Do you sit at your computer and stare at the cursor wondering what to write about?
Are you trying to figure out what to share in your email marketing?
We all struggle on what to share or write about, at times, but odds are people are asking questions about the topics you do.
AnswerThePublic.com is a great (aka FREE) place to find questions people are asking on the internet about your topic. Here is a great overview for you to check out on how to use it:
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We have been hearing a lot of outrage on the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica news.
There are some people and businesses considering leaving Facebook because they are upset at how their data was used and gathered.
On a side note, if you are interested in knowing what they know about you, check out this Facebook help link about Accessing your Facebook Data: https://www.facebook.com/help/405183566203254/
And now back to the issue at hand…
We can definitely understand the outrage, but can you leave Facebook’s audience, all 2.2 billion monthly active users?
One of the reasons Facebook is so great is the information they have about their users that allow companies to provide relevant content directly to customers and prospects.
So, what questions should you ask yourself before deciding to leave Facebook?
Who are my customers/followers and how will they feel if I left Facebook?
How can I replace the advertising and promotion I get or pay for on Facebook?
Where can I replace the interaction or conversations that happen with my audience on Facebook?
Are you just leaving Facebook or are you planning to leave their entire network that includes Gowalla, Instagram, Lightbox.com, WhatsApp, tbh app and more?
Remember that social media is supposed to be about conversations and Facebook is a great platform for that despite the decline in online sharing, as reported in BuzzSumo’s Content Trends 2018 report.
If you decide to leave, you need to make sure you have a plan to have conversations with your clients and customers someplace else.
Another thing to keep in mind is that other sites gather information about you too. I don’t even want to think about what Google and Amazon know about me.
Whether you stay on Facebook or leave the site, be sure to:
Keep asking your clients and customers what social media platforms they are using. Start a presence on the other sites they are on, if you don’t have one already. Wikipedia has a pretty long list of social networking websites for you to check out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites
As a person and responsible business person, manage your settings and use the data you get responsibly. Be sure not to share information with 3rd parties unless your users give you direct permission.
Be relevant and not creepy. When advertising, be sure to think about what your clients and customers think you know and what you really know. If you want more information on this, check out our other blog post, Do you want Free Eggs? on handling your customer’s information.
Finally, if you are looking to converse with your clients, realize that social media isn’t the only outlet. Be sure to consider email marketing, direct marketing, events and more.
And if you have any questions and concerns about what you are doing, we are always here to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out and ask.
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Do you want free eggs?
That’s why I gave Kroger, a regional grocery store, my phone number, mailing address, email, cell phone and probably more. In exchange, based on my buying habits, they send me coupons and sometimes I get free eggs.
I have a friend, from France, and he doesn’t care about free eggs. He prefers to pay a little more to not give out his data and lose that privacy.
And that’s okay, but as a marketing professional I think he is losing out, but he isn’t alone.
Now, when my Kroger direct mail arrives I know that it is customized to me and I open it. Personalization goes a long way to getting customers to open direct mail and email. Take a look at these stats:
According to Aberdeen, personalized email messages improve click-through rates by an average of 14% and conversions by 10%.
eConsultancy found that 74% of marketers said targeted personalization increases customer engagement.
Campaign Monitor found that emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened.
I could go on and on and on about the success of personalization and segmentation, but I will save that for another post. Just know that it works, when used responsibly.
Now, have you noticed that when you go shopping online at Nordstrom, Joss and Main, and Amazon that ads for the products you were looking at show up in your Facebook feed and on other websites?
That’s called “retargeting” and it is actually frustrating a lot of consumers and it is thanks to cookies.
So when do we have too much information and where is the line on what we can and cannot use?
Harvard Business Review’s January- February 2018 issue has a feature article highlighting when marketers overstep in the advertising and targeting they create. I love data and being able to target the right people to be more effective and efficient with my clients’ advertising dollars, but there is a need to respect the privacy of others.
The article by Leslie K. John, Tami Kim, and Kate Barasz found that, “Interest in purchasing declines when consumers realize their information is being shared in ways they dislike.”
Let’s go back to my free eggs example. How do you know that you are okay sending me free eggs but that my friend isn’t okay with it and feels it is a misuse of his personal information?
The article highlights two things to think about when marketing to others:
Don’t talk about people behind their backs.
The more intimate the data is (sex, health and finances) the less comfortable people are with others knowing it.
My favorite and the one that I think can really get marketers thinking is the first one. In the article, they said:
“While people may be comfortable disclosing personal information directly (what scientists call “first-person sharing”), they may become uneasy when that information is passed along without their knowledge (what we term “third-party sharing). If you learned that a friend had revealed something personal about you to another, mutual friend, you’d probably be upset- even though you might have no problem with both parties knowing the information. “
They go on to cite two examples for online behavior that mimics what people aren’t comfortable with off line:
Obtaining information outside the website on which an ad appears, which is akin to talking behind someone’s back
Deducing information about someone from analytics, which is akin to inferring information
One of my favorite lines from the article is that “When it comes to personalized ads, there’s a fine line between creepy and delightful.”
They also provide 5 guidelines for digital marketers, but I recommend to always to put your customer first and create value for them. If you create with them in mind you have a much better chance of being successful overall.
This article was first published on our blog at H2HConsulting.net.
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Are you finding people aren’t sharing your content?
Is all your website traffic originating from Google and not as much from Facebook, LinkedIn and other social sites?
Are you frustrated with Facebook’s changing algorithm and find it is impacting your engagement and ability to show up organically in your followers’ feeds?
You aren't alone.
Buzz Sumo just released their 2018 Content Trends Report and found that based on a sample of 100 million posts published in 2017, social sharing of content has been cut in half since 2015.
Here are some of the key findings from their report:
The median shares of an article in 2015 was 8- compared to only 4 in 2017
Only 5% of content is getting more than 343 shares
Social engagement has declined 60% in 3 years
Private sharing is increasing. Business Insider says that social messaging has surpassed social media usage.
No, this does not mean that social media is dying.
They did note some positive things in their report:
Average shares of New York Times content tripled since 2015
7 of the top 10 most shared articles on Harvard Business Review over the last 5 years were published in 2017. The other 3 were published in 2016
The 2 most shared posts from The Economist over the last 5 years were both published LinkedIn told Digiday that comments, likes and shares on its platform are up more than 60 percent year over year.
My favorite part of thiis that it is forcing people to think about their content and people are not rewarded anymore for clickbait headlines, etc.
Quality content, well promoted is what you need to do.
If you want some questions that will help you think about your content, you can check out one of our recent blogs on What Makes Good Content?
But really…what can you do?
Well, the biggest recommendation I have (and that Buzz Sumo recommends) is to build your reputation for good content.
If you are consistent and share useful information you will build a following that will engage with you and like and share your content.
And since we are on the Constant Contact blog, I think it is important to note that email will become even more important as social continues to change.
What are you doing to engage with your clients and prospects on social media?
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According to Entrepenur.com, the definition of direct mail is “A marketing effort that uses a mail service to deliver a promotional printed piece to your target audience.” But what does that really mean?
Direct mail is a type of advertisement sent by companies through traditional mail. When using direct mail your intended audience can be broken down in any way you choose. Segmentation can be determined by geographic, demographic, interest level, or usage factors.
Direct mail is truly diverse and is made up of the following categories:
What are the pros and cons of direct mail?
The first advantage of direct mail is that it can be intensely focused on the market segment you are trying to reach. The key to targeting is to know exactly what group you want to reach. For example, you wouldn’t advertise retirement planning to high school seniors. However, if you know that you’re advertising to baby boomers, you would have a higher success rate because it is a more appropriate target market for that service.
A second major benefit of direct mail is the warm and personal touch it provides. Receiving a carefully and well executed letter compared to a generic email can be a valuable experience in a consumer’s eyes. Including a handwritten signature makes it look like you personally created this advertisement with the consumer in mind the whole time.
Direct mail provides the ability to track how well your advertisement is performing and calculating your ROI (return on investment). You can check your response rates by including a coupon or order form with the ad. Once you see how many people respond to the coupon, you’re able to calculate your ROI.
Some of the cons to using direct mail include the following:
Some people feel it is costly. Requiring creation of advertisement, printing, and mailing it out adds up.
You need an enticing design. The artistic design requires a lot of work to utilize the right combination of pleasing fonts, colors, and images.
Is the subject matter attractive? The event, offer, or message must be worth the time of the audience.
The probability of rejection. Some people will get rid of the mail without even looking at it (44 % according to the CMO Council), but that’s better than the 80% average that delete your email.
Keep in mind that no form of advertisement is perfect. But we believe the advantages of direct mail outweigh the disadvantages, so what’s stopping you from creating a direct mail campaign?
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Whether you love networking or absolutely hate it, you’ll need to network to survive in the professional world today. San Jose Statue University’s School of Information defines networking as “an information exchange between you and another person. It involves establishing relationships with people who can help you advance your career in many ways.”
While you can network anywhere and with anyone, most people are utilizing networking events as their preferred way to put themselves out there. Networking events are where people gather together to learn more about other business professionals usually in the same field, (and there’s usually some food if that’s incentive to go).
Now that you know what networking events are, how should you behave at one?
Dress professionally – While this may be a bit obvious, some people don’t know how to dress business professional. Act like it’s a job interview, because it practically is. You are meeting people that could be potential clients and possible referrals, so make a good first impression with your outfit.
Bring resumes and business cards – People can write your information down in their phone, but it’s also better for them to have a physical copy to refer to later. You look more prepared, and it shows that you thought about how you wanted to be perceived.
Watch your drinking and eating – Again, these are potential partners and you can’t shake someone’s hand if you have a plate in one hand and a drink in another. In addition, if you drink too much you could turn people off. Even if you don’t get drunk, each drink can impact how you behave. So think twice before filling up.
Talk to as many people as possible – You want to get your name and business out there, and the best way to do that is to talk to more people. Go up to people who aren’t involved in other conversations and strike one up. Introduce people you may already know to people you just met at that event. Set up follow up conversations with people you want to talk to later. (One of our partners, Ken Seawell, is a fan of the 3-foot rule where you talk to anyone that comes within 3-feet of you.)
Follow up with people – its good to check back in with people you meet. They may have gotten busy and meant to call or they may be waiting for a time to meet up. Either way, it’s nice to let people know you remember who they are and what they do. Even if you know you’re not going to do business with that person, they may have other people they can refer you to.
I hope that this article has taught you a little more about networking, and some tips for your first, second, or tenth networking event. Remember, it’s never too late to get yourself out there and start networking!
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If your company is like ours, email marketing is a big part of your marketing plan. Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to keep your current clients informed, stay top of mind and turn prospects into clients.
But that’s if you’re utilizing email marketing correctly. Believe it or not, there are some practices that are actually harmful to your business.
Including too many images – it will make it hard to focus on the actual content you’re trying to share with your viewers. Try to limit it to one picture per section or less. If you’re having trouble choosing which photo to use, pick the one that relates most to the content.
Not having an unsubscribe option – while you probably don’t want people to unsubscribe, you do want people who are interested in hearing about your content. People who wish to unsubscribe but can’t, will probably just delete your email without reading it, even if it’s applicable to them. Also, there are fines that can be levied against you for not having an unsubscribe button.
Sending every email to every single person every time – people fall into different demographics and it’s important to recognize that and to segment your list. Sending baby boomers emails about college applications just doesn’t make sense, so make sure you’re sending information to applicable groups.
Have no fear; there are good email marketing practices too.
Link pictures to the relevant information they are representing – when you do include pictures (which you should) make sure to link the picture to the information or story you’re sharing. Many people will click the photo, so make sure they’ll be directed to the right information.
Changing your subject line – this lets people know that your email is different from the last time they looked at it, which means you’ve got new content to offer them. Having a compelling subject could get a few on the fence subscribers to open up your email.
Format your email so it works on mobile devices – between 15 and 70% of your audience will open your email on their phone or tablet. Make sure they can see it just as they would on a computer.
Hopefully you’ll keep these tips in mind, and your email marketing strategy will benefit from them. For more information on starting or help with your current email marketing strategy contact Kendra Corman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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