7 Ways to Reward Your Email Subscribers and Build True Customer Loyalty

When it comes to email marketing, many startups are so focused on gaining new subscribers that they fail to address another important matter: Retaining the ones they already have. This is counter productive because according to Marketing Metrics by author Paul W. Farris, it’s far easier to sell to existing customers than it is to brand new prospects. But how can you build true customer loyalty via email marketing? How can you get your subscribers to open your emails each time?

customer-loyalty-reward

If you want to keep your subscribers eager to receive your email notifications and away from the unsubscribe button, you have to treat them as people and not credit cards. Most subscribers abandon ship because the list maker starts getting greedy, either spamming their emails or not delivering the value they promised. This is going to drive subscribers away. The process of building customer loyalty has a lot to do with caring about your customers and thinking about their needs.

7 Ways to Keep your Subscribers Happy

1. If you made any promises, keep them

A lot of work can go into getting people to sign up for email newsletters. If you promised them something in return- freebies or a 30-day course to help them increase their social media ROI, you need to fulfill these promises. Make sure to act before it’s too late. It takes a lot of convincing for people to sign up on lists but less than a few seconds to hit the unsubscribe button.

2. Don’t be Random

Usually, people sign up on lists for a specific reason. So don’t be random about the newsletters you send out. Be specific about your list so you can craft emails that subscribers will be eager to open each time. In essence, send out nothing that’s too “everything-under-the-sun”! Give your subscribers what they signed up for.

3. Timing is Important

When it comes to email marketing, moderation is key. With too many emails too often, you run the risk of exhausting your list; Too little too late and people may not even remember why they signed up to your list in the first place. A general rule: Keep the frequency at one email per week. Of course you are free to do some experimentation to work out the frequency that’s optimum for your niche.

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A 4-Step Strategy to Improve Your Facebook Engagement

Do you ever wonder why some posts on Facebook go viral while others barely collect a dozen likes?

It’s not about luck if that’s what you’re thinking! A Facebook post going viral has little to do with luck and everything to do with what you post, when you post it and the words you use to send out your social message. For example, Facebook users are known to share content relating to certain topics more than others including posts about positivity, technology and health. And if you use certain words like “Facebook”, “Why” and “How” in your title, the corresponding post tends to get more likes and shares.

facebook-engagement

Image courtesy mashable.com

So with these considerations in mind, how can you maximize your overall user engagement on Facebook?

What you Need to Know about Facebook Engagement?

Worldwide, Facebook has over 1.5 billion users. Of those, 699 million people log on Facebook everyday with the average user spending 15 hours 33 minutes on the social network every month. In total, the traffic to Facebook every month amounts to 700 billion minutes.

To tap into that traffic, certain skills, stats and tips are more useful than others.

  • Posts with 80 characters or less get more interaction
  • The use of emoticons in posts increases comments
  • Question posts get 100% more engagement comments wise
  • Quotes collect 26% more likes and 19% more shares than “normal” posts

Additionally,

  • Posts published on Thursday and Friday receive 18% more engagement. This number increases to 32% on weekends. The best time to post on Facebook is 1 p.m. or 3 p.m. to get the most shares and clicks
  • Contents relating to some topics get more engagement than others. The top 5 topics include sex, positivity, learning, technology & social media and food & drink in that order
  • 80% of U.S social media users prefer Facebook to the other social networks as their preferred way to connect with their favorite brands.

A 4-step Process to Increase your Facebook Engagement

1. Use the Right Social Media Tools to Inform Your Marketing Strategy

With tools like Mondovo, Hootsuite and SocialMention, you can build a brand that resonates with people. Think about it. Do you know if your social media efforts are paying off? With the right tools, you can narrow down on the social channels that are sending you the most traffic. You can listen to your audience and join relevant conversations. If you can identify your best content and most engaging posts, you can create more of what your audience wants from you.

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4 Ways to Use WhatsApp for Business

Most social marketing strategies are currently centered on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest but WhatsApp may be the next major thing. Facebook definitely thought so. The WhatsApp purchase (when Facebook dropped $19bn to acquire the IM service) left a lot of people confused. But only until it struck them that WhatsApp reached around 450 million active users since US citizens Brian Acton and Jan Koum founded it in 2009. It’s also estimated that the growth rate of the service is about 1,000,000 new users per day with a high percentage of these users residing outside the US.

whatsapp-logo

If you do the math (so cost per user), it becomes pretty clear why Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp makes a lot of sense. Especially when you consider the fact that the acquisition meant that Facebook effectively got access to the user information of nearly 500,000,000 new customers.

WhatsApp for Business

With that said, WhatsApp is a cross-platform mobile messaging app that prides itself on providing users with a simple, personal and real time messaging platform and having no ads, no games and no gimmicks. But marketers have found ways to leverage the popularity of WhatsApp for business.

The question is, how do you use an instant messaging service to help your business goals?

The answer is pretty simple. Think about it. In countries where text messaging is expensive or less accessible, WhatsApp is very popular. Users of the app heavily rely on it to connect with their friends and family and save on their cell phone bills. Small businesses in countries like India have leveraged this fact to communicate and engage with their clients and customers. And the new link between Facebook and WhatsApp makes this communication and marketing channel even more intuitive.

Fair enough, for marketing purposes, it’s critical that businesses maintain an active social media presence but WhatsApp… WhatsApp takes it to the next level by enabling instant messaging between businesses and prospective customers.

Even as we are talking about it right now, in some countries, businesses have started to put their WhatsApp number on billboards and their website. This is particularly true in the case of specialized businesses in India according to the Economic Times.

So essentially, while Whatsapp may not currently be a comprehensive solution when it comes to social media marketing, it’s getting there. Businesses can use WhatsApp for:

1. Growth

WhatsApp is obviously a powerful platform to connect with potential customers. By incorporating WhatsApp in your marketing strategy, you can open a new channel of communication between your sales team and WhatsApp users.

2. Customer Retention

With WhatsApp, you can hope for a closer and more personal relationship with your customers. The instant messaging service enables you to send out quick updates, address customer queries, follow-up on a sale and resolve complaints.

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5 Tools To Track Your Social Media Metrics

Social media is now held to the same standard as print and broadcast in the count of essential marketing channels for businesses. As such, your social media ROI needs to contribute to your bottom line.

Social-Media-ToolsThe challenge is taking a look at your existing business goals and setting social media goals to complement them. For example, your business goal this quarter may be to generate a specific number of leads or it may be to increase your landing page conversion by 15%. And since social media is pretty top-of-the-funnel, the corresponding social media goals will probably revolve around increasing engagement and traffic to your site.

Social Media Metrics that Matter

So you are using social media to reach your business goals. Engagement is a great corresponding social media goal because it impacts a business three-fold.

  • It increases traffic
  • It grows brand awareness and builds a community
  • It shows your voice

But “engagement” is not a concept as simple as the number of followers you have on Twitter or Facebook. It’s a fuzzy word digital marketers use to mean “interactions with your brand.” On top of this, you have to account for the fact that every social channel is different and unique in its own way and engagement isn’t the same for each.

So how can you measure social media engagement? And which tools do you use?

The most important social media metrics are touted to be:

– Conversation rate

This is the number of conversations per post. So on Twitter, this is the number of replies to a tweet and on Instagram, it’s the number of comments on any pin, post or photo.

– Amplification rate

In social media, any post that’s retweeted or reshared is, in essence, being amplified. So think of this metric as the number of repins, retweets and/or reshares a particular post garners.

– Applause rate

Every social network has a touch point to show applause. For instance, Twitter has favorites and Facebook has likes. Applause rate is based on this concept. It’s the number of “likes” a post gets.

– Economic value

This is, quite simply, the sum of short- and long-term revenue and cost savings.

– Relative engagement rates

And finally, should you ever wish to compare your conversion rate on Facebook as compared to your conversion rate on Instagram, this metric averages the number of conversations you accumulated per post per follower for each of your social media accounts.

How to Track Them

Once you establish your social media goals, the next step is to set up tools to measure the ROI on your social media. Measuring your social media efforts is critical to assessing whether or not you’re making an impact to the business.

To measure the ROI on your social media as well as social media success, there is a number of social media analytics software that you can use. Some to consider include:

1. Mondovo

A social media analytics software designed to help marketers get in-depth analysis and insights into their social media performance, Mondovo’s social tools include Facebook Analytics, Twitter Analytics, Facebook Competition Analyzer and Twitter Competition Analyzer. Access all your Facebook and Twitter data from one location and benchmark your performance against your competitors. With these tools, you will be able to keep a tight control over the nittiest, grittiest details that contribute to social media success.

The tools:

– Facebook Analytics

View and assess the performance of your Facebook Fan Page. This includes but is not limited to measuring your page’s amplification, reach, impact and engagement trends, all in one place.

– Twitter Analytics

This tool is designed to let you view and understand your Twitter account performance. This includes but is not limited to measuring your account’s performance and engagement and keeping a tab on your followers, retweets, mentions and engagement trends. Measuring these metrics is essential to assessing the impact of your tweets on your audience.

– Facebook Competition Analyzer

In social media, it sometimes becomes important to benchmark your brand’s performance against competitors. With Mondovo’s Facebook Competition Analyzer, view and understand the audience and engagement trends of any Facebook page. This tool is designed to help you assess your position and relative performance compared to your competitors.

– Twitter Competition Analyzer

And finally, a tool very similar to the one we just saw above, if you want to analyze the audience, content and engagement trends of any Twitter account, Twitter Competition Analyzer is your solution. Stalking has probably never been this easy or this fun.

2. HootSuite

Offering 3 plans (Free, Pro and Enterprise), HootSuite is the preferred social media analytics tool of many marketers. With HootSuite, you can

– Manage your social assets

– Create engaging campaigns

– Find, track and nurture leads and customers

– Get to know your audience

– Be at the right place at the right time when your customers need you

Some of the products by HootSuite include:

– uberVU via Hootsuite: This tool gives you real-time data about your brand making it easy to track influencers, stories, trends and more.

– Analytics: Helps you get all the data about your social media outreach and displays it in comprehensive and easy-to-read reports.

– Hootlet: Lets you post to multiple social networks with one click. This saves time and extends your reach.

3. SocialMention

SocialMention is a social media analysis platform that allows you to easily view and keep a tab on what people are saying about you, your brand, a specific product or any topic across the web’s social media landscape. It monitors Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and quite a few other social media networks to provide a real-time social media search and analysis service.

With SocialMention, you can also set up an RSS feed, email alerts or even add a real-time widget to your website. SocialMention’s Realtime Buzz Widget, for example, is a tool you can use to view the latest buzz about you, your brand or a product over the web.

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A Primer on Mobile Social Media Marketing

Let’s start this post with a question!

What do you do on your smartphone most often?

– Email clients?

– Check the news apps?

– SMS/Text messaging?

– Take pictures and/or record videos?

– Gaming?

For those of us who are completely honest, there is no shame in admitting that, for the most part, our time is spent on the social networking apps behaving like “stalkers.” We observe and obsess over people, places and things that are meaningful to us.

Mobile-Social-MediaOn any given day, how many times do you honestly check your social apps to see what your friends are eating for lunch or whom they are hanging out with?

According to Adobe’s 2013 Mobile Consumer Survey, in 2012, there was a 31% and 180% increase over 2011 in smartphone and tablet users respectively in the United States. Consumers today are increasingly using their smartphones and tablets to connect with brands through mobile-optimized websites and mobile apps.

Key findings of the 2013 mobile survey:

1. For consumers who have access to both a smartphone and a tablet, the device of choice remains the smartphone although tablets are rapidly rising in popularity.

2. Facebook is the dominant social network. It is accessed via mobile at 85%.

3. Twitter follows this number at 35% and Google+ at 21%.

4. The most popular social activity on mobile is to read status updates. Consumers are also using smartphones and tablets alike to view pages of their favorite brands.

In this era of emerging mobile-specific technologies, businesses have an unprecedented opportunity for brand differentiation.

Understand Your Audience Before you Address Them

Social media users fall under 3 different categories of people:

1. Thinkers

2. Questers

3. Leapers

For social media success, you need to have a cursory understanding of your target audience before you start talking to them.

– Thinkers

Thinkers use social media when they are contemplating whether or not to make a purchase. These are laid back people and are slow to act. 48% of Pinterest purchasers are thinkers that will favorite an item that they may or may not buy at a later date.

– Questers

Questers are people actively researching a potential purchase. They are information gatherers looking for feedback on items they are interested in.

– Leapers

Leapers are people who get inspired by social media to make a purchase. You may think of this category of people as impulse buyers. They take action quickly when they see something of interest.

These customer profiles are key to developing a successful mobile social media presence.

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How to Find and Connect With Industry Influencers on Social Media

Take a look through your Twitter or Facebook streams. Are your friends talking about the products and brands they are using? Chances are, yes, they are. How about you? Have you ever asked one of your social media peers to advise you on whether a new restaurant down the road is worth trying or not? Have you ever steered someone toward one specific product or service and away from another?

This is influence!

Social-media-influencer

Influence, on social media, is the ability to change how others think and act. Often people think the definitive characteristic of an online influencer is how many Facebook fans and Twitter followers that person has. That’s not technically accurate. It does not matter if you run a blog where you post content everyday about a specific subject. Influence is measured by a person’s ability to drive others to change their opinion and take actions.

So in truth, anyone has the potential to influence another. Influencers are not necessarily people with the most arbitrarily awarded +K on Klout. The challenge therefore is to find the right influencers to engage. Some people have enough pull to drive a spike in web traffic and sales with a single status update.

The point is: As a brand marketer, it’s important to understand that influence can come in several shapes and sizes. Sometimes influence is predictable. Some industry influencers have an established reputation that spreads far and wide. Other times, an algorithmic tool such as Klout or PeerIndex can help you find potential influencers who can sway others on a specific topic. This is of course not a surefire method but only a tool you can use for some help.

Connecting with Your Industry’s Social Media Influencers is a Multi-step Process!

1. Identifying Influencers

When researching your industry social media influencers, the most important consideration is that any influencer outreach should support your existing business goals. You can’t get started without knowing exactly what you want to achieve. Your objective may include one or more of the following:

1. Demonstrate credibility and thought leadership

2. Generate inbound traffic

3. Enhance your business visibility through content creation

4. Build customer relationships

5. Move community members through the purchase funnel

6. Test new products and generate honest feedback

To find influencers who align with your business goals,

  • Keep an ear out for conversations happening in your industry’s community, sweeping the social web to find conversations that matter to you
  • Search the communities you found above to identify who is sharing content and who is most active there
  • Dig deeper into these influencers by checking up on them on LinkedIn and/or Twitter.
  • With a good list of potential influencers, you can now narrow down on 10 or 20 so the number remains manageable. This may require further detailed information about your influencers or you can look at Klout for their influential topics and ensure they are relevant.

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How to Use Visuals to Market Your Business on Social Media

Humans are wired to respond to visual stimulation. As historically recorded, thousands of years ago, people narrated their lives in cave paintings and Egyptian hieroglyphs. Today, art, books and various multimedia platforms have created a new narrative landscape populated by brands in many shapes and forms.

visual-branding

Everyday, the average person is exposed to hundreds of different advertising messages from hundreds of different brands. Of those, people tend to be most attracted to brands with authentic narratives and compelling imaging.

In the current digital era, social media is no doubt a great tool to increase your online presence. The problem lies in the fact that as more brands jump on the Internet bandwagon, marketing clutter can make it harder for your brand to stand out and compete.

Effective Visual Branding on Social Media

1. Build a Brand Narrative

– In the following video titled ‘How Great Leaders Inspire Action’, author Simon Sinek explains his simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership. Addressing the question of why Apple always seems to surpass other computer brands, Sinek postulates that Apple’s success as a brand can be attributed to the fact that Apple believes in challenging the status quo and thinking differently. And did you notice the high quality and neatness of their photography?

The take-away: Determine why your brand is great and the kind of narrative you want to share with the world will emerge. Invest in high-quality photography, digital imaging and graphics.

2. Make Your Brand Memorable

Did it ever happen to you that you are spending an amazing day at the beach and suddenly, bursting out of the ocean, you feel like a Coke?

It’s not a coincidence!

Coke uses ‘red’ to associate excitement with their product.

Big brands have realized a long time ago that colors can impact how they appeal to their target audience. Color is more than just a hue. It makes a statement.

But you do need to be consistent with your use of colors. Social media includes virtually anything you post online. This includes but is not limited to tweets, Facebook posts, shares and web content. A brand’s authenticity relies on consistency.

Here is an excerpt from KISSmetrics’s infographic that gives some general guidelines on how colors affect American online shoppers:

colors-affecting-purchases

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A Complete Guide to Marketing on Google+

Launched in June 2011 by search engine giant Google Inc., Google+ is a social networking service with 300 million+ in-stream active users. It integrates numerous Google services, including Google Profiles. Most notably the social network, also referred to simply as G+, allows users to group their contacts into Circles, enabling members to sort their contacts into specific categories. This in turn allows users to tailor posts and send them to specific social groups.

google-plus-marketing

Google+ Quick Facts

  • 22% of online adults use Google+
  • 42% use the social network to interact with brands’ content
  • 70% of top brands use Google+
  • Google+ refers the most traffic per visit: 2.45 pages
  • Google+ generates nearly as much engagement per follower as the social media giant Facebook
  • Google+ generates twice as much engagement as Twitter

Clearly Google+ is the next big thing.

Marketing on Google+

1. Perfect your Profile

Getting on Google+ is like setting up your home in a new, exciting metropolis. To get yourself known, you will need to go out and meet the neighbors. Google+ was launched in June 2011 so your neighbors have been having a street party for quite some time now.

– Set up your profile with a clear photo of your face and a creative or exciting image as the cover photo to visually represent your brand. In case of a business, you can also showcase your brand personality with a company logo.

– Link your Google+ page to your site. The use of Google+ badges is subject to the Google+ Platform Buttons Policy. Because Google+ pages, profiles and communities are different, Google offers slightly different versions of the badges, which you can read about here.

– To find people to whom you relate, use hashtags to search people with similar interests. You can then add these people into your circles.

2. Create and Manage Circles

Circles make it easy to share the right things with the right people. To start out with, Google+ gives you a few circles but you can also create new circles for even more flexibility. On Google+, you can shout, speak or whisper. You can share as broadly or narrowly as you want. If you have something to say that the world needs to hear, choose “Public.” To keep your message to a specific group, choose one of your circles.

3. Get Involved and Be Active

No matter what you’re into, there are people on Google+ who share your interests. Search for public communities around the topics you’re passionate. This is a great way to meet new people and join conversations.

There are lots of ways to share with your communities. Post beautiful photos and videos, plan events, or even have face-to-face discussions using Hangouts.

Don’t:

– Only share your own stuff

– Just post links and photos without describing them

– Share the same post multiple times

You can also create real-world groups of people like your basketball buddies and fellow classmates. It’s simple: If you find yourself sharing regularly among the same group of people, communities are a fast and fun way to stay in touch more easily.

Content Marketing on Google+

Right now there is an opportunity for everyone to build his or her global network using Google+. Google+ can amplify your business messages i.e. your content and create:

– Engagement on posts themselves

– Social traffic to your website

– And Traffic to your website that comes from Google Search.

This not only increases your business reach and impact, it creates business.

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How to Encourage User Reviews for Your Products & Services

In our never-ending quest to increase conversion rates and revenue, we often focus on web design and offers, and overlook the power of customer reviews. In truth, no amount of advertising or tweeting can impact customers the way an objective peer review can. This is because, in this age of social media and online reviews, what you say about your business is important; what people say about you matters even more.

user-reviews

So, How Important are Online Reviews to Consumers?

According to BrightLocal’s Consumer Review Survey 2013,

  • 85% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses
  • Lifestyle businesses attract the most searches including restaurants and clothes shops
  • 73% of consumers say positive customer reviews make them trust a business more
  • 65% of consumers are more likely to use a business which has positive online reviews
  • 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations

These findings provide unequivocal evidence of the growing influence of online reviews on the purchasing habits of people. Nowadays more and more consumers are consulting reviews as a first step in their pre-purchase research of local businesses.

These stats are self-explanatory as to why small businesses need customer reviews. Put quite simply, user reviews increase conversions. They can eliminate doubts potential customers may have about a particular product or service or they can help the process of product selection.

The SEO Benefits of Reviews

Improved conversion rates and overall customer experience are among the most obvious reasons for encouraging customer reviews but let’s not forget the considerable SEO benefits as well.

1. Customer reviews generate fresh and unique content for the search engines.

2. Improved rankings for the name of your products plus the word ‘review’ or related words such as ‘ratings’.

3. Reviews can sometimes serve as rich snippets to help increase click throughs from the search engine results pages.

4. And content generated by user reviews increases your chances of ranking well for long tail keywords.

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Syndicating Your Press Releases on Social Media…The Right Way!

In 2014, public relations are as much about conversing with customers on a one-on-one basis as it is about releasing press releases. Companies have traditionally relied on this form of media to give them a face, or public image.

social-media-press-release

Today, however, social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest provide a platform with which you can interact directly with your customers. This is an extraordinary opportunity, as it gives you the chance to show consumers that you’re more than a faceless corporation. Now more than ever, consumers want to know that they can reach you at a moment’s notice, and more importantly, they expect to be able to.

When you speak to your consumers, remember that you’re speaking to your audience. Your message isn’t buffered by the media. Be germane and up front at all times. Keep your messages concise, but friendly, and always address customer questions directly. Consumers are extremely sensitive to “the run around.” Additionally, when you engage with your customers via social media, your consumers expect the Who, What, Where and How, but they crave to be given this information by a familiar face.

One of the main advantages of supplementing your normal PR efforts with a consistent social media presence is that the interest you generate can help feed traffic created by your normal press releases. With this in mind, you should avoid bombarding your audience with a constant barrage of messages. Create a posting schedule, and plan to release more messages when you post your press releases. This will help you avoid exhausting your audience. This is especially important for businesses, as consumers will already assume that they’re trying to drum up business.

Embrace Brand Journalism

According to Roper Public Affairs, a series of articles can be more effective than a press release or any number of advertisements. In fact, 80 percent of business decision makers prefer to learn more about a product or service through articles than through advertisements. While the press release will always be an important PR tool, you shouldn’t overlook the power of brand journalism, or content marketing, as marketers call it.

Brand journalism, put simply, is the practice of cutting out the middle man—the press—and instead speaking directly to customers. A risky venture, for sure, but if done correctly, you can generate massive brand awareness and trust. One powerful strategy entails creating a series of articles that expound on the content within a planned press release, and then promoting them via social media as the press release goes live. It’s important to note, however, that these articles should be information oriented. Don’t use them to hard-promote your product or service. Instead, use them to illustrate to your readers that you’re an authority in your niche.

Niche authority is one of the most powerful assets that you can possess, and unfortunately, you can’t create it with a press release alone. When consumers consider you an authority in your niche, they’ll be more willing to expose themselves to your products. This in turn, gives you a much higher chance of snagging the conversion. Being an authority renders PR much easier, as well. A strong blog and social media presence gives you the opportunity to tackle rumors and slurs head on. Early adopters of brand journalism include P&G, Cisco Systems, John Deere and Microsoft. These companies have brought on journalists to power their own websites, and they’re reaching customers directly with stories that blur the line between ad and news story.

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