Twitter Marketing: Twitter for Business Marketing

Twitter for business marketing is an important topic and one about which many people are still in the dark. Before we go any further, it is important that you understand the value of Twitter for marketing your business.

Key statistics:

As of the end of September 2010, Twitter had over 150 million active users with between 60 and 70 million people logging on each and every day. That is a huge market opportunity, if you know how to use it right. Almost every target market is represented on Twitter, and almost every business should be using it.

A recent article on the website Mashable shared an amazing piece of information regarding twitter traffic. Using the example of Kim Kardashian and her Twitter account, the article shared how, currently, 20 % of the traffic to her website comes from Google, and 19.3 percent comes directly from Twitter. That is incredible, and essentially means that if you are not using twitter for business marketing, you are leaving a ton of potential traffic for your website on the table. In a short time it is likely that she will be getting even more twitter traffic than she is getting traffic from Google. So could you.

Considering how much more challenging it is to rank on Google than it is to open a free account and learn how to use twitter for business marketing, it seems that you’d be at least as well served by the latter as by spending a lot of time and resources working on your website’s search engine optimization (SEO).

What to do now:

If you don’t already have an account on Twitter, go there immediately and get your personal name as your account. Some people think it’s better to use your business name, and if you have a huge brand, that may be true, otherwise, you want to be a person, an individual on Twitter. As you learn more about using twitter for business marketing, you’ll understand the value of having your account be your name.

Set up your photo, bio and link to your website:

You need to go into the settings area of your Twitter account and put in a photo of yourself, not your business’ logo. Studies have shown that 70% of the reason people follow or friend someone on social media sites like Twitter is due to “a friendly smile.” Your picture should be professional and welcoming. If you don’t have professional headshots, schedule a photo shoot as soon as you can, and, in the meantime, use a good shot that represents you well.

Then, write a short bio in a personal and intriguing way (you only have 160 characters), you want people to learn a little bit about you, your interests and your business. Again, keep it friendly and inviting and a little bit personal – not all business.

Finally, make sure to include your website link in the ‘Web’ link field in the settings of your account. It’s amazing how many people miss this little step – and miss out on a huge number of people clicking through and viewing their site to learn more. I regularly click on people’s website links to learn more about them, and have actually made purchases and signed up for mailing lists directly from those clicks. Other people do too.

Start Tweeting:

If you’re not sure what to tweet about as you start to use twitter for business marketing, think about sharing information that will be interesting to your followers and prospects. Create content that answers their biggest questions about what you do and what you offer, whether it’s a product or a service. You can also share links to what I like to call ‘complimentary content’ – information that would interest your prospects because it relates to their interest in you. An example of this would be someone who sells wedding rings sharing information about fun wedding ‘save the date’ cards, interesting honeymoon ideas and great wedding favors. It’s not directly related to wedding rings, but will support and be interesting to the people following them.

Email Marketing For Small Businesses

Why You Should Use Email Marketing For Small Businesses

Email marketing is more important than ever as a tool to help improve small business’s customer base and bottom line profits. This is especially true with competition being greater than ever in this prolonged recession. There is not much else that can impact a company’s bottom line faster than a well thought out email marketing campaign to a large and well-nurtured email list.

A business can easily and cheaply deliver a large number of customised and personalised messages at predetermined intervals for next to nothing, so why not take advantage of it? Every business, big and small should be doing this. Most Small Business have not developed a serious email marketing strategy and this is something that should be done sooner rather than later. They are leaving money on the table, so to speak, by not using this valuable method of marketing.

Before you can conduct any sort of meaningful email marketing campaign, you need to have a list of people’s email address and names if possible. There are a number of ways to get this moving fast. As they say “the money is in the list”.

What is a Customer Worth to You?

Customer Lifetime Value

Most Small Business owners won’t know this, but here’s how to calculate it:

Determine average net spend of a new customer transaction:______________

Determine average # of repeat purchases per year: ______________________

Estimate average # years a customer patronises the business: ________________

So, let’s say the average customer buys an item worth £100 profit to the business, and then repeats this process once again in the year, they are worth £200 to the business in year one. If they remain a customer for 5 years, they are worth £1,000.

Use any figures you want, but this is a simple way to view the worth of a customer

Building Email Lists:

Website pages. You never know which page a visitor will land on when they arrive at your site from a search engine or link. You maximise your chances of getting a lead if you have a signup form on every page of your site.
Special Internet-Only offers: Try to get your customers to get on your email lists to receive these special offers. The offers can be discounted products, two for one sales, coupons, vouchers or whatever you wish.
Ask for email addresses. Get your staff to ask customers for their email address.
Send postcards to your mailing list. If you have postal address information but not email addresses of existing customers, send them a postcard asking them to subscribe to your email list. You will want to provide them with some sort of incentive of course.
Use Invoices: add a sign up box on your invoices.
Rented Lists: Can be useful in building a subscriber list. Be careful and only use a reputable provider of such a list and make sure your list contains names and addresses of people who are specifically interested in your type of products or services. Otherwise a waste of time.
Create a Newsletter:and promote it in all your company correspondence and advertising.
Do’s and Don’ts

Do Confirm all new subscribers: This will be done automatically via your autoresponder.
Do Use the “double opt-in” method to ensure the integrity of the signup. This confirms that the subscriber has given you their email address is done by having the subscriber reply again via email to confirm.
Do use the Unsubscribe Link Feature:This is very important to let the subscriber know they can get off your list by unsubscribing. This stops a lot of complaints about spam. All reputable systems will provide this feature.
Do Personalise Each Message: You can increase both your reading and click-thru rates considerably by putting the subscribers name in the email. It’s important to establish a relationship with each customer.
Do Choose Your wording Carefully. Most email systems use spam filters that analyses the certain words or combinations.
Do Use Eye Catching Subject Headings: When your email arrives in your subscriber’s inbox, there are only a few seconds to the subscribers attention. They will quickly delete your email or ignore it.
Don’t add email addresses to your list: unless the person has given you permission.
Don’t forget to sign your messages: Always include a signature at the bottom of your emails, as it’s one of the easiest ways to attract more traffic to your website. This signature should include your personal details, your company details, and an unsubscribe link.
Email Marketing Systems

Ok, now you have the basis of email marketing. Let’s focus on what you need to do next. You will need to select the Autoresponder system that best suits your requirements. Below are some of the more commonly used systems. These are not expensive and includes the hosting of the software (basically you only rent it) and your subscriber lists and follow up messages etc as well. These are all Hosted.

AWeber: Has some great features and is easy to use. Costs around $19.00 per month, but cost will go up once you go past 5000 subscribers. Highly reliable and robust.

GetResponse: Similar to Aweber, but a little more difficult to use in my opinion. Cost about $18.00 per month, cheaper with annual payments.

Trafficwave.Net: You get unlimited autoresponder and click track reporting. Price stays the same regardless of how many subscribers you obtain. Cost about $17.95 per month.

Imnica: A new and up and coming hosted system. It has the vast majority of features the others, same deliverability levels, and LESS strict policies. Imnica Mail also has a full blown API for easy integration with existing systems. Not as easy to use as some of the other, but a great price at $9.00 per month.

With Imnica Mail you also get unlimited lists, unlimited AutoResponder messages, and unlimited broadcasts to your list.

InfusionSoft. Good choice for larger businesses that need to send out huge quantities of email. It integrates email marketing, sales, e-commerce, and even customer service.

Autoresponders Generally:

Because email marketing applications are available as hosted solutions, businesses do not have to worry about using their internal systems to send messages, nor do they have to worry about managing the mail server or backing up their database. Most importantly, they don’t have to worry about legal issues and CAN-SPAM compliance. With these third party systems, all of that is done for them. Once the email system is setup with the chosen provider the next step is to develop the email list. As email is the primary method of online communication. You should have a website that captures leads and sales, nothing is more important than the email marketing system behind it.

Creating an “Opt-In” Form:

You create the Opt-in form within the Autoresponder. You chose the type of form you want, edit the wording and the system provides you with a code that you can cut and paste into your website.

Of the five above systems above, I recommend AWeber mainly for its reliability and ease of use. They also have a very neat “light box” feature that allows you to setup an opt-in form without needing to change the design of your website. They also have good tutorials which lead you step-by-step through the setup process and use of the system.

What Kind of Emails: HTML or Plain Text?

What does this really mean? Basically with HTML you can send messages with text plus graphics and banners etc. With Plain Text it’s text only.

Ideally, you would like to send your messages sent using HTML and graphics to get the full impact, just like in print flyers and direct mail. This works just fine, however, there are a few things to keep in mind with HTML email messages:

Many people will only accept email in Plain Text and have “images” turned off in their email accounts. If you send HTML emails to them, they will only see the words and not the graphics…not really the impression you want to convey.
Generally most of communicate in plain text (i.e. just words). It’s more personal and is more likely to be opened and read.
Plain Text has is disadvantages as well. For example you can’t use all of the means at your disposal to get your message across, such as headlines, photos, pictures, etc
I recommend that you start out with PlainText
Building Email Lists Through Offline Methods

All Businesses, both large and small should be building their email list offline as well as online.

A good example of this is a retail outlet dealing directly with customers. The staff could ask their customers if they want to sign up for Internet Specials. Staff could even wear a badge saying “Have You Heard About our Internet Offers?” When the customer asks a member of staff what the Internet Offers are, they say they change all the time so it’s best to email them to you each time they change…do you want to get on our email list? Your Staff can capture the email information on a small card specially prepared for this or on the part of the receipt that the business keeps. This method is a bit slow, but over time it will grow significantly. This same basic strategy can be used for any business where there is direct customer contact.

Different Methods of Marketing Plan Non Profit for Promoting Social Businesses

The marketing plan for a non-profit organization has a completely new aspect since it not only needs to give a new sense of satisfaction for the consumer, but also for the donor. Non-profit organizations focus on providing value-based services in the field of health, education and human services. Most marketing plan non profit fulfill their funding requirement from direct mail marketing and they employ a number of marketing mix tactics.

The marketing plan non profit organizations should create classy and elegant marketing methods. It should be noted that customers or donors of non-profits consider overly designed and flashy materials as a kind of wasteful spending. Therefore it is important for non-profits to give attention to the appearance of their marketing plans and materials. Most of the managers of marketing plan non profit know that it costs almost the same for creating a glossy piece or for a simple piece of marketing material, but their focus should be based upon the perception of the potential donors. They should design strategies based upon these perceptions along with the information gathered from direct mail marketing and direct marketing. Overall, the non-profit organization should avoid the looks of having spent tremendously on marketing.

This could also be achieved by determining the physical aspects of your marketing materials, like using matte paper in place of glossy ones, using recycled paper, using non-profit mission supporting photography along with subdued colors. Appropriate photographs not only make your marketing plans look pretty, but they help the mission of your organization by showcasing your work to the world. You could use this tool in your benefit by using real photos of individuals or animals that have received support and benefits from your services. The photograph should always display diversity in ethnicity, which acts as a strong social message of uniformity in your objectives. It also helps by adding captions, which highlight the stories of the individuals, animals and places that benefited from your non-profit organization. Photographs of individuals, especially children looking into the camera create a better influence. And, it has been demonstrated in a number of studies that people give better response to such photographs.

Key chains, calendars, notepads and labels work well for showcasing your organizations missions to your donors, but you should avoid too many gift items, which may appear wasteful. This is because the truth about donors’ perception for non profits is that they tend to believe that such organizations dedicate their complete donations in helping the non-profit cause and not in marketing plan non profit.

Internet Marketing – An Ocean of Customers If You Know the Right Bait

The skill of a fisherman doesn’t lie in knowing that there are lot of fish in the ocean, it lies in actually catching the right fish. Everyone knows that Internet Marketing is like a huge ocean and the number and type of customers is absolutely limitless, but that doesn’t help any business, does it? It is not just about knowing there are fish, but also about what customers to target, how and where to target and achieve the maximum returns. Currently there are estimated 1.9 billion users with Internet access i.e. almost 28% of the world population. Of these, many are nascent users who are currently having just basic access to the Internet. Actual Internet use for carrying out any trade, business or exchange on the net, esp. in the BRIC economies and other developing countries is just taking root. As this customer matures, we are going to see the real potential of Internet.

Internet is actually a nation without border. If one can adopt the right strategy, the opportunities are limitless. Your reach can transcend time, political situations, national boundaries or logistical issues that had held back earlier business ventures. Now you can display your wares in the farthest corner of the world and with right logistics strategy can even provide them the same product at a rate cheaper than their local providers. A right strategy can give you an extremely good return overshadowing all other marketing efforts, in fact some businesses can run just on the strength of Internet Marketing.

There are many things to be planned and discussed before implementing or improving your Internet Marketing Strategy. Some of the more simple but critical points according to me are:

Target Audience – choosing an appropriate cross section of online audience that you want to satisfy.
Online Presence -positive presence about the product / service that you are offering.
Neat & Clean user-friendly website – The website is your most basic online presence. It should represent your style of working – user friendly and effective.
Customer Interaction – A platform for your customers to provide you instant feedback as well as for you to grasp the market requirements.
Promotion Strategy – Locations to target where your clients are most likely to visit. You should be seen and communicated on online/direct to increase revenue.
Monitoring, Assessment and Mitigation – Decide on a regular monitoring of your offering and its reviews online; assess the impact of responding / keeping silent and decide on strategy of mitigating issues.
Target Audience: It is the niche category of clients you wish to cater to. Is your offering targeting youth or adults or even children; male / female; high income / low income etc. Accordingly the language, the offering presentation, the brand ambassador may vary. Lets take a very simple example. Suppose Rolls Royce decides to use Mickey Mouse or other Disney characters accompanying their product online? It may not have the same impact (or no impact at all) as compared to say a Richard Branson (or if it’s a cartoon character that you MUST use, then maybe Batman in his civvies!!) The principle is same as regular marketing but applied to the online environment. It is very essential to monitor who is viewing and eventually purchasing your product and whether they actually belong to the customer demographic you are targeting.

Online Presence: You type in your offering name in Google/Bing and the first few results are filled with negative reviews, bad feedback and the likes. Horrible isn’t it? Having a positive online presence is extremely important. Use of search Engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Ask etc. has become a norm with many people in deciding what product to buy or service to use. This proportion is rising daily and may soon become the very first step in deciding on a new purchase. Hence it is very essential to have a very good, positive image about your organization, product/service and even you to have a good vibe about your offering.

Neat & clean website: The website is your most stable platform for client information. Your website is completely under your control and it will be considered as the most authentic source of information about your product specifications. Other sources such as review site, forums etc cannot be controlled as easily as your website. Provide an interface, which can be appreciated by your clients. The design should take in consideration your client’s computer friendliness, their requirements, the offering provided and “action” functions. “Action” functions means ease with which the customer can take steps to finally accomplish the purpose he is here for i.e. increase your business. The presentation, content and feel of the website should present an uncluttered view with a notion of systematic work culture.

Customer Interaction: With the advent of Web 2.0 and customer centric markets, it is very essential to assess your customer’s views. And if you can provide a window for them to discuss their problems or compliment your directly, you will be able to assess their needs and address their criticism immediately. Consider a negative criticism as window to new opportunity. Make your customers feel that they are a part of your offering development process and you will see the customer loyalty levels reach a new high.

Promotion Strategy: Very essential to monitor your presence in the right areas. Just spending huge amounts on web promotion may not mean getting high returns. Target a niche area and make your presence felt in places where your target audience is known to frequent. Viral Marketing, Mouth-to-mouth publicity should be started long before your start any discount schemes. It is advisable to take expert help in case you are planning to spend huge funds for online promotion since any minor mistake and all funds may be down the drain.

Monitoring, Assessment and Mitigation: As I have maintained since the beginning, your approach should be customer centric and we should try to gauge customer (esp. target customer) mood and lookout for new business opportunities/customers. Be very particular in monitoring all feedback, reviews, forums about your offerings, your competition (both direct/indirect) and overall market. Assess what your customers want, what is the need in the market, if it is being filled by anyone and are the returns good enough for you to consider in fulfilling it. Finally decide on how you are going to handle criticism. Which customers are to be appeased, which products are to be defended or accordingly modified and whether criticism is genuine and justified.

This is not the be all and end all of Internet Marketing but a few important points that must be considered when deciding on starting/improvising on your Internet Marketing Strategy. Remember unlike other marketing platforms, Internet is very interactive and the smallest mistake can possibly have massive repercussions on brand value of your offering. If you are uncomfortable or feel less confident, let the experts handle it. Happy Fishing!!

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