Post by Adi Englander

adi-englander

The Internet is undergoing another major transformation. Video is utterly and completely taking over, and live streams are the bells of the digital ball. Digital video’s extreme popularity is not isolated to YouTube and live broadcasts, however, as webinars are also proving to be an increasingly prominent tool.

In a recent 2016 benchmark report conducted by custom webinar service provider, ClickMeeting, it was uncovered that more than 554,000 webinars were held in 2016; a 35% increase over the previous year.

What makes platforms like ClickMeeting, and webinars as a whole, so powerful is not only the popularity and intimacy touted in live video, but also the reuse value obtained from recorded versions as each has the potential to acquire emails, drive traffic, conversions, sales, and more.

Using such solutions allows users to create highly-personalized experiences with polls and surveys, branding elements, waiting room agendas, and other features that audiences adore.

Before we expose how to effectively leverage social media marketing for your next webinar, let’s first discuss the core elements that keep attendees engaged.

Webinar best practices

In the previously mentioned ClickMeeting report, it was noted that roughly 49% of a webinar’s registrants will actually attend. The average number of attendees per webinar was about 26 over the course of 2016, meaning that a brand needs to know when to promote their upcoming lesson in order to drive the highest number of attendees possible.

ClickMeeting’s research reveals that the best time to promote and broadcast webinars is on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays as these are the days when most folks are not busy planning their week ahead or are engrossed in weekend activities. Additionally, broadcasting the webinar between 10 am and 2pm is most advantageous as it caters to east and west coast prospects.

No matter what time you hold the broadcast, you need to keep your audience’s attention. This means that the webinar cannot be too long and needs to be structured correctly.

Most viewers will tune out at the beginning of a webinar if it doesn’t captivate them, meaning that the most important info should be towards the beginning. Additionally, keep the webinar to an hour or less so as to not test people’s perseverance.

It is also wise to announce there will be a Q&A session at the end to try and get folks to stick around for the entire presentation.

And since mobile is one of the driving forces behind the demand for online video, your webinar solution needs to be optimized for mobile; an average of 25% of webinar attendees tune in from a mobile device. This also means that you should optimize your materials for mobile as well by using large images and avoiding small text.

With this knowledge under your belt, it’s time to start using social media’s reach to drive a sizable crowd.

The social spotlight

Before you actually begin promoting your webinar, it is best to start creating some hype around its topic. Start by posting questions to your audience and engaging in the comments section as well as publishing and sharing blog posts that show your intimate understanding of the problem. These can also be used as a promotional vehicle by including a webinar signup CTA at the end.

After generating a bit of buzz, start creating and publishing social posts across all of your existing accounts that let your followers know about the event. Be sure to include a shortened URL by using Bit.ly. This will make it easier for Twitter followers to share the post as well as provide analytics around the clicks driven from each social network so that you can find out which are most prosperous. You will need to create a unique URL to be shared on each platform for this to work.

To help increase the discoverability of your posts, craft and include a unique and relevant hashtag on your Twitter and Instagram posts; hashtags are not as beneficial on Facebook.

Additionally, your posts need to include a compelling and applicable image. It is important to note, however, that image size optimization varies from platform to platform. Here are the dimensions you will want to apply to avoid image distortion:

  • Facebook: 1,200 x 628 pixels
  • Instagram: 1,080 x 1,080 pixels
  • Twitter: 1,024 x 512 pixels
  • LinkedIn: 700 x 400 pixels

To help increase the visibility and number of signups your webinar generates, paid social ads are a powerful and effective solution. Using this method, you can reach people who would be most interested by targeting them based on age, location, interests, and various other options.

Moreover, Facebook provides custom and lookalike audiences so that you can direct your efforts towards people who recently visited your website, are on your email list or are similar to people who are already interested in your brand.

When creating social media ads, you will want to include all of the aforementioned elements. It is also necessary to structure your promotion in a way that will be most beneficial for driving registrations.

Use the ad’s intro text (above the image) to briefly address the webinar’s topic, the benefits attendees will receive, guest speakers that will be involved (if applicable), and what folks need to do to sign up.

Using the allotted space below the image, be sure to highlight the main benefits using lines like “FREE webinar training on XXX,” “Learn how to XXX with this FREE webinar,” or something similar.

Webinars can be monstrously effective at building email lists, driving conversions and sales, along with other digitally-focused goals when they are structured and promoted correctly. Using these guidelines, you should be able to craft a compelling webinar that drives tons of signups and helps you reach your designated KPIs.

Source: Social Media

How businesses can use email marketing to turn casual fans into paying buyers

Target audience: Businesses, brands, digital marketers, advertising agencies, SEO specialists, entrepreneurs, Web publishers, email specialists

Post by Megan Totka
ChamberofCommerce.com

MeganTotkaBuilding a solid following on a social media platform promotes brand awareness — but how can businesses convert those casual fans into paying buyers? The most effective way is through email marketing. It’s such a powerful marketing tool that marketers earn on average $38 for every $1 spent on email marketing, making conversion of social media followers to email list participants so important to a company’s bottom line.

Social media and email marketing are different animals, of course. Liking a Facebook page does not always equal an opt-in for email notifications — but with some smart integration and timing, you can bask in the benefits of both.

Take a look at some ways to encourage your social followers to support you through email, too.

Social syncing

Cultivating an engaged social media following certainly increases brand awareness — but we know that email marketing is a much stronger asset when it comes to people actually clicking and buying in the moment. So how do you get those followers to also opt in to your email marketing list?

Well, you can start by asking. Make sure you are consistently posting your opt-in details. You can also create a call-to-action on social platforms like Facebook that prompt your followers to opt-in to email marketing.

Another way to grab the attention of social followers and prompt them to opt in to your email list is through offering premium content on your social channels. When they click your link for a free premium ebook, for example, they will also be asked to opt in. You can also host contests or giveaways that require an email signup to enter. There are a lot of ways to prompt your social fans to sign up for your email list too — just make sure it’s part of your schedule social strategy.

The email sales funnel

Once your social fans are also email subscribers, your opportunity to sell rises. Simply sending out a basic newsletter every week, however, won’t up your revenue. You need to make sure the email marketing platform you use offers the support you need to actually land sales.

Here are some of the most important features in email marketing you should seek:

Personalization

When emails are personalized, they have 2.5 times higher click-through rates and generate 6 times more sales than non-customized versions of the same emails. You want people to know that you care about their customer journey. With personalization you can create profiles of your customers using existing data and send emails based on behavior, age, gender, location and more.

For example, an online retail store sends out monthly offers to their email list for 10 percent off certain products. Before personalization, this retailer would have sent a blanket email offer with an image of a women wearing the product to everyone regardless of age or gender. Using personalization, the same retailer now sends different emails to segments of their list dynamically based on their age and gender dramatically increasing sales.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

How they stack up

Campaign Monitor: With a one-time setup, relevant and personalized customer journeys keep audiences engaged over time. Campaign Monitor uses data from more than 260 integrations with business systems you already use to build hyper-personalized emails. You can use their drag and drop interface to easily create custom customer journeys to continually move people through your sales funnel no matter how they engage with your emails. Campaign Monitor also creates customer profiles for everyone in your list with information gathered from applications you’ve connected like Salesforce and Shopify. This allows for easy segmentation and highly effective personalized email campaigns.

MailChimp: The “merge fields” concept of dynamic email marketing was popularized by MailChimp. MailChimp offers basic personalization based on data you provide and it integrates with other apps, like Facebook. Marketers can offer suggested items to individual customers in email and remind customers about abandoned carts (both are paid upgrades). MailChimp doesn’t offer easy-to-use customer journey interfaces and what is offered is pretty basic.

GetResponse: This email marketing platform does offer automation workflows where users can create personalized email campaigns based on data. The customer journey workflow interface is a bit clunky and somewhat difficult to use. Another downside is GetResponse integrates with only 100 other business systems, so you need to make sure they integrate with systems you currently use before considering it.

Dynamic content

Email marketing should never take a one-size-fits-all approach. You need different messaging for different customers with different needs. Email marketing platforms should let you accomplish that easily, without much adjustment and with the same branding and design.

How they stack up

Campaign Monitor: You can slice and dice your audience parameters easily by demographics (male/female, age, etc.) and expose different messages to unique audiences within the same email campaign. Campaign Monitor’s drag and drop email template builder makes creating different emails for each segment and customer persona easy.

MailChimp: MailChimp does allow for list segmentation and you can send differenent emails to each segment. The downside is that most of this is done manually. The platform doesn’t create customer profiles automatically with the data entered or gathered from integrations. This is a major downside of MailChimp for marketers looking to easily create dynamic campaigns that wow customers.

GetResponse: The platform offers good data segmentation capabilities and the ability to dynamically send personalized emails based on customer profiles.

Customer service

While the best email marketing is automated, you really do need a human side to help you build the best campaigns. This includes technical support but also the ability to pick up the phone (or send an email) and receive a timely and helpful response.

How they stack up

Campaign Monitor: Campaign Monitor makes good on its claim to employ a “team of humans committed to growth.” This company is seems dedicated to great customer support. They offer 24/7 customer support as well as a dedicated customer success team to help customers generate the highest ROI using industry best practices.

MailChimp: The marketing platform relies on online technology to assist customers – mainly through live chat and technical support question/answer forums.

GetResponse: The platform offers live chat, email and phone support. If you want more one on one customer success coaching you have to purchase their enterprise services.

Combining social and email marketing efforts can really make a positive impact on your bottom line. Start with a smart social-to-email strategy, and follow up with the right email marketing platform.

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources and business news. Megan has several years of experience on the topics of small business marketing, copywriting, SEO, online conversions and social media. Megan spends much of her time establishing new relationships for ChamberofCommerce.com, publishing weekly newsletters educating small business on the importance of web presence, and contributing to a number of publications on the web. Megan can be reached at megan@chamberofcommerce.com.

Source: Social Media

content
Chris Dlugosz / Creative Commons BY

Attract customers by building a relationship with your audience

Target audience: Businesses, brands, digital marketers, advertising agencies, SEO specialists, entrepreneurs, Web publishers, video producers, freelance journalists.

Post by Megan Totka
ChamberofCommerce.com

MeganTotkaAfew years ago, the catchphrase “content is king” sprouted up, sending marketers into a content creation frenzy. Now, there’s more than enough content available online to take us through the next eon! So marketers have to find other ways to interact with that content.

The result? Content curation. It’s the perfect counterpart to creating content: by sharing other useful articles, videos, and blog posts with your audience, you build a relationship with them that isn’t 100% all about your brand. And that, in turn, helps you build trust and connections with your audience.

Find the balance

1So we have content creation (writing blog articles, creating videos, etc.) and we have content curation (sharing others’ articles, videos, etc.). How do you find the balance between the two?

There’s no precise ratio of created to curated content. For many, it’s simply easier to curate content, since all you have to do is scour your social stream or find great content in your own research and share it. Also, sharing other people’s content shows you’re not all about self-promotion, and care about your followers’ interests.

Know what to curate

2Just as you want to have a variety of types of content on your own blog or social media stream, you also want to vary what you share.

  • Blog content: Other individuals and brands are writing phenomenal content on your industry or areas of interest, and your social media followers want access to the best. Spend time each week reading articles and posts, and then share what resonates.
  • Videos: Some people engage better with video than text, so appeal to them by sharing videos. (Bonus tip: Facebook is a great place to share videos, since 8 billion videos are being viewed there a day!)
  • Infographics: Get the best of both worlds with infographics, which offer a visual interpretation of data.
  • Poignant social updates: Sometimes people just share good information on social media without linking elsewhere. Conferences are great fodder for material to share with your audience. Just follow the hashtag people are using for the event and curate the best tidbits.

Know where to curate

3You can also diversify where you curate and share content:

  • Your blog: Try a weekly roundup of the best content on a given topic relevant to your audience.
  • Your social stream: Share what others on social media are sharing to help it get a wider reach. When sharing content directly from a website, be sure to include author’s Twitter or other social media handle so they know you’re sharing it.
  • Content curation tools: There are websites like Scoop.it where you can share the content you love with your social audience.
  • Your video channels: Videos, too, can be curated. If you use YouTube, create a channel for a particular topic and include both your videos and others’. Remember: effective storytelling, including videos, can help you reach even more people. And curating others’ videos is easy; you don’t even have to create your own!
  • Your email newsletter: If you send a monthly newsletter, the content in it doesn’t all have to be sourced from your blog. Add links from around the Web to enhance what you share with subscribers.

Both content creation and content curation help you build a relationship with your audience. Find the balance between the two, and you’ll have the winning formula to attracting more customers!

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources and business news. Megan has several years of experience on the topics of small business marketing, copywriting, SEO, online conversions and social media. Megan spends much of her time establishing new relationships for ChamberofCommerce.com, publishing weekly newsletters educating small business on the importance of web presence, and contributing to a number of publications on the web. Megan can be reached at megan@chamberofcommerce.com.

 

Source: Social Media