Helping ONLINE & OFFLINE Businesses Get MORE Customers

- December 2, 2016 - Edition #780 Circulation 4300+ Weekly - Ron Richardson - Editor -

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In this issue:

1. Notes from Ron (Editor): Generate Consistent Leads and Sales for Any Business...using LinkedIn

2. Internet News You Need: Holiday Shopping Season 2016: Spend Forecast and Gift Trends

3. Mobile Marketing:

4. Feature Article: Five Steps to Integrating Your Blog, Social Media, and Email Marketing

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1. Notes from Ron

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2. Internet Marketing News You Need

Cyber Monday breaks record for biggest online sales day in history
With more and more consumers opting to avoid long lines and shop online instead this holiday shopping season, it probably won’t come as a surprise that 2016’s Cyber Monday has earned the distinction of being the biggest online sales day in US history…Read the rest

Holiday Shopping Season 2016: Spend Forecast and Gift Trends
Retail sales are expected to increase year over year this holiday season, according to recent research from the National Retail Federation (NRF)…
Read the rest

Five Small Business Marketing and Retention Trends and ideas for 2017
Traffic, acquisition, and sales have always been critical priorities for marketers. Yet customer retention also plays a key role—but is too often neglected…
Read the rest

3. Mobile Marketing

Delight (Rather Than Irritate) Your Mobile Customers Using These 5 Tips
Jonathan Long

There is a very good chance you are reading this on a mobile device right now -- more than 56 percent of all traffic to top website is now mobile, 
according to Marketing Land. Brands that understand online marketing make sure they provide a pleasant user experience across all devices -- desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile.

With such a large percentage of traffic visiting your website on their phones, you need to make sure you delight your visitors, rather than anger them, with your mobile experience. It’s important that you develop a mobile-first thought process when it comes to user experience -- it can no longer be a second thought. Here are five simple tips that will give your website visitors what they want -- a pleasant mobile experience. 

1. Keep your color selection simple.

The colors you use on your website has a direct impact on your mobile conversion rates, as some colors encourage visitors to take action. Aside from that, a simple color selection makes for a much cleaner mobile user experience. I’m a huge fan of very minimalistic designs that create a simple mobile experience. 

The colors you use on your call-to-action buttons can also help increase conversions. For example, red and green tend to be the best performing CTA button colors. When we were designing the website for our new teeth whitening brand, we wanted to keep the color scheme very simple -- we went with blue, but made sure to incorporate red for the call-to-action buttons. The end result was a clean design that’s easy on the eyes, while also pulling in high conversion rates.

2. Make customer service mobile-focused.

Consumers don’t want to call you or visit your location if they have a question. They want immediate answers to their questions and they want those answers while on your website. In addition to creating a FAQ page that answers the most common questions, it’s a good idea to have a few customer support options available.

A simple contact form as well as a live chat option is a convenient way for you to welcome questions from your customers. Live chat can be initiated with a single finger-tap and a contact form can be submitted within seconds -- be sure to limit the form fields required to submit. If you are reading this on your mobile device right now, click here to see an example -- you will see the live chat option in the bottom right of your screen and the contact form is easily accessible via the main menu.

3. Go easy on the images and crazy fonts.

Speed is key -- mobile visitors don’t have time to wait around for a slow-loading website to display images or text. Avoid using unnecessary images and stick to fonts that are very simple. Fancy fonts that incorporate things like shadows and other effects will just slow down your load time. Also, users love simplicity. Look at some of the more popular websites and you will see that flat designs with regular plain text are popular -- because they convert.

4. Design for finger tips and thumbs.

Remember when we used a keyboard and mouse to navigate websites? Not any longer, as touch -- finger tips and thumbs -- is how most navigate and interact with websites these days. You can’t count on the accuracy of a cursor any longer. You need to create your forms and position your buttons in a way that makes them easily accessible by fingers of all shapes and sizes.

If your visitors need to manipulate their screen in order to interact with your website, you will lose a large percentage due to frustration. Spend the time to properly test every function with real users. 

5. Keep your navigation menu simple.

Before mobile, websites could display a massive menu bar at the top of the page, complete with sub-menus. This won’t fly on mobile, so use an icon on the top left or right of the mobile screen, and keep your selections to a minimum.

You want to keep things accessible, so if a visitor has to tap through sub-menus to find what they are looking for there is a good chance they will leave before their second tap. Screen space on mobile devices is premium real estate -- keep it minimal.

About the Author
Jonathan Long is the founder of Market Domination Media®, an online marketing consulting firm, and co-founder of consumer product Sexy Smile Kit™.  
Read more

4. Feature

Five Steps to Integrating Your Blog, Social Media, and Email Marketing
By: Joe Griffin

95% of marketers say they know how vital multi-channel marketing is for targeting potential customers, only 14% say they run coordinated marketing campaigns across all channels, according to That disconnect wastes marketers' two most valuable resources: time and money.

How do you unify efforts with different team members, initiatives, and strategies for your blog, email, and social media marketing? You need to come up with a content marketing strategy that accounts for each channel.

The following five steps will lead to the creation of a cohesive cross-functional marketing plan.

Step 1: Define your goals

Successful content marketers document their content marketing strategy; yet, only 32% of B2B marketers do so, according to the 2016 Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trendsreport from MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute.

First, define your goals at the top level and then down to individual channels as part of your overall content marketing strategy. Among those high-level goals might be the following:

·         To generate leads

·         To build brand awareness

·         To increase engagement

·         To boost followers

Both defining and documenting goals are crucial for enterprise organizations, where distributing projects among several teams often ends with the creation of silos. A documented bird's-eye view keeps everyone's eye on the bigger picture.

When defining the goals for your blog content, email marketing, and social media marketing, take into consideration how each channel will support, promote and work with the others. Define how the team will promote your social campaigns via email, for example, and how you'll use your social channels to distribute a new blog post.

Step 2: Set brand and editorial guidelines

Establish the guidelines and processes that will enable your team to produce consistent content. All your messaging should look and sound as if it's from the same brand—because it is—regardless of which channel it's pushed through or which marketing specialist wrote it.

Though tone, mood, and topic may somewhat vary for each channel (for example, social media might be more lighthearted than other marketing channels, and email might be more sales-oriented than your blog), your brand voice should stay consistent. After all, it's been carefully crafted to appeal to your customers and evoke certain feelings.

Develop guidelines for brand content and establish editorial standards. Guidelines should dictate things like tone, style, and format, so anyone at your organization can create on-brand content. Include do's and don'ts and examples of on-brand writing.

Brand and editorial guidelines help your brand voice to become recognizable to your audience and ensure consistency across campaigns and channels.

Step 3: Tailor distribution for individual channels

The days of individual start-and-stop campaigns are long gone. An integrated, holistic approach requires that your campaigns work in harmony.

Let's say you create an e-book. Document how each channel will distribute and promote that asset:

·         Blog. Carve up your e-book and post each chapter as a blog post. Include a CTA that asks readers to perform the desired action: You could ask readers to sign up for an email list or to download the full e-book, for example.

·         Social. Promote those chapters/blog posts on your social pages. You likely have a presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube, which are the top four social media platforms used by marketers, according to the 2016 Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report. Create campaigns tailored to those channels, as well as any other social networks your brand deems beneficial. If, for example, your goal is to build community on Facebook, plan a Facebook contest around the e-book.

·         Email. Again using content from various chapters, send out teasers for your e-book via a drip campaign to nurture potential customers through your sales cycle. Make sure you're segmenting your list, because not every potential or existing customer will want every email you send, depending on what their needs are at the time. Include a CTA to the desired action—for example, "get a demo" or "hear from a salesperson."

Plot all your campaigns and marketing channels on the same calendar, and look for ways they can support each other. Having everything in one place makes it easier to ensure timelines sync up and every team is providing consistent information.

Step 4: Have the team(s) sync regularly

When you've integrated the plans for all your marketing channels, you also need to make sure your team is just as unified. Doing so is vital if you want to avoid the silo effect.

Marketing messages are fragmented across channels and therefore out of context when they reach the consumer, a study commissioned by Responsys and conducted by Forrester found. To overcome this problem, marketers should embrace "marketing orchestration," defined by the report as "an approach to marketing that focuses not on delivering standalone campaigns but instead on optimizing a set of related cross-channel interactions, that when added together make up an individualized customer experience."

Having your teams sync regularly creates opportunities to update each other, share insights, and bounce ideas off one another. Stakeholders get a full view of the campaigns and goals they're contributing to, and how they can support each other and not duplicate efforts.

Involve everyone in initial content planning and creation as well, as each specialist can bring insight regarding the channels they know best. Moreover, different channels might have standalone projects in the works that need to be factored into campaign planning.

Step 5: Measure

The final step: Have your marketing team look at specific metrics and KPIs, such as...

·         Unique visitors

·         Newsletter subscribers

·         Conversation rate

·         Bounce rate

·         Time spent on page

·         Leads

·         Customers

·         Average order value

To keep each channel focused on the same business results, each specialized goal or key metric should work toward or support overall initiatives.

To make it easier to see how different channels' results contribute to overall marketing goals, take advantage of marketing tools and data that bring everything together. Boost your Google Analytics configuration, for example, to customize how Google Analytics classifies your traffic, such as organic search, social, email, etc. Attributing results to specific channels, once again, helps with the overall strategy. Look at both long-term and short-term progress toward your goals on both a high level and channel-specific basis, and work with your team to adjust the tactics as needed.

* * *

These steps guarantee your teams will better understand each marketing channel and how they can work together to contribute to the overall content marketing strategy.

About the Author
Joe Griffin is the CEO and a co-founder of ClearVoice, a content marketing technology company for high-quality blogs and other content destinations. Twitter: @joegriffin - LinkedIn: Joe Griffin

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