Using a Rewards Program with Your Marketing Strategy

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Using a rewards program or loyalty program is a great way to attract customers as a part of your internet marketing strategy. They’ve been found to help build customer loyalty and increase sales. These programs show your customers that you care about them and that you value their business.

Unfortunately, if you don’t use your rewards program correctly, they can quickly become a marketing nightmare. The following tips will help you to use your rewards program to attract customers, gain brand recognition, and increase conversions.

Create an Opt-in Program

There’re many different ways to start a rewards program. You can use loyalty punch cards, membership cards, and other physical methods of tracking customer behavior. Though, these solutions won’t work with an online business. For this, you’ll need to create an opt-in program.

This works the same as any other opt-in program or mailing list. Create a sign-up form, a landing page, and then advertise the page through your social media platforms or with PPC advertising. This helps to ensure that the people that sign up really are interested in benefiting from the rewards program.

Integrate the Rewards Program with Your Payment Platform

Depending on the payment platform that you use, you should find it relatively easy to integrate your rewards program. This will simplify the process of offering discounts or sales to your members. Not only will this be easier for the deployment of your rewards program, your customers will find it easier to use.

Choose Your Rewards Carefully

You should take the time to choose the right rewards or incentives for your customers. You don’t want to offer them too much of a discount or special offer. Though, it needs to have enough of a value to entice them into signing up for the rewards program.

One idea is to offer a small discount for all purchases. For example, offer members 5% off any purchase. On top of this, you could throw in some free goodies. This could include eBooks, PDFs, video content, and other exclusive content that is created solely for your members.

Create an Email Marketing Campaign

You should include an email marketing campaign with your rewards program. Members that join the program should receive periodic emails with special offers or discounts. Even if these are the same deals being presented to non-members, you should create a separate email for rewards members.

This will increase engagement. As you begin to build trust and loyalty, you should find that you have higher conversion rates with emails sent to members than you do with emails sent to non-members.

A Few Words of Warning

If you choose to create a loyalty program, never sell the information that you gain to a third party. The goal of creating a loyalty program is gain the trust of your customers. By selling their information, you violate this pact — defeating the purpose of the rewards program.

Customer service should be a major part of any important business decision. Creating a rewards program isn’t something that you should rush into. Take your time to plan out your marketing campaign and how you intend to implement your rewards program.

A rewards program can be a powerful marketing tool, when it is used correctly. For decades, they’ve been a major part of many businesses’ key marketing strategies. When you provide your customers with something of real value, it shows them that you value their business and want to give back a little.

These programs can go a long way towards helping you establish a solid customer base. Consider setting up your own rewards program using the information provided.


Tips for Managing Blog Comments on Marketing Content

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When you create a landing page or release a blog article as part of your internet marketing approach, it’s sometimes a good idea to allow comments. This can help increase engagement and could lead to more subscribers for your mailing list. At the same time, you could end up with lots of spam comments.

How do you manage your blog comments to increase the effectiveness of your marketing content? There’re a few simple steps that you can take to prevent a free-for-all.

Use a Trusted System for Your Comments

You shouldn’t allow just anyone to comment on your blog. This can quickly lead to spam comments, random messages, and internet trolls. Before long, your comment section could be packed with comments that’re completely unrelated to your content.

Use a trusted system for your comments. This means a system that requires a login. There are two main options – social media plug-ins and third-party plug-ins.

Google Plus, Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter have plug-ins that you can place on your site for your comment sections. This helps to cut down on the random noise-makers that plague open comment sections.

Another option is to use Discus or another third-party comment plug-in. These plug-ins also require a login. By ensuring a user has some type of profile, there is less of a chance of anonymous comments.

Community Only Comments

If you find that you still get anonymous, irrelevant comments, you could restrict comments to community members. Before someone could leave a comment, they’d need to sign up to your community and join your mailing list.

Restricting comments to community members can help increase the quality of your comments. Though, it can also decrease the number of comments your content gets.

Don’t Allow Comments

You don’t have to allow comments. While comments help create an engaged community, provide feedback, and allow you to answer relevant questions, they can also be distracting. If you feel that your comment section is more trouble than its worth, you could remove it completely.

There’s a downside to removing the comment section. A recognisable brand won’t see a major impact by removing the comment section, but, a smaller business may find it more difficult to build trust with their customer base.

Choosing the Option That Works for You

How do you choose the right option? You basically have four options — you can use a social media plugin, use a third-party plugin, restrict your comments to community members, or not allow comments at all. Each of these options has their own advantages and disadvantages.

Social media and third-party plugins can help you build a community. They’re more open and allow a greater number of users to comment on your content. This can be beneficial for businesses that’re still establishing themselves. They can also lead to irrelevant comments and discussion unrelated to your content.

Community only comments can restrict unrelated comments. Though, they also limit the number of comments you get. This could be a suitable option — if you already have a large community established.

The final option is to not allow comments at all. This is mostly reserved for major brands that don’t need to engage with their customers.

Weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each option. The decision should be made before you begin releasing content. You may even use different options for different types of content.

For example, on landing pages connected to a PPC advertisement, you might choose to include social media or third-party plugins. For blog posts, you might want to restrict comments to community members.

These tips will help you make better use of your comment section, depending on your marketing strategies.


How to Make Your Content Accessible for the Visually Impaired

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Unless you’re visually impaired or know someone that is, you probably don’t think about their needs when developing content. They’re an often over-looked segment of internet users. But, they’re still out there and they purchase goods, products, and services like anyone else.

As part of your internet marketing strategies, you should make sure you’re appealing to every segment within your demographic. This could include visually impaired consumers. Here are some tips and strategies for ensuring you include this portion of your target audience.

Pay Attention to Color References

About 8% of men are color blind. The most common type of color blindness involves difficulty differentiating between red and green. Keep this in mind when using colors as references. For example, you wouldn’t tell visitors to click on the “red link”. Instead, you’d tell them to click on the “link”.

Use ALT Text with Your Images

Every image on your website should have an ALT tag. The reason this tag was created is for visually impaired consumers. It’s also an important part of on-site SEO. If a user depends on a screen reader to read them the content of a web page, they can use the ALT tag to describe images.

Avoid Using Radio Buttons on Forms

When you use forms on your websites or for opt-in mailing lists, avoid the use of radio buttons. While some accessibility programs and browser can interpret the radio buttons, not all of them can. In addition to not using radio buttons, you might want to pay attention to the structure of your forms. Every field should have a title or tag.

Use HTML Properly

Another suggestion that can help improve the user experience of your site or content for the visually impaired is the proper use of HTML. Accessibility software and browser often rely on HTML structure to read content. They use this structure to determine the heading, the primary content, and secondary content.

You shouldn’t place unnecessary content or elements within your primary content. Not only does this make it more difficult for accessibility software, it is not considered good on-site SEO.

Include Links for Embedded Content

When you use embedded content in your internet marketing content, you should include a link to the original source. This applies to any embedded content. Though, it is increasingly important for the use of video on your site or in your content.

As an example, when you embed a video, include a link to YouTube or to the actual video. This way, if the accessibility software has trouble playing the content on your site, there are other options available.

Optimize Your Website for the Visually Impaired

There is one more step that you can take to improve the readability of your website for the visually impaired. Optimize your site or your marketing content. You can test how your site may appear to the visually impaired by using various testing tools.

You could also try using the accessibility features of your browser. Microsoft Explore and Chrome have options for the visually impaired. Try to imagine that you’re visually impaired and then use the software to determine whether or not people with disabilities can understand your content.

These suggestions should help improve your internet marketing strategies for including the visually impaired. There are over 280 million visually impaired people in the world. That’s a large segment for you to ignore. These users still access the internet, shop for products, and browse the web.

You should keep these tips in mind when coming up with content. They’re easy to implement and won’t detract from the user experience for non-visually impaired users.

How to Create an Emotional Response with Video Marketing

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Video content is becoming an important part of internet marketing strategies. They help keep visitors engaged. It’s been found that consumers are more likely to retain information obtained from a video than information that they read.

When creating video content, being able to create an emotional response helps your content connect with viewers. They become more interested in your content and they’re more likely to move onto the next step in your marketing approach.

Here’re some of the most effective emotional triggers for video content marketing.

Using Fear in Video Content

Fear is one of the biggest motivators. You can see this in action in commercials and video content for insurance companies, law firms, and other service-based businesses. The idea of using fear is to give viewers the idea that they need a particular service or product or else something bad could happen.

Fear is most effective when there is a real danger involved. For example, you wouldn’t use fear when marketing a toy or a video game.

The Power of Guilt

Guilt is closely associated to fear. Though, it’s used in a different manner. You can often see guilt at play in content for non-profit organizations. As an example, you can watch almost any video for animal shelters, feeding the poor, and other aid organizations, and see examples of guilt being used to illicit a response.

Instant Gratification for Immediate Action

Instant gratification can be used to create a sense of urgency. This compels viewers to take immediate action. This may help with impulse decisions. Using trigger phrase such as “act now” or “limited time only” can increase conversion rates for sales, deals, and special promotions.

Create a Sense of Belonging

Another commonly used emotional trigger is creating a sense of belonging. Most people don’t like to be alone. Letting consumers know that they’ll be part of a family encourages them to take action. This type of emotional trigger is often used for service-based products.

Creating a sense of belonging can also be beneficial for helping to build a community. If you’re looking to get people to join your community, let potential members know that by joining your community they will be part of a family.

Competition and Leadership in Video Content

Some people like to be the first to try something. This can give people a sense of importance, leadership, and can be used to appeal to their competitive nature. Performance products are often marketed in this manner. As an example, athletic shoes may claim to help you jump higher, run faster, and generally excel at a particular sport.

A Few Suggestions About Choosing an Emotional Trigger

You should be careful when choosing an emotional trigger. By making the wrong choice, you could end up alienating a portion of your target audience. Obviously, you can’t appeal to everyone at the same time. But, you should do your best to avoid upsetting anyone.

Unless you’re going after a specific demographic, you should avoid attempting anything too wild or crazy. You should stick with the triggers that you’d like to see in a video for your content. You want to elicit a specific reaction to encourage viewers to take action.

People are bombarded with commercials and video content every day. In order to cut through all of these messages, your video needs to create an emotional response. This not always easy. But, if you take the time to consider the emotional triggers discussed, you’ll be off to a good start.

Consider the emotional triggers discussed the next time you create video content for your business.


How to Keep Users from Unsubscribing to Your Mailing List

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Having an effective email marketing strategy can be a major boost for any business. In fact, most businesses rely heavily on their mailing lists. They help generate sales leads. The ROI of using mailing lists is undeniable.

Sometimes, after you’ve built up your list of subscribers, you may find that your list begins to dwindle. Over time, you lose subscribers. Some consider this a natural progression and say there’s nothing you can do about this. That’s simply not true. Here’re some tips for keeping users from unsubscribing.

It Needs to Be Clear What Users Are Signing Up For

The first step is to make sure that you’re being clear about what your users are signing up for. When you use vague terms and catchy headlines to grab attention, you may get more subscribers. But, these subscribers aren’t likely to stick around. Use clear, concise calls to action.

Request Feedback from People That Unsubscribe

Another step that you can take is to request feedback. When a user visits your site or follows a link to unsubscribe from your mailing list, use a simple text field form to allow users to leave their feedback. Ask them why they’re leaving. Some users will simply skip this step, while others could leave valuable feedback.

Test the Frequency of Your Emails

You may be sending too many or too few emails. Test the frequency of your emails. Some users get annoyed if they receive too many emails, while sending too few may cause some users to forget about your business. In either case, they’re likely to unsubscribe.

Depending on the email marketing system you use, you may have access to A/B split testing. Use split testing. With one set, send your emails daily. With the other set, send one email per week. At the end of the week, look at the stats. Make changes to the frequency of your emails, based on the results.

Automate Your Emails to Increase Engagement

By automating some of the messages that you’d send to subscribers, you might increase engagement. This includes the use of welcome emails, notifications, and other generic mailers. If a user subscribes to your mailing list, they should automatically receive a welcome or thank you message.

Set a Schedule for Your Emails

After you’ve tested the frequency of your emails, set a schedule and stick to it. If you’ve found that users are less likely to unsubscribe when sending weekly emails on a Monday — always send your emails on a Monday at the same time of the day.

Pay Attention to Inactive Subscribers

You should keep an eye on trends among your subscribers. For example, users that become inactive and stop opening emails are likely to unsubscribe in the near future. Set up a strategy for dealing with these inactive users.

You could setup an automated email to help re-engage the subscriber. This could include special offers, promotions, and other incentives to get them to remain on your mailing list.

Prevent Unsubscribing Errors

While unsubscribing on accident isn’t likely a major reason for a drop in your subscribers, it could play a part. Prevent unsubscribing errors by requiring people to confirm the fact that they want to unsubscribe. This gives them one last chance to change their mind and could save you a few subscribers.



4 Steps for Using QR Codes in Marketing

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About a decade ago, as smartphone use was skyrocketing, QR codes seemed like they were going to be the next biggest thing in internet marketing. Since then, they don’t show up as often in promotions or marketing campaigns.

This is unfortunate, as QR codes have the ability to dramatically improve your marketing strategies. Though, their lack of use could be your gain. If your competition isn’t currently using QR codes as a part of their marketing efforts, then you could have the upper hand.

Why Should You Use QR Codes?

What’re the benefits of using QR codes? Even though QR codes didn’t catch on like some people thought they might, they’re still an effective strategy to include in your marketing campaigns. They help you reach mobile users quickly and effectively. Here are a few simple steps to using QR codes in marketing.

Plan Your QR Code Marketing Strategy

You’ll first need to consider your overall strategy for using QR codes. This includes the following:

  • Researching your target audience
  • Choosing a specific objective
  • Deciding on the incentives or rewards

Before you use QR codes, you’ll need to think about your target audience. Make sure they know how to use QR codes. If you believe they’ll need instructions, you’ll have to include the instructions in your marketing content.

You’ll also need to have a clear objective. What do you want to get out of this campaign? Do you want to gain subscribers for your mailing list, gain likes on Facebook, or do you have another objective in mind? Decide on an objective before you get too far into the planning process.

Along with an objective, you’ll need to choose a reason for your audience to scan the QR code. What benefit do they get out of it? This could include admission to a contest, discounts and coupons, a free eBook, or other free content.

Create and Test Your QR Code

The next step is creating and testing your QR code. There’re dozens of free online tools for creating QR codes. Often, when you create the code, you’ll need to link it to a webpage. You don’t have to choose the URL at this point. You can often add or change the URL at a later time.

After creating the code, you’ll need to test it to ensure it works properly. If you haven’t chosen a URL yet, you can simply enter the homepage of your site — for testing purposes. Use your smartphone or tablet to test the QR code. Scan the code and ensure it works properly.

Add Analytics to Your Landing Page

Before you start your campaign, make sure you add analytics to the landing page that the QR code links to. You should also consider using a URL shortener to help track whether your traffic is coming from other sources or the QR code. The sites that will shorten your URL also track visits, including user location and source.

Decide How to Deliver Your QR Code

How’re people going to view your QR code? You could print it on merchandise, include it in eBooks, add it to other web pages, or include it various marketing materials. By researching your target audience, you may get a better sense of how to deliver your QR code.

For example, if you’re targeting the elderly, it’s unlikely that they’ll come across your QR code while browsing the web on their mobile devices. At the same time, it’s unlikely they’ll know how to use QR code without instructions.

QR codes are still under-utilized. While many businesses have dabbled with the use of QR codes, they remain a novelty in many ways.

4 Simple SEO Tips for Effective Mobile Marketing

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What steps are you taking to improve your mobile marketing? Over 50% of Google searches are performed from a smartphone or tablet. If you don’t have a mobile marketing strategy, you may not reach as many users as you would like.

There’s more to mobile marketing than simply making sure you have a responsive web design. Don’t worry, you won’t have to completely rethink your SEO strategy. But, there are a few steps that you can take to increase the effectiveness of your mobile marketing. Here are 4 simple SEO tips you can use.

Improve Your Local Search Optimization

One of the first steps that you should take is to improve your local search optimization. Google tries to include geographically relevant results in search queries. When a mobile user performs a search, Google will prioritize results based on the physical location of the user.

You need to include your business’s name, address, and phone number on your site. This is especially true if you operate a local business. If you’re using schema on your site, make sure you tag your geographical information.

Along with including geotags on your web pages, you should submit your info to local directories. This process can be time-consuming. If you want to speed up the process, take advantage of online tools that automated submission to these local directories.

Optimize Your Page Speed

The next step is to optimize your page speed. Mobile users don’t always have access to high-speed internet. On top of that, it takes longer to load big sites on smartphones. This means you need a fast loading page for mobile users.

If your site takes too long to load, mobile users will find another site. According to one survey of mobile internet users, the majority of people are only willing to wait between 6 and 10 seconds for a page to load.

Use an online page speed test to determine how long your page takes to load. If it passes the 10-second barrier, then you should take steps to increase your speed. This may mean trimming content or removing certain features.

Don’t Block Scripts or CSS

In the past it was common practice to block JavaScript, some CSS, and even images from mobile devices. This was done to speed up load times and improve compatibility with mobile devices. Thanks to advances in technology, most smartphones and tablets can load JavaScript and other files.

By blocking these items, you’re limiting your SEO on mobile devices and in search results. Instead of blocking elements, make sure they’re visible and accessible on all modern mobile devices.

Pay Attention to Your Analytics

As a final tip, pay attention to your analytics. When you use Google Analytics and other services to monitor website traffic, make sure that you dig down into the behavior of your visitors. Look at the differences between mobile and desktop users.

Is your bounce rate on mobile devices much higher than your bounce rate on desktops? If so, your site may be taking too long to load. Are you having trouble converting mobile users? Your call to action may not be visible or clickable. Pay attention to analytics and differentiate between mobile and desktop.

Whenever a strategy seems ineffective, it is important to take a fresh look at the steps that you’re taking. These aren’t the only steps that you should take to improve your mobile marketing efforts. But, they’re a good start.