Category Archives: Internet

6 Untapped Opportunities in Ecommerce (That Will Become Huge Soon)

Remember 1994? I don’t. But apparently, it was a significant year.

On August 11, 1994, a US Internet startup called Net Market performed the world’s very first secure online transaction, which marked the beginning of the ecommerce era as we know it. And what was sold? You’ll never guess — it was the latest Sting album, Ten Summoner’s Tales.

Soon after, online-transaction-based sales started to pop up like mushrooms after the rain.

Pizza Hut was the first to accept an online food order on the Internet (also in 1994). It was a large pepperoni pizza with mushrooms and extra cheese. In 1995, it was Amazon that started selling everything to everybody online. Then, companies like Dell and Cisco started using Internet in all of their transactions, and eBay first started online auctions.

Buying online had an astounding novelty element and, with its convenience and efficiency, it was just a matter of time until it completely reshaped the way people shop and trade. Offline went online. Online, however, also moved forward.

Today you won’t surprise anybody by enabling them to shop online. It’s seen as a given. If in 1994 ecommerce itself was a new opportunity, now, in 2017, retailers need to seek new untapped opportunities in ecommerce.

What are these opportunities and what are the emerging trends that ecommerce is quickly picking up on? Read on to find out.

 

1. Extended use of AI 

Unless you’ve been on a sabbatical somewhere deep in the South American jungle, you’ve probably heard about Artificial Intelligence, generally referred to as AI. Even though, intuitively, most people relate to it as something “robotic”, what AI really brings to the table is better human and user experiences across the web.

AI is making a splash in ecommerce now too, as its technologies really help to stand out from the crowd in the competitive online retail world. Due to its relatively high pricing, not many brands are harnessing the AI possibilities (yet). But when they do, customers notice.

Last year, The North Face launched an insanely smart AI-based solution to help you find the perfect jacket for whatever you’re doing — whether it’s skiing in Vail, hiking in Norway, or just staying warm at home. The idea was to provide a personal online shopper that understands exactly what the user is looking for.

“The issue is that online shopping over the past two decades has been about a grid of products on a white background,” explains Cal Bouchard, Senior Ecommerce Director at The North Face. “We wanted to take the conversation you might have with an associate in a store and see if we could put that as a service online: ‘Here’s what I need. Here’s what I want.’

 

the northface AI

 

If that’s what consumers want, then AI is what ecommerce needs. In the future, when technology will become more democratized, retail brands are predicted to use AI throughout the entire customer journey: for visual search, recommender systems (to exactly match users’ personal taste, shopping personalization, and even for virtual buying assistants that can be pre-set to purchase on a customer’s behalf if a beloved product goes on sale.

 

2. Advanced chatbots for making orders & customer service

 It was at the OMR conference in Hamburg last year that I first used a Facebook Messenger chatbot, trying to make an order at a Starbucks booth. I had a sweet little chat with the virtual Barista there, who asked me a few questions about my personal preferences — up to how many spoons of sugar I like in my cappuccino — and voila, within minutes I was enjoying a cup of warm arabica.

The cool thing about this whole process was that I got to skip the lines, make an order asap, and have my name spelled correctly on the cup (which is a big deal).

“The Starbucks experience is built on the personal connection between our barista and customers, so everything we do in our digital ecosystem must reflect that sensibility,” says Gerri Martin-Flickinger, CTO for Starbucks.

So my bottom line is: When it comes to placing orders, chatbots are the future — especially now that they’re advancing so rapidly.

This year, the world witnessed the release of a new customer service chatbot created for the Australian government to help people get information about disability services. The chatbot turned out to be frighteningly realistic:

Its name is Nadia. Nadia has a digital face, and she sees you through the webcam, recognizes your facial expressions and even simulates them back, creating the illusion of empathy. It’s like she’s a real person talking to you through Skype — so it’s just a matter of time until emotionally intelligent chatbots with 3D faces make their own presence in ecommerce.

 

3. VR shopping

Online shopping was created for one simple reason: efficiency.

People were tired of standing in lines. They were tired of not finding their size in stores, and generally, tired of wasting their precious time on commuting. And while ecommerce solved most of these problems, there’s still one big advantage that physical stores have over their online competitors: the experience of actually being there.

Unarguably, brick and mortar stores can simply offer more in terms of experience. There’s a reason why visiting a Dior store in Paris feels somehow bigger, almost event-like, than going through a grid-template presentation of clothes online.

To fill this missing experiential gap, brands have already started offering VR shopping opportunities to their customers — and the trend is expected to grow bigger in the near future.

Last year, Alibaba introduced virtual reality possibilities to their customers in China, who were able to browse and buy at the famous Macy’s store located on Times Square in New York. This way, the Chinese customers were able to get the full Macy’s experience while still being thousands of miles away from the actual store.

Efficiency redefined.

 

4. Same-day delivery & drone delivery

 Fast, instant, immediate, delivered today, or, even better, yesterday: that’s how customers want it done. And while some may argue that a matter of just a few days can’t possibly make too much of a difference, the reality proves the opposite.

According to a McKinsey study, about 50% of customers say that they’re willing to pay more for the luxury of getting their products faster. Today, same-day delivery accounts for less than 1% of all sales made, but in just a few years it’s predicted to be as high as 15%. And as a matter of fact, such a growth is faster than the whole ecommerce industry altogether (which grows ca. 11% annually).

So yes, same-day delivery is quickly becoming huge — not only because people appreciate the efficiency, but also because it combines the best of brick-and-mortar (aka getting products right here, right now) with the best of ecommerce (wider selection and lower prices). And that’s hard to say no to.

Last year, Amazon introduced the same-day delivery option to its Prime users.

This year, Jingdong, the Chinese online shopping giant, plans to fly a ton of deliveries with drones.

It’s becoming clear, then, that the key to succeeding in ecommerce is getting as close to instant shipping as possible.

 

Source: IBTimes

 

5. Shoppable content

Shoppable content has been attracting a great deal of attention lately, and it’s easy to see why.

Today’s consumers highly value instant (or almost instant) accessibility. They go by words like “instant gratification” and “split-second immediacy”, so for brands doing content marketing, it’s not enough to just write engaging stories with a call to action at the end. Why? Because while it admittedly grabs people’s attention, it’s still not able to satisfy them. There’s no actual, tangible outcome.

The use of APIs made it possible to open up an entirely new chapter in ecommerce, allowing content of any kind to be instantly shoppable. In a nutshell, the API technology builds a bridge between the online retail store and the content platform (e.g. blogs, magazines, landing pages, newsletters), and integrates products directly into content.

This way, a “normal” content piece transforms into a powerful sales channel, smoothly converting content consumers into product buyers. It’s a win-win situation for both customers and retailers.

 

6. Live streaming

When Facebook first introduced live streaming, it seemed that the world suddenly went crazy. We’ve all enjoyed watching Buzzfeed staff blow up a watermelon, the ‘Chewbacca Mom’ who couldn’t stop laughing at herself, or Dena Blizzard playing her self-invented Chardonnay Go game (arguably way more fun than catching pokemons, by the way).

So it was only a matter of time until brands and retailers decided to follow suit and start live streaming themselves.

According to Ad Age, several brands have already experimented with this new technology: car brand Chevrolet live streamed the launch of their new Bolt EV model on Facebook, and Kate Spade, the luxury retailer, broadcasted their NY Fashion Week show from the catwalk.

For most brands that have tried their hand at live streaming, the general appeal boils down to increasing brand awareness, engaging customers and building a stronger community.

But, with an extra bit of creativity, brands can also attempt to monetize live videos, too.

The above-mentioned Macy’s hosted a live streaming shopping tour in its NY store via Taobao Live Streaming venue, one of the most popular in China, which reportedly attracted 100,000 viewers and 880 comments. Macy’s also issued ecoupons during the live stream, which the viewers could later on use to purchase real products.

It is up to you, whether you decide to take the route of innovation and follow suit now — or do it later when everybody else is on it. What’s a sure fact is that the majority of brands aren’t stuck in 1994 anymore. They’re moving forward with the times.

So the question is: are you?

untapped opportunities in ecommerce

The post 6 Untapped Opportunities in Ecommerce (That Will Become Huge Soon) appeared first on GetResponse Blog – Online Marketing Tips.

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Bigger Success. Less Content. [Webinar Recap]

In a recent webinar, author & keynote speaker Andrew Davis joined us to share his knowledge about growing your business and becoming more successful with less content.

We live in the age of information overload. There is more content created today than ever before. There are 17 new websites released every second. So, keep in mind that your customers are already overwhelmed. Be mindful of this when you think of your audience’s inbox.

So how do you become part of the information your audience wants to consume? Change your mindset. Treat your content like a product. Think of it as something you’ll brand, market, and invest in (over time). This mindset helps you create content that is so valuable that your audience would pay for it.

What comes after this? Creating a content brand. That’s different than branded content. Branded content is created for a company. A content brand is created for a valuable audience. A strong content brand will harness the power of subscription (like your newsletter) – so long as you provide value to your audience regularly. Why? Because subscriptions are reflections of relationships.

 

Content brands build relationships. Relationships build trust. Trust drives revenue.

 

Ask yourself, how can you harness the power of a subscription?  Break out of the marketing mindset, and instead think like an entertainment (TV) executive. Why? Because an entertainment executive thinks of the audience first, and the advertiser second. To build a content brand, you must think the same way. What audience do you want to attract, what content would add value to their lives, and finally, and finally, how does that content drive revenue?

To learn the four simple secrets to driving revenue with content, watch the video!

This webinar is for you if:

  • You want to build a relationship with your audience.
  • You want to focus your content marketing efforts on building the best content for your audience (not content for content’s sake).
  • You want to build a content brand for your business.

Watch the video today!

 

 

bigger success with less content

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How to Measure Whether Your Content Marketing Strategy is Results-Driven

Content marketing, and a good content marketing strategy, are essential for success in today’s market. A good strategy is something which helps people plan for how they will bring new traffic and conversions to their online presence. Even such a seemingly simple thing as a blog post is a useful addition to a content marketing strategy — if it brings in leads.

Creative content agencies will encourage businesses to form a coherent strategy for content marketing because such a strategy, if successful, can mean that businesses can consider and try out other marketing strategies without suffering from any loss of revenue. Another reason having a strategy is being able to form a coherent brand, and perhaps also to find ways in which your marketing can teach your intended audience, as well as persuade them to become customers.

It is important to know that there is a visible difference between a content marketing strategy, and a content marketing plan. Where a content marketing strategy asks why, a content marketing plan asks how, so the strategy should come first. The strategy lays out all the details of why the business is creating content, who it is being created for, and why the potential customers should look to that business over others. In contrast, the marketing plan, according to top content marketers, should contain information which is more along the lines of what topics will be covered in the marketing itself, and what content the business will create, and so on.

 

How to Develop a Content Marketing Strategy

A good content marketing strategy will help to show how the marketing itself will introduce people and potential customers to the business and what it values, as well as detailing how that will be addressed. There are no strict rules for what such a strategy should look like, but many creative content agencies cite the following five rules as good components of any strategy.

  1. Make the case for using content marketing: there are many forms of marketing – explain why the business chose content marketing over them.
  2. Explain what the content marketing itself will involve. What will the business achieve through content marketing, what they are going to provide through said content, and what the customers themselves need.
  3. Audience personas and content marketing maps: describe the audiences who the business is targeting, what values it is going to show through the marketing, and what the needs of its audience are.
  4. Brand story: what message does the business want to get across to its audience, and what values.
  5. Channel plan: what channels are the business going to use to spread their message? Will social media be involved?

 

Measure your content marketing strategy: goals to achieve

Results-driven strategy

The best content marketing agencies will make sure that the businesses they work with are clear about what they want out of their content marketing – what goals they have. A business knowing what they want to work towards in terms of the goals they want to achieve. Knowing what results they want in terms of content, channels, and audience at the very least makes it more likely that the strategy will be successful.

 

Failed strategy

Not every strategy is successful. Sometimes the audience has been misjudged, or sometimes they don’t respond as well to the brand which is being marketed to them as was previously thought. A failed strategy does not necessarily mean a complete failure, however. It simply means that whichever part of the process failed needs to be re-evaluated.

A strategy which is not fully thought out is one which is more likely to fail. Therefore, it is necessary to be absolutely sure of your goals when it comes to content marketing management.

 

The research done

Results-driven

Research which is driven by results is research that knows, in some form, what it wants. While knowing the exact results would negate the need for research, it is important to at least know some general points about the direction you want your research to take – what audience uses social media, for example, and what iteration of the company brand would be best received.

 

Failed strategy

Research can sometimes fail, through either the fault of the business, or the fault of inaccurate information. Sometimes a business does not always pay attention to the result of their research, leading them to make decisions which are not in their best interests. Sometimes the information itself is out of date, for various reasons. This can lead to a business taking certain marketing avenues, but not achieving the desired results due to having outdated information.

 

Types of content and channels

Results-driven

The type of content and the channels used can differ according to the audience which you seek. Good research will help sort out which channels and what content is best. For example, social media is better for a younger audience, while blogs and traditional websites are good for older audiences. Social media relies on smaller pieces of content than do blogs, and so on.

 

Failed

Failed strategies in this, again, revolve around a lack of research. A good example would be the use of social media; bad research would lead businesses to use social media to reach an audience which has no use for social media. The content marketing would fail, as it would have no way of reaching the intended target audience.

 

Tracking

Results-driven

Tracking results during the content marketing process is vital for a good company. The best content marketing agencies will all recommend it, as businesses can track how the marketing is faring by using it, and so keep a better eye on what is happening.

 

Failed

Failed strategy in this area can come about either through a failure to track anything in the marketing campaign, or a failure to do anything about the information being tracked. If a business knows that one area of marketing is not successful, then leaving it as-is is a failure.

 

Updating and Experiments

Results-driven

This naturally follows on from tracking – having a content marketing strategy allows you to explore new ideas which might act as good follow-ons from what is currently happening.

 

Failed

Running experiments with no clear idea of what works and what doesn’t in a marketing campaign. Not knowing what is working in a particular campaign means that any experiments lack support in that area, and are more likely to fail.

 

Conclusion

The top content marketing companies will tell businesses that having a coherent content marketing strategy, one which covers the five stages of planning, implementing, measuring, analyzing, and improving is imperative for success. Following these five stages will allow for the creation of a strategy which is likely to succeed.

results driven content marketing

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4 Steps to Create a First-Rate eCommerce Website

Back in the day, any kind of trade had fewer opportunities to expand sales among new customers. No, I don’t want to mislead you saying that the trade was on a low level. If you “drip for a while” in the history of trade, you will discover that this ancient craft has always been one of the most powerful sources of income around the world.

The problem of getting new customers and building new business connections was due to the necessity of exploring new horizons that took lots of time and efforts. Corsairs, storms, and, of course, huge distances were the barriers traders had to overcome.

Lots of famous traders still pique interest to their past commerce. And it is not surprising. Our modern society has improved its general level of trade facilitation thanks to a selling practice that our ancestors had contributed before.

Thanks to the age of the internet the process of a trade creation has become much easier to do. Yes, with the help of eCommerce web platforms, every trader can sell products without leaving the office at all. Nevertheless, if you want to see any progress in your eCommerce sales, you should take care of your web resource properly. You should adjust your content marketing to various audience types to combine that strategy with a few more basic tactics.

In this guide, I am going to show you four steps that will help you create a first-rate eCommerce website and attract customers you deserve.

 

1. Make sure you know how to identify and attract your target audience

I won’t claim that it is hard to identify the niche you believe your service or production belongs. The only thing you will have to do is to think wisely what kind of help you are able to offer your potential clients. You can ask yourself a few standard questions like:

 

What products do I sell?

It could be whatever you want, starts with some material goods (music instruments, automobiles, audio/video tech etc.) and ends with various personal services (tutorials, courses, lessons, etc.).

 

Who are the main competitors in your niche?

Every industry has its leading authorities and these names are familiar to everybody. Let say, the leaders in the world of music instruments are such brands as Ibanez, Fender, Warwick etc. If we consider sportswear, then these brands are Adidas, Nike, Puma and so on. The same happens with your niche. Just make some research and you’ll find out the competitors you should stick to.

Once you find the answers to these two questions, you can be sure your niche. Afterwards, you will have to dive deeper into developing a strategy on how to make your eCommerce website attractive to your customers.

Frankly speaking, perhaps, every marketer wants to have fewer competitors than he or she has in the niche. To be honest with you, I would, , say that we all want to be the leaders in our business, and that’s why we claim not to have so many competitors.

Do you remember the statement “every cloud has a silver lining”? Try to think that you should respect your competitors and try to work them to the benefit.

How could you do this? Discover your competitors’ blogs and attract their clients for yourself. Let me show you how to do it.

Let’s presume that your eCommerce website sells sportswear and you have lots of competitors in this niche. There is no sense in spying for customers against such brands as Nike, Puma and others similar. I am quite sure, you won’t impress these clients with your unpopular production. Instead, you ask Google something like “buy sportswear online” and check out what it suggests for you:

 

first rate ecommerce website

 

As you can see there is a bunch of websites related to your niche. They look good in terms of the domain rating they have, the organic traffic they get, and, of course, the number of backlinks. Let’s have a look the example:

 

ecommerce website techniques

 

Furthermore, it is obvious that content marketing involves running a blog with high-quality content. Thus, it is preferable for you to find blogs in your niche that take the highest positions in Google search. It will allow you to check out what kind of content these blogs publish, what their readers say in comments, what they like and dislike. By analyzing these aspects of competitors’ blogs, you will be able to turn your own blog into the desirable place for your potential clients.

The next position you shouldn’t forget is to try to find out your customers’ needs. As I’ve mentioned above, examination of comments on competitors’ blogs is one of the best ways to understand customer needs. If you want to go further, I recommend you work a bit with Quora.

No doubts you are familiar with Quora and you know that it is a platform where people ask questions and get answers. What an ideal place for seeing what people need. It works simply – just put an inquiry and you’ll get related questions to your inquiry and all possible replies:

 

how to build a first rate ecommerce website

 

I don’t say you will be armed with all points with the information you will get from comments on Quora, but the general needs of the clients you will understand.

 

2. Adjust your ecommerce website to various types of content

I won’t give you the explanations why content is important for your eCommerce business. There are many factors that prove one good statement “content is king”. If you are still an outsider in content marketing, here are a few reasons you should know about content:

  • It adds value to your production (and brand in general)
  • It generates new leads and sales
  • It works great as a tool for engagement your target audience
  • It increases traffic

Search engines love high-quality and long-form content.

Don’t be under the delusion that content is just a rough text. No. Firstly, content is any sort of information you want to share with your audience. Please, pay your attention to the nuance that I said “audience” but not “readers”. In this very way, I want to underline that you can present the information in a few different ways.

 

Video content

In contrast to written content, video one has a higher level of user engagement. You just imagine, using videos you will be able to introduce your production from different angles. You can check out YouTube and see what your competitors upload on their brand channels. For instance, you want to introduce your users a new collection of indoor running shoes but you have no idea what the video should look like. Thus, back to leaders in your niche and make a detailed research of their video material. Here is how Nike advertised their collection of Air Max 1 running shoes:

 

how to build a first rate ecommerce website

 

You could adjust your own video content strategy to the same way and, even, add something more interesting for your customers. How about “how-to” videos? I liked the example on how to lace running shoes from eCommerce web platform runningwarehouse.com:

 

how to build a first-rate ecommerce website

 

The more images you create, the more (happy) clients you’ll have

However, if you tend to “old-school” text type content, I highly recommend you create content based on images. Plus, you should remember that your customers want to see the production your eCommerce website offers. Let me provide you with a few examples of using images in content. For instance, sportsshoes.com offers a wide range of sports shoes for the customers attaching images of all shoe models they have:

 

how to build a first-rate ecommerce website

 

You might ask me “But where is the example of text content with images?” Very fair question. At first, I want to underline that customers don’t want to read long-form content where you describe apparel. Instead, you should focus on pitching your customers with images of your production adding a brief text description of it. The great examples of this strategy are by using Instagram and Pinterest:

 

how to create a first-rate ecommerce website

 

Pinterest allows you to add more-or-less proper description of the product with all necessary details. Instagram is more designed for high-quality images. Yeah, you can add a few descriptive words for the image in contrast to Pinterest. However, you can add as many as 30 hashtags:

 

how to build a great ecommerce website

 

If you still are curious about text content with images that is related to some sort of product customers can purchase on an eCommerce website, you should check out the next example. Because I would like to consider various types of production (not only sportswear), here is a wonderful example of eCommerce blog that contains different articles on furniture, decorations, and decor:

 

one kings lane ecommerce website

 

It is just a part of the article from this eCommerce website’s blog called One Kings Lane. As you can see, the owner of this web resource can use content marketing strategy in the right direction. You can take your cut from this example and do the same.

Nevertheless, content marketing is only a part of the whole strategy for boosting your eCommerce online shop. You should keep an eye on building close connection with your customers. And I am going to give you a few insights on it.

 

3. Don’t forget to build connection with customers

I am quite sure that if a business owner has tight business relationships with customers, he or she will succeed. But how to build this connection with a target audience? No worries, I would like to introduce you a few tricks on how to do it. Before I start, I would like to explain you a bit why it is so important for every businessman who wants to be ahead of the competitors.

During building connections with your customers, you should not only get the information you need for your own business but share something useful with the customers as well. You must listen to their needs, problems and, as the result, give some pieces of advice. If you are interested only in promoting your brand, your customers will realize that the only thing you are focused on is money. As for me, being a customer of whatever I use, I don’t like selfish and arrogant companies or services who are struck blind with itself forgetting about everything around.

Your business depends on the customers you have because these customers are your direct source of income. And here are, basically, the ways of connections:

  • Comments.

Why do we, as consumers, use the comment section on websites? Simply just for leaving our opinion on something; thoughts, likes, and, even, dislikes. And it is the norm for customers and for website owners. Taking a participation in the comment section you are able to reveal your brand (and products) in a vaster way, plus sharing some other useful information. For example, you could advise your customers various services for their needs – different pricing optimization platforms like UpstreamCommerce, influencer marketing platforms for amplifying messages like, for instance, HYPR and so on. The main purpose for you, as a website owner, to react to the comments fast and efficiently.

  • Help or FAQ.

This section is an integral part of any website, including eCommerce. You should remember that FAQ section is the place where you can present all the answers to the questions that people tend to ask about your products. When a customer sees that you didn’t regret your time writing answers to the most frequent questions, he or she will understand that you take care of the consumers. Your desire to help the client will reward you.

  • Live chat.

Yeah, the first thing you might think about is your time. I totally agree with you that spending your time in a Live chat is very time-consuming. Nevertheless, if you want to be as closer to your customer as you can, Live chat is a wonderful option for this. Be patient, relax and be ready to reply to whatever your customers will ask you. Pay attention to the questions that might bring you some insight that you will be able to implement in your products (perhaps some new model of a jacket).

  • Insiders.

Use Facebook for creating an ‘Insider’ page of your product. Share news about the product your brand produces, take a part in comments your customers leave, have a personal chat with your clients. Believe or not but “Insider” pages really work great in terms of building tight business relationships with your customers.

 

But what about Social Media platforms?

As far as you know, any business owner who runs an online business uses the major social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest. Yeah, we use social media for searching new business contacts and opportunities. However, you should be clever in terms of using social media accounts and create all the accounts attractive with the information related to your niche. Here are the examples of how you can use each social media platform:

  • LinkedIn.

This platform is the first place you should create an account as a businessman. It doesn’t matter whether you have already succeeded in your sphere of business or you’ve just launched a new eCommerce web resource. LinkedIn will help you reveal new useful business contacts that might bring new customers.

  • Facebook

You might claim that Facebook is the place where people spend their time just for fun. I won’t get into an argument with you about it but Facebook has the other side of the coin. Those who do business online prefer to use Facebook as a great opportunity to say a word or two about their production using all possible features Facebook has. As I’ve mentioned above, you could create an “Insider” page and spread the information about your brand, communicate with users and turn them into your customers.

  • Pinterest and Instagram.

I decided to combine these two platforms into one group due to the fact they have almost the same “mission”. The only option of these platforms is sharing images of whatever you want. For you, it could be an awesome opportunity to show product units with a slight description of it. Let customers see what you offer to buy.

  • Twitter

I believe there is no sense in explaining Twitter’s purpose. I only want to encourage you that using this platform is important for your business prosperity. There are numerous articles that cover the topics a kind of “How to Build Business Using Twitter”, “Twitter Marketing” etc. Thus, Twitter is a powerful service for your business.

 

4. Do More Outreach

Outreach is a very important strategy for you as the owner of an eCommerce website. It helps you present your product to the customers in a more personal way. Come into customer’s world and just imagine that you’ve got a well-crafted and personalized as hell email message. You see that the one who sent the message to you had done a detailed investigation about your person. You are really impressed with this message and you can’t refuse the sender to reply or, even, become a customer. What a fantastic story, isn’t it? Well, it is real if you can succeed in the outreach strategy.

I would like to share with you a brief step-by-step process how to do email outreach properly.

  • Find the people you are going to reach out (make sure they are related to your niche).

It is rather easy to do. The only thing you need is the link to your competitor’s material and Ahrefs Site Explorer tool for revealing all backlinks this link has:

 

create a top rate ecommerce website

 

In this example, I decided to represent you how to search backlinks for the musical instruments industry. I chose the very first blog and check out what backlinks the article has. You might be impressed with the number of backlinks (5.29K) but, please, don’t hurry up with the conclusions. You will have to check almost each backlink manually and see whether they are fresh and you are able to get the right contact information of the recipient you’re willing to reach out.

  • Search for personal contacts of the recipients.

This stage of the outreach process is very significant to you. Without a proper email address, you won’t have any chance to reach the person out. I recommend you to use find.that email and voilanorbert tools. Moreover, please, check out person’s social media accounts because people tend to leave their contacts over there.

  • Create personalized email templates.

Don’t be too lazy! Kill your inner sloth and try to find some additional information about the person you’re going to reach out. Mix this information with the main aim of the message, add an outstanding subject line and send it over to the recipient. I give you 90% that you’ll get a positive result.

  • Don’t be afraid of sending follow-up emails.

No worries if the recipient hasn’t replied to you. There are reasons for this. Thus, if you send a follow-up email, you will increase your chances to get the reply you’re waiting for.

Remember that outreach is a great way to boost your eCommerce website and get new customers you deserve. It goes without saying that I gave you just a few core elements of the outreach. However, if you’re interested in more detailed guide, I suggest you check this one.

 

Conclusion

Taking all the aforesaid into consideration, I would like to say that running eCommerce websites and sell your product in a digital world is a meticulous process. Every step and decision must be considered to the last detail. You will have to focus yourself on various aspects of marketing and study the ways how to use them wisely.

I won’t state that the lessons you’ve learned from this guide will push up sales over 100%. But I am quite sure that your eCommerce website will succeed in terms of internet marketing.

If you have some pieces of advice or thoughts you would like to share, please, feel free to use the comment section.

Don’t forget to share it via your social media accounts!

4 steps to create a first-rate ecommerce website

The post 4 Steps to Create a First-Rate eCommerce Website appeared first on GetResponse Blog – Online Marketing Tips.

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A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Referral Program that Works

To get people to your site, you need to give them an incentive. Then, you need to give them an incentive to bring other people to your site. It is a never-ending process, but many people don’t fully understand the process of creating a referral program that actually works. Without a process in place, your referral program is never going to be at the level you want it to be. So, we have put together a step-by-step guide that will help you to create a referral program that will work for you. Let’s get started.

What is a referral?

First, let’s look at what a referral actually is. In a nutshell, a referral is when someone recommends your site to someone else, through a link that they have received from you. There are three basic types of referrals: implicit; organic; and incentivized.

  • Implicit Referrals – When a user must share your link with others before they can actually get into the site and fully appreciate the experience.
  • Organic Referrals – This is content that people just automatically want to share, such as cute kitten memes.
  • Incentivized Referrals – This is when you give the user even more incentive to share your link or product outside of improving the functionality of their experience. This is very targeted.

 

Building a referral strategy

Now that you understand what a referral is, it is time to start building your referral strategy. The first thing you need to know is that you need to find the right people to share your product. The next thing is that you can’t ask them too soon, because you have to wait until you know they are into your product and are ready to share.

If you have an email list, but no one has responded to you, there really isn’t much sense in asking for referrals. Still, you can get those early birds who will give you referrals, but you have to do it in a hand’s on and personal way. Your best advocate audience is made up of about 200 or more existing customers who have transacted with you recently (within 30 days).

Now, you can start to work on your referral strategy, which involves giving people the right incentives to share your product.

 

Choosing the incentives

If you aren’t giving out the right incentives, people aren’t going to bother sharing your product. So, you need to figure out what it is that they really want. It is unlikely that your product alone is going to be so unique that it is enough incentive on its own. Here are a couple of tips that will help you to choose the right incentives:

  • Double-Sided Incentives – Try to offer incentives that give both parties a reward of equal value. This makes it seem like your offer is not just spam. If the advocate can earn more than their friend, it can seem a lot like spam, and vice versa.
  • One Sided Incentives – It may be that you can only afford to give out one incentive. If this is the case, choose the friend rather than the advocate. This only works for referral programs, and not with affiliate programs.

 

Send out the email

Now you have to ask for the referrals. To do this, you need to craft an email that is going to make people want to refer others. You also need to know how to ask, and this can be a problem for many people. The trick is to send an email that is neutral for your advocate and for their friends. The advocate can forward the email to their friends, so there isn’t much work or friction on their end. The benefits of this type of email include:

  • Explaining the benefits of the product
  • Offer something to both parties
  • Easily sharable
  • Easily convertible

Don’t forget to include your email signature. This is extremely important, because it will allow support teams to reach your users when they have solved a problem. This is going to double the chances of the user making a referral.

Build a landing experience that is going to make people want to visit, and to share your product with others. Make sure that they have a good incentive to share, and to visit again themselves. Look for referral program ideas that have worked for other companies, and use the same tactics for your own success.

 

Track the results

Once you send out the emails, you need a way of tracking them to see if your referral program is actually working for you. You will need to implement analytics and tracking systems, using referral program software. These two things are going to help you to understand how you are getting the referrals, so you know what is working and what isn’t. If you use Google Analytics, you will be able to see where people come from before reaching your site. In addition, make sure that you are using the right referral software.

 

Choose and send the right rewards

Finally, you have to figure out which rewards to choose. You need to understand what you users want, and what will lead them to make that referral. Create your rewards program around the motivations of your users. Reward types include:

  • Single and double-sided rewards – Single rewards are common, but not nearly as effective as when double-sided rewards are offered.
  • Monetary and non-monetary rewards – Offer prizes based on the behavior of your visitors. Offers can include giving access to premium features, company swag, etc.

Make sure that you offer a good variety of rewards. Not all users want the same thing, so you are going to need to customize your offers for various users.

Now, you have all of your ducks in a row, you have referrals, and it is time to start giving out those rewards. If you are offering cash rewards, PayPal is the best way to send it. Or, you can send a coupon code. If the reward is a physical product, let them know that it is on its way in the mail. You will have happy users, and because they are receiving rewards, they will be more likely to refer your product to even more people.

 

Over to you

Do you use referral programs in your business? What was your biggest lesson learned from using it? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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The post A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Referral Program that Works appeared first on GetResponse Blog – Online Marketing Tips.

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The Simple Tricks to Make Your Customers Say Yes

Want to lure your customer towards purchasing your product without acting like a typical salesperson? Here are some of the tricks to help you make your customer accept your request, naturally.  

For every second in their 8 to 12 hour per day job, sales people are selling something. It’s their job to make their customer say “yes”, but the point is no matter how much customers would love product, they never like being sold to. What if you make them accept your request in a natural, un-salesy way?

Robert B. Cialdini, a renowned psychologist and marketing specialist, in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion has presented six principles of persuasion. These tips are very effective for the marketers and here in this post, I am going to elaborate all the principles individually.

1. Reciprocity

This entails the desire of people to reciprocate when something good is done to them. They feel indebted to the doers until they return the favor. All that sales people have to do is to take the first step. Give them anything valuable: information, free samples, gifts, or simply a positive experience> They’ll return your favor by following the desired action.

Cialdini says, “When customers come into a candy store if they’re given a chocolate at the beginning, they are 42% more likely to buy in that store because they feel obligated to give back to someone who has given to them”

People, when receiving a surprise gift, are more prone to listen to your sales pitch, services, tip more money to a waiter, or donate to a cause. You do not need to empty your wallet for the gift. Favors and information can be great.

2. Liking

Have you ever bought an item just because your favorite celeb endorsed it? Many people have. Some credit Nike’s fame and fan following to celebrity endorsements in its advertisements. The usage of company’s slogan “Improve your game with Nikefootball. Are you ready for the elite?” accompanied by the collage of 50 famous football players from various International teams on every box took its liking to the next level.

The main idea is that people are more inclined to buy from people they like; it’s one of the reasons why celebrities are brand ambassadors of famous brands.

Besides liking, acquaintance can be useful too. In 2005, Randy Garner sent surveys to people he didn’t know, requesting that recipients return them. The results reported that the recipients with a similar-sounding name were twice more likely to fill out the survey versus those with different sounding names.

Now, how would you make your prospect like you?

One of the things you can do, according to Cialdini, is to find the common ground with your customer. Discover valued characteristics about your customer and express your respect towards them. This will help you get your customers’ attention and you’ll soon find your customers echoing them back to you.

Takeaway: Try to be positive with your customers. Don’t defame your competitors, when promoting your services or highlight anything bad that has been occurred within the industry.

“There is a natural human tendency to dislike a person who brings us unpleasant information, even when that person did not cause the bad news. The simple association with it is enough to stimulate our dislike.” 

― Robert B. CialdiniInfluence: The Psychology of Persuasion

 

3. Authority:

People want to buy from actual experts. Your customer would be more prone to say yes when you justify what you’re selling with evidence of your integrity, credentials, and competency. Prove that your product is worth buying, and that it has been serving your present customers well.

How would you look authoritative? A prolonged client-base wouldn’t do it alone. You should have a professional appearance and percept as well. Impressive business names and professional attire are effective in making you look more credible and increase the probabilities for your customers to accept the requests.

 

4. Social proof:

 

how to help your customers say yes

 

People like what others like. Have you ever thought why retailers like Amazon, eBay, or Home Depot highlight their bestselling products on the website? It’s because showing the products that are sold the most creates an emotional response with many website visitors. It even lures some of the confused visitors to convert. That is what we call social proof.

Why does this work? When people are confused as to whether they should act in a certain way or not, they observe what others are doing in the same situation.

I worked as an online chat agent and sales correspondent for two years in a design agency. My job demanded me to deal with many different clients every day. Jane was one of my sweetest clients. A few months after the completion of her project, out of nowhere, she requested a refund for the logo design I sold to her (because her new business partner felt that the design is not appealing). A negative social review.

Since her project had been successfully completed, I knew she wouldn’t get a refund from the company. I didn’t want to break this news to her, so I tried to solve the problem on my own and told her that her design is so amazing (that it actually was). I further added that I used her logo as recent work to impress many of my clients and achieved my sales target, eventually.

P.S. It was not a malicious attempt; her logo was actually a masterpiece.

Result: Jane started to find her logo appealing once again just because it was being socially admired and I retain my friendly association with her.

 

5. Scarcity:

Make your product a limited edition, or soon-to-be scarce. The less there is of your product, the more valuable it will be considered. The reason why you get so many emails from companies promoting their “limited time offers” is that people want to get things that wouldn’t be available anymore to others in future. The strategy works even if companies keep on presenting the same offer month after month after month!

Phrases like “Don’t miss this opportunity…”, “our offer is ending soon”, “Here’s something you’ll miss out soon…” can be helpful. You can also apply restraints over the supply, like free or X% Off on memberships for the first 100 applicants.

If your product is different from others that are already ruling the market, try to emphasize its unique traits to increase the impression of its scarcity.

 

6. Commitment and consistency:

Customers say yes when they observe commitment and consistency in your words, attitudes, and actions. You should act in line with what you have already done or said publicly.

If you make a commitment and stay consistently great in fulfilling those commitments, you made customers trust you. The commitments can be about anything like delivering quality services, meeting expectations, sticking to deadlines, just to name a few.

The reason why upselling to a previous, satisfied customer is easy because they believe that their experience with your company will be as good as the previous one. Similarly, unsatisfied clients won’t buy from you. That is the power of consistency.

Go for the little commitments at first and then earn your customer’s trust by keeping up the consistency. For instance, if you run a shop that houses different types of furniture, ask your prospects to complete a simple questionnaire to gauge their interest. Maybe they prefer comfort over price or the other way round. You can use the findings to adjust your commitments to them. For the comfort advocates, you can promise highly comfortable and cushiony sofas. Similarly, for those looking for affordability, you can guarantee the best-priced chairs and cabinets. Once you have made the commitment, you can fortify it to make large-scale offers.

 

To sum up

We are living in a world full of sales people using baffling sales pitches. It’s time to be simple now. Sales is all about storytelling but make sure your story is comprehensive, short, influential and, most importantly, true. It’s much to ask from a simple story to be all this, but you can take baby steps towards incorporating these tips, tricks, hacks, strategies or whatever you call them in your practices. If you know more tips that are effective in persuading your customers to say yes, do share them with us in the comments below.

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Hermione’s Time Turner: How to Find Time for Everything

If you are a Harry Potter fan, you probably know that Hermione Granger used a magical time-turner to attend more classes and ‘save more than one innocent life’, as Dumbledore said. Even though most of us would never use it to attend more classes, it is no secret that all of us wish to have such tool in our lives.

What would you do if you had the ability to turn back time? Perhaps you want to experience two things that take place at the same time or missed an important meeting in the past. Some of us simply want a time turner to get back to times where we felt happiest.

However, we are not Hermione and, unfortunately, are not part of the wizarding community. Therefore, you should learn to do everything that is in a muggle’s power to find time for things you consider important.

 

1. Plan your time

There are many things you can do to plan your time properly, but we decided to pick the most popular ones to get you on the right track:

 

Circular Diagram

Originally invented for the world of economy, the circular diagram is currently very popular among students in Asia. If you find it hard to plan your time and finish your tasks within the set deadlines, try out this popular time-planning method.

 

Time-planner

A time-planner or to-do list can certainly make an order from your mess of a schedule. You cannot turn back time, but can certainly do most of it and what better way to do this than by writing it all down?

 

Franklin Covey system

Have you heard of the Franklin Covey system? This is a very simple, yet highly effective way to organize your time by setting tasks according to priorities and urgency.

Planning your time by using these systems is not difficult at all. Once you learn how to do this, you are one step closer to Hermione’s achievement (if that were even possible for us muggles).

 

2. Pick your priorities

As the Franklin Covey system suggests, people must set their priorities to use time wisely. Time is rushing by and there is no way to stop it, which is why you must learn how to get the best out of it before it is too late.

Once you get an important thing done, you will have more motivation to continue with the remaining of your daily, weekly or monthly tasks and goals.

 

3. Take drastic measures

There is something you can do as Hermione does – take drastic measures to achieve your goals. Was there ever a time that Hermione forgot about her school tasks or did not read the assigned book? If you want to get something done, there is no room for fooling around or procrastinating things of high importance.

 

4. Limit your internet time

Wizards do not use the internet and social media for a reason and this reason is quite obvious – internet surfing is one of the biggest useless time-consumers. Imagine what would happen if Harry Potter was looking for ways to fight Voldermort online or looked for the Chamber of Secrets on Google Maps?

As technology advances, we are becoming more and more addicted to the Internet, which is why you have to follow their example. The Internet is an advantage since we are not magical, but try to limit the usage to get more time to finish the tasks.

 

5. Don’t forget to rest

No one can function at their best unless they are rested. For this reason, you have to take the time and give your brain some rest before getting on the following tasks.

When you start feeling tired, take a small break to refresh your mind. Being tired can only slow down your actions and is definitely not a productive way to finish your tasks.

 

Finite incantatum

You may not have Hermione’s time turner, but you certainly do not have to rush around all day to finish every task. If you learn to manage your time properly, you can finish everything in time and achieve your goal without saying afterwards ‘I wish I had a time turner.’

What’s your favorite way to manage your time. Tell us your secrets in the comments below.

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Boost Your Social Automation With Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the bigger things that’s just starting to hit mainstream marketing. The early adopters who have been a bit ahead of the game have been integrating it into their activities. But what exactly is artificial intelligence in the marketing world?

AI can take many forms in marketing:

  • Predictive analytics
  • Chatbots
  • Recommended purchases (via machine learning)
  • Social media algorithms

Basically, these overarching functions help shave time off the mundane parts of marketing – just like marketing automation is supposed to do. But, a little differently than automation, of course. It can even help save social media marketers some time.

But social media is supposed to be the antithesis of AI, right? It’s supposed to be human at its core. Well, yes, you want social media to be authentic above all else. But social automation has some fingers dipped into AI as well.

So, here’s where things get tricky. Because we know that social media automation has some great uses:

  • Scheduling posts
  • Social listening
  • Initiating campaigns

But social media automation has some big risks, too. Things like sounding robotic in automated replies, or automated replies being inappropriate to the situation. Adding AI into this mix, when done well, can help mitigate some of those risks. But it can never, ever replace human interaction. Be prepared to respond personally to any conversation you start on social media, no matter how you start it.

 

How AI can boost social automation

AI has already snuck into social media, very subtly. Social media marketers might not even consider this AI, but in reality, it is. And the bigger pieces point to some huge potential for social automation.

 

1. Finding the “best time” to post to social channels.

This is already here – how else does your social scheduling solution know when the best time is? But there’s even “smarter” scheduling than you might see in your favorite social scheduling software. Meet Yala. (Hi, Yala.) She’s a clever piece of software who can schedule your social posts, but also learn when to schedule your posts to when your audience will be most engaged… and she’ll adjust your posting schedule as your audience evolves. She uses machine learning to improve your scheduling with every post.

 

2. Predictive analytics.

Predictive, really? Yep. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a good idea of which posts will perform the best for you? The data team at the New York Times build a slackbot (called Blossom) to do that – it predicts which stories have the most potential to go viral.  A part of the Social Bakers analytics suite can predict which organic content to promote based on predicted future performance. This is all based on an analysis of what kind of posts have done well for your company in the past, coupled with what kind of content your audience likes, so the software can predict how different kinds of content will perform.

 

3. Assistance with writing posts

What’s one of the things that we humans can bring to marketing? Creativity! So we can count on AI never putting creative types out of a job… but even we need help with understanding if a piece of creative is going to be effective or not. Enter AI. CoSchedule has an analyzer for both headlines and social messages (two of my go-to tools) to help write engaging copy for the relevant media.

There’s also a tool called Pi, from Post Intelligence that learns how you post, what your audience likes the most, and then finds that kind of content for you. It can even start to write short posts for you in your brand voice.

 

4. Facial recognition

From a user perspective, this can sound creepy, but from a marketer’s perspective, it’s pretty cool. Say you’re a brick & mortar store of some sort, like a restaurant. A guest posts a photo at your place of business, and tags you or checks in there on social media. Imagine the facial recognition feature of Facebook AI giving you the opportunity to retarget this user with a coupon, to help inspire repeat business. Or, looking to the future, using the emotional detection and content delivery mechanism that Facebook is working on – to deliver specific content to your audience members based on their moods. There are lots of ways to capitalize on an audience mood – from buying things based on something you’re celebrating (adopting a pet, having a baby), of if you’re feeling a little down (retail therapy).

 

5. Surfacing the most important conversations

Say what, now? Well, this is best described as acting like a spam filter for social media. Lots of conversations happen, but how many of them are genuine conversations that deserve response? And how many of them are just posts from bots? Who’s looking for help, and who’s entering your contest? And AI can help you prioritize those legitimate users. But AI cannot help you actually respond to them – it’s still our job to do what we do best: be human.

 

In conclusion

AI can be a tremendous tool for social media marketing. Pair it with good ol’ human-powered innovation and creativity, and you’ve got a powerhouse ready to work for you. The possibilities are endless.

Have you started using AI to boost your social media efforts? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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How to Organize a Hack Day at Your Agency

Hack day, hackathon, hackfest (noun): an event or day where a person or company takes time out from normal daily activities to brainstorm, create, or develop.

Originating in the tech world, the earliest hackathons were designed for coders to brainstorm a particular problem and develop a solution in a short time. And they still continue in this vein to this day. At a recent hack day at The Guardian, for example, the tech team created 40 different innovations, including a tool that forces internet trolls to donate to charity before commenting on sensitive articles, and an audio-commenting tool which lets readers record voice responses to articles.

But hack days aren’t just for developers. Big Spaceship, a Brooklyn-based digital agency, launched a hack day to get the whole workforce coming up with new marketing ideas. The team were told to spend the day “making things that are shareable”, and they produced some pretty groovy concepts – from emoji-fueled fighting games to virtual reality “happy places.”

 

The benefits of hack days

This is what hack days are all about. For one day a year (or more frequently if you like!), everyone at your agency gets the chance to drop tools and bounce all those cool and unusual ideas they’ve had rattling around their heads off each other. Pausing normal business operations so that your entire team can follow their creative urges may sound slightly left field to say the least – but the benefits are numerous.

First, taking time out to organize a hackathon for your team is a fantastic opportunity to form new strategies and innovations simply by bringing the whole team together to work towards one specific goal. But hack days offer so much more than that, not least in building team morale – for what hack days offer is a chance for the whole office to mingle, and that might be something that doesn’t happen enough at your agency.

Indeed, according to recent research from the MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory, the most valuable form of communication between team members is face-to-face, with email and texting showing to be the least valuable. This is why organizing a hack day at your agency will be so beneficial – it will provide an opportunity to get your team involved with some proper in-person interaction. How many great ideas get lost in endless email exchanges? How much valuable insight from the sales department never makes it through to the marketing team? Organize a hackathon, give these separate departments a chance to have some fun and share their ideas together, and you might just unearth a brand new strategy with potential to make real changes in your company.

Put simply, a hack day gives your agency the chance to generate new ideas, rekindle your employees’ passion for their work, unleash new swathes of creativity, and bring your team closer together.

Let’s run through the three Ps of running a successful hack day – planning, participation, and prizes.

 

How to organize a hack day at your agency

PLANNING your hack day

Timing

It should go without saying, but give yourself plenty of time to organize a hack day. Ensure you have picked a date and time when the vast majority of those you wish to participate are available. Give everyone at least a month’s notice, and see that the event is diarized and timely reminders are sent out. And be careful that you’re not planning a hack day at a time when it will clash with a major event, or workload is likely to be particularly heavy. The runway must be clear.
Next, decide which team members will be involved in the hackathon. Do you want to focus on a small part of the team who you feel will work well together, or do you want to get everyone involved? A team-wide hack day can be incredibly invigorating and fun, and by including everybody, you may find that the most innovative ideas come from the unlikeliest of sources.

Structure

Think about how you want to structure your hackathon. Choosing a theme can be a great way to give the day some structure – suggested themes might be internal culture, customer focus, productivity, new marketing initiatives, or ways to boost conversion rates. A thematic approach works well if you have a specific problem you want to solve or an initiative you want to develop. Alternatively, you could keep things completely open, meaning everything from office hacks to art hacks to food hacks to life hacks are encouraged – nothing is off-limits. This approach may well generate more ideas, but it should be noted that it could also become disjointed if there is less direction to what you are trying to achieve. Think about the outcomes you want and plan accordingly.

Lastly, don’t forget the basics in terms of a suitable venue, refreshments, and the equipment you’ll need. Ideally, a hack day should be held away from your normal working environment, a change of scene may well heighten the enthusiasm of your team members and enhance their creativity.

 

PARTICIPATION in your hack day

Depending on the size of your team, you will need to think about the logistics of how everyone will work together to generate the innovative ideas you’re hoping will emerge when you organize a hack day. For smaller agencies, you may be able to work as one group – larger companies may need to separate out a bit. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to plan the day so as to ensure that your team members do not stay in the same group all day – perhaps by planning several different sessions. One-to-one ideas generation can also be great for encouraging collaborative working and thinking, and will push your team members out of their comfort zones by ensuring they speak to others they don’t normally work with. One-to-ones can be easily facilitated with a simple speed networking session.

Which brings us onto facilitation. A good facilitator is essential for your hack day, as they will be able to plan and time the sessions appropriately, encourage the more reluctant team members to participate, and keep things under control if minds (and mouths!) start to wander. Your facilitator could already be on the payroll, but there is huge value in bringing in an external facilitator if your budget allows.

 

PRIZES for your hack day

Without putting too fine a point on it, some of your team members may be less than enthusiastic about participating when you tell them you’re going to organize a hack day, assuming it’s a sort of “touchy-feely” management initiative, or that the day is taking them away from all the far more important tasks on their to-do list. Injecting an element of fun through prizes or incentives may help increase enthusiasm and introduce a healthy competitive element into your hack day.

And competitions – even the healthy varieties – of course need prizes. Top prizes will naturally go to the members who generated the best new ideas – and the better the prize (tickets, vouchers, cash!) the better the incentive. However, the best hack days also keep an air of informality about them, and so don’t forget the fun prizes, too. For instance – offering a fun prize (a badge, t-shirt, or some chocolate!) to the participant who presented his/her idea in the most humorous/memorable/original way will certainly encourage some entertaining pitches. And, it must be said, that even if your hackathon doesn’t end up producing a wealth of great new growth ideas, if it gets everyone laughing, bonding and having fun together, then that’s a success in itself.

 

Over to you

Organizing a hack day will undoubtedly unearth some great new objectives for your company. But, in addition, it will also give everyone a break from the normal everyday grind, a chance to express their creativity, and a real opportunity to interact with team members they don’t usually get a chance to work with. Communication is the lifeblood of a happy, successful workforce, and when you organize a hack day, you have the chance to enrich it.

Got any great ideas for organizing a hack day that you’d like to share? Head down to the comments section below and let’s hear ‘em! Happy hacking, everyone!

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How to Up Your Blogging Game in Six Easy Steps

Whether you’re new to blogging or just trying to streamline your process, there are a number of considerations you want to take into account. Improving your blogging process can help you increase traffic, establish yourself as a thought leader and get higher rankings in search results.

In the early days of the internet, blogging was as simple as publishing your thoughts onto the web. Between Google’s random ranking updates and the evolving, consumer-centric marketing world, that is no longer the case. Effective blogging and content marketing requires forethought, planning and strategizing. Let’s take a look at the six steps you can take to take your blogging efforts to the next level.

 

1. Define your objectives

Whether you’re a novice to marketing or a seasoned expert, you should know that every great execution is backed by a solid strategy. Every strategy is laid with specific goals in mind. Before you start blogging, you need to consider what it is you’re trying to achieve. Perhaps you want to get more traffic to your site. Or maybe you want to improve your search results for particular keywords. No matter what the reason, write it down. The best blogging strategies are built backwards from objectives.

 

2. Define your strategy

You have your objectives in mind, and now it’s time to start planning how you’ll meet them. If you’re blogging to rank better for certain keywords, you should make a list of those keywords and build out your topics with those in mind. Check out this Content Marketing Institute article for a good idea on how to conduct effective keyword research.

Once your keywords are established, you should begin to think about blog topics that align with those keywords. The best way to organize here is to create a content calendar. There are a number of ways to do this, but a simple spreadsheet can work wonders. Create columns for the following:

  • Date
  • Topic/Title
  • Keyword
  • Audience/Persona
  • Promotion Channels

Rows should consist of dates. From there, you can fill in your schedule accordingly. Some people like to organize content calendars by monthly themes or campaigns. Others choose to organize by product or service focus.

 

3. Optimize your calendar

The content calendar is a great way to get your ideas organized. Next, you’ll want to make sure your calendar is optimized. Let’s say your goal is to improve search rankings for particular keywords. You can use Google Trends to see the search trends and volume for your chosen keywords across regions and languages. This will help you get a sense for how many people are actually searching for the focus keywords you’ve selected. You can also utilize Google’s Keyword Planner, which can supply you with related keyword ideas and long-tail keywords to target.

 

Also optimize your blog titles. Ideally, these are no more than 60 characters long. A helpful trick is to insert an additional column in your spreadsheet, next to your title with the formula =LEN(a1) (if a1 is the cell containing your title). This formula calculates the total number of characters in your title. If you drag the formula into every cell down to the bottom of your calendar, it will auto-populate the tally every time you insert or change a title. Just like magic, you can tweak your blog titles to ensure they are the optimized, search-friendly length.

 

4. Start writing

Once you’ve planned a month or two of topics, keywords, and social channels on which to promote your content, you should start the writing process. Depending on your niche, this could involve some significant research. With most B2B blog writing, it makes sense to include facts, stats and figures that build the case for the story you’re telling. You’ll want to dedicate enough time to gather the insights and data you need to write a comprehensive, intelligent blog post.

Once you have the information you need, you can either dive right into drafting or outline the guts of your post. Everyone’s preferences are different when it comes to writing process, but always be sure to spell and grammar check your final product. It can also be helpful to run the copy through a plagiarism checker to ensure you’ve properly credited all sources and haven’t accidentally copied something word-for-word in your research.

 

5. Optimize for SEO

In order to get the most out of your blogging, you should always take on-page SEO best practices into account. WordPress plugins like Yoast can make this simple for you by providing an interface on the backend for you to address all SEO elements. If you’re not an SEO pro and you aren’t using Yoast, keep the following in mind:

  • Titles should be less than 60 characters
  • Include meta descriptions of about 140 characters
  • If you upload images, include an ALT tag with your keyword
  • Utilize tagging for page titles (H1) and headings/sub-headings (H2/H3)
  • Use internal links where possible

 

6. Publish and promote

Congrats! You’ve completed the blogging journey and you’re ready to hit the publish button. I always like to run a last-minute spelling and grammar check to ensure that any changes I’ve logged in the editing process didn’t enter any typos or odd sentences into my finished piece. Do one final read-through to check that everything is structured in a way that makes sense, all sources are cited and your SEO is on point. Once you’re happy with the final result, go ahead and publish.

Your work doesn’t end there. Great blogs are useless if no one reads them. Be sure to promote your shiny new piece on the appropriate social media channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, others as appropriate). Include a question in your status updates to elicit feedback and comments on your post.

up your blogging game in 6 easy steps

Wrapping up

A lot more work goes into blogging than you would see on the surface. Do you have any other tips on how to improve your blogging processes? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

The post How to Up Your Blogging Game in Six Easy Steps appeared first on GetResponse Blog – Online Marketing Tips.

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