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Comments Off on What Does the Future Hold for Email and Social Marketing?

What Does the Future Hold for Email and Social Marketing?

2013 has arrived, and with it comes thoughts and ideas of how email and social marketing will evolve. While we can’t predict what will become the next big social media channel this year, we can give you some tips to help you stay ahead of the game.

Mobile Design – This may be the most important thing to consider for your email marketing this year. According to Litmus, 36% of emails are opened using a mobile device/tablet, and they predict it’ll be 50% by year’s end. Hence, mobile design is something you definitely want to take this into account when crafting your emails, and it’s not as hard as you may think. With a few minor tweaks, your email will render clearly for readers on a variety of devices or platforms, just follow these tips:

  • Keep the design slim – Around 500-600 pixels
  • Use call-to-action buttons
  • Use a simple, single column layout
  • Include links that’re large enough to “click” i.e., touch
  • Have a text-only email back up
  • Give your email the “touch screen” test (is it easy to navigate with your finger?)
  • Ensure your email renders/downloads properly on an iPhone

Social ROI – Remember the tag line from the movie, Field of Dreams? “If you build it, he will come.” It also applies to social media, as well as baseball fields. Once social media was built, people came in droves (hint: So get on it, if you’re not already!). And, social media no longer pertains to a certain age group or demographic; everyone’s on it. The key now, is to keep people continuously engaged with your business on social, and to do so, you simply need to keep at it! Here are a few engagement-inducing ideas:

  • Content is king – Share links, post videos and/or images (According to Facebook, posts that include a photo generate 120% more engagement).
  • Add value – Share useful information and tips, even if you’re sharing from other sources.
  • Interact and engage – Don’t just post and leave your page unattended – Answer questions, make comments, and ask questions.
  • Post on a regular basis – This could be multiple times a day, or several times a week depending on your customers and the content available.
  • For more social media engagement related posts, read: “Want Better Facebook Engagement? Stop What You’re Doing” and/or “What Motivates People to ‘Like’ or ‘Unlike’ Brands on Facebook“

You can actually track ROI on social media; you just need to set up some key tools. Facebook Insights is a great start for monitoring progress on your Facebook Page. Google Analytics (GA) will also track where people come from when they visit your website, plus it tracks activity on your social accounts. And, if you set up goals in GA, you can track conversions from social interactions. If you’re sharing links from your site, or sharing from another, using Bit.ly not only shortens long URLs, it also gives you tracking information about the people clicking on your links. Even if you aren’t tracking, don’t overlook the power of social engagement. SocialBakers has been tracking exactly this and find that more engagement on social creates more reach, more click throughs, and ultimately more conversion. So keep sharing great info, and it’ll pay off in the end!

Read the full article…

Comments Off on Facebook tests new version of Offers to increase conversions, give users control when they share with friends

Facebook tests new version of Offers to increase conversions, give users control when they share with friends

Brtittany Darwell, Inside Facebook

Facebook is testing a new version of its Offers product, which gives users the option to shop immediately or get a reminder before the promotion ends. The interface also lets users decide if and when to share the offer with friends.

The new implementation could be more effective in leading to direct sales for retailers, while helping users remember to take advantage of the offers they’re interested in and giving them more control over how their activity is shared.

A Facebook spokesperson says the company is working with a few global retailers for this test, but for now other pages aren’t affected and their offers will continue to appear in the original format.

For e-commerce offers in the test, users will see two buttons: “Shop Now” and “Remind Me.” Previously, users could only select “Get Offer.” When users click “Shop Now,” they will be taken directly to a retailer’s website. When they click “Remind Me,” users will be sent an email and at a later date will be reminded with a notification on Facebook. It is up to each retailer when they will remind users about their promotion, but they can only send one notification per offer.

Read the full article…

Comments Off on A Grad Student’s View of Facebook’s Outlook

A Grad Student’s View of Facebook’s Outlook

We’re keenly interested in insights to the various social media platforms as marketing venues. We’ve often written about the upsides and down of them here. We were recently contacted by the creator of the graphic below which tells an enlightening story about the social media giant and her view on how that might play out over time.  The story this graphic tells also contains info about Google and other companies in the social media mix. We thought it was worth sharing with you.

-BG

Facebook: Programmed for Disaster
Created by: www.OnlineGraduatePrograms.com

Comments Off on Facebook estimates 8.7% of users are duplicate, miscategorized or spam accounts

Facebook estimates 8.7% of users are duplicate, miscategorized or spam accounts

Facebook says 8.7 percent of its monthly active user total might violate terms of service and be either duplicate, miscategorized or “undesirable” accounts meant for spamming, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In its quarterly report, Facebook provided updated numbers and new details about illegitimate accounts, which could represent about 83 million users. The company estimates 4.8 percent of its 955 million monthly active users are duplicate accounts. For instance, a user may use one account for connecting with work acquaintances and another for family and close friends.

Facebook says 2.4 percent of accounts are likely miscategorized accounts where users have created personal profiles for a business, organization or pet. These entities should be represented on Facebook with pages, not profiles, according to the social network’s terms of service.

Facebook also estimates that 1.5 percent of monthly active users are “undesirable accounts,” which are false accounts that are created for spamming or other purposes that violate terms. Earlier this week, a music startup claimed that 80 percent of clicks on its Facebook ad campaign came from bots. Facebook says it is investigating the claims.

Read more at Inside Facebook…

Comments Off on Improvements Make Linked-In a Better Experience

Improvements Make Linked-In a Better Experience

Users can now add comments and “likes” to articles on LinkedIn Today. And the new “Trending in Your Network” tab filters all of the professional news articles on LinkedIn Today and gives you the most popular ones in your professional network.

LinkedIn has also “started to roll out a simpler and easier way to navigate Homepage experience that offers quick access to the relevant information and updates that help you be great at your job.”

Commenting & Liking: Sometimes the commentary about a news article can be just as insightful as the article itself. To that end, articles on LinkedIn Today will now include social gestures which will enable our 161 million member professionals to engage and create a dialogue around the news headlines that matter most to them, as well as learn what is currently trending online. This means, members will be able to see a snapshot of what’s top of mind among their professional networks.

Trending in Your Network: LinkedIn Today was built on the premise of providing a relevant, customizable news experience based on key news and updates trending in your industry and the other industries you choose to follow.  Starting today, we will begin rolling a new tab called “Trending in Your Network.”  By simply clicking on this tab, members will have yet another filter to sort through all of the professional news articles and industry updates, based on those articles that are currently the most popular among members of their professional networks, regardless of their industry.

These two new features, together with the existing customizable news feed, allow members to not only narrow down the most timely and relevant information needed when needed, but to also gather valuable insights about other like-minded individuals within their professional networks and beyond.

Full details on the Linked-In Blog…

Comments Off on 5 Steps To Building A Search Persona

5 Steps To Building A Search Persona

It’s easy for online B2B marketers to become distracted by the search engines and forget the real reason they’re doing SEO in the first place: the customer. Customer demand is the driving force behind search and must be the foundation for your SEO strategy. Whether you’re an SEO newbie or already running a few SEO campaigns, it’s important to take a step back and determine what techniques really align with your customers’ needs.

An effective, simple concept every search marketer should leverage is the process of developing a search persona. Similar to a marketing persona, creating a search persona helps professional B2B marketers to accurately identify their target customer, to understand how users are actually searching for their business online and to ultimately, drive higher conversion. This is not a very time-consuming process, and will have a significant impact on your marketing efforts behind search and must be the foundation for your SEO strategy. Understanding the keywords your prospects use and the places they go to find information is the critical first step in implementing a successful inbound marketing strategy

1. Know Your Target Audience

Identify a target audience that is most likely to turn into customers. Ask yourself: Who’s my perfect buyer? For any businessperson (regardless of SEO), this is something you should be able to answer.

2. Understand Your Audience’s Pain Point(s) & Know How They Search to Solve Them

How would your target customer articulate their need for this in terms of keywords? How do they search? Determine the queries that are used by your target audience, are aligned with your business goals, and appear in significant enough volumes.

3. Provide Real Solutions

Create great content that’s well optimized for the search engines, but also meets the needs of your target customer and provides calls-to-action that encourage users to further explore and engage with your product or service.

4. Be Compelling

Offer a call to action that compels the searcher to dive deeper into your conversion funnel. For example,
this might be a discount code, or an online form. Basically, a feature that allows you to keep in contact with a user and offers them an incentive to stay engaged with your website and product or service.

5. Know Your Data

Make sure you’re regularly tracking performance metrics that help demonstrate the efficacy of these campaigns.

One of the most overlooked aspects of this process is to truly try to understand the target searcher’s agenda. Think of yourself as you search for something. All the pages you bounce off of, because they aren’t relevant, trustworthy, or are too complex for one reason or another. Search persona only works in context with business goals, and content that was designed for them. Doing only one thing out of the overall list above will not bring the desired results. Now that you’ve built your search persona, examine your website’s content and existing SEO campaigns and make any adjustments necessary to align with the criteria you’ve identified in this process. Understanding the keywords your prospects use and the places they go to find information is the critical first step in implementing a successful inbound marketing strategy.

This article is excerpted from a whitepaper by Optify Inbound Marketing Software. Learn more.

Comments Off on 5 Creative Ways Businesses Are Using Google+ Hangouts

5 Creative Ways Businesses Are Using Google+ Hangouts

by Tim Gray

Are you interested in adding a bit of splash to your social media marketing mix?

Google+ Hangouts has addressed this issue.

It might be the versatile platform you’ve been waiting for to help capture the attention of an even bigger slice of potential customers.

With Hangouts, you can:

  • Video chat instantly with up to nine people.
  • Share documents and other files with the group.
  • Watch a YouTube video together and chat alongside it.
  • Share your screen with others.
  • Record sessions for viewing later.
  • Broadcast the chat live to anyone

How to Get Started

Starting a Hangout is easy (and free!). Just create a Google+ account, and click the “Start a Hangout” button. The technical aspects of Google+ Hangouts are extremely basic and intuitive.

Starting a Hangout is simple. Click the green “Start a Hangout” button and decide who to invite.

Now you’re ready to get creative!

Check out these five creative ways businesses are utilizing Hangouts. Feel free to experiment with any combination of these ideas.

  1. Crowdsourcing

  2. The Question & Answer

  3. The Demonstration

  4. The Giveaway

  5. Pull Back the Curtain

Get the full details on implementing these five ideas and read the article on Social Media Examiner…

 

Comments Off on Video Content Strategy: What you need to know today

Video Content Strategy: What you need to know today

It’s 2012 and you have a web site, a Facebook page, you’re Tweeting, and sending SMS text messages to your customers.  Are you also using online video to close the sale?  You should be.  The costs of production have come down significantly and the use of Youtube makes it relatively easy for anyone on any budget to get going with video to help spread their message.

A warning though:  if you do use video, don’t just make commercials or people will treat them just like commercials. Give something of value from your area of expertise to your potential audience.  It’s the same advice I give for posting anything in social media.

Onlinevideo.net asked C.C. Chapman* for his take on the essentials of online video and he came back with these recommendations for improving any video content strategy:

1. Do Something Unexpected

Playing it safe gets boring, and your customers will stop clicking on your links if you give them the same content week after week. Freshen up your video strategy by going for the unexpected. Show viewers something they haven’t seen before. Think fun and unique, says Chapman. But remember, unexpected doesn’t mean inappropriate.

2. Plan it out Ahead of Time

People like to dive in and start making videos, says Chapman, often skipping the crucial planning stages. Begin by creating a video schedule for the next six months, brainstorming ideas and mapping out topics. Think ahead of time about what camera equipment and other resources you’ll need for each shoot. Having a plan means you’re more likely to follow through on video creation, and more likely to follow a set online posting schedule. That’s important if you want to attract regular viewers.

3. Talk Like a Human

Jargon is the bane of good communication. The purpose of your videos is to engage with your customers, so leave the acronyms and industry-specific buzzwords aside. “Nobody wants to watch that,” says Chapman. Instead, speak from the heart. If your on-air talent is reading from a teleprompter, make sure it doesn’t sound like he or she is reading from a teleprompter. There’s nothing worse than reading from a script and being boring.

4. Don’t Be a Slave to Length

Anyone making online videos has heard several times that shorter is better, that people will get anxious and click-off after two minutes, three tops. That’s true, notes Chapman, but don’t let it hold you hostage. There’s nothing wrong with going longer when the subject demands it. Keep your video as short as possible, but take the time you need to properly cover your topic. Don’t try to stuff your material into a length that’s too short. If you’re offering quality content, your viewers will watch it no matter the length.

5. Be Helpful

“Share or solve, don’t shill,” says Chapman, and that’s a good rule of thumb for any company making online videos. Chances are your sales team gets certain questions all the time. Online video is a great place to answer those questions. Your customers are more likely to share videos that they found helpful, so try to solve some problems. Whatever industry you’re in, create helpful tips for that industry. “If you can educate and entertain your viewers, you’ve done very, very well,” adds Chapman.

*C.C. Chapman is the author of Content Rules, a guide to content strategy. He’s also currently writing a book on people who made careers out of their passions. Video shot for that book is at Passion Hit TV, and the book should be on sale in the fall.

Comments Off on Tips to Manage Your Social Media Reputation

Tips to Manage Your Social Media Reputation

Are you managing your online reputation?

Reputation can affect purchase decisions and influence the growth or decline of a business.

Many businesses are using social media to develop online reputations, manage and respond during a crisis and monitor the conversation to prevent future crises.

In a concise article on Social Media Examiner, Sarah Lokitis offers three big tips that can help you deal with the challenge. She says…

Try searching your company and product names to make an assessment of your online reputation. What do you see in the top 10 search results?

What follows are three tips to help you manage your reputation with social media.

#1: Establish Your Online Reputation

When someone Googles your brand name, your business should be sitting right there on the first page waiting for the user. And yourbrandname.com shouldn’t be the only branded search result.

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social brand pages should assist in owning the first search engine results page. Especially if you have a common name, owning your brand name search queries is important for users to find the right information.

Social media can help you create a stronger online presence, so old news doesn’t turn up at the top of search results. If you don’t control your brand, someone else may post inaccurate or derogatory information that could tarnish your reputation.

Take a look at the search results from Lululemon. The first result is for their website, but the next four listings are all social media channels that they own or have the ability to edit and monitor.

According to a click-through rate study published by Slingshot at the end of last year, the number-one ranking on Google gets about an 18% click-through rate and the number-two organic listing gets about 10%. Regardless of the actual percentage, the data proves that the first search engine results page is the most important for your brand’s reputation.

The reason you want to control several of your first page search results is if a crisis strikes and you have set up several social channels, your brand will have plenty of platforms ranking well to disseminate your message.

These branded channels help push down negative or competitor results that you don’t want representing your brand.

Creating social media profiles has given people the channels to voice their joys and complaints about your company. Owning your social media profiles can help you better control and manage the conversation, so you can respond in a timely manner.

If you aren’t marketing with social media, those conversations are going to happen on other channels that may prohibit you from getting involved in the conversation.

#2: Control Responses During a Crisis

A crisis for a company can range from unexpected website issues to a lawsuit. How a crisis is handled online makes a huge difference to the future ramifications. It’s important to monitor and respond to customers who write on your wall or send you messages to resolve any issues and let users know they’re heard.

Facebook was one of the channels Anthropologie used for announcing a huge online sale in May. Right after they posted about the event, the site went down for maintenance. It didn’t take long for Facebook users to complain and point out that they couldn’t get to the site to buy any products.

The social media team did not respond to every comment personally, but was smart to send out a note to fans that they were working on the issue and the site would be back up soon.

Customer complaints were acknowledged and customers were told that the company was addressing the issue.

When the site was back up, a user still couldn’t access the page, so the social team provided a direct email contact to resolve the issue off of Facebook. Providing an email was a good solution because it gave the user somewhere to go to have her issue addressed.

If you can’t solve a user’s problem with a simple post, take the issue offline and out of the public eye as soon as possible.

Within 10 minutes, Anthropologie responded with another method of customer service.

Sometimes brand ambassadors will even step in to resolve a conflict for you. Though it is helpful when customers support you enough to calm a disgruntled customer, do not assume that will be the case every time. Set up tools and a strategy to monitor the conversation, so you aren’t surprised with the conversations happening about your brand.

#3: Monitor Conversations

Now that you’ve created and are updating several social profiles on behalf of your brand, you may find it a bit overwhelming to keep up to date with what is being said about your brand online.

Savvy businesses are monitoring their brand for mentions with social media monitoring tools.

Read the full article…

Comments Off on VIDEO BLAST: Great new offering from BGAmedia and Bob’s Computer Service

VIDEO BLAST: Great new offering from BGAmedia and Bob’s Computer Service

by Robert B. Gelman

You’ve seen the videos. They are on YouTube. They are on Facebook, MySpace, and web sites all over the Net. They show customers offering testimonials. Or product demonstrations.  Or simply a background piece on the owners of a small business.  There is no limit to the way you can use video today to promote your business or venture. But most small business owners think, “That is just too expensive for me to invest in.”

That would be a mistaken impression now.

There is a solution available and we are offering it, at an amazing price. Instead of paying a videographer $500-$1500 to shoot and edit a video, then paying a similar amount to a web developer or marketing agency to post the video online, you can buy a package from BGAmedia that includes all of that, at only $200 (for a limited time).  Have a video and just need it put online? That’s just $100.  Same low introductory price if you want a short video shot and do not want it put online.

This article details the principles involved in succeeding with online video.  The good news here is that you don’t need to worry about most of that.  We’ll guide you all the way and you are guaranteed a professionally shot and edited piece, presented in the best possible way on your web site and if desired, YouTube, Facebook, or other social network that accommodates video. Also, we recommend a content strategy, as described in this article.

What are you waiting for?

Act now to find more or get started.  Call 209-588-8055 today, no obligation. Ready to start now?

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