How You Can Use Social Media To Make Sales

Posted on Oct 15, 2014 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Marketing, SEO/SEM, Social Media


The world of e-commerce is a multi-billion dollar industry which is growing rapidly. The impact of social media on sales figures is a hotly disputed topic with some industry experts claiming social media accounts for only 1% of online retail. Yet I have personally heard of salespeople who chased social media leads and landed sales of over $100,000! It is almost impossible to fully ascertain the impact social media has on sales though I’m certain the 1% mooted by experts is completely incorrect.

Find The Best Ways To Connect

Obviously, your target market need to be social media users or else you can’t expect to make major profit through social media marketing. Facebook has changed its algorithm so only brands willing to spend on advertising will get any publicity.

Tools like Instagram and Pinterest help increase visibility and sales and the best way to use social media sites is to engage with the community. You need to make a connection by presenting your products and services in a fun and interesting way while offering posts and images that appeal to the lifestyle of your target market.

Create A Persona

The modern consumer does not like being dictated to so instead of going for a quick sale, you need to build up a personal account, engage in conversations with members of the community where your target audience resides and understand the expectations of the community. Create a persona that is trustworthy and likeable within the community and show them you are an amicable and reputable individual representing a high quality company.

Customer Engagement

You’ll really get the full benefit of social media sales if you show customers you care about them by focusing on solutions to their problem. Rather than boast about why your product is awesome, look to showcase the benefits of what you have to offer. Listen to what people are saying on social media and you could end up starting a conversation that leads to a sale without having to make a cold call.

Create a Facebook group relating to your products/services and invite others to join. Then you should send targeted messages to the most active members of your group. On LinkedIn, join groups that your clients are members of and on Twitter, use the tweets of prospects as trigger points to start a conversation.

While the exact impact of social media on sales is impossible to tell, there is no doubt that with hundreds of millions of social media network users, the potential for sales is extraordinary.

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!

 

4 Tips For A Great Marketing Calendar

Posted on Sep 23, 2014 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Marketing, Social Media

According to marketing experts, there are two occasions when you should plan a marketing calendar: When your business first starts and right now. Unless you’re a new company, we can only focus on right now since your first window of opportunity has passed. As marketing is so complicated with a range of components and strategies, you have to plan and remain organized and consistent when it comes to following through. Below, we look at some quick tips to help you get started.

1 – Think ‘Strategy’ Not ‘Tasks’

While you need to effectively manage projects and tasks, they are just parts of the bigger picture. You will be unable to combine actions in a meaningful way without a coherent strategy. Build your marketing calendar with a clear strategy in mind; then you can look at the projects and tasks that combine to help you meet your goals.

2 – Don’t Be Afraid To Crowd Source

You don’t have to build the marketing calendar all by yourself! If you really want a calendar that works, you need to get contributions from clients, employees, partners and customers. In most cases, getting input from stakeholders will really aid your cause and it is an especially useful idea when you’re struggling with the direction of your strategy.

3 – Develop Personas

Typically, information travels a very long way through different sources. For example, a message might travel from the client through to account executives and project managers so it is very easy for miscommunication to cause problems. If you develop personas for your customers, you can identify the roles and personalities of your target market. This means nothing can get lost in translation and ruin your work.

4 – Organize By Channel

Generally, a marketing calendar will have a list of tasks and projects that have to be completed at different times. The problem is, you end up with a whole mess of things jumbled together and your goals will be lost in the chaos. To avoid this you need to divide your strategy into various marketing channels. This enables you to organize the entire strategy and when it comes to budgeting, you can quickly discover and track how much money is being spent on specific channels.

A well planned marketing calendar allows you to organize, create and prioritize your marketing activities and initiatives. It also helps you discover whether or not you need to spread out your activity and not have too much focus on one channel.

Webinar Mistakes To Avoid

Posted on Sep 18, 2014 by Response Wise | Posted in Social Media

Webinars have exploded in popularity both in terms of hosting and ‘attending’. For hosts, webinars are a low cost method of promoting their business without resorting to a hard sell while those who attend have the opportunity to learn about their industry from the comfort of their own home. Yet as one might expect, the same webinar hosting errors crop up time and again and below, we cover 5 of the most common.

1 – Asking For Too Much Information To Register

You want people to attend and asking for their life history is a bad way to go about it. Your webinar sign-up sheet should ask for a name and email only. Don’t look for phone numbers, job titles and other invasive details or else your target audience’s interest will quickly wane.

2 – Lack Of Preparation

A webinar’s success depends on your ability to master the equipment. Would you host a seminar at a physical event without testing the microphones first? Always log into your webinar platform well in advance and check out your audio while also getting to grips with the technology you will be using.

3 – Too Many Topics

Like great sales copy, webinars need to consist of a laser-like focus on a small number of key points. It is common for a webinar host to cover a dozen topics in a half-assed manner which is very annoying for attendees. People will learn a lot more if you concentrate on a couple of topics and really hammer your point home. This makes your audience believe you are an authority on the subject and they will be keen to learn more. Follow up content marketing can discuss other topics.

4 – Not Enough Promotion

You could have the best webinar of all time lined up but no one will care if they don’t know about it! You have to raise awareness well in advance which means industry publications, social media, press releases, email lists and more. Pour your heart into promoting the event and it could be a huge success.

5 – Too Much Self-Promotion

Egotistical behavior can ruin your webinar. Your introduction should be concise and to the point rather than a lengthy discourse on how amazing you are. Attendees want to know what you can do for them and are less interested in who you are. Content is king, even in webinars.

If you’ve never hosted a webinar before, it could be a nervy affair but keep calm, be well prepared and always have a Q&A at the end. If it’s a hit, your company’s revenues and reputation will skyrocket.

Social Media Customer Service Best Practices

Posted on Sep 17, 2014 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Marketing, Social Media

Social media can be an incredible customer service tool but few companies are utilizing it effectively. Did you know that only one-third of social media users go to company page for marketing reasons? Everyone else goes there to voice their opinion which usually comes in the form of a complaint. Read on to get a leg-up on your competition by discovering the best practices for social media customer service.

Use the Right Channel

Always respond to a customer on the same channel he used to contact you. So if you receive an angry Facebook message from a dissatisfied customer, respond on Facebook and ask to resolve it offline or privately if possible. Since only 44% of customers get a response on the channel where they made their inquiries, you can be seen as the company that cares.

Respond Quickly

40% of customers are forced to wait longer than 24 hours for a response to a social media inquiry which is unacceptable. Companies that are really ‘on point’ have a dedicated social media customer service team that responds within 15 minutes! After all, you wouldn’t make them wait that long on the phone. Don’t allow a customer’s anger to boil over; respond quickly and decisively on social media.

Be Consistent

While you don’t want all responses to be scripted, it is wise to create a template for common questions and issues to ensure consistency from one customer to the next. Once you manage this, personalize the correspondence because customers HATE being treated as numbers instead of people.

Make a Connection

You would be forgiven for thinking social media is somewhat impersonal but it is possible for employees of your company to connect with customers via obvious empathy. This works wonders in situations that are potentially emotional. Customer service experts say you should respond with words like ‘found’, ‘feel’ and ‘felt’ as this is a great way to convey empathy with customers.

Timing Is Everything

It’s a good idea to post relevant information rather than promotional stuff to help customers at the right time. For example, Facebook posts are best left until the end of the work day as it’s mainly used by people after they have just finishing work. Twitter posts should be newsworthy and include company news or links to sites with industry information. These kinds of posts should be posted a few times a day during work hours when that information is more useful.

If you’re not already implementing the best practices for social media customer service mentioned above, you’re missing a trick. Showing people you truly care via great customer service is a fantastic way of enhancing your brand’s reputation.

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.

6 Great Places To Place Email Sign-Up Forms On Your Website

Posted on Aug 26, 2014 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, Social Media

There is simply no better way to build a customer base than by creating a large email subscription list. It goes without saying that you need to use more email sign-up forms on your website but where should you place them? Read on to learn the highest converting locations for an email subscribers list.

1 – Top Of Sidebar

Avoiding this location is a great way to lose prospective subscribers. The top of your sidebar is one of the most visible places on your website and will immediately catch the eye of visitors. Don’t mess it up by placing it ‘just beneath’ the sidebar.

After Single Post

This is just pure common sense. If someone reads one of your blog posts to the end it’s fair to say he is interested either in your company or your industry. Now is the time to strike by including an email sign-up form.

The Feature Box

If you don’t already have a feature box on your website, start creating one. Simply come up with a few benefits of your service (or blog) and list them in bullet point form with a cool image. Add your email sign-up form beneath it. Hopefully, your feature box content will be good enough to ‘warm up’ your audience and compel them to discover what you’re all about.

The Footer of Your Website

This works on the same principle as the ‘after single post’ form; once people make it to your footer, it’s clear they are engaged with your content. This is the point where you need to ask to take action and a sign-up form is as good as it gets.

About Page

The ‘about me’ page on your website should be one of the most commonly visited pages. Most marketing experts believe you should have up to 3 email sign-up forms dotted throughout your page. If you don’t, you’re losing out on a huge amount of potential subscribers like almost every other blogger.

Lightbox Pop-Up

This features last because it can be a risky strategy depending on your industry. In some niches, it works brilliantly but in others it will ruin your conversion rate simply because it annoys people.

The frequency of email sign-up forms you should use depends on your industry and customer base. A tech savvy audience already knows where to find email sign-up forms but if you’re in an industry such as health & fitness or Forex, you’ll need to be more aggressive because readers may not be as savvy as you.

Online Business Listings You Should Consider

Posted on Aug 19, 2014 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, SEO/SEM, Social Media

In order to give your small business the best chance of success, it is necessary to get listed in online directories. Not only will you make it easier for people to find you, it also improves the domain authority of your website since it increases the number of backlinks to your site. It is a practice that doesn’t even take much time and the result can be significant growth. This time should only be spent on relevant and high quality directories that will improve your company’s online visibility.

Best Online Directories

Whenever you come across a good directory, make a note of it in a spreadsheet or bookmark them to keep track. Once you come across 50-100 directories you can begin to determine which ones are the best for your business.

  • Industry Specific: Look for the top-rated directories in your industry; if you sell paint for example, a quick Google search will reveal the top directories in that niche. These directories will receive a lot of traffic so you need to add your business to them.
  • Local Directories: Small businesses need more local business than giant companies so check out well-known directories such as Yelp, Yahoo Local, SuperPages, Merchant Circle, Manta and others. It is also worth going to Get Listed in order to find more local directories by industry. A fast Google search by location should also reveal lots of relevant local directories.
  • What Your Competitors Use: Analyzing the backlink profile of your rivals should help you determine the directories they are listed in. There are some great tools such as CognitiveSEO which help you to find the backlinks of rivals and filter out these backlinks from directories. The aforementioned tool can also sort out the backlinks of your rivals by authority which helps you see the top rated directories first.
  • General Directories: Once you have exhausted all of the above options, general directories can come next. These ones allow businesses to list themselves in general categories. Type inurl:category directory (type in the name of your industry instead of ‘category’) to find general directories that have a category for your business. The best general directories include DMOZ, Best of the Web and Yahoo.

If you follow all of the above directories you should have hundreds of choices. The next step is of course to get your business listed on as many of them as you think is necessary. Once you have completed this task, you business will have a far greater level of visibility than ever before.

Why LinkedIn Is a Great Advertising Platform

Posted on Jul 22, 2014 by Response Wise | Posted in Email Marketing, Social Media

 

In the era of social media, many businesses make the mistake of completely overlooking LinkedIn as a method of advertising. As good as Twitter and Facebook are, ignoring LinkedIn is a colossal mistake. There are an estimated 300 million users of this platform, two-thirds of who are outside the United States. Below, we look at the reasons why it is a fantastic advertising opportunity that you simply can’t miss out on.

Type of User

Make no mistake; LinkedIn is the social network of choice for the affluent professional. If you want to get in touch with senior executives and other figures of power, LinkedIn is the place to be. It’s estimated that the average LinkedIn member has a household income of around $110,000 while almost half of the site’s audience has some form of decision making power in his/her company.

Exposure

As I mentioned above, LinkedIn has a huge global presence and this is only set to increase as the platform is seeking to branch out into China. There are an estimated 140 million professionals in China and Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are blocked by authorities so LinkedIn could have a free run at the Chinese market.

LinkedIn has focused on international growth for quite some time now with a greater emphasis on mobile users. In fact, over 40% of the site’s visitors use their mobile devices, a figure which increases to over 50% in nations such as Singapore, Costa Rica and Malaysia. Therefore, if you are joining the mobile revolution, you have a platform ready and waiting for you.

Tools

There are a host of awesome tools to help you connect with your audience. For example, there are new targeting filters for advertisers which allow you to surface ads based on the preferred language of the user. You can also specify the audience for every single post in your feed so you can actually identify the people who see the specific ads or updates. As a result, you can send out different feeds for American and Malaysian users at the same time.

Whether you want to use a passive advertising approach or else you would rather be more aggressive, LinkedIn has the tools to complement what you’re trying to achieve. There is arguably no better way to receive online introductions to important people in your industry than the LinkedIn platform. Finally, it encourages active group participation so you have the opportunity to mark yourself out as an expert in your field.

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