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Understanding Your LinkedIn Company Page Analytics [VIDEO]

VerticalResponse Marketing Blog - Fri, 08/28/2015 - 06:00

Most people know LinkedIn as the premier social network dedicated to business. Unless you have closely followed its evolution since launching in 2003, you may have missed some updates.

One of its key evolution points was the launch of Company Profile Pages in March of 2008. Since then, there have been many enhancements. Most notable was “Insights.” Insights were the 1.0 version of Analytics about your Company Page, which helps you understand how your page works and which areas you need to enhance to improve traction.

Following recent changes aimed at simplifying the platform’s usability, Company Profile Pages are now just called ‘Company Pages‘ and “Insights” are known as Analytics.

In this episode of Tips in 2, we take you on a quick tour of LinkedIn Company Page Analytics. This overview allows you to see how much information you can gather from the data behind your page.

Click on the video below and let us show you around. 

For more info on LinkedIn and other social media platforms, click here.

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post Understanding Your LinkedIn Company Page Analytics [VIDEO] appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

Bulk Up Your Marketing Efforts with SumoMe

VerticalResponse Marketing Blog - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 06:01

Wrestling with growing your audience? Grappling with landing page conversion rates? Then we’ve got the thing for you! We’re happy to announce our newest integration with SumoMe, an innovative platform built to help marketers create high-converting landing pages, grow their email lists, and make sense of their website traffic and visitor behavior.
 
Get on the Mat!
 
One of the biggest challenges marketers face is conversion. How can I get my site visitors to subscribe, opt-in, and not abandon the page altogether? SumoMe’s Welcome Mat tool helps you do just that.

Welcome Mat displays a full-screen call-to-action when visitors land on your site. You can use this page to encourage visitors to join your email list, check out your blog post, or whatever action you want them to take.

With its completely customizable design and mobile optimization, you can increase your email conversion rate through better visitor engagement. Best of all, Welcome Mat is integrated with VerticalResponse, so any email addresses you collect with the tool will automatically be added as new contacts to a VR list of your choice. This is a great way to immediately engage and convert a site visitor, while increasing productivity since you won’t have to enter each new contact into VR manually. Check out Welcome Mat here!


 
Tip the Scales with List Builder
 
If utilizing a full-page call-to-action isn’t a great fit for your site, SumoMe has another solution. List Builder is a fully-customizable lightbox pop-up used to prompt conversion at just the right time. List Builder’s Smart Mode technology detects the exact moment when a visitor is about to leave, and then entices them with a call-to-action or signup form so you’re less likely to lose that visitor. And, again, thanks to List Builder’s sync capability with VerticalResponse, any email addresses given will automatically be added as a new contact in your VR list.

Timely and strategic visitor engagement is key to conversion. List Builder will help you with this targeted interaction, and also decrease your workload since you won’t have to add these new contacts manually to your VR Lists!


 
How Can I Sync SumoMe and VR?
 
It’s quick and easy!

1.  Select any of the SumoMe apps for collecting emails: List Builder, Welcome Mat, Scroll Box, or Smart Bar.

2.  In your campaign, select the Services tab and click on VerticalResponse.

3.  On the next page, click “Connect.”

4.  Sign in with your VeritcalResponse credentials.

5. Select the VR list to which you’d like each collected email pushed.

6. All set!

Let us know how this integration works for you.

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post Bulk Up Your Marketing Efforts with SumoMe appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

9 Social Media Hacks Every Small Business Can Benefit From

VerticalResponse Marketing Blog - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 06:01

Are you currently using social media sites to enhance your business’s online strategy? Posting to these platforms on a regular basis is a great place to start. If you want to increase sales, brand awareness, and website traffic, you’ll have to up your social marketing game by going a bit further.

These nine social media marketing hacks will help you:

  • Sell products on your social sites
  • Find enticing images to grow your brand awareness
  • Drive more traffic to your brand’s website and blog

Hacks to help sell products on social sites

Your website shouldn’t be the only place for customers to browse and buy your products. Remember that your social sites can also serve as mini, digital storefronts too.

Why not entice your social audiences to make a purchase in 140 characters or less for example.  When it comes to selling items on your social sites, you have a few options.

1. Turn to Facebook ads

Facebook has an easy-to-use advertising platform, which allows you to showcase your product to an audience of your choosing. To maximize your views, be sure to target your ad by location, age or interests.

In terms of cost, the ads are affordable. You can start an ad campaign for as little as five bucks, with the idea of progressive spending as you focus on reaching more customers over time.

  • See it in action: Here’s an example of a Facebook ad.

2. Use a ‘shoppable’ app like Shoppost

This handy resource creates ads for your Facebook page. The ads can display an image and also provide pricing, colors, and sizes. When a customer clicks on the ad, he or she is taken directly to your site to check out.

Keep in mind, your website must use Shopify, Etsy, Amazon or Bigcommerce as its e-commerce platform for this tool to work, but it makes buying simple for your customers.

You can check out the site to see the ads.

3. Try a ‘Like2Buy’ button to increase sales

Ready to turn the great images you share on Instagram into transactional posts? Use Curalate’s Like2Buy option. Customers can see your products and, like the Shoppost app, are directed to your website to make a purchase. Users can even save products in their own gallery to purchase later.

Hacks to help you find and post eye-catching images

Social media is propelled by images. With so many images in social streams, you can’t post any old picture and expect viewers to pay attention. To beat the competition, you have to upload creative and clear images. So how do you get your hands on images that attract attention and spark engagement? Here are a few hacks to help:

4. Consider using paid stock sites

You can buy images on stock photo sites like iStock or Shutterstock. Set up a folder on your laptop and keep the images in an accessible folder so you can build a photo library.

Using stock photos is probably the most common way to obtain creative images, but it can be costly.

5. Browse free stock sites

If you don’t have a budget for pictures, turn to Flickr. Through their Creative Commons section, you can search images that are free. However, you’ll want to narrow your search depending on how you plan to use the image.

For example, if you plan to use the image for a commercial purpose, search under “commercial use allowed.” Just go to the creative commons section and use the drop menu on the upper left side to narrow your search. Here’s what you’ll see:

While the images are free, when you post it on your site you need to provide attribution.

6. Standout by creating a cinemagraph

Everyone is vying for visual attention, so how can you stand out? Try creating and posting a cinemagraph. What’s a cinemagraph? It’s a still image with a small section of animation. It’s like a GIF, but with better quality and control.

Since Facebook has an autoplay video feature and Instagram can play videos on a loop, these mini-moving images are powerful and attention grabbing. You can create cinemagraphs by using apps like Cinemagr.am or Flixel.

Hacks to use social media marketing to increase website traffic

Your website and social media networks should work well together. To accomplish this, you’ll want to shuttle traffic between the two sites. In other words, links on your social sites should direct people to your website, and links on your website should bring customers to your social sites.

What’s the best way to keep this digital highway flowing?

7. Install ‘ClickToTweet’

This free tool puts a small ‘Click to Tweet’ link next to any piece of text, which allows your customers to then share that selected text on their Twitter feed.

How can you incorporate it? You could put together a list of frequently asked questions on your website, or a short list of statistics that customers can share. The ‘Click to Tweet’ link can sit next to any valuable tidbit of information. When clicked, the sentence automatically loads to Twitter. All the customer has to do is click ‘share’, and it hits the Twittersphere.

Check out the ClickToTweet website to set it up. If you’re using WordPress, you can use a specific plugin to seamlessly add the ClickToTweet feature.

  • See it in action: A healthcare website wrapped up a blog post with these statistics and used the ‘Click to Tweet’ link after each one.

8. Increase social traffic with a ‘Hello Bar’

Create a call to action button on the top of your website that drives traffic to your social sites. A Hello Bar is a thin bar that appears at the top of your website that contains a short message and a call to action.

The best part about a Hello Bar is its versatility. You can change the call to action and the message to achieve a variety of goals. You can encourage people to visit your social sites, sign up for your email list, download an e-book or visit a specific page on your website.

Visit the Hello Bar website to learn more.

  • See it in action: Here’s what a Hello Bar looks like:

9. Use Colibri.io to ‘listen’ on social media

What are people saying about your business? It’s impossible to monitor every comment made, but Colibri.io makes it easier. This platform collects data across social media sites and shows you exactly what people are saying about your business, industry as well as your competitors.

With this information, you can insert yourself into the conversation. You’ll be able to offer help to customers that are unhappy with a competitor’s service, drive traffic to your website, and maintain your overall online reputation. 

Final thoughts

These nine hacks will help improve your sales and customer engagement; however, you don’t have to implement all of these changes at once. Try to set up a new tool every month so you can learn how each one fits best with your digital brand.

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post 9 Social Media Hacks Every Small Business Can Benefit From appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

Social Media & Your Business: Choosing the Best Platform

VerticalResponse Marketing Blog - Fri, 08/21/2015 - 06:00

So you want to define a social media strategy for your business? The place to start is with a full understanding of the most widely-used social platforms, their unique purpose, and whether or not your business will be able to reach its target audience.

Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest all trend highly with small and medium-sized business owners. With the greatest volume of users per month, these platforms allow you to build a following, showcase new products, and sometimes act as an arm of customer service.

We’ll look at what differentiates these three popular networks, comparing various key metrics so you can feel confident starting your path towards social media success.

Getting Started

To begin, frame your evaluation of each platform with the following questions:

  1. What is the unique purpose of this platform?
  2. Do its attributes relate to my business’s needs?
  3. Which target audience does this platform serve?
  4. How much time on this network is necessary to have the best impact?

Evaluating Purpose and Unique Attributes

There’s no shortage of social-driven platforms so spend time exploring once you’ve gotten your feet wet. You’ll find that Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are more than likely the places with the highest concentration of your key demographics. In examining the purpose and unique attributes of each, you’ll find that though they are all ‘social’, they have different strengths and selling points.

Facebook 

Primary Purpose: Builds brand loyalty and reputation. Establishes your business as an authority through interesting content and informational posts.

Unique Attributes:

  • Reaches a variety of segments of an audience with one post
  • Offers opportunity to create ads to drive traffic to your website/blog
  • Encourages dialogue and depth with a customer base
  • Ideal for sharing personal stories, testimonials, detailed information about your business

Twitter

Primary Purpose: Shares breaking news and quick updates, promotes new products, content, or brand contests, collects instant feedback from your audience.

Unique Attributes:

  • Serves people looking for quick info, company news, and immediate response to questions about products or events
  • Focuses on dialogue creation and starting conversations with customers
  • Known for its hashtag (#) communication functionality
  • Best platform for PR/publicity purposes when traditional media does not respond

Pinterest

Primary Purpose: Acts as an online scrapbook, showcases products, and displays brand essence through inspiration boards.

Unique Attributes:

  • Generates leads and drives traffic to other content (or back to your website)
  • Visually promotes and highlights products/services through images
  • Provokes immediate or future Call-to-Action (CTA) responses
  • Allows you to micro-target your search with clearly defined categories

Most businesses find that Facebook helps strengthen relationships once initially established. If you want to grow an audience around promotions and sales, Twitter or Pinterest has the quickest impact. Check out these informative results of the 2014 Pew Research Center study.

Understand and find your target audience

Defining your target audience and knowing where to find them is the foundation to navigating the non-stop maze of social media. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest each have significantly different mixes in regards to average age and gender:

Facebook

Average Age Range of Users:  25-45 years old

Gender of Users:   60% female, 40% male

Twitter

Average Age Range of Users:  18-29 years old

Gender of Users:   50% female, 50% male

Pinterest

Average Age Range of Users:  18-35 years old

Gender of Users:   80% female, 20% male

If you’re looking for ways to define the particular needs of your audience, consider developing personas for your target social media audience. This will create a precise vision of exactly who they are, what content or information they’re craving, and where you should focus to communicate with them.

Consider the time commitment required

The keyword in social media is ‘social’, probably the most understated and forgotten portion of the equation. Not unlike good public relations, businesses should use social media as a source of ‘2-way communication’ with their audience, regardless of the platform.

This means that in addition to posting articles, videos, and other relevant posts you want your audience to ‘Like’ and ‘Share’, you need to interact with them.

How often should I post to my social networks?

  • Facebook:  1-2 times per day or 6 times a week
  • Twitter:  3-4 times a day or 20 times a week
  • Pinterest:  2-3 times per day or 10 times a week

 

The average amount of time spent by small businesses on social media per week? 6 hours and counting.

Bottom line: Don’t feel pressured to be on every platform. Start with the one that connects you with the right audience, aligns with your business’s needs, and one you can regularly manage.

Want more insight on social media marketing? Sign up for an upcoming ‘Fundamentals of Social Media’ webinar.

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post Social Media & Your Business: Choosing the Best Platform appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

9 Things Your Online Store Should Have To Keep Customers Happy

VerticalResponse Marketing Blog - Wed, 08/19/2015 - 06:00

Is your online store as customer-friendly as it could be? You want a visitor’s experience to be easy and enjoyable for them to make a purchase or book an appointment, and share their positive experience with friends. If your website isn’t up to par, you could be losing customers. Here’s a quick checklist of things that your site should have to meet customers’ expectations. 

1. Social media icons 

Make it simple for customers to follow you, share their wish lists and purchases, and inspire them to pass your social posts on to friends. Turning customers into brand advocates without adding to payroll is a big win.

2. An About Us page 

Few things build trust like putting a face to a name. People want to know they’re doing business with a real person. An About Us page is the perfect way to tell a bit about your company, staff or even just yourself. Include a picture that shows customers who you are.  

3. Your return policies 

Customers like to know that if something arrives broken, doesn’t fit or just isn’t what they thought it would be, they can return it. Clearly post your return policies, including things like how many days they have, whether or not there’s a restocking fee, and if they can return the item to your store. If you offer FREE returns, where customers don’t have to pay return shipping, you may want to make it a headliner on your homepage. Zappos, an online shoe and clothing retailer, saw a 357 percent increase in sales after instituting a free return policy for a year. 

4. Shipping rates and important deadlines 

Nobody likes the sticker shock associated with shipping rates at the very end of the order. In fact, according to a June 2014 study released by UPS and comScore, unexpected shipping costs was the top reason for shopping cart abandonment. Include flat-rate shipping costs and an estimator that uses the customer’s zip code to provide shipping costs before checkout. Shipping time estimates are also vital, especially around Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day. Be sure to include options for speedier delivery during these peak purchase periods.

Shopify can help you add shipping tools to your site.

5. FAQs

Besides decreasing the number of phone calls and emails that need a response, a Frequently Asked Questions page can satisfy customer needs with immediate answers to their most common questions. It’s safe to assume that customer frustration is synonymous with lost sales. In fact, according to a report by Forrester, 55 percent of adult customers are likely to abandon their online purchase if they can’t find a quick answer to their question. You can also provide links to other pages in your answers, which will save your customers multiple steps.

6. A search function 

A search box provides a service to not only your customers but also your analytics. What better way to find out what your customers are looking for and how they word it? A good search function will take into consideration spelling mistakes, singular vs. plural words and even synonyms (e.g., pop, soda, cola). 

Check out Swiftype. This tool can help you create and add a search bar to your site.

7. A social login option

Who doesn’t dread those lengthy registration processes when preparing to buy something from an online store? Offering a social login option allows your customers to use existing login information from one of their social networks, like Facebook or Twitter. That means there’s no additional username and password to remember (and decreased customer support for password retrieval), and no false email addresses.

If you’re using a WordPress site, you can install this option in a few easy steps.

8. Guest checkout 

Another login option for the registration-weary customer is to provide a guest checkout. Nothing kills momentum like having to create an account from scratch just to make a purchase. In fact, according to a 2014 e-commerce survey by Visual Website Optimizer, 23 percent of users will abandon their shopping cart if they have to create a new user account. 

9. Clear security protocol 

That same Visual Website Optimizer survey found that 13 percent of shoppers abandon their shopping cart due to payment security concerns. It’s important that you take measures to secure customer information and explain those measures on our site. SSL Certificates encrypt all the data that is exchanged between the customer and your site.

With these nine website must-haves, your customers will have the quality of experience they expect.

 

Wendy Burt-Thomas is a full-time freelance writer with four books and thousands of published articles to her credit. Contact Wendy at WendyBurt@aol.com.

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post 9 Things Your Online Store Should Have To Keep Customers Happy appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

Emails That Encourage Customer Engagement

VerticalResponse Marketing Blog - Tue, 08/18/2015 - 06:01

How are you currently engaging your customers? Studies show engaged customers have positive responses to businesses, which translate into higher sales.

You want customers to love your brand and go out of their way to buy your product or service. Loyal customers like these can boost your revenue by 23 percent, according to a customer engagement survey conducted by Gallup.

One of the easiest ways to increase customer engagement is through email. By sending the right messages and promotions, you can increase engagement and sales.

What kinds of emails should you send? We’re glad you asked.

This guide will help you create four emails (featuring examples!) that are designed specifically to boost engagement. Plus, we’ll highlight the components of the email that you should try to mimic when you sit down to create your own.

1. Welcome email

Making a good first impression is vital when it comes to customer engagement. You want to start the relationship off right with a conversational and friendly tone that is in the voice of your brand. Show the customer your appreciation and explain the benefits of your email list.

In this example, UK retailer House of Fraser provides an introduction to its new guests with this friendly and organized welcome email:

Tips to create a welcome email:

  • Be conversational. Write a welcome email like you would write to a friend.
  • Highlight the benefits of your email list, just as the example does.
  • Pick an email template that provides an organized, clean look.
  • Keep the color scheme and font simple – and on brand.
  • Provide a call to action that takes customers to your site.
  • Consider offering a promotion to get new customers to make an immediate purchase.

Pro tip: Consider automating your welcome email.

With a VerticalResponse account, you can trigger an email to send within hours of a new contact joining your list. All you have to do is create the email and set up a delivery time. It’s a hassle-free way to guarantee immediate engagement with prospective customers.

When you’re ready, use these step-by-step instructions to automate your emails through VerticalResponse.

2. Event email

What better way to engage your customers than to talk with them face-to-face? Whether you host a holiday sale, customer appreciation event or a webinar, interacting with customers on a personal level is one of the best ways to make a connection.

Event emails are just as important for non-profits too. When volunteers and donors see their contributions in action, they’re engaged and more likely to continue their support.

Here’s an example of an event email template:

A food bank invites guests to an upcoming event with this simple, yet informative email.

Tips to create an event email:

  • Cover the five W’s. Tell the reader who, what, where, when and why as illustrated in the example above.
  • Give the reader tips, if necessary. For example, tell them where to park, how to find the registration table, what to bring or a link to a course map.
  • Provide a way to register or sign up.

Pro tip: Use tools to improve the registration process.

Customers can register by sending you an email, but there are registration tools that can help.

Try creating a Facebook Event. With this tool, guests can RSVP to your event. Once you create the event on Facebook, include the link in an invitation email. When a customer clicks on the link, they’re taken right to Facebook to RSVP. Plus, your fans can invite their friends, which can give your attendance numbers a real boost.

When you’re ready to create a Facebook event, check out these step-by-step instructions.

If you’re hosting an event that requires a registration fee, you should check out PayPal or Eventbrite. You can set up a page for your event and, once again, use that link in your email so customers can easily register for your event. Both PayPal and Eventbrite will take a small percentage of each transaction.

3. Email Newsletter

Friends swap stories about their day and keep each other informed about what’s happening in their lives. To maintain a friendly relationship with your customers or donors, you should do the same. Keep your audience in the know by sending out a regular newsletter. The more your audience knows about your business, the more likely they are to frequent your checkout counter.

Here’s an example of a newsletter:

SurveyMonkey sends a well-designed newsletter that’s full of helpful advice.

Tips to create an email newsletter:

  • Provide informational content. You can promote an event or a product occasionally, but your newsletter should focus on engagement rather than sales.
  • Use pictures. A newsletter shouldn’t just be text-based; it should have some images to add a little spice, like the example above. You can take your own pictures, or you can turn to a stock image site like iStock.
  • Create calls to action that take users to your website or social sites.

Pro tip: How to get new ideas for your newsletter.

Coming up with topics for your newsletter can be tricky, especially since a newsletter is an ongoing commitment. Your newsletter is free space that can cover a range of topics, but when you’re stuck, turn to our list of ‘75 Email Newsletter Topics’ for help.

4. A ‘freebie email’

Keep customers smiling (and buying) with an occasional free offer. Consider offering a gift with purchase, tickets to a local event or a free download. A freebie is a nice way to maintain that warm, loyal feeling that you’re working for.

Here’s an example:

Craftsy offers a free pattern with this email.

Tips to create a freebie email:

  • Keep the giveaway simple. You don’t need to break the bank over it; it’s more about a kind gesture than anything else.
  • Give a reason for the freebie. Maybe it’s something you offer every week, like the example above, or maybe the freebie is a thank you to your loyal customers.
  • Include links back to your website. Drive traffic back to your site by adding links. For example, add a ‘check out our latest deals’ link or a ‘follow us on Facebook’ link, so you provide additional ways for customers to engage with your brand.

Pro tip: Segment your list.

You don’t have to offer a freebie to everyone on your list. This is a great time to segment your contacts. Offer the freebie to your loyal customers, first-time clients or inactive customers that you’re trying to bring back.

If you need a little segment inspiration, check out ‘6 Ways to Segment Your Email List.’ You can also get instructions on how to segment your list in your VerticalResponse account.

Of course, these are just four ways to engage your audience. You can also create a social media competition and invite people to participate via email. Consider creating a survey and ask customers what they’d like to see from your company. Feel free to get creative and explore new ways to engage your audience through email marketing.

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post Emails That Encourage Customer Engagement appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

How to Use the Email Editor to Make Your Emails Shine [VIDEO]

VerticalResponse Marketing Blog - Fri, 08/14/2015 - 06:00

To make the VerticalResponse email editor even easier to use, you now have access to three new content blocks that will have you on the path to an incredible email in minutes. In today’s episode of Tips in 2, we have the pleasure of getting a demonstration of these content blocks from VerticalResponse’s Product Manager, Patrick Khajehtoorian.

Patrick shows how to use and edit the button block, image group and divider line to make emails and newsletters professional and aesthetically pleasing. Click on the video below to see all the specific details.

If you’d like to check out the email editor for yourself, sign up for a free account today! 

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post How to Use the Email Editor to Make Your Emails Shine [VIDEO] appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

3 Influencers to Follow When Building Your Brand

VerticalResponse Marketing Blog - Wed, 08/12/2015 - 06:00

When it comes to developing a strong brand, it’s important to be ‘in the know’ with current trends in marketing and advertising strategies to help create and sustain a consistent brand voice. Who better to learn from than the most influential men and women in business? Follow these 3 LinkedIn influencers to get tips and tricks on how you can create a consistent brand voice for your company.

Richard Branson – Founder of Virgin Group

Richard Branson shows no signs of slowing down when it comes to expanding the Virgin Group. He started with Virgin Records and then branched out into the world of mobile communication and air travel. His most recent endeavors include Virgin Galactic as a space tourism venture and Virgin Fuels as a means to produce cheaper fuels for automobiles and airplanes.

Brands need to relate to their audience on a personal level to build trust. This has never been truer than it is now in our consumer-driven economy. Consumers use the Internet to educate themselves about the products and services before buying. 

Every one of the Virgin Group’s entities embodies Richard’s fun-loving attitude from the logo and website down to the safety video on Virgin Atlantic flights.

Follow Richard on LinkedIn to learn how being yourself can be your greatest asset when it comes to managing your brand.

Beth Comstock – CMO at GE

In 2003, Beth was hired by GE to help increase GE’s brand value. She was the first CMO hired in over 20 years. For a company that was struggling to be a relatable and compelling brand, Beth took the bull by the horns and built a creative and unexpected brand experience for GE’s customers.

You wouldn’t expect such a large corporation to have much of a sense of humor, but GE has stepped up their comedic game with social media. Their Pinterest page, alone is thoroughly entertaining, not to mention informative!

To create a more relatable brand, Beth stresses the importance of starting small. “We’re constantly tinkering with our business models to get leaner and more agile and get closer to our customers – to act small even though we’re big.”

David Edelman – McKinsey partner leading Digital Marketing Strategy Practice

David is no spring chicken in the world of digital marketing. With over 25 years of experience helping marketing executives accelerate growth for their business, he’s well equipped to offer advice on marketing and brand development.

He stresses the importance of building a community for your brand to create a forum where customers feel comfortable communicating with your business and with each other. He believes building communities will create brand advocates and help new customers with their purchase decisions.

When you have some time to kill waiting for your lunch to arrive or on your commute to work, check out these three influencers for tips and tricks on building a consistent brand voice.

Keep up to date with marketing trends by signing up for our weekly newsletter.

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

9 Frequently Asked Questions About Pay-Per-Click Advertising

VerticalResponse Marketing Blog - Tue, 08/11/2015 - 06:00

Pay-per-click advertising is a popular and economical way to generate more website traffic and reach a larger target audience online

Although it can be quite daunting to get started, the ROI on most pay-per-click ads is higher than its other digital and offline alternatives including direct mail and using basic keywords in your content. To help speed up your learning curve, we’ve created a list of frequently asked questions designed to give you the foundation you need to start a pay-per-click campaign.

1. What is pay-per-click advertising?

Let’s start with the definition. Pay-per-click advertising, or PPC advertising, is a specific type of search engine marketing designed to drive traffic to your website. When certain keywords are entered into a search engine, your ad appears in the search results. In terms of cost, you only pay when the ad is clicked on, hence the name pay-per-click advertising. 

2. Where do ads appear and what do they look like?

Ads appear at the top of search results and along the right side of the list.

The ads can have several different looks depending on which search engine you decide to advertise with. In the example below, “Sandals For Kids” was typed into Yahoo.com. The top four links, as well as the images inside the box, and the small text that’s underneath it are all considered PPC advertising.

3. What are the benefits of PPC ads?

It’s quite tough to get your site on page one for search results. With PPC ads, your website not only gets “front and center attention,” but it is also displayed to customers who are looking specifically for your product or service. Plus, these eye-catching ads can be more affordable for small businesses compared to other types of advertising.

4. What sites offer PPC advertising?

When it comes to PPC advertising, you have several options. Google Adwords is the most popular, but there are several others that you should research. Here’s a quick list:

5. What are the components of a PPC ad?

To start, you might want to opt for a text ad. However, you can create a PPC ad that’s a banner, video or product listing. When getting started, use the guidelines below to design your ad:

  • Headline. Just like a newspaper, your ad needs a short, attention-grabbing headline.
  • Display URL. This is the link that is displayed with the ad and clues customers in on the company that’s hosting the ad.
  • Destination URL. This is the link that customers will go to if they click on the ad.
  • Description. You’ll need to describe your product or service in a few words to entice customers to click on your ad.

Of course, there are length restrictions for each component. For example, with Google Adwords, headlines can only be 25 characters long.

6. How do you find the best keywords to use in an ad?

When you create an ad, you should select a set of keywords that will trigger your ad to appear based on popular searches. Keyword selection can make or break your ad, so you must choose wisely. Fortunately, there are tools to help you select the best keywords. Try Google Keyword Planner, Keyword Tool or check out this list of keyword tools.

7. What’s the difference between broad, exact and negative match?

When you create an ad, you’ll not only select keywords, but you’ll also decide how “exact” you want the match to be. Here are some terms to be familiar with.

  • Broad match. With this option, customers will see your ad if they enter searches that are “similar” to your keywords.
  • Exact match. With this option, customers will only see your ad if they enter the exact keyword, or keyword phrase that you selected.
  • Negative match. With this option, you can select keywords that you don’t want your ad associated with. If these words are entered into the search bar, your ad won’t show up.

8. How can I target my PPC ad?

Although search engines vary, most use these three basic targeting options:

  • Device. You can choose which devices you want to target including smartphones and desktops.
  • Location. You can target people within a certain geographical area.
  • Language. You can select a specific language to target.

9. Where can I find more resources on PPC advertising?

We’ve compiled a list of useful resources to help expand your basic understanding of PPC. Get started by clicking through these links:

Now you’re ready to begin your campaign. Head over to the PPC advertising page on the search engine of your choice and set up an account. Remember, start with a small budget and do a little experimenting to see what works for your business before launching a full-scale effort.

Enjoyed this post and want to see more like it? Sign up for the VR Buzz, Verticalresponse’s weekly newsletter that covers all things marketing.

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

How to Use Twitter’s Vine To Promote Your Business [GUIDE - Part III]

VerticalResponse Marketing Blog - Fri, 08/07/2015 - 06:00

Looking for an easy and affordable way to promote your business? Try Vine. You can use this video-sharing app to create six-second videos to captivate your audience. We shared Six Reasons to Use Vine for Your Business in part one of this guide. In part two, we explain everything you need to know in Getting Started: How to Use Vine for Your Business. In this third and final part, we give you five ideas along with several examples to get your creative juices flowing.

Here are five ways Vine can work to promote your business:

1. Ask customers to participate in a Vine competition

Vine has become an everyday tool, which means your customers are likely familiar with it. Why not ask your customers or clients to produce a video for you?

Consider creating a Vine competition that encourages customers to create a video that showcases your product or brand in some way.

For example, Disney created a competition that asked its fans to show how much they loved Disney Parks with its “Vine Your Disney Side” competition. Users had to submit their Vine by a certain deadline and use the hashtag #DisneySideCompetition. Cash prizes were given away, along with a chance for one winner to work with Disney to create a series of videos.

Here is one of the submissions.

This kind of competition generates what marketers call “user-generated content,” which you can use to market your business. Put the winning video on your website, ask Facebook fans to vote for their favorite, and tweet new submissions as they come in. The promotions are endless.

2. Show off a new product or service

Planning to launch a new product or service? A Vine is a great, quick way to give your audience a sneak peek.

For example, eBay introduced a new delivery service with a Vine. With eBay Now, customers can shop and get their orders delivered within an hour. The e-commerce giant created two videos. The first video revealed the new service, and the second outlined the area that can utilize the new delivery feature. Both are simple, yet creative videos.

3. Create a timeline

Consider creating a timeline that showcases the evolution of your business, product or logo.

Adidas used the timeline idea to show the evolution of the FIFA World Cup soccer ball. Take a look at the example and consider trying something similar for your business.

4. Make a connection to a current event

When a current event or trending topic rolls around, capitalize on its popularity by connecting it to your product or brand. For example, when Opening Day of baseball is around the corner, make a vine that combines America’s favorite pastime with your business.

Don’t limit yourself to sporting events. Any current event will work. Volkswagen, for example, made a Vine during Discovery’s Shark Week. Check out this Vine.

5. Show your product in a clever way

Some might say you can’t be creative in six seconds, but the limited amount of time is exactly what encourages creativity.

Need an idea? Try to show customers how to use your product in a different way. Post the video on your social channels and encourage customers to comment and explain how they use your product.

Or, just make a cool video that has your product in it. Samsung created a clever video that showcases several of its smartphones. An animated basketball player moves through various phones. Check it out.

Want to learn more about Vine? Don’t miss the first two parts to this guide:

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Tips for Email Newsletter Campaign First-Timers – Part I: Content

VerticalResponse Marketing Blog - Thu, 08/06/2015 - 06:00

Starting a newsletter from scratch may seem a bit daunting. If you’ve never made one before, or you feel like your current newsletter campaign is in dire need of an overhaul, this post is for you. With a few tips and best practices from this two-part post, even as a first-timer you can create a successful email newsletter campaign that keeps readers engaged and eager for fresh content.

Before you worry about the design of the newsletter, determine the type of content to include. Ask yourself, “What is the purpose of my newsletter?”

Depending on your business, industry, and time of the year, this answer could vary widely. Your goal may be to increase traffic to your online store or blog, direct readers to a landing page for an event, make an appointment, or some combination of the above. If you’re stumped for content, we’ve got a few ideas to inspire you.

Once you’ve determined the goal, follow these three tips when creating content: 

1) The 80/20 Rule

Your newsletter should strike a balance between educational content and self-promotional content (and yes, the 20% part is for promotional content). Why so little promotional content? Because your readers may become overwhelmed and annoyed if the majority of your newsletter is telling them to buy, buy, buy. 

Subscribers want educational or informative value. That can come in the form of breaking news about your company, product, service, or industry. If your content leans too far to the self-promotional side, you may risk burning out your list with higher than normal unsubscribe rates and spam complaints. 

2) Set expectations on the Sign up Form

Tell new subscribers exactly what they can expect from your newsletter. You can provide this information on your sign up form page. It’s helpful to include both the type of content they will receive (product updates, industry news, informative blog posts, etc.) and the frequency in which they will receive it.

As long as you set newsletter expectations, you can take rule #1 with a grain of salt. Let’s say you have a daily deals site. If you explain to potential new subscribers that they’ll receive a weekly newsletter chock full of nothing but sweet savings and promotions, then it’s OK to offer up less educational content.

3) Use a compelling subject line so subscribers want to read your content

The subject line is perhaps (after deliverability) the most important aspect of your email content. After all, if they aren’t compelled to open your email after reading your subject line, then they won’t see all of that great content you put together!

You can find a ton of information on the art and science of writing subject lines. We frequently blog about it. You can find a few posts here, here, and here. Most importantly, use a creative and unique subject line for each and every newsletter. In other words, don’t start every subject line with “This Week’s Newsletter.” Instead treat your newsletter like an actual newspaper and your subject line as a headline that inspires readers to read on.

That wraps up part one of Tips for Email Newsletter First-timers. In part two, we’ll dive into design fundamentals so your email layout supports your content. Stay tuned for more!

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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How to Use Twitter’s Vine To Promote Your Business – Part II [GUIDE]

VerticalResponse Marketing Blog - Wed, 08/05/2015 - 06:01

Showing will always trump telling. And if you can deliver the message quickly, even better. That’s why Vine is a powerful and creative way to promote your business. In the first of this three-part series, we covered Six Reasons to Use Vine for Your Business. Now we want to share with you how to shoot and share videos on Vine. Here’s a step-by-step guide that explains everything you need to know.

Set up

  1. Download the Vine app. It’s free.
  2. Connect Vine to your Twitter account, or set it up through email.
  3. Add friends. Vine automatically creates a list of your Twitter followers that use Vine, which you can instantly follow. You can also add friends through your address book or email links to people.
  4. Check out the Dashboard.

From the main page, you’ll see a Vine feed, just like any other social platform. You also have options at the bottom to explore Vines by category, shoot video, check your activity and update your profile.

Create your first vine

First-time users can take a how-to tour, which walks you through shooting your first video, but everything you need to know is below.

To record, press the camera icon and hold your finger on the screen to record. When you release your finger, you stop recording.

You can shoot small snippets of video, and the app puts them together. For example, you can shoot three seconds of your hands opening a box and another three seconds of a new product coming out of the box.

Shooting options

While you film, you have access to options that can improve your video. We’ll explain the icons from left to right.

  • Arrow up icon. You can upload video from your phone.
  • Tab with an x icon. You can delete certain clips while you’re in shooting mode.
  • Wrench icon. This provides several additional features including a grid to help you keep your video straight, a focus button, a ghost button and a flash.

Most of the buttons are self-explanatory, but you might not be familiar with the ghost function. It allows you to see the last frame of video captured. It’s particularly helpful if you’re creating stop-motion graphics, which is a more advanced way to animate objects. For now, stick with the basics.

  • Circle arrow icon. Turns the camera into a front-facing camera.
  • Document icon. Save your video for later use.

Preview your vine

Click the arrow in the top right corner of your screen to preview your video.

Add a caption and location

Any additional information you can give a customer is great, so add a caption and a location.

Edit your vine

The editing options are basic. Here’s what the icons do from left to right.

Play backward. This will start your video at the end. So if you shoot a room from left to right, when you hit this button your video will reverse, showing the room from right to left.

  • Duplicate. You can duplicate a clip.
  • Trash can. Delete a clip by clicking on the garbage.
  • Sound off. You can mute the sound if you want.

Share it

When you’re finished shooting, the app prompts you to share it. You can opt to share it on Vine, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or send it to a friend.

Once shared people can like it, comment on it and share it.

Add special effects

Once you’re familiar with the basics, you can start adding special effects to your videos. Here are a few effects for beginners to try out:

  • Fade in and out

Hold a piece of paper over your lens so all you see is black or white. Quickly remove the paper to reveal what you’re trying to shoot. As the camera adjusts, it creates a cool transition. You can do this at the beginning and the end of your video. Here’s an example of how it looks.

  • Create a dreamy effect

Grab a plastic bottle or a piece of plastic to create dream sequence. By holding the plastic over the lens, you’ll create a blurry-dreamy look.

When you’re ready to up the special effects ante, check out this Mashable article that explains a few cool techniques.

Ready to learn more? Check out the next section of our Vine guide: 5 Ways to Use Vine to Promote Your Business.

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Changes in Google Searches Could Hurt Website Traffic: Learn What to Do

VerticalResponse Marketing Blog - Tue, 08/04/2015 - 06:00

Have you noticed Google is supplying answers to questions right on the search page? If you type in, “How many ounces in a gallon?” the conversion comes right up. You don’t have to click on any website to find the answer. This feature, which Google calls Instant Answers is handy, but it can have an adverse effect on your company’s website traffic. Here’s what the instant answer to our question looks like:

 

Let’s say you offer cooking classes and your website has the answer to the question above. If searchers get an instant response, there’s no need to scroll for the answer, or click through to your website.

Google is constantly making changes like this. Keeping up with them is next to impossible if you’re running a small business. However, there are a few DIY tasks that you can do to keep traffic flowing to your website.

1. Use email marketing to reach customers

As Google creates more and more features like Instant Answers, it becomes even more important not to rely on it for your website traffic.

Google is a business with its own goals and revenue streams that don’t necessarily coincide with benefits to your business. If you want more website traffic, you should turn to marketing efforts that you’re in control of like email marketing.

Email marketing gives you a direct approach. With email marketing, you don’t sit around and wait for Google to send traffic your way; you go out and get it. If you work to grow a healthy list of contacts, you can reach a target audience that’s interested in your product or service.

By sending a variety of emails, you can refer your customers back to your website. You can design emails that encourage sales, increase appointments, educate clients about offerings or invite them to an upcoming event. The options are endless.

Need a little help getting started? Check out these two email marketing guides:

2. Provide in-depth content

Google’s Instant Answers are usually a number or a name. It can only handle basic questions that have a very specific, simple answer, like the time, temperature, or a calculation. It can also answer questions like, “What year was Facebook launched?” but it can’t handle questions like, “How can I boost my Facebook following?”

Knowing this, you should work to provide in-depth content on your blog that goes beyond surface answers. If your company doesn’t have a blog, be sure to share high-quality content on your social pages, so your customers rely on you for support.

3. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly

The Instant Answer that Google provides takes up quite a bit of space on the search results page. That means there’s less space for websites like yours to be listed. With limited space, it’s important to make sure your website is ranked as high as possible to maximize exposure.

How do you improve your Google ranking? It’s not a simple process, but one of the easiest ways to improve your relationship with Google is to make sure your site is mobile-friendly. If you have an old-school site that doesn’t load properly on tablets and smartphones, Google will demote your site in a search.

Your site should have a responsive design. With this design, your site looks great on every device. Not sure if your site is responsive? Use this website checker to see how your website looks on various devices and screen sizes.

If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, it’s time for an upgrade. If you have a web designer, you should reach out to make improvements. If you created your own website, you might need to upgrade your template or start from scratch.

If you start from scratch, just about every DIY website builder has a responsive design now. Deluxe offers free DIY plans that include the website builder plus email and social marketing.

In addition to switching to a responsive website design, you can always improve your Google ranking through search engine optimization (SEO) techniques. If you need help, check out our previous post on SEO resources.

Final thoughts

Driving traffic to your website is a delicate balance. You should do everything you can to refer customers to your site, so you don’t have to depend on Google for all of your traffic. However, Google has a lot of power. Getting your website listed high in searches is beneficial, so you should also keep your site in good Google standings. The tips above are meant to give you multiple traffic-boosting options. 

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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How to Use Twitter’s Vine To Promote Your Business – Part I [GUIDE]

VerticalResponse Marketing Blog - Mon, 08/03/2015 - 06:01

Six Reasons to Use Vine for Your Business (Part I)

Are you ready to get your Vine on? By now you’ve probably heard about Twitter’s video-sharing app, Vine.

It’s a great promotional tool for small businesses, so we’ve created a three-part guide to walk you through all that Vine has to offer.

This section, Six Reasons to Use Vine for Your Business, serves as an introduction where we’ll explain what Vine is and discuss its promotional advantages.

Additional pieces of the guide include:

  • Getting Started: How to Use Vine for Your Business (Part II)
  • 5 Ways to Use Vine to Promote Your Business (Part III)

What is Vine?

Vine is an app that helps any smartphone user create highly sharable six-second videos. That’s right – six seconds. That’s the longest Vine, or video, you can create.

The app is user-friendly, and you don’t need any video experience at all, which is why so many people are drawn to using it.

Aside from its shooting and editing capabilities, Vine is, at its core, like many other social channels. You see a stream of videos from those you follow, share or comment on videos, and network to build an audience.

So, what’s the benefit?

1. A large audience

Vine boasts an audience of 40 million users, with 100 million people watching videos monthly. That translates to a high volume of potential customers to be reached by your short videos.

2. The next big thing

Facebook and Twitter are still popular, but newer social platforms like Vine, Instagram and Snapchat are giving the older models a run for their followers. Vine is especially popular with millennials.

3. Easy to learn

You don’t need any video experience to create a six-second vine. The app is so user-friendly, you can set up an account and create your first video within five minutes flat.

4. Create attention-grabbing videos

To grab attention, you need to stand out. In only six seconds, you’re forced to do that. You can create a video through Vine and share it on your other social channels too. 

5. Create brand awareness

Videos can educate consumers about your brand or product. A six-second video is more likely to be watched than a four-sentence explanation on Twitter about your brand’s mission.

6. Boost sales

You can use Vine to showcase products and services, broadcast a sale or even highlight an upcoming webinar. When it comes to promoting your business, your options are endless with Vine.

Ready to shoot and share your first vine? Check back for the next part of our Vine guide, Getting Started: How to Use Vine for Your Business.

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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How to Use Follow-Up Emails to Get More Opens [VIDEO]

VerticalResponse Marketing Blog - Fri, 07/31/2015 - 06:01

Our recent blog post on how to be an email marketing superhero reveals how to get a 30% lift in email open rate. The power resides in the practice of sending follow-up emails. You can expect an average open rate of 20-40 percent with your initial email, depending on your industry and the type of email you send. That’s a pretty good open rate, but what about the other 60-80 percent? Do you just chalk it up to bad luck or inopportune timing? There are many things that contribute to your email not being opened, but follow-up emails provide a second chance.

In this episode of Tips in 2, we jump into what follow-up emails are, how VerticalResponse has automated the process for you, and how easy it is to touch your non-responders a second time. Take a look at the video below to see how to increase your opens by 30 percent.

For more information on our follow-up email feature, click here.

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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5 Subject Line Tips You Haven’t Heard

VerticalResponse Marketing Blog - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 06:00

Trying to pique readers’ curiosity to entice them to open an email is so 2009. The world of email subject lines is growing more sophisticated as emailers grow more spam and sales savvy. It’s safe to say your subject line is more important than ever. Coming up with them can be fun, though, if you use some of these tips.

Statistics show that 64 percent of people will open an email because of the subject line, and nearly half of them list that as their only deciding factor. Email is powerful, and your subject line is key to unlocking that power.

To help you create successful subject lines, we’ve put together a list of unique tips. These tips aren’t your ordinary, everyday tips like “Be creative.” These five tips are meant to get your creative juices flowing.

1. Try a pop culture reference

There is nothing – we mean nothing – like a clever or punny pop culture reference. You might quote a line from a movie, reference a bit of celebrity gossip or use a song title. Now is a perfect time for this type of title because there’s a wealth of pop culture. Plus, Netflix-type services are also helping people connect with classic movies, music and TV shows. Brainstorm ideas and keep a notebook handy for particularly memorable puns you think of or come across. 

2. Hashtag it up 

Talk of trending topics and other references to social media can also attract readers. Consider drawing inspiration from weekly hashtags or recent trends. Do you use Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest? Move those principles over to your email regimen.

This email with a hashtag in its subject line shows great social media savvy. The line could appear as a Facebook or Twitter post.

3. Give and ye shall receive

Modern marketing relies on the idea of giving to your customers before you ask them to buy from you. To get people to click your emails, tell them what you’re offering – but be sure not to oversell it. Try offering a gift with purchase, discounted shipping or a free consultation. By giving something of value to your customers, they are more likely to come back for additional products or services.

4. Tell a joke

You might make them laugh with a pithy observation, some sort of joke or even just a funny anecdote. If you visit any humor sites, watch sitcoms or follow any humor feeds on social media, think about something that made you laugh and how you might translate that principle to an email subject title.

Try looking through these tips for increasing your subject line humor, too.

5. Be descriptive

If it feels forced, you’re overwhelmed, or you just can’t come up with anything, it’s not the end of the world. Just give a descriptive subject with your most important words near the front of the line. Describe a new product or give specific details about an upcoming sale.

Subject lines can be as fun to create as they are to read. With a little practice and help from the tips above, you can create some memorable subject lines that get customers to react.

To continue to find subject line inspiration, look through our list of great subject lines and see what moves you.

 

Sarah Tanksalvala is a freelance business, technology and lifestyle writer based in Evergreen, Colorado.

 

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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6 Tips to Ensure Direct Mail Avoids Junk Mail

VerticalResponse Marketing Blog - Wed, 07/29/2015 - 06:00

Direct mail is a great way for you to spread the word about your business and increase sales. Direct mail also drives more traffic to your website, and as a result, more people sign up for your mailing list. How do you ensure your direct mail avoids being tossed out as junk mail? Here are a few tips:

1. Include relevant information: To entice people to give your mailer a second look, provide them with pertinent information. For example, realtors often send data about recent home sale prices in the neighborhood. This bit of information inspires people to pay notice to the mailer and gives the brand some extra attention.

2. Personalize your mailer:  Most people take extra notice when they see their name. Instead of just the address block, include your prospect’s name within the content of your mailer. If you have information on your customers purchase history, send them a specific promotion to buy again or offer similar types of products.

3. Give an incentive:  Provide a limited time promotional code or buy one get one offer. If you want the receiver to respond, an incentive works well. For example, an insurance company can offer a portable cooler in the summer for anyone who calls for a quote.

4. Target your audience: To be truly effective in a direct mail campaign you need to target your audience. Find people in your specific niche market instead of mass mailing to everyone. For example, vacation cruise lines often target retirees who may have more time to travel. Companies offering baby-related products can send offers to those who are subscribing to parenting magazines.  

5. Attach something to keep: To keep your company’s name at the top of customer’s mind, attach something with your logo that they want to keep. Examples include refrigerator magnet clips, post-its or local baseball team schedules with your contact information.

6. Combine direct mail with email: Follow up with an email reminding prospects of your mail offer to further the response rate. Emails can also be sent before direct mail to let your customers know that a mail offer can be expected.

As with all marketing campaigns, it’s important to evaluate success. That way you can compare different tactics to see what works best for your business!

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Twitter’s New Analytics: What You Need to Know

VerticalResponse Marketing Blog - Tue, 07/28/2015 - 06:00

Twitter Analytics is now offering users more tools than ever before to manage, organize and analyze their tweets and followers. Their latest feature release, Audience Insights, is designed to help users understand the demographics on Twitter as a whole as well as their own followers.

Audience Insights provides small business owners with valuable information they can use in their social media campaigns. It can be found and explored within the Ads page on Twitter.  To access this feature, click on ‘Ads’, then under ‘Analytics’, select the Audience Insights button.

How it Works

  • Looking at all Twitter users

Once you open Audience Insights, you’re going to see a dashboard like this or one similar to it since it’s continually being updated.

 

The Overview dashboard displays basic demographic information about users in general including their favorite interests, net worth, marital status, household income, education, buying styles and the wireless carrier they use. If you click one of the categories, you’ll be able to drill down further into the statistics.

 

  • Zoning in on your followers

While it’s interesting to learn about the general population of Twitter users, it’s more important to understand your audience. If you click “Your Followers” next to the search bar, you can research your Twitter followers’ interests, locations, and genders, as seen here:

  • Learning about your organic followers

Under the “Your Organic Followers” tab, Twitter shows you these users’ country, region, languages spoken, gender, interests, favorite TV genres and mobile footprint, as seen here: 

Another feature of Audience Insights gives you the ability to compare the All Twitter Users, Your Followers, and Your Organic Audience stats with one another. For example, you could look at how All Twitter Users size up to Your Organic Audience, as shown here:

How Audience Insights Can Help You

Big companies often pay third-party companies major bucks to collect statistics like this, but now you have access to it right in your Twitter account.

So, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Statistics are great, but how do you use them? Good question.

If you understand your customers, you can use that information to attract more. With the new metrics available you can pinpoint exactly who your audience is, and what they’d like to see. You can make smart content choices based on the new metrics. Here’s how to turn statistics into an actionable plan:

  • Appeal to your followers with your content

Let’s say you want to connect with your customers based on their interests. You see that the number one interest among them is technology. Knowing this, you can post more about technology and retweet influencers in the tech industry

On the flip side, a restaurant owner could learn that followers are interested in business news and food. It could surprise you to learn that your audience craves business headlines. With this information, you can start sharing news in conjunction with pictures of menu items.

  • Post content your organic followers will enjoy

When you click on the mobile footprint tab under the “Your Organic Audience” section, you may find that most of these users log on with Android devices. Knowing that, you’d want to make sure the content you post is responsive-friendly, so it renders properly on Android smartphones.

Aren’t sure if your emails look right on Androids? Use an email preview tool like Litmus to see how your email looks on various devices before you send it out. 

  • Attracting followers from the general Twitter community 

If one of your initiatives is to appeal more to a general audience or Twitter users as a whole, the overview section of the “All Twitter Users” tab will help you immensely. Consider incorporating funny memes into your feed that relate to your small business. For example, you could make a meme like this one from “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,”, or something else very recognizable, and personalize it for your own business:

Use a tool like MemeGenerator.net to create, save, and post to your feed.

Final thoughts

Audience Insights provides new, specific details about your followers that can help you post information they will love. For small businesses that are lacking data about their customer base, Audience Insights is the perfect platform to utilize.

Remember though – this information only describes your Twitter followers, which doesn’t necessarily mean it paints a clear picture of your entire customer base. Use the information to make smart content choices and implement changes on a small scale to ensure success.

Have you used Audience Insights before? Share your experience with us in the social comments. 

Kylie Jane Wakefield is a freelance writer and content creator in Los Angeles. She’s written for NewsCred, CMO.com, Forbes, Tablet Magazine, and The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles.

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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8 Frequently Asked Questions About Photo Copyrights And Emails

VerticalResponse Marketing Blog - Fri, 07/24/2015 - 06:00

Emails need images. That’s no surprise. Finding the perfect image can be tricky. To make things more complicated, there are copyright laws. Before you add an image to your email, you should know about these rules.

It’s tempting to grab an image from Google, but can you do that legally? What if you take your own picture, what then? Can you use an image from a stock site however you want for as long as you want?

Not to worry, we have the answers to these commonly asked questions.

1. Can I use images I find by doing a Google search?

No. If you didn’t take a picture, it’s not yours to use. Photographers, models and creators of any artwork or branding all have the right to say how the final image can be used. If you just take a picture from the internet, you could be violating copyright, even if you attribute it.

2. Can I take my own pictures?

Yes. It’s a great idea. Taking your own pictures not only helps avoid copyright infringement, but it also gives your emails and social media posts a personalized touch.

Check out this article, “9 Tips for Taking Top-Notch Smartphone Photos.”

3. How can I use photos from stock sites?

When you purchase or download an image for any reason, you’re not buying the image but rather the right to use that image in a particular way.

Buying an image isn’t like buying a pen or a chair. You can’t use it however you want, and you don’t own it after you buy rights to it. Instead, it’s more like a rental. You’re buying the right to use something in a certain way for a certain amount of time. You don’t really own it, but you can use it as long as you obey the rules.

  • What does royalty-free mean?

Royalty-free images are those you can use over and over after an initial purchase. They’re not necessarily free, and you’ll still have to provide attribution for the image. You can, however, add them to your library of photos without worrying about paying for the second, third or fifth usage. Most of the time, these images are sold over and over again to various users, so it’s not something you own.               

  • What does rights-managed mean?

Another type of photo is rights-managed, which means you pay a one-time fee to use an image once. If you want to reuse the image, you have to re-license it. In this case, you can pay to get exclusive rights to a photo so it won’t be used anywhere else.

 4. What should I look for when buying an image from a stock site?

  • Read the terms of service thoroughly
  • Check the terms of service to see if use is restricted in any way
  • Review the rules to see how many times it can be used
  • Note exactly how you must attribute the photo

Major stock photo sites:

5. What should I look for when using an image from a free stock site?

Again, review the terms and conditions. Most free sites require you to provide attribution, which means listing the author and website when you publish the photo. 

Watch out though, the quality of images on free stock sites can sometimes be weak.

Free stock photo sites to check out:

6. Can I use images from Flickr?

Some people choose to get photos from Flickr. You can select free images in the Creative Commons section. In some cases, you can download free images as long as you attribute the source. You can also browse through free photos based on how you plan to use them. For example, if you plan to use an image for commercial purposes, you can browse by “commercial use allowed.” 

The Creative Commons section on Flickr is popular because of its high-quality photos and searchable library. It’s worth checking out.

7. Can I use movie stills?

Using representative pictures from movies that illustrate a point can be extremely problematic in terms of copyright infringement, and it’s rarely worth the trouble of making sure you’re within the law for a simple email.

8. Can I use clipart?

Another picture option is clipart. If you’re looking for a graphic or an icon, clipart is an easy way to go. The rules are less strict with clipart since there aren’t models and photographers involved.

Some good clipart sites are:

Imagery is a key ingredient to any email. The next time you look for the perfect image to support your newsletter or promotional email, be sure to read the terms and conditions and make smart choices to safeguard against copyright infringement.

Sarah Tanksalvala is a freelance business, technology and lifestyle writer based in Evergreen, Colorado.

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post 8 Frequently Asked Questions About Photo Copyrights And Emails appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

How to Make Your Emails Pop in the Inbox

VerticalResponse Marketing Blog - Thu, 07/23/2015 - 06:00

We all know that today’s inbox is a very crowded and competitive space. Getting your email to stand out from the crowd can be done with some relatively simple email design tricks that can make your email more visually appealing in just a matter of minutes. Yes, there are some basic dos and don’ts when it comes to email design. Your primary focus, however, should be on the main call to action of the email.

What do you ultimately want the reader to do? Click a button to buy something? To read an article? To visit your store? Or, book an appointment? These design enhancements let you focus your attention on the call to action and produce a better look and feel for your email. 

Let’s use this before and after of a sample email template that has been slightly altered to show some of the email design elements that can make your email more enjoyable to read. 

 

 

Background Color or Image: Get your entire email to stand out by adding a solid background color or patterned image. With the blue background added in Option 2, the email content pops. However, keep in mind that some email clients like Outlook or Yahoo! Mail won’t display background images. Emails read on those email providers will appear with just a white background. 

Text Highlight: Get your readers’ eyes focused on the message you want to highlight. Compare the first paragraphs between Option 1 and Option 2. By adding a colored box around the text, the eye is drawn to that area.  You can also change the background color of that section of the box to highlight it even more.  If you’re offering a promotion or having a seasonal sale, you could design a box with dashed lines to make it look like a traditional percent off coupon.  

Call to Action Button: It’s usually the whole point of sending out an email in the first place– the call to action. And using a button to focus your readers on what you want them to do is an easy way to get them to take that action. Plus you make it simple for your mobile readers to get to your site if you give them a button to click. Design your button to get the most attention in the email. First the text needs to be as clear and concise as possible. The options are limitless, but the old standbys include “Buy Now”, “Get Started” or “Donate”. In terms of the button design, take into account the color, shape, size, width and border. The difference between Option 1 and Option 2 is the black border around the button. VerticalResponse offers a free button building tool within the email editor.        

Break Up Your Content: If you’re sending out a lengthy email like a newsletter that has a few different articles, consider breaking up the content with some simple lines. Option 2 has a few lines added to break up the content between the articles. It also divides the main call to action “Get Started” from the secondary email content. Readers typically like to skim. Adding a divider line can help them discern different content elements.   

One cautionary note, don’t go into email design overload where you inadvertently make the text difficult to read or the email too overwhelming to view. What’s worse than white font against a dark background?  Email eyesores will only get your email noticed in a way that you don’t want. You know, like in “that’s the ugliest email I’ve ever seen” way.  Always err on the side of simplicity with your design choices, and be consistent with your existing brand aesthetic.  

Leverage background colors, text, buttons and dividing lines to set your email apart in the inbox. All these design options are available within the VerticalResponse email editor. Get a more polished, professional look with these design techniques to get your emails read and your audience responding. 

© 2015, VerticalResponse Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post How to Make Your Emails Pop in the Inbox appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

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