Tag Archives: online marketing

3 Reasons You Should Never Stop Marketing Your Services Online

3 Reasons You Should Never Stop Marketing Your Services Online

There are 3 Reasons You Should Never Stop Marketing Your Services Online

Back before marketing of any kind was done online most companies chose to run campaigns. These campaigns usually included ads that ran on the radio or direct mail marketing campaigns that ran for a specific period of time so that marketers could see their results. It took time for marketers to learn about different sets of demographics to determine which methods worked versus what needed to change during the next campaign. At Maryville University, students studying for their online bachelors degree in accounting, communication, nursing, and even graphic design, learn during their very first year how important online marketing is.

  1. You Don’t Want To Lose Momentum

Hypothetically, say that you have been doing some online marketing for a few months and seen good results so far. You’ve made some good connections and perhaps gotten a good amount of people to start reading a blog that you’ve been updating consistently every other day. If you suddenly go MIA, the same people that have been following you will quickly forget that you ever existed. Momentum is hard to gain in the first place, but if you have been making positive progress you don’t want to pull the plug on your efforts by virtue of falling off the map. Take the information you gained while studying for a bachelors of accounting and use it to make your online marketing efforts a knockout success.

  1. It Can Be Hard To Catch Up

Although many people don’t really start marketing themselves professionally until they are working or running a business, there’s still others who promote themselves before they determine what they’re going to major in at college. In other words, you don’t want to play the catch-up game when it comes to internet marketing. You don’t have to be a guru or blog for anyone other than yourself in the beginning, but practicing patience will help you as you get more serious about building mailing lists and running promotions.

3 Reasons You Should Never Stop Marketing Your Services Online now

  1. You Have More Opportunities for Trial And Error

You might want to do things differently or find a way to market yourself professionally in a manner that others haven’t yet tried for themselves, and there’s nothing wrong with trying new ideas out. In fact, you have to have time and opportunity in order to try different online marketing ideas out, which is why your efforts need to be consistent. If you have a good amount of people paying attention to what you’re doing, you can get their honest response to your ideas before you even try testing them out on a wider scale.

While you don’t want online marketing to consume your life, you have to decide to make it a fairly integral part of your regular routine. You can still go on vacation or simply take a break from social media every now and then, but don’t ever abandon online marketing with the idea that you will see the same amount of professional success.

5 Keys to Improve Email Open Rates

Getting your email marketing content setup is not the end of your work.  Ensuring that the greatest potential possible OPEN the email is critical and you MUST spend time to improve email open rates.

Are you using email marketing or automated email nurture campaigns?  HINT: You should be!

A key for email marketing is the open rate.  It does no good whatsoever to have great content if it never gets read!  In this episode we dive into 5 keys to improve email open rates.

Ready to dive in?

Listen Now:

Subscribe:  Halftime Mike on iTunes  | Android users via RSS  | Listen on Stitcher.

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5 Keys to Improve Email Open Rates Video Podcast

What are the 5 Keys to Improve Email Open Rates?

I’m glad you asked!

In my book, Game Plan for Social Media Lead GenerationI showcase the digital funnel.  It’s in the “lead capture” area where your Call to Action takes place.  In the Capture area you have reached ideal potential customers and now directed them to your website and this is where the CTA needs to kick in and work for you so they sign-up.  Once they sign-up they are going to get started on your automated email nurture series.  This is a sequence of emails dripped out to them over time and this is the key area where email open rates need to happen!

Without the opens, they don’t get to know you and build trust with your company!

See Digital Marketing Funnel image below…

The funnel is a strategy of reaching the right audience, engaging that audience, and then bringing that audience to your website, and email is a key ingredient!

Email Open Rate Keys

According to eMarketer, almost 237 million Americans will use email in 2017. This represents a significant portion of the online population.  People read email!  Here are 5 keys for great open rates:

1. The Email Subject line

It all starts with the email subject line.

Readers must be enticed at the subject line level to open your email!  This is your first and most important objective because many times those looking at their email inbox make a decision to open or not open based solely on the subject lines of all new emails in their inbox list!

Due to this, the subject line needs to be something more than what you can dash off at the last moment. I have had emails where I’ve spent more time crafting the perfect subject line than I spent writing the email.

If the subject doesn’t grab them, they won’t read it!

Whenever possible:

  • Personalize your email subject lines, most ESP (email service providers) allow you to do this easily.  “Hey, Mike, this 30% off deal is time limited!”
  • Keep subject lines short, specific and action oriented
  • Avoid lots of ALL CAPS and multiple exclamations!!!

If your email contains an offer, tell your audience about it, so your recipients know what’s inside the email waiting for them.

Again, keep it concise, active, and inviting.

2. Timing is Critical

Timing your email send to an ideal “sweet spot” can lead to greater open rates. Email marketers agree that mid-week (Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday) emails are most successful for B2B businesses. If you’re B2C, your delivery window widens by Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

I like to send emails early in the morning, so they’re in the inbox when it’s first opened in the am. Or around lunch, people ease back into work by checking their emails. Because they’re full and satisfied, they’re more likely to be patient enough to read the mail rather than deleting it for lack of time to read it.

If your email is promoting an event with specific timing, send the email a couple of weeks before and again a couple of days before the event.

3. Offer Valuable Email Content

Give your customers something of value in every email. Even simple tips and tricks on how to do something can be value-adding. What you take for granted can be valuable information for others! When you offer value, you’re less likely to end up in the “unread” category down the pike.

I recommend you focus on one key item in a email and have 2-3 related and supporting links.  This is a good way to drive traffic back to past blog posts and bring visitors back to your website.  The email should not be massively long or the entire full blog post.  It introduces the topic, dives into a key point and then points to the website post for the rest.

4. Segment the Email Lists to Increase Open Rates

It’s a good idea to segment your list right out of the gate. Group your readers by products they’ve purchased, where their IP address is located, or special interests. Your ESP will now their location from their IP address.

Add several email subscription forms to your list with free downloads and segment as to the download they choose or page they subscribe on.

Here are a few of the most common data sets you may want to segment by:

  • Time they have been on your mailing list
  • What they’ve purchased from you
  • Date of the last purchase from your company
  • Last interaction

Drilling down with that information can lead to more effective and directed email campaigns.

5. Ensure Mobile Friendly Emails

Take your email recipients’ lifestyle into account as well. A full 64% of decision-makers read their emails via their smartphone. (Want to know what your readers are viewing on and you use MailChimp? Learn how here.) If your email isn’t formatted to be easily read on a mobile screen, you may receive fewer click-throughs and find your open rate decreasing over time.

If you make these changes and don’t see an immediate turnaround in a declining open rate, don’t get discouraged. There is an art to strategic email marketing. When you pay attention to the data you have from email recipients in your email marketing system, you’ll become better attuned to what works best for your business.

So, what are you waiting for?  Go look at your open rates and your emails and make adjustments on future emails deployed!

ACTION ITEMS:

  1. LISTEN TO THE PODCAST!  This is just a sample of the goods I deliver to help you get on track, think through your key online changes and what you need to do this year to succeed.
  2. Identify your “one thing.”  What’s the next single thing you need to take action on that you learned today?   Share below!

Resources: Keys to Online Success


Help Spread the Word!

Please let your Twitter followers know about this podcast.
Simply click here now to post a tweet >>.

If you enjoyed this episode of the Social Media Marketing podcast, please “go over to iTunes,  leave a rating, write a review and subscribe!

Thank you so much for your support!

Why the Halftime theme Mike? 

I’m an Indiana Hoosier native where basketball is the top sport. Every team heads to the locker room at halftime to evaluate the first half and create an updated plan for the second half. That plan includes adjustments based on reviewing what worked and what didn’t. The “halftime” is a key review point where the game stops, the team pulls away to huddle in the locker room away from the fans, and they come out prepared and ready to succeed in the second half.

That’s what this podcast is all about, taking the time to pull away for a bit to evaluate, learn, and set some strategies for your business to succeed in the second half. Join me by subscribing and let me be your “business halftime” to help you find great success going forward!

Subscribe: Halftime Mike on iTunes | Android users via RSS | Listen on Stitcher.

Download this Episode:
Catch all the episodes of Halftime Mike by signing up for inbox delivery below!

Need help planning your Social Media and Online Marketing?

Grab my helpful checklist that includes strategy for social media lead generation. Click image!

web and social media marketing checklist planner

What is a Website Call to Action?

The question, “What is a website call to action?“, is a frequent question I get.

Beyond the need to know what it is, online marketers need to be using a call to action regularly and effectively on their websites!  It’s often one of THE most overlooked lead capture and digital marketing components out there.

A call to action is literally a specific tool to get the visitor to a specific action you desire on your site.  Is your business using call to actions effectively on your website?  Let’s look into the “what”, “how”, and “why” of call to actions for your website.  This little piece has tremendous value!

Ready to dive in?

Listen Now:

Subscribe:  Halftime Mike on iTunes  | Android users via RSS  | Listen on Stitcher.

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Video version of What is a Website Call to Action

What is a Website Call to Action?

I’m glad you asked!  The “what” is the starting point.  A website call to action is a tool (image linked, widget, form or pop-up form) with the specific goal to move (or call) the website visitor to take a specific action that you want them to take on the site.  Typically this is a means to do the following:

  1.  Keep them on the site
  2.  Move them into your lead funnel
  3.  Obtain their email address to use in further marketing

The “Why” of a Website Call to Action

The call to action is a needed digital marketing funnel action to move a visitor into the funnel, and to move them from “unknown” to a “known” based on having a email address.

In my book, Game Plan for Social Media Lead GenerationI showcase the digital funnel.  It’s in the “lead capture” area where you Call to Action takes place.  In the Capture area you have reached ideal potential customers and now directed them to your website and this is where the CTA needs to kick in and work for you!  See Digital Marketing Funnel image below…

The funnel is a strategy of reaching the right audience, engaging that audience, and then bringing that audience to your website.  Once on your sight it’s critical that the website Call to Action do it’s job as noted of moving the user to take action.

Additional values of a Website Call to Action

Other benefits a call-to-action helps with are building trust, adding value, and offering related resources….it’s a next step and a way of further connecting with the visitor so that when they are ready to purchase, you are top-of-mind!

  • Can Build Trust (by taking to additional value-adding resources)
  • Helps visitor in their research
  • Introduces next step content

Blogging is central to the Digital Marketing Funnel strategy as you are producing valuable resource-rich content on your website that you can share on social media and integrate with CTA’s.  As you use the blog to market your products and services, it’s crucial to include a CTA (call to action) within each post.

Without a CTA to motivate your readers into taking the action you want them to take, your readers won’t take any action at all. It’s simply information on the web they see and then leave.  You need to guide your readers to take the action you desire!

Help others learn about website Call to Action…

Here’s what a Call to Action can do for your website:

Increase Web Time on Site

The more pages a visitor goes to on your site, the more they increase time spent, and the more opportunity you have to build trust and rapport.  With statistics showing that up to 70% of web visitors don’t come back to a website, you’ve got to capture them and give them some great info that first time!

Get the Reader to Read More Content

One of the best ways to convert traffic is with quality content that makes the reader stay on your website. Adding a call to action of related articles to your blog posts will invite readers to read your other posts. All you have to do is link to the related topics using keywords. For instance, the keyword “online marketing” can be linked to other articles on social media marketing, website marketing or email marketing within the blog post.

A simple and clear way to do this is with a titled area “Related Content” and then have a bulleted list with keyword titles linking to other articles on your blog or website.

Grow Leads

Email marketing is a powerful strategy to generate sales. Use a call to action to get your website readers added to a email nurture list.  One of the best ways to tempt people to subscribe is by giving discounts or access to premium content in exchange for them signing up. For example, if your blog post focuses on photography, you could offer a free eBook with tips about photography to readers who provide their email address.

The “How” of a Website Call to Action

The call to action should be action-oriented!

It should be brief, concise, clear, and easy to locate. Readers should be forced to see it, but it shouldn’t be so large that it diverts attention from the main content. It should also not ask for lots of information.  Keep it simple, like name and email address to access a ebook.  Try different call-to-actions including sidebar CTA’s, in-page call-to-actions, and pop-up CTA’s.

Example of a website call to action pop-up

Value adding resource Call to Action pop-up using Waftio.com

So, what are you waiting for?  Go look at your website and your last blog post.

How is the call to action integrated on that page?  Take a look at my site here, how many CTA’s do you see?  I use waftio for the main pop-up and I also have the call-out at the end of the post.

ACTION ITEMS:

  1. LISTEN TO THE PODCAST!  This is just a sample of the goods I deliver to help you get on track, think through your key online changes and what you need to do this year to succeed.
  2. Identify your “one thing.”  What’s the next single thing you need to take action on that you learned today?   Share below!

Resources: Keys to Online Success


Help Spread the Word!

Please let your Twitter followers know about this podcast.
Simply click here now to post a tweet >>.

If you enjoyed this episode of the Social Media Marketing podcast, please “go over to iTunes,  leave a rating, write a review and subscribe!

Thank you so much for your support!

Why the Halftime theme Mike? 

I’m an Indiana Hoosier native where basketball is the top sport. Every team heads to the locker room at halftime to evaluate the first half and create an updated plan for the second half. That plan includes adjustments based on reviewing what worked and what didn’t. The “halftime” is a key review point where the game stops, the team pulls away to huddle in the locker room away from the fans, and they come out prepared and ready to succeed in the second half.

That’s what this podcast is all about, taking the time to pull away for a bit to evaluate, learn, and set some strategies for your business to succeed in the second half. Join me by subscribing and let me be your “business halftime” to help you find great success going forward!

Subscribe: Halftime Mike on iTunes | Android users via RSS | Listen on Stitcher.

Download this Episode:
Catch all the episodes of Halftime Mike by signing up for inbox delivery below!

Need help planning your Social Media and Online Marketing?

Grab my helpful checklist that includes strategy for social media lead generation. Click image!

web and social media marketing checklist planner

How to Succeed Online – 4 Keys for Online Marketing Success

How can your business have online marketing success?

What does it take? What are the key online marketing foundations?

These are questions I was recently asked, and I decided to answer in this podcast with a look at the 4 key foundations I believe are absolutely essential to online marketing success.

Is your business doing well in the 4 areas I note below?  They are essential and cover your website, social media, email marketing and more.  Let’s walk through the 4 in detail!

Ready to dive in?

Listen Now:

Subscribe:  Halftime Mike on iTunes  | Android users via RSS  | Listen on Stitcher.

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How to succeed online – 4 Keys to Online Marketing Success

To succeed in marketing your business online today, you really need to be strong in these 4 fundamentals.  Each plays a part, and the sum together makes a cohesive strategy.  The 4 keys are:

  1. Content
  2. Social Media
  3. List Building / Lead Capture
  4. Partnering / Networking

Video Version of the 4 Keys to Online Marketing Success

Content

By content, we mean a blog resource center with great articles.

The starting point of success online is quality, regular content on your business website/blog. This is the “home base” for any company and one which needs to be carefully crafted and meticulously maintained. It is the source for quality information to share on social media. It’s the “footprint” that can be searched and discovered online.  Let me say that another way…good content on your website helps both SEO and Social Media.

SEO value comes from having keyword rich, resource blog post articles that answer questions, build trust and offer value.  These posts can then be found by those searching the web, and they serve as great material to share on social media.  This is not product specific, but more about the application of and resource material.  The “how to’s” are great.

Content needs to be generated at least weekly if not more to build a footprint out on the web.

Social Media

For social media, it’s imperative online to amplify your quality website content, you have to be fluent and fluid in social media sharing, engagement, and conversation. Knowing the difference between being a bullhorn and being a magnet (see www.magnetmarketers.com) is key. Social media really needs to flow as a relationship building tool, one where the end goal is to help and add value to others.

With average users spending 40 minutes on Facebook a day cumulative, it and other social media networks are where the people are spending time!  You want to reach them and connect?  Go there!

50% of your social media efforts are simply to attract the right type of person to you (the ideal customer persona) and to engage with them.  30% of your social media efforts are to drive them to a specific lead capture on your website via social (more on that below), and 20% is direct sales offer.  Largely Social Media isn’t a direct sales channel!  It’s a discovery and connecting tool that can be ultimately used to move people to your website.

List Building / Lead Nurture

The last 2 keys, list building, and networking flow from a solid web content foundation and are key business strategy tools.

First, list building and lead nurture.  For lists, we mean email lists.  Getting their name and email is moving from a fan to a lead you can nurture.  A solid lead nurture list for email marketing is critical for online success.

This is best done on your website.  Soft offers of value (ebooks, videos, coupons) that give a value-adding resource are the way to grow leads.  I recommend adding our Waftio lead capture tools to your site as pop-ups and active widgets work best to capture the attention of your visitor. Simply ask for name and email and offer the resource while getting permission to add them to your list.

Then nurture that contact and build trust through regular, resource-rich emails over a multi-week time period, ending with a sales offer.

Partnering / Networking

Networking online to build relationships and partnerships that can benefit both parties is the quickest and strongest way to really ramp up online once you have your foundation in place. Find near-product/service partners you can do joint ventures with.  Share their content, and have them share yours!

So, in my opinion, you’ve got to look at 4 keys…..Active social media presence, great content on your website, list building lead capture tool for email addresses and peer networking to build momentum and partnerships. It’s possible! Go for it!

ACTION ITEMS:

  1. LISTEN TO THE PODCAST!  This is just a sample of the goods I deliver to help you get on track, think through your key online changes and what you need to do this year to succeed.
  2. Identify your “one thing.”  What’s the next single thing you need to take action on that you learned today?   Share below!

Resources: Keys to Online Success


Help Spread the Word!

Please let your Twitter followers know about this podcast.
Simply click here now to post a tweet >>.

If you enjoyed this episode of the Social Media Marketing podcast, please “go over to iTunes,  leave a rating, write a review and subscribe!

Thank you so much for your support!

Why the Halftime theme Mike? 

I’m an Indiana Hoosier native where basketball is the top sport. Every team heads to the locker room at halftime to evaluate the first half and create an updated plan for the second half. That plan includes adjustments based on reviewing what worked and what didn’t. The “halftime” is a key review point where the game stops, the team pulls away to huddle in the locker room away from the fans, and they come out prepared and ready to succeed in the second half.

That’s what this podcast is all about, taking the time to pull away for a bit to evaluate, learn, and set some strategies for your business to succeed in the second half. Join me by subscribing and let me be your “business halftime” to help you find great success going forward!

Subscribe: Halftime Mike on iTunes | Android users via RSS | Listen on Stitcher.

Download this Episode:
Catch all the episodes of Halftime Mike by signing up for inbox delivery below!

Need help planning your Social Media and Online Marketing?

Grab my helpful checklist that includes strategy for social media lead generation. Click image!

web and social media marketing checklist planner

Social Media for Lead Generation

Social Media works!  Are you using social media lead generation well for your business?

It’s more than just posting funny photos or repeatedly pushing your products!

social-media-lead-generation

In this episode of the halftime Mike podcast I dive into moving from simply social media to social media lead generation for businesses.  There’s a strategic difference! Discover the concept and what’s beyond the social postings that you need to integrate and measure!

Ready to dive in?

Listen Now:

Subscribe:  Halftime Mike on iTunes  | Android users via RSS  | Listen on Stitcher.

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Social Lead Gen Video:

Social Media Lead Generation Overview

You’ve heard that other businesses were having success on social media so you decided your team had better try it too. While jumping in is good and needed in order to be relevant online today, there’s the need to advance beyond the “youthful beginner stage” that is largely random and unfocused, to have a well-thought through, strategic social media and online marketing plan!

That’s where social media lead generation comes into play!

Social Media without lead generation is just fun and games, not particularly a good use of your business time!

The Social Media plan I cover is unique. For true success, my experience with marketing TabSite.com and for multiple clients nationwide is that your plan needs to be more full spectrum. It needs to go broader than simply social for fun.  Your social, yes, must be engaging but it needs to all fit within a plan!

What I recommend is truly a “Digital Marketing Funnel”. It takes into account all the key areas you need to address together to succeed online. It addresses what I call “The Big Three.” This includes your: website, email marketing, and social media. When they are all working together, then the power is there to have success online!

Without a plan, any path will do, but you won’t be able to measure the results! If you are serious about growing your business online, then it’s time to dive into the details.

The Social Media Lead Generation overview:

There are six key components in the Digital Marketing Funnel, each with a specific goal and purpose. I’ll go through each component in an overview fashion.

social media lead generation

I. Attract

This is the heart of your efforts! The largest bulk of your social media efforts should be in this arena.

You are casting the net wide and trying to reach more and more of an audience that would be interested in what your business offers. Offering resource-rich, value-adding content is key here.

Did you know that not all your posts on social should be about your company and products? That’s right! You need to be social! Share fun, inspirational, helpful posts regularly. More details on that to come! All of these items together are designed to connect your business with an ideal audience demographic for your company that fits your buyer persona.

II. Engage

Posting good content on social media isn’t enough.

If you post it, and they don’t see it, does it matter? It’s like the old adage of a tree falling in the forest with no one around…. Does it make noise if no one is around to hear it? I

t’s like that on social media. If you are simply being a bullhorn and posting, posting, posting your information with no social engagement or conversation, are you really using social media?

You need to engage on social media.

For Facebook, it’s a must as their algorithm is weighted to show fans more content from Pages they have engaged with. So your business must make the effort to engage your audience! To share in such a way that Likes, Clicks, Shares, and Retweets result from your efforts.

One simple way to get started is to begin engaging on social media as your brand. Comment on posts, retweet items, give kudos and your opinion! They are “social” media networks by the way! So your company must be ready to be social, to engage and desire two-way conversations on social. This personalization of your business draws your audience in, and that’s key in the funnel!

The Attraction and Engagement areas should make up 50% of your overall social media marketing post mix.  

That means 5 out of every 10 posts should fit in this arena of being helpful, social, resource-rich, engaging and captivating!  Key post types to use will be images, short video clips, and Facebook Live Video.

III. Capture

Sharing links that drive traffic from social media sites to your website is also important. A common mistake is doing this without the attraction and engaging content noted above.

Capture, meaning posts that drive to your website or a landing page where you have some type of soft lead capture or soft call-to-action, should be about 30% of your weekly social media posting mix and not more! You don’t want to drive people away by being too pushy.

The key is often the soft lead capture option. It needs to provide enough related value for someone to give you their email address! Once a lead has given away some personal information, they’re far closer to becoming buyers because the nurture process can begin!

IV. Nurture

Now we are beyond social in many ways because we’ve moved them from social to yoru site to your email list.

That’s the KEY in social media lead generation.  It’s not just social media.  It involves multiple channels….social to your website to your email list.

Capture and nurture go hand-in-hand. Your offer (the lead capture offer) needs to be valuable enough for someone to be willing to give you their email address. Once they do, it’s up to you to nurture that relationship. I recommend a well-thought through email nurture series that is automated.

Once on your list, it’s now time to build more relationship and trust by offering more valuable content via email. The emails can provide information and then link out to blog posts on your website you already have.

Many times those on the list are not ready to buy right away, they need to have this drip-feed of content to ensure your business will be the first they think of when they are ready to buy!

V. Convert

Again, this happens mostly outside of social media.  This happens often best in the latter emails after a solid nurture and trust building campaign.  This is the actual moment they become customers. This is only 10% of your weekly social media posting mix. Any more than that and you’re too much “in your face” with a pushy sales approach. Overdo it on social and people tune you out. Often, I’ve recommending the actual sales offer come at the end of your nurture campaign and that it comes via email! More on that in the chapters ahead.

The key is a time-specific, clear offer to buy that is done AFTER you have built trust and rapport through the funnel cycles. It’s not the first thing, it’s not the most frequent thing. It is strategically places and worded!

VI. Measure

Digital sales conversions is a cyclical process which should be continually refined. Keep track of the results of each stage of the process, and see which methods produce the most conversions. High conversion rates for sales above 70% are a practical impossibility, but keep trying to push the percentage higher!

Understanding the social media lead generation funnel will help you gather better leads at the top, and ensure that more of them complete the journey to full-fledged customers. With this tool, you’ll be on your way to far greater conversions and ROI on your online marketing investments!

ACTION ITEM:

It’s time to evaluate your social media and your lead generation together!  Social media alone cannot drive leads.  It’s a strategic process of social plus your website plus email marketing to

What’s the next step you need to take to sharpen your efforts with social media lead generation?

Catch my unique angle in the full podcast audio / video episode!

So what’s your key takeaway from this?  What do you need to do in the next 24 hours based on listening?

Share below!

Social Media Lead Generation Resources

  • My BOOK – Game Plan for Social Media Lead Generation: How to Develop a Business Strategy for using Social Media to grow Leads and Sales on Amazon.com

buy_on_amazon

  • Ebook – Game Plan for Social Media Lead Generation: How to Develop a Business Strategy for using Social Media to grow Leads and Sales for Kindle

kindle-buy-now-300x117


Help Spread the Word!

Please let your Twitter followers know about this podcast. Simply click here now to post a tweet >>.

If you enjoyed this episode of the Social Media Marketing podcast, please “go over to iTunes,  leave a rating, write a review and subscribe!

Thank you so much for your support!

Why the Halftime theme Mike? 

I’m an Indiana Hoosier native where basketball is the top sport. Every team heads to the locker room at halftime to evaluate the first half and create an updated plan for the second half. That plan includes adjustments based on reviewing what worked and what didn’t. The “halftime” is a key review point where the game stops, the team pulls away to huddle in the locker room away from the fans, and they come out prepared and ready to succeed in the second half.

That’s what this podcast is all about, taking the time to pull away for a bit to evaluate, learn, and set some strategies for your business to succeed in the second half. Join me by subscribing and let me be your “business halftime” to help you find great success going forward!

Subscribe: Halftime Mike on iTunes | Android users via RSS | Listen on Stitcher.

Download this Episode:
Catch all the episodes of Halftime Mike by signing up for inbox delivery below!

 

Planning and Budgeting for your 2017 Social Media and Online Marketing?

Grab my helpful checklist that includes strategy for social media lead generation. Click image!

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2017 Digital Marketing Planning Checklist

Is your 2017 Digital Marketing Planning underway?

2017 is around the corner and very soon it will be time to plan budgets and strategy for the new year.  Knowing this, I’ve created a handy ebook guide that helps you evaluate your 2016 marketing, discusses keys for 2017, and outlines all the details in a checklist you can follow to help you prepare your budgeting and strategy for next year.

Things change all the time, and rapidly, online so it’s important to stay current and my aim is to help you do that right here!

2017 Digital marketing planning checklist

In this episode of the halftime Mike podcast I dive into a number of the 20+ items in my forthcoming 2017 Digital Marketing Planning Checklist that will help you be ready for budgeting and setting strategy for your online marketing. Ready to dive in?

Listen Now:

Subscribe:  Halftime Mike on iTunes  | Android users via RSS  | Listen on Stitcher.

badge itunes lrg Growing Business Online: Identifying your Ideal Customer

2017 Digital Marketing Planning

You want to make more sales, grow revenue, and increase profits, so you’re regrouping and taking a long hard look at your online marketing as you look ahead to the new year.

But where do you start?

You know that the online world has grown tremendously in the past few years. It’s a key player for every business.

Can you be found online?

What social media networks should your business be on?

So where DO you start?

Right here……Review your marketing strategies and channels to audit their performance and set goals to improve and adapt.

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This checklist will help get you thinking and give you an actionable list to work through.

  • Review Website Stats for performance

Review your traffic sources and the top pages viewed.

Review how many leads you captured and how you captured them.

What is working well and what didn’t? Do you have an understanding of the trends?

 

  • Run an audit of a competitor’s website

Use a free website review tool online to compare your site with your closest competitor above you on the search engine. How do you compare? Did you like content that they created? Did they take advantage of opportunities like social media or PPC? Do you see things that you could do better?

 

  • Is your website mobile friendly?

Review how Google sees your website. Google mobile site checker This is directly related to your Search Engine ranking on mobile devices. Google says over half of all searches are done on mobile devices. They don’t want to serve up a website that is hard to read or can’t be seen. A mobile responsive site will make your website uniform across all platforms, smartphone, tablet and desktop.

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  • Take a fresh look at your website for end user experience

Browse your site from a phone and a tablet. Is it functional on these devices? Does it need to be redesigned to make it easy to use? Is it driving visitors to the main areas of the site  and capturing leads? What tweaks and changes need to be made to make your site mobile and tablet ready?

 

  • Run a website check to evaluate key site details

Use a website grader like this one from HubSpot https://website.grader.com/ to check load time, cashing and file compression, mobile capability and SEO factors.

Check for broken links and fix them. In WordPress there are plenty of plugins that will make this quick and easy or you can use a site like http://www.brokenlinkcheck.com/. If you use this you’ll need to check each page individually.

Google factors in these type of “mechanical” details when they’re pushing out sites. If you fix any of these issues with your site you’ll be way above the competition.

 

  • Review your content

Content matters BIG TIME! Search Engines are looking for sites that have regular, new, resource rich content. Try to add 3 blog posts a month, between 600 – 1000 words.

Does your content appeal to the head and the heart?

Is it professionally written? (It doesn’t need to be written by a professional, just reflect proper grammar and spelling.)

Do all content pieces (online and offline and external sites) include intelligent, meaningful Calls to Action (CTA’s)?

 

  • Optimize Titles and Headlines

Are your blog headlines capturing attention and engaging viewers?

Is your keyword in your title/headline/

Is your topic clear in your headline?

good-headlines

Use an image that conveys the message and feeling of the post

Label your image with your article title or your SEO keywords

Always add your article title to the alt text area of your image

If appropriate use captions

Optimize the size of your image for your website. If you don’t your image will take too long to load and impact your search engine rank.

 

  • Social sharing Buttons integrated

These buttons make it easy and quick for people to share your blog posts. Use them yourself to share your own blog posts.  This is typically a once and done install of social media icons so that each new page/blog post automatically has the social media icons you want on it.  The big keys to include are Facebook, Twitter, G+, LinkedIn, and  Pinterest for starters.

 

  • A first thing visitors see when they get to the site is the lead capture (above fold on site) Free opt-in

This free opt-in offer is a simple offer of resource in exchange for their name and email address.  It should be prominently displayed above the fold or in a pop-up. When visitors request your free opt-in item that requires name and email address, give them the resource and then add them to a email list to get follow-up content (See #16 and #17 below).  Remember, it takes generally 7 connections with your business before a visitor is ready and willing to do business with you!

 

  • Offer signup to get new blog posts via email option (soft lead capture)

Before you have your free opt-in offer ready make sure you have, at the very least, a blog post subscription form. This will subscribe them for your weekly/monthly blog article and any newsletters or eblasts. Again, the best sofl lead capture options are pop-ups on the page.  See our Waftio tool for a pop-up to add to your website.

 

  • Set up Drip Campaigns from Lead Capture

Now that people have signed up and allowed you to market to them … do just that! Set up a series of educational and trust-building emails that builds upon your free opt-in item and puts you in front of your audience during the same time frame as a sales cycle. This will keep you top of mind and when they are ready to buy they’ll purchase from you.  You can provide content and then link to existing blog posts on your site to streamline work for your team.

All this plus a lot more in the full Digital Marketing Planning ebook!

Hopefully that helps get you started on the path. Want the ebook?  Click to contact me and I’ll make sure you get added!

ACTION ITEM:

It’s time to evaluate your 2016 Digital Marketing Planning strategies!  Are they working and what needs to change to help you sizzle in 2017?  Plan now using this checklist to help you review so you can set budget and strategy to succeed in 2017!

What’s the next step you need to take to sharpen your digital marketing planning?

Catch my rant and unique angle in the podcast audio episode!

So what’s your key takeaway from this?  What do you need to do in the next 24 hours based on listening?

Share below!

Digital Marketing Planning Resources

 

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If you enjoyed this episode of the Social Media Marketing podcast, please “go over to iTunes,  leave a rating, write a review and subscribe!

Thank you so much for your support!

Why the Halftime theme Mike? 

I’m an Indiana Hoosier native where basketball is the top sport. Every team heads to the locker room at halftime to evaluate the first half and create an updated plan for the second half. That plan includes adjustments based on reviewing what worked and what didn’t. The “halftime” is a key review point where the game stops, the team pulls away to huddle in the locker room away from the fans, and they come out prepared and ready to succeed in the second half.

That’s what this podcast is all about, taking the time to pull away for a bit to evaluate, learn, and set some strategies for your business to succeed in the second half. Join me by subscribing and let me be your “business halftime” to help you find great success going forward!

Subscribe: Halftime Mike on iTunes | Android users via RSS | Listen on Stitcher.

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Integrate Your Online Marketing

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Social media is the buzzword tossed about by consumers and business professionals. It seems like every time someone tells you the best way to promote your business the first thing out of their mouth concerns social media as the leading new method.

One reason for this is because of the low barriers to entry. Social networking giants Facebook and Twitter have made a huge impression on the public, and marketers can reach their audience on those platforms. Time spent on those two networks per month is quite amazing.

Despite this fanfare, as a business owner you have to regard social media as only one aspect of an online marketing campaign. Because no matter how many likes your Facebook posts receive if these posts don’t drive customers to your website or your phone – then what’s the point? To this end, it’s imperative that you concentrate your online marketing with the aim of getting lead conversions.

Using Analytics to Gauge Success of Your Online Marketing

One of the most discouraging aspects of marketing is running a promotion for a couple of months without seeing results. However; those who continue to build momentum with consistent efforts can see results eventually. Just like anything else, online marketing is a process. Use analytics to review progress and make small changes to your original plan and you’ll gain more control over the process.

Don’t hesitate to track your stats; after all, if you don’t track it how will you know how to make improvements? Solid analytics will improve your email marketing campaign, your social media posts and ultimately your website traffic.

Content is King – Value Provision

Google mandates a website have good, quality content as part of its search engine algorithm. The last thing you want to say in online marketing is “Buy me!” and that’s it. It doesn’t work. Relationship building and management is the key. You have to give them something of value. In return, you get a customer when they trust you and have had their questions answered. Provide your readers with how to guides, useful downloads, content (via blogging), etc. If you don’t know where to start, just answer questions that seem to pop up consistently about your product or service. This, all by itself, would drive traffic.

Relationship building and management is the key. You have to give them something of value. In return, you get a customer when they trust you and have had their questions answered. Provide your readers with how to guides, useful downloads, content (via blogging), etc. If you don’t know where to start, just answer questions that seem to pop up consistently about your product or service. This, all by itself, would drive traffic.

Provide your readers with how to guides, useful downloads, content (via blogging), etc. If you don’t know where to start, just answer questions that seem to pop up consistently about your product or service. This, all by itself, would drive traffic.

Keep them Coming Back with Drip Campaigns

The name of the game here is the “soft lead capture”. When someone leaves your website the stats show the majority don’t come back.  Most websites have a 25% return rate.

Therefore it’s important to have a simple “soft” offer while they are on your site.  Something of value like a resource guide or discount coupon, something that fits your industry.  To gain access they must give you their name and email address.  With tools like Waftio.com on your site you can easily create this and the value is that you ensure you have a way to stay in contact with that visitor via email regardless if they return to your website soon or not.

Once they sign-up, you can add them to a email marketing list.  A “drip campaign” lets you build trust, nurture the lead, and then even separate your traffic by the actions they take in the emails. Develop a more in-depth nurturing program for traffic that’s willing to go deeper and become qualified leads. In fact, this is another place where analytics can give you great returns. By seeing which landing pages are converting sales, you can learn how to deliver similar content. Building relationships through integrated marketing is the key to success in online marketing.

Develop a more in-depth nurturing program for traffic that’s willing to go deeper and become qualified leads. In fact, this is another place where analytics can give you great returns. By seeing which landing pages are converting sales, you can learn how to deliver similar content. Building relationships through integrated marketing is the key to success in online marketing.

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5 Building Blocks of an Effective Web Presence

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It’s important to keep up with the frequent changes on the web that affect your company’s online presence. Here are several key points to keep in mind to make sure your web presence is consistent and performing well according to today’s standards. The way that you present yourself on the web will influence your audience’s judgment of your company and whether they stick around to interact with you.

1. Responsive Website Design

Having a site with responsive design is a must. This means mobile and tablet friendly as the website “responds” to adjust and present content well based on the device it is being viewed on.

An increasing number of users are navigating the web on their tablet or smartphone. Ensure your company’s visibility by having a responsive design. The mobile view of your website should have large, clear text, images, and buttons that are easily clickable with a finger. Don’t put clickable links too close together and make them easy for large fingers to click. Analyze each page of your mobile website individually for its usability and design.

2. Organized and Prioritized Layout

Typically, the users of your website will do what you “tell them” to do.

By having an organized site navigation, you’re making it easier for the user to complete a goal. That goal is usually a conversion of some sort; it may be checkout completion, an email opt-in, registration sign-up, etc. Once the goal is initiated, make sure your users know they have arrived at the correct place with relevant content on the appropriate page.

3. Blog Resource Center

For users to view you as an authority, you will need to display your company’s expertise and be a resource.

A blog allows you to publish content quickly and easily. When you provide value upfront in the form of content, you allow others to build trust in your knowledge. That trust supports your credibility and places you in the position of the expert. Users will come back to your site time and time again when they know your site contains a wealth of resources in the form of guides, videos, whitepapers, and other content you can publish on your blog.

4. Lead Capture CTA

Moving someone from visitor to lead is lead capture, and to do so you need a CTA (Call to Action).

It’s essential to stay current with best practices for gathering information from your viewers. Many sites have had good success with embedding an email opt-in box in a blog post. Nowadays, it’s necessary to get creative. The old email opt-in box in the sidebar of your site trick isn’t working as effectively and should not be your only means of CTA on your website. On your blog, offer expert level information as downloadable content. Use call to actions to entice a viewer into downloading your content to gain a valuable lead for a product or service you offer.

5. Social Media Sharing on Key Pages

Your site needs to make it easy for your own business, as well as any visitor, to share your great blog and web page content on social media! Offer the primary social media network sharing buttons at the top or side of key pages. It’s highly recommended to have them on every new blog post you publish on your business site. Typically this is a one-time setup by your web developer. Allowing others to share your content helps your content to get spread wider and farther online.

Become an active social listener in your industry and learn the pain points of your audience. The more problems you can solve for your audience, the more value you provide, which enhances your web presence and the value your audience recognizes in your business.  By following these 5 simple guidelines on your business website, you can establish a credible presence online that grows business.

It’s not just a website, it’s a sales tool!

Using Waftio for Surveys

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Finding a cost-effective, and efficient method of generating leads is always at the top of marketers lists. Surveys are a great way to interact with your target consumer base and gauge your brand’s marketability based on its reception by the public.  If you keep them simple, surveys can be a great way to learn and even grow leads at the same time.
Waftio is a convenient lead generation system that comes with a built-in function that allows you to easily create your own embedded survey app to give to your target audience.

What To Use a Survey For

Use a survey to connect with your viewers and get answers from your clients and prospective clients on their perspective or experience. Here’re a few tips on surveys.

  • Ask open-ended questions to get opinions on products, from additional colors and sizes to additional features.
  • Find out what your customers want you to teach them. Ask about their pain and challenges with your industry or product and answer their questions with your next blog posts.
  • Get the lowdown on your packaging or website. Ask about the end user experience to make your product or website easier for your customer.
  • Another method is to use a quick checkbox or multiple-choice question survey to get specific, measurable feedback.  Asking 3-4 questions is reasonable and can be accomplished by the visitor in less than 25 seconds.

Here are some tips and tricks to creating a simple, but effective survey using Waftio’s user-friendly interface.

Getting the Waftio Survey App Up and Running

You’ll want log into Waftio, and locate the Add App tab. Click on either the Add App or Click Here located at the bottom of the tab.

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You’ll see 3 options, Survey App, Form App and Sweepstakes Form App. Click on survey app to continue this process.
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Defining Your Survey’s Specifications

This is the step in which you’ll get hands-on and craft your survey according to your needs. There are several settings options on board to assist you in this process, which are:

  • App Builder – Where you will build the foundation for your survey
  • Embed – Allowing you to embed the form on your website
  • Integrations – Allows key data like name and email address to be added right to email services like MailChimp, AWeber, and InfusionSoft, or to event tool like GoToWebinar.

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You’ll use the App Builder function to add relevant images to your survey and fill the app with necessary data to serve its intended purpose. Simply click the Add option and plug in any question you wish to be answered by your viewers.

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Ideally, you will want to use questions that relate, either directly or indirectly, to your product, service or brand. Once your survey is complete, you can embed it on your webpage.

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Analyzing the Outcome of Your New Survey

Under the Stats tab, you have the option to view statistics about your survey. You have the option to see if and when users submitted their information and what type of device they used.Deciphering the information itself can be a bit trickier. Your app could be as simple as asking the user to provide their name or email, or feedback on your web page itself.

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Not getting the response you’d like? You might need to change a thing or two in your app. Waftio is an excellent, easy to use lead generation system and its ability to completely automate the process of conducting surveys can be invaluable.

How have you used surveys to get the vital info need to keep your business growing? Share with us in the comments.

Transform Email into a Team Productivity & Collaboration Tool with Hiver

Transform Email into a Team Productivity & Collaboration Tool
Increasing productivity can be overwhelming for small and medium-sized businesses. Customer Relationship Management tools may be feature-rich, but also overkill for a 3-10 person team.

But what if a tool a team is already using could be transformed into a workflow and customer support system?

Introducing Hiver for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses. It’s a web tool leveraging Gmail to turn a team into a Super Team Management tool.

Hiver General Overview

Let’s face it, many small to medium sized business owners already rely on Gmail and Google Apps for communication and collaboration.

The challenge? Gmail doesn’t come with an intuitive workflow and process for getting client work done. It’s simply loads of email.

Anyone who’s had a client email or project task fall through the cracks via email inbox holes appreciates the danger of that black hole. But a solution is at hand: Hiver.

Hiver lets users embed crucial collaboration and team management functions right into Gmail. Now business owners can seamlessly communicate with clients AND their team, and keep track of projects…all via email.

They can simplify their workflow by adding these functionalities to their Gmail capabilities:

  • Project Management
  • Customer Support
  • Lead Management

Streamline Processes with Hiver

Today any business can leverage remote employees or hire virtual assistants. While it frees up business owners to concentrate on more important tasks, staying coordinated and effective can be a challenge.

Leveraging Hiver’s built in process-streamlining functions keeps it coordinated. Here are key features:

Shared Gmail Labels

Gmail labels are nothing new. Gmail already allows users to create new labels for an email. Each label effectively “files” the email into one or more categories.

An example of a user’s labels for business could be “New Leads” or “Task: Peter.” But without Hiver, only one person has access to the Labels.

Hiver takes Gmail Labels a step further. After creating a label and assigning the label to the appropriate emails, the label can be shared with one or more users.

For example, Bob on the sales team or perhaps the employees in charge of on-boarding a new client.

Simply add the Hiver Extension to the Chrome Browser from the Chrome Web Store. Hiver walks new users through the entire process in a couple of minutes with a step by step tutorial.

Shared Gmail Labels

Shared Contacts

Share and sync contact information between team members automatically. Hiver adds a layer of functionality to Google Contacts.

Create a contacts group within Gmail, and the group can be shared through Hiver. No more searching through emails or text messages for a prospect’s information.

Hiver means an office-based team AND the mobile team in the field have up-to-the-minute prospect and client contact data.

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Email Templates

An effective sales team appreciates speed – getting back to clients with the right information quickly and accurately can be crucial. A team can have a lightening-fast response time with email templates.

Create one email template in Hiver and share it across an organization with Hiver. Standardize a template email reply and a team’s accuracy and speed in answering common questions increases.

shared gmail templates

 

Shared Notes

Sometimes email isn’t enough. For those moments requiring internal coordination or information about a particular email, Shared Notes fits the bill.

Imagine a digital post-it note right next to an email. Only the people the note has been shared with can see shared notes. Hiver allows a team to coordinate around an email without accidentally team notes to the client. No more hunting for notes that have been emailed back and forth.

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Smarter Email

Hiver gives anyone’s Gmail a higher IQ, and a team the ability to respond to clients’ needs faster. It’s a tool to consider for keeping your team aligned and flowing in the same direction!