additionally, video consumption continues to rise online. Estimates from this summer predict that overall video consumption via mobile will increase by 35% by the end of this year.
These developments foretell a new year where digital video will be more important than ever for business owners’ success. Those who take advantage of the following four video marketing trends in 2018 will likely be in for a great year ahead.
Video Content Marketing Becomes a Must-Have for Small Businesses
For one, people complete video content more frequently than the average non-visual, text-based blog article. According to Vidyard, over a third of all video viewers (37%) make it to the end of the video’s run time.
Nearly all mobile users who watch video (92%) have a tendency to share video content with others. Simply Measured also says that video gets shared around 12x more frequently than content links or text.
Other studies show that audiences retain video in messaging better than text.
With these advantages, businesses putting video content out there will see higher levels of engagement. They will also see higher levels of shares and conversions into their marketing funnel. Having a video component to your digital marketing strategy will become a competitive differentiator in months ahead.
Business owners looking to get into video can start by transforming existing content assets into a short (around 2.5 minutes or less) summary. Look to the assets with the most views and shares for inspiration.
Video Becomes an Integral Part of the Sales Pipeline
Video not only generates awareness, it can help nurture sales in both B2C and B2B industries. 65% of business decision-makers will visit a startup’s website, claims ComScore.
Offering video content helps turn what could be a pushy and person-intensive sales process into a self-service nurturing pipeline. Interested prospects can view video content hosted on websites or shared via social to learn more about products and features. As they educate themselves, they move towards the end of the sales funnel with minimal person-to-person contact.
Self-guided lead nurturing not only reduces employee overhead, it also results in a more pleasant experience for leads. 19% of prospects claim they only want to hear from a company rep when they are actively considering a purchase. 40% of prospects want to be able to buy without talking to anyone at all.
Meeting this need involves considering how video assets can provide value at every stage of the sales/marketing funnel.
For instance, business owners can cultivate awareness by creating emotional or intriguing video advertising assets.
Video content marketing assets provided on their website next to text content can help buyers at the nurturing stage. In-depth explainer videos can help lay out different buying options. It can also lay out the final steps in the procurement process for those ready to close the deal.
“When you incorporate video into your sales processes, customers get what they want: a friction less, self-serve experience on their time, and on their terms,” says WireBuzz.
Think about buyer needs that were once traditionally met with person-to-person interactions. Imagine how video can replace these needs with a self-service, video-heavy customer journey.
Live Video, 360° Video, Slideshows and Other Video Formats Gain Traction
Like everything else online, the world of video marketing is evolving. While you can still upload videos to your YouTube channel and share them online, there’s also a new kid in town – live video.
One of the most accessible options, which allows companies to fully integrate video marketing into their Facebook marketing, is Facebook Live.
Live video presents an easy, low-budget and low-concept way to create more video content for audiences. Brands can engage with audiences in a way that feels authentic and like a 1:1 conversation.
Preparing live video into your content marketing and social engagement strategy can quickly round out your assets without a massive up-front investment.
There are a lot of reasons that doing live is a good way to gain more followers. This is something that you should be investing in.
We could go into a lot of detail now about why Live might well be the ‘future’ of social media in many ways. For now, though, suffice to say that for you, it offers a unique way to communicate with your audience. This takes away the limitations of having to wait for a post or a message to be delivered.
Your audience will feel as though they’re getting real insight into your lifestyle, your business and your personality. You will be able to answer their question directly.
This is a fantastic format for a whole range of types of media. From AMAs (Ask Me Anything), to interviews and to product reviews.
On the other end of the spectrum is 360° video. These assets use a special camera setup to capture a full spherical range of images. Audiences can then use a smartphone headset like the Google Daydream to tilt and move their head as the video plays, changing their viewpoint as one might in real life.
360° video results in a truly immersive and memorable experience. However, the high cost of equipment and production means businesses require an airtight strategy for converting 360° videos into measurable returns.
Formats like these lower production costs for video — especially video ads. They still provide higher levels of engagement. Best of all, they can communicate well even without sound.
Since 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound, slideshow and short-form video assets provide substantial returns with a relatively minimal investment.
In 2018, Video Marketing Trends Will Define Small Business Success
If 2017 was a year of pioneering growth for video, 2018 will be the year people expect business owners to give their video marketing campaigns some structure.
Business owners can bring in bigger audiences than ever before. Simply by using the above trends in combination with intelligent strategy and dutiful measurement of KPIs.
Digital Marketing Trends for 2018
In 2018, you need a sales and marketing plan that makes the best use of digital marketing trends to create more visibility and drive revenue.
We’ve identified five major digital marketing trends that should get your focus in 2018.
The businesses that are able to best take advantage of these trends will get a huge leg up over their competitors.
To help you get you started — and to make this coming year more profitable for you — read about these five important digital marketing trends for 2018 below.
Content Marketing to Attract and Engage Prospects
Content marketing is nothing new, but it is evolving.
Content is what makes the web go around. Content is what makes people visit your website, it’s what encourages people to follow you on social media and it’s what eventually turns your visitors into fans rather than just followers.
Your social media strategy should largely be about sharing content. That means directly posting images, videos, and text to your social media accounts, but it also means posting to your blog or website and then sharing that on social media.
But this strategy will only work so long as the content you are providing is top quality and highly engaging. So now the question is: how do you ensure that this is the case?
70% of people say they would rather learn about a company through articles than ads.
For this reason, around 90% of businesses that advertise online use content marketing currently. Most are interested in shifting dollars from traditional ads to content, where they can find better returns.
You should create engaging, in-depth content with a strong visual element to attract prospects. Reach more people by learning about the content they want to consume and giving them more of it.
Video Continues to Dominate
You might not be into Facebook Live yet, but you probably should be! Recent data from Facebook shows that people are 10x more likely to comment on a Facebook Live video than otherwise.
Even if Facebook Live does not work for your business, incorporating video into your marketing is key. Consider that 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos each week, on average.
Now, keep in mind that there are over 2 billion active Facebook users in the world. A little bit of number crunching reveals that approximately 1 billion people watch one hour of video a week. That’s a huge embedded audience to explore!
Video holds much more attention and communicates messages more effectively than text or still images alone. Recognizing this, small businesses have been using video and finding huge returns. Whether as a type of content or a paid ad, video drives huge amounts of engagement.
Research from Wyzowl indicates that 79% percent of consumers surveyed would rather watch a video to learn about a new product then read about it.
Also, “64% of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it.” So, people are not only watching a video but also remembering what they see and actually buying things afterward!
Small business owners can start working on their video strategy easily by answering common questions customers have — either Live or as a prerecorded release.
From there, consider repurposing some of your existing content into short, informative videos and uploading them directly to social media.
You know the audiences are there, you just have to give them something worth paying attention to.
Facebook Advertising to Reach Prospects
Billions of users reside on Facebook. The targeting is so specific, you can even turn off ads to people who have clicked on them before. It can also be inexpensive if you know what you’re doing.
No wonder it’s one of the top advertising platforms for marketers.
The results of Facebook advertising can happen very quickly. It’s not unusual to see sales start after 24 hours of running an ad. As a small business owner, you can use Facebook to your advantage.
If you’ve read that boosting a post is a waste of time, I’m going to correct that thinking. As a small business owner, page boosts are perfect for you.
If you’ve got a massive audience (over 2000 fans) then it’s probably not.
But then again, if you use it the way we show you how, it may be good for any business size.
When you boost a post, you aren’t just limited to your fans. You can target certain demographics, just like an ad. Most people don’t know that. They think boosting is just for your fans.
If you’re just boosting to your fans, you may be wasting money.
If you target it like an ad, you’ll be getting the most out of your boost.
You can choose your demographics based on age, location, age, and interest. In this case, you want to target people in your local area. You can play around with the other options, but location targeting is key.
This way your post will be seen by people in your local area.
What kind of post should you boost? Try one that’s talking about a product or your latest sale. You want to entice people to come into your store or contact you. If you want them to contact you, be sure to put your contact information in a boosted post.
A boosted post is extremely inexpensive. It can cost as little as $20. You can potentially reach hundreds or thousands of people with that money.
Boosted posts can run for one to seven days. The maximum amount of days it can run is seven. I’d recommend that you run a post if you can afford to run it.
Make sure the post is applicable to at least that amount of time. You don’t want a post about a sale running after it has expired.
Make sure all your posts abide by Facebook’s Advertising Guidelines. These posts need to be approved. Sometimes they will be approved but then you’ll find out later they’ve been canceled. If they’ve been canceled, it’s usually because they violated the guidelines in some way.
Facebook is a great advertising platform.
Now small and local businesses have the chance to increase their audience with just a small budget. Make sure you implement at least one of these this week. Once you see your first sale, you’ll want to make it a regular part of your advertising. This is one of the easiest ways to implement the most effective digital marketing trends in existence.
When you combine video and Facebook Ads you really start to multiply the impact. Recent data highlight the fact that social video (basically any kind of branded video or advertisement) generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined.
Instagram & Influencers Drive Engagement
When it comes to consistent engagement, Instagram is the number one social channel out there. That’s the conclusion of a study done by Yopto, which found engagement rate on Instagram to be 45% greater than on Facebook and 40% greater than Twitter.
What exactly does ‘engagement’ mean? It means this: over 75% of users will take action on an advertisement posted in their feed.
The key here is to let your customers do the posting as much as you do. The same Yopto study found that 77% of people are more convinced by user-generated photos of a product rather than professional photos.
Crowdsource your own content by asking loyal customers for pictures of them using your product. People love the attention, and you save on professional photography, so it’s a win-win for all.
Another key thing to know about Instagram is how powerful Instagram Influencers are.
“Influencers” refers to people with lots of followers and tons of engagement from fans. There are all types of influencers, including subject matter experts who post videos and photos related to their expertise.
Small businesses can tap into these influencers at a relatively low cost. Case studies have shown that niche experts in your industry will drive direct sales traffic without costing your company an arm and a leg.
Take the example of RESCUE, for instance. RESCUE wanted to push their range of natural products and asked a number of micro-influencers and bloggers to share their personal stories and include a “buy one, get one free” coupon with their post. The results? A 258% increase in Instagram followers — not to mention over 6,000 clicks to the coupon site.
Because of success stories like these, there is no question that leveraging micro-influencers to drive conversion rates will be a major trend in social media marketing going forward.
Businesses Not Optimized for Mobile Will Be Left Behind
Did you know that 4 out of 5 consumers now use smartphones to shop? Let’s face it, nowadays just simply having a website is no longer enough for your business to truly connect with consumers online. People are accessing the internet from desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. Your customers are using mobile devices to search for businesses in their area and to shop online.
Having a mobile website can make a big difference in how many customers find and interact with your business. The use of mobile phones to browse the internet isn’t new, but it continues to rise, making a mobile website more and more important for businesses who want to stay on top of the market.
Why being Mobile Friendly Is Important for Your Business
Studies show the average consumer is spending more time browsing and utilizing the web on a mobile device vs. on a desktop or laptop. Tablets and phones can be conveniently carried around and accessed instantly. How often have you seen someone looking at their phone while waiting for a bus, sitting in a restaurant, or taking a break from work? All of those moments are opportunities for your business if you have a mobile-friendly website. Better yet, 2018 should be the year you adopt a Progressive Web App! This will be the hottest of all digital marketing trends.
In a 2014 study, ad network InMobi found that in the United States people are spending more time accessing the internet through their mobile devices than through their PCs. This means that if your business’s website is designed only for PCs, you’re missing out on over half of the market. Furthermore, about one in three online searches are now conducted through mobile devices. People use their phones when they are out and about and looking for a local service. If your website comes up in their search results and is easy to access, you might gain an immediate new customer.
A recent study by iAcquire found that 70% of mobile online searches result with an action taken within less than an hour of the search. This means that mobile searches are a more effective way of reaching customers than desktop searches, and can quickly result in new customer interactions and sales.
Take Advantage of These Five Digital Marketing Trends for 2018 to Find Success Growing Your Business
In 2018, competing online is no longer an option.
It’s a must for your business to survive.
To grow your business, you must apply a complete digital marketing strategy.
One that gets more Leads & Sales.
One that takes advantage of the shifts in Mobile, Social, Video, Reputation, Search and other digital marketing trends.
One that connects all the dots, so that people can find you on any channel but still have a consistent experience.
One that gives the information people need to make a buying decision through helpful content and a mobile-optimized experience.
This is the only way for your business to not be left behind.
If you take advantage of these digital marketing trends, you will have a distinct advantage in growing your business over your competition.
Digital Video Advertising
The benefits of digital video advertising have quickly switched it from a “nice to have” for larger businesses to a “must have.” Now, this status has begun to trickle down to smaller businesses.
Brands already embracing video ads have a distinct advantage over their competition.
Soon, video advertising for small businesses could become table stakes for all business owners. Without it, they may not be able to viably compete for new customers and overall sales.
In other words: video ads provide so many advantages that small businesses without a video marketing strategy may get left behind.
In case you’re not sold on this idea, consider that video is much more engaging than other forms of social media. That’s at least partly because video assaults all the senses. It contains movement, imagery, music, and gesticulations and all this makes it far more captivating, far more persuasive and potentially much more emotionally stimulating.
This is everything you need to sell to someone and it makes social media a considerably more powerful tool for selling and persuading – or just getting someone to care about and be interested in your brand.
Discover the benefits of video advertising and learn about six huge reasons your small business should consider video ads by reading on.
1. Digital Video Has Runaway Growth with No Signs of Slowing Down
First, business owners should know that digital video is not just a “fad.” It’s a legitimate trend that reflects our evolving use of technology.
Online video has become an absolute monster in the past few years with no signs of slowing down. People watch over 500 million hours of video on YouTube each and every day. An estimated one-third of all online activity is spent watching videos.
Video uploaded to newer platforms has also quickly caught traction. Since introducing native video for Facebook users in 2013, the platform has grown to have over 500 million people watch at least one video in a given day.
There are many reasons behind this upsurge in video production and consumption, but mobile is one of the most important to keep in mind. As smartphone adoption rates rose and device owners gained access to cheaper data plans, the simultaneous explosive growth in content production and attentive audiences created a full-blown phenomenon.
Over half of video content is now viewed via mobile devices, and mobile video saw 20 percent consumption growth last year.
Altogether, these facts show that if your business invests in videos, it won’t be stuck with something no one uses five years from now. Instead, not using video advertising could actually make your business feel like a dinosaur.
2. Most Marketers Are Buying into Video Ads, And They’re Seeing Real Results
While more consumers are watching videos, more marketers are also spending more money on video advertising. Comparing 2016 to 2015, marketers spent 53 percent more on digital video ads — $9.1 billion in total. Looking just at mobile video ad growth, spending increased 145 percent year-over-year during the same period.
And while video ads made up just 12.5 percent of overall digital ad spending last year, digital advertising as a whole eclipsed traditional TV advertising. TV has long been the king in the ad world since the 1960s. That fact that digital can unseat it is a big deal.
Also, many brands have begun to give video the lion’s share (56 percent) of their ad budget, signaling a larger sea change in the handoff between digital and traditional pay TV.
Overall, people have begun to pay less attention to traditional media outlets like broadcast TV and more attention to digital videos. Businesses using video ads will find bigger and bigger audiences over time. Those who stick to older forms of ads will have shrinking audiences.
This trend has strongly motivated marketers to pay attention. Currently, over 67 percent of brands say that they purchase video ad inventory on Facebook. The majority intend to spend more on video in the next year.
Since “programmatic ad platforms” can automatically match your video ad with people most willing to buy, the tremendous appeal of video content has helped marketers find big, high-value audiences and better conversion rates.
3. Video Sharing Helps Your Ads Go Viral and Expand Reach
A video is not only appealing but also highly shareable. In fact, traffic to video sharing sites has more than tripled. Also, 92 percent of mobile video viewers report that they regularly share videos with others.
Because video is so shareable, a single ad placement can turn into free exposures from people sharing your ad with friends and associates. Video ads, therefore, help small businesses get more value for their dollar.
Additionally, video ads that are blatant advertisements can still hold a high amount of appeal to buyers. According to one recent survey, four times as many people would prefer to watch a product-focused video compared to reading about it.
4. Video Communicates More Than Words or Images Alone
Video content combines sight and sound with motion to create a deeply engrossing experience. By combining moody imagery with soothing music, for instance, small business brands can make viewers feel emotion more effectively than images or text can by itself.
Consider that a two-minute explainer video can be capable of delivering over 200 words of script. It will also show deeper information with animations, visual cues and things like editing. Maybe this is why people say that if a picture is worth 1,000 words, 1 minute of video must be worth 1.8 million!
Additionally, people tend to remember video far more clearly compared to text. The average viewer claims to remember 95 percent of what they saw in a video compared to just 10 percent of what they read through text.
For small businesses marketing, these benefits mean that video advertising does more with less. Your viewers will get more of your message, enjoy it as an experience, and remember it better overall.
5. Video Helps You Rank Higher for SEO and Social
You might not be aware of this, but YouTube (which is owned by Google) is actually the world’s second-largest search engine. It’s also the world’s third-most trafficked website. Not only is YouTube a great way to share your videos, the information you include (such as keywords and links to your website) can boost your search ranking, and that’s a big benefit.
These video results appear at the top of the SERP above text-based web pages.
By having your video more likely to appear in search results, you can get more clicks from search users directly in the SERPs. Having your video appear on the SERPs can also increase organic traffic by 157 percent compared to text-based web pages.
Put together: each video you make can generate more business with less effort.
6. Video Can Drive Serious Conversions
The addition of video to your existing campaigns can help convert more people more quickly. Research shows that customers are about 80% more likely to convert on a page that includes video – and they’re 64% more likely to make a purchase.
On top of this, using video anywhere on your website can drive engagement overall. According to studies, the average user spends 88 percent on websites that contain video. Additionally, blogs incorporating video tend to earn around three times as many inbound links compared to text-only posts.
Small business owners using both paid video ads and non-ad-related video content will, therefore, have an easier time finding more leads from multiple sources.
How to Get Started
The best way to get started with video marketing is on YouTube, which in some ways is similar to a form of social media. At the same time though, you can also be successful by using live video on platforms like Facebook, by uploading very short videos to Instagram etc., or by using videos through other social media channels. Even paid Facebook Ads let you incorporate video!
To get started creating video, then conventional wisdom is that you will need a good quality camera, some basic lighting equipment, a sound recording device etc.
All this is true to an extent, but it isn’t strictly necessary if you’re shy to go on camera or don’t know how to create that kind of content. In fact, a ‘video’ can be much more of a podcast with a static image and you talking over the top. Or it can be a slideshow with no talking at all! There are lots of ways to create video and the only thing you absolutely need is some basic editing software.
Email marketing has come back in full force, and brands that know their way around best practices can reap huge returns.
According to a survey of marketers conducted last summer, the average ROI from email campaigns was over 100 percent! This ROI beat out other marketing channels by over four times, including social media, paid search, and direct mail.
One study from 2015 even found that email marketing could generate as much as $38 for every $1 spent, which equals a mind-blowing 3,800% percent ROI.
For anyone trying to squeeze more out of their email marketing or turn around their lackluster campaign success, here are 7 pointers for increasing the effectiveness of your email efforts.
1. Segment Your List (Or Risk Being Irrelevant)
Talk to people about topics, products, and ideas they are interested in.
According to an infographic by Mailigen, using segmented, relevant messaging more than doubles your open rate while driving 18x more revenue for your campaigns.
This approach makes a lot of sense if you have ever been to a party where someone is droning on and on about something you just don’t care to hear about or have any interest in. “Have you seen how expensive jogging strollers are these days?” they ask, not bothering to remember you don’t have kids and haven’t jogged since high school.
While the person talking may feel like they aren’t being terribly rude, to the recipient it can feel a bit more personal. “I don’t care what you are actually interested in” the person communicates. “Everyone is equally interested in what I have to say.”
Not having email segments is the same thing. Ensure your list is segmented by buyer persona so that every message is as relevant as possible.
For people who self-subscribe, you can even give them a chance to customize the content they receive by interest, product category, and other choices from a pick-list. Just don’t count on them to do all the work of segmenting for you!
Using an email automation system like Constant Contact or MailChimp is critical to keeping these segments organized, but you can also potentially do-it-yourself by just separating your mailing lists into separate content buckets.
Once you have segments established, take a moment to strategize the difference between each segment based on consumer traits, progress through sales pipeline and other situations. Then, outline the type of content that would be most relevant to each segment as well as what would be least relevant and should not be sent.
Taking a moment to get to know your audience can dramatically increase your open rates while lowering the number of frustrated subscribers.
2. Use Personalization to Make Recipients Perk Up
When we hear our names — even if we know it’s someone else with the same name being called — we tend to take notice. Chances are good that your parents were pros at this technique. When they said your name before a sentence, you knew they meant business!
We have the same reaction when we see our names in an email. Personalization with a name and other details increases open rates by 26 percent, and it can even help drive brand affinity.
Note that personalization involves more than just adding the recipient’s first name to an email. The entire message should be framed as if the recipient is having a 1:1 conversation with the sender. LinkedIn has become a pro at this tactic. They use personalization in a way that makes you sit up and listen.
Looking at moi? Go on, I’m listening!
The above email marketing message not only includes a name but signals that an exciting activity has happened. It says people are looking at your profile. Think of ways to mirror this effect so people get excited or intrigued just from looking at a subject line.
Segmenting your user base by the products they have bought (or expressed interest in) is another way to connect more deeply right from the subject line. “New Jeep Anniversary Fog Lights” can be a way for a Jeep Wrangler owner to have an immediate interest, for instance.
Data shows that this type of personalization is table stakes for marketers with successful email programs. “88 percent of those that exceeded revenue expectations have personalization measurement systems in place,” says Inc.
3. Write Killer Subject Lines and Test Rigorously
A lot of marketers mess up promotional emails right from the moment they begin creating the subject line. You want to give subscribers a compelling reason to open your newsletter instead of ignoring it. For example, a local clothing store might try something like this:
April Newsletter: Spring Scarves and a Special Coupon for You!
That’s just one possibility, but you might try including a compelling line from a story, a mention of a product, or a detail about a promotion. However, make sure to stay away from clickbait headlines that have nothing to do with your newsletter. Your subscribers won’t thank you if they open your newsletter expecting something you promised in the subject line and don’t find it.
The first step is to make sure you are using some sort of subject line preview tool, like this one. Seeing your subject line visually helps you better-imagine how a recipient would react to it in their inbox.
Take special note of how the email looks on mobile devices since over half of email opens come via mobile. People tend to filter out what emails to read by the subject line alone. 69 percent of email recipients will report a message as spam based solely on the subject line.
Worst words to use include:
5. Whitepaper, journal, report
Some of the best words include:
1. [Recipient Name]
3. Thank you
6. Subject 1 | Subject 2 | Subject 3 (e.g. “Bid Bonds | Liability Insurance | Worker’s Comp”)
Note that not every “common marketing knowledge” pointer like this list may work for you and your audience. Always test to be sure!
4. Keep it Short, Sweet, and Simple
The fourth thing to remember when putting together your newsletter is that you want the content to come in small, easily-digestible chunks. It should be arranged in a single column with a few attractive images. If you want to include a long piece of content, embed a link back to your blog or website rather than copying the whole text into your email.
You should also choose a few relevant and dynamic images to illustrate your content. You don’t want to overdo it with pictures and video, so keep in mind that everything you add has the potential to slow a subscriber down when they scroll through the newsletter. Make sure to use alt image tags, too, so that if the pictures don’t display your subscribers will still know what they are.
Simplicity is also key for mobile search.
When offering something non-material, like information, explain clearly how the contents of the email benefit the user. It could be something deep/important like “Want More 5 Star Reviews☆☆☆☆☆?” or even the promise that “You’ll Laugh Way Too Hard at These Marketing Puns”.
5. Use Powerful Images and Video to Get a Reaction
HTML-based email templates have transformed inboxes from a boring wall of text to a gorgeous place for showcasing compact content or well-designed advertisements.
Images are especially important for mobile since they make messages more colorful and intriguing as well as easier to read. Since 80 percent of email users are expected to access their inbox via mobile at least some of the time by 2018, thinking about their needs is vital.
Using human-centered images like this stock photo can invoke emotion and draw the eye to certain email sections.
Make sure you have text-only alternatives for image blockers and try not to get too overboard with the images you use. Using images in a sloppy or unappealing way can sometimes hurt rather than help.
Videos are hugely popular, and recent research shows that simply including the word “video” in the subject line of an email increases open rates by 19%. If videos are already part of your marketing mix, then you should include them in your newsletter. If not, you might think about adding them. Even a short, 30-second video can add a lot of appeal.
Tell People What to Do with a Single Call to Action
This one is simple: every email should have a call to action (CTA).
Your CTA can be nearly anything, including:
● Go buy this product
● Take advantage of a limited-time offer
● Try our tips
● Go learn/read more at this page
● Attend our event
● Upgrade your current service package
● Book a free consultation
Ensure that your CTA is crystal clear and compelling. Every recipient should know exactly what you want them to do and how to do it.
Providing a landing page after clicks to direct them more linearly to an offer can help simplify the process further. That way, your real CTA is just “Click Here,” and then you can drive more complex conversions from the landing page.
It might be tempting to include multiple calls to action, but remember that 80/20 ratio and stick with one. You might offer subscribers a chance to click your CTA (call to action) to get a special coupon or discount code.
Alternatively, you might link back to your online store, or give customers an opportunity to buy tickets to a special event. There’s really no limit to what you can do, but make sure that your call to action is relevant to your newsletter for the best results.
For local business owners, it’s also a good idea to offer customers the opportunity of downloading coupons or discount codes onto their mobile phones or mobile wallets.
6. Study Email Marketing Analytics Like You Have a Test Coming Up
Lots of email marketing strategies tend to work well across the board for a majority of industries, but there is no single set of hard-and-fast rules. Instead, every company has to study their own data in order to find what their audience seems to like/dislike about their emails.
Learn how to learn more from your email analytics, and use the lessons to optimize your approach over time. Trial-and-error is the only way to truly get better at something, and luckily email gives you plenty of lessons in the form of data.
7. Stick to Best Practices to Drive Success in Email Marketing
Mastering email marketing takes a lot of experimentation, practice, trial-and-error, and attention to detail, but by following the best practices mentioned above, you can be well on your way towards greater success.
Just to recap your keys to success:
1. Use segmentation to maximize relevance
2. Personalize emails to get attention
3. Test subject lines, mind your length and think like a recipient
4. Promise true value to the recipient through your word choice and messaging
5. Use emotional images in your layout
6. Direct people to act with a single strong CTA
7. Use analytics data to optimize your approach over time
Pay attention to what your data tells you, and keep up with the latest email marketing trends and advice on our blog to learn best practices that make you an email genius over time!
Learn more about digital marketing by visiting JVI Mobile Marketing or by contacting us!
Exciting news from Google: their latest update for Local Search, Google Posts, is open to everyone!
But wait; what are Google Posts, and more importantly, why are
they such a big deal, especially for businesses that rely on organic clicks?
Stick around as we explore what just might be the key to unlimited visibility
for your business no matter how small it is.
Google Posts: What Is It?
Google Posts (not its official name) is a useful little feature
that lets both individuals and organizations create and post content directly
on Google. According to Search Engine Land, content created using Google Posts
gets ranked highly in the search results.
Ostersund, Sweden – Feb 2, 2015: Google My Business website on a computer screen. Google My Business helps you build a loyal fan base. Your customers can show their appreciation with ratings and reviews.
Google’s nifty new feature was first launched in January 2016
with the aim of providing a platform for US presidential candidates to relay
real-time updates to their supporters. Content posted by the presidential
candidates appeared in a card-like format, and for this reason, the feature was
initially known as “candidate cards.”
Two months later, the Google Posts feature was finally extended
to small businesses, albeit on an invite-only basis. As a result, it was only
available to a select few number of local businesses from around the world.
A year later, the program was extended to sports teams, museums,
movies, and musicians in the US and Brazil. It was not until June 2017 that the
feature was finally rolled out to small businesses that were using the Google
My Business platform (GMB).
Features of Google Posts
1. Content is posted directly to Google. As a result, it appears
on both Google Search and Google Maps results.
2. For promotional content, a 7-day limit is imposed after which
it is removed from the default view. Event-based posts are removed after the
event date passes. Posts that are removed from the default view can still be
accessed in the historical view under the Posts Tab.
3. Content appears in a carousel format that is positioned just
below the paid ads but on top of the organic search listings.
4. The feature is strongly integrated with social media. Social
share buttons and a shareable link are available at a click.
5. Each carousel can contain up to 10 posts. However, only
two-and-a-half can be viewed on the search results without scrolling.
6. Google does not index the URLs on Google Posts.
7. Businesses under the “hotel” category currently do not have
the “post” option enabled.
8. Only the first 100 characters appear in the Knowledge Panel.
9. The feature currently does not support the use of videos and
animated GIFs. Pictures smaller than 250 x 250 are also not accepted.
10. One-click call-to-action links can be created to allow
customers to perform actions such as “Buy Now,” “Make a Reservation,” “Sign
Up,” and “Learn More.”
11. Google Posts don’t integrate automatically with Google
Analytics. If you want insight beyond what is provided on the GMB dashboard,
you need to create a custom URL for your call-to-action link.
How to Create a Google Post
Google My Business connects you directly with customers, whether they’re looking for you on Search, Maps or Google+.
Google Posts can be accessed via the Google My Business
platform, which is available for PC, Mac, Android, and iOS. Alternatively, you
can click here.
- To create a post, first log into
your GMB account, then on the left-side menu, click on “Posts.” An interface
with a blank text pad will appear.
- On the interface, you can to type
up to 300 words max and upload an image. For event-based posts, you are allowed
to add an event title complete with the relevant dates and times. On this
screen, you will also be able to add call-to-action buttons such as “Buy,”
“Sign Up,” “Reserve,” and “Get Offer.”
- Once you submit, the post appears
on searches performed on your business’ name.
Using Google Posts: 3 Useful Tips
#1 Don’t stuff keywords
If you’re a serial keyword-stuffer, this is a habit that you
will have to let go of when using Google Posts simply because they will not
have any impact on your rankings whatsoever. Use the platform to highlight new
products, offers, and promotions only.
#2 Make the first 100 characters count
To avoid being cut off mid-sentence, ensure your first 100
characters form a coherent compelling and complete sentence that will make
people want to click on the call-to-action button.
#3 Ensure you use appropriately-sized images
Anything smaller than 250 x 250 won’t work; the best image size
to use is 750 x 750. Also, ensure that the picture you choose is
center-weighted to avoid having the top part chopped off on the results page.
As we wrap things up, we can conclude that Google Posts can be a
vital small business marketing tool for you simply because:
- They allow you to create and share
daily promotions, specials, and offers that will attract more customers;
- They let you share the arrival of
new products and keep your existing customers updated, and lastly;
- They allow you to integrate
call-to-action buttons in your posts, making it easier for your customers to
connect with you.
Google Posts is still a relatively new feature, but it is on
track to becoming one of the most valuable small business marketing tools for
business owners like you.