Getting new customers isn't always cheap. That's one of the reasons why I tell businesses to focus on customer retention. With that said, it's impossible to retain customers if you can't get them through your doors or to your website in the first place. If you're a new company without an existing customer base, you'll need to come up with some creative ways to acquire new ones. The problem is new businesses typically have a limited marketing budget. They need sales to generate money for promotional content, but they can't get any sales without those promotions. It's a paradox. This goes for companies that may have been in business for a while but are struggling with their revenue streams. Regardless of your situation, new customers can always help. You don't need to spend a fortune on customer acquisition. Here's a basic formula that shows how to calculate your acquisition cost:
If you want an even more accurate version of this formula, you can add additional costs besides sales and marketing. They may include: [list] [*]wages [*]infrastructure [*]production [*]any other costs [/list] That's the true representation of how much it costs you to get a new customer. Keeping this number low will give you a much higher return on investment. The strategies I'm going to show you actually work. I know this from personal experience. These are the most inexpensive techniques to acquire lots of new customers. Start by retargeting old customers I know what you're thinking. If you're focusing on existing customers, it's retention, not acquisition-right? Not exactly. If you've been in business for a while and it's been a year or two since a customer was active, I wouldn't refer to that person as an existing customer. Getting them back to your business is basically like getting a brand new customer. Dig up any old information you have on this person: [list] [*]email [*]phone number [*]address [/list] Anything you have. Reach out to them with a promotion to try to get their business back. Here's an example of an email campaign from Carter's:
They give an old customer a reason to make another purchase and come back to their brand. If you've recently made new improvements to your business, don't be afraid to let old customers know. Maybe the reason why they left in the first place was because they thought your company was outdated. Share any information about your infrastructure that has improved the customer experience. Do you have a new mobile application? Have you renovated your brick and mortar location? These are examples of things to promote when you contact these old leads. Step up your presence on Instagram To survive, you have to adapt to the times. The days of using snail mail and local print advertisements to promote your business are slowly becoming a thing of the past. Your business needs to have a digital presence. Stay engaged with prospective customers via Instagram. Over half of users on Instagram are active on a daily basis.
There are also 800 million active monthly users. These numbers continue to rise each year. The popularity of this platform isn't going to phase out any time soon. One of the reasons why I like to use Instagram is because it's so inexpensive. It doesn't cost you anything to create a profile. The only cost is your time. Even if you're paying someone to manage your social media accounts, it's OK as long as they're being productive. Here's what you need to do. Work on getting more followers on your profile. Realistically, not all your followers will become customers. Don't worry about converting all of them. Let's go through a scenario. Start with a goal. You want to gain 10,000 Instagram followers in the next month. It's a high number, but it's attainable. You're aiming to convert 20% of your followers to customers. That's 2,000 new customers in just one month. Don't forget the best part: it didn't cost you anything. For those of you who think a 20% conversion is too high or unrealistic, think again. Based on this generational data, it's actually quite modest:
Internet users in the United States are likely to purchase something from a brand they follow on social media. If you get more followers, you'll get more customers. You can improve your conversion chances if you're managing your Instagram account properly. Post pictures and videos of your products and services. Get your followers involved as well. Try to encourage them to post images of themselves using your products. One of my favorite ways to do this is by featuring customer photos on your account. When your followers see they can get recognition for their photos, it gives them some extra motivation to post pictures with your product. Here's an example from the Thule Instagram:
Now anyone who has one of Thule's products knows they can be featured as well if they take a cool photo. Getting customers to post photos on their personal accounts is a great brand awareness strategy. You'll get more followers and acquire more customers. Again, this strategy is completely free. Create more video content Like I said earlier, you need to stick with the trends. Video content is trending upward at record rates. Across the globe, 52% of marketing experts say video has the highest return on investment compared to other marketing content. That's great news for you if you're trying to keep acquisition costs low. Doing something as simple as adding a video to your landing page can increase conversion rates by up to 80%. One of the best parts about creating a video is that you can use the same one across all of your marketing channels. I'll go through some examples to show you what I mean. Let's say you created a video for your website. You can also send it via email to your subscribers. Not everyone on your subscriber list is a customer. Some people may have provided you with their email addresses, but never actually bought anything. Here's a great opportunity for you to acquire those individuals. Look at how Patagonia embedded a video in their email marketing campaign:
You can use the same strategy. Don't create a different video for each marketing channel-that's a waste of time. If the video is less than a minute long, you can even add it to your Instagram profile, which I discussed above. Is your video longer than a minute? No problem. Just include a specific clip from the video or make it into a top highlights clip. All of this is much more cost effective than creating an entirely new video. In addition to email and Instagram, add videos to your: [list] [*]Homepage [*]Blog [*]YouTube channel [*]Facebook [*]Twitter [/list] I know what you're thinking. How can this be a low-cost strategy if I need to hire a professional cameraman and crew to make a high quality video? I've got good news for you: none of that is necessary. In fact, the vast majority of businesses produce their video content in-house.
This helps keep costs low. Just invest in a decent camera and microphone. You don't need anything too fancy. There's plenty of inexpensive or even free video editing software that you can get on your computer as well. If you're willing to pay for a video editing tool, you can try Moovly.
You can get a subscription for as little as $5 per month. They even let you try the software free for the first 30 days to see whether you like the experience. Some of you may have wanted to create videos in the past but didn't know what kind of content to produce. Remember, we're trying to acquire customers here. Your videos need to display your competitive advantage. What makes your products or services better than something similar on the market? Try starting with a video tutorial. Go through a step-by-step process of how your product can solve a problem. You can also create videos that demonstrate a product. That's not necessary for all products. For example, if your company produces hats and headbands, I don't think you need to teach potential customers how to put a hat on. With that said, you can still come up with a creative video that shows what makes your product unique. Dollar Shave Club uses this strategy with their promotional video content:
The video doesn't teach you how to shave. Instead, it walks prospective clients through the process of getting razors and other shaving products delivered to their front doors. It's an effective and low-cost strategy for customer acquisition. Start running epic giveaways If people aren't buying your product, you need to come up with a clever way to get the product in their hands. Give it to them free. Let me clarify. I'm not saying you should give away thousands of products. But you can run monthly or even weekly promotions. You can choose between: [list] [*]sweepstakes [*]contests [/list] A sweepstakes means you're giving away something to a person picked at random. It doesn't require any skill, and there's nothing someone can do to increase their chances of winning. All the person can do is enter and hope for the best. Contests require skill, and the winner is selected based on judgment. I think contests are more effective. It gets the participants more involved, which is great if you're trying to acquire new customers. Let's say someone entered your contest but didn't win. They put lots of effort into their entry and were looking forward to getting the product. Well, now they may be more inclined to make a purchase. Here's an example of what a conversion funnel looks like when you run a contest:
That's what I love so much about this strategy. First of all, it's not going to cost you anything except for the cost of the product you're giving away. But it's also a great way to build your email subscriber list. In order to enter, make it a requirement for customers to provide you with their email addresses. After all, how else will you be able to contact them if they win? Now at the very least, you'll be able to send them promotional emails. If the contest didn't entice them to make a purchase, your email marketing campaign can get the job done. Remember earlier I said that if you get more followers on Instagram you could get more customers? Well, the same concept applies here. Additional subscribers on your email list can improve your conversions. It's an inexpensive way to acquire new customers. Conclusion Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to spend a fortune on customer acquisition. This holds true for startup companies as well as businesses that have been operating for years. While customer retention should be a priority as well, you can't keep a customer if you never got them on board in the first place. That's why I like to start with retargeting old customers. You already have their contact information. If it's been years since they last made a purchase, the additional revenue will have the same impact as the impact you would get from a new customer. Instagram is one of my favorite social platforms for customer acquisition. Since people are more likely to make a purchase from brands they follow on social media, focus on getting your follower numbers up. You'll be able to convert a percentage of those followers to customers. Adding more video content to your promotional channels will help as well. You can make these videos in-house, so it won't be very expensive. Contests and sweepstakes can increase brand awareness and get you some new customers. These strategies will also help you get more email subscribers, so you can continue to market to those people and increase conversions. What are some budget-friendly ways you've used to acquire new customers?
From golden arches to red bulls, color is fundamental to our recognition of familiar brands and color affects the way people react when they first encounter a company. Vistaprint worked with Dr. Sally Augustin of Design With Color to develop recommendations for the design of places, objects, and services that support desired cognitive, emotional, and physical experiences. Vistaprint
Study: Social Media and Blog Usage by Fortune 500 Companies in 2017. Fortune 500 companies are increasingly using visual social networks such as Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat, according to recent research conducted by Nora Ganim Barnes and Shannen Pavao at The Center for Marketing Research, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. MarketingProfs Snapchat seeks salvation in long-form and “hands-on” AR ads. Snapchat has introduced two new forms of ads: Promoted Stories which string together multiple Snaps into a longer-form slideshows openable from a tile on the Stories page that's shown to everyone in a given country, and Augmented Reality Trial ads that let people play with an AR version of a product overlaid on the world around them. TechCrunch On-Page Content Continues to be Considered the Most Effective SEO Tactic. On-page content is considered to be effective by more marketers than any of the other SEO tactics outlined, whereas off-page content development and optimization is perceived to be effective by the fewest respondents (57% and 10%, respectively). Ascend2 Study via MarketingCharts Announcing New Facebook Tools for the Creator Community. The new Facebook Creator app is a one stop shop for creators of all kinds, to help take their passions to the next level. With the app, creators can easily create original video, go live with exclusive features, and connect with their community on Facebook. Facebook Newsroom LinkedIn continues to be the most popular social platform for Fortune 500 companies. 98% of Fortune 500 companies have set up shop on LinkedIn to tell their story, network, stimulate word of mouth and recruit. Four hundred and eighty-eight companies on the F500 list are using LinkedIn in 2017. UMass / Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research(LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client)
Report: By 2019 Two-Thirds Of Global Display Ads Will Be Traded Programmatically. Programmatic ad sales are growing at an annual average rate of 21% per year, according to Publicis Groupe Zenith's latest report, Programmatic Marketing Forecasts. This year's estimate is $57.5 billion. MediaPost Study: B2B Marketers Find Content Downloads Drive Conversions. Two-thirds of those polled said content downloads generated leads with the best conversion rates, more than webinar registration (45%), demo requests (37%), surveys and polls (26%) and even free trials. eMarketer Fake-Ad Operation Used to Steal From Publishers Is Uncovered. Adform says 'Hyphbot' scheme created fake websites, nonhuman traffic to scam advertisers of more than $500,000 a day. Wall Street Journal The Impact of 17 Factors on Google Search Rank. Direct website traffic is the factor that most influences how well pages rank on Google's search engine result pages (SERPs), according to recent research from SEMRush. What were the other top factors? Find out on MarketingProfs Facebook Will Show Americans What Russian Propaganda Posts They Read. Now you can find out which Russian propaganda pages or accounts you've followed and liked on Facebook, due to a request from Congress to address manipulation and meddling during the 2016 presidential election. AdAge TopRank Marketing in the News [list] [*]Amy Higgins – Content Marketing Conversations: Marketer Amy Higgins Demystifies Buzzwords – Flipboard [*]Debbie Friez – Facebook Hacks by Top 13 Industry Experts to Increase Fans Engagement and Activity – M&M blog [*]Steve Slater – 150 Years of the Best Holiday Campaigns: M&M's Stumble Upon Santa – Big Commerce [*]Amy Higgins & Lee Odden – A Few 'Kick-Start Your Career' Tips From Top 6 Most Influential Women (Plus One Man) in Content Marketing – Prowly Magazine [*]@LeeOdden – 12 Best Twitter Accounts to Learn About Marketing – Xpand Blog [*]@LeeOdden – Top 100 Social Media People to Follow on Twitter – Revive Social [/list]
Welcome to our newest team member Jake Murphy as Graphic Designer!
Congratulations to Account Manager, Elizabeth Williams, on her first year anniversary with TopRank Marketing! What was the top digital marketing news story for you this week? Be sure to stay tuned until next week when we'll be sharing all new marketing news stories. Also check out the full video summary with Tiffani and Josh on YouTube.
In recent years, researchers have identified a small group of stalactites that appear to have calcified underwater instead of in a dry cave. The Hells Bells in the El Zapote cave near Puerto Morelos on the Yucatán Peninsula are just such formations. Scientists have recently investigated how these bell-shaped, meter-long formations developed, assisted by bacteria and algae.
There's a reason you can recognize an Apple ad right away. Same with Nike and Airbnb. A big part of that is because of imagery, copy, and layout, but typefaces play a huge role as well. Although the ROI of having a strong brand is harder to measure than, say, clear button copy, it's telling that some of the most respected companies in the world have strong design cultures and distinct aesthetics.
Examples of Apple and Nike's on-brand design aesthetics. When designing landing pages, you need them to be on-brand, pixel for pixel. Great design is often a tell-tale sign of more sophisticated marketing (and can give you an easier time getting conversions as it can help convey that you're well established). One of the most obvious elements that need complete design versatility on your landing pages is your typeface. This is why Unbounce launched built-in Google fonts in September of this year. Now there are 840+ fonts to choose from for all your text and button needs, straight from the text editor's properties panel:
For some inspiration on how to best use this newfound world of hundreds of fonts, we're passing the mic to some of our in-house designers at Unbounce. See what they have to say about everything from the best fonts for creating a visual hierarchy to how your text can communicate emotion. Plus see what types of fonts they're excited to use in their upcoming design work in the builder. Break the rules where possible Cesar Martinez, Senior Art Director here at Unbounce, hears a lot of talk about rules. But they're not the be-all-and-end-all. As he tells us: “Often when discussing typography with my peers, I hear about all sorts of design principles, some of which I've always challenged myself to learn almost as commandments. I realized that is very easy to fall into a vortex of overused principles of visual communication that can potentially damage your integrity (or what some call originality) as a brand.
When designing landing pages that need to feel especially branded or out of the box, try breaking these rules every now and then (then A/B test to see what works and doesn't). For example, you could use more than two typefaces in one paragraph, break the kerning on your headers, use a big bold-ass serif on a semi-black background and see how it looks with a thin handmade brushed calligraphic font as the subheader...I know it sounds crazy, but this can lead to unexpected results and it's something I'm really looking forward to doing with the builder's new built-in Google fonts.” Some of Cesar's favorite out-of-the-box examples of typography? “I love what ILOVEDUST does when it comes to typography. I also recommend reading Pretty Ugly2 as an introspection of “bad” typography applications that succeed in the way they communicate a visual idea.”
Which font is Cesar most excited to use in the builder? A few: Roboto, Playfair, and Abril Fatface. Try Roboto, Playfair and more in your next landing page design. See how to create a landing page in Unbounce and experiment with typefaces in a free 30 day trial. Use fewer fonts to clarify information hierarchy Denise Villanueva, a Product Designer, created our Unbounce Academy with clear and consistent hierarchy in mind. “Good typography is the most straightforward way to create a clear content hierarchy. That, above anything else, should be the main criteria of choosing typefaces for your brand.” Denise provided some specific pointers to help you achieve sound content hierarchy on your landing pages:
“When in doubt, using one font family in 2–3 weights (or two font families in 1-2 weights) will work the vast majority of the time. Using more than three typefaces can be distracting and chaotic - avoid doing it.” As an example, Unbounce's Fitspo template features the Raleway font (in all caps for headers and sentence case for regular body copy) and a clear, attention-grabbing header with supporting sections that guide you further down the page. Think of it as presenting your information in clearly defined levels that are easy to read.
Create a new landing page fast with the Fitspo template - or browse through other stunning designs you can use today. Give someone all the feels with typographic details For Denis Suhopoljac, our Principal User Experience Designer, using the right typography can evoke feelings in your audience:
“Typefaces are all about composition, harmony, and mood rolled into one. By matching the right typography traits with voice, style and tone of a brand, you can enhance the wit, humor, or seriousness of a piece of copy. When it's done right, typography makes your copy (and your entire brand experience) legible, readable, and appealing.”
Different fonts convey different types of emotions via text - what do these typefaces make you think of? Professionalism? Reliability? Playfulness? Timelessness? Try incorporating typeface as part of your message To Ainara Sáinz, our Interactive Designer, good typography can do double duty and save you from having to use other supporting imagery. “If typography is done well, you don't always need extra elements like images, backgrounds or even colors to reinforce the message. And sometimes, the execution is so flawless that the audience might not even need to know how to read to understand and feel the message behind it. Like Ji Lee's Word as Image project-just... wow.”
Image via Ji Lee's Word as Image project. Your landing pages can make use of stunning fonts too Having solid branding does wonders for a brand's credibility, and our customers have been telling us that they want to get in on the action. Get into the builder today to explore the 840+ new typeface options available, and find your favourite pairings for your next landing page.
Have you ever noticed that it seems like every single company seems to send their email newsletter at the same time? Usually they're sent very late at night or extra early in the morning. Which is, funny enough, when most of their audience is sleeping, so we wake up with an overstuffed inbox each morning. I am guessing that you have also run into this somewhat minor annoyance. But it literally is one of my biggest pet peeves. If you are like me, the deleting of most of these newsletters has become part of your morning ritual. It is pretty refreshing to send them all to your trash folder and get back to inbox zero. I mean I love reading about data driven marketing tips but not at 7 in the morning. We are constantly plugged into our email accounts with those supercomputers we call phones. The days when you would check your email once in the morning and once at night is over. But, alas, some companies still seem to be sticking to that email schedule. This strategy is as outdated as that jewel colored iMac or Gateway computer sitting in your basement. And all the effort you put into great content will be wasted if you pick the wrong time to send. So I set out to find when the best time to send an email newsletter is, in the most scientific way ever, by signing up for 100 different newsletters and recording all of their send times. 1. Send it from 11-12PM, 1-2PM, or 2-3PM If you were looking for the best time to send an email I would recommend selecting a time where there is little competition. Like a time when almost no emails are being sent. I mean why would you want your newsletter competing for your audience's attention with a bunch of other emails? That is just a recipe for low open rates and a drop in subscribers. So to avoid that I would shoot for a period when no other emails are sent. In fact, from 11-12PM, 1-2PM and 2-3PM not a single email was sent in our study. Like not a single one:
Now you may be asking what is the best chunk of time out of those three periods? And I would have to say that 2-3PM has the most potential. From 11-12PM and 1-2PM are too close to the lunch hour and could get lost in the shuffle. Unless your newsletter deals with a fun topic that they would want to read about on that break, I would avoid those two. Instead try from 2-3PM. Your audience will most likely be back from lunch by then and feeling a bit recharged. They have already cleared their emails from the morning and are maybe looking for a little procrastination opportunity. And boom, your email newsletter is there to help them out. 2. Or from 10-11AM Now if you don't want to be the only one sending an email during a certain time period, I have a perfect time for you. This is another period where almost zero email newsletters were sent out in our study. In fact there were only one email sent out in that whole time period. And I think that your email can handle a little competition. This period happens to be from 10-11AM.
As you can see in the graph above there were a few other periods when only a few emails were sent. But I do not think that they will be as fruitful as from 10-11AM. For example, from 9-10AM is when a lot of people's workday starts and 4-5PM is when it usually ends. That means you are going to be fighting a lot more for their attention than just a few emails. So to avoid these outside distractions I would choose from 10-11AM. By then your readers will be settled into their desk, the coffee has kicked in and they are probably at inbox zero. It is almost a perfect time for an interesting newsletter to pop up in their mailbox. Additionally, I do find it a little odd that from 10-11AM has been pushed by experts and thought leaders. But exactly one email was sent. It really does not make sense, but it does present a new opportunity for your email newsletter to shine. 3. Never between 6-7PM After carefully counting on both of my hands I was able to determine the worst time to send an email. This time period was so crowded that more than 10% of all the emails in the study were sent during this hour chunk each day. That is almost triple what an average hour should have received. If you have read the graphs above you saw that 6-7 PM got the most emails of any period.
As you can see in the graph above if you decide to send your newsletter in this time period you are going to have some competition. So I would avoid sending your newsletters during this period based on the jump in competition. When you compare it to the times we already highlighted above there are 50x more emails during this period. Even some of the times that got 5x more emails are looking pretty good to me right now. Unless you want your open rates to plummet from that increased competition I would avoid sending from 6-7PM. It does kind of make sense why brands would decide to send their weekly email at this time. Their audience has made it home from their jobs and starting to relax. They should be pretty open to receiving a newsletter about their hobby, interest or activity. But again, you are brawling in their inbox with a ton of other well-crafted emails for their attention. Or it will be ignored and rolled into the next morning's inbox clearing. 4. And avoid after 9PM or before 7AM One of the easiest ways to fall into that morning deleting spree is to send your email late at night. Like when your audience is sleeping, so they will see it in the morning. I never really got the idea behind this practice. Other than that brands think we want to read about the newest social media marketing tip at 6am. I know that is the last thing on my mind at that time. Now if it was an email about coffee being delivered to my bed that would be a different story. But alas, I saw a ton of companies using this somewhat outdated topic. We can access our emails at literally any time, the novelty of waking up to news or a newsletter no longer exists. Or it is so far down the list in their inbox, they will never even see it. Between 9PM and 7PM more than 60% of all emails in the study were sent.
With nearly 40% of them were sent between 9PM and 2AM. Or about double of what should have been sent if all things were equal. That is a lot of emails your newsletter is going to be fighting. Plus your audience is most likely not even awake, and the people who are up at that time probably don't want to read your newsletter at that moment. That means, you guessed it, that it will be put off until the next morning. From there it goes right into the morning delete spree or simply forgotten about. And all your hard work on the newsletter goes ignored. Do not let your content be wasted because you chose the wrong time to send a great email. 5. Wednesdays & Saturdays Have Potential Just like in the previous sections you are going to want to pick a day that has the least competition. By sending your email on a day like this it is going to stand out like a beacon of good content. The best day to send your email is Wednesday, with Saturday coming in at a close second.
As you can see they were some of the days to receive the least emails overall. In our own tests we have seen Wednesday perform well, with some newsletters getting double the open rate of previous days. I think that Wednesday is the perfect day to send your email newsletter. Especially if your newsletter is related to their job or work. They will feel a lot less guilty about losing themselves in your content for a few minutes. Plus if it is really amazing they will want to share it with their coworkers! And that means that if your topic deals with a fun hobby or interest I would send it on a Saturday. Your audience will a lot more receptive to reading about something they could do later that day. Or they will have a lot more time to absorb all of your fantastic content. Either way both of these days are a great point to start testing to find what your own best day! Before we go on I think it is important to highlight why I did not select Sunday as the best day. I really think that it is too much of a wildcard day and the email could be lost in the shuffle of that day. Then it gets pushed into the Monday morning mass inbox cleaning. And although you may have loved to read the content you just don't have time to. This has happened to me too many times to count and I am guessing many people can relate. 6. Thursdays are the Worst Day to Send Finding the best day to send an email was a little difficult and not very straightforward. Thankfully the worst day was a lot easier to find. And that day was Thursday.
It received more than double the amount of emails when compared to Wednesday and Saturday. Exactly 25% of all the emails were sent on a Thursday, with no other days really coming close. That put it well above the 70 or so emails I received per day on average. Some experts proclaiming that Tuesday and Thursday are the best days to send a newsletter probably cause this. I am guessing that people have been blindly following this advice for the past few years. And now we are in a situation where the best day to send an email has actually become the worst day. Conclusion So there you have it, the best and worst times for you to send an email newsletter! I now need to go click unsubscribe on about 100 different emails. Or I may just cut my losses with that email address from now on. But that sacrifice of an email address was definitely worth it because I was able to get some interesting findings. Those findings will hopefully keep you from sending an email newsletter at the wrong time or day. Just remember: [list=1] [*]Send newsletters during these time blocks: 11-12 PM, 1-2 PM & 2-3 PM. [*]Between 9 and 11 AM is another great block of time. [*]If your newsletter is related to their job, send it during the workday. [*]Do not send newsletters at peak work movement hours, like 8 AM and 5 PM. [*]Emails sent during the night or early mornings are a bad idea. [*]Thursday is the worst day to send an email. [*]Mondays and Fridays should be avoided as well. [*]But the best day to send a newsletter is on Wednesday. [/list] And finally, it is important to remember to test all of these findings with your audience first. These tips should always be used a testing points for your new emails, not set in stone facts. About Kissmetrics Kissmetrics combines behavioral analytics with email automation. Our software tracks actions of your users across multiple devices allowing you to analyze, segment and engage your customers with automatic, behavior-based emails in one place. We call it Customer Engagement Automation. Get, keep and grow more customers with Kissmetrics.
About the Author: Ryan McCready went to the University of Arkansas and graduated with a degree in economics and international business. Now instead of studying the economy he writes about everything and enjoys stirring the pot.
How New Tech Trends Can Amplify Your Marketing Strategy [Animated Infographic] How can technology help your account based marketing be more efficient and more personal? This infographic answers that question and more about marketing technology trends, AI and machine learning. MarketingProfs
Top 17 Organic Search Ranking Factors [STUDY] A new study from SEMRush shows the top search ranking factors for 2017. These factors heavily favor engagement and quality of content - with factors like bounce rate, time on page and direct visits dominating the top of the list. Having the appropriate keywords in the title, meta description and page content were near the bottom. Search Engine Journal
No One Trusts Social Media, but They'll Keep Using It Anyway [New Data] Distrust for social media is on the rise, with close to half of survey respondents saying that Google, Facebook and Twitter are 'untrustworthy.' However, despite the distrust, few plan to stop using social networks and Google. HubSpot
Study Finds Sharp Drop in Time Spent on Facebook eMarketer reports: "Facebook users in the US spent more time with the platform than users of any other social network, 18 hours, 24 minutes. But that was a significant drop from the 32 hours, 43 minutes recorded by Verto Analytics a year ago." eMarketer
2017 Consumer Trends Report What do US consumers care about in 2017? In this new study, social media data shines some light onto what topics of conversation are most prevalent and what conversations are emerging. Crimson Hexagon
The State of E-Commerce in Fast-Moving Consumer Goods [Infographic] According to MarketingProfs, this infographic "offers insights into the current state of e-commerce in FMCG, also known as CPG (consumer packaged goods), as well as why e-commerce is no longer just an option for FMCG (it's a must-have) and which verticals have seen the most growth." MarketingProfs
Facebook debuts web-based VR experiences within standard News Feed Facebook has recently released examples of brands who have developed VR apps with which users can interact in the Facebook News Feed and mobile app. Facebook is calling them "360 experiences". MarketingLand
Google AdWords Editor updates to support budget type option for video ads & more Google has announced even more updates to their AdWords Editor program. These updates will support new features like Gmail asset-based ads, video extensions and a new budget type option for video ads. Search Engine Land
What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?
In order to run a successful business, you'll need to do more than just acquire customers. You'll need to retain them. One of the best ways to have a successful customer retention strategy is by creating customer engagement. That goes for all companies across every industry. Whether you have a brick and mortar location in a small town or have a global ecommerce distribution network, the customer is the lifeline of your business. While it may not seem like an issue or concern right now, failing to keep your customers engaged could be detrimental to your business. Fortunately, it appears as though you've recognized the importance of customer engagement and that's what brought you here. You've come to the right place. I'll show you my proven strategies to help you improve your customer engagement. Following these techniques will show the customer how much you care about them.
When customers don't think you care, they'll stop using your services and find another company to treat them better. Part of successful engagement and retention involves going above and beyond the basics to connect with your customers. Big retail companies are even spending upward of $1 million on artificial intelligence technology to improve their customer engagement strategies.
It's the top expected benefit from such a big investment. I'm not expecting you to do this, but I wanted to show you how much emphasis big brands are putting on improving their companies. My strategies are much more cost efficient and will yield a high return on your investment. They don't require too much time or effort either. You can implement these tactics right away. Here's what you can do to get started. Create interactive emails How much time have you spent in the last few months making sure your email marketing strategy is performing at a high level? I see this mistake far too often when I'm consulting various businesses. They send the same boring weekly newsletters and promotions. While your customers definitely want to hear from you, sameness won't keep them engaged. That's a problem. You can spice up your email campaigns by incorporating interactive emails into your messages.
One way you can accomplish this is by getting your email to mimic the look and design of your website. Include different menus, giving the subscriber a reason to click on something to find out more. Accordion menus work well too. It allows you to pack more information into a small space. When a customer sees something they like, they can click to expand the accordion. This also improves the chances that your subscribers will see more of your content because it eliminates the need for scrolling. Adding GIFs and videos to your messages can help increase engagement as well. It's much more exciting than just reading a plain email. If you have a retail or ecommerce business, you should include live shopping carts in your messages too. This is a great strategy to improve your shopping cart abandonment rates. When a customer doesn't finish the checkout process, send a follow-up email with the shopping cart embedded in the message. That way the consumer can complete the transaction without having to go back to your website. It's quick and efficient for everyone, which will help generate more revenue for your company. Use Facebook Live on a regular basis Facebook Live is one of my favorite trends of the year. It's the perfect resource for businesses to engage with their customers. More than half of marketing experts agree that video content yields the highest return on investment.
Why? First of all, it's easy. Second, if you're using Facebook Live to promote video content, it won't cost you anything except for your time. Treat your live stream as if it were a television show. Don't just come on randomly whenever you feel like it. Set a scheduled time once or twice a week to go live. This will help you build a loyal audience, which will impact your conversions and revenue. One of the best parts of going live on Facebook is the ability to interact with the viewers in real time. As you broadcast, users have the option to comment on your stream. These comments could be directed towards you or other people watching the stream. Make sure you respond to those comments. Acknowledge those users. “That's a good point, John Smith. I'll keep that in mind.” It's simple. That recognition will help make the viewers feel special. It encourages them to keep watching each week, and it inspires others to comment as well, knowing they could also get mentioned. Facebook live videos are native, which means they are embedded on a page or feed as opposed to an external link.
Native formats increase the share rate of your content compared to other channels. Don't do a quick stream. Longer live videos increase your chances of getting a larger audience. Facebook allows you to go live for up to four consecutive hours. You don't have to stream for the full four hours, but I'd recommend doing at least two or three hours. Not sure what to talk about during this time? Don't worry about it. Just be yourself. Obviously, you want to keep things professional, but this stream will give your customers a chance to see the human side of you. Recognizing there's a real person behind the brand name will help them establish a closer connection with you. This can ultimately increase customer loyalty. Here's something else you'll want to keep in mind: 85% of videos on Facebook get viewed with the sound turned off. Use lots of visuals in your stream. You can also add captions to your video so the viewers can read what you're saying. Take a look at some of the top Facebook video statistics from 2016.
All these numbers support my point. Add this strategy to your marketing campaign to improve the relationship between you and your customers. Run a contest or sweepstakes Promotions are a great way to get the attention of your customer base. Everyone wants something free, so give the people what they want. First, you have to understand the difference between a contest and a sweepstakes. A contest means the customers need to put in some sort of effort to win. There's a judgment involved in selecting the winner based on skill. A sweepstakes means the winner is chosen at random. I recommend running a contest as opposed to a sweepstakes because it gets the customer more involved and genuinely interested in your brand. If they enter a sweepstakes, all they do is enter and forget about it. I would recommend running your contest through social media platforms.
When analyzing the top benefits of social media marketing, we can see the list applies directly to our discussion about customer engagement. Developing loyal fans will help increase your revenue. Running your contests on social media will also increase exposure for your brand. One suggestion could be a photo contest on Instagram. I like this technique because it's easy. Plus, it encourages user-generated content. Tell your customers to post a photo that relates to your business. The user who has the most likes on their picture will win the contest. Now your brand is all over social media exposed to people who may not have known you before. In addition to improving engagement with your existing customers, you have the opportunity to acquire new customers at no cost. Here's an example of a contest Infiniti ran on social media:
Using a hashtag to enter the contest can also help increase the chances of your promotion going viral. Contestants know their photo will be compared to those of other customers, so they'll check out all other entries as well. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you're running a contest: [list] [*]make sure the rules are clearly posted [*]set a deadline [*]the prize needs to be relevant to your brand [*]allow mobile users to participate [*]your hashtag should be creative and unique [*]make sure the contest is shareable on social platforms [*]announce when you've selected a winner [/list] Since contests are so easy and inexpensive to run, I recommend doing this frequently. Just because the contest is over doesn't mean you can't start another one right away. In fact, running these promotions often will give your customers a reason to keep entering, and they will continue to be engaged with your brand. Post on your Instagram story Take advantage of everything Instagram has to offer. Don't just post to your profile. Add photos and videos to your story as well. Similar to Snapchat, anything on your Instagram story lasts for 24 hours. So be active, and add to it every day. These are my top suggestions for what you should put on your story: [list] [*]promotional information and discounts [*]social proof [*]content from your website [*]behind the scenes clips of your company workspace [*]new product launches [*]introductions of your staff [/list] These posts will keep your followers engaged with your profile. If you want to run an enhanced version of Instagram story, you can go live on this platform as well. I already discussed the importance of this strategy when I talked about Facebook Live. I recommend using Instagram live story for something different than your Facebook strategy. With Facebook, you should host a weekly stream. But with Instagram, you should go live when you're at an event or doing something cool.
This will create an authentic interaction with your viewers. As a result, they will stay engaged with your profile and brand. Write a double opt-in landing page Here's a strategy often overlooked. To increase customer engagement, you need to acquire customers who want to be engaged in the first place. Here's what I mean. If your customers can create a profile or join your subscription list with just one click, you may get some people who aren't genuinely interested. Making customers take an extra step to join a list will increase engagement. The best way to do this is with a double opt-in landing page. When a customer subscribes to your email list from your website, make them confirm their subscription with a welcome email. It will help you filter out people who don't want to be engaged. Double opt-in emails will also improve your open rates.
While you may end up with fewer subscribers, you'll get more active subscribers. This will make it much easier for you to apply the other engagement tactics we discussed. Conclusion Improving your customer engagement strategy will positively impact your revenue. Not sure where to start? Follow the tips I outlined in this post. Start by developing interactive emails. It's easy. Just continue to email your current subscriber list but include videos, GIFs, live shopping carts, and menus to increase engagement with each campaign. Schedule a time each week to go live on Facebook. Interact with the viewers who comment on the stream. This is a perfect opportunity for you to connect with your customers in real time. Run a contest or sweepstakes that encourages UGC. Contests will give the customers a reason to interact and engage with your brand. Take advantage of the Instagram story feature as well. Another way to make it easier to engage with your customers is by filtering the most viable candidates to your subscription list. Create a double opt-in landing page to ensure your customers are interested and actually want you to keep engaging with them. What type of content will you include on your Instagram story to increase engagement with your current customer base?