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Why Social Media Ads are Worth a Look

Like the idea of using social media to reach an enormous audience, but simply aren’t sure how you can make it happen? Establishing a social media presence that is vibrant and popular will take time and effort, but, reaching a massive audience of highly targeted people on social media can be accomplished using paid advertising on these networks.

Where you might struggle along for months working to create or find an audience, you can get one in minutes from the likes of Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Twitter, and to a smaller degree, Tumblr, Vine, Pinterest and YouTube. They all have a unique following, and it’s better to plan your ads in conjunction with your target demographics.

What are the benefits of using paid social ads?

There are many benefits to using social media advertising. Let’s examine several of them.

  • Incredible targeting tools – You’ll be able to target incredibly minute segments of your target market with highly relevant ads.
  • Immense audiences – Your ads face-to-face with millions of people quickly. Nuff said?
  • Opportunities for cheap ads – Unlike Google Adwords, with some intelligence and practice, typically the social media ad platforms are much less expensive.
  • Fast results – Get your ads up in minutes. Very little setup or approval time needed.

Maximize the performance of paid social ads

  • Test relentlessly – This helps improve CTR as well as lower costs. Test images, colors, copy punctuation: all of it matters! A single percent improvement in performance could possibly be the difference between success and failure!
  • Target carefully – The beauty of social ads is the power to target minutely. Don’t waste this! Get granular in your targeting.
  • Tie in a sound content marketing strategy along with your social ads – Having great content to not just present but follow us is crucial if you don’t want to pay for followers that soon abandon you for greener pastures.
  • Tracking is vital! – The majority of these platforms have some sort of tracking to help you, but you should definitely use the most robust solution you’re able to, and it may differ for various platforms.
  • Try retargeting – To put it simply, retargeting works. You might think it’s a little creepy to have your ads stalking customers across the Web, but numbers don’t lie.

Cheap ads, immense reach and easy implementation. What’s not to like?

How to Get More of Your Content Shared Across the Web

By now it’s abundantly clear that getting your content socially shared widely is a wonderful way to increase leads and sales. The near-instant ability to have your products and services touted beyond your own virtual borders is an enticement few can or should resist.

A few great reasons for having your content shared!

In case you weren’t aware of it, we each spend an average of 37 minutes of each day on social media, which overshadows even email. Moreover, some 60 percent of that activity happens on a mobile device!

Most people wish to come to know about a company through online recommendations. This type of social proof can make it a lot easier for prospective customers to begin the process of know, like and trust with you.

And we’ve saved the best for last: the incredible reach offered by social media, where you can instantly get your brand in front of literally millions of eyeballs you never had a shot at before, now for free!

4 Tips for ramping up the social sharing!

  • Include social sharing capabilities in your content – If you don’t give them the ability to share it, they won’t! Make sure that you prominently display social sharing buttons on each piece of content you put out there, even emails, and be sure you use calls to action to tell them exactly what you’d like them to do! Incentivize if required!
  • Join relevant social media groups and get your brand known – There are many people in social groups on the major social media sites like Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and others. Seek out these groups, join the ones you are able to, and begin to make friends. You’ll be surprised at the results before long!
  • Keep it short – Kissmetrics reports those Facebook posts of less than 80 characters are engaged some 66 percent more than longer ones. Keep it brief, and be sure to incorporate a call to action.
  • Love those images and videos! – We all know that images and videos are the most shared items on the web. Studies are now showing that posts with images or videos get a massive 40 percent more interaction than others that don’t have visuals.

How to Start Quick with Social Media in 2014

You can’t escape it: there’s that nagging truth haunting you as you go about marketing your small business on the Web. In short, it’s the fear that you just aren’t doing enough with social media.

It’s difficult to blame anyone, as the darn thing keeps changing just about daily. With new sites and strategies coming around so frequently, if you’re not regularly engaged in it, there’s almost no way to keep up to date.

So since we know we’ve got to get this social media thing moving, let’s examine 4 ways we can set ourselves up for a great start in 2014.

4 Tips for a fast start in social media this year!

  • Embrace Google+ – Say what you like about Google+, but the naked truth is that it offers several benefits that other social media platforms can just dream about. It may never have the numbers that Facebook sports, but the ease of indexing, SEO, YouTube connections with Hangouts and commenting, together with a host of other Google services make this a serious business decision.
  • Get serious and social with video – It’s good to churn out a bunch of videos, but what could be better is to make 2014 the year you properly market them via your social channels. Building your YouTube channel is a fantastic way to explode your traffic!
  • Decide on which social networks to plunder! – Whether you want to employ Facebook and LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram, Pinterest or YouTube, or your own mixture of these, simply decide on those that have the most potential for your business and jump on with it.
  • Be committed and consistent – You could have the most gorgeous Facebook page in the world, but if you aren’t actively engaging and developing a community there, it matters not. Get out of the habit of treating social media as a poor stepchild and start making the most of the platforms where everyone is spending time right now! You’ll be really glad you did!

5 Tips for Using Analytics in Your Small Business

No matter the size of your business, understanding where your customers are originating from and how is essential if you hope to improve revenues in 2014. That’s why we need to pay particular attention to the analytics we’re using on our sites.

If you haven’t yet started using any type of analytics programs on your web properties, there’s no time like now! Get started with the free version of Google Analytics until you discover want more, and start collecting data.

Once you are collecting data, here are five ways to make better and more profitable use of it in 2014!

5 Ways to use analytics in your small business

  • Select which performance indicators are best for you – There are a number of items you can track, and it can be extremely overwhelming to tackle the full spectrum of data at first. Choose some key performance indicators that you most have to know, like conversions, referring sites, or which of your pages are most popular and for how long.
  • Know what your Analytics mean – Much of this will be new to you at first. Spend time to learn the jargon, and the new acronyms and terms that are coming along seemingly everyday. Once you have a grasp on what is being shown you, you are much more likely to be able to make some sense of it. Also, it’s important to look at the data in context, that is, by looking at it with the goals of the pages in mind.
  • Send yourself an email report – The information is going to be worthless if not acted upon. Rather than relying upon yourself to login and retrieve it on a regular basis, send yourself an automated email at regular intervals so you’ll have it when you need it.
  • Track more than site statistics! – Place the Analytics code in all your significant properties, such as social media, squeeze and landing pages, video and email.
  • Keep track of key changes – This means noting the campaigns, site changes and other significant changes that will affect traffic and conversions over time. A rapid spike in traffic might remain unexplained and unexploited if you’re not aware of why it happened.

Develop an Effective Video Marketing Strategy

You’ve always intended to get a video marketing strategy started, but for whatever reason it just hasn’t gotten done. Let’s end any confusion and delay resulting from lack of know-how about what to do right here and now.

Developing an effective video marketing strategy takes some thought and care. It’s not just a matter of slapping up the recent company picnic video shot with smartphone onto YouTube and expecting this to work wonders for you.

Let’s have a look at some of the ways you can create a practical video marketing strategy for your business.

5 Tips for setting up a killer video marketing strategy!

  • Use video testimonials – Consumers are a lot more likely to be impressed with your products and services if it is coming from the mouth of a live customer on video. This is far more effective as social proof than any textual version could be. In addition to that, the person doing the testimonial benefits at the same time, particularly if they are also a business person.
  • Helpouts are not just for Google! – If you would like raving fans, create a series of helpful, how-to videos offering advice and help on topics your audience is interested in. They are terrific sales tools, even when you don’t actually offer anything for sale in them. Using these types of videos to teach and answer common questions will win their loyalty.
  • Make better product videos – It’s fine to showcase your products, but strive to make them more than just a slick presentation accompanied by a call to action. Take this opportunity to show how your product benefits the end user, hopefully in a fun and unique way.
  • Be sure to brand your videos – It’s a basic part of your job to make sure your brand is on the minds of your market, and there are few better ways to get that done than with video.
  • Make your YouTube Channel work for you – YouTube is not only the world’s 2nd biggest search engine and the largest video platform; it’s also a major league social media monster too! Getting subscriptions to your YouTube channel is an excellent way improve your reach, receive more views, and a lot more traffic. Make the time to brand your YouTube channel to correspond with the rest of your business.

Isn’t it time your company started profiting from of those 6 billion hours of YouTube videos currently being watched every month?

Is Visual Content the Future of Marketing Online?

Let me ask you something: exactly how many articles have you read this month versus how many videos have you watched? I’d be willing to bet that the watchers outnumber the readers many times over. It’s the state of the Web in 2014, as we become a culture that is much more likely to engage via a visual medium.

It’s a proven fact that we process visual information some 60,000 times faster than written text, and that 90 percent of the information transmitted to the brain is of the visual variety. So why are we surprised when we see that everyone is looking to watch or look, rather than reading anything?

In addition, sharing visual content is much more likely to occur than text. Studies show that images are liked 2 times more than text, while videos are shared 12 times more that links and text posts put together!

4 tips for incorporating visual content in your marketing

  • Use videos – Video can transform your site in several ways, not the least of which is improving your site traffic many fold. This is not just a function of a great YouTube Channel, although that helps. There are several different ways to employ video, from your site to your social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, along with the dozens of other outlets.
  • Develop infographics – Look into getting attractive and provocative infographics made for your marketing. They are shared widely when they are well done, and can also aid in branding and backlinks to your site.
  • Images – Image sharing has become an Olympic sport! Okay, well maybe that’s a stretch, but not by much. Sites like Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr and several others are making it easy to drive hundreds or even thousands of visitors to your pages through the photos posted and shared there. These sites are among the most trafficked sites on the internet, and you need to have a presence on them today!
  • Get great at social media – Social media is the the glue and the delivery service for your entire visual content strategy. Sharing on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Twitter and others is the engine that drives the machine. Every day a new innovation for making video and image sharing easier and more social arrives as these sites compete for your attention.

Visual content marketing is an integral component of where your traffic will be coming from, and to a large degree, your search rankings as well.

5 Quick Tips to Help You Dominate Local Search On Google

You, know it’s very cool that your business can be found for whatever you sell all over the world, but really, if you are serving a local market and you’re not successfully appearing in your local search results for your main terms, names and products, then what does it really matter?

Since 1 in 3 searches in Google is now local in intent, plus some 70 percent of searchers are for offline services, it’s clear this is of utmost importance to your business. There are a variety of ways that you can start to dominate your local search results.

5 Tips for dominating your local search results

  • Your Google+ Local Page – A Google+ local page for your business is a guaranteed way to help your local search rankings. Not only does it aid with indexing your pages nearly instantly, but it’s a functional aid for anyone looking to find you.
  • Claim Your Citations – Citations are simply listings for your business on search engines and within social media. This could be on Facebook, Google, Bing, Yelp, and FourSquare, along with a number of other sites. Claim your listings on these sites for the links and direct traffic they supply.
  • Reviews – Getting reviews for your business, products or services is essential for ranking well on the Google local search results. Google sees this as authority, and social proof. Make sure you enable your customers to help them leave a review by providing a link to where they can do this, preferably on your Google+ local page.
  • NAP – This is an acronym for name address and phone number, and is a critical piece of your local optimization. Citations including this information are worth more, both in Google’s eyes and  in practical terms.
  • Mobile – Studies are showing that three out of four mobile searches initiate follow-up actions, whether this means an actual store visit, social sharing or phone call. Ensure that your site is optimized for mobile, so you are able to take advantage of where everyone is headed in local search!

5 Hot Ways to Get Them to Read Your Emails

Nothing is more frustrating than spending a lot of time and energy writing emails no one opens. What’s more, it can be downright unprofitable! A few percentage points more in your email open rates can mean a lot more profit. Industry averages for marketers vary widely, primarily based on the market, but open rates of 25 percent are not uncommon for lists that are current. Undoubtedly, these are people who have mastered the knack of getting their emails opened. Let’s have a look at 5 ways you can get more of your emails opened, without pulling your hair out!

5 Ways to get more emails opened

  • Write what they want to see – Understanding your market well is a great way of delivering exactly what they want to read to their inbox. There is method in the madness of smart email marketers who regularly quiz their readership on their interests!
  • Write a killer subject line! – One of the skill positions, crafting an interesting and compelling subject line is pretty much job one! Learn to avoid spam words and utilize compelling, emotional copy. If you have this part right, you’re halfway there!
  • Have a consistent “From” box  – Readers need to know, like, and trust you, and one easy way to help with this in your email marketing campaigns is by creating a consistent presence in your “From” box. Use your name or your brand but keep it the same!
  • Showoff your personality – Give them a peek into who you are. And do it early on, possibly in the subject line but for sure in the first few lines. This also shows up in their inbox, so don’t be boring!
  • Make sure to resend your un-opens – This is a real no brainer. Send your emails to anyone who didn’t open the first time around, and modify up the subject line this time. You’ll get plenty more opens!

Of course you’ll still need to make sure you have something solid to say in the body of the email, but that’s a subject for another day. At least you’ll get them opened now!

How to Start Mobile Marketing

You know you need to adopt mobile marketing as an fundamental component of your online business, but just can’t wrap your head around how to begin. Everyone you know, and most likely you too, are glued to their mobile devices 24/7. Anyone with eyes can tell the time to begin marketing with mobile is right now!

Since around 50 percent of all web traffic is now on a mobile device, and nearly half of all emails are opened on a mobile, let’s focus on the items that will pay off for you and your business right now!

4 Important ways to mobilize your business!

  • Get a mobile website – Mobile devices show your site far differently, as you’re certainly aware. The small screen gives us new imperatives, the most critical of those being to increase font and button size, optimize images for the small screens, and be aware that you’ll need shorter, punchier text, as absolutely everyone hates to read a lot on their smartphone.
  • Make sure to optimize your emails! – Email is a huge profit center on mobile, and you should employ many of the same optimization tacticsfor this. Make it brief, and lead to where you want them to go quite clearly. Don’t make people work; make it easy!
  • Use location based services – Location based services like Yelp, FourSquare and Facebook are discovering large audiences as folks are becoming accustomed to having ads follow them around while they are out and about. Imagine sending your mobile coupons to those who are in the neighborhood!
  • Look into mobile ads – We are now observing that mobile ads are converting about 5 times better than regular internet ads. A bonus is that, since this is still quite new to most online advertisers, there is lots of unsold inventory, which keeps the prices low, just waiting around for someone to show up and cash in!

Mobile marketing is among the most effective ways to get in front of a large and responsive audience quickly. Bring your business to the next level by mobilizing it!

How to Use Location Based Marketing in Your Local Business

Location based marketing services including FourSquare, Yelp and others have combined with mobile devices to significantly change the way your customer locates and interacts with your business. The amount of information and trust that these sites share has provided consumers a real help when choosing where to shop, eat or go. So how can you as a small business owner make use of location based marketing in your business?

Here are 7 tips to help you cash in on location based marketing!

  • Make sure your local listings are correct – Make every effort to ensure that the information listed in Google+ Local, Yelp, FourSquare and any other services you are using is correct. This includes your name, address, phone, maps and any other contact or business information you would like known.
  • Make sure your website is mobile responsive – Some 50 percent of all local searches are originating forma mobile device, so it’s imperative that your site renders well in a mobile browser.
  • Realize the difference between push and pull – You can push ads out to people who happen to be in your vicinity, as well as appeal to those who are trying to discover an item that meets their needs.
  • Local reviews can make a difference – Most shoppers are making local purchasing decisions based upon reviews they come across. It’s still a smart idea to encourage and reward reviews of your business, as this might be the swing vote!
  • Offer great incentives – There is lots of stiff competition out there, so a great incentive will almost certainly grab a larger market share.
  • Be responsive to reviews and social media – Don’t forget to keep up with your social media, especially reviews. People notice!
  • Offer deals for Mobile wallets – Here’s a new one: offer deals to consumers who are choosing to use their mobile wallets, such as through Google Wallet, Passbook or others. You will very likely skin your competition with this one!