Effective Email Marketing in 5 Easy Steps

Effective Email Marketing in 5 Easy Steps

Email Is Still One Of The Best Ways

To keep in touch with both your customer base and people who are interested in your business but who may not be customers yet. We’ve all received countless business newsletters, some good, some terrible and many that don’t get read at all.

 

So how do you make sure that the email updates you send from your business fall into the “great” category?

 

  1. Create Compelling Content

The first thing you need in order to conduct a successful email campaign is some fabulously written copy. Regardless of your subject matter, there are four elements that you need to nail.

  • A Compelling Subject Line: This is what entices your readers to open the email. You have one short line to get your point across and convince someone that your message is worth reading. Think of how many emails land in your inbox every day, and how many of those you open. What is it that makes you click?Create Compelling Content

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    One Central Idea: People are busy, so don’t confuse them or waste their time with multiple or scattered thoughts. Make sure that after reading you email, there will be no doubt in anyone’s mind as to what you were talking about.

  • A Clear Call to action: Why are you sending this email? No matter how compelling your subject line, and how concise your point it, if you’re not asking people to do anything after reading your message, there is virtually no point in sending the mail. Do you want people to watch a video? Click through to your website? Reply with a comment? Whatever action you want them to take, make sure you ask them to do it in a way that leaves no confusion.
  • Relevant to Your Audience: This should go without saying. If people have signed up to your mailing list to hear news and updates about your business, don’t send them photos of your Cat (unless your business is cat related…) Keep your newsletters on topics around what your audience expect to hear about from you – otherwise you will not hold their attention for very long.
  1. Make It Look Professional

If you’re sending out a newsletter, or a group marketing email then you must make sure that your email looks professional rather than spammy. There is no excuse to just write the email in your regular mail format and copy and paste everyone’s email addresses into the BCC line, or even worse, the CC line.

 

There are plenty of mail programs out there that allow you to make smart email newsletters, or to prepare any other kind of group mailing and these are often easy to use and relatively inexpensive. If you’re not sure where to start take a look at Mailchimp, iContact or Aweber.

 

  1. Ensure Compatibility

    Compatible across all Devices

 

Don’t assume that just because when you check the newsletter on your own browser that it will look exactly the same and perfect to all other readers – it’s often not the case. There are so many options for people when it comes to different web browsers, and the different email packages that your list are using themselves may also format your email differently. There’s also more chance that people will read your email from their smart phone than from their desktop, so make sure your message is mobile optimised.

 

It’s also wise to give people the option to view the email in either HTML or Text format. Finally do your best to ensure that your email won’t end up in their spam filter by running it through a spam analysis checker.

 

  1. Know Your Audience

If you want to stay on the good side of your audience then adopt a policy of “one size does not fit all” when it comes to your email updates. This might mean you have to keep several different email lists and send slightly different messages to each one. For example, you might want to send a certain offer to customers who are on you database to thank them for their loyalty, or to let them know of a new service you’re offering before the general public see it. Alternatively, you might want to have a different welcome offer for prospective customers who have signed up through your website.

 

  1. Track and Analyse

Being able to track and subsequently analyse everything that you send out means that you can get a great understanding of what works and what doesn’t. Every time you send something out, compare it to your previous message. You’ll be able to build up a picture of what headlines work the best to get people to open your mail, what topics people respond best to and more. Good analytics can tell you which links in your emails are getting the most attention, and which ones you may need to tweak in order to get them to work for you. You should also pay attention to the number of emails that bounce, and if necessary remove them from your list.

What is your most effective tip when it comes to Email Marketing?

It’s Time To Re-Think Video Marketing

It’s Time To Re-Think Video MarketingVideo Marketing

We’ve spent a lot of time recently talking about online videos and how great they are. The truth is though, that unless you are using video correctly it will add no value whatsoever to your business.

With all the talk of how valuable videos are, many businesses seem keen to jump on the bandwagon and add video to their website without giving a second thought to what the point of it is. It seems that some businesses only want to add videos because everyone else is doing it, or because they seen a competitor do it and it looks good, or because they’ve told that having a video on their website will attract countless new customers.

In reality, just making a video and posting it to your website will do you no favours whatsoever.

In order to get real value and a return on your video investment you need to remember that the video itself is not a whole strategy, it’s just a tool used to make a bigger marketing machine.

Having said that, video marketing shouldn’t be seen as an overcomplicated expense, particularly for small or local businesses. The reason I mention small and local businesses is that often those types of businesses have limited resources and cash flow, meaning time and budget become an even higher priority. Small businesses perhaps don’t have the resources in house to manage and produce videos so concentrate their efforts on other areas.

This is a real shame. There are lots of ways to introduce video to your marketing mix without blowing the budget, or without having to appear on camera yourself.

Video is easier for people to assimilate than text, meaning it’s a fantastic way to get your points across. A good marketing video can even solve your customers’ problems, sometimes problems that they didn’t even know they have!  As with any strategy, you must understand your ideal demographic, but the real trick is not to alienate people outside of that. Video can allow for more flexibility and creativity than text or images alone so can be a great way to achieve this.

The most important thing to think about before committing to any video is to be clear on what the objective is that you want to achieve and to track your results.

With a clear objective and an eye on the numbers, video can, and should be, one of the best ways to increase awareness of your brand. It’s highly shareable, can be watched again and again and can be used across email and social media as well as your website. When done correctly, Video can help you to grow your email list, help you stick in people’s memory and attract additional customers to your business.

Surely every business owner would like to achieve these goals? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…

 

 

Why You Should Use Education Marketing For Lead Generation.

Education Marketing

Why you should use Education Marketing for Lead Generation.

Almost everyone who uses the internet is using it to look for information. Whether they’re researching a holiday destination, looking at cars or getting ideas for a project, the vast majority of browsers are browsing for information. That’s what education marketing is, delivering information that your customers are looking for.

Whilst many of these browsers aren’t planning on buying anything straight away, the chances are that they’ll remember the sites they’ve visited and what they’ve seen there so that when the time comes to make a buying decision they will go back to that same trusted source where they got the best information from.

Whilst every business and every purchase is different, the idea of providing information or education to generate leads can be applied to pretty much any niche. By offering information for people to read on your website you’re taking the first steps to building a relationship with that person, they are getting to know about your expertise, your personality, and whether or not they want to trust you with their money.

Millions of Bloggers and website owners cottoned on to this a long time ago; by writing engaging content that keeps people coming back to their websites week after week they’ve been able to make a living from simply providing information for other people online. People go back to the same sites time and again if they like what they see there.

When people come back time and again it’s because they feel they are getting a benefit from the content on that site. They will see that website as an authority on its topic; they will start to rely on that information, or will look forward to new updates.

This method of marketing is not for those needing a quick win. It’s likely that ninety-eight percent of people who visit your website aren’t going to buy anything. It’s also highly likely that the vast majority who visit you website will never come back; it might be that the information they found there wasn’t exactly what they were looking for or that what you sell doesn’t suit them.  

What matters is to keep in mind the type of customer you want to attract and write as though you are talking to them. Keep producing information that sets you apart from your competitors, even if it is something as simple as giving your opinion on industry news, or reviewing new products. As long as you keep reaching out, your targeted audience will find you and keep coming back.

The good news is that once you are known to someone as an expert then you will be the first one that they turn to when they are in a position to buy, or use your service. In fact, 61% of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content and are also more likely to buy from that company (Custom Content Council).

The trick to keeping people coming back is not to sell. The idea behind Education Marketing is to educate. Instead of posting new offers every week, think about Case Studies, How To Guides, White Papers or special reports. If your information is compelling enough, people will gladly sign up to receive further updates from you and you can start to build up a subscriber list of names and email addresses. And these subscribers are the ones who you can think about selling to directly.

Although this is not a quick win, there really is nothing to lose, after all, by providing information and education online you are building trust, loyalty and credibility with your readers which in the long run  will help you to add further value to relationships which will translate to increased customer retention and higher revenues.

5 Ways To Add Social Proof To Your Website

5 Ways To Add Social Proof To Your Website

5 Ways To Add Social Proof To Your Website

Social ProofThe term Social Proof seems to be popping up more and more in relation to brands and marketing, although the concept itself is far from new. For those of you who haven’t come across it, Social Proof is the positive influence created when someone finds out that others are doing something.

According to Wikipedia, “Social proof is a type of conformity. When a person is in a situation where they are unsure of the correct way to behave, they will often look to others for cues concerning the correct behaviour. When “we conform because we believe that other’s interpretation of an ambiguous situation is more accurate than ours and will help us choose an appropriate course of action,” it is informational social influence.”

So how does this relate to your business? Put simply, people want to see that others have worked with you, or bought from you, or would recommend you. They want to know that they are not a guinea pig for your services, and if they can see that other people have been there and done that, it makes it an easier decision for them to go ahead and do it too.

Leveraging Social Proof on your website is a great way to help you influence buyers, improve your conversion rates and enhance your reputation at the same time. There are plenty of ways you can achieve this, here are my top 5.

  1. Reviews

Product reviews are something we’re all really familiar with. They’ve become part and parcel of the way we buy. Think about some of the biggest sites on the internet: Amazon, Trip Advisor, eBay; they are all well known for promoting products via other peoples’ reviews. Whether you’re buying a holiday, a car or a blender the chances are you will look that product up online and see what has been said about it.

If your business sells products, then you need to make sure there are some reviews of those products for your other customers to read

  1. Testimonials

A testimonial from someone can have incredible power over other potential buyers. They show that you can be trusted and that you are approachable because other people who are independent of your business are telling them to choose you. Video testimonials can be particularly persuasive as the person watching the video can get a real sense of how genuine your business is. Well placed, well worded testimonials on your website can leave a lasting impression over and above any other words you’ve written.

  1. Case Studies

Case studies take testimonials to a whole other level, offering a more in depth look at a particular relationship. Buyers, especially those considering a more expensive purchase, or those thinking about embarking on a longer term working relationship with you want to be able to envision the entire process from start to finish. Case studies that take people on a journey of what to expect, perhaps even including a few bumps in the road, can prove to potential partners that you are in it for the long haul. By showing that you have established good long term relationships with existing customers from a similar background to your prospect’s  you are enabling those prospects to picture themselves working with you too.

  1. Endorsements

In certain situations finding someone to endorse your brand can work wonders for attracting new customers by positively impacting your brand. A local Celebrity, business leader or other well known figure who is happy to lend their name and a few comments to your website or marketing collateral can mean that they also bring their fans and followers to your brand too. By having a big name associated with your business you will be seen as a leader, which is the kind of powerful social proof that many brands aspire to. If an endorsement sounds like something you’d like to do, think carefully about who your ideal customer is and choose a figurehead that represents both you and them. An endorsement from an inappropriate name will only confuse your customers and may even turn some people off.

  1. User Generated Content

User generated content is any content that is posted by your customers. It might be your Dental patients posting pictures of their new smile to Facebook, or someone mentioning your Estate agency in a picture of them getting their new house keys. User generated content, particularly image and video is fantastic as it shows real interaction with your brand. One way to encourage this is to ask people make a short video and post it to YouTube, or to ask people who visit to check in on Facebook. If you run any kind of event then make sure to let people know that you have a hashtag for it.

It’s not always easy to get people to interact with your business, but if you persevere you’ll find that the more people who join in, then the easier it will get. Few people want to be seen as the only one liking something, or to be the only one with their name on your website. Flip that around, and if you have photographs of 20 happy customers who have all left great reviews of you online, then more people will want to join in with that.

Social Proof is all about people and relationships, and if you invest in your customers with a great service then they will be happy to share your business with their friends and family. Every single person you interact with has the potential to tell others. What will they say about you?

Your Reputation Is and Always Has Been Your Biggest Competitive Advantage

Your Reputation Is and Always Has Been Your Biggest Competitive Advantage

Your Reputation Is and Always Has Been Your Biggest Competitive Advantage

Business ReputationReputation has always been important to any business. For many businesses, word of mouth and referrals from customers has been a big part of their growth strategy. Even companies with teams of salespeople and generous marketing budgets rely on their brand name and reputation to help seal their deals.

In the last few years thanks to the growth of the Internet and social media we’ve seen huge changes to how people interact with brands, and businesses that have struggled to adapt to the change of pace have seen their online reputation out of sync with their real world persona.

Businesses of every type who don’t take care of their online reputation are missing out on customers. This may sound like a bold statement, but it’s true.

Think about when you last wanted to buy something, or the last time you were looking for cinema listings or a restaurant. What about the last time you needed some information? The chances are you Googled it. Every time we need inspiration and turn to the internet what we’re really looking for is articles, videos, reviews or blogs to show us the answer, or let us know that what we’re interested in is approved or enjoyed by others too. Or the opposite!

The point is, that what we’re searching for is actually the human connection, because people want to connect with other people. We go online to share information and ideas, to find out on social media what our friends have been doing and to see what is liked, what is popular and what is newsworthy. We are connecting with other people, and brands that we like and are interested in.

This is where business reputation becomes even more important because increasingly, the businesses we are most likely to spend our money with are the ones we have the biggest emotional connection to.
When people are looking for opinions and recommendations whether it is for a Dentist, Lawyer or Cake Shop, the online opinion will be formed by the online content that is shared by your brand well before they get to the point of considering speaking to you in person.

And no matter what kind of business you have, increasingly, we’re using online content and social connections to help us with our buying decisions. Think about the three most used websites right now – Google, Facebook and YouTube. All of these sites are about Content and Connections. So if you want your business to stand out from the crowd you should make sure that you stand out where it matters online. One of the most obvious features that can set you apart from your competitors is Online Reviews.

If your business has had a great offline presence but has never focussed on its online presence, all it takes is one person to undo years of hard work by leaving a bad review and sharing it on social media. A bad review is someone telling the world that you don’t care about your customers and in a world where social connections are the new word of mouth, caring about what people say about you is your Strongest Competitive Advantage.

Please get in touch to find out how we can help you with bad reviews online

Boost Your Business Profile By Starting A Blog

Boost your Business Profile by Starting a Blog

starting a blogIf getting in front of new customers is a priority for any business, getting in front of the biggest number of potential clients possible right now, for the least cost, is usually the main goal. For many small businesses with limited resources advertising is simply not an option. The best way to put yourself and your business in a place where a huge potential audience can find you is by putting yourself online.

One of the great advantages a blog gives you as a small business owner is that it stands as a reference to your skills and knowledge. By regularly blogging about information, tips and services you are telling the world that you know your subject matter and can add value to your existing products and services by providing your readers with an additional resource of information.

By regularly updating your blog you will raise your own profile as the more that brands and industry insiders see your work, the more they will start to see you as an expert in the field.  Once you are seen as someone who’s knowledgeable and willing to speak up or share information, you will find that more people in turn want to speak to you about what you do, ask your opinion on products or come to you for advice. All of these opportunities can then be turned into the start of a business winning conversation.

Blogs are also exactly the right kind of information that search engines like to see. The search engine spiders that crawl the internet looking for answers to millions of search queries love to see sites that are regularly updated. An updated site shows that you are active, and implies that the information is fresh and relevant.

Producing your own new content also gives you more content to share on social media sites such as Google plus, Facebook and Twitter. By posting your content out on multiple sites you are creating all important back links out from your site to the rest of the internet. The real value here is when other people also like your content and share it on their own social media profiles. Again, the search engines will see that your content has been shared multiple times and will deem your work to be even more relevant, bumping you up the search results.

For anyone who has never started a blog before it might seem daunting, and you might be tempted to just stick with social media rather than trying to build your own separate page. Social media definitely serves a purpose, but typically what you post there is only good for a moment and will get lost in amongst everyone else’s posts. If you have your own website you can keep all your posts together in one place and refer back to them again more easily. Also, if you are serious about wanting to raise your own profile then you need to have your own page to refer people back to. Remember you don’t own your social media pages and they could change their rules at a moments’ notice leaving your hard work and audience building efforts wasted. Having your own blog leaves you in control.

At Big Thinking Online we have been building up our own content for almost 4 years now. Every new blog increases the chances of our work being shared, and increases the chance of regular readers coming back to our site rather than looking for one of our competitors. It also means we’ve spent all that time creating a very natural organic back linking profile which is another positive in the eyes of the search engines. It shows to our clients that our business has a good knowledge base, that we have built up our own reputation and profile over a steady period and that we continue to work on our skills. Over the last few years we have had blogs featured on many other places, including Social Media Today and Business 2 Community, sometimes being shared thousands of times in a day. Whilst these posts may not all have caused the phone to ring off the hook they have definitely helped to increase our network of contacts, and it also means that if a client or prospect asks for further information on a subject then we can usually direct them to a post on that subject that they can read whenever they need to.

Have you started your own blog yet? If so what benefits have you found from keeping it going?

3 Reasons Your Business Needs to Implement Content Marketing

3 Reasons Your Business Needs to Implement Content Marketing

3 Reasons Your Business Needs to Implement Content Marketing

content marketingAs a small business owner who is looking to increase sales via the internet you will recognise that most of your competition is already investing in one form of internet marketing or another and in some cases will have a well structured online marketing campaign in place.

In order to implement an online marketing campaign you need to invest in quality content that speaks directly to the problems that your target audience face.

Without that compelling content getting in front of the right people at the right time, your voice will not be heard, your business offerings will go unnoticed and you will watch as your competitors thrust open their doors to new clients that could and should have been yours.

Articles, videos, blog posts, pillar content, follow up emails, presentations and proposals: the list is endless!

To many business owners it may seem daunting or even off putting to have to produce an array of meaningful and compelling content on a regular basis that empowers your target audience to reach out and connect with you, and trust me it is.

But the truth of the matter is without the commitment to truly encapsulate your audience, online marketing will never see the results that you may have been promised or dreamed off.

But we already have a website!

To say that you have a website is not good enough. It is not. A website on its own is NOTHING. It is like jumping out of a plane with a parachute on your back and not knowing how to pull the chord. Useless. In fact it is less than useless, your website becomes a cost that sucks cash from your business instead of becoming an investment that adds to your bottom line on a monthly basis.

The content that you create is the means to attracting those profitable clients. Both on your website and on other targeted websites across the internet where your audience may be visiting. When your content creation dries up or doesn’t even get off the ground in the first place you will get fewer eyeballs looking, less subscribers and even fewer sales.

Content drives the internet and quality content engages your targeted audience, arouses their interest, creates a desire and encourages them to act.

3 Benefits of Content Marketing for Your Business

Highly Visible Social Proof

If you claim to be the biggest, the best or the most efficient in your niche or industry then you’d better make sure there is evidence on the internet to substantiate those claims.

It is not difficult for anyone to search the internet to find out information about your business. One simple search in Google of your business name will bring back search results highlighting the most relevant pages on the internet about your business.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that because you have not put anything on the internet about your firm that no one else has done it either. There are so many ways that people can talk about your business: Social media, local business directories, blogs etc that you should implement an online reputation management strategy to keep informed of how your business is being represented online.

If you are the best, then social proof will occur naturally to support these claims and then you will have some great third party generated content that you can use to market your business and win more customers with.

Be seen as a Thought Leader.

content marketing through thought leadership

Pick up a trade magazine and look at the expert opinion articles, those people are providing interviews, writing articles relating to their niche and adding insight around topical issues that may confuse potential clients. By taking time to put that content out there they become a thought leader, the “go to” person in that industry, and when that happens opportunities and business relationships come your way.

The same thing happens on the internet, in fact, the very same content or remarkably similar content to the trade magazine article will be converted into a blog post, a video, an article on an industry related website, an email through to your existing database.

Staying in the spotlight at the top is not easy. It requires attention to detail, original ideas and of course, constant updating.

Top Search Engine Rankings.

Having your business website listed in the top of the search engine rankings for your business niche, the products or services you offer or even the problems that your services solve is a great way to increase sales in your business. In the majority of niches there is fierce competition for the top spots in the search engines.

Google is continually updating they way they rank websites on the internet, one of the key areas they look at is the content both on and off the website. Is it related to the niche, is it good quality, is it being shared by other people, does it have third party comments, does the content get linked back to or linked out to other informative content.

All of these factors and many more are used to make a decision on the relevance and quality of your website and where it sits in the search rankings. Ultimately none of these factors can be taken into consideration if you do not have any content or create content on a regular basis.

The more content you produce which is related to your core competencies, the easier it is for you to place in context links and also get your articles published in leading sites within your niche which again helps your content marketing strategy by raising your profile.

Content marketing alone will not bring a horde of new business but it certainly plays a significant part and it will help your online presence and build you online reputation, set your business apart from your competition as a thought leader and position you as the go to player in your industry.

A Content Marketing Strategy Founded on Quality!

A Content Marketing Strategy Founded on Quality!

A Content Marketing Strategy Founded on Quality!

content marketing strategyUseful, up to date content is one of the most powerful ingredients of a good website and should be at the very heart of any content marketing strategy. Much has been written, both by us and by countless others about the value of content marketing as it gives you the power to engage with your audience round the clock, it lets new customers find you and get to know you before you even speak to them and through sharing and social media it can allow word of mouth to spread like wildfire.

However, there is no point in churning out content for the sake of it. While posting a huge bulk of content on a regular basis may help you be found by search engine users in the short term, in the long term it won’t win you any fans if the quality is low. In addition, search engines will soon realise that readers aren’t staying on your page for long enough to prove your content is useful and will penalise you by dropping you down the rankings.

So how do you ensure that the content you post is always top quality? Take a look at these quality content marketing tips:

Do you add value to your topic?

Before starting any content piece, whether it’s video, blog, infographic or anything else, make sure that it is a subject that will be interesting to your readers. Make sure that the topic or subject matter is in line with what you usually deliver, that it adds something thought provoking or helpful and that there is information that you can provide that is worth sharing. Check similar topics from other blogs and websites and compare your content to theirs. Can you add more value that your competitor?

Check and Edit Every Page

Be diligent about editing. Check for spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, factual inaccuracies and typing mistakes. It’s sometimes easier to have another person cast a critical eye over your work before you publish, but at the very least always run spell check. We always check our posts before they go out and even so errors can still slip through the cracks. Don’t beat yourself up about mistakes, just correct them and move on!

Create Authorship

Include a brief Author biography at the foot of every page. This helps with reader recognition as they’ll come to recognise you and know to search for you and your work. It also shows off your credibility and expertise in your specialist subject. You can also link content you publish on a certain domain (for example your blog) to your Google+ page, which will again help you with your search engine optimisation campaign.

Always be Original

Make sure every piece of content you publish is unique to you. Although you can by all means publish other peoples work every so often (with their permission of course!) the search engines love new, unique content more than anything else. If you’re stuck for ideas of what to publish take a look at these 25 blog ideas for professional services firms as inspiration!

Become a Recognised Authority

content marketing strategy

If you are seen as an expert in your field then you will be searched for more often, your work will be found more easily and you’ll reap the benefits. One of the best ways to be seen as an expert is by publishing lots of top quality content. Try posting your work on industry sites, writing a guest post for someone else, giving opinion pieces that you can link back to or issuing press releases if you have something newsworthy to say. We often post on sites such as Social Media Today and Business 2 Community amongst others.

Be Self Critical

By this I don’t just mean with regard to the editing process. I mean take a long hard look at your work before you publish it and ask yourself if it is something that you would be happy to share, bookmark, recommend to others and to have your name on it? If you hadn’t created this piece, would you be happy to share it? If not why not? You have to be able to see your work through others’ eyes, and if you aren’t happy then make the necessary changes before you ask other people to share it.

Avoid Repetition

In any industry there is a finite amount of material to write about. We find that certain topics on our blog are far more popular than others. Likewise, there are certain subjects that are easier to write about than others and some subjects that I struggle to write at all. Combine this with trying to produce new material every day and you soon find that your subjects will start to overlap. Overlapping subjects is fine, as long as you’re following the advice above and adding value with every new piece. Try also setting a limit on only writing about a certain subject once a fortnight or once a month so your readers aren’t constantly getting the exact same information.

15 Beautiful Reasons to Make Your Content Marketing More Visual.

15 Beautiful Reasons to Make Your Content Marketing More Visual.

15 Beautiful Reasons to Make Your Content Marketing More Visual.

Some businesses and industries lend themselves more easily to having beautiful pictures on their website, for example Floristry or Cupcake making. Even if your business is an accountancy firm, or a Solicitor it’s worth figuring out a way to include visual content into your marketing mix, as the statistics below prove just how powerful online imagery can be for capturing a customer’s imagination.

1) 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. (Sources: 3M Corporation and Zabisco)

visual content

2) 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. (Source: Zabisco)

3) 46.1% of people say a website’s design is the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of the company. (Source: Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab)

4) Publishers who use infographics grow in traffic an average of 12% more than those who don’t. (Source:AnsonAlex)

5) Posts with videos attract 3 times more inbound links than plain text posts. (Source: SEOmoz)

visual content

6) Visual content drives engagement. In fact, just one month after the introduction of Facebook timeline for brands, visual content — photos and videos — saw a 65% increase in engagement. (Source: Simply Measured)

7) On Facebook, photos perform best for likes, comments, and shares as compared to text, video, and links. (Source: Dan Zarrella)

8) 85% of the US internet audience watches videos online. The 25-34 age group watches the most online videos, and adult males spend 40% more time watching videos on the internet than females. (Sources:comScore and Nielsen)

9) Over 72 hours of videos are uploaded each minute on YouTube.com. (Source: YouTube)

visual content

10) 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter every minute. (Source: YouTube)

11) Viewers spend 100% more time on pages with videos on them. (Source: MarketingSherpa)

12) Mobile video viewing increased 35% from 2010 to 2011. (Source: Nielsen)

13) 25 million smartphone users stream 4 hours of mobile video per month. 75% of smartphone users watch videos on their phones, 26% of whom use video at least once a day. (Sources: Ooyala and Ipsos)

visual content

14) Mobile video subscription is expected to hit $16 billion in revenue by 2014, with over 500 million subscribers. (Source: Ooyala)

15) Viewers are 85% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video. (Source: Internet Retailer)

So what are you waiting for? Get your creative juices flowing and brighten up your website and add pictures and video to your content marketing strategy! If you’re stuck for ideas then look out for my follow up article, a Visual Marketing brainstorming session.

7 Basics of a Winning Online Marketing Plan

7 Basics of a Winning Online Marketing Plan

7 Basics of a Winning Online Marketing Plan

There are countless articles, books and blogs about Online Marketing plans, people have made their careers as experts on the subject. For anyone just looking to understand the basics it can be difficult to know where to start, which is why it’s time to go back to basics with these 7 simple reminders.

1. Online Marketing is not a Quick Fix.

online marketing plan

Yes, it’s true that if you’re online marketing is well managed you can have great results very quickly, but don’t expect that to happen overnight. It’s important to establish your presence online and on Social Media as one of the key trust measures of sites on the Web is their longevity – a longer established site is more likely to rank better in the search engines, and the longer you are on Social Media the more genuine followers you will build relationships with. Even if you are using something like PPC where you can get “instant” results, without a well-established web presence clients may be put off by poor search results when they come to research you.

2. You have to be consistent.

The internet is inundated with new content every day. No matter how great your content is, if you stop updating your site and social media, then your followers will soon get bored and move onto a competitor site that has been updated more recently. In order to build a trusted following of engaged readers, you have to give them a reason to be interested, and you have to do it regularly.

3. Establish a recognisable brand image

You might not be a household name, but choose a brand image, colour scheme or logo that you can set up on your blog, social media and online adverts that is recognisably you. This means that if customers from Facebook come through to your blog, or vice versa, they know they are in the right place.

4. Be prepared to tweak things regularly.

online marketing planA campaign may work brilliantly first time, the chances are it won’t. Online Marketing is not always a consistent animal and you have to be prepared to make changes to your copy, images, or your general approach in order to get the best results. The great thing about Online Marketing is that you will probably have access to statistics on just about every aspect of what you do. Something as simple as changing a few words in an advert can make all the difference. Similarly, and advert that works really well won’t necessarily work really well over a long period of time as people will get bored of seeing the same thing. Don’t be afraid to make changes!

5. Always have a plan.

Don’t start any marketing campaign without a strategy. Make sure that for each campaign you have an end goal and budget as well as other potential milestones that you want to reach. This means that you can check your progress along the way and if you’re not making the progress you wanted then you either tweak your methods, adjust your strategy or re-evaluate your goals as necessary.

6. Use your Website as your Central Hub

Your own website or blog is like your own online real estate. You own it, so you can do whatever you like with it. No matter how popular Social Media sites are, always remember that someone else owns them which means they can change the rules at any time. By all means build up a following on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or whichever other site seems to best suit your business or industry but try and direct those fans back to your blog whenever possible. As an added bonus, all the links back to your site from other sites will help boost your sites credibility with the search engines in the long run.

7. Budget for your time

As part of your online marketing plan, remember that budget is all important and return on investment is key to any successful campaign. Social Media sites may cost nothing to use, but the time you spend on them and other web sites shouldn’t ever be more than you can afford. Your time is valuable; some would say it’s your most valuable asset as it’s the one thing you can’t get back.

What Online Marketing lessons have you learned the hard way? What are your favourite simple tips?