How Can I Grow My Email List?

How Can I Grow My Email List?

A few months ago, we talked about why email marketing is going to be big in 2021 and what you can do to keep your customers and users engaged. 

Email marketing is one of the most effective online marketing tools around right now. The algorithms that social media platforms use are always changing, so your content might not be getting in front of the amount of eyes you were hoping for. Email marketing gets you directly in front of the eyes of the consumer, so you don’t have to worry about some unknown algorithm affecting your ability to market to potential customers. 

You can read more in the blog post linked above about why email marketing is huge right now, so we won’t repeat ourselves here! That being said, how exactly can you go about GROWING your email list to start email marketing? That’s where Landing Pages and Lead Generation (Lead Gen) come into play!

What are Landing Pages?

Landing pages are one-off pages (created on your website, or some email marketing services like MailChimp also offer landing page creation), that allow you to take the prospects that you’ve attracted and convert them to leads. One way of using your landing pages is to create a social media post or blog with a CTA that entices the customer to click, where they then get taken to a landing page.

Photo courtesy of Hubspot

Landing pages can be designed in a variety of ways. They can be set up so users simply enter their name and email to join your newsletter, or perhaps you’re offering a complimentary pdf on a subject they are interested in. When you don’t have a landing page, you can’t gather information about the people visiting your website, which makes it difficult to understand who they are, market to them, determine if they are even in your target market, and eventually convert them into customers. It’s also worth considering doing some A/B testing on your landing pages to see which one is converting more quality leads for you.  

Need some inspo? Check out HubSpot’s list of some landing pages to get your creative juices flowing!

What is Lead Generation?

Lead Generation is the process of attracting leads (potential customers) into your sales pipeline with the hope of nurturing them throughout the buying process to help convince them why they should choose your product or use your service. In short, Lead Generation is the initiation of customer interest into products or services that you offer. Landing pages are one of the top ways to create quality lead generation for your business or company, AND build your email marketing list.

Here at SocialKNX, we can craft landing pages that will not only help you grow your email list, but also generate leads to help you grow. As your email list keeps growing, we can also create drip campaigns to keep your leads interested until they become a customer. Reach out today and let’s plant that seed!

“Happy” One Year Anniversary, Pandemic

“Happy” One Year Anniversary, Pandemic

World pandemic

Unprecedented. 

In these uncertain times.

In these challenging times.

New normal.

Now, more than ever.

If you hear those phrases one more time you’re going to scream, right?

It’s been one year since a world pandemic shut down most of the United States and the way we conducted business and marketing activities drastically changed. As marketers, now that a year has passed, we are forced to take a good look at the ways marketing has (rapidly!) changed in ways that might be permanent. 

Preserving a focus on community and empathy was brought to the forefront of marketing efforts during the darkest days of the pandemic – and is definitely a marketing “trend” that is here to stay. The shutdown certainly caused anxiety and stress to be consistent emotions in our daily lives. As marketers, ensuring that messages are empathetic and compassionate is something that is necessary to continue, even a year later. You want to make an effort to be human and speak to consumers without the sales pitch. (Remember- marketing is all about creating that connection!)

And when was the last time you checked out those buyer personas you created? You may have had a crystal clear picture of your buyer persona in the past, but, as we know, things have changed! Businesses are finding all sorts of new buyers for their products or services. Think of all the family members that have learned how to use Zoom just for family get-togethers; Zoom isn’t just for businesses any more.

Have you started doing more online ads since the pandemic started? Well, that is also a “trend” that is going to stay consistent as consumers continue to go online to find the answers and solutions to their problems or needs. Additionally, your digital marketing efforts should still collect data in order to help craft your buyer personas and create impactful digital marketing campaigns using social media, email, paid ads, and more. Your data can help you decide where you’ll need to double-down on marketing efforts that are working and where you need to make tweaks to efforts that aren’t.

You know those 5 statements we opened this blog with? Hard truth: Those statements aren’t unique anymore! Consumers have become “blind” to seeing those statements and they are likely to just keep scrolling past your message. Continue to use phrases and words that are engaging and eye-catching and create that connection. Think outside the box! Remember, you need them to realize that your product or service is solving a problem of theirs!

The pandemic might have shifted the marketing landscape, but it has also created opportunities for brands to effectively reach and engage with consumers at different stages of the buying journey. As the economy continues to recover, there could be an increase in consumer spending, so you want to make sure you’re staying in front of your current and potential customers’ needs. 

And of course, there’s social media! Many people have turned to social media for socializing and are now active on a variety of social media platforms- even those who swore they wouldn’t be on TikTok when the pandemic started! This surge in social media use has led to businesses putting a higher focus on building and maintaining strong customer relationships on social media, allowing marketers more efficient and effective communication with their audience.

So while we’ve passed the one-year anniversary of the COVID shutdown, it’s not necessarily a time for celebration. We’ve all adapted in personal and professional ways, and as marketers, we’ve adapted our marketing strategies. That being said, the primary goal of marketing efforts still stays the same: generate brand awareness, increase customer leads, create consumer loyalty, and ultimately grow your business.

Google Ads in 2021

Google Ads in 2021

We know you’ve heard it a million times by now: “COVID has dramatically changed the way marketers must do business online.” And while social media and “traditional” digital marketing avenues such as email marketing and website design are certainly important to keep in mind, Google Ads is another avenue you should consider trying out in 2021. COVID has also had an impact on how people are searching for things online, so the way you use Google Ads might (well, really it WILL) have to change as well.

When creating your Google Ads, they are some best practices to keep in mind. Sadly it’s not as simple as creating some compelling text copy to get someone to click! You have to make sure that your ad strikes that oh-so-fine line of being keyword-rich and also readable; that you have a creative landing page built out that the ad directs to; and that you’ve created a bidding strategy so your ads have a chance of making the coveted front page of Google. And that’s just the beginning!

Be sure the text in your ad is optimized for Natural Language Search (NLS). In a nutshell, this involves using text and words in “everyday language,” so basically, how you talk! This is getting more and more popular partly due to the increase in individuals using voice search to search for things online (think “Hey Siri..” or “OK Google…”). Using these long-tail keywords, which are longer and more specific keyword phrases that visitors are more likely to use when they’re closer to a point-of-purchase or when they’re using voice search, will help you in optimizing your Google Ad. Google takes this into account when it prioritizes ads, so your best bet is to combine keywords with high potential for phrase matching with natural language.

It’s also important to make sure that your text for your ad does not repeat keywords (we can say it louder for the people in the back too)! Example of a “bad” ad copy: “Give your team digital marketing analysis tools with our data analytics solution.” It repeats keywords and offers no helpful solution at all, or accurately emphasizes what problem your company could help them solve. A better example would be: “Increase your client’s bottom line by up to 30% with our always evolving data system.” It sounds more natural, doesn’t repeat words, and clearly shows how it can help solve a problem. And, since it’s way easier to talk to your phone than try to type out a long, specific search phrase, natural language search doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon. (Side note: Google Keyword Planner is also a great tool to use when planning your Ad)

Automated Bidding. Love it or hate it, it’s one of the best ways to get to the first page of Google search results. This means that you need a bidding strategy. Surprisingly enough, you’ll set yourself up for more success if your bidding strategy involves automation. This handy graphic from Google Support helps lay the foundation for your bidding strategy. 

You might be thinking “Wait, I thought I could just ‘set it and forget it’ like my Crockpot dinner?” So this is kind of the case. You still might want to log in and evaluate the response that your ad is receiving and adjust the text accordingly. This approach has its benefits in that it can help you keep your cost down for the campaign and is an excellent way to get a feel for how Google Ads works. That being said, automated bidding where you start out with a cost-effective maximum spend can also give you the best shot at a well-received ad. In fact, Google offers smart automation for you to use that helps with your bidding.

Design your ads for mobile and desktop users. It might be easy to forget since the majority of us work from a computer, that people do a TON of searching from their phones (70% of all searches are on mobile devices, say what?!). The way a user searches also depends on the device they are using (remember how we talked about NLS above? You don’t really see people talking to their computers to search right?). You want to tailor your ads to the context and device by which you anticipate a user seeing them.

Evoking the “E” word in your ads. You guessed it: EMOTION. We all know it’s well-established and documented that evoking an emotional response in your audience is a MUST to get people to click. Sadly, you don’t have a lot of room to create an emotionally grabbing message in a Google Ad. But, you can still create an impression with the word choice and of course, your call-to-action (CTA). Be sure you are using phrases and words that match your branding. For example, maybe you’re a window cleaning service, so words like “faster,” “cleaner,” “shinier,” would resonate with someone looking for window cleaners. Like with your website, or any social media or email marketing, when you create the text for your CTA, you want to be sure you’re keeping the end-game in mind: what is the desired outcome from your ad? Is it a sign up for a newsletter? Is it a subscription? Is it a phone call? Always keep that in mind when you’re finishing off your Ad copy.

We know, that was a lot to take in and that’s not even the tip of the iceberg! Did you know that here at SocialKNX we can help you create amazing Google Ads to help drive business? Reach out today and let’s get started on making 2021 the year you get found on Google.

Email Marketing Trends for 2021

Email Marketing Trends for 2021

We know, you’ve heard it over and over the past year: COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way that businesses and organizations interact with current, and future, customers. Businesses shifted their marketing strategies to digital means (in particular email marketing!) to reach out and stay connected with customers, and email and social media became the main channels to inform people about new business hours, virtual opportunities, virtual events, and more.

So, since COVID is showing no immediate signs of slowing down, how do the changes you pivoted to in 2020 shape the way you’ll go about email marketing in 2021? Here are some things that we think you should keep in mind as you plan out your email marketing strategy for the year.

#1: Email is by far the most effective online marketing tool

We all know that the algorithms that social media platforms use (we’re looking at you Facebook) are always changing and can be murky and hard to understand. Email marketing gets you directly into the inbox of your customer, so you don’t have to worry about some unknown algorithm affecting your ability to market to your potential customers. In fact, active email accounts surpassed 5.6 billion in 2019, and that number that is surely expected to grow into 2021 and beyond. 

Additionally, social distancing forced customers to go online to view or purchase products and services, leading to an increase in sign-ups for email newsletters. Take advantage of this trend by setting up landing pages so your customers can easily sign up to join your email list. 

#2: Make sure your content is engaging and authentic

Ok, so you’ve gotten those new email newsletter sign ups, now what do you include in your newsletter? The content in your email needs to be eye-catching and relate to the customer. You must be offering something valuable to the person reading it, but also creating a connection for that reader to your business. Think of it this way- you’re trading your email for your subscriber’s time. Someone took the time to open your email (because the title was SO CREATIVE!) so make sure you’re giving them the value they are looking for to “make it worth their while.” 

Before you start creating your content for your email, stop and think about how you are helping your customers succeed- what does the product or service that you’re offering them DO? Does it help them save time? Help them feel connected to a community? What problem is your business helping them solve? Also be sure that your email content tone and personality accurately reflects your brand and will resonate with the email receiver.

#3: Personalize and automate your emails

Building on #2, the biggest advantage to email marketing is the ability to personalize AND automate. You can send targeted emails to each subscriber- making each one feel special. Take the time to think about the user experience from your customers side, and what they are looking for when they visit your website. Use any feedback from customers to consider how to target and create customized content more effectively. Knowing your customers’ journey and gaining insight on the customer by collecting data like demographic information, individual likes/dislikes, feedback on your company and it’s offerings can only strengthen your ability to send targeted and personalized emails that will encourage your customers to take action. Emailing your customer an offer that doesn’t resonate with who they are is a surefire way to get them to unsubscribe. 

Automation of your emails, also known as drip campaigns, are also a great way to ensure the emails your customer is receiving are relevant and timely. The last thing people want to see in their inbox is a useless or uncalled for email. Drip emails usually perform better than regular emails since they are triggered by specific actions taken by the customer. Drip campaign emails create a “friendlier” vibe and aren’t overwhelming- all the emails come in “drips,” so the customer is getting the exact information they want.  

In 2021, it’s likely that this trend in an increase in e-commerce purchases and email signups will continue. Make sure you stay one-step ahead and take these few ideas into consideration, as well as think about emerging trends (such as paid-newsletters) that could help brighten up your email marketing.

Here at SocialKNX, once you have someone in your content universe, we can help you grow that budding relationship! Whether it’s setting up welcome emails, nurture sequences, or sending monthly love letters that continue to build that connection, we’ve got you covered. Give us a call today to see how we can help you with your email marketing in 2021.

Can I Use This Image Online?  Understanding Image Copyright

Can I Use This Image Online? Understanding Image Copyright

You’re browsing the internet, trying to find the perfect image for your blog or your upcoming social media post, and you find it! So you schedule your post or publish your blog and go about your day. Then you check your email later and see a message from an attorney with a copyright infringement notice stating that you have illegally used an image. So what do you do now? (After you’ve taken a deep breath and calmed down!)

Finding the right images to use online can really mean the difference between “blah” and buzzworthy pages, ads, sites, and social media. Sourcing images for your website or social media posts isn’t always easy! The small print found in copyright image policies can be intimidating (and let’s be honest- how many people really sit down and read the fine print when they are searching for images in a hurry?). Words like fair use, attribution, non-commercial, no derivative are not something you see every day so they can definitely be confusing and hard to understand how they apply to you and your small business’ social media strategy. Unfortunately, “I didn’t know!” won’t fly as a valid defense, either.

Once you know the rules, though, it’s easy to follow them! There are also a ton of free stock photo sites that make finding photos a breeze.

So, what is image copyright?

The simple definition is that image copyright is image ownership- whoever took the photo is who owns the image. Image copyright is a form of legal protection that is automatically given to a creator as soon as an image is snapped. Anything from digital art, photographs, paintings, drawings are all subject to image copyright. If your friend takes a selfie with you using her phone, texts it to you, and you post it on Instagram. Technically you needed to ask for her permission to repost that photo since she was the original creator of that image.

How can I tell if I can use an image on social media?

Image copyright covers any image you want to use on social media. If you want to use an image that isn’t yours, you must obtain permission to use it- that may be through a license or obtaining permission directly from the creator. If you are given permission to use the image, be sure to keep a record on hand for future reference, just in case.

Just because a company or an individual has shared an image on a public account, it doesn’t make the image public domain. He/she/the company still very much owns the copyright! That being said, there are some unique ways copyright images can still be shared on your social media page.

Sharing/Retweeting/Repins

It’s typically ok to share images within the various social media platforms, as things like retweets, reshares, repins, or reposts automatically credit the creator of the post/image. Instagram is one of the platforms that this can be tricky – since there is no built-in feature that allows reposting, you must ask for permission. You can do this by sending a direct message or even commenting on the post to make sure the creator is ok with you sharing. Alternatively, there is also an app called Repost that allows you to repost your favorite images or videos on your own feed while giving credit to the original creator.

What about websites?

The same rules apply to images you want to use on your websites. You must be sure to get permission from the creator if there is a specific image you want to use that wasn’t found on free stock photo sites.

OK, so where can I find images to use?

Traditional stock photo sites like Shutterstock, Getty Images, iStock Photo, and Adobe Stock Images are great if you have the ability to pay for your photos. However, there are some great free sites like Unsplash, RawPixel, Pexels, StockSnap, and ReShot are just a few. The images on these sites are creative, eye-catching, and you won’t have to worry about image copyright issues! Although, it is always great to credit some of the creators of the images if you can – a simple tag on IG or “photo cred” in the caption. Additionally, if you use Canva to create your social media images for your posts, Canva has some free photos that you can use in the amazing visuals you’re creating.

 

Feeling a little overwhelmed by all of this information? SocialKNX can help with that! Our team of marketing rockstars can help you out by creating visual content for your social media that will complement your business and your brand. Reach out to us today to see how we can help!