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Content Creation Tools for Small Businesses

Content used to mean the words and pictures on your website. Over the years, the scope has widened and now includes email marketing, social media, videos, motion graphics, slideshows, blogs, podcasts, webinars, chatbots, and infographics. In addition, you need to generate ideas for all of these forms of content. That covers a lot of ground, far more than we can discuss in this article. Therefore, we’ll zoom in on the core content creation tools you might need to get started producing great content.

Tools for Developing Ideas

You might need help developing new content ideas, especially if your website is mature. Here are some tools to help you collect, develop, and deploy ideas to drive content creation:

  • Feedly: Streams articles from sources that span the web via RSS. You can configure it for the sources and types of information that you need.
  • Buzzsumo: Lets you find trending social media topics. This is a paid service, but you can get a few free searches daily.
  • Evernote: A digital notebook that lets you create notes, save web pages, save links, and more. You can save interesting ideas for future use.

Tools for Bloggers

These tools help you create content for blogs, website pages, and other marketing channels.

  • Playbuzz: Helps you create interesting blog content, plus provides tools to craft features like games, quizzes, tests, predictions, and stories.
  • ClearVoice: A well-rounded package that helps you come up with new content ideas, find professional freelance writers, and manage the workflow to create content.
  • HubSpot: A complete inbound marketing service with many tools, including ones to generate blog topics and titles. Includes a top marketing distribution platform, with features for building emails, integrating social media, and generating chatbots.

Image Creation Tools

Use these tools to develop professional-looking images.

  • Canva: A free image creation tool for those who don’t want to invest the time to learn Photoshop. It is very versatile, easy to use, and comes with templates to help get you started. Beyond blogs, you can use Canva for presentations, banners, and much more.
  • Giphy: This is a Chrome extension that finds GIFs for any search term you enter. You can then drag the GIF into social media platforms. With Giphy, you can add visual content to your website and then share it across multiple platforms.
  • Nimbus Screenshot: Have you ever wanted to capture just a portion of a screen? Nimbus does this easily. You can take full or partial screenshots of web pages or any other browser content. You can also edit, crop, and annotate the image using a rich set of editing tools.

Infographics Tools

Infographics are a powerful way to impart information quickly.

  • Visual.ly: An excellent internet repository for infographics. It provides the ability to create good, concise infographics that allow readers to assimilate information in an easy-to-digest format. This tool will help you add interest and increase traffic to your website.
  • Easel.ly: This infographics tool contains many useful templates. You add data to accompany the template images. This lets you generate professional-looking infographics quickly and conveniently. A must for beginners.
  • Animaker: Spruce up your content with animated infographics. Animaker contains a vast repository of charts, maps, icons, and other useful images that you can use for a video infographic. This is an excellent marketing tool that allows you to tell your story with motion and emotion.

Conclusion

We’ve barely scratched the surface regarding the many tools, often costing little or nothing, available to content creators. We advise you to consider using best-in-breed tools to add pizazz to your content, which can help you attract more visitors and ultimately sell more of your offerings. After all, that’s what your business is all about.

How Often Should You Update Your Website Content?

The answer to the question is one to three times per week. We can narrow that down further once we describe why it’s important to constantly update your website.

Benefits of Freshening Your Content

New content on your website accomplishes many good things, including:

  • SEO: Search engines are pretty smart. They like long articles with new, unique content written to high quality standards. A steady diet of new content increases visits from your friendly web crawler. The crawler updates its index of your site, which makes it easier for searchers to find you. You can increase the benefit by setting up internal links according to SEO best practices.
  • Social media: Every time you add content, you need to broadcast it to your social media channels so that the awaiting world has the benefit of your latest insights. This kind of promotion is critical to your success. New content is the fuel that keeps your social media fires burning.
  • Visitors: Your mission is to serve your visitors with useful, engaging content, written with punch and verve. Fresh content makes website visitors happy, especially if it is topical. But don’t overlook evergreen content offering authoritative information that never goes stale. It goes like this: Your new content raises your page rank so that you are more prominent in search results, giving you more visitors. Once they arrive and are impressed by your content, they may be willing to register, become prospects, and convert to customers. They may even recommend your website to others.
  • Competitors: All things being equal, a customer would probably be drawn to a website with fresh content than an equivalent one covered in cobwebs. So, adding content is a way to steal customers from your competitors and keeping your current customers happy. The same thinking applies to your customer support forum (you do have one, don’t you?). If you’ve let it sit for months or years, it’s an admission that your business is moribund, and customers shouldn’t expect support from you.
  • Links: When you have plenty of new, authoritative content, you increase the chances that other websites will link to yours. There is nothing that boosts your prominence more than becoming a target for external links. That’s one of the surest ways to get your listing on page one of search results.

What Constitutes Fresh Content?

Fresh content is unique content that is new to your website, not to the web. By unique, we mean that the all-knowing web crawling overlords don’t recognize your content as a copy of someone else’s. That’s a definite no-no — it can cause you to lose page ranking can even get you delisted from search engines. You can cover popular topics, but make sure you cover them in your own, unique way.

A word about quality. We’ve seen websites in which a business sacrificed quality for supposed SEO advantages. For example, someone has decided that you need to use many, many connective words at the start of sentences. Typically, these are adverbs like “typically.” It’s like salt in the bouillabaisse — too much ruins the soup. Be guided by well-formed, grammatical sentences. They can be short, but they should have perfect spelling and punctuation. Nouns and verbs must agree. Mixed tenses are not good, and never have been.

So, How Many Updates?

We’re assuming you run a small business, perhaps supporting an e-commerce store. What content can you add? A few things come to mind: Detailed product reviews, articles on how to use your offerings, product comparisons, and articles about your niche. That’s a lot of ground to cover, so you have plenty to write about. If that vaguely describes your business, we urge you to add fresh material one to two times per week. But remember, one high quality article is much better than two schlocky ones. If you need a writer, use Upwork or Fiverr to find a qualified freelancer who can give you the quantity and quality you need.

Amp Up Your “About Us” Page to Help Your Customers Get to Know You Better

A potential customer for your small business is likely to check out your About Us page before deciding to buy. It’s not surprising that customers want to know who they will be patronizing. Sometimes it’s simple curiosity, sometimes it’s a search for particular capability, experience, or expertise.

Unfortunately, too many websites have About Us pages that fail to inspire. Often, they contain generic gobbledygook about ”world-class service” or “excellent customer experiences.” In other words, pablum. C’mon folks! About Us is your chance to wow the socks off your prospects. Don’t treat it as an afterthought. Read on to learn important tips to make your About Us page shine.

1.    It’s Not About Us, It’s About the Customer

Prospects come to your website because they want a solution to a problem or to fill a need. In other words, prospects care about themselves, as well they should. That’s why you need to demonstrate that you are a real business capable of satisfying your prospects’ needs. You have some idea what prospects want because you speak with them, in sales calls, one-on-one conversations, forums, emails, etc. Therefore, you know what information prospects need in order to close the deal. And the information you should offer should be real data, not meaningless assurances.

For instance, imagine a prospect who wants to hire a shipper. Don’t fill the About Us page with word salad about great performance. Instead, announce that you provide 98.6% on-time shipping with an error rate of .0001% over the last three years. That’s measurable performance that makes prospects more likely to trust you, because it addresses their needs with hard facts. Dump the superlatives like world-class, state-of-the-art, cutting edge, etc. If you are a new business, own it. State the facts as goals and describe how you will achieve these goals.

2.    You Are What You Are

Prospects want you to be candid about your business. They seem to have an innate recognition of what’s false, so get rid of the fluff and keep it real. Express who you are, not who you think you should be. For example, if you are a startup, describe the benefits of a small, lean business — the ability to focus on each customer’s requirements, provide short lead times, handle small orders, customize your offerings, etc. In other words, own your newness and use it as an advantage. If you are an established company, discuss your certifications, awards, and other objective indications of achievement.

3.    Avoid Stock Photos

Why do so many About Us pages have pictures of skinny young people, smiling and well-dressed? In other words, stock photos. Just as prospects can detect fluff, they also can spot a stock photo from a mile away. If you can’t provide real photos, don’t use any at all. Use pictures of the owners, employees, facilities, and other realities. Don’t use a stock photo of a model smiling mindlessly at a souped-up, three-dimensional computer display of a pie chart hologram. It just looks foolish. On the other hand, a nicely produced video where you or a partner talk about your business is a winning idea.

4.    Add Meaningful Accolades

If you run a small engineering business, it’s important to talk about your degrees and certifications. If you run a delivery service, it’s not important to talk about your driver’s license. The point is to put in information that a prospect would want to see. It could be affiliation to a professional organization, industry awards, licenses, security clearances, etc.

Your website reflects you, and that’s doubly true for your About Us page. Give it the attention it deserves, and you’ll always have a positive resource that can help convert prospects into customers. Should you need the funds to hire someone to help you amp up your website, look to IOU Financial for up to $500k in as little as 24 hours.

Email Tips for a Successful Holiday Season

Time’s running out in the holiday season to execute your email marketing campaigns, so let’s get cracking. Typically, holiday sales account for 20% or more of annual retail sales. Not exploiting email during your most profitable quarter is like leaving money on the table. Here are some tips to extract maximum value from your holiday emails:

Peg Your Emails:

Yes, we know about Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. But you should also look for minor holidays and other important days on which to peg your emails. For example, Cyber Monday is now a huge shopping day. Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, whatever — know your community and be attuned to its holidays.

Start Now:

If you haven’t done so already, waste no time starting your email campaign now. Experts want you to start no later than November 15, and sooner if possible. It turns out that readership of holiday retail emails peaks in mid-November, so that’s the time to start making your pitch.

Review and Build Your Email List:

How often do you update your email list? Can you purchase valuable lists from third parties? You should actively collect email addresses from your customers along with data indicating their areas of interest. You can segment your emails depending on the types of products or services your customers have purchased. Segmenting your list lets you direct the right emails to the right people.

Use Holiday Motifs:

Unless you have great graphic design skills, you’ll probably want to use commercial art and templates to give your emails the proper holiday feeling. Originality earns extra points — if you always use the same old tired designs, your customers will lose interest.

Holiday Gift Guide:

You know what you sell. Help customers understand how your offerings are great for particular friends, relatives, and clients. Your email can link to your holiday gift guide, which should be up to date for 2019. Include basic information about each recommended offering, including age (important for gifts to kids), price, and interests. Consider creating a collage of your best products, using influencers to curate your products around a theme, and ensure your content is mobile-friendly.

Early Access:

Reward email readers by giving them early access to holiday sales. This makes your email recipients feel like insiders who get first crack at important savings. That’s particularly important when you sell hot items that may be scarce as the year winds down.

Be Urgent:

Put time limits on the offerings you announce in your emails. It’s a hoary old chestnut, but “hurry while supplies last” still packs a punch. Related ideas include creating “early bird pricing,” providing order deadlines to receive shipments by a certain date, and displaying a countdown timer to show when the promotional prices will evaporate.

Create an Online Advent Calendar:

A tradition started by the Lutherans, Advent calendars are extremely popular among millions of Americans. You can include them in your email, and you can send a special email for each day of Advent. Your customers will appreciate beautiful Advent images embedded in your emails, which you can use to highlight daily specials.

Invite Participation in an Online Contest:

Let your emails trumpet online contests. They are a great way to build traffic, increase your social media followings, expand your email list, and create targeted prospects. There are several online tools, such as RafflePress, that make running a contest a snap.

Maximize the Value of Your Footer:

Put some valuable content in your footer so that readers don’t neglect it. You can promote stuff in your footer, such as gift cards, order/shipment dates, and your holiday gift guide.

Well, that’s a good start. And start you should, without delay. Grab your share of holiday pie by whipping your emails into the holiday spirit!

6 Unknown Facebook Features Your Business is Missing

Facebook is absolutely massive in the advertising and marketing webspace. So much so that the number of features other platforms have dull in comparison to those offered by Facebook itself. The downside, of course, is that even experienced marketers are bound to find themselves missing out on features that could make all the difference.

Facebook Product Shops

A relatively recent addition to the list of Facebook features is Facebook Product Shops. This feature introduces a new way to sell products online while removing the inconvenience of dealing with companies like Shopify.

Using this feature, it’s possible to sell products right on your page. People can then pay directly on Facebook or integrate a third-party checkout. Any products purchased on the platform are paid for through a payment processor of your choice.

Selling on Facebook grants businesses direct access to existing customers and better analytics on products placed for sale on the platform. Combined with ads and the power of the Audience Insights Tool, you will have much greater exposure to current and potential customers.

A critical part of improving engagement metrics is having proper product descriptions and scripts. The proper essay writing service or copywriter should deliver exactly what you need.

New Facebook Ads Features

Facebook may be one of the most detailed analytics platforms in the world, but there’s a lot more to the website than meets the eye. It offers several options aside from the traditional newsfeed that most people are used to.

The first is Facebook Messenger ads. These provide an opportunity to drop into a conversation with a prospective customer at any point. This enables you to tweak your sales funnel as you see fit. If you feel the need to add more information about the product or personalizing the experience, all the tools already exist within the Messenger app to do so.

The second of Facebook’s new ad features is in-stream video ads. As their name suggests, this feature provides businesses with prime advertising space right in the middle of a stream.

Videos can be 5-15 seconds long and can be placed on both live videos and those that already aired. If you happen to have a live video that went viral in the past, here’s an opportunity to monetize it at last.

New Video Publishing Tools

Going live for the first time is often frustrating and nerve-wracking. Without the right kind of assistance, it’s almost impossible to know what to expect on the technical side of things. Facebook’s answer to publishers’ complaints is Live Rehearsals. The gist of it is that publishers can now broadcast to page admins and editors only before they go live.

This is a very useful feature for brands that use scripts to reduce friction during live presentations. For those that don’t, dissertation writing services such as UK dissertation are some of the best places to get a custom fully-edited one.

Finally, viewers will be spared the harrowing minutes before anything happens at the beginning and end of live video replays. Publishers can now take advantage of the ‘trimming’ feature that enables them to cut out certain time frames from the beginning and ends of their recorded videos.

Facebook Live Marketing Features

Aside from pre-roll and in-video advertisement, Facebook also offers brand access to features to streamline its Facebook Live experience. Since the adoption of the feature is at an all-time high, the following tools might be useful for a business looking to take their marketing campaigns to the next level.

Pre-scheduling lets businesses set up when a Facebook live stream is going to be aired. This seeks to address the disadvantage of spontaneous live posts: even with notifications enabled, it’s still difficult for individuals to notice when a live stream has started.

For brands with a substantial following, it creates anticipation in viewers before the actual video is aired. It also addresses timing issues, where the videos are streamed later than they were intended to.

If you’ve set up a shop on your Facebook page, you can combine it with Facebook live to merge traditional and social media advertising. While introducing a new product, you can also provide details regarding how they are used and allows for live interaction with viewers that have questions.

This is reminiscent of old-school infomercials. You can also tag your products when you mention them in-stream so users can access them through an in-video link.

Keep Track of Competition with Pages to Watch

It’s possible to get detailed analytics on how detailed a competitor’s published posts are doing using Facebook’s Page Watch feature. Originally designed to help marketers find inspiration in data provided by leading innovative brands, it can be repurposed to anyone’s benefit.

Take advantage of the feature by navigating to Page Insights and scroll down till you find the ‘Pages to Watch’ feature. As long as you have a hundred or more fans, you will gain insight into data such as:

  • The page’s total like count and the percentage change from the previous week.
  • Total engagement metrics for the week.
  • How many times the page has posted to Facebook during the week.

These are actionable insights that could potentially be used to change how your marketing operations are run.

Audience Insights Tool

Most business decisions made today are driven by the abundance of data. Facebook Audience Insights is a powerful analytics tool that gives access to demographic and behavioral data on both your audience and competitors.

Data that can be gleaned from this tool include demographics, past purchasing activity, location, and demographics. With all these in hand, you can narrow down your target audience so you know exactly where your ad dollars are going.

Conclusion

Facebook is a fast-changing platform. New features are introduced and old ones retired regularly, so it’s almost impossible to always be in the loop. However, some of these features are quite important and could be the difference between whether your next marketing campaign succeeds or fails.

Guest Post: About the Author

Becky Holton is a journalist and a blogger at Best Essay. She is interested in education technologies and is always ready to support informative speaking at writing service, Grabmyessay. Follow her on Twitter.

Content Marketing Ideas for Small Business: The Ultimate Guide

Regardless of the size of your business, content marketing is an integral part of any company.

Content marketing helps companies to develop their brand and create a robust online presence. Depending on your business goals, it can aid with growth, reach, and engagement.

Content marketing is arguably the best marketing technique for your small business. Not only does it cost less than traditional marketing, but it generates around 3 times as many leads.

In this post, we explore the best content marketing ideas for small businesses.

Are you ready to dive in?

The fundamental elements of content marketing

Content marketing is, in essence, the act of creating content and sharing it with potential customers, visitors, or clients. The core aspects of content marketing are:

  • The website – This is where you will showcase your company, and always send your customers towards.
  • Blog – As you may have imagined, a blog is a crucial aspect of any business. It’s the perfect way to gain traffic to your site, and create more potential leads. Even if you only post once a week.
  • Social media – Now, social media is a necessary part of content marketing. Not only should all your marketing efforts be showcased on your blog, but content should also be created primarily for social media.
  • Email – You can now share content directly into your target audience’s inbox.

Let’s take a look at some of the best content marketing ideas for your small business.

Videos

Videos have fast become one of the most popular means of content marketing, especially in the past few years. In fact, it’s estimated that 82% of all web traffic will be online video by 2020. Your small business should consider creating videos, this could be:

  • Tour around the office
  • Product reviews
  • Animated videos
  • Tutorials
  • A day in the life
  • Screen record

Podcasts

Another big marketing trend at the moment is podcasts, these have definitely picked up a lot of momentum in the past couple of years, and aren’t showing any signs of stopping soon. Podcasts are engaging, mobile-friendly, and listeners tend to be extremely loyal.

User-Generated Content

If you’re really struggling for content, why not let your users create it themselves?User-generated content (UGC) can be anything from reviews, all the way to fan art and videos.

Many companies, both small and large, have taken advantage of UGI, and have significantly benefited from doing so. Not only does it give your website and social media platforms valuable content, but it involves your audience.

Take CocaCola’s name bottles as a great example. Customers posted photos of their named bottles, which created a proved to be a fantastic piece of advertisement.

It’s important to underline that user-generated content has to be edited. There is a variety of tools you can use to do that. Here are a few examples — Grammarly can help you with checking your spelling and punctuation, Trust My Paper can consult you on style and SEO optimization, Studicus is great with editing and Hemingway is a tool that can help you increase readability.

Coupons/voucher codes

Everybody loves a deal and using a coupon, voucher, or sale can really resonate with your customers or online visitors. Create posts and blogs revolving around your limited time deal, which will create a sense of urgency amongst your users. It’s a great way to push out content and generate leads. Of course, this is only for the companies that have a product or service to offer.

Blog posts

Obviously, the main form of content marketing has to be the most popular form of content marketing. We highly recommend that your company starts a blog, this will not only increase the traffic to your site but give your users and followers something to engage with.

If you’re stuck for ideas on what to blog about, there’s always a wide array of topics for you to choose from. The most popular blog posts offer valuable information, possibly tutorials, how-to’s or “xx of the best” style of articles. Why not ask your users what they would like you to write about? Perhaps they want to know how you started your company, or the top 10 products on your site.

Infographics

Infographics are visual representations of information, usually created to explain complex information straightforwardly. They are particularly popular on Pinterest and work really well with blogs. Providing a “clickbait” type of graphic. Every niche could make an infographic, whether it’s how to blend eyeshadow, the different types of coffee available, or how to install a plugin on your website.

Social media

Don’t neglect social media when it comes to your content marketing. Remember, every blog post, video, infographic, and coupon code should be posted on all your social media.

Social platforms give you a great opportunity to reach new people and fill up your social feed. Ensuring that you’re active on social media will in turn guarantee that you reach more people.

You could also try influencer marketing, which goes hand in hand with content marketing. Why not team up with influencers and create content together? This could be blogs, podcasts, or simply just photographs.

You could also try something a little more creative and use Instagram stories as a way to engage with your followers.

SEO

Content marketing will be more successful if you incorporate SEO with it. Of course, you’ll know all about the SEO in regards to blog posts, this is an imperative aspect. However, you can also make all other pieces of content SEO friendly – from podcasts to infographics.

Make sure that you optimize:

  • Meta tags
  • Meta Titles
  • Content on all pages
  • Meta descriptions

This will help you appear at the top of all search results, regardless of what people are searching for.

Top tip: If you’re trying to make your podcast SEO friendly, you should consider writing a short blog post alongside it, with all the keywords necessary.

Online publications

Some businesses have decided to create an online publication alongside their website. For instance, if you’re a business that focuses on surfing items, you could start a surfing digital magazine. This could be a great way to promote your brand.

Email marketing

Your content can be shared in multiple ways, through emails is one of the most effective ones. Spend time building up an email list – something that you can do whenever you make a sale, or somebody signs up to your service. Also, you should consider writing weekly newsletters – these should be filled with valuable information and facts.

Top tip: You shouldn’t bombard your subscribers with too many emails, or they will either unsubscribe, or they’ll consider your email as spam and won’t open them.

Set up an editorial calendar

The next step for you is to bring an editorial calendar; this will help you move towards your content marketing goals. Any small business that is looking for new ways to use content marketing to their advantage should consider getting some help from a customary editorial content calendar. A calendar will bring you any clarity that you need, and help you tackle any task that needs to be completed.

“An editorial calendar will give you a clear idea of what content needs to be created when it should be posted, where it should be published, and the goals of each piece of content.” — Diana Adjadj, a marketer and writer at Supreme Dissertation and Best Essay Education.

Conclusion

Content marketing is an excellent option for all small businesses, which can ultimately elevate your brand and reach new people. Content marketing can improve your conversions and allow you to connect with your audience and customers in new ways. Which ideas do you think you’ll try?

Guest Post: About the Author

Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks, and empowers using the magic of a word. She is a writer at Grab My Essay and WoWGrade. Kristin is pursuing a degree in Creative Writing. Along with that, she has a lot of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors.

5 Effective Ways to Increase Your Conversion Rate with Social Media

Facebook and Instagram are two of the top places consumers look to research and purchase items online. This is great news for businesses, but just being present on social media doesn’t guarantee a sale will come. Should you expand what you’re doing? Should you stay the course and hope things improve?

If you aren’t seeing the conversion rates you are expecting or you would like, social media isn’t working as well as it can for you. SEO agencies can help get your small business into the forefront of your patron’s minds, however, without a specific plan, your social strategy may be in need of rejuvenation.

At what point can you see your conversion rate increase? That can be a difficult question to answer, but check out these five tips to help your social media posts become more effective and have your social media platforms work for you.

Have Your Landing Page Be Mobile Friendly

When websites don’t load well or are not optimized for mobile platforms, you lose out on those click-throughs from potential customers who are browsing social media on the go. When consumers are scrolling, you need to make it easy for them to switch from social media to your site.

Think about how you use your phone on sites, most likely you prefer when sites give you the ability to scroll or swipe to get more information. Give the people what they want and be sure your landing page is optimized for mobile shoppers and see how that conversion rate increases.

Keeping your site mobile-friendly will not only attract clientele who are on the go, but makes them more likely to recommend your business to others. Users prefer splash pages that are bright and flashy, when you cater to their preferences it is more likely that you will get the follow-through, and you will see your sales and conversion rate increase.

Create Ads that Target Your Specific Audience

You may have several goals for your social media postings, but your number one goal is probably to lead people to your site and persuade them to purchase your products. One of the best ways to do this is by placing ads on social media for your target audience to find as they are scrolling through.

Using keywords and demographic studies, you can place your ads in front of the people who are most likely to follow through and become interested and invested in your brand. Once you get them to your landing page you can work your sales magic, but getting that initial click should be the focus of your social media.

Once they are on your site you can use a specific call to action statement such as “I have to have this!” to create a buzz about your product and entice people to purchase your product immediately.

User-Generated Content is Your Friend

Sometimes you will have users who truly love your brand and you can leverage some of that content into advertising for you. The best part is that it’s free! When others see the posts or videos made from individuals just like them it not only builds awareness, but it promotes a feeling of trust.

User-generated content feels more authentic because it gives others an idea about what to expect from you from an unbiased source. Have you ever read a review before you’ve bought something? Think of these posts as the best feedback ever, people love your business so much they want to tell everyone, so go ahead and spread that message to your followers.

When a user creates their own video about a product that they are so excited about, others can build off of that excitement which in turn benefits your small business. Since search engines tend to prioritize new content, these videos and posts will give you more internet visibility, which is bound to increase interest. Customers want to follow the crowd!

Create Unique Content

What works on Instagram isn’t going to work as well on Pinterest. Facebook posts need to be different than Twitter posts. Since each social media site meets a different need, you need to engage specifically. If you are attempting to post the same thing across the board, you aren’t going to see an impact that meets your goals from doing so.

When you are able to have content that is geared towards the users of each platform individually, you are meeting your customers where they are and not saturating the same message for those who follow you in multiple ways.

On social media, you are just one click away from new customer’s finding you. Don’t antagonize them with seeing the same picture no matter where they are looking. Create similar posts with some changes that make it unique to the outlet you intend to post it on.

Don’t Limit Yourself

Facebook is the king of social media as far as marketing is concerned, as 68% of adults are users,  but don’t assume that because your business is active there your job is done. Overlooking the other social media platforms is an easy mistake to make but one worth correcting for a high rate of conversion.

You have to take into account what they are using social media for. While people may follow you on Facebook, if they really only use it to share pictures of their children, they will miss out on what you have to offer. Having followers is not the same thing as engagement, so diversification of your social media presence is essential to staying relevant and meeting your target audience.

You can be engaged with multiple platforms and still throw focus on the ones that give you the best return. But you shouldn’t turn your back on any of the platforms since the wider your business is, the more possibility of growing a customer base through different outlets. Keep your promotions engaging and on target with your intended audience.

Conclusion

Social media can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. When you set specific goals and use your posts to your advantage, social media can be incredibly successful, giving you a higher conversion rate and getting your business into the forefront of your customer’s minds just by following these five tips.

Guest Post: About the Author

Madeline Dudziak loves words. As a web content creator, she crafts messages that help clients inform, educate, persuade, or connect. Madeline’s also a freelance theater reviewer for the River Cities’ Reader, which combines her passion for writing with her passion for theatre. 

Also a huge fan of reading – perhaps a natural result of being named after the famous children’s book – Madeline’s Kindle is always crammed with more books than leisure time allows. Among other ways she spends her free time are fun activities with her husband and young children, volunteering, and participating in two book clubs.

4 Social Media Marketing Failures & What You Can Learn from Them

With over two million businesses using Facebook for advertising, 50 million businesses using Facebook business pages and 93% of Pinterest users using Pinterest to make plans and purchase decisions, businesses whether small-scale or large-scale, B2B or B2C, local or international, etc. have little to no choice but to use social media marketing to try to reach out to potential customers and engage their current customers.

Reasons for Social Media Marketing

Of course, there are several reasons why businesses, brands and companies use social media marketing. These include:

Access to market and potential customers

According to Statista, 1.37 billion active users visit Facebook every day. Many of these active users visit Facebook and other social media platforms to check on the activities of friends and family, pursue their interests, sell something and socialize online. A business can easily attract the attention of potential customers with ads on the social media platform that their target customers visit the most.

Encouraging engagement

Social media marketing is the best way through which businesses and companies can engage their current customers and retain them. You can use social media marketing to create a two-way communication means for your customers, allowing them to make their wishes known and you can update them on new developments on your products and services.

Customer service support systems

Social media marketing is another great opportunity for companies, businesses and brands to get customers’ opinions by tracking customers’ questions and complaints about the business all over social media platforms. Companies can also get feedback and criticism from customers’ social media conversation with others.  It is also the best way to curtail customer loyalty because customers will also appreciate the fact that when they post comments on your social media page, they receive a personalized message rather than an automatic message.

Affordable advertising

Compared to traditional marketing, social media marketing can be pretty affordable and sometimes free of charge, after all, you don’t have to pay to open a social media account on any of the numerous social media networks that exist. Even social media marketers who decide to use paid advertising only have to pay, based on their campaign type, for clicks on ads.

Measurable advertising

Apart from being affordable, social media marketing is also measurable. That is, using different analytics systems: Twitter analytics and Pinterest analytics, you can find out the number of people who viewed your ads, clicked your ads or walked away after viewing your ads.

Drive brand awareness

Many startup companies and businesses have applied different social media marketing strategies to drive their brand awareness and increase their brand visibility and recognition. And since 59% of shoppers prefer to buy new products from brands they are familiar with, companies or businesses will benefit greatly for making potential and present customers familiar with their brand.

Target audience awareness

By observing the activities of your customers and potential customers, you can find out their needs and wants directly by asking them for their opinions with surveys or just questions, or by tracking their social media comments about your brand. This way, you can have a better understanding of your customers, their reactions to your products and services and your competitors which would inform your social media marketing strategies.

4 Social Media Marketing Failures That You Can Learn From

With the many advantages of social media marketing, this does not mean that your social media strategy cannot end up failing, having little return on investment or bringing negative attention to your product. This is why every business or company using social media marketing have to look out for other company and brand marketing failures so that they can learn to avoid making the same mistakes.

1. The Coca Cola 2016 marketing hit-and-miss

As the Christmas holidays were approaching in 2016, Coca Cola decided to do their holiday season advertisement with a snow-covered map of Russia which unfortunately excluded Crimea, Kuril Islands and Kaliningrad. They should have probably avoided creating a map of Russia at all, since the Russian map is a highly controversial issue especially since Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

After the Russian internet users’ negative reaction to this map excluding Crimea, Coca Cola social media marketing team decided to recreate and post another Russian map which included Crimea this time and unfortunately, earned the wrath of Ukrainians and their online support for the ban of Coca Cola.

This marketing hit-and-miss was further complicated by some important figures in Russia who posted that because of Coca Cola’s restructured map, global American Companies had accepted the annexation of Crimea even though the official stand of the United States and even the European government is one of condemnation of the annexation of Crimea. This marketing hit and miss therefore, warranted many apologies, taking down both social media marketing campaign maps permanently and left behind some unhappy Ukrainians and Russians.

2. Melbourne Cup and horse racing campaign

The Melbourne Cup attempt to connect with their online and social media audience definitely flopped in a most predictable way. After all, the company itself was a controversial one in the first place. The Melbourne Cup attempted to get audience to #NameAHorseRace after themselves on Twitter, forgetting that not everybody approves horse racing and that many people thought it was an example of animal cruelty.

Although, they did promote what they did best and tried to engage their customers, they failed to think of how this marketing campaign could backfire against their brand. In short, they did not think about how people would react to the controversial topic that horse racing is.

3. Dove’s transformation campaign

Dove has always been known for empowering women and encouraging women to focus on realistic standards of beauty and the concept that everybody is beautiful in their own way.

Their “Real” beauty marketing concept has always worked for them as seen from their “Real beauty sketches” marketing campaign and “Evolution” marketing campaign had focused on making women proud of their natural looks over the years and it had worked for them till they brought the Transformation marketing campaign.

The Dove Transformation ad saw a black woman transform to a white woman after the use of the Dove body lotion. Of course, a marketing ad involving anything like skin color or race definitely resonated wrongly with their target audience both black and white. This ad had the misfortune of offending racists, non-racists and people against racism.

The marketing ad also disproved all their previous brand messages and contorted the brand image that they had spent over nine years trying to build. With that single ad that went against the “all beauty is real beauty” concept, they dismantled the reputation they built over the years. The ad alienated and even insulted a large part of their audience and definitely caused many to walk away.

Despite their apology after the ad was removed based on customer (women of all races) complaints and backlash stating that they were uncomfortable and even infuriated with the ad, it still took some time for Dove to recover from this brand awareness setback.

4. The Audi #PaidMyDues campaign

From research, Assignment Man have realized that while planning for social media marketing campaigns, inevitably, brand social media marketing teams can decide on marketing ads that bring no returns to the company (no return on investment or brand awareness).

For example, the Audi #PaidMyDues marketing campaign which had nothing to do with beautiful luxury cars and definitely backfired. Many people follow Audi on different social media platforms to see different beautiful photos of luxury cars. So, when Audi decided to tell real-life stories about people triumphing over adversity, they definitely didn’t carry their audience along.

Of course, they probably thought they could engage their followers by asking them to tweet or Instagram their inspiring stories but they were wrong because many followers felt irritated with these inspiring stories which did not have anything to do with cars. Some social media audiences were found complaining about how the marketing campaign had nothing to do with cars and many threatening to unfollow Audi on social media.

Although the Audi #PaidMyDues campaign did not offend anyone’s values, it resulted in a great drop in engagement level with their audience, customers felt that Audi was no longer as invested in their main purpose which was making great cars and many customers also felt that Audi was not listening to their opinions and customer feedback since it took them more than two weeks to completely drop the campaign despite complaints from clients.

What You Can Learn from These Social Media Marketing Failures

Know your target audience

Based on research by an academician at custom paper writing service, any brand, company or business that does not know their audience is sure to fail in their social media marketing. Taking the example of Audi’s #PaidMyDues campaign which was based on good intentions but definitely did not resonate with their audience.

Consider the different ways marketing campaigns can be misconstrued or twisted

Companies and businesses need to be careful of the way their campaigns can be twisted on social media. Different types of people hide behind their phones and computers on social media and will take any opportunity to get followers on twitter and get influence by ridiculing people and brands if given the chance. Therefore, brands on social media should be careful not to create open-ended social media campaigns that can be twisted in different lights and backfire.

An example is ALDI social media marketing campaign which asked people to fill in the blanks. The ad was something like “Complete the sentence by filling the blank space” and it ended with sentences like:

“I became an ALDI lover when I tasted ________ for the first time.”

The ad was definitely twisted by people on social media who began to make crude comments and eventually the campaign had to be terminated.

Keep track of your analytics

Track your analytics and customer feedback to see if your marketing campaign is resonating in the right way with your target audience.

Be careful with controversial concepts

College-paper.org reviews also advises that you should be careful how you feature controversial concepts like sex, drugs, race, violence, etc. in your social media campaigns.

Deal properly and carefully with social media negative feedback

All in all, companies, businesses and their social media marketing teams should be careful to improve their skills, logical thinking, and knowledge so they can deal with social media negative feedback in the right way.

Conclusion

Although, it is kind of inevitable for companies and businesses to make social media marketing mistakes once in a while due to different reasons, these can be minimized by looking at other brand’s social media marketing campaigns (especially competitor’s) and knowing what your target audience wants or does not want.

Guest Post: About the Author

Becky Holton is a journalist and a blogger at best paper writing service. She is interested in education technologies, expert writing, my assignment help and is always ready to support informative speaking. Follow her on Twitter.

12 Creative Marketing Ideas to Boost Your Business

A business without marketing is like a person without an identity. Without a proper strategy, the target audience cannot understand your mission, competitive advantages, and professional vision. Therefore, it’s not the issue of whether you should use marketing to boost your business, but rather how to do it most productively.

There are literally thousands of marketing mechanisms to rely on while promoting your products or services, but we want to help you out by filtering creative ideas that can make the biggest impact on your target group. Let’s see the 12 most interesting tactics.

1.   Create High-Quality Content

The basic rule of contemporary marketing is to create amazing content that draws attention and inspires potential customers to engage with your business. Although it sounds simple, it’s not that easy to make standout content in the world where people and organizations publish millions of posts daily.

This is why we recommend you to take the extra step and make a versatile content strategy. You should mix different formats to impress the target audience and combine the following features:

  • Blog posts and images
  • Videos, GIFs, and animations
  • Audio podcasts
  • Graphics, charts, and infographics

2.   Guest Blogging

Another great way to market your business comes in the form of guest blogging. What makes this tactic so powerful is the fact that it’s not pushy but rather subtle and indirect. The idea is simple – you will publish an excellent article on someone else’s blog and insert a link to your website along the way. Users who read and like your post will likely decide to visit your blog and get acquainted with your business in general.

3.   Optimize Content for Engine Searches

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most important marketing mechanisms because 93% of all traffic comes from Google and similar platforms. In such circumstances, you must conduct a keyword analysis for each post individually and use only the most relevant terms and phrases.

For example, check out these three SEO phrases:

They probably look the same to average users, but content creation agencies know that each keyword is different and targets a highly specific audience group. You have to be just as delicate when choosing keywords for your own posts.

4.   Answer Questions on Quora

Quora is one of the largest question-and-answer websites as it attracts millions of users from all over the globe. You can take advantage of it to promote the business using the same principle as guest blogging. The only difference is that members of Quora rate answers, so your post has to be very good to stand out from the rest of the commentators.

5.   Concentrate On the Right Social Platforms

The Internet is full of social networks that gather thousands, millions, or even billions of users. There are so many options to choose from here, but the usual suspects include Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and similar.

Our suggestion is not to waste the energy trying to cover each of the major social platforms. Instead, you should focus on two or three networks that can help your business to flourish. This is more than enough for most companies, so don’t try to bite off more than you can chew.

6.   Don’t Be Shy to Advertise

Digital marketing gives you a plethora of extremely precise advertising opportunities. From Google AdSense to social media advertising, you can publish sponsored content on multiple locations to raise brand awareness.

The thing we love about it is that you can target users very accurately, so the return on investments is guaranteed. You should, of course, spend most of the time thinking about organic promotion, but a few nice ads every now and then can really do a lot for your business.

7.   Organize Social Contests

Another thing you can do via social media is to organize contests. According to the report, a typical contest earns brands more than 30% of new social followers. It’s a super-engaging marketing trick because people just can’t resist free stuff. All it takes is to offer small perks and your fans will be more than willing to take part in the contest.

8.   Refresh Old Posts

As you keep publishing content week after week, you will run out of ideas sooner or later. This is why you should make use of this sneaky tactic and refresh older posts from time to time. Jake Gardner, a content marketer at the paper writing service, says this tactic doesn’t even require a lot of work: “You can simply change images, replace outdated stats with fresh data, or add some new tools to your lists. The content will look more appealing and it will probably earn you a bunch of new visitors.”

9.   Build Brand Ambassadors

Another thing you should think about is building relationships with your customers and turning them into brand ambassadors. It’s a wonderful opportunity to raise brand awareness through the power of word of mouth marketing.

The easiest way to do it is through social networks because they enable you to approach followers, ask them questions, answer their own inquiries, like, and re-share their posts. In the long-term perspective, it will help you to strengthen relationships with your fans and turn some of them into loyal brand advocates.

10.   Don’t Forget Email Marketing

Despite being the oldest channel of digital marketing, email newsletters are still a dominant tool of business promotion. Almost four billion people use email services, so make sure to exploit it to approach customers regardless of their locations.

11.   Host Events

We already mentioned that successful marketing campaigns usually combine digital and traditional features. Corporate events represent one of the most fruitful mechanisms of traditional marketing because they give you the chance to meet customers and clients face-to-face.

The benefits of organizing business events are numerous – you can talk with the prospects, sell products or services directly, boost team morale, contribute to local communities, etc. Therefore, you should always dedicate at least a small portion of the marketing budget to corporate events.

12.   Utilize Local PR

The last tip on our list is to engage locally and take advantage of public relations. Try to find local media outlets and specialized industry magazines where you can give interviews, advertise, or place business-related stories. This tactic is particularly important for companies with physical branches trying to win over more clients from the neighborhood.

Conclusion

Growing the business and outperforming the closest competitors is impossible without some serious marketing efforts. But it’s getting increasingly difficult to find a perfect combination of new and traditional promo mechanisms, so we decided to help you out by presenting the 12 most important and creative marketing ideas. Don’t hesitate to use these tricks – they could give your company a brand new boost!

Guest Post: About the Author

Lilian Chifley is a digital marketing expert working mainly with online writing services. Her current assignments are with https://australianwritings.net/, https://bestessayservicesreview.com/bestessays-review/ and AssignmentGeek writing service. When she’s not at work, she loves to go out for jogging or cycling, read motivational and inspirational books and spend time with her two young daughters.

Learn Valuable Skills Online to Better Serve Your Business

If you run a small business, you’re probably always looking for ways to improve quality and boost the bottom line. The good news is that you can learn many valuable skills online, often for free, that will help you achieve your business goals. These skills can help you improve your marketing and cut expenses for tasks that you now farm out to part-timers or consultants. The following is our list of skills for you to consider learning.

Marketing-Related Skills

  1. Copywriting:
    Does your website content show you off at your best? Do you feel your marketing emails are effective? If eigther answer is no, part of the problem might be weak copywriting. Poor grammar, inappropriate word choices, and boring copy self-sabotage your marketing efforts. While you can hire a good freelance writer at a reasonable rate, you might also want to improve your writing skills and take on some of the work yourself. You can improve your copywriting skills for free at websites like Copyblogger.
  2. Search Engine Optimization:
    SEO is a way to improve the results of online keyword searches. It involves several technical tasks as well as analyzing data from search engines like Google. Your goal is to get your company listed on Page 1 of search results for your chosen keywords (i.e., the terms a searcher might enter). While excellent, authoritative copy is a must, you can also boost your results by making it easier for the search engines to understand your website content. SEO does this, while data analytics shows how the public is responding. Check out the free online courses available from Google.
  3. Social Media:
    Nowadays, it’s almost mandatory to maintain a social media presence in order to compete effectively. Being a social media guru requires time, effort and skill. The payoff is improved buzz about your product or service, which can lead to higher sales. You can learn the ins and outs of social media at sites like Lynda.com. While some charge money, they often have a free trial period to test them out.
  4. Photography/Graphic Design:
    Beyond great content, your website and other marketing collateral should be visually compelling. Instead of buying the same old stock photos that everyone else uses, you can decorate your website with your own photographs and graphic designs. It could very well be worth your while to learn Photoshop, which will allow you to use your graphic skills to improve the look of your websites and other materials. Many sources of Photoshop training are available for free or a modest membership fee, such as Kelby One.

Other Skills

  1. Excel:
    Spreadsheets are almost mandatory for recording, tracking and presenting data. With them, you can do budgeting, track inventory, and a thousand other tasks. Excel is the most popular spreadsheet program, and you can get free training from Microsoft.
  2. Bookkeeping:
    You might be surprised how today’s powerful yet friendly bookkeeping software packages make bookkeeping an easy task that doesn’t require an accounting degree. Products like QuickBooks can handle your business bookkeeping as your business grows. You can get free training and certification from Intuit, the maker of QuickBooks, or from other free sources.
  3. Tax preparation:
    If your taxes aren’t too complicated, you can file them yourself using one of several tax preparation packages. For example, you can visit the Intuit website for free TurboTax training.
  4. Finance:
    If you have big ambitions in the business world, you just might want to become skilled at finance and financial decision-making. Many colleges and other institutions offer online courses that lead to certificates or degrees in finance. Also, check out the many finance-related articles offered at IOU Financial.

Conclusion

We’ve just scratched the surface about what you can do to beef up your business skills via free and paid online resources. Think about what would work best for your business and then get moving. You can bet your competitors are!