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CONNECTED CULTURE Blog by Jerry Allocca

Now, more than ever, we're all connected. What does it mean to be part of the Connected Culture? Share your thoughts and ideas here!
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Three Email Marketing Metrics That You Should be Tracking (But Probably Aren’t!)

There’s no 1denying that for e-commerce businesses and organizations, email marketing is a great way to further interact with your clients. Through weekly or monthly subscriptions, you can convey to your customers ongoing deals, current promotions, the latest news, and more. If you’re utilizing an email subscription newsletter in your marketing strategy, chances are you’re tracking some conversions to ensure upmost success.

Subscription and unsubscription rates are a no-brainer.  Chances are you easily aware of just how many people are subscribing and unsubscribing. However, there’s more to maintaining your off-line presence than tracking these basics! As we embark further and further into 2015, consider making it a daily practice to track these process metrics:

Inactive Subscribers
Chances are, if you’ve got an email newsletter of sorts, you are aware of just how many people are subscribing. One vital component to understanding whether or not your newsletter content is effective? Check in on inactivity! Checking in on this often overlooked detail will allow you to assess how many subscribers are actually interacting with your newsletter. Knowing this allows you to re-strategize and retarget those subscribers that aren’t actively opening or clicking through to link.

Share Rates
It’s one thing to have readers open your email blasts, but it’s another thing to have them pass on your little golden nugget to others! Tracking share rate allows you to see how often subscribers are forwarding your email newsletter with friends or sharing them on social media. Knowing this also allows you to see where your target audience most prefers to share content. Are they more prone sharing news through email or through a quick Tweet?  This information can further allow you to target them in the most appropriate and effective way.

Spam Rates
You already know the importance of tracking unsubscribers, but how about those who are marking it as spam? If users can’t easily unsubscribe to your newsletters, or if the content doesn’t look professional, they may be sending your emails to their spam box, which can be a hit to your credibility and trustworthiness as a business.

Paying attention to these conversions will further allow you to assess the success of your subscription email blasts or newsletters. Furthermore, they will provide you with insight needed to make any changes to your current marketing or targeting strategies, ultimately boosting your credibility and trustworthiness as a business!

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Content Marketing Hack: How to Repurpose Your Content Effectively

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There’s no doubt about it: effective content is imperative to the success of your online presence. However, coming up with creative content isn’t always easy and when you’re stuck in a creative rut, it can be quite time-consuming! Fortunately, there are some very easy and effective ways to repurpose your content, extending its overall reach and effectiveness.

First things first: Create one great piece of content! At this point, don’t worry about its potential to be repurposed – just worry about making it attention-grabbing, effective, and overall well-crafted.  If you’re in a creative bind, go through past content and look for a piece that was very effective, or, that you simply really enjoyed. Perhaps you saw great success with a blog post you wrote a few months ago. Perhaps a tweet went viral. Or, maybe you just really enjoyed that video you created!

Once you have a great piece (or pieces) of content, it’s time to get to repurposing. One way to repurpose is to think about your audience for the piece you’ve already created. Consider how you can restructure the piece to target another audience segment. Can you rework your blog post to attract another age group or demographic?

Now that you’ve considered this option, take a look at different ways to showcase your content. Often times, information from a blog can be translated into an infographic, offering a fresh way to showcase details. Content within an infographic can then be translated into a videographic. Look for new channels that you haven’t used before to reach an entirely different audience segment. Consider podcasts (a perfect option for repurposing past blog posts), Twitter (great for repurposing Facebook status) or slideshows (great for infographics).

The power of repurposing content is that you can save time in compiling data and information. After all, once you’ve got great info to share, you want it to reach as many people as possible! Utilizing different platforms is the best way to do just that.

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Infographics 101

pencil-190586_1280When it comes to content, visuals are growing more and more vital in the world of marketing and social media. After all, the general public tends to be drawn to images – they are colorful, bold, and make accompanying content easier to understand. But how can one effectively incorporate graphics and information without one overpowering the other? That’s where infographics come in!

Infographics can be defined by the artistic visualization of information and they are popping up more and more frequently on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Pinterest. Additionally, they are commonly seen on business websites as a method of displaying information or services. While infographics certainly are helpful, they aren’t necessary for every little bit of content. Infographics tend to be most effective when conveying:

  1. Lots of information
  2. Difficult to understand information
  3. Opposing ideas or thoughts

When beginning to incorporate infographics into your content strategy, there are a number of free or inexpensive services that can help in the creative process. These kinds of services will create the graphics for you after you input the information, allowing you to edit the display as needed. Charts, graphs, and simple graphics are often included, allowing statistics and information to truly take form in the minds of the viewer.

When promoted on social media, infographics tend to do very well. To increase the effectiveness of your infographic, it is important to consider a few stylistic elements. Creating an interesting and catchy title is the first vital step. You should also pay attention to font choice and amount of text that is incorporated. Too much text will take away from the simplicity of an infographic and too “frilly” of a font will lead to illegibility. Simplicity is key!  Providing sources is imperative, just as it would be for any other kind of content. Most frequently, sources are found in one easy-to-read spot at the bottom of the infographic.

Linkage is also possible through infographics, providing additional ways to boost your search engine optimization, in a stylistically pleasing way. This can result in more visitors to your website and an overall higher search engine rank!

As you embark on creating your next big marketing campaign, consider incorporating an infographic!

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The Mobile Site Advantage

The Mobile Site AdvantageUntil now, having a mobile version of your website was a luxury for many companies. Sure, international brands had mobile sites, but the average business just didn’t explore that path. With the latest announcements from Google, a mobile version of your site will likely become a necessity.

With an ever-increasing number of users logging in through mobile devices, Google has decided to make “a significant change” to its mobile search results. By incorporating “mobile-friendliness” into their algorithm, Google is rewarding sites worldwide that have invested in a better experience for mobile users.

Google has made the decision because according to their data, “94% of people with smartphones search for local information on their phone, [while] 77% of mobile searches occur at home or at work, places where desktop computers are likely to be present.” This indicates that more people are considering their phone as their primary device for internet activity.

The changes take effect on April 21st. If you don’t have a mobile version of your site, it’s a good idea to invest in one as soon as possible if you don’t want to be invisible to so many users who now favor mobile search results. While this upgrade will require an investment and a web developer, you may lose a lot of visibility. In 2015, most developers automatically incorporate mobile sites into your architecture, but if you have an older website, it’s important to prepare for this drastic change so you aren’t buried by the competition.

The importance of mobile devices will continue to grow with time, so if you’ve been waiting to go mobile, the time to act is now!

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Building an Online Community: The Basics

Building An Online CommunitySo you want to build a community online? An online community is the perfect way to broaden the reach of your brand. By engaging with your community, you’ll be enticing buyers, engaging with existing fans of your brand, and extending your reach to new customers. In short, an online community is both a source of revenue, an advertising platform, and a way to spread the word about you and your products or services to new customers.

If you’re ready to begin, here are a few basic tips to keep in mind that will help you get started.

  1. Quality – whether it’s on-site content, blog posts, videos, podcasts, or other forms of media, it doesn’t matter. People will be drawn to excellent content and return continually for more of it. Quality then is both a hook and a reason for people to come back.
  1. Originality – ask yourself: why should people come to my community for this content instead of going somewhere else? It’s important for you to have something unique about your brand.
  1. Consistency – International brands earn their reputation by delivering their specialty on a regular basis. This schedule of interactions helps foster community. If you disappear, so will your followers.
  1. Sharing – For your community to grow, you’ll need people to find your content/products/brand and share it with others. Sharing is easiest on social media. Make your content as easy to share as possible and make it appealing so people will want to see and share it with their friends.
  1. Communication – A community isn’t about broadcasting to an audience. It’s about establishing connections. Engage your community. Take time to acknowledge those who interact with you and those who have helped you along the way. If you only promote yourself, you’ll never attract a following. Post links to topics your community will find interesting. Ask questions. Make re-visiting your site and social media channels worthwhile.

Every online community is different and you’ll have to experiment with yours for maximum benefit, but by following the 5 basics above, you’ll be building a great foundation.

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5 Facebook Post Ideas to Keep Your Page Fresh

Facebook Post IdeasSocial media is not used or barely used by many companies that could benefit from a social presence. Facebook is the most popular social media platform and the one most businesses either want to, or should, explore.

If you already have a Facebook page, or you’ve just created one, the next step is attracting people to your brand. The best way to keep people AWAY from your page is to constantly post nothing other than product information or sales without personality. You also will drive people away by flooding their newsfeeds with a barrage of posts each day. So post wisely and provide as much value as possible with each post. With that in mind, here are 10 ideas to improve your social media marketing on Facebook:

  1. Share current information. People want to see what’s going on in your world. If you’re making public appearances, conducting special events, or interacting with your community in a hands-on way, let your online following know!
  2. Engage with your audience. Respond to posts and messages. This helps foster a community spirit, shows people you respect them, and also helps to ensure that posts with a lot of engagement will appear on fans’ newsfeeds.
  3. Link to blog posts. Grab a fact or an enticing headline-like phrase to serve as a teaser so people are tempted to click and learn more.
  4. Incorporate other social channels into your strategy. Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram are incredibly popular.
  5. Don’t automate posts between platforms. Keep your posts original, even if they are linking to your other social media sites.

Of course, these tips are only the beginning. We can help you turn your Facebook page into an online community and resource for your business. Learn more from our social media experts today.

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How to Use Analytic Data to Create Quality Content

SEO Analytic DataAnalytic data shows you the behavior of users who visit your website, making it a valuable tool that many companies don’t harness. Many people know that analytics show how potential customers find your site, but that’s just the beginning of how you can improve your SEO using analytic data. By collecting information about user behavior on each site, you can tailor your site and your SEO to match their needs.

It’s widely known amongst SEO professionals and savvy webmasters that you can see what keyword searches lead people to your site using analytics. You can also see their activity on each individual page, but analytics data can provide you with other important information.

Start by considering your bounce rate. This shows how many people navigate away from your page quickly. If this number is high, it indicates that users are not finding what they were looking for on your site. Search engines can factor this activity toward your ranking position.

How can you improve this? Give the people and the search engines what they want! Adjust, improve, and enhance your content. This will better inform search engines about where to put you and keep visitors on your site. You can also use this to think about a site redesign—remember that user experience is one of the top factors when it comes to SEO.

Don’t forget your meta data! While meta keywords are marginal in today’s search results, the meta title and meta description are vital to you in another way—they are what users see in search results. If these aren’t enticing enough for users, they may click on another result and end up on a competitor’s site. Don’t let that happen.

For more information on how to use your data effectively, contact our SEO experts today.

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Grow Your Facebook Likes with These 3 Tips!

Grow Facebook LikesMore and more businesses are taking to Facebook to increase their social media presence. It’s a tactic that has worked well for many companies, but many stumble through Facebook without knowing how to use the service to their advantage. If you’re new to Facebook or looking to ramp up a stagnant social media campaign, follow these easy tips to grow your Facebook presence today:

Be a good Facebook Citizen
Post unique content as well, share content from other sites that your community will enjoy, and call attention when your followers post positive information, photos, or reviews about your business. Additionally, respond in a positive fashion to negative posts. Work to not only be a promotion machine, but a community centered around your brand that users turn to for information they want.

Raise Awareness with a Contest
For a relatively small investment, you can promote products or services in a way that generates interest—not only among your fans but among their friends as well. This is a fun way to present your brand and drive interaction with your social media and website as well.

Advertise on Facebook
If you haven’t explored advertising on Facebook, you’re simply missing an important opportunity. You can target specific audiences for your ads that allow you to reach customers directly. You can make the most of any advertising budget and employ a variety of techniques to reach an impressive number of potential buyers.

Facebook isn’t a duty—it’s an opportunity. Make the most of your Facebook presence today.

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What’s in a Name? Would a Domain By Any Other Name, Rank as Well?

website-454460_640SEO has traditionally been a landscape defined by connecting your site to users via keyword phrases, providing content that can be shared across social networks (which drives traffic), and delivering an excellent experience for the users who visit your site.
But SEO is always changing. One of the safest ways to ensure that your site will perform well in search engine results is to establish and cultivate a brand. The brand will incorporate traditional marketing and SEO tactics, but differs from these in being recognizable and memorable.

Developing a brand propels your business forward and ahead of your competition. One of the best ways to cement this brand is to make the best use of your domain name. The heart of your URL should be just as unforgettable and to-the-point as your brand. As one of the extensions, and most visible components, of your brand, your domain name is crucial to establishing your online credentials—and your favor in search engine results.

Contrary to popular belief, your domain name doesn’t need to be a keyword phrase—though it won’t hurt if that is the case. Recent algorithm updates have reduced the need for exact keyword matches in the names of domains.

Here are some tips to choose a memorable, SEO-friendly domain name:

• Keep it short. The longer and more complicated your domain name, the more difficult it is to remember. The top one million websites have 10 characters on average. The top 5 websites average 6 letters.
• Give it weight. Present a clear and powerful message about who you are and what you do. Lots of letters or abbreviations are rarely appropriate.
• Be Unique. Your domain name is your brand online. By choosing a distinctive name, you can further your brand’s presence online.

Remember, internet marketing isn’t about keyword stuffing anymore. It’s about having a great brand, delivering the products or services that your customers expect, and establishing yourself as the kind of business/website that search engines WANT to rank above the competition who have already earned favor.

Your domain name can certainly affect your rankings so make sure you choose well and choose wisely.

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How to Sell Digital Marketing to Your Boss

connected-culture-blog-listeningWhile you’re probably already convinced that your organization needs to increase its digital marketing efforts this year to stay relevant and grow, you may find that you have to convince others that the additional investment in time and money to do so will offer sufficient ROI.

How can you best present the benefits of digital marketing to your boss and other decision-makers? We’ve provided five essential tips for getting them enthusiastically on board:

1. Create a Comprehensive Plan

Jumping into digital marketing without a plan is akin to starting a long journey without a map. To best share with others what you’re planning to do, it’s essential to breakdown digital marketing into key components. These include:

  • Website and landing pages
  • Blog
  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media
  • SEO
  • Analysis and Reporting

You’ll also want to define your target audience and map out a strategy for how each component can be integrated into the plan. Use visual tools such as charts, spreadsheets, and calendars to help explain the plan and to keep you on track once you get the green light to get started.

2. Have a Realistic Budget

Digital marketing isn’t free advertising. It takes time and money to manage all of the elements of your plan. To prevent unrealistic expectations on the part of others, you’ll want to allocate accurate amounts for everything from website maintenance and Facebook ads to hiring an outside SEO agency and content writers.

Very few organizations can execute a comprehensive digital marketing plan solely in-house. So, it’s important to clearly determine what you can successfully tackle and what needs to be outsourced to create a viable budget.

3. Create Specific Goals

One of the most common objections heard when it comes to digital marketing is that it doesn’t actually offer any “real” value. This is why it’s so important to establish goals for your plan early on. A well-thought out and executed plan will help in business development and support other marketing and sales efforts. Therefore, goals should be aligned with overall company strategic goals. They should also be specific enough to be clearly measured.

4. Detail the Potential ROI

Showing potential ROI is vital in getting others excited about digital marketing. This means explaining its measurable value. Of course, it’s ideal if you can prove a direct financial return. However, it’s more likely that your digital marketing efforts will contribute to more leads that can eventually be converted into more sales. This doesn’t devalue the importance of digital marketing. Rather, it’s simply necessary to connect the dots carefully when trying to get the buy-in from others.

In may be beneficial to compare the ROI of your digital marketing plan to other marketing efforts such as print collateral, advertising, and telemarketing. When you look closely at the costs for each, you may find that digital marketing offers the highest ROI.

5. Give Examples

It’s a good idea to show what your competitors are doing when it comes to digital marketing. Find several good examples of organizations within your industry that are getting it right. Be able to explain what they’re doing and why it’s working for them. These examples may be the most compelling aspect of your pitch.

Getting buy-in for increasing digital marketing efforts requires a detailed plan that can be effectively communicated and executed. With expectations clearly set and a strategy for measuring results, you’ll have the ability to show real ROI that will turn doubters into enthusiastic believers in the value of digital marketing.

Question:

What can you add to this list?

 

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