If you’re an online store owner, now is the time to put together your marketing calendar. To help you prepare, we’ve put together a list of the most important dates for you to plan for.
Creating an email promotion doesn’t have to be a difficult task. If you already have your email marketing list in place and your marketing calendar planned out, you’re halfway there. Let’s look at what the next steps are to turning on the money faucet for your business.
For this example, let’s pretend you’re promoting a new line of Widgets from Brand X. It’s Valentine’s Day (a big holiday for Widget sales), and you want to offer 10% Brand X Widgets (for a limited time, while supplies last) with coupon code BRANDX10. That’s everything we need to begin.
Customer reviews are an essential part of any online business. They build trust and credibility for your brand, but only if potential customers can actually see them. The two most popular review programs are Google Customer Reviews and Shopper Approved.
Ventura Web Design and Marketing is offering to design Favicons and Apple touch icons for the first 25 store owners to respond.
Favicons are used to represent saved pages and mark open tabs in your browser. Apple touch icons appear on iPhones and iPads when you bookmark sites or add them to your home screen.
Custom favicons and Apple touch icons increase brand recognition, build credibility, and increase website visibility. It shows you pay attention the the details of your site and sets you apart from your competition.
- Increase Your Customer Base
Websites that are not mobile-friendly do not rank well in Google, if they even rank at all. If you still don’t have a mobile-responsive web design, you’re losing a huge customer base. According to a 2017 Bigcommerce survey of store owners, 88% reported mobile-responsive design as a key factor in their plans for growth.
- Improve Your SEO Ranking
Design has proved to be a considerable factor in search ranking. Outdated, non-responsive stores are penalized by search engines. The faster, prettier, and more efficient your site is, the happier your customers are, which drives conversions. 46% of store owners surveyed agree, and cite SEO as a potential revenue booster this year.
- Boost Your Credibility
75% of online shoppers judge your credibility based solely on your site design. Online shoppers are savvy; If you have a website that looks like it was designed in the late 90s, they’re no longer going to be convinced that you are their best option for what they’re looking for and off they go to your competitor.
- Dominance Over Your Market
78% of online businesses are predicting that integration with mobile wallet technology such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay & Amazon Pay will drive growth. Old outdated sites are not compatible with new payment technology, causing a loss of potential revenue. A fresh design can integrate with these new technologies and showcase the benefits of making it easier to pay.
- Accurate Representation of Your Current Business Needs
51% of businesses surveyed believe that social advertising will be a primary factor for growth. The buying public is more socially connected than ever, utilizing Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and more to search for and share products. An updated design will allow you to stay more closely connected with your audience.
Overall, it’s important to remember that the appearance of your website is directly proportional to its success. Contact Ventura Web Design & Marketing today to get started on your redesign process as soon as possible.
So you’ve heard all of the buzz about the new Pokémon Go app, or you’ve seen all of the people staring at their phone screens and promptly running towards non-existing objects. However, not all of us were born in the 90’s and grew up with Pokémon to know just how big this phenomenon is. So we are here to fill you in on all the fun and offer you ways to capitalize on this movement and benefit your business without too much time and/or money.
What is Pokémon Go?
Pokémon Go is a mobile application that allows users to interact in virtual reality. The ultimate goal of the game is to catch Pokémon while using an interactive map to find the characters. Currently, these maps and locations are set by the creators of the app and cannot be changed. The game has three major features (1) hunting for Pokémon, (2) visiting Pokéstops and (3) gym battling.
How does the game work?
Hunting for Pokémon. Once users have downloaded the app, the main goal is to catch Pokémon. In order to catch them, you have to hunt for them by walking around. They can appear anywhere from on your couch, to on the bench at the park down the street.
Visiting Pokéstops. In order to catch Pokémon, you need to have Pokéballs. You toss these balls at the characters in order to catch and secure them. Pokéstops are places users can go and get more Pokéballs. These places are static and the locations are set by the creators.
Gym Battling. At level 5 of the game, you choose a team and begin battling at gyms. Gyms are locations in the game that are typically matched with real-world landmarks and larger locations. At these locations, users can battle their Pokémon against other users Pokémon.
How Can My Business Benefit From it?
It’s up to you to take the initiative to make this virtual reality game worthwhile for your business and be among the first to benefit from the latest trend. Here’s a three-step process your company can use to make the most out of Pokémon Go.
- Check for nearby Pokéstops or Gyms. As stated before, the location of Pokéstops, gyms and Pokémon are set by the creators on a static location map. You might be lucky enough to be at or near one of those locations. You’ll want to know this because you can use it in step three to bring the customers to you. Google Maps has some user-created Pokémon Go Maps for your reference (here is an example of the Las Vegas map), but the easiest way to know is to download the game yourself and look at your surrounding area .
- Bring the Pokémon to you. Although you can’t change the maps to manipulate the location of Pokémon, Pokéstops or gyms, you can drop what’s called a “Lure” to attract more Pokémon to your respective area. Lures are purchased in the in-game store and can cost as little as $1.19 per hour. Where there are Pokémon, there are Pokémon hunters which can drive a surplus of foot traffic to your store.
- Create a Pokémon promotion. Promotion implementation is going to be an integral part in this strategy. Use social media platforms to market the fact that you have a just dropped a lure, or you that you have a Pokéstop or Gym nearby. Using this tactic to get people in your location won’t be enough; once you have them, keep them with offers and promotions. For example, create a deal where everyone level 5 and up gets a discount on a product. You can also offer free giveaways to Pokémon hunters if they complete a small task such as post on their social media account about a Pokémon they found in your store or write a yelp review about your business.
Pokémon Go did the work by creating the app, now all you have to do is (1) check for gyms or Pokéstops near you, (2) fill your store with Pokémon and (3) offer a promotion or giveaway event. They did the hard stuff, so sit back, relax and reap the rewards. Who knew a simple game could have so much influence or not only its users, but on businesses alike?
While Amazon is preparing for its largest digital shopping event since the company’s launch, you should be preparing for yours as well. On July 12th Amazon will be offering over 100,000 deals to an estimated 54 million Amazon Prime account users. Countdown deals for Prime Day begin today, July 5th and last through the end of the event. Last year, Prime Day’s ripple effect increased web sales an average of 20%.
Now is not the time to be shy. It’s time to plan for your biggest and most unique sales event yet. Amazon has already started, so let’s get your strategy together and begin execution.
There are many strategies that can be used to maximize your online store this week. Here are a few to consider as you get started…
Free Shipping deals. The most popular feature of Amazon Prime is free 2-day shipping on all orders. If you have a Prime account, you don’t have to worry about the cost of shipping or time to ship. You already know what it costs and how long it will take to get to you, which makes shopping easier. Make shopping from you just as easy with a free shipping deal to compete directly with Amazon.
Feature your sales. Be sure your promotions are featured in obvious ways on your web page. High-quality banners with captivating graphics tend to have the best results. You want to draw attention to your promotion in the best way possible. Make sure your banners are not cluttered with too much information. You also want to be sure the banner aligns with the message of your promotion. Keep it consistent and don’t forget to add the banner to all relevant pages.
Make it easy. The average human attention span in 2015 was an all-time low of about 8.25 seconds. If people can’t find something in that amount of time, they tend to lose interest. Categorization is key. If your potential customers expect a sale on your website, give them an easy to find sale. Don’t make your customers scroll through hundreds of items before finding what they are looking for. Giving customers an easy path to make a purchase is the best option here. This can be done by distinctively categorizing your sale items.
Make it unique. What about your website makes consumers want to purchase your products before seeking any other company? If you can’t quickly answer that question, it’s time to re-evaluate, get creative and do your research. Determine what prominent factors differentiate you and from the rest. Is your site easier to use? Are you environmentally friendly? Are your products one of a kind? These are just a few examples, but you can use these types of qualities to your advantage if you make them known to your audience. Give them a reason to choose you.
Tailor to your audience. For Prime Day, Amazon is targeting all of its users that have memberships to the site. Who are you targeting? Once you have figured this out, you can better tailor your sales and promotions to this audience. Take a look at the characteristics and demographics of your website’s audience. Looking at your history of product sales wouldn’t hurt either. If you know who is buying what product, you can use this as a foundation for determining what products will be featured as well as what your advertisements will look like.
Preparing for a major online shopping event is not an easy task. It takes a strategic plan, careful execution and examination to get promising results. From featuring your sales in innovative ways to ensuring that you have catered to your particular audience, Ventura offers professional assistance customized to your needs. Contact us today to see how we can help you compete on Prime Day and beyond.
Interested in advertising on Twitter but intimidated by all of the options available to you and unsure where to start? Fear not – setting up advertising on Twitter is fast, simple, and can be completed in 4 easy steps:
Step 1: Select Your Campaign Objective
Go to Twitter Ads to get started. The below screenshot will be what you see first:
You have a few different options for campaigns on Twitter – it all depends on what your end goal is. As you can see below, all you have to do is choose one of the campaign objectives and you’ll be directed to the next screen.
The “Set up your campaign” screen is where you’ll enter the name of your new campaign. For the purpose of this article, we’ll go with “Website Clicks”:
You can either choose to have your ad begin running immediately and continuously or you can set a start & end date. This all depends on your budget and what you are comfortable spending.
Step 2: Select Your Target Audience
On the next screen, begin by selecting the age, gender, and location of the people you want to advertise to. You can even narrow it down further by targeting what languages they speak, what device they are most likely be scrolling through Twitter on, what events they’re attending, and even the TV shows or networks they’re watching. You can also create ‘Tailored Audiences’ where you can target a demographic using their email addresses or even their Twitter IDs.
As magical as it is having all of these customizable fields at your fingertips, try not to target too many people at once. If you target too broad of an audience with one campaign, you won’t have any idea what worked and what didn’t because it was all jumbled together. The best way to advertise effectively is to just choose one very specific group of people for each campaign and analyze the results afterwards so you know which audience is most likely to respond to your ads the next time around.
Step 3: Set Your Budget
The next step is selecting a budget that you’re comfortable with but that will also yield the desired results. You’ll need to set a daily maximum spend for your campaign (which resets at midnight) and we recommend also setting a maximum budget for the entire life of the campaign. This just means that Twitter will stop running the ads the second your campaign reaches this number.
You’ll notice the “Advanced Options” drop-down menu underneath the “Set a total budget” field. There are 3 choices available to you in this menu: Automatic bid, target cost & maximum bid. This is referring to the fact that each time one of your ads is eligible to be shown on Twitter, it goes up against the other eligible ads (aka your competitors) and an auction takes place. If your bid isn’t high enough to beat the other advertisers, your ads will not appear as often as your competitors’.
Advertising with the automatic bid option means Twitter will optimize each of your ads for the lowest amount possible while staying within your budget. There isn’t a lot of control with this option and there’s a good chance you could get out-bid each time.
With the target cost option, you give Twitter a target cost (ex: $3 per link click) and they will typically stay within 20% of this target while trying to win you the auction. What’s great about this option is that it’s flexible enough that you have a greater chance of winning auctions against other bidders. Plus, Twitter will even tell you what other advertisers are bidding at so you’re not just taking a shot in the dark.
The maximum bid option is similar to the target cost option, but it has less flexibility. For this option, you set a maximum bid (ex.: $2 per link click) and Twitter will never exceed that number in the bidding process and you usually end up paying less. Twitter will also tell you what other advertisers are bidding for this option as well.
Ultimately, it depends on what your budget is and what you’re comfortable spending, but we recommend either the maximum bid or the target cost option. You may be inclined to go with the cheapest option, but if it is less likely to achieve your advertising goals right from the start is it really worth it?
Step 4: Choose Your Creative
You’re almost done – you’re at the finish line! Now you get to choose what image your audience will see and what message you want to put out there. This will depend on what your goal is, but for now let’s stick with our “Website Clicks” objective. You can choose to promote a previous Tweet or create a new one – we recommend always creating new content to keep potential customers interested.
As you can see from the example below, you can either use a “Website Card” (that just means an image with your message and a call to action) or you can just send a message with a call to action.
We recommend always using an image in your ad – it’s the same cost as just a normal Tweet and has twice the impact. Below is an example of how your ad will appear to your customers:
These ads will appear mostly at the top of user timelines, but also at the top of relevant search results and user profiles (only select user profiles that fit the targeting parameters).
That’s it! You’ve done it. You’ve officially set up your first advertising campaign on Twitter. Be sure to utilize Twitter’s handy Analytics tool to keep an eye on the results so you are continually creating effective advertising campaigns.
Having a fully planned out marketing calendar for the year is crucial for busy store owners. You don’t have time during your busy seasons to sit down and come up with a marketing plan for promotions that need to go out on time. Graphics need to be created, compelling text needs to be written, coupons need to be made and tested, emails need to be crafted, social media posts need to be coordinated – it’s a lot of work if you have a business to run as well.
If you’re not constantly interacting with your customers, they tend to forget about your brand and lose loyalty. The best change you can make to get caught up on your marketing and stay in touch with your customer base is to first make a marketing calendar. So where to begin?
If you’re new to making a marketing calendar for your business, a good place to start is by looking at all the calendar holidays. Here is a free resource with lots of holidays listed:
Most retailers do promotions and sales based on holidays, such as Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, and of course Black Friday (in the US). If you’re an international retailer, you have far more holidays to choose from.
Decide what promotions to run on which holidays. Emails with a “SALE” or a percentage off your order in the subject line tend to get opened more, so if you can run a sale on a holiday, do so. The best coupons promotions are ones that run only for a limited time, to create a sense of urgency.
How often do you want to send emails? Some retailers send marketing emails once a month, and some send them twice a week. It all depends on your business. If you are constantly getting new products and selling out of old ones, it’s worth it to email as often as you can.
You could fill an entire year with just holiday promotions, but what about during the off weeks, and what if you don’t have the margins to give discounts all the time? You can always fill those weeks with specific category, brand, or product promotions. Do you sell shoes? Promote a specific brand of shoe. Do you sell pool products? Promote your selection of Pool Covers. Got a great new blender in stock? Tout the features of it. Sure, you’re not offering a discount or special deal, but what’s important is that your message is getting out to your customers and you keep their attention so that when they ARE ready to buy, they know where to go.
You’ll need to make a spreadsheet to track your marketing. For each row, include the following:
Title – A short title of your promotion that can also double as a subject line on emails.
Description – A short description that can be used for the content of your email and social posts for the promotion. You don’t have to include a wall of text that no-one is going to ready anyway!
Send Date – The day you intend to send the promotion
Coupon – Is there a coupon for this promotion? Include the coupon code here for your reference.
Coupon Valid – Is the coupon valid for a specific set of dates?
Now that you have the structure of the calendar ready, work on filling out the most important holidays and sale days first. Once those are set, find (or make up) other promotion days to fill in the gaps.
That’s it! Take a step back and look at what you’ve accomplished. With your marketing calendar for the year to come in place, you and your marketing team will know exactly what’s coming and be better able to prepare for it. Some e-commerce platforms allow you to create coupon codes or time-sensitive discounts in advance. Better to get those setup now rather than at the last minute. You can always make adjustments later as necessary.
Deciding to start Email Marketing is a great leap in the right direction. Chances are, you’re starting off with a small email list of your current clients. That’s great! Now let’s look at how you can grow your email marketing list to make your messages heard far and wide.
Growing your email list is a constant struggle. The average email list loses about 30% of its contacts every year due to unsubscribes, bounces, or spam reports. This is on top of those who just stop opening your emails out of disinterest or just ignoring their email altogether. For this reason, it’s important to keep your email list fresh and market to interested consumers often and as soon as possible.
The easiest way to grow your list is by putting a method to signup for it on your website. There should be a signup button on every page of your website, including the search and checkout pages. Make the signup link prominent on the home page. There’s no reason anyone should have to hunt for it.
Further entice customers to signup by giving them a reason to! People want to know what in it for them, so offering a list of reasons to signup is valuable. Do you offer up to date product news or news related to your industry? Do you run contests? Most importantly, do you offer coupons in email? (Hint: the answer to all these questions should be YES.) Most email marketing programs offer an autoresponse to new signups. Offer a one time coupon for new signups, and watch your list (and sales) grow.
If you run an online store, you that customers enter their email addresses at checkout. This does not imply that they are giving you permission to market to them, unless you specifically ask! Be sure to add a checkbox (that’s checked by default) that asks if they would like to opt-in to receive special offers and discounts via email. This will help your list grow while preventing spam reports.
Leverage your social audience to grow your list. When you send out your regular promotions via email, you can also send out some of those same promotions via social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.). When you do, be sure to include a link to signup for your newsletter.
A popular way to increase your list size is to run a contest or a survey. For entering your contest or survey, offer a small coupon or potential prize drawing, and require an email for your list!
When you sell a product online, do you pack it yourself? Retailers often forget that customers will read everything included in the box. Send a thank you note that asks them to signup! You can even include a QR code on your note that takes them directly to your signup form.
Popular email marketing platforms like Constant Contact have an easy way to allow your customers to signup for newsletters via text. This allows you to include short line on your website that says something like “Text your email to 555555 to signup”.
If you have a physical store, it’s easy to put out a signup sheet, or leave a fishbowl for business cards.And of course, don’t forget to just ask. If you’re on the phone or face-to-face with a customer, it never hurts to smile and ask for their email address.