Tag Archive | "Whole Lot"

Email Marketing Changing – But It Still Works

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Email Marketing Changing – But It Still Works


The role of email marketing in the internet marketing world is a subject that has been up to some debate in the last few years. Every now and then, you are bound to see reports that claim that email marketing is “dead” or that it’s usefulness is going to be significantly reduced in the nest few months. But as of now, none of these scenarios have truly manifested themselves, and it looks unlikely that it will happen any time soon.

 

Those who advanced the theory that email marketing is going to lose its efficiency soon say that more and more users are using the social networking channel and are paying less attention to commercial email messages. But this is something that affects mainly the younger users and even then there are some very good ways around the problem, which will let you capture your subscribers attention a whole lot better.

 

It is true that people are increasingly using social networks to communicate with personal contacts. If you ask the average internet user how many non business related emails they’ve sent during the last year, the number would be quite low and in many cases it would simply be zero. When they use email, it is either for work related reasons, or to communicate with commercial entities. This is often the case when they check up on an order status, or check their inbox for a validation link to a website that they’ve signed up for.

 

But in general, users aren’t losing interest in promotional messages sent by email, as long as the email marketing campaign has been well done. Marketers need to check up on their efforts more often to see if what they’re doing is working and optimize their campaigns when necessary.

 

One of the key elements of a successful email marketing campaign, which has been recently discussed in various online news reports, is proper segmentation. Sending the same email message to everyone on your list may work if you have a really small business that only has a dozen or so subscribers on its list. But if you have thousands of them, then it’s not the brightest idea.

 

Content of email messages needs to be relevant to the user and geared towards them. Marketers need to get an understanding of who their email subscribers are and what differences exist between them. For example, some of these subscribers may be frequent visitors to their site and have repeatedly bought products and services from them. Others may just have signed up for the newsletter, but haven’t bought anything from the company yet. For the first group, simply presenting information on new products may be enough. But the second group would need a bit more convincing if a marketer hopes to turn some into paying clients.

 

No matter what is said about it, one fact still remains strong. Properly done email marketing results in very good click through and conversion rates. And for now, it just isn’t going anywhere for a while.

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Social Networks are Also a Customer Care Tool

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Social Networks are Also a Customer Care Tool


When we talk about social media from an internet marketer or business owner’s perspective, it is expected that topics about advertising, sales, promotion and marketing would be at the forefront. And yes, this is logical and there is nothing wrong with it. After all, the main reason why business owners are on Facebook, for example, is to promote their business and not waste their time playing Farmville or sharing pictures of funny kittens.

 

But a social media page can be a whole lot more than just a channel that can be used to get more sales. It can also be a very efficient customer service tool for many businesses. The problem is that not all businesses seem to realize this. A study conducted recently shows some disparities among industries related to who uses social networks to respond to customer inquiries, comments and complaints on social media. Telecommunications firms, such as large cell phone and internet providers, had relatively high response rates, meaning that they took the time to respond to users who posted something on the page of their company on Facebook, with response rates around 60%. Consumer goods and electronics companies didn’t fare as well, having an average response of 20%. Ironically enough, media companies, whose business is all about sharing information, only responded to public posts about 5% of the time.

 

No matter what industry you are in, responding to your users on social media is important, especially if a user expresses a concern that needs attention, or asks a question about your company or its products. Social media is not just a sales channel, but also one where you can interact with customers, potential customers and the general public at a customer service level. Doing it is actually quite simple. You can respond to the post if appropriate, provide a link to the answer on your website, or contact the user by private message in order to discuss things privately if it involves something that is specific to their case. Avoid standard, boilerplate responses, however, as they give a “robotic” feeling to those who see them. Therefore, instead of saying “please contact our customer care department at 1-877-YOUR NUMBER”, you can post “We have sent you a message to better address this matter. Bob Parker, Social Media Department, ACME Corporation”.

 

Failing to properly deal with customers who interact with you on social media can give the wrong impression of your business and potentially damage your reputation, as it can make it look like you’re only interested in using the internet to get sales, but not to actually help your customers when they need you. While you may provide customer support by various channels already, such as telephone, live chat, email, etc. you will need to see social media as an important extension of your service department. If your business is relatively large, you can assign a team of employees whose job is to monitor your social media pages for any feedback from consumers, then respond to them and escalate internally as necessary.

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Social Media Site Satisfaction: What About Google + ?

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Social Media Site Satisfaction: What About Google + ?


Previously, we’ve looked at the American Customer Satisfaction Index details for social networking giant Facebook. The conclusion is that even if it is the most widely used social networking service currently online, this doesn’t mean that its users love the service, as they have complaints about some areas of it. But still, numbers show that the majority of people who have a Facebook account aren’t planning on closing it or moving their main social activities to another network, mainly because there isn’t any serious competition… yet.

 

But what about Google + ? The social network from Google has seen its share of controversy and many would argue that they were off to a rather rocky start. Whether or not marketers should use Google + at all has been a topic of rather intense debate around online marketing circles, but right now it has finally been settled. Small business owners and online marketers seem to agree that presence on Google + has a lot of advantages that outweigh the negative issues about the service, most notably better exposure to consumers in certain markets, as well as the potential for better results in SEO, as this is after all a Google service and Google is the biggest search engine.

 

Now that we know how marketers perceive the service, why don’t we find out how the individual users liked it? The results would surprise many. On the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Google + got the best grade out of all the networks. It beat Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Linked In by a relatively wide margin. Google + got a score of 78. Pinterest got 68, Twitter got 64, Linked In 63 and Facebook 61. The Index measures responses from customers of these networks based on various user experience factors. Google’s score shows quite a few things;

 

First, it’s obviously not perfect, but at least it’s much better than the competition and surprisingly a whole lot better than Facebook. Since individual consumers seem to love Google +, marketers need to immediately take this into consideration and take appropriate action. For those who haven’t yet joined the service, it just takes a few minutes to set up an account for your business. There is very little for you to lose and a whole lot to gain. Setting up a basic profile, with details and maybe a few pictures can be done in less than 15 minutes. For those who have an account, but it’s mainly just a placeholder, now would be the time to get things going on Google +. Upload some more content. Put up a few posts, or maybe photos related to your business. Share links and articles that are relevant to your industry. Remember, it doesn’t have to be completely new stuff, all you need to do is to link to content already on your site if you want to.

 

But what makes Google + so well received in the public opinion? We will take a more detailed look tomorrow.

 

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Increasing Your Local Business’ Online Visibility

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Increasing Your Local Business’ Online Visibility


Have you just started to use the internet to promote your local business and want to gain more visibility online? There are several ways to accomplish this and many channels that you can use to get your business feature more prominently in search engine results as well as other sites that users interested in what you have to offer would visit. Here are some easy methods you can use to get started:

  • Get a Website

There are plenty of solutions available to create your business website. There is also a lot of information available freely online about web building that you can use. Of course, you also have the option to hire an individual or a company to create your site for you. The most important part is having a site. When you begin, you can create a simple “place holder” page for your business, with its name, address, contact information, opening hours, logo, some pictures and basic information on what you have to offer. All of this can easily fit into one page. This is perfect if you want to get online but you don’t have the time or money to get a full website done right now.

  • Be Sociable

While there are various ways of getting more attention to your business, social media is one of the easiest and most efficient ones. Before you look at any other types of advertising methods, you should create social media pages for your business on all of the main networks. Build your presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and don’t forget Google +. Creating a page for your business on social networking sites is easy. All you need to do is to input the same information than you would on a one page website that presents your business (opening hours, products, contact info, etc). Plus, you can share pictures, videos and other media on your page.

There is a whole lot more that you can do with a social media page for your business, but setting one up is obviously the first step. Be sure to link your personal profiles with your business page and share the page with your friends, or at least those that you think would be interested in your business. This will help you get some exposure and will be very beneficial in search engine rankings.

  • Create a YouTube Video

YouTube isn’t just a site for watching music videos and putting up a cute video of your dog riding a skateboard. You can also use it to draw more attention to your business. There are many ideas, but the most simple one involves a short presentation of your business, followed by a video of you walking around parts of it (if it’s a retail store) and a link to your website in the description. While it won’t be as effective as a TV commercial, it will get you one more point of exposure online and help your standing in search engine results too.

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Building a Good Small Business Website: Part 3

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Building a Good Small Business Website: Part 3


Now that you have seen more information about building a static HTML website, what about using a Content Management System, such as Joomla, WordPress, or Drupal? This is something that many small business website owners are now preferring to do, even though it may seem a bit more difficult to accomplish at the beginning. However, using a CMS has many more advantages as opposed to disadvantages as you will see presented here.

 

Advantages

 

  • Ease of updating your website. If you plan to update your website on a regular basis, such as adding or removing products, adding new content, adding and removing seasonal promotions and special offers, etc. than a content management system will make this a whole lot easier for you. All you would need to do would be to log into your back end, make the necessary changes and it’s done. No need to use an HTML editor software, or re-upload files constantly to your web host.
  • No coding or web design knowledge required. Here, you will not need to have any web design knowledge, or know how to use HTML. All you would do is install the CMS, then install the necessary themes or templates that will be the backbone of your site.
  • Good for e-commerce. When you are planning to run an e-commerce website, using a CMS is mandatory if you are serious about it. WordPress, Joomla and Drupal all have e-commerce themes, both free and paid, that you can use to manage your website with ease. You can perform operations such as adding products, setting up different prices, coupons, promotions, integrating with different payment processors and gateways, etc. There are also dedicated e-commerce CMS available out there, such as Magento and OS Commerce.

 

Disadvantages

 

  • A bit of a learning curve. For those who are used to working with simple HTML pages, using a CMS for the first time may seem like it has a learning curve associated with it. You will need to figure out which theme is best for your website, then install it and figure out how to use it to make the necessary changes and customizations. However, there are plenty of free tutorials, resources and help files available online for all themes and content management systems. Therefore, even though you may need to spend a few hours learning how to figure it out, in the end it will all be very easy for you.

 

As we can see here, using a CMS for your business website is definitely a good choice. No matter what kind of website you want to run, there will always be themes and templates available for you. Also, your site management will be streamlined significantly, as you can simply update your website with a few clicks of the mouse, rather than having to fire up Dreamweaver, make changes to your site, save the new file, then upload it to your webhost and replace the old one. Therefore, there is less work involved when using a CMS.

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Promoting Your Membership Site: Social Media and Email Marketing

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Promoting Your Membership Site: Social Media and Email Marketing


Of course, having your members do your promotion for you is a very good strategy when you run a membership site, due to the fact that it is free and would actually not require any marketing efforts on your part. All you would need to do is to create a decent membership site and give your members a few incentives to promote it for you. But there are a few more free methods for promoting your membership site. Let us examine them here:

 

  • Social Media

 

Again, social media. This is something that is talked about a whole lot in internet marketing circles. Of course, there is one big reason for that: it works. Think of it, if it was ineffective, there wouldn’t be thousands of guides, forum posts, etc. about it. There are two things that you would need to do if you are promoting your site on social networking websites:

 

  • Create a page for it

 

Facebook lets you create a fan page for a business. You should do so for your membership site. Give a bit of information about it and make a nice looking, but not too pushy, sales page as well. People can also “like” your page. The more people like it, the more popular it becomes.

 

  • Make a post about it

 

With Facebook, you can post on your wall that you’ve created a new site and invite your Facebook friends to check it out. On Twitter, you can send out a Tweet with the link to your website included in it.

 

But to make your social media use even more effective, consider creating a promotion for those who access your site through social media. A discount on the membership price works very well, but there are also other things you can do to add value such as adding an additional product, or giving a free personal consultation with you, etc.

 

  • Email marketing

 

If you already have a mailing list, email marketing could be an excellent way to market your new site. This would work even better if you have released products before that were liked by your subscribers. All you would need to do to make use of email marketing would be to send out an email to your subscribers and let them know about your membership site. If your list is made up of people who have already purchased products from you, then they will be more likely to join your site.

 

Another way to build a list would be to release a free product and give it to people in exchange for opting in to receive emails for you. That would allow you to build a list of subscribers who are interested in internet marketing course products and might want to join your new membership site. While building a list from zero would take a bit of time, it is nonetheless a very good marketing method and something that you can consider doing alongside other promotion methods such as forum posting or social media promotion.

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Time Saving Tips for Bloggers

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Time Saving Tips for Bloggers


Blogging can take a whole lot longer than needed.  This is generally due to the time eating activities available to the blogger on the computer while they are trying or are at least supposed to be writing.  Effectively earning money from blogs requires the blogger to be focused on updating them.

A good way to keep yourself on task is to give yourself a lot of work.  This way, mentally, you will say I don’t have time for this because I have so many articles to write.  Whereas, when you only have one or two to write, you might think that you have time to take breaks, when realistically, you do not, because time is a precious resource, and it could be used elsewhere or on something else.  Writing a lot of posts at one time can save a lot of time as well as effort, because many writers can get on a roll, where they can pump out very articles very quickly, allowing them more extra time later to work on other things.

Using a white screen writing program, or a word processor in full screen mode can be very beneficial, because then, it will be the only thing you can look at, and nothing else on the screen can possibly distract.  This obviously doesn’t account for things outside of the computer, such as the TV or people, but those can be easily minimized as well.  Working with a full screen word processor in a closed off room without a TV is the best way to ensure you are writing what you need to be.

Social media sites are the biggest time sink for bloggers.  The sites themselves are designed to keep you on them, with so many different feature and things to do, you can’t even think of them and list them all in one hour.  They keep users coming back for more, which is what they are designed to do, and should be voided at all costs when trying to write.

During your down time, while you are just browsing the web, you should have a quick and easy way to jot down blog post ideas.  This may come in the form of a program, such as Microsoft OneNote, or EverNote, or even by just, old fashioned, pen and paper.  Whatever works for you, so long as it allows you to quickly and easily record what you want to write, and the source if you need to.

Photo credit: laffy4k

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