As an online retailer, your task of capturing the fleeting attention of digital consumers is multifaceted. The usual social suspects (Facebook, Twitter) are fantastic mediums for base-level customer engagement. Another route that has proven to be profitable for the retail sphere is “new kid on the block,” Pinterest. This digital space can serve as a virtual marketplace, allowing retailers, like yourself, to simultaneously promote their brand and drive traffic to the product offering of their choosing.
One of the most fool-proof ways to promote your business via Pinterest is through a contest. This can be facilitated in a number of ways. Here are a couple quick tips to help brands dip a toe into the digital pin board pool.
1. Calculated content
The first step in orchestrating a Pinterest contest is to gauge the goal of your efforts. The approach will vary based on your end game, whether it is gaining followers or raising awareness about a certain facet of your brand. Siphon focus to a specific photo or board that you’ve crafted for this purpose. This can look as cut-and-dry as a “Repin to Win” theme or a smaller-scale caption contest.
Another method is to have customers submit their own photos of your product in a certain environment. Create thoughtful content and map out your timeframe explicitly. These preemptive steps will be invaluable for you throughout the promotion.
2. Letter of the law
Every state has different requirements for hosting contests and sweepstakes. It’s important to be aware of these laws prior to facilitating your contest, so you don’t find yourself in hot water when promoting or hosting your promo. A general rule of thumb is to explicitly post your rules, describe your prizes and make it clear that participants don’t have to purchase anything in order to enter.
3. The allure of free stuff
Whether it is in a physical or digital setting, prize-based contests have an added universal appeal. Craft your prize around something that is central and specific to your brand. Create the messaging around this to promote it as an “exclusive” in order to amplify your results. Make the reward relevant to your brand, but desirable to the average consumer.
4. Moving the needle
Once you have laid the groundwork for your contest, remain diligent about engagement. Use relevant hashtags to your advantage, but tread carefully here. These tags will draw attention to the contest/brand, but too many could be interpreted as spam.
Be sure that you engage with users about the contest, answer questions, and clarify the rules. It helps to leave the barrier to entry fairly basic, but creating a small enough window that the contest stays manageable but remains exclusive. Highlighting the amount of days remaining in the contest can trigger a surge in entries. Keep in mind, Pinterest is a visual medium. Use this to your advantage by creating crisp images of your prize offering to maximize yield.
5. The finale
Alongside the joys of winning a prize, digital consumers relish in personal promotion. Set a specific date/time that you will announce the winner of your contest and promote accordingly. You can accommodate this with something as simple as creating a graphic congratulating your winner. This recognition will increase engagement from not only the winner but those entrants who “tuned in” for your winner announcement.
Use these guidelines as a road map, but interpret them to suit the needs of your specific brand. No one knows your audience better than you do, so the customized tweaks you make will only aid your progress.
User-generated content campaigns are exciting and engaging when done right, and they don’t have to be reserved for large companies with big budgets.
This type of marketing can actually be a very fun and low-cost way to market your product, specifically with the use of Instagram photos. Even if you don’t have enough customers to create a wall of user photos, you can hold a contest where users submit a photo with your contest hashtag and all entries are featured on your blog or main website. Depending on your product, your contest could feature customers showing off how they use or wear your products, or why they deserve to win some of your merchandise. Plus, by submitting via social media, they are promoting your contest to all of their followers.
The possibilities are endless and the authenticity of user-generated content is often more interesting to current and potential customers than glossy, commercialized ads.
Check out these four UGC campaigns on Mashable for some inspiration
Just because your business has a website does not mean that people will be able to easily find it or navigate it.
Whether you are starting from scratch or revamping your existing site, the three most important qualities to keep in mind are: design, usability, and content.
When done correctly, these elements can add to your email list and social media fan-base, increase customer engagement, improve your SEO, and more. According to AllBusiness Experts, these are the 10 things your website needs to have:
1. Design that gets your message across
2. Content that reinforces your brand and Business
3. Social media links
4. Call to action
5. Mobile support
7. Newsletter subscription
8. Logical website structure and SEO-friendly URLs
9. Accreditation, Certifications, Testimonials, and Seals
10. Clear Contact Information
To read more detail on each of these components, check out the article here.
Smartphone cameras have come a long, long way since the grainy photos your flip phone used to produce. Especially with the use of photo enhancement apps, smartphones can really offer a solid photography option. Additionally, taking your own photos often results in images that are more real and relatable than stock photos or overly commercialized shots.
While there are certain cases where it may be worth hiring a professional for high-quality images, don’t let this stop you from posting your own photos to let customers know about new products, designs, a “behind the scenes look,” or anything that allows you to engage with them on a regular basis.
To read more about how businesses are using their own photos in their sales and marketing efforts, check out this article from Open Forum.
Article adapted from INC.com
General goals to increase revenue or come out with a new product aren’t enough— in order to acheive the success you want, you need to create and record concrete and specific goals.
Here are 4 reasons to do it:
- Measure Success: Setting goals for each quarter and even each year allow you to have a much more holistic approach to where you want your business to be in the future and what is needed to get it there. It also holds you accountable to have measurable goals for success.
- Leadership Team Cohesion: Setting goals helps unify everyone to know what they are working towards and justify decision making along the way. It’s motivating to know what part of the goal you are contributing to.
- Knowledge is Power: The more you know about what your business should be tracking towards, the better prepared you are to make decisions. Constantly ask yourself what will help you reach your goals.
- Reassess Goals Mid-Year: Having written goals doesn’t mean they are set in stone. Augment as necessary based on circumstances.
The Marketplace Fairness Act, a proposed bill requiring online sellers to collect sales tax on purchases, last week met with approval from the U.S. Senate and will be sent on to the House of Representatives for a second round of votes. The bill – also known as the Internet Sales Tax law – would affect online retailers making more than $1 million in annual sales; the money collected would be used to fund local and state governments.
Endicia recently surveyed U.S. consumer reaction to the bill. Our biggest finding? Not only did 61 percent of voters disagree with the bill, but a whopping 60 percent said they would change their online shopping habits if it passed. Of this 60 percent, 44 percent they would buy less online, 12 percent said they would buy more from their hometown stores and 4 percent said they would purchase more from big retail chains.
Last, but not least, 60 percent of Americans surveyed said they believed the bill would be bad for the economy.
Check out some more of our key findings laid out in the infographic below:
Google Analytics can be a confusing tool if you don’t know what you’re looking for, but it reveals essential information you should know about your website. These 4 metrics are a great starting point in knowing what you should be tracking:
- Unique visits: This key performance indicator is very basic and tells you how many individual people have visited your site based on unique internet connections. You can also see new vs. return visitors to your site.
- Average duration of visit: This metric is useful in telling you how good the first impression is of your site. If the average time spent is only a few seconds, it means something needs to be changed. Maybe your homepage doesn’t clearly portray what your company offers, or the information isn’t presented in an engaging way. Ask yourself, what is keeping someone from staying on the page or clicking through your site?
- Bounce rate: This statistic is given as a percentage, which shows the percent of people that arrived at your site and left before clicking through to another page. A high bounce rate can mean the design of your website is confusing or that the content isn’t engaging. However, it could also mean that your visitors discovered the information they needed right away.
- Visits with transactions/conversion rate: This statistic is most closely tied to how valuable your website is, and it is the core way to know if your site is bringing you leads and/or revenue. What qualifies as a transaction or conversion? It can be making a purchase, downloading a form, filling out a report, signing up for a newsletter, or basically anything that requires visitors to actively engage.
How effective are your brainstorming sessions? Whether you do them with just one other person or your entire company, research is showing that it isn’t always the best way to generate fresh, new ideas for your business. In a formal and structured setting, our brains aren’t able to make connections very well – ideas can become tied to others in the group and the social pressure to “brainstorm” inhibits the creative process.
What circumstances, then, are conducive to the free-form thinking of the brainstorming process? It is usually when we are relaxed and furthest from trying to solve the task at hand. Many people have their best ideas when taking a walk, showering, washing the dishes, etc.
One way to augment the process would be to give people ample time to think about an idea and reach the creative process on their own before gathering as a group. By planting the seed in advance, it allows for others to have a better chance at reaching the creative process on their own, and then come together as a group to collaborate on individual ideas.
To learn more, check out this article from The SelfEmployed.
Truly understanding your customer is the first step in building a successful business. It can be easy to make assumptions based on personal interests or experiences that don’t necessarily apply to the target group as a whole. But when you are able to clearly identify who your target customers are, you unlock the ability to market to them more personally and effectively.
In order to determine your target market, make sure you ask the following questions:
- Who would buy my product or service?
- Who has already bought from me?
- Am I overestimating my reach?
- What does my network think?
- Am I making assumptions based on my personal knowledge and experience?
- What’s my revenue model?
- How will I sell my product or service?
- How did my competitors get started?
- How will I find my customers?
- Is there room to expand my target market?
To read about these questions in more detail, be sure to visit this article on Entrepreneur.com.
Google’s latest Panda update features a tweaked anti-spam algorithm that puts “unreliable” ecommerce sites at a disadvantage. The aim is to determine merchant quality, so businesses leveraging online traffic (in some cases, negative reviews) in a shady way are laid to rest.
With these new updates come opportunities for small businesses to show they are a “true” merchant. Here some of the signals Google is looking for:
1. An live updating shopping cart
2. A return policy with an active physical address
3. A functioning shipping charge calculator
4. A “wish list” link or purchase postponement option
5. A log in or register feature
6. FedEx tracking
For more helpful tips like these, plus more insight on Google’s algorithms, head over to Media Post’s Search Insider.