Wednesday, December 11th, 2013
One of the more important, and indeed popular, marketing tools for small to medium businesses is email marketing. When employed correctly, the email can be a great way to not only grow your business connections but to also connect with your customers. One of the main downsides of this type of email blast marketing is that there is a good chance your emails will be blocked by spam filters.
If you are developing a new email marketing campaign, you need to first know a bit about spam filters. Because there are no set rules that all spam filter developers adhere to, you will notice that filters vary in how effectively they can block emails. Some filter nearly all spam while others filter only the most obvious spam messages. Getting past these filters takes trial and error but there are tips you can employ to succeed.
1. Take a look at your content
It is worthwhile looking at the coding of your email. Because some email scammers include hidden HTML or other coding that the recipient won't see in an email, many filters are now set up to scan the code of an email as well. You should get someone who is proficient to either develop a cleanly coded email template you can use, or to audit the code to ensure there are no problems.
Beyond this, take a look at the actual content you are including in your email message. If you are including special offers, sales, and content that isn't overly useful, … Continue reading the story "Tips On Ensuring Your Email Isn’t Spam"
Tuesday, November 12th, 2013
There are many steps to take when developing a product, service, or even an email blast that will be viewed by large numbers of recipients. One of the last stages in this process often involves testing and trying to figure out what works best and what customers react best to. One common method of testing is the A/B test - but is this type of testing really all it's cracked up to be?
A/B tests defined
The concept behind A/B testing is to release two different versions of what is being developed, to see which performs best. This can cover a wide variety of business processes from traditional direct marketing to websites and even email marketing.
A good example of A/B testing would be developing an email marketing campaign where two different versions of an email are sent out with the goal of getting people to visit a page on your website. Version A may have slightly different content and images from version B, and half of your list would receive A with the other half receiving B. You then track the responses and visits to your site to see which version has worked better.
The information gained from this type of testing can then be used to improve future email campaigns or products and zero in on what is really effective in getting clients to do what you want.
A/B tests can actually vary in purpose. The most common being testing the difference between … Continue reading the story "Benefits of A/B testing"
Thursday, October 17th, 2013
Marketing is an important business function that nearly every business does. One of the more popular methods of marketing employed these days is email marketing. This form of digital marketing has proven to be more effective than any other method, yet many companies still struggle with developing campaigns that actually work.
If you have been struggling with your email marketing campaigns, here are five helpful tips.
1. Sort out your contact database
If you have had an email newsletter or marketing campaign for more than a couple of years you likely have a large or fair-sized contact database. A problem many businesses run into is that their contact databases are simply out of date. Emails are being sent to accounts that have been closed, or to recipients who have moved jobs. An out-of-date database can really hurt the effectiveness of email marketing.
It would therefore be a good idea to conduct a periodical audit of your database. Take the time to update information like names, positions, email addresses, etc. You should also look at how your database is organized.
Because of the varying nature of many email campaigns, it is highly likely that you will eventually develop email campaigns that target specific emails. If your database isn't segmented, it could be a nightmare to create effective campaigns. At the very least you should include information like the contact's:
2. Ensure people opt-in
- email address
- referral source
Because of its widespread use, email has become the medium of choice for spammers and even hackers trying to gain access to … Continue reading the story "5 tips for successful email marketing"
Wednesday, September 18th, 2013
Almost every company currently operating has important and valuable information and files that they would like to keep not only secure but from falling into the wrong hands. The problem is, many business owners are unsure as to how to go about securing or protecting important files and data. Not to mention the fact that there may be confusion over who owns what. The first step you should take is to look at securing your intellectual property.
Here are four tips on how to keep your resources related to intellectual property (IP) secure.
1. Map it
Before you can actually take steps to protect your data and property you need to actually know what information and files you have on your folder, along with how important they are. The best way to go about this is to have your managers or team leaders identify the type of information they use and store, along with its value and the risk you could face if it is lost or stolen.
Try to get them to ask questions like:
2. Update or create an IP policy
- Are there items that should be marked as classified or encrypted?
- How is data to be moved? Is it ok to use removable devices like USB drives or CDs?
- Is printing of classified or important documents and information allowed?
- Are employees connecting to the network with their own devices? If so, do we have access to the files they take/access from their devices?
- Is there any information or property that needs to be patented?
As … Continue reading the story "Securing your IP"
Wednesday, August 21st, 2013
There are many factors that contribute to a company’s success, one of the more common factors found in pretty much every company is great customer service. If your company doesn't offer excellent customer service, there is little chance that you will be around for a long time. It can be hard to offer customer service however, especially since the vast majority of customers are now online.
Here are four ways to ensure that your company offers the best customer service - on and offline.
1. Ask questions
It can be easy to discount customers as not knowing what they want or being overly demanding, but in reality, they are the ones supporting your business. Without your customers, you won't survive. One of the best things you can do to keep your customers is to get them on your side and invested in your company.
How do you do this? Ask them what they want and deliver on it. You should take steps to contact your customers - new and return - what they would like to see from you. If you run a small, local garden store and make an effort to reach out to your customers asking them what plants and material they would like to see you carry. Then, when you get your answers, try your best to meet the requests and communicate with your customers letting them know of the new products or changes.
Customers will see that you are listening to them and be generally more willing to … Continue reading the story "Need better customer service?"
Thursday, July 25th, 2013
Social media and other content related sites have become all the rage with businesses. One of the reasons is because companies see how successful and widely known people and organizations have become simply because their content went viral. Many businesses would love to replicate this type of exposure, and spread their message in the same viral way. However, it's not that easy to make this happen. Often content goes viral without any intention of this by the creator. But there may tips to learn about how to make your content go viral.
If you are looking to create content that has a higher chance of going viral, there are a number of key things you should be aware of.
Why content goes viral
Before creating content that will hopefully go viral, you need to be aware of how and why content goes viral in the first place. At first glance, it would appear that this is determined simply on luck alone. In truth, however, although luck can be a factor this is only part of the reason. Content goes viral because it's shareable. Think of the last time you were told about a viral video or ad. Chances are, you heard about it on social media, and if you didn't the person who told you likely heard about it from there.
So, in order to go viral, content needs to be shareable, but not all content is share worthy. The question is, how do you create content that people will want to … Continue reading the story "The key to viral content"
Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
One of the common goals businesses have in regards to marketing is ensuring that their reputations are managed properly. Many business owners make sure that their corporate reputation is as it should be, but often forget to look at their own reputation. However, this can be important, especially if your name is associated with the business. Do you think your personal online reputation could use a boost?
Here are five tips that can help you manage your personal online reputation.
1. Be a little vain
Growing up you were probably told that showing a high opinion of oneself isn't a positive. However, when it comes to your online reputation, being a little vain and promoting your good points, especially in relation to your business, could help define how others perceive you. It is a good idea to visit the major search engines and search for your name - full name, nickname and any aliases and see what comes up.
Be sure to also look at the different categories of search. For example, look at Images, News, Blogs, etc., on Google. You can also set up a Google Alert which will notify you whenever new content mentioning your name is posted. You can do this by visiting Google's Alerts site, entering your name in the Search Query box, setting how often you want the alerts, (we recommend once a week), and pressing Create Alert.
2. Secure your own little slice of the Internet
It is a good idea to try … Continue reading the story "5 ways to manage your reputation online"
Wednesday, May 29th, 2013
When it comes to your business on the Internet, reputation and a presence are everything. Customers expect you to be online, and many companies go to great lengths to establish and protect their reputation and image. Part of being online means that you will eventually have to deal with a complaint, and if you handle it wrong, you could see your reputation tarnished and customers disappear. To minimize the chance of this happening, it is a good idea to practice some reputation management.
Here are five reputation management practices you can employ to better manage your online brand.
1. Don't remove negative content
If you see a negative comment or post online it may be your first impulse to delete it. This isn't necessarily advisable, as the main rule about the Internet is that nothing ever goes away. If you delete negative comments on a regular basis, customers could notice and this may lead to them losing trust in your company and ultimately, to lost sales.
What you should be doing is replying instead and encouraging any users who complain online or make criticizing posts to contact you directly, or through a more private medium like email. That being said, if you see malicious posts or content that is posted just to incite a negative reaction (trolling), there is nothing wrong in deleting. Just make sure to acknowledge this by posting a warning that states something along the lines of: "Please note, malicious content will be deleted."
2. Address complaints promptly
You should have … Continue reading the story "5 ways you can manage your reputation"
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
One of the more common business buzzwords of the past decade is CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). Companies of all sizes have been taking steps to do their part, often by implementing an environmentally friendly initiative like recycling. While it certainly is a good idea to try and save the environment, many business owners have no idea where to start, or how to do more. Technology, more specifically mobile phone apps, may be able to help.
Here are four great apps that can help you and your employees make your company a little more green.
GoodGuide is an app that can help you find out more about products. Utilizing a barcode scanner, it can provide you with information like where the product comes from, whether it's safe and if it's green.
With over 170,000 ranked products in the app's database, it's a great way to start learning about sustainable and environmentally friendly products. The only downside of this app is that it currently focuses on the US only, and there is no word as to when, or if, service will expand. You can download it to your Apple and Android device for free.
While we are currently living in a digital age, we still get a lot of paper-based junk mail. This is incredibly wasteful, as most people just throw it away. PaperKarma is an app that aims to reduce or eliminate waste paper.
How it works is you take a … Continue reading the story "Go green with the help of 4 apps"