7 Budget-Friendly Marketing Strategies For Businesses Of Any Size

Posted on Dec 1, 2014 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, SEO/SEM, Social Media

Attracting your target audience doesn’t have to be an expensive process. The Internet is the great equalizer insofar as it enables small businesses with a clever marketing plan to enjoy a similar level of exposure to a giant corporation with an almost limitless budget. Here are some cheap and cheerful ways to gain online exposure without breaking the bank.

  1. Video Marketing: YouTube is phenomenally popular and studies have shown that adding a video on there can cause your website to shoot to the first page of the Google rankings within a day of posting it. Additionally, those who see your video online are almost three times more likely to become a customer than those who don’t.
  2. Case Studies: Adding details of happy clients to your website is a great way to boost business. Simply create a standard information form and get past clients to fill it in. Make sure the client adds a comment on how happy he/she was with your service.
  3. Write On A Niche Blog: Identify up to five blogs you would like to be featured on, contact the owner and pitch a few ideas that will help add value to the blog. This helps spread the word about your company as you get to post a link back to your website as well as coming across as an expert in your niche.
  4. Get Listed On Google Maps/Local: This free listing adds credibility as customers know your business exists and is not another scam. It also helps you rank higher in the local search engine rankings.
  5. Content Curation: This is the process of compiling useful information before presenting it in a meaningful way while also organizing it around a certain theme. While this is not easy work, it is very rewarding as you can quickly create dozens of informative blog posts that enhance brand identity.
  6. Create An e-Book: You can now upload a digital book for free on Amazon as the online giant takes a slice of the profits. Your e-book should cover the burning issues in the industry and needs to be among your best work because ultimately, it is a lead generation tool that encourages readers to visit your website for more information.
  7. Endorsement: Find a local celebrity and get him/her to endorse your product/service. These individuals can be ‘regular’ people such as teachers or residents that have recently done something newsworthy. These people should be easy to contact and you can ask them to try out your service/product for free before leaving honest feedback.

In reality, there are dozens of ways to market for free or a relatively low cost online. The trick is finding your target audience and marketing in a manner which makes your company/service/product seem to be the most appealing on the market.

How To Create A Confident Elevator Pitch

Posted on Nov 25, 2014 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, SEO/SEM, Social Media

The legendary ‘elevator pitch’ is a 60 second overview of the product/service you’re trying to sell. Your goal is to catch the listener’s attention in this short timeframe and it’s a challenge for even the most experienced marketer. The key is to be concise yet compelling; you need t remove the fluff and leave only substance but how do you accomplish this?

There are a few hard and fast rules when it comes to developing a masterful elevator pitch which I outline below.

Know Your Goal

What is the objective of your elevator pitch? Are you looking to inform possible clients about your organization or do you have a brilliant product idea you want to pitch to a company executive? Perhaps you simply want to develop a snappy speech that helps explain what you do for a living? Whatever the goal, identify it before writing your speech or the result will be a garbled mess.

Explain What You Do

A great elevator pitch is basically a condensed version of outstanding web copy. Begin the pitch by outlining what your company does and focus on the problems you solve for customers. Now is a great time to throw in a relevant statistic because people are often impressed by a few facts and figures.

What Is Your USP?

Your Unique Selling Proposition must come shining through when making an elevator pitch. This highlights why your organization and its services/products are different from everyone else’s. It’s best to add in the USP after explaining what you do as it will carry more weight. Remember, the modern consumer is spoiled for choice so your USP had better be special.

Involve The Listener

Everyone likes to feel included so the second your USP has been mentioned, ask the listener a question about themselves (or their company if applicable). It’s best to ask a question that has a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer and make sure you’re prepared to answer!

Consider what you want people to remember most about you and your company. Above all, your pitch should excite you when you rehearse it. If you aren’t amped up afterwards, how can you expect your audience to be? After writing your pitch, practice it relentlessly and cut out any parts that don’t flow seamlessly. While most experts recommend an elevator pitch of 60 seconds or less, if you can nail it in 20-30 seconds, you have a better chance of hooking the prospect.

 

 

5 Conversion Metrics That Make All the Difference in Your Marketing Campaign

Posted on Nov 18, 2014 by Response Wise | Posted in Austin, TX, Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, News, SEO/SEM, Social Media

No matter how good you think your marketing campaign is, you need conversion metrics to find out the extent of your success or failure. There seem to be dozens of measurements used by marketers but I have narrowed it down to 5 of the best.

1 – Bounce Rate

This shows you how many people leave your website more or less immediately after arriving on your landing page. A high bounce rate indicates you have been unsuccessful when it comes to determining your target audience. Your keyword strategy may need work and perhaps a lot of visitors are landing on a sales page when all they want is information.

2 – Repeat Visitors

The modern online consumer has all the power and uses it to perform research before considering a purchase. While you may feel as if ‘new visitors’ is the all-important metric, returning visitors are more likely to purchase from you. Why else would they keep coming back? If nothing else, they like your website and the information you provide; the next step is to push them down the sales funnel.

3 – Impressions

This refers to the number of people that see your ad once it becomes live. Impressions will show if you whether or not your ad is reaching the audience size you are hoping for. It is an important metric when it comes to increasing brand awareness. If you are hoping to improve your number of impressions, your main goal will be to ensure prospects see your company name.

4 – Abandoned Cart

This is the percentage of purchases that are abandoned right before completing the sale. It is very frustrating and if you have a high abandoned cart rate, it’s imperative that you find out why. In most instances, you will need to make the checkout process even faster; if a customer has to overcome too many hurdles, he/she may decide it’s not worth the effort. See Amazon for an example of an effective checkout system.

5 – Conversion Rate

I have saved the most obvious metric for last. A conversion is an action that has value for your business. You may be trying to convert visitors into email subscribers or existing subscribers into paying customers. The bottom line is that you need to bump this figure up. If you have earned 5,000 impressions and have converted 700 people into customers, this means your conversion rate is 14%. Whether this is an acceptable rate depends entirely on your niche.

To enjoy success in marketing, you need data analytics. I recommend using Google Analytics as it offers detailed analysis and a wide variety of important metrics.

Making The Most Of Common Email Blunders

Posted on Nov 4, 2014 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, Social Media

 

Email is the #1 communication tool for most working professionals which is why email marketing is such a successful technique. The problem with email is that mistakes are extremely easy to make and they can have serious repercussions. While minor mistakes hurt productivity, major mistakes can cost you valuable clients or even your job. This article is all about what not to do with email so when you’re about to make an email blunder, you’ll be able to pull back from the brink of disaster!

Sending To The Wrong People

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard about individuals or businesses who sent an email complaining about a client… to the client! The result was a lot of anger and lost revenue. In email marketing, another example is sending irrelevant content to people on your mailing list. For example, you may send an email with the subject line ‘Ladies Night’ to the men on your list. The simple solution is to double-check the ‘to’ field because it’s extremely rare to be able to retrieve a sent email.

The Wrong Tone

It’s risky to use email to be humorous or sarcastic because it’s too easy to misunderstand. A University of Chicago study recorded sarcastic or funny messages and transcribed them into emails. Less than 60% of the email recipients in the study understood the tone of the message. Therefore, leave out the sarcasm when sending emails because the recipient probably won’t ‘get it’.

Only Sending ‘Needy’ Emails

Most people only send emails when they need or want something. Successful email marketers know that what they send has to provide value to the recipient so they typically have email campaigns where the content is designed to inform and only the final email in the sequence tries the ‘hard sell’. When you successfully use email to nurture relationships, people will look forward to hearing from you and this will only help to drive sales.

Not Asking For What You Need

The recipients of your emails are not mind-readers so it is essential to make clear requests. In marketing terms, this means telling your mailing list precisely what you want them to do in a concise yet clear call to action. The modern consumer is a busy individual and doesn’t have time for puzzles and games; get to the point or lose another sale.

The email blunders mentioned above happen in everyday life as well as in the world of marketing. Use these tips for better email communication whether you’re contacting a colleague or a customer.

Start Your Holiday Planning Now

Posted on Oct 29, 2014 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, Social Media

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the most eagerly anticipated retail events of the year and both dates are a wonderful opportunity for marketing teams to prove their worth. While both events seem far away right now, you need to begin your holiday marketing planning as soon as possible because your rivals are certainly busy creating strategies.

To put into context what’s at stake, Cyber Monday 2013 resulted in sales of almost $2.3 billion and this figure is likely to rise since the 2013 figure was a 16% increase on the 2012 sales figure. Here’s what you need to do now to prepare for the holidays.

Create Strong Subject Lines

Though shoppers are motivated by deals, you shouldn’t necessarily rely on details of discounts to make up your subject lines. With so many competitors to worry about, your subject line has to distinguish your offers from the rest of the market which means creating headlines that appeal to the emotion shoppers have for certain brands. I would recommend avoiding the word ‘free’ in subject lines as this comes across as spam content. If you start now, you should have time to split-test before the big days arrive.

Market Research

You need a strong understanding of existing and potential customers so you better start researching this instant! While many marketers rate Cyber Monday ahead of Black Friday, it seems that over 80% of Black Friday customers want to receive email updates and almost 60% of them want mobile updates. Strategic use of the information you receive will help you profit from these shopping bonanzas.

High Volume – Short Space Of Time

Your holiday planning campaigns will involve an enormous volume of emails being sent out in a short space of time. For instance, you may need to send emails to 500,000 customers regarding a sale with a 3 hour window. Is your email infrastructure capable of sustaining this level of sending? If not, your recipients will end up getting the emails when the sales are finished.

Real Time Analytics

Too many email marketers make the mistake of thinking their emails will be safely in inboxes within minutes of being sent. However, most marketers will not get the requisite data to tell them if their messages are being sent out on time. Without access to real time analytics, your emails could be backed up in queues for hours without you realizing it. You must have this data to develop an effective campaign; this is especially the case when you are running time sensitive offers.

When performed correctly, email campaigns centered around holiday retail events can be spectacularly effective. As a result, you have to plan far ahead if you want to be among the most successful companies in your industry.

Inbox Placement – Why The Relationships Matter

Posted on Oct 21, 2014 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

Email marketers in the know realize the importance of subscriber engagement which has been described as ‘the top email marketing priority in 2014’. Keep reading to understand more about the topic along with tips on how to establish relationships with your customers.

Why Do My Emails End Up In The Spam Folder?

It is disheartening to find your marketing emails in the junk folder instead of the recipient’s inbox or Gmail’s promotion tab. It turns out there are hundreds of signals which determine whether an email goes into a spam or inbox folder. Each individual signal is based on various algorithms which means one factor alone won’t be responsible for destroying your whole campaign.

A better way to look at things is to analyze why a user may have marked your email as spam rather than looking at the reasons why the spam filter didn’t place you in the inbox. Basically, you should think of ways to get recipients to love your emails; if users like your emails, the spam filters may not be enough to stop your emails reaching a person’s inbox.

Improving Subscriber Engagement

Gmail is taking subscriber engagement very seriously and its anti-spam team is looking for evidence that recipients like your emails and want them to reach their inboxes. The most obvious solution is to focus on providing high quality content and establishing relationships with your target audience.

  • Improve Targeting & Segmentation: This is typically based on the data available to you and once you have this information, you can use it to improve your targeting and deliver more relevant content. This in turn is likely to improve subscriber engagement.
  • Triggered Message Program: Emails automatically sent based on the behavior of subscribers is more relevant and enhances the possibility of increased engagement. Triggered message examples include welcome, anniversary, birthday, feedback and abandoned cart emails. These emails take more effort but the improved open rate makes them well worth it.
  • Weed Out Inactive Subscribers: You need to identify inactive subscribers and try to get them to reengage. If this fails, you have to cut them loose as Mailbox Providers now use subscriber engagement to decide where to filter your email.
  • Mobile Planning: More than half of all email opens occur on a mobile device and this figure increases during holiday season. Your emails need to perform well across all devices or else your subscriber engagement level will decrease. Find out where your audience reads your emails and adapt to meet the ever-changing landscape.

To get the best results from your email marketing campaign, you have to improve subscriber engagement so follow the above tips for success.

Getting Your Message Across On Gmail’s Promotion Tab

Posted on Oct 8, 2014 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, Social Media

Gmail’s interface changes caused widespread panic when they were first rolled out but contrary to what some people might think, email marketing has not been dealt a major blow! Gmail is testing out a new grid inbox visual for its Promotions tab, one of the several new tabs included in its sorting system. In the event you haven’t yet noticed this change, there is no need to stress yourself out as I have included a few useful tips to help your messages to distinguish themselves from the crowd on the Gmail Promotions tab.

Utilizing images allows you to decide the emails you want to ignore or open. The Promotions tab grid view has four elements you need to be aware of:

  • Featured Image: Make sure the image chosen is 233px wide and 161px high, utilize JPEG, PNG or GIF images and use the featured image markup code in HTML of the message to designate the featured image. Make sure the featured image has alt text behind it. If your image is too small or can’t be found by Gmail, the alt text is displayed instead; this featured image is a useful call-to-action.
  • Sender Image: As long as you have a Google+ page that has been verified and associated with the domain, you will find a Google+ image displayed on the lower right side of the featured image. If you don’t have a verified Google+ page, the first letter of the sender’s name will be displayed.
  • Sender Name: Please remember there is a 20 character limit so consider shortening this field if this limitation is cutting off the sender name or means branding can no longer be easily recognized.
  • Subject Line: This has a 75 character limit and frankly, you need to convey the point of the message within the first 30 characters while the remaining characters are your call-to-action.

Additional Tips

When it comes to dealing with Gmail’s changes as a whole, keep in mind the following:

  • You need to focus on strategy rather than classification. Concentrate on the marketing instead of trying to change how Gmail classifies its messages.
  • Always pay attention to subject lines or risk being ignored.
  • Track open rates closely to improve open and inbox placement rates.

By placing all promotional messages in one tab, Gmail has given you a target audience with a propensity to purchase. Users that click on the Promotions tab are clearly looking for marketing messages which is a welcome change from the old days where you had to hit the inbox of prospects and hope to stand out.

 

 

Fall Re-Engagement Activities

Posted on Oct 1, 2014 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, Social Media

Your open and click-through rates could be suffering because of inactive email addresses. Once you analyze your data and find a lack of activity from email leads on your list, it’s time to find out if these individuals should be removed from your list or if they can be revived. Now that Fall is here, you need to lighten your email load and strive for improved metrics during Fall and Winter.

Find Out If They Are Inactive

Perhaps those on your inactive email list have just been enjoying the summer sun and haven’t had time to look at their emails. It’s also a fact that many recipients have turned off images by default so their opens may not be registered. Select people who have not opened an email in 6 months and send them an email asking them to click on a link to show they still want to receive emails from you. The link should take them through to a special offer or discount to revive their interest.

Decide What Is Acceptable

You need to decide on the percentage of inactivity that is acceptable when it comes to meeting your marketing goals. It really depends on your business model; for example, having people who only respond quarterly may be good news while it is bad for business in other industries. Determine your average activity range and identify those who can be called ‘low responders’ and those who should be labeled ‘non-responders’. Your email service provider should be able to show you how to discover these people on your list.

Reactivation Plan

You need to begin testing different approaches and decide if you wish to treat low responders differently to those who don’t respond at all. You also have to determine whether you want to quickly gain people’s attention or embark on a multi-email campaign. Look at upcoming holidays and focus an email campaign around it.

If you can afford it, launch a competition offering a vacation as the grand prize; many people can’t afford a summer vacation and will jump at the chance to get in some sun as the cold weather closes in. If these subscribers don’t respond, the obvious solution is to trim your summer fat and ensure your email list is trim and sexy.

Measure Results

Much like people measure their waistlines at the end of summer to see if they are beating the battle of the bulge, you have to measure your re-engagement campaign to determine whether or not it was a success. Finding out what worked and what failed is essential when it comes to developing and conducting marketing campaigns in the future. After all, next summer you’ll have to go through the same process again!

 

5 Great Content Marketing Ideas For 2014

Posted on Sep 9, 2014 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, SEO/SEM, Social Media

Getting your content to stand out used to be a LOT easier but now that every person and his laptop can write a blog post, it’s easy to get drowned out by sheer volume regardless of how good your content is. Content marketing strategies have changed and now that we’re into the second half of 2014, it’s time to re-examine what you’re doing.

1 – Find a Sub Market

Too many content marketers continue to be vague with their definition of ‘target audience’. The result is generic content that doesn’t really satisfy the needs of anyone. Look at your niche and find a sub-section that has not been well explored and pour your energies into that. Would you rather market to 1 million people and sell to about 20 customers or target 2,000 customers and make over 1,000 sales?

2 – Check Your Calendar

Content marketing is all about flexibility so embrace it by pouncing on opportunities presented by major events. Throughout the year there are marketing gifts that present themselves such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Cinco De Mayo, Independence Day and so on. Tailor content specifically to these events at the right time and you WILL get an audience.

3 – Write About The Future

Nothing says ‘authority’ more than informative content marketing on the future of your specific industry. Everyone loves to know more about how their industry will expand or change as it simultaneously inspires and interests. When you write predictions, you are seen as authoritative and credible and if you’re right, be sure to mention that in future content!

4 – Trust Your Data

We have more metrics at our fingertips than ever before so use them! Being creative is great but combining it with analytics is even better. Analyze the data that presents itself to find out what your audience likes and adjust your content marketing strategy accordingly. With so many choices on the marketplace, it’s vital for you to get it right!

5 – Combine Quantity With Quality

While quality content must be your first priority, you simply must be prolific too. Search engine spiders crawl websites that regularly update their content and this is good news for your ranking. Additionally, with so many content marketers out there, you have to be the name that keeps popping up or else it will get lost amongst the thousands of others. Authority figures write well but they also write often!

While the above advice should also be timeless, I firmly believe it is especially relevant to our current era of content marketing. Follow it and you have a shot of staying on top and being the figure looked up to rather than down at.

Best Time To Send Marketing Emails According To Device

Posted on Sep 3, 2014 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing

 

At one time, email marketers believed there was a ‘best time’ to send their email campaign. It was usually deemed to be 8-10am on Tuesday-Thursday but data later suggested more people than ever opened emails at night. It turns out that any contradictory advice on email marketing timing is borne out of the fact that emails are viewed on a multitude of devices. As it happens, the best time to send email depends on the device used by the recipient as we discuss below.

Desktop Users

Desktop users are no longer your #1 target. Yet it is an interesting market because the best time to reach people in terms of open rate appears to be 9am-4pm yet revenue per email seems to be higher when sent between 8pm-11.59pm. Friday emails have a higher click through rate but Monday emails have a better ROI. As these findings are about as clear as mud, it behooves you to experiment and see what works best for your company.

Smartphone

According to a study of 5 billion marketing emails, approximately 49% of all emails were opened on a mobile device. This leaves desktop opens in the shade and enhances the need to understand the habits of mobile users. It appears as if the weekend is the best time to send emails to mobile users as 32% of them read their emails at the weekend.

It seems as if Saturday is the best day to send emails as 32.5% of users read emails on their Smartphone on that day yet less than 6% of emails are sent on a Saturday! Wednesday is the worst day for sending emails as only 15% of people read them on their Smartphone yet over 20% of all marketing emails are sent on a Wednesday!

Tablet

This is the smallest section of the market but is still worth looking into. Statistics suggest the best time to send marketing emails to tablet users is 3pm-9pm. This typically means readers are accessing their emails at home after work. As this is likely to be ‘downtime’, it would suggest these individuals are more open and receptive to your company’s informative news coverage.

As you can see from the deluge of statistics above, you shouldn’t rely on one device, day or time when it comes to sending marketing emails. You will need to run tests and use the data to determine what’s best for your company.

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