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Reach Your Customers with Email and Social Media Marketing
Updated: 2 hours 51 min ago

Reasons to Ditch “Batch and Blast” and Get Started with Email Marketing Personalization

Fri, 11/27/2015 - 11:29

We all like to believe we’re special. Or as anthropologist Margaret Mead wryly put it, “Always remember that you are absolutely unique — just like everyone else.”  

That belief (or state of denial) is why so-called “batch and blast” email is usually less effective than email campaigns customized to your unique market. In a recent study of marketing professionals by Experian Marketing Services, 62 percent said a personalized email subject line is crucial.

The study also revealed that personalized promotional emails generated transaction rates and revenue per email six times higher than non-personalized emails. The personalized mailings had 29 percent higher unique open rates and 41 percent higher unique click rates. For triggered email campaigns (in which emails are triggered by a calendar event, a business action or an action taken by a website visitor), personalization doubled transaction rates.

Because today’s email marketing services allow for more detailed data about customers, users can implement some pretty impressive personalization that likely wouldn’t have been possible a couple of decades ago. Logistics like fully optimized mobile applications and time-delayed messaging are now par for the course, as is message micro-customization based on consumer behavior.  

“With so many available tools, businesses of all sizes can now employ the best email strategies for reaching customers,” writes Jayson DeMers in the Huffington Post. “When used correctly, these tools let businesses of all sizes compete with even the largest corporations. As more marketers discover the value of personalized marketing, businesses that don’t personalize their efforts will likely find their campaigns are largely unsuccessful.”

“To get started with such customization, conducting customer research is imperative,” explains Vertical Response Senior Content Marketing Manager, Linzi Breckenridge. “Your success with email marketing lies in understanding as much as you can about your contacts so you can better communicate with the groups of people likely to find your message relevant,” she says.  

Since personalizing messages for a world’s worth of potential customers is probably still out of technology’s reach, here are tips for identifying whom to target in your next campaign.  

  • Identify your target market(s), segmenting the groups of customers most likely to buy your goods and services. Think about which segment of the population has a problem your product is able to solve. Narrowing that down keeps you from wasting time and energy, and maximizes your chance of gaining and keeping customers, growing profits and expanding market share.
  • The most common ways to segment are by demographics, geographic location, purchasing behavior and/or psychographic segmentation (interests, hobbies, lifestyles, values and attitudes). The most common demographics used are age, gender and income level, notes social media blogger Lisa Furgison, all of which can be collected from your customers and embedded for reference onto your website or blog platform.
  • To help you form your messages, some marketing professionals recommend identifying common themes among your best customers and conceiving of actual “personas” that represent them in their various forms — including their shopping objectives and possible objections to buying.
  • Further fine-tune your target market by analyzing email data to identify customers who answered calls to action, like clicking to open windows announcing new product arrivals. “Knowing if, when and how contacts engage with your email is useful in determining which contacts find the message relevant,” notes Breckenridge. “You can continue the communication with those who respond, and tweak or completely change the message for those who don’t.”
  • Limit your target market to a manageable size. Warns Furgison: “If you overdose on segmentation, you could get frustrated and make your email marketing strategy more complicated than it needs to be.”
  • Consider rewarding loyal customers with discounts or special sneak peeks of products. “With a marketplace overflowing with options, repeat buyers are a much smaller segment than they once were,” Furgison notes.
  • Identify, target, and maybe reward brand advocates — customers who praise your products on social media or provide you positive feedback.  
  • Make an effort to bring back inactive customers, possibly with a promo. Such emails have titles like “We miss you!” or “It’s been a while,” notes Furgison, who also advises that surveys should find out why customers have strayed.  
  • Place the customer’s first name or user ID at the top of the message to quickly capture attention, advises Kevin Gao on targetmarketingmag.com. “If the user took the time to register with your business, then there is some implicit trust between both of you,” he says. “Remind them of your relationship by promptly showing their names. This tactic is especially important for consumers on mobile devices as the limited space means brands need logical personalization right away.”
  • Ask customers for information so you can provide even more apt customization in the future. “But avoid being greedy,” warns Gao. “Customers don’t want to spend time with a detailed registration page that asks for demographic data or other personal information. Ask for the minimum, use that in personalized emails, and expand your data as the relationship grows.”
  • Messages to customers triggered by real-time behaviors — such as reminders that items have been left in a “shopping cart” — can be very effective. “Even if the visitor receives it minutes after leaving the site, it does help the brand to stick in their mind,” states Gao. “Personalization should also be included in standard messages, such as shipment confirmations, where companies can suggest additional products or services, perhaps at a discount.”
  • Consider customizing email messages to arrive at the optimal times for your customers depending on demographics and time zone. For example, emails to student customers could arrive in the evenings when they’re most likely to be browsing via computer.

Lastly, always test your email campaign before sending. Having more than one pair of eyes review the email reduces the chance of suffering from an error. After making the effort to boost open and click rates with personalization and segmentation, the last thing you want is to waste it on a typo.

Conclusion:  Move beyond the old-fashioned and ineffective approach of “batch and blast” to get the best results with email marketing.

VerticalResponse has made segmentation and tracking email campaign results a snap. Sign up and start sending up to 4,000 emails per month for free.

© 2015, Vertical Response 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 Reasons to Ditch “Batch and Blast” and Get Started with Email Marketing Personalization appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

Event and Trade Show Etiquette: 4 Tips to Make Your Booth a Success

Wed, 11/25/2015 - 06:00

As the new year approaches, are industry events and trade shows part of your marketing plan? Before you go, make sure you’re set up for success by considering the importance of booth etiquette. 

Here are four tips to think about the next time you’re on the show floor:

1. Be aware of your body language.

Remember you’re acting as host of your booth. Maintain a friendly demeanor with a welcoming stance as booth visitors approach your space. Keep your arms naturally at your sides or fold them behind your back. Avoid crossing your arms as it can be perceived as defensive and might cause people to walk past you.

2. Make sure to have an ice breaker on your signage.

Your signage is usually the first thing an attendee sees. Why not pull them into your booth with a statement about your value proposition or a differentiator from your competition? 

In the picture below, we use our “freemium” model to our advantage by mentioning it on our backdrop. The “Free Email & Social Media For Your Business” statement stimulates a lot of conversations. It peaks people’s interest and allows the booth host to tell them exactly what it is and why it’s something to try.

 

3. Pre-populate your browser with specific pages you want to show from your website.

Many trade shows and events have less than ideal internet service. Whether it’s the free wifi provided by the venue or the portable hot spot you brought along, be prepared for slow loading pages. One way to combat this is to open individual tabs on your browser. This way when showing booth visitors your website, you can easily transition from page to page without dealing with slow load times.

4. Emphasize the benefits of your product or service in an easy-to-digest package.

It’s time-consuming, if not impossible for attendees to hear pitches from every booth. Condense your message to a short overview that leaves visitors wanting to follow up and find out more.

Give them a takeaway like the example below. Anticipate questions visitors might have and provide the answers. 

Conclusion:  Think about your ideal customer. What kind of experience do you want to create for him or her? Then apply these four tips to make the most of your trade shows and events in 2016. 

For more marketing tips delivered to your inbox every Monday, sign up for the award-winning VerticalResponse newsletter.

© 2015, Vertical Response 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 Event and Trade Show Etiquette: 4 Tips to Make Your Booth a Success appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

Name to fame: Strategizing your company title

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 10:26

Plans for your new company are underway, but a great name for your venture still hasn’t sprung to mind.

That’s troubling since it can be daunting to find a catchy, meaningful, attention-grabbing moniker that will stand the test of time and cast your company in an all-positive light.

The criteria for the perfect company name are mind-boggling. It must fit your company personality and bring to mind the right connotations without being too trendy, too complicated or too boring. It must be memorable, easy to pronounce and have initials with a non-controversial acronym. And your new name can’t be spoken for, or you’ll find yourself in legal trouble.

“You really want a name that will get you, your staff and your customers excited and talking about the business,” notes South Carolina-based based startup consultant Peter Gasca in Entrepreneur. “(It’s) a creative platform for telling a long-term story to the world, so it is worth spending some time and effort on finding the best fit. If you are of the mindset your name can be changed down the road, consider how much easier it will be and how much brand equity you can retain if you start with the right name.”

That said, the world history of bad name choices is well documented (and mocked) on the Internet.

 

FLICKR/JOE MUD

“A bad name will hurt you, and there’s no reason to inflict this damage upon yourself when you can avoid it with only a couple days’ worth of work,” advises Julian Shapiro, founder of domain portfolio NameLayer, on Thenextweb.com. “Never forget your name is the first thing to come out of your mouth every time you pitch your company. You should never underestimate how many choices consumers have. Stand out. It can all start with your name, which people will be typing, clicking on or tapping on every day.”

Check out how these 17 famous companies got their quirky names, courtesy of Steven Brenna and Skye Gould of Business Insider.

Steven Brenna and Skye Gould | Business Insider

Making the right choice could intimidate even the most seasoned entrepreneur. Fortunately, the enormity of the task has attracted a number of experts. Here are some of their ideas for finding the perfect name.

  • Consider hiring a professional firm to do the job. It may charge as much as $80,000 and require anywhere from six weeks to six months, says an article in Entrepreneur, but fees usually include other identity and graphic design work.
  • Online guides can walk you through the DIY process from inspiration to trademarking. Shapiro advises setting aside a few thousand dollars in case you need it for domain privileges.
  • Seek inspiration by perusing online business and startup sites, and listing company names and keywords that strike a chord. Check a thesaurus for keyword synonyms. “Think about your company’s market, what makes your company unique and what your value proposition is,” says Shapiro. “Spend a few minutes converting each of these concepts into keywords.”
  • Run your keywords through these helpful websites provided by Shapiro, including LeanDomainSearch.com (for word combinations available for registration; Domai.nr (for general clever abbreviations) and Wordoid.com (for fictitious word derivations.) “The purpose is to study the generated results in order to build an understanding of how your keywords can be branded into company names,” he explains. He also points to domain portfolios like NameLayer.com and Namecore.com for ideas not based on obvious keywords. Finally, avoid irrelevant keyword connotations, mismatched suffixes, unintuitive spelling choices, overused keywords, borderline stealing and names intimidating to your customer base, he says.  
  • Finish your DIY search by perusing top aftermarkets for your keywords on sites like BuyDomains.com and Sedo.com, Shapiro says. Then filter results for names available in your price range.
  • Your name may not automatically require trademarking if state regulations allow it and you aren’t infringing on another trade name, notes Gasca. But you still may want to hire a trademark attorney or trademark search firm to be sure.
  • Opinions conflict regarding whether made-up words are more memorable than real words, according to the Entrepreneur article. Regardless, avoid names that are long, confusing, geographically limiting or made from obscure puns. The article recommends a “comforting or familiar name that conjures up pleasant memories, so customers respond to your business on an emotional level. Choose a name that appeals not only to you but also to the kind of customers you are trying to attract. And the more your name communicates to consumers about your business, the less effort you must exert to explain it.”
  • B2C and B2B names should be crafted differently, Shapiro advises. “Many B2C businesses are supercharged by a company name that can be easily communicated, remembered and liked. Conversely, many B2B businesses are grown exclusively via existing partners and connections who couldn’t care less about the company’s brand, but instead focus on the company’s team, pricing and ability to execute on their services.”
  • Many successful companies like Apple, Nike, Facebook, Twitter, Dreamworks, Pixar and eBay have two syllables in their names, observes Dave Smith in Inc.com. He points to research showing brevity leads to memorability. 
  • Shapiro says the best company names are highly brandable; unique; logical; evoke wonder by triggering emotions; marked by clear and professional word combinations; and unmistakable once heard.
  • Consider whether your long-term goals and/or future advances in technology might make your name obsolete, advises Nikolas Contis, director of naming at global branding firm Siegel Gale, in the Entrepreneur article. Slang words or phrases may eventually do the same.
  • Instead of flat-out describing your business, Contis says, consider a name that prompts the customer to seek more information. “Great names engage but do not declare, and they evoke rather than explain,” he explains. 
  • Before making a decision, spend time doodling your proposed name, reading it aloud and imagining how it may sound in advertising campaigns, advises Entrepreneur.
  • Shapiro recommends gathering feedback on your final choice(s) from honest family members, friends, colleagues and employees, asking what the name connotes in their hearts and minds. But others, including Will Mitchell of startupbros.com, believe it’s more helpful to directly approach your target audience by vetting your ideas on easy-to-use sites like LeadPages or Unbounce. Entrepreneur also points to the focus groups or other consumer research.
  • Allow at least a week between the brainstorming and the selection to mull options, Smith advises. “Good company names have a certain ‘stickiness’ to them. The best names are remembered without needing to refer to the list.” 

Once you make your decision, advises Entrepreneur, go forth with enthusiasm and get started generating some buzz. Your employees will be looking to you to establish comfort with your new name and making it seem like it’s been around forever.   

“Your name is your first step toward building a strong company identity — one that should last as long as you’re in business,” it says.

Get more marketing tips and how-tos delivered to your inbox every Monday. Sign up for the award-winning VerticalResponse newsletter.

© 2015, Vertical Response 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 Name to fame: Strategizing your company title appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

How to Leverage Digital Channels to Maximize Year-end Fundraising Success

Fri, 11/20/2015 - 09:02

Retail ads begin promoting Christmas sales weeks before Halloween. Holiday decorations appear in stores shortly after Labor Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday bookend the weekend following Thanksgiving. There’s no doubt consumerism spikes in the last few months of the year. But so does generosity.

Year-end fundraising campaigns account for between a quarter and half of total yearly donations for 28 percent of nonprofits organizations, and between 11 percent and 25 percent for more than a third of nonprofits, according to Nonprofit Hub. The Network for Good reports that about a third of the year’s total giving through the organization’s online system occurs in December, and in 2013, 10 percent of all donation dollars came in on the last three days of the year. A study by the Center for Philanthropy at Indiana State University found that nearly 43 percent of charitable donors who earn more than $200,000 annually donate more during the holiday season.

Those statistics likely underscore what you already know to be true: your nonprofit organization’s end-of-year fundraising campaign is the most important one you’ll stage all year. Are you prepared to maximize all your end-of-year opportunities? Do you know how to ask for donations in effective ways that will motivate your donors?

Opening the end-of-year window

The final weeks of the year represent a singular opportunity for nonprofits. In order to throw that window of opportunity open wide, your nonprofit needs to understand the factors driving the increase in donations in the last quarter.

For individuals, who account for the lion’s share of all donations made every year, the giving spirit of the holiday season plays a significant role. During the holidays, people become more aware of others in need and are more willing to include charitable donations in their holiday spending. Some are also looking ahead to tax day in 2016, and know that in order to reap some tax benefit for 2015, they must donate by the end of the year.

Whether you’re seeking individual donations, contributions from businesses or both, your end-of-year fundraising campaign faces some common challenges, including:

  • Competition for cash – More than 1.5 million tax-exempt nonprofits operate in the U.S. and most stage end-of-year fundraising campaigns.
  • Competition for attention – Consumers have a lot on their minds at the end of the year, including holiday planning, shopping, tax planning, entertaining and more. In November and December, it can be hard to grab donors’ attention.
  • Evolving communication – Nonprofits have more communication channels than ever before, and that’s both good and bad. While more ways to communicate with donors can mean more opportunities for winning their hearts and dollars, knowing which channels are best for talking to your donors is key – and not always obvious.
  • A need for greater efficiency – Nonprofits have always had to do more with less, and it’s even more critical to optimize efficiency at the end of the year. The less you spend on your campaign, the more you will have to put toward programming that supports your organization’s key objectives.

Effective, relevant and engaging communication is the solution to these challenges. All communication channels must incorporate compelling visuals, clear messaging, a call to action and multiple ways for people to donate. In its e-book “Year-end Fundraising Survival Guide,” the Network for Good says nonprofits should:

  • Set specific, measurable, realistic, achievable and timely goals.
  • Segment initiatives according to target demographics.
  • Craft a strong, specific, simple and personal appeal that shows donors exactly who their donation will help and how.
  • Act in a timely manner.
  • Be mobile friendly.
  • Appeal to emotion rather than intellect alone.
  • Provide multiple ways to donate, especially online.

Leveraging digital communications

Your website, email and social media are the most impactful, cost-effective ways to reach the greatest number of donors with your end-of-year fundraising campaign. Depending on the demographic you’re targeting, your potential and existing donors may well give far more attention to an email than they would a direct mail piece or even a solicitation phone call.

Effective email campaigns

All the recommendations Network for Good makes to overall end-of-year campaigns apply to your email efforts. Every email you send should be clear, concise, visually appealing and emotionally engaging. It must contain a clear call to action and give the reader multiple routes to donation.

Additionally, employ these proven tactics to maximize the effectiveness of your email campaigns:

  • Segment mailing lists. Different groups should receive different emails based on how they’ve donated in the past, their likelihood of donating in the future and their current life circumstances. Segmentation ensures the message you send is relevant and engaging to the recipient, rather than some type of formulaic email that doesn’t capture attention or tug at the heart strings.
  • Create engagement with good visual design. The colors you choose, the images you include and the layout of your email will all affect how donors respond to your request. Your emails should be visually engaging while also clearly communicating your brand identity. It’s important for donors to be able to tell immediately who’s soliciting them. For example, animal lovers will be more willing to continue reading an email if they recognize the logo of a popular animal advocacy group at the top of the email.
  • Measure the effectiveness of every email. Look at the open and click-through rates for every email you send. Both numbers can help you measure a campaign’s effectiveness. If people are opening the email but not clicking through to your website’s donation page, your pitch may not be powerful enough. If they’re not even opening it, you may need to refine your segmentation or improve your subject lines.
  • Use automation to create consistent follow-up and enrich relationships. Auto-responder emails trigger when a recipient takes a certain action, or no action at all. Automated follow-up emails can boost open rates between 30-40%. Nonprofits can use automated emails to remind past donors of upcoming campaigns or events, prompt people who may have opened a solicitation email but took no action, immediately thank donors for making a contribution and keep them engaged throughout the year by sharing your organization’s progress.

Superior social media

The hugely successful Ice Bucket Challenge illustrated the power of social media in fundraising. The campaign was also an example of how fun and innovation, combined with a great cause, can engage a large number of social media users.

These steps can help you maximize your social media reach and leverage its power to promote your end-of-year fundraising:

  • Learn where your donors are socializing and sharing. Just as you segment and tailor your email marketing, it’s important to know where your potential and current donors are on social media – and tailor your messaging for that channel. For example, while Facebook users span all age groups, more than a third of Twitter users are in the 18-39 age group and more than half of those on Instagram fall in that age range, according to Pew Research.
  • Personalize and customize your messaging. Establishing a personal connection is key to attracting donations, so be sure your social media efforts are relevant and emotionally resonant with the group you’re targeting. Make it personal by using social media to thank donors, in addition to asking them for donations.
  • Focus on making it shareable. It’s important you provide users with content they want to share, and equally vital that you make it easy for them to do so. Social media outlets make sharing easy, but go the extra step and include sharing buttons on your website’s donation page so that when someone makes a donation, he or she can instantly get credit for it and encourage others to join them.
  • Use social media to refine your email list. In addition to providing engaging content, social media is an opportunity to grow and refine your email list. You can prompt users to share their email addresses in a number of ways, depending on the social media platform you’re using. Social media can help ensure your email list includes more valid emails of people who are truly interested in your cause.

Winning websites

Most of your digital efforts will funnel prospective donors back to your website where they can make a donation. Your website should feature the donation page prominently or at least make it easy to navigate to from the home page. Text and images should clearly convey your key message.

As you approach your end-of-year campaign, take a critical look at your donation page and ask these questions:

  • Is it mobile responsive? A study by the website npENGAGE found that people were 34 percent more likely to make a donation when the website donation page they’d reached was mobile responsive. The functionality should be intuitive, with “donate now” options that are impossible to miss.
  • Does it clearly convey your nonprofit’s brand identity? Your logo and signature colors should be featured on the page to help users understand they have reached the right page for donating to your organization.
  • Does it make it easy for people to donate? Are you able to accept a range of payment options through your online portal?
  • Is it brief yet compelling? If you’ve gotten them to the donation page, people are primed to act. Don’t delay them with unnecessary information.
  • Does the donation form include the minimum number of fields required to gather the information you need? No one wants to fill out long forms, not even for a good cause. Gather only the required information, such as name, address, email address, phone number and payment information.

Conclusion:  A lot rides on your nonprofit’s end-of-year fundraising campaign – not only the financial well-being of your organization, but the well-being of all those it helps. Leveraging digital channels effectively can help ensure your nonprofit maximizes donations during the most important giving season of the year.

Use your 501(c)(3) status to receive 10,000 free email credits a month with VerticalResponse’s special nonprofit pricing. Learn more.

© 2015, Vertical Response 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 Leverage Digital Channels to Maximize Year-end Fundraising Success appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

Making Content Marketing, Email and Social Media Work in Harmony for Your Small Business

Wed, 11/18/2015 - 06:01

As a small business owner, you wear multiple hats, and some of them probably fit better than others. It’s not uncommon for small business owners to feel uncomfortable in their role as chief marketer. The growth of online marketing has added complexity, nuance, and power to small business marketing. While you may be familiar with certain ways to market your business online such as through content marketing, email and social media, you may be unsure of how they work together, or exactly how to integrate efforts to achieve maximum results. You’re not alone.

On a scale of one to five, with five being very effective and one being completely ineffective, 67 percent of business-to-business marketers and 63 percent of business-to-consumer marketers say they’re in the middle or lower end of that range, according to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI). Many have plans and meet regularly to discuss their marketing, but they’re still not feeling as effective as they want to be. If the marketing professionals are this beleaguered, what hope is there for a small business owner whose expertise lies outside the realm of marketing?

Three ways to market your business explained

Your small business can execute an online marketing plan by focusing on a few elements and employing them in harmony: content marketing, email, and social media. To do this, let’s review the basics of each one.

Content Marketing

CMI defines content marketing as “… a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” In layman’s terms, this translates to anything you create and publish for public consumption with the aim of drumming up business.

Content creation addresses the message and the best format to communicate that message:

  • Blog post
  • Video
  • Email
  • Audio
  • Whitepaper
  • Infographic
  • Presentation

Content distribution determines how the content is going to reach the target audience:

  • Newsletter
  • RSS subscribers
  • Social networks
  • Email campaigns
  • Community groups
  • Forums
  • Podcasts
  • Print
  • Workshops

Why does content marketing work?

Content marketing works because it gives the recipient something of value, such as information or entertainment, all while elevating your business’ visibility and credibility as the provider of the value. It allows you to reach as broad or narrow a range of targets as you desire. It creates associations between businesses and consumers and creates a positive and enriching connection.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is an efficient way to communicate and stay connected to your clients or customers while also promoting your business. It’s a distribution channel for content. Common email campaigns consist of product or service announcements, a company newsletter, lead nurturing, and sales promotions.

Numerous studies have explored how email marketing works, why it works, how frequently businesses should send emails, what the content of emails should be, what you can put in an email that will lead the recipient to take the action, and much more.

Salesforce compiled a list of interesting statistics about email marketing, including:

  • Promotional emails prompted 44 percent of people to make at least one purchase in a 12-month period.
  • Seven out of 10 people will use a coupon or discount from an email.
  • Sixty-four percent of people say they open an email because of the subject line.
  • More than a quarter of consumers felt their favorite companies should invest more in emails.
  • About 84 percent of all email traffic is spam.

Email marketing works, but only if it’s done wisely. Shotgun emails that go to the inboxes of people who have no interest in your company or product are worthless. They waste time and money and annoy disinterested consumers.

The keys to successful email campaigns are simple:

  • Focus on growing and pruning your email subscriber list. Solicit emails through your website, blog, social media channels, or through in-store promotions. These consumers are already aware of your business and are more likely to be receptive to additional contact.
  • Segment your list. Not every customer or prospect will be interested in every email you send, but some emails will be highly relevant to others. There are many ways to segment your mailing list. Using an email service provider like VerticalResponse, makes it easier to determine how to divide contacts based on age ranges, location, birthday, or any other information you collect from the subscriber. You can also segment based on email campaign activity – whether subscribers have opened or clicked on certain emails. Using this contact information and engagement metrics help you target your message better.
  • Deliver quality content aimed at fulfilling the needs of the targeted list. For example, couples who just bought a home might welcome an email from their realtor that provides tips for new homeowners, or a list of resources like movers or handyman services. This type of content is useful and relevant. It strengthens the relationship between the realtor and the clients and is a perfect example of how content marketing and email work together.
  • Communicate regularly but don’t inundate customers with email. How frequent is perfect? You’ll need to experiment to identify the optimum pace for your target audience. Try increasing email frequency to a small, targeted group and track the results. Do more people make purchases? Or unsubscribe? An email service provider can help you track results, including open and click-through rates.

Social Media Marketing

By now, only the most tech-resistant are unaware of this thing called “social media.” Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and a host of other social media sites are channels that connect millions of users to each other — and to businesses. In fact, nearly three-quarters of American adults use social networking websites, according to the Pew Research Center.

These social media networks are distribution channels for content. Social media users are looking to stay connected and therefore are open to engagement. They tend to be much more connected and interactive with each other and the businesses they patronize. Skillful use of social media can put your business message in front of a highly receptive audience.

To maximize your use of social media channels, follow these best practices:

  • Learn which social media channels your customers prefer.
  • Establish a presence on those platforms.
  • Use social media to distribute content that resides on your blog, YouTube page, or other places.
  • Follow what your customers are doing and saying on social media — before you put your own statements out there.
  • Tailor the content you share on social media to your audience, just as you do with email marketing.
  • Always provide quality content — information that is relevant and useful for your target audience.
  • Use social media to grow your email subscriber list.

Making these three approaches work in harmony

You’ll realize the true power of each of these marketing efforts when you deploy them together. Consider this scenario as another example of how to integrate these three aspects:

  1. Create a blog post about a topic your audience would find interesting.
  2. Make the call to action at the end of the post an invitation to sign up for your company newsletter.
  3. Pubish the blog post, and also post it to your social media channels. Encourage fans and followers to share their thoughts in the comment section to stimulate engagement.
  4. Round up one or two weeks worth of blog posts, any videos you’ve created, or links to presentations and use this content in your newsletter.
  5. Distribute the newsletter to your email subscribers, and also share it on social media.
  6. Send any new email subscribers (generated from the blog post or elsewhere) a welcome email that provides additional content, and an incentive to connect on social media by promising exclusive promotions to followers.

This is only one path. There are many more to create and explore. Let us know what works for you!

Conclusion:  Content marketing, email, and social marketing are each powerful tools for communicating with consumers and building your business. However, doing only one or two of these tactics isn’t going to get the job done. You need to do each well and ensure you’re using them in concert with each other.

For more marketing tips and how-tos delivered to your inbox, sign up for the weekly VerticalResponse newsletter.

© 2015, Vertical Response 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 Making Content Marketing, Email and Social Media Work in Harmony for Your Small Business appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

The Basics of Mobile Friendly

Fri, 11/13/2015 - 06:00

“How many people in the world are using their mobile phone right now?” Job seekers have reported getting this question when interviewing at Google and Facebook. There isn’t an exact answer, of course, but there are ways to reason and apply different formulas to make an estimated guess. This question also implies just how important mobile has become to our society. Four out of five consumers use a smartphone to shop, and yet 93.3 percent of small business websites are not mobile compatible. So let’s cover the basics of mobile friendly. 

Why make your website mobile friendly?

Mobile users now expect an optimized experience. Nearly half of mobile consumers will not return to a site that doesn’t load properly. In April of 2015, Google began expanding their use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This means the risk of losing opportunities by not having a mobile friendly website is real.

What does it mean to be mobile friendly? 

Ask yourself these questions: 

  • Is your site easy to read on a mobile device? If the user has to pinch or zoom to read the content, it is not mobile friendly.
  • Is your site easy to navigate? Navigation should be intuitive. Thirty percent of mobile shoppers will leave a site and go to a competitor’s if the site or app delivers a poor experience, 23% will visit less often, and 9% will never return.
  • Is the web design responsive? This means the page uses the same URL and code whether a user is on a desktop, tablet or mobile phone. The display will adjust according to the screen size. 
  • Does your site load quickly? Users become frustrated if they have to wait a long time for your site to load. Every second counts. For retailers, 47% of shoppers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less, and 40% abandon websites that take more than 3 seconds to load.
  • Is your site achieving its goal? If you are a blogger, the goal is to keep your visitors engaged. Make it easy for your readers to scroll through content. If your site is e-commerce, the goal is revenue. Make each step of the shopping process seamless from browsing to checkout. It’s important to keep functionality in mind and not just have a site that looks pretty.

How can I tell if my website is mobile friendly? 

Consider taking the mobile-friendly test provided by Google. Google offers a grade by looking at how “Googlebot” sees your page. A good score means your site is ready to go!

Conclusion:  Consumers are mobile, and searching for products or services. Make sure your business gets found, and is easy for visitors to get what they need.

Use the web experts at Deluxe for a free consultation and find out what a mobile friendly website could do for you.

© 2015, Vertical Response 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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7 Tips to Creating a Memorable Slogan

Tue, 11/10/2015 - 06:00

What makes a slogan memorable? If you’re creating a new slogan for your business or product, you want something that represents your brand and is easy to remember. According to The Washington Post, the top four most recalled slogans are:

  • Just do it! (Nike)
  • I’m lovin’ it (McDonald’s)
  • Have it your way (Burger King)
  • Melts in your mouth, not in your hand (M&Ms)

Newly Added Examples (November 2015):  Although these four slogans are likely always at the tip of your tongue, remember there are other classics and modern taglines across a variety of sectors and brand types that you definitely know when you see them:

  • Because You’re Worth It (L ‘Oreal)
  • What’s In Your Wallet (Capital One)
  • Like A Good Neighbor, State Farm is There (State Farm Insurance)
  • Get The London Look (Rimmel Cosmetics)
  • Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman (Secret Deoderant)
  • Virginia is for Lovers (Virginia Tourism)
  • They’rrrre GR-R-REAT! (Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes)
  • Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun (Doublemint Gum)
  • Redbull Gives You Wings (Redbull)
  • Mmm mmm good! (Campbell’s)
  • Get In the Zone (AutoZone)
  • Come Hungry. Leave Happy. (IHOP)

To help you create a memorable slogan for your business, here are seven tips to get your creative juices flowing:

1. Keep it short and simple

If Las Vegas had tried to use “Whatever you do while you’re in Las Vegas, Stays in Las Vegas” instead of “What Happens Here, Stays Here” it might never have caught on as one of the most popular slogans of all time. Keep your slogan under 9 or 10 words.

2. Be consistent

Consistent branding is key whether you’re a small business or a household name. Make sure your slogan complements your existing logo, company name and projected image. For example, with Pro Carpet Care’s slogan, “Your Greener Cleaner” they streamline their earth-friendly branding with a leaf logo. The color green is used in their website design and marketing materials.

3. Focus on what makes you different

Figure out what your unique selling proposition is and use it. Is your delivery business done with a fleet of electric cars? Does your dental practice cater to those with high anxiety? Crossoak Family Dentistry uses the slogan “We cater to cowards” with a big chicken on its website. Incorporate what makes you special into your slogan if possible.

4. Make it timeless

Verizon had a good run with, “Can you hear me now?” but it was only a matter of time before technology made all cell phone calls clear. You have to change with the times, but when you’re working on a slogan you want to think of its longevity. References to technology or phrases like “the only” are risky. Choose wording that can stand the test of time.

5. Ensure it can stand-alone

Lumberjack’s Restaurant’s “Where the BIG BOYS eat!” tell you about the target persona that you can probably figure out the business with no other hints. You want a slogan that tells your audience what your business is without any additional information.

6. Consider your target market

You’ll also need to consider if your customers are local, national or international. While some locals get Philadelphia’s new slogan, “PHL: Here for the Making,” it may have left tourists scratching their heads. The phased-out Wendy’s slogan, “It’s better here” sounds better suited to a “shop local” campaign than a national fast food chain. Make sure your slogan is clear to your target market.

If you sell to other countries, keep in mind that translating your slogan to another language can significantly change the meaning. When KFC launched in China, their “finger lickin’ good” slogan translated to the unfortunately less appetizing, “eat your fingers off.”

7. Get input

Being creative is a tough job, but there are ways to avoid going it alone. Use Facebook’s poll feature to get opinions from your followers. Use Twitter to host a slogan contest with a designated hashtag to track entries. Or consider some free tagline generators, like Sloganizer.net, Procato.com or SloganGenerator.co, to get your brain warmed up.

If you want to leverage expert designers, get a free consultation from the creative team at Deluxe.

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.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 22, 2015 and has been updated to include additional enhancements and examples.

© 2015, Vertical Response 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 7 Tips to Creating a Memorable Slogan appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

Why Certain Marketing Words Sing, While Others Just Stink — and How to Tell the Difference

Mon, 11/09/2015 - 06:01

For all the visual nature of modern marketing, words are still powerful. A mesmerizing video or stunning picture gains even greater impact with a few descriptive words, and consumers still rely on language to communicate and share their reactions to everything they see online. Choosing just the right words for your marketing materials can make all the difference in how well they succeed at engaging consumers.

As you craft marketing content, it’s easy to find online lists of marketing words that sell, and just as easy to find lists of words to avoid. Of course, some advice will be more useful than others, and unless you’re a professional wordsmith — few small business owners are — you may find it difficult to assess the value of the tips you read. However, if you understand why certain words are powerful while others are ineffective, you’ll be better able to choose marketing words that hit the mark with your target audience.

What makes words sing?

Professional wordsmiths, whether novelists or ad copywriters, carefully consider virtually every word they choose. They know that word choice drives a reader’s/user’s visceral reaction to the key message the text is intended to deliver. Pick the right words in the right combination, and your prose will entertain and enlighten while conveying your message. Choose poorly or lazily, and your content will bore readers at best, and annoy or repulse them at worst.

When you’re evaluating word choice for any piece of marketing content, keep optimum qualities in mind. Good marketing words are:

Emotionally evocative

Certain words inspire specific emotional responses in people who hear or read them. For example, you might consider using the word “hurry” in an email subject line to entice recipients to take advantage of a limited-time offer. But average Americans are hurried enough in virtually all aspects of their lives; they might perceive the word “hurry” as stressful. A good marketing word will evoke a positive emotional response from your audience. You don’t have to be a professional wordsmith to interpret the emotion associated with a word; go with your gut. If a word gives you a negative feeling, chances are good your audience will react the same way.

Informative

We’ve all seen ads, emails or commercials that are all flash and no substance. They use word gimmicks to attract attention, but fail to tell the consumer anything useful about the product or service they’re supposed to buy. While such words have an initial impact, they can’t hold attention long term, or lead to the level of engagement that results in a purchase. Good marketing words tell the consumer something about your product or service, which is why words like “you,” “now” and “free” resonate.

Personal

Good marketing tells consumers what’s in it for them if they choose your product or service. It helps them understand how what you’re selling relates to their lives. Word choices that create a personal connection for prospects — “you,” “kids,” “pets,” “parents” — help consumers understand the value proposition you’re selling.

Colorful

Certain words just have style or flare. They are colorful, fun, engaging, exciting or humorous, and they can be powerful enough to overcome the innate dullness of a naturally lackluster product or topic. For example, mopping the floor is drudgery, but when you use the words “deluxe,” “deliver” and “sanitize” to describe a floor cleaner, suddenly the task seems more exciting.

Easy on the ‘inner’ ear

Most people subvocalize when they read, meaning they “hear” the words spoken in their head in their own inner voice. While people may try to sublimate subvocalization when reading lengthy materials, most will “hear” your ad slogan, email subject line or web header when they read it. This means words that sound harsh when spoken aloud are likely to evoke the same response when read “silently.” Be aware of how a word sounds and consider if that sound fits with what you’re trying to achieve.

Active

The difference between active and passive can be hard to grasp, even for professional writers. Words that speak to the reader of “doing” rather than “being” are active, and they’re more interesting to read. While you likely think of certain verbs as being active — run, jump, call — nouns and descriptive words can also imply action. For example, “driver” feels more active than “motorist” in describing someone behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Economical

Often in marketing you have mere seconds to grab someone’s attention, whether it’s with the subject line of your marketing email or a 10-second radio spot. It’s important to act quickly using as few words as possible. Good marketing is economical; it packs a lot of meaning into just one or two words. This is why “super-sale” is more effective than “everything on sale at rock-bottom prices.” Mastering word economy makes your writing brilliant. Dubious about the power of word economy? Consider the shortest English “novel” ever penned (attributed to Ernest Hemingway): “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

Companionable

Great marketing words are familiar, easy to get along with and don’t require consumers to run to Dictionary.com to figure out what you’re trying to say. Words that create a sense of companionship — “Oh, I know what that means” — make prose more relatable and consumable.

Fresh

Familiarity doesn’t, however, mean you can rely on words that are stale and over-used. Given the sheer volume of content Americans see and hear every day, certain words and phrases can quickly saturate their awareness. Consumers welcome content that’s fresh and engaging. Words and messages they’ve seen too often before quickly lose impact.

Grammatical

Although social media is an important component of your overall marketing strategies, that doesn’t mean you should apply social media “speak” to every piece of marketing you do. It is possible, and imperative, to be grammatically correct, engaging and brief. When consumers see grammatical errors in content, they may not be able to cite the grammar rule it breaks but they can still know it doesn’t “sound right” to them. What’s more, poor grammar implies a lack of care and laziness that no small business owner wants associated with their products or services.

Contextual

Good marketing words make sense in the context in which you’re using them. For example, “gleam” makes perfect sense when you’re talking about toothpaste or car wax, but is less relevant in the context of a fitness club or produce stand. A word can be emotionally evocative, informative and entertaining and still not fit the context of your marketing goal.

Optimized

While people, and not search engines, make purchases, it’s important that you optimize online content for search engines; they’re the gatekeepers between your marketing content and the audience you hope will see it. While SEO should never be the deciding factor in your marketing word choices, whenever possible use words that will earn your content higher ranking by search engines.

What makes words stink?

Words fall into three categories when it comes to marketing: good, indifferent and bad. Poor word choices can undermine the most positive marketing message. One or more wrong words can dilute your brand identity, create a negative connotation for consumers, and even get you into legal trouble.

It’s imperative to avoid words that are counter to your marketing objectives. Here are some guidelines to help you identify words you should never use in marketing:

Is it jargon?

Every industry has its own language, and while jargon may be useful for communicating specific ideas and topics within an organization or industry, it’s almost never helpful in marketing. Jargon makes consumers feel like outsiders. It’s confusing, and average people can’t relate to it.

Is it offensive?

While there may be some validity to the idea of societal backlash against anything that’s overly politically correct, giving offense is the last thing you ever want to do in marketing content. It’s virtually impossible to eliminate all risk of ever offending anyone, but certain words are bound to be offensive. You know what they are — words that have racial, ethnic or biased overtones, that belittle certain groups of people, or would prompt your mother to remind you that if you can’t say anything nice you should say nothing at all. Case in point: outraged consumers leveled the ire on a huge discount chain after the retailer added a “fat girls costume” category to its website for Halloween.

Is it derogatory or insulting?

Yes, this is slightly different from being offensive. It’s possible to say something negative that, while not necessarily offending the consumer, is still off-putting. Positivity drives purchases, and using derogatory words in your marketing can give consumers the impression that your brand identity is inherently negative.

Is it crass or icky?

Some words just lack class. Others are inherently icky. Still others just make people uncomfortable. It’s hard to imagine words like cancer, rancid or puss ever evoking an uplifting feeling. Sometimes, they’re necessary — if you’re talking about a fund-raiser to benefit cancer research, you have to say the word — but often they’re not. Always look for alternatives to words that could cause consumers discomfort.

Is it duller than dirt?

Just as there are words that will always be associated with negative feelings and meanings, some words have no emotive value at all. Or, they’ve become so overused that they are no longer effective in creating a desired response. Still others just aren’t put together well, and they lack that sparkle that makes for compelling content.

Where words should sparkle

Of course, it would be wonderful if every line of your marketing materials sparkled. Certain spots, however, are more important than others when it comes to creating impact with words. Here are the top four places where your word choice must shine:

  • Headlines/titles – In our speed-conscious society, many consumers make decisions about what to read and what to buy based solely on a piece of content’s headline or title. A few great words in a headline can ensure customers are interested enough to listen to the rest of the pitch.
  • Your slogan – You can probably think of some great slogans – “Just do it.” “Don’t leave home without it.” “Say it with flowers.” A good tagline tells consumers who you are, what you’re selling and why they need it, all in a few choice words.
  • Email subject lines – The subject line of your marketing email is the digital equivalent of a newspaper headline. It will either convince the recipient to open it, or hit “delete” without reading further. Subject lines that are long, dull, confusing or misleading won’t perform well.
  • The first line of your pitch – If your headline, title, slogan and subject line have all worked to get the prospect this far into your marketing materials, it would be a shame to lose them with a lackluster first line. Packing the beginning of your content, whether it’s an email or print ad, with great words can help ensure customers will stay with you until you close the deal.

Despite the rise of digital marketing, or perhaps because of it, words remain as powerful as ever. When you choose strong words that sell, inform and elicit emotion, you create engaging content that builds your brand, boosts sales and impacts your bottom line.

For more marketing tips, guides, and inspiration, sign up for the VerticalResponse weekly newsletter.

© 2015, Vertical Response 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 Why Certain Marketing Words Sing, While Others Just Stink — and How to Tell the Difference appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

It’s Not Too Late! Five Ways to Make This a Social Holiday Season

Sat, 11/07/2015 - 06:00

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are on the horizon and soon those holiday shipping deadlines will be upon us. While you might have your holiday promotion engine revving at maximum RPM, don’t overlook a critical part of your marketing mix…social media. One of the most powerful aspects of social media marketing is how truly real-time it can be, and generating some strategies right now can pay huge dividends in the thick of the holiday season. Here are five ways to go social this holiday season:

1. Drum Up Some Excitement With Countdowns

Twelve days of Christmas. Eight nights of Hanukkah. Thirty-one days of December awesomeness. Be sure to reward your customers with perks spread across the holiday season. Think about how you might use a daily deal strategy like Microsoft is doing with their 12 Days of Deals promotion.

Countdown rewards can be more than discounts and deals. Get into the giving mood! From prizes to tips to exclusive content, there are plenty of creative options. RentMoola did a great job of this with their 12 Days of PERKS campaign. Not only did they give away some great gifts, but they also leveraged 3 different social platforms in the campaign to have a multiplying effect.

2. Use “Last-Minute” to Your Advantage

If you think you’re running out of time to drum up holiday sales, you better believe your customers are feeling the pressure too. Tap into this sense of urgency by actively communicating shipping deadlines, product availability and other time-sensitive information across all your social networks. Walgreens did an awesome job of this last year by promoting their Same Day Pickup Photo Cards. This was a double whammy because it nudged them to download their mobile app to take advantage of the deal.

3. Let Your Fans Get In On the Action

The holidays are a perfect time to get your fans to share in the conversation. Ask questions on your social pages  to drum up the holiday buzz. Check out what Gilt Man does. Who doesn’t want to talk about dressing up this time of year?!

You can also ask fans to submit pictures or videos of anything from their favorite gift to what the weather looks like where they live. This is a great way to let your customers know that your brand is engaged and interested. Take it to the next level and use a custom Facebook app from a company like PromoJam and turn it into a contest.

4. Do the Work for Them

Chances are, if someone is still looking for gifts late into the holiday season, they could probably use some inspiration. That’s where you come in! Tweet links to your products or set up a regularly updated gift guide on your Facebook page. Think about how you might position your products based on who your fans might be shopping for. This tweet from Michaels Stores, North America’s largest specialty retailer of arts and crafts, appeals to all the artsy people out there.

5. Pay It Forward

Does your company do any charitable giving, employee donation matching, or community service efforts for the holidays? If not, bah humbug. If yes, awesome! Why not share your efforts with your social community? This is a great opportunity to give your brand a bit of personality beyond business as usual. It’s also a fantastic way to recognize your employees for the efforts they make. Win-win!

Need more ideas and inspiration? Check out Everything Holiday, our free marketing resource center. You’ll find a holiday checklist, calendar, guides, e-Books, webinars, and more.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on December 9th, 2011 and has been revamped and updated for relevance.

© 2015, Vertical Response 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 It’s Not Too Late! Five Ways to Make This a Social Holiday Season appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

5 Tips to Make the Most of Your Small Business Saturday Strategy

Fri, 11/06/2015 - 06:01

Smalls business owners should never doubt the importance of their work to the American economy. They provide 55 percent of all jobs in the country, and they have provided 66 percent of all net new jobs dating back to the 1970s. Representing 99.7 percent of all employer firms, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, November 28, 2015 is their day.

This year’s annual Small Business Saturday is just around the corner, and previous campaigns have generated billions for American businesses. Thus, it behooves small business owners to make the most of this day.

If you’re a small business owner, here are five strategies you can employ to ensure your Small Business Saturday is as profitable as possible.

  • Expand your day. Remember, Small Business Saturday is your day, so make the most of it. If you usually open your business at 10 a.m., this is the day to open at 7 a.m. instead. Use email and social media to remind your customers of Small Business Saturday, and be sure to tell them about your plans to open early. These channels can also be used to highlight any sales or promotions you have tied to the day.
  • Create a memorable experience. Your personal touch is what makes your business special, so highlight it with special activities on Small Business Saturday. If you own a bookstore, hold a reading for children. If you serve delectable treats, host a tasting. And if you run a small music store, invite a local artist to perform. Make your Small Business Saturday experience memorable and customers will think of you when looking to satisfy a need the rest of the year.”
  • Follow Black Friday’s example. Door-busting deals work to bring customers through the doors of retailers on Black Friday, and they can do the same for your business on Small Business Saturday. Before you finalize such a strategy, however, make sure you choose your door-busting deals carefully. Analyze your profit margins and make sure you don’t choose to heavily discount an item that will negatively impact your bottom line after the day has passed.
  • Partner up. The right partnership can make your small business feel like a bigger business on November 28. To do this, consider combining your marketing and promotions with a like-minded store. For example, if you are a florist, partner with a bridal boutique. If you’re a baker, partner with a coffee house, and if you’re a travel agent, you may share plenty of customers with the local boarding facility. Offering cross-promotions will benefit you both and help everyone make the most of Small Business Saturday.
  • Give back. As a small business, you pride yourself on giving back to the community that’s given so much to you; Small Business Saturday is the perfect time to do just that. Consider giving a portion of all your sales during the day to a charity of your choice and then display this for your customer’s knowledge. You might even consider partnering with the charity if it works. Lastly, don’t discount the importance of writing thank you notes to everyone who made your Small Business Saturday special. A handwritten note will stay with your customers far longer than it takes to write it, and it’s one easy way to separate yourself from your larger competitors.

Small Business Saturday was created with businesses like yours in mind, and now it’s up to you to make the most of it. Apply any of the ideas above with an infusion of your own creativity. 

To find more small business marketing inspiration, check out Smallbusinessrevolution.org.

© 2015, Vertical Response 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 5 Tips to Make the Most of Your Small Business Saturday Strategy appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

3 Easy, Last-Minute Black Friday Ideas You Can Use

Thu, 11/05/2015 - 06:00

The holidays are a busy time for every small business. In the past few months, you’ve probably ordered additional inventory, stocked the shelves and hired additional staff to handle the rush. With so much to do, devoting time to Black Friday may have been overlooked – but it’s not too late! That’s why we’ve created a list of last-minute marketing ideas to make sure your business brings in the Black Friday bucks.

1. Email your customers an irresistible promotional offer
Black Friday shoppers are the ultimate bargain hunters and they have high expectations of steep discounts and sales. Create a holiday-themed email campaign that presents shoppers with a few offers they can’t refuse.

“People are looking at $10 toasters and $100 TVs,” says Kari DePhillips, owner of The Content Factory. “Definitely create content that highlights what kind of deals or cool products you have for Black Friday.”

Of course, as a small business, matching the door-busting deals that big box stores offer is tough to do. If you can’t offer a similar discount, make up for it by offering additional incentives.

For example, if you own a plumbing company, offer a discount like the one below but promote your on-time service guarantee, too.

If you run a boutique pet supply store, offer as much of a discount as you can and throw in a free grooming session for the following year. If you sell electronics, mention your one-on-one customer service or training courses in your email.

Remember, a good deal isn’t defined solely by price. Point out your strengths to sweeten that last-minute holiday deal.

2. Create a holiday gift guide
Shoppers need inspiration. Help them out by creating a gift guide. Pick five of your products and create the equivalent of a digital sales flyer, showcasing each of the products and offering a variety of price ranges. Here is a gift guide example by Macy’s.

For service-based businesses, highlight your best service or maintenance packages that have sold well throughout the year. A computer repair shop could showcase its virus protection plans, annual maintenance packages and hard drive backup options.

You can tweak these ideas and use them in several ways. Here are a few other gift-guide ideas:

  • Gifts for her
  • Gifts for him
  • Five gifts you missed this season
  • Our five hottest gifts for less than $25
  • Affordable gifts your parents will love
  • Our hottest service plans at the lowest prices

Once you’ve created your gift guide, make sure you cross promote it. Put it in an email to send to appropriate segments of your list, put the guide on your blog, and highlight one gift from your guide each day on social media. With the short holiday shopping season, you want to maximize your exposure.

3. Grab attention with social media
This holiday season, turn to your social media channels where you already have an audience full of shoppers waiting for your Black Friday updates. Take a look at a few creative ideas that retailers have used in the past. Use these suggestions to spark your own ideas and cash in on the Black Friday buzz.

Get inspired by some of our favorite classic Black Friday campaigns:

  • In 2014, Best Buy created a Facebook campaign specifically for Black Friday that nearly broke the internet….or at least their website for a few hours! Use social media to keep shoppers informed on the latest sales and limited edition stock items.
  • In 2011, JCPenney gave $25 to the Salvation Army for every customer that checked in on Foursquare on Black Friday. Consider giving back to your community in some way. Maybe donate a canned good to your local food bank for every new follower you get on Twitter.
  • For holiday season 2014, Target gave away gift cards to new Facebook fans last year. You can try something similar. Whether you give away gift cards or a small gift, incentives can attract customers. Always check the individual rules for each social network to see what is permissible.

For more holiday marketing tips, check out our Everything Holiday site.

Get your holiday email marketing started now with VerticalResponse.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 14, 2014 and has been revamped and updated for relevance.

© 2015, Vertical Response 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 3 Easy, Last-Minute Black Friday Ideas You Can Use appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

Fundraising Email Tips to Use Before the Ball Drops

Tue, 11/03/2015 - 06:00

As a non-profit, you may have started sending your fundraising emails to encourage end-of-year donations. While there can be a flurry of fundraising emails arriving in inboxes everywhere, there are some things you can do to help yours stand out. Here’s what you should do to make your own year-end fundraising emails a success:

Give ample time & follow-up  – You’re sending an end-of-year email, generally to meet tax deduction deadlines for those procrastinators out there, so send it in November to give folks plenty of time to donate. Make sure to monitor your email analytics and track anyone who didn’t open the first email, or click the donate call-to-action button or link, then send a follow-up email.

Get personal – Studies show that people are more likely to respond to emails that include personalized elements. Consider including your recipient’s name, or take it even further by including links to the recipient’s previous “giving history.” VerticalResponse allow users to segment lists based on contact information, as well as campaign activity. By using this level of segmentation, you can send a much more targeted email.

Include a donate call-to-action button – Because you’re asking people to take action with your email (make a donation), make sure your call-to-action is simple and clear.  Use a contrasting color and place your call-to-action near the top of the email so it’s easy to find and use. Remember, VerticalResponse has a free button tool that allows you to create a call-to-action button in any color you need.

Give people reasons & donating options – Since people are receiving many requests for donations this time of year, provide them reasons to donate. Also, make sure you mention whether you provide different donation options to give the greatest flexibility. An effective best practice is to explain how different donation levels have an effect on the people you serve.

Before you send your fundraising emails, test out each step your recipients will experience to ensure everything is working correctly. This includes testing personalization in the email, the donation button – in the email and on your site, the donation form and proofing all the copy.

Conclusion:  There are many reasons people and companies donate this time of year, tax breaks, sure, but it’s also a time for reflection on the year that’s passed and the one about to start, and many people want to help those in need. Try using a last-minute fundraising email for your non-profit and see how you can increase your donations before the ball drops.

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Receive a $10,000 grant for your non-profit organization just by writing 140 characters or less. Enter the Deluxe Short + Tweet Grants Program by midnight November 4th!

This post has been updated and was originally posted on November 20, 2013.

© 2015, Vertical Response 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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25 Holiday Email Subject Lines That Shine

Mon, 11/02/2015 - 06:00

The day after Halloween officially marks the start of holiday shopping season. It also means you can expect your inbox to start filling up with holiday-themed emails.

Why does it seem that holiday emails are sent earlier and earlier every year? One of the main reasons is that Christmas-themed and holiday season emails typically have higher open rates when sent weeks (or even months!) earlier than their intended target holiday time period.

According to a 2014 survey published by Marketing Profs, holiday email open rates begin to spike in October as major retailers and agencies kick off their campaigns and peak in the middle of December.

To get you in the holiday swing of things, here are 25 of our favorite holiday email subject lines that have stood out in our inboxes over the years – use them for inspiration as you plan your campaigns:

1. Warby Parker: Cozy up

2. VerticalResponse: Are Your Holiday Cards in the Mail Yet? Get 60% Off!

3. WillCall: Hey, we made you something for the holidays!

4. Chasing Fireflies: Our magical Holiday Gift Shop is open + Save up to 80% in our Halloween Blowout Sale!

5. Shutterfly: We’re feeling very merry. Get 50% off your order.

6. Omaha Steaks: Wanna get the REALLY good holiday deals this year?

7. Uncommon Goods: The Time Has Come

8. Real Simple: 10 DIY Fall Wreaths That Are Way Better Than a Welcome Mat

9. BevMo!: NEW for November! Delicious Wines for the Fall Season.

10. Workshop: FALL STEAM AHEAD: Over 80 classes up & posted, Oktoberfest weekend workshops & CAMP DIY

11. Kabuki Springs & Spa: 3 Tips to Boost Your Immune System this Fall

12. Alternative: First look | Alternative Gift Guide

13. Finish Line: The Holiday Gift Guide is here. Game on for gift giving.

14. Kayak: Waiting for lower Thanksgiving flight prices? Stop and book.

15. Premier Dermatology: Day of Beauty: Winter 2014

16. Paper Culture: Need Holiday Photo Card Ideas?

17. Tory Burch: Presenting: Tory’s Gift Guide

18. Zazzle Inc: Early Birds Save 50% On All Ornaments & Mugs + 20% Off Everything Else

19. Circus Center: PERFORM in our 2014 Holiday Student Gala!

20. Turntable Kitchen: get ready for holiday entertaining: recipes, cocktails, music recommendations

21. Groupon: Get a Head Start on Your Holiday Checklist

22. Travel Channel: Travel’s Best Holiday Attractions 2014

23. JetBlue Airways: A sale to escape the winter weather!

24. Bing Webmaster Team: It’s not too late: Reach more holiday shoppers with your $100 coupon

25. Harry & David: Kim, get a jump on holiday shopping with your Gift History and enjoy free shipping.

Create endless email subject lines for any occasion with our Holiday Subject Generator!

Successful holiday email subject lines 

As you can see, many of the email subject lines target early bird shoppers looking for gift ideas (gift guides) and getting prepped for the holidays. Focus your holiday email subject lines not only on offering deals and promotions like free shipping and discounts, but also on solving your customers’ problems through gift guides, tips, ideas, extended or special shopping hours, etc.

To give you an idea of the most effective subject line words from holiday emails, we created this holiday email subject line infographic:

For more holiday marketing resources, visit our Everything Holiday site, and grab our free Complete Guide to Holiday Email Marketing.

You can create and send all your holiday emails for free using VerticalResponse. Get started today!

 

This post has been updated but was originally published on November 10th, 2014.

© 2015, Vertical Response 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 25 Holiday Email Subject Lines That Shine appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

4 Ways to Use Social Media to Increase Your Email List

Tue, 10/27/2015 - 06:01

By building an email list that’s full of quality prospects and customers, you have the chance to augment your sales and boost your brand. Your email list is valuable which is why you should continually add contacts to it. Keep the collection process rolling by using social media to enhance your strategy.

Here are four ways to go about building your email list via social media.

1. Use the Facebook call to action button

In December 2014, Facebook introduced the call to action button, which resides on a page’s cover photo. There are seven call to action buttons that pages choose from including, “Sign Up,” “Shop Now,” “Contact Us,” and “Watch Video.” This one, from the Dollar Shave Club page, says “Sign Up.” 

When fans click it, they are taken to the company’s website, which has an enticing reason to sign up for the service: “A great shave for a few bucks a month. No commitment. No fees. No BS. Do it.” Here’s their page: 

When fans click your email sign up button, take them to a page that includes a short list of reasons why they should give you their email address. For example, you could say, “Receive 10 percent off for signing up now,” or “Get daily deals in your inbox.”

2. Utilize Twitter’s lead generation cards

Within Twitter Ads, the social media site offers lead generation cards that allow you to promote your content and collect information on customers at the same time. Here’s an example of a card from Meridian & Co.:

First, write out what you’re offering your follower, and then add an interesting image to go along with the description. After clicking the call to action button, your follower will see all of his or her contact information. This will then be sent to your company. 

These lead generation cards can promote anything you choose, from your email newsletter to a new, secret portion of your website – available only for select customers. As always, the reason for signing up must be enticing because people won’t give away their email address if they aren’t given a good reason for doing so. 

3. Generate a Pinterest offer

Pinterest is a great place to target a niche audience. Sixty-eight percent of the users are women, 50 percent have children and 28.1 percent of users make $100,000+ per year.

The site allows you to visually stimulate your prospects and give them a pinnable, clickable offer. For example, you can post a photo and a snippet of a blog post like Nordstrom did here, allow users to pin it and give them the link to follow the blog post to its native site.

Once users click the link, you can ask them to sign up for your email list to access the content. On Pinterest, you have the option to promote any offering like coupons, blog posts and videos, simply by posting a picture that will entice users to click, as well as an accompanying link.

4. Post compelling photos on Instagram

In terms of email marketing, Instagram can be leveraged in a number of ways. You could:

  • Post a photo of an item that is discounted exclusively for your email newsletter subscribers.
  • Upload a video highlighting the benefits of signing up for your email newsletter.
  • Post a picture or video that details your exclusive email content.

There are two options on Instagram regarding link posting: You can either copy and paste your link onto your actual photo, or include it in your bio. Diamond Candles placed a link to its website within its bio, as seen here: 

If you choose to paste the link onto your photo, make sure you include clear directions. Tell your followers that the email sign up link is in your bio or your profile, just like Diamond Candles did with a link to its Mother’s Day giveaway:

Integrating email with social media

Email and social media marketing are effective on their own, but when you combine the two, you have the opportunity to grow your email list exponentially and become even more engaged with your followers. By placing email sign up links within your social media channels, you’re given the chance to turn interested prospects into valuable customers.

To receive more tips on growing your email list, sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Kylie Ora Lobell 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, Vertical Response 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 4 Ways to Use Social Media to Increase Your Email List appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

4 Ways to Use Social Media to Increase Your Email List

Tue, 10/27/2015 - 06:01

By building an email list that’s full of quality prospects and customers, you have the chance to augment your sales and boost your brand. Your email list is valuable which is why you should continually add contacts to it. Keep the collection process rolling by using social media to enhance your strategy.

Here are four ways to go about building your email list via social media.

1. Use the Facebook call to action button

In December 2014, Facebook introduced the call to action button, which resides on a page’s cover photo. There are seven call to action buttons that pages choose from including, “Sign Up,” “Shop Now,” “Contact Us,” and “Watch Video.” This one, from the Dollar Shave Club page, says “Sign Up.” 

When fans click it, they are taken to the company’s website, which has an enticing reason to sign up for the service: “A great shave for a few bucks a month. No commitment. No fees. No BS. Do it.” Here’s their page: 

When fans click your email sign up button, take them to a page that includes a short list of reasons why they should give you their email address. For example, you could say, “Receive 10 percent off for signing up now,” or “Get daily deals in your inbox.”

2. Utilize Twitter’s lead generation cards

Within Twitter Ads, the social media site offers lead generation cards that allow you to promote your content and collect information on customers at the same time. Here’s an example of a card from Meridian & Co.:

First, write out what you’re offering your follower, and then add an interesting image to go along with the description. After clicking the call to action button, your follower will see all of his or her contact information. This will then be sent to your company. 

These lead generation cards can promote anything you choose, from your email newsletter to a new, secret portion of your website – available only for select customers. As always, the reason for signing up must be enticing because people won’t give away their email address if they aren’t given a good reason for doing so. 

3. Generate a Pinterest offer

Pinterest is a great place to target a niche audience. Sixty-eight percent of the users are women, 50 percent have children and 28.1 percent of users make $100,000+ per year.

The site allows you to visually stimulate your prospects and give them a pinnable, clickable offer. For example, you can post a photo and a snippet of a blog post like Nordstrom did here, allow users to pin it and give them the link to follow the blog post to its native site.

Once users click the link, you can ask them to sign up for your email list to access the content. On Pinterest, you have the option to promote any offering like coupons, blog posts and videos, simply by posting a picture that will entice users to click, as well as an accompanying link.

4. Post compelling photos on Instagram

In terms of email marketing, Instagram can be leveraged in a number of ways. You could:

  • Post a photo of an item that is discounted exclusively for your email newsletter subscribers.
  • Upload a video highlighting the benefits of signing up for your email newsletter.
  • Post a picture or video that details your exclusive email content.

There are two options on Instagram regarding link posting: You can either copy and paste your link onto your actual photo, or include it in your bio. Diamond Candles placed a link to its website within its bio, as seen here: 

If you choose to paste the link onto your photo, make sure you include clear directions. Tell your followers that the email sign up link is in your bio or your profile, just like Diamond Candles did with a link to its Mother’s Day giveaway:

Integrating email with social media

Email and social media marketing are effective on their own, but when you combine the two, you have the opportunity to grow your email list exponentially and become even more engaged with your followers. By placing email sign up links within your social media channels, you’re given the chance to turn interested prospects into valuable customers.

To receive more tips on growing your email list, sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Kylie Ora Lobell 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.

The post 4 Ways to Use Social Media to Increase Your Email List appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

Make Your Logo Festive for the 2015 Holidays

Mon, 10/26/2015 - 06:01

Your logo communicates a great deal about your business and what it stands for. It’s a visual cue that speaks of your professionalism, reflects the quality of your product or service, and even provides insight to your company culture.

Over the holidays, your logo offers you the opportunity to get creative and celebrate the festivities of the season. A holiday version(s) of your logo can express lighthearted joy and heartfelt sentiment alike. Think of your logo as a greeting card you’re sending to all of your prospects and customers.

Many well-known brands update their logo for the holidays. The Google Doodle is perhaps the most famous of them all.

Examples from a couple of other companies you might recognize.

You can easily add a little holiday panache to your logo. Deluxe logo design has many affordable options, and if you want an email template with your holiday logo, they can do that too. Here are some fun examples of holiday logos by Deluxe designers.

 

 

We hope you get the opportunity to have a little fun with your brand this season. For more holiday marketing ideas and resources, check out our Everything Holiday site.

© 2015, Vertical Response 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 Make Your Logo Festive for the 2015 Holidays appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

Make Your Logo Festive for the 2015 Holidays

Mon, 10/26/2015 - 06:01

Your logo communicates a great deal about your business and what it stands for. It’s a visual cue that speaks of your professionalism, reflects the quality of your product or service, and even provides insight to your company culture.

Over the holidays, your logo offers you the opportunity to get creative and celebrate the festivities of the season. A holiday version(s) of your logo can express lighthearted joy and heartfelt sentiment alike. Think of your logo as a greeting card you’re sending to all of your prospects and customers.

Many well-known brands update their logo for the holidays. The Google Doodle is perhaps the most famous of them all.

Examples from a couple of other companies you might recognize.

You can easily add a little holiday panache to your logo. Deluxe logo design has many affordable options, and if you want an email template with your holiday logo, they can do that too. Here are some fun examples of holiday logos by Deluxe designers.

 

 

We hope you get the opportunity to have a little fun with your brand this season. For more holiday marketing ideas and resources, check out our Everything Holiday site.

© 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 Make Your Logo Festive for the 2015 Holidays appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

New Feature: Email List Segmentation [Phase 2]

Fri, 10/23/2015 - 06:01

In Phase 2 of our list segmentation feature, you can now take your campaign activity-based engagement efforts to the next level. 

As a refresher, remember that Phase 1 introduced our Advanced Search Tool, which allows you to segment your lists using basic parameters including: ‘People who opened’, ‘People who clicked’, ‘All emails’ and three different standard time frames. 

 

 

Since then, we’ve been toiling away to advance your search efforts a bit further and have now introduced ‘Use Cases’, which will allow you to find all contacts on your list(s) using more targeted, personalized parameters for each audience. 


New advanced Use Cases search parameters include: 

  • Location (Country, State, City, or Zip Code)
  • Birthday (day, month or year) or Age
  • Phone number 

 

Location

When searching by state for example, segment all customers on your list using the parameters ‘State is’, ‘State is not’, ‘State starts with’, or ‘State contains’

 

  

Use this segment type for geo-targeted promos to send a free shipping offer or promotional starter pack to audiences in select regions. 

 

 

Birthday

Offering the ability to search by day, month, or year, you can now easily find all customers born within a specific time frame such as ‘November’ or on ‘January 21’. 

 

 Send your customers a ‘Happy Birthday’ shout out email or coupon on their special day with this use case.

 

 

Phone Number

If you’re planning an in-store focus group and want to reach your customers quickly, use ‘Phone Number’ segmentation to search by ‘Home’, ‘Work’, ‘Mobile’ or ‘ Fax’. 

 

You can use area code digits specifically, or search by any digits in their number. 

 

To get an even better understanding of Phase 2 of List Segmentation, click on the video below to see a demo of three quick examples of the expanded functionality.

Use Cases segmentation is available to freemium and paid accounts. 

 

© 2015, Vertical Response 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 New Feature: Email List Segmentation [Phase 2] appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

New Feature: Email List Segmentation [Phase 2]

Fri, 10/23/2015 - 06:01

In Phase 2 of our list segmentation feature, you can now take your campaign activity-based engagement efforts to the next level. 

As a refresher, remember that Phase 1 introduced our Advanced Search Tool, which allows you to segment your lists using basic parameters including: ‘People who opened’, ‘People who clicked’, ‘All emails’ and three different standard time frames. 

 

 

Since then, we’ve been toiling away to advance your search efforts a bit further and have now introduced ‘Use Cases’, which will allow you to find all contacts on your list(s) using more targeted, personalized parameters for each audience. 


New advanced Use Cases search parameters include: 

  • Location (Country, State, City, or Zip Code)
  • Birthday (day, month or year) or Age
  • Phone number 

 

Location

When searching by state for example, segment all customers on your list using the parameters ‘State is’, ‘State is not’, ‘State starts with’, or ‘State contains’

 

  

Use this segment type for geo-targeted promos to send a free shipping offer or promotional starter pack to audiences in select regions. 

 

 

Birthday

Offering the ability to search by day, month, or year, you can now easily find all customers born within a specific time frame such as ‘November’ or on ‘January 21’. 

 

 Send your customers a ‘Happy Birthday’ shout out email or coupon on their special day with this use case.

 

 

Phone Number

If you’re planning an in-store focus group and want to reach your customers quickly, use ‘Phone Number’ segmentation to search by ‘Home’, ‘Work’, ‘Mobile’ or ‘ Fax’. 

 

You can use area code digits specifically, or search by any digits in their number. 

 

To get an even better understanding of Phase 2 of List Segmentation, click on the video below to see a demo of three quick examples of the expanded functionality.

Use Cases segmentation is available to freemium and paid accounts. 

 

© 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 New Feature: Email List Segmentation [Phase 2] appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

Get a Responsive Website Design With These 5 Tips

Wed, 10/21/2015 - 07:16

How does your website look on a tablet or smartphone? An increasing number of customers are using mobile devices to browse, shop and engage with brands, with almost half (48 percent) of Google traffic coming from mobile users.

If your website doesn’t look sharp on mobile, you’re not alone. Of the top 10,000 websites tested for responsive design, just 18.7 percent had responsive websites, up from 11 percent in 2014.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution. The answer is responsive website design. This type of design, which resizes text and images to fit on whatever device is used, is the ideal design for small businesses.

Responsive design has another benefit too. Search engines like Google and Bing give a higher ranking to sites with responsive design.

Ready to switch to a responsive design? Here are five tips to get you started:

1. Verify your website

Is your website already responsive? To find out, use an online tool like Responsive Design Checker or Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, to see how your website looks on various devices. If your website passes these checks, then you can sit back and relax. Otherwise, you need to consider upgrading to a responsive design.

2. Figure out your current design

The next step is to understand the design of your current website. Why? In the same way you can’t use Apple software on Windows systems, you also cannot add new features unless you know what methods were used to design your original website. A WordPress solution will only work on WordPress sites and not on other platforms, for example.

A useful online tool, Built With, can solve this problem. It identifies what was used to build your website. With this knowledge, you can go to that particular builder and investigate responsive design options. For example, if you find out your site is built with WordPress, you can explore responsive design features for WordPress that you can add to your existing site.

3. Purchase a website theme

DIY platforms like WordPress allow you to add pages from a user dashboard. Go to your site builder’s main page, or check out sites like Themeforest or Entheos to find a theme that you like. You can choose a responsive design through a new website theme.

Sometimes incorrectly classified as website templates, a website theme changes the appearance of your website. From an easy-to-use set of tools, you can select a layout, tweak pre-existing page templates and select fonts and color schemes.

Responsive website themes will make every page, post and image on your site look great on every device.

4. Purchase a plug in

If working on a new website theme is too time consuming, you can opt for a plugin. It’s not available for every website, but again, you’ll want to visit your site builder’s website to see if it’s an option for you. WordPress, for example, has plugins for responsive design.

A plugin is the cheapest and fastest solution of all, but it’s not as feature-packed as responsive themes. For example, they may not resize images to fit smaller screens (perhaps producing a text-only web page on smartphones) but are a quick and cheerful solution if needed.

For WordPress, popular plugin solutions include WPtouch and Websitez.com but there are many others.

5. Try a new website template

If you do not like the look of your existing website and aren’t using a DIY platform, you can buy a responsive design template from a site like TemplateMonster and Webflow.

Templates can be difficult to install. You’ll need some coding and development knowledge, so if that’s not in your wheelhouse it’s probably not worth your time investment.

Buying a website template is still cheaper than hiring a website developer, but if you don’t have the required skills, spending money on a developer will be more efficient in the long run.

Whatever solution you decide to go with, verify that your site is mobile-friendly by checking it once again with a responsive design checker.

Learn more about responsive design and how it impacts your site by watching this video.

 

Michael O’Dwyer is a freelance technology and business journalist in Hong Kong. He’s written for Forbes, The Street, Tech Page One and Midsize Insider.

© 2015, Vertical Response 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 Get a Responsive Website Design With These 5 Tips appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

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