Use Online Contests To Boost Interest In Your Company And Generate Leads

If you’re looking to maximize your company’s brand awareness and generate more leads than ever before, then online contests are a great way to accomplish both of these goals.

An online contest, whether through a social media post or through your website, is a fantastic way to get customers to pay attention to who you are and what your brand has to offer. And who doesn’t love to take their chances and enter a contest in the hopes of winning a great prize?

Websites like Rafflecopter and Woobox make it easy to run social media contests and more with just a few steps.

Need some more info on how online contests can help your business? Here are a few things to consider.

Increase Your Brand Awareness

Online contests, at their core, are meant to be a way to increase your brand awareness online to hundreds and thousands of paying customers.

When you conduct an online contest, you are hoping that a large number of people will participate, and that they will share your contest with their friends and family as well.

Whether it’s through social shares, retweets and reposts, or through good old fashioned word-of-mouth, contests are great ways to make your business known to new customers.

Build Your Fan Base

Are you looking to increase your likes on Facebook, or follower on Twitter and Instagram? What about your newsletter subscribers; could it use a boost as well?

Increasing your Facebook Page likes is usually one of the key results of running a social media contest. You can go from 100 likes to over 1,000 likes with just one contest. And, of course, all of those new likes equal more brand awareness and more visitors to your website.

Fantastic Lead Generator

If you run a contest on your website that simply requires a name and an email address to enter it, then you’ve got an easy way to add to your email subscriber lists for different things, such as promos, newsletters, and even more contests.

Because, chances are, if people have entered your online contest, then they have to have some semblance of interest in your company. Which means they will be great candidates to reach out to, whether through email promos or calls, to see if they would interested in purchasing a product or service from you.

Easy Marketing

When you run a contest with a lot of interaction, you are basically letting your audience do your marketing for you!

For example, a social media contest usually has an entry requirement that instructs participants to share the post in order to be entered into the contest. Every time the post gets shared, it reaches more and more people. Pretty soon, with only a few shares, you have increased your post reach by tenfold or more!

Participants are also very likely to share the contest with their friends and family, through word of mouth or through forwarded emails, thereby increasing your contest reach even further.

Contests are a great way to increase your brand awareness and generate valuable leads for your business. Start implementing contests in your marketing strategy today and see how it can improve your business.

Facebook Insights Shows You When Your Customers Are Online

Knowing when to post on Facebook can be a hard decision to nail down.

Thankfully, Facebook Insights is here to help. The Insights of your Facebook Page are easy to access, as long as you have an active Facebook Page for your business, and have been posting on it consistently.

Your Insights can tell you a lot about your posts, from which ones get the most engagement, to what your demographics for your followers are, and how that can help you market your business on social media.

Facebook Insights also makes it a lot easier for you to know when your customers are online, and when will be the most likely time for them to see your post organically in their timeline.

Knowing when your customers are most active on Facebook can help you to grow your post reach numbers and, subsequently, your engagement numbers.

So, where do you go to access your Page’s Insights? It’s pretty simple, actually. All you need to do is go to your Facebook Page and then click on the tab at the top of your page that says Insights.

When you get to your Insights page, you’ll see lots of data about your Page that Facebook has compiled for you, including Page Views, Reach, Page Engagements, and more.

To the left of the screen, you’ll see a row of options for different segments of Page data that you can view. You’ll want to click on the option that says Posts to view the date for all the posts you’ve published.

Data on when your fans are online is one of the first things you will see on this page and the main focus that we want to talk about today.

The data that is shown to you on this page is from a 1-week period of time, so you’ll see that it has the data divided up by each day of the week, Sunday through Saturday.

If you hover your mouse over each day, you will see the data line on the graph below move to show you the number of people who were on Facebook at different times during the day.

If you don’t hover your mouse over the days, and just look at the Times graph by itself, it shows you a weekly average of the times that your followers are online. And if you hover your mouse along the graph, you can see an average of how many people were online at any given time during the day.

Data like this can help you determine what times of the day you should be posting your content so that the maximum amount of people can view it. If you’re like most small businesses, a.k.a. ones that don’t have the time or resources to have more than one post a day on your Facebook Page, then you have to make sure you’re posting at the optimal time.

Facebook Insights gives you a lot of easy-to-analyze data that can help you learn about your followers and when they’re online. Make sure you’re utilizing all the free tool that Facebook gives your Page so that you can make the best of it and keep your customers engaged.

Personalize Your Subject Lines To Increase Email Open Rates

Have you ever used a personalized subject line in one of your many emails that you’ve sent out to customers?

You know, something like “You’ll love this deal, Stacy” or “We haven’t heard from you in awhile, Tim.”

Personalized subject lines have proved themselves to be great ways at getting customers to open your emails. And in a world where people get bombarded with hundreds of sales emails a day, open rates are more important than ever.

According to a study conducted by Yes Lifecycle Marketing, personalizing email subject lines increases open rates by 50% and can also lead to a 58% higher click-to-open rate. This was from an analysis of more than 7 billion emails sent in Q2 of 2017.

The study also found that non-personalized subject lines had an open rate of 14.1%, whereas personalized subject lines had a 21.2% open rate.

Another study, by Experian Marketing Services, showed an increase in open rates of almost 42% in some areas!

So, why is there such a noticeable increase when using personalized subject lines compared to non-personalized subject lines?

To put it simply, customers expect you to be more than just a place where they buy things from; they want to feel like they have a personal relationship with you.

Marketers and businesses can’t think of personalized email subject lines as something that only the “fun” companies do for their customers; all customers expect that level of personalization with every company they buy from.

Lots of email providers have simple ways to add first and last name personalizations to your email subject lines, such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, etc. All you need to know is a little bit of coding, but your email provider should be able to help you out if you need a tutorial.

Personalized email subject lines are no longer a novelty thing that only certain companies do. Implement this marketing technique into your emails, and see the difference it can make in your open rates and more!

Onboarding Emails And How They Can Help Retain Customers

Have you ever sent an email to a new customer reminding them of the product or service they’ve purchased, and how they can get started using it?

What about an email that asks a new customer to check out your social media accounts or your blog?

These are examples of onboarding emails. Onboarding is the process of following up with a customer after they purchase something from you in order to give them an answer to their question, “what’s next?” It also helps get your customers familiarized with your products and services.

For example, if I’m a software company, and you’ve just purchased a new bookkeeping program from me, you’re probably going to either A) immediately start using the program as intended or B) forget about it for awhile, come back to it later when you’re not as busy, and struggle to know where to even begin using it. Most people are going to do scenario B in this illustration.

In scenario B, you have a prime opportunity to send an email to their inbox, reminding them to do something simple, such as activating their service, viewing the online Help Guide for the program, contacting you for questions, etc.

Onboarding through emails can accomplish a number of goals quickly and efficiently for your business. Instead of tying up phone lines, or having to take time to respond to emailed questions, you can simply setup an automated email that sends out to all your new customers whenever you are given their email address.

Want to promote your social media accounts or your blog? There’s an email for that! You can even send new customers an overview type email of your business and include all the places they can find you online (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.)

Are you a website design company that needs to get your customers to submit important information to you so you can finish building a website? Send an email that reminds your new customers to send these things to you.

Don’t be pushy about it, but let them know that this info is important to helping you finish their website in a timely fashion.

Are you a wholesale supplier working in a B2B relationship with another company? Do you send out invoices each month reminding buyers to submit their payments to you? You can use an onboarding email with a new customer to get them to easily setup an online account with you, to make their payment process easy and efficient.

For example, lots of companies now have an Auto Pay system to make paying for products and services easy and always on time. You can use an onboarding email to let new customers know that they can easily set up Auto Pay online by clicking on a link that you include in the email.

Onboarding emails help to show your customers that you’re invested in them and that they’re not just a way for you to make a profit. It’s a great way to retain customers and keep them from switching to a company that could be your competitor.

There’s no shortage of ways that you can use an onboarding email to streamline your work flow, and help your customers out in the process, as well!

Responding To Your Reviews Is The Easiest Way To Gain Online Credibility

How often do you reply to the reviews you get online? Do you only reply to the positive reviews, or do you try to respond to the negative ones as well?

Believe it or not, replying to the reviews you receive, whether they’re positive, negative, or pretty neutral, is a great way to boost your online credibility and even your search engine rankings!

Here’s how it works: whenever you receive a review online, whether it’s on Google, your website, through your FGmarket vendor profile page, or somewhere else, that review is public information. Anyone who visits the reviews section of your company on Google, your website, etc. can see those reviews, and they can see whether or not you acknowledged the reviews.

If I happen to go to your Google reviews and see that you have a lot of reviews, a mix of both positive and negative, but you haven’t responded to any of your customer’s reviews, I might think twice before deciding to buy from you.

That’s because when customers see you have responded to your reviews, however bad they may be, it shows that you are paying attention to what your customers are saying. It shows that you can take criticism of your business, learn from your mistake, and strive to correct the error in the future.

In fact, according to ReviewTrackers.com, 51.7 percent of customers expect a response to their review in seven days or less.

Not only is responding to online reviews a good strategy for building customer trust, it is also one of the ways you can improve your Google rankings.

One of the ways Google knows how to boost some websites in search results over others is how frequently you get and respond to your Google reviews.

According to a recent survey of SEO experts by Chat Meter, 13% of Google local ranking results are determined by reviews and responses to those reviews. That might not seem like much, especially when you consider more important players in the SEO game, such as keywords and mobile optimization, but every little bit counts when it comes to trying to improve your Google search ranking.

Responding to reviews can improve not only the trust between you and your customers, a key factor in the buying cycle, but it can also improve your SEO to get more people to your website!

Don’t be afraid to respond to your online review. It can help your business out in a big way.

Encourage Reviews With These Easy Steps

Reviews are important for maintaining customer satisfaction and improving the trust between you and your customers. Not only that, they can also improve your SEO rankings because the big boss in charge of searches, aka Google, pays attention to the reviews you receive, especially through your Google Business listing.

Sometimes, however, it’s hard to get customers to actually leave reviews for your business (well, that is, until they have a negative review to give out. Then, they’re more than happy to tell you how they feel).

Do you need some assistance with getting your customers to leave your more reviews? Here are a few simple things you can do right now to encourage more customer reviews.

Ask For Reviews

The simplest thing you could ever do is just ask people to leave you reviews.

A lot of businesses try everything under the Sun to get people to leave reviews, but they always manage to skip over the easiest strategy: asking for a review.

You can ask for reviews in a ton of different ways: through email, social media, marketing material, or in person.

Simply asking someone for a review is often all you need to do. Many times, customers don’t even know how or where to leave you a review, or that they even have the option to do so.

Make them aware of how important it is to you and your business for them to leave you a review.

Give Them A Reason

Why should someone leave you a review? Aside from the obvious benefits that it gives your business, people need to know why they should even put in the effort to do so.

A lot of businesses have integrated some type of reward for customers who leave them reviews, such as discount codes or free products.

Give your customers a reason to leave you a review, and encourage them with freebies and discounts that give value to the effort they have to put in for leaving a review.

Respond To Reviews

Do you respond to your reviews? No, I’m not just talking about the positive reviews that you receive; those are easy to respond to. I’m talking about ALL of your reviews, both positive and negative.

Responding to reviews gives your business credibility online, and can help boost your SEO rankings in the eyes of Google. Yes, even responding to negative reviews is beneficial to your company.

Remember, however, when you respond to negative reviews, do it in a way that’s both professional and respectful. Never get into a fight with a customer that has left you a negative review, and don’t try to defend yourself over small issues, like a shipping mistake or less than perfect customer service. You can’t please everyone all the time. Remember that when it comes to the reviews you get.

Reviews are extremely beneficial to your perceived integrity and reliability. Make sure you’re getting reviews from customers to not only improve your brand awareness and trust, but also your SEO rankings!

How To Effectively Market Your Brand On Instagram

Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms on the internet today. What started out as a simple photo editing app in the early ’10s has evolved into a full-fledged photo-sharing social platform that billions of people around the world use every day.

With its popularity online steadily growing, Instagram is rich with marketing opportunities that you should be taking advantage of every day.

Are you looking for some easy to learn tips on how to effectively market your business on Instagram? We’ve got four simple things that you could be doing right now to make your business stand out from your competition.

Visually Appealing

What kind of photos are you posting on your Instagram? Are they visually appealing photos, full of action and vivid colors, or are they bland, uninteresting, and low quality?

Having good, visually exciting photos is the first step in attracting customers to your Instagram profile and, more importantly, what you’re selling.

Make sure your photos are:

  • High-quality – low-quality photos tend to convey laziness to your customers and make your company look bad.
  • Interesting – find a subject that conveys excitement and worth to your customers. A picture of just your product is boring; a picture of your product being used, or placed in an interesting environment, is exciting.
  • Vivid – You want your pictures to jump out and grab people’s interests. You want their eyes to stay on your post, instead of mindlessly scrolling by. That’s why bright, vivid pictures are leagues better than dim and dull photos.

Hashtag Properly

Are you hashtagging on all of your Instagram posts? It’s easy to forget this simple, but handy tool for tagging your photos, but it’s extremely helpful for getting new followers to find your page.

Hashtags, or the # symbol that you see on posts followed by words, are used to group photos of similar interests together in one place. When you hashtag something like #ecofriendly, your post will be grouped together with all the other posts that used that particular hashtag.

And people routinely search for posts on Instagram that use certain hashtags and keywords. It’s how a lot of accounts are discovered.

Make sure you’re using hashtags in every post, and always make them relevant to what you’re posting about.

Engage With Followers

Are you engaging with your followers in a meaningful way?

Social media is named that for a reason; it’s supposed to be a place where you can socialize with other users online, and form relationships.

If you get a positive comment on one of your posts, reply to that comment with a “thank you!” or something else that shows appreciation. Don’t be afraid of critical comments, either. Respond to them in a professional manner, to show your customers that you are listening to their critiques.

Post At The Right Times

Finally, you need to make sure you’re posting on Instagram at the right times. What are the right times, though?

Every social media platform is different, but for the most part, posting between 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. (when people are on their lunch break) and 7 – 9 p.m. (around the time when people are home relaxing) are the best times to post on Instagram.

Your results for posting during these times will vary, of course, depending on how often your followers are checking Instagram, but for the most part, these posting times are good rules to follow.

Instagram is a wonderful marketing tool, if you know how to properly utilize it.

Practice these four tips and see how your Instagram presence improves and grows.

Build Up Your Facebook Presence With These Simple Tips

Facebook can be a great marketing tool; it’s not just for sharing cute pics of your dog and arguing about politics anymore.

But like any marketing tool, if you aren’t including good information and updating it to fit the needs of your customers, then it’s useless to you.

It can be easy to forget to manage your  Facebook page with everything else going on during the day. However, it will only take a little bit of time and effort to make these important changes to your Facebook page strategy.

Here are a few simple tips you can use to boost your Facebook page, which will lead to a better overall experience for your customers, and help to boost your online reputation.

Update Your Info

Do you keep the info on your Facebook profile always up-to-date and accurate? When’s the last time you checked it to make sure it still accurately tells customers what your business is about?

A lot of us will either write a quick bio when we first setup the Facebook Page and never look at it again, or skip the bio altogether!

Both of these options, however, are not good for your Facebook Page. Your About tab of your profile is where all the most relevant info to your customers is housed. Everything from contact info to your company’s Story, to your Mission statement and the products you offer, are located in the About section of your profile.

Go back over this information regularly to ensure that customers are getting the best information about your business. Having good info reduces customer questions about simple things, and it also increases the trustworthiness of your company.

Make It Look Good

What have you done to make your profile look pleasing to visitors?

One easy way to spruce up your page is to make sure you have a good profile picture and a cover photo. Many people assume that the profile pic needs to be a picture of their products, or maybe even themselves. But if you’re a business with a professional Facebook Page, you need to make your profile picture your business’s logo.

Similarly, you need to always make sure you have a cover photo for your Page. A cover photo is a photo that occupies the space at the top of your Facebook Page. It allows you to upload a much larger photo to your Page, and it’s a great place to show off some of your awesome products.

Take a look at our Facebook Page for an example of how you can use the cover photo section of your Page.

Regular Posts

How often are you posting on your Facebook Page? You need to make sure you are regularly posting on your page to keep your customers interested and aware of your brand.

As a general rule for Facebook, it’s best to post at least 1 or 2 times per day during the week, and maybe once for the entire weekend. That’s because people tend to get on Facebook, scroll through their news feed a bit, and then get off. The way Facebook’s news feed algorithm works, it is going to show you the most interesting or relevant posts for your first, which means that you have a good chance of showing up at the top of a customer’s news feed if they interact with you a lot.

You don’t want to overwhelm people with too many posts. If all they are seeing are your posts clogging up their feed, they are more likely to Unlike your Page or Unfollow you so they don’t see your posts.

Share It

Last, but certainly not least, you need to share your Facebook Page! What good is having a social media page if no one knows it exists?

Just like you share your contact information and, hopefully, your URL with all of your customers on any piece of marketing material, you also need to share your Facebook Page with them.

Do you have a website? Place a button link to your Facebook Page on it! You need to be promoting all of your social media accounts, not just your Facebook Page, on anything you are showing customers.

Social media can be a great way to get people to your website and buying your products or services.

Facebook is a great way to market your business online. Don’t be afraid to use the platform that over 1 billion people worldwide are using each and every day. Just use these four simple tips to make sure you’re getting all you can get out of your Facebook Page.

How To Use Big Cultural Events To Promote Your Business

How closely do you follow world news and big cultural events? Are you paying attention to the Super Bowl each year or that new TV show that absolutely everyone is watching?

These are huge marketing opportunities for your business and can increase your brand awareness exponentially if you use these events in smart ways.

Since the rise of social media in the 21st century, brands have found ways to take huge cultural events, create hashtags out of them, and market their business to people across the world all at once.

Even without using social media, there are great ways to market yourself to the world and spread the good news about your awesome brand.

Let’s take a look at a few ways some of the biggest brands out there are taking events, and spinning them to their advantage.

Oreo – Super Bowl power outage

During Super Bowl XLVII in February 2013, the Baltimore Ravens played the San Francisco 49ers for bragging rights to the best team in the NFL that season. The Ravens won with a final score of 34 – 31, but the winner of the game wasn’t the biggest talking point of the Super Bowl that year. It was the power outage that lasted for 34 long, awkward minutes.

But, like every other major event that happens in the world, social savvy brands took this opportunity to market their products on Twitter, Facebook, and more.

One of the best examples of a brand taking advantage of the blackout was Oreo, who used this clever tweet to remind people to, what else, eat some delicious Oreos.

Hundreds of other brands jumped in as well, because with the game no longer happening, what else were people going to do besides scroll through their social feeds for some entertainment?

LEGO – #TheDress

Ugh, remember The Dress? You know, the viral picture of the dual-colored, striped dress that, for a few interesting days in 2015, people almost lost their minds over?

Some people saw the dress as blue and black, while others saw white and gold. It all came down to science and the way the cones in our eyes work to receive and process light that enters through them, but most people were only interested in yelling at their friends, family, and coworkers over what colors they saw, and how unbelievable it was that not everyone saw the dress as the same colors (it was blue and black, by the way, and don’t ever try to convince me otherwise).

Tons of brands took advantage of this strange but funny phenomenon, and took to Twitter with the hashtag #TheDress and either #BlueAndBlack or #WhiteAndGold to voice their opinions on this one simple dress.

LEGO, the toy company that manufacturers colored building bricks for kids and adults alike, had the most clever take on the #TheDress debate. They cleverly weaved the viral picture with their own products to create a tweet that captured lots of attention online and bring brand awareness to their company.

American Paper Optics LLC – Solar Eclipse

Have you heard about the upcoming total solar eclipse that’s going to be visible for many U.S. residents? If not, there’s still time to prepare!

The big event happens on Aug. 21, 2017, and can be seen by most people across North America, but in certain lucky areas of the country, it will be even more visible.

American Paper Optics, LLC of Tennessee have been preparing for this event for a long time. Why, you ask, would a Tennessee company be so concerned with an event that takes place in space, miles, and miles away from their store? Well, it just so happens that American Paper Optics, LLC makes some of the only pairs of commercially-available eclipse glasses on the market.

Their Eclipse Glasses are an inexpensive, and safe, way to view the upcoming total solar eclipse, an event that takes place once in a lifetime for many people.

American Paper Optics has been featured in national media outlets promoting their Eclipse Glasses, and are taking full advantage of this amazing, rare event to promote their products!

Don’t be afraid to take big cultural events, and spin them into a marketing advantage for your business and your brand!

How to Use SEO Data To Construct Your Social Media Strategy

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is critical to having a successful website. Why? To put it simply, everything online revolves around it and the search engines that are used to help people find your website.

You might know a thing or two about SEO, but are you someone who has learned to apply your SEO know-how to your social media strategy?

SEO and social media go hand-in-hand, and if you’re looking to break through the muddled mess of websites that now exist on the internet, we’ve got a few tips to help you increase your social media presence by understanding SEO.

Keywords

You already know how keywords help to optimize the SEO of your website but are you also paying attention to the keywords that you and your customers use on social media?

Have you ever done a keyword search on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook to find the topics that are trending? More than that, have you looked into what people are saying about you and your company?

There are lots of tools out there, like Mention and Google Alerts, that can help you see what other people are saying about you. However, if you don’t want to setup an automated system, a quick search for certain keywords on a social media platform can give you an idea of what people are talking about, as well.

When you see what people are saying about your company, you can improve your message. And when you see what topics people are interested in hearing about, you can craft your brand and your social media messaging around that topic.

Insights

Are you checking your social media insights to see which posts are getting the most interactions, clicks, likes, and shares? These are key data points that you should be paying attention to if you want to grow your online presence.

A lot of the success behind your high-ranking posts relies on how well you’re optimizing those posts to get it in front of users’ eyes.

You can apply specific keywords to posts to make them perform better, or you can read up on Feed Algorithms, to see how to game the system, and get your posts in front of more users. Each social media platform has its own way of prioritizing posts to users, so see which strategy works best for each platform.

Once you understand your Insights, you can begin focusing on promoting those posts that are performing better than others. Before you know it, you’ll see your post reach and interaction numbers start to climb.

Analytics

Google Analytics can be your best friend if you’re trying to figure out how to boost traffic to your website and your social media accounts.

Do you know which pages of your website get the most page views, or have the lowest bounce rate? What about conversion rates?

When you pay attention to your website analytics, like the ones that Google can provide for you, it’s easier to see what’s working and what isn’t.

You can take the information you gather from your website analytics, and use that info to push high-performing content to your social media accounts.

It’s important to learn how SEO data and social media strategy work together to positively impact your business.