Fine-Tuning Your Email Marketing Campaign

We've discussed the advantages of email marketing for an online business in previous articles. With the onset of 2012 new ideas to better utilize these programs are becoming popular. Email segmentation is the method of organizing contacts into groups thereby individualizing the mass emails as per the nature of the group. So say you have one group of loyal customers and one group compiled of names retrieved from other businesses. You don't want both groups' emails to be identical, on the contrary there is a different message you want to portray to each one. The email to your loyal customer group will be written in a more friendly and relaxed manner, and the group whose interest you are trying to attract will be a more professional email, detailing the main aspects and advantages to your business. Sometimes the emails may overlap which is fine, you just want to ensure that the emails you send out suit the status of the recipient in relation to your company.

There is the additional concern of individual filters. One in ten people are using their smartphone or other mobile device to open emails. If the option to open the email in a mobile friendly way is not available, you can be losing a lot of potential clients. If you take this one step further we can create the mobile version as an entirely different email! If you are a company who specializes in electrical appliances, your standard email will include the newest products available with in depth descriptions and beautiful images. When an individual will activate the mobile friendly button you can sing an entirely different tune and advertise for your portable chargers and smartphone applications. You are showing people what THEY are interested in. The mobile friendly option is another indication of what is most relevant for this individual. If this information is utilized correctly you can really be on the road to email success and profitable conversions!

Most email domains censor all received emails. You don't want your beautiful, well-constructed email to end up in someone's spam. By individualizing and categorizing appropriately you will give your emails a better chance.

There is quite a high percentage of people who delete emails not completely relevant to them, without a second thought. It is becoming increasingly more important to include more relevant and specified content per group to avoid being deleted altogether.

The results of all the research done on this topic show that segmenting email groups even according to job type or zip code can result in an almost 20 percent increase in open rates! By properly segmenting emails and including appropriate content you can drastically improve the success of your email marketing campaign.

Why Do I Need a Website?

Nowadays when people rely on the Internet for everything from booking hotel rooms, developing pictures and creating shopping lists to establishing international business it is imperative for every business aiming for success to create an online presence. Aside from the whole social aspect of it, developing a website is a an essential part to any business's success.

`Firstly a website creates awareness about your company world wide. Though your actual business center might be contained to a specific geographical location, building a website will assist your business into expanding internationally. Without a website there is really only a slight chance that someone in a different state or country will know your business exists.

`When marketing on the Internet there are many relatively cheap ways to ensure top advertisement. Organic SEO does not have to run a lot of money and it can achieve valuable leads for your business. Linking is another cost free option that can greatly benefit your website ranking. Email marketing is a great way to establish and maintain customer relationships. These are just a couple of ideas in the sea of available options of Internet marketing!

`You will have the additional advantage of the 24:7 availability of the Internet, it doesn't close. People can browse your website all hours of the day or night with no disturbance to your preferred rest time!

`A website simplifies the task of describing your products or services thoroughly and clearly. Seeing is believing and when you post pictures or even videos of your products and uses it is a fantastic advertisement. Additionally, many times a lot more can be accomplished (in terms of product descriptions) with the written word as opposed to a verbal description. You can design the layout you prefer that will best portray your products and offer the best chance for success.

These are just a couple of the benefits to website development, in reality the list is endless! Though the initial start up cost may seem like an unnecessary expense, the tremendous opportunities and profits available will outweigh any hesitations! Additionally for the business owners who get overwhelmed with navigating the world of website creation there are many reputable web design companies available to customize according to your taste and budget!

SEO and Social Media

People always wonder does social media affect SEO and the answer is yes, yes, yes!! Social media is affecting your SEO in many ways, directly and indirectly. Proof on that is the fact that many search engines have some sort of deal or relationship with the social media sites. They're working together to some extent.

So how exactly does this work? Firstly, it is imperative for every website owner to create a Facebook and Twitter account. With the increase in use of all social networking sites, people are more prone to view 'likes' or read recommendations from any friends than to conduct a regular search. With the rise in bookmarking sites too, people find less of a need to search via a search engine. Though many people are afraid to plunge into this unknown bit of technology it is well worth it. By shying away because of fear of the unknown you are virtually handing your business over to the competition.

Aside from the social aspect, there is the search engine side. Both Google and Bing have created algorithms to read the social sites and translate the data. For example,a search engine who indexes a webmaster who is consistently updating his status or posting messages, adding on some information, etc, will convert the data to reflect a quality constantly being refreshed site. This will positively affect his search engine rankings! Additionally optimize your social media content correctly and the search engines can rate that too.

Indirectly, each time a friend 'shares' or 'likes' something that you have written or quoted, your link is being publicized and advertised to a larger audience. Additionally similar to standard backlinking, each time your link is shared with a trustworthy website it is a vote of quality added to your 'account'

Of course when adding in content it needs to be a well -written, easy to understand, quality information in order to generate the 'likes' and 'tweets' you are aiming for. No one is recommending poor quality information to a friend or following a shoddy product description.

The advantages to social media are only as limited as your imagination is. Social media can be used in so many aspects to positively affect your business. Create an account, update it with quality information, share useful tips and you are heading in a profitable direction!

A Cache of Ideas

As we head into 2012 we take a look at which successful internet marketing techniques will be most popular in the coming year. One effective technique is subscriptions. Subscriptions do not referring exclusively to your monthly Readers Digest magazine; many companies are now offering subscriptions for products too! Amazon.com offers to their customers the option to 'Subscribe and Save' on many of their products. Customers have the option of choosing how often they would like the selected product to be shipped to their doorstep. They also offer the additional benefit of saving a couple of dollars when choosing this option. As a parent of little ones I find the 'Subscribe and Save' option for diapers quite convenient as i can schedule my deliveries to come monthly, bi-monthly, and so on... They also are quite flexible when it comes to changing subscription options which really makes it a pleasure to deal with!

The mobile world is exploding as more and more people are searching the web on their Smartphones or Blackberries as opposed to their good old PCs. With the coming year the numbers are predicted to keep rising. A smart business owner will ensure that his site is mobile user friendly and work to fully integrate all aspects of online merchandising for the mobile user.

Remarketing programs are really gaining popularity. One of the techniques of a remarketing program are triggered emails. Emails sent from a company to a customer who has shown interest in some way for their products or services. Whether it was a purchase completed or an abandoned shopping cart, a triggered email serves as a reminder to the customer about the said company. The interest into these kind of campaigns will definitely continue to increase in the coming year.

The pressure and competition of all online businesses will just grow as more and more users take advantage of all the web has to offer. As a business owner the key to success is engaging in the new marketing options available, to keep targeting the interested customers, redesign for the mobile users, and most of all keep up that great customer service!

An Email Boo-boo

No one is perfect. Though we are constantly striving for perfection, few actually merit to get there. When a mistake is made what is the best way to rectify it? The first step is always admitting, admit to the error the resulted and take responsibility. This applies to email marketing as well. Some times is happens that despite the numerous reviews and editing that takes place before an email is sent out, mistakes happen. One company sent around a mass email announcing a special sale taking place on a specific date. Within minutes the customer service center was flooded with phone calls and emails about the inconsistency of the email. It seems that here had been an error with the date.

So what is the best way to handle a situation like this? The first and foremost thing is to admit the mistake and take responsibility. If it is possible send out a follow up email apologizing about the error and inconvenience it may have cause and include an updated and corrected version of the email.

Some suggest turning the mishap into an opportunity to earn the respect of your subscribers in the way you deal with it. if it was an accidental coupon discount, say 50% instead of 5%, honor it for those who caught on before you did. In the long run this can earn you more profits because a satisfied customer is quite valuable! If the email had listed an invalid coupon code, offer something extra, like free shipping or an additional coupon for a future purchase, to those frustrated customers who tried the code only to discover it didn't work.

The main idea is to assure your customers that the company takes full responsibility, and apologizes deeply for any inconvenience, and is willing to do what it takes to rectify the aggravation.

The Video Advantages

There's nothing like a tutorial clip or product description video to really sell your item. Seeing is believing and how much more seeing is there than a video clip? Now the question is what is most to your benefit, posting your video on YouTube or on your website?

There are advantages to both. In terms of SEO if you have the expertise to optimize your tutorial that it will rank top on search result pages, it's definitely worth a try. Because then each viewer who clicks on your video clip will be redirected to watch it on your site. Once they're there you will have a great opportunity to retrieve an email address or even complete a sale! If your video is hosted on YouTube it's less likely that the viwers will ever click thorugh to redirect to your site.

We can do a little guesswork here and suppose that the search engine take into account 'time spent on site' as part of their indexing. By placing a video on your site you are greatly increasing the amount of time visitors spend on your site, at least the length of the video plus a couple more seconds more.. To the search engines this proves that you have quality content and it may help you rank higher.

So then why bother posting your Video on YouTube?

There's something about the way that YouTube's pages are optimized that the Google algorithms like. Therefore it is quite common to see YouTube videos high on the search results. For someone who is not so successful in his SEO it may be worth it to post his video on YouTube and let it do its 'work' in ranking him nicely. Additionally YouTube has the social benefit of video-sharing and the opportunity to increase brand awareness by being exposed to viewers who are otherwise not likely to visit your site at all.

Of course once your video is posted, it now has its own URL which you use to link build for your video. The more links you create the more they will assist in your websites successful SEO. Send the link around to all company contacts, post it in your Facebook status and on your company's blog and create an awareness to increase your views and Google's recognition.

Whenever placing a video online, whether on site or YouTube, there are a couple of important factors that are vital to your video's success. Try to place some of your keywords in the title of your clip to improve your chances in the search engine results. Additionally include targeted keywords in the beginning of the video description and of course mention your company name. In order to optimize on the viewer conversion be sure that your video is placed under the appropriate category. Whether you decide to place your clip on YouTube or opt to try your luck and post it on your site, video clips will be a great benefit to your marketing campaign.

Monday Madness

And it's the Monday we've all been waiting for!! Cyber Monday is an internet marketing term describing the Monday after Black Friday and Thanksgiving, created by retailers in 2005 to encourage people to shop online. Similar to the idea behind Black Friday, Cyber Monday is an opportunity for consumers to get a head start on their gift shopping by snagging some of the greatest deals of the year, all while sitting in the comfort of your home or office! Cyber Monday is one of the busiest online shopping days of the year!

As a retailer we need to triple check your website navigation to be sure all is working smoothly in anticipation of the overload of visitors expected on Monday. It is important to have everything on your site written clearly and concisely and to consider all prospective questions that customers may have and have the answers already available on your site. Answers to common questions that arise like shipping costs and return policies, contact numbers and gifting options can easily be implemented somewhere on your site. I find it so frustrating when I decide to purchase a product from a website yet I'm curious how much the shipping costs will amount to, and I have a hard time locating the answer. Many a time I have quit searching in frustration and not always did I end up returning to finalize the sale. With Cyber Monday taking place over a 24 hour period you need to maximize on quick conversions, there's no time for people to try contacting you or to spend precious minutes searching your site to find out shipping options. They may just decide to try another business that has the answers they seek. As an ecommerce retailer there are so many opportunities on this day. It is a chance to forge relationships, a chance to put your best foot forward by impressing the visitors, it's a chance to really propel your business towards success.

Ready, Aim, Fire!

Retargeting is another kind of internet marketing designed to reclaim conversions where a visitor for some reason has left the site before finalizing his purchase. Simply put retargeting is a specialized marketing where advertisements about the site that had interested the visitor are displayed to him at frequent intervals sort of a reminder flash bulb that he has some unfinished business to take care of. Retargeting is marketing to the same visitor in a different manner. Its more effective than an untargeted campaign because the visitor has displayed an interest in your product already so you are sending him subtle reminder.

An example of retargeting may be something like this. A woman is trying to figure out what to get her husband for his upcoming birthday so on the advice of a friend she decided to look into valets. She searches 'men's valets' on Google and follows the third link on the page to valetstand.com. She sifts through the many varieties and design they have to offer and places two to choose from in her cart. Distracted by the ringing timer signaling a baked cake she leaves her computer to take it out of the oven. The valet now recedes a little in her mind and she doesn't run back to the computer to complete her purchase. Two hours later she decides to take a quick look at the weather for the next day and to her surprise one of the banner ads on display next to the forecast is a promotional ad to valetstand.com for 25% off your purchase. Our shopper has just been retargeted bases on her previous interest in the site. Many marketers feel that this technique is extremely effective way to reclaim and finalize sales that may otherwise have been pushed off or lost.

Most retailers that already employ some sort of PPC feature will see that they they already have this specialized marketing available to them. If not, it may be a good idea to ask a PPC or Internet Marketing expert how best to go about this unique marketing.

The First of Season's Greetings

It's that time of year again! Time to get out there and shop til you drop! On the business- owner end it's time to double and triple check that all measures are in place to expedite your customer's shopping and purchasing process. Firstly if you don't have social media links set up its time to implement those share buttons. Word of mouth is by far the most effective marketing tool out there and it's free! The popularity of Facebook and Twitter is growing by leaps and bounds; if you don't have a page yet, you're losing out on many prospective customers. Displaying pictures of your products is a great way to invite people's likes and comments and of course recommendations for friends to purchase the same!

A picture is worth a thousand words! With the season of gift buying upon us what could be a better way to market your company's hottest products? A clear picture is worth more than a elaborate product description!

The latest advice regarding coupon codes: We need to keep visitors from leaving the site to search for available promotional codes. If your company can do it, it might be most effective to just post the codes somewhere on the site in a prominent location so not to risk losing the sale as the customer searches for he cheapest way to complete his purchase! Everyone enjoys a good bargain so try to keep your customer's satisfied with your prices and the available coupons.

As the shopping reaches its peak we'll be back with more tips... Stay tuned!

Up Up and Away

If you were to look up the word 'bounce' in the dictionary you'd see a couple of definitions. I did, so I'll just repeat what I read! Bounce is defined ' to spring off, or rebound, to move along in a lively manner or to enter or exit loudly or angrily. I'd like to focus on the first ones, to spring back or rebound. So we know the term bounce and we use it in our everyday conversations, now what does bouncing have to do with SEO?

Bounce rate refers to the percentage of traffickers who 'bounce' away after arriving at your website as opposed to clicking further to another page. Sometimes this happens because the visitor clicked on one of your advertisements or external links, sometimes because the visitor decided to leave your site and typed a replacement URL, and sometimes because a reader just closed up his browser. All readers whose visit extended just up til the initial page and then he left are considered a bounce.

There's actually a formula for figuring this out! Bounce rate = Visits that left after one page / Total number of visits.

Obviously a low bounce rate is wonderful and a high one means the site needs a bit of tweaking to reclaim those visitors. If a company is noticing that their bounce rate has increased or is high to begin with, it's time to fix up that entry page. You need to create a page that says 'Keep on reading, we have content that interests you!" It's a great idea to experiment with different graphics, colors, and headings. The essential part is obviously the the content, but if your content is up to par you may just need to work on your appearance. It may be wise to enlist the help of a web design company to advise you on the logistics. With so many design choices available it's so beneficial to have an expert web design company with lots of experience in the field help clarify what exactly you need to add that pizazz to your site. There's a lot of competition out there and you want to be the site that bouncers bounce back to!

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