Social Media Marketing

How to Succeed as a Small Business on Instagram

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Editor's Note: Matt Foster is a Content Strategist at Distinctly. Today he joins us to explain how a small business on Instagram can build their presence, and effectively engage with a diverse audience.

 

Since it was introduced in 2010, Instagram has become one of the most popular and widely used social media sites, competing with Twitter as a key platform for business users. So how can Instagram benefit you as a small business?

In December 2016, Instagram boasted over 600 million followers: a world of potential clients and customers for small businesses. This enormous market is often tapped by bigger brands looking to develop their social media marketing efforts, while smaller businesses sometimes assume it will not work for them; this simply is not true. In this article, we’ll show how to raise brand awareness and reach a larger customer base as a small business on Instagram. Let’s get started!

Target Your Content

After setting up an Instagram account, it’s time to post content. But where do you start? The key to success on Instagram is knowing the kind of content that will capture the attention of your audience. As a small business, it’s important that you know who your target users are, and tailor content to their interests. Begin by looking at your current customer base, and decide who they are in terms of age, location and gender. Once this information is clear, it’s easier to make an informed decision on content and hashtags.

Hashtags and trending topics are important on Instagram, and many will be relevant to you. When a hashtag relevant to your business blows up, it’s a great way to reach a wider audience beyond your followers. Adding hashtags to the content you post means it can be easily found, and posting content that is relevant to current trends can do the same. Both techniques are good ways to not only gain followers, but generate brand awareness in your target market.

Keeping your Instagram content related to your company brand is important, and this can be done by choosing a niche theme. When you have a theme, followers know what to expect, and will rely on you for similar posts down the road. It can take some experimentation to find something that is both unique and well-received, but once you’ve found something that works, you can focus on perfecting it.

A woodworking business based in Georgia, USA - Sons of Sawdust - reclaimed wood to create new products. By taking photos of their projects and posting them online, the company has created a popular online portfolio showcasing their work, and providing a behind-the-scenes demonstration of their processes. To make sure the right people see it, Sons of Sawdust uses relevant hashtags – #workshop, #oldwood, and #salvage, for example – so it will be found by a wide variety of users interested in woodworking.

A small business on Instagram

Engagement is Key

Being active and engaging your audience is vital to building a successful presence as a small business on Instagram. You can post great quality, relevant content, but if no one knows you have an online presence, you will struggle to grow it. Start by telling current customers that you have social media accounts by putting a link to your Instagram on your website, and advertise it on other mediums like Facebook and Twitter. Include all social media links in your email signatures to drive traffic.

Consistency is a tremendously important way to keep your audience engaged, so content should be uploaded on a frequent and regular basis. The more active a small business is on Instagram, the more engagement they will see in return.

There are optimum posting times for Instagram, so try to establish a routine and post when most of your audience is online. Social Insights and Iconosquare are tools that will help you find the best times to post for maximum engagement, and both use analytics to optimize for your unique follower-base.

Another way to gain a large Instagram presence is collaborating with another local business or organisation that has already established themselves on Instagram. Working together exposes you to a pre-existing audience, and expands your own base.

Instagram has become the social platform for influencer endorsements. Do research to identify an influencer who shares your product, service, or target audience on Instagram, and build the relationship through engaging, ultimately inquiring about them promoting your business.

You can approach and offer between $20 and $100 they will promote your product or brand to their followers. There are plenty of research tools you can use to target the right influences for the size of their following in set niches, although be aware this must be matched with high levels of engagement of their followers when they post content.
Alasdair Inglis – Marketing expert at We Are Grow

Be Unique and Stand Out

In order to create an engaging Instagram account, it is essential to stand out from the crowd. So where do you start in terms of generating unique content? Your business likely offers a product, service or experience that is sold to customers through a unique selling point (USP), and you can use this to attract followers.

The London Helicopter has special access to bird’s eye views of the London skyline every day. The company’s USP lies in offering an experience that many people want to see, and that very few get to see. As a visually oriented platform, Instagram is a perfect place for this company to showcase these experiences and share them with followers who are unlikely to forget the brand if they are ever on vacation.

The London Heli Instagram

Have a Consistent Style

As mentioned before, consistency is key to all forms of social media and Instagram is no exception. But while many companies remember to post consistently, they often neglect stylistic consistency. People follow a brand because they want to see more of whatever attracted them in the first place, so giving it to them is important.

A popular way of doing this is to concentrate on a branded color palette throughout your content. Oreo does this well by using the same house style and color scheme in each of their posts:

Oreo Instagram

Instagram is About More than Gaining Customers

While social media can absolutely help you to gain new customers, it isn’t just a quick way to boost your business and market your products. It also works to demonstrate excellent customer service, and the quality of people who work for your business.

There are many ways businesses and brands can benefit from this besides the acquisition of new customers:

Boosting Sales Among Existing Customers: Businesses who show great customer service on their social media accounts are likely to see a boost in sales and profits. Research by Aberdeen Group found that brands who are good at customer service benefit from an annual financial gain of 7.5%, against the typical 2.9%.

Creating Brand Advocates: Using social media turns your customers into brand advocates. If a customer has a good experience with a brand on social media, they are three times as likely to recommend that brand to a friend or family member. This is how word of mouth works in the digital age.

Creating a Positive Image: Social media platforms are a good way to show old and potential customers alike that you are interested in them, and this matters even if you aren’t getting direct sales from your content. 74% of shoppers list social platforms as a main influence on whether or not they made a purchase, so it is important for brands  to focus on customer care and maintaining a friendly, outgoing public image.

Like other social media platforms, Instagram gives your customers a space to interact with your company, a chance to retain old customers, and gain new ones. Using it effectively means appreciating the unique qualities of a visual medium, and being sincere in your efforts to build a positive image that your brand will be remembered for. Getting started isn't hard, and it's well worth it - hopefully the advice above will help you to build your presence on a platform that is teeming with opportunity.

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

B2B Social Visual Storytelling on Instagram, Pinterest & Tumblr

Creating and Curating Content People Love

Social Media Strategy for Business

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space.

 


Infographic: How to Get Sales with Facebook Advertising

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Editor's Note: Ted Chong is a Business IT expert and director at Ice Cube Marketing, where this infographic was first published. Today he joins to share his insight on using Facebook advertising to generate leads.

 

It’s statistically safe to assume you are a Facebook user and you don't buy every single item advertised on the social media platform. In fact, you may not have ever purchased something advertised on Facebook. This is largely because, although it presents an incredible opportunity for targeted marketing, many companies fail to use Facebook effectively by correctly tailoring their ads to an ideal audience.

Advertisers sometimes forget that Facebook is primarily a social network, rather than a commercial platform. As advertisers competing in a content barrage with endless cat videos and selfies, we need all the tricks we have to stand out.

In this infographic, we summarize the most important factors in Facebook advertising. By following good strategy, you can take advantage of Facebook's diverse audience, and reach the people who matter most.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • When choosing your audience, remember that Facebook has more data about them than you can imagine. Make sure you go beyond broad interests, and select nuanced criteria.
  • The best results on Facebook occur with low-commitment, foot-in-the-door offers with subsequent upsells. For the B2B market, free demo/consultations/eBooks/trials work very well. For B2C, events/workshops/samples/discounts/contests can do magic.
  • In your ads, using feeble words just doesn't cut it. Use power words that short-circuit the brain and demand attention.
  • If you hope to generate leads, go for website clicks or conversions as objectives that Facebook's algorithm can optimize for.

 

fb101

A case scenario: I gave away a free SEO checklist to my audience and it attracted around 200 opt-ins from Facebook. Some of them ended up buying my service, and I made 3-4 times my adspend - not to mention that I got to build my email list at the same time!

There's no one-size-fits-all foolproof strategy. Everything from your offers to your ads hinge on your audience's wants and needs; the winner is the one who understands her audience better than her competitors. By taking the time to learn, strategize and focus your criteria, Facebook advertising can be a very lucrative boost to your business.

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

Facebook Advertising and Targeting

Fundamentals of Facebook Marketing

7 Elements of Highly Effective Facebook Marketing

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space.

 


Best Email Marketing Tools for Small Business

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Editor's note: Stacey Marone is a social media marketer who has joined us today to explore the best tools for managing an email marketing campaign.

 

Social media is often portrayed as the ultimate marketing tool for small businesses. But before there were social networks, people relied on email to stay connected. In fact, everyone on a social network has an email address, but not everyone with an email address is on a social network. It stands to reason that you can reach a lot more people with email marketing than with social media marketing alone.

Even with a strong social media strategy, email marketing opens your business to many leads and opportunities you might otherwise miss. Furthermore, the two strategies can be combined to create more powerful campaigns.

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is a kind of targeted marketing.

If you’re like most people, you sometimes open your mailbox to find brochures and invitations from different companies offering product information, samples, free seminars and other promotional material.

Email marketing is something like that, except in digital form. In both cases, you need contact information to promote your business. When it comes to email marketing, this information takes the form of an email list compiled from your existing customers, or email addresses you got from site registrations.

There are many ways to obtain a list of email addresses. But once that’s taken care of, you have a new challenge on your hands: turning them into customers. In order to make the best use of your leads, it's essential to have a versatile email platform that will help you to send the right information where it counts.

To help you find what’s right for you, we’ve compiled a list of the best email marketing tools for your business. Let’s get started!

Mail Chimp

mailchimp

In spite of its humorous style, MailChimp is a very serious email marketing tool, and one of the most popular and user-friendly ones around. It is especially useful if you are just starting out on your email marketing journey.

MailChimp will do much of the work for you, including product follow-ups and stock availability updates. It will track what your customers are buying so you can target them with related product offerings. You can also integrate MailChimp with your Twitter and Facebook account, allowing you to bring social media and email marketing together.

If you have an e-commerce store, MailChimp has a lot of great options for you; it will connect directly to services like WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento, or BigCommerce. This integration allows you to create email campaigns directly from your store.

Beginners will appreciate the intuitive drag-and-drop interface in MailChimp’s email builder, and the dashboard is also very simple to navigate. To track success, you can easily generate reports of your campaigns to learn how many people opened their emails, which links got the most clicks, and what customer segments respond best to different offers.

MailChimp is also very fairly priced, with a free plan to send up to 12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers a month. This is usually a great place for small businesses to start. Once you gather steam paid plans start at $10 a month.

Litmus

litmus

Next up on our list is Litmus, a versatile platform that takes analytics to the next level. Litmus specializes in testing and tracking emails with advanced features to help you fine tune your email marketing strategy. It’s a step up from MailChimp, but still quite easy to use, and makes a great supplement to email campaigns that you might be running on another service.

Litmus not only tests email optimization for PCs and laptops, but also mobile devices. Since the market is increasingly going mobile, this is an important strategy for success. If you test your emails before sending them out, you will see exactly how they look to your recipients. By refining the look and load time of the emails you send, automatically removing broken links and streamlining design elements, Litmus will ensure you get the most bang for your buck.

Litmus will also track your emails so you get important information such as what devices were used to open emails, when they were opened, and how much time recipients spent on them.

As a testing and tracking tool, Litmus takes the cake. Beginning with a 7 day free trial, using Litmus permanently will cost you a cool $79.00 per month. Given how much it can improve your results, the investment can be well worth it for those with a medium to large email marketing list.

Reach Mail

reachmail

For those with smaller budgets who would still like to benefit from email analytics and optimization, Reach Mail is a good, affordable option at a mere $10.00 per month.

Like Litmus, Reach Mail offers message testing and tracks email performance. It also has a Spam Checker, which tests your emails to see whether they might be flagged as spam. A nice feature of Reach Mail is that it considers your emails as entire compositions, taking into account both subject lines and content in its analysis. This is important for determining how successful your campaigns will be ahead of time.

Like MailChimp, Reach Mail offers hundreds of attractive templates for creating your emails, so you won't need graphic or layout chops to send a professional-looking email. And if you do want something a little more unique for a special occasion, you can easily request custom design directly through the service.

ActiveTrail

activetrail

Formerly known as TargetHero, ActiveTrail is an email marketing solution which specifically targets the growing population of users who read emails on mobile devices.

Aside from the usual email composition and sending features, ActiveTrail will automatically send targeted emails to people on your list who perform certain actions on your website, such as registering for a newsletter, or entering a particular campaign. These auto responses can be a “Thank You” or verification email which include product offerings and other promotional information relevant to the target user - you do your marketing every step along the way!

AvtiveTrail’s pricing comes in tiers. For $7 a month, you can manage up to 500 subscribers, and it goes all the way up to $55 a month for 10,000. This range of options makes it easy to start small, and expand according to your means. If you’d like to give this tool a spin, there’s also a free trial, so take advantage of that before committing!

There are many other options in the world of email marketing to help you accomplish your goals, but these are great choices for beginners; even simple tools like MailChimp are used by very large corporations to manage their email marketing needs. There’s no better way to learn than by doing, so pick one and give it a try!

Stacey Marone is a freelance writer and a social media marketer. She creates magnetic content optimized for search. In her free time, she also does volunteer work and organizes some activities for children. Her passions involve painting, reading, and writing. You can follow her on twitter.

Learn more with these related OMI classes: 

Using Social Data to Improve Email Marketing

How to Create Mobile Friendly Emails

Successfully Measuring Email Performance

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space.

 


Infographic: Portrait of A Mobile Consumer

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There has never been a better time to optimize your business for mobile consumers. When cell phones were first invented, few people could have anticipated the processing power of the devices we hold in our hands today. With just a few swipes of the finger, we can communicate with our friends in endless ways, capture high-quality photos, shop for products and services, and easily manage every aspect of our personal and professional lives.

The power of this connectivity is changing the world of commerce. Now, product research and buying can be performed wherever consumers are, whether they’re walking in the park, sitting on a train, or taking a lunch break.

This means payment providers and retail giants are changing the way they operate. Brands use social media to reach out to us in a personalized way, and when we do head to brick-and-mortar stores, more and more digital transaction points are available, making it easier and quicker for us to pay at the till.

With the amount of data available online, consumers will be more informed before they choose to buy. And, with e-commerce sales estimated to reach $626 billion by 2018, it’s certainly something all the big players will be investing in.

The portrait of the mobile consumer has certainly changed a lot and is set to evolve further. Online marketers should definitely capitalize by optimizing their platforms for mobile shoppers, and making content easily available to mobile devices.

Check out this great infographic for more information.

voucher_cloud_mobile
This infographic was first published by Maureen Sanford at Vouchercloud

Want to learn more about any of the subjects mentioned above? Here are some relevant classes: Building Your Mobile Strategy, Integrating Mobile into Social Media MarketingMobile PR & Content Marketing

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here here!

 

 


10 Ways to Amplify Content Promotion Strategies

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Generating content is the first step in engaging your audience, but your job isnt quite done once the content is out there. In order to get the most out of your content, you need to understand how to market what you have. Employing content promotion strategies can help boost your reach. Here are 10 ways you can expose your content to more prospects.

1. Ask For Contributions from Top Influencers

By publishing content, you automatically leverage the attention of your existing audience, but tapping into a bigger influencers larger base can open up your content to a wider crowd. How do you do this? Simply cite and link to top influencers when applicable. When you mention these influencers, you have a good chance of getting them to share the content, thereby exposing it to their audience.

Related Class: Finding Influencers to Amplify Social Reach

2. Give Those Influencers Meaningful Incentives

If you hope for an influencer to share your content, you must be prepared to give something in return. Give influencers an incentive, whether its a promotion or a product review, or any other form of mutual exchange. In turn, they are much more likely to help build your audience by sharing content on their platform.

3. Engage Niche Communities

It would be great to achieve mass appeal across a wide range of audiences, but that’s not how you should focus your attention. Instead, focus on the smaller segments that your content appeals to most. You might have content that specifically appeals to online marketers or the tech community; if thats the case, seek out places where these people tend to gravitate, and stay active in those communities.

4. Using the Skyscraper Technique

One way to create content with a built-in audience is to use the skyscraper technique. The idea behind this method is to find the best content thats already published by your competitors and build on it. Any content can be improved on with better design and more in-depth material. This isn’t the same as plagiarism, or spinning: borrowing ideas and making them better isn’t stealing. It’s how all writers, artists, thinkers and innovators thrive.

5. Create Hero Content

Rather than focusing on quantity of content, work on bigger and better content. Concentrate on producing resources that can be marketed and promoted, and spend the effort getting it out to the community.

Related Class: Creating and Curating Content People Love

6. Use Native Advertising

content_promotion_strategies_2

Native advertising is paid content that fits into the standard structure of a site. Native advertising usually performs better than something like a banner ad, as long as it doesnt come off as pushy, or clash with the tone of your site.

7. Use Broken Links to Your Advantage

When you write powerful content, find other sites that have linked to similar articles, and identify those with broken links. You can use extensions to identify sites with broken links or broken redirects. Then, contact the staff to suggest your article as a replacement for the broken link or redirect. It may sound counter-intuitive, but it works. If they agree, that backlink will help your SEO for that particular page, thus improving the visibility in Google’s organic results for that article.

8. Buy Niche Property

If you are already a large Internet business, buying niche property is a viable option for you. While obviously an expensive prospect, acquiring an existing site that focuses on your market is a great way to quickly expand your platform and get your content out to the right audience.

9. Give Incentives to Sharers

Contests and access to exclusive content are both great ways to increase your audience’s engagement. If you provide them something in exchange for sharing your content, you can gain considerable growth directly from that incentive.

10. Use Snip.ly

Snip.ly is a tool for creating banners on the bottom of your content that links to other articles and resources on your site. This is a great way to keep site visitors around longer, which helps garner clicks and improve usability metrics.

Content promotion strategies can significantly boost your audience reach, which means more clicks, leads and sales. While I’ve touched on a number of these methods, don’t get overwhelmed: dedicating yourself to just one or a few can have a big impact.

Nick Rojas is a self-taught, serial entrepreneur who’s enjoyed success working with and consulting for startups. Using his journalism training, Nick writes for publications such as Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, and Yahoo. He concentrates on teaching small and medium-sized enterprises how best to manage their social media marketing and define their branding objectives.

Want to learn more about any of the subjects mentioned above? Here are some relevant classes: Finding Influencers to Amplify Social ReachContent Marketing Strategy for Social MediaCreating and Curating Content People Love

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here here!

 


The Best Growth Marketing Strategies for B2B Businesses

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Although B2B business has always been in the shadow of B2C, the field has demonstrated significant growth over the past year. The industry continues to mature and attract more prospects, as companies adopt effective strategies to increase profits and engage more clients.

Some reviewers cite companies like Alibaba and Amazon to support the claim that B2B companies are becoming more like B2C.  The B2B world seems to increasingly recognize the importance of customer experience and service, a domain it has historically neglected.

Apparently, this approach is paying off significantly. In the U.S., B2B e-commerce is already twice as large as B2C e-commerce. The same trend will likely expand to the international arena in the near future.

What specific strategies lie behind the success of modern B2B companies? Let’s find out.

Social Media Engagement

The role of social media for B2B companies continues to increase. Previously, this field has been dominated by B2C companies because it grants them access to an enormous client base. However, in recent years, social media has been increasingly used by companies that provide services to other companies, especially through Facebook ads. You have probably seen them in your news feeds; they invite you to connect with the business by visiting their site to request a quote or demo. There's definitely a strategy to marketing your B2B company with Facebook, so make sure you adequately understand the Facebook sales funnel.

Besides providing great opportunities to use digital advertising, social media networks are a good way to engage with your existing customer base and answer questions from potential customers. With social media, getting in touch with a company is convenient and low-commitment, providing prospects with an easy way to reach out and learn more.

The most effective social media profiles contain “contact us” buttons that encourage viewers to click them and visit the company website. Given that more than half of international B2B companies use social media, adding it to your B2B company’s online presence is a no-brainer.

LinkedIn Presence

The first international network for professionals has emerged as a great marketing tool for B2B companies. According to Jerome Knyszewski from Heavyshift Marketing, LinkedIn has generated 80 percent of B2B leads out of 100,000 posts, while the closest competitor Twitter raked in only 12.7 percent. Facebook is third with just 6 percent. Several years ago, LinkedIn was primarily used as a way of connecting with colleagues and business partners, but its function has evolved to include lead generation by connecting with businesses.

For example, experienced B2B owners say that a series of messages are sent to the representatives of companies as part of their marketing process. According to Martin Morgan, a senior marketer from Proessaywriting, this strategy works just like a standard lead generating and nurturing approach and is supposed to build relationships with potential partners.

For more information on engaging with potential contacts on LinkedIn, learn how to create a LinkedIn engagement strategy.

Use of Targeted Content

Targeted content marketing is another method of attracting customers that was initially applied mainly by B2C companies. Content is increasingly recognized as a primary factor in the decision to engage with a company because it helps to connect, entertain, educate, and improve brand image.

B2B businesses have recognized the importance of content for reaching new clients, and now use it to drive consideration and influence purchase decisions, in addition to building brand awareness. Examples of effective content include research reports, digital magazines, infographics, articles, and videos.

Email Marketing

More than 70 percent of marketers today consider email marketing to be a vital strategy because it allows for concise and clear communication. B2B companies have been using it for quite a while now. Many great email marketing strategies have been developed specifically for B2B, many of which you can learn about by following thought leaders, taking online classes, following leading blogs in the space, etc.

For example, in this Smart Insights article we learn that Dropbox emails its users to promote installation of its desktop/mobile app by  focusing on benefits of installing the product. Hubspot uses emails to inform its customers about upcoming webinars, and details specific benefits of joining an event to increase turnout.

Clearly, email marketing is a great method that can be used to connect with potential clients and show them the benefits of collaborating with a company. By leveraging your subscriber lists, client retention, up-selling opportunities and lead generation are benefits that can be gained at a relatively low cost. Be sure to understand the ins and outs of a comprehensive email marketing strategy.

Mobile Marketing

The mobile experience is a big deal nowadays. Successful B2B companies are increasingly launching  mobile-optimized websites because mobile traffic volume has widely exceeded desktop traffic. Mobile apps are often developed to accompany mobile sites and provide an even more enjoyable and fluid experience for users. According to Bizible, 83 percent of B2B marketers use mobile marketing tools like apps and websites to connect with clients, generate and nurture leads, and take advantage of cutting-edge technologies including voice recognition, QR scanners, and GPS systems.

Among the most surprising technologies in mobile B2B marketing is text messaging. SMS has been used by many companies, from cab services to electronic shops, to inform clients about upcoming deals and new offers. In addition to  advertising, companies often include personalized messages to gain customers’ attention, and build rapport. According to Bizible, SMS follow-up after a phone call increases conversion by up to 112 percent. Therefore, if you’re dialing your clients, you should definitely be texting them.

Personalization

Personalization strategies have proven to be effective in B2B and B2C companies. Just as it is important for a company to demonstrate its uniqueness through creative and effective branding, it is important to acknowledge the uniqueness of a customer. Personalization can be defined as a way of  “presenting information to a consumer that acknowledges whom he/she is and what his intentions are — to make his/her interaction more meaningful.” Personalization makes interaction with a company more positive and individualized, making it more memorable.

In B2B, personalization can be applied through various means, including website design, social media, loyalty programs, packaging, phone and chat, ad networks, landing pages, wish lists, opt-in and transaction emails. The end results of a robust personalization strategy include higher conversion rates, and client satisfaction.

Conclusion

B2B companies continue to demonstrate growth, and marketing strategies are a main reason for their success. The strategies described in this article are proven to work for many B2B companies, so don’t be afraid to start applying them today!

Tom Jager is professional blogger. He works at A-writer.  He has degree in Law and English literature. Tom has written numerous articles/online journals. You can reach him at G+ or Facebook.

Want to learn more about any of the subjects mentioned above? Here are some relevant classes: Mastering the Facebook Sales FunnelCreating a LinkedIn Engagement Strategy, Email Marketing Tactics

Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here here.

 


7 Ways to Make More Affiliate Income on Your Blog

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Are you looking for ways to increase  your affiliate income as a blogger? Then you’ve come to right place!

This article will review some very powerful strategies for you to market affiliate products that go beyond splash pages and simple blog posts.  We’ll start by outlining a quick list of 7 ideas, then go into more detail for each one.

Let’s get started!

How to Increase Your Affiliate Income – Quick List

Here are several ways to get more money from affiliate programs on your blog:

  1. Use Detailed Tutorials 
  2. Employ Facebook Ads 
  3. Utilize Your Email Lists
  4. Use Graphics & Banners
  5. Link Back 
  6. Become an Expert
  7. Get Promotions and Endorsements

Today, promoting affiliate programs is one of the most effective ways to earn a passive income from your blogging platform. If you choose to work with affiliate programs that you trust and promote them properly, you will find that it is easy to create a stable source of income over the long-term.

Use Detailed Tutorials

One of the best ways to earn good money from affiliates is to promote an affiliate product or program as part of your detailed tutorials. This will work well when you have pieces of long form content in which you can embed affiliate links. As long as the affiliate programs you’re a part of offer products relevant to your niche, it’s often easy to find natural ways of recommending them as part of an informational guide.

This strategy will allow you to benefit from both the initial promotion and the long-term traffic you will get from your blog’s rankings on Google. It is also effective because you won’t have to shove the product/service down your readers’ throats. All you need to do is recommend the product as a good choice for a process reviewed in the tutorial.

Employ Facebook Ads

If the content or tutorial on your blog is particularly high quality, consider driving traffic to it using Facebook Ads. If the affiliate product has a high payout price (above $50), then you are almost certain to earn good money even after paying Facebook’s advertising fees. You should be sure that your page is already converting and bringing in enough traffic before burning cash on it, just to be safe.

Make sure to track and test to be sure that you have a good understanding of your conversion rates and the reasons behind them. This will serve invaluably as you choose a target audience for paid advertisements, whether on Facebook, or somewhere else.

In 2016, social networks are the best place to advertise for almost any purpose. Consider learning more about promoting your blog through social media, and leveraging Facebook's world-wide audience to earn leads.

Utilize Your Email Lists

If you don’t already have an email list, you absolutely need to get one! Email lists are a fantastic tool for affiliate marketers, helping you to keep track of prospects, and stay in touch with people who have already benefited from your platform.

But assuming that you already have email lists, you should definitely use them to advertise your affiliate products, especially in relevant niches.  This strategy brings positive results because it is ongoing and automatic. This is an especially easy method to use for pre-branded products; using this method, there is no need to build an image in a lengthy blog post. All you need to do is send your email out to hundreds or even thousands of subscribers who have a potential interest, and you’re certain to convert sales. To make the most of your campaigns, make sure you understand key tactics for composing an attractive and compelling email.

Use Graphics & Banners

Never forget that a picture is worth a thousand words. Many affiliate programs will provide you with images that you can use to promote a product or service. Including these with your blog posts or featuring them prominently on your website can be even more effective than simply using links. Combining graphics with any of the methods above will only make them twice as effective!

Of course, you need to use common design sense. Generic banners posted in inconspicuous places or plastered indiscriminately across a page can be ugly and unattractive at best, and turn customers off at worst. Make sure that you design your page effectively when using this method!

Link Back

Once you’ve created tutorials or blog posts like the ones described above, create link backs on areas of your website with high sustainability to keep the traffic flowing in.  Find other places on the internet to include your link that are likely to be around for a long time.

For instance, within a high-quality guest post on an authoritative blog, ensure that you write an article that will naturally allow you to mention a post on your own blog with affiliate links. The blog owner is likely to allow this so long as your article is valuable, and constitutes more than a sales pitch for your affiliate programs.

Writing effective content is an art, and before sending queries off to influencers, make sure you know how to create and curate content people love.

Become an Expert

You should become an expert when it comes to using the affiliate products you wish to promote. The best affiliates become successful because readers turn to them as authorities on products or services that they promote.

One of the best ways to ramp up your affiliate income is producing high quality content that displays your expertise. This not only gives your readers a good idea of the impact the product had on your life, but also gives them a reason to trust you, and keep coming to your blog for useful information

Get Promotions and Endorsements 

Finally, ensure you get great promotions and endorsements from high value blogs and websites. Nothing will increase your affiliate income like an endorsement or mention from sites that are already trusted authorities with interested audiences. Getting mentioned on popular websites aligns you to them, which means you will end up tapping into highly-recognizable brands. 

Concluding Thoughts

The above tips and tricks will go a long way in improving your chances of earning more affiliate income from your blog. Each of these strategies will require some work on your part, such as creating content, promoting, networking with others in the industry, and analyzing your results. But the results are worth it! Give any of these tips a try, and enjoy the additional income from your blogging efforts. 

Want to learn more about any of the subjects mentioned above? Here are some relevant classes: Fundamentals of Facebook Marketing, Creating and Curating Content People Love, Email Marketing Tactics

Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here here.

 


 


5 Alternative Marketing Strategies for Niches

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Find your niche

Find your niche

Creating marketing strategies for niches is a daunting task for any marketer. Niche businesses can only cater to a small audience and address very specific issues. Unlike commodities or retail, which cater to a broad audience, niche markets have a harder time getting people interested. Here are a few key strategies for getting your niche business off the ground.

Build a Community that Generates Content

Communities, whether online or offline, are built around the specific interests and traits of their members. These groups are bound by the things that set them apart. You’ll probably never see a group of people who get together to discuss a very generic topic like eating. Everyone eats. On the other hand, a community might spring up when several people who are interested in a specific aspect of eating come together, like people who enjoy cooking and meet to swap recipes, or those who enjoy exotic foods and want to share their experiences.

Your niche can be just the thing to plant the seeds of such a community. With readily available social media tools, all potential customers need is a small incentive: a rally point. From there on, your clients and potential clients can do a lot of the marketing work for you. But it’s absolutely vital that you create a solid, customer-centric culture. Your customers should be your top priority, and they should know your business is geared towards them, not selling as many products as you can.

That’s why you should encourage debates and even constructive criticism in your community. On the one hand, this is going to give you some valuable feedback and insights that will help to improve your business. On the other hand, you’re going to encourage a conversation that has the potential to raise brand awareness and promote customer loyalty. When each customer feels like their opinion is valued, they are more likely to promote your business and generate useful content.

You can also engage with influencers to help consolidate this community. Influencers already have a group of loyal followers with common interests. If the influencers you choose to engage with are a good fit for your brand, raising awareness will be a piece of cake.

Focus on Client Needs, Not Product Specifications

There are certain products that tend to sell themselves. Marketers often focus on highlighting all of their product’s assets to make it stand out, but neglect to tell customers how exactly this is going to help them. For certain products or services, this approach works just fine. All customers know why they should buy clothes; all they need to know is what makes one brand superior to another.

When it comes to marketing for niches, however, you can’t just focus on how good a product is (although that can be important, especially when you have competition). Many times  - especially when it comes to cutting edge technology and recent developments -  customers won’t understand what a product even does, and won’t have incentive to buy unless you specify its practical functions. If you find it difficult to promote a niche product or service, try to focus on your client’s needs and how the product is tailored to address those needs, instead of trying to constantly prove it’s better than the competition. Although potential customers  may not know what your product does or how it can help them, they certainly know what their problems are.

Highlight What Makes Your Niche Business Special

Many products that are now wildly popular had a very limited appeal in the beginning, and didn’t catch on at first. But they knew how to make the most out of their uniqueness, and they are now household brands: they offered something no other product did, and that’s what made them so popular.

When you operate in a niche market, there are two situations you can find yourself in when it comes to competition: either you are faced with a small number of powerful competitors , or you are the only company providing the specific products or services that you offer.

In both cases, there is always something that sets your company apart. In the first case, you are already providing a service few other companies are. From a marketing perspective, you should use that as an asset rather than a downside.

If you do have competitors, it’s worth  analyzing how they do business. Maybe your products are similar, but your brand’s personality can make the difference. Combine this with an in-depth analysis of your target audience to figure out how you could approach your customers differently, or diversify your client base.

If your niche tends to focus on senior professionals, for example, maybe it’s time to reach out to the growing millennial market, even if it may seem like that won’t work. When it comes to marketing strategies for niches, there is no beaten path: whatever makes a brand special - whether it’s reaching a new audience or just finding solutions to unique problems -  is worth investing in.

Marketing Strategies for Niches Are Like Stage Performances

Though it may not seem like it, marketing and entertainment have a lot in common: they both imply an audience, and they both imply a space in which to meet this audience. The context of this space determines who will come to a performance, what they expect to see, and what shape the performance should take.

When it comes to marketing, there are many different stages you can use to reach out to your audience. Social media platforms are fast becoming the go-to place where brands and customers interact. And while we tend to discuss these social media networks as a group, just by using them you’ll quickly come to realize that each has its own unique perks and disadvantages when it comes to crafting marketing strategies for niches.

For example, most Twitter users claim they use this platform to stay updated on current events, traffic and weather reports. But the site is less popular when it comes to entertainment. And even though it has far more users than Instagram, teens believe Instagram is the second most important social media platform, which proves Twitter has a more mature audience.

We shouldn’t forget offline marketing either. While the digital world has become one of the most popular marketing playgrounds, there is still very much we can gain from traditional marketing strategies. This is especially useful when it comes to physical products. An image and good copy can do a lot to promote your brand, but nothing compares to sampling the products in real life or getting a behind-the-scenes look at your business.

Concentrate Your Efforts

Obviously, it’s a good idea to test out new and untapped markets. The more people you can reach, the better your chances of converting leads and raising brand awareness. But ultimately, you cannot turn every potential lead into a loyal customer. You need to focus on the audiences that work best, lest you end up angering your current customers while chasing leads that won’t work out.

Testing out how your product is received in different markets can show that some audiences are just not a good match. You can try to adapt your products and your brand to match the preferences of these groups, but if after months of trying it’s still not working out, perhaps it’s time to cut your losses.

In order to encourage customer loyalty, your current customers need to feel like they are important for your business. If you are constantly rebranding in order to reach out to increasingly diverse groups of people, your loyal customers might feel like they are no longer respected.

Sometimes, the best way to create brand awareness and maximize revenues is simply to consolidate a consistent brand image. Especially when you are operating in a niche market, it’s important to maintain coherence when it comes to the tone and personality of your business.

Conclusion

Marketing strategies for niches must be extra careful when it comes to tailoring campaigns to the requirements of the business. The uniqueness of the products, services or field in which the business operates can be the greatest asset a marketer can depend on. If you’re having trouble developing a marketing strategy for your niche, try one of these tips today, and embrace the strengths of your brand while building it.

Dustin Ford became interested in technology at an early age. He read as much as he could and now he enjoys writing about gadgets, online trends, and apps for TechExploring. He wants to share his knowledge with others and help everyone who has technology-related questions.

Want to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article? Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here.

 


Effective Event Management with Social Media, an Infographic

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If you are an event manager, your favorite superheroes are probably not the cape-wearing, shield-wielding kind. Any successful event marketing professional knows that planning a successful event requires a great deal of organization and communication, not to mention heaps of positivity. You know that the success of your event depends to a very large extent on the way you use social media networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for marketing and reaching your targeted audience, which makes them the coolest and most powerful social superheroes the industry has ever seen. Check out this infographic from Maximillion which takes a close look at some of the coolest social superheroes of event management!

This article was originally published on www.maximillion.co.uk

Interested in digital classes on the topics discussed above? OMI recommends the below classes to get started:

Social Media Strategy for BusinessCreating and Curating Content People Love, 7 Elements of Highly Effective Facebook MarketingContent Marketing Strategy for Social MediaPinterest Promotions 101

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