4 Social Media Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to social media, most small business owners are self-taught. You have learned how to use Facebook and Twitter with a personal account. Thus, you think it will be a breeze running a business account. The experience is useful, but there are some rules of social media that you must abide by.

When using social media, you have to ensure that you remain professional at all times. Here are some of the main mistakes that could harm your business on social media.

1. Choosing The Wrong Trends

When dealing with social media, you find yourself wanting to jump onto a trending topic to raise awareness about your brand. However, this may backfire on you. It may end up seeming as if your business is insensitive to the plight of others. In general, never jump on to a trend that is about any tragedy. Always ensure you know why the topic is trending and if it may affect the standing of your business.

2. Posting Too Much

When using social media, you do not want to irritate your followers by posting too much. Look at the engagement statistics to establish how many times you should post in a day. When using Facebook, about three to five posts a week is good. On Twitter, just a few tweets a day should do it.

3. Not Being Responsive

The whole reason we have social media is that you can engage your audience. If you do not interact with your audience, there is no point in posting anything. Even when the customer is complaining, reaching out to them on social media could help to lessen their frustration.

4. Hard Selling On Social Media

It is okay to mention a new product or an upcoming event on social media. However, that should not be the only thing appearing on your account. In most cases, 80 percent of your content on social media should be helpful to the customers. The other 20 percent can be promoting any events or products that are on your site. If your social media strategy is hard selling, you will fail.

As easy as social media may seem, it is even easier to screw up. Luckily, all of these mistakes are easy to avoid, and with a little work, you can be a social media pro.

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Why Print Must Be a Part of Your Content Marketing Strategy

Once upon a time, print marketing was the only game in town. Flyers, banners, posters, business cards, and ads in newspapers were essentially your sole options for getting the word out about your business.

Then the Internet happened.

And with the advent of company websites, email lists, and social media, everything changed. In the last few decades, marketing has switched almost entirely to a digital platform.

So does this mean that print media is a thing of the past? Not even close. In fact, there are many reasons for why it is important to incorporate print advertising into your content marketing strategy.

1. It hangs around.

Emails can be archived and never seen again with just one click. Top-of-the-page banners and side-of-the-screen ads are instinctively ignored. But a brightly-colored brochure with engaging pictures or a fun and unique business card is something you might not immediately throw in the recycling.

To the contrary, you might put it on the fridge or keep the business card in your wallet. In other words, print media hands around, and that’s what you want a good marketing strategy to do.

2. It’s already “printed.”

Much of marketing involves coupons and discount codes that must be printed to be redeemed. This is a pain for a lot of people, which is why most skip this step and never engage in that type of marketing.

On the other hand, coupons and discount codes that have already been printed and mailed or handed out are much more likely to be used. Furthermore, even though some coupons can be redeemed by showing a barcode on your phone, most people find even this cumbersome. Taking a coupon out of your purse, though? That’s easy.

3. People trust it.

Finally, remember that most people today remember the old ways of marketing. They remember looking for jobs in the newspaper and clipping coupons from magazines. They remember handing out business cards at mixers. This makes these marketing strategies trusted. People have confidence in print marketing because they remember using it to great effect once upon a time.

Digital marketing still offers numerous advantages that print marketing will never rival. But what we should recognize is that current and potential clients and customers will often respond positively to print media tactics in ways that they wouldn’t if you just shot them a mass email every week. Try implementing print media into your marketing strategy and see what it can do for you.

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3 Basic Print Layout Mistakes to Avoid

When creating your print design, there are some common mistakes which you should avoid at all costs. These errors will make your printout look messy and unpresentable and, as a result, you can lose clients. Below are the easily overlooked aspects when setting a print layout.

1. Failure to add Bleed

You will notice that at times the document layout will extend to the edges of your design. In this instance, it is important to use “bleed,” which will extend your colors past the edges of your document. After printing the design, you can trim off this extension, ensuring that there is no white edge on the finished product.

2. Using a Low Resolution

A file may look fine while on your screen, but upon printing, it will appear blurry. This can happen if the file is not set at the right resolution, or if you have imported a pixelated image. The quality of your printout will be determined by the dots per inch (dpi) and the resolution. An image with 300dpi will be of much better quality compared to the one with 72dpi, which is why 300dpi is recommended.

3. Setting Incorrect Size

Before sending the design for printing, you should confirm that it matches your desired size. You should also ensure that the design is positioned correctly and has the right proportions. If you intend to have a have a 25 x 25mm sticker, you should set the layout at 31 x 31mm so as to include the bleed area. After setting your document correctly, you should send it to the printer without making further changes. There are many pre-set templates which can be downloaded online including PDF versions with step-to-step guides on how to set your design’s proportions correctly.

Evidently, there are many mistakes which can lead to a low-quality design, but they are typically easily avoidable. If you avoid these mistakes, your printout will no doubt be presentable and attractive ensuring that your clients stick around.

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5 Design Tools for the Non-Graphic Designer

Creating quality content is one of the ways of ensuring that you attract the intended online audience. With the advent of social media, great imagery is playing an increasingly significant role in the world of content creation. While relevant text content is important, images can help to entice your audience to click and read what you have created. If you do not have the knowledge and experience required to come up with quality images, there are several design tools that you can use.

Canva

Canva is one of the most popular design tools for non-graphic designers. The tool not only lets you make your own visuals but also comes with tutorials and teaching materials to help you develop and improve your skillset. Although Canva is not free, it has pre-made design layouts, pre-sized templates, and allows you to save your designs as well as to use the templates you have created at a later date.

Fivver

In case you have budgetary constraints, using Fivver will offer you the advantages you need to communicate using quality images. The tool lets you make custom logos within a very short period of time. With this graphic design tool, you will also be in a position to market the various products and services that you offer at an affordable fee.

99Designs

One of the advantages that place this particular tool ahead of its competitors is that it features crowd-sourced design services. You can create a contest for the specific project you have at a given time. This could be your business logo, a cover image for your social media account or website imagery. From such a contest, there is a chance that you will have many experienced designers competing for your project. This gives you an extraordinary chance to tap into some of the best talents in the industry.

Pixlr

This is a simpler and easy to use equivalent to Photoshop. The tool allows users to edit photos and create graphics. You will be able to choose your fonts, customize the size of your images and access it both on your desktop and mobile device.

PowerPoint

Although PowerPoint does not have as many features as those of the previous tools listed, it can also be used to make images. And since most people are familiar with the application, they can easily create the quality images that they need to make their content more attractive.

Having good quality images is a hugely important piece when it comes to creating your content, and just because you don’t have a degree in graphic design doesn’t mean you can get away with poor visuals.

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What Are Sticky Customers and Why Are They Great For Your Business?

It is one thing to have a customer, but it is quite another to have a return customer.  With the onset of e-commerce and online shops, the idea of “sticky” customers has taken hold of sales and marketing tactics.  A sticky customer is one that keeps returning time and time again to your store or website.  So why is a sticky customer important?  Because in the volatile world of e-commerce and sales a regular customer can always be one step away from clicking to another website to complete his or her purchase.

To build sticky customers, you need to have information, advertising, and features that keep customers coming back each time.  Because on the web there is no face to face interaction a customer’s experience is what drives and builds the relationship.  Having buyers that remember your store, are engaged with your content, and are committed to seeking out additional products are people that will keep coming back.  Repeat business not only leads to more sales but can turn into referrals and bigger sales as time progresses.

Research shows that a customer is most “sticky” when he or she first begins the sale process.  It is during this early period that you really have the chance to make or break your business.  During this initial period, also known as the honeymoon phase, you have all the opportunity to make a lasting impression.  Some people refer to this time as an onboarding period.  It is important to remember that during the onboarding period you must remain with you customer beyond the point of sale.  This means that you must stay in contact with the buyer for any questions he or she may have or for any potential follow up after making the final sale.  It is here that you have the opportunity to build a lasting relationship with your customers.  If you make a good first impression during this initial onboarding, you will be more likely to create sticky customers down the road.

Having sticky customers can do wonders for your business.  By gaining repeat customers you are not only able to see your sales increase with each consecutive sale, but you will also enjoy the benefits of referrals from your customers’ good experiences.

 

Sources:

http://www.dmnews.com/digital-marketing/five-ways-to-build-sticky-customer-relationships/article/62586/

http://researchaccess.com/2015/08/are-your-customer-relationships-sticky/

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Why You Should Be Repurposing Your Content

The art of creating and writing new and interesting content is not easy. In many cases, you desire to come up with unique work. But there reaches a certain point when your once unique but still relevant content does not have any traffic, and the situation requires you to reuse it. Just think of that particularly excellent piece of content which was once very popular, but has now become forgotten. By changing the format or target audience, you can revitalize this old piece into something new and, once again, shareable.

Importance of Repurposing

As creating whole new content can take up much valued time, repurposing some oldie but goodie is an excellent way to save energy that could be focused on an entirely different task. Changing your past content by adding new features such as visuals and video is a simple, but effective, way of revitalizing this old work and will take you much less time than coming up with entirely new ideas.

You can also change your content into an entirely new format if you have a bit more time to spare. What was once a blog can soon be an infographic and what was first an infographic can just as easily turn into an informative video. This easily solves the problems you may find when you find yourself running low on ideas. Take an old topic and do something entirely new with it!

As everyone needs a little reminder every once in a while, repurposing your content helps in reinforcing an old message. If you wrote a piece on a topic two years ago and are looking to reuse it now, this will service as a great reminder that this information is out there at your customer’s disposal.

Despite what some may think, repurposing and reusing past content does not necessarily mean that it will end up in being seen by only the same people as before. By changing just a few key things, you can ensure that not only are people reminded of the content and information, but you have the potential to reach an entirely new audience.

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Social Media, Direct Mail, and Email Marketing – They All Go Together

Your marketing plan shouldn’t consist of a bunch of unrelated campaigns that work at cross-purposes. Your campaigns should all cooperate to form a cohesive marketing funnel. You may think social media, direct mail, and email marketing all exist in different universes. However, they all go together, and here’s how.

Social Media Can Raise Awareness and Increase Engagement

Social media can offer your brand tremendous opportunities in the world of digital marketing. Even better, you can make use of social media with any budget. You can even start using social media marketing for free.

Social media also gives your brand a humanizing element. It is all about interaction from person to person. Because of that, your brand will represent another “person” online.

It allows you to engage and interact with people on a more personal level. This will increase awareness of your brand or marketing message, and can even gain you a local following. Many conversions come from simple social media activity.

Email Marketing is Extremely Versatile

It is true that social media has grown over the years, but just about everybody has an email address. The reach added to the highly mobile accessibility of email makes it ideal for marketing.

  • Capture leads with email, and use email to retain them as well
  • Send out newsletters and other content to those who opt in to receive them
  • Personalize emails and gather analytics from your email campaigns

Email marketing has existed for a while and will continue to represent a good way to market your brand far into the future.

How Does Direct Mail Fit In with Digital Marketing?

Some people believe digital marketing efforts can replace direct mail. The truth is, they all can and should work together.

For example, your social media efforts can give you a clearer picture of your main demographic group. This can help you to design your printed materials to speak more to that demographic. Social media can also help you pinpoint the places where your most ardent supporters come from, allowing you to geo-target your direct mail campaigns effectively.

You can tie your email campaign more directly to your direct mail efforts as the two can mirror and complement each other. One can raise awareness of the other, all the while giving a consistent message across both platforms.

All those metrics you take from your social media campaigns can also go directly into tailoring your email campaigns. The point is, they can all work together. Both your digital and print campaigns can transform one another until they’re all working for you at peak efficiency.

 

Sources:

http://www.radicati.com/​wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Email-Statistics-Report-2017-2021-Executive-Summary.pdf

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What is Inbound Marketing and How Can You Benefit From It?

To help define inbound marketing, let’s first start with the opposite, which is outbound marketing. Think of outbound marketing as the traditional type of marketing where your products and services are getting pushed on potential customers. Some examples of this include direct mail, television commercials, e-mail marketing campaigns, and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. All of these methods are means to go out and find your customers. Inbound marketing, on the other hand, involves helping your customers find you.

Inbound Marketing Explained

If inbound marketing is all about helping your customers find you, one question you might be asking yourself is, “How is that even possible?” While it might not seem as easy as outbound marketing, inbound marketing is one of the most powerful marketing methods for doing business online. So while it may not be a simple thing to do, it is certainly worth your time and energy when done right.

The steps for inbound marketing might look something like this:

  1. Attract strangers to your website by using a blog, keywords, and quality content
  2. Convert your visitors to leads with a call to action (CTA) or by having them fill out a form
  3. Turn your leads into regular customers with customer relationship management (CRM) practices and contacting them through e-mail
  4. Let your customers promote your website with smart content and sharing on social media

One of the best ways to help your customers find you is to pull them in a direction that they are naturally willing to go. This involves catering to your potential customer’s interests and instead of being interruptive, which is what outbound marketing does, you ask for their permission.

How You Can Benefit From Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is considered a friendlier way to do business. Besides that, you are doing most, if not all, of your marketing online, which means there are an infinite amount of potential customers out there.

When it comes to inbound marketing, here are some ways it can benefit you and your business:

  • Even if your brand is small, it can gain worldwide visibility
  • It is a cost-effective way of marketing
  • With 8 in 10 Americans shopping online, it’s an excellent way to get immediate sales

When done correctly, inbound marketing is a great way to establish your brand and find your long-term customers.

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How to Stand Out in the Crowd on Social Media

Oh, the never-ending dilemma that is social media. Now, don’t get me wrong. It can be an excellent platform when used in the proper context. However, like a “stand” up comic, who has to engage the crowd to get them to laugh, social media marketers need to “stand” out in the scene online.

Therein lies the challenge.

When you have a passion for a product or service, offer personal testimony, this is helpful. However, if you can post a brief video demonstration that showcases your actual use and application of the product, that tells a whole other tale. Now you have a credibility factor and become more believable to buyers. We always hear about the need to create and post engaging content, and that is accurate. But, to create content that catches the reader’s attention, you may need to switch things up.

For instance, as opposed to just writing an informative piece, hit the insert button and add a: Frequently Asked Questions section. You may even create a “Contributor’s Corner” platform. In this manner, readers, your followers, will feel that:

  1. They have a voice, and you value their feedback.
  2. It creates a budding relationship and establishes a trust factor.

When that occurs, trust can translate into dollars, if you have a service or product to offer. If you are merely focusing on increasing your presence, trust is still critical. When followers believe you, two things happen: They will advocate for you on social media, and they will direct others to your page as a source which provides reliable and sound advice.

Another means to make your social media presence known is to upload photos of yourself; include outside interests, so to become relatable to your readers. It shows that you are accessible and very much in touch with the current culture.

Remember, this is not designed to overwhelm you, but put you over the top, in a sea of seekers online.

Here are some other things to consider:

  • Address people of various ages and stages, even if it is foreign to you. In doing so, the element of sensitivity comes into play. With millennials, Snapchat and Instagram are essential. It doesn’t have to be controversial, just conversational.
  • Invite readers to sound off on current events.

Hopefully, this helps.

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How to Incorporate Storytelling into Your Content

Everyone loves a good story, right? And with content marketing gaining prominence, it is important that your work stands out. This goal can be achieved by including storytelling within your pieces. There are several ways to include storytelling in your content. One way is to tell a story that gives your audience a reason to engage with you regularly. Have a good narrative, one that includes multiple parts fed out at changing times. This gives your audience a reason to keep coming back; they are interested in the next piece of the saga.

Another way to incorporate storytelling into your content is to tell tales showing how your brand relates to your audience. The stories, even though they are fiction, can help provide another perspective on your brand. They can give more of a backstory around the feelings and culture of the company, conveyed in a thoughtful, entertaining way.

You can also tell a story about a topic to make it easier to understand. Sometimes, a complex problem is more easily explained via a narrative. If you can remember Schoolhouse Rock, you know what I mean.

But, why do this? Stories are not only memorable but also shareable. People can tell others about them. What better way to show how word-of-mouth advertising can work. A person reads a good story on your site, tells his friend about it. That friend goes to your site and reads that same good story. She then tells another friend of hers and so on and so on. Think of the potential power in that.

By telling a good story, you show your audience that you are not just trying to sell them something, that you are trying to connect with them at some deeper level. Give them a reason to like you, maybe just a bit more than a competitor.

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