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Constant Contact wants to help you succeed! We’re celebrating our professional service programs on the Constant Contact Community this month and you have a chance to try one of the services for free! Learn more.
Time, the one thing there never seems to be enough of in the day. For small business owners, the addition multiple platforms of digital marketing can be overwhelming. Majority of the business owners I speak with are seeking for help with their online marketing for two reasons;
They are intimidated navigating through social media, either they don’t use it personally so aren’t sure where to begin, or use it personally and find it overwhelming and don’t believe they would be able to rise above all the noise.
Time, they don’t have the time to stop in the middle of their day to post to Facebook or create that email blast.
To overcome the first hurdle I suggest a slow submersion into whatever platforms they want to use. Post a couple of times a week follow a few other businesses and brands they like and practice engaging, sharing, liking, etc. Get use to the rhythm. Once they are comfortable with the overall experience they can add more.
The second hurdle is much easier to overcome than most realize. It’s called, Automating! Schedule a time in your week when you typically have a lull or know you can focus, make yourself sit down and schedule out several days or weeks worth of social media and email blasts. There are several ways to automate your message, making it a time saver. If you have a business page, Facebook lets you schedule posts out, as long as they aren’t time sensitive take advantage of this feature. Also, Constant Contact allows you to schedule out emails and they can post to social media for you through Simple Share saving time. Not all messages are meant for email and not all emails are meant for social media so you won’t always be sharing across multiple platforms making the content fresh. Have a marketing schedule planned out several months in advance so you know what needs to be shared and when.
Managing time effectively is crucial to this step working. Most people struggle with efficient time management for a multitude of reasons. One of the main ones is that when they sit down at their desk and turn on their computer the first thing they do is open their email. If you are easily distracted and have a hard time staying on task, working from your inbox can be a disaster. Answering every email the moment it comes in can take away from another task, and the likelihood of that task being finished properly or given the necessary attention to detail goes down. Instead, work from your calendar, schedule a specific time of day or two to read and respond to emails.
Last bit of advice, don’t set it and forget it! Scheduling makes things much easier but if you utilize this feature always be aware of what you are sending out there and when. If there is a tragedy or major event pause your message immediately. Many brands have forgotten to do this and suffered the backlash for month’s even years after. The last thing you want to do is appear insensitive and have to take the time to go into damage control mode.
Make the Internet work for you not the other way around!
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It’s already two weeks into 2016 and the buzz of what’s going to be hot in marketing this year is still filling my head. In the Mobloggy offices we’ve been discussing a lot what the new hot trends mean for us as well as our clients. We’ve resolved to do some things differently but mainly we are going back to our foundational motto of “Keep It Simple and Social”. Quality doesn’t necessarily mean quantity. There is a lot out there and businesses are savvier about targeted marketing through the major social networks. That doesn’t mean what is being sent out is always high quality. Making our clients stand out by providing engaging, timely information is more important than inundating their followers with endless posts, tweets, emails that aren’t relevant.
Part of our approach is going to have to include more automation. Using Constant Contact we are familiar with the auto-responder series but realize we don’t use them to their full potential. Scheduling the foundational marketing message can free up the marketing team up to be able to catch and engage more in the spur of the moment opportunities. Resulting in better more meaningful relationships with customers. Being able to automate messages to new subscribers making sure they don’t feel forgotten is going to mean retaining them as a customer. We are already using scheduling as a way to send out our messages through social media so the fact we don’t utilize it more in email isn’t acceptable.
Beyond welcome emails or thanks for subscribing emails here are some ideas of what would be good to make auto responder series out of
If you have regular events scheduled in advance you can send out reminders and schedules automatically. We do a monthly class on the 4 th Wednesday we could set up a series to reminder our subscribers to register.
Tips and Tricks that relate to your business are a good way to engage with your subscribers. They also help to establish you, as a “go to expert” if there are parts of your industry that don’t change much but are important for clients to know this would be good information to automate. We like to remind people that claiming their Google Business listing is free. A lot of companies try to claim it’s not so we want to make sure people aren’t paying for services they don’t have to.
Does your or your clients industry change with seasons or on a regular schedule? If a business sells or repairs heaters and air conditioners they are not going to be reminding people to get their air-conditioner maintained before winter starts. Setting up an auto-responder series to fit the season would be beneficial and save time.
When we are talking to clients about scheduling out marketing we always end with, don’t set it and forget it. Make sure that the information stays current, relevant and engaging. When scheduling out social media marketing pay attention to current events. Don’t let a message go out during a time of tragedy especially if the message is related to the event or lighthearted and funny. The backlash could be near impossible to recover from for even the best PR team.
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As the year quickly draws to a close, businesses everywhere are starting to think of their digital and social marketing strategies for 2016. We’ve compiled a list of 2016 digital marketing trends that your company needs to know about.
Use Your Employees
Your staff is one of your best and most underutilized marketing resources. Consider the huge network of people that each of them has on their own, personal social media accounts. In 2016, you’ll see an increase of programs and incentives for staff to share their company’s marketing posts, and to come up with their own. Check out several examples of companies that have capitalized on their staff’s huge marketing potential.
Increase Your Digital Marketing Budget
According to Fast Company, “By 2017, social media ads may account for a full 16% of all digital ad spend globally.” Soon the “free” aspect of some social media sites might be a thing of the past for advertisers. So, 2016 is the year to really analyze your company’s digital marketing budget and strategy.
Video Will Rule
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, than a video might be worth 1,000 pictures. The value of using video for online marketing lies in telling a brand’s story and creating experiences for consumers. Expect video to dominate marketing strategies in 2016.
Get Creative to Stand Out
Getting noticed online will require ever more originality in 2016. Gone are the days of free reach on social media platforms. Brands may need to get increasing creative with posts and using their digital marketing budget wisely. Try to keep content clever, inviting, creative, and humorous to cut through all the clutter.
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If you haven’t started planning your holiday marketing campaign yet, you might want to get the ball rolling . The holiday season is here and people are ready to see what you have to offer. For most businesses, the holiday season can be a very profitable time of year. Your marketing during the holiday season is the key to peak profits. Holiday shoppers won’t know to shop at your business if you don’t get the word out. In fact, you should have the enirety of your mareking strategy planned and implemented already. If you are still struggling with planning your holiday marketing campaign, here are a few things for you to keep in mind.
New or seasonal product launches. The products that sell in winter won’t always be the same ones that sold during the summer. You’re going to want new marketable products that fit with the season. When launching these new or seasonal products, keep the time frame in mind. If you launch these new products too close to Christmas, shoppers will not have a lot of time left to buy gifts, especially if you have to take shipping into account. Go ahead and plan these launches early.
Black Friday. Everyone expects to find great deals on Black Friday. Tying in Black Friday with your business’s promotions will help make your products relevant to the holidays, even if what you sell aren’t usually considered for gift purchases. Even office supply stores run Black Friday specials. Offering a sale would be beneficial to your holiday marketing plan. Holidays shoppers could turn into frequent customers if they feel they are getting good deals
The Countdown. Go ahead and decide on the last shipping or open date for your business. That way, shoppers will know their time limit for ordering gifts and you can decide on what promotions you can use leading up to that final date. After a big sale day, like Black Friday, several “countdown” promotions will keep the customers rolling in. After you get them hooked with one good bargain, they will keep coming back.
The after Christmas sale. Everyone knows that the after Christmas clearance sales can be just as good, if not better, than the holiday rush leading up to it. It’s everybody’s chance to buy themselves the presents they didn’t get off their wish lists. Map out what kind of sales that you will run after Christmas and make sure your pre-Christmas shoppers know about them as well.
Email, blog, and social media promotions. Go ahead and plan out all of the posts and emails you will send out. The Constant Contact Tool Kit can help you create event invites, newsletters and even post to social media for you! Create whatever graphics you may need and write out all catchy tag lines in advance. In the midst of the holiday rush, you may find yourself scrambling for time to do this time consuming work.
A marketing campaign can make or break your profits during this season. Start planning now if you haven’t already! Don't forget if you are a small busines too take advantage of Small Business Saturday ! You don't have to accept American Express to participate. It's a great way to latch onto a large scale Marketing Strategy. Also, if you do online sales don't ignore Cyber Monday, also a good large scale promotion you can use to your advantage. Long-term planning can keep you from scrambling for time later in the holiday season. You can read more about Marketing strategies on our weekly blog. No matter how hectic it may be, remember to enjoy the season and have fun with your promotions. After all, Christmas only comes one time a year!
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We just celebrated our Instagram Anniversary on Tuesday, October 6, we have been using Instagram for five years. Since then, we’ve learned a lot about this marketing tool. It’s got some incredible potential, and we can’t wait to see where the next five years will take this unique social platform. In honor of our Instagram anniversary, we’re sharing some marketing tips with you.
Instagram is a steadily growing social media site. Thousands upon thousands of pictures are being shared there every day and businesses all across the world are using it to market their brands. We couldn’t be more pleased with the results we have seen in the last five years. There are so many ways to get the name of your brand out there in a fun, creative manner. Here are a few ways you can use Instagram for marketing.
Tell the story of your business. Post behind the scenes pictures of you and your employees. Simple mundane tasks such as getting a package ready for shipment can be interesting to people who want to know more about your business. Show off pictures of your products, services, shop, and office. It really helps give your customers a personal experience and connection.
Feature your customers. Have your customers send pictures to you that fit with your marketing theme or the season. Even have them send in pictures of them using your products or services. When potential customers see satisfied customers, they will be more likely to buy from you. And let’s face it, they will want their own chance to be featured on your successful Instagram page!
Use contests and hashtags to get customers involved. Participation on your Instagram account will skyrocket with a contest. Potential and returning customers love the prospect of winning something, even if it’s just for the title. But, offering something, even if it is just free shipping on an order, would be good sportsmanship. Creative, relevant hashtags are a great way to spark interest as well.
Leave promo codes in photo descriptions as a reward for your followers. Show your followers that you appreciate them taking the time to actually read your words instead of just scrolling past your photo. Coupons for a percent discount or free shipping are always appreciated by customers.
Engage with other Instagram users. There are millions of users on Instagram. Get in contact with every single one you can, even if it’s just by liking their posts. The more you interact, the more people will begin to recognize your name. It could also spark interest in people who have never heard of your business before. Like, comment, and follow as much as you can, and you will begin to grow your following.
Get inspiration from other businesses. It’s ok to be inspired by something another business has done, just don’t steal their work. If you see a business with great product photography and a large following, analyze their pictures. Obviously something is working for them. See what they are taking pictures of and how they set up the shot. Try and recreate things from lighting to positioning until you find a style that works for you.
The key to marketing on Instagram is promotion. You should already be promoting your social media accounts everywhere. Use your website, other social media accounts, email newsletters, business cards, and email signatures as a way to send more customers to your social media accounts. Increase your following with quality posts. Remember, quality over quantity. Don’t over post. Users would much rather see high quality posts than a slew of posts that have no quality what so ever. While you’re at it, have fun with it! It’s Instagram, not a strict council of executives. Let loose and show everyone why your brand is the best. And of course you should always make it easy and encourage people to follow you.
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This is actually a breakup that has been in the works for quite some time over two years in fact. But, as of September 1, 2105 it is official Chrome and Java are no more. Changing browsers can feel wrong; everything is different, looks different, feels different, and don’t get me started on bookmarks. Java is one of those background programs you don't think much about. We’ve all seen the window pop up a million times asking for approval to run a Java Plug in, most of us authorize and move on without giving it a second thought.
If you are wondering what exactly Java is and how does this affect me the short answer is: Java is an object-oriented computer programming language commonly used to create interactive effects within web browsers .
The biggest disruption it seems is to people playing games online (guilty)! POGO sent out an email last week to members they knew were using Chrome letting them know they wouldn’t be able to play most of their games unless they changed browsers. Firefox is the most recommended alternate browser. Personally I don’t use Internet Explorer because of the regular security issues that come with it. This is also the reason for Chrome dropping Java. Java has been known for being a security risk , with half of all known malware attacks coming through Java.
Early Saturday morning in between loading the car for a marketing day trip with one of our clients, and tightening up loose ends for other projects, one of our contractors asked for FTP access to one of our in house projects. This isn’t something I typically have to handle myself but since it was a Saturday and it wasn’t necessary to rouse an employee from sleep on their day off; I spent a frustrating 30 minutes trying to get it done. Being distracted by the half dozen other things I was doing it took me longer that it should have to realize I was trying to accomplish it in Chrome and the error message I was ignoring in my haste explained it all. A Java Plug in was needed and Chrome was having none of it! Now my issue was easily solved by opening up Firefox, one of the browsers still supporting Java, logging in and authorizing access to our contractor. Getting use to this change is a whole other issue!
Some other notable programs are listed below that use Java plug-ins that could affect your business; most have already created a way to work around this so it won’t disrupt your daily operations. You can follow this link to the Citrix website for their recommended fix.
Blackboard (only the features listed below require Java) o Chat & Virtual Classroom tools (located under "Collaboration" in the Tools menu) o WebEq Math Editor located in the text box editor. The rest of the text box editor is fine. o Uploading multiple files at once. (Uploading single files and file attachments work fine.)
GoToMeeting - also from Citrix
GoToWebinar - again from Citrix
The Wall Street Journal website, wsj.com, uses Java for dynamic charts
SciFinder (formerly called SciFinder Scholar. Java is required for structure drawings)
Stand Alone Apps: Doceri Desktop
At the end of the day it might not affect your constant daily browsing but it’s good to remember if you use any websites with interactive effects. Also, have a back up browser like Firefox installed if Java becomes necessary.
*Image from FileHippo.com
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Google and Google, sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G. :heart: First comes love, then…
Oh wait. Not that kind of love.
But Google really does love Google. Google, the search engine, loves Google My Business pages, that is.
People either have a “love it” or “meh” attitude about G+ and Google My Business. I admit I was not an early adopter. Like most people, I felt like it was just one more internet marketing thing to do in the crush of busy days. Besides, I didn’t want to commit to another social media platform. I already had a mad crush on Twitter.
But then something happened. In working on a client’s internet marketing, we noticed that it only took a few days for his Google My Business posts to rank on Google search. We’re used to updating content on a blog, or changing out web copy, and anticipating that we’ll wait months before Google search crawls our site again and revises rankings based on the new content. But when you’re posting your status updates, including links to updated web copy, blog posts, photos, and new products to Google My Business, you’re seeing relevant search engine results within just a few days. That is huge.
Imagine that you sell a widget that fixes a leaky kitchen faucet. You craft the perfect product description, upload several pictures, and write a few blog posts detailing the stupendous widget that you sell. Normally, you would expect to see a spike in your Google search rankings for terms related to leaky kitchen faucets within a few months. You depend on social media postings to bring traffic to those specific blog posts. But add to your content marketing a few well-worded Google My Business updates about that widget, and you could see an increase in your Google search rankings almost immediately!
To start with, you need to claim your business page. If you have a website or physical address for your business, you probably have an unclaimed Google My Business page already. To check, go to your personal G+ page, click “Home” in the upper left corner, and scroll down to “Pages.” You’ll then be guided through the process to get your business listed on Google My Business. It’s a pretty easy, user-friendly process, but if you need help, we’re happy to get you going in the right direction.
As with any social media account, make sure that the Google account that you start the process through is one that company principles will always have access to. The log-in to that account should be held by a company owner or executive. Don’t ask the part-time sales clerk to set it up for you. If the sales clerk walks away, you could lose access to your Google My Business page, and it can be a lengthy process to have control restored to you.
Once you’ve claimed your Google My Business page, you’re able to begin updating just like you would any social media platform. You can make longer posts there, so it’s great for you to tell the story of a particular photo or type up a good introduction to a blog post. Just as with blog posts, your Google My Business posts should be readable, with a few long-tail keywords added as appropriate.
While any internet marketing strategy should be well rounded, if increasing your Google Page Rank is a short term goal, you should definitely focus some of your social media marketing time on putting together a great Google My Business page, and posting there often.
Mobloggy can help you set-up your Google presence. LET'S CHAT!
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