Advertising · Blogging · Content Marketing · Digital · E-Commerce · Entrepreneurs · Marketing

11 Ways to Optimize LinkedIn for Business

Did you know that LinkedIn currently has more than 4 million businesses on its platform? That’s right – 4 million! More and more businesses are quickly gravitating to this professional networking platform. Why? Well, for starters, more than 380 million professionals are on it. That’s a whole lot of potential partners, customers, and buyers to whom you can promote your business.

Are you excited? Great! Are you unsure of where to start? Don’t worry – that’s why I’m here. I recently attended a webinar presented by Dave Kerpen of Likeable Local and he discussed 11 Ways to Optimize LinkedIn for your Business.

Let’s jump in!

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How to Optimize Your LinkedIn For Business

 

1. Customize Your Profile. Personal branding boosts your business. You can do this many ways, but some include:

  • Making a custom URL
  • Hyperlinking to your company page
  • Adding a professional profile picture and background photo.

Additionally, make sure that you incorporate Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in your profile. This includes obtaining a list of keywords that prospects or clients would enter into LinkedIn or any other search engine. For example, my personal LinkedIn page mentions the keyword Marketing 14 times in the summary portion alone.  As a result, I was able to land my current position at Bixal!

Be sure to also include examples of your work – including presentations, art/graphics, videos, important links etc.

2. Publish Blog Posts. This is a great way to promote your brand. Start by thinking of a great headline before drafting the post. Some other tips include: finding/taking a compelling photo, closing a post with a strong call-to-action (this encourages comments), and sharing the post across all of your social channels.

Also, as you begin writing, keep word count in mind. A standard article has about 400-600 words. Be concise!

Lastly, drive your readers to a landing page on your website to learn more about you or your business. This strategy has worked really well for me. For example, this 600-word blog post on my personal site, once promoted on my social media accounts, earned me 15 new followers!

3. Share Updates: Personally and as a Business. 93% of Business-to-Business (B2B) marketers rate LinkedIn as a top B2B social media lead-generation source. It’s recommended that you update your status daily – at least once. Dave Kerpen of Likeable Local mentioned that the best times to post are weekdays between 7:00am-8:00am and 5:00 pm-6:00pm.

If you need ideas on what to post, consider photos, e-books, articles, videos, and any other content related to your industry and company.

4. Leverage LinkedIn Listening. Start by searching for keywords related to your company and read about what other people are saying.

5. Create LinkedIn Groups. Don’t just create one for your business. Create one that showcases your thought leadership. Make a group based on your expert area and post relevant content. Don’t forget to engage with members and link them to your company’s LinkedIn page and website.

6. Discover and Connect with Influencers. Follow the top influencers in your industry and listen to what they discuss. Engage with them by commenting on their posts and sharing their published content. When you feel comfortable, try messaging them and asking for a connection (make sure it’s an opportunity for both parties involved).

7. Recruit Amazing Talent. LinkedIn has made it easier for Recruiters, Small Business Owners and more to find amazing talent.  Search by your connections, location, industry and past companies. You can also utilize LinkedIn Premium to find new talent.

8. Advertise Strategically. LinkedIn ads are a great way to gain exposure. Know that you have the power to control associated costs. Be sure to target strategically with specific criteria: industry, job title, seniority, age, gender, location, skills, and group affiliation.

9. Create a Showcase Page. This serves as an extension of your company page. Use a Showcase Page to highlight certain products/services and share work examples.

10. Integrate Twitter and SlideShare. Increase your reach with integration. If you have presentations, you can share them directly to Linkedin from SlideShare. Also, you can add your Twitter profile to your LinkedIn in the edit profile section.

11. Connect Your Network. Plain and simple! Introduce people in your network to each other with the goal of building a community.

What are some other ways that you’ve optimized your LinkedIn profile? Comment below!

Advertising · Branding · Campaigns · Content Marketing · Digital · E-Commerce · Entrepreneurs · Marketing · Social Media · Strategy

Three Tips for Effectively A/B Testing your Emails

In a world where everything has become “social”, email has proven to continue to be a valuable asset in the world of online communications. In fact, according to the Radicati Group, the number of worldwide email accounts is projected to grow from over 4.1 billion accounts in 2014 to over 5.2 billion accounts by the end of 2018. That’s almost 27% in growth.

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With the huge opportunity to truly capture new subscribers, companies are spending more and more dollars on testing – specifically A/B testing.

Campaign Monitor defines A/B testing (also known as split testing) as:

 A way of working out which of two campaign options is the most effective in terms of encouraging opens or clicks.

In an A/B test, you set up two variations of the one campaign and send them to a small percentage of your total recipients. Half of the test group is sent Version A and the other half gets Version B. The result, measured by the most opens or clicks, determines the winning campaign and that version is sent to the remaining subscribers.

It’s imperative to run A/B tests when trying out new techniques or formats for your email campaigns. The result is the improvement of open, click through and conversion rates, which will funnel down to other marketing efforts and ultimately, if sales-related, profit for the company. Now that you understand the importance of testing, let’s break down exactly what you want to test – as everything cannot be tested together. It’s important to only test one thing at a time to get accurate results.

  1. Timing

The time that you decide to send an email is very important. Some believe the hours between 8:00 pm – 12:00 am are best. Others believe mid-day is best. Truthfully, ideal times will vary by your subscriber list, industry and/or the content/offer. Try a variety of times to determine which works best and go from there. Some email databases offer paid scheduling testing services, such as Mail Chimps’ Send Time Optimization, which handles the work for you by 1) requesting a sample list (dividing it in half – hence the phrase A/B testing) 2) determining the best sending time for its subscribers and 3) distributing based on the most favorable time.

  1. Call to Action and Subject Line

When it comes to testing your offer, there is no clear-cut plan. Different subscribers respond to different offers. The key is dynamic offers – i.e. targeted e-mail offers that are customized for each individual subscriber based on the information you’ve collected on them. A few examples include:

  • Seasonal Offers (e.g. Holidays, Back to School deals)
  • Free Option Offer (e.g. Shipping, BOGO, upgrades, downloads)

Percentages and specific dollar amounts (e.g. 5% off, $20 off)

  • Reminder/Time Sensitive Offers (e.g. Last chance to buy and/or earn, 5 slots left)
  • Exclusive/Membership Based offers (e.g. New items in store, restocked requests, private shopping events)
  1. The Layout

The layout of your email may seem like a trivial thing to consider but as the world becomes more mobile, it is imperative to ensure that click through rates and open rates remain high. A few popular things to test are:

  • Body text (Single column vs. double column; font size and type)
  • Images vs. Videos (and whether or not to integrate at all)
  • Personalization (Jane vs. Mrs. Doe)
  • HTML text (Keywords vs. brand language)
  • Placement of the offer (and the repetition of the offer)

Testing can be seen as a long, thorough process but when done right, and often, can yield positive results for your business.

What are some of your best practices for testing emails – specifically related to A/B testing? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Advertising · Branding · Campaigns · Digital · E-Commerce · Entrepreneurs · Marketing · Strategy

Consider Remarketing as Part of your Digital Strategy

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Have you ever searched for a topic online, went to a relatable website and then left the site – only to see a targeted ad that relates to what you initially searched for? It’s not just your imagination. It’s actually called Remarketing. Remarketing is something that online consumers often encounter but probably are unfamiliar with.

By definition, Google AdWords defines Remarketing as:

“…reaching people who have previously visited a website. It shows the previous visitors ads that are tailored to them based on which sections of the site they visited. The ads appear to them as they browse other sites that are part of the Google Display Network or as they search for terms related to your products on Google.”

The central principle of remarketing is to maintain the attention of people who have already expressed an interest in what you are advertising, as opposed to just trying to raise awareness about the business. When Kayak created a remarketing strategy, the site began to see an increase in not only traffic, but in sales. People who visited the website continued to see Kayak ads even after they left. This is how I discovered the effectiveness of remarketing.

After doing some initial research for flights to escape the frigid East Coast, I headed to my favorite blog site. Prior to that, I visited Kayak.com and American Airlines to compare pricing. While on the blog site, I came across a rotating ad, which showed me all of the flights that I looked at previously.

I then went back to Kayak.com to purchase – after the ad mentioned that there were only 3 seats remaining on my preferred flight. I’m sure you are wondering how they were able to track my viewing history. Well, after the implementation of the Cookie Law – which states that websites must tell visitors that they will use cookies and provide them with an opt-out function – advertisers have been able to use this information to collect the cookies of each visitor and use it to their advantage.

Remarketing has continued to thrive online – though it originally began as an offline strategy (think Loyalty Marketing). Remarketing allows you to:

  1. Reach people and persuade them to immediately purchase with a promising ROI.
  1. Build creative, targeted lists based on information collected. Your lists will vary according to buyer personas. For example, is the buyer just an “all-around” fan of all Apple products or do you they tend to frequent the iPhone section of Apple.com? Furthermore, be sure to consider their shopping cart for clues as well as a personalized member section if applicable. Lists can also be created with celebrations in mind such as the Holidays and Back to School campaigns.
  1. Attract millions of people with a smaller initial cost compared to other forms of paid search. Think about all of the people who visit Google daily. Over 2 million websites and mobile apps are apart of the Google Display Network.
  1. Have control over design and creation by utilizing the various images, text and video options available to you. Keep in mind that the design should be in sync with the rest of your brand.
  1. Determine where and how your ad is performing – all while keeping your budget in tact and overseeing analytics related to your ad (for future testing purposes).

Now that you are familiar with why remarketing is popular, I encourage you to begin to do some research on the different ways and platforms to use remarketing. Google Adwords is the most popular. However, Criteo, AOL, Yahoo and Retargeter are other popular platforms.

Remember, the underlying goal is to convert consumers from shoppers to buyers.

Have you ever encountered a strong remarketing ad? Tell me about it in the comment section below and good luck on remarketing strategy building!

Advertising · Blogging · Branding · Campaigns · Content Marketing · E-Commerce · Entrepreneurs · Inspiration · Marketing · Public Relations · Publicity · Social Media · Strategy

Different Ways Brands Use Pinterest to Authentically Connect

Although it is still fairly new, plenty of companies have delved and completely excelled in the new social media channel of Pinterest. The online visual board has been predicted to grow measurably in the next few years. As such, brands all over the world are looking for ways to authentically connect with it’s current and potential consumers on the site.

As with any other social media channel, a well-thought out strategy is needed to excel. To assist you with this, I came across an article that details 5 ways a few brands have used Pinterest to authentically connect with fans.

Feel free to check it out here.

What tips and strategies have you implemented that have been successful on Pinterest?

Blogging · Branding · Campaigns · Content Marketing · Entrepreneurs · Marketing · Public Relations · Publicity · Social Media · Strategy · Uncategorized

Thrive with Content Marketing

Ever wonder how corporations like Proctor & Gamble and Disney managed to enter into the social scene and thrive? Well, they learned to embrace the art of content marketing.

A big part of my job involves content marketing. Perhaps, I should add that to my resume, I know it will receive major brownie points on my current employment search. I’ve always been a writer, and a creative soul…so in a sense, the task came…dare I say it…naturally.

However, I am aware that everyone is not a writer. Nor is everyone a creative person…and that’s where I come in!

By the end of this post, you will have a better idea of what content marketing is, as well as what it is NOT.

So, what is content marketing?

Wikipedia defines it as the creation and sharing of content – social media, blogs, white papers, case studies etc. –  in order to attract, acquire and engage clearly defined and understood current and potential consumer bases with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

Simply stated, content marketing is mastering the art of connecting and communicating with current and potential consumers without selling to them.  Instead of pitching your products or services, strive instead to deliver information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if businesses deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward them with their business and loyalty.

Of course, content marketing requires a great deal of research, strategy and planning on the companies’ end. One thing that has helped me in the process was the creation of a content calendar. Not only have they helped me to keep our brand voice consistent, but it also helps me to get our messages across in a timely, entertaining yet knowledgable fashion.

The goal should be to get your audience to like you. If they like you, they are more likely to share your content (hello, brand ambassadors!) as well as become buyers of your product or service.

To effectively engage in content marketing, be sure that you are:

1. Creating relevant, quality content

2. Using the right language

3. Connecting with your target audience (as they say, everything is not for everybody)

4. Engaging in the right content platforms (blogs, facebook, twitter etc.)

Consumers are shying away from traditional advertising & marketing. However, you can still engage with your buyers by mastering the art of content marketing.

Below is an infographic that attests to the continued growth of content marketing.

What strategies do you incorporate into your content marketing strategy?

Branding · Campaigns · Entrepreneurs · Marketing · Strategy · Uncategorized

BRANDnew…The Art of Rebranding

Rebranding is something that every company has or will have to go through at some point.

Holiday Inn is one of my favorite brands that recently went through a rebranding process.  The hotel underwent a billion dollar rebranding process with the help of the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG). The re-launch included a new logo, remodeled bedrooms and a revamped welcome experience starting in the lobby area.

Now, Holiday Inn is a well-known hotel brand, but statistics reported that they hadn’t underwent a change since 1982! That is a long time, especially with so many competitors on the horizon, this process was necessary.

If you are thinking about rebranding your business, I recommend rebranding the whole business, not just a facelift…ie. a new logo. Think about revamping the whole customer experience.

Below are 5 crucial steps to an effective rebranding process:

1. Research. Everything, everything must begin with research. Take time to find out what went wrong by conducting focus groups, surveys or simply conversing your your regular clientele. If sales are declining, take the time to find out why. Could it be the product’s performance, formula or general reputation? A consumer poll through a marketing and research team might be in order as a way to figure out what could be wrong with your brand.

2. Keep the importance of your brand identity in mind. Don’t lose sight of what your company mission and goals are.  Holiday Inn was known as an affordable option for hotel stay. Even though they went through a rebranding process, they’ve always been able to celebrate the fact that they are trusted, well-known brand that was loved by money-conscious travelers.

3. Get all teams involved in the process. Don’t rely solely on the marketing team as they may not know what is going on the finance or operations department. Involving all teams will ensure that internal processes and procedures are appropriate given the new brand messaging, or determine that they need to be altered in some way. Additionally, this will garner a sense of excitement in the employees who are tasked with representing the brand.

4. Deliver on the new promises. Don’t let the excitement die down after a new logo or a interior design. Show customers that the process was thorough and consistenly ask for feedback to ensure that they are happy.

5. Introduce something new. Social & digital media, for example, has continued to flourish. Find out what competitors are doing online and determine if it’s worth the investment. Also, think about the new environmentally-friendly initiatives that have gained popularity lately.

5. Pace yourself. Rebranding cannot be successfully accomplished overnight.

6. Revisit your rebranding strategy every few months or years to ensure that it is consistent and truly working for the greater good.

Has your company underwent a rebranding strategy? What strategies did you implement? If not, name one of your favorite brands that went through a rebranding strategy?

Branding · Entrepreneurs · Inspiration

How To Develop a Personal Mission Statement

Rosetta Thurman is definitely one of the women I have been blessed to connect with on Twitter. She is passionate, knowledgeable and entertaining! Such a good balance. Image

I read one of her tweets about developing a personal mission statement and it definitely hit home. So I plan to dedicate some time to this over the weekend. Below is a quick excerpt as well as a link to her article:

There are three important steps toward developing a personal mission statement: 1) identifying your values, 2) envisioning your values in action and 3) writing your personal mission statement. For most people, it is truly an eye-opening process to write out your values for your life and then compare them to how you actually balance your priorities. But what, exactly, is a personal mission statement, anyway?

Personal development website Dumb Little Man offers this great definition:

Your personal mission statement should be a concise representation of what’s most important to you, what you desire to focus on, what you want to achieve, and, ultimately, who you want to become. In its purest form, it’s an approach to your life, one that allows you to identify a focus of energy, creativity, and vision in living a life in support of your inner-most beliefs and values. Also remember that your mission will change over time as you and your life change.