26 Aug

A Flashier Pinterest

pinterestWhether or not you are a pinner – you’re going to want to know about this new update on the highly popular, eye candy filled social site. Pinterset is getting flashy.

According to Website Magazine, Pinterest unvelied a flashier follow button to help brands grow their audience. The new button appears in a small dialog box and includes a preview of the brand’s latest pins. From the dialog box, consumers can follow without leaving the websites they are browsing. Pinterest notes that brands can add the button to their sites by copying and pasting a couple of lines of code to their Web page. Brands already using the original follow button aren’t required to do anything to get the new version. wsm.co/maypromopins

Also new on Pinterest – In mid-May, they began rolling out its first paid test of Promoted Pins with a select group of brands, including Old Navy, Target, and ABC Family. Fast forward a month and the pinboard social network already expanded its ad offering with the launh of a “do-it-yourself” Promoted Pins ad format which enables businesses to promote their pins on a cost-per-click basis. The DIY ad offering is still being tested; however, brands interested in trying the ad format can sign up for priority access.

Are you using Pinterest for business? If not, do these new features peak some interest in trying it out?

Eydie :)

This content was originally found on Website Magazine

19 Aug

5 Steps for Successful Chocolate Chip Email Marketing

This week I have a special guest blogger. He is Mark Mikelat is the owner of  Building Aspirations. Mark is an online marketing expert, speaker, consultant, and author, has extensive experience in marketing and sales strategy.  I met Mark some years ago when I was an Authorized Local Expert with Constant Contact. Mark is still an ALE with them – and when I asked him to be a guest blogger, he happily agreed. In his article, Mark turned a simple chocolate chip cookie into an email marketing strategy.

Let’s take a look at how we can learn from that yummy and soulful delight….

You need chocolate chip email marketing.

5 Steps for Successful Chocolate Chip Email Marketing Chocolate chip cookies are powerfully magical. They are more than just lumps of sugar, batter, and chocolate chips.  They illicit emotion, love and connectedness. Do you remember when your scrapped knees became magically pain-free when mom’s triage was performed with a glass of milk and a chocolate chip cookie?  Your email marketing should have the same power as that of a chocolate chip cookie.

Connect with Your Market

Your market wants to connect with you.  They want a chocolate chip cookie experience. They want something fun, and pleasurable. Shouting ‘Buy my stuff’ at them does nothing to build rapport.  Speak to how they can benefit. Speak to how your products can make their problems go away.  People want to know that you care about them, and that you can provide them a cookie to make everything better.  Provide them messages that are sweet and full of goodness.  Provide them a chocolate chip cookie experience.

Provide Them Just One Cookie

Now, one might suspect that if one cookie were good, ten would be ten times better. But, alas, this is not the case. While economists refer to this as the law of negative returns, most simply refer to this as gluttony, and it provides no benefit, except perhaps to the person who sells stomach ache medicine.  So, provide your email reader very few offers, or in the best case, just one offer. Providing somebody dozens of offers will result in a headache, just as too many cookies will result in a stomach ache.

Provide them the Cookie They Like

We all have our cookie preferences.  Perhaps you like a lot of chocolate chips, or dark chocolate.  Maybe you like your cookies crunchy.  Others might like a cookie warm from the oven.  We all have different tastes, and providing the right cookie to the right person will result in a better experience.  In email marketing this is targeting and segmentation. Men and women might have different tastes and preferences in regards to your products.  If that is the case, your content must focus on their tastes and preferences.  In other words, customize the tasty cookie to their tastes, not yours.

Wrap Your Cookies Simply

Imagine that you were excited to receive a cookie and it was packaged.  You tackle the package with the vigor of a hungry lion. You claw and claw at the packaging and it will simply not open. It seems to be made of some type of impenetrable material.  Eventually, you give up trying to open the package, even though you desperately want the cookie.  This is analogous to a confusing email marketing message.  You must make it easy for your clients and customers.  Tell them to click. Tell them to call. Make it very obvious what the phone number is.  Anything that represents any type of barrier or obstacle is a threat to your success.  And a confusing email campaign can be just as perplexing and discouraging as an iron-clad cookie package.

Embrace the Cookie-ness

And, most importantly embrace the cookie-ness. Focus on the cookie experience.  Remember, what it really is.  It is more than a snack, or a desert, it represents much, much more.  Just like a song from your childhood can bring back a flood of pleasant memories, the first bite of a chocolate chip cookie can trigger an equally powerful feeling. Your email messages need to tap into this cookie-ness. Do not market your products. Market the cookie-ness of your products. Focus on how it will make your subscriber feel. Your message can be clever, warm, light-heart, joy-filled, and your readers want this.  They want the cookie-ness.

Finally

When you write your email marketing messages, think about chocolate chip cookies. Think about the connection to the joys of childhood. Think about your mom or gramma and the love she poured into these concoctions of delight.  Your email marketing can achieve the same result.  The technical requirements of an email are not keys to success, but rather the warm, soft, tasty gooiness.  To really be successful in your email marketing, practice Chocolate Chip Email Marketing.

What can you do to add some warm, soft, tasty gooiness to YOUR email marketing messages? Leave your ideas and comments below.

Mark Mikelat
Building Aspirations
Mark Mikelat, Email Marketing, Building Aspirations

 

 

12 Aug

Are You Putting All Your Content on Rented Space?

Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Blogger — it’s all rented space.Think, Don't use rented space for content marketing

As a business owner, you work hard at getting your online marketing messages to the right people. Your marketing messages, otherwise known as ‘content’, is significant to building your business.  Whether you’re blogging, podcasting, video-blogging, or using e-books or white papers to get your message out – you need to have a home base where you can shield your work.  When you post your messages on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other social sites – your content is now up for grabs. 

Facebook  Fact:

You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application. In addition:

  1. For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). Read more.

Even when you use free blogging sites like Blogger.com and WordPress.com, you are giving up some of your rights.  Google’s terms of service states:

Google Fact:

When you upload, submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. Read more.

Why then, are so many business owners and marketers banking solely on social media sites and free blog platforms for managing their content?

Don’t get me wrong – free is good, but not always the best.

When you put so much effort into your content (blog posts) it stands to reason that you should use a platform which won’t consider YOUR content THEIR content. Do you agree?

And give this a thought – social sites such as Facebook – can shut you down the moment they think you’re doing something against their terms of service.  Also, think about Google+ for a minute. Although G+ is going strong right now…look at what happened to Google Wave and Google Buzz? Don’t remember them? Well that’s because they came and went.   Both were flops that don’t exist anymore.   Will Google+ follow suit?

With that said, we have to be careful about how and where we focus our online marketing.

Okay then – what do you do? Simple…

When it comes to blogging – which is your most important piece of content marketing – purchase your own hosting (BlueHost, HostGator). I can’t stress this enough.  Do your research first, though. Know what it is that you’re looking for. Then install a platform such as WordPress.content marketing using rented spaceorg to build your entire website AND blog. Sure, WordPress.org is still free, but you’re hosting it yourself and there aren’t any ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Want to use Weebly or Wix? Fine – just pay for the hosting so that your URL doesn’t contain their extension.  (NOTE: BlueHost and HostGator make it easy for you to have your domain name with them and conveniently integrate Weebly as your design platform.  There is a free option and a paid option).

When buying your own hosting, all your content is yours and yours alone.  Provided you don’t break the law, and your site is on the up and up – you can do what you want.

Can you still use social media?

Of course you can. Matter of fact, it’s the best way for you to spread the news about your content.  Use Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc, to shout loud and clear that you have something of value to share with the world.

What about you? Are you currently using a free blog platform, or solely managing your marketing messages on social sites?  Would you be interested in making the switch?  Leave your comments in the comment box below – and give me a holler. We’ll talk about getting you set up with your own  hosting, and building you a WordPress blog or website. 

 

 

 

05 Aug

Blogging Tip: Building Authority

Blogging is a Tool

There are a loBlogging Tip: Building Authorityt of reasons to blog for your business, but the biggest reason is for you to become the go-to person in your industry.
Blogging is a tool for building authority and increasing your credibility as the expert in your field. 

Building Authority

Let’s take a look at 3 things you can do to build your authority via consistent blogging:

  1. Share your point of view: It’s important that your ideas and thoughts are clear to your audience. Offer thought provoking perspectives on issues your clients have and give them an opportunity to share their point of view as well.
  2. Stay away from using industry jargon: We sometimes forget that people “on the outside” don’t understand the technical terms we use everyday with others in our niche. To make sure your potential clients understand what you’re talking about – explain the technical jargon in your blog posts. When you educate your target market you build authority.
  3. Share case studies: One of the best ways to educate your target market, and explain to them how you can help them is to blog about how you helped a current client overcome an obstacle. While keeping confidentiality, you can talk about the issue and the steps you took to solve the problem.
How have you used your blog to build authority? Share your point of view in the comment box below. NOTE: Did you know that when you post a comment on someone’s blog - you increase your online visibility and searchability? 
Eydie :)
08 Jul

Biggest biz risk ever taken: I fired my clients | Small Business Blog | Hiscox

taking risks in your businessBack in May I was on Twitter when I saw a post by Brian Moran stating that women are better multi-taskers than men.  His tweet, however, wasn’t just a regular tweet. It was part of a TweetChat that Brian hosted for Hiscox Insurance.

I wrote a post about how my reply to that tweet won me an iPad Mini.

Another result of my participating in the TweetChat was the opportunity to write a blog post for Hiscox. Wow – all because I tweeted a simple reply on Twitter – I garnered some nice attention…not to mention…quite a few new followers.

Since the TweetChat was about taking risks in your business, I was asked to write about the biggest risk I took in my business. I wrote about letting go. Sometimes you have to let things go in order to make room for more. In my post, I talked about how I needed to let go of some clients in order to attract clients who would be a better fit for me. I needed to FIRE some clients and search for my IDEAL clients instead! Read the entire article here –>> Biggest biz risk ever taken: I fired my clients | Small Business Blog | Hiscox.

Did you ever have to let go of something? What was the biggest risk you ever took in your business? Share your stories in the comment box below.

Eydie :)