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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 Timing is Everything

Timing is Everything

From an email article by Jay Levinson

If your marketing is right, but your timing is wrong, watch out. Even the best-laid plans go awry when the timing is off. Here’s how to prevent that.

Sometimes a company actively markets the right product or service to the right people in the right media. But the marketing turns out to be a flop all because of poor timing. In order to get the most mileage from your marketing, you’ve got to be keenly attuned to the right times and the wrong times. To gain a bit of insight, consider these ten examples:

  1. You’ve created the perfect mailing package, but it arrives too early in the week, when your prospect is thinking of the week ahead — or too late, when your prospect is thinking of the upcoming weekend. Moral: See to it that your mailing arrives on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
  2. You’ve got a fine product but a limited budget and a lot of competition. What to do? Do your marketing when your competitors have eased up and you can gain the largest share of mind with the smallest marketing investment. Maybe that will be during what are deemed the slow months. But it’s when you can attract the most attention the fastest.
  3. Everybody receives Christmas catalogs in September and October. If you sent yours during July or August, you’d get people thinking of your company then and later on as well. It’s may sound a bit crazy, but if you explain why you are mailing at that time, it will make sense to your prospects. Naturally, this applies to times other than Christmas.
  4. You keep abreast of current events by watching the tube, reading the paper, accessing online news services, perusing newsweeklies, and subscribing to publications within your industry and community. You should be doing this, and if you do, you can tie in your offerings with what is happening at that moment in history. A recession is ugly except to companies that realize it is an ideal opportunity for them to make sales.
  5. Be careful not to launch your marketing too soon. One of the most common errors in marketing is to promote before all the bugs have been worked out, before the salespeople know all the facts, and before you are ready to fill the flood of orders and engage in guerrilla follow-up. Remember that patience is a guerrilla virtue.

Read the full list here.

Comments Off on 8 Tips to Make Your Email Marketing Copy Shine

8 Tips to Make Your Email Marketing Copy Shine

by Janine Popick, CEO and founder of VerticalResponse

If you’re like me and in the business of marketing, you spend a great portion of your day writing. Writing emails, proposals, blog posts, guest articles … If you’ve got email marketing in the mix, that’s even more writing. How do you keep things interesting and “skim-able” for your email recipients so that they can quickly see what you want them to see, and still motivate them enough to take an action? Here are eight tips to help your email marketing copy shine and hopefully make the writing process a little easier.

1. Write using benefits, not features. Features are the things the product has. The iPhone 4 has a 3.5-inch touch screen, 5 megapixel camera, 16 GB flash drive. I’m thinking great, but what does that do for me? Well, that means the iPhone 4 lets me easily take and store high-quality, print-ready photos – these are the benefits. As a marketer, you need to answer the recipient’s question, “What’s it going to do for me?” “How is it going to make my life easier?” Many businesses get caught up writing about themselves and all the nifty things they offer rather than how those nifty things will help their customers. Don’t make that mistake.

2. Sprinkle in subheads. Attracting the attention of your readers using subheads is a tried-and-true tactic. It breaks up your thoughts and gets to the heart of what you’re selling or promoting quickly. It lets the reader skim through the email yet still get the message you want to convey.

3. Keep it tight. You need to get to your point fast in small, succinct paragraphs. When was the last time you read an entire press release or news article in an email? No one likes to scroll and scroll and scroll (maybe unless they’re shopping for shoes!); it’s difficult and time-consuming. Include links off the page to more information so that if a reader does want more details, they can find it quickly and easily.

4. Use bullets. Bullets break up points or benefits so that, again, your readers can scan copy without losing any key takeaways. Bullets are great for email and Web writing in general.

Tips 5-8 are even more valuable. Get them in the full blog post.

Comments Off on Guerrilla Economizing

Guerrilla Economizing

from an email tip by Jay Levinson

When guerrillas think of economizing, they don’t necessarily think of trying to save money. What they do think of is getting the absolute most from any money they’ve invested in marketing. They realize there are two kinds of marketing — expensive and inexpensive — and they know that expensive marketing is the kind that doesn’t cover the investment they’ve made in it, while inexpensive marketing pays rich rewards for their investment. Guerrillas have the insight to know that economizing has nothing to do with cost; it has everything to do with results.

To be sure, guerrillas adopt a philosophy of frugality and thrift. They know well the difference between investing in something disposable such as paper and accounting services — and investing in something that’s truly an investment, such as a telephone system or customer-tracking software — items they’d use on a daily basis.

There’s a big difference in these two expenses, so you won’t be surprised to learn that guerrillas rarely waste their time and effort on relatively low cost disposable purchases, but are willing to expend the time and energy to enjoy a large savings on a an expense that’s really an investment in disguise.

A key to economizing is to think not in terms of purchasing, but in terms of acquiring. That means you open your mind to trading, sharing, renting, modifying an existing item or borrowing it. It means possibly learning a few skills so that you can do rather than hire. Desktop publishing software enables you to save a ton of money usually paid to pros.

Guerrillas are also keenly aware of when it makes sense to hire a pro, knowing that amateur-looking marketing is an invitation to disaster. They might hire a highly-paid professional designer to give their marketing items a powerful visual format, then use their own staff members or themselves to continue generating marketing materials that follow this same format. They learn from any consultant they hire.

By understanding that economizing does not mean saving money, but investing it wisely, guerrillas test their investments on a small scale before plunging headlong into any kind of marketing. They have no fear of failure, providing the failures are small ones and knowing that even one success in ten tries means discovering a path to wealth and profitability. They know in their hearts that money is not the key to happiness or success, but that enough of it enables them to have a key made. Real frugality is more about priorities and results than just saving money.

Jay Levinson
The Father of Guerrilla Marketing
Author, “Guerrilla Marketing” series of books

Note from us: Jay knows the value of his email newsletter is enhanced by the viral effect it can have by recipients.  This “repost” is an example of how his reach is extended when readers like us republish (with links and attribution).  We recommend his books, his website, and membership in the Guerrilla Marketing Association.

Comments Off on Producing Great Results With Brochures

Producing Great Results With Brochures

From an article by Jay Levinson (the Father of Guerrilla Marketing)

In a recent email from Jay Levinson (which you can sign up to receive here), Jay Levinson spelled out some really useful points to avoid common mistakes in developing print brochures for small businesses.  They certainly apply to online (pdf) brochures too, and I forward them to you here.

  1. Don’t waste your cover panel or headline position with your company name. Instead, give them a reason to read the rest of your brochure.
  2. Don’t be unclear as to what your brochure should do for you. Is it to generate leads? Close sales? Prospects won’t take the time to figure it out.
  3. Don’t fail to answer the big question: “What’s in it for me?” Stress your benefits more than features using language your prospects understand.
  4. Don’t try to include too much in your brochure. If you have multiple offerings, open your mind to the idea of multiple brochures, not just one.
  5. Don’t be sloppy or unprofessional. Software enables you to do it yourself without having it look do-it-yourself. There’s no room for even a trace of amateurishness, smudges, inconsistent inking or crooked printing.
  6. Don’t be guilty of poor grammar or spelling. One misspelled word or poor use of grammar can undermine even the most compelling offers.
  7. Don’t allow any typos, contradictions, or omissions. Be careful and be consistent. Let a proofreader go over your final brochure before printing.
  8. Don’t forget to include a call for action. Say what you offer, what it means to customers and what they should do next. Call you? Fax you? Visit you? E-mail you? Tell them exactly or they’ll do zilch.
  9. Don’t have confusing order forms. Let someone who didn’t produce your order form fill it out. Assume nothing and test everything.
  10. Don’t limit yourself to a paper brochure. Perhaps it should be on a CD, DVD, or on the web.. The world is getting more paperless.
Comments Off on Three Unique New Offerings from BGAmedia

Three Unique New Offerings from BGAmedia

As of this writing, BGAmedia is still on summer holiday (until July 18), but will soon be back and hard at work helping clients reach and exceed their goals.  We’ve come up with three new services that many small businesses (including retailers) can use to enhance their bottom lines. We’ll describe them here briefly and invite your inquiries about putting them to work for you.

1. Cool Customized Creative Facebook Landing Page

A recent change in technical specs at Facebook now allows developers to create totally customized and completely unique landing pages that integrate fully with Facebook’s functions.  That means you can have a page that looks exactly like you home page (as this example demonstrates), or that simply promotes your brand powerfully (as these examples show: Coke, Audi, Levis).

Use your imagination and come up with interesting ways to motivate your visitors, friends, and fans to interact with your page.  How about offering a coupon that they can only access by clicking the “like” button?  Or actually doing commerce (selling) right there in Facebook? You can even recreate your web site’s pages right there between the navigation column on the left, and those Facebook promotional items on the right.

We will meet with you to brainstorm the best options for your company and propose a program designed to increase your sales and customer retention.  Cost?  Not much.

More information…

2. Results-Getting QR Codes for Multiple Uses

You may have read a previous article in which I described a few of the various things these new 2-dimensional bar-codes can do for your company. Well, BGAmedia clients are using them and getting great results.

  • A manufacturer is putting them in his email and using it to give dealers an inside access to new product introductions.
  • A retailer is putting them in their ads and delivering coupons to be shown in the store
  • A restaurant has placed it on their window/front door and uses it to link to a page of great reviews about the food

The limit is your imagination with these tools, and the cost is as close to zero as anything we do. For example, if we create the code, implement the action, and provide an adhesive sign (as we did for the restaurant), the cost would be about $50.  It’s just a little more to create a dedicated web page or other resource that is used to generate customer response.

What does it inspire you to try?  Let’s do it!  Contact us for details.

3. e-Book Development, Marketing, and Distribution

Ebooks are hot right now, and it looks like the way for almost anyone with specialized expertise to capitalize on that knowledge. If you’re in business, you can enhance your credibility by sharing info in an ebook, and it promotes your business while generating revenue, instead of costing you bundles of cash.

BGAmedia has been involved with eBooks since before there were millions of devices to specifically read them.  Now that they are available, we’ve put together a menu of services that can take you from raw notes, to bestseller, or any of the various specialty services in-between to make your ebook project affordable and successful. Here’s a partial list of what we can do for you:

  • Document design and content development
  • Interactive PDF or ePub file conversion
  • ISBN assignment
  • Inclusion in iBook Store, Kindle Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Store
  • Creation of an independent e-commerce enabled web page
  • Social media promotion for your ebook
  • Pay-per-click Ad Campaigns (search marketing)
  • Search engine optimization of existing sites to enhance sales
  • Package pricing
  • Lots more

And there’s FREE stuff!

For a limited time, we’re offering to host your ebook selling web page at no charge for one year if you mention this blog article when you inquire (say you “saw it on the Boblog”). Estimates given free of charge, so call today to get an idea what it will take to get your ebook out there.

For more information…

Comments Off on Growing Your Business by Nurturing Leads

Growing Your Business by Nurturing Leads

by Jennifer Vessels, Next Step Growth

Rethinking sales leads

Generating sales leads is expensive but necessary if you, as well as your clients, are to develop a sustainable revenue stream. Typically, a 10% closing rate is required for such investments to pay off.

Our organization improves sales effectiveness for service organizations and their clients – from lead generation through development and close.

Next Step’s Keys to Success Include:

Landing qualified leads requires intimately understanding what compels prospective clients to respond, then leveraging your best marketing assets – white papers, articles, webinars and outreach through SEO, email, and ads – to direct them to your company.

Not all leads are equal. Let prospects’ responses to your marketing efforts determine their ‘sales-readiness’ and when it’s appropriate for a sales representative to contact them.

Developing qualified leads. As prospective clients express interest in your company’s offering, ongoing contact, or nurturing, via inside sales is a cost-efficient way to advance the sales cycle. You and your clients can learn more about nurturing leads via qualification by watching our webinar – Nurturing Sales Leads. Your inside team can also help determine when to leverage channel partners and/or field sales to reinforce value propositions and, ultimately, close sales.

Grow your business. Attract and accurately identify qualified leads, nurture them through the sales cycle, and close the deal. Watch our webinar – Nurturing Sales Leads – to learn more. Click the image below to see video.

If you’d like to learn how Next Step can help grow your revenue, we recommend you call them at 650.361.1902 or visit www.nextstepgrowth.com

Comments Off on How To Reach the Last-Minute Shopper and Get More Revenue Before the Year Ends

How To Reach the Last-Minute Shopper and Get More Revenue Before the Year Ends

from the Vertical Response Blog

Research and experience shows that many holiday shoppers wait until the last minute to make purchases. This period of holiday shopping is called the Last-Minute Frenzy, and starts in early to mid-December. Don’t miss out on these last minute shoppers – reach out to them! Here’s how:

1.    Send a Quick Email

You must act fast to reach the last-minute shopper, as time is running out, and the pressure to find the perfect gift is on. Quickly reach out to these procrastinators by sending an email – it’s the fastest, and most cost-effective way, to reach this audience.

Get attention by mentioning your benefit and making your subject line pop – possible subject lines include:

▪    Last Day to Order with Guaranteed Delivery
▪    Last-Minute Gifts for Under $50
▪    Extended Hours for More Holiday Shopping

2.    Give Shoppers Ideas

Last-minute shoppers appreciate anything that makes holiday shopping easier. Draw these shoppers to your store or website by tailoring your offers to meet their needs. The best way to do this is by offering easy, last-minute gift suggestions.
Try these offers to get last-minute shoppers to your store or website:

▪    Mention easy gift ideas such as gift cards and gift certificates
▪    Offer an Extra 20% off
▪    Tout free gift-wrapping and/or free shipping

3.    Extend Your Sales Beyond the Holidays

Late December through the New Year marks the Bargain Bounty period. Just because the holidays are over, it doesn’t mean the spending and shopping has stopped. Be sure your business gets its piece of the bargain bounty and brings in end-of-the-year sales. 
Ways to get sales after the holidays include:

▪    Sending an email touting your end-of-the-year sales and discounts
▪    Offering coupon codes redeemable online only
▪    Sending postcards with coupons redeemable in-stores

Comments Off on Social Media While You Sleep, part 1 of 2

Social Media While You Sleep, part 1 of 2

IconsI proposed in an earlier post that Social Media might just be a waste of time (and money) for small businesses. I challenged readers to show me a study which shows ROI for the effort spent in developing Social Media marketing channels. A few very interesting submissions have been received, but no one has gotten the cigar yet (check out the challenge and win a $500 package of cash and services).

The fact is that the jury is out on this method of marketing, although it is being investigated intensely by many large companies. I expect to see the studies I’m looking for eventually. Meanwhile I have a method for those that want to be sure they cover this territory, but are just not interested in spending 10 hours a week doing it. Or even one hour for that matter. There are actually many ways to achieve social media presence and interaction “lite,” and I am going to show you how to do it the way I do it, in case you’d like to try this.

Broken down simply, what we are going to do is:

  • Create Social Media Accounts for our business
  • Connect those accounts via email and RSS feeds
  • Generate multiple posts/tweets/outbound html emails…all just by sending a single text email.

This may take up to an hour to get started, but then requires only 10-15 minutes per week, or however often you want to publish messages. Let’s get started.

Step One: Open the Accounts

This almost doesn’t need stating, but just in case, please open accounts with Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In and any other social network site where you think there’s a chance your customers might be spending time. Here in Gold Country, there is a Ning Network called “Gold of the Mother Lode” (GOTML) which some of my clients participate in. It’s a good idea not to use the same passwords in each, but make sure you have a passwords database somewhere on your local machine, you’re going to need it.

Step Two: Prepare to Blog

Launch a blog if you do not have one. The easiest way to do this is to open an account at WordPress.com or Blogger.com and choose one of the stock themes (designs) offered. These tools are very user friendly. If you can put two words together and type them into the fields provided, you can blog.

Next we’re going to setup your blog to post your messages by simply sending an email. Using WordPress as our example, login to your dashboard, click “Settings” in the left column, then click “Writing.” You’ll be shown various ways to get new posts into your blog. Under “Post via Email,” you can enter your email account information to enable the blog to accept your posts automatically. If you can create a new secret email address/account just for this, it’s a good idea, since anyone who knew the address could automatically post to your blog. If you don’t feel like doing that, it’s still pretty easy to copy/paste your words from your favorite word processor or text editing program into the blog program.

In whichever way you prefer create a test post, and publish it..

Step Three: Setup your Social Network Connections

For purposes of this article, we’ll do Facebook and Twitter (which you already have if you followed step one), but this step applies to all social networks. Login to your Facebook account, then check out these “apps” which you can use to plug your blog posts and twitter tweets into your Facebook page automatically: http://apps.facebook.com/rss-connect/presentation.php?ref=st . It does this by taking the RSS feed from your blog page and “syndicating” it to your other pages. The instructions that come with this widget are detailed but you will need to know the address (URL) of your RSS feed for your blog, which is usually found near the little broadcast icon (like the orange one in the illustration above), or in text at the bottom of the page. In the browser Firefox, you can also click the blue broadcast icon that appears in the address bar to see the location of your feed.

Once you install this widget in Facebook, your visitors will see new headlines of your blog articles and be able to click to read the full articles. You can place this widget almost anywhere on your page. Other social networks (like Ning) have a built-in RSS feed publisher and searching “help” files for the keyword “RSS” will likely bring up how to use these tools in other networks.

Next, go to this site: http://twitterfeed.com/ and setup a connection between your Twitter account and your blog. This is a simple 3-click process where you authorize Twitterfeed to access your blog periodically and then post the subject line of your articles as a “tweet.”

Step Four: Test What You’ve Built

Your first test blog post should be appearing in Facebook now, but that “tweet” is nowhere to be found. So now create your second post, and in the timeframe that you specified, you should see it appear in Twitter. As you know, these “tweets”have a maximum of 140 characters and are frequently seen on mobile phones. If you’ve done these steps correctly, you should now see two articles in your blog, their headlines are appearing in your Facebook or other Social Network pages, and you have one “tweet,” based on the subject line of your second post. If you get stuck, I welcome your email or call to see if I can help.

In next week’s installment, I’ll show you how to use your blog posts to automatically send a beautifully designed email message to your email list. Following that I’ll give you some ideas for what to write about in business newsletters and blogs.