Have you ever been drawn by a very interesting article title, such as “How I lost 20lbs in 2 weeks, while eating pizza”? Intrigued, you click on it, but before you can see the entire article you have to fill in your name and email address. This is an example of content gating.
Content gating can be a useful tool to help build your email list, but there are things to be considered before deploying a gating strategy.
Strategy #1: Gate all content - This is an aggressive strategy. Gating even the smallest tid-bit of information on your website could potentially cause the loss of potential customers.
Strategy #2 : Gate no content - This strategy allows any user access to any and all of you online content. This strategy should be used to help you grow as a thought leader in your genre and build brand image over time.
Strategy #3: Gate based on buying stage of customer: For example, a customer interested in a very specific e-book download, is closer to the bottom of your sales funnel than someone merely scanning your blog. Gating your e-book would allow unrestricted access to lower-value material, (while building thought leadership) but identify those who may be ready to move forward.
Before choosing a gating strategy, consider your goals and how they will be measured. Examples of measurable content creation goals are;
-Brand Awareness - This can be measured by survey, increased web traffic, increased conversions, increased ad clicks etc.
-Lead Generation - Your content can be a great lead generation tool. You can measure your success by tracking the length of your list.
-Customer Acquisition - New customers can be measured by new “unique visits” to your website, 1st time purchases, 1st time download etc.
-Thought leadership - This can be measured by the increased number of downloads of your ebooks, infographics etc, clicks on your blog, comments and questions on your blog and social media posts, etc.
-Engagement - Engagement is difficult to obtain organically. Your product has to really hit a string with the customer in order for them to leave a comment and sometimes even just like your post on social media.
-Website Traffic - This is the easiest goal to track, either using google analytics or your web editors analytics page.
-Sales- This is the main goal on everyones mind but not always the goal behind a successful content strategy. Easily trackable and very rewarding.
-Lead Management/Nurturing- Slowly developing content based on the interest of your active audience is a great idea.
Keeping your brand in the minds of your customers is the drive behind a customer loyalty and brand building email campaign. Let me be clear, revenue generation is not the immediate goal. Which is a concept that is hard for some entrepreneurs to wrap their head around! These campaigns are long term investments in your business and bring great value to you in the form of relationships and trust.
The customers on this list should be the most engaged and active customers you have. Adding your entire email database to this list would be counterproductive. Your bounce rates, unsubscribes and spam complaints could cause negative effects on the campaign. So, identify who the customers are who are closest to the bottom of your sales funnel, who want to engage with your brand, or who have already purchased your products.
The content of your campaign can vary, but for this group it needs to be personalized and add value. For example, a happy birthday email, 10% your next purchase of xyz, happy holidays,or here’s what’s going on with our business update. These are just examples, be creative, these customers are sure to appreciate the attention and start looking forward to the communications.
Next up, customer retention and customer win-back! Stay tuned!
What role does email marketing play in your company's marketing mix? Campaign Monitor reports that for every $1 dollar spent on email marketing, an average of $44 dollar return on investment is realized! So let's explore the different goals behind successful email campaigns.
List Building/ Generate Sales is truly an essential part of generating ROI for a campaign. So, who should receive these emails? What should the content include? What's a good open rate?
There are three different types of customer segments that are typical campaign targets.
The content should inspire the user to take some sort of action. This can be to visit your website, take advantage of a discount, or download an ebook etc. Here is a look at some openn and CTR's from smartinsights.com.
Stay tuned. We will discuss Customer Loyalty and Brand Building Email Campaigns.
Haptics is the science of touch and Ultrahaptics is about how we create that sense of touch in mid air. This science creates invisible items that users can “touch” by using ultrasonic transducers that bring soundwaves to a single point that are then modulated to a frequency which creates a sense of touch. Yeah, that’s pretty heavy! But basically, Haptics and ultra haptic technology create some super cool, super interactive ways of interacting with our customers.
Motors and actuators in the hardware of your phone have made gaming and mobile experiences more entertaining and interactive. Utilizing more of our senses through the use of this technology allows for more engagement from our distracted mobile audiences.
Check out this TED Talks video with Haptography Professor, Katherine Kuchenbecker, she covers some of the amazing things that are being done right now with this technology.
Also, check out some examples of haptic technology being used in video advertising. These ads do not directly translate well, without the haptics activated, but a visual simulation is added.
This technology is coming mainstream fast. Thanks to companies like Immersion (infographic curtoesy of immersion.com), that is at the forefront of the industry. Studies show that there is a 50% increase in engagement rates via mobile advertising is found when haptics are used. Integrating this technology into your marketing mix could assist with brand awareness and even increase sales.
Engage! (In my Captain Picard voice) But really, that’s the goal, to engage our customers. It’s easier than ever for businesses to advertise online, therefore the landscape is cluttered with companies and individuals trying to reach YOUR customers. The person who will be the most effective is the one that drives the “click”, the “share”, the “like” or the “download”, Customers today are sophisticated, and this level of engagement doesn’t come easy.
Consider facebook advertising for example, I did a test with my Paparazzi Accessory business by running two different ads (one static and one video) to the same demographic. The results were staggering. Engagement went from 10 likes to over 700 views of my video! This also led to clickthroughs to my website.
An engaged customer is closer to becoming a conversion or, sale for your business. This image of the “traditional” sales funnel is a great visual of how you would like to move your customers through. At the Top of funnel (TOFU) the customer is vaguely aware of your product or service, this of course is an area we would like them to move out of fairly quickly. The Middle of Funnel (MOFU) is where they are downloading free items from your site, signing up for newsletters etc. Finally, the bottom of funnel (BOFU) is where the user is very close to conversion, that’s the sweet spot and video can help you get more people to that spot.
Here is a great infographic I got from HubSpot (a great CRM tool for small business owners). It shows the impact video is having and how it is growing everyday.
Colors can play a big role in how people react to your product and services. The use of certain colors help marketers portray different feelings. Taking a look at what your color choices represent is a great idea for any business.
Bold. Fun. Exciting. Think of the companies or products that use this color in their branding. Coca Cola, Nintendo, Netflix, Dairy Queen and Lego, just to name a few. These brands are vastly different but successfully portray a sense of fun, youth and entertainment.
Dependable. Strong. Trustworthy. Bellsouth, Facebook, Twitter, Lowes, GE, American Express. We put a lot of trust in these companies. Their mission is to brand themselves as trustworthy through messaging and branding.
Creative. Imaginative. Wise. Yahoo! Welch's, Hallmark and Taco Bell all use this as the prominent color in their logos. They all have put a tremendous amount of effort into being innovators in their respective industries.
Peaceful. Growth. Health. John Deer, Whole Foods. Animal Planet and Starbucks are all users of this color. It is effective in portraying organic growth and health through branding.
Gray or black/white
Neutral. This is a bold statement made by bold brands. Apple, Mercedes, Nike. It can be argued that simplicity is one of the greatest statements. The use of this color represents a company's confidence in themselves.
Friendly. Cheerful. Confidence. Nickelodeon, Fanta, Amazon, Hooters all attempt to portray their product in a family-friendly, welcoming way. Yes even Hooters. :)
Optimism. Clarity. Warmth. UPS, Best Buy, McDonalds, Sprint and Chevy use these colors to communicate they are welcoming as well as knowledgeable.
If you're just getting started, this is an excellent time to get your messaging on target through your use of color on your website, printed materials and your logo.
So here we are, smack dab in the middle of the “Digital Age” and your business does not have a Digital Marketing Consultant. Or do you? Do you or someone on your staff do some or all of the following?
Any business, (including your direct sales business!) wishing to play in the digital arena should be doing these things. As business grows many entrepreneurs find that outsourcing some of these tasks allows them to re-gain focus on the mission of their business.
Hiring a freelance consultant can be liberating for an entrepreneur and have an impressive ROI. Your digital marketer should do the following:
You can get your own dedicated digital marketing specialist by filling out this form today. http://www.commerceselect.net
Sara Anderson is a pediatric occupational therapist and a blogger hoping to educate and uplift the special needs community with valuable resources. She is married and has two small dogs. She writes a blog, Learning For A Purpose, dedicated to the special needs community to learn the blogging world for her younger brother with Autism. She is passionate about helping others, spending time with family, playing with her puppies, and riding bikes.
As you know there are tons of direct sales companies and we see many of our friends selling and having parties of their own. There can be many benefits of direct sales for families who want an extra income.
Some of the benefits:
Maybe you have found a product that you totally believe in and you love, but you don’t want to feel like a sales person, especially just to your friends and family. There has to be an easier way to reach more people without wrecking close relationships. The easy solution is to start a blog!
People Buy From Those They Trust
When writing a blog you can reach a larger audience of people and reach outside your group of friends and family. You have the ability to write about topics that you are passionate about and you can give your readers insight as to why they should buy from YOU rather than the competitors. They will get to learn more about you as you start your blogging journey and share more information about yourself. You will be able to let them into your world and brand yourself while gaining their trust.
Storytelling Is An Amazing Way For People To Get To Know You
When writing your blog you will have more opportunities to share your story and stories about the products you are selling. You can give in depth information about the real you and your family. You will be able to share your WHY and HOW the products have shaped the person you are today. Give insight into how the products have personally helped you and your family. You will have the opportunity to go more in depth then with the other social media platforms and reach a wide array of customers! You always want to focus on the customers and how you can help SOLVE PROBLEMS for them.
How To Use a Blog for Your Direct Sales Business
Here are some sample ideas of blog post titles you could use if you were in clothing line:
Needing Help Getting Started With a Blog? If you are unsure how to start a professional looking blog I highly recommend taking (affiliate) Suzi’s Blog by Number Course where she will hold your hand and walk you step by step through the process with amazing resources and videos. She breaks the course down into manageable steps that you can get done easily!
What are you waiting for! Go start your blog to help GROW your direct sales business! You can do this! You will thank yourself tomorrow for taking the time today to start your blog. You never know how many people you will be able to reach.
Congratulations! You have grown your business to the point where you are considering or already have employees. This is a huge feat. How are you currently managing their time? Do you have a system in place to track your labor costs or even a goal per day as to how much you would like to spend based on a ROI projection? Well, if you do not, but would like to, then the MakeShift app may be for you.
I recently downloaded the app for free and took it on a test run. Basically you start out by inputting your employees names and email addresses. You can assign them a "department", so if you have different aspects of your business associated with different labor costs, this is helpful. For example, if you have someone who proofreads for you at a different rate than someone who does extensive copy editing, you have the ability to create different labor categories for them.
The app walks you through everything as well as setting a goal for your labor costs. This will vary by industry 15 to 30% of your gross profits may be a good benchmark, but do your research on your particular industry with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are also some great articles on Reddit and smallbusinesschron.com.
You have the ability to set up available work that needs to be completed by assigning a time frame the work is available to be completed. This information feeds into your labor cost data so don't go crazy and create a shift that lasts for a week! You want to have accurate data on how much you are spending per project.
Once you set up an employee, they receive an email from the app prompting them to download(. This download should be available on all platforms.) Once they download, they are able to select the time frame they are available to work. If there is an open shift in their department for the time they are available, they can request that time frame. You are notified, through the app or by email immediately.
This app is great for an entreprenuer attempting to manage a small staff of employees. It will assist you at becoming more efficient and tracking your spending as it relates to your effort, output and sales. This app is definitely worth a free download.
.20 million people were involved in direct selling in 2015, according to the Direct Sales Association. That’s a ton of inventory! No matter what your product is, inventory management should be high priority for you. Tracking what sells and when and at what price point can help you identify valuable trends in your business.
Let’s start from the beginning. You have an awesome opportunity to start your own jewelry business. You purchase $1,000 worth jewelry at a wholesale price in every available color and style variety- bracelets, necklaces, rings, the works. You go live on facebook to tell everyone about your inventory that will be arriving soon and they are hyped! They are pre-ordering left and right and money is falling from the sky! Yay You! You carefully write down all of your pre orders and await on the arrival of your inventory. As you ship items to your customers you mark people off the list, then move on to sorting the remainder of your inventory into beautifully labeled bins.
This, obviously is not the most efficient way of handling your inventory. That piece of paper may get filed away, but this time next year wouldn't it be great to have information on which pieces were hot, if people were into bracelets or toe rings, if they liked purple or pink etc.? Proper inventory management has the potential to increase your sales significantly. It may be an investment in time on the front end but is guaranteed to provide a huge pay off overall.
If you are marketing your business, tracking your inventory would be a great way to understand the effectiveness of a particular campaign and explain spikes and dips in sales throughout a period of time. Basically, inventory management gives you the ability to understand demand for your products and control your supply, which makes for good business, saves you money and increases your sales
A great way to get started would be to manage your inventory through your current point of sale system. If you are not currently using a POS system here's what you are missing out on:
POS systems allow you to upload your inventory list via .csv or excel file and easily manage it as things are sold. This method is great for people with a small amount of inventory that can easily create a spreadsheet of their inventory items manually. If you carry a large amount of inventory you may want to look into a specialized inventory system or software package with RFID capability. This will allow you to scan your items in and out of inventory.
Think about the last time you went into a store that DIDN'T have an inventory system. I'll give you a minute....There is a reason for this, successful businesses track inventory, no matter how big or small.