Email Marketing Strategies for your Business

5 Top Tips to Guarantee Success with Email Marketing

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Email Marketing is a powerful tool which allows you to share information with your clients and make sure they know the extent of your services. Before you begin employing your email marketing strategies, you need to understand how to create an email that people will read and will not get you labeled as a spammer. A mass emailing to the wrong audience, or with the wrong message, can be a waste of time and money.

Email works best for marketing today when it can prompt a dialogue and encourage social sharing. The WIFM factor (What’s in it for me) for the recipient needs to be achieved in order to gain a click through on the hyperlink(s) in the email.

There are many critical success factors of Email Marketing – the top 5 are outlined below:

1. Choosing the Right Platform
There are many companies out there offering cost effective solutions such as Mail chimp with over 400,000 users. It comes with a flexible UI for building HTML email templates and for those feeling less ambitious, a free gallery of HTML templates are available. Building out campaigns, managing subscribers and pulling up reports are all simple, drag-and-drop affairs that anybody can handle. MailChimp is both highly extensible and extremely user-friendly, making this product ideal for non-technical users.

Much like MailChimp, Campaign Monitor offers state-of-the-art template and subscriber management, attractive campaign reports and speedy, safe email delivery. Since it’s targeted at Web designers, the Campaign Monitor platform can be easily rebranded and sold as a service to clients.

Emma aims for small businesses specifically with ‘a simple, stylish way to stay in touch with their customers, members and fans’. The company has long had a focus on stylish design and superb customer service. Their HTML template management is not quite as flexible as the other products mentioned above, but once you have your templates ready, deploying campaigns and analyzing the results is a cinch.

2. Permission-Based Email Lists
By creating a series of online marketing programs you will encourage people to sign up for your email list. Have a click box in your sign-up area that people can click to give you permission to send them emails about your upcoming offers. Building a permission-based email list can increase the chances that your message will be received and read.

3. Developing Compelling Content
To build and maintain a loyal readership, it’s important to provide content that is both interesting and relevant to your audience. The body of your email should be clean, easy to read and contain concise information that outlines your product benefits. Avoid adding graphics or unnecessary text that clutters up the screen and makes it difficult for the reader to find your sales pitch.

4. Subject Line
Your subject line can determine if the recipient receives and opens your email. Many spam filters are designed to stop emails that contain spam marketing words. To get past these spam filters try to create a subject line that will grab the reader’s interest. Make sure your subject line gives an honest representation of the email content and experiment with different subject lines until you have found one that is the most effective.

5. Analytics to measure success
During and after each campaign, carefully review your analytics to determine the best days and times to reach your audience, the content that generates the most hits, and what your readers are clicking on once they open your email. You can then use that data to help determine your content and distribution strategy for future mailings.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to create a dialogue with your customers. Take the time to identify the right platform and email design and be sure to deliver content that is both relevant and interesting to your audience.

How to Use a Facebook Business Page

Maximizing your Facebook Business Page for your Business

Facebook is used for Business to Consumer (B2C) contact in the marketing world and as social media is now the first point of contact for many potential customers it is essential to invest resources in it than just having a page. Facebook users use this tool as their social organiser, calendar and as a peer so to get their attention you need to look at it from their point of view.

Once you have this achieved you can begin to take advantage on all the other benefits like this successful small company The Irish Fairy Door Company company/product page has achieved with their company/product page as outlined below:

Feedback on service & products

Facebook and all social media marketing tools are primarily based on creating content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share with their network. The resulting electronic word of mouth is very powerful and instantaneous which is an excellent form of feedback on your service and products as it allows you to see what is and what isn’t working in your business so you can adapt accordingly. We also value feedback when it comes from a trust resource as opposed to third party individuals. Once you have 30 likes on your page, Facebook Insights will provide you with measurements on your Page’s performance and demographic data about your audience, how people are discovering and responding to your posts etc.

The Irish Fairy Door Company has shown how effective Facebook can be for your business; they have 22,894 likes and 3,247 talking about them since they joined Facebook on 10th May 2013. They also have a high level of engagement with their customers and post daily with good creative content.

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Launching new services & products

Facebook business pages allow you to market to the right people, whilst also giving you an excellent medium to create excitement and build momentum around the launch of a new product or service. How do you do this?

  1. Set up your page
  2. Identify your audience
  3. Create compelling content
  4. Advertise
  5. Measure and adjust

 Customer relationship management

Facebook can help facilitate a two-way conversation with your clients about your products and/or service. If used correctly, this can be a positive interaction which will ultimately improve your product and service and increase client satisfaction. It is also a powerful medium to help increase a business’s brand awareness and potential for going viral.

As a business owner if you are not using Facebook to market, connect, attract new networking opportunities and provide customer service – your business is missing out on valuable business opportunities, positive community relationships, potential clients and the viral referral system.

The Irish Fairy Door Company has benefited from their Facebook Business Page through The Bank of Ireland Facebook Programme; they joined forces to help small businesses grow online and as The Irish Fairy Door Company has had such a good presence on Facebook they are getting free advertising on Bank of Ireland ATMs around the country for a period of time. What a fantastic branding opportunity!

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Customer retention management

Facebook is a retention and loyalty platform – not an acquisition tool, so instead of focusing on sales messages, you should post about new products and get feedback from your most dedicated advocates about what features they’re looking for. Make your Facebook Page a focus group for everything about your brand, and you just might get more value than if you drum up a few thousand fans who never intend to buy from you.

Research & development

As outlined above, Facebook allows you to get feedback about your products and services instantaneously from your fans which in turn will assist with the development of new products and services that you are looking to market.

Pinterest for Designers

How Designers Can Boost Their Business with Pinterest

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Pinterest is an image bookmarking tool, a social network and a genius marketing tool. You can get work, find new contacts and promote your personal brand by harnessing the power of the image-based social network.

If you are a graphic designer, interior designer, photographer, artist or illustrator you should definitely be using this powerful tool.

Pinterest is a great for gathering, organising and viewing images. It’s not just for foodies and weddings, with more designers joining daily and because of the popularity of the platform, it can be a great tool to help you to promote your work.

How Pinterest Works

Instead of simply bookmarking pages, you bookmark, share and store images and videos. If you see a photo you like you can ‘pin’ it to your virtual board with a simple click. With an interface that’s simple and easy to use, you can create up to 350 boards. These boards can be viewed by anyone that follows you, but there is also an option to create ‘secret boards’ that are just for you.

Just like Twitter you can follow other users on Pinterest and see they’ve been pinning on a personalised homepage. You can then re-pin any images you like to your boards and like Facebook you can ‘like’ and comment on anything you see to enhance the popularity of that site.

See it. Pin it. Store it.

Use Pinterest to create themed inspiration boards of things you like and images that relate to your style. These can include looks, styles, textures, shapes and even colours. Doing this is a great way to create a library of inspiration material for you to reference in your own work. There’s even an iPhone app so you can pin on the go.

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Build Your Brand

At the moment your online presence probably consists of a portfolio site and social networking on the likes of Facebook and Twitter. Pinterest is another channel for you to continuously build your personal brand. As with any social network you do this by participating in conversations, making connections and establishing your profile.

Creating boards of your own with your best work on it will give you more exposure on the web, attract likes and draw comments. It can also be re-pinned by other users and in turn reach a wider audience. When doing this, be sure to include your name/business name in the image description or even your website so people know where to find you!

There are numerous global brands like Topshop, Sephora, Oscar de la Renta, Victoria’s Secret and even Etsy that have seen the huge potential of the social networking site and have taken full advantage of the consumer interaction and appealing aesthetics that are on offer.

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Connect

Pinterest should be a vital part of every designer, artist and creative’s social media strategy alongside Facebook, Twitter, Behance, Delicious etc. With the ability to follow other users it’s easy to keep an eye on studios, illustrators, photographers and designers that you like. By following, commenting on and sharing their content you can encourage them to look at your boards in return and therefore raise your profile.

Your ‘about’ section is also very important as it lets people know what you do and who you are. Including relevant keywords here can help people find you too, especially if they’re looking for a particular type designer. And again, include a link to your website.

Mood Boards

If you’re working on a project for a particular client you can create a mood board or examples board that they can view. This is an extremely convenient way to display and collect concept ideas and material, and the client can view it at their leisure all in the one place. If you don’t want everyone to be see your board you can even create a ‘secret board’.

Pinterest also allows you to invite others to contribute to a board. This makes it particularly easy for projects involving multiple people.

Pin it to Your Site

You may already have Facebook and Twitter buttons on your website but you can also have a Pinterest button. Adding a ‘pin it’ button makes it easy for other Pinterest users to share your content and in turn will make it easier for you to be found!

Sell Your Work

You can use Pinterest as a generator to promote and sell your work. Even big brands like Asos are now using the social media platform to show off their products with links to buy them under each image.

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For any designer or creative, Pinterest is an exceptional way to market yourself, your business and your brand. It can be used as a secondary resume and an add-on to your portfolio. Pinterest is extremely important for visual designers, web developers and photographers because it is a visual medium, so make the most of it!

Hotel Marketing Strategies

Best Practice Mobile Strategies for your Business in 2014

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Mobile marketing has exploded in the hospitality industry over the last few years as most of its potential customers are browsing on-the-go, and hoteliers and travel suppliers have to respond adequately to this growing demand for mobile travel services.  With a 46% (Google Insights into Hotel Vertical In Irelands- Q4, 2013) increase in travel shoppers gravitating towards mobile browsing, marketers have no other option but to rethink their strategies,as it is poised to become the most conversion-centric marketing technique in a couple of years. Fifty percent of U.S. adults and 80% of business travelers already have smartphones. Twenty-four percent of leisure travelers and 36% of business travelers have already purchased travel via their mobile devices (PhoCusWright).

M-Commerce revolution

The travel and tourism industry is one of the most aggressive innovators and users of internet-centric technologies.  All sizes of brands are now plugged into the online world as they have realized the marketing potential of internet based visibility campaigns.

Ranging from M-reservations to M-inquiries, established hotel chains have already embraced the mobile browsing spectrum to the fullest.  M-commerce presents a great opportunity for utilizing the great pool of customers who are not only available 24×7, but also the largest conversion potential and for players of all sizes and interests in the hospitality segment.  The opportunities of ‘AAA’ marketing (Anywhere, Anytime, At-once) has taken the world of mobile marketing by storm.

Travelers are always on the move and the one apparatus that keeps them connected to the world is their mobile phone – it has become a hub of information, research, inquiry, commerce and other location-based services, with just a couple of touches.  Some of the top hotel chains who were the earliest proponents of M-commerce have reported a 70%-90% surge in their traffic.

How do you guarantee success for your business in 2014?

Below is a key essentials checklist that you should have in your business:

  1. Have a Mobile Website – it is no longer a luxury, but a necessity! Content quality is the biggest “must-have” for a mobile site. The Google Panda algorithm updates favour mobile websites with richer visual and textual content that is not only deep and relevant but also fresh, engaging and optimized for the search engines.
  2. Create Mobile Specific Rateplans – Mobile Bookings are poised to grow exponentially over the next few years and with this comes a need to have mobile specific rateplans. It is predicted that by 2015, 20% of all hotel bookings will be made via mobile devices.
  3. Upload Quality ImagesImage galleries receive the 2nd highest interaction on a mobile device.
  4. Develop a Mobile Marketing strategy – With exponential growth in mobile traffic and bookings, consider having a mobile marketing strategy to be found via paid and organic search results. Google Search Mobile queries grew by 46% in 2013, with 43% of all hotel search queries now made via a mobile device.
  5. Hold availability for last minute mobile bookings – Mobile bookings lead time is getting shorter; to grow your mobile revenue, try holding some last room availability where possible. Currently 31% of Mobile Hotel bookings are made for a stay within a 72hr period.
  6. Go Social with Mobile – 2015 is the year to leverage Social media via mobile, Ensure you are encouraging social media interaction via your mobile website. Mobile monthly active users on Facebook increased by over 45% YOY to 874m and Twitter increased by over 37% YOY to 184m.

What’s in store for the future?

Mobile bar-code hotel room activation – Mobile payments for on-site charges – Mobile valet service – Mobile airport pick-ups and much, much more!

 

 

Instagram for Photographers

How Photographers Can Market Themselves on Instagram

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Instagram is a fast growing image sharing site that was established in 2010. It has grown from a fashionable iOS-only app to a huge Android social networking platform and with over 150 million users it shows no signs of slowing down.

National Geographic was one of the first major brands to realise Instagram’s full potential as they signed a brand partnership within  the fist week after its launch. They now have over 4million followers and professional photographer’s now take over NatGeo’s feed and post instant photos of their travels. As a result of this a number of well known photographers have taken to the site with their own accounts and have built a mass of dedicated followers.

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Branding

With major brands such as Nike and Coca-Cola already benefiting from Instagram accounts, smaller companies are now starting to notice the publicity that an Instagram presence can generate. Instagram can be used by photographers in addition to their portfolio website to showcase their work and to show off behind-the-scenes action from shoots. By doing this, it can help to promote the personality of your brand. The content that you share can allow potential customers to take a sneak-peek into your life and convey the type a person and photographer you are. This kind of personalisation can indefinitely aid you in obtaining new business.

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Build An Audience

The key to photography is to build an audience of people who have a relationship with what you’re doing. These people are the ones that may hire you, support you or buy your product. Instagram provides a mode of strengthening this relationship between you and your potential audience. However, posting a vast number of images from one session is a sure fire way to diminish your number of followers. Nobody wants their entire feed to be back-to-back photos from the same shoot.

Filter Friendly

When it first started off Instagram had a bad rap for the over use of filters on photos and feeds bursting with images of what people had for breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between. In recent times these trends have diminished as users seem to be taking it a little more seriously. There are of course still pages full of filtered selfies and food but with the additional of professional photographers to the mix the quality bar has been significantly raised. For those of you that are using Instagram for business, be sure to define your style from the very start, either use no filters whatsoever or stick one or two that are consistent with your professional portfolio.

Be Seen

If your Instagram bio reads “Jane Doe Photography, Fashion and Wedding Photography. Dublin based Photographer” but you have your page set to private it makes absolutely no sense. If your private Instagram is full of images of your work that you want to sell to the public but you’re afraid of people stealing your work then Instagram, or the Internet in general, is not the place for you and you’re going to miss out on a lot of potential clients. However, if you are going to keep your keep page private then at least link to your website in your bio.

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Turn “Likes” into Business

If your photos are getting multiple “likes” but you’re not seeing any boost in your business and you’re still not showing up in search engine results then you need to properly brand yourself. Instead of primarily focusing on how much attention your images can get you need to target your ideal clients so they can find and book you.

You need to figure out who your target person is. Who are they following? What tags do they use in their day to day life? How can you target your photos and your hashtags to target and to engage them? Put yourself in their shoes and use Instagram for business and marketing. Getting your name out there is all well and good but not if it’s not targeted, not focused and not intentional.

Link

Finally, you need to link all your sites together. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ etc. should all link back to your website. Linking all these sites to each other means you’re captivating the widest possible audience from each individual site. Your brand will be promoted more extensively and your potential clients will have a much easier job of actually finding you.

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So, what does Instagram mean for professional photographers? If utilized correctly, it can mean a new way to promote, advertise and sell their work, build relationships with other photographers, potential clients and budding camera-jockeys alike.