There are no silver bullets in marketing. What makes businesses successful are scaleable and repeatable processes. A solid approach to generating consumer interest and promoting your brand will go a long way in building a profitable and sustainable company.
Here, 11 of the world’s most talented marketers share their best secrets, strategies and tips for growing big businesses.
1. James Mahon: Discovering what people really want
Your customers will consistently surprise you, but they are not the only people worth surveying.
James Mahon, an award-winning CBS affiliate TV reporter and media and marketing advisor, recommends:
“Don’t overlook those who you feel are not your traditional client base. They are the ones who can often teach you the most.”
Companies consistently discover new opportunities when they expand the scope of their consumer research.
2. Peep Laja: Mastering conversion rate optimisation
“If you’re focusing on tactics (make the button bigger, etc.), you’re doing it wrong. Focus on mastering the CRO process.” This includes in-depth research and extensive testing.
Assumptions and hypotheses must be regularly challenged. Laja adds, “The most important thing in conversion optimisation is the discovery of what matters. If you don’t know what specific elements on any page of your site might have an impact when you change/test them, you’re wasting everybody’s time.”
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3. Noah Kagan: Converting email audiences to subscribers
To deliver emails worth opening, include these five elements to boost your email marketing ROI:
- Powerful subject lines.
- Empathy toward customer intent.
- Compelling images.
- Compelling calls to action.
- Mobile optimisation.
4. Mike Allton: Circling the right people with Google+
“My best advice for new (and existing) Google+ users is to be very particular about who you circle. [Give] careful consideration to how you intend to use the network.”
Unlike Facebook, use Google+ “to discover and connect with the people you don’t know. This way, every time you log into Google+, instead of seeing random posts and discussions in your stream, it will be a rich dialogue that you’ll be excited to jump into every day.”
5. Bryan Eisenberg: The importance of relationships to influencer marketing
Instead of building a homegrown audience, clever marketers leverage others’ authority, influence and reach. Influencers with half a million fans on Facebook and two hundred thousand followers on Pinterest spend years cultivating large fan bases.
They’ve done all the hard work and to get in front of their audience, all you need to do is develop a single key relationship – with the influencer.
But remember that “influencer marketing is not a transactional deal but an ongoing relationship. Spend time understanding your influencer and their goals,” says Bryan Eisenberg, co-founder and CMO of IdealSpot and New York Times Best Selling author.
6. Dharmesh Shah: Inbound marketing needs an early start with content
Brands everywhere are in love with content, and rightfully so. Businesses looking to market their products and services throw absurd amounts of money on ads that never get seen. Instead, businesses should invest their marketing budgets intelligently and Dharmesh Shah, CTO of HubSpot and founder of Inbound.org, believes the first thing they should do is “start creating content and building reach the day you start building the product.”
Shah’s two arguments for prioritising content include:
- “First, marketing is not just about finding customers for the product you’ve built – in the early days, it’s also about better understanding the market you’re building for.”
- “Second, inbound marketing takes time. It’s a long-term investment, and the sooner you start, the better.”
7. Alex Attinger: Native advertising focus is engagement over conversion
By 2018, eMarketer estimates U.S. native advertising spending to be $8.8 billion dollars, up from $3.2 billion in 2014. To take full advantages of native advertising, Alex Attinger, Group MD of millennial advertising platform ContentClick, advises:
“stop thinking about [yourself] and instead take the consumer down an engagement journey. Too many brands focus on what they’re going to offer (coupons, special offers, trials etc) without truly engaging and interacting with consumers in a two-way conversation.”
8. Arjun Dev Arora: Retargeting, segmentation and testing
For powerful retargeting campaigns, Arjun Dev Arora, chairman of Retargeter and co-founder of Immediately, suggests brands “segment and target” their ads. The secret is creating “multiple campaigns based on and targeted from unique and defined places on your website.”
Every customer follows a different buyer journey. Avoid applying a mass-marketing approach to retargeting. Also, “make sure that you test a vast variety of creatives,” adds Arora.
9. Muray Newlands: Partner with like-minded publications
What I love about the digital age is how accessible expert knowledge is. If I want to learn from Richard Branson, I read his column on Entrepreneur. Many brilliant professionals similarly contribute to leading publications to get in front of their target audience. When developing thought leadership content, co-founder of Due.com Murray Newlands suggests:
“Find the publications which influence the market you want to connect with and contribute to those publications. Win with big ideas and great content that establishes you as a thought leader. Write about the whole industry not just your narrow interest.”
10. Alex Debelov: Proactive video distribution.
Alex Debelov, CEO of programmatic video advertising platform Virool, tells entrepreneurs to, “Consider the video’s distribution as a proactive part of the process rather than a reaction to a lackluster view count. Once in front of the right viewers, they will do the work for you and the organic traffic will keep flowing.”
To be strategic about your video distribution efforts, Debelov shares, “One tip we like to tell our clients is to use your social audience to test content before distributing it. For example, post three thumbnails to Facebook and see which one gets the most likes. This is an easy, unpaid way to optimise your thumbnail and drive an increase in clicks.”
11. Georgiana Laudi: Thinking holistically about webinars
“There’s more to webinars, than the webinar,” says Georgiana Laudi, VP Marketing at Unbounce. “From the topic selection, choice of guest, registration landing page, to how you leverage the webinar recording. Every detail needs deliberate and strategic thinking behind it. It’s not that the webinar itself isn’t hugely important (of course it is), but too often it’s the opportunities surrounding the webinar that are overlooked or under-estimated, and they make all the difference.”
For example, “The topic you choose for your webinar should be irresistibly useful, while inspiring attendees to take your desired action (purchase your product or service), without being the slightest bit pitchy. Your guest should bring not only expertise and credibility with them, but ideally a totally new audience to your brand too. Your email invitation and promos should encourage people to register even if they can’t attend the live event (you can send them the recording). Your registration page should be free from distraction like navigation to the rest of your site or social share buttons (ask for that after they’ve registered).”
This ensures every webinar you produce is successful. At Unbounce, “It’s these details (and plenty more) that helped turn webinars into our largest acquisition channel in only a few short months.”
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Everything You Need To Know About Instagram’s New Shopping Features
The app is giving influencers and brands new channels on which consumers can discover them.
Influencers and brands have two new ways to sell products to users scrolling and tapping through their Instagram feeds. After a summer of testing shopping buttons that drive purchases via Stories, the Facebook-owned app has launched them for businesses in 46 countries.
It’s also begun rolling out a personalised shopping section in the Explore tab, which Instagram redesigned earlier this year to feature AI-powered channels categorising content based on topic (e.g. travel, art, decor).
The shopping tab will be a place for users who know they want to browse and potentially buy, with Instagram’s algorithm serving up brands the user already follows or would likely be into, based on past activity on the app. Meanwhile, the shopping bag stickers in Stories will give users a chance to not just admire their favourite influencers’ outfits, but actually click through and learn more about promoted items.
Since Instagram began testing the feature in June, more than 90 million users per month have tapped to reveal tags in shopping posts, according to a Sept. 17 Instagram blog post. The app already allows brands to purchase ads in the form of Stories.
More than 400 million accounts watch Stories daily, and one-third of the most-viewed Stories are from businesses, Instagram also reports.
Instagram has been testing shopping in feeds for nearly two years.
Related: Creating Power Digital Campaigns
Back in November 2016, the company explained on its Business blog that online shopping often involves research and deliberation, rather than impulse purchases, which is what led Instagram to build out shopping posts that would provide consumers with information about products without having to leave the app until they’d made a purchase decision.
Salesforce has forecasted that the referral traffic Instagram drives to retailer websites will increase by 51 percent between the 2017 and 2018 holiday seasons, according to Adweek.
Speaking of leaving the app, Instagram is rumored to be developing a standalone shopping app, according to The Verge, but the company declined to comment on these reports to both The Verge and Entrepreneur.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Social Media Marketing For Start-ups: Essential Tips
There are plenty of ways to get the leads your start-up needs, but only a few tactics you’ll need in your arsenal to get the job done at a limited cost to your burgeoning business.
Social media marketing, when you’re short on funds, can seem like an intimidating prospect. If you and your team aren’t already knowledgeable about digital marketing strategy, you may think it’s impossible for you to manage marketing campaigns yourself. With a bit of determination and a great deal of studying, however, your startup will be able to successfully launch, direct, and refine your own digital marketing strategies.
What things can you do to help your start-up get more press, attract more customers, and get more brand awareness? There are plenty of ways to get the leads your start-up needs, but only a few tactics you’ll need in your arsenal to get the job done at a limited cost to your burgeoning business.
Get to know your niche
Many young companies adopt random acts of internet marketing. They’ll throw a few hundred dollars into promoting Facebook posts without necessarily understanding how to communicate to their audience.
Before you dive into advertising and promotion platforms, you should spend some time to define – and to get to know – your niche.
To help define your target market, use questions like:
- Who are your existing customers?
- How would you group them?
- Who does your product or service help?
- Does your product help business owners, stay-at-home parents, college students, or someone else?
- Who are you looking to reach out to?
- That is, are you looking to refine your target market or expand it?
Once you’ve answered a few questions like the ones listed above, you should be able to get a better idea of who you’re marketing to. With an understanding of who you’re communicating with, you should be able to craft a tailored message about your brand.
Related: 10 Laws Of Social Media Marketing
Choose social media platforms wisely
Many start-ups try to master as many social media platforms right at the start. Instead of dividing your attention between Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, you should identify one or two social media platforms that will help you market your product or service. This is why defining your target market at the beginning is so very important.
You must first decide who your message is intended for before writing, editing, and positioning that message. After you’ve got your target market down, you’ll be able to pinpoint which social media platforms can serve you best.
Here are a few examples to give you an idea of which social media platforms are best suited for your needs:
- Best for blog links
- Frequent posts: 1-4 posts every few hours is the most effective
- The community is open to businesses promotion
- Best for communicating to existing customers
- Daily posts: 1 post every 2 days is the most effective
- Users respond best to images, videos, and clips
- Strictly promotional posts are undesirable
- Building readership and/or a following is slow
- Better suited for long-term growth strategy
Do your social media research
Start conducting some preliminary research about social media platforms. Build a profile of each, listing their pros and cons. Try investigating other social media platforms such as GitHub, Stack Overflow, and Quora. While these aren’t platforms as large as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, they could have a far greater impact on your start-up.
Answering questions on Quora and interacting with other users on GitHub, for example, could help you build genuine business and customer relationships.
Concentrate on mastering a few channels
Ultimately, it’s important to concentrate on one or two social media platforms based on your target market and your goals. Attempting to have a significant presence on all of them will prove expensive, time-consuming, and, at worst, counterproductive.
Focusing on one platform will allow you to track your marketing efforts with greater precision, revise your marketing strategy more easily, and help you speak more directly to your target audience.
Digital marketing, while best left to a team of experienced marketers, content creators, and creative designers can be done by your team.
Start-ups tight on cash don’t need to fret, they only need to do a bit of market research and direct their energy accordingly. After narrowing down your audience and performing some preliminary research on social media platforms, you can start working on your social media marketing strategy.
Master a few channels rather than trying to dominate all of the social media space. Keep conducting research as you start your marketing campaigns. Each community naturally changes so you’ll want to keep up-to-date. Leverage your research and dedication to get the most out of your startup marketing.
How To Create The Best Small Business Website: 5 Easy And Effective Steps
Check the steps below and get ready to create a successful small business website.
It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is. If you don’t have online presence, it will become difficult to obtain the results you expect. Your target audience is using the internet nowadays for almost anything. So, if you want to attract more customers and build your brand reputation, you need to build a website. This is how you will be able to expand your business in an easy and not so expensive way.
On the other hand, you don’t have to be a savvy web developer to create a basic website and let the others know about you. Web development and design software have evolved a lot and now you can use several website builders to develop a functional site. You will have plenty of templates to choose from to increase your business’ visibility.
Check the steps below and get ready to create a successful small business website.
Easy and Effective Steps to Create a Website for Your Business
1. What is the purpose of your website?
It doesn’t matter if you develop a simple or a more complex website. Before you start working on anything related to your website, you should start with saying what your company does. Your customers need to understand from the first minute they access your homepage what is your mission and vision. They don’t have too much time to invest when they enter on a website. So, you can make their journey smoother by telling them from the beginning about you. In case you are not so talented at writing, you can use writing companies like RewardedEssays or SupremeDissertations to give you a hand.
2. Choose a domain name and a web host
Even though many think they shouldn’t focus too much on it, the domain name is an important feature of your website. You will use the URL to promote your business to existing and future clients. So, this means that your domain name should be explicit and talk about your business to anyone who wants to find more about you. A domain name should be short, clear, without acronyms or numbers. What is more, you shouldn’t forget to check if your domain name isn’t already taken by someone else.
Apart from a domain name, your website will also need a server where all your data is stored. When you own a small business, creating your own web host will represent a serious financial effort. So, it would be more cost-wise to choose an external host.
As your business grows, you can choose a different host, or you can ask several providers to work on a personalised solution.
3. Build your website’s pages
You will need more than a homepage to create a good website. If you want your customers to understand that you are a professional in what you do, you will create several pages dedicated to different elements of your business. For example, you can include a catalog with your products or a blog.
Natalie Andersen, CEO of GetGoodGrade mentions that “It is obligatory that apart from the homepage, a website should have at least a page with the products’ catalog and a Contact Us page.”
Below you can find a list with the minimum number of pages a professional website should have:
- Homepage – here you will include details about your business, making sure that you also talk about your mission and vision.
- List of products and services – your customers need to know what are the products and services you offer. This will help them decide whether you can answer their questions and provide a solution to their problems.
- About Us – “About Us page is the place where you talk about your story. Your target audience wants to know more about yourself. This is how you will create a connection with your customers and let them know more about you”, says James Daily, Head of content department at FlashEssay.
- Contact Us – it should include your address, email, phone number and working hours. You can also include the links for your social media profiles.
Furthermore, if you want to achieve an international presence, you can also use the translation services offered by IsAccurate. Thus, you will be able to address your message to a wider group of people and expand your business on new markets.
Related: How To Secure Your SME Website
4. Test if your website works properly
Christopher K. Mercer, CEO of Citatior recommends that “before you launch a website, you should first test whether it works. You cannot tell your future customers about your website without knowing for sure that it will work without problems once you launch it”. Therefore, you should click on each page and check whether it has any errors. You still have time to fix something if necessary.
Once you have launched your website and something goes wrong, it will become more difficult to do any change. Plus, always remember that the first impression matters. So, you need to be perfect in the eyes of your customers.
5. Maintain your website
After you launched your website, this doesn’t mean that your work is done. You will need to keep your customers engaged and curious about your business. Therefore, updating the products’ catalog constantly or producing content for your blog will keep your audience informed about what you can offer and the latest trends in the industry. Plus, you should also check if your website is up to date with the latest add-ons. If you don’t know how to produce new content for your website or you feel that you are not talented enough, you can collaborate with HotEssayService or RatedByStudents for professional writing services.
It shouldn’t be complicated to create a website for your small business. As long as you keep a clear structure and create a story around your business, you don’t have anything to worry about. It is very important to understand that a website is very important for your business visibility. Thus, you should put all your efforts into it.
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