Five Ways to Get More Customers To Your Website

  1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): include meta tags and keyword descriptions into the html coding of your website. Search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing will use spiders to roam the internet looking to pick up your keywords. Of course, SEO isn’t immediate. It’s an organic (unpaid) way of increasing your results, but they are effective.
  2. Google Places: submit your business contact information to Google Places. Your business can include information such as Business Categories (web designer, baker, etc.), Business Hours, Address, Reviews, Images. All so those spiders roaming the internet can pick them up.
  3. Directories: depending on your business, there are multiple directories to be listed in (think WhitePages.com). For a complete assessment, please contact Number 8 Communications for more information.
  4. Paid Advertisements: Services such as Google AdWords offers pay-per-click, cost-per-click (CPC) advertising, cost-per-thousand-impressions or cost-per-mille (CPM) advertising, and site-targeted advertising for text, banner, and rich-media ads. This type of advertising can get expensive, so it’s wise to utilize an expert.
  5. E-Mail Newsletters: include current clients, vendors and others you do business with in your e-mail newsletters. Within those newsletters, incorporate hyperlinks that connect with your website. Building specific landing pages are ideal for they get the prospect directly to the targeted marketing message.
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Filed under Blogging, E-Mail Marketing, New Media, Search Engine Optimization

Infographics: what the heck are they?

First off, what the heck is an infographic anyway? Wikipedia gives a detailed description here, but basically it provides a visual or graphic way of displaying information. The mind processes images and graphics much faster than words can.

Infographics get straight to the point of any communication if done appropriately. Number 8, along with Big Thunk, recently had an infographic published in Marketing Profs. Part of the original content (prior to infographic) looked something like this:

“Fame – How Influential Are You?

It’s not enough to measure the number of fans, followers, and likes you accumulate. Measure how your contributions are valued. Are you increasing the frequency that your content is retweeted, commented upon, forwarded, posted and pinned? Tools like Klout combine these measures in more into a single influence score.”

Now, take a look at the finalized version: http://bit.ly/Roxowe. Wouldn’t you agree that it’s easier to comprehend? Not to mention fun?!

If you’re interested in having an infographic built for your business, Number 8 would love to talk further with you.

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Filed under Graphic Design, New Media

5 Ideas For Great E-Mail Marketing

1)   Segmentation: Segment your contact lists into clusters – based upon geography, content or what they originally signed up to receive. A mass distributed e-mail works great for generic content such as announcements, but for specific communications, segmentation works best. For example, an advertising image of a 35 year-old woman wearing high heels and drinking chai tea in New York most likely wouldn’t be communicated to a contractor in upstate Maine. In certain circumstances it could work, but most likely not.

2)   Calls to Action: Describe the immediate benefits for your audience. What do you want them to click on? A link, your phone number, instructions for reading the e-mail or information to print out

3)   Provide Value: For either BtoB or BtoC, the reader is looking for value. What’s in it for them? It’s ok to give a shout out to your own company once in awhile, but a reader wants information that will help them sell better or be more informed. Tips, Tricks, Facts are great in addition to sharing your expertise.

4)   Time of Day: It all depends on who you’re e-mailing, however for most communications, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday is best between 10AM-2PM.

5)   Subject Lines: Great subject lines can be obtained from magazine covers. For example, in National Geographic’s most recent issue, the title was “What’s Up With The Weather?” Questions are great attention grabbers, especially when tied in with recent current events. They seek to solicit a direct response from the reader. Keeping it short and sweet is good too – 30-40 characters is ideal.

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8 Benefits For Social Media

8 Benefits For Social Media

The benefits for social media are endless and are quickly gaining popularity within the business community.  Done properly, social media can engage the business, its customers and employees, creating a connectedness to the brand for all involved.

1.    Customer Engagement.  Traditional advertising (television, radio, print) is a one-way conversation with your customer. It allows the company to advertise the product or service being offered, however no feedback is ever solicited from the customer to say “yes, that ad was effective” or “no, I just don’t get it”. With social media, it’s a two-way conversation. Great ways of engagement are to ask questions (hence, market research), and ask for ways to improve the overall customer experience.

 2.    It’s Viral. Social Media is viral. Your message and brand awareness will spread through word of mouth when you post the right content. – people love to share content they find appealing.  Be careful what you post though –once content is on the internet, it stays there.

 3.    Increases Traffic. Social Media increases traffic to your website which then potentially produces more business. It also builds valuable backlinks and improves your search engine rankings.

 4.    Cost Reduction. Let’s face it, brands are going digital and paper is expensive. With a few clicks of a mouse and some strokes of the keyboard, your brand can have a business page on Facebook and a Twitter account in less than an hour. The only main cost is time while developing content and relationships.

 5.    Environmentally Friendly. Is paper dead? No, not really. We’ll all have a need for it at some point or another in our lifetime, however social media does not deplete the rainforest like print advertising does. Your computer may utilize electricity to run these websites, however it’s way more environmentally friendly than print advertising ever was.

 6.    Build Customer Base. A company can have “fans” or “followers” on their company’s brand page, which may turn into customers for their business. By going where the customers already are, companies are able to capitalize quickly and efficiently.

 7.    Improve Responsiveness. Are you looking for an immediate response from your customer? Sure, most businesses are.  With a direct response strategy through social media, the goal is to maximize quantifiable responses to a campaign. A few examples include coupons, sweepstakes, or a special offer. Very quickly, these direct response campaigns can have an immediate impact on the bottom line – and trackable too, to calculate the Return on Investment (or ROI).

 8.    Track Feedback. Analytics are key to evaluate the effectiveness of a company’s social media accounts. Just about anything can be tracked including a person’s age, town they live in, links clicked on, and what information they share. What does this mean for the company? They can target their future communications to these customers more directly, thereby increasing the brand recognition and long-term sustainability with their customers.

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The 411 on Brand Identity

Why is it so critical?

Whether you’re a newly found company or looking to re-brand an existing business, a strong brand identity can position a company above its competition all by itself. But having a brand that’s strong takes time, money, and effort to develop. It’s not as easy as redesigning a logo or rewriting a tagline. Brand identity may be developed and monitored within the marketing department, however when in full effect, it crosses all departments, job descriptions, product launches, customer service reps, and beyond. In fact, it should involve everyone within the company, getting them to understand the evolution, and to be your most enthusiastic ambassadors.

An existing brand identity (and how to re-work it)

Successful re-branding involves “evolution”, not “revolution”. A perfect example would be Aesop’s Fable “The Tortoise and the Hare”. The story concerns a hare who ridicules a slow-moving tortoise and is challenged by him to a race. The hare soon leaves the tortoise behind and, confident of winning, decides to take a nap midway through the course. When he awakes, however, he finds that his competitor, crawling slowly but steadily, has arrived before him. It’s important to not get too crazy with a re-branding effort because you could end up destroying fragile emotional ties / customer loyalty / and ultimately, sales. One step at a time is almost always much more effective for both the company internally, and externally, for your customers.

Brand identity – it’s WAY more than marketing!

Oftentimes, during a re-branding, other people and departments outside of marketing are not involved in the evolution. In fact, your internal stakeholders should understand the re-branding, believe in it, have a vested stake in its success, so they can then communicate better with each other and with customers.

A company that nails this is Zappos.com. Zappos places great emphasis on company culture and core values. The Zappos’ CEO, Tony Hsieh believes “if we get the culture right, then everything else, including the customer service, will fall into place”. Zappos has a list of core values, listed here on their website, that every employee sees and hears on a routine basis, not to mention being transparent to their customers via their website. The company also publishes an annual 480-page “Culture Book,” which is composed of two to three paragraph entries from employees describing Zappos’ company culture. The entries are unedited, and a copy of the Culture Book is given to all employees (although anyone can receive a copy of the book upon request).

Your employees will ultimately determine your success or failure. That’s why it’s so important to have them buy into your company’s brand identity. However, that’s not something that can be forced. It must be earned…but, once it is, watch out! You’ll have a company that is full of happy, motivated successful brand ambassadors and the company’s direction will move upwards.

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Filed under Branding

Little Known Ways to Save Time In Social Media

When it comes to social media marketing, one of the biggest fears small business owners have is the time commitment. After all, time is money, right? Here are a few suggestions:

1)    Allocate time to be social. In fact, even place a note in your calendar ahead of time so you don’t forget. And, stick to it! Social media can be a major time sink; whether browsing friends’ pictures or reading the online daily news, however a few minutes per day is free and won’t break the bank. And, don’t forget – consistency is key!

2)    Use tools to help. Managing multiple sites can make your head swim and cause brain overload. Why not take advantage of some tools that can plan, prioritize and organize your communications:

a.     Nutshell Mail – a service that aggregates updates from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Yelp, Foursquare, Citysearch, and You Tube. The service delivers these updates to your e-mail inbox on a regular schedule.

b.     HootSuite – tracks your social media networks, schedules updates, and sets alerts if certain terms or phrases are mentioned (if utilizing HootSuite, or even if not, create a calendar of communications a month or so in advance. Then, when the appropriate day has arrived, you already have the communication available and ready to deliver. Even better if you utilize HootSuite’s automatic scheduling option).

Still think that Social Media is a time killer? Consider these statistics:

1)    More people visit a social media site each day than read a traditional newspaper (GovLoop)

2)    1 word of mouth conversation has the impact of 200 TV ads (Buzz Agent)

3)    Consumers are 3 times more likely to trust peer opinions over advertising for purchasing decisions (Jupiter Research)

Though Social Media is still somewhat in its infancy, the future potential is increasing daily and the boundaries are endless.

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Filed under New Media, Social Media

Job Hunting Using Social Media

Many companies have utilized Social Media to capitalize on sales, promotions, engaging customers, even monitoring their competitors. But, another interesting and creative way that people are searching for jobs these days (no, not through the classifieds), but through Social Media. According to a recent article on Mashable.com, posted here, people are “Tweeting” that they “just got laid off” or “looking for employment”, and in turn, because they’ve built an online relationship with their followers over time, they come to the rescue.

Employment Digest suggests on their site, here, to follow recruiters on Twitter because they often post positions directly on their newsfeed. The site also suggests creating a YouTube video that describes the value that you will contribute to a given position and explains why you would be a great candidate. A separate article through Employment Digest, here, goes deeper into how to use these sites, including how to review your online reputation to communicating with the relevant players.

Of course, one should not disregard the traditional methods of job hunting. A mix of the two should increase the chances and hopefully land a job quickly.

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