How to Increase Sales Using Social Media

CCC is excited to welcome Lisa Austin and MyEcomClub.com to the blog! Learn more about both at the conclusion of this guest post.

Learn how you can better market your ecommerce business through Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. These 5 simple tips will teach you how to increase sales using social media.

The Power of Social Media

Cherilyn and I were next door neighbors ten years ago. Since that time, we have both moved–she moved to a different state and I moved to a different city. Despite the distance of two hundred and forty miles between us, I know that Cherilyn recently started her own online business selling beauty products.

How do I know? She announced it to me and all of her other friends on Facebook. In addition, I know when she’s having specials on certain products or running promotions. And it has all been done without a cent of her money being spent on marketing.

What’s the secret? The secret is social media. Viewers of social media know you and trust you because you have a relationship. According to DEI Worldwide, 70% of consumers use social media as often as they use firm websites to gather information about products. In addition, 60-70% of people believe that recommendations from other people online are “valuable, credible, and honest.”

Consumers Online

81% of the developed world now has internet access. Essentially that means that of the countries with expendable income, 81% can be reached from anywhere in the world. Global accessibility has never been greater than it is at this time. But with that accessibility also comes an overload of information and products.

Social media can help shoppers sort through it all. Social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, allows business owners to build relationships with their prospects, as well as use existing relationships to turn friends into customers.

Think about how many adults use social media while at work–just to get a mental break from their jobs. They may be on a coffee break, scrolling through their Instagram feed, when they see your business’s post. With every social media post your business makes, you’re reaching prospects during a time or place that television, radio, and print ads often cannot.

A Boost to Businesses

When a viewer sees a post, it can be almost like magic. According to Forbes contributor Jayson DeMers, “studies have shown that social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing.” And an IDC study released in 2014, found that buyers that use social media have 84% larger budgets than buyers that don’t. That’s a powerful formula!

Most of the developed world has internet + social media users have larger budgets + 100% higher closing rate = success!

Social media can bring you more leads and more sales without investing a fortune in marketing. However, social media marketing often falls flat. So I’ve gathered five tips to help you successfully connect with your customers.

5 Tips to Increase Sales Using Social Media:

  1. Post Often – By spending at least six hours per week, 66% of marketers saw a benefit from social media in lead generation.
  2. Use Images – Place an image alongside your text on Facebook. Posts with images have 2.3 times more engagement than stand-alone text.
  3. Learn to Pin – Pinners spend 50% more on purchases through the social media channel than users of other social media platforms, yet only 40% of marketers use it.
  4. Photograph People – When posting on Instagram, use photos of people. Studies show that photos with faces get 38% more likes than those without. So place your products with a person for a more positive response.
  5. Make a Video – Close to half of all internet users look for product related videos before visiting a store. Even though you may not have a brick and mortar storefront, put this statistic to work for you. Create simple videos about the products or services you sell and place them on your website as well as Youtube. Shoppers who view a video are almost twice as likely to make a purchase than shoppers who did not view a video.

(Thanks Hubspot for these great stats!)

So next time you are searching for a way to boost your sales, take a closer look at social media. It’s a great way to build your brand and boost your sales.

This post originally appeared on MyEcomClub.com and has been shared on the CCC blog with permission.

Lisa Austin, My EcomClub.com  Lisa Austin

 

Content Marketing: A Crucial Component of the Customer Experience

A stat from a recent article on content marketing caught our eye.

“Consumers engage with 11.4 pieces of content on average prior to making a purchase.”

pexels-photo-296878

In the B2B world, buying journeys tend to run longer anyway, but consumers (B2B and B2C) are doing their homework these days. Studies show that 70-80% of people research a company online before visiting the small business or making a purchase with them.

Whether it’s leftover angst from the Great Recession or the availability of information today, it’s precisely why content marketing is so important.

Here’s a real-life example:

Recently, I stayed over in Park City, Utah, for a day after working a client’s conference in nearby Salt Lake City. On a whim, I decided to get a massage after spending the previous four days pounding convention center floors. I pulled up local spas on my phone, checking their hours, availability and services. Not surprisingly, I contacted the spas who had this information available online — not ones I had to call just to see if they were open. And the spas who had additional content available — more in-depth descriptions of their services, photos of their facility, online real-time availability, etc. — moved to the top of my list.

What does this have to do with content marketing? The information I sought was quality content created by (or for) these spas: descriptive services pages with quality photos, blog articles on the benefits of one type of massage over another, recommendations on how to maximize your spa-going experience. This is what consumers are looking for today before making a purchase or even contacting your company.

While I didn’t end up getting a massage, I did manage to take a break from technology and enjoy the magic of Park City. But not before I utilized even more content — a visitor’s guide from my condo, Park City Transit’s website — to plan my stress-free day.

We’re all consumers at some point, so don’t forget about your experiences as a customer when you put on your marketing hat. These experiences are valuable and can make us better marketing professionals, if we choose to use them.

Reader Feedback

How have you used content marketing to learn more about a business or make a purchase?

How do you use your experiences as a customer to become a better marketing professional?

What types of content do you prefer when researching a company or purchase?

A professional customer and marketing professional,
Jaime

 

Let’s chat (about content marketing, customer experiences or otherwise):
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Inbound & Down: Certified to Help Clients Achieve Success

What a week! Between working the polls and planning a conference, we managed to renew our Inbound marketing certification for another year. As an Inbound Certified company, we’re positioned to help you navigate the ins and outs of the Buyer’s Journey.

Inbound Certified_CCC_Jaime Shine

What’s Inbound marketing? We’re glad you asked. Check out the blog post we wrote last year showcasing this new way of thinking in action, how it works and how it can help your brand. The basics are the same, but new ideas and research continue to come along. That’s why we wanted to make sure we’re up-to-date and can offer your business the best ways to succeed in our crowded, fast-paced world.

If you’re struggling to reach your target audience, let’s talk about your buyer personas. Who are they? Do you know their pain points and biggest challenges? What stage are they at in the Buyer’s Journey?

We would love to help you attract visitors, convert them into leads, close sales with customers and delight them into promoters. Learn more about how inbound marketing works, and then contact us so we can help you achieve success.

Cheers!

p.s. Interested in becoming Inbound Certified? Learn more about the course, certification and who it can help.

Still officially certified,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about Inbound, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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2016 Olympic Marketing Game Winners

So many athletes won big at this year’s Olympics, delivering their best performances on the world’s biggest stage. Who won the 2016 Olympic Marketing Games?

Gold

Under Armour, Rule Yourself 

This popular brand has done the best job of taking advantage of changes to Rule 40. It submitted a marketing plan in accordance with the (slightly) relaxed restrictions and advertised its sponsorship of Michael Phelps and other athletes without ever using Olympic intellectual property (IP), which isn’t allowed by non-sponsors. This video alone is nearing 11,000,000 views, has been shared over 68,000 times and has an average watch duration of 1:21 (for a 1:31 video). The best part? Under Armour’s Olympic marketing efforts are part of a larger overall campaign, so the brand receives an A+ for cohesiveness.

Olympic Marketing: A Balancing Act for Brands

Silver

Visa, The Swim

While The Carpool to Rio was an impressive spot, Visa grabbed our attention with its nod to refugee Yusra Mardini’s incredible journey to becoming an Olympian. As an official sponsor, the company has a heavy presence leading up to and during the Games, and this year was no different. This video alone racked up nearly 5,000,000 views, 715 shares and an average view duration of 29 seconds for a 30-second spot.

Super Bowl 50: Winners & Losers on the Big Stage

Bronze

Mini USA, Defy Labels

This spot initially caught our eye on TV, and we love the message behind it. We’ve all been labeled in our lives, oftentimes unfairly or based on stereotypes. It also fits in with the company’s product line, which defies expectations based on its size. Mini USA is an official Olympic sponsor, so the company can use Olympic IP throughout its campaign. The TV spot had a 98.12% average view rate (top 5 overall), and this video (one of a series) has captured nearly 18,500 views and 847 shares.

Now that we’ve handed out our medals, let us know your Olympic Marketing Champions. Which ads or overall campaigns caught your attention?

An Olympics (& marketing) fan,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about the Olympics, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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4 Retro Ways to Connect with Modern Audiences

Everywhere we look lately, from entertainment to business, what’s old is new again. Well established franchises are selling out movie theaters, the toy aisle is straight out of the eighties and businesses everywhere are turning back the clock to stand out in this fast-paced, digital world.

Clearly Conveyed Communications -- We give you a voice.

How can you go retro to connect with customers and grow your business today?

Make it personal with a handwritten note. When you receive a handwritten note, card or letter, it feels more personal. The recipient will appreciate that you took the time to put your thoughts on paper. The next time you want to thank a loyal customer or employee, don’t send an email. Jot down why you appreciate the recipient and how much you value the relationship, job he’s doing, etc. A little writing will go a long way!

How House of Cards is Winning the Marketing Game

Develop long-term relationships. Relationship marketing is a buzzword today, but the concept is straight out of a bygone era. Take the time to get to know your clients and employees, business partners and vendors. Let them know you’re in it for the long haul, not just a short-term sale. People want to do business with people they trust and that takes time to develop.

Give your audience your undivided attention. Viewers loved the alcohol carts in offices on Mad Men, but many of them missed the point. The ad men (and few women) would sit down and spend time with their clients when they stopped in. They weren’t too busy running from meeting to meeting to listen to their clients’ challenges and concerns. Many creative solutions were born over Old Fashioneds with no outside interruptions.

Mad Men: Master Storytelling In Any Era

Embrace paper in the digital age. In an age of email and the cloud, using paper is one way to grab recipients’ waning attention. Feature direct mail in your next marketing campaign, and reorder your physical business cards. In fact, go old school — embossing, engraving, bold lettering and colors set off with white space — to stand out from your competition. Going all digital removes your audience’s sense of touch, which limits their sensory experience while interacting with your brand.

In Summary

Handwritten notes, developing long-term relationships, giving your undivided attention and embracing paper will help you connect with today’s audiences. Don’t be afraid to be different, even if that means being inspired by a bygone era.

We’re grabbing our fedoras to head out for Old Fashioneds and Vodka Martinis with clients. Care to join us?

Embracing the future with help from the past,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about building relationships, your communications needs or otherwise):
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Get the Party Started: 5 Ways to Revamp Your Blogging Techniques

CCC is excited to welcome guest contributor, Katrina Manning! You can learn more about Katrina at the end of her article. 

When it comes to marketing your business, one of your most critical tools is blogging. For starters, it gives you an effective way to communicate with your customers. Secondly, it can help boost the SEO of your website. Yet, is your blog still having trouble getting noticed? There isn’t any question that blogs have a lot of competition. In order to get people to read your blog, you need to make it easy to find, produce high-quality and relevant content and have a design aesthetic that appeals to the contemporary viewer.

Revamp your blogging techniques to invite more readers to the party!

Revamp your blogging techniques to invite more readers to the party!

Here are five tips for revamping your blogging techniques:

Keep your content original and interesting

It should be common sense to understand that people only want to read articles that are original and interesting. Yet, you may be surprised to see that there are thousands of blogs with copied and illogical articles that cause most viewers to shake their heads and never return to those spammy sites again. When it comes to revamping your blogging techniques, you might want to take inventory of your current article cache. Do they provide relevant and informative content? Are they original? If not, it may be time to do some housekeeping. You don’t want search engines to pass over your blog. Use keyword searches to look for fresh ideas, or offer a different angle on a popular topic. Just make sure you are not writing the same types of articles found on almost every other blog within your niche.

 

Put mobile first

In 2015, Google announced that more searches were performed on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries. In fact, U.S. web designers always advise building sites that are mobile-first, then creating desktop versions. Smartphone screens are getting larger, and tablets continue to increase in popularity. Many users enjoy the card-style layouts, made trendy by Pinterest. This might be something to consider with regard to revamping the overall look of your blog.

 

Think of video

When it comes to external communication strategies, brands are increasingly focusing on video and — the buzzword for 2016 — virtual reality. Although video is helping to strengthen messages many brands are trying to convey, content isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Think of the stories that videos tell, different formats and even videos with no sound. If you can successfully integrate video with content and perhaps start dabbling in virtual reality, you’ll have something superior on your hands.

 

Work on your social media profiles

One of the most cost-efficient methods of advertising is through social media. With that being said, you should make sure you cross-link your accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn with your blog. In addition, you need a voice of your brand to promote your blog posts throughout your social media platforms. Do this on a consistent basis to get the word out and drive more traffic.

 

Connect with readers

One thing that readers will value is a personal connection. Other than your content, there isn’t anything to keep your readers coming back to your blog. On the other hand, if they have an outlet to share their thoughts and get the sense that a response will be made, they might be more inclined to revisit. Compare this to your personal Facebook page. When you post about something you like, do you not go back to see if any of your friends liked or commented on your post? When one of your readers has the opportunity to comment on your articles, they may come back to see if you’ve responded or if anyone else has responded.

On top of that, you can create an email list of willing subscribers by placing an optional subscription link on your blog. You can make it non-optional, but people don’t like to feel they were forced into doing things. If you make it optional, you have a higher likelihood that the people who signed up will be more receptive to your messages. When you email your subscribers with your updates, you can use your real voice to give it a more personal touch. You can be a subject matter expert and still appeal to the human trait of desiring companionship. People don’t want to feel like a number, they want to feel important.

As markets and personal preferences change, so should your blog. Performing a revamp every several years isn’t just good for you, it’s also good for business.

Katrina Manning is a web writer and editor with over six years of experience penning content for a wide variety of sites and publications, such as Yahoo! Small Business Advisor, IBM, The Purple Cow Agency blog, Sweet Lemon Magazine, Udemy, Business 2 Community, Personal Finance Hub, The Iowa City Owl, Newsiosity and Seven12 Magazine. 

4 Tips to Communicate Clearly With Emojis

When emojis burst onto the scene, people rejoiced. These colorful characters were fun and broke through language and cultural barriers. In 2015, the Oxford Dictionaries cemented their place in our language by selecting an emoji — the Face with Tears of Joy — as the Word of the Year. Predictions of a future with little to no text were widespread, and businesses (who hadn’t already) started using this popular form of communication. Sounds perfect, right?

Are you communicating clearly with emoji or being misunderstood?

Over Coffee by Drew Herron via CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 // text & graphics added by author

Not quite. As a recent study discovered, emojis can be misinterpreted just like other form of communication. The first problem is that the same emoji can display differently on different platforms (Apple, Samsung, Google, etc.). In addition, two people can look at the exact same emoji displayed identically and interpret it differently.

Should your brand stay away from all things emoji? No, but you need to exercise caution like you do with any form of communication.

These four tips can leave you smiling with tears of joy instead of face-palming:

  • Plan Ahead: Are you thinking of utilizing emojis in an upcoming campaign? Do some research. View how your selected emojis display on different platforms and look into any popular alternative interpretations to the meaning you’re intending. It’s a lot easier to change your campaign than deal with a PR gaffe.
  • Be Careful Using Emoji that Display Differently: Maybe you have a dire need to use the grinning face with smiling eyes emoji, but be careful. This is one of the emojis that displays differently across platforms and can cause confusion and unintended responses. Try to stick with more universally displaying and understood emojis if possible. 👍
Same Emoji + Different Smartphone Platform = Different Emotion

Graphic courtesy of grouplens

  • Remember Your Brand Voice: Emojis are a part of your brand’s voice, so be consistent when you’re using them. The face with tears of joy emoji wouldn’t work well for a conservative brand or industry. Take your audience into consideration too; they may not use emojis or have any interest in them.
  • Don’t Forget About Hashtags: Trending and popular emoji hashtags, such as #WorldEmojiDay or #emoji can boost your posts and tweets. Remember to check out any hashtags first before jumping in. They could be about something completely unrelated to what you’re thinking, making it inappropriate to participate. Emojis are available as hashtags on Instagram, so use them accordingly to increase your reach.

Warning: Appropriate Hashtag Usage on Instagram Will Result in Major Traffic Increase

 

Emojis can help you break through the information overload and connect with your target audiences — if they use and understand the colorful characters. As with any communication, a little foresight, planning and common sense will help you communicate your message clearly and not get lost in translation.

Does Your Brand Speak Emoji?

What are your favorite emojis? What emojis would you like to see introduced?

Does your brand utilize emojis in its communications? Have you ever had an emoji miscommunication?

Speaking emoji (when appropriate),
Jaime

Let’s chat (about emojis, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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Share the Luck of the Irish with Your Clients & Employees

Whatever your background, we’re all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick's Day revelers enjoy the celebration

St. Patrick’s Day by Courtney Collison via CC BY-SA 2.0 http://bit.ly/1QVmT1J

Here’s how to share the spirit of this holiday with your business family:

  • Throw an Irish potluck — Ask employees to bring their favorite Irish-themed foods for a festive event in the office. If you’re throwing a last-minute shindig, order in from your favorite Irish restaurant. Hand out fun promotional items, such as four leaf clover-printed sunglasses, green hats or four leaf clover beads. Remind everyone to wear green and punctuate the event with some fun Irish music (or March Madness)!
  • Enjoy March Madness during a St. Patrick’s Day Happy Hour — Invite your employees and/or clients to Happy Hour at your favorite local pub. Cheer on your favorite men’s college basketball teams (or the ones you picked on your bracket) with an ice cold Guinness in hand. If you’re feeling lucky, pick up the first round of drinks along with some hors d’oeuvres. Enjoy the camaraderie as you survive the roller coaster ride of the NCAA Tournament!
  • Hold a Luck of the Irish Contest — Invite your clients to participate in a themed contest celebrating this popular holiday. Anyone who places an order receives a mystery discount or gift. You can hold the contest digitally with a well-designed landing page, email marketing and social media promotion. Take the contest offline with direct mail, scratch off tickets and in-person visits. Don’t forget to create a hashtag and encourage clients to post their winning tickets on social!
  • Bring the Irish Spirit into Your Office — Encourage employees to wear green along with festive accessories. Reward the most festive, creative and other categories of your choice with gift certificates to your local pub, lunch delivered in the office or a day (or afternoon) off. Throughout the day, highlight your festivities on social media so fans can get to know the faces behind the scenes and see your fun culture.

St. Patrick’s Day 2016: How the World Will Celebrate From Dublin to Tokyo

However you decide to celebrate, have fun! May the Luck of the Irish be with you and your business always.

Cheers,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about green beer, holiday marketing or otherwise):
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Super Bowl 50: Winners & Losers on the Big Stage

We know who won on the field, but who won the battle of the brands? Here’s our take on the winners and losers of Super Bowl 50 advertisers.

“If it doesn’t sell, it’s not creative.” -David Ogilvy

Portraits by Jeep for Super Bowl 50

Jeep’s ads, including Portraits, were on point.

Winners

  • Give A Damn, Budweiser: First, the King of Beers spent $5 million on a PSA condemning drinking and driving. 👍 Second, they featured none other than Dame Helen Mirren, who is known for portraying strong, frank women, and she didn’t mince words. Third, for every #GiveADamn mention, Budweiser donated $1 toward safe driving programs. Drinking & driving is a serious problem, and the ad’s timing was perfect.
  • Ultrasound, Doritos: This ad held our attention, featured the product prominently and made us crave Doritos! It makes sense for a snack brand to advertise during the big game, and this year concluded the company’s strong 10-year run of crowdsourced commercials. Doritos crunched its way to being the second most mentioned brand on Twitter during the game.

  • Portraits & 4x4ever, Jeep: The auto manufacturer scored twice this year. Portraits grabbed our attention with black and white images of Jeep owners that looked like they were captured on a (vertical) smartphone. More importantly, the brand spoke to its core audience in both spots, recognizing that Jeep owners crave experiences and live an adventurous, off-road lifestyle. “We don’t make Jeep. You do.”
  • The Longest Chase, Toyota: “Wait. Is this a Prius?”  Toyota wanted to convey that the all-new 2016 Prius isn’t just a comfortable ride. How do you do that in a fun, entertaining way? Have four buddies rob a bank, have their getaway car towed and outrun police on a wild, multistate chase. Speed, handling, gas mileage, spacious interior… #GoPriusGo
  • Storm’s a-Brewin’, Death Wish Coffee: The self-proclaimed maker of the strongest coffee in the world won this year’s Small Business, Big Game contest by Intuit, and its spot didn’t disappoint. Vikings? A raging storm? A day of reckoning? On brand for a company that uses a skull and crossbones in its logo. Two thumbs up for the prominent product and website placement at the end.

Honorable Mention

  • Esurance: You may have noticed that the online auto insurance company only advertised during the pre-game (when price tags are a little lower). So how did it steal the show? By enticing Twitter users to retweet its brand-appropriate tweets to enter to win big $$. Esurance was the most mentioned brand on Twitter during the game (835,101 tweets — 4x that of #2, per Amobee Brand Intelligence) and even trended on Facebook — with a Twitter contest.

Losers

  • #puppymonkeybaby, Mountain Dew: This bizarre ad reinforced that all publicity is not good publicity. Yes, people were talking about it, but most of it wasn’t good. We love puppies, monkeys and babies, but combining them doesn’t excite us — or make us want to drink MTN DEW Kickstart. After this commercial, we’re staying as far away from it as possible.

  • A New Truck to Love, Honda: Don’t get us wrong; we love Queen. But be honest: Did you actually remember who’s ad this was? Or were you just singing along to a great song? So were we, but that’s tough to justify the hefty price tag ($10 mil?).

  • Breathe, Michelob Ultra: Was it just us or were you a little confused by this spot too? We get that Michelob Ultra targets athletic and fit people, not your stereotypical beer drinkers, but there had to be a better way to show that — and drop $5 million.
  • What We Were Thinking, Quicken Loans: We’re all about technology making things easier but should applying for a mortgage be that easy? Maybe the biggest purchase of your life shouldn’t be done while waiting for your food at a restaurant. This commercial seemed to imply that an app could fix our economy overnight, which seems ridiculous. Let’s not #RocketMortgage our way into another recession.
  • Great Loans for Great People, SoFi: We touched on startup SoFi heading to the big game previously. While admirable, we’re not sure that its ad was the best way to spend 20% of its annual marketing budget. The company’s looking for a pretty specific customer, and the Super Bowl might not have been the best way to reach that market. We love fellow small businesses and startups (even ones with deep pockets), so we hope we’re wrong here.

That’s our take on the winners and losers of Super Bowl 50. Congrats to the Broncos and every advertiser who sees a legit return on its investment. As a wise man once said, “if it doesn’t sell, it’s not creative.”

Join the Post Game Huddle

Do you agree with our advertising winners and losers?

Would you advertise during the Super Bowl if you had the budget?

Were you on social media during the game? What platform were you on the most?

Still craving Doritos (and Death Wish Coffee),
Jaime

Let’s chat (about the Super Bowl, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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