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3 Easy, Last-Minute Black Friday Ideas You Can Use

3 Easy, Last-Minute Black Friday Ideas You Can Use

By on November 26, 2015

The holidays are a busy time for every small business. In the past few months, you’ve probably ordered additional inventory, stocked the shelves and hired additional staff to handle the rush. With so much to do, devoting time to Black Friday may have been overlooked – but it’s not too late! That’s why we’ve created a list of last-minute marketing ideas to make sure your business brings in the Black Friday bucks.

1. Email your customers an irresistible promotional offer
Black Friday shoppers are the ultimate bargain hunters and they have high expectations of steep discounts and sales. Create a holiday-themed email campaign that presents shoppers with a few offers they can’t refuse.

“People are looking at $10 toasters and $100 TVs,” says Kari DePhillips, owner of The Content Factory. “Definitely create content that highlights what kind of deals or cool products you have for Black Friday.”

Of course, as a small business, matching the door-busting deals that big box stores offer is tough to do. If you can’t offer a similar discount, make up for it by offering additional incentives.

For example, if you own a plumbing company, offer a discount like the one below but promote your on-time service guarantee, too.

3 Easy, Last-Minute Black Friday Ideas You Can Use

If you run a boutique pet supply store, offer as much of a discount as you can and throw in a free grooming session for the following year. If you sell electronics, mention your one-on-one customer service or training courses in your email.

Remember, a good deal isn’t defined solely by price. Point out your strengths to sweeten that last-minute holiday deal.

2. Create a holiday gift guide
Shoppers need inspiration. Help them out by creating a gift guide. Pick five of your products and create the equivalent of a digital sales flyer, showcasing each of the products and offering a variety of price ranges. Here is a gift guide example by Macy’s.

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 11.07.16 AM

For service-based businesses, highlight your best service or maintenance packages that have sold well throughout the year. A computer repair shop could showcase its virus protection plans, annual maintenance packages and hard drive backup options.

You can tweak these ideas and use them in several ways. Here are a few other gift-guide ideas:

Gifts for her
Gifts for him
Five gifts you missed this season
Our five hottest gifts for less than $25
Affordable gifts your parents will love
Our hottest service plans at the lowest prices

Once you’ve created your gift guide, make sure you cross promote it. Put it in an email to send to appropriate segments of your list, put the guide on your blog, and highlight one gift from your guide each day on social media. With the short holiday shopping season, you want to maximize your exposure.

3. Grab attention with social media
This holiday season, turn to your social media channels where you already have an audience full of shoppers waiting for your Black Friday updates. Take a look at a few creative ideas that retailers have used in the past. Use these suggestions to spark your own ideas and cash in on the Black Friday buzz.

Get inspired by some of our favorite classic Black Friday campaigns:

In 2014, Best Buy created a Facebook campaign specifically for Black Friday that nearly broke the internet….or at least their website for a few hours! Use social media to keep shoppers informed on the latest sales and limited edition stock items.
In 2011, JCPenney gave $25 to the Salvation Army for every customer that checked in on Foursquare on Black Friday. Consider giving back to your community in some way. Maybe donate a canned good to your local food bank for every new follower you get on Twitter.
For holiday season 2014, Target gave away gift cards to new Facebook fans last year. You can try something similar. Whether you give away gift cards or a small gift, incentives can attract customers. Always check the individual rules for each social network to see what is permissible.

For more holiday marketing tips, check out our Everything Holiday site.

Get your holiday email marketing started now with VerticalResponse.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 14, 2014 and has been revamped and updated for relevance.

© 2015, Vertical Response Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post 3 Easy, Last-Minute Black Friday Ideas You Can Use appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

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5 Tips to Make the Most of Your Small Business Saturday Strategy

5 Tips to Make the Most of Your Small Business Saturday Strategy

By on November 26, 2015

Smalls business owners should never doubt the importance of their work to the American economy. They provide 55 percent of all jobs in the country, and they have provided 66 percent of all net new jobs dating back to the 1970s. Representing 99.7 percent of all employer firms, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, November 28, 2015 is their day.

This year’s annual Small Business Saturday is just around the corner, and previous campaigns have generated billions for American businesses. Thus, it behooves small business owners to make the most of this day.

If you’re a small business owner, here are five strategies you can employ to ensure your Small Business Saturday is as profitable as possible.

Expand your day. Remember, Small Business Saturday is your day, so make the most of it. If you usually open your business at 10 a.m., this is the day to open at 7 a.m. instead. Use email and social media to remind your customers of Small Business Saturday, and be sure to tell them about your plans to open early. These channels can also be used to highlight any sales or promotions you have tied to the day.Create a memorable experience. Your personal touch is what makes your business special, so highlight it with special activities on Small Business Saturday. If you own a bookstore, hold a reading for children. If you serve delectable treats, host a tasting. And if you run a small music store, invite a local artist to perform. Make your Small Business Saturday experience memorable and customers will think of you when looking to satisfy a need the rest of the year.”Follow Black Friday’s example. Door-busting deals work to bring customers through the doors of retailers on Black Friday, and they can do the same for your business on Small Business Saturday. Before you finalize such a strategy, however, make sure you choose your door-busting deals carefully. Analyze your profit margins and make sure you don’t choose to heavily discount an item that will negatively impact your bottom line after the day has passed.Partner up. The right partnership can make your small business feel like a bigger business on November 28. To do this, consider combining your marketing and promotions with a like-minded store. For example, if you are a florist, partner with a bridal boutique. If you’re a baker, partner with a coffee house, and if you’re a travel agent, you may share plenty of customers with the local boarding facility. Offering cross-promotions will benefit you both and help everyone make the most of Small Business Saturday.Give back. As a small business, you pride yourself on giving back to the community that’s given so much to you; Small Business Saturday is the perfect time to do just that. Consider giving a portion of all your sales during the day to a charity of your choice and then display this for your customer’s knowledge. You might even consider partnering with the charity if it works. Lastly, don’t discount the importance of writing thank you notes to everyone who made your Small Business Saturday special. A handwritten note will stay with your customers far longer than it takes to write it, and it’s one easy way to separate yourself from your larger competitors.

Small Business Saturday was created with businesses like yours in mind, and now it’s up to you to make the most of it. Apply any of the ideas above with an infusion of your own creativity. 

To find more small business marketing inspiration, check out Smallbusinessrevolution.org.

© 2015, Vertical Response Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post 5 Tips to Make the Most of Your Small Business Saturday Strategy appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

Getting Black Friday & Cyber Monday ready

Getting Black Friday & Cyber Monday ready

By on November 26, 2015

This welcome early Christmas present was flown over, by special delivery, from the US to the UK last year for the very first time and for my team at dotmailer it presented some very interesting engineering challenges!

As a fairly new CTO (joined August 2014) for the UK’s leading email marketing platform it was a little daunting walking into dotmailer just three months before the holiday season. Preparations were well underway for the ramp up over the holiday, but suddenly, all that changed.

Walking into the office on 28th November was an exciting day. The day before had been dotmailer’s busiest sending day ever and the team were all elated with the amount of emails delivered. The start of the holiday season was here!

All was ticking over nicely, however our Platform Engineering Director John looked a little engrossed in our monitoring screens. The platform was very busy to say the least. Little had we realised that the UK was waking up to Black Friday fever for the very first time.

What was going on..!?

Effectively the traffic volumes created by bargain hunters had performed one of the largest legitimate Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks I have ever witnessed and ecommerce sites were taking the full brunt.

Jumping on the Black Friday fever bandwagon our UK ecommerce customers were sending more than ever with huge campaigns lined up to their subscriber base.

Many were being created before our eyes to ride the wave of hype generated in the news. There were however some delays delivering these emails into the Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Like the crowds being funnelled into the stores with restrictions on how many could get through each minute, the ISPs were throttling the rate at which email was delivered to them. This caused delays for some of our customers hoping to deliver their email campaign into the inbox of the eager bargain hunters.

dotmailer had its busiest ever day on the 27th November, on Black Friday it sent an additional 30% more.



The two pink dots represent Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  Taking our previous busiest day as a reference point you can see the true effect of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. A huge peak in volume, followed by the usual weekend drop off, followed by another peak on Cyber Monday.

So how did we cope? 

We have always invested in the best of breed technology at dotmailer and as I mentioned earlier we had compute reserves on-standby. We were able to quickly spin up these resources and start utilizing them as we saw the peak in demand.



As you can see the sending volume gradually increased with the all hype in the UK… we had our US customers come online sending their early morning Black Friday campaigns which culminated in our busiest hours we had ever seen between 11:00 and 12:00 GMT.



We saw email opens grow much quicker than an average day with much bigger peaks earlier on in the day (all times are in GMT).

So what did we learn and what can you take away?

We started our holiday season (including Black Friday and Cyber Monday) planning earlier this year. We are again making sure we again have enough compute power available to cope with peak demands. We have plans in place to deliver a 100% increase in emails compared to the volume we saw on Black Friday last year.

Email marketing is still the most successful digital channel with one of the highest ROIs. We are anticipating a similar Black Friday fever in the UK and US again and like us, we want our customers to be ready to ride the wave.

Steve, CTO dotmailer

It’s Not Too Late! Five Ways to Make This a Social Holiday Season

It’s Not Too Late! Five Ways to Make This a Social Holiday Season

By on November 26, 2015

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are on the horizon and soon those holiday shipping deadlines will be upon us. While you might have your holiday promotion engine revving at maximum RPM, don’t overlook a critical part of your marketing mix…social media. One of the most powerful aspects of social media marketing is how truly real-time it can be, and generating some strategies right now can pay huge dividends in the thick of the holiday season. Here are five ways to go social this holiday season:

1. Drum Up Some Excitement With Countdowns

Twelve days of Christmas. Eight nights of Hanukkah. Thirty-one days of December awesomeness. Be sure to reward your customers with perks spread across the holiday season. Think about how you might use a daily deal strategy like Microsoft is doing with their 12 Days of Deals promotion.

Microsoft 12 Days of Deals Promotion

Countdown rewards can be more than discounts and deals. Get into the giving mood! From prizes to tips to exclusive content, there are plenty of creative options. RentMoola did a great job of this with their 12 Days of PERKS campaign. Not only did they give away some great gifts, but they also leveraged 3 different social platforms in the campaign to have a multiplying effect.

RentMoola 12 Days of PERKS

2. Use “Last-Minute” to Your Advantage

If you think you’re running out of time to drum up holiday sales, you better believe your customers are feeling the pressure too. Tap into this sense of urgency by actively communicating shipping deadlines, product availability and other time-sensitive information across all your social networks. Walgreens did an awesome job of this last year by promoting their Same Day Pickup Photo Cards. This was a double whammy because it nudged them to download their mobile app to take advantage of the deal.

Walgreens last-minute deals

3. Let Your Fans Get In On the Action

The holidays are a perfect time to get your fans to share in the conversation. Ask questions on your social pages  to drum up the holiday buzz. Check out what Gilt Man does. Who doesn’t want to talk about dressing up this time of year?!

Gilt Holiday Question Strategy

You can also ask fans to submit pictures or videos of anything from their favorite gift to what the weather looks like where they live. This is a great way to let your customers know that your brand is engaged and interested. Take it to the next level and use a custom Facebook app from a company like PromoJam and turn it into a contest.

4. Do the Work for Them

Chances are, if someone is still looking for gifts late into the holiday season, they could probably use some inspiration. That’s where you come in! Tweet links to your products or set up a regularly updated gift guide on your Facebook page. Think about how you might position your products based on who your fans might be shopping for. This tweet from Michaels Stores, North America’s largest specialty retailer of arts and crafts, appeals to all the artsy people out there.

Michaels Tweet

5. Pay It Forward

Does your company do any charitable giving, employee donation matching, or community service efforts for the holidays? If not, bah humbug. If yes, awesome! Why not share your efforts with your social community? This is a great opportunity to give your brand a bit of personality beyond business as usual. It’s also a fantastic way to recognize your employees for the efforts they make. Win-win!

VerticalResponse Volunteering

Need more ideas and inspiration? Check out Everything Holiday, our free marketing resource center. You’ll find a holiday checklist, calendar, guides, e-Books, webinars, and more.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on December 9th, 2011 and has been revamped and updated for relevance.

© 2015, Vertical Response Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post It’s Not Too Late! Five Ways to Make This a Social Holiday Season appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

Why Certain Marketing Words Sing, While Others Just Stink — and How to Tell the Difference

Why Certain Marketing Words Sing, While Others Just Stink — and How to Tell the Difference

By on November 26, 2015

For all the visual nature of modern marketing, words are still powerful. A mesmerizing video or stunning picture gains even greater impact with a few descriptive words, and consumers still rely on language to communicate and share their reactions to everything they see online. Choosing just the right words for your marketing materials can make all the difference in how well they succeed at engaging consumers.

As you craft marketing content, it’s easy to find online lists of marketing words that sell, and just as easy to find lists of words to avoid. Of course, some advice will be more useful than others, and unless you’re a professional wordsmith — few small business owners are — you may find it difficult to assess the value of the tips you read. However, if you understand why certain words are powerful while others are ineffective, you’ll be better able to choose marketing words that hit the mark with your target audience.

What makes words sing?

Why Certain Marketing Words Sing, While Others Just Stink

Professional wordsmiths, whether novelists or ad copywriters, carefully consider virtually every word they choose. They know that word choice drives a reader’s/user’s visceral reaction to the key message the text is intended to deliver. Pick the right words in the right combination, and your prose will entertain and enlighten while conveying your message. Choose poorly or lazily, and your content will bore readers at best, and annoy or repulse them at worst.

When you’re evaluating word choice for any piece of marketing content, keep optimum qualities in mind. Good marketing words are:

Emotionally evocative

Certain words inspire specific emotional responses in people who hear or read them. For example, you might consider using the word “hurry” in an email subject line to entice recipients to take advantage of a limited-time offer. But average Americans are hurried enough in virtually all aspects of their lives; they might perceive the word “hurry” as stressful. A good marketing word will evoke a positive emotional response from your audience. You don’t have to be a professional wordsmith to interpret the emotion associated with a word; go with your gut. If a word gives you a negative feeling, chances are good your audience will react the same way.


We’ve all seen ads, emails or commercials that are all flash and no substance. They use word gimmicks to attract attention, but fail to tell the consumer anything useful about the product or service they’re supposed to buy. While such words have an initial impact, they can’t hold attention long term, or lead to the level of engagement that results in a purchase. Good marketing words tell the consumer something about your product or service, which is why words like “you,” “now” and “free” resonate.


Good marketing tells consumers what’s in it for them if they choose your product or service. It helps them understand how what you’re selling relates to their lives. Word choices that create a personal connection for prospects — “you,” “kids,” “pets,” “parents” — help consumers understand the value proposition you’re selling.


Certain words just have style or flare. They are colorful, fun, engaging, exciting or humorous, and they can be powerful enough to overcome the innate dullness of a naturally lackluster product or topic. For example, mopping the floor is drudgery, but when you use the words “deluxe,” “deliver” and “sanitize” to describe a floor cleaner, suddenly the task seems more exciting.

Easy on the ‘inner’ ear

Most people subvocalize when they read, meaning they “hear” the words spoken in their head in their own inner voice. While people may try to sublimate subvocalization when reading lengthy materials, most will “hear” your ad slogan, email subject line or web header when they read it. This means words that sound harsh when spoken aloud are likely to evoke the same response when read “silently.” Be aware of how a word sounds and consider if that sound fits with what you’re trying to achieve.


The difference between active and passive can be hard to grasp, even for professional writers. Words that speak to the reader of “doing” rather than “being” are active, and they’re more interesting to read. While you likely think of certain verbs as being active — run, jump, call — nouns and descriptive words can also imply action. For example, “driver” feels more active than “motorist” in describing someone behind the wheel of a vehicle.


Often in marketing you have mere seconds to grab someone’s attention, whether it’s with the subject line of your marketing email or a 10-second radio spot. It’s important to act quickly using as few words as possible. Good marketing is economical; it packs a lot of meaning into just one or two words. This is why “super-sale” is more effective than “everything on sale at rock-bottom prices.” Mastering word economy makes your writing brilliant. Dubious about the power of word economy? Consider the shortest English “novel” ever penned (attributed to Ernest Hemingway): “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”


Great marketing words are familiar, easy to get along with and don’t require consumers to run to Dictionary.com to figure out what you’re trying to say. Words that create a sense of companionship — “Oh, I know what that means” — make prose more relatable and consumable.


Familiarity doesn’t, however, mean you can rely on words that are stale and over-used. Given the sheer volume of content Americans see and hear every day, certain words and phrases can quickly saturate their awareness. Consumers welcome content that’s fresh and engaging. Words and messages they’ve seen too often before quickly lose impact.


Although social media is an important component of your overall marketing strategies, that doesn’t mean you should apply social media “speak” to every piece of marketing you do. It is possible, and imperative, to be grammatically correct, engaging and brief. When consumers see grammatical errors in content, they may not be able to cite the grammar rule it breaks but they can still know it doesn’t “sound right” to them. What’s more, poor grammar implies a lack of care and laziness that no small business owner wants associated with their products or services.


Good marketing words make sense in the context in which you’re using them. For example, “gleam” makes perfect sense when you’re talking about toothpaste or car wax, but is less relevant in the context of a fitness club or produce stand. A word can be emotionally evocative, informative and entertaining and still not fit the context of your marketing goal.


While people, and not search engines, make purchases, it’s important that you optimize online content for search engines; they’re the gatekeepers between your marketing content and the audience you hope will see it. While SEO should never be the deciding factor in your marketing word choices, whenever possible use words that will earn your content higher ranking by search engines.

What makes words stink?

Why Certain Marketing Words Sing, While Others Just Stink

Words fall into three categories when it comes to marketing: good, indifferent and bad. Poor word choices can undermine the most positive marketing message. One or more wrong words can dilute your brand identity, create a negative connotation for consumers, and even get you into legal trouble.

It’s imperative to avoid words that are counter to your marketing objectives. Here are some guidelines to help you identify words you should never use in marketing:

Is it jargon?

Every industry has its own language, and while jargon may be useful for communicating specific ideas and topics within an organization or industry, it’s almost never helpful in marketing. Jargon makes consumers feel like outsiders. It’s confusing, and average people can’t relate to it.

Is it offensive?

While there may be some validity to the idea of societal backlash against anything that’s overly politically correct, giving offense is the last thing you ever want to do in marketing content. It’s virtually impossible to eliminate all risk of ever offending anyone, but certain words are bound to be offensive. You know what they are — words that have racial, ethnic or biased overtones, that belittle certain groups of people, or would prompt your mother to remind you that if you can’t say anything nice you should say nothing at all. Case in point: outraged consumers leveled the ire on a huge discount chain after the retailer added a “fat girls costume” category to its website for Halloween.

Is it derogatory or insulting?

Yes, this is slightly different from being offensive. It’s possible to say something negative that, while not necessarily offending the consumer, is still off-putting. Positivity drives purchases, and using derogatory words in your marketing can give consumers the impression that your brand identity is inherently negative.

Is it crass or icky?

Some words just lack class. Others are inherently icky. Still others just make people uncomfortable. It’s hard to imagine words like cancer, rancid or puss ever evoking an uplifting feeling. Sometimes, they’re necessary — if you’re talking about a fund-raiser to benefit cancer research, you have to say the word — but often they’re not. Always look for alternatives to words that could cause consumers discomfort.

Is it duller than dirt?

Just as there are words that will always be associated with negative feelings and meanings, some words have no emotive value at all. Or, they’ve become so overused that they are no longer effective in creating a desired response. Still others just aren’t put together well, and they lack that sparkle that makes for compelling content.

Where words should sparkle

Why Certain Marketing Words Sing, While Others Just Stink

Of course, it would be wonderful if every line of your marketing materials sparkled. Certain spots, however, are more important than others when it comes to creating impact with words. Here are the top four places where your word choice must shine:

Headlines/titles – In our speed-conscious society, many consumers make decisions about what to read and what to buy based solely on a piece of content’s headline or title. A few great words in a headline can ensure customers are interested enough to listen to the rest of the pitch. Your slogan – You can probably think of some great slogans – “Just do it.” “Don’t leave home without it.” “Say it with flowers.” A good tagline tells consumers who you are, what you’re selling and why they need it, all in a few choice words. Email subject lines – The subject line of your marketing email is the digital equivalent of a newspaper headline. It will either convince the recipient to open it, or hit “delete” without reading further. Subject lines that are long, dull, confusing or misleading won’t perform well. The first line of your pitch – If your headline, title, slogan and subject line have all worked to get the prospect this far into your marketing materials, it would be a shame to lose them with a lackluster first line. Packing the beginning of your content, whether it’s an email or print ad, with great words can help ensure customers will stay with you until you close the deal.

Despite the rise of digital marketing, or perhaps because of it, words remain as powerful as ever. When you choose strong words that sell, inform and elicit emotion, you create engaging content that builds your brand, boosts sales and impacts your bottom line.

For more marketing tips, guides, and inspiration, sign up for the VerticalResponse weekly newsletter.

© 2015, Vertical Response Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post Why Certain Marketing Words Sing, While Others Just Stink — and How to Tell the Difference appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

7 Tips to Creating a Memorable Slogan

7 Tips to Creating a Memorable Slogan

By on November 26, 2015

What makes a slogan memorable? If you’re creating a new slogan for your business or product, you want something that represents your brand and is easy to remember. According to The Washington Post, the top four most recalled slogans are:

Just do it! (Nike) I’m lovin’ it (McDonald’s) Have it your way (Burger King) Melts in your mouth, not in your hand (M&Ms)

Newly Added Examples (November 2015):  Although these four slogans are likely always at the tip of your tongue, remember there are other classics and modern taglines across a variety of sectors and brand types that you definitely know when you see them:

Because You’re Worth It (L ‘Oreal) What’s In Your Wallet (Capital One) Like A Good Neighbor, State Farm is There (State Farm Insurance) Get The London Look (Rimmel Cosmetics) Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman (Secret Deoderant) Virginia is for Lovers (Virginia Tourism) They’rrrre GR-R-REAT! (Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes) Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun (Doublemint Gum) Redbull Gives You Wings (Redbull) Mmm mmm good! (Campbell’s) Get In the Zone (AutoZone) Come Hungry. Leave Happy. (IHOP)

To help you create a memorable slogan for your business, here are seven tips to get your creative juices flowing:

1. Keep it short and simple

If Las Vegas had tried to use “Whatever you do while you’re in Las Vegas, Stays in Las Vegas” instead of “What Happens Here, Stays Here” it might never have caught on as one of the most popular slogans of all time. Keep your slogan under 9 or 10 words.

2. Be consistent

Consistent branding is key whether you’re a small business or a household name. Make sure your slogan complements your existing logo, company name and projected image. For example, with Pro Carpet Care’s slogan, “Your Greener Cleaner” they streamline their earth-friendly branding with a leaf logo. The color green is used in their website design and marketing materials.

3. Focus on what makes you different

Figure out what your unique selling proposition is and use it. Is your delivery business done with a fleet of electric cars? Does your dental practice cater to those with high anxiety? Crossoak Family Dentistry uses the slogan “We cater to cowards” with a big chicken on its website. Incorporate what makes you special into your slogan if possible.

4. Make it timeless

Verizon had a good run with, “Can you hear me now?” but it was only a matter of time before technology made all cell phone calls clear. You have to change with the times, but when you’re working on a slogan you want to think of its longevity. References to technology or phrases like “the only” are risky. Choose wording that can stand the test of time.

5. Ensure it can stand-alone

Lumberjack’s Restaurant’s “Where the BIG BOYS eat!” tell you about the target persona that you can probably figure out the business with no other hints. You want a slogan that tells your audience what your business is without any additional information.

6. Consider your target market

You’ll also need to consider if your customers are local, national or international. While some locals get Philadelphia’s new slogan, “PHL: Here for the Making,” it may have left tourists scratching their heads. The phased-out Wendy’s slogan, “It’s better here” sounds better suited to a “shop local” campaign than a national fast food chain. Make sure your slogan is clear to your target market.

If you sell to other countries, keep in mind that translating your slogan to another language can significantly change the meaning. When KFC launched in China, their “finger lickin’ good” slogan translated to the unfortunately less appetizing, “eat your fingers off.”

7. Get input

Being creative is a tough job, but there are ways to avoid going it alone. Use Facebook’s poll feature to get opinions from your followers. Use Twitter to host a slogan contest with a designated hashtag to track entries. Or consider some free tagline generators, like Sloganizer.net, Procato.com or SloganGenerator.co, to get your brain warmed up.

If you want to leverage expert designers, get a free consultation from the creative team at Deluxe.

Wendy Burt-Thomas is a full-time freelance writer with four books and thousands of published articles to her credit. Contact Wendy at WendyBurt@aol.com.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 22, 2015 and has been updated to include additional enhancements and examples.

© 2015, Vertical Response Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post 7 Tips to Creating a Memorable Slogan appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

The Basics of Mobile Friendly

The Basics of Mobile Friendly

By on November 26, 2015

“How many people in the world are using their mobile phone right now?” Job seekers have reported getting this question when interviewing at Google and Facebook. There isn’t an exact answer, of course, but there are ways to reason and apply different formulas to make an estimated guess. This question also implies just how important mobile has become to our society. Four out of five consumers use a smartphone to shop, and yet 93.3 percent of small business websites are not mobile compatible. So let’s cover the basics of mobile friendly. 

Why make your website mobile friendly?

Mobile users now expect an optimized experience. Nearly half of mobile consumers will not return to a site that doesn’t load properly. In April of 2015, Google began expanding their use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This means the risk of losing opportunities by not having a mobile friendly website is real.

What does it mean to be mobile friendly? 

Ask yourself these questions: 

Is your site easy to read on a mobile device? If the user has to pinch or zoom to read the content, it is not mobile friendly.Is your site easy to navigate? Navigation should be intuitive. Thirty percent of mobile shoppers will leave a site and go to a competitor’s if the site or app delivers a poor experience, 23% will visit less often, and 9% will never return.Is the web design responsive? This means the page uses the same URL and code whether a user is on a desktop, tablet or mobile phone. The display will adjust according to the screen size. Does your site load quickly? Users become frustrated if they have to wait a long time for your site to load. Every second counts. For retailers, 47% of shoppers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less, and 40% abandon websites that take more than 3 seconds to load.Is your site achieving its goal? If you are a blogger, the goal is to keep your visitors engaged. Make it easy for your readers to scroll through content. If your site is e-commerce, the goal is revenue. Make each step of the shopping process seamless from browsing to checkout. It’s important to keep functionality in mind and not just have a site that looks pretty.

How can I tell if my website is mobile friendly? 

Consider taking the mobile-friendly test provided by Google. Google offers a grade by looking at how “Googlebot” sees your page. A good score means your site is ready to go!

Conclusion:  Consumers are mobile, and searching for products or services. Make sure your business gets found, and is easy for visitors to get what they need.

Use the web experts at Deluxe for a free consultation and find out what a mobile friendly website could do for you.

© 2015, Vertical Response Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post The Basics of Mobile Friendly appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

Making Content Marketing, Email and Social Media Work in Harmony for Your Small Business

Making Content Marketing, Email and Social Media Work in Harmony for Your Small Business

By on November 26, 2015

As a small business owner, you wear multiple hats, and some of them probably fit better than others. It’s not uncommon for small business owners to feel uncomfortable in their role as chief marketer. The growth of online marketing has added complexity, nuance, and power to small business marketing. While you may be familiar with certain ways to market your business online such as through content marketing, email and social media, you may be unsure of how they work together, or exactly how to integrate efforts to achieve maximum results. You’re not alone.

On a scale of one to five, with five being very effective and one being completely ineffective, 67 percent of business-to-business marketers and 63 percent of business-to-consumer marketers say they’re in the middle or lower end of that range, according to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI). Many have plans and meet regularly to discuss their marketing, but they’re still not feeling as effective as they want to be. If the marketing professionals are this beleaguered, what hope is there for a small business owner whose expertise lies outside the realm of marketing?

Three ways to market your business explained

Your small business can execute an online marketing plan by focusing on a few elements and employing them in harmony: content marketing, email, and social media. To do this, let’s review the basics of each one.

Content Marketing

Making Content Marketing, Email and Social Media Work in Harmony for Your Small Business

CMI defines content marketing as “… a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” In layman’s terms, this translates to anything you create and publish for public consumption with the aim of drumming up business.

Content creation addresses the message and the best format to communicate that message:

Blog post Video Email Audio Whitepaper Infographic Presentation

Content distribution determines how the content is going to reach the target audience:

Newsletter RSS subscribers Social networks Email campaigns Community groups Forums Podcasts Print Workshops

Why does content marketing work?

Content marketing works because it gives the recipient something of value, such as information or entertainment, all while elevating your business’ visibility and credibility as the provider of the value. It allows you to reach as broad or narrow a range of targets as you desire. It creates associations between businesses and consumers and creates a positive and enriching connection.

Email Marketing

Making Content Marketing, Email and Social Media Work in Harmony for Your Small Business

Email marketing is an efficient way to communicate and stay connected to your clients or customers while also promoting your business. It’s a distribution channel for content. Common email campaigns consist of product or service announcements, a company newsletter, lead nurturing, and sales promotions.

Numerous studies have explored how email marketing works, why it works, how frequently businesses should send emails, what the content of emails should be, what you can put in an email that will lead the recipient to take the action, and much more.

Salesforce compiled a list of interesting statistics about email marketing, including:

Promotional emails prompted 44 percent of people to make at least one purchase in a 12-month period. Seven out of 10 people will use a coupon or discount from an email. Sixty-four percent of people say they open an email because of the subject line. More than a quarter of consumers felt their favorite companies should invest more in emails. About 84 percent of all email traffic is spam.

Email marketing works, but only if it’s done wisely. Shotgun emails that go to the inboxes of people who have no interest in your company or product are worthless. They waste time and money and annoy disinterested consumers.

The keys to successful email campaigns are simple:

Focus on growing and pruning your email subscriber list. Solicit emails through your website, blog, social media channels, or through in-store promotions. These consumers are already aware of your business and are more likely to be receptive to additional contact. Segment your list. Not every customer or prospect will be interested in every email you send, but some emails will be highly relevant to others. There are many ways to segment your mailing list. Using an email service provider like VerticalResponse, makes it easier to determine how to divide contacts based on age ranges, location, birthday, or any other information you collect from the subscriber. You can also segment based on email campaign activity – whether subscribers have opened or clicked on certain emails. Using this contact information and engagement metrics help you target your message better. Deliver quality content aimed at fulfilling the needs of the targeted list. For example, couples who just bought a home might welcome an email from their realtor that provides tips for new homeowners, or a list of resources like movers or handyman services. This type of content is useful and relevant. It strengthens the relationship between the realtor and the clients and is a perfect example of how content marketing and email work together. Communicate regularly but don’t inundate customers with email. How frequent is perfect? You’ll need to experiment to identify the optimum pace for your target audience. Try increasing email frequency to a small, targeted group and track the results. Do more people make purchases? Or unsubscribe? An email service provider can help you track results, including open and click-through rates.

Social Media Marketing

Making Content Marketing, Email and Social Media Work in Harmony for Your Small Business

By now, only the most tech-resistant are unaware of this thing called “social media.” Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and a host of other social media sites are channels that connect millions of users to each other — and to businesses. In fact, nearly three-quarters of American adults use social networking websites, according to the Pew Research Center.

These social media networks are distribution channels for content. Social media users are looking to stay connected and therefore are open to engagement. They tend to be much more connected and interactive with each other and the businesses they patronize. Skillful use of social media can put your business message in front of a highly receptive audience.

To maximize your use of social media channels, follow these best practices:

Learn which social media channels your customers prefer. Establish a presence on those platforms. Use social media to distribute content that resides on your blog, YouTube page, or other places. Follow what your customers are doing and saying on social media — before you put your own statements out there. Tailor the content you share on social media to your audience, just as you do with email marketing. Always provide quality content — information that is relevant and useful for your target audience. Use social media to grow your email subscriber list.

Making these three approaches work in harmony

You’ll realize the true power of each of these marketing efforts when you deploy them together. Consider this scenario as another example of how to integrate these three aspects:

Create a blog post about a topic your audience would find interesting. Make the call to action at the end of the post an invitation to sign up for your company newsletter. Pubish the blog post, and also post it to your social media channels. Encourage fans and followers to share their thoughts in the comment section to stimulate engagement. Round up one or two weeks worth of blog posts, any videos you’ve created, or links to presentations and use this content in your newsletter. Distribute the newsletter to your email subscribers, and also share it on social media. Send any new email subscribers (generated from the blog post or elsewhere) a welcome email that provides additional content, and an incentive to connect on social media by promising exclusive promotions to followers.

This is only one path. There are many more to create and explore. Let us know what works for you!

Conclusion:  Content marketing, email, and social marketing are each powerful tools for communicating with consumers and building your business. However, doing only one or two of these tactics isn’t going to get the job done. You need to do each well and ensure you’re using them in concert with each other.

For more marketing tips and how-tos delivered to your inbox, sign up for the weekly VerticalResponse newsletter.

© 2015, Vertical Response Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post Making Content Marketing, Email and Social Media Work in Harmony for Your Small Business appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

9 Best practice tips for optimizing a landing page

9 Best practice tips for optimizing a landing page

By on November 26, 2015

As marketers we focus on the design targeting and optimization of our messages, meaning we can sometimes feel like the next stage is someone else’s job. The chances of a successful conversion however will be greatly reduced if a click is delivered to a poorly created landing page inconsistent with your email.

Many of the key aspects of a good performing email can apply when creating a successful landing page. To highlight this we’ve dissected a top scoring landing page to pull out the techniques being used to get conversions and generate leads.

Take a look at our 9 top tips for optimizing a landing page:

1. Highlight the USP’s

Your email has caught their attention and drawn them in, now it’s time to underline their interest.

2. Outline the benefits

Remember these are not the features but the things that will actually deliver value to the reader.

landing pages 3 3. Keep it relevant

Now your reader is engaged make sure you don’t lose their focus. Everything you say needs direct relevance to – and impact on – helping them make the next step.

4. A picture tells a thousand words

A successful landing page will likely use just one picture to support the topic and have maximum impact on the reader.

5. Prove credibility

They’re 90% sold so a strong testimonial from a relevant organization could be all you need to get that extra 10%.

6. Ease

Focus on a single a single action for the reader and a clear conversion goal for yourself.

landing pages 2 7. Urgency

Techniques from countdown clock to ‘other people are browsing’ can contribute to a final prompt to emphasize the importance of acting now.

8. Signpost progress

A clear CTA on a landing page is even more important than on a website or in an email.

9. Forms

Your chance to ease in to a relationship with your prospects. Forms should be kept simple, asking only for the information needed to generate leads and drive sales.

Download our best practice guide to start creating landing pages that convert visitors and improve customer journeys.


3 ways that simple psychology can boost your CTR

3 ways that simple psychology can boost your CTR

By on November 26, 2015

We live in a world where hundreds of emails are sent to us daily and junk mail systems seem to have their own force field. As marketers, we need to break down these barriers and engage with our readers on a personal level, which in turn will improve your click through rates. So can this […]

The post 3 ways that simple psychology can boost your CTR appeared first on Pure360.