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3 Ways to Stand Out This Holiday Season Without Offering a Discount

santa social media

There’s just a lot of marketing noise this time of year. Many businesses think they can capture subscribers’ attention with increasingly desperate offers: 15% off one week, 20% off the next, then 25% off, etc. etc.

But it is possible to stand out during the holiday season without offering those kinds of discounts. You may not win the price war, but you can expect to capture your audience’s attention with relevant content, a mobile presence, and customer reviews. And that will benefit you in the long run, not just between now and the end of the year.
Here are three ways to stand out:

1. Relevant content. Plain and simple: If you are sending relevant content, you will stand out. You’re reading this blog post because it’s covering a topic you care about. Your customers are going to read your emails and social media posts for the same reason. Not only does relevant content based on your customers’ interests help you stand out, it can lead to as many sales as free or discounted shipping offers can.

Delivering relevant content is easy to do! On your social media pages, pay attention to what your fans and followers respond to and engage with. Create more posts like that. For email, pay attention to what subscribers are clicking on and what they said they wanted at sign up, and send them targeted relevant mailings about those topics. Just in time for the holidays, you’ll see a higher open rate and clickthrough rate when you need it most.

2. Mobile. Your customers are on their mobile devices, and the businesses that are there too are the ones that stand out. It’s not just about having a mobile-friendly website but thinking about all the places people can find your business online. You should expand your presence because, according to Microsoft, 70% of all mobile searches result in action within one hour. Be there when customers are looking for you! And don’t stop there. Continue to engage them at your location. Make it easy for people to join your email list with their mobile phones using Text-to-Join.

3. Reviews. Do you trust ads? I don’t, and apparently, the majority of consumers don’t either. What your customers do trust is consumer reviews. They search for them online, they ask their social networks, and they rely on those before making a purchase. In fact, 71% of consumers say online reviews are important when considering purchasing a product. Reviews are important, so ask for them! Ask people to share their thoughts and opinions in an online survey, a Facebook poll, or just by directing them to your Yelp page. Once you have the reviews, don’t stop there. Promote them! Quote customer comments in your emails, link to them from your Facebook Page, or use a QR code to link to them in your store.

By talking to your customers about what they care about, engaging them where they are with mobile, and validating your messages with reviews, you can set your business apart this holiday season, no discounts needed.

10 Online Marketing Ideas for e-Commerce

buying online

Who doesn’t love to buy goods and services right from the comfort of their home? E-commerce has become quite popular over the past few years as people can shop at their own convenience, with total comfort, without the headache of beating the traffic and standing in long queues. If you too have decided to launch an e-commerce site or have already done so, to cash in on this trend, you need to promote it well to rake in the moolah.

Improving the online presence of an e-commerce site is not an easy task. After all, SEO professionals and online marketers have to optimize the website in order to improve the user experience and achieve better rankings. But the buck doesn’t stop there. You should also use all the available channels to promote your store online. In fact, there are many ways to generate more traffic. All that you need to do is figure out what trick works best for your business and follow that accordingly. Here are 10 ideas that can help you to market your ecommerce site online:

  1. Submit product feeds – Since you sell products online, you should definitely use product feeds. This will help you reach a broader audience. A product feed is a file that is generated from a website which lists several product details like descriptions, pricing and photos. You can submit these product feeds to different shopping comparison websites and search engines. You can also make these available to some customers using feed readers.
  2. Upselling your products – Not many businesses try this but you can ask your potential/existing customer if they would be interested in a slightly more expensive product when they consider buying a similar one. If you are in a dilemma about whether it would work or not, it will - say some research results. According to these, upselling on e-commerce sites is 20 times more effective as compared to cross-selling. At times, your customers may not know about the availability of a better product, or could be sure that a different product would be a better fit for their needs. You should emphasize the difference and your customer may be convinced to go for an upgrade.
  3. Submit your site - Most e-commerce website owners submit their site to the key search engines and then wait for customers to visit their online store. What they forget is to look for other niche sites and directories available, where they can submit their business information and website. Some of these sites and directories will not only improve your link popularity, but can also drive highly targeted traffic to your online store. Though many overlook this step, you shouldn’t, as it is an important step for marketing your e-commerce site online.
  4. Claim local listings - Google, Yahoo, Yelp as well as many other search engines, local listing sites and directories have tools to help local shoppers find your business. Some of them even help prospective buyers get maps of location (in case you have a physical store too), hours of operation, and even discounts coupons. You should create/claim your business listing to attract more local traffic. Some of these listings are free for basic information though you can upgrade for a fee to have more options such as adding a business logo, uploading videos etc.
  5. Make a strong social media presence – Social media networks are one of the most powerful tools to promote your e-commerce website. Make sure your website has a strong social media presence and the social media buttons are placed strategically on your website. Check product ratings and reviews thoroughly as it will help you understand which products your target customers like the most. You can also organize contests related to your services and products as this will help generate a positive buzz for your business. If you want to generate highly targeted traffic to your website, you can opt for PPC advertising. You can also create a business blog and write reviews for the best selling products. Email marketing campaigns and affiliate marketing can also help boost your sales.
  6. Send press releases – One of the best tricks to spread the word about your e-commerce site is to send press releases. You can consider sending press releases about your products, services or stores. Whether you launch a new line of products, conduct a special event or open a new shop in another city, you can send press releases to various media outlets and online news distribution services.
  7. Sharing your knowledge – To establish yourself as a voice of authority or an expert, you can share your knowledge across different platforms. Starting from article marketing (where you write and submit articles to increase awareness of your online store’s presence), to hosting seminars, classes, or workshops online, you can educate your target audience, establish credibility and build trust. All these will eventually make people open to buying from you.
  8. Create your own commercials – Instead of print marketing, opt for video marketing online. It allows retailers to extend the reach of their message to a larger audience. Create a unique online ad or a video that will promote your brand or convey your message. These not only generate interest among your target audience but also help you earn a significantly high ROI.
  9. Go mobile – Since people across the globe these days prefer to search and access information through mobile phones instead of desktop or personal computers, it is advisable to develop a mobile version of your website. The standard desktop version won't run on a mobile and even if it does, some elements may not display properly. This is why you have to develop a mobile version. Make sure this version is absolutely simple and loads quickly so that your users can access it without any difficulty.
  10. Give freebies –Everyone loves freebies and giveaways. Retailers have been using these marketing tools for decades. You too can offer some of them, from time to time, to encourage your existing and potential shoppers to return for more. However, remember that your giveaways don’t need to be expensive. You can give special offers for contest winners, product samples for survey responders, or coupon codes for the first 50 buyers on a specific day or between a specific time schedule. You may even consider giving helpful content as promotional giveaways. After all, a big advantage of online marketing is the chance to offer such freebies easily and quickly to woo your target customers.

What are you waiting for? Follow these ideas to promote and market your e-commerce website online effectively.

Goal Setting Tips for Marketing Agencies

Goal Setting Tips for Marketing Agencies

 

As a marketing agency, or marketing services provider, you’re no doubt always thinking of ways to improve your clients’ marketing strategies — but what about your own?

Now that we’re into the new year, have you taken some time to think about your own marketing?

Don’t just proclaim this will be the best year for your clients, also claim it for yourself!

With a few, often overlooked, goal setting tips aimed explicitly for marketing agencies, you can put yourself in the fast-lane to success.

So how do you create specific, attainable, and ambitious goals that will lead you to take action?

Let’s take a look at the steps.

Step 1: Set SPECIFIC goals
You took a good hard look at your website and — yikes — when did it get so out of date?! It might need updating to be mobile responsive or include some client testimonials to help you attract prospects into calling you. Don’t just make your goal “update website” or “add testimonials.”

Break the goal into specific actions that are doable and lend to achieving them. For example, a more specific goal might be, “submit mobile responsive project to two web designer contacts — need a bid and proposed timeline,” or “email all clients from the past six months a link to leave feedback and a testimonial.”

Being specific will help you better define your goals and shed more light on what needs to be done by providing step-by-step instructions.

Step 2: Set ATTAINABLE goals
You’ve made your goals specific, now make sure they are attainable. This may sound simple, but it’s probably the hardest thing to do.

It’s great to know what your goals are. It’s better to break them down into specific actions that require specific instructions. But, if the chance of you completing them is little to none, well then, you’re not setting yourself up for success, are you?

Here are some suggestions to make your goals more attainable:

  • Make your goals non-negotiable. Set them in firm language and set parameters and expectations as you would for your client. Your goals should not be an option; they should be an obligation you have to yourself and your business.
  • Build in accountability. For some, accountability means publicly declaring or sharing your specific goals and your plan to achieve them with those within your company or close network. For others, this means having an accountability partner who also is looking to improve their business.
  • Don’t go it alone! Partners, like us here at Constant Contact, can offer you expertise, advice, and resources to help you achieve your goals.

Step 3: Set AMBITIOUS goals
Now that you know your goals and have been specific with steps that will make them attainable, it’s important to remember to be ambitious. Don’t sell yourself short!

As marketers, we know how to map out carefully constructed plans geared towards our client’s goals, normally holding little to nothing back in making them successful. However, when setting our own goals, many of us shoot for just being able to check off the box vs. breaking out of the box.

Part of this is due to the fact we’d rather succeed than fail, that’s understandable. But part of the reason many of us are not setting ambitious enough goals is that we don’t take the time to ask ourselves the why behind our goals?

For example, maybe you want to offer social media marketing services to all of your clients in 2018. But why? Is it because everyone else does? That’s not a genuine why and ambitions are likely to run flat.

Is it because you’ve been fine-tuning your social media marketing for the past year on yourself (and one test client) and you’re excited to bring that same plan to increase engagement to your clients just as you have done for yourself? Well then, that is both an ambitious and motivating why.

Knowing your why will make the purpose clear and fuel your ambition.

Step 4: Set TIMELINES
Don’t overlook timelines when setting goals. Without them, you diminish your accountability and the likelihood of completing your goals.

Why are timelines so important?

  • They provide the framework for what needs to be done by helping you break goals into specifics.
  • They set clear expectations by allowing you to realistically mapping out what it takes to reach each goal.
  • They often serve as the connection between two or more goals that rely on one another to be completed before the next step may be taken.
  • They establish a set of benchmarks in the event something needs to be shifted or modified.

When following these four steps for successful goal setting for marketers, we’re certain this year you’ll do more than meet your needs, you’ll most likely exceed them!

How Place Pins in Pinterest Can Drive Tourism

As compared to Facebook and Twitter where users are more reflective with their actions and posts more feed oriented, Pinterest users are aspirational in nature. So, it’s no wonder that marketers noticed how users were creating more and more boards around the vacations they were planning, along with pinning sites they aspired to visit and special places worth a watch, even those located close to where they lived.

By September 2018, people had pinned over 175 billion Pins on Pinterest. Back in 2013, ‘Place Pins’ were introduced, primarily to help people convert their travel inspiration into reality. The tourism industry has slowly woken up to the immense potential of this Pinterest feature that can bring big business their way.

Here’s how you too can do it:

Craft content-rich guides and maps: Whether you are a tour operator or a hotel with lots to see and do around the location, you can use the ‘Place Pins’ feature to create boards with content-rich guides and maps and pin the locations to the board. Since this feature includes extra details like the phone number and address right on the Pin, users can easily pull up useful information before they venture out to explore the place. Imagine a group of users planning a tour to your resort. Won’t they appreciate having a user-friendly guide accessible from anywhere on their Android device or iPhone? You bet they will! Thus, you can connect with your potential clientele by offering them easy means to find new places on the go and even get directions to them!

place-pins

Reach your target clientele directly: Many tourists these days are planning group trips on Pinterest using Place Pins, which let them find restaurant recommendations and places of tourist interest that are close to their hotel and any chosen destination within the city. As a tourism service provider, you can easily see such public information and know what these consumers are looking for. Thus, if you find a group planning to travel to your location, you can engage with the group (or the group leader) and offer them a special discount at your hotel or restaurant. This way, you can leverage the free consumer data available on Pinterest, engage with your potential customers and give your business a big boost.

Create collaborative boards for a complete experience: Travelers these days do a lot of research before they visit any place. They are no longer content doing just a thing or two. Rather, they would love to pack as much as possible within their limited time at a specific destination. You can ask others in the tourism industry to join hands and create collaborative boards, which offer the potential travelers everything they need at one place. Thus, if you are a hotel owner, you can invite those offering sightseeing/activity packages nearby, restaurants selling authentic local delicacies, those managing cultural attractions/art centers/entertainment scenes etc to help potential travelers plan their tour and ensure that they don’t miss out on the must-do’s. Imagine that there’s a small vendor near your hotel that sells the best ice cream in the city. You can now use Place Pins to put the location on a map or ask the vendor to collaborate. Thus, users can now have pictures of the place to look at, check how close it is to their hotel, get directions to reach there and even get the phone number to contact the vendor. All these will add more utility to your place boards.

Driving traffic to your travel website: Whether you are a travel supplier, a travel agent or a travel itinerary planner, you can now create interactive, image-rich, searchable itinerary maps with Place Pins and even insert links to your own website. This way, you can drive traffic to your website and convert some of those leads into sales.

Offer paid services: You may even help potential travelers create a detailed travel map or offer advice on planning a trip in lieu of a service charge. With Place Pins, it has become much easier to pin the places a tourist wants to visit to the board, and then collaborate with friends who will be accompanying him/her on the trip. Once the tourist reaches the location, he/she can easily access the board while visiting one place and check the Place Pins to find what’s nearby amongst the places that he/she has pinned earlier. However, since not everybody may have the time or patience to do it, you can offer to get it done for a price.

The objective of Pinterest Place Pins is to inspire people to explore new places. Whether such places are in their backyard or on the other side of the globe, this feature has opened a tremendous opportunity for those in the travel and tourism industry as well. So, start using the Pinterest Place Pins to help people get to their desired destinations while enjoying a precious pie of the big profit share.

Now that we've given you some ideas, check out our "How to" instructions on getting started with Place Pins!