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3 Emails You Should Send to Increase Customer Appointments

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 06:00

Looking to fill your appointment book? If your business runs on appointments or scheduled service calls, you can use email marketing to fill your calendar.

From small insurance agencies to lawn maintenance companies, if you make money through service calls or consultations, you can increase the number of appointments that you set up. How? It’s all about sending the right emails.

Here are three emails you can count on to fill up your calendar and get customers coming back again and again.

1. Schedule an appointment email

Sometimes a little electronic nudge is all it takes to encourage someone to make an appointment. People are busy and appreciate a reminder.

This email draws on your list of current customers. It’s not only a great way to boost appointments, but it also can promote customer retention.

You can even segment your list for better results. Separate your list by the kind of service customers have requested in the past, and send specific emails that remind them it’s time for another appointment. For example, if you have a auto shop you can remind folks when it’s time to change their oil, rotate their tires or do other maintenance.

You can provide an incentive with a limited-time offer to create a sense of urgency. This auto repair company offers a complimentary oil and filter change. In the same email, there’s a call to action that leads customers to book an appointment.

Don’t have an online appointment service? There are several free tools that can help. Try Calendly or YouCanBook.Me. Both of these tools integrate with Google Calendar.  Customers can see your public calendar, select a time that works for them and set up their own appointment.

2. Get a quote email

When you have a handful of prospective clients, one of the best ways to get them on your books is to encourage them to get a quote. Let’s say you run a cleaning service, or a lawn maintenance company. Send an email that explains the benefits of your service and suggest the recipient email or call for a quote.

Here’s an example from a health insurance company. Notice the text is simple, and the recipient is given multiple ways to get a quote.

This is an easy way to gauge interest. When you get a request, you can follow up with more detailed information about the service you offer and pricing plans.

3. I’ll call you email

Both of the email options above put the power in the consumers’ hands. When they open your email, it’s up to them to schedule an appointment or ask for a quote. If you want to take a little more control, you can try to do something a bit different. Rather than ask customers to make an appointment, tell customers that you’ll reach out at a specific time to talk more about your services.

Let’s say you run a small insurance agency. You can send an email that touts the benefits of your services and plans a follow up phone call. So, after you highlight the benefits, you can add a line that says, “I’ll give you a call tomorrow at 2 pm to discuss our services with you. I look forward to connecting with you.” (Of course, this presumes you have the client’s phone number as well.)

The next day, follow through with your phone call. Leave a message if no one answers.

For some business owners, this kind of marketing might seem too pushy. For others, it’s an effective way to increase appointments. As always, you have to decide what works best for your business.

Additional tips

Here are a few extra tips to keep your appointment book full:

  • Try more than once

It’s okay to reach out to customers more than once. Maybe your customer is on vacation and didn’t open your email, or maybe he or she meant to call but didn’t get to it. If an email goes unanswered, send another in a few days with a slightly different message.

  • Make continual efforts to grow your email list

The more email contacts you have, the more opportunities you have to make appointments. Keep adding email contacts to your list by setting up a sign up form on your website and social media channels so customers have an easy way to get more information about your business.

  • Get help when you need it

If you need help making calls or setting up appointments, ask a friend or an intern to help. Don’t let your email marketing or follow up calls slip. This is especially true if your business is seasonal, or has a busy streak. Plan ahead so you have the help you need to maximize your appointments.

Get your free signup form and send your emails for free with 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.

The post 3 Emails You Should Send to Increase Customer Appointments appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

10 DIY Ways to Get More Visits to Your Website

Tue, 04/28/2015 - 06:00

Every business needs a website to survive, but is your website getting as many visitors as you’d like? It’s a rhetorical question, really. What business wouldn’t want to increase visits? After all, when potential customers visit your website, you can increase brand awareness, educate consumers and drive revenue.

However, you might be stumped on how to get more folks to visit your website. Not to worry. We’ve created this list of ten ways to increase visits. This list of actionable, do-it-yourself ideas is aimed at busy businesses just like yours.

1. Register your business with online directories

There are dozens of online directories that you can take advantage of. Think of them like electronic telephone books, but better. With online directories like YellowPages you can create a business profile, which includes a link to your website. Here’s an example.

There are several benefits to online directories like this. First, you can make them as detailed as you’d like. From business hours to a profile picture, you decide how much information to put in. Second, they’re free. Any opportunity to increase your audience through a free service is worth looking into.

Below you’ll find a list of the top five most popular business directories with links to get your profile started. You can also check out our post, The Top 20 Places Your Business Should Be Listed Online.

Pro tip: For service-based businesses, Angie’s List is a great online directory. It has become the go-to spot for customers to find reliable service providers. Customers can rate your business and generate positive word of mouth.

If you need some help getting your business listed in directories, our sister company, Orange Soda offers a service called LocalSync to manage your business profiles across 40+ local directories, apps and mapping sites to make sure your local customers get the right information every time.

2. List your business website in your email signature

You’re constantly writing and sending emails, right? Well, every email you send is an opportunity to get your website out there. Make sure your business website is listed and “clickable” in your email signature. If you need help setting up a signature, just check out these support links below:

3. Facebook ads

When it comes to social media advertising, you have a lot of options. However, one of the easiest ways to bump your website visits is through Facebook ads. When you set up an ad, Facebook asks you to pick an advertising goal. In this case, you can select ‘increasing website traffic’ as your objective.

Once your objective is set, you have several ad options. A lot of small businesses chose to set up an ad that appears in the News Feed. This ad typically offers a discount on a product or service, which gives customers enough incentive to click on the ad and land on your website to place an order.

4. Leverage your LinkedIn audience

Many businesses don’t have time to write and manage a blog. Instead, you can use your LinkedIn page as a mini blog. LinkedIn has a popular publishing feature that allows you to post articles right to your page. Your connections can see the post in their feeds.

Not sure what to write about? Share your thoughts on recent industry changes, write a post about a news story that involves your line of work or talk about a new tool that’s helped your business grow. You want to write something that’s thought-provoking, not promotional.

This idea is especially helpful for service-based businesses. When you’re selling a service, you want to show your authority in the niche.

Of course, to send visitors back to your website, you have to include links. Make sure you link several spots within your post to lead people to your site.

5. Be a resource for reporters

As a business owner, you have expertise in a certain field. Reporters are constantly looking for experts to help with stories. How do you connect with these reporters? Take a look at this website: Help A Reporter Out.

On this site you’ll find a list of stories that reporters need help with. When you find a story that’s in your wheelhouse, you can send the reporter an email through the platform. If the reporter likes your response, he or she will reach out to you and set up an interview. You’ll be quoted in a newspaper article or blog post, and a link to your website will be included in the article.

You need to set up an account, but you don’t have to pay to belong to it. It’s a great way to get free publicity for your business and drive traffic to your website.

Pro tip: MyLocalReporter is like Help a Reporter Out, but in reverse. Business owners can search for reporters that fit their niche and reach out to them. It puts business owners in control, rather than waiting for a reporter to post a query that fits.

For more tools to get free publicity for your business check out this post.

6. Set up an online store

Does your website serve as an informational placeholder? In other words, does it offer basic information about your business and product with minimal interactive features? If so, it might be time to upgrade. Many visitors expect a more interactive e-commerce experience. 

To get your website up to speed, check out Shopify. Using this do-it-yourself platform, you can create a website that has shopping features. You can set up a digital store, create an online shopping cart, enable credit card payments, collect taxes, set up shipping options and track your sales.

If you don’t want to do a complete website upgrade, you can start by adding a Buy Button to your current website. It’s a nice way to take Shopify for a test run.  

Pro tip: When you use Shopify, you’ll be able to collect email addresses at checkout. VerticalResponse is integrated with Shopify, so all of those new contacts will flow seamlessly into your VerticalResponse email account. You’ll be able to use these new contacts to encourage even more website visits.

7. Send visit-boosting emails

With so many websites out there, you need to remind your audience to visit yours. How? Email. Your email list is one of the most valuable marketing tools you have in your arsenal. By sending targeted messages to your customers or clients, you can funnel them to your website to schedule an appointment or make a purchase.

So, which emails offer the visitor influx you’re looking for? While every email has the potential to boost your visit numbers, here are three emails that we suggest sending:

  • Promotional email

Get your customers to visit your website by emailing a promotion or an incentive. If you sell a product, offer a discount or free shipping. If you don’t sell a product, you can still use promotional emails, you just have to be more creative. An insurance business can offer free consultations, a cleaning service can offer 10 percent off services, a software company can offer free demonstrations to any company that sets up an appointment, and a furnace repair company can offer homeowners a free energy audit. There are no limits to promotional ideas. Offer free webinars, small gifts or ebooks. 

  • Email invitation

Hosting an event? Send invitations via email. First, make sure you have a page dedicated to your upcoming event on your website. Make sure that page has all of the event details on it, including a way to RSVP for the event. Now, head over to your email account and prepare an invitation. The call to action in this email will take the reader right to your event page. In addition, the email should contain at least one link to your website’s main page.

  • Announcement emails

When you have a new product or service, share it with your email subscribers. Describe what’s new, how the item benefits them, the cost and how they can get it. Your call to action should direct customers to your website where they can sign up for the service or buy the new product.

Here’s an example of an email that Picjumbo sent out for a new product.

8. Invest in affordable marketing materials

Headed to a conference? Is your business exhibiting at a local trade show? Anytime you’re meeting-and-greeting people, you should be able to offer some sort of “takeaway.”

Of course, you have to be careful. You can spend a lot of money on business swag, so you’ll want to come up with a plan. Have something like a brochure or postcard. Offer an educational reference that allows customers to recall your business or service later on. We also suggest a trinket or fun giveaway. Whether you opt for branded pens or key chains, it’s up to you. VerticalResponse offers a wildly popular brand box with over 1400 promotional items

9. Go old school

Handing out marketing materials might seem a little old school, but there are plenty of offline ways to promote your business that you should consider. Here are a few ideas:

  • Put your website on your business card. Every time you hand out a business card, you’re introducing a prospective customer or client to your business. If they want to learn more later on, they’ll look to your business card to get more information.
  • Become a public speaker. Offer to speak at your local chamber of commerce meeting and be sure to include your website in your presentation.
  • Hang fliers in local establishments. Ready to launch a new product? Hosting an upcoming sale? Create a quick flier with tear-off website information and hang them at local hotspots like laundry mats and community centers.
  • Sponsor an event. When local charities are looking for sponsors, consider contributing. Look for possibilities where your name, logo and website are placed in front of an audience. For example, a local theater company could highlight your business and website in its programs.
  • Use your vehicle to advertise. Every business owner travels around town. Why not advertise while you’re headed to the bank or post office? Consider purchasing a sticker for your back window or a magnet for the side of your car that has your business name and website on it.

10. Try something out of the ordinary

When you’re trying to promote your website, it’s good to get creative. Here are a few out-of-the-box ideas to turn heads and drive website visits at the same time.

  • Chalk art advertising. Know an artist? Several brands have had success with chalk art advertising. When Planet of the Apes came out, Warner Brothers used these chalk drawings to promote word of mouth and website visits.
  • Flash mob. Ready to get your groove on? Try a flash mob to promote your website. What’s a flash mob? It’s a group of people who meet in a public place and break out into a choreographed dance. Leave your website address in chalk on the sidewalk behind you, or hand out fliers to the audience after.
  • Project your website on your building. Turn heads with a projection of your business name and website on your building. Projection advertising is a popular way to drum up attention, so why not give it a try for your business? You can go all out and hire a company to do something like this, or you can buy a small projector and project your website address in your window at night.

How do you get more visits to your website? Please add to our list in the comment section below.

© 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 10 DIY Ways to Get More Visits to Your Website appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

The 4 Emails Retailers Should Send for Mother’s Day

Mon, 04/27/2015 - 06:00

This year, Mother’s Day is May 10 and if you don’t already have a plan in place to reach out to your customers by email, it’s not too late to get started.

As a retailer, Mother’s Day isn’t a holiday you want to miss out on. Take a look at these stats from Statistic Brain:

            • There are 85.4 million moms in the U.S.
            • The average American will spend $168.94 on mom for Mother’s Day.
            • 28.5% of Mother’s Day gifts are bought online.

With stats like that, you’ll want to kick your email marketing into high gear.

We recommend that you start marketing at least two weeks before Mother’s Day to make the most of it. Research by Experian found that 80 percent of email-generated revenue occurred in the 11 days leading up to Mother’s Day and on the holiday itself.

Need a little inspiration? Here are four emails you should send to celebrate Mother’s Day:

1. Gift suggestion email

Who doesn’t need a little gift inspiration now and then? Help your customers by offering gift ideas. Whether you highlight your main product or create a gift guide, you should showcase gifts that mom’s would like. Think about organizing your gift guide by interest, style or price points. 

If you need help creating a gift guide, check out this post that walks you through the process.

Gift guides are also great to share on image-centric social sites like Pinterest and Instagram. With sales on the line, it might be a great time to try out using Promoted Pins and see if they translate into revenue for you. 

2. Invitation email

Use email to invite your customers to an event, class, sale or contest.

Contests can increase customer engagement and increase visits to your brick-and-mortar store or website. A florist could have customers post photos of their mothers on the store’s Facebook page for a chance to win free flowers. A bookstore or kitchen store could hold a Mother’s Day recipe contest for a free cookbook.

Local retailers could also invite customers out to a mom-themed sale or event. Clothing shops can run a Mother’s Day sale, a local spa can host a mother-daughter event.

If you plan ahead, you can organize a class that focuses on Mother’s Day. Hobby stores, for example, can invite customers to a craft class to make a gift for their special someone.

Be sure to include all of the necessary details in the invitation email that you send.

3. Last minute sale email

People tend to wait until the last minute to buy gifts, so give them a nudge with a last minute email. Sweeten the deal with a promotion.

Use clear messaging in your subject line to indicate that time is running out on a certain deal, a limited item or free shipping. Whatever the enticement, put your offer right in the subject line to make sure recipients open the email and take action.

Take a look at the example below. This retailer creates a sense of urgency and offers an incentive to get subscribers to act.

4. Celebrate the holiday email

When Mother’s Day rolls around, send an email that celebrates the holiday. There’s no sales push, just an acknowledgment of appreciation. You could send this email to everyone on your list, or just those who made a purchase. If you send an email to those who made a Mother’s Day purchase, be sure to thank them as well.

How will your business utilize email marketing during Mother’s Day this year? Tell us in the comment section below.

Send emails for Mother’s Day using VerticalResponse – It’s free up to 1,000 email contacts.

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 4 Emails Retailers Should Send for Mother’s Day appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

A Beginner’s Guide to Creating a Must-See SlideShare Presentation

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 06:00

You’re effectively using Facebook for your business and you can tweet with the best of them, so what social channel should you conquer next? SlideShare. This social media network, which helps you create and share presentations, is perfect for businesses. 

SlideShare averages 60 million unique visitors a month. By creating and sharing presentations you could boost your exposure, brand awareness and sales.

The network has ready-made templates, color schemes, easy-to-populate charts and a simple editor so you don’t need a lot of experience to create great presentations. But, we know that learning your way around a new social platform can be tricky, so we created this six-step guide to help you create and share must-see presentations.

1. Create a must-read title

The title to your SlideShare presentation is just as important as an email subject line. Your audience could decide whether or not to open your presentation based on your title. Here are some tips to create a great title:

  • Ask a question. What question does your presentation answer? Use this information to create a title. For example, “What Can Make-a-Wish Foundation do With $5?”. 
  • Solve a problem. If your presentation solves a problem, play its strength up in the title. A title like, “10 Ways to Make Your Sluggish PC Run Faster” is an attractive solution to an audience.
  • Intrigue people. Make your audience so curious that they have to open your presentation. A title like, “5 Ways Your Retail Business Can Make an Extra $10,000 This Month” is enough to piqué curiosity.
  • Shock your audience. A title like, “10 Reasons Your Presentation with Tank” will grab attention.

2. Select a presentation structure

Set up your presentation in an easy-to-digest way. Here are a few options:

  • Step-by-step guide. Show your audience how to do something. For example, if you run a photography website you can create, “How to Shoot Family Portraits Outside.”
  • Informational Lists. SlideShare lends itself to a list format. For example, “10 Ways Non-Profits Can Attract New Donors” would work.
  • Crazy statistics. Similar to the list format, you can also create a presentation that showcases unique statistics about your business, product or industry. Here’s an example: “10 Presentation Facts You Should Know.”
  • Storytelling. Use each slide to tell a story. For example, a non-profit could share the success story of one person. Each slide provides a little more information about the person, their background and how the non-profit was able to help.

3. Find great visuals

If you want to attract an audience, you need great visuals. There are backgrounds that you can use within SlideShare. However, you might not find what you’re looking for. This means you might need some stock photography sites. Shutterstock and iStock are popular options.

  • Tip: If you’re on a budget, there are several free stock sites that you could try out. Picjumbo,  Pixaby and Death to the Stock Photo are all searchable sites that have free options. You won’t have the same selection you have with paid sites, but they’re worth a look.

4. Create killer content

Whatever your topic, make sure the information you provide is worthy of another person’s time. You can’t just create ten slides for the heck of it and expect people to click through it. Create content that you’re proud to share and your presentation will get noticed.

Take a minute to look through some of the featured presentations on SlideShare before you get started.

5. Add call to action links

At the end of your presentation, you should add several clickable links to serve as calls to action. You can encourage people to visit your website, suggest that people follow you on social media or ask people to sign up for your email list.

If you want people to visit your website, include the full URL and tell people that it’s clickable. For example, write something like, “Learn more about our marketing services by clicking the link below.” Don’t hyperlink text, put the entire link in the presentation. This way your audience has options: click the link or copy and paste it into the search bar.

  • Tip: If the link you want to include is long, use an online tool like Bitly to shorten it. A long URL takes up too much space and clutters your page. Shorten it before you add it to your presentation.

If you want people to follow you on social media channels, tell them to click on the icon in your presentation to do so.

To get people to sign up for your email list, add a link to your VerticalResponse sign up form. You can say something like, “Click the link below to get interesting information like this delivered to your inbox.” It’s an easy way to collect email addresses and grow your list.

6. Share your presentation

Now that you have a phenomenal presentation, it’s time to show it off. Here are a few ways to share it: 

  • Social media channels. Share a link to your presentation on all of your social media channels, including your LinkedIn page. LinkedIn and SlideShare are both professional social networks so they work well together.
  • Get picked up by SlideShare. SlideShare picks a few presentations each day to feature on its homepage. Obviously, being featured is a big win in the audience department. Fortunately, the tips we’ve listed increase your chances of being featured.
  • Tip: SlideShare put together a presentation to help you with this too.
  • Put the presentation on your website and blog. You can embed your presentation on your website or blog to encourage more views.
  • Have you used SlideShare? Tell us how you use it to promote your business or product in the comment section below.

    Get more social tips and tactics by subscribing to the weekly VerticalResponse email 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 A Beginner’s Guide to Creating a Must-See SlideShare Presentation appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

    How to Remove the VerticalResponse Footer Logo from Your Emails

    Thu, 04/23/2015 - 09:56

    Here in the VerticalResponse office we have lots of things with our logo on them - cups, banners, heaps of awards, tote bags, and of course t-shirts. We even designed a shirt for dogs. Turns out, our furry friends love wearing a purple tee with a big V on the back. It’s possible though, that not everyone is as enamored with our logo as we are, so we’ve made it easy to remove the logo from the footer of the emails you send through our system.

    Here’s how to remove the logo from your VerticalResponse emails:

    • Go to Profile in the top right corner of your account
    • Select My Contact Info
    • At the bottom of the page click the box to turn off the logo
    • Click Save at the top of the page

    It’s that easy. When you choose to remove the logo, the action will be applied to any future emails you create; any that you’ve already sent out or are in draft will still contain the logo. If you’ve set up an autoresponder email and you choose to remove the logo, we’ll remove it on the next email sent from the system. No need to create a new email or pause your autoresponder.


    This option is only available for the new VerticalResponse for paid accounts.  If you are using our free plan, and want to remove the logo, simply upgrade your account.

    The choice is now yours to display our logo in the footer of your email, or not. We kind of hope you like it as much as we do, but we won’t take it personally if you chose to remove it.

    Want to stay in the loop on all things VerticalResponse? Sign up for our weekly VR Buzz email.

    © 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 Remove the VerticalResponse Footer Logo from Your Emails appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

    What Does Facebook’s News Feed Updates Mean for You?

    Thu, 04/23/2015 - 06:00

    In an effort to the find the right mix of content for people’s News Feed, Facebook announced three updates. While the updates aim to improve the experience for most users, these changes could have a negative impact on business pages.

    While many brands and marketers have become immune to Facebook’s frequent algorithm updates, it’s still a good idea to understand them. To help you do that, we’ll break down these recent changes and how they might impact you.

    1. Improving the experience for people with limited content

    Before this update, users with a smaller group of friends, or fewer liked pages, would see a limited amount of content. Facebook prohibited multiple posts from the same source from appearing in the News Feed. This update now allows users to see more than one post from the same publisher in their feed.

    2. Content from Friends supersedes content from Brands

    Users complained they missed important updates from close friends. This was especially critical for those with large networks due to the amount of content flowing through their News Feed. With this update, items such as photos, videos, status updates, or links from closest connections will appear higher in the feed so there is a higher likelihood you will see them.

    3. Notifications about your Friends liking or commenting on a post will appear lower in News Feed

    Facebook users “don’t enjoy seeing stories about their friends liking or commenting on a post.” This update will make these updates appear lower in News Feed or not at all, so you can actually see the content directly from friends and the pages you have liked.

    How will these updates affect your Business Page?

    Facebook is not sugarcoating anything with this announcement in regard to how it will impact Business Pages. In the blog post, they state the impact on Page distribution will “vary considerably depending on the composition of your audience and your posting activity.” They do warn that “in some cases, post reach and referral traffic could potentially decline.”

    This could mean brands and businesses will have to pay an even larger premium to be seen in users News Feeds. What do you think about this latest Facebook News Feed update? We’d love to hear your opinion in the comments.

    © 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 Does Facebook’s News Feed Updates Mean for You? appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

    7 Tips to Creating a Memorable Slogan

    Wed, 04/22/2015 - 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)

    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.

    Of course, VerticalResponse has a creative team on hand if you need help with your logo, website or other branding materials.

    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 Tips to Creating a Memorable Slogan appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

    Top 10 Website Eyesores to Avoid

    Tue, 04/21/2015 - 06:00

    Whether you use a do-it-yourself website builder or work directly with a designer, check out the following list of website eyesores that should be avoided at all costs. Does your website have any of these inadvertent eyesores?

    1. Anything that Blinks

    We’ve all been to those sites where either a text or image is blinking at us just begging for attention. It can be very annoying and distracting. Just don’t do it. Instead, if you need to illustrate how something works, try using an animated GIF image to show it like we do with our email creation tool in the example below:

    2.  Busy Backgrounds

    A background holds the entire theme of a website. Try to pick a color or pattern that complements your text and imagery. Avoid distracting backgrounds that make it hard to read your text. In the example below, the background color and pattern is very distracting and you can barely read the text on the page. 

    3. Too Many Fonts and Colors

    You want your site to project an image of professionalism and credibility. Pick fonts and colors that complement your brand. Quantity does not necessarily indicate quality with fonts and colors on a site. Best practice is the have two to three fonts and colors per page, maximum. See this post for some advice on the psychology of color and how it can impact your site. 

    4. No Clear Focal Point or Call to Action

    Not having one or having too many focal points on your website will confuse your site visitors. A focal point is the most important part of the page or the part of the page that is the most dominant and should focus your visitor on taking an intended action. Whether it’s buying something, downloading content or calling to schedule an appointment, make sure your focal point is tied to a clear call to action on your site.

    The page example below is clearly overloaded with too many calls to action. As a site visitor, what action are you supposed to take? By the way, this page also has 4 blinking images on it (then again, it is a UFO site!)

    5. Text Annoyances

    Text annoyances can include text that’s too small, too large, in all caps, bold, italic, or underlined text that’s not linked. It’s especially bad if all of these styles appear in one paragraph or page together. Balance how you treat text so that it’s easily readable. In this case, less is more. 

    6. Not Mobile Friendly

    Your website should look great on any device your visitor is using, whether it’s a desktop computer, tablet or smartphone. Visitors are less likely to stay on your site if it’s not mobile friendly. It’s important to make your business website mobile friendly not only for visitors, but for search engines as well

    7. Outdated Content

    Make sure to update your website on a regular basis. Creating and launching your website for the first time is only the beginning. Not only do search engines like sites that are updated on a regular basis, your visitors will too.  Get rid of that reference to a 2012 promotion. Customers want the latest and greatest information about your products, services and company news.  Need some inspiration, read about 4 quick fixes to reboot your website. 

    8. Hiding Your Contact Information

    Finding your phone number, address and hours of operation should not be a game of hide and seek on your site. It’s one of the primary pieces of information that a visitor will look for. Make sure it’s in a prominent, easy-to-find location.

    9. Cluttered Pages

    Having white space (where a space is intentionally left blank so there is no text or images) is actually a good thing on a website.  White space can make a page more readable. An overly busy website can be overwhelming to a visitor and will drive them to quickly leave your site. De-cluttering your site and adding white space helps you create an enjoyable experience as well as creating that all-important focal point.

    Below is a clear example of how a cluttered website could use a little more white space.

    Here’s how white space should be used: 

    10. Stop the Music

    No music should start automatically playing when someone visits your website. If you absolutely want some mood music playing, make sure it’s consistent across every page and give your visitor the option to pause it when they want.

    Check your website against this list of the top ten website eyesores. If you’re in violation of anything on the list, take some time to think about how your website can be more appealing to your visitors so they will come back again and again.

    For more design tips, visit the design category of our VerticalResponse blog.  

    What other website eyesores would you add to our list? Please share in the comments section below.  

    Get more tips and tactics by subscribing to the weekly VerticalResponse email 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.

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    Twitter Announces You Can Now Receive Direct Messages from Any User

    Tue, 04/21/2015 - 06:00

    Twitter announced they made a major change to Direct Messages making it easier to communicate one-to-one or to groups on the social network. The change allows you to send and receive Direct Messages from anyone, even if you’re not following him or her.
    You can enable a setting to Receive Direct Messages from anyone on the Security and privacy settings page. According to Twitter’s blog changes also include:

    • A setting that allows you to receive Direct Messages from anyone, even if you don’t follow them. Twitter provides these instructions for changing your settings. 
    • Updated messaging rules so you can reply to anyone who sends you a Direct Message, regardless of whether or not that person follows you.
    • A new Direct Message button on profile pages on Android and iPhone. You’ll see it on the profiles of people you can send Direct Messages to.

    Twitter also says that if you receive a Direct Message from someone you don’t want to privately converse with, you can either block the user or unfollow them and delete the conversation. If you have enabled the Receive Direct Messages from anyone setting, blocking the user will stop them from sending you Direct Messages.

    What do you think about this change to Direct Messages on Twitter? Will you opt to receive messages from anyone? Share your thoughts in the comments.

    © 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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    Get Better Results: Grow Clients’ Email Lists the Right Way

    Mon, 04/20/2015 - 06:00

    No one wants to receive unsolicited email messages when checking their inbox. However, businesses often forget this and want to acquire as many new customers as possible by emailing people regardless of whether or not those potential customers signed up to be on their email list. Poor list building practices and maintenance can hurt email delivery rates and damage businesses’ reputations. When delivery rates are damaged, even those who want to receive your emails can’t get them. Many businesses mean well, but don’t know how they should handle email marketing in comparison to direct mail.

    Here are 5 things to look for that may indicate trouble when working with your clients’ lists:

    1. Generic email prefixes

    Most people don’t sign-up for an email list with a generic email address. If you notice a large number of email addresses with prefixes like info@, sales@, webmaster@, etc. it may be a sign the addresses may have been scraped from the Internet.

    2. Age of list

    If your client is sending to their list for the first time, find out how long they’ve been collecting email addresses and if those addresses are permission-based. If the list hasn’t been mailed to in over 6 months, it is likely there will be a number of bounces and spam complaints the first time it is mailed to. If your client has sign-up data, sort and remove outdated records before sending. You may also want to send to small sub-sets of the list to measure how email addresses perform before sending to the rest of the list. Lastly, it’s a good idea to remind subscribers where they signed up for the list and the value they will receive by being on it. 

    3. Spike in list size

    If your client regularly sends to a list of 2,000 people and suddenly gives you a list of 20,000 it’s unlikely the additional 18,000 opted-in to be on their list. Discuss how the addresses were collected with your client and inform them of opt-in best practices (PDF).

    4. Small business with a big list

    If you’re working with a new client who runs a small business and provides you a large list, you should ask them how they acquired the list. Perhaps it’s a combination of purchased, rented or organically acquired email addresses. Speak with your client to understand how the list was grown and cull out only those who opted-in to receive emails.

    5. Website traffic

    If your client has low website traffic, but a large list this could be another red flag. Alexa is a great tool for looking at site traffic data. If their page ranks in the hundred thousands, but they have a list of 50k or more this could be a red flag for a non opt-in list and warrants a conversation with the client.

    By educating your clients about and reinforcing good email list growth practices, you’ll be able to help your clients realize better results.

    Want more email marketing tips? Sign up for our weekly email newsletter

    Written by Christina Hoheisel, Business Development Manager at 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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    10 Retail Marketing Ideas to Boost Sales

    Mon, 04/20/2015 - 06:00

    Savvy retailers know that maximizing profits means smart marketing; however, it can be challenging to devote as much time to marketing as you need in order to market more efficiently. To support that effort, we assembled ten retail marketing ideas to help bring increased sales and more loyal customers.

    1. Track every marketing campaign
    Do you know what your return on investment (ROI) was for the last marketing campaign you launched? If so, was the campaign a success? Did you set specific and measurable goals? It’s important to set campaign goals and then develop mechanisms to track those goals for every marketing campaign you launch, online or off. What are you trying to accomplish with your campaign? Is it more visits to your website, revenue driven by purchases, online post purchase reviews?

    Whatever your goal, do a post campaign check-in to measure performance so you can use that information to shape your next campaign. A big piece of strategy is knowing what not to do and if something doesn’t work, you may choose to not do it again, or make some tweaks and retry it another time. 

    2. Free marketing opportunities
    Do you work the social media sites your customers frequent? Do you place posters and flyers on community bulletin boards, or banners at busy intersections? Have you contacted other local companies who share your target customer base but don’t directly compete with you to develop unique package plans in which all of you market and sell for each other? For example, your retail shop could partner with a restaurant and spa to offer a Mother’s Day package: a gift from your shop, a trip to the spa, and dinner for two.

    Free marketing ideas such as these abound; and yes, you might have to pay for printing but distribution can be had for free. You can also send these offers out via an email marketing campaign.

    Check out these 9 Emails Your Business Should Be Sending.

    3. Repetition
    Many retailers send a single direct-mail postcard and are disappointed by the results, never to market with postcards (or other direct-mail tools) again. That’s a mistake, because repetition sells. You’ve probably heard of the rule of seven – a customer has to see an offer seven times to buy. This doesn’t mean you need to send seven different postcards, but two or three won’t hurt, especially when used in conjunction with banners, flyers, ads, and digital marketing.

    4. Follow-up
    Do you follow up with your customers after they’ve made purchases? Rewarding customers for their loyalty is a great way to build relationships and earn more sales. Send new customers a special gift, such as a ten percent off coupon (which you can track), to encourage them to visit again. Use these four ways to keep customers coming back again and again. 

    5. Become a resource
    Never miss the opportunity to greet your customers and engage them with an open-ended question about how you can help them. You might ask who they’re shopping for and what that person likes so you can make personalized suggestions. Help customers find the perfect gift (for others or themselves), and become a reliable resource for the future. Providing valuable content in the form of help, advice, tips and how-tos can also help your business stay top of mind with customers.

    6. Employee training
    You probably spend a lot of time training employees how to work the register, open and close, and keep items stocked – but how much time do you devote to training employees to sell? Training employees how to sell well is crucial to your success. When employees are knowledgeable, capable and efficient they can help keep your customers happy and loyal. 

    7. Test
    To maximize your ROI; you should try to test multiple versions of your marketing materials against each other to see which performs best. Pick small segments of your mailing list to test your different versions on, then send the winning version to your entire list. This is also an effective strategy for direct mail, email marketing and landing pages. 

    8. Target
    Do you know what traits are shared by your three best customers? If not, it will be difficult to target the people most likely to be your most profitable customers. Find out everything you can about your very best customers to develop a customer profile; then, target your mailing lists to reach those who match those demographics. Once you have your best customers down, you can create multiple customer profiles for different types of customers for targeting purposes.

    9. Build customer relationships
    Personal interaction with customers is a great way to establish relationships and encourage long-term customer loyalty. Your marketing can be a natural extension of this, which means you don’t always have to be selling. Send out thank you and birthday emails, anniversary greetings and other relationship building communications. 

    10. PR
    Public relations and marketing might not be identical, but the end-goal is often similar: to make customers aware of your company, products, and services. When you have a new product, sale, hire, event, charitable contribution, or other newsworthy announcement, draft a quick press release to send to local newspapers, TV stations, radio stations, websites, and bloggers. You won’t always earn coverage, but it only takes a few minutes to write a press release and email it to media members.

    Getting covered just once in your local paper can be enough to boost sales. This 7 Tools to Get Free Publicity for Your Business post has more great ideas. 

    These ten simple but effective retail marketing tips should help you give your sales a boost and be more effective with your marketing.

    Send your retail emails for free with VerticalResponse

    This post was originally published by Brian Morris for Bags & Bows and has been edited and repurposed for use by 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 Create a Call-to-Action on Your Facebook Page [VIDEO]

    Fri, 04/17/2015 - 08:44

    Facebook has launched a new way to engage with your page community. Aptly named the call-to-action button, this new feature allows people who visit your page to take one of seven different actions with the click of a button. The types of call-to-action buttons you can choose from include:

    • Book Now – This button can be used if your company has an event or webinar that you would like your audience to attend.
    • Contact Us – This button is an easy way for your community to reach out to your company.
    • Use App – If you have an app that you would like your community to try, this is the button to use.
    • Play Game – If you’re in the game development world, there’s a button just for you.
    • Shop Now – If you want to get people from your Facebook page to your e-commerce website then this button fits the bill.
    • Sign Up – If you have a newsletter or email list you want people to sign up for then the Sign Up button will do just that.
    • Watch Video – Have a video on Facebook or YouTube that you’d like your community to watch, this is the button that can make it happen.

    In this short video you’ll see examples of different buttons that companies are using, plus you’ll get a quick overview on how to set up a call-to-action button on your page. Take a look and see how quickly you can get your Facebook call-to-action button up and running on your Facebook Page.

    Use email and social together with 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 Move Your External Marketing Messages In-Store

    Thu, 04/16/2015 - 06:00

    Marketing may seem like it all happens outside the store – in print media or across cyberspace. But savvy retailers know to combine their external marketing messages and in-store experiences. You want to make sure your store’s external marketing messages are harmonized with your customers’ in-store experiences.

    To begin, keep your employees in the know. At your weekly sales meeting, tell every associate your current key marketing messages, and prominently place them on your backroom message board. Sales and sponsorships should be a part of your front-door and phone greetings as well. Create messages that associates can feel natural saying, such as “Welcome to our store! If you’re here for our February Clearance Sale, all of our sale products are in this aisle.” Avoid using cumbersome messages such as, “Welcome to our store where this week we are featuring a buy two get the third half off on every winter shoe over $25.” The same is true for your phone greetings. Keep them short, helpful and easy to remember.

    You’ll also want to think of your marketing message as having one of the following three goals. Then match your locations to each message. Here’s how:

    Goal #1: Attract people into the store.

    Post messages outdoors, on storefront windows, and the front door itself. Outdoor marketing can consist of a sign with changeable letters, a sidewalk sandwich board, or even colored chalk. Depending on your brand’s voice, you can be very business-like or fun and approachable. Match your voice, the message, and the way you talk to your customers. The same “half-off all boots” message can be written on a scrolling LCD panel, posted as a limerick on your changeable store sign, or drawn as a psychedelic graphic on a sidewalk chalkboard depending on your brand voice.

    Storefront windows are the first taste for shoppers. The tone of the windows begins the promise of the experience inside. You could, for example, place a sign in your window that says you have creative paper solutions. Or you could hang fifty folded paper cranes in different sizes and colors to communicate the same message. Savvy retailers use the products they sell in hundreds of creative ways to showcase exciting solutions inside. Hire a local art student part-time to help change the windows once a month if you need creative help.

    Goal #2: Make a sale to people already in your store.

    Use ceiling signs and the counter to deliver your call-to-action message. But beware of how your store space is used. These are the message areas most likely to become cluttered with overlapping signs. Look at your store with a critical eye and always focus on communicating one or two crisp marketing messages, such as a price promotion and a reinforcing loyalty message. Beware, however, if you have too many different messages around the store, such as one for a spring clean-up sale, another touting the fact that you carry their favorite brands, and yet another on how to become a preferred customer. Remember: less is more! Rotate your messages to keep them fresh. Just keep them focused. You’ll also want to be vigilant about removing old signs. Make this a part of a monthly checklist item.

     

    Your sales associates are also a part of your brand message. If your target market is local businesses, a store uniform should probably consist of a button-down shirt with an embroidered logo instead of a t-shirt. Your store associates should look credible and approachable to your target market. This means that a written policy on appearance and hygiene may be in order. Reinforce messages with buttons or lanyards worn by your sales associates when appropriate.

    Goal #3: Build loyalty for a return visit.

    Use your checkout, register receipts, bag stuffers, bags, or even inside of the front door to grab your customers attention and encourage another visit. At the checkout, there should be a pleasant exchange with the cashier that includes an earnest request to visit again. Consider a counter mat that allows you to insert a changing message under its transparent cover to keep it up to date. Here’s where a customer’s most likely to entertain an offer for a loyalty program, a service plan, or home delivery. It’s also where you can deliver a longer message about community programs or sponsorships. Have brochures or other marketing materials available for cashiers to quickly give customers more information if there’s interest in a detailed program. Use acrylic document holders to make organization easy and swift.

    If you have a recent point-of-sale system, you can deliver changing messages on customer receipts. Have cashiers remind customers of any offers on their receipts as they conclude transactions. Bag stuffers should either be calls to action for future sales events or reminders about home delivery or online shopping. 

    Critique your bag itself and make sure that it reinforces your brand. Today, customers see bags as reusable items. Make sure you provide a bag that customers are proud to use and consider it a marketing expense – not an operating expense – that advertises your brand outside the store.

    Finally, there should be a message that gives customers a reason to return as they leave through the front door. This is your very last chance to communicate your brand to customers, so make your message and its means of delivery more memorable than “Have a nice day.”

    Use VerticalResponse to send out email newsletters, offers. and invitations for free.

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

    © 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 Move Your External Marketing Messages In-Store appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

    4 Advanced Tips to Optimizing Your LinkedIn Company Page

    Wed, 04/15/2015 - 06:00

    When was the last time you evaluated your company LinkedIn page? Does it represent your brand well, attract prospective clients, and showcase your business as an authority in its field? 

    Many small businesses take the necessary steps to create a company LinkedIn page, but aren’t quite sure if their page is doing all it should. We’re here to provide some advanced tips to make sure your page is the best it can be.

    1. Create Showcase Pages

    A Showcase Page is an offshoot of your company profile page. On a Showcase Page, you promote a specific product or service that your business offers. Once upon a time, you probably listed this information in your Products and Services tab, but LinkedIn did away with that function. Now you can highlight specific products through Showcase Pages.

    On your LinkedIn, Showcase Pages show up on the right-hand side of your page. Look to the right of the Adobe page below and you’ll see how they appear on your main page.

    What’s the advantage? You can upload a new logo and banner that’s specific to this product or service. Plus, Showcase Pages have their own analytics, so you’ll be able to track visitor interest. You get more space to promote a specific product, rather than your business as a whole.

    Let’s say you sell digital cameras. You can set up a Showcase Page that highlights your best selling camera. Or, let’s say you run a pet shop. You could highlight your pet grooming services on a Showcase Page.

    To create a Showcase Page, look under the Edit tab on your company page and select Create a Showcase Page. You’ll fill in the same information that you did for your company page, but this time it’s specific to product or service.

    LinkedIn allows you to set up ten Showcase Pages, so focus on your best products and services and remember to maintain these pages as you make changes to your offerings. 

    2. Add keywords to your profile

    When you were creating your company profile, you probably described your business and products and moved on to the next block of needed information. You might not have considered adding keywords to your profile. LinkedIn profiles are searchable, so you want to make sure that your page comes up when a client or customer enters relevant keywords into the search bar.

    What words would your audience use to find your business? Create a list of 5-6 words or short phrases and add those words to your profile page. If you need a little help in the keyword department, you can use Google’s Keyword Planner to help you create a list of keywords to incorporate into your page.

    3. Add a ‘follow us’ button

    Make sure your company page has a Follow Us button. This easy-to-install icon can help increase your traffic. Social media users are always looking for easy ways to follow and engage with brands, so make it simple for them to join your social bandwagon by adding this button. Here’s the link to generate the button for your company page. You can also generate buttons for your Showcase Pages too.

    Remember to add a LinkedIn icon to your business website to drive traffic to and from each site.

    4. Write comment-worthy updates

    You are probably already posting updates to your company page, so try these tips to make sure those updates are engaging:

    • Ask questions. Give your audience a reason to comment on your updates by asking a question. This post from Commonwealth Bank is a good example. It asks, “Do you have a mentor?” and follows the question up with a post about the importance of mentors.

    • Share unique statistics. Nothing gets an audience talking like a unique statistic. Find a stat that applies to your business, or better yet, share some statistics from a recent customer survey to generate a conversation.
    • Share a link. Updates with a link drive twice as much engagement than those without. Link to a recent blog post you wrote, a YouTube video that you like or an industry-based news piece. 

    How does your LinkedIn Company Page help your business? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

    Gain more social media knowledge – Subscribe to our weekly email 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 Advanced Tips to Optimizing Your LinkedIn Company Page appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

    The Dos and Don’ts of Marketing Warfare

    Tue, 04/14/2015 - 06:00

    In today’s increasingly crowded product marketplace, it’s essential to have a solid competitive strategy to ensure you stay one step ahead of your competitors in the minds of customers. Implementing marketing warfare strategies is the perfect addition to your overall marketing plans and can help to reshape your standing within an industry.

    Developed in 1986 by Al Ries and Jack Trout (considered two of the godfathers of marketing), the theory focuses less on customer-oriented campaigns and more on maximizing all areas of a business towards the goal of outshining others.

    The Four Strategies

    There are four strategies used in marketing warfare. Each strategy has a specific purpose and can be adopted based on your needs:

    Defensive – Most commonly used by the market leader to protect their position. Corresponding tactics include campaign efforts to shift consumer perception closer to their brand and away from other competitors.

    Offensive – Also known as the ‘Challenger Brand’, this strategy is valuable for any business holding 2nd or 3rd place in a market or niche. Even if it lacks the resources to compete directly with the market leader, offensive tactics can cause disruption to defensive brands.

    Flanking – Companies who employ the Flanking strategy are attempting to capture territory not yet occupied by the market leader. This may include introducing a lower priced alternative, more personalized service, or niche offerings within the market.

    Guerrilla – Focuses on creativity and making a statement over the actual campaign costs or traditionalism. Guerrilla tactics are used to get people talking about a brand and create awareness. This is accomplished through Ambush, Stealth, or Viral marketing efforts.

    The strategy you choose to incorporate will depend on the size of your business, industry type, and what works best for your target market. Additionally, you may need to use one, two, or all of these at different times throughout your business.

    Here are a few dos and don’ts worth keeping in mind as you get started:

    The Dos:

    • Do know your position in the marketplace. This seems obvious but it’s easy to lose sight of where you stand within your industry without looking at the stats. Even though you’re unlikely to know last year’s total profit for your competitors, be sure to understand who they are and what they do.
    • Do study the moves of your competitors closely. Remember that you’re competing for more than just actual sales. Take a closer look at their website, promotions, products, social media, pricing, branding and content– analyze the entire package of what they are offering so you can figure out how to do it better.
    • Do speak to the right market. Regardless of the competitive warfare strategy you’re using, make sure to still get your message in front of the right audience. Businesses using a flanking strategy find this particularly challenging because it requires them to consider markets they may have never sought out in the past.
    • Do focus on the added value your product(s) or brand creates: Essential for market differentiation when using offensive warfare, highlighting what you do better than the market leader can disrupt perception in the minds of many customers and show them they have a different choice.
    • Do set clear measurements of achievement. Be sure to start with the end in sight. Engaging in competitive warfare without a bigger plan may deem not very useful without clear goals. Whether it’s doubling your sales, garnering free press, or getting more social interactions – know your why.

    The Don’ts

    • Don’t go defensive if you’re not the market leader. Unless you’re in the leader of the pack, the use of this tactic may appear forceful and slightly mocking of your entire industry. It’s used strictly to retain the largest market share against all threats.
    • Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Guerrilla warfare campaigns have even been used by some of the most traditional brands including KitKat and Sony. The entire concept is about making a statement with your brand more than following the standard rules of advertising. Think: Dare to be daring.
    • Don’t attempt to use all strategies at once. Learn who your target market is, how this campaign can make the most impact on them, then properly execute one of the four strategies accordingly. Some businesses may use each of these throughout the course of time, but it’s highly unlikely you’ll be in a position to ever need them in unison.
    • Don’t forget this is still (sort of) friendly competition. This is not an opportunity to make personal attacks on the owners of competitor brands or publicly take unnecessary shots at their brand or efforts. Focus on the products or services from the customer’s perspective and think of ways you can prove you’ve got what it takes to capture the sale over the rest of the bunch without too much negativity.

    Already tried running a marketing warfare campaign in your business? Which strategy did you use and what was the end result? Leave a comment below.

    Want more posts like this one? Subscribe to the VR Buzz for weekly marketing tips and advice delivered straight to your inbox.

    © 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 Dos and Don’ts of Marketing Warfare appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

    4 Lessons Game of Thrones Can Teach You About Email Marketing

    Mon, 04/13/2015 - 06:39

    Many Game of Thrones fans are still reeling from the season premiere. The much-anticipated fifth season of the hit HBO show is known for its twisting plot lines and conniving characters, but it can also teach us a thing or two about email marketing.

    Sure, email marketing isn’t exactly the preferred form of communication for those in the Seven Kingdoms, (they tend to speak through sword fighting) but there are hidden marketing gems in the series. Take a look at four things that Game of Thrones can teach you about email marketing:

    1. Keep your eye on the goal

    If there’s one character that’s dedicated to a goal its Bran Stark. That lad sees a three-eyed raven in his dreams and becomes obsessed with finding it. It doesn’t matter that he can’t walk, or has no idea where to find this creature. Nope, these issues don’t phase him. After trekking thousands of miles in a wheelbarrow with a mangled group of friends, he reaches his goal. He finds the three-eyed raven.

    Bran had a goal, which is exactly what every one of your emails should have. It’s a simple notion, but sometimes we get into an email routine and send the same old emails without really knowing our end game. Before your next message lands in an inbox, ask yourself, “What am I trying to accomplish with this email?” Your answer should dictate what’s in the email, when it’s sent and who receives it.  A more targeted approach will yield better results. We’ve got 9 emails you should be sending to give you some great ideas. 

    2. Get feedback and listen to it

    The Night’s Watch fell short on its listening skills. The elders sent Jon Snow out to investigate the movements of an enemy tribe, the Wildlings. When Jon returned, he advised the elders to seal the tunnels so they could protect the wall. The elders chose to ignore the information and basically got their butts kicked in battle.

    As a small business, it’s a good idea to ask for feedback from your customers. One of the most effective ways to do that is through an email survey. However, creating the survey is just one step of the process. Sometimes small business owners take the time to create the survey, but don’t use the results to their advantage. The survey results could have a major impact on your business. You could find ways to improve your products, enhance customer service and increase your sales. The takeaway message is to act on feedback, like the Night’s Watch should have done.

    3. Focus on what makes you different

    In email marketing you want to focus on what makes you different. Daenerys Targaryen does an excellent job marketing herself as the Mother of Dragons. A family of three dragons, yeah, that certainly sets you apart.

    You should do the same in your email marketing. You might not have a team of scaly, flying reptiles at your disposal, but that shouldn’t stop you from focusing on your unique traits.

    The Dollar Shave Club does a great job with this. They have created a unique voice and it carries into their email marketing. Check out the example below.

    4. Build your contacts

    Having a healthy list of friends is the best way to grow a business. Lord Varys, the master of whispers, knows this. He is constantly building his Rolodex, and because he’s willing to cultivate relationships he has quite a network of people he can reach out to when he needs something out of the ordinary, like stowing Tyrion Lannister in a cargo ship to escape his death.

    Like Varys, we suggest constantly building your email contacts. Of course, the reason you want to gather contacts isn’t about political gain, it’s about growing your business and engaging with your customers.

    One of the best ways to grow your contact list is to set up a sign up form. VerticalResponse has a sign up form that you can use. With a few simple clicks, this form can live on your website, your blog and even your social media channels and encourage visitors to submit their name and email address. When they do, that information will go straight to your contacts within VerticalResponse.

    Can you think of another email lesson that’s connected to the Iron Throne? Share it in the comment section below.

    Send your emails for free 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.

    The post 4 Lessons Game of Thrones Can Teach You About Email Marketing appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

    3 Things to Think About Before Crafting an Email

    Fri, 04/10/2015 - 08:50

    A lot of people create their emails without putting much thought up front. This usually results in a longer creation time and a disjointed email effort.

    In our latest episode of Tips in 2 we share three things you should think about before you create your email. They include:

    • Have your content ready to go before your create your email.
    • Write your subject line prior to creating your email.
    • Think about how you want the layout of your email to look and choose an appropriate template.

    For more detailed information, watch our Tips in 2 video below.

    If you’re looking for more email marketing information, visit our blog to gather some really great tips.

    © 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 Things to Think About Before Crafting an Email appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

    4 Effective Ways to Increase Email Subscribers [GUIDE]

    Thu, 04/09/2015 - 06:00

    Your email list plays a paramount role in your marketing. In 2012, 3.3 billion people had an email account. That number is expected to crest 4.3 billion by the end of 2016, according to a report by tech market research firm, The Radicati Group.

    With numbers like that, it makes a lot of sense to continuously increase the number of email contacts that you have. A growing email list can attract new customers, generate buzz about your business, build relationships and increase your bottom line.

    To help you substantially build your email list, we’ve put together a list of four effective ways to increase your subscribers. Each of the four methods below has detailed instructions so you can improve your list without a huge learning curve. You’ll save time and inject your list with new names at the same time.

    1. Consider adding an overlay to your homepage

    If you want to capture more emails, an overlay is a simple way to not only grab a visitor’s attention, but to also encourage him or her to give you an email address.

    You might not be familiar with the term overlay, but you’ve seen them. You know those boxes that appear after you’ve surfed a website for a few a seconds? They look like this:

    The background goes dark, the message appears on the screen and the reader can close the window or enter information. They’re similar to popups that were popular a few years back, and some people use the terms overlay and popup interchangeably.

    How well do they work? According to E-consultancy, an overlay brings in 400% more email addresses compared to other online opt in forms. 

    How do you add an overlay to your homepage? Adding an overlay sounds technical, but any small business can do it. You don’t need a website designer to do this, and you don’t need to know a single line of code either. You can get an overlay on your site by using one of these online tools:

    We should point out that these tools aren’t free. The three options above have various pricing plans, but range between $25-$49 per year. When you think about it, that’s a small price to pay to grow your email list with engaged subscribers who want to hear from you.

    We picked the three sites above because of their ease of use. Once you’ve signed up you can use premade templates to design an overlay, you can adjust the colors to match your branding, add your own images and control when the overlay pops up on your page. With A/B testing, you can also test several different overlays to see which one your visitors prefer. Your membership includes analytics, so you can see how well your overlays are doing too.

    Overlay tips:

    • Change the colors of the templates to match your logo or brand. You want the overlay to complement the look of your website.
    • Have the box pop up 15 seconds after a visitor hits your site. E-consultancy tested the best time for the box to appear and 15 seconds was the winner.
    • Keep the text brief.
    • Use A/B testing. Take a few extra minutes to test your design. It will only improve your success.
    • When creating the text, focus on your audience. Tell them what they get by signing up. For example, say “Sign Up For Our Newsletter and Save,” or “Join Our List For Weekly Budget Tips.” Tell visitors what the benefit of signing up is like in the example below. 

     

    2. Run a contest or giveaway on social media

    A great way to get more email addresses from folks who want to hear from you is through a contest on social media. You have a lot of options when it comes to contests, but the main idea here is to get participants to enter their email address to get something.

    You can run a contest on any social media channel, but since so many small business owners have a Facebook page, we suggest you start there.

    Shreyans Parekh, owner of Koyal Wholesale, a special event supplies company, says social media contests are of the most effective ways he collects email address.

    “We set up a contest and ask entrants to give us their email address to participate,” he says. “It’s a particularly useful tool at obtaining email addresses from very valuable leads.”

    Facebook has updated its Page Terms so you can run a contest on your business page, but we still suggest that you use a third party app to make life easier. Here are two tools that can help you capture emails via a Facebook contest:

    • Heyo. You can try it for free, but plans start at $25 a month. We found several promising case studies that support Heyo. Lilly Pulitzer used Heyo to run a contest. They gave away 50 diaries, which the company sells. The campaign resulted in 9,000 emails captured, 2,000 of those were captured from a mobile device.
    • Woobox. Users say it’s easy to navigate. You can try it for free, but plans start at $15 a month. This program works with other social media channels as well, so you’ll be able to launch contests on several platforms. Here’s an example of a contest created from Woobox.

    Contest ideas:

    • Photo contest. Collect an email address and ask your audience to submit a photo of them using your product. Here’s an example.
    • Video competition. Collect an email address and ask your audience to submit a short video. A hotel-booking site, for example, could ask its audience to submit the best moment of their vacation that was caught on video.
    • A simple giveaway. Ask people to enter their email address to be entered into a free giveaway. The winner is selected at random. It’s simple, yet effective.

    Tips to run a successful contest:

    • Keep it simple. The contest or giveaway shouldn’t be complicated to understand. You should be able to spell it out in a few words.
    • Offer a related prize. The prize you giveaway should have something to do with your company. Giving away a free iPad is cool, but if your business sells seeds, an iPad doesn’t make sense.
    • Read the rules. Facebook does have rules when it comes to contests and giveaways, so read through them before getting started.
    • Promote your contest. Turn to other social and digital channels to spread the word about your contest. Don’t forget, you can email you current contact list about the contest too. You can include the contest details in your next newsletter as well.
    • Send a follow up email. Once the contest is over, reach out to all of the participants and thank them. You might offer them a small coupon or discount code to engage them.

    3. Use Twitter Lead Generation Cards

    A Twitter Lead Generation Card is a way to collect contact information from a promoted tweet. You create a card, which is like a souped-up tweet that offers some sort of incentive. Here’s an example:

    Once a consumer clicks on the call to action, the person’s name, Twitter handle and email address is pre-filled into a small card. All the consumer has to do is hit submit. In return, you get a bunch of new contacts for your email list.

    According to Twitter, one client compiled 1700 new email addresses in a week by using this tool.

    Ready to give it a try? We’ll walk you through the process: 

    Set up

    1. You need a Twitter Ads account. If you don’t have one, you can sign up here.

    2. You have to decide how you’ll collect the data from your cards. You can download a spreadsheet from Twitter, or you can have the data delivered through an automation system like Salesforce. 

    Creating a card

    1. Log into your Twitter account.

    2. Go to the sprocket in the right hand corner and click Twitter Ads from the dropdown menu.

    3. Click on the Creatives tab in the navigation bar at the top and click Cards.

    4. Click Create Your First Lead Generation Card.

    5. Fill in the form. We’ll walk you through the boxes, but the form should look like this:

    • Add an image. The dimensions are unique. The picture should be 600×150 pixels with a 4:1 aspect ratio. You can use the preview button to make sure the picture looks right.
    • Write a short description. You should promote a sale or an offer. An incentive is the best way to entice people to submit their email address. Space is limited to about 80 characters.
    • Link to a privacy policy. You have to have a privacy policy on your website that you can link to.
    • Additional link. Provide an additional link so your audience can learn more about you.
    • Select a call to action. This is the button your audience will click on before submitting their information.

    6. Save your card.

    Launching your card

    1. Now you need to attach the card to a tweet. To do so, click the Tweet button in the upper right hand corner.

    2. Create a tweet in the box.

    3. Before you send it out, click on the card icon in the box and attach the card.

    4. You can attach a card to a promoted tweet, which means you’ll pay for the card to be exposed to people outside of your followers. You can set the budget within you Twitter Ads account.

    Get your contacts

    You can log into your Twitter Ads account, click on the lead generation card and hit the download icon. A CSV file will download to your computer. Here’s what you’re looking for:

    4. Collect names at events

    We’ve gone over some fairly modern, digital ways to collect email addresses, but there’s a simple, low-tech way to snag more contacts too. Break out your clipboard and ask people to sign up for your email list in person. Yes, in person.

    “It’s okay to go old school to manage a contact list,” says Drew Price, head of email marketing for online correction site Grammarly. “There’s a reason many of the largest retailers train their employees to do this and have added the functionality to their computer systems.”

    You can simply use Microsoft word and create a two-column table that asks for a person’s name and email address. You can even download and print a simple form online.

    Here are several times you can break out the email sign up form:

    • Trade shows. When you set up at a trade show, have your form sitting right on the table. When you interact with someone, ask if they’d like to sign up.
    • Business events. Hosting an event? Pass the clipboard around to collect email addresses while people mingle, or ask people to sign up as they check in.
    • At the register. If you have a brick-and-mortar shop, leave the clipboard at your register. Have the cashier ask customers to sign up after they have paid for their purchase.

    Final thoughts

    While this list offers four specific ways to increase your email list, there are many ways to do so. Considering the value of your email list, you want to continually make efforts to add to it. And of course, we’ve written extensively about using email sign up forms to collect email addresses and why they are a no-brainer for your business. 

    What’s the most successful way that your business has found to collect email addresses? Share your experience in the comment section below.

    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 4 Effective Ways to Increase Email Subscribers [GUIDE] appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

    New Feature: Improved Contact Search for Email Lists

    Wed, 04/08/2015 - 09:00

    Locating an address or contact in your email lists is a key part of managing your lists. You need to be able to easily change the list an email address is on, unbounce or unsubscribe an address, or even delete an address from the list altogether. Not only can you easily find an address or person on your email list, you can now reset a bounce or unsubscribe someone anytime you need to.

    If an email address has bounced, most likely it’s bounced because it’s a bad address. There could be a typo, the address is no longer in use, or there may be a filter that’s blocking it from being delivered. Resetting a bounced address doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to reach the inbox, but you’ll be able to try again and see if the issue was temporary.

    To reset a bounced address:

    • Search for the address in the Search box at the top right of your VerticalResponse account.
    • Enter the email address or person’s name and hit Search; the contact will come up in a flash.
    • Then click the box to the left of the record and the Unbounce button at the bottom of the page and we’ll reset it for you.

    We’ll take care of unsubscribing people from your lists if they click the unsubscribe link in your email, or hit reply and add Unsubscribe in the subject line. Sometimes people forget to click the link, or they aren’t sure it will work, and instead reach out to you instead.

    To unsubscribe an address:

    • Use the Search box in the top right, enter the email address or persons name and hit Search.
    • We’ll pull up the record, click the box to the left and the Unsubscribe button at the bottom of the page.

    If you need to delete an address, follow the same steps for searching, then once the address is located, select the box to the left and then click Delete at the bottom of the page.

    Keeping your email list clean is important; after all, it’s the connection to your subscribers. We’ve made some basic maintenance easier for you by adding these new features. Now that managing your email list is even easier, check out how to keep on growing your lists with our helpful guide. Take a look at the new features in your VerticalResponse account today (these features apply to the new VerticalResponse) and let us know what you think in the comments below.

    © 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: Improved Contact Search for Email Lists appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

    The Dirty Dozen Things You’re Doing Wrong with Your Email Marketing & How to Fix it Pronto

    Tue, 04/07/2015 - 06:00

    At VerticalResponse, our customers often ask what they can do to make their email marketing more effective. To help, we put together a baker’s dozen of things you can do to fix your emails right now. Each item on this list is an actionable to-do which can give you real results like list growth, increased open rates, better click throughs, and maybe even more sales. Let’s get cracking and go through the dirty dozen things you may be doing wrong with your emails and how to make improvements.

    1. Not using a sign up form: This is one of the most common mistakes we see. If you don’t use a sign up form on your website, blog and social channels, you’re missing out on one of the most valuable and efficient ways to grow your list of contacts. 

    When someone visits your company website, blog or one of your social media pages and chooses to sign up for your email list, they’re actively agreeing to receive your content. They’re telling you they’re interested and want to hear from you. This makes these subscribers most likely to engage with the content you send. To help your email marketing efforts reach more people, you need to continually grow your list and a sign up form is both easy to create, and use. 

    We have numerous email sign up form resources to help you get started including:

    2. Not sending a welcome email: After you have your email sign up form ready and rarin’ to go, make sure your next step is to set up and send an automated welcome email. It should be triggered to send each time someone signs up for your list. An effective and engaging welcome email does just what is says: welcoming and thanking your new subscriber or customer. If done correctly, a welcome email can keep a recent sign up coming back for more. 

    Statistics show new subscribers are most engaged within the first 48 hours. An automated welcome email (which is a type of autoresponder) can help you reach out to your new subscribers within that crucial window of time.

    If you haven’t created a welcome email yet, we have heaps of help:

    3. Your subject line is a snooze: Did you know the average person receives about 121 business emails a day? And that number is expected to increase to at least 140 by 2018. That doesn’t even include the number of personal emails people receive. You get the picture. Everyone receives a lot of emails and inboxes are loaded.

    If your email doesn’t stand out in a subscriber’s inbox, it doesn’t stand a chance of getting opened and acted on. That’s why tips #1 & #2 above are so important to building an engaged list of subscribers. Now tip #3 takes over to command readers’ attention in the inbox with a killer subject line that begs to be opened. 

    Subject lines are one of, if not, the most important parts of your email. If your subject line isn’t compelling, your readers won’t open your email. All your compelling content will be missed. Wondering why you have a low open or click-through rate? The first culprit is your subject line. So let’s share some information that can help you turn that lame subject line into something truly awesome:

    4. Not personalizing: Ever receive an email with your name in the subject line? Or maybe you got an email from your vet containing your pet’s name and favorite dog food along with a coupon? This is called personalization.

    In an article by eMarketer, “A December 2013 survey of US digital shoppers conducted by Harris Interactive found that the majority of recipients of emails containing personalization drawing from previous shopping behaviors and preferences would be more likely to increase their purchases as a result. In fact, 81% of respondents said they were at least somewhat likely to make additional purchases, either online or in-store, as a result of targeted emails.” The same article goes on to say, “A majority of consumers were also not shy about sharing more information about shopping preferences with retailers in order to improve the types of messages they would receive. Nearly seven in 10 said they would disclose personal facts if the emails they received were more relevant as a result.”

    It’s clear personalization works for engagement, but how the heck do you get info to personalize your emails? Look back at #1. Your email sign up form should contain fields like email address, but also maybe the basics like first name and perhaps a few other fields that will allow you to create a more personal experience for your subscribers. But, don’t go crazy and add a million fields to your form trying to collect everything under the sun. Form fills decrease with more than 3-5 fields. Rather, you can use information from previous purchases, webpages viewed or other data you may have to give your subscribers’ a more targeted message. Speaking of targeting, let’s move along to #5…

    5. Not segmenting: Segmenting a list is simply the process of dividing it into sub-groups. While everyone on an email list may get some messages, you can then send very specific or targeted messages to just one group when the occasion arises. This lets you target individual readers who may be more receptive to your messages. Segmentation can have many benefits including the ability to target specific actions (buyers vs. non-buyers or openers vs. non-responders), or areas of interest (white wine vs. red or apartment rentals vs. houses for sale). 

    Again, you can capture some of this information in your email sign up form (#1), or you can use engagement with your sent emails (opens and clicks), or you can choose to send a survey to your subscribers to get information about their preferences and areas of interest. If you want to get a bit more advanced, you can use something called progressive profiling which enables you to capture little bits of information about website visitors each time they come to your website. When a visitor comes to your site and carries out multiple actions (e.g., downloads multiple guides), they’re presented with different fields on each form. This lets you collect, say, 9 pieces of information while only asking your visitor for 3 at any given time. It usually translates into a much better user experience and you end up with more information you can use in the future to deliver content and offers that are more targeted for that visitor. Most CRM systems allow you to do some sort of progressive profiling.

    6. It’s not visually appealing (okay, let’s just say it… it’s ugly): We’re not usually this harsh, but man are there some ugly emails out there – anyone using comic sans font? And the sad thing is, they don’t need to be ugly when there’s a plethora of beautifully designed email templates out there just begging to be used. We get so many questions about email design that we recently created an entire guide focused on effective design for a number of different types of emails. The good news is, your email doesn’t have to be ugly. With advances in email marketing it’s now drop-dead simple to create a great-looking email without a drop of graphic design experience. 

    Grab these handy resources and give that email a makeover:

    7. Your email isn’t responsive: When we say “isn’t responsive” we don’t mean your email is ignoring you, rather we are referring to the ability for your email to resize or reconfigure to the screen of the device the reader is using, whether it’s a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Why should you care?

    • US adults spend an average of 34 hours per month browsing the Internet on their smartphones, according to a recent Nielsen report.
    • 51% of emails are now opened on mobile devices according to Litmus.
    • 70% of mobile searches lead to an action on a website within one hour according to iAcquire. If the website isn’t mobile-friendly, 40% will choose another action.
    • Attempting to view a website or email on a mobile phone only to have to zoom in, and scroll side-to-side is the result of a non-responsive design. This leads to frustration and, as the statistics show above, a loss of leads or potential customers.

    Creating responsive emails isn’t a huge headache or ultra time-consuming either. You just need to use a responsive email template from your email service provider. Most ESPs offer them (we do!) and they can really make your end-users’ experience with your email so much better.

    Watch this quickie 2-minute video that walks you through responsive design and how responsive emails look in VerticalResponse. 

    8. Not delivering valuable content: Once a subscriber opens your email (because your awesome subject line – #3), you’ve got just a few seconds to grab his or her attention. Stellar content can keep them engaged. 

    To create email content that’s valuable, you’ve got to get back to the basics by identifying what your prospects and customers care about. You can start by creating a list of the traits your very best customers and ideal buyers have. Identify what their biggest pain points are, what their concerns are in relation to your product/services and what they hope to accomplish. Too often, we fall into the routine of creating content that’s all about the features of our product and services instead of helping a potential buyer.

    This concept of providing useful content was coined by Jay Baer in his New York Times bestseller, Youtility. The basic concept is to provide valuable content for your readers and customers, to the point where your company becomes valued, trusted, and synonymous with being useful. So when the time comes to make a purchase, your company is the obvious choice. 

    You can do this in your emails by sharing useful information like FAQs, how-to’s, interesting case studies that don’t focus on selling and other customer-centric types of content. 

    Take a peek at a few of our posts that focus on content:

    9. No call to action: Your call to action (CTA) should tell your reader exactly what you want them to do. So make it obvious and use bold, action oriented language in your CTAs. Tell your reader what you want them to do. We recommend using action verbs like Buy, Learn, Create, Start, Sign Up, etc.

    We even have a call to action button generator  you can use to create call to action buttons to use in your emails and for your website. Create some and try them in your next email (did you notice that call to action?)

    10. You don’t mail frequently enough, or you mail every. single. day: A common question we get is “how often should I send emails out?” That’s a tricky question in that there’s no one size fits all answer. What works for one business won’t for another. A lot depends on your list, your product/service and of course, what you promised your subscribers when they signed up. Your email sign up form should very clearly articulate the benefit of joining your list and how often you’ll send email. That helps manage expectations from the get-go.

    Getting back to the age-old question of how often you should send is really up to you and what you can support with valuable content (#8). Again, depending on your business, you might want to start at once a month and then slowly increase to twice a month and then once a week, or keep it at once a month and go slowly. Either way, always make sure to proactively communicate any send frequency changes to your subscribers and explain the added value of getting more emails from you. 

    11. Don’t look at your reporting/analytics: You may be happily sending out your weekly newsletter and chugging along just fine, but are you making the most of each of those newsletters? Your email reporting can help you decide. Reporting isn’t there to overwhelm you with a bunch of charts and graphs that don’t mean anything. On the contrary, reports make it easy not only to see what’s working but also make it clear what to do next.

    If your last email newsletter had a poor open rate, look at your subject line (#3) – was it a snoozer (be honest)? Were your click thorough rates a little underwhelming? How was your call to action (#9)? If you’re using VerticalResponse, easy-to-read charts give you key stats, and show who opened your email and what links they clicked on, plus you can quickly create a list of people who may have missed your message, or those who clicked, to make follow-up campaigns a breeze. This is the power of reporting; so don’t avoid that area of your account no matter which email service provider you use. 

    12. Your email is anti-social: Nearly every email service provides an easy way to include icons and links to the social media sites your business has a presence on, so take advantage of this simple and effective way to allow your subscribers to connect with you in other ways. This isn’t the time to hide in the corner of the party. Get out there and get social with your subscribers. 

    BONUS: 13. You don’t have goals: Another common mistake people make is sending emails without a clear idea of why they are sending them in the first place. We often hear, “I know I should be doing it, so I do.” Ack! You need a better reason and that reason can include any of the following: Help your users and prospects, grow your list, drive visits to your physical location, website or blog, to generate revenue, book appointments or any or all of these reasons. Email is an affordable and effective means of accomplishing all kinds of goals which is why is has continued to prosper for so long.

    This list of the dirty dozen things (plus a bonus) you are doing wrong with your email should help you make positive changes to increase the effectiveness of the email you send.

    What other email wrongdoings would you add to our list? Share in the comments.

    Send effective emails today using 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 The Dirty Dozen Things You’re Doing Wrong with Your Email Marketing & How to Fix it Pronto appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.

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