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promoting your rss feedWhat is an RSS Feed?
Really Simple Syndication (RSS): In simple words, RSS refers to a notification system which is keeps subscribers updated with the latest updates on their favorite websites which could be blogs, music sites, etc. When a user subscribes to an RSS feed, they will receive updates from their favorite sites. To find out if the site is RSS-enabled look for the (usually) orange button that allows visitors to subscribe.

Many people don’t know how to use the RSS button that they see on a website or what it’s for. For the Internet-savvy, it is turning out to be the best way to simplify their searches. Generally, RSS feeds contain summaries of the web pages and allow the subscribers to pick and read the article of their choice. A powerful aggregator which helps you organize and choose the news items just like an email is all that you need to get the most out of RSS feeds.

Upon subscription, you will receive updates automatically. Subscribers can also choose to display the feeds on their web pages so visitors can view the updates as well. As a result, your website will generate more traffic. RSS feeds are turning out to be an essential tool in web marketing today. Your client is constantly reminded of your website’s existence and most importantly the updates will encourage them to visit your site regularly.

Making RSS Feeds work for you

    1. Create your RSS feed. Write an appropriate title and description and ensure that the link leads to the website with the actual content.
    2. Validate your RSS feed. Once you’ve created your RSS feed, validate it. Read more about the RSS format standard and ensure that your RSS feed conforms to the format.
    3. Create a web page for displaying your RSS feeds. After your RSS feed is validated, add it to your web site. Creating a separate web page for displaying RSS feeds is a common web practice.
    4. Promote your feed Display your RSS feeds on a webpage. Once you have created and validated your RSS feed, create a separate web page for displaying it.
    5. Promote your feed Use directories to list your RSS feeds. Once the RSS feeds are up on your website, you need to ensure that your potential viewers are aware of it. Below are a few RSS directories which will help provide visibility to your live RSS feeds:

FeedBoy
FeedBomb
Feedfury
Feedburner
RSS Feeds Directory
Free Feeds Directory
RSS Feeds Submission

  1. Allow access to RSS reader. Add a link to which enables your viewers to ‘download RSS reader’.
  2. Be regular with updates. It is important to update your RSS feeds. It is as important as updating your website content. If you aren’t updating your feeds, your viewers don’t have any reason to continue to subscribe to them.

social network to boost your rankingIn this era of online marketing, Search Engine Optimization is at the forefront of every online marketing strategy. However, when we talk about Search Engine Optimization, we can hardly miss the subject of optimizing via social websites and social Medias. This is because of the fact that in past few years we have seen an exponential growth in the popularity of social websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

In this article, we will be showing you how to harness the full power of social websites to supercharge your SEO efforts.

Helps in Link Building
Social websites help immensely with your link building strategy, which is of primary importance in your off page optimization strategy. Social websites help increase the amount of back links to your site. Top search engines like Google and Yahoo give more weight to your online popularity factor, which is primarily determined by the number of links pointing to your site, when it comes to determining your site’s rankings in SERP’s (Search Engine Results Page).

Many social websites provide features that help link your page to the reader or visitor’s page. For example, if your site’s articles are on the Digg network and if someone else also on Digg reads the article and finds it interesting and relevant, they simply click “Digg it” button, and your page is automatically added to their own webpage. Furthermore, these sites also allow you to tell others in the network about your website and no doubt this definitely increases the odds that they will bookmark your site and put your link on their own. However it needs time and effort to build your reputation in these social sites by providing relevant content that provides value to the readers.

Minimal Effort - Big Results
Many online marketers consider Social Media Optimization or optimization by social websites to be guerrilla marketing, because they are considerably cheap as compared to other marketing channels.

Furthermore, to obtain maximum exposure from optimization via Social Websites, it is important to post relevant and useful content on a frequent basis and being an active member of the community. Social Media Optimization is a very effective technique that will yield fruitful results both in the short and long term and is well worth the time and effort invested.

Importance of Blogs
Blogs are one of the most important mediums when it comes to optimization via Social Websites. This is because blog posts attract links from other bloggers which creates a snowball effect and helps your site to gain popularity and receive targeted traffic. Successful blogs provide regular, fresh and relevant content. A good way to advertise your blog is to visit other blogs that have a comments section and make an insightful comment about their content and then provide a link back to your own blog or website. This is known as marketing through “Blog Commenting” and is an effective marketing technique, if done properly.

It is important to update the blog on a regular basis. Provide links, lots of images, video clips and interactive tools. Make sure that each page you add to your site is relevant and provide value to the readers.

Which Sites to Target?
When it comes to optimizing via social websites because as a rule of thumb, the more sites you target, the better it is. There are many popular social media sites out there and choosing which ones to participate in can be overwhelming sometimes, so always join those sites that are relevant to your interest and work at a steady pace in building up your site’s reputation in these social sites.


forumsAn Internet forum is an area for discussion made available on a website for users to post discussions, read and respond to posts by other forum members. Online forums allow members or users to start new topics and reply to existing posts too. Conversations on forums are called threads.

With the advent of the internet, businesses are leaving no stone unturned to promote their businesses online. Among the various other means to market websites online, forum posting is turning into a popular option. To top that, it has been noted that visitors to websites by way of forums are worth more than any average visitor. Why? Simply because, forum visitors are active information seekers and engaged users, who are more likely to be interested in your services. However, you should note that forums are primarily beneficial for driving human traffic to your website. Search engine rankings follow closely and with a signature link with every post, you are assured greater visibility in the search engines too.

Here’s how you can take advantage of internet forums to drive traffic to your website:

Introduce Yourself: Begin by participating in the ‘Introduce Yourself’ section of the forum. Also, don’t forget to welcome new members!

Become an Active Member: You could choose forums or topics, which interest you or are closely related to your business or service and actively participate in the discussions. Try solving problems and offer help and advice when required. Don’t underestimate yourself and believe that you cannot become a moderator. The effort that you put in to become a moderator on a forum is worth it and you are assured increased visits to your blog as visitors already believe you are a subject matter expert.

Your Signature Tells All: A well-defined signature, with linked text to your URL, is essential if you want visitors to notice your link. Here’s an example:

Your website and SEO: Do you know you can drastically increase your traffic with the help of forum postings?
Michelle Crossley, studio1c

Say NO to SPAM: Drop your links in the posts you visit or reply at. But, not in a spammy way! If you are dropping links before you establish yourself as an active contributor, it won’t take you long to be ignored or banned!

Know the Forum Rules: Different forums have different and specific rules. Make sure that you have read them thoroughly (usually you can find a post on the forum rules prominently displayed in the forum index) so you aren’t banned after you have posted.

Check for typos and missing words before you click ‘Submit’.

While you work hard to increase free website traffic, you should ensure that users find relevant information on your forum posts too!


Try posting your website articles or blog to any of these top article submission sites.

If you have had luck with any other Article submission sites, please let us know! We'll add it to our list.


email marketing for successYou’re considering email marketing to promote your business? Smart Move!
Congratulations, you’re about to step into the world of email marketing – one of the smartest ways ever for developing your business. And to help you get started, here’s a bird’s-eye view of what email marketing’s all about – from planning, to getting your campaign going, to making it successful.

Good, Fast, or Low Cost Marketing?

Now you can have all three. And effectiveness, too.
We’ve all heard the old adage about how, when it comes to marketing, you can get what you need done well, delivered quickly or produced inexpensively; but you can only choose two out of the three.

Well, thanks to the wonders of technology, those days are gone. Today, using email marketing, you can communicate effectively with quality content, design, and delivery. You can do it quickly and repeatedly. And, you can do it within a budget that makes absolute sense for your business. What’s more, you can do all this and at the same time build excellent relationships with your customers.

Who doesn’t want to save money?
When you communicate with your customers through permission-based email you get everything you would in a print ad – except the paper. And without the paper, you can skip things like printing costs, mailing costs, and media costs. Plus email targets exactly who you want to reach, so you don’t waste dollars on unlikely prospects, like other advertising options do.

It is said that communication is a 50/50 proposition.
We beg to differ. We believe good communication should be a 100/100 effort. With email, you not only control your message, but you also create a welcoming, easy way for recipients to have a two-way dialogue with you. They can also pass along your message to their family and friends – valuable referrals for your business.

Just like fingerprints, no two customers are alike.
With email marketing, you can send different messages to match the interests of different customer groups or even individuals. And, because email is so easy to create and change, you can revise your messaging to reflect the changing focus of your audience.

Things To Think About

  • What was the total cost of your most recent newspaper or direct mail campaign? Do you think it was a good investment?
  • What mechanism do you currently use to hear the voice of your customers? Is it effective?
  • How much time does it take to adjust your marketing message using your current system of communicating with your customers?

How Well Do You Know Your Customers?

Now you can learn more about them as they learn more about you.
The fact is, all of business is built on relationships. And the better you understand your customers, the better your chances of building a mutually- rewarding, ongoing relationship with each other. An email marketing campaign should be built on a clear understanding of your customers and their needs, as well as what you have to offer them.

It’s easier – and cheaper – to keep a customer than to find a new one.
The more you know about your customers, the better able you are to meet their needs. That means they are much more likely to remain customers, and you don’t have to spend extra money and effort trying to find new ones. What’s more, a satisfied customer is your best advertisement, and can help you build your business through referrals to their friends and colleagues.

No matter what you say, say it consistently and regularly.
A sustained email marketing campaign is the perfect way to educate your customers about your goods, services, policies, and community involvement. Just be sure to map out a strategy for the types of information you plan to share with them, and make sure it’s helpful, informative, or enlightening.

Don’t forget to listen.
Every successful email marketing campaign shares a very important common denominator – the ability of the recipient to respond to the message. By including at least one, and preferably several, ways in which your customer can reach you (by email, phone, or in person), you invite comment, criticism, and congratulations. All are valuable ways to learn more about your customers and respond to their needs.

Make sure your email marketing campaign fits with your overall marketing plan.
Different kinds of objectives are best served by different kinds of email. For example, if you are looking for immediate sales, then an email highlighting a price reduction or new product introduction may be best. If, on the other hand, you’re looking to establish yourself as an expert in your field, then a more informative email with case histories may be appropriate.

Things To Think About

  • Can you identify satisfied customers who may be willing to be quoted in your email marketing campaign?
  • What would a communications calendar about your business look like?
  • How can you ensure that your business responds to all customer comments in a timely fashion?

Do You Make Every Contact Count?

Collecting contact information is as simple as just asking for it.
The fact is, that email marketing can help you establish and build relationships that will help you grow your business. But, there are two rules you need to follow:

  1. You can’t communicate if you don’t make contact.
  2. Not all contacts are equal. The more information you gather about each contact, the better your chances of delivering the right message to the right person.

There’s really no mystery to how to collect contact information.
Simply ask. Most people will be glad to supply basic contact information. Just be careful not to ask for too much personal information or they may balk at answering. Start by asking for a name and an email address. That’s enough to get a contact on your list.

If the contact is in person or on the phone, you can also ask for a street address and a phone number. Additionally, you can capture contact information from a business card or an electronic communication.

Don’t get caught “spamming.” Get permission first.
When you send someone an email marketing communication and that person has not given you permission to do so, you are “spamming.” There are strict regulations against "spamming" and you never, ever want to send "spam" to anyone for any reason.

The way to avoid becoming a "spammer" is to always get permission to send your messages to the people on your list. You can ask for explicit permission – which means the person understands that an email message will be headed their way – or you can go with implicit permission which means that you have an existing business relationship with the person and that they are open to hearing from you.

Motivate people to give you their contact information.
When you offer something to motivate contacts to provide their information, chances are more likely you’ll actually get what you asked for. It doesn’t have to be much, but it must have value to the person receiving it. A discount on certain products is a powerful motivator but something as simple as a downloadable white paper is also a good choice.

Things To Think About

  • Are you and your staff asking for contact information at every encounter? Why not?
  • Have you ever sent an email with a marketing message to someone who might not want to have received it? Did you know it would be considered "spam"?
  • What low cost but effective offer could you make to help ensure the collection of contact information and permission to communicate with them?

Why Would Your Customers Read Your Email?

Make it relevant and you’ll build trust – and your business.
The surest way to get your customers to come back again and again is to get them to trust you. And one way to earn their trust is to communicate with them honestly, regularly, and in a way they can relate to. Give them that, and you’ll not only have satisfied customers, you’ll have true advocates.

Show that you care about their welfare, not just their dollars.
When information is useful, it is more likely to be remembered and acted upon. And remember, customers want to hear about things they care about – not just what you’ve got to say about your business.

For example, if you want to announce a sale, don’t just talk about the dollars off (though that’s certainly important). Also add information about how the product or service can benefit the customer. A 20% discount on cleaning a home’s air ducts is interesting, but improving the air quality of one’s home, or protecting one’s children from airborne pests, is compelling. This kind of messaging encourages trust and demonstrates that you are interested in the welfare of your customers, not just how much they spend with you. It’s all about building trust.

When in doubt, ask the experts – your existing customers.
If you find it difficult to figure out what to include in your emails, don’t overlook the obvious. While you may think certain topics are “old hat,” you’ll be surprised how many customers may not know – or may have forgotten – certain pieces of information.

Another good source of content is your customer. Many of them will be happy to suggest topics, lend advice, or even be interviewed for your email campaign.

Things To Think About

  • Can you name three things you think your customers would be interested in knowing about your service or products? What kind of story can you tell about each one?
  • Can you name four customers you can seek advice from regarding your email campaign?
  • If you were to survey your customers on what they would like to see in an email from you, how would you do it?

How Can You Get Your Email Opened?

A few simple rules can keep you out of the junk mail file.
You may be thinking that, for all the potential benefits of an email marketing campaign, there are just too many emails floating around out there. And it is true that many emails are simply discarded without being opened at all.

But yours doesn’t have to be one of them. Here are some simple ways you can encourage your customers to open, read, and act on your emails.

Make sure they know it’s from you.
If there’s ever a time to ditch the clever headline in favor of the straightforward approach, it’s in the “from” line of your email. Always use the better-known of your name, your company name, your product name or whatever other designation your customers will most readily recognize. And do not use such common but ill-advised addresses like sales@ or service@. They’re unfriendly and won’t do a thing to build your relationship with your customers.

Make sure they know it’s something they’re interested in.
Is there anything more frustrating than opening an email and discovering you just don’t care what it’s about? It’s a waste of time and a frustration to your customers. That’s why your “subject” line should be descriptive but not deceptive. Instead of a generic phrase like “What’s New This Month,” try, “10 Reasons…” or “New Survey Reveals…” or “8 Ways to…” as more compelling titles.

Keep those emails coming.
No one likes to be bothered unnecessarily, but there is something to be said for establishing a regular schedule of communication and sticking to it. If your emails are interesting and pertinent, your customers will look forward to receiving them – and will be disappointed when they don’t.

The way your email looks is just as important as what it says.
No matter how important or well-written your email is, if the design is cluttered, too busy, or just plain disorganized, the message will never get read. Remember that readers decide whether to read an email by previewing the first few lines. Be sure to use strong headlines and include words and phrases that appeal to their interests.

Things To Think About

  • What emails are you most likely to open and read? Which are you most likely to trash without reading?
  • If you were one of your customers, what would you like to read in an email from your business?
  • Can you make a commitment to regularly scheduled emails? Do you need help maintaining a regular schedule of communications?

Sign up now with email marketing and use it free for 60 days!


Great Together
Social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are generating a lot of hype in the marketing world as new ways of reaching and communicating with customers, members, donors, and anyone else you come in contact with. While this might sound a lot like the goal of email marketing, social media is not a wholesale replacement for email; rather, social media can be used to compliment an email strategy by reaching out to customers wherever they happen to be and opening more avenues of communication with them.

A report by the Nielsen Company shows that people who are heavy users of sites like Facebook and Twitter actually use email more than casual social network users do.

Why is this? Social media networks like Facebook allow you to set your preferences so an email is sent whenever someone comments on something you post, or on a friend’s post that you may have commented on. You can also get notified when someone sends you a private message within the confines of Facebook. Similarly, Twitter sends an email update every time someone new decides to “follow” you, and when you receive a direct (private) message from another user.

For you, as an email marketer, this presents some good news: All of this activity drives people into their email inbox. The more email people get, the more they’re going to be checking their inboxes. And the more they check their inboxes, the more chances they have to see your email messages. This is just one way in which social media helps and increases email use. In this guide, we’ll explain some of the basics of social media, and show you how you can use these tools in tandem with email to create a more effective marketing mix.

 

Getting Started with Social Media

If you’re having trouble getting your head around what “social media” is, how to “friend” people on Facebook, and “follow” people on Twitter, let’s first take a step back from the email marketing/social media integration path for a brief primer on what social media is.

Social media networks are essentially semi-closed communities that require an account to post information to them. We say these networks are “semi-closed” because some information and pages posted in the communities, such as a Facebook Fan Page or postings to Twitter, can be viewed by non-account holders.

While there are hundreds of social media networks out there, the big three people focus on are Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll focus on them too.

Facebook
Facebook is the largest of the social networks, with more than 802 million daily active users. It is also the most multimedia-friendly of the big three; members can post text, pictures, audio, and video.

Users sign up for an account, then can make connections with other users on the site by “friending” them: When you find someone you know on Facebook, you request to be their friend. If the request is accepted, you can see that person’s profile information, status updates, photos, and more (which is why you wouldn’t want to be “friends” with someone you don’t actually know). Your friends in turn can see your profile, status updates, and photos, as well. If you don’t want to share all your information with all your friends (for example, if you connect with coworkers or family members), there are more granular privacy settings available to limit who can see what information you post.

More important for business users of Facebook are Groups and Fan Pages. Groups allow like-minded people to join and share information through public message boards. Fan Pages allow a business to set up an information hub that other users can become “fans” of. Anyone can build a Fan Page. You don’t have to be an actor, musician, or politician to have fans on Facebook, and you don’t have to be accepted to be a fan. These pages are the preferred method for most businesses and organizations to reach Facebook users because a business owner or nonprofit manager can use them to share information with fans, and the pages are public-facing (though only Facebook members can become fans).

Twitter
Twitter is one of the fastest growing social media networks, with an estimated 255 million monthly active users. Twitter’s philosophy is simple: Users can post 140-character status updates that are viewable by anyone “following” their Twitter stream. On Twitter, the follower relationship is not two-way; you don’t have to wait for someone to approve your follow request and vice versa.

Your Twitter updates are public as well, meaning non-Twitter users can still view them. Even without an account, you can use that link to see all our updates.

When you follow someone on Twitter, you’ll see his or her status updates in real time on your private Twitter home page, along with updates from everyone else you follow. If you follow many people, this can create a bit of “noise,” especially if those people are heavy users of the site. That said, the beauty of Twitter from a business perspective is the ability to search all updates for a certain term or phrase as the search spans the entire public Twittersphere and not just your followers. (This is especially useful when looking to keep tabs on customer service issues.)

LinkedIn
The third of the big three, LinkedIn is one of the more professional of the social networks. Individual users’ profiles are tantamount to an online resume (complete with recommendations and endorsements) and, like Facebook, connections between users must be confirmed by both parties. Businesses and organizations can have profile pages as well that outline the who, what, and where of their operations.

Two of the biggest benefits of LinkedIn are the community and question areas, which tend to be more professional in nature than those found on Facebook or Twitter. Answering questions in your area of expertise can help establish you and your business or organization as experts.

Get Signed up
If you don’t already have accounts on these three major social media networks, you should sign up. Even if you don’t plan to use any or all of the networks right away, they’re free, so there’s no financial barrier to entry. Additionally, signing up will make sure you reserve your company’s name in case you decide to use the sites in the future.

It’s recommended that you keep your professional and personal online personas separate, so you have the freedom to share family photos and other personal things just with people you know, and your customers can only see things that relate to your business or organization. To do this, you may want to create separate business and personal accounts on the networks you plan to use. Facebook users should also set up a Fan Page as soon as possible, if only to keep your company’s name reserved for later purposes.

 

Integrating Email and Social Media

Now that you have a better understanding of how the various social networks operate, let’s take a look at them in another way.

Sites like Facebook and Twitter do require more frequent updating than your blog or email marketing do, but they also often have less compelling content. At the same time, Facebook and Twitter are more viral than a blog or email marketing, but a blog or email marketing creates a deeper customer relationship.

To most effectively strengthen your relationships, it’s best to use social media in tandem with your email marketing efforts. Here are eight ways to extend the reach of your content and act as a source of new information for your email recipients.

Let the world know: “We’re on Facebook and Twitter!”
Once your accounts are established and you’re comfortable using the social media networks, begin telling the world about your new online presence. Add links to your social media accounts to your email newsletter and in your regular email signature. Put the same links on your website and, if you have one, your blog, as well.

Users of social media networks are always looking for like-minded people and companies to “friend” and follow. If you’re participating in the same networks, there’s a good chance people will become a fan or follow you. The more places you link from, the more likely people will find you on your social networks of choice.

 

Integrating Email and Social Media

Grow your email contact list
Just as you can use your outgoing emails as a way to advertise your social network accounts, you can use social media to add subscribers to your email contact list. A few easy ways to do this:

  • Occasionally, ask your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn followers if they want to be on your email list, and provide them with a link to your newsletter signup page. Keeping with good marketing practices, you’ll want to keep straight pleas to join your list to a minimum. If all your updates to Facebook and Twitter say “Sign up for my list,” then you won’t have many followers. Keep the pitches to a bare minimum, and let the content you post be your sales pitch.
  • A good way to entice new signups is to tease an upcoming issue of your newsletter a few days before it’s sent. For example, if your monthly newsletter goes out on a Thursday, post a quick headline or synopsis of that month’s main article on Monday or Tuesday, and tell people that if they want the information, they’ll have to sign up by Wednesday night to get this hot content.
  • Similarly, you can post a snippet from one of your newsletter articles and tell your fans and followers that if they want to read the rest, they will have to sign up for your newsletter.
  • You can embed a Join My Mailing List signup box on your Facebook Fan page, blog, or just about any other site that allows embeddable HTML code.

 

Extend the life of your content
A lot of thought, effort, and time go into creating and publishing the content for each issue of your newsletter, so why limit distribution to one method? If your newsletter content is permanently accessible via a URL (either through an email archive or posted on your website), post that URL to your Facebook pages, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other network where your company has a presence.

Posting your content to your social networks provides a couple key benefits. First, the links back to your website help boost traffic and your search engine rankings (the more links from outside sources, the better), meaning that your business or organization’s website will show up higher in the results when someone goes to look for you on Google or another search site. Second, it puts your content in a place where it can be easily shared and passed along. That gets it in front of people who are not already on your email list, and can help drive new subscribers.

For those who are worried about cannibalizing their email list by posting content elsewhere, know that you can always delay your social media posts until a few days after the email has gone out — providing a window of exclusivity to newsletter subscribers.

Use social networks as a source for new content
Social media networks can be a way for you to answer customer questions. Your own customers might be saying or asking similar things about your business, service, or product. After all, one of the most common uses of social media is asking common customer service–type questions.

Obviously, when a customer asks a question through one of these social media sites (whether directly or indirectly), you should answer them as promptly and directly as possible. For example, on Twitter, you should use the person’s Twitter handle in your reply so it shows up on the person’s Twitter home page. But don’t end the “conversation” there. Use the question and your original answer as a newsletter topic to share with the rest of your email newsletter recipients. Chances are good the answer will be relevant to more than just the one customer who asked the question.

One thing you can do in addition is repost the question to your social networks and direct people to your newsletter for the answer (for example, “A customer recently asked when we’re getting new merchandise. Check out the next issue of our newsletter for the answer” and then include a link to your website where they can sign up). A single question from a social media fan then becomes content for your newsletter and a lure for new subscribers.

As you’re building your network, maybe the number of customers asking questions or specifically commenting about your business or organization is limited. That doesn’t mean the social media content well is dry. Watch the networks for hot topics and trends in your industry. Use that information as a source for article content. Talk about the trend, how it affects your customer
base, and what you can do to help.

Mention in your article that you saw people talking about this on Twitter or Facebook, and be sure to put a plug for your own accounts on the services as another means of making your customers aware of your presence on these networks.

Get feedback from your social network circles
When trying to decide between a couple of good article ideas for your next newsletter, if you are not sure which will appeal more to your customers, you can ask your social networking circle for quick feedback.

Post the question to your Facebook News Feed or Fan Page. Ask your Twitter followers which of the articles they’d like to see. (Remember to do so in 140 characters or less). Use the response generated to make the final decision on which article to use. You may even get a few other ideas for future articles along the way.

Continue the cycle
Chances are good your newsletter content will elicit some comments and feedback from your Facebook and Twitter networks. Why not feature them in the next issue of your newsletter?

In your issue, let readers know that they can share their thoughts on Facebook or Twitter (or wherever you want them to), and that you’ll share the “best” comments in the next issue. That will encourage reader participation and give you content for the next issue that you won’t even have to write.

Blogging for content
Blogs may not be the first thing you think of when the term social media is mentioned, but they can play an important part of your overall content strategy. It’s important to remember that a blog is merely a publishing platform that makes it easy to get content onto the Web. A blog’s content does not have to be just opinion or just news. It can be used to easily share just about any type of content with your audience.

How does this help you in your email marketing efforts? For newsletter authors who find they have a lot of content ideas through the month, but come up blank when it comes time to produce the newsletter, writing a regularly updated blog can be of help. As an idea strikes, capture your thoughts in a blog post. When it comes time to put together your email, the blog becomes a well of usable content that can be copied, pasted, and linked to from your newsletter.

Alternatively, your blog can act as an archive for your newsletter content. Paste your articles into your blog platform as a means of saving and linking from your social media networks.

With either use case, a regularly updated blog will help with search engine optimization efforts as it provides fresh content for web crawlers and more potential links to your site.

Get your followers to refer you
Word of mouth mentions of your business is a main tenet of referral marketing. As a customer, when someone you deem trustworthy posts a link to something on a social network, chances are good you will click on that link and maybe even share it with your own network of friends and followers. Having your loyal customers and members serve as evangelists for your business or organization via social networking is the ultimate in referral marketing.

Obviously, putting out good content is key if you want people to forward and share your posts and links with their circle of friends. But sometimes, people need to be told to forward or share your content. Say you own a restaurant that’s offering half-priced appetizers tonight. In your Tweet or Facebook post announcing the special, tell people to spread the word by “Retweeting” (or RT) through Twitter and sharing it on Facebook.

Of course, just like it’s a good idea to keep the “sign up for my email list” pleas to a few posts, it’s also good social network etiquette to keep the “please Retweet/share” requests to a minimum. Following the 80/20 Rule is a good baseline, with 80% of your messaging educational in nature and only 20% a sales pitch.


Email and Social Media: Interact With Customers on Their Terms

With the explosion of social networks, blogs, and other Internet technologies, the number of ways we can meaningfully interact with our customers is growing exponentially. Customers who use social media networks expect the companies they do business with to have a presence and be active in the same networks. And each method — email marketing, social media, blogs, websites, etc. — feeds
the others.

As a devotee of email marketing, you’re already interacting with customers via their inbox. Using the steps outlined in this guide, you can leverage your existing content to interact with customers in social networks and beyond.


sm4Is your blog generating leads yet? If not, then you need to use social media to generate leads. How can you use social media to attract prospects to your business? Assuming you’re offering a quality services or product, a convincing offer, and are talking to the right customer, social media tools make generating leads easy on the pocket and time-efficient.

Twitter as a Lead Generation Tool
Having thousands of followers and a database of millions is only valuable if you can continue to build value into the relationships in order to, at some point, have some financial exchange with that lead (either directly or indirectly). Remember leads are people, not just names. The first strategy is to schedule tweets for times that many people read Twitter, usually on weekdays. You can use tools like Hootsuite to do the actual scheduling. Second, send out a promotional tweet every day, but with an altered text. Different people respond to different call-to-actions. If you want to reach people who don’t follow you, include relevant keywords or hashtags. Experienced Twitter users will search for those terms.

Join LinkedIn Communities to Get Noticed
Social media is organized around common interests. As an individual you can connect with professional contacts on LinkedIn. If you want to influence these online communities for your business, you need to be a valued community member too. The easiest way to become valued is to present some new insight. Update your LinkedIn status frequently. These status updates are shown on your profile and emailed to everyone in your network. To reach new people, post your message in LinkedIn Groups. Ask questions to seek feedback on your content; don’t forget to include a link to the registration page. Link your profile to your website, blog and feed. Incorporate the linked in tool that displays your feed on your profile as well. And if you’re answering other questions, use an autograph that promotes your brand. LinkedIn works two ways for lead generation. It helps you find out what is interesting for your audience and to promote your offers.

Blogging
Regularly updating your blog will interest possible clients. You’ll expand your readership by publishing articles regularly, and by having a common theme in all the posts. Once you have a loyal audience, write a blog post about your new content, with a link to the registration page. This call to action does magic for lead generation. You will get lots of registrations from your blog readers.

Create a Facebook Application to Promote Your Brand
The Facebook market is particularly valuable for those businesses that sell material products. If you run an ecommerce store, you can promote your items for free giving you greater exposure and potentially improving your sales figures and profit levels. By creating a Facebook application you promote your business in several ways. First, other users will be more inclined to add you as a friend if your application is useful. They may also send details of your application to their own network – this style of viral marketing can generate a lot of interest for very little money. Users will remember your name, the name of your service, and they will instinctively know how to find you.

Also, add links to your website and blog on your home page profile under your photo as well as on your information page. Setup the RSS Feed feature to display your feed on your profile. This will auto display on everyone’s news feed!

Social media is an effective way to generate leads for your service-based business. You can build your standing within your industry, connect with potential customers and planned partners and use it to drive traffic to your website.

 

3 Ways Social Media Helps Generate Leads

By Building your Reputation
Participating in social media – through online networking, blogging and rich media – can help you build your reputation within your industry. Building your reputation online has three great benefits – your credibility goes up, people perceive your business to be successful and a level of trust is established.

By Building Relationships
Social networking online allows you to build solid relationships that can result in lead generation for your business. Talking to people in complimentary industries, helping them with client enquiries can help you build a strategic partnership. Building relationships with individuals and proving them with information they need could return media opportunities to promote your business.

Must Do’s to Attract Visitors
There’s a variety of ways to use social networking to attract visitors to your website.

Use social networks to distribute your content by posting a link to your Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube or your blog profile and adding content distribution buttons to your web page (e.g. Tweetmeme, Digg and RSS). The first step here is to create content worth distributing – if it’s not good, no one will want to pass it on to their network.

Create a landing page for your social media profiles. People will click on your website link in your profile to find out more information about you. Make the most of their interest with a dedicated landing page that explains what you do how you can help that person and provide a call to action detailing what they should do next.


blog3Blogging is a regularly updating advertisement for your online business which provides your readers detailed information about your product updates, company information and recent happenings in your company. Updating your blog frequently means letting your readers and potential customers know that you are always trying to improve, be it improving your product quality or service and thereby reassuring their faith in your company’s products. Blogging is also known for its effective quality of generating quality traffic for your business and establishing your points of presence in your field of business.

Why Blogging in 21st Century Businesses is Important

Builds a Network
This is a fact that businesses cannot be promoted with a sole thought. And when it comes to online business, sharing views and news is absolutely important. Thus, blogging plays an important role to promote your business in this dynamic world. Today more than ever, we can see that even a small business firm in the most remote city in the US, can sell their products globally and this is possible because the majority of the population now prefer the Internet as their primary shopping medium.

Blogging helps promote your business and share your thoughts, which in turn, helps you to be in the same frequency as your customers. You can better understand your customer’s needs and change your business processes accordingly to meet their needs.

Economically Sound
Blogging not only helps you to promote your business but it also saves your advertising money. Blogging itself is an advertising tool that costs you very less to maintain but helps your business to get immense PR, which cannot be achieved even by paying for an expensive ad agency.

Furthermore, linking your blog is another impressive way to endorse your business because in this way you not only earn valuable traffic to your blog but also your site becomes a target for qualified customers. Frequently updating your blog content and revitalizing your blog posts will definitely help to increase your page rank because search engines love fresh content and indexes them on a regular basis.

Brings Business to You
Blogging shows your importance and experience at your field. Thus, blogging has also been an effective way of generating business opportunities. Blogging helps you to grow your network online which is very important to promote your business and for making quality link exchange.

Blogging is an essential part of web businesses and is becoming an essential tool to promoting your business in the 21st century.

Hidden Tools for Fame and Fortune
Including tags to your site is an essential tool. Though adding tags may consume a few minutes; its results are worthwhile. Tags are easily noticed by search engines. They also help your readers to identify your blog when they search the popular blogs. This helps you to earn fame and recognition among your readers which is necessary because it shows your importance and experience as a good blogger.

Furthermore, submitting your site to bookmarking sites like: Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit helps you to generate more traffic. It’s better to include your best posts to these bookmarking sites because it creates a good reputation of your blog among the readers.

Company Networking
Many companies are blogging to promote their business and also encouraging employees to do the same. You want your employee’s blogging to share experience and perspective of your company and your products. With an average of 3 million blog entries written each day, it's evident that blogging will be a viable tool in online networking.

A Recruiting tool
The business blog is a recruiting tool for your company. Potential employees can learn about your culture, your policies, your way of interacting with the world, and the process you use for hiring employees. Business blogging is a powerful tool for engaging the people who might want to potentially work for you. Thus, blogging contributes a lot to your business success from every point of view.


blog4Are you looking for an effective way of enhancing your online business? Would you like to get more customers for your online services and products? You can definitely do so by making use of blog marketing. This consists of nothing more than putting up relevant content, about the services/ products that you offer on your website, so as to market your online business!

Blogs are an effectual means of building a trustworthy relationship with your customers. A well maintained and regularly updated blog is key to owning a successful and highly traveled website. However, you need to ensure that your customers are aware of the blog too. Blog marketing tactics are what you need!

Selecting a topic: Your first step towards blogging is to choose an appropriate topic that best suits you and one in which you are highly knowledgeable about. You should be able to write about the topic or hire someone who can translate your notes into a blog. Posting a couple times a week is a good means to ensure visitors. If you have a news-related blog, you would benefit by posting 2-3 times daily. You could split your blog into interesting sections or tags. For example, the Studio1c blog has articles tagged at the bottom of each article so you can simply click the keyword you want more information on and it takes you to a list of articles using those keywords.

Choose the right keywords: Ensure that you select the right set of keywords in your blog posts, which will keep your customers coming back for more. For this, you can make use of various keyword research tools. Select keywords that could have more than 1,000 searches and less than 100,000 results.

Bringing the required traffic to your site: Once you get a good deal of traffic to your website, you have a successful blog! There are various tips on how to direct traffic to your site, which could help you considerably in this section. Some of them are:

Content is KING: Make sure the content you have in your blog is attractive enough to be able to pull quality traffic to your site. You could do this by providing interesting content and facts, which your clients will appreciate and gain sufficient knowledge from.

Blog comments for blog success: When you happen to comment on any blog, always make sure to leave a link back to your blog. This will help people know where you come from and what exactly your viewpoints are on various topics that suit your interest. Don’t forget to reply to comments on your blog or even other blogs you’ve commented at. You could also try to increase the comments on your blog through various techniques.

Participating in online forums: Try to take part in online forum discussions. When you manage to post your opinions, make it a point to put your blog URL in the signature. With informative forum posts, you will be able to gain the trust and respect from the blogging community and forum posters.

It helps to monitor inbound links, traffic, comments and any citations of your blog. Try to reach out to fellow bloggers by building your online networks through services, such as, Twitter and Facebook.

If you are using WordPress, try to include SEO Plugins, which guarantee you increased visibility online.

All of the above listed steps will help you attain maximum success in the field on blog marketing. Share your blog marketing tips, here!


Why Email Marketing is Surpassing Direct Mail
Email marketing is one of the most powerful and effective marketing tools available to businesses today. Even small businesses are tapping into this incredible resource. If you aren't yet using email marketing, here are some compelling reasons to consider adding it to your marketing mix.

"74% of organizations are using email marketing campaigns as a fundamental part of their marketing programs, because it is seen as a crucial marketing tool for organizations of all sizes."

Is this what your competition is planning to do, if they aren't already?

It's Effective
Email marketing works for a variety of reasons...

  • It allows targeting
  • It is data driven - educate and inform your customers
  • It allows for more frequent customer contact, which translates into higher revenues.
  • It builds relationships, loyalty and trust and name recognition
  • It supports sales through other channels - pushing clients to your website and pulling information from them
  • It's immediate and can generate quick results
  • With a "Forward Email" link you could increase your customer base two-fold

It's Affordable
Compared to printed marketing, email marketing is significantly a higher return on investment. Unlike direct mail, email marketing requires virtually no production or postage costs. You only pay when you send out campaigns. Unlike other email marketing programs, they lock you into a 6 or 12 month contract and you pay regardless of whether or not you use it.

It's Measurable
Unlike most marketing options, email marketing is measurable. You can easily track who opens your emails and what links they click on (i.e. Learn what interests them most!) You actually know who is looking at your messages!

A good email marketing campaign can help you:

  • Increase your sales conversion
  • Generate repeat sales
  • Up-sell and cross-sell products and services
  • Gain valuable feedback from your visitors
  • Drive web users to make offline purchases

It's Easy
You can create professional-looking campaigns with no design or expertise, or have me take care of the design, writing and great ideas for marketing!

Sign up for eMail Marketing for FREE for 60 days, and we'll put a FREE "Subscribe" form on your website to start gathering your visitors email addresses!


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