Month: June 2016

SMS Campaigns: 5 Success Stories and Why They are Useful for Your Mobile Strategy

SMS campaigns are a strategic tool for your mobile strategy. If you think this is an outdated means of communication, then we’ll give you some data to consider: 100% of mobile devices can receive and send text messages. Over 350 billion text messages are sent across the world every month, despite the growth of apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Even companies like Coca-Cola still invest 70% of their mobile budget in SMS campaigns. Perhaps you should consider doing this as well.

Why invest in SMS campaigns?
There are many reasons why SMS will continue to work:
– SMS is created for mobile, so it has the same characteristics that people expect on this device: immediacy, simplicity, and speed.
– Mobile phones have a built-in SMS function so there’s no need to convince users to download anything, unlike apps.
– SMS has a higher open rate than any other marketing tool. Over 90% of SMS messages are read within 3 minutes, compared to 22% for e-mails, 20% for tweets and 12% for Facebook posts.
– 65% of smartphone owners are open to receiving SMS offers on their phones.

Another interesting fact is that this means of communication – apparently simple and lacking of expressive possibilities – offers many creative opportunities to promote your brand. Still not convinced? Follow us as we unfold 5 stories of successful SMS campaigns, which achieved great results with simple but effective strategies.

How to create an SMS campaign: 5 success stories

#1 Aer Lingus and SMS campaigns for customer care

The airline, Aer Lingus, had to find a system to inform its passengers about delays or cancelled flights. Which system could be better than a text message? The SMS implementation was tested for the first time when the company encountered a problem with a flight from Malaga: due to some technical problems, passengers had to be informed to get to the airport 90 minutes earlier. By sending timely SMS, 75% of the passengers managed to arrive on time, thus avoiding refunding a large number of people and also increasing customers’ perception of the company’s reliability.
This is an example of how the immediacy of SMS can be positively used for customer care: every time your brand has something urgent to communicate, SMS is an inexpensive way to do this. It will instantly reach a large number of people, with the certainty of being read within a few minutes.

#2 Pepsimax and the perfect call-to-action

Pepsi launched an SMS campaign inviting consumers to send a message with the text “PEPSIMAX” and a numerical code in order to win tickets to a baseball match. The campaign had great success, not only because the prize was enticing, but also because the call-to-action (the code to type) was clear and customers knew exactly what to do with it. The creativity of this campaign focused on the means that was being used: the SMS.

Here’s what you can learn from this story: if your SMS campaign is based on a code, prioritize it by putting it under the spotlight. The immediacy of the CTA is the key to boosting your campaign results.

#3 Carl’s Jr. and limited time promotions

This fast-food chain, with over 1,300 restaurants around the world, is specialized in quick service. To promote its specialties and defeat the competition time wise, it needed a tool that could meet the customers’ need for immediacy. They inevitably chose SMS. The campaign consisted in sending to its customers’ smartphones a limited time offer of a burger combo at half price. The result was instantaneous: 20% of people who received the text message redeemed their coupon in one of the restaurants a few hours later. For every dollar spent in the SMS campaign, Carl’s Jr. generated $14 in new sales. Try to create something like this for your brand. Think of a limited time promotion and choose SMS to inform your customers. A further advantage is the fact that, unlike traditional campaigns, the results can be measured right away: if a queue is forming a few hours after sending the SMS, you hit the target.

#4 Kiehl’s and SMS integrated communication

The dermo-cosmetics brand, Kiehl’s, created a campaign which integrated e-mails and SMS. Subscribers to its newsletter received an e-mail which invited them to try the new SMS service to receive discounts and promotions. For a six-month period, customers who activated the service by sending a text message with the keyword “Kiehls”, received up to 3 specific offers a month based on their geographical location. The results: over 73% of people who signed up for this service made a purchase after receiving an SMS. And 81% completed a survey with useful suggestions to improve the campaign. In this case, the winning idea was that of integrating the use of SMS with other communication tools such as e-mails. In addition to increasing the visibility of your promotion, you can grow your contact database. Start from the e-mail addresses or phone numbers that you already have and invite people to fill in the missing data in exchange for a discount.

#5 BMW and the right time

The automaker, BMW, created a multimedia campaign to remind people of the importance of changing their tires during winter. This campaign focused on those who bought a car between March and September, considering that they might need winter tires. 1,200 customers received a series of MMS with a product proposal, and they were invited to contact the nearest authorized BMW tire retailer. Over 30% of the customers who received the message bought winter tires and this campaign had bumped up the company’s revenue by over 110,000 pounds.

There are two lessons to be drawn from this case. Firstly, target analysis and campaign segmentation: if you have a very large database or a very specific promotion, do not waste resources. Identify your target and send the promotion only to them. Secondly, the strategic use of time: make good use of the SMS’ immediacy to send your promotion at the appropriate time.

Are you ready to create your SMS campaign?
Did the stories above give you some interesting ideas for your mobile strategy? Once you’ve come up with an idea for your SMS campaign, you have to rely on a good system to send your messages. There are many interesting alternatives on the web, such as systems to create mobile sites and apps online with a built-in SMS sending tool. In this way, you can go mobile with just a single tool and carry out your campaigns on the same platform, via SMS and other means.

This year 100 billion dollars will be spent on mobile advertising. If you’re currently not investing on any SMS campaigns, it’s not too late. You still have time to catch up and take an action. If you’re already doing this, what results have you achieved so far? Can you run your SMS campaigns more effectively?

Silvio Porcellana is the CEO and Founder of mob.is.it the online tool over 1,000 agencies and professionals use to build mobile websites and native apps for customers worldwide. From his retreat in the Monferrato Hills in North West Italy, he bootstraps companies, writes about web and mobile marketing, and helps customers succeed online. Read more from Silvio at mob.is.it blog.

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Should I build an E-mail List for my Small business

email for small business

Every business is unique. I hear all the time that there are no exceptions to this rule but living in the real world I will tell you that is just not the case.

There are clear clients of mine that are really small and honestly ran by men who won’t ever take the time to build the kind of relationship needed to make e-mail work for their business. This is more true in the service based industry.

Think about it for a second. Would you want your plumber e-mailing you once a month?

With this said, in most cases building an e-mail list can be one of the most valuable marketing efforts out there and provide the highest long term revenue.

Here is the recording from our live video hangout

What makes e-mail work

There are several things that make E-mail marketing work so well

  1. We are creatures of habit. If we get our oil changed at 1 place, chances are we will go back there a second time. The surroundings are familiar to us. Compound that with good customer service and a good product and we will be back time and time again.

By just staying in front of the user to remind them we are here we can win their loyalty.

  1. Building a relationship and establishing authority, E-mail allows us to re-connect with someone who already knows about us because they signed up to our list. Using e-mail is a great way to build and nurture a relationship.
  2. Providing value is key to making e-mail marketing work. If you have no value you won’t do well.

Let’s take a look at an oil sales company

When a customer check in we could capture the e-mail.

Now we can setup an auto e-mail to go out 3 months from now about being time to change their oil and if they come down in the next 14 days we will give them ABC loyalty discount or ABC upgrade.

This is a benefit in

  1. Reminding the person they need an oil change
  2. Offering a discount or value proposition.

What Software is Out There to Build my List

There are many different programs with many different options. Some of the standard and simplest are

You can go far more complex when creating your e-mail list. You can for instance have more advanced software plug into your e-commerce site. With this kind of tie in your are able to send e-mails to people who started the checkout process but did not complete the checkout an e-mail for the product they were checking out.

I won’t go into great details on the more advanced programs because generally it’s mid to large scale companies that need these kind of advanced tools. For most small businesses it’s not usually worth the time and cost to setup and manage.

If your business is using WordPress for your website then integration with the above clients is very easy through plugins. I use Bloom for my Opt-ins

Cross Marketing

Cross marketing is something a lot of businesses just don’t do but it’s done all the time in the online and media world.

Reaching out to other businesses that offer a complimentary product or service can really help both businesses build up clients.

Going back to the oil change shop. You might have someone local that does quick paint touch-ups and you can cross market them or someone who repairs small cracks in windshields or knocks out dents.

In order for cross marketing to work the other company needs to have a list that is of value.

I have purchased my E-mail software, Now How Do I get Leads?

This is one of the least talked about aspects of e-mail marketing. At least it seems to be from what I see out there. Everyone loves to tell you what you should be doing but when it comes time to doing it they are silent on how it is actually done.

Every industry out there is going to be different. Ecommerce sites have it far easier as they are based online. Their customers are already online using the website.

With Ecommerce you can use your e-mail list software along with a WordPress plugin such as Bloom from Elegant Themes to capture e-mails via a pop up. Here you can offer a special discount

Having a lead magnet can really help. If I was a roofing company I might put together a quick 3 page report on the top 10 mistakes home owners make when replacing their roof. Things like this can be great lead magnets because it builds curiosity, fear of loss and is highly relevant to your website visitor.

Offline is a bit harder but can be done when you present a value proposition of some kind.

Back to the Oil change company.

—–Value Based on customer Needs——

Oil Company Would you like to be reminded when you need an oil change next?

Customer: Yes

Great: What is the best e-mail to use. Don’t worry we won’t spam.

——Assuming the Sale——-

Oil Company: We are reducing the amount of paper waste we send out. Would you like to be notified by e-mail over us mailing you a post card.

—-Monetary Proposition

Oil company: I see this is your first time in with us for an oil change. Would you like to save $5 today by signing up to be notified via e-mail about your next oil change date and company specials

Getting Testimonials and Reviews

E-mails can be a fantastic way of getting client testimonials and reviews online. Getting into that top section of Google Maps, yelp, or having people checkin on Facebook are all strong values and selling points for your business.

Capturing e-mails and asking for a quick review on a few different platforms can go a long way in attracting new customers.

Developing A content Strategy

Nothing is worse than getting a user to sign-up for your e-mail list then you not doing anything with that e-mail.

Last week we talked about Developing a content strategy for your business. It was a great segment on how you need to have a plan of action in place. View this lesson at http://marketingplaybook.co/hangouts/developing-content-strategy-small-business/

The same is true of your e-mail list. You have a series of e-mail already in place. This is known as auto responders. With this series of e-mails you can schedule when e-mails go out by certain actions such as date of last e-mail sent or date for when the user signed up.

It’s important that you are always 100% of the time attempting to offer value in your e-mails. Just sending an e-mail to have an e-mail sent is worthless and wastes your readers time.

Let’s take a look at how an Oil Company Might be able to set this up as an example of adding value.

Oil company: Pre-schedule 4 e-mails for the next 12 months that are reminders to the person to get their oil changed.

Create 12 e-mails that go out once a month to help stay relevant to the end user. This could be curated content from around the web such as the top 5 safety vehicles for 2017.

Maybe a curiosity piece: What maintenance does an Electric Car need? , Maybe what your Oil Company thinks of Electric Cars?

How to’s: How to quickly repair a car dent, how to remove annoying car scratches, what emergencies supplies do you need in your car… making your headlights brighter, You get the point. I’m adding value to my newsletter.

For an oil company you don’t really have to do that many touches to stay relevant. If you were doing fashion you might have to do weekly or even daily blasts but luckily service based industries don’t have to go to such extremes.

Key Point: You can use your current content marketing strategy to leverage what content already goes inside your e-mail.

If this article was helpful then consider joining us next time for our live Hangout.  Simply signup to our newsletter to get the invite or connect with us at http://marketingplaybook.co/connect/ .

The post Should I build an E-mail List for my Small business appeared first on MarketingPlayBook.co

Keyword Research: Best Practice You Never Used

Business owners, if you’re making money online sure as fate you know how crucial competitor research is. Beating your competitors while ranking higher for the right keywords is what you want.

When we’re doing keyword research we take data from analyzing SERP’s top sites from our niche. This ensures we’re targeting the right keywords.

Simple. But only in theory. In reality, even if giants like Amazon, eBay, Wikipedia aren’t your competitors, they almost certainly will rank higher for “your” keywords because of the enormous sizes of their keyword pools.

Here’s one top technique how even a small business can take on giants.

Page Vs. Page Keyword Analysis

Some tools can perform back to back comparison of domains. This can be used to see which keywords competing sites have in common. But what if there’ a smarter way benefiting from your competitors that requires considerably less time?

If you focus on pushing your single pages to the top, you’ll see great results far quicker than putting tremendous efforts in general site’s promotion.

Getting a list of keywords a single page has is not a new thing, but identifying competing pages for your target page is something we’ve never seen before. Why? Because there simply hasn’t been a tool for that.

Serpstat’s Page vs. Page analysis is a new feature that allows you to define which pages from the top of search are ranked for your targeted keywords but what’s really great about it is that you don’t even have to open the pages to analyze their keywords and get the most out of them; Serpstat does that for you by matching keywords from your page with keywords from pages that you’re competing with and gives you a list of missing keywords.

serpstat

Missing keywords are a goldmine for those who want to expand their keyword pools, it’s a list of keywords that you don’t use, but your competitors use on pages similar to yours.

Because websites are getting bigger and SERPs are getting more competitive, it’s about time we started treating pages like websites. If you want to promote a page, you have to analyze that page as well as the pages it’s competing with.

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Infographic: PayPal vs. Stripe

If you sell stuff online, you probably already used PayPal at some point. It was one of the first online payment solutions that worked across the globe and was easy enough to integrate with any type of website.

Despite being really easy to integrate, PayPal is not that flexible, which irritates some webmasters.

Over the last few years many competing solutions poped in the market, and Stripe is probably the most popular one.

Now if you are in doubt regarding which would be better for your site, the guys from HostingFacts.com created the infographic below to facilitate your comparisson. Enjoy.

paypal-stripe-comparison

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4 Tips to Improve Your Google Indexing

As you probably know, if people can’t find your website on Google it might as well not exist! Google is by far the largest search engine, and getting organic traffic from it is paramount to make any website popular, be it a blog, an eCommerce or a web application.

The problem is that getting Google to index your site correctly and efficiently is not a simple task. Below you’ll find 4 tips that can help you with that.

1. Let Google Know You Exist

Google has a submission form that you can use to inform it about your new site. Don’t!

The best way to get Google to discover and index your site is to get a backlink from a reputable website. This is more efficient than the tool because any spammer can use the tool, and they do!

If you want more information on this topic, check out this article from Neil Patel detailing how to get Google to crawl your site.

2. Optimize on-site factors

You need to make sure that your on-site factors are optimized if you want Google to crawl your site correctly and to index all your pages and posts. This includes:

– Correct HTML code
– Correct permalink structure
– Efficient internal linking
– Sitemap

Here’s an SEO checklist you can use for this purpose.

3. More authority links

Good search rankings and organic traffic comes from two main factors: quality content and quality links. Lots of quality content and lots of quality links.

Focus on getting links from related websites, and preferably from authoritative ones. A link from an authoritative website inside your niche is worth 1000 non-relevant links from smaller sites.

4. Monitor your rankings

You can’t improve what you can’t measure. If you want to improve your indexing and search rankings over time, you need to measure your performance over time. You could do it manually, but it would very time consuming.

A better way to do it is to use a tool and automate the process. This post from Cyfe explains how to accomplish that.

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The Ultimate List of Feminine WordPress Themes

FEMININE VIBE

The new age successful bloggers and online entrepreneurs are mostly women. Women entrepreneurs and female bloggers from across the globe are no longer new to the internet and a lot of the most successful web presences are highly attributed to the hard work, passion, and skills of women. That is why you will see the web rife with too many feminine themed blogs or websites. This raises the ultimate question of how you can add some feminine ‘vibe’ to your business, fashion, food, or other online website.

Simple. The answer is to look for the best feminine wordpress themes online. There are a lot of feminine wordpress themes you can find online, each affording options that offer more power and functionality, while at the same time allowing your target audience to feel that whole feminine ‘vibe.’ This is exactly the main reason why we have put together this ultimate list of feminine wordpress themes for you. Continue reading below and check each one out.

Even though wordpress was not the first ever blogging site established, it was able to penetrate the market and soon enough became one of the best sites in just a short period of time. Over time, wordpress became synonymous with the term ‘blogging.’ WordPress became the leading choice by many serious bloggers all over the globe. Moreover, it was able to syndicate its blogging script for other websites and other web server companies to utilize for their many online endeavors. In just a few years, it has evolved to become one of the most downloaded blogging platforms worldwide.

As if this writing, over 100,000 new wordpress blogs are created and launched every 24 hours. WordPress platform manages over 70% of the leading content management systems around. In contrast, Drupal has only a 20% share of the content management systems market, while Joomla holds approximately 6% of the market. Presently, there are over 18 million and counting websites on the web that are powered by wordpress.

One main reason why wordpress is the well-loved CMS to date is its ease of use, and customization features. Even a non-techie web user can easily set and configure it with the help of themes and plugins available online. In 2015 alone, there were roughly 120 million themes downloaded from WordPress.org online. An avid wordpress user knows for a fact that themes are the backbone of any wordpress site. The use of these themes makes each wordpress blog distinct and unique in its own way. Everything surrounding
the look and feel of any website may be altered and modified to match one’s preference with the help of plugins and themes. Most of these themes are offered at absolutely no cost to you. You can however look for a premium theme, but, these often have limited features, hence the reason for the free distribution.

Some Considerations When Choosing The Best Feminine WordPress Themes:

Before we delve deeper into the essence of choosing the best possible feminine wordpress themes for your website, let us first take a good look at what wordpress really is, and likewise check into some amazing facts about this wonderful platform.

Basically, wordpress is a 100% free CMS platform that enables anyone to come up with their very own blog and conveniently manage them through its intuitive and innovative dashboard panel. It is a combination CMS and an open source blogging software that operates through a web hosting server. Here are some interesting facts to note about the wordpress platform:

• Approximately 25% of the websites around the world are managed by wordpress
• There are over 70 million websites that are presently powered by wordpress
• WordPress is the world’s most loved and popular blogging system
• It is currently used by more than 20% of the world’s top 1,000,000 internet sites all across the globe.

The Importance of Choosing The Right Feminine WordPress Themes:

Contrary to popular belief, the main purpose of a website theme is not basically to allow a website to look grand and flashy. A theme extends beyond that notion. Themes are meant to enhance the look and feel of a website, however it does not all stop there. Your main priority when selecting a feminine wordpress theme is to look for one which will have the most impact to your visitors and give them a lasting good impression bout you and your blog. That alone, will let your visitors know what your blogs is all about, and why it matters.

One good example is, if your website is meant for women’s fashion, you will not want a theme that suggests your website has nothing to do with anything fashionable, instead you would definitely want to choose one that screams otherwise. For all intents and purposes get a feminine wordpress themes. One that truly and clearly demonstrates what is the nature of your website.

Furthermore, you have to make sure that the feminine wordpress themes that you finally choose will flow effortlessly all throughout your website. Simply put, you do not want different web pages clashing with each other or any one of them. They must all flow together and be one – consistent.

The Ultimate List of Feminine WordPress Themes:

Without further ado, we are bringing you the ultimate must-have list of feminine wordpress themes that you should use for your feminine blogs today. Here are a few:

MH Magazine Feminine Theme

This feminine wordpress theme is magazine-type and comes in various shades and tones of pinks that you can try. You can however try other color combi If you are not fond of pinks. But, this is a good theme celebrating beauty and our femininity. This is the perfect theme for those who have fashion, beauty, cosmetics, or lifestyle themed blogs. Anything that covers female topics, the MH Magazine feminine wordpress theme is the best pick for you. The theme is 100% responsive and works on various devices.

Download | Demo

Dorothy WP Theme

We like this particular theme for any female-centric blogs, regardless of whether they are for lifestyle, fashion, cosmetics, etc. It works well with crafting photos and the theme comes with built in high res images which makes it more appealing. The whole theme is very responsive and comes with highly customizable colors and it is so beautiful you can use it on other blogs for your branding. You can add some logo and or background image to add some personalized touch to the whole theme.

Download| Demo

The Beautiful

This theme lives up to its name. It is a beautifully crafted feminine wordpress theme from StudioPress. It is made of Genesis, and so it is one of the most customizable feminine wordpress theme you can come across with. The beautiful wordpress theme has a distinct feminine touch to it. The theme comes with a really elegant and clean white background, crisp red fonts and some cute images of women and flowers. Easily integrate your social media accounts with its stylish buttons and monetize thru the ad space at the sidebar.

Download | Demo

The Gleam

The Gleam feminine wordpress theme looks great for any fashion or photography portfolio site and it comes with easy to use navigational tools and not too many design that gets people distracted very easily. It comes with a full-screen gallery that offers a great place to show off your fashionable photos and creation. It is 100% responsive, fast, and very fluid. One standout attribute is the background image that you can customize from your dashboard. Get to upload various photos for every single web page of your blog today with Gleam.

Download | Demo

The Fashion Blog Theme

This is one hot fashion blog theme is this one from the popular Nimbus themes library offering you various feminine touch to your website. You will see the amazing contrast between whites and pinks which compliments high resolution images, making it a great feminine wordpress theme you can use for your feminine blog.

Download| Demo

Nimbus Street Style

With the increasing demand for feminine wordpress themes, this amazing theme was given birth to. The theme comes with very clean lines, colorful hues, and chiefly a white background for a fresh yet elegant look for your feminine blog. To begin with, this theme has several social media integration options so visitors can easily share their content among friends and loved ones on Twitter or Facebook. Discover your flair for creativity as you easily customize this theme with the help of its custom CSS attributes that you can use depending on the theme look and feel that you like.

Download| Demo

The Girly Theme

No words needed, the theme says it all! You will gauge from the pink hues, lace edges, and roses, all of them provides for a theme that simply shouts femininity. The responsive setup works well on any handhelds, and you may use the theme for anything from portfolio work, or pure blogging. You can easily scroll through your content with its pretty slider and the support is just superb. You can get 24/7 support from WooCommerce.

Download
| Demo

The Tilala

The Tilala theme is best made for women bloggers. However, it does not go overboard with design or super bright colors. With Tilala is a theme with minimalist look, thanks to the white backhround and spacious page. It’s navigational menu is super friendly and the header screams femininity. It comes with very elegant design and cute icons. The theme offers cute social media icons for integrating with social media, and the responsive design is very ideal for those who want a responsive platform.

Download | Demo

Isabelle Girly WP Themes

Rejoice if you are a female blogger! This feminine wordpress theme sports a light pink hue and a minimalist background making it very pleasant and elegant. The wordpress theme comes with social media icons that come in pink shades and the header logo makes it a very good theme for feminine blogs.

Download| Demo

Marilyn WP Theme

A theme named ‘Marilyn,’ surely is feminine theme that’s best for women bloggers out there. It’s simple and very easy to use, perfect for fashion, design, and cosmetics blog. The Marilyn theme comes with a slider that reveals photos about your blog and it comes with a nicely built newsletter form for your readers and it is 100% responsive too.

Download| Demo

Amalie Theme

If you want to show off your content in a unique way, use the Amalie theme. It has a nice header image with a CTA (Call To Action) text that ushers visitors to more valuable reads. This theme is meant for female bloggers and is made around the Twenty Fifteen theme. The designer made it feminine with its cute hues and photos.

Download| Demo

The Kelly

Kelly is a feminine wordpress theme, it is simple and responsive. It is ideal for those who want a simple yet feminine blog. It is great for party or craft blogs. If you can see the demo of this theme, a lot of the colors are yellow and pink; however you can customize the shades to make them fit your specific brand. It has a responsive layout that looks perfect on smartphones, tablets, etc. The logo area works well with the background. Its custom menu enables you to switch pages or links and the social media icons are customizable too.

Download | Demo

Olivie Girly Theme

Olivie wordpress theme is beautiful and elegant and it helps you create your fashion, beauty, and lifestyle blog easily. The theme is responsive and guaranteed to work on all devices, plus it is highly color customizable in case you want to make it a lot less girly. Add your own custom logo for your own branding, and you can make modifications on the menu to help people around your website. One great feature about this olivie theme is that it comes fully packed with social media icons that help a lot of users who are fond of using social media networks.

Download| Demo

Jacqueline WP Theme

One popular feminine wordpress theme is the Jacqueline theme. It is ideal for those who are serious business bloggers. Nevertheless it has all the feminine elements that reveal to your audience that you have a feminine side. It’s a great theme with a big logo area, a newletter form for signup, and lots of white space for easy reading. It is fluid and responsive, works on any device. The color scheme is highly customizable and does not compromise your site and branding. Add in some header design to personalize and some background photos easily. You can also add a sticky menu on top of the site so everyone is led where to go next.

Download| Demo

The Modern Blogger Pro Theme

It runs on the Genesis platform and is a 100% all femme themes. Modern Blogger Pro wordpress theme makes any website stand out from the rest of the pack. Thanks to its cute polka dot header and pink shades. It’s made especially for female bloggers; however you can transform this theme into any type of website. The layout options allow you to have some personality in your design, and the custom background meshes well for branding your website. Modify around the custom header, and make use of the featured images to allow visitors to click through blog posts.

Download| Demo

Carraway

Those who love feminine themes will surely delight in the Carraway theme. It is all femme, responsive and very fluid. You can also customize colors. All you ever need in one place, get this feminine wordpress themes now.

Download| Demo

The Meadowbrook

If you love photography and yet wanted to remain the feminine vibe and personality of your blog, then this feminine wordpress theme is ideal for you. The Meadowbrook is a chic and feminine theme that is best for women entrepreneurs and bloggers. Customize your website with its settings, custom colors, you can also add some custom fonts, and more. The theme enables you to customize the design of the site and you can even see the changes in real time. Now, customizing your wordpress site has never been so easy.

Download| Demo

Chickaboom WP Theme

Chikaboom is hip and cool feminine wordpress theme. It is a standout from among the girly wordpress themes out there. The design is flexible, straightforward, and screams feminininity all the way. It is loaded with amazing customization options and is very easy to use. Select from the display and enjoy. This theme enables you to customize design of your blog.

Download| Demo

Mary Kate WP Theme

Mary Kate feminine wordpress theme shows off the dainty and delicate side of women. If your blog is all about anything ‘girly’ this theme is perfect for your blog.

Download| Demo

The Honeycrisp

The Honeycrisp is the latest girly wordpress theme from Angie Makes. It offers a light and feminine look that is loaded with the greatest customization features and is very easy to use. At the backend you will see amazing controls, colors, and the ability to configure your whole website, shortcodes, sidebars, and more.

Download| Demo

The DeVoe

DeVoe is the best solution for your fashion or entertainment blog. It is easy to configure, fluid, and responsive. View DeVoe efficiently in whatever device – smartphone or tablet, it works fine!

Download| Demo

Zorka WP Theme

Zorka is best for the fashionable. This theme from Woo Commerce exudes chic, cool, and fashionable theme that is perfect for a fashion-inspired or lifestyle blog. Feminine does not always have to be pink!

Download| Demo

So, there you have it. Take your pick and get started blogging. Girl power rules!

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6 Strategies to Build Scalable Business

One can often hear people talking about scalability of a business and investors’ willingness to put their money in startups that show a potential for it. But what exactly is a scalable business?

In short, a scalable business is the one that can multiply its revenues with minimal incremental increase in costs. Take a mobile app, for example – most costs are associated with its development, after it is finished any number of copies can be created at little to no expense.

So, how does one go about organizing a scalable business?

1. Maximum Automation

A scalable business by definition cannot require a massive amount of labor. If in order to grow you have to drastically increase the number of staff, it is not a scalable business. Which means that you should start looking for the ways to automate the entire process from the get go, before you even start considering actual scaling. Constantly be on the lookout for methods to supplement the work processes with software and decreasing the number of personnel. Yes, software may incur upfront costs, sometimes rather impressive, but it will save resources in the long run and increase scalability.

2. Outsourcing

If you want to build your company’s presence in different countries or cities, there is a wide range of tasks you can outsource to agencies. The first step is to separate tasks you can delegate to one global agency and tasks that are to be done locally (for example, event management, logistics, facilities etc). According to Luckyposting.com, it’s a good idea to outsource all you marketing activities to one global agency, as it will be best aware of your marketing advantages, competitors and challenging. But unfortunately it is obvious that you need different local agencies for a range of other tasks.

3. Franchising

You may use initial stages of building up your business as a demonstration of your product viability, after which it may be worthwhile to investigate the possibilities for franchising. After you have the proof that your business model works, franchising may allow you to scale faster and more effectively than by trying to do everything by yourself.

4. Licensing

Similarly, licensing your business process to already existing players in other markets may be a better choice than trying to take them head-on. If your startup is your only source of income, it is especially important consideration, because you may simply lack resources to enter another market and do battle with companies that have already established a foothold there.

5. Attract Investor Money

Unlike businesses aimed at growth, which start with low expenses and low incomes that grow more or less hand in hand, scalable businesses often require high upfront expenses and, in case of good planning and quality idea, can increase their incomes exponentially with minimal additional costs. Which means that you are most likely to need money from investors, and in order to do it, you will have to first validate your business model by means of MVP (minimum viable product). Show that your idea really is working, that it can attract paying customer and be scaled, and investors will come.

6. Making Yourself Redundant

Ideally, a scalable business is a business that works and develops without your direct participation. It doesn’t mean that everything should be automated (it is impossible). It means that you should make it your goal to stop working in your business while freeing up your time and resources to working on it. Which means finding and hiring a small, tightly knit team of professionals, trimming the fat by removing redundant processes, outsourcing everything but core activities and so on.

As an endnote it would be appropriate to mention that not all business ideas are scalable. Service and consulting industries, for example, can hardly be defined as scalable, because they are very hard to automate. The same goes for innumerable small businesses scattered across the Internet – one may think that a company that operates exclusively via the web has everything it needs to be scalable, but very often something stands in the way – perhaps the market isn’t large enough, perhaps its owner simply doesn’t want it.

So, if you aim at building a scalable business model, you should very carefully consider the area in which you are going to work.

Kate Graaf is an experienced content marketer and blogger. She loves writing about business, technology and entrepreneurship. She is a co-founder of content marketing agency Luckyposting.com.

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Developing a Content Strategy For Your Small Business

small business content strategyA Content Strategy is something so many small businesses don’t think of and if you do then it’s really easy to let things slip through the cracks and not stay on top of posting.

By developing a set of criteria and pre-planning your posts you will be able to keep your website and social media channels fresh and relevant.

With the content in this article you will be fully armed to deliver quality content post after post.

Content Strategy Video to go with the Written Guide

Why Develop a Content Strategy?

Fresh content makes Google the search engine happy and helps with SEO. Fresh content keeps you in the eyes of your audience on social media and fresh content helps you stay connected to your community as well as establishes yourself as an authority in your industry.

Your website and social media outlets should be thought of as extensions to your physical store front. Imagine each of these as it’s own room or section in your store.

You need to fill that rooms shelf up with merchandise and that is what content is. It’s merchandise!

You wouldn’t sell a crappy item in your store and the same should go for your posts to your website and social media platforms. You want your merchandise to be really good so people want it.

In the same analogy you don’t want stale merchandise either. If I sold the same shirt day after day, soon people would stop coming to my store because they already bought my shirt.

By outlining ahead of time what content is needed for your website or your clients website you will be able to constantly pump out quality content.

Developing Your End Goals

It’s important to first identify what your goals are for each of your “Store Rooms” AKA website and social media platforms.

Only by defining what your goals are can you really plan what content is needed to meet those end goals as well as how much content needs to be created.

Don’t Go Dark

When starting off many WAY over plan and WAY over extend themselves. A content plan is important but it’s not as important as taking action.

The term “Go Dark” refers to websites and social profiles where the business stops posting and when this happens most past efforts fall to the way side.

This is more true with social media. You will quickly find that many subscribers will forget about you because like you they lead busy lives.

When starting out with a content strategy I recommend a RAMP UP.

What is a RAMP UP Content Strategy?

I’m glad you asked because I just made the term up.

A ramp up is simply that. If your Strategy is posting once a week to Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat, your website, Google Plus, Insert other platform I’ve never used.

Cut everything but 1 social network and your website. Start for the first month just posting once a week to your website and to your Facebook account. Ensure you can handle the work load and stay ahead and on top of your content strategy.

Nothing is worse than biting off WAY more then you can chew. Take a smaller bite first and see how it tastes. The last thing you want is to go dark. There is nothing wrong with creating accounts at all these social media places but that does not mean you have to start posting immediately.

How Often Should I be Posting?

This kind of circles back to what your goals are for your content.

Each and every company is different. There is not a one size fits all answer.

If you just have a website I recommend 2-4 articles a week. You can get away with just 1 a month but I would not go less than that. I’d rather see 1 very well written article each month that is informative and helpful to readers than 4 articles that month that are all fluff pieces that offer no value to your customers or potential customers.

When it comes to social media this really does depend on the industry and the goals you have setup.

Take for instance a fashion company selling clothes. You will constantly have new photos to share of clothing on models and can mix and match your outfits and share them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest with ease. In this case you are probably going to be posting several to a few dozen times a day.

If on the other hand I’m a dental practice out of Denver then I can probably post to social media 1 time a week and be plenty good. Even once every month with a silly meme and fact list would work well enough to keep the audience interested. Add in 2 articles a on your website and then post links to those articles from your social media account and you have 4 social posts a month with 2 article posts.

You don’t have to over think how often your should be posting. Just make sure you are posting and that you are posting interesting content that your readers want.

There is also nothing wrong with just referencing interesting content. If you see something that is interesting in your industry then share it. That can count and be included in your content strategy.

When Should I write the Content?

I’ve always instructed people to have the content ready to go and waiting in the wind. Generally I like to have 3 months worth of content ideas written out. This will include Headlines and a brief paragraph about what the topic should be about.

As for ready to go already written content your should be 4 – 6 weeks out.

So if I had my content strategy as

1 article post to my Website a week

1 Facebook Meme post a week

1 facebook cartoon post a week

1 youtube video post a week

This means I need to have between 4-6 each already done and waiting/scheduled to be posted. If you don’t pre-write your content then you will quickly fall behind as we always run into hectic work weeks.

If you outsource the work either to an Agency, Virtual Worker or an Employee this also ensures you can easily review all the content at once for the next month ahead and be good to go for that month.

How to Generate Ideas for Posts

brain storming content ideasOne of the hardest things for many small businesses is to come up with interesting topics to write about. For me personally this is never really an issue. I can talk and rant. If you have not watched me on a hangout I suggest you do at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsfFePRr2cjZBY2LX1eSm9A

There are different strategies out there for coming up with content. Facebook and Instagram and Twitter for instance are places for images and quick blurbs of content. These platforms are also great to share other peoples content and to link back to your expert written articles from your site.

I often attempt to write posts in several different manners. Here are a few post types that should help generate ideas for what you can write about.

Remember that at the end of the day your content needs to be worthy. You don’t want to sell crappy merchandise

Series Posts: This is a series kind of post where you break a subject matter into multiple posts. Churches do this all the time. They have a set theme for a given month and then preach each week about different topics related to the overall theme. This is also what we do when we start new training courses. (Only our newsletter Subscribers get notified of new training courses. That’s a hint for you to sign up)

Checklist Post: Every industry has a checklist that is needed. Humans love checklists. Some people are checklist freaks. Others need them to ensure they plan their content strategy. Use check lists as they are really engaging and actionable. These things get shared well on social media as well.

Authority Guide Post: This is where you write the end all be all encompassing article that establishes your credibility, knowledge, connections and sets you apart from others. It’s one of those kind of posts that other resources like Wikipedia nerds love to link too because it’s complete and all encompassing

Definition Post: This can be helpful for those really technical topics where end users may need more education to fully understand.

How to Post / Questions: This is one of my favorite things. You will notice on Marketingplaybook.co that many of the articles written are around this format. I love to help others and one of the best ways to do this is to answer questions by doing how to posts.

FAQ Post: I love frequently asked questions because this means there is a topic I need to write about. If customers keep asking you the same questions then that means you should write about it because others have the same question and they are looking online.

SAQ Post: SAQ is Should Ask Questions. This is where you as a sales person would help qualify the customer and help match them with the best product that would suite their individual needs. This greatly shows you care about the customer and also helps to establish yourself as an authority in the space.

Problem Solution Post: This is similar to the How to Post but here we are writing about a common problem in our industry and then writing the solution to that problem which is normally a product or service that you supply or it could be a free solution.

List Post: Here you are creating a list for your industry. This could be on books, software, tools, people, places, things. You commonly see lists all over the internet on clickbait sites. The top 15 celebrities with the cutest babies holding puppies that will make your jaw drop. You of course can have a little more taste and really make the list solid and interesting. It’s also great to include something you wrote on the list.

Case Study Post: This sounds very scientific and intimidating but a case study is simply covering in depth the details to something and then sharing the results.

Research Post: This can be time consuming but done right can really make you stand out above the crowd. With this you perform your own research around a product or service in your field and then share this research with your readers. In many ways this can overlap with several of the post topics above.

Stats Post: Similar and normally built upon from a research post as well as curated data from around the web. Here you are sharing statistics that you have gathered from either your own research or from other peoples research and you are putting things together in an easy to read post.

Experts in Industry Post: Here you write about other experts in your industry or profile an expert in your field. You can even do things like list of experts or lists of sites experts are on.

Curation Post: This is where you curate segments of content from other sources and comment on those sections of content. You do need to link back to where you sourced the content to make it Fair Use compliant but it’s a great quick way to make high quality posts and you are linking out to trusted sources via a no follow link

Free Post: This is a list of freebie type tools or information sets that your audience will find interesting. People generally love free stuff so if you can recommend free information that is of value then you will be seen as someone who knows their stuff.

Cartoon Post: You can hire cartoon artists online who will write a cartoon about your industry. I get several of these around the SEO industry and they generally always make me laugh or at least smile. I look forward to getting them in my e-mail and seeing them on my facebook feed.

Meme Post: The idea here is to be funny. You don’t even have to be unique. You can curate meme’s from across the web, create your own or hire someone to create them for you.

Story Post: Telling a good story can go a long ways to building fans. People love to hear about how companies got started. When I’m on a website and they have an Our Story link I generally always click it. When on a restaurant menu I always read the story post as well. This kind of content can be really engaging.

Investigative Post: This is similar in some manners to research post but more from a journalistic point of view. You are combining a story post with an interest based piece of content that you had to investigate and research. This is a great way to stand out as an expert.

Review Post: This is where you would review products and services. I’ll often create a list of the top products then write reviews for the products as part of the post.

News Post: The idea behind a news post is for you to offer an unique perspective that others may not see or have not thought about. I generally recommend light subject matters.

Issue Post: This is an issue in your industry that might effect your audience. This is about the only time I would ever do a post on a political matter as it’s not really offering an opinion but talking about an issue that directly effects your business or audience.

Contest Post: Generally done on Social media when you have a following or are pushing paid traffic. You create a contest with the intention of building your audience, a product launch or building brand awareness. There are generally several things that have to be planned out for this kind of post to work successfully.

Customer Showcase Post: Best done on social media where your customers can send in pictures and the like of them using your product. This can be great when you have a solid fan base and an interesting product to showcase.

The almost NEVER Post: This is content you never write about unless it’s your will to piss people off or what your business revolves around. Religion, Politics, Sex. Have an opinion then keep it to yourself. While I can’t force that upon you I’ll tell you that your business website and business profiles are not a good place to stir the pot.

Tools that Can Be Used To Help Post and Manage Content

jetpack: Jetpack is a free WordPress plugin that allows you to focus on what you do best. Create and publish great content.

hootsuite: Social media management tool.

quuu:  Hand picked content suggestions for social media.  This is a fun little tool for filler information when you don’t have much to say.

tailend: Pintrist and Instragram focused tool.

buffer: Share to multuple social media accounts at once.

drumup.io: DrumUp discovers and helps you share great content to your social media accounts.

22social App: Create nice looking fan pages.

Conclusion

The most important things.

  1. Take action and pre-write your content
  2. Post regularly
  3. Don’t write crappy content. Make the content at least somewhat interesting and informative
  4. When in doubt post something entertaining as everyone likes to laugh.

If you have questions feel free to post a comment below or shoot us a tweet. I would love for you to share this article with others as well or for you to sign up to our newsletter and join us for our weekly live video Hangout, inside our Facebook group or Google + Community. You can learn more about these options on the Connect page – http://marketingplaybook.co/connect/

The post Developing a Content Strategy For Your Small Business appeared first on MarketingPlayBook.co

B2B Portals: An Ocean of Benefits

There are two kinds of commerce active in the world marketplace: business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C). Companies involved in the latter form of commerce spend a lot of time and effort marketing to individual consumers they believe would be interested in their products or services. But what about companies involved in B2B commerce? How do they market?

Marketing in a B2B setting is far different. Rather than taking out ads and attempting to get attention by developing catchy marketing slogans for an audience with a limited attention span, companies have to be more thorough and technical in their presentation to other like-minded businesses. This is where the B2B portal becomes so important.

A B2B portal like ExportersIndia.com is essentially an online marketplace that brings companies in the B2B sector together in one large online meeting place. Any company involved in B2B commerce should be a member of at least one of these portals. Memberships on multiple portals are even better.

B2B portals offer members the ocean of benefits that are hard to achieve any other way. Those benefits are as follows:

1. Global Exposure

In terms of raw exposure, there is nothing quite like a business portal. Any portal with a reputation for success is one with a global reach. It is a portal that brings together multiple industries and their players from around the world, connecting them via business listings and other opportunities.

The kind of exposure your business would get by listing on ExportersIndia.com, for example, is far greater than you would get by trying to make global business connections by yourself. The portal has done all the heavy lifting, all you need to do is sign up and create a profile.

2. Instant Communications

Have you ever wondered why B2B portals are so important to business growth? It’s all about communication. Unlike B2C commerce, B2B companies are not investing millions on marketing campaigns geared to the general public. They are soliciting new business by making cold calls and connecting by way of in-person meetings. Communication is at the center of both. Without a fast and effective means of communication, doing business in the B2B world is much harder.

A B2B portal offers instant communications with the click of a mouse. Business representatives can browse listings in a variety of categories, looking for other businesses that would benefit from their products or services. Then those businesses can be contacted directly through the portal rather than having to hunt down an e-mail address or the website contact form. What you can do through the portal to contact others are the same things they are doing to contact you.

3. Buyer Attitudes

The third benefit of B2B portals is the fact that buyers love them; and why do they love them is because a large portal with enough members gives buyers access to lots of different options in one place. Working within the portal means they don’t have to spend hour after hour searching online for what it is they need; they just browse the different categories and click the listings that interest them.

From the buyer’s standpoint, the B2B portal is the best way to find products and services with as little effort as possible. They are also more likely to trust companies they find on the portal than those they don’t. It’s a matter of trust by association.

4. Sales Automation

With so many buying/selling options at your disposal, it can become a little difficult sometimes to find the right type of business to contact; however, the B2B Portals let you configure certain alerts that notify you every time a supplier or a buyer posts a lead relevant to your business. Also, you get an option to follow the activities of the companies that are of importance to you and get notifications of their latest moves.

Chucking out the leads that aren’t relevant for your business help you focus on the opportunities that promise you better returns.

5. Market Analysis

B2B portals are perhaps the only platform that lets you carry out business alongside your competitors and offers you an excellent opportunity to study their products and pricing strategies in detail. With B2B Portals, you cannot just analyse different businesses in your niche, but also leverage upon the strategies they have adopted to enhance your sales.

A B2B portal is an excellent tool for businesses of all kinds. Joining a portal gives the company access to a virtual ocean of marketing benefits that are simply incomparable to any other platform.

Author Bio: Ankit Gupta owns and manages ExportersIndia.com, one of the largest searchable buyers and sellers marketplace in India.Owing to his passion for writing, Ankit keeps sharing his valuable insights with marketers of SMEs and start-ups, to keep them upaded with the latest business news and trends.

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10 Digital Marketing Techniques That Will Take Your Start-up to the Next Level

Creating a start-up will arrive with many challenges, including the low budget and the fact that no one truly knows who your company is. It’s difficult to break into an already crowded industry and find your place in a way that will start your path to the top. A powerful marketing team, however, could get the job done without stretching the tight budget.

Everything that you have to get has to be carefully considered first. Keep the costs low, acquire the right people, understand your product, find the right clientele, learn to manage your data as you evolve, and always look for ways to improve.

Having a good idea is one thing, but you often need money to back it up. According to studies, around 82% of all start-ups are self-funded, which means that you will either have to back your business yourself or find ways of developing it through cheaper means. It becomes crucial to know where to invest, what to do, and where to direct your focus. First off, you need a plan, then a good strategy to implement it.

1. Network

Never underestimate the power of networking. Your most important mission is to find and connect with the right people. Think platforms such as LinkedIn, Inbound or Quora that will help build your brand and establish yourself as an authority. Create a page for your business or even join a local business group and invest in some targeted paid advertising to start on the right foot.

Speaking of local. You should never underestimate the power of local, particularly rural, marketing. Despite the fact that urban & rural communities are historically different, technological developments have blurred the lines between the two:

Yet, despite the fact that rural communities now have access to high-speed internet, competition is not as fierce. Finding a less-competitive market is essential to the success of a start-up. Furthermore, rural America has many unique cultural characteristics. Find something that makes rural communities click and use it.

2. Create Social Content

A blog could be a powerful tool to attach to your official website. Stick to your niche and use the power of search optimization systems (SEO) in order to get your business in Google’s attention. Simple “How To” articles, lists, or “What”/”Why” articles could generate a lot of traffic.

3. Don’t Shy Away From Email Marketing

It’s free, and it’s popular for a reason. There are currently 4 billion email accounts in the world, so you plenty to choose from who might show interest in your company. As long as you consider a few specific ways of approaching it, email marketing could be a tremendously successful practice:

Make it attention-grabbing
Make it look appealing
Use social media buttons
Include a CTA (call-to-action)
Time it right

4. Clever Remarketing

If a user clicked on your ad on Google AdWords but didn’t convert, it’s not quite useful. However, instead of insisting with the same platform and same presentation, switch it up. Change the ad and show it to them once again on Facebook. It will make your business look influential and increase your chances of conversion.

5. Refine your Marketing Funnel

This is a process with which you track each customer’s journey from the moment he first finds about your company to the moment of conversion. By tracking them, you can use several techniques, such as CTAs, opt-ins and offers to garner their attention and turn them into returning customers.

But this is harder than it sounds. Here are four key metrics that you need to keep an eye on:

Awareness: they hear about your product
Interest: they are expressing interest in a product type
Desire: they want and shown interest a particular product
Action: they want to buy it

6. Forge Partnerships

Find a business that is close to your niche and create a partnership that will keep you both happy. For example, if you own a car dealership, consider becoming partners with the repair shop down the street. Keep each other in the loop, and refer clients from one to another.

“Business success usually demands partnering with other people and other firms to get big things done.” Source: Inc

7. Put Social Media to Use

Facebook can be particularly useful because it lets you target specific profiles of users after searching for one or two characteristics. This assures that your content will reach the right people. However, don’t limit yourself. You can opt for Instagram Ads as well, which are also managed by Facebook. It’s the same system, but two different platforms.

8. Ask For Reviews

It may sound scary, but if you’re confident in your services or product, ask for feedback. One of the first things that any potential customer will be looking for before trusting a start-up is reviews. The more you have, the better it reflect your business, provided that a majority of them are positive. It’s the digital age’s word of mouth.

9. Fun Content Marketing

Consider introducing videos, live streaming events, or interactive storytelling to propel your business forward. It could truly capture an audience’s attention in a fresh and innovating way. However, this might stretch your budget a little, because you will need to make it look good, which will require professional help. Unless you have the skills to develop it yourself, carefully conduct some research on the subject.

10. Bing It

Google is at the top, and it’s unlikely that it will drop anytime soon. However, placing ads on the most dominant search engine in the world is also pricey, which is something that start-ups don’t often afford. Instead, opt for Bing. Even though only 30% of users opt for Bing as a search engine, it’s a rising platform in comparison to Yahoo, which has been in decline for years. The CPC (cost-per-click) is substantially lower than Google Ads.

Every technique can be applied to a variety of products and services. However, always keep in mind that they have to define your company and the way you want to manage it in a non-ideal world where you naturally don’t have the money of a big brand.

Author Bio: Andreea Byrch is a freelance technical writer with superior education and expertise. She has 4 years of experience working in the corporate sector, but has decided to take the road of freelancing. At the moment she collaborates with JupiterBroadband and covers news for several online publications.

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