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What You Absolutely Need to Include in Your Online Business Listing

Thu, 06/18/2015 - 06:00

Grabbing the attention of local shoppers online is key to getting them through your shop doors. Having the right type of information in your online business listing is essential to that process. Your online business listing could include any place (besides your own website) where you list your business’ information so customers and prospects can find you. These online listings include sites such as Google, Yahoo!, Yelp, Bing, Foursquare and other online directories. If you haven’t claimed your listing on these sites, check out our previous post on the top 20 online business listings where your business should appear. 

Besides just showing up in an online directory, the goal is to get the right information at the right time into the hands of potential customers. It’s important to consider the type of information shoppers look for when they do a search on a mobile phone versus a desktop. People searching on a smartphone are more likely to be in the midst of shopping. Compare that need for information to someone doing a search on their PC or tablet while at home or the office.

Recent research conducted by Deluxe, shows the type of content shoppers are looking for depending on the device they’re using:

Shoppers conducting a search from their smartphones:

  • 54% are looking for business hours
  • 53% are looking for directions
  • 50% are looking for local store addresses

Shoppers conducting a search from their desktop PC or tablet: 

  • 45% are looking for product availability
  • 42% are looking for business hours
  • 38% are looking for local store addresses

In general, the above information should be included in your online business listing. It’s a no-brainer to include your address, hours of operation, product brands you sell, and directions. However, it’s also best to put yourself in the mind of your potential customers and how they would probably search for your particular type of business.

If you owned a restaurant as an example, besides the above information, potential customers typically want to know what type of food you serve, and what’s on your menu. They may also like to find out if you take reservations, and whether you’re a five-star restaurant or casual neighborhood joint.

If you own a retail clothing shop in a busy area of town, consider that parking is top of mind among patrons. Not only would a searcher want to know your store’s specialty (women’s, men’s, children, plus size, athletic, etc.) but also any recommendations on parking.

Think about how your customers are finding you online and the types of information they’re looking for and then include it in your online business listings. If you’re not sure, you may want to take an informal survey of your customers as you interact with them.  Just a simple query like, “Did you find my shop on the internet? Can you tell me what you searched for?” should provide you with the information you need. 

If you’d like to check out how your business currently appears across the most popular online directories, you can conduct a free scan. This tool provides an online report almost instantaneously with how your business listing appears on sites like Yahoo!, Bing, Facebook, Yelp and more. This scan is a quick and easy way to see how your business is listed. You can verify your information and discover which directories are missing your listing.   

If you find managing numerous directories too time-consuming, there are services that can help you claim, manage and optimize your listings on your behalf. Local SEO services can help ensure your information is not only accurate, but also optimized so your business stands out from competitors on the search results page.  

For more marketing tips like these, sign up for the weekly VR Buzz Newsletter.
 

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

The post What You Absolutely Need to Include in Your Online Business Listing appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

Guide to Autoresponders Part 1: Benefits and Welcome Emails

Wed, 06/17/2015 - 06:00

Finding new customers and not having nearly enough time in the day are likely two of your biggest concerns as a business owner. That’s why email marketing is essential to growing your customer base. The high ROI is unrivaled. An autoresponder series is a valuable email marketing tool that gives you the opportunity to share new content, build an email list or start promoting your latest service, even while you sleep.

We’ve put together a three-part guide on the benefits of autoresponders and explore the various kinds of trigger-based emails and when to use them. In part one, we cover the following:

  1. The Benefits of Autoresponders
  2. Welcome Emails
The Benefits of Autoresponders

Here are five ways your business can benefit from using email autoresponders: 

1. Save you time

Want to save some time and get more done in your day? An autoresponder can help you accomplish this.

Rather than writing and sending individual emails to your subscribers, why not create effective emails set for automatic delivery? When your email list gets a new subscriber, you can set a trigger to automatically send them a welcome email. ‘The automation process is a snap,’ says Jill Bastian, our Community Education and Training manager.

“Business owners won’t need much time to set up autoresponder emails,” she says. “That’s a big deal for any business owner.”

2. Make a great first impression

A new contact could quickly become a paying customer, but first you’ll need to make the right impression. In a world full of competitors, you can impress potential customers by showing your commitment to customer service. If prospective clients receive a welcome email or a discount after signing up for your company email, it shows them that you’re on top of your game and will entice them to come back for more.

3. Offer the chance to capitalize on sales

When a new subscriber signs up for your email, it’s a signal that they are ready to learn more about your business. They’ve already shown their interest; now you just need to capitalize on the opportunity.

“Being able to connect with new customers right away can be a huge win for a small business,” Bastian says. “And autoresponders can expedite that process.”

By sending an automated welcome email, or a thanks-for-signing-up email, you take one step closer to converting an interested prospect into a paying customer.

4. Provide value for your customers

The idea of getting overrun with spam emails or useless junk mail often keeps people from signing up for emails. An autoresponder that contains access to additional content or service is an excellent way to show your customers that your emails are valuable. You want to demonstrate that your name in the inbox provides something worth reading.

5. Keep your audience engaged

Setting up automated emails is a great no-hassle way to speak to your customers and keep your brand top of mind within your industry. Remember though that your content should not only be informative, but also provoke thought and speak directly to the reader’s needs/desires.

You want to make customers feel they are participating in something worthwhile. Adding polls or ‘submit your best story’ prompts about a select topic to an automated email are just two examples of how to do that. These types of messages set the tone for how a new customer will view the approachability of your brand.

Now that we’ve highlighted the benefits let’s take a look at one of the most popular autoresponders.

Welcome Emails

As mentioned earlier, Welcome emails are widely used and often expected when signing up for any sort of company/brand list. They are the perfect way to get new customers interested in your brand and ready to learn about what’s coming next from you!

Rockhouse Partners, a marketing company that helps promote entertainment venues, effectively uses Welcome emails to thank their fans for signing up. This is also their initial touchpoint for encouraging more interaction with their audience and it seems to work well.

“When a fan signs up for an email list they’ll automatically receive a message from our client with a brief, tone-setting introduction,” says Emily Harris with Rockhouse Partners. “Often, we’ll incorporate a call-to-action for tickets to upcoming events, or an offer to connect on social media profiles.” Emily Harris with Rockhouse Partners explains.

This recent autoresponder example illustrates how they incorporate an introduction along with a call-to-action (CTA) and social media buttons:

The “welcome to the family” message is a nice way to acknowledge the new fan, and the “view all events” button is an important call to action that pushes fans to learn more.

Below, you’ll find two other Welcome emails. Notice one offers a free item; the other includes several text-based links that provide more company information. 

 

A promotional element like a discount code or a printable coupon is an excellent addition to a Welcome email as well.

If you haven’t started using autoresponders, a Welcome email is a great place to begin. VerticalResponse allows you to do so easily with a free or paid account. For even more tips and information on how Welcome emails increase engagement, check out this video.

Stay tuned for part two when we cover Content Offer and Survey Emails of the autoresponder series.

Want more branding and marketing tips for your business? Sign up today for an upcoming webinar. These sessions are fun, interactive, and hosted by one of our experts who will be ready to answer all your questions.

© 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 Guide to Autoresponders Part 1: Benefits and Welcome Emails appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

Have You Gotten Your Facebook Privacy Checkup?

Tue, 06/16/2015 - 06:00

Facebook and privacy are two entities that don’t always play nice. The mega social network is no stranger to privacy complaints. More recently, a user accused Facebook of purposely making the privacy settings hard to understand and change. The Privacy Checkup feature is Facebook’s attempt to right that ship.

In this week’s episode of Tips in 2, we take a tour of this new feature and show you how to access your privacy settings and how to change them.

Click on the video below to watch.

For more Tips in 2 videos, check out our informative blog.

© 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 Have You Gotten Your Facebook Privacy Checkup? appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

What Jurassic World Teaches About Marketing

Fri, 06/12/2015 - 06:00

Summer always brings big blockbuster hits to the movie theaters, and this year is no different. Steven Spielberg’s fourth action-packed dino movie, Jurassic World, is released today and is sure to attract the masses. 

In this movie, John Hammond’s dream becomes reality as a dinosaur theme park opens to the public. The main attraction at this park isn’t a giant T-Rex. Nope. This park takes dinosaurs to a whole new level. Scientists “spared no expense” and created a hybrid dinosaur, Indominus Rex. And (prepare your shocked face) this genetically altered creature breaks free from his cage and causes all kinds of chaos.

The scientists overdid it. Sometimes trying to reinvent the wheel, or, in this case, a dinosaur, just isn’t worth it. It’s a valuable lesson you can apply to your marketing efforts as well. How, you ask? Take a look at the three ways you can over-engineer you marketing:

1. A busy website

One of your best marketing tools is your website. Your digital presence says a lot to visitors, so it’s vital that your website offer a clean, user-friendly experience. If your website looks like the picture below, your customers might feel you tossed them into the raptor cage. There’s just too much going on here.

Solution: Your website should have a fresh look, a solid color scheme, easy navigation, marketing content that inspires your customers or clients to act and a way to purchase goods online.

If your website needs some sprucing up, but you don’t want to shell out thousands of dollars to a designer to build it, turn to a DIY tool. We offer website hosting with hundreds of templates to choose from on our Marketing Solutions Hub. If your website is in good shape, but you’d like to add a shopping cart feature, try Shopify. (Shopify is integrated with VerticalResponse, so you can easily contact your customers.)

2. Too many calls to action in an email

You don’t want to over-engineer your marketing emails either. Keep it simple. Each email should have one call to action.

You can overwhelm a customer if, for example, there are two call-to-action buttons, two hyperlinks, and clickable contact information all in one email. It’s like seeing a T-Rex for the first time. Your email recipient won’t run for cover in a bathroom like the lawyer did in the first Jurassic Park, but he or she will definitely close the email because it’s just too much to handle.

Solution: Don’t over do it. As a rule of thumb, each marketing email should have one call to action. Of course, it’s not a hard and fast rule. You can add a hyperlink to your email or your contact information, but the point is don’t go crazy.

The main call to action should be a can’t-miss button that has urgent text like, ‘Shop Now.’ If you need help creating a button, use our button creator. For additional help, check out a previous article, “5 Elements of an Effective Call to Action.”

3. Becoming an ‘oversharer’ on social media

You know those Facebook friends who constantly share updates about their kid’s potty training efforts, or the old college roommate who loves to share super-specific details about his love life? Yeah, these people are over-engineering their social posts.

Don’t turn your business social media sites into an oversharing message board or your customers will run from your site as if being chased by a herd of Gallimimus. (For those keeping up with our Jurassic Park references, that’s the dinosaur pack that chased Alan Grant and the two kids through the open plain in the second movie.)

Solution: Keep it professional and post useful marketing information. Your business social media sites should be for marketing your business. Now, that’s not to say you can’t share a personal achievement on your business page here and there, but save most of that information for your personal social sites.

You should also post information that your customers can use. Share news from your industry, tips to improve a customer’s life, how-to guides that help clients understand your product and links to purchase items from your website.

Hopefully, with a little inspiration from Jurassic World, your marketing efforts will successfully evolve – without the help of dino DNA.

Send your emails today with VerticalResponse – It’s free up to 1,000 email contacts.

© 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 What Jurassic World Teaches About Marketing appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

3 Tips to Extend Your Email Reach with Social Sharing

Thu, 06/11/2015 - 06:00

Tracking how many readers share your emails on social media is easier than ever. Any email service provider worth its salt lets you monitor social interactions (we do!) such as likes, comments, shares and retweets in your email report.

But how do you get your readers to share your email in the first place? Read on for a few tips and best practices for maximizing your email reach through social sharing.

1. Add social share buttons to make sharing easy

A good email will include a call-to-action (CTA) that makes the next desired step clear. When you add social buttons to the email header, you create a secondary CTA without detracting from the primary one in the main body.

VerticalResponse’s editor allows you to drag and drop sharing buttons anywhere in your email. If you’re worried about distracting readers from your central message, try testing button placement in different areas of your email. Here’s an example.

2. Dedicate an email campaign to your social pages

An alternative approach is to make connecting on social media the primary call-to-action of your email. While email still provides the highest return on investment by far, staying active on your business’ social media accounts has its perks.

For one, social media often serves as a de facto customer support tool. It’s a great medium for retaining happy customers and reconnecting with former ones. Also, you can boost your search rank by having profiles on Facebook and Twitter.

3. Give them an incentive to follow you online

Keep in mind some customers may be reluctant to follow you on social media if you already have access to them via email. Whether you want them to like your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter, give them incentives to connect with you.

Let them know up front what they’re missing, like social-exclusive offers and content. Then, be sure to deliver on that promise. 

Like what you saw? The examples above were made using VerticalResponse’s easy-to-use email editor and template gallery. Sign up for your free account today. 

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

The post 3 Tips to Extend Your Email Reach with Social Sharing appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

The Best Ways To Promote New Products on Instagram

Wed, 06/10/2015 - 06:00

When it comes to spotlighting a new product, few social media platforms are more visually stimulating than Instagram, making it an ideal place to showcase your latest arrivals.

We’ve put together some tips to help you determine what to post, when to do it, and how to boost the number of people who actually see it.

Image quality and design

First and foremost, your product image needs to be high quality. However, that does not mean you need to invest in a high-end camera to achieve this effect. Most mobile phone cameras will work just fine, as long as the photo isn’t blurry. There are also countless apps that can enhance your image. Here are a few that can help:

  • Aviary is a free app that offers filters, frames, stickers, touch-up tools and more.
  • Overgram is a free app that lets you quickly and easily add text to photos.
  • PicFrame allows you to organize multiple photos into a patchwork design to create a single postable image. Yellows Plus uses this design to showcase eyewear from a variety of distances and perspectives.

Image content

Products that create a distinct improvement in some way can be displayed in “before-and-after” photos like Tanino Smoothing Therapy did with these hair comparison shots.

You could also post your new product with an introductory price or limited time trial, like Cowgirl Dirt did when they introduced their new eye shadow trios.

Additionally, always make sure to post a mix of products and fun stuff, like photos of employees, events, or relevant memes to give your customers a behind-the-scenes look into your business.

Short videos

Instagram now allows its users to post videos.These can be uploaded directly from your phone or tablet’s library or recorded using their dedicated video app. Videos can be 3 to 15 seconds long, and you can add filters and geotags. A recent example would be Glorify Apparel’s video post to announce their spring clothing line.

For those feeling especially creative, you can use an app like Flipagram to make fun, short “photo-videos” set to music. Rosalita’s Roadside Cantina often uses this app to introduce their latest menu selections.

Using hashtags

If you’re just getting started with Instagram, make sure your posts are set to “public” display so you can add hashtags to your photos and videos. Remember that you can use numbers and letters, but no spaces or special characters, and you are allowed to include up to 30 tags on a post.

Not sure which hashtags to use? Try #newproduct and #newarrival. You can also use industry-specific tags like #designerhandbag and #prosurfboard. Website builder platform Wix also recently published an article highlighting Instagram’s most popular hashtags and their meanings which is definitely worth a read.  

As a general rule, it’s always good to think about what your target customer would be searching for and try to use those keywords as your hashtags.

When to post

When thinking about the frequency of your posts, consistency is key. Set an initial pattern for posts in the beginning and stick with it. Accounts that suddenly cut back on the frequency of their posts on Instagram can lose followers quickly.

Not sure when to post? IconoSquare is a great app that identifies the best times to post based on your followers’ engagement. You can also get analytics for total number of likes, most-liked images, average number of likes/comments per image, and follower growth charts. There’s even a way to track how filters impact your likes and comments received.

Seasonal and holiday posts can also boost sales. Bucci’s Bridal capitalized on prom season by posting dress photos in October and used hashtags like #prom2015 and #newprom. Mary Kay independent beauty consultant Stephanie Cyrus planted the seed for “the perfect Mother’s Day gift wrapped and delivered” two weeks before the big day.

You can also build excitement by posting a photo before the item is actually available, also known as a ‘tease image‘.

Promoting your post

Posting images of your new product is great, but it’s not enough to drive sales. You’ll still need to work to promote it and get seen by both existing and potential customers. Here are some quick tips:

Perhaps the most important tip is to remember to engage with your followers. Post comments on their images once in a while and respond to all comments left on yours. Product specific questions (e.g., colors, sizes, shipping, gift wrapping, etc.) from followers can also be useful in creating an FAQ for your online store.

Want more tips and how-to advice? Sign up for the VerticalResponse weekly VR Buzz newsletter.

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

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

The post The Best Ways To Promote New Products on Instagram appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

3 Valuable Insights Into Selling Email Marketing to Your Clients

Tue, 06/09/2015 - 06:00

Chances are, your clients know about the array of email marketing service providers out there; they may even already be using one of them. So, how do you convince them to use the co-branded solution you set up with us? One of our partner agencies gives us the scoop.

Since 2010, Vyral Marketing has incorporated VerticalResponse as one of the main components in driving referrals and sales for their real-estate clients. They’ve become pros in promoting the value of email marketing. COO, John McMillan, shares three valuable insights into Vyral’s strategy for success.

Provide Value

Vyral Marketing’s bread and butter is creating content for their clients using video marketing. When it comes to email marketing, the value is clear, but clients don’t always understand how to execute a strategy that’s consistent and drives results. That’s where Vyral comes in.

“We make it easy and come up with educational content that adds value to their database. Sometimes our clients already use another email service provider, but not with much consistency. Consistency is the key to getting results. Ten percent of your database should be referring you every year, and if you are not staying in touch with them, that’s a lot of business you are losing.”

Integrate Email Marketing Into Your Core Service Offerings

While video marketing is their primary focus, email marketing is the backbone of their 3-Step Plan for helping clients increase referrals and sales:

1. Ask for an email when you meet a person.
2. Make two educational Q&A videos a month.
3. Call the people who watch your videos.

“We like to send two video emails with educational content each month. For example, if you’re an auto repair shop owner, send just a simple 2-minute video on how to keep your car in good shape. The strategy is the same for every client, but we customize the content for each of them depending on the market and their industry. After three business days, we send them an email of all the people who opened and clicked in the email. These are the leads they can use to follow up on.”

Educate

Vyral Marketing does all the work for their clients of providing content for their videos and emails. It’s also necessary for their clients to understand how to build their email lists organically, be consistent and understand the results.

Their website is packed with informational videos including, ‘How to Get More Emails to Grow Your List’ and ‘Six Email Follow-Up Sequences You Need’. Along with the tutorials on their website, they have a corresponding YouTube channel where clients can quickly access all the ‘how to’ videos they’ve created.

In addition to the tutorials they provide, Vyral Marketing designates coaches to each client to review results from every campaign. They walk their clients through the results to help them understand the value of a consistent email marketing strategy that will grow their business over time. “Our clients spend a certain amount of money with us per year and our goal is to increase their repeat and referral business 10x. Sometimes it takes a few months to start seeing results and our coaches help our clients track their progress.”

By providing value, integrating email marketing into their core service offerings and educating their clients about the benefits, Vyral Marketing is able to make email marketing an ‘easy-sell’. Try implementing these ideas into your strategy for selling email marketing to find out if they work for your business.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get more email marketing advice.

© 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 3 Valuable Insights Into Selling Email Marketing to Your Clients appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

50 Summer Subject Lines + Tips to Write Sunny Subject Lines

Fri, 06/05/2015 - 06:00

Are you preparing for summer? People everywhere are breaking out the grill, tilling up the garden and hitting the gym to tone up their beach body. While there’s a lot on your seasonal to-do list, your email subject lines could use a little summer lovin’ too.

As we welcome rising temperatures and days at the park, we also welcome summer-themed marketing. To provide inspiration, we’ve put together a list of 50 summer subject lines. Plus, we’ll give you three tips to help you create your own fun-in-the-sun subject lines.

To start, here is a list of 50 summer-themed subject lines from retailers, service-based businesses and non-profits:

  • ACustom: Your go-to summer jacket – The Featherweight
  • AtoZPetGroomers: Your dog needs a beach body too
  • RowBoatTours: Float the river during the dog days of summer
  • Vince: First look. Pre-order summer 2015
  • DealsDirect: Prices slashed! Summer clearance sale
  • Body Jewelry Shop: Summer is nearly here!
  • Thomson Holidays: Summer is getting closer. Grab a cruise deal now
  • BonPrix: Get set for summer!
  • WindowShine: Get the winter junk off your windows. Summer sale
  • Gray & Osbourn: New summer lines just arrived
  • Temperley London: The Summer Trench up to 60% off
  • Forzier: Top 4 watch trends for the summer
  • Shopbop: The go-to summer shoe
  • TireRack: Which tires should you be driving on this summer?
  • Title Nine: Cast your vote! Title Nine’s summer cover
  • ShoppersChoice.com: BBQ season is back!
  • Forever Unique: New arrivals and poolside cover-ups
  • 4imprint Inc: Small business news: May sprouts big ideas for small business!
  • SammyDress.com: Swimwear to dive for
  • Ghurka: Bring in summer with this hip market bag
  • Athleta: Sun, sand, linen
  • Target: A summer shoe update that’s budget-friendly
  • Elf: Hit the beach with this $3 kit
  • Accessorize: Discover your perfect beach style
  • NYS Electric and Gas: Keep cooling costs down with these tips
  • Ideeli: Hello, Sunshine! Extra 10% off everything
  • Estee Lauer: Let the sun worship you. Bronze Goddess is back
  • Bellabox: How to get effortless beach hair
  • Joss & Main: Host a garden party with these accessories
  • Life is Good: Cool tees bring in the breeze
  • PCRepairNow: Get 25% off your next PC maintenance package this June
  • Angie’s List: Summer sign up deal
  • Coppertone: 6 ways to protect your skin this summer
  • The Catholic Company: Summer reading suggestions
  • Frontier Utilities: Schedule your summer maintenance now
  • AARP: Find volunteer opportunities near you this summer
  • FitnessFactor2: Get your swimsuit body ready with these 4 classes
  • ASPCA: Give to our fun-in-the-sun campaign now
  • PlanITParty: Let us plan your next BBQ
  • Mothercare: A heat wave is coming!
  • LancasterLibrary: 10 beach reads you’ll love
  • Luisaviaroma: Don’t be seen without these summer styles
  • TravelTour: 5 summer jet-set ideas
  • WoundedVets: Enjoy summer while honoring veterans
  • Make-A-Wish: See your summer donation in action
  • Sears Auto: Nice weather is here. Bring your car in for a complete detail
  • RotoRooter: Celebrate the end of winter. Take $50 off your next service call
  • Craftsy: Great summer patterns
  • EdibleTips: Hot off the grill: 3 recipes every family will love

Three tips to help you add a dose of sunshine to your next subject line 

1. Use summer references

You don’t have to sell sunscreen or bathing suits to reference summer. Our list of summer subject lines proves that, but here are a few ways you can bring some summer flair to your emails:  

  • Celebrate summer with a discount.
  • When the temperature rises, host a Heat Wave sale.
  • Provide solutions to pesky summer problems like sunburn or mosquitoes.
  • Provide tips to improve summer gatherings like grilling tips or lawn maintenance tricks.

You can also use common summer words in your subject lines. Here’s a quick list:

  • Summer descriptions: heat wave, high temps, fun-in-the-sun, mercury-rising, beat the heat, dog days of summer
  • Summer places: cabin, lake, beach, park
  • Summer must-haves: bathing suit, sunglasses, beach bags, flip flops
  • Summer events: bbq, picnics, family reunions, road trips
  • Summer chores: lawn maintenance, gardening, home repair
  • Summer safety: sunblock, water, sun exposure

2. Use movie or song titles

A study from Retention Science shows emails with song titles get opened 26 percent of the time, which is an 11 percent higher open rate than those without a title. So, why not add a summer-themed song title to your subject line, or reference a classic summer movie?

3. Mimic personal email format

If you send an email to a buddy to arrange a summer play date, would you send something like this? 

Probably not. You wouldn’t use all capital letters, exclamation points or little emoticons. (And the use of “super duper” raises some red flags too.) If you wouldn’t send the subject line to a friend, you shouldn’t send it to customers or donors either.

In other words, don’t use capital letters, stay away from Wingdings or emoticons, and don’t go overboard with punctuation. Some people use these items to make their email standout, but it makes your email look less professional. You can be creative, but you don’t need these “extras” to draw attention.

Want more subject line inspiration? Check this out: 50 All-Time Great Retails Subject Lines.

© 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 50 Summer Subject Lines + Tips to Write Sunny Subject Lines appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

3 Tips for Retailers Promoting a New Product via Email

Thu, 06/04/2015 - 06:00

You’ve worked hard to create or find a great product, and now it’s time for your customers to reap the benefits. But because you’re unveiling something new and possibly unfamiliar, it’s important to keep messaging clear, concise and helpful.

Any announcement email should tell the customer three things: What the new product is, what it can do for the consumer, and what action should be taken next. That’s a good deal of information to get across in just one message, but it can be done efficiently with the right copy and design. We put together three tips below to help you make sure your email is straightforward and, most importantly, effective.

1. Make your excitement contagious

If you’re rolling out a new product, it’s likely something your customers have requested or something you think they will benefit from. Don’t be afraid to let your enthusiasm about the product shine through! Adding personality never hurts, as long as it is consistent with your brand voice. When you’re crafting the copy, start by writing as if you were describing the product in person, and then work from there.

Look at the example below from Peak. Phrases like “We’ve been working,” “We’re excited to share it with the world,” and “we think you’re going to love it,” make it clear they are passionate about their product and can’t wait to share it with you. The example also makes clear the value that this product will bring to users, and because Peak also asks for feedback, the email feels more personable and genuine.

When you’re excited, it’s likely that customers will be too. Read your copy out loud to make sure it sounds like something you would say. And always keep it authentic.

2. Describe the new product and its value

Details are important, but they can also be boring. For a new product email, you want to provide just enough information so that a user is intrigued and understands what you’re offering. You don’t want to overwhelm them with so much information that they abandon the email without taking action. A good rule of thumb is to write the sentence you want to write, and then cut it in half.

When it comes to copywriting, it’s been shown that users absorb the first three and the last three words of a headline. Follow similar parameters here. Treat each point in your email as if it’s a headline, and try to convey the most important information in about 6-10 words. In the About.me example below, you’ll see that each product point has a short description that’s no more than ten words long.

3. Pick a CTA and stick with it

There’s so much information in a product announcement that it can be tempting to offer your reader multiple options for where to go next. “See the product in action,” “learn more about these features,” and “sign up,” could all be realistic calls to action, but it’s important to keep your email focused. Offer the reader a clear path forward.

If you want them to learn more, send them to an in-depth page with greater details. Make sure that page has a clear next step too. If you want to get readers straight to the sign-up, tell them the most pertinent information up front and prompt them to sign up. Then offer more resources after they’ve made an account.

When you have multiple CTAs in a single email, it can feel inconsistent, and customers can get distracted. The result may be that they don’t take any action at all.

The above email from About.me gets straight to the point with a prominent “View Your Stats” button after a few lines of introduction. Then, after they provide more details about what will be available on the new page, they repeat the same CTA. It provides consistency and offers a direct path forward for people who want to click immediately, and for those who desire to learn more before clicking.

No matter what your product email is announcing, it’s important to keep the messaging clear and help your customers understand what the new product can do for them. By providing a sense of urgency and excitement, they’ll be ready to click and learn more.

Want more tips and tactics? Sign up for the weekly VR Buzz.

Sarah Maloy is a copywriter and digital marketing strategist. Follow her on Twitter @smaloy and see more of her work at http://maloy.co.

© 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 3 Tips for Retailers Promoting a New Product via Email appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

How to Build a Call to Action Button for Your Email

Wed, 06/03/2015 - 06:00

A call-to-action (CTA) is an important part of email marketing. A smart CTA gives readers clear instructions on what action you want them to take. A call-to-action button makes this desired step even more visible. For PC, tablet, or mobile users, the button is a quick way to get to the designated URL or landing page. 

VerticalResponse now offers a free button building tool within the email editor. The tool allows you to create and edit a CTA button with just a few clicks. It’s available to use with 100% of VerticalResponse’s email templates. The tool allows you to create the perfect button for your emails in a snap. The best part is that we designed it to be a new content block. This way, if your reader’s email program blocks the images, the button still appears.

Here are a few things you can do with it:

Label – Your button can say anything you’d like. It’s a text field. We recommend you make the action as clear and concise as possible. If readers have to spend more than a second reading it, it’s too wordy. Short and sweet calls to action like “Sign Up Today”, “Learn More”, “Buy Now” or “Donate” will get your readers clicking.

Design- This is where you can have some fun! Choose the color of the Body, or the main part of the button. You can also pick the color of the Text and the Border around the button. Pick a combination of colors that make your call-to-action stand out or complement the colors of your logo, website, or email template. It’s totally up to you.

Width – The Width and Corners are part of the button design as well. These attributes can help your button stand out even more. Along with determining the width, you can also make the corners rounded or more square. Test how your readers respond to different buttons to find the perfect one for your emails.

Size – This setting will make the text, and the button, bigger. The numbers are pixel sizes for the text on the button.

Lastly, you can add a URL to the button to make it clickable. By inserting a link, you can send them to a signup page, a place to make a donation or purchase, or a page to learn more.

VerticalResponse has included this design tool with the email templates in your account. It is not available in Classic accounts. 

Happy button building!

To read more about VerticalResponse product updates, see our Product Update category on our award-winning blog.

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

The post How to Build a Call to Action Button for Your Email appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

7 Time-Saving Apps Every Business Owner Needs

Tue, 06/02/2015 - 06:00

Running a business often means that time is your most valued commodity, and like printer ink, there never seems to be enough of it when you really need it. We can’t add more hours to your day, but we’ve added these seven time-saving apps to our bank of ideas to help you get back some much needed time.

1. Dashlane 3
What it does and why we love it: Are you wasting time requesting hints for forgotten passwords? Then you’ll love Dashlane 3. Although there are free password manager apps out there, this app is highly rated by PC Magazine for its extensive features, including password strength reports, emergency password recovery, automatic password capture and its ability to sync across all of your Mac, Windows, Android and iOS devices. 
Cost: $39.99/year

2. AirFile 
What it does and why we love it: 
If you’re juggling multiple clouds like Dropbox, Copy, OneDrive and GoogleDrive, you can save time by using AirFile. It allows you to manage them all in one place. 
Cost: 
Free for 2 clouds or upgrade to AirFile Pro for unlimited

3. Phone Tag
What it does and why we love it: 
You can use this app to convert voicemail messages into emails or texts. The next time a client sends directions or a vendor provides contact information on your voicemail, you won’t have to scroll through messages to find the information again.
Cost: 
Starting at $9.95/month after a free one week trial. 

4. Lucy Phone
What it does and why we love it: 
The motto says it all: “Never wait on hold again.” Consider the Lucy Phone app to be your personal spot-holder. Just put in the company’s phone number and press ** once you’re put on hold. When an agent answers, you’ll get a callback.
Cost: 
Free

5. Remember the Milk
What it does and why we love it: 
This feature-packed app works like a personal assistant with a steel-trap mind. You can create to-do lists, organize your tasks and notes, get reminders, search, sync and prioritize. Remember the Milk is also available for Evernote, Twitter, Gmail, Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendar.
Cost: 
Free for basic app

6. TimeRabbit
What it does and why we love it: 
We know you don’t have all day to spend surfing through Facebook, but we all get sucked in sometimes. If you’re curious, this app tracks how much time you spend on the popular social network. According to Statistic Brain, the average user spends 18 minutes on Facebook per visit. Multiply that by the number of times you log in each day and … Yikes! Where did the time go? With this app, a timer starts automatically when you log into Facebook. If you’re idle or navigate away from the site, the timer stops. TimeRabbit gives you reports that show just how much time you spend on the social site.
Cost:
Free

7. SelfControl
What it does and why we love it:
If you’re using Mac OS X, the SelfControl app can help you blacklist anything online or just block it for a period of time. Want to ensure you don’t waste time playing games, or scrolling through Twitter? Block any sites with this SelfControl. Be forewarned though: this is tough love. You won’t be able to access those sites until the timer runs out even if you delete the app or restart your computer. 
Cost: 
Free

These 7 time-saving apps should help you avoid distractions, remember passwords and much more. For more time-saving apps, check out twelve more here

Sign up for our weekly email newsletter to get more business management and marketing tips delivered to your inbox.

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

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

The post 7 Time-Saving Apps Every Business Owner Needs appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

15 Hygiene Tips to Keep Your Email List Clean as a Whistle

Fri, 05/29/2015 - 06:00

A healthy email list is vital to any business. Thanks to bounces, unsubscribes and address changes, you can lose upwards of one-third of your list each year. If you’re not replacing churned email addresses with new active ones, your business can feel the impact.

Here are 15 tips to help you clean, maintain and grow your email list.

Remove or win back inactive contacts

Many email list guidelines recommend waiting for a full year of inactivity before removing a subscriber from your mailing list, but many providers now advise removing inactive email addresses after just six months of inactivity. 

That said, it’s important that you try to engage a subscriber before removing him or her from your list. There’s a variety of ways you can win subscribers back or at least learn from their behavior before they go.

Tip No. 1: Send a “we miss you” email with a special offer or discount code to see if you can incentivize the customer to make a purchase.

Tip No. 2: Send a polite “fish or cut bait” email asking if they’d like to confirm they want to stay on your email list before you remove them.

Tip No. 3: Find out why they’re inactive. When you give your contacts a way to unsubscribe after a long period of inactivity, give them a one-click survey on your unsubscribe page to find out why they’re leaving. Too many emails? Irrelevant content? Not enough discounts? Use the information to keep the next contact from leaving. You can also include a similar survey on your unsubscribe confirmation page.

Maintain the working parts of your list

Tip No. 4: Mail your list at least once a month. It will keep your readers engaged, increase the likelihood that they’ll make a purchase or donation, and let you know (via bouncebacks) which accounts are no longer active.

Tip No. 5: There are some great tools to help you maintain a healthy email list. Kickbox helps eliminates bounces before you launch your email campaign by “scrubbing” your list and replacing it with a squeaky-clean version. Kickbox uses a real-time API to verify email addresses before it adds a subscriber to your list. It also detects disposable email domains, role-based email addresses (e.g., webmaster@, info@, support@) and low-quality addresses. All Kickbox users get 100 free verifications every day. What’s more, VerticalResponse users get a 10 percent discount for additional verifications.

Tip No. 6: You’ll also want to take a cue from your open rates. If 99 percent of your list isn’t opening your email, you’ll need to do some work on your subject lines and the timing of your emails (day of the week and time of day). Dasheroo allows you to instantly view key stats from your VerticalResponse emails alongside your other apps like Facebook, Twitter, Google Analytics and many more, all in one easy-to-understand business dashboard! And it’s free.

Tip No. 7: If you’re not already doing it, consider segmenting your emails based on purchases or links clicked. If you sell clothing and certain customers only purchase men’s clothing, they may not want to receive your emails promoting sales on children’s apparel. Likewise, if you sell pet supplies, you can divide your list into categories based on the animal(s) they buy for or are interested in.

Grow your list

Tip No. 8: One of the simplest ways to collect email addresses is with a sign up form on your website or blog. It’s easy to set up, and you don’t have to think about it once you created it. VerticalResponse offers sign up forms for free with every account.

Tip No. 9: You can also collect emails at expos or brick-and-mortar locations. Encourage visitors to drop their card into a fishbowl for a chance to win something. People understand that by doing so, you will include them on your email list.

Tip No. 10: Some retail stores have great success obtaining emails at the register when customers pay. You can offer incentives, such as discounts and promotions, for signing up.

Tip No. 11: Tatango allows new contacts to add their email address to your list with a simple text. Customers text your business’s unique word to 33733, and they’ll be asked to reply with their email address. You can add up to 250 contacts each month to your VerticalResponse email list.

Tip No. 12: Run a contest on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest requiring participants to supply their email address to enter. Remember to follow contest guidelines for each social network. 

Tip No. 13: Justuno is a tool that allows you to build email lists with incentive-based promotions. Using an instant offer widget, you can offer site visitors a coupon code or free download if they join your email list.

Tip No. 14:  Include a link to your sign up form in your personal email signature.

Tip No. 15: Collect contact information with Twitter Lead Generation Cards, which requires the reader to do nothing more than click on the call to action and then hit submit. The beauty of these cards is that the person’s name, Twitter handle and email address is automatically filled in for them. You can see how to set up a Twitter Lead Generation Card in this short video.

For more marketing tips for your business, subscribe to the weekly VR Buzz Newsletter

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

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

The post 15 Hygiene Tips to Keep Your Email List Clean as a Whistle appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

5 Ways to Get More People to Read Your Emails

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 06:00

Wouldn’t it be nice if your customers or clients read every email you sent? It would be amazing, right? Well, we’re here to help.

There are dozens of reasons for emails to go unread. Your customers are busy, and their inboxes may be inundated with messages. From company memos to promotional emails, we all know how emails can pile up.

So, how do you get your customers to read your emails? We’ve created a list of five easy-to-do tips to increase your “email readability.” While we can’t promise every email will get read, these tips are designed to up the ante and increase your open and conversion rates.

1. Hook your readers with an intriguing subject line

First thing’s first. You need people to open your email before they can read it. That means you need to spend some time finessing your subject line. It’s a good policy to craft your subject line before you write the body of the email. It will help you focus your content. Plus, if you write the subject line last you might be tired of writing and produce a sub-par message.

So, how do you create a 50-character sentence that results in high open rates? Consider writing a subject line that falls into one of these six categories:

  • Pop culture. Keep an eye on what’s going on in pop culture and consider connecting it to your business or product. For example, an online baby retailer can create a subject line that includes the arrival of the Royal Baby.
  • Movie line or a song title. Draw on your film and music knowledge to create unique subject lines. A sporting goods store could use the song “We Are the Champions” in its subject lines during playoff season.
  • Curiosity. You want a subject line that makes a recipient say, “That’s interesting. I want to know more.” Curiosity improves open rates.
  • Outstanding deal. If you’re offering a great promotion, coupon, gift or deal you should declare it right in your subject line. It’s the same principal as “SALE” signs in brick-and-mortar establishments.
  • Take action. Use your subject line to tell readers what action you’d like them to take. Maybe you want your audience to enter a contest or read a how-to article. If so, mention the action from the outset.

Pro-tip: If you’re having trouble coming up with the perfect subject line, turn to the Conversation Starter. It’s a Mad Libs-style tool that will generate some ideas for you.

2. Don’t underestimate the power of a good format

In one glance, your audience should be able to tell what your email is all about. To do that requires organization. Your email shouldn’t look like a high school English paper; it should look more like a visual postcard. Here are some formatting tips to make sure your emails get read:

  • Create a title. Give your email a title. Take a look at the example below. The text at the top of the email instantly tells the reader about the contents of the email. Plus, the font is bold and larger than the rest of the text, so it stands out.

          

  • Use subheadings or bullet points. That same example has a subheading, “Getting started.” Subheadings are an excellent way to break up content. It makes the email easy to digest. If you plan to write anything longer than four sentences in your email, use subheadings to chunk the content out. The subheadings should be in bold and slightly smaller than your title text.

If subheadings aren’t the right fit, you can also use bullet points to keep your email neat and tidy. Likewise, if you’re creating a list of any kind, go for bullet points. For example, in your welcome email you can highlight the benefits of your product in a bulleted list.

  • Generate a call to action button. The green call to action button is eye-catching. You should create similar CTAs for your email. Sure, you can use a hyperlink as a call to action, but a clickable button is better.

          Pro-tip: Not sure how to make a call to action button? No problem. Check out our handy button maker.

  • Pick vibrant colors. In the example, the sender makes great use of the color green. It sets the call to action apart from the rest of the content. If there’s something you want to stand out, make it a vibrant color. Of course, you’ll want to use this color sparingly otherwise it will lose its effect.

3. Create an email buffet

Think of your email arsenal like a buffet, with all sorts of options that appeal to a broad audience. Your email strategy should be similar. You want to serve your audience a variety of different messages.

In other words, don’t send a promotional email for the same product every Friday afternoon. Instead, send a variety of emails. Here’s a quick list of emails you can send to keep the smorgasbord full.

  • Welcome email. When you get a new contact, send an email greeting within the first 48 hours. In a brief message, welcome them and explain what they can expect from your emails.
  • Announcement email. Have a new product? Launching a new service? Make it known to your contacts via email.
  • Newsletters. Keep your crew in the know with newsletters. These informational emails are a great way to keep your customers engaged. If you need a little help coming up with topics to include, check out this list of newsletter ideas.
  • Customer appreciation email. Give your customers a digital high five. Consider offering a special promotion or a giveaway to show how much you value your audience.
  • Promotional email. Entice your clients to make a purchase or book an appointment through promotional offers. Promotional emails are an excellent way to attract new customers and retain current ones, but you don’t want to send too many offers. Promotional emails are just another part of your buffet.
  • Invitation email. Whether you’re hosting an event or attending a trade show, you can always invite your customers via email.

4. Segment your list

One of the best ways to increase your open and conversion rates is to segment your list. By breaking your email list into specific groups, you can send targeted messages to your audience. A targeted message that lands in the right inbox is like an email slam-dunk. Not sure how to slice and dice your list? Here are a few ideas:

  • Demographics. Split your list by demographics like age, gender, or geographic location.
  • Survey results. Email a survey to your customers and use the results to categorize the names. For example, an online clothing retailer could group customers into pools like “winter apparel group” and “accessories group.”
  • Past purchases. If you track what customers buy, you can send emails based on their purchasing histories.
  • Email response rates. You’ll have a spectrum of active to not-so-active customers on your list. You can use this information to create groups. For example, you can put your active, loyal customers on one list and the once-in-awhile customers on another. Knowing this information, you can gear email campaigns accordingly.

5. Use online tools to improve your email success rate

As a small business owner, we know you don’t have a team of people to craft, check and send every email. Not to worry, though. There are several online tools that can help you create effective emails. Try some of these services and apps to improve your emails and save time:

The secret to email success is to constantly collect contact information from prospective customers and clients. To do so, you should set up an email sign up form on your website. It’s a hassle-free way for your business to collect email addresses from interested folks.

It’s always best to have a second set of eyes read your email, but sometimes in a one-person shop that’s not an option. To get around this, pop your content into Grammarly. This website will spot errors like misspellings and punctuation mistakes.

When you put your content into the Hemingway App it will highlight sentences that can be improved. For example, it will highlight long, convoluted sentences. Using this information you can clean up your content and create a streamlined message.

You’ll want to spice up your email with an image or two. If you don’t have any on hand, or don’t want to pay for them through stock sites, you can use Picjumbo or Unsplash. Both of these sites offer images for free.

When you need to edit an image, turn to PicMonkey. This handy website allows you resize, crop and edit pictures quickly.

If you’re a Google Analytics user, this link-building tool will help you track which links people click on the most inside your email. It’s a more advanced tool, but one worth checking out for measuring purposes.

Ready to create a survey? Check out SurveyMonkey. This easy-to-use site helps you create questions and deliver the survey to your email list. (As an added bonus, SurveyMonkey is integrated with VerticalResponse. Learn more about it on our website.)

Now that you’re armed with these five tips your readers won’t be able to resist your emails. As you work to improve your email strategy, monitor your metrics so you know what’s working.

For regular tips on email marketing delivered to your inbox, sign up for our weekly award-winning newsletter.

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

The post 5 Ways to Get More People to Read Your Emails appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

4 Uncommon Ways to Help New Customers Discover Your Business

Wed, 05/27/2015 - 06:00

A growing customer base is critical to any thriving business. Industry research points out multiple elements to include in your overall marketing strategy to reach these gains. By doing so, you increase your ability to not only attract your target market but also encourage new customers to convert, and ensure you retain them.

In a challenging and oversaturated marketplace, this presents businesses of any size willing to take a risk and think unconventionally with a prime opportunity to draw in new customers.

Here are four uncommon ways to help new customers discover your business:

1. Create unique content that truly adds value

By now you’ve heard the phrase so often it’s become cliché, but yes: Content is King. Though everyone is creating it, not all businesses are producing content with significant added value. And that is the difference in success. 

Always remember, project the voice of the customer with your words. When creating content for your website or blog, ask yourself ‘Does this help the reader learn something?’. If the answer is no, start over until you strike the right balance between your brand identity and what your potential customers are looking for.

Launching a new product line soon? Post a short Slideshare presentation that outlines it for your target market in greater detail. 

Write e-books for each subject area featured in your business then allow people to download it in exchange for providing their email address. You’ll be offering great content while building your list. It’s a win-win. 

2. Share your expertise on info swap forums

Question-and-answer hubs like Quora and Ask.com have transitioned from being platforms for novice conversations to valued forums where knowledgeable participants can make a name for themselves offering thorough, in-depth (free!) advice.

To get started, log in and complete a search of the topics being discussed within your industry. From there, try commenting on any that have few or no responses. You’ll be able to gain more visibility, and it’ll show you can tackle a range of questions, further proving your expertise.  

Sites like these are typically supportive of inter-business promotion so definitely add links to your social media handles and website details in your post signature.

3. Give your brand a major overhaul

You’ve built it, but they’re still not coming? It may be time to undergo a brand refresh.

But before you call your graphic designer to get started on that new logo and website template, consider that this process often goes much deeper. You will likely need to tackle a variety of issues and resolve them to improve overall communications for your business.

On the positive side, this process will afford you the opportunity to re-evaluate your brand identity and decide whether you should reposition your business entirely within the market to capture an unforeseen key customer market.

Incorporate useful marketing theory tools such as SWOT Analysis and The Brand Wheel in your initial analysis to gain a stronger understanding of where the essence of your brand is now and where it should go.

4. Actively seek referrals from current customers
 
Before tweets and news feeds, there was word-of-mouth marketing, and it played a significant role in business growth. Even though it usually now takes the form of online reviews and rankings, simply put: Consumers are easily influenced by the opinions of others.

One benefit of referrals is that it eases the vetting process for a business. It offers a built-in ‘middle man’ who can advocate for your brand on a personalized, non-sales pitch level.

Begin this part of your journey by reaching out to 5-10 loyal customers with a referral incentive such as a unique promotional gift or discount off a new product. In exchange, ask if they can send you at least one hot lead from their network.

To make the process run a bit smoother, be sure also to create a simple resource that includes some basic information about your business that your advocates can easily pass along to any new prospective customers. 

For more marketing tips like these, sign up for the weekly VR Buzz Newsletter

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

The post 4 Uncommon Ways to Help New Customers Discover Your Business appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

Use Pinterest Analytics to Increase Visits to Your Retail Website

Tue, 05/26/2015 - 06:00

Pinterest is a social networking site in which users post and share – or pin – pictures. The site’s visual format and user base have unique value for retailers. Though Pinterest has historically been dominated by women, that’s slowly changing as a third of new signups come from men. Twice as many pinners have household incomes over $75K, as opposed to those who make less than $30K. Understanding your Pinterest followers and using that information to grow your business is a huge opportunity with an estimated reach this year of over 47 million users.

Like any social networking site, though, success depends on speaking to your customers and posting things they are interested in sharing. That’s where Pinterest analytics come in. By understanding the analytics on your Pinterest business account you can maximize your website visits and sales. To help you do that, we’ve created a simple list of Pinterest metrics to monitor.

Top Pins in the Last 30 Days

Many Pinterest users come to the site seeking inspiration. The simplest way to understand what those users are interested in at a certain time is to look at the Top Pins in the Last 30 Days. Use these topics to inspire pins which will reach more people. These pins may highlight your products, or they may be general interest pins – some of which should link to your website – which encourage more people to follow you and drives more visits to your website.

Interests  

You can also examine your followers’ most popular interests. By learning what your followers like – be it home décor or travel – you can pin more images which fit in those categories. Again, these pins can be general interest pins, repins and images of your products. By connecting your brand with your audience’s interests, you can drive increases in engagement as well as website visits and sales.

West Elm does an excellent job of curating boards to reflect user interests. Take a look at this example. 

West Elm includes a variety of images and interests on their boards and many link directly back to the West Elm website which aids in helping their pins surface higher in the Pinterest smart feed which is based on the quality of the pin’s source and relevance of pins.

Within your Pinterest Analytics you can see your audience’s interests. Here is a screen shot of some of VerticalResponse’s followers interests:

Having this information is very useful to help you decide what type of boards to create to keep and draw your audience’s attention. 

Top Boards

In addition to strategies based on your audience’s general preferences, Pinterest Analytics can help you understand your own impact. Analytics can help you determine which pins and boards people interact with most, and what appears most in search results. These insights can help you refine your pinning strategy, helping you pin more of what people want and use keywords people are searching for.

Top Boards shows you which of your boards have had the highest interaction – or pin impressions – in the last 30 days. Here are examples from our VerticalResponse account:

To maximize the insight you get from this, you’ll need to organize your boards in a meaningful way. Don’t just have one board for all your products, and other boards for general interest pins. Instead, create different boards for different product lines and interests. That way, when you see which boards people are interacting with you can understand which products are resonating most with pinners. This tells you where your approach might benefit from improvement, and which boards you should pin to more for maximum impact. General interest board impressions can give you more information on what your followers are looking for.

Best in Search

Best in Search shows you which of your pins rank highest in search results. Use this information to hone your descriptions and emphasize keywords which help people find your pins and products.

Power Pins

Power Pins are your most effective pins. They’ve been repinned, liked and clicked frequently. They probably do well in search results. They speak to and engage your audience. Look for patterns in these pins and pin more interesting content that fits with those patterns.

If you notice pins of a certain subject becoming power pins, consider creating a board about that subject. Post both product and lifestyle content which reflects your brand and links back to your website.

Heather Cleveland is an independent residential designer with almost 6,000 followers. On folders of her designs, her most popular pins deal with kitchens. Because of this, a board of only kitchens has become one of her most pinned boards.

Pinterest can help you understand how your brand resonates with people, but the key to this intelligence lives in your Pinterest Analytics. Get started using Pinterest Analytics here.

Sarah Tanksalvala is a freelance writer specializing in marketing, energy, technology and lifestyle. Published in Forbes, the Denver Post, and more. You can learn more about here at SarahTanksalvala.com.

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

The post Use Pinterest Analytics to Increase Visits to Your Retail Website appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

Get a Sneak Peek of VerticalResponse’s New Salesforce App [VIDEO]

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 06:00

Salesforce rules the world when it comes to customer relationship management (CRM) platforms. But even the world’s #1 CRM needs assistance on filling the funnel with customers. It’s at this intersection you’ll find VerticalResponse and our “soon to be released” Salesforce app integration. With VerticalResponse and Salesforce coming together in one application, you can couple the usefulness of email marketing with the power of a customer relationship management platform.

To get you excited, we dedicated our latest episode of Tips in 2 to highlight two of the app’s amazing features. Our very own Jill and Joe show you how you’ll benefit from the two-way sync capability and the new dashboard that allows you to easily see the performance of your emails.

To see details around these new features, click the video below to take a peek. 

For more information on our new Salesforce app, check out our recent blog post.

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

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5 Easy Ways to Streamline Internal Communication

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 08:52

In today’s world, it’s easier than ever before to access information and communicate from anywhere. Your employees aren’t always in the same place at the same time, but that doesn’t mean they can’t communicate effectively. Thankfully we live in a time when communication can be streamlined using tools built specifically for promoting better business communication and productivity in the workplace. Consider these five ways to enhance your company’s internal communication strategy.

1. Send a company newsletter

We’re a fan of the monthly company newsletter; sending more than once a month can be over-kill. Use your newsletter as an outlet for summarizing news and updates. Inform your employees about sales goals and progress, as well as any press your business receives, new hires and anything else you feel necessary for the entire company to know. Keep your newsletter clear and to the point by adding a table of contents and anchor the headlines to their related sections. For longer articles, just use a short description of the article and add a link to the full article on the web.

2. Choose one tool for all company chats

Build a stronger working relationship amongst your employees, especially if your business operates in several different locations. The ability to chat in real-time increases productivity and builds a forum for your employees to feel comfortable sharing ideas. For secure, easy-to-use chat tools, check out Yammer, Hipchat and Slack. Chat one-on-one, in a group and invite clients to the conversation while controlling what they see.

All three tools save chats indefinitely, allowing you to reference previous conversations. Slack comes highly recommended by our Social Media Manager, Derek Overbey, due to its robust search functionality providing the ability to search entire conversations by keywords. You can also leave a conversation and pick up right where you left off upon return to the application.

Yammer is HIPAA compliant, so if your business is in the medical field or you have clients in the medical field, you’re permitted to chat away! Hipchat uses the same security protocol as online banks and allows you to deploy its service on your company server. Use all three applications on your phone, tablet or computer to chat anytime, anywhere.

3. Store and share files in one place

Protect the files you share with your co-workers and clients by using Dropbox or Box. Both services allow you to control the content being shared, along with the ability to manage who is sharing content. It’s important for your employees to access documents from one place, but you also need to make sure your documents are stored securely. Dropbox and Box provide solid security structures with strong encryption methods, password protected links, and superior access controls.

Box also provides the functionality to make live edits to shared content and automate workflows for reviews and approval. This is especially useful for franchises that need an easy way to manage brand consistency for marketing materials used by their franchisees.

4. Conduct conference calls from one, secure phone number

Every business needs a reliable conference call tool. Two recommendations are GoToMeeting and UberConference. Schedule conferences with multiple offices, loop in employees working remotely and schedule meetings with clients or vendors. Using both tools, you can see a picture of everyone included on the call and know who is speaking at any given time, which is a huge plus for businesses that have multiple locations.

Your employees may not know everyone in the company, so the ability to put a face to the people they’re working with helps build a stronger community.

Both tools are simple to use and allow you to record your meetings. One of the advantages UberConference has over GoToMeeting is the ability to use the same phone number you signed up with. Check out both to find the tool that best fits your business needs.

5. Manage projects from one dashboard

If you aren’t using a project management tool, it’s time to consider using one. It’s essential to keeping all communication regarding projects in one place. With tools such as Asana and Trello, you can manage workflows smoothly and efficiently. Both applications require minimal effort to set up and are easy-to-use.

Asana designed its layout to appeal to those who are more ‘list-oriented’. Using Asana, you can create ‘to-do’ lists, manage projects via the calendar function, assign tasks to tags and easily keep track of project updates.

Trello has more of a visual dashboard that displays projects as boards. Each project board allows you to create cards where you can add comments, upload files, and assign tasks. Drag and drop cards to lists to keep track of progress.

Set up a free account with both to find out which layout you prefer.

Use these five ways to streamline your internal communication. You’ll be on your way to creating an environment where your employees feel comfortable communicating ideas and feedback with one another leading to innovation, increased productivity, and a better company culture.

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

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5 Retail Tips to Make the Most of Dads and Grads

Wed, 05/20/2015 - 06:00

What do dads and grads have in common? They both give us reasons to celebrate this time of year. We’re in the midst of high school and college graduation season, and Father’s Day is right around the corner on June 21. With 2014 spending on dads and grads in the $17 billion range, it’s smart to take advantage of this double opportunity. 

While these two groups differ greatly in their wants and needs, there’s no reason you can’t market for both occasions at the same time. In the process, you’ll save on the cost and effort required to promote these events separately.

5 tips to capture retail sales for both fathers and graduates:

1. Remind.

Now that Mother’s Day is over, remind people to think about gifts for dads and grads. Use signage, banners and ads in your store, on your website, and on your social media pages. Spread the word with direct and email campaigns, local newspaper ads, and other events where you’ll have a marketing presence.

2. Share ideas.

Many shoppers struggle to come up with gift ideas. Suggest items you offer that top dads’ and grads’ wish lists. Create corresponding merchandise displays in store to make it easy for shoppers to go straight to your gift suggestions. You can create simple gift guides that can be shared via email and on image-centric social media channels like Pinterest and Instagram

3. Gift wrap for free.

Make sure you have gift wrap, gift bags, ribbons and bows in patterns that are appropriate for both groups. Then let your customers know that when they shop for the dads and grads, you’ll wrap every gift they purchase from you, free of charge.

4. Offer gift cards.

For the dads and grads who’d rather choose their own gifts, gift cards are an ideal solution. At checkout, offer gift card boxes for a special touch. Possibly include a coupon or offer with the gift card to encourage the recipient to come in and use it. 

5. Capture repeat business.

Before shoppers leave your store, give them a compelling reason to return. For example, you might promote a special summer sale, reward them with a buy-one-get-one-free coupon, or invite them to an event.

Marketing gift ideas for dads and grads is a popular retail trend. Now’s the time to go after these sales for your business.

Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published by Bags & Bows. The post has been updated for accuracy and relevance.

Stay in touch with the dads and grads on your list using VerticalResponse.

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

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How to Use Google Ad Extensions to Boost Visits to Your Retail Store

Tue, 05/19/2015 - 06:00

Google defines Ad Extensions as “a type of ad format to show extra information (“extending” from your text ads) about your business.” You may find ad extensions effective since you’re giving searchers more reasons to click on your ad. These ad extensions can improve visibility by taking up more real estate on the search results page. Additionally, because you’re giving more information to searchers, they help improve click-through-rates (CTR) and bring down price-per-click (PPC) costs.

There are multiple types of ad extensions that can be used to show different information. In order for ad extensions to appear, you must show up in the top 3 positions of the search results page. There are no additional fees for using ad extensions. They’re treated the same as receiving a click on your regular ad. Below we break down each type of extension.

Click to Call Extensions

These extensions give searchers a call button link to directly call your business. These are good to use if your business requires or allows for calls to your location. For example, if you have a pizza delivery restaurant, this extension could prompt people to call and place an order.

Location Extensions

Location extensions are great for local businesses who want people to come into their brick and mortar stores. Two studies commissioned by Google last year confirmed that “local searchers are ready to act. Many visit a nearby location within a day and complete purchases at a higher rate than consumers who conduct non-local searches.” For example, florists, cleaners, or boutiques can show up for people in certain geographic locations. These extensions show the address and phone number and link to Google Maps for easy directions.  If searchers can see your location without having to look it up separately it may sway their decision to come into your store.

Review Extensions

If your retail location has won awards, such as having a Zagat rating or Best Of category, you can display this on your search ad. Additionally, you can pull in reviews from customers as well. This symbol of excellence may be the deciding factor between a potential customer choosing between your restaurant and another one for lunch.

Sitelink Extensions

Sitelink extensions allow you to add links to additional pages and content on your website. This gives you the ability to share the information you think your potential customers may be interested in. If you have a retail store, you can highlight sales, promotions, or popular items. Additionally, you can use it to showcase your blog or a store locator.

Callout Extensions

Similar to sitelink extensions, callout extensions offer a way to highlight additional information. The difference is that callout extensions don’t link to any specific page on your site. The ideal way to use these is to “call out” things that may influence a buyer. For example, “free shipping”, “money back guarantee”, etc. can be good uses for these call outs.

Social Extensions

The social extension shows searchers how many followers you have on Google +. Probably the least important of all the extension types, but having a high follower number does signify trust which can bode well for your business. If you’ve taken the time to build your social following it’s worth including since your ad is taking up more real estate on the search results page.

Whether you’re a local business or an online retailer, competition can be fierce. Leveraging ad extensions can help you get the leg up on your competitors by making information more accessible to potential customers. Ideally, you should make use of every extension you to influence searchers decisions. Check out Google’s support page to learn about additional extensions, implementation and more.

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

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A New VerticalResponse for Salesforce is Coming Soon

Mon, 05/18/2015 - 09:47

February 2005. Do you remember what happened 10 years ago? Here are a few things from pop-culture that you may recall:

  • The New England Patriots won 24-21 over the Philadelphia Eagles at Super Bowl XXXIX.
  • A video-sharing website called YouTube launched in the United States.
  • “Million Dollar Baby”, Jamie Foxx, and Hilary Swank took home Oscars from the 77th Academy Awards.

Plus, a big moment in VerticalResponse history happened that year. VerticalResponse for Salesforce launched. Just like life without YouTube, business didn’t have AppExchange back then. Hard to imagine. Instead, there was an integration into the Lists section of a VerticalResponse account that enabled you to pull over Leads or Contacts. As the saying goes, “We’ve come a long way, baby!”

Even with on-going updates, our AppExchange offering has been long overdue for a refresh. Our recent hard work is now paying off as we’re excited to bring you a new and improved experience. Our new VerticalResponse for Salesforce integration is coming soon so we wanted to give you a sneak peek into three things you can expect.

Responsive Email Templates

The new VerticalResponse for Salesforce will offer fully responsive email templates. No matter which template you use, or images you add, your email will look great on any device. Want to check out how your email is going to look on a mobile phone? Or, tablet? We built in a preview page so you can be confident in your email before you push send.

Additionally, with the updated integration, you’ll be able to open your VerticalResponse account in a new browser tab. From here, you can set up and send your emails. This is a welcome change if you’re not a fan of the scroll bars in the current application (blame the iframe, for any inquiring minds). We made the design and interface much more streamlined for you. 

Two-way Syncing

You’ve always been able to pull your Leads or Contacts from Salesforce to create a list, and then send back updated reporting. Now you’ll also be able to sync Contacts from your VerticalResponse lists, including those attached to a sign up form, and update back to Salesforce. And, of course, you’ll still be able to sync your email reporting data to your Leads and Contacts.

Create and Sync Contacts from Salesforce Campaigns or Reports

Speaking of syncing lists, you’ll also be able to use either a Salesforce Campaign or Report to create a list in your VerticalResponse account. And the information will sync automatically. You heard us correctly! No longer will you need to click the Update Statistics button to send the data from your VerticalResponse account to your Leads and Contacts. VerticalResponse does it for you. You can still choose to sync the data whenever you like. We just made it so you’ll never worry about any data differences between the two programs. 

There’s more to come in addition to these three new features with the updated VerticalResponse for Salesforce integration. The release date is coming soon so stay tuned for more information. 

To read more about VerticalResponse product updates, see our Product Update category on our award-winning blog. 

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

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