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3 Tips for Small Business Marketing to Customers – SmallBizDaily

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3 Tips for Small Business Marketing to Customers - SmallBizDaily

The past year was a tumultuous one for everyone–but particularly for SMBs. A Yelp report from September states that more than 160,000 small businesses have permanently closed since the onset of the pandemic, with that rate increasing in the latter half of the year. Despite increased optimism about the shift to a post-pandemic life, there is still plenty of economic and public health uncertainty on the horizon. But many SMB’s are accepting that challenge head up adapting and uncovering new ways to engage with their customers and provide value.

Even with all the change the last year has brought on, the overall goal for SMB marketers remains the same: identifying customer needs and reaching those customers with clear, impactful messaging, so that there is less friction between the customer and the product or service being offered. That not only means having a clear value proposition and offering for the customer, but it means communicating in a way that resonates in today’s world.

At iStock, we understand the nuances of this landscape and want to help small business find the best visual content, with the most comprehensive legal protection and at the best price. While it may seem counterintuitive to leaders who are looking to save money where they can, there are impactful ways to invest in marketing without breaking the bank. The pandemic has accelerated and permanently altered the consumption of visual content. Consumers today want to see imagery that accurately and authentically depicts what is currently going on in the world, both from a subject matter standpoint (i.e. what “work from home” or “social distancing” looks like) and media type standpoint (i.e. images, videos, illustrations and vectors).

As the pandemic turns a more hopeful corner in fits and starts, here is what small businesses, entrepreneurs, and freelance marketers need to focus on to ensure their product or service, as represented by their brand, is showing up in the most meaningful ways:

1. Embrace video to tell complete stories

While imagery is and always will be an impactful medium for visual storytelling, video is no longer a nice-to-have — it’s a necessity. Whether it’s for b-roll, commercials or advertisements, “how-to” explanations on websites, or backgrounds for virtual events or meetings, video allows for more experiential, tangible levels of engagement when showcasing a product, service, or experience. Now, I know what you’re thinking: shooting fresh video content continues to be difficult due to safety measures during the pandemic, and the expense of equipment and editing software make it completely out of budget. A more efficient and cost-effective solution to this? High quality stock video, or customer video by providers that safely and efficiently create custom projects. There are several sites, like videvo.com that offer free stock video options, and editors like Promo, that offer easy DIY editing. For the highest quality, greatest breadth stock video options for every need, at a great value including worry-free licensing and indemnity coverage, be sure to seek out iStock.

2. Prioritize representation

The past year has shined a long-overdue spotlight on authentic representation and inclusion of folks from diverse backgrounds, abilities and body types. Today, consumers can see right through buzzwords and performative attempts to address diversity and inclusion — it’s up to companies to commit and truly elevate the world and their customers in the most accurate, representative way possible. According to iStock’s Visual GPS report, which surveyed 10,000 people around the world, people want to see realness in the visuals that surround them, with 68% of respondents saying it’s important to them that the companies they buy from celebrate diversity of all kinds. Additionally, nearly 80% of global consumers expect that brands are committed to inclusivity and diversity in their advertising. It’s not enough to have people of various ethnicities, backgrounds, and appearances in imagery — companies need to actually capture people’s true lifestyles and cultures. Aside from being the right thing to do, using richer, more representative content is the most intelligent, impactful way for a business to communicate to its customers.

3. Flexible, adaptable and ready for change

Small-business owners have immediate challenges, from making payroll, to improving cash flow. In this environment, it’s hard for these businesses to focus on all of the immediate term pressure that they are dealing with, while maintaining a view towards how their marketplace might be changing. Marketing trends are often short-lived and less valuable for the long haul; instead, SMBs should look for longer-term insight around how to use visual content to communicate effectively. Things like changing their marketing content to reflect changes in business: remote work, events, panels and seminars being delivered via webinar and Zoom; increased use of multiple devices to access product, services, and content; and a continued use of data to better target and personalize for customer needs.

It’s why we invest in ongoing research studies like Visual GPS. We stay ahead of change, so that we can provide SMBs with all that they need in visual content.

When the immediate crisis of the pandemic is over, some of the business world will get back to what we once considered “normal,” whether it be travel and events or work habits in the office, but just like everything we’ve experienced over the past year, the only certainty is that the world will continue to change. When it does, be sure your marketing strategy is ready to change with it.

As Chief Marketing Officer, iStock, Gene Foca sits on the company’s executive team and is responsible for the global marketing organization, overseeing iStock’s brand portfolio, as well as all marketing channels and functional disciplines from digital to communications.

Customers photo provided by iStock.

This content was originally published here.

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Business online video content is a cost-effective marketing tool

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Business online video content is a cost-effective marketing tool

The use of business online video content in companies’ sales and marketing mix has slowly increased over the years. It’s now on a rapid pace upward.  Businesses have quickly found that having a business video marketing strategy is critical. Integrating a steady stream of business online video content is tough but rewarding. This video advertising, sales and marketing process can build awareness, engage customers, convert leads and drive sales.  NOTE: If you don’t yet have a business video marketing strategy, check out “One video is not a business video marketing strategy

Both B2B and B2C purchasers want information quickly. Business online video content is more valuable to them than websites that are only filled with text.

Why should you invest in online video content for your business? Why get a business video marketing strategy in place today?  This video says it all:

Statistics

Aberdeen released a report titled that showcased companies that have a business video marketing strategy and integrate business online video content into their workflow experience:

  • 27% higher click through rate
  • 34% higher website conversion rates
  • 50% higher revenue growth rates year-over-year
  • 63% more company revenue attributed to marketing
  • 85% support lead generation
  • 123% more likely to adopt a lead

Benefits of Business Online Video Content

Studies show that having a business video marketing strategy, to use video content, has a lot of benefits to your business. Here are some core business objectives that you will realize with a business video marketing strategy:

  • Boost brand awareness – with the right content planning and business video marketing strategy, your videos will gain audiences. And online reputation will surely help you turn your leads into high-paying customers. Sounds interesting, right?
  • Increase online engagement – people find videos more interesting than lengthy text or captions. Develop concise and captivating video content, and you’ll definitely catch more attention and increase engagements. It can also generate leads, let’s not underestimate the power of social shares.
  • Videos can explain more – having a video marketing strategy can help your audiences understand more about your business, may it be a product or services. It can explain enough and deliver a lot of information in a short period of time. Giving your audiences what they need without feeling bored can make a huge impact.
  • Cost-effective – investing in high-quality videos can make your business stand out and attract potential customers. Be sure to collaborate with an agency that has vast experience. Because your video content can live a long time, you can also repurpose it for future use and that makes it cost-effective.

Conclusions on Business Online Video Content

Be sure to check out the full report from to learn how you can achieve higher website conversion rates, higher revenue growth rates year-over-year and more fresh leads by establishing a business video marketing strategy and integrating business online video content into your tactics.

Looking for some guidance to create a business video marketing strategy or maybe you wanted to get started with your business video content?  We work with businesses that are just starting out or are eager to add more video content into their sales and marketing communications.

We’ll see you in front of the camera!

The post Business online video content is a cost-effective marketing tool appeared first on MultiVision Digital.

This content was originally published here.

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6 Methods to Incorporate Your Email Marketing and Social Media Strategies – Business 2 Community

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6 Methods to Incorporate Your Email Marketing and Social Media Strategies - Business 2 Community

Here’s the truth…

Two of the frequently used and merged branches of marketing in the digital space are email marketing and social media promotions.

In this guide, we’ll learn six ways to integrate the two strategies for a more holistic marketing campaign for your business.

6 methods to incorporate your email marketing and social media strategies:

1. Advance social media pages on your email newsletters

Run an email marketing and social media strategies campaign designed specifically to turn more of your subscribers into your social followers.

When creating your newsletter, apply stunning designs and highlight the perks of following your social media account.

To see if you sent an interactive email with this integrated social media tactic, check your email reporting results. See which metrics, such as click-through rates, new subscribers, etc., increased and decreased, and work on refining your promotional messages.

2. Include social buttons that are applicable on your emails

This practice is among the most common ways of weaving your email marketing and social media strategies.

Doing these lets your subscribers know that you’re on the social platforms they’re also in. It even entices them to follow you there for more exciting content and offers and engage your other followers.

Display your social buttons (or logos) prominently and appropriately on your email newsletters in the same way Jimmy Choo did:

Display social buttons in your emails to invite your mailing list to follow you on social media. Source: Jimmy Choo.

Jimmy Choo placed these clickable logos at the bottom of its marketing email but surrounded them with white space to make them more noticeable.

Armani shows us another perfect example:

Logos of social media platforms on Armani’s marketing emailProminently showcase your social buttons to direct subscribers to follow you there.
Source: Armani.

Armani wrote a call-to-action (CTA) at the bottom of its promotional email, telling subscribers to follow their social account, “Giorgio Armani.”

Like Jimmy Choo, Armani also displayed clickable logos of its brand pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and put plenty of negative space around each of them.

Follow those same tactics to ensure your readers quickly spot your social buttons.

3. Ask your social media followers to sign up for your emails

Grow your email list by inviting your followers to subscribe to your promotional emails.

To do that on Facebook, visit your page and hit “Create Call-to-Action.” From the dropdown menu, choose “Sign up” and add your website’s URL.

Goldieblox did exactly that on its Facebook page:

Facebook page of GoldiebloxInvite followers to join your mailing list through “Sign up” CTA buttons on your Facebook page.
Source: Facebook.com.

With a single click of these social CTA buttons, you can extensively grow your mailing list and email engagement, and customers can painlessly subscribe to your emails.

4. Add your mailing list to your social networking platforms

This method allows you to target your subscribers with more promotional messages on a different platform, increasing your sales and conversion opportunities.

Through uploaded mailing lists, you can follow your subscribers, understand and interact with them better, run targeted, personalized advertising campaigns on social media, and more.

For instance, Facebook’s Custom Audience feature lets you define your target audience from your uploaded email list:

Page in Facebook’s Audience Manager for choosing custom audience sourceUpload your email list on Facebook Audiences to target your subscribers on the social site.
Source: Facebook.

On Twitter, you can also create tailored audiences through the platform’s Audience Manager. Click “Create New Audience” and select the option for uploading your mailing list from your email marketing software:

Page of Twitter Audience Manager with options to choose audience typeUpload your email list on Twitter to target your subscribers on the platform.
Source: Twitter.

Something to note: these platforms require you to create business or ads manager accounts before proceeding with setting up your social customer list.

Sign up for one as prompted when you’re on their Audience Manager sections, or voluntarily prior to visiting those pages.

You should also have your email list ready for uploading to smoothen the custom audience creation process. So, if you’re considering updating your mailing list for social media, do it first.

Now that your email list is incorporated into your social media, you can efficiently monitor both marketing campaigns and harmonize, share, and dive deeper into your followers’ and subscribers’ data.

If you’re using social media management tools or customer relationships management (CRM) software with email integration features, you can accomplish this task more smoothly.

With your subscribers targeted on your social campaigns, you can amplify your customer engagement and marketing performance on email and social media platforms.

5. Make use of “share-with-your-network” links

Insert share-with-your-network (SWYN) links into your promotional emails. This tactic lets your email subscribers share your messages with their social networks without leaving their inbox.

Specify which parts or how much of your emails are incorporated in your subscribers’ shared posts. These can be your sale announcements, voucher offers, product videos, and other content pieces.

Here’s an example by LastObject:

Promotional email by LastObject with a quote image and social media logosEncourage subscribers to share your email content using SWYN links.
Source: LastObject.

LastObject shared a quote by Emma Watson and encouraged its subscribers to share it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by clicking on the SWYN links.

Clicking the Instagram button, for instance, led to this page, where subscribers can like, comment, repost, share as a story, send to a friend, and more.

Instagram page with a quote imageSWYN links make it easier for your subscribers to share your email content on social platforms.
Source: Instagram.

Make your SWYN links profitable by offering at least two network sharing selections. Also, position your buttons in highly visible areas of your email, so your readers don’t miss them.

6. Create a Facebook group exclusive for your mailing list

Everybody wants to belong to a restricted community, especially when it has low entry barriers. This makes private Facebook groups ideal when merging your email marketing and social media strategies.

Give your email subscribers special access to your brand’s members-only Facebook group. This evokes a sense of exclusivity and comradeship, motivating them to connect seamlessly with like-minded followers.

You can embed your Facebook group link in your promotional emails, so when your subscribers click it, they’re immediately directed to request access or accept your invitation to join.

Additionally, to make your Facebook group thrive, regularly publish meaningful content and spur interaction with and among your members.

Encourage them to share how they used your products, how your brand made a positive impact in their lives, and so on. You can even post announcements of an upcoming sale or giveaway and post live videos.

Adorn Cosmetics presents a stellar example:

Screenshot of a promotional email from Adorn CosmeticsInsert exclusive Facebook group invitations into your emails to grow your social following. Source: Adorn Cosmetics.

Adorn Cosmetics placed a one-sentence invitation for their subscribers to join their exclusive VIP Adorner community on Facebook.

Clicking “here” then leads their readers straight to this private Facebook group page, where they can hit the “Join Group” button to enter:

Facebook group page of Adorners Exclusive CommunityCreating an exclusive Facebook group for your brand entices your email subscribers to join. Source: Facebook.

What’s great about this strategy is you can wield another social-and-email integration tactic from it. You can grab pieces of user-generated content (UGC) from your Facebook group and showcase it as social proof.

Infuse UGC into your email marketing content or other social media blasts on your page. This boosts your credibility and captures more customers.

Integrate your email marketing and social media campaigns now

Email and social media can initially appear like opposing forces, but when you harness them both, they can band together to supercharge your customer reach and relationships at every point in your funnel.

Experiment with your implementation of these methods and continually monitor and adjust them as needed to get the maximum performance results for your business.

This content was originally published here.

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Creative Ways to Use Direct Mail Marketing For Your Business

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Creative Ways to Use Direct Mail Marketing For Your Business

Direct mail marketing may be a thing of the past but it is a great option if you want to increase your market reach without taking too much out of your budget. If you can do it correctly, you can get a high response rate from your potential customers. Making it work all comes down to creativity and innovation. Now, if you are having a hard time coming with unique ways to use direct mails to promote your business, then here are some ideas to get you started:

Discount Updates

You can use snail mails to send information on the latest discounts offered by your company. In most cases, your potential clients would be grateful for it. While you’re at it, consider including coupons that are exclusive to recipients of your direct mail campaigns.

Product Samples

To entice people into buying your products, you can send them samples through your direct mail campaigns. Even though this is an expensive way to get your products out there, the number of sales that you can generate from it will outweigh the cost when done properly.

Special Announcements

Physical mail campaigns can be used to send announcements to both potential and existing customers. This not only lets them know that you care for them but also keeps them up-to-date with the latest products, and services that you are offering as well as the latest developments in your company.

Brand and Image Reinforcement

Since this medium gives you the opportunity to convey certain types of images through the use of visual presentation, reinforcing your brand and market position would be easier. Now, this may require you to invest in your mail designs but the results would benefit you in the long run.

Quick Response Codes

If you want to increase the response rate of your campaigns, then you should consider including QR (quick response) codes in your letters. They can be scanned using smartphones, which makes them easily readable. Through these codes, you can take your customers to your website, your product pages, and even have them download an app your company just made. The possibilities are endless.

Unique Designs and Texture

One of the common disadvantages of using snail mail for business promotions is that it can be perceived as junk mail by clients. You can get around this by adding unique designs and texture to your letters. This will make them stand out and help attract the attention of your leads and customers. However, this might require you to spend more time and even money on design creation.

Build Credibility

If you want to persuade people into buying your product, you have to gain their trust by building credibility. Physical mail campaigns can help you out with this. Through your campaigns, you can send articles you wrote and demonstrate your expertise in the industry that your company is in.

Conclusion

While using direct mail would make most startups cringe, its effectiveness has been proven through the years. It can help catch the attention of your market and gain trust along the way. With a bit of creativity, this approach to business marketing will serve you well in the long run.

This content was originally published here.

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