How to Get Your Customers to Open your Emails!
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Posted on: May 21, 2013 by in Email Marketing
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Improving the email open rates of your existing list is very high on the list of best ways to improve your bottom line easily. It’s much easier to market to someone that has done business with you than to acquire a new customer, and requires not nearly as much work as you might think. With an industry average of around 27.4 percent, it’s very important to understand your open rates, and how you can improve upon them.

Toward that end, here are 10 top tips for enhancing your email open rates.

  1. Write something you would read – Creating terrific content is undoubtedly the best way to get your email opened and read.
  2. Length & timing – We’re all busy, and lengthy emails that wander and fail to get to the point are hardly ever looked forward to. Furthermore, not using optimum sending times doesn’t help.
  3. Use your subject line wisely – This is the single biggest element that influences if your email gets opened. Spend some time to craft great, non-spammy subject lines.
  4. Make good use of your first line – Like the preceding, the first line of your email, often populated with something like, “If you don’t see any images in this message…” is visible in their inbox. This also is valuable space, and don’t waste it!
  5. Give them what they really want! – Make sure to make an effort to provide solutions.
  6. Offer great deals and savings – Everyone loves to save a little and your email is a fantastic platform to pass on any deals or specials your business is offering.
  7. Teach – Presumably they are viewing your email and or newsletter because they want to learn something from you. Don’t disappoint!
  8. Be entertaining – Don’t be StatMan. Don’t be scared to inject humor, wit, and a bit of controversy now and then.
  9. Make your “From” line recognizable – Having your company name or the person who is branded as the sender imparts trust.
  10. Be sure and resend your unopened email – Very easy to do, resending your unopened email is a simple technique to increase your open rates.
Posted on: May 17, 2013 by in Uncategorized
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Social media marketing for your small business is tough enough without shooting yourself in the foot. Self-induced social faux pas are easy to commit, and difficult to overcome. Social media is not just necessary to include, but crucial to get right! Even though 74 percent of brand marketers saw an increase in website traffic after investing just 6 hours per week on social media, whereas another 83 percent have abandoned a purchase after a bad or non-existent customer service incident. (Creotivo.com)

So to help you ward off the mistakes that could be looming in your social media marketing, here are five social media mistakes to be sure to avoid!

  1. Not engaging with your audience – Ensure you are actively engaging your social media visitors. Ask questions, conduct polls, share funny stories (hopefully somewhat relevant) and ask their thoughts: they’ll gladly provide them, and you’ll be far wiser and closer to your goals in a number of ways.
  2. Boring, unexciting content – If you can’t work up any excitement about your brand, you won’t get anyone else to, either. Impart passion for your brand, enthusiasm about what you’re doing, and you’ll find this really is contagious. Generating a buzz about your business starts off with you!
  3. Always promoting – Nobody wants to be continually sold to, and social media is littered with businesses that have tried. Aim to develop relationship and trust first, and then it will be much easier to send an occasional selling message.
  4. Not responding to customers – Sometimes companies are so busy either touting themselves or their products, they completely ignore or miss customers and prospects posting their concerns, questions or complaints on these very platforms! What goodwill or brand awareness you have can be destroyed very quickly by ignoring your customer service opportunities!
  5. No coherent social media strategy – Not having, or not knowing why, you’re using social media is a recipe for floundering, and wasting a great deal of time and money. Moreover, not every business is well-suited to every platform, so give this some thought.

We’ll leave you with a link to a great example of what NOT to do! In an example that’s being shared widely, (much to their chagrin) the food site Epicurious. After the recent Boston marathon bombing, they sent out these unfortunate tweets.

Posted on: May 13, 2013 by in Reputation
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We’ve all seen how quickly word travels these days, and nowhere is that more important to your business than in the realm of your online reputation. What took you several years to build can be shattered in seconds. Just in case you’re not up to speed on why exactly your online reputation matters so much, let’s look at a few statistics. Cone Communications has found that a full 89 percent of consumers view online channels as trustworthy sources, and that 80 percent have actually changed their decision about purchasing after seeing a negative review. Not just that, but your own social media accounts is where the action is! The Society for Communications Research informs us that another 72 percent report researching companies through their social channels before making purchasing decisions, and 59% use these same social sites to let the world learn about their frustrations about you and your customer service.

5 Quick Ways to protect your online reputation

  1. Check your online reputation regularly – Google yourself and your company name at least once per month. Create Google alerts to notify you if there are any mentions of your names or brand. Easy, free and necessary.
  2. Claim your online property – Someone that is intent on doing you or your business harm can do a lot with your name. Make sure to buy your company’s domain name, or your personal one, and prevent at least having them show up in Google by virtue of an exact match name.
  3. Be active on your social networks – Beyond claiming your profile on the major social sites, also make an effort to use them regularly. Being present can help you see and minimize potential problems easily.
  4. Deal with any unfavorable content quickly – Do your very best to deal with negative postings and complaints expeditiously. Try hard to get in touch with the poster directly, offline if possible, and see if you’re able to handle their concerns. DON’T get in to a flaming match online. You’ll be the loser.
  5. Be careful what you put online – Those lovely pictures of you and the staff partying hard are not what you want to show up in a business context.

We live in a fast-paced, information driven world. Be sure you’re on top of it to successfully manage your online reputation!

Posted on: April 19, 2013 by in Uncategorized
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Think your online reputation doesn’t matter? Think again! Based on a study by Erik Qualman of Socialnomics.com, nearly three-quarters of respondents say they trust the information offered by total strangers online. Further, some 80 percent of consumers have changed their minds about buying a product after reading a negative review online, and over 84 percent say they find online product reviews as being a trustworthy source of information.

You need to take negative reviews seriously and take measures to counter the negative effects!

Here are five solutions to do just that:

  1. Look at your search results monthly – Monitor your company’s name in Google at the very least once a month. Use Google Alerts or mention.net to inform you if you have any activity involving your company name or important keywords. Also, look beyond page one of the search results; negative entries can gain traction and end up on the first page tomorrow.
  2. Deal with negative content ASAP – Do your best to make contact with the person who posted the content in question as quickly as possible, especially if they are an unsatisfied customer. Do your very best to take care of their concerns in a positive manner. Don’t enter into a public tussle with them! You won’t like the outcome.
  3. Use your company’s name in your page optimization – Be sure your pages and other content are using your company’s name in keywords, tags, URLS, and titles. The more pages you own that bear your company’s name, the better the possibility Google will view your site as the authority for this keyword (your company name) and provide you with higher rankings. Also, most negative content will most likely not have done any SEO.
  4. Create more content channels with your brand – You can use free blogs like WordPress.com, Blogger.com or even subdomains of your own site for this, along with your social channels such as YouTube, Facebook, and Google , will help keep your company name prominent. Post fresh content to these channels as well, so they maintain their search positions.
  5. Ask your customers for reviews – The most apparent and by far by far the most useful tool for successful online reputation management is to ask your satisfied customers for a review. Encourage and even reward reviews. This is also your very best source of social proof!

Follow these tips and safeguard your good name! It’s the right thing to do.

Posted on: April 15, 2013 by in Uncategorized
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Facebook ads are probably the fastest, easiest and most effective do-it-yourself platforms for getting traffic to your offers, building prospect lists, and for practically any other purpose you can think of for your website. Ad campaigns are incredibly simple to set up, include great targeting tools, and can be online within minutes. There is one key to fully grasp, however, when it comes to receiving the best results and return on investment: That would be finding the most effective images available. It has been shown that imagery is 70-89 percent of the success or failure of a Facebook ad campaign. Let’s check out some useful tips for obtaining the most from your Facebook ad images.

5 Great Image Tips for Facebook Ads

Creating an ad that produces a real impact and statement for your product or services is a matter of standing out from the rest. Here are five ways to do just that!

  1. Use high quality stock images – Since your images will end up very small, make certain you’re buying from a reputable resource. Fotolia and iStockPhoto are two of our most favorite. The XS size of available images is going to be fine, as even these are cut down to the size of a postage stamp (110×80 pixels).
  2. Crop to deliver impact – Crop your photos closely to focus on the most important aspect of your ad. Cropping faces from the eyes to mouth is the most impactful technique for riveting people images. Also, make sure that your model’s eyes have life. Whenever using product images, get close!
  3. Choose eye-catching colors – Using bright, visually arresting images will do wonders for your click-thru rates. Too many people opt to blend in with the pervasive Facebook blue, and thus consign their ads to a form of “banner blindness”.
  4. Choose the most attractive images you can find! – Unless you are going for a certain statement, select the most attractive photos you can get. Everyone is attracted to beauty. Period. This is not to say that from time to time beauty can’t be trumped by cute, funny or outrageous.
  5. Employ humor if you can – Everyone enjoys a good laugh. If you have the opportunity to inject a giggle into your ad, don’t pass it up! This will definitely result in a higher clickthrough rate!

For some good illustrations of these ad-image principles in action, check out this great article at Search Engine Watch.