Tag: internet marketing

How to produce creative content for your small business newsletter 24 May

How to Produce Creative Content for Your Small Business Newsletter

Special Delivery:  Attracting readers for your newsletter may seem like the biggest struggle when building your subscriber list, but how about ways to keep that subscriber base active and engaged? If you’re at a loss for how to maintain your current subscribers, we have a quick list of some creative ideas to keep your newsletter fun and engaging.

Start a series

A series is a great way to build both trust and anticipation with your readers. Not sure of what to include in your series? In general, a series should be a way for you to share information that builds your reputation as a trustworthy professional in your field. To do that, you can either create an all new series to highlight a particular facet of your field, or you can reformat some of your older blog posts to fit the purpose (which is an awesome way to drive traffic back to your site).

Share information from another source

This might sound a bit backwards, given that you’re trying to drive business and engagement for your own company. But, from a reliable source, it can lend credibility to you and your business. For example, you might share a published study or news story that’s relevant for your readership. That’s an excellent way to demonstrate that your company is in the business of helping its customers — beyond the scope of your products or services.

Hold contests

Holding a contest can have multiple benefits. It can boost engagement with your customers and serve to highlight your products or benefits. For example, if you have a clothing business, holding an “outfit of the week” contest can show off your clothing line and drive traffic to your social media channels. It’s also a great way to have fun and build a strong community between your customers and your business.

Tips, tricks, and FAQs

Offering a bit of inspiration in your newsletters can also help to increase customer engagement. Going back to the clothing company example, offering tips or tricks for styling certain outfits can inspire your customers to try something that they may not have tried otherwise. Along with that, a quick list of some common questions that you’ve received is an excellent method of providing information to your customers in an easily-digested format.

Tell a story

What better way to prove how awesome your product is than to share how it made a difference to another customer? Or, you might tell behind-the-scenes stories about your business, such as how you overcame a big struggle or why you opened a storefront in your hometown. Sharing stories and testimonials in your newsletter can build trust in your business by personalizing it for readers.

Conduct polls and surveys

Get your readers involved by using your newsletter as an opportunity to ask for feedback. Solicit your subscribers’ input about new products, ways to improve, even blog post ideas. Their opinions can help you better your business — and simply asking for that feedback will make your readers feel like their opinions matter.

Ready to get started? Use this list of creative newsletter ideas to produce content that will keep your readers coming back for more.

About the Author: 

A regular contributor to the GoDaddy Garage, Stacey Hartman has been with GoDaddy for more than eight years. She loves helping customers with SEO and business distribution via GoDaddy’s Search Engine Visibility and Get Found tools. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling, gaming, reading, and baking award-winning cheesecakes.

 

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16 May

Getting the Best Results from LinkedIn

Practically everyone knows about LinkedIn now, but not everyone uses it well or even at all.

Why? Hearing how it works is one thing; most of us learn by doing. Right?

There are a few main aspect of how and why LinkedIn is important. Business owners use it to find competitors, customers, employees or even suppliers and vendors. Others looking for contracts or jobs explore the range of opportunities LinkedIn offers through their services. Salespeople now find LinkedIn to be a resource to garner glimpses of companies and potential leads for their products and/or services.

Let’s focus on Business Owners. Many features of LinkedIn cross over, the importance of personal profiles, business pages and even showcase pages can be key features in building your business. LinkedIn has become one of the world’s most respected business and professional resources. Most often when you have a question about a person or company where do you go? Google, right?

Google yourself and/or your company. Do you do that often to see what shows up? If you are on LinkedIn and don’t have a personal website or have your company website set up with appropriate SEO features, then more than likely you will notice your LinkedIn profile as being in the top Google results. That should be enough to cause panic. Relax, it just means that you need to develop great profiles.

When you look at your profile status, is it All-Star quality? What does that mean? It means your profile meets the professional standards LinkedIn requires for the best opportunities for you. The better you fit in, the more you can stand out. It’s like learning the rules before figuring out how to bend or break them. Of course, you may possibly not even know them.

What if you did? Would you be more attractive to potential customers? You look for it in others, right?

SCORE presents many opportunities for business owners to learn and practice important business development features. This LinkedIn workshop goes a little deeper with a hands-on practice of the material being presented. Facilitating that kind of environment can be a little challenging, so the class size is limited. You’ll also get a copy of the workbook being used.

Join us! Sign up for this hands-on session, – at SCORE Tuesday, May 24 from 12 – 4pm, before it fills up. Bring your laptop and jump in, explore – get your questions answered. Click here to register!

Smartphones are discouraged. Tablets might work if you have a keypad.

ZenBenefielAbout the Author:

Zen Benefiel is an accomplished author, coach, facilitator and speaker with Masters degrees from the University of Phoenix in Business Administration and Organizational Development. Zen is a blogger, social media expert, trainer and web developer since 2000 with a collection of works at www.zenbenefiel.com. Zen is also co-host of 2 Small Biz Guys talk radio show on Star Worldwide Networks.

 

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Credit Card Processing 4 Apr

Top eCommerce Trends for Small Business

The world of eCommerce has revolutionized the way that customers shop and ultimately how businesses sell their products and services. The large company in New York City and the small business in Denver can now compete for the same customers with the click of a button. Having your business online has never been more important.

However, it can be challenging for small business owners to decide which ecommerce strategies to embrace. Fear not! Let’s check out today’s top ecommerce trends for small business.

  1.  Free shipping/ shipping options

Shipping has to be the No. 1 question that most customers ask themselves when buying online. When will my purchase arrive? How much will it cost?

If you are selling an online service, then shipping might not be a concern; but if you sell a physical product, shipping is one of the top trends you need to consider to win the eCommerce game. 

Some larger eCommerce companies such as Amazon offer free two-day shipping with Prime, but you can compete with free priority shipping at a certain purchase point. Other companies add free shipping to a membership program. Consider offering a variety of shipping options.

Here are some examples of how companies big and small are taking advantage of this top eCommerce trend:

Cupcake Royale offers a variety of shipping options.

If you are a small business who cannot offer free shipping, dazzle your customers with a variety of shipping options! One of my favorite local Seattle businesses, Cupcake Royale, offers a handful of great shipping options — including Same Day PostMates Delivery.

Cupcake Royale offers a variety of shipping options in their ecommerce site.

Body Shop offers free shipping to members.

Body Shop offers free shipping to members in their ecommerce site.
The Body Shop is offering free shipping to members and 20-percent off of the entire purchase.

Amazon offers free shipping to Prime members.

Amazon offers free shipping to Prime members and to customers who order $35 or more on the ecommerce site
Amazon offers free shipping to Prime members and to customers who order $35 or more on the site.

2. Multiple payment options

Payment method are a hot eCommerce topic because customers around the world may not necessarily use the same type of payments. In addition to the traditional Visa/MasterCard/ Amex/Discover options, many eCommerce companies are now looking at additional payment methods to ensure that all customers can make purchases easily.

Here are some of my favorite payment gateways:

PayPal

PayPal eCommerce payment system

PayPal is popular payments method that many customers feel comfortable using to buy from businesses online. And now that PayPal has announced that it will be setting up payment transfers to Cuba, there is almost nowhere on Earth where this payment method will not be accepted.

Stripe

Stripe payment processing

Stripe is a new company making a huge dent in the online payments space. They offer the ability to add easy-to-use payments to your checkout experience. The nice thing about Stripe is they offer their own payment forms so you don’t have to pay someone to code it for you!

  1.   Retargeting

Retargeting has to be one the top eCommerce tricks that has turned simple online shopping experiences into millions of dollars in profit. Let’s look at an example to show you the power of this trend.

Let’s say you go to a physical store with the intent of buying shoelaces. However, once you get into the store, you start looking at jeans and T-shirts and end up buying those items instead. Once you leave the store, that retailer had no idea that you were looking for shoelaces to begin with. This results in lost revenue for the business.

On the other hand, when a customer shops online they have to type the product into a search bar or click on a particular product to look at it in more detail. By capturing this information, you can retarget that customer with specific products in which they’ve shown an interest. You might wonder if customers get tired of being retargeted — probably not.

Most customers want to feel as though you understand what they are looking for when they visit your site online. Retargeting is a great way to demonstrate that you do.

A lot of retargeting is done through search engines (Google Ads) and social media (i.e. Facebook), but you can retarget customers with products they’ve shopped for on your dedicated ecommerce site. Here’s an example of how Amazon retargeted me with headphones after I searched for similar products on the site:

Amazon retargeting ecommerce

Ready to take your eCommerce business to the next level? Consider implementing one or more of these strategies to captivate your customers.

About the Author:

Angeley Mullins with GoDaddyCurrently working on marketing and product initiatives for GoDaddy, Angeley Mullins is an accomplished strategy, marketing and business development professional who has seen success bringing businesses and ideas to market. She has led marketing for global exports at Amazon.com as well as business development projects at Lehman Brothers. Angeley also has a strong history of partnering with leaders on social business initiatives. She believes that through technology, education and social awareness, we can solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. Connect with Angeley on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter @AngeleyMullins.

 

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How to deal with social media trolls 11 Jan

How to Deal with Social Media Trolls

Your mother always told you, “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” If only the Internet had listened to your mom. Today, those with nothing nice to say are very busy on the Internet. We call them trolls (basically, online troublemakers).

And while the benefits of maintaining a social media presence are numerous and well documented, there is a potential downside: What happens if you find your Facebook, Yelp or Twitter page assailed by a troll?

The Internet has granted everybody a voice, and as such, the exposure social media grants can be a double-edged sword. While you get to share in all of your successes, anybody who feels wronged by your business will have a platform to voice their concerns as well. In some cases, this can be a healthy process for feedback. Sometimes people are just out to start a fuss. So how do you tell the difference, and what do you do if you find someone trying to rouse rabble on your social media pages?

  1. Don’t respond to everyone.

The first and most important thing you need to understand is that not every comment or negative review merits a response. You can’t please everybody, and you can’t control certain circumstances. Even the most successful businesses have critics, and that is never going to change.

Your business is your pride and joy, but try not to take discouraging remarks too personally. 

How to deal with social media trollsAnd remember that in some cases, social media is a legitimate avenue for feedback. These posts, reviews and comments are coming directly from your customers’ mouths, and the more sensible criticisms can be gleaned for advice toward improvement.

  1. Stay focused.

While you are logged in, stay focused. You may have the power to change the world, but your business’s FourSquare page is not the place to start a movement. Nor is it the place to express or engage in personal or political beliefs. You are here to represent your business and keep your customers informed. Don’t let an unhappy spammer draw you into something unrelated.

If you do directly interact with a critic or troll, make sure you stay professional. This is your business, and the Internet is a very public place, so put your best foot forward. Gordon Ramsay may be famous for humiliating people, but you are not Gordon Ramsay. Remember to use correct spelling, and don’t engage in sensitive or potentially offensive topics.

  1. Try to move the conversation.

Do your best to move the conversation to a more private place. Request that the customer send you an email so you can converse directly about their grievance. This allows you to add a personal touch to your customer service and directly address any issues without airing any dirty laundry. It could also prevent personal information from being shared by either party, which could be important depending on the nature of your business.

  1. Sometimes you have to deal with a troll.

Of course, some people are downright mean for little reason. It is best that these people be ignored if at all possible. Avoid an argument or debate in a public forum, especially if it is over something trivial like the price of a cup of coffee.

If you find someone actively “trolling” your page and harassing you or your customers, the best thing you can do is to block them and apologize for the inconvenience to your other viewers. Serious threats to you or your business should be treated the same way you would treat in-person threats: Report them immediately.
Keep in mind that there is such a thing as bad PR, and that affects your livelihood. So, knowing how to tell a rotten egg from a legitimate complaint is important, as is knowing when to ignore these complaints and how to best handle them. And the upsides of social media marketing will likely outweigh the downside of dealing with a few pesky troll

About the Author

Eirk WongErik Wong is a small business/tech consultant for GoDaddy and a freelance pop-culture writer. He has written a regular column for a current events blog, and his commentary has been featured on realclearpolitics.com. Connect with Erik on Google+. The world’s largest domain name registrar and Web hosting provider, GoDaddy gives small business owners the tools to name their idea, build a beautiful online presence, attract customers and manage their business. To get more tips for your small business—including articles, videos and webinars—check out the GoDaddy Training Hub.

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Take Social Media Seriously in 2016 9 Dec

Take Social Media Seriously in 2016

If you thought that social media and digital marketing were a fad when you first heard about it, I certainly hope that you now realize that social media is not going away and everything is going digital.Social Media is here to stay. Resistance is Futile!

Resistance is Futile

Remember the Borg? OK, that’s something sci-fi fans will recognize from Star Trek the Next Generation. Their line:

You will be assimilated.
Resistance is futile.

Well, digital marketing is similar. If you don’t assimilate it into your business, you are going to be left behind in the dust. Resistance is futile and very unwise.

So what do you have to do to take your business to the next level in 2016? Make a decision. And it all stems around your budget. Now’s the time when you should be thinking about your business plan and budget for 2016 – so it’s vital that you include social media marketing as part of your marketing plan.

There’s two ways you can approach this.

Hire someone to do it for you or learn how to do it yourself.

If you want to hire someone to do it for you, your choices are contracting with a social media services company or an ad agency. This takes a hefty budget. Depending on their experience, anyone worth their salt charges from $500 – $2500 a month depending on what needs to be done.

The other option is hire someone to do it in-house. Here you have to factor:

  • Education – has this person been trained how to properly and effectively market on social media and by whom?
  • Experience – how long have they been on social media? Just because they are young and know how to post on Facebook and Instagram doesn’t mean they know how to market on social media.
  • Time – are they going to be full-time or part-time? If part-time, do they have another job that may be conflicting? If full-time, take into consideration salary, benefits, etc.

Yet another option is to train one of your current staff members on to marketing properly on social media. This person should be creative, somewhat tech-savvy and eager to learn. Think about how he or she is going to incorporate their current tasks and social media along with blogging 2-3 times a week. You can also rally a team of different people with various skills which would require a comprehensive strategic and tactical plan and someone to be the leader.

OR you can learn how to do all the social media yourself. Here you’ll have to carve out the time to:

  1. Take classes to learn how it all works and how to do research, planning and analytics as well as when, where and what to post on which networks.
  2. Do research to get to know your target market, find out which networks they frequent and what their interests are.
  3. Learn the culture and lingo of each of the major networks.
  4. Learn how to use the tools to curate content, schedule out posts, blog and monitor your social messages.
  5. Analyze your efforts each month to see what’s working and what’s not working, if you met your goals and to plan for the next month.

It’s your choice, but you cannot afford to ignore it any longer. Why?

  1. No one is going to find you on Google search
  2. Your competition is going to beat you out
  3. No one is going to know you exist

What do you want to do next? Not sure? It wouldn’t hurt to talk to a SCORE mentor – especially when it comes to budget/cash flow, business & marketing planning. Click here to schedule a free mentoring session.

I’ll also be happy to give you a free 30-minute phone consultation and analysis of your current efforts. Click here to schedule yours.

About the Author:

Giselle Aguiar, AZ Social Media WizGiselle Aguiar, founder of AZ Social Media Wiz is a social media, inbound and content marketing strategist & trainer helping business owners learn how to leverage the power of social media marketing, increase traffic to their websites, generate leads, increase brand awareness and establish themselves as experts in their fields. She’s the official Social Media, Newsletter and Blog Manager for Greater Phoenix SCORE and offers Social media classes at the new AZ Social Media Training Center. 602-738-1700. You can connect with Giselle online at LinkedIn or on Google+.

 

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