Pleasantly surprised considering folks are streaming movies over the WIFI that there’s plenty of bandwidth allowing me to work on web based WordPress sites efficiently on Southwest Flight to Houston.
This morning an East Bay Realtor wrote: My company “offers what you have below to it’s agents free”.
The difference between MAC’s product offerings and what you get from the company is far different. With the company’s tools:
- Realtor branding is secondary. Emphasis is on the company.
- You don’t have the opportunity to truly BUILD YOUR BRAND beyond your picture and the company brand.
- You don’t leverage social media with a single point of control.
- Featured listings are all of the company’s listings not your listings.
- Your listings are not at the top of searches if they are part of search results.
- You don’t have exclusive control of your e-mail and lead capture database. They do.
- If you should decide to change companies, they have access to all of the leads your marketing and lead capture has produced not to mention starting over from an SEO perspective as people who search for you will get the old company information that is seasoned.
- You don’t control the display of properties you want to focus on and promote that are not your listings.
- You don’t control all of your content and the way it is displayed.
What are top producers doing? Click to see what one of Sacramento’s top 10 producers and top 75 in the US does with her internet presence.
Holiday Emails – A Marketing Must
Email still leads online conversions and is a critical holiday e-commerce tool. Before customers start focusing on their shopping lists, businesses need to focus on their customer lists and how to leverage these established connections. First, that means respecting that customers are on the fly more than ever during the holidays and reaching them effectively means making it easy, shaping email messages that are instantly recognizable, get to the point and provide a clear call to action.
Mobile: Reach the Moving Target
The mobile revolution has roared into the mainstream and shows no signs of stopping. Almost half of those email messages are now opened on mobile devices, so a mobile-friendly design is more important than ever. Messages should be an easy read, whether on a desktop, mobile phone or tablet. Particularly during the holidays, customers are a moving target: reach them wherever they are. Mobile-friendly templates offer a way to keep thoughts short and succinct.
Social: Reach, Read and Research
Businesses also need to sharpen their social presence during the holidays and keep the conversation going, whether it’s posting a special deal, rewarding loyal customers, answering questions or addressing complaints. Consumers turn to resources they trust to inform their gift-buying holiday shopping; it’s a great time to reach them with the information they want. Those same consumers are doing their homework, too, though, so businesses need to keep up not just with online review and listing sites, but with social networks like Facebook to acknowledge and respond to comments.
Celebrate Holidays Locally
The holidays are a great time for businesses to use email, social and other online resources to reach out to local communities and build lasting, profitable relationships while strengthening local economies. Small Business Saturday is a national initiative to help local merchants compete during the critical holiday shopping season and aims to drive shoppers to local small merchants the Saturday following Thanksgiving. More than 100 million Americans shopped small on Small Business Saturday last year, while more than 230 organizations endorsed the initiative. See Facebook.com/shopsmall
Holiday Special Offers & Coupons
Whether it’s a discount, freebie, incentive, free shipping, or special packaging, holiday deals and special offers are business traditions during the holidays, for good reason. Businesses need to fight to stand out during the holiday frenzy and emerge from the crowd with an offer that is compelling, profitable and targeted — leveraging the knowledge gained from email lists and customer relationship history. It’s the time of year to use email and social to offer goodwill with gifts and extra help, cementing relationships in the process of selling. And businesses can get quick turnaround with techniques like sending expiration-dated email offers that can be printed out for a coupon.
I’ve been getting a few e-mails asking about video blogging equipment basics so I’ll be talking about that next!
In a recent conversation with MAC Search Engine Marketing partner John Deck, he provided some very interesting facts that came from a recent Google Conference on the Hispanic Market. Two standouts were, Women are key decision-makers and by Q2 2013, the installed base of smart phones and tablets will surpass that of PCs. Another sign for those who continue resisting the mobile marketing paradigm.
Check out these stats:
- 71% of Hispanics access the internet via a mobile device.
- Hispanics have embraced social and mobile tools for planning shopping trips (78% of of population are mobile users, 47% are smartphone users)
- Hispanics use more location-based services, especially for gaining access to deals (48% of Hispanics access to the internet from a mobile phone)
- Traditional media retain influence on their purchase decisions
- Women are key decision-makers
- We are about to pass a monumental tipping point: by Q2 13, installed base of smart phones and tablets will surpass that of PCs
- US Hispanic Market is the future growth engine: 50.5M Hispanics in US today, 16% of total population, with $1 trillion in spending power
- 88% of population growth among Ages 18-34 will come from Hispanics from 2010-2020
- US Hispanics ages 18-34 spend more time streaming content than watching live TV
- Traditional Spanish networks are shifting strategy to reach young bilingual Hispanics.
We are in one of the top Hispanic market’s in the US and our Multi-Ethnic in Language media marketing partner Edgar Calderon, is a great resource if your considering taking advantage of this market.
Do you have allot of Social Followers but not that many conversions to clients or customers? Here are a few facts about Social and e-mail marketing conversion and relationship building.
Social Sharing automation Help Keep Email Marketing on the Throne: Email is King, King of return-on-investment, of building lists, of building relationships with an interested audience whose response to regular communications can be precisely measured so that the messages and contact methods just keep adapting and improving.
Despite its celebrity status as a medium, Social just doesn’t have the earning power, actual reach or penetration of email, but add it to the mix and the story gets better. For instance, emails that include social sharing buttons have a 158% higher click-through rate. (GetResponse)
The Email Kingdom
There are 3.6 billion email accounts in 2013. By 2016, the number will reach 4.3 billion. (The Radicati Group) Considering that 95% of online consumers use email, and that most of them check their email at least once a day, that is unparalleled penetration.
Email: The ROI Difference
Despite the huge number of potential followers reached, ROI and Social have had a shaky relationship. Not so with Email Marketing, on which Experian reports that for every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing investment. That adds up to a subscriber value based on solid metrics like growth, open rates, click rates, unsubscribes, etc. — metrics that can give you a clear view of sales and revenue.
Use Email to Engage Socially
Nothing works as well as email marketing and nothing leverages that power like sharing it out to the social world. Whether responding to comments, offering a video or asking people to take action, visit a store or read a newsletter, social offers a huge opportunity to connect with customers by posting on a regular basis. Then multiply the value of social contacts by moving them to the email marketing list. Using tools that are fast, automatic and free — including re-sending email offers to those who didn’t open – email can drive social interaction then convert social followers into customers. And that’s a powerful conversion: according to Litmus, 82% of consumers open emails from companies whose brands they trust.
Email Your Shares
Businesses now have the opportunity to email their social shares automatically, increasing engagement, news feed showing and traffic. Emailing shares automatically increases engagement as people see businesses’ posts, visit them and choose to engage or like. Meanwhile, the businesses’ other posts get bumped up in those viewers’ news feeds. And because it’s automatic, businesses can set it and forget it. Increased engagement also increases businesses’ social news feed showing – automatically. There is no further action marketers have to take, except get back to their business.
It’s a fact — Email consistently has the highest conversion rate of all channels, reigning supreme in the marketing kingdom. Email generates the same amount of page views as search, but with a higher add-to-cart rate and higher conversion rate. And it generates four times the conversion rate of social (Monetate eCommerce Report). But email has not been content to just sit back on its throne, either; it’s evolving, and its effectiveness is growing as it leverages automatic tools and social media to deliver the highly profitable customer relationships that have marked the success of the email dynasty.
You input is vital for me to identify the topics that are important to you. You comments and questions are always appreciated. Watch for my post on Holiday e-mail marketing tips, Thursday.
Next week I’ll be showing you “Why E-Mail Rules the Marketing Kingdom” and giving you some “Holiday E-mail Marketing Tips” you can use this season to increase your bottom line!
If you’re a hotmail or msn.com e-mail user, prepare to convert to Outlook.com.
For many of us Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft exchange have been the bread and butter of e-mail and mobile communication and schedule management for over a decade. Now Outlook.com webmail service users will enjoy many of the same features with 60% less advertising and solid Social Media interoperability.
The new features being introduced in Outlook.com webmail include: the ability to send massive files, including hundreds of photos at a time, in a single email; address books that automatically update new contact information that connections post on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn; and about 60 percent fewer ads than Hotmail.
None of these features are revolutionary. Google already has been giving its users the option to switch to a new version of Gmail that also allows for larger files to be sent in a single email. And address books in Gmail already fetch new contact information posted on Google Plus, although it doesn’t yet mine Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
As part of the process, all users of Microsoft’s Hotmail and other email services operating under different domains such as MSN.com will be automatically converted to Outlook.com by the summer, if they don’t voluntarily switch before then. All the old messages, contacts and settings in the old inboxes will be exported to Outlook.com. Users will also be able to keep their old addresses.
For those of you who think you need a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, learning to use all of the features available in Outlook (full version) to help you manage communication, contacts, schedules, staff resources, tasks, to-dos, marketing, contact specific documents and more may be surprised by the power of Outlook and how few features you’re actually taking advantage of.
To learn more about the power of Outlook, call (916) 412-6466 or e-mail me at email@example.com to schedule a call to discuss how you can get the most from Outlook!
This past week was a high water mark for usage of social media (for people in flooded areas, no pun intended!). In addition to YouTube videos of damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, many voters took Instagram pictures of their completed ballot from directly inside the booth. People of all political persuasions had some heated debates on Facebook and Twitter. According to a tweet from Twitter’s verified Government & Politics team, Election Day was the most tweeted about event in US political history with 20 million tweets.
Issues at heart to those in the technology and marketing community were closely watched, and the reason that some may have made their choices. The New York Tech Meetup group, one of the biggest hubs of tech innovation and knowledge on the east coast, posted letters that they received from both candidates describing their tech agenda for the next four year. With Obama retaining control of the White House, here’s a glimpse at what businesses and users of internet technology can expect.
- Government Investment in the Tech Industry: The Small Business Administration can be expected to continue investing millions for early stage companies and those outside the typical startup zones of California and New York for both technology and clean energy.
- SOPA and PIPA: The Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act were controversial bills that aimed to change the way the Internet works. Search engines like Google would have to modify search results to exclude foreign websites that host illegally copied material among other clauses. While both SOPA and PIPA were both killed, experts believe that they might come back in some other form.
- Cybersecurity: The controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which would have given broad powers and immunity to government and military intelligence agencies in order to collect and share private data of customers without the use of warrants was stalled in Congress, but the White House is rumored to be considering implementing cybersecurity law by executive order.
- National Broadband Plan: In his first term, President Obama set a goal of increasing broadband adoption to 90 percent by 2020. So far, little progress has been made to extend access to low-income and rural areas of the country. This item is sure to move up the priority list this term.
- Net Neutrality: With the FCC’s current “Open Internet” rules under fire both from supporters and opponents, and emerging gray areas in net neutrality policy will likely come up in the next four years.
- STEM Education: Obama will continue to support the federal government investments in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math education. As part of the Startup 2.0 Act, foreign graduates from American universities in these fields would be granted visas to remain here and work in the American tech industry.
- Startup 2.0 Act: Along with extending work visas to STEM graduates, the Startup 2.0 Act would create an entrepreneurship visa for foreign workers who create jobs in the U.S. and would eliminate country-specific caps on visas.
Social media and other internet technologies aren’t just for campaigning or communicating with the tech-savvy audience anymore. It has become possibly the most vivid and persuasive way candidates interact with their supporters. This is not just for the winners too! At the time of publishing this article, the official Romney twitter feed has not published any new tweets to its 1 million+ followers. This is a clear wasted opportunity to continue to engage with a strong user base.
Chris Warden – Social Media Optimization
On the main login screen for Facebook, users are greeted with a definitive statement: Facebook is Free, and it Always Will Be. For all intents and purposes, this is absolutely correct. There is no cost to set up a Facebook account, for personal use or business use. All core functions and capabilities are available to the 1 billion member user base.
While admission is free, there is a growing level of paid services that Facebook offers. Think of it the same way as a teenager going to the mall – they can go there to see friends, socialize, share pictures, meet new people, and express themselves in a variety of ways. But, they can also spend money on items if they are so inclined to do so.
Facebook users have the ability to pay for promotion and exposure for individual pieces of content to a targeted audience that will help their business grow and flourish. This post provides an overview of the paid options that are most appealing to small businesses, how to get started with them, and the best practices for success.
Part 1: Advertising on Facebook
Step 1: Choose Your Content – The Facebook advertising platform allows you to create a visual ad to drive attention to a variety of items. You can create a Facebook ad for a business page, upcoming event, or link to a third-party website (like a sign-up form or sales page). No matter what the content you are advertising, the ad allows for a brief description and photo to be displayed. You can include a call to action, such as a built-in like or subscribe button for users to interact directly with the ad. You can also leverage your built in fan base by showing the number of people who already like your content; if people seeing the ad have friends who are already fans, their picture and name may be displayed alongside the ad.
Step 2: Targeting your Audience – You have the ability to target as large or as niche of an audience for your ad to be displayed. The best option will really depend on your goals, and will take some trial-and-error to optimize. You should create an outline of your “perfect customer” with details such as their location, age, gender and interests so you know who you best target your ad to. If you are targeting a general user base, you can also focus on broad categories, or fans of existing pages or items.
Step 3: Pricing and Scheduling Your Campaigns – Each campaign you create has the ability for ad copy, budget, and schedule to be micromanaged. It’s important to be descriptive with campaigns, because you can still modify and access data on each one after it is finished running, and start it again with new goals and features. Be sure to set your budget at the right payment scale; depending on your goals with the campaign, you can be charged either when the ad is displayed to a viewer, or only if they click the ad. It’s also important to set your budget within the recommended price in order to ensure your ads are given prominent placement to prospects. After finalizing a campaign, it will be reviewed by Facebook, and should be up and running within 24 hours.
Step 4: Test and Measure Your Ad Performance – You should be monitoring your advertising campaigns during their life cycle and after completed to ensure that you are getting the best bang for your buck. The ad manager dashboard displays all of the relevant data points that will help you optimize your ads to reach the best potential customers, including actions users take, demographics of audience, and range of contact.
Part 2: Sponsored Stories
Step 1: Know The Difference Between Sponsored Stories and Ads – The key differences between ads and sponsored stories is the inclusion of personal connections. People are influenced by what their friends like and connect to. When someone interacts with your Page, app, or event it creates a story that their friends may see in the news feed. You can pay to sponsor these stories so more people will see it when their friends have engaged with you on Facebook.
While ads can encourage a user to take action based on their location, interests, or other personal aspects, sponsored stories leverage the friends of a prospect, and display actions of friends better highlighted, and less likely to be missed.
For example, if someone likes your Page they’re saying they’re interested in being connected to you and it can be interpreted as an endorsement of your brand or service. People may see when their friends like your Page, but because there’s a lot of activity in news feed, they may miss it. When you create sponsored stories, you’re increasing the number of people who will learn about you through the actions of their friends.
Step 2: Select What Actions Will Be Sponsored – There are two main types of actions that can be displayed as sponsored stories – likes to a business page, or likes to specific content WITHIN a business page (posts, pictures, video, etc). Both can be used for gaining new fans to a page, but the specific content option allows you to spotlight a popular post, contest, giveaway, or other piece of content that you want to get better reach for.
Step 3 – Create Your Sponsored Stories – The platform for creating sponsored stories is the same as creating the ads explained in Part 1 of this guide. The only difference is that in the beginning of the settings, you will select either the page or content is to be highlighted, and that actions from friends are to be sponsored. All of the targeting, budgeting, and campaign settings are the same as a standard ad.
Part 3 – Offers and Coupons
Step 1: Choosing Redemption Style – There are three types of offers that can be created and promoted on Facebook:
- In Store Only: People can show to the staff at your business by printing the offer email or showing it on their smartphones
- In Store & Online: People can redeem at your business’s physical location or website
- Online Only: People can only redeem your offer by visiting your website
Step 2: Setting Details for Your Offer – All offers are created from within the business page sharing tool. You will see a yellow box icon above where you write status updates – click this icon to begin and follow the steps. Just like with ads, be sure to use powerful headline copy that calls users to action, and a relevant picture to make the deal better stand out. You can add a limit to the number of deals to increase exclusivity, or if you have only a certain number of items in stock. You can set terms for your offer; be sure to make them clear and simple for users to understand what they are getting, and to protect yourself from being taken advantage of. Set an expiration date for your promotion, and then a budget based on how many people you want it to reach. You’ll be able to preview your offer before making it live. It is important to note that offers are only available to pages that have achieved over 400 likes.
Step 3: Maximize Offer Exposure – After posting your offer, you should encourage users, friends, employees, and anyone you know to redeem and share the offer to their friends, giving you an immediate jolt of publicity. You can combine the offer with a sponsored story campaign, so that as people redeem and like the offer, that action is displayed to their friends, which grows and enhances your page, offer, and brand all at the same time.
As the Facebook platform grows beyond its first billion users, enhancements and new strategies for increasing exposure to new audiences will appear. I admit that to the first-time marketer, the options and immediate returns for all of these options may appear to be not worth the effort. For businesses that have been on Facebook a long time, the option of learning how to take advantage of these tools can’t be ignored. Actions by Facebook have limited the reach of what business pages used to be able to do, and page owners are almost forced to adapt or be forgotten.
Written by – Social Media Optimization
99% of companies coming to me to reduce their e-mail marketing costs, increase their deliverability and train them in e-mail marketing compliance and etiquette are not implementing an SPF record! An SPF record is your SS# confirmation for your e-mail, telling the world your e-mail is coming from where it should be coming from.
In an effort not to spew “technobable” here is how it works. Domains (website names, internal network names) use public records (DNS) to direct requests for different services (web, email, etc.) to the machines that provide those services. All domains already publish email (MX) records to tell the world what machines receive mail for the domain.
SPF works by domains publishing “reverse MX” records to tell the world what machines send mail from the domain. When receiving a message from a domain, the recipient can check those records to make sure mail is coming from where it should be coming from.
With SPF, those “reverse MX” records are easy to publish: one line in DNS is all it takes.
More and more ISPs are requiring SPF records to be published under your domain name in order accept your emails. Here is how Microsoft Hotmail / MSN put it: “Starting April 2012, we updated how we manage Sender ID records. Now, it is no longer necessary to manually add your IP addresses to the cache. Going forward, IP addresses will be updated automatically based on information in your configured SPF.”
Don’t assume because you have Constant Contact or any other e-mail service, that your SPF Record is in place. 99% of the time it hasn’t been for my new clients. Check with your Domain Host today and ask “is my SPF record in place? Or, what is my SPF record? If you have trouble getting a straight answer or you get “NO” or YOU DON’T HAVE AN SPF RECORD, feel free to give me a call at (916) 412-6466 to get the help you deserve.