Webinar Set for May Will Teach Small Businesses to Cope with Greatest Security Threats

Webinar Set for May Will Teach Small Businesses to Cope with Greatest Security Threats

Security, whether it is in the physical or digital world, is a big issue for businesses of all sizes.  With data breaches costing companies millions in the digital world, and inventory shrinkage and theft causing similar headaches for stores, an upcoming Brivo/Small Business Trends webinar seeks to educate on the subject.

The webinar happens May 16, 2018, at 2  p.m. ET with Anita Campbell, founder and CEO of Small Business Trends, Nicki Saffell, Senior Security Consultant at Brivo, and Sara Polon, owner of Soupergirl, a DC area small business.

These thought leaders will discuss data breaches, inventory shrinkage and theft along with ways to combat them.

You can get more details from the featured Events Section and sign up for the webinar while you are at it.

If you happen to have your own webinar or another event, contest, or award listing, you can post it by visiting the Small Business Events Calendar.



Featured Events, Contests and Awards

Entrepreneurs Cruise 2018Entrepreneurs Cruise 2018
April 22, 2018, Florida, United States of America

Are you an Entrepreneur and need to get away and take a break? Ready to recharge, rejuvenate in new surroundings and be inspired by other like minds? Then, you can’t miss the 4th annual Entrepreneurs Cruise! Entrepreneurs Cruise 2018 takes place April 22nd to 29th, 2018 onboard the Royal Caribbean ‘Oasis of the Seas’ Cruise Ship departing Orlando (Port Canaveral), Florida, sailing to Philipsburg (St. Maarten), San Juan (Puerto Rico), Labadee (Haiti). Register today!


DigiMarCon East 2018 - Digital Marketing ConferenceDigiMarCon East 2018 – Digital Marketing Conference
May 10, 2018, New York, New York

DigiMarCon East 2018 Digital Marketing Conference takes place May 10th to 11th, 2018 at the luxurious New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square, New York City.
It’s the one digital marketing event you can’t afford to miss! Whether your goal is to reinforce customer loyalty, improve lead generation, increase sales, or drive stronger consumer engagement, DigiMarCon East 2018’s agenda will help attendees enhance their marketing efforts. Sessions will focus on building traffic, expanding brand awareness, improving customer service and gaining insight into today’s latest digital tools. Register today!


WEBINAR: Small Business Doesn’t Mean Small Security: 3 Major Threats You Need to CombatWEBINAR: Small Business Doesn’t Mean Small Security: 3 Major Threats You Need to Combat
May 16, 2018, Online

Data breaches, inventory shrinkage, theft, oh my. On average, data breaches cost $3.62 million per breach and stolen customer data costs $141 per record. And inventory shrinkage in the United States is a $60 billion a year problem. Believe it or not, your business exists within both of those realities. Do you know who is accessing your most valuable assets and sensitive information? Do you know what your employees do when you are not physically onsite? On May 16, 2018, at 2PM ET join Nicki Saffell, Senior Security Consultant at Brivo, Sara Polon, Owner of Soupergirl, a DC area small business, and Anita Campbell, Founder and CEO of Small Business Trends, for a discussion on these challenges and discover modern ways to combat these threats – including electronic access control.


TECHSPO Houston 2018TECHSPO Houston 2018
June 06, 2018, Houston, Texas

TECHSPO Houston 2018 is a 2-day technology expo which takes place JUNE 6 – 7, 2018 at the luxurious Houston Marriott Eaton Centre Hotel in Houston, Ontario. TECHSPO Houston brings together developers, brands, marketers, technology providers, designers, innovators and evangelists looking to set the pace in our advanced world of technology. TECHSPO Houston 2018 promises to be better than ever and we’re excited to see all the amazing tech companies and talent that will join us. Register today!


Growth & Success ConGrowth & Success Con
September 17, 2018, Online

This small business virtual conference is dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs at all stages who are stuck in the daily grind of building their businesses and struggle to get solid advice and guidance. An amazing panel of experts in various disciplines and business coaches will share tips & tricks on topics including Growth, Marketing, Management & Business Building for Success. Register today!


More Events

More Contests

This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends and SmallBizTechnology.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Webinar Set for May Will Teach Small Businesses to Cope with Greatest Security Threats” was first published on Small Business Trends

How to Quickly Identify What Is Killing Your Blog Conversions

Blogging is one of my favorite marketing tools. There are many benefits to blogging—that’s why all my websites have blogs.

But honestly, I enjoy it as well. Writing blog posts keeps your finger on the pulse and helps you stay connected with your audience. I’m not saying you have to be in love with it, but it definitely makes things easier if you like to write.

If you take care of your blog, your blog will take care of you in return.

Those of you who have a blog up and running are headed in the right direction. But if your posts are not generating leads or getting readers to convert, it’s a problem.

First, it’s a waste of your time. Think about all the time and effort you put into these posts. If nobody’s reading them or converting, you’d almost be better off not writing at all.

Second, it’s a huge missed opportunity. Blogging is basically free marketing. The only cost to you is your time writing.

If you can learn how to write content that converts, you’ll have a huge return on your investment.

The problem is people writing blog posts don’t know why their blogs don’t help them convert their readers. If this sounds like you, you’ll definitely benefit from this guide.

I’ve outlined how you can identify the elements, or lack thereof, on your blog that are crushing your conversion rates.

Once you recognize the problems, it should be an easy fix. Here are the factors you need to keep an eye on.

Infrequent posts

You can’t expect high conversion rates if you’re not constantly posting new content on your blog. Those of you posting only once or twice a month need to step up your game.

Here’s how often the average blogger publishes posts on their website:

image2 8

As you can see, the majority of websites publish a new post on a weekly basis or at least several times per month. That must be the best approach, right? Think again.

Although there is a higher percentage of bloggers posting at this frequency, it doesn’t mean it’s the best option.

In fact, 66.7% percent of bloggers who publish content more than once per day report strong results based on this frequency. Only 31.5% of bloggers who post on a weekly basis feel the same way.

So for the most part, it’s safe to say the more often you post, the better your conversions will be.

On average, it took bloggers 3 hours and 20 minutes to write a blog post in 2017. I’m not saying that’s fast, but it really isn’t that unreasonable.

Let’s say you work five days per week. Can you dedicate two hours a day toward writing? If you can find the time, that’s three new posts per week.

Try to start there and see what kind of results you get for the next couple of months. Posting more often increases the chances of you getting a steady audience of regular readers.

As a result, the increased traffic to your website and the growing number of people becoming familiar with your voice can lead to higher conversions.

Large blocks of text

Analyze your writing style for a second. If you’re writing huge paragraphs that are five, six, or even seven lines long, you’ll need to cut that down significantly.

You’re writing a post for a blog. Don’t think of it like a college research paper. Try to limit your paragraphs to just two or three lines at the most.

Add images to help break up your content and make the posts look more appealing. This strategy is highly effective if you’re directing your readers to do something:

image4 8

That’s because visual content is easier for most of your readers to understand. In fact, 65% of people are visual learners.

Images resonate with people. Adding them to your blog makes your content easier to comprehend and retain. As a result, you’ll get higher conversions.

If you’re currently writing large blocks of text, you can use my posts as a guide to help you change. Scroll through this post to see how short my paragraphs are and how I use images to let the text breathe.

Brief sentences and short paragraphs also make your content more conversational. This is much easier and more enjoyable for people to read.

Here are some other tips and tricks for breaking up your large blocks of text. Add bullet points and lists to your blog posts.

These will stand out on the page and make it easier for your readers to scan. Only 16% of people read blog posts word for word—79% of readers scan it.

Scannable posts will appeal to your readers, making it more likely they’ll consume more of your content.

Your call to action is unclear

What’s the purpose of your blog posts? If you don’t know the answer to this question, that’s probably why you’re not seeing high conversions rates.

How can your readers know what action you want them to take if even you don’t know what you want them to do? Go back to the drawing board, and come up with clear CTAs.

Check out this blog post written by Ian Blair at BuildFire:

image1 8

In this section of the post, Ian is talking about the fact that businesses need to spend money to develop a mobile application, which can be expensive.

He then offers a solution to the readers who may be looking for a more cost-effective way to build an app. He recommends they contact the BuildFire custom development team.

The CTA is set up perfectly, and he even hyperlinks the text so his readers can go directly to the contact page instead of having to search for it.

A quick side note. Notice how this blog post also includes short paragraphs and images to break up the content, which I have discussed above.

You can incorporate a clear CTA in your blog posts in many ways. You can follow the example above and work it into the text. Or you could  have large CTA buttons in the middle or at the end of your posts.

Here’s another example from a Hubspot blog post about Instagram marketing:

image6 8

There is a popup on the bottom right side of the screen that encourages readers to check out their customizable Instagram templates.

At the bottom of the post, there is another pitch for the same 25 templates. They are free, and the CTA clearly says, “Download Now.”

This is a great strategy because the blog post is about Instagram. It wouldn’t make sense to have these CTAs here if the content was about Facebook or Snapchat. A clear and relevant CTA will have higher conversion rates.

The content doesn’t speak to your audience

Take a minute to think about your website and brand. You already know how to identify your target market. Make sure your blog posts speak to this group of people.

For example, let’s say your company sells customized skateboards. Your target market is primarily teenagers and young adults living in Southern California.

You’ve got an ecommerce site as well so customers can place orders online. You add a blog to your website to try to get even more conversions. Great idea.

But it’s ineffective if your blog posts aren’t appealing to your target market. There’s no reason for you to be talking about household appliances or travel arrangements in your posts.

You may think that example is extreme, but you’d be surprised how off topic some blog posts from certain websites are. It’s shocking.

That’s because people seem to run out of ideas. They don’t know what to write about, so they pick a random topic or go off on a tangent in one of their posts.

This is a fast way to lose the interest of your audience.

Your blog isn’t mobile friendly

Did you know 85% of adults in the United States read news on their mobile devices? With mobile trends on the rise in 2018, your blog needs to be optimized accordingly.

People are viewing your website from mobile devices. It’s a fact. Ignoring this is a huge mistake that’s crushing your conversion rates.

There are roughly 5 billion unique mobile users across the globe.

image7 7

If you don’t provide such a large group of people with an enjoyable reading experience, you risk alienating them.

Those of you who don’t have a mobile-friendly blog need to address it immediately.

In addition to optimizing your blog for mobile devices, you need to pay attention to your writing style. It needs to accommodate mobile users by offering them small bits of information at at time. Recall the earlier discussion about removing large blocks of content from your posts.

Five-line paragraphs on your desktop site will look twice as long on mobile devices.

You’re forgetting about Google’s algorithm

Understand the way people find your blog posts. You can’t expect that people visiting your website will automatically navigate to your blog.

You need your blog posts to be top hits on Google when people search for related terms. If they click on your posts after a search, you’ll increase your chances of getting more conversions.

To make sure you’re on the first page of Google’s search results, you’ll need to learn the basics of search engine optimization.

Posting new blog posts on a regular basis, which we discussed earlier, will definitely help you increase the rankings. You’ll also want to make sure you don’t have any broken links, errors, and large images, taking too long to load.

But one of the best ways to optimize your blog posts for Google’s search algorithm is with keywords.

Think about the words or phrases people would type into a search bar. Include those keywords into your posts. Adding long tail key phrases increases your chances of getting higher conversions:

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That’s because when people search for something on Google, they typically use a phrase rather than one word.

In fact, the average number of words for an Internet search query in the United States is five words.

The more descriptive you can be, the more likely your posts will come up as top search results.

Your posts are not being shared on social media

Besides SEO, you’ll need to come up with other ways to drive more traffic to your blog posts. Social media websites are perfect for this.

The reason why I love sharing blog posts on social media is because it kills two birds with one stone.

First, you’ll get more traffic to your blogs.

But second, these posts give you an excuse to post new content on your social platforms, keeping your feeds fresh.

Post on a daily basis if you want your followers to stay engaged—that’s why this strategy is a no-brainer.

If you look at my Twitter profile, you’ll see I use this strategy to promote my posts:

image8 5

In addition to sharing these posts yourself, you should also encourage your readers to share your content.

The easiest way to do this is by including social sharing links within your blog posts. That way, your content can be shared with just one click.

Here’s how I implemented this strategy on my website:

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Take advantage of your social media platforms. By driving more traffic to your blog posts, you’ll ultimately get more conversions.

Conclusion

Blogging is a great way to drive traffic to your website and increase conversions.

Those of you who are blogging but not happy with your conversions rates will need to make some changes.

Post more often, and get rid of large blocks of text. Make sure your content speaks to your audience and has clear CTAs.

Your blog posts need to be mobile-friendly.

Use keyword optimization to drive more traffic to your blogs.

Leverage social media platforms to drive more traffic to your blog posts as well.

Once you’ve identified what you’re doing incorrectly, it should be easy to fix these mistakes.

After you implement these changes, you’ll notice much higher conversion rates from your blog posts.

What elements of your blog need to be updated to increase your conversions?

Disturbed – The Sound Of Silence [Official Music Video]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9Dg-g7t2l4&w=640&h=360]

Online Advantages, an Internet #Marketing Company, Announces New Location in Miami, #Florida

The New East Coast Office will Serve Miami, Florida, and the Greater South East Coast MIAMI, April 13, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Matt Maglodi, founder of the internet marketing company Online Advantages, is pleased to announce the grand opening of a new East …

6 Ways to Promote Your E-commerce Products on Social Without Being Salesy

The average person spends almost two hours on social every day.

This comes out to five years and four months on social apps over the course of a lifetime.

While this number may sound astounding, we all know how great social can be for connecting and engaging with friends, family, and brands we love.

We can get the news, family updates, and current events we need to feel connected all in one place.

But what’s one thing we’re not looking for on social media?

A sales pitch.

Promoting on social is like walking a tightrope.

When your messaging is on, your social posts can pick up wind, sending your products flying off their digital shelves.

But when you get your messaging wrong…

Coming across too salesy on social can leave your followers racing for the “unfriend” button.

To help you find the perfect balance, here are six ways you can use to promote your e-commerce products without being too salesy.

1. Connect with bloggers and influencers

Friends and family have always been one of the most trusted sources for product recommendations.

According to Collective Bias, 70% of millennials are influenced by their peers’ recommendations when making a purchase.

70% of millennials prefer endorsements from non-celebrities

However, with social, that pool of trustworthy “peers” grows exponentially.

Customers now have more than just their friends and family to get recommendations from. They can turn to bloggers, influencers, celebrities, and the trend-makers themselves.

So why not work with those influencers to become a part of the trends they create?

By establishing partnerships with influencers and bloggers, you can increase product sales and grow a more loyal customer base.

Influencer marketing is a driving force when it comes to social promotion because of how seamlessly posts can blend into a user’s timeline.

In fact, Tomoson places influencer marketing as the most effective strategy for acquiring new customers quickly.

fastest growing online customer acquisition method

Establishing relationships with influencers, bloggers, and trusted celebrities gives you the opportunity to promote your products effectively without sounding like a sleazy salesperson.

After all, the post isn’t coming directly from your brand.

Instead, influencers share their own insights about your products – building awareness and trust.

While some brand posts are organic, the fastest and easiest way to get your products on an influencer’s feed is through sponsored content.

Although the post may be paid, you want it to seem as natural as possible.

Let’s not forget Scott Disick’s major ad mistake.

letthelordbewithyou instagram

Work with influencers who are excited to show off your brand – and willing to put in the effort to create a caption that helps your content stand out.

Also, make sure they’re appropriately tagging each post.

According to some new boundaries established by the FTC, each post needs to be properly tagged as sponsored.

The easiest way to do this is with a simple #ad or #paid, like we see in this example of a sponsored post from Naked Juice.

naked juice sponsored ad on instagram

Unfortunately, this kind of hashtag (literally) screams advertisement.

These posts can come across a bit spammy, potentially pushing away followers for both your brand and the influencer you’re working with.

Although you need to make it clear that the content being shared is sponsored, you are free to get creative with how you do so.

Try labeling your sponsorships as partnerships. According to this tweet from the FTC, a “partner” hashtag is a unique – and ethical – way to let followers know you’ve paid for the post.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

A campaign-specific hashtag like this one can also collect your sponsored images into one place.

When a potential customer clicks your #XXPartner tag, they’ll see what other influencers you’ve been working with.

So what’s the bottom line with influencer marketing?

Don’t try to deceive your fans and followers into thinking a post is organic.

Focus on creating long-lasting relationships with influencers within your industry and be open about sharing products, promotions, and events.

As your connection and trust develop, you’ll see more and more returns out of your influencer relationship – meaning stronger sales from their posts.

2. Run a contest or promotion

Remember when Instagram users lost their minds over a red bathing suit?

In May 2017, Sunny Co Clothing announced a promotion on their Instagram feed. Anyone who shared the image and tagged the company within the next 24 hours would receive a free suit.

red suit instagram

The promo took off.

In just a few hours, Sunny Co Clothing had to post yet another message stating they would reserve the right to cap the promotion if necessary.

A day later, they released another post announcing they would fulfill the first 50,000 orders.

Just 25 hours after the start of the campaign, Sunny Co Clothing’s Instagram following had jumped from just 7,000 users to 784,000.

The response to the red bathing suit giveaway was overwhelming, but not that surprising. A free item is always a great way to create a buzz.

Here’s another contest promotion from Tom’s.

toms shoes contest promotion twitter

Tom’s annual #withoutshoes tradition challenges participants all around the world to spend the day barefoot.

For each image uploaded using the hashtag, Tom’s donates one pair of shoes to children in need.

While participants aren’t the ones to walk away with a new pair of shoes, the promotion builds awareness about the brand, as well as the causes the company supports.

To see real results from a promotion, stay true to your brand.

Focus on quality of participants – not just quantity.

And remember, proper planning is key when it comes to running a successful promotion.

Lay out your rules clearly and easily.

Here were the rules for Sunny Co Clothing’s red bathing suit giveaway.

sunny team contest rules

State when you’ll pick your winner, when the entry pool will close, and when winners can expect their rewards.

Establishing your expectations early on can reduce confusion and keep both you and participants happy.

Create a promotion plan for your contest. Let participants know it’s coming and have a strategy for getting the word out.

Most importantly, have a plan for what you’ll do next.

Think beyond just the contest. Develop a plan for getting new leads and customers into a proper marketing funnel once the promotion period ends.

Don’t let your new leads escape without first adding them to an email list or getting them to engage with your social profiles.

3. Start producing product videos

There are over 500 million hours of video watched on YouTube every day.

This means over 57,000 years worth of video content is absorbed across the world each and every day.

And according to Social Media Today, video is only going to become more and more popular.

internet video traffic

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that we’re becoming more and more attracted to visual content.

Video is becoming easier than ever to create and share.

You no longer need bulky or expensive equipment to create a video worth showing off.

In fact, social makes it more acceptable than ever to post a video you filmed on your smartphone.

Video allows you to engage with your audience in a new way.

You can show off reviews, give tutorials, or give customers a close-up look at your products. You get the opportunity to share your voice, humanize your brand, and strengthen relationships with customers.

The addition of live video on Facebook or Instagram, as well as Snapchat and Instagram Stories, allows you to appear as just another friend to your target audience.

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Glossier does a great job at using video to blend into their follower’s feeds.

glossier instagram stories

Within their Instagram Story, Glossier goes beyond simply showing off the products they offer.

Instead, they work with influencers, employees, and everyday people to feature real-life applications of their makeup and skincare line.

Videos like these place your viewer in the product user’s shoes.

Shoppers can get inspiration, tips, or just see your products from a new perspective. Watching your products in action can help them make more educated purchasing decisions.

If you choose to use Instagram Stories for promotion, be sure to link to your products within your post.

This neat feature can encourage your customer to buy right then and there – decreasing the chances they’ll forget to come back later.

Another way to use video comes from Dollar Shave Club.

our blades are great dollar shave club

If we didn’t watch all of our shows on Netflix, this would be just a typical commercial.

It gives the major benefits of Dollar Shave Club, but it also helps shows some personality.

Is all this information probably located on their website? Yes.

Is this a more interesting way to absorb that information? Absolutely.

A new, exciting spin on the company’s most important information can make potential customers stop scrolling.

The video will get shares, a few likes, and maybe even some laughs.

But most importantly, customers will remember it more than a typical text list of benefits posted to Facebook.

According to the Social Media Today study, video can be a powerful influence on shoppers.

With four times more buyers preferring video over text, there’s no excuse not to have some strong video content.

videos in ecommerce stats

Think of your product videos as a way of letting customers behind the curtain. Show them who you are, what you do, and invite them to get to know exactly who runs your brand.

Focus on providing value. If there isn’t clear, distinct, and honest information about your products, it’s time for a second take.

Finally, have a promotion plan. Don’t assume customers will watch your videos just because they’re there!

Know when to post, what to post, and where to post it.

4. Share user-generated content

Who are the best magnets for new customers?

Current customers.

User-generated content is designed to create a community. By using the brand as a middleman to connect other shoppers, user-generated campaigns connect buyers from all over the world.

With 92% of consumers trusting user-generated content more than traditional advertising, it can be one of the best ways to promote e-commerce products on social.

User-generated content, like the multi-channel #AerieReal, encourages actual users to share their own posts using the products they’ve purchased.

aeriereal facebook post

Similar to Glossier’s Instagram Story, the #AerieReal campaign allows customers to see what Aerie’s products look like on real people in everyday situations.

But Aerie also takes their user-generated content a bit further.

Aerie started their #AerieReal campaign as a way to fight the overwhelming amount of photoshop and image manipulation in the fashion industry.

They use their user-generated campaign in an effort to show off bodies of all types, shapes and sizes.

To encourage users to share their own posts, Aerie donates $1 for every post to the National Eating Disorders Association.

This gives their customers an opportunity to show off their unique style skills while also contributing to a great cause.

Plus, user-generated content can be a way to work around the annoying limitations to Facebook advertising.

ugc creating a brand

According to Mavrck, user-generated content can increase your engagement by almost 7X.

With the new Facebook algorithm centered around improving the user experience, a user-generated campaign can help you improve engagement.

The stronger your post engagement, the more impressions you’ll have.

Let’s take a look at how LEGO generates content from their users.

lego facebook page in 2018

Within LEGO Ideas, users become designers.

LEGO Ideas gets end-users involved in the product-creation process similar to a Kickstarter campaign. They brainstorm, vote, and ultimately become a part of the creation process.

This also saves some of LEGO’s skin.

Running potential ideas past customers before a project is developed can help save a product from flopping.

Once the project is complete, LEGO can market the idea as a user-generated project.

According to the Harvard Business Review, this can increase sales up to 20%.

TurnTo found that there are many reasons why users tend to engage better with user-generated content.

the impact of ugc

From increased confidence to more authentic experiences, user-generated content can help you establish the trust that your brand otherwise couldn’t.

So go ahead.

Show off how much your customers love you.

Ask for videos and pictures.

Create a unique hashtag.

Encourage your loyal fans to share their stories.

Get your customers talking – not just to you, but to each other.

5. Take advantage of enhanced posts on Pinterest and Instagram

What is one of the biggest struggles of getting a customer to buy from social media?

Pushing your customer from the social platform to a purchasing page.

If you can’t directly link to the product page, you need to find a way to show your customer where to buy.

While Facebook and Twitter allow you to simply add product links wherever you want, Instagram and Pinterest like to make linking a bit more complicated.

Here’s an example of the only place you can feature a link on Instagram:

Adidias instagram

Unfortunately for you and your shoppers, going to your bio isn’t the most convenient way to get to a product page.

With only one link option, users can’t get directly to the product they saw in a traditional post.

On Pinterest, you can link to a webpage from each post.

However, that link may be to a blog post or homepage that doesn’t directly sell the product your user is looking for.

If it’s too complicated for your customers to buy, they’re likely to give up before they complete their purchase.

Luckily, each platform offers enhanced post options that make it easier for customers to purchase – without you needing to scream directions at them.

On Pinterest, “Buyable Pins,” allow users to buy without ever leaving the Pinterest platform.

They look like this.

buyable pins black shoes

Shoppers are no longer saving items as “inspiration.” Instead, Buyable Pins give them the opportunity to store products like a shopping cart.

If they’re not ready to purchase at that moment, they can come back to the pin when they are.

Because the posts appear within organic content, Buyable Pins don’t seem salesy. They blend in with other pins – only offering the additional step of purchasing if the user is interested.

Pinterest is a social frontrunner for e-commerce products, with almost double the average order amount as Facebook.

pinterest average order value from buyable pins

Pinterest shoppers are ready to buy.

They’re looking up items they want, inspiration for events, and they’re ready to pull out their wallets for something they love.

Instagram is similar.

As another visual-centric platform, Instagram is flooded with influencers, brands, and regular people showing off high-quality images of products and purchases they love.

To make it easier for shoppers to buy directly from Instagram, they introduced a new Shopping feature.

You can see it in this example from Warby Parker.

warby parker instagram shopping

With both Pinterest and Instagram, you’ll want to focus on high-quality images that cleanly and clearly display the product, but that don’t read “advertisement.”

Because they are not featured the same way a sponsored or promoted piece is, they have the power to blend right into the timeline of your users.

If they’re not interested, they’ll pass right by without the annoyance of being assaulted by an unwanted ad.

If they are, they can tap through to purchase.

Use these enhance posts, but do so thoughtfully. Don’t overwhelm your shoppers with purchasing links in every post.

6. Become a part of the conversation

Let me guess.

You have your social media notifications off, posts scheduled, and when you check on your engagement, you only look to see the number of likes and comments you’ve gotten?

While there is nothing wrong with silencing your notifications or using an automation tool, there is something wrong with ignoring your customers and clients.

Because according to CoSchedule, customers spend more with companies that engage with them on social media.

customers spend more with companies that engage on social media

If you could add about 30% to each online order just responding to comments, liking some posts, and giving advice, why wouldn’t you?

Social is about creating conversations – not blurting out whatever promotion you have running that week.

While this tip may not be a direct promotion strategy, it’s a long-term investment that can improve your sales and strengthen your customer relationships.

Here’s a relatively simple communication between REI and a customer.

rei twitter

By lending a helping hand and being available for questions, REI is blending sales and customer service – improving the shopping experience for customers.

This kind of unique attention can catch a customer’s eye.

Whether a digital passerby sees you assisting another customer or you’re speaking directly to the shopper in need, engaging with your audience can make your brand more memorable.

Not only can this improve your chances of getting a sale right then and there, but the customer will also come back for more.

But you don’t have to wait for customers to come to you with questions or feedback.

Check out this #DearEverlane campaign.

dear everlane instagram

Using #DearEverlane, the company blends testimonials, user-generated content, and social proof to get some awesome conversations started.

Not only are they providing feedback and responding to comments, but they’re also putting it on display for other customers to see.

They’re showing that they’re human.

Don’t be afraid of your audience finding out there are real people running your business.

Encourage them to get in touch, ask questions, and reach out with feedback.

Then acknowledge those comments with genuine, thoughtful, helpful responses.

Try to show some personality beyond your marketing campaigns and product lists.

By actually taking the time to acknowledge your target audience on social media, you’re able to create deep relationships that can develop into loyal shoppers.

Conclusion

The traditional sales pitch is long gone.

With the entire Internet at their fingertips, customers are more prepared than ever to make educated purchasing decisions.

They don’t need you telling them what to buy.

If you’re still hoping to land a sale by telling your customers what they “need,” you’ll quickly find that your e-commerce store isn’t doing so hot.

Rather than trying to push sale after sale, use social to establish genuine relationships and connections with your customers.

Connect with bloggers and influencers to get in front of a new audience. Or run a contest or promotion to increase engagement.

Think beyond the normal product pages and make product videos to show off your products and personality.

Then use your current customers with user-generated content.This shows your products in real life.

And mix it up. Use enhanced posts to sell directly on social media so your customers don’t have to go anywhere else.

Finally, use social media to have a conversation with your customers.

By listening to what they want, engaging with people they trust, and developing campaigns that help get them involved in your brand, your social platforms can become selling machines.

What promotion strategy have you seen the most success with for your e-commerce store?

About the Author: Neil Patel is the cofounder of Neil Patel Digital.

3 Content Marketing Myths and Their Reality-Based Solutions

We all know that creating content can be hard work. One of our goals at Copyblogger is to help you make sure you’re putting your work into the right things, so you get results and not just a fistful of disappointment. This week, we looked at three myths and mistakes that can hold writers back
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Car Fry 5

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IY5mBERhSDg&w=640&h=360]

How Our Employee Radio Station Embodies Our Company Values

If you visit MailChimp’s Atlanta HQ on a typical Wednesday morning, you might see a lot of people with headphones on, tapping their feet, occasionally laughing in sync. In fact, it might seem a little spooky until you realize we’re enjoying KIMP, our employee-run radio station.

Music is baked into MailChimp’s DNA. Some of us play in bands, collect LPs, or DJ on the weekends. A few of us used to work at a radio station. And several of us have written for or edited various music publications over the years. So when a coworker offhandedly asked in 2015 if MailChimp should start an employee radio station, the answer was resoundingly positive.

KIMP Radio was born.

 

 

Now 3 years old, the station serves as a fitting microcosm of the way we get things done at MailChimp. Our core values of humility, creativity, and independence tend to show up in everything we do, and KIMP is no exception.

When the idea of KIMP first emerged, people from various departments stepped up to make an ad hoc team. The naming was easy. In the wake of Serial, It had to be KIMP, even if we are on the “W” side of the Mississippi. People signed up to DJ, but also to spend personal time training fellow coworkers. One of MailChimp’s co-founders, a DJ in his own right, let the studio borrow his turntable setup. The Facilities team put together a sound booth. IT figured out the logistics of audio streaming to hundreds of people. Our friendly Legal team made sure we were legit. Designers made posters. All sorts of people contributed voiceovers.

 

 

Best of all? Everyone did this without being asked. They all came together for a fun side project, quickly and quietly filling in the gaps to make KIMP happen. It was humility at work.

KIMP also reflects our strong sense of independence, including the freedom to fail. Aside from some light embarrassment amongst coworkers, there are no repercussions for awkward on-air moments or playing the wrong song. And because it’s all streamed live to hundreds of MailChimp peeps, it lets us fail safely and noisily, and is helpful for the many introverts here to get experience with “public” speaking. In a way, it’s practice for “failing” in bigger ways, like speaking up in meetings or making suggestions to a team. When you have permission to fail, you’re more likely to try stuff that others might consider weird or unnecessary. A crucial by-product of that spirit is that it leads to innovation, which is essential to our growing organization.

Most obviously, the station is a way to practice creativity. Each week, 3 employees get an hour to play whatever they want (as long as it’s respectful and FCC safe, of course). We’ve had humorous talk shows, an hour of music from a 1994 water park, a show highlighting women in music, and a show celebrating Jay Z’s birthday. If you walked around our office the Wednesday after Prince died, you would have been hard-pressed to find a dry eye thanks to a powerful tribute show. KIMP has become a way to celebrate teams, mark milestones, and revel in our differences.

We even have a KIMP Slack channel where we talk about each show as it’s happening. More than that, employees discuss what they’re listening to, band t-shirts, each week’s new releases, and more. That channel is just one way our radio station has fostered new bonds and improved communication across the company. Perhaps most of all, KIMP has reminded all 800 of us that being yourself makes all the difference.

 

Coachella Security Cracking Down on Counterfeiters and Thieves

Coachella Security on the Lookout … Final Warning, Counterfeiters!!! 4/14/2018 12:30 AM PDT EXCLUSIVE Everyone at Coachella this weekend better make sure their credentials are on point, because there’s a serious …

The post Coachella Security Cracking Down on Counterfeiters and Thieves appeared first on Newline Marketing.

10 #Blogs To Help You Become A Content #Marketing Rock Star

Want to learn more about content marketing? Yup, you guessed it! There is a plethora of killer resources on the world wide web that will take you from content marketing newbie to content marketing genius! But sometimes it can be overwhelming with so much …

Should You make $300,000 with E commerce or Affiliate Marketing Info Product 🔑🔑

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHOQ6mho2io&w=640&h=360]

Stop Losing Sales with These 8 Persuasive Web Design Principles

How do you convince a person to do something?

When you’re having a face-to-face conversation with someone, you know how to persuade them. But you don’t have the same luxury of conversation when you’re dealing with visitors to your website.

Fortunately, you can utilize online persuasive tactics to close sales and improve your conversion rates.

Many of these factors have to do with the design of your website. The way your current website is designed could be the reason why you’re losing sales.

Some of your design choices may actually be putting off visitors and hurting your conversions. Obviously, you’re not doing it intentionally. But either way, you’ll need to address these mistakes and make the necessary changes.

Since you can’t actually talk to people who are visiting your website, you need to show them why they should do something.

That’s why I created this guide. I want to show you the top persuasive web design principles that will lead to conversions.

1. Emphasize clarity

What’s the purpose of your website?

It should be clear and obvious to anyone visiting your website from the moment they land there. They should be able to tell what you do and what you’re offering, even if they’ve never heard of your company.

Here’s a great example of clarity from the Square website:

image4 7

You can figure out exactly what this company does. They use phrases such as “start selling fast” and “accept credit cards anywhere” to help visitors understand what they’re offering.

Even better, they’ve got a clear picture of their product. The hand that’s holding the device is used to show how small it is, which is a huge selling point.

Pictures are a great way to clarify your message on your website. We’ll talk about how to use visuals in greater detail shortly.

Analyze your website. Obviously, you know what your company offers, but is it clear to others?

Put yourself in the shoes of somebody who has no prior knowledge of your brand, services, or products. If they can’t identify what you’re offering on your website, you need to improve the clarity of your message.

Don’t use any ambiguous terms. Get right to the point.

I know I’ve been saying how important this is for new visitors, but it’s just as important for your existing customers.

It should be very easy for people to find what they want on your website:

image9 1

As you can see from the data, 76% of those surveyed feel that being able to find what they’re looking for is the most important factor in the design of a website.

Take some time to remove anything from your website that doesn’t add to the clarity of your message. Now it will be much easier for you to persuade visitors to buy something.

2. Use visuals

It’s easier for people to understand an image than to read text. Obviously, you’ll need to have some words on the screen, but you can let pictures do the talking for you.

Recall the earlier example of Square. The words on the screen told visitors if they buy the gadget, they can accept credit payments anywhere and get paid fast, but how can they do it?

Well, the picture was very clear. There’s a small device that can be held with your fingertips and that plugs into mobile devices.

Explaining your product isn’t the same as showing it.

Here’s something else to take into consideration. First impressions matter. You’ve probably heard it your entire life. But have you applied it to your website?

What’s the first impression people get when they land on your homepage?

A clear picture can help focus their attention and ultimately make the page more visually appealing. Too much text without any photos will crush your sales.

Take a look at this case study from Highrise:

image3 7

Highrise offers CRM software. Their original website had some images, but there was no clear point of focus. It was cluttered, and a visitor could easily get lost on the page, eventually leaving without converting.

Highrise redesigned their website and included a picture of a person.

What does this person have to do with their software? Nothing. But they still saw their conversion rates increase by more than 100%. Largely, it’s because the new design was much cleaner.

Using a picture that takes up most of the page forces you to choose your words carefully, which means the words on the screen are much more impactful.

Make sure your page has a simple, clear layout, featuring at least one image as the focal point.

3. Prioritize the most important elements

As I just said, you need to have images on your website. But what if you have multiple images? Your website needs to have a visual hierarchy.

Visuals get attention, so you’ll need to make it clear which images are more important. Here are some of the best ways to do this.

First, the size of an image should clearly communicate how important it is. Simply put, the bigger the image, the greater its importance. If you have an ecommerce website, your top selling items should be the biggest on the screen.

You could also draw attention to elements on your website based on their position. Let’s say you’re running a new promotion you want everyone who visits your site to see.

Don’t bury it in small letters on the sidebar or in tiny print at the footer of the page. Make it big, bold, and clear in the middle of your page.

Something that’s written in huge letters across the top of the screen is obviously more important than a small icon in the corner.

Let’s review the Sony website:

image5 7

There’s a lot going on here. Clearly, this design utilizes lots of visuals.

But it’s clear which elements are the most important, according to the visual hierarchy principle. As you can see, I’ve ranked them first through sixth.

That’s how your eyes will move from one element to another, based on the size, placement, and color of these images.

Look at your website, and decide what the most important element is. If it’s not the biggest and clearest element on the page, you’re not effectively using this persuasion tactic.

4. Use common language

As I said earlier, you’ll need to use a combination of both images and text to create a persuasive website.

The way you use this text will have an impact on sales and conversions. You need to make sure everyone reading your website understands what you’re saying.

Use short words and phrases to get your message across. Bullet points are great too because while they highlight your most important sales points, they also make it easy for people to scan the information.

You want to avoid large blocks of text. Nobody will read that.

Don’t use industry slang or terms people can’t understand. For some of you, this will be easy. But for those of you who are in industries like manufacturing or technology, it could be a challenge.

I’ve got a trick to help you determine whether or not you’re using common terminology. Do you have a son, daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, or younger sibling who is in elementary school?

Have them read your website. If there are words on the screen that a 5th-grader can’t understand, get rid of them. Don’t try to sound like a doctor or a lawyer, even if you are one.

If people can’t understand you, they won’t buy what you’re selling.

5. Use colors to improve conversions

Different color schemes can impact sales on your site.

It comes down to psychology. Our minds have certain associations with colors based on how they are used in our daily lives.

For example, green is associated with go, and red is associated with stop. It makes sense to test a green CTA button.

Here’s another example. What color is Valentine’s Day? Obviously, days can’t be a color. But I know that didn’t stop you from thinking about red and pink.

Know your customers. Are they male or female? What part of the world are they from?

These questions will help you come up with a color scheme that drives sales.

Here are some colors that men and women like and dislike the most:

image2 7

Figure out what emotions you want your customers to have when they’re visiting your website.

Once you come up with the answer, you can appropriately change your color schemes to influence people’s actions.

6. Limit choices

How many products is your company selling?

Some of you might have an extremely limited product line of just a few times. But those of you selling hundreds or potentially even thousands of items on your website need to pay close attention to this section.

Yes, I’m sure all your products are great. But that doesn’t mean you should try to cram 100 products onto your home screen.

Be selective. Understand the paradox of choice. It’s a simple concept. The more choices someone has, the lower the chances of them making any choice at all:

image1 7

My recommendation would be to focus on your products that sell the most and have the highest conversion rates and the largest profit margins.

Put these on your website as the focal point. Let your other items be found through a search feature or something like that.

You could potentially even eliminate some items from your product line to make choosing easier.

If people have too many choices, they are also more likely to have buyer’s remorse. They’ll constantly think about an option they could have bought instead, which gives them a bad feeling.

As a result, they could have a negative association with your company as a whole.

The best way for you to be persuasive is by offering fewer choices.

7. Use only one CTA on each screen

This piggybacks on my last point.

I see too many websites try to add multiple call-to-action buttons all over each screen in an effort to get multiple conversions. But instead, they’re missing out on sales.

Too many CTAs will confuse the visitor. Giving them too many choices won’t lead to conversions.

I understand you may be trying to accomplish many different goals on your website. But don’t overwhelm your visitors.

When you want to drive sales, your CTA should mirror your goals.

Have all the other elements on your page leading toward one CTA.

8. Implement patterns

People get used to patterns.

When you implement patterns on your website, the visitor will know what to expect as they continue.

One of the best examples of this in terms of persuasive web design is the scrolling feature. As the visitor scrolls down the page, they see more information.

Here’s what this pattern looks like on the Apple’s website:

image8 4

This is one of the first screens you see when you start scrolling on their website to learn more about Apple Pay.

There is a heading with some text on the left side of the screen and an image on the right side of the screen. As you continue to scroll, this is the next image you see:

image7 6

It’s similar, but not exactly the same.

Instead, the image has flipped to the left side of the screen, while the heading and text have moved to the right.

If the pattern is to continue, what do you expect to see on the page as you scroll down even further?

image6 7

Exactly. The image is back on the right and the text is on the left.

It’s a very simple pattern, but it’s effective. People have a greater chance of retaining this information if it’s presented this way.

Imagine if they tried to cram all three pictures and all of the text onto one screen. It would be a cluttered mess.

The pattern they used creates a clean design and simple navigation. Visitors don’t have to click on anything or navigate to a new landing page. All they need to do is continue scrolling.

This persuasive tactic helps focus the attention of your website visitors. Websites with simple designs have higher conversion rates.

If a company as successful as Apple is using this strategy, I think it’s safe to say you can follow their lead.

Conclusion

You might be a persuasive speaker, but that won’t help you create sales on your website.

Instead, you need to implement persuasive design principles to convince visitors to buy whatever you’re selling.

It starts with clarity. Make it extremely obvious to everyone what you’re offering.

Add visuals, and prioritize the most important elements on your page according to the visual hierarchy rules.

You’ll need to use text as well. But make sure you’re speaking in terms everyone can understand.

Create a color scheme that speaks to your audience. Limit choices, and create patterns.

Stick to one CTA per page.

Follow these persuasive web design tips if you want to improve your sales.

What persuasive design elements have you implemented on your website?

Real #Web #Marketing Inc. Achieves #Google Partner Status

(EMAILWIRE.COM, April 14, 2018 ) LOS ANGELES: Real Web Marketing Inc. (https://www.realwebmarketing.net), a website marketing company located in Southern California, has now achieved Google Partner status, including being Google AdWords Certified.

Cardi B Hires Beyonce's Fired Backup Dancers for Coachella

Cardi B Snatching Up Bey’s Ex-Dancers For Growing Coachella Set 4/14/2018 1:00 AM PDT EXCLUSIVE Cardi B went on a hiring spree just days before her Coachella performance, and made a …

The post Cardi B Hires Beyonce's Fired Backup Dancers for Coachella appeared first on Newline Marketing.

Did You Give Up?? 😐😐

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJPTX8rAVps&w=640&h=360]

Effective Communication Is Something You Learn, Not Something You're Born With

Listening actively and expressing thoughts clearly are hard-earned, high-level skills.

Cryptocurrency for Photographers? — KodakCOIN and the KODAKOne platform

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuqlZ7joQy0&w=640&h=360]

The Marketer’s Guide to Instagram Stories: Building Your Brand and Generating Sales

Out of all of the different facets of digital marketing, social media tends to change with the most immediate and drastic results.

There is always a new platform emerging for marketers to look into and master to stay ahead of the trends.

And with algorithms on big platforms like Facebook always evolving, you have to stay on your toes as you figure out how to engage on them.

However, through all the change, there is one thing that remains consistent:

Users want to engage with brands in a personal way.

For this purpose, Instagram stands apart from all other platforms. It’s one of the best places for you to promote brand engagement with your users.

It’s grown by 1,400% in just the last five years. With growth like that, it’s a no-brainer for marketers to implement Instagram into their social strategies.

In particular, Instagram Stories makes easy for marketers to engage with users, humanize their brands, create leads, and generate customers on the platform.

They’re a great tool for showing potential customers (and existing ones) why your brand is relatable or interesting.

So, how do you get the most out of Instagram Stories?

That’s what this guide is here to help with. It will give you ways to use Instagram Stories to build your brand and convert leads and sales.

1. Show what makes your brand fun and relatable

All marketers know that social media engagement is important. It’s one of the best ways to develop trust from prospects.

And the more they trust you, the more likely they are to become loyal customers.

While all social media platforms are great avenues for driving audience engagement and ultimately sales, Instagram is on a whole different level.

Of the 700 million users on Instagram, 500 million users are active on a daily basis.

Instagram also excels in terms of engagement. 68% of users regularly engage with brands on Instagram while only 32% of users regularly engage with brands on Facebook.

Why? Because features like Instagram Stories make it easy for brands to show themselves in a fun and interesting light. It’s easier than ever to humanize a brand.

Tarte Cosmetics does this well. The brand regularly travels to exotic places for photo shoots of new products or company bonding trips. And when they travel, they bring their followers along on the adventure.

From showing products that they’ve staged for shoots in Bora Bora to showing team members on a mother/daughter retreat in Hawaii, Tarte uses Instagram Stories to give followers insight into what it means to be a “Tartlet.”

tarte cosmetics instagram

Lululemon is another great example. Being a popular fitness clothing brand, the Instagram team at lululemon regularly takes followers through their own personal fitness journeys using Stories.

From live yoga practices to cooking healthy meals, the brand gives great insight into how employees are working toward the same goals as their followers.

Just recently, lululemon took viewers on one employee’s daily run through Austin, Texas.

You experience the route she took, the music she was listening to, and the trials she had along the way. Instagram Stories like this make it very easy to relate to a brand.

lululemon instagram stories

2. Take advantage of Instagram Stories features to interact with your audience

Instagram Stories give marketers a variety of ways to facilitate easy interaction with users.

With features like geographical location tagging, hashtags, polls, gifs, stickers, and more, growing your following and facilitating brand engagement is simple. You just need a little creativity.

Features like hashtags and geotagging make it easy for users to find you based on location and interest.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Iov5WB-1F0?wmode=transparent&modestbranding=1&autohide=1&showinfo=0&rel=0]

If you’re a local business, geotagging is vital when it comes to your interaction on Instagram Stories.

Each time you enter a city, Instagram aggregates Stories that other users have geotagged in your location.

This is a great opportunity for small businesses and city tourism brands as they can utilize geotagging to show Instagram users exciting things taking place around them.

Carrigan Farms, which is in the small town of Mooresville, North Carolina, takes advantage of geotagging to show users in the area the fun activities visitors can take part in at the farm.

With a huge water quarry on the property, Carrigan Farms visitors can jump off of cliffs into the deep, clean water.

Capturing and sharing videos of these activities on the farm’s Story with geotagging brings awareness to others in the area of the fun they could have on the farm.

mooresville instagram stories

Hashtags make it easy for users to find your content based on topic.

Many brands or celebrities will have a hashtag that they use across social media so that anyone looking for content about the brand or person can easily find it.

For instance, Justin Timberlake just recently canceled shows up north due to the massive snow storms.

In addition to his publicity team notifying showgoers of the cancellation via email and his website, he posted to his Instagram Story.

Using hashtag #MOTWTOUR, he added another way to notify his fans who have been following along with his tour on social media about the cancellation.

justin timberlake instgram story

Items like gifs and stickers enable brands to add to images and videos that they share on Instagram Stories.

Lake Norman Surf Co., which is on Lake Norman in North Carolina, offers wakesurfing lessons. The brand regularly uses stickers and gifs to demonstrate their light attitude.

Just recently, Lake Norman Surf Co. shared a video of the lake water and used a sticker to show the temperature. They did this to remind their followers that wakesurfing season is coming.

lake norman instagram story

The poll feature, which Instagram recently rolled out, is a creative way to create easy interactions with followers.

As a marketer, you always want feedback from our prospects and customers.

Polls on Instagram Stories provide a way for you to get that feedback from fans while making your audience feel like your brand is empowering them.

Companies can utilize polls to ask fans anything!

Ask about their opinions on new products, how often they’d like to receive brand emails, their favorite kinds of sales, what kind of content they’d like to see from your brand on social media, and so on.

Perhaps you’re a clothing company, and you’re wondering if your fans are ready to see summer transitional pieces or if they are still looking for winter/spring clothing. In that case, use a poll.

Or maybe you’re an outdoor adventure gear company, and you’re wondering if your fans prefer to see behind-the-scenes stories from product shoots of if they prefer to just see the new products.

Ask them in a poll.

For instance, HomeGoods and Kurgo will often show items in their shops and ask followers which color they prefer.

kurgo red or black instagram

This is an interactive way to get followers interested in new product rollouts. They might come in and purchase the color of the item that they chose from the poll.

homegoods tan cream instagram

Some sports teams and leagues will even use polls that ask fans who they think will win the big game.

nba tip off instagram

These are fun ways for followers to engage with a brand and feel important.

3. Host Instagram takeovers with Instagram influencers

Adding Instagram influencers to your social media marketing strategy is an invaluable way to both increase your follower base and drive sales.

You can classify Instagram influencers in the micro (1,000 to 100,000 followers) level or the macro (100,000+ followers) level.

types of influencers

There are many types of influencers. You can find celebrities, TV stars, bloggers, and even animals!

dogs of instagram

There are two ways that an Instagram Takeover can work: An influencer can take over your account for a day, or your brand can take over their account for the day.

Leading up to a takeover, both the influencer and the brand regularly remind followers when it will be taking place.

This builds the hype and reminds users where to tune in. Here’s an example from Kurgo.

kurgo stories instagram

Another dog brand that regularly hosts Instagram Takeovers is BarkBox.

The popular dog box subscription brand will allow major dog accounts on Instagram to take over the account for the day.

During the takeover, you get a hilarious inside look at a day in the life of that pup.

mazie instagram takeover

Throughout the day, they add plugs for BarkBox products from the BarkShop that users can purchase, and they typically offer a coupon for followers to subscribe with a free starter box.

4. Increase your lead generation and sales by adding links

At the end of the day, we’re digital marketers. If our efforts aren’t generating leads and sales, we’re not impacting the company’s bottom line.

So how do all of these visual storytelling and humanizing tactics impact lead generation and sales conversion?

Well, storytelling boosts conversions by 30% when you use it to answer customer questions.

If you’re not telling good stories, you need to get on board. As many as 78% of enterprise marketers believe that their team is very or extremely effective when it comes to storytelling.

brand storytelling effectiveness

With the new “Swipe Up” link feature on Stories, Instagram has revolutionized the way brands can convert users through social media.

The “Swipe Up” feature allows brands to add links to pictures and videos that they share on Instagram Stories.

This makes it simple to move a prospect through the sales funnel directly from Instagram. All that a user has to do is swipe up with their finger.

swipe up instagram

Here are three ways to generate leads and sales using this feature.

1. Share your web content to generate leads and sales.

By now, it’s old news that content is king.

And generating remarkable content is important for SEO, lead generation, lead nurturing, customer retention, and lots more.

Instagram gives marketers another great way to get their content in front of new prospects, existing leads, and customers. How?

Brands can share a relevant photo or video with Instagram Stories and link to any piece of content – a blog, a page on the site, a YouTube video, an e-book, and more!

instagram see more on our blog

This lets a brand bring users back to their website to interact with the company on a deeper level. And it works.

During March of 2017, over 120 million Instagram users visited a website, got directions, or contacted a business to learn more about them from Instagram. That’s a lot of interaction with businesses in one month!

Explore Canada does an excellent job of using links in Instagram Stories to drive users to its blogs.

The tourism company partners with many country-wide travel groups and implements links on Instagram Stories to share travel guides.

The example below uses links in Stories to bring users to a blog post that offers tips for planning a trip to the Great White North. At the end of the blog, they give the reader an opportunity to reach out to a travel agent, thus securing the lead.

explore canada instagram story

These types of tactics are great for getting users to engage with your website and convert to a lead.

You can also use Stories to promote an immediate sale from Instagram.

In fact, at least 30% of Instagram users have purchased a product that they first discovered on Instagram.

Why is that?

Because 62% of consumers use social media when deciding whether or not they want to purchase a product or service.

This makes sense since photos influence purchase decisions even more than videos do.

influence purchase decisions

One of the most valuable features that Instagram Stories gives marketers is the ability to include a link that brings users directly to the purchase page of a product.

This feature eliminates the need to visit a company’s website, find the item you saw on Instagram, and then make a purchase.

Instead, it facilitates the impulse buy. It puts the product right in front of a user with the swipe of a finger.

Pottery Barn regularly uses Instagram Stories to drive users to its products.

In this example, Pottery Barn uses Stories to show beautiful pictures of new products from the collection with Jamie Durie, HGTV’s beloved Australian landscape artist.

After enticing users with a few behind-the-scenes pictures of the collection, they invite users to ‘See More’ by clicking the link to browse products.

pottery barn instagram

Target also uses Instagram Stories to promote impulse buys.

Across the brand’s two platforms, Target and Target Style, the company shows products that designers have staged. Followers can to swipe up and purchase.

target style instagram story

2. Utilize Instagram influencer and brand ambassador endorsements.

Let’s come back to Instagram influencers. Right now, 95% of influencers report Instagram as their favorite social media platform to work on.

So, how does influencer marketing on Instagram work?

In a nutshell, brands build relationships with Instagram influencers and brand ambassadors by offering them a free or discounted product to promote with Instagram Stories and in their feed.

They also give the influencer a coupon code so that their followers can shop at a discount.

It’s relatively easy to attach a dollar amount to enlisting an Instagram influencer, too. You can use digital marketing tactics like custom URLs or give influencers tracking URLs to use in their Stories.

While enlisting Instagram influencers is common throughout all industries, marketers especially use them within the beauty, fashion, and fitness communities.

Past Bachelor and Bachelor in Paradise contestant Jen Saviano is constantly promoting brands as an Instagram influencer through her stories.

Jen has a whopping 203,000 followers on Instagram.

jensav11 instagram followers

And according to SocialBlade, that number is only going to increase.

total instagram followers for jensav11

She uses her feed and stories to promote a variety of products that range from clothing to makeup, jewelry, vitamins, furniture, food subscription boxes, and more.

She posts a product she loves with a coupon code and a link to shop in her Instagram Story daily.

jensav11 instagram story

Fashion blogger Katy Harrell is another example. With 187,000 followers, she is constantly modeling for clothing boutiques, offering clothing reviews, sale updates, and coupon codes.

Boutiques nationwide work with mumuandmacaroons to have her share updates on her Instagram Stories about their businesses and products.

With her Southern drawl and honest reviews, it works.

fashion blogger instagram

Plus, rather than seeking out Instagram influencers to promote products and sing praises, some brands hold casting calls for brand ambassadors.

MVMT, the popular jewelry and watch brand, recently held a casting call for brand ambassadors.

In addition to reviewing a candidate’s Instagram’s influence, the company essentially has an application and interview process.

mvmt ambassadors wanted instagram

Since most Instagram influencers rely on companies using them to grow their individual brands, they are always looking for businesses to work with.

3. Implement ads on Instagram Stories.

As the number of users on Instagram continues to grow, so does the number of ads on the platform. In 2017, the number of ads grew by 28% in just six months.

number of instagram #ad posts worldwide

In a year, the number of ad posts doubled. And it’s easy to understand why:

They work.

Instagram uses Facebook’s advertising system, which has unparalleled targeting ability.

You can target ads based on an audience’s interests, behaviors, demographics, language, location, and more.

And since Instagram and Facebook share the same ad platform, brands can choose whether they want their ad to run on Instagram Stories, in the Instagram feed, or on Facebook.

When ads run on Stories, users often don’t even realize that they’re seeing them. The ads flow smoothly as the user transitions from one story to the next.

La Mer, a high-end skin care line uses Instagram ads to reach users of a certain age who have shown interest in similar brands.

The brand uses a short film to express the type of woman who uses La Mer.

The ad includes a link at the bottom that allows viewers to swipe up and shop the skin care line.

lamer instagram story

4. To implement Instagram Stories well, be prepared to respond to direct messages.

In order to implement Instagram Stories to build your brand and convert more leads and sales, companies have to be prepared to respond to a heightened influx of direct messages (or DMs).

A direct message is a message that a user privately sends to your business account on Instagram.

At the bottom of each Instagram Story that does not include a link, users will see a message bar. This tool enables a viewer to easily DM the brand.

dm send to instagram

While this is feature is an excellent way to narrow the gap between brands and followers on Instagram, it can be detrimental to a brand if they aren’t diligent about responding.

Everything on Instagram is at the touch of a finger for users. It’s easy for them to get the content and information they crave on this social platform.

So, if a brand isn’t quick to respond to a DM, the user who sent it will go elsewhere to find the answer.

That’s why it’s important for marketers to be aware of their customer response times on Instagram.

As you begin actively using Instagram Stories, you need to put a strategy in place for responding to direct messages from followers.

Conclusion

Understanding how Instagram Stories works and the benefits marketers can gain from it is half the battle. Now, what you do with the information is what matters.

With its unique visual storytelling ability and strong conversion methods, marketers in any industry and any consumer base can use Instagram Stories.

It’s a weapon you need to have in your social media arsenal.

Take advantage of the ease of engaging with fans by using Instagram Stories to build your brand.

Show what makes your brand fun and relatable. Implement the features within Stories to easily engage with your audience and help people find your brand on the platform.

Build relationships with Instagram influencers to expand your brand and gain the stamp of approval from a trusted source on the platform.

Then, grow your leads and sales using the link feature.

Put your web content and products at the fingertips of your prospects and buyers on Instagram Stories.

Utilize relationships with brand ambassadors and Instagram influencers to have them promote your products and services and encourage fans to shop.

Test the waters within Instagram Ads to discover the ROI of putting some of your marketing budget toward Stories.

Don’t forget to have quality response times as your brand’s Instagram becomes a regular gateway for consumer conversation.

And as you go forth building out your social strategy on Instagram Stories, keep in mind that no marketing action is worth taking if you can’t measure the results.

Be sure to utilize tracking URLs, custom coupon codes, and lead/customer sourcing to determine how your use of Instagram Stories is impacting your overall marketing strategy and goals.

How will you use Instagram Stories to grow your brand and increase your leads and sales?

About the Author: Neil Patel is the cofounder of Neil Patel Digital.

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