by Martin Nilsson
With so much competition out there on the Internet today, how exactly do you plan on branding your new business? It should go without saying that any business hoping to achieve widespread brand recognition needs to implement social media marketing tactics. But what isn’t so obvious is just how to compete with the big boys.
Whether it’s through the use of creative imagery, a solid logo, a partnership with a bigger business, or anything in between, we’ll discuss five different leverages tips for small businesses below. You should be able to glean the basics of branding while simultaneously learning a few great tips to implement.
1: Start Soundly by Forming a BrandThere are a lot of different steps involved in actually forming a business plan. For the purposes of how a start-up can brand online, let’s start out by focusing on the image you’re putting out there. Your brand’s logo should be an area of great interest for you. As you’ll notice with most successful brands, their logos are clean, attractive, memorable, and almost always unique. Whether you decide to build or to order your own logotype
, forming your brand starts with creating a winning logo to represent it.
2: Locate the Niche PlayersInstead of competing with the competition, try to leverage them. Locate all the different players in your particular niche. If you’re a new tech-based company looking to provide small-market solutions, look at the biggest players throughout social media and tap into their audience. Playing to this type of audience through the bigger players is a proven formula for developing an audience. Take note of their tactics and the types of materials they post to create engagement.
3: Evolve Your Brand’s MissionThe mission you start out with is going to change over time, as in your brand’s purpose and ultimate goals and how you decide to market. Gauge your competition and evolve according to the market. For instance, if you’re competing within a saturated market, where the players are just too big, seek out a smaller niche that may be more effective. Example: Carb-specific supplements for the weight-loss supplement niche. You can still tap into larger businesses’ markets in the weight-loss and dietary supplement genres, but now you have a more narrowly defined niche.
4: Use the Tools Social Media ProvidesA site like Facebook offers you fantastic ways to really target a specific type of person. Through Sponsored Stories, Promoted Posts, messages which end up on a person’s News Feed, different demographic options, ad splitting, and a dozen other targeting and posting methods – the tools provided to you can help you compete with the big boys on any level.
5: Give Quality First ImpressionsThe number-one way to leverage social media and to use the audience brought there by big business is to offer up quality and value. If you’re posting high-quality material and offering value that someone can’t pass up, then you’re an equal in the eyes of an impartial consumer. It doesn’t matter that the bigger business is bigger; what matters is that you’re providing more value with equal quality. You’ll win.
These tips seem very general, but they serve a specific purpose in a social media context. Tapping into the niche of an established big business is the ultimate leverage for your brand, and refining your image through your logo is going to help you stand out as a professional. Logosack is a great place to get a logo if you need it, but just remember to emphasize quality.
Just because you’re a start-up brand doesn’t mean you need to come across that way.
By Andrew Weir
A key tenet of my view on brand success is that is is vital that a brand delivers what it promises.
There is an excellent article in Forbes.com
(written by Kerry Bodin
at Forrester) about how brands need to carefully match what they promise in their communications with what they are capable of delivering.
The article talks about two airline ads:
A United Airlines
ad run a couple of years ago showing a dad (depicted as a cartoon character) being transformed into an unreal world where he slays dragons, receives a crown from 2 beautiful girls, etc. The implicit promise being - "You're going to feel like a king on our airline" - is one that United has had trouble living up to.
There is clearly a massive gap between the promise and the reality.
In contrast a recent JetBlue
ad pokes fun at airlines competitors by imposing buggage fees on unsuspecting New York taxi passengers who rapidly become irate. The ads explicit message is - "if you would't take it on the ground, don't take it in the air" - also has a promise behind it.
This approach is totally in-sync with what the airline delivers.
It isn't complicated. Check-out the PDD™
- If you over-promise it will result in disappointed consumers - who may not buy again.
- If you deliver what you promise then you are more likely to have happy consumers who will buy again.
- The winning approach however is to over-deliver your promise in a way that delights consumers. Delighted consumers are more likely to buy again and even tell their friends. This is a powerful way to build a sustainable competitive advantage.
The Forbes article goes onto explain that brand organisations should map out their consumers' journeys and design ways to deliver at every stage.
This echoes my thoughts on what I call the path to advocacy framework.
Why not use it and collaborate with the appropriate leaders in your organisation to ensure that great brand experiences are designed for each stage of the path; and that the whole organisation is focused on delivering and delighting.
by Leslie McKerns
Of course, increasing name recognition is only one aspect of the branding puzzle, but an important one. It is particularly perplexing to a company well known in a certain market, (perhaps where the company originated), but disappointed at the lack of carry over in name recognition upon entering a new geographical area.
So, what can a company do to increase name recognition? Here are twenty-five (25) ways you can begin branding your company and increase the name recognition of your firm.
1. Hire a branding company to bring your image and message under a brand. Develop all collateral and image materials (web, stationery, logo, tagline, mission statement, cards, postcards, brochures, elevator pitch, newsletters, letters, project sheets, resumes, bios, firm description, etc.) to coincide with the brand and your message.
2. Develop a mission statement that shows your reason for being and the value you provide to your customers.
3. Develop a memorable tagline that expresses who you are and what you do.
4. Make a matrix of all those you'd like to reach in the next year and the potential influencers on those people. Develop a timetable and calendar of outreach.
5. Regularly write and issue press releases to the media.
6. Regularly write and post press releases to your website.
7. Regularly write and post press releases directly onto the internet.
8. Regularly write articles and do all three of the above.
9. Regularly write and pitch feature story ideas to the media.
10. Diversify all marketing, PR and media to reach the markets where your clients are to be found (as opposed to marketing within your own service industry).
11. Participate (attend, speak, host, present, show) in at least two national and local industry conferences.
12. Create and issue an online or direct mail newsletter.
13. Get known for niche expertise or specific industry knowledge. (speak, write, present, teach).
14. Participate in professional internship programs.
15. Participate and sponsor local charitable efforts; get your name in the program the charitable cause distributes; get your name in the press surrounding the event.
16. Get to know all potential teaming partners in your new geographic area. Let them know your people, your areas of expertise and potential for cross referrals.
17. Develop collateral material with a regional bent; think what projects, services, people or elements might be important to this new market and capture this regional tone in all collateral material.
18. Develop tip sheets as to how your company is different than your competitors and why this makes a difference to teaming partners and to your end users-your potential clients. Include these differentiating tips as the basis for all your branding statements.
19. Develop a calendar of local and regional events in your locale and make your company visible in the areas most related to your company and your potential clients' interests.
20. Post your calendar of appearances and participation on your website.
21. Plan a media release before and after each event.
22. Hire an industry professional to conduct a survey on your behalf; post the results on your website. Publicize the results most important to your industry.
23. Update your website to be informational based so that search engines can find you, and clients can read in-depth material demonstrating your expertise.
24. Add informational website content a minimum of four times per month.
25. Establish your brand by regularly updating the financial value or potential value associated with your brand. Quantify results achieved and add these results to your brand value. Communicate through all methods, the value of your brand to those associated with it.
Branding your company is key to influencing a memorable response in the minds of your chosen audience. It is not only the name recognition of your firm, but also the perceived value of your organization. Capture these twenty-five essential branding elements and begin to cement a positive branded image for your firm.
By Donna Gunter
One area of Linkedin Marketing and content syndication that I've overlooked until recently is sharing my content on the social networking platform, Linkedin. In all honesty, I've never been very active on Linkedin because I haven't really known how to connect there. Now, I'm delving more and more into Linkedin and have discovered that it's probably the most useful social networking platform out there, much more so than Twitter or Facebook, even though those two mediums tend to get the bulk of the publicity.
One of the many ways to syndicate your content is via the groups you have joined on Linkedin. However, this must be done carefully so that you come across as adding value, rather than coming across as solely promotional. What are the secrets to syndicating your content on Linkedin to make it a useful and effective strategy to leverage your expertise and increase your online visibility?
Here are 5 secrets to expanding your Linkedin marketing by syndicating your articles on Linkedin groups:
1. Pick the right groups. So many people choose groups of their competitors rather than their target market when they join groups on Linkedin. Sure, you want to hob-nob with colleagues, but your networking time is best spent in Linkedin groups where your target market hangs out. Do a keyword search for groups containing your target market, and pick 10 that seem to fit the bill. Then, focus on 5 groups as your starting point, so that you're not completely overwhelmed. Track your progress in terms of your submissions and the reaction to your submissions. If you're not engaging the group in discussion, try another strategy. However, if the members of the groups are generally silent, cross this group off of your list and go to the next one on your list. Do this slowly and soon you'll develop a great list of interactive groups on Linkedin that contain your target market.
2. Know where you want to send the visitor. When you link to your content, you need to decide if you want to send the visitor to your web site, your blog, or to a high traffic web site that published your article. My personal preference is to send visitors to my blog, as I can customize my call to action there based on the content of the article. I can do this via a cool little Wordpress plugin called WPSubscribers
3. Have a call to action on your content location. What is it that you want visitors to do? Subscribe to your blog? Get on your email list? Opt in to a client attraction device? Visit a product or service page? Have them sign up for a free consultation? You can mix and match these calls to action most easily by sending the visitor to the copy of your article on your blog.
4. Create interest in the article. Rather than just copying and pasting your article into the discussion on Linkedin, try and engage the reader with a compelling subject line in your discussion. For example, you might use "New Debate for Group" -- and ask your question. Or, perhaps you use, "Do You Believe..." where you insert a misconception and invite group members to check out their views on the common misconception. Another way to engage members is to ask, "Are You Making These XX Mistakes in [topic name here]?" where you can explain what most people are doing incorrectly.
5. Respond to discussion. Don't forget to check back to respond to the discussion and questions posed as a result of your posting. Even if people disagree, acknowledge their point of view without becoming hostile or taking offense. Take the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and bolster your point with a related blog post that explains the new point in more detail.
Make your content continue to work for you. Syndicating your content to Linkedin groups as a Linkedin marketing strategy is a phenomenal way to get your name and expertise in front of more people than before!
by Matthew Smith
Is social media a fad or the biggest shift in society since the Industrial Revolution?” That was the question that flashed on the screen at a recent insurance conference in Washington, D.C.
Consider the impact of social media in the context of being more than the latest novelty in communications. Its impact on our society is worth deeper analysis and may be much more far-reaching than we comprehend today.
Most of us use—or at least are aware of the phenomenon of—social media. Even those from an older generation who may not fully understand its implications recognize, at least on some level, its impact on our society. Today’s leading social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, may eventually fade away as technology and newer trends evolve, but the basic concept is here to stay.
To understand the impact of social media, we must first consider a historical perspective. To reach 50 million users, the medium of radio required 38 years. Television required 13 years, while the Internet only four. In comparison, Facebook reached 100 million users in less than nine months. If it were a country, Facebook would be the fourth largest in the world.
We are truly in a new era of communication, and the question for those of us who handle insurance claims is not how we adapt, but rather how we thrive and utilize this new technology to investigate claims and battle against insurance fraud. To date, we have not done a very good job of keeping up with new trends or understanding how to use new avenues to our strategic advantage.
Social Media in Action
The value of social media as an insurance investigative tool is unequalled in recent history. It affects all aspects of the insurance industry, including how agents market and secure policies, underwriting, and especially how we investigate insurance claims. The adage “everyone wants to tell everything to everybody,” remains true. Think of the person who tells you their life story while sitting next to you on an airplane, only because they know they will never see you again. In today’s era of communication, the way people are telling things they would not ordinarily say is via social media postings. Therein lies a wealth of information.
We have seen both fire and theft claims withdrawn when in an examination under oath (EUO), the claimant is shown incriminating postings found on Facebook.
In one case, an Internet posting by the teenage son of a business owner on the morning of a building fire led to a petition being filed to compel the son’s testimony. The business owner refused to allow his son to testify, since he was not an insured on the commercial policy.
While legally correct, the judge ruled that sufficient concern existed in the social media posting to grant the insurer’s petition compelling the son to testify and ordering the insurer not to make any coverage decisions until the son complied. While rare, these are the first bold steps in creating new insurance law for the electronic era.
Utilizing social media effectively begins before the claim occurs. ISO and other similar organizations, including insurers themselves, are just beginning to consider what policy provisions need to be updated, added, or eliminated to comport with the electronic era.
Making changes to the policy contract is only the beginning, though. It will take decades for courts to fully address and interpret the changes that we are only beginning to consider today. By comparison, we have more than a century of case law interpreting policy terms, conditions, duties, and exclusions. In the time it takes most lawsuits to go from filing to resolution, social media sites will add more users than the entire populations of the U.S. and Canada combined. By the time current law has any chance of catching up, we may well be onto the next and newest form of electronic communication.
The reality is, however, that everything from the policy application process through the issuance or renewal of policies and the provisions contained in the written contract of insurance are changing at a greater pace than ever before in the insurance industry.
Consider whether your company has updated its policy language to include in the duty-to-cooperate provisions even the most basic of steps, such as providing electronic data, retrieval of information from computers, and providing access to electronic communications, including texts or social media postings. Most claims investigation authorization forms are outdated and do not include specific references to allow access to social media postings, electronic communications, and retrieval of electronic data.
In an abundance of caution, carriers should include authorization to access public social media postings and the duty of the claimant to provide access to private postings that may be relevant to the investigation. It is easier to change these types of authorization and claims forms than to undertake the rewriting of the insurance policy, which may require many layers of corporate review and state insurance department approval.
These same investigative updates need to be considered in matters as simple as taking recorded statements. When statements are taken, are your investigators routinely asking the right questions of both claimants and witnesses? This includes asking if any texts were sent, postings made, or photos taken at or around the time of the incident concerning the occurrence of the claim.
In a recent case, incriminating text messages sent in the minutes before a fire were successfully retrieved. On another claim, cell-phone pictures taken the night before a fire were discovered that showed the claimant went room-by-room photographing all contents, including the interiors of drawers and closets. Adjusters, investigators, and attorneys taking statements should secure as part of background information contact data, including email addresses, and identify information for accounts on social media sites.
An entire new industry exists to assist the insurance industry in the age of social media. While SIU or claims teams may not have the time, resources, or ability to monitor a claimant’s social media postings 24/7, there are companies that do so for a fee. These companies will monitor primary, secondary, and even obscure social media sites, blogs, and forums tracking specific individuals by their email addresses or user names. Even if a post is made and immediately removed or altered, these companies are often able to image the site and preserve the posting for later use in an investigation or litigation.
Many companies also provide background checks and reviews of the social media postings of potential jurors before they are seated for trial. Attorneys provide the court-issued jury questionnaires giving these companies sufficient data to locate, analyze, and report any incriminating comments or evidence of bias a potential juror may not otherwise candidly disclose. They also will monitor juror postings during and after the trial to identify actions in violation of the judge’s instructions. After the verdict is read and jurors are released from service, they might post candid comments about the case, witnesses, parties, or attorneys in the trial. Even if you are not using these services, it is crucial to be aware that your opponent may be doing so.
As part of an insurance investigation, also ask whether social media or electronic postings have been altered or deleted relative to the claim. You should specifically question use of services such as Reputation.com, Reputation Builders, and other similar services that promise to “clean up” a person’s social media or electronic postings. While this may be done for employment purposes, it also affords a potentially fraudulent claimant the ability to erase something that they wish they had never posted. These are the types of simple questions many fail to ask because they do not keep up with technology.
The duty also rests on investigative attorneys to be well versed in all forms of new electronic communication and cover these fully when questioning witnesses in both EUOs and depositions. Once a claim enters litigation, the insurance company and counsel have many more “tools” available to secure valuable electronic information. Many companies in today’s emerging social media and electronic communications fields will not release information, even with a signed authorization. Cell phone companies and social media sites are equally concerned about privacy issues and frequently require subpoenas for release of records.
Written discovery, whether interrogatories or requests to produce, must also be updated to address new areas of communication. Background identification questions should be modified to include email addresses and social media identifiers as routinely as mailing addresses or telephone numbers. Specific questions based on the facts of the case should be included relevant to social media, electronic, cell phone or other emerging forms of communication. Even the mostly ignored definition section of written discovery should be updated to include terms such as “social media,” “text messages” or “electronic communications.” You may want to include written instructions detailing the steps required to gain access to and produce a complete copy of a respondent’s social media site archive.
Attorneys and insurance companies need to be aware of the new area emerging regarding admissibility of social media evidence at trial. In the same manner that debate raged a generation ago over whether photocopies were admissible in lieu of originals, battles are being fought today concerning electronic communications. Questions arise about what constitutes the original of a social media posting or if the posting is admissible at all if you prove it is from the person’s account, but they deny it is their posting. Courts are sorting out these issues to decide whether evidence should be admitted, excluded, or admitted subject to potential impeachment or rehabilitation by the person claiming they did not actually make the posting.
The insurance industry has never been known to move forward rapidly or adapt quickly to change. The social media revolution is here and will remain for most of our work-life expectancies. Fifteen years ago, we would have thought the idea absurd of emailing information concerning a claim or lawsuit. Today, most insurers are moving toward email as the primary method of communication concerning policy issues and claims. While those from a generation raised on letters sent via U.S. mail and telephone calls may find this technology daunting, the reality is that they will soon be replaced by a new generation being raised on social media and which already finds email outdated. The generation which prefers texting and tweeting over emails will replace today’s adjusters and investigators in the workplace. The reality of the first “tweeted claim” is not something in the future; it’s already happening.
The new reality of social media is here, and it may be the largest societal shift in more than a century. How we use this technology will define whether we stay ahead in the battle against insurance fraud or allow time and technology to pass us by. The future is now, and we must face the challenge to adapt or be left behind.
By Mike Volpe
For years, I've believed that the notion of a marketing 'campaign' is dead. And I’m not the only one who thinks it. In the words of Joseph Jaffe
, “Marketing is not a campaign, it's a commitment.”
And Eric Wheeler
wrote in the AdAge article "Ad Campaigns Are Dead
," “Power has shifted away from brands to consumers ... Suddenly, it's no longer about the campaign.”Paul Dunay
has written, "there is no campaign in social media,"
while Joe Pulizzi
said in a video interview
that "content marketing is not a campaign, it is a promise to our customers." Even Bill Lee
, in his Harvard Business Review article, "Marketing Is Dead
," said, "Traditional marketing may be dead, but the new possibilities of peer influence-based, community-oriented marketing ..." (which some of us might call 'inbound marketing' ... wink wink) “... hold much greater promise for creating sustained growth through authentic customer relationships.”
Finally, three years ago, Brian Halligan
wrote in his 2010 marketing wish list
, "My blood curdles every time I hear someone talk about doing a 'social media campaign' or 'blog campaign.' Blogs and social media behave like compound interest, so if you treat them like 'campaigns,' you lose all the benefits. Marketers should be permanently creating, optimizing, promoting, converting, and analyzing."So, if the marketing campaign is dead, why is it dead, and what do we do now?
Let’s start off with some of the reasons why it's dead ...Campaigns are temporary, but today, the internet is forever.
Traditionally, ads would last as long as you paid for them to be aired on TV or printed in a newspaper or magazine. Now, people can read your blog posts from 2006 and watch your music videos from 2007. So what exactly does this mean? Well, it means that you might not want to use an animated lizard in a campaign for six months, and then use a spotted dog in some ads for the next three months ... and then use a talking baby in some ads for the next four months. Consistency and commitment to your brand, message, and voice is increasingly important when all the content you've ever created is completely accessible to anyone at any time
. If you're all about the talking babies campaign now but what pops up for people in Google is lizard videos, are you really promoting the campaign you think you are?Campaigns are about you, but today, (inbound) marketing is about the customer.
Marketing used to involve a company deciding what they wanted to brainwash their potential buyers with, and then programming that message into advertisements they would force feed to people because they had no choice. Now, the consumer is in control. Consumers have more and more technologies like DVRs, caller ID, and spam blockers that enable them to avoid unwanted advertising and messages
. This means that, in order to get their attention, you have to earn their permission. As a result, your marketing needs to be about them
, not you -- at least until they trust you enough to want
to know more about you and your products. If your campaigns are about what your company wants to tell people, then you’re doing inbound marketing backwards.Campaigns are planned and slow, but today, conversation is dynamic and responsive.
In the old world of marketing, you could run a campaign of ads that promoted your product, and then you could turn off all of your marketing for a while. You could stop and start on a whim. Today, once you start engaging with people, they expect you to be there in the future. And when you do inbound marketing right, you become a publisher or a media company for your industry. Imagine if you started publishing a business blog
, or engaging with potential customers on Facebook, and then one day you just stopped showing up? In today’s inbound world, that would be akin to a TV network going off the air one day just because they got lazy. Sure, you can do it -- but it is not a great idea. People expect responses when they contact you on your website or blog or in social media, and when they subscribe to something you publish, they expect to get regular updates on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis -- whatever you promised them. Joseph Jaffe is right. "Marketing is a commitment
."What next? Where do I go from here?
Start by making a commitment to inbound marketing
. Stop the madness of coming up with an entirely new theme and creative concept every three months. Start having a long-term view of your brand, message, and voice -- and what value your company can add to your industry. Stop blasting and interrupting people with advertisements about you. Start being helpful and interesting
. Start listening. Start communicating. Start publishing. Stop advertising. Start marketing.What do you think? Is the marketing campaign dead?
Imgae credit: JD Hancock
by Dan Slagen
Who knew Disney (Walt, not the corporation) was such a prognosticator of things to come?
Visionary, yes. Impresario, of course. But who knew that “It’s a Small World,” that cloying little ditty you can’t get out of your head for hours after taking a 12-minute motorized gondola ride, would foretell the future of marketing?
For digital marketers, even as the opportunities expand, the playing field is shrinking -- to a space about 2 inches by 3 inches: the smartphone screen. Also shrinking is the time to reach consumers
: 75 percent of online searchers take an action within a few hours, and 36 percent of them take an action immediately.
Yes, the market for tablet devices is growing rapidly, but the latest figures
show more than 6 billion smartphones in use worldwide, about 90 percent of the world’s population.
And, regardless of which analysts’ predictions
you believe, 2014 or 2015 -- the time when mobile access to the Web will outpace wired access -- is almost here.
So as a lead generating inbound marketer, you must master optimizing your landing pages for mobile marketing, too. I mean, do you really want to lose out on lead generation opportunities with your mobile audience -- an audience that's getting bigger day by day? I think not. So this post is going to tell you the best practices for optimizing your landing pages for mobile devices -- it'll be a handy checklist to ensure you don't miss out on that on-the-go audience of yours!12 Things to Remember When Creating a Mobile-Optimized Landing Page1) Be Visible
Flash, PNG-24 images, and a host of plug-ins make much of your content inaccessible on many mobile devices. Use alternate means to get your content onscreen, such as HTML5, jQuery, or JPGs so mobile devices have an easier time rendering your content. After all, you can't exactly expect a ton of conversions if no one can see your landing page content in the first place.2) Scale to Size
Use responsive web design
to determine what type of device consumers are using to access your landing page, and scale the content appropriately for them. Don’t forget to program the page to load and scale properly based on both portrait and landscape mode -- you never know when someone's going to flip on ya!3) Be Concise
Six-word headlines are so last year. Three- to four-word headlines are all the rage. Write your landing page copy, then cut it in half. Every word must contribute, must matter, on a mobile landing page. Not only are the screens too small for extraneous words, a mobile reader's attention span is far less than that of a desktop viewer.4) Be Available
Adding click-to-call capability -- the ability for users to literally click on your phone number on your mobile landing pages -- will help you with mobile conversions. They are, after all, on their phone.
Include a phone icon, call-to-action text such as “Call Now,” highlight the link in a complementary color, and offer something useful in exchange for the call, such as a guarantee or a promotional rate.5) Think "Two Thumbs Down"
Make sure the items on your landing page a user needs to click on are thumb-friendly. For most devices, this means the clickable area should be somewhere between 38X38 pixels to 44X44 pixels. Add padding to your links, make sure there’s some margin (negative space) between clickable links to avoid misclicks, and use plug-ins with touch swipe gestures (such as Flexslider
), where possible.6) Be Slim
Present your content in a single column and, whenever possible, keep your call-to-action above the fold, which is within the top 100 pixels for smartphones. If your CTA doesn’t fit above the fold, include a prescriptive teaser, such as “Scroll Down for Special Offer.”7) Think Local
Smartphones and other untethered devices may mean its user is on the move, but that doesn’t mean you don’t know where they are; in fact, quite the opposite. Even the broadest of geotracking systems locate users within 5 to 20 miles of where they are, so use the local nature of mobile
to make your landing pages more relevant to consumers. Include a link to your nearest outlets, such as “Stores near Seattle,” customize headings with the city or area name, and prepopulate location fields -- or better yet, zip codes -- on web forms to make it easier for users to get to the “Buy Now” button.8) Use Simple FormsKeep your forms to the bare minimum
needed to get the job done. The simpler the form, the fewer the fields, the better. Longer forms tend to lead to lower conversion rates in general, but it's even more true with mobile devices -- some estimates put the conversion rate as much as 50 percent lower.
If you cannot fit everything you need on a single page, split the form into two pages to make it look less daunting.9) Be Fast
The data on your mobile pages should be lean, lightweight, and under 20 kilobytes so your pages load in 5 seconds or less.10) Get to the Point
The fewer actions a user has to take to get to their reward, the better. If you can limit those actions to three or four at the most, you will no doubt improve your conversion rates. Each action a user takes should be not only easy to complete, but compelling and bring them one step closer to completion.11) Be Legible
Don’t sacrifice size for content. Content that’s too small for users to read is essentially no content at all. Having to zoom in to read content is just one more needless thing for a user to have to do, and may prove to be one reason too many to continue on to conversion.12) Don’t Trust. Test.A/B test
your mobile landing page. Don’t trust that what works for your desktop landing page will work for your mobile landing page. Mobile marketing is not desktop-lite marketing, it’s a whole different game with a different set of rules.
The bottom line to making the most of your mobile landing pages is to keep your end goal in mind. What are you truly looking to get out of your mobile efforts? You won’t be able to include everything on mobile that you’re able to on desktop/laptop/tablets, so ask yourself (and your team) what the core focus is going to be around. In terms of the effectiveness of your mobile efforts, keep a keen eye on simplicity, usability, and performance. Keep your pages fast and your content clean and lean so people on the go can get what they want as quickly and easily as possible.What else helps landing pages convert better for a mobile audience?
Are you looking for some new ideas to simplify your social media marketing?
Do you wonder how others use social media to attract customers?
We asked the pros for their hottest social media tips. Here’s their advice to help you power up your social media marketing
.#1: Draw Attention to Your Custom Tabs in the New Facebook Timelines
If you have a special offer on your website, why not use Facebook to showcase your freebie
With the new Facebook Timelines fan pages, you can no longer have a custom tab as a default landing tab, so now you will have todraw attention to your freebie with the custom tab photo and the custom tab name
HubSpot has done a great job of that with their custom tab photo advertising their free ebook and the Customer Case Studies title on one of their other apps.#2: Add the LinkedIn Company Follow Button to Your Site
If you’re trying to connect with business folk, LinkedIn is clearly the social network of choice. They recently released a simple widget called the Company Follow button
This nifty little button looks a lot like a Retweet button, but instead makes it very easy for people to follow your LinkedIn company page without leaving your site
.#3: Use Bufferapp to Manage Your Social Media Marketing
One of my favorite social media tools right now is Bufferapp
, a content management system. Bufferapp allows you to add content to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts prior to their being published
Unlike HootSuite or TweetDeck, Bufferapp automatically spaces your content out for you. That way, if you post something spontaneously, your scheduled content moves around so you don’t end up spamming your followers’ feeds.
Another advantage Bufferapp offers is the optional toolbar add-on that allows you topost directly from another website
, similar to the Pinterest Pin button.
Bufferapp is brilliant in its simplicity and is an excellent content management tool, especially for those of us who might not have time to sit down and tweet for a couple of hours each day.
#4: Create a Facebook Plan You Can Stick With
My clients often ask me, “How many times a day should I post on Facebook?” Unfortunately, there’s not a magic number; however, research does suggest that 2-5 times per day is key
Anyone can handle this posting schedule for a week or two, but the real winners on Facebook are the companies that keep it up—every single day (or at the very least, Monday through Friday). Consistency always wins on Facebook.
Because your fans visit Facebook at different times of the day, one post a day simply isn’t enough—most fans won’t even see it. Instead, post several different types of content throughout the day
. These can include short videos, quick tips, links and questions, to name a few.Stagger your posts at different times to reach more fans
. And never forget toinclude a call to action
—words like click, comment, share and like will increase engagement.
Plus, the more you post, the more feedback you’ll get on what kinds of posts work best, and use this information to post more of what your audience really wants
.One extra tip:
For maximum engagement, keep your posts around 80 characters or fewer
. A study by Buddy Media
showed that posts with 80 characters or fewer received 27% higher
engagement rates. That’s big!
Branding is important to small business success for a number of reasons. When done right, it helps you build credibility
, attract customers, and promote the stability of your business. Unique brand identities can also give you an edge over the competition by making your business more memorable among consumers.
But what exactly is a brand and how can you make your brand better? Simply put, branding is a combination of the little identifiers that make your business unique. Your brand encompasses your business name, your logo design, and any symbols and terms that tell consumers who you are and what you do.
The trick to great branding is to establish a captivating business identity from the very start. Here are some tips for building a better small business brand.
Logos and document design
are essential if you want to make your business instantly recognizable. But it’s also important to fine-tune your brand. Use consistent color schemes and fonts on all marketing collateral. That includes everything from your business cards to your e-newlsetters.
When branding your small business with a tagline, make your statement as short and powerful as possible. Focus on the aspects of your business that separate you from your competition, because your message should make you instantly recognizable to clients.
Finding the right voice and personality for your brand identity will help you connect with your ideal customers. Most small businesses do better taking a down-to-earth and conversational approach to message branding, but you can’t count on it. Do your research.
From logos and colors to fonts and messaging, it’s imperative that you maintain consistency. When business is slow, you might be tempted to fiddle with your brand by testing a new trend. However, once you’ve settled on a brand, changing things up without good reason can cause you to lose any footing you previously gained in the marketplace.
Every time you communicate with a potential customer or a current customer, it’s an opportunity to reinforce your brand. From email signatures to forum posting signatures, use your logo and tagline every time you connect with consumers.
Measuring your success is the only way you’ll know what works and what doesn’t. When you’re branding efforts are no longer driving the results you expect, it’s time to revitalize your brand. It’s up to you to decide whether that means it’s time for a complete overhaul of your business’s identity or if it’s time for a few minor tweaks to bring your message up to date.
It’s hard to put a number on the value of a great brand, but there is no denying that good branding efforts get noticed. It’s a like a promise you make with your customers, and it’s a promise they won’t soon forget. What steps are you taking to make sure your brand remains consistent across all marketing platforms?
Your headline is the first, and perhaps only, impression you make on a prospective reader. Without a headline or post title that turns a browser into a reader, the rest of your words may as well not even exist.
But a headline can do more than simply grab attention. A great
headline can also communicate a full message to its intended audience, and it absolutely must lure the reader into your body text.
At its essence, a compelling headline must promise some kind of benefit or reward for the reader, in trade for the valuable time it takes to read more.
In The Copywriter’s Handbook,
copywriter Bob Bly
sets forth eight time-tested headline categories that compel action and rake in sales:
- Direct Headlines go straight to the heart of the matter, without any attempt at cleverness. Bly gives the example of Pure Silk Blouses – 30 Percent Off as a headline that states the selling proposition directly. A direct blog post title might read Free SEO E-book.
- An Indirect Headline takes a more subtle approach. It uses curiosity to raise a question in the reader’s mind, which the body copy answers. Often a double meaning is utilized, which is useful online. An article might have the headline Fresh Bait Works Best and yet have nothing to do with fishing, because it’s actually about writing timely content that acts as link bait.
- A News Headline is pretty self-explanatory, as long as the news itself is actually, well… news. A product announcement, an improved version, or even a content scoop can be the basis of a compelling news headline. Think Introducing Flickr 2.0 or My Exclusive Interview With Steve Jobs.
- The How to Headline is everywhere, online and off, for one reason only – it works like a charm. Bly says that “Many advertising writers claim if you begin with the words how to, you can’t write a bad headline.” An example would be, umm… oh yes… the title of this post.
- A Question Headline must do more than simply ask a question, it must be a question that, according to Bly, the reader can empathize with or would like to see answered. He gives this example from Psychology Today: Do You Close the Bathroom Door Even When You’re the Only One Home? Another example used way too much in Internet marketing guru-ville is Who Else Wants to Get Rich Online?
- The Command Headline boldly tells the prospect what he needs to do, such as Exxon’s old Put a Tiger in Your Tank campaign. Bly indicates that the first word should be a strong verb demanding action, such as Subscribe to Copyblogger Today!
- Another effective technique is called the Reason Why Headline. Your body text consists of a numbered list of product features or tips, which you then incorporate into the headline, such asTwo Hundred Reasons Why Open Source Software Beats Microsoft. It’s not even necessary to include the words “reasons why.” This technique is actually the underlying strategy behind the ubiquitous blogger “list” posts, such as 8 Ways to Build Blog Traffic.
- Finally, we have the Testimonial Headline, which is highly effective because it presents outside proof that you offer great value. This entails taking what someone else has said about you, your product or service, and using their actual words in your headline. Quotation marks let the reader know that they are reading a testimonial, which will continue in the body copy. An example might be “I Read Copyblogger First Thing Each Morning,” admits Angelina Jolie.
Hey, I can dream, can’t I?