The Value Of Email Marketing

Social media is the buzz of marketing efforts these days. Facebook and Twitter are not only effective channels of engagement, but they’re largely unexplored potential fills hopeful marketing hearts with dreams of viral success. What these starry-eyed professionals overlook, however, is that one of the most effective mediums in online marketing has been at their fingertips since before Mark Zuckerberg attended Harvard. In fact, email marketing presents a unique opportunity to engage and impress customers in ways that social media simply can’t mimic.

full attention

Social media delivers engagement in unprecedented ways, fostering conversation and providing analytics to gauge marketing success. But the potential of social media marketing is inherently limited by its context. Posts you create appear immediately juxtaposed with status updates, videos, and other marketing copy. For all the data social media provides, this added distraction can effectively diminish the impact your materials have.

Email does not suffer from this limitation. While not necessarily inspiring sharing, emails represent a direct message from your company to your customer. Messages are shown on their own in full-page format on Gmail, and even mail clients present the messages as separate entities. What this means for your business is full, undivided attention on your content. This necessitates compelling headlines and copy to grab reader attention, but the potential for real brand communication is no less present.

exclusivity

The marketing context of email is a unique one. Unlike videos or advertisements posted for the world to see, emails are perceived as less public. The advantage of this is the opportunity to create an air of exclusivity.

Because you have an “exclusive” connection to your customers by possessing their email address, your efforts should reward their subscription in kind. Incentives to motivate signups may include early access to products, coupon codes, or “email club” deals. In each way, the marketing channel is being used to its potential, building upon the human desire to possess what others do not.

presence

The sea change of social media has introduced an era in which strong brand presence on one channel or another is not enough. Marketers have learned that a distributed presence everywhere their target audience resides is the key to making an impression and capturing visitors.

With this mentality, any potential means of communication with customers requires some form of presence in order to maximize effectiveness, email included. Coupled with the attention span afforded to email messages, the medium presents an excellent opportunity to extend the reach of a savvy strategy.

statistically proven effectiveness

While all of this is good in theory, the constant flow of “likes” and comments can lead business owners and marketers to believe that email still lags behind social media in terms of engagement. To compound the confusion surrounding the issue, email marketing is notoriously hard to track, since click-through activity is not the only measure of email effectiveness.

Fortunately, the experts at Smart Insights have conducted compelling research that should inspire confidence in those on the fence about email. According to the study, businesses that distributed email marketing experienced 20% higher average daily revenue the day it was sent than on days without. The study also drilled down traffic on a monthly basis and found that all other sales channels benefited from increased activity when email was distributed.

With compelling data and a bevy of proprietary benefits to email marketing, any business would do well to incorporate the medium in their strategy. Capturing reader attention with the added benefit of exclusivity is a great way to engage customers and build a solid reputation. While many turn to social media almost exclusively for their efforts, your business can benefit from harnessing the power of the oft-overlooked opportunity of email.

Written by: Brittany Warnock

Your Business Needs to Be on Google+

Google+: it’s not just for Silicon Valley tech weenies and clueless dads anymore.

By 2016, Google+ is projected to surpass Facebook in social sharing. Sound impossible?

Remember, Google+ has one very serious advantage: its big bro Google.

1. Google integration. You’ll see lil’ bro Google+ pop up in search results. Try sharing your biz updates on Google+, then watch as you catapult up the search ranks.

2. Ripple effects. You can see everyone who has shared or commented on your Google+ posts in a rad interactive graphic, plus stats on how the link was shared.

3. Better search. When someone Googles your business, the right-hand side of their screen will fill with a map pinpointing your business address, website, logo and a live feed of recent posts on your Google+ page.

Product Pricing 101: How Much Should You Charge?

Selling your product for 15x the production cost might sound appealing, but you’ll never make any money if no one’s willing to buy.

And trust us, no one is going to spend $75 on staples no matter how much they cost to make. Here are five things to consider when pricing your products online:

1. Know your customer. Just because a product cost $10 to make doesn’t necessarily mean you should charge $20 for it. Instead, consider what your customer is willing to pay. Not sure? Conduct surveys or focus groups to learn more about your target market’s expectations, shopping behavior, and values.

2. Stay competitive. Part of understanding pricing is knowing how you stack up against the competition. Does your competitor offer better quality products? Are the prices higher or lower? And finally, does your customer care?

3. Bundle products. If you can bundle multiple products together, it incentivizes the customer to purchase more for a better deal. It’s a win-win for both sides.

4. Adjust accordingly. Customers have different shopping behaviors at different times of the year. Which products are purchased more during what time of the year? When do your sales usually lag and then pick up again? Collect that data over time to understand what and when your customers are willing to spend.

Show your value. Operating in a saturated market? Join the club. If you’re not showing your customers the value your product or service brings to their lives, they’ll go elsewhere.

How To Use Landing Pages

Landing pages are an essential piece of any well-crafted, effective inbound marketing strategy. Think of these pages as landing pads for the numerous prospects that visit your website. Whether you’re looking to generate leads, sell products, or collect data, landing pages are where the visitor conversion occurs. To get the most out of your landing pages and optimize for conversion, use these tips.

A landing page is a web page that allows you to capture a visitor’s information through a lead form. It’s where visitors land when they click a call-to-action on your website, blog, offer, or pay-per-click ad on social platforms. On your landing page, visitors will find a form to fill out for an offer. When they submit your information, they are captured as a new lead in your database.

using landing pages to drive lead conversions and sales

Think of landing pages as your means of achieving your conversion goals. Let’s say someone clicks on a call-to-action in an email for your latest ebook… do you want to send them to your homepage? When they get to your homepage, where do they go next? What do you want them to do?

Once you have a solid conversion path, you can design a series of landing pages to facilitate this conversion. You want to make it easy for your visitors to follow the path you have just laid out keeping relevant, focused, important information on a single page can increase conversion by 55%. So it often makes sense to have a dedicated page for each step (or a series of similar steps) of your conversion path.

By sending your visitors to a targeted landing page, you are directing them to the exact place they need to be for them to fill out your form and complete the conversion. This simplifies the process and keeps prospects from meandering around your website looking for the content or offer you promised them.

Your goal as a marketer is to deliver the right information, to the right person, at the right time to convert your visitors into leads and sales.

the headline

Now that you have the basic gist of what a landing page is, it’s time to dive into the individual elements that make up an effective landing page. The headline is usually the first thing that your visitors see when they land on your landing pages. With an average online attention span of eight seconds, it is important that your headline sums up the offer as clearly and concisely as possible. You need to ensure that your viewer understands the offer and what you’re asking them to do as soon as they “land” on your page.

landing page content and copy

The body of your landing page should build on the headline and truly explain what the offer is and why your visitors should sign up or download it. The goal of your landing page content is to incentivize conversion by conveying the value of your offer through clear and concise language. You’ll want to highlight the benefits of your offer with a brief paragraph or a few bullet points. Your copy should emphasize how the offer addresses a specific problem, need, or interest your target audience cares about.

the image

Instantly attract your visitor’s attention with relevant images to reinforce the benefits detailed in your landing page. This will entice visitors and convey the purpose of your landing page and why they should download your offer. The brain processes visuals faster than text — remember that.

call-to-action buttons

Try to place an opt in form or a call-to-action in several places on each of your landing pages. The last piece of your form is a major component when getting visitors to send you their information – the button. For most forms, you’ll notice that the default text is usually “Submit,” but data shows that landing pages with buttons labeled “Submit” have lower conversion rates than those that do not. Try to make your buttons engaging and relevant to your offer.

Experiment with different wording and focus on using language that will make visitors want to click the button instead of language that will scare them away. Putting more thought into your button text can significantly affect your conversion rates.

trust

Convince your visitors that they can order from you without worry by using SSL certificates.

create seo friendly content

You can create landing pages that also offer you search engine optimization. To accomplish this, all you have to do is create a keyword focused headline and subheading along with a well-written description. Use properly coded hierarchy and content that focuses on your keyword. Offer visitors socialization options with links to Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

properly coded hierarchy

Properly coded hierarchy refers to the heading choices you use throughout your landing pages. You should use ‘heading 1’ for your headline; ‘heading 2’ for your subheading and your first sub section that is located within your main sections should be ‘heading 3.’

social media

Social media gives you the opportunity to build and then interact with the community, which can drive traffic to your site. Another benefit is that it offers you a way to make your brand more recognizable. You can also build loyalty using social media. Your distribution efforts increase substantially when you take advantage of social media. It helps you reach a larger group of the audience you are already targeting.

Follow these tips and maintain brand consistency throughout. It’s important to make sure the look and feel of your products and services come through in your landing pages. Maintaining brand consistency will lend credibility to your pages and increase the likelihood that your visitors complete the actions you desire.

4 Free (and Legal) Ways to Get Amazing Photos

Legit fears: spiders, heights, Michael Jackson coming back from the dead to collaborate with Justin Bieber.

That’s plenty, you don’t want to also worry about getting sued for using an illegal photo on your site.

Get 100% dazzling, free and legal (no jail for you) photos here:

•   Wikimedia Commons: a gold mine for photos of famous places, well-known events, or current news-related pics.

•   Flickr’s Creative Commons: a solid source for photos that creatively depict otherwise, well, common scenes.

•   Freeimages: the largest free stock photo library on the web. It’s got nearly 400,000 images, most of which don’t require attribution and are available for commercial use.

•   Pixabay: with over 450,000 free photos, vectors and art illustrations, this place is as good as a goldmine.

How To Distribute Your Online Content

Forget paper ads and billboards, these days companies are connecting with their customers by creating interesting, informative, and useful content that shows consumers how their product can improve their lives. But once you produce this great content, how do you get it out there so people can see it?

Since you most likely don’t have the luxury of a massive advertising budget to spread your message you’ll need to decide which methods you can afford to help you reach people, tell your story, and grow your business. Fortunately, many of the most effective tools are inexpensive and easy to use.

Here are ten of the best distribution and marketing tools for your online content:

Buzzsumo

Are you looking for a way to come up with fresh new content while keeping an eye on what the competition is doing? Buzzsumo is a handy search tool that allows you to track and analyze the most frequently shared content across all social networking sites for any topic. In addition, it ranks and monitors the most influential creators of content. It also gives you the ability to identify who has linked to or shared your content.

Outbrain

Having high-quality content is great—but only if you’re attracting enough readers. Otherwise, you’re wasting one of your most precious marketing commodities. That’s where  Outbrain enters the picture. Outbrain allows you to place your best content on third-party sites that draw major traffic (think CNN).

This platform classifies your material as “sponsored content” and employs an algorithm that targets specific readers who are likely to be interested in your content to help get it in front of larger audiences. This tool charges a fee on every click it produces, but the potential for exponentially higher exposure may make this a welcome trade-off.

Mailchimp

If you’re looking to create powerful newsletters with minimal effort, Mailchimp is perhaps the best choice available. You don’t have to be a web developer to create great-looking pages.

Digital newsletter marketing has been around for a while, but the power and accessibility of services such as Mailchimp have breathed new life into the form. If implemented correctly, a good newsletter can build loyalty and a sense of anticipation among your readers—two very good things if you’re trying to cultivate long-term business.

Buffer

The number of important social media platforms reached double digits a while ago, and new contenders seem to crop up on a daily basis. If you’re trying to get your best content out via a variety of platforms, coordinating and scheduling can be practically a full-time job.

That’s the value of Buffer. It allows you to schedule and publish content for multiple social media platforms from one location. Just create a set of posts and Buffer will send them out throughout the day. This ensures that your content distribution is handled reliably and efficiently.

Facebook

Everyone knows that Facebook is critical to any content marketing approach. The sheer size and reach of the platform makes engagement a necessity. In fact, a survey of marketing executives byAdvertising Age found that 85 percent routinely use Facebook as part of their strategy.

There is plenty of evidence that this is a sound tactic, especially with the use of promoted or boosted posts to increase likes, shares, new fans, and engagements. Just be sure you’re targeting the right audience with your posts.

Click to Tweet

Organic sharing and promotion is the holy grail of marketing, and that’s where a tool like Click to Tweet is useful. It allows you to easily create a tweetable link so you can highlight compelling information within your content (like statistics or surprising information). It provides readers with multiple access points within one piece of content that encourage readers to share simply by “clicking to tweet.”

SEMrush

Curious how your content marketing efforts are stacking up against the competition? Wondering which keywords are driving traffic to their sites? SEMrush allows you to simply type in your competitor’s website and find out the top ten keywords that are generating visits to their site. If your traffic isn’t where it needs to be, this information is an extremely useful comparison point. It’s simple, but illuminating.

AddThis

If you want people to share your content, you need to make the process as easy and streamlined as possible. AddThis lets users share your content without leaving your page. This platform facilitates the easy installation of sharing buttons and icons, as well as provides in-depth analytics to help you understand user activity and drive more viral traffic to your site. This can significantly lower your bounce rate—while boosting your number of shares, likes, tweets, pins, etc.

Storify

What if you could create stories out of popular posts on social media? Storify allows you to gather a collection of interesting tweets or posts and compile them into a larger piece of content for your own use.

Aside from the obvious content creation benefits, Storify is a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of social media. Used correctly, this service can provide you with a steady stream of content ideas and keep you tapped into the social zeitgeist.

SimpleReach

SimpleReach provides real-time feedback, insight, and data about what’s popular in the social realm to help marketers quickly identify trending topics and drive ROI. This tool highlights the right content for the right audiences across social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and ensures you don’t miss any opportunities for content sharing. Best of all, SimpleReach archives historical social data, making it a treasure trove for analytically-inclined marketers and publishers.

Content marketing has never been more popular, and it’s expected to keep growing—which means it’s vital for your company to stay ahead of the competition. By investing in simple, easy-to-use, and inexpensive online marketing and distribution tools, you put your business in an excellent position to do exactly that.

Written by: Andrew Brown

Things You Didn’t Know About WordPress

Do you know how to choose a theme, change your font, and publish posts?

Congratulations, you’re already a WordPress master. But did you know there are a few lesser known tips that can make you feel like a blogger king? We’re about to share those tips with you right now, so buckle up.

1. Schedule posts. There’s a simple way to schedule your entries that doesn’t involve being chained to your desk. Under the Publish module, click the Edit link to adjust the exact day and time you want the article to go live.

2. Manage multiple sites. Because it’s hard enough to remember one username and password, WordPress’ multisite network lets you toggle between several sites under one admin panel. It’s especially useful for sites that borrow content from each other.

3. Sell stuff. If you’re selling a product, you’ll want to know about a free plugin calledWooCommerce, which transforms your site into an ecommerce store. It’s free, and you can sell anything via PayPal, customize shipping, distribute coupons, and get profit reports.

5 Quick Tips to Improve Your Business Writing Skills

You might not consider yourself a Chetan Bhagat or Dan Brown, but with all those blog posts, websites, calls to action, and social media updates, you’re writing a lot.

Direct, snappy, clear-eyed prose transforms ordinary websites into ones that sing. It makes tweets instantly quotable. It gives your readers a reason to smile! So, how do you get better?

Write often: This is a gimme, right? But even if you’re not working on a novel, finish something small every day and you’ll get better fast.

Make ‘em think: A small nugget of something valuable trumps paragraphs of gibberish. Your goal? Short, sweet, and informative.

Aim for consistency: If you’re active on Twitter one week and silent the next, customers don’t know what to expect. Become a familiar (perfectly spelled) face.

Find a good reader: Even the most successful authors have editors. Ask a literary friend to give their honest advice: Was that tweet funny? Could this blog post be better?

Look for inspiration: To learn more about process, check out Stephen King’s On Writing. But don’t let reading replace actual writing. Put down the book (or tablet) and pick up the pen(or keyboard)

Focus on Personalization to Improve Conversions

Marketing is no longer sending out mass messages to your customer base about offers or the new product you’ve just launched. It’s more than just that. It’s important to take into account what the customer needs and focus your communication basis that. Let me throw some numbers for context:
  • Over 70% Customers said they prefer brands that customize messages to suit their needs
  • Over 60% prefer seeing offers based on their preferences
These data points amply convey the importance of targeted communication in your marketing efforts. Allow me to explain this with an example:
Imagine visiting Flipkart and looking for memory cards for your phone. You look around, try different sites and options. After searching for a while you return to Flipkart, and you see the same card at a 20% discount. You pick it up and notice those awesome portable speakers have a great deal going on so you decide to splurge and go for those too.
That my friends, is the power of personalization. It can make a huge impact to your conversion rates and take revenues to another level. But all that’s fine and great, how do you go about doing this you ask, well then hold on tight we’re about unleash a world of info right now:
Start with Segmentation: This should be easy, create segments of users basis their location, gender, purchase history and more such good stuff. The way you can use all this good data in the most amazing ways to create a truly unique experience for your customers. For instance; you can show raincoats to customers based from regions where it’s raining vs sunglasses or summer wear.
Track Customer Journeys: This is where the fun begins, you could literally blow the socks off your customer with showing them exactly what they need or might be interested in, basis their past journeys. You need to start from scratch for this:
1. What was the keyword/link that brought the customer to your site
2. Track clicks and searches on your own site
3. Track the products that were viewed
4. What pages the visitor browsed ?
5. Did he/she add something to cart or wishlist?
Once you know the customer journey, its time to start personalizing their future experience.
It’s time to get Personal: From here on you get to really personalize things. Take for instance a customer who’s abandoned cart, throw a great offer to them back. Using Analytics you can identify customer behavior in terms of who’s hovered over a CTA, these customers may perhaps need more convincing. Communication with helpful information or other customer reviews might do the trick. Catch the visitor using whatever medium you can, image ads, site messages, emails etc, you have great options to choose from.
We understand this may not be for all but if this is something you can implement then we totally recommend you give it a go. If you have any experience or feedback, do share it with us and other readers in the comment section below.

Customize your WordPress Login Page with these 5 Plugins

Your WordPress login page is like the doorway to your website. The default page is very standard and you can’t really differentiate between other sites unless you make some changes. Did you know that you can change the look and feel of your WordPress login page and also add some additional security features to protect your website? Yes you can and No you don’t need to know coding to do this. All you need are the below plugins that can make this magic happen.

Uber Login logo: This plugin is extremely simple in functionality. Simply add your custom logo and you will see it on your website’s login screen. Your very own branded login screen 😉

Social Login: With this neat plugin, users can now login to the WordPress site using their social accounts. That’s right, no more boring email address and password needed to login. The plugin allows a user to choose from over 25 social accounts to login from, now that’s a lot of options to work with.

Custom Login Plugin: If you’re looking to customize every element of your WordPress login page then Custom Login Plugin is what you’ll need. It allows you to add background slideshow, change background colors and add social media icons on your login form.

Move Login: The login url for most WordPress websites is www.example.com/wp-login.php, very easy right? But what if you can change your login url to www.example.com/welcometothejungle? Well this is the kind of magic you can expect from the Move Login plugin. A simple change in your login url can make a huge difference in the security of your website, so in simple words, you need this plugin.

Brute Force Login Protection: This plugin is a must install for every WordPress Website. It limits the number of login attempts and blocks the IP addresses that end up with too many login failures. You can setup email notifications every time a new IP address gets blocked and even showcase a custom block message on the login screen.

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