Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ideas for Email Marketing Content





Since launching our email marketing campaigns last month, I've been thinking about what kinds of content I want to include in our upcoming email newsletters. It's often more efficient and useful to repurpose content you already have, or content that you can create quickly. Here are some ideas for email marketing content for inclusion in your newsletters.

  • Blog posts - This is one of the easiest ways to include quality content in your newsletters. Include snippets of your blog posts in your newsletters to drive traffic and readers to your blog, by teasing them with a great opening and providing a "read more" link.
  • Social media posts - Did you have a great Facebook post or tweet last week that you know would be beneficial to your newsletter subscribers to check out? Add it into your next newsletter. Maybe you could even have a section in your newsletter where you post the most viral social media posts of the week.
  • Special offers - Are you offering a great discount on a special product during the month of February? Do you know you'll be running a special for March? Include your special offers in your newsletters to ensure your audience knows about and will take advantage of your deals.
  • Analytics - Last month, did you see some impressive analytics? Are you excited about the jump in sales for a certain product? Share those metrics and analytics with your newsletter subscribers and share why you think you saw those specific numbers rose (or fall in some cases).
  • Product updates - If you're enhancing your iPhone app or adding a new section to your store or website, be sure to include it in your newsletter. Hopefully, your subscribers will check out the new features and forward these updates along to family and friends.
  • Announcements - Are you launching a new product line? A new business initiative? An iPhone app? Include it in your newsletters, so your loyal subscribers are first to know and to take advantage!
  • Upcoming events - Are you hosting an event, or attending an event your subscribers would be interested in? Make sure to tell them about it. Provide links to the event listings online, so they have all the details they'll need.
If you enhance your newsletters with some of those tips above, you'll likely gain more subscribers and customers. People are interested in your business and all the things that come with it, if they're signing up for your newsletter, so tell them all the exciting things you have going on and to offer!

Do you have any more tips for newsletter content? Add them in the comments below!


*Offer ends 2/14/13

Friday, January 25, 2013

Tips for Recruiting and Retaining Quality Guest Bloggers



Guest bloggers can be quite helpful in providing quality, original content to your readers. Readers are receptive to a new voice and perspective, so guest blogging is a successful way to drive traffic and gain readership. Often times when you have a guest blogger, they'll share the blog post with their followers or readers, which allows you to reach a new, engaged audience through a third party endorsement. If you're thinking about asking other people to contribute to your blog, here are some tips for recruiting and retaining quality guest bloggers.


1. Create your own strong, relevant content - Guest bloggers want to be associated with unique, strong material, so if your blog consistently offers both, it'll be much easier to attract and retain a quality guest blogger. Additionally, a guest blogger will want to contribute to a blog in line with his or her expertise, so if you approach a blogger about a guest post, make sure to show him or her a unique and original post in line with the work he or she has done in the past. If you want to retain a quality guest blogger, continuously post solid content to drive traffic and engagement, so the guest blogger knows writing a post for your blog isn't a waste of his or her time.


2. Forge strategic relationships with thought leaders on- and offline - Creating and nurturing strategic professional relationships is key to recruiting and retaining quality guest bloggers. It's important to form these relationships online and offline. Through social media, you should engage in conversations with thought leaders in your industry, show them the content you're creating online and share their content when it's relevant to your audience. Develop a social relationship that allows thought leaders to recognize you and your content, and respect your industry expertise. Offline, you can develop professional relationships at industry events, trade shows and networking meet-ups. Follow up with an email or tweet after meeting someone, so that you're on their radar and can continue to nurture the professional relationship. Once you've developed these solid relationships, you'll have no problem reaching out for a guest blog post!

3. Provide potential topics or interview questions - Once you've secured a quality blogger, share potential topics with or offer to interview him or her to make the content creation process more seamless. Sometimes guest bloggers can become overwhelmed, so taking the topic or key talking points off their plates makes guest blogging much more worth their and your whiles. Not only is this easier for the guest blogger and you, but also having control over the topics or questions will keep the blog post more in line with your marketing strategy and deliver to your target audience more content they want. 

4. Remember to follow up after the blog post goes live - Always thank your guest bloggers for contributing to your blog, share with them the posts, ask them to share the posts with their followers, and provide the guest bloggers any positive analytics you may see. If you follow up with all of these things, you'll be more apt to retain your quality guest bloggers.


Have any more tips to add? Share them with us in the comments below!



 
*Offer valid through 2/14/13




Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Marketing Lessons from Super Bowl Ads



If you live in New England like us, the Super Bowl might be a touchy subject this week. We're optimists here on the Insights team though, so let's look for the good in the Super Bowl, by reviewing some of the key marketing lessons from Super Bowl ads that we can use in our every day marketing. 

1. Stand out, by being unique, relatable and fun- For some people, Super Bowl ads are the only ads they want to actually see this year. For still others, the ads are the only reason people watch the Super Bowl. For marketers, what Super Bowl (unless the Pats are in it, right?)? We're all about the brands taking part in the Brand Bowl (#brandbowl), so let's talk about why. The reason that people want to see Super Bowl ads over others throughout the year is because brands make their ads stand out during the big game, by delivering unique, original content that is relatable to the audience. Often times, brands will rely on timely and humorous content to connect with an audience. The stakes are high (and so is the price), so brands really bring the heat in their Super Bowl ads to attract more attention and capitalize on the huge audience watching the game. We smaller scale marketers can adopt this simple idea throughout the year in all of our marketing efforts from blogging and social media to online and print ads. Make sure you always stand out from your competition, by knowing to what your audience will connect and relate best. Have some fun with your marketing because it will help humanize your brand and customers will remember your brand. Take cues from the brands advertising during the Super Bowl and you'll be on your way to accomplishing your goals.

2. Remember your goals - Only standing out, by delivering original content won't help you to generate new leads or customers unless you remember the goals you want to deliver on and act on those. Make sure all of your marketing is in line with the goals you've set. You want to make sure you deliver on your goals, by using the right outlets for sending your message, so decide where and why you want to advertise through a specific outlet. You also want to make sure that you're delivering your message in an effective way. You want people to make easily the connections between your product and the context it appears in. Make sure there is a clear connection between both, so that you make the most out of your advertising and accomplish your goals.

3. Measure results - Always measure your results, so you can continuously improve your marketing. A flashy ad, a unique piece of content or a brand new mobile marketing strategy won't mean anything unless you deliver on your goals. Measure your results for all aspects of your marketing plan, so you can improve on your efforts and attract new customers in the following weeks, months, or next Super Bowl!


Do you have any Super Bowl ad observations to share? Add them in the comments!



*Offer valid through 1/31/13

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Are you Smartphone Ready?

 Blog post written by: Kristin Chou


172 million people in the United States alone own mobile devices. Of those devices, 48% are Smartphones. It is clear that the importance of mobile consumer behavior simply cannot be ignored. Having the capabilities to build strong relationships with potential customers via mobile devices will be highly advantageous in this coming age.    

Have you designed a new layout for how content would appear on both tablets and Smartphones yet?

Why do it?
         1.    Low cost
         2.    Easy to implement
         3.    Profitable
         4.    Enormous potential audience

Here are some quick tips to get started:

1.    Smartphone Applications
          -    Know your target audience
          -    Have a strong objective
          -    Know your competition
          -    Use a simple and clean design
          -    Include ways to monetize/market brand?
          -    Include promotions/advertisements?
          -    Allow for and consider feedback

2.    QR Codes
          -    Strong purpose (What does it add to the user’s experience?)
          -    Do not link to a desktop site (mobile optimized)
          -    Strategic placement
          -    Size (Minimum size = one inch square)
          -    Use URL shortener
          -    Test product

3.    Mobile Friendly Website 
         -    Display key information
         -    Less than 3 second page load
         -    Keep content LIGHT (Avoid flash animation)
         -    Consistent branding across traditional and mobile sites
         -    Avoid popups
         -    Include sufficient white space
         -    Usability (Full text display? Links and buttons large enough? Phone number and location data
               immediately visible?)
         -    Access to full site
         -    Solicit feedback
         -    Test site

4.    In-App Ads
        -    Focus on ‘user experience’ (flows naturally)
        -    Easy Response (Clear call-to-action; minimal effort for user – Less is more)
        -    Mobile Sales Strategy (Look for points of conversion, loyalty/repeat buying, and social influence)

5.    WordPress sites
       -    Use WP touch (basic way for your blog to become mobile-optimized)

6.    Insights
       -    Insights helps drive traffic to your own personal blog. Not only does it allow you to have a mobile optimized page with all of your important business information that someone on the go can easily access, but also it optimizes your blog for easy reading across mobile devices.


Capture the world’s attention by making your content even more accessible.






*Offer expires 1/20/13

Friday, January 11, 2013

How to Demonstrate your Expertise through your Blog Posts




A lot of us use our blogs to show our thought leadership and to beat out competitors, by engaging customers through blog posts that demonstrate our expertise in a particular industry. If you're just getting started with a new blogging strategy, here are a few ways on how to demonstrate your expertise through your blog posts:

  • Show your audience you know your particular industry best - Write about timely and relevant topics and events within your industry, provide your analysis, and show your customers and potential customers how they can use the information to fix a problem or a need. Take these steps in writing your blog posts and you'll be showing your readers that you are the leader in your field.
  • Provide actionable content - In your blog posts, offer valuable and actionable content that readers can use to accomplish a specific need to demonstrate your expertise and gain customers' trust. Provide how-to guides, actionable steps to accomplish a task, and valuable content, so your customers and potential customers will continuously look to you as the leader and expert in a field. Through the publishing of actionable content on a regular basis, customers will know they can trust you to provide them with fixes for their needs.
  •  Share case studies - Without being too self-promotional, share your successful case studies with your readers. Put the focus on your clients and the success they saw, and you'll be able to diminish the self-promotion. Case studies are a great way to share your experience, expertise and services with readers. They offer a way to prove that what you're doing and saying is the right way to accomplish a need, and that you're the expert in a particular industry. So start sharing those case studies!

Do you have any tips to add? Share them with us in the comments below!




*Offer valid through 1/15/13

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tips for Launching a Successful Email Marketing Campaign





Today, the Insights team launched a new marketing initiative. As part of our 2013 marketing strategy, we decided to launch two email marketing campaigns. Some of you may have ended up here on our blog from those very emails, so welcome! Here are some tips for launching a successful email marketing campaign.

1. Know your audience - We know we write about this a lot, but we can't stress it enough. You have to know your audience in order to see success with your marketing campaigns. It's no different with email marketing. We launched two email campaigns today - one designed to retain clients and one designed to reach new customers. Both of our emails were very different from content and design, to call to action and the click-thru URLs. Our email designed to retain clients linked directly to this blog. We wanted that audience to know that we're offering content they can use to get more out of their Insights partnerships, by bettering their blogs and social media marketing with our tips and tricks. The email we sent out designed to gain new customers had a strong value proposition from the subject line, "Feature your Blog on Boston.com to Reach New Customers," to the content and design. That email clicked through to boston.com/insights where our informational video lives. We recognized that these two audiences and what we want from these two audiences are very different and we tailored each of the two campaigns to the two distinct groups.

2. Develop compelling content for your emails - Make sure your content and calls to action within your emails are compelling and recognizable to your audience. You want your target audience to know what you want them to do. For example, for the email we sent to our potential client base, we used language that encouraged business bloggers to click through our email with a strong call to action that tells that audience that they can gain new customers through the blog they spend so much time demonstrating their expertise, by using this new offering. We know our headlines, and short and to the point paragraph were successful because within minutes of sending out the email we had gained leads through the contact form on the video. Additionally, remember to use enticing subject lines to increase your open rates. Of course, a subject line targeted to your audience with a strong call to action and value proposition is more likely to be opened.

3. Remember that design is important for your emails - In addition to strong content, a nice, clean, familiar design is inviting to readers. Since some of our readers are small business owners and don't necessarily have access to a full service creative services team, here are a couple of things to remember when designing an email template:
  • Keep your template consistent - use the same color scheme for your background and font, so people recognize your emails each week, or month
  • Include your logo - this also helps with identifying and recognizing email marketing campaigns and adds a sense of familiarity for your audience
  • Use compelling images that speak to your brand identity

Do you have any other email marketing tips to add? Let us know in the comments below!





*Offer ends 1/15/13

Friday, January 4, 2013

How to Stay on Track with your 2013 Blogging Goals



As you're writing your 2013 blogging goals, make sure you have a plan of action in place to stay on track to tackle those goals. Here are a couple tips we're using to make sure we tackle the goals we have for 2013.

1. Create a blog calendar - We're striving to blog twice per week this year. Of course sometimes we will have busier weeks or vacations, and others we'll have more free time to write, but for the most part we will be writing two blog posts per week. We've set up a calendar for our blog that indicates which days we want to blog each week. On this calendar we also indicate whether they're something relevant we want to blog about during a certain time period (for example, I'd like to blog about marketing during the time leading up to the Super Bowl at the beginning of February). Blog calendars truly help to keep businesses on track to deliver blog posts on time, so we suggest that our readers set one up, adjust as needed and stick to it, so you can deliver on your blogging goals throughout the year. 

2. Brainstrom blog post titles in advance - We've found that brainstorming titles of blog posts in advance of writing helps to give our blog posts direction and helps us to write more efficiently during our blogging time. If you think of something in advance, make sure to write it down on your calendar or somewhere you'll remember to check. With the Super Bowl example, it came to me (Cristina) over the weekend, so I added it into a note I created on my iPhone. Now I know one of the blog posts and the general points I want to make in it during the week of January 21st. It's important to think in advance about possible blog post titles and topics because blogging is tough to do when you sit down at your desk without any ideas in your head. It also helps to keep your blog more relevant to your target audience when you have solid ideas to write about.


Let us know how you plan to stay on track to accomplish your goals this year!

*Offer expires 1/15/12

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Our 2013 Blogging Resolutions


...in 2013!



Happy New Year! The Insights team is excited about the beginning of a new year and our 2013 blogging resolutions. Here's what we're striving to accomplish when it comes to blogging this year.

1. Most importantly, we want to continue to provide value to our readers - In 2013, we want to continue to provide real value to our readers. We will strive to be the experts on blogging, social media and marketing, and continue to blog regularly about all three areas. Additionally, we want to hear what you the readers want to learn more about, so be sure to reach out with questions and/or suggestions. We can always be reached at insights@boston.com.

2. We resolve to promote our blog posts  - This year, the Insights team will strive not only to promote our blog posts across the Insights social media accounts, but also from our personal accounts to reach a larger, interested audience. Additionally, next week, we'll be launching a new email marketing campaign that will help us promote our blog posts to a new target audience. Throughout the year, we'll be thinking of new creative ways to promote our blog posts to gain a greater readership and increase engagement.

3. Lastly, we will strive to generate more engagement through our blog posts - Through the creation of original and valuable content as well as photos and videos, we will generate more engagement with our readers. We want readers to comment on our posts, share their opinions and tell us what else they want to learn about. We will strive to generate questions from readers and provide answers to help businesses better their blogs and marketing efforts.


Here's to a productive and ever-improving blog in 2013!





*Offer expires 1/15/13